From The Desk of Mr. V #6
March 19, 2009
By: Anthony J. Valvo of WrestleView.comClassroom Rules (previous rules are in the archives at WrestleView.com. If you want them, e-mail me and I will send them to you, thanks)
16)?It’s A Long Way To The Top if you want to Rock and Roll?
Now, if you have been living under a rock these past days, I will remind you that there was yet another tragedy in the wrestling world. A WWE ?Attitude Era? wrestler left us way too soon, and that is Andrew ?Test? Martin. I read the news releases Saturday morning through someone’s facebook page, and it saddened me. I am going to compare this to Bon Scott, the former lead singer of AC/DC for a moment. I am probably going to hear ?how dare I?, but hear me out. There are a lot of similarities with these two. Both got famous at a very young age, were very talented, both started their respective careers at the same age (Scott with AC/DC in late teens, Martin in the WWE in his early 20s), both used ?very dangerous things? and they reached their peak way too soon and left us in a very sad way. Did you Know Time: Both Test and Bon Scott passed away at the age of 33, weird, huh? We all know that Bon Scott passed away and as a tribute, AC/DC’s most famous song under his reign is a classroom rule today. Alright, enough classic rock talk, but I do have a point here (I hope).
Rock and Roll is like the WWE. Pro wrestlers from around the world dream of performing at a Wrestlemania, it is the pinnacle of one’s career in the business. Test was trained by Bret Hart, the best Canada has to offer at the time and performed in the independent feds before signing on with the WWE in late 1998, in which Mr. Martin was 23 years old at the time. He was part of the legendary faction ?The Corporation?, led by Vince McMahon and The Rock. He was involved in an angle with Vince daughter, Stephanie McMahon. He was in a couple more factions, such as the ?Un-Americans?(very underrated), ?The Union?, and who can never forget T&A (with Trish Stratus). The thing I am saying here is that Test had a TON of success between the years of 1998-2004. My problem is I think he was pushed way too soon as a singles superstar. He held some pretty big-time belts before the likes of Edge and Christian, age wise. From my stats, Test was an Intercontinental Champion, a European Champion, a Hardcore Title holder, a 2-time Tag Team Champion (w/Booker T), and has held a couple more titles after that. Heck, he was a WWE Championship away of becoming a ?Grand Slam Champion?. He achieved these titles well before he was 27. Another thing, Test won the IC belt at age 26. Edge and Christian held the IC Belt when they were 28 and 27, respectively. Edge won his first main championship belt when he was 32. Christian won his NWA (which was considered ?World status?) Championship when he was 32. My opinion, Edge and Christian, given their size, worked so hard to get where they were going in the business and it all fell into place. Also, Christian has never used performance enhancing drugs and Edge’s claim is disputed, but Test was clearly juiced. That is a shame that some talents have to push themselves to the limit just to reach their years past.
I felt sorry for Test. He was one of those wrestlers after his brief ECW run that I felt was trying too hard. When he entered ECW a few years back, he looked to be in great shape. Then a particular match between CM Punk I noticed that he had the symptoms of steroid use once again. It was only a matter of time, I thought. I think that the WWE handed him wrong. I think he was pushed way too soon and maybe gradually build him up to become a true superstar. During his peak run in wrestling, he was one of my top 10 favorite wrestlers. I enjoyed his tactics, a big man with agility. When he lost his agility (perhaps by steroids), he was never the same. I read JR’s blog after the tragedy, and it appeared that Test was cleaning himself up. He was going to be a sports trainer, work on post-wrestling life. He got help from the WWE to accomplish his post-ring goals (thank goodness). However when it is all said and done, wrestlers do not get those ?happy endings?. They are few and far between, students. Every wrestler wants to entertain, put on a good show not only for us, but for the powers that be. They will do whatever it takes to accomplish what the authoritative figures want from them. Sometimes, it comes at the ultimate price, and that is what happened with Test. So for that I send my condolences to the Martin family and their friends. It is such a dang shame that these wrestlers once they are done with the business want so much in life, yet they succumb to the clich?d ?Unhappy Ending of a Professional Wrestler?. Rest in Peace, Andrew Martin. You will be missed. And for goodness sake, this is the last one I will have to write about this in a long time.
