Hello, my intended...
Well, it's the end of another long weekend in these parts, and I'm somewhat pleased to say that I've spent it constructively - well, up until 9 o'clock tonight, anyway. Heh.
What do I have to look forward to tonight? A Goldberg/Steiner match. Austin on a fourwheeler burying the younger guys. And another fifteen minutes worth of ripoff nWo vignettes running down one of the few people I respect in this business in the hope that it elevates someone who pretty much squandered any interest I might have had in him by hitching his wagon to Levesque and Flair. I mean, stealing Elix Skipper's Rocker Dropper/Neckbreaker combo as a young babyface was somewhat interesting. His Kneeling Crucifix Backbreaker is interesting to bring to bear, though he usually saves it for when he's against someone with a 'bad back'. And now, he's using the goddamn Ace Crusher/Diamond Cutter.
Is it just me that thinks the kid's got too many finishers? How can you put a guy and his move over if you don't know what he's going to take it home with? At most, a guy should have two finishers. One he can do to anybody, and one he has to use on people he can't use the standard one on. This is a simple formula used to establish a wrestler's identity to the fans, and it looks like they're going to fuck things up AGAIN. I'll illustrate.
Kurt Angle: Finisher: Angle Slam. Backup: Angle Lock
Chris Benoit: Finisher: Crippler Crossface. Backup: Diving Headbutt.
Rock: Finisher: Rock Bottom/PE Combo. Backup: (Ugh) Sharpshooter.
Kane: Finisher: Choke Slam. Backup: Tombstone Piledriver.
Booker T: Finisher: Bookend. Backup: Harlem Side Kick.
For the most part, these moves are linked to the worker's identity, and they get each other over. Unless you're known and proven to be a fucking innovating MACHINE in the ring (examples: Keiji Mutoh, Kanyon), all you really need is two finishers. Most of the time they just get by with one, such as HHH (Pedigree), Flair (Figure Four), Lesnar (F5), and Victoria (Widow's Peak).
My point? Well, as you know, there's a whole BUNCH of wrestlers out there that are struggling for an identity of some kind. Something that can make the fans care about them. For example, what's the difference between Stevie Richards' 'Stevie-Kick' and Shawn Michaels' 'Sweet Chin Music'? So why is Michaels so much more over than Richards? Okay, besides one of them having McMahon's cock in their ass?
I could be argued that Richards isn't quite as charismatic as HBK, but in all honesty I find both 'characters' pretty damn bland. Could Richards become as over as HBK if he got as much onscreen time as Michaels? Maybe. Could Richards become as over as HBK if he wasn't using the same finisher? It's possible. Here's why: Richards was working his superkick in the indies while Michaels was working it in the WWe. So when Richards debuted on Raw and such, it looked like he was just copying Michaels - despite the Superkick being around LONG before Michaels ever stepped between the ropes. See, the earliest known user of the Superkick (off the top of my head) was Gentleman Chris Adams, who debuted in wrestling back in 1978. Michaels debuted in 1984. Is it possible that Michaels, a Texan, saw Adams running through the Von Erich territory (Texas) and 'liked' the Superkick enough to take it for himself?
Possible AND probable. I'd also like to mention that Adams trained Steve Austin, but I won't hold that against him... Michaels' backup finisher, you might recall, is the Figure Four, though he doesn't use it too much what with Flair being on the same show and all.
That's what I'm getting at, actually. Michaels doesn't use the Figure Four because everyone would know that it's 'Flair's move', and think less of him - unless he used it in a match with Flair, of course. Why? Because he'd be stealing heat from an over finisher. That's why I have, do, and will still constantly lobby for them to give the guys some different/new finishers. You'll never get anyone over with a Superkick as long as Michaels is there. Why? Because the crowd will peg the poor dink as a 'wannabe' HBK. Simply put, copycats don't get over. Ask 'Rockabilly' Gunn if you don't believe me.
