The return of FACT or FICTION is upon you, as we took a week off to gather ourselves. We're back and ready to make ESPN proud for using their segment from Sportscenter.
A few readers have came to me (Mr. Tito) regarding starting up other columns based on ESPN ideas, such as "Around the Horn" or "Pardon the Interruption". Firstly, I love that 5-6 block on ESPN, and I rarely missed it during last year's school year and I catch it most of the time during the summer. HOWEVER, while I think PTI would work, as I've personally done it before with a columnist on another site one time, Around the Horn could present a problem because that show features interaction between the host and the 4 personalities. Too hard to pull off with written text.
I like FACT or FICTION because it's an easy format and it clearly forces you to pick a side and then back up your answer with facts or strong opinion.
But anyway, FIRST TOPIC!
1) FACT or FICTION: The current storyline with Kane will lead to a World Title push.
Mr. Tito: My ass it will. FICTION. As long as Triple H is on that show, he's going to use his persuasion of being STEPHANIE'S FIANCE to always be "the man" on RAW. Triple H has already destroyed Kane on several occasions, so why should Kane's current fury of anger lead to Triple H, once again? Even if Bill Goldberg wins the World Title at Summerslam, who wants to see Kane vs. Bill Goldberg? My hand isn't up. Just saying, this is another brick in the wall when it comes to Kane's unfortunate WWE career when he could be a very marketable champion for a man who has good size and agility, combined.
Phantom Lord: I have to say FACT on this one. I mean he tombstoned Linda McMahon (which I'm still marking out for). If they don't push him to the world title then are nothing but of bunch of morons. You have Kane go on a killing spree (figurativelyof course) and build him to a feud with Goldberg over the title. Two unstoppable monsters. It would be The Immovable Force vs. The Immovable Object as Gorilla Monsoon would say. Build that for the Survivor Series and that would be a great match. That's what I would do. But what do I know, I'm just a lowly E-Fed writer and booker. But I do believe Kane will be World Champion sometime this fall.
Da Ref: That's FICTION. This whole thing with Kane reminds me of the so many times that the company tries to push him. They make him look big but it fizzles out because of a ridiculous angle. In this case, it's the whole thing where he lit Jim Ross on fire. I said this before and I still think it fits. Kane's chance to be a serious main eventer was over by 2000. At that time, he had that monstrous image. Yet, the company didn't try to really do anything in terms of his character. They experimented with the whole thing where he seemed to be comfortable as a freak and the "Kane-a-nites" deal. By that time, it was a bit late.
2) FACT or FICTION: If given 25 minutes or so, the Chris Benoit vs. Eddie Guerrero United States title final at Vengeance could become Match of the Year for the WWE in 2003.
Phantom Lord: That's a FACT. Benoit and Guerrero can do no wrong. Now does this mean they won't have a run in of some sort to taint it? This is the WWE. Matt Hardy and Tajiri looking for revenge is a given. But with that aside, this could easily be the match of the year for the WWE. I would think it would be given at least 20 minutes, but with Stephanie and Sable and Vince and Zack who knows how much time they're going to eat up with promo's and video packages because after all two over inflated chicks and a cripple are what we the fans want to see.
Da Ref: I'll say FACT. It's Benoit and Guerrero. These guys rarely have a bad match against each other. If anything, that's the one of the very few matches on paper that look to be good.
Mr. Tito: For the two wrestlers who have lots of international experience and have wrestled each other many, many times in WCW, of course it's a FACT. I just wonder if the crowd will pop because the United States tourney wasn't well hyped and Guerrero just turned heel. The crowd's intensity towards the match could kick it up a few notches... But I think it could very well become a Match of the Year Candidate for the WWE, and if this doesn't, one of their rematches will.
3) FACT or FICTION: Given the recent seriousness from the WWE to actually go foward with Bill Goldberg vs. Triple H at Summerslam, Bill Goldberg will still be slated to become World Champion at Summerslam and finally be the person who beats Triple H here in 2003.
