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Boston Idol
Blutwurst








Since: 17.2.03
From: San Jose, CA

Since last post: 2836 days
Last activity: 2629 days
#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.27
This week's episode of RAW was emanating
from Japan. "Emanating" is JR-fabe for
"not coming live from", though a debate
over the value of "live" pro wrestling
in a WWE monopoly (with apologies to
the dirtsheets, TNA isn't competition)
is long overdue.

Last week I suggested that Vince McMahon
needed to look at his competition, that
being all television shows rather than
simply other pro wrestling shows, and
steal ideas from them the way he used to
steal ideas from other wrestling shows.

A good place to start would be Bravo's
new reality series "Project Runway."

"Project Runway" features a number of
aspiring fashion designers competing
against each other to avoid elimination
in weekly episodes. The final three
designers will get to present their
own creations in a full fashion show.

The strengths of "Project Runway" are
a solid mix of flamboyant characters,
glamorous locations, actual models,
challenges, structure, meaningful
jeopardy, drama, and critics.

With that in mind, let's get back to
RAW, still emanating from Japan...

The finish of Benoit vs Jericho was
nice with Benoit using axe kicks to
fight off the "Lion Tamer" crab and
then turning it into a "modified"
somethingorother for the tap out.

I have nothing against Chris Jericho,
but obviously someone else does. How
many matches has he won on TV in the
last six months? Yet somehow, despite
his frequent losses, Jericho is still
treated like a major star on the show.

This is where Vince needs to apply the
concept of meaningful jeopardy. A guy
who loses week after week shouldn't get
to have his own interview segment.
I don't recall "In this corner with
Frankie Williams" from my childhood.

If the WWE is going to book Jericho
down loser's lane, they ought to make
the trip meaningful for his character
and for their fans. He ought to lose
more than what Gorilla Monsoon used
to refer to as "the winner's share of the
purse." He ought to lose his place.

Imagine Edge beating Jericho and then
jamming with Fozzy the following week.
Imagine Chris Benoit's Highlight Reel.
This concept isn't new to pro wrestling.
The Freebirds ran a great series with
Robert Fuller where they not only took
his tag titles but also took his car and
then cut a promo dangling his keys.

One of the problems with RAW is that
nothing has any consequences, short
term or long term. One of the WWE's
best ideas was giving the winner of
the Royal Rumble a title shot a Mania,
but in previous years they shit all over
their creation by then passing that right
around in subsequent matches. Even
now it makes little sense as Edge got
a title shot sooner for doing nothing.

Everything on WWE programs should
have the appearance of being earned.
Only then will consequences attached
to results create the desired drama.

The WWE aired a nice studio edited
piece with shots of Japan and comments
from the wrestlers about their trip.

These production pieces have long been
a bragging point for the WWE, an area
where they could compete with any show,
not just by pro wrestling standards.

Contrast this tight, attractive segment
with the segment involving Christian
and Stacy that followed later from some
anonymous location in the bowels of
the Saitama Super Arena.

Why does the WWE still insist on these
poorly acted, deadly dull "backstage"
vignettes? If they shot Christian and
Stacy picking their fight in a bar in
Rappongi the night before, with lots
of glamour shots of the bar and quick
cuts of the banter (allowing for plenty
of retakes instead of settling for lines
that are flubbed or ad-libbed), they
wouldn't need "zoom-in-and-out cam"
to try to dress up high school playhouse.

"Seasick cam" is dead. I don't see it
on any popular television shows. This
new "zoom in-and-out cam" is no better
and again, no one with an ounce of taste
or self-respect would dare to use it.

But getting back to the emanating...

The WWE aired another horrible location
shot of Ric Flair and Triple H yakking
in the Evolution Locker Room. I still
don't see any girls, though Flair does
look like an old madam with those pencil
thin, looks like he drew them, eyebrows.

Flair was wearing a t-shirt. I guess
he got tired of those "suit guy" jibes.
Oh never mind, he's "wrestling" later.

