John: Welcome to the fourth edition of For Love or Money in 2005 and the eleventh edition overall. The first edition of For Love or Money took place on May 4, 2004, so this is pretty much the one year anniversary of the column. Even though there weren't columns in November and April (there was gonna be one in April, but I was just too busy), it's still nice to say that we've been at this for a year.
Since that time I think we've done a good job although this answer that I gave in the first edition about JBL turned out to be pretty funny looking back: "JBL will job to Eddie and then probably job to Taker after that. I don't think we'll even be talking about JBL in 3-4 months. He'll be so far down the roster that it'll be pointless." Oops.
We'll be doing a little retrospective piece in next month's FLOM. It should be fun to see us making fun of eachother for making dumb predictions and/or comments.
The first eight questions will deal with current topics while the final two questions deal with "classic" moments from the past that we feel like talking about. Think of it like a written version of Pardon the Interruption, the hit ESPN sports talk show program featuring Mike Wilbon on Tony Kornheiser. Not exactly like that, obviously, but loosely based on it.
Note: The blue (odd numbered) questions were chosen by Matt. The green (even numbered) questions were chosen by John.
1. Where does Chavo Guerrero fit in the scene in the next few months?
Matt: I like exactly where he is now. He's being featured prominently on Smackdown. He just had an awesome street fight with Rey Mysterio last week. He's a very talented heel, and should be treated as such. I wish he had more interaction with Paul London, as that issue hasn't really been resolved. So what Smackdown has is a talented heel both in the ring and on the mic. I'd like to see him more involved in big angles.
John: I think he fits where he's always fit. He's the top heel in the cruiserweight division, which is where he should always be. I also think now that Eddie's heel that he could be at his uncle's side a bit more. What I've liked a lot about Chavo during the Eddie-Rey feud is his work backstage in vignettes. He plays an antagonist really well. I don't see him changing much about his act or his role. He's fine where he is. A solid contributor to the midcard scene that rarely disappoints in ring or backstage when he's given a chance to talk.
Matt: Do you think Los Guerreros are going to reunite? With Eddie being much more sinister and Chavo already at the stage where he's not trying to be funny, I think we could get a solid heel faction that could run roughshot over Smackdown.
John: It could be done, sure. Especially with the Latino guys coming in. They could make a tag team out of Super Crazy and Psychosis for example. It seems like they're bringing all the Latino guys in for a reason other than being jobber fodder on Velocity, ya know? They could make a fun stable. As long as Eddie is in singles as a heel I'm happy. Chavo is great in his role, though. I compare him to a specialty player on an NBA or NFL team. Like a third wide receiver on an NFL team or one of the first guys off the bench on an NBA team. He may never be the star, but he's always going to be productive and help your team when you need him. He's just a solid performer.
Matt: Totally agree. I've been a big Chavo fan since he was given that huge Cruiserweight title run during the dying days of WCW. I doubt we're going to be seeing a return of Pepe anytime soon though.
John: Pepe ruled. Remember when Chavo was a salesman during the Russo era? Gotta love Vinny Ru's wacky ideas.
Matt: No I don't, actually. I try to repress a lot of Russo's WCW ideas. I just recently got reminded of Flair in a nut house. Yeugh.
John: I'm still laughing over the idea of a gimmick of a professional wrestler being that he sells products. Sheer genius!
2. Who is the best babyface in the WWE right now?
John: I like Cena a lot, but he's not there in the ring yet. Then there's Michaels and Benoit, two of my three favorite wrestlers ever. They're doing their part in playing the veteran upper card babyface well. However, I'm going to pick Rey Mysterio. The man is just on fire right now. I think he's benefiting from the best push he's ever gotten and it's his own doing since he came up with his feud along with Eddie Guerrero. I'm very excited about where this feud is right now and where it's headed. I'm also interested in seeing if they can actually help make Mysterio into a main eventer this year. Could be fun to see.
