I’ve Seen Satan

I’ve seen Satan,

He’s got wild hair and a spray tan.

The Devil lives inside the mouths and minds of those who spout religious lines to justify who lives and dies; he’s operating on both sides.

 

The afterbirth of life is here,

It’s not all joy and smiles, there’s fear

and hate, distrust, mistrust, misplaced beliefs in right and wrong and choice and fate.

 

Beliefs belie the lie that calls for innocents to die –

that calls for innocence to die –

through hand or knife or missile strike.

 

And if God was ever here, he’s done.

Where is the good when all sides are wrong?

Where is the love when all hope is gone?

 

 

Foley is Good #1 – Raw, June 26th 2000

Results

Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
(c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
  • The Dudley Boyz (Buh Buh Ray Dudley & D-Von Dudley) eliminated Kai En Tai (Funaki & Taka Michinoku) (0:30)
  • D-Lo Brown & Perry Saturn eliminated The Dudley Boyz (Buh Buh Ray Dudley & D-Von Dudley) (0:51)
  • The Hardy Boyz (Jeff Hardy & Matt Hardy) eliminated Too Cool (Grandmaster Sexay & Scotty 2 Hotty) (1:46)
  • T&A (Albert & Test) eliminated The Hardy Boyz (Jeff Hardy & Matt Hardy) (1:50)
  • The APA (Bradshaw & Faarooq) eliminated T&A (Albert & Test) (3:39)
  • The APA (Bradshaw & Faarooq) eliminated D-Lo Brown & Perry Saturn (3:54)

Match Chat

As was the fashion at the time, these are not long matches, but I am not necessarily against that. Take Benoit vs Rikishi for example: Two great wrestlers are given three minutes to showcase some moves and tell a story. It’s fast, it’s energetic, they squeeze a lot in, both wrestlers get showcased and the characters and rivalries are furthered. In my humble opinion it’s great stuff. I’ll grant you it is not classic, but it makes for good television. Long matches every week are overkill, I want television to build to a proper match on PPV, this does that.

The same could be said for X-Pac vs Jericho. I have to say though, the famous Jericho Stephanie promos do not sit well with me as a modern viewer. I can’t remember whether I was uncomfortable with it at the time, probably not, but now… Well it’s not very forward thinking let’s say.

The thing that strikes me most about the tag team match is just how many teams there are. This truly is a golden age for tag team wrestling and while, yes, the ones who get all the plaudits are The Hardyz, Dudleys and Edge & Christian, there is real depth in that division, some great teams who really connect with the crowd.

Now if we want to talk about things that make me uncomfortable, the Strip Tease match is just horrendous. Blatant sexual exploitation, no one cares about the match, they just want to see naked women. However, we do get the debut of “Steven” Richards and while I absolutely hated the Right To Censor at the time, I am excited to see them now, I think I will really enjoy the storylines.

The Undertaker & Kane squash was hilarious. Edge and Christian were my favourites back in the day and I can’t imagine that being changed on re-viewing. They are just so funny. The way they walk nervously to the ring is gold, refusing to do a five second pose, it’s all ace. However, the funniest moment comes un-intentionally pre-match as Taker and Kane are shown walking backstage. Taker takes out a pouch of baccy and gets a big old chew for himself. He then offers the pouch to Kane and does a little ‘suit yourself’ shrug when Kane declines. As a side not, Undertaker looks very silly. Did this ever look cool? I can’t remember what I thought of him at the time. At the very best we can safely say this look has not aged well!

The main event was pretty simple, but it does a great job of opening the door for a new number one contender to freshen the main event scene and also set up the big feud for the Summer. I think in this day and age we may be moaning that Rock didn’t look like a strong champion coming out of this match, what with HHH undoubtedly having the match won if it wasn’t for Jericho, but something about how The Rock carries himself, and the way he is put over, means you are never in any doubt that he is the man. There really hasn’t been anyone like him since (including himself when he has returned on occasion).