Da Ref: I don't know. While it would be smart to have Goldberg go on top, I'll go with FICTION. For some reason, I don't see the company doing the right thing and make Goldberg champ. Currently, they are trying to push the match. However, they haven't really done much to push Goldberg. He was on RAW for that little segment to challenge for the title but what about a match? I can't seem to remember the last time Goldberg even wrestled on RAW.
Mr. Tito: I call it FICTION. I'm completely convinced that Vince McMahon is paying Goldberg $1.5 million just to embarrass and tarnish the homegrown WCW star. Seriously. Vince is *that* sick to do something, given what he did with the 2001 Invasion angle.
Phantom Lord: Based on what I said about him vs. Kane, he will win the title from Triple H. But it won't be at Summerslam. FICTION on this one. No way Triple H is going down to him on a ppv. They'll probably do the finish they did the other day at the house show in San Jose. Flair and Orton get involved and Triple H picks up the cheap win. I see Goldberg beating Triple H on RAW since the WWE will want to see if he can re-create the magic of that night when he beat Hogan for the title. Again at least that is what I would do. But I don't see Goldberg winning at Summerslam.
4) FACT or FICTION: If the buyrates for Vengence are proven to be one of the lowest if not the lowest of 2003, then he'll stop centering all storylines around himself or his daughter.
Mr. Tito: Not a chance. FICTION. Vince and the McMahons will blame it on the WRESTLERS, not the non-wrestling talent. Guys like Benoit, Guerrero, Angle, World's Greatest Tag Team, Lesnar, and everyone else who has talent on the Smackdown roster will get blamed. If buyrates sag for Vengeance, we'll see more McMahons and Vince's favorites, like Big Show and Albert, will get an even more increased push on television because he still believes the big wrestlers draw crowds. The only way he'd realize the problem would be if competition stared him right in the face, and looking around lately, I don't see that happening.
Phantom Lord: I want to say Fact on this one, but we all know that damn McMahon ego won't go down with out a fight...so FICTION on this one. Vince centered Wrestlemania around himself and Hogan and it got half the buys they thought it would. I can't think of any logical reason as to why someone would order this ppv. It's like I said in the ppv forum. Stephanie and Sable could wrestle naked in a pool filled with baby oil and even that wouldn't tempt me to watch this (well that and the fact it's not worth $35). Vince has to realize that we don't tune in to see him doing his public wank fests. We tune in because in between that shit is good wrestling. It's just sad that Benoit/Guerrero and the resurrection of the United States Heavyweight Championship have gotten zero hype while Vince and Zack are getting epic video's devoted to them. I hope this ppv does so poorly, Vince and Linda have to sell their summer home that they bought.
Da Ref: Oh, please. That's FICTION. If anything, the thought will be that there wasn't ENOUGH of the McMahon's in the storylines. Then, we'll see Lesnar v. Vince at Summerslam and I wouldn't be surprised if Vince went over. The buyrates were going down before they made plans for brand only PPV's when Vince and Stephanie were getting a lot of attention that didn't really advance any storylines. The ratings for Smackdown have been dropping and it's been around the same time that the two of them started to get really involved on-camera in the storylines. Yet, the Gowen/Vince and Steph/Sable matches have been featured more in the commercials for Vengeance than the WWE Title Match.
5) BEST TAG TEAM: From July 2002 until present, a year's time, which WWE tag team has been the best overall spanning this period and why?
Phantom Lord: I'm going with SHELTON BENJAMIN and CHARLIE HAAS. They have been a welcome change to all the tag teams just thrown together in the last year. Sure the Smackdown 6 were great, but Haas and Benjamin have an old school feel to them. Hands down they are the best tag team the WWE has had in years. It's just to bad they are the only tag team they have. The Frenchies dont even deserve to be called World Tag Champions. They should scrap the tag division on RAW because Haas/Benjamin blow away everyone else.
