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Mad Man in the shadow of the youngest dead Professional Wrestling Territory in The United States. Proof that even a genius of the art form left to his own devices can make mistakes. Somewhere in the foothills of The Smoky Mountains, there is a polyester tennis racket, a pair of expensive sunglasses, and a guitar string from The Man in Black. I must confess, my knowledge of Smoky Mountain Wrestling was non-existent until I started listening to Jim Cornette’s podcasts on MLW Radio. The most notable information surrounding SMW was: it’s Angel Investor: veteran music producer Rick Rubin, it was Tammy Sytch’s break into the art form. Name sound familiar? WWE marks would remember this troubled soul as Sunny. I certainly do. It’s main geographical loop was approximately 350 miles between Tennessee and North Carolina. Finally, marks nationwide can blame SMW and the loudmouth from Louisville for the invention of The Triple Threat Match. Mr. Cornette, thanks for giving Vince and others something else to f*** with! Smoky Mountain Wrestling ceased operations around Christmas time, 1995. It was just four years old.
As we glide into Music City for the final SmackDown Live before WrestleMania, Daniel Bryan’s music greets us and a typical “YES” chant breaks out. He reinforces the parameters of the match pitting him and Shane McMahon against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Win, and The Canadians are reinstated to SmackDown Live. Lose, and the duo remains fired. He calls Shane out. Given his very recent medical concerns, it’s a small miracle The Son of An Idiot is even walking, let alone going to compete in New Orleans. In my opinion, this is the most yawn-inducing match on The Mania Card. Blame my decades of experience watching and thinking about the art form. All parties involved in this storyline have acted heelish at times. Why set the match up in this vein? If the match is eventually Shane vs. Daniel, aren’t you wasting this match? To Bryan, Shane hasn’t been a baby face long enough to be in this match. Other than a vehicle for Daniel’s return, this match feels pointless to me. That is a rather sad indictment of the current product.
Charlotte’s music hits with The SmackDown Brass still in the ring. The boys leave so we get an early recess. The Queen of Hearts comes out to give Second Nature a second shot after their match two weeks ago. After 15 minutes of another good match that included a failed run-in from Carmella and a stupid ref, Charlotte got the win with The Figure Eight. Vince, are you using this mechanism to teach your grandkids to count? The Champion can’t lose heading into this epic WrestleMania showdown with Asuka, and she doesn’t. Bell rings and The Female Muta’s music hits. Charlotte allows her full entrance, standing mid-ring. The Japanese Ace has a mic to deliver her line. Charlotte rips it from her hand mid-sentence. “I’m ready, and you’ll know at WrestleMania…” A warning to The Untouchable Mystic. Sasha Banks said the same thing, and my girl was seconds away from putting your heart in your throat the night after The Rumble. It shouldn’t be tougher, but it will be because of the stage.
Opposing stand up promos for AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura followed the ladies. The interviews were sandwiched around a match highlighting the four-way dance for US Gold at Mania. Both talking segments were typical for the men involved. The Phenomenal One was up first, and did say that he is an emotional performer, but it’s a strength, not a weakness. I’m sure smart marks worldwide freaked out when Stamford allowed a mention of The Tokyo Dome. I was glad they acknowledged the previous encounter as well. The Artist got his turn, saying he came to The United States for his WrestleMania Moment. Yes, he is playing with Styles’ head, and he takes the game very seriously. The contest between Rusev and Jinder Mahal was noteworthy because WWE actually gave The Bulgarian Brute a singles win, yay! Fans are hopeful for him going into Mania. However, WWE’s booking history tells them not to hold their breath. The material surrounding the contest was basic fluff. Bobby Roode was trying to sound like a baby face on commentary. Bell rang after things had concluded and we found Randy Orton ready to strike with a pair of RKOs, the latter was assisted by Roode shoving Aiden English off the second rope or direct fire. Mr. Glorious and The Viper then faced off in the center of the ring.
