642003 Welcome to Falls Count Anywhere.

My name is Chris, and I must say that I am really gonna miss Freddy. SmackDown! The photo of Freddy Blassie that opened the show, and the fact that I was reading his obit in the Observer, made me mist up a bit. Considering the impact he had on everyone from Regis Philbin to Muhammad Ali, he’s a guy worth a little emotion. The Kurt Angle video that opened up the regular portion of the show. The WWE is doing intensity right, putting a proper amount of emphasis on the rivalries and the focus of the wrestlers. This was very well made and I hope we see more of these things. Piper’s Pit was OK, but there really wasn’t much Piper after the opening remarks. It was all McMahon. Hogan was pretty good in his defending of Zach Gowen, but from what I understand, Zach is really good on the stick. Hen again, I must say that having Piper do the classic high-low on Gowen was pretty cool. FBI stuff with Undertaker: Lame. Nunzio: Underused. The segment: better than it had to be. I think that Polumbo may have a lot more in him than he has been showing. I was actually impressed with his wrestling. The Blassie video was the best tribute they’ve done to any of the old timers. Very movieng, especially to those of us who loved the big lug. The Joseph Cotton shuffle down the hallway was a nice touch. WWE: We do tragedy right. The Basham Brothers vs. Eddy and Tajiri opened great, with two great wrestlers coming to the ring in a cherry ride. Nice match too. Eddy is looking great again, Tajiri has had it all along, and the Bashams will battle with Team Angle for the best young team in wrestling. Awesome neck vice escape into an amazing back suplex segment. Tajiri with a sweet Powerbomb escape into a DDT. I would have rather had the Bashams get a no contest or a draw, but it was such a good match, it didn’t really hurt them much. Angle! Angle! ANGLE!!! Makign light of the fact that the audience will be chanting What! and “You Suck” until they fully understand him as a face probably helped that along. I really liked the segment, as Angle proved that he is still the best talker in the business. Who else could make the old “this is a breath mint…” gag work? The alliance between Brock and Angle will make for interesting rematches between the two of them. I dig the Ultimo Dragon videos. I hope he gets the same chance that Rey got. “I got more hits on the mic than three porno websites.” Truly, John Cena is a modern spoken word genius. The match with Benoit was very decent. Benoit did what he normally does, but Cena played his role far better than normally. The panic he showed

when Benoit was trying to get the crossface was very realistic. It moved well, but having Rhyno come in and do the hit with the chain seemed a little too soon, and I won’t go into why it’s not the right time to turn one of them. Still, enjoyable. I am not a fan of Mixed Tag Matches, and the one they did wasn’t very good, I still think that Nidia and Noble are misused. Of course, I know it’s for their backstage behavior, but still. They could be so money! Nidia busts out a Terry Funk sell! She is now even hotter! The Misterio family is so cute. I think the young male Misterio (El Rey Misterio III) will be the one to fill the shoes that Dewey Foley seems to have abandoned. Eddy’s little motivational speech was great. Could an LWO reunion be around the corner? Well, seeing Sable put in with Stephanie was predictable, especially since I had been told it would be happening a week ago. Bringing up the lawsuits is a nice way to get heat, which the crowd didn’t seem to buy anyhow. I have to say that Steph was much better at going off on her Dad than she has been in months. What did you expect from Matt Hardy and Rey-Rey? It was a great match, with a strange pacing that the crowd didn’t seem to get. Still, they reacted where they had to, and the boys put on a good show. Rey is best known for his moves, but that man can sell his ass off. Matt used solid psychology, and Rey’s selling made Matt look like a God. The crowd got into it at the end, and the way they booked it was great. And then there was the end. I love when you can fake sincerity, and they did it nearly perfectly. Having the family watching the match, doing the classic Ricky Steamboat kid on the shoulder thing was nice too. I love that stuff. I liked the show. Nothing that really stuck out as unnecessary, but a lot of good stuff. Not as good as last week’s RAW, but still really good with a fine main event. News Not really news, but another reason to believe that Eddie Gilbert is the man who saw what wrestling was going to be before anyone else. In 1985/86, Steve Borden, a very green bodybuilder who couldn’t work, couldn’t do an interview, and who constantly blew up early in matches, he was given to Eddie Gilbert to manage. Eddie got to know Steve and he sent a message to Dave Meltzer saying that he was certain that Steve Borden, aka Sting, was going to be huge in short order. I guess history proved him at least mostly right. Eddie Gilbert was one of my heroes, and the only guy with enough vision to see where things were going. I wish he could have lived long enough to see them take his plans and build a temple.

FlashBack! How could I not do one about Blassie? His interviews were highly responsible for the style adopted by Ali in the 60s, and for generations of wrestlers down to today. I want to talk about the last great spots by the greatest promo man in the history of the business (Sorry Flair, Freddy gets it by a nose) The Invasion angle of 2001 had been played up as a big deal, but it had been falling flat from the beginning. Blassie was called in to give a pep talk. That did it. He rallied them, saying that “He didn’t work so hard just to watch those pencil necks come in and take over!” The entire locker room seemed to be actually inspired by Freddy, his last great interview drew some heat for an angle that would fade quickly. I remember him telling the boys to get on their feet, and everybody chanting with him, going out with great purpose. The memorable thing about it had to be the fact that an 83 year old, a man who hadn’t wrestled in the WWF in the two previous generations, had managed to make an angle into something even more important in the eyes of fans. It was amazing, the last great talking he did on air. The last great use of Blassie was in a segment that showed before one of the pay-perviews. In glorious black and white, Blassie sat in the balcony, watching clips of the current slate of great wrestlers, while he did a voice over saying how amazing they were. There was also a segment with a soundtrack that seemed to come from a Fellini picture that I remember liking a lot. They could count on Blassie to get heat, to draw emotion, to give a show a bit of importance. And most of the fans that Austin brought in, that made up a large portion of the crowds, they all cheered him. That’s all for me. Next week, more stuff, grapplers in the movies and a little more.