Think about all the great stars of yesteryear... They all had moves that were 'theirs'. When I say 'Camel Clutch', who do you think of? How about 'DDT'? How about 'Crossface Chickenwing'? These guys for the most part didn't look much different from anyone else at the time, but you knew who they were because of their 'signature' move - which nobody else did at the time.
I'll use another example. Back when Baron von Rasche worked the Von Erich territory, he was told he couldn't use his 'Iron Claw' because it was a 'patented' Von Erich move. I'm not sure what he fell back on, but the reasoning is clear enough... If other people do the same move, it 'waters it down' with the crowd and eventually makes it common. Common moves are not over. Ergo: To get over, you have to use something else.
Now I'll take it home... Do you think a guy that started using the DDT as a finisher would be considered a threat? No, clearly not. Why? Because everyone and their Uncle Elmer uses the DDT now. I'll go a step further, and note that I don't think it's by accident that the two Frogsplashers (RVD, Eddy Guererro) are on separate shows. You'll further note that Vince McMahon and Austin both use 'Stunners', and are ALSO on different shows. This proves to me that they DO see the inherent problem in having a bunch of guys all using the same moves on the same show, but haven't really opted to remedy it further than separating the top/upper-midcard guys that are 'known' for using the same/similar ones.
Which brings me back to point... Why give Orton a bunch of finishers all to himself? His gimmick isn't being an 'innovator', it's being 'a third generation heel'. Don't you think a couple other guys could use something to make us 'notice' them?
Tonight's Raw is coming at us from Green Bay, WI, and they mention in the '!0 more minutes of Star Trek' blurb that it'll include Goldberg vs. Steiner, and a 'special look' at the long standing rivalry twixt HBK and HHH. Jesus, no. Bad enough they'll have both of them taking up a lot of the show with their antics 'live', but I've gotta deal with a fucking ten-minute montage on top?
Really, the shit I go through for you people...
They're actually using a blurb from the I Have a Dream speech, followed by 'Long Live the Dream'. I'm sure Dusty Rhodes is touched.
Standard Raw intro, with the usual effects and picture of Bischoff smirking bemusedly at us because we're still watching of our own free will. I've always liked his subtle, smartass sense of humor. Reminds me of me a little, except I never dressed up as Count Fagula or jacked off while a stripper was rugmunching my wife. Maybe I'll try it if I ever get married...? Eh? No, I'm too tall to dress up like a fucking vampire. Too heterosexual, also.
Cut to Coach in the locker room with the guys going to the Rumble, and since Benoit's gotten the #1 spot, Raw gets #30. Jericho says since Bisch still owes him, he'll take that spot. Oops, Bisch isn't there again, and Coach is the acting GM. He's drawn up a tourney for all the guys involved, with it all ending in a Battle Royal at the end for that coveted spot. It ends with him sending them to 'his' office to read the posting on the door. Further, outside interference will not be tolerated - and it will cost them their 'spot' IN said Rumble if they do so. I guess since Evolution isn't involved in the RR, they'll be doing most of our run-ins tonight... Austin handling the rest.
Goody. We'll celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s memory by beating up the geeky black guy. You know it'll happen don't you? Sure you do! Nobody retarded can possibly read me.
Jerking the curtain will be RVD and Booker T (still selling that 'injury' from Kane's Tombstone) in a tag match against... Christian and Matt Hardy. Hardy and RVD start off taunting each other, and RVD with a rolling reverse heel which he follows up with a dropkick for one and a half. Hardy tossed Rob into the corner, and gets mushed with a crossbody for his trouble. Tag to Chris, who is immediately leg-swept and sentoned. Tag to Matt, and they work a double team on RVD, but he slips loose and gets the tag. Booker gets some kicks in on Christian, but they work him on the floor with a baseball slide and then a neck wrench. The do the Heel 101 in the badguy corner, and then Matt back in. Booker catches Christian on the apron with a big kick, but Hardy hits him with a Side Effect and then walks him into his corner to tag Christian in. Christian getting in some licks, and he goes to the top for something - but Booker dropkicks him in midair and gets the tag. RVD a house of fire now, wobbling Christian on the apron, and then catapulting Hardy into him. Legdrop and Rolling Thunder follow - but Hardy gets the knees up. Hardy tries for the pin, using the ropes, but the referee catches it. The heels try for a double team, but RVD nails them both at once with a spinwheel kick. Frogsplash across the ring takes it home for the faces. Yay. Oh, and they've made the Steiner/Goldberg match a Triple Threat - adding Test to the mix. I guess Steiner didn't want to job, huh?