17)You have to love it when someone has a show with proceeds going to charity
I must give out a gold star this week to the ?Queen of Extreme?, Francine Fournier. If you have not seen her work in the original ECW days, I suggest you watch some of it. Her work with Shane Douglas was pure gold. Well, we all knew what happened in her life. The good and the bad things in her life. She lost two family members recently??IN THE SAME WEEK!! That would be like getting KO?d by Brock Lesnar, only to never fully recover and get KO?d by him again. The first bit of good is that she is welcoming an addition to her family soon, so seeing her in the WrestleMania battle royal is unlikely, scholars. Anyways, on June 27th, she is going to host a ?Legends of Wrestling? charity event at the old ECW Arena. The cost is going to be ranging from $50 -$250, obviously the more money you spend, the more you will get out of this event. But wait, all proceeds from what I heard are going to the American Cancer Society. I want to give her a round of applause for this. But also, she has a slew of the ECW legends that are going to perform in a place they all once considered home. The like of Shane Douglas (my personal favorite wrestler and CURRENT public school teacher nearby my residence), Sabu, Sandman, Balls Mahoney, Spike Dudley, and many more hardcore legends will be performing. If you live nearby, I would invest my money for this noble cause. Also, remember to treat the pro wrestlers with respect, you don?t want to end up on the ?Eternal Detention? list. By the way, I am in no shape an ECW mark on this, I just think it is a great thing for someone to do in these hard times we are all facing right now.
18)Don?t get tattoos without asking your boss? permission first
I conclude my rules for the week by mentioning that two WWE Developmental talents (Saylor James and Patrick Brink) were recently fired over a few tattoos that were unauthorized by the WWE. I know we all want to be creative and want to express ourselves (BTW, no tattoos on my body, I hate needles), but please do me a favor. Make sure you let you boss know you want a tattoo and hope that it will not cause termination on your part.
DEMERITS AND DETENTIONS
This demerit list is going to be very light, as it was a good week in wrestling (other than a tragedy mentioned earlier). So, demerits only go out to TNA Creative, ?Syfy name change?, ?Win a Date with ODB?, WWE for not bringing in Gail Kim yet, Michael Cole’s ?vintage comments?(vintage this), and ?Drunk? Don West
Detentions this week go to:
Samoa Joe – for actually ?killing? someone
Brooke Hogan – sorry, I don?t want to see her on my TV every again, let along my computer.
Hulk Hogan – for letting your daughter strip right in front of you. That is pretty terrible in my opinion.
Raw Creative – dedicated to a fan of my column (Ricky) for making Cena fall in love with Vickie.
Vince McMahon – just when I think he should not get this, he says something else that is stupid.
AIG Executives – when you are near bankruptcy, maybe you should not give yourselves that $1 Million Dollar bonus. I am glad to see my tax dollars be put to good use.
Bernie Madoff – enjoy the rest of your life in a cell. You earned it.
TNA’s Sarah Palin – Glad to see Daffney got the full-time contract. Now please, let her scream instead of being a politician.
Three Canadians for attacking Jericho – may be the last week they are on this. But I did not forget about you ?minrods?. These are three people that needed a time out.
ETS and the Praxis Series – only if I pass my Middle School Math exam next month, will you be off this list and perhaps on the gold star list. It’s just a shame that future educators need these guys to say ?you are now a certified teacher?. I thought a 4-year Degree should have accomplished that.
MR. V?S HONOR ROLL FOR THE WEEK OF MARCH 9 – MARCH 13, 2009
A ton of matches were labeled ?good? in my gradebook this week. But unlike the NCAA committee, this is my honor roll, so no one gets their say I am pleased to announce, after a tough decision my honor for this week.
