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ET CETERA - General discontent, mild rambling - it can only be Jay Spree!
by Jay Spree on 2002-05-31

I must apologise for the lateness of this post. I was wholeheartedly planning to get back to some semblance of a regular schedule now that school’s out (although, in my defence, I haven’t taken any of my patented week’s off since then), but I’ve been a little bogged down… with wrestling.

Granted, RAW was far and away the best product the WWF (again, not a sic) has put out in a LOOONG time, and Smack!Down was pretty good too. But it’s not the current WWF product that I’ve been preoccupied with. I’ve been sifting through my old wrestling tapes, and I’ve been working through the old school (WrestleMania VII and VIII, SummerSlams ’88 – ’90, Royal Rumbles ’89 – ’91), and the newer school – namely King of The Ring ’98 (yeah, THAT one), and most of the RAWs from 2000. I even managed to squeeze in a couple of ECW tapes as well (gotta love Guilty As Charged ’99).

So what did I learn from my history lessons? 2000 was the best year for wrestling. Obviously, this discounts the thirty or so years of territorial stuff that I missed out on, but for an all-around product, 2000 was really the year to be a wrestling fan. Just about every show – PPV or TV – was good, great, or at the very least, interesting. And that just makes the current state of the product so fascinating to me. Example, The Smack!Down that’s playing on my VCR right now: The Hardy Boyz are embroiled in a classic feud with Edge & Christian. The teams are consistently putting on **** matches in all manner of environments, E&C are cutting some of the best promos in recent memory, and buyrates are through the roof. Today, the Hardy Boyz are a completely stale tag team that have been utterly buried by the company, Christian gets about a minute of TV time a week, and Edge… well, Edge has had the Triple HGH “shove that shit so far down their throats that he can’t help but get over” treatment, and is on his way to the main event, so I guess he’s doing okay. But seriously, they had four total superstars two years ago, and they’ve completely fucked it up.

And you want to know something else? I’d somehow ended up with an episode of Thunder – yes, WCW THUNDER – on one of my tapes, and Christ, I… I… enjoyed it. YES, DAMN YOU, I ENJOYED IT. The wrestling was pretty terrible, none of the big stars even made an appearance, and the booking was just retarded. But, in spite of all that, I was literally glued to the screen – I really couldn’t turn the show off. And that’s when I figured it out: it never mattered how good or bad that other product was. It never mattered that Russo was booking the most incomprehensible shows since Twin Peaks, it didn’t matter that Kevin Nash was out there fantasy booking on a live mic, it didn’t matter that the whole promotion looked bush league – all that mattered was that there was something else to watch. Something else that, despite not being as big, as loud, as slick or as good, was DIFFERENT. I was reading the other day someone describe the current WWF product as “same show, different colour scheme”, and that really hits the nail on the head. I think the WWF has really been stale for much longer than we realise; it’s just that, until only recently, we’ve had another show to cleanse our palette with and keep things, if not “fresh”, then at least, in balance, in a ying/yang kind of way.

After ECW fell, and even when WCW was bought out, I still didn’t really understand the repercussions it would have on the business… or on me as a fan. I’m TOTALLY burned out on the WWF product right now, yet I’m not watching any more of it than I was in 2000 – or 1998, 1999, 2001… I’m actually watching LESS than I have ever been, yet I’m sicker with the product than I have ever been, too. And the only explanation for that can be that I just don’t have anything else to watch if I decide to skip RAW one week. It’s one of those things that seems so obvious, yet it’s really hard to put into words. I’m not the only one that’s sick of things right now though. Even ol’ Mr 3:16 has had enough, and if you heard Byte This! This week, you’ll know what I mean. He basically said that the whole product sucks right now, and that the writing is just dogshit crap. He wasn’t too enamoured with the split, either, and who can really blame him?

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. In fact, a couple of wrestling-related things have made me laugh harder than I have in a long time. Take Road Warrior Animal for instance. On Get In The Ring Radio, he quite seriously said that is Vince resigned him and Hawk, they could pop crowds just like Hulk Hogan has been lately. Yeah, I bet they could draw similar ratings, too. He then went on to say that one thing the fans would still love to see is Hulk Hogan in six man matches with the Road Warriors. YES, HE ACTUALLY SAID THIS. I know Hawk did a lot of pills during his time, but I thought Animal was a pretty level-headed guy… actually, nah. Jake said some funny stuff in an interview lately too, but damned if I can remember what it was. Although I must give the ol’ crackhead some credit: about a year ago I was riding him hard for his wrestling school being nothing more than a scam for some quick crack money, yet here he is, training guys. Still, if one of his kids a) breaks their neck in a crack-addled botched spot or b) shows up at the gym one day to find nothing but an empty ring and a bunch of needles on the floor, they’ll have no-one to blame but their own damn selves.

Well, there’s a Steve Blackman hardcore match on now, and DAMNED if I’m missing that.

I know I’ve been winging it lately, and I feel bad for it, so I’ll make you a deal: as soon as the WWF stops doing it, so will I : )

Peace.
J$



I’m glad that they’ve split the writing teams and all (in that it both gives Heyman the book and effectively writes Steph’s creative efforts off as a disaster), but given Heyman’s penchant for lesbians and violence, wouldn’t it have made more sense to give him RAW, and give the family-friendly Smack!Down to Gerwitz?……I don’t know what’s funnier – Dan Severn getting stripped of the NWA title, or the fact that Dan Severn is still wrestling……Or shootfighting, for that matter……On the off chance that the Edmonton fan who pushed over the ladder is a reader of this column, you are an asshole and if I ever see you I’m going to push YOU off a ladder and then stick it up your arse. Fucking idiot……Tommy Dreamer would make a great member of the Jackass crew. Big guy like that, into all that sick shit? Actually, the Fed could make something of that, get Johnny Knoxville at a PPV or something. Shame they’re too stupid to pick up on something like that……So TNA’s snapped up Ken and Ryan Shamrock, Low Ki, and Francine? Well, that certainly would cover both the T and the A……I love Modest and all, but seriously, is this REALLY the right time to be starting a new promotion?……At first, I thought that Maven breaking his leg when Tough Enough 2 was about to finish would signal the end of his career (since his “Tough Enough alum” gimmick wouldn’t be unique any more). But now that they picked those two chicks as winners, he probably doesn’t have much to worry about. I still don’t think they’ll be renewing his contract after his year is up, though……And how the hell long has this Victoria chick been in the developmentals, anyway?……I don’t mind them giving away PPV matches on free TV, but the problem is that if you hotshot these big matches ON THE NIGHT OF THE SHOW, without actually telling people that they’re going to be on, you don’t get the rating……Oh look: 3.7, 3.2, guess I was right……Raven ditching HeAT is the dumbest thing he could do. For me as well as him. I think it’s time to start phasing out JR and The King in favour of young guys like Raven, Sanders and Tazz. Hell, Regal’s pretty good on the mic – give him the HeAT job for a couple weeks and see how he does……I’m glad they’re giving Jeff some time off to stop him burning out (again). Maybe they could send him to OVW so Sean O’Hare can teach him how to do Swantons properly again……Open letter to Sid Smith: STOP WASTING YOUR FUCKING TIME. The only big mystery over Davey’s death is whether it was the roids or the pain killers that did him in……“Are you there God? It’s me, Dynamite. Good work, mate. Now if you can only get Bret as well, it’ll be a job well done”……Marrissa Mizola……Marissa Mizola……Marrissa Mi…….


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