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Unforgiven Results and a Ton of Newsbites to Start Off Your Wrestling Week 

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OOWrestling.com


Alright, so I don't have a lot going for me in this life, but at the end of the day, I always think I'm pretty much the smartest man I know of. So it pains me when something makes me feel stupid.

Which is precisely how I felt one night earlier this week.

There's this guy, Andy Kindler, who is a comedian that shows up a lot on the Letterman show, and also tends to keep "good company" at other times (i.e. he's not leeching onto hacks like Dane Cook or Carlos Mencia; he tends to show up alongside your Lewis Blacks or Jon Stewarts). He was doing coverage of the Republican National Convention for 

Letterman this week, which is why he was on my mind.

Reasonably funny guy. Must be, if he's got other genuinely funny people giving him work. But there's always been something about him that nags at me. And it's not that he tends towards that "bookish Jewey/trying-too-hard" type of comedian who you know writes, rewrites, and slaves to be funny, rather than just being funny (make no mistake: that can still lead to very funny performers; but it can also lead to Woody Allen Syndrome, where there's a reason why that dude WAS funny, ran out of steam, and hasn't been so since before I was born). There was something about Kindler that tugged at some inner recess of my brain, as if to remind me of some long buried horror, every time I saw him on TV. Like I said: last week, that was basically 3 or 4 nights straight, so that was a lot of tugging.

And that's when it finally hit me: ANDY KINDLER WAS JAMISON!

It's been 15 years, but it's definitely him. Bobby Heenan's unkempt, unfunny, insanely punchable, ostensibly "babyface" sidekick/arch-nemesis on old WWF TV was played by Andy Kindler. I'd bet a body part on it. And *that's* what I've been subconsciously holding against the guy all this time.

Deservedly so, I'd say. Jamison was that horribly bad. Straight out of Vince McMahon's Comedy Playbook. I just can't believe my purportedly mighty brain didn't connect those dots at some point in the previous decade. I'm getting rusty, folks. Rusty, or as dumb as Orton.

But I still knows my wrestling current events. Today? First, we'll catch you up to speed on the surprisingly eventful WWE Unforgiven PPV results, and then close things with a batch of the relevant newsbites of the day. Enjoy:

UNFORGIVEN: The Fall and Rise of Chris Jericho

Let's not sugarcoat it: it's been damn near six months since WWE really delivered a PPV that FELT like a PPV. In-ring work and match quality is part of that, but mostly, it's just a sense that you just watched something happen that doesn't happen every Monday. That you got your money's worth; that somehow the event transcended what it looked like "on paper" to honestly deliver the goods in a compelling and satisfying way.

WWE came storming out of the gates in '08 in this regard: Cena at the Rumble.... Mayweather/Show at No Way Out.... Flair at WrestleMania.... all those shows pretty much ruled. And then they promptly went into flaccid, predictable, "why'd I spend $45 on that again?" mode. Until tonight.

Not only did Michaels/Jericho deliver only the 2nd real "Match of the Year" contender of 2008 for WWE, but the "Scramble Match" concept turned out to be way more exciting in execution than it seemed in theory, and the company also scored with some truly shocking booking moves that -- when considered in the big picture -- still hold up and make sense rather than coming across as nonsensical Stunt Booking.

It's a show that was action-packed, for the most part, and which ended in a way that nobody could see coming, yet which adds layers of twisty and turny drama to a story that was ALREADY awesome and only gives us myriad reasons more to tune in to see where it goes from here. That's pretty much a "Mission Accomplished," if you ask me.

Here's a (quick and dirty, but hopefully adequately descriptive) rundown of exactly what went down at the just-competed WWE Unforgiven 2008 PPV:

  • Matt Hardy won the ECW Title (held by Mark Henry heading into the match) in the first of three Championship Scrambles. Basic rules of "The Scramble": two men start, three more are added at 5 minute intervals (order determined at random), you can score a pinfall or submission at any time to temporarily become "interim" champion, but all that REALLY matters is scoring the LAST fall before the 20 minute time limit expires. Whoever is interim champ at the time limit is thus recognized as the New Champion.
    Hardy entered first, and opposed The Miz for the opening five minutes. Back and forth with good pace, but no pinfalls. At the 5 minute mark, Chavo Guerrero entered, and though tacit Heel Cooperation led to a brief beatdown on Matt, Hardy staged a comeback and pinned Miz to become the "Interim ECW Champ." Moments later, while Hardy was still occupied by Miz, we hit the 10 minute point, and Mark Henry entered the match. He quickly isolated on Chavo, and scored a pinfall with a powerslam to take back the title of "ECW Champ" (albeit on an interim basis). Hardy, in the ring with 3 heels now, became very much a face in peril until the 15 minute mark, when Finlay ran out and (with some crowd pleasing assistance from Hornswoggle) began cleaning house. Eventually, Hardy and Finlay managed to dump Henry out of the ring, and we got the four most-talented men in the match going at full-speed as the clock began it's countdown towards zero (or towards 20 minutes, if you prefer).
    In this round of jam-packed action, Finlay actually turned on Hardy, attacking him unexpectedly and hitting the Celtic Cross to become Interim Champ. Then more fast-paced action from our Favored Four, during which Hardy managed to score ANOTHER pinfall on Miz to regain the Interim ECW Champ label. From there, there were only 2 minutes left in the match, and Matt went into a Prevent Defense, just standing around breaking up pinfall attempts by others. Things got dicey in the closing seconds when Henry rejoined the fray and seemed set to power his way to a last-second victory, but time ran out.
    I had my concerns about the "Scramble" concept, but I also had equally as strong uncertainties, so I tried to keep my mouth shut the past 2-3 weeks until I could see the match in action. Turns out, I was wise to do so: first, WWE wisely made a clear distinction that no pinfall winners within the match are "acknowledged champions," which makes it a little less silly and cheap than only acknowledging the Final Title Holder in the record books. And second, my main concern (the 20 minute time limit) actually turns out to be no concern at all; the length wasn't too short. Rather, it was perfect to build drama, to create suspense for the original guys in the match getting tired, while still putting pressure on the last guy to enter to take care of business in just 5 minutes. Despite only really having two credible winners in the match (Hardy and Henry), even the lowly ECW guys did a nice job intro'ing the match to fans and delivering a highly watchable opening contest. I'd be even more fired up about Matt Hardy getting his own brand to reign over, except that I look ahead, and all I see are rematches with Mark Henry. Ugh.
  • Ted DiBiase Jr. and Cody Rhodes beat Cryme Tyme to retain the RAW Tag Titles. Standard fare. Sometimes that clicks, and sometimes it doesn't. Here: it didn't. For some reason, Cryme Tyme's heat died in the opening stages of the match and fans weren't behind them. Meantime, DiBiase and Rhodes' methodical stylings don't exactly invite an audience to give a shit about them, either. Lengthy Ricky Morton Segment with JTG taking the beating, then a hot tag to Big Shad, who cleans house on DiBiase and Rhodes. But in the Pier Four confusion, JTG somehow became legal again, and was the victim of an old school roll-up reversal while the ref's back was turned. If the formula had been clicking with fans, it would have been fine, but as it was, this seemed over-long and under-exciting for 12 minutes.
    After the Match: DiBiase and Rhodes shoved it in JTG and Shad's face with a celebration. When Cryme Tyme took umbrage and tried to attack, they were blind-sided by a Mysterious Samoan, and took a 3-on-2 beatdown that finally seemed to partially perk the crowd up.
  • Shawn Michaels beat Chris Jericho in an Unsanctioned No Holds Barred Fight. Forget it; I'm not even going to try to recap this. For one, it was 30 minutes long. For two, it was one of those all-too-rare matches where -- thanks to the previous 3-4 months of pitch-perfect promos, storytelling, and matches -- every move (and every nuance) MEANT SOMETHING, so it'd be 3500 words just to try to give you an idea of how awesome this was, and even then, I'd fail. A very abbreviated version of the story: from the getgo, no foreign object was left unused, and no amount of brutality left untapped. They were laying into each other, there were no rope breaks, and it all added up to a sense of intensity and rapid pacing even if they were just stalking or sneering or what have you.
    First real extended "sequence" had Jericho focusing on Michaels' bad eye for massive heat. Michaels made the heroic comeback. Second sequence had Lance Cade run out to lend a hand to Jericho, and this time, once Jericho had the advantage, he focused on Michaels' newly injured triceps to even BIGGER heat. This led to Michaels making an EVEN MORE HEROIC COMEBACK (great build and great psychology, great everything), where even with an injury fans knew was legit, he rallied strong, and beat the living piss out of Cade, all while keeping Jericho at bay.
    With Cade dispatched, we entered End Game, where Jericho tried to sneak attack, but Michaels was in full-on Jesus Warrior Mode. Nothing Jericho tried worked, and eventually, Michaels floored him, then circled with a look of anguish on his face, and turned a psychological corner: no Mr. Nice Guy this time. He took off his belt and whipped the hell out of Jericho. When Jericho began begging for mercy, Michaels embraced him.... only to cinch his arms with the belt and start punching away at Jericho's face (which was now clearly bloodied and bruised -- maybe a broken nose? -- to go along with his horribly welted back). The beating continued until Jericho was unconscious, and the ref called for the bell. Thirty minutes of compelling brutality, maybe more, and it ends with a Ref Stoppage? These guys had to do SOMEthing right to make that feel like a great finish, because normally, ref stoppages are in the column with other non-finishes that get shat upon by fans. Not here. Great match, great story, great climax.
    The bell halts Michaels' beating. But only briefly. Again, making sure to pause to register his own anguish (and possible self-loathing at his un-Christian violent streak), Michaels pounced on Jericho's lifeless body to beat on him some more. Refs tried to pull him off. Refs succeeded. Refs got superkicked, and Michaels just went back for more, as if he's never heard the one about "treat thy brother as you'd like to be treated yourself." But even as he was breaking the Golden Rule into a billion sad little pieces, Michaels seemed to realize it, and came across as conflicted. Finally, when it was medics who created a shield over Jericho's body (instead of mere disposable referees), Michaels realized just how poorly he had behaved and backed off. Slowly. It was clear part of him still wanted to pounce, but some other part had regained control of his motor functions and wouldn't let him. Probably. Maybe.
