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Wrestling Today's Date:

Falls Count Anywhere


It's the Cialis.
Welcome to Falls Count Anywhere! My name is Chris and I love Mike Ditka.

There wasn’t a lot to like about SmackDown!, sadly, though I tried. It opened with Carlito’s Cabana. Carlito is great in this role, but he does need to wrestle a little more. He announced that Matt Morgan was his bodyguard now that Big Show has turned down the role. Morgan did his stuttering thing that didn’t get over, but Carlito got a little heat for telling the audience not to laugh at him. Big Show came out and tried to chokeslam Carlito, but Matt nailed him with a chair.

JBL was the only bright spot as he did a great commercial where he called all rappers thugs. There was a great line where he said that you didn’t hear about Willie Nelson shooting Randy Travis, or something like that. It was a good little bit followed by JBL destroying Scotty 2 Hotty in the ring. JBL beat him until he got DQed and then beat him some more to get him to say ‘I Quit’ which he eventually did.

They showed Cena at Fenway throwing out the first pitch. Best line here: ‘I’m gonna throw a knuckleball, straight junk since I haven’t got any heat.’ I love baseball lingo.

Jindraik ran into Sharmell and said that it wasn’t Kurt’s fault he has a fetish for guttersluts. This brought out Booker T and they brawled to the ring where a match started. Jindraik got busted open and they did no close-ups on him. It wasn’t nearly as bad as the Paul London bloodfest. Booker won with the scissors kick and the Bookend.

Spider-Man No More!
Eddie Guerrero did a silent interview. He got in and people started chanting ‘Eddie Sucks’ He shook with rage, but didn’t say anything. Eventually, he dropped the mask and stomped on, grinding it into the mat. Not a bad concept, but would have worked better as a backstage interview and a fair amount shorter.

Do I even have to say that Heidenreich vs. Orlando Jordan was awful?

Mercury took on Hardcore Holly in a match that was actually kinda good. It wasn’t great, but Melina was there and they worked as hard as you’d expect. They didn’t get a lot of time, but they did what they could. Holly got the pin with the Alabama Slam and Haas and Holly will face MNM for the titles at the PPV.

Angle apologized to Sharmell, then said dirty, nasty filthy things about her. Booker was shown watching him say them and looked mad. This was crap, though Angle’s delivery is always good.

The Bashem Brothers took on John Cena in a match that wasn’t good, I mean with Cena in there, and no one who can reasonably carry him, you’ve got no chance. They did the thing where Cena is in control until the pair overcomes and takes command due to greater numbers. Makes sense. Eventually, Cena threw Danny out of the ring and gave Doug the FU for the win.

Not a good show.

In a move that shocked everyone and also will affect Falls Count Anywhere, UPN (which has been jokingly called the Urban People’s Network) has moved SmackDown! to Friday nights for next season. There is so much here that kinda stinks. It’s obvious that this is punishment for RAW leaving Spike for USA. Even though Spike would say that they didn’t want wrestling back, the story goes that they wanted RAW, but not at the terms the WWE was asking, and by going to USA, any possibility of Spike topping USA is gone.

The other thing this says is that SD! probably won’t be back on for a 2006-07 season. That’s kind of a shame, but still, they’ll probably have a home on USA or perhaps another of the NBC-allied networks. No one in the WWE had any idea this was coming. A lot of TV exec types are saying that the WWE should have included a day and time rider to the contract, since they had all the power when they negotiated the contract back in the late 1990s.

DDP is also gone from TNA. He was one of the guys that Dusty brought in and hasn’t been well-liked because he wouldn’t do jobs for some folks, most notably Monty Brown.

The Observer this week has a great article on the history of the World Heavyweight Championship. It’s great history reading, so if you like the FlashBacks, you should go over to www.wrestlingobserver.com and subscribe to the newsletter.

Shawn Michaels' knee is pretty messed up and I think he underwent an MRI either yesterday or today. He’ll be out a couple of weeks selling the concussion.

She wouldn't think he was so cool if she'd seen Highlander IV.
Lita and Edge have a ton of backstage heat right now, but not nearly as much as management, which everyone blames for rewarding Edge and Lita for their infidelity. Lita isn’t exactly popular, and a lot of the time has not been, but at this point, I wouldn’t expect them to be on any Christmas card lists.

