The John Report: For Love or Money #7

This is the second time I'm posting For Love or Money here at Rajah.com. It's a column I write with fellow Oratory writer Matt Seagull. What we do is we discuss eight topics dealing with current issues in WWE. We also take on two retro topics and close up with some quick hits. The result is a discussion that would take place as if we were talking face to face as wrestling fans like we all are. We hope you enjoy it.


Matt: Have you missed us? Yes, it's true, after a month hiatus, John and myself have returned to bring you the year-end edition of For Love or Money! We decided not to do November and just put all our eggs in the same basket this month. We hope you enjoy this edition, and we'll try and bring you more monthly editions in 2005.

Note: The blue (odd numbered) questions were chosen by Matt. The green (even numbered) questions were chosen by John.

1. When you look back on 2004, what will you remember the most?
Matt: I look at 2004 like a really big rollercoaster. The highs were way too high and the lows were way too low. There was no real middle ground this year. If I had to consider any middle ground, it would be Survivor Series. But from Backlash all the way to the end of the year, things had shaped from bad to horrible. I'll always remember Benoit and Eddie, but I'll also always remember JBL, and that's disheartening.

John: I'll remember it as a year of highs and lows. I'll remember the highs of WrestleMania XX when Chris Benoit won the world title in an emotional match, then hugged Eddie Guerrero to end the show. It's an image I'll never forget. I was watching in a movie theatre and literally everybody in the place was standing and clapping at the sight. Never forget that ever. Other good moments would be every awesome performance that Shawn Michaels had, my girl Trish's work as a heel bitch, the Jericho-Christian feud and meeting a bunch of the wrestlers at the Raw that I attended the night after Summerslam. On the other hand, I'll remember it for the crap that was existent this year like everything the Undertaker did, Gene Snitsky's baby punt (both bad and hilarious at the same time), the decline of Smackdown and the absence of Brock Lesnar, which really sucked because I was such a huge fan of the guy at the time. For the first half of the year I loved WWE as much as ever, but in the second half I've lost some of that interest and I'm looking forward to getting it back as we head to WrestleMania. I think you have to remember both the good and bad moments. In summary, I'll remember Beniot the most, but in the back of my mind I'll never forget the crap either.

Matt: It just sucks that WWE had to bait us and reel us in at the beginning of the year with the title pushes of Benoit and Eddie, only to package us in a sardine can by giving us JBL, Diva Search and Gene Snitsky. It's really hard to remain positive when there was more bad than good, huh?

John: Yeah, you take the good with the bad, I guess. I think every fan will remember this year in different ways. Because I consider myself a positive person, I'll remember the highs of Benoit & Guerrero more than the lows of Heidenreich & Suzuki. Still, you wish it could be good for a full twelve months, or even eight months, instead it was like four months of really good and eight months of bad or horrible.

Matt: As an aside question, do you expect more of the same out of 2005? Or something different?

John: Who can predict. There's no way anybody could have predicted a year ago that we'd end 2004 with JBL having had the title for six months straight, one of the longest reigns ever. I mean, could JBL himself have even predicted that? Could McMahon have even done that? I think this year I learned that more than ever "anything can happen" and sadly that doesn't necessarily mean good things.

Matt: Here here. I guess you can say unpredictability is a good thing, but not when it unpredictably sucks.

2. Now that we've finally seen Muhammad Hassan, do you think that WWE is doing the right thing by portraying his character the way they have thus far?
John: I like how they're using him a lot already. I think they're doing the wise thing in pointing out that he has the right to say what he wants because of the people that fight for freedom, but he's also shooting himself in the foot with some of the things he says. The thing I like best is that he's actually a good talker! It's not as if he's some poor speaker who is getting shoved down our throats. I like him more than I probably should at this point because he's believable, he talks with passion and he's generating heat right away. Plus, that theme music, it's heel music. The way he talked trash at Foley, then backed down like a coward was classic chicken heel work, I liked it. I just wonder how long it will be until some crazy fan takes the gimmick too far, jumps the rail and does something stupid.

Matt: I think they're doing okay with it. They're not having him come out wearing a turban or riding a camel, so I guess I'll give that to them. But Hassan really shouldn't be a clear-cut heel at this point, not at least without hearing the boos from the crowd. He should have come out as a tweener and gauged the crowd's reaction. Obviously he'd get booed, and he could turn on them saying that they boo him simply because he's Arab and they're pieces of shit. But WWE is starting controversy, and controversy is always good.

