I, love, writing columns late... Giving Chyna hate... Deciding Randy Orton's fate... AND TWINS! Welcome to the late-edition of the Wrath of Tito. You'll have to excuse my delay, for I was unable to watch both RAW and the Surreal Life when they came on. I taped both and watched both late Tuesday night. In addition, I caught Chyna on Howard Stern for his E! show as well... Yikes, I'm on Chyna overload lately!
-THE BIG NEWS OF THE WEEK is the one and only, the Rock. Reports suggest that the Rock and the WWE have contractual issues to work out if the Rock is to appear on Wrestlemania 21. The Rock, now a Hollywood player and is actually finding decent fulltime work, has been on a very light WWE schedule since he began making movies. Last year, as you'll recall, his only real dedication to the WWE was Wrestlemania 20, while he'd make a few other appearances for the WWE, depending on the location. This year's Wrestlemania is in Los Angeles, and if the Rock is on location making movies, he should be able to attend this event.
HOWEVER, reports suggest that Vince McMahon is playing hardball now that he actually has Steve Austin signed to a movie deal. Now that Vince has Austin, why get the Rock? Well, I'd suggest that the Rock is more well known in the mainstream than Austin is, at least as of now. Before, Austin was the top draw, but the WWE's success is based on Vince McMahon, the Rock, and Steve Austin. Those three wrestlers and characters helped fuel the WWE to greater heights, and Austin's popularity dwindled while the Rock's stayed the same or actually went up, namely in Hollywood.
But just focusing on the Rock, his deal must have expired with the WWE and it appears that his deal had something to do with "the Rock" name. I thought the Rock eventually was given the rights to that name? If not, Dwayne Johnson isn't a name that sells in Hollywood. The Rock does... While I'll see the argument that the Rock has in that he helped shaped the WWE dynasty of today, the Rock is only making a handful of WWE appearances a year. That's no where near a full time arrangement, with all due respect. The Rock should just sign a small deal to retain the use of the name, "The Rock", and use the WWE as a vehicle to help promote his movies. Seriously, it's a win-win situation with the Rock even if he's getting low-balled on money.
Besides, it was Dwayne Johnson who came up with the name, "The Rock", and there's television footage to prove that in court, if necessary.
What I found interesting, if it's true, is the Rock's desire to work with Sting. If true, I'm betting that Dwayne Johnson met up with Steve Borden (Sting) somewhere in Hollywood, given that Sting has a few acting roles under his belt. This same exact thing happened in 2003 with Bill Goldberg, as the Rock helped usher him into the WWE. Man, I'd tear off a limb to see Rock vs. Sting. I'd pay top dollar to see that match. Seriously, that's a dream match of insane proportions. Of course, the WWE wants Sting to work a full time schedule, not one match or a light schedule. That's the roadblock with Sting and Vince McMahon isn't going to listen to the Rock during contractual talks.
If I ran the WWE, I'd pony up money to give the fans the following matches:
-Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle
-Sting vs. the Rock
-Batista vs. Triple H
-Steve Austin vs. Hulk Hogan
I'm a betting man that says only HHH vs. Batista will happen, but I bet that will revert into some kind of 3-way with Orton, as my reader Craig insisted. It's sad to think that the WWE wants to do Kurt Angle vs. the Undertaker for Wrestlemania 21. SAD!
-Batista made some very interesting comments to the London Sun recently about the Smackdown roster. At first, I figured he was doing it to hype the Royal Rumble. But looking at what he said suggests otherwise:
“I don’t consider it a rivalry at all. We’re a better show, period. There’s no comparison. I feel for Smackdown, I just don’t know what’s going on over there. I try to watch the shows but, for me, they’re hard to sit through. And that really makes me sick as it should be a top show. I’ve watched their tapings live and it seems like a lot of the guys couldn’t care less. There’s a lack of passion and pride. They need the stress of a live show on them, like we have. A lot of them think: “Oh, it’s taped. If I mess up, we’ll just redo it.” They’re more worried about where they’re going after the show, which also makes me sick because it means they’re not there to work.”
OUCH! Those are shooting from the hip comments, suggesting that a lot of the wrestlers are dogging it with a lack of passion and pride, the laziness of having a taped show, etc. Those comments are going to cause quite the stir in the Royal Rumble locker room. Now, I'm sure that the RAW roster actually agrees with Batista, but they aren't saying it in public. Batista could get fried for this because of how new he is, and Smackdown has two ass-kissing members in Bradshaw and Undertaker who aren't going to take those comments with stride, neither is the constant professional Kurt Angle, among other wrestlers.
