Welcome back to the Phat Daily Column. Today, we'll take a look back on the wrestling week that was, by reviewing the news and giving awards to several chosen categories in wrestling. Thus far, it's been a pleasant replacement for my History columns, and I hope for it to remain that way. For those of you who are wondering, I'm not sure when I'll whip out a History. I'm very strapped for time anymore, and I'm lucky just to set aside at least one hour per day to write this very column.
On Thursday, as I forgot to mention this yesterday, I was listening to the George Kellas show on 1170 am WWVA, located in Wheeling, WV, and he had a special guest. That special guest was none other than Bruno Sammartino, former WWF (or WWWF) champion and probably one of the bests in the sport before Vince McMahon Jr. took over the WWF. On the show, he was answering where certain wrestlers were, and he said he's very knowledgeable because he reads a lot of newsletters.
Next, Mr. Kellas mentioned that he was having a certain discussion with former WCW commentator, Mark Madden, about a match that Bruno wrestled in the Civic Arena. Bruno struck back by calling Madden an idiot who knows nothing about the business. He said that Madden was a part of the trashy wrestling of today, and nothing of yesterday.
Then George asked Bruno why he's not too fond of 21st Century wrestling. Bruno mentioned a lot about drug use, how it's all over the locker rooms and that it's extremely sick to see two guys shooting up each other in the butts (for steroids). Also, he talked about Vince McMahon Jr., and how his business attitude has changed the wrestling industry forever. Bruno said that before Vincent McMahon Sr. passed away, everyone in the WWWF locker room thought that Vince McMahon Jr. was a lunatic, and were worried about the company once the father eventually died.
They were later taking phone calls, and guess who had the nerve to call in and ask a tough question? Me, myself, and I. Now for Bruno, I didn't grow up watching him wrestle, nor have I ever seen any of his material in my lifetime. So to me, he's just a veteran to the business who I have no ties to. So with that, I asked If the WWF wanted to honor you and your legacy on the current WWF television shows, would you accept it? His answer was drawn out, as he was probably prepared for some smartass to challenge him on this kind of issue. He said, for one, Vince McMahon would NOT want to do it just because of the person he is. Bruno said that Vince has used footage of his wrestling matches throughout the years on certain WWF shows, without calling him to tell him what they were doing. He finished up by saying that no, Vince wouldn't do it, and Bruno said he wouldn't accept it anyway.
Quite interesting to say the least. I do think it's very strange that the WWF just totally ignores 3 longtime champions on everything. Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, and Bret Hart are pretty much never welcome back to the WWF, despite having many or long title reigns for the WWF throughout the years. The sad thing is that Hulk Hogan has the best chance of coming back, if he absolutely wanted to, but he does what he wants.
Well, I hope that was a good enough read for the introduction. On to the PDC!
So are the Invasions successful? Well, apparently so. The ratings for both RAW and Smackdown are up, especially Smackdown, who hit one of their better ratings in a while. The intrigue of WCW/ECW vs. the WWF is enough to get some casual fans back, and the return of the Rock should fuel that as well.
Oh yeah, the Rock returns this Monday, officially. Hey, ever since someone sent me info about the Rock returning to the Philly RAW, to which I reported it a little over 2 months ago, I've kept insisting that the Rock would return on July 30th. Many called me bluff, but I kept going on Philadelphia's promise to the fans that the Rock would be at the show, and I was correct. So anyway, the Rock's return is scheduled for Monday, July 30th in Philadelphia, and it should be a big return. But will he overshadow the new WWF face, Kurt Angle, who is coming off an incredible face turn?
Speaking of Kurt Angle, he's your NEW WCW World Champion! He did it in his own hometown of Pittsburgh, which popped HUGE for Angle when he won the title. I believe rumors are suggesting that Kurt will have a rematch with Booker T on RAW, to which I wouldn't doubt that Booker T wins his belt back. Still, it was an awesome moment for Angle when he won the belt in his own hometown.
Some interesting newsbytes floating around. Rumors are suggesting that the backstage atmosphere is pretty tense these days, as the addition of lots of talent from other federations has many of the WWF wrestlers angry and afraid on losing their spots. Reportedly, wrestlers are keeping a close eye on one Rob Van Dam, like if he's purposely showing them up or anything. Van Dam better just watch his own actions from now on, because there's an apparent jealousy going on these days. Sort of Hogan-like, if you ask me. Just note that the WWF guys did the same thing when Chris Jericho first arrived in the WWF, so it must be twice as worse for RVD as the young prospect that has more talent in his fingers than some of the wrestlers in the WWF locker room.
Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail. On to the awards!
Early in Smackdown, Kurt Angle came down to challenge Austin for the World Title. Austin, playing the role of "pussy heel" so well, said that he'll give him a title shot... but not that night. Instead, Austin said Booker T was willing to put his belt on the line, and after some word trading, the match was on!
For the match, it was nicely worked with a lot of drama at the end. Many ECW/WCW or WWF wrestlers came down to either interfere or brawl, and later, Austin gave Angle the Stunner to help Booker win the match. However, it couldn't stop Angle, who would later slap an Anklelock on Booker T out of no where for the big victory in Pittsburgh.
Even if Booker T wins this Monday in Philadelphia, at least we saw a great moment for Kurt Angle in the city of Pittsburgh, capping off a great match.
At Invasion, they were a part of team ECW/WCW, which won the 10 man brawl. On RAW, along with Booker T, they defeated Kurt Angle and Edge/Christian. On Smackdown, they defeated the newly formed Showgunns. With the Showgunns, however, it's very likely that the Duds will be laying down for those two underachievers in the near future.
The Dudleys need some work themselves, though. They are drawing NO HEAT towards themselves, thanks to their very silent heel turn and the fact that not all fans watched ECW back in the day. Damn it, put Bubba Ray Dudley on the mic to rip on the fans. He has good mic skills, and isn't that what the WWF wants in their wrestlers? If so, why aren't they doing it for Bubba?
RVD is probably the most recognized ECW wrestler out there, too, for many fans just don't recognize or care for the others in the big stable. From RVD's early work, it's apparent that the WWF officials saw that his star is definitely shining, to which they've booked him to beat both the Hardy Boyz, cleanly! The Hardys are WWF loyalists, and to be booked to beat those two, 2 days in a row, means that RVD is definitely climbing the WWF ladder.
But how long will this last? Will his attitude stay in check, or will he remain focused under pressure? With some wrestlers with a little pull, backstage, make some sort of power play to keep RVD from going up? As RVD's star continues to rise, we'll just have to see if anything like this occurs, as it has for wrestlers such as Chris Jericho.
5. Kanyon: Who better than Kanyon? Finally getting some recognition on WWF television.
4. Chris Jericho: Again, another good week of wrestling for Y2J. He just comes in and does his job, week in and week out. Could the WWF ask any more of this guy?
3. Booker T: Slowly turning into a MONSTER heel for the WWF. Booker T worked hard this week in all 3 matches, taking a really hard table spot, and giving away a title he fought years to gain.
2. Rob Van Dam: Almost achieving the #1 spot, but we'll see how he does next week to determine if he wins the top honor. Two wins over the Hardys this week, and a tag match win as well. RVD is looking as crisp as ever, with all eyes now on him.
1. Kurt Angle: See down below.
Angle has become the all around great performer that nobody expected, at least so quickly. This week, Angle was pushed as a mega-face when Austin turned on him, and the feud with Austin would draw more intrigue than another Rock-Austin feud, because Angle is that great of a performer now. He's the WWF's best right now, hands down.
Angle won the WCW World Title in a great victory in the city of Pittsburgh, solidifying his role as the WWF's top face. But how long will both the title reign and billing as the top face last? Maybe until this Monday.
CLICK HERE to listen to the latest show, as the WrestlePalooza.com crew discuss their trips to both Cleveland and Pittsburgh for recent WWF events. Note that new Wrestle Palooza shows are produced every Sunday and Wednesday of the week. Be sure to check regularly for any announcements concerning possible guests on the show. Also, listen to the archives, which features interviews with Bobby "the Brain" Heenan, Harley Race, Daffney, Spike Dudley, Dr. Death, Dusty Rhodes, Lenny Lane, Kid Kash, Madusa, and more!
Mr. Tito's MARIO TENNIS Page: Serving up Codes, Cheats, Hidden Characters and Courts, and a lot more information about this GREAT Nintendo 64 game!!!!
Backyard BBQ: The Best in Backyard Wrestling!
KOLTERSHOCK!!!! You KNOW you want to check it out!
Gamerave - The Ultimate Videogame Site: Reviews and Previews of Gameboy Advance games, along with information about future gaming systems!
@That's it for today. No Fingers of Shame for the week, as nothing made me *that* mad enough to give such an award out. I should just give it to Stephanie for being a dumbass, as always, but the booking for the shows was better than most weeks. See you tomorrow!
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Take Care, and Thanks for Reading!