    Michaels retreated up the ramp. Jericho got the full medical treatment. From video package (which was a solid retelling of their story, one which seemed at times to go over the heads of wrestling fans who've been trained to "have their buttons pushed" rather than to PAY ATTENTION TO CHARACTERS AND STORYLINES) to entrances to match to post-match drama, easily 45 minutes total, and easily as good an example of any as to what makes the pro wrestling genre so damned awesome when it gets one right.
  • Backstage: Rhodes and DiBiase take a moment to introduce us to Wild Samoan Afa's son, Manu, the mystery man who helped them dispatch Cryme Tyme, and yet another young 2nd generation star. Then, for some reason, they seek out the affirmation and blessing of Randy Orton, who shows up for no reason. That'd be like me begging for Dave Meltzer's blessing as a Truly Talented Writer. Oy. Orton offers backhanded congratulations to the two, saying it's nice they won, but sort of suggesting they did it cheaply. Three douchebags and a Samoan: will they EVER get along?
  • Triple H won the second of the Championship Scramble Matches to retain his WWE Title. Jeff Hardy and Shelton Benjamin start off at 0:00, and waste no time duplicating and surpassing the action-factor of Matt Hardy and Miz's opening 5 minutes in the ECW match. Still: no pinfalls during this time frame. THE Brian Kendrick is out at the 5 minute mark, and just in time for Shelton to powder out. Jeff and Kendrick amp up the action even further for a killer 2-3 minute exchange that ends  with Jeff reprising the Inverted Flip Powerbomb Thingie he debuted on SmackDown last night to score a pinfall and become Interim WWE Champ. Shelton recovers and goes after Hardy, while Kendrick receives tender loving care from His Man Zeke. Waiting for his chance, Kendrick sees Shelton tossed out again, and hits Jeff with The Kendrick out of nowhere to score a pin and become Interim Champ. 
    At the 10 minute mark, MVP enters the match and shows no favorites. In fact, Kendrick and Hardy powder out, leaving MVP to pick up his burgeoning rivalry with Fellow Heel Shelton Benjamin; when MVP seemed set to score a pin on Shelton, Kendrick actually got a babyface pop for flying in out of nowhere with a jumping flippy kick to break things up and "remain" champ. Is Kendrick getting over with his goofy prickishness (and incredibly in-ring ability)? Methinks maybe.
    Now it's the 15 minute mark, and here's Triple H to sort out the mess all these whippersnappers have made with HIS title. And make no mistake: the last five minutes were all about HHH. More specifically, they told the tale of Jeff Hardy and Triple H.  Kendrick's "reign" was cut short by a signature squash-a-licious ass-whuppin' from HHH, and HHH regained the title with a Pedigree. But when Shelton attracted HHH's attention, that left Jeff Hardy to score a pinfall on MVP to become the champ. HHH saw this and (kind of comically, but in the good and crowd-pleasing way) immediately went back to the poor, lifeless Brian Kendrick, and dropped him with another Pedigree to score a pinfall and RE-regain the title. This was with 90 seconds to go, leaving Hardy to (pardon the pun) scramble; with 1 minute to go and HHH dealing with MVP/Shelton, Hardy joined in on the crowd-pleasing Kendrick-beating by hitting the poor guy with a Swanton and getting a pin. 
    HHH watched this, and immediate shifted gears back to Hardy, now desperately needing a pinfall to hold onto his title. Meantime, MVP/Shelton/Kendrick set up for some kind of triple-stack tower of doom spot, and Hardy sees his opening: he disengages HHH, takes out all three in a trainwreck spot, and then -- as the seconds tick down -- tries to recover enough to pin one of the three. But he's slow and HHH is fast. Plucking MVP from the pile, HHH delivers a Pedigree with less than 10 seconds remaining. Hardy tries to find somebody to cover, but the ref is already busy counting HHH"s pinfall. One. Two. Three. New interim champ, and one second later, the 20 minutes expire and HHH gets to keep that gold.
    Postmatch, Jeff is lamenting his close call, and he gets a manly handshake of respect from HHH. If you remember some of my columns from January-ish (before Hardy's suspension), I'm all a-twitter over the prospects of a well-told Hardy/HHH feud built on Hardy's peskiness making him a tough opponent and HHH's respect and patience wearing thin when Hardy won't go away, so here's hoping that's what we're seeing the start of, here. As watchable as the ECW Scramble was, this took the match concept to the next level, and with an even higher-profile set of stars doing the work (even Kendrick seemed like he "fit" because of the cheap way he scored his win and the even more crowd pleasing way he became a punching bag later on), it just clicked really well. Easily the second best match of the night.
  • Backstage: Shawn Michaels is interviewed, and is still conflicted. When asked, he admits that -- after everything Jericho has done to him, and has done to his poor wife -- he didn't want to stop beating on Jericho. That he'd love to beat on Jericho again like that every night for the rest of his life. But he's satisfied for now, apparently. Because "I made this the worst night of your life, Chris Jericho. And I promise you, it will only get worse for you from here." Seemed convincing at the time, but oh how little did Michaels know.......
  • Elsewhere Backstage: World Champ CM Punk is gearing up for his Scramble Match, when (the perpetually uninvited) Randall Orton shows up to belittle him and call him a fluke champion. Orton insists on "picking up our conversation from RAW." But Punk just dismissively smirks and says he's got a title match to worry about, so Orton should get lost. It is at this point that Rhodes/DiBiase/Manu attack Punk, and beat him down briefly in an attempt to win over Their Beloved Douchemaster Supreme. Kofi Kingston (huh?) showed up at random to try to put a stop to this, but was dealt with swiftly. With Punk on the ground, they look to Orton for praise, and Orton says it's a good start, but they forgot something: then Orton punts Punk in the head, and declares THAT to be the greatest move of all times.
  • Michelle McCool beat Maryse to retain the Purple Vagina Butterfly Shaped Title. In all honesty, not a bad match: Michelle is not just athletic, but has started to get in enough reps (and enough snuggle time with noted UFC Lover, the Undertaker) that her mat-based arsenal also looks CONVINCING. And Maryse: she bumps well and is duplicating "The Beautiful People" vibe from TNA in terms of being an engrossing heel who you can't decide if you should pleasure yourself to her remarkable barbie-doll-ness, or if you should save that right hand to smack her around a bit for being such an unfathomable bitch. One with a snotty French accent, to boot. Sadly, the live crowd didn't see things this way, and with so much good action already in the can and a main event yet to come, they shat all over this "palate cleanser" match. So, even at under 8 minutes, it seemed like a mercy killing when McCool finally scored the win. Unlike her recent MO, the leglock submission thingie wasn't working, and she had to take a pinfall win following a face-first suplex.
  • Announcement: Mike Adamle appears and says that CM Punk has been advised by doctors that he should not compete tonight after Orton's attack. But fret not, fans: the RAW Scramble Match WILL take place, either with a wounded Punk or with a Suitable Replacement. Oh, thanks, Adamle, I was really worried there.... 
  • Non-Wrestling Drama Segment. Big Show's music hits, and in his newfound super-friendly/goofy way, Show introduces himself and suggests "Hey, you need a replacement, and I'm a 7 foot tall former World Champion who's sick and tired of his current boss dissing him all the time!"... but that brings out Vickie Guerrero, who makes it clear that Show's contract with SD! is binding and that SHE is sick and tired of Show's insubordination, so he'd better watch it.
