The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Who was more surprised when two, yes TWO, pieces of feedback arrived in my e-mail inbox this week, both from people I hadn’t plugged the column to, me, or Big Craig? I’d probably say me, because Big Craig doesn’t have access to my inbox. Yes, in addition to this week’s column and Newsreel, we have more MAILBAG. Now it’s your turn to be shocked…
Don’t forget, now its separate GB&Us for separate shows, giving you a complete overhaul of both RAW and SmackDown! But also, mainly for filler space, I’ll be going through some news items and giving them a Good, Bad or Ugly rating as well.
And here we go now, to the Newsreel, and BEYOND!
News taken from wrestling websites around the globe.
“Bob Holly has been out of action for a while with an arm injury. He recently had surgery on the arm. Once more is known, we’ll post more news on him and his recovery.”
Wow, Holly was so over on SmackDown! that I certainly didn’t even notice he was gone. One person who is probably really pleased about that is Matt Hardy; god knows what Holly would’ve done to him for not taking a Chokeslam. Last time I remember Holly was around was when he got his backside handed to him in the Taboo Tuesday voting. I don’t care much for Holly’s bullying antics, so this gets a:
“Smackdown did a 2.5 overnight rating last night. The final number will be out next week..”
That’s bizarre. It’s the lowest number for SmackDown! in a LONG time, yet the show was one of the best TV shows I’ve seen in an even LONGER time. My main worry about this is that Vince and co. will see the ratings for the show, and say “all that wrestling brought the ratings down, put more angles in”, and next week we’ll have Kristal and Jillian fighting in mud instead of Lashley and Finlay fighting like real men.
“Marty Jannetty claims that a problem regarding his parole officer refusing to allow him to travel to Alabama was the reason behind his WWE departure. On his MySpace journal he also blasted internet reporters for providing false information about the reasons for him leaving the WWE.”
Jannetty really did blast Meltzer in particular about saying that it was possible Jannetty was fired because he laughed during the Kiss My Ass segment. It’s not often that Meltzer is proved wrong, but this appears to be one of those cases. I myself bought into what Meltzer has said, and I can only presume that he got bad information from one of his sources. Whatever the case, I find it unfair that someone who is on parole for something minor, not armed robbery or attempted murder, isn’t allowed to do his job freely.
“The WWE has posted a video on their official website of Nunzio on the hit game show “Deal or No Deal” on NBC. In the episode, Nunzio’s brother is the one trying to win money, with Nunzio & the rest of his family trying to help him decide if he wants to deal or not.”
I love Deal or No Deal, so this comes in here. It’s useful and free advertising for the WWE, and Nunzio doesn’t exactly have anything better to do. I have no idea how well his brother did. I’m also disappointed that Candice has had her go on the UK Deal or No Deal…
Some good news for the WWE this week, but Marty Jannetty’s departure still hangs over their heads as we head to…
First up, one from David Clements:
“Something that really struck me while reading your column is how much JBL has improved and how Internet fans’ perception of him has changed.
Back in June 2004, when he won the WWE title for the first time, about 98% of fans couldn’t stand him … especially the smarks. They said that he was a mediocre worker. They believed that nobody would buy him as a main-eventer after years in the midcard. They argued that he wasn’t over enough to hold the championship. They said that just being able to cut a decent promo and having a good character does not warrant a title run. They pointed to his previous lack of success when being pushed (mid-2002) and unanimously predicted that he’d flop as champion.
Now less than two years later, barely any of these accusations are thrown at JBL. He has improved his ring work immensely, to the extent where he managed to carry John Cena to arguably the best match of his career. Boogeyman aside, I can’t think of a bad JBL match in the last six months (and to be fair, two minute squashes are rarely good contests). He is probably the most charismatic guy on SmackDown and his promos, which were really good anyway, have actually improved. Also, he is arguably the most over heel on the Friday night show. Two years ago, this may have been attributed to being ‘go away heat’ but now, nobody disputes that it is because of JBL being a tremendous heel. Of course, there is no denying that he is aided by having a fantastic gimmick. However, the man must be given credit for playing that role to perfection. And now, his bout with Benoit is probably the most anticipated WrestleMania match this year amongst the same Internet fans that hated him so much in June 2004.
