It’s not easy being the Greek god of wrestling. First, there is the difficulty of remembering the names of all the beautiful women fortunate enough to enjoy my company. Second, there is the difficulty of constantly rejecting the hordes of women who want to join the lucky women referred to in the previous sentence.
Since I started writing Heel Turns, however, there is a new complication in the life of Achilles Heel. I have to put up with idiotic suggestions from the creators of PhillyPhanatics.com.
For example, this week PhillyPhanatics.com’s Eric Fisher suggested that, to coincide with Selection Sunday, I create a field of 64 of the greatest wrestlers of all-time. Not having been in the ring with every wrestler eligible for this fictional tournament, there’s no way I could make a proper judgment to determine the best 64. And what would be the criteria? Would an excellent technical wrestler who didn’t win a major championship rank above or below a mediocre in-ring performer who won major championships? I thought about this briefly until Fisher told me I should seed the 64 wrestlers and create real brackets. That’s when I firmly rejected the idea.
Ron Opher, the other genius (sarcasm intended) behind PhillyPhanatics.com, suggested that, to coincide with spring training, I create a list of baseball players with good wrestling names. I would rather eat noodles hanging from George “The Animal” Steele’s back hair than waste my time looking though baseballreference.com to find players with “wrestling names.”
Another suggestion was to book my own WrestleMania. As I’ve said from the first edition of Heel Turns, I’m not going to question people who run organizations by playing fantasy booker. In specific situations, such as how to resurrect Drew McIntyre after WWE has buried him, I’ll offer outstanding advice. Otherwise, I’ll do my job and let them do their jobs. Hey, at least that suggestion was relevant to wrestling.
The most ridiculous suggestion, however, was that first prize in the PhillyPhanatics.com NCAA Tournament pool be an opportunity to go to WrestleMania with yours truly. I dismissed that ludicrous idea by pointing out that the tournament doesn’t end until the day after WrestleMania.
That didn’t deter Fisher and Opher. Their next suggestion was that I have dinner with the winner of the pool and, if the winner wants it, take him or her to a wrestling event with me, including backstage access. My answer, as you can imagine, was an emphatic “no!” The last thing I want to do is spend dinner and a wrestling event mingling with some nitwit who probably won the pool by picking winners by their nicknames or uniform colors.
The only thing that would be worse would be if Fisher and Opher tagged along.
CZW RETURNS TO PHILLY: Scotty Vortekz defends his Combat Zone Wrestling World Championship tonight (Sat., March 10) against Devon Moore and “The Ego” Robert Anthony at Boyle’s World Gym in Northeast Philadelphia. In the co-main event, Sami Callahan defends the CZW Junior Heavyweight championship against Drake Younger.
The event also features a “Best of the Best Tournament” involving 11 wrestlers. The final two tournament participants will be determined by an Aerial Assault match. Greg Excellent takes on Mia Yim in a TLC match.
HOGAN SEX TAPE: The news of the existence of an unauthorized Hulk Hogan sex tape raises several questions. One of those questions is when was it made?
Well, if the tape ends with several other wrestlers running in at the end and getting involved in the “finish,” so to speak, you’ll know the tape was made since Hogan has been in TNA. If it ends with the big boot and a leg drop, they you’ll know it was made while Hogan was in WWE or WCW.
FAREWELL TO FURNAS: Another member of the wrestling fraternity left us too early this past week when Doug Furnas, 52, passed away. Furnas, a powerful wrestler, achieved his greatest success in Japan, where he teamed with Dan Kroffat to form an excellent tag team.
Local wrestling fans may remember Furnas and Kroffat for their matches against the unlikely team of Rob Van Dam and Sabu in ECW. Furnas and Kroffat (renamed Phil Lafon) then came to WWE (then WWF). They made their debut at Survivor Series in 1996, an event better remembered as being the debut of Rocky Maivia (The Rock). Furnas and Lafon won their Survivor Series 8-man elimination match by outlasting the British Bulldog and Owen Hart, the WWF tag team champions. Furnas and Lafon had some terrific matches against Bulldog and Hart, but they never fully caught on with WWE fans and did not win the titles.
