7112003 Welcome to Falls Count Anywhere!

My name is Chris, and I haven’t mentioned Tom Pritchard, My Local Emmy, Free Mumia, or Eddy Guererro is my favorite wrestling in far too long. SmackDown! SmackDown! was not a top show, but good enough for me to enjoy it for what it was. Cena and Angle face off, and Kurt gets to give good mic as usual. Cena is getting better all the time, and Hebner the Lesser has mad beatbox skills. The audience seemed to like it too. Best line: “Hey, you remind of that guy in Police Academy.” Somewhere, Michael Winslow is smiling…while he waits for residual cheques that will never arrive. Kidman is back, and teaming with Rey is a great way to get back into things. The Bashem Bros., the APA And the FBI make for a fun little match. I could have done without the classic two teams eliminating each other leaving the two guys we really wanna see to wrestle a full match, but what are you gonna do? The Bashems are good, but have yet to learn that you can’t powerbomb Kidman. By the way, Kidman looked much thicker this go ‘round. I don’t know how I feel about all the recaps they’ve been doing on each show, as it would be better saved for the B-shows, but I guess that it’s a good lead-in to the signing of Zach. Man, Steph looks hot in her little shorts and tank top. My guess is, once Zach is given the opportunity to cut promos in real programmes against real adversaries, he’ll be even better. Sable looked good walking in with Vince. Vinny had a little swagger going as he gave one of his classic interviews. The match will likely be nice. Nice shot from Sable to Steph, who looked to be wearing 1.2 Depp’s of black eye make-up. Steph somehow manages to channel Luna Vachon for her attack on Sable. Vince has a whole Tom Jones thing going on tonight. Hey, Matt Hardy lost his virginity at seventeen. Good to know. The Matt and Shannon Moore vs. Rhyno and Chris Benoit match was fast. Not a great match, but solid the whole way with Matt looking real good. Benoit should be working with the light guys more often, as they can really pull off an awesome belly-to-back suplex. Sweet gore from Rhyno too. I’d say the best match of the night. Eddy rolling in the sweet Impala. Eddy on the mic, sending his love to Tajiri, acting all the way the heel, and still getting an Eddy chant. The man is a god. Eddy and Ultimo Dragon. I think I saw this in WcW, but it is still one of my dream matches. The match was very good, though not up to the level it would have been in 1998. Eddy looked great, and the two had a wonderful little match that I would say was a step or two back from their best. The ending was slightly amiss, but they pulled a decent cradle out of it.

The Torrie and Billy Gunn backstage stuff is lame, though I must admit that the match had moments. Man, Nidia sold the hell out of that DDT. Nidia also looked hellafied in that fur coat when she came in. Wow, an Indecent Proposal moment on SmackDown! I wasn’t quite expecting that…then again, after you read News, nothing that happens in the WWE will shock you. Hey, a Falls Count Anywhere match. Big show and the Best Damn Tag Team Period..I mean the World Greatest Tag Team vs. Brock is not my idea of a great main event, but Brock is the only one who can bring good stuff out of Big Show, and the Tag Champs are really good. The portion in the middle was slow and dull, but the beginning and the end were strong. I like Brock’s ability to drag something fair out of Big Show, though I still think he should have looked stronger in the match. I’d give this a thumbs up, but not a large one. I think that they are about to turn it up as they shift more focus to SmackDown! to try and save a buyrate.

News According to the Observer, Vince has an idea where he will be using Stephanie as a tool to get things done by having her do sexual favors. First off, wow, they’re going into dark territory. It’s not that I didn’t think it would show up eventually, but still. Someone backstage, and I think I know who, was quoted as saying they are “seriously weird people.” I agree. FlashBack! It’s not just us here rattling around in the Fanboyplanet.com office. Wrestling and comic books seem to go together. Bane, Sonambulo, Big Daddy Danger and the Mucha Lucha crew have been in graphic form for years, and on the indy press level, the Brothers Hernandez have done the near miraculous with Whoa Nellie!. But before these, there were three great comics that started things moving: Mat Tales, Santa: El Enmascarado de Plata, and Tiger Mask. I am rather amused that the fact that Mat Tales is known about at all is because one issue, #7, was seen at a comic show back in 1999. Mat tales started in 1939 or so, as the issue was dated June 1940 and likely ended by the start of the war. The publisher mark was GCW, which could have been Gulf Coast Wrestling, though I think they formed under that name much later. Mat Tales seemed to be formatted along the lines of the later Strange Sports Stories, with a few short tales that mix fantasy and sports. The issue my friends pointed me to had three stories mentioned on the front page: The Match that Never Ended, with the underline that read “What will stop these two???”, The Invisible Wrestler, likely a ghost story since the illustration showed a man being bodyslammed by an invisible opponent with the thought bubble “I thought it was a myth!” and What is the Greatest of Today wrestled the greatest of yesterday. The illustration showed a young wrestler, likely Lou Thesz, and an old timey looking gentleman, obviously based on Ed “Strangler” Louis. I never got to look at the inside, as the price tag was 300 bones on the

no touch wall. Still, I think that has to be the earliest wrestling comic I have heard of. I’ve also never found another issue, despite looking at every auction site on Earth. If you got on, I’ll pay whatever you want for it. Not long after that in Mexico, Lucha comics were starting to come out. I’ve only owned three in my life: two Blue Demons issues and a Los Campeonis de Justicio issue that seemed to have been made out of stills from the film. Santo was the favourite, as expected. The comics, from what I understand, were usually made up of photos with thought bubbles and word balloons. The effect is a little strange to the normal readers, but they are like watching old Luchadore movies, as many of them were made of stills from films, but some were just photo shoots. Jose G. Cruz did amazing painted covers, some of which were also sold as print that I have seen in the houses of my relatives. These are classics, and kinda hard to come by in the States. Tiger Mask went about it the other way. Tiger Mask was a manga first, and a wrestler second. The Tiger Mask comic, which I believe started in the late 1960s in the large anthology books that were and still are popular in Japan, featured Tiger Mask, a street tough orphan who is a brutal and popular wrestler in the ring. Shades of Rollerball there, which is odd since one of Tiger Mask’s big opponents in the early 1980s was Marc “Rollerball” Rocco. I got my hands on a few volumes from my friend Ryuhei when I was at Emerson. Now, I couldn’t read them, but it was obvious that a lot of the guys that took on Tiger Mask were American wrestlers that were big time heels in Japan. Dick the Bruiser (David Letterman’s favourite wrestler), Fred Blassie (tap-tap-kiss-point), The Sheik all show up. It’s really worth the effort to go and find them, as they are reprinted every now and again. Tiger Mask has been reborn several times over the years, as a cartoon in the 70s, and of course, as the wrestler in the eighties. Sayama-san played the original TM for a couple of years, before retiring, allowing Mitsuharu Misawa to take over the hood in All Japan for several years. The third, Koji Kanemoto, quickly unmasked and become a big time J-star in New Japan. The current Tiger Mask has worked for various feds, starting in Michinoku Pro, and has been great at times. The cartoons an dthe rehashings for TV movies and so forth, have been ‘eh at best. Still, the comics are fun. Comics and wrestling have great cross-over. If I can ever get an interview with Al Snow or Hurricane to set out why wrestlers seem to be big comic fans, I’ll finally have my PhD thesis. That’s another week of Falls Count Anywhere! Next week, probably an interview, and a special look at England.