The WRATH of TITO is back for another round. Today, we'll discuss various issues and then review Monday Night RAW. RAW had heavy competition last night, with the Game 5 of Boston vs. Oakland for the baseball playoffs, Monday Night Football in Colts vs. Bucs (two of the best teams), and with the other networks having new shows, such as the CBS Monday night powerhouse. I bet if RAW gets a 3.4 or something like that, they'll be like "it was the heavy competition". However, if they do around a 3.6 or higher, they'll see it as a triumph and TNN will put out a press release. Seriously.
My theory on show competition is that wrestling fans watch wrestling shows, no matter what. You can argue about the casual fans, but the truth is the casual fans left a few years ago when storylines became stale once Stephanie McMahon began controlling the creative team. If you have a good wrestling show, then fans will tune in every week and support the product. If you have a bad one, your numbers will drop. The WWE, right now, has a BAD wrestling product because the McMahons are full of themselves on television and behind the scenes. When you drop 2 full ratings points from just a few years ago and are lucky to sell out a show, your product isn't something in high demand. It's only a matter of time when the WWE goes below a 3.0 in Cable ratings, and that will be bigtime trouble.
Of course, I have the task of flipping through 3 channels tonight and trying to type up my RAW review at the same freakin' time! And I'm having a bad day, so I'll probably be a little nasty, as well. But you watch, and you're hearing it here first... The WWE will blame competition for the lower ratings, and if they do something around a 3.6 or higher, they'll be party in the streets at Stamford, CT and TNN will throw out a press release. You watch!
I am baffled at the reasoning for the WWE wanting to do Kane vs. the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 20. Baffled! I mean seriously, how many times have those two wrestled each other on Pay Per View and on television? The feud NEVER drew back then, for it just rode on the coattails of Steve Austin's popularity to have any success, whatsoever. Oh, but let's do it one more time because that's what VINCE MCMAHON wants, and not the fans. The needs of the many are outweighed by the needs of the few or the one! I don't see what the big deal is about pushing two hosses against each other, who will by all means put together a terrible match AND feud to watch.
I LAUGH at Macho Man Randy Savage's media blitz lately. He'll tell everyone who wants to listen about his new album and the wrestling career he ONCE had to you know, sell records. That's fine and dandy, but he's looking a bit desparate with the way he's doing it. The funniest are his comments about Hulk Hogan, wanting to fight him in real life. Oh whatever. What's wrong Savage, are you angry that you AGREED to lose to Hulk Hogan all of those times? Savage never stuck up for himself backstage, always making his matches very predictable with Hogan because he lost every one of them. Yeah, Hogan has creative control, but come on! Agreeing to lose EVERY match against Hogan is ridiculous, and Savage could have asked for at least one victory at some point in his career. Instead, he's left crying about how federations still want Hogan in their federations.
Speaking of that, I pity the NWA-TNA for signing Hulk Hogan. Why? Yeah, he'll get one big draw on the one Pay Per View against Jeff Jarrett, but what after that? NWA-TNA needs to innovate their own style and wrestlers, not try to rub off the past and bring in a short run guy like Hogan. NWA-TNA seems to attract a younger age of wrestling fans, so do you honestly think they'll tune in more often to see Hogan at the top of that promotion, IF Hogan decides to stick around for the long haul? I don't think so. NWA-TNA should have let Hogan get back with the WWE so that they can lose more younger viewers there and become a place for those fans to flock to. You know, a nice place free of dinosaurs...
Look at this week's box office... "The School of Rock" starring Jack Black did a $19.6 opening weekend gross. That's not bad, considering it's a movie riding on Black's decent or recent starpower. Last week, "The Rundown" opened up with $18.5 during the weekend. This is a movie starring the Rock, Seann William Scott, and Christopher Walken, and a movie that advertised everywhere AND did a full media blitz with all of its stars going anywhere and everywhere. Yes, my friends, taking into the factors that I've given, the Rundown was somewhat of a bust. Now listen, I'm a big supporter of the Rock as an actor and I paid to see his movie, but this is hardly a major success in the box office. The Rundown is down a little under 50% in its second week, making the current gross to be $32.6 million. Given its budget, this is somewhat of a failure. Better make up for it in the DVD market.
On to the RAW review.
Show starts off with Kane coming to the ring, reminding us that losing the mask and turning him crazy was a BAD idea. Of course, it's no worse than pushing another Undertaker vs. Kane feud for Wrestlemania 20... By the way, my theory on the Hurricane getting squashed last week by Kane was punishment for fighting Rodney Mack on a houseshow. I'm serious. Kane's opponent was SHIT, whom the crowd isn't backing. How can you be over when your team isn't allowed to win any good matches? Rosey is moving at a very slow speed. Make him drop some weight to improve his ability, greatly. Yep, it was punishment on the Hurricane, for they let Rosey hit some offense and last longer in the ring. Kane wins via chokeslam. The Hurricane would then run down afterward and get murdered again. Definitely punishment, and Rodney Mack will walk free... Here comes the ratings slide... Shane McMahon attacked Kane and ran away. I can just hear a million clickers changing to football or baseball.
