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Sick of me yet? I've broken down and decided to do one of these, since I've got thoughts, but nothing deep enough to make a proper column. So, here we go .

  • Bad wrestler logic. Anyone who's been reading the DVDVR message board has run across the debate which ensued after Lance Storm attacked the DVDVR 500. I'm not going to go over all of the various ideas raised by this debate (maybe later) but I need to make one point here. Whenever you see a wrestler go after his critics, or any observers of the industry really, you usually see them trot out one old standby of flawed logic: "you can't criticize because you haven't done [X]". Here's the flaws with that line of reasoning, in no particular order: first, as a fan, I pay your salary so I'll damn well tell you whether I'm entertained or not, and whether or not you're doing a good job; second, as an observer of the business and someone who's watched probably more wrestling than Storm from around the world recently, I'm quite qualified to judge quality based on my familiarity with multiple styles and large numbers of workers, my long tenure as a fan, and my broad reading of various other analysts; third, it's rather insulting for Storm to presuppose that my mind is so small that I'm unable to put myself in his shoes for a moment to consider whether or not a wrestler is safe to work with when considering quality; fourth, criticism is inherent to any field with an artistic component, and in any such field the validity of criticism is based on it's proof in fact, and on the credentials of the critic as a studious observer of the business; those credentials need not be as a practitioner, as a food critic need not be a chef, nor a wine critic a vintner; and fifth, if quality is unimportant or impossible to judge, I hope Storm enjoys being squashed by the Big Show twice weekly for the duration of his contract, while making less than half the salary. We on the Internet might argue that Storm should be the one on top based on greater talent, but, hey, who are we to judge? Bottom line is, I'll criticize if I want, because I'm fully justified, and I'll be damned if Storm will tell me not to based on my not taking bumps. Wrestling is the only business on earth where people think being dropped on your head will actually improve your qualitative judgment.

  • Message board etiquette. Basically, if you know me, you know I'm a bit of a message board junkie- I like to know what people are thinking, and I like to talk with other hardcore fans about whatever's going on in this peculiar little universe. Most of the time, I enjoy reading and responding around the net; but at least once a week I run across something which just drives me insane. People have this fascination with dementedly tossing about their own opinions like drunken sailors hurling money about on their one weekend in port, with roughly the same level of forethought. I love opinion; I love debate; I absolutely hate it when people say things which come from left field, with little justification to back them up. I keep reading things like "RVD sucks" or "The Austin turn isn't working" or make references to HHH supposedly having the book, or whatever, where people state their opinions as fact with no backup. Hey, folks, if you want to give your opinion then I probably want to read it, but if you're going to give it, back it up already. If you want to talk about RVD's merits as a wrestler, talk to me about psychology, moveset, selling, all those dirty words; don't just tell me he sucks, because that WILL cause me to bang my head repeatedly into my monitor, then scream at you in all caps. And neither of us wants that, yes? Good. To me it seems primarily a problem of over exaggeration, of which I'm as guilty as anyone; so if you see me doing this somewhere on a message board, call me on it, please. Basically, by my lights, any opinion given without some sort of backup is worthless as anything other than a statement of personal feeling, which isn't what I want to read on a message board in a discussion area; if I want that, I'll see what Sean Shannon is weeping over this week. Note that this is not directed at 90% of posters out there, but the rest are driving me wacky recently.

  • Hey, Ian Challis: thanks for the "iron man" notice, but I think you better deserve that one for actually surviving Judgment Day '98. That can't have been too pleasant, and I admire your dedication to your craft. Your recaps rock.

  • Memo to Jim Ross: quit pimping the Big Show. He's fat and he sucks, and we know it, and what's more, you know it. Don't insult your own intelligence.

  • Can WWF television get any more badly thought out or lazily constructed? Frankly, if I see one more feud started over spilled coffee or a stolen item, or one more mindless, pointless segment like the one with Brian Christopher on Monday, I'm going to hurl something (soft and pliant) at my television. I have no idea if it's overwork, or burnout, or what have you, but I haven't seen this level of malpractice in television writing on RAW in years. It's depressing, since at this point the WWF has every advantage a promotion ever could, talent and to spare, a monopoly, a dedicated audience, and they're pissing it away with bad television. It's not something I take great joy in saying, but so far as I can tell the ratings tell the tale- down, down, and farther down. This will be the last time I write this publicly, since once it's been said it's pointless to repeat, so no repetitive bitching from me.

