Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Shooting From The Hip


We all look to the future. Where are we going? When will we get there? Will prison time be involved? Every person thinks about it, and I've been thinking about the future of some of our WWE superstars. How will they be pushed? Will they be pushed, and what will their roles be in the company?

I am limiting this to WWE superstars. I'm obviously not going to cover every wrestler in the company, (I've got a family, damnit), but I am going to look at some of the guys who I think are relevant. Let's start from the top.

1. John Cena

Cena's role is obvious. He's on the top of the world right now, and it looks like he may beat Ric Flair's world title record. (vomits) Anyhow, I predict Cena will continue to be booked on top of the world until he either gets hurt, stops selling merchandise, or, for whatever reason, quits. But, as Cena gets older, how will he be used. He should be used the way Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair were used. To push new talent. Cena has been given a wonderful gift. Anyone who beats him clean can be instantly propelled. I can see Cena in that role someday, as the veteran who helps out younger talent.

2. Mark Henry

Seems only appropriate to move on to the next champ. I don't honestly think Henry has too much time left. He's been in the game 15 years, and is finally getting a push. Henry should keep that title until Wrestlemania 28, being an unstoppable beast, until he's finally vanquished on the grandest stage of them all. Again, he can be used to put someone over big time before he rides off. Daniel Bryan perhaps? And, speaking of Daniel Bryan...

3. Daniel Bryan

See how I did that? That's right there is a segway! Here comes the heat. I do not see Daniel Bryan as lasting too long in the WWE. I just don't. He is, without a doubt, a fantastic wrestler, but I compare him to Shelton Benjamin. Again, a great wrestler, but there was just something missing. I enjoy seeing both men in the ring, but WWE requires mic skills or a manager. I, unfortunately, see Bryan either losing that briefcase before Mania, or being the first person to cash it in and lose. Maybe I am wrong, and a gimmick change will help, but I doubt it.

4. The Miz

Well, Miz has already proven he can hold a WWE title and get people's attention. He's a company guy, and his mic skills are great. I can foresee a huge babyface turn for the Miz in the future, and I think his future is very bright. He has improved as a wrestler over the last two years, and we all know Vince loves work ethic and company guys. If you think Miz's first WWE title was his last, you're sadly mistaken.

5. R-Truth

If I were writing this a year ago, I'd have put Truth on the future endeavored list. But, I am pleasantly surprised at how damn good a heel he is! His crazy gimmick works very well, and he has surprisingly good mic skills when acting as a heel. His in-ring work is good as well. I see Truth as a long-term mid-carder. I could see a possible IC title or US title run in his future, and hanging out with the Miz is helping to put him over.

6. Randy Orton

Basically, see John Cena. Orton is a company guy, and he ain't going nowhere. Short and sweet, he'll have several title runs, and, in his later years, be used to put younger talent over. He's already a main-eventer, and he'll stay that way for the forseeable future. His mic skills need work, but his in-ring talent is unquestionable.

7. The Undertaker

Taker will go 20-0 and then retire. I do not see the streak ending.

8. Kane

One of my favorites. Talented yet a bit underutilized. Kane will help put guys over until he retires. And, I don't think that is too far off. Kane seems unselfish and very smart. I can see him putting guys over for a bit, and then taking a backstage role in the company. He's certainly qualified.

9. Dolph Ziggler

Decent mic skills and definite in-ring talent, I think Dolph is going places. The one thing he has against him is his name. I don't know what one celled organism in creative came up with that name, but they should be fired. Or, better yet shot. If Ziggs can overcome the name barrier and be allowed to shine on the mic, I think he can get over as a top heel with a possible title run in the future.

10. Sin Cara

I'm only referring to the original. Future Endeavored, for sure. Look, he's exciting in the ring, but he cannot speak English and therefore cannot cut promos. He was rushed into the WWE without going through developmental or taught the language, and his botches are obvious to anyone. Perhaps being one of HHH's picks will help, but I still think it will be "come to terms" time, and sooner than later.

11. Zack Ryder

I honestly don't know why he has not been pushed sooner. Ryder is gold on Youtube, and that can translate to television. Decent in-ring skills and a great promo, I don't know what the company's problem with him is. I would hope he is used as an upper-mid-carder. Probably never a World champ, but I could definitely see him carrying a mid-card belt.

12. Cody Rhodes

Cody's crazy disfigured gimmick seems to work well for him, but I don't see him going above mid-card. He doesn't have his dad's mic skills, but he can draw heat. I actually see him holding that IC belt for awhile. Cody could be used like the Honkey Tonk Man, and keep that belt so when he finally loses it, the title gets some prestige.

13. Ted Dibiase Jr.

More than anything, what hurt Ted was being handed his father's gimmick. Meet the kid, same as his Pop. Becoming fodder for Cody Rhodes didn't help him either. Decent in the ring, but he doesn't have his old man's skill on the mic. His name may keep employed, but, sadly, unless creative comes up with something, I don't see him going much further than he is now.

