.journal 2004.11.11

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.org.4 part 2: A tribute to Chad Dupree

Now listening to: The Doobie Brothers, Best of the Doobies
Now reading: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
Now playing: Street Fighter Anniversary Collection (Playstation 2)

Four years ago today, the .org was launched. In the wake of several huge upheavals in my life that would continue to go on for several months, I pulled out from every Web project I’d been working on up to that point, set up a home for myself here where I could do whatever I wanted on whatever topics I wanted to cover, and not be accountable to anyone but myself. Given that the .org has already lasted far longer than any other Website I’ve ever worked on, I’d have to say that things here have worked out well for myself.

However, I didn’t exactly have that much of an audience when I started here; I very deliberately tried to launch the .org in secret from people who had been used to me from my Website projects of ages past, especially the professional wrestling ones since that whole “Situation” had become so toxic for me. Still, some people who knew me from back then found the site, and those who weren’t too pissed off at the changes I’d made in my life became the early readership base of the .org.

One of those people who knew me from back in my wrestling-writing days was Chad Dupree, and he and I wound up corresponding quite a bit. Chad really stuck by me through thick and thin; even when I pulled that stupid stunt with the Rantsylvania domain name, Chad refused to outright condemn my actions, although he and I still wound up discussing that incident for a while. Anyway, for those of you who weren’t already aware, Chad died earlier this year on the operating table following complications from gastric bypass surgery; I wrote about it on Backwash if you missed those details. Chad was the first Internet friend I had who died, and that raised a lot of issues for me.

Obviously, when someone you know dies, you wind up getting a lot of regrets over stuff with that person, things you said that you wish you hadn’t, things you didn’t say that you wish you had, stuff like that. Chad and I did get along there for awhile — I wouldn’t say we were close even by Internet standards, but we were definitely friendly with each other — but there was one thing that always seemed to bother Chad, and that was that I told him that I was never going to write about wrestling again on the Internet. He understood why I’d made that decision, and he appreciated all the writing I was doing about other stuff, but he kept asking me if I’d reconsider going back to writing about wrestling, and I just had to keep telling him that I couldn’t do that.

So when I found out a couple of months ago that Chad had died, I kept thinking about what I could do to pay tribute to him. I tried to think of something, anything to do other than the obvious thing, but in the end there was only one thing I could do.

So over four years since my departure from the IWC, and two years after coming out as a bisexual and transsexual … I am back. However …

Let me make this clear from the onset: this is a one-time deal. I am only returning to writing about wrestling this one time, and when I get done here in this column, I am done forever. I don’t care what else happens; if Don Becker dies tomorrow, I’ll pay tribute to him by rooting for the Islanders instead of the Red Wings for a year. If Jeremy Botter dies tomorrow, I’ll pay tribute to him by buying some Christian rock CDs and trying to get into them. I am breaking my retirement this one time, and after this I am through writing about wrestling from now until the end of time.

In some ways, though, I guess it’s a good thing I have this opportunity. After all, when I left this whole scene for years ago I really cut and ran without having an opportunity to say goodbye or give my parting thoughts on anything. Now I’ll have that opportunity here. And if anything else, my own retirement lasted a hell of a lot longer than Mick Foley’s, so I have that on my side too.

Before I begin, however, a note, since I know a lot of you who are reading this now have probably barely visited the .org over these past four years. Shortly after I left the IWC, there was a fire at my house and I started going back to college. When I moved back home, we didn’t have cable for nearly two years, and my house is far out of range of the local UPN station. Even when I got cable back, I was far too busy with school stuff (I’m in graduate school now working on an MA in English) and having an actual real life to tune into wrestling that much. The bottom line here is that I’m really not all that familiar with the current wrestling scene right now, so if it seems that my once-encyclopaedic knowledge about professional wrestling is lacking, that’s why. Especially these past couple of weeks I’ve been sick and catching up on schoolwork, so I haven’t watched any wrestling at all in about a month or so.

Oh, and a quick note to DEAN~! about my Bengals kicking the crap out of your Cowboys on Sunday: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HAAAA HAAA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! BWAAAAAAAAAAAA HAAAAAAAAAAAAA HAAAAAAAA HAAAA HAA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! Damn, that felt good.

