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The CrossFace

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Welcome to the CrossFace for June 30th, 2002. I'm Stephen Popick, your moderator, and we're here with Damian Gonzalez, Dr. Tom, Jared Hawkins, and O.R. Polk Jr.


Stephen Popick: Fellas, I'm really tired of starting this CrossFace off with something negative about the WWeeeeeeeee. Let's talk about something good, something that resident expert Damian can tell us about. This week, the NWA-TNA debuted the X-Title in a match that have many people still creaming their pants over it. The NWA seems to be focusing on the cruiserweights. Let's talk about this development and how the NWA seems to be shaping up after 2 weeks.


[[email protected]>Damian Gonzalez: Well, for those of you who haven't seen it yet, last Wed, they presented the BEST televised match of the year so far


Damian Gonzalez: Round Robin Tournament, Double Elimination for the X title, AJ Styles vs Jerry Lynn vs Psicosis vs LOW-KI~!


Jared Hawkins: Very excellent match


Stephen Popick: Let's talk about it gentlemen.


O.R.POLK JR.: I don't think they'll ever compete with WWE. Not without quality heavyweights which they don't really have.


Damian Gonzalez: well, from everything that I've gathered in terms of feedback, their X division is the one thing that is truly attracting people to buy it.


Jared Hawkins: Because unlike WWE's cruiserweights, we are getting fast-paced action and entertaining matches out of it.


Damian Gonzalez: They did over 50,000 more buys than they expected


Dr. Tom: Well, I didn't see the PPV or the match in question. But I think they have a long, hard road to hoe before they'll get national acclaim and recognition.


Damian Gonzalez: In all honesty, i can see them starting an ECW-like grass roots campaign to get a local TV show


Damian Gonzalez: and they already have one in Nashville


Stephen Popick: You mean NWA mutants?


O.R.POLK JR.: Exactly. One match per show (that you pay $10 for) isn't going to get them going. They need a strong upper card, too.


Damian Gonzalez: They definitely need a strong upper card... Shamrock is a great choice as their first champion and his match with malice at the first PPV really popped the crowd.


Dr. Tom: The problem is, most of the big heavyweight talent is in WWE, and their deadwood is exactly that: deadwood the NWA wouldn't want.


O.R.POLK JR.: Until they can do that, they don't really stand a chance. All the quality Heavy's are in WWE.


Jared Hawkins: I don't know. If the one match that's worth the money is like that, it might work. It might help if they didn't cram 18 matches in an hour and 45 minutes like they're going to try to do on this week's show. Between the tag tournament (assuming 7 matches), you have the tag team main, the World Title, and the X Title, and I seem to recall one or two others announced. That's at least 10 matches, maybe 12. Nothing can get enough time to be truly good


Damian Gonzalez: AJ Styles vs. David Young, the X-title match for this week....Young didnt impress me AT ALL vs Apolo last week, but I've been told that his matches with styles have been pretty decent so, hopefully that's the one match that will stand out this week and Shammy vs Malice 2.


Jared Hawkins: How could Young impress anybody when they couldn't get the damned camera off of Bobcat for any length of time? Shamrock-Malice 2 I'm actually interested in. Not enough to part with 10 bucks, but interested nonetheless


O.R.POLK JR.: I guess since Shamrock is the biggest name they have it made sense to put the strap on him, but honestly, I wouldn't make him my champion.


Stephen Popick: Lets switch up gears now, and talk positives about the WWE. The first positive that comes to mind are Booker T / GoldDust....These two have quite the chemistry dont they...


Dr. Tom: Goldust is good in his comedy role, and he and Booker work well together. But the Book is headed to the main event, and Goldust doesn't belong there.


O.R.POLK JR.: Exactly. Eventually, the comedy marriage must come to an end for Book to succeed like most of us seem to want him to.


Damian Gonzalez: even if they wanted to do something with the both of them...and yes, they would be superior tag champs, but they don't have the tag titles on Raw


Jared Hawkins: That may be true Tom, but as long as it's the only consistently entertaining part of the show, use it until you're out of ideas


O.R.POLK JR.: No one ever became a serious Main Eventer by joking around with his buddy.


Jared Hawkins: *cough*Triple H*cough* Sorry, CJ, frog in my throat. :)


O.R.POLK JR.: Triple H became a main eventer by joking around?