Matt: Right now, I think it's Chris Benoit. Benoit rarely gets booed, whereas even great faces like HBK meet their occasional heckling crowd. Benoit seems to be universally loved. And his work lately has been stellar, as he continues to sell the shit out of whatever injury he has. First the shoulder, now his head. Randy Orton WISHES he could sell a concussion like Benoit does. His eyes during his Triple H match told the entire story. It's so great to get behind Benoit. I'd put Rey in a close second.
John: I asked this question because I wanted to answer Rey and I knew you wouldn't. It's not like I dislike Benoit or Michaels. It's just that they're both in a position of support players right now, usually jobbing out to the ones getting pushed and of course making them look great. Mysterio seems to be on the biggest push of his career at the moment. This Guerrero/Mysterio is going to be as good as any this year, I think. It works because Rey is the ultimate face.
Matt: I think it could possibly lead to a WWE title push for Rey. I'd love to see it. I picked Benoit because of his work lately. It's just been astounding. Our God Teddy Hart once said, "If you cheer for me, I'll die for you." And Benoit looks like he's going to die every time he gets out there (or at least, looks like he's going to have his arm amputated after the match).
John: Benoit's being great isn't anything new. It just seems like every year WWE concentrates on really pushing a few people really hard for the moment. Mysterio is getting that push while Benoit is playing the "babyface who puts people over" role. He still has credibility, obviously, but it's certainly not like it was last year. I used to like Benoit more as a heel, but these past three years or so have really cemented him as a babyface long term. I also think Rey is going to get a title push (and I already have a column about it that I'm working on), but don't you think Rey sticks out because he's this generation's babyface in the same way Ricky Steamboat was a generation ago? By that I mean a guy who is always a babyface and somebody who you can't see going heel ever? I know he was heel in WCW's Filthy Animals for a bit, but it wasn't that long.
Matt: I can totally see Rey going heel. Not now, of course, because the Eddie program is in full swing. But Rey can play the arrogant dick who's good and who knows he's good and will not hesitate to tell you that he's good. Rey being heel might be a breath of fresh air, but I wouldn't want it to happen for another year at the least.
John: I don't see him going heel. It's not necessary. He's such a good seller of beatdowns and due to his size he's always the underdog. Just seems like the perfect babyface.
Matt: He's good, and he's definitely getting a lot of sympathy with the Eddie storyline, but I think Benoit's just a bit better at the moment.
3. What has been the best booking decision by WWE lately?
Matt: I think the way they've built Shelton Benjamin has been phenomenal. They let him showcase his athleticism in big-time matches and have successfully gotten him over without having to resort to those stupid vignettes about how he was a survivor from the street, which I thought was horribly racist. From his Wrestlemania performance to his match with HBK a couple weeks ago, they have made Benjamin look fabulous in defeat. He even made Gene Snitsky look passable. I just wish they could do the same for Haas over on Smackdown, as I feel that Haas is just as good as Benjamin.
John: Turning Eddie Guerrero heel. I love Eddie as a bad guy. He's more natural in that role, he's better in that role and he's better than most wrestlers in WWE as a bad guy. The best thing is his turn makes sense, so it's not like it is some forced turn. While I am looking forward to where this Rey feud is going, I'm looking forward to Guerrero vs. Cena hopefully dominating Smackdown over the course of the summer too.
Matt: I may have to change my tune and go with Eddie's heel turn after seeing his promo last Thursday. The look on his face was just plain scary. But I will stick with my Benjamin pick. You always see these stories about WWE not striking when the iron's hot. I think they should have done that in 2003 with Cena, but they didn't, and they waited a bit too long. With Benjamin, it's absolutely perfect. He's over as all hell, and he's probably the best athlete on Raw to boot. I can't see Benjamin leaving the top part of the card, and I think he'll be World Champion by this time next year.