John: It was probably too early to do a Hassan question, but I was just really impressed with the guy on Raw this past week. He's got great mic presence. That said, the way he's being portrayed is okay at this point. I wonder what his matches will be like, whether the crowd will be on him and stuff. Hopefully he gets a solid push, instead of wrestling guys like Hurricane and Rosey on Heat. I guess Simon Dean is filling that role right now. Hassan's looking okay so far. Still early, though.

Matt: I think his promo with Foley would have been the best segment in a long time if they had done it a month after he debuted. Have him come out with the generic rock music trying to be a babyface, but when he's gauged that the crowd doesn't like him because he's Arab, THEN do the Arabic chants and just heel out on America. I do expect him not to be another run-of-the-mill debutant and I expect big things out of him.

John: One of my buddies who is a smart wrestling fan, but not online or anything pointed out to me the other day that it's not even going to matter if he's good in the ring. He's got a point. You can make the case that the fans will be on him so much that it won't matter what he does out there. Then there's the whole thing about how far he gets pushed. They're going to have to be very careful with this guy.

Matt: As long as they don't push him to the moon immediately and take it slow, I think they may have something with him.

John: Sounds like a segue!

3. Considering what happened with Brock Lesnar, is it a bad long-term business move to give too much too soon to these young guys (Orton, Cena, etc.)?
Matt: I think so. Since the brand extension, each wrestler has half the amount of TV appearances to make a splash. Which means they don't need to write storylines as much. That means that builds can be much slower. There's no reason why new guys should get such a big push. You saw what happened with Lesnar. He was given too much, too soon, and when he didn't get his way, he got the hell out of there. You don't think the same thing will happen with Orton and Cena? Orton's got his clothing line and Cena might join the Rock as a WWE-made movie star. Let these guys simmer for a while.

John: I don't think so. With a guy like Orton I don't think they have to worry too much about him bolting to take up some other career. Wrestling is in his family's blood and I don't see him leaving the company that he basically grew up with. Cena's in a similar vein. I think he's a true wrestling fan who's living out his dream right now. With Lesnar, it's not like you ever hear him talk about how he grew up loving the business the way the others have. If you have the passion for the business then you can deal with the fame, the travel and the toll it takes on your loved ones. They did the right thing by pushing Lesnar as they did because he turned out to be a phenomenal performer. His absence came out of nowhere, but it's not like you have to worry about any young guy under age 30 like that. He's the exception, not the rule.

Matt: Okay Jonny, something you said that I had to comment on. "Wrestling is in his family's blood and I don't see him leaving the company that he basically grew up with." You're talking about Orton, but you can say the EXACT SAME THING about The Rock. Wrestling was in HIS family, and he STILL left to go to Hollywood. What's going to stop Orton and his boyish good looks?

John: Are you hitting on Orton? Hey, if WWE can get somebody else like the Rock in their company right now then they'd be laughing. You want people like the Rock. I don't care that he's not a full-timer. Rock made everybody around him better just by being in his presence. Rock also put in amazing performances on a consistent basis. Orton's not close to that yet. In six or seven years if Orton's so big that he wants to leave wrestling and do films then that's his right. I'd leave for Hollywood too and I love wrestling. Bottom line is a guy's got a family to support. I've said it a million times, if there were more people like Dwayne Johnson in the wrestling business then we'd all be better for it.

Matt: Oh I'm not making the argument that Rock didn't do the right thing. I'm just saying that you can't say Orton won't leave the business because his family is in it when Rock did the same thing. Anyway, I don't usually agree with Triple H, but I do agree with his idea that there should be a slow build for people. With only four shows a month instead of eight, there's plenty of time to build people slow.

John: I can say what I said about Orton. If the guy guy puts in five or six years of awesome main event work then what's there for him to do? He'll be like 30 by then. I can see him moving on. Same with Cena. And yes, slow builds rule. That's why Edge is working so well right now, as I pointed out in my column. To sum up, I don't think it's a bad thing. I'd rather have young guys like Cena & Orton getting pushed strong when the crowd reacts to them (especially in Cena's case) rather than Vince relying on a tag wrestler in his late 30s to suddenly be a main eventer. Yes JBL, I'm talking about you. If the young guys are good and they're over, push them. They might not catch on right away, but they'll be better for it in the long run.

