The Humanoids: Wrestling with Reality

I’m back with more Humanoids fun. The grind at my 9-to-5 is picking up speed. That’s the sort of thing that you have to get used to as you transition from school life to the working world. As hard as we try, we can’t go to work on Fridays on four hours of sleep and with a massive hangover. If you’re an Ivey student/grad include Thursdays in the previous sentence. Reality is just starting to settle in on the many recent graduates around the world. Some people accept that and will move on with the daily grind for the next 40 or 45 years. Other people will do just about anything to fight off the start of the rest of their life. Today’s targets on The Humanoids are battling with what their futures will be.

After two weeks off since the last edition of The Humanoids, I kept forgetting to get around to writing this edition. I usually start writing long before Friday rolls around. I see something interesting during the week and just riff on it. It doesn’t matter if it happens Saturday morning after the column hits the web or Thursday night before the column goes to the web. So with all the interesting things that happened over the last week, naturally, I wait until Thursday night to even start writing the column. There’s nothing I do better than procrastinate… Except for maybe tell jokes on radio.

Bret Hart
If you haven’t been around the blog this week, then you would have missed our WWE Raw live blog. Twelve years had passed since The Hitman was in a WWE ring but he finally made his return on Monday night. Bret has been looking to finally get closure on his WWE career and that would never happen if the last thing he did in front of the fans was spit on Vince McMahon and salute the Montreal fans. He finally got to talk to the fans and confront Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon. Granted, that was all in storyline. In reality, everything had been talked out before otherwise Bret would have never come back. Of course, that doesn’t make for good television. No, good television is Bret vs. Vince in the match that folks have been waiting for since 1997. Well, there was a match. Bret punched out Vince after Survivor Series in 1997 while taking his post-match shower. The only problem is that all of a dozen folks may have seen that. When Vince and Bret get it on (presumably at WrestleMania 26), there’s going to be hell of a lot more folks watching than just 12. And just to stick it to NBC, more viewers were watching Monday Night Raw than Heroes on Monday night. Bret’s still the biggest draw in wrestling.

Hulk Hogan
Well, he didn’t beat the WWE in his debut with semi-nemesis promotion TNA. While Raw had more than 5 million viewers over the course of its two hours, TNA Impact averaged something in the neighbourhood of 2.5 million for its three hours. I know this was Hogan’s first show as a leading member of the TNA creative team but did he have to make this WCW Monday Nitro all over again. Three hours on one of the lesser cable channels owned by the owning conglomerate and starting an hour earlier than Raw to scoop their audience. Not to mention that most of the folks on the show were WCW stars thanks to Hogan. There was Eric Bischoff, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, Kevin Nash, the Nasty Boys and Ric Flair. Sounds like the good old days of WCW to me. No wonder why WWE won the night. Vince tried something new while Hogan reverted to a formula over 12 years old. And, by the way, Hogan’s new autobiography sucks. I want my $28 dollars back. I was hoping for some wrestling stories but more than half the book was complaining about his ex-wife Linda and her family taking his money and soul. Not only was Bret Hart better on Monday night but his book was better too.

Monday Night Wars 2010
This week and next week are Spike TV’s attempt to test the waters and see how much bigger they can be. The king of the US cable channels is the USA Network and their top original show is WWE Raw. They have NCIS reruns that do fairly well for themselves but their #1 show is usually Raw. Meanwhile, Spike languishes somewhere in the distance (which I find odd because it’s been on Shaw cable since it was The Nashville Network but I guess that was because it was cheap). So what do they decide to do to combat USA? They ran TNA Impact starring Hulk Hogan this past Monday and they’ll have a UFC Fight Night Live. Dana White basically admitted in an interview that he’s putting on this show because Spike TV is handing over bags of cash to have a live show. Monday USA had more viewer than Spike at an over 2:1 ratio. The UFC’s scrambled together card isn’t likely to get within 4:1 USA to Spike viewers. That’s not a knock against the UFC. They know that they had to put on this card because they’d make more money now and in the future if they did this show rather than turn Spike down. It’s a case of Spike and Viacom becoming desperate in a fight against a competitor that has backing from NBC while Spike is almost out on their own. A rabbit that’s been thrown into a pack of wolves.

