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Matt Spaulding



Jumping the Gun

THE PEOPLE'S MAILBAG: Props to Trev Giberson for dropping a little bit of knowledge on some of the younger wrestling fans like myself when I asked:

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

Hit a really bad high cross body. He won his second World Title in 1983 (the first Starrcade, against Harley Race) with one.

You know, when you say it like that, I begin to think it's probably better this way.

And I got this letter about my Tuesday March Madness column:

I share your pain. I remember last year, watching Duke/UConn (and I live in Durham, to make things worse), being so conditioned to wrasslin' that I couldn't conceive of Duke losing; it seemed like a "big blowoff match" (and yes, those words went through my mind).

Not that anyone cares, but I never mentioned my Final Four picks: Michigan State (who will win the whole thing), Stanford, Temple, and Oklahoma.

LIVING DANGEROUSLY NOTES: Ahhh, ECW... the only promotion that uses Pay-Per-Views to start feuds. Did I not call Doring/Roadkill vs. New Dangerous Alliance? Why do I sound so proud of that? And what the hell was the deal with Elektra's explanation for turning on them? Was she speaking English?

Of course, we also came damn close to seeing the end of the promotion as we know it with that fall New Jack and Grimes took off the scaffold. Who's booking this crap?

FINALLY: The Rock is in the main event for WrestleMania. Although, if I'd had my way, he wouldn't be there just yet.

Vince McMahon and the WWF beat me to the punch. The Rock-Big Show match we saw on Raw would have taken place next week as the culmination of:


This first part would have gone down last night on SmackDown!, as it consists of backstage stuff that can run throughout the show.

Some random office flunky walks into HHH and Stephanie's office and gives them an envelope full of forms to sign. He tries to rush them by telling them that "Shane wants this stuff right now," and he continues to bug them until Hunter and Steph sign off on everything just to get rid of him. Repeat this scene later with Shane and a different color envelope, this time telling him that Stephanie's waiting for these forms. Note: The guy should look as much like Radar from M*A*S*H as possible.

In the last of these segments, the flunky brings both envelopes to the Rock's dressing room. Rock looks them over, nods his approval, then sends him off to have them mailed overnight to WWF headquarters. Rock tips the kid $700 or so, thanks him, says that he's forgotten what his name is, and you know how the rest of that goes. Rock wrestles in the main event, and we see him smile to himself as the show goes off the air.

Next Monday's Raw opens with HHH & Stephanie and Shane & Big Show doing yet another spiel in the ring. They set out to start booking matches for the evening when Rock's music hits and he comes out. Rock informs the heels that he's wrestling Show for the No. 1 contender spot. He also announces that HHH will wrestle in a lumberjack match against a "mystery opponent," who, if he wins, will become the special guest referee in the WM main event.

HHH makes some remark about Rock and "stroke", but before he can continue, "No Chance in Hell" fires up - and out walks Vince. HHH: "You know, Rock, I always thought you weren't man enough to handle me, but I never expected a no-talent egomaniac like you to go running-UH, crying-UH, with your tail between your legs back to Vince McMahon and beg-UH and plead-UH for the chance-UH to get your ass kicked-UH one more time-UH by the Game-UH."

Then Vince drops a bombshell, saying that Rock didn't go to him for help, and that he didn't authorize the Rock-Show match - Stephanie did. He then produces the first envelope of forms that HHH and Stephanie signed at SmackDown! This causes everyone to erupt. Steph, in particular, freaks out and blabbers her way through a poor explanation to keep Shane and Show from going after her.

The other shoe drops when HHH wonders who signed off on his match. You can probably guess what happens next: Vince produces the second envelope with the documents that Shane put his John Hancock on.

Rock gets a clean win over Big Show at the top of the 10 o'clock hour. The end of the show arrives, and HHH comes out first for his match, followed by the lumberjacks, who, for this special occasion, consist of the whole locker room. Rock and Stephanie take seats at the commentary table (opposite ends, of course), and then the mystery opponent is revealed.

Mick Foley.

The crowd goes nuts, whether he comes out as Mankind, Cactus Jack, Dude Love, or himself. HHH's tights fill up with bricks. Stephanie flips out again, and Rock calmly explains that among the documents she and Hunter signed was an order reversing the retirement stipulation from No Way Out. Mick eventually wins, setting up Rock vs. HHH for the title at You Know What, with Foley as the special referee.

Small Packages:

  • When was the last time JR was that bad during a broadcast?

  • It seems to me that the crowd should really be chanting "bitch" instead of "slut" whenever Stephanie takes the mic.

  • "The Dog?" Isn't this the kind of crap that got Russo fired?

  • Are there any women left in the Big Three who are babyfaces? You could probably count them all on one hand.

  • Terri got Edge's spear on SmackDown! - but I doubt it's the one she wanted.

