Cry sweet tears of joy, touch the sky! It's the Wrath of Tito, ladies and gentlemen, and it's a column that will try to make you smile. This week, we have my famous RAW review, which I wrote first and that method seems to have improved that portion of the column. Also, I will give you my Surreal Life 4 review (which has Chyna on it), which was HEAVILY praised by readers through my e-mails. In fact, I was really surprised at the reaction to that. In addition, I'll give you my 2 cents on the recent news headlines of the week, as well as other stuff.
-The BIG NEWS OF THE WEEK is that Stone Cold Steve Austin is returning to the WWE, but as a movie actor? WWE.com reports that Steve Austin will announce, on Wednesday, that he has signed a 3 picture deal with Vince McMahon. The WWE has a film division now and has made movies with Kane and John Cena. Instead of letting wrestlers check out their Hollywood options, the WWE figured "why not make our own films with our wrestlers", and it's a subdivision probably created when the WWE jumped to Viacom in September of 2000. Of course, the XFL and record label were also apart of that expansion, and both have failed miserably and cost the WWE millions.
Steve Austin has been out of the WWE since shortly after Wrestlemania. Why? His contract was up and Austin hired an agent who created a big asking price for Steve Austin, a non-wrestler now. Austin insisted that his name value and merchandise sales kept the WWE afloat, but the WWE correctly disagreed and ratings haven't changed. While Austin was the top merchandise guy, it's not like his stuff was spiking the overall numbers anyway. In addition, Austin can't wrestle due to his neck, so he's not much of a draw any longer. BUT, now he's reunited with the WWE to make movies. Austin has acting experience by his praised appearances on "Nash Bridges" and he's going to appear in the upcoming remake of "The Longest Yard" starring Adam Sandler. BUT, it remains to be seen if Austin has any drawing power by the smaller wrestling fan base to see his movies, in addition to the rest of America. The Rock was the smartest and used his WWE popularity during the WWE's peak to go mainstream in Hollywood, which is earning him actual acting jobs. However, Austin didn't quite capitalize on that besides Nash Bridges, BUT Austin was injured from 1999 and through a lot of 2000 with his neck injury (thus disabling him from capitalizing on his popularity outside of the WWE).
It remains to be seen how Austin will do with WWE films, but what this means is that the WWE and Austin are together again. I guarantee Austin will have some ties to one of the brands and I bet Austin shows his face on Wrestlemania 21. If he's coming back to television, please put him on Smackdown. In my opinion, he's worn out his welcome on the RAW brand, but there are plenty of fresh faces for him to deal with on the Smackdown roster. Plus, for as much as I like Teddy Long, he's just not a big name for the General Manager position there. Maybe Smackdown needs a sheriff? Actually, Smackdown needs some big names, and in addition, they also need names to help get over new talent. Is Austin that? Well... But my main point is that he's not going to be effective if you put him on RAW again. How many times can he feud with Bischoff or do the same old RAW stuff with the same old guys? Give him new blood.
-I'm getting curious to know what's really going on with the New Jack/WWE situation. New Jack, at an independent show over the weekend, told the fans that he's signed a short-term deal with the WWE. I also read into another source who was told by New Jack that he's signed a 1 year deal with the WWE. I don't know? I haven't really known New Jack to be a liar in the wrestling industry, at least that's not what I've seen. The WWE did give him a tryout match and it's reported that Shane McMahon was absolutely blown away by a promo New Jack cut for the WWE. Rumor has it that New Jack could join Hassan or he'll be the one who really stabbed John Cena. It's hard to say if the WWE would just sign New Jack to be just a television character, for he's a very hardcore wrestler at heart and his body is probably paying for it right now. I wish the best for New Jack. Despite some of his more checkered incidents with the law, he was nothing but a class act when I met him in August and a picture with yours truly and New Jack proudly sits on my wall in a frame. It would be interesting to see New Jack and John Cena fight a hardcore match......
