Greetings amigos, and welcome once again to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year period, and I hope nobody turned into a Scott Hall-esque state once too often, leaving them with a Scott Hall-esque addiction. Following the break from writing this column, I am back, and I am ready to roll. We’ll start off, as we did last time with my mailbag!
Just the one item of mail this week, from Adam Gill:
I’m pinmepayme from TWO and I’m just e-mailing to say keep up the good work with your column ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’. It’s always a good read and I find many of my thoughts on wrestling are echoed in your column. You keep it simple, no gimmicks, to the point, etc.
Looking forward to reading the next instalment.”
Thank you very much Adam. I would make things more complex and detailed, but I would then question the point of it. When I read wrestling columns on the internet I don’t like things that are too detailed to the extent that you forget what the point is. My direct style works for me when I’m writing it, so I’m glad it works for you as a reader.
If you’ve got anything to say to me whatsoever, good or bad, even just some random plug for a website, e-mail me at [email@example.com]
And now what you’ve all come for; The column!
My favourite matches of the week from RAW were pretty hard to decide, mainly because there were only four to choose from, one being a two minute-long divas match. Kane vs. Shawn Michaels was a solid affair though, made all the more intriguing due to the “No Superkick” stipulation. I also quite liked the fact that HBK didn’t really care about winning and was more than happy to give Kane the Sweet Chin Music at the expense of winning, but in the process weakening Kane down for the Elimination Chamber. The First Blood match was also quite good, but that was mainly down to a super-hot crowd providing added entertainment throughout. And the right man went over too, if Cena had won he would have beaten Angle AGAIN, and probably annoyed even more people than he already does.
SmackDown! had three good TV matches on it’s show, the first being the Cruiserweight Title match between Kid Kash and Juventud. Subsequent news reports have suggested that they actually went on for double their allotted time, six minutes instead of three, which was another nail in Juvi’s WWE coffin. Randy Orton vs. Chris Benoit was also very good, but I’ll speak more on that later on. The steel cage match was also a good contest, Rey, Nitro and Mercury all bumped like hell into the cage, and aside from the ending, the match was a fun one. I actually think the Tornado rules of a tag team cage match may have helped it.
He’s BAAAAAAACK!!! BAAAAAAAACK!!!
How great was it to see MISTERRRRR KENNEDY back on our screens again? It’s no secret that I have been a huge fan of Kennedy since his arrival, and I’m not the only one based on his comprehensive victory in the W101 Award for Best Newcomer. Since his injury everyone has been wondering whether the writers would find something on-screen for him to do whilst he recovered, and it looks like he’ll be a guest at the commentary booth for one match every week. He still seemed to be finding his feet as an announcer this week, hopefully he’ll get more involved in the coming weeks.
Big Show the Transformer
Big Show now apparently has a sledgehammer for a hand. But that’s not my point here, my good point is that the HHH vs. Big Show match has a very good build-up to it, based not only on a simple face/heel tactic, but also on the way in which the handicap that Triple H tried to give Big Show has now become a handicap for Triple H. They did a great job of putting over just how dangerous a 7 foot giant with a cast on his hand is on RAW, destroying that (obviously gimmicked) monitor in spectacular fashion, and making a huge dent in the steel chair that Lawler held up. Now not only will people want to see the match to see whether Show can shut up Triple H, but also now to see whether Triple H can counter-act the cast. Simple, effective booking at it’s best, and I’d love to see more of it.
Best of Seven Series
I said I’d talk more about it later, so here we go. When Booker T injured himself in a house show match three weeks ago, everyone was concerned about what would happen regarding the Best of Seven series. I believe the WWE did the right thing in continuing the series with Orton substituting for Booker, as not only does it keep the series going without disrupting the momentum that had been put in place, but they also found imaginative ways of keeping both Benoit and Orton strong and also get the score to 3-3 ready for the final match when Booker is healed again. It should also be noted that Booker T is a fantastic commentator and has a great chemistry with Tazz. Booker saying that “a fan has got into the ring and hit Benoit with a crutch” when Sharmell interfered two weeks ago was superb.
…Excuse me a second.
Chris: Mark Henry?! This is the GOOD section!!
Brain: Yes, I know.
Chris: What’s GOOD about Mark Henry?!
Brain: You know what it is. Think harder!
Chris: That’s your job!
Brain: Oh yeah. Well I’ll whisper it to you.
Chris: …Oh riiiiight. Yes, that makes sense. Thank you Brain.
Brain: No problem. By the way, you’re hungry.
Chris: I know. I’ve got to do the column first though.
Sorry about that, just needed a little time to think. Yes, Mark Henry is making a strange appearance in the Good section of the column, and there’s a perfectly sensible reason for it. It’s not necessarily down to Henry doing anything, it’s just Mark Henry in general. He’s a big guy and he’s a strong guy, therefore he LOOKS like a strong challenger. He may not have any wrestling talent whatsoever, but if a casual fan sees this big black dude wanting to beat the hell out of the champion, they will immediately wonder whether the champ can overcome the odds and get the victory. When he does, his status as champion will be increased, and Henry can go back to the midcard and job to people. Also, Henry needs to use the Reverse Chokeslam instead of the stupid Powerslam, it looked damn impressive.