Foley Watch

Now for why I’m watching! Foley started out by interrupting HHH and laid down the law that now he is in charge “There-a will-a be-a no more-a boring-a twenty-a minute-a Triple H-a promos”. What a great start! I can’t believe HHH was ok with it, but I can only assume that all was fine as I know all of the Foley stuff was scripted. Would HHH allow such blatant criticism these days? It really does feel like a mission statement though. The writers and bookers have decided – this is going to be different. You don’t get that feeling very often, that a product acknowledges it needs to change. We got the feeling with “The Pipebomb” but it never actually happened. Straight off the bat here we get acknowledgement of previous weaknesses and a main event which allows for someone new to get involved. Foley is great in this character, but the writers really need a lot of credit as well.

I had no recollection that the Edge and Christian stuff started straight away. It’s so good. The way Foley goes along with all their demands, making it look like he will be a doormat of a Commissioner, only to pull the rug from under them and punish them basically for disrespecting him is a great way to solidify what this character is about. He sings silly songs, he makes references to the Wizard of Oz, but when he meets with resistance (“Mick, we’ve been thinking, we’re not going to fight Kane and The Undertaker”) he lays down the law and comes across as strong as any authority figure in wrestling history. The balance between comedy, silliness and serious story-telling is so finely tread and tuned (which I suppose should come as no surprise considering Foley’s previous promos, writing and spoken word work).

The Verdict

So, my first foray back into the land of Commissioner Foley is a real hit. The wrestling quality is high (I know these aren’t 2 out of 3 fall NWA classics, but I enjoy them for what they are) there are stories up and down the card (although I have a strong suspicion that the Tazz interference thing isn’t going very far!!) and it is all held together by an authority figure who can entertain and lay down the law.

I think this is going to be fun!

 

 

Foley Is Good – Introduction

As part of this blog I’ve decided to do a wrestling retrospective of my favourite six months in all my long years of watching WWE/F: Commissioner Foley! Over the course of however long it takes I will be watching all the episodes of Raw and Smackdown as well as all the PPVs of the period where Mick was Commish, hopefully enjoying, and then sharing my thoughts on what was going on. I remember it so fondly, but was it really as great as my memory would have me believe, or has 15 years of world weariness led me to become jaded and miserable?!

Sporadically, we will see!

 

Whoa-o, whoa-o, it’s Wrasslemania

Given that the purpose of this blog as a whole is to counter my depression by focussing on positives and things that make me happy, Wrestlemania is a bit of a risk; too many times I’ve been burned by terrible booking, or my guy not winning, or horrendous mid-show comedy skits or musical performances, and too many times I’ve just straight up fallen to sleep and woken to see someone holding a title aloft with no idea what happened in the preceding three hours (I even fell to sleep during the first Taker/HBK match, to my eternal shame).

BUT, sometimes Wrestling can still blow me away – Seth Rollins cashing in in the main event a couple of years ago is one of the most exciting ends to a sporting event I have ever seen. So I’m living in hope and excitement that in four days time I’m going to get a load of junk food, a load of beer and have a fantastic time enjoying “The Granddaddy of Them All”!

With that in mind, I’ve decided to increase my interest and excitement in the show by making some BOLD (read – hoping to be as close to accurate as I can possibly be, even if that means stating the obvious) predictions about the outcomes of each match. I may even put my money where my mouth is!

Gallows & Anderson v Enzo & Big Cass v Cesaro & Seamus

Firstly, I can’t believe not one of these teams has a name. I miss the days of Tag Teams with a name, matching outfits and proper entrance music. Although, with that being said, I can’t stand those amalgams that seemed to start with “Brangelina” and made their way into Tag Team Wrestling, so in that regard this is the lesser of two evils.

Question off the bat: has this been officially made a ladder match? I can’t see anywhere that it has, but it seems to be generally assumed that it is. Maybe I missed something, I know Gallows and Anderson used a ladder the other day. Wrestlemania is pretty gimmick free at the moment, so a tasty ladder match between three good teams could fit in pretty nicely.