John: The problem with Benjamin, to me, is they have yet to really give him a deep feud to get into. He's had some stuff with Christian and Jericho, even that thing with Snitsky that got over his toughness, but there hasn't been a defining feud yet. You need to do more than put him in TV matches, have him do athletic stuff and say he's unlike any other athlete on the show. Give him a storyline to get into. Right now, I think it's more him that's getting over instead of WWE getting him over. The Eddie thing is just phenomenal. One of the best heel turns in recent memory. It goes months back when Rey was teaming with RVD against Booker and Eddie and pinning Eddie on a regular basis. I wish WWE did a video package of all the times Rey pinned Eddie. It was just really smartly done. Heel Eddie is the pick for me.
Matt: The only reservations I'm having about the Eddie turn is that he's SO over and SO good that the crowds are going to cheer him and turn him back face. I also loved his heel turn and his heel act during the Summer of 2003. Let's just hope that Smackdown doesn't go through El Paso anytime soon.
John: The stuff wasn't built up as well in the summer of 2003. Furthermore, they ditched his old theme song and his smiling ways. Now he's all serious. When he's pissed off, he looks like a scary guy. I don't think WWE has to worry about the fans turning him face. It's just a matter of booking him in an intelligent way. So far so good. The heel turn makes sense. Plus, if he feuds with Rey for another 2-3 months and then moves on to Cena then he'll be feuding with the top faces on Smackdown. That'll keep him a heel, I think.
Matt: I hope you're right. And I agree with you that Benjamin needs a serious storyline. If Hunter ends up staying on Raw, I'd like to see a full-blown program between the two after Benjamin drops the IC title (possibly to Muhammad Hassan). Hunter's shown with Batista that he can help get people tremendously over. I think he'd do the same with Benjamin.
John: I'm all for HHH vs. Benjamin in a feud. It would elevate Benjamin a lot. Of course, will HHH stay out of the title scene that long? I doubt it.
4. Do the gimmicks of Chris Masters and Matt Morgan have a chance at succeeding or are they this year's Mordecai?
John: I say no. They both suck. That doesn't mean the wrestlers actually suck. I don't know if they're good or not. Just that their gimmicks will not work. I'm tired of seeing stupid, lame gimmicks in WWE these days. It's 2005. It's not 1985. You have to come up with characters that are smart, creative and interesting. Chris Masters is basically doing Lex Luger's Narcissist gimmick. The same gimmick that failed miserably. What's sad about Morgan is he's supposedly a great talker from his OVW days and he's obviously got a good look to him. Instead of letting him get over with his voice, they do this stuttering gimmick that's just lame for many reasons. Both guys are young, so there's plenty of time to fix what they're doing. I just hope it's soon because the longer these horrible gimmicks last, the worst it is for their careers.
Matt: Masters MIGHT. He won't be succeeding if they keep up with that ridiculous Masterlock White Boy challenge. I just recently saw the Wrestlemania Battle Royal, and they built him well by having him eliminate most of the guys in the match and lasting until the end, but too bad it wasn't even televised. Personally, I think Masters could survive if he was paired with Triple H and Ric Flair in the new Evolution. I mean, Batista was a horrible worker to start with as well. And I always say that Masters has a face like Orton's, but uglier, and a body like Batista's, but less impressive. As for Morgan, forget about it. He's already a lost cause.
John: Honestly, I don't see anything in Masters. He doesn't impress me on the microphone. His body is big, but as I've said many times in Raw recaps, it's not that effective when really muscular guys like HHH and Batista are on the show all the time. He's still young, though. Lots of guys had crap gimmicks to start their careers out. Cena was a bland babyface with ugly outfits, Batista was D'Von's muscle and other such memories. I just don't think the Narcissist 2005 is going to work. It didn't work in 1993. Why now? Morgan's stuttering gimmick is ridiculous. Hopefully they just forget about it soon. I'd rather see Morgan be like a security guy for Carlito or something. Carlito needs backup.
Matt: If they wanted to bring back the stuttering gimmick, they should bring back the Dudley Boyz. They've at least proven in the past that they can work a bit. AND Smackdown's tag team scene needs them back. I don't know about Carlito having a bodyguard. Look how well Jesus worked out.
