Hello and welcome to yet another addition of The Trademark Rants. In an ongoing effort to find new material (and thus, save myself from sheer boredom), I have decided to add a new segment to my column called “The Trademark 10”. Basically, the Trademark 10 is a list of 10 wrestlers or wrestling personalities (in no particular order) who have, in either a positive or negative way, gotten my attention over the past week or so. So, since this is basically the only thing I have to run with this week as far as columns go, let’s just get to it, shall we?
Just about everyone has been praising Edge in one way or another lately, mostly for his supposedly “fresh, new character direction”. The problem is that this “new direction” isn’t new at all. In fact, this is the persona Edge has been building towards since his heel turn last year. Edge, since his turn, has slowly become more and more arrogant, more and more impatient, and more and more disrespectful towards the business that’s making him. He is, essentially, a representation of how, unfortunately, many young people are in the wrestling business today – brash, disrespectful, and unwilling to pay dues. You hear about it all the time with the likes of Teddy Hart, Brock Lesnar, and the recently retired Zach Gowen, who have all had the world practically handed to them on a silver platter, just to piss it away with horrible attitudes and temperamental work ethics. This isn’t a “new” direction for Edge, this is simply who Edge has been becoming for the past year, and I’m actually glad to see it happen. Edge, whether I like him as a person or not, is one of the highlights of a RAW show, and continues to become one of the performers I look forward to seeing every week on TV. Sooner or later, Edge is going to get the Main Event push his persona demands, and when that happens, Triple H’s relevance as a heel in the WWE might just go out the window for good, which isn’t really a bad thing. In fact, the WWE has been needing a fresh, new heel in the top spot for about 4 years now. Edge’s time will come, and when it does, it’ll definitely be Must See TV.
2. Alex Shelley
As often as I’ve mentioned Alex Shelley in a positive light in this column, I could probably pass as a card-carrying member of the ALX fan club. Truth is, Shelley is one of my favorite performers today, and I make no bones about it whatsoever. Of course, that is not the reason he made the list this week. The reason he’s on the list this week is because of the camera he brought to him down to ringside on the most recent episode of TNA Impact. Since Alex returned to TNA, he’s taken on a much more intriguing and somewhat strange persona which I have yet to figure out. He, to me, comes off looking like a young Glenn Danzig playing a character that could have easily came from a Stanley Kubrick film. I’m serious. Every time I see Alex anymore, something in my head screams “Clockwork Orange!” and now, bringing a camera down to the ring to film his matches… something is wrong here. Now, the logic of this, as explained by Mike Tenay, is that Alex constantly studies wrestling tapes to improve his craft (which is obvious once you see him in the ring), so it would make sense that Alex would want tapes of his own matches to study. The thing is, couldn’t Alex just get a copy of the show from TNA? That right there makes me think that there’s more to Alex bringing a camera to ringside than a simple need to document his matches. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Alex become obsessed with taping every aspect of his life, and other people’s lives as well, thus, taking “tape study” to a very strange and possibly perverse place. Of course, this is TNA, and chances are that this behavior will never go beyond the simple logic of Alex wanting to document his own matches (despite that fact that he could just as easily get a tape from TNA officials, which will have more than just one camera angle, making it a lot easier for Alex to study his movements in the ring, as well as his opponents’), but it would be nice to see TNA go somewhere with this. After all, a guy as strange as Alex Shelley (in character) appears to be can’t possibly follow the rules of normal logic. It’s just not right.
3. The Boogeyman
Proving that making it into the Trademark 10 isn’t necessarily a positive thing, in comes the WWE’s latest creative opus, the Boogeyman. Now, maybe it’s just me, but I find this gimmick extremely funny, although, there’s a very good chance that I’m laughing for all the wrong reasons. I have this sneaking suspicion that the WWE is actually trying to push this Boogeyman as something serious, rather than a blatant comedy spot such as the Hurricane. With the Hurricane, the joke was obvious. It also wasn’t all that funny, but at least you knew it was supposed to be a joke. With the Boogeyman, it’s almost as if the WWE is expecting me to take this guy seriously, and yet, all I can do when I see him is laugh. Of course, I’m not laughing at Marty Wright, the guy actually playing the character, because, surprisingly enough, he’s doing it very well. As goofy a gimmick as it may be, the guy wearing the makeup is playing it up and making the best of it. Nor am I really laughing at the character, because, well… if the Boogeyman actually IS meant to be a joke, then all is well. If I’m laughing at anyone, it’s the WWE in general for even letting this creature make it to air. Joke or no, the Boogeyman has to rank up there with Isaac Yankem, The Goon, Mantaur, TL Hopper, and, of course, Eugene, as one of the dumbest gimmicks ever to grace the world of Professional Wrestling. It’s like we’re in 1995 all over again, and THAT is why I laugh, WWE. Some people simply never learn from their mistakes.
