Beau James Birthday Bash!

Courtesy of Joe Briggs superfan Josh Rose (a.k.a. Joe Briggs), here is the main event of last night’s Southern States Wrestling Beau James Birthday Bash!

Not only did Joe Briggs and Jake Booth somehow survive the six-man war just a few days earlier, but on this night they would do battle over the most prestigious trophy in wrestling.  And to my utter amazement, Briggs carried Booth to a two-star match with a shocking conclusion!

It’s also good seeing Daniel Bryan up and about, bringing his own chair to watch the match ringside.

Cucch’s Book Review: “World Wrestling Insanity” by James Guttman.

I cannot wait to see HHH’s page on the WWE Network…

For the better part of a decade and a half, most long time wrestling fans have maligned the product WWE serves them every week with a snide and scorn that most restaurant critics would have dishing out. When remembering the long since lost days of gladiators like Austin and Rock, Hogan and Savage, Flair and Steamboat, they tend to get a wistful, wet look in their eye, their lips purse and start trembling. Eventually, that melancholy subsides and a reddened, almost purple pallor takes over their faces. Its the look many smarks are used to. It is a look in this day in age that very much tells what type of fan you are dealing with. For instance, take these two very different conversations I have had in the past week.

The first was with a girl I haven’t talked to since Elementary School…we are talking since 1992 for this old bastard. We have since reconnected because she had never seen any seasons of 24, and me and a friend of mine who are CONSTANTLY talking about it on facebook piqued her interest. Long story short, I mentioned I wrote some shit on 24 and she should check them out…which she did. She then asked why it was on a wrestling website. I explained to her that I happen to be a wrestling junkie and review books on this site. She replied something to the effect of “I love wrestling! Haven’t watched in a long time though. I loved the storylines (yes, she actually used that term) and I loved HHH and Stephanie.

Well, I mention this to the other person she knows talking up the relative merits of Jack Bauer, and this kid happens to be a fan who tuned out in 2003. I mentioned the line and his response went to the effect of this: “Ugh. Doesn’t she know that is the problem?”

That friend stopped watching WWE in early 2003. He immediately went into the military…

Now, I don’t want to present things so purely black and white here. I am not saying that this girl was or is an authority on pro wrestling. She isn’t, wasn’t and will likely never be. Neither is my friend who made that latter statement…and no, WWE did not drive him to join the Armed Forces. I just liked the idea that the product WWE was foisting upon us in 03 was so bad that it COULD force a person to enlist. But what remains is that both of these people, who tuned out a decade ago, remembered Steph and Hunter. And that one of them remembers them as a good thing, while the other condemns them as all the WWE’s problems, speaks to a huge issue that many of us on the Internet have been saying and debating for years. HHH is a problem. Stephanie is a problem.

“World Wrestling Insanity” by James Guttman, is a valuable tool to explain and chronicle those problems. I was never a fan of Guttman in the past, especially his Raw Reviews. When Scott checked out around the same time as my aforementioned friend, I searched far and wide for show reviews, because I TOO had ceased giving two pints of panther piss about what was going on. All I knew was it was shit TV where HHH was going to win at all costs. That’s it. Just two years prior, 2001, WWE was on absolute cloud nine as a wrestling company, trampling its opposition, providing quality wrestling and intriguing angles (fuck storylines), and just absolutely setting the industry, and mass media, on its ear. It was a great time to be a fan.

It ended right after Mania 17. I pinpoint WWE’s creative death right when HHH tore his quad in the infamously awesome Two Man Power Trip/Jericho/Benoit match on Raw. Right then and there, the then WWF as we knew it died.

I don’t think any of us were quite prepared for what was to come.

James Guttman’s book basically describes the descent into the depths of depravity WWE experienced from the time Triple H married Stephanie McMahon…for reals. He does make sure to mention, and rightfully so, that before marrying the Genetic Jackhammer’s Billion Dollar Demon Seed, that HHH was already an established player on WWF cards, a legitimate money drawing main eventer. HHH’s heel run in 2000 was one of the most awe inspiring things this fan has ever seen…especially seeing no one, NONE of us, saw it coming. In the year 2000, HHH forever solidified his place in the industry as the hottest heel since the heyday of Ric Flair and the Horsemen. HHH was, as Scott said that year (and has since regretted), GOD. Everything he touched turned to ****. He wrestled out of his mind that year. The Fully Loaded match with Jericho…my word man, that remains a thing of beauty to me. But the issue here, as Guttman raises, isn’t whether HHH was or was not a star before marrying Bouncy McGee. Its about what he became AFTER marrying Stephchicles. He became the only star booked strongly…not just strongly, superhumanly. HHH went from main eventer to all knowing Master of the Universe following his McMarriage. Most of the text of the book is devoted to this, and Guttman, for the most part, is just spot on.

