Greetings conversationalists all across the fruited plain, it is I your personal Harvester of Sorrow the one and only Phantom Lord; and this is the all mighty Rant Of The Week. As always I am coming to you from my bunker in what is now the frozen apple of New York City. I don’t mind the cold; it’s the wind that bothers me. The cold by it self isn’t so bad. But when you have say a stiff 30mph wind coming in off the water then that’s when it gets bad. The New Year is almost upon us as in another day or so it will be 2009. I can remember the year 2000 being a big deal and here we are at 2009. Another year and boom it will be 2010 and the start of a new decade. It’s funny time can be very fast yet it seems so slow. I was passing through Times Square on Sunday night after seeing The Wrestler (which I will get to later) and I guess they were setting up for some sort of ball drop. Apparently people like to be rounded up like cattle and stand around in pens for most of a day sometimes in blistering cold weather just to see a ball be lowered on the top of a building.
It’s not my idea of fun, but then again I’m not exactly a pack me into a crowd type of person. Ah well we got a lot of stuff to get to this week and as a added bonus for all of you my long suffering readers I will share some thoughts on Jeff Jarrett using his dead wife and three daughters to get himself over. You know that’s going to be fun.
First we start off with a sure sign of the apocalypse because at the ironically named Armageddon, the impossible happened and Jeff Hardy won the WWE Championship. Now honestly I never thought the WWE would finally pull the trigger on him and give him a title run but here we are. I actually watched a whole episode of Smackdown for the first time in weeks just to see Jeff’s celebration and first match as champion. As much as I like Edge as the top guy, seeing Jeff as champion is such a welcome change. Going into the match I figured it was a given Edge would win by cheating or something like he always does. Now that Jeff has the title it shall be fun to see how Edge will try and get the belt back.
But according to The Wrestling Observer, there is at least one person in the WWE not happy with all of this.
The decision to give Jeff Hardy the WWE Championship belt took place during a creative team meeting two weeks before the pay-per-view match at Armageddon. Vince McMahon first brought up the idea, which caught most of the creative team by surprise. Ever since Rob Van Dam’s drug possession arrest in July 2006 (who held two major title belts at the time) and all the drug related suspensions of September 2007, McMahon said they could never put a major title on someone who was at a high risk of being suspended because all of the creative team’s major storyline plans would have to be overhauled not to mention that it would set a bad example.
At the creative team meeting several weeks ago, Stephanie McMahon was the only one to challenge Vince’s idea of giving Jeff Hardy the WWE Championship, bringing up his own doctrine of a wrestler at a high risk of getting suspended receiving a major belt setting a bad example to the talent. Vince acknowledged the doctrine, but said in the short-term, his plan could work if Jeff handled the opportunity properly. With WWE’s rule of publicly releasing names of talent who fail drug tests putting enough pressure on them as it is, strapping the title on Hardy isn’t going to make people say that they can fail a test with no punishment. If somehow there is a relapse on Hardy’s part before his title run comes to an end, McMahon made it clear he’s immediately dropping the title as a failed drug test would of course mean the termination of their world champion because it’s would be Jeff’s third strike. McMahon said Hardy getting fired while champion would send the ultimate message to the locker room.
I give Vince a lot of grief for pretty much everything he does. He is the man in charge so of course he deserves any blame if there is blame to be given. But this is probably the best decision he’s made in years. Jeff Hardy is so hot right now it’s ridiculous. Sure they could have gone the route and had him win the Royal Rumble for the shot at Wrestlemania, but I don’t know if they could have sustained the whole “can he do it” angle for that long. In the old days maybe, but in this day and age not so much. But color me surprised that Princess Stephanie was against this. I couldn’t think of any reason why she would be against Jeff Hardy being WWE Champion…
Nope, no reason at all.
