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Da Melch
Michael Melchor

Thursday March 10, 2005
12:00 AM

Double Impact 03.10.05  The Corporate Angle By: Michael Melchor

I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve even been here, much less had anything to say about Wrestling. In-between keeping up with 411 Music, going to court soon and getting married even sooner, there hasn’t been a lot of time – or, frankly, the inclination.

But then Matt Hardy and Lita happened. Hoho. Now we have a topic and a column that will involve NONE of the principal players of the celebrated love triangle as the main focus.

Confused yet? Just keep reading; it’ll all make sense as you go along.

And thanks once again to Sean and the rest of the gang here at the Fan for putting up with my sporadic nature and long disappearances. Any of you are invited to give me a swift kick in the ass in public at our Forums should the mood strike you to do so.

Now then...

The views and opinions expressed herein are those solely of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of the rest of the human race.

It seems every year that, around WrestleMania time, some big story breaks that comes this close to putting egg on WWE’s face. Last year it was the celebrated departures of both Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg that threatened the show. When the big event rolled around, the crowd at Madison Square Garden infamously booed both men literally out of the building, but the rest of the show went untouched.

This year, Matt Hardy, Lita, and Edge get to test the waters and see if their actions away from the ring do any damage to WrestleMania.

Now, before this goes any further, you already have an idea of what the topic is. However, I’m not about to vilify Lita and Edge or come to Matt Hardy’s defense. Quite the contrary; I could give a shit less who’s at fault. I could stand here all day and grandstand about the moral rights and wrongs of the situation (as most of the holier-than-God gurus in the IWC have already done), but at the end of the day it’s no one’s business but that of Matt Hardy, Amy Dumas, Adam Copeland, Mrs. Copeland, and the upper management of World Wrestling Entertainment, Incorporated.

But, how much of WWE’s business is it? While everyone is too busy either calling Lita a whore or Hardy a sap for going about his break-up in a public, 10th grade manner, a point that I think may have been missed is exactly how much the company is trying to control the actions and reactions of all involved – and I’m not sure if ANY company has that right.

What started this whole screed was seeing this blurb on 411’s Newsboard:

The PWTorch is reporting that the "close friend" at the center of the Matt Hardy/Lita split is in fact Edge. Edge's wife found out about the affair that has been taking place on the road and informed Hardy about it.

Matt Hardy and Edge have a longstanding friendship and as part of the Hardy Boyz and Edge& Christian, revitalized the WWE tag team scene in 1999 with their series of gimmick matches that included the TLC series with the Dudley Boyz.

WWE management is reportably extremely angry at Edge at what they describe as the "height of improper conduct". The feeling backstage is that this will be a politically crippling event for Edge and has the potential to threaten his career.

All parties concerned are part of the RAW roster with Hardy due back on the 19th of March from his leg injury. No word on whether they will be separated or this turned into an angle.

Hold on a fucking minute. A “politically crippling event” that “has the potential to threaten his career”? It isn’t like the man went on NBC’s Today Show and accused Vince McMahon of having sleepovers with little boys at Titan Towers while making them watch gay nude oil wrestling or anything. The man cheated on his wife, period. Whether or not ANYONE condones the action is immaterial – even World Wrestling Entertainment, Incorporated.

This is a matter that affects Edge’s personal life and obviously has no bearing on what he does inside the ring. As far as most of the general viewership of the Raw program knows, Edge cares a LOT less about sex than he does being a whiny bitch who wants the World Title.

Including the “SmarK” crowd, maybe a handful of people know what’s going on behind the scenes. This isn’t like last year’s Lesnar fiasco where he wanted to go to the NFL, causing the major sports outlets to pick up the story and run like Lesnar wished he could have done well enough to qualify for the Vikings. Many more people are concerned with “legitimate” sports than with pro wrestling. That’s the sad fact. Because of that, people gravitated to the Lesnar story and had some fun with it last year at WrestleMania XX. Don’t make the mistake that that reaction was all “internet” because, let’s be honest, how many of those kids that bashed Lesnar and patted themselves on the back for being “in the know” were able to even afford a ticket to last year’s show?

