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The Week in Review - July 14th, 2002

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Guest TSMAdmin

The Week in Review: July 14, 2002


Good evening SmartMarks. I’d like to first give a shout out to Dr. Tom for covering for me last week while I was stuck on a train coming home from one of my biweekly weekend vacations.


As for this week, you’re all in luck. I was fired (not let go, FIRED) from my job last Monday so this weekend I decided to try and save some loot and stay here in NYC. Well, it didn’t exactly work as I’m dead tired from going to the movies to see Halloween: Resurrection in New Rochelle (review will be up in a few days), playing pool, getting four hours of sleep only to wake up to drive to Yonkers for some softball. Hey, I spent 40 bucks this weekend total and that’s really not bad compared to spending close to 200 bucks each time the past two weekends. I really have been getting more and more active in these past few weeks. Normally, my day consisted of sleep, more sleep, getting online, going back to sleep, getting online and going back to sleep. Now, that’s just the weekdays.


Enough about The Dames....its time for the TOP 5 NEWS ITEMS OF THE WEEK~!!


5. The PTC’s favorite flavor of pie: Humble Pie.


Ahh, the Parents Television Council, led by L. Brent Bozell III, issued a full apology to World Wrestling Entertainment for urging parents to boycott WWE and for lobbying advertisers to drop their sponsorship of the number one wrestling promotion in North America. However, this apology only came after a judge decided in WWE’s favor in their slander lawsuit against the PTC after they incorrectly associated WWE with having some responsibility in the murder of Tiffany Eunick, a child murdered by 11 year old Lionel Tate. Tate’s lawyer claimed that he was mimicking wrestling moves that he saw performed on TV, such as a Stone Cold Stunner and an Irish whip, of all things, when the young girl was fatally injured. The apology issued by the PTC, unequivocally states that WWE has no responsibility for the child’s death and that they were never interfere with WWE ever again.


It was due to the PTC’s influence over the public & WWE’s sponsors that all of the raunchiness and distasteful angles that used to frequent Smackdown (The PTC only targeted network TV broadcasts) were toned down and thus, we are left with the product we have now. Now with the PTC out of WWE’s hair, supposedly for good, will we see a return of angles such as Al Snow’s dog Pepper being cooked by the Big Bossman and fed to its owner? Let’s just say that if the number four news story of the week hadn’t occurred, it might have been more plausible than you think.


4. Vince Russo leaves WWE, joins NWA. Let the bashing begin!


Vince Russo. The name sends a myriad of thoughts to those in the wrestling business. He’s been touted as a genius, as a moron, as outspoken and disrespectful. But above all else, his name has is synonymous with controversy.


Two weeks ago, the Internet Wrestling Community let out a collective groan when WWE.com reported that they had come to terms with former head writer & WCW booker Vince Russo and had plans to bring him back as the head of the creative team. After meeting with the creative team on the following day, once again, he was “the buzz” of all wrestling media after being demoted to simply a consultant to Vince McMahon. Apparently, the creative team didn’t agree with any of Russo’s ideas and they felt that he was out of date with the current characters on WWE TV. Everything was right again in the wrestling world.


Earlier this week, Vince Russo, who only had a verbal agreement with WWE, left the company for the second time to join Jerry Jarrett’s successful start-up, NWA: TNA. As a good friend of Jerry’s son, Jeff, and creative team member Jeremy Borash, it was assumed that Russo was supplying them with ideas for their promotion with such gems as The Johnsons (a tag team that are supposedly walking penises) and other assorted wacky concepts.


With NWA:TNA fully aware of the Internet Wrestling Community’s presence, Jerry Jarrett issued a statement, which can be found here. One can only hope that what Jerry states is in fact true, that he is the final say in the promotion and Russo does NOT have absolute power or else we may see NWA champion Hermie Sadler one day. My only concern is that he doesn’t TOUCH the X division in any way because it is the one thing that doesn’t need work in the promotion. Speaking of the X division:


3. NWA:TNA doing well, plans for cross promotion with Ring Of Honor.


This past month, those of you who have been fortunate enough to have seen the X division matches in NWA:TNA have been witness to what a cruiserweight division SHOULD be like. With WWE limiting their cruisers to “WWE style” matches which consist of mainly punches, kicks, and one big highspot per match, the X division is both a throwback to the glory days of the WCW cruiserweight division and a glimpse into the future of professional wrestling.


