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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

Smart Marks 5.31.14: Getting Tables
Posted by Dino Zee on 05.31.2014

It's the end of the week. You've earned the right to relax. It's also time for some Smart Marks, your home for wrestling discussion on almost any and all topics as it pertains to our favorite showtime sport, pro wrestling. I'm Dino, I'm a huge wrestling dork, and I thank you for the click!

Last week saw a fun lucha discussion with reader W. Ryne Hall, who gave me some great backstory regarding Rush and his status as the most hated good guy, along with some other fun notes regarding Mistico II, La Máscara, and La Sombra. While I consider myself an encyclopedia when it comes to American wrestling, I'm only the most basic of noobs when it comes to lucha, so I always appreciate a history lesson when it applies. Feel free to chime in with the lucha knowledge whenever you want!

This week saw NXT put on another program, a pretty dismal Raw, Dixie Carter attempt to find some sort of resolution with MVP, and much more! So with that all out of the way, let's get the party started!

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To start off this week, we're going to get a little plain. A little vanilla. Nondescript, if you will. I'm probably going to sound mean, and some may even try to pin some sort of sexist label on me. I'll live.

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Nothing Special

I hate to start off with such a jerky Mark, but this week left me somewhat wanting as far as rad action or sweet stories go, so this is what we get.

Current TNA Knockout Brittany may very well be the most uninteresting character I've seen introduced in quite a while. And I blame TNA for this as much as I blame the performer. She was introduced out of nowhere on an epsiode of Impact (there was a brief teaser/bio about her on Social Media prior, to be fair), and was basically "That girl Brittany that wants to wrestle." Sick, bro. There was no goal, nothing more than a smiling chick named Brittany looking to be a wrestler. On top of that, her friggin name is also nothing worth noting. In a world where nearly 85% of Knockouts/Divas go by 1 name, TNA found the one that is the plainest possible name. Brittany. She sounds like a harmless kitten. What's crazy is that her real name, Santana Garrett, could have easily been used/manipulated somewhat to produce a much better wrestling name, one that doesn't sound like we shouldn't care about her at all. I'd understand not wanting to use Garrett as far as TNA is concerned, but what about Brittany Santana? Suddenly she sounds like a real person, and not one of the Layla/Sarita/Aksana types that can't be bothered to remember.

But it's not just her plain name and plain character. She's been reduced these last few weeks to being treated as complete crap by basically everyone on the Knockouts roster. The Beautiful People constantly harass her. When she looks for help, she can find none. Madison Rayne tells her all the time that she's going to get hurt or embarrassed. You know, because if you're good enough to make it to TNA, you're still not good enough to wrestle anyone that matters. What a wonderful message I've been told. "Dear Dino, Brittany sucks. Love, TNA." So now we have this plain wrestler with nothing that stands out, AND she's constantly being told how sucky she is at all times. Now we're on the trolley.

Then there's the actual wrestling portion. Last night on Impact, she threw a dropkick that landed in the ribs. Even Erik Watts was like "Damn, girl, that's a really bad dropkick." She has a nice set of moves in her arsenal, but all of them come off as stilted at best, or atrocious at worst.

Wait, wait... I should stop here and make it clear that I am not attacking this woman entirely. I know that this isn't the easiest job, and I know she can only improve with time. I'd never demand she quit, or be removed from my TV. What I would request, however, is that if she can't do a move very well, that she not do the move.

I'd also request that TNA maybe try to make her seem like not a complete scrub. Even last night, as she screamed at Madison Rayne, demanding to know why Madison won't team with her, it all came off so bad. Her "emotion" basically boils down to slightly bending her knees and squinting her eyes. Nitpicking, sure, but when every single aspect of the package is not good, you notice these sorts of things. It appears that the way we're going to try to make her matter is going the pseudo lesbian angle that Micki James made her name from. Hey, if Brittany can actually pull it off, more power to her. I have a bad feeling, however, that we're just going to be subject to more horrible backstage skits where no one gives a crap about that sucky girl Brittany.

I can't stress this enough, but I hate it when new wrestlers are debuted and immediately made to look like a joke. Why even bother bringing them in? That's how I feel about Brittany. She was destined to fail from the start, and it doesn't appear as if anyone really has her back in trying to fix this. That's the part that makes me the angriest- it's one thing for the fans to simply not connect with a performer, but it's another when the lack of connection falls squarely on how the performer was introduced and presented to the crowd from the very start. Brittany deserved better than what she got.

What do you guys think? Is she as plain to you as she is to me? Anyone a Brittany fan? Ideas to revamp and fix her? You know the drill- get heard below in the comments!

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Unable to Table

Sticking with TNA, I wanted to talk about Bully Ray, specifically his crusade to put Kenny King, Bobby Lashley, MVP, MY BOY EC3, and Dixie Carter all through tables to make them pay for their sneaky shenanigans. Of course, Rock Star Spud was put through a table last night, making him the first knot in the rope.