    Hit some Druid Music and kill the lights. Since Vickie has been the object of many, many silly (and genuinely illegal) threats from the Undertaker the past few weeks, she thinks this might be a good time to get out of the ring. Big Show, who apparently doesn't like his boss, thinks otherwise, and makes sure to grab hold of Vickie ad keep her trapped while a whole bunch of REALLY AWFUL nonsense involving the druids, a casket, and yet another videotaped threat of First Degree Manslaughter by the Undertaker on the Tron. I mean: Taker can be scary and intimidating as all hell, but not like this. You start with the gayness of the "chokeslam to hell" on Edge (complete with pyro), and now, he's resorting to cheesy and absolutely unbelievable rhetoric that makes his promos during the "Murder of Paul Bearer Era" seem reasonable.... not good.
    But apparently, it's making Big Show happy. He's chuckling mightily at all the silliness, and keeping Vickie at bay until finally Taker decides to show up in person to make good on his threats of murder. That's MURDER: live, only on PPV! Keep it classy, WWE! Taker hits the ring, expects Show to release Vickie to him, and it looks like that's what'll happen when....
    Show used the ringsteps and the coffin to continue the assault on Taker, which all led up to Taker laying on the ground while Vickie Guerrero hopped in the ring to slap him. Finally, mercifully, thankfully, the segments is over and Show and Vickie leave together. Boo? 
    I'll be the first to admit that Big Show's comeback has been an odd bird since he came out of retirement in February.... they planned for him as a heel, but he's just too gosh-darned likeable to boo, especially against a twat like Floyd Mayweather, so the fans turn him babyface. But that doesn't really get him anywhere, except spinning his wheels. Like Jericho, it almost seems like to get the most out of him, you NEED him to be heel. But getting the fans to buy into that is tough, just because there are few opponents out there with enough goodwill built up that fans will cheer for them willingly and enthusiastically against guys like Show and Jericho. I guess Taker (like HBK is for Jericho) is one of those guys, so this heel turn could work for Show.... but I wish they'd have held off for a bit on it. The new goofy/friendly Show was clicking for me, and it felt like crowd reactions FINALLY meant he'd found something cool to do as a babyface (against either Kozlov or against Umaga). Now, all that's washed down the drain for the immediate heel turn. Wonder if that means Edge's knee injury is worse than previously suspected, and he'll be missing more time on top of the 3-4 weeks they'd planned for?
  • Chris Jericho, as a late replacement for defending champ CM Punk, won the RAW Scramble Match to become the New World Heavyweight Champion. JBL and Batista start off the match, and thank christ the show is running long, because if those two had gone five full minutes of slow-motion slobberknockering, it'd have been a travesty. Instead, WWE goes full-on with the fudge factor, and only allows 3 boring minutes to elapse before introducing Kane as the next man in the match. Sadly, this does nothing to add to the drama OR the athleticism: at this point, most fans are just fixated on the idea of Punk either coming to the rescue or on Punk's replacement being unveiled. Nothing else matters. Not even Rey Mysterio's in-ring return (which was also fudged, and probably came at the 7-8 minute mark, instead of the 10 minute mark). Rey's entrance did shake things up, however, as Kane's still supposedly "surprised" that Rey isn't in "hell" or whatever. JBL tried to score a cheap pin on Kane, but Kane countered, and chokeslammed JBL, instead. New Interim Champ. 
    But Rey was right there to pick up the fight with Kane... seemed like he might get a pinfall, but Batista interrupted. Rey and Batista are buddies, so this led to some discussion and friction that ate up a bit of time until the Final Entrant (against time-fudged at around the 12 minute mark): IT'S CHRIS JERICHO. Or what's left of him, anyway. Jericho's music hits but he's moving in slow motion towards the ring, wincing and grimacing and making every show of being unable to compete. Or at least: no more able than one must assume CM Punk would be following one measly kick to the head.
    But Jericho's here, and this seems official, even though the clock is ticking down and Jericho may or may not even make it to the ring before time expires. That leaves the other four guys to fill up the final five minutes (which finally is a legit, full-length five minutes). Batista turns into the clear-cut favorite, first "turning" on Rey (not really, but he showed no favoritism as he went on a tear and started demolishing everybody), and then cleaning house. Jericho finally got in the ring, and promptly got speared right back out of it by Batista. This led up to Batista scoring a decisive pinfall following a huge flurry against Kane that culminated in a BatistaBomb. That pin came with less than 30 seconds to go; Rey and JBL both immediately pounced and tried to figure out some way to get a desperation fall on Batista, but they weren't on the same page, and Batista was able to fend them off....
    But while they weren't looking: the undead zombie corpse of Chris Jericho has snuck back into the ring with 10 seconds to go. Jericho sees Kane still sprawled out on the mat after Batista's beating. Jericho covers Kane with 5 seconds to go. The ref counts one. Batista turns in horror to see what is happening. The ref counts two. Batista registers that he must break up this fall. The ref counts three. Batista fails, and Jericho pins Kane as time expires to become the New World Heavyweight Champion.
    Not the best match of the night (it'd generously be slotted at #4), but "time compression" helped ease what could have been excruciating bits with JBL/Batista/Kane.... and then the big finish: after toying with the "last second scramble for a pin" concept in BOTH the previous title matches, they saved the best executed and most dramatic use of it for last. Jericho's pinfall win is everything it should have been: cheap yet ingenious. And best of all: oh, the layers and the context and the depth of story!
    Mark Henry will bitch and moan that he lost the ECW Title without ever being pinned. Well: CM Punk's got a better gripe... he lost his title without even getting to be in the match to TRY to score a pinfall of his own. And furthermore, he was kept out of the match by a cheap "injury" that can only seem more and more dubious when you look at the asskicking Jericho took earlier in the night and HE still got named as Punk's replacement. That smells plenty funny, and I think they will explore the fishiness of this all en route to positioning Punk as a short term challenger to Jericho (until both Michaels and Orton are 100% healthy, and we can realign them along obvious lines).
    Oh, and the layers to the Jericho/Michaels story? Delicious.... on a night where Michaels thought he did things to Jericho that would make it the Worst Night Ever for Jericho, Jericho turns it around, and in one 10 seconds stroke of genius, ends up having perhaps his GREATEST night ever. Oh, Shawn Michaels, will you ever get sweet, sweet closure? Or will Jericho keep coming up with ways to cram it in your stupid face that he's better than you? Just a flat out awesome subtext to the whole night, one which I'm sure will be amply and expertly played up in coming weeks.

