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Wrestling-Online Newsletter #1721

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  • Colin Vassallo
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    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 15, 2003
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      Exclusive wrestling news being broken around the clock at
      http://www.wrestlingdotcom.com

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      / _ \| \| | | |_ _| \| | __| Issue #1721
      | (_) | .` | |__ | || .` | _| Saturday, November 15th 2003
      \___/|_|\_|____|___|_|\_|___| http://www.wrestling-online.com
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      |_|\_|___| \_/\_/ |___/____|___| |_| |_| |___|_|_\

      _____________________________________________________________________


      >> OPENING WORDS FROM THE EDITOR
      By Colin Vassallo, [Editor@...]

      Hey guys. Nothing to rant about today. Back tomorrow before the PPV.

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      >> WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
      http://www.wrestling-online.com/news

      > ANGLE TO HAVE SECOND SURGERY
      - Kurt Angle is scheduled to undergo surgery again this Monday in
      Pittsburgh under the hands of Dr Jho, the same person who originally
      operated Angle just after WrestleMania. Dave Scherer of 1wrestling.com
      reports that MRI results revealed a bone chip in his neck and surgery is
      the only way to go to remove it. No details on how long Angle will be
      out, but the former champion will be working the pay-per-view tomorrow
      despite the pain.

      > OFF AIR NOTES FROM SMACKDOWN!
      - W-O Newsletter Joe Leschinskie attended the Smackdown! tapings on
      Tuesday and sent in these off air notes from the show. After cameras
      stopped rolling, Lesnar told the crowd that even though his team lost
      this one and if they lose the match at Survivor Series, he'll still have
      the title around his waist. Bob Holly then came out for an impromptu
      match and had the upper hand until Lesnar gave Holly a low blow and
      Lesnar got DQed.

      > IDENTITY OF POLICE OFFICER ON SMACKDOWN!
      - W-O Newsletter reader Rob Hayes sent in word that the man who played
      the New Jersey State Police trooper skits with the Bashams and the
      Guerrero's was Fred 'The Bone Crusher' Sampson from the Independent
      Wrestling Federation based in NJ. He's currently their IWF champion.

      > SMACKDOWN! RATINGS
      - Smackdown! did a 3.7 final rating for Thursday's show, up 0.1 from
      last week. (Ratings compiled by Nielsen Media Research and put online by
      1wrestling.com)

      > TICKETS ON SALE
      - The following shows went on sale earlier today. Live event on Friday
      December 5th at the South Florida Fair Expo Center in Billings, MT.;
      Live event on Sunday December 14th at the Concseco Fieldhouse in
      Indianapolis, IN.; RAW live from the St Pete Times Forum in Tampa, FL.,
      on Monday December 15th; Smackdown! tapings at the Veteran's Memorial
      Arena in Jacksonville, FL., on Tuesday December 16th. For more ticket
      information call the arena box office.

      > STOCKS
      - Stocks closed the week yesterday at 10.81, a 2.52% decrease over the
      previous closing. The day's range was 10.80 - 11.09. On a related note,
      the company's board of directors declared a $0.04 dividend on all Class
      A and Class B common shares. The record date for the dividend is
      December 31, 2003. The payment date will be January 9, 2004.

      _____________________________________________________________________


      >> CLOTHESLINE CITY
      By Andrew Bulik, [andrewbulik@...]

      Once again, a wrestler has been taken before our time. I was shocked
      when I read of Michael ‘Crash’ Lockwood’s death as it was pretty
      unexpected. As far as I could tell, he was a young healthy guy who just
      liked to party a little. I was always a Crash Holly mark, from
      rebellious cousin to Mattitude Follower, I always loved what little
      Crash got up to. Unlike many superstars today, despite being a
      midcarder, he had loads of personality.

      Rest in Peace Crash.

      Down to Business.

      WWE, 10 Things I hate about you:

      No. 1 - WRESTLERS BEING TOLD NOT TO USE CERTAIN MOVES

      I think this is the one that upsets me the most. First piledrivers were
      banned without special permission. Now in the last couple of months
      overhead belly to bellies have been scrapped which are key moves in Kurt
      Angle, Brock Lesnar and Chris Benoit's arsenal. But I suppose it doesn't
      affect Triple H, so that's okay.

