(RETRO) Tiger Tales – June 7, 2009

Tiger Tales
June 7, 2009
Douglas “Hobbes” Maynard
 
Welcome to the second edition of “Tiger Tales”. So much for every week, it seems. But don’t blame me. It’s the fault of those damn Denver Nuggets. And maybe the Bush Administration. And of course, the CIA obviously mislead me. Any excuse will work, but don’t blame me. It’s the way things go this generation. Admit to nothing and accept no responsibility. Just pretend you’re an overweight Nazi guard at at POW camp and repeat often that “I know nothing! Nothing!” It works…. really.
 
So what’s on the agenda for today? Some quick thoughts about TNA. Maybe some thoughts about Ken Kennedy… Kennedy. And a little (a lot) of fantasy booking with an expanded edition of what I used to call “One On One” in the old “Tossing Salt” columns. How about matching up the top five stars, as ranked by Sports Review Wrestling in May, 1984 against the top five stars of May, 2009, as ranked by the WWE Power 25. Sound like a plan or what? More like “or what?”, but that’s what I have planned. And then we can get “extreme”. Yep, that means “WWE Extreme Rules PPV Predictions” .
 
So are you ready?
 
I said, “Are you ready”?
 
This bit really doesn’t work well in written form. You think I would have realized that by now, but I keep forgetting. Blame that on Vince McMahon and Twinkies. Let’s get to the column. It’s time for some “Tiger Tales!”.
 
And you can just call me “Hobbes”.
 
Mr. Kennedy Released… Released.
 
Breaking news from last week as Mr. Kennedy, only a couple of days after his big re-debut and return to the WWE ring, has been wished well in future endeavors by the people at WWE.
 
No big deal. Not really. Kennedy has shown time and time again to be his own worst enemy since coming to the WWE and every attempt by the WWE to really push and market Kennedy has been a major flop. He won the “Money In The Bank” match and then got injured, thus forcing WWE to change their focus to Edge. He was supposed to be the illegitimate son of Vince McMahon, but a wellness violation caused the WWE to switch gears and move the “Little Bastard” Hornswoggle, into that role. He went on the TV shows and made all sorts of claims, but was revealed to be a hypocrite at best and a liar at worst by revelations that he was using the very things he criticized others about.
 
And then there was the movie, “Beyond Enemy Lines”. What a major success it has turned out to be. Oh wait – it bombed. Ooops!
 
Suffice it to say, Mr. Kennedy… Kennedy has had opportunity after opportunity. And has struck out time after time. He’s a good worker and a great talker, but after so many false starts, the time has come to just start over again with someone new. Did you notice the big pop that Kennedy had coming out on RAW Monday night?
 
Wait! What pop? No one cared.
 
And then later in the match, Kennedy botched a suplex attempt and dropped the WWE Champion, Randy Orton, on his head. Orton was lucky he wasn’t seriously injured. But he was obviously pissed off. And when he hit the RKO on Kennedy towards the end of their match, it was obvious that Randy was pissed and gave Kennedy a major receipt.
 
But anyhow, Kennedy is gone and it’s no big loss. He’ll wait out his ninety days, go to TNA and re-establish himself. And maybe one day, he’ll be back in the WWE and ready to do it all again. But for now, it’s for the better. So long Mr. Kennedy… Kennedy. Alas, we hardly got a chance to know ya!
 
TNA Thoughts…
 
As most of my regular readers are well aware, I’m not a big fan of TNA. Way too much Kurt Angle, story-lines and matches with too many gimmicks and “stipulations” , Mick Foley as the TNA World Champion, etc. The problems with TNA are many.
 
But I decided to watch a few minutes of TNA Impact a few days ago and I saw not one, not two, but three things that may have me taking another look at the Orlando based promotion.
 
Stevie Richards, Raven and Victoria.
 
Stevie and Raven together again (along with Dafney) and the addition of the crazy-acting (my favorite persona) Victoria as part of the Knock-Outs division.
 
My interest has picked up considerably. Add Christopher Daniels, AJ Styles versus Shane Douglas and the prospect of a Kip James – Beautiful People feud…. and well, this may actually turn out to be pretty decent.
 
I’m sure that TNA Creative (Dutch Mantell, Jeff Jarrett & Vince Russo) will find ways to even screw up these gifts that have been given to them (Raven & Stevie plus Victoria = Ratings & Money), much like they have with Samoa Joe, but hopefully it will take them a while. And until that happens, I’m planning on keeping an eye on TNA. This could be the start of a whole new era for TNA if they play their cards right, and I’m looking forward to seeing just exactly what direction they choose to go.
 