Edge and Ric Flair
Although there has been not much physical confrontation between the two leading into their match at New Year’s Revolution, the sketch with Edge playing Ric Flair during his road rage offence was very funny. Edge’s impression of Flair was pretty much spot on, and it was far more effective than the rather bland “someone speaks as Flair on the titantron” from last week. Flair had to make a stand, and he did, and what better way of getting to Edge than putting Lita in the Figure Four, even if she did forget to sell the move for about ten seconds?
And the rest…
Were my eyes and ears deceiving me, or did Orlando Jordan just get a lot more interesting? He did need some kind of boost to his flagging career, and that seems to have done it. I’d also have JBL offer him his place back in the Cabinet, and have Jordan turn him down just to help that along.
Juventud getting released? I’d say it was a good thing. I’d never dismiss Juvi’s talent for a second, but he really is an idiot backstage. If it improves the morale of the locker-room, it’s a good decision.
Although it’s in it’s early stages, the Vince/HBK feud MIGHT be quite promising. I don’t particularly want to see Vince back in the ring any time soon, but at least it would be an attractive idea for a WrestleMania match.
Let’s switch to some negative stuff now…
RAW is Vince
Nothing in this world of wrestling annoys me more than when someone abuses their position and makes themselves the centre of attention on the show, making themselves look bigger and better than the stars they’re supposed to be creating and developing. Vince has done it many a time, and he’s back doing it now. Opening the shows with ten minute promos about himself, constant backstage segments involving him, inserting himself in matches, and now even having his own place among the Superstars section of WWE.com. He’s not a RAW superstar, he’s not a SmackDown! superstar, he’s just Mr. McMahon. It’s so, so, so egotistical, and although we should be used to it by now, it’s still incredibly annoying.
Did somebody call his mama?
We all knew it was going to happen, we all knew that sooner or later, Shelton Benjamin’s “mama” was going to arrive, and now it’s happened, we all know we have to sit back and wait for the storyline to reach an end. Whoever thought it was a good idea, and I’m looking at someone with a surname of McMahon, obviously has no clue as to what to do with Shelton. Rumours suggest that this whole thing is purely because Shelton had the audacity to complain about not being used properly, and that he’s being punished for being insubordinate. Well if that is the case, then the WWE really are completely and utterly insane. Last year Shelton was the MVP of WrestleMania 21 due to his performance during the Ladder match. This year he’ll be lucky to even be on the card.
The Burial of Matt Hardy
Speaking of someone being punished for being insubordinate, let’s have a look at Matt Hardy’s situation. Since Survivor Series he has not had a pinfall or submission victory on TV, he’s been defeated by JBL twice, and won a solitary match by count-out, after being squashed for the entire contest. This all boils down to one thing, which was refusing to be Chokeslammed by The Undertaker following the RAW vs. SmackDown! Survivor Series match. The WWE obviously have no sense of compassion towards people who just want to wrestle, and are far more interested in dishing out punishments to those who don’t fit the company line. Hardcore Holly beats up Rene Dupree? £50,000 fine. Matt Hardy speaks out of turn… career destroyed. Something about that doesn’t seem fair to me.
Batista’s new suit, and it’s not an Armani
Nothing says “classy booking” than a sexual harassment suit. It just seems absurd that the writers of SmackDown! would be sitting around a table thinking of possible storylines for their World Heavyweight champion, and they would choose one that involved a fake sexual harassment suit from Melina. It’s just baffling how they can think that’s a good idea. Obviously they seem to be more intent on making the WWE a weekly soap opera than a wrestling company, and whilst I can fully understand the Sports Entertainment idea, this particular storyline distinctly lacks both parts of that concept.
And the rest…
The look, the size and the moves of Gymini look perfectly good. They even have a great manager in Simon Dean. But then the botches began, starting off with the very first move of catching a flying Paul London. Not a good sign.
From now on, Bobby Lashley must never be within 200 metres of a microphone. He sounds like a 12 year old nerd than a big, muscular wrestler. Get him a mouthpiece, my preference being Ron Simmons.
Mark Henry may have had a spot in the good list, but he also gets a mention in the bad for not being able to open a cage door, forgetting that he needed to break the lock first. I didn’t get to see the video that was cut from SmackDown!, which is a shame.
The Tim White angle continues, and looks set to go on for some time. What a pity.
Nothing says “on the spot booking” than a Gauntet Bra and Panties match, and a Jerry Lawler match. They’ve had 6 weeks since Survivor Series to book a PPV, but their constant focus on the Elimination Chamber has meant that the undercard is dreadful.