Flair mentions the "subservient" women
in Japan. Maybe the people who thought
Flair was gunning for heat against Butch
Reed were missing the obvious. Flair
certainly missed the obvious if he wasn't
trying to make himself look bad here.

Triple H looks like he borrowed some
of Kevin Nash's "Breck Girl" formula.
This dull crap would have been edited
out of "Project Runway", or at least
it would have been shot at a sushi
bar with lots of subservient eye candy.

It's almost as if Triple H is afraid
to share the screen with women because
he knows the audience will watch them
rather than him. Either that or he's
afraid his wife will get suspicious.
Regardless, this segment failed the
"tightness" test. If RAW can't come
up with two hours of quality content,
perhaps they should go back to doing
a one hour program like the old days.

Speaking of wasted time, the segment
with Christian, Stacy, and others that
I mentioned earlier occurred here.
"Project Runway" uses Heidi Klum as
brand name eye candy hostess. Her
delivery is unremarkable and her
accent isn't a positive, so clearly
she's there for name value and looks.

Along those lines, wouldn't I rather
look at Stacy Keibler before and after
matches than at some dork trying to act
hip or some dork trying to look dorky
on the WWE weekend shows? What this
parade of pathetic studio hosts has in
common, aside from not being attractive
enough to get work in shaving commercials,
is that they evince the same level of
love and respect for pro wrestling as
Lee Marshall did in the AWA and WCW.

From Pettingill to the casually slobby
guy hosting the weekend show now, the
WWE has never understood how to cast
a host that ads value to their product.

Unfortunately Stacy couldn't save this
wretched segment because the action was
all keyed off Christian's comments. All
she could do was respond. Vince should
ask his writers why weak, uncharismatic
characters are allowed to drive the action
in scenes with stronger characters, like
why Maven got to take the initiative
leading into his match with Batista.

Trip and Flair shot a stooging heel
commercial for Mania. I'm all in favor
of stooging, though Flair looked like
Al Hays getting stuck with the donkey,
an appropriate role for him now though
not one his fanboys will enjoy, but
the overall feeling was way too dumb,
like something only bush league pro
wrestling would think was effective.

Maven came out and cut a heel promo.
He's wrestling against a heel, or
against a face who hasn't declared
himself, or something. The alliances
on "Project Runway" do shift from week
to week, so this isn't necessarily a
weakness, though it is a departure
from the usual way of doing business.

The key is that characters have to
maintain some internal logic. Too
often pro wrestling writes "tweener"
characters as enigmatic characters
with no discernable logic rather than
as characters caught in a dilemma.

Batista's actions throughout the show
seemed to fall short of discernable
logic toward that lower pro wrestling
standard. Vince needs to aim higher,
especially if he's going to get away
from the safety of black and white
face vs heel booking. Fans need a
reason to invest their emotions in a
character and they can't do that if
the character has no internal logic.

Batista squashed Maven in two moves.
Perhaps no one noticed that Batista
got over by working long segments in
tag team matches where he took plenty
of bumps for his opponents. Suddenly
he's the new Nikita Koloff. Or maybe
someone noticed and wants to kill him
off by making his matches unwatchable?

Speaking of Triple H, he gets to beat
one of the top heels to prove his worth
to the fans of Japan. No Maven for him.
And again Trip vs Edge is a departure
from the safety of heel vs face and
again it's not an interesting trip.

Triple H is so focused on Batista and
Mania that it is clear Edge's challenge
is meaningless. Why should we care if
their is no sense of jeopardy? Jim Ross
screaming about the possibility of a
new champion is a poor substitute for
well written dialog everywhere else.

After Batista's match, a promo from
the Big Show aired on the big screen.
Jim Ross feigned confusion. The logic
is that a show totally out of control is
somehow more compelling. The reality
is that Ross' reaction was embarrassing
and made no sense.