John: Carlito got hurt, Jesus got hurt. It happens. Doesn't mean it can't be done again. Bubba stuttered in WWE for like three months before they realized it was stupid and just let him talk normal. Anyway, they'll be back for the ECW PPV. Stay on topic! I just think Masters and Morgan are both in horrible gimmicks right now. Neither will last longer than five months.
Matt: And that's a good thing! I don't mean to belittle the wrestling careers of the two men, but maybe it'll be a wakeup call to the front office that Johnny Ace's idea of bigger = better isn't working out.
5. Has Smackdown finally made the turn-around in terms of quality, or is this just a temporary leap?
Matt: I think so. It has a LOT to do with having Cena as champion and the awesome Eddy/Rey feud that's been building. Not only will they have a great match at Judgment Day, but it easily sets up a new heel challenger for Cena's title (that is, if Cena's even on Smackdown after Judgment Day). And at least this year at Judgment Day, JBL has earned his main event spot, rather than just having it handed to him. If they continue to showcase the best workers, and if MNM lives up to the hype, Smackdown could be making a serious turn-around.
John: I think it's a permanent thing, at least I hope it is. What you've seen on Smackdown is the development of some of their younger talent. Look at how far Cena has come in the past couple of years. He's not perfect in the ring, but he's as over as anybody on the roster. As a leader of the show, he's doing a good job. Then you've got the veteran heels in Angle and now Guerrero, plus JBL is more established than he was a year ago at this time. The babyface side is also strong with Mysterio and Undertaker there as well. The cruiserweights are getting pushed a bit more than usual, so that's another strong sign. I think they're heading in the right direction. I'm actually looking forward to Judgment Day and I have to say that's the first time I've really looked forward to a Smackdown show since No Way Out 2004. Of course, everything could change for the worse after the lottery.
Matt: We PROMISED that we wouldn't talk about it this month, but oh well, guess I owe you a coke. I think Smackdown's overall success for the year will be dependent upon how well they do in the draft lottery that's taking place in a couple of weeks. I like the idea of guys like Christian getting prominent pushes on the show. If Smackdown gets some Captain Charisma, then they're going to be a-ok!
John: Depends on what they lose, though. Like, if Angle goes to Raw and the biggest name Smackdown gets is Christian then it's a loss. I love both guys, but Angle is at the very top and Christian is in that next tier. Getting back to Smackdown, though, this last show was a step back. I wrote my answer to the question before the last Smackdown. I hated this last show. The Angle/Booker angle is heading in the wrong direction. There wasn't enough focus on the Cena/JBL feud. Cena was on TV for how long this week, two minutes? That's not acceptable. There were also no matches that got time to develop into anything. It was like it was Smackdown in 2004 all over again. In general, SD has been above average since WM21. This next one before JDay is going to be big.
Matt: I hope so. I really like how they've booked MNM. It's been subtle, but it's been really well-done. They're going to be the next WGTT if everything falls in the right place. And Judgment Day actually is shaping up to be a decent PPV offering. The booking for that PPV has done a complete 180 since last year. At least we have a man as Cruiserweight Champion, and a good worker at that!
John: Plus, no Mordecai or Kenzo Suzuki matches! Also, as you said, JBL is actually a credibile main eventer now whereas last year he was thrust into the role basically because they felt they had nobody else. If the lottery is on May 23 or May 30 then this'll probably be the last SD with the roster it has now. I like where the roster is now. As you said, MNM is a good fit. They just need some tag teams to go against (again, the Dudleys can fill that void for a while when they get back). I think Raw and SD are about even in terms of quality. Last week was a down week for both while the week before was a success for both. They need to avoid the ups and downs and try to find some consistency.
Matt: With the exception of Raw in early 2004, neither show has had much consistency. The one thing Smackdown does have going for it is no Diva Search. And I don't think Tough Enough was as big a success for Smackdown as the Diva Search was for Raw (although I don't think the Diva Search was that successful either, but apparently successful enough to spawn a sequel), so we're probably not getting Tough Enough this year.
John: I believe they will be doing another Tough Enough, although it hasn't been announced yet. I think it'll happen again.