People hate the character of Edge. Based on recent book sales, they could probably give a shit less about the man, Adam Copeland. As a result, there’s nothing to the Hardy/Dumas/Copeland triangle at all that the mainstream media’s going to care enough about to pick up on and report to a wider audience. The mainstream media outlets already know the reaction they’re going to get – “who cares?”

In that respect, WWE has absolutely nothing to worry about in all of this. Instead, paranoia has taken hold like scurvy on one of Paris Hilton’s old boyfriends and, because they don’t want their “corporate” image tarnished in any way, shape, or form, are handling this as a “politically crippling event” that “has the potential to threaten Edge’s career”. There’s absolutely no reason to do so as, while the fear is at least understandable, there’s no real concern here. What there is a concern about is a matter that WWE is handling a little better.

Taken again from 411’s Newsboard:

It is expected that WWE management is going to take Matt, Lita, and Edge aside and talk to them about not letting this situation overlap with their work. The plan is to also keep them from having to work together in any sort of way.

That may be a good idea due to the environment that everyone’s in. Given the fact that these athletes are paid to safely inflict punishment on each others’ bodies, what’s to stop them from doing it in an unsafe manner once the cameras are on and there’s no one else there to stop them? Best not to risk the injury of a performer in the ring over something like this.

HOWEVER, I would hope that talk from management would include words to the effect of, “Remember, you’re paid to be a professional. Any shit started here backstage and there WILL be disciplinary action, possibly even termination. We’ve invested too much time and money into your characters and television personas to watch you all ruin it in some petty fucking playground squabble over a piece of rancid ass.”

Whether or not those exact words were used is anyone’s guess (and mine would be “not really”). But we do know that SOMEthing was said prior to the first Raw show after this whole soap-opera broke. One last time, we go to 411’s Newsboard:

- Matt Hardy was expected to be at RAW last night since he lives near the arena, but was asked not to attend by management. With Lita and Edge both booked for the show, WWE did not want to have an incident backstage. Hardy did not attend.

- Management did sit down with Edge and Lita to talk about how to keep the situation from impacting business. WWE wants the road to WrestleMania to remain smooth.

Now, let’s take a look at how that show went:

- Edge was announced as one of the six participants in the “Money In The Bank” ladder match at WrestleMania 21. That night, he faced Jericho (the guy that came up with said ladder match) and beat him. During the match, a couple kids attempt a “You Screwed Matt!” chant – and fail miserably when no one else picks up on it because they don’t get it.

- Lita returned as the girl who is training Playboy Playmate Christy Hemme to wrestle and challenge Trish Stratus for the Women’s Title at WM 21. Lita is met with her usual decent (but not spectacular) reaction from the crowd.

In hindsight, you see how little the “BIG STORY THAT COULD RUIN WRESTLEMANIA 21” actually mattered. There’s a big difference between losing one of your major stars to a failed football career right before the big show and having some of your mid-card stars caught in a love triangle career right before the big show. Which do YOU think had the bigger impact?

WWE would do well to take a lesson from this. Every little negative thing that happens is not going to spell their doom on the Grandest Stage Of Them All. Maybe they could use their “corporate” resources to hire some HR staff that know and understand the difference and solve each problem accordingly instead of trying to dictate the private lives of their employees. The WWE wrestlers already give their bodies to the company; isn’t that enough?

L8. Thanks again for reading.

For more interesting (?) reading, click here.

Be sure to visit EdWolf for all of your (non-video) gaming needs, Rehab Radio for some good surfing music, and The Wrestling Fan for a good chuckle or two.

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Sunday January 9, 2005
05:00 PM
Double Impact 01.09.05 Chamber Spins Six 2.0 by: Michael Melchor

The views and opinions expressed herein are those solely of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of the rest of the human race.

Hey there. The first part of this piece may look a little familiar as I’ d done a preview of the first Elimination Chamber match for 411Wrestling. That was done in conjunction with another writer who’ll be handling the second match there.

HOWEVER, this ain’t 411 now, is it? Sean liked the piece there and asked to use it here, but I had a better idea. Since I was at it, I figure I’d cover BOTH matches for you reading The Fan. Yeah, yeah, you can thank me later.

So, consider this the
final version of the column with the last half added on for posterity (and to please the almighty BOSS, Sean Carless. Enjoy.