Look, I have no problem with this angle in theory- good guy looks for revenge, and looks to do it one by one. It's classic, and it of course works when it's done right. On top of that, the people remaining to be put through tables can all (except for Dixie) have a match with Bully Ray, and most likely the match will turn out just fine. Again, nothing so horrible about that. Hell, I dig it even though I hate how watered down Face Bully Ray has become. HATE it. Still, he's pulling it off, and works well enough as the co-leader of Team TNA along with World Champion Eric Young.

So, what's the problem? The problem is that it's "guaranteeing" a payoff that absolutely will not happen. Dixie Carter isn't going through a table. Ever. At least, not on Spike TV. And we know that because Spike has a strict "no violence against women" policy that's been mentioned before. It's why Austin Aries got in trouble for putting his junk in Christy Hemme's face about a year ago.

When I'm aware of this policy, I have to assume I'm not the only one. And so, TNA is having its "hero" go out there and "guarantee" something that it cannot possibly deliver. Everyone else but Dixie, I feel, will indeed go through a table. But the payoff- the one the fans would want to see the most- that's not happening. And it bugs me that they're still going to go through the motions and pretend that OH MY GOD FOLKS WE MAY SEE DIXIE CARTER GO THROUGH A TABLE!!!

No, we won't. You might as well hype the possibility of Bret Hart showing up in the Impact Zone each week, or have MVP guarantee that he'll get Shane McMahon.

Sure, not every single guarantee has to be realized. However, you'd usually expect the heel to make the ridiculous promises that he cannot keep. You wouldn't expect it from the face. On top of that, there really is something odd about Bully Ray being presented as the face when the majority of his interactions the last few weeks has basically been stalking and threatening Dixie Carter. What, did Gail Kim prove to be too tough for the Bully? It's just all so backward, and again, also without the possibility of an actual payoff.

Like I said, I don't mind Bully's quest. I actually look forward to everyone going through tables. Everyone but Dixie, of course. But that won't stop them from pretending like it's a possibility. And with all those gullible kids watching TNA, I really don't get who they think they're fooling.

Do you think Dixie's going through a table? Is it all a huge scam that leads to Bully Ray going heel again? Do you consider this to be the huge waste of time that I do? Tell me why I'm wrong (or right) down in the comments!

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Horsing Around

So I've used this final Mark space the last few weeks to discuss "favorites." Favorite move types, and last week, we discussed your favorite shows that made you become wrestling fans. Keeping the favorites theme going, I wanted to this week talk about one of the absolute greatest factions in wrestling history, the Four Horsemen. Specifically, I want to know what iteration of the group was your favorite, along with who your favorite Horseman was as well.

For my favorite Horsemen version, this would not be as simple as one might think. I really dug the original four of Flair, Tully, Ole and Arn. Ole gets a lot of hate nowadays, and I'm sure it's somewhat fair, but man that guy was fun to watch in the ring. Simple, straightforward, and brutal. Your arm wasn't going home with you if you ran afoul of Ole Anderson. These four were so perfect together, that many have claimed that every other version of the group sucked. To me, that's a bit overboard, but I can at least understand the essence of their point. The first was the best, so screw everyone else.

However, I also dug the version that had Flair, Arn, Barry Windham and Sid Vicious that was seen during the second half of 1990. Yeah, I know, I've probably lost credibility with that, and we all know how important that credibility is! However, the first three are all great wrestlers and I'm a gigantic Sid mark, so there you go. I was rooting for Sid against Sting at Halloween Havoc that year, and was really bummed when he came up short. On paper, this is an insane team, with three amazing wrestlers and then a wrecking ball in Sid. If he wasn't so green (or, quite frankly, so Sid), this group could have been a major part of the early 90s for WCW in my opinion. Alas, it wasn't meant to be.

I also dug two of the later incarnations, as the Flair, Arn, Pillman, and Benoit version was absolute fun, with Pillman flourishing in his brief tenure with the Horsemen, along with the Flair, Mongo, Benoit and Malenko version. Yes, it feels so wrong to mention friggin Mongo McMichael, but the rest of that group was so dope, and it was formed in that amazing ceremony on Nitro. So much nostalgia attached to it, that not even Benoit or Mongo can drag it down for the various reasons one might think they would.

So, those are my top 4 versions of the Horsemen. As for my absolute favorite? I'll go with blasphemy and take the short lived Flair, Arn, Pillman and Benoit version. The craziness that Pillman brought to that group really kicked up their heel level, probably to levels they hadn't seen since the initial version. And anytime you can get a fair comparison to the original Four, I'd say you're doing something right.

As for my favorite Horseman? That's gotta be Arn Anderson. Arn is the Four Horsemen, and any version without him just seemed so, so wrong. The Enforcer always made sure everyone stayed in line, and always had Ric Flair's back. Yeah, Arn Anderson in a runaway for me.

But what about you guys? What Horsemen version did you like the most? Who's your favorite Horseman of all time? Let me know down in the comments!

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And that oughta do it for me this week. As always, I thank you for reading, and hope you enjoy your weekend. On top of that, make sure to enjoy your WWE, your TNA, your Lucha, your Puro, and your Indies.

It's All Wrestling. It's All Stupid. We All Love It.


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