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OO BYTE THIS RECAP
Taboo Topics?
September 24, 2004

by PyroFalkon
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

WTF? Christy won the Diva Search? Between being the King of the Month in Team Coverage and getting the Diva Search right (even though no one cares about it), I might be running OO before next year! Smoke that, Scaia!
 

Nah, never mind. Because if I ran OO, not only would the whole site go to hell within a week, I’d catch all the flames about Orton-bashing. And damn it, I get enough flames between everything else I do online.  

Let’s see, I think I need another paragraph to get past the ad box, so what else… Well, obviously, the big news is that Ray “Big Bossman” Traylor is 

gone now. Yet another wrestler passing on decades before he should. Even if his cause of death turns out to be 100% natural, it’s still sad enough to pause in wonder. It seems that guys like Ric Flair, who manage to stay popular and in the business actively into their 40s and 50s, are a very rare breed. We all know that Bret Hart is injured beyond all repair, and we all know that Big Bossman joins Owen Hart, Brian Pillman, Davey Boy Smith, Curt Hennig, and even Andre the Giant that were taken far before their time. Obviously it’s infinitely more rough for the families of the lost, but as wrestling fans, we’re robbed of great personalities, and the world is robbed of great people.

But Rick’s already covered all that. I’m here to talk about Byte This!, and hopefully make you smile a little despite the shock the IWC is suffering. So, let’s get it on.

First of all, looking at the background of the set, the OFFICIAL name of the show is ByTe ThiS!. But if you think I’m going to go all Associated Press on you, you’re insane. Besides, if you cared, you certainly wouldn’t be at a site that’s predicated on casual writing.

Okay, so we kick off the show and there are three people sitting there. Josh Matthews is hanging around as always, and Mark Lloyd is wasting space stage left. There’s a third guy, but he’s not introduced. The two hosts hype the 5th Anniversary SmackDown!, Taboo Tuesday, and No Mercy. They put over Shelton Benjamin, mention how well he did on WWE Fantasy, and blabber on about the game some more.

So then they introduce the third guy, Tom Barreca. He’s someone important that has to do with WWE 24/7, the new Video On Demand service we’ve talked about here on OO. Here’s details about it straight from Barreca’s mouth: There’s going to be 20 hours of content per week, and 4-5 hours will be rotated out every week. Then at the start of every month, they rotate the whole block out to match the theme of the upcoming month and/or event. For example, when 24/7 kicks off in October, they’ll do a lot of Halloween stuff, particularly Halloween Havoc. When Wrestlemania 21 comes next year, they’ll put in a lot of classic Wrestlemania matches (maybe even entire shows!) to hype it. And February is Black History Month, so they’ll show famous matches of African-American wrestlers like Junkyard Dog, and how they contributed to the business.

As Lloyd explains, the WWE can show old then-WWF stuff, but even also AWA, ECW, WCW, and so forth. I’m actually surprised they’re only showing 20 hours a week, because by Barreca’s admission, there’s 75 THOUSAND hours to choose from. Maybe if it sells, they’ll expand it? Either way, this will rock. All in all, I’m excited about the project, and I hope it goes over as much as it should.

A caller phones in, and basically asks when it starts, even though Barreca has already answered it. The caller clicks off, and Barreca says the official WWE 24/7 website has loads of information about the whole thing. Another caller phones in, stupidly asks if they’ll have classic stuff, and all three men subtly patronize him. Barreca mentions here that they’ve got footage from the WWWF days, and even have some of Vince Sr.’s personal videos. Cool

So Barreca’s gone here, and we go to a video break. They show a few clips of various SmackDown! happenings over the years, including when Hogan went to the ring in the red and gold to the biggest of big pops, and when Brock Lesnar superplexed Big Show off the top rope and imploded the ring. Good stuff.

Droz is supposed to come in, but he’s not there. Another week, another technical issue. So Josh and Mark hype Christy winning the Diva Search and the party Trish will throw for her next week (sleepover and pillow fight~!!!… I wish) instead. They follow that up with Taboo Tuesday stuff, saying that the first match is already signed (Eugene vs. Eric Bischoff). They mention the RAW and SmackDown! mags that are coming, hype Taboo Tuesday some more, and the final match between John Cena and Booker T for No Mercy. And they mention that the Bears beat the Packers. Damn it, I don’t care about the NFL during my wrestling shows!

Droz is finally in 20 minutes into the show, and they ask him about Taboo Tuesday. He drones on about interactivity and how wonderful it is and so on. Matthews segues that the fans’ participation led to Ms. Caffeine becoming the next diva. Droz kisses her butt some, and is then asked about how well Taboo Tuesday will come together. He puts over all of us, saying we’re smart and everything, and will put together a great show. He’s asked about the final Cena/Booker match, and gives the match to Cena. (I’ll save my pick for the next Team Coverage.)

