wrestling / Columns

The Seventh Dimension 10.06.07: The Champ Is Who?

October 6, 2007 | Posted by T.G. Corke

Duh-nuh-nuh… (fades out in a downbeat manner to heighten the sentiment)

Well, fuck me.

In fact, ‘Well, Fuck Me’ was my working title for this week’s article, but I decided against it.

I am in a strange trance right now, cherubs. A very docile mixture of feeling absolutely GUTTED on one hand, and yet overjoyed and restless like a paedophile in a playground on the other. I don’t get periods, nor do I have manic depression, so clearly this week’s biggest (and it’s HUMONGOUS, to be fair) wrestling news has had an effect on my brainikins.

You of course all know what I’m referring to here – John Cena’s injury that has led to his forfeiture of the WWE Championship at tomorrow night’s No Mercy. The vacant title will be won later that night in a yet-to-be-announced main event (though I’d definitely now have the Punjabi Prison Match on last). We can expect Randy Orton to be taking the loss in that one, or perhaps they’ll play the ultimate trick on us – have Orton win?!? No, too dubious. I’d like it to happen, but I’m sure it won’t. I’d have this match as a No-DQ match, whoever’s fighting, to make up somewhat for the loss of the advertised stipulation. Plus, it’s going to be a huge anti-climax for anyone to win the belt via DQ CO*Abyss*UGH. We can also assume in reality that the match will have more than two participants. Despite this, the following booking predictions mainly rely on the idea of a one-on-one contest, because I don’t play by the rules.

I’ll move onto my thoughts on the situation itself at the end of this portion. First of all, though, let’s see who the likely candidates are, why they are such, and whether I’d like them to win or think they should. Then, I will try to book their win. Yes, I truly AM a unique, novel colossus of journalism. *Rolls eyes*

Also, no Tidbits this week. Only three other things really caught my attention this week – the new video on Raw, which suggests Shawn Michaels’s return to action, and not Chris Jericho as we initially suspected. I’ll tell you quickly what I think – it’s both of them. They’re going to form that sodding tag team I’ve been craving for years. It’s going to happen at last! I hope, anyway. Also, Big Daddy V winning the elimination chase that he was never a part of. The money’s in the chase, you say? Yeah, I call bullshit on this one, although in fairness I’d have had BDV as number one contender in the first place. Now, as I predicted, they’ve jobbed ALL of the initial chasers out to each other (and Dreamer to V), and they’ll have to fucking PRAY the ‘casual fan’ isn’t as sceptical/worried as I am. Otherwise, they’ve created four losers – five, come Sunday – and no stars. (Plus, I have to question the logic in completely changing the main-event for the brand with only a few days remaining, ESPECIALLY since we don’t know what the WWE Championship match will be until it takes place. I know hindsight is 20/20 and all, but it strikes me as a stupid business decision in the first place. Although, nobody buys the events for ECW anyway, so it’s a moot point and then some.) Finally, Impact expanded to two hours this week. I was going to discuss THAT little gem this week, but the burden of news swept me off my feet and into a puddle of topical debris. Maybe next week, yeah?

** Oh, and one last thing before we get started (WIKIPEDIA RELATED~!) – This self-assured twat needs to die now, or at least die soon. Seriously, readers – if you despise power-abusing dictatorship and selective information, or you enjoy the concepts of free speech and equality (or, heaven forbid, you just really like me), visit his page and call him out for his bullshit. Or, better yet, go onto the Chris Benoit page and edit the top paragraph, where it says “Benoit killed his wife and son” so that it says “It is generally accepted that Benoit killed his wife and son”. Again, whether you believe he did it or not is irrelevant. Speculation can NOT take priority over fact. Do NOT take no for an answer over this. We can rise to defeat this smug ponce if we band together. Will we do it? Will we? No, of course not. Wikipedia sucks, anyway. More like Thickipedia. Toerags. **

Right, on with the show. I promise I’ll try and snap into a more light-hearted mood as this goes on.