I actually need some sleep tonight, and damn it, the sports are just too damn good lately. I LOVE October. By far, my favorite month for sports. Baseball has the best playoff system around (football only beats them with the Superbowl) and NFL Football is always fun to watch. The other night, my dumbass stayed up until 2:45 to see the Oakland A's beat the Red Sox in extra innings, despite having an early class the next morning, as well as work later. I was sooo dragging ass...
Backstage, Kane is chasing Shane. Shane hides in a limo, to which Kane tries to destroy with a baseball bat. Kane enters the limo, only for Shane to escape and rig the limo's gas pedal to drive it into a semi-truck trailer with Kane still in it. The segment made me roll my eyes at the pathetic attempt at shock value. This segment not only cost a whole lot to do (i.e. destroying a limo), but it won't do anything for the WWE in the long run and it won't bring in any new fans. Did the other attempts at destroying vehicles with people in them do anything? Did setting the dumpster on fire with Kane in it do anything? Of course not, and until the WWE learns, more and more fans will say "fuck this" and go watch baseball or football instead of being a loyal fan. Afterward, Ross and Lawler get into their Owen Hart sympathy voices, to which nobody believes because the WWE no longer can use the shock value card effectively.
Back from commercial, as Kane is in the limo and very bloody. The replay showed the driver of the limo ducking before impact occurred, which made me laugh even further at how pathetic the WWE is right now. Since Kane is all bloody, why not arrest Shane for doing it? Oh yeah, that would give a hint of making a storyline believeable. Heaven forbid. Steve Austin tried to intervene, but was held back.
Next match was Gail Kim vs. Lita, the match I begged for because it will be a trainwreck of two workers who are more of spot oriented wrestlers and not workers, such as Molly Holly and Trish. Odd how it just takes wearing shorts to the ring for it to make Lita look even better than before. This crowd is pretty dead tonight, thus far. Lita looks quite tall in the ring as compared to Gail. I'm curious to know how Lita's book is doing in sales... Someone told two spotty wrestlers to do restholds, and the result is a dead crowd. Lita won with what Jim Ross called a "Spine tingling DDT". I expected a blown spotfest, but the WWE forcing them to do boring restholds prevented that.
Backstage, the fire fighters try to rescue Kane and the police arrive. Eric Bischoff tries to see what's happening, but is held back as well..
In a segment filmed "earlier today", Triple H continues to push his $100,000 offer to take out Goldberg. Triple H paid a tribute to Ted Dibiase by saying "a famous man once said 'everyone has a price'". I liked that.
Next, we see Scott Steiner coming out to the ring and ordering Stacy to walk to the ring. Steiner gets on the mic and acts a little cockier than normal. A heel Steiner is much better. Steiner wants an apology from Stacy for blowing his matches on her knees, but Eric Bischoff interrupts. He's happy to see that "the Scott Steiner I know has finally decided to return". Bischoff wants to handpick Steiner's next opponent to show appreciation.
Backstage, Kane is put on a stretcher and into an ambulance. Why doesn't the WWE do a death angle if they want to be innovative in wrestling? Maybe they could have Kane take a few months off and they could make a storyline for Shane, where he's possibly on trial for murder. How about that?
The next match was Steiner vs. Spike Dudley, which was already in progress. I may have missed the beginning, but damn it, the Red Sox and Oakland A's are 1-1 in the 6th inning, a time at which starting pitchers start to wear down. I believe I heard a "Yankees Suck" chant started here. Sad. The extended squash ends with Steiner's unnamed finisher. Steiner wants more, and suplexes Spike off the top rope. The Dudley Boys run in, and Test saves Steiner from any damage. Looks like we're in for a money-making (sarcasm) Dudleys vs. Test/Steiner feud.
Backstage, La Resistance/Conway try to attack Goldberg for the $100,000, but badly succeed.
Ouch... Manny Ramirez just hit a HR to put the Red Sox ahead 4-1, still in the 6th inning. After he hit the HR, he walked slowly after it and pointed to either the crowd or the A's dugout. Oh man, I bet that's the next controversy in sports, so expect it to be the next huge topic of debate.
Backstage, Bischoff blames Austin for the Kane accident.