Does Batista have a point? Yes, I think he's correct on a lot of aspects, but I wouldn't blame it on the majority of wrestlers. I blame it on the bookers who have put together a pathetic wrestling show that centers around the Undertaker and Bradshaw, two very unproven draws at this point and time. Their Summerslam match sums it up between the two, as waves and beachballs showed how much the Toronto crowd cared about that match. Meanwhile, the rest of the roster has nothing to wrestle for. Eddie Guerrero was scapegoated for Smackdown's dropping ratings after Wrestlemania 20, even though he lost both Angle and Lesnar to wrestle while feuding with the pushed-too-fast Bradshaw, and he could probably care less about where he stands. You have guys like Chavo Guerrero or Billy Kidman who deserve a promotion to a higher spot on the ladder. Seriously, who is going to have motivation on the same roster that's promoting Undertaker vs. Heidenreich in a Casket Match?
BUT, Batista shouldn't have opened his mouth. He could come under a lot of fire for this and it's a good thing he's a personal friend of HHH's in real life. Who knows, maybe he was speaking for HHH? Regardless, they are dumb comments to make that can discredit the WWE product and it comes at a time when Batista is receiving a truly excellent push to the top.
-In my email, I had a good email from a real Arabian American who was insulted by the WWE's portrayal of their race with regards to Muhammed Hassan. I believe you'll see more of this in the mainstream media, as the Hassan character, in my opinion, will blow up in the WWE's face if they are not careful. Look, I'm white and I honestly can't comment on the WWE's portrayal of Arabian Americans. My beef is using the events of September 11th, 2001 to get over a wrestling angle. The characters could be any race, as we saw in this column when Lance Storm made his 9/11 comments as a member of the UnAmericans. Exploiting the tragic events of 9/11 as a wrestling angle is completely wrong and tasteless. That's my major beef with the angle. That's what it has been since day one. 3,000 people or so died from those terrorist attacks that day and it's no laughing matter, nor is it an event to make money off of (right Michael Moore?).
It's the same exact problem with Desert Storm, as the WWE used that as a wrestling angle when Iraq invading Kuwait and starting up a war, even though it didn't last very long. Same goes with the Iranian hostage crisis, as the WWF wheeled out the Iron Sheik. Same goes with the Cold War stuff, even though I have less of a problem with that in comparison to actual war conflicts and just about everybody played off of Cold War stuff back then in entertainment. Besides, some of the Russian characters turned face and actually made good for their country.
But playing up 9/11 for a wrestling angle is not only wrong, it's absolutely tasteless and the WWE should be ashamed of themselves for running this angle. No wait, Vince McMahon has no shame, from the many angles he's run over the years. My bad. The WWE has to watch out because if a watchdog media outlet starts pounding on them, such as maybe the O'Reilly factor (which convinced Pepsi to pull Ludacris ads), the WWE could have their hands full and could lose sponsors faster than when the Parents Television Council attacked them over Smackdown content. Again, my criticism of Hassan is the WWE's exploitation of 9/11. That's how I stand, and I'm sure many could disagree, even though I have no idea why anyone could disagree about using the tragic events of 9/11 to promote a wrestling angle.
-And now we enter the Chyna-Syndrome part of the column. Earlier this week, Sean Waltman posted on his webpage about how angry he was about VH1's portrayal of his ex-girlfriend, Chyna, on the "Surreal Life 4". Seriously, Waltman, get over her. She's out of control and out of your hands. She refuses to seek help for her drug problems, which is the opposite of you because you seeked rehab (as paid for by Vince McMahon and HHH). She is a wreck and the abuse you've taken from her will never allow her to ever listen to you when you say "you need some help". VH1 is merely showing the outrageous moments of their show. It just so happens that Chyna drinks throughout the entire show and is hyper for whatever reason. Can you blame VH1 for airing the best moments that might appeal to viewers? Viewers want trainwrecks, especially involving celebrities. When Chyna signed on to do the show, she knew exactly what she was getting into.
Last night, E! had Chyna on the Howard Stern show... Yikes! I heard the audio of the show and the video of it is even worse. Chyna looks terrible and was completely blitzed on either alcohol and/or drugs for the interview. Her clothing was sad and in this interview, you can see how she's let her body go. She's stopped working out, as you can clearly see with her smaller arms, and she's very pale. She had glitter all over her face and wore a loose dress that looked very homemade. On the show, she admitted to drug and alcohol use and cited she didn't have a problem with it. Whatever. She's out of control, as this interview proves, and somebody better throw her in rehab for a while before she seriously becomes wrestling's latest casuality.
