Hello, my intended...
Once again, I've decided to see how much farther and faster down the proverbial slippery slope Vince and the crew can catapult the wrestling business. I'm all atwitter to get my hands on the new Singing Wrestler Album for a simple reason, which should come as no surprise to those of you that read me regularly, or at least one out of the three of you.
My name is Bobo Fiendish, and I'm a fucking idiot.
Everybody: Hi, Bobo!
I think it was the middle of last year when I decided that making fun of crappy wrestling was almost as fun as watching good wrestling. Then I decided a few weeks later that wrestling had gotten so crappy that it qualified as camp/kitsch, and since I'm a sucker for stuff that's hideously awful, I suddenly liked it again. That lasted about a week.
Then they made it so flat and meaningless that it was no longer fun. It was dry. It was a chore to sit through the shows. Even worse was how they meticulously squandered any chance they stumbled across to change things for the better, and how staunchly they refused to admit it. Hating Levesque has become a cliche', and yet they still try to make him the linchpin of the show. I wasn't watching teh McMahon brand back in 2000 when Jean-Paul was a 'hell of a hand', so I have no point of reference besides his current lackluster performance as 'The Game'. As much as I hate Hulk Hogan, he was undeniably able to heat up the crowd and make you either love him or hate him. The Triple-H character is not so polarizing as that, despite a spirited effort from Levesque and the writers...
That's the problem.
I'll explain... You remember the kid in school that went all out to be 'cool'? Did you think he was cool? No, clearly not. Why? Because he tried too hard to be something he wasn't. In short, that's not cool. That's just sad. That's why nobody likes Triple-H. You just can't back the kid that is making a dork of himself trying to be cool, because that means you're not even as cool as he is - and desperately want to be.
Wrestling fans are used to a certain degree of denegration from the outside world. We're used to people that "don't get it" looking down their noses at us. The problem now is that those of us that "DO get it" are slowly realizing that my previous paragraph is chillingly accurate - and are rejecting it out of sheer self-esteem.
To summarize, the problem isn't the death of kayfabe and it never was. We know that most of the shows on TV are 'a work' - even the ones laughingly called 'reality shows'. But because the players on these shows perform their parts in such a way that it seems 'natural' or at least 'plausible', we can set aside the knowledge that what they're doing is a work and simply enjoy being worked. Right now, the WWe doesn't have anyone on either 'brand' that can do it.
Not alone, anyway.
Therein lies the crux of their dilemma. They want to follow the Hogan formula and pin the whole place on one guy because that's what worked before. They refuse to acknowledge that times have changed. They think kids today are just as dopey as they were in the 80s, and you can't convince them otherwise. Trust me. We've been trying for years, folks - and most of us WERE those dopey kids in the 80s.
Anyway, that's enough for now - let's have a Recap. Tonight's coming from Long Island New York - and the matches featured are Kane versus Booker T, plus Orton and RVD for the IC. Hmm... Not even a mention of HHH in the "ten more minutes of Star Trek' Raw promo. Dare I hope they caught on at long last?
Standard Raw intro, and I wonder if Austin's back in the picture rotation? Nope. I guess they wanna make up a 'New Sheriff' T-shirt to put on him first, eh?
And Trish is gonna jerk the curtain tonight in a tag-team contest. Oh, and Coach joins the announce team, and he'll be doing a live interview with HHH and HBK in the ring tonight. Yay. Trish's teammate is Lita, so I guess they'll tease the face-run of Victoria a little longer, huh? Maybe not, as Jazz is on the opposing team... Her partner? Molly.
Molly? She gets to the ring and they commence with the can they co-exist deal. Molly starts with a sidewalk slam attempt on Lita that she turns into an ankle-scissors takedown. Tag to Jazz. Lita tosses her over in a firerman's carry, and follows with a snap suplex. Lita goes to the top, but is tossed down by Molly with an arm-snap. Jazz works Lita's wing a bit, then tags in Molly to work the arm as well. Lita battles out and goes to the ropes for momentum and gets kneed in the back by Jazz. Molly doesn't take advantage of the double team and continues wrenching Lita's arm. Tag to Jazz, who works the arm some more before trying for a Warrior Splash. Lita avoids it, and gets the hot tag.
