|Guest columnist: The Cubs Fan
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Either the open is really short (and a lot of shots of the Excess logo spinning around) or we're just seeing a small bit of it before we flip to some black and white clips of 5/21, and Triple H suffering the injury that's kept him away. I think this was recycled from Heat, from right after the injury. (:20 for the clips)
"We are new, we are interactive, and oh yes, we are live" - and we (well, they) are Trish (standing there doing what she normally does) and Coach (talking.) No last names needed. I guess they're beaming this out from WWF HQ, but they don't get around to mentioning it - it's a studio with a glass and steel announce desk (high enough so they both have to stand for two hours) with a big flat screen monitor behind, flashing the Excess logo and open when it's got nothing relevant to show. As per regulations, Trish's breasts are partially visible and sticking out. Trish gives Coach credit for working his way into her Saturday nights. This is a special night - not only is the debut, but Triple H is backstage and putting on a knee brace! This shall be exciting, or else. What will Triple H say? Coach shows he has a memory (!) by bringing up Trish's history with men in the McMahon family. Hey, do you want to participate in the show? Well, it's too late, you dork, you're reading the recap. Next week, you could try 1-888-Live-WWF (1-888-548-3993) or e-mail WWFexcess@wwf.com .
Coach moves on, noting they have a lot to do and ONLY two hours to do it. SummerSlam was the return of the Rock (Trish reads her lines well enough to tell that she's reading her lines) and all eyes were on Kurt Angle. Kurt Angle and Stone Cold at SummerSlam. You saw these stills (and end) on RAW (1:26) Coach and Trish are sure Angle should've been champion. Then, the next night, there was the Austin Appreciation Night. You saw this on RAW too. The bit with Tazz and his shirt is edited out, for whatever reason - maybe that's not PG? Why are we PG at this time of night anyway? (6:25) Trish makes the "milk and cookies" joke and then tells us that she's got Kurt Angle to call the show later on. Hey, didn't she have a thing for Kurt...nah. Triple H is here on the other side of this break.
Live! Each and every Saturday night! Trish talks about just having surgery, but doesn't say what it's for. I think I'd be guessing something else if WWF.com didn't reveal it was ankle surgery. Trish sends it to the video package we saw at the start of the show, but they take a beat to get there. This WAS from Heat. (3:20)
Coach introduces Triple H and we take a nice long look at his video before we get to see him. There's the Game himself and upon an offer of a hug from Trish, he makes a breast joke, remembers what happened last time they got close and begs off. Handshake instead. Coach asks him how he's feeling - Triple H says it's going and it's great to be on TV again and get the buzz going. He rehabs a lot and it's brutal but he's gonna come back faster than they expected. Trish asks him how he felt when it happened, and he says it took a second for him to realize, but he knew he'd be gone for a long time when it happened. He says he's been out three months and will be back in three more, hmm. Coach throws it to a shot of the scar on Triple H's knee and says it's twelve inches, which ends up turning into a dick joke. Does that mean Triple H is a face again?
First caller is Craig from Florida and he wants to talk to Trish and Coach and not Triple H, which amuses Triple H. Craig is nervous and tries to make a joke (that wasn't totally bad) but gets to the most worthwhile question that we might get out of this whole bit (assuming you care about the storylines) - with Stephanie owning ECW and joining the Alliance, where does Triple H stand? Hunter artfully dodges the question: "Where do I figure in when I get back? The funny thing is, when I get back, we'll have to see where everything lies. But when I get back, I'm gonna figure into the picture the same way I always figured in it because I'm gonna be standing on one side of the ring and someone else is gonna stand on the other side of the ring. To me, it's not gonna matter what color of shirt they're wearing. It's not gonna matter which alliance or federation they're in, it doesn't matter if they drink milk, guzzle a beer, raise an eyebrow, I don't care who they are, they're all gonna have to step in the ring with the Game. I know, when I come back, I'm gonna prove myself all over again, you know what I mean? You start out at ground zero. I'm not looking to be thrown in to something on the top - I'll do my thing, and I will prove exactly like I did before, I'll go through everybody to prove I am the best." Coach says they've got 4000 e-mails in the last hour and they'll go through some of them tonight, as Triple H is sticking around for a while.