      This week also The Hurricane has been told NOT to use the chokeslam
      anymore. Why? Because it's not convincing that a wrestler his size
      should use it! Exsqueeze me? Baking powder? Not convincing? Of course
      it's not bloody convincing! That's the whole point - he's a superhero
      dammit! His whole character is a caricature for crying out loud. And if
      booker's don't understand that then they shouldn't be in the business. I
      think the reasons for banning Hurricane's choke slam are the most
      ridiculous I've ever heard.

      And this week too, Paul London, Billy Kidman and Spanky were urged to
      use the 'less is more' WWE approach. Ugh! This is just Vince's fear of
      the cruiserweights upstaging big oafs like Nathan Jones. Vince moans
      about house show attendance going down, well it will continue to go down
      if guys aren't allowed to perform their signature moves! Think about it,
      if you've ever attended a live wrestling event, when do all the camera
      flashes go off? Yeah, when Bret had someone in the Sharpshooter, Stone
      Cold hits a Stunner or a cruiserweight hits some amazing high-flying
      manoevre.

      No. 2 – SO MANY GENERIC WRESTLERS

      I’ve talked about this one before but well this is a compilation. I
      realise that the WWE creative department has a lot of work to do but so
      many wrestlers are being presented as generic nonentities. I mean the
      likes of Jindrak, Cade, Jordan, Bashams (sexual fetishes do not a
      gimmick maketh), Paul London, Spanky etc. They are presented like
      jabronis so the majority of the crowd react to them that way – and the
      likes of London and Spanky aren’t even allowed to use the full extents
      of their talent to get over.

      I think the (not so) Creative Dept are just praying that some of these
      guys develop John Cena like qualities and pull a gimmick from nowhere.
      Yeah, John Cena was once a dork, as were Steve Austin and The Rock when
      they debuted, but these guys all have charisma to carry themselves and
      become individuals.

      Jake Roberts said in a recent interview that when he watched WWE he sees
      guys that look the same doing all the same moves. He’s so right.

      No. 3 – MISTREATMENT OF TALENT

      Matt Hardy, Shannon Moore, Ultimo Dragon, Chris Kanyon, Lance Storm,
      Sean O’Haire, Goldust, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, Christian, Chris Jericho,
      Spanky, Paul London. These are just some of the guys who the WWE is
      completely disrespecting on a weekly basis.

      Ultimo Dragon is a living legend in the business, he genuinely came back
      from what should have been a career-ending injury to compete in the WWE,
      the only game in town. But because Vincent Kennedy McMahon does not like
      his wrestling style, in that it’s not generic WWE style, The Dragon has
      been demoted to bit-part player status.

      Chris Kanyon is immensely talented and incredibly innovative but for
      some reason he has never been allowed to strut his stuff since being the
      entertaining Alliance MVP. Jericho, Booker, RVD and Christian should
      have RAW built around them but have never been allowed past the glass
      ceiling that Triple H stands on. O’Haire and Goldust were pushed to the
      side when their respective partners went in different directions and the
      WWE hasn’t known what to do with them since. Shannon Moore, Lance Storm,
      Spanky and London are all treated like total jobbers for no other reason
      I can see other than that they are not the size of Hulk Hogan.

      As for Matt Hardy, well, I’ve attended two Smackdown house shows this
      year and it is not an exaggeration to say that Version 1.0 was easily
      one of the most over guys on the card! He was cheered like crazy, V1
      signs were flashed by many hands and there were countless guys (myself
      included) in the Sensei’s t-shirts. Why then, is he made to job to Zach
      Gowen? Which comfortably brings me to my next point.

      No 4 – ZACH GOWEN’S SUPERPUSH

      Now don’t take this the wrong way. I have a great deal of respect for
      Zach, I think what he has overcome and achieved in his life so far is
      nothing short of astonishing. But he has been rammed down our throats.
      He took over Mr. America’s feud with Mr. McMahon when Hulkster bailed
      out and was given far too much exposure. He was then put into a feud
      with Matt Hardy AND scored the victory over him! Now I’ll admit, I’m a
      dedicated MFer but that is not why I’m sick of Zach. Should Zach not pay
      his dues like Spanky, Paul London and Orlando Jordan are doing? What did
      he do to deserve a high profile victory over Mattitude? I don’t know
      where Gowen goes from now, and aside from an appearance of Royal Rumble,
      I don’t see where the youngster goes from here.