Thesz Press and punches by Trish on Jazz. Trish yanks Molly in and then takes the both of them down. Jazz eats a Spinebuster as Molly spills outside. Lita gets involved and she and Molly go at it on the outside as Trish gets in the Handstand Spot for two. Teddy Long interferes, and tosses something at Trish. Trish tosses it back, and Jazz rolls her up for the win with a handful of tights. Long and Jazz start working Trish over, and Jericho runs in for the save - and it looks like he'll be trying to put Teddy in the Walls. Oops. Mark Henry makes the save and crushes Jericho into little pieces...
Matt Hardy is in the ring now with a mic - and he's bitching about how people have been trying to steal his spotlight all his life. His brother Jeff. His ex Lita. And now Stone Cold. Why him? Because since Austin's been back, he hasn't been on Raw. He also kvetches about how Austin being 'sheriff' is the same as him being co-GM, except that now he can kick ass. (Noooo, REALLY? Wow, how about that?). Then Austin comes out on that four-wheel thingie again, and the crowd pops as he does the corner-birdy thing and then gets a mic. Hardy looks ready to piss himself. Then Austin says that Eric Bischoff ruining the show for his own ego is breaking the law, but for some reason him doing the same thing is okay. He then runs down Hardy for being a mealy-mouth, slick-haired bastard complaining about being out of the spotlight, and offers to let him have the action he craves - against him. Hardy begs off. Austin calls him a coward and says he should get a ticket for impersonating a wrestler. But since Hardy won't wrestle Austin because they've wrestled before, Austin offers anyone that hasn't wrestled Hardy yet a chance to step up and have some Mattitude.
Ah, how the mighty have fallen.
Austin rolls out leaving Hardy to face Bill. Hardy tries rushing in and getting in some licks, but Bill shoves him down. Hardy tries again, and gets shoved down again. Bill tosses Matt to the corner and then flings him across the ring with a pumphandle throw. Hardy responds with a Side Effect. Bill no-sells. Matt tries to get things back on track with a Twist of Fate, but Bill shrugs him off and yanks him by the throat as he comes off the ropes. Bill hocks a loogy on the mat, and then gives the other Matt a Goldberg Military Press to Powerslam. Hardy's rattled, and then gets a Spear. Then a Jackhammer. Then a loss. Bill gets a mic and says that he's back - and that he'll be entering himself in the Royal Rumble. And after he wins that, he'll be getting HIS World Title back at Wrestlemania...
Suuuure you will. Right after I'm elected Pope.
Booker is showing his behind the scenes efforts on the Singing Wrestler Album. Yike. Then we cut to Eric coming out of the office and challenging Austin about reactivating Goildberg. Austin says that Eric didn't do the proper paperwork, so the deactivation doesn't stand. Eric says that Austin doesn't have the power to make matches anymore, and that his little Last Man Standing thing is the one thing the board is letting stand - but that's it. Austin intimidates Eric a bit, and then we go to Orton's nWo commercial ripoff running down Foley. Then we go to Orton live saying that Foley lives fifteen minutes away, and he's even bought Cactus a front row ticket to the show so Randy can 'start what he finished' (God bless live TV). He also says that once he's beaten RVD in front of Foley, he wants Foley. Sigh. Flair can't get you over, kid... You think Foley can? Ask Al Snow how well that works.
Dudleyz start down the ramp for another pointless job-out - either them to Evolution, or anyone else to them it doesn't make a difference. Oops. It's not a tag match, Batista is coming down accompanied by Flair, and it seems he'll be mashing D-von. He does with a series of clubbing forearms and assorted brawlies. He whips Dvon to the corner and lariats him, then takes him over in a vertical suplex for a twocount. Coach mentions how he's got shit jumping in the bedroom, and Ross says that it's not somethig one announces on a wrestling show... I wonder if that 'no personal boasting' policy stands for Ross or Lawler for about a nanosecond as I note Batista working the old Slaughter Neck Wrench. Dvon elbows free. Dvon comes off the ropes but gets knocked back down. Dave with some more forearms, but Dvon turns the tide with a flying clothesline and some brawling. Dvon to the toprope and hits Batista with a diving headbutt as Flair ambushes Bubba. Batista gets in the Sitout Powerbomb for the win. Flair rolls a table into the ring, and Bubba intervenes, preparing to powerbomb Flair through the table. Dave intervenes, and mashes Bubba to exit to the boos of New Yawkas and a weary sigh from ol' Bobo...
Orton's back, and he states that he's noted Foley still hasn't picked up the ticket he bought for him. To sweeten the deal, Orton's hired a limo to bring Mick to the ring - and he sends it to Foley's house.