Commercials. Eddy vs. Chavo at the Rumble, eh? That was kind of entertaining, five years ago... Chavo isn't half the heel Eddy can be in his SLEEP, so I don't think this is gonna make me want to see Rumble. How about you? I know! Someone call Grandma Guererro and have her tell these boys to stop sucking.
Next up, Coach. He's got his own music now, and it's sorta jazzy, if jazz was gay. He joins the broadcast team, and next down the ramp will be Jericho. He'll face Renee Dupree. Collar and elbow tieup, with Dupree getting in a hiptoss. He taunts Y2J, and gets slapped. Then brawled. Then strangled. Dupree staggers to the apron to get his bearings, and gets springboard missile dropkicked to the floor. Dupree back in, and Jericho goes to the top again, but gets kicked in the mouth. Dupree applies the Abdominal Stretch to slow the pace, but Jericho punches out and reverses it. Renee re-reverses it into a fireman's carry. Y2J with a series of chops after a Riverdance from Renee, and he beats Renee's ass all over the place, taking him under with a Back Brain Kick which gets two. Dupree gets in some offense, but quickly falls prey to the Walls.
Dumbass Anti-Foley Rundown Vignette #1, with all his dopey skits showing what a hardcore legend he is 'supposed to be'. You know what I'd like? Foley to show RNN. 'The only reason you know his name is because he broke his arm and brown-noses HHH? THIS guy wants to fuck with MICK FOLEY?'
Christian congratulates Jericho in the back. He bitches about losing his chance at #30, and then asks Jericho to use his favor to get CHRISTIAN into the Battle Royal anyway. Christian lists all the stuff he's done lately for Jericho after Jericho laughs in his face. Jericho tells him he can't give him that chance he asked for because he needs to return to the spotlight as a former champion this WM.
Yeah, that'll happen. Sure.
Then they have the broadcast team shill the Singing Wrestler CD and Royal Rumble. Then they launch into the whole big production about HHH/HBK's big ironman thing at Rumble being seven years in the making, and et cetera. Bathroom break. They make sure to replay Michaels kicking Coach's head off out of nowhere last week. Dr. King would love it, I'm sure.
Mark Henry up next. Excitement, excitement... Rico and Ms. Jackie in the ring already. Rico works the tinkerbell stuff, then gets in some hit and run. Then he kisses Long on his bald pate and horsey rides on Henry. Henry loses it and lays the Papabear all over Rico before clamping on a reverse chinlock. Rico tries to get out and gets clubbed back to the mat for a Nerve Lock. Rico languishes a little, before elbowing out. Rico gets in some kicks and goes to the top to get in something... Yes, he gets punched on the approach and then Front Avalanche Slammed for the threecount. Henry's in the Battle Royal.
Cut to the lockerroom, as Orton is reading Raw magazine to Batista. Flair interrupts and does his best to put them over. It's sad seeing him wasting what credibility he still has on these boring goofs. Very sad. Orton says - after drawing a comparison to Hogan vs. Warrior for his match at RR, that "he's gonna make Evolution - you two - proud tonight... And Hunter."
God bless live TV. Here's a word of the day for you Randy: Rehearsing.
Kane's coming down the ramp next, 'walking with a purpose' according to Ross. Funny, it looks like the same black towel he usually walks with... Oh well, what do I know? He'll face Spike Dudley. Briefly, I'm sure. He leads off with a Big Boot, knocking Spike to the apron. He follows in to capitalize, and gets dumped across the toprope by the wily Spike. Kane continues the attack as Spike comes off the top buckle and gets yanked into a Choke Lift. Kane batters him about a bit more in the corner, and chokes him a little. The ref calls for the break at four, and Kane does, Spike kinda falls down - shoving the ref on the way to the mat. The ref disqualifies Kane for it, since he's standing while Spike isn't. Spike gets the screwjob win, and is heartily punished by the angry Big Bald Screwball. Spike might not make the Battle Royal, folks...