I can’t see why Gallows and Anderson wouldn’t win this – there seems to be some suggestion that Finn Balor would be involved but I can’t imagine him coming back as a bad guy after the way he had to leave, so I’m going to assume that does not happen and Gallows and Anderson find some other way of retaining the titles (maybe they could do it by virtue of being fucking massive!)

Dean Ambrose v Baron Corbin

Dean Ambrose has never really been the character I want him to be. Perhaps the way I would like to see him go doesn’t fit with the PG nature of the current product and that’s fine, but just from my view the character loses a little edge with the silly comedy stuff. However, he is a great wrassler, his matches are frequently entertaining AND he has claimed that he can guarantee that a rivalry between himself and Bray Wyatt – in any capacity – would result in the best possible matches from both of them. Throw in the fact that Baron Corbin (who I like a lot as well, it’s weird how I have come round to big men in my elder years!) is on a massive roll as an absolute monster and I am confident in suggesting that he will walk away as the new Intercontinental champion.

Cena & Nikki v Miz & Maryse

I’m not a massive fan of tag team wrestling (hence my excitement that the title match may become a ladder match), and I’m very much not a fan of mixed tag matches (unless they’re in a Lucha Underground style such that the women can stand up to the men), and I’m not really a fan of John Cena, and I’m not particularly a fan of The Miz. So you can imagine just how pumped I am for this one. Also, John Cena is already a long way down the Wrestlemania card, there is no way he is going to lose in a mid card match. He is going to pin The Miz, and I probably won’t see it because I’ll be cooking myself up some hot vegan burgers!

Chris Jericho v Kevin Owens

Over the past few months these two have been hilarious, I loved all of the friendship stuff, the chemistry they had together was brilliant. It’s weird that this has now transitioned into a serious feud, which is not to say it hasn’t worked, it’s just odd seeing old throwbacks to the comedy duo (‘The List’ for example) fit into a real rivalry. Even though this will be a great match, I really don’t feel there is any question that Kevin Owens will win, which will take away from my enjoyment somewhat as I won’t believe any Jericho near falls. Then if Jericho does win it will take me by surprise, but I will have already missed the moment by the time I realise because I will have assumed that Owens will kick out. Anyway, it’ll be a great match and Owens will win.

Bayley v Charlotte v Sasha v Nia Jax

This might be the match that I find it hardest to call. It’ll be great, I’m sure of that, lots of action, fast pace, I’m not sure whether the elimination stipulation will add to or detract from that – elimination means no need to break up pins so no finisher sequences, which I’m a real sucker for! I feel like I can narrow it down to two – Bayley and Nia Jax – pretty easily, so I’m going to suggest that they are the final two. After that, does Bayley prove that she is worthy of the title and can retain fairly against the odds, or does Nia Jax display her dominance and win for the first time? I just don’t know. Let’s go with the feel good story (for lots of people – I actually find Bayley pretty annoying) and assume that Bayley retains.

Shane McMahon v AJ Styles

What a strange match. Why is Shane McMahon fighting when there are plenty of properly good wrestlers not on the card? And why, if it’s a Shane McMahon match, is there not some gimmick which allows for a massive fall off something or through something? Can he wrestle a straight match? Do we really want to see him throwing his Muay Thai manoeuvres for ten minutes? Truthfully I think the answer is yes, because when AJ Styles is involved, a good match is likely to follow. Plus, Shane will get his big move moment – flying elbow from turnbuckle to announcers table, you heard it here first. Regardless, surely AJ has to win?

The Undertaker v Roman Reigns

Well. I wish Roman Reigns hadn’t been forced down our throats. The Shield were ace. Roman Reigns was an ace part of The Shield. And then they had to insist we love him. People don’t like being told what to do, Roman Reigns wasn’t ready, and consequently we’ve ended up with a load of resentment. Which is not going to be quashed by having him beat Undertaker at Wrestlemania. But that’s what they’re going to do isn’t it? I guess after the Brock Lesnar thing Undertaker isn’t such a sacred cow any more, but I still don’t think Reigns deserves to be one of two people who ever beat him at Wrestlemania. But that’s what they’re going to do isn’t it? Oh God don’t let that be what they do. Then where does Braun Strowman fit in? Undertaker won’t have a rivalry coming out of this, so if Strowman gets involved then it must be to cost Reigns the match, to set up a rivalry between them. So maybe that will happen. I don’t fucking know! Reigns. It’ll be Reigns. It’s always bloody Reigns.