And yes, it'll have to wait till then. Starting tonight on RAW and then going forward through the fall.... cuz like I said, the show was running late, and Jericho got barely 30 seconds of face time with the title (and not nearly enough time for the announcers to do a proper "Goddammit, Jericho's Worst Night Ever just became his Best Night Ever" sell job) before the PPV faded to black. So on RAW, follow-up on that idea, and probably another public humiliation for Michaels so he can take a few weeks off to let his arm heal up before coming back to wreak his vengeance on Jericho.

On the list of good ways to end a PPV, that's gotta rank pretty highly. Utter satisfaction, and 100% intrigue in tuning in the next night to see what happens next. Doesn't happen that way very often, so kudos to WWE Unforgiven for pulling it off for once....


MONDAY NEWSBITES: Jericho's Future, HBK Injury, Gail Kim, TNA Contracts, and Lots More!

  • Obviously, Shawn Michaels triceps injury last week wasn't as bad as it could have been.
    But make no mistake: the dude's still hurt and despite going through with last night's PPV match, will still need time off to allow the partial muscle tear to heal up, lest it turn into a more serious/surgery-requiring affair.
    And the best part is: even if it feels like Jericho/Michaels is just now hitting some critical, climactic point, the truth is EVERYbody involved could benefit from Michaels being sidelined for a short while at this precise juncture.
    Think "Wrath of Khan." It doesn't matter if you're like me and had your dork phase as a kid when you got into "Star Trek" and "Next Generation" or not.... "Wrath of Khan" is just a kick-ass movie with one of the most memorably awesome, over-the-top, intensely personal "feuds" of any movie I can think of. Kirk vs. Khan was sweet, and it took place with them never being in the same room (Shatner and Montalbon filmed their scenes two months apart, in fact; their characters only interacted via viewscreens and walkie-talkies), all leading up to an epic final showdown that was STILL predicated solely on nothing more than sheer personal hatred.
    Everything we need in our toolkit to "fix" Jericho/Michaels to cope with HBK's injury is right there for us to see in "Khan."
    Way I figure it, Jericho should have to deal with a bunch of shit tonight on RAW: CM Punk and Batista both have great cases for being dicked over by Jericho's title win, and Michaels will obviously be all "Dammit, just when I thought I took care of you, look what you went and did." Jericho can deal with Punk and Batista as immediate challengers in more standard/obvious pro-wrestling terms.... but with Michaels? With Michaels he can bust out something special.
    Michaels: "I knew I made a mistake. I left you that one last breath, and you used it to become World Champion. Well, Chris, next time, it's all over for you, son. Next time, I won't stop. Next time, I'm taking everything from you. EVERYthing. Including that title you're now so proud of."
    Jericho: "Next time? NEXT time? Surely you jest, Admiral. There will be no Next Time. What happened last night between us was brutal. It was personal. It required special paperwork to take place legally. What you did last night, what happened last night, was something that would get you arrested and jailed, Shawn Michaels, except for that one night exemption, andexemption I granted in a moment of passionate hatred. But look at us now, Shawn: I'm the champ, I'm the most important man in this business, I'm BETTER THAN YOU. I can't make mistakes like last night any more: I realize that, now. And while I'm growing and maturing, you went out after our match last night and said all you want to do for the rest of your career is beat me like you did night in and night out. Real good example for the kids, there, Shawn. But guess what? No: not ever. There will never be another waiver signed, there will never be another chance for you to do what you did to me last night. In fact, I'll go to the other extreme and get the paperwork done to keep you way the hell away from me, so you can't follow through on your perverted fantasy of illegally assaulting me every night for the rest of your career. We're done, Michaels. I'm the champ, and you're a psychopathic freak who doesn't belong any near MY ring."
    Michaels: "[sputtering] But..... but.... I beat you. You never beat me. I deserve rematch. Give me rematch."
    Jericho: "Oh, I've done far worse than beat you, Admiral. I've HURT you. I've made it so that fans can't look at you as the great wrestler you claim to be; they're too busy acknowledging MY greatness, because I am holding this title. And I've made it so that your own family can't even look at you as the good man, the good husband, the good father you claim to be. You're none of those things, Shawn, and *I* am the one who showed the world. I showed them you are a violent, two-faced, hypocrite. When you wake up in the morning, every morning for as long as you live, how is that going to feel? Knowing that I'm a better wrestler than you, that I'm the champion, that you can't do anything about it, and that -- worst of all -- your family and friends will never look at you the same way again, you sick bastard? Knowing that's what you'll feel every morning gives me so much more satisfaction than pinning your shoulders to the mat for three seconds ever could, Shawn. So again: we're done, Never again. Not now, not ever, not in a million years. I leave you as you and your clique cronies once left me: I leave you to rot, and to finish out your pathetic excuse for a career watching me. Everyday. With this belt. With this belt.... with this belt.... withthisbelt."
    Michaels: "JERICHO~!!!!!!!!!! JERICHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO~!"
    See how that works? Jericho can actually serve up some legal paperwork based on the notion that Michaels is an unstable sick bastard based on his felonious threats of assault at Unforgiven, and in the short term, deal with the more "traditional" challengers of Punk and Batista. Then, once Michaels is 100% healthy and ready to go again, he's manage to storm through the restraining orders and legal barricades and get JUST ENOUGH leverage playing off of Jericho's pride and insecurity to get himself the one last Mutara Nebula Grudge Match he so desperately craves.
    And which the fans would crave all the more by that point. Isn't there a cliche about distance making the heart grow fonder, or something? Well, it could apply in a weird inverted way here to make the hatred between Jericho and Michaels STRONGER as they are kept apart, all while making the fans fonder of the idea of finally getting them back together.
    Anyway, that's what I do... well, maybe I can be convinced to cut out some of the direct quotes from "Wrath of Khan," but tone-wise and structure-wise, this is a no-brainer next step for simultaneously advancing AND pausing the Jericho/Michaels feud to allow HBK the weeks of rehab time he'll need before his arm is ready for him to be a full-time performer again.
  • I mentioned shorter-term challengers for Jericho, and CM Punk seems the most intriguing one at this point. Or at least, his current status is a hot topic... based on some mail I've gotten since posting the above PPV Recap, there are a number of people really pissed about Punk's treatment on the show, and who have already decided he's out of the title picture.
    Huh? To be honest, I thought the way WWE handled Punk last night PROTECTED HIM, not buried him.
    I mean, yes, I'm sorry if CM Punk is your favorite wrestler, and seeing him was going to be your own personal highlight of Unforgiven.... and then WWE turned around and wrote him out so he didn't even wrestle. But Punk was never the star of the show (he was never even the star of the match he was booked in; that was originally going to be Cena/Batista, and once Cena got hurt, they definitely went ahead and made the wacky "Scramble" rules the selling point of the match ahead of any one wrestler or feud). 
