Tuesday, April 27, 2004

#79. Richard Cheese, Jimmy Kimmel, The Iliad, Wrestling

Richard Cheese on Jimmy Kimmel last night is exactly the reason why Jimmy Kimmel deserves to exist. Who else on late night TV but Jimmy will put on a lounge singer singing Sir Mix-a-lot's "Baby Got Back"? Who? Granted, I had been lured to the show by the promise of seeing the Flaming Lips perform (and they very well may have; I slept through everything but Mr Cheese). The way I see it, each of the major four (sorry, Carson, you don't count) talk show gabbers have their own approach. Leno's is clownish, Letterman's is sarcastic, Kilborn's is swarmy, and O'Brien's is dweebish (which I mean in the coolest sense possible). Kimmel plays it fast and loose, careless (and I mean that in the best sense possible). His offbeat sense of class was the best part of his partnership with Adam Corolla (misspelled as the last name most likely is) in the Man Show years.

I'm currently reading Homer's The Iliad. They might have had certain rules in warfare that made time for all sorts of interruptions in that time, but after reading Book Ten (in the Robert Fiztgerald translation) I'm wondering if the Greeks weren't the bad guys after all. Diomedes and Odysseus sneak into the Trojan camp and slaughter the sleeping Thracians at night. Bastards! That's not even what they were sent to do!

Anyhoo, back to pro wrestling! Paul Heyman made his return to Smackdown last Thurrsday, as a "one night affair" while Kurt Angle, GM, spends his time not being onscreen after giving up wrestling for a while so he doesn't further destroy his young pro wrestling body. Heyman took the opportunity to add further fuel to the "Let's rain on RVD's parade" um, parade WWE enjoys so much when he took the opportunity to reinvigorate the Dudley Boyz, Bubba and Devon, old ECW charges, using as a stepping stone ol' Van Dam, who got a rematch at the start of the show with Booker T after last week's main event match was upstaged by the berzerker Big Show and Angle's wittle fall (which they estimated at around 25 feet and I'd scale back to maybe 20, up from my original 10, but it doesn't realy matter that much). Well, as could be assumed, the rematch was upstaged as well, meaning that once again, RVD is being used as a tool rather than as a serious competitor, which probably won't appease his fans but will at least please me, who would like to see him work a little harder at creating a realistic ring style (rather than the cartoon version he favors). But on the plus side, Booker keeps getting plugged, and it looks like he'll be facing none other than the Undertaker at Judgment Day (the biker man's own PPV!). As my good friends (well, old acquaintances in a manner of speaking) at Powerwrestling.com point out, this match could mean good or bad for Booker. Good if he's allowed to win, bad if Taker really is bound for one last glory run. But the fact that he hasn't been used so much since his return at WrestleMania last month (out of DVD today) suggests either he won't be used a whole lot in this push (which might make hypocrites of all Goldberg detractors who might also be Taker marks) and is just making a final run in his latest role (as a guy who pushes other talent, as he did with Brock Lesnar) or someone is really attempting to make him a nostalgia act, a la Hogan. I think he finally wore out his welcome when he showed himself desperate enough to return to the dead man act (however half-heartedly), which is something he waited too long to do.

Poor Charlie Haas is stuck in a gimmick act with Rico, Freaky Touchy Feely (works better when he doesn't talk, since he's not as accomplished a word man as he is body language man). Who again got the better deal in the splitting of TWGTT? Beeeenjamin! Is there even a question about this?...Is it really that great that Haas is tag team champion again? The man's being upstaged by Rico and Rene Dupree, who is getting a US title push ahead of him, because as Tazz says, "I'm a French guy, I'm a French guy" as Dupree does his dance. "Cafe de Rene" was a pretty good segment, though. Torrie looked quite good in that dress.

Bradshaw doesn't have the ring skills to warrant the push, which only further proves Eddie Guerrero is safe for another few months as champion. This conclusion was made after JBL's poor showing against "El Gran Luchadore" whoever that was. The guy is less fluid than Test is, and I like Test. If he can't carry a match, it follows he's getting this push because he can run his mouth and carry a story pretty well. Plus he's got media presence now. Which reminds me, I really was interested in his book last year. Maybe I still am, but I've still got to read Mick Foley's two tomes, plus Tietam Brown. They take precedence...

John Cena, meanwhile, is getting his grrove on with Dupree, so last week he fought...the Chavo Guerreros??? Well, makes sense. The crusierweight division has sorta been neutered ever since Chavo Jr. was given the strap. Maybe someone decided Rey-Rey is more fun as an audience-pleaser. Sort of like RVD, but in reverse...Cena has worked on his ring action, added the Five Knuckle Shuffle, the "you can't see me" wave, the pump shoes pumping, the FU. In short, he's avoiding the fundamentals in favor of a solid ring character. He's got a fruitful future ahead!

Speaking of the Guerreros, the main event was something special. I thought maybe, since Spike is on Smackdown "The Dudley" Heyman spoke of would be him, but apparently this threesome is no longer in the cards, as Devon (D-Von) was given a chance to display his Dudley ring dominance in an excellent match with Eddie Guerrero. I'll leave Thursday night on that note.

Much like Brock Lesnar battled the Big Show for an entire year, it looks like Chris Benoit will never escape Triple H and/or Shawn Michaels. At least Hunter is moving on, wrestling Tajiri in yet another instance of giving back. Michaels has made a career out of shadowing the bright spots of the Raw pack, starting with Chris Jericho a year ago, moving on to Randy orton, and now settling on Chris Benoit, all the while checking his ego up against Triple H. HBK has had an ego for as long as I've known him, so this is nothing new, and this endless charge against the two tops runners probably is not all that bad a thing (as long as it's actual wrestling at the center, as it has been), but pretty soon Michaels will have to realize that he doesn't have to run the show when he's in the ring. Pro Wrestling Illustrated rated him comparatively low in its long PWI 500, saying he hadn't managed to find his role up to that point. It's exactly that kind of attitude that gets everyone in trouble. You're either on top all the time, or you're "not finding your role." Goldberg had trouble finding his role as well, and then left after he had done so. Smetimes I think all the things that should be appreciated aren't. Then I snap out of it. Benoit and Guerrero are champions, after all.

Benoit and Edge, meanwhile, are still tag team champions, having defeated last night Ric Flair and Batista again. I thought I'd read that Ede was going to be pushed for the Intercontinental title, but now it looks as if Shelton Benjamin will be, as he should. Randy Orton has a chip that's begging to be knocked off his shoulder. By Edge's spear? (He does this, only entrenching every time the notion that when he debuted six years or so ago in WWE he was that company's answer to WCW's Goldberg phenomenon, in the WWE typical Long Blond Hair fashion, though some of these guys, Test and Christian, have been cutting those locks).

Kane, meanwhile, has a crush on Lita, and so he gets to square off against Matt Hardy. Woo! Rhyno got a win...against Rob Conway. Woo! Will Paul Heyman next vist Raw? Will Shawn Michaels defeat the Canadian Crippler next week? Stay tuned! And the biggest question remains still open: Will anything I say ever make sense???

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