The original title I had for this was already taken so I had to settle for paraphrasing a Biohazard song title. Come on, what do you expect from a guy that jumped zones?

Speaking of the original title, my esteemed colleague Matt Nute did an awesome job covering the subject that I’m about to here. Very little was left to desire in his covering of the strategies and finer points of the two sole Elimination Chamber matches that Raw has had.

(And that’s in interesting point to take into consideration. Since the brand extension after WrestleMania X8, the Elimination Chamber stands as not only a history-making contraption, but the first – and still only – “brand-exclusive” gimmick match to exist so far.)

Of course, those of you with long memories may remember that when I did the Raw and SmackDown recaps, I eventually switched to the strategic/” psychological” view of the matches. I get bored dealing with “workrates” and seeing how many guys blow moves and who can fly. Just not my style. I’ d rather see a good story told in the ring and do what anyone should when watching wrestling – suspend your disbelief for a while and enjoy the action.

The very first Elimination Chamber match provided an excellent opportunity to do just that. The main thrust of the match going in was the conflict between Shawn Michaels and Triple-H – making the other four involved seem more like cannon fodder than actual contenders. By the end of the match, all six of them came out looking like superstars and helped the brainchild of Eric Bischoff (as the story goes, anyway) come off a huge success.

Heading into the contest, each man had their motives and reasons for wanting to survive the hell that the Chamber promised...

Rob Van Dam was making his mark on the Raw brand and, having never captured the ECW World Title before that promotion folded, had the chance to finally hold a World Championship. Even better, he could do so in an “extreme” atmosphere that he was somewhat accustomed to.

Booker T had held the WCW World Championship and formerly took part in the match that could be considered the Chamber’s father – War Games. Booker felt he had not only that edge going in, but that of desire to win one of the top prizes in WWE.

Nearly a year prior, Chris Jericho became the first Undisputed Champion. The taste of being on top of the world was sweet indeed and Y2J longed for more. That he could face the man who took that title from him (Triple-H) and a longtime idol (Shawn Michaels) was added inspiration in his fearlessness to enter the treacherous structure.

Kane didn’t give a damn WHAT atmosphere he was in, so long as he could punish those that stood in his way of holding the World Championship. Kane’ s prior taste of glory had ended way too soon and he wanted that back.

Shawn Michaels had revenge on his mind. Three months before the event, he defeated his former friend Triple-H in his first match back after 4 1/2 years because of a serious back injury. Immediately after his victory, Shawn fell victim to a direct hit to that spine by Hunter’s sledgehammer. Vengeance was the goal here, and having such so by taking Triple-H’s coveted title was the perfect way to achieve it.

Triple-H, meanwhile, was behind the proverbial 8-ball. He had to face down five other men and deal with a disastrous edifice that could maim any one of them – including him. So be it; if this was the way to prove that he was truly the greatest of all-time then it’s what had to be done.

What Triple-H was not prepared for was starting the match first against Rob Van Dam. RVD, eager to prove his mettle, overshot a Five Star Frog Splash and landed dead on Triple-H’s throat. Van Dam would soon be the first man out courtesy of Booker T, but the damage was done – Triple-H spent the rest of the battle gasping for air and was admitted to a hospital afterward with a bruised and swollen trachea.

Meanwhile, Jericho brought the intensity that a match of this magnitude required. The Lionsault became the most used move of the night and succeeded in eliminating two of his competitors, including the monster Kane.

Before being eliminated, however, Kane gave the other challengers reason to fear and the crowd a moment of awe. The plexiglass chambers at each corner were only meant to hold each man before they came into play, but try telling that to an oversized beast. Kane threw Jericho into one of the chambers the hard way, bringing it down around a battered Jericho.

In the end, two bloody rivals were left to do battle once again. Both had been hurt badly throughout the match as the other four did their damage. Both had also come in with a single-minded purpose to leave holding the gold. With everything on the line, Triple-H and Shawn Michaels tore into each other with power and passion, making sure that only one would leave under his own power.