Hey, you know that opening we saw fifteen minutes ago? Let's watch it again! Triple H hurt his leg, you see. You can call and e-mail! Triple H says he's seen that footage a few times and it's a weird thing, because it was a massive injury but doesn't look that way, not like a "Joe Theisman or Sid Viscous breaking his leg." Triple H says the Walls of Jericho wasn't so fun. Coach somehow segues into the "Shane buys WCW from under Vince" video package - this is a replay of the package from that weekend of TV. (1:27) Our hosts and Triple H discuss that night and the weirdness of Nitro on RAW and RAW on Nitro. Coach talks about Triple H being in the WCW in the past and Triple H talks about how much WCW sucked and this would be a great time for some footage of Triple H in WCW but no. "There's all these old dinosaurs down there [he stole that line from Shawn!] and they won't let the young guys move up and no matter how much talent you have it didn't matter."
Next up on the phone is Michael from Baltimore and they won't let him say his question but THE MAN won't let him say it, even though EVERYONE wants to know what is, but THE MAN wants him to ask something. I'm thinking that the WWF isn't dumb enough to put someone on who wants to ask a question they don't want asked, but is dumb enough to think we might by this bit. The question - has Triple H talked to Kevin Nash lately and what does he think about Scott Steiner or Nash coming over. Triple H (a little off guard but quickly back into stride) says he's good friends with Nash in his personal life and would like to see Nash and others come to the WWF, because (and here he starts to go back in his last answer) he wants to go through everyone to show that he's number 1. Coach segues into a video recap of ECW and the WCW Alliance - I believe this is a shortened version of the video package from that weekend, or maybe for Invasion. (1:11) Triple H points out that Vince had the same look on his face when Stephanie was revealed as the new owner as he did when Shane was revealed as the new owner and that Stephanie and Shane are just doing what Vince did when he was on his way up.
Moving on, it's time for Ask WCW, er, a plain old e-mail from John Hayes: "Triple H: What are your feelings about Test and Stephanie smoothing over their past differences? Are you worried the old spark between the two might re-ignite? Thanks and good luck with your rehab." Triple H says they're adults and they should get along - especially that Stephanie's Test's boss and will always be his boss and if he does anything to her, Test will be fired and beaten up. Since we're remerging the past, Coach cues up a still - Triple H showing Trish a hammerlock (escape, actually) when Steph walks in. Triple H and Trish talk about it being a perfectly normal wrestling move, and Trish says that she's used it a few time since, thanking Triple H for teaching it to her. Triple H says he only has one leg but he still can beat up Coach, so we move on. Coach promises to ask Triple H about Stone Cold Steve Austin if you'll only stick around...will you?
The disembodied voice of Chris Leary brings us product endorsements. Let's go back to Invasion (or the night after Invasion for this video package) to watch Steve Austin turn. Oh, wait, this is the RAW footage to, so this is another weekend video package being reused. (1:13) So, what does Triple H think? Triple H that Austin sold his soul to Vince to get the WWF Title, and then he did again to get praise for his ego. Trish brings up that, at one point, Triple H led his own invasion of WCW - this time, we do have a still of DX and their tank. Triple H points out that was another time, when such stuff wasn't done. Triple H brings up that last call and says he's a guy who does what he wants when he wants.
Time for another e-mail. This time, it's email@example.com (Coach: "Home") who writes: "What was the greatest moment in your wrestling career so far?" Wrestlemania is up there, but retiring Mick Foley is number one. He says it's sound harsh, but after all Mick Foley went through and beat, he was the one to end it all for good. Coach brings up the WWF Title, and Triple H talks about how that the one thing everyone wants is the WWF Title. He says the belt is a "pressure cooker" - some guys are destroyed by having it, some guys (himself) excel under the pressure, some guys (Austin) crack. But everyone has to have it. Coach brings up Austin's comments about Triple H after Hunter got hurt; Triple H says it's very easy to start talking when someone's far away and under surgery, but it will be a different thing, face to face. Triple H credits himself with Austin selling out to Vince in the first place - Austin was scared after losing to Hunter the month before. Everyone jokes about how close Triple H and Trish are standing, and we go to break.
I'm just about to doze off now. I shouldn't have watched this and then again to recap it.
Let the Bodies Hit the Floor - Booker T and the Rock from SummerSlam - this is new but probably something that would have been done anyway for the weekend shows. (1:40) Triple H says he was looking to see how the Rock would come back after all that time off, since he's looking to do a similar thing, and the Rock proved a lot. He's still no Game, but he's good - and so is Booker T. "I got the Game name because I was the ultimate student of the Game. By doing that, I watched EVERYBODY. I mean, I didn't just watch the guys in the WWF, I watched tapes of everybody and Booker T was a guy I watched a lot. And I saw what he was doing when he was in WCW and what he was doing there and, uh, I was impressed with him there but I have been very impressed since he's been here. The improvements that he's made and the adaptation (?) that he's made to make to become a big star in this Invasion - it's remarkable."
