TPFKATL Last Call with Mallory: Recap of "The Ultimate Fighter" Week 2; Chyna's shocking confession; a look at the Royal Rumble
Jan 28, 2005 - 7:55:00 PM
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By Mallory Mahling
Sunday night is the Royal Rumble--the second WWE pay-per-view this month. With New Year's Revolution being a bit of a stinker, WWE had better hope this week's TV was enough to persuade viewers to cough up another $35, even if it is for one of WWE's major annual events.
Amazon.com may know something we don't know...or maybe they're just overly optimistic. The DVD for the 2005 Royal Rumble is already listed on their website with a solid five-star rating.
Although there is an official theme song for the Royal Rumble ("Find the Real" by Alterbridge), I like the song from WWE's "West Side Story"-style commercial. So, with the Rumble Song playing on the Lounge jukebox to set the mood--and with cookies and balloons courtesy of TNA--let's take a look at the matches.
The Jets are gonna have their day tonight.
The Sharks are gonna have their way tonight.
The Puerto Ricans grumble, 'Fair fight,'
But if they start a rumble, we'll rumble them right!
We're gonna hand them a surprise tonight.
We're gonna cut them down to size tonight.
We said, 'Okay, no rumpus, no tricks,'
But if just in case they jump us, we're ready to mix.
The Royal Rumble. The selection process for this year's Rumble entrants has been one of the most confusing and uninspiring in recent memory. Some qualifying matches were out-and-out squashes, while some were treated as pivotal. Some took place at house shows, but with fans conditioned to believe that if it doesn't happen on TV, it hasn't happened, those entrants seemed dubious. Some of the qualifying matches had stipulations that were changed on a whim. Some additions to the list were made arbitrarily with no qualifying matches at all. No Diva Search contestants made the final cut, but it wouldn't have surprised me, since they pop up everywhere else. There is still one open slot on the Smackdown side. Will it be a mystery entrant? Or did someone miscount?
Here's the almost-final list of Royal Rumble entrants:
From the Raw brand:
2. Shelton Benjamin.
5. Chris Jericho.
6. Shawn Michaels.
9. Muhammad Hassan.
10. Jonathan Coachman.
11. Ric Flair.
12. Gene Snitsky.
13. Simon Dean.
14. Hurricane Helms.
15. Chris Benoit.
From the Smackdown brand:
1. Daniel Puder.
2. Booker T.
3. Charlie Haas.
4. Luther Reigns.
5. Mark Jindrak.
6. Orlando Jordan.
7. Scotty 2 Hotty.
8. John Cena.
9. Rey Mysterio.
10. Eddie Guerrero.
11. Kenzo Suzuki.
12. Hardcore Holly.
13. Rene Dupree
14. Paul London
My pick to win is Viscera. Just kidding. I'm picking Batista to win the Rumble and take that next step up the ladder of success.
(Raw) World Heavyweight Championship Match: Triple H vs. Randy Orton . I'm picking Triple H to retain the title. Why? Because Triple H vs. Batista at WrestleMania 21 would be the best and freshest thing to happen to Raw in a long time. With Triple H and Batista at odds, the possibilities are endless. The same cannot be said of Triple H vs. Randy Orton.
(Smackdown) Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship: John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Kurt Angle vs. Big Show. I'm going to go out on a limb here and pick JBL to retain. Moving right along...
(Smackdown) Casket Match: Undertaker vs. Jon Heidenreich. *Rolling eyes* (And not in an Undertaker-like way.) All the Druids, chanting, eerie music, and special effects in the world will not make this a good match. The only saving grace in this angle was Paul Heyman, and he's gone. It's just Heidenreich and 'Taker now and we all know the Undertaker isn't going anywhere in a casket. My pick to win is the Undertaker.
(Raw) Shawn Michaels vs. Edge. The brash young star vs. the Showstoppa--an interesting mix of long hair, good looks, and innate ability. This will very likely be one of the best matches on the card. My pick is Edge. He is due for a win, if only to shut him up.
The Ultimate Fighter, Week 2.
