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The Midweek News

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We’re officially one week into 2K3, and I wonder how many people have already scrapped the New Year’s resolutions they spent so much time writing down, and so much mental energy promising themselves they’d stick to them. On that brief note, a quick email I received last week:




Just wondering, what are your resolutions for 2003?




I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. It’s not that I’m worried about sticking to them or anything like that. I think self-improvement is an admirable goal, and there’s no reason to confine yourself to the start of a new year to get cracking on it. If there’s something you want to change or improve about yourself or the way you do things, get to it. Don’t wait for the calendar to change. If I find I want to change or improve something about myself, I set about doing it when I think of it. I just don’t see the point in waiting for a new year to get started on it.


On that semi-philosophical note, welcome back to the best damn rasslin’ news column on the whole wide internet. I hope everyone had a good new year, and didn’t drink too much unless it was their goal to pray to the Porcelain God and pass out in an inconvenient spot on a stranger’s floor. Not that I’ve done that before, or anything.


We’re going to kick things off in the usual manner.


Let’s Talk About FOOTBALL~!


There will be talk of the pro playoffs and the NCAA national championship ahead, so if football isn’t your cup of tea, skip this longer-than normal section and jump ahead to the next time you see bold, underlined text.


Brief aside: It sucked a savage sausage that Monday Night Football wasn’t on last night. I taped Raw as I normally do – because it only sucks half as much at double speed – but there was no football game to tide me over, I ended up watching that new Fox show, “Joe Millionaire.” The guy they chose as the fake millionaire really isn’t that convincing, since he’s everything rich people (even the nouveau riche) aren’t: unrefined, barbaric looking, not too bright, and a poor liar. Some of the girls were pretty fine, though, so he has some primo poon to pick from. The whole thing will probably end up being a predictable and fairly cynical exercise in social Darwinism, but it’s amusing to watch people pretend not to care about the pretend millions some very average guy is forced to pretend he has. Hey, I don’t watch “Survivor,” so I need a crappy “reality TV” show vice.


Now, onto this past weekend’s wild card round:


NY Jets d. Indianapolis: Since the Ravens didn’t make the playoffs, my primary desire was to see the Colts get stomped, And get stomped they did, as the Jets jumped on them with both feet, stomped the proverbial mudhole, then walked that sumbitch dry. Chad Pennington looked very good in his first taste of playoff action, and the Jets learned that Lamont Jordan (PH34R the TURTLE~!) is ready for prime time. Peyton Manning is now 0-3 in playoff games. If he’s not careful, he’s going to get a tag as a chap who can’t win the big games. Considering he couldn’t do it in college, either, he already has that label in my mind. I’d been telling people all year that the supposedly resurgent Colts’ defense was a soft unit easily pushed around, and that they’d amassed their standing with smoke and mirrors. The Jets hammered that point home.


Atlanta d. Green Bay: How the mighty have fallen. Brett Favre, invincible in cold weather, and the Packers, unbeatable in the playoffs at home, lost to the upstart Falcons. There is no doubt that Michael Vick is the most exciting athlete in professional sports today. The fact that I can’t name a #2 right away means the race isn’t even close. Favre was hampered by injury problems at wide receiver, as both Terry Glenn and Donald Driver left the game with injuries. Anyone talking about the “ghosts of Lambeau” apparently forgot that the game is played by living, breathing players. This was a closer game than the Jets-Colts slaughter, but I enjoyed seeing the Colts getting hammered, so I can’t say it was the better one.


Pittsburgh d. Cleveland: The first of two come-from-behind wins (or come-from-ahead losses, if you’re a Browns fan) on Sunday. Cleveland looked very good early, racking up sizeable leads throughout the first half and into the second. They couldn’t get going on the ground, but Kelly Holcombe threw like Tim Couch has yet to, leading the Browns down the field time and again. Tommy Maddox threw a pair of costly picks for the Steelers, helping the Browns get their lead. Then the wheels came off for Cleveland. Coach Butch Davis stupidly challenged a play that was clearly not going to be overturned, costing his team a valuable time out they could have used later. The Browns let the Steelers drive down the field by repeatedly getting penalized, including a moronic personal foul on Hines Ward that could have earned an ejection. This was compounded by the Browns playing the Prevent (you from winning) defense far, far too early in the game, and giving the only Steelers QB since Terry Bradshaw who could put points on the board plenty of time and space to march his team down the field. Props go to Pittsburgh for taking advantage of the opportunities presented, but the Browns lost this game just as much as the Steelers won it. The bettors among you had to be happy, though; as I said last week, there’s no way this was an eight-point game.


