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Falls Count Anywhere


I used to be mad at my woman.
Welcome to Falls Count Anywhere! My name is Chris and it just keeps getting better all the time.

The show opened with the great big family of JBL’s Cabinet and Team Angle. They just smiled and went over the fact that they indeed did take the Big Show last week and they’ve got a match where Orlando Jordan would team with Jindraik and Luther Reigns against Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio and Booker T. The match was OK; it went long and they all did a lot of stuff, including letting Mysterio carry a large portion of the match.

Honestly, Rey wins Best Flying Wrestler every year yet doesn’t get consideration for Best Wrestler due to his size. He’s been carrying so much of the SmackDown! roster that you’d think he was US Air. Eddie and Booker were both doing good stuff, though Rey really took center stage. The finish was the typical top guys against the friends of the top guys ending where Rey hit his 619, Booker followed up with the scissors kick and Eddie ended it all with a Frog Splash for the pin.

After the match, Jindraik and Luther pushed Orlando around for the loss. Angle and JBL then got into a little bit of a thing. JBL told Angle to “control your Neanderthal (which is properly pronounced Knee-And-Er-Tall) and your metrosexual.” That was a great line. Theodore R. Long interrupted and said that they were both over looking The Big Show. Good point. Teddy then said that Angle and JBL would be meeting in a Last Man Standing Match. Fun segment.

From the Tom Cruise School of Acting Pained...
John Cena beat Kenzo Suzuki. This was a lame match, since Kenzo isn’t good in the ring and Cena isn’t good enough to carry him to a strong match. Afterwards, Cena cut a Rumble promo, saying that he would win it all. I actually hope he does, as that would finally show the the WWE has a sense of direction with their pushes on the SmackDown! side.

There was a good little segment where Eddie and Rey were jibba-jabbering in the mother tongue and Booker felt left out. He then said that Eddie didn’t have his back last week and that they could have been tag team champs. They are slowly turning Eddie. It’s too obvious now and I’m rather bummed. Eddie said that the three of them would be working together to win the Rumble and that Eddie would be Main Eventing at Mania. Eddie is really good in these types of segments.

In a waste of our time, Heidenreich read a poem. It was OK, but really, I think he should break from the hard fast rhymes that he’s been using and go into slant rhyme or perhaps a more free form spoken word concept.

Angle asked Teddy Long to change the match and he wouldn’t. Teddy also wouldn’t let Angle into his office. Hmmmmmmm..

There was a fairly good Cruiserweight four-way for a spot in the Rumble. This featured Paul London, Spike Dudley, Shannon Moore and Funaki. It was really well done at times, but the crowd didn’t care. The highlights were Paul London doing a backflip over the top rope to the floor with the help of Funaki, Funaki hitting his Swinging Reverse DDT, and finally, Paul London hitting Spike with the 450 Splash to win the match. I would have rather seen Akio in this match, but still, it was pretty good.

Carlito Caribbean Cool was backstage trying to get folks to sign the Anti-Teddy Petition. JBL went by to try and talk to Theodore R. Long, but when Teddy opened the door, he blocked the way in because he had a guest in there. Something was up for sure, it would seem. JBL then signed Carlito’s petition and Amy Weber took her hot self out to get the other ladies to sign. Amy was pretty good here in trying to convince the girls to sign. She started talking bad about Joy Giovanni (MMMMMMM…Giovanni) who was standing right behind her with a milk shake, which she then dumped on Amy. Not an important segment, but I think we’re seeing that Amy is going to blossom into a good talking manager if she sticks around.

They joined the JBL-Angle Last Man Standing Match already in progress and it was a very physical match between two very different styles that just worked with the storyline they presented. To get over the stipulation, they had Kurt put the Ankle Lock on JBL and had him tap, but since the only way you could win was to put your opponent out for a ten count, it didn’t matter. Really nice touch. They went to commercial and when they came back, Angle got thrown like a lawn dart into the steel steps. They did a bunch of knock downs and counts, with both Angle and JBL doing a bunch of really well-timed stand-ups on 9, including one where Kurt wasn’t fully to his feet, but was at least off his knees to break the count.

