THANKSGIVING CAME EARLY
(with Urban Legends Lite and the Second Commandment)
Well, for me Thanksgiving came on Monday. The return of Jerry "The King" Lawler AND the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair?!?!? I was whoooing and woo-hooing like a 12 year old all night!!! However, something felt different about the show as well. I couldn't quite put my finger on it.. The show was 1999 Russoish with the pacing and camera angles and stuff, and the show was definitely storyline driven. I mean, there were a handful of matches, but all of them were part of the night's storyline. I was ready to applaud the WWF for giving us a higher entertainment ratio in the sports-entertainment mixture. The whole product looked a little choppy or off, but it was clear Vince and Co. wanted to shake up things and get a whole new feel and direction to the programming. I was willing to put up with a few shows of odd storyline development and long vignettes if it meant the product as a whole would be getting a much needed facelift. Everything seemed fine, Flair was back. The First Commandment was obeyed finally(Thou Shalt not have multiple McMahons on TV). Lawler was back(Now, on a side note, I liked Heyman, but his voice gets to me sometimes, I instantly associate him with the shitty alliance angle, and his lack of chemistry with JR actually made me enjoy the show less.). Lawler's chemistry with JR was still in full force, and aside from a little rust from the King, the commentary was thoroughly enjoyable. Steve Austin was a face again. Flair was back. The Alliance was no more. Flair was back. The show took on an energy I hadn't seen in many, many months. Flair was back. I was happy as could be. The one flaw was the ass-kissing segment. I saw Vince's ass with my unprotected eyes. My smile turned upside down as I saw a grown man's lips touch his buttocks. It was pretty disturbing to say the least, but I figured, it was only for one show, it got a point across, and maybe Vince was trying to get some negative publicity to generate interest in the show. Besides, it really wasn't THAT much worse than the stink-face. I blew it off.
Thursday's Smackdown was fun, and seemed to maintain the Vince Russo feel. But then Monday came along and I am questioning myself as a fan.
Once again we were treated to Vince's buttocks. However that's not even the most disturbing part. It felt like someone took Vince McMahon's brain and combined it with Vince Russo's brain. The result was one of the most embarrassing shows I have ever seen. I've been a stout defender and supporter of wrestling (and the WWF in general) for my whole life. Last Monday I prayed none of the critics I have tried to turn around saw the show. Ok, the Angle "special" boy scout comment got a little chuckle from me. Then Vince said Austin would kiss his ass, and I expected Austin at some point in the night to come down and destroy Vince. Then the Rock came on. He began to talk about Vince and antlers. I was very disturbed as the Rock stumbled through a promo that implied homosexual bestiality. Then it came again. VINCES ASS. First we get Steve Austin staring at it about an inch from his nose for like a full minute. Then Vince gets "spanked" with a belt. Then came the really sick part. He decided it would be a good idea to beat up an announcer in front of his home town, put on his cowboy hat, pull his pants down, and have a leather clad biker shove said commentator into his ass face first, forcing him to veritably toss Vince's salad! Then to finish off a perfect evening, he pranced around the ring with the hat, riding an invisible horse and spanking himself on the ass with the hat. ALL WHILE STILL BARE-ASSED!!! I cringed, I flinched, I just about threw up (again). Vince, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING!?!?? Here's a word of advice. If you are going to simulate homosexual sex on your programming, make it between two WOMEN!! 95% of your audience is not only not gay, but trying very hard to disprove people who say that wrestling IS a homo-erotic sport!! It wasn't even the hot man on man action that bothered me the most. It was the forcible way in which it was done. It was rape-like and that's disturbing as hell. Maybe Vince was so embarrassed by the pissing on the leg scene or the Rocks promo that he whipped up this skit last second in order to pull a MIB, memory eraser type thing. It worked, because all I can remember from RAW was Vince's ass. I mean the Undertaker's turn was REALLY well done up until the ass thing, but no one remembers it because of the horror that followed. I can only hope for HHH's sake that Stephanie inherited her mother's ass. Look, I'm sure Vince knows what he's doing. He's been doing this basically "4 life" and has twice took the WWF to the top of the mountain, reinventing the industry both times in the process. But still, ASS KISSING being the focus of a whole show? New highs for smut content? I gotta question his line of reasoning here. Then again, I was sure Vince sank the company with the whole Brett Hart debacle, and I was wrong then. I guess we'll just have to stay tuned. Besides, if Vince wasn't naked, I would have probably laughed at his "horsey ride" dance.