Distinguished Honor Roll
– Undertaker vs. Vladimir Kozlov on Friday Night Smackdown, 3/13
I know, I bashed on Kozlov’s work recently. I first want to say that he does have a solid background in grappling, kick-boxing, and defensive skills. Kozlov offered me a slice of humble pie with a brilliant match against the Undertaker. I thought it really helped both guys in this match. Undertaker needed this win to build up his match against HBK in about two and a half weeks. Kozlov was getting ripped about for not being able to put on a good show consistently. What I saw this week should put Vlad’s naysayers (myself included) to rest. Students, I loved this match. I loved how this match reminded me of the wrestling theater in the late 80s, when I started watching wrestling. The submissions, the ?old school? tactics, the punches, the mat skills, were all brilliant and executed very well by both superstars. I really like how they both used their patented finishers during the match, with the Battering Ram (Vlad) and the Tombstone (Undertaker). It was another great quality match for the Undertaker. As for Mr. Kozlov, I think Vince should hold on to this guy for a little bit longer. Don?t bury him too quickly yet. He can rebound from his slump. Heck, look at MVP?
High Honor Roll
– The Miz vs. Primo Colon on ECW, 3/10
I had to watch this match a half dozen times for one reason. The antics of one John Morrison at the announce table. I will get to John Morrison later, but let’s talk about this match first. It was a high-flying, very high-energy match to watch. I was at one point counting down the days when The Miz would get off my TV set and back into his reality world. But he has impressed since team MizMo formed (sorry David, had to). When these guys first entered, I was not too high. But on March 10, they impressed a ton of viewers and exceeded my expectations. They both looked absolutely strong in this match. What I really enjoyed in the match was the back and forth action, the quick start (no boring chants in this match), the high-risk moves, the bodyslams, the DDTs, and most importantly, the finish. I know Primo stole Carlito’s backbreaker finisher, but who cares. I liked the flow of this match, a good moderate wrestling segment. It was fresh, entertaining, and it adds much more to their rivalry heading to WrestleMania. This unified tag match could possibly be the best match on the card, and that is a good thing.
– CM Punk vs. JBL, Intercontinental Title Match on Monday Night Raw, 3/9
I think the surface below the ground has froze over (remember, I am a teacher, no swearing allowed). I gave high grades to the following already: Vladimir Kozlov, Primo, The Miz, and now JBL??? It was nice to see this take place. I know some of my students were reading the scripts and kind of knew that JBL was going to take CM Punk’s strap around Wrestlemania. I for one did not read it, there is just too much that went on in my real classrooms over the course of that week. We had a pretty entertaining match in their opening contest on Monday Night Raw. It was an impressive old-school start, a blend of old tactics (JBL) and new tactics (CM Punk). I was real impressed with Punk’s suicide dive off through the ropes, really textbook. Both wrestlers had great combo moves and administered a strong finish at the end. The end featured CM Punk deliver a impressive tornado DDT, top rope attacks, and his trademark bulldog. And just when you think CM Punk was going to apply that GTS, JBL rakes his eyes (great old-school heel move), and apply his ?vintage? Clothesline From Hell (there I said it, a naughty word, detention for Mr. V next week). I liked this because of the aforementioned paragraph above, and that it was a title match. If the match was a little less stiff, it would have been the best of the week by far. But now, it was a solid ?B? match for both guys, with a title changing hands.
Honorable Mention goes to: Jericho vs. Kofi on 3/9, Rey/Finlay/Christian vs. MizMo/Kane on 3/9, ECW Tri-Branded Battle Royal on 3/10, Stenier/Booker/Shelley/Sabin vs. Lethal/Creed/Homicide/Hernandez on 3/12, Morgan/Beer Money vs. Team 3D/Abyss on 3/12, Edge vs. Kofi on 3/13, Colons vs. MizMo on 3/13, and R-Truth/MVP vs. Shelton/Chave on 3/13
Though there were some great segments this week, the matches were just absolutely great last week. I hope my students enjoyed them as much as I did.
Worst Match of the Week
– HHH vs. Priceless on Monday Night Raw, 3/9
We all had an idea that this match would not take place from the beginning, but it is placed as the ?worst match? because Cole and King announced it frequently and I am sure the Jacksonville crowd was disappointed to see neither Orton nor HHH. Also, when will Ted DiBiase Jr. get back in the ring and wrestle an official match? Seems like he is being lazy, and I do not like laziness in my classroom.