Damian Gonzalez: he dumped all of his friends to win the title...remember?


O.R.POLK JR.: I thought it was that push showing his mean streak and acting like a dick.


Dr. Tom: Booker will have to live or die in the main event on his own. Goldust can hang around and do his comedy stuff, but in terms of wrestling, he should be in the midcard and on Heat.


Jared Hawkins: Yes, but he got over (and in marks eyes, credible) by being a comedy act for 2 years


O.R.POLK JR.: But he got over as a main eventer by toting that sledgehammer, not with his DX gimmick.


Damian Gonzalez: you could say the same for Kurt Angle, but he's not considered a threat until he goes nuts


Dr. Tom: That's because they play Angle up as a doofus 95% of the time.


O.R.POLK JR.: But they at least give him a mean aspect to his character. Booker needs the same or he WILL be stuck pairing with Dustin for a while.


Jared Hawkins: Not necessarily. Rock was considered a main eventer for a weird elbow drop, and honestly, he wouldn't be there if not for comedic promos. Where's the mean streak, his motivational promos?


O.R.POLK JR.: You don't have to have a mean streak, but you have to show that you can take care of business in the ring. Rocky's promos were comedic, but cocky.


Damian Gonzalez: his promo's aren't always jokey


O.R.POLK JR.: There's a difference between a Rock comedy promo and a Goldust one.


Damian Gonzalez: big difference


Stephen Popick: Where's Rock's direction now? He is coming back this Thursday July 9th.


Dr. Tom: Rock has inhuman charisma, though. They couldn't keep him from the main event for anything. And even his comedy promos still have their serious moments, and he still comes across as an arrogant jerk.


O.R.POLK JR.: *holds up sign in the crowd* Today is Tuesday!


Jared Hawkins: I thought he came back early after Austin left. They just confused everybody all over again with this July 11 bullshit.


O.R.POLK JR.: Arrogant jerk got OVER, not silly comedian.


Damian Gonzalez: nah, he just said he would be at KOR


Dr. Tom: I agree. His coming back on that Raw and then appearing at the PPV indicated he was back. Not going to be back in two weeks.


Jared Hawkins: Tell that to the people who bought tickets for Chicago's SmackDown after Rock showed up on Raw


Jared Hawkins: They had to be pissed


O.R.POLK JR.: Book has incomparable charisma as well, but he needs to use it in a serious manner not in skits with mid-carders.


Jared Hawkins: Isn't the fact that so many people want Book in the main event proof that his comedy's getting him way over? And what about Foley, who nearly killed himself but didn't reach the main event until he was a comedy act?


Dr. Tom: Booker has a lot of charisma, but he doesn't have Rocky's charisma.


O.R.POLK JR.: I never said he has Rocky's charisma. No one has that.


Jared Hawkins: One win over someone near the top of the card will make Booker credible, comedy or not


O.R.POLK JR.: I'll agree that comedy does warm the fans to you, but it can only get you so far.


O.R.POLK JR.: But no one is going to buy a joker as a world champion.


Dr. Tom: A lot of people recognize that Booker is also a very good wrestler, though. They recognized the same with Foley, especially the fans who learned about all he went thru to get where he is.


Damian Gonzalez: well, what about Jericho


Dr. Tom: NO ONE made a "Foley is God" sign because Mankind was telling stupid jokes to Vince McMahon.


Jared Hawkins: This isn't pushing The Blue Meanie to the top, this is Booker T


O.R.POLK JR.: I was getting to that, Tom. People respect Booker's workrate in addition to his skits, not one or the other.


Damian Gonzalez: all of his comedy and his promos didn't get him to the top


O.R.POLK JR.: I was getting to that as well, Dames. Jericho as a face was a failure.


Stephen Popick: This is actually an interesting argument you all are having..We're talking about comedy, workrate, charisma, etc... If I may interject, I don't know how many of you read Mark Madden's comments this week. He claims Kurt Angle is the man to turn the WWE around...I think that fits into this discussion. What's the story here Morninglory Hijinx or Hoss-ness?


Damian Gonzalez: I have to agree with Madden


Damian Gonzalez: Angle has a natural charisma on the mic, is GOLD in the ring and certainly should be leading the company right now


O.R.POLK JR.: But I'll also say that one man can't do it alone. Angle's going to need quality opponents, too.