So let’s turn back the clock to Monday, click on over to Spike TV (for people who think USA Network is too intellectual like them thar PBS shows), and look at what happened on Monday’s Raw (I’ll be watching other things tonight so I can’t do Smackdown), and do one last review here, not really carrying about formatting or star ratings or anything like that.

Sean Shannon’s Retirement Raw Report for 2004.11.08

(in tribute to Chad Dupree, 1975-2004)

The show starts without any intro sequence (so who just got fired?), as we cut straight to Triple H (with Batista) giving an interview in the middle of the ring. Is it just me, or have all those roids even managed to make Triple H’s nose bigger? Either that, or it’s a weird pinnochio effect: every time someone in the WWE says that his t-shirt logos have nothing to do with Nazi imagery, his nose grows ever larger. Anyway, apparently Triple H took last week off (when Stephanie wants it, she gets it, I guess), and Evolution got attacked by the rest of the locker room. As a result, Ric Flair won’t be there tonight, which is a shame because I wanted to tell you all about when I first switched Raw on after I got cable back earlier this year: I came in partway into the show with Evolution talking to each other backstage, but I couldn’t tell who the guy in the foreground was. I was like, “Good grief, did Crash Holly’s skin get dark and leathery all of a sudden? Wait, I heard Crash Holly died, so … holy crap, that’s Ric Flair!” Oh, and I’ve looked at bits and pieces of Flair’s autobiography in the bookstore, and may I hopefully not be the first to tell Flair to shut the fuck up and get out of the damn business already? Seriously, not even Bret Hart deserves that kind of shit. Getting back to the interview, Triple H (and no, I am not transcribing interviews here, especially not Triple H’s) blames all of this on the General Manager, who …

FUCK YOU MOTHERFUCKER I’M NOT GIVING UP THE FUCKING NWWWO YOU AND TED TURNER’S FUCKING LAWYERS CAN ALL FUCKING DIE DIE DIE DIE — oops, insinctual reaction there.

Anyway, Eric … ew … Bischoff, apparently after a makeover gone horribly awry (seriously, even the Bob’s Big Boy dyed-black haircut was better than his new look) comes out to defend himself, and is the WWE making an effort to turn Bischoff face? Crap, maybe Bischoff could be a babyface in WCW, but making Bischoff a face in the WWE is like the Apollo Theatre doing Mark Fuhrman Appreciation Night. Bischoff sneaks in the requisite plug for Survivor Series, interrupted by Triple H manhandling Bischoff for a bit before Bischoff threatens to strip Triple H of his title. Anyway, on Sunday the winners of an eight-man elimination tag match between Evolution and a team headed by Randy Orton will get to control Raw for a month. After a bit of meaningless time-killing banter in the opening segment (gee, four years and not much has changed), we go to (after commercial) …

Batista (w/Triple H) vs. Randy Orton — Seriously, you people have no idea how old I feel having Bob Orton’s son in the ring; back when I started watching was right in the middle of Roddy Piper and Bob Orton were having their reign of terror over Hulk Hogan. We join the match in progress as we get a really slow opening with Batista dominating early, until he eats elbow charging into the corner at Orton. Orton tries an early RKO (“it’s not a Diamond Cutter, we swear“), but Batista ducks out and takes a breather on the floor. You know, watching all those All Japan tapes in the final months of my IWC days spoiled me, because I really can’t take slow openings like this unless I know that each wrestler’s going to take five straight bumps on the back of his head at the end. Lawler runs down the team members for Survivor Series, and I guess I must have missed Edge’s heel turn. Oh well. Action resumes with Orton taking control with some horrible punches, and seriously, why hasn’t the WWE just banned the punch outright at this point? With the exception of William Regal, no one throws a convincing-looking punch anymore, so why not move the other wrestlers over to elbow and forearm shivers? Batista nails Orton with an elbow but misses an elbow drop, enabling Orton to take back over. Batista rolls outside to recover, but Orton takes the fight to him out there. Back in the ring Batista takes control again until Orton gets the better of dueling punches to recover, and takes Batista back out of the ring with a shoulder block. Batista gets back into the ring and resumes control and we hit the chinlock long enough for people to take bathroom/snack breaks until Orton powers his way out with elbows, nails another shoulder block, but gets tripped up by Triple H as he tries an RKO. Batista nails Orton with a lariat, but before he can capitalize on it the referee throws Triple H out of the match, killing even more time. Batista gets back into the ring and kicks Orton outside.