-I wouldn't look much into Ric Flair's tirade at a Canadian houseshow. Flair is VERY over in Canada and he had to say anything to create a negative reaction towards the fans. By praising HBK, bashing Bret Hart, and telling Montreal fans to get over Survivor Series 1997 (explanation of that given below) or the WWE will never return, he's just getting the crowd fired up to hate HIM, not his opponent, HBK. Given that Canadian fans hate HBK for his 1997 actions, the truly need to realize that this incident was SEVEN YEARS AGO and that Shawn Michaels is a completely changed man since that time. I go more into this below, but you get my point. Canadian fans are free to choose whom they want to cheer or jeer for because they are paying customers, but damn, not getting over Vince McMahon's business decision shouldn't hinder respect given to Shawn Michaels, easily one of the best wrestlers of our generation, if not ever.
-I keep forgetting to mention this... the WWE signed independent women's wrestler Angel Williams to a developmental deal a few weeks ago. Bigtime congrats to her, whom I saw wrestle live at XWF Inc.'s "Bloody Mayhem" in one of the best indy matches I've ever seen. In addition to being smokin' hot, Angel is a pretty solid wrestler and could be a very good asset to the WWE women's division. XWFINC.com actually has pictures of Angel in action in their "Pictures" section of their webpage. She looks quite good and the whole crowd was admiring her that night...
-I finished off the Edge book on Sunday night. Excellent read, if I say so myself. I'll give a bigger review in a future column, I hope. I'd like to do an entire special column in dedication to wrestling books, considering that I've read so many biographies and other wrestling books. The pile I have in my bookcase (and outside of it) is getting ridiculous! I may take a picture and include it in the column. We'll have to see how busy my work schedule gets this week. But I HIGHLY recommend Edge's book, especially if it now has a discounted price. Reportedly, the book isn't selling too well and bookstores are marking down the price. If you get it at a lower price, that's a STEAL! CLICK HERE to buy it from Amazon.com. If I were to give the book a grade, I'd say [ A ], easily. I'll give more on that book at a later date.
-I have to agree with a reader named Craig in that Wrestlemania's RAW main event will be Batista vs. Randy Orton vs. Triple H. Based on the events we're seeing on TV with the WWE not yet willing to give up on Orton, that seems obvious.
-Wrath of Tito's favorite diva, Chyna Joanie Laurer, did the Howard Stern show recently. She's been a regular of Stern's for quite some time now and she usually shoots her mouth off about controversial topics in her career or life. This time was no different, but she was either extremely high or very drunk. She was reportedly hard to understand and saying the usual ridiculous things. Stern remarked that she lost weight, which I remarked last week as well in my Surreal Life 4 report. Her confrontation on the phone with X-Pac Sean Waltman was a trainwreck, as she's clearly abusive towards him (yet Waltman takes it). In addition, she took her usual lame shots at the WWE, even though she'll never give them full credit for making her in the first place (and probably paying for the significant plastic surgery that she's had). Hopefully, this segment airs on E! and I'll probably catch it because the Howard Stern E! show is a very guilty pleasure of yours truly. Hopefully, he retains the E! show once he joins Sirius officially. I guess you can see a picture of her from Stern, as well as downloading the audio of her conversation by Clicking Here on NoDQ.com. Enjoy.
This was another example of Chyna needing some serious help. There's an obvious alcohol or drug problem that she's currently experiencing. She's acting crazy on the Surreal Life 4 and her appearance on Stern was a wreck. A bunch of loyal Sean Waltman fans pointed me to his website, SeanWaltman.com, and showed me various posts from family members discussing Chyna's heavy use of drugs and partying. It's really sad... Yeah, I dislike Chyna for the primadonna that she became during the end of her WWE days. But this crazy binge of drug and alcohol use could only lead to another loss in the wrestling world. I personally don't want that, and if Chyna wants to keep making fun of Waltman for taking Vince and HHH's money for rehab, then maybe Chyna should beg Vince and HHH for their generousity as well.
But, staying on the subject of Chyna, that leads me to...
