Dude, I love the Nitro reports, but I've always loved the Hulkster gimmick (I'm not sure why), and, in most parts of the country, he's hugely over. I think you should've mentioned that when you recapped his interview segment. I know why I like him, I know why you dislike him (for valid reasons), and that's fine. But every wrestling fan I now personally (A LOT of people) also love him. Even if you absolutely hate that, don't deny it's true.
P.S. On a semi-related note, notice the week after the red and yellow turn (9-16-99) that when The Gaylords came out, Lenny and Lodi were in Lodi's old leather duds with a sign that read "RETRO LODI OUTFITS = RATINGS" as well as "IRVINE STOLE MY PANTS!". Not too subtle, but I'm surprised no one else caught those.
I try to make it a point to say fairly often that I don't represent the opinions of the average fan, and that I'm sure plenty of fans would tune into Nitro to watch Hogan sit in the middle of the ring for three hours, scratching and saying "Brah." I probably have forgotten over the past few weeks, though, so there's your disclaimer.
Just got to thinking about this. With WCW firing Eric Bischoff and putting Bill Busch in charge, there are going to be many budget cutbacks. They will drop dead weight and thin down the roster. I think everybody at DDT Digest has finally succeeded in finding a way to get DJ Ran all up out of our collective area!!!!!!!
Yeeeeah yeeeeeah yeeeeeah! Now screeeeam!
The logo on his trunks is the logo of his Gym, Main Event Fitness.
BTW, were you at Nitro last night? There was a guy with a "Wade" sign.....
I thought it was funny to see Hogan gimping down the aisle, because even if they didn't have Sting do that Bat angle, that would have been Hogan at top speed anyways!
A couple of people wrote about the "Wade" sign. I missed it and, since I don't tape the show, couldn't go back and find it again. Of course, odds are that either A) the person was named Wade, or B) they were referring to famed sheet writer Wade Keller, but if anyone wants to own up to making a sign for me, let me know.
It seems appropriate that Luger's new initials are TP. Especially when you consider how crappy his wrestling is.
Just wondering if you can shed any light on Tony Jabrone's new name for Vincent - The first time he called him "Curly Bill" during the Heat/Rednecks match on Nitro, I though it was a joke - that being his bald head is reminiscent of Curly Neal of The Harlem Globetrotters fame (circa late 70's). It wasn't the only time. Are they trying to repackage The Most Useless Man In Wrestling with a new gimmick? Like anyone can forget HIS past wrestling appearances...
I thought it was a joke when I heard the name, too, but they seem to be calling him Curly Bill exclusively now. I guess it's either an allusion to Curly Neal of Globetrotters fame, Jack Palance's "Curly" character in "City Slickers," or a particularly bad batch of crack that got delivered to the booking meeting a few weeks ago.
Effective Sunday, Oct. 3 at 9:45 p.m. ET, Vince Russo, one of the creative writers, will no longer be with the World Wrestling Federation. Russo abruptly resigned over the phone and will now be working for WCW.
Note the words like "abruptly...over the phone" and "will no longer be with," and the lack of things like "We wish him the best of luck" and "thank him for his service." Those of us in the corporate world instantly pick up on those things as a sign that this wasn't a happy parting of ways. It looks like money talks, and Russo walks.
This represents a significant strategy shift for WCW. In the "old era," WCW would have used Turner's money to do things like lure Test or HHH over to WCW, so that the WWF couldn't use them. They seem to have realized, though, that it will be much more damaging to lure the WWF's CREATIVE talent away - that loss will have a significant impact.
Russo is generally credited with building the WWF's turnaround from Eric Bischoff's whipping boy to the promotion that is currently setting all kinds of ratings and revenue records. Russo is given credit for "WWF Attitude," and the edgy, T&A-filled, pushing-the-envelope shows that are bringing fans in. He's also given credit for coming up with coherent, exciting storylines, which is something that WCW desperately needs.
On the flip side, he's also credited with moving the WWF in a direction that features 20-minute interviews followed by 2-minute matches (which usually end in a double-DQ or somesuch), and for greatly emphasizing "Sports Entertainment" over "Wrestling." Ho's over headlocks, interviews over inverted DDTs.
Here is an excerpt from an interview Russo did with WrestleLine ("Ben" is WrestleLine interviewer Ben Miller):
BEN: This is something I've always wanted to see in American professional wrestling, have you guys, the TV writing team, ever thought of having the title like All Japan Pro Wrestling where there's no gimmick matches, no run-ins, no count outs, it's just two guys in a wrestling match. And not every match to be like that, because I know how it can get boring and monotonous, but just one title ---
RUSSO: I'm going to tell you something right now that you will absolutely not agree with, but I've been a wrestling fan my whole life and I will live and die by this - it is hard enough, believe me I write this shit, it is hard enough to get somebody over. You will never ever, ever, ever, ever see the Japanese wrestler or the Mexican wrestler over in American mainstream wrestling. And the simple reason for that is, even myself, I'm an American, and I don't want to sound like a big bigot or a racist or anything like that, but I'm an American ... if I'm watching wrestling here in America, I don't give a shit about a Japanese guy. I don't give a shit about a Mexican guy. I'm from America, and that's what I want to see. Now there are the smart fans that love that type of shit, like you.