After another commercial, during which Batista whipped Orton into the stairs outside the ring, we come back to Orton elbowing his way out of another chinlock, but Batista nails a neckbreaker for two. Batista keeps controlling the match with nothing of note for a long time, although Orton sel ls the head well. Vertical suplex by Batista gets two. Another chinlock (seriously, did I tune into fifties wrestling on ESPN Classic by mistake?), Orton powers out and goes to punches but Batista throws Orton shoulder-first into the ringpost. Batista rolls Orton back in for two. Now a chinlock with a body scissors by Batista (wow, the moveset just blows me away), Orton elbows out again and dropkicks Batista in the knee, sending Batista face-first into the second turnbuckle. Batista takes back over, but Orton wriggles out of a powerslam and dropkicks Batista in the chest. Orton clotheslines Batista over the top rope and then DDTs Batista on the outside. Back in the ring Orton goes to the top, fights Batista off (including biting Batista in the forehead), and nails Batista with a high-cross body for two. Orton nails that weird backbreaker of his, then tries another RKO but Batista pushes off again and nails Orton with a spinebuster. Batista goes for the Demon Bomb, but Orton slips behind and gets a sunset flip for two. Batista blocks a third RKO attempt, but eats boots on a charge into the corner, and Orton schoolboys Batista from behind to get the anticlimactic three-count. Well, the matches have certainly gotten longer since the last time I was watching on a regular basis, but I can’t say that they’ve gotten better.

Survivor Series promotional spot. Who the hell is Heidenrich, and why should I care?

Commercials. Hey, fun fact for you: the counter of US expenses in Iraq at costofwar.com also doubles as an up-to-the-minute tally of how much Scott Keith claims I left him in debt after I left Rantsylvania.

Backstage Orton’s team members are talking, but Batista charges in and attacks them all, only to get his ass kicked. I thought only the faces were supposed to do stupid stuff like that.

Video recap of Edge’s heel turn. Who in the hell thought “Taboo Tuesday” was a good name for a pay-per-view anyway? Well-executed turn, I guess, and the WWE still does video packages fairly well. This leads up to a Benoit interview where he says that in tonight’s match against Edge he will be doing stuff so bad that he’s forbidden his wife and kids from watching. Say, why the hell hasn’t the WWE brought in Nancy anyway?

After more commercials, we get video footage of the World Motherfucking Champion Detroit Motherfucking Pistons wearing their replica WWE championship belts to the banner-raising ceremony last week. Where’s my fucking hockey already?

Tyson Tomko (w/Christian — grow the hair back, please) vs. Shelton Benjamin — Okay, someone want to tell me what in the hell the WWE was doing hiring Viscera back last week? Sounds like it’s a good thing I missed last week’s show, although you know that Men on a Mission reunion could be huge for the WWE and make them hundreds … of dollars. And when did Benjamin become Intercontinental Champion? Tomko gets the jump of Benjamin, but Benjamin takes over with a kneelift and gets an interesting on-the-knee neckbreaker for two. Benjamin gets distracted by Christian, enabling Tomko to take back over and get a military press into a fallaway slam. Tomko tosses Benjamin outside the ring enbaling Christian to get some cheap shots in, and then Tomko gets two after tossing Benjamin back in. Benjamin then does the world’s most anemic hulk-up (seriously, he just stands up for no reason; at least the Undertaker sitting up like he does adds the whole zombie thing to his character), peppers Tomko with shots and getting two off a Russian leg sweep. Tomko gets a kick to the gut in, though, and a lazy sidewalk slam gets two. Benjamin snaps Tomko’s neck on the top rope to come back, nails a top-rope clothesline, but misses a charge in the corner when Christian pulls Tomko out of the way. Benjamin comes back and superkicks Christian off the apron, though, and then nails Tomko with a weak exploder for the pin.

Highlights from last week’s Smackdown include Tough Enough training (that show’s still on?) and a video package leading to the Big Show vs. Kurt Angle match this Thursday. I take it a tranquilizer gun isn’t technically a gun by WWE standards, then. It’s crap by anyone’s standards, though. And may I also add that Kurt Angle without hair looks like an uncircumsized penis. Sorry, it had to be said.

WWE Monster Job of the Week: Lita attacks Trish Stratus, but Gail Kim comes out to help Stratus. Wait, that wasn’t a match, no one did a job! Oh, whatever.

