Tossing Salt - Worldwide News
October 22, 2011
And here we are again. It's the weeked and I'm Doug and I'm back for another mind numbing edition of professional wrestling's most eclectic column, "Tossing Salt - Worldwide News". So go get Mama from the kitchen and drag the kid in from the yard and gather the family around your computer screen because I've got a lot to talk about and a short time to do it. We're going to go fast so buckle the seats belts and let's do this thing.
The topics on the agenda include fallout from last weekends AWE "The Night of Legends" pay per view. The show blew chunks and AWE Officials have told us why? My thoughts on that. ESPN took at look at former nWo / WWE Superstar Scott Hall. I definitely want to get in some words about that. Plus lots more stuff.
I want to start off by offering congratulations to the NEW TNA Impact World Champion, "The Cowboy" James Storm. Talk about finally getting it right (and saving their own asses in the process), TNA finally did the right thing. They pushed Bobby Roode like crazy for the past two months, leading up to the Bound For Glory pay per view and then they screwed him. All of this push and he loses Kurt Angle? People saw this and got mad. And I'll admit that I was one of those people... until I thought about it and then saw the payoff this week on Impact.
By winning the Bound For Glory Series, TNA elevated Roode from a tag team wrestler / mid-carder to main event status. He showed that he can run with the big (aka ex-WWE) dogs in TNA. And he didn't win the title at Bound For Glory, but he lost in a manner (foot under ropes, plus Kurt Angle using the ropes) that didn't hurt him. The tainted victory by the then-Imapct Champion, Kurt Angle, along with the explanation on Impact! about how Kurt knows that Roode is the real deal and Kurt was determined to win "by any means necessary" and get past Roode, shows that the bad guys of TNA (Immortal) see Roode as a top guy and responded accordingly. And so he's moved up to the top tier, title or no title.
And then you get to "Cowboy" James Storm, another "TNA 4 Life" guy, who is absolutely loyal to the company and has a strong base of support among both the fans and inside TNA. Since Roode, who is contractually unable to compete for the title, has already been moved up the ladder, why not do Storm as well. And TNA did by pulling an old fashioned swerve.
This reminds me of when Curt Hennig defeated Nick Bockwinkle to capture the AWA World Heavyweight Championship in San Francisco, CA on May 2, 1987. The AWA had built up Larry Zbyszko, the company's top heel, to be the next guy to capture the World title from then-champion Nick Bockwinkle. Zbyszko was hot and ruthless and dominating all the opposition and everyone knew that Larry Z was "the man" to take the title away from the long time Champion, Bockwinkle.
So what did the AWA do? They pulled a swerve and had Nick Bockwinkle defend his title in a big show in San Francisco at the legendary Cow Palace against a solid mid-card up-and-comer named Curt Hennig. Larry Z. was at ringside for this match and everyone kept expecting him to get involved and go after Bockwinkle, so he'd get his shot at Nick and the AWA title next. Instead, Larry stayed out of the match until just moments were left in the time limit and gave what he calls "the world's greatest advice", aka a roll of dimes, to Hennig. Hennig nails Bockwinkle and captures the title. The fans are shocked. And a mid-card superstar is elevated for life. While the one everyone expected to be the next champion gets a strong feud with both Bockwinkle and "The Crippler" Ray Stevens from the deal. SWERVE!
This is what TNA did. They elevated Robert Roode via the Bound For Glory Series. And they elevated James Storm by allowing the "Cowboy" to stand up for his partner and best friend, to defeat Angle and capture the TNA Impact World Championship. Two new main eventers for the price of one. It was a gutsy move by TNA and they really pissed off a lot of people by not putting the title on Roode at the pay per view. But by doing things the way they did, Roode may not be champion (yet), but his position in the company is stronger than ever. And James Storm is the new champion. And TNA shows that maybe, just maybe, they actually do know what they're doing?
Or do they?
The other thing that stands out from the Bound For Glory pay per view is the Hulk Hogan change back to "Good Little Hulky" from "Big Bad Evil Hulky" where he's been for the past two years. What the hell? All the things that Hogan has done since coming to TNA and now we're supposed to believe that he and long time friend / business partner Eric Bischoff are mortal enemies because Hogan couldn't stand to see Immortal do a beat-down on Sting? And then we have Sting ignoring the past fifteen or so years and deciding that since Hogan saved him from a beatdown, Hogan is ready for sainthood now? And he's so enraptured by the goodness of the red and yellow that he convinces TNA Owner Dixie Carter, who lost her company due to the antics and manipulations of Hogan, that she should trust Hulk too?
If the Roode - Angle - Storm situation was a (positive) swerve, the Hogan - Sting - Dixie scenario just totally flies in the other direction. How long will it take, do you think, for Hulk to turn on Sting? You know it's going to happen. Hulk and Sting know it's going to happen. Even President Obama knows it's going to happen and he's probably one of the most clueless men alive. (Bam! Rim Shot!)
