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Jericho Sucks, and Grisham Rules?
August 4, 2005

by PyroFalkon
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Now that I actually have power to my house (and nothing more compelling), I can start in with my rant toward ESPN! 
Because as Rick has mentioned once or twice, the genius that was SportsCenter is now little more than 30 minutes of the two biggest sports stories that everyone knows already followed by 30 minutes of trite “salutes” to a given athlete with some sort of disease or family problem.

So in order to get my sports news in a form that doesn’t irritate

me, I watch Pardon the Interruption on the same network. Two guys, two dozen topics, 90 seconds for each topic, and we’re done in 30 minutes. Half the time as SportsCenter with roughly 8000% of the information. Plus, it’s a kick to watch the two hosts debate the different issues.

I had my DVR capturing the show religiously for the past few months. But as of last week, I’ve had to tweak the timer, because of a dumb stunt ESPN feels the need to do. Performing what’s called a “television overlap” or something, PTI does not end until 10 minutes into the NEXT show (which is, hilariously, SportsCenter). The idea is that everyone watching PTI will watch the first part of SC to wait for the end of PTI, then will be so hooked that they’ll watch the rest of SC too.

Confusing? Yeah, it is slightly. It’s also extremely stupid. First of all, if ESPN is trying to trick PTI viewers into watching SC, then that obviously means PTI gets more eyeballs than SC. If SC is supposedly the flagship program of ESPN, why the hell would it be necessary? Shouldn’t it be the other way around, where PTI tries to get SC viewers?

The truth seems to be that PTI is a far more popular program than SportsCenter, probably because it focuses on, you know, sports stories instead of the trite shit. And that amuses me to end. It seems that ESPN is suffering a slight case of Corporate Thinking, kinda like the WWE. ESPN is so in love with SportsCenter that they continue to support it even while other programs (even on their same network) get more viewers. Instead of fixing the core problems of SC, ESPN tries gimmicks to increase viewership. Very, very lame.

The most hilarious thing about this all is that ESPN doesn’t understand (or care) that many of their viewers, like me, have DVR. So to me, the first story of SportsCenter is just a long commercial to me. A few fast-forwards later, I watch the end of PTI, and that’s it. So to me, all that’s changed is an extra three minutes of PTI, and a slight tweak to tell my DVR to end at 6:15 PM instead of 6:00 PM. Yee-haw.

But enough of that. Let’s get to the fake sports! I mean, sports entertainment. I mean, the longest-running fictional series ever. I mean, WWF. I mean, WWE. I mean… well, you know.

[intro video]

Intro, Guest Rundown, ScOOps~!: Todd Grisham has apparently become the new permanent solo host of BT. At least, Steve Romero’s name is no longer on the BT page. This makes me happy.

Todd wastes our time with the news about Bret Hart, Brock Lesnar, and Dusty Rhodes. This would have been shocking if I hadn’t read it yesterday. The only thing he has to add is that Stephanie McMahon has apparently said that she is very eager to work with ol’ Dusty. Does this mean he’s in? Meh.

Either way, Todd tries to hype the shit out of all three stories. He predictably spins everything to make it sound like there’s some sort of OMG CONSPIRACY~!, but I’m sure he only does so because the WWE is making him. (“Bret Hart is here in Stamford! Some say it’s just to work on an upcoming DVD, others… well, who knows?”)

The Edge of Few Words: Todd mentions how Matt Hardy was given a live mic this past RAW, and how “he basically just ripped on Edge the whole time.” So I guess they’re trying to downplay the illogical lack of continuity that Rick talked about in his RAW recap. Anyway, Edge gets on the phone to voice his opinion. Edge simply says that he’s more interested in knowing what’s going on with fellow Canadian Bret Hart than anything coming out of Matt’s mouth, and that we’re seeing why Amy left Matt in the first place. Then he hangs up. The fuck? I suppose this is supposed to seem “intense” and “real,” but it’s actually just stupid.

Todd tries to sell this as being interesting… considering the turd he’s just been handed, he polishes it well.

[Chris Jericho clip hyping Fozzy]

One Word - Clusterfuck: Todd and Jericho touch briefly about Jericho’s contract extension. And by “touch briefly” I mean Jericho says “I signed it, so now I’m going to win the title at SummerSlam.”

And now, we shift into “What The Fuck” mode, because Todd asks Jericho about the Battle of the Bands from a couple weeks ago. We are in WTF mode not because of the question, but because of the answer. Jericho replies that Cena was “not bad.”

