I. Intro (duction)/Retrospecticus
Wow; ten columns already - thirteen if you count the two "Tens" and the sole "4 AM Report" (and, sorry to all you 4AMR fans out there, but with the collapse of the tape review club, it's likely to be the only one). 'Twas almost exactly a year ago that a young James Cobo, not yet even Digable, sat down one day and in the ever-brimming hope that he might be permitted to join the nWWWo, got his column on. And for a long time, he got more feedback for that first, markish "proscription list" than for any other piece. Go fig. As we stand now, I haven't gotten any sleep recently (in other news, sun to rise in morning), so this may be even more disjointed than usual (as if that were possible). And since I've been bored stupid for the most part since the last My Area (although you should ALL BOW DOWN TO MY DECEPTICONS LOGO SHIRT), I don't really got nuthin' for the Intro this time. So let's just begin the beguine, shall we?
II. OH MY GOD I GOT LETTERS
Not this time you didn't, Jackaroo. You blew your Unqualified-Answers-To-NWA-Questions load in the last Tens, and nothin's been a-happenin. So I guess that leaves only one thing: Without further SeaDoo, LET THERE BE COLUMN!
III. WWF No Mercy '99: "I can't belive it's not Mem-O-Rate"!
Yes, yes, the glorious return of one of the internet's least talked-about review formats. Seeing as how I'm taping a SHITLOAD of stuff for recent sales/trades, I've got plenty of fodder, so there may be more. HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL~!
Meantime, I present the rant for the show I voted to be the best of '99 - only because at that point I hadn't seen Spring Stampede '99, which now holds up as one of the best PPVs of the 90s. Nevertheless, this show is MEGAFUCKINGREAT, although it's not without its (low) lowlights. And not coincidentally, it was one of the last PPVs Vince Russo booked for the WWF.
So LET'S YOU AND ME GET IT ON!
No, wait a second - because it's been a LOOOOOOONG time since I've written me one of these, and CERTAINLY NOT because I enjoy the running gag, here's the official Mem-O-Rate Skorin' Sistem (comical misspellings are COPYRIGHTABLE, BIATCH!):
*****: Remember that time when you came home and Neve Campbell was waiting for you naked on your bed? Well this is BETTER.
****: Like Eminem's first album compared to his first - good, not great
***: Given the choice between watching this match or giving myself six fists to the face, I'd watch the match. Not without bitching, however.
**: Hey, what's a KKK member's favorite flavor of ice cream? VANILLA.
*: Remember that time when you came home and Yokozuna was waiting for you naked on your bed? Well this is WORSE.
DUD: Maybe you'll luck out and die before you see these matches.
Got it? Good. Now as I was saying, fish don't fry in the kitchen, beans don't burn on the grill, and HERE'S A REVIEW OF NO MERCY!
MATCH 1: Mideon vs. Godfather. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.
Wow, WWF - WAY TO SUCK ASS. I mean, I guess they were looking at the WCW PPV model, and thought "WCW puts good/ cruiserweight matches first to get the crowd into the show. WCW don't do the good business. Putting good/cruiserweight matches first to get the crowd into the show isn't good business." Way to go, Miss Switzerland. J.R. and El King say that this match was specially added on HeAT, thus prompting me to NEVER WATCH HEAT AGAIN EVER. And, oh goody, just in case the match doesn't suck enough, (Fucking) Viscera is at ringside to torment the abnormally un-fuckable ho(e?)s. Match is, of course, a prolonged excuse for J.R. and the King to repeat how Mideon prefers farm animals to women. Godfather, the better of the two (and that's probably the only time that's ever been said), blows spots left and right, fucking up moves like "back body drop" and "ho train". HO TRAIN?!?!?!?!? I mean, call me moderately not sane, but shouldn't you know how to do your finisher to a degree that it looks an eensy bit more painful than just bumping into someone on the street? It's sad, really, because I'm ALL OVER THE RTC (why, OWHY, did the WWF save this boss-ass angle and the MASTERFULLY DONE Steph/Trip breakup until now?), and all over Goodfather's part in it. I mean, "Save the Hoes"? F'N BRILLIANT. If they make a shirt (and, this being the WWF and all, they make a shirt for everything) that says "Save the Hoes", I will SO MOTHERFUCKING BUY IT. However, I digress. Seeing as how they realize that babies are being born and, upon recognizing the participants in this match, immediately expiring, they bring it to an end with the (alleged) Ho Train, cradle, pin. Say it with me, folks - DAMN YOU GOD!