The second episode of "The Ultimate Fighter" was a tough one for Team Couture. By the end of the hour, the team had lost a middleweight and a light heavyweight. It was, however, a good night for the show's ratings. It followed Raw with another 1.4 rating, which is an amazing number for Spike TV at that hour of the night.
UFC President Dana White told the contestants that their only job was to train, learn, and get into better shape, but being isolated from the rest of the world began to take its toll on some of the hopefuls and irritating habits began to grate on frayed nerves.
Diego Sanchez appears to be something of a primadonna, grabbing the delicacies in the kitchen for himself and getting into a pissing match with Stephan Bonnar over asparagus tips. Diego's bathing habits (from hot bath to cold shower and back again) also annoyed Bonnar, who was tired of walking around in Diego's soggy footsteps. Bonnar called him a pig, which led to a "talk to the hand" moment worthy of the Springer show. Diego was unconcerned with Bonnar's opinion and said he was more than willing to ground and pound him.
The first team challenge was for the light heavyweights. They were to carry their coaches in a recliner and navigate an obstacle course along the shores of Lake Mead. Coach Couture ended up getting dunked in the water and Team Liddell won the challenge. This meant one of Couture's light heavyweights would be going home. As he made his difficult decision he noted that Bonnar was well-rounded, Mike Swick had heart, and Lodune Sincaid was a free spirit, but physically gifted. Couture observed that Jason Thacker's struggles last week had caused his team to rally behind him and he was almost like the team mascot, but he had to cut him. The country boy who almost quit last week just wasn't an ultimate fighter.
Back at the house, the booze was flowing freely, and Forest Griffin questioned Lodune about being such a lush. Lodune is definitely a character, and seemed to have a strategy of getting into the other guys' heads by wearing "man panties" around the house.
Where there is booze, Chris Leben, an obnoxious drunk, is sure to be in the vicinity. This guy is a character, too, but in an annoying way. Last year, he'd had a match with Mike Swick, another house mate, and had won. It had been Swick's only loss, and it clearly ate at him. He wanted to get his win back, and Leben called him out. Nothing came of it, but Leben was relentless in his needling.
Although a strict rule of the competition is that no one is to leave the property or talk on the phone, Leben jumped the fence and went looking for a pay phone. The others hoped that meant he'd be disqualified.
The next day, Couture met with his team and commented on Leben's negative energy. Leben assured his coach that he would not drink for the remainder of the contest. Easier said than done, I have a feeling. Oddly, Leben's infraction of the rules went unpunished.
Back at the house, Lodune, who'd enjoyed stirring the pot of antagonism, had "a moment of clarity," poured out his beer and said that he wanted to be a warrior. With no job or apartment to go home to, he'd decided it was time to straighten up and take advantage of what this opportunity could mean to him. He apologized for his behavior, which Couture said he appreciated.
The second challenge of the episode was for the middleweights. Each team had to carry a telephone pole, saw it into pieces, then put it back together. Again, Team Liddell won the challenge and Team Couture was faced with another elimination.
Back at the house, Leben was complaining about being "blessed with a lackluster team." Wah, wah, wah.
With the elimination looming, the others felt that Leben had made his bed, so to speak, and now had to lay in it. That was an ironic choice of words, since last week an inebriated Leben had "spritzed" in one of their beds.
At the UFC Training Center, Randy Couture called his middleweight team together for the elimination. In choosing who to keep on his team, Couture called Nathan Quarry a rock--someone who'd come prepared and has all the tools necessary to become an ultimate fighter. He said Alex Karalexis was one of the best athletes in the group. That left Chris Sanford and Chris Leben. Couture said Leben had issues, but he also had the necessary grit and determination for the sport. Since it was Couture's mission to put the best fighter on the mat, he chose to keep Leben on the team and cut Sanford, who disappointedly admitted he could have been in better shape. Sanford said Leben was an accident waiting to happen, and few could argue with that.
This was the last of the coaches' eliminations. Next week the fourteen who remain will have to "fight for their survival." Eliminations begin in the Octagon this coming Monday night immediately following Raw on Spike TV.
