It's time once again for everybody to come aboard the FEEDBACK FEEDBAG!
What with my intermittently buggy internet connection over the past couple of weeks, I've been behind in my mailbaggery, so let's get caught up right now, shall we?
Jonathan McDonald (any relation to Ronald?) wants to know a bunch of stuff...
"I'll start off with a few questions.........
I know you've said that Austin?Michaels vs Bulldog/Owen was one of your favourite matches from Raw but what is your favourite Smackdown match and what Rating would you give it?
What would you rate TLC 3?
What was Madusa saying(and the announcers) when she dumped the title in the trash on Nitro back a while ago.
What is YOUR personal fav. wwf match from the new millenium to now?
Now some comments....................
I've read all the PPV rants you've done and some things I disagree with are.................
Austin vs Hart at SS 96 getting five stars. It was a great match with lots of submissions, but I think it was a bit too slow at some points.
Angle vs Austin from SS 2001 only getting four and a half stars. I know the ending prevents it from getting a perfect five, but I don't think a bad ending takes that much away.You did give Mankind/Michaels ***** with a DQ.
Anyway I'll end off by saying awsome job and unlike Just For Laughs, and Mike Bullard you seem to be the only Canadian thing that remain funny forever."
Thanks, Jon, for that very backhanded compliment to end the letter. Funnier than Just For Laughs? (Man, Mike Bullard, now there’s a dated Canadian reference.)
Okay, onto the answers...
1) Best Smackdown match ever is tough, but I'd probably go with Austin-Benoit from Edmonton, which I rated at ***** (and keep in mind that I'm extremely biased towards both guys). HHH-Benoit from Feb. 2000 was also excellent, as was the TLC match. (To this day I’m still fucking pissed that my tickets for that Smackdown with Austin-Benoit didn’t arrive on time. I learned the valuable lesson of having tickets left at the Will Call window instead, although thankfully I got to see the RAW in Calgary the night before. I’m also partly bitter because my roommate called me from the arena, during the match, yelling “THIS IS THE BEST MATCH I’VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE!”)
2) TLC3, if you're referring to the 4-team match from Smackdown, was about ****1/2 in my eyes.
3) I don't know what Madusa was saying because I've never seen the segment in question. We didn't get Nitro up here until 1998. (She was saying “There’s no way this can backfire on me. I’ll just call Vince again if this doesn’t work out.”)
4) My personal favorite match from 2000 until today is the Benoit-Jericho v. Austin-HHH tag match from RAW, which was just amazing on so many levels for a TV match and may have indirectly set up Jericho-HHH for Wrestlemania X-8. I think Austin-HHH was technically better, but I just felt good after watching the tag match.
5) As for the comments, star ratings are of course subjective, but the ending to Angle-Austin was just SO horrible given the storyline and build that I couldn't possibly give it ***** in good conscience. Michaels-Mankind may have had a DQ, but it was a nothing match that wasn't built on or built to and it had no long-term ramifications. Thus, I judged it mainly as a standalone exhibition, and the lack of a finish was easily overlooked.
An AOL dude asks...
"What happened to the world hero federation experiment you were working on? I
noticed you stopped at episode 4. Im not really into comics but i'll admit i
really was enjoying the WHF, much like i enjoy most of your work. Any plans
on continuing the series? thanks for the time."
I discontinued the series because it took a lot of creative energy on my part to keep everything straight, and I wanted to save it for the book (Tonight...In This Very Ring, coming Fall 2002!). To be honest, the only way I think I'd want to continue with the series now is if I can get my agent to weasel me in with the new WWF Pocketbooks line and turn it into an actual WWF-authorized novel of some sort. Otherwise, it's too much work to carry on as a side project. (Fiction just isn’t my bag. As noted it was a LOT of work for me to come up with it, and given the relatively measly output that came from it, it didn’t seem worth all the trouble.)
Another AOL guy writes...
"I have read your archives and I saw you mention something about "Three superkicks to the big guy" or something like that while talking about Eric Bischoff. What exactly is that about? "
What is this, Ask the Rick?
The quote is "Don't bother changing the channel...he beats the big guy with three superkicks", and it happened on an early edition of Nitro in 1995 as a form of guerrilla counterprogramming when the WWF ran a Sid-Shawn title match on RAW. That title match was taped three weeks prior, so Bischoff, during another match on Nitro, simply gave away the finish (which, indeed, was what happened -- Shawn pinned Sid with three superkicks) and I believe received an angry letter from the WWF legal department soon after.
Aaron Goff asks...
"Whatever happened to the 2001 smarkies awards??"
We went to check the envelope for the winners, but discovered that someone had switched them for some pictures of Baby Doll & Dusty Rhodes, with a note attached saying "If found, please return to Larry Z." postmarked Jan. 1988. (HIGH FIVE! Anyone?)
Daniel Alter writes...
"I am writing this note for two reasons really:
1. I wanted to say that I really enjoy your recaps. I first read your stuff on Wrestleline (RIP) and then moved onto TheSmarks / 411. You're a pretty funny guy (and that's a damn fine compliment coming from a Brit!!)
