Welcome to yet another edition of the WRATH OF TITO. Holy cow, I've been writing many columns lately. Has the PDC returned??!? TUNE IN TO NEXT WEEK'S NITRO! Ok, I kid, I kid, but lately, many things have been presented to write about. This week, I did the Royal Rumble predictions for the fun of it, today, I'm reviewing Royal Rumble, later tonight, I'll write the RAW column, and on Wednesday, I'll have 2 things posted.
First on Wednesday, I'll have my Wrath of Tito review on Bobby the Brain, the biography from Bobby Heenan, and also on Wednesday, I'll be debuting a NEW column along with my good friend and LoP teammate, William Martinez. You'll see what that column is about, as I think it will be a very fun and entertaining column to read. Given the signing possibilities and the clean slate given to the WWE in 2003, wrestling seems to be fun again to write about, at least for the moment.
For Wednesday's Wrath of Tito, I'll probably review the Pro Wrestling Illustrated 2002 Year in Review as well as the Heenan book review. PWI has some year end review awards to give out, which will be fun to disagree with.
Thus far this year, EVERYTHING about RAW has been a stinker. Firstly, RAW's television shows have been weak. The wrestling just isn't there, the main event feuds are stale, and the roster of wrestlers are either held back or completely stale. Then, we have the RAW 10th Anniversary show, which was a complete pile of shit. Then, we have the RAW roster as a whole, who clearly had the WORST matches of the night, last night, aside from Torrie vs. Dawn Marie. Triple H vs. Scott Steiner was a big joke, as I kept saying that the WWE failed in training Steiner for this and keeps failing with Triple H at the top, who can't carry any wrestlers to good looking matches, whatsoever. I'd put more blame on Steiner, but then again, note that Triple H has already pounded/embarrassed every other wrestler on the RAW roster to place too much expectations on Steiner to success as a new challenger.
The tag match, too, was a joke. Lance Storm and William Regal were just transitional champions for the Dudley Boys? This made no sense with regarding to Booker T/Goldust losing recently on RAW, despite only winning the tag titles at Armageddon last month. It only goes to show you that the WWE Good Ol' Boy Network and politics don't want Booker T and Goldust becoming successful as a tag team, you know, as it would cause bookers to push those two guys more. Heaven forbid that we improve a show and make more money with more successful stars, like Booker T and Goldust. It's becoming very ignorant on the RAW roster, and thus making the shows very hard to watch.
Yet, my stupid ass keeps watching RAW, while missing the last 4 Smackdowns. If only they'd switch days, life would be great. Thursdays are usually my travel days, from school to back home, and I'm too busy to watch Smackdown or tape it on time. Damn shame, too. Guys on the Smackdown roster CAN deliver, as in the case of Benoit and Angle last night.
Let me review this Royal Rumble show.
Our first match of the night was Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show. Perfectly acceptable big man match, and I'm glad they finally blew this feud off. Good ending, too, although Brock looked clearly tired after chucking Show around the ring a few times, especially on the final F5. Can't blame him, though, as the Big Show is 7 foot and 500 pounds. The crowd was firmly behind Lesnar, and with that being said, give him some great opponents for a change. I mean, it's hard to look good against the likes of the Undertaker or the Big Show. Move him on against a good, fast opponent at No Way Out, and then give him Kurt Angle for a possible Match of the Year candidate at Wrestlemania.
Next match was the Dudley Boyz vs. William Regal/Lance Storm. How either of these teams are as good or better than Booker T/Goldust to hold the titles, well, I'll never know. Boring tag team match here, as the Dudleys are unfortunately stale already and Regal/Storm are horrible as a tag team. What does the RAW tag team division need? Well, the Dudleys now have NO heels to wrestle now that they've already feuded with Storm/Regal and Jericho/Christian. Then turn them heels! Their last heel turn had them seeing NO mic time, whatsoever, thereby never identifying them as heels. Watch some old ECW tapes, as the Dudleys cut some great heel promos on their opponents, and especially the crowds. Then, you can have a face team like Booker T/Goldust chase them... but that won't happen.
Our next unfortunate match was Dawn Marie vs. Torrie Wilson. What nutjob in the back actually thinks that repeating this match on nearly every Pay Per View is a good idea? Oh yeah, the same morons booking the Al Wilson stuff. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Sure, the ladies look great. But make them a hot valet for someone and keep them the hell out of the ring. They can't compete in a legitimate match, whereas the WWE has plenty of held back wrestlers who could. The worst part was when the ladies ran into each other. So terrible!
