Welcome to the MONDAY edition of the Phat Daily Column. Lately on Mondays, unless there was a Pay Per View to review, I usually took them off. I guess I haven't been "inspired". Well, today, I am, as I had an idea as I was on my way home from Mrs. Tito's. Sometimes when I drive home, I think about random things, and I was thinking if I should take today off or not, and the idea for today's column came up.
Since tonight features somewhat of a dream match on RAW, I figured, why not dedicate a WHOLE column to Rob Van Dam versus Chris Benoit? That's what today's column will cover!
Reading some reviews on Confidential, which I was too lazy to tape this week, I saw that the WWE decided to NOT air the Destruction of WCW segment. Why? How could they hype it last week and not deliver this week? I'll tell you why, more like 3 reasons why. Those reasons are people, actually, all now employed by the WWE.
The first one is Eric Bischoff. Despite making his company into an Empire in 1996, he let it crumble in 1998 by letting his own ego get out of control, putting too much faith in the aging Hulk Hogan, and by putting Kevin Nash in as head booker in late 1998. As the nWo grew older, Eric Bischoff gave himself plenty of segments, sort of the same syndrome Stephanie McMahon had before she last left us, shortly after Wrestlemania. Secondly, instead of keeping Sting as a strong champ, he booked Macho Man to beat Sting one night, and the night after on Nitro, Hulk Hogan beat Macho to become the new World Champion, which he would be throughout the early summer, when the WWF was getting stronger! Then, Hogan was champ in early 1999... Making Kevin Nash the head booker at the end of 1998 was suicide.
The second is Hulk Hogan. As stated many times before, Hogan has creative power in his contract. With that being said and how big of a star he once was, he could do whatever the hell he wanted. If he felt like being champ, he was champ. When he was the World Champion in the Spring of 1998 and the early summer of that year, it completely hurt WCW while the WWF was taking their throne. Then, winning the World Title in early 1999, on a weak job by Kevin Nash, killed the company too, and fans actually liked seeing Mick Foley and the Rock fighting over the World Title in the WWF, instead of Hulk Hogan hogging the title in WCW.
Finally, Kevin Nash helped kill WCW with his pathetic booking at the end of 1998 and early 1999 (ESPN's "Outside the Lines" lists him as a creative team member, so there's your proof) and his somewhat self-destruction after the firing of Syxx (Sean Waltman), who was still recovering from a neck injury. As a booker, he booked his friends to look great, while holding others down, such as one disgruntled Chris Jericho, who was never liked by Kevin Nash. Nash booked himself to be the first man to beat Bill Goldberg, as seen by the embarrassment at Starrcade 1998. Nash's bad decisions damaged WCW enough to eventually get Eric Bischoff fired, especially when the ratings began to slip.
But hey, the WWE doesn't need to hurt their feelings now. Nash is injured, Bischoff has aged well with time, and Hogan is somewhat giving back to wrestling now. They could have done a protected segment, but most fans know that the veterans ruled Nitro, just like the veterans rule RAW and Smackdown now... well, not that much anymore, as the WWE had a great week, last week, of putting over newer or younger talent. Let's keep it up for this week, please.
Anyway, let's hype Chris Benoit vs. Rob Van Dam. On to the PDC.
Sure, some people could say it's rushed or that it's NOT on Pay Per View, where it should be. Some are saying that it won't get the proper time it needs to thrill wrestling fans, like something 10 minutes or more. My guess is that the match will run roughly 15 minutes, with a commercial break in between. Just a guess. As for it being rushed, I'd say that the unifying of the European and Intercontinental titles was rushing things, but the WWE has given us a full week to get pumped for the match.
And with a week, that gives both wrestlers plenty of time to go over ideas on what to do in this match. Let's note something, though. These two have never fought in a WWE ring, but I have no clue if they fought ever. I can't tell you that. So they will be wrestling each other cold, so it will be interesting to see how the ring technician and the spot machine work in the ring. What is known is that neither man wrestled each other on the house show circuit this past weekend.
But hey, do they need to? Rob Van Dam and Chris Benoit are damn talented to improvise as the match happens. The only problem I fear is a big match for Chris Benoit, just finally released off the WWE's Disabled List a short while ago. Is he ready for a big match yet? He's been wrestling mostly tag matches with Guerrero. Is he ready? Well, I have a feeling that the WWE wouldn't have made this match if he wasn't.
So let's take a look at each wrestler, shall we?
It's said, with Rob Van Dam, that he's a wrestler that is carried. Now that's a term that offends some wrestling fans, but hear me out. Rob Van Dam isn't known for his technical abilities; he's known for his high flying spots. In the ring, it takes two to put on a show. If he has someone, like say an Eddie Guerrero, a Jerry Lynn, a Tommy Dreamer, a Steve Austin, or a Jeff Hardy, then his matches are generally good. But if he has a disgruntled Sabu, a green at the time Rhyno, or someone who no-sells him, like the Undertaker, then his matches will look bad.
Chris Benoit is a perfect opponent for Rob Van Dam. With Benoit, he's known for making other wrestlers look like a million bucks. Throughout his career, his position was of elevating other wrestlers. Ask Booker T, who needed someone strong in the midcard to make him a better Television champion. Ask Raven and Diamond Dallas Page, who both needed that extra something in their feuds over the United States Title. It's hard to find a match that Benoit couldn't make his opponent look good, aside from the Billy Gunn matches, as it's hard to make Gunn look good in any match. Benoit made freakin' Sid Vicious look good in some matches!
So what happens when you put the two together? Rob Van Dam tries his spots, Chris Benoit is there to sell them like a champ. Van Dam can take his amount of punishment, too, and I expect Benoit to be brutal on the offensive side, as well. Can't wait to see those knife-edge chops or the many German suplexes Benoit can hit on the much lighter Van Dam. Should be damn good.
You must give credit to the WWE. Looks like they are starting to listen to very eager fans. They are trying to put over newer talent, as especially seen on Smackdown, and they are giving us much better matches to look foward to, such as Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Benoit, which if given time, could be one of the best televisions matches of this year. So I say thank you WWE for giving us this match for free, and a thanks in advance if it's given some time to develop into something special.
I can't wait for tonight's show!
Oh yeah, Eric Bischoff's Smackdown steal will either be Hulk Hogan or Chris Jericho. At least that's my gut instinct on who the mystery steal could be.
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