a jim jividen blog
Here's the thing. I'm watching one of these shows on the Cooking Channel featuring food trucks. There's a Scottish expat making fish and chips; in a thick brogue he somewhat wearily explains his irritation with Americans who habitually order a side of tartar sauce: "tartar sauce is basically gherkins." That's this blog. I claim no particular insight, no revelation. If you enjoy the flavor, great, but this blog is basically gherkins.
Friday, August 13, 2010
For reference, my Wrestlemania 26 preview is here. My 2009 SummerSlam preview is
Kirk Hiner and I have written a produced play together, an unproduced sitcom together, started a professional comedy troupe together - you can find his solo work here (for which he is paid - paid straight cash to write the words) and you're reading my solo work right now. Left to right and everything. For free. You're welcome. Me, I think it's time to give our play away - put the script up on the interwebs so it can be part of our public record; the only obstacle to your (yes, your!) reading the majestic Spoon Millionaires right now, sharing your favorite lines on the Facebook, passing along our script to some of your well connected friends who, in turn, would then take us away from our wage slave lives and allow us to live, fat and happy, on a sex farm, stretchin' in your pea patch, plowin' through your beanfield, are the whims of Kirk Hiner, all protective of his intellectual property and whatnot.
For each of the 4 traditional WWE PPVs, I write a preview in this space, really designed just to carry Kirk Hiner through the WWF narrative; we've been doing some version of this since WM 13; for a few years it was every PPV (WCW and ECW too) even if I had to report through squigglevision. I want to say I gave star ratings to those matches ("Am I crazy - or did Billy Gunn just start throwing blockbuster suplexes all over the goddamn ring? 3 3/4 stars!") And for a few years it was by phone - I transcribed and read Austin's 3:16 speech from KOTR and Hogan's heel promo when he joined the NWO. I did it with verve and gusto. It is part of our heritage.
So, you who aren't Kirk, are welcome to stay (losers) but largely I'm just talking to him. How are the kids? Do you have a fantasy draft date - I'm not ready as I sit here, but can get ready with some warning. I've got a light Labor Day week, so I've scheduled both of mine then. Hey, right now I'm watching the opener to Hard Knocks - Joe Namath's face is melting like he's just been shown the ark of the covenant.
SummerSlam is Sunday from...LA, I think - it was there last year too, I wonder if that's a thing they're doing now since Vince got his Walk of Fame star (I think they put him next to George Takei. Balloon knot. Oh, my.) This is the 23rd Summer Slam; at the bottom, I'll list the best SSlam matches ever like I do. Here's the card:
Elimination Tag Team Match:
Team WWE (John Cena, Bret Hart, R-Truth, John Morrison, Edge, Chris Jericho, & ?) vs. The Nexus (Wade Barrett, Skip Sheffield, Michael Tarver, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Darren Young and David Otunga)
-The driving story through the summer has been turning the developmental wrestlers who comprised the opening season of the NXT show on Sci Fi (now called Scy Fy or perhaps there are accent marks or random Z's thrown in someplace) into a heel stable (Nexus, which I'm pretty sure is a dandruff shampoo "Nexus - strong enough for a man - but made for a woman"). NXT was (is) pretty bad, ostensibly they have a "season" where the developmental prospects are put through challenges (lift this heavy thing - do these laps around the ring - cut a promo from a word you draw out of a hat. Sing that if you would, just like I'm doing in my head - it could be a square dance lyric. Bow to your partner. Bow to your left hand lady) that lead to the selection of one who is offered a contract. The star in the first season was Bryan Danielson, who I've been mentioning for about a decade as an all time great wrestler; similar to the way I talked to you about Benoit and Eddy as they made their way through the ranks. If I was picking one guy, out of everyone in the world, to start my wrestling company, it would be Danielson. Even in the world that actually exists, as opposed to the one I see in my fever dreams, there's no reason why they couldn't bring Danielson back Sunday, put him over - and build him to be in the main event of WM 27 and have it do every dollar as well as if it was anyone else on the roster.
Of course, what they did with him on NXT was beat him in every match and have Michael Cole insult him repeatedly from the announce for being a creation of internet hype. 'Cause it's WWF and that's how they get down. I finally understand that He Hate Me jersey.
By the end, however, they had salvaged a really fresh feeling storyline pitting Danielson against the WWF structure - and from that came the whole group invading RAW - wiping out Cena and all the ringside personnel.
Danielson, unfortunately, got legit. fired as a result of the invasion for being excessively violent.
That seems like a work, I know - they script an invasion that is designed, specifically, to feel different than the rest of the programming - and when it does, they fire a guy (who happens to be the best wrestler in the hemisphere, and one of the greatest workers who ever lived) for it.
But that's WWF. And that same managerial style could now be headed to the US Senate.
Anyway - the storyline continued, with Nexus attacking heels and faces alike, and now we have an elimination match to settle things.
Cena remains the top guy in the company; with or without the belt, he is, maybe more than ever before now that Michaels has retired, Batista's deal expired, Undertaker's hurt, none of the McMahons have a presence as TV characters, and Hunter left to shoot a film and then got injured while away - Cena is clearly the dominant face of the company. Bret didn't leave after Mania - he became the GM - but was wiped out by Nexus (the GM is now a mystery, he sends Michael Cole emails - it's a little worse than silly) and has just returned to join the team. Killings and Morrison are babyface allies - but Morrison's grown a beard in recent weeks and bearded men are not to be trusted. Edge turned heel after WM, he and Jericho are reluctant "we don't want to team with a bunch of faces, with their butter soft lips and farmer's tans, but we sure do hate the Nexus" heels. The 7th guy was originally Great Khali, he's out in an injury angle (pulled his suck muscle, he's in serious but stable condition) so they have a mystery partner who is teased to be the Miz, who is currently getting pushed. Meanwhile, Coral works at Chick Fil A.
