Falls Count Anywhere, 3-14-2003 Welcome to Falls Count Anywhere.

My name is Chris, and yesterday, all 35 people who watch Call For Help on Tech TV saw my happy mug. SmackDown! You all know the big news by now, that Angle is going to do the match at Mania. I am of a mixed mind, but I’ll talk more about that in my first commentary spot later in this report. SmackDown! started fantastic, with the tag title match between Kidman and Rey taking on Team Angle. The match had a lot of great team moves, but the best part was Shelton Benjamin getting some great submission work on Kidman’s arm. The Superkick into the German Suplex wasn’t perfect, but I love it as a finisher. Rikishi took on Chuck Polumbo. I really don’t like this feud, as the FBI are a good team and could be doing more, but these matches are awful. I like seeing the Guererros involved, since I really think they can launch any carrer. Funaki and Tajiri have a great exchange before their match with Big Show and A-Train. I hate the big guys, but love the Japanese contingent. Let me say this: Funaki and Tajiri could make anyone look 5 times better than they really are. It was kinda fun, especially when Team Nippon got a little offense. Dawn Marie and Sean O’Haire had a little exchange, which I liked because I am a fan of Sean. The deal where Dawn Marie came out to flash was great, especially the camera angle from ground level. I have it on good authority that that shot was not intentionally done like that, that the angle of the shot just happened to work and they edited it it in. Rhyno and Benoit took on Eddy (Guerrero is my favorite wrestler) and Chavo. It once again proved my point that Chavo is the most underrated wrestler in the world today. Eddy was great, Benoit was great. Rhyno is keeping up with these guys. I am most impressed. I will love this three-way at Mania. The match was outstanding. Let me say it again: John Cena is going to be a star. His rap this week was his best yet. No Hogan this week, but the Vince stuff was good. The Hogan stuff was great, but it only helped me realize that he’s so old. Hulk was on Joan Rivers, for God’s sake! She’s been off the air for fifteen years! The non-title cruiserweight exhibition was very fun. I like Brian Kendrick, and I am betting that once he gets fully in the SmackDown! mix, he’ll impress a lot of us. A fun little match that went over five minutes. Matt Hardy is a great champion, but I have a feeling that they are going to go with Rey as champ at Mania.

The match between Angle and Lesner was cheap. Cheap, but effective. All the talk that this would be the moment when the title changed probably helped the rating a little, but it was a good way to do this match. I am still holding out hope that Angle will give us one hell of a match on the way out, much like Shawn Michaels did at WrestleMania 14. All in all, I was happy with the night. Commentary Injuries suck, that’s obvious. Guys lose money from injuries, fans lose their favorite performers because of them. I am not happy that we live in a time where the average “fan” wants high-impact matches regardless of the cost. I know I say it a lot, but we need to encourage mat wrestling, submission work. We have lost two of the top workers in the world due to neck injuries in the last three weeks. Three others have had to miss time as well. The WWE seems to realize things are out of hand, and are encouraging their performers to work a safer style, but those matches are getting little heat. WHEN ARE PEOPLE GOING TO LEARN!!! Every time Rey Misterio goes for a tope, he shortens his career a little more. Every Swanton brings Jeff Hardy one step closer to a wheelchair. I’m not talking odds of a botched move here, as even a headlock takeover could paralyze a guy, I am talking about the combined effects of all the impact that these moves put on a guy. Neither Angle nor Edge had a single, catastrophic moment that forced the injury, it was just cumulative. Now, there is talk of pulling things back a bit, and I applaud these attempts, but I doubt they will work. When Bill Watts tried to eliminate high flying from WCW back in the early 1990s, before the Luchadores brought the crazy stuff to the US, the fans then wouldn’t buy it. They insisted that guys like Brian Pillman go out and perform the high impact style by not giving any reaction to the safer style that Watts enforced, and that would have extended careers, if they kept it up. Yes, wrestling has to evolve, but not towards the dangerous spectacle that it has become. I know that it’s not reasonable to tell an audience what it wants, but you sometimes have to shove the right stuff down their throats. Japan is the place we should look towards for inspiration. In the 1980s, there was a similar style becoming popular, brought by wrestlers like Jushin Liger. At the same time, a guy named Akira Maeda started a group called UWF. UWF didn’t do the high flying, or even traditional wrestling at all. It was all submission style, and the crowd was quickly educated. For a while, it became the hottest thing in Tokyo. It worked in Japan, so why couldn’t it work in America? The UFC, incredibly dangerous in it’s own way, has had strong popularity at times, but a worked version has never been tried on a large scale in the US. I think if the WWE started to incorporate these types of matches, with fewer dangerous suplexes, less out of ring dives and more submission emphasis, we could see things turn around, and maybe guys could have longer careers, instead of being crippled by the age of 35.

FlashBack! WrestleMania X. Everyone remembers it for the two best matches that had ever taken place at a Mania up to that point: Michaels vs. Razor in the first Ladder Match, and Bret vs. Owen. But, there was another match on the card that I always liked, not because it was any good, far from it. I always liked it because it proved my point: that not everything works twice. Earthquake, a wrestler who had been around for a few years, had had a very successful feud with Hulk Hogan over the world title a couple of years prior, followed by a run with Typhoon as the Natural Disasters. Earthquake was put in a match with Adam Bomb, Brian Clark, who would later go on to be one half of the tag team with the former Crush, aka Brain Adams. The match looked to be the first place that would show off Adam Bomb as a star, but in a tradition that dated back to the first Mania, Earthquake got an incredibly fast pin on Bomb. Now, most folks who watched during the late 1980s remember a guy named King Kong Bundy. He was a big guy who took on Hogan in a cage match against Hogan at WrestleMania 2, a match that some of my friends actually claim was the greatest cage match of all time. Bundy was made in one night, by getting a pin on S.D. Jones in less than ten seconds at MSG on the night the WWF was made for life. This really set Bundy up, as from that point forward he moved up the top of the card, leading to a feud with Hogan that drew a lot of money. Now, Earthquake was a failure in his second run. He never got any higher on the card, and Adam Bomb was destroyed for life in the WWF. Bundy had been that once in a lifetime, and a few other times that they have tried, they have failed. WrestleMania is not a place for this sort of experimentation, that’s what makes it so special. I say, screw the quick crap. Save it for Velocity. That’s another Falls Count Anywhere. Next week, more good stuff as the Road to Wrestlemania rolls on. Kisses.