14. CM Punk

Punk is gold in every single way. Best stick jockey in the business right now, and very good in the ring, Punk has titles in his future. He has other things going for him as well. Don't be surprised to see a 50 year old Punk doing color commentary in the future. Punk is my favorite right now, and I see him winning that title many, many times. Kudos to my boy HHH for making him look like a billion bucks at the last Pay Per View too. If Trips sees it in him, then it's there.

15. Sheamus

With a unique look and ever improving mic skills, Sheamus is one of my favorites. Fella. I saw the babyface turn a mile away! A guy who makes you sell for him and who doesn't take crap. A legitimate badass in every way, I see the big Irishman as a multiple time title holder with a bright future. HHH likes him, and so do I. He may be the guy to finally topple Mark Henry.

16. Vince McMahon

I know. I know. Crazy right? What will happen to Vince McMahon? His television exposure has been lessened over the years. Hell, the guy is in his 60s! I see Vince being in charge until the day he dies. All I have heard about this man tells me that there is a fire within him that will never be extinguished, except by death. Unless old age makes him so infirm that his family forces a takeover, as long as Vince CAN call the shots, he WILL call the shots. Some of his decisions are great. Some are bad. But, you can never, ever take away from what he has done, to both help wrestling and to hurt it. Without a doubt, he will go down in history as the greatest wrestling promoter ever. And, yeah, he deserves that.

Well, that's it. I figure I'll end this at 16. Keep in mind that the above is just my opinion. Most likely I will be wrong on most fronts, because I've never worked for the WWE, nor have I ever booked. If I left someone out, or you think some of my predictions or opinions are insane, that's fine. The ring stays shiny none the less.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Shooting From The Hip

Why So Serious?

Well, another WWE Pay Per View has come and gone, and we're left with two new champs on Raw and Smackdown. On the Smackdown side, we have Mark Henry as the new Heavyweight champion, and on Raw we've got, hmmm. Who could it be?

Oh, yeah! John Cena. Again. While we wait for these cuts on my wrists to heal, I want to talk a bit about this Pay Per View and the aftermath.

As far as Mark Henry is concerned, good for him! It's great to see hard work pay off, and Henry has been working his behind off the last few months. I know some people didn't like the match he had with Orton, but Henry is a big man. He has a certain style, and I think Orton did a fine job making them both look good. I'm also very happy that Henry went over clean. I also like the fact that now Henry has a lot of potential challengers. Orton, Sheamus, Kane and Big Show, just to name a few. I can see a lengthy title run for the big man. Just let him keep being an unstoppable squash machine.

On the other front, we have Cena winning the title again. I have an idea for the WWE. Why don't you just get rid of the WWE title, and tattoo it on Cena's waist? It would save you some money on name plates, and make for captivating television if he loses the title. Can you imagine Punk carving that tattoo off Cena with no anesthetic? Brilliant! As much as I hate seeing this happen again, I have to confess that, to me, Del Rio was not a believable champion. (waits for heat) Hey, just my opinion, and this is MY column. I like Del Rio's gimmick, but it seems like it's really a few gimmicks mixed together. JBL+Eddie=Del Rio. Yes, there will be a test later.

So, I don't really have a problem with him dropping the title. But, couldn't it have been to someone else? How about Sheamus? With this new "Super Show" concept, why couldn't Sheamus compete for the WWE title? I don't even get angry anymore. Acceptance is peace, and Cena will have that title, most of the time, until he retires. I'm not going to worry about it anymore. I will laugh though, to the point where I'm cast in the next Batman movie as the Joker, if Cena ever gets injured and needs to be out for a few months. Now, don't take that the wrong way. I won't laugh because a man got injured. I don't want to see any wrestler get hurt and not be able to earn a living. What I mean is, I will laugh watching WWE creative try to get themselves out of a corner they've painted themselves in by just pushing one guy for the last 6 years.

I don't honestly know what to think about the Divas situation. You've pushed Beth and Nattie as these monsters, yet every time they go near Kelly Kelly, it's like a Godzilla death scene. Everyone sing along with me! "I'm a Barbie girl, in the Barbie world..." Yes, I like that song.

In the main event, we saw HHH go over. I am so sick and tired of HHH never putting over young talent! I mean, HHH has won on every Pay Per View he's been a part of! All he does is squash young talent because he's married to the bosses daughter! It's not right!

Okay. Not really. HHH made Punk look like a million bucks. Punk kicked out of two pedigrees, something I've never seen before. Yes, the main even was a cluster****, but I think it came off well and helped Punk look strong. So, all the Internet hate on the Tripster needs to end. He's done more than his fair share of putting guys over, and I'm tired of hearing the same crap from the IWC.