Matt: Yuck. Maybe we'll see some more cross-dressing, won't that be fun?
6. When WWE moves Raw to USA Network in the fall and brings back Saturday Night Main Event on NBC, should it be Raw only or should it also include Smackdown?
John: I really hope it's both. In fact, I'd go so far as to saying that I hope they do a Raw vs. Smackdown match on there too. If they got 90 minutes to fill on a Saturday Night on NBC then they should be able to put in a strong match in there, like Angle vs. Michaels for example. Of course if they're on the same show then that wouldn't be necessary. I just hope that they incorporate both brands rather than just Raw because then it would give fans a reason to tune into it more. Use both shows. Make it special. At this point I don't really know what's in the plans for SNME, but the first one will probably be in either November or December. It's coming soon.
Matt: I say both. I think those NBC specials should be dual-brand shows. I don't think they should be PPV qualities, because it takes away from the big four. Instead, I think they should just have two regular TV shows on the same night. You know, not matches that had any build (maybe one per brand), but exhibition showcase matches. Maybe one backstage interaction between brands. I don't necessarily think the NBC shows should be ALL Raw.
John: I asked this question because I felt that with the new deal coming up that the NBC shows would be all Raw. I just really hope that doesn't happen. They're going to have the platform to give away some great stuff on a 90 minute show that is going to be a bigger TV audience than they get all year (everybody gets NBC whereas Spike is cable and nobody watches UPN). I'd prefer PPV quality stuff. You have to go all out. You have to do what you can in order to get people to watch and hopefully lure them to watching weekly on Mondays and Thursdays.
Matt: I actually thought I was being original by giving the Raw/Smackdown answer. Guess great minds think alike. Oh absolutely, you can't just feature Raw. It's a blatant statement that WWE feels that Raw is the dominant brand. It's okay if they think that, they just shouldn't be so out about it. They have two specials. One could be Raw, the other could be Smackdown, but I like the idea of essentially having two shows in one.
John: Last year Raw had more PPVs than Smackdown. Of course they think it's the more important and dominant brand. I just hope, for these specials, that they make it a WWE special rather than a brand specific one.
Matt: I hope that the point of having the NBC special is to try and either get new viewers or bring back old viewers who have stopped watching. Smackdown has a lot to offer for the overall WWE product, and it would be a shame if they were left out of the loop.
John: I guess that's something to keep our eye on in the future.
7. ECW One Night Stand: Success or Bust?
Matt: I thought bust for a long time. When I heard that Heyman would have no hand in it and Stephanie would run the show, I thought it was in BIG trouble. But since I've heard Heyman's voice on the promos, I feel a little better about the show. I said before that Vince's finger has fallen from the pulse lately, but I think he realizes that if this PPV isn't true to ECW, it'll be a failure. I do like the idea of Heyman at the helm. I just wish tickets weren't so damn expensive.
John: I'd say success. The DVD sold really well, second only to WMXX in WWE history, and I see no reason for the PPV not do well. I think WWE is doing the right thing by trying to make it authentic, by giving Paul Heyman a big role in it and by bringing back some former ECW names to help liven up the show. I think the key to it will be the lineup, though. For example, do you carry over the Guerrero/Mysterio storyline over to the ECW PPV and have them wrestle there or do you do some cross brand match that sees a guy like Chris Benoit against Eddie Guerrero? There's plenty of things they could do to make this PPV stand out more. I think it'll be a success because if you look at all the guys in WWE today that had a role in ECW it's safe to assume that the matches will be pretty damn great.
Matt: I still have a few reservations about the ECW PPV. First off, the talent roster for the old ECW is basically split in half, as Shane Douglas is running an independent show "Hardcore Homecoming" right around the same time as the ECW PPV. Now Douglas is either a genius or an asshole for doing this (depending on what point of view you take). I'm not sure if guys can work both shows, and WWE obviously has a superior roster with guys like Benoit, Jericho, Malenko, Mysterio, etc. But having an ECW show without Raven or Sandman seems strange to me. Thankfully, the signings of Psichosis and Super Crazy bring me some joy, as they could face Rey Mysterio and Tajiri respectively at the PPV, and those are two great matches right there. Throw in Guerrero/Malenko, and you've already trumped anything that Douglas is bringing up.
