Smart Marks 10.26.13: It's Hell, But You Gotta Cut Your Losses
Posted by Dino Zucconi on 10.26.2013
Join El Italiano Poderoso as we talk about Hell in a Cell, a new way to go about roster cuts, and Jeff Jarrett!
Hello again and welcome back to the Worst Weekly Wrestling Column on the Web, Smart Marks! I'm Dino, and I got nothing but love for everyone who spends even one second reading my thoughts.
Before we go into this week's marks, I wanted to say I appreciated the discussion last week regarding Super Teams, and their place in this pseudo-sport of ours. Many voiced that they were absolutely okay with Super Teams, while some definitely want them to go away. Like I said, I am of the camp that doesn't mind a Super Team, but I absolutely hate how any brand new Super Team can form and immediately beat every other established team going.
I think to my childhood, and man, if Brutus Beefcake and Hulk Hogan took on Demolition, I'd have bet the house on Demolition. The only Super Team I can think of that would have been a favorite against Demolition would have been the Mega Powers, and even then, it'd be considered a HUGE match, and not "so how fast do the Mega Powers win this thing?" That's my main problem with the Super Team- it's made clear almost immediately that every other regular tag team on the roster is immediately inferior to these two singles stars pairing up. Forget cooperation, knowing what your opponent will do, or even remembering that you're free to tag out now- the days of hammering home the difficulties inherent between tag team and singles wrestling are gone. If you're a good singles wrestler, then by jove, of course you'd dominate tag team wrestling.
So, to close out- Super Teams are, in fact, good. But the way they are used in recent years, sadly, sucks. In my opinion, of course.
Now, let's get onto this week's topics. Let's wax nostalgic on Hell in a Cell, think about WWE running things like the UFC, and beg TNA to bring someone back!
Hell in a Cell
This Sunday, WWE will present us with their annual Hell in a Cell event. While I could easily go on and on about how stupid the pay per view event is (only because Hell in a Cell should be used for the end of blood feuds, and not because "Oh hey! It's October!"), I'd rather discuss my favorite moments the match itself has brought to us. If you want to know my thoughts on this year's edition, don't forget to check out the 411 Hell in a Cell Roundtable when it gets posted!
For me, the Hell in a Cell match was the first time the then-WWF treated the cage match like someone was going to be in big, big trouble. Normally, WWF cages matches were held to keep people from interfering. When Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy main evented WrestleMania 2 in one, it was because Hogan had constantly been jumped by Bundy, Muraco, and other goons. This was to guarantee that it would stay one on one. The same thing was the case when Bret Hart and Owen Hart dazzled at SummerSlam '94- after Jim Neidhart's interference at King of the Ring that year cost Bret vs. Diesel, the cage was added to make sure the bitter Anvil wouldn't do it again.
However, Hell in a Cell wasn't meant to keep people out- it was meant to keep people in. At September's Ground Zero in 1997, Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker engaged in one of my all time favorite chaotic brawls. Beaten pillar to post, Michaels kept running for his life, and received interference from Triple H before the whole thing was thrown out. Thus, Hell in a Cell was born. And you knew, the second it was announced, that Shawn Michaels was, like I said, in big, big trouble.
I'm not going to give a recap of that first Hell in a Cell, but if you haven't ever seen that match- please do. PLEASE do. These two came back and actually managed to top the chaos and violence of the Ground Zero brawl, with Undertaker just putting an ungodly beating down on the ol' HBShizzle. Finally, when it looked like it was all over with, we got the arrival of Kane, the Tombstone Heard Round the World, and Michaels escaping with the cheapest of victories.
Off to a great start, Hell in a Cell was immediately established as a barbaric match, thanks to the efforts of both men. Mick Foley would of course carry the mantle of brutality, getting thrown off the ceiling and through the announce table, and going through the ceiling on two separate occasions. Mankind vs. Undertaker at King of the Ring '98 and Cactus Jack vs. Triple H at No Way Out 2000 remain two of my favorite matches as well. Just seeing WWF committed to bringing real violence in their matches was such a shock to see.
Now, here's where I may lose some people- I really enjoyed the Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H Hell in a Cell at Bad Blood 2004. I know, I know... it's "boring" it "took too long" and there's "too much stalling." I really like those who accuse this match of having "too much laying around" when most likely these people still love the Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon ladder match at Mania 10, which also featured an ungodly amount of laying around. I liked what these two did in Hell in a Cell- it felt like an old school, NWAish type match with seething brutality, instead of what they had been doing at the time- car crash spectacles. It was nice to see two guys who hate each other just beat the crap out of one another for nearly 50 minutes. I know, it's not for everyone. It's definitely for me though. I love that match.
Other great moments for me include Chris Jericho eating a Pedigree on top of the cage, Cowboy Bob bleeding all over the Undertaker and thus getting fired, Batista hitting the Batista Bomb on the stairs to Triple H, and I actually dug the CM Punk vs. Ryback match last year, too. Here's to hoping that Sunday delivers with at least ONE amazing moment- I'm one of the many who have confidence in Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton tearing the house down- and while they may not be as bloody as the matches in years past, with the people involved, the matches should easily be just as good.
What do you guys think? Favorite Hell in a Cell matches/moments? Wanna argue why HBK/HHH Hell in a Cell isn't that hot? Hit me up in the comments below!