They mention here that Byte This! won’t air next week (last week they said it’s because WWE Headquarters is getting renovated, and part of the renovation will be BT set), and it’ll be on again the following WEDNESDAY. Crap, I’ll have to fix my timer on Goldwave.

Droz is off, but not before giving condolences to Traylor’s family and peeps. Video break to more SmackDown! clips. These two are when Stephanie McMahon got the women’s belt with Torrie’s help over Jacqueline, and when Kurt Angle dons his cool cowboy hat that Austin gave him.

We’re back, and Mark Lloyd has left the set, leaving Josh Matthews to carry the show. Stop me if I sound excited here. Rico is supposed to be the next guest, but he’s not there… more technical issues. Is anyone surprised? So the solution to this quandary is to… go to another break! I utter fifty swear words, and here we go.

The first clip here is when Rock forced Vince to kiss Rikishi’s ass, and the second is when Vince wanted a divorce from Linda. Boo!

Okay, we’re back again, and we’re at the halfway point of the show. Mr. Benjamin is on the horn now as the guest! They chat about his injury and return, nothing interesting enough to type. Mr. B is asked about the six-man tag team match, and he says he likes teaming with Benoit, but he didn’t like teaming with Orton because Orton gave him a six-inch scar over his eye. Yet, Mr. B was able to put aside the differences “for now.” Matthews then asks him if he feels that he should be voted on by the fans to face Triple H at Taboo Tuesday for the World Heavyweight Title, and we get a REALLY interesting reply. Maybe I’m reading between the lines, or maybe I’m just too influenced by Rick’s columns, but this is Shelton’s suspicious reply verbatim:

“[3-second pause] Well, you know what, uh… [3-second pause] There are a lot of deserving people, uh, who think… You know, who I think should face The Game. Uh… I – I – I definitely would love the opportunity to face him again, eh, especially with that World Title on the line. You know, so… [1-second pause] I – I won’t say that is definitely… [1-second pause] what it… what it should be, but I’m very much forward [sic] if that is the case.”

PyroFalkon’s unusual digression for a tangent: Okay, this reeks of crap right here, and just hearing him say it made me feel REALLY disillusioned about Taboo Tuesday. Any wrestler in character should be all over the chance for this match. I mean, it’s the friggin’ World Heavyweight Title! This is supposedly the biggest title for the company! Who the hell would EVER pass that up? If you think you’re good enough to beat the champ (and Benjamin has beaten Triple H TWICE CLEANLY, remember), why the hell would you NOT put yourself over to the voting public?

Taboo Tuesday is, in theory, the wrestling equivalent of the Presidential election. Do you hear either John Kerry or George W. Bush saying “I might be the best one for the job, but there are others who deserve it too”? Hell no! They’re both flouting their own abilities and bashing the others with every breath of their bodies!

And this is WRESTLING! Wrestlers (the characters) are more violent and insane by nature than the least sane of us in the real world! At the very least, Benjamin should say “Damn straight I deserve that shot,” and let it lie. Insulting Benoit’s, Orton’s, or anyone else’s abilities would be icing, but he’s GOT to try to sell himself to us if he wants us to vote for him, face or not... provided it’s not rigged.

That’s all from the basis of his character. As an “independent contractor” of the WWE, I could understand his comments. Only the dimmest mark thinks there’s no backstage politics in wrestling, and I could see a guy who doesn’t have Undertaker’s stroke not wanting to piss off the locker room just to put himself over for the fans. The WWE already has possible issues with Kurt Angle on the other side of the brand coin, and I’m sure they wouldn’t want to see any RAW superstar disrupt the roster.

That said, even if Shelton Benjamin said that just to protect himself, it’s still too pussy of a comment. A simple “I rock and should get the shot” would be sufficient to not come across hostile to the locker room, but would still give the fans some reason to care about him. By saying “I’d be happy if it happens, but it probably shouldn’t be that way,” he’s allowing someone else (probably Orton) to get a few of the independent voters on his side. Or, he may be off the ballot entirely, to be replaced by someone like Gene Snitsky who no one would vote for anyway.

Anyway, my point is that I had high, non-cynical hopes for Taboo Tuesday. I had hoped the WWE would have learned its lesson about interactivity from the Diva Search. (That is, if you’re going to have interactivity at all, make sure it’s on the level, because the crowd WILL know what’s going on, and can and will rebel against an idea if it’s lame.) I now believe that parts of Taboo Tuesday, if not all of it, will be as Rick feared. Perhaps the WWE won’t outright stuff the ballot box, but they’ll definitely handhold us to the direction THEY want us to go.