This enabled Da Brat to start complaining about Verne Troyer by not helping with clean-up. Look, the guy is handicapped! There's a reason why he drives around in a cart. He probably can't work on his feet for very long, and being just over 2 foot tall, I seriously doubt he could help you clean or be very productive. Da Brat has done nothing but complain during this show, even saying that Curry was a glory hound for busting her ass with caring for the kids. Whatever. The whole day wore out the cast, as playing with children full of energy and then cleaning up after them will tend to do that. With that being said, everyone went to bed... but not our favorite Joanie Laurer, the Chynna Doll!
Everybody went to bed early, but Chyna proclaimed that she goes to bed at 7 am! Seriously, is that normal? With that being said, instead of going off to another room or leaving the house to do something, she runs into all of the rooms in a bikini, jumping on the beds and creating lots of noice to the celebrities trying to actually sleep at normal times. The look in her eyes and her actions was as if she was on some sort of substance that gives you a lot of energy (cocaine's a hell of a drug, as the late Rick James said on Chapelle Show, season 2). You could suggest that this is all an act for attention on Laurer's part, but her recent actions and reports from various sources suggest otherwise. GET HELP JOANIE!!! I sincerely hope that this substance abuse can be rehabbed and fixed quickly for Chyna, for I don't want another wrestling casuality to drugs.
On to the RAW review......
Backstage, the mystery of Batista and HHH continues as Batista is late for the show and Ric Flair didn't quite get good phone contact with the bigman. How is the WWE not screwing up this Batista push? It amazes me that the little things and stuff in the ring is actually clicking.
PROPS to the WWE, this week, for making houseshows worthy to attend again. They had various Royal Rumble Qualifying Matches throughout the houseshow circuit and they even did a title change at a houseshow. Well done and advertising it could help the piss poor houseshow numbers lately. At a houseshow, La Resistance defeated William Regal in a handicap match since Eugene blew out his knee. La Resistance tagged up with Maven to take on Shelton Benjamin, Hurricane, and Rosey. I'll ask again... it's been over 3 years since the Hurricane has joined the WWE. Why is he being used as a total lower midcarder? His gimmick can be used to not only to attract younger fans, but older fans who read comics, too. In addition to that, Hurricane HAS a wrestling ability and charisma to boot. I don't know whose cornflakes he pissed on, but if I were Shane Helms, I'd get the fuck out of dodge whenever the chance arrives. This was an OK 6 man bout, but I REALLY liked the finish of La Resistance hitting their AWESOME finisher on the very large Rosey. The WWE needs to develop some legit tag teams to feud with La Resistance... you know, cause the whole Edge/Christian vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Dudleyz feud was quite exciting and was a major part of the WWE's expansion. A good tag team division will draw in more viewers, in my opinion. It didn't hurt the WWE during their prime (1998-2000), nor did it hurt them during the 1980's. Giving the titles back to La Resistance due to a lack of competitition is just lazy.
Backstage, Stacy Keibler gave Randy Orton a kiss after they chatted. Oh my, could the WWE be doing something right by pairing Orton up with a very over WWE diva? Holy cow! Pairing Orton with Stacy would help him greatly, even though Stacy's dating past (Test) might be stuck in the fans' memories and pairing her with Orton could be considered a cheap way of attempting to get Orton over. I'd give him one of the Diva Contestants instead, given that it would serve a purpose to not only give Orton a hot chick, but to also advance that Diva Contestant (which could lead to more Diva calendars sold and maybe Playboy?). But if it's going to be Stacy, please write something into the storylines that makes it more believeable as to why she'd want to piece of Randy Orton. I mean, if I were a female, I don't know if I'd go after a guy who was just shoved down our throats as an unworthy title contender and main eventer.
Baby what a big surprise, as the WWE announced a Stone Cold Steve Austin press conference set for Wednesday or whatever. WWE.com apparently says it's a 3 film deal, as I wonder why the WWE would bankroll movies with a guy who wasn't drawing WWE fans any more, let alone moviegoers. Can you say HBO movies? Can you say straight to video? No, I like Austin... but the WWE films thing is a joke and the WWE fanbase isn't huge enough to support the movies like it once could. I'm guessing this deal will enable Steve Austin to appear at Wrestlemania 21. If he's coming back to WWE television, put him on Smackdown. Don't be stupid, for Austin has exhausted his character on RAW.
