#27 : Good As Gold
Life is about sharing. This is where I break it down and tell you a little about myself; my thoughts on the current shows, or anything else that I need to get off my chest.
Boom shak-a-laka it’s the number one hit dropper. Your new dealer, Zuma, is in the house to share another New Joint with a bunch of my favorite people in the whole wide world -the wrestling fans on the internet. I’d like to thank all those readers that are checking me out for the first time here at theDubZ – WrestleZone. Thanks to Mr. Boone and Mr. Pritchett for bringing me aboard. I’m glad to be here. You stuck arounds so far, so get to the column already! The best is yet to come!
This is the semifinal round of the Extreme Column Writing Tournament being hosted at www.lopforums.com, and right off the bat I’ll wish luck to my godson, Ben the Beyotch. We’re both talking about title reigns, and it should be a good matchup. I thank you for participating and voting.
We sure are a special breed, aren’t we, us IWCers? There are not many fans that really get into a sport like we do. Or, get into a television show like we do. Not many people go to such great lengths to find what character will be debuting next on “Lost”, or want to know the background of the latest victim of “CSI.” Yet, here I am, trying to see if Bobby Lashley is some how related to Monty Brown, because I swear they must have been separated at birth.
No, I’m not saying all black people look alike. Calm down there my hippie brethren. NO ONE looks like “The Truth” Ron Killings. Well, OK, Darryl Strawberry could be his daddy, but I wasn’t going to go there. We’ve had so many debuts recently that it’s actually getting difficult to keep up. Most of them have also been very good. MISTEEEEEEER KENNNEDDY … (you know it’s coming but I’m going to make you wait for it…) …KENNEDY is possibly my newest favorite. The WWE is handling this guy really well. He’s been given time on the mic to develop a character that is quickly becoming one of the most recognizable gimmicks on Friday night. He’s been pushed, but it hasn’t been an out of control push, and he’s beaten a lot of guys that, unfortunately for them, have really become beatable. He’s got good size, moves well in the ring, and is obviously great on the mic, and the best part of all? The crowds are responding to him. Where’s the push going? It’s going straight at the U.S. Title, and we’ll probably see it at the Royal Rumble. Chris Benoit and Kennedy are a sleeper pick for Match of the Night. Mark my words.
The crowds responding to him might not make a difference though. Does anybody remember Christian? Yeah, you know, Captain Charisma? Nobody’s lost more T.V. time this fast since Paul London didn’t deliver Stephanie McMahon her tampons in time. Both of these guys were staples of their shows. Christian was on RAW and then on Smackdown, and Paul London was at least on Velocity, if not Smackdown, each and every week. These men got the rug pulled out from under them, even with the fan support. I’ve said myself in this column before that the fans don’t know what they want – but I’m fairly certain that taking these guys off television at the height of their popularity is a mistake. Both can work a match, and both get good reactions. I imagined they were both being groomed for something extraordinary. Maybe London would hold onto the belt and set a record for longest Cruiserweight Title reign? Maybe Christian was going to move to Smackdown to challenge for the Heavyweight Championship, somehow cheating a win away from Batista. Now, it doesn’t look like either is even a possibility. I can only assume that they must have done something to piss someone off. Maybe they shit in someone’s gym bag…
We’re going to probably have some of you completely disagreeing with me this time around. This is a special edition of The New Joint. As in past “special editions”, I’m going to take some liberty in regards to this award. You see, this is the special “Champions” edition, and because of that, I’m going to take the time to honor a true Hoss amongst Champs. This man is like no other in this business. The WWE decided they wanted to give him a special role right now, and so, without further ado:
* Zuma styles and profiles across his office *
That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the 16 time World Champion is now the 1 time Intercontinental champion. Ric Flair, no matter how old he gets, is still damn entertaining in that wrestling ring. His man boobs were saggin’, but the figure four still had Carlito tappin’. Both matches were well done, and he schooled the youngster twice. (Let’s hope he does it again tonight) Ric Flair continues to contribute to the roster. We can bitch and moan about him all we want, but in the end, his presence is going to make all of the young “superstars” better around him. That’s why he’s the hoss of the week, and a champion forever.
