Welcome back to the column that is a dish best served cold, the WRATH OF TITO. Today, we'll explore many parts of the wrestling world by reviewing RAW, talking about WWE storylines, and whatever else comes to mind. The problem with doing a weekly column is that I usually vented all of my thoughts through my daily columns, and now with the weekly column, I keep forgetting what I want to say in my intro that I'd normally post in the PDCs.
The main topics of discussion, lately, have been the current WWE storylines. Well, that's the main topic every week, but 2 angles in particular have some attention. Firstly, the KANE IS A MURDERER angle on RAW, and the UNDERTAKER CHEATS ON HIS WIFE angle. Both are going to make lots of money. *rolls eyes*
Now to begin this rant, I will say that it's a step in the right direction. Well, yes, the angles are stupid, but the WWE is at least trying to spend some more time on developing big storylines instead of going with the on-the-fly booking style that the now lazy WWE writing staff is used to. Ok. However, the angles pushed are so ridiculous. Instead of being able to get fans' attention by winning the big TLC match, Kane was put down by Triple H proclaiming he was a murderer. That was just ridiculous, especially in pushing a face wrestler against Triple H, the main heel. Are you asking for fans to not cheer for a murderer? It looks it.
But the fact that attempting to label someone for an illegal crime committed 10 years ago is a complete joke. I thought the WWE was trying to push more reality into their storylines? Nobody will believe the storyline or at least give the WWE their time to watch it. It's a shame a badly written storyline has fallen upon Kane, too, because I thought he was on the verge of somewhat breaking out as a face wrestler. Instead, his heel opponent proclaims him a murderer and it seems very unlikely that Kane will beat Triple H at No Mercy. Even if he does, he's still labeled as a "murderer" unless the accusation is quickly fixed, maybe by making that Katie whoever his valet upon returning?
Then, we have the Undertaker... Cheating on his wife? This is the more credible of the two angles, given that Paul Heyman's character has taken shots at Sara before and for Heyman's previous sick actions, such as smelling Lita's underwear on the stage. The angle, though, it too bland and it won't draw any money for the long run. You'd figure that booking a HELL IN THE CELL match or having an angle where Brock Lesnar breaks the Undertaker's arm were enough. Nope.
There are two big problems with these angles. Firstly, they are Russotastic! I mean, Triple H just comes out of nowhere Monday and announces that Kane once killed someone, which seemed rushed. Russo booking ideas range from everything like cheating, incest, homosexuality, and many other taboo subjects that professional wrestling normally doesn't have.
My second problem with the storylines is this. Despite the new thought out storylines, it's seems to be like it's nothing but a coat of paint over the WWE's problems. Look, you still have Triple H dominating RAW and the Undertaker dominating Smackdown. In the end, the fans will still see that, no matter how "great" your writing for the shows are. Unless the wrestlers change their style or adapt to today's wrestling tastes, you can't succeed no matter what angle you try. Take Hulk Hogan, for instance. Nobody cared for Hulkamania in 1995, so they turned him heel in 1996. The Ringmaster didn't work, so the WWF turned Steve Austin into Stone Cold. Acting like a DX goofball no longer worked, so the WWE turned Triple H into the greatest heel of 2000. The Keiji Muto(h) of New Japan was too old and battered to do his old flashy wrestling style as the Great Muta, so he changed his wrestling style completely and became Japan's biggest wrestling sensation. I could go on and on.
Triple H and the Undertaker are playing the same characters that they've been for years and wrestling the same way they always have. It's hard to paint a new coat of paint on them when it's still the old guys underneath it all. The WWE should suggest some alterations in their characters instead of attempting to do shock value angles. If you're going to keep Triple H and the Undertaker on top, then fine, make them interesting up there. Make them change their wrestling style. Maybe change their looks? Maybe change their on screen attitudes? If not, more fans will leave seeing the same old characters, week in and week out.
But at least the WWE is trying to put SOME THOUGHT into the storylines, whether setting a guy up to be a murderer or another to be a cheater is a different storyline. Give them some credit, I guess.