      No 5 – VINCE’S PRESENCE

      In the past I’ve enjoyed Vince’s parts he has played. From Evil Boss (v
      Austin) to Doting Dad (v HHH) to Not-So-Doting Dad (v Shane). I even
      thought he was pretty funny when he was the panicked WWE owner worrying
      his kids were going to kill his company. But most of these roles were
      punctuated with fairly lengthy sabbaticals. Vince has been on our
      screens every month this year. He was threatening Bischoff with the sack
      at the start of the year, feuding with Hogan and Gowen through Spring
      and Summer, beating on his daughter in Autumn and this Thanksgiving,
      he’s taking on the Dead Man. It’s too much, especially since he has been
      playing the same overexposed character all year.

      I don’t think I need to go on at length about his kids. Stephanie and
      Shane are being portrayed as more important than most of the talent.
      Backstage that may be true, but it should not be the case on-screen.

      No 6 – HOSS SYNDROME

      Watch out, here comes another list: The Big Show, A-Train, Matt Morgan,
      Nathan Jones, Undertaker, Bradshaw, Faarooq, Kevin Nash, Mark Henry,
      Batista, Scott Steiner, Triple H, John Heidenreich. What do all these
      guys have in common? They are either past-it, too green or over-exposed.
      Oh yeah, and they are all huge and ‘tough’.

      Ironically most of them hail from the Smackdown brand, which is supposed
      to be the ‘wrestling’ brand, whilst RAW is the ‘sports entertainment’
      brand. All these guys are being pushed ahead of all the guys in ‘Reason
      No 3’ for no other reason than they are huge (or in the case of the APA,
      Undertaker’s buddies). Every single one of these guys makes me want to
      flip the channel.

      No 7 – TRIPLE H’S REMARKS

      It seems to have become a pretty regular occurrence for Trippers to
      shoot his mouth off to whoever will listen. He is of the opinion that
      wrestlers on the undercard should ‘know their place’ and not put on
      shows that will put the main event in the shade. Now I do see his point
      in this, however, surely it should be the job of the main eventers to
      put on an unforgettable show.

      He does not seem to comprehend that fans would rather see 7 or 8
      showstealing bouts on a PPV rather than 7 lame ones and a slightly
      better
      main event. I think that is why the Cruiserweight Title match this
      Sunday features the two most ground-based cruisers on the roster.

      Another Triple H favourite comment is to blast internet fans and
      writers. He attacks us claiming that until we have spent time in the
      ring paying our dues, we are not qualified to comment. Excuse me, but I
      don’t think that is the case. Many football (soccer) supporters may be
      ‘armchair fans’ but they can still make valid points on how their team
      is performing. That is the way I see it, I’ve been watching long enough
      to know what is good and what is bad.

      I’ve been watching wrestling for almost 12 years now. I have been a
      ‘smart’ mark for about 8. I know what a good match is and I know what a
      good angle is. It is one that can make me forget that I’m a ‘smark’. It
      is a match that totally encapsulates the audience and makes them feel
      like that 9 year old kid they once were, when wrestling mesmerised them.
      However, today, when I watch wrestling, that does not happen.

      No 8 – LACK OF RESPECT FOR TITLES

      The United States and Intercontinental Titles have become meaningless.
      Christian was given the first reign of the re-inaugurated strap in
      promising fashion (getting a rub from Jericho & Booker). But he was
      continually made to look like a loser who didn’t deserve to be a
      champion. I don’t think Christian’s won one bout cleanly as the champ.
      Booker T and RVD’s title reigns have not been inspirational either. I
      don’t blame either of them for that. Both have been given the strap as
      compensation for not being allowed to go over Triple H (him again!).