Both Chris Daniels and AJ Styles have reupped with TNA, I think for multi-year contracts. Daniels is probably the biggest deal in TNA right now, even with Styles holding the NWA title. The WWE, which had Daniels as a developmental prospect for years, must be kicking themselves.

That Observer article on the history of the World Championship brought up a lot of great stuff, most notably the early champions like Gotch, Tom Jenkins, George Hackenschmidt, The Stechers, and so on. He also mentioned something I didn’t know, that William Muldoon headlined the first ever card held at Madison Square Garden. I guess I should have known that, but I didn’t. He talked a lot about one match, the brutal bloodbath that went more than two hours between Gotch and Jenkins. It was one of those matches that I’d heard about from old timers. Tom Jenkins doesn’t get nearly enough mention these days, since all anyone seems to care about is the Hackenschmidt-Gotch rivalry, but without Jenkins, it wouldn’t have mattered.

Tom Jenkins was a tough guy. A real tough guy. He was one of the first Catch-as-Catch-Can wrestlers to become a star. Before the early 1900s, the dominant forms were Collar-and-Elbow (which is where we get our modern lock-up technique from) and Grecko-Roman. Jenkins was a star in the more physical Catch style. Tom was born in 1872 and early in his life, had the tragic misfortune to have fireworks blow up in his face, costing him an eye. It took him ages to recover, but he certainly did. There are folks who say that was what led him to fighting, having to defend the jabs of folks making fun of his glass eye. He worked as a steel man, which he credited for his speed and strength. It was at a company event that he had his first real match, which it seems he drew. After that match, the steel mill where he worked sent him for lessons and eventually he went full-time.

One of the problems some wrestlers in that era had was the fact that many couldn’t read (even the ones with two good eyes) and they were often taken advantage of by slick talking managers. Jenkins found himself with one of those, but eventually he was taken under the wing of George Tuohey, and if there was a Sports Agent Hall of Fame, it would be named after Tuohey.

George set him up with a series of match with Farmer Burns, though at first the two of them had a draw, Farmer dropped his American Championship to Danny McLeod, though Jenkins beat him a month or so later and claimed he was the champ. This set up Jenkins beating McLeod for the championship in 1901. This was an amazing match from what every report I’ve ever seen has read. There was even a write-up of it in the San Jose paper of the time, which is wild since the match took place in Cleveland! They had a rematch and Jenkins lost to McLeod, who was now a two-time champion. Jenkins trained for the final rematch by working in his old steel mill and ended up winning the 1903 match.

Right before he beat McLeod, Jenkins faced a young Frank Gotch. Jenkins won the match, but as often happens, Gotch was the one who got made because it was such a fierce and well-wrestled match. They wrestled several times, with Jenkins winning three and Gotch winning four or five, with one possibly being a draw. Gotch actually beat Jenkins for his title following the McLeod match, but Jenkins won it back.

Tom Jenkins at West Point.
It was George Hackenschmidt’s win over Jenkins in 1905 that is often cited as the first World Championship. Hackenschmidt was the European Champ, and when Jenkins went to Europe, Hack beat him. He also beat him in the US to set up the Gotch match that is also pointed to as the start of the World Championship.

Jenkins was named wrestling and boxing instructor at West Point by President Roosevelt, who was a great admirer of Jenkins, William Muldoon and Farmer Burns. I can remember coming across a photo of Muldoon shaking hands with TR when I was messing around the photo archives at the Smithsonian. Jenkins served as the instructor for more than 30 years and passed away at 84 in 1956.

I would say, judging from all reports I’ve read, that Jenkins was easily the equal of Gotch, and if you took away the two matches that were after Jenkins’ prime, they would be three wins apiece. Hackenschmidt dominated Jenkins, but they only wrestled twice that I know of and Jenkins certainly had the harder schedule. I’d say the three of them were all even, and likely Jenkins and Farmer Burns are on the same level.

That’s all for this week, gentle readers!

Talk about today's column in the forums!

Chris Garcia

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