BEN: I agree, but are you saying that something that I thought was just as incredible, I don't know if you saw the last ECW PPV, but Mike Awesome versus Masato Tanaka and they went out there for a good 13-15 minutes and they had what people would call a **** or a **** ½ match, is that going to be obsolete in the WWF? In that match where they basically stayed around the ringside area, and there's a clean finish - even though I know they used table and chairs - but there is no in the crowd brawling, is kind of thing going to become obsolete in the WWF you think?
RUSSO: I don't want to say obsolete, but I don't see it going back in that direction. The only reason I tell you that, I'm at every show, I'm there, you put Rock and Mick in that ring with microphones, the people will sit there for a half an hour and be entertained. You put a wrestling in that ring for over ten minutes, they want to know, let's get to the finish, and let's go on to the next thing. And you gotta understand from a writing point of view, I am not dictating to these fans. I am basically in the arena every Monday and Tuesday night, I am in the arena, I am listening to the fans. All that I am trying to do from a television-writing standpoint is give the masses what they want. Now, I'm not saying give the smart wrestling fan what they want, I'm saying give the masses, and that's my job.
BEN: I see that, and I don't want to beleaguer it, but some would argue that it's true, that WWF fans mainly sit on their hands for matches that go more than 10 minutes, but some would argue that it's because the quality of the in-ring wrestling isn't as good. Don't you think that if you put two good wrestlers in the ring, and I know we had talked about the Van Dam - Lynn thing, but I don't consider Van Dam to be that great of a wrestler, I look more to the Masato Tanaka - Mike Awesome example. Don't you think if you put two good wrestlers in there, who had a match which could stir the fans emotions, that would ... look at what happened with Sting and Benoit? I know they still got killed by Raw when Raw opened, but they kept a much larger percentage than they had been by starting off their show with interviews. Do you think there's any validity to that?
RUSSO: No. I think they kept a much bigger number than they did, because that was really a well-booked match where you couldn't call the outcome. Benoit isn't going to beat Sting in the middle of the ring, and Sting isn't going to beat Benoit, so what are they gonna do? That was the appeal to the match.
RUSSO: Don't get me wrong, I love to see a good wrestling match, but my job is ... I get paid to give the people what they want, and whether I agree or disagree with them is not my job. I'm not writing television to please Vince Russo. I'm writing television to please the masses, and like I say, when I go out in a crowd, and I see the response from a Mick - Rock promo, and response to a wrestling match, I know what they want to see. And again, it's not Vince Russo writing TV for Vince Russo, I'm just trying to give the people what they want.
So what does this all mean for WCW? I'd like to think it'd mean that WCW could finally marry the strong storylines and angles of the WWF with the great wrestling action of the Benoits/Guerreros/etc. in the promotion. And we'd see the end of Hogan. That could bring WCW to new heights of success. Of course, the pessimist in me thinks that it'll end up giving us crappy WWF soap operas with inferior actors. I guess time will tell...
I encourage you to read the full interview at WrestleLine
I normally make it a point NOT to report on rumors, because I'm Not An Insider, and they quite often turn out to be wrong. But I'm going to "speak on dis" because, even if it's not true, it's motivated a lot of people to action, so it's newsworthy for that reason if no other.
Apparently, Lenny and Lodi have been pulled from WCW booking plans, not by the booking staff, who apparently like the fact that they've been able to get over with their gimmick, but by the Time-Warner "Standards & Practices" board, basically the group within the Time-Warner/Turner/etc. megaconglomerate that decides what can and cannot air on its media outlets. The story goes that the S&P board objected to Lenny and Lodi's gimmick, apparently feeling that two guys exhibiting ambiguously gay mannerisms on cable TV is a threat to American civilization as we know it.
According to the rumor mill, Lenny's scheduled to make a Cruiserweight title defense tonight, without Lodi, where he is expected to drop the strap and vanish from TV, a-la Norman Smiley.
The reason this relates to the previous story is that you've got to wonder how Vince Russo, he of the T&A/cussing/etc. Attitude, will do in a company that pulls wrestlers off TV for playing ambiguously gay characters.
On Lodi's official webpage, Lodi asks people to email email@example.com to have your feelings heard. Read the full announcement here. Lodi also talks about the situation in his current commentary here.
I think Lenny & Lodi are fine talents, and their gimmick is very entertaining. If you feel the same way, I encourage you to write WCW and let them know that this is 1999, not 1799, and America can handle the sight of two guys with gay mannerisms on television.
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