Matt: Couldn't resist making a JBL quip. It wouldn't be For Love or Money without one.

4. Flair vs. Foley at Wrestlemania. Yay or Nay?

John: Definitely yay to this. I'd love it, especially for the promos leading up to it. Whether or not what happened backstage prior to Raw was a work or a shoot is irrelevant. Fact is, there is some bad blood between these two guys. Foley was pissed with Flair when Flair was in positions of authority in WCW and Flair simply didn't think Foley was that good of a worker. I think Flair's wrong big time, it's just a different style and Ric should be smart enough to see that. Flair had a right to be upset too simply because the guy questioned his work and nobody ever really likes that. The best feuds tend to be those that are spawn out of real life rivalries. These guys have that, even if it is a work now. I don't even really care that much about the match quality either. I just want this to happen.

Matt: Yay. Wrestling above all else is a business. Foley and Flair need to put their personal feelings for each other aside and realize that having them fight each other is VERY good for business. Foley's ROH appearances have given him indy credibility, and people that might not order Wrestlemania otherwise may change their minds, and it'll help buyrates. Foley said himself that he'd do it if the money was right. I say the money will DEFINITELY be right. Let it happen.

John: Foley's a smart guy. I love the "if the money is right" line. Just a smart play by him. Reminiscent of 2000 when he said he wouldn't wrestle at WrestleMania that year unless the money was right. Well, he got paid six figures for a brief appearance in a fatal fourway. For WrestleMania, he'd get near the top billing with Flair in a perfect legends match. I don't think either guy truly likes eachother, but they're both smart enough to know a money (no pun intended) feud when they see one. It's going to happen, barring any unforseen injuries.

Matt: Foley definitely knows how to play the game. When you let your personal feelings get in the way, you lose money. Plain and simple. If it doesn't happen at Wrestlemania (and it should, that's where the money is), it should happen at Summerslam in 2005.

John: Summerslam isn't even a big event anymore. What was so different about this year's show? It was a letdown. WrestleMania is the only one at this point, the Rumble is second. I could see them having a meeting in the Rumble of some kind. It'd be a good way to get things started for a feud at least. It's happening at WrestleMania. I don't doubt it. Foley's going to prove that he's more than a stuntman (which he is, obviously). I really hope it happens.

Matt: Well the Rumble is at least closer to this point. If they wanna capitalize on their "backstage fight," they could go for the Rumble at least as the start of their feud.

5. In our first FLOM, we discussed the Cruiserweight Division. Matt said there was still hope when John said the division was in deep trouble. Has your opinion on the division changed as the year progressed?

Matt: If you read my Cruiser column, you'd know my opinion on the division is VERY high right now. Funaki got a push, Akio's getting a push, and the Kidman/London/Chavo storyline is still going in full force. Now they need to let lower guys like Nunzio and Shannon Moore prove their worth in singles matches. Let Velocity be their platform to shine. It really is in the hands of the bookers at this point, but I'm still optimistic.

John: I think we're both right depending on the way the wind blows. The cruiser division is like a yo-yo that is up at times and down at other times. It's not like we have any reason to believe they won't do something stupid like putting the belt on a woman again. After Spike cheated Rey Mysterio a couple of times, what did he have? A non-feud with Nunzio and a title loss to Funaki that will be treated only as a fluke that will get old very fast. The division is unstable and the people writing it don't seem to care about it one bit. Instead of doing the smart thing and putting the belt on Billy Kidman, then having him defend against Chavo & London (two well-built feuds), they have non-feuds with it for three whole months. I saw Velocity on Saturday, they had the Kidman-London match there. That should have been on PPV, or at least on Smackdown! Instead it was on at 11pm on a Saturday. Point is that even when you think things might be going good, they end up turning to shit.

Matt: This past Thursday on Smackdown got me slightly nervous when the new champion didn't even show up for a match, but I'm not too worried. I do agree with you where you wondered why they didn't put the belt on Kidman. Survivor Series would have been perfect. You never know though. Maybe they wanted Kidman to take the belt from a babyface?

