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Mike Phoenix




Keeping Permanently From Last Column: In this column, which I will write to you whenever I feel the need to throw out some ideas and some sarcasm, I will prove, hopefully logically, that Vince is doing something right, and even though everyone seems to think it's complete and utter crap, it's a good idea. Wish me luck. Oh, and by the way, it's going to be your problem figuring out what's actual opinion and what's sarcasm. Sorry. [...yeah, well, it's not literature. Shit.]

New This Column: Monday night seems to be a good night to throw in my feelings of sarcasm and/or actual thoughts, simply because I've just watched the most up-to-date product. So, hopefully, I can start a little trend of Monday night columns, here... Heck, if I manage it, I may try to do one on Thursday's as well, simply to show off Vince's... no, he's doing that already... oh, yes, his mind for the game...

SPECIFIC SMART THINGS TONIGHT - and thoughts on them...

1) Continuity of storylines. Continuing going from point A to point B. This is something, regardless once in a while of the missing details, that the WWF manages to do very well most of the time: Make sure the focus is on the main piece of the storytelling. By the time I was done watching RAW, I had noticed multiple times where things really made sense from something that had happened recently. Sure, most of the time we're not lucky... but, you know, this would be a nice habit to get into... And speaking of the things that made sense, one of them was

2) The Rock/Trish segment. The heat for the segment? Incredible. That's booking 101. Put two faces who have a reason to be in the same room together, and you get instant heat. It's normally better when we have a situation as we did tonight, as some may have heard when we saw the kiss. Now, I have a few minor, insignificant, but important problems with this. a) The Rock is married. I could have sworn it's been shown on multiple broadcasts and/or at least a few of the fan vids. Apparently, that does not matter. b) it would have been leagues cooler had he actually used her own hand to slap the taste out of her mouth. Yeah, sure, ok, I suppose that would have made a heel of one of them, but it would have worked somehow... So, lesson 101f (there are some in front of this that are waaaay more important) is that if you stick the two people who'd be voted best looking in the federation in a room and have them kiss, you get pop. Heck, I bet that drew ratings [Mike mocks calling a friend to tell them Trish was in the Rock's locker room, to make a point that was already made]. Oh...

3) Another thing being done well is the entire Hardy Boyz break-up. They're not on the same page, they're not reading from the same book, they're pushing around Lita for no reason other than she's butting in. These are all things said and done that work out very well. Screwing up the tag wrestling in the ring on purpose? Oh, that makes it work even better. And the entire younger brother being a face, which Rick has mentioned? Way cooler. Just don't mind the announcers NOT going with the flow when Jeff Hardy is actually selling his prior injuries DURING the match. I mean, right there, it was really simple. Jeff couldn't do a suplex correctly because he was hurt, dammit! What? Oh, you mean he really just f'd up? Well that's why there's something called play-by-play announcing... grrr...

4) I wish I could get over by saying one word and not wrestling, like Farooq has been able to do. His part of the promo was the most entertaining, and he wasn't featured anytime later in the night! How can they get away with such criminal behavior? Oh, wait, he can't really sell that well because he acts like a brick wall in the ring, due to his football days where he had to be a brick so people couldn't just knock him down when they charged him, right? What? Oh, so the CROWD is over by saying one word and not wrestling? You know, I hadn't thought of that until now. I really hadn't. I'll bring this up in a paragraph or two.

5) I just wanted to point out that it's absolutely AMAZING how easily Ross transitions Y2J into heeldom ["He wants respect? Well, he should earn it."] even though the crowd doesn't even react to a Y2J entrance anymore. It's like he has to be a face or get no heat. Sure, that's not really a rock and a hard place of a decision there, folks. On the other hand, I loved the Y2J/Austin match, because it told a story, and did it well. Y2J paying Austin back with the shoulder shot was marvelous. Austin winning, getting the big pop, and making Jericho's credibility this Sunday worth just about nothing? That was ... positively something, alright... Way to build up your PPVs, Vince. Way to go. No one believed you'd go the straightforward path to Rock vs. Austin, and they still don't now. No siree.

6) Something I didn't point out earlier, that SHOULD be higher up on the list, but I didn't really mark it in my head until around the second hour... there were a good amount of well set-up match-ups this time on RAW that were actually not bad to watch, and didn't really feel like they were the three second matches we saw on the last couple of RAWs. In addition, we saw much less ass, and much more cleavage. Both beautiful improvements.

