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Guest Columns

Ian Challis




So after about three weeks I FINALLY debut my new column name! Big props to fellow columnist The Drop for THAT one. (I wonder what Jarrod Triplett (and I'm sure I'm spelling his name wrong) thinks of this. - CRZ) So, seeing as I now have a new gimmicked title, I shall be working a few gimmicky spots into this column from now on, plus a few semi-regular new bits for my loyal fanbase of three to enjoy. Anyhoo, ON WITH THE BITCHIN'!

  • As usual I'll start with the boys from Stamford, and have a moan about what's goin' on down there. RAW IS WAR got off to pretty damn entertaining start with Cryin' Kurt Angle cutting a great, logical promo about the WWF getting out of hands, which bought him big heel heat. It is scary to watch this guy's work and think about how long he's been in the biz. It made a refreshing change to see the supposed New Blood get the opening time-killer. So why the Hell did The Hardcore Commish and Legs have to come out and luse it up? I don't want to blaspheme or anything but Foley's opening diatribes are becoming tedious to listen to-he's been overexposed and needs a rest. Have him participate only in the backstage skits for a while, so he doesn't become stale altogether. No painkillers needed for this one-a fairly swank little interview to open the show.

  • The Six Person Intergender Match  was also a fine segment, while it lasted, with some unheard-of displays from Molly and Trish-proving that my girl is destined to be the GREATEST WOMEN'S CHAMP OF ALL TIME, BABEE!!! Two problems, however-the angle is going nowhere. It's alright slapping these enjoyable matches out there and watching T&A win, then the Hollys, but there is no motion in the feud. Hopefully this'll be the last match between these two teams for awhile-so that Job Holly can move into something a bit more worthwhile. When we last saw him he was a serious contender to the Intercontinental Title, and now he's stuck teaming with bottom card Crash? That's not right, folks. Bob's a Hell of a wrestler with a big cult following, so why not give him a chance higher up the card? I'm gonna knock back a painkiller for this, just for the underlying themes.

  • Why get Big Daddy Dentist involved with Big SexyTaker again? Taker's been built up nicely into a top level face role over the last few weeks, while Kane's mired in midcard Hell. He's got no place in a match with Taker-it's played, the two guys aren't on the same level, and Kane's involvement in the Taker/Angle storyline just damages Angle's already-crippled credibility. I'm not gonna pass comment on their actual MATCH here-I try to save all my negative energy for Nitro. Four painkillers for the whole affair, including the match.

  • Man, why the Hell is everyone so hard on The One Smokin' Rockabilly Gunn? As I've stated before, some people need to step back and think about what they're saying. He IS over, the fans DO like him, and Edgy Guerrero is not gonna get a hernia from attempting to carry him through all these matches. Someone today-I'm not saying who-posted a comment saying that Gunn is the worst Intercontinental Champion since HTM. The guy's SIX DAYS into his title reign, he's had ONE title defence, and people are already bandying around statements like that? Pathetic. Having said all this, I don't wanna particularly see a program against Benoit develop, and hopefully it won't. One painkiller for this one, on the strength of the kinda boring match.

  • Again, the only thing saving the Makin' A Difference Vs. Rock. E match was Kurt Angle's commentary. While not on par with William Regal's best efforts, he still managed to distract my attention away from the dire inring action. The really bad, Rock-protecting ending did nothing for it either, and seeing Rock Vs. Angle at Armageddon makes absolutely NO sense whatsoever. I mean, we've established that the Rock doesn't need the title to be over, he's still got an issue with Rikishi, Angle's still got an issue with Taker, Angle's already been put over Rock...any more reasons for Rock NOT getting another title shot? And while you're at it, why don't you give Rikishi a bit of cred by actually, y'know, putting him over the top talent? Five painkillers, because I'm feeling spiteful.

  • And we'll subtract a painkilller for seeing William Regal trying to teach those brutes at WWF New York some manners. Good show, my Commonwealth comrade!

  • Oh, Good Lord, I thought they'd given up on the whole Smilin' Dean Malenko (that's too good a name for me NOT to steal, Chris) being a womaniser thing? Well, I'm game if that sets up a Hardyz/Radz match.

  • And here's that match I'm not talking about...

  • The whole Right To Censor thing is really getting tedious. Steven and The Colonel just keep on droning out the same damn monologue for every opponent, no matter what the situation-it's Promo-By-Numbers. And the whole rapping thing? Sheesh. Having said that, the match between these two teams was bearable, if uninspired (except for my man K-Kwik-drop that pasty goon, K!). Yes, Kwik does stilll rock my world royally, so I'm gonna forego the painkillers just for him.

  • Ah, now THIS is what RAW is. The six man between Chris Jesus/The Hardlys Vs. Vanilla Midgets was totally worth the time given, and maybe, just maybe, the time Tiger Ali Singh was given. Actually, this was definitely worth the time Tiger Ali Singh was given. Rockin' little match, and it looks like we could be seeing another Benoit/Jericho cracker at Armageddon. Maybe Jericho will go over this time, too! No painkillers needed here.