John: The Douglas show, Hardcore Homecoming, is the night before in Philly. As far as I know, none of the "big names" are working both shows, certainly nobody that is on the TNA roster. The interesting thing with this is do they do some matches that cross brands? Like, can they do a Guerrero vs. Benoit match on the ECW PPV since they both spent time there? It would be a good idea, I think, because it would make the PPV stand out a bit more. It's impossible to get everybody back, but I think WWE is trying really hard to do this show with an ECW feel to it. I think the show will be a success. Again, though, it depends on the lineup. That needs to be announced on TV or else it could hurt the people buying the show.
Matt: As for your idea about bringing WWE storylines to the show (like Guerrero/Mysterio) I say no, no, a thousand times no. I'm glad that Vince is trying not to have this seen as "WWE presents ECW," and having storylines from his show cross over into the ECW show would be a bad idea. It's really a one-night-only thing. Let ECW have its night. You can restart Guerrero/Mysterio the next Thursday.
John: They're probably just going to have Malenko come out of retirement for a match to face Eddie, do Benoit vs. Jericho and put Rey against somebody else like one of the cruisers you mentioned. I don't know if I'm going to order it. Depends on the card for me.
8. Looking back at last year's lottery, how would you rate it in terms of effectiveness on a scale of one to ten with ten being perfect and one being horrible?
Matt: I'd put it at 4. The four points are entirely for how Raw has been affected by the draft. Yeah, three of the picks were busts (Heyman, Nidia and Rhyno), but the other three have made quite an impact, ESPECIALLY Benjamin and Edge. With these two, you have future World Champions. And Tajiri has been fun, especially with his big tag title win in Japan. Smackdown on the other hand has been utterly screwed. Their top pick was Rene Dupree, and he hasn't quite been the success on Smackdown that Benjamin was on Raw. Raw unloaded all their stale talent on Smackdown. Mark Jindrak was a huge bust. Spike Dudley lost all momentum he had as a heel. You know Smackdown was in a sad state when the best pick they got was Teddy Long. Plus, since Triple H wasn't on Smackdown, we had 8 months of JBL as champion. So yeah, four.
John: Three. I'm sorry, but aside from Shelton Benjamin growing as a star on Raw it didn't accomplish much. I guess Edge going to Raw was good too. However, the whole Edge thing was a mess since they totally dropped the ball on the angle they ran at No Way Out 2003 by never saying who "attacked" him backstage, "putting him out" for over a year with a neck injury. Of course Smackdown didn't get much in the lottery. Dupree's nothing special, Jindrak is still boring and aside from Theodore Long and Booker T, who was acquired via trade during the lottery, the people who were involved in the lottery are barely doing anything on Smackdown right now. It was very much a letdown. I was at the lottery last year in Detroit and there was so much excitement there. By the end of the night, we were all pretty pissed off because even though the show ended with us thinking HHH would be on SD, we knew it wouldn't happen.
John: I'm confused about the draft lottery. Last year there was so much excitement, but looking back it was a letdown. Here I am this year and I'm excited about it. But why? You just know some stupid moves will happen again. I guess the excitement is there because there are a lot of things they could do in order to make things interesting. Namely Christian to Smackdown and a split of both La Rez and the Bashams so that both Rob Conway and Doug Basham can go on their own as singles stars.
Matt: Yeah, last year they thought the splitting of Jindrak and Cade was splitting up a supergroup. At least this year, La Res and the Bashams are established teams, and their split would be a big deal. Having them split would be a double-edged sword, I feel. On one hand, Conway and Doug will have prosperous singles careers. On the other, I *thought* that WWE was serious about bringing back the tag team division.
