JP Prag & James Thomlison
Hidden Highlights 08.13.06: Issue #50 [REPOST]
By JP Prag and James “JT” Thomlison
Hello everyone celebrating fifty weeks of changing the way we watch wrestling, and welcome back to Hidden Highlights!!
Hidden Highlight (n) – a small, hardly noticeable point that makes a big, positive difference. This could be anything from a wrestler putting extra emphasis into his moves to make it believable to a person in the background reacting while not the focus to the cameraman shaking the picture to create an effect. There are just so many unsung heroes of wrestling that it is impossible to cover them all.
Every week we take the top 3 Hidden Highlights from the biggest shows on television (RAW, ECW of SciFi, iMPACT, SmackDown!, and a PPV or television special if there is one). Plus we turn to you, the readers, to let us know all the Hidden Highlights you saw this, last, or any week in history. On top of all that, we explore the other issues that prove why this is the most positive article in the IWC.
And who is this mysterious we, you ask?
First, there is JP Prag, defender of truth and currently on In Defense Of… hiatus.
And then there is James “JT” Thomlison, the man who finds goodness in the most unlikely of places.
We bring you Hidden Highlights with one goal in mind: to appreciate all those little things that make a huge difference. JT?
JT: Fifty issues! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
JP: My thoughts exactly.
JT: So were not doing anything special, right?
JP: Absolutely not. We’re not like that attention hound Cook (just kidding bud, congrats on your two years of hard work). On with the Hidden Highlights!
Hidden Highlights for WWE RAW: Monday, August 7, 2006 by JP
JP: I have to say, I’m quite shocked that on “This Week in Wrestling History” the WWE admitted Hogan and Andre fought before Wrestlemania III. Now they have to go back and re-dub 50,000 hours of times they said that was the first time they met. Then again, it’s not like continuity errors are really catalogued there. Speaking of history, they did forget to mention that the main event that brought 36,295 fans to Shea was Larry Zbyszko taking on Bruno Sammartino in a steel cage match. That’s right, they lied during the video when they said the tag match was the main event. Are you surprised?
(3) This isn’t going to be fun:
As John Cena was taking on Viscera in a surprisingly good match (event Peter Kent liked it!), Cena was preparing to go for the FU. Now, while the FU was am amazing feet of strength, the natural reaction Cena had before it really sold the whole thing for me. As Viscera was getting up from Cena’s last move, you could see Cena was preparing himself for the FU. Watching his lips really closely, you could just see him mouth “Oh god!” The look on his face was priceless, just a blatant amount of, “I can’t believe I’m going to even try this. What the hell was I thinking?!” That true doubt shining through and seeing Cena overcome it and pull off the move made it even more impressive.
(2) He doesn’t shut up… EVER:
Umaga and his gaggle were walking in the back, heading to the ring to take on Triple H. Normally during a “walking” scene, everyone is quiet and giving the serious look. But not Armando Alexandro Estrada, no sir! He spent the entire time talking smack about Triple H and doing the Estrada laugh the whole way. That Estrada, always playing his character to perfection, even in the most unlikely of times. You couldn’t even make out what he was saying, but that would not stop Estrada.
(1) My eyes hurt:
The real opening match of the night saw Shelton Benjamin taking on Kane in a number one contenders match for the Intercontinental Championship. Shelton came out first, and started to remove his attire as normal, waiting in the ring to find out who his opponent was. When Kane came out, the camera panned back to Shelton who was in shock. Then, the camera went back to Kane, and back to Shelton. Except this time when it went back to Shelton, Shelton had his sunglasses on! How smart of Shelton, to put his glasses on to protect his eyes from Kane’s excessive pyro. Great funny moment by Shelton that was silly, really smart and in character.
JT: I would also equate the sunglasses to him being able to hide the fear in his eyes, and yes, the FU was quite impressive. I also hope JT gets voted off the Diva Search, in a positive way of course.
Hidden Highlights for ECW on SciFi: Tuesday, August 8, 2006 by JP
JP: Did you notice there were no Extreme Rules matches this week? I think that’s the first time since ECW on SciFi began. And on a show that saw Tommy Dreamer, Sandman, and Sabu in action, that seems so wrong. Well, this certainly isn’t your daddy’s ECW. Then again, my dad didn’t really like ECW. But he said he was watching part of an episode the other week and he could not believe Sabu was still alive. I have to admit, I’m often shocked as well.
(3) Subliminal Advertising… perhaps?:
After Paul Heyman and <del>the Basham Brothers</del> his personal security beat down Tommy Dreamer, the Sandman’s music hit. When the camera started panning around looking for him, for a few seconds it focused in on some fan’s full beer cup. Was this intentional, equating the beer with the Sandman, or just a really good coincidence? Either way, beer and Sandman belong together like JT and a large bottle of Vaseline.