The Champ Is Who?

Candidate One: Randy Orton – Orton has been chasing the belt for the last several months, and was scheduled to face Cena anyway, so the chances of him being involved in the WWE Title match are about the same odds you’ll get on Nickelback’s next album being bland shite – I.e., he’s a synch to take part. I don’t think he’s walking away with the title on this occasion, which is a true shame as he’s been in terrific form pretty much all year long. His promos are becoming interesting once more, and he really is the top heel on Raw (and that’s not just because he’s the only main-event heel there). Even this past Monday, when he had Cena on the floor and was counting to ten…he’s deserving, in my opinion.

Now, as I’ve already said, Orton is my personal favourite. I like the guy, I won‘t pretend I don‘t. And I’m one of the few who thinks he should have won here in the Last Man Standing match that we were expecting. Not cleanly, not in a knock-out environment, but with Cowboy Bob or another heel picking him up before the count to cost Cena the belt. And anyone thinking he couldn’t win that way, I must direct you to Backlash 2001 – if Shane-O can beat Big Show via ‘Test-eference’, Orton could win in the same way. Plus, no WWE title has ever changed hands in LMS, so it would have been a real milestone. I also must refer back to an earlier point I made – Orton is Raw’s ONLY main-event heel. Think about this, they wanted to move Mark fookin’ Henry to Raw to feud with Cena after the Orton program. Meanwhile, Orton could conceivably face off against Triple H, Jeff Hardy, Shawn Michaels (upon his looming return), and I suppose Cody Rhodes if they get very desperate. That’s four times the renown!

I’d book this win one of two ways – either I would have Orton defeat someone you’d never expect to be in such a big match, like Paul London (hence not having this close the show). Orton dominates, but London almost pulls off the mega-upset thanks to Kendrick’s help, but eventually Orton wins clean with an RKO as he should. Or, have Triple H come out after a brutal match against Umaga, make as many of his own saves as he likes but ultimately job to the man he wanted as Cena’s predecessor, via nefarious means if necessary. This would do two things – swerve (~!) us on the idea of “the replacement always wins” (see: Adam Pearce; Johnny Nitro; et al), AND it would act as a form of apology for somewhat derailing Orton’s previous title reign. Three years too late, but still good enough.

Or, at the very least, have it as a match that includes disqualifications, and have Triple H get himself disqualified when Umaga tries to interfere again, giving Orton a weak win that then integrates hopefully into a strong reign as champion (similar to JBL’s TOSS win in 2004 which turned out pretty decent).

Candidate Two: Triple H – Triple H has just returned from injury, is the biggest face on Raw aside from Cena, and has had ten World Heavyweight Championship reigns already. He’s obviously going over Jumanji Futon (Umaga, for you purists) earlier in the night, and so it’s plausible that he’d come back out and win the belt back just out of panic for the company’s future.

This really must not happen, and I come to this conclusion due not to any hatred of Levesque, but due to the current climate on Raw. Triple H pipping Orton to the WWE Championship would equate to someone trying for years to woo a lady who’s already with someone, but that someone turns out to be an alcoholic or allergic to minge, leaving the doorway open for you…but then her other ex comes back out of nowhere, steals your dinner reservation and kicks you in the bollocks while he’s issuing a frothy cream-pie to said chickadee’s flute-chute. It’s not desirable and really would be a spit to the face of logic. Of course, Triple H is bound to be the company’s preference, due to his swelling dwelling in Stephanie McMahon’s ‘mini-me’. As I said, Triple H as champion on its own is not bad, but in Raw’s current state and with Orton’s newly-molded impetus, it would be the wrong choice.

