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Alas, it seems my challenge was too great. I've been doing "Spot the Classic" in these news pieces ever since I started them about a month ago. The problem is, no one has managed to spot the classic without admitting they were cheating by looking it up. So I'm going to start providing the answers the following week, just so you can see it's not something I made up, and that they are indeed solvable. Now, without further ado, last week's classic was:


"Now Then, Their Colloquy At An End, They Went Their Ways"


Which is from The Odyssey, written by Homer, as translated by Robert Fitzgerald. If you've read the antiseptic W.H.D Rouse translations, I'm sorry. Homer didn't write prose, despite Rouse's bland efforts to make you think he did. If you haven't read a Fitzgerald translation of The Odyssey or The Iliad yet, I suggest picking them up.


With that out of the way – and a nasty computer crash behind me, thanks to my dominant file-saving system and backups -- here's all the news that's fit to steal, all the dirt that's fit to deal, and all the mud that's fit to sling.


When Did They Put Nitro Back On The Air?


If you haven't done so already, check out JHawk's look at Monday's episode of Raw. Here's the Reader's Digest version:


-- Jeff Hardy/Bubba/Spike vs Benoit/Eddy/Regal: Hell of an opening match. Why can't all the free TV shows start out like this? The ending was especially good, as it gave Benoit the win while keeping Jeff strong in the fans' eyes. 7/10


-- Singapore Cane match: Richards vs Dreamer: I enjoyed the hell out of this for what it was, which was two ECW vets beating on each other with sticks. The ending visual was nice, too. 5/10


-- Trish vs Molly: Have fun in OVW, Jackie! See, when you put two women who can actually wrestle on TV, they can get a watchable match out of it. 3/10


-- Booker vs Big Slow: What a stupid match. Can Booker buy a win these days? He'd better go over at the PPV, but since the NWOld is dead, what would it mean? -2/10


-- Bradshaw vs Harvard: Look, a guy not involved in the match wins the Hardcore title, only to job it right back a few minutes later. Hello, 2000 called, and they want their Crash Holly angles back. DUD


-- Brock/Taker vs Flair/RVD: Standard mix-and-match tag main event. It's about time Brock got a pop for something he did, though. 4/10


Other happenings: Look honey, it's Eric Bischoff! In the latest retread of the commissioner angle, Bischoff was named "general manager" of Raw, with a parallel announcement to follow on Smackdown. Bischoff cut a decent promo (which killed the crowd), using some good revisionist history and promising to keep spending other people's money by raiding the Smackdown roster. This looks to be setting up a roster vs roster feud, which will be one more big, can't-miss angle WWE will manage to bungle horribly. Also, the NWOld was declared officially dead, only after flies began setting up communities on the corpse. This leaves Booker in limbo, of course, since the Kliq never pays for their own sins.


Hey, We've Got Pi Beaten Hands Down


Raw pulled a 3.8 rating Monday night, with 3.6 for the first hour and 4.0 for the second. That is up slightly from the 3.6 and 3.7 of the previous two weeks. WWE is, by all accounts, still desperate to pop a rating, though. The latest example of that was Eric Bischoff on Raw. The hope is that seeing a former WCW honcho on Raw has enough shock value to spike the ratings. The problem is, Shane appearing on Nitro was a thousand times more significant. Certainly, there are some WWE fans who have no idea who Eric Bischoff is. There are also some hardcore fans who hate Bischoff because of WCW and may get turned off to Raw because of his presence. The "smart" fans know Bischoff helped the AWA into an early grave, played a huge role in killing WCW, and got busted paying strippers to blow him in a seedy Atlanta club. The guy's seen as a joke in a lot of circles, and he's going to help the ratings?


Bischoff isn't the answer. WWE needs long-term plans to grow the business, long-range booking ideas to generate fan interest, and the ability to create new stars. But since they don't have all that, they put an unsuccessful business manager with a bad dye job on TV and expect people to come back. It's not that simple. Let's say WWE does something (like bringing in Goldberg, which is more possible now with Easy Eric around) and spikes the rating to a 4.5. What next? How do they sustain it? Short answer: they don't. Longer answer: they don't, because they're obsessed with delivering a number one time, and don't realize that you need to take a few lumps and grow in small steps when you're trying to rebuild your company. Someone in Connecticut needs perspective and patience, pronto.


As for Bischoff's claim to put the E in WWE, I'd settle for more of the second W.


