This Issue: Judgment Day Thoughts, Pay-Per-Views that ROCK, A New E-Font of Digable Wisdom, Ben Folds Five, and More... Next!
Once again, it's time to build it up and tear it down; Digability has been loosed upon the earth. My Freshman year has passed me by; this is the first issue since Good Old Issue The First written entirely in "good" old Durham, Nawth Cackalacky. So if I seem a little bitter (and by a little, I mean more than usual), chalk it up to that factoid. But hey, who wants to hear a fun little story? I got SICK AS SHIT THREE DAYS BEFORE I LEFT FOR SUMMER BREAK. I can't tell you how much that fucking sucked. I had to walk my ass home from my friend's house so that I could go to the hospital (!) to see if I had strep. STREP. GOD DAMNED MOTHER INTERCOURSE HAVING STREP. (And for those of you scoring at home, no, I didn't.) And of course, now that I'm finally not sick any more, I have to get a JOB instead of lazying my lazy ass aboot the house trying furiously to watch the DAY AND A GODDAMNED HALF OF WRESTLING that's backlogging my tape collection, but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, I have to hope for a scenario that involves me working for a video store so that I don't have to wait tables at an incredibly hick-prone steakhouse or lift heavy shit for UPS. GUH.
On the lighter side of things, I finally have my own corner of cyberspace to call my own. And since <ROAD DOGG MODE> we's all good and Digable up in dis shiz 'n stuff </ROAD DOGG MODE> it shall henceforth be known as the Land of Digability. I beckon thee all to come and bask in its warm glowing warming glow.
Oh, that's right; this isn't a Slymm rant (and I kid because I care - WE THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH ARE DESIREOUS OF MORE nWWWo!) and I'm not popular to make you care. So let's sidle as far away from the stuff you don't care aboot to the stuff that you do: wrestling. Today's topic: Damn Good Pay-Per-Views.
II. That's Right, Damn Good Pay-Per-Views.
Guess what? Jesus is a WWF fan! What? He's not? Well hell, something must be sparking the last five months of WWF PPVs, which have been unprecedented in terms of workrate, overall match quality, and Entertainment of a Sporting Variety. It's been UNFAIR how good HHH has been since December - he's jumped up there with '96 Shawn Michaels and '89 Ric Flair in terms of telling a good story in the ring, working his ass off, getting better on the stick(-uh), and generally being able to carry a broomstick to a **** match (he'll have to do better when he inevitably main events with the Undertaker, though, because Undy STILL SUCKS THE ASS OF ALL THAT IS GOOD IN WRESTLING!). In the last five months, we've seen the departure of a legend, better known as The Only Cat Who Can Bring Peace To The War Zone Mick Foley, a tag team renaissance where the Hardyz (the HARDYZ! what is wrong with the average viewing public?!) are the least important major team, the elevation of Kurt Angle and Edge/Christian to god-like levels on the 'net, the R4dicalz rocking ass on a fairly regular basis, that still-cracks-me-up Worm Face, and a general improvement in pretty much everything.
How great of an epigram was Judgement Day for the last five months, anyway?
I mean, I haven't read ANYTHING but good about the PPV (say it with me... Poor College Students Can't Get PPVs), which featured the possible biggest dud of the year. But like everyone else this year, Rocky stepped up a level, doing things nobody ever thought he could do. The Chrises From Which All Other Chrises Are Derived put on one HELLAFIED match, which did the impossible - get Jericho even more over, and may produce a regular set of **** matches from Bob Holly (to whom I do not give enough credit). Edge and Christian, not to mention Kurt Angle, entertained a nation while still doing some damnably good stuff in the ring. As far as WWF PPVs go, they could pretty much put a match of Viscera vs. Me and it'd get at least half a star. Everybody's just giving their all.
But it's important never to forget the background. How did we know that any of those matches were good? How do we know the PPV was good? It's all a long process of history taking effect. What we have following this paragraph is a list of PPVs that I hold up to be my measuring sticks - PPVs that are so good, for one reason or another, that I just can't help holding any show I see up to them. And I think that they deserve a second look - or in your case, maybe a first. So as far as I'm concerned, it's time for a break from The Vitriolic Rant About Why Something Sucked, so that we can take a look back at stuff that was really, really good.
(Oh, BTW - except for numbers 1 and 2, these are in no particular order.)
