Kudos to Flair, Michaels for PPV efforts
By Rennie Detore
Sunday, October 24, 2004
The so-called revolutionary "Taboo Tuesday" felt more rudimentary
until the final two matches, highlighted by gutsy performances by two
legends -- Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair.
Michaels injured his knee on "Raw" the night before the pay-per-view.
A visibly shaken Michaels could barely walk but still managed to
finish his three-way last Monday against Chris Benoit and Edge, the
other two men on the ballot to face Triple H at "Taboo Tuesday."
Michaels suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee, but the injury
isn't believed to be serious. Michaels was scheduled to have surgery
late last week, and WWE won't know how long he'll be out until doctors
assess the damage.
Still, the 39-year-old shrugged off the injury and competed in a
more-than-respectable WWE heavyweight championship match against
Triple H at "Taboo Tuesday." Michaels, according to "fan voting,"
edged Edge and Chris Benoit.
Michaels' display of selflessness further proves that the 2004
"Heartbreak Kid" is an older, more mature version of the one who once
faked a knee injury to get out of a "Wrestlemania" match against Bret
"Hitman" Hart in 1997.
Seven years ago, Michaels told a national television audience that
he'd lost his "smile" -- a phrase that would be quoted in jest for
years among professional wrestling writers and announcers -- and that
he was forfeiting the WWE championship. Michaels was scheduled to drop
the title to Hart at "Wrestlemania 13" in Chicago.
The validity of his knee injury was confirmed at the event when
Michaels, dressed in shorts and a dress shirt, backflipped off the top
rope and landed squarely on his feet, without so much as a grimace.
Michaels' expression was more of an "I fooled you" smile, perhaps the
very one he was searching for.
After last Monday's legitimate knee injury, Michaels didn't offer any
excuses and didn't decide to pull out of his match at the last minute.
Michaels kept his word and delivered a determined performance that
wasn't necessarily his best in terms of quality but still won't be
Flair, Michaels' childhood idol, found himself in a main-event slot
for the first time in years last Tuesday, against Randy Orton. The
nearly 60-year-old Flair and Orton tangled in a more subdued Steel
Cage match, not the typical spectacle fans expect from WWE, with
bodies flying off, or through, the cage.
Instead, Flair and Orton competed in a traditional grudge match, with
plenty of ***, sweat, then, finally, tears. Flair and Orton shook
hands after the match, which Orton obviously won.
But before the outcome, Flair was almost reminiscent of the old
"Nature Boy," softly pushing his sweaty bleach-blonde and ***ied
hair out of his face to throw another punch or deliver an illegal, yet
enjoyable, low blow.
The cage-match setting also masked Flair's shortcomings as a full-time
performer, and instead accentuated his assets as a wrestler in
general. The slow, methodical pace -- which is more acceptable in a
cage match -- is how Flair moves these days.
To Flair's credit, he, like Michaels, showed up and competed to the
best of his ability and far exceeded rather low expectations. And
that's all you can ask of these two legends, who together made "Taboo
Tuesday" more than just a predictable, throwaway pay-per-view.
n Kane will be off for about three months to star in a WWE-produced
horror film, "Eye Scream Man." John Cena is currently filming "The
Marine," which is why WWE concocted the fictitious storyline of Cena
being attacked at a nightclub. To explain Kane's lengthy absence, Gene
Snitsky used a steel chair to pummel him at "Taboo Tuesday."
On a side note, what is the point of signing Snitsky vs. Kane in a
chain match, if Snitsky is permitted to use a chair? It seems
illogical and completely demeans the entire idea of choosing a
stipulation when the heel wrestler can do what he wants.
n Contrary to reports, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall haven't officially
signed with TNA. "The Outsiders" are scheduled to participate in TNA's
first three-hour pay-per-view, "Victory Road" on Nov. 7. TNA still
remains confident that a deal will be done well before the show.
TNA found itself in a similar situation a few years ago when it
announced that Hulk Hogan was headed to the promotion. Hogan backed
out at the last minute, leaving TNA with the unenviable task of
explaining to fans what happened with "The Hulkster."