Now, normally, I wouldn’t have a problem with that answer, because I’d write it off as “Jericho is just talking out of character.” But in fact, he’s in-character for most of this. See, he goes on to say that he’s focused on wrestling and is keen on regaining the title. He makes a comical (to me) shoot comment how the roster is full of young guys who can’t get over with the crowd (and we all know who he’s talking about), and how he was sort of “in the middle of the pack” despite being able to always connect to the crowd. He says that this feud with Cena is what has re-propelled him to the top.

Okay, so that all sounds like it was out of character. Further, he says “I’m happy with this angle, the storyline, and the setup leading to this match.” Fine, that’s cool, it’s a shoot. “But I’ll be even happier when I walk out of SummerSlam with the title?” What??? If this is a “shoot,” he gave away the payoff. No, that last line was delivered in-character. So again, I don’t know what exactly is going on here.

Compounding the problem is that Todd is trying to keep this in-character, while Jericho is dancing around being in and out of it. Todd mentions that Jericho and Bischoff butted heads for awhile but are now best friends, and whether that relationship helped Jericho earn the title match. Jericho responds to this by just reaffirming that the overall storyline is really great, and makes the whole angle a main event-caliber thing. In other words, a non-answer from an actor to a question that was posed to a character.

So Todd says fuck this, I’m going to ask a question that doesn’t have to be in-character. What does Jericho feel like now that most fans know his name, despite the fact that SummerSlam will be his first title match in three years? Is he respected enough? And Jericho, naturally, goes back into character and threatens to hang up the phone if Todd doesn’t acknowledge that every WWE fan who ever lived knows his name. Okayyyy…

Jericho decides to answer the question anyway. “I don’t feel like I’ve been respected enough… because I haven’t gotten a title shot in three years.” He answered Todd’s question by repeating the question in a statement form. Jericho runs down his accomplishments, says that the lack of a one-on-one title match didn’t make sense, but now that he has one, he expects them to come all the time due to his stature and level of his performance. Now, again, was that in-character, or out-of-character? Was it a shoot against the WWE brass (and he has nothing to fear with his contract extension), or a work against Eric Bischoff and Vince McMahon? Or was it a shork-woot? The argument could be made in any direction. (By the way, my computer just suggested I meant “corkwood” instead of “shork-woot.”)

We need to end this on some sort of positive note, now that things are confused enough. Todd says, okay, Jericho is now IN-character again, so let’s ask a character question. Chris, why do you hate John Cena so much? Chris’s reply: “I actually don’t hate Cena at all. He’s done great for himself this last year in the WWE. I just want the title.” He says that it could be anyone, even Todd Grisham, who has the title; Chris just wants the belt.

Could someone please explain to me what’s going on? Are we hearing from the actor or character this time?

Todd’s done, so he wishes good luck to Jericho. Jericho says, “I don’t need luck, I’m going to win.” Todd says, “I didn’t mean to sound like I was disrespecting you.” Jericho says, “Everything you’ve said today has disrespected me!”

Uh… are we back in-character again? Or does Jericho really have some BenGay in his jockstrap? What the hell is going on? Either way, that’s the end of the interview.

Well, at least we’re closing this segment with Todd dishing out some self-depreciating humor. “You just heard Chris Jericho say he could kick my ass if I had the title, but I don’t think I would need the title for him to kick my ass. He could kick my ass with one arm tied behind his back. But enough about me being a wuss, we’re going to break. Because we all know I’m a wuss; for God’s sake, I’m wearing a pink shirt!”

Todd frickin’ rocks. That monologue really… um… spun my turntable? Sure, we’ll go with that.

[clip of the Four Horsemen from the pre-WCW days, including the guys shortly talking about their team or something]

Arn Anderson Header: Arn Anderson is here to help promote a new DVD that is 3 hours of legends from the 80s. Arn says that while he isn’t the type to watch a three-hour movie, he has watched nearly the whole DVD and loved it.

Arn talks about how he invented the name Four Horsemen. During an event in Charlotte, they were running out of time for interviews, so they had a group talk at once. During that interview, the name “Four Horsemen” just popped into his head, and he said it. After they cut the cameras, they promoter or whoever said to him “You just named the group.” Arn said he thought about it, and while he did not give the name consciously, he couldn’t have thought of anything better.

Amusingly, this would have been far more interesting had it not been for the fact that this story was told two minutes ago during the video break. Basically, Arn (and Todd) has now wasted our time by repeating what was already said. I hate repeating myself, and I hate being redundant. (If you don’t get that joke, kindly don’t flame me; instead, jab your eardrum with a toothpick until you bleed to death. Thank you.)

But enough of that, because this is Byte This!, Todd declares. We take questions from the callers! And someone wants to speak to Arn right now!