My last column was written on September 9th. Two Days later, TNA hosted their PPV titled “Unbreakable.” At that PPV, there was a match that featured three of the most important wrestlers in the world. I say that, and I know some of you are already shrugging me off and rolling your eyes. Those three men hold in there hands the destiny of the promotion that is to challenge “sports entertainment” as we know it. They were given time on this PPV to show those that matter, not you and me, or the fans in the audience, but those that really matter – the Television executives, what they can do.
They fought over the X Division title, and in my eyes, this is the Match of the Year so far. What more can we ask for? What more could any wrestling fan ever want? Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels at Unbreakable was truly awesome. It was so awesome, that the crowd actually started chanting “This is Awesome! This is Awesome!” in the middle of the match. There was a title change, with AJ Styles walking away the eventual winner. In the end though, all three men won. The put on a clinic, and showed the world that the X Division Title is THE TITLE to hold. If you saw it, you understand, and if you didn’t see it – go get it. Now. Match of the Year in my opinion. You can find a download of it at www.weforums.com – just make sure to leave some Rep for the Multimedia God – Canto. He’s the man that delivers the best there is in WWE/TNA/ROH Downloads anywhere on the net.
This is my chance to dissect something. It’s been many things, from a eulogy, to a legacy, and a call to arms. Once again, it’s the EXTREME Column Writing tournament. This is the Semi Finals, and the topic that I was assigned was: Good As Gold
The quest for the gold. One’s man’s destiny. The hunt for the title.
Like all sports, in the end, there’s only one goal to a wrestler’s professional career. They all got into this business to do one thing, and that’s to be the best there is. I doubt while they were in training anyone thought, “I’m want to be a pro wrestler so I can get kicked in the head by Tyson Tomko and make $50.” No – they wanted to be the Intercontinental, or Tag Team Champion. Maybe they even aspired to being the World Heavyweight Champion. I know that I always dreamed of playing in the World Series, and didn’t dream that my last organized game of baseball would be getting to pinch hit in Single A.
But, if everyone wants to be champ, how do you decide whom actually GETS to be champion? Unlike other sports, Professional Wrestling has the opportunity to decide who will win and who will lose the “big game.” Baseball this year is almost scripted. There are 4 of the 6 playoff spots still left undecided, and that’s after these teams have played about 155 games already. The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are tied. The league office doesn’t get to say “Ok Yankees, you’re going to job to the Red Sox this year again, because Creative thinks we still need to establish their credibility a bit more before having you take back the title in a 7 game series at next fall’s League Championship Series.” No, but in wrestling, the bookers have the opportunity to make sure that the most interesting, and sometimes surprising thing actually DOES happen.
In many sports, people are able to establish a legacy and continually be around the championship. There’s no difference in wrestling. Some men will always be in or near the Main Event scene. Let’s take the old football saying “Any given Sunday” and apply it to PPVs. On any given PPV, Triple H could win the title.
The same can be said for Jeff Jarrett, Samoa Joe, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, JBL and AJ Styles. There’s probably more, but we’ll leave it at that. These men are proven to be title worthy, and it wouldn’t shock anyone to see them win a title. It would shock even less to see them lose the title the next night, or even the next month. We’re comfortable with them as champions.
Having a short title reign wouldn’t necessarily be detrimental to them, or to the title belt’s “credibility.” These men work as transitional champions, and could also work as long title reigns. They don’t really need the belt, as much as the belt needs them.
