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Tom Dean




How's it goin', everybody? No, don't just say "fine".... I honestly wanna know. Ehhh, screw it. It's been a while, huh? I was not too thrilled about the return of Eric Bischoff either. "This show was just beginning to do a good job building up some new wrestlers, and now they drag in a non-wrestler to be a focus of the show... terrific," said I. "Ultimately, they're not gonna be willing to put anyone or anything from WCW over, so what is the point of this supposed to be," said I. "It would have been nice to have this guy around for the Invasion, but it's way too late now and no one remembers him or cares," said I. "His promo was about a thousand times too smarky and went over everyone's head; no one gave a shit," said I. Boy, was I wrong. However improbably, the dueling GM angle seems to have invigorated the show and brought it to a level that it has not reached for a long time. And Eric, one of the best actors on the roster, has more than done his part. The crowd didn't care about him that first day, I still believe that, but they sure as hell do care now.

Here is a letter that is about ninety years old. i.e., it has to do with my last non-anniversary column. I was bitter about Austin and said:

I know the rest of you Internet folks, who of course would NEVER EVER EVER let yourself be manipulated by the McMahon PR machine that you claim to comprehend so well, have nonetheless completely forgotten about the guy who, one month ago, was the biggest star in wrestling. Just like Vince wanted you to. Just like how it took you all of a few days to forget about Mick Foley, who only represented every aspect of this business that is great.

Billy Bob Kane responded to that point. I had to edit his letter severely - it was great, he should submit it in full as a column (That'd be a waste of time; I don't publish anything from Billy Bob Kane anymore - CRZ) -- but here is the gist of it.

"I like the way you do your articles, but I have to debate you on one little claim you made. You mention how we have forgotten about Austin, just like how we have forgotten Foley who 'represented everything good about the business'. Now that I do not agree with in the slightest, sir... Mick Foley is a guy, who, without any redeeming athletic values whatsoever decides to take the biggest pounding that the business has ever seen every single night, because, not being a particularly great worker, it's really the only way he can get over as a wrestler. This is a guy with no perception of where the line is, no basic concept of when enough is enough, and allowed himself to be placed in imminent danger time and time again... Mick also was responsible for the most mediocre 'five star' match in wrestling history, being the Hell in the Cell with 'Taker... He himself acknowledges he could have been crippled or killed during the match. Well I'm sorry, but as a human being who kind of likes other human beings to, y'know, live, I think any match where a real danger of death or maiming exists is not a match to brag about to relatives and show to non-believers. Christ, show them the Hart/Michaels Iron Man match.... Mick Foley is why 97% of the wrestlers who come into the business today know all about highspots and jack about psychology. That's not an accurate assessment of his work, but these XPW jackoffs that I see advertised on the inside cover of any wrestling magazine I buy looking like serial killers are the Foley ilk, if only in their own minds.

"For my money, Mick Foley has done far more harm than good. I am not against the man, but I won't claim him to be a great worker. He was an awesome character (the early mankind stuff was layered to an unprecedented extent), did what were often the best promos on any given broadcast 'I had trouble falling asleep last night, Sting, so I decided to count all the different ways I'm going to hurt you', and his ring work was good for a guy who four moves. His psychology was well above-par. But in the end, no one will remember anything I've just written about him in this paragraph. No one will remember ring psychology, acting ability, or interview skills. All anyone will remember is 'the guy who took eleven chairshots at the rumble,' or more accurately, 'the guy who flew off the cell'. And at the end of the day, that's worse for the business than anything Hogan, or Nash, or Michaels, or any other so-called poison has ever done. Because in the end, that's going to put more people in incredible pain, more people in the hospital, more people on painkillers, and that's more wrestlers who are going to die. It's not the legacy Foley wanted, but likewise, in the end, Mick Foley has to look in the mirror and realize it is his legacy, and that it's a legacy that is his fault more than anyone else's."

I have to disagree with your entire premise. I hate to invoke Godwin's Law so early in a column, but, is it Nietzsche's fault that a psychotic Austrian corporal decided to interpret his philosophy in a psychotic way, and use it to justify things that Nietzsche would never really have supported? That should not reflect on Nietzsche, should it? I definitely stand by the statement that Foley represents everything that's good about wrestling. I won't bore you with the story that I'm sure you already know, but slept in his car and lived on jars of peanut butter during training, overcame a total lack of "the look", connected with the audience on a deeply emotional level, never had a problem putting anyone over, worked his ass off, blah blah blah. If he were New Jack, and all he could do is talk and fall off high places, you would have a point. But that wasn't Foley. If people want to think of him solely as the guy who fell off the cell, and think they too can become WWE main eventers if they jump off things, that to me means nothing. Such people clearly don't comprehend anything.


I do agree that the Hell in the Cell with Taker was not five stars.

What else... there was some flak recently about an NWA-TNA angle in which a midget pulled a gun on Jeff Jarrett. (Not "Millie"... she pulled a gun on Santa... that's "a midget." And no, it wasn't Jericho either. Okay, I'll stop now.) There wasn't all that much flak, because, y'know, no one watches NWA-TNA. Including me... I didn't watch it either. But, SOME flak. Personally, I think it's great. I think a midget pulling a gun on Jeff Jarrett is just about the most fucking hysterical thing I've ever heard. I hope guns catch on in the world of wrestling. Especially if it's inspired by that classic scene from "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Imagine it... RVD vs. Benoit. They lock up... Benoit goes behind RVD... RVD flips over Benoit's back... Benoit blocks Rob's punch and catches him in an armdrag... Rob leaps right back up and catches Benoit in an armdrag. Neither competitor seemingly can gain any advantage, so as happens at the beginning of every RVD match, they decide to break and circle each other. The crowd applauds in appreciation and anticipation. Benoit and RVD eye each other warily. Benoit shrugs, pulls out his gun, and shoots RVD! That's his move! 1, 2, 3!

