Friday, April 02, 2004

#74. Survivor, Johnny Fairplay, JBL, John Cena

The reports of Smackdown's demise by the Scouring Monk may have been premature. Last night turned out to be a fairly good night. But before that, a note on NWA-TNA. Apparently one of my all-time favorite Survivors, Jon aka Johnny Fairplay from last season's Pearl Islands has found himself a gig there. Too bad I can't watch the fun. Much like the case, from the very first episode of the very first season, of Rich Hatch, I was probably Jon's only fan. Maybe it's because I haven't found the market that overlaps pro wrestling and Survivor fans yet. He really was the best there was, the best there is, and the best there ever will be in that arena. And so of course he was screwed. Much like Rich was in the ongoing All-Star edition, which I'm hoping either Boston Rob or Lex will win. But we'll see about that.

Okay, back to Thursday night. Much like I softened up on RVD last week, I found I might be able to tolerate the Dudleyz, as long as Spike keeps on scrapping and Bubba continues to show a willingness to be whomped on. Devon I don't have a problem with, although his previous stint on the Smackdown brand more than a year ago, when he was being pushed as some sort of preacher, was most definitely a laughing matter. Speaking of laughing matters, what ever happened to Bill DeMott's days in the ring? Just a short push, to capitalize on Tough Enough? He might have proved useful right about now...

Instead we're seeing the revival of Bradshaw, or JBL, Johnny Slick, as one of those From Leftfield competitors for the heavyweight title that'll give a good hoot for a while then cool down pretty quickly. Hardcore Holly was the most recent beneficiary, and last night he proved against Booker T that he deserves a career revival and renewed push, in whatever venu. Poor RVD might have been knocked out of the running for the first ever Great American award Kurt Angle, GM, has cooked up to get things kicked off in the new Land of Opportunity (as Teddy Long put it), but he at least gave Charlie Haas perhaps the same kind of heat over a two week span that his former partner Shelton Benjamin secured in one match on Raw this past Monday. I don't think he's quite there, but then what do I know? But I did like the Monday recap that Smackdown provided. I hope that stays. They might be two separate brands, but they're both still WWE. No reason why we must pretend the shows exist in vacuums.

Two new tag teams, sort of, made their appearances last night. The newly trimmed Full Blooded Italians, Nunzio and Johnny "The Bull" Stamboli, were a welcome sight. Maybe they'll be used more now? Then there was Akio and Sakoda, who might seem familiar because they'd been Tajiri's so-called Japanese Mafia cronies for months, with little actually to do but appear alongside him backstage. Hopefully they'll also be used more. We didn't see two other Smackdown tag teams, champions Rikishi and Scotty (the Rik did have a match, however; against Big Show, and he was trounced) and the Bashams, who hopefully took the time off to grow some distinguishing facial hair, which they had when they were in OVW, feuding, and unrelated.

John Cena continues his shtick on the mic, and it just gets better. It looks like there really will be a feud with the French Phenom (who it might be added was another of a group of three that left behind two, this time the reverse of the shows; maybe it was a theme of the redrafting?) Rene Dupree. Hopefully Cena will be a fighting US champion, unlike Big Show, and unlike current IC champion Randy Orton on Raw (though maybe Mick Foley has a chance at it at Backlash?). Cena is one big example why Smackdown has a little more light at the end of the tunnel than I'd recently been dreading. He makes the whole damn show.

A few notes, now. Where's Undertaker? Is he waiting around, or is he not going to be all that busy in the ring? The used-to-be third member of the FBI Chuck Palumbo, meanwhile, will soon be appearing on Raw, which I was mad about for a while, since I would have liked to see him develop on Smackdown, but short of transporting the pair of Nunzio and Stamboli, I guess it sort of makes sense. RVD and Booker T can survive back together, but whenever Palumbo is seen on Smackdown, while Billy Gunn is still around (um, somewhere), the lyrics "You are so good to me" would surely come to mind. And don't call me Shirley! Plus there's the upcoming debut of Nick Dinsmore, um...somewhere, in the guise of a half-wit called Eugene. Why this is necessary, I don't know. But the misfire of Mike Awesome, as a groovy boob, in WCW comes to mind...Can you say surefire joke? What's the point? But what do I know?

If Bradshaw is going to be his next competitor, and not Booker T, Eddie Guerrero has gotten his ticket to continue on as WWE champion...Good for him!

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