Now granted, Jeff’s personal problems probably would be a reason to be concerned, but I’m sure Vince made it crystal clear that if he f***s this up he’ll be on the shit list with The Macho Man and Mick Foley. I think as long as Jeff handles the pressure and doesn’t snap like Eddie Guerrero did when he was WWE Champion everything should be fine. But as for Stephanie, you just have to love how only she would be against this. I can see why Vince was against their relationship at the beginning (even though now Triple H is the son he never had). The word nepotism sure must come up a lot when it comes to any decision she has concerning Triple H. So while I’m sure the Jeff Hardy thing might be valid on some level in her mind, the real reason is Triple H isn’t in the main event.
Of course he might be going back to RAW anyway so that theory would go right out the window. Either way Stephanie must not be to bright when it comes to business if she was willing to not put the cold on a cash cow like Jeff Hardy. Next to all the junk they sell for Cena, Hardy has to be right up there if not better. In the end it’s the all mighty dollar that counts.
Coincidentally, if people want to see John Cena not be on top anymore…stop buying all his merchandise. If those numbers go down I guarantee so will his title runs.
Okay there’s probably no chance of that happening. Kids love him so we’ll just have to grin and bare it till all those damn kids become teenagers and Cena isn’t cool to them anymore.
With Hardy now as WWE Champion, Smackdown really has become must see television again for wrestling fans. Sure there’s some bad stuff mixed in, but lately they have been delivering with some solid matches. On last night’s Smackdown there was a great match between Shelton Benjamin and Hurricane Helms. Benjamin is so underrated as US Champion. Hell I wasn’t expecting him to retain and I was pleasantly surprised when he did. Another great surprise was Maryse winning the Diva’s championship.
The Era Of Sexy Begins…
You know I think I mentioned how much I did not like that belt, but around her gorgeous waist even the most ridiculous of title belts look good. I mean she could make even that damn spinner WWE Title look really good. It’s honestly about time they did something with her. For a while now I was waiting for the day she got future endeavored because “creative had nothing for her”. Maryse has been on the roster for almost three years I think and she’s finally gotten a shot to show her stuff. Of course I was not thrilled when they sabotaged Deuce & Domino had them dump Cherry for her, but all is forgiven now that they have the belt off McCool.
No offense to Michelle McCool. I get that she is a natural athlete and all, but lets face facts. She only got that spot because of a certain deadman and nothing else. Ok that might be a bit harsh; I mean she did at least train to a point where she wasn’t just another token bikini model. But the whole loving life and her general persona were just so boring. Last week when she was sitting in the chair as Maryse and Maria fought, she sort of looked like the Queen of the locker room looking to sacrifice her next victim. Thankfully it was her who was slayed.
I didn’t mean to get biblical there, but McCool always has those FAITH things all over her outfits and on Smackdown she had a couple of huge crosses on her top. What they are supposed to mean other then the obvious I don’t know.
No sooner then I say that I read all of this.
WWE.com has released a statement confirming WWE Divas Champion Maryse’s injury at a house show in Raleigh, North Carolina last night. According to their report, she dislocated her kneecap. It remains unclear as to how long she will be out of action. Here is their report: Newly-crowned Divas Champion Maryse injured Written: December 29, 2008 Divas Champion Maryse dislocated her kneecap at a WWE Live Event this past weekend in Raleigh, N.C., just days after defeating Michelle McCool to become the golden girl of Smackdown. It is unclear how much time Maryse may miss due to the injury. Stay with WWE.com as more details become available.
SON OF A BITCH.
Okay deadman, I get it. No more making fun of you or your old lady. See folks the last time I made fun of The Undertaker I happened to be recording a pod cast and wouldn’t you know a thunderstorm rolled in and a giant bolt of lightning struck right outside my window. Now it could have been a giant coincidence, but someone as paranoid as me doesn’t believe in coincidences. Everything happens for a reason and message received.