Seth Rollins v Triple H

I don’t know why Trips is on the card, but he has been involved in, off the top of my head, three of my favourite matches (Rock/SummerSlam/Ladder Match, Cactus Jack/Royal Rumble/Street Fight and Stone Cold/No Way Out/Three Stages of Hell, in case you were wondering) so I have a soft spot for him in spite of some of the issues others (sometimes rightly) have with him. Seth Rollins is an incredible performer, all in all I expect this to be a great fight – match of the night even? Initially I thought that there was no way Triple H could win, what would be the point, why does he still insist on going over big on people when he simply does not need it? But actually, considering Samoa Joe is not on the card, and considering how good a Seth Rollins/Samoa Joe feud would be, I think Triple H wins here with a massive assist from Samoa Joe.

Goldberg v Brock Lesnar

I know I shouldn’t be excited about this, I know I shouldn’t even care, and I know I’m going to be disappointed; both men thrive on being dominant, quickly and brutally destroying their opponents, it won’t work. Then there’s the fact that Lesnar, having been humiliated by Goldberg, is clearly going to win. And yet, call me a fantasist, I am looking forward to it and I feel like they are going to pull something decent out for it. At the very least, it can’t be as bad as  their last Wrestlemania outing.

Bray Wyatt v Randy Orton

For many years I have wanted to like Orton. On paper he has it all. But he has never clicked with me at all, so in spite of the fact that I love Bray Wyatt, I’m not particularly looking forward to this match. I’ve heard people complaining about all the weird magic symbolism stuff they’ve been doing with this, but that’s actually the only thing I like about it. I know it’s cheesy and it’s not the ultra realistic product that we have for the most part in WWE these days, but that’s a good reason why we NEED some bonkers stuff once in a while. I know it’s silly but I like it, so I’m hoping we get some magic, some disappearing, some re-appearing or a sacrificial ritual during the match. Who knows, maybe the Ghost of Sister Abigail will appear and flash her tits to put Randy off. Either way, I’m going to hope and assume that Wyatt wins so that he can get into a feud with Dean Ambrose.

So there we have it. Sounds like a good show!!

Having acquired a dog just over a week ago, I am spending a lot of time walking around in what could easily be described as “The Countryside”. I have always loved animals and wildlife, and the chances are that I will die in a car crash having lost control as I became distracted by a heron flying overhead, but it seems to have been a long time since I actually got out into nature and saw wildlife up close. Over the weekend I have seen numerous common birds – including a wren which, in spite of its large distribution, I had never spotted before – a pheasant which was actually alive rather than dead at the side of the road, a fox and – most impressive at all – a buzzard take off from a tree not twenty feet in front of me. Initially, when thinking back, I was disappointed that I had not got photographs of these moments, but the more I thought about it, the more I consider that to be a good thing: The reason I didn’t take a photo was because it didn’t occur to me to; I was in the moment, enjoying the experience. It seems to me that the minute we start to film or photograph a moment then we take ourselves out of that moment and are thinking about how we or other people will view it in the future. It has always seemed strange to me when people watch a gig through the screen of their phone, held above the heads of the crowd by outstretched arms, a distillation of an immediate experience. Are our memories really so bad these days that we would rather experience half the emotional impact of something in order to preserve a copy of it, or are we so concerned with receiving hits and up-votes and showing people how much of a good time we had that we are actually willing to compromise on the good time? The fact that Daniel Kitson barely tours and doesn’t release any material is somewhat frustrating as I want to be able to show other people just how amazing he is, but actually the scarcity of Kitson consumption means that I truly appreciate it when I do see him, and the enjoyment and legend of it only builds in my mind and memory, rather than being dulled and oversaturated by being able to see him any time I want. Familiarity breeds contempt, scarcity creates magic and intrigue.