Saturday, December 18, 2010

In the Defense of Scott Steiner

HOLLA!!! IF YOU HEAR ME!! I bet your eyes are tossing to the back of your head as if they got T-bone suplexed. That kind of knee jerk reaction is what the norm is for "The Big Bad Booty Daddy." However, I can say with a straight face that this man is a true innovator in the sport. Not like Tommy Dreamer whom has only opened the door for grown ass men crying on T.V. Like Dreamer, should Steiner's come to a halt in 2001 once the WWE assumed their monopoly? Perhaps. But I say things were just starting for Freakzilla. So for all the freaks out there, lets go in the defense of Scott Steiner.

In nineteen and eighty-nine, a 27 year old Scott Steiner made is debut on the national stage with the National Wrestling Alliance. It was only natural that he would form a tag team with his brother Rick. On its own standing, Scott's work in the Steiner Brothers would earn him Hall of Fame credibility. The Steiners had amazing chemistry. Rick's work was very stiff. Very aggressive. Much like JBL. Young Scott worked a faster pace. Scott could go hold for hold with the likes of Arn Anderson, and could deliver the wow factor of Sting. Between the catch-as-catch-can mat skills, and the draw dropping suplexes, Scott was one of the most complete wrestlers in the entire world. Here's a sample as Scotty takes on savvy ring veteran Beautiful Bobby Eaton.

This was 20 years ago. These days, the IWC demands this level of depth in today's wrestler. But this was a time when somebody could have a respectable career as being fairly one dimensional. Sid, Big Boss Man, Lex Luger, etc. Steiner was redefining the capabilities of a heavy weight. Steiner was a omen of things to come; Frankensteiners a good half decade before a Cruiser Weight division was formed. He was a true suplex artist while Taz was just another bad gimmick in a regional promotion.

For the next few years the Steiners dominated the Tag Team scene. The Road Warriors, the Free Birds, Harlem Heat, and various incarnations of the Four Horsemen, would all make good prey for "the Dog Face Gremlin" and his younger brother. Once they got bored down south, the brothers took a road trip to Stamford to test the tandems of the WWF. The Mounties, the Hart Brothers, Money Inc. and many others ate a few Steinerlines. No matter where the brothers were, the gold was around their waist. Success would come from what ever the steiners dabbled in. It would take a good amount of time for the pair to run their course, if it ever did.

In 1998, the duo would split. Scott would begin a singles career as a member of the nWo. Rick would spend his time as enhancement talent, as he slowed down to semi-retirement. Now I don't want to spend a lot of time on this period. This might be the most redeeming portion of Steiner's career, but its also the most obvious. Steiners time on top of the WCW landscape was certainly the peak of his career. No not his biceps. Along with his famous and contorvertial promos, Steiner would win the WCW United States title twice, and an WCW World Heavy Weight Championship once. He would hold the Big Gold Belt for 120 days. And of that era, only Hulk Hogan and Goldberg can cite longer reigns.

Eventually WCW ran out of legs to keep things going. You know what happend so I wont waste space. In November of 2002 Steiner would make his long-awaited WWE debut. In Madison Square Garden, Big Poppa Pump arrived to a thunderous ovation.

In reality there isn't much that can be said for the Big Bad Booty Daddy's swim through the WWE. Bad matches. Bad booking. It was looking like Steiner was another inflated piece of WCW property that was not as advertised. Next to say Lex Luger, it was hard to find another talent whom was parodied more often. This is were things get interesting.

Of course like many whom were given best wishes in their future endeavors, Scott Steiner ended up in TNA. Lets stop down for a moment. TNA gets sited as an old folks home with unmotivated former main-eventers. I think this is were we see Scott Steiner turn his craft in to art. Clue #1: He was never TNA World Heavy Weight Champion. Clue #2: Apart for a feud with Angle, Jarrett or say Sting, Steiner was never a huge player in the title hunt. Clue #3: Steiner put guys over. I'm not saying he jobbed in every match. He put in the work to use his name to help Samoa Joe, A.J., Petty Williams, and Jay Lethal to become bigger stars. You see at this point, Steiner knew what he had become. And Like Steve Austin at the end of his career, Scott Steiner learned he could not pass himself off as a wrestler in his prime. Could he wrestle like he once could? No. Did he know he was a permanent fixture on Botchamania, probably. I wager that Steiner saw that he was not going to be taken seriously. Scott Steiner took himself in to a different direction. So instead of failing at something he could no longer do as well as he once could, he gave us this:

Simply put, like it or not, Scott Steiner is one of the smartest guys in the room. Its all a work. And we're all marks. Holler if you hear me!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

In the Defense of Mike Awesome

Posted By KV

Monster heel. The phrase invokes drama. It seems easy to pull off. Mix one top baby face with one part unstoppable juggernaut, and two parts physically daunting frame. Dash with chair shots and crushed allies. Season with promos. Tease till it comes to a full boil and rake in the cash. Easy! Sometimes its not that easy. This time its hardcore as we go in the defense of Mike Awesome.