John: I've been optimistic about this division for what, three years now? Fuck it. This year there were some glimmer of hopes in the Rey/Chavo matches, but it didn't last enough. After Spike won the belt they didn't have a feud for him. You're telling me they can't have some cruiser feud to lead to matches with a backstory at PPVs? Bullshit. Now that Heyman's off the writing team again they'll get even less of a chance. He was one of the loudest voices for the cruisers. Funaki's fun, but he's a jobber. He gets laughed at. He's not a champion. Then they blowoff the Kidman/London on Velocity! Velocity! What a bunch of idiots.

Matt: So you don't think Velocity is a good platform for the Cruiserweights? I know the timeslot isn't much to ask for, but I'd rather them have 10 minute matches on Velocity than three minute matches on Smackdown.

John: No, they needed to have that match at Armageddon. Or Smackdown. The probelm with Smackdown is they waste time with a million backstage things. Stick a ten minute cruiser match out there. The people like it. It's not hard. Why should the fans give a shit about the cruisers when the bookers obviously don't? I'm tired of it.

Matt: Well as you can tell from my most recent column [/shill], I'm not tired of it, and I'm interested to see what happens with them.

6. Why is there a women's division when there are only like four women who can actually wrestle?

John: There's a division because people like watching hot chicks. I know I do. It's just that I have trouble calling it a "division" when it's actually just four girls who have wrestled eachother so many times in different roles that they don't even have enough women to have new tag matches or non-title matches at this point. I don't understand why Gail and Jazz were fired. Nidia I understand a bit, but even that was unncessary. For all we know, maybe WWE is striving to re-create this division in 2005 by recruiting the best female workers on the indy circuit. The four women they have now all perform well in their roles (especially Trish), but things need to change in the near future or else it's going to become even more stale than it already seems now.

Matt: I don't know. I don't really know. They release three wrestlers in Kim, Jazz and Nidia, and then they hire Diva Search girls who can't wrestle at all. Who the hell knows. Apparently the bookers think that hot girls standing around dancing will bring in more ratings than midly-attractive girls (save for Trish) wrestling. Lita's win two weeks ago did a lot to keep the division afloat, and I'm sure Trish and Lita will have an awesome rematch at New Year's Revolution (you know they're gonna book that match), then there's still hope. But I really don't know what WWE is thinking.

John: Trish is my girl, as we all know. She's perfect in many ways. I'm just tired of fearing for her safety with Lita doing her sloppy work. We've seen Trish work a million times with Molly and Victoria, so what's there for them to do? I guess they'll find some girls from the indy scene and try to make them into something. Or maybe they can push Stacy. No, wait, she should just bend over. That's her best talent. Mmmmm bending.

Matt: Trish can bend with the best of them as well. Yeah, they need more female wrestlers and less eye candy. You've got a girl like Alexis Laree who is both eye candy and a good wrestler. Or maybe Stephanie McMahon can return and win the belt again and join Evolution. You may laugh, but that's actually a likely scenario.

John: They need more girls and fast. Or maybe Trish can just wrestle in that outfit she wore during the Kane/Lita wedding. That'd be fine with me.

Matt: I'd take an entire two hours of that.

7. Why is it that all of these new characters debuting this year debut as heels?

Matt: With the exception of Eugene, that seems to be the case. It's a lot easier to get over as a heel. Then the fans like you too much and you turn face, and you become bland. It'll happen with Carlito. I definitely think that heels have more freedom to do more things to incite the crowd. It's easier to piss on people than to get them to like you. Just look at Smackdown. With the exception of Angle, JBL, Haas, Kidman and all three Dudleys, all the heels on Smackdown are new guys.

John: Eugene is really the only one that isn't. I think the main reason is because it's a lot more fun to book heels and a lot easier to come up with a heel's motive. It's hard with a babyface. Think about Rocky Maivia, how they pushed him down everybody's throats as this likable hard-working kid who smiled at everybody. The fans crapped all over it. Most of the time, fans are going to be yelling at new guys no matter what they do, so it makes sense that a lot of them are bad. Do I wish more of them were good? Yeah, but I totally understand why they make them out to be bad.

Matt: I do like your Rocky analogy. The fans are a little testy for people who are new and are going to boo them anyway, so they might as well cut out the middle man.