Cut to backstage, and the only act in WWE that can make comedy work in the current art form. The New Day were shilling The WWE Network and WrestleMania as only they can. Electronic devices were being pulled out of places the never should‘ve been to help illustrate the network’s mobility. The Usos walk up to normalize things: Welcome to The Uso Penitentiary!” The Bludgeon Brothers ratchet it up further, walking through a steel door between teams. Staring in intense silence, they slowly walk to the camera and destroy it with simultaneous hammer blows. This segment was very well put together. Most marks would be floored if Harper & Rowan didn’t leave Mania with Tag Team Gold.
A non-descript 8-Man Tag was used to prop up The Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal on The SmackDown side. Baron Corbin pinned Fandango with an End of Days. At the moment, the only memorable thing about both of these gentlemen is that they each won their debut contests at WrestleMania. At least Fandango beat a future Hall of Famer in Chris Jericho. In the case of The Heel With No Pulse: Hey Baron, no one cares that you won a throw away match on TV, and no one cares that you won the first Andre Trophy.
Speaking of things marks don’t care about. Here I am, dealing with semantics again. Although, this example was far less egregious than Roman Reigns’ “suspension.” Why do talking heads in Connecticut even use the word “fired” on the air? Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn attempted to hold the show hostage by coming through the crowd and cutting a promo on the announce table. The promo itself was fantastic. Zayn was a hot mess, apologizing to Brie and her baby daughter for the fact that daddy won’t be coming back to them in good shape. Owens followed suit, mocking Daniel’s “follow your dreams” line: “It’s our dream to destroy you at WrestleMania!” The Bosses came out to respond. The Canadians walked through the crowd. Bryan asked them to stop and told the sheep to take their cell phones out and get pictures of the last appearance of both dudes in WWE, yeah right! LET’S GO!
Before the Obnoxious Twins spouted off, Shelton Benjamin an Chad Gable did a promo in Bright Letter Format. They don’t care about The Dream Match at WrestleMania and they are going to wreck it. Sorry boys, no one believes you. Neither one of you are Carmella. A very even, physical match ended with Styles hitting The Phenomenal Forearm while giving Nakamura a front row seat. Afterward, Benjamin attacked the top striker in WWE. Shinsuke fought him off while Styles was on the apron. AJ may have the best balance in the business. He executed the jump to his finish to land perfectly on his feet in front of his rival. A ducking Nakamura came up slowly to receive a pat on his head, mirroring his taunt of Styles last week. Next stop for me and my passengers is the best Monday Night Raw of the year. To my friends and colleagues spending the week in The Big Easy, I am extremely jealous. Be safe: If you recall it all before leaving, you didn’t do it right. Just remember, New Orleans is a very sacred place with vibes not found anywhere else.
Mad Man’s Spinal Tap & 20 Questions
Back to back weeks we see the Mad Man come to play in our sandbox. Does this article go to 11? Are the retread concepts, just hollow nowadays?
Back to back weeks we see the Mad Man come to play in our sandbox! Does this article go to 11?
When you have decades of experience watching the art form, your eyes and thought processes change. It’s the reason my colleagues can break down pending news and angles we haven’t seen yet. Mr. Meltzer made a cottage industry out of it. A ton of people on The Internet are trying to follow suit. Then, there are fans like me. As much as I love twitter, Professional Wrestling fans were never meant to receive “spoilers” every day.
This is NOT a “Back in my day…” thing. My eyes have changed too. However, I am focused more on WWE’s calendar when watching Stamford’s offering. If I think about wrestling. it’s very simple. My suspension of disbelief is gone for very few performers. In fact, I would say it’s gone for most fans. If we know it’s a work, why are scripts and outcomes still based on the assumption that we don’t? If I have seen a gimmick before, I am VERY hard to impress. Make me believe you can beat somebody; and stand out doing so, or I will chew you up and spit you the Hell out.
For those who say I should keep my mouth shut because I can’t perform and never have, I DON’T CARE! Saint Dave gets a pass, and y’all still watch the current product like his lap dogs and clones, despite “knowing’ the outcome? I don’t watch for the outcome anymore. Based on character development and pushes, I can see that coming. Call me a hypocrite and I will play 20 Questions with you. Can you get me to the finish line without looking like an idiot or a laughable copy of someone else?
