8222003 Welcome to Falls Count Anywhere.

My name is Chris, and my Dad planned his surgery so he would be conscious in time for RAW. That’s dedication. SmackDown! Well, Kurt is great on stick. No question, best in the world on the mic. Vince came in and tried to kill things with his style that has started to annoy me. Nice little brawl with Big Show. Man, Kurt, even having missed a good chunk of time, is still my pick for wrestler of the year. Sweet! Rey vs. Matt Hardy. Rey with an amazing jumping springboard twisting headscissors that didn’t look perfect, but still looked awesome. Awesome clothesline from Hardy when Rey was trying to springboard into the ring. Rey and Matt work very well together. Amazing Powerslam turned into a DDT by Misterio. Really good match. Billy Gunn and Jamie Noble took on The Bashems in a fun match, though not a terribly good one. I really think the Bashems could be huge, especially with the great double team maneuvers they work. It’s obvious they are pushing Shanique as a monster chick, which is a void in the company since Chyna left. Jamie Noble should be getting a bigger push, and he got a fair amount of reaction. Brock beat on Zach Gowen, and man, he destroyed him. This was a good thing, as it makes Brock a monster again, and a brutal one at that. The F5 into the post is a personal fave, and the gusher left puddles. Plus it give Zach more sympathy. Massive blade job from the youngster. I liked the effect of the segment. John Cena is awesome. His rhymes are always hard like rock, especially when they are praising Brock. How was that for a hella white boy? For some reason, the Cena/A-Train vs. Undertaker/Orlando Jordan match had heat better than most of the matches. It wasn’t good, as Undertaker had to be in a fair amount, but it wasn’t terrible. I wanna see Jordan get a real push. He could be a big talent. Rhyno/Eddy Guerrero (is my favorite wrestler) taking on Benoit and Tajiri was too short for my tastes. A good match, with Rhyno and Guerrero looking better than ever. I want this feud to go on for a long while. Eddy makes everything look so natural. The postmatch was a nice touch. Kurt Angle vs. The Big Show. Ya’ll know that I hate seeing the Big Show in main events, but Kurt can drag a good match out of anyone. He may be better at it than Flair was back in his heyday. It was very watchable, which is more than can be said of most of Big Show’s matches. I like the concept of a Big Show type in the fed, but he is so slow and unmotivated that it seldom works. Kurt sold like a champ and you don’t realize that he is literally a foot and a half shorter when he is on offense.

My biggest complaint is that it did not build enough to this weekend’s PPV. Killing off the Hardy vs. Gowen match helps the rest of the show for time, especially since Angle and Brock will need the time. The show as a whole was weaker than the matches they put out there. I would say that it was a lot better than RAW, but held together much looser. News The Wrestling Observer named its annual Hall of Fame folks and, as always, I am not entirely satisfied, but I was at least part right. Shawn Michaels finally made it in as the top vote-getter. I had him on my ballot, so there was my win. Chris Benoit made it in, though I still don’t think he quite is at that point where he can be among the legends like Blassie, Thesz, and Bockwinkle. Earl Caddock got in from the olden days. Francisco Flores was enshrined for his promotional work in Mexico, including running UWA for years when it was the biggest thing in Mexico. A good crop this year, I think. Next year gives us Angle, Sakuraba, HHH, La Parka, and the Great Sasuke as eligibles for the first time, and any of them could be worthy. I am most upset that The Fabulous Freebirds did not get in, same with Bob Backlund. FlashBack! Owen Hart. The youngest of Stu Hart’s kids and it could be argued that he was the most naturally talented. From his first year in the business, he was considered to be one of the best wrestlers in the world. Working programmes with guys like Mike Shaw as Makhan Singh and Hiro Hase, he gained huge attention for his work in Calgary. He worked Mexico as a star. He came into the WWF as the Blue Blazer and had matches that were incredible by the standards of the time. His WrestleMania V match with Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig was great, if too short. At nearly the same time, he was a huge star in Japan, defeating Hase for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title. He had great matches with Keichi Yamada(better known as Jushin “Thunder” Liger), and Kunaki Kobayashi. He was a star in Mexico, both in and out of the mask. He was a star around the world for the better part of 13 years. His heyday was 1994 through 1997 in the WWF. It all started with his feud with his brother Bret over the WWF Heavyweight Title. Owen turned on Bret, then the two had a legendary match at WrestleMania X, that many thought was the greatest match in the history of the WWF. The feud went through Survivor Series, and included a classic Steel Cage match at SummerSlam which I can watch over and over again. He won the King of the Ring, was in the finals of the first European Championship Tourney, losing a great match with The British Bulldog (the subject of my first ever FlashBack! by the way) and formed a championship caliber tag team with Davey Boy. He was a cornerstone in the Hart Foundation when it was the biggest thing in the WWF. Even after the big years, Owen was having great matches, and had brought back the Blue Blazer in a gimmick that was somewhat prescient of the Hurricane. That run would be his last, and the reason for his death. The WWF had been known for doing innovative ring entrances, most notably Shawn Michaels sliding down to the ring from the rafters at WrestleMania 12. Owen was set to

lower to the ring from the rafters wearing a harness. The stunt was worked out, though Owen never felt fully comfortable. Somehow, his ring costume got caught in the clasp and released him, dropping him onto the ring post, rupturing his aorta, killing him in less than half and hour. I can remember watching the show on pay-per-view, which didn’t show the fall at all, but the crowd reaction, a sort of stunned silence and a strange sort of murmuring, told a huge story, but none so much as Jerry Lawler. When the fall happened, Lawler ran to Owen’s side and came back to the announce position. There he told the story through his concern. He repeated. “It looks bad. Really bad.” He sounded like he was going to cry, and Jim Ross sounded even more broken up. The show went on, but you could tell that the air had gone out of everyone. The next night on Raw they had the legendary Owen Hart Tribute show. The storylines were put aside, as the wrestlers gave touching tributes to the man that may have been the most beloved wrestler on the roster. Everyone talked of his practical joking, his love of his family, and the legend that he was in the ring. This show brought me to tears a halfdozen times, and is easily the all time most effective show in the history of wrestling. The death of Owen Hart was the turning point for the WWF. It wasn’t like the Mass Transit incident in ECW, where a sadistic act destroyed much of the reputation of a whole company. No, this was a stunt that had killed one of the most loved wrestlers of the recent generation, and in a way destroyed the image of the product that had already been running with adult-themes. The WWF had made a great come back over the WCW, but there was a behind the scenes effect that is still seen to this day. For a long time, the WWF was considered to be the place where the management looked at its stars with great respect, though that took a hit when Bret Hart was screwed, but they still were the place where the stars were taken care of and was a relatively safe workplace. That died with Owen Hart. The hit to the company is still felt today, but the memory of Owen Hart, devalued by over-play in recaps and half-hearted tributes over the last 4 years. It was the greatest loss in the history of a sport that is known for losing its participants. That’s all for this week. Next week, more of the usual, and the next of the series of losses: Brian Pillman.