Dishonorable Mention goes to: Lack of Segments (Promos) on ECW last week, the 12 Rounds previews, Vickie/Edge/Show love triangle (almost a love quartet with Cena), and McCool/Maryse vs. Maria on 3/13
WEEKLY TV WARS
There was a TON of great stuff in this match. They all performed with great segments, great wrestling, and solid announcing (for the most part). This easily was the best week of TV wrestling in 2009.
That makes this decision the toughest yet. I will first go to the fan’s (students? choice). It was real tight, but the edge (and the one point) goes to ECW. I liked ECW and all, but the lack of promo segments put it down on my list, even though they had quality wrestling. Smackdown was a good show, but I expected more out of the segments. Only one real strong segment with the Hardys and some quality performance (for the most part) by their superstars does not actually merit a point. I am going to issue out my first point to TNA Impact! Though the wrestling was not as good as Smackdown, they did get bonus points in my grade book for some interesting twists and turns in their storylines. I am still going to give the announcers? thing a chance, and I thought it was alright this past week. The segments were as good as they have been this year, and I hope that this point is not a one trick pony. I really want to see TNA thrive, and I think going into Lockdown, they have a shot. But applying more than one storyline and have mostly good wrestling performances merit one point, but it was close. The best show, however by far was Monday Night Raw. The segments involving HHH/Legacy are at a high point. Four out of the five matches were very remarkable. The Vickie love triangle was actually good, with some great performances by Edge and Big Show. So when it all came down to it, I am going to give Monday Night Raw 2 points, Impact 1 point, and the student’s game ECW 1 point.
***Remember, this piece is user-friendly!! If you want to tell me what your favorite show of the week is, e-mail me at email@example.com. The most votes receive one point in the Weekly TV Wars segment in my column***
Best Show: Monday Night Raw (2 points)
Runner-Up: TNA Impact! (1 point)
Student’s Choice: ECW (1 point)
1)Monday Night Raw…..14 points
2)Friday Night Smackdown…..13 points
4)TNA Impact…..2 points
5)Ring Of Honor*…..0 points
* Starting March 21, 2009 Ring of Honor will be involved in my standings. Here’s hoping that the first ROH show is really impressive.
COMMENTATOR REPORT CARD
Monday Night Raw
?Vintage? Michael Cole: B (2009 Grade: C)
?The King? Jerry Lawler: C (2009 Grade: B-)
This was clearly Michael Cole’s best performance of 2009. Usually, he forgets about calling matches and promotes WWE this and WWE that. This past week, with the exemption of the Divas Match, he called an excellent card on Raw this week. I was real impressed with his play by play on the IC Match, really liked his interview with Orton, was good on the Jericho match, and was very clear and concise on his replays and overviews of each segment and match. However, the only thing that did not get him the ?A? was his commentary on the Divas match, it was very poor and the only thing he called was the pinfalls. If my students want to know that Mickie James is the Daily Diva, then we can go on ?dot com? for that, just please don?t say that twice in a 5 minute segment. Other than that, a great performance from Mr. Cole.
Jerry Lawler was average doing color. That means Mr. Lawler was entertaining and kept me interested in the match at times, but he did not at times. The first hour of RAW for him was fantastic! He entertained us with his presence involving the IC Match and the RAW rewinds. Along with Cole, he did not really call the Divas match. He was too much speechless of the sight of one Kelly Kelly (which he mentioned twice for good measure, listen to it on YouTube). He did a good job doing the color in the MITB qualifier between Kofi and Jericho, I was impressed with his remarks and genuine enthusiasm in that match. But the ending of RAW was confusing, it just seemed like he did not talk much at all after introducing us to Priceless. So overall, a nice showing by Lawler, but it could have been better
Todd Grisham: A- (2009 Grade: B)
Matt Striker: A+ (2009 Grade: A)
**Special Apperances by Morrison and Carlito: Grade A+**
Did anyone notice that on Smackdown, Jim Ross actually complimented these two, while Tazz gave that the cold shoulder? If not, I am not surprised. As I look at the small details of commentary. Let’s start with Todd Grisham, who was an easy pick as the best play-by-play this week. He maintained order in the opening match, and called the match to the best of his ability. I liked his ?burrito? comment, was a bit funny. He really put over the Tyson Kidd/DJ Gabriel match, and really worked well with Striker in calling this match. Battle Royals are hard to call, but I think this was Todd’s best performance of the night. He called all who were eliminated, calls moves frequently, and show clear and concise wording in that match. I think it was about time that Todd Grisham put on his usual awesome performance, and I think we can all be happy about that.