And now…
 
The WWE has a big time PPV coming up tonight. It used to be a fun little show called “One Night Stand”, but since a person can only have just so many “one night stands” before they’re called a slut-puppy, the WWE decided to just change the name and call it “Extreme Rules”.
 
It’s the WWE’s version of “Night Of A Thousand Stipulations” , which makes you wonder if they don’t fly Vince Russo in to help with the booking for this one show. It is that confusing at points. There are eight big matches and from a wrestling standpoint, this should be a good show. Well, all except for one match and I think we all know which one that is. Let’s just hope it’s kept very short. Suuuueeeeyy! ! (That’s my pig imitation by the way. Not as good as Santino’s, but then again, I look better in a dress… so there!)
 
Let’s get right to it.
 
WWE Extreme Rules PPV Predictions. ..
 
World Championship Match – Ladder Match
Edge (c) versus Jeff Hardy
 
One thing for sure. With Jeff Hardy and Edge and the ladder stipulation, this is going to be a good match. Few men can work and use a ladder like Jeff Hardy and Edge isn’t very far behind. I don’t know for sure if Jeff has re-signed a new deal or not, but I don’t believe that he has.
 
And for that reason (and also taking into consideration that he has two “wellness strikes” against him right now as well), I just can’t see Jeff winning the title here. Edge is arguably the best heel in WWE today and he deserves a good long run as the World Champion. And I think he may get it. At least for one more night. Jeff will put on a great show and will come ever so close so many times, but in the end, it will be the champion, the man known as Edge, getting his arm raised in victory.
 
Winner and STILL Champion: Edge
 
WWE Championship Match – Steel Cage Match
Randy Orton (c) versus Batista
 
I could really care less on this one. Randy bores me as a champion and Batista bores me period. This feud sucked several years ago when Evolution split up and it sucks now.
 
The only interesting thing to watch is to see how Ric Flair and Legacy get involved. And you have to know they will. I’ll say that chaos and shenanigans are the order of the day. Cody and DiBiase get involved. Flair tries to stop them, but there’s only one Flair and two Legacy members so the numbers work against the “Naitch”. Legacy does their dirty work and Randy Orton walks out of the cage still the WWE Champ.
 
Winner and STILL WWE Champion: Randy Orton
 
ECW Championship Match – Three Way Dance – Hardcore Rules
Christian (c) versus Tommy Dreamer versus Jack Swagger
 
The feel-good moment of the night. It’s under “Hardcore Rules” and no one is more “hardcore” than Tommy Dreamer, he of the Land of Extreme. I expect that it will be brutal and bloody and Tommy will take a beating like few others ever have.
 
And Christian will shine bright and bring joy and happiness to the Peepulation. But alas, that nasty Jack Swagger will be the spoiler and lay out Captain Charisma via devious means. But before the All-American American can capture the gold and reclaim his glory, the old warrior and last remaining ECW Original, will sneak in, hit a DDT and finally lay claim to the title that has forever eluded him, the ECW Championship.
 
And then he’ll lose it to Swagger in his first defense on Tuesday night. If Dreamer doesn’t win, we riot.
 
Winner and NEW ECW Champion: Tommy Dreamer
 
Intercontinental Championship – No Holds Barred
Rey Mysterio (c) versus Chris Jericho
 
It’s hard to believe that ten years ago, these guys were having a mid-card feud over the WCW Cruiserweight Championship and look at them now. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
 
Rey (when he’s healthy) and Jericho can always be counted on to have a fun and good match. This one has been really built up well. Chris doesn’t need to be the IC Champ. He’s already been there more times than anyone. Rey is a good wrestler, but I just can’t see him as one of the major champs for any long period of time, especially when I keep hearing that his knees are giving him problems.
 
So I’ll say that Rey and Chris have an excellent match. They pull out all the stops and demonstrate why they’ve been big stars for so long. And Jericho decides to concentrate on the mask and taking it off Rey. And he nearly succeeds. But his determination to get the mask makes him forget about about the match. Rey capitalizes and sneaks a victory from the jaws of defeat by getting the pin and retaining the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
 
Winner and STILL Champion: Rey Mysterio
 
U.S. Championship – Four Way Match
Kofi Kingston (c) versus MVP versus Matt Hardy versus William Regal
 
Another match that, if given enough time, should be really good. I don’t see MVP regaining the title at this point since I have a feeling that the WWE wants to elevate him to the World title picture. But I really can’t see Kofi as a long term champion either. He’s a fun performer to watch, but he doesn’t do anything for me as a singles champ.
 