John: Getting back to last year, the Shelton thing was perfect. His impact on his first week on Raw was huge when he beat HHH. I loved it so much. The Edge move was, as I said, weak because I felt he should have stayed on Smackdown where he had been established. All Smackdown ended up getting were the tired acts of Booker T., The Dudleys and an unmotivated RVD. Raw won the lottery last year big time. Both Benjamin and Edge are main eventers in the very near future. What did Smackdown get in the wrestling aspect? Guys to fill the midcard. That's it.
Matt: I was actually very excited about Triple H going to Smackdown, and was VERY upset when he went back to Raw. Every time we touch the draft lottery, I always bring that up. Hunter would have been FINE on Smackdown. The draft lottery looked pretty even with Hunter going to SD, but once he came back, yeah, he got traded for three guys, but they weren't that big.
John: HHH won't be on SD. He's probably the only person on the roster that has a choice of what show he can be on and with Raw being both the live show and the show that has been around for longer, I don't see him leaving that. Should he? Sure. It could be fun to see a HHH for Angle switch, for example. I just don't see it.
9. What's your favorite D-Generation X moment?
Matt: I'm a bigger mark for "Classic" DX, which is Triple H and HBK. The stuff they got away with was hilarious. I like the night where HBK took on HHH for the European title, and they both tried to convince Chyna to take their side. And then during the actual match, they did a finger poke, and Hunter ran the ropes, which was VERY hilarious, did a big splash, and Michaels jobbed clean to Hunter!!! Hilarious.
Of course, there also is the Nation of Domination parody. I miss Jason Sensation. Either one of those two would take it for me.
John: Man, that's tough. As much as I loved all the Shawn and Hunter moments, I'll have to go with the Nation of Domination parody with HHH as The Crock and my favorite part being Road Dogg as D'Lo Brown just because he was so over the top with it that it made me laugh hard. Then of course there was Jason Sensation as Owen Hart, which was simply fantastic. "I look like a damn road sign!" Ha. I laughed. I also liked their parody of the Corporation, although this one came first so it sticks out in my memory more.
Matt: I think Shawn and Hunter really REALLY pushed the envelope. Yeah, the Hunter-led DX was funny, but it seemed a tad forced. You could just tell that Shawn and Hunter went out there, and had very little direction from the back. They just did whatever they wanted. And that's what I love about that incarnation of DX.
John: You're right. It was really innovative and edgy stuff. The best stuff with Hunter and Shawn was how they interacted with Slaughter. I'll never forget the time when Slaughter was yelling at them, so they put on these masks that had windshield wipers on them in order to block out Slaughter's usual spit in their face. The reason the Nation skit stands out for me is that it was absolutely hilarious. Totally came out of nowhere and the lines they used during it were great. The Crock ruled! I miss funny HHH. He always had a good sense of comedy.
Matt: Or when Hunter kept making fun of Slaughter's dick by using army terminology. He said Slaughter couldn't get his staff past "half-mast," and he'd show his wife his Lance Corporal, and how to really "stand at attention." I'm only 14 years old, and I'm hearing all this terminology. It's kind of sad when I think about it, that I learned sexual innunendo from Triple H.
John: Better than learning it from Viscera.
Matt: Oh man, I feel so sorry for kids these days...
John: Or what about Mark Henry in 1999? Damn, talk about going off on a tangent.
10. The Rock recently celebrated his birthday. What Rock promo or few promos do you think were his best? Or what Rock interview memories do you have?
John: My fave Rock interview was the one where before his match with Billy Gunn at Summerslam '99. It saw Rock, as Billy, talking to God about the match. God kept screwing up Billy's name, then busted out The Rock's "it doesn't matter what your name is" catchphrase to a huge ovation. That was a really fun promo. The other one that I remember fondly was with Austin in the locker room before WrestleMania X7 where they were all serious, talking about how much they had to win and how much they wanted the belt. It really did a lot to put over the importance of that match. There's so many Rock highlights. It's hard to limit to just two, but those are the ones that stick out for me.