(Credit: Wrestlingobserver.com. Nielsen Media Research)


At Least She Can Look At Her Chest And Smile


Being the queen of WWE booking is apparently starting to get to Stephanie McMahon.


According to reports, she has been very short-tempered with non-writers who have been critical of the company's creative direction. Unlike Jim Ross and Chris Jericho, however, her vitriol is not directly solely at the internet. Stephanie is also said to be resistant to the booking ideas of others, and has gone so far as to mock some of their ideas. Understandably, this isn't winning her many fans backstage.


She is also short with the wrestlers, giving them a stock answer that they "are not connecting with the live audience" if they ask her about their lack of push. This answer is understandably seen as condescending. Obviously, Stephanie is in need of some INTENSE~! deep dicking from HHH, who should have more time to slip her the meat missile while he recovers from elbow surgery. Go Game!


(Credit: PWTorch newsletter)


After That, He Was Anally Raped By Bradshaw


Remember when John Cena bitch-slapped Chris Jericho on Smackdown two weeks ago? It turns out the segment, as written by Pat Patterson, called for Cena to slap Vince McMahon instead. The idea, however, was nixed by HHH, who claimed McMahon shouldn't be touched by any wrestler other than Hulk Hogan until their program ends, which is supposed to be at Summerslam. Yes, that compelling McMahon-Hogan feud that gets a couple minutes of airtime once a month . . .


The prevailing sentiment in the locker room is that HHH put the kibosh on the idea because he sees Cena as a major player soon in WWE, and wanted to preserve his top spot. The glass ceiling continues to thicken, as does the plot.


(Credit: Wrestling Observer newsletter)


How Well Do You Do In The Teenage Girl Demographic?


Jerry Lawler was a guest on the Chairshots radio show recently. He answered a lot of questions, and pulled few punches with his opinions. Here are some highlights from Lawler's interview:


-- Said of the atrocious Bradshaw/Trish vs Harvard/Jackie mixed tag match on Raw last week: "It was an ugly match and an ugly show." Speaking a little further on the subject of Jackie Gayda possibly being sent to developmental, Lawler said: " Yeah, after watching the match, that would be one assumption. I think they feel they need new faces on the shows. Sometimes you have crawl before you walk and walk before you run. I personally don't think she was ready to be in that position yet." No shit, Sherlock, but it IS good to hear someone from WWE say it.


-- Said of Kevin Nash's injury: "It was very much the same thing that happened to Triple H. The muscle tears away from the bone. It can literally happen to anyone walking down the street." Provided "anyone" translates to "roided-up freak," I agree completely.


-- Said of Vince Russo's aborted return to the WWE creative staff: "That was one of the biggest shocks I ever had in the business was Vince Russo returning to WWE. The guy had a lot of heat with people who were still there. Usually, unless, just usually that's the way it's always worked in the wrestling business. If you have heat with a guy, it works against you. Vince McMahon was obviously doing what he thinks was best for business. He's a bottom line guy and he'll do what he feels is best for World Wrestling Entertainment no matter who it ticks off." Lawler also said he would have no problem with Russo coming back, though that's not a relevant point anymore.


-- Said no one is panicking about the decline in overall business, and said of the roster split: "They think they have enough talent to make two different brands work. There is without a doubt plenty of talent. I think what the miscalculation was he might not have enough talent that is over, that people will buy as real top draws, top caliber guys. That's always been Vince's big strongpoint, creating characters that people are interested in. I think it's taking him longer than he anticipated."


In toto, it looks like a lot of what Lawler said was already known (or believed to be true) among the 'net fans, but it was still good to hear a WWE employee talk about the company candidly and not throw up a lot of kayfabed bullshit.


(Credit: 411wrestling.com)


Some Rise By Sin, And Some By Virtue Fall


Those of you who hate HHH must be happy. Not only is The Game on the shelf with an elbow injury, he is further alienating himself from the rest of the locker room and drawing a lot of heat. HHH, along with road agents Fit Finlay, Arn Anderson, and Johnny Ace, delivered a harsh speech to the Raw roster a few hours before the show started.


HHH chided the wrestlers for doing things like playing video games backstage, and instead said they should watch each match and try to improve (something John Cena is said to be doing, interestingly enough). HHH also told the roster that no one deserves a push based on their tenure with the company, and said the wrestlers should earn their pushes instead of sitting around and waiting for them to happen. HHH then cited himself as the paradigm, saying how things like the MSG incident only held him down for a while.