  • One good thing about Sultan/You Gotta Fight For Right To Party-it was short. I thought Singh was brought back as a sidekick for Lo-Down, not the other way round. And slapping him in the penultimate quarter hour? What are you, stupid? Come on-you wanna get the talented part of the trio over, let them wrestle, for Christ's Sake! Five painkillers for this debacle.

  • The bad things about Cryin' Kurt Angle/No Sell Steve Austin? It was CRIMINALLY devoid of hype, considering this was Austin's first title shot since his return. The ending was way lame and damaged Kurt's credibility even further, and Triple H is in remarkably good shape for someone "covered with contusions". The good things? It was a Hella lot more even than most of Austin's recent efforts, Angle actually seemed like a top-line star in there, and the two did seem to click in the ring, giving hope for future matches. Still, I'll slap in a painkiller, just for Triple H turning into Hogan.

  • And two more painkillers for a personal barb against myself...two weeks ago in the Ross Report JR told us this:   "It looks like Tazz is heading towards being a fan favourite here in the WWF. Or maybe it's Raven? Who knows." Y'know what that translates to?   "We can't be bothered to try and put these guys over, so we'll keep on sticking them out there at the bottom of the card and maybe something'll happen. Maybe." Sure enough, where were they on RAW this week? They weren't. What a crock of shit. The WWF haven't even made an effort to get EITHER of these guys over since Raven's debut, they've just used 'em as stopgaps, jobbing them out to Too Cool and the like to keep their heat intact. And their two-minute showdown on SmackDown! last week? Pitiful. So, just for a giggle (as Hugh Morrus would say), here's how I would've handled these two from Unforgiven onwards: Tazz's Strap Match with the King arrives, and Tazz absolutely slaughters Lawler, beating the crap out of him with anything and everything he can get his hands on. He finishes him off with a strap-assisted Tazzmission, but when the bell is rung, he won't let go. He finally stops as the King lays unconscious on the mat, then picks him up and threatens to tazzplex him as the referees back off, trying to reason with him. And that's when Raven enters, sneaking into the ring behind Tazz, wheeling him around, and hitting the Evenflow, then pounding on him until he's dragged off. The next night Tazz cuts a promo about "the stragglers", always trying to get over on a major superstar by jumping them and winning unfairly, when Raven again comes through the crowd, but this time with a microphone. He tells Tazz to shut the Hell up, as all he's seen on WWF TV over the past few weeks is Tazz running his mouth about his own suffering. Raven reveals he signed a contract with the WWF at the start of August, but they sat him on the bench and told him to wait until they "found the right spot for him", so Raven chose his own spot-he chose to beat the Hell out of Tazz, so that he knows real suffering, and he knows what Raven feels every day. The promo descends into a wild brawl, with the two going waaaay over the edge for RAW, and the refs pulling them apart. The whole resulting feud could be purely tit for tat, as the two men increasingly up the ante, hardcore-style, until one of them comes out victorious in the pay per view blowoff (but not after the WWF try to force them to wrestle a straight rules match at No Mercy. This, of course, would end in a double DQ for excessive brutality). By now, both guys would be over, and both would have a legit tough guy credibility. See how it works?

  • So, the WWF's tally for this week is a pretty nasty EIGHTEEN painkillers-must've been on the grande Tequilas last night, my friends. Let's see how my favourite headless chicken farm in Atlanta measures up...

  • One painkiller right off the bat The Chosen 1's  pointless pre-show guitar shot on...that guy. Not a good start.

  • Whoa!! A swank match to start off Nitro? What weird, bizarre, twisted place is this? And how did I get here? Seriously though, this was the best Nitro opener I've seen in weeks-spotty, sure, but a great way to kick off the show. Four guys who can throw together a pretty decent little match do just that. No painkillers here my friends, for for the first time, WCW pull a Homer. This is probably just dumb luck, but I'm not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth.

  • ANother good section follows this one, as the NEW (it's about damn time) WCW Heavyweight Champion Selfless Scott Steiner cuts a pretty decent heel promo to kick off his title reign. So again, why the HELL do they flush this goodwill away by letting Steiner do a cheap-ass impression of the Rock? It's like saying "I know you are, but what am I?", or "takes one to know one!"-just plain childish. One painkiller for THAT, Mr. Booty Daddy. One plus: Stevie Ray FINALLY said FROOT BOOTY. You da man, Stevie!

  • What, is there something in the water tonight? ANOTHER decent segment follows with That Japanese Guy...The One Who's Not Kaz Hayashi Vs. Bret Hart. Decent, if rushed, action 'twixt the two, but a laaaaaaame finish when James Brown runs in and Van Catinators Storm, allowing Yang the win. Am I missing something, or has this issue just materialised, as if from nowhere? I mean, Storm's part of the secondary heel elite now, move him up, rather than have him start an issue with the Cat over ONE chairshot. And I'd give Storm credit for putting over the young talent-if I thought Yang's win would actually take him anywhere. Two painkillers for the double dumbness of that ending.