Uh oh... Both Eric Bischoff and Stephanie McMahon are hyping surprises for their shows. Oh great, now that will cause speculation throughout the internet on what those surprises will be, and when the surprises might not pan out, backlash will be caused. The WWE brings it on themselves. Tonight, Bisch will announce his surprise, possibly being from the likes of having Austin or the Rock on their show, while the surpise I'd announce, if I were Eric Bischoff, was that I was leaving the WWE and running away from the sinking ship while I could.
Odd promo from Sean O'Haire last night, where he bashed God and whatnot. I wonder if any religious groups are watching WWE programming? If so and if the WWE continues this, look for more pressure on the WWE advertisers to quit buying ads from the WWE or receive some unnecessary publicity towards their corporations. I'm happy that they are at least building up O'Haire as a character, because that guy has some untapped potential.
Next, we had a WWE embarrassment from Scott Steiner vs. Triple H. Now, I expected a bad match, but NOTHING from what happened last night. Firstly, the match started with some horrible offense from Steiner. He was hitting HHH with some weak punches, and them some very wimply looking elbows. What in the hell? Then, Triple H was busted open with a shot from a title belt. Those are heavy, but not something to bust you open. Save a chairshot or ramming into the post for that. Finally, the WWE failed badly in not training Steiner to be in good aerobic shape to wrestle again. Get his ass jogging or on the stairs. He needs to get his windspan up so that he doesn't blow up in the ring after taking some holds or moves. It happened, as Steiner was very slow to get up and needed breaks in between every move. The only thing Steiner could do was his suplexes, and after so many of those, it became quickly old. The Boston crowd gave this match exactly what it deserved: boos and silence for a bad match. It's time for the WWE to realize how bad that their main event section of RAW is failing. But as long as bad free agent decisions are made and Triple H still has the "inside" track on Stephanie's bookings, it's not happening.
Thank God for the Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit match. Damn good bout. It seemed to be a mix of their other matches and got the Boston crowd cheering for something good. Was it an extra special match? Close. I thought the clean finish for Kurt Angle was a great idea, as it's building him up for Wrestlemania, and the standing ovation for Benoit afterward should be capitalized on. This is my Match of the Year candidate thus far, and it will be hard to top this one.
I really liked this year's Royal Rumble. Predictable at the end, yes, but the overall match was fun to watch. The standouts? Chris Jericho and Matt Hardy. Jericho looked great in the Rumble, especially after he quickly threw out Shawn Michaels and lasted as long as he did. It's about time he had a good moment to shine lately. He just may receive more cheers than Shawn Michaels, thereby turning him face in that match and turning Michaels heel again. I loved the stuff with Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore in the match. Quality entertainment. Hardy would confront his brother Jeff, later on in the show, as it was easily noticeable who is the better of the brothers in 2003. Too bad Matt doesn't get the push he deserves on Smackdown. I liked the team work early on with Rey Mysterio and Edge, along with the confrontation between Edge and Christian.
But do you know what I noticed in the Rumble? The uniqueness of RAW and Smackdown wrestlers interacting. You know, it's been over 6 months since the split, and several months since Bischoff and Stephanie were stealing wrestlers with each other. When I saw Mysterio and Jericho fighting, it seemed unique and fun to me. Same with other things in the match, even the Rikishi vs. 3 Minute Warning situations.
The Undertaker returned, and damn near eliminated everybody in sight. Get used to it, as his absence did open the door for others to shine. However, now that he's back, he'll return to no selling and squashing wrestlers with tremendous potential. He killed everybody in sight, acting like he had no ring rust or anything. I thought the stuff with Maven was pretty funny, though, but look at Maven here in 2003. That Rumble elimination of last year sure didn't do anything for Maven, although he was hurt for a few months. Of course, I agree that Maven needs more training, but that's not the point. Fans won't believe his potential when he's immediately squashed by the Undertaker when eliminating him in last year's Royal Rumble. Funny how Brock couldn't even cleanly eliminate the Undertaker in the Rumble match, too, as Batista's run in caused a distraction from the Undertaker.
LAST WORD: If you're looking to buy the replay, note that there are 2 things worthy of your dollars: Angle/Benoit match and the Rumble itself. Otherwise, you're not missing much. Steiner vs. Triple H was a complete abortion of a match, while Torrie Wilson vs. Dawn Marie wouldn't watchable on Velocity (besides their hot looks), and Storm/Regal vs. Dudleys was boring. Brock vs. Big Show was acceptable, but nothing spectacular. I'll give it a [ B- ] (B minus) based on 2 really good things outweighing several bad things. Things are looking up for possibly Jericho, and that's a good thing, and the Smackdown roster rules the world.
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