JT: That wasn’t nice, I’m sure she’s a sweet girl.
(2) Riot time:
The main event saw Sabu taking on Kurt Angle in a number one contender’s match for the ECW World Championship. In the audience, a fan had a sign that said, “If Sabu wins, we riot!” This, of course, was in reference to the “If Cena wins, we riot!” sign from ECW One Night Stand II: Sloppy Seconds. Except that event was at the Hammerstein Ballroom, so of course the hardcore ECW would feel that way. This event was at a SmackDown! taping, so there would be more benign WWE fans there. Very funny little joke by whoever had that sign. It made me smile.
(1) Playing it safe:
Also in the above mentioned main event, Sabu was doing an effective job of getting Kurt Angle into pinning predicaments. Towards the end of the match, Sabu had hit a spinning splash and went for the pin. Kurt Angle went to kick out, and did so successfully, but he did something else. As he went to kick out, he also had his right leg and foot reaching towards the ropes. You see, the kickout was not guaranteed, and the amateur and veteran in Kurt Angle would always go for the backup plan as well. Excellent job by Kurt Angle to be the wrestling machine.
JT: I wonder if Kurt Angle walks around backstage just yelling at people. No words, just that yell he does in the ring. If he does, someone needs to get that on tape, STAT! I’ve actually been enjoying ECW a bit more the last couple of weeks. With the return of RVD and the title scene heating up, things could be on the rise.
Hidden Highlights for TNA iMPACT: Thursday, August 10, 2006 by JT
JT: Well, we had PLENTY of James E. Cornette, Eric Young still has a job, several matches for Hard Justice were corner-stoned, Rhino, Joe, and Monty don’t like each other, Skip Johnson needs more coffee than West, X Division gets some action, AJ loses his brace, Sting gets a step closer to ..well, tonight, and <strike>Christian!</strike> (okay, I can resist, for now), AND!... where is Hemme? And we DO still have a tag division right? I kid. I know we do, because Brother Runt represented. …Shark Boy!
(3) And he goes for the <strike>pin</strike>… outside move?:
During the “X-Division” match (if you choose to call it so), Kevin Nash came in the ring and was taken out by Dutt via a knee and head kick, which sent him to the outside. Then, (keep in mind, as a HH of its own, Sabin was tagged in), as Devine tried to take advantage of Dutt, Dutt avoided him and jumped out of the ring onto Alex Shelley. Why would he do that? Well, it’s simple; as Devine then tried to take advantage of Sabin, he quickly received a Cradle Shock, and as he was pinned. The pin couldn’t be stopped, because Shelley – who was trying to get back in the ring – was held off by…? Yup! Sonjay Dutt. I know you’re not his biggest fan, JP, but a move two minutes earlier for the specific reason of merely holding a man back is a good call in my book.
(P.S. I love that Nash had NOTHING to do with the finish, letting the X guys shine)
(2) Because FACE! is how I roll!…. sort of:
During the main event match, Christian twice did some things that were out of character for him (the face him, anyway). First, he tried to use the ropes against Scotty in a pinfall; he then bit Steiners finger later in the match. These are all <i>heel</i> tactics, pulled off by the <i>face</i> Christian Cage. I just thought they were a few nice moves on his part to start using heel tactics in order to help tease the turn which we all see coming (and hopefully not too soon; don’t blow your load!). And yes, I did just give Christian love, because the current Christian to Carlito love ratio is like 1:7… I’m due.
(1) America’s Funniest Home Wresting Blooper Videos:
Believe it or not, I’m going to give the over-energized, over-caffinated, over-hormoned, and over-testosteroned Don West some love. During the Daniels vs. Homicide match, the ref “mysteriously” got distracted by Konnan at the exact moment that Daniels had Homicide in the Koji Clutch. Homicide started to tap of course, and then, Don West got a bit ahead of himself by saying “The <b>referee</b> is tapping! But the referee doesn’t see it!”. Look. We all see blotches, and we all see miscalls, but nobody ever seems to want to take the time to call out a good blooper. Bloopers are FUNNY, people. That’s why they’ve (bloopers) been on the air for fifteen years. When he said this, I laughed quite hysterically. Don West knew what he was going to say, and got there a tad early. I’ll even give him credit for not correcting himself; he just ran with it, and it was definitely humorous.
JP: I am soooooooo far behind this week. I’ll have to watch iMPACT to know how awesome your ones were this week!
Hidden Highlights for WWE SmackDown!: Friday, August 11 2006 by JT
JT: Teddy Long gives us Booker vs. Batista; will it be too early of a blowoff… or the start of a great feud? Tag action as usual (a good thing!), the 2006 Diva Search continues, Kennedy, Rey, Sylvan and Vito all in action,
*****Program Alert: Following Announcement*****
JBL rules the kingdom that is known as the announce booth.