Trish sets up the next e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) "Are you planning on doing any movies?" Triple H answers this question the same way he's answered it before - if they come to him and give him a lot of cash, why not, but he's not seeking them out, as he rather do what he's doing. Coach sets up a "small" clip - midget madness. We turn the hour in the process - if you were still watching right now and your name isn't CRZ, please find better things to do on Saturday nights. (Like watching Jakked.) Have they even mentioned the Kurt Angle bit to come since the beginning? (3:30) Triple H: "Looks like someone put Booker T in the dryer! You know, he was the first choice to do this show, but he was too short, so you couldn't see him over the table, so they got you, Coach." Coach takes the joke and sends us to ANOTHER video package - this time from Smackdown and that six man (4:45).
Time for another call. Peter from California says they'd love for him to have a movie, but his question is if he's gonna to come back with everyone else fine and the bullseye on his leg. Triple H says that leg and the rest of him will be 100%. Where's Hobbes when you need him? Of course Coach starts to talk about the great phone calls and e-mails. Moving on, we discuss Triple H making a speech on Tough Enough, and three people shortly after dropping off. Triple H says he told them the truth and what they didn't want to hear. And if he'd known they were living in a nice house and getting a trip to the Bahamas, that promo would have been a thousands times worse and everyone of them would have quit. Too much is being handed to them and they don't understand all the breaks they're getting.
Trish talks about Triple H being a leader in and out of the ring and about the commitment Triple H was talking about, leading into another e-mail, this one from Marion Cravens (I think - they need to make the type font clearer and move the picture over a small bit so everything's readable) who writes: "I remember what you had said about commitment when you were talking to the contestants on Tough Enough. At what point in your career did you know that this was definitely what you wanted do?" Triple H says it was pretty early on, even back when he was just watching it on TV and at shows on with his dad. Let's go back to Tough Enough (2:23) and then to a break.
We're LIVE, though this show is dead. Coach mentions that each week, they're going to show a classic match - they'll call it "From the Vault." Professor Jonathon Coachman says that we can help choose by e-mailing suggestions to the e-mail address, but since this is the first week, why not let Triple H pick? Triple H thinks it has to have a great athlete in it - him, and why not the first Smackdown ever - the Game vs the Rock, with Shawn Michaels as ref, for the WWF Title. They send someone off to go fetch the tape, and Coach asks if Triple H thinks he'll be able to get in to the shape he was in before again? Triple H scoffs, than spontaneously and certainly unrehearsed, pulls of his shirt (to reveal being in pretty good shape already) and does the water spit. Triple H promises to be even bigger and better by the time he comes back. Coach says "You just got Trish wet" but Triple H misses it and instead suggests that if he's taking of his shirt, everyone should take their shirts off. Trish pretends to want to but oh no they've got to take a break anyway. Coach wishes Triple H well, and says we'll hear from Kurt Angle and hear about Jeff Hardy later.
Slim Jim Hardcore Ladder Match Of Last Sunday.
Coach says it wasn't a good week for Jeff, and Trish is very concerned, hmm. Here's a replay of the Swanton Bomb through the table. Jeff Hardy has EXTREME bruised ribs. He's always extreme and he lives for the moment, but he'll be out for several of them. Rob Van Dam had a close view of the whole thing, so let's talk to him now - why is Coach congratulating an Alliance member on holding a belt? RVD (let's play his thirty second video over and over again in the background throughout this) says the ratings are about to go up. RVD says he was very worried about Jeff, and hopes he gets better. On the other hand, RVD realizes that Jeff was planning to do that to him, so he can't be too sad. RVD talks about hardcore matches being tests of pain and endurance. (Ahhhh, this is a hardcore show, now I get it.) RVD excels because he can withstand a lot of pain. RVD says it's been a great experience to be on WWF TV, and plus, he's Hardcore champion so he can legally kick chair in people's faces. Coach doesn't ask RVD if he's facing Raven before RVD hangs up, but does hype it as possible for RAW.
Jeff Hardy takes chances and rides motorbikes. Wait, Coach needs to stall a little bit - here we go. THIS aired on Superstars a few weeks back (I've been told) - reusing it makes sense because it fits in the context of this week's stuff (and some of the Superstars was good enough that it needed more people watching it) but still it's yet more recycling. Even when Jeff Hardy rides shirtless, he rides with a helmet. Anyway, he's got a motorcross set up in his backyard (I guess) and he rides it and sometimes not to well. Matt Hardy comments - Lita watches. Jeff gets bored with the setup and decides to crate a Volcano - don't ask, but it's fire and Jeff takes a bigger risk setting it up and lighting it up than jumping it. I guess if he really messed up the jump it could have been dangerous but he would have had to try if he really wanted to get singed. (4:12) Trish produces Jeff "on fire." Coach urges people not to try that at home.