Commercials. By the way, all of you idiots who link to my Website from IWC message boards, you leave your fingerprints on my server logs so I know exactly where you’re coming from. So just to shut up all the people claiming to have “run me off” the whole IWC scene, I left of my own volition because I was sick and tired of pretty much all of you, okay? But if you want to put all the credit on any one person for convincing me to leave, then give it to Greg Dillard. Seriously.

Back to Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel, as he invites Trish and Lita out to talk really catty to each other. With a referee, just so nothing important happens. Jericho fires off a good line about the women turning his show into “Jericho Springer,” but not much else. Fun game: every time Trish says “you know what,” take a drink. You’ll be under the table in no time. Anyway, Gene Snitsky comes out with a swathed baby in his arms and taunts Lita about the miscarriage (who knew, a pregnancy angle in wrestling that led to something productive), then punts the baby into the crowd, and I have to give the WWE credit here for doing something totally offencive, but taking it so far over the line that most people won’t be offended by it. I can’t say that about most of the other shit that’s on TV these days. Anyway, Snitsky gets in Lita’s face, Jericho comes to Lita’s aid but gets kicked in the face and posted on the outside.

After more commercials, we get a Simon Dean segment. Gee, it’s just like the Bodydonnas gimmick, only without Chris Candido’s wrestling ability or Tammy Lynn Sytch at her peak of hotness. In other words, it’s crap. Seriously, you already have Shane Helms doing a superhero gimmick, why not bring back old school Nova and team them up? And if Stephanie thinks Nova with hair looked too much like Triple H, then she needs her eyes examined. (And given who she married, she needs her head examined too.) Anyway, Dean goes through the lamest of the old-school crowd taunting, making fun of people of size, and eventually orange drink gets spilled all over the place and it looks like most people couldn’t care less. Seriously, I know professional wrestling is still in the dark ages in terms of relying on people’s basest stereotypes to entertain people — that’s part of the reason I left the IWC scene because I knew I couldn’t come out while I was still active there — but shit like this segment is a good part of the reason why, even if I didn’t have the baggage of my IWC days on my shoulders, I wouldn’t be watching wrestling that much anymore. Call me a politically correct uptight asshole if you want, but I hate this stuff.

Commercials. And to the person who led me to these pictures of Scott Keith last year and asked me what happened to Scott’s lips, there’s a very simple explanation: HE ATE THEM.

Triple H vs. Tajiri — Or not, as Snitsky ambushes Tajiri on his entrance, press slams him onto the guardrail and kicks him in the face. But hey, we got to kill three minutes with another “thrilling” Triple H entrance. Triple H thanks Snitsky for his work, but Snitsky says that when it’s his turn to control Raw after Survivor Series, he’s going after Triple H’s belt. The crowd is so bored, er, stunned by this that they stay silent throughout nearly the whole damn thing.

More commercials, and then we get a spot for Mohammad Hassan, whose apparent gimmick is that he’s Muslim and he just wants a fair shot from everyone. Holy crap, the WWE should so not go here, especially since they’re clearly portraying Hassan as an “unknowing heel.” After Michael Cole (he still has a job?) and Tazz go over Smackdown‘s contributions to Survivor Series (who the hell are those people on Kurt Angle’s team?), J.R. and Lawler go over the Raw matches, and Lawler gets the Texas crowd to rat on J.R. for his love of Oklahoma. Didn’t the XFL teach anybody that J.R. doesn’t know shit about football?

The gabfest continues, as Edge gets interviewed backstage and pimps his book and talks about his match tonight against Christ Benoit, only to have Triple H welcome him to his Survivor Series team. Edge also proclaims that he wants a shot at Triple H’s belt after Survivor Series. After commercials and another look back at Edge’s heel turn, Triple H complains to Batista about Edge and Snitsky, but after Triple H leaves he picks up Triple H’s belt and looks at it longingly. Or something.

