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Matt Spaulding



Spaghetti, ECW Style

THE PEOPLE'S MAILBAG: Chris Depetro REALLY liked my theory on Shane's "motivations" for backing the Big Show from last week's column:

This idea is so good, because the WWF doesn't have to MAKE it work at all. It HAS to work. It's EXACTLY what happened and it fits PERFECTLY. They don't have to MAKE it fit, it just DOES.

Don't you love the CAPS for EMPAHSIS??? [sic]


I wrote that bit last, by the way.

I feel compelled to explain a couple of things about this column before I start. Those of you who have been reading it have noticed that it goes up on Friday afternoons, usually after I've watched my weekly SmackDown! tape. I try as hard as I can to avoid reading spoilers for taped shows, which creates a problem when dealing with ECW.

See, ECW tapes their programming a week in advance on Fridays, and I haven't quite figured out which show "happens" first, ECW on TNN, or ECW Hardcore TV, which allegedly airs in my area sometime after the TNN show on another channel, then again on Saturday night. (If anyone can answer this, please do.) So doing this fantasy booking for ECW is a little more difficult, as throughout the week I occasionally stumble across references to things that I'm not sure have actually happened yet. It's also why I won't be running predictions for Living Dangerously.

Which is why I'd like to take this time now to thank Paul Heyman for royally screwing things up. I don't mean Raven and Francine turning on Dreamer - that was pretty well telegraphed. I don't mean Tanaka getting jumped by the Impact Players - that was just Lance and Justin doing things that heels do. (Aside: What the hell was Storm rambling on about foreigners for? Hey, Lance, you're from "Calgary... Alberta, CANADA," remember? And you're pulling this stunt in Cincinnati? You ought to be ashamed of yourself.)

I never saw the tag team title change coming. And it really doesn't make sense - sure, you could have called the Tanaka run-in when the Players started to beat down Dreamer, but when and why did the belts get involved? At least when the WWF did this last September with Mankind/Rock and Undertaker/Big Show, there was a purpose for putting the tag straps on the line. Granted, that purpose was to cover up the fact that they didn't seem to have a plan for World Champion Triple H, but... hey, wait a second.

That was not a dramatic device; I really just did think, "Hey, wait a second."

This might be the sum effect of the situations with RVD (hurt as World Title push was about to begin) and Sabu (wants the hell out, and apparently has gotten his wish). Paul E. thought: "Well, our original program with Mike Awesome is dead, so let's throw Spike Dudley at him again and do something big with the tag titles."

Dreamer and Tanaka have tag team belts that they're not sure how they got. The Players, no doubt, are hopping mad. (Did I just write that? What am I on?) The potential to really mix things up is there, but we're leaving someone out.

What about Raven? (It was there; I had to take it. Sorry.) You just KNOW Francine's gonna try and get him to go after Dreamer. But Dreamer's got Tanaka by his side now, and Storm and Credible are not just going to sit back and give Raven a free shot at Tommy. Raven needs a partner, and here I am trying very hard not to use yet another dramatic pause and follow it up with "Enter Sandman."

The sometimes forgotten, always hammered third man in the Dreamer-Raven relationship should team with Raven to set up a three-way dance at Living Dangerously for the tag team titles. But Sandman turns on Raven during the match, costing them a shot at the gold. The Players get the belts back, by the way.

This all allows Sandman to become a player again as Dreamer's ally in his feud with Raven. It puts the tag team belts back on the Impact Players, where they belong. It also allows the Doring/Roadkill push to continue for a while longer, only I would have them start to focus more on challenging Storm and Credible, with maybe a mini-program against the Baldies or the New Dangerous Alliance or somebody like that.

One more thing, Paul: I don't ever want to see Eric Watts on my TV screen again. EVER.