4. Samoa Joe
I’m actually very surprised that Samoa Joe is a heel in TNA. Since Joe debuted in TNA, he had been receiving a very strong babyface reaction from the TNA fans, so having him turn heel was, to me, very unexpected. I noticed that TNA was starting to push Samoa Joe as a heel during the build-up for Genesis, when suddenly, Joe was working tag matches on teams with heels, most notably, Christopher Daniels. Now, at first, TNA made it appear that Daniels was going to turn on Joe, allowing Joe to work a feud against Daniels as the babyface (thus capitalizing on the strong, positive reaction Joe had been receiving in TNA up to that point) once their tension as partners boiled over. But, then, TNA went the other direction, decisively turning Joe heel and having him take out Daniels. Now, Joe is feuding with AJ Styles, one of Daniels’ most hated rivals, because Joe supposedly broke the Code of Honor held by the X Division by injuring the Fallen Angel. Since then, Joe has been working the heel angle very well, despite both his and AJ’s obvious lack of promo skills, convincingly becoming the merciless monster of the X Division. So, what does the future hold for Samoa Joe? Easy – The X Division Title. If TNA really wants to make something of Samoa Joe, and have this be more than just a simple ‘Rasslin Feud, they need to have Joe take out AJ at Turning Point. Otherwise, TNA will only be lending fuel to their critics’ fire, missing out on the opportunity to capitalize on what they have right now in Samoa Joe and the X Division.
5. Diamond Dallas Page
I read an MTV News report earlier today about how Diamond Dallas Page is now apparently suing Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella Records for their use of the “Diamond Cutter” hand gesture… Are you kidding me?! THIS is a lawsuit?! Will someone PLEASE smack some sense into Dallas Page? Am I the only one who sees just how ridiculous this whole thing is? How much lower can DDP go before he simply does not matter anymore? Keep in mind that I am saying this as a guy who thought DDP was pretty cool in WCW. That was also many, many years ago, back when Page was still relevant to anything going on in the wrestling world in any way, shape or form. Yes kids, 1998 was a long, long time ago, and likely DDP’s last good year in the business. Hate to say it, but dude, seriously… GET A LIFE!!!!
6. The Dicks
Okay, now this is going to sound really immature, but I can’t believe that UPN is letting the WWE get away with this. I mean, seriously… The Dicks. Two arrogant Chippendale’s dancer wanna-be’s, and you’re actually calling them the Dicks. This just works on so many levels, because, see, they’re dicks, and they’re called The Dicks, and chances are, they like to show off their dicks. And all the while, UPN is actually letting this go. UPN, the network that killed Muhammad Hassan and censored John Cena, the most kid-friendly white-boy rapper ever, is actually letting The Dicks slide. This is almost as funny as the Boogeyman and twice as ironic. That’s the only reason they’re on this list, because honestly, the Dicks suck. Wait, on second thought, I don’t think I ought to be using the words “suck” and “the Dicks” in the same sentence…
7. Christy Hemme
This past week, Christy was released from the WWE, now long after she had been sent to OVW to work on her in-ring skills. Back in August, Christy was re-signed by the WWE for a three year deal, and just over three months later, the WWE lets her go out of the blue. Why? I don’t know. Personally, I saw a lot of potential in Christy Hemme. In fact, I have often told friends that Christy could be just as good, if not better, than Trish Stratus is today if only given the time and the proper training. If you’re new to the column, then you should know that I hold a great deal of respect for Trish Stratus, not only for her work in the ring, but for her impact on modern women’s wrestling. Trish represents the beginning of the future of women’s wrestling, which is, in simple terms, “pretty girls who can really go”. Christy Hemme has all the potential to become an even bigger star (and possibly even a better wrestler) than Trish, given the time and proper training. In fact, sending Christy to OVW was probably a move long overdue for the Diva Search Winner. There, she had the opportunity to train under Al Snow and hone the skills needed to make an impact in the ring. Unfortunately, all of that has been taken away. So, now the question is, does Christy take her potential, train her ass off, and work her way back up the wrestling ladder, proving her critics wrong, or does she simply go back to modeling or try her hand at acting? I honestly hope that she continues on in the wrestling business. She really does have the potential to become the quintessential female performer of our day, and I’m not just saying that because it sounds nice.