2. My friend, who works at a video publishing/marketing company gave me a copy of "Before they were Superstars" on VHS about a month ago. I now hear that this is probably going to be the next Fanatics PPV.
For the record, if the PPV is the same as my video I wouldn't want anyone to waste their money on this. Although I can't remember all the fights off-hand, you get to see Jeff Jarrett in the USWA, Undertaker pre-WCW (USWA too??), Jeff and Matt Hardy in pre-WWF singles matches, and Lance Storm + Jericho in a tag-team match (can't remember the which fed though). Basically, the Storm/Jericho match is amazing (Jericho in full-on crimson mask mode!!) but the rest is horrendous (an understatement to say the least).
Now...I have promised my friend not to copy this tape and I would like to uphold this promise. However, I am willing to send in a review to you (I'm a pretty handy writer so I promise to entertain and inform, or something along those lines...). Tell me if you're interested and I'll have a go (promises of free stuff will most probably hasten the writing process too...)."
Well, Dan, thanks for the offer and the summary of the tape, but I can probably handle the review myself when the tape actually comes out. That Jericho match you're referring to is from the Night of Champions in SMW, though, and it's ****1/2 and well worth the price of the tape if it's uncut.
Andre Triplett (any relation to Jarod?) writes...
" I would like to thank you for putting a link to your tape reviews and unknowingly allowing fans of your like me to go to the page where the appendixes and the stories and the real story behind "The Screwjob" from November '97. I still love Shawn Michaels though. Once again thanks a lot.
P.S. A while ago you wrote at the end of a column Tinsley Grimes was the hottest girl alive. Well, I disagree. Destiny's Child lead singer Beyonce Knowles is way hotter than her and now that I think about that I don't think I've ever read you say something about a black woman other than Jackie and Jazz. I know you live in Canada, but you can see black women up there, can't you?"
Well, Andre, I don't actually listen to and/or pay attention to shitty prefabricated girl bands like Destiny's Child, but I've seen Beyonce and I don't see the big deal. (She’s married now anyway. And yes, this was written WAY before Beyonce and Destiny’s Child would have ever been on my pop culture radar.) And as for my lack of comments on black women in general...well, that's kinda silly, really. Jazz was hired for her in-ring ability, not her looks, as was Jackie. Their purpose is to wrestle and train, respectively, not be eye candy like the other 90% of the women in the WWF. For the record, if they were to find a black woman who met my standards of what defines "attractive" (like Pam Grier, minus about 15 years), I would have no problem slobbering over her like an idiot, too, but they haven't yet. C'est la vie. (Clearly I’m a racist.)
Richard Jenkins says...
"Enough is enough! Seriously, when will ever end?
When will it ever end????
Is there ever going to be an actual big announcement
on one of these shows? Stephanie is gonna be the
guest referee?? Stephanie is gonna be the guest
For the love of God, doesn't anyone ANYONE in the WWF
writing team or bookers or whatever the hell you want
to call them know that WE ALL HATE STEPHANIE! Not in
the heel sort of love to hate way, but JUST PLAIN HATE
HER! What the hell man! What the hell! Why the hell
does this bitch have such an ego that she feels she
needs to be on TV alllllll the freakin time! WHY WHY
WHY WHY! Shane is at least keeping himself off TV,
and I sure wouldn't mind seeing him back if she left.
Okay I am now pleading with the WWF for this angle:
Stephanie dies. Seriously, you can dedicate an entire
freakin show to her as long as we NEVER EVER EVER EVER
see her again after that! Man oh man!"
I think someone has a crush on Stephanie. (Too bad she’s married now, too)
Nick Graham sent me a lengthy letter, so I'll be a great guy and print it here...
" The Primetime Network Wrestling Show…Once a Holy Grail,
Now a Convenience Store Men's Room Toilet
Not very long ago, the concept of having a wrestling program in a primetime slot on a broadcast network was the holy grail of the modern wrestling promoter. McMahon wanted it, Bischoff (remember him?) wanted it, any wrestling promoter with half a brain wanted it. Unfortunately, up until a few years ago, any of the “big 3” (now the big 5) would scoff at such an idea. They were simply too high class for “wrasslin”. Mind you this was before the age of “Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire”, “Temptation Island”, “Fear Factor”, and every other worthless “reality” show and special that consumes primetime TV today. Even during the wrestling boom of the mid-eighties, when it would have been profitable for any network to run WWF programming, NBC would only air it once a month at 10:30 on Saturday night (though to be fair, it was SNL’s timeslot, so NBC was sacrificing one of their flagship shows). The WWF popped up once or twice on Fox (before they really had any credibility) in the early nineties, but that was about the sum off all the wrestling programming on broadcast networks, not counting news coverage of the WWF steroid trials.
Cut to 1999. Two new networks have been born, both with the backing of huge media conglomerates. The first is UPN, whose flagship show is yet another Star Trek spin-off, and a few urban aimed sitcoms. The other is WB, whose flagship is…well, it doesn’t really have a flagship, just a bunch of lame new sitcoms. It is assumed UPN will be the first to reach profitability, and some wonder if the WB will even exist within two years. UPN does okay, mainly due to a Star Trek fan base who just can’t get enough spin-offs of the original sci-fi classic. Things aren’t all that great though, as Star Trek is about ALL they have going for them.