John: Yeah, I think they learned a lesson with that one. Even Cena and Orton. Remember both of them came in as plucky young babyfaces who had matches with major guys like Angle & Undertaker. Cena turned into a rapper after the Halloween Smackdown in 2002 (best one that year, by the way) and Orton eventually went bad too. Same with Maven even. He never really stuck because there wasn't much to his gimmick. He was just a babyface who smiled for three years. Boring. Give me something to react to, ya know?

Matt: It's much easier to be a heel than a face, no question about it. So it's better for a new, green guy to work with something easier. It's a shame Mordeguy couldn't pull it off.

John: You loved him, didn't you? I remember how much you cried when you found out they sent him back to the minors. Chin up, Birdman, chin up.

Matt: There's just something about big, albino men...um...Ahem, moving on.

8. Of the following people, do you see any of them being main eventers in the future: Shelton Benjamin, Christian, Charlie Haas, Carlito Cool?

John: I think Benjamin has the best shot of these four. He's already pretty good in the ring and I think he's only going to get better in the coming months. He shows great enthusiasm in the ring, the fans like him because he's simply a hard working guy who has earned everything he has and you can tell he truly loves what he does out there. I see him becoming a world champion within the next two to four years. Christian is pretty much in his prime right now. He's a seasoned veteran who is performing at a high level. He reminds me a lot of Owen Hart in terms of his character. He's serious backstage around his allies, but he always comes across as somebody who does hilarious things even when he thinks it's serious. Main eventer? I'll say maybe at this point. It could be hard on Raw. If he were to be moved to Smackdown then I'd say it's more likely. I think Haas is a darkhorse, which is why I put him here. He's got a good look, he's more than competent in the ring and he's growing as a character. It may take some time, but I think he's got a real good shot to get there. Carlito will probably be a main eventer. His character would need some tweaking, but from his promos and his work in the ring I think he's got the ability to do it.

Matt: Shelton Benjamin most definitely. He's being booked so well, especially with not doing the job to Triple H yet, despite having met him about six times this year by my count. I can see him becoming World champion, possibly in 2006. Seeing how fast WWE wants to push young guys, I think that WWE thinks that they missed the boat with Christian, which I hope is not true. Carlito looks like main event material, but he needs to have a few more months to get ready. Now that Haas is a heel, he might be U.S. Champion material. But main event? I don't think so.

John: I guess we agree pretty much on them all. I think you're underestimating Haas, though. He's growing as a character and he's solid as a worker. It may take some time, but I think he's going to be really solid and has main event potential. Obviously you can't push everybody, I know that. It's just that he's a quality guy in every area. You need guys like him. Hopefully he can break on through.

Matt: I don't think Haas can survive as a heel on Smackdown. After all, he doesn't have a ridiculous gimmick! I think he should join up with Kurt Angle's Honor Society and make it four.

John: I don't think WWE ever saw Christian as a main eventer, but you never know. He's showing signs of being a better all around performer. A lot of what I wrote about Edge applies to Christian, except he's never been pushed as hard. I still think of him like being an Owen Hart type of guy, but remember Owen flirted with the main event scene a few times. I honestly think Christian might be a really good babyface if they decide to turn him. Obviously Raw is stacked at this point, but he's only 31 or so. He's got plenty of time. As my personal favorite wrestler, I'd love to see him given a bigger role.

Matt: Not on Raw he won't. Not unless he joins Evolution.

John: Evolution's done by WrestleMania. I'm not saying 2005 anyway. I'm saying 2007 or something like that. You never know. Shelton should be there by then. Maybe Carlito too.

9. If you could pinpoint the rise of the Attitude Era to one event in time, what event would that be?

Matt: It would be the Kliq curtain call incident. It set all the wheels in motion. Because of the curtain call, Triple H got punished. And he didn't win the 1996 KOTR like he was supposed to. They gave the win to an up-and-comer named Steve Austin. It led to the Austin/Hart double switcheroo, and Bret's reluctance to be a heel was one of the driving factors behind his leaving the company, which prompted the screwjob, which made Vince into a villain. And due to McMahon's villainy, we had the Austin/McMahon feud, which set the Attitude wheels in motion. Phew.