Unfortunately for HHH, a lot of the roster lost respect for him after his speech. They're obviously aware of his relationship with Stephanie McMahon, and they felt that someone who actually worked their way to the stop and sets an example by fully doing the house show circuit should have made the speech. The rest of the locker room also perceives HHH as someone who has used his backstage power to get things bent to his will, yet he's the one who was standing up talking about hard work.


For his part, HHH failed to mention the easiest way to get ahead in the company: nail the boss' daughter, do anything you can to protect a spot you don't deserve, and create chaos in the locker room to cover your trails.


Anyone who thinks the present WWE isn't eerily similar to the dying WCW is either lying, on the payroll, or deliberately obtuse.


(Credit: 1wrestling.com, Wrestlingobserver.com, WWE.com)


Just Go, Go, Go, I Don't Care How


As reported on Raw, X-Pac is on a leave of absence from WWE. The reason isn't being reported, though, and it's basically that the WWE brass is tired of X-Pac being a whiny little bitch. In addition to frequently complaining about the creative direction of the NWOld, X-Pac also arrived late for several shows, and feigned injury to get out of working house shows. Ever since his buddies Nash and Michaels came back, X-Pac has been flashing his Kliq Gold Card and doing whatever he can with it. Finally, it appears someone realized that he's only X-Pac, for fuck's sake, and told him to hit the road for a while. He can stay gone, as far as I'm concerned.


(Credit: Rajahwwf.com)


Even Dionne Warwick Could Have Called This One


It looks like there has been a major spoiler released with regards to the Vengeance PPV this weekend. The September issue of WWE magazine, which goes on sale next month, has a cover photo of the Rock and Brock Lesnar. No big deal, right? Well, the article inside mentions their match at Summerslam for the Undisputed title, which neither currently holds. The article goes on to state that Rock won the Undisputed title at Vengeance.


While this could be a legit spoiler, given the amount and nature of the WWE backlash against the internet, it really wouldn't surprise me if this were a swerve just to get all us stupid marks "reporting" on it. The Rock is scheduled to go back to Hollywood shortly after Summerslam, so do your own math about what happens to the title is he wins it at Vengeance.


(Credit: 1wrestling.com)


No Word About Where He Showered


With Eric Bischoff returning to TV as the general manager of Raw, speculation is running wild as to what his role within WWE really is. Considering his past failures in the AWA and WCW, most WWE fans sensibly don't want him to have any power at all in the company. Word from the Smackdown taping last night says that Bischoff dressed in the same locker room as the male wrestlers. For now at least, it looks like he's strictly an on-air talent, and here's to hoping it remains that way.


(Credit: 1wrestling.com)


Because Our Aging Superstars Don't Have Career-Ending Concussions Yet


Bill Goldberg, who has been quite happy to sit at home and take random potshots at WWE since his WCW contract ran out, has been telling people he is going to return to the ring sometime in 2002. Goldberg declined to say where, when, or with which federation. While WWE obviously has the cash to bring him on board, a name like Goldberg would do wonders for a fledgling promotion like NWA: TNA.


Goldberg said: "“Suffice it to say, before 2002 is over, I definitely will have my boots on and (will be) wrestling again. I can’t tell you where I’m going because I haven’t made a final decision. The fact is, I miss wrestling tremendously. I miss the adrenaline rush that I get from the fans. I miss entertaining, the interaction with the fans. I miss, first and foremost, the kids.”


The fact that Goldberg is on good terms with Eric Bischoff – whatever Bischoff's role may really be – should only help WWE in signing him. The fact remains, though, that Goldberg knows Vince McMahon is desperate to bump the ratings and turn his company around. It has been reported that Goldberg will hold out as long as possible, to make sure he gets the best possible deal from a WWE desperate for an injection of star power and anything that can get their ratings above 4.0 on Mondays.


(Credit: Wrestling Observer newsletter, Billgoldberg.com)


Thank You For That Large Round Of Indifference


Reactions to Eric Bischoff's appearance on Raw continue to pour in. WWE.com has posted an article containing quotes from quite a few wrestlers who were asked what they though about Easy Eric coming into the fold. The comments ranged from quite positive (Raven) to resentful and negative (HHH), and ran the gamut in-between. Here is a direct link to the article, in case you're curious.

That's all the news for this time. I'll be back tomorrow with the Smackdown report, and news junkies among you can get your fix from Byron Vester and The Dames, who should sandwich the weekend with their respective news updates. Over and out.


Dr. Tom

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