The WB, on the other hand has started picking up a lot of momentum with a couple of teen series and a popular family series. Soon, UPN affiliate stations start becoming WB affiliate stations, and UPN is in trouble….as all the Trekkies in the world do not equal the path to profitability. Dean Valentine, who is running the (sinking) ship over at UPN, comes to realize that the quickest way to a big boost in ratings is to latch on to a form of entertainment that is currently enjoying even bigger mainstream success than it did back in those years of monthly Saturday night shows on NBC, pro wrestling. Of course, the big dog in the world of professional wrestling is Vince McMahon and the WWF, so Valentine’s people call Vince’s people, and voila, pro wrestling achieves a goal not many thought it could, a primetime slot on a national network. Vince once again had something to brag about, and in August 1999, emanating from Kemper Arena in Kansas City, WWF Smackdown was born. No expense is spared, as we get fancy new sets, new pyro, a new ring (well, at least new ring ropes and aprons), the whole nine yards. Anyways, ratings were good, and quite honestly Smackdown pretty much saved UPN from the edge of extinction (or even worse, the butt of a lot of lame jokes on Leno). Now that Vince had his dream, people worried (well, at least I did) that he would load up Smackdown with all the important angles, and demote RAW from its status as the WWF’s primary show. Thankfully, the WWF seemed to level things out. Now seeing as how I only started getting UPN a little over a year ago, I cannot really criticize the quality of the show’s first year and a half of existence. Looking over brief recaps of all the shows of 1999 and 2000, it looks like they put a decent amount of effort into things (though the majority of any title changes I see are meaningless tag title changes).
So now, we cut to the present. I finally get access to UPN. At first, I am kind of hyped, as I can finally see Smackdown. Soon enough, my hype turns to indifference. For the most part, it becomes apparent Smackdown isn’t much more than Heat with the top-level guys. Any big angles are just continuations or lame conclusions to angles already started on RAW. If this weeks RAW was awesome, prepare to be brought back to the reality that a good WWF TV show these days is just a fluke. If RAW was awful this week, prepare for even worse. Any title changes are for belts that have no value (then again, that sums up every belt other than the Undisputed title). Instead of Vince taking advantage of this opportunity to attract people who decide they don’t want to watch that rerun of Friends, he unleashes a “gravy bowl” match or a Billy and Chuck posedown (carefully planned so as not to upset the people of GLAAD). What once was Vince’s big opportunity for a bigger audience…his “dream”…now more closely resembles another kind of dream, namely, “The American Dream”, Dusty Rhodes, with booking to match. Why can’t the WWF use the undercard of Smackdown to show us guys they can’t fit into two hours of RAW (lest they cramp a McMahon’s airtime)? Billy and Chuck, Kane, and The Big Show get enough of my time on RAW, while others who could use the spotlight of Smackdown are stuck on Heat *cough* Lance Storm *cough*. I guess it’s just another example of Vince and company taking a big opportunity that he’s always wanted (Invasion angle, anyone?) and blowing it via sheer stupidity."
No arguments about any of that from me, Nick.
Jason Davoodi does us all a great service by letting us know...
"Hey, these guys at Well Hung at Dawn are huge wrestling fans, and they give you some props in this week's column. And they're fucking brilliant. (Even though I like Radiohead.) Check it out.
And there I am, too. Wow, first Entertainment Weekly and now this. Tomorrow, THE WORLD! (The link is no longer functional, but through the MAGIC of Wayback, here’s the quote:)
SMARK OF THE YEAR
Pat McNeill of PWTorch.com
While the great Scott Keith's RAW & Smarkdown! Rants (found Tuesdays and Fridays at 411wrestling.com) remain uproarious required reading, McNeill has been consistently on target of late, in his comedy, his criticism, and his fantasy booking. And besides, a Canadian has the Strap these days -- we Americans needs heroes too, you know.
And finally, Corwin Haughr gets the last word...
"1. Who are voting for (If you can vote) in the upcoming Alliance leadership race?
2. What do you think about the Sale/Pelletier Pairs Figure Skating Controversy?
3. Will Canada win the Gold in Hockey at these Olympics"
1. I'm not an official party member, and even if I was I wouldn't vote at this point. I don't see anyone who can lead them to anything. (Not true, as it turned out. Stephen Harper won that leadership election, and then the Alliance party merged with the dying Conservative party and he went on to become Prime Minister of Canada and he has been for quite a while now.)
2. Well, first that jerk Nikita Koloff cheated Magnum TA out of the US title, and now this. No wonder Reagan wanted to nuke them.
3. I dunno, but all those weeks of beer commercials say that they'd better or they'll look REALLY stupid. (Canadians will know what I'm talking about) (They did win the Gold, both men’s and women’s.)
Until next time, let's close up the feedbag and remember...buy the book so I can crack Meltzer's book list at least once. Just for my own personal satisfaction.