*****Program Alert: We know return you…*****
Turkay dominates, four of the toughest SOB’s in the business butt heads, Booker AND JBL in the announce booth at the same time!, and oh yeah, some MVP guy has an agent! …or something. Were there plenty of Hidden Highlights? There sure were.
JP have spent 50 issues trying to get our “positivity” gimmick over, and I’d say we’ve done okay for ourselves. So this week, in honor of the HH gimmick, I’ve decided to devote this SmackDown! to showing some Gimmick Love!
(HM) Gimmick Love, Honorable Mention:
Just a quick one, did anyone else notice when Regal and Finlay were talking in the back, every single time Regal would start to talk, Finlay would cut him off and assert himself as the dominant one in the conversation. Perfect example of how Finlay really cares about himself, and fighting.
(3) Gimmick Love, Third Place!:
During the opening tag match (I know it wasn’t the opening match, but there were more than one tag match, and this one was first, thus the opening tag match), London would up on the outside alone with Idol Stevens. As you all probably saw, Stevens got a hold of London, and rammed his back into the ring. Now, seconds later, as Kendrick and James were still going at it in the ring, you could see Michelle McCool in the background looking at Stevens and pointing to her head. By doing this, she’s essentially saying, “that’s using your head”, or in other words, “That is <i>smart</i>”. Perfect little move by the *teacher* Michelle to incorporate an intelligence gesture into her actions.
(2) Gimmick Love, Second Place:
Did anyone else notice a certain something about the way Vito applies his submission maneuver? No, it’s not the dress over the head. It’s the way he positions both arms! The first is obviously to apply the pressure to force the opponent to submit; it’s the other arm (in this case, the right one) that caught my attention. Vito positions the arm exactly over his thigh, so that the only way for the person to tap out is to smack his ass! As I noticed this I honestly died laughing. Look, he’s doing everything to get his gimmick over, and it is actually working. Watching this big tough guy making grown men submit by smacking him in the ass fits perfectly with the whole “Is he / isn’t he” gimmick that he’s developed.
(1) Gimmick Love, First Place:
After Kennedy went through his normal routine, Rey came down and starting to get his crowd love on. As soon as he got in the ring and headed for a ringpost, Kennedy immediately went after him and the ref had to hold him back, something Kennedy always does. I saw it and thought, “meh, that’s just him being him”, and then I realized, that is exactly the point here. If someone interrupts his grabbing the mic / announcing himself thing, he throws a fit, yet here he is doing the same thing. It’s just like Kennedy – and more importantly, his arrogance – to feel that while he always deserves his time to shine, nobody else is on his level nor do they have any right to anything that would take the focus off of him and put it onto them. What a great little way to emphasize the character, even if it’s in the background of someone else enjoying their pop and/or crowd interaction.
JP: Since I haven’t seen SmackDown! yet, all I read was “Gimmick Love”. Sounds kind of creepy.
Reader Write-in Hidden Highlights
Hidden Highlights aren’t just for us to find and tell you about, but for you to spot and share with us. Don’t just sit there and stare, but be a more active, attentive, and engaged viewer. Appreciate all the hard work that goes into making the wrestling we have the privilege to watch and then let us know what you caught this and every week.
This week JP gets to pick our Reader Write-in Hidden Highlights of the week.
JP: Readers, you have way too much to say. So, *GENERAL WARNING*:: some parts of the following Reader Write-in Hidden Highlights may be edited for grammar, spelling, and English translation…
Starting us off this week is Dana Utz with two weeks’ ago SmackDown!:
At the end of the match between Batista and Kennedy, Batista delivered the Batista bomb and got the win over Kennedy. But, as Batista delivered the move, you can see Kennedy try to get a punch in on Batista. This was especially clear when they did the replay. Rather than just take the move like so many others, Kennedy struggled to get in some offense. This helps to keep some heat on Kennedy: Even though he lost the match, he wasn't squashed. And, trying to get in some offense as the finisher was delivered helps make the whole thing look a little more real.
JP: Kennedy has shown wrestling ability well beyond his years in the ring. He reminds me a lot of Christopher Nowinski. Poor Nowinski, it looks like he’ll never recover from post concussion syndrome. What? Oh yes, Joe K. has something from an indy show to go along with what we talked about last issue:
During a Maryland Championship Wrestling show at Fort Meade, MD I went to on 7/22, Sonjay Dutt was wrestling local crusier Derek Frazier. During the match, Sonjay did the rope shaking and the big spinebuster....then did that crouch down/arm pumping taunt that Batista does during his entrance! Yea, I'd say the X-Division doesn't care for Big Dave.