Chris Jericho comes to the ring with Johnathan Coachman, Lance Storm, and Christian already in the ring. Jericho is on the mic and he blames the accident, too, on Steve Austin. Jericho want's the WWE board to relinquish Austin of his duties as GM of RAW. Each of the 3 guys, Storm, Coachman, and Christian give their gripes about Austin. Christian's point is that RVD received many rematches because of Austin, and they show clips of the RVD vs. Christian ladder match, which was pretty good last week. Probably my second favorite RAW match of the year, with the first being HHH vs. Ric Flair. Storm, however, likes Steve Austin and says he should stay as GM because he's been happy lately. Christian and Jericho then attack Storm, and Steve Austin comes down for the save. Jericho keeps stomping in Austin's face, which I thought was pretty damn cool. Luckily for Storm, Rob Van Dam made the run in, probably setting up Storm/RVD vs. Christian/Jericho. Austin makes the match and makes it RIGHT NOW:
Christian/Chris Jericho vs. Lance Storm/Rob Van Dam is next... Storm needs new tights if his current "gimmick" is going to work, or some kind of new look. Nice reversal into the Maple Leaf by Storm. All 4 are using the ropes and stuff on the outside, but they are hitting it. Nice reverse elbow by Jericho off the top rope into a standing Lance Storm. You don't see that very often. Excuse me if I miss anything important, but Jackson and Damon of the Red Sox collided HARD on a catch. Holy shit that was painful to watch! I'm glad RVD has brought back the split-legged moonsault. Great stuff with the drop toe hold and into the Rolling Thunder on both competitors by RVD. Some pretty flashy moves have been hit here. Excellent reversal of the frankensteiner into a Walls of Jericho by Chris Jericho on RVD. Storm would get the tag when RVD was on the ropes and then missle dropkick Jericho for the win! That was a pretty good tag team match, from the majority of it that I saw. Why not push these guys in the division instead of the Dudleys, La Resistance, and Steiner/Test? It makes sense to me...
They showed several replays of the limo crash, and they have FOUR different camera angles of the accident. Wow, such realism! Afterward, Ross and Lawler try to debate the Kane/Shane situation. Honestly, can we turn Lawler heel in that booth again? He's acted as a face for about 4 years now and it's greatly hurt his career.
Backstage, Mark Henry and Teddy Long(with Rodney Mack) speak about beating Bill Goldberg for the money and the title.
Next, it was Randy Orton/Ric Flair versus Mark Jindrak/Garrison Cade. Is anybody else curious to know why Ric Flair is wrestling a full time wrestling schedule lately? Seriously, he wrestles every week and he's pretty active on the houseshow circuit. Did he want this? I mean, I don't mind, for I feel Flair can still go at his age, but it's just odd that he's working a full time in the ring lately. Funny stuff beforehand with Randy Orton slapping down a woman's magazine backstage and laughing. I heard that the WWE tested Cade/Jindrak as not only heels, but heels hinting at homosexual behavior. Let's hope it was just a trial and not a beginning of the WWE's third attempt at a homosexual-like tag team within the past 6 years. Nothing against the idea, but it just doesn't work and draw money, whatsoever. The crowd is dead, for the heels are more over than the faces in this match. That causes problems, and the crowd in the arena is pretty large tonight to give a good pop. Nothing much to cheer for... I hope I'm not the only one who feels Randy Orton needs a lot more experience in the ring. He just doesn't impress me in the ring, simply put. Mark Jindrak is laying in the stiff punches, tonight. Pretty good finish, though, to a dull match. Jindrak and Cade hit a dropkick/spinebuster combination move on Flair, while Orton cleaned house on Cade and Jindrak (RKO'ing Jindrak) and Flair rolled over to get the win.
See what I mean about the Rock? He's EVERYWHERE in the media, but it only did $18.5 million in its first weekend.
Backstage, Maven shows some attitude against Ric Flair and challenges him to a match for next week at RAW. Ric Flair makes a great point in that he's "won more championships(16) than you've had women". Good point.
Victoria/Steven Richards vs. Maven/Trish Stratus is next. I've somewhat grown to like Victoria's ability as a wrestler. She's pretty talented and hits moves that no other wrestler tries. Victoria is what the women's division needs: innovation. The match wasn't too exciting, and Maven gets the pin. Afterward, Victoria attacks Trish.
Did I hear Lilian Garcia say "non title"? Mark Henry vs. Bill Goldberg is up next. Henry bodypressed Goldberg ackward, insomuch that Goldberg landed on his side instead of flat on his back. It's somewhat painful watching Goldberg selling many moves when he's invincible other times. By the way, did I say that MARK HENRY IS IN THE MAIN EVENT! Goldberg gets a bodyslam on Henry, as if Henry is that heavy. Goldberg has lifted heavier people. Interference by Mack caused Shawn Michaels to run down, and eventually, Goldberg accidentally speared HBK. HBK's interference caused a DQ to occur, and Goldberg jackhammered Mark Henry to end the show. HEAVEN FORBID that the World Champion pin Mark fucking Henry. HBK could probably make Goldberg look really good in the ring, so that could be good in the future.
LAST WORD: A so-so night for RAW. On one hand, Jericho/Christian vs. Storm/RVD was a pretty good tag team, but on the other hand, the Kane/Shane feud is getting beyond ridiculous. The surrounding wrestling needs work and the storylines just aren't there for the RAW roster. And they say that the WWE is focusing on RAW more than ever lately... how sad. I'll go [ C ] this week just because I didn't need to see a limo driving into a trailer all night long.
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@That's all for today's column. Just chill till the next episode....