Seriously though this sucks. I would hope it is a dislocated kneecap and not a blown out knee. That might make the difference between being out a little while and being out a long time. I also hope they don’t take the belt off of her, but if they must PLEASE do not give it back to McCool.
Give Natalya or Victoria a run. Either one of them deserve a nice run as champion if Maryse and her Era of Sexy can not continue.
Speaking of Natalya, there was some news on her and The New Hart Foundation.
DH Smith and TJ Wilson are apparently on the back burner again regarding a call-up to the main roster. Officials originally had plans to call them up to the Smackdown roster a few weeks ago to feud with WWE Tag Team Champions Carlito and Primo, but instead they went with The Brian Kendrick & Ezekiel Jackson for the spot. Now it’s pretty much back to the drawing board for them. Also, this is a good example of Vince McMahon’s tendency to suddenly get high on something (he went on a tirade several weeks ago about Smith not being on the main roster), and then quickly forgetting about it. The main problem with Smith and Wilson is that they’re not really that good at talking. WWE has been grooming Natalya as their mouthpiece, and while she’s good at ringside, she’s not a good enough talker to get them the needed mic time on the show.
Credit to the Wrestling Observer
This is not the first time Vince was all like “DAMN IT WE GOTTA DO SOMETHING WITH HIM” and then “WHAT, WHO THE HELL IS THAT? LEAVE ME ALONE”.
I swear in the old days, all they had to do was shoot a couple of promo videos and debut the guy or team and that was it. Now it’s all “Well we don’t know how Vince feels” or “Vince liked him one day and then next he hated him”. You know what shit or get off the pot as they say. Either debut them all ready or don’t. See this is where it would help to have managers again. Someone to do the bulk of the talking for them. But no, everyone has to read off a script and if they can’t do it right then oh well back to development. Just do it like they used to in the old days. Come up with some bullet points and tell them to hit them and that’s it. No more having to remember specifically worded stuff. It’s called ad libing and for shows that are mostly live, being able to ad lib works wonders.
Personally I wish WWE 24/7 would just air Florida Championship Wrestling. It would be nice to have somewhat of a clue as to who some of these new people are when they get thrown onto the main roster for a little trial by fire to see if they are ready. Plus you have Dusty Rhodes and Josh Matthews on commentary and from what I’ve seen so far next to Matt Striker and Todd Grisham, they are the best commentary team around.
Moving along, with the year coming to a close we come to another end of a year for TNA where it was supposed to be their breakout year because of another SIGNING THAT WOULD CHANGE THE FACE OF THE BUSINESS. In reality what all it was for them was another “NEXT YEAR WILL BE THE BIGGEST YEAR FOR US YET”. I’ve honestly lost count in how many of my columns I’ve gone on and on about this. But since this is the last column of 2008, I figure why not go all out and just go thermo nuclear. I’ve come to the realization that I have been way to rational and nice in my thoughts. I used to pride myself on being the voice of the common fan and while I still am, I have not tapped nearly the fire and vitriol that I used to.
So Xan, this is for you.
For those of you who haven’t been watching TNA lately and judging by the stagnant ratings and lack luster buy rates they get (I would imagine that is a lot of you), one thing they have been doing that has been crossing all kinds of lines is the angle with Jeff Jarrett and Kurt Angle where Kurt has been using really personal attacks and threats to get into Jeff’s head. Normally I have no problem with this sort of thing. A good mental chess game is great for a feud. But since this is TNA and since the words logic, reason, common, and or sense do not exist to them they do not know how to do a good get inside the head aspect to the angle.
For the people who don’t know, Jeff Jarrett’s wife Jill battled breast cancer for years. She sadly died due to her cancer in May of 2007. At first Jeff honestly didn’t want to come back. Who could blame the guy after going through what he just did. But even back then knowing the way Jarrett works; I said “just watch he will use his wife’s death for sympathy someday when he makes his comeback”.
