Take, for example, the Pro Wrestling Torchâ<80><99>s semi-annual â<80><9c>draftâ<80> issue, where Internet goons get to vote on who their top 10 picks would be if they started a promotion. The concept is so lame that long-time Torch employee Bruce Mitchell semi-annually insults it via scathing satire. To wit, his first pick this year was Hannah Montana, a license to print money albeit jail bait.
The general balloting turned out OK at the top, with Edge and Chris Jericho â<80>” the last real heels â<80>” finishing 1-2 with John Cena third.
But things quickly went awry with Samoa Joe placing fourth, AJ Styles fifth, Bryan Danielson seventh and Jeff Hardy 10th, Joeâ<80><99>s TNA tenure has been a disaster, Styles is talented but has accomplished very little besides having good/great matches, Bryan Danielson has never drawn money or been in the big time and tomorrow might be the day Jeff Hardy stops coming to work â<80>” again.
Are you Internet hacks really telling me that â<80>” with a chance to make your business lucrative, as opposed to respected by Dave Meltzer â<80>” you would take Joe, Styles, Danielson and Jeff Hardy over Undertaker, Triple H, Batista and Kurt Angle? Have your lost your minds? Oh, wait, I forgot â<80>” your superior booking skills would close the gap.
Rey Mysterio â<80>” who single-handedly attracted a disproportionate amount of Hispanic viewers to Smackdown â<80>” finished 22nd, below Evan Bourne and Nigel McGuinness among others. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? The irony is that Mysterio used to be an Internet darling.
Raven finished 29th. My God, have you SEEN Raven lately?
The REAL entertainment value comes by reading the individual ballots. Michael Hiscoeâ<80><99>s top three picks are Jeff Hardy, Velvet Sky and Awesome Kong. Those are three terrific choices â<80>” if youâ<80><99>re booking an indie show in South Carolina and donâ<80><99>t care if your â<80><9c>top drawâ<80> shows. Jeff Hardy has a history of substance abuse. No one with even a sliver of business sense is going to build a promotion around him. Iâ<80><99>m surprised WWE features him so prominently now.
As for Velvet Sky and Awesome Kong, who needs Edge and Jericho when you could have them?
Adam Berry comes out with a modicum of sanity by picking Edge. Then he picks McGuinness, Danielson, KENTA, CIMA and Bourne. Adam is basically telling us that ROH would be the nationâ<80><99>s dominant promotion if it could only convince Edge to work for $75 a night.
I hate fantasy leagues â<80>” well, except for the fantasy hockey league I win all the time. Easy money.
Fantasy leagues have skewed the way we look at sports, causing us to root against our favorite teams by way of chasing meager financial gain, causing us to overrate bums like Eagles QB Donovan McNabb because â<80><9c>he gets you points with his arm and his legs.â<80> Well, huzzah.
But fantasy wrestling is a fantasy of a fantasy. How can you delegitimize something thatâ<80><99>s already fake? Who would be silly enough to do that?
Internet schmucks, thatâ<80><99>s who. The prosecution rests.
Every wrestling fan should mourn the death of Killer Kowalski, a true class act as well as one of his eraâ<80><99>s great performers. I never had the privilege of meeting Kowalski, but I spoke many times to his protÃ©gÃ©, the late Big John Studd (Minton), and John spoke with the deepest degree of respect about the man who taught him his livelihood. Kowalski helped Studd break into the WWWF in 1976, teaming with him as the Masked Executioners. I was 15, but I knew Kowalski was one of the Executioners right away. There was no disguising those amazingly long arms, or all that heel charisma.
Kowalski came up once when I was speaking with Triple H, also trained by Kowalski. Tripsâ<80><99> eyes glowed when he talked about his mentor.
As a profession, wrestling isnâ<80><99>t exactly a breeding ground for grace and class. Kowalski defied that truism to become sincerely beloved both in and out of the business. He wasnâ<80><99>t one of those bitter old-timers who protected his own era at the expense of today. Kowalski had a legitimate understanding of wrestling, his place in it, and a heartfelt sense of respect for himself and others. He will be missed.
WELCOME BACK, SID
The rumors are flying that Sid Vicious is returning for one more WWE run, and I hope it happens. Sidâ<80><99>s 48 â<80>” thatâ<80><99>s not too old â<80>” and it would be great to see him come all the way back from that grotesque leg injury he suffered in 2001 with WCW.
Sid and I once had a backstage argument because, when he was the lone babyface in a three-way bout, I said, on air, that Sid was â<80><9c>playing a very dangerous game of monkey in the middle.â<80> Sid (obviously) misinterpreted the intent of that remark, basically thought I called him a monkey, and blew up.
But Sid and I otherwise got along great. Heâ<80><99>s a good old boy, heâ<80><99>s funny, and thereâ<80><99>s no denying heâ<80><99>s got the look. I wish him well in his comeback. I think his first opponent should be the Shockmaster.
Hereâ<80><99>s a little PS to our argument: On the next Nitro, I said, â<80><9c>Nobody makes a monkey out of Sid Vicious.â<80> Sid was watching on a backstage monitor and said, heatedly, â<80><9c>Whatâ<80><99>d he say?â<80> Scott Hall, ever my protector, said, â<80><9c>Bro, heâ<80><99>s just saying you and him are cool.â<80> That was my intent, and thank God Scott was there as interpreter. Iâ<80><99>m not sure I could have calmed down Sid twice.