...AND MARKING OUT
Leftovers: Feedback on the question of the Lou Theiz fumble by the WWE. Who's to blame?
Stephen Hart wrote:
I am almost tempted to believe that the reason for the WWF not covering Lou Thesz's death is that the company's very existence can be put down to them not wanting him as NWA champion. However, surely not even the WWF would be that trite.
I wish I could share in your doubt of the Fed's triteness. I will say, however, that from the looks of that Davey Boy Tribute that they've taken heed to all the backlash they got.
Feedback Question of the Week: What one wrestler would make a difference to either RAW or SmackDown! if he/she showed up next week and why?.
Welcome to another 10 minutes inside my brain. Enjoy the ride. Or not.
Eyes Wide Shut
As we make our way to Memorial Day here in America, it seems that a few of our (least?) favorite WWE Superstars have lost track of what holiday it is. Yup, it seems as if a few of our wrestling heroes have confused seasons, months and dates. They think its Halloween. You heard me. There are a few WWE wrestlers who are wearing costumes and masks as if it's All Hollow's Eve. Either that or Vince McMahon decided to throw a costume party and not tell us viewers. Whatever's going on, there can be no doubt that the WWE product is suffering badly. RAW started like a Rocket and crashed like a train. Here are a few notable wrestlers and the costumes they are currently wearing. Let me know if I miss anybody that's obvious.
Austin as Superman
Faster than a speeding bullet. Stronger than a locomotive. Able t leap tall buildings in a single bound. That's face Austin. He's unstoppable, I tell ya. Just ask the entire RAW roster. I think they've all jobbed to him by now. Must be the beer. Whatever he's drinking, I want in. Don't you? Just imagine what you could do if you could beat Booker in a lumberjack match, defeat Ric Flair and the Big Show in a handicapped tag and go on to stun both Flair and Arn Anderson all in the span of a week. Forget Tony Starks, StoneCold is the real Iron Man! And there I thought the superhero gig was all Hurricane's. Oops. My bad. I wrote a pretty scathing article about Undertaker months ago (during his face run) where I basically said the same thing. Here, go give it a read, inserting Austin's name for Taker's. I think the points are still valid, unfortunately.
HHH as Austin
Well somebody had to step up and be Austin if he's off being Supes, right? And whobetta than HHH? Over on SmackDown! Hunter has emerged as that upstart, anti-hero face we all love to cheer. He spends his Thursday nights whipping his boss' ass and taking names. He spends his PPV matches pointlessly going over folks when he has nothing to gain and they have everything to lose. Now I like HHH and all, but the 2002 version of McMahon-Austin with HHH playing Austin just doesn't click. For goodness sake, they've been using this angle in one form or another since at least 1999 now. Time to come up with something new, I think. I mean if you're gonna rip from another face, rip from Rock's book of jobbing and elevating without losing heat. If you're confident enough in your manhood and character that is.
Ric Flair as Vince McMahon
Speaking of Austin-McMahon redux, we have Flair on the RAW roster slipping into that all too familiar role of heel owner that tries in vain to keep Austin at bay. Only, it doesn't work this time because (1) it's already been done to death and (2) McMahon initially was attempting to curb Austin's outrageous behavior and keep him away from the Championship belt. What's Flair's motive? While the whole "you disrespected the owner and now you're gonna pay" angle can work, it doesn't have enough bite because all wrestlers in a federation should have one singular goal in mind: becoming Champion. When's the last time Austin cared about anything other than getting the next What?!? chant out of the crowd. Without the belt as a prop, the whole angle flops and Flair becomes a shadow of not himself, but Vinnie Mac.
Billy and Chuck as Lenny and Lodi
Ambiguously gay gimmicks can draw heat and be mildly entertaining at the least. Like al good gimmicks, however, they need to pay off with good wrestling. Such will never be the case with our duo in red. These two can't really wrestle that well and as current ratings speak, people are tuning out to dead gimmicks and bad wrestlers. After a heated (from the crowd reaction at least) start, these two have fizzled. The addition of Rico while necessary and promising has amounted to nothing significant. If they Fed insists on doing this gimmick I say send Billy and Chuck packing and bring in Lenny and Lodi. I can just see those "Send more BlowPops" signs now. Or maybe not.
Bubba Ray Dudley as Road Dogg Jessie James
Talented tag team wrestler goes on to singles competition after winning acclaim as a tagger. Into his moveset he incorporates dances and hip hop silliness that the crowd loves, even those they make no logical sense to folks like me. Where have we seen this before? That silly dancing before the double axe-handle is about as believable as Rock's spit punch and not nearly as much fun. He's on to something with the theft of the Bionic Elbow, but that Road Dogg inpersonation is gonna get him nowhere.
Kurt Angle as Comedic Heel
Recipe for disaster: Take your company's best wrestler, have him pull *** to ***** star matches out of everyone from your own half-time wrestling son to Kane, only instead of presenting him as a serious threat, package him as a goofball and perpetual punch line to an ongoing joke that no one fully understands but you. Kurt is the most over heel on either show (being trailed closely by X-Pac for heat), but he's one of the least threatening characters in the WWE. And that's just wrong. A guy with this much talent just oozing from his pores has to be utilized more effectively. I'm not saying he can't be a geek, because there's something to him being nerdy that does click, but there needs to be balance and the WWE writers have yet to find it, so he comes off as silly all the time. Turning him into milk-swilling Austin isn't the answer either. McMahon once said it best: "yes, Kurt's a dork. But he's a dangerous dork. And he's our dork." The WWE has to somehow figure out how to make that work or I'm sure he'll pack his bags for greener California pastures eventually as well.
RVD as Y2J
Now tell me where I've seen this story before: Young upstart fan favorite gets TV title shot against seemingly unstoppable heel. Young face gives a valiant effort, ultimately winning the title to the crowd's delight before eventually being stripped of the title due to political machinations. Very over face then goes on the take one step forward and three steps back over the course of the next two years, much to the chagrin of Net fans all over. Okay, so that first part hasn't happened to Van Dam yet, but it might. And that would be a huge mistake on the WWE's part. Kids dig the pot head. Push him, already. That is all.
Undertaker as Tazz
Has anyone else noticed how Taker went from being the American BadAss to a Thug like Tazz without even blinking. What's even more amazing is that he got tons more interesting in the process. The bullying, the skull caps, the hooded sweat shirts, the facials. It's all clicking. Oh, wait, this gimmick's actually working!! Heel Taker has been the most consistently entertaining character on WWE programming since before WrestleMania. He can't deliver that strongly in the ring anymore, but placed against the sight opponent (not HHH or Austin or Hogan) I truly believe he can have a *** or **** star match every now and then. That may not say much but, hey, at least his costume fits, unlike some of those other guys'.
Now, I am trying very hard to remain positive, but these shows are beginning to make it difficult again. I'm trying hard to stay out of the Smarkies, but I don' t know how long that can last given the current direction of WWE programming.
It's okay to pretend to be someone or something you're not from time to time. Hell, I love to dress for Halloween. But, that costume has to come off eventually.
Until next time, send hatemail and/or feedback to the addy in the link below.