    This isn't a case of WWE "insulting" fans or "ripping off" fans or "marginalizing the legitimacy of the title" by taking "the most important man on the brand out of the main event match he was promised to compete in." This is a case of WWE breaking a few eggs to make an omelette, and for most fans, the results are at least as satisfying or interesting as any that would have happened with Punk in the ring for the main event.
    Perspective, folks, perspective. As far as "transitionary" champs go (and don't kid yourselves, that's what Punk was fro the get-go), CM Punk did OK for himself. Ratings-wise, he was a stronger draw than Randy Orton as champ; performance-wise, I thought there was a risk that Mr. Indie would fizzle, but instead, he held his own on the big stage. It's hard to find any substantive holes in either his ring work or promo delivery. Maybe he's still not tip top shelf, but he did well enough to "fit" with the guys he was programmed against; he was never really outclassed.
    That's something WWE should have noticed, and should take into consideration going forward. It means I think Punk gets substantial time tonight to talk about how fishy his title loss was; how he was talking with doctors and insisting on performing, but how only the "genius" of Mike Adamle could keep him out of the match and replace him with the only guy in the building MORE injured than he was.... he's got a great case to make, and as long as WWE doesn't honestly try to sell one Orton kick as a genuine reason for a guy to be more debilitated than the guy who was KO'ed and stretchered out after a 30 minute beating, all will be fine.
    Jericho and Punk have been working some house shows against each other, too, which is just another sign that you folks can probably relax and look forward to Punk remaining a relevant top line performer for the near term. Which is good, since I think he and Jericho can do nice work together.
    Then again: watch me be wrong. I'll join ranks with all you wankers if it turns out tonight is the last time CM Punk is mentioned with the main eventers, and effective immediately, he forgets all about his world title reign and decides to form a Super Best Friends Team with Kofi Kingston so they can chase DiBiase/Rhodes for the tag titles. Ugh. I guess I could see tht happening, but it'd sure as hell take a lot of retardation from WWE for it to go down like that.
    Punk's primary focus should be on Jericho in the near term, with just enough mingling with "Generation Douche" ("Douchelution"?) to keep things alive for when Orton returns full-time and heads straight to a semi-main-event feud with Punk. 
  • And then there's Batista... I figure he's good for a few really solid big-man/little-man matches with Jericho, but he's the most disposable of the three headed monster Jericho will be dealing with.
    Why? Simple: Batista's "money" feud is still the one with Cena at this point, and everything until Cena gets back is just water treading. When Batista/Cena picks up, who even knows if Batista will be heel or face? Or if it'll involve the title, or not? Batista's a blank slate right now, and judging by the way the fans FINALLY got into the main event last night after he started his bad-ass flurry, you might as well take advantage of that lingering babyface goodwill and get a few matches with Jericho out of him while you can.
    If Batista needs something other than that to keep occupied? I vote for keeping the tease factor high between him and Rey Mysterio... nothing overt, but like I said, Cena/Batista might require a heel turn, so why not let Batista test his chops on that front while he's not taking shots at Jericho?
  • SmackDown! doesn't seem to quite have the options that RAW does in terms of title/main event feuds. It looks pretty much like all their eggs are in the Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy basket.
    Works for me. I thought it'd work as a great story/feud if they were battling for the #1 Contender spot, but this is OK, too. Gives them something fresh and intriguing as they shift SmackDown! over to the half-a-network that is MNTV, as well.
    The US Title picture is hurt by Hardy graduating up and leaving two heels -- Shelton and MVP -- as the champ and top contender.... that chemistry just doesn't work for me, and the last think on my wish list is to see MVP shoved into a babyface turn he's not ready for. Not when he's only now finally established himself as very effective and completely worthy of his upper-mid-card heel spot.
    Kennedy's out injured, and Big Show just got turned heel (which I'm not entirely sanguine about), so we'll have to see if WWE has some plan to bolster the upper-mid-card babyface roster, or if they're going to be content to go "top heavy" with HHH/Hardy as not just the best thing on the show, but also the only really worthwhile thing.
  • Edge has been absent from SD! for the past few weeks (and prior to SummerSlam, also was limited in terms of in ring action, preferring to let his kick-ass almost-Ledger-as-Joker-esque promo work carry him), to allow nagging aches and pains to heal up. Mostly a gimpy knee.
    The idea was he'd only be off TV for a month, and then he'd resume his stories with the Undertaker and with Vickie (and with the smoking hot Wedding Planner). Well, it's been a month, and now it looks like they've gone and turned Big Show heel to fill a void....
    I hope that's not an omen, but I mean, c'mon: we've seen Taker vs. Big Show before, and it's NEVER been good, so why would they willingly go and try it again if there wasn't some kind of really good reason?
    I still look at HHH/Edge as a rock solid money match for WrestleMania next year, but part of my vision for it definitely required time for an Edge/Hardy #1 Contender feud... and that could only come after closure with Taker and Vickie. So here's hoping Edge is doing OK, despite recent odd turns of events, and can get back on TV in time to make all this good stuff happen throughout the fall and winter....
  • WWE is really pleased with early progress reports on John Cena... they are also holding Cena up as an object lesson in how they want their talents to handle things in the future if they suspect neck injuries. 
    Cena went from nagging neck pain to loss of arm function to out-patient microsurgical procedure in the span of four days. Four days. Two days before he went under the knife (errr, laser?), he was wrestling. The lesson? Don't dawdle! Put up with reasonable discomfort, but when the going gets bad, ACT FAST. 
    Cena was able to get the microsurgical procedure because of how quickly he acted. Once his injury turned a corner from nagging condition to Degenerative Condition, it didn't even matter if he was wrestling or not. Just going about day-to-day life and wasting time getting second opinions and what not would apparently have had the same effect, and left Cena in need of a more invasive procedure if he'd waited even 2 or 3 more weeks.
    Like I said, WWE is pleased. Cena done good, and will only be out 4 months instead of 12, afterall. And hearing about this makes me feel good, too, because like I said last column: you hear about how fast things happened and the "miracle cure" route Cena took, and you can't help but think about Kurt Angle, who is probably the one guy whose matches leave me perpetually in Suspension of Disbelief, because all the stories about his frailty and vicodin gobbling and so forth lead one to genuinely worry that any given match could be his last.
    But I digress...
  • Orton's probably 6 weeks away from wrestling, but from the sounds of things, will spend those six weeks on our TV whether we like it or not.
    It seems pretty clear that they are taking the opportunity to build a "Next Generation" stable of heel wrestlers, and Orton's going to be at the center of it. And healed enough to join them for a team match just in time for Survivor Series. Whatever; at this point, it's not like Orton's going away, so if WWE's plans for him involve putting him in a faction, where it's at least POSSIBLE his generic forgettableness will be mitigated by others around him (witness: his time in Evolution and as Edge's lackey in Rated RKO were relatively tolerable), then I guess I'm all for it.
