The Weekend News/Week In Review
By Dr. Tom
Jul 7, 2002, 22:46
Baseball fans among you have heard of the "emergency starter," the guy who gets hurried out to the mound when the regular pitcher can't take his turn. That's me today, friends, as Dames is still out of town and unable to take his usual weekend turn with the news, and I'm filling in for him on short notice. Instead of the perfect games you're used to me throwing with my Midweek News, I'm just going to try to go six strong innings here and keep the team in the game.
Fear not, loyal readers: I have kept true to tradition and inserted a line from a literary classic somewhere into this news update. If you can spot it and know the source, email me the answer and impress your friends!
So without any further preamble, here's all the news that's fit to steal, all the dirt that's fir to deal, and all the mud that's fit to sling this 4th of July weekend.
This Is My New Record Label. What?
WWE is involved in yet another legal battle over nomenclature, this time with a small record company based in New Hampshire called Stone Cold records. WWE claims to own the trademark on "Stone Cold" and is suing the record company for infringing on their name. Dexter Durant, owner of Stone Cold records, says he has put a lot of time into getting his label out there, and he's not going to give up the fight.
Does this remind anyone of the then-WWF's gripes with the World Wildlife Fund, and the resultant lawsuit that forced the name change to WWE? It's not really much of a surprise when a wrestling company engages in hypocritical behavior, but it's still fun to point it out and laugh at them for it.
To their credit, WWE is willing to compromise and allow the company to keep its name (read: pay us money for years and years and years).
Can We Call That One A Mulligan?
WWE had to reshoot the ending to the Undertaker-Kurt Angle match on Smackdown. It was after UT had lifted Angle for the Last Ride, and Angle countered with the triangle choke. All the shots they used were very tight, to hide the fact that the arena was empty save for some production folks in the first few rows. The editing was pretty seamless on TV, but a lot of people watching it knew what to look for. The most noticeable difference was the lack of crowd noise after switching to the re-shot ending.
The ending was not popular with fans on TV, and apparently even less so with the live crowd. It still didn't look very good on TV, but the original had Undertaker tapping out on Angle's leg, so they decided to shoot it over again. Maybe not using such a contrived and silly ending in the first place would be a way to avoid something like that.
The Hitman Writes Again
Bret Hart wrote a new column in the Calgary Sun, the first since suffering a stroke that led to his motorcycle accident late last month. In the column, Hart thanked all the fans who have sent their get-well wishes to him, and mentioned he has received letters from as far away as Pakistan and Russia. Hart has canceled a July 25th appearance he was scheduled to make for Premier Championship Wrestling in Winnipeg.
Hart wrote in his column: "I remind myself of the incredible courage shown to me by the Make A Wish kids that I've been privileged to meet. And it is their light that shines to show me the way to recovery. I hope I can be as brave as them. Fans have written telling me to summon up the courage to be the champion that they remember. I promise you that I will. I shall return!"
It's good to see Hart on the road to recovery, and we here at TSM wish him the best of luck in battling his way back.
(Credit: PWTorch.com, Calgary Sun)
Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
With Shawn Michaels' announcement that HHH will be joining the NWOld, it is widely presumed that HHH will be moving to the Raw brand. With John Cena, (Deacon) Batista, and Randy Orton already on Smackdown, that show is being looked at as a place for the younger talent to shine, while Raw becomes the home for the more established stars. There have been no "official trades" to confirm this yet, so it's still a rumor. Jim Ross will tell you we’re just a bunch of dweebs speculating about things we don't know, but roster ideas like the ones mentioned above are supposed to be looked at favorably by the Titan Tower crowd.
Hey, Don't Forget About Me. Damn, It's Too Late
"Mr Perfect" Curt Hennig was interviewed on a Chicago cable program called "Channel Surfing." In the interview, he says he was not fired by WWE, but rather suspended for 120 days for his role in the infamous Plane Ride From Hell. Hennig goes on to say that the incident between him and Brock Lesnar was blown way out of proportion on the internet (yeah, kick us when we're down, tough guy), and that the whole thing was a misunderstanding. Hennig also said he would like to manage and pass down his knowledge of the business to the next generation, among whom he gave props to Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton.
In something that will probably not endear him to WWE management, Hennig referred to the current product as "a cartoon." Look for him to be on the jobbing brigade if he finds his way back to WWE TV. Personally, I think he's deadwood that's very easily expendable. At least Goldust was able to find a niche.
They Must Need More Country Music Stars
By just about all accounts, NWA:TNA put on their worst show to date this past Wednesday. Their second show is probably going to earn them the benefit of the doubt for a little while, but when you're putting out a weekly PPV product, you should expect your audience to have a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately attitude.
Some highlights from the show:
-- Chris Harris and James Storm beat the Johnsons in a tag team tournament match. Afterwards, the Johnsons' manager Mortimer Plumtree got upset with them, so they threatened to beat him up before walking out. After two weeks, I don't think the fans care enough about Plumtree or the Johnsons for this angle to be viable at all.
