Ah yes, the bastard is back for yet another week. Welcome to the WRATH OF TITO. Today, we've got LOTS to discuss. Not only will I be taling about RAW, but I will give you my personal opinion on the PWI 500, among other hard hitting topics in today's professional wrestling. I especially have a lot to say about the PWI 500, which has been a somewhat controversial topic online. It is every year, but this year the dispute is over the #1 spot, especially.
I finally have a working archive! At http://mrtitopdc.tripod.com, you will find ALL of my Phat Daily Columns from start to finish, my histories, my multimedia reviews, the famous Bad Titos, and the archive of my new weekly column, the Wrath of Tito. A webspace problem didn't allow for many of my 2002 Phat Daily Columns to be archived. Now, you can read of my works that I've collected online.
A group of boys or teenagers jumped 36 year old man in Milwaukee last week. In the media reports of this, they are very sure to mention that one of the kids used the Crippler Crossface during the brutal beating that killed the man. Why was that mentioned? Sure, it's the job of someone in the media to give details, BUT a whole paragraph was dedicated to one of those kids using that move. Did they just put wrestling olds on this older guy? NO! One kid applied it because he's a sick fuck. The Crossface doesn't put blood all over the victim or the place where the incident happened, nor does it cause severe head injuries.
Yet, I fear something on the horizon. Instead of realizing that these teenagers are psycho, stuff like television influences will be put on trial, not the kids. By mentioning the Crippler Crossface, it puts a little blame on the WWE or even Chris Benoit for the savage beating of this adult. I'll be damned if the WWE puts a ban on this move or any other devastating submission holds. The Crossface didn't kill, a group of sick kids killed. The liberal media better get that right before someone files yet another ridiculous lawsuit against the WWE.
By the way, before I go further, I want to wish the best of luck to Jaymz, who retired as a columnist here at LoP. His famous Dead Bodies Everywhere column was always a must read for a very entertaining point of view at the wrestling world, and I'm proud to have found him initially and I'm glad to have known him as a friend. He's the man and I hope he's a success at anything he attempts in the future.
And I agree with Jaymz: Nicole Bass IS ugly.
As for the Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500. It took me a while to find it around here at my local stores, but I finally found it early Monday morning. I do like how PWI has devoted a whole magazine to the 500, as they can add more colorful photos and more information. It's quite pricey for a magazine at $5.95, but regardless, it's always been an annual tradition for yours truly.
The big controversy is over #1. If you didn't hear, the top 20 goes as follows:
1. Rob Van Dam
2. The Undertaker
3. Keiji Muto (formerly the Great Muta of WCW)
4. Chris Jericho
5. Eddie Guerrero
6. Kurt Angle
8. Yuji Nagata
9. the Rock
10. Triple H
11. Black Tiger
12. Minoru Tanaka
13. Steve Austin
14. Booker T
15. Genichiro Tenryu
17. Brock Lesnar
18. Mitsuharu Misawa
19. Hulk Hogan
20. William Regal
For the rest of the list, look for it on the Wrestling Historian's Wrestling Information Archive, a site that everyone should bookmark. But the top 20 is what I'm mainly concerned with. Now, please note that I only watch what's on mainstream television in America, which for 2001-2002, it was the WWE. I've watched a little bit of NWA-TNA, but not much. Therefore I can't comment on the Japanese and Mexican wrestlers in the top 20 because I haven't watched them wrestle. I was a HUGE Great Muta mark when he was here in America for a while.
But I can comment on the WWE wrestlers. I DO NOT feel that Rob Van Dam should be #1. Granted, he's made some good strides since joining the WWE. He's taken several of the main eventers to the limits, like Austin and probably wrestling the Undertaker the best out of anyone. True. He's been a strong Intercontinental champion and he's been consistantly good from August 2001 until August 2002 (which is what the magazine is ranked on). However, there are 2 guys whom I feel should be ahead of him.
First, the obvious one is Kurt Angle, last year's #1. Angle has been great throughout the end of 2001 and all of 2002 thus far, and he's given a hell of a lot back to the WWE than he's received. Edge, for one, can greatly thank Kurt Angle for putting on great matches with him and helping Edge get elevated to what appears may be a push to be Lesnar's possible next opponent. Angle has been a consistant brightspot on Pay Per Views and especially Smackdown. Just look what he did for Rey Misterio, as nobody would have went out of their way to make a Cruiserweight look great. Angle at #6 is a bad, bad rank. At least swap himself and Jericho.
