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Another Wrestling Death, plus
RAW, Foley, More WM20 Talk, Et Cetera...
December 1, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


They've only just officially begun, and I'm already beginning to get annoyed by certain of the Holiday Season's traits.  Specifically, all the idiot amateurs who decide to go out and drink on the grounds that they have a long weekend, and clog up my bars with their too-loud, too-slurred reminiscing with their two-times-per-year friends, preventing me from obtaining alcohol in an fast and orderly fashion, thereby negatively impacting my own attempts to socialize.

This weekend wasn't so bad, since I wound up getting lucky when I was run out of my usual watering hole: in my quest to find a decent spot to hang out with a small pocket of friends on Friday, I ended up having a Night of Jedi Powers, where strange people and strange surroundings seemed to bend to my whim, resulting in a small flood of free drinks and other perks.

But I don't expect this to repeat.  For Nights of Jedi Powers come but once every year or two, and I probably wasted mine.  The four-day weekend people take after Christmas day promises to be much, much worse.

And for you, the time I spend talking about things other than wrestling is going to be getting much, much worse, too.  The end of the year means a slow period in terms of major wrestling world shake-ups.  More focus is gonna be on recapping the year gone by than on the month that is as we head to 2004.

But I'll do my part to stem the tide with a little rasslin' column here today:

