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Matt Spaulding



Facing the Facts

BACK FROM A BREATHER: I encourage every Internet Wrestling Personality (and all wannabe IWP's like yours truly) to take a little bit of time off every now and then. It does wonders for the brain cells.

OWF UPDATE: This Sunday, it's the big one. OWF Epic. I'm defending my Cruiserweight title against Rant Central crewman and occasional [slash] contributor Scott Christ, whose character had to drop 17 pounds in three weeks to make the limit, and pissed me off by kidnapping my manager for a week. Doesn't matter; I'm still kicking his ass. :)

NEW BLOOD BOILING: 6 for 10. Why do I always do well on the shitty shows?

And since I promised you all a dollar if Buff's mom didn't turn on him, and since I am, if nothing else, a man of my word, click here to get your money. ;) And don't say I never did anything for you. (This is the first time that's happened, by the way, and I've made this promise twice before. And they've all been for WCW PPVs. You tell me.)

LINE OF THE WEEK: Last week: Disco Inferno: "If ANY of you lay a hand on any of us, not only will you be disqualified, and not only will you be heavily fined, but I'll have your ass wrestling polar bears in Nome, Alaska for the next six months! You got that?" (WCW New Blood Rising, Aug. 13) Thank Chris Jones for that - what, you thought I actually watched NBR? You know me better than that. I'm disappointed.

And wrestling polar bears might actually be a better alternative than WCW - at least then, if something goes wrong, and you die, the suffering ends.

This week: Mick Foley (to HHH): "It's unfortunate that your ears aren't as big as your nose." (Raw, Aug. 21 - my birthday! Not that you care, or anything.)

It looks as if the WWF's grand design - the triangular relationship among Triple H, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, and Kurt Angle - is about to change dramatically, and Triple H is expected to end up as a babyface before this is all over.

My question is: How?

Before you all start writing, I understand that the point of the storyline is to make Stephanie look like a liar and Angle look like the real "bad guy". I KNOW that. But seriously, think about this for a minute. In the past year, Triple H has turned his back on his best friends to join the evil Corporation, bashed in Mankind's and Steve Austin's knees with chairs. He's stuffed The Rock in a casket and smashed it with a sledgehammer. He's come thisclose to giving Linda McMahon a Pedigree. He's faked a back-room assault on Stephanie, only to drug her later at her bachelorette party and marry her in a Las Vegas drive-through wedding chapel. In short, he's been a complete asshole.

And now, because he's lost his precious WWF title and the manipulative bitch she married seems to have a thing for Kurt Angle, we're supposed to root for Triple H?

Obviously, the WWF is banking on the notoriously short-term memories of wrestling fans, because, at least in a real-world context, it looks to me like the son of a bitch is getting what he deserves. "You're not the champ? You're married to a conniving slut? Oh, well." That's what I'd be inclined to think.

Despite this, it's working. Triple H was already starting to get some face pops before the heat was turned up on this angle, and the recent twist with having Shane and Stephanie try to keep them on the same page in their pursuit of The Rock has kept the heel heat on, but after SmackDown!, it's clear that THAT won't last much longer.

Which leads me to my next point. I'm not sure if turning Triple H face at this point is a good move for several reasons.

First, I think his character is the type that needs a "heel gets his" moment where he pays for everything that he's done. If you think about it, even with all of the punishment he's taken, he's still managed to come out on top more often than not. Backlash counts somewhat, but we knew that Austin would be there. I'm thinking of something like what happened to Vince at last year's Fully Loaded, when Austin's victory sent him packing from the WWF until it was time to save the disaster that was HHH's first title reign. Triple H needs to do some high-profile losing before you can really get the fans behind him. And I think it goes without saying that he cannot win on Sunday.

Second, and much more important, if you turn HHH face now, who gets the top heel spot? The storyline would seem to point to Angle by default, but is the kid ready to take on that kind of role so soon in his career, even with Shane and Stephanie alongside him? Same applies to Benoit, who's not as over as Angle, although Shane helps him in the heel charisma department. Big Show might have been a good choice before his re-injury and subsequent demotion. Kane's probably the best choice at this point, but he needs to talk more and be given some motivation to be that No. 1 heel. And forget about turning Rock or Jericho right now - you'd never come up with a reasonable explanation. Triple H is just too valuable in that spot to lose.


The King (Who? What?) vs. The Emasculated Wrecking Machine

Tazz has clearly pissed SOMEBODY off. Why else would he be feuding with Lawler? Although, it is getting him over...

What I'd Do: A Lawler win would get a huge pop, but a Tazz victory is better for everyone involved in the long run. Let's face it, if Tazz jobs to Lawler, there's no saving him.

What They'll Do: Tazz with the Tazzmission after a slobberknocker. This needs to be a fight to get the feud over with the crowd.

Hardcore Title Match: Simba, The Boy Wonder Giant Killer vs. CRZ's Favorite Wrestler Ever

Shane interfered on Chris Benoit's behalf during the latter's Hardcore Title match against Blackman last week, which set up Shane-O-Mac's win (with a lot of help from his friends) on Raw Monday night. Commissioner Foley then booked a rematch for SummerSlam.