The title should be reserved for the best in the business. It shouldn’t be held by just anybody. Looking through title histories while doing research to this column reminded me of a past column that I wrote called “Footnote.” The WWF/E has rarely given the title to someone that was undeserving. Every now and then though, they will either honor someone, or just make a mistake. Yes, Bob Backlund holding it in 1994 was out of the blue, and Psycho Sid is not just a champion, but he is a 2-time champion. Neither held the belt for long. Both Kane and Mankind were able to sleep with the title on their mantle for just one night only, and Vince McMahon is a former 2 week champion, but really… if you were Vince, wouldn’t you make yourself champ at least once????
For the most part the title has been respected. It wasn’t so much near the end of WCW’s tenure. The WCW World Title changed hands 27 times in 24 months. For the 7 years before that, it changed maybe 3 or 4 times a year. That wasn’t so bad really, and that was because it was kept on those that were seen as champions. Hogan, Flair, Nash, Sting, and unfortunately, Lex Luger passed the title around for a few years. Then Goldberg came and held it for 6 months, before Kevin Nash booked himself to take the title away. After that, it was back on the merri-go-round, and week-to-week, some of what made WCW exciting was seeing who was going to win the title next.
You knew that the WCW title was going to be defended week in and week out, and you knew that it was going to be interesting. Then, it stopped being so interesting. David Arquette was booked to win the title in one of the most asinine ways ever, and who would take it from him? J- E – Double f***ing F Jarrett. Shortly after that, Vince Russo himself walked around with the title, and I turned the channel. It wasn’t that the wrestling had gotten horrible outside the title matches, it was that I no longer cared for the ultimate prize. What was the point if in the end, being the World Champion meant nothing? Once the ultimate prize stops being sought after, the other matches seemed to have no long-term point to them. It didn’t matter if you won or lost your matches anymore, because the guys that won weren’t going to be elevated into the title scene. Too many title changes had made the title a joke.
Sometimes, having a long title reign can also make the belt a joke. In TNA, there’s a stranglehold on the title. Jeff Jarrett has begun to think of it as his personal play-toy. Or has he? Many here on the Internet are crying foul due to Raven’s title loss at a recent HOUSE SHOW. Yes, the man won his title match at the Unbreakable PPV against Rhyno and then loses to Jeff Jarrett in front of 250 fans in some high school gym. Jarrett’ last title reign seemed like it would never end, and it personally turned me away from TNA. The same effect that WCW’s all too frequent title changes had caused was duplicated with TNA’s lack of a title change. Jeff Jarrett held the NWA-TNA title for 11 months. The first 11 months of my experience with TNA was the Jeff Jarrett title reign. I hated every minute of it, because I personally don’t see him as being a champion. (I also don’t see Jeff Hardy being a World Champ either, but I think I’ll save that for another time…)
I wanted Jarrett to lose that title so bad, and was ecstatic when he did. Then Raven beat Styles and it was a happy day as well. When I found out that Raven had lost to JJ I was initially rather pissed. Then I thought about it. I watched the Raven vs. Rhyno match again, and it dawned on me why the title change was necessary. Raven is a “hardcore” wrestler. His best work involves blood, and that’s not happening on Spike TV. Raven used a cheese grater and a pizza slicer in his last match. Can you imagine that being on regular TV? No, it’s not going to happen. Raven’s reign was a gift to the Internet fans during a time that they could feature a character like that prominently without losing fans. It was a smart move, and so was taking the title away. It could have gone to someone else, but Jarrett was a safe choice. You don’t mess around with the World Title – it shouldn’t go to just anyone. If you put it on someone at the wrong time, you’ll end up with… well, Randy Orton.
