Sorry I haven't written in a while. I've been going through these cyclical depression attacks ever since Sept. 11th. The recent goings on in the Middle East (specifically in Israel), coupled with that John Walker kid have got me a little rattled again. I'm sure you guys are going through it too, but living in LA (and working downtown) are taking a serious toll on my nerves. Even when I'm not here, both of my parents are, and losing them because someone half a world away is pissed off at some foreign policy decision isn't very high on my list of favorite things I'd like to have happen. Living in a major metropolitan area like this one isn't helping either.
But this is life. We move on, we try to enjoy what we've got. So I'm gonna try and press on, to write somethin' that'll hopefully entertain you, instead of depressing you. Anyway...
WWF Vengeance Thoughts
CnP'd the QnD, yo.
Scotty 2 Hotty & Albert (6'20" Baldobomb -> pin) Christian & Test
Match was okay. Like Shapiro said, the wrong man went under here. Test, Albert and Scotty could afford to job here much more than could Christian, who, like Edge, still teeters on the edge of success or failure.
Intercontinental champion Edge (9'08" spear -> pin) William Regal
Good match, worked at Regal's pace. This surprised me a lot, to be honest. I find Regal to be quite boring. As a technical wrestler, he's no Benoit, or even Angle, as a brawler, he's no Austin, and as a "Sports-Entertainer", he really is lightyears from someone like the Rock. His feud with Edge was a little underplayed leading up the the match, but they gave a great effort, and were given the time necessary to do good things. - Hey, I can be honest and say someone gave a good effort even when I don't really like 'em!
Jeff Hardy (12'31" Swantonbomb -> pin) Matt Hardy
If I had written this before their match on Raw, I'd say it was time to abort the angle for good, pair them back together, and forget this whole ugly mess ever happened. This match wasn't good at all. I couldn't get any psychology from it, I thought the pacing and timing was off and both of 'em looked like they were fighting each other for the first time. In contrast to their Raw match, this match was pretty damn bad. Without it, it was, I suppose, slightly below average.
Tag team champions Dudley Boyz (6'50" double flapjack into exposed turnbuckle -> Bubba Ray pin) Big Show & Kane
Right men won, I suppose. Someone get some plasma to the tag team division, STAT.
The Undertaker (11'05" chokeslam off stage -> pin) Rob van Dam
Undertaker was SO BLOWN UP after this match. But it was still very good by both men. I think RVD had an off-night, though. It's good to see they're pairing up RVD in some solid face vs. heel feuds, even if the morons in San Diego don't know how to boo the Undertaker. :)
Women's champion Trish Stratus (3'35" backslide -> pin) Jacqueline
Didn't see the match. Made a sandwich. Heard it was good. May watch tape later. Or could keep speaking in clipped sentences. World will never know.
WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin (15'01" Stone Cold Stunner -> pin)
Good series of matches. I think Jericho's title reign will be defined more with how he carries the mantle than the fact that he's finally done it. I think a little of the steam was taken out of the win (possibly by the crowd) because Jericho's not a face, and he went over the (always) mega-face Austin to win. Jericho may not necessarily be over as much as anyone to ever win the championships, but now that he actually has the ball, and is finally in the top tier, the onus lies on him not to drop the ball.
The fallout to the win was amusing, because I don't think anyone thought he was actually going to win. A lot of people listed off reasons why he should win, and all of those I agreed with, but it almost made too much sense to have Jericho win the titles. My reaction to the win was "Oh. (pause) Huh." By contrast, I was standing up, shouting and hollering at Wrestlemania X-7 when Austin beat Rock, or even at No Mercy. As I said, Jericho's got a long way to go still, but he has started on the road to becoming a legend.
Professional sports and professional wrestling have become oxymorons. Pro-athletes are some of the biggest whiners in the world. Their owners are no different. Look at the recent happenings with Major League Baseball - League owners threaten contraction, then later admit that it was all a big ploy to get new stadiums. Does this surprise anyone? We've got multi-millionaire and billionaire owners acting like children if they don't get their way. No, that doesn't surprise me at all.
I also don't ascribe to the belief that professional athletes are idiots. Many of them may have been given passes through high school and college for their athletic skills, but athletic skills should (in my opinion) be as prized as academic skills. To tie this back to the intro of this article, there were many atlhetic firemen who were able to save a lot of lives in the WTC. Smart kids get a "pass" through school if they have the intellect to do whatever they need to do. So no, I don't buy the argument that these guys are stupid on the whole.
However, I can't explain the attitudes of these young men. Perhaps it's "too much, too soon", but if you gave me a hundred million dollars to play basketball for 7 years, I guarantee I wouldn't have much to complain about. Sympathy doesn't fall easy onto professional athletes or their bosses for these very reasons.
