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Archive for May, 2009

Paul Orndorff is political

May 20th, 2009 5 comments

Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for Mr. Wonderful.

Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for Mr. Wonderful.

Paul Orndorff, one of the greatest heels in WWE history, recently delivered the proverbial piledriver to the President of the United States, comparing the WWE’s current product to the Obama administration.

 Mr. Wonderful tells World Wrestling Insanity’s ClubWWI.com:

“You can’t have a pay-per-view every month. That’s stupid. I’d rather have two or three a year and draw three times as much. It’s like it don’t mean nothing anymore. There’s nothing to look for anymore. The angles they do now are very quick. They don’t give the people time enough to let it sink in. Before you know it, it’s over with. That’s not how you do it. That’s not the way it used to be done. I mean, my God. Look what this President [Obama] is doing nowadays. I mean he’s turning everything upside down and he’s doing things that aren’t right and this country’s going to pay for. It’s the same way with this business.”

Orndorff went on to compare Michelle Obama to Vickie Guerrero, before citing similarities between Obama’s two children and Stephanie and Shane McMahon, and later claiming Vice President Joe Biden’s policies are as out of touch as former WWF President Jack Tunney’s.

Vince McMahon is reasonable

May 19th, 2009 4 comments

Muscled out: Forced to move RAW from the Pepsi Center next week to accommodate the NBA playoffs, McMahon cordially invites Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke to discuss the matter further to see if they can amicably reach a decision that will satisfy both parties.

Muscled out: Forced to move RAW from the Pepsi Center next week to accommodate the NBA playoffs, McMahon cordially invites Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke to discuss the matter further to see if they can amicably reach a decision that will satisfy both parties.

 

(Posted on 5/19/09 at 11:17 a.m.)

Vince McMahon was interviewed by former WWE announcer Jonathan “Coach” Coachman during an ESPN News segment last regarding the dispute between the WWE chairman and Denver Nuggets Stan Kroenke over next Monday’s scheduled RAW event at the Pepsi Center. (Actually, it was the Mr. McMahon character who showed up for the interview.) The two discussed yesterday’s announcement that because the Nuggets unexpectedly made the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history, RAW would have to be moved. This, of course, pissed off McMahon to no end.

Coachman acknowledged the WWE chairman as his former boss and warmly greeted and closed the segment with “Good to see you,” which McMahon coldly ignored in both instances. Like a wrestling angle playing out, Mr. McMahon character claimed that Kroenke should be arrested for impersonating a good businessman and challenged the Nuggets owner to a steel-cage match to resolve the issue. McMahon, who conducted the interview from a RAW production truck, has even threatened to run the event in the Pepsi Center parking lot. (I can’t make this stuff up.) Given McMahon’s obsession for generating Tuesday morning “water-cooler talk,” I half expected the production truck to explode at this point.

McMahon has a strong point, as while the WWE date was booked far in advance in August, the contracts weren’t signed until April, which in fact does make Kroenke and the Nuggets management look bad. However, given McMahon’s own predatory business practices, especially during the expansion years in the mid-’80s, I find it very amusing that the chairman is complaining so vociferously about the deal being “unfair.” McMahon has built his business on being ruthless and unfair, so in that sense perhaps he and Kroenke would match up well within the confines of a steel cage. Still, my money’s on McMahon.

Space Mountain reopens?

May 18th, 2009 4 comments

Posted 5/18/09 at 4:15 pm PT

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It seems like only yesterday I was raising the proverbial martini glass as part of a poignant farewell to Ric Flair over at comics101.com. Fourteen months—and approximately 3,463 text messages from Flair to John Laurinaitis later—the Nature Boy walked that aisle once again on a WWE PPV event.


Following his disqualification win over WWE champ Orton at last night’s Judgment Day main event, Batista was suffering a post-match beat-down from Legacy when Flair made the save.


Alex Marvez reported on May 14 that that Flair, 60, had sent Laurinaitis, the WWE’s VP of talent, numerous texts in the past few weeks saying he was in shape and ready to return. “I’m tired of signing autographs. I can make more money wrestling,” says Flair, who owes $22,000 a month in alimony to two ex-wives, according to an ESPN report.


