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Matt Spaulding



Iron Storm

NOT THAT YOU CARE, BUT: Apparently CRZ just forgot to put my column up last week. I don't know. I wasn't at home at all last weekend to check on it, and by the time I noticed it wasn't there, half of it (my Judgment Day predictions) was irrelevant.

AND IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING: My Judgment Day predictions? The ones you didn't see? 0 for 6. Good GOD, do I suck. I'll e-mail them to you if you don't believe me.

THE PEOPLE'S MAILBAG: Shot2Hell writes in again to clear up a matter from a couple weeks ago:

I found it! It wasn't Worst Wrestler where Hogan swept all comers EVERY YEAR, it was LEAST FAVORITE WRESTLER!!! From 1991 to probably Y2K, longer if his pacemaker survives.

LINES OF THE WEEKS: Last week, we had our first tie:

1. Michael Cole: "Spare us!" (SmackDown!, May 18) Spare us, indeed, from ever seeing that much of Pat Patterson's ass again. At least they were clean this time around.

2. Alex Marvez: "The show ended with the Millionaire's Club tipping over the NB bus, which was supposed to have all the NB inside it. The Goldberg truck then charged at the bus at full speed as the show went off the air, leading me to believe that all the wrestlers are dead." (Wrestling Observer Online, Thunder highlights, May 18) Even with his tongue Crazy-glued to his cheek, Alex does a fine job of putting over the absurdity of this segment.

This week's is easy. Bradshaw: "Remember - he's just a boy." (beer splashes on his face) "Kill him." (SmackDown!, May 25) This whole Crash-APA angle has me on the floor right now.

So let's talk about that Iron Man match, shall we?

It seemed a lot of people were going into this thing with pretty low expectations, considering the participants and the legacy (Bret vs. Shawn) they were up against. But after the show, a lot of these same people were applauding both Triple H and the Rock's performances.

(On a side note, I will try in the future to not be as hard on HHH's ring work as I have been. However, I would like both guys to start showing a little more of what they pulled out on Sunday on a regular basis.)

I think a big part of what made this match work for so many people was the booking of the multiple falls. I also think it's the only way it could have worked as well as it did. The WWF has been conditioning its fans to pop for the wrestling more and more, but there was still no way that Rock and HHH could have pulled off a 66-minute match with only one fall (which is what Bret-Shawn was) and have the fans believe it.

Rock got the first fall, then HHH took the next three. This established HHH as the man in control of the match in the early going, and it got the crowd behind the Rock as he battled to catch up.

Rock hit two DDTs to close the gap to 3-2. What followed was a universally praised bit of psychology - Triple H chaired Rock for a DQ (Gotta love stipulations!), tying the match at three falls apiece, then went back and covered him to go up 4-3. THEN he put a sleeper hold on a still-not-quite-with-it Rock, and for the first time in recent memory, the arm fell thrice. 5-3, Helmsley. Again, HHH controls, forcing Rock to fight back.

Next came the countout fall, as Rock Pedigreed HHH on the announce table, which failed to sell the move and stayed intact. And you knew we had to see The People's Elbow at some point.

The ending? Hard to say how it fits, especially since we now know that the timing was thrown off. But what was supposed to happen - HHH takes the lead via DQ with seconds left after Undertaker chokeslammed him - would have been yet another instance of Rock trying desperately to catch HHH, which, with HHH winning the belt back, is exactly how this feud is going to be played out for a while yet.

Bischoff and Russo couldn't book any match half as well in their wettest, by the way.

In other news, Lance Storm recently made a bad career move... he's expected to debut in WCW sometime soon.

Why is it a bad career move? Because he's going to WCW, where the booker doesn't book for anyone but himself, where the titles are treated like funhouse mirrors and pointlessly hot-shotted every week, and - and this is the most important point as far as Storm is concerned - where nobody is allowed to wrestle.

What's Lance gonna do in WCW? Cut promos? BWA HA HA HA HA. I'd rather sit through Hulk vs. Horace again than listen to that. All he can do is work, and Russo doesn't have much use for anyone who can work. Storm's only hope is that whoever was on Russo's committee last time and decided to push Benoit is still around. But failing that, here's one idea I came up with on how to use him:

It's already been teased that many in the NeW blOod have problems with Shane Douglas, as do the Wall and Kronic. The Franchise needs allies if he's going to survive this war.