I'm extremely happy that the WWE signed Little Guido to a developmental contract or whatever. He was quite the underrated wrestler in ECW, as he could take great amounts of punishment from his opponents. Always a hard worker, in my eyes, and a great tag wrestler with the Full Blooded Italians. I loved the original FBI with Guido, Smothers, and Tommy Rich, but his teaming with Tony Mamaluke was some great entertainment, as both guys would take the biggest beating from their opponents. The WWE also signed Spanky. I've never seen the guy wrestle, so no comment if it was worth it or not. I have heard nothing but good reports on him from the past, so we'll see. The WWE just signed 2 potential cruiserweights... I hope they enjoy Velocity, like the rest of the Cruiserweight division. Ugh.
Some people are getting "wet" over the 3.8 rating from last week's RAW. Sure, I'm happy that the WWE went up a few notches in the ratings. However, I'm smart enough to realize that the WWE hotshotted a lot of things on last week's show. Look, they had different gimmicks for every match and a TLC match in the main event. The WWE would have to keep that effort up if they want to shoot up another 0.2 this week. Just note, though, that wrestlers aren't pieces of meat. Doing several DQ or specialty matches takes a toll on the body and it can also de-sensitize fans from anything amazing or spectacular. Several argued that the TLC's effectiveness was taken away from the Edge vs. Guerrero NO DQ match a few weeks ago on Smackdown. I can see that. Still, it was a great match and a better RAW than normal. I wonder how much they'll hotshot on future editions in hopes to turn around business.
I've been reading a little into wrestling history lately, and in Scott Keith's first book, "The Buzz on Professional Wrestling", he goes into good detail about Ted Dibiase's career and how he was supposed to win the WWF World Title at Wrestlemania 4 instead of Macho Man Randy Savage. The story goes that Honky Tonk Man was supposed to drop the Intercontinental Title to Randy Savage on a prime time show, but the Honky Tonk Man refused to drop the strap, threatening Vince that he was going to jump on over to the NWA with the title belt. Vince didn't want that to happen at the time, so Honky kept his belt while Vince then decided to push Randy Savage, instead of Dibiase, to the World Title. Now, the argument is that this decision was the final end to the WWF's successful Hulkamania era.
Now, back then, I was just starting 2nd grade at the time, so I'm not too familiar who was going to be a big draw or not. So my question is, to the older fans out there... Would Ted Dibiase as WWF Champion in 1988 have been great business? Dibiase was a good heel at the time, but would the fans love to hate him enough to fill the seats at whatever arena he wrestled in, like a Ric Flair or any other great heel that helped to make money? I'd like to hear your thoughts, and you can e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments. Just curious.
Lately, I've been reporting a lot about the recent decline of UPN, the network that WWE Smackdown is currently on. Why? I feel that it's important news in association with the WWE, just like anything with TNN is important in the way of the WWE. The WB network has been beating UPN for several weeks now, as WB's viewership is increasing with UPN's viewership doing nothing but decreasing. Why is this??? I've got a few theories.
For one, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer deal is backfiring! UPN bought the show, thinking they'd boost their viewership. It helped early on last year, but Buffy's ratings were actually decreasing on the WB during its last years on that station. UPN simply overpaid for a broken down show. Buffy, this year, has been badly underachieving in the ratings. Also, Star Trek Enterprise isn't doing too well as originally thought, and UPN is throwing away lots of dollars on several high budget action shows, which aren't gaining ratings either.
Then, you have the WB network. Smallville is slowly but surely (don't call me Shirley!) bring in some great numbers. With that, WB is cashing in their investment made to create the show last year and their budget for their other shows isn't as high as UPN's. Hell, when the time comes, WB will gladly let any show jump over to the UPN network and see declines there as well. Smallville, by the way, had a good 8.4 million viewers watching their show 2 weeks ago.
Are you ready for....
Show starts off with a reminder NOT TO WATCH IT with the "Kane is a Murderer" storyline. 49ers vs. Seahawks or Game 5 of the Giants and Cardinals may have better storylines, and they are sporting events!
Hey, we are in Montreal this week. HOT CROWD! HOT CROWD!
