And Farcing of the Rules.
Originally Posted 1-24-03

Hello, my intended...

Well, what can I say? They ALMOST delivered on an acceptable quartet of Rumble Results. Only one miss (Bullshit Finish on Steiner/HHH) on an otherwise... average card. Was it worth the dough? No, clearly not. Will I buy No Way Out? Let's see what they decide to put together for it, and why they think I should care... Thirty-five bucks is a lot to ask when you're basically gonna turn around and kick the fans in the nuts, and one good (as in PPV-worthy) match surrounded by crap is WITHOUT QUESTION a field-goal level boot to the jingles. If you're wondering, Bobo's review will state you should wait for the video - and even then, assuming you cannot resist that morbid curiosity - to just rent it.

I'm preparing to watch Smackdown wondering whether that fustercluck StepMommy Match was FINALLY the blow-off between Torrie and Dawn Marie, as well as pondering the future of Hogan and Undertaker... Well, how much more a part they'll insist on playing in it, anyway. I dunno about anyone else, but I'm praying for a plane crash and ten-count/moment of silence and buh-bye/let's never speak of them again. I probably feel that way because Rollin' and Hulkamania are sharing a gold medal at Bobo's Hate Olympics, but who can be sure...?

I can.

I am.

They must go.

Then I might be happy...

Well, I might...

Ah, heck with it.

So accepting that I'm not going to be a happy Bobo anytime in the foreseeable future, I figure I'll continue along and give welcome to our newest additions here at TRP, Alley Justins brings a superfluous mix of smart/mark to our Smackdown Recaps, and we've got a guy that's running this bizarre Dean Douglas/Bill Nye gestalt on wrestling theory, named Professor McCreight (Mc-Right, or Mc-Crate? THAT is the question) whose debut column will be a hard act to follow. Yes, Bobo is at least pleased that TRP continues to amass a stellar cadre of columnists - despite the dogged insistance from several 'regulars' that he's counted among them. But I digress...

So what shall I rake across the coals for your amusement?

The referees? Yeah, why not?

We all know what a fan I am of Nick Patrick, and he's not even the worst they have. (That would be Earl 'I Screwed Bret' Hebner) But when you think of it, how the hell can they do their jobs in the first place? Does anyone have ANY idea WHY they have to do these baloney screwjob finishes every match? It was a rhetorical question, of COURSE you have no idea. That's why I have a job writing, and you read - or have someone read it to you, whatever works... Heh.

The reason why is that they have no idea how to end the matches any other way. Considering what a stupefying muddle most of the match 'rules' are, who can blame them?

First off, let it be known that a referee gets the SAME training in bumping as a wrestler (the rates are the same at most wrestling schools). So, knowing they're previously tutored in how to take bumps to the point that they can WORK a match THEMSELVES, why on EARTH does a single shoulder block, wide scoop slam leg bonk, ducked lariat or similar send them to the mat for eight hours siesta? More to the point, why is it the same when WRESTLERS do that 'special referee' nonsense? How can I expect to believe that, for instance, one week after Michaels bumps like crazy putting HHH over and stealing Jericho's heat, a single pop in the mush NOW puts his lights out? Why are the referees apparently the ONLY people in the ARENA unable to sense someone jumped in for the double team or phantom tagged? Why is it that the referee ALWAYS bars the 'good guys' from getting in to save their partner from the gang-up, and yet does NOTHING when the bad guy charges in after the hot tag? In short, why are referees such mule-headed, blind dunces that botch nearly every call imaginable?

Because it's, bluntly, what they're SUPPOSED to be.

Consider a sampling of matches, and their 'rules':

Falls Count Anywhere Match: Simply put, you don't need to be in the ring to achieve a pinfall or submission. What's the point of this, besides making the people that paid extra for front row seats feel like morons? And why on earth is it that when the combatants are IN the ring, and one of them clamps on a submission hold, the other tries to get to the ropes? Isn't 'in the ropes' somewhat snugly ensconced in the 'anywhere' column? And what about pinfalls? Isn't 'getting a foot on the rope' fairly pointless if you technically don't need to be in the ring to be pinned? Doesn't it seem that for a match that suggests action not only MAY, but is ENCOURAGED to spill out of the squared circle, it's pretty darn contrary to the interests of those involved to do so?

I Quit Match: The ONLY way to win, as they tell you, is to make the other guy say, 'I quit'. Easy right? Wrong. Juat for curiosity, how many 'near-falls' have YOU seen in an average 'I quit' match? How many 'rope breaks' or 'ten-counts'? You've got a new drinking game the next one they have, now don'tcha? Logically, the only way to win this is through a submission - as long as the other guy doesn't get to the ropes and force a break... Then again, what if the guy is put into a submission hold and REFUSES to tap or say 'I quit' until he 'passes out'? Do they wait for him to wake up?

