Monday, 26 April 2004

19th-25th April 2004

Monday, 19th April, 2004;
Having a brother who is a bigger wrestling fan than you helps you sometimes. It means that he's more willing than you to shell out an extra fifteen quid when you have to pay to watch a WWE show on television.

Backlash, emanating from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, was the first show after Wrestlemania XX, and the first pay-per-view title defence, in front of his rabid, hometown fans, for Chris Benoit, once again competing against Triple H and Shawn Michaels, and while the match was good, with solid performances from all three men, it wasn't a patch on their previous encounter.

For me match of the night was the hard-core brawl between Mick Foley and Intercontinental Champion Randy Orton. Boy was this good. Foley was in the best shape I've ever seen him in, and Orton really stepped it up a notch.

This match had everything, great psychology, a baseball bat covered in barbed wire, a large plank of wood covered in barb wire, Mr. Socko, tons of toys to play with, and an awesome looking elbow drop from the stage onto a prone Orton, who had been thrown off the stage, and through a table, mere moments earlier.

If it wasn't for this match, Backlash probably wouldn't have been up to much. In my full review of the show, I gave it 7 out of ten. Wrestlemania is always a hard act to follow pay-per-view wise, and this was definitely the case.

One final thought though - how long can the Canadian fans go on hating Shawn Michaels and Earl Hebner?

Tuesday, 20th April, 2004;
Shoot Interview time on TWC, and finally, after several false starts, we get to see the famous Shawn Michaels shoot interview.

So how did he come across? Not very well. I only saw the last hour of the show. Apart from the poor sound and picture quality, the other off-putting thing was Michaels himself. With a large wad of chewing tobacco in his mouth, Michaels spat juice into a plastic cup with great regularity, and when he wasn't spitting into the cup, he was spitting everywhere else. As a late-night muncher, this kind of put me off the large grilled cheese sandwich I was hoping to consume.

Of course, you have to wonder exactly how much of what he said was actually true. About a year ago Michaels confessed on WWE Confidential that he did indeed have a major part to play in the infamous Montreal screw job, that he knew about it all along. When watching Michaels plead innocence in this shoot video you just knew that everything coming out of his mouth was a load of bullshit. So how much more of this interview was bullshit? My guess would be about 95 per cent of it.

Wednesday, 21st April, 2004;
When not joining in the hot topic on the UK Fan Forum, debating the actual content, or lack thereof, of TWC, I caught another of the gems that is the World of Sport show, this time featuring a tag-team tournament from Croydon in 1982.

The tournament was won by the Riot Squad team of Skull Murphy and Fit Finlay. These guys complemented each other really well, and it wasn't a surprise that they won the tournament. Each of the matches was filled with great in-ring action.

Of course, I began to think of what Murphy and Finlay are doing today. Finlay, of course, is working for the WWE, helping train their women. And he's doing a pretty good job of it at the moment. Murphy is still plyinghis trade on the British wrestling scene, still proving that the old 'uns can kick ass, still defending his WAW Hard-core Title, and still getting the backs-up of those wrestling fans who vent their spleens on the various fan forums. If he's still enjoying what he does, then good luck to the guy I say.

Thursday, 22nd April, 2004;
Having only caught the final hour of the Shawn Michaels shoot interview, I took the opportunity to catch the interview, in full, in it's first repeat showing. There are many ways I can describe how I feel Michaels came across in this interview, but as a person, he went down a great deal in my personal estimation.

Of course, these days we hear how Michaels has found religion, and how he's changed his ways. But this interview was still very off-putting. Out of the four shoots shown on TWC, this is by far the worst.

Friday, 23rd April, 2004;
I'm thinking of taking a crash course in Japanese. At my age though it's going to be difficult learning something new. But then again, this may be the only way I understand what's happening in the Japanese feds on TWC.

Having been impressed with my first viewing of GAEA, I found things to be a little wanting in this week's episodes. While these girls show a lot of heart, there were some parts of the action that had me shaking my head.

The use of a piece of MDF as a hard-core weapon? Well, I suppose it was cheap enough from the Japanese equivalent of MFI.

In recent weeks I've written about how some of the foreign action is hard to follow because of the lack of English commentary. However, at least with foreign commentary, you can tell when something of significance has happened because they get excited. This is not the case with GAEA though, as the lack of any sort of commentary detracts from the action. I'd rather have someone screaming at the top of their lungs than have no commentary at all!

Saturday, 24th April, 2004;
I think I must be one of the few people who like Rico Constantino.

Ever since he began his WWE career as the "stylist" of Billy & Chuck, I've always rated him as a wrestler. However, it's only since he's adopted an Adrian Street-like persona that he has really grabbed my attention.

His performance on Smackdown, winning the WWE Tag-Team titles with Charlie Haas, was brilliant. At a time when the WWE faithful are calling out for larger-than-life characters, they have one right in their midst with Rico. Some may not like his over-the-top antics, but the former Vegas cop has a fan in this writer.

Sunday, 25th April, 2004;
Supercard Sunday time again, as this week we're presented with 3PW's A Funkin' Classic.

I've been very critical of 3PW in this column. There's only been a few times when I've genuinely enjoyed their matches. But for the first time since TWC began, I was left very disappointed with the Supercard presentation.

The main reason I watched this show was for the Jerry Lawler/Terry Funk match. I didn't even make it that far. Although the commentary on this show was better than the previous 3PW efforts, everything else was a letdown. The wrestlers seemed to have no ring presence at all, and the production left a great deal to be desired. The camera angles used were just appalling.

It got to the point where, just one hour into the show, I couldn't take anymore, so I switched over to watch some old episodes of Have I Got News For You. I may try to take in this show again later in the week, but I don't know if I'll have the stamina to last the distance.

3PW should not be on this channel. A Funkin' Classic? A Funkin' disgrace, more like.

Highlight of the week - Mick Foley v Randy Orton at Backlash. Low-light of the week - once again, 3PW.