This week's episode of "The Surreal Life" was a little different. Sure, it started the same way, with Chyna doing something eccentric--and Chyna in the kitchen wearing a ratty bathrobe and carrying a Louis Vuitton handbag was definitely eccentric. (Either she doesn't trust her housemates, or she just wanted to flaunt her super-pricey handbag. I'm guessing it was the latter.) It was there that the house guests learned that they would be taking a road trip to do some horseback riding and camp out overnight in the woods.
When they arrived at the ranch, Chyna managed to trip over Verne (Mini Me) Troyer and step in a pile of horse manure. Chyna admitted she was "not outdoorsy" and proceeded to break most of the nine-inch nails of her extreme manicure. In a string of comments apropos of nothing, she also talked about alien horses, Mr. Edd, and cows being stupid like fish. The reaction of her companions was a collective, "Huh?"
The campers were told they'd be having beans and franks for dinner; however, if they branded a calf, they could have steak and lobster. This was an affront to Jane Wiedlin, an animal activist. She was even more offended when her new best friend, "Top Model" Adrianne, opted to brand the calf and eat the steak. Fortunately, those ruffled feathers were smoothed over and the group continued to the campsite.
With nothing much to do in the middle of nowhere, the gang got out the booze and let their guards down around the campfire. Da Brat commented on Chyna's garish style of makeup ("a pound of rouge on the right cheek and a pound of rouge on the left cheek") and told Joanie she was beautiful and didn't need all that paint on her face.
That touched Joanie, who said she felt like she had more family on "The Surreal Life" than she had in her real life (which was an incredibly sad statement). She said she had "no family, no friends, horrible relationship problems, and was always going overboard." She tearfully confided that six months ago she had swallowed a bottle of pills and tried to kill herself. Her boyfriend had been there, she said, and she'd locked herself in the bathroom.
That revelation shocked the others, and Christopher "Peter Brady" Knight gave her a sincere piece of advice: "You don't always have to be the entertainer. Sometimes it's nice to be entertained...and sometimes to just be." She was touched by his words, and the episode ended in a group hug. It was heartwarming and the first real moment of the series so far.
Next week the gang gets the spa treatment and someone does some pole dancing at a night club. Guess who.
Last week, evil Jonathan and his long-suffering wife, Victoria, were the last to arrive at the "Amazing Race" pit stop and were eliminated from the competition. The smirk on the host's face as he gave them the "bad" news was priceless.
This week, Lori and Bolo, the husband and wife wrestlers, were eliminated. Although they excelled at all the physical tasks, it was a few unread words on a clue that tripped them up. The oversight cost them so much time that there was no catching up. Needless to say, Lori expressed her displeasure to Bolo with a few heated words. They had played the game well. Sure, they called each other names from time to time, but unlike Jonathan and Victoria, they respected and supported each other as teammates, both in reality, as well as reality TV.
Stops along the Road to WrestleMania 21.
The Road to WrestleMania 21 Tour kicked off last week and will be at the Granite Run Mall, 1067 West Baltimore Pike in Media, Pennsylvania, Saturday (January 29) from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The tour will be in Strongsville, Ohio, next Friday, February 4, and Saturday, February 5. Look for Hillbilly Jim at the Southpark Center Mall, 500 Southpark Center, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Other stops on the long and winding road to Los Angeles include:
- February 12-13 - Oakland Mall, Troy, Michigan
- February 18-19 - Lincoln Town Center, Lincolnwood, Illinois
- February 25-26 - West County Shopping Mall, Des Peres, Missouri
- March 3-5 - Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota
- March 11-12 - Town East Mall, Mesquite, Texas
- March 18-19 - First Colony Mall, Sugar Land, Texas
- March 25-26 - Fiesta Mall, Mesa, Arizona
- April 1-2 - Fox Hills Mall, Culver City, California
Each stop will give fans an opportunity to enjoy a variety of wrestling-related activities, memorabilia displays, and a Hall of Fame display. There will also be a main stage for autograph signings, contests and more. Hillbilly Jim is hosting the tour again this year.
That's it for this week. Enjoy the Royal Rumble, and I'll be back Monday with a Raw preview and my "alternative perspective" virtual time coverage of Raw.
Feedback? You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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