Sunday, 18 July 2004

12th-18th July 2004

Monday, 12th July, 2004:

These pay-per-views seem to come around quite often at the moment. Just two weeks after Smackdown gave us The Great American Bash, Raw pops up with their latest offering, Vengeance, which saw my boy Chris Benoit successfully defend the World title against Triple H, with a little help from my other boy Eugene, as well as Edge winning the I-C title from Randy Orton.

But what surprised me the most was that Matt Hardy won his no DQ bout against Kane. Just once month after Kane was given a World title shot on pay-per-view, the man monster laid down for a man who was one of the highlights of the Smackdown brand, but who had until recently done nothing since his defection to Raw. Could things be looking up for Matt Hardy, version 1.0? I really hope so.

Later that night we found out who exactly cost Ted DiBiase the WWF title in 1988. You see, all these years we thought it was Hulk Hogan, who attacked The Million Dollar Man during the tournament final against Randy Savage at Wrestlemania IV. Turns out it wasn't Hogan, that it was the Honkytonk Man all along.

I've never really been a fan of the so-called greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time. It probably has something to do with my never being a fan of Elvis. However, being a sucker for old wrestling stories, I just had to watch this interview.

And once again my point was proven, that it seems like nobody leaves the employ of Vince McMahon on good terms.

Honkytonk's story of his refusal to job to Randy Savage on national television made for compelling viewing. If someone like Triple H had told this story today, he would probably be lambasted by the smart marks. Yet something about Honkytonk's story seemed different.

To start with, the guy was loyal to Vince McMahon, but it seems that loyalty was never fully repaid.

If you've never been a true fan of the Honkytonk Man, then you'll probably won't go out of your way to watch this interview. But if you like listening to old wrestling stories, then this one's for you.

Tuesday, 13th July, 2004:

Yet more schedule changes from The Wrestling Channel meant that foreign wrestling night is no more. The failure of CMLL to draw many viewers caused this change, with Ring of Honor moving to Tuesdays, followed by the debut of NWA Wildside, with Major League Wrestling finishing the evening before the Bang Babes take over for the early hours.

Ring of Honor seemed to be a mishmash of clips from a couple of years ago, including a great one-on-one between Low Ki and American Dragon. I was a little disappointed that more recent programmes weren't shown.

Then it was over for my first taste of NWA Wildside. The setting reminded me of the old Memphis Classics shows. The action was okay as a first taste of the promotion, but as with The Bagpipe Report last week, I'll be able to make a better judgement on Wildside in a few weeks.

Then it was on to a quick look at MLW. The show looked good, but sadly, with Rocky II playing on BBC1, I just had to turn over. Sorry MLW!

Friday, 16th July, 2004:

Anyone who knows me well will know that I am an avid fan of the chat show. I've been watching men like Parkinson, Letterman, Skinner and Leno ply their trade for years, and while I don't claim to be an expert, I've seen enough chat shows over the years to be able to offer a credible opinion on this week's Bagpipe Report, specifically Blake Norton's interview with "The Anarchist" Doug Williams.

Firstly, the set up of the studio just seemed wrong. Blake and Doug just seemed to be sitting too far away from each other. Look at The Tonight Show, and you'll see that Leno is always close to his guests. Blake and Doug's positioning was very evident at the end of the segment when they shook hands. Blake had to stretch right over his desk to reach Doug.

Then there was Doug himself. His body language was all wrong. Judging by his position in his chair, he seemed very uneasy, very nervous, like a man who didn't really want to be there.

Then there was the camera work. Several times, after Blake asked Doug a question, we saw shots of Blake looking at his notes, and taking a sip from his cup. When we should have seen Doug answering a question, we saw Blake failing to show an interest in the answers to his own questions.

The second Bagpipe Report was an improvement on the first show, but there still remains a great deal of room for improvement. But once again, it's still early days.

Then it was on to this week's Raw. For what seems like the first time in ages, I'm not going to wax lyrical about Eugene. This week I've got another target.

Batista has shown some real signs of improvement these past few weeks. It's obvious why he was signed by the WWE in the first place. Vince McMahon has always had a thing for larger than life men, and despite the fact that he has crowned two sub-six foot champions in the past six months, bigger will always be better as far as McMahon is concerned.

But that doesn't hid the fact that Batista is finally starting to emerge from the shadows of his Evolution comrades. His winning effort against I-C champion Edge was the match of the show. A year ago, nobody would have expected Batista to put in such an effort, to last nearly twenty minutes. But he did.

So what's next for Batista? Now he has a victory over Edge, could he be about to argue with his buddy Randy over who gets the next title shot?

Saturday, 17th July, 2004:

Smackdown was once again nothing to write home about. One segment did intrigue me though.

Anybody remember those awful segments on Raw and Smackdown a while back, featuring this huge guy, John Hideyourbike or something, trying to get in to see the general managers, and going on about pleasing someone called Little Johnny. He appeared under the Raw banner a couple of times before vanishing back into the wilderness, or Ohio Valley Wrestling as it's sometimes known.

Well, he's back, and this time, he's got a friend, a new mouthpiece, someone to help guide his career - none other than Paul Heyman.

This scenario seems awfully familiar - the former ECW head honcho guiding the career of a monster of a wrestler.

So how lone before John Hideyourbike tries out for the NFL then?

After Smackdown it was time to check out an old favourite from my teenage years, although this particular man has been a favourite for most of my adult life. The appearance of Fuji Yamada on this week's World of Sport show brought back some great memories. To say that he captured the imagination of the British fans in the mid-80's would probably be an understatement.

The man who would later become Jushin Liger enjoyed a tremendous amount of success during his time in this country, which included beating Marc Rocco for the World Mid-Heavyweight title. Of course, there were comparisons with another Japanese great who visited Britain five years earlier, Sammy Lee, but the fact that Yamada's career has so far lasted far longer than Lee's says a lot for the guy. If you get the chance to catch any of the WOS repeats this week then do so. It's interesting to see the early days of this modern wrestling legend.

Sunday, 18th July, 2004:

It's Supercard Sunday time again, and this week we're treated to a showing of GAEA's Mega-Ride show from 2002, which, you will recall, was originally scheduled for a few weeks ago, but was postponed for technical reasons.

When I've watched GAEA in the past, I've had a kind of hot and cold reaction to it. Some weeks I've enjoyed it, and some weeks I've found the shows somewhat lacking.

But it seems as if the GAEA crew pulled out the stops for this show. I found myself entertained from beginning to end. As far as Supercards go, this was one of the best TWC has shown, certainly better than anything 3PW has put out!

Highlight of the Week - seeing the early outings of the great Fuji Yamada again.

Lowlight of the Week - the interview between Blake Norton and Doug Williams. Take a few tips from Letterman and Leno guys!

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