WWE’s MILLION DOLLAR GIVEAWAY
I would certainly be remiss to not begin my column with the most surreal reality of them all…WWE’s publicity driven, creatively void, money giveaway bonanza. Vince, a certifiable megalomaniac (even in his own mind), has decided to play knight in shining arm and save the day. After all, what could possibly improve the quality of RAW more than 10 bumbling segments from the master himself? Boy would I have enjoyed being backstage for Vince’s rant after the “ringback tone incident” from week one of this debacle. “DAMNIT! The phone was singing! WHOEVER MADE IT SING IS FIIIIIIRED! By the way, where do I find me one of these ringtones?!? HEY YOU, RANDOM PRODUCTION ASSISTANT, GO DOWNLOAD ME WILLIAM REGAL’S “MAN’S MAN” ASAP!”
Then, there’s the inevitable creative meetings…I’ve attended a multitude of these before. The dialogue goes something like this:
Vince: Okay boys, we need to pump some creativity into these million dollar giveaway skits.
Needless to say, this is beyond a dud creatively and it’s completely driving RAW to a halt. However, the sad reality is, what they are doing here is actually pretty cool…this is life changing money for these fans. And if this week’s ratings are any indication, I’m actually hoping that this pays off for WWE. Sure, the entire thing is misguided…but like Charlie Haas, it’s so crazy it just might work.
BETH PHOENIX’S VANISHING SUPERPOWERS
Beth Phoenix was undefeated for months and she finally lost last month. Now, she is suffering from an affliction that so many superstars before her have – once you lose your undefeated streak, you suddenly suck for a long while. See Deuce & Domino as evidence. The former tag team champions are roughly 0 for the past 2 years after losing the titles. I fail to understand how a woman who demolished everyone in her sight, including Mickie no less than a dozen times, now can be pinned by a Lou Thesz press. Where is the continuity? The reality is…there is none and it’s moronic.
THE SMACKDOWN PUSH
Is the SD writing team asleep at the wheel? As I watch Kovlov’s squash matches each week, I can’t help but getting a feeling of deja vu. Local Jobber, Funaki, Noble, Shannon Moore, Jimmy Wang Yang, for old time’s sake let’s not forget Scotty etc. etc. etc. What is the running theme between these guys? The WWE has used the EXACT SAME debut for no less than 10 guys over the past 2 years. Henry, Palumbo, Finlay, Khali, Boogeyman, Big Daddy V, and this list goes on for eternity. If it ain’t broke, right? These monsters run off pointless winning streaks against jobbers to the stars that harken back to the days of Saturday Morning Superstars. Then what? Normally they beat Matt Hardy if they are lucky. Then they lose to Batista 10 straight weeks. Then Kane. Then Taker. Then it all comes full circle when they in fact job to Jimmy Wang Yang and Moore. They are running out of guys for him to maul, so his clock is officially ticking. This is Vladmir Kozlov’s reality…that is, until they debut the next big monster.
ONE OF SMACKDOWN’S BIGGEST STARS
Ironically, as opposed to Kozlov who is going nowhere fast, turns out that one of SD’s biggest stars is actual it’s littlest…HORNSWOGGLE. Yes, you heard me. I am indeed asserting that Hornswoggle has consistently been one of the WWE’s top stars for the past year. Sure, I could do without the water guns, but ECW this week showed that he’s exactly what the WWE needs on the undercard. He brings what has been sorely lacking since the days of The Godfather, et al. He is a guy who pops the crowd without having to be a main eventer, title contender etc. And kids love him! Sure it seems like a fantasy to say it, but the reality is Hornswoggle has been a consistent star for a long time.
BEST MATCH OF THE WEEK
Cena vs Umaga Street Fight? Hardy vs Carlito? Nope…it was 2 minutes and 34 seconds of Evan Bourne vs Matt Striker. Last week, Bourne really impressed me with his Screwdriver Dropkick from the top…this week brought the most picture perfect Shooting Star Press I’ve ever seen. And Striker even introduced some pretty exciting new offense. Imagine if they had a whole 4 minutes to work! We all know the reality is that the WWE is a big man’s federation and he’ll be jobbing soon enough, but I’m going to be enjoying this while it lasts.
I could easily devote a year’s worth of columns to this topic, but I do want to at least acknowledge it – since I’ve last written were the anniversaries of the passing of my two favorite wrestlers of all-time. Nine year’s ago last month, Owen Hart passed away. And just two weeks ago was the ten year anniversary of the passing of Junk Yard Dog. They were two of the greats and they are sorely missed.
On a much lighter and more exciting note, I’ll be joining Chris Cash and several other Wrestlezone.com personalities at The 15th Anniversary Fan Slam in Totowa, NJ this Saturday. If you can’t check us out live, you can find me and Chris streaming video coverage all day long on the site. Just so happens that I have a few secrets up my sleeve about some of the guys who will be in attendance, so tune in for some good tidbits. I may even enter the Wrestling Idol competition and sing Koko B. Ware’s BIRDMAN. Gonna be a lot of fun.
Next week I’m going to take a look at the realities of the ratings phenomenon that are TNA’s The Beautiful People, the aftermath of the draft, and evaluate how the WWE is doing with infusing it’s new talent (Cade, Burchill, Dibease, Bourne, etc.). Also, on the heels of my much debated column from a few months ago featuring THE TOP TEN FINISHING HOLDS OF ALL TIME, you can look forward to some more top 10 lists in the coming months, starting with the top 10 greatest theme songs!
I’m Eric Stein and this has been your wrestling reality.