Guess who's back? Back again... Welcome to the RETURNING edition of Mr. Tito's Phat Daily Column. I apologize for the absence ever since Thursday. I was suffering from a little burn out or writer's block throughout the weekend, and figured taking time off would help that, as I'm winding down on writing PDC's for September. But I'm back, and like Eric Bischoff, I'm BACK IN BLACK! AC/DC rules the World.
I would have reviewed Smackdown, but I came home late from a backyard wrestling event and never got around to watching the show on Friday. Overall, I thought Smackdown was good, not as good as the previous week's show, but still decent enough to be lightyears better than RAW. Well, the RAWs before this one.
I want to send out props to those at WXW, the ones who held the backyard event I went to on Thursday. Very, very entertaining show. Check out their website at http://welcome.to/wxwateyourchildren.
I also want to give props to WWE.com for a change. They had some good articles up after RAW, including backstage meeting notes, Bischoff interview, and what WWE superstars thought about Bischoff's debut in the WWE. I disliked Triple H's comments. Sure, many do have to step up, but there are many on the cards that work just as hard, if not harder, than Triple H, yet they remain getting held down in the WWE ranks. That's the ones who complain the most about Triple H protecting his spot, despite being a poor wrestler ever since his return in January 2002. The only way you'll ever receive a constant push in the WWE is if you're banging the boss's daughter, like you know, Triple H is doing. He did have some great matches in 2000 and early 2001, to his credit, but his recent work and push as the top face has been absolutely pathetic.
Oh, and speaking of the person he's banging. On the WWE boards in the LoP Forums, I predicted that Stephanie McMahon will become the General Manager of Smackdown. It's just clearly obvious to me, as she could mess with her ex-husband (did they ever get officially divorced?) and fight with Eric Bischoff over deals. Rumor suggests that Dusty Rhodes could be up for it, as well, as the WWE has been apparently seeking Dusty's creative assistance lately (reported in the Observer). Dusty Rhodes in the WWE is the LAST thing you'd want to do. The only thing I want to hear with Dusty is his commentating, when he tells you that midcarders are going to the PAY WINDAHHH!!!!!!! (Pay Window) Maybe he could start calling Smackdown the MOTHERSHEEEEEP!!! (Mothership)
But Stephanie is what I'm putting the farm on, and probably the Finger of Shame as well.
On to the PDC.
Chris Benoit/Eddie Guerrero vs. the new Dudleys in a table match at Vengeance? Oh shit on me. Why must we waste two great heels on fighting in a tables match at Vengeance? Man, I miss Austin so much!
Next, we get a 6 man elimination match between Chris Benoit, William Regal, and Eddie Guerrero versus Spike Dudley, Bubba Ray Dudley, and Jeff Hardy. Very good midcard match here. Jeff Hardy played the "face in peril" forever, or the face that took a long tag team beating from the heel team. A beating like that makes sense, as you have fresh guys coming in and out hurting him. Having a 40 year old dinosaur, name the Undertaker, squash Jeff Hardy isn't watchable like this is. Then, when Jeff Hardy would make comebacks, it would do more for him than the small yet short comebacks Jeff tried against the Undertaker. Hell, this would have been a big win for Jeff, had he pulled it off, but the WWE decided to hype his match against William Regal instead, as Regal helped Chris Benoit beat Jeff to win the match. Keep this good midcard action up, please.
Shane McMahon made his first appearance since the RAW after Survivor Series 2001, where his Alliance team lost. Gotta admire him for holding out that long, and I doubt he'll be around much. I thought the addition of Shane was a nice touch, considering he is family and he knows how tough Eric Bischoff was to the WWE. The crowd popped heavily for Shane, but that's misleading to bring him back full time, considering he hasn't been in the WWE for over 6 months.
Our next match was the Singapore Cane match between Stevie Richards and Tommy Dreamer. Their backstage segment was good beforehand. The problem with both Stevie and Tommy is that the creative team doesn't constantly give them storylines to work in for the WWE fans to know about them. Stevie, right now, would be a good heel if given the proper chance to shine. I don't know about Dreamer, but push him other than being a Tom Green wannabe, and see what happens. Their cane match was good, as they were able to crack each other with some nasty cane shots. Dreamer had a crimson mask, too, showing probably his most "extreme" match since his arrival in the WWE. That last cane shot on Stevie was so nasty, as was the midair Steviekick.
Goofy interview with Booker T and Johnathan Coachman, which served to try to get Booker T more over as a face and to have a surprise visitor walk by, to a pop just as loud as Shane's return. That man is...
Eric Fuckin' Bischoff. Holy Crap is what I said when he walked by. I didn't see this one coming, whatsoever. Sure, the internet and insiders said the WWE always tried to keep constant contact with Bischoff about one day coming in, but it never became serious enough for it to ever happen. Vince McMahon introduced Bischoff, and hugged him. Considering how violent their fight was against each other on Monday Nights, seeing that shows that "desparate times calls for desparate measures" in the WWE's case. The bad thing is that the WWE should have brought in Bischoff during the original Invasion, which Eric actually mentioned in his interview.