And so finally, we hit the hot topic of my disappointment this week…
This Week’s Ugliness:
Why is John Cena still a face?
For the last three months, and before that there were occasional times, John Cena has been booed by every male in the arena above the age of 18. It has come to the point in his career which we all knew would arrive: his gimmick has become stale, his act has become boring and repetitive, and his wrestling is being exposed as being shoddy, poor and also repetitive.
The WWE have tried everything they can to get him over as a face since the booing began to become audible to the cameras. They made Kurt Angle into an anti-troops person purely so John Cena could begin defending them for some cheap face heat. He’s even started doing his raps again, and whilst they provide the odd amusing comment, they just serve as a reminder that Cena’s now been doing the same thing since November 2002.
Certain similarities can be drawn to someone who in many ways is very similar to Cena, The Rock. Like Cena, Rock got his big break as a main eventer because his mic work was impressive, and whilst the gimmick of his mic work remained fashionable, his in-ring ability was ignored. But come 2000 and 2001 when Rock was the champion, the smarks began to turn on him because he wasn’t delivering anything different in his promos, and he wasn’t as good in ring as some of the people he was competing against. When this began to REALLY become noticeable, such as WrestleMania X8 against Hogan, and SummerSlam 2002 against Lesnar, Rock did the one thing that Cena hasn’t done to this point; he began playing to the crowd’s reactions. When the crowd were booing him, Rock became a heel, cursing the crowd, low blows, anything to draw MORE heel heat. Will Cena be doing this anytime soon? I doubt it, purely because he doesn’t have the experience of The Rock, and the confidence to do that.
When you look to the SmackDown! brand and Batista, you see a different situation. Batista, despite having the same in-ring limitations, is loved by the majority of fans and is certainly not getting booed by the crowd. Batista has less charisma than Cena, and has had worse matches during his title reigns. So why is he still so much more popular than Cena? Well unlike Cena, Batista’s gimmick doesn’t have a shelf-life. It’s not based on any current trends or fads, it’s based on a tried-and-tested “loveable monster who kicks ass when he’s pissed off”. It’s cheesy when necessary, and edgy when necessary. Cena’s is just plain cheese.
I personally don’t see a Cena heel turn in the near future, as I think the WWE see it as some kind of challenge to get him over as a face again. No matter what happens, I can guarantee that no matter where Cena is wrestling for the next few months, you will still hear the boos from the men who don’t like him, and the screams of the girls and children who do.
Time to move on to some more predictions, this time New Year’s Revolution.
New Year’s Revolution Predictions
It’s not a promising card, but I’ll try and predict it anyway.
Jerry Lawler vs. Gregory Helms
Quite the bizarre build up. Why on earth would Gregory Helms think Lawler was holding him down? Lawler hasn’t even MENTIONED Helms in commentary until last week! It makes little sense, and I just hope it’s a way of getting Helms over ala Hassan last year.
Prediction: Gregory Helms
5 Woman Gauntlet Bra and Panties Match
Victoria vs. Maria vs. Torrie vs. Candice vs. Ashley
Oh dear lord. It’s a big sign of lazy booking when the only way you can fill time is by sticking some T&A on a PPV. It will be nice, but in all the wrong ways.
Women’s Title Match
Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James
Finally a match with a purpose, and from the build-up we’ve seen it’s set to be an intriguing one. If Trish can carry the relatively inexperienced Mickie it should be the best Women’s match for a while. Trish has been champion for a whole year, I see a change arriving.
WWE Intercontinental Title Match
Ric Flair vs. Edge
Flair’s title reign thus far has been all sorts of dismal, but on the other hand you’ve got Edge possibly still recovering from his pectoral injury. I don’t see a clean finish in this one, and I’d also expect it to be a bit of a letdown.
Prediction: Flair by DQ
Big Show vs. Triple H
I’ve already raved about how good the build-up for the match has been, but I’d be a fool to suggest that the match quality will be as good. Of course, His Holiness Hunter is in the match, and he’s only won one PPV match since January 2005. Until New Year’s Revolution.
Prediction: Triple H
Elimination Chamber for the WWE Title
John Cena vs. Carlito vs. Chris Masters vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle vs. Kane
Shawn Michaels is in at #1, he won’t win. Kane is in at #6, he won’t win. Carlito and Chris Masters OBVIOUSLY won’t win, so that leaves Angle and Cena. And Angle beat Cena this week on RAW. Could the result of this match be any more obvious?
Prediction: *sigh* Cena
Six matches? Oh dear. That looks like it’ll be a looooong Elimination Chamber…
That concludes GB&U #5, hope you enjoyed it. As ever, I would LOVE to hear anything from my readers, be it praise or criticism of my views. Any e-mails will be published unless you request for me not to. You saw the e-mails earlier, you could be a part of the column! Don’t forget my address:
Until next time, have a good week, and if you’re paying to watch New Year’s Revolution, I hope you don’t mind wasting money.