JP: I may not care for Sonjay’s offense, but he’s very clear in what he is doing. Besides, Orlando Jordan came from Maryland Championship Wrestling, so I have to give them some love. Anyway, William Pitts takes us even further back in time (are we ever going to get to this week?):
I don't know if anybody mentioned it, but my "highlight" is them confronting Triple H for illegally importing the cigars. If it was such a big deal, why did they take away Trips for questioning and subsequently leave the cigars. If it were any illegal substance, they should take the questionable contraband with them, not leave it for somebody else. It'd be like arresting a drug dealer and leaving all the drugs behind, hoping nobody else would get them. Anyway, enjoy the highlights, and I'll keep reading.
JP: Usually I wouldn’t include one like this, but that is pretty funny. I didn’t even notice that they left the cigars behind. Good eye there! Annette didn’t listen to me and went even further back in time.
This one is a little late, but a few weeks ago on RAW, the 5 members of the Spirit Squad were coming out with sparks flying, and if you notice, one of the spark fliers wasn't stopping. So when Randy Orton came out and did his pose, the same spark thing that wasn't stopping before didn't go at all.
JP: Honestly, I can’t say I’ve ever watched the pyro that closely. A nice catch there, and further proof that women do write in on my weeks.
JT: Oh god, is that what this was all about?
JP: Of course not! Maybe…
JT: You’re terrible.
JP: Yeah, yeah. Enough of you, ygun24 finally brings us into this past week:
I have a HH for last weeks RAW 7/31. It was during the Flair/Foley segment when he mentioned to Melina that 20 years ago she woulda been up all night with him. My HH is that Melina immediately covered her mouth as if she was gonna vomit because she found Flair not attractive. I thought it was a nice touch by her to say she wouldn't be with someone like him, also adding to her snobby character as well.
JP: Melina has been great, and she is always acting in the background, whether on camera or not. I hope she does more wrestling in the future, as well. She’s actually trained for it, and they are going to need some more wrestlers in that division fast. Chris Pugh returns with something was on his mind:
Don't know if this really counts as one but just thought it was kind of interesting (also it was bugging the crap out of me)
The King was hyped about having his match with Randy Orton tonight and kept going on about how Orton attacked him for no reason. ‘Cept for the big fact that King attacked Orton first when he tossed him back into the ring with Hogan (I think) So just an interesting kind of way to go as King sounds like the kind of person to but the blame on others. Even when he started it.
JP: No, you are absolutely right. It is perfectly in line with the King to lie and make someone he attacked look like the bad guy. And with JR as his best friend, he’d be sure to cover for him. First timer Rick Landis continues on RAW:
Monday on Raw, during the Mixed Tag Match between Edge and Lita vs. Carlito and Trish. As all four were brawling in the ring, you seen Carlito and Trish look at each other and slightly nod before doing the double dropkick. The camera got quite a good look at it. But it goes to show you that good wrestlers (as Trish and Carlito are) know how to make wrestling look somewhat real.
And that, that is cool.
JP: And having a Carlito Hidden Highlight be your first one was very smart. Besides, it was a good one, and shows just what level of subtlety Carlito and Trish are on. Another first timer Christopher Alden picks up more subtleness:
After the number one contender match between Shelton and Kane, Johnny Nitro is shown smirking and smiling and doing all the normal stuff a cocky heel does when a rival gets one-upped. Then JR mentions that this means Kane is the number one contender for the IC title, and Nitro visibly says, "Wait, that's right!" and starts acting scared and trash-talking.
Now, if he had just done one or the other, it would be standard wrestling stuff, but it was that transition, the subtle reminder that, yes, the wrestlers CAN hear the commentators, and that great reaction even off-mic, that makes this one a hidden highlight.
JP: I like when wrestlers and refs acknowledge the people around them, especially the announcers and fans. Good catch there watching Nitro’s reactions. And yet another newbie in José Miguel Velasco uses WWE.com for his future sense (Chile is apparently two months behind on WWE programming):
I was looking at the RAW videos at wwe.com, and I saw the Edge & Lita / Carlito & Trish match, just to see that Spear that practically KILLED Trish...
Well... right before this, Lita goes to the turnbuckle, Carlito shoves Edge and he moves the ropes, so Lita falls on her... "privates" (maybe that's not the right word for that Lita's anatomy part, though). So, as Lita cries in pain, Edge is really sorry, and you can watch him say "MY BABY BOY". I thought that was genius, as they were so in love, that he's already thinking of children... trash bag, rated R kids.
JP: I wonder if the kids would be PG-13 or NC-17, actually? Keeping with the international newbie theme, Gary McLoughlin from Ireland writes in with:
Another hidden highlight i picked up on during the show was during the Carlito/Trish VS Edge/Lita match, I noticed that Trish was holding onto the tag ropes for the match's entirity while Lita was doing the opposite. This impressed me as both payed attention to detail and live up to their Heel/Face personas.