If you want to watch the second part of the Howard Stern show interview, it's on tonight at 11:00 EST on E! or 2:00 am EST as well. It's sickening to see how far Chyna has fallen from grace since her WWE days.
The cast's next task was to brand a cattle. If they branded it, they would eat steak and lobster for dinner. If not, it was hot dogs and baked beans. Of course, a lot of the cast didn't want to brand the cattle, including Jane Wielden of the Go-Go's, who walked back to the Surreal Life van crying about hurting a little cow. Celebrities against hurting animals? Why, that never happens! *sarcasm* Adrianne Curry, who has become close with Wielden, wanted Steak and Lobster, so she branded the cow, citing that the cow would get branded anyway. See, that's my kind of thinker! Curry's easily the standout character from the show, no matter how more popular Chyna or Troyer might be compared to her. Curry branded the cow and had to apologize to Wielden, and later gave her a spot in the luxury tent when Curry won "cowboy of the day" for branding the cattle.
For the rest of the evening, the cast sat around the fire, eating steak, lobster, and whatever else, while drinking a lot of beer! Of course, you know who got plastered and that was Chyna. Around the fire, each of the cast members sort of gave confessions. Chyna said she had no family and that she tried to kill herself 6 months ago on pills. My mind must be slipping, as I'd remember commenting on that when it happened. See, I'd feel sad for Chyna with this suicide attempt, but then I see her on Howard Stern making a complete fool out of herself. It more or less comes off to me as an attempt to gain pity, and according to reports, she's kind of hooked up with fellow cast member and former Calvin Klein model, Marcus Schenkenberg. Well, I guess the pity attempt worked on someone? Also, Da Brat cracked me up with some very personal shots at Chyna's excessive make-up style, but Chyna laughed it off, probably because she was high as a kite.
Next week: Surreal Life cast goes to a strip club!
Let's get RAW!
Since we are in Oklahoma, it's only tradition to embarrass Jim Ross in his home state. They had the governor declare that day to be "Jim Ross" day and they had former NCAA wrestling champion, Danny Hodge there as well to give props to J.R, as well as Stacy Keibler. For what? Because Ross graduated from Oklahoma and pimps that fact up every week? Whatever... Before Ross can make a speech, Triple H and Ric Flair come down and laugh at Oklahoma losing badly against USC (actually, that is funny). Eventually, Ross was on the receiving end of Flair's nutshot, and while trying to leave the ring, Triple H grabbed Keibler. This would prompt the very old Danny Hodge to attempt to save the day, as he started attacking Hodge. This led to Flair joining in, and both HHH and Flair beatdown the very old Hodge. Damn, that was quite intense. HHH would then turn his attention back to Keibler, trying to get her into a Pedigree when Randy Orton made the save.
Funny stuff backstage with Batista and Flair/HHH, as HHH bragged about beating up Jim Ross, Danny Hodge, and almost hurting Stacy Keibler, while Batista had a great look on his face when being told all of this ridiculous stuff. Priceless. Batista stated that he's going to get the Royal Rumble qualifying match, thinking that it's going to protect Evolution's World Title in case Orton happens to beat HHH. Eventually, HHH warmed up to the idea and later got Ric Flair a spot in the Royal Rumble to also protect Evolution's interests. How are they NOT screwing this up? It baffles me, because it's getting Batista over with the fans already and giving him credibility to step into the main event spotlight as a legit World Champion, not a chump like Randy Orton turned out to be prematurely.
Also backstage, La Resistance said that they go "both ways"... meaning they wrestle both tag matches AND singles matches, as they want to be in the Royal Rumble. That's some interesting play of words set up by the WWE writers. Bischoff said "no" at first, but then Batista walked in. La Resistance made a good offer to Bischoff to have Batista wrestle them, and if La Resistance won, both Conway and Grenier would be in the Rumble. Grenier was rather funny throughout this segment. Also in this segment, Bischoff declared that Coach had a spot in the Royal Rumble, which is ridiculous but could provide a mere moment of comic relief. Bischoff asked if Coach would take care of something...
Both Tajiri and the Coach were in the ring... Coach said in this Royal Rumble qualifying match, the rules have been changed. It's now an over-the-top-rope contest, and Tajiri's opponent would be the legit 500 pounder Viscera. Wow, now that's how you screw over a Cruiserweight. Tajiri, at first, got the advantage by spraying myst in Viscera's eyes, but Viscera eventually won in short notice because he's FUCKING HUGE. While Viscera isn't your well known midcarder these days, he's still a more valid Royal Rumble guy than guys like Tajiri, given that it will take a lot of effort to get Viscera's fat ass over the top rope. Fun short match... Viscera looked vicious at the end of the match with the green spray all over his face.
