Tuesday, November 16, 2004

#96. Survivor Series, The Angry Avenger, Enterprise, Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, Survivor, The 9/11 Report

Survivor Series was this past Sunday, and weren't we in for a big surprise. JBL got the win over Booker T to retain the WWE championship. Wow. That puts his reign now as longer than Eddie Guerrero's, which is simply stunning, and beyond logic and reason. Here is a guy who has been unpopular in this push since the very beginning. He took two PPVs to capture the gold, then two more to get through the Undertaker. Conventional wisdom would have had Booker unseating him this time.

But wouldn't you know it? The ride continues. Yay for JBL! And yay for his chief of staff, Orlando "Oz" Jordan (nickname, as always, mine), who is starting to garner a little bit of his own attention, a development that began with Booker T's ascension to challenger status. While all that's really meant for Orlando is an improbably feud with Josh Matthews of all people (are they planning to push him as a wrestler, and if so, is Spanky spanking himself more so than ever now?), that still means he's gotten his first official feud. I was hoping for a rematch plugged into Sunday's card, just for shits and giggles, and maybe it was even done for Velocity, I wouldn't know. At any rate, his ship's finally sailing. And JBL, who vowed to never show his face on Smackdown again (though ironically that would have been contradicted by highlights of the match he lost to fulfill that vow), seemed primed to make good on that promise, er, threat. He just keeps going. Was Brock ever champion this long? I think so, but not much longer. One more month and Bradshaw will have matched The Rock's career best, if I'm not mistaken, which is probably the only way he could ever have been champion. He's no Rock in any other regard, except ability to create a fan reaction, which is possibly why he's still champion.

Lord knows there're plenty of reasons why he shouldn't be. One of them is the looming threat of John Cena, who has finally returned from filming of The Marine. Thank god, too. He still needs to develop his wrestling cred, and to do that he needs to make it to the top. Anything short and he'll go down as one of the greatest wasted potentials in wrestling history. But this is no big Test here. He should easily do that, within the next year. Maybe even by WrestleMania XXI. There are still three other men vying for the same honor of dethroning JBL, and those are Booker, Eddie, and Kurt Angle.

Angle's plans to become the Smackdown Triple H may have seen partial fruition with the adding of Mark Jindrak to Team Angle 2.0 (after Luther Reigns, who is fast becoming Batista 2.0), but he's still staying squarely within the pack, here. Maybe it's because of his continuing health issues that he's even gotten this quasi-stable (and I thought the minute Carlito's Jesus pal was mentioned as an "alternate" last week Angle wasn't going to be participating this Sunday). But he's still plugging away on Thursdays as one of Smackdown's most regular competitors. Whatever's going on there...is going on...

Speaking of Triple H, the meltdown of Evolution's grasp on Raw is now complete. Wow! Who knew it would take the addition of Maven to seal this deal? I thought it would have been Shelton Benjamin, but it looks like they're fully intending to make him a fighting Intercontinental champion. And good for him, too. He's not stuck interminably like Charlie Haas as a name and as not a viable competitor (and maybe there're reason for Haas's inaction beyond storyline, too). Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. But I really wish I'd had cable this summer/fall, to see Randy Orton's defection and the subsequent chinks being blasted in this armor. It still looks like Orton will be the guy to at last dethrone Triple H (for real this time), and maybe he's earning it (for real this time). As things stand in my personal life, I should have cable in time to watch that happen, or the immediate aftereffects.

Whatever happened to the tag team champions...Either brand's?...

I'm still plugging away at The Angry Avenger. Twice now I've had to post two entries on one day because the previous night saw my access to the spin-off blog controls nonexistent, while curiously I could still access the Monk. I don't know what's going on there, but it hasn't been that big an issue. Two more Mondays, two more Tuesdays, and I'll be done. Today's No. 16, which officially puts me over the hump, though since I've been keeping up with my wordcount, plus a little more, technically I'm already over. The story is surprising me. I've never written one continuous story this long, as I think I might have mentioned already. It's a heck of a challenge, but I've been doing well at it so far. I hadn't really been outlining early on, beyond knowing where I was going and what was needing to be done, but the other day I prepared the remaining chapter titles, which amounts to outlining the concluding half of the story.

If you haven't been reading, the story is about a hero going through one of those 24/Jack Bauer days, confronting his disposition as a hero, which is a fairly unique one as far as I can tell. So far he's only been living with it, but the drive home will find that confrontation as a part of the climax. That's the spoiler. In the meantime, he's been following leads on a particular case, which has mostly been purposely vague to this point, and will probably remain mostly purposely vague. The case isn't really the point. I'm writing about the character more than anything, with as many facets of this character as possibly to be explored. I'm not sure how wide of an audience there is for that. I haven't had a lot of luck finding an audience for my writing (and I'm not even talking about the continuing uncertainty of whether or not any at all has been reading the Monk all this time, including right at this instant). I'd love for that to change, but I can't foresee modifying my topics to facilitate that. It would feel like a creative cheat.

Anything else to talk about? Enterprise has been going strong this season, past the comprehensible hiccup that was the two-part season premiere. Brent Spiner's just-concluded run will go down as a classic moment for this series. But my opinions might not matter much. I'm still a big fan of Andromeda. That show's been a fascinating inversion of what we've known of it the past four seasons, which is the reverse of the case Earth: Final Conflict held in its own fifth (and final) season. If this is Andromeda's last, it's going out on a definite high note.

And Lost is still making a superb case for being television's finest hour. I've also been enjoying the current season of Survivor, and have been stuck reading The 9/11 Report for a very long time now thanks (or no thanks) to remarkable time constraints, the likes of which I never knew in college (and maybe that was a mistake...), and long passages of not-so-riveting exposition interrupting an otherwise good read. I actually slogged through all of the (oftentimes redundent) New York Times preliminary material...

Monday, November 01, 2004


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