RATING: DUD. Not QUITE the "FUCKING DUD" of the UT/Kane inferno match debacle, but still FUCKIN' SUCKY. Thankfully, better times - Mideon-less times - were ahead.
MATCH 2: WWF Women's Title match: Ivory vs. The Fabulous Moolah
Ugh. Mae Young. Anyway, I guess they edited out the first fifteen minutes where they have the most damned ***** affair I've ever seen (I mean, did you see Moolah's Double Twisting Hurricane Swan Dive Ocean Suplex? I mean, DAMN! That's some tendon strength righ there!), but for some reason they LEFT THE REST IN. I do have to say, the good thing about Mae Young is that she's willing to take FRIGGIN' HUGE bumps - or at least, bumps that Hogan wouldn't take. Bet she does a better blade job, too. Anyway, Ivory's apparently a USC grad, which fills me with an enormous sense of apathy. That's the problem with EVERY WWF WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH EVER - I don't give a fuck about any of these people. I mean, event the proposed 3-way dance for it at (The) Summerslam between Trish, Lita, 'n Steffi - I just don't give enough of a fuck about any of them, although Lita comes pretty close. (And whoever posted that Lita's not attractive on the DVDVR board should probably, y'know, OPEN THEIR FUCKING EYES when she comes on screen. Lita = hot as hell.) And I even like their storyline, too, despite the fact that Lita's only in there so that the bookerman could get a face in there with 2 heels. Dunno - maybe I'm just a sexist pig and don't care much about women wrestling. I mean, I've got an unwatched copy of Dreamslam I sitting right over there in one of my tape drawers, and I just haven't gotten around to it yet, despite the fact that Mike "Quebrada" Lorifice consistently calls it one of the 3 best shows ever. Just haven't gotten the interest up. Well, that, and it's six hours long. Anyway, the match: Moolah wins, in another WWF experiment - this time, seeing exactly how many people in an arena can roll their eyes at once without the "eye-rolling" sound making it to the air.
RATING: DUD, PART II. And a big pat on the back to the WWF for another job well done. No, wait - I meant "punch in the face".
MATCH 3: Goddamn New Age Outlaws vs. The Hardcore Hollys
Jesus CHRIST! Why is all the ABJECT SHIT at the bottom of the card? I mean, Crash is a pretty good worker NOW, and a decent one back then, and Hardcore's one of the ten guys you should be watching in ALL THE WORLD, but 1.5 good workers + Goddamned New Age Outlaws - compelling storyline + confusion resulting in Hollys screwing themselves out of a title shot NEVER FUCKING EQUALS A GOOD MATCH. Oh - here's a good litmus test for a match - when one team is comprised of people who have no finisher, either the match is going to end in a DQ or the other team is going to win - take it to the bank. Match is as boring as the day is long, with ABSOLUTELY NOTHING OF INTEREST going on. I mean, it's so boring I'm having a hard time thinking of things that have tangential topics coming out of 'em. Let me check - hm...Hardcore does something that looks like it would have been a double-foot-stomp but gets blocked with the foot to the mush...I DO like the way Hardcore goes all carny on Road Dogg and starts stiffstrikin' the CHRIST out of him...SCREWJOB? DQ? WTF? I mean, I guess I care more, but not in a good "I wanna see more of this" way - no, more in a "Think I'll read Sinclair Lewis' 'Babbit' rather than watch this".
RATING: *. Woulda been *.5, but, y'know, REALLY BORING. Thankfully, this would end the epic Outlaws/Hollyz feud - and by epic, I don't mean "important" so much as "really long".