So that leaves Matt Hardy and William Regal. I’d love to see Regal as the champ, but for some reason, I’ve got a feeling that this is the “Black Cloud” Matt Hardy’s time to shine. I love the whole “Ace Orton Tribute” routine with the arm in the cast and hearing Matt complain about how he’s “forced” to wrestle injured. And if he was the U.S. Champ, just imagine the promos as he’s “forced” to defend his title when he obviously isn’t a hundred percent. Classic heel stuff and I’m looking forward to it. Because Matt Hardy will walk out of the PPV as the U.S. Champion.
 
Winner and NEW U.S. Champion: Matt Hardy
 
Submission Match
John Cena versus The Big Show
 
Cena is a big, strong power guy. Show is a big, strong monster. Why the hell are they doing submission moves when it’s obvious that either man’s best weapon would be just to beat the crap out of their opponent and just pound them into the ground.
 
I’m wondering if Cena can get Show into the STFU and make him submit? Show is just way too big to twist around like a pretzel. But Cena is the top guy and they can’t have him lose. Or can they? Cena won at the last PPV match, so that means Show wins at this one. It’s simple logistics.
 
Winner (by submission) – The Big Show
 
Samoan Strap Match
Umaga versus CM Punk
 
I’m really liking this feud. Since coming back from his leg injury, the slimmer Umaga has really looked great in the ring. He’s regained that aura of “kick ass” that he had when he first started and I like it. Punk is a great performer and really seems to be on his way to the top tier of the WWE in a short amount of time. He can win or lose and it doesn’t hurt him or his star-power. Which is good, because in this match, Punk is going to lose. You can’t have a “Samoan Strap Match” and have the Samoan lose, can you? Nah, I didn’t think so. Besides, Punk will get his moment later in the show, if you know what I mean.  Like after the main event.  After the ladder match.  Against Edge.  Possibly?
 
Winner: Umaga
 
Miss Wrestlemania Title – Hog Pen Match
Vickie Guerrero versus Santina Marella
 
I feel so sorry for Chavo Guerrero and Beth Phoenix because you know that they’re going to end up getting involved and getting slopped. Should we be expecting cameo appearances by Hillbilly Jim and the Godwin’s? It wouldn’t surprise me.
 
I’m hoping that Vickie finds a way to win and we can put an end to this whole “Santina” crap for good. That’s what I’m hoping. But this is the WWE and since Vickie is the evil GM and Santino has found a new career as a cross-dresser, which the WWE fans seem to love for some reason, it’ll be Vickie who ends up getting slopped. Watch and see.
 
And the Santino-In-A- Bra World Comedy Tour gets to continue for another day. Lord help us all.
 
Winner and NEW Miss Wrestlemania – Santina Marella
 
And there you have it. My predictions for the big show. What do YOU think? Am I right, wrong, or just totally cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs? I guess we’ll find out tonight. And now, moving on again…
 
One On One (Deluxe Edition): The Stars of 1985 versus The Stars of 2009
 
We all love to wonder “What if…?”. How would the wrestlers we watched and enjoyed back when we first became fans match up and do against the stars of today. Well, I’ve decided to speculate a bit and try to figure it all out.
 
I went back into my huge archive of wrestling magazines from the 80’s and 90’s and pulled up a magazine that is twenty-five years old. It’s the May, 1984 edition of “Sports Review Wrestling”, featuring such headline stories as: “Jos LeDuc versus Buzz Sawyer: Paul Ellering’s Search For A New Mad Dog Goes On”, “At Home With Rocky Johnson”, “Paul Jones: ‘How I Made The Assassins Wrestling’s Most Terrifying Tag Team’.”, and best of all, the “Sports Review Interview With Greg Gagne”. A classic magazine in every way, shape and form.
 
Anyhow, I took the official ratings from the mag and their “Top 5” and have decided to match these names against the top five names as ranked by the WWE and WWE.com in their “Power 25 Rankings”. Twenty five years of history divides these two listings and the whole business has changed so much. But still, I can’t help but wonder how the stars of 1984 would do against the stars of 2009. Let’s find out, shall we?
 