It should be interesting to see where this storyline goes, especially since, in the next two months, we have about 23 Pay Per Views. Holds up sign after paying for them. (will write wrestling column for food)

Now, a little TNA. It appears as if Hogan and Bischoff, who, yes, are surgically attached to one another, may be gone from TNA once their contracts are up in October. Everyone is saying this will be the death of TNA. I don't think so. What do Hogan and Bischoff really do for TNA? Other than filming them backstage talking crap, what else have they accomplished there?

I'm not privy to the backstage workings of TNA. I don't even think God is privy to that info, but I don't believe for one second, no matter what they say, that Eric and Hogan weren't at least partially in charge of booking and writing. Now, I will give TNA a pass for one thing, and that is that they didn't know Hogan would need such extensive surgery when they signed him. He wasn't there for a long time, and whatever story they had for him kind of got derailed.

What I will not give TNA a pass for is once again announcing a possible match, before making sure that said match could happen. Hogan/Sting is apparently a bust right now. Hogan can't wrestle. He's been told by doctors he can't wrestle. So, why would you even announce that match? Did they expect to have a 20 minute stare down on a Pay Per View?

It's a shame, because I'm watching TNA less and less. Actually, I'm watching wrestling less and less. I look more forward to listening to wrestling radio on show nights than watching the wrestling itself. I guess I'm just getting old. You can only mark out for so long. WWE doesn't care if I live or die. I have no children to buy merchandise for, so I'm dead to them. The Muppets on Raw prove that.

TNA? It seems like they just don't care. Period. So, where does that leave the older wrestling fan without children? I'll tell you where. It leaves them sitting in front of a computer all depressed writing a wrestling column. Nice job Pro Wrestling. Nice job.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shooting From The Hip

Turn Up The Radio

This week's column will not be about wrestling. Yes, I know this is a wrestling column, but I want to talk about something often overlooked especially by the "casual" fan. Wrestling radio.

Besides being the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, 9/11 was the birthday of a guy who, unfortunately, I never had the chance to meet. Jody Kinard, or JSK as he liked to be called, was the original host and co-founder of Wrestling News Live, my favorite show, along with the Treydawg. Two fans decided, over 15 years ago, to put on a pair of headsets and talk wrestling. Non-kayfab wrestling. Not a worked 900 number you could call to get "news" and be marked out. It was, and still is, an innovation.

Wrestling fans who wanted the inside scoop on the business had no home. You had WWF magazine, which presented worked news, and WCW's 900 number, also a work. You could subscribe to a dirt sheet and get the kind of info you wanted, but you yourself still had no voice, no place to vent.

Wrestling radio changed that. The success of Wrestling News Live and other shows like it finally gave fans a place to hook up with other fans and talk about their passion. From all the hard work Trey and JSK did, other shows were spawned. All these shows, in my opinion, helped form the IWC. If it weren't for wrestling radio, there would be no IWC, at least not in the form it's in now.

Having a place for like-minded fans to gather and chat is a wonderful thing, and something the wrestling companies have ignored.

One thing that everyone needs to realize is that the people who put on these shows for us do it without being paid. They do it because, like us, they are fans. Guys who take hours out of their days, their home life and family life to entertain us. I have never done a radio show, but I've heard about all the prep that is involved. The editing. The maintenance of streams and chat rooms and websites. It's not easy, I'm sure.

One of my regrets is that I didn't find wrestling radio sooner. I started listening to a show in 2009 until it went off the air. I had no clue Wrestling News Live existed. In early 2010, I found the show via a news site that I frequent. I was hooked after the first episode. I laughed and was amazed how far superior a show it was than the one I was listening to. I haven't missed one archive, and I've listened to the old archives with JSK and Trey.

As I said earlier, I regret not getting into this sooner, as I would have loved to have spoken to JSK in person. He was knowledgeable, kind-hearted and hilarious. The JSK-isms HAVE to crack you up. "Christmas isn't just celebrated by everyone in the world, but the whole planet too!" ???? LOL! However, the one thing that stood out to me about JSK more than anything else was bravery. Listening to this very, very sick man crack jokes, interact with the fans, and laugh at possibly being blown away in a tornado was something that amazed me. I don't think I could be that brave. It's funny, because I've got eye surgery next month, and besides thinking of my loved ones to find courage, I also find myself thinking about JSK. If he wasn't afraid, then, by God, I won't be either. Just bring it!

Getting back to wrestling radio. You have to also be impressed with how friendly you can get with other listeners. Since I started listening to the SNS Radio Network, I have, literally, made friends from all over the world. We get in the chat room and go absolutely crazy and, mostly, have a good time.