So Douglas calls out Wall and the Brians and challenges them to a six-man tag team tables match, and says he'll go find two partners. Wall and Kronic come out first, then Douglas... and then his partners... Chris Candido and Bam Bam Bigelow.

As Mike Awesome wanders out, the match itself doesn't go too well for Douglas's side. Candido gets tabled first, then Bigelow. As Douglas scrambles for an advantage, Awesome heads toward the back while keeping his eye on the ring. Just as it seems Douglas is out of luck, Awesome comes running back out and down to the ring, with Storm close behind.

They hit the ring and put the boots to Kronic and Wall. Adams gets double-clotheslined through a ringside table. Storm hits his superkick on Clark, leaving him open for a recovered Bigelow, who greets him from Asbury Park - through a table. AWESOME SPLASH ON WALL THROUGH A TABLE! (All of this may or may not elicit an 'E-C-W!' chant. If it does, so much the better.)

Once the ring is cleared, Douglas grabs the mic as Tammy and Bigelow help Candido to his feet and back into the ring. "Now THAT, my friends, is how you put somebody through a table!" He introduces Lance as "The Best Professional Wrestler in North America" to the fans, since he'll be damned if they have any idea who he is.

"I'm not done talkin' yet!" Still Douglas. "At one time or another, every single one of us worked in a little groundbreaking wrestling promotion in Philadelphia - some of you may have heard of it - called E... C... W! And while we were there, we did a HELL of a lot to bring that two-bit league into the spotlight. Sure, we won titles - in fact, we all won a LOT of titles - but more importantly, we put that place on the map!

"And why are we all here now? Why is Lance Storm here now? Well, like Mike said when he came on board, the opportunity was too good to pass up, because right now, WCW needs to be put on the map! Because right now, WCW SUCKS! When I came back seven weeks ago and became a part of the New Blood, I was told that we would have the opportunity to shake things up. And Lance... he's the final piece of the puzzle. So to all of the punks in the back who want to stand against the Franchise; to the Millionaires' Club, sittin' back on their fat, lazy, washed-up asses; be warned! Things are about to be EXTREMELY... shaken... up!"

If you want to characterize this, it's a "delayed" invasion angle. Doing it this way solidifies the ECW connection the five have, and putting them in a group with Douglas as the mouthpiece allows the others (Storm and Awesome in particular) to do what they do best; that is, not talk. As far as where they wrestle in the card, you can conceivably divide them up any way you want.

This angle also works if you want to really get radical and turn the group face - just replace the Wall and Kronic with, say, the Filthy Animals or some other NeW blOod members.

Call them "NeW blOod Extreme" if you want. I don't care. It's better than whatever Russo's got planned for Storm, that's for sure.

Small Packages:

  • Hey, Russo! You messed up! It hasn't been eight days yet! Jarrett wasn't supposed to lose the title again until NEXT week's Thunder! For the love of God, DON'T SCREW WITH THE FORMULA!
  • Shed no tears for the Hardys, for they have not been forgotten. You can't push everybody at the same time. And consider their PPV outings in 2000: Table match; Edge and Christian; Triangle ladder match; hardcore six-pack. They're probably getting some well-deserved rest.
  • If you're gonna weep for anybody, weep for Booker T. This really deserves more space, but I don't have the time or the proper indignation to spit more venom yet.
  • Hey, Russo! Pay attention! The Artist Formerly Known As Prince changed his name BACK to PRINCE! And guess what! NO ONE CARED!
  • Corinowrestles! Corino blades! And I gain new respect for him in the process.
  • Was Mike Awesome this sloppy in ECW? If so, did I just not notice? Is that why he's been in all of these ambulance matches? Do they figure they're going to need it eventually anyway, so it's better to have it right there?
  • PLATINUM?! That makes it official; Vince Russo is out of ideas. Although Goldust was the only time anybody ever gave a rat's ass about Dustin.
  • Aren't we overdue for a WWF Women's Title defense?
  • Who are the WCW Tag Team Champions? I'm gonna KEEP asking until I get an answer.
  • Does anyone else think that T&A's alliance with D-Corporation-X is merely a setup to get Test close to HHH so he can finally pay him back for the whole Stephanie disaster?

    Like it? Write me. Don't like it? Write me anyway.

    Matt Spaulding
    One half of the ECW World Tag Team Champions

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