Caller: “What piece of footage from your career would you like to see on the DVD that didn’t make it?”

Let’s see… today is August 3rd, 2005. This is a historic day, my friends. We have, for the first time in history, a caller’s question on Byte This! that doesn’t suck.

The question catches Arn off guard. He thinks for a bit, and compliments (indirectly) the DVD production team by saying that they covered all the important stuff. He says that the DVD shows where he came from more than where he went, which is what he preferred… he says that he truly was one of those guys who came up from nowhere and nothing, and turned into something; and that it’s not bullshit or a gimmick. Cool.

But he tries to answer the question anyway. He says that the most emotional he ever was in a match was when he wrestled Ric Flair at Fall Brawl. After a quick Google search, I find that the year in question is… 1995. And Brian Pillman was involved in the match. Anyway, Arn says that he vomited on his way from the ramp to the ring. No, he doesn’t want footage of that, but rather he wants footage of the match itself.

Todd, the master of segues, wants to know if Arn considers Flair to be the best of all time. Arn takes a moment, and says that it depends on how “best of all time” is defined. (That makes sense. If we go by something like “mic skills” for example, Chris Benoit would be so low on the list that names like “Snitsky” and “Masters” would be higher. Well, maybe not, but you get the point.)

I digress for some reason. Anywho, Arn says that as far as longevity, unselfishness, and work ethic go, Flair is definitely on top. He says that Hogan is really the biggest overall, because Hogan’s legacy has superceded the business itself. Arn says that Flair is still there, entertaining the fans all the time, and that’s something no one else can do or ever will do.

Todd tells us that Arn is retired due to a neck injury, so he wants Arn to share the information about his injury and his “famous retirement speech.” Arn says that the injury was actually a three-part neck problem. The first crack in a vertebra came from a brainbuster when he was in the WWF. That was a minor one, but it got worse when he went to WCW. That time, he was wrestling the Steiners, and during the match (he did not say when or why specifically) his right arm went completely numb due to the neck problem.

Then, prior to wrestling Lex Luger at Halloween Havoc in 1996, Arn stopped at a gym to loosen up his muscles. For no apparent reason, his left arm went numb again and the dumbbell fell out of his hand. He said it was horrifying as he tried to pick up the dumbbell but couldn’t even grip it. A bone chip from his neck had moved and closed the nerves to it.

Arn says he didn’t say anything about it for a few months. Then one time in a locker room, Eric Bischoff asked what was wrong with Arn when Arn couldn’t even slide his boot laces through the eyelets. That’s when Arn came clean, and Eric told him to get it checked.

The doctors told Arn that he could get surgery and possibly save the arm and hand, or keep wrestling and lose it for sure. He had surgery, but as Arn said, it was a new twist on the word “surgery.” He spent eight hours under the knife, and another eight days in the hospital. (For a wrestler, that must have been torture.) He said that the pain of the post-operation was pain “from another world.”

Todd asks Arn to tell us about the night he gave his retirement speech. Arn opens that thought by saying when he retired, he was 37 or 38, and that’s not “old” in wrestling anymore. He said that to quit under those conditions, for an athlete in any sport, it’s extremely emotional and horrible. He says that he felt handcuffed, because he knew that his body wouldn’t allow him to wrestle again, and it was tough addressing that to a national audience. He said that the promo was completely unscripted, and the WCW team didn’t even ask him to do it. Arn said that he went to Eric and requested the mic to say goodbye because he had to.

Okay, this is making me curious, so I went looking for the retirement speech. As of my writing this recap, I can’t find any audible version of it, but I found a page that at least writes it out. If you’ve never heard it or seen it, click here. It probably would sound far more thrilling to hear instead of read, but reading it is better than nothing. If anyone has a recording of it, let me know.

There’s real… well, I don’t want to say “emotion,” but I can’t really think of a better word… There’s real emotion as Arn retells the emotion of giving the speech. That is, you can hear that Arn is almost getting choked up at getting choked up. I don’t know, the written word is inappropriate for this.

Anyway, the mood is a little less jovial of course, but Todd needs to reign things in a bit. He says we’re playing a game called “Rapid Fire,” which is really just “Word Association” with sentences instead of single words. In other words, Todd gives the name of a wrestler, and Arn gives his opinion of him. Arn is all for this, but wants to know how long his reactions can be. Todd makes me even more a mark for him by giving a Language Joke, saying that he wants only a single sentence from Arn, but that he can use semicolons to go longer if necessary. I giggle, because I’m a dork. A dOOrk even.

Sgt. Slaughter: “There’s more to him than a chin.” Uh… okay.

