...AND MARKING OUT
Hey all. Welcome back to another edition of ...And Marking Out. I apologize if this column seems late, it is. I was in New York City last week attending a job-related conference. I was without my laptop, and the Business Center in my hotel wanted $15 for fifteen minutes on the Internet. Um, no thanks. On a brighter note, New York with my co-workers is infinitely more fun than New York with my in-laws. I got to check out Times Square, almost puke from the top of the Empire State Building, walk behind raging teens attempting to make it on camera during Total Request Live, and briefly visit WWF New York - all while walking back to my hotel from a shopping spree at Structure and the Gap on Broadway and 34th.
Thoughts on WWF New York: If you've been to the ESPNZone or All Star Café or Planet Hollywood, then you've already got a feel for what the place is like. Just think of those familiar places with an obvious WWF flare and you're there. It's sort of like how T.G.I.Friday's, Chili's, and Ruby Tuesday are all basically the same, but not. That is not to say that I don't want to go back and actually have a burger and a beer there because I do. That's the only real way to rate a sports bar, after all.
I also drank beer at Mickey Mantle's, located across from Central Park. Very cool place to have a cold one if you're a baseball fan. Tons of memorabilia to drool over, especially pictures and jerseys and such. In between presenting some educational software at the conference, going to presentations and all that walking, I actually got a chance to watch the shows. More on that latter. First, let's check the fridge...
A couple of overdue shouts. One to FratBoy who reads religiously and sends me at least one message per column - I promise to print your next letter, no matter what. Next, to Vic Valentine (now does that sound like either a porn or wrestling alias or what?). Thanks for checking me out. We both attended a Christmas party together and talked much drunken wrestling smack over beer and Hennessey in the kitchen, but didn't realize we already knew each other (or should I say knew of each other) through mutual friends. You work with Rick. I live next to Matt. I used to work with Rick. Rick and I golf together. Rick, Matt and I have watched tons of PPVs together. What a small world, huh? Are you coming over for No Way Out? Think about it. Finally, to Freeman (Antonio, not Ramsey). Here's to an all-pro season next year so that you and the Pack can again war with the 49ers, who seem to be on the rise again, however slowly. I miss those days.
10 Things I Think I Think (for the week ending 2.10.01)
1. I think it is pretty obvious to all of us that Angle will drop the strap to the Rock at No Way Out. This will leave Angle with a brewing feud with The Big Show. While I am not anxiously sitting on my hands waiting for this program, I think, if done properly, it could work well for both men. The Big Show can throw Angle around like a rag doll. Angle's bumping will make The Big Show look as strong as ever. Angle's relative size will help as well. After pounding on Rocky and then Angle, The Big Show could move into a program with Benoit as the WWF has also hinted or climb into the title picture (which I don't think will or should happen). Angle could benefit if the bookers made him look impressive against The Big Show. Angle should go over in the program with more relatively clean wins than not. Can you imagine the credibility Angle would receive if he gave the Olympic Slam to the Big Show? I could be as big as Hogan slamming Andre the Giant if hyped properly by Ross and Lawler. I would mark out big time.
2. I have been giving Nitro the benefit of the doubt. I don't know if I can continue. I think Rick Steiner being back on television with a renewed push is a problem for me. Seeing him in the main event turning on Kevin Nash is another. WCW is doing what they've always done and they'll get what they've always gotten - me changing the channel.
3. I think that no matter how they open the show (cruiserweights, effective interview segments, whatever), if they continue to end on such sour notes in the main event, nothing will change.
4. Y Pac may not agree, but I continue to enjoy the Trish Stratus storyline. Hell, it's currently that only story keeping Regal on-screen while he recovers. I realize that the McMahon-Stratus affair has not evolved to the point where it makes an impact in the booking of wrestling matches, but as I've said before, I think we'll get there. And then things will get pretty interesting. Think about it. Stephanie will be angry and will want to book matches to get revenge. Vince can counter-book. How will Shane react? What about Triple H? Wasn't he into Trish at one point? Angle? I think we have a lot of possibilities and I'm interested in seeing them pay off. Still the WWF could disappoint in a major way, ala the Angle/HHH/Stephanie angle at Unforgiven. Let's wait and see, shall we?
