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Matt Spaulding



Swerve Alert! Swerve Alert!

I'll start off by saying that CRZ's a better man than I am for picking up the ball on Thud-ner for WrestleLine - I swore off that show last summer when Eric Watts The Deal With This Guy Getting A Contract got eight minutes to OPEN THE SHOW and job to Buff Bagwell. The only other thing on at work that night was the U.S. Women's Soccer team's game against Nigeria, and that was 5-1 at the half, yet still ended up being more exciting.

TECHNICAL THING: The fucked-up text in last week's column was my fault, not Our Gracious Host's... I was asleep at the wheel or something and changed the text size when I sent the file off.

I SURE CAN PICK 'EM... WRONG: Two for seven on No Way Out. Egad. You could even say the two I got right were the obvious ones. I have a few theories on why certain things went down the way they did, though.

Kurt Angle with two belts can only become even more arrogant and insufferable, and losing the IC belt gives Jericho his edge back, which is the worst part of his current role as a face.

Meanwhile, Too Cool and Rikishi's win over the Radicals was a reward for their good work in the feud, and it also puts the heels in position to go over in whatever form the rematch at WrestleMania takes. Think about it. Four guys WCW could have really used, but didn't try to keep get their first PPV win for the competition on the biggest wrestling show in North America. That sound you hear is another stab wound to the heart of WCW.

MORE NAMES: Still looking for a new name for Nitro, and with all the people out there who dislike the name "Radicals", can anyone come up with something better?

AND I'LL BE THE 4,820,357TH PERSON TO SAY: Thanks for everything, Mick.

Though the mark in me is largely disappointed with the results of No Way Out (most of my favorites didn't win, and I got taken to school on my predictions), I have to give the WWF credit for not taking the "easy" route and giving us lots to chew on as we head to WrestleMania. You don't really think Triple H/Big Show is going to headline that show, do you? DO YOU???

So Shane's back, and he's aligned himself with the Big Show because he feels Rock's an egomaniacal prima donna. He wants to keep the Rock down to avoid making the same "mistake" Vince did with allowing Austin to get to the top (nice to hear Austin's name get some pops from the Trenton SmackDown! crowd), and he wants the Show as WWF champion after You Know What. This makes me wonder two things:

1. What are Shane's feelings towards Triple H; and 2. Maybe it was SHANE who ran down Austin at Survivor Series?

Chew on this. Shane believes that Austin should never have been allowed to become the icon that he became, and in the past year, he's backed everyone who posed a threat to Austin either becoming WWF Champion or keeping the belt. (the Corporate Rock, Undertaker and the Corporate Ministry, Triple H going into SummerSlam.)

Cut to Survivor Series. Vince wants the belt off HHH in the worst way, so he sends Shane to take him out. But Shane, realizing that taking HHH out of the picture only puts Austin back on top, drives the car into Austin - instead of HHH. Then he goes back to Vince and talks him into putting Show in the triple threat match, figuring there's no way HHH and Rock can beat him. Vince, not knowing what Shane pulled, agrees.

Now don't get me wrong. Rock's going to You Know What. But the only way he'll get there now is if a McMahon gives him another chance to earn his spot. Shane's not gonna do it, Steph's not gonna do it, so that only leaves two.

This Edge/Christian/Terri thing is getting puzzling. First she helps them win, then she causes them to lose? Is she actually on their side or is she just, as she said on RAW, hungry for adoration? It also seems that I'm not the only one who thinks that the brothers' bond isn't going to hold up much longer.

So let's take care of that. Have the Hardys take a cue from the Rock and work their way into a rematch for the No. 1 Contender slot. Christian takes the fall, and Edge turns on him for good post-match. Something about being fed up with always being second-best, or how he's sick of carrying Christian. This brings us back to Hardys-Dudleys for the tag titles at You Know What, and starts a nifty little Edge-Christian feud.

There are only two things worth mentioning in WCW this week:

1. Remember what I said a couple of weeks ago about the Kidman-Vampiro issue? Replace Vampiro with Booker.

2. Three Count as the Hardcore Champions sickened me at first, but then I realized that this could be a great way to have them get destroyed every week, plus they can use the DREADED GREEN CIRCLES as weapons. The crowd could eat it up, and anybody looking for face heat could really get over if the audience doesn't get muted by the production crew. (Idiots.) Although it seems that we've seen the "non-hardcore Hardcore Champion" gimmick in WCW before... with NORMAN SMILEY.

We haven't visited ECW in a while, and with the Living Dangerously pay-per-view a little over a week away now, we don't have a lot of information on the card for that show. That's not unusual in itself - Paul E. is notorious for adding matches to PPVs seemingly hours before the show starts - but he doesn't have nearly as much juicy material to work with this time around, what with Rob Van Dam and Jerry Lynn on the shelf and Sabu on his shit list for flirting with WCW while under contract.

They already have Dusty Rhodes taking on Steve Corino in a bullrope match, the Impact Players defending the tag titles against Dastardly Danny Doring and Angry Amish Roadkill (tag team wrestling's new Odd Couple), and probably Mike Awesome vs. either Masato Tanaka (again) or Spike Dudley (again) for the ECW World Title.

This angle with the TV title (and Rhino as "The NETWORK'S TV Champ") has the potential to be great if the "champions of the week" can deliver a good match, but too many more of these eight-second squashes and I'll be wanting RVD to come back and kick ass, bad leg and all. It also can't last TOO long, as it looks like Van Dam will be unable to compete for another three months, and we'll be past Hardcore Heaven and halfway to Heat Wave by then. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if a match for the "vacant" TV title is added to Living Dangerously, as just about any two wrestlers I haven't mentioned yet can go after it.

Speaking of wrestlers I haven't mentioned yet, there's one thing Heyman can do to get fan interest in ECW back up and percolating with the PPV right around the corner: let the other shoe drop in regards to the rapidly deteriorating relationship between Tommy Dreamer and Raven. The history between these two is so rich and storied, and the fire's begging to be lit again. Turn Raven's feelings of frustration and abandonment into furious, manipulative anger and watch Francine get caught in the middle. The history of Dreamer-Raven will take care of the rest, pushing this feud back into the spotlight and maybe give Sandman something to do besides stand in the hallway and chug beer.

Small Packages:

  • Anybody notice that Big Show picked up a little bit of that McMahon swagger this week? I kinda like it.
  • He didn't say it, but the Rock has been to Trenton before... he's done several autograph signings at a wrestling-themed store in a nearby shopping mall.
  • Mideon's still around? And where the hell is Ivory?
  • Somebody give Dustin Rhodes a gimmick, PLEASE.
  • Last week when I said that WCW has to find the right person to hold the resurrected TV title, I'm pretty sure you all assumed I didn't mean Hacksaw. For the record, I also didn't mean Robert Gibson (?!), or Lord Steven Regal (sorry, CRZ), and I DAMN sure don't mean Fidel Sierra.

    Next week... er, I'll come up with something. Send any feedback or ideas to Please.

    Matt Spaulding

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