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Wrestling Today's Date:

Falls Count Anywhere


Everything old is...
still pretty much old.
Welcome to Falls Count Anywhere! My name is Chris and the big news is nothing new.

A really good SmackDown! opened with Theodore R. Long in the ring. Before he got to really get into it, JBL came and said since the Champ was no longer here, he should be given a new title. Teddy didn’t like that idea and introduced Chris Benoit as the first Draft Lottery guy to SD!. To me, this isn’t a great choice as he’s a face and he was on the show just over a year ago, so there aren’t many fresh match-ups gained.

Still, sending Batista over at this point would be a little too obvious. Benoit talked about JBL being a quitter, and he’s still not a guy you want to have on the mic for long periods of time. Benoit asked for a match, which Theodore R. Long gave him, and as Chris was about to leave, JBL jumped him, but Benoit turned the tables and almost got him in the crossface. Nice way to start off.

First match was Carlito vs. Charlie Haas. After having great matches with MNM along with Bob Holly, this was sorta a let down. Haas is a great wrestler and if he was sent to RAW and started a fued with Benjamin over Shelton jumping, that would be a hot program. Haas went for a dive outside, but from what I hear, he actually mostly landed on his head and face. You couldn’t really tell from the angle they used. Carlito rolled up Holly using the tights. After the match, Morgan gave Haas the F5.

Backstage, Benoit was asked to be Heidenreich’s friend. Benoit looked at him like he was crazy. Benoit then was found by Eddie Guerrero (and I hope on Sunday they spell his name Eddy Guerrero, like they did in the ECW days) and Benoit said that he didn’t like the way that Eddie had been treating his friends of late, including the one guy Eddie couldn’t manage to beat, Rey Mysterio.

Didn't Rocky III end with this?
Akio and Paul London had a match that was way too short and ended badly. Akio, who needs more UPN time, did an awesome Rolling Flip Kick on London, but Eddie Guerrero came to ringside and grabbed a mic, killing the match. Eddie entered the ring and knocked around Akio when he started bugging him. London then got taken out, but he came back twice to try and Eddie tossed him out. Eddie then complained about Rey and said what he was gonna do to him. They didn’t need to interrupt a match for it, but it did get Eddie over as a guy who thinks he’s more important than the wrestling. He should watch out, HHH might try to depush him for using his gimmick.

Now, while I still hate the Sharmell/Angle program, I did really like the Booker T vs. Kurt match. They are both good workers and Angle had a night where he looked less hurt than usual. Lots of back and forth and Angle used the bearhug. When most other guys use the bearhug, it’s a rest spot. When Angle does it, it’s a brilliant piece of psychology. Angle got the Ankle Lock and Booker sold the leg for the rest of the match. Nice spot where Kurt did the Rolling Germans and Booker rolled through the third one and got a nearfall. Angle got a chair after a ref bump and went to wail on The Book, but ended up hitting the top rope, sending the chair back into his own head. Booker then hit an emotional Scissors Kick for the win. Really good match with smart work and some very strong selling from Booker.

After the commercial break, Angle was sitting in the ring, leaning against the bottom rope like Raven used to do. After a while, he got up and went to see Tazz, to demand an answer for whether or not Tazz was with the WWE or ECW. Tazz didn’t answer, but stared right through Angle. Eventually, Angle got up, and as Tazz turned to Michael Cole, Angle hit him with the mic and then hit him with a chair, busting him open. Tazz was helped to the back. This was a good angle.

Heidenreich’s match with some jobber was only notable because the chick they chose to be his friend for the night looked like a Jersey Shore Hoochie, by which I mean she had a nice rack, a slutty shirt, was chewing gum and wearing big earrings. I love Jersey Babes.

A moment of decorum...
Tony Chimmel introduced Paul Heyman, who came out with his ECW crew, minus Balls and Axl Rotten. They surrounded him as he did commentary with Michael Cole. Heyman was great here as he called the Chris Benoit vs. JBL match. JBL brought out his Crusaders, which included Carlito and company. The match wasn’t really much. About the only spot I remember is Benoit giving JBL a nice back suplex when JBL had him in a headlock. After a while, JBL’s crew interfered and the entire thing broke down. The ECW came in and there was a general brawl.

Then Tazz’s music hit.

And he walked to the ring with Balls and Axl. Everybody cleaned house and ECW stood tall in the ring again. It was the right way to put ECW over before the PPV.

Really good show with a really good ending and lots of strong momentum going into Sunday’s show.

According to the Observer, Oleg Taktarov is missing in Namibia. He was shooting a documentary thing about witches and the copter that was supposed to pick them up didn’t get there on time. None of them have been seen since and it’s nearly a week. Oleg was a big UFC star, probably the fourth biggest star of the period after Gracie was no longer the always winner. He trailed only Dan Sevren, Ken Shamrock and Tank Abbott, and he remained one of the most visible competitors until about 1998 or so. He went on to have roles in various movies, including Ronin.