-- The Rainbow Express beat Apolo and Buff Bagwell. After the match, Bagwell insisted he wanted to be called "Marcus" and threatened to go home.
-- Ken Shamrock retained the title against Malice, in a match dominated by the latter.
-- AJ Styles retained the X Division title by beating David Young.
-- Styles hit a double, teaming with Jerry Lynn to beat The Rainbow Express for the tag team titles.
-- Jeff Jarrett and K-Krush beat Scott Hall and Brian Christopher in the main event. After the bell, Jarrett talked trash to Hall and beat him up.
While no one is calling this an actively bad show, it was definitely a step backwards after the universal praise the second show received.
When The Violin Can Forgive The Past, It Starts Singing
Chris Jericho is still bitter toward the internet wrestling community. In other news, paint dried, grass grew, and flies got their freaks on.
In an interview conducted after this week's Smackdown taping, Jericho says he's still pissed at the internet, and still done with it because of all the negativity. In his own words: "Now it's just a very depressing, very negative place. I'm not a negative person and I don't like reading negative things." Sounds a bit like it's from "Dharma and Greg," doesn't it. Everyone, direct positive energy from your heart charkas toward Chris Jericho the next time you're at a WWE show and help him turn his frown upside down.
Jericho also talked about his metal band, Fozzy (didn't they used to be called Fozzy Osbourne?) and their recent tour of Germany. The interview was conducted by Seth Mates, who has had his own problems with internet wrestling writers in the past.
Greetings From The Bitter Table
It's the weekend, so that means . . . another Ross Report! I know, I was as psyched as all of you are to learn that Jim Ross is a MACHINE~! who doesn't need to take holiday weekends off. Funny that's he's so dedicated to writing a column for the internet he claims to despise so much, no? Anyway, these are the highlights of what JR had to say this week:
-- X-Pac has a sciatic nerve problem in his back, but should be on TV Monday. And here I thought he was just allergic to jobbing.
-- The Big Show is doing another Stacker 2 commercial. Maybe this time, he'll actually take the product, too.
-- Tough Enough 3 will be based in Los Angeles. JR has some unkind words for Kelsey Grammer for his role in getting the venue changed.
-- Pat Patterson and Raven have had some "lengthy conversations." This would violate my sitting-duck policy, so add your own punchline there.
-- He took another shot at the internet for speculating that Brock Lesnar has gotten too much of a push too soon. The abyss is looking back, JR.
-- WWE is not negotiating with Scott Steiner, and is not close to a deal with him or Goldberg. This is contrary to what Steiner himself has been saying.
-- Taz(z) is apparently ready to call it a career as an active competitor and concentrate on being an announcer. That loud sob you just heard was the thousands of smarks still lamenting Taz(z)'s failed push getting in one more bitter weep.
-- JR said the quality of TV is probably getting back to where the fans would like it to be. He also said he's prefer to see in-ring action, and relegate vignettes, skits, and interviews to when they are absolutely necessary. Maybe he should mention this at the next staff meeting?
-- No one was called a hoss or cited for having ruthless aggression.
(Credit: wwe.com's Ross Report)
When I Get To The Bottom, I Go Back To The Top Of The Slide
No ratings information is available for Smackdown due to the holiday weekend. Raw drew a 3.6, as I reported earlier in the week, but its first hour figure was truly abysmal: 3.2. Three point two. That has to be frightening to the folks in the WWE offices. The second hour's 3.9 was better, and hopefully more indicative of where the ratings will be headed after a couple weeks of improved TV. Raw is still rather hit-and-miss in my eyes, but Smackdown has been solid for the past two weeks. Eventually, the viewers will come back.
(Credit: Nielsen Media Research)
Synchronize Your Super-Watches
WWE has announced a date for next year's WrestleMania: March 30, 2003. There has been no word on the venue as yet, but that announcement should come in the fall, with tickets going on sale sometime in November. Tropicana Field, which lost out to Skydome last year, should again be a favorite, as will Milwaukee's Miller Park and Seattle's Safeco Field. Given the recent falloff in ratings and live attendance, I'm not sure how wise it is for WWE to bank on filling a 60,000 seat stadium again, but it's possible that business could pick up before then.
That's all for me this time. True to my promise to Dames, I did not pinch his "Top 5" format for the weekend news. Look for me to do another news gig with the Midweek News this Wednesday, and Smackdown! on Thursday. I also had a rant I was looking to finish, which got scuttled so I could don my shining armor and save the weekend here at TSM. That should be done in a couple days. In the meantime, stop back tomorrow after Raw to read JHawk's take on all that happened. Enjoy your Monday after a holiday weekend . . . ugh, I know I won't.
© Copyright by TheSmartMarks.com