Su Yung is 5’6’’ish. Marks and sheep world wide are transfixed and petrified? Make up aside, why? She is impersonating three legends with no unique move set and doing it very badly. Without her zombies, can she beat anybody? Mr. Calloway used druids. He was 6’10’’ and did not need them to kick your ass. Mick Foley put himself and you through HELL before using The Mandible Claw. You had no choice but to take it. The Great Muta was arguably the best Rising Sun performer of all time. He had a move set most American fans had never seen before. The Mist was believable in his hands because audience and opponent were spinning trying to keep up with him. Where is Su Yung’s Mysticism? As much as fans love her, there are no OMG moments in her matches, and her gimmick is predicated on them.
She is far from the only example. Twitter went crazy about a month ago because a top name on the indies put something in her opponent’s mouth during a match. Outside of a prison fight, when would this EVER HAPPEN? Why is this necessary? If this is a work, why would any girl allow someone to do this? Tell me why either woman gets hired again without the parrot response? Same question applies to Joseph. Dude ain’t pickin’ up anybody like that in real life. I dare him to pick my wheelchair up with his finish. He would be in traction.
Tony Schiavone is our crazy wrestling fan uncle. Our memories of him when we were kids and teenagers all ROCK! He is without question one of the best to ever call the action. God Bless Conrad Flair for bringing him back to the art form. Among other fun stuff, he now does commentary for MLW. With tongue firmly planted in cheek; I must say, I have a slight problem with him. I understand that it is his job. He continues to put MJF over because?? I get the gimmick. It’s just OLD! He is ripping off The Miz. One look at him, and you can see that. “I have more money than you.” So did DiBiase. And if you did, you wouldn’t need the $50.00 a night you made before Tony started calling your matches because you’d be paying him. Just wait until Mike retires before you go to New York.
Finally, we arrive at the biggest tent. Vinnie’s circus was on The West Coast in The House of Hot Rod & Billy Jack Haynes. Sheep under 25 are now asking a three-worded question. The only help you’ll get from me is to say that he may have been the father of Modern Independent Wrestling. Sometimes, it wasn’t his choice, and he is still fighting demons today.
Back to this week. Didn’t Spinal Tap all stand in the Center Ring around a month ago and do a babyface promo? “It’s our fault. We’ll do better for you. This is YOUR product.” First, I believe Stephanie as a babyface as much as I believe Saint Richard as a babyface. Shut up and go home as a shoot. Second, as big a moron as Vince is, he’s NOT leaving the person carrying the big top out of WrestleMania! Outside of the obvious, Becky’s leg is a work. SHE WAS LIMPING ON THE WRONG ONE ON MONDAY! Seth Rollins is hurt as a shoot. He WASN’T at Monday Night Raw. If Becky wasn’t cleared, she wouldn’t be on either show. So WHY is everybody going apes*** over this?
Sometimes, I can’t tell which group is Spinal Tap?
Is it the group on stage or the sheep who believe what they’re watching? I truly wish this art form was treated more like real competition.
Mad Man’s Consequences Of Sainthood
Does the lineage of Saint Ric need no explanation?
It’s been a while since Mad Man has landed his Sea Duck in our waters. He has a Flair for gold and the bold! Let’s see where this goes.
Let’s see if I remember how to do this. The Internet Wrestling Community has not seen this from me in months. Something BIG had to happen to get me out of hiding.
I’d say this week at Vinnie’s Circus certainly qualifies. If you’re expecting me to wax poetic about the dudes, take some Nyquil and go back to sleep. The Royal Rumble is both brilliant and flawed at the same time. And yes, it is about effing time the ladies got their shot to steal the show. Although, it can be quite successfully argued, they do so on a nightly basis already. All did a fabulous job last year. Including my girl; Lady Banks, going well past an hour over two nights. Drawing The Shawn Michaels Slot at #1, And then, making a beeline to the ring for a nose-to-nose promo with The Female Muta, Asuka.