    They could even make the faction EXTRA douchey by having Orton lay claim to a level of gravitas miles outside his reach by calling the faction "Evolution" and putting himself in the HHH role. Cody Rhodes is pretty much, then, the de facto Orton in that dynamic (the over-hyped uber-douche), leaving us to hope that either Ted DiBiase Jr. (who has got some genuine skills, but has had them "trained out of him" by WWE's cookie cutter developmental process) or Afa's son (who has all the traits that make Samoans such bankable performers but nothing much special that I've seen beyond that) can break out as the Batista of the group.
  • The Gail Kim story may not have the ending we all expected last week... Gail agreed verbally to a nice big WWE contract, but has yet to sign it, because her heart remains in TNA.
    And while the frontline monkeys who handled negotiations for TNA basically told her "We don't care where your heart is, either you'll accept our cheap-ass contract offer, or you can go to WWE for the money," it seems that sentiment was NOT shared by the entire company.
    Some in TNA appreciated Gail's work, and let it be known how unhappy she was at "having to leave"... they took Gail's case all the way to Dixie Carter, who apparently was equally as upset at Gail at her being lowballed by TNA. Say what you will about Dixie coming into TNA as a non-wrestling person basically working oversight for the parent corporation, but she's developed into an outspoken leader who has some pretty decent ideas on how a wrestling company should work.
    So, as it stands now: Gail has an unsigned WWE contract still for a whole lot of money, and she ALSO has an advocate in the TNA power structure who at least wants to look at bringing Gail back with a non-insulting contract renewal offer.
    How will things break? I have no freaking idea... but I'll say this: if Gail opts back for TNA, I think you might consider that a bridge burned with WWE. They won't like the idea of getting a verbal, and having Gail renege... so if TNA were smart (or rather if they were dicks), they'd consider that, and realize that whatever money they offer her for a 2-year deal now is probably less money that they'd have to pay her for her NEXT contract, since WWE won't be interested in her anymore.
    And not just because they burned her, but also because in 2 years, I think Gail'll be on the high side of 35, and clearly WWE can only have one geezer lady on the roster at any given time. I mean, did you see how fast they fired Ivory once Victoria turned 35? 
    I wish I were joking about this, but I'm probably not. That's just how shallow WWE is. Cherry getting fired for being "too fat" is all the proof I need. Are you freaking kidding me?
    Anyway, I'm getting off track... point is: stay tuned for the next exciting developments in the Saga of Gail Kim.
  • TNA contract negotiations are actually a very interesting ongoing issue even aside from Gail. 
    As noted last column, Sting's future with the company is being hashed out, as they'll only make clear-cut moves with his character if they know he'll be signed through 2009. [So far, Sting is "speaking" but it's all very tweener-y, with Sting managing to elicit cheers for Angle/Booker to protect his own babyface status for now, all while couching other references in a way that he's only talking about "a certain percentage of fans"; very sly, but also very unsatisfying in terms of decisve storytelling and exciting TV.]
    Nash is in a Sting-like boat in the sense that his negotiations have nothing to do with him as a full-time wrestler, but are more about the legacy and legitimacy he brings to the table as a TV persona. Unlike Sting, Nash is thought to have had some contact with WWE about possible options (he's a no-brainer fit into the Michaels/Jericho storyline, either coming in as HBK's bodyguard once again, or by betraying him to join Jericho/Cade), but WWE also knows they wouldn't be getting a full-time performer, and furthermore knows that Nash may have little value besides as a stay-at-home "legend" after his usefulness in one singular storyline is over. They may not offer him a whole lot of dough. TNA, on the other hand, would always find something for Nash to do and that might provide some sense of longer term stability/fiscal-inflow to go along with the easy travel and light schedule they'd also offer.
    An additional note on Nash: *if* he were to seriously entertain leaving (for WWE or for any reason), this might be the best time he could do it from TNA's perspective. There's a kind of natural hiccup in the Nash/Joe relationship right now, and with Foley coming in (and with Foley being a known super-fan of Samoa Joe's), the time could be perfect for Foley to step in as Joe's mentor and mouthpiece.
    Then there are the Dudleys, who reportedly have no commitments to TNA past the next PPV, and are still mulling what to do. TNA wants them back, and I can't say I've heard any back channel chatter that WWE has stepped up to talk to them... so that SEEMS like it should fall in TNA's favor, but you never know.
    And finally: Christian. In the last week, it's emerged that Christian's far more of a free agent than I ever would have guessed six months ago. He's really flourished in TNA, and I figured there'd be no way he'd give that up.... except: it's very much an open issue. Christian is not exactly 100% pleased with TNA lately, and it turns out WWE (despite perceived bad blood over how Christian left 3 years ago) has been open to discussions of him coming back. Wow.
    I'm torn, since I'd love to see Christian back where he could "matter" (oohhhhh, me and my blasted "hatred" of TNA!)... but I also *do* watch TNA, and like it better in the weeks when the show is good and entertaining. And looking ahead to a burgeoning "guys who built TNA" vs. "WWE/WCW legendss who came in and poached off TNA's success" storyline, Christian has HUGE value in terms of making the story work. Your Angles and Stings and Bookers and Nashes are kind of locked into one role because of age/perception of them. Same with your AJs and Beer Moneys and X Divison guys. But for the story to work, you need Straddlers: guys on either side who could believably jump to the other.
    Christian is one rare guy who could totally fill that slot. He's a WWE creation through and through; but he's also the only WWE guy who came to TNA and actually got BIGGER as a result. He could be a dickish, entitled "legend." Or he could be convinced that TNA made him a star. Already, you saw him getting the "one of us, one of us" speech from Booker and Angle on Impact, and more of that will be necessary (from both sides) if the "WWE/WCW vs. Homegrown" feud is to ever amount to anything.
    If Christian leaves for WWE, TNA loses one of those very few versatile lynchpins (Joe's really the only other one, and Christian's Mirror Image: a TNA creation who's character has become more selfish and "politics" oriented, so he could go either way). And with classics such as "The Millionsaire's Club" and "Los Boricuas" and "S.E.X." under his belt, let's just say Vince Russo's ability to do anything compelling in the genre of "factional warfare" declines that much more as a result.
    Meantime, Christian heading back to WWE has a kick-ass no-brainer storyline of it's own waiting for the guy: with Edge and Taker feuding, what better time to reunite the original Brood? Edge could return to TV saying "Undertaker, you chokeslammed me to hell, and look who else I found stuck down there!" OMG SUBTLE JAB AT TNA~!!~!!
  • Whoever TNA may or may not lose, we know they are gaining one hell of a huge asset, effective immediately.
    Mick Foley confirmed -- through his public relations firm -- that he has, in fact, signed with TNA. He also made a brief appearance at a TNA show on Long Island this weekend, but did nothing to speak of, and nothing from which we could extrapolate his future role in the company.
    Of note is that the Foley statement is quite clear in indicating Mick's general reasons for leaving WWE (which we've discussed, and are mostly between him and Vince) and excitement about heading to TNA.... but it also goes out of its way to refer to Mick's TNA contract as "short term," as if to make clear this is trial offer, and if anything about working in TNA displeases Mick, he won't be locked in for 3 years of "selfless acts."
    That is, in its own way, heartening to know.
