Mocha Mr. Clean's The Dirty Truth

November 9, 2010

Dudleys Do Right!

Filed under: Pro Wrestling — mochamrclean @ 8:13 am

(TNA Wrestling)

Whether you prefer to call them Team 3-D or The Dudleys or The Dudley Boyz, you have to respect Bubba Ray and D-Von for all their accomplishments and recognize them as one of the greatest tag teams of all time.

Oftentimes, when anyone – in any field – retires, folks tend to wax nostalgic and play the revisionist history game. They distort the truth a bit, have selective memories and pump up the retired honorees’ accomplishments. And now that Team 3-D has officially retired (or, at the very least, they’ve walked away from a Total Nonstop Action wrestling ring – let’s hope retirement’s for real), there will be plenty of debate over their place in sport of the king of kings. Are their 23 titles truly impressive, given that they also lost these championships nearly two dozen times and that they thrived in an era that, for the most part de-emphasized tag team wrestling? How do they stack up next to The Road Warriors, The British Bulldogs, The Midnight Express, The Hart Foundation, et al?

Here’s The Dirty Truth: The 23 titles are not what made The Dudleys great. And they really were not all that innovative. (Unique, yes, but not really that innovative.) They did not really change pro wrestling but did something just as important. They proudly carried on the tradition of their tag team forefathers. They reminded everyone of the path that teams like Hawk & Animal, The Wild Samoans, The Valiants and the list goes on paved for them, even as the pre-eminent wrestling organization in the world, WWE, continued to take a big fat dump on tag teams year after year.

WWE has not cared about tag team wrestling for about the last decade. What’s that you say? DX? Sorry, my hero – the real DX was a faction and I guess Triple H and HBK can technically be considered a tag team. But Hunter and Shawn Michaels were not really a tandem. As DX they were really two individuals who were more concerned with hijinx and havoc than tag team artistry and championships.

Let’s look at some facts about modern day WWE and tag teams. Sure, the Attitude Era classics that featured Edge & Christian, The Dudleys and The Hardy Boys were classics and revived tag team wrestling in WWE. But that was a long time ago. Sure they became “interested” again with the Unified Tag Team Titles, but look at what they’ve done with their tag teams.

WWE’s creative team tinkered with the formula of The Road Warriors and practically destroyed them. (Any wrestling fan who has watched more than 10 or 15 years will remember – with horror – how Droz, Sunny and puppet named Rocco were all part of the Legion of Doom at one point.)  They like to break up all the “real” legitimate tag teams. (I’m not talking about the ones that are thrown together for two or three months – ie. Big Show & Chris Jericho, Big Show & Miz, Cody Rhodes & Drew McIntyre.) Remember when WWE broke up The Dudleys and thought they could make them singles stars. (I bet D-Von still cringes when his “Reverend D-Von gimmick comes up.) Cryme Tyme, The Colons (Primo & Carlito), Miz & Morrison (okay, they were thrown-together tandem that actually became a team) are just a few examples of real teams that separated in recent years. For Miz & Morrison, it may have been time to break them up, but there was no good reason to break up Cryme Tyme and The Colons. And the individual careers of everyone in those two teams have faltered ever since.

That’s what makes the current storyline with young Hart Dynasty so discouraging. Barely six months after deciding to truly push David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd (with Natalya Neidhart) and giving them the tag team championships, WWE, it seems, have decided to break them up. They’ve teased a feud between Smith and Kidd for weeks now and it just further illustrates The Dirty Truth: WWE doesn’t give a rat’s ass about tag teams.

The Harts had a ready-made feud with The Uso Brothers that had a ready-made, layered storyline with four talented wrestlers (six, if you count Natalya and Tamia, the ladies accompanying both teams). These teams could have had classic matches and traded tag championship title wins for months. But WWE squashed the feud and storyline about as quickly as they started it and poured practically all its energy into The Nexus.

Unless Teddy Hart is somewhere waiting in the wings to emerge as D.H. Smith’s partner in a revamped Hart Dynasty, nothing good can come from this imminent breakup. It’s a heartbreaking situation (pun-intended) and Kidd and Smith will not thrive apart from each other at this stage of their careers.