      As for the U.S. Title, I thought Eddie Guerrero had a fantastic reign
      with the strap and it helped him to really get over, and did wonders for
      the belt. But then the WWE go and turn that completely around and give
      it to the big lummox that is The Big Show. The belt should be around the
      waist of guys like Eddie Guerrero, Matt Hardy and even Rey Mysterio. It
      should not be used to justify the stupidly large contract that The Big
      Show holds.

      No 9 – CRUISERWEIGHT CRISIS

      Yes, I am aware that the Cruiserweights have been more active as of
      late, but as I’ve already mentioned it seems to be getting moulded
      around the more grounded cruisers – with the exception of Rey, whose fan
      following the WWE can’t ignore. It has an immense wealth of talent which
      could easily provide 15 minutes of escapism every week like they used to
      on Nitro. However, the WWE seems intent on making the Cruiserweight
      Division a miniature version of the Heavyweight ‘Division’. Who really
      wants to see that? The Cruiser Title may as well be called the European
      Title for all the meaning it has.

      No 10 – GOLDBERG

      I couldn’t believe when I read this. And please bare in mind it’s only a
      rumour so may or may not be true. Goldberg’s push has been set up in
      such a way that it is designed to fail. What? They are scheming to make
      their champion look like crap? Is this why he’s getting involved with
      and isn’t allowed to score a clean victory over the likes of Batista?

      This all goes back to Vince’s complete intolerance for anything other
      companies have achieved. It is why WCW was completely trodden on when
      they came onto WWF programming. And as mentioned already it is why
      Ultimo Dragon and the Cruiserweights are continually buried. Goldberg
      was the WWE’s chance to have something fresh on their programme, but he
      has been continually badly booked. If he loses the title this Sunday,
      then something is terribly fishy.

      And there you go, I know, I’m a moaner. But please don’t take this the
      wrong way – I love everything WWE. I really do! Which is why it pains me
      to see the show I love so much go down the pan. I believe it is going
      down the toilet for the reasons listed above.

      Anyway…

      Last Sunday I had the pleasure of purchasing WWE Smackdown 5: Here Comes
      The Pain for the PS2. It’s a game I’ve been looking forward to for
      months, so I was delighted to be able to call it mine. Here’s my opinion
      on it:

      Firstly, there are 63 wrestlers, which is pretty good I thought. But
      then I discovered that about 10 of these guys are WWE ‘Legends’. Iron
      Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, Sgt Slaughter, Ted DiBiase, Jimmy Snuka, Roddy
      Piper, Old School Undertaker, Legion of Doom and Hillbilly Jim are all
      included (I’ll let you decide if some of these guys are ‘legends’ *ahem*
      Jim). What disappointed me is that while these guys entrance moves are
      pretty cool (the are brought to the ring by a ring-mobile a la WMIII and
      VI) none of them have theme music. What’s more, they have been included
      at the expense of the likes of Billy Kidman, The FBI, Billy Gunn, The
      APA, Tommy Dreamer, Rosey, Jamie Noble and Nidia, Dawn Marie and La
      Resistance. I know Dupree and Grenier debuted around April, but so did
      Ultimo Dragon and he made it into the game.

      The playing style has changed to previous Smackdowns, with the focus on
      wearing down an opponent before you can score victory. The new playing
      style also allows for a lot more grapple moves and can let you develop
      your own tactics, which is pretty cool. What I do find annoying is that
      if you choose to go a cruiserweight (I went Matt Hardy my first time
      round), you will not be able to perform any powerful moves on big guys
      like Taker, Albert and Lesnar. Whilst I understand this makes sense, it
      is easy to forget in a fast-paced match up. So you try to pick up a big
      guy you are left cursing yourself as your little bundle of Mattitude
      tries in vain to lift the hulking Brock. And then as your poor little
      Matt is clutching his sore back, Mr. Lesnar is allowed a free
      hit/grapple at you – D’oh!

      The exhibition matches are great with such matches as the Elimination
      Chamber and Bra and Panties matches keeping you entertained for hours on
      end. So 2 player fun is a hoot, but what about the season mode?