New Jack won’t be on the WWE’s ECW PPV because there are warrants against him. Mike Awesome and Masato Tanaka will be facing off, which makes sense that Mike Awesome will be working (and doing just one match every few months probably means he’ll be healthy for once). The matches listed so far are: Awesome vs. Tanaka, Jericho vs. Lance Storm in Storm’s Retirement match, Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit, Little Guido vs. Super Crazy vs. Tajiri, and Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman vs. The Dudleys in what should be the big ol’ brawl of the night. Plus, I believe for the first time in five or six years (maybe more, in fact) Rey Mysterio will take on Psicosis. That match was what put both guys on the map in the US as they were the two Luchadores who faced off in ECW for the first time in 1995. They had matches in ECW, the Japanese WAR promotion, WCW and AAA.

Indy wrestler and personal fave Shark Boy is suing Miramax because of Robert Rodriguez’s new film The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl. Because Shark Boy had his name and gimmick trademarked years ago, I think as early as 1998, he’s able to sue, mostly because he thinks that damage will be done with people thinking he’s associated with a children’s character. These things have happened before and it’s never gone to court.

ECW’s Future
There’s a lot of talk about what happens to the ECW name after the PPV. There are rumors, both great and small, about plans and ideas, but nothing set in stone. Here’s my thoughts on many possible situations.

First: The PPV pulls in low numbers (you know, like the WWE has been doing of late). This is the end scenario of ECW. If that happens, there’s no chance of anything bringing it back short of someone buying the rights to the name and the trademarks from Vince and putting it up. This is highly unlikely, though not because of the WWE stars, but because the ECW name is so different and it should draw.

Hmmm...how would that look with HHH?
Second: The ECW PPV does OK numbers (slightly more than a usual PPV) but still draws less or about the same as the HHH/Batista in Hell in the Cell. This is a good scenario for the future of the brand. This would keep HHH happy, as he’s still be able to say that he’s the top draw and wouldn’t be out to take ECW down. It would be enough to make Vince at least think of further ECW shows (in this case, probably a second ECW PPV with RVD as the centerpiece) and maybe getting ECW guys jobs with the company. This is what most folks in the company think will happen and there are some plans already being looked at. Unless the PPV really bombs, ECW will have a second PPV, just to give RVD the spotlight for one big show. HHH doesn’t like RVD and has made moves to block him getting any sort of major push, but under this, he’d be less of a threat and H would probably let the dog have his day.

Third: ECW’s PPV does very good and beats out HHH/Batista by a fair margin. This is good news for the possible relaunch of ECW as a show (perhaps taking over Sunday Night Heat) and getting guys jobs with the company. It would also mean there’d certainly be a follow-up PPV, again headlined by RVD. This would also make HHH defensive, trying to make sure his is the top spot and not to be challenged by guys like RVD, Dreamer or the like. This would likely lead to HHH trying to either get himself involved in whatever form ECW takes or to him trying to bury the brand by saddling them with guys on creative that are Steph’s crew. Folks say he’s been trying to do just that to SmackDown! and it might be working, though they have their moments. The nice thing about this scenario is that the cooler heads would probably prevail and guys would be allowed to work their style without too much interference from H and his cronies.

Last: The PPV does HUGE (500k+) buys and is easily the best in-ring PPV of the Year
This is the worst-case scenario. There’s no way Vince wouldn’t make ECW a regular thing, and there’s no way that HHH would allow it to happen without him involved. This would certainly lead to HHH being whatever ECW’s version of champion is and more than likely having some control over the booking. That would lead to the inevitable drop in viewership and quality, and would certainly lead Paul Heyman to go elsewhere. That would be the end of the ECW concept, though the name and probably even the PPVs would continue. They would certainly run a regular show, which would mean no extra outlet for guys who are now ‘Heat guys.' Folks would be fired, though the way the company is today that’ll happen anyway. ECW would then have the problem of fading away instead of burning out, which would be the worst possible way for it to end. The upside to that would be more available older ECW material, including the possibility of the ECW PPVs getting DVD releases. That would be sweet no matter how you look at it.

I’m thinking that it will do 20% better than the Hell in a Cell, which will irk H somethin’ fierce. The next six weeks are going to be important and I hope that we get to see something positive come out of the whole process. My bet is, at that level, Vince will again try an invasion angle, but might get it right this time. That would be the best way to go, especially if they can make it into an nWo level of invasion.

That’s all for this week. More on Tuesday!

Talk about today's column in the forums!

Chris Garcia

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