Of course, Shelton may have just been fed that line because he’s ready to go off on a different storyline or something. But I doubt it.

End rant.

Okay, where were we? Yeah, SB just answered Matthews’s question. An e-mail comes in asks Benjamin if he could be in a regular tag team with Orton. SB replies that he’s done the tag team dance and probably wouldn’t team with anyone anymore for a long-term basis. Another e-mail asks how he felt about the crowd’s response on his return, and SB says he loved it.

Matthews, to piss me off personally, mentions SB’s top scorer status in WWE Fantasy. SB is all, “Sweet! Thanks, fans!,” showing he actually hasn’t read the rules or how it’s played. Whatever.

The next subject of the interview is SB’s former partner, Charlie Haas. SB puts Haas over and says that he’s great despite not getting the opportunities that he’s got. SB wraps up by putting himself over and says he’s aiming for the IC and World Heavyweight Titles. If he’s NOW saying he wants the World belt, why the hell didn’t he earlier say… you know what, never mind.

Anyway, he’s out, and Josh talks more about the game, which apparently ends its current season at Survivor Series. We’re off to a video break.

They show a video of a sample on 24/7, and I apologize but I had already left my computer at this point and have no idea what was going on here. They showed a match that was so old that Vince himself was doing the commentary solo, and though he mentioned the wrestlers’ names, the audio quality was too low for me to understand who they were. Sorry about that folks. They also showed an angle of Hulk Hogan and Mr. T shopping at a health food store… wtf? As I said though, I didn’t see, but the dialog was damn funny. Shit, I wish I had been home for this. T sounds like he had way too much Mountain Dew before shooting this. I have got to watch this once it’s archived.

Here comes a phone call for no one in particular. He’s going to No Mercy, second row! He picks JBL over the Taker in the Last Ride Match because Gangrel and Viscera will beat the crap out of the Taker. The caller is a player in WWE Fantasy and has Randy Orton, Trish Stratus, Batista, and others. Josh compliments those three choices (no comment by me necessary), and the caller is out.

Josh puts over No Mercy and talks a bit about the card, which I won’t bother repeating. The next guest will be Billy Kidman, so Josh goes over the list of questions that he’ll be asking him. He nearly gives a spoiler but is stopped by the BT crew.

And Billy Kidman is up now! Josh almost pulls a Todd Grisham and asks Kidman why he’s been labeled as a quitter. Kidman cops out and says in effect that the fans are dicks for dissing him, because there’s more to it than him simply quitting. Josh asks him about injuring Chavo, and Kidman is all conflicted about it, but basically says “shit happens.” Josh asks about London, and Kidman says that he avoids him. Kidman says he even leaves the arenas early so he doesn’t have to worry about anyone’s opinions. Matthews wants to know why Kidman bothered with the tag team title match if he was so worried about the Shooting Star Press.

PyroFalkon’s second tangent in one article: Why is it that I never take much stock into what Rick or Jeb say until it smacks me in the face? One of the complaints about Orton is his inability to cut good promos because, among other reasons Rick cites, Orton doesn’t “feel” what he’s saying. Orton’s promos are in direct opposition to, say, Kane, who, even though he probably KNOWS he’s saying crap, he (as a character) BELIEVES the crap, and can therefore speak pretty damn passionately.

Up until this point in the Kidman interview, Kidman’s been pulling Ortons left and right by fumbling every line. He’s sounding worse than Gene Snitsky for that matter. But when asked why he bothered signing the title match if he was worried about the Shooting Star Press, Kidman goes into Rock mode and fires out a hell of a gem of a promo. He’s FEELING his reply, and damn it, I buy it… I boo him, but he made me boo him, which is precisely what a heel should be doing. Damn good work.

End rant #2.

…And the dialog was so good, I’ll just verbatim the thing like I did with SB.

JM: “Billy, the question that’s on a lot of people’s minds is, if this is affecting you so much, why did you sign up? Why did you get involved in that tag team title match when you and Paul London lost the tag team titles?”

BK: “Well, because, basically, as a champion, you want to get in there, give everyone a shot, be a fighting champion. And I didn’t realize it was going to affect me the way it did. I thought that maybe I could get through it, you know. And once I got up to the top turnbuckle and—and tried to do it, that’s when it really hit me. And you know, if Paul was any kind of partner, maybe he would have went out [of the ring] with me and see what was wrong. And if he would have done that, as a matter of fact, he would’ve been counted out and we’d still have the belts! But instead he tries to fight like a hero and gets the crap beat out of him, and then we lose the championship. So who’s fault is that, mine or his?”

JM: [2-second pause] “Are you serious?”

BK: “Yeah, I’m serious!”