The “Top 5” ratings for May, 1984 were as follows: (1) Ric Flair, (2) Andre the Giant, (3) Harley Race, (4) Nick Bockwinkel and (5) Hulk Hogan.
 
The “Top 5” ratings, as of right now, for the WWE Power 25 are as follows: (1) Edge, (2) Rey Mysterio, (3) Randy Orton, (4) John Cena and (5) Christian.
 
Let’s see how these guys match up “One On One”…
 
(#1 versus #1) Ric Flair vs. Edge
 
In 1985, Ric Flair was the NWA World Champion. He was arguably the best heel in the business and the dirtiest player in the game. In 2009, Edge is the World Champion, probably the best heel in WWE, and known as the “ultimate opportunist” . Edge has a definite size advantage over Flair. Flair has the edge in technical wrestling skills as well as endurance. Remember at this time, Flair was doing 90 minutes a night, six nights a week, while Edge rarely goes more than 15 – 20 minutes in most matches.
 
I’d give the power edge to Edge. The speed would probably go to Flair, although neither man is known for their speed game. This match would be great fun to watch. That’s a definite. But in the end, I think Flair’s experience and endurance would win out. Both men would brawl and cheat. Edge has “friends” to look out for him – and Ric always had the Andersons (later to be part of the Horsemen) on hand to watch his back as well.
 
It would come down to who was able to be the sneakiest and pull the most behind the ref’s back. And as good as Edge is, Flair was (is) the best at being sneaky and crooked. Ric is “the man” and although Edge would push him to the limit, in the end, it would be the “Nature Boy” stylin’ and profilin’ down that aisle towards the pay window as the victor.
 
Winner: Ric Flair
 
(#2 versus #2) Andre The Giant versus Rey Mysterio
 
In 1984, Andre was still able to move quite well and was a force to be reckoned with. Rey, in 2009, has two bad knees and while he’s a great performer and high flyer, this would be one match where there would be no suspension of belief or “overcoming the odds” as the “littlest big man”. Rey is roughly 5’5″ or 5’6″ – Andre was well over 7 feet tall. Rey weighs about 140 – 150lbs. Andre weighed in the area of 400lbs. Rey would fly for a while until Andre decided to swat him down. And then, it would be all The Giant. It wouldn’t be pretty and wouldn’t even be close.
 
Winner: Andre The Giant
 
(#3 versus #3) Harley Race versus Randy Orton
 
Randy is actually becoming an OK wrestler. He just sucks on the promos. Harley was never a flashy or wrestler, but he was just consistent and good at everything he did. And his promos weren’t really the best either. A lot of what Orton does in the ring these days is reminiscent of the old “St. Louis style”, that was used by his father, the legendary “Cowboy” Bob Orton and also by another long-time Missouri native, Harley Race.
 
It’d be a good match to see and I think Orton would have an edge in speed and power. And maybe even technical wrestling. But Harley was just dangerous and tough and was the consummate all-around wrestler. What he lacked in one area, he’d make up for in another. And as good as Randy is, he’s no Harley Race. Not even close.
 
This would be a good match and would go for a while. But in the end, it’d be Race using that experience and pulling out a big win.
 
Winner: Harley Race
 
(#4 versus #4) Nick Bockwinkel versus John Cena
 
In his prime, Nick Bockwinkel was one of the smoothest and smartest wrestlers alive and could go toe-to-toe with anyone. John Cena is a decent grappler, but he’ll never be accused of being a great wrestler. He’s a mixture of power and a few basic moves that he uses to out-brawl and out-muscle his opponents. Cena is the consummate wrestler of the 21rst century, with just enough technical skills to survive, but more of a power-guy who goes for flash and showmanship more than actual wrestling.
 
If this was a Nick Bockwinkel of the mid-seventies, during Nick’s first AWA World Championship reign, he would out-smart Cena and just outlast him, letting the power man wear himself out and then Nick could grab the win. But this Nick Bockwinkel comes from 1984 and the years were catching up with him. And while Nick was still better than most, the body wasn’t always able to keep up like it did a few years earlier. And the Cena of 2009 would catch the aging veteran napping and power out a win in the end. Bockwinkle was the better wrestler, but the youth and power would win in this match.
 