Your Services are No Longer Required
I'm a big MMA fan. Primarily this means I'm a big UFC fan, but I watch Bellator and World Series of Fighting, and have even attended a local MMA show here. And while some people like to pretend that MMA and Pro Wrestling have nothing in common and should never borrow from one another, I'm of the opinion that they're basically half brothers, and should constantly be taking notes about what the other is doing.
A buddy and I have discussed this before, and he's long thought that wrestling should borrow the idea of "fight teams" that have good guys and bad guys in it. I kinda like that idea, actually. Why can't Ryback be considered a jerk, but still cool with, say, Jimmy and Jey Uso? Why can't they train together? The point is, I think these two have more in common than those who are fans of only one or the other like to let on.
One thing I'd like to see is WWE treating some of its wrestlers the way UFC treats some of its fighters, and release guys who appear to have done all they can do. Now, don't confuse this for the times when WWE cuts guys because "Creative has nothing" for them- I'm talking about something different.
Think of the UFC cutting guys like Jon Fitch and Yushin Okami this year, or even a Cheick Kongo. Guys who, while certainly not gigantic losers, had basically shown us fans what they were capable of. For Fitch, it was basically beating anyone who wasn't a champion. The same went for Okami. Kongo had a decent record in the UFC, but he was also quite clearly a gatekeeper. And like that, they were gone. Fitch and Okami were still consensus top ten fighters in their classes at the time of their cuts, but yet they were still released.
Could something like this work in the world of pro wrestling? What if WWE cut someone like Albert del Rio not because they don't have anything for him, but because he's shown that he's not going to be a gigantic draw/superstar? What if Kane got released because he is now what he's always going to be, and there's no more going up with him?
Obviously, this is where the whole "It's a work, dummy!" aspect comes in. Fitch and Okami were cut because they were basically sniping rising contenders, while everyone knew they would not be able to beat the champions in their respective classes (GSP handled Fitch already, and Okami was embarrassed against Anderson Silva, unlikely to ever earn another shot). They were cut because there was no incentive to keep them around if they weren't going to be champions. Meanwhile, Kane could easily win the WWE Title on Monday Night Raw if that's what Stephanie's beautiful hands write on the notepad. But what if instead of "you're not going to rise any higher" we altered it to "you're not going to get any more popular"? Could we then release longtime veterans because they're really of no more use to us?
Things I'm clearly not addressing- wrestling veterans are needed to put people over and establish new stars. In MMA, anything can happen, and perhaps Fitch or Okami COULD have worked towards another title shot and COULD have won the belt, just like at any given moment, a stale wrestling act CAN find new life and reconnect with the fans.
That's why this mark is much more of a "What do you guys think?" than it is me just spouting off. I think this could work, but you clearly wouldn't want to cut everyone who fits this description. Much like MMA needs gatekeepers, Wrestling needs veterans. But much like MMA cuts the gatekeepers who also fight in a grinding, somewhat boring style, perhaps we should cut the veterans who are no longer connecting, and don't deliver great matches anymore.
Man, could you guys even imagine reading that the Undertaker had been released? Or that Dolph Ziggler was let go?
What do you guys think? Horrible idea? Decent idea that you could offer some more tweaks on? Great idea? You know the drill- comments!
Return to the Mountain
Please Bring Back Jeff Jarrett.
I could, quite easily, leave the third mark at that, and call it a day.
I miss Jeff Jarrett. A lot. TNA misses him.
I remember when Aces and Eights started up, I immediately had Jarrett pegged as the leader, wanting to take his company back after being forced out by the Hogan regime. When the final reveal had it being Bully Ray, I was definitely disappointed (though I LOVED the episode of Impact where Bully walked us all through the giant plan) that Jarrett wasn't coming back.
Now, though? Can we please get Jarrett back? He would work in either a face or a heel role. Imagine him teaming up with AJ Styles to take Dixie down and to get his company back? Imagine him going off on all the stupid decisions she's made while in charge, and how she's lost the focus of what TNA is supposed to be about (similar to the promo AJ cut on her a few weeks back). AJ Styles and Jeff Jarret: TNA Defenders could be freaking awesome!
Even as a heel, it'd be fantastic. What if Dixie brings back Jarrett to take out AJ Styles? He's done it before, and he can do it again. He could also reignite his personal feud with Kurt Angle and deliver some more awesome matches.
My vote? If I was bringing Jarrett back, I'd do what I wanted all along, and have him be the Big Boss of Aces and Eights. With Bully talking about a resurgence, this could easily work. Bully has been the President, sure, but that doesn't mean there can't be someone higher, someone doing the plotting. Hell, Jarrett can even say he put Bully in charge so that he couldn't take the fall if things went wrong (like how Vince McMahon made Linda the CEO all those years ago).
I would absolutely go nuts to see Jeff Jarrett back on my TV. It feels weird to say that, as I absolutely tired of him at times in TNA. The Planet Jarrett stuff always drove me crazy, and that Every Bad Guy Must Be in the Same Stable mentality has stuck with TNA ever since. Still, the house feels empty without him around, and while they missed the chance to bring him back at Bound for Glory, there's still plenty of time to bring him back.
Please, TNA... bring back Jeff Jarrett.
Don't forget to add your thoughts/questions down below in the comments section! Hope everyone enjoys their weekend, the Hell in a Cell pay per view if you watch it, and a nice Halloween!
Until then, enjoy your WWE, your TNA, your Lucha, your Puro, and your Indies.
It's All Wrestling. It's All Stupid. We All Love It.