AS I SEE IT - 11/28/2001
This week, some assorted thoughts and plugs...
First, why does a 56 year old man worth $700 million feel the need to do something tasteless, pointless, and without reason like having grown men kissing his ass in public?
No offense against Vince McMahon's gluteus maximus... I'm sure he spends lots of time in the gym making it look the way he wants to (did I just write that?). But I don't need to see 20 minutes of my TV time devoted to watching Vince McMahon make Stephen Regal, Steve Austin, and Jim Ross literally and figuratively kiss it.
Imagine what would have happened in Charlotte on November 19th RAW had we not gotten Jerry Lawler and Ric Flair's return on the same night. Wrestling fans in Charlotte would have been ready to riot if the WWF hadn't given us those moments on the same night, and had instead featured Vince McMahon do his version of Sisqo's Thong Song as the big happening that had been widely rumored.
Fortunately, most people live and at home concentrated on the return of two wrestling legends, and not the two um.... cheeks of the company's owner.
But once wasn't bad enough.
Viewers got it again...twice... on Monday night, with McMahon trying to make both Steve Austin and Jim Ross do it. If the idea was to get Jim Ross in an angle in his hometown and to turn the Undertaker, couldn't Vince McMahon have found a better way to do it? Given the reports that Ross vocally objected to the angle backstage, did Vince McMahon REALLY need to make Jim Ross's daughters watch from backstage as their father forced to kiss his boss's bare ass?
L. Brent Bozell and his friends will have a field day with this one... that is, if he isn't too busy looking for my supposed WWF "financial support" (see last week's column), Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny.
Bringing back the T&A is one thing from the "Attitude" days that most of the live crowd didn't seem to mind. But its a safe bet that they didn't have in mind bringing boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, or children to se the bare ass of a 56 year old man. I wonder how many viewers they lose on next week's RAW or even on this week's Smackdown because of this debacle.
Next, in a more positive wrestling related item for those of you within driving distance of the Northeast, the South Jersey-based Combat Zone Wrestling is taking their next step forward with their debut in the legendary ECW Arena with the "Cage of Death III" show on Saturday, December 15.
The matches announced include the main event, the "Cage of Death" match... Justice Pain vs. Wifebeater. The Cage of Death is a bizarre, souped up cage match unlike the tame TV-friendly cage matches seen today.
Then, for both the Big Japan Junior Heavyweight Title and CZW Junior Heavyweight Titles... Trent Acid vs. Ruckus. Acid is part of the Backseat Boyz, one of the best tag teams in the Northeast United States.
In a six-man match: The returning Spanish Announce Team vs. Divine Storm and Brian XL. The SAT, trained by Mikey Whipwreck pulls off some of the most spectacular posts you'll ever see, and has had some of their best matches against Chris Devine, Quiet Storm, and Brian XL, all from the New York area.
In a three way dance, Falls Count Anywhere, for the Iron Man Title: Nick Berk vs. Adam Flash vs. Nick Mondo. Adam Flash is from Maryland, and also works all over the Northeast. Nick Mondo has worked some of the sickest hardcore matches in the United States this year. He's also more than capable of working some of the best wrestling matches around.
In a debut match, The Overboyz, Joey Corman and Samir take on Mike Thunder and Paul London. All four are from the NWA-Southwest promotion, and will be making their Northeastern wrestling debuts.
Those of you interested, can call (856) 848-5070 or (856) 468-9147 to reserve your tickets now.
Then, there's the other side of the world of independent wrestling...
While I find independent wrestling to be the best bang for your buck these days, largely free of "sports entertainment" of the type found in the first item in this column.... and will always promote it on PWBTS.com... there are independent promoters whose business practices are somewhat less than ethical, or at least not very smart.
One promoter (notorious for no-shows) explaining away a major no-show by claiming that there was a "bomb threat on [the wrestler's] plane from Chicago" and that "this is the kind of thing we have to deal with after September 11". One small problem: no such bomb threat ever occurred.
A west coast promoter, whose recent critically acclaimed but financially disastrous weekend of shows cost him $10,000 in losses, at least two of his most talented workers, and likely his promotion (which will need to be sold).
It's maddening that promoters like these, and others many of you can identify, ruin the image of independent wrestling for those seeking an alternative to the WWF; or who are just looking for an entertaining live product to watch on the weekends.
Talents like Christopher Daniels, Low Ki, AJ Styles, American Dragon, Michael Modest, Donovan Morgan, and the Backseat Boyz need more places to shine, and more fans to see them.
But promoters need to be far more responsible, so as to provide these and the hundreds of others looking for a place to show what they can do, with promotions that fans can trust will provide what they promise, and that workers can trust to get the payday that is presented to them.
Drop the carny mentality, and try running your business more like A business, and not like THE business.
Until next time...
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)