Dr. Tom: I think Angle is the best bet, yes. I'd love to see a nice long feud between him and Booker.


Jared Hawkins: It's a combination fo everything. Angle can be funny, can work, can be serious, has the look. Booker's the same. Rock's the same when he doesn't resort to nothing but punches.


Damian Gonzalez: I'm not going to go AngleSault on you guys, but judging from him match with Cena on SD, he can give some guys some quality rub too


O.R.POLK JR.: I think anyone can give the rub if they're willing. The problem is not many guys are willing. Angle, Rock and a few others, that's it.


Jared Hawkins: Exactly, Dames, which is what made Flair the legend he's considered


Damian Gonzalez: but not everyone gives the rub the right way...


O.R.POLK JR.: Well, that sorta goes more into the booking than the in-ring action.


Jared Hawkins: Some take their ball and go home rather than give the rub.


O.R.POLK JR.: Someone like the Undertaker ain't gonna make anyone look good in the ring, regardless of how the outcome is booked.


Damian Gonzalez: hey, he did it with RVD....it can be done


O.R.POLK JR.: He can, but 9 times out of 10 he won't.


Damian Gonzalez: every time he's been in the ring with RVD, he's built him up even though he lost


Dr. Tom: UT has his moments, but booking him against people like Jeff Hardy doesn't do anything for either of them.


Stephen Popick: Scott Keith (yeah, that guy) has predicted that Jeff Hardy could win on Monday. If Undertaker wins, he faces Angle on Smackdown. This looks to be a bad week for the UnderTaker, who seems to be in a face-turn right now.


Jared Hawkins: Who knows? Why do it on SmackDown other a cheap ratings pop (which probably won't work)?


Dr. Tom: There's no point in Hardy winning. Then they can't do UT-Rock when Rock comes back.


O.R.POLK JR.: And a switch on SD! might happen, but the show is taped, so think about that.


Damian Gonzalez: well....if that's the case, and Angle does win the title....they'll be building to an Angle-Lesnar match at SummerSlam


Damian Gonzalez: Tom, who says that UT-Rock has to be for the title?


Dr. Tom: Heel vs Heel as it stands right now, which is no way to main event a big PPV like SS.


Dr. Tom: No one, but it means more if it is.


O.R.POLK JR.: For some reason, I'm still waiting for Heyman to cost Lesnar his shot at SS and have Brock turn on him.


Jared Hawkins: If Rock-UT isn't for the title, it can't happen. Wasn't Taker a Raw draftee?


O.R.POLK JR.: I don't think Brock is going to ME SS, though.


Damian Gonzalez: it does, but the marks will be psyched for Rock's return regardless,

let 2 other guys battle for the title and let them get over


Dr. Tom: Besides, what would Jeff Hardy bring to the title? If they want a broken-down worker who's prone to being injured, then I'd point out Undertaker already has the belt.


O.R.POLK JR.: [email protected]


Damian Gonzalez: JHawk, UT might be a Raw guy technically....but Vince now owns both shows and he's tight with UT, storyline wise, and he might make an "exception" so he can face The Rock.Rock's been on Raw already


Dr. Tom: But as a title-holder, UT goes to whichever show he dropped the belt on, be it Raw or SD. Supposedly.


Jared Hawkins: Wrong Tom. Hogan lost to Taker(a Raw guy) and stayed on SD


Damian Gonzalez: but that was at a PPV


Jared Hawkins: So what?


Damian Gonzalez: if it was on a Raw or SD, it might have been different


Jared Hawkins: He lost to a Raw guy, so they need to show continuity. Little shit like that hurts the ratings as much as a poor product does, since they have both right now...


Dr. Tom: Supposedly, if the title changes hands on free TV, whoever lost it is supposed to be tied to that show.


Stephen Popick: One of the things we've read a lot about has been the WWE hot-shotting angles and delivering huge matches on free TV. A lot of this is due to the unfortunate Austin situation, but this has been going on on a much lower scale for some time now. Has the industry changed? or is the WWE overexposed to the television audience?


O.R.POLK JR.: Vince has given away a lot of things on free TV being impatient.

and not all of it can be blamed on Austin's absence.


Dr. Tom: Only four hours of that television time mean anything, though. Heat and Velocity are definitely B-shows, and Confidential is their way to try and expose the business and vainly maintain kayfabe at the same time.