John: There are a number of things you could say for this from the curtain call at MSG to the Austin promo at King of the Ring to the Survivor Series screwjob. I'll go for something that came after all those things. I'll say the Tyson-Austin incident on Raw prior to WrestleMania XIV when they had that shoving match. I actually wrote about this in an Oratory Group Column called Most Memorable Moments. It stands out to me because even though you knew Austin was the top face in the company, it was awesome to see him shove Tyson like that. Tyson at that point still had credibility and was at his psychotic best since this came after the ear biting incident. For Austin to stand up to him there, that made a lot of mainstream press and probably won WWE a few non-wrestling fans for it. I'll never forget Austin giving Tyson the finger, then the shove and JR yelling "TYSON AND AUSTIN! TYSON AND AUSTIN!" as if it were the biggest thing ever. In many ways, it was.

Matt: I LOVED the Tyson/Austin segment. My jaw dropped when I watched it live. I think the Attitude era was in full swing by then however. 1996 sewed the seeds a bit, when Vince was testing the waters with heel vs. heel matches.

John: The thing that the attitude era did was it brought in non-wrestling fans to the product. They were brought in because they saw on shows like Sportscenter that the crazy bastard Mike Tyson was shoving a wrestler. It was as if WWE was a rocket that was loading up on gas for two whole years and then that day, after that segment it took off and brought along with it the mainstream mark fans that made Steve Austin the most profitable WWE performer ever.

Matt: I like that analogy. Kane tombstoning Pete Rose didn't hurt either.

John: Tyson was still a huge draw by then. His fights drew huge viewers. Remember, this was after he bit Holyfield's ear and he was suspended for months, so he was an intriguing guy. Viewers were drawn in because of him and then they stayed because of Austin-McMahon, among other things. DX was great too, as was The Rock, Foley and all the rest. Point is, this angle is the one that ignited the Attitude era.

10. Last time we asked about HHH's best feuds. This time the question is who have been The Rock's best feuds, as well as his worst ones? List up to three for each.

John: The first two are easy, the third one is hard because there's so many. Austin is first simply because of all their memorable matches, capped off by the phenomenal match at WrestleMania X7 that was as good as wrestling could be for me as a fan. What's amazing is they never really had a long face vs. heel feud while both men were at their absolute best. When they did have those kinds of feuds in '97 and '99 Austin was hurt both times. I wish Rock never left to film a movie in 2001 because they could have had some amazing stuff right after their WM match that year. Rock and HHH had many classic matches too, along with feuds at both levels. Their IC title feud in 1998 was one of the best IC title feuds ever, while their 2000 feud generated as much money as any non Hogan or Austin feud in WWE history. They were awesome together.

Third is Jericho simply because Jericho needed to be put over strong, so Rock was the one that did it. Not once on PPV, but twice. Both matches ruled, both matches were huge for Jericho. It's just a shame that everything after those matches for Jericho were handled so badly after that. Other memorable ones would be Angle (another guy Rock put over marvelously), Chris Benoit and Mick Foley. The Foley-Rock feud is largely overrated simply because the title was passed back and forth so much that it started to lose value. That's Russo booking for ya. Plus, their matches weren't as good as Rock's later ones. Another Rock feud that I loved? Ken Shamrock. They had some solid matches together. I love Rock, man. How can you not?

Worst Feuds: Billy Gunn, Faarooq, Goldberg

The Billy Gunn feud in the summer of '99 was horrible. I can't believe they actually thought that was a second tier match at a major show like Summerslam. Remember when Gunn had to kiss that fat woman's ass? Ugh. The best part of that whole feud was Rock's promo where he talked to God as if he were Billy. God: "Well Bob." Rock: "My name is Billy." God: "It doesn't matter what your name is!" That was fantastic. The Faarooq feud came at a time when Rock had to be put over very well by somebody. Faarooq was not that good, so Rock, while still a great talker, had to wait a while until he got that credibility in the ring. The Goldberg feud didn't work. I don't blame Rock. He outperformed Goldberg big time. People bitch about Rock making him look bad because he was funny. Screw that. He's The Rock. That's what he does. While he was funny he was also a total prick. It's not his fault that Goldie didn't care about wrestling enough to ever improve at everything he did.