Apparently, Flair had gotten the “fever” (or as Roddy Piper says, “the sickness”) again after being around the boys at last month’s WRESTLEMANIA. Flair has made a few appearances on WWE TV since his retirement match with Shawn Michaels, including a memorable promos with Chris Jericho in the weeks before WrestleMania to set up the legends match with Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka and Ricky Steamboat. The company did blow it, however, by wasting Jericho’s vicious attack of Flair, who bladed and was carried out. If Flair wasn’t going to come out of retirement at WM, why shoot the angle? It would have meant more at the hands of Legacy, especially if this sets up the former World champ’s in-ring return.


Dave Meltzer reports that because of the legit injuries to several stars, including Michaels, and the storyline “injuries” to Triple H and Shane McMahon, the call was made to go with Flair as a short-term fix for “star power” and to turn up the heat on the Batista/Legacy feud. Storyline-wise, Flair’s return at least makes sense, as Batista has often referred to Flair as his mentor. (That’s a shoot, by the way, as Batista improved leaps and bounds when paired with Flair during their run as WWE tag champs just as the Evolution gimmick was catching fire.) Flair’s history with Orton and Batista, and to a lesser extent, Cody Rhodes (son of the American Dream, son-of-a-plumber Dusty Rhodes, former three-time NWA World champion and Bull of the Woods) could make for a compelling feud.


My personal take is that Flair was a (figure-four leg) lock to return at some point, though many hoped it would be a few years down the road, possibly in an emotional angle involving his son, Reid, a WWE developmental prospect. (Reid’s personal problems with alcohol and drugs make that scenario increasingly unlikely, at least in the near future.) I agree that Flair is lucrative short-term PPV/ratings, but I think a long return run would hurt him as an attraction, especially after the retirement hoopla.

There have also been high-profile stars like Terry Funk, Hulk Hogan, Mick Foley and hundreds more drifting in and out of retirement, though no one in the industry has ever enjoyed the send-off that Flair, which complicates the matter of him returning. And Flair is 60 years old, which begs the question if his return is wise from a health standpoint. (Jim Ross, did in fact, raise that question in his recent blog, but downplayed his concerns, making a good point that “This is not like Chuck Liddell having another UFC fight.”

I see Flair and Hogan as drawing card a la Jackie Fargo, the former Southern wrestling star of the ‘70s, who would return to the Memphis area once a year for about a two-week run in the late ‘70s through most of the ‘80s to pop the houses as either a wrestler or a special referee. The Memphis promotion used Fargo wisely, using him when babyfaces like Jerry Lawler and Steve Keirn and Stan Lane (who adopted Fargo’s flashy “Fabulous Ones” gimmick) needed a fighter—not a wrestler—to kick the tar of the heels when a feud was getting red-hot personal.

fargolawler

In fact, the first card I ever attended, during the first Jerry Lawler vs. Austin Idol feud in early 1979 (which kicked off with the Heartthrob’s upset win over the King for the Southern title on Christmas night 1978). Lawler, fresh off a legit emergency hospital stay because a stiff kick to the gut from Idol, challenged the women’s pet to a stretcher match. Idol brought in Mil Mascaras as his heel partner, while Lawler called in Fargo. The original Fabulous One was also called in for stretcher-match duty in a memorable 1983 bout when Fargo and Stan Lane thrashed the Moon Dogs and left them for dead after the crazed canines injured Steve Keirn.


fargo2

While the decision for Flair’s in-ring return has reportedly not been finalized, I’m thinking Vince may just pull the trigger. If they’re smart (always a crapshoot), WWE Creative will have Legacy continually goad Flair into a match, with no success initially. Flair has said on more than occasion to the media that he would need Michaels’ OK before returning, out of respect for him and the farewell match they had. That perfectly sets up Flair asking for Michaels’ permission on RAW, and the heels reinjuring HBK, who then gives his blessing for the dirtiest player in the game to get off the sidelines and kick some ass. Cap it off with Flair declaring, a la Fargo, that he’s not returning to wrestle—he’s returning to fight, pally. That could be fantastic television, far more captivating than most RAW segments this year.


Still, even if Flair is only the cornerman of Batista, that will raise the level of the Animal/Orton program, at least as far as the promos go.


Welcome back, Slick Ric, you son of a gun.

(For more classic Memphis clippings, visit memphiswrestlinghistory.com)