Bubba Ray and D-Von knew they were much better off together than apart and they bucked the odds and system to stay together. They traveled all over the world, as far as Japan, to face the best teams. They were lucky to find a home in TNA, which still values the art of tag team wrestling and boasts some of the best teams today in The Motor City Machine Guns, Beer Money and Generation Me.

It’s not Team 3-D’s fault that the industry (or at least the WWE) de-emphasized tag teams. However, they managed to stay true to themselves and will train a future generation in some of the dying fundamentals and nuances in pro wrestling. That’s Bubba Ray and D-Von’s greatest legacy … and that’s The Dirty Truth. Testify!

~mmc

October 31, 2010

Clean Off Your Slate … or Shut the ‘F’ Up!

Filed under: Pro Wrestling — mochamrclean @ 8:37 pm

“You can’t be afraid to take chances. … You can’t be afraid of the unknown.”

These wise words of advice come from perhaps soon-to-be former WWE Superstar Matt Hardy. Ol’ Matthew’s been all the buzz on all the pro wrestling chat rooms and sites recently with his compliments about TNA, comments about WWE not being the right place for him anymore and musings about the “next chapter” of his life.

Here’s the “Dirty Truth” about the Matt Hardy situation – Matt’s always been good at drawing attention to himself via social networking. He was on that bandwagon long before it had wheels. But if he wanted career advancement (ie. Become a singles World Champion), he really should have left WWE a long time ago. In fact, the argument can be made that he never should have returned after WWE fired him following that love triangle involving him, Edge and Lita.

Matt was never hotter than he was following his firing in wake of that real-life soap opera. Ring of Honor? TNA Wrestling? The marks and smarks were salivating, holding on to Matt’s every word, wondering where he would pop up and what he would say, as his online comments about his former best friend, the lady love of his life and the company that made him a star provided revolutionary, almost unheard of behind-the-scenes insight.

So what happened? Matt returned to WWE. And besides a few hot months of feuding with Edge and Lita (yes, WWE exploits any-and-everything – it’s smart business folks, even if not exactly ethical), he got absolutely nothing in the years that followed. Yes, Matthew enjoyed a few titles – the U.S., ECW and tag team titles, to be exact – but let’s face it, folks. Those titles mean nothing in the modern-day WWE. Unless you enjoy status of someone like The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Triple H and to an extent, John Cena – Superstars who don’t need to hold a belt – the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships are all that matter in Vince World. Everything else is an afterthought.

And that’s precisely what Matt became in WWE – an afterthought. A bitch. The fans loved him – arenas rocked whenever he made entrances – but that didn’t buy him the affection of the office. He took it lying down (literally) when Edge and Lita won the storyline/on-camera version of their feud and watched the Rated-R Superstar win world championships several times over. He watched his drug-addled, ungrateful younger brother get opportunities and waste them and get them again until he was ultimately rewarded for bad behavior with the WWE and World Championships.

 

 

Despite his comparatively well-behaved and what did he get? The bronze medal; sometimes a silver. But he was never considered “main event material” in WWE. In fact, in recent years, if you were young and needed a boost to the top, Matt was your stepping stone. Drew McIntyre and Zack Ziggler owe the older Hardy boy a lot of thanks.

So why did Matt stay with WWE? Maybe it was a sense of loyalty. But maybe he thought that TNA couldn’t make him a bigger star. TNA has never produced a star bigger than any WWE wrestler. What do I mean by this? AJ Styles is a home-grown TNA wrestler. He has held their world championship and is more talented than Matt Hardy. But he is not a bigger star.

Dear Matthew is still a young man in his mid-thirties with untapped potential. Let’s hope that he gets what he wants and is able to move on, even if it’s outside the pro wrestling ring. Sometimes it seems pro wrestlers get tunnel vision and just can’t walk away. (See Ric Flair and Mick Foley. I love those guys, but they have long-overstayed their welcome. Go A-WAY and enjoy your lives.)