It angers me to no end when these wrestling companies refuse to let their talent be interviewed on Internet radio. I think I know why. You ever watch a wrestler on a popular talk show or terrestrial radio show? The hosts have no CLUE about the business. To them, it's just another celebrity on their show. These companies know the Internet wrestling radio host will call a talent out, and ask them questions that reveal inside info on the business. So, to the depths of blue Hell with those fans! Let's just cater to the marks and not allow our talent on Internet radio. Stupid. Offensive. Wrong.

What other genre is so impactful on its fans? Fans like Mario Midnightman, who I know won't mind me saying this, who has called in and said that wrestling radio, or, more specifically, Wrestling News Live has kept him going and given him the will to live. Can any terrestrial radio hosts or TV hosts say that about a fan? Even last night was a prime example. For the first time since I can remember, there was no Wrestling News Live because JJ, the show's cohost and producer, was sick. No one in the chat room got angry. NO ONE. All everyone cared about was JJ. And, I'm sure I speak for all the listeners when I say get well soon, brother.

In closing, thank you to JJ, Trey, Andy Knowles, Chris Kelly, Sean, Nem and everyone on the SNS Radio Network for all you do. And, if you're a wrestling radio host from another network who stumbled upon this column, thank you very much as well for doing what you do. At the end of the day, it's the only genre the true fan has. And, happy belated birthday to JSK up there in heaven. Thank you for being a pioneer.

Peace, 420, kiss my ass, goodnight white people. I'm out.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Shooting From The Hip

First off, I am going to take the advice of The Power Andy Knowles and end the numbering system as of this week. When the Power talks, you listen. You have no choice.

So, once again another wrestler has been pulled over for driving under the influence. I'm not going to get into the Kurt Angle situation too heavily, because I've discussed this before, and you all know how I feel about this matter. It doesn't set a very good example for a guy who wants to represent us in the Olympics. Now, a lot of people are saying that this is a TNA issue, and I've thrown some of my witty jabs at TNA as well. However, the truth is that in life we are all responsible for our own actions. When an NFL player gets in trouble, no one blames the NFL. That being said, we can't ignore the fact that the last few times this has happened, it has happened to a TNA wrestler. TNA needs to set a precedence here and severely punish ANYONE who gives the company a black eye. I gave them Kudos for firing Matt Hardy. This is the second time this has happened to Kurt Angle. A suspension is in order, if not a firing. You have to send a message that this will not be tolerated if you work for TNA. I hope Kurt gets his act together. Guess we'll just wait and see.

Now, moving across the pond, let's talk some WWE. Um, guys, you're rushing again! Last night we saw HHH fire Kevin Nash. Now, I have a few problems with the whole Nash/Punk/HHH storyline. First off, adding a stipulation saying HHH will resign as COO if he loses is a bad idea. HHH has been in this role barely a month. I can't see them killing it this soon. I also can't see HHH going over Punk cleanly. Therefore, my prediction is that HHH goes over via interference from someone. That's the only way I can see this work unless they plan on having HHH leave this new role already. Again, rush rush.

They rushed the whole angle with CM Punk leaving the company. He was back in 2 weeks. They rushed the whole angle of Cena being fired by Barrett as well. This company just needs to slow down. Another issue I have with this angle is you have two of the smartest guys in the company right now, HHH and Punk, not being able to see that John Laurinaitis is doing some shady things. I mean, last night HHH fires Nash, and 30 seconds later we see him getting in a car with Laurinaitis. I mean, really? If I fire a guy, and 30 seconds later I see him getting in a car all buddy buddy with one of my current employees, I'm going to question that. I guess we'll just wait and see, but it seems to make HHH look like a moron for not being able to see this.

I read with great interest the article on Ric Flair written by Shane Ryan. If you have not had a chance to read this, check it out. It talks about Ric Flair's money and personal troubles over the years, and seems to have been pieced together from various sources including Ric's autobiography. I'd like to address something that's been going on in the wrestling business for years.

A long time ago, Jesse Ventura tried to get the wrestlers to unionize. He got ratted out, and was gone. A wrestler's union is the last thing Vince McMahon wants. Hell, he won't even acknowledge these guys as employees. I can see both sides of the coin, but here's my problem. I have a huge issue with actors, athletes and celebrities, who make 5 million a year and spend 5 million a year. Yes, a pension for wrestlers would be nice, but they have this new fangled thing in the banks now. It's called, hold on while I google it, oh! A savings account! See, what you do is, when you get paid, you take some money and put it in this account, and they save it for you! What a concept!

Here's the deal. I get paid every week. I'm not rich. I struggle sometimes, but my bills are paid. There is no reason at all to buy 34 cars and 10 houses just because you can! There is no reason to run up a 10,000 dollar hotel bill just because you can! We see this all the time, like on the sickening show "Cribs". Now, I know all wrestlers don't get paid the way Ric Flair has throughout his life. But, if you work in the WWE, you have to be getting competitive pay. There is no reason why these guys can't take it upon themselves to save for a rainy day. There's no excuse that after 15 years as a main eventer, you're broke. It's complete insanity.