Of course, the one other problem (and this is due to be a recurring theme, here) is the booking of this. Do they cancel his match with Umaga, or just have him wrestle twice without due explanation for his latter outing? If they suddenly fuck Umaga over, do they say it’s because Triple H was given the chance to go for the title but it would be a choice between that or facing Umaga, OR does Triple H bury Umaga in a short promo saying that he’s worth nothing and Triple H answers to nobody because he can take the title “EN-EE TIME I WARN-TUUUH”? That would suck. So here’s what I’d do if I had to have Triple H against Orton. Have Vince cost him the match against Umaga earlier in the night. Later, Vince is announcing that Kennedy is to face Orton for the belt, only for Triple H to saunter down and physically threaten Vince with the sledgehammer until he caves in and makes it a triple-threat. Triple H then pins Kennedy, thus allowing Orton to retain his momentum. With any luck, Orton takes the belt down the line, and Kennedy is Vince’s son after all. Everyone benefits.

Candidate Three: Shawn Michaels – Shawn’s injury angle was that Randy Orton gave him a concussion at Judgment Day, so his match with Orton for the belt (and imminent program for it) would have immediate backstory and heat. The video on this week’s Raw, that we all linked to Jericho last time around, was very clearly hinting at HBK’s return. It just makes sense, really.

Shawn Michaels is a better choice than Triple H because he’s simply a better wrestler than Triple H. He probably draws better than Triple H, has slightly more charisma than Triple H and, most importantly, he hasn’t dominated the World Heavyweight Championships like Triple H has done. His last reign was five years ago, and it was only his fourth. If a ‘good guy’ must win, Michaels is the man.

As I already mentioned, his motivations are there by default, his homecoming has been hinted at this week, and he’s perfectly credible in such a match. If a story is needed (why would it be, though? We know Cena’s injured and someone will have to replace him), have Umaga demolish Triple H after their match, and Shawn Michaels returns to threaten Vince for the title shot as a way of appeasing his fallen friend. Triple-threat with Kennedy, pinnage, Orton chase, yadda. Simple.

Ok, those are the three most likely aspirants as far as I can see. However, here are three more possibilities that we may overlook in favour of the aforesaid trio of talent.

Candidate Four: Ken Kennedy – He’s just returned from suspension. He was Mister Money In The Bank until he suffered a minor injury and had to lose the title shot to Edge. He was supposed to be Vince McMahon’s illegitimate son (and may still be), but lied about steroids and perhaps should even have been fired. However, whether you like Kennedy or not, it’s immaterial. Kennedy can NOT be discounted from this match for two reasons – his previous near-misses, and his rising star.

Is he likely to be in the match? Not really. But was Nitro likely at Vengeance: Fool’s Paradise in June of this year? There you go. Ok, the WWE Championship is the centrepiece belt of the company (no disrespect to the WHC), whereas the ECW Title is nothing to write home about, albeit nothing to sneeze at either. However, I don’t think it’s beyond the realms of possibility that they’ll put all their shit in one basket, count their chickens before their cooks spoil the cream, and throw caution all over Kennedy’s chin and neck like some sort of bizarre fluid.

In other words? Kennedy has a chance, bro.

I’d have his integration be due to his Money In The Bank briefcase that he lost, form a retcon where you can’t actually lose the briefcase but that it’s too late to amend Edge’s title reign to coincide with this because Vince was too busy plotting his own demise to notice what was going on internally. Because they need a face in the match dynamic, either Triple H or Shawn Michaels threatens Vince, and it’s a triple-threat. Kennedy pins the face or, if they insist, wins via a fluke-ish Double Count-out that leads to a ‘jammy bastard’ reign ala Bradshaw or Honky Tonk Man.

Candidate Five: Jeff Hardy – The Intercontinental Champion used to automatically be number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship, and if they needed to they could go by this old tradition. I doubt the fans would mind, since Hardy’s so over, and many in the IWC (including those who can’t stand Hardy) would excitedly piss themselves at the sight of ‘old-school booking techniques’. And then kiss the piss afterwards. Twice.