I will say this for WCW: they're advancing angles and feuds again, something they completely forgot to do for SuperBrawl. I'll ignore that they could be advancing better angles and feuds, because I want to emphasize that they're doing something right. Jarrett/Sid, Mamalukes/Harris Bros., Rhodes/Funk, and the Ric Flair stuff is progressing rather nicely for what it is.

However, Booker/Kidman/Harlem Heat 2000 needs to be reined in before it becomes a total clusterfuck, assuming that hasn't already happened. Personally, I wouldn't mind keeping Booker and Kidman together and giving them a run as tag champs, but just between you and me, there's something about this whole situation that doesn't seem right. I have a really bad feeling that Kidman is somehow going to end up in Harlem Heat 2000, which makes even less sense than Owen Hart in the Nation did.

And when did Vampiro start feuding with Fit Finlay?

Speaking of Vampiro, WCW tried to push both him and the Wall this week, but didn't get the greatest results. Little tip, guys: You want to get Vampiro over? How about booking a WIN or two for him? You can have Schiavone and That Other Guy talk him up all you want, but Vamp will still be as over in WCW as I am if he keeps jobbing afterwards, and it doesn't boost the few shreds of credibility Tony has left.

INCIDENTALLY: That Other Guy lost all of his credibility a long time ago. "Winning and losing doesn't matter." Blow me. And props to our own Michelangelo for unearthing that dirty little secret.

Meanwhile, the WWF seems to be doing a slow burn as it builds to WrestleMania, and if it's March, that can only mean a DX shakeup is in the works. Last week we saw an injured Billy Gunn get in Triple H's face and get punked out as a result. He'll be gone for a while after shoulder surgery this week, and the beatdown conveniently writes him out of DX. Don't write him back into DX, by the way. I'll expand on this as we get closer to You Know What.

Oh, and there's some sort of big title match coming up. Big Show against Triple H or something. Like a lot of people, Christopher Jentz would like to exercise the "card subject to change" clause:

Stephanie is already with multiple H's. Shane has aligned himself with TBS.

Shane's jumped to Turner? That backstabbing BASTARD!

Vince could come back and hook-up with Cactus. Let Linda pick up the Rock and we have a four-way main event.

Its a way to get everyone back for 'Mania. Plus, the McMahon's could use the wrestlers as pawns in their power struggle. Winner gets control, the wrestler gets the belt.

Of course, Cactus wins and Vince reclaims his position at the top. Foley goes out as champ. Everyone's happy.

This works for me, and I even have the beginnings of an idea to wrap up all the McMahon family issues at the same time. I won't reveal it here because I haven't quite figured out the logistics, but I can say that it starts with the Rock playing the McMahons' game, and it ends with Triple H losing the belt at You Know What, taking a fall, and having to deal with Test when he gets up. Next week, I promise.

Small Packages:

  • I'm with CRZ on Crash Holly's "The Hardcore Title's always on the line" angle. If they can move this beyond the Posse jumping Crash at every turn, this has big-time potential.

  • Speaking of Our Gracious Host, did he actually compliment the Rock in his RAW report, or did I just miss some of his patented sarcasm? "Benoit with a backdrop suplex, almost as nice as the Rock's!" Discuss.

  • Speaking of that cage match, you knew they were using the five-dollar cage when you realized that they never showed it before the match. The good cage is always hanging above the ring as the show starts, with all sorts of little spotlights bouncing off of it.

  • I guess they're saving Benoit's "swandive headbutt FROM THE TOP OF THE CAGE" spot, presumably for the good cage.

  • During a break at work, I caught the Hennig-Flair match on the Nitro replay, and damn it if I didn't like it.

  • I wonder what Ric would do if he ever made it to the top rope.

  • Why the hell is it called "Team Package?" You've got Ric Flair in the group and you're calling it "Team PACKAGE?" That's just plain wrong in so many ways.

  • Yet another killer promo from Arn Anderson on Thud-ner... he must write his own stuff...

  • I may be forced to write a special column on "wrestling issues that are pissing me off" soon.

    Matt Spaulding

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