JM: “THIS is your reasoning behind all this?”

BK: “Well, yeah!” [Matthews stutters for a moment before Kidman interrupts him.] “Josh, look. If I was your partner, [JM: “Yes?”] and you had something wrong going around in your head, I would care enough to want to help you work through that. I’m not gonna go take on three, four, five, six, seven guys all by myself.”

JM: “Billy, you were involved in a tag team title match on SmackDown!… And you left.”

BK: “Yeah well, this isn’t like a little bruised shoulder like Paul had the other week that he’s still lying about that he got from – [technical problems here cut Kidman out for a split second] – You know, this is a serious problem!”

I know it SOUNDS basic, but this is one of those times when hearing it is better than reading it. Kidman was REALLY selling the situation, was really FEELING his character and his opinion. He’s being heelish, no doubt, but he’s doing it damn well. Just plain awesome, and I think I care about Kidman just a pinch more than I did when the program started.

Josh continues that thread by asking if Kidman and London can put aside their differences ever to try to get the gold back, and Kidman replies that he would have, until Paul’s true colors came out. So Josh asks what, if any, plans Kidman even has for himself. Cruiserweight title, maybe? Kidman says his goal is to just get his in-ring action back together, then maybe the cruiserweight title, or maybe a tag team title but not with London.

Josh changes gears entirely and asks Kidman about the fifth year anniversary of SD coming up, and Billy generically answers. An e-mail asks if Kidman talked to Chavo after the injury, and Kidman says he has, but it’s tough to talk to him. “What do you say to a guy you’ve injured?”

Josh goes back into Grisham mode and wonders aloud what Chavo thinks of it. He says that maybe Chavo agrees with Kidman, but predicts that Chavo sides with everyone else in thinking Kidman is a quitter. Kidman’s all, “No one knows what I’m going through, I don’t care what anyone else thinks.” Gold, man.

Josh goes back into lame mode asking about the Million Dollar Tough Enough, but Kidman maintains pRick mode and says everyone who’s come out of all the Tough Enough’s combined aren’t worth a million dollars total (BURN!!!), but now they’re giving some single idiot that much.

JM: “Are you leaving me out of this equation?”

BK: “No, you’re DEFINITELY part of the equation.” [BURN #2!!!]

Kidman says he’d do the Shooting Star Press to all those guys, and says there’s no reason to be giving million-dollar contracts to unproven jabronis who haven’t paid their dues.

An e-mail comes and asks Kidman how he came up with the idea for the Shooting Star Press, and on a side note really enjoyed Kidman’s run in WCW, especially when he was part of Raven’s Nest. Kidman says that the Shooting Star Press came about because he did it all the time off the diving board of pools. He tried it as a wrestling move but didn’t think it was possible, until he saw tapes from Japan of someone doing it. So that made him practice it more until he mastered it. As Josh says, cool.

They wrap up with Josh stupidly asking if Kidman is going to be bringing his A-game for No Mercy. Kidman says he has to thanks to Teddy Long, but he may make a lawsuit against the WWE, because they can’t force him to wrestle when he’s mentally unwell. He says he’ll get a doctor’s note declaring him unfit to wrestle, which Josh parrots and laughs at. Billy’s all, “I’ll do it, just watch me!,” and then clicks off.

Josh wraps up and says he did by himself, even though Mark Lloyd only left at about halftime. Everyone behind the camera applauds Josh, which comes across like a parent applauding his kid for tying his shoe. The final video is the whole thing with Vince’s “big” announcement on RAW. If you don’t know what it was, you certainly haven’t been paying attention, have you?

I’m pretty much done for this week. I really encourage you to go to the Byte This! website and check out today’s episode if it’s archived, which it should be. Listen to the last 20 minutes of it, because between seeing Hogan and T shopping and hearing Billy Kidman’s promo, you will have hopes for both 24/7 and the Kidman/London feud.

Oh, as a footnote, Rico was supposed to be around, but never made it. More technical issues, I assume. Aside from Droz’s aside, Ray Traylor was not mentioned at all.

As I mentioned earlier, Byte This! will not air next week. I may write a special column for the hell of it, or just use the break for a good Team Coverage report for when No Mercy airs on October 3. They implied that Wednesday will be the new day for Byte This!, and assuming Josh is actually right for once, it’ll be October 6 before I pen another recap. That’s cool anyway, because I still haven’t celebrated my recent birthday properly, and I’m 22 now, damn it! So, uh, yeah… Have a good week or two, all!

Oh, and Rick’s right: Snitsky IS fun to type.

 
E-MAIL PYROFALKON

BROWSE THE BYTE THIS RECAP ARCHIVES


  
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PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28

 

 

 


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