After 10 minutes of violence and drama, that man would prove to be Shawn Michaels. After sending Triple-H to the corner after a countered Pedigree attempt, Michaels drilled his blood adversary with Sweet Chin Music. Rather than celebrate and cover his man, Shawn Michaels had only the strength to simply collapse on top of Hunter for the match-winning pinfall.

Shawn Michaels had his revenge, but paid a heavy price in taking it. In the process, history was made. Everyone who had watched and participated in the match knew something special had just happened – and that it probably would again.

The chance to repeat history came a year later at SummerSlam but the standard that these six had set was too high to be met by the likes of Kevin Nash and Bill Goldberg. As much as the first match was loved, this one was reviled, but some of that, of course, came due to the ending. However, looking back on the event now the reasons for what transpired were quite logical. The problem was that it happened on a huge stage.

Triple-H was reigning champion once again, and had a second chance to prove that he was the best in the business. He also had a four-man buffer between he and the man that wanted him so bad it hurt...

Shawn Michaels was back inside the chamber with two of his former friends and was looking to make the Elimination Chamber “his” match with a repeat victory.

Chris Jericho lurked inside the Chamber once again with his mind set on two goals. One was obviously the World Title, but the second was avenging his WrestleMania X9 loss to his childhood idol turned bitter rival, Shawn Michaels.

Hot on Jericho’s heels was Kevin Nash, looking for a receipt for an unceremonious haircut given to him by Jericho. Once that business was done, Nash was hoping to become the World Champion himself by maiming his former friend Triple-H.

Randy Orton, then a card-carrying member of Evolution, was there to run a little interference and provide some assistance to the grand plan set by Triple-H and the rest of the group.

Bill Goldberg wanted Triple-H ever since he set foot in WWE, and now had a chance to get at him. The fact that he would have to go through four other men to get to him bothered him none.

This time around, Hunter was spared the starting position and – as fate would have it – spent a good deal of the match out cold. Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho started out continurting their hatred for one another before Orton came in to soften up the others for the Champ. That didn’t last long as Kevin Nash entered and cleaned the proverbial house before going after Chris Jericho. However, Nash’s momentum was cut short by Michaels’s Sweet Chin Music. Jericho took the opportunity to embarrass his other rival further and eliminated Nash from the Chamber.

To say Nash was a little upset would be calling Jenna Jameson a little promiscuous. Nash went on a rampage and powerbombed all three men in before being escorted to the back. Triple-H then entered the to a supposed advantage, but that would end immediately with a second Sweet Chin Music from Michaels, sending Triple-H back into his own Chamber, unconscious for several minutes.

This gave Bill Goldberg his chance to enter and dominate. And dominate he did by spearing and jackhammering his way through Orton, Michaels, AND Jericho in quick succession. After laying waste to the rest of the competition, Goldberg had what he wanted.

Triple-H awoke to find himself alone with the man he feared above all others – but Hunter’s plan came into motion. Wanting no part of Goldberg at first, Triple-H was left with no other choice when Goldberg kicked down the plexiglass door to get at Hunter.

A seeming non-factor, Ric Flair had been outside the Chamber, supporting his man the whole way. That support came in very handy when Flair found a way to slide Hunter’s sledgehammer inside the chamber. With no rules, it was perfect legal for Triple-H to crack Goldberg directly in the skull in a counter to the Spear and pin Goldberg. Triple-H was the last man standing, but the outcome left a bad taste in the mouths of many.

The match was seen as a chance to repeat the spectacle that was the first Elimination Chamber. Instead, it became a ploy for Hunter to keep the title and wrestle as little as he could with an injured groin. Many question the wisdom of going on with the match with the circumstances, but what’s done is done. The second Elimination Chamber had passed and showed how the match should not be done.

This Sunday, some familiar and new faces have the chance to not only match but raise the bar set by the first ever Elimination Chamber Match in November of 2002 – not to mention erase the stigma surrounding the second in August of 2003. The potential is certainly there to raise the roof and make history once again, but they have a heavy task ahead of them.

L8. Thanks again for reading.

For more interesting (?) reading, click here.

Be sure to visit EdWolf for all of your (non-video) gaming needs, Rehab Radio for some good surfing music, and The Wrestling Fan for a good chuckle or two.

*HHH pic originally appeared at Wrestlecrap.com

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November 2006


by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).