No Disqualification Match: This is another problem... If there's no way to be disqualified, then it stands to reason that there should be run-ins and weapons aplenty. Why not? You can't be disqualified, right? So, knowing this, why do the referees bother with 'rope-breaks' and 'five-counts'? Why do they insist the Tarantula is still an illegal hold that must be broken in five ticks? If there's no DQ, then THERE ARE NO ILLEGAL HOLDS! Even a blatant choke becomes a submission move in this type of match! And why do they stop counting when someone's using the ropes or tights for 'extra leverage'? It's NOT ILLEGAL, right? You could pull a GUN on the other guy if you want. It's OKAY. Shoot fighting! THAT'S what the fans WANT. The referee's ONLY job is to count a pinfall, or register the tap-out. THAT IS ALL. Why is it never so?

Hardcore: Variant of the 'No DQ' where you can for some reason still be counted out OR disqualified for not releasing a hold/pin in the ropes... Weaponry and run-ins are allowed. Oh, and falls sometimes count outside the ring... Sometimes not. Flip a coin.

Three-Way Dance: For some reason, they feel putting a Champ in a match that he/she doesn't even need to be beaten to lose the strap is going to be exciting. They are wrong. I'm personally waiting for two people that are perennial 'also-rans' which are kept out of the title picture except for these dopey wastes of time just slap on an armbar and tap. Poof! The champ is unseated, and the two 'also-rans' do everything in their power to keep the ex-champ and the gold as unto strangers. Wait, that might be cool, and actually serve to get more than ONE person over in a match... Oh well, can't have THAT. That this is SO obvious and yet NEVER done is proof of either 'the power of the pen' in the champ's corner, or that the challengers are not in the title picture because they are terminally dim. Thus we are treated to turn on a dime alliances as everyone kicks the crap out of each other for NO REASON WHATSOEVER. This would have RULED if they did it when Jericho and Benoit went in there with Austin (who, you may recall, not only brutalized BOTH men like they were toys from Jakks - but also put Benoit out for a YEAR). It could STILL work. And they'll NEVER use it. How does a referee call this? Down the middle? Down BOTH middles? Duh... What are the rules? Same as a regular match (Heh) only with an extra competitor to keep up with.

Ladder Match: A variant of the tried and true 'something on a pole' deal, only the prize is not on a pole - but rather suspended from a chain that can only be reached via ladder. Guess what? The ONLY way to win is to get the 'prize'. Logically, the only way to LOSE is NOT to get the item. Again, much like the 'No DQ' it's a complete mess. If it was me, I'd stroll out with a good, stout cudgel; waffle the other guy into oblivion; and calmly fetch the bauble while the victim tries to find his teeth with only one good eye. But hey, that's why people call me a 'smart'...

Cage Match: Yet another mess. You have to get out of the cage to win. Either over the sides, or through the door. You are more or less encouraged to 'use the surroundings' to your advantage, such as extra-height high-spots, or ruthlessly slamming the poor sap into the links. Therefore, the only way NOT to win is to NOT be the guy that escapes... So, why have a referee IN there? Shouldn't there just be one on each side of the cage to see who touches the ground first? I've seen them do 'ten-counts', and I've seen them force 'rope-breaks', and I've YET to discern WHY. Wouldn't this ALSO be a prime opportunity to trot in an 'international object' and paste the other guy into a nice coma? Maybe slap on a choke hold until he turns bluish and blacks out? You can't LOSE unless he gets OUT, right? Make SURE he can't, I say.

Hell in the Cell: Variant of a cage match with two changes. One, a roof is added to the cage. Two, getting out of the cage is NOT how you win - it's how you end your career prematurely (ask Mick Foley). Pins count. Submissions count. You can be DQed. So.... What's the point?

Tables Match: The ONLY way to win is to put the other guy 'through the table'. Folks, if you're FAST it takes about forty seconds to set up a table. Another ten to set the guy on it and THEN maybe do something to put it to bed. Why doesn't someone just come out, grab a table, and smash the other guy for a row of ashcans with it? It's going to break eventually, right? Then you win, right? Wrong. I've seen people get put through DOZENS of tables, and still no winner - usually due to the infamous 'ref bump of doom'.

There are, of course, other variations/combinations of these matches... But when you look at them, it's pretty darn confusing, rule-wise, isn't it? Of course it is. How can a referee be expected to enforce rules that contradict each other and/or change on the fly? He simply can't. Yet we expect them to do PRECISELY this...

Which begs the question: Are wrestling fans stupid?

No, clearly not.

We're just REALLY confused.

Which is, bluntly, what we're SUPPOSED to be.

You're welcome. See you SOON.