Now, initially I was under the assumption that Cena would be at the show to relinquish the belt in person. If Cena was willing to, I would have him still do this even though his reign has officially ended. So, I’d have Orton come out, mock Cena and then Cena comes out, tells him they have unfinished business pertaining to Randy’s attacks on Cena’s father, but that Orton has other things to worry about if he wants the WWE Championship. Hardy then comes out and Cena punches Orton before the match starts, then Hardy wins cleanly after about twenty minutes to really solidify him. Orton can use the cheap-shot as a partial excuse, Cena is justified because of the rivalry, and Hardy is elevated to the moon and back. Hooray!

Candidate Six: Bobby Lashley – What an irony this could be. The company’s biggest asset turns from a facetious wigger to a soft-spoken black gentleman in one fell swoop. But it would work. Lashley is surely returning quite soon from injury, perhaps soon enough to just get the belt and rest on his laurels until the pay-per-view events, then finally get back into the groove when he’s fully-healed. And look at it like this – Lashley’s last big angle was against Cena for the title, so he may still be considered the ‘uncrowned champion’ by WWE after his strong showing at the Great American Bash.

Again, Cena shows up in person and brings Lashley out to surprise Orton. Cena then beats the shit out of Orton before Lashley basically destroys him in a couple of minutes. Lashley looks strong, Orton was bitched out beforehand so he’s not weak, and Cena once more is somewhat justified but has ALSO been given some leeway for a heel-turn if they later choose to go down that route.

Now, finally, come four more names that have been considered that I don’t really think have much of a chance, or in some cases I at least hope they don’t.

Candidate Seven: CM Punk – Very unlikely, but they’ve already given us the old ‘bait and switch’ on the ECW title match with only a few days remaining, so who knows? But the booking is what fucks it up. Does Punk lose the ECW belt to V and then win the showpiece title whilst on a losing streak? Or does he retain the ECW belt and do what Lashley did – give the belt up and go for the better one? Also, why would he be in the match in the first place? No, not going to happen.

Candidate Eight: Edge – Injured/suspended/three-time World Heavyweight Champion/coming back at Survivor Series anyway. Again, though, why? I can’t justify him just being handed another shot out of nowhere, especially after two of his title wins have been due to using his $ITB briefcase while the champion has already been injured. Plus, he’s better suited on Smackdown! as far as I’m concerned. Let’s not mess with those mechanics.

Candidate Nine: King Booker – If they’re desperate enough, they could bring him back early from suspension as a way of showing “no hard feelings”. This is somewhere between Edge and CM Punk in the probability rankings. Again, no way of book(er T)ing it, especially since his last major sighting was losing to Triple H on pay-per-view, so that would just give Hunter Hearst Helmsley yet another excuse to chase the belt. No Booker for us this time around, I feel.

Candidate Ten: Ric Flair – Pfft. I’ll do that again – Pfft. Ric Flair as champion would be a very cynical move, clearly designed to convince him to keep his job and a way of saying “look, we’re not prejudiced at all! Our champion is an old man!” It would be diplomacy gone too far, in that respect. Do I like Ric Flair? Yeah! Do I admire his accomplishments? How could I not? Should the 58-year-old switch brands once more in order to win the biggest prize in the business, in his retirement year, over a small selection of much younger and better-established stars (for the last few years, at least), and after he’s voluntarily lost to every non-Carlito wrestler on the planet in the last 36 months? Fuck that shit. Not even Ric bastard Flair can make such a swift transition from jobber to champion, especially at his age. Frankly, I’d rather see Chris Masters win than Ric Flair. Hell, Mickie fucking James would lend more prestige to to the belt at this stage. Maybe I’m just biased though, because 1) I feel sorry for Masters and think he gets too much criticism, 2) I love Mickie, and 3) I want to see a new name win the belt. Randy Orton, for instance? (Yes, I know, but…it wasn’t THIS World Heavyweight Championship.)

I would have given Undertaker a chance at this as well, but I get the feeling he and Kane may be winning the WWE Tag Team Championship on next week’s Smackdown!, so it’s a bit of a long shot. Jericho? I’d love that, but he barely got a chance to run with the ball when he had years of momentum behind him. The chances of him getting the belt straight away on his return seems very far-fetched. Morrison? Don’t bank on it. No, I’m happy with the ten I’ve chosen as possibilities. But, just who is more likely than who to get the win?