Ross should have surmised that Teddy
Long bribed a member of the production
crew to air that clip rather than suggesting
that the events of the show were inexplicable,
but then Ross apparently isn't a quick thinker
since he knew this was coming for days.

Summing up further emanations...

Lawler exclaimed "Look at how many
people we have in this arena!" which
probably reminded viewers of how dim
and sparse the arenas look at tapings
here in the US, much less house shows.

Regal and Tajiri winning the tag titles
was an example of a challenge with
meaningful jeopardy that created some
drama, though those titles don't mean
much in the current scheme of RAW.

Flair vs Shawn was funny on several
levels. Japanese fans popped when
Flair grabbed a single leg, let out
a "Whoo!", got caught by an enzuigiri,
and did the faceplant, but then comedy
matches have always worked in Japan.

Shawn Michaels proved this critic
wrong by whipping out his new "five
moves of doom", taking Flair home
with a "flying" forearm, a back body
drop, and body slam, a flying elbow
drop, and a superkick. There was a
nip up in there as well, though it
wasn't done for dramatic effect but
rather in cursory fashion. "Five
moves of doom" indeed.

The main event was Triple H vs Edge
in a wannabe cheered vs heel match.
One could try arguing the point, but
when Trip was struggling for the rope
break and the crowd starting cheering
for him, it was clear that he was
playing face to people who actually
understand the work of pro wrestling
rather than focusing on the promos.

Of course Triple H doesn't appreciate
match analysis and critics because he
is extremely insecure. One of the
highpoints in any episode of "Project
Runway" is the segment where contestants
have to face their critics. Indeed,
this is such a popular concept that
the identifiable face of "American
Idol" and one of the most identifiable
faces in all reality TV is a critic.

Of course pro wrestling couldn't have
critics breaking kayfabe on the art of
dramatic fakery, that's asking a bit
too much, but perhaps they could have
Ross and Lawler spend a minute or two
to analyze what went wrong with the
game plan during a match rather than
just screaming numbing, empty hype.

The biggest weakness on RAW is the
complete absence of format. They do
not have signature music that quickly
identifies the show as viewers flip.
They return from commercial to the
ring, a backstage vignette, a video
feature, or a shot of the announcers
with no rhyme or reason or consistency.

One can blame this bush league level
of organization on the show being live,
though other live shows manage to do
a much better job of all of the above,
but that begs the question of whether
RAW is better off being a sloppy live
show than a tighter pre-recorded show.

The weekend shows are poorly cast and
produced, as mentioned earlier, plus
they are a rehash of the two major
shows, so it isn't fair to use their
current quality or ratings to measure
the potential of a pre-recorded show.

I'll have to watch SmackDown to see if
the WWE is gaining any advantage beyond
the opportunity to shamelessly sweeten
the audience reactions. Unfortunately
SmackDown! has always seemed like an
attempt to "be like RAW" with the same
ugly, stumbling backstage vignettes.

Vince McMahon really needs to watch
his competition to recalibrate his
standards for entertaining television,
assuming that he hasn't gone Gagne
and stopped watching his own shows.

The finish of the main event? Well the
referee took a bump, removing any sense
of drama and jeopardy from the action
for several minutes. Batista then came
down and did some things which only
seem to make sense to pro wrestling fans.

In the end Triple H won, which was
obvious since he was so unconcerned
about Edge earlier in the evening
that he could look ahead several
weeks to a possible meeting with
Batista, who only he and Ric Flair
still seem to think is on their side.

Frank
Promote this thread!
tomk
Goetta








Since: 30.7.02

Since last post: 2649 days
Last activity: 999 days
#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.79
"Batista squashed Maven in two moves.
Perhaps no one noticed that Batista
got over by working long segments in
tag team matches where he took plenty
of bumps for his opponents. Suddenly
he's the new Nikita Koloff. Or maybe
someone noticed and wants to kill him
off by making his matches unwatchable?"

This is really smart point that I'm kind of pissed I hadn't made yet myself.