If the first swerve made me think of the Hennig / Bockwinkle / Larry Z match from 1987, then this whole situation with Hulk / Sting / Dixie reminds me of the year 1995 where "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair was "feuding" with best friend and fellow Horseman "The Enforcer" Arn Anderson. Ric came out and pleaded with Sting to be his partner. He'd seen the light and wasn't going to be the "bad Nature Boy" anymore. Ric was a "good Nature Boy" instead. And Sting agreed, teamed with Flair against Double-A and the late, great Flyin' Brian Pillman. Flair turned on Sting and the Horsemen were reborn.
Actually, Flair turned on Sting about a zillion times during their NWA / WCW careers. But regardless of that, it's the same old story that's been done a million times. Only now it's Hogan instead of Flair and poor, dumb old Sting is just as gullible as ever. And so are the fans. Hogan does one good deed and he's a good guy now? Only in wrestling, folks. Only in wrestling.
Let's move on...
Earlier this week, ESPN ran a piece talking about former AWA / WCW / WWE / TNA performer Scott Hall, aka "Razor Ramon", aka "The Bad Guy". And well, to say that it was extremely eye-opening is an understatement. The piece chronicled Hall's fall from grace as he battles his demons daily and showed several unflattering moments from Hall's recent past. And it just keeps playing over and over in my mind. This guy is going to be dead soon.
It was a moving piece that looked at Scott's battles with addiction, most specifically alcohol, but pills and cocaine were insinuated as well. And from the look of things, Scott has given up. He's been to rehab multiple times and just keeps falling back into the same habits. He's lost his family because of the drugs and most of his friends are frustrated and helpless, unsure of what to do next? Sean Waltman mentioned how he keeps expecting to hear that Scott had died and has been preparing himself for that to happen for the past two years. Everyone seems to feel the same way.
It's kind of ironic to me that this feature aired this week because I can understand the frustration that Scott's family and friends are going through. Just a few hours ago, I spoke to the mother of a friend of mine who struggles with his demons, much like Scott Hall does. After almost six months of being clean and getting his life together, my friend, according to his mother, had a relapse a few days ago and has spent the last three days on a major binge. She feels helpless and lost and to be honest, I feel the same way. But there's nothing we can do that we haven't already tried. And the same goes for Scott. Until he decides that he is going to be clean and wants to be clean and finds a way to replace those demons in his life with something more positive, he's not going to get better. My friend needs to learn this and so does Scott Hall.
Scott already knows it, but it seems that he's given up trying to get better and trying to fight those problems. It seemed like things had taken an upswing in that ESPN piece when they reported that Hall's son, Cody, had moved in with him, after an estrangement of many years, and Scott was training his son to be a professional wrestler. But alas, that was not to be as Scott's ex-wife, Dana, reported that Cody is no longer living with Scott and has given up on training to be a wrestler, after being unable to deal with Hall's binges and lifestyle.
I really don't know where to go here. I hope my friend gets better. He's still got a chance, thus far. As for Scott, one of the greatest wrestling talents of the past twenty plus years, and a man with tremendous talent, charisma and creativity, after watching that piece this week, I think we'd better start saying our good-byes, because sooner rather than later, he's not going to last long as this rate and will be leaving this world and the mortal vein. And it's truly a tragedy and a waste.
AWE "The Night Of Legends"...
As most of you know, Awesome Wrestling Entertainment held a big time pay per view, "The Night of Legends", last Saturday night. And the show, to be honest, blew chunks. Some of the matches advertised (The Midnight Express versus The Mukleys) didn't happen and legends listed to appear (Ivan Koloff, Lita, Tully Blancard, Baby Doll, George South, The Mulkeys, The Midnight Express, Rhino, Chris Hamrick), didn't appear on the pay per view event. And the main event was a cluster-f*ck in every manner you could imagine. It was a letdown, to say the least and a disgrace, at least in my opinion. Go judge for yourself if you'd like. I did a recap of the show (may as well get something to show for my $25) and that recap can be viewed here: http://tsfiction.blogspot.com/2011/10/awe-night-of-legends-recap-october-15.html
Well, Promoter Marvin Ward has responded to the criticism of the event. In regards to the matches that didn't appear on TV and the superstars that were scheduled to appear, but didn't... well, that's not his fault. The Mulkey - Midnight Express match was changed into a singles match between Randy Mulkey and Dennis Condrey and was for the live audience only. And the major stars and legends scheduled to appear? Well, that was for the live crowd only too.