Backstage, William Regal and Tajiri reunite after Regal wasn't allowed a qualifying match due to his care of Bischoff's nephew, Eugene. I guess you gotta find a partner when your retarded tag team partner blows out his knee. Together, Regal and Tajiri have a plan to get back at Bischoff for his deeds. I can't remember if they did anything to Bischoff later in the show or if they'll exact revenge at the Royal Rumble?
The next match was Batista vs. La Resistance. Look, I'm all for the Batista push. BUT, as the WWE has tried this before, I'm VERY against the World Tag Team champions losing in a handicap match. The WWE has attempted this sort of thing before and I spoke out about it then, just as I'll speak about it now. Don't discredit your tag champs. Yeah, La Resistance plays your pussy heels well. BUT, it's still 2 on 1 and no main eventer should beat 2 guys in under 3 minutes. Seriously, think about it, especially when the referee didn't force La Resistance to wrestle in tag team mode. It's a good win for Batista, yes, but it's disheartening to the Tag Team titles, which actually have a lot of history behind them.
The next match was Muhammed Hassan vs. Val Venis. Maven's not the only one getting another chance at a Royal Rumble slot. Hassan actually lost to Chris Jericho in a Royal Rumble Qualifying houseshow match the weekend before Hassan appeared on Jericho's Highlight Reel. Of course, the WWE bragged about Jericho qualifying on a houseshow card, but they never mentioned who he beat. Just minor details to nitpick about, but it still shows how unorganized the WWE can be. Val Venis, the ultimate enhancement talent, lost to Hassan eventually in an OK match. Hassan's damn manager was annoying the shit out of me on the microphone, and in the process, it helped silence the crowd for a lot of the match. By the way, did you see what Lilian Garcia was wearing? Oh, this match ended with Hassan's version of the Flatliner/Downward Sprial/Scott Steiner finisher after Val got too confident and went for his Money Shot splash. The Jury is still out on whether Hassan is a good wrestler, as I need to see more of his matches to determine if he can back his tasteless gimmick up with actual wrestling ability.
Next, Maven came out and said Bischoff would give him a Royal Rumble spot if any qualified Royal Rumble wrestlers were willing to put their spot on the line. Both Kane and Gene Snitsky came out, both made up with bandages and bloody make-up to sell the repetitive ending of last week. I liked when Kane sat up, as he played up that he was still in pain despite sitting up. Maven was no match for Kane, as Kane's good arm wasn't injured and the chokeslam finishes Maven to keep him out of the Rumble (what a free fall Maven has had... send him back to OVW!).
Besides Wrestlemania 21, I hope the WWE doesn't get fans' hopes up about Steve Austin. He's only doing movies, people... Excuse me, he's only doing straight-to-video movies, people... But my point is that he's not going to be a WWE regular, at least not yet or until Wrestlemania 21. Besides, he can't wrestle, so what's his use on WWE television these days? A good friend of mine has insisted he'd make a great color commentator. At this point, I'd agree to anything that would shake up the stale RAW commentating team. Speaking of that, I hope the WWE does good in putting Tazz with Jim Ross once again this year for the Royal Rumble.
And the main event was Ric Flair vs. Randy Orton, which was a total drag. I kept looking at the clock to see when it would end! Orton brought absolutely no energy to the match, and the only interesting parts were when Evolution tried to cheat in the match. That's it. Seriously, if Orton is going to be a main event player, he needs to knock the boring shit out of his wrestling ability. He just seems to wrestle with absolutely no emotion. I guess he'll learn that in time. But when you're not ready for the big time, why push him to the bigtime, WWE? Eventually, Orton won, thus defeating HHH's interference. Afterward, Orton held up the world title. This victory, the holding up of the title, and Batista's push are telling me that Triple H is going to retain the title at Royal Rumble. THANK GOD, as I'd much rather see Batista vs. HHH, even though I have a feeling (agreeing with my reader Craig) that the match will be turned into Orton vs. Batista vs. HHH, as if that match will have any intensity or flow like HHH vs. Benoit vs. HBK of last year.
LAST WORD: Good Royal Rumble hype show, and that's the WWE's job right now is to make us pay $35-$40 for a show. After the six man, though, the match quality got worse by the night and it's something the WWE seriously needs to work on. Otherwise, I'm very excited for this Sunday and I'm very happy with the way the WWE has handled Batista's slow and eventual push to the top. Very well done and I give all of my props to the WWE creative team for getting that right. I'll go [ B+ ] on this show just on the basis of Royal Rumble hype, as the grade would be lower otherwise (maybe B-/C+).
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