Jazz and Henry are congratulating themselves on getting over earlier. Teddy Long comes out and announces that he's finally realized why Eric let him be the GM last week (oh, come on, Teddy, I thought you were smarter than that... a WEEK?) and he confronted Bischoff about it. Eric said while he couldn't make up for that, he'll be glad to give Henry a match with Jericho tonight. That seems to make things okay... God knows how.
Then we cut to Goldberg backstage, and he's confronted by Steiner. Steiner says - and I quote, that he "heard Bill talking trash, talking smack about winning the Rumble - but in case he forgot their history, Bill can't beat HIM, the genetic freak - and HE will be winning that Rumble." Bill says 'Oh yeah? Why wait for Rumble? We can get it on TONIGHT?"
"Nah, you just wrestled," Steiner says. "I want you at a hunnit pahcent." So they make a match for next week. Yay. Oh, and we'll have that three-way panel interview with Coach, HHH and HBK after these...
Coach gives HHH an introduction worthy of Kermit the Frog emceeing the Muppet Show, and that'll start HHH's intro to eat up some time... He does the same for Michaels for another pissing away of four or five minutes. Excitement. Excitement.
Michaels tosses the furniture out so that they can have it out 'like they always do', which I guess means on the mat... Heh. Coach asks about how back in '97 they were buddies, but Michaels doesn't want to dwell on the past. HHH gets uppity because he was considered as HBK's sidekick and underling, and wants out of the shadow right NOW. Michaels said that he pulled the cart all by himself and loved every minute of it, but while he was gone Hunter pulled it. HHH says that he thinks HBK couldn't stay out of wrestling because he couldn't stand seeing his old sidekick run things. Yadda Yadda Yadda.
The crowd is silent by now. Who's surprised? (crickets chirping) Right, then.
Hunter continues indicting HBK and puts himself over about how he's the ultimate student of the business, and that there's only been a couple guys in history up there with Michaels... But as good as he is, HHH is that much better. Well, I guess it doesn't mean as much if he's whipping a guy that took four years off with a broken back, so I guess he HAS to put him over a little. He then rambles a bit more about how he has to prove once and for all that he's better than Michaels - if only for one second.
In reply, HBK superkicks Coach inside out to demonstrate that that a whole lot can happen in that one-second HHH was blathering about, but after that one second - it's gone. See ya at the Rumble...
Commercials? Thank GOD.
Next up, Booker T. His music is his track from that singing wrestler CD now, and the masochist in me all but DEMANDS that I buy this thing... Next is Kane's intro, but Booker stands his ground. Bell rings and they go to a collar and elbow and then start brawling. Kane reverses an Irish Whip with a shortarm clothesline, and then comes charging in to capitalize, but Book with a drop-toe bounces Kane off the buckles. Booker with a few kicks and he tries the leaping side-thrust, but Kane catches him and crotches him on the top rope. Kane then shoves Booker out to the floor and ricochets him off the steps a couple times. Kane is disqualified, but doesn't care. He continues with the 'beat up the black guy' theme HBK got started, and rolls Booker back in for a chokeslam and a tombstone. Kane leaves smiling, and we go to the referees trying to sort things out, with Booker selling for all he's worth that the Tombstone has destroyed him...
We're back as Orton continues running down Foley with pointless vignettes...
Next up, Henry to face Jericho after 'softening him up' earlier. But to be safe he's got Jazz and Teddy with him to hedge his bets in case Jericho goes for the job-the-negro trifecta...
Jericho comes out looking anxious, but determined. Bell rings, and they start brawling. Henry explains what a bad idea that is with the ol' Papabear Beatdown. Jericho uses his quickness to lure Henry outside for a baseball slide dropkick, followed by a springboard dropkick. Henry no-sells both shots and clobbers Y2J a little before rolling him back in the ring. Henry pulls Jericho up for a big slam, but Jericho slips free and they do some more brawling. Jericho with a thumb to the eye of Henry to slow him up long enough to hit a Missile Dropkick, and that gets two. Henry gets bothered and stands on Jericho's chest after clubbing him to the mat. Then he gives a pancake to the Y2J and clamps on a Kneeling Backbreaker. Jericho refuses to quit and is actually fighting free with a couple kicks.