Da Ref: Tag team wrestling hasn't been all that impressive in a long time. If I had to pick one team that stood out, I'd go with THE GUERREROS. Eddy and Chavo Jr. managed to click very well and looked more like a real tag team than anyone else. They can work very well as a team whether they're faces or heels. While I think Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin have done very well for themselves, they still need seasoning to live up to their came of "The World's Greatest Tag Team."
Mr. Tito: Oh man, this is a tough one, especially since Smackdown pumped out some great tag teams over a year's span. I'm seriously split between the Guerreros and Haas/Benjamin. The Guerreros have natural tag team ability since they worked together forever, while Haas/Benjamin have different styles but they mesh really well together. Benjamin and Haas have really come on lately, while the Guerreros helped put them on the map with their feud and had awesome tag matches last year against Angle/Benoit and Edge/Mysterio. My favorite tag team on Smackdown is Haas/Benjamin, but I can't deny how good the Guerreros over the past year. My vote is for the GUERREROS over the last year, but if I had to pick a current team, it's clearly Haas/Benjamin who are growing as a tag team and are one of the reasons to keep watching Smackdown anymore.
6) FACT or FICTION: There will never be a stable in professional wrestling on the level of the Four Horsemen.
Da Ref: Absolute FACT. The Four Horsemen are the stable that really started it all. They set the tone that every stable after them has had to try and come close to. However, the Horsemen came across the magic they had pretty much by accident. It was originally just Flair and the Andersons with Blanchard and Dillon thrown in for an interview because TBS was running out of time for the show. Even the name came about as a fluke. Now, every stable is planned out with their entire direction laid out months before they're even connected to each other. Basically, every stable since then has been trying to replicate a good formula that came about by accident. The problem is that the fact that it came about as an accident is one of the major reasons why the Horsemen were as huge as they were.
Mr. Tito: Actually, there was a stable already better than the Horsemen that arrived in 1996, and it was called the New World Order. FICTION. The Horsemen were a part of the NWA, and while it was a great heel group that drew fans in the South, the New World Order drew fans everywhere and put WCW on the map as the #1 federation. Hogan, Nash, and Hall made WWF fans become WCW fans, something of which the Horsemen never did. I'm sure many will suggest the NWO started to suck after the many additions. Ok, let me point you to 1993 and the 4 Horsemen group there. Pathetic. Comparing Hogan/Hall/Nash to Flair/Windham/Anderson/Blanchard, you should suggest that the 4 Horsemen at its peak provided fantastic wrestling and angles, but the Hogan/Hall/Nash original New World Order brought fans to WCW like never before and beat out the WWF in the Monday Night Wars.
Phantom Lord: Do I really have to answer this one? Uhh...FACT. No one has ever come close to the Horsemen and no one ever will. And nobody better e-mail me saying DX. The Paul Roma era Horsemen OWN DX. The Horsemen set the standard for excellence, promos, and beatdowns. No one will ever top them. Everyone after them we're immitators. The Horsemen are the Innovators.
7) FACT or FICTION: Johnathan Coachman is the WORST announcer the WWE has EVER put on television.
Mr. Tito: That is a FACT! We're talking everyone from Tony Shiavone, Kevin Kelly, and even Vince McMahon himself. Coachman was hired as someone who had no prior knowledge of professional wrestling until he joined the WWF. They just hired him because they thought they could mold him into a good wrestling announcer, and it has failed badly. He doesn't know wrestling holds, he sounds like he's happy 24/7, and his emotion towards the match is rather bland. I don't know why they even bother trying with him anymore, especially with an aging Jim Ross still lightyears better than him.
Phantom Lord: That's a tough one. I mean there were some pretty bad ones in the mid 90's. It's a very small margin, but I'll say FACT only because they try to hard to make something that he will never be. Cool. The Coach is what you would call a very white black man. Sort of like Carlton Banks...only more of a dork. I don't know if it's intentional or he really is that dumb, but it wasn't to smart to hire someone who had no exprience in pro wrestling to someday become an announcer on a wrestling show. Keep him doing backstage segments where his stupidity comes in handy.