7) Booker T stealing Austin's truck was brilliant on multiple levels. I mean, a guy who doesn't have a job needs to get a ride somehow, right? OK, don't mind the entire problem of how he got to Milwaukee, or how the announcers themselves had no idea how to explain Austin being back and not showing his truck back. Just throw that away, because it didn't matter to the people in the arena. Austin comes back, pop. That's all that counts.

8) RVD vs. Christian was actually fun to watch, because they set it up pretty well, and because RVD KNOWS he can't get a three count after a Van Daminator, so he does a five star frog splash as well. You know, when he turns heel, and there will be a day that Vince gets more sick than he was tonight [anyone else hear his hoarseness tonight?] and he'll miss that poor business decision, he can just do what the 'Taker did and tell people when he will and won't do his moves, or, better yet, he can just not do them, and have people boo him at the end of the match for winning without his signature moves...

9) Rock/Trish vs. Angle/Vince was also well set up, and Vince is so much of a genius, and has programmed me so well, that I was waiting for Trish to turn and screw the Rock, forcing the Rock to kiss Vince's ass to keep his spot in the Vengeance tourney. It would have made sense, it would have worked, and it would have gotten the Rock more heat when he didn't kiss Vince's ass and get kicked out, only for Flair to throw him back in anyway :). As an aside, I'd like to say that Vince's comment about having to turn around this time [on Smackdown when Trish was on her knees] was so utterly heelish and genius to throw in there. So Jericho's interference, and of course, his credibility, means nothing, because it amounts to nothing.

I need to get something off my chest here. Mind you I'm simply using this space to rant, but I think I'm allowed from time to time. I am not a Jericho mark. I do not particularly care one way or the other if Jericho specifically succeeds in wrestling. BUT, what I DO want to see is heels that have credibility, which is a thing Jericho never seems to have. Why should I boo you if you have done nothing of impact, won no matches that matter, in the past two weeks? Just because you said something that didn't end up mattering? Just because you assaulted one of our top faces? That doesn't work for everyone, you know. Here's a little fan-based booking from yours truly that not only I, but many, seemed to think would work... plenty of people saw Y2J and Stephanie being a good pairing once Jericho turned heel simply because they'd play off each other so well. Y2J would continue to call her things, and she'd damn well start liking it after a while. HHH would come back as a face, like he will be accepted, especially with his MadTV thing, and he wouldn't have TIME to turn heel. He'd HAVE to be a face long enough to at least get his wife back. I don't CARE if his wife is a heel, it worked with Angle, it can work at least as well with Y2J. But I'm done 'ranting'... it really doesn't help anyone.

10) Last but not least, something I started typing earlier. "What?" No, don't start that. "What?" No, seriously, that's really not cool. Austin started it, and Vince wisely told him to keep doing it, and it's damn well paid off. It's the most over word with the crowd since asshole started being chanted. In fact, I was at an indy show recently, here in Pittsburgh, PA (cheap pop) [IWC - International Wrestling Cartel. Co-run by the guy who ran Steel City Wrestling. They bring in at least one big person per show [one show a month]], and the microphone wasn't working, and the entire crowd was saying "What?" every time the microphone broke off the promo. It's annoying, it pisses people off, but it's a great way for the fans to be part of the show! Take RAW for example, when the fans started counting Austin bashing Jericho's head against the corner: "1", "2", "3", "What?", "4", "What?", "5", "What?", "6", "What?", "7", "What?", "8", "What?", "9", "What?", "10", "What?" That was hysterical! Thank you Vince! Sure it was damn bloody stupid, but funny! And now Angle and Vince are in on it too. And the crowd tried to start with the Rock, but dammit, he has his own vibe, and he won't have any of that! Heheh. Eh.

That's all for tonight. Maybe next time I'll get to the entire "Next time, you'll see me legitemize Undertaker being champion, Kurt Angle being a heel, Chris Jericho continuing being a heel, and maybe more... just not all at once" stuff...

Mike Phoenix

Mike Phoenix has been a wrestling fan on and off, mostly on in the last 5, for at least 10-12 of his 18 years. He does actually live in Pittsburgh, but will not give you his address even if you DO want to send him Anthrax. He has also been in e-fedding for the majority of the last 7 years, except for the past 2-3 months, when he has been on a much enjoyed vacation from it. He may be starting a fed soon, but doesn't want to count eggs before they hatch, so you can go ahead an breathe if you want, now.

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