Matt: Not only am I a classic DX fan, I'm also a 2003 Heel Rock fan. And the height of his heel run was his interview the night after No Way Out 2003, where he came out to Toronto and basically shat on the crowd verbally for 15 minutes straight. The crowd started chanting "Rocky! Rocky!" to start, because they were happy to see him, but at the end of the interview, he successfully turned the entire Toronto crowd against him. This was also where I finally added a new phrase to my vocabulary..."Mother Canuckers."
John: You know, I was at that Raw in Toronto that you mentioned. I was so pissed off on the two hour drive there because there wasn't much to get excited about with Raw at that point, other than Jericho/Michaels stuff. Then we're there, drinking heavily (to pass the time) and Rock shows up at the start announced. This was a night after he wrestled Hogan at No Way Out. Man, we were going nuts. So into the guy. Then he busts out the "Mother Canuckers" line. He OWNED us there. Couldn't boo him that much, though. He's too great. I just remember being so unentused during the drive to the show with my buddy in the car, then after the show was over we were so happy we went because he was so good that night.
Matt: He was the best part about Raw in 2003. I wish he stuck around longer.
John: Another Rock promo I wanted to mention. I have this UK PPV tape called Capital Carnage 1998 and it's from December of that year, so after he became Corporate Rock. He was in the locker room doing a promo when he tries to remember his catchphrase. Then he busts out the catchphrases from Hogan, Flair and Bret Hart among others. It was so funny. I believe he did the same thing on a Raw soon after too. He's unlike anybody else on the microphone in the history of the business. Just so good in so many areas.
Matt: He did that also during the DX parody of the Corporation. Yeah I was watching old-style Rock. And his promo style was very slow and methodical. I kinda like how he promos now. He's all over the place, but in a good way. Makes his promos seem effortless.
John: Now? He hasn't been on in like a year! Come back Rock! I miss ya!
Matt: "Monday Night Jericho" or "Raw is Jericho"?
John: Neither. Move him to Smackdown and let it be Thursday Night Jericho.
Matt: I actually like "Madison Square Garden" more than both of them.
John: Who wins the Edge vs. Kane match on Raw tonight?
Matt: Edge, after Lita turns on Kane. If she doesn't, the entire tournament was worthless.
John: Edge wins. It's worthless anyway. I don't give a crap about Lita. I wanted Michaels vs. Benoit III! Assholes!
Matt: Who'd you rather do? Melina or Victoria?
John: Oh, Melina. I like her a lot. Poor Victoria. So underused.
Matt: Victoria wouldn't underused in my bedroom! But yeah, Melina. Her ring entrance puts her over the top...or underneath....whatever she wants.
John: Do you think Matt Hardy will work for WWE again in 2005?
Matt: Yup. They can't ignore the crowd chants forever. I think Lita's turn sets the stage for that later.
John: Yep. Fans want him and I think Vince listens to his fans more often than not.
Matt: Will the WWE sign C.M. Punk?
John: Seems like they will. He'd be a good guy to sign, I think. Has all the tools as far as I know.
Matt: He opened a lot of eyes on Heat last night against Val Venis. The last guy to open a lot of eyes in his secondary show tryout was Paul London, and look where he is now.
John: So we can go a year complaining about how they'll underuse Punk like they underused London. Fun.
Matt: I wouldn't expect anything less.
John: Would you move Dawn or Torrie to Raw to help bolster the Women's division?
Matt: Nope. But I'd move Michelle McCool.
John: I say move Dawn. She's not doing anything anyway. She could use a fresh start on Raw, even in a non wrestling role.
Matt: Who's better: Tajiri or William Regal?
John: Tajiri. Regal's not what we was about ten years ago. Age and injuries take your toll. Tajiri is still a great worker.
Matt: The E stands for entertainment. And Regal entertains me more than Tajiri. So he takes it.
John: Will the Heart Throbs get over?
Matt: I hope so. My fantasy team depends on it.
John: Their act is fun at times, but I don't think they have it in the ring.
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The next edition of For Love or Money will come to you in June dealing with the aftermath of the draft lottery and we'll also look back on some questions and answers we have looked at in the past.
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