Winner: John Cena
 
(#5 versus #5) Hulk Hogan versus Christian Cage
 
It’s the legend and phenom in his prime, the Immortal Hulk Hogan, against the wily and ever-so-sneaky ECW Champion of 2009, Christian. Most people would assume that it’d be a typical Hogan match. Hogan would take a beating for a while and then he’d start to shake. He’d “hulk up” and point the finger. Three punches to the head and then it’s time for the leg drop. And Hogan wins… right?
 
WRONG! That worked for Hogan for a long time, but this is MY opinion of who would win and Christian is just too good and too smart to fall for the “routine Hogan finish”. Hulk would do the shaking, do the punches, throw Christian into the ropes and hit the boot. He’d go for the leg drop and Christian would roll out of the way at the last second. And the peeps around the world would rejoice and scream in triumph.
 
Hogan would crash hard to the mat and start holding his leg. Christian would move in and start stomping the leg and Hogan. Hogan shakes and no-sells and starts to get up again. He’s Hulking up! And as Hogan goes for the big punch, Christian ducks and clips him with a low blow. The ref is distracted, as ref’s usually are and doesn’t see anything. Hogan doubles over and Christian moves in and scores with the “Killswitch” (or whatever he calls it these days!). Hogan is pinned.
 
Hulkamania is DEAD! The Peeps live forever. Yeah, that’s how it would happen. Cause I said so and that’s how I roll. ‘Nuff said!
 
Winner: Christian
 
So in a battle of the ages, 1984 versus 2009 – the old guys would come out ahead in three matches and the superstars of today would win two. And I think that sounds about right. It works for me anyhow.
 
Let’s move on.
 
Last time I did the column, I brought back the old fan favorite, “Who Am I?”… and got a whopping two responses. Yeah, makes me glad to do it too. Why do I bother? But anyhow, I asked about a wrestling / radio personality who’s worked pretty much alongside every major announcer at one time or another and loves Frosted Flakes. And obviously, I was talking about former WCW / AWA Announcer – and the current voice of Tony The Tiger, the infamous Stagger Lee Marshall.
 
Correctly answering were Harold Schwan and Bill Berry. Congratulations guys!
 
As for a newbie… *sighs*. I may as well. I’ll keep it simple. I was a popular wrestler in the South-East in the sixties and seventies. I once wore a mask, naming myself after the most Southern state in the U.S., but I preferred to wrestle under my own name. I had much success in both singles wrestling (Mid-Atlantic Champion, Florida Champion, U.S. Champion) as I did in tag team action (winning gold with such partners as Masked Superstar, Rick Steamboat, Baron Von Raschke, etc.)
 
After my days of wrestling were done, I went on to form an army and became a successful manager until my retirement in the late 80’s. And though some may disagree, my fans and peers will always refer to me as “Number One”. Who Am I?
 
Know the answer? Drop me a line and tell me who this icon and legend is…
 
Oh yeah, I finally got a chance to see “The Wrestler”, starring Mickey Rourke last week. The movie was great and Rourke definitely deserved to win the Oscar. He was shafted. But one thing about the movie and Mickey did disturb me. He looked like the love child of Billy Gunn & Hulk Hogan. Mickey is NOT an attractive man… and that’s NOT a compliment.
 
But he’s a great actor and the movie was excellent. So I guess being ugly as sin really doesn’t matter. Hell, it never stopped Mick Jagger either… or Michael Bolton.
 
Anything else?
 
Well, I’d be remiss if I failed to mention that my good friend, the hip-hop spell-caster, Soce the Elemental Wizard has been upgraded to the “Master of Fine Arts” and has a new CD, appropriately titled “Master of Fine Arts” coming out in August. I already have my copy of the CD (it’s good to be a person who knows people…lol) and the music is tight, the lyrics are smart and this is probably Soce’s best work to date.
 
This could be the one that pushes the extremely talented young MC into the major mainstream. It is that good. So check out the man and his music at www.myspace. com/soce or www.greathiphop. com and listen for yourself. And order the new CD, “Master of Fine Arts”.
 
You’ll be so glad you did because even if you don’t like rap, you’ll like this. Trust me. Soce is a unique and special entertainer in his own league and he really knows his craft. Check him out and enjoy the fun. Yay!
 
And that’s it. Another edition of “Tiger Tales” is in the books. Questions, comments, and guesses for the “Who Am I?” can be sent toDoug28352@yahoo. com. Come visit me on MySpace at www.myspace. com/salt_ palace.
 
A big shout out to my soul-mate and better half, Calvin. I love ya, dude.
 
And on that, I’m Hobbes and I am out. Until the next time, see ya!

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