It’s time for Matt to have a clean slate. But if he doesn’t take a chance and returns to his “comfort zone” in WWE, then he needs to shut the fuck up. And that’s “The Dirty Truth.”

– Mmc (Mocha Mr. Clean)

March 16, 2010

Headlocks and Health Care

Filed under: Politics,Pro Wrestling — mochamrclean @ 5:10 pm

Just like I’ve suspected all along … there is no real difference between politics and professional wrestling (except for perhaps one thing:  pro wrestlers don’t really hide who they are).

Still, I’d love to see Jake “The Snake” Roberts DDT some of these jokers in Washington, and that’s The Dirty Truth!

~mmc

July 23, 2008

Things That Make You Go …

Filed under: Media,Pop Culture,Pro Wrestling — mochamrclean @ 5:04 am

As Arsenio Hall used to say, some things just make you go, “Hmmmm …”

For example, wrestling fans, isn’t Shawn Michaels looking more and more like the late George Carlin every year? (And I’m not just talking about the thin layer of fuzz on his chinny-chin-chin.)

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.

And doesn’t Cody Rhodes bear a striking resemblance to that Geico lizard?

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.

And shouldn’t that 49-year-old Michael Polinko guy from those Bowflex commercials be 50 (or older) already?

I’m not being a hater; I’m just sayin’ …

That’s not just some food for thought, ladies and gentleman. That’s a dose of The Dirty Truth.

~mmc

July 13, 2008

Foxy Roxxi

Filed under: Pro Wrestling — mochamrclean @ 7:25 pm

I don’t care what anyone says. TNA Wrestling’s Roxxi Laveaux is foxy. Voodoo Queen, shaven head – Sinead O’Connor-style, whatever … the woman is sexy!

(TNA Entertainment, Inc.)

In the world of professional wrestling, where women wrestlers find it especially difficult (and their careers short-lived) because looks are so much more valued than actual in-ring skill, Roxxi has guts. Women having their heads shaved and bleeding in a match is practically unheard of in the sport of kings and queens, but the former Nikki Roxx (given name: Nicole Raczynski) has done both. She must have incredible desire to succeed in the squared circle and let’s hope she gets suitably rewarded with some kind of women’s championship someday. One thing is for sure, the fans in TNA love her.

And TNA should be given credit for breaking the mold with the way female performers were largely perceived in wrestling in recent years – as mere eye candy with little skill – thanks to the post-Trish Stratus/Lita era WWE. The Knockouts are the only thing TNA really does well these days.

The folks in Stamford, Conn. may not really consider the powers-that-be in Orlando, Fla. real competition, but TNA has forced WWE to rethink its women’s division. Why do you think the talented Mickie James (who really has it all and has endured all kinds of obstacles in WWE) is currently enjoying some air time on TV and pay-per-views and a WWE Women’s Championship reign? Why do you think WWE has created a new Divas Championship to counteract the TNA Knockout Title and is pushing Natalya Neidhart to the sky? (And you have to love a woman who executes The Sharpshooter better than the so-called “icon” Sting. Thanks, Uncle Bret Hart!) How much you want to bet that Mickie, Natalya, Victoria, Beth Phoenix and other “real” women wrestlers in WWE watch TNA every week and are thrilled about the Knockouts’ success?

Roxxi, Gail Kim, Awesome Kong, ODB, Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, Taylor Wilde and all the rest of the Knockouts in TNA – you go, girls!

~mmc

July 2, 2008

Punked Out? Nope … It’s Real … It’s DAMN Real!

Filed under: Pro Wrestling — mochamrclean @ 1:08 am

World Wrestling Entertainment

(World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.)

I have to admit, WWE had me going for awhile there. When my brother-in-arms, Craig-o-Wolf, text-messaged me while I was at work and told me CM Punk had cashed in his Money in the Bank opportunity, I thought there was no way WWE would let him be a World Champion. (And let’s face it, they don’t really consider the ECW Championship a World Title.)

And when I saw Punk beat Edge for the World Championship on my DVR, I couldn’t quite believe it. When JBL pretty much immediately challenged him, I just knew the fix was in. Even though Punk won the World Title, WWE would succeed in burying him in almost the worst way possible by losing it in the same night – to a guy who is practically a McMahon cousin and has A LOT of pull in WWE.