Also, Mick waived the 24/7 rule until after SummerSlam (confirming my suspicions that it was still in effect, and that the WWF's talent is smart enough to know you can't sneak up on Blackman), so we know this for sure: Crash will NOT run in, land a chairshot, and roll up the winner.

What I'd Do: Shane's about as hardcore as... well, a rich kid from Greenwich, Connecticut. Blackman wins.

What They'll Do: Hardcore Rules + Shane McMahon =3D CUE THE OVERBOOKING! Blackman overcomes the interference and regains the broken gold.

Three Men Who Have No Right Being This Over vs. Three Men Who Haven't Been This Over In Years

Let me say this about Too Cool & Rikishi: I like them. I do. Sue me. And I think one of the big reasons I like them is that their gimmick - a couple of skinny white boys talking ghetto and dancing like fools, and the kimono-wearing Samoan who befriends them - is so 1993 and so cheesy that it has no business being so popular. But the fans have eaten it up and asked for seconds and thirds. Good for them, I say. And look at it this way: would you rather they were a married gay couple and The Sultan? I thought not.

From the annoying as all hell klaxon theme music, to Steven Richards' over-the-top speeches, this "Right To Censor" gimmick is getting tremendous heat. But they needed something to focus on, and they found it - Rikishi's ass. They don't like looking at it. They think it sends an inappropriate message to children. Hey, I don't like looking at it either, but that doesn't mean I'm gonna try and tell you that YOU can't look at it if you want.

What I'd Do: Since it looks like the RTC will be sticking around for a while, it makes sense to put them over here. No penalties for the losers, though.

What They'll Do: RTC. And since I nailed Rikishi's cage dive at Fully Loaded, I'll add that Richards takes a stinkface.

Speaking of stinkfaces...

Stinkface Match: Terri Devil vs. Me-ow-za

Terri and Kat have had a rivalry for months. Months, I tell you. It seems to be centered around typical "girl stuff" which I, as a man, can't comprehend. But this is wrestling, so there's been an unusual amount of violence thrown in, which I can comprehend.

Saturn's manager is on the card, but Saturn isn't? You tell me.

All right, let's be honest: All this match is is an excuse for a roll-around catfight, some weak scoop slams, and a bulldog or two before one of these ladies gets tossed into the corner, and the other one stands above her, turns her back, swivels her hips, slithers down into a crouch... um, er... I'll be right back...

Okay, that was weird. Anyway, it's about time somebody got a "T&A" match right.

What I'd Do: Er, you don't want to know. No. Really. You DON'T.

What They'll Do: This won't take too long, and Kat backs her ass up, much to a barely conscious Lawler's delight.

Street Dogg vs. The Ladies Love To Hate X-Pac

It started out as a friendly rivalry. The two DX'ers wanted to see who was the better singles wrestler. But somewhere along the way, probably when each laughed a little too loudly at the other getting stinkfaced, it got serious. Foley signed this match before X-Pac head-butted Road Dogg through a table.

The wrestling cynic wonders if somebody will run in so neither man has to job.

What I'd Do: Road Dogg wins, because he's not X-Pac.

What They'll Do: Remember what CRZ always says, kids: X-Pac never jobs in singles matches.

Mixed Tag Match for the Intercontinental Title: Val Venis & Twitch Stratus vs. Eddie Guerrero & Chyna

You read that right. If either Eddie or Chyna pins either Val or Trish, the pinner becomes the Intercontinental champion. Haven't we seen this stipulation before? And what happens if Trish gets the pin? Does she become the IC Champion?

Val and Trish are jealous because Eddie and Chyna are more over than they are. Chyna's sick of Trish getting in her and Eddie's business, and Eddie wants Val's belt.

Seriously, what happens if Trish gets the pin?

What I'd Do: Val retains and beats the hell out of Chyna, setting Eddie off and giving us the singles feud between the men.

What They'll Do: Am I the only one who thinks this might turn into a parody of the David Arquette fiasco? It'd be easy to do, too... just let Trish get about six near falls before Vince winks at us and puts Val over, as if to say, "You didn't REALLY think I'd go THROUGH with it? THIS isn't WCW!" Oh, yeah, Val wins because he needs the heat.

TLC (Tables, Ladders, & Chairs) Tag Team Title Match: Messrs. Photogenic vs. The Dudley Boyeeez vs. The Suicide Bombers

Not quite sure what the exact rules are here, but apparently, all of these items will be legal in the match. Edge & Christian are still the heels, but the Dudleys and Hardyz have been having problems between them recently.

E & C have taken to the steel chair as their foreign object of choice, hence their inclusion in the match. (along with the Dudleys' tables and the Hardyz' ladders)

What I'd Do: Hardyz win regardless (remember where the PPV is). If it's elimination, Dudleys go out first. If it's Triple Threat, E & C job, and Dudleys turn heel and feud with Hardyz.