Both men at a vertical base and Jericho starts laying in some kicks to the legs, but Henry clamps on a bearhug. Jericho gouges his way out and then knocks Mark down with a dropkick to the leg. They brawl back and forth a bit, and Jericho tries for the Walls. He fails. He lowvbridges Henry and goes for the Lionsault, but Teddy distracts the ref and Jazz sneaks in a shot. Trish runs out and mixes it up with Jazz as Jericho tries again - and fails again. Trish chases Jazz through the ring as Jericho finally clamps it on, but the referee concerns himself with getting the chicks out of the ring so he misses seeing Henry tap. In the resulting confusion, Chris gets destroyed so Henry can win a tainted victory that makes him look like the World's Weakest Man. After all, he needed two people to help him finish off a guy he had beat up already - and he lost clean before he finally beat him, by ambush. Way to go, Mark.
Stacy is talking to Trish in the back about how while she's no Jericho fan, it's obvious he's feeling some sort of way for Trish. She advises Stratus to get with Chris and clear things up once an for all, and Trish agrees to do so. When, God only knows...
They shill Royal Rumble a bit.
Cut to Jericho in the back, and he's being confronted by Christian about how he should get his head straight. Trish is trying to get even with him for the bet thing, and she's even costing him matches now. Christian says that he's gonna take Jericho out on the town tonight, and when he's done the last chick on his mind will be Trish. Jericho reluctantly agrees to go with Christian, and they leave. Eight seconds later, Trish walks up, but Jericho has left the building... Oops.
Evolution is plotting on Foley. but Austin breaks it up. He threatens to run Evolution over with his four-wheel thingie, and he does some doughnuts to chase them away... Sigh.
Orton starts down the aisle to defend the IC strap. He gazes almost longingly at the empty seat Foley's carcass is supposed to occupy, but there's still no Mankind present. Oh well, I guess we'll bring out the challenger now, and that's RVD.
RVD starts off with a Jumping Inside Crescent Kick, but Orton bails to the outside. RVD follows him, and Orton gets back in. RVD follows him, and Orton gets in a cheapshot. They do some brawling, and then RVD hits the Spinning Heel Kick, then clotheslines Orton out the ring. Orton's laying on the floor, and RVD bounces his skimmer off the ringpost. Orton's down, maybe to try to get counted out. RVD rolls in and out to reset the count, and then boinks Orton off the stairs. Orton staggers, and RVD sets him on the barrier for that ugly spinning legdrop off the apron, and Orton's bleeding from the head pretty bad while he's sitting in the seat he bought for Foley.
Cut to the back, and the limo returns! Is it with Foley inside? Let's find out! After some...
The battle continues, with Orton holding the upper hand. Seems he turned the tables with a dropkick during the break. Orton tries running in on RVD in the corner, but eats a back elbow. RVD to the top, but Orton shoves him off and Robbie pinballs off the barrier as only VanDam can. Orton pressing the advantage taking it to RVD on the outside with some brawling, and then rolls RVD back in and clamps him in a body-scissors. He pads the match 'wearing him down' and then rolls him over for a twocount. He continues to work the resthold a little more, and then rolls him over for another twocount. Orton gets in a dropkick and then clamps on the body-scissors again. RVD punches free, but Orton gets him up in a Canadian Backbreaker, which he turns into a sidewalk slam. Not bad.
Orton then applies a Camel Clutch, sort of. The crowd gets behind RVD and he uses their cheers to Hulk up and elbow free. Robbie comes off the ropes, but gets a Kitchen Sink Kneelift and then - yup - put back in the body-scissors. RVD manages to reverse it and sends Orton into the buckles with a Catapult. Orton comes off the buckles and ducks a Spinkick, but Robbie lands it on the rebound. Orton in trouble now, and RVD goes apeshit with a few more top-rope spots and Rolling Thunder. Gets a twocount. RVD with a springboard Moonsault gets another twocount. They go back and forth, both of them botching the ref dump in turn before RVD finally gets it in. Orton with a lowblow while the ref is out on the mat, and he hits that neckbreaker he does on RVD, who was trying to see if the ref was okay.
Orton plays possum, hoping to win it on the tencount. They both get up by seven, though, so RVD tries to get in a fivestar after foiling the RKO, but Orton crotches him and he gets the win by DDTing RVD while he was hanging off the top buckle. Looks UGLY, folks. UGLY.
Cactus didn't show, by the way. Lawler starts agreeing with Orton that Mick's a coward to close the show.
Well, there were some nice matches tonight, but the buildup for the Rumble is still pretty spotty if you're not a HHH/HBK fan. I'm not. Two weeks to go.
Good luck, fellas.
You're welcome. See you SOON.