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
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
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
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
and subscribe to the newsletter.
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.
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.
wouldn't think he was so cool if she'd seen Highlander
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.
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.
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
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.
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 at West Point.
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.
all for this week, gentle readers!
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