JP: Boy, that match had much more to it than even I wrote down! All right, enough of the newbies, oldie Fixxer315 says:
At the end of Tuesday's ECW show, when RVD ran in, they closed with the old-school ECW theme. I liked how they did that instead of playing RVD's music because it highlighted the idea that RVD was not expected to be there, and so his theme would not be cued up.
JP: I was wondering why they played the ECW music, too, instead of the RVD music, but I like your explanation. Works for me! Victor Joel Rosario moves on to this week’s iMPACT:
On iMPACT!, when Christian was wrestling Scott Steiner, you could see Christian do the "up yours, then drop toe hold into the ropes" Chris Jericho move. Nice nod to Christian's friend in there.
JP: A double nod for Christian and Jericho, JT must have just about exploded inside with happiness. Recent regular Katie comes in with a couple of blog related entries:
You know that little blog Matt Striker's keeping describing the Austrailia tour? Damn, it's 100% in character! Describing the headline titles to start, defining big words and English class terms, and even being a bit heelish (playing up to the "All Hail King Booker" chants)! He's this way in the most recent 'Now, it's personal...' article as well. I kind of agree with him on the chess thing; great strategy game.
While we're at it, I'll bring up the blog that Kane kept in the months leading up to his movie. Glen sure knows how to play his character! It brought some more depth into the 'May 19' thing without revealing a lot. Now that takes a skilled writer!
JP: Can’t say I read either (especially because anyone who has read my profile knows my disdain for blogs), but that is great by both, especially Striker. He is always playing his character, a very old school characteristic that I appreciate.
Well, that wraps us up this week. Thanks all for writing, and keep those great ones coming!
Oh, and before we go, congratulations to regular Hidden Highlights Reader Write-in Steven Masters for joining the 411mania Games Zone. Yep, another Hidden Highlights regular joins the cast! We are that good.
JT: The readers never cease to amaze it. Just a reminder to all you guys that it’s not just our 50th issue, it’s yours as well. Another great batch as usual. Now onto issue 52!
JP: ...why 52?
JT: I just figured mention it because I’ll be amazed that our readers actually put up with the likes of us for an entire year.
JP: Good point.
Do you have a Hidden Highlight from this or any week in history that you would like to share? Please e-mail JP..erT…er…us at email@example.com with your thoughts! Send them by Friday afternoon to be considered! And remember, they can be from any show, live or taped, or any house show, or anything you saw… we just like to know!
That Other Section
That Other Section is an idea, a free forum where we get to explore the other bits of positivity in the universe. Sometimes, though, it might not exist at all. Hey, if we don’t have anything to talk about, why force it?
This week, JP and JT have something for That Other Section.
JP: If you didn’t read <a href=>last issue</a>, then go back and read it because it will explain all.
THE GREAT POSITIVITY DEBATE 3 TOURNAMENT
JP: It’s hard to live in a world of positivity, and the Great Positivity Debate is a demonstration of that. In a typical debate, the writers are trying to make the most valid point for their side. In TGPD, the writers are trying to make the most valid positive point as a test of their writing skills and imagination. You the readers are the ultimate judges and decide who moves on and who hits the bricks. As a reminder, here are the rules:
We will list four topics.
Each side may have only one response to each topic.
The response to the topic can be no more than 500 words.
The response to the topic must be the most positive thing that side can think up.
The positive response must be something that side believes in (honor code in effect).
The first two topics will be answered first by one side, and then the two shall switch answering order.
At the end, you the readers will vote who is the winner.
Neither of these two competitors are fighting for who is more positive. Instead, they are fighting over who has more writing skill in the confines of positivity.
Here are the current brackets:
Opening round matches consist of four questions, semi-finals six questions, and the finals eight. The winner of the tournament goes on to face JT and I in THE GREAT POSITIVITY DEBATE 3: THE SEQUEL NOBODY ASKED FOR!
Without further ado, this week’s competitors are:
Stephen Randle – Writer of the Wrestling News Experience every Monday and often forgotten co-editor of the Wrestling Zone, Randle has often claimed that he can be the most positive writer in the IWC. This tournament is his chance to put up or shut up, and get out of the shadow of the monster known as Larry Csonka. Plus, he’s Canadian.
Sat (of Rajah and Sat fame) – Tired of arguing among themselves, Rajah and Sat created the High Road/Low Road in order to show the two sides of today’s hottest issues in the IWC. Having to constantly deal with the negativity of Rajah, Sat is here to spread his positivity wings and prove he can hang on his own. But he’d also like to show that Hidden Highlights isn’t the only successful team series around here.