So let me get this straight? A company has a pay per view event called "The Night of Legends" and then only the live audience and not the people who paid their hard earned money get to see the legends that were advertised? Does that sound right to you? Me neither. And just saying that Ward is telling the truth, and after all, he is a long time wrestling promoter and everyone knows that promoters NEVER lie, what about Amy Dumas (Lita)? She was featured on the graphics used to start the pay per view event. So even if the matches and stars featured on the advertisements of the event were for the live crowd only and not for the pay per view, Lita was advertised FOR the pay per view. And she was never shown. Mr. Ward never explains that.
And then we go to the screwball finish of the event. Mr. Ward, who's credibility is majorly lacking at this point in my opinion, has a great explanation for that as well. It's all Kevin Nash's fault. Ward explained that the match was changed to a singles match at the request of Nash and the whole, "I'm getting my ass kicked because I love this business" speech by Ricky Morton, as well as the way the match was laid out, is all because that's how Kevin wanted it. And when Kevin walked out of the ring and arena after decimating Morton, nobody knew what was going on and that too was Kevin going into business for himself.
It doesn't make sense and for Ward really can't justify anything that happened at the pay per view except by admitting that he and his group are incompetent and lost control of their show almost immediately. Ward controlled the advertising for his event and to promote all of those names and then not deliver, plus to let the wrestlers (allegedly) book their own matches and endings, going into business for themselves. He was in charge. He was the promoter. And maybe it's not his fault, but it's on his watch and he needs to man up and quit making excuses.
After that fiasco of a show last Saturday night, I can definitely promise this. I don't care who is advertised or how great a show looks to be, but if Marvin Ward or the Awesome Wrestling Entertainment promotion is involved in any way, shape or form, I'll not be spending a cent towards seeing or helping that show. We (the fans) got royally screwed last weekend by this promoter and this company. It will not happen again.
Anything else? I was going to include pay per view predictions for WWE Vengeance 2011,which is coming up this Sunday night, but I'm tired and want to go back to bed. So I'll wait until later today and do that in a totally separate column. Yeppers, it's all about the quantity here. So how can I close out this bad boy? Hmmm!
Who Am I?
Last week, I brought back an old gem from the early days of "Tossing Salt", the always lovely "Who Am I?" bit. I asked this question.
I started my career in 1970 working for my father in his Alabama-based promotion, where I was a member of a group called "The Stud Stable", as well as part of a tag team called "The Avengers". I followed my cousin, who was doing a manager gimmick, to WCW in 1994 where I enjoyed a degree of success as part of a tag team with a veteran who went by the nickname of "Mr. Unpredictable" when we captured the WCW World Tag Team Championships. Unfortunately, our feud was overshadowed by our manager's love triangle with two of the top female wrestler / managers in WCW at the time. I left WCW and returned to the Indy scene in 1999. In recent years, I've continued to wrestle in the Indy's and have made two appearances in the WWE as the (kayfabe) parent of an All-American superstar, which caused me to be tombstoned by Kane and then later attacked MVP. In August of 2011, I became the new Tennesee Mountain Heavyweight Champion. Who am I?
And the answer is... Jimmy Golden, aka "Bunkhouse Buck".
One person, a long time reader who is both a scholar and a gentleman, Russell Jackson, answered correctly. So congratulations to Russell and many thanks for your participation. You are de' man!!!
Now let's try this once more. And I want answers, damn it!
I began my career in Florida in 1991 where I was part of a tag team named after the scary parts of a storm. After the team ended, I became a part of WCW where my snake-like character (GI Joe hates me) was packaged as a former Gulf War veteran and I feuded with my former Drill Sergeant for a bit. And then I really made my mark imitating one of WCW's top stars, working both WCW and New Japan Pro Wrestling as a nWo affiliated icon until WCW folded in 2001. I continued to wrestle the Indy circuit in the Carolina's for several more years before leaving the business. I am now a project manager for the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. It's showtime folks. Who am I?
Think you know the answer? Drop me a line at Doug28352@yahoo.com and let me know who you think this person is.
And I guess that will do it for me for now. I'll be back later today with an edition of "Six Minutes" with my predictions for the WWE pay per view, Vengeance. And when you get a chance, go check out my blogsite at www.tsfiction.blogspot.com for all things Dougie. I've got quite a few old "Tossing Salt" and "Six Minutes" columns posted, plus surveys, short stories and lots of rants and ramblings about all sorts of things. Just yesterday, I did a political piece about a controversial new "Voter ID" law in South Carolina, a piece about some dreams I've had, and a look at the "must hear songs", in my opinion anyhow, of country music legend Waylon Jennings. Anything goes at that site and no subject is off limits. Check it out please.
I'm Doug and guess what? "Dat is all de' people need to know." Thanks for reading, don't forget to answer the "Who Am I?", and always support your local Indy wrestling groups. Take care. I'm down and I'm gone.