Well, then. Here, just to clarify, is my predicted order of likelihood for this terrific tensome, along with odds.

1) Triple H (11/8 favourite)
2) Shawn Michaels (2/1)
3) Randy Orton (7/2)
4) Ken Kennedy (9/2)
5) Jeff Hardy (11/2)
6) Bobby Lashley (8/1)
7) Edge (12/1)
8) Ric Flair (20/1)
9) King Booker (50/1)
10) CM Punk (66/1)

Or, if you like an underdog story…

I’ll give him very generous odds of 5,000,000/1. And yet, only 4/1 on Triple H taking the loss if Benoit is victorious.

Right, ladies and gents, start placing your bets. Of course, if none of them are correct, I’ll be quids in!

Now, it’s easy to forget that, in all of the anticipation/apathy surrounding the new champion, there was a previous champion – John Cena. A man who, come Sunday, will have held the belt for 385 days (although, only 380 of those are likely to go on his resume, since the announcement was made on ECW). Not once during this, the sixth-longest WWE Championship reign on record, has this young man phoned it in, nor has he ever complained. He has been professional from beginning to end, and although I tired of seeing him as the champion at times, the truth is he deserved it and I will miss him a great deal. I just hope that he won’t take the title as soon as he returns – a little bit of a wait until he gets the belt back would add to the intrigue somewhat. Yes, that’s right – I’m calling for a title chase here. Hypocrisuicide!

As for the injury itself, and its impact on WWE, this couldn’t have happened at a better time. I mean, if it had to happen at all. With all of the returns from suspension and injury that have and are taking place on Raw alone, as well as Jericho’s probable return soon, the roster will soon be bloated once more with convincing menaces, and this is probably the most ideal moment to freshen the title scene up a bit. And while there’s no doubt Cena is the biggest draw for the company, there’s also no reason to believe that there can’t be other draws. In fact, it may bring back a few of the elitist pricks whose haughtiness wouldn’t allow them to ‘suffer’ Cena’s reign as champion. WWE have hit a brick wall, but they have all the resources to knock through it, or at least build a suitable ladder. We shall see, of course, but I’m not worried for the company’s future.

This time last week, I would have given almost anything to see Cena lose his championship to Orton at No Mercy and change things up. Now, I’m left wishing he hadn’t lost his belt, because it’s such a bitter and unfortunate anti-climax for such a long and significant milestone. It’s comparable to if tennis player Jimmy Federer (sorry, ‘Roger’) suddenly broke his neck – it would be nice to see new blood rise, but at the same time it’s a hell of a gap to fill so suddenly, and nobody’s really be given the chance to earn it. However, let’s not feel too downhearted. Cena’s reign had already lasted longer than a year, he achieved more in that time than we could ever have predicted or imagined, and reached a consistent quality that we’d never have guessed he could when he first won the championship from JBL – a match where he was carried. Cena is praised by some, despised by others, but will be missed by all for these upcoming months. But, it is now time for the next WWE champion to step up and take us in a new direction.

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re finally seeing a new face at the forefront of professional wrestling. And I can’t wait.