All right, I was kidding about more guns in wrestling being a good idea. Because I like RVD. All right, I was kidding about that being the reason more guns in wrestling wouldn't be a good idea. The real reason is that it makes a lot of people very uncomfortable and draws a lot of negative attention to an industry that really does not need it. Personally, it doesn't make me uncomfortable. I don't see it as being any different than a movie, myself.

It certainly seemed from the recap like that last NWA-TNA show was one of those "unedited Russo" shows. Which never helped anybody. Apparently, they're gonna be on cable in NYC though. Who knows.

By the way, I WASN'T kidding about the idea of a midget pulling a gun on Jeff Jarrett being fucking hysterical.

One of my mark-out moments recently was when Edge, Rey Mysterio, and John Cena were all given major roles in the Smackdown main event. Michael Cole, for once in his life, said something that was memorable and seemed heartfelt: "This is the future of Smackdown!" The buildup of Mysterio -- from the teasers before he came in, to the commentary putting him over, to giving him such a prominent role -- was really shocking. I just can't believe they went so all-out with it. I'm thrilled, it's beyond terrific. And his bodypress off the top of the cage was awesome. I will be very, very pleased to see main events involving the new faces. I wouldn't worry about evening the rosters in terms of starpower at all. People will say "that's not a main event matchup"... fuck that noise, who cares. I think most people would welcome the change. Let's roll with the new hotness. I heard that somewhere.

I still am not too thrilled about the anti-America angle. Now they're picking on Marilyn Monroe and John Wayne? After they picked on the Vietnam and Korean Wars? I dunno, man. Talk about pussyfooting around the issue. Either say something that hits home, or get out. I would prefer the latter. I understand that Lance Storm and Test need to treasure any heat they can draw, but dammit, Christian is not in that category.

The writing is so much sharper recently though, seriously. There is so much more continuity, so much more suspense, significantly less bullshitting and time-killing. I have no clue where this came from. I know it's good though.

Not that I wish physical pain on the guy, but, thank God Kevin Nash got hurt. According to the dirtsheets, the match in which he got hurt was designed to start pushing him as the main heel on RAW. Can you imagine? Everything would be very different right now if he hadn't gotten hurt, no doubt about that, anyway.

Kanyon separated his shoulder... then it got infected... then he really got into trouble when fluid started building up in his lings. WHO SICKA THAN KANYON? Seriously, that really sucks, for his career and for his health. He was just starting to get over when he started having injury problems, which was a very long time ago at this point. And of course, for his health, obviously bad. Hope he gets better.

I noticed recently that all of the cool people put AIM chat logs in their columns. Unfortunately, I have no friends. So I decided to try to make myself look cool by having a conversation with the Sporting News' "ActiveBuddy", AgentBaseball. AgentBaseball can tell you player stats, game results, and so on. It's actually a pretty neat service, if you're a baseball fan. Here's what the Agent had to say when I tried to engage it in an exchange of ideas.

TeenageRiot35: muthafuckaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
AgentBaseball: What?
TeenageRiot35: muthafuckaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
AgentBaseball: "muthafuckaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa..."? Great. That's great.
TeenageRiot35: yeah, she was
AgentBaseball: Huh?
TeenageRiot35: your mom is great in bed
AgentBaseball: Yeah? What about her?
TeenageRiot35: she's insatiable, like a wild boar
AgentBaseball: It's interesting that you say she is insatiable like a wild boar.
TeenageRiot35: it's interesting how she was on my jammy all night
AgentBaseball: It is interesting how she was on your jammy all night? And your point is...
TeenageRiot35: my point is she's a cheap whore
AgentBaseball: Really?
TeenageRiot35: yes
AgentBaseball: Hmmm...
TeenageRiot35: what are you gonna do? cry?
AgentBaseball: Who knows?!
TeenageRiot35: cry, baby, cry. you're a big baby, so cry
AgentBaseball: I see...
TeenageRiot35: you have a purty mouth
AgentBaseball: I'm not sure...
TeenageRiot35: I'm sure it will look good on my rod of love
AgentBaseball: What?
AgentBaseball: Is that so?
TeenageRiot35: why don't we find out, big boy
AgentBaseball: I'll have to think about that.
TeenageRiot35: ok, let me whip it out, that will probably help
AgentBaseball: Ok let me whip it out that will probably help, huh?
TeenageRiot35: no way, you do me first
AgentBaseball: Way!
TeenageRiot35: all right, fine. let's see the merchandise
AgentBaseball: Oh really?
TeenageRiot35: yeah, go ahead
AgentBaseball: Where?
TeenageRiot35: you need a freaking road map? take out your johnson
AgentBaseball: Which player do you mean by "Johnson"? Pick one below.

1 Adam Johnson, SP, Minnesota Twins
2 Brian Johnson, C, Los Angeles Dodgers
3 Charles Johnson, C, Florida Marlins
4 Jason Johnson, P, Baltimore Orioles
5 Jonathan Johnson, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Tom Dean
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