2nd commandment revealed
So there I was Monday night, in the shower, trying to scrub off the filth
with some soap and a giant wire brush when who should appear in the swirls
of blood in the drain? WAYNE GRETZKY!!! Yes the Wayne Gretzky who first
broke the sound barrier on land. The same Wayne Gretzky that tore down
the Berlin Wall moments before scoring a career high 100 goals in the
first period of the Stanley Cup finals. The very same man who defeated
the monstrous Ivan Drago to avenge the death of his best friend and
glorify the USA to the then Communist USSR. He appeared to me and said
"My son, I have come unto thee to deliver a glorious message. I have
another commandment for you and it is this:
And then just as quickly as he appeared, he disappeared. When I awoke the next morning, his words rang truer than ever.
Urban Legends Lite
Basically since I started writing columns back in October (or was it September?) I've been dying to do an Urban Legends feature on the Hardy's. I was going to argue against the notion that Jeff would super kick Matt through the proverbial glass window and turn heel. I was going to argue that I felt Matt would make the better heel, and should turn on Jeff. Looks like I didn't have to write because I feel it is happening right now.
Jeff is a risk taker. Fans love risk takers. Just look at high flyers such as RVD. They are always de-facto faces due to their style. Jeff also has natural babyface charisma. Matt on the otherhand has great heel charisma and a heelish look to him. People are predicting that Jeff will be the more successful of the two. I also disagree. I feel Jeff can be successful, but I feel Matt is the better all around entertainer. Of the two brothers, Matt's promo work is always better. He also has some great acting (or overacting) ability. His dropping of Stacy Keibler, his eye rolling, his bitching out of Matt is all hilarious and dastardly in a cartoonish sort of way. This is just the kind of foundation an up and comer needs to build a larger than life, top notch heel persona. I also feel Matt is better in the ring. He doesn't take the risks Jeff does, or do the high spots, but his mechanics are much more fluid. He kinda carries himself like a Bret Hart in the ring, which is always good! Matt is also less predictable in his matches. Aside from the HOOOO legdrop and the twist of fate, Matt's offense varies wildly from match to match. Jeff is more predictable. He always does some twisting thing of the top rope (corkscrew moonsault, tope suicida, corkscrew plancha etc.) the running the barrier spot, a wipeout spot, and a swanton attempt. Not to mention the nut legdrop thing and the similar looking split legged pinning combination legdrop thingy(that's its actual name I believe). Throw in the fact that once Matt and Jeff are wrestling singles all the time, Jeff will have to take more bumps in a match, and with a daredevil style like his, injuries are frequent. Matt's style is more conservative, hence he will be around more often, and thusly benefit from more match time/TV time.
Overall, I feel that while both Hardy's have the potential to be great singles stars, it will be Matt Hardy who sees the greatest success.
New feature: Useless Trivia I have no answer to:
Every column, from now on, I will post a trivia question here. The only catch is I have no idea what the answers are. So technically I'm just asking questions, hoping people can answer them. However, I'm sure if I make it trivia, more people will answer then if I just ask. So anyhoo, here's the first question:
What was wrestling's first ever catch phrase?
Ok,things look like they will be a little slower this week, so I will try to do a real Urban Legends column next week, on Hall and Nash. Hopefully that will make up for my lack of coherency this week.