Well that prediction has come true as Jeff is using his dead wife for heat for a match that only he cares about because he is looking to put himself over as the top face of the company. Granted in the grand scheme of things in professional wrestling there have been far worse things done when someone wanted to put himself over. But what makes this one so vile is Jarrett is using his own daughters as part of the sympathy. You have Kurt Angle who may or may not be insane for real, to get into Jarrett’s head he keeps cutting these promos about how he’s basically going to murder Jarrett at the next PPV and then with his daughters as orphans, “Uncle Kurt” might just adopt them. Kurt Angle comes off really creepy when he says it. It’s like a wink and a nod and you would think Uncle Kurt was Keith Moon’s character Uncle Ernie from the movie Tommy.
Jarrett and his direction of TNA piss me off to no end. EVERYTHING that is wrong with TNA can be attributed to Jeff Jarrett. I mean it’s no wonder Jarrett’s own father wants nothing to do with TNA anymore.
Jerry Jarrett did an interview with the Canadian site SLAM wrestling and here are a couple of interesting highlights.
MJ: When you look at TNA right now, do you take pride in what “your baby” has grown into, or are you frustrated the direction of the company and missed opportunities?
JJ: This question is kind of like asking a parent if they still love their child in spite of it being so ugly. I hope and pray that TNA prospers. I have three beautiful grandchildren that depend on the survival of the company.
MJ: What was the story on you no longer being a part of the creative side of TNA? How did the situation unfold?
JJ: I grew exhausted of putting my name to a product that I did not approve. I simply walked away from that aspect of the business. My entire career has been spent trying to create reality based matches. Others involved in the creative side of the business thought reality based matches was old fashioned. I felt the company could never be successful without an effort toward reality.
Jeff, you would think maybe if your father who ran many companies says basically your product sucks and it needs a major change don’t you think maybe he might be on to something? TNA has no excuse to be drawing ratings between 1.0 and 1.2 at their best. TNA has no excuse to have buy rates that at their best are not even half of the worst WWE ppv’s ever. There is so much wrong with TNA and all Jeff does is keep the proverbial tires stuck in the mud. 2009 is going to be a very rough year economically. We haven’t even seen the tip of the iceberg yet. How long do you think TNA can continue on its current course before much like the Titanic it hits the damn iceberg and begins to sink. It’s said that TNA makes a profit. Well that can mean a lot of things. Technically speaking, if you make more money then you spend even if it’s only a few dollars then you are making a profit. I can’t imagine TNA is bringing in money hand over fist. It’s obviously enough for Dixie to keep signing off on Jarrett’s bullshit, but like I said 2009 is going to be bad. How much long can TNA keep making a profit in this climate?
Of course we haven’t seen the worst yet when it comes to Jarrett. Jeff will win the match with Kurt Angle and then slowly but surely we will see him come back more and more till there is finally a match. It will be him vs. who ever the TNA Champion is Jeff “doing it for his wife, children, and the good of the company” will overcome the odds and win back the title. As we know, those first 800 days or so that he was the NWA/TNA World Champion was a huge success for the company…
Planet Jarrett will be back and it will be like 2004 all over again in TNA. This is not even counting all the current bullshit with the piss poor faction war between The Main Event Mafia and the TNA Frontline. As I said before it’s a poor man’s version of the New Blood vs. The Millionaires club. The Frontline is made to look like a joke every single week so how the hell any of them are supposed to get over and make TNA into a good company I don’t know.
TNA needs a major over haul and what Dixie Carter should do if she really wants this God forsaken company to be something is buy out Jeff Jarrett. Get rid of Jarrett and then clean house. That is the only way TNA will ever improve. No amount of bringing in ex-WWE guys will change anything. I mean they are bringing in Nathan Jones…NATHAN JONES. The guy who so bad the WWE had to change a tag match with him and The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 19 to a handicap match so he wouldn’t be involved for 99% of it. Do they really think that some how in the last few years since then he has some how become a stellar wrestler?
