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Falls Count Anywhere

02-11-03

I'm no gimmicky
muscle-bound freak.

Welcome to Falls Count Anywhere. My name is Chris and blood makes noise.

RAW
No, no, no, that is not how it's done. RAW was excessively weak, even when they had an angle that was a surefire hit. They had dozens of ways to play the firing, and they used the worst one: no Austin, no real pay-off, and worst of all, no firing.

The Vince promos were uneven, not bad, just sort of start and stop. It would get interesting for a minute, then go slack. I did like the touch of Bischoff presenting his "Bisexual Lesbians" to Vince, only to get knocked down and fired.

The last Vince section was awful, as rehiring him based on the promise of Austin was stupid. Why not have Austin show up on the screen, since he was in LA, and say the only way he'd come back is if he got a match with Bisch? These are little things that need to be looked at.

Other lame subjects: Jeff Hardy making the save for Test, though showing that he is struggling to keep from turning to the dark side is an OK angle. The Batista match was nothing, and squashing Tommy Dreamer served no purpose. The Horsemen beatdown that followed was only memorable for Randy Orton splitting his pants.

Oddly, though, the other matches were all at least passable, though rushed to fit in all the other talking.

Test vs. Christian was decent, at exactly the same level as D-Lo vs. Booker. The Jazz vs. Molly was quite good, but I seemed to hear fans chanting "boring" in the middle (see the FlashBack for more on this). Jazz would have made a good foreign heel in All Japan Women's
Good work that nobody takes seriously.
Wrestling about 10 years ago, when they were on a hot streak. She is wasted in the WWE because the fans very seldom take these matches seriously. The Jericho vs. Hardy main event was a good little affair, with Jeff looking better than usual. The Dudleys beating on Chief Morley was fun, and one of the few moments where the fans seemed to be really into the show (stupid LA fans).

Others have been down on Jonathan Coachman for his commentary, replacing JR. Though he certainly wasn't at JR's level, I didn't mind him much. I thought he took things seriously, though I noticed the Lawler stepped up his game a notch too, so that may have had something to do with it.

If they had extended the matches, brought out the Hurricane, and had a show of Austin, I would have been all for it. As it stood, the stuff for Bischoff took too much away for me to enjoy the program.

News
As you have likely read, Mr. Perfect has passed away. Details are very sketchy, but the WWE did acknowledge it at the opening of RAW. A lot of people are looking at putting together a benefit show for Curt and his family, and the likely place for it is in Minneapolis.

The death of Mr. Perfect likely would have gotten a full career review package from WWE, but all of his footage would have been from the WWF period, and since they can't use that footage, and have yet to buy the AWA archives, it couldn't be done.

Also, there is talk that Nathan Jones will hit SmackDown instead of RAW, that there will be another round of folks let go by the fed, and that Tough Enough is in talks to return. I'll keep you posted.

FlashBack!
OK, I want to say one thing: wrestling fans can truly be idiots. This was driven home by a show in Boston in 1993, where the world realized that the WWF had lost its way.

Survivor Series, one of my favorite events each year, was being held at the soon to be demolished Boston Garden. I was living in Boston and was so excited, since I never got to go to live events and here the big one was in my backyard, just 5 stops on the T away from the comfort of my dorm.

Now, why was I excited? On the card was a match between the Rock and Roll Express and the Heavenly Bodies from Smokey Mountain Wrestling, and I knew I was going to see an amazing match.

You see, Smokey Mountain was a fed in Tennessee, run by Jim Cornette. They had gained a reputation in less than two years of being the best small federation in the country, a place where fans of old school Southern wrestling could go and see the best wrestling in the world.

A lot of familiar faces worked Smokey Mountain, Al Snow, Kane (as Unibom), Chris Candido, Terry Funk, Kevin Sullivan, the Gangstas and even the legendary Cactus Jack. They had great matches, sometimes even beating the trends that the WWF was setting at the time, such as having an amazing ladder match a week before Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon had their famous WrestleMania X contest.

Smokey Mountain signed a deal with the WWF where the WWF would use some of their guys, and Vince would send some WWFers down to raise the gate. I never got down to Tennessee, so I was happy to have them coming up to me.

The show all around was pretty bad, but the match for the Smokey Mountain Tag Titles was great. These teams had been feuding for a year, and the matches were always great. The R+Rs were legends, multi-time NWA tag champs, and a pair of guys who could always go. The Heavenly Bodies were Gigolo Jimmy Del Ray (aka Jim Backlund) and Dr. Tom Pritchard, a legend and the brother of Brother Love who now works for the WWE. The match was great, action the whole time, building to the finish, no question, the best match the WWF had seen all year.

But fans chanted boring during the whole thing.

You see, Vince had been pushing gimmicky, muscle-bound freaks for years: guys who couldn't work, but could do a few spots, decent interviews and simple matches.

Great matches from Bret Hart and Ric Flair had been on top for a while, but the fans never responded as well to their matches as to those of Hogan, Sid Vicious, and the Undertaker. The fans were programmed to respond to that, and it killed any chance of a classic match which followed the wrestling tradition from getting over. The boring chants were so loud, the WWF could't get rid of them for the video because they were picked up on the announcers' mics.

I think this was the point where Vince knew he had to retrain the audience, a process that took several years. After this, the WWF was highlighted by the Bret vs. Owen feud, the first top feud that was all workrate based. The rise of Shawn Michaels and the phasing out of muscle-bound freaks, partly due to the steroid trail, all helped teach the fans how to react to top-flight 'rasslin'.

The problem with retraining fans is that revenue goes down for the duration of the treatment. By 1997, the WWF is in deep, but the fans had started to turn around, and embrace the superior product that the WWF presented. By 1998, the WWF was on top again, and by 1999, the fans would not accept a less-than-superior main eventer...well, at least anyone other than the Undertaker.

That's another Falls Count Anywhere for ya. Friday, SmackDown!, News, and a FlashBack to-be-named later.

Chris Garcia

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