      When you first play through an entire season you’ll absolutely be in
      love with the game. When you are not in storylines you can challenge for
      specific belts or start mini-feuds with a guy you beat last week. When
      you are in storylines you can expect to form factions and have your
      tag-team partner throw parties for you. However, if like me, you tend to
      play these games for hours on end, you’ll quickly see problems.

      You tend to only have two options when you take part in an angle. This
      means when you complete two seasons (a season being only 12 months long
      this time round, as opposed to the 2 years last time) you have the
      feeling that you’ve ‘done it all’. That is not exactly the case, but
      after you’ve completed the season mode 3 or 4 times and unlocked all the
      secrets, there is not much to go back for. However, like I say, this is
      because I stupidly play the game quite intensively because I have no
      life.

      The one area where the game is let down is the Create-A-Wrestler
      options. It is simply a poorly disguised rehash of last years Smackdown
      4 – and it isn’t even as good. It has almost all of last years options
      for creating wrestlers faces (e.g. D-Lo, Tommy Dreamer, Essa Rios are
      all there) but it does not include their outfits! And last year’s did!
      Tut. The only really new preset movesets they have bothered to include
      are those of Jamie Noble, Bill Demott and Rosey. The rest are taken from
      last year. There are no decent options to make a generic pair of trunks
      – using ‘underwear’ makes it look so skimpy and the less said about the
      customised entrances the better.

      I read Ian Hamilton’s review of Raw on the X-Box and was actually
      drooling when he spoke about being able to rip MP3 music and use it on
      your
      wrestler’s entrance. That sounds fantastic and I wish it was something
      the PS2 was capable of. And that’s just it. Smackdown 5 has so much more
      potential than it is allowed to have because the boundaries of the PS2
      are starting to be realised. I think once the PS3 is out – we will have
      our ultimate wrestling game. I think if you combined Smackdown’s
      playability, season and match-types with Raw’s CAW mode you would have a
      stupendous game.

      Overall I’d give it 8/10. If you’re looking for something vastly
      different from Smackdown 4, then that ain’t going to happen, but if you
      want to have an Elimination Chamber match with Benoit, Rey, Ultimo,
      Brock, Snuka and Edge, which I’m about to do, you’ll have a blast.

      Before I finish, just some quick predictions for the Survivor Series:

      Lita will bt. Molly Holly
      Tajiri to bt. Jamie Noble (possibly with help of Ultimo – I can only
      dream)
      Bashams to bt. Los Guerreros (resulting in their split – which I don’t
      want to happen)
      Team Lesnar to bt. Team Angle (possible heel turn for Mr. Benoit – to
      feud with new face Cena)
      Team Austin over Team Bischoff (though I would love it if Team Bischoff
      won!)
      Vince to bt. The Undertaker (with help of Kane)
      Kane to bt. Shane (he’d damn well better – if Shane goes over Kane I’ll
      scream – and you’ll hear that over the Atlantic)
      Goldberg to bt. Triple Haitch (again – he’d better!)

      A few (more) points before I go:

      - Are Nina Myers (from 24) and Molly Holly the same person? They are
      both delightfully evil.

      - Please please please put Mark Henry out to pasture!

      - What are NWA:TNA playing at signing guys like Lex F’n Luger? I thought
      they wanted to go places!

      - Also, if you can find them online, look for the transcripts of recent
      Jake Roberts and Teddy Hart interviews. Both of them are most
      insightful. I finally found out after all these years why The Warrior
      left WWF post SummerSlam 91! And Teddy’s interview makes me REALLY want
      to see him in action!

      - After watching the gimmick battle royal at WMX-7 (AGAIN!) I have come
      to the conclusion that the WWE REALLY should think about releasing a
      ‘Best of Bobby Heenan’ DVD. The man is a riot. The funniest I ever heard
      him was at Battle Royale at the Albert Hall in 1991 where he just kept
      coming out with the funniest lines. I would love to be able to hear his
      greatest commentaries again and see his best skits with Gorilla and Mean
      Gene. Even if it was a section on a ‘Best of the late 80’s to early
      90’s’ DVD I’d be a happy man.

      Ach well, if you have any comments at all you can email me at
      andrewbulik@... (I think!) and I’ll be glad to email
      you
      back. Enjoy Survivor Series peeps!

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