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Tom Dean




Can you dig it...

Let's begin as always with the voluminous mail from my voluptuous readers. Last week, I wondered what exactly the point of Velocity was. Michael McCullar writes in to say:

From what I have read, only about 60% of the country actually gets Smackdown, between UPN market penetration and local station pre-emption for baseball and basketball games and what not. So there is a pretty sizeable block of viewers out there who may like to see a recap show in syndication.

Yeah, I know, but... I dunno. Of that 40% you're talking about, cross off the ones who have something to do on Saturday night. Then cross off the ones who read the recaps and/or can live without knowing Smackdown's details. Then cross off the ones who actually would only be happy to see the show that they missed in full, rather than just the "key" segments... and are annoyed that they're wasting time having to watch Billy Kidman and the Godfather. Cross off all those people... now, how many people are left? And for the 60% that DID see Smackdown, Velocity is very hard to watch. I think you basically end up with a show that pleases no one.

Do I have a better idea? In terms of something they would realistically do... no, I can't say that I do. I could be a smartass and say "there's really no need for them to have another show at all", but who's gonna turn down TV time? Hey, maybe they could devote that hour to replaying some classic matches in full? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... oh man... anyway.

First off, I wanna talk about the Tough Enough "controversy". This is just bullshit that anyone could even call it a controversy. I say that for several reasons. The first reason is that they said more than once that the winners weren't necessarily going to be one male and one female. I have to admit that I didn't think that stipulation would actually come into play... I figured they would take one of each nonetheless... but, they did made it clear that they didn't have to. Secondly, since when do we WANT the fed to make decisions based entirely on looks? A lot of people commenting on Jake's "snub" seemed to think that Jake deserved it solely because of his body. If he's gonna be Billy Gunn with less personality -- and I'm guessing that's pretty much what the trainers thought of him -- then who the hell needs him? This leads me to reason #3, which is: None of us are really in a position to criticize the choices. Once it gets down to the final 4, the people who produce the show are trying their damndest to make us think that everyone has about an equal chance to win. Otherwise, there wouldn't be any suspense, and the producers wouldn't be doing their jobs well. If you think you could make an educated choice between the final 4 based on what you saw on the show, that can only be either because the producers screwed up (less likely), or it's because you drew conclusions that weren't intended (more likely). I'm not saying you can't speculate about the results -- that's the whole freaking point of the show, after all -- but don't confuse your speculation with actual knowledge.

Speaking of speculation, let's speculate about the next step... when will Linda and Jackie appear on WWE television? I am guessing it will be right away. Linda is a lot taller than the other divas, and even despite the fact that everyone knows she's not experienced, I still think she could fit plausibly into the Jazz monster heel role. Linda certainly seems to have a lot more personality than Jazz, although of course she is not going to be as good in the ring for a while. Jackie could easily be put into backstage segments to introduce us to her character (and her boobies) while her knee heals. In general, there's a big advantage to putting the winners on regular WWE programming right away before people forget about them, and I think they will be able to do that with both of these women.

I at least think both Linda and Jackie will make it sooner than Nidia. Compare Nidia to Maven, and I think you see exactly why they wanted to be able to take two men or two women if the situation demanded it. Seriously, it's the only fair rule.

Oh, and by the way, I hope people do realize that WWE could, and has, given developmental contracts to the TE losers. Considering that they have done that with two other big guys (TE1's Chris Harvard and TE2's Matt), Jake might not be left out in the cold after all.


Finishing the tour of the B-shows, Confidential was again very good. It's funny how often I enjoy Tough Enough and Confidential more than the actual wrestling programming. The Davey Boy piece was excellent, although I'm surprised that they pushed the drug angle so much and didn't even mention that the death is being investigated as a homicide. I'm not accusing WWE of anything there... I see no reason why they should want to rewrite history on that point. It was probably just an omission. The Spike Dudley piece was very cute and enjoyable. The Michaels piece was good too. It was funny how he said he'd never be HBK again, and then he walks out two days later on RAW and the first thing it says on the Titantron is "HBK". Heh. I suppose that'll be cleared up soon.

Yeah, RAW... a lot of people liked it... I didn't so much. I did think the promo/backstage stuff between Austin and Flair was quite strong. Austin seems much more "into it" than he was when he was feuding with the nWo. But to be honest with you, I am disappointed that Flair is wrestling. I could have sworn that when he came in, it was said that he would only wrestle the occasional match. I'm sure everyone knew he'd face Vince at some point, but the impression was given that that would pretty much be it. I wish they had stuck to that. There's no doubt that Flair knows HOW to wrestle a match. Hell, there's no doubt that he's better than a good portion of the roster, probably. But he has just lost so much mobility. He's almost 60 years old. I just don't like to watch him wrestle anymore. Anyway, Austin should be facing Eddy, that's who they need to get over. Flair's already over.

Same with Shawn Michaels. I know they're saying right now that he's not gonna wrestle, but I think it's clear that that hardly means anything. If he can wrestle, awesome. If he can't wrestle but will be used just to cut promos, that's still pretty awesome. If he can't wrestle but he tries to anyway, I just don't wanna see that. I'm kind of worried, but mostly excited.

Isn't it funny how the nWo has become the Clique stable? It's like they're just asking for trouble. Surely they're well aware of how this situation could play out. Do they realize there is a fictional aspect to wrestling? Just because people hang out in real life, it doesn't mean they have to be a stable on the show.

I hope this doesn't become a problem. I get the feeling that it will either make the show great or totally ruin it. If Nash, Michaels, and X-Pac approach it with the attitude of "let's accept our midcard lot in life and have fun with it," then that will be terrific, because Nash and Michaels are great promo guys and X-Pac is a good foil. If they come at it with the attitude of "now we've got two big stars, so we should be headlining the shows and given creative control over our stuff," it will be POISON. And as Bell Biv Devoe said, never trust Nash's big butt and a lost smile. POISON.

I was very excited about the Hardyz developments. Lord knows they need a shakeup, and I thought how they set it up was very plausible and intriguing. They could do some interesting psychological stuff with this. They're clearly struggling to find opponents for Undertaker who aren't otherwise occupied... hopefully, it won't just be a thing where Taker destroys Jeff and they go back to the same Team Extreme routine.

I defended the Dreamer stuff last week, but I can't defend this week's spectacle. I was hoping that it would lead to a "yeah, I'm crazy, but damned if I'm not hardcore" type of gimmick. It obviously has not led there. The frustrating thing is that it doesn't even make sense. He's willing to eat anything, so he gets nauseous easily? How does that follow... if anything, it should be the opposite. Then he's willing to eat anything, so he's willing to eat vomit? Isn't that a little silly? Why, exactly, did he eat vomit? Is he trying to intimidate the Taker? Sure didn't look like it. I dunno.

It's weird how the belt and Taker have sort of receded into the background of whatever else is going on, even though there isn't a whole hell of a lot else going on. I think you do have to admire Taker for it. Lord knows that, when Chris Jericho was champ, the smark community would have declared open warfare if Y2J had been defending the belt against a guy who debuted a month earlier and a jobber with a "he eats gross stuff" gimmick.

Hell, you're not hearing too much from the smarks about the ratings the shows have been getting lately, either. Everyone was calling for Hogan's head when he was the focus of shows that were actually doing slightly better ratings. I hope there is more of a future in Benoit/Guerrero/Flair than there was in the nWo and Hogan. I think there is, and I think once the Austin/Guerrero program really gets rolling, it'll be good times. Right? Right??? Goddamnit, I'M FEELING FROGGY!!! Let me vamoose, ese, before I gain too much Latinoism!!!

Tom Dean
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