Bowl Championship Series
What most folks call the BCS, others call a travesty. Sure, the BCS “National Title” Game was largely a dud. Texas’ much vaunted defence laid down for Arkansas while Colt McCoy left the game on a seemingly harmless hit. The only thing interesting after McCoy was injured was how badly the backup would fare. He did okay for a bit (Texas was able to close within three in the second half) but he’s no Matt Saracen. Yeah, saying Texas got killed would be the long and short of it. So, do the American’s need a college football playoff? The major conferences don’t think so but they’re missing the huge payday from a playoff. I figure that the first few years of a playoff would pay out much better than the payoff from a couple of randomly selected BCS bowl games. Mind you, no one this year seemed to really strike up any more playoff fever. Cincinnati rolled over and played dead against Florida. Boise State and TCU was supposed to be a great game but was largely a dud. Some argument for a playoff that was. I don’t want to say that it’s back to the drawing board for the playoff argument but this year’s crop of BCS games sure didn’t help the argument.

Gilbert Arenas
He decided to live up to his nickname of Agent Zero and may have ended his career as a result. The story goes that Zero brandished an unloaded firearm in the direction of teammate Javaris Crittenton in a dispute over a gambling debt that Arenas owed Crittenton. Then Zero denied that repeatedly on Twitter but when he did a mock shooting of his teammates during the introductions on Tuesday, David Stern decided to revoke Agent Zero’s licence to thrill. It was the usual blight upon the league story that Stern used when the Tim Donaghy story came out. But it’s funny that I mention the disgraced former official. You see, like the Donaghy incident, Stern fucked it all up again. Donaghy was the tip of the proverbial iceberg. So is Arenas. I’ve only mentioned half the story. It turns out Crittenton had a loaded gun in the locker room and actually chambered a round. In other words, Crittenton was about half a second or less from blowing Zero’s brains out over this supposed gambling debt. Talk about snapping to judgment. Stern suspended the wrong guy. Arenas (comparatively) was having a bit of fun. Crittenton was set to unleash hell like sports had never seen before. So why did Arenas get suspended? Because he’s a bigger name and Stern knew it would make a splash. Heading into the NFL playoffs, the NBA would be lucky to be a blip on the radar during the radar because everyone would be too busy talking football. The NFL controls the sporting media more in their offseason than the NBA does during their playoffs. No wonder why Stern needs to make a mountain of Zero’s mole hill. He’s just the victim of opportunistic league promotion.

Conan O’Brien
Hey, did you that one about the late night talk show host that was screwed over by his own network? No, I’m not talking about Leno, though I can understand how you would think that. Actually, both Jay and Conan have been screwed over by NBC’s cheapness. We’ve all heard about how Jay was moved to 10:00 PM in a move that would bring comedy back to primetime (a good slogan to use when you have a comedy night on Thursday) and/or it would revolutionize and/or destroy network television as we know it. Turns out that if you guessed that The Jay Leno Show would be a big fail, then you didn’t work for NBC’s programming department. Jay was profitable for the network compared to 2008-09 in that time slot but it destroyed the ratings of the 11:00 PM local news and the late night shows. They may have won the money battle as a network but lost the corporate and public image war. Though there is one loser that lost more than the NBC viewers. That’s Conan O’Brien. Jay’s getting 11:35 PM back come hell or high water. The working plan is that Conan is moved back to 12:05 AM and Fallon gets bumped back to 1:05 AM. But does anyone think that Jay will be happy with only 30 minutes? That’s time for a monologue, an interview and music. That’s it. Conan’s going to be on at a horrible time. The only advantage for him is that nothing else will start at 12:05 AM. That means that people in between shows are most likely to watch him but folks watching Letterman won’t be flipping to him halfway through the show. It looks like there’s too many players and not enough playing time on NBC Late Night. But the good news for Leno, O’Brien and Fallon is that FOX is hiring.

The Lowdown Music Special
I’ve been thinking for a while that it would be a good idea to try something different on the radio show. Last spring, we had a special two-hour Lowdown music block where Jackie and I took over CHRW during a graveyard shift and spun some tunes. We tried something similar in our first season during an episode of the show but the CRTC didn’t see the informational value of us introducing new music. So with Jackie off to Australia and losing touch with the world while searching for his inner pygmy in The Outback, I figured the best thing to do to fill time until Jackie gets back to reality is to introduce the world to UWO and London artists. I think a half hour of songs by UWO and London based bands and singers would do everyone some good. After all, exposure is hard to come by for the up and coming artist. A chance to be featured on a semi-popular talk show and blog with people being able to find and listen to your music for all of eternity (thanks to The Lowdown Archives) is something that no one should pass up. So if you’re interested in being featured on The Lowdown of the Pops Music Special (pending CHRW boss approval), send us an email at thelowdown@live.ca and get onboard.

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