RAW starts off with Chris Jericho/Christian vs. Kane/Hurricane. Booker T assaults Jericho before the match. I can't comment on this here, given who will win this match or not. A very slow paced match, with the story being Kane feeling frustrated about being a murderer. Oh well, don't care. Christian and Chris Jericho are the NEW World Tag champions. Give those guys the microphone and you'll have a successful tag team. I figured Triple H would run in and cost Kane/Hurricane the titles, but since HHH will be taking up lots of television time anyway, I guess he was held back here.
I need 3 TVs. It's hard to flip between 3 channels, especially when I NEED to watch RAW to write this column.
Booker T/Goldust vs. Jericho/Christian should be a good tag match at No Mercy.
Looks like William Regal and Lance Storm are still an alliance. Storm has a big elbow brace on. Lance Storm vs. Al Snow is the next match. Hey, Storm didn't get threatened to cut his hair, so why punish him too? Looks like Al Snow is in for his annual push with Tough Enough 3 coming up. That, or they're filming the Tough Enough 3 cast at a WWE event. The crowd is quite silent. This is Montreal, right? Storm is Canadian, right? Wow, that was a dull match. Hmmm, Test seems to have disappeared while Test gets to beat Al Snow.
New tights and an improved look for Victoria?? A storyline to build up Victoria, saying that she's had a past with Trish in a modeling career? Holy Testicle Tuesday! Someone is reading this column and using its suggestions! For weeks now, I've been saying that Victoria has no storyline build up for herself and that her tights were horribly outdated. Trish slapper her silly. Not bad, not bad at all.
Amazing... Spike Dudley is one out of three guys with the best talking ability, as he was talking about injuries from the TLC match with Jeff Hardy and Rob Van Dam. A TLC highlight reel is then shown... See any highlights of Kane taking a big and dangerous spot? No you don't.
Ric Flair vs. Rob Van Dam at No Mercy... Wow, that should be an interesting clash of styles. I hate to say it, but I mark for Lumberjack matches, especially when the guys have the leather straps. World Class used to do that all the time, and those were sooooo brutal.
Jeff Hardy vs. Rico was up next. I'm sure some columnists online will make plenty of homosexual jokes towards this match. I don't know why, as isn't gay in real life, just like Jeff Hardy plays a "straight" wrestler on television. HA! Hey, why do WWE wrestlers avoid going to Jeff Hardy's picnics? Because the weiners taste like shite! Brief "Rico Sucks" chant and then some silence. Such exciting booking to amplify the crowd. I figured Rico would be going over here, given how Jeff Hardy is always late because it takes forever to paint himself up and look stupid. Lawler and Ross couldn't stop talking about Kane at the end of this match.
Kane is backstage and Terri approaches Kane as a "friend". She convinces him to tell all about whoever he killed. Ok.
Kane is in the ring to address the "Katie Vick murder" situation. Kane had friends? I thought he was hidden away for years before entering the WWE to go after the Undertaker. Kane went to a party? Again, flawed history here. I don't honestly think that Kane believes this story himself. You know, the WWE certainly needs to get their new writers into WWE history. So it was an accident? Who gives a flying fuck? Is this a big storyline payoff? Triple H came out, saying that Kane was drinking at that party, thereby drinking and driving, killing Katie. Oh wait, it gets better! Triple H says they found Kane's semen in Katie. I thought Triple H was going to say that a rape drug was found in her system. OH my God! Triple H suggested that Kane was a Necrophiliac!
This is possibly one of the worst ever segments on RAW. Kane's description of the event was terrible and Triple H's additions were completely horrible. See what I'm talking about concerning WWE writing? Firstly, Kane was in hiding before his WWE debut, meaning that he couldn't attend parties and he was unable to talk someone into dating him, let alone screwing him. Secondly, they made Kane into a drunken driver. Finally, the hint of necrophilia is just ridiculous. If you enjoyed that segment, you're not a wrestling fan, or at least a logical one. Nice of Triple H to have the writing go his way to fuck over the face wrestler he's fighting. Amazing.