I do not feel sorry for Ric Flair in the least. I read in another column which will remain nameless where it was said people should lay off Ric Flair for all the years of entertainment and sacrifice he has provided. Um, last time I checked we PAID to be entertained! We bought tickets to see Ric Flair, and bought Pay Per Views to see Ric Flair. We bought Flair merchandise. So, the fans give just as much as the wrestlers give. I don't have a (supposedly) 165 IQ, but even I can see that.

Now, Ric wants to sue over this column. A column written using publicly available data. After all, drinks to buy, landlords to stiff.

That's it for this week. I don't know when I'll be writing a column again, because they are turning off my internet today. I Shouldn't have bought that 40th car! Just kidding.



Thursday, September 1, 2011

"Shooting from the Hip" #5 by Tony Mirabella

So, last night we got a “supershow” on Monday Night Raw, which featured superstars from Smackdown.  We got to see matches that we’re not used to seeing, and storylines involving inter-mixing of both brands.

I enjoyed Raw last night, simply because I’m not a regular Smackdown viewer, and it was nice to see these guys.  I have nothing against Smackdown, I’m just a creature of habit, and don’t usually catch it.

One thing everyone needs to know is my view on the brand split.  Hate it.  Have hated it since day one.  Now, I realize why it was done.  It makes sense from the standpoint of spreading out your talent.  If you have 4 or 5 top guys, it makes sense to have some of them exclusive to one show or another.  It also makes sense from the standpoint of time.  Having all your top guys on both shows means you have to block those shows so everyone gets a chance to shine.  2 hours isn’t a lot of time to do that.

However, and this is just my opinion, the WWE doesn’t have nearly the talent it had when the brand split first happened.  Back then, you had Austin, the Rock, HHH and Shawn Michaels, just to name a few.  Now, sadly, other than Cena, Punk and Orton, what break out stars do you have?  Mixing or merging the brands makes sense now.

Also, I’ve never been a fan of having two separate world titles.  It makes no sense.  There should be one world champion representing the entire company.  It devalues the world title by having two separate champions.  Can you imagine how much the Superbowl would be devalued if two teams could hold claim to being the Superbowl champs?

And, getting back to what I was saying earlier, TV viewers are creatures of habit.  A WWE fan who watches Raw does not necessarily watch Smackdown, and vice versa.  That means you are limiting the exposure of certain talents on one brand or the other.  It also means that some matches we may want to see simply don’t happen because of brand exclusivity. 

I thought it was cool last night seeing Sheamus run in to backup Cena.  Seeing Randy Orton on Raw was also a treat.  And, who else marked out for the Sin Cara mood lighting on Raw?  Show of hands?  Let’s see, 1…..  Okay.  Bad example.  When I want to see two men, barely dressed, throwing each other around in a darkly lit room, I’ll rent some gay porn.

Bottom line is, Raw had a lot of mark out moments last night, and it was all because of the Smackdown guys being there.  I’m looking forward to the Smackdown supershow tonight, again, because I know I’ll get to see guys from both brands.  The brand split should be ended, and both titles consolidated.  End of story.  Take a vote on WWE.com and ask the fans what they think?

Now, to switch gears for a moment.  I’d like to talk about the HHH and Punk storyline.  I’ve got two words for you, and they aren’t “suck it.”  TOO FAST!  What I mean by that is, why do we have Punk ready to fight HHH at Night of Champions?  Why would HHH, who just became COO, get in the ring again so soon?  It should be Punk VS Kevin Nash, with Nash putting Punk over.  That’s the only reason Nash should be there.  To put younger talent over.  HHH vs Punk should have had a slow build to it.  What’s the rush with WWE storylines these days?  We, as fans, do have patience, and if a storyline is well done we don’t mind a slow burn over several months. 

After Night of Champions, what do you do with CM Punk?  If this match does happen, Punk HAS to go over.  Either that, or HHH has to win via interference from Nash or someone.  If HHH beats Punk cleanly, it will totally devalue the push he’s been given.

But what do I know?  I’m just a stupid fan.  At the end of the day, I don’t want to see HHH just become Vince McMahon version 2.0.  The Game has always had a unique personality, and it should be retained.

That’s it for this week.  Tune in next time where this entire column will be presented in mood lighting.  After all, if you think this column sucks, maybe the dark lighting will just cover up all my mistakes.  Seems to work for Sin Cara.  Don’t worry though.  A strobe light will illuminate the ring for your kissing pleasure.


"Shooting from the Hip" #4 by Tony Mirabella

(Sigh)  Matthew, Matthew, Matthew.  In case you’re wondering what the Hell I’m talking about, last Tuesday Matt Hardy was arrested after he ran his car into a tree.  Authorities are saying he was not drunk; however he appeared to “have taken some type of impairing substance.”  If you look at Hardy’s mugshot, you can see he’s got one eye in China and the other in Saint Louis.