  • Billy Luger gets one painkiller just for being on TV. Having said that, at least they kept his piss-poor mic work down to a short span this week. Y'know what would be better? If they FIRED HIS ASS. Two painkillers and a slap round the face to keep me awake through his droning, autocue promo. And the William Regal mannerisms add nothing.

  • Jimmy Hart's STOOOOPID DJ challenge will get a painkiller for every week that this angle continues, more if it develops. That's a warning, WCW.

  • So they've manages to squeeze a third talented team out of the Three Count/Jung Dragons combos. Noble and Couragious are a really decent team-but why the HELL should we care? This comedy segment with the Dead On Arrival Twins and Bert Reynolds/Markie Mark does nothing for actually getting them over, and while the action inring was okay, that ain't necessarily what Monday nights are about. One painkiller for this little pointless excercise.

  • Oh, man, why the F*CK are they resurrecting Glacier? Even as a joke this guy sucks. Hell, he was a joke to begin with. Okay, so he could kick well, but that's about it. And shouldn't WCW be trying to HIDE their past mistakes, rather than parade them around for the misfits they are? Again, one painkiller for each week this saga continues.

  • Hype Unlimited are NOT who I wanna see as WCW Tag Team Champions. Let's see who we've got on the roster, shall we? Perfect Event, Three Count, Bert Reynolds/Markie Mark, Jung Dragons, Noble and Couragious...Hell, any team is better than these two. Also, I've been doing some calculating, and y'know how many odd couple combinations we've seen outta the old guys? Here's another list...Gooooooooooldbeeeeerg/The Hitman, AA Member #232445/The Giant, Big Lazy/Sting, Billy Luger/Sting.....Why, why, why? None of these guys are seasoned tag team veterans, they were all big singles competitors at the time, why do they need the tag titles? Answer: They don't. Nash and Page's title defence against S&M was lame with a dumbass finish, guaranteeing that NO-ONE got any credibility as competitors. Pathetic. Three painkillers.

  • And as per usual, a jobber gets fed to Goooooooooooooldbeeeeeeeerg on Nitro. This week it's Reno The Rockin' Mongolian, and also as usual this was relatively inoffensive, even though jobbing the ENTIRE junior roster to Bill, one after the other, ensures a pretty bad future for all of them. Still, no painkillers needed for this one-oh wait, Luger ran in and Racked Bill. That's a  painkiller right there.

  • Okay, here's waht should happen-the Misfits drop the goofy names, get back their old ones, and make  a group of goofy, sophomore faces, like the DX of 1998. It'd work, I'm telling you. In the meantime, I'm glad to see The Laughin' Man Hugh Morrus get a second run with the US strap-it gives him that extra bit of cred, and allows Lance Storm to move onto bigger and better things. His match with Pebbles this week was enjoyable, if a little slow paced, but Da Wall's involvement added nothing. Still, relativvely inoffensive and fun to watch.  No painkillers here.

  • I know, this is stupid, but I'm subtracting a painkiller, just for Steiner punking Smooth Train out. So sue me.

  • Another relatively enjoyable segment, despite it's sports entertainment finish, was The Chosen 1/That Filthy Animal Rey Jr. Jerrett's the secondary top heel in the company, and it shows. If Russo hadn't pissed his credibility away earlier this year he'd be one top now, but as it is, I'll continue enjoying seeing him beat the crap out of Konnan. No painkillers needed.

  • So Master Of Jive, Stevie Ray is finally out of the business, and can retire permanently to the announcer's booth. Good, I like him there. This was a fairly decent power match, even if the outcome was totaly obvious-but Sid Freakin' Vicious?? Come ON!!! If I have to sit through Sid Vs. Steiner come Starrcade, I'm gonna start shooting some people. Five painkillers for Sid's unscheduled appearance and what it suggests. Hopefully they'll have STienr take Sid out and brag about it, allowing Flair to step in as a last minute challenger. Only problem is-would Steiner be willing to co-operate with Flair? We shall have to wait and see...

  • So the tally of painkillers for Nitro this week is SEVENTEEN painkillers, which puts this week's hows at about even. I'm probably gonna get crucified for saying this, but I still enjoyed RAW more. Sure, some of the themes sucked, as does the direction of the company right now, but the production, the standard of the ring work, and the overall quality of the show just makes it less of a chore to watch than Nitro. Sorry, guys, but that's just the way it is. I think my good friend Bennett put it best-people are confusing better for best. Yes, Nitro is improving, and getting better all the time, but right now its not fait to even compare the two shows. 'Course, I won't stop comparing them, coz then I'd have nothing to write about each week. Anyhoo, I'll see you soon, mail me at, and remember...SHOW ME LOVE!!

    Ian Challis

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