It's METROSEXUAL TIME, as Randy Orton comes down to the ring and gets a VERY mixed reaction from Toronto fans. I'm sure the WWE will brush this off as "those damn Canadian fans", but Orton's reactions have been mixed everywhere. Orton has good mic skills, it's just that his wrestling ability and in-ring charisma have a lot left to be worked on. Triple H would then come out to a VERY mixed reaction, as he should be the one getting absolute boos while Randy should be getting absolute cheers. Like I've said before, Orton was rushed to the top and the WWE is paying for it now. After a few moments of this lovefest, a brawl would begin when Orton ran up the ramp and HHH surprised him behind the curtain. Flair would run down and Orton would eventually chase both guys out with a chair. Again, a VERY mixed reaction for Orton stampeding both Flair and HHH out of the ring. If it's not clear by now that Orton isn't ready for main event babyface, then I don't know what is?
Backstage, Flair and HHH are fired up after this brawl and it prompts HHH to bash Batista... before seeing Batista in his locker room. Batista says he has to talk to Eric Bischoff about something and HHH insists that he can help Batista with Bischoff because the champion has stroke! I like how HHH has a sudden fear whenever Batista is now in his presence. How is the WWE not messing this storyline up?!?
Also backstage, Shawn Michaels met with Eric Bischoff regarding qualifying for the Royal Rumble. Bischoff, however, gave Michaels a spot in the Rumble due to past accomplishments and since he did go on to defeat a champion at Wrestlemania during Wrestlemania 12... that was Bret Hart, which draws heat in Toronto. HBK wants a qualifying match, but Bischoff just gives him a match against Toronto's very own Christian instead. Since the Canadians fans can't get over Montreal 1997 (Survivor Series match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, where Bret was screwed on a Sharpshooter finish by HBK by Earl Hebner. The whole situation was arranged by Vince McMahon in the heat of competition against WCW and Earl Hebner would have been fired if he didn't call the match. Meanwhile, Michaels knew about the finish Vince had planned the night before or hours before the match. There, I explained it for the younger or newer fans who started watching when the WWE was heating up in 1998 or 1999.), the WWE seems to now be embracing it and setting HBK up as a heel in Canada. Personally, HBK, in 1997, was a drugged up egomaniac, and because of that, he had a complete distaste for Bret Hart. Since 1997, Shawn Michaels has become a born-again Christian, a family man, and he's free of any past demons he once had and hasn't been a problem in the WWE locker room. Canadian fans SHOULD embrace that and respect Michaels for the great wrestler that he truly is. I'd blame Vince McMahon more for the Bret screwing than Hebner or Michaels. It's not like Michaels did anything wrong in the match to enable that screw. The reversal of the Sharpshooter was a planned spot.
The very next match was Christian vs. Shawn Michaels, with Edge at ringside. Instead of pairing Christian up with the very lame and green Tyson Tomko, why not reunite Edge and Christian and push them as SINGLES wrestlers? Did that thought ever occur to you, WWE? Together, they make great heels and can both benefit from each other. Instead, let them both canoe out there without a paddle. Decent match here, which had a better ending. Again, is Pat Patterson, the WWE's old finish guy, back with the company? HBK dodged Edge's spear by throwing him over the top rope and then reversed Christian's Unprettier finisher into a superkick. Eat that, Canadians! After the match, though, Canadians get the last laugh as Edge attacks HBK. I wonder if the Canadian reactions, as seen on television, confuse younger viewers. For instance, if a young and impressionable kid watches RAW from Toronto and sees HBK working as a heel, he could be perceived as a heel. Oh well, paying audiences have the right to cheer for whom they want to. It's the WWE's job to cement someone as a face and get them over anywhere, no matter what the cost is.