MATCH 4: Jeff Jarrett vs. Chyna
Why, would that be the ugly unibrowed head of Vince Russo rearing itself? Yes, it's the (in)(not)famous Good Housekeeping match, where items found around the house are strewn around the ring and all logic has been thrown out of the window (along, as later events would seem, with Jeff Jarrett). And for those of you who aren't informed, this is Chyna back before she ruined Jericho and Eddy - back when everyone was pimping her wrestling skills about as sucessfully as they would be able to pimp that square-jawed momma-why-do-I-have-boobs-and-a-dick woman-looking THING in reality. See, here's the great myth about Chyna - she can do a variety of moves (Pedigree, DDT, golotta, etc), just not very convincingly. The problem with that is that her moves aren't very flashy, and so by the time she gets a little sizzle in her moveset (i.e. springboard elbow) that she can pull off competantly, it just looks goofy since her character apparently includes Being A Woman In A Man's World Who Can't Pull Off A Man's Moves Convincingly. All of that, of course, is irrelevant here - it's a good ol' fashioned Garbage Match, and you know how good THOSE are. And as if this match needed anything to further propell it into the recesses of the hell of boredom, EVERYTHING THEY USE RESULTS IN HORRIBLE PUNS FROM BOTH J.R. AND THE KING. I mean, I can stomach the occasional "She's floundering now" or "I smell fish" after Jarrett slaps her with a fish (and that's partially because it's such an abstract concept - I mean, I've certainly never heard of anyone getting slapped with a fish), but try hearing it for FIFTEEN STRAIGHT MINUTES. I mean, they each got at least seventy million jokes in about the "kitchen sink" (groan) - and while I will endure nine sixty-nine million hundred ninety nine thousand nine hundred ninety nine jokes about the kitchen sink, the SEVENTY MILLIONTH I SHALL NOT TAKE. And it's a darn shame - both Jarrett and Chyna work as hard as they can, but it's a doomed cause. And here's why:
RATING: **. Damn - four matches, three total *'s. Is this show turning into Beware of the Dog or what?
(Aside: I took a break after Match 3, got some caffeine in me, and wrote Match 4. Who knew caffeine makes you write better wrestling reviews?)
MATCH 5: British Bulldog vs. The Rock
Damn, I can't remember the last time the Rock was this low down on the card. Or, for that matter, when I saw the Bulldog on ANY SORT OF PPV WHATSOEVER. If you think about it, 1999 for the WWF was the year of three things: tag team wrestling, Higher Power, and aborted pushes. No, really - I mean, the following people could have been at the top of the card come the start of this year had they not had their pushes cut short for one reason or another: Al Snow, British Bulldog, Test, AND Val Venis. Not a shabby group, IIDSSM - I mean, if they'd JUST kept Test, that would have meant they could keep the McMahon-Helmsly Regime angle going (and I admit that, although it doesn't break the WWF mold by not eventually grating, I still like it) for AT least two more months. And while we're on the subject of Test, if you don't think he's a good worker, Chris Benoit disagrees with you. He went on the record as calling Test one of the three best talents in the WWF (him, Benoit, and Eddy), saying something to the effect of "He's a great worker. I'd love to get a good, stiff 20-minute match with him" (paraphrased - I's not online as I write). Not too shabby - I'll stand by him. And Albert. BUT THAT IS NOT WHAT I IS TALKIN' BOUT SINCE I BEEZ TALKIN' BOUT THIS. Match is REEEEEEEEEEEEALLY slow, which must play hell with Bulldog - I mean, I've seen old Bulldogs matches (I have footage!), and they were NOT a slow team. They were fast and powerful. My main bitch with this particular match is mostly that it's so transparent - you can see moves coming from miles away. In particular, I called the last three moves, in order, correctly. And Davey Boy does DIRECTLY flick off the fans as he enters - always a good think to see when you "don't market to kids" (wink, wink). Crowd ABSOLUTELY blows up with the Rock win.
RATING: * 3/4. Wasn't a good match or anything, but I'll be damned if it didn't keep me awake when I was watching it. And in reality, although the DVDVR Boyeez will give out orders to shoot me on sight, I can admit to being entertained by the Rock on a fairly consistent basis. Yeah, yeah, no more puro tapes for me, but I yam what I yam.