10. WWF Wrestlemania XV. Everybody has one - their first exposure to the Pay-Per-View arena. This was mine. And I can't say that I've ever had as much fun watching a PPV as I did that night. All I remember is Josh and Nate and Rachel and I yammering on throughout the entire broadcast about what was going on, or demonstrating moves to each other, or retiring to the porch to discuss what would happen to DX with Hunter's turn (silly us - we actually thought the Rock might take over), or JUMPING UP AND DOWN at Stone Cold winning the title. It still stands out in my mind as one of the biggest markout moments I ever had - it's up there with when he won the title back from the Undertaker on RAW, or when Hunter almost won the title in that "I Quit" match, or when Mankind won the title to end '98, or most notably, on 8/9/99, when the Millenium Clock counted down. To be fair, I never said that this list was pure workratedom. I may never watch WMXV again in my life; it won't be the same. But I'll always remember that night when I went from a fan to a MEGA MEGA SUPER MEGA FAN, and never came back.
9. WCW Spring Stampede 1999. "What's this?" you say, recoiling from your keyboard in shock. "Digable James Cobo is praising a WCW Event? I should stop reading this column and go tie my pigs down, so that they don't fly away."
No, don't do that.
I'm as shocked as you. But I dare you to watch this PPV and not OOOH and AAAH at the first match (~!) or the Hardcore Match, or not to GAPE at the awesomeness of the tag title match, or not to cheer as Hollywood "Super J" Hogan gets "injured". I love this event. It's a great thing, with something for everyone. Given enough time, I could probably make a case for the tag match being one of the best matches in WCW history, and damned if'n that #1 Cruiserweight Contender match wasn't exactly the type of match that rings my bell. (Too bad Blitzkrieg dropped off the face of the earth, though. What ever happened to him anyway? I should oughta ax the Rick.) I mean, EVERYONE laid it all out on the line. We got decent->good matches from everyone from Hardcore "Sandman" Hak to Kevin Nash (I'll keep saying that he's been one of my favorites for a long time until my views are recognized). AND I STILL DON'T KNOW WHY - this was mid-99 WCW, after all. Even in spite of all of that, pick this one up - it's a keeper.
8. WWF Wrestlemania X. As much as I love the Ladder Match, it doesn't make WMX one of my favorites all by itself. The amazing thing about WMX is how consistantly entertaining it is - you're pretty hard-pressed to find crap on the card, aside from the Yoko-Luger match, not that its "crap" status wasn't expected. I've said it before - WMX is the equivalent of that big variety box of candy with EVERYTHING (including the Sour Quince Log that is Yoko-Luger). Like midgets fighting women? WMX. Like Ur-hardcore matches, featuring A Pretty Decent Effort By Randy Savage? WMX. Like alleged rap music or cool double-team moves? WMX. Like THE BEST MATCH IN WWF HISTORY, The Exquisite Ladder Match? It goes without saying that this is all at WMX. It's pretty absurd when Bret-Owen, a ***** match if I've ever seen one, doesn't even get a mention until the last sentence. Good, good stuff.
7. WWF Royal Rumble 2000. No, I haven't seen Backlash yet, or that EMLL SKY PPV, but I'll still go with Royal Rumble 2K with being not just the best PPV of the year, but one of the best I've ever seen. Take those saggy boobs out of the picture, and RR2K's even higher. The subject of my last Mem-O-Rate (TM) review, I raved over the Hardyz-Dudleyz match (want a surprise? I think it's even better than the Triple Threat Ladder Match from WM2K by a little) and the Street Fight (~!), but also hit the highs of Rumble and the Jericho match. I won't say too much about it, since I just wrote so much about it three weeks ago, but to list my favorite PPVs without mentioning Royal Rumble 2000 would just be CRIMINAL.
6. WCW Bash at the Beach '96. Have you seen this? I hadn't, until last night, and OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH BABY, was it ever good. It's got one of the flat out best matches I've ever seen in Rey-Psychosis (complete with HURRICANRANAS FROM EVERYWHERE TO EVERYWHERE), a throughly competant Dean-Disco match, a surprisingly (and BOY DO I EVER MEAN THAT) entertaining Page-Duggan (DUGGAN!) match, and the famous Hogan turn in the decently worked final match (more commonly known as the Hostile Takeover). It's got sports entertainment in the form of Mean "I HATE YOU, GENE OKERLUND" Gene's interviews (Konnan's got a decent one, and Flair's... well, take a guess), not to mention the final. Want to know how good this show is? NEITHER DUSTY RHODES NOR TONY SCHIAVONE GOT ON MY NERVES TOO MUCH. And with the exception of Dusty's line "But who's side is he on?" in the final, they called the Hostile Takeover (I can't believe I'm going to say what I'm about to say) REALLY, REALLY WELL. I can't praise this show enough. It's as close to WMX as WCW's ever going to get.
