Falls Count Anywhere 3-21-2003 Welcome to Falls Count Anywhere, my name is Chris and I’ve given my 9-months notice

!!! SmackDown! A solid show at the time when the WWE is in need of some blow-your-ass-out shows to bring interest up leading into Mania. Nothing really bad, but I was not overly impressed. I loved the opening. The WWF did some slimy things in the past exploiting wars and American fears, but this was a nice salute to our boys off blowin’ stuff up. I heard Aretha Franklin’s America the Beautiful in person, and let me tell ya, it is an experience. The hour was competent wrestling, Charlie Haas and Rhyno had a nice little match, as did Eddy and Chavo (Guerrero may be my new favorite wrestler) and Rikishi with the FBI. Los Guerreros had a vignette that wasn’t all that funny, except for the fact that Eddy looked like a guy one the run from COPS when the cameras are rolling, since he was wearing a tank top and flip-flops. A decent little match. Rey and Jamie Noble were pretty good, but far from what I expect from guys of their talent. Rey looks to be holding back a little, perhaps in anticipation of Mania. Nidia took a nice plancha from Rey. NIDIMANIA is running Wild!!! Well, with me anyway. Kurt and Eric had a backstage bit that showed who got all the charisma. The talk with Bobby Heenan was a nice view of an important moment, but it was also sad, like the shot of Richard Pryor in a documentary I saw recently. I hope he gets better, cause he deserves to bask in his legend for a lot more years. The Stephanie and Kurt experience was OK, and the Brock run in was expected, but not badly done. The Angle Slam on the Chair was sweet. The Undertaker and Bill DeMott had a match. You’d think that I’d be into UT using all the ShootFighter moves, but no, he can’t pull them off right. Brian Kendrick and Shannon Moore had a great match, highlighted by the excellent faceplate onto the steps given by Matt Hardy to Brian. Seriously, Kendrick is going to be the next great Cruiserweight. The Slider Bread finisher is one of my favorites, and the way Kendrick does it really adds to it. Bob Castas is an idiot…but at least he had nice things to say about the WWE for once, so I will let it slide. Shelton Benjamin and Chris Benoit don’t get enough time, but they have a fine match. I seriously think that with a little time to work on charisma and Benjamin could main event a Mania.

The signing was exactly what it needed to be, not as good as the Hogan-Andre or SavageHogan signings, but better than most of the others over the years. I liked the blade job from Hulkster too. Not a blow away experience, but good for a stand alone show. I just hope next week, with Mr. Chris in attendance, that they deliver the final big push that Mania needs. News Sailor Art Thomas died, as did Kodu Fuyuki. These are two names that I don’t expect any of you to know, but were stars in Japan, though Thomas was a good size name in the US for more than a decade. Also, if you have access to it, get the Kenta Kobashi vs. Mitsuharu Misawa match from the 3/1 Tokyo show from NOAH pro wrestling in Japan. Everything I’ve heard puts it at all-time great level, and the three and a half minutes I found on Kazaa are enough to tell me that this is a match that everyone should see. FlashBack! If you don’t like personal reflection clouding your columns, look away now. If you don’t mind a little, allow me to tell you why I believe WrestleMania season to be the most wonderful time of the year. 1986 and I have been barely following WWF wrestling for almost a year and a half, dropping out when Hogan finished the first feud with David Schultz and the Roddy Piper feud went to the cool side. I turn on Showtime in December and what’s on? WrestleMania 2. Yes, I know it was almost 9 months old at the time, but it was the first time I had seen it, or heard anything about the folks in the WWF since I stopped watching. The main event was a match that I will always remember: Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy. Now, I know I’ve said my negative things about this match, mostly because I rewatched it many times over the years when I became a smart-mark and started looking at things as they weren’t meant to be looked at. In that living room, watching Showtime late on a Friday night, I was won over for the rest of my life. I never loved Hogan, was never a huge fan of his posing, and would only cheer him out of the expectation that you had to cheer him. I knew Bundy, remembered him from WCCW and other territories., and hated the guy. In that match, as soon as Hogan came on the screen, even before he said “You know what, Mean Gene?” I was a Hulkamaniac. For some reason, the hero, standing there with his ribs taped, sweating even though he hadn’t wrestled yet, I was all into the intensity, into his aura. I got caught up. And when they talked to Bobby Heenan, I hated him, hated Bundy, feared Bundy. Without having seen the build-up, I had been hooked by two short interviews. The match was important to me, and there was no reason it should have been. The match itself was Bundy beating on Hogan’s ribs, scratching his back, basically allowing Hogan the chance to sell for a while. I got myself into a tizzy, clutching the

couch, wanting Hogan to get Bundy back and bodyslam him. The match was crazy, and I was yelling, not just talking to, but YELLING at the screen. GET HIM HULK! HIT ‘EM I got so worked up, that my Mom came out, it must have been half passed midnight, and told me to shut up. And for a few minutes, I was quiet, until Hogan made his comeback. All heel broke out in my living room. I was jumping up and down, Hulk bodyslammed him, and I went nuts. And then he escaped the cage, bloody, injured, but victorious, and I was running around cheering Hogan at the top of my voice. That did not sit well with my family, but it didn’t matter. I had seen the light, had seen the truth that wrestling was the thing that spoke to my soul. Yes, I know how gay I sound, but honestly, my biggest lifechanging moments happened while I was watching Showtime. I’ve been watching wrestling ever since in search for the thing that makes me feel that again, and a few times it has happened. The first time I saw All Japan Wrestling, when Stan Hansen took on Kenta Kobashi, that did it. Watching Cactus Jack and Leather Face wrestle in IWA Japan. Seeing Rey Misterio and Psicosis wrestle in Philadelphia, all of those came close, but I don’t think I was ever where I was the moment I saw that match. And that’s why I write this column, and that’s why I can’t wait for WrestleMania every year. That’s Falls Count Anywhere. Next Week, more stuff. More News. More ready for Mania, and a special WrestleMania preview that will bring back an old face to Fanboyplanet.