October 26th, 2002

WWE viewer emotion was kicked into high gear this past week on both RAW and SmackDown! The "Funeral Parlor" scene sparked more complaint from viewers than either the Billy n' Chuck televised wedding and HLS, while The American BadAss's leave taking left us with mixed feelings of loss and awe.

Much has been said about the October 21st episode of RAW where Triple H called for the rolling of a tape featuring necrophilia, supposedly perpetrated by KANE some ten years ago. From what I've seen, an astounding majority felt the segment was in extremely poor taste and of no value to either the show or the characters involved what-so-ever. Yet it appears 'the powers that be' want to continue this storyline.

Now, I can get into the 'Darker Side' of wrestling characters storylines - especially when dealing with KANE, the UnderTaker and any of the characters that were once a part of the Lord of Darkness scenario. But here the WWE went beyond 'dark' to downright nasty and disgusting. It's one thing to have KANE involved with drinking and driving and getting into an accident that would cost the life of a dear friend. OK - let's go the extra mile and add that the dear friend was a gal KANE had intimate relations with. Aside from the fact that this TOTALLY kills off the history the WWE has spent a few months more than five years building on KANE, it would give the character and the WWE a chance to make a statement on the ills of drunk driving - teen or otherwise. There would still be a great deal of run time for this storyline - Triple H accusing KANE of getting drunk on purpose because the gal had decided to end the relationship, or stating KANE wasn't drunk at all but angered beyond reason and designing to wreck the car to end BOTH their lives. Any number of other characters could have gotten involved from BOTH sides of the brand rosters. The fans and followers would have had something to sink their teeth into to boot - did KANE make a little mistake that will haunt him the rest of his life? Or is he guilty of a murder suicide attempt that he only half way succeeded in?

But the WWE decided to take the murkiest direction in the filthiest angle todate, and I have to wonder if this is some kind of back stage politicing attempt to end KANE's career. I can not begin to understand why they would otherwise center this shameful excuse for a story around one of the WWE's most popular and endearing characters. KANE has always been a strong favorite with the thirteen and under fans, most seeing him as a super-hero of sorts. I don't know too many parents that will allow their G through PG-13 kiddies to watch segments like the "Funeral Parlor" scene. And I know - the WWE doesn't particularly cater to the G through PG-13 crowd - but they have to know that a good portion of their live shows are attended by this age group, and an even bigger portion of their merchandise revenue comes from purchases for this group. Then again, the age group the WWE claims as their target has never voiced a propensity for delving into necrophila either. The horror films of the day center more on special effects of the gory and mindless violence nature.

WWE management choses to stand behind this debacle, those in position to make statements have done so in support of the fugly direction of this script. Only a very small number have had the termidity to stand up and call a spade a spade and offer something in the way of salvage. The WWE needs to not only start listening it's fanbase - from the snide remarks certain commentators relish adding in their weekly posts, we KNOW they hear us - it really needs to start implementing changes according to the fans desires. I'd suggest they start with this sordid storyline.

Thursday, October 24th saw the first SmackDown! after No Mercy 2002, and changing of the guard of sorts between the Yard Dawg, 'Taker and The Next Big Thing, Brock Lesnar. With a class only HE could present, The UnderTaker gave Brock his own personal 'pop' and major props. I'm not at all surprised.

'Taker has long been a sturdy girder of the WWE during his 12 + year run in professional wrestling. He's the kind of guy that sees the bigger picture and endeavors to acheive unprecedented heights - taking as many as will go with him. Long is the list of names that can attribute their success in some measure to the UnderTaker. The mere mention of a name from his lips and fans start to take notice of that particular grappler. Getting into a feud with The Phenom has been tantamount to SuperStar status for some who would otherwise have had to mid-card for a much longer spell.

While Brock Lesnar is a force to be reckoned with in and of himself, going toe to toe with 'Taker has only served to build his character on an even stronger foundation. Winning at No Mercy in a hellacious and "you-totally-got-more-bang-for-your-buck" match environment that is signature 'Taker, Brock showed the world he deserved every bit of the limelight he's received since his WWE debut in March.

In true Bad-Ass mode, 'Taker called Brock out and let the lad know of his appreciation of a bout well fought. That Brock gave a little of it back to the Big Dawg was, indeed, a credit to the young duffer. And then 'Taker began to make a kind of "leave taking" speech to the throng of viewers and faithfull followers - interupted promptly by none other that The Big Show. What transpired then was a well scripted and stellar display of what makes 'Taker THE Phenom so revered and admired by the locker-room and fans alike.

The Big Show got off some pretty scathing remarks, which 'Taker deftly deflected and adroitly matched - leaving nothing for it but for both men to make their exits. In age old tradition, the "top dog" usually leads the way, but Show seemed to be following a tad to closely, and 'Taker politely, if warily, offered to have Show walk ahead of him. The Giant declined, of course, and at some point the two seemed to be making their ways up the ramp along side each other, with Show eventually going back stage first. As 'Taker went to the corners of the stage and hailed the crowd, we all knew Show would be back to get his revenge on being verbally bested. The segment faded out on Big Show standing at the edge of the stage looking down at the still and crumpled form of The UnderTaker, whom Show had lifted and flung to the floor below.

As the show continues, after commercial, 'Taker is surrounded by EMT's, Stephanie McMahon and a good many back stage hands and wrestler - each trying to give aide to the injured DeadMan. After a number of attempts to secure the unconscious gargantuan, 'Taker fights out of his stuper and attempts to get up and away on his own. A volley of cries from those in attendance that The Big Guy allow them to help him fall on deaf ears as 'Taker stumbles up and eventually exits the arena on his own two feet . . . to roof-raising accolades from the fans. The fallen champion of the people had risen, winded, battle weary and bruised, but NEVER broken.

This epitomizes for me what 'Taker has shown throughout his career - the bumps may be tough, the battles at times seemingly insurmountable, the challenges ~ never ending . . . but you reach down as deep a you need to, and you pull out whatever there is that helps you get up and move on.

Best wishes to 'Taker, Sara and the newest additon to their family. While he recoups, may they enjoy familial discovery and recreation to be treasured for a long time to come.