The Matter: Anybody who has ever used Teletext – a piece of software installed in many televisions that lets you read various bits of news while still watching the programmes – may well be aware of TV Talking Point, where brazen numbskulls and oblivious cretins chip in their either all-too-obvious or just-plain-wrong views in an attempt to feign consequence in this world of ours. That may seem a bit harsh, but when every other text is “Do as I say”, and then every OTHER text is “Everything is fine”, it comes across as a gratuitous, sub-zombie caricature of intelligence. I can deal with people like ‘Griff, Pontefract’, ‘Duncan, Newport’, and ‘Paul, Hailsham’ repeatedly summoning their tedious beliefs and thrusting them upon us like pestilence, because at least they have a wide range of views on offer.
– However, one repeat offender I cannot condone the life of is ‘David, Dunfermline’. Or ‘David, the Dumb Vermin’ as I like to address him. His constant whinging and nagging about how ITV1’s The Bill is ‘racist’, because it stereotypes Scottish characters as being criminals, is one of the most uninformed mindsets I’ve ever had the misfortune of coming across. Tell me, when exactly did the population of Scotland become a race of people? I don’t watch The Bill because it’s just about the lowest form of ‘entertainment’ on the box, a breeding ground for crap actors and a retirement complex for those that used to have a career. However, if The Bill is being ‘racist’ towards their Scottish characters, then surely that also means their Scottish characters are of a different skin colour? Or doesn’t that aspect bother you, Davey-boy? “I’ve got no problem with Darky McCoon eliciting misdeeds, but couldn’t he at least speak in a clear southern accent?” No, David. You have no right to complain. The Bill is a London-based show – a show which has had Scottish police officers in the past and a majority of English villains – and you should be licking the arseholes of every one of its staff for even mentioning Scotland. They’re not obliged to, you know. Grow up and get some directions to the library, you air-extortionist.
The Link: Does this really need a link? You all surely agree with me on this? Oh, very well. David strikes me as the alternative-reality version of Muhammed Hassan. Whereas Hassan was initially a mega-heel who rightfully felt hard done-by in his own country in the wake of 9/11, David hasn’t got a clue what he’s fucking moaning about, has done no research, and hasn’t got a leg to stand on. Yet, in this politically correct society that we live in, there are inevitably some of those who nod their heads and ‘agree’ with him for the sake of looking like model citizens. Another mirror-image association between the two is that, whilst Hassan sorted his problems out his way by ‘physically brutalising’ his foes, David is happy to simply throw his cheap toys out of his piss-stained cot while expecting others to do his work for him (in this case, Ofcom), unaware that his standpoint is ridiculous and nobody deliberates on his opinions in any earnest. Either that, or with a bit of luck he’s not quite foolish enough to believe he could make a blind bit of difference, a very slight saving grace. I wish David and Hassan could form a sort of ‘odd couple’ tag team. What an idiot.

Reader Feedback

Rob Williams is a smart-arse.

Ok so you “play” your enterance music at the start of your article shouldn’t you also “play” it and the end, otherwise you just lost your match!

What can I say? I’m a jobber to the stars. It doesn’t pay well, but it doesn’t charge, either. Boo-hoo…

David Hensley defends the old “the money’s in the chase” dictum.

Hi I happened to read your column and thought you made some valad thoughts.

Hogan was a great face champion that made money but it was because of good booking also. There have been some good face champs but lets face it, there will be few long face champs. Sting, WCW’s face of company, didn’t draw as champ and they had to get the belt off of him. Does the face as champ= most money? Sometimes but again its due to booking and look at Batista. Does Batista as champ=more money?

However, the reason most people will tell that the face chasing the heel is because we Want to see the heel lose it to the face. It keeps building until that face gets the belt. Here are a few great examples:

1. ROH-Homicide winning the World Title. Homicide getting screwed 6 months before his title by the ref & Commish Jim Cornette. After the heel Bryan Danielson had the belt for over a year and Homicide going through everyone associated with Jim Cornette, he finally got his rematch and won the belt! Probably the best example in recent memory of a great chase to a title.

2. Jericho winning WCW Title from Rock- After Jericho time after time losing title w/ trying to get a major world title and even went as far to say Jericho is cursed in major world title matches. He finally got his shot and won.

3. Batista winning belt from HHH- This was a great chase w/ Batista wanting revenge from HHH trying to get him to Smackdown after winning the Royal Rumble. Probably WWF’s best chase in a while.

4. Eddie Guerrero winning thebelt from Brock- After yrs of people telling him he’s too small to win the belt, he finally wins (although help from goldberg).

There are more examples like Hogan winning belt from Savage at WM 5, Austin winning belt at WM 14, James Gibson (Jamie Knoble) winning the ROH title.