5. WWF No Way Out. ANOTHER great WWF 2000 show, this time with the underrated Hardyz-Blondz match, the nice Angle/Jericho match, and the SWANK Too Cool/Rakishi-R4dicalz match, not to mention the second consecutive MOTYC from the Helmsley/Jack feud. To be honest, I like this one less than RR2K (I thought of it second, so I put it second), but it's got its goodness to it. And I'll always have a place in my heart for that picture of Mick Foley standing at the top of the ramp with the crowd cheering him on. This was a VERY good pay-per-view.
4. WWF Over the Edge 1998. Notice a little bit of a WWF bias? GOOD. This PPV was just a whole hell of a lot of fun, but with a decidedly workrateified slant. Since Kaientai must be involved in a Kaientai match, I got really into their match with Bradshaw and TAKA - they got REALLY dicky with it. And there was a whole hoochload of Sports Entertainment on board, from Runnin' Kainetai to the FRIGGIN' HILLARIOUSLY DICKSOME Marc Mero- Sable match to the ______ingly BEAUTAMOUS intro to the main. Action was also present - there was a decidedly non-bad Jarrett/Blackman match, a good Rock/Faarooq match, and The Main. Since the main contains Dude Love, we all know how I feel about it, and not much more needs to be said until the Mem-O-Rate Rant. Overall, while I've seen better shows than Over The Edge '98, I haven't seen nearly as many that amused and entertained me this much. Good, good stuff.
3. WAR Super J Cup 1995. Yeah, yeah, puro. You knew it was coming. If you haven't seen this one, with its BREATHTAKING Jericho/Benoit match, it's REALLY GOOD Ultimo/Ohtani match, its REALLY ENTERTAINING Damien 666/Naniwa match, and its SUCKY ASS Gedo/Motegi match (among others), you really owe yourself the pleasure. It's a great event, and it's one of the best events I've got in my collection.
2. AAA When Worlds Collide. But DAMN, is this PPV ever great. I won't be saying too much about this one and #1, because I've got my (SHAMELESS PLUG) "2 Best PPVs Ever" Mem-O-Rate Rant coming up, but what I can say is "But DAMN, is this PPV ever great." I'd never seen Love Machine Art Barr before his and Eddy's EPIC 2/3 falls double mask/hair match w/ El Hijo Del Santo and Octagon, but I'm convinced after that one match that he's one of about three people who could have legitimized the juniors scene over here more than any other. Not to mention, him and Eddy made just about the best heel tag team ever not called "The Hollywood Blondes" - hell, they may have been better. BUT WAIT, MORE IS PRESENT! There's two SWEET ASS trios matches (Mexican six-man tags with additional rules and captains and such), whose participants include (but are not limited to) Chris Benoit, 2 Cold Scorpio, Blue Panther, Psychosis, La Parka, Rey Mysterio Jr., and Louie Spicolli. ROCKIN' SHIT. In addition, if you've never seen any/much lucha libre before, this tape couldn't make a better starting point, as there's English commentary from Mike Tenay and someone else (I forget). Because you read this far, you deserve this tape.
AND THE MOST BESTEST PPV OF ALL TIME IS:
Next rant will be back to my old vicious soul-rending self - no more of this happy hippy bullshiz. I know how much more amusing that is than reading "Such and such is sooooo great", so I tried to spice it up with profanity, but you know how that goes.
See, it's been a year now, and people are still crying over his lifeless body. It really makes you stop and think for a second. If I died right now, there would probably be about ten people who would, if answering honestly, would honestly admit to missing me any more than the norm (if there is one) for when people die. It's sobering, then to think of how many people honestly say that Owen changed their life, made them look at the world in a whole new way, or just made their life better when he did what he did best - wrestle.
So I've been doing some thinking. I've come to a point now where I can say that watching Owen was a joy and a priveledge - he really was that damn good in the ring. And reading CRZ's recap of Raw Is Owen (still one of the most memorable RAWs I've ever seen, if not the most memorable), I can admit to getting choked up. JR's and Lawler's words - "I hope that I can be as good as him, so that one day I can see him again" and "Never leave the house without telling the people that you love how you feel about them" respectively (I'm paraphrasing here) hit me hard, and made me think. So now, a year too late, I think I can honestly say this about the Owen situation: It's always a shame when anyone dies, but when a person like Owen dies, it's hard not to feel a little sadness, because people like Owen are inside every living person on earth. Or rather, a little piece of Owen's in all of us - if we're lucky. I may be an atheist, but if there is a heaven, Owen's hanging out with Art Barr, Louie Spicolli, and Brian Pillman right now. And he's probably watching RAW.
(And for the record, I hope that it's fitting to pay tribute to Owen through jokes at his expense - it was the other thing he did well, for what I understand. I'm sure that if Owen had a wrestling column, he'd make fun of mine. If he knew about it, that is.)
OBLIGATORY CLOSING STATEMENT
Comments? Questions? Need someone to ridicule all of your beliefs? Write to me at 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.