Da Ref: Despite what a lot of people might say, that's FICTION. I've got two words for you: Todd Pettingill. Now, I'm not saying that Pettingill is absolutely the worst announcer. However, he's worse than Coach.
8) FACT or FICTION: Kurt Angle is developing an ego backstage that can be seen clearly through the product (i.e. reportedly wanting to add the Big Show to the Vengeance match).
Phantom Lord: I say FICTION. He just came back from a potientialy career threatning injury in 3 Freaking months. If he is protecting his spot (which it wouldn't be the first time it's ever happened), I can't tell that he is on tv. I don't buy that he wanted The Big Show in the match because he didn't want to job to Lesnar. The Big Show and Brock were in the middle of a damn good feud and if anything it should be Angle who left out of the feud. But I don't think he's developing one. Until he sleeps with someone in a position of power in the company and then no sells his opponents in the ring and on the mic, I dont think anyone has anything to worry about.
Da Ref: I'm going to give Angle the benefit of the doubt and say FICTION. I think adding Wight to the match is ridiculous considering the fact that Wight has wrestled more major matches against Lesnar than anyone else. However, whatever convoluted logic was used to put him in the match is very much the same type of logic that the company has been using to come up with the stuff they've been putting out. On the other hand, I do find it weird that Angle and Lesnar each wrestled handicap matches against the same three opponents with Lesnar going under while Angle, who is smaller and coming back from neck surgery, goes over.
Mr. Tito: Of course not, FICTION. You want a big singles match for SUMMERSLAM, not Vengeance. Sure, the Big Show vs. Angle vs. Lesnar feud is a complete throwaway match, but Vengeance is more centered around the McMahon feuds, and karma will bite Vince McMahon on the ass for that. But anyway, I hardly see an ego through the product from Angle. If anything, this is just something stemming over from when the WWE asked Edge and Kurt Angle, both out with neck injuries at the time, to submit creative input to the creative team. I'm assuming this could be taken the wrong way, as I bet Angle is just as harsh as Edge was before getting let go off of the creative team, OR Kurt Angle, like everyone else, is noticing that he's on a show that features too many McMahon segments and has spoken up lately on what he'd do for the show. But I really point to the fact that rumors circulated that Lesnar had an ego problem after Wrestlemania, and it's pretty funny that Kurt Angle now has a developing one too. Makes you think someone planted it through a newsletter or something...
RETRO FACT or FICTION: Dr. Death Steve Williams would have been a huge WWE star if Bart Gunn didn't knock him out in the Brawl for All competition.
Da Ref: That scenario is FICTION. It doesn't say whether or not Williams would've won the tournament. Plus, how many guys from that competition ended up seeing some sort of push? Then, you have to look at the time that Williams entered the WWF. At that time, Vince was putting a lot of work into Austin as well as trying to build up some of the younger talent for the future. Williams was in his late 30's, which wasn't what Vince was looking for in a major star.
Mr. Tito: I say FICTION only based on Williams's age. After his runs in WCW, Dr. Death had many injury problems. Tearing your hamstring is a very bad injury in a boxing/wrestling match that shouldn't do that to you. WWF had the intent of Williams winning that tournament and then pushing Dr. Death to become Steve Austin's newest heel opponent. I don't honestly think that Williams would have lasted without hurting himself, and in the new "Attitude" era, I doubt he could get over considering his age.
Phantom Lord: For some reason I was thinking about that today. Probably because they showed the clip of Butterbean knocking Bart Gunn the hell out. As much as they were probably going for Butterbean vs. Dr. Death, I'm gonna say FICTION. If we remember they wanted him to fight under a mask as some weird japanese guy. I don't think they would of ever did anything with him. As if being JR's goon was much of a gimmick to begin with. But I do think they were going for Butterbean/Dr. Death at Wrestlemania and had he not torn his knee during the match with Gunn, Butterbean wouldn't of had such an easy fight. His style is just to stiff for the WWE and lord knows we can't have a midcarder out shine the good ol boys in the back.
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