But WWE proved my skeptical ass wrong this time. I’ll give credit where it’s due: Excluding the shameless McMahon accident stunt, WWE has been unpredictable and actually entertaining the past few weeks. A month ago, there’s no way anyone could have ever predicted that CM Punk and new Intercontinental Champ Kofi Kingston would be ruling Raw – WWE’s flagship show. It’s like they went from the outhouse (ECW) to the penthouse nearly overnight.

But Punk is hardly an overnight sensation, folks. You marks know that despite WWE’s portrayal of him as a “youngster”, Punk has been doing it the hard way for years. He traveled all over the country – all over the world – for years, dreaming of a chance to be a top dog in the top wrestling company in the world (and yes, WWE, you still are a wrestling company).

Hardcore fans of Punk remember him tearing down the house with Chris Hero in high school gymnasiums long before his WWE debut. (To see what I’m talking out, check of “The Best of CM Punk” DVD from Full Impact Pro.)

The Best of CM Punk

They remember him having to endure being an “extra” during John Cena’s glitzy, gangster entrance at WrestleMania XXII in his hometown of Chicago.

Punk has the rep of being a rebel. WWE has watered down his style (his version of Triple H’s Pedigree is more devastating) and you’ve seen him endure backstage punishment at times in losses to folks like Matt Striker. Some fans don’t like him or his small gut. But to many, many more, he can do no wrong. Wrestling purists probably haven’t cheered a World Title win this loudly since Chris Benoit made Triple H tap – and WWE had two basic light heavyweights/wrestling maestros as their champions in The Rabid Wolverine and Eddie Guerrero.

Will Punk’s title reign last long? Will WWE build him into a strong champion? Probably not. But it’s nice to have that nice Raw moment. It’s nice to have something resembling real joy – and hope.

~mmc

June 29, 2008

How ‘The Dirty Truth’ Got Banned and Censored

Filed under: Pro Wrestling — mochamrclean @ 7:00 pm

Greetings, true believers! Some of you may be wondering if I was just blowing smoke when I said “The Dirty Truth” was banned on one Web site. Here is what got Mocha Mr. Clean in trouble a few months ago on the Web site for WWE.com:

The Dirty Truth About ‘WWE.com Headquarters’

Okay, okay … you may be wondering this at this very minute: “What kind of person calls himself ‘Mocha Mr. Clean’?” What will this mark blog about?

Well, basically, my purpose is not unlike many of you. I’m a longtime (24 years strong and counting) wrestling fan, pretty much seen all of the major modern day stars and should-have-been stars come and go. I’m not from the age of Bruno, but I do remember seeing Terra Ryzing make his debut in WCW way back when WCW aired a show around midnight on CBS in the New York City market in front of Disney World tourists.

I’m here to weed out ass-kickers from the ass-kissers, the true fan from the flash-in-the-pan, and most of all, have fun, invite discussion … and get down to the dirty truth. No one will be safe – not WWE, not TNA, not McCain, Hillary or Obama. Not even yours truly. I promise to be fair, but can’t promise to hide my outrage when it’s warranted, especially when there are outright lies being told, intelligence insulted and history ignored.

And that brings me to the first matter at hand – an outright lie that was told on WWE.com. By the way, this lie was NOT the fault of the good people who work for this Web site – they had to do what they were told. What was the lie? It was seen on the video featuring now-former ECW announcer Joey Styles as he addressed the fans about his new role at WWE.com.

By the way, I love Joey Styles. Before WWE watered him down, I couldn’t get enough of his unbridled “Oh my God!!!” passion behind the mic. Perhaps no one else could be both the play-by-play and color commentator the way he could. His “shoot” promo on Raw remains the best thing he’s done during his time at WWE, but most true fans may agree that his best work – his legacy – was etched in the true ECW, the one in that “bingo hall” in Philadelphia built of blood, sweat, tears and those hardcore fans.

Anyway, on this video, Styles said he was coming to us from “WWE.com headquarters.” Now, some of you may thing WWE.com headquarters is in that building (the corporate headquarters) with the WWE scratch logo flag you see off I-95 while driving through Stamford, Conn. Not true, ladies and gents … not true.

You see, the real WWE.com headquarters is located nearby on slightly more suburban Hamilton Avenue in a gravel pit, behind the TV studios, where lots of construction and drilling are the norm. Behold, the true home of WWE.com:

Yes, it’s a trailer.

Hmmmm. For company that makes money hand over fist and does an awful lot of community work, it sure has a peculiar way of appreciating its employees – or at least its dotcom personnel. I hear you need to flush the toilets twice in that trailer just the make them work properly. In addition, the vending machine has been known to be filled with expired, dust-covered soda cans.

And that, my friends, is the dirty truth. The truth isn’t always pretty, but sometimes, you just gotta come clean.

~mmc

Yup, the hierarchy in World Wrestling Entertainment got in a big ol’ huff when one blogger from their WWE Fan Nation dared to tell the truth about how they treat some of their employees. WWE is not the biggest fish to fry in the world – far from it. But it is a microcosm of the corporate world and what it’s like. Oh well, the truth hurts sometimes … and most people just can’t handle it.

~mmc

Requiem for a Killer

Filed under: Pro Wrestling — mochamrclean @ 6:14 pm

Just a little more than a year ago, thousands of wrestling fans were left speechless at the news that Chris Benoit was dead, that he had killed his wife Nancy and young son Daniel before taking his own life.

Many were disgusted, angry with themselves for initially grieving Benoit, because at first they, like WWE, didn’t realize the circumstances of Benoit and his family’s demise. “F$%k Benoit!” was a cry heard often.

WWE, as a public company, tried to distance itself as much as it could from the “Rabid Wolverine” and the steroid tremors his murder-suicide triggered. Meanwhile, family and friends of the Benoits were at a loss. Despite all the analysis from the talking heads who didn’t know Benoit or the industry, and wrestling “insiders” with axes to grind, they had to accept that no one would ever know why Benoit snapped one night. He didn’t leave a note and even his closest friends said they never saw it coming.

And though many will not admit this, a lot of fans still don’t know how to mourn Benoit. Some don’t know if they should even acknowledge his memory. They want to mourn the performer and miss what he brought to the ring, but can’t separate the murderer from the Superstar. Benoit’s name has practically become taboo. It’s easy to understand WWE’s attempts to erase him from history from a business standpoint, even if you don’t quite agree with it.

Still, it’s difficult from a longtime fan’s point of view to just “erase” Benoit. The image of Eddie Guerrero and “The Crippler” sobbing in the ring at WrestleMania XX after Benoit won the World Heavyweight Championship is unbelievably sad today. Here were two best friends who had struggled together against all odds to get to the top of their profession and both were now champions. The emotion in Madison Square Garden that day was electric and genuine because the fans knew their story. Today, just four years later, both are dead and some fans can’t even look at that picture. It’s too heartbreaking.

But here is what can be done: Hug your loved ones. Cherish your opportunities. Don’t become so obsessed with reaching your goals that you lose yourself. And say a prayer for the family and friends of Nancy, Daniel and Chris Benoit, who will never have answers and will always have a hole in their hearts. Show them the compassion WWE failed to give them last week when, on the anniversary of a one horrible day, they chose make attempted murder entertainment.

~mmc

Tasteless: WWE Mocks a Real-Life Death

Filed under: Media,Pro Wrestling — mochamrclean @ 5:36 pm

Is there no decency, even in pro wrestling and WWE, anymore?

When I saw Mr. McMahon’s “accident” following the last of his million-dollar giveaway on Raw last Monday night, my fears and suspicions of the past three weeks were unfortunately confirmed. Almost a month ago, my stomach churned when I saw Mr. McManiac rear his ugly mug back on TV and announce that he was going to give away millions of “his own” money to the public. McMahon had mostly stayed away from TV for a little, especially before WrestleMania XXIV, and I had hoped he would stay away.

But when he re-emerged and announced “McMahon’s Millions”, I smelled a stunt. For some reason in recent years, VKM has seemed hell-bent on pulling off stunts that he really believes will give WWE a mainstream jolt in a good way. Last year was the limo explosion and “death” of Mr. McMahon – and we all know where that went. That angle just had bad karma from the very beginning and had to be shelved when the murder-suicide involving Chris Benoit and his family shook the entire industry to its core. I had hoped that McMahon would never stoop to another life-death-murder angle again. Right now, WWE is portraying the story as an “accident that befell Mr. McMahon.” But anyone who has watched wrestling closely and for a long time can tell you this angle won’t stop at that. It will turn into a “Who tried to kill Mr. McMahon” storyline.

Last week, as the stage set fell on Mr. McMahon in an amateurish-looking stunt (on live TV, you could tell that he wasn’t actually hit by anything), I was reminded yet again to never say never about the wrestling business, especially where WWE is concerned. Hell, incredibly, KHOU-TV in Houston actually reported the incident as a legit, straight-up news story. (Dumbasses. Note to KHOU-TV: Professional wrestling is choreographed. It consists of storylines where the outcomes are predetermined. Read the memo next time.)

You see, I might be taking this form of “entertainment” a little too seriously, but I don’t find death/murder/attempted entertaining in wrestling. I can’t believe McMahon decided to launch a “Who Tried to Kill Mr. McMahon” storyline practically a year to the day that Chris Benoit killed his wife Nancy and son Daniel before he hung himself in their Atlanta suburban home.

Honestly, is there no shame? Is there no consideration for the family and friends of Nancy, Daniel and yes, Chris? Is there no compassion for these poor people who will never find true closure in their loss and will never really know why Chris Benoit killed his wife, child and then himself? Where’s the humanity in any of this? No, instead these poor people, whose hearts are particularly heavy around this time, will probably have to endure having someone asking them whether they are aware McMahon’s outrageous little storyline.

Death is not a game. Life is too random, too fragile and must be cherished. We shouldn’t play games with bad karma. Vince McMahon must really want to die a tragic death – that’s really the only reason he must have for his penchant for putting himself in “wrestling death/attempted murder” storylines. Either that or he’s a true egomaniac. VKM has repeatedly said in recent years that he doesn’t want to be in front of the camera. However, time and again, we find him soaking up the airtime, like a some kind of parasite or crack fiend. Imagine the Superstars who could have been elevated if VKM had stayed behind the scenes for any real length of time? He must REALLY think he’s a ratings magnet, the star of the show.

One of the real problems with the assassination attempt angle is that VKM just legitimizes the criticism lobbed by people like Phil Mushnick, Brent Bozell and anybody in the media (and that includes CNN, MSNBC and FOX) – people who don’t know the industry. He erases any good will WWE generates with all the charity work it does for places like Make-A-Wish and the support it gives our troops.
Instead, WWE comes off as a heartless, money-grubbing, lowlife company.

No one is saying that Chris Benoit himself should be mourned and held in high regard. After all, he did the unforgivable. But the memories of Nancy and Daniel should be respected, and WWE spat on their graves last Monday night.

Just remember this: WWE did everything it could to separate itself from the Benoit murder-suicide last year, including attempting to hitch itself onto a one-source, largely unsubstantiated claim that Daniel suffered from Fragile X syndrome. WWE suggested that that may have fueled friction between Chris and Nancy. If anything, WWE owes a bit of gratitude to Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens and their late summer/early fall steroid dramas last year. It’s a good thing the mainstream media and government in general care more about the national pastime than professional wrestling because VKM would not have come off very well testifying in a Congressional hearing.

Last Monday night was a sad say – not just because of the Benoit tragedy, but for the WWE I once found fun, free of stunts. A WWE that didn’t take itself too seriously and didn’t feel like it had to rip off a “Who Shot J.R.” storyline. I miss the WWE that had heart and compassion – which the families of Nancy, Daniel and Chris Benoit all need at this time.
And that, my friends, is The Dirty Truth. Thanks for reading.
~mmc

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