What They'll Do: As a way to cover myself if something goes wrong on Sunday, the Hardyz will win the tag titles sometime next week, as they'll be in North Carolina all week.

Big Red vs. The Undead American Badass

When elaborate plans go awry, it's nice to have something that the fans recognize to fall back on. This match was supposed to be Undertaker and Kane vs. Shane and Big Show, but Show's back, weight, and attitude problems got him a ticket to Louisville and Kane a heel turn (which I think may have happened at SummerSlam anyway after they lost). They haven't bothered with a storyline explanation for Kane's turn because they haven't come up with anything yet.

What I'd Do: Again, gotta think long-term here. Kane, in a way that gets him some heel heat.

What They'll Do: The lack of a real explanation tells me that Kane's going over, which gives UT more of a reason to hunt him down and beat some answers out of him down the road (when they'll have had time to come up with something).

Two out of Three Falls: Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit

These guys are coming off narrow losses at Fully Loaded, and have renewed the WWF portion of their rivalry. It started up again when Benoit dropped a garage door on Jericho's chest so he could disappear for a week and get married. Jericho returned the favor upon his return by costing Benoit the WWF title.

Alert: This could turn into a de facto No. 1 Contender's match, as both men could make a legitimate claim to that honor no matter how the main event turns out.

We all know that all three falls will be used, so I'm not even going to bother with that. If anyone knows of a 2/3 falls match that ended 2-0, write in and tell me.

What I'd Do: Time for Jericho to go over on PPV.

What They'll Do: A screwy ending gives Benoit the win.

Triple Threat WWF Title Match: Our Champion vs. Fabio On Crack (w/the Corporate Bitch) vs. Olympic Villain Kurt Angle

Both Angle and HHH scored a pinfall in a No. 1 Contender's Triple Threat match on Raw a few weeks ago, so rather than have then fight it out, Foley just put both of them in the title match.

As I said earlier, the way the HHH/Stephanie/Angle storyline has gone, HHH's fate in this match is pretty cloudy. He could win the title. He could turn face. But he can't do both.

In fact, the only way I see HHH winning is if - via a Shocking Swerve - Stephanie interferes against Angle, and HHH pins Rock in the ensuing chaos. HHH and Stephanie would then have beaten Rock, humiliated Angle, and embarrassed them both in one fell swoop. If done right, it could make Angle a face as well. But don't count on it.

What I'd Do: Well, we know Hunter isn't winning, and I've already told you why. I also think Angle's about as ready to be WWF Champion as Benoit was last month; that is to say, he's not. So we're left with Rock pinning HHH to retain, which isn't all that bad, as it gives Rock the clean win over HHH he didn't get at KOTR.

What They'll Do: Truthfully, Angle winning is more likely than HHH winning. Although the WWF will likely keep the title on Rock by having him pin HHH.

ONE LAST THING: Your new ECW Tag Team champions? Rob Van Dam and Kid Kash.

Small Packages (two weeks' worth):

  • Remember all of the positive stuff I'd said about Vince Russo and WCW not ruining Lance Storm like we all feared he would? Well, I officially take it all the fuck back. That overbooked suckfest at NBR, which could have been Match of the Night, did the impossible: it made Storm look pathetic in his own country. They could have gotten the same point across without... well, what WAS the point they were trying to get across?

  • And while I'm on that match, how fucking difficult would it have been to just hand the ref shirt and the Canadian rulebook to Bret Hart when he got there? It's not like Rougeau's job was that hard - all he had to do was READ HIS LINES.

  • However, Sting/Demon went EXACTLY the way it should have gone.

  • The HARRIS BROTHERS?! Shoot me. Better yet, shoot THEM.

  • Turns out that Undertaker chewed out Big Show for his lack of effort at house shows two weekends ago, which led to Show's demotion to Ohio Valley Wrestling last week. This is how a real wrestling company deals with situations like this, and this is why UT, unlike Hogan or Nash, still serves a purpose: he's a veteran who respects the business and has the respect of the locker room. He may suck in the ring now, but at least you can justify keeping him around.

  • So will Big Show start working tag matches with Mark Henry now?

  • Hey, David: You're not your dad. Lose the strut. It makes you look whiter than you really are.

  • Somebody want to explain to me why On-Screen Russo's suddenly trying to sabotage Booker T after putting him over at Bash at the Beach?

  • Better yet, somebody want to explain why Off-Screen Russo's suddenly trying to sabotage Booker T by making him defend the title against Chuck Palumbo?

  • "That damn good" my ass, Helmsley. Stephanie does a better DDT than you. And that's not saying much.

  • A Women's title match as the main event? THAT, gentle readers, is GRAPEFRUITS, as well as a testament to how unbelievably over Lita is.

  • Think ICP will show up on Nitro next week?

  • What the HELL is a "Juggalo"? (DON'T write in and tell me. I DON'T care.)

    NEXT WEEK: Reaction to SummerSlam, and some possible new directions for talent in limbo.

    Matt Spaulding

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