Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Phat Daily Column, where I'll review last night's edition of RAW. I miss calling it "RAW is WAR", which is why I keep the "RAW is Tito" or "Smackdown is Tito" tradition still going!
The other day, I picked up Chris Jericho's bobblehead, on sale somewhere up at a Pittsburgh mall. Too bad I couldn't find any other WWE superstars, such as Stone Cold, which isn't discounted at WWE Shopzone, like the rest of the Austin stuff. Anyway, it fits quite well with my massive collection of bobbleheads, now over 40.
Gee, that's a perfect lead in, if I couldn't have said it better myself. Chris Jericho's column has sent shockwaves through the internet wrestling community, with many trying to defend their positions about their analysis of his match with Rob Van Dam or some just agreeing. Jericho was extremely mad at those who bashed his match with Van Dam, saying it was "the worst match of his career" or "slow" or whatever else.
I actually liked the match, as I stated in my column, with my only "negative" point of the match was the confusion on the top rope before the final Froggy splash to finish the match. It was a good opener, and I agree with Jericho that it killed the crowd for the next few matches. I agree with him that everyone, including myself, over analyzes stuff. I write about wrestling Daily, so I'm pretty much forced to be an asshole about many things, although I liked the match. I did enjoy his reference to Star Wars: Episode 2, as many Star Wars fans are so picky about that movie they can't even enjoy the fact that George Lucas is taking time out of his own life to give the FANS what they want: new Star Wars adventures.
I think with professional wrestling, many are so burned out from it due to the 4 hours of regular programming the WWE puts on every week. In the course of the last few months, Jericho and Rob Van Dam have fought several times. In the last few years, fans have seen both Jericho and Rob Van Dam put their bodies on the line in various special matches, insomuch that they COULD get bored with a basic wrestling match.
Wrestlers take their careers very seriously. They work hard, way more than the 40 hour work week, to do what they do for the fans. When they read our criticism, they obviously get furious, and guys like Jericho have had enough. I'll admit it. Over the course of the 4 or so years that I've been writing the Phat Daily Column, I have been a bastard to some of the wrestlers out there. I certainly wouldn't want someone writing a Daily column about where I work. So for that, if there's any wrestler out there that I've badly offended, I'm sorry, including especially you, Crash Holly.
The ONLY thing I was concerned about on Jericho's commentary was mentioning of his match as a "Match of the Year" candidate. That's holding your own personal deeds in high regards, but yet again, Jericho could have been coming off a high or excitement for what he thought was a great effort against Rob Van Dam.
To finish my "commentary" on the Jericho commentary, I'd like to ask this question: If this match occurred 4 years ago, would it have been a great match in your minds? Think about it. There's no TLC matches yet or Hardcore Foley matche yet and the more athletic style of wrestling in the WWE hasn't arrived yet. Would it be a great match? The majority, thinking as if it were 1998, would especially praise the match. But now, we've witnessed lots of things within those 4 years and the recent internal problems within the WWE that it could hurt the overall motivation to see this opening match.
Who knows? I just state my opinions, and that's all. And I do agree with a few notions. Firstly, fans do pump money into the WWE by following their advertisements, buying merchanise, or forking out money for Pay Per Views every month. ALSO, if you've taken any Economics whatsoever, you've probably hurt the phrase "Time is Money", meaning, in this case, that your investing your own personal time to watch WWE material. So if you've done that, then you do have some merit to voice your opinion.
On to the PDC.
After making a few matches (Bubba Ray vs. Eddie Guerrero and Undertaker vs. Jeff Hardy), the New World Order would arrive. Lots of cockiness from Kevin Nash and Shawn Michaels, as if they have ever given professional wrestling anything positive in the LONG RUN. Notice how I said "LONG RUN". The segment somewhat served to get Booker T more over as a face, which would set up some good things later on. I'll get to that later.
Bradshaw/Spike Dudley vs. Chris Harvard/William Regal was the first match of the night. Eh, it was a filler for me. I'm just not too excited about seeing Bradshaw and Spike going up against Regal and his new apprentice. Just a weak storyline, in my opinion, and because of that, any excitement derived from this match just isn't there. Lack of excitement for WWE storylines lately could be why negative attitudes towards the whole product have occurred. Ask Chris Jericho.
Weird WWE backstage segment was up next with Vince McMahon. First, he wants to clean up his RAW roster, so he sets up Raven vs. Tommy Dreamer, with the loser never appearing on RAW again. Wow, what build up. Then, Tough Enough 2's Jackie shows up and gets Vince hard enough that he sets up Jackie/Molly vs. Trish/Linda. Couple things here... Jackie can play the "slut" well because she was caught cheating on Tough Enough with Pete. Secondly, with all of the beautiful WWE valets running around, it's amazing how Vince McMahon hasn't been caught screwing one of them in real life. Seriously. Vince McMahon has a past history of cheating on his wife, as he stated in his Playboy interview. Undertaker vs. Jeff Hardy would be set up from this segment too. Yeah, why would anyone watch this match, knowing that Jeff Hardy has NO CHANCE IN HELL to win the match, whatsoever. Amazing.