  • Another reason for me to not be too anxious to get started with today's column... because Order of Business #1 is Yet Another Wrestling Death.  I swear, 2003's defining characteristic just might end up being who we lost this year, rather than anything we saw play out on TV or behind the scenes....
    Today, we mourn the loss of Larry Booker, well-known to any fan of 80s wrestling as "Moondog Spot."  Booker actually passed away after collapsing during a Concession Stand Brawl at this weekend's Mid-South Coliseum event (a birthday show for Jerry Lawler).  Spot was reportedly brawling inside the ring when he went down and was basically motionless; sensing that something was wrong, the other three tag teams involved (the Rock 'n' Roll Express, the Lifeguards, and Alan Steele/Mike Money) improvised a quick finish and cleared out while medics rushed to ringside.
    An announcement was made to fans (some of whom reacted as if this was an angle) that this was "not part of the show" as Spot was stretchered out.  Another announcement was made to fans, assuring them that Spot was still breathing when he left the building, though all the fans prayers would be very much appreciated at this time.  The show continued in a somewhat subdued fashion through the main event tag team win for Jerry Lawler and Brian Christopher.  At that point, word that Spot had expired in the ambulance (at this point, "heart attack" is the only thing I have heard) had gotten back to the building, and was relayed on to fans.
    The locker room emptied, and fans stood in silence as the show ended with a 10 bell salute to Moondog Spot.  He was 61 years old.
    For my own part, I'm cosmically ill-equipped to eulogize Spot.  I know, from reading up and trying to be something of a student of the game, that he was lots more than just the mid-80s WWF Super Jobber that I remember.  But even though I've read the histories and everything, I'd feel wrong trying to sell you the bill of goods about how Spot was a Memphis wrestling mainstay.  It's enough to say that Spot (with a wide array of other "Moondog" partners) held titles throughout the 80s and 90s in Memphis, and that the unique "Moondog" persona was enough to earn him a several years long run in the WWF.
    I personally remember Spot and Rex (who was later to co-create "Demolition" with Bill Eadie and portray the original Smash) being around pretty much when I started watching wrestling.  I don't recall if they ever won any major matches, but they were definitely TV regulars and a notch above your average jobbers.  Perhaps they were the "Iron" Mike Sharpe of tag teams?
    My one big Moondog Spot memory:  his role in the 1985 Wrestling Classic (the very first wrestling PPV, distinct from previous closed-circuit TV efforts), which was a 16-man tournament.  Of course, I could not see the PPV as it happened, since my jerkwater town was a late adopter of PPV technology, but I remember thinking a big tournament sounded like a neat idea, and actually had my mom drive me to the video store every day for almost a week when I knew the event was coming out on VHS.  I was as big a clueless mark as you could imagine, but even I knew that there was something odd about the bracketing in the first round, where Moondog Spot (a bad guy) was facing Terry Funk (another bad guy).  They did a funny thing where Funk tried to act like they were pals and shouldn't fight each other, and suckered Spot (who, although a heel, was not a character who possessed deviousness, or even average intelligence) into leaving the ring so they could do a double count-out.  Spot bought it, and left the ring ahead of Funk.  Terry betrayed Spot's trust by attacking him from behind so that he could get a jump start and a cheap win.  But it all backfired.  He tossed Spot back into the ring just as the ref counted to 10.  Spot was awarded the victory by count-out, and the Rosemont Horizon ate it up.  So did I.  For about 20 minutes, I was a Moondog Spot fan.  Then he moved on to the quarter-finals and faced the Junkyard Dog.  Well, Boo on you, Spot.  But I still remember that exchange he had with Funk.  Moondog Spot might just be responsible for my first experience with a Heel vs. Heel dynamic...  and one that more than one future heel vs. heel match completely failed to live up to.
    So with that, we add another familiar face from the 80s wrestling landscape to the list of the deceased.  Thanks for the memories, Spot, and may his family, friends, and fans take some comfort in the condolences of the OO community...
  • Word is going around this week that Mick Foley is being discussed as the co-star of a possible one hour weekly action show that would air on CBS, and would fall under the auspices of WWE Films.  
    Some sort of official indication on just how far along discussions are should come later this week, but I do know this: this is completely distinct from Mick's last attachment to a TV pilot.  If you recall, back in February we talked about a family sitcom starring Mick was summarily dismissed without a pilot even being shot by ABC.  It was pitched for ABC's Friday Night Sappy Tripe Crap-o-Rama, and I, for one, could not have been any happier when I found out that I wouldn't have to endure Foley playing the straightman to the next decade's incarnation of the Olsen Twins.
    This one sounds like a better deal, where Mick would be a police detective in a show that would be grounded in action and drama, but which would also allow for ample doses of humor (sort of like the now-defunct "Nash Bridges," I was told, and I guess that works, cuz the two times I watched it -- because of Steve Austin -- it had its funny moments).
    We'll have to keep an eye on this one...  nobody knew Foley could write before he put pen to paper and wound up atop the NY Times best seller list, so I won't write him off as a possible acting prodigy, either.
  • If you've got $2 million bucks, I've got a steal for you...
    The Hart family house, residence of Stu (and Helen) Hart since 1951, is being put up for sale by the surviving family.  The house is really more of a mansion, and includes the infamous "Dungeon" in the basement.  And hey, 2 million Canadian dollars... what's that in American?  Let me check under my couch cushions!
    Just kidding, angry Canucks!  Your dollar is mighty!  Your beer is much more flavorful than anything we Americans could brew!  And hockey is not boring as all hell!
    Back to serious matters: the family did not want to part with the historic house, but decided that taxes and the costs associated with maintaining the property would be too steep.  They hope for a buyer who will restore the property and possibly consider renovating it into a Hart Family museum of some kind.
    You can check out the full article covering the listing of the house right here.  Thanks to those who sent in the link.
  • I mentioned this Friday, but you might still have a few hours to get in under the wire.  The Usenet Achievement Awards -- the longest running on the internet -- wrap up voting today.  The esteemed CRZ used to get upset at me back in the SportsLine days for hyping the awards, since all I ever really accomplished was causing a late rush of extra compilation work for him.
    But this year, I (a) only have my meager OO audience and not the mighty exposure of SportsLine, and (b) am simply supplying this plain text version of the awards ballot.  It's up to you to read the directions and successfully complete it.  And it's up to CRZ to decide whether or not to count your ballot if it shows up minutes into December 2.
    If you're feeling lucky, I saw go ahead and vote.  These really are the awards that I think best reflect an intelligent-but-reasonable mindset.  Or at least, they usually do.  And it's in part thanks to sensible folks like yourself being part of the voting process.