I thought Bischoff made a very intelligent promo, with a few exceptions. Bischoff talked about being innovative. Yeah, with ways of spending Turner's money. That's the truth, no matter how much he denied it. The 3 things that he innovated saved his career and helped WCW to the top, but without Ted Turner's money and resources, he would have been nothing. First, he invented Nitro, which he begged Turner to put on TNT during Monday Nights against RAW. Incredible idea, especially considering that Monday Night RAW was dying. Secondly, the Cruiserweight division. Incredibly innovative, and helped to carry bad nWo shows with some good midcard action. Plus, we all loved the Luchadores and the likes of Dean Malenko. And finally, the nWo, which although it was an idea he "borrowed" from Japan, it was a clever one, especially with the Hogan heel turn, that made WCW famous. But a great, innovative mind would have kept it all together and not let it fall apart in 1998 and begin WCW's full death in 1999.
Doesn't matter though. He's a good personality for the GM position, as he can talk well and WWE fans, those who remember the wars with WCW, hate him very much. Good ol' "Ken Doll". He was good on mentioning history, as he brought up the time he threw out RAW spoilers at the beginning of his show and the WWF Women's title trashing by Madusa. He would mention that he would have buried the WWE if he signed just one guy, that man being Triple H. That's totally wrong. In early 1999, WCW approached Triple H about joining their company, and gave him a huge money offer to jump. Triple H's contract was up in the early summer of that year. However, Triple H turned it down, with rumored advice from X-Pac and even Hall and Nash, who said that WCW was hell to wrestle at. Instead, Triple H signed back with the WWE, in a contract that paid well and promised him main event status, the first move that gave him his initial push to the top. WWE was much stronger in 1999 than 1997, when the WWE could have folded, but thank God for Stone Cold and some "attitude" things catching on back then.
I really liked what Bischoff said as a whole, and I especially love seeing him as the RAW General Manager. Man, he's going to start so much shit on that show to always make it interesting to watch, especially if he starts raiding Smackdown, which it apparently seems like he might start doing. Now, if the WWE can get another top notch name to be Smackdown's GM, not named Stephanie or Dusty, then the "brand extension" might finally work. Don't doubt that Vince McMahon will name himself as Smackdown GM, just to be able to fight with Eric Bischoff on his own grounds.
It will be intriguing to see how Eric Bischoff and the Undertaker interact in the weeks to come.
Next, we had Molly Holly vs. Trish Stratus for the Women's title, the belt that was created several years after Madusa trashed the original title in 1995 or 1996. Perfectly acceptable women's wrestling, pitting the two bests in the WWE against each other. Crowd seemed dead after the long Eric Bischoff interview to hurt this match, but it was still watchable.
Bischoff would then run into Ric Flair. Uh oh... for those who don't remember, Flair and Bischoff have lots of heat against each other from the WCW days. Flair requested a Thursday night off to go see his son, Reid, amateur wrestle someplace. However, a dispute came when Bischoff claimed the request was never made and Bischoff suspended Flair for no-showing Thunder (or Chunder). Flair would then come back months later and make the famous "FIRE ME, I'M ALREADY FIRED" speech, and they haven't seen eye to eye ever since.
Let it be known... I had this show at an A+ (A plus) grade at this very point in the show. The next few midcard segments, however, sucked and the main event was just decent.
Next match was Booker T vs. the Big Show. The time is now to push Booker T as a face. It's NOT later, so don't give me the "waiting for the big win" speech. In the WWE, we've witnessed that the more you squash a wrestler, the less the crowd will care. Booker T is on the verge of this, and having him SQUASHED again by the Big Show will just let another opportunity to push Booker T go out the window. After an incredibly lame DQ finish, Big Show would attack Booker T and do a repetitive announcer table spot. Oh big deal! They'll fight this Sunday, but big deal? Booker T has been embarrassed for two weeks straight, so what will it matter if he beats the Big Show's fatass or not?
Brock Lesner is quite the strong man for curling the steel set-up that's a part of the RAW entrance.
Next, it was HARDCORE ACTION between Bradshaw and the very green Chris Nowinski. The previous Singapore cane match blew this one away. Johnny the Bull Strumboli would run down. A question to many WWE fans was "who is Johnny the Bull"? Well, he wrestled when WCW was receiving low ratings... He was an admirable Hardcore champ for them and a good tag team wrestler with Big Vito. He's very injury prone, but let's give him the benefit of the doubt and hope that the young kid can make it in the WWE. OH WAIT, Bradshaw would later clothesline Johnny the Bull to win back that Hardcore title. So much for giving any momentum to Johnny, as if winning the Hardcore title in front of a bunch of WWE fans who don't know who you are matters.
The main event between Brock Lesnar/Undertaker vs. Ric Flair/Rob Van Dam was OK. Just seemed slowly paced to me, but then again, Lesnar and the Undertaker aren't too fast to keep a quick pace going. The Intercontinental champion was eventually pinned by the Undisputed champion for the match ending. Afterward, the Undertaker was attacked by Lesnar, scaring me to death if it's Undertaker vs. Lesnar at Summerslam for the Undisputed title. Undertaker as a face now? I wonder who will get cheered at Vengeance? Undertaker or the Rock?
LAST WORD: Damn it! This show totally had the potential to get my rare A+ plus grade. But leave it to a Big Show and Bradshaw match to stink it up, along with just a decent Main Event. We'll be generous and just knock off a full letter grade to give RAW a
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