There’s also ways to make the long title reigns work, and the most recent, best example is that of Samoa Joe. Not only did he elevate a title that meant next to nothing when he got it, he brought a whole promotion along with him. His reign with the ROH Title started in March of 2003, and would not end until the day after Christmas is 2004. That’s 21 months for those not counting at home. He legitimized a belt that should now be viewed as the number one title on the Independent scene. He did that by not ducking challengers, and cheating to win, but by going out there, 2 and 3 times a week, and defending his belt. His ring work spoke for him, and the crowds were in a frenzy each time his music came on. His title reign was one of the longest in the last 10 years, and yet – no one complained or said that he was “keeping so and so down” or “hogging the title”. He was so dominant and he was booked so well that the fans kept flocking back to see who would try and step up to Joe this month, knowing that the challenger would have a hell of an uphill battle. Samoa Joe is so good that after holding it for 21 months, and losing it to Austin Aries, he was able to move over to the “mid card” division of ROH, and elevate the PURE Title in a short 3-month reign. The same man can give you both a long title reign, and a really short one, and leave the title better off than it was before he got it, if it’s the right man. Joe definitely qualifies in that category, and very few others do.
Joe’s not the only long title reign that worked, but he is the most recent. JBL’s reign got stale in my eyes, but it never really stopped working. Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair both held the World Titles for a good long reign. Hulk for 4 years, and Ric Flair for close to 2. Long title reigns work if you have a very strong champ that the people are behind enough to continue to pay to see
We don’t watch TV to see the good guy win easily over and over again. The Internet delivers information to us at an alarmingly fast rate of speed. Newscasts feature more segments, and newspapers feature more stories each day. Our attention span seems to be shorter and shorter… and yet – some of the most matched shows are those that you need to pay attention to week after week. “Lost”, “24” and “Alias” require the viewer to have a bit of background information before each episode. If you don’t know what happened last week, you’ll not understand this week. It should be the same with the World Titles. We need to know what’s going on with the belt. Booking is what’s most important. Not length of title reign, or how the title was won. Who won the title, and who did they beat to do it?
Interestingly enough, Ric Flair lost his first NWA World title to Carlos Colon after a 16-month reign. He’ll probably lose his first Intercontinental title to Carlos’s son, and it’ll be after 16 weeks if he’s lucky. Yet, it won’t matter to the credibility of the belt in the fans or the wrestler’s eyes. It’s all about booking in the end. The storyline has to stay exciting, but not get out of control. We’ve got to believe in our champions, and it’s up to the wrestler and the bookers to make sure that we believe they could be the best, and beat the best, in the world on any given night. As said many times before, the title doesn’t make the man, but the man makes the title.
Thanks for reading! I’d love to encourage everyone to head on over to LOP
Forums and vote in the Extreme COlumn Writing tournament – and while you are out and about – go to www.thewrestlingvoice.com and vote in the Triad Top 48 contest, where we judge who’s the best Internet Wrestling Columnist around today. You want jokes? Fine. It’s been a fun couple of weeks, and here are some of my thoughts from the smoke circle:
–I eagerly wait the day that Trevor Murdoch swallows his chaw. If any of you have ever seen someone accidentally swallow a dip, the most usual reaction is to puke. Violently. And you thought you’d never see a puking wrestler again.
–Chris Masters has red velvet trunks. Not just red, but red crushed velvet. He’s not wearing tights, he’s wearing upholstery.
–Speaking of upholstery, apparently Candace is a carpet muncher. I’ve seen some pics of her doing things far nastier than Playboy is going to allow her to do. (Google is your friend) – So what’s the point? Ah … now we know where WWE Films is headed. Behind a curtain made out of crushed red velvet, ironically enough.
–LOP main page columnist Morpheus thinks that OJ is growing his hair out to play a Dave Chappelle show gimmick and say “I’m Rick James Bitch!” – if so, I’ve got $10 that they bring back Koko B Ware to play Wayne Brady.
–I hope the rest of you realized that’s the end of a character named “The Hurricane” in the WWE. Which is stupid. Turn him heel – DUH! Have him take away Heidenreich’s home, drown Eugene, and cause damage to people’s backstage property. Rosie goes back to dressing like he did in 3 minute warning – hell, bring back Jamal and call them “The Looters.” (I’m going to hell, I know.)
Thanks for reading! Let me shill you some web links on your way there.
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