Angle polishes JBL's boot...
In a somewhat contrived ending, they had Kurt take a chair, and before he could hit JBL, JBL kicked the chair into Angle’s head, but Kurt still managed to hit JBL and the two of them were out for the ten count to end a really long and good match. The crowd hated the finish.

They then showed on the TitanTron that Teddy had been in the back with Big Show and that the Big Show loved it when a plan comes together. That signed off the show.

All in all, satisfying for the content, but didn’t do much to advance us towards the Rumble. The RAW side has more going for it now than SD!.

The Wrestling Observer had its annual awards issue last week and the winners didn’t look anything like the Garcias. Wrestler of the Year was Pro Wrestling Noah’s Kenta Kobashi. Can’t argue with it, since he was one of only two major champs who made it through the voting period with their title reign intact. Chris Benoit, the winner of the Garcia for Wrestler of the Year, took second and won Outstanding Wrestler of the Year with Kobashi taking second there. I believe Benoit also holds a first in that he won Best Technical Wrestler and Best Brawler in the same year. Samoa Joe was third, which is not surprising considering the power of his Ring of Honor Title reign.

Tag Team of the Year on both our awards were the same. The number of Americans that watch Japanese wrestling with any frequency is probably in the low thousands, but these two are just off the charts fantastic.

Mick Foley won best on interviews, which is odd for a guy who was only in for a few weeks. Eddie Guerrero won Most Charismatic, which was his only win. Rey Mysterio won Best Flyer, which was contested since there are a lot of great fliers in TNA and Ring of Honor.

Match of the Year, always my fave, went to the Kobashi-Akiyama match from July. It was an amazing match. Feud of the Year went to Benoit/HHH/Michaels. This was close to the HHH/Benoit that won here on the Planet. I’d say that the two matches these guys had were great, but if you add the singles matches between Benoit and HHH, that feud is better. Cena vs. Foley and CM Punk vs. Samoa Joe were also right there.

What led to the Royal Rumble? Well, a lot of folks seem to know that the WWF tried out a Rumble Battle Royal on the road well before they started the regular Rumbles in 1988. But before that, there were a series of battle royals in a little town called San Francisco in a little building called the Cow Palace.

The San Francisco Battle Royal started in 1967. It was one of the best drawing gimmicks in California. In 1967, Bearcat Wright won the first Battle Royal in SF history. In 1968, they had 18 guys in the ring and Bill Miller came out the winner. The concept was hot and in 1969, the hottest wrestler in San Francisco history, Ray The Crippler Stevens, came out on top.

Look...look...back to the beginning...
Now, no good idea stays put forever, and there were no SF Battle Royals in 1970 or 71. There were Los Angeles Battle Royals both of those years. The first one was in 1969, though there’s little info on what happened in it. In 1970 perhaps a pact between the LaBelles and Shires was made to only have one Battle Royal a year, and that was broken in 1972 when Shires held another one, won by Stevens again.

Both groups had annual battle royals until the 1980s. LA’s last one was in 1980, while Shires struggled for one more year and had one in 1981 that was won by Pat Patterson, the man who brought it to the WWF in 1987.

The thing that they did right in the old days and don’t do anymore is selling it as a dangerous match. They brought guys in from all sorts of areas that normally didin’t compete in the WWF. The WWF did that until recent years, including the classic Drew Carey entry. They also sold it by reading a list of injuries, almost always to guys who were either planning on taking a vacation or a guy who had been visiting and was going back to his home territory. This got over the danger of the match, adding heat to it.

As I mentioned, the Rumble was brought to the WWF by Patterson, and it’s no wonder it got over. Patterson is believed to be the best Finish Writer in WWF/E history, and a battle royal is nothing but a bunch of small finishes capped off by one huge finish. He had been in both LA and SF battle royals, winning two San Francisco editions, including the final one. This year will be interesting to see if Patterson is back to write the story of the match, or if they’ll just go with the folks they have.

I hope Patterson is back, because this is a year where they need a perfect finish.

That’s all for this week. Tuesday will have a Rumble Report and a look at the SuperShow from a LIVE member of the studio audience.

Talk about today's column in the forums!

Chris Garcia

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