As far as HHH (or as I called him, Quad H during that point…I was dismayed Scott didn’t pick up on that one; he instead referred to the newly returning 50 pound of lean muscle mass article as HHHH), the feuds Guttman breaks down are as follows: Kane, Shawn Michaels, Scott Steiner, Booker T, Kevin Nash, Goldberg, Chris Benoit, Shelton Benjamin (sort of), Eugene, Randy Orton and Batista. And my word man…what a slaughterhouse. And I am not talking Sullivan’s Slaughterhouse from 1989-90 WCW with Sullivan wearing a pure white apron with nary a stain on it. No, HHH SLAUGHTERED his competition with the power of several thousand atomic noogies. Kane? Kate Vick. IC Title. Lost Mask. Guttman wirtes with a fervor and passion on this one that is just electric to read. None of the shit made sense, probably the least sensical of  Quad H’s feuds. Maybe. We all know the background. If not, read the book. NEXT.

Shawn Michaels, a man who had won the WWF title in 1996, the year after Hunter had DEBUTED there. They become best buds, HBK, through the sheer power of pleasing Vince or someone backstages’ priapism, gets kliq buddy Hunter some shine. HBK has Karma shut a casket lid on his upper high asshole (well I am sure it had been stretched by that point), retires and it leads to HHH’s big push, of which, as I said earlier, HHH EARNED. So HBK returns, more or less, for a one shot deal against best bud Hunter at SSlam 2002, where HBK walks away, after a just fucking incredible match, with his hand raised. Michaels decided the power of Christ compelled him to one more run, one that saw Michaels win the first ever Elimination Chamber match over five other superstars (notice the small “s”), each of whom could have used an HBRub. Or a HHRub. Yeah, we know that ain’t happening. So WWE can’t create new stars, so how about bringing in…

THE BIG BAD BOOTY DADDY! I might be in the minority here…but I HATED this Scott Steiner persona, both in WCW’s waning days as a heel and as an inexpiable babyface in WWE. Arm wrestling contests. Push up contests. A match I saw live and in person at Royal Rumble 2003 that was so bad that I gave the following match, Benoit-Angle, the vaunted ********** rating, on the five star scale. NEXT!

The next HHH fodder…I mean opponent, was this big bald Jewish guy you may or may not have heard of. In 1998, while HHHis Excellency was arising to his eventual throne as the King of Kings (I am going to be hung for heresy once this review is over…I am just relaying the author’s views…which coincide with my own…PLEASE DON’T KILL ME). Every fan knows how fucked the Goldberg-HHH angle was, and Guttman just details it. So let us just move on, shall we?

Chris Benoit. Eat it. Digest it. You will actually see and hear of his likeness on the WWE Network. Get over it. As a sidenote, I was right there with Scott…dude was my boy, and, for a time, the only fucking reason I watched WWE. Benoit wins the Rumble from slot 1, challenges Raw champ HHH for his title the next night…and for the next few weeks, in the build to Mania 20, is considered an afterthought to HHH and HBK, even though the two butt buddies had been feuding on and off since June of 2002. Think about that: HHH and HBK had a two year feud in a company that made its biggest mark with shock television and 2 minute microwavable insta-feuds. Were they trying to reeducate the audience? Absolutely. Just so long as they enjoyed the five minute Cruiserweight match with more athleticism than Ben Johnson after several swigs of water as opposed to Shawn and Hunter hitting *ONE MOVE* and selling it for six minutes. Gag. Nauseating. Give me the tainted water, please. Anyway, most hardcore fans feared Shawn or Hunter walking away from, at that point, the biggest Mania ever, with the Gold, but fans were treated to a transcendent event where Benoit, clearly the crowd favorite (is this sounding currently familiar to anyone?) tapped Trips clean in the middle, resulting in a scene that most hardcore fans simultaneously love, cherish and, unfortunately, revile to this day: Eddie and Benoit embracing, both champions, with Chris bloodily clutching his young adoring son Daniel lovingly, as well as Nancy. UGH. I need a chaser to this…

(Watching Jimmy Snuka kill Don Muraco off the cage in 83 on WWE Network). Phew, better. That Snuka, pure class…

It all brings us to Mania 21. Now, HHH buried some folks, but Guttman hits the nail right on Austin’s Symbolic Ritual Cruci…nailing.  Right on the hand…I mean head. HHH, who had the power and intelligence to elevate anyone, ANYONE, had over three years to do it. Who did he put over? In the long run, NO ONE. I will not attempt to run with the Orton angle here, as Randy overcame to become one half of the worst Mania main event ever (as we know it right now).

Guttman then goes into diatribes about the Diva Search, Tough Enough, Heidenreich, Snitsky, all that gulag of great shit WWE was offering at that point. Those are the better parts of the book and, as anyone who follows my shit here knows, I do not ruin those. Read them yourselves. But do yourself a service: Read World Wrestling Insanity. You may avoid some of those dudes who chased Kane in the 99 Rumble. Me? I am beyond redemption.

Until the next time, I will enjoy my rubber room…

Ken Anderson and Mickie James done with TNA

THE CURRENT STATE OF THE SITUATION IS PRESENTLY IN A SATISFACTORY OR PLEASANT MANNER, OR VERY WELL

"Oh no, we're losing Mr. Anderson, let's just shut down the promotion right now", said no one, ever.
Mickie James should totally try to get on Total Divas and shill her CD, though.  The bitchy drama would write itself.