Bubba Ray Dudley versus Eddie Guerrero was next. Too short! For a match created because Bubba helped Eddie lose his match to Ric Flair of all people, it was a quickie. Where was Ric Flair tonight, by the way? I mean, he's your top face after all on this show... Eddie won the match, relatively clean, and Bubba would attack Eddie after the match and then powerbomb him though a table. Too bad the WWE repeated this spot TWICE last night (once with Bubba, and the second time was with Lesnar later). Chris Benoit would run down and slap the crossface on Bubba. Damn it, I can't wait for his return! It's still sad that the WWE can't truly explain why Benoit is able to do so much on RAW already, as he's a Smackdown wrestler.
A highlight reel of Rey Misterio Jr. was shown, hinting that the man is coming soon. I'm glad to see the WWE giving him a slow build, as the mofo is still talented and should give a breath of fresh air to the Cruiserweight division. I do like the idea of putting the mask back on him, which is an added uniqueness to him as a wrestler. I wonder if he'll wear that Spiderman mask again, in light of the recent success of the movie?
I was in tears laughing at Goldust acting like the Crocodile Hunter. Just hilarious!!! He was excellent as the Rock last night, and good on last week's RAW for whatever he was. Man, keep this up! The Crocodile Hunter accent was nearly dead-on, and searching for the nWo was just hilarious! X-Pac would eventually find Crocdust, and chase him down the hallway, where he'd be ambushed by Booker T. But damn, Goldust was fantastic as the Crocodile Hunter. By the way, will the Big Show get in trouble for sleeping during a show? Ask Scott Hall. I know, Big Show was acting like he was sleeping, just to remind those who wouldn't take that as a joke.
Raven vs. Tommy Dreamer was up next, as the loser would leave RAW. SO WHAT?!? Neither character has been treated with any respect by the WWE or the creative team, so why should we care if either man is turfed off of RAW? I certainly don't, as I see Raven and Dreamer to be former ECW wrestlers who either can't wrestle like they used to because of old age or the WWE won't let them do their old crazy stuff like the good ol' days. Either way, I'm not deeply saddened by Raven losing. I'd feel the same way about Dreamer, too. You could hear it in the crowd, too, as they had no idea to cheer for, etc, etc. If you don't build up your wrestlers, a match of this importance will be treated as such.
Matt Hardy would attack Raven after the match. Man, I can't wait to see that match on Heat. Oh wait, I don't watch that show...
Next, we had the ceremony for the King of the Ring winner, Brock Lesnar. Paul Heyman tried hard to put over Lesnar as a dominant heel. It was a nice try, but the best way to possibly make a great heel is to... Oh wait, here it somes, as the big face Rob Van Dam attacked. A feud with Rob Van Dam will certainly help, as fans will know who to cheer and who to boo. After this attack by RVD, Heyman would demand a match for the Intercontinental title later on tonight.
Next match was Jeff Hardy vs. Undertaker. Total squash. Why should anybody care to watch this? Undertaker is the Cancer of Monday Night RAW, and yet nobody creatively backstage can see it. He's done a lot of good for the WWE, but at his old age now, he's acts as if he's invincible in the ring. Totally unfair for someone wanting to one day reach the top, such as Jeff Hardy. After the match, Jeff Hardy and his poor mic skills would challenge the Undertaker to a Ladder Match next Monday night for the Undisputed title. Sure, that could give Jeff Hardy a better chance, but let's face it, will he win that title next Monday night? Of course not, so why, again, watch? I'm curious to see if the Undertaker takes any bumps or not?
Trish Stratus/Linda vs. Jackie/Molly Holly was next. Watchable when Trish and Molly were in there fighting, but oh-so sloppy when Linda and Jackie tried to pose as wrestlers. Ship these ladies off to OVW, pronto! Even in tag matches, which can hide weaknesses, they are still exposed for the green wrestlers they are. Of course, it is a refreshing change from seeing the usual boring Jacqueline or Ivory wrestling here...
Booker T/Goldust vs. X-Pac/Big Show was a perfectly acceptable tag match, in fact, I liked it. Lots of back and forth offense, and even some good tag chemistry between Booker T and Goldust. Man, it's a shame that Goldust and Booker T have no chances at being tag champs, any time soon. That would help solidify them as a duo. The nWo won the match, pinning GOLDUST as Booker T was too occupied with X-Pac. That's understandable, as Booker T is getting the push, not Goldust.
Our final match was for the Intercontinental title (!!!), as it was Brock Lesnar versus Rob Van Dam. An Intercontinental title match was the Main Event. I'm shocked at typing that. If anything, the WWE is trying, at least for this night, to push some new stars to the top. I thought RVD vs. Lesnar was much better than last night, as with the many efforts of Rob Van Dam, you actually thought he had a chance against the dominant Lesnar. I didn't like particularly like the Paul Heyman disqualification, but I do see how it was done to show RVD had Lesnar possibly beat.
LAST WORD: A MUCH better RAW than what we've seen in the previous weeks. Although it wasn't a blow-a-way RAW, some of the segments were either good or hilarious, and the last two matches were very watchable. The WWE, as a whole, is still in complete disarray from the Austin walk out and the toilet flushing on the Split, and it was noticeable last night. I'll give this show a generous
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@That's all. Unless I get forced into more double shifts, I should be back tomorrow to discuss current issues involving pro wrestling. Until then, why not chill?
Take Care, and Thanks for Reading.