Jared Hawkins: I don't necessarily want to see the blowoff to a feud on free TV. I do want to see good matches for free because they make me more likely to purchase the pay-per-views. Sadly, most weeks I get my wrestling out of the B shows


Dr. Tom: Right, JHawk. Free TV has to be compelling, but there still has to be a reason to order the PPV.

O.R.POLK JR.: and right now there isn't. And I haven't.


Dr. Tom: It isn't, but if they can build on the positives of the latest Smackdown, they'll be headed in the right direction.


Jared Hawkins: Two minute Raven-Dreamer matches don't make me interested in ordering Vengeance. Matches like Cena-Angle do (sorry Anglesault).


Damian Gonzalez: who is to say that a good 10-15 minute IC title match between RVD & someone like a D'Lo Brown wouldn't make for good tv?


Dr. Tom: I think it would. But we generally only get 10-15 minute matches in the main event slot on free TV.


Jared Hawkins: And it's one that the marks wouldn't pay for because they don't see D'Lo as a "top guy". Mostly because he doesn't wrestle on TV, granted


O.R.POLK JR.: More D'Lo is good. And I'm not just saying that cuz I'm black!


Damian Gonzalez: exactly, you build up someone like D'Lo on tv with good matches...


Dr. Tom: The rest of them are trimmed so that we can see people exiting their limos, walking around backstage, and other exciting things.


O.R.POLK JR.: Or wasting time with DIVAS.


Dr. Tom: Right.


Damian Gonzalez: at least they didn't make us pay for divas undressed


Dr. Tom: I'd nail Torrie Wilson in a second, but I'd rather see five minutes of good wrestling than five minutes of her in a bikini.


O.R.POLK JR.: If Vince is going to have girls on the roster that don't work or don't want to bump, why doesn't he just hire porn stars.


O.R.POLK JR.: If you're going to have just EYE CANDY, then go the whole 9.


Jared Hawkins: They need to make the backstage stuff further the in-ring product. The RVD-Brock-Heyman promo did that, and it's gotten rave reviews, even from people I know who aren't on the internet and aren't "smart marks". It's an old formula, but it works


Damian Gonzalez: but the whole 9 will cause him bad publicity, and why couldn't they have had that type of match at KOR!


Dr. Tom: Right, eliminate the crap from backstage. I don't give two shits if the Undertaker just arrived, or if Vince got out of his limo. Advance the storylines and do good interviews. Otherwise, stay in the ring.


Jared Hawkins: Because RVD had already been in an underrated 15-minute match two hours earlier?


Damian Gonzalez: even so, why squash the guy on PPV when you could have gotten them both over?


O.R.POLK JR.: I'm not totally against the stuff backstage as long as it's kept short. Showing someone for 5 sec before a commercial doesn't hurt and leaves you interested.


Damian Gonzalez: its not like guys like Bret & Angle haven't gone through the tourney wrestling more than 1 quality match


Jared Hawkins: Hey, I'd have made the finish RVD falling on top of Brock after Heyman's interference, but that's why I bitch on Monday nights rather than work for WWE


Jared Hawkins: And Brock's stamina is still unproven. That's the first time he's had to work more than 8 minutes


Damian Gonzalez: so, why couldn't they have tested that on PPV though?


O.R.POLK JR.: If you let Brock tell it he's got plenty of stamina. And he's not afraid to wrestle more than once a night.. I'm inclined to believe that considering his background.


Damian Gonzalez: I'm sure he's had some long matches down in OVW. They wouldn't dare send someone up who wasn't truly ready


Jared Hawkins: I'd think Brock could go to, but if he's handcuffed in what he's allowed to do, then it doesn't matter. We keep hearing about his shooting star, and he barely leaves his feet for an elbowdrop.


Dr. Tom: Because they are booking him as a boring 80s monster.


Damian Gonzalez: I'm sure they are just using the "less is more" concept


O.R.POLK JR.: Less is more is only good for acting.


Jared Hawkins: They're too afraid Hunter will break a nail or some dumb shit


Stephen Popick: I would agree that they're not letting Brock show his full-potential, I think for fear that his offense would turn him a defacto face


Dr. Tom: Maybe if they allowed him to do more mat wrestling and he busted out a Shooting Star, the "Goldberg!" chants would stop.


Damian Gonzalez: how many people would boo a shooting star though?


O.R.POLK JR.: He needs to do heelish shit on top of that and he'd get booed.