Matt Striker was his usual best. He is like the Bill Walton of professional wrestling commentary. If you don?t believe me, listen to his comments about Alicia Fox, it reminds me of something Bill Walton would say as a pick-up line to a girl. He asked very clear and insightful questions to Morrison and Carlito and kept his composure when Morrison was harassing Primo and his ?Pauly Shore haircut?. I still don?t know how anyone can keep a straight face with that. Also, who knew that he liked Waylon Jennings? Also, he was very insightful on the color position on ECW. His calls were great. His humor was in peak form this past week. He was light on joking with Todd last week, and that is good. He performed very well in the Battle Royal as well. Great use of adjectives and also explained the movie ?The Three Amigos? to his best knowledge. I really hope that on WrestleMania, WWE finds a way to let them call some matches. I think they are the best announce team in pro wrestling today, and they have only been together since the 2008 WWE Draft!!
All I will say is if you DVR?ed ECW last week listen to Carlito and Morrison. That is all I will say about these two. It was the best I have heard from pro wrestlers, EVER!! And I mean that with a straight face.
Friday Night Smackdown
Jim Ross: B (2009 Grade: B)
Tazz: C+ (2009 Grade: B)
These two get high marks for their smooth transitions when it came to whose turn it was to speak. I enjoy that when it comes to wrestling commentary. Jim Ross had a solid two hour performance. By the way, I just read that he was in the hospital for a brief moment, hope all is alright. I enjoyed the play-by-play involving the main event between Taker and Vlad, discussing the overview of the Hardys feud, and did a nice job on the tag team match ups. The big mistake he made was in the Kofi vs. Edge match. When Edge went outside the ring, JR mentioned that Kofi needed to regroup. That comment gave him a sad face, and I usually don?t give those out to anyone but Don West. He did his job effectively today, was mostly clear with his words and overall gave us a good show. But seriously, here is hoping JR is back at 100%. We never want to hear about anyone having to go to the hospital.
Tazz was alright. The problem you ask? It seemed like he was not talking a whole lot. He was not clear with his words at times. His worst match this week was Finaly vs. Kendrick. He did not call one move in the duration of the match, which is ridiculous. With that aside, he was fantastic calling the tag matches, and did a good job with the opening bout. I think it is great when he mentions anything to do with a Suplex; he is the King of that domain. Regularly, he seeing a replay on what happened, he was very entertaining. His best line of the night was this ?Mike Adamle used limericks?God Rest His Soul. Also, he plugged himself when mentioned Primo’s orange-and-black ring attire. In case you were wondering, Tazz wore orange and black all the time in ECW. Overall, not a bad commentary job this past week for Tazz, but there is room for improvement, as well as consistency for the Human Suplex Machine.
Mike Tenay: C (2009 Grade: C+)
Don West: C (2009 Grade: F)
**Mick Foley: D-**
This week, the TNA announce team lacked chemistry. I was not sure what matches West and Tenay were calling, they consistently ripped on each other the whole show rather than call the match that was in hand. When Mike Tenay was calling the shots with Don West, he was average. He was too busy wondering about the life of his announce partner rather than to call the Bashir/Rhino match. Based on that, I am worried about the future of those two wrestlers. Tenay rebounded by calling the second half of the match and the post-match altercation. His play-by-play involving the elimination tag match was good, but it did not blow me away, as he was talking too much about Samoa Joe and the M.E.M. Last time I checked, the match that was going on did not involve any of them. When Mick Foley was at the announce table, things got better for Mr. Tenay, as he was not easily distracted by the comments of one Don West. He called the match pretty well. His best was the last two matches, the 8 man tag and Eric Young vs?Rocco? He called the matches spot on, from the arm drags to the dropkicks. He is at his best when it is just Mike Tenay and no one else. I just wish that they stopped bickering with each other (Tenay and West) and actually start doing what they are paid to do.