  • The Austin turn was a mistake. Not because I say so, or because he's still getting cheered some, but because the raw numbers say he's drawing less money for the WWF. From the Observer newsletter, as part of a longer analysis of house show revenue numbers: babyface Austin at house shows this year in main events drew 11,537 fans on average, with a 21.1% sell out rate; heel Austin drew 7,142 fans, with no sellouts. The difference in money is $141,651 per show. Anyone want to take bets on the buyrates from Backlash (not released by the fed- you can guess what that means) and Judgment Day making up the difference? Didn't think so.

  • Tape of the moment: if you're into puro like I am, and especially if you appreciate shoot-style, get the 4/28/01 New Japan television. Minoru Tanaka and Osaka Pro's pocket-sized shooter Murahama had a match given ****1/2 by Dave Meltzer, and called "near match of the year quality". Yeah, that's on my shopping list. Also, Kawada vs. Tenryu from October 2000 is stupendous in an All Japan sort of way.

  • Off topic note: if you like progressive music with an eye towards the rest of the world and a solid grounding in pop craftsmanship, go get yourself a copy of David Byrne's Look Into The Eyeball. Yes, I know I've been pimping this album nonstop for the last week and a half, but it deserves it. It's really the first solo album for him where he successfully integrates all the disparate influences on his work, and crafts a coherent concept album with the concept grounded in the music, and not a lyrical tale or theme. A truly great album.

  • It's 2:18 Am, and I'm sitting in an enormous oversize beanbag chair watching Star Wars while writing most of this. Oh yeah, summer vacation rocks, especially if your standards are low.

  • I like Rhyno. This rather frightens me. Somehow, he just seems a more effective wrestler in the WWF, probably because he's not being exposed in longer matches as he was in ECW.

  • Folks, I gotta say it: yes, he's atrocious, but is Billy Gunn REALLY so bad that his name has to have become a watchword for suck? I've seen much, much, worse than him- at least he's energetic. Flame away. =)

  • New Japan. No, I don't have a clue what's going on over there either. I thought they had a nice little storyline worked out: Inoki/PRIDE outsider Kazuyuki Fujita wins the IWGP title, beats Yoshihiro Takayama at the next PRIDE show, beats Yuji Nagata at the 6/6 PPV, beats someone else down the road, and finally loses to the returning Kensuke Sasaki, in, say, August or September, who reclaims the honor of the promotion. Makes sense. But now Takayama's been taken ill and is possibly out of the PRIDE show, maybe still in, Sasaki's disappeared off the face of the earth (though that's apparently an angle), and the focus of the promotion is on Naoya Ogawa, part-timer and pseudo-shooter, versus Riki Chosyu, near fifty year old legend, and, (truth be told,) decrepit fossil. The first match between those two on the last dome show, a tag, is getting early votes for worst of the year. Fabulous. This company remains deeply, deeply difficult to figure out, and I really have no idea where they're going. That said, I do find them more entertaining than the WWF, and the burgeoning BATT vs. Team 2000 feud interests me greatly based on potential match quality with Tenzan, Kojima, Liger, Hase, and Taiyo Kea all involved with this deal. Then again, I'm the world's biggest Mutoh/Chono mark, so your mileage may vary.

  • Prediction: WCW will go belly up as an angle without at least two of the top names from the old company involved, and won't be able to draw files on tour without either top WWF stars or Goldberg.

  • Capsule Judgment Day preview: the main event will be better than you might think it would be, about ***-ish; the Benoit/Angle match will be where they finally get it right big time (freakish stat: this will be their 5th PPV meeting, already) if those bizarre stips don't kill the crowd completely dead, nothing else will be above average. What possessed them to resurrect the chain match from the gimmick graveyard I don't know. I'll enjoy the show nonetheless, since I saw Backlash on tape delay, and thus haven't seen a PPV live in awhile. Why they insist on coming up with the most hideous style clashes for Steve Regal though, I can't imagine- first the quasi-NJPW juniors style of Jericho, now the fat man stylings of Rikishi. Yarf.

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