Ricky Steamboat: “The finest fan-favorite and babyface ever.” More than Hogan? Wow. Makes me miss the 80s.

Paul Orndorff: “Made me nervous just having a sandwich with him.”

Jerry Lawler: “Very entertaining, multi-dimensional, can do anything.” No comment.

Hulk Hogan: “Bigger than the wrestling business.”

Dusty Rhodes: “One of the most creative minds EVER! Also helped me with ‘the rub.’”

Bret Hart: “Not being a flashy guy or with a great body. One of the greatest technical wrestlers ever.” Arn also touches on a match they had together.

Rapid Fire is done with, so we go to the final question for Arn. Todd asks who Arn thinks are the top five overall superstars in today’s WWE. (Todd jokes that Arn should not mention Todd himself, because it would be inappropriate due to the fact he’s interviewing him. Arn comically ignores the comment.) Arn says, no problem… In no particular order: Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, and Undertaker. He says that Bradshaw and Rey Mysterio could possibly be in the a top list (BRADSHAW???), but those are his top five. Todd jokingly suggests that those five could give the Four Horsemen a run for their money. Arn says “aw shit,” and that those five would run over the Four Horsemen to get to a better fight. Heh.

Arn Anderson is out. That was pretty cool. Todd says… we’ll see him on RAW this week? Uh, okay.

[60% of Shawn Michaels’s Hogan/Larry King parody from last Monday]

Time Filler By Fans, For Fans: No more guests, but Todd is taking phone calls for himself! Someone comes on and asks, now that Todd has been with the WWE for two years, who does he see being in the next Hall of Fame class when Wrestlemania 22 rolls around in 2006? Todd thinks a second, names Arn Anderson and Bret Hart. Cool, but a little ass-kissing, isn’t it? I mean, was the timing just coincidence? Maybe the fact that those two were around today made Todd temporarily forget everyone else? Meh… I’m not saying those two don’t deserve it. Hell, I would have named Bret two years ago when the H of F first started.

Okay, now we’re getting a trivia question: “Name the original Four Horsemen.” You name ‘em, you win a DVD. What’s the proper name of that DVD? Let’s see… The Greatest Wrestling Stars of the ‘80s. Nice: short and to-the-point.

Anyway, to buy some time, Todd recaps his news stories and hypes SmackDown!, selling the big Rey Mysterio secret as being the most compelling thing in the universe. Poor, poor Todd.

A caller comes in and gets the trivia question. They decide to give a follow-up: “Who was the manager of the original Four Horsemen?” Unfortunately, the call got dropped. They reveal the name anyway, and promise to give the guy the DVD at least if he calls back and gives his address and everything. No one else has called into BT, so we’re done.

Closing Comments: I’ll tell you, it takes a damn good host to make fun of himself, and launch headlong into crap while selling it like the greatest thing on the planet since water. Truly, Todd Grisham is the Glen Jacobs of announcing. He is a perfect fit in Byte This!, and I see him becoming the next Tazz. Not that I want to see JR retire soon, but I think Todd could take JR’s place on RAW if you toss Coach out of the booth and you’ll have a decent dynamic.

But I digress (again). Arn Anderson’s bit was very real and cool. It didn’t try to pluck the heart’s violin like Marty Jannetty did last week (which came across as real too), but it certainly was out-of-character and not at all like the shork-woot that’s coming out of WWE.com lately.

Speaking of shork-woot, what the hell was going on with Chris Jericho? Shawn Michaels has shown how to weave shoot comments into worked promos. What Jericho did today was completely confusing and unbalanced. If Michaels’ promos are a case of gently weaving between acting and straight-talk, then Jericho’s interview is a man with schizophrenia. There was no subtle weaving; he was either completely in-character, completely out-of-character, or unable to commit to being either.

If you listened to this episode and can somehow explain to me how Jericho’s bit showed any sort of good quality, please e-mail me. No matter how much I dislike it, I can accept the wrestlers being in-character on BT… but to jump between the character and actor is just plain lunacy. It’s really as confusing as the shit the creative team fed to Matt Hardy on Monday.

Ignoring Jericho, I think we have finally found a decent formula for 2005 Byte This!. Add one Todd Grisham, subtract Droz and Steve Romero, mix in guests who speak consistently real, and the show becomes good. As always, nothing will compare to the two ECW episodes, but the last three episodes of BT show how decent the show can really be.

Question 1: Who were the original Four Horsemen?

Answer 1: Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Ole Anderson, and Tully Blanchard

Question 2: Who managed the original Four Horsemen?

Answer 2: JJ Dillon



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