MATCH 6: Hardy Boyz vs. Edge & Christian
Well, let's us see if this show can be brought up to Badd Blood levels - i.e. good enough to buy the show on the basis of one match. Hm - yep. I mean, if you haven't seen this match, you're really missing out. And although I hate to use Scott Keithisms due to him being a terse ass to me in emails and all, he really hits the nail in the head when he calls this match nigh-indescribable. It's just spotafterspotafterspot, each one ruling in its own special way. So instead (as if I was able/going to give you a blow by blow description of the match anyway), I'd like to talk about why this match is the most important thing to happen since Badd Blood. Obviously, both are spectacular matches that won RSPW Match of the Year, and deservedly so (although those who say SASUKE/Magnum Tokyo from Toryumon's second TV show have a case as well), but in reality, both are the most important matches of their years in a far different fashion. Think about it: how well was workrate rewarded before this match? It's not an unfair statement to say that match quality wasn't the highest priority before this match, and it's pretty obvious that it wasn't the highest afterwards. But I'll be damned if the fans didn't pop for both the Blondz and the Hardyz equally - and LOUDLY. And they popped the next night when they gave each other a show of respect on RAW. And, as we all know, the WWF listens to their fans MORE OFTEN than WCW does. So more emphasis was put on workin', resulting in the first truly great PPV in a loooooooooong time in Royal Rumble 2K, and that tradition continues to this day. Simply said: this match was so good, and so well recieved, that Vince felt safe making a shift back to wrestling and away from entertainment. Like I said in my new issue of "Tens", the exclusive column I do for Wrestlefans and available on my homepage, it's the most important event to occur in my tenure of watching wrestling. But don't let all that history fool you into thinking you're learning - the match is soooooooooo good. It kicks ass that previously didn't exist. And you should be all over it.
RATING: *****. The first of the Big 3 Hardy matches (the others being the (awesome) Hardyz/Dudz at RR2K and the 3-way ladder/table match at WM2K), it still isn't my favorite, but it doesn't trail the Rumble match by much. It's JUST GREAT.
MATCH 7: No, wait, we get a Rock promo first. And remember - right now, as with everything else in the WWF, we've stumbled into a renaissance as far as Rocky's promos go. I mean, you think he gives catchphrase-laden interviews now? Man, you should have heard him THEN - he just jumps from phrase to phrase. HHH bashes him with Sledgehammer, EMTs come out, Rocky refuses medical attention, whattaguy whattaguy.
MATCH 7: Val Venis vs. Mankind
Y'know, I remember reading the predictions for the PPV (mostly because I was trying to get all the matches set up so that I could make all the wrestlers in Attitude and run computer matches, and see how they did. Yeah, I'm lame, but I'm po' and resourceful. Eat me.), people seemed to be kind of down on the chances of this match being any good. I don't remember jibing and juking with that particular thought, seeing as how Mick can run a brawl REALLY well (better than anyone I can think of off the top of my head, anyway), and Val's a MUCH-more-than-competant worker. The question, of course, lay in the possibility of a SEVERE style clash - wild brawls don't seem to fit Val's persona any more than standard WWF matches fit Mick's. So I started watching this feeling smug and satisfied already. And then they go and prove me right by having a pretty damned good match, with some decent wrestling here and there, mixed in with the Standard Foley Brawl as well as the Inevitable Sports Entertainment. And even more surprisingly, the BIGGEST bump of the match was taken by Val, when he just ABSORBED an avoided Money Shot. I mean, he just went SPLAT. That, companions, is why that move kicks ass - because you've got to have the balls to land it. Even the Inevitable Sports Entertainment is worked into the plot, via Rocko (remember him? Lucky.), testicular claws, and dick jokes for all. But none of it comes across as being done "just to do it" which makes it LEAPS AND BOUNDS BETTER THAN THE CHYNA MATCH. See, Sports Entertainment's not too bad, as long as it's just the sideshow. Ill will is born when it becomes the focus. And since, in this case, it's worked into the frame of a perfectly acceptable->pretty f'n good wrestling match - that's a-o-k wit' me.
RATING: ****. Loses the 1/4* not for any problems with the match itself - more because it was a blowoff match, and the issue wasn't big enough to have the heel win and then end the angle without either setting up the face win or having extracurricular activities end it. Gets it back for elevating Val (at least temporarily).
MATCH 8: X-Pac vs. Kane vs. Faarooq vs. Bradshaw
Over the course of the summer, I've gone from defending X-Pac at every available opportunity to having a strong desire to drive to his house and shit in his bed on account of his not jobbing. So next time someone says that it doesn't matter who wins and who loses (I'm looking at you, VINNAY!), you stick 'em in the face. Then give 'em one below the belt for me. And apparently, the whole string of Waltman not jobbing comes from here - I mean, he went from here through, well, today without jobbing (pretty much). Way to be a HUGE COCK, Shawn. Match isn't...very...good, although it could eventually reach "tolerable" levels if it were given ten more minutes (and I can't believe I just typed that). Waltman makes himself the focus of the whole match, stealing the show by either overselling for the Acolytes (pre-beer and humor) or by ELIMINATING KANE. <*GROAN*> And since they're dealing with X-Pac the Big Drippy Puss, the Acolytes aren't allowed to bring their Carnival of Stiffness with 'em. And that TRULY sucks. We need to put Waltman in a match with Akira Maeda fast, just so he gets his face GOOD 'N BROKE LEGIT. As far as non-X-Pac people go, they're just kind of there. Kane gets about three minutes in before the Waltman Show comes to town. Acolytes...are. Anyway, eliminations come thusly: Bradshaw (pinned by 'Pac), Kane (pinned by 'Pac), and Faarooq (pinned by 'Pac). FUCK. He's being pushed like a turd out of an ass.