Ah. What could of been. To think of such abominations like Giant Gonzales, Zeus, Psycho Sid Justice, and the recent Great Khali, its obvious that the monster heel genre is hit or miss to say the least. Even one time superstars of this category end up as shells of what they once were; Vader, Yokozuna anybody? Its 1999. WWF is back on top, WCW is on its way down. Way down. And ECW is growing at a rapid rate. Too fast in the case of hindsight. ECW is home to the next big thing. No, not you Brock. You just keep drinking your Coors and jumping on your wife ya classy fella. And no not you Taz, we are not here to push a towel sale at J.C. Penny's. Its our mullet clad super heavyweight Mike Awesome. Awesome had a bright future in the land of extreme. After making a quick impact with Masato Tanaka in truly awing matches, Awesome looked like he could do much more than fill the spots of departing ECW talent. Raven, The Sandman, Bam Bam Bigelo, Terry Funk, and the Dudleys have all left for greener pastures and greener wallets. Awesome was big enough and talented enough to fill thier shoes. And ECW did this right.

Lets switch gears for a moment. By the second quarter of 2000 WCW and ECW were experiencing financial problems. WCW was shrinking. ECW was growing but did not have the liquid assets to fuel its expansion. In ECW stars were working with contracts that they considered null and void once the paychecks started to bounce. Awesome as ECW Champion was one of those people. WCW was floundering. They attempted to rebrand themselves from top to bottom. They hired Vince Russo, the man behind WWF's Attitude. They sunk money in to new logos, new sets, and new superstars. WCW open the Turner checkbook with the golden hope of seeing an ECW Championship in the trash. Hey they did it before. One federal injunction later, Mike Awesome would make a less than stellar debut on Nitro. The only thing around his waist was a fanny pack. Although WCW noted him as being ECW Champion, he did not have the belt and people didn't buy in to it. It just seemed like WCW was again misinformed. It would take a most unusual situation to resolve the dispute.

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WCW looked foolish. Awesome was about to follow suite, a leisure suite. Awesome was pushed for a few months as a ultra violent heavyweight that flied like a cuiserweight. By this point the only people left watching WCW were "smart" fans. Everybody learned of Mike Awesome's dishonor of ECW, and WCW's shady business practices. Fans did not respect Awesome, nor did his coworkers. A monster heel requires top baby face jobs, and in a paranoid dying WCW, this wasn't happening. The top spot wasn't Awesome's to have.

Enter the gimmick. As "That 70's Guy" Awesome was reduced to jobbing to the Insane Clown Posse (2 guys does not make a posse). He wore a leisure suite to the ring and danced about as gracefully as Steven Hawking. From there he was billed as the "Fatchick Thriller." Rather than going toe to toe with super heavyweights, he was going mouth to mouth with super heavyweights of the female variety. Running Awesomebombs were replaced by running fat jokes. Instead of planting guys through tables, he was planting kisses on those Minnesota sweat hogs Rick Rude warned us about. Finally Awesome, the Tampa, Florida native, was exported to Canada. Joining Team Canada with Lance Storm, Elix Skipper, and Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Yea, that's right. Duggan. Canadian. Ouch. Its not as if Awesome was holding any titles in these glory days or competing against top talent. The Main Event rotation was DDP, Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner, Booker. T, Jeff Jarrett, and Sting. Hmmm....seem familiar?

At one time Awesome was poised to be a revolutionary force in wrestling. Its obvious that the passion in him died. Weather it was the bounced checks in ECW, or being called a Judas, the less than supportive WCW front office and locker room, or the gimmicks from hell, Awesome frog splashed from grace. At the age of 42 Mike Alfonso passed away as a result of an apparent suicide by hanging. However, Awesome would make his own defense. In 2005 Awesome returned to the ring and accomplished an unbelievable feat. At the very first ECW One Night Stand, Awesome stole the show. This is what could have been. RIP Mike.

And well, well, weellllll...

So this is my little blog on the theater of wrestling. So just what the hell is it? Well I wont be doing sardonic week episodic show reviews. And I wont be a hub for IWC darlings. Sorry ROH fanboys. What I will be doing is putting the wrestling fan under the knife. I will try to shed light on perspectives that may have been kept in the dark, with my "In the Defense of..." series. And as I said, I'll be cutting a promo on my "Asinine Asshat of the Week". Yes you the wrestling fan will be in a Vince Russo special: "Your own Medicine on a Pole Match". That and all the other talking head cliques you can expect from a blog, soap boxing, top 10 list, and all that ilk. So lets get between the ropes, grab that loaded foreign object stuffed in our trunks, show our power of the punch, put the feet on the ropes, and of course grab the tights.