Invasion Report Card
ALMOST COMPLETELY UNRELATED RANT: All Stephanie had to do was add these ten words in the middle of her speech last week: "That scared me. But not as much as this did." Because I can understand her being 14 or 15 and worrying about whether her dad was going to lose his business or go to jail or not. That would be scary. But there's no direct comparison to what happened last week. Not by the longest of shots.
Having said that, in the bigger picture, nothing she said will matter in the least.
THE PEOPLE'S MAILBAG: First, thanks to John Rearick for reminding me that Austin pinned Rock after the second Stunner at WM15.
Second, cfgb chimes in with:
You said in your column:
"So let me get this straight: All you need to get Torrie to want to snuggle up to you is to be 6 feet or shorter (check), kind of skinny (check), talk funny (I can do that), and either know how to do a Shooting Star Press or kick like a motherfucker? (I'm screwed)"
Wait, you're not dead in the water yet. You ARE related to Ric Flair right? ;- )
Sadly, no. I can neither bump nor mack like The Man. I can't even do a decent strut. (I know I told you I could. I was WRONG.)
It's been six months since the WWF bought WCW, and three months since the WCW "invasion" of the WWF started to hit television. So how are they doing?
Most Valuable People: Stone Cold Steve Austin. What? For my money, he's the best heel of the last three years not named Vince McMahon.
Booker T. He got over as a face when he needed to, and he got over as a heel when he needed to.
Rob Van Dam. You couldn't pay WWF fans to boo this guy. Once he can say something other than his name, he'll be huge.
Most Improved: Austin. Different reason here, though; this is because he's back wrestling some of his best matches.
Rhyno. Remember last year at this time when we all hated this guy because we thought he was an overpushed hack? Turns out he was just overpushed. The Gore is OVER, and the Rock match showed he's not just a psychotic killing machine.
Test. But check back in three months. Every time Test gets a push or a turn, he's had a tendency to start out on fire, but he can't sustain it for whatever reason.
Least Valuable People: Buff Bagwell. Damn near killed the whole shebang with that pathetic display in Tacoma. Got his just desserts for a career of being a tool by getting canned by Vince after two weeks.
Diamond Dallas Page. Simply put, cocky Dallas Page makes a good heel. Horny Dallas Page does not.
Shane McMahon. Crazy bumps aside, I'm having trouble hating him. He doesn't have heel Vince around to leech heat from, and he doesn't have lackeys (BRING BACK THE POSSE) to boss around. I'm beginning to agree more and more with Rick Scaia that Shane's better as a face.
Biggest Fall: Mike Awesome. I figured being the first WCWer to crash MSG was a sign of greater things. I also thought that getting him away from Lance Storm would help him. So much for those theories.
MVP: Kurt Angle. A comment was made on the CRZboard that Angle's earned another title reign based on his face work, and it's hard to argue with that.
The Rock. Admit it, you missed him. You DID. He hasn't missed a beat since his return, and he was right - the WCW title does have meaning again.
Most Improved: Angle again. As over as he was as a heel, he's almost that much MORE over in his old-school babyface role.
Tajiri. I told you he'd catch on.
X-Pac. Don't look at me like that; he's started putting forth an effort again since he got the LHW book. The second Kidman match and the first Tajiri match were damn good. That said...
LVP: X-Pac. "Best heel in the business"? I really hope that interview was a work, because if it wasn't, Austin needs to BEAT THAT MAN'S ASS. Now he's fallen victim to the glut of wrestlers and not enough TV time. But still.
Biggest Fall: Chris Jericho. I'm starting to wonder if the boy's cursed, myself. Whenever it seems like he's about to climb through the damaged glass ceiling, something happens (losing the IC to HHH; the bailout on the KotR main; the ropes at SummerSlam) to knock him down a notch. Maybe the smarks' expectations of him were too high? I wonder.
OVERALL: C+. Mostly because things cooled off from a "It's an INVASION" aspect around SummerSlam, and strategically, the two sides are at a stalemate - with all the titles in seemingly endless flux, neither group wants to make a big move until it has all of its gold back. It's settled into a faction war. An entertaining faction war, yes, but it still lacks that "industry-changing" feel.
I imagine that part of it is also real-world business-related, and that's something I don't think a lot of people have considered. The plan, as I hear it, is still to eventually split off WCW into its own company, but there are still matters like talent, TV time, and budgets and such to be worked on and settled. You saw the hand-wringing the WWF had to pull to get another time slot for Excess. For friggin' EXCESS.
Hopefully something big is on the horizon.
PREDICTIONS FOR UNFORGIVEN
It's kind of nice and interesting and different that forgiveness is the underlying theme behind a lot of these matches.
And unless they add Raven/Saturn at the last minute, has there ever been a PPV that was all title matches?
WWF Intercontinental Title Match: The King of Awesomeness vs. I Thought I Knew Him
You read my last column, right? No?
All right - Christian's been jealous of Edge ever since he won King of the Ring, and even more so since he won the IC belt at SummerSlam. But he'd been doing a pretty good job of hiding it until recently, when he smashed his brother's head in with a chair.
TNM Says: Christian (10:28 Unprettier --> pin) Edge
What I'd Do: It seems a little early for this to be the blowoff, but I'd put Edge over.
What They'll Do: This feud will continue regardless, but I think Edge will retain.