RATING: *. Like I said, it might have been tolerable if they hadn't rushed it six ways from Sunday so that they could put X-Pac over everyone except the Pope.
MATCH 9: HHH vs. Steve Austin
Awright: The Not-Yet-God Amongst Men vs. the Walking Cripple. And since the WWF recognizes this, they decide to give the match Standard WWF Main Event Rules (falls count anywhere, no countout, no DQ) - wise choice if I do say so myself. Cool ass spot occurs when Austin gets a boom camera (didn't even know they had one o' them in Los WWF) and clotheslines Helmsley with it - well, it's as cool as the Rock Cam, anywho. I'm particularly amused by the lady in (red - sorry) white who starts screeching Stone Coldisms at the pair once they're gettin' jiggy wit' it in the audience - either she bragged about it to the rest of the trailer park for months, or she never mentioned it to her Soccer Mom chums ever. And wouldn't you know it - we get a Stunner AND a Pedigree abuot ten minutes in, but the ref got bumped each time. Then, in a fact that surprised me when I watched it this time, Evil Ref Earl Hebner comes to the ring, HHH gives him shit and pushes him, and Hebner PUSHES HIM BACK. Sound familiar? Remember Aprilish, when they were pushing Hebner harder than they were pushing Hardcore Holly and the Hardyz? SAME F'N THING. Further irony ensues when Helmsley starts working the knee of Austin, although it's pretty hard to tell if we've moved into the Alleged Technical Wrestling portion of the evening or the resthold portion. Man, I'd forgotten how good a brawler Austin was at this point - I was pretty much entertained the whole way. Finish is Rocky making his third appearance (fourth if you count an If You Missed Heat Here's What Happened thing with Mick, seventh if you count the various Oscar-worthy "Rocky Grunting in Pain On The Stretcher Yet Refusing To Leave The Building" bits peppering the night since his beatdown sammich) con sledgehammer, swinging at Helmsley, missing, and striking Austin right in the gut (helpfully called the "head" by Good Ol' J.R.). This, of course, was the impetus for the 3-way that never happened at Survivor Series, which in turn resulted in the Big Show inexplicably winning the title, which in turn resulted in the Bossman being a part of the main event picture for WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too long, which in turn resulted in the phrase "dragged his father's coffin at a high rate of speed" appearing on WWF television ONCE TOO MANY. So I guess we should blame the Rock, although in a much more realistic sense, we should blame Viscera, just because he sucks.
RATING: ****. Good, good stuff. I compare this brawl to the one Dude Love~!~!~!~!~!~! (~!) and Austin put on at Over the Edge '98, with intensity replacing pure entertainment. Nevertheless, goodness all aboot.
OVERALL WORTH OF SHOW: Pretty allright. It's worth going a little out of your way to pick this one up - not TOO out of your way, since odds are by the end of the year every Blockbuster in America will have it, but worth the effort. I'm pretty hesitiant to call it a "great" PPV - not with the four first matches and that damnable X-Pac Jobfest. But that's what the fast forward button was made for (and ask Scott Keith for the origin of it, if you must know), and there's three REALLY GOOD MATCHES on this tape, including a very deserving Match of the Year. And it's also important to note that this is the show where Steve Austin passed the torch of "Most Important Person in the Company" to Triple H, more or less - the Raw is Luv angle started soon after this, and with it came the Facgimera. So yeah, pick it up.
IV. THINGS, STUFF, & MISC
IV. Obligatory Closing Paragraph
Comments? Questions? Need someone to ridicule all of your beliefs? Write to me at "email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. I'll be more than happy to reply. And anyone who writes gets (wait for it...) ALL UP IN MY AREA! HA! HA! HA-oh.