JT: We should also mention that Randle loves Orton. Okay, that joke is officially on overkill. By the toss of an imaginary coin, Sat will go first.
JP: Question 1: Umaga now has wins over Ric Flair, John Cena, and HBK. How do you react to this massive push?
Sat: Umaga has shown that he is worthy of having this massive push. When Umaga was getting his weekly squash, I was sure that he would have no chance in becoming a major star or a mid carder. However, I have been impressed with Umaga last few matches. The matches that Umaga has had with John Cena and Shawn Michaels have been some pretty good matches. Granted, you are not going to get the five star classics that you get from Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit, but Umaga can give you a decent match from time to time. Umaga has shown that he does have the wrestling skills to be a solid mid carder for the WWE.
Another positive about his massive push is that the WWE will be gaining a monster heel that they currently do not have on RAW. Let’s also remember that if Umaga gets a massive push, then Armando Alejandro Estrada also gets a massive push. Lastly, I believe that this is the highest point that Umaga will reach. The WWE probably expects Umaga to be main eventer, but that is not going to happen. Sure, I believe that he will challenge for the WWE title, but he will never win the title. Umaga will be another Kane without a WWE title on his resume and I believe that is good enough for a wrestler like Umaga.
Randle: In a brand where the genuine main event heels currently start and end with Edge, the massive push of Umaga couldn't be coming at a better time. I think sometimes people won't let go of the past, and can't see the opportunities that are presented with Umaga. Sure, he used to be Jamal from Three Minute Warning. And JBL used to be Blackjack Bradshaw. Things change. Sure, he can't wrestle a five-star classic match. But the most effective heel stable in wrestling history initially consisted of two of the worst technical wrestlers in history (and Scott Hall). Wrestling ability isn't everything. And you have to give Umaga credit, he's gone out every week and worked his gigantic ass off to justify the push he's getting. He's got an impressive power moveset that looks like it hurts like hell, and he's totally committed to the gimmick. Plus, it allows Raw to move away from all those "main event handicap matches" that they've had a glut of for the past...forever. Now, you don't need to put the face in a handicap to stack the odds against him, because just facing the undefeated Umaga, who's pinned John Cena, Ric Flair, Edge, and Triple H, is enough of a disadvantage. Come on, you can't say that the prospect of facing the cadre of bouncy male cheerleaders, who've been made to look like fools for weeks, no matter how many of them there are, is more intimidating than facing an undefeated Samoan giant who only exists to hurt people? Umaga is freaking impressive, and that's all there is to it.
The inevitable "Samoa Joe ripoff" comments always come up in arguments like this. Well, why does Joe get to be praised while Umaga gets crapped all over? I realize Umaga didn't wrestle in ROH, or choose TNA over WWE and thus get labelled a rebel against the mean corporate monstrosity. Hey, I like Joe. But people cream themselves over Joe stiffing the hell out of jobbers, but when Umaga sends Ric Flair's head through a turnbuckle, nobody bats an eye. I bet you this, Umaga will be wrestling for the WWE title before Joe gets that long-awaited NWA title shot everyone's been waiting for. I'm not saying Umaga will win, but it's something to think about.
And his theme music rocks. That alone puts him in my good books.
JP: Sat: 230 words. Randle: 394 words. JT?
JT: Question 2: It appears that shortly, the Boogeyman will be back and a fairly big part of SmackDown. How to you react to this?
Sat: If the Boogeyman comes back and has the same role that he had when he left, then I have no problems with the Boogeyman. The Boogeyman is one of the best and most interesting characters that the WWE has right now. The Boogeyman deserves to be a big part of SmackDown because right now, let’s face it they are lacking entertaining characters and the Boogeyman definitely fits the bill. Sure, he is a little weird, but he is definitely entertaining. And the Boogeyman still has so much more that he can give to SmackDown. How about a feud with King Booker? How about a segment with Finlay’s little bastard? How about a segment with the diva search contestants? The Boogeyman will definitely help make the diva search segments and SmackDown that much easier to watch.
Even though, I do want the Boogeyman to be a big part of SmackDown, I do want the WWE to keep his wrestling to a minimum. The Boogeyman has shown that he is not that great of a wrestler, but he can still be a big part of SmackDown without the wrestling. He has a few wrestling skills, but his bread and butter are his vignettes. Bad wrestling skills are easy to hide, but you can’t hide the fact that a wrestler has no charisma. Hulk Hogan anyone? And if anybody deserves to be a major part of SmackDown, it is the Boogeyman. Has there ever been a wrestler more devoted to his or her character? Come on, this guy eats worms during rehearsals. Live worms!!!!!!!!!! I definitely want the Boogeyman to be a big part of SmackDown!!!!!!