None of the Nexus guys is worthy of being in a Summer Slam main event - which is the wrinkle in what is otherwise both a good idea that has largely been well executed. Gabriel is the best worker, Barrett the best talker, Otunga is married to Jennifer Hudson (she's the one who won the Oscar, Fantasia's the one who tried to kill herself. Update your records.) But none of them is really positioned to stand out at this level - and none is a good enough worker to interest me. I assume the heels win to continue the program.
WWE Championship Match:
Sheamus (c) vs. Randy Orton
-When we last left off, Cena took the RAW strap at 26 from Batista - but he dropped to Sheamus at the June PPV, it's his second run with the belt. Orton remains a babyface, he won a good 3 way against Jericho/Edge to get the number one contender slot - there's a no outside interference stip - as Nexus has interfered to aid Sheamus in the past (teasing his joining them - but it felt more like a swerve or that they had yet to decide what they were doing) and there's an Orton doesn't get another shot if he loses stip. I'll say they switch to Orton as I have the heels winning the big match. It could be okay - Orton's style has moved from methodical to occasionally coma inducing - Sheamus isn't bad at working WWE style. I don't hate this match.
World Heavyweight Championship Match:
Kane (c) vs. Rey Mysterio
-I do hate any match with Kane.
When we left off, Jericho was the Smackdown champ - but he dropped to Jack Swagger, who dropped to Mysterio, who dropped to a heel turning Kane. Kane's RAW championship was a dozen years ago - the span between the two runs longer than the distance between Backlund losing to Hogan and then retaking the strap in his heel run in the 90s. Counterfactual Mr. Backlund was funny. I had him yelling Semper Fi and screaming about the Tojos. The storyline is Kane apparently put the Undertaker in a "vegetative state" - he's been down most of the summer after breaking an orbital bone in a match against Rey. Rey beat Swagger to get this shot. Kane probably keeps, we've got to do the feud with he and the Undertaker that I can skip. I'm thinking that Undertaker's turning out to be alive is part of their long right wing plan to juice up the Terry Schiavo case again. "She could have been just fine! The Undertaker came back to life! Terry Schiavo could have gone on to face Ezekial Jackson at Wrestlemania!" No truth to the rumors that Linda has been in a persistant vegetative state since 1977.
WWE Intercontinental Title Match:
Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Kofi Kingston (Possible additions: Christian, McIntyre, Cody, Matt)
-They're making this match this week in the go home Smackdown. Drew McIntyre was IC Champ when last we left - he was stripped and reinstated - then dropped to the interim champ, Kofi Kingston - who then dropped to Ziggler, who is currently managed by, and probably storyline dating Eddy's widow Vicki. This is a good enough match on its own (although it wouldn't be given any time - Smackdown is the extra bastard child now) as both Ziggler and Kingston are good looking young wrestlers. One advertisement had the other four guys (Christian, still a face but maybe kinda turning - the heel McIntyre, heel Rhodes now doing a "don't hit my face" gimmick, and Matt) joining the match. This becomes the most important match to me for Counterfactual purposes. And what's more important than that, really? A Jewish homeland? A safe and secure Jewish homeland? Is that your suggestion? Your priorities are askew, let me suggest.
3-on-1 Handicap Match:
Big Show vs. The Straight Edge Society (CM Punk, Luke Gallows and Joey Mercury)
-Punk's feud with Rey was truncated - Punk's losing a headhaving stip - he then took to wearing a mask, which wound up being removed by the Show, and here we are. Punk injured his arm at some point over the summer, presumably banging one of the divas (you're supposed to work from the trunk when you bang; really let your P90X crafted core do most of the work; I read that in one of those Robert Fulgham books) which has meant his lackeys are carrying the ball in the ring with this program. He's scheduled to work - could be that he's healthy enough to now do so or they'll protect him. I don't know. This isn't really designed to be much of a match, hopefully they'll move Punk away from this program soon. Smackdown looks bleak sometimes. Like a mall no one goes to anymore.
A Women's Match I Won't Watch.
That's the show. Doesn't really look promising from a work perspective - the elimination match probably winds up being the best match on the show, and if it's a penny above 3 1/2 stars I'd be surprised. I wouldn't look for anything to crack the following list:
Top 10 Summer Slam Matches of All Time
1. Bret d. Owen (94) 32 min 4 3/4 stars
2. DBS d. Bret (92) 25:30 min. 4 3/4 stars
3. Edge/Christian d. Hardys/Dudleys (00) 15 min. 4 1/2 stars
4. HBK d. Razor (95) 25 min 4 1/2 stars
5. Punk d. Jeff (09) 19:30 min 4 1/4 stars
6. Bret Hart d. Mr. Perfect (91) 18 min 4 1/4 stars
7. Undertaker d. Edge (08) 26:30 4 stars
8. Brainbusters d. Hart Foundation (89) 16:30 4 stars
9. Benoit v. Jericho (00) 13 min 4 stars
10. Shawn Michaels d. Vader (96) 29 min 4 stars
And that's our preview. Summer Slam 2010.