WCW Tag Team Title Match: Big Red & Hell On Wheels vs. Ckkchronniychk
Steven Richards blames The Undertaker for the demise of Right To Censor. He's got a point; there was a post-WM week of TV with Kane as hardcore champion and the RTC's quest to get rid of the hardcore title that ended with the group getting its collective ass kicked by Dead Man Inc. That's what led to the rest of the RTC losing confidence in Steven as their leader and disappearing from television.
Anyway, to get back at UT, Steven brought in Brian Adams & Bryan Clark to beat him up. UT and Kane lost the WWF tag titles to the Dudleys on Monday, and Kronik joined the Alliance shortly thereafter and were given this match.
TNM Says: Undertaker & Kane (18:35 chokeslam --> pin Clark) Kronik
What I'd Do: I didn't think much of Kronik when they were in WCW, and I still don't. Taker and Kane retain somehow.
What They'll Do: Kane's coming off an injury, and UT got hurt last week, I believe. I doubt the WWF would bring Kronik in to job, so we're getting new champs.
WWF Hardcore Title Match: The Whole Show vs. Chris Jericho
There was a random conversation between Jericho and Stephanie where Steph proclaimed Jericho "yesterday's news" and told him that RVD was the Next Big Thing or whatever.
What IS up with Van Dam, anyway? I think it was Lavieri who said, "He's just... this dude."
TNM Says: Rob Van Dam (8:22 spin kick --> pin) Chris Jericho
What I'd Do: It's a situation where both guys should probably be doing better things. Still, it wouldn't hurt if Jericho went over.
What They'll Do: Officially, I'll say RVD wins. Even if Jericho wins, he won't keep it long - it's not his thing. Don't be surprised if the Raven /Saturn feud pops up in here and one of them ends up leaving with the belt, though.
Fatal Four-Way WWF Tag Team Title Match: The Dudley Boyeeez vs. The Hardy Boyz (w/Lita) vs. Hurricane Helms (w/Ivory) & The Poor Man's Kurt Angle vs. Lil' Spike (w/Miss Molly Madness) & The Big F'n Show
The Duds won the tag titles on Monday thanks to the aforementioned Kronik interference. I could make a case here that they shouldn't have lost them, but I won't. The Hurricane has tangled with the Hardys since he took the European title from Matt, and Storm's been thrown in with them. Bubba Ray & D-Von still don't like Spike, who's been put with Big Show because it makes for a cool contrast. But was it truly worth breaking up ShowGunns? (Answer: Yes.)
It's a shame Bubba Ray and D-Von don't have their own woman. For this match, I mean.
They don't call it a "Fatal Four-Way", but it IS.
TNM Says: Hardy Boyz (11:17 Twist of Fate --> pin Hurricane) Hurricane & Storm Big Show & Spike Dudley (21:45 Dudley Dog --> pin Matt) Hardy Boyz Dudley Boys (Buh Buh Cutter 26:34 --> pin Show) Big Show & Spike
What I'd Do: The Dudleys need to go on a path of destruction and keep the titles.
What They'll Do: Dudleys retain, only because I don't see them giving Helms two belts.
WCW U.S. Title Match: Tajiri (w/Torrie the Fembot) vs. Rhi(y)no
Kanyon, inspired by Steve Austin, issued an open challenge last week for a U.S. Title match. Tajiri accepted, and beat him with help from GREEN MIST~! and Torrie Wilson. On Monday, Rhyno Gored him on the stage after his match with Christian.
Shane, liking Rhyno's moxie, I guess, gave him a shot at Tajiri's title here. He also called Torrie a "master manipulator", which I'm willing to believe as long as she doesn't have to think or anything. Will she "pull the plug" (oh MAN my brain just got FLOODED with dirty jokes) when the time is right?
TNM Says: Rhyno (2:01 Gore --> pin) Tajiri
What I'd Do: Tajiri retains and maybe moves on to a feud with Test. (BATTLE OF THE BOOTS YES)
What They'll Do: See above.
WCW Title Handicap Match: Our Champion vs. Sucka T & Simba, The Giant-Killing Gladiator
Shane REALLY hates the fact that Rock is the WCW Champion. So much that he went to Commissioner Regal and told him that Rock would defend the belt against both Booker and himself in a handicap match.
When he hasn't been defending the title or working in six-mans with the APA, Rock's been busy brushing up his singing and working on his third career as a renowned pastry chef, apparently.
TNM Says: Booker T (14:28 Ax Kick --> pin) Rock
What I'd Do: Duh. Rock retains.
What They'll Do: Rock will pin Shane if they're smart.
WWF Title Match: Hi, My Name Is vs. The Gold Standard
Austin couldn't put Angle away at SummerSlam, so he punked out three refs and got disqualified. Angle retaliated by giving the Alliance a milk bath. Austin stole Angle's medals and threw them off a bridge, and Angle almost threw Austin off a bridge before getting a rematch. Austin gave Angle a piledriver in Memphis on Thursday.
TNM Says: Austin (7:46 Stunner --> pin) Angle
What I'd Do and What They'll Do: It started with the Undertaker feud in May - ever since Austin turned heel, the WWF has recycled all of the memorable bits he's been involved him and just reversed his role in them, which is why I'm pretty confident in my prediction here. As tempting as it may be to put Angle over given recent events AND the fact that the PPV's in his hometown, I don't see it happening.
That is all.