Damian Gonzalez: any "holy shit" moves pretty much make you a face by default...


Stephen Popick: like what happened with Edge and Christian, who had the crowd more laughing than booing them, even though they were heels


O.R.POLK JR.: That's not true. There are plenty of heel luchadores.


Jared Hawkins: In the United States of America? What heel luchadores?


Damian Gonzalez: Luchadores is a totally different thing though...


O.R.POLK JR.: E&C had the crowd laughing because they chose to. Had they been booked to be REAL DICKS, those two would have been booed.


Damian Gonzalez: they're fans are educated a certain way, just like puro fans are


O.R.POLK JR.: Well, maybe the WWE needs to reeducate it's fan and then it can get the desired results.


Damian Gonzalez: but WWE wont do that....


O.R.POLK JR.: Everyone who does a cool move shouldn't automatically be a face.


Jared Hawkins: And sadly, American fans are educated to think boring 20 minute interviews are more important and more entertaining then boring 20 minute matches


Damian Gonzalez: i'm all for it, but thats just the way things are right now


O.R.POLK JR.: If they had Brock do some HORSEMEN shit, it wouldn't matter how proficient he was in the ring.


Dr. Tom: The problem is, "cool" heels end up getting cheered.


O.R.POLK JR.: Ric Flair was GOD in the ring and he was STILL a hot heel, so it IS possible. Even in the US.


Dr. Tom: it happened to Rock, UT, and HHH.


Jared Hawkins: Maybe people would boo Brock because they didn't like he was as good as he said he is


Damian Gonzalez: Flair was god in the ring...but he never busted out any holy shit stuff. He was just asolid psychological worker.


Stephen Popick: I'd like to point out that wrestling has changed significantly than since the days of Flair and the NWA, and cool heels used to not be cheered like they are now


Jared Hawkins: And Flair was in his prime in an era where you weren't supposed to sing along with catch phrases


O.R.POLK JR.: I think Brock could bust out a SSP as a heel and still draw boos depending on the psych of the match and what he's done OUTSIDE of the ring.


Jared Hawkins: Tell me if Flair came in 20 years later he'd have ever been a heel. And that's from the biggest Flair mark here


Dr. Tom: He probably wouldn't have stayed one very long.


Jared Hawkins: They used to hate cool heels because the cool heels were usually right. Now they cheer them because they have a catch phrase or tell a few jokes. But at the same time, even as "cool heels" the live crowds hated the nWo because they were dicks inside the ring


O.R.POLK JR.: It CAN be done. You just have to be dickish inside and outside the ring. Alot of "cool heels" nowadays won't make that leap and leave something out of the equation.


Jared Hawkins: So it is possible. Not likely, but possible


Dr. Tom: It's the HHH syndrome. The cool heels get a nice pop when they first come out, but they'll get booed for their promos and any dickish in-ring work they do.


Jared Hawkins: Even Angle has that now to some extent


O.R.POLK JR.: but if they aren't willing to be a true heel, then they won't get booed for their promos or their in-ring work. You gotta work at it, and HHH loved doing that. The art of being a true heel has been lost. Everyone wants to be cool or like the Rock in early 98.


Stephen Popick: Fellas, lets wrap this up with your final thoughts on this "heel" issue


O.R.POLK JR.: That's my last 2 cents. People don't know how to truly "heel" anymore.


Jared Hawkins: I just find it sad that Brock's only heel reaction is because of Paul Heyman. Heyman is over, Brock isn't. And CJ's right, the art of heeldom is lost


Dr. Tom: I think, with the death of "Attitude," that the shades of grey Vince loved so much need to be replaced by true heels. You have to have people who are willing to be dicks all the time and get over based on that. And I think it's a lost art.


O.R.POLK JR.: Eddy Guerrero is the closest thing. He does Holy Shit stuff and is still mad over as a heel.


Dr. Tom: Exactly. Because he's RUDO~!


O.R.POLK JR.: The Mexicans respect it.


Jared Hawkins: And he's a dick in the ring and in his promos.Eddy is the man


Stephen Popick: FInal thoughts...Who is champion on December 31st, 2002?


Dr. Tom: Kurt Angle.


O.R.POLK JR.: Benoit.


Jared Hawkins: Either Brock or Triple H


Stephen Popick: Thanks gentleman, goodnight

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