The Female Dragon had two words echoing through Philadelphia to kick off Monday Night: “I’M READY!” Those who saw the full confrontation know she was. Who was her opposition in the desert again? The thought of The Rumble being flawed is not new. Especially when its ultimate goal is taken into account. Win the damn thing and Main Event The Showcase of The Immortals! Wait, what did I just say? Back to that shortly.
Blemishes in the execution of this concept make their first appearance innocently enough. The victor in this contest is not based on who participates in it. The Champions headed into WrestleMania dictate the finish. What results from algebra like this? Simple, in most years over 80% of the field is background noise. Most of the time, smarks and sheep alike have a pretty good idea who’s headed to Mania. Overwhelmingly, we don’t mind as long as we get a great match. This changes when the feminine equivalent of Mike Tyson shows up on Vinnie’s doorstep, signs a convoluted contract, and just might bail after the biggest show of the year. Storyline and logic; what little there is in this art form we love, take a beating when Vinnie says Tyson MUST face Holyfield before she runs off to have kids and turn into Brock Lesnar.
What the Hell does he do with the Female Connor McGregor?
The BEST organic baby face in the industry this decade. He turned into Helen Keller on Monday Night. No, you little prick! I am in the wheelchair. You are not disabled! Did he see or feel the crowd in Phoenix? I certainly did. In fact, my neighbors knocked on my apartment door to ask if I was alright. That’s how loud I was. Vince, you haven’t had an honest crowd reaction like that in 20 years, and you wanna pollute it? “Jesus, she wasn’t supposed to be here. You mean these fans AREN’T sheep?” Don’t worry Vince, they’re still sheep and this is still all about Flair and McMahon, DAMMIT! For those laughing at me and saying it’s a work; guess what? It doesn’t have to feel like a work!
I started feeling like something was different about Professional Wrestling in the late ‘80s, when nobody could kick Ric Flair’s ass and get rid of him. First switch of NWA Gold I remember? Ronnie Garvin taking out Flair in Detroit, 1988. As an eight-year-old, I was hardly thinking about math. Why does this matter? Garvin had The Gold six weeks. He had one Title Defense at the end of that window, against Ric Flair. Guess who won? Everybody does cartwheels over his trilogy with The Dragon in 1989, not me. Don’t get me wrong, phenomenal matches, but Ric Flair was always walking out with Championship Gold. Hey Ric, the art itself was a work. Why show us The Gold was too? Spanning from 1984 and Kerry Von Erich to 1993 And Barry Windham, Ric Flair was GIVEN no less than five runs with NWA Gold or its equal because he was Saint Richard Flair isn’t the only idiot in the modern art. During his last holy act with Ricky Steamboat, Vincent Kennedy McMahon walks into a New Jersey courtroom and gigs the business hard way. Exposing it simply because he doesn’t wanna pay taxes on an authentic sporting event. Excuse every child under ten at the time? THANKS VINCE!
Two years later, WWF Gold was held up. How does he deal with this? First, let’s bring Ric Flair in because those in charge of WCW were absolute MORONS! Wait, Vinnie can’t have Hulk Hogan pinned in 1992. “It’s okay, we’ll put Gold on the line at The Royal Rumble. Winner gets The Strap!” Awesome, a boatload of great performers! Did ANYBODY really think Ric Flair wasn’t winning this match? HELL, Hogan pulled Sid Justice out from the floor! At least Flair won in 1992. Flash forward almost three decades. If the concept is, “Winner gets choice of Champion at WrestleMania” Why is Sid Justice going to Main Event Mania FROM THE FLOOR? Hey ass****, if you NEED Tyson/Holyfield, do the Bret/Luger finish! Becky WON the match! Here’s an idea, every televised event from here to Mania is held in an empty arena until we are given a collective Heimlich Maneuver to expel Ashley from our systems. The WWE Universe would never do this because sheep love this circus. If this stands, The Women’s Royal Rumble has jumped the shark just two years in. Vince, we know it’s a work.
Why must you insist on making it THIS! Give Asuka to Ashley. You don’t need to verify Charlotte Flair’s Sainthood. Sasha Banks has seen it three times.