Welcome to the latest edition of the Phat Daily Column. Today, we'll take a look at the Monday Night that was. We'll see how good RAW does in MY gradebook, especially since I didn't give the show high marks last week, and the same goes for the rest of the internet.
Since this used to be a day where we'd discuss competition, ya know, RAW vs. Nitro, I figured it would be a good time to talk about any competitive feds coming up. First, anything headed by Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo, please count them out now. Bischoff thrives in a situation where he can spend his way to the top (which he can't do now), and Russo's creative mind only works in a WWF environment. I'm convinced, though, that Russo's creativity was shot the second he made David Arquette world champion, and he's never been the same since!
Next, we have Hulk Hogan's promotion, if that ever officially occurs. Will it survive? I'd believe that Hogan has big dreams for this promotion, but let's face it, when it comes to making decisions for a fed, what does Hulk Hogan do? He'll do what's best for him, and that means he's going to be champion of his own fed. Remember his title reign in the Spring of 1998, where he defeated Macho Man on an edition of Nitro? WCW began to lose the wrestling wars on that night because wrestling fans didn't want to see Hogan as champ, and they felt that way on the other title reigns after that. So why the fuck would someone want to watch a promotion where Hogan was a dominant champ again? If I was a wrestler, I would avoid this federation at all costs.
Finally, we have MECW. The federation has some promise, as it's picking up many of the wrestlers who the WWF didn't want. The ones that they didn't want are apparently causing a few booking problems backstage at MECW events, no matter who denies it. A lot of the wrestlers signed think that they should receive top billing for their many years in the business or for their status in ECW. With that, MECW should have raided the best independent federations for some new and fresh talent to be much better cost effective and in the long run, a better product for fans to enjoy. I know they are bringing in some new independent talent, but just note that ECW thrived when they had a good many wrestlers that nobody saw before.
Now sure, there are a bunch of other feds, but they'll just be the usual independent feds for the WWF to laugh at. Let's talk about RAW! On to the PDC.
The man, Shane O Mack, sent me this wonderful and updated RAW is WAR banner. Incredible work again from Shane.
I actually enjoyed the first segment. It started out with Shane McMahon coming out and talking smack on the Rock, with the Rock eventually coming out. Shane challenged the notion that Rock didn't appreciate the history of the WCW title. However, Rock said he did, and knew such names as Frank Gotch, Ricky Steamboat, and WHOOOOOOOOO, Ric Flair. If that crowd response doesn't tell the WWF what they need to go out and get, right now, for a BIG MONEY showdown with the Rock, then they are quite stupid. Shane would then say that he'd take the WCW title away from the Rock, to which the Rock ran down to the ring, only to be eventually GORED by Rhyno. Very good way to build up the match between Rhyno and the Rock, since you're thinking that the Rock won't be at 100% since he already took a Gore.
Our first match of the night is *gasp*, Undertaker vs. Albert. No selling Dinosaur vs. Big Ol' Sloth. The match was as good as you'd expect from either guy, although I did like seeing the Undertaker work on the arm. Now that's old school. This match was just thrown together, without any storyline or build up. Plus, wasn't Albert trying to play a face last night on Sunday Night Heat?
Next, it was Hurricane Helms against Matt Hardy for the European Title. Helms thinks he's a superhero now, as he dressed up in some weird outfit. Hmmm.... The match was decent, with Helms ending the very long European title reign of Matt Hardy. God, that title is so weak right now. Maybe rename it to the WWF Television Title? I'm sure Helms and Hardy will get a rematch at Unforgiven, and at least 10 minutes to work with, too.
Weird segments involving Angle, Raven, Debra, Austin, Stasiak, and Rob Van Dam tonight to set up the final Rob Van Dam/Tazz vs. Kurt Angle/Chris Jericho match. First, RVD and Raven asked for a hardcore match, which was denied, so they were put into the main event tag match. Kurt Angle got pissed and attacked Raven, who I guess isn't worthy of a main event right now. Austin would later get pissed at Raven, and punch his injured leg. Stasiak would get obsessed with being RVD's tag partner, to which he'd put a bucket of spoiled milk above a door for Angle to get drenched in. Problem was that Debra walked into it. Just some very weird backstage segments, as I wonder what drugs the writers are taking any more. Are they just trying too hard to be funny, but come out strange every week?
I did laugh at the Edge and Hugh Morrus segment, and it got more looney once Christian walked in. The Edge vs. Morrus fight, later in the show, lacked needed heat because Morrus isn't very over with WWF fans right now. Hell, he wasn't over back when he was US champion for WCW last year. The match had a dirty ending, where Christian claimed that Hugh was talking smack on him, to which Christian had to defend himself. Geesh.
Test vs. Bradshaw was next, which was about the slugfest you'd expect from both guys. Someone told me that Shane's willing to do anything, right now, to get Test over as a heel member of the Alliance. You saw that tonight, again, as Shane provided the distraction to enable Test to get the win over Bradshaw. Shane's friendly influence would come in later, as well, which we'll talk about once it comes around.
The next match was Rock vs. Rhyno, which was a solid top-of-the-hour main event. I didn't expect a bearhug to be used, let alone for a long time. The WWF seems to be going back to a lot of fundamentals lately, which can only be good. One problem with the bearhug and the Gore from earlier though: Rock didn't sell any rib injuries. Of course, at No Way Out 2001, the Rock got confused at which leg to sell Angle's attack. Rock wins this match, and it had no Booker T run in.
FINGER OF SHAME at the WWF for the Big Show vs. Booker T finish. A DQ finish?!? What is the Big Show good enough to not job to Booker T? The same goes for Tajiri, as these lame DQ endings to Booker T's matches will NOT build up Booker T as a legit challenger to the Rock, but a pussy heel with no credibility after the Rock beats him again at Unforgiven. What a damn joke, especially with the Big Show. With his poor conditioning, he shouldn't even be in a WWF ring right now, but thanks to his buddy Shane McMahon, he's allowed to stay and actually look good at times. Fuck it, let's go DOUBLE Finger of Shame on this.
Good main event, as expected, by Tazz/RVD and Jericho/Angle. Amazing that both Tazz and RVD are seeing an opportunity to main event. I'm sure the ECW fans had tears in their eyes for this great accomplishment. Angle and Jericho would eventually pull out the win, but Angle would get his ass handed to him by Austin. None of this Austin and Angle feud will matter, because you know what the outcome will be. Austin wins! Austin wins! Who's your daddy, Kurt Angle?
LAST WORD: A much better show than last week's pile, but how hard is that to accomplish. The WWF is failing to build some credibility with some wrestlers, such as Angle and Booker T, which is dangerous if you want a high buyrate for Unforgiven. I'll give this show a B- (B minus) for some good parts, but some obvious bad parts.
-Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle
-Booker T vs. Rock
-Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Jericho
-Shane Helms vs. Matt Hardy
-Edge vs. Christian
Looks good on paper. Helms and Hardy will obviously rematch because of last night's events, while Edge and Christian will have broken up by the time Unforgiven rolls around to have a match there. At least I think so. The tag belts won't be up for grabs, since Kane is injured. Who knows about the US title, too? The Lightweight titles as well, if X-Pac wants to wrestle.
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@That's it for today's column. I hope to be back, tomorrow, to discuss Ratings and deliver some Apples as well. Just chill till the next episode.
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