Now, we have learned he has been fired by TNA Impact Wrestling.  Good for them!  It’s about time Dixie Carter got wise and actually fired someone who would be nothing but a detriment to her company.  I need to make something brutally clear to everyone who is reading this.  I have absolutely NO tolerance for people who operate a motor vehicle under the influence of ANY drug, including alcohol.  In 2010, 10,839 people were killed in the United States because of drunk driving.  I cannot find any statistics on how many people were killed or hurt by drivers impaired by other substances.  The bottom line is Matt Hardy could have killed someone.  He could have killed me.  He could have killed you.  He could have taken the life of a child.  Luckily, all he hit was a tree and his zonked-out head.

What really floors me about this senseless bastard is that after all this went down, Matt was on the internet conveying how wonderful an experience almost dying can be.  And I quote,

"It was the most amazing thing I've every experience, I felt like I'd just received the blood of an angel flowing inside me-I know this sounds crazy! Due to these, I only have urges to help people. And miraculously, all my vices are gone."

Perhaps your vices are gone because you know you might be joining your brother in a game of Drop the Soap soon.  Is this idiotic revelation not a testament to how messed up this guy is?  A few years ago, while in a car with my Mom and Uncle, we almost got killed by an ambulance which decided to cross into the opposing lane of traffic.  We literally came feet from a head on collision with a much bigger vehicle.  Later that night, I was happy to be alive.  I didn’t hit the internet and talk about how wonderful it was watching the Grim Reaper masturbate on the side of the road as I almost died.

I feel very strongly about this.  If you are caught driving under the influence, you should be charged with attempted murder, period.  Your license should be taken forever, and you should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. 

Everyone says Matt and Jeff need help.  Here’s the deal.  No drug addict can be helped unless they want to be helped.  Help is out there for them.  The WWE has offered rehab to any of its current or past stars that need it.  Needing it and wanting it are two completely different things.

Now, I know there is, has been, and always will be drug problems in wrestling.  But the Hardys have taken it to the next level.  If it’s not Jeff staggering to the ring, it’s Matt wrapping his car around a tree like a Taco Bell burrito.  I want to reiterate.  He could have killed someone!  Now, I’m not a prude.  I understand some wrestlers work 300+ days a year.  If a guy wants to go back to his hotel room after a show, and light a joint or drink a few beers to unwind, I don’t have an issue with it.  But, stay in your hotel room!  Don’t put other people’s lives in danger! 

Reading this story really ticked me off, especially hearing this idiot describe a nearly fatal car accident as an enlightening experience.  Matt is done with wrestling.  He’s burned his bridges, most likely by slamming into their support beams with his car.  The WWE isn’t going to take him back after the crap he pulled there, and Impact Wrestling would be fools to ever look at this guy again.  I have no sympathy for him and he deserves whatever he gets. 

Wrestling needs to take a strong stance on this.  If you put innocent people at risk, you should be blacklisted from the business.  Then again, the Hardys have no problem putting people at risk.  Jeff didn’t care if he paralyzed Sting botching a move while high, so why should I think his brother would feel any different about possibly killing a family on their way home from the movies.

And, let me just say this.  I know Matt and Jeff like to call people out on the internet.  I’m not a hard man to find.  If you have a problem with anything I said, just bring it!  But, please, take a cab. 

And, to my readers, be safe, be alert, be careful.  The more of you there are out there, the more lip marks the ring has on it!


"Shooting From the Hip" #3 by Tony Mirabella

Ah, summer!  The birds chirping, the beaches being packed, the heart attack victims from the 1500 degree heat, and, of course, the “Biggest Party Of The Summer,” WWE SummerSlam!

On last night’s Monday Night Raw, we saw another shoot-style exchange between John Cena and CM Punk.  As I’ve said in a previous column, I like the shoot-style that the WWE and, especially, Punk seem to be implementing.

Watching the contract signing last night, I found myself wondering who got the better of whom between Cena and Punk.  Punk’s promo skills are never in doubt, but I’m pleasantly surprised to see how well Cena is handing himself.  His promo skills have definitely improved over the last year or so, and I like the fact that he’s able to seem more real.

Here’s the thing.  Cena said something very relevant last night when he told Punk that he NEEDS to win at SummerSlam, or he’ll just be a one hit wonder.  Let the Don get this out right now.  I agree 100%!  In my opinion, this entire CM Punk storyline will have been a waste if Punk doesn’t go over.  Cena started out as champion, and if Cena goes over then we’re right back to where we started!  Punk is over like crazy.  Cena doesn’t NEED the belt right now.  In fact, I don’t think he needs it at WrestleMania against the Rock either.  But, there’s plenty of time to put the title back on Cena, if they insist on going in that direction.