This is the same company that let Gail Kim walk. This is the same company that keeps Cheerleader Melissa who might be one of the best women’s wrestlers in America if not THE WORLD under a f***ing burqa. The Knockouts were by far the only thing TNA was doing right and now that Scott D’Amore is gone they go from being the best thing to being the biggest laughing stock (all because some people in that company have women issues). Speaking of laughing stocks, why on earth does TNA continue to have Daffney as “Sarah Palin”. I love Daffney and I am all for her being on TV again, but my God this is one reason why TNA gets laughed at. Here we are almost two months since the election and “Sarah Palin” is still with The Beautiful People. I guess the real Sarah Palin not even acknowledging TNA’s pitiful attempt at publicity when they wanted to give her a charity check on a PPV failed, they figured why not just beat a dead moose into the ground. Then again maybe they all supported Obama…who the hell knows.
But this is also the same company that will probably let Christian Cage go back to the WWE. Hell there has been talk that Kurt Angle is possibly willing to go back to the WWE just because he can’t take the way Jarrett runs the company. It has no solid direction and all it does is infuriate people (like me right now).
So yeah Jeff, I hope you enjoy continuing to run TNA into the ground because you and the people you surround yourself with have no clue how to do anything.
I have no doubt that at this time exactly one year from now, TNA will still be doing what it does right which is continue to murder anything resembling a professional wrestling program. Hell the AWA managed to limp into 1990 well after they were shot and left for dead so TNA can easily do the same. But with Time Warner Cable not renewing a deal with Viacom, Spike TV that currently carries TNA will lose a lot of homes (unless a deal is struck before midnight of January 1st). How long do you think TNA will be able to keep those ratings above 1.0 with out those homes?
Here’s to 2009 Jeff, lets hope maybe just maybe you won’t dig that grave for TNA any deeper then it is all ready.
Oh yeah if anyone affiliated with TNA reads this, I would love a response. It can be on the record or off the record. I don’t really care. Hell maybe Jarrett will read this and turn it into an angle like he did with that UK Sun interview with Angle.
Nah that wouldn’t work. I could actually get over with the crowd and probably be a draw for them. Why on earth would they want anyone who could do that?
Well before I finish off this column for this week and the year, I have to give some thoughts on The Wrestler. I went to go see it this weekend at the AMC 25 in Midtown Manhattan (and seeing how much it cost reminded me why I hate going to movies). And despite having to walk through hordes of gawking tourists who were taking pictures of the big tall buildings with all them pretty lights it was well worth it and I highly implore you to go see this movie.
Mickey Rourke could be any number of wrestlers from the 80’s. His performance was truly amazing and you believe that he is Randy The Ram. One story that has come out is that Vince McMahon got a private screening of the movie and to say he didn’t like it would be an understatement. Basically Vince doesn’t like how it shows the real underside of the wrestling business. How most old timers end up broken down to the point of no return. How guys work for so little money and barely make ends meet. I can see how Vince would hate it since that goes against everything he wants to portray for the business.
Director Darren Aronofsky really endeared himself to Vince, Jarrett, and others when he said that wrestlers should be part of the Screen Actors Guild. Calls to unionize wrestling have been going on for decades just so guys can have some sort of pension and health care plan, but I don’t know if joining SAG would work. It is funny though, a lot of wrestlers end up doing movies just so they can get the coverage SAG offers it’s members. It’s a noble idea and as much as a union is probably needed, I doubt it will happen any time in the near future. If Benoit going crazy and killing his family couldn’t do it, nothing sadly probably will.
On that note I am done for this week and let us hope 2009 is better then 2008. Until next time (assuming Yellowstone hasn’t blown it’s caldera by then) take care and remember someone has to bring you this information and it DAMN well has got to be me.
You can click here to send me any and all feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave me some feedback in my Live Journal at phantomlord-lop.livejournal.com
And now the Plugs