The face chasing doesn’t have to drop quickly to heel, thats just how the WWE has done in recent memory. I think the reason the face chasing the heel isn’t as good as it used to be is POOR BOOKING! The WWE isn’t that good at that I think, I think they try but fail.

The Rock held the WWF/E Title 7 times but his longest reign was only a little over 4 months! Austin held the WWF/E title 4 times but only had the belt over 4 months (although if you discount Kane’s 1 day title lost it is over 7 months). Austin made the most money during ’98 and Rock made a ton of money.

In conclusion, there is a huge build for either face or heel chasing for title. I mean, how many people waiting as Mr. Kennedy chasing Cena for the title or Bryan Danielson/ Nigel McGuiness chasing Morishma for the ROH Title right now?

I agree that the booking is a huge factor, in fact it can be the BIGGEST factor in whether a chase works or not. The reason I take such issue with the phrase is that it’s used as an excuse for getting rid of people the reporter in question is getting bored with, as if “the money’s in the chase” is an absolute. I also hate the fact that some will go into great detail about “This is how I would get the belt on a heel and then book the chase”, because I always wonder why they can’t BOOK THE CURRENT CHAMPION if they’re such experts. Look into all possibilities.

But yeah, there have been a ton of great chases indeed, some of them over a whole career or others just for a couple of months. A great chase with a great pay-off is awesome. I just wanted to make it known that “THE money” isn’t in the chase by default. You can make money with pretty much anything, as long as it’s good/popular.

But wait, there’s more! Here‘s David‘s response to that, which opens up a whole new can of worms entirely.

Yeah you are right. I think the other reasons that the face doesn’t go very long is the fact that you have to be really creative. Not only when the face is chasing for the title do you have to build up the face but you have to built the next heel or heels to face him. Its not always that easy.

A horrible one was when Goldberg won the belt from Hogan is that there wasn’t 1 heel they had built up to face him. If you say Nash was that took several months but there wasn’t that 1 heel ready to face him.

A great one was when the Rock won the belt the 2nd time in 2000 at King of the Ring. The Rock had Benoit, Angle & HHH as challengers. Plus he had Kane & Undertaker to contend with too. 5 challengers ready, isn’t that weird?

You’re good! That’s a whole other brilliant layer to it that I didn’t even cover. If you think about it, when Rock ‘lost’ it a month later to Benoit, if the decision had stood Benoit had Rock, Undertaker, Kane, Chris Jericho and maybe even Rikishi. It’s safe to say that 2000 was one of the strongest in WWE’s main event.

In comparison, when Benoit finally did win the World Heavyweight Title, he’d already beaten Triple H and Shawn Michaels, so they fed them to him again and then he had a horrific match with a past-his-prime Kane that may have even been the precursor to Benoit losing the belt to Orton when he did. Meanwhile, Eddie was WWE Champion but only had JBL to contend with.

That’s why it’s even MORE important to not focus solely on a chase for the belt – it needs meticulous planning to pull off correctly, otherwise it becomes under-whelming.

Luke Southworth throws another idea out into the open to be kissed by the wolves of fate.

Good column, but I have to ask- did Hogan have to be the champion to gain all of that publicity? Does Cena need the belt to sell merchandise? I’m not so sure. But constant chasing would be stupid.

Catherine Tate is absolutely fucking diabolical, comedy-wise.

Take care.

Good lad. I always take care, even when I’m because completely reckless and a cunt.