The next match was Batista vs. Viscera, as the Toronto fans were heavily in favor of Batista ("Batista" chants, for example). See, he's not getting a mixed reaction like the so-called top babyface in Randy Orton. Batista is on the verge of turning face and the fans can see it and feel it coming. Therefore, they are starting to react to him, bigtime. The match wasn't much, but it's still using Viscera well as an advancement talent to get someone up and coming over. Pretty nice spinebuster delivered by Batista, and it's bought and sold because 500 pound guys don't normally take that kind of move.
Backstage, Batista tells Triple H that Bischoff offered him a Qualifying Match for the Royal Rumble, next week on RAW! Triple H, showing some strains of being a pussy heel (which is another key element I like about the Batista push), begs Batista not to take the match and enter the Rumble. Man oh man, I might be going out on a limb here, but Batista MIGHT be primed and ready to win this year's Royal Rumble. This is based on his performance in the Elimination chamber, key wins lately over Benoit, Viscera, and Rhyno, while having Randy Orton beat. In addition, fans are cheering for Batista, his wrestling ability has vastly improved, and his character has actually improved! Batista is ready for the bigtime, for sure.
Good match between Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho. I really don't know what else to say about it, given the many times they've wrestled and how they always work well together. Not an overwhelming match by these two, but it's still good to see on free TV. I'm really high on the finishes this week, as Jericho won by rolling up Benoit's Sharpshooter attempt. Afterward, Benoit got in Jericho's face to show what a rabid wolverine that he is, but soon calmed down. Wow, Jericho beats the 2004 Wrestler of the Year after taking Hassan's finisher and submission, as you'd figure Jericho would be tired? Well, after a lengthy title reign for Benoit in 2004, he's advancement talent now. As a big Benoit fan, at least I had my moment in the sun during 2004, even though Randy Orton should have NEVER beaten Benoit at Summerslam. At least HHH hasn't beat Benoit back in return, yet...
Next, we had Trish Stratus coming out and bragging about hurting Lita. Trish had me rolling with her just because your injured, doesn't mean you can't get pregnant stuff. Nobody in the WWE's women's division even comes CLOSE to Trish Stratus, which is why the WWE writers need to put their thinking caps on to give her better or improved opponents. Trish's comments would prompt Kane to run out and go after Trish, which prompts the Toronto fans to boo the living shit out of him. That's just great, especially when Kane has to wrestle a heel in the main event.
Kane vs. Gene Snitsky was the main event, and boy was it terrible. Yeah, I said it. The finish was total crap and recycled as a pathetic attempt for shock value. The match was bad, with the big boot as the big interesting move of the match. Piss poor weapons use, with the old Yappipi Strap (or weightlifter's belt, but Hogan gave it a name...) and chairs being used too much. Dead reactions from the crowd, except when they tried to start the wave (they started the wave during a very boring JBL vs. Undertaker match at Summerslam). After the finish was done, the camera zoomed in on Snitsky and Kane asking each other if they were OK. Talk about a complete exposure of the business. Actually, it's a complete exposure of the WWE and their lame set ups for matches. Seriously, how many times has wrestlers gone off the side of a stage and onto objects as shock value? Fucking lame, and there was no finish to this match, as Jim Ross signed off in amazement to this repetitive ending.
LAST WORD: I actually enjoyed this show, for the most part, up and until the main event. The matches were either decent or served a purpose and the Batista storyline continues to captivate me. Meanwhile, the WWE takes a page from their past with the Kane vs. Snitsky match. It shows that Vince McMahon is somewhat out of touch with what fans want, given that we also see Undertaker vs. John Heidenreich on Smackdown. To paraphrase, BIG WRESTLERS AREN'T DRAWING AUDIENCES! Stone Cold, Rock, and Mick Foley weren't exactly large wrestlers in height, and neither is HHH. I'll go [ B- ], saying this show was better than average, but had holes like swiss cheese. If I see Stone Cold coming down on his damn 4-wheeler next week or soon, I'm going to be very upset with the WWE's recycling or trying to live in the past.
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