Christy Hemme (don’t even ask me how many Raw Diva Search commercials I had to put up with watching MXC) then does a poor job of doing the ring announcing for …

Edge vs. Chris Benoit — Edge rolls out of the ring during Benoit’s intro and the two start duking it out on the floor. Benoit gets the better of that and throws Edge into the ring, clotheslines Edge down and drops an elbow on him. Benoit gets a snap vertical suplex, but Edge rolls out of the ring to avoid a sharpshooter. Benoit follows him out and tosses him back in, but Edge rolls out again to avoid a crossface, but then he pulls Benoit out of the ring and takes over on offence. Benoit takes back over on the outside and takes care of things inside. Backdrop suplex by Benoit, but Edge throws Benoit outside, then nails a baseball slide dropkick and beats Benoit up on the outside. Edge throws Benoit back into the ring and covers for two, then continues in control until Benoit nails a lot of forearms and Edge rolls out of the ring and starts walking up the ramp. Benoit follows, but Edge turns around and nails Benoit, then drives Benoit back-first into the edge of the ring apron. Back in the ring …

… following another commercial break (during which Edge nailed an overhead belly-to-belly suplex), Edge hangs onto a combination chinlock and body scissors, and gets a two-count off of it. Edge argues with the ref enabling Benoit to make a mini-comeback, but a knee to the cut takes care of that. Evolution’s theme music hits and Triple H and Batista come to the ring, and everything slows to a crawl while everyone is forced to pay homage to Triple H’s ego. Edge gets two off of a backdrop suplex, and as Benoit makes a comeback Randy Orton’s music hits and Orton, Jericho and Maven all come down to the ring. (So now every run-in has to have a musical backdrop? I could understand that for New Jack, maybe, but all these other people?) Edge takes control back, but of course the match has become secondary at this point. Edge meets boot on a blind charge into the cover, but nails a spinebuster and a vertical suplex, then goes up top but Benoit meets him up there and nails a vertical superplex off the top. The ref lays down a double-count, but both men are up at eight and duking it out. Edge gets the best of that, but Benoit takes him down repeatedly with some double chops to the throat. Benoit lays Edge over the top rope with a drop vertical suplex, then elbows him off the apron and starts ramming Edge’s head into every surface he can find. The people on the outside stare each other down as Benoit catapults Edge into the ring steps, then throws him back into the ring (with Edge bleeding a bit). Edge wriggles out of an attempt at the rolling German suplexes, but Benoit gets a sharpshooter. Edge reaches the ropes and gets his fingers into Benoit’s eyes, but Benoit ducks a chop and nails three rolling German suplexes. That’s followed up by a top-rope headbutt by Benoit for two, and Benoit gets the crossface right after that. Edge fights, but Triple H and Batista reach into the ring and the match quickly degenerates into a pier-siex brawl, ending in a no contest. Should be an interesting match when they finally blow this feud off, though, especially if both men bring the intensity they brought to this match. Snitsky enters the brawl as well, and he tosses all the faces out of the ring. This leads to Triple H and Batista re-entering the ring to have words with Edge and Snitsky about their loyalty to the team, but the faces regroup and take control, tossing all the heels out of the ring. The show ends with Triple H hopping back onto the apron about twenty times in a row, only to be knocked back off the apron by a face.

And that’s it.

Well, I guess the show was what it was. Of the few episodes of Raw I’ve been able to watch these past couple of months, I wouldn’t call it the best I’ve seen, but I wouldn’t call it the worst either. In the end, I just can’t get enthusiastic about it, and with the Undertaker back to his original gimmick and Shawn Michaels back in action, if I can’t get up for wrestling, then the odds are that I’ve really just moved past it. I guess I still watch every once in a while for a bit of nostalgia, but I’m certainly not going to go out of my way to watch wrestling anymore, especially with all the other stuff going on in my life right now.

I’ve never been one to want to leave things on a whimper rather than a bang, but there’s really not much more I can say. I know some of you want me to go on one of my old trademark psychotic self-aggrandizing rants, but I’m just not in the mood for that anymore. Four years of being out of this scene, in college and having a real life has kind of made me stop doing that kind of dumb stuff. (Or at least not do it so often, and not about such trivial things.) Maybe I’ll watch wrestling next week, but it’s probably more likely that I’ll be doing homework, working on maloneysbaloney.org or Backwash, or doing some other stuff.

So that does it. I am, from this point forward to eternity, done with writing about wrestling on the Internet. Talk about it all you will, but note that there is a no-wrestling rule on my own discussion board here on the .org. You’ll have to go someplace else to talk about this column, but who knows, I may pop up somewhere to talk as well.

And Chad, if somehow you can read this: tell Owen that when I get where he is, I wanna hear all his stories too.

Everyone take care and be well. I’ll see you later this month for one more .journal entry to celebrate .org.4.

— Sean

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