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Falls Count Anywhere

09-19-03

I want to grow up to be a
Battling Girl.

Welcome to Falls Count Anywhere! My name is Chris and reports of me being the third Sklar brother are, at least, impossible to prove.

SmaqueDown!
What could have easily been looked at as a one-match show delivered a first hour that was very good then followed it up with a 60 minute match that should change the way the WWE programs its TV.

Vince's little intro to the show was a nice way to open things, giving the match an air of importance, though I would have liked to have seen it straight without the Undertaker popping in. I would have loved it if they had used the first hour to build to the match, doing interviews, getting opinions, watching tapes, like the way they build boxing main events, and follow it up with interviews, and a recap. That would have been sweet, but it worked out the way they did it anyhow.

Rey and Benoit vs. Rhyno and Tajiri was a fun match. Lots of action, good suplexes and a strong performance from all four. It seems like they were building to the main by having strong matches all night. It also helps build to the Rey vs. Tajiri match for next week.

By the way, I could care less about the RAW PPV this weekend. I'll watch it, begrudgingly.

There's a new bitch in town...

Shaniqua: Queen Bitch of the WWE. It works, as they need that role to be filled, a role that has been vacant since Chyna (or Chynna Doll) left the fed. The "match" with Nidia and Torrie was OK since it built up Shaniqua, and bringing Dawn Marie's hot ass back into the fold also helped. This could get interesting.

Man, the backstage stuff between Vince and Steph reeked of sexual tension. I feel so dirty. The only good thing about it: Big Show in his suit. Every girl's crazy about a sharp dressed giant.

The backstage interview with the Guererros was solid, though it seemed a little convenient an explanation for why they got the title shot on their first match back. Chavomania was trotting wild at that point.

The Self-Proclaimed World's Greatest Tag Team and Los Guerreros had one hell of a good tag team match that ended rather oddly. The Guerreros were so over it wasn't even funny. The push is working!

The match itself built, moved very fluidly, had high spots and solid work on the ground. Shelton looked good, Chavo did the great face in peril stuff, and Eddy proved that he is deservant of the title "Greatest Mexican Wrestler Ever!".

The ending will be debated, I imagine, for a long while. Chavo chopblocked Shelton which sent him down hard. He did one hell of a sell-job. Then, Haas came back in the ring after tending to Shelton and the Guererros sent him to the ropes.

Something happened in the call of the move as it looked like Charlie was going up for a backdrop, but the Guerreros were doing a flapjack. The move itself looked devastating, as Charlie folded in half and was driven into the mat. Scott Steiner used to do moves that were actually messed up that turned into great spots that he used on special occasions. Haas was legit knocked silly, but it all worked out in the end. Great match.

The little vignettes backstage were the WWE's nod to reality, where the guys were all sitting around talking and discussing the match. Only difference is that they were all in character. I've seen the locker room during shows and if two top flight guys are working, everybody surrounds the curtain or monitors and talks and dissects the match.

This is how we do it...or SHOULD...

The main event was a classic. No question that it will likely be the WWE match of the year. They didn't work the type of match that I expected. It wasn't until late in the match where they started working the ground or doing any real submissions other than the ankle lock.

It was as if they wanted to give the general wrestling audience the type of match they were used to and not the mat based stuff that purists like me enjoy. It did work and I understand why they did it, as if they went to the mat early and lost the crowd, the whole thing would have been a disaster.

Angle with the Savage double Axehandle off the top! Missed Moonsault! F-5 on the floor by Brock, which got a big pop. F-5 into the post by Angle to a bigger pop! 10 minutes of Angle playing catch-up with great heat and strong emotion all around. A clean finish! Holy Crap!!!

This one will be remembered. Of the 60 minute matches I've seen, it falls very near the top. Flair vs. Bret Hart was not on this level. Hart vs. Michaels fell even shorter. Flair vs. Barry Windham was the closest. Nick Bockwinkle vs. Curt Hennig was about the same, though the blood in that match really added an element that Angle/Lesnar lacked. This blew away Tully Blanchard vs. Shane Douglas. It was great and told the story right.

The ratings will determine if we ever get another of these, but hopefully they can manage to find a way to make it special.