San Francisco d. NY Giants: The 49ers’ comeback in this game was even more impressive than the Steelers’ in the early game. Despite being down by 24 points in the third, the Niners never quit, and kept driving down the field. Love him or hate him, but Terrell Owens had a big day, with 177 yards and two touchdown catches. He also exhorted his team on the sidelines early in the fourth quarter, when they still trailed by three scores. The image of Michael Strahan pointing out the scoreboard to Owens after he scored to make it 38-20 will stay with me for a while. One of the men in that picture earned his paycheck this season, while one mailed in his performances and collected his fat paycheck. One man came up big in the big game, while one man was pushed around all day and never became a factor. One man backed up his showboating, while the other was ineffective and could only hang his head at the end of the day. As for the controversial kick and the NFL admitting there was pass interference on the play that went uncalled: big fucking deal. Had the Giants played smart football in the fourth quarter, SF wouldn’t have had a chance to take the lead. The refs’ poor non-call just becomes a convenient excuse for the Giants’ dreadful play from the midway point of the third quarter on. You lost, New Jerse ... er, New York, now suck it up, deal with it, and come back stronger next season.


Looking ahead to this weekend’s games ...


Pittsburgh at Tennessee (-4): That’s the current betting line, as of the time I’m writing this section (late Tuesday night). I’m going with Tennessee here, and I think they’ll cover. They’re on an amazing hot streak, their defense is playing inspired football, and Steve McNair has been winning games all by himself when he’d had to. Eddie George will grind out some tough yards against the Pittsburgh D, and the Titans win.


Atlanta at Philadelphia (-7+½): That’s a big spread in the playoffs. Again, I think the home team covers it. Tampa Bay shut down Michael Vick twice this year, and the Eagles have the personnel and speed to adapt their gameplan. Donovan McNabb will play, and his mobility won’t really be an issue. Playing on a broken ankle, he torched the Cardinals as a pocket passer. He’ll be fine. The over/under is 38 for this one, and I’m inclined to take the over.


San Fran at Tampa Bay (-5): It’s hard to pick against these home teams. Tampa Bay can completely stop the 49ers’ rushing game, which forces Jeff Garcia and Terrell Owens to beat them. Garcia and Owens can beat a lot of teams. However, I don’t think the Bucs are one of those teams. It’ll be close, so bettors among you are hereby advised to take the Niners and the points, but the home team wins another one.


NY Jets at Oakland (-5+½): Chad Pennington was the highest-rated passer in the NFL among starting QBs this year. His opponent is no slouch either, as Rich Gannon is now the reigning league MVP. The big question will be the health of the Raiders’ secondary. If they’re still tender and banged up, then Santana Moss and Lavernues Coles can torch them deep, while Wayne Chrebet lulls them to sleep with posts and underneath routes. I’m looking for a shootout here, and I’m going to call the upset. The Jets win a close shootout, and continue to look like the Patriots of last season.


Let’s wrap up the football stuff with the college talk.


Fiesta Bowl: Ohio State d. Miami: I guess any talk about this game has to start with The Flag. Had it been thrown when flags are normally thrown, I don’t think nearly so many people would be up in arms about it. Pass interference was a lousy call, but there was definitely defensive holding on the play. Considering the line of scrimmage, the result of either foul is the same, so it’s a wash there. Gripers about the late flag should remember Miami’s drive in OT, where they got an end-zone interference call only after the receiver gestured and spasmed for a flag to be thrown.


McGahee’s injury is a shame. It takes at least a year to recover from something like that, so he’s better off just not playing next year at all and coming back strong for 2004. If Miami can medically redshirt him, and thus preserve his junior eligibility, they should.


You’re hearing it here first: Ken Dorsey will make a lousy pro QB. He has a good offensive line and really hadn’t faced tough pressure this season. When OSU brought the pressure, Dorsey looked confused. He got that Rob Johnson deer-in-the-headlights look when the big blitzes were coming. Also, I think his release is too slow (because his throwing motion is a little long) to get the ball away quickly under pressure. He can be taught new mechanics, and he needs to be, but he also needs to learn how to deal with pressure. Quarterbacks’ worlds collapse around them several times a game, and it’s the good ones who can slog their way thru the wreckage and salvage a play out of it. If Dorsey learns all of that, he can be good. If not, he’s going to bomb.


It was a hell of a game, though, and a good effort by both teams. OSU brought the big sticks on defense, and Miami just couldn’t stand up to the toughest defensive team (and defensive line) they’d seen all year. Mad props to the Ohio State Buckeyes.


Next year, you’ll all be fearing the TURTLE~!


Ok, now let’s push along to the “real reason” we’re here.