Time for "From The Vault" - 08/26/01, Triple H vs the Rock for the WWF Title. This isn't the first Smackdown (that was in May), but you already knew that. It's the first Smackdown when it became a series, though, and nearly two years to the day. It is fitting - this was the beginning of the last two hour series they tried (which seems to have worked out), and maybe that'll give this show some luck - it might need it. No effort is made to cover up the various people who are no longer around (Chyna, Shawn Michaels, Jerry Lawler), but for some reason this is clipped - they couldn't find time for a whole match on a two hour show? Check out the chain link shirt that Scott Steiner made into his hat. With intros, this runs exactly (7:00) and the hosts reminds us they're doing this every week. Vote for Gillberg vs Essa Rios! Coming up next, Kurt Angle calls in - vote for Kurt Angle vs Essa Rios!
RC Milk Truck of Last Monday. How does RC feel about supporting a competing beverage like that?
Kurt Angle is on the phone. Angle is Des Monies, Iowa, for tonight's WWF house show - he beat Rhyno in the main event. Flashback to footage of Steve Austin doing the beer truck run to the ring and hosing down Vince, Shane and the Rock, and Angle wanted to give him some of his own medicine. Kurt says it felt as good as when he won the WWF Title. Coach asks if Kurt was playing the dummy a couple months ago just to draw Angle in (not using those words.) Angle: "Well, as far as my character [Coach fidgets] was concerned, people don't know how to take Kurt Angle. Obviously, I did have something up my sleeve - I wanted to be the leader of the World Wrestling Federation. In a way - yes, yes I knew what I was going on. I was kinda winking and doing my things and pretending I didn't know what was going on, but deep down inside I knew where I was going and where I was headed, and my goal was to win that WWF World Title." Trish talks about Kurt's book - it's coming out next month. A lot of it isn't WWF stuff, because he's been there such a short time. It is his life story and he's really excited about it.
We've got a call from Stephanie from New Jersey for Kurt - well, maybe. There we go, we can hear her. Stephanie asks how different it was from the Olympics to the WWF - Kurt says it was a tough transition, and he got it really quick because there were so many people who made him look good. "Sports Entertainment is the most brutal form of sport in the world." Coach asks what's the funny thing that's happened him to him on the road - Kurt Angle says it's hard to even begin. Kurt says he has fun, he misses his wife but he has fun - no one has to grow up. He enjoys what he does and hopes he keeps doing it. That's it for him.
Coach starts talking about how great the WWF Magazines are (this seem familiar), especially the photo shoot in RAW Magazine. Here's some of the photos of Stacy Keibler - we can pick it up now. Even better, we can see a segment about this photo shoot.
Stacy Keibler photo shoot for
Bobby is too busy checking out the photo spread when we come back, and Scott has to go on with the show without him. BREAK. Thank god.
Trish and Coach end up with dumb sexual innuendos. Tajiri and Regal will be on Heat - what will Tajiri have to say? What will Tazz have to say when he guests on this show next week? Live! Thanks to all the people who showed up, all the people who e-mailed and and all who called. That's it.
They didn't break double digits with people calling or e-mailing in, did they? Lots of recycled footage - and lots of it more important things that you can't break out every week. Nor can you bring in a guy who hasn't been on TV three months. Nothing worthwhile storyline accomplished. The one promising match-type thing get clipped to save time. The only interesting answer to a question (and break from the normal mostly-kayfabe stuff) was Kurt Angle (accidentally?) talking about how people were reacting to his character. And then the whole WCW Worldwide feel without the hope of a good (and complete) match to save it but twice as long.
Don't get me wrong - they could make it all worthwhile - JR promised there'd be changes even before the first episode aired. And the last forty minutes were the best part of the show, if you managed to stick around that long. And maybe Trish will seem less scripted with practice - she's improved since her first debut.
But even then, I don't think it's gonna be worth anyone's time. They did nothing here that you couldn't already get by reading the interviews they post on WWF.com, or picking up one of the WWF Magazines, or listening to Byte This. And that's strange, because given this day and time , you're mostly gonna be getting hardcores who already do those things and why would they stick around for two hours of something they already get?
I'm a optimistic person, so I'll probably give this another shot next week. But if all it's gonna be is a hybrid of Byte This and the two departed shows, I dunno if many others will.
The Cubs Fan
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