  • Another last thing from Friday's column before we close with a look at RAW....
    I spent the last half of the column talking about a hypothetical WrestleMania 20 line-up, and even with all the ideas I threw out there, over a dozen people all called me on one solitary issue.  Some phrased it gently, others pretty much called me an idiot, but it all boiled down to "Where the hell is The Rock?".
    Allow me to retort:  "Ah, fuck."
    He, quite honestly, never crossed my mind in formulating what you saw Friday.  My best excuse is that what you saw Friday was maybe a one-third-assed attempt to fill up space on a slow news day.  I've definitely had my mind wander to WM20 in the past few weeks, and I've even had a few light bulbs go off in my head on ideas I liked.  But I'm far from having really thought anything through.  I just thought the discussion was one we could have on a slow holiday weekend, and then forget about it.
    Well, now, you've got me thinking more about it than ever before.  How could I have left out The Rock?  All indications are that WWE DOES expect him back for a quick run next spring.  So even though there's a part of me that would argue strenuously that the Rock's place is in a non-wrestling ceremony or promo (which is where I'd like to see a lot of legends showcased for varying lengths of time) so that the regulars can shine, I must admit that WWE would be foolish not to try to maximize their return on Rock's brief stint back as a wrestler.
    Thing is, now that I need to find a spot for Rocky, I can't do it without un-doing some substantial part of what I'd already done.  Most common suggestion I saw this weekend was people saying Rocky should show up and do a face/face rematch with Goldberg, but I disagree on the grounds that Goldberg would get booed out of the building (just my sixth sense) and that is not what he needs.  I'm honestly not sure what I'd do with Rock...
    Fact is, I probably should have just kept my mouth shut and waited another week or so before broaching the subject of my WM20 wishlist.  Let my ideas percolate, let the various orphan mini-angles collect around central points and evolve into master plans, work some of my schemes backwards and forwards in my head to make sure I'm taking advantage of every opportunity.  In the three years when I did the entire Fantasy Universes, I actually took the time to map some stuff out on paper.  I'm not saying I needed to do that here.  I'm just saying it should have been better conceptualized before I spewed forth my WM20 ideas.  In addition to the Rock Matter, I've already had one half-drunken brainstorming session that has me thinking that my WM20 would work out even better if I just reversed the roles of Cena and Benoit (Benoit goes against Lesnar, Cena into a US Title match)...  bottom line, I should have thought it through more before I spoke up.
    Maybe I'll revisit the topic in a few weeks.  Even without a full Fantasy Universe to book, this is definitely the season when my own creative juices get flowing...  or maybe that's just me suffering from chronic daydreams because I really don't want to get down in the trenches and compile the OO Year in Review?  Whatever...  I probably won't be shutting up about My Idea for the Perfect WrestleMania any time soon.  You have been warned.
  • Finally today, a look at tonight's RAW, which WWE is so elegantly hyping as the "Did Jericho Bang Trish?" Episode.  Or something like that.  I already forget the exact wording, but it's the main graphic on their website today, and it struck me as a subtle deviation from the ideal tone.
    I realize for WWE's primary guy audience, that's probably the most attention-grabbing version of the headline...  however me being not just a Guy, but also a Guy Who Appreciates Subtlety and Nuance, this has been a storyline that deserves better than being shoehorned into some kind of base, sordid affair in which Trish is apparently a passive participant.  Better to handle it like I did last Tuesday, and use the teaser "Did Jericho Do the Right Thing?" or something like that, complete with all the different layers of story that that implies.  Trish's idea of the right thing, Bischoff's idea of the right thing, Jericho's eventual synthesis of both as seen in his actions...
    Instead, "Did Jericho Bang Trish?" seems like its going to do nothing but set us up for a night of listening to Jerry Lawler making a complete ass of himself if Chris and Trish so much as show up at the arena together in the same car.  And I'd hate for that to happen.  Not the Chris and Trish being together part: as I've said before, I'm cool with that and all that it implies for Jericho's heel persona.  The Lawler going overboard part is fearsome, however, as he'd make every effort to convince us that Jericho's admittedly-commendable accomplishment of securing Naked Time with Trish Stratus is the only story here.  And it's not.  There are other issues to consider and other ways I see this being a character-building angle for both Jericho and Trish (and possibly extending to any number of other people, including Bischoff, Christian, Lita, and maybe even to Austin down the line).
    So pardon me if WWE.com's choice of a teaser line is disconcerting.  And they didn't even TOUCH on the subject of Jericho and Bischoff's discussion, which would seem to lop off that entire half of possible storylines (the ones in which Bischoff might be upset with Jericho for being a Good Faith Tag Partner, leading to much cool stuff), in favor of focusing on the Hot, Steamy Monkey Sex (which, of course, is not suitable for TV, and thus, NOT the thing that I'd expend my energy on, no matter how enthusiastic Lawler is about his ability to get the message across).  We'll just have to see.  My bad vibes don't mean jack shit...  the creative team has handled this storyline deftly before, and I'm not gonna doubt their ability to keep the ball rolling again this week.
    Also tonight: Kane and Triple H and Goldberg have to figure out their dynamic heading into a three-way title match in 2 weeks.  Is HHH going to go tweener on us?  Or is Kane?  How does this work?  And although we understand completely why HHH and Goldberg are at odds (lord knows, after 6 months, we don't need it explained to us), we have yet to hear about Kane's motivation.  Why the sudden interest in wearing the title?
    Other issues to be furthered:  Randy Orton's push as the contender to RVD's IC Title will continue, with WWE.com hinting that another legend might be felled tonight...  Shawn Michaels takes another step down the Waste of Time Continuum, as he'll be building to a PPV match against Batista....  it looks like Test and Steiner are out, and Jindrak/Cade are in as the next contenders to the Dudleys tag titles (I might have gone ahead and done the slow-burn on Jindrak and Cade going evil, but last week seemed to jumpstart things)...  Lita will find herself between Matt Hardy and Christian again at some point, I'm sure, as that particular love triangle unfolds....  and hopefully somebody will decide to do something constructive with Booker T, because I can't take another week of him feuding with Mark Henry.
    I'm more curious than I care to admit in tonight's RAW, and it's for reasons that are counter to my usual ones: I don't anticipate any particular match being any good....  I'm in it solely for the soap opera.  So c'mon and check out the show tonight.  Or come on back to OO tomorrow for my full recap and analysis.  And Matt's Satire, too.
    See you then....


Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

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