The Live Wire - By Tony Cottam

TLW: Fantasy Booking – Survivor Series

Well, hello. Welcome to this week’s dose of the Live Wire, everyone’s favourite vampire repellent! It’s the garlic, see… That’s my excuse for the breath, and I’m sticking to it. Nyer!

Well, hello. Welcome to this week’s dose of the Live Wire, everyone’s favourite vampire repellent! It’s the garlic, see… That’s my excuse for the breath, and I’m sticking to it. Nyer!

This week’s blabber about music is a recommendation… to avoid. Bon Jovi’s latest, This Left Feels Right is easily the worst record of the year, hands down. And people – I’m a Bon Jovi fan! They’ve desecrated all the classic songs by redoing them in a pathetic attempt to gain some “street cred” or something. Do yourself a favour, don’t but it, go and treat yourself to the Best Of Whitesnake or something equally as rocking. Yes.

Anyway, blasphemous records aside, let’s get into this week’s column, and anything that resembles actual quality writing is purely coincidental and probably won’t happen again until the next full moon. With Survivor Series on the horizon, I figured that I would do a little bit of fantasy booking, as I do from time to time, and book my Ultimate Survivor Series Card. I’ve included a few people that don’t wrestle as much, or at all – so take them as being ‘in their prime’.

I’d open the show with an ECW Tag Throwback Match!!!

Tajiri & Mikey Whipwreck, Danny Doring & Roadkill
Simon Diamond & Swinger, Little Guido & Tony Mamaluke

Tajiri & Whipwreck : To this day, they remain one of my all-time favourite tag teams to watch. They had a chemistry that was hard to define, and even harder to explain – they shouldn’t have worked, but they DID. Some of their double team moves were just incredible, and you can even throw in the Sinister Minister as their manager for more all round goodness!

Danny Doring & Roadkill : Again, one of my favourite teams of all time. I feel they never really got the recognition they deserved as individuals or as a unit… Roadkill was incredibly agile for a man that size, and Doring was a perfect foil for him. Again, double team moves were a speciality – something sadly missing from WWE tag teams today, to be honest…

Simon Diamond & Swinger : How Diamond isn’t a huge star in the WWE is still a mystery to me… he has it all. Look, charisma, mic skills and damned good in the ring on top of that. Swinger was never a guy to hog any spotlights, but how many tag teams have the ‘go-to’ guy that is always reliable? Swinger personifies that man. A good old school heel team.

Little Guido & Tony Mamaluke : The best incarnation of the FBI, and it pains to see how poorly Guido (Nunzio) is used by the WWE these days. Mamaluke was vastly underrated as both a wrestler and a risk taker – he takes some wicked looking bumps, but never seems to get anywhere due to his size… but as a team, they blew the roof off many an arena when working against Mikey & Tajiri.

Follow that hot opener up with another match culled from the ranks of tag team wrestling :

Eddie & Chavo Guerrero, Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin
D-Von & Bubba Ray Dudley, Edge & Christian

Eddie & Chavo Guerrero : What hasn’t been said about Eddie? One of the greatest ever, and Chavo is a perfect foil for him, and again is that solid, reliable guy that doesn’t hog the limelight. Los Guerreros work equally as well as faces or heels, but as it’s my card, I prefer them as heels – few people heel it up better than Eddie.

Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin : Haas & Benjamin might be new kids on the block, but class always shows. Benjamin probably just shades Haas out of the two, but both of them look like they could easily have big futures in the WWE. They do incorporate some nifty double team moves, and can be counted on to deliver in any match.

D-Von & Bubba Ray Dudley : Say what you like about Big Daddy Dudley’s favourite sons, but they know their way round a ring, and know how to involve a crowd in things. Just throw the Duds out, have them hit all the spots, and watch a crowd just light up. Their best days in terms of actual wrestling probably in ECW, so they would come bundled with Joel Gertner, for comedy value.

Edge & Christian : Let’s reunite the band! In my eyes, the greatest tag team of the past 10 years, E&C revolutionised the art of tag teams, with their off the cuff promo style and solid ringwork. Christian never gets the credit I feel he fully deserves – in my eyes, he’s easily the equal of Edge – Edge gets the nod on height and teeth though… and of course, we would have the return of the ‘Five Second Pose’ for this match.

Purely for the benefit of me and me alone, here’s a match that I would love to see, if it was given about 20-30 minutes – and it’s my card, it would be!