The X division officially started off with a bang with a match that I rated ****1/2 in my NWA:TNA Week 2 review. A 4-man double elimination round robin tournament took place to crown the first ever X division champion with AJ Styles defeating Jerry Lynn twice in a row to capture the title. Not only was it match of the night, hell, a match of the year candidate, but this was the first time, that I can recall, that a cruiserweight match was the main event of any PPV in the US. However, with most SmartMarks pessimistic views on the professional wrestling landscape, one would have though that this was a much appreciated one time occurrence. It was not.


Week 3 was scheduled to be the tag team title tournament for the promotion and sadly, the tag team division seemed to be its poorest and therefore, looked to be a throwaway show. On the NWA:TNA website, the brackets were up for the tag tournament and a statement was made by Jerry Lynn, who was disappointed that there were no cruiserweight tag teams in the tournament. In a match that I have yet to see, (I was out of town for the 4th), they “worked the Internet” and the first tag team champs were crowned in Jerry Lynn & the man who defeated him for the X title the week prior, AJ Styles. Boy, was I kicking myself for not catching that one.


Going into week 4, expectations were high for the promotion as Ken Shamrock was defending his NWA heavyweight title against Pro Wrestling Noah mainstay, Takao Omori. Also, there would be a 6 man cruiserweight elimination match to determine the number one contender for AJ’s title. Factor in the first tag title defense by Lynn & AJ and you have one hell of a show on your hands. From all accounts, it sure didn’t disappoint, with Shamrock and Omori wrestling to a double DQ thanks to Jeff Jarrett, Lynn & AJ retaining their tag titles, yet brawling in the back with each other and to top it off, the cruisers were once again given the opportunity to shine. Indy sensation Low-Ki defeated another Indy sensation, Christopher Daniels in the finals of that match for the #1 contendership of the X title. The fans were behind Low-Ki, even chanting his name as the show was going off the air. Due to Cablevision’s ass backwardness, I was unable to watch this show as well and if anyone has a copy, please let me know. I’m willing to do a trade or whatever....


Getting back to business, the Ring of Honor promotion in Philadelphia has also had a great start with some blowaway shows in terms of workrate. I’ll also have a review of the first show here on the site later on this week. Although they lack the big name star power that the NWA has with their heavyweights, they provide some realistic, hard hitting action that truly needs to be seen and it’s a shame that it is only available on tape. Well, it seems that NWA & the ROH promotion have some sort of agreement as it was announced earlier this week that AJ Styles will defend the X title at the next ROH show “if he is still champion” by the time the event rolls around. One would think that with AJ Styles vs Low-Ki set for this upcoming Wednesday that the outcome is academic now, however, both Low-Ki and the number 2 contender for the title, Christopher Daniels, work for Ring of Honor and could conceivably defend the title there as well.


Here is to a good partnership because right now, wrestling fans really need an alternative to the tripe that WWE has been outputting lately.



2. The Rock returns!!! No one cares.


A few weeks ago, Stone Cold Steve Austin left WWE in what has been the biggest news story this year, so far. The following Monday, they ran an angle teasing Austin’s return only to get The Rock back, to a thunderous pop. After a motivational heart-felt speech directed towards Austin and the rest of the WWE locker room, Rock declared that he had moved up his return and he would be at the King of the Ring.


Fast forward to KOR (Which I reviewed right....here) and you’ll see that he interfered in the WWE title match between HHH & The Undertaker. Since then, he disappeared once again without explanation, to Hollywood presumably, and his “official” return has been hinted at during Undertaker threats on Smackdown & Raw. A match has already been made between The Undertaker, The Rock & Kurt Angle for the Undisputed title, despite Rock not earning a shot.