They thank the fans for making Raw 'the number one show on cable' last week, and shill the house shows a little. I'm not sure they were the #1, and promptly doubt it for all I'm worth, since Ross announced it...
Steiner to the ring now, followed by his sometime partner Test, and then followed by Bill Goldberg. They all get their respective intros to pad the show. Test and Scott close in on Bill, and then knock him down with a twin double axehandle. They get in some brawlies, but get a double lariat for it. Bill works on Test in the corner before throwing him out the ring, and Steiner starts chopping away. It doesn't help. Steiner gets in a Belly to Belly after some help from Test on the apron, and now they're doubleteaming Bill in the corner. They get in a Team Suplex, and continue doubleteaming Goldberg. Test holding, Steiner chopping. Steiner holding, Test punching. Test tries for a clothesline, but Bill ducks and Scott eats it. Test looks stunned, and gets press slammed. He rolls out of the ring, and Steiner gets Powerslammed. Test breaks it up, and goes for his own pin. Steiner intervenes. The team breaks up, as Steiner slips free of a Pumphandle Slam attempt, and shoves Test out of the ring. Bill shoves Steiner out on the opposite side as Test comes back in, and the Canadian Nash eats a Spear. Then a Jackhammer. Then a loss. Bobo makes a net prophet. Hooray for Bobo.
Coach puts over how he's giving us a great show, and compared to last week I can't exactly call him a fucking liar. This is followed Anti-Foley Rundown Vignette #2, with Orton calling him a total coward and spitting in his face.
Austin is shown watching this 'commercial' with a stern countenance on the monitor, and the crowd pops as he revs that little fourwheeler up and takes off - almost running over Jindrak and Cade. I guess he just didn't notice them back there... Why should he be different, right?
Glass breaks, and Austin comes motoring down the ramp and does a couple laps around the ring before climbing in and doing the corner-birdy thing. He then gets a mic. He has a message he'd like to deliver to one person - Mick Foley. He's taking offense at how Foley hasn't stepped up to answer the rundowns from Orton. He further says such is not the actions of the Foley he knew, and then says when Orton spit in the face of Foley, he spit in the face of this business.
Holy shit, I fucking AGREE with AUSTIN? Check for other signs of the apocalypse!
Austin then, as sheriff, orders Foley to show up at Royal Rumble and open a can on Orton. If he doesn't, Austin will drive his little fourwheeler to Foley's livingroom in Long Island and tie Mick sumbitchin' ass to the back of it, if necessary, to make damn sure he shows up in Philadelphia...
Molly tells Trish she'll never win her title and then marches off. Christian comes up and gives Trish an earfull about the great time they had last week - showing her pictures of the fun on his cellphone. Trish looks uncomfortable when Christian tells her she's the last girl on Jericho's mind, and then looks kind of bummed when Christian tells her she got what she wanted - Jericho out of her life. Especially when he tells her Y2J isn't sitting around sulking about it.
Women's match, Lita vs. Jazz. Collar and elbow, with Jazz slipping under for a hammerlock and then a clubbing forearm to the back of the head. Jazz gets in some more brawlies, and Lita goes for a Monkey Throw, but rolls through and gets in some punches of her own. The both get up, and Lita gets in a weak looking dropkick that hits Jazz on the hip. They go back and forth a bit more, and Jazz gets in some elbows to the 'injured neck' of Lita. Lita responds with a Monkey Flip from the corner, which looks sloppy. Jazz tries for a Sidewalk Slam off an Irish Whip, but Lita reverses it with a headscissors. They go back and forth a little more, and Teddy tries for the distraction after Lita screws up the Twist of Fate. Lita boots him one, and Jazz uses the opportunity to win with a tights-grab schoolboy.