Where from here? I'd say that they need to keep the belt on Lesnar until Mania. At Mania, they should "break the walls down" and finally pull the trigger on the one thing that would make the brand split work: Goldberg vs. Lesnar, title vs. title. Bringing back the champion who would float between the two shows could easily work, and the money that a rebuilt Goldberg vs. Lesnar match could draw is significant. Plus, you always get a real world champion in the Main Event of every PPV. I think it works.

News
In sad news, Kurt Angle's sister passed away the other day. Kurt has an interview on ABCnews about the heart condition angina, which his sister suffered from. The timing was a coincidence, since no one had any idea that she had already passed away.

Shelton Benjamin will have some knee surgery in the coming days. He'll miss a couple of weeks. This was planned and was likely the reason for the title switch, though I think it may also have been to reward Eddy for being so hot with the live crowds and to get some rub onto Chavo so they can do the feud after the two of them break up.

WWE is apparently doing a classic cage matches DVD in the coming months. There are a lot of early WWWF matches on the video, which makes it worthwhile. The classic Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum TA match from 1985 is on there, as is the 1999 St. Valentine's Day Massacre match with Austin and McMahon. Plenty of Sanmartino, Patterson, Backlund, and the pair of Jimmy Snuka matches that are hugely famous: his events with Backlund and Don Muraco.

FlashBack!
I can remember when I first started buying the wrestling magazines at the Safeway around the corner from my house. "Apter Mags" the smart marks called them, the photo filled rags that kept up appearances that the whole sport of wrestling was real. One of the Apter Mags that I frequently purchased was Sports Review Wrestling. And why was it my favorite when there were half a dozen that were all about the same? SRW covered apartment wrestling, and those articles were always good.

Apartment wrestling was not so much a league as it was a photographic movement. Stanley Weston was a publisher of magazines dating from the early 1960s. His magazine Detective was his flagship for a good while. Weston also published several sports magazines, including The Ring, Inside Wrestling, and Sports Review Wrestling.

In the late 1960s, Weston approached photographer Theo Ehret, a lensman who did much of the promotional photography at the Olympic Auditorium in LA. Weston asked Ehret is he would take some pictures of bikini-clad women in simulated wrestling matches in various apartments. The idea was a big hit, helping to lead sales for all of the Weston publications that featured them, including Battling Girls.

The series of pictorials wound up with a semi-permanent home in Sports Review Wrestling. All through the 1970s, dozens of shoots ended up in the pages of SRW, making it the best selling of all the TV Sports publications. One of the women who regularly appeared in the spreads was Cynara. She was a lovely lady and gained a bit of a following from the shoots.

A jumping on point for further shenanigans.

Dave Moll apparently took over the realm of apartment wrestling in the 1970s, producing many shoots, almost all of which featured the contestants stripped of their clothes. I believe he also wrote the accompanying text that described the action, making it seem like an actual match had taken place instead of just the staged photos. While there was plenty of suggestion of nudity in the pieces that played out in Sports Review Wrestling, these were far more dirty.

By the late 1970s, the trend had faded and there were few Apartment Wrestling spreads to be found. Then came the VCR and the rebirth.

In the various cheaper wrestling magazines, various producers began selling videos of woman actually wrestling. These videos sold well, and some of them even got women looks from the mainstream wrestling community.

While some were traditional wrestling with the woman fighting, though not prettily, many were simply excuses for the women to strip one another and apply an old-fashioned leg scissors.

Sine the early 1980s, there have been hundreds of apartment wrestling videos available, which easily fed into the backyard wrestling craze of the late 1990s. These videos came in all sorts, many girl on girl fights, and a growing number of "Amazon Fights" where women would beat on men for a good while.

With the internet reinventing everything in the early 1990s, apartment wrestling grew again. There were many sites early on dedicated to the old shoots, reprinting stories from Battling Girls and reintroducing Cynara to a wide audience. Many other sites were really just straight porn (and yes, Goodson, often gay porn, too) that used the wrestling as a jumping on point for further shenanigans.

Traditional Apartment wrestling still exists in several forms. Yeah, the porn style market is still there and probably makes ten times the money that any other form does. There are some groups that use the classic styles of fake, often interchangeable names and backgrounds that are combined with fictional stories that justify the pictures. There are also the legendary men vs. women matches that sell well. It's all still out there, just as underground as it was in 1973.

That's all for this week. I'll be back on the new week with more of the same, a special look at Art Barr and a little bit of a reflection one of my all-time favorite jobbers.


Chris Garcia

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