Ultimo Dragon, American Dragon, Jerry Lynn, Rey Mysterio
Chris Daniels, Low Ki, AJ Styles, Super Crazy

Everyone knows what Ultimo is capable of… well, everyone except Vince that is. How this man isn’t on the receiving end of a huge push in the WWE is beyond me. If he was turned loose on the cruiserweight division, we’d be in for a treat… American Dragon may just be the second coming of Chris Benoit. Dragon’s downfall may be that similarity to Benoit, especially the less than stellar mic work – but in the ring, it’s a different story. AmDrag is probably the best North American wrestler not in the WWE right now.

Jerry Lynn : What needs to be said about this guy? Another absolute disgrace that he was allowed to leave the WWE, but in a way, it’s worked out better, as his feuds in NWA-TNA with AJ Styles was incredible. If you don’t know how to use Jerry Lynn, then there’s something wrong with you. With Rey Mysterio, it’s amazing that the WWE have booked Rey as well as they have. Out of all the ‘incomers’ from ECW and WCW, Rey is the guy to benefit most in my opinion – he’s never been as over, even if he is using about 20% of his ability. Turn the man loose!

Chris Daniels is the best kept secret in wrestling. This guy has worked trial matches galore for the WWE, and WCW – yet was never taken on. A regular in Japan, he’s got a superb gimmick that he uses to it’s fullest, and backs it up in the ring too. Daniels deserves to be a huge star, and that’s why he’s on my card. And while you’re talking about stars, forget Tajiri – Low Ki has the hardest kicks out there. Size is the only thing holding him back, as he’s another of the newer generation of wrestlers that makes everything look almost effortless. One of my favourites to watch, and hey – this is all about me!

NWA fans are hailing AJ Styles as the future of wrestling, and they might not be that far off the mark. Styles has a neat style in the ring, and has that ‘IT’ that gels it all together. I’d love to see AJ mix it up with a few of the people in the WWE, and this is probably the closest I’ll get for the time being. Well, this and the great Extreme Warfare Revenge, anyway… Add the vastly underrated and sadly missed by me Super Crazy to the mix, and it’s on. I loved Super Crazy. The Insane Luchadore adds a touch of the unexpected to any match, and well… I just love the guy. Plus it gives those clever types the chance to count in a foreign language…

Let’s get things down and dirty with an all out Hardcore brawl :

Rhyno, Taz, Raven, Stevie Richards
Cactus Jack, Tommy Dreamer, Al Snow, Spike Dudley

Rhyno was a monster in ECW, and that’s how I would have him in this match. The ECW version of Rhyno didn’t give a damn about anything or anyone (including censors, going by some of his choicer promos!) and would gore you as soon as look at you., yet he’s hardly used on TV these days. This guy has everything you need to be a legit contender for the WWE title in my opinion… but I suppose Vince knows best… which is why Taz is a commentator now. Yes, Taz with one ‘Z’ – the ECW midget with attitude that snapped off suplexes that took people out of their boots. That’s the Taz that I remember, and the one I liked best. It’s a shame he never really got a fair crack in the WWE, but you have to look at his size as a reason for that.

As for Raven, everyone knows what Raven brings to the table – his Backlash 2001 classic Hardcore match against Rhyno is the defining moment of Raven’s short WWE run. He delivers on the mic, and he’s inventive in the ring, as well as downright brutal… yet he was released. Go figure. Top the heels off with Raven’s old sparring partner slash punchbag, Stevie Richards, and this is a team that just oozes heel heat. Stevie can draw heat by just being Stevie, and he’s no slouch in the ring either…

As for Cactus Jack, what need to be said about him? I always thought Cactus was the best of Foley’s incarnations, and he redefined Hardcore to new levels – you can’t have a hardcore match without him! Nobody took bumps or abuse like Cactus did… bang bang! One of the guys that ran with the ball after Cactus moved on from ECW was this guy – Tommy Dreamer. If you know me, you know my love of all things Dreamer-ish, and in a hardcore match, he’d truly shine at last. Especially with Raven on the other side…

Al Snow is another guy that seems to have the worst luck in the world – he gets over in ECW with a head, then brings it to WWE TV and then gets lumbered with stupid feuds over dogs and deer heads… Kennel From Hell, anybody? Underneath the madness, and dodgy gimmicks was a hell of a wrestler, and a great hardcore brawler too. And you have to have Spike, purely for his willingness to take insane bumps. Spike really is nuts, I’ve come to that conclusion, and putting in a match like this is just asking for insanity. Good!

Just to calm things down, I’d throw in this – and it would just be a plain, old fashioned Survivor match – no stipulations or crazy bumps.