Randle: Well, first of all, since I know how much The Boogeyman pisses JT off, I say "Hooray! The Boogeyman is coming back! He's a much better wrestler than Christian could ever wish to be. I hope he wins the World Heavyweight title in his return match!" Then I leave JT frothing at the mouth and get down to serious business.
And the seriousness of it is that The Boogeyman is good for business. He's a character that the fans latched onto, so much so that instead of being a nasty, evil heel that you'd expect, he became a massive fan favourite, despite his total match time over his so-far short career ranging in the single digits. He's a perfect sideshow act in the WWE circus, a land which has been way too full of bland, serious wrestlers who wear wrestling trunks and wrestle WWE-style matches and are all very angry at each other because they're darned angry guys who like to wrestle. That's what Smackdown has really become good at with the New Talent Initiatives: creating characters that stand out from each other. Remember in years gone by where there were a half dozen wrestlers with long flowing blond hair? Or over a dozen with serious, short crew cuts? Sure, it made programming graphics for wrestling games easy, but boy, some days you really couldn't tell people apart. The Boogeyman, Fit Finlay, Bobby Lashley, these guys stand out and demand to be noticed because they're all different. And fans have said it for a while now, they're eager to grasp onto anything the least little bit different, something that's out of the ordinary, run-of-the-mill, everyday stuff that's been showing up in wrestling for the last few years.
The Boogeyman grabs you by the balls and screams "pay attention, because this is something you've never seen before". When he's around, strange and crazy things could happen at any time, and you never know when he might pop up in the flesh. Wrestling needs more surprises, and The Boogeyman is just the start of something that could be absolutely great.
Plus his continued existence drives JT to the brink of babbling insanity. What more could a person ask for?
JT: Sat: 273 words. Randle: 367 words. SWITCH! JP?
JP: Question 3: Kevin Nash is facing Chris Sabin in a #1 Contenders Match for the X-Division title at TNA's Hard Justice. Are there any benefits to Kevin Nash becoming #1 Contender to the X-Division title?
Randle: I say that there are absolutely great benefits in Nash becoming the #1 contender for the X-Division title. First of all, Nash has been the most entertaining person on TNA for the past several months, so you can say that he deserves the shot. Hey, if a new rookie wrestler had burst onto the TNA scene and been as consistently entertaining as Nash is right now, we'd all demand that he get a shot at a title, so it's only fair.
Secondly, TNA has always said, and Nash has used it in his promos, the X-Division isn't about weight limits, it's about no limits. What better way to showcase the true "free style" of the division, than by having a guy who doesn't fit the "traditional" X-Division mold challenge for the title? I mean, sure we've come to associate the X-Division with high-flying, fast-paced action, but shouldn't it be available to all styles of wrestling, including the big man power offense? I mean, if it truly is about "no limits", then Nash is perfectly eligible to compete. It's not his fault he's two feet taller and a hundred pounds heavier than everyone else in the division, that's just the way God made him. Just because it's never been tried before (although it's not like Samoa Joe was exactly a cruiser-style wrestler either), doesn't mean that Nash doesn't deserve his shot.
Finally, I would go so far as to say that Nash should win the X-Division title, because that would give the X-Division a great, marketable storyline: who can knock the gigantic monster heel off the top? Underdogs babyfaces against monster heels always work better when the heel is holding a title that everyone perceives he doesn't deserve. And since Nash is, like I said, two feet taller and a hundred pounds heavier than the entire division (unless Joe re-enters the picture, and wouldn't that be a mark-out moment, Nash demanding any challenger for his title, and Joe coming out and beating the piss out of him. TNA could start printing their own money), every babyface coming after him gets the "underdog" rub. Maybe it would even unite the entire X-Division against the forces of Nash, Shelley, and Devine, in a true display of brotherhood and defense of the honour of the X-Division. Gets me all misty-eyed just thinking of the passionate speeches that could be given.
Oh yeah, and I've always liked Nash anyway, so of course I want him fighting for the title. It means I get to see him on TV more.
Sat: First off, I watch more WWE programming than I do TNA. However, I have been very interested in the Kevin Nash against the X-Division storyline The segments that Kevin Nash, Alex Shelley, & Devine have been putting together have been amazing and their segments have been blowing DX away. And I am not saying DX is doing bad segments; Kevin Nash is involved in some great segments. Kevin Nash has gotten himself over with these segments and Alex Shelley as well.
With that being said, there are many benefits by having Kevin Nash has the #1 contender for the X-Division title and I would go furthre and say I also want him to win the X-Division title. Here are some of the benefits:
1) If Kevin Nash does become the #1 contender and he wins the title, then this makes the "No Limits" phrase that much more credible. If Kevin Nash wins, then instantly everybody can become a contender for the title.