Matt: Best Feuds: Austin, Triple H, Mick Foley

Worst Feuds: Goldberg, Rikishi, Faarooq

Austin's self-explanatory. Three Wrestlemania Main Events, including one of the greatest matches of all time. Triple H made both wrestlers into stars, capped off by their awesome Summerslam 98 ladder match. Foley was the one who made Rock into a dominant heel champion, with the culmination being their Royal Rumble 99 match.

Golberg is also self-explanatory. The build was horrible, as Goldberg was immediately made to look like a bitch, and the match sucked. Rikishi can be summed up in one phrase..."I did it...for da Rock." And Faarooq's feud sucked because it made Faarooq look like a bitch, and I was enjoying his face turn after he got kicked out of the Nation. I really thought he'd make a good IC champ, but he never got out of the blocks on his Rock feud.

John: We agree on the first two for best feuds. I think that's easy. The third one was the main reason why I asked this one. I think the Rock/Foley feud was overrated. It provided many great moments (like Foley's win), but I was never a big fan of their matches or the title changes that seemed to happen every other week. It ruined the title's credibility. I loved Rock/Jericho because it helped make Jericho and if I'm going to pick something great of Rock's it'll be an example of him making somebody else into a real star.

Matt: I do agree with the fact that there were too many title changes, but I think Foley was a great start for Rock's first major feud as a main event heel. Jericho was great for the three months it happened, but it seemed to be overshadowed by other things going on.

John: I liked that better than excessive chair shots to the head. Jericho/Rock had great matches. That's why it stands out for me.

Matt: I completely forgot about Billy Gunn. As soon as they involved a heavy-set woman for their blowoff match I knew that all Gunn's credibility as a singles star was through.

John: I knew that as soon as Billy Gunn was pushed that it would suck. I hated the Billy Gunn singles push so damn much.

Matt: There were a lot of things wrong with 1999. But that's for another time, eh?

John: What's funny about '99 is it was one of the most profitable years ever, even if it wasn't one of the best.

QUICK HITS
Matt: Now that Maven has turned heel, will he still join Evolution?
John: No, Batista's going face and they're breaking up soon..
Matt: The Batista turn is a facade, I say. Maven will join when he helps Triple H get a victory.

John: Does JBL walk into WreslteMania XXI still as WWE Champion? If so, who is he facing?
Matt: I would say yes, but now that Angle and Show are involved in the title scene, he won't make it to Wrestlemania. We can only hope.
John: I think he walks in as champ and defends against Cena, dropping the title to him in the process.

Matt: Over/Under on how long it'll take Edge to win the World Title. 6 months.
John: Over. I'll say Summerslam is the right time. If it happens sooner then I'll be glad to be wrong.
Matt: Hah! Over. Summerslam too.

John: Who was worse in 2004: Heidenreich or Snitsky?
Matt: Heidenreich. I at least laughed at Snitksy.
John: Heidenreich too. Wasn't their segment at Survivor Series the greatest, though?

Matt: What movie will suck more? The Marine or Eye Scream Man?
John: They'll both be better than Suburban Commando and Mr. Nanny.
Matt: Yeah I'm more looking forward to The Rock playing a big gay bodyguard. No jokes please.

John: Who will WWE use regularly first: Puder or the two guys that won the last Tough Enough, John & Matt?
Matt: Puder. John and Matt still have contracts?
John: I say Puder too, even though it's not right. Why not give those guys a shot? I don't get it.

THE CLOSER

John: It's been fun doing For Love or Money this year with you, Matt. We started out a little rough at first when we didn't know each other as well, but we've gotten better and I enjoy it every month (screw November!). Plus, I always kick your ass and that's fun. Next year we'll pick things up again. Looking forward to it.

Matt: My New Year's Revolu...er...Resolution is that you'll finally appreciate my genius. It takes two men to have a great match, and FLOM was FAR from a carry job. I had a good time this year discussing wrestling with you and I definitely look forward to more of the same next year. 2005, here we come!

See you next year!

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Thoughts? Questions? Comments. Email us at the addresses below or feel free to talk about it with us in the column feedback section of our forums. Also, if you've got an idea for a topic that we can use please let us know and we might use it.

The next edition of For Love or Money will come to you in January.

Matt "The Love" Seagull - OratorBirdman@gmail.com
John "JC Money" C. - oratoryjohn@gmail.com