Raw: The Cliff Notes


No Cliff Notes this week, as I simply decided not to watch my tape. I’d read bad things about the show in JHawk’s Raw report, and combined with the season premiere of The Shield last night, I just felt completely apathetic toward another lousy TV show. Fast forwarding is always an option – because it only sucks half as much at twice the speed! – but I didn’t even feel like that. Sue me.


Obviously, The Column Wasn’t Ruthlessly Aggressive Enough!


I’m sure quite a few people just ran out of a steady source of material for their meager efforts to equal the quality of this weekly news report. Jim Ross’ Ross Report on WWE.com has gone the way of the dodo. This means we won’t see any more in-print fellatio of stars who haven’t gotten over yet, no more apologetics for crappy TV shows, no more babble and doublespeak about being “excited about the opportunities placed before this amazing young talent,” and no more mad pimping of the latest HOSS BAH GAWD~! du jour.


On the plus side, tired internet jokes about all the above should be on the decline, too. Now if only we could eliminate the lame HHH mockery-uh, a lot of things would be easier to read. Apparently, the decision to pull the plug on JR’s weekly missive to the fans and diatribe against the internet came from Vince McMahon himself.


(Credit: 1wrestling.com)


Since Byron covered the news over the weekend, and since not much has happened this week, I’m going to quick-hits format to cover everything else.


Quick Hits, Notes, And Sundry Asides


--- Sting has been reported as saying that WWE has contacted him several times since the WCW buyout, according to the PWTorch.com newsletter. Nothing has come of the conversations yet. Sting is a very religious man, and there is talk he and his wife will open up a religious wilderness retreat.


--- WrestleMania tickets are selling fast, according to the 1bob gang. WWE is allowing fans to buy tickets online (the password is WMANIA) for the event, which will be held in the 70,000 seat Safeco Field in Seattle.


--- Nielsen Media Research lists Monday’s Raw as getting a 3.6 cable rating. That’s up from the past few weeks, but also should be taken with a grain of salt, there was no football game to pull viewers away. I’m sure this means more oiled-up, homoerotic posedowns in the future, though.


--- Persistent rumors fly about Bret Hart meeting with Vince McMahon in Florida. Presumably, it’s to discuss Hart appearing on the Raw 10th Anniversary show. The meetings have come as a surprise to many, considering the history of animosity between McMahon and the Hart family. Hart has a poll on his website asking fans about seeing him on WWE TV again, and several images he uses are copyrighted by WWE. The 1bob gang had the most on this.



--- The Observer reports that Billy Gunn’s career as an active wrestler may be over. If it is, he’ll end up with a job as a road agent.


--- Also from the Observer, next week’s 10th Anniversary Raw show (Tuesday the 14th at 9:00 Eastern) has apparently been expanded to two hours.


--- WWE has canceled five house shows this month, and looks to be getting more aggressive about canceling shows with potential to lose money. Following the brand extension, house show attendance has suffered, and this is the latest example. The shows are: 1/11 in San Angelo, TX; 1/13 in Utica, NY; 1/18 in Lowell, MA and Louisville, KY; and 1/27 in Valparaiso, IN. If you bought tickets for those events, you can get refunds from wherever you bought them.


--- Jesse Ventura said of a possible return to WWE: “It depends on whether Vince McMahon puts the decimal point in the right spot.” PLEASE take Jerry Lawler’s commentary job, Jesse. Credit goes to the Torch.


--- According to the Torch newsletter, NWA: TNA (which resumes its weekly PPV broadcasts tonight) is interested in bringing in Mike Awesome, who was released by WWE a few months back. They’re also looking to mend fences with Sean Waltman.


Pimpin’ Since Been Pimpin’


Since it’s a slow news week, I’ll graciously allow my fellow TSM staffers to reap some reward from the millions (Ok… hundreds of thousands) of hits this magnificent news column gets each and every week.


Danny Gregory looks at the evils of HHH in the delightfully satirical “HHH Files.” There are three parts thus far, which you can find here, here, and here.


Brandon Truitt posted an excellent recap of a very interesting shoot interview with everyone’s favorite mullet-clad Latino stereotype, EDDY~! Guerrero.


Another Velocity was nailed to Jones' cross, and I must say that the chap bears an uncanny resemblance to another writer at TSM. Hmm.


Retro Rob finally had a new Confidential to write about, and you can read all about it here.

That’ll do it for this week’s edition of The Midweek News. I’ll be back tomorrow with Smackdown, and Dames will have your TNA report up sometime tomorrow, as well. Ave atque vale.


Dr. Tom

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Missed a materpiece? Look for it in my TSM Archive!

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