Now then, as for Hogan and Cena needing the belts? I would reverse that and say the belts needed them. You don’t always have to have the most popular/over/talented man as champion, in fact it’s vital you don’t. Otherwise, the title would probably only change when the champion got injured. From a personal/professional standpoint, Cena doesn’t need the belt. He’s on the map, we know who he is, and he will perhaps even benefit from being away from the belt for a while. Even before the injury, I’d have had Orton beat him at No Mercy, then lose it back around the time of the Royal Rumble. But, from a business standpoint, Cena as the champion makes sense because he’s the showcase of the company. And, because he is the franchise, complete with custom-made Championship belt, the belt is seen as another part of John Cena, so it’s given a heightened sense of purpose because ‘the man’ is so proud of holding it. At least, that’s how I see it. I think I felt differently during his first reign, which admittedly was luke-warm at best. But he’s been nothing short of fantastic in his second and third reigns, at least in terms of doing everything he possibly could to make it work. We all sneered, and probably rightfully so, when we realised Cena was lined up as the next mega-star. But I think he’s achieved that, if for nothing more than his huge efforts to prove us wrong and improve the industry. I can’t say enough good things about him as a human being.

With Cena’s injury, however, we shall soon see whether Cena did need the belt after all, or indeed whether the belt needed him. I really hope they don’t award the new champion the spinner belt, though. Bring back the old ‘Undisputed’ design. In fact, Cena would look better with that design as well. Just retire the spinner belt from here, I reckon. Nobody needs it anymore.

My esteemed colleague Michael Weyer didn’t e-mail me, but I had to include this brilliant bit of random misjudgment from his latest column. See, he plugs other peoples’ articles at the end of his ‘Shining A Spotlight’ each week, and very considerately gives mine a mention. However, I’m not quite sure he actually read it last time around.

Remember, last week’s column was about how money can be made without having to rely on a chase. Got that? Right. But here’s Weyer’s slightly misled interpretation of it…

Seventh Dimension asks if money is really that important to wrestlers.

Geez, man. Did you train at the ‘Tony Schiavone Academy of Misconstruction and Fallacy’? Never mind, though, because it actually gives me fuel for another column down the line. So thanks, Mike!

Hey, I’m not exactly infallible either. Just this week, I e-mailed Geoff Eubanks asking him why he kept calling Ray Gordy (i.e. Jesse of Jesse and Festus) “Bam Bam’s son”. I thought he’d mistakenly come to the conclusion that Ray was the offspring of Scott Bigelow. Of course, within a couple of minutes I discovered (or, rather, re-discovered) that Terry Gordy’s prefix was ALSO Bam Bam. I just wish I’d looked into it before sending the e-mail. Pretty unacceptable from a wrestling columnist. Ho-hum. Pass the marzipan, Gerald.

(And, to Geoff’s credit, he didn’t rip me to shreds as I perhaps deserved for such insolence. He simply asked that I watch the WCCW set when WWE finally gets around to releasing it. I shall certainly try to honour my word on that.)

Sousou Sousou was also back to set the record straight, y’all$. I’m running low on space again, but I’ll summarise what was said – Chris Benoit was not a ‘saint’ per se, but he was a good man who wouldn’t have done such a terrible deed had he not, at the very least, completely lost his temper. Sousou also feels sympathy for what Chris Benoit went through prior to his demise (i.e. many deaths of co-workers). I certainly agree with this. Thanks again, everyone. Let’s lay the Benoit e-mails to rest now, though.

Oooh, yeah!

It’s been a sombre week. Obviously not on the same level as the Benoit deaths, but a close second for the year in my mind. I wish Cena’s reign would have had a chance to end properly, but I guess it’s hard to feel too much sympathy for a reign that had already probably run its course. Though, of course, I wish Cena himself a full and strengthening recovery (I won’t say a speedy one, as that’s unrealistic and I’d rather he took the time to heal properly than rush his way back). Good luck, Champ.

Also, be sure to check out my new blog (the one titled ‘Woeful.’), where I address a certain other 411 columnist’s thoughts. It’s a good, objective read. I promise. As a teaser to get your interest, I’ll give you a clue as to what transpires in his regard…

Any guesses?
ANONYMOUS ENTITY: “Grave misfortune?”
ME: “NNN (the MSN shortcut I use for an emoticon shaking its head). Anyone else?”
ME: “Shut up and die. Just, die. No, don’t, well…don’t die, obviously, but just go away. No look, just…Just shut up.”

Anyway, see you next week. Love you, bitch.



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T.G. Corke
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