2) Right now, the X-Division has been floundering in my opinion. When Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, and AJ Styles were feuding, the X-Division had been at an all-time high. Now that they have moved on, the title hasn't been as important. Senshi is okay as X-Division champion, but I would rather see somebody charismatic having the title. And that person is Kevin Nash.
3) Finally, if Kevin Nash does win the title, he can eventually lose the title to the next up and comer. It helps the person that they beat the biggest X-Division champion ever and they also beat a former world champion. Kevin Nash gave us all these great segments and somebody gets a rub from Kevin Nash. A win-win situation.
JP: Randle: 424 words. Sat: 285 words. JT?
JT: Question 4: There is a chance that Stephanie might pull rank and keep DX around longer than expected. Your thoughts?
Randle: The idea that D-X might stick around longer than just a summer run is a great thing. Sure, a lot of cynics will say that they were used to pretty much squash the Spirit Squad in a couple big matches. However, I'm pretty sure that none of those cynics really liked the Spirit Squad anyway, and would rather see those five guys in completely new personas, where they might be taken slightly more seriously. So really, D-X provided an impetuous for the Spirit Squad to eventually break up and become more serious contenders that already have a jump on getting into the main events, because most of their early training was IN the main event.
Cynics might also point out that a large portion of the D-X promos are juvenile toilet humour. I guess that's supposed to be an insult, because they left out the part where it's also freaking funny as hell. And it's two guys obviously going out and having the time of their lives having fun. Remember when wrestling used to be fun? Foley, Edge, Christian and Angle spent months backstage doing silly little ad-libbed skits, and it was great and really let their personalities shine. This is just like that. Wasn't everyone getting tired of the "grim and dour" Game, anyway? We all knew that Triple H is a hilarious guy normally, why shouldn't he have a chance to take a break from being the serious main eventer and kick back for a year. You know that he knows that the main event is pretty full right now, with Edge and Cena battling it out in an extended feud that they earned the right to have back in January. What's the harm in screwing around in the upper midcard? Two years ago, the fans were demanding he do exactly that.
And sure, it keeps Vince around and on our TV's, and isn't that just a horrible thing. But I'm fairly sure that there still isn't a better heel in wrestling than the evil billionaire, Mr. McMahon, and really, you can't have anti-establishment D-X around if there's no establishment to fight, and that means the big guy. Sure, they could screw around with Jonathan Coachman, but I doubt anyone takes him seriously as an authority figure.
Of course, we can't forget that Umaga is getting involved in D-X, too And what's so wrong with Umaga anyway? He's worked hard, he's got one of those stiff-looking movesets that makes workrate freaks cream, and his theme music rocks. Sure, his finisher is a thumb to the throat. Got a problem? Here, let me punch you in the throat and see how much you like it.
And the final reason why D-X is great and should stick around is this: it makes money, and Vince likes having more money. Simple, really.
Sat: DX deserves to stick around because they are currently the best thing going on RAW. The fans had been begging for DX and it would be premature to pull the plug on DX this quickly. DX has had very good and funny segments and that is all we, the fans can ask for. The fan's support for DX has also been amazing and just for that reason alone, DX should stick around. While John Cena/Edge has been a good feud, it has not been on the same level as DX.
Everybody has also been saying that Triple H should stay out of the title race. DX has allowed for Triple H to do that and take a lesser role. DX has also allowed the WWE to see if some of the young talent have a chance in the future. We have seen some of the amazing matches that Kenny has had and Umaga has also looked pretty good against DX. Everyone is always complaining about the tag team division and DX could help that division once they are done with the McMahons. The plug should not be pulled on DX because they have been entertaining and there is still so much more that they can do.
JT: Randle: 471 words. Sat: 206 words. JP?
JP: All right, now it’s time to vote. Who won TGPD match between Randle and Sat?
JP: Voting will remain open until Saturday August 19th at 2:00am GMT. Thanks for playing!
Next week the opening round continues as Jeff Small takes on Jordan Williams. Will Small move on to show that he is the dominant article on Sunday, or will Jordan move one step closer to getting revenge on me for stealing his girlfriend (deny is all you want while reviewing the Wii. Come on, who is going to believe anything coming out of the mouth of a guy reviewing the Wii?)? Only you, the readers, can decide!
JT: Really enjoyed that didn’t you Randle? You’re lucky I’m not allowed to vote! Thanks to this week’s competitors, and to all that vote. It will be quite an interesting few weeks!
Exit, stage left!
JT: I now work Saturday afternoons/evenings as well, so it was even more fun trying to get this in on time than it’s ever been! Have a great week my little treefrogs.
JP: I don’t even have a home anymore as I’m transitioning jobs and life. Yep, it’s gonna be a great next 50 issues!
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