I am still not sold yet on Don West as a heel. Perhaps it is because he never called a full two hour program since he turned on Tenay. For what I saw with West last week, it was not bad. He gave us some good heel commentary in the Bashir and Elimination Tag match. What I did not like was the fact that he consistently yelled yet again, to a point where I had to mute the TV and watch the closed captions (which by the way were in all caps). He gave us more heel heat by ripping on blondes and saying that Morgan’s actions are justified or something like that. After Tenay finally had enough and told him to leave, he want back to the HOTEL BAAAR (we had a place called that in Edinboro, PA). We never heard from him again, but I am sure he will quickly recover and give us some more commentary next week. So my call on Don West is still uncertain, but I will admit that a heel West is better than the Don West we had been accustomed to for seven year.
Quotes of the Commentators:
?I am going to the HOTELLL BAAAAR!!!!? – Don West
?Mike Adamle used limericks?God Rest His Soul? – Tazz
?Skill, Talent, and Good Looks and luckily, I?ve got all three!!? – John Morrison when asked by Matt Striker how he can beat Primo and Carlito
?Vintage (Fill in the Blank)? – Micheal Cole
MISTER V?S GOLD STARS OF THE WEEK TIME!!!!
Finally, after typing 4,857 words tonight, it is time to issue out the gold stars. Just to let any of my high school readers know, if you plan on procrastinating on papers and such in college, be sure to take a Typing I class. I think that will be a rule next week (haha).
Gold Stars go to:
Jeff (in chatroom: Chet Mr. TNA II Lemon) – for a 5-3 record on his ?Destination X picks?. A great honor for a man who has watched TNA since the beginning!! Congrats, Jeff.
Austen Allen – My Irish friend for posting a 5-3 record for his picks as well. I can?t wait to see his picks for Wrestlemania.
Phil – He posted a 4-3 record on his picks, as he forgot to predict the Joe/Steiner match. Because after I mentioned this to him he was going to pick Joe, I gave him the ?honesty is the best policy? gold star.
David Stephens – He posted a 5-3 record as well during our picks for Destination X, which was the best PPV record based on our ?Faculty Picks?. And for mentioning my column on yet another ?That’s A Wrap? segment. It is truly an honor.
Joe Baiamonte – He is still declared ?Dean? of WrestleView.com for his overall prediction score of 14 wins and 6 losses. Mr. Stephens is one game back in second. As for the others, including Mr. V, we got some catching up to do.
Francine – for the actions she is doing from Rule #17.
Andre the Giant – Because after seeing Cena’s latest movie preview at least 20 times a week, it makes me sad to realize that Andre’s portrayal of Fezzik (From the Princess Bride – Best movie EVER!!) was so underrated. RIP Andre.
Ricky Langston – for his nominations for the detention list, and for not placing a whoopee cushion on my chair before I sat in the chair.
Don Rooney – The Pittsburgh Steelers owner is now the Ambassador for the United States in Ireland as suggested by the United States President, Barack Obama. Believe me, he is truly honored to be bestowed by this position.
Kurt Warner – For turning down big money to stay in Arizona. I just wished other players would do the same.
Pitt, Louisville, UNC, and UConn – for being declared the #1 seeds in this year’s NCAA College Baskeball Tournament. Guess which team I am pulling for? Haha
Koko B. Ware – For you latest induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. Here is hoping that Ron Simmons will be in next year, or perhaps the Honky Tonk Man?
Anthony DeBlasi – for supplying me with a Mountain Dew Voltage T-Shirt. I am entirely in your debt.
Well, that is it for this week, my students. If you liked it, hated it, have a questions, or just want to talk about the passing of Test, I am all eyes and ears!! Heck, even if you have a question dealing with school please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. All e-mails, good or bad, will be replied in a professional matter. I really enjoy the e-mails that are sent to me each week and I appreciate the feedback, both good and bad. Stay safe and healthy this week, my friends. Until next week, please stand up, push in your chairs, line up in a SINGLE FILE line, and leave the premises. You are…DISMISSED!