Secondly, as far as greater WWE success goes, such as title-wise and victories, look no further than the Undertaker. Sure, he's an old, slow wrestler. However, his win-loss record is ridiculous and he's seen lots of success with titles and in big matches. It's probably the first period of a year that the Undertaker hasn't had to really take off much time for injuries. In a magazine that rates stuff other than in ring work, the Undertaker would be more fitting than RVD.
I do think that they chose RVD much like they once chose Dean Malenko at #1 several years ago. It creates controversy and sells magazines, especially in a period of time when the wrestling industry is dying and PWI needs to sell magazines. During the WWE's big boom of the late 1990's, early 2000's, their #1 ranked wrestler was clearly obvious. In weak business years, controversy can be created at #1.
I dislike Triple H at #10. Steve Austin should be #10, given that Austin's time away from the WWE after walking out was shorter than the 5 months that Triple H was away from the ring due to injury. I thought the Rock COULD HAVE been a candidate for #1. He came back last August and did a lot for the WWE until this August where he cleanly put over Brock Lesnar. Rock helped the likes of Chris Jericho and Brock Lesnar getting accepted as main eventers, although nobody else will help those 2 out. For a man whose star may be bigger than the WWE right now, he sure gave the WWE back a lot from August '01 until August '02. He wasn't as annoying, either. Hell, he can even take several months off from shooting a movie and still put on a good match off the get!
Other than the top picks, I felt the magazine did a decent job with the 500, although I'm going to keep reading through it all.
A correction from last week's column. It's not Star Trek 5 that I like, along with 2 and 3, but it's 6, the Undiscovered Country. I get the Final Frontier and Undiscovered Country confused all the time! The Wrath of Khan is still the best Trek movie around, to which I suggest that everyone go out and rent that right now.
God damn, Nicole Bass is so ugly! On to the RAW review!
Man, they sure got that cage up quickly! Booker T vs. the Big Show the first match. Hey now, Booker T doesn't show up late for events, so no need to embarrass him like you would Jeff Hardy. Wow, nice way to drain a crowd with a boring Big Show match. It's funny, because never in the WWE's dreams did they think that the Big Show would bust like he has. Vince McMahon figured he could get the Big Show into his 1996 shape, but when he lacks the proper motivation after signing a 10 year, $10 million contract, a guaranteed one at that. Hot Vegas crowd, tonight. Wow, that's 2 weeks in a row that Big Show has lost without someone pinning him. Chris Jericho would jump Booker T afterward, thereby setting up what should be a good Pay Per View bout.
TLC match for Kane/Hurricane? Good God. I saw a "Blindfold match" on the wheel. Man, the memories of that horrible Wrestlemania 6 match between Rick Martel and Jake Roberts are coming back!
Ah shite! Blindfold match! Oh wait, Triple H has to wrestle it! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Las Vegas Showgirl match for William Regal vs. Goldust? Oh my. I don't know what to say about this show, thus far. Funny how RAW has to try stupid gimmicks like this whereas Smackdown is great from its in-ring product. Think about that.
Whoa... Batista promo shown on RAW, as he's heading to that show. Wow. Hopefully, they won't let stupid gimmicks ruin what could be some great potential for him.
Triple H vs. D'Lo Brown, of all people, in a Blind Fold match. Good lord! I haven't seen D'Lo wrestle in such a long time. Last time I saw him it was the first ever 3 minute thingy when he wrestled Shawn Stasiak, I believe. Oh lord. This match has the crowd shouting like they are on Price is Right. *YAWN*, Triple H won.
Interesting dilemma with Jeff Hardy, Bubba Ray Dudley, and Christian to wrestle against Kane/Hurricane in the TLC match. What the hell did Jeff Hardy paint on his forehead. The 3 guys will pick their own partners, making it a 4 way TLC match.
Goldust vs. William Regal in a Las Vegas Showgirl match. This is a bizarre night of wrestling, folks. Not much of a match, as it wouldn't have been anyway. Regal won via brass knuckles. Oh lord.
That was nice of Jericho to remind us about that great TLC match on Smackdown a while ago. That conchairto that Benoit took to his ribs was devastating. Bra and Panties/Paddle on a Pole match for Stacie and Stratus? Alright, Tommy Dreamer in the TLC match... Well, Spike Dudley was upset and Bubba changed his mind. Damn! Stