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The W - Pro Wrestling - 'Vengeance' is mine...
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Boston Idol
Blutwurst








Since: 17.2.03
From: San Jose, CA

Since last post: 2783 days
Last activity: 2576 days
#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.54
Watching the opening of "Vengeance"
it occurred to me that pyro is the
essence of modern pro wrestling.
If a show doesn't have pyro the
fans complain, but it if does have
pyro the fans don't seem to care.
Pro wrestling has built expectations
around things that don't matter to
the audience rather than things
that do matter to the audience.
Case in point: Eddy Guerrero drives
to the ring in a "low rider" Chevy.
Since Eddy regularly does this it
would have been disappointing if he
hadn't done it here, but ultimately
it added almost nothing to the show.

Speaking of adding, Eddy has added
a lot of muscle mass over the years,
never looking worse than he does now.
I haven't seen shoulders like that
since Igor in "Young Frankenstein."
Benoit is trying to overcome his
lack of verticality through larger
muscles as well. Both make former
steroid poster boy Hawk look thin.

Luckily the added bulk hasn't ruined
their timing, just eroded it to the
point where they end up making a lot
of "nieghborhood play" adjustments.
There were at least a half-dozen
spots that were semi-botched during
the match which would have been a
disgrace for these two prior to the
total dimunition of expectations.
Now... it's a fairly decent match.

Not that fans at ringside can be
bothered to notice. Most of them
are too busy mugging for the camera
in hopes of being seen on television
for a few seconds. They could have
saved themselves a few hundred bucks
by camping out in front of the camera
in the parking lot that the director
inexplicably cut to during this match.

The director had a particularly bad
night. I'm no fan of using constant
cuts to mask bad work, but at least
they serve a purpose when done right.

This night the cuts were so frenetic
that half the time the director went
to a shot that exposed the work, or
showed Undertaker popping a blood
capsule, or showed one of the many
blade jobs in progress.

Getting back to the match, not much
to write home about. Psych on the
level where Eddy hits a beautiful
backdrop suplex for a near fall,
then hits some stomps, then plays
to the crowd, then grabs an arm bar.

One must either try to capitalize
quickly, showing urgency, choose to
strut, showing arrogance, or grab
a hold, showing strategy. The three
activities are mutually exclusive.
They cannot logically be combined,
so it was painfully obvious that
Eddy, the "great worker", was just
slowing it down Kanemoto style.

At one point Benoit attempts to roll
to avoid a frog splash, but errant
Eddy nails him full in the back.
At another point Benoit refuses to
break the crossface and referee "Iron"
Mike Chioda has to pull him off.
Unfortunately Chioda is able to
overpower Benoit. Get him a singlet.

The centerpiece of the match is Eddy
and Benoit eschewing psychology...
oh wait, they did that when the bell
rang... okay, eschewing steroid bound
spot-fu in favor of broad comedy as
Eddy lays out and pretends that Benoit
laid him out with the belt.

Spencer Tracy worked with a bunch of
Stooges in "Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"
too, so I suppose we can forgive Eddy
sliding into Dusty/Bugsy country, but
wait... isn't this match the finals of a
tournament to crown a new US champ?
Can Eddy win the vacant title by DQ?

Fortunately "Iron" Mike Chioda has
been temporarily knocked silly (he'll
be back with a vengeance later), so
Eddy doesn't win the historic US
title the same way that Greg Gagne
once captured the AWA TV title.

But then Rhyno runs in and gores
Benoit in one of those "tune in to
find out how the fuck we explain
this" shockers so Eddy gets the
cheap win after all.

If these two are to make the WON
HOF for work, let's hope they have
already done enough because this
level of work is so far below their
standards that it is a joke to think
it could add to their legacies.

I think I've just seen the US version
of Kawada vs Mutoh. Luckily for them,
standards have dropped dramatically.

Speaking of those dropping standards,
Billy Gunn vs Jamie Knoble is bad
indy level work. Who buys Gunn
with a Playboy cover girl? Then
again, who bought Liz with Lex?

The ultimate garbage match is next.
The APA stooge, er, stage a barroom
brawl. Brother Love shows up to
remind us of the good old days when
Wrestlemania was moved indoors due
to the threat of terrorism. What's
next, the return of the Godwins?

Now that Bradshaw has shaved off his
metoo goatee, he looks more like the
son of Vince McMahon than Shane does.
That notwithstanding, one of the many
interchangable WWE action figures
(the one who wanted me to sleep with
him a few months ago) breaks a pool
cue over his head. He tries to break
a pool cue over Ron Simmons' head as
well and it doesn't break, but he
snaps it in two with his bare hands.

Several prop bumps later, Tazz tells
us "Bradshaw is the last man standing
and wins the, uhh..." which sums up
my thoughts exactly. Bradshaw pulls
out a big cigar to celebrate winning
this barroom brawl as "Da Crusher"
rolls over in his powder blue tuxedo.

Speaking of things borrowed and blue,
Haas and Benjamin are introduced as
"The World's Greatest Tag Team" which
sounds like a rib on Paul Heyman and
announcer/webmaster/bagman Joey Styles.

Misterio and Benjamin blow something
early. Kidman makes me forget with
a nice spinning headscissors, but it
leads nowhere. The match finally
"clicks" with some well choreographed
counters leading to a flying buttdrop
to the floor by Rey and a shooting
star press to the floor by Kidman,
both of which looked very good and
both of which led to nothing since
the theme was face in sorta peril.

In fact at one point Kidman was in
peril for a long period leading to
a "referee didn't see it" tag to Rey.
Rey ran in, but unfortunately he was
immediately overpowered by referee
"Iron" Mike Chioda. Get him a singlet.

The finisher looked great, but the
artists formerly known as Team Angle
still need a lot more seasoning.
In the old days they might have been
positioned as faces so that they did
not have to carry so much offensively.

Next up Sable and Steph are fighting
over something, apparently Vince, which
should give tOA fantasy bookers plenty
of ammo for more incest storylines.

Steph looks like she's ready for a
pair of those Judy Martin support
pantyhose. Sable looks better from
a distance so the cameramen avoid
closeups, at least from the front.

I really hate to talk about this,
but Steph's chest looks very odd.
It's still big, but it's wide and
relatively flat, as if she took
her implants out prior to the match.
Maybe she has zippers or something.

The match itself is nothing much.
Steph hits a few wedgies on Sable.
Sable beats on Steph, but Steph's
selling seems oddly subdued when you
consider how loudly she screeches
during routine mic spots on SmackDown!

Finally Steph gets in touch with her
dickish heel side by ripping Sable's
top. Dave Hebner reportedly swore
on the eyes of his children that he
wouldn't screw Bret Hart. That may
explain how El Hijo Del Hebner didn't
see the 350 pound hairy clanking mass
known as Albert mowing down Steph so
that Sable could get the win. Now she
gets to sleep with Linda on SmackDown!

The future is next as Cena takes on
"American Me", er, "American Badass"
the Undertaker. Cena wears goofy
short pants (or long shorts) that
conspire with his full torso to make
him look the same size as Crash Holly.
Being in with Mr. "I'm six-foot ten"
won't help that perception, either.

Undertaker comes out on the bike and
makes Cena, and me, wait... and wait.
It's the sort of subtle undercutting
that cool heels like Undertaker and
Nash and Triple H have perfected.

Finally it's on. Undertaker throws
Cena around a bit. Tazz tells us
that the Undertaker is a big fan of
mixed martial arts and that he tries
to incorporate those elements into
his matches. This revelation should
significantly enhance his chances of
being elected to the WON HOF.

Taker squashes Cena and puts him away
with a chokeslam. The audience is so
into this that they count along with
the referee, but no, the Undertaker
pulls up Cena at two.

In the old days, any time the heel
pulled up the babyface (usually this
is a heelish spot), it meant that the
face would eventually win. Back then
pro wrestling was a morality play.
"Pride goeth before a pinfall", etc.

But we live in strange times where
the rich keep getting richer and the
WWE is subtly mining that vein by
allowing their top stars to "have
their cake and eat it too", etc.

Cena hits a DDT, which Undertaker
makes with a great bump, to turn the
tide and totally kill the crowd. If
Cena is the future, the future could
be very, very quiet.

Taker does the neighborhood play
taking a bump of the apron, slapping
the barricade, then leaning into it
like he's trying to hump it. After
a few shots from Cena he pops a blood
capsule below the apron, but our
director, who perhaps worked for
CNN prior to joining the WWE,
catches the whole thing on camera.

Undertaker spits blood for a while,
then catches Cena in a dragon sleeper
that he lifted off some MMA guy.
Finally Undertaker kicks out of Cena's
finisher and hits the last ride to
give the crowd what they wanted so
badly about ten minutes earlier.

Zach Gowen vs Vince McMahon is next.
Zach Gowen only has one leg, but
setting that aside for a moment, he
has more agility and balance than
most WWE superstars. Of course
he isn't roided to the gills, either.

But we can't set aside the fact that
Zach has one leg because he's made
to wrestle one-legged against Vince
McMahon, who appears to have studied
the collected works of Jamie Gillis
to develop his psychological approach.

Vince works over Zach's good leg, well
okay, his only leg, for several minutes,
then Zach makes the "ohmyGodisn'tthat
incredibleforacripple" comeback with
a horrid top rope bulldog and a much
nicer missile dropkick.

After spending what seemed like an
eternity bullying a one-legged boy,
Vince harkens back to the morality
play days of wrestling by gigging
himself so badly that he literally
drips blood on to the canvas. See,
really bad people eventually get
what they deserve in the end.

Wait, Zach airballs a moonsault and
Vince gets richer, er, gets the win.

I don't mean to make light of Zach
Gowen's ability, but on this night
the "wow" factor was clearly based
on him having only one leg. One
can't help but wonder how long or
how far the WWE can take this.

Will he become "Giant Killer" Zach
Gowen and pin Undertaker and Nash
to earn a shot at the WWE title,
or is this the fifteen minutes of
freakshow fame it appears to be?

What is the long term upside here,
both for Zach and for the WWE?
And if there is no long term upside,
shouldn't such a high profile feud
with Vince McMahon have been given
to someone the company can build on?

Finally, the main event. Apologies
to Zach Gowen, but he is not the most
incredible freak in the pro wrestling
business. That title is being retired
by Paul Wight, AKA, Big Kong Showdy
the Giant, a fusion of girth and height
that stretches the imagination in both
directions. All Paul Wight needs now
is a pencil or a popsickle stick and
he'll be the total package of freakdom.

Wight is so big he could form his own
tag team and possibly use that lower
standard to mount a candidacy for the
WON HOF. Okay... enough jokes. Wait,
one more... Todd Martin. Okay, done.

Anyway, Wight is in a three-way-dance
with Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar for
the WWE (SmackDown! brand) title.

Last time we saw Lesnar and Angle in
the same ring, Kurt had a severely
damaged neck and Brock almost broke
his. Knowing they couldn't top that,
WWE Creative thoughtfully inserted
the Big Show to turn this into the
standard freak show match.

See Kurt and Brock double chokeslam
the tall, fat guy. See the tall, fat guy
suplex Kurt and Brock simultaneously.
See Brock hit a running powerbomb and
an F-5 on the tall, fat guy. See Kurt
Angle hit an angle slam on the tall,
fat guy. Etc, etc, etc. Basically a
John Studd bodyslam challenge with
far better spots, culminating with
Kurt Angle "Angle slamming" the tall,
fat guy through the announcer's table.

From there it was just Kurt and Brock,
"two great wrestlers with amateur
backgrounds", according to Tazz, who
were both bleeding from self-inflicted
cuts in their forehead. Unfortunately
after seeing the Undertaker spitting up
blood and seeing Vince simply leaking
blood, the effect was diminished.

Still they did manage to hit some
nifty spots, the staple of both men's
work. Kurt Angle hit what was called
an "inside out" german suplex where
Lesnar spun so far that he landed
face first. Unfortunately the near
fall after this devastating manuever
was upstaged by an instant replay.

In the end modern matches are just
a bunch of highlights with needless
stuff in between the "wow" spots, or
so this Pay-Per-View made it seem.

Frank

(Stephanie is way too old to play Meadow
Soprano and Vince McMahon isn't nearly
likeable enough to play Tony Soprano.)
Promote this thread!
Ringmistress
Lap cheong








Since: 15.1.02
From: Philly

Since last post: 2589 days
Last activity: 2588 days
#2 Posted on
That's a new one on me, but I've been pretty deep about these things myself, so good reading there.



1100 bitches and counting....
tomvejada
Andouille








Since: 2.1.02

Since last post: 3987 days
Last activity: 3987 days
#3 Posted on
Good article.

Good to have you back, Frank.



"Oh my God, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits! It says, 'Oooooo!'" Peter Griffin
"Peter, those are Cheerios." Brian
fuelinjected
Banger








Since: 12.10.02
From: Canada

Since last post: 3176 days
Last activity: 3176 days
#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.15
A few things:

-The fact that Chris Benoit and Eddy Guerrero are still wrestling at the level they are now is astonishing considering Benoit's major neck surgery and 14 years of brutally physical matches. And Eddy's personal demons and the lingering injuries from his near fatal auto accident.

-The wrestlers aren't necessarily being "overpowered" by the referee's. The faces just don't want to shove, push past them or disobey them because they'd, in theory, get disqualified. And Brian Hebner pulled Benoit's hair. :b

-For someone that watches so much wrestling, I'd figure you'd know that Undertaker lifted the Dragon Sleeper from Ultimo Dragon, who lifted it from Tatsumi Fujinami.

-Complain all you want about modern matches but would you rather they sit in a headlock for five minutes, hit a bodyslam and go back to a headlock for a few more minutes? I dislike when people knock the modern style in favor of the style of the 60's and 70's, when only a handfull or two of guys back then could work that style well. Just like today, there are a few elite performers but the aside from promos, the underneath guys are much more athletic and skilled in the ring then those of years past.
Boston Idol
Blutwurst








Since: 17.2.03
From: San Jose, CA

Since last post: 2783 days
Last activity: 2576 days
#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.54
> That's a new one on me, but I've been pretty deep
> about these things myself, so good reading there.

You mean the Sopranos reference? When I saw sulking
daughter Steph and frustrated father Vince I thought
it was unmistakable that they were trying to rip off
the dynamic tension between Meadow and Tony Soprano.

But... Steph's about ten years old to be playing an
angst filled teenager and Vince hasn't shown enough
humanity to make us care about him, so the scene fell
flat. Also WWE Creative simply isn't up to the job.

Frank

"I didn't just meet you. I've known you my whole
friggin' life!"
- Tony Soprano

==========

> -The fact that Chris Benoit and Eddy Guerrero
> are still wrestling at the level they are now
> is astonishing considering Benoit's major neck
> surgery and 14 years of brutally physical matches.
> And Eddy's personal demons and the lingering
> injuries from his near fatal auto accident.

I'm not complaining about a lack of effort or
spots, so we can rule out injuries and demons.
My major complaint is with shoddy execution,
which has more to do with massive steroid
consumption, and simply dumb work which is
not a function of age or physical factors.

Take the series of pinning combination exchanges
for example. It started with a moment of total
exposure due to miscommunication or a huge slip.
Once they got rolling all of the counters were
smooth enough, but the sequence was completely
out of place. It wasn't early enough to be a
"hot start" (and you can see complaints about
the slow start all over the net), but it also
wasn't late enough for the near falls to be
credible. Like most of what happened during
that match, it was simply masturbatory, with
a healthy dose of "you fucked up" thrown in.

> -The wrestlers aren't necessarily being
> "overpowered" by the referee's.

Rey was lifted right off his feet. Obviously
I don't blame _him_ for that, but it still made
him look like a little kid, which isn't helpful.
I blame the referee. He's a bit overzealous.

> The faces just don't want to shove, push
> past them or disobey them because they'd,
> in theory, get disqualified.

Benoit didn't seem to give a shit about a DQ
and Rey got waistlocked off his feet from
behind, but I do take your point. Normally
I wouldn't complain, but I thought the two
spots I highlighted were mistakes in either
judgement or staging. The referee should not
upstage the wrestlers, which he clearly did.

> And Brian Hebner pulled Benoit's hair. :b

Yeah, I thought it looked shitty when Kiniski
did it to Race at Starrcade, too, but YMMV.

> -For someone that watches so much wrestling,
> I'd figure you'd know that Undertaker lifted
> the Dragon Sleeper from Ultimo Dragon, who
> lifted it from Tatsumi Fujinami.

Of course I knew.

It was an obvious joke???
What with Tazz putting over Undertaker using
MMA holds, I found the dragon sleeper funny
and wanted to riff off Tazz' wacky comment.

> -Complain all you want about modern matches
> but would you rather they sit in a headlock
> for five minutes, hit a bodyslam and go back
> to a headlock for a few more minutes?

So it has to be Vengeance or shit? Are those
the only choices, or can I point out that I
praised Tully vs Steamboat from Starrcade '83
recently at tOA?

> I dislike when people knock the modern style
> in favor of the style of the 60's and 70's,

Who did?

You're shoving your words in my mouth.

Show me where I said 60's and 70's.

But no, let's relax and mellow out.

How about SummerSlam 2002? Plenty of decent
"storyline" work in matches on that card, or
so I've been told. Storylines and psychology
and moves and action aren't mutually exclusive.

One can demand a little of each, regardless of
the decade, so lets not fall for the invalid
comparisons to the 60's and 70's any more.

> Just like today, there are a few elite performers
> but the aside from promos, the underneath guys are
> much more athletic and skilled in the ring then
> those of years past.

More athletic, sure. More skilled? You'd have
to define skilled. Gymnastics? Okay. Spots?
Maybe, though execution in the WWE sucks now.
Psychology and storytelling? No, not even
close, which is why the WWE relies on this
crappy "all action all the time" formula to
try to get by. For me it's not working, but
that doesn't mean I want a return to the days
of Bruno Sammartino or even Dory Funk Jr.

Frank

(Steamboat didn't get really good until 1984,
after about ten years of training and seasoning.
One of the biggest problems in the WWE is lack
of experience, but with spot-fu driving the
injury rate higher, wrestlers don't last long
enough to become seasoned, well rounded veterans.)

(edited by Boston Idol on 29.7.03 1806)
darkdragoon
Bockwurst








Since: 26.8.02

Since last post: 3610 days
Last activity: 3610 days
#6 Posted on
Eddy was larger in '99 IIRC, and the whole "bulking up" is more padding than anything. And sorry, but Chris doesn't feel like doing nadare shiki no tombstones followed by high angle dragon suplexes these days. Eddie's antics are near Gringo Loco days, and yet he's getting face heat now.

Shelton and Haas were given all the old Memphis tag tricks, for such young guys they're impressive.
Boston Idol
Blutwurst








Since: 17.2.03
From: San Jose, CA

Since last post: 2783 days
Last activity: 2576 days
#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.54

    Originally posted by darkdragoon
    Eddy was larger in '99 IIRC, and the whole "bulking up" is more padding than anything. And sorry, but Chris doesn't feel like doing nadare shiki no tombstones followed by high angle dragon suplexes these days. Eddie's antics are near Gringo Loco days, and yet he's getting face heat now.


I never complained about a lack of specific spots or
spots in general. I don't have your insight into how
Chris feels, but since he and Eddy were doing locomotion
suplexes and superplexes I think he felt pretty frisky.

As for Eddy's bulk, those knots on his shoulders aren't
padding and they aren't normal. Eddy has had a bad
history with roids. Hopefully he won't rip another
muscle or ligament off the bone.

I know it's tough for people to evaluate Eddy and Chris
objectively, especially when standards in the business
have dropped so far that they are still near the top if
not at the top, but this was a poor match compared to
their standards of five years ago, not because they took
fewer risks, but because they didn't work a good match.

Frank
fuelinjected
Banger








Since: 12.10.02
From: Canada

Since last post: 3176 days
Last activity: 3176 days
#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.15
Why can't people just like the match for what it was, a good match? It wasn't excellent, it wasn't out of this world, but most people are able to overlook minor screwups.

You're blaming it on the juice but they've both been heavily supplemented for the better part of a decade. Benoit even looks smaller now compared to pre-neck surgery.

Flair, Misawa, Kawada, Kobashi, Hart, all of them were juiced up performers but when they had a night that was a little off, was it steroids to blame or are people not allowed to be a little off?

I'm not feeling your argument that they weren't perfect because they're doing what they've been doing for the majority of their careers. Why is it suddenly affecting their timing now when you said age and physical factors aren't the problem? And in that case, any good match Benoit or Guerrero have had in the past five years isn't because of them.

They didn't click the way you expected but have they ever had one together in the past that led you to believe this would be perfection?
darkdragoon
Bockwurst








Since: 26.8.02

Since last post: 3610 days
Last activity: 3610 days
#9 Posted on

    Originally posted by Boston Idol

      I don't have your insight into how
      Chris feels, but since he and Eddy were doing locomotion
      suplexes and superplexes I think he felt pretty frisky.

      As for Eddy's bulk, those knots on his shoulders aren't
      padding and they aren't normal. Eddy has had a bad
      history with roids. Hopefully he won't rip another
      muscle or ligament off the bone.

      I know it's tough for people to evaluate Eddy and Chris
      objectively, especially when standards in the business
      have dropped so far that they are still near the top if
      not at the top, but this was a poor match compared to
      their standards of five years ago, not because they took
      fewer risks, but because they didn't work a good match.

      Frank



    1. Painkillers, GHB, and the like are a far bigger threat than roids at this point. If NJ and WCW didn't have a leash on what you can and can't take, why would we assume Vince would either, hey, at least he helped out Eddie on the rehab.

    2. Is it a case of nothing being able to meet the standards, or that the standards themselves are of unrealistic expectations?

    3. Let's see, the impact on their strikes was perfectly fine. Chris did a nice job of working on Eddie's neck, including using a 1/2 nelson sub I haven't seen him use previously. the miscues aren't glaring--Eddie has hit frog splashes on standing opponents for pete's sake.
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