Matt Hardy, John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho
RVD, Hurricane, Booker T, Lance Storm

I’d put Matt and Cena in this one, as they are the future of the WWE in my eyes. Cena’s star has risen since he’s been feuding with Angle, and he can handle the mic as well as anyone. Hard to believe that he’s only been on TV for just over a year… We all know what Matt’s capable of, dating back to his tag team days with The Hardyz and the TLC matches. What we didn’t know was that he could carry a great heel gimmick off like he has done. Matt should be a big singles star in the future… if he’s allowed to be.

Brock is a weird one… we know he has all the tools in the ring, and he’s by no means the worst on the mic, yet he doesn’t seem to have found his niche yet. For me, he was best used when he was the silent assassin, and Paul Heyman did all the talking for him. Still, he is only young, and you have to think he can only improve as he gets older… which is something Chris Jericho HAS done. Jericho right now is as good as he ever has been, and is undoubtedly one of the few guys that is bullet-proof – he doesn’t need a belt, it doesn’t matter how he’s booked – he’s over with the fans, and he stays over no matter what. The highlight of Raw…

RVD is similar to Jericho in that he will be over with the fans no matter what happens to him. It’s a shame the guy that showed so much promise in ECW seems to be used as a time filler these days. The IC belt does nothing for him now, he’s above that, yet that also looks like his limit in the WWE. Shame. Not as much of a shame as The Hurricane’s current plight on Raw. Floundering about in the midcard, he’s a guy that consistently pops the crowd, yet seems to be given nothing of interest to do. Look how well he coped when he was elevated to working with The Rock, yet he’s busted back down to working with Rosey… sheesh!

Booker probably did deserve to be World Heavyweight Champion at one point last year, and should have been allowed to run with the ball, but injury and the usual politics prevented that from happening. Week after week, he’s consistent in and out of the ring, and from his WCW run, we know he can work… as can Lance Storm. Storm was one of my favourites in both ECW and WCW, yet his WWE career failed to set the world on fire… Storm’s blandness was used as a plus in WCW, perhaps the one thing Russo got spot on, and the same character should have been carried on in the WWE – no matter the gimmick, Storm delivers in the ring – and that’s what I like.

So here we are – main event time – and what can possibly top the bill… how about :

Chris Benoit, Ric Flair, HHH, HBK
Kurt Angle, Bret Hart, Steve Austin, Rock

For the heel side, you have to pick Ric Flair. The ‘Dirtiest Player In The Game’ has probably forgotten more about wrestling than most people will ever know. No heel team of mine would be complete without Flair… whooo! And again, Benoit is one of my absolute favourites. I think Benoit works better as the arrogant, silent heel – it means he doesn’t have to talk, and can cut loose with the full extent of what he can do… and Benoit is a bad man…

For all the flak he takes, in 2000 – HHH was wrestling. No questions, no doubts – he WAS that damn good. His heel act was on the ball, and he was putting in great matches as an afterthought. Looking as the Trips of then compared to the Trips now… it’s two different people. Incredible how injuries will take their toll. Let’s face it too – where Trips is, HBK won’t be far away. HBK in the mid 90s was just incredible, and I always thought he worked better as the heel, rather than the sickly sweet face that he seems to be reverting to these days… ugh! Turn heel already!

First pick for the faces should be no surprise – Kurt Angle is arguably the best in the business right now. Consistently good since his debut, he’s took to the WWE like a fish to water. Just Angle vs. Benoit would sell a PPV for me, so that’s another reason why these two square off in teams. One match I would loved to have seen was Bret vs. Kurt – so I did the next best thing, and threw Bret into the mix here. One last match, and one last shot at Shawn Michaels, for old times’ sake… Bret was as good as anyone in his peak, and at one point really did live up this ‘best there ever was’ tag line…

As did Steve Austin. Before injury struck him down, Austin was having the best years of his career, and even after the surgery, came back to prove he could still hang with the best of them. I remember a series of matches he had with Chris Benoit as being absolutely phenomenal, and again, Austin – Benoit sells a show for me. Now, The Rock might surprise a few people… no, I’ve not sold out, I still don’t like the guy – but he and HHH always put on a great show, and I don’t think seeing Ric Flair square off against the Rock would be a bad idea either.

So there we go – a monster column this week – and you’ll notice there’s no spot on MY card for the likes of Undertaker, Kane, Goldbore, Hogan, Jeff Hardy, Randy Savage or ANY McMahon…. gee, a PPV without a McMahon? You can tell this was a fantasy…

Until next time, have fun, go mad.

Tony Cottam

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