Also, I firmly believe that one of the many reason’s the WWE has pushed Cena to Neptune is because of merchandise.  Well, I saw a HELL of a lot of CM Punk shirts in the crowd last night.  Believe me, Punk as champ will sell merch. Let’s just hope WWE does this the right way.

Now, a question to the millions, AND MILLIONS, of Don’s fans.  Why the hell did they put Money In The Bank on Del Rio?  This guy has done more jobs than a temp agency worker.  His momentum is... Well, he doesn’t have any momentum.  Now, a lot of people say that that briefcase is a get out of jail free card.  It can instantly turn a jobber into a champion.  But, will anyone out there believe Del Rio as WWE champion?  I won’t.

Let me bring up the SummerSlam card from WWE.com.  (Waits 4 hours for advertisements to end.)  Okay, I’m back.  One match I am actually looking quite forward to is Sheamus vs. Mark Henry.  I think Sheamus can potentially be a great babyface. If he can take down Mark Henry, who has been steamrolling over everyone lately, it might just push him into that full blown face I know he can be.

Christian vs. Orton for the 4,000,212th time.  Hopefully the last.  Picking this one isn’t easy, because we don’t yet know what Christian’s big bombshell is going to be.

My last thoughts are about HHH. Wait, that didn’t sound right.  I do NOT think about HHH in my spare time.  Seriously, I’m starting to see some heelish tendencies by him. I’m praying that we don’t see him screw someone over at SummerSlam.  What’s the point of replacing Vince McMahon with HHH, if HHH is just going to start acting the same way?  Anyone else see John Laryngitis as HHH’s new Patterson and Brisco?  Too soon, WWE!  Stop rushing damn storylines!  HHH should NOT be refereeing this match at SummerSlam.  It’s a screwjob just waiting to happen, and it’s too damn soon.

In the end, I’m looking forward to the summer ending festivities.  Hopefully, all goes well and all ends well, but with the WWE, you never know.  And, knowing is half the battle.  The other half is shooting people with a big gun.


"Shooting From the Hip" #2 by Tony Mirabella

I’ve decided this week to try my hand at tackling TNA. Its strong points, its week points, and its possible future.  Also, the never-ending hate towards the company by the IWC.

Now, a lot of people seem to wonder why if WCW could compete with the WWE, why can’t TNA.  I’m going to simplify this with a list.

<b>Reasons why TNA hasn’t grown that are NOT the company’s fault:</b>

- TNA has never had the massive financial backing that WCW had, via Ted Turner.
- TNA existed for years with no big television deal. 
- Even after getting a TV deal, they were picked up by Spike, a network not nearly as widely available as Turner’s networks.
- The new no-compete clauses imposed by the WWE severely limits the impact that wrestlers jumping ship to TNA have.  60 days of watching WWE programming and not seeing a wrestler on TV makes the fans forget about that wrestler.  By the time they get to TNA, that “former WWE wrestler” is nowhere near as big a deal as Lex Luger, Hall, and Nash showing up in WCW literally days after leaving the WWE.
- Lastly, WCW made its move when the WWE was hurting from the steroid trials and going through a period of decline.  TNA’s television deal came at a time when the WWE was going strong, and fans had no reason, in their minds, to try another product.

<b>Reasons why TNA hasn’t taken off that ARE the company’s fault:</b>

- Firstly, without a doubt, lack of advertising!  When the only venue you are advertising on is the same station your show is playing on, how do you expect to get new viewers?
- A very poor management structure.  As Trey and JJ of Wrestling News Live have said numerous times, “too many chiefs, not enough Indians.”  You need one person, or a well established group of people who have the final say in storylines and booking, rather than everything having to go through 10 guys.
- Not giving the fans what they want, but rather giving them what you think they SHOULD want.  Making heels out of established TNA babyfaces and vice versa.
- Having every show at the same arena with the same crowd.  TNA should have been on the road from day one, exposing itself to different demographics and locations.
- Failure to police Pay Per View streams.  I have literally seen thousands of people watching a TNA PPV stream.  These are thousands of people who are not paying for your product.
- Allowing superstars to have creative control of their own characters.  This is one of the many things that helped kill WCW.
- Allowing troubled superstars like Jeff and Matt Hardy into your company.

I could go on, but I don’t want to make this too long-winded.  Let me say that I’ve been a TNA supporter for a long time, and still am.  I generally enjoy Impact Wrestling, and will keep watching.  I don’t know if this company can ever be hugely successful in the long run, but I hope so, because competition is good for the business and, if you’re a wrestler, it’s damn hard to find good paying work as it is.

And, here’s my final short list. 