So, what’s your take on JBL’s vastly improved reputation? Is it due to his improvement in all aspects of his work or is it because of some other reason?
Keep up teh good work. And one suggestion – add a ‘Great’ or ‘Very good’ to your ratings. Yeah, I know it takes away the whole point of the title but it will give a more accurate perception of how you feel about the show. You seem to be giving average matches and segments that don’t ruin anything ‘Good’ ratings (e.g Booker/Tatanka), so an increased level should be added for better segments. Such as a 45 minute Benoit/Angle match.
Yeah, I do think JBL has upped his game somewhat, but I think that all his haters have just got used to him and his position in the company. Whether or not they like him is another matter, but I would also suggest a lot of his critics have disappeared since he lost the WWE Title.
And yeah, I will be adding a Very Good rating soon. Should anything warrant it. Thanks for the long piece of feedback, nice to know I’m worth the time and effort it cost you!
Our second e-mail is from Guillermo Darte:
“I love your GB&U section! I like it that your going to start to make one for Raw and Smackdown. I agree with you most of the time and your comments are funny. Keep it up! I look forward to reading next weeks!”
I like feedback like this too. Knowing people are reading makes it all worthwhile.
And after that soppy comment, let’s get RAW! It’s just you, me and The Game, baby.
March 6th, 2006
When this segment got started with the whole Oscars theme, it was actually quite entertaining. A good start to the show I thought. But then it went on. And on. And on a bit longer. And on even more so that I was soon begging for a fork to gouge out my eyes with. And then Shawn came down to the ring, an action so shocking and unpredictable that I nearly fell off my chair. If anything, this set the tone for things to come…
WWE Intercontinental Title Match
Shelton Benjamin © vs. Ric Flair
I was hoping for something good from these guys, and I really do think they could have provided a good TV match. But considering they were given absolutely no time whatsoever, and were then given a finish that popped the crowd, only for the crowd to then get swerved and be deflated again, it was just a match that did nothing but leave a bad taste in my mouth when it was over. I don’t even know that this match was trying to accomplish, but presumably the post-match Flair attack will lead to a match between the two at Saturday Night’s Main Event. Maybe they will get double the time they got here? Four WHOLE minutes!
Money in the Bank becomes interpromotional
I was always hoping that the MITB match would become Interpromotional, purely because RAW certainly doesn’t have the talent to make a six-way ladder match interesting. It’s still bizarre to me that Carlito isn’t involved in the match, and Flair is. Hopefully the SmackDown! crew will add three talented performers.
WrestleMania Recall Match
Triple H v Kane (WrestleMania XV)
If they REALLY wanted it to be a recall, Kane should’ve worn his mask, and HHH should have been accompanied by Chyna. The result of this match was never in question; HHH wining was as certain as this column being late. Carlito and Masters made the match slightly less boring, and at least HHH sold for Kane enough. But he still won, and that’s what matters. HHH has of course now beaten both of the “Unstoppable” tag team champions within a month. The match itself was too short and dull to be of any interest.
What’s worse than wrestlers acting? FEMALE wrestlers acting! Especially female wrestlers with the charisma of Torrie Wilson and Victoria. I’d never take anything away from Victoria in terms of her ring work or looks, but her voice just does not suit acting. And Torrie couldn’t even get any chemistry going with her father or her husband in 2003. In fact, I’d actually label Chloe as the best actress in the segment; at least she kept her mouth shut. Oh, and Victoria: Bras are good. Just ask Lita.
Just when you thought that pregnancy would be enough to keep her off-screen… think again. The screeching harpy returns, this time with HUGE bump. HHH Jr. is already getting involved with the storylines, and has already outsmarted one of RAW’s top faces. I actually thought Steph was trying to date-rape HBK for a second. And of course, the invisible cameraman didn’t think to tell Shawn what Steph had done, and Shawn decided to ignore the HUGE shouts of “NO!” from the crowd. And why did he go and fetch a bottle of water when there was ONE RIGHT THERE?! Ugh, my head hurts. I need some water.
Candice Playboy cover announcement…
Oh good! More acting! That HHH v Kane match felt a LONG way away at this point. I immediately had to ask myself why the Playboy cover was kept under a blanket considering it had been available on WWE.com for three days. And then came the heel turn from hell, probably setting up what COULD be the worst WrestleMania match of all time between Torrie and Candice. Please, let Victoria fight Torrie. At least that might gain something positive.