  • As I finish writing this on Friday afternoon, I'm watching Penn-Illinois, and one of the school bands just played Too Cool's theme...


    WCW led me to an 8-for-11 performance for Not-So-SuperBrawl... let's see if they really are that predictable or if I'm actually that good. My instincts say it's the former.

    WCW World Heavyweight Title Match: Sid Vicious vs. Jeff Jarrett

    Jarrett's pinned Sid three times since the last PPV, so take that for whatever it's worth. Neither guy is a real draw for WCW, but Jarrett's even less so. Sid goes over again, since it'll be easier to job him out of the title as softball season approaches. This match may not even be the main event in deference to:

    Strap Match: Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair

    The strap is here to replace Hogan's stolen weight belt, and to give this match a much-needed gimmick, considering the display these two put on at the Dog Show Nitro last month. I know I shouldn't do this since Hogan's involved, but my gut tells me to go with Flair.

    Lumberjack Match: The Total "Package" (w/ELIZABETH~!) vs. Sting for the 194,802nd time

    And people say Russo's booking was unoriginal.

    We haven't seen much of the Stinger since SuperBrawl, although he did show up on Nitro this week to conveniently remind us that he is fighting Luger once again on a pay-per-view. The Package has been getting pretty good heat the last few weeks, though you wouldn't know it by listening to the muted crowds on WCW television. Aside: You'd think with all the paper in the seats, they'd be amplifying the crowd noise.

    Anyway, if Sting plans on sticking around for a while this time, they'll need to get him over again, so a win for Sting would be the way to go here. The lumberjacks, who will all be wearing casts, are irrelevant. (Note: A Sting victory would put the all-time match record between these two at 97,388-97,388-26.)

    WCW Tag Team "Title" Match: The Mamalukes (w/Disco Inferno) vs. The Harris Brothers

    Like last month's epic "Sicilian Stretcher Match" tilt, there's very little good that can come out of this. I don't like or care about either of these teams, but the champs at least have personality, so I'll go with them to retain because the alternative truly frightens me. I'd also like to add that it's a sad commentary when the best wrestler in this match is the MANAGER.

    Harlem Heat 2000 vs. Booker and Kidman

    Rhetorical question: Is WCW ever going to get Booker away from his talentless brother? Rhetorical answer: No.

    This was supposed to be a pointless Booker-Kidman feud when it started, but then WCW teamed them up against the new Harlem Heat stable. But don't worry... the Booker-Kidman feud will start after this match when one of them turns on the other. Expect Harlem Heat 2000 to win in a screwjob ending.

    Vampiro vs. Fit Finlay (Falls Count Anywhere)

    What was this about again? Does anybody remember? Does it even matter? And I'll say it again, WCW: If you're serious about pushing Vampiro, PUT HIM OVER SOMEONE. For some reason, I think they actually will.

    WCW Cruiserweight "Title" Match: The Artist Formerly Known As Prince Iaukea vs. Psychosis

    You know, the problem with Iaukea's gimmick is that nobody cares enough about the guy they stole the gimmick from to care about Iaukea. If you've been reading for a while, you already know who I want to win this matchup, and you also know that I'm cynical enough to believe that TAFKAPI will continue to be the Cruiserweight champion as well as not over.

    Hardcore Title Gauntlet Match: Brian Knobbs vs. 3 Count

    All three members of 3 Count pinned Knobbs to win this belt, and now he wants it back. This is hardcore rules and gauntlet rules, so Knobbs has to pin all three guys to get the belt back.

    There are few things funnier in WCW right now than hearing Evan Karagias say the word "hardcore", but I think the joke's gone on long enough. WCW probably doesn't, though, so 3 Count will probably keep the strap.

    Bull Rope Match: Dustin Rhodes vs. Terry Funk

    Hmmm... out-of-shape old-timer face vs. talentless heel. Didn't ECW do this on pay-per-view last week? At least Corino's over.

    A chicken will be involved. Rhodes will win. Yawn. Next.

    Lane and His Partner Who Keeps Getting His Name Changed vs. The Demon and Norman Smiley

    So he's Rave now, is he? Now, I seem to remember that at the beginning of the Uncensored month, Lane teamed with Norman in a match against 3 Count, and now they're on opposite sides because Lane and His Name Was Idol When This Happened tried to weld the Demon's coffin shut.

    The Demon's presence here practically guarantees a win - for Lane and Rave.

    The Wall vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

    So the story now with the Wall is that Triple B brought him into WCW, even though he first appeared as the late, lamented Berlyn's bodyguard. Uh... OK. They've been pushing The Wall down our throats, and there's been no indication that it's going to stop, so look for The Wall to win.

    NEXT WEEK: Uncensored fallout, yet another WCW shakeup(?), how to bring back WCW's injured talent, and the Road to You Know What continues.

    Matt Spaulding

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