Next match was Trish Stratus/Jackie vs. Victoria/Molly Holly. Victoria is SMOKIN' tonight! Trish got a pretty good pop. Nice to see the crowd moving out in files during this match. The sad thing is that all 4 of these ladies will try, it's just that the WWE doesn't care to give it any attention without doing stupid bikini contests or lingerie matches. I mean, I don't mind seeing T&A, but I can go to several places if I want to see these ladies stripping down to their bra and panties. Cheesy sequence at the end here, with Stacy Kiebler trying to screw over the faces. Huh? DEVASTATING kick by Victoria on Jackie. That will be sure to knock those braids out. Gotta admire the effort but the Women's division needs much more improvement as far as the storyline aspect of it.
Pat Patterson gets a salute for being the 1st Intercontinental Champion, probably leading to the 3 minute thing. He came out to Mae Young's theme music. Patterson spoke French to the crowd, or he could be saying dirty stuff in French to a date later on. Yecch! Nice Intercontinental Title tribute, with many, many great memories. They showed one of my personal favorite feuds, and that was the very first Rock vs. Austin feud of late 1997. It's videos like these which makes you feel good about being a wrestling fan. It's said to see that belt dying, given it's long history. Holy Jerry Brisco! I laugh everytime I see Jerry Brisco, as I was playing Wrestlemania 2000 one night with my friends. We played Royal Rumble mode, and after our chosen wrestlers, one of my buddies was randomly given Gerald Brisco, the one in a full suit. Needless to say, he cleaned house and nearly won the whole Rumble with Brisco. Big Show and Jeff Hardy with Yappipi Straps came out to save the day to hype how brutal an oldschool lumberjack match can be.
Chills went down my spine when I heard the Bret Hart music, which was a commercial for the new Anthology album coming out soon.
Interesting confrontation between Christopher Nowinski and Al Snow. Chris said he got into the WWE, but "no thanks to you". Ouch.
Tommy Dreamer vs. Christopher Nowinski was up next. Jerry Lawler says this about Dreamer: "who would marry him". HA! Dreamer, by the way, married his former ECW valet Beulah McGillicuty. He is a GOD for achieving that. I guess Jerry expects everyone to comb the high schools like he does for his next date. Al Snow accidentally help Nowinski win the match. Eh.
Triple H seems to be trying to bring back his old snob gimmick. I guess snobs don't like "murderers".
Randy Orton promo shown... Several people insist that Orton will become the next Rock, as his overpushed face run will results as a heel turn and make the company millions. I don't know... Rock played the part so well with natural charisma and incredible mic skills. Orton then hints his heel turn by dogging Bret Hart in front of a Montreal crowd. That was a joke. No need to go back to the past to get over a wrestler who wasn't even around the WWE at that time.
Booker T vs. Big Show for Falls Count Anywhere. Nobody is allowed to beat the Big Show cleanly or at least pin his shoulders to the mat or make him submit. It's not that hard beating a fat, lazy bump, despite the height differences. The WWE needs Kevin Sullivan right now, as he's the only one who makes the Falls Count Anywhere matches entertaining. Big Show won, proving that he's totally worthless no matter how many people you don't allow to beat him.
Triple H blocked RVD's lumberjacks. As if that matters. It's not like RVD has a chance to win, and if he does, it will be in a fluke and Triple H will get his revenge down the road. It's a no win situation when dealing with Triple H.
The main event was Triple H vs. RVD in a Lumberjack match. Gotta love that hard slap of the Yappipi straps. Funny to hear the boos when none of the heel lumberjacks wouldn't whack Triple H. Slow flow here in this match, but what do you expect from Triple H? Where did that intensity that he had from 2000 go? Face lumberjacks make their way down, and it looks like RVD is getting ready for a fluke victory. Not even that. Ric Flair cracked RVD with the old WCW title, and Triple H easily rolls over RVD for the win. Kane would come back, clean house and remind us that Kane vs. Triple H has never done well for Pay Per View buyrates as a main feature of the show. One of the Island Boys looked to have stiffed Kane on one of the punches. Kane chokeslams everyone, as if that dramatic ending hasn't ever been done before.
LAST WORD: How can Smackdown at least be decent every week, while RAW rarely has anything decent? This week's show was just absurd with the extremely lame matches and the pathetic storyline with Triple H and Kane. The "murder" got WAY out of hand and it will only drive away viewers instead of drawing them in. No Mercy will have some brightspots, but as far as the interest at the top, it's going to suck, suck, suck! This show gets a
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