HONOR ROLL: From all accounts, Ring of Honor put on a terrific 10th anniversary show in New York on March 4. In the main event, Adam Cole and Eddie Edwards defeated Ring of Honor World Champion Davey Richards and Kyle O’Reilly, with Cole pinning Richards. (I told you last week that Achilles Heels sees a bright future ahead for Cole!)
No titles changed hand at the event. Mark and Jay Briscoe retained the tag team championship against the young Bucks, and Television champion Jay Lethal battled Tommaso Ciampa to a draw.
NO IMPACT: The idea of putting young, up-and-coming wrestlers in tag team matches with established stars as partners isn’t new. The organization hopes the younger wrestlers will benefit from working with the veterans. The hope is also that fans will begin to see the younger wrestlers as bigger stars, getting a rub off their better-known partner and opponent, because they were in a main event.
Ring of Honor executed this maneuver to near-perfection at its 10th anniversary show. TNA did not do it nearly as well on Impact Wrestling.
By pairing former Future Shock partners Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly with Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards, respectively, Ring of Honor elevated Cole and O’Reilly. The young guns have their own issue with each other. Drawing them into the Edwards-Richards rivalry helped both Cole and O’Reilly. Having Cole pin the world champion at the end of that match transformed him into a bigger star than when the match started. Another important factor was that both Cole and O’Reilly looked like they belonged in the ring with Edwards and Richards.
It was a completely different story during Thursday’s Impact Wrestling main event. Gunner teamed with Kurt Angle to face Jeff Hardy and … Garett Bischoff. Angle and Hardy are two of the best-known wrestlers in TNA and, arguably, receive the two biggest reactions. The fans haven’t completely bought into Gunner yet, although he’s making strides in that area. But Bischoff?
The perception is that Bischoff is in the main event because his dad is Eric Bischoff. His match with Gunner at TNA’s most recent pay-per-view did nothing to alter that opinion. In fact, the match did the opposite. People questioned why the inexperienced Bischoff was on a pay-per-view at all – or even why he’s on TV at this point. He clearly is not in the same league as Hardy and Angle. Teaming Bischoff with Hardy and against Angle highlight’s Bischoff’s shortcomings instead of elevating him in the fans’ eyes.
ROAD TO VICTORY: On the positive side for TNA, the lineup for next Sunday’s “Victory Road” pay-per-view has the potential to be good. The same could be said, of course, for the last pay-per-view, which degenerated into a poorly received mess.
The top match, Sting vs. Bobby Roode for Roode’s TNA World Heavyweight Championship, can’t last too long. I have a feeling that James Storm and possibly Bully Ray will be involved in the finish. Hardy vs. Angle, however, could be fantastic. The crowd will treat the Angle-Hardy match as the true main event.
Austin Aries defending the X-Division Championship against Zema Ion also could be a good match. A.J. Styles and the returning Mr. Anderson face Christopher Daniels and Kazarian in what could be a very good match, even if we get the typical, inexplicable partner-turning-on-partner finish that TNA relies upon far too often. Samoa Joe and Magnus defend their tag team titles against Matt Morgan and Crimson; Gail Kim defends her Knockouts Championship against Madison Rayne.
The potential is there for a good pay-per-view. Now it’s up to the bookers and the wrestlers to make sure the show fulfills its potential.
PSYCHED FOR RAW: The guest host for Monday’s RAW is James Roday, the star of USA Network’s “Psych,” a show on which Roday plays an incredibly observant man who works as a psychic detective for the Santa Barbara Police Department. Not so coincidentally, The Miz guest stars on “Psych” on Wednesday.
Speaking of the supernatural, Undertaker will at RAW this Monday. WWE is teasing that Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, who will be the guest referee for Undertaker’s Hell in a Cell match with Triple H at WrestleMania, will be in the ring together for the first time since their second WrestleMania match two years ago.
You don’t need a psychic to know that the atmosphere for the Michaels-Undertaker segment of RAW should be electric.
PHILLY GETS RAW: Don’t forget that RAW will be at Wells Fargo Center in Philly on March 19. Will Achilles Heel be there? That’s for me to know and for you not to find out.