5232003 Welcome to Falls Count Anywhere. My name is Chris, and I have a friend in the diamond business. SmackDown!

SmackDown!’s first hour was built around matches that rocked my world. The second hour was nowhere near that level. I think it is still a worthwhile show, but rather uneven. The Good Vince is still the best heel in the business. I still would have preferred to have a match open the show, but what can you do? Tajiri and Eddy, the unlikeliest tag champs in a while, have a fun match with Team Angle. Tajiri and Shelton have a delightful mat segment. Obviously sweetened crowd reactions. Tazz was great in the role of getting over Tajiri’s offense. Eddy is sharp again, but Tajiri looked great. They gave it a good deal of time, and it was worth it. Haas could become a great traditional type wrestler, while Benjamin will be another Kurt Angle with seasoning. Certainly got hot towards the end. Eddy busts an awesome combo armdrag/head scissors. Solid match, the type they should have every week. Piper was great, and his segment with Vince was great until O’Haire got involved. At that point, it just became good. I think Piper has done a good job since he came back. Jordan Rosa, you’ve rubbed off on me. Cena and Spanky have a fun match. Spanky made it, and it was short, but I enjoyed what there was. These are the things that set SmackDown! apart. Throwaway matches that are entertaining instead of pointless and boring. Matt Hardy. Chris Benoit. What would you expect? Having Rey-Rey out helped. I liked the match a lot, as they both played to their strengths. Leading into the Rey/Crash match worked for me too. Rey vs. Crash was solid, though nowhere near the level of the previous match. Rey was great as usual until he hurt his groin. More to say on the state of injuries in the WWE. Rushed because of the injury, but the crowd still loved it. The Average Cena had a fairly smart rap, but he got very little reaction. The Mr. America and Vince segment wasn’t great, but I wouldn’t say it was a failure. It was just sorta there. FBI match was lame. Brock has proven he can work with just about anyone and produce a fair match, as he proved with Big Show. UT coming back heated up the crowd. A nice piece of booking, just when things start to go slow, bring in your hot champ and then

after an unsatisfying finish, bring in the returning star for the big pop. Still, not enough to make the segment good, but enough to keep it from sucking. Sable is hot, and she probably did win the Bikini contest, but really, all that matters is the fact that the crowd got a little hotter due to a little skin. The Bad My feeling towards the new opening is the same as my feelings to the recent Rock entrance: it just doesn’t work to get the crowd into the show. Zach will be a slight star, as he will get the chance to show his skills, and they are considerable. That said: NEVER, EVER LET STEPHANIE MCMAHON DO A SEGMENT LIKE THIS AGAIN! She was awful to a degree that only Kennel from Matches approach. Just terrible, and they really could’ve done some good stuff. Did anyone expect the Mr. America match to be any good? I sure didn’t. On the other hand, I am interested in seeing how they do this Lie Detector. My money is on fake Mr. America. The Miraculous Kurt Angle returns in two weeks. Here’s hoping that it’s the same Kurt who gave an amazing series of performances for the last 2 years. His video was great. Intensity in ten cities. All in all, it was the best first hour in ages, even better than the last hour of RAW with week. Second hour was a downer, but the first was so good. This is what you get when you let the wrestling do the talking. RAW Rant A lot of folks were really down on Judgement Day. I can’t completely agree with most of the criticism, but there is certainly a bad moon rising on the WWE with the All RAW Badd Blood. Dave Meltzer makes a bunch of comparisions to WCW in 1999/2000. There is one thing for sure: there needs to be a change. They need to make new stars, as the most pushed players are not working full schedules. This makes for a sad state when one show now has to carry each PPV. Austin has been doing a fairly good job as a non-working character, but when he’s getting heat off-screen, that hurts the guys working in the ring. RAW needs an in-ring star. Jericho is still not getting the top level push, though they are working him in the right direction. Christian has begun connecting with fans for the first time since the E+C era. Goldberg is no longer the monster he was when he drew big numbers and buyrates. Nash is absolutely not going to do anything positive in any arena. HHH has been getting back into the swing, with his best performance in months this week, though he has yet to prove that he can carry a match like in his glory days of late 2000. Maybe they can bring in a guy like Damaja from OVW, or maybe get a lucky break with a guy like Tito Ortiz.

Better writing would also help. Wrestling writers like Dutch Mantel, who draws big crowds in Puerto Rico, or Dory Funk, who has worked as a booker/trainer for years, have been rejected in favour of television writers. It would be nice to see a traditional booker take over for a while. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I think they could gain a lot from a seasoned wrestling writer, preferably someone who grew up in the business, knows the traditions, how to book a feud to build a new star, and who has the ability to override the egos involved and do what’s best for business. I doubt it’ll happen. FastBack! 342 Words about a match I wanted to see. By 1995, I’d been going to matches for more than a decade, seen every wrestler who made a major impact on the US scene since the late 1960s. Saw Blassie, Eddie Gilbert, the Funks, Flair, Brody, Dr. Tom Pritchard, Shane Douglas, and just about every other obscure name you can come up with. And once I moved back east for school, I though I would get to see the best indy wrestling in the world. I had bought a ticket to a show in Newton Highlands, MA, and the main event was a dude called the Cheetah Kid taking on a fellow called Black Tiger. I had seen all of the elder Guerreros wrestle in the old days, and I expected huge things, as I had heard of these guys in the wrestling mags and the stuff they did in Japan and around the US indy scene. The match was the main event, and I couldn’t wait. I should have left early. The match didn’t really suck as much as it didn’t really happen. Cheetah Kid wasn’t played by Ted Petty, aka Flyboy Rocco Rock, but by some 16-year old kid who was replacing Petty since he had stopped using the Cheetah Kid gimmick to go into ECW and start Public Enemy. Black Tiger may have been Eddy Guerrero, but I’ll never know. Some guy whose name I don’t remember came out and said that he had attacked Black Tiger and he had run away. He had a cheap, and I mean plastic Holloween costume cheap, mack in his hand, saying he had pulled it off the guy before he left. The two then had a match, or I should say that it was a couple of guy hitting each other and trying to do moves they had seen a thousand times on Saturday mornings and tried to imitate. I left 2/3 of the way through, caught the T back to Emerson and went to bed. I still think of it every time the WWE promises an event and we get screwed. That’s another Falls Count Anywhere. I’ll be back next week with more stuff that will get under your skin, or at very least, make you think for a minute.