Older people will tell you about the times when professional athletes carried themselves as athletes, and tried to be rolemodels to young kids. Being a rolemodel didn't mean hot-dogging or showing off, but carrying themselves with class and dignity. If they were the best, they knew it and didn't need to be flashy to show it (as opposed to today's typical athlete).
To a certain degree, professional wrestling is far worse. Wrestlers are constantly blowing shots they are given, making stupid mistakes, or embarassing the practice. But it's the owners who are often more embarassing than anything the actual wrestlers do themselves.
Look at Vince McMahon. I'm firmly convinced that his own ego wouldn't let him let the ECW/WCW Alliance get over with it's actual real talent. I'm firmly convinced that he hates to push anything he didn't create, and the evidence for that lies in his killing of good gimmicks historically, pushing them with whatever he considered to be better. I think Mankind got over in spite of his gimmick originally.
There's been much ado about hazing in the WWF lately, and I believe that there should be. I understand that these guys are on the road 200 days a year, flying, driving, staying away from their families. I understand that they risk life and limb every night, work injured and broken to entertain us. I understand it may have been done to them in the past, that it's something of a tradition...
... But none of that makes it right. And they know that as much as anyone else does. Former WCW/WWF referee Billy Silverman had this to say about the hazing that he eventually resigned over: "...I upgraded plane tickets to first class. I did. I'm not gonna say I didn't. Why shouldn't I? I've been travel.ling for years. ... in the WWF only certain guys are allowed to do that. I had no idea about it." Subsequently, he alleges that he was "forced to buy liquor, get on a private plane, go through customs with all kinds of booze, liquor, beer..."
The worst thing in the world? By far, no. In fact, I think Silverman doesn't have much to complain about in his specific incident. He did something he shouldn't have done, ignorant of the way things worked, so he paid the "price". What I have a problem with is his claims that the management did nothing to help him. "I went to a member of their management team, somebody who works for Jim Ross. I was told to go along with it."
Companies, especially publically traded companies, need to handle complaints from employees seriously. Allegations of harassment of any kind are unacceptable, yet in the WWF, they are condoned and encouraged. If an employer at any other company had said the same thing, he'd be looking at a lawsuit on his hands.
Keller loses points by my count on his defense of the whole thing. In reference to an unnamed wrestler who boasted about "pilling" women's drinks (dropping drugs into their drinks that would cause them to pass out) and raping them while they were asleep, he defends actions of fellow wrestlers who gang-rushed him in the locker room, taped him down, rubbed him up with baby oil and threatned to rape him. He says "Has that wrestler pilled women's drinks and raped them since wrestlers sent him a stern message? I don't know, but he sure doesn't brag about it anymore, and perhaps the "wrestler justice" he faced gave him a new perspective on how "funny" that stuff is."
Here's a radical idea - how about reporting a rapist to the proper authorities? "Scaring him straight" may be a great way for the people in the back to feel better about themselves, but it does absolutely nothing for the actual victims of the crime. This also isn't "Vigilante Justice" world. Punishments shouldn't be decided by a tribunal of wrestlers on how to deal with a potential rapist. If their brotherhood is causing them to not report a crime that may or may not be in investigation, isn't that obstruction of justice? So do we just kinda laugh it off because they're wrestlers and not required to follow the rules of society?
To Keller's credit, he noted "I am not approving of vigilante justice. ... But if their knowledge is based on bar room bragging to friends, that won't stand up in court without further evidence." However, I would argue that it is not up to wrestlers to decide what is or isn't proper evidence. It isn't their job to hand out the punishment that they see fit while allowing a fucking rape to occur. Keller's strongest argument is that the guy isn't bragging about it anymore? Give me a break. It's pure, foolish naivety to assume that the best way to handle the situation was to let the wrestlers scare him straight. If it was your sister, would you say "Well, I know she was pretty upset, but I'm sure glad you guys straightened him out! Good job!"?
I'm not totally againt hazing. It's well known that the WWF is more a faternity than a business. It just upsets me when McMahon wants it both ways. He has two options: Treat his business like business and don't let his personal vendettas get in the way of what should or shouldn't happen for the betterment of himself and his employees, or continue to be a joke in the real world. Aside from the crappy football, the XFL wouldn't have stood a chance even with top players because of McMahon's perception as a businessman.
It's really all about perception. I am in no way, shape or form questioning McMahon's business acumen, I am questioning decisions he makes that trouble me as a wrestling fan, that do nothing to help the business or himself because of issues or grudges he holds. McMahon toppled and controls a veritable wrestling empire in the United States. And more power to him. However, now that he's the only game in town, the entire reputation of professional wrestling lies in his hands and his hands alone. And that is what scares me.