This past Thursday, The Rock returned to hype the title match at Vengeance, but not before an ass-kissing segment with Busta Rhymes, promoting Halloween: Resurrection (I already plugged the upcoming review, so I won’t do it again). Kurt Angle eventually made his way to the ring to confront The Great One about their upcoming match and began another 10 minute segment which had to be the most boring Rock promo I’ve heard in ages. Hyping up a match between the two the following week, they brawled until The Undertaker showed up and put an end to that. The Rock interjected himself once again after the main event and everything looks all set up for Vengeance. Now.....how high did The Rock’s return spike the ratings?


He didn’t.


After promoting the hell out of it for the past few weeks, Smackdown still did just a 3.3 rating without much competition. Maybe it’s because of the fact that Rock returned two weeks prior and thus, hyping up his next appearance was a waste of time. Or, could it be that Rock simply kept viewers from changing the channel who were about to do so? Either way, WWE is obviously not happy with that number and they are probably getting desperate. When Vince gets desperate, he hotshots title changes & angles and brings in people he shouldn’t...like the NWO. Everything now points to Rock winning the title at Vengeance and having a short month-long reign before jobbing the title to Brock Lesnar in a move that will surely make the ratings drop some more, if they don’t do something to get Brock to the level of “overness” he needs to be at.


1. Kevin Nash tears his quad WALKING.


It’s a good thing that professional wrestling doesn’t have a union or else Kevin Nash might be over the limit for his yearly workers compensation. After being out of the ring for three months with a bicep tear, “Big Sexy” returned to the ring on Monday...for 15 seconds before getting injured again. After performing a big boot on Booker T, he charged the face corner and tripped over the former NWO member and fell to the canvas, clutching his leg and began screaming. Obviously a shoot, Earl Hebner signaled to the back and multiple trainers made their way down to the ring, with Bubba Ray Dudley breaking kayfabe and checking on Nash. A finish was eventually improvised, but all eyes were on Nash who was still down in the corner. Turns out, he tore his quad, ala Triple H and it will be months before he returns again, if he ever does.


At the moment the injury occurred, many people in the Internet Wrestling Community have made light of the situation for a few reasons. First off, he was injured in 15 seconds of a comeback, doing nothing more than light walking. Second, Shawn Michaels cut a promo on Triple H after the match telling him to join the NWO or “be left laying, like all of the rest” while his best friend is lying on the canvas in the most pain of his adult life. Last, but not least, people see this as appropriate as Nash has been notorious for politics in the back and holding down talent. There’s even a video circulating of the incident set to Chariots of Fire, which I’ll have to admit, has to at least make you chuckle even if you think its wrong that you’re making fun of someone’s misfortune.


This injury has thrown a monkey wrench into the long terms plans of the NWO & Triple H storyline. From all accounts, Triple H was supposed to turn down the offer to join the “elite” group and feud with them until having the blowoff match with Nash at SummerSlam. Now with Nash gone, the group consists of Big Show & X-Pac, who are less over than gay priests in prison, and Shawn Michaels, who can’t wrestle. Whether or not the group will be disbanded is uncertain, but HHH joining the group now doesn’t seem so preposterous and may give him the character change he’s needed for a few months now.


This injury may not only affect two months worth of storylines and a man’s career, as it appears that Raw head, Brian Gewertz is the man receiving most of the heat for the incident. Although Kevin Nash stated on his website that he was not forced to do anything he didn’t want to, it seems that he wasn’t told he would be wrestling until mere hours before the show. Some wrestlers resent Gewertz because he joined the creative team from other sources of entertainment (The Conan O’Brien show) and its felt that he doesn’t respect the wrestlers enough. If he is replaced as Raw head, then its very possible that the direction of the Raw brand may change course again.


And to think, all of this may happen because one guy tripped.


Later on in the week, Dr. Tom will be back with the mid-week news, Byron on Friday and I'll be back next Sunday with The Week In Review as well as other assorted goodies.


Til next week folks,


“The Dames” Damian Gonzalez


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