    FYI: I guess TNA has now decided that they can't keep the Foley genie in its bottle, so the plan is to not try to pretend its a "secret" and instead run vignettes for Mick in hopes of popping a rating for his TV debut at some point leading up to BFG.
    The funny thing: when I heard that story, and asked a follow-up question, I was told TNA's idea of "popping a rating" is getting a 1.2. Oh, TNA, you tards.... how many times do I have to explain that Nielsen does samples. Estimates. Prone to margins of error at LEAST as great as any political poll you read about. It's not anything that's their fault, really, it's just how the math works. It's unavoidable. And as long as you're aspiring to or making a big deal out of minor fluctuations that actually fall within the mathematical margin of error, you're really missing the point.
    You too, WWE. And you too, Meltzer, with your "quarter hour change-o-graphs" and all that. Ratings are useful and good for determining basic audience size (and thus, setting advertising rates), noting week to week changes on the order of a third of a point or more, and for isolating smaller changes and trends that repeat reliably over time. Everything else: just tell yourself "margin of error," and quit obsessing.
  • But as I say that, there IS a sustainable/repeating trend out there in TV Ratings Land that has caught the eye of many within the industry (TV industry, not wrestling industry).
    First, the CW is catching more and more heat for their dumping of SmackDown and planned "rebranding" as an exclusively chick network... as they've rolled out new programming and prepped for the fall season, SD! is the one show that is still delivering decent ratings, and much of the rest of their line-up is looking to be an abysmal failure. Last week, for the first time ever, the CW finished the week with an average prime time weekly rating below 1.3 (it was actually a 1.0). During first run programming, the CW would bring up the rear among broadcast networks, but still usually register a number between 2.0 and 2.5. They are now expected to fall far short of matching that performance in the upcoming season.
    At the same time, the "half-a-network" that is MyNetwork TV (new home of SD! starting in October) has been slowly trending upward thanks to an aggressive campaign to create awareness in TV markets where they are a secondary affiliation or a digital subchannel. Also: they've been upgrading their programming even beyond adding SD!. Result: after 2 years of suckiness and rarely registering in published Nielsen data (which means a less than 0.5 weekly average prime time rating), MNTV just last week bested the CW by doing an average weekly prime time rating of 1.1.
    Which still sucks, and due to the small margin of "victory" is statistically insignificant, but which is hugely symbolic. SD! may find itself at the center of a mild power shift in the bowels of the network TV business. If this trending continues, they'll be perceived as having jumped off a sinking ship, and gotten into the safety of a laughably tiny (but sea-worthy) canoe.
    Yay? Actually, sure: yay. I'm not joking when I say that some people are already suggesting that if something amazing doesn't click with the CW's schedule, they could be out of business within 2 years, and many will point to SmackDown! as the reason why.
  • Need another reason to NOT watch Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Wrestling Crap-o-Rama this fall when it debuts on CMT? I mean above and beyond the fact that nobody should do anything that tacitly supports Brian Knobbs still having a job in "wrestling" or that supports the trainwreck of a person (and family) that Hulk and the Hogans have turned out to be? 
    Then consider this: Eric Bischoff is in talks with CMT to start a legit weekly wrestling promotion, and any further talks or developments will be based entirely on whether or not CMT has ratings success with the Celebrity Wrestling show. It does well? Say hello to Nitro 2K10, featuring Meng, and Dave Sullivan, and the Nasty Boys, and Brutus Beefcake! And possibly Goldberg! And depending on how big a whore he is, maybe Rob Van Dam!
    If it tanks, CMT tells Bischoff to go screw, and we're all spared the agony of watching him try to chisel together a #5 wrestling brand out of mostly guys who responsible for putting the #2 wrestling brand out of business in 2001.
    So flip wisely, people. Flip wisely.
  • Someone who apparently WOULDN'T be a part of any CMT Wrestling Promotion? Sid Vicious.
    Why? He's too busy going around talking to anybody who'll listen about how he's finally healthy, but the only way you get Sid back in the ring is if it's the Big Time, baby. And that means WWE or nowhere.
    Thing is, in all his bluster, the issue is getting very confused as to whether this means Sid is just campaigning for a job and trying to get fans to create a buzz for him, or if there might actually be (as he seems to suggest) mutual interest.
    I tend more toward the former, but at the same time: at least one person told me that any plans WWE has discussed to bring in Nash for the Michaels/Jericho storyline have ALSO been discussed with Sid as a back-up plan. Oy voy.
    Horrifying, if true. Stay away, WWE. Stay away. When all is said and done, Sid goes on the pile with Lex Luger: heaps of perceived "potential," heaps of actual sucking, and multiple failed over-pushes from misguided promoters before getting pooped out the tail end of the wrestling business. There's nothing left to reap with Sid. Maybe a one-disc Warrior-Style DVD. But that'd be about it. Honestly. No comeback, no send-off, no hall of fame.... not if you got any dignity.
  • Last thing is just a quick acknowledgement of the passing of Walter "Killer" Kowalski. WWE's already done a week's worth of video packages, and I'm sad to report that Kowalski was long since retired by the time I started watching, so I'm in no position to eulogize him or do a big fancy write-up on his career.
    What I can speak to with confidence is Kowalski's tangible contribution to the current generation of wrestling in his role as a trainer. Triple H would not be who or where he is today if not for learning at the feet (and hands and death grips) of Kowalski.
    And while HHH stands alone as far and away Kowalski's signature protege, he also developed a few other non-zeros you might have heard of like Perry Saturn and Chyna. Hey, how about Big John Studd, too! Of the really younger stars whose stories have yet to be fully written, Kowalski can also lay claim to Frankie Kazarian and Kenny Dykstra being among his last proteges, with Kenny as perhaps one of his most promising ever.
    In fact, Kenny's recent little dalliance on TV was a direct result of WWE honoring Kowalski. He had a heart attack about a month ago, and though things looked grim, WWE found out the bastard would hold on for at least a week. So HHH did a little maneuvering, and managed to get a match booked for SD! between him and Kenny as a way of saying thanks to Killer while he still might comprehend it.
    Kenny's recent antics have also included to switching over to old school wrestling booties, which one can only assume is another homage to Kowalski. Not a damned thing wrong with that.
    Rest in peace, Killer, and of course, our (belated) condolences go out to all the fans, family, and friends Kowalski acquired in his 82 years on planet earth.
  • Can't think of much else relevant right now.... but then again, I'm (a) in a rush, and (b) notoriously nitpicky when it comes to deciding what's noteworthy and relevant and what's a bunch of pointless drivel that only Meltzer or Keller would print in a desperate desire to generate clicks.
    Oh well, if anything's slipped my mind, I promise I'll be back at you soon enough that it'll still be worthwhile in my next column. And if I haven't forgotten any good bits? Well, then I accept your thanks and praise for being the greatest wrestling columnist you know of, who filters out all crap for you, leaving you with nothing but the White Meat of pro wrestling news and analysis.
    You're welcome.

SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28



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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