Okay, when I first conceptualized this column, it wasn’t supposed to turn into a Chick-Fest, but hey… I’m not going to complain, so why should you? Truth is, I have become such a huge Melina mark as of late. I even cheered for Melina against Trish Stratus at Survivor Series, which was something to a shock for my friend Terry, who has known me to be the biggest Trish Stratus mark ever. Did I mention that I love Trish Stratus? Because, if not, then yeah… Trish is cool. Anyway, back to Melina, who has now become the proverbial “other woman” in my Trish Stratus fanhood. After making her impact on a recent RAW by having Trish kidnapped, kicking her in the head, and then almost kicking Trish’s ass at Survivor Series, it’s actually rather sad that Melina has to go back to SmackDown and manage those two nitwits Nitro and Mercury, who obviously can’t do something as simple as give Trish the Snapshot without screwing it up! By the way, boys, I’ve seen someone wear his title belt in-between his legs like some sort of phallic symbol before, and his name was the Immaculate JDB (the current Northern X Wrestling Champion). He was doing that back in 2003, before you two even started teaming together! Melina deserves better than this. In fact, she deserves the Women’s Title! A nice, shiny gold belt would go really well with mini skirts and cut-up T-shirts that say “It’s Okay To Stare” written on them.
9. Shelton Benjamin
Shelton seems poised for a much-needed heel turn after taking Shawn Michaels’ speech about Attitude Problems to heart. It’s nice to see WWE running with a theme here. First Edge becomes a spoiled brat, now Shelton Benjamin develops an attitude problem. Mickie James will probably be next, just in time for Candice Michelle’s Playboy spread and subsequent face turn (or, at the very least, her subsequent three way make-out session with Torrie and Victoria). But in the meantime, it’s interesting to see that WWE is not only doing something different with Shelton, but also seeming to run with a specific theme leading into WrestleMania 22. What makes it nice is the fact that the WWE might finally be on to something big here. The downside, though, is that once WrestleMania is over, it’ll probably all fall apart again.
10. Kurt Angle
Kurt, as a character, is obviously on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Chances are that he might be just as close to one in real life, too. I’ve read a few columns recently where people have said something along the lines of Kurt Angle needing serious retooling, and I don’t know why, for the life of me, they’d say something like that when Kurt might actually be better now than he’s ever been. Basically, Kurt is finally at the point where any sign of the squeaky-clean dork he was circa 2000 no longer exists. Kurt has become jaded by the business, which has made him more brutal and uncaring as a result. The Kurt Angle of 2000 would have never given a girl like Maria the Angle Slam, but the Kurt Angle of today does it without a second thought. The Kurt of 2000 would have never made a game out of torturing Booker T’s wife, Sharmel, but the Kurt of 2005 got off on it. Kurt is almost at “Taxi Driver” levels right now, where the slightest little thing could set him off. Kurt, quite literally, has become the most dangerous man in the WWE’s weekly dramas, and he really hasn’t even snapped yet. But he will. One of these days, all the losses, all the failures, every embarrassment he has suffered at the hands of people like Eugene and John Cena is going to get to him, and when it finally does… someone is going to get seriously hurt. Making Daivari his own personal referee seems, to me, at least, a last-ditch effort on Kurt Angle’s part to maintain his own sanity by stacking the odds in his favor enough so he can no longer be embarrassed or made a fool of. The problem is, it isn’t working. Kurt is still losing. Kurt is still getting embarrassed. Kurt still hears the “You Suck” chants every week, and it’s getting to him. Something tells me that we’re going to see Kurt snap sometime in January, just after he fails, yet again, to defeat John Cena, this time, in the Elimination Chamber. And, personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if the hapless victim that got in Kurt’s way on the very day he finally loses it just happens to be Chavo Guerrero. But that’s just me.
Anyway, that’s it for this week. The Trademark 10 in future columns won’t be as long, as I’ll hopefully have other things to write and talk about, but for this week, this was it, so I hoped you enjoyed it. Feel free to send me some feedback at TheMaverickMJ@yahoo.com, and don’t forget to check out my site at www.MySpace.com/MikeJohnsUSAW for more information about Northeast Ohio’s Newest Wresting Promotion, Ultimate Shock & Awe Wrestling! Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you all again next week with a new edition of The Trademark Rants!