5. I think that even though I would still like to see Austin turn heel to meet the Rock at WrestleMania (and I've been campaigning for this for weeks), I will settle for whatever happens (face/face, face Austin/heel Rock, heel Austin/face Rock) if they continue to tweak their characters, even slightly. Austin's subtlety with Triple H was a very nice touch. Ditto for Rock's level of intensity. I think the competition for the top spot is bringing out the best in people, and I'm all for it.
6. I think that Chris Jericho needs a heel turn. Now. Or soon after his upcoming feud with Eddy. Don't ask me how. Okay, maybe have him turn on the Rock. If the plan is to have a face/face WrestleMania main event, have Jericho come out a wail on Rocky after his match with Austin. Have him wail on Austin as well. Have him proclaim that 2001 will really be the year of the Y2J problem, that he's tired of waiting for his chance, and that now, he'll take it. Hell, have Jericho be responsible for the Rock's injury angle if that's the way the WWF wants to take Rock off television for a while. Then have a face Austin feud with Y2J until Rock's return. I think that could work. I, for one, would be excited.
7. I think Chris Benoit would benefit from a heel turn. Have him help Angle during a squash by the Big Show. Remember, the crowd popped the last time when Benoit helped Jericho in a similar spot. This could also help turn Angle face. Or not. I would just love to here the fans cheer Benoit rather than boo. I don't think most casual fans have the appreciation for him that they should. A face turn could bring about tons of casual fan respect and cheers. Just a thought.
8. I think I am very pleased to see Eddy back on WWF television just one week after saying how I missed his dickish, heelish ways. Cool. He's bigger than ever and a feud with Jericho should be extremely entertaining.
9. I think I am very excited about all the ECW stars that the WWF has signed, although I wonder how they will all fit on RAW and SmackDown! Perhaps the surplus of talent will lead to more important and high profile matches on Heat. We can only hope.
10. I think I am also pleased that Carnevale will review both Iron Man matches. I e-mailed him a few weeks ago after reading a few of his other match reviews and asked if he (a) took requests and (b) if he did, would he review the Rock/HHH Iron Man Match. He said Bret/Shawn was his favorite match of all time, he hadn't seen Rock/HHH and he didn't think anything could come close. I'm interested to see what he thinks after viewing both. Technically, I don't think Rock/HHH touches Bret/Shawn, but the booking in the former played to Rock and HHH's strengths very well.
Laughing Over Spilled Beer
This is the portion of the column where I post your mark-out rants. Send me your thoughts on your favorite wrestler or moment and I'll include 'em. It's that simple. This week's rant comes from wross1 who writes:
Why I mark out for...
Simply put, everything he does looks like it's done with cruel intentions. His mannerisms, his moves, and everything he does comes across as mean. He is a throwback to the "old days" of wrestling. He's the new millennium Arn Anderson, and it looks as if he really enjoys what he's doing as a wrestler. Some of my favorite memories of wrestling involve CB. For example, I think back to the feud he had with Kevin Sullivan over Woman. The things I remember the most about the feud were the "No Holds Barred (early hardcore matches) " matches where they ended up in the bathroom of some arena, throwing punches as if they really wanted to hurt each other. The feud ended with CB giving Kevin Sullivan & Jacqueline a top-rope splash onto a table in the ring. (Classic!) Also, who can forget the top of the cage, double splash with Jimmy Snuka a couple of years back. And finally, the Owen Hart tribute match against Bret really took me back to what I love about wrestling.
So, There I admit It!!! I am a mark for Chris "The Crippler" Benoit.
I will try very hard to give WCW more attention next week, I promise.
Ya'll know the routine by now. Drink beers. Mark out. Care less.
Until next time, you can send hatemail/feedback to email@example.com.