<b>Friendly Advice for the IWC:</b>

- If you watch a product for 20 weeks in a row and in that time can find nothing to do but complain, STOP WATCHING IT!  Would you go to a restaurant with crappy food more than twice?
- Don’t complain about a Pay Per View you didn’t pay for!
- Don’t base all your opinions of the product on spoilers.  It’s never the same as actually watching the show.  For example, Sea Captain gets obsessed with killing whale.  Whale kills him at the end.  Now, write me a review of Moby Dick.
- Don’t criticize TNA for the in-ring talent.  TNA has some of the best wrestlers in the world working for them.  Yes, the writing and storylines are often bad, but when the bell rings, you can honestly say those guys and gals bust their asses every week.
- Realize that, in the end, if TNA should fall, the wrestling world will have a HUGE gap to fill.  Many people will be out of work, and we’ll be stuck with basically nothing, but WWE.

When it comes to TNA, I’ve seen better, but I’ve also seen much worse.  Their ratings haven’t gone up, but they haven’t tanked either, which means there is a loyal, dedicated fan base out there that watches every week.  I criticize both companies when they deserve it.  At the end of the day, sit down with some popcorn on Thursday nights and just try going with it.  Or not.  Unlike kissing the ring, watching TNA is totally optional.


"Shooting From the Hip" #1 by Tony Mirabella

Okay.  So, this is my first time doing this “column” thing.  Be gentle.  Or, be rough.  The Don can handle it!

I've been watching Raw and lately have been entertained.  This shoot-style is very appealing to me.  As a 33-year old wrestling fan, I’m very partial to this style, going back to WCW.

Eric Bischoff bringing in Hall and Nash, and calling them by their real names was revolutionary.  I was much younger then, and more of a mark, but this ground breaking event actually had people scratching their heads.  Was this an era of WCW/WWF cooperation, or were we seeing the beginnings of a wrestling war?  “Smarts” all over the world began giving their opinions, including the very young IWC, which I am proud to consider myself a member.

Even the precursor, the proverbial “first shot in the Monday Night Wars,” which saw Lex Luger jump ship to WCW within days of leaving WWF started getting fans thinking about what goes on behind closed doors in the wrestling industry.  There is no doubt in my mind that the Monday Night Wars gave birth to the IWC.  We, as a community, owe our very existence to it.  The “Montreal Screwjob,” which gave birth to the Mr. McMahon character, surely saved the WWF.

Even the Attitude Era helped evolve the “shoot style.”  Guys with idiotic, fake-as-hell gimmicks like HHH, Rock and Stone Cold were allowed to evolve their characters into something we could relate to.  No one cared about the Ringmaster.  But, a blue-collar guy getting over on his rich boss?  Everyone could relate to that!  No one cared about a preppy, snobby Helmsley.  But, HHH, joining with DX and then later crippling guys with sledge hammers?  Hell yeah!  Rocky going around smiling like an idiot?  (yawn)  But, the Rock kicking ass and throwing around catch phrases rules!

Let’s look at WCW’s death.  Everyone wants to blame Bischoff, Russo, AOL, Hogan, OJ Simpson and everyone else.  Well, maybe, just maybe what killed WCW was stupid crap like the “finger poke of doom.”  Maybe it was putting the world title, held by men like Ric Flair and Sting, around the waist of an actor who had never wrestled a match in his life!  Or, could it have been Hogan wrestling a fat talk show host like Jay Leno?  A LOT of things helped kill WCW.  And, descending from a touch of realism to madness could have been the nail in the coffin.

My point is, (you knew I’d get to it eventually,) is that making it more real, making it make more sense, seems to work!  And, now, we have this whole CM Punk/John Cena/Vince McMahon scenario.  Is Punk leaving?  Has he signed an agreement?  How much of that promo was a shoot?  I don’t know.  I DON’T KNOW!  And, I love it!  Not knowing!  Something being pitched as such a shoot that I’m not 100% sure what the hell is going to happen.  I’m looking forward to the MITB Pay Per View!  I want to see it!  You’ve sold me on it, and that’s what you should be doing every month.

Get the pattern, WWE?  Stop insulting our intelligence.  Give us something that screams of realism.  John Cena seemed real to me for the first time, talking to Vince without yelling, without the gimmicks, just talking to him man to man.  And, Cena willing to throw down that belt for his principles?  Brilliant!  This was the first time I’ve actually said, “Hell yeah, Cena!  You go!”  Yeah, I marked out for Cena.

In the end there aren’t just Little Jimmys out there.  There are some Big Jimmys.  Intelligent fans who like being thrown a swerve.  Could the tides in the WWE be changing?  Could HHH and Steph be giving a lot more input now?  HHH is an Attitude Era junkie.  So is Steph.  Maybe WWE is switching those fan bases again, and coming back to what brought them to the dance.  The old-ass 33 year olds like me.

And, remember.  Kissing the ring isn’t an option, it’s a requirement!

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