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Bradshaw Fails to Suck!, Plus: Ratings, 
More Classic, and Other Weekend News
June 18, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


On the grounds that I haven't bored you with any retarded nonsense all week (and also on the grounds that I got a whole lot of nothing in terms of wrestling content, today) let me spin a little yarn by way of advocating something semi-cool:

So last week I said the new season of "Celebrity Poker" was substantially less pathetic, but made no major noise based on one mere episode.  Last night, I watched my SD!, went out for a bit, and came home to a recording of yet another edition: I'm ready to say this is a good poker show.  You oughta check it out.  For one, the famous people actually have good table banter, you know, really funny, like when I'm actually at a real table, not like those stick-in-the-mud pro players.  And for two, helping matters IMMENSELY is the new commentator, Dave Foley.  He's fricking hilarious, possibly working while blitzed, and loves taunting his co-commentator, an aforementioned stick-in-the-mud pro.  And let's also mention that until these last two weeks, I thought GOLF was the quasi-sport with the most suggestive double entendre terminology... WRONG!  Funny stuff.

So watch next week, if you will.  From the commercials, it looks like a good one: Conan's buddy Andy Richter and The Girl from NewsRadio (dammit, I forget her name, but she did play one of the Most Desirable TV Characters of the 90s, all smart and competent and sarcastic and funny and cute-when-she-was-drunk-which-was-surprisingly-often) are playing, so that oughta be more fun at the table.

Here's what passes for the rasslin' today:

  • Before the poker, however, there was SmackDown!...  and on SD!, there was the Promo that Bradshaw SHOULD have cut 3 months ago if he wanted to be taken seriously as a threat to the WWE Title today.
    He got a little over-long and tangential, but I think that's only because he was FEELING IT... and that's no crime.  Obviously, the motivation for his speech was getting fired from CNBC, so maybe it's not fair to say he should have cut this promo back at the genesis of the JBL character...  it could only have happened now, so what's the point of doing the couldas and shouldas?  Well, my point is this: if you'd have Bradshaw saying stuff that it seemed like he actually believed (as he did last night), instead of ripping of Ted DiBiase shtick and chasing Mexicans in the dark, maybe he wouldn't have spent 2 months as one of the least credible and lowest drawing main eventers in memory.
    So yeah: kudos to Bradshaw for the Promo of a Lifetime.  Sorry it took you acting like a Nazi and getting fired to drag it out of you, and it still fails to convince me that you'll be walking out of the Great American Bash with any gold around your waist.  More likely, you'll be walking out of the PPV with a one-way ticket to GettingSquashedByUndertakerVille, with an option to keep on riding the bus to Velocity, if you like.  Or maybe with an option to stick around on Thursdays if there's more inspiration where last night came from.  I don't know, but I gotta grant that "Calling me anything other than a true American is like calling Mother Theresa a prostitute" is a killer line.
    Again, it's too little, too late to really salvage this title feud with Eddie...  but it was still heartening to see Bradshaw show us what WWE management apparently THOUGHT he had all along, even if just for one night.  Too bad they pushed him up too far, too fast, and had him doing stupid bullshit in those early phases, cuz a JBL that came out and based a persona on promos like this might have had a shot at developing into a real main event heel over time.
    Besides that one eye-opening promo, SD! was pretty much a mix of the boring and the outrageously-silly.  Paul Heyman's so good he ALMOST made it sound reasonable, but Paul Bearer in a cement-filled crypt is about a lame-ass an idea for a gimmick as I can think of.  As a visual, SSSSLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOWWWWWly filling a cage with cement is probably akin to watching paint dry, so it's not a win on that front.  And logically-speaking, have we been given ANY clue as to what the Taker/Bearer relationship really is, and why this is such a powerful bargaining chip for Heyman?  I mean, Taker's said nothing about it, and Heyman's declaration that "Paul Bearer is the Undertaker's conscience" isn't exactly a compelling angle.  There have to have been other, better ways to build up this storyline so that we'd sympathize with Taker's plight and think Heyman really had a handhold on him... instead, all I'm seeing is a gimmick that'll probably hamstring what actually could probably be a pretty decent little match if played straight (Taker vs. Dudleys).
    Speaking of the Dudleys, they win the tag belts...  but unless (as I joked Wednesday), the plan is to move them into a feud with Undertaker and Paul Bearer, why bother?  And if the plan is to do a feud with Taker and Bearer, then just put a bullet in me, please.  I guess maybe this move helps build the idea that Paul Heyman is all-powerful, though, so... OK, I kinda see the why....
    I guess the US Title stuff was OK...  but it's actually more than a bit annoying to be seeing little throw-away bits between Cena and Kurt Angle that are more appetite-whetting than anything that's presently happening.  It's the same way that watching Eddie struggle with JBL was frustrating cuz all we really wanted after WM20 was an Angle/Eddie rematch.  I don't know if this is a compliment to Angle that (even with his fake broken leg and all) he's such a strong performer that I wish it was him doing these feuds, or a criticism of the SD! creative team, or (most likely) just an observation that SD! is having to make do with what they got and that means pushing ahead with new talents...  I just know that "Angle hates Cena" is more compelling than "Cena has to defend against three men, and none of them much like each other," and that's sorta too bad.
    And beyond the tag title change and the main event with the four US Title guys, was it just me or did SD! just serve up a giant heaping helping of SQUASH?  Eddie over Basham, Rey over Classic, Luther Reigns (oh good lord, why must they annoy me with retarded spellings?) over Funaki, Suzuki over Spike...  all pretty short and one-sided.  Not the most compelling of TV.
    And again, me thinking RAW was pretty strong, it again underscores the lack of sizzle that SD! has heading into a PPV.  At this juncture, I'm no more stoked for the Great American Bash than I was for Judgment Day.  And that, my friends, is not a good thing.
    You can get the full report from last night's show in Big Danny T's SD! Recap.
  • The prelim rating for last night's show: a 2.9, which should be within a tenth or two of the final rating...  which means SD!'s still languishing in about the same place they've been for the past 3 months.
  • Got a few mails from folks who heard Bradshaw on the Howard Stern show this morning...  and I guess the only notable thing to report is that nothing notable happened.
    Stern was mostly on Bradshaw's side, and Bradshaw side was "Hey, I was performing when I did the Nazi stuff, and I think getting fans to react is part of my job."  Which is fairly reasonable.  
    No fireworks, no grade-school-caliber taunting, just pretty much a public presentation of what we already knew Bradshaw's POV to be.
  • Some more about Chavo Classic...  I guess the more popular slant on his story is that he was "being difficult" and that's why he got fired.  Or at least, that's what I gather from e-mails that tell me I'm the only site saying anything about Classic exercising "civil disobedience."
    And while it's entirely possible that I got a very twisted version of the story (and really only got that version from one source), I think the fact of the matter is that "being difficult" is probably pretty close to the way WWE would spin any civil disobedience.  The two could be the same thing: Classic thought it was stupid to let writers humiliate him with silly antics, WWE thought Classic's job was to, well, shut up and do his job.
    Again, I can't say with 100% confidence how much of Chavo's no-showing the house shows was "civil disobedience" and how much was just being difficult, but I will 100% reiterate myself when I say that if Chavo decided he'd rather be fired than a part of crap, then I tip the cap to him.
    It'll suck to not have the pay-off to the father/son storyline, but maybe the direction they wanted to take the storyline wouldn't have been so tremendous, afterall?  Who knows...
  • I'm hurting for content today, folks, so let me close with a quick little theory piece...
    We all know Pregnant Lita sucks.  Sucks for so very many reasons.  Above all, it sucks just because of the company it keeps.  If anybody can name me one pregnancy angle in wrestling that hasn't been anticlimactic (at best) or downright stupid (at worst), I'll gladly recant.  But you can't, so I shan't recant.
    I don't really feel like going through all the character-destroying, cringe-inducing elements of this storyline in theory.  Actually, I don't think you'd need much convincing on that front.
    But taking it as given that we HAVE to do this storyline, the thing that is perhaps most frustrating is the intelligence-insulting fashion in which it was executed: the "keep it secret, Stacy" while right in front of the camera.
    I'm gonna use this as a jumping off point to underscore a point I first made 3 years ago: in the world of wrestling, it works best when you acknowledge the existence of cameras and camera men.  But if you don't want to do that, if you INSIST on wrestling being no different from a sitcom, then you have to ALWAYS do it that way.  You can't have it both ways.
    And WWE has it both ways all the time.  One week, mystery cameras follow Kane around to watch his shitty segments with Lita.  The next, Kane chases a camera man out of an office so he can have some privacy.  Which is it?  
    And then the thing that made me really think to bring this topic back: WWE tried to have it both ways inside of 10 seconds this past Monday.  There wasn't a camera, and her pregnancy announcement was NOT being broadcast around the world as she said it... and then 10 seconds later, Jerry Lawler is hooting and hollering about what big news we just heard.
    Wrestling shows are predicated on grown men pretending to fight, yes... it's not brain surgery, and at times I know I really overthink things.  But is it so wrong to want the show to hang together on some kind of framework of internal consistency?  I won't insist on an ultra-realistic wrestling show that is consistent with the real world, necessarily...  but anything that can't maintain an internal logic for more than 10 seconds at a stretch is bound to infuriate the "overthinking" audience and just confuse and annoy the rest of it.
    What's the solution?  Well, if you HAVE to have the "privileged information" vignettes, where something happens in front of a camera that nobody except the audience is supposed to know about, then you CAN'T have the announcers talking about it.  Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are clearly in the "wrestling universe," not the "spectator universe."  If they know Lita's pregnant, then everybody else in the "wrestling universe" knows Lita is pregnant, and it makes her request to keep it a secret so very, very lame and retarded.
    Though, actually... if you've been reading me for any length of time, you know that this is not the actual solution I'm advocating.  The ideal situation would be to NEVER have "privileged information" vignettes, to get away from presenting things like a soap opera or a sitcom, and just try to keep as "sporting event" a feel to a show as possible.  Not totally, and again, I'm not demanding a wrestling show that is completely compatible with real life logic.  Just a show that has an internal consistency based on NOT ignoring the concept of television/being in front of a camera...
    So the real solution?  Build a time machine, and go back and stop that insipid nonsense from going down on Monday night.  But hell, the REAL real solution: if I got a time machine, I'll go back to the genesis of the Pregnant Lita storyline and put a bullet in it right there.
    It should never have come to this... but if it had to, it sure as hell shouldn't have come to this THIS WAY.  
    Damn... I thought I had more here, but I'm starting to feel like all I'm doing is repeating myself from that "Hollywood 4-Life" column I did way back when.  And good as it is, you can just go read it if you want...  why re-do work I've already done?
  • That's it, folks.  Enjoy your weekends, and I'll be back in your grill again on Monday...


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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