Discussing Beatdowns & Sloppy Joe

Mark Madden

Chris JerichoBEATDOWNS

I loved the Jericho/Flair angle on Raw. Loved the Orton/Levesques angle, too.

But how come nobody saved Flair? How come Jerry Lawler didn’t spew that righteous anger earlier, like before Flair got busted open for 11 staples, as opposed to challenging Jericho to a match next week even as Flair visited the plasma bank? Why didn’t Shawn Michaels save Flair? Why didn’t Michaels save Triple H and Stephanie? Why didn’t Vince and Shane save Triple H and Stephanie? Why didn’t Orton feel up Stephanie? She lost weight, she looks hot and those melons were RIGHT THERE.

Perhaps I complain too much. If you let logic be your editor past a certain degree, you can’t do any angles.

But what if Orton and DiBiase had wrestled Triple H in a cage? You drag Stephanie in and lock the door, as with many memorable Dusty Rhodes massacres. At least find an excuse to get Michaels, Vince and Shane out of the arena.

The other option is the parking lot beatdown, but that would have been too close to the Triple H/Orton home invasion angle.

What if Lawler had tried to pull Jericho off Flair and gotten a ring bell to the forehead for his trouble? That sets up next week’s match even better.

Both angles were good. But think a bit more and try a bit harder, and they would have been that much better.

Flair’s role in the buildup for what will be a stinker of a ‘Mania match between the Mid-Atlantic legends and Jericho has been awesome. WWE should pay Flair $500K and make him commissioner of Raw or Smackdown. His mere presence adds unmatched cachet. His feel for the business makes every situation he’s involved in a lot better.

Flair would be worth every dime, but shouldn’t work for a penny less. The longer he’s away, the more he’ll be in demand, even at 60.

The only way for Jericho’s ‘Mania match to not suck is if A) Jericho is an in-ring miracle worker and B) Mickey Rourke has a meaningful presence. Rourke merely punching Jericho won’t be enough. Only a Ram Jam from the top turnbuckle will suffice, and I don’t think that’s going to happen. Then again, he didn’t win the Oscar. Maybe I shouldn’t underestimate the ability of Jericho , Flair, Steamboat, Piper and Snuka to artfully use psychology, to say nothing of smoke and mirrors.

I want this to end good. The buildup deserves nothing less. Jericho deserves nothing less. But Jericho is a heel facing a four-man gang of babyfaces with a Hollywood actor in reserve. How can a 5-on-1 be executed without skewing the original premise?

Thing is, by that time Vince will already have your money. So what’s the difference?

SLOPPY JOE

Is there a bigger joke figure in wrestling than Samoa Joe? He’s started out as a killing machine, now he’s a fat whale who needs a knife to get the jump on Scott Steiner, a 46-year-old semi-cripple. Joe’s putting on the mascara a little thick, too.

TNA is mostly to blame, but so is Joe. He’s one of a growing phenomenon among wrestlers: A guy who has NO IDEA what’s best for his character or career. Kurt Angle has long been the leader of that pack, but Kurt’s talent and performance level are so high that he minimizes damage to himself. Not so Joe, who just looks stupid and blubbery.

It was inevitable. All the guys who first broke into prominence in TNA have been moved to the back of the bus, and the WWE/WCW retreads are presented as the real stars. That’s why TNA never had a chance. Too much cronyism, too much reliance on what’s perceived to be safe. Joe could have been a bigger star than Booker T ever was. But he wasn’t allowed to be. That’s all that stopped him.

How much damage has been done to Joe? WWE wouldn’t want him, that’s for sure. Umaga, the character patterned after Joe, has been presented as twice the badass. And by WWE standards, Joe is too fat to be presented as anything but a Mabel/Viscera-type character. Joe was always heavy, but it used to be a good heavy. Not any more.

Joe’s career is over. He just doesn’t know it yet. AJ Styles got screwed by TNA’s crap booking, too, but he persevered and performed too well to be ruined permanently. Not so Joe. He’s all done.

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