Cut to Hurricane in the back being interviewed by Terri. She asks him how he feels about his chances against Orton tonight in the last qualifying match for the 'Get the 30 spot' battle royal. Because the show hasn't quite been offensive enough yet, Hurricane kind of paraphrases Dr. King, replacing the 'someday there will be no racism' theme with 'someday he'll be a main event threat' and replacing 'I have a Dream' with 'I Believe'. Dr. King's dream has a better shot of coming true, Sugar Shane. Someone had to tell you - and it was ME!
The Packers are in the audience tonight. Then we go to a replay of Orton calling Foley out last week - and showing the spit in the face spot again for good measure.
Orton comes to the ring first, looking like he already won. Then the Hurricane comes out as Jim Ross tells us it's Pat Patterson's birthday. Orton starts out beating the crap out of Hurricane, knocking him inside out with a lariar and then hitting a dropkick before working a tai gatame. Hurricane battles back, hitting a crossbody and a dropkick before hitting the Blockbuster, which gets two. Helms off the ropes, but hangs on so Orton dropkicks air. Helms goes for a backslide, but drops in mid-twist. Gets a series of twocounts, and goes to the top. He nails Orton with a High Crossbody, and then gets RKO'd. Orton wins, and Flair and Batista come out to congratulate him as Rosey comes out to protect Helms. Evolution thrashes Rosey, and the Dudleys come out to make the save, thrashing Evolution and setting up the tables for Flair. Evolution yanks Flair out of danger as Coach inserts himself into the action, taking the Dudleyz to task. Coach says he's gonna turn around and count to three, and when he turns back the Dudz and their table better be gone. He actually does it, so I kinda think he deserves that 3-D through the table he got.
Cut to the back as Henry is jawing at Jericho. Jericho tells him to take a shower, but Henry refuses because 'it's his stank'. Henry then alludes that his stank smells good - especially all over Trish.
Must... Fight... Mental... Picture...
Commercials. They actually think calling the Rumble 'an hour of pure agony' is gonna make anyone buy it? It is to laugh. Heh.
Spike isn't gonna make it tonight, so it's just six guys. Lawler gets in some digs about Foley being a coward, and Ross is starting to come around and/or agree. Cut to Cole and Tazz doing their part to shill the Rumble from the SD perspective... It's 10:55 by the time they finish shilling...
So let's have Lillian eat another minute explaining how a battle royal works. Why not? The stars come to the ring in this order (with their intros): RVD, Jericho.
Commercials. No, I'm not kidding. 10:56, by the way...
They come back to the action at 10:59, with Mark Henry coming to the ring. I'm still not kidding. It's 11:00 as they start Goldberg's intro... Bill rushes the ring and all hell breaks loose. Booker T hits Bill with the Bookend, then Jericho hits the Lionsault, then RVD hits the Frogsplash. All on Goldberg. RVD and Booker eliminated quickly, and Orton and Henry commence working Jericho while Bill collects himself. Henry is trying to force Jericho out, and Orton turns his attention to Bill. Bill thrashes him as Henry thrashes Jericho. Henry tries to carry Jericho to the ropes to toss him out, but Jericho slips loose and gets some shots in, punctuating it with a Missile Dropkick. Henry down, and Goldberg gives the Double coconuts to Orton and Y2j. Orton in trouble, but Jericho with a lowbridge on GOldberg. Henry trucks through Jericho and throws him outside. Bill selling that lowbridge, and the heels close in. Orton and Henry double up on Bill a while, but Mark gets Speared. He tries to toss Henry over the top, and Orton intervenes serving up a kosher dropkick. Orton tries to finish tossing Henry over, but Bill gives the needed boost, and Henry's eliminated. Evolution comes out as Bill Spears Orton out of his boots. Bill then military presses Orton and throws him out onto his stable mates, securing his spot at #30.
Depressed? Me too.
Well, that leaves a week fellas, and you fucking BLEW IT.
GOLDBERG getting that #30 all but guarantees he's going to Wrestlemania... which I will also NOT be buying.
You're welcome. See you SOON.