Shane McMahon vs. Shawn Michaels
First of all, by giving this match away before SNME, you take away the prestige of the match on the big event. Secondly, having a match where the boss’s son goes over a wrestling legend because the legend has been drugged is not a good storyline. Thirdly, Shawn Michaels, despite probably knowing just how bad this was, did a sterling job of faking that he couldn’t stand etc., and for that reason I can’t give this an ugly. But yeah, Shane McMahon going over the Heartbreak Kid is not a good thing, let alone the whole dreary storyline in the first place.
Vince McMahon vs. Shawn Michaels
This again gets saved from being ugly by one thing, but the egomaniacal approach to make Vince look like the sun shines out of his backside (pun intended) is really starting to grate me. It was fun with Austin, but Vince never pinned Austin five seconds after Shane pinned Austin after Stephanie had outsmarted Austin by putting something in his water. The saving grace? GOOOOOOOOO SPIRIT SQUAD!
Eugene vs. Kenny
Now I like the Spirit Squad. And I like Ken Doane. Eugene is kinda just “there”. This match would have been good on any other day, but not this show. This show had already pissed me off with its constant crapness that these guys could have had a ***** match and I still wouldn’t have cared. Plus, there’s 29 days until WrestleMania, why do we need a filler match that probably won’t have any bearing on the good show whatsoever? Why not just give the Spirit Squad a storyline leading into a ‘Mania match?
Saturday Night Main Event recap – Hogan/Bundy
This may seem like such an insignificant little thing, but doing a film about an old storyline, using the style and music of the NFL Classic Films is a stroke of genius. Maybe I’m clutching at straws to try and find things to enjoy about this show, but I liked this.
Maria vs. Lita
This was never going to be a pretty match in a million years. Maria is still in training, and Lita is the queen of the botched spot. Thankfully it didn’t go on for too long, thus saving it ugly status, but it didn’t do much to inspire me that this was a good idea. Edge is getting a huge amount of heel heat though, why did they take the title off him again?
And now for something completely different. A good old-fashioned brawl, not as good as Lashley/Finlay, but good all the same. Edge’s beatdown was fierce and makes the hardcore match at WrestleMania one of the biggest ones to look forward to. More simple segments like this following a tried and tested formula would
Sherri Martel to be inducted, Bret/Eddie inductees announced
This added more to the show than pretty much everything else, as we got three big, good announcements in a matter of minutes. Austin inducting Bret? Good call, and far better than the rumoured Shawn Michaels. Austin wouldn’t be who he is today had he not had that match with Bret at WM13, in the same arena that WM22 will take place. Choosing between Chavo, Rey and Benoit as to who inducts Eddie would have been torture, and although it seems like an easy option, someone like Eddie deserves to have three guys induct him. I’m also glad someone like Triple H or Vince was not chosen. And as for Sherri? Well who could argue about it? She’s probably one of the greatest females to ever grace wrestling in terms of playing a heel character. Better than say, Candice.
This didn’t do much for the show, but I’m glad they didn’t just ignore the storyline this week. Hopefully this will be the catalyst for MICKIE’S PSYCHO HEEL TURN~!
WrestleMania Recall Match
John Cena vs. Big Show (WrestleMania XX)
Again, another match I doubt anyone was looking forward to. Cena managed to get cheered this week, meaning we had a face vs. face match and nobody knew what to do with Big Show when he was in control. Of course, by this point I had watched 1 and a half hours of awful wrestling television, and I did NOT need to see HHH come out to make things worse. Then Carlito and Masters came out to make sure we didn’t have one match end with a clean finish tonight, and Cena FU’d Show, which he’s done many times, but still King had to say how incredible it was. A lacklustre end to such a bad show.
So, overall we have:
Ugly: 1 (x2 = 2)
And it was oh, so bad. I don’t think I’ve ever not enjoyed a wrestling TV show quite as much as this one. Wondering why this column is so late? Because I didn’t have the enthusiasm to write it. I get the feeling I won’t have the same with this week’s SmackDown!.
So that was the third edition of the NEW FORMAT Good, Bad and Ugly. Got an opinion on anything? Let me know right here:
And I will see you later this week for SmackDown!.