I'd also point out that the othert thing that has really kept Batista over is that he hasn't been put into a series of matches against Helmsley yet.

I pretty much don't agree with good chunk of your piece here as I like the weekend shows more than pretty much anything they do during the week.

The Demott/Mathews commentary team was really good one. Its fallen apart since Demott left as Mathews has moved from being the play by play guy to the color role where he isn't much good and the new play by play guy is nothing but cliches and weird voice inflections.

That said Heat and Velocity are the only shows were any of the workers get to show off their movesets. Seeing what Venis can do with Benjamin is really the one match from this weeks tapings that I'm most interested in.

But the one other point I'd want to make is:

"
After Batista's match, a promo from
the Big Show aired on the big screen.
Jim Ross feigned confusion. The logic
is that a show totally out of control is
somehow more compelling. The reality
is that Ross' reaction was embarrassing
and made no sense.

Ross should have surmised that Teddy
Long bribed a member of the production
crew to air that clip rather than suggesting
that the events of the show were inexplicable,
but then Ross apparently isn't a quick thinker
since he knew this was coming for days."

Actually this isn't just one of those this "show is out of control spots" that Ross should have covered as you state.

The videos being shown are being treated as a "WHO IS THE HIGHER POWER? WHO RAN OVER AUSTIN? " MYSTERY ANGLE. With no one knowing how the video footage got there and long segments built on people being angry by the presence of the footage...Teddy Long denying it, etc.

This mystery angle involves long Helmsley as B'rear Rabbit "cerebral gameplaying" segments. Acting upset that Bradshaw would want Batista to challenge for the Smackdown belt segments...acting upset that Batista might leave.

Its a stupid stupid Mystery angle... and there was alot to criticize Ross for tonight but selling a mystery angle by acting confused is what he was supposed to do.
Destrucity
Boerewors








Since: 21.4.04
From: New York, NY, USA

Since last post: 2864 days
Last activity: 2772 days
#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.72
    Originally posted by Boston Idol
    Imagine Edge beating Jericho and then
    jamming with Fozzy the following week.
    Imagine Chris Benoit's Highlight Reel.
Heh, let's not.

Actually, those are just the sort of thing the E does all the time, with questionably entertaining results.



Speak to me! Warriors!
Boston Idol
Blutwurst








Since: 17.2.03
From: San Jose, CA

Since last post: 2836 days
Last activity: 2629 days
#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.27
tomk posted:

: Actually this isn't just one of those this "show is
: out of control spots" that Ross should have covered
: as you state.

: The videos being shown are being treated as a "WHO IS
: THE HIGHER POWER? WHO RAN OVER AUSTIN? " MYSTERY ANGLE.

Not by Ross, at least not when it happened. His reaction
prior to the commericial was "what the fuck" as opposed
to "who the fuck." I don't believe he mentioned that it
had happened before or asked who could be behind it. He
sold it more like a mistake than a "Phantom of the RAWpera."

Destrucity posted:

: Actually, those are just the sort of thing the E
: does all the time, with questionably entertaining
: results.

Could it be dumber than Trip's new Mania commercial?

I'm not asking for thirty minutes of Edge singing.
All they need to do is put together thirty seconds
of clips with Edge sucking and Fozzy fans getting
pissed off to show that Jericho's loss had some
consequences. As it is, Jericho loses week after
week and none of the losses mean anything in terms
of his placement within the company. That makes
the losses themselves appear totally meaningless,
which robs the matches themselves of any drama.

Put it this way, if no one was ever eliminated from
Survivor or American Idol or Project Runway, how much
drama would the voting or judging sequences have?

None.

Frank

(edited by Boston Idol on 8.2.05 0911)
Thread rated: 5.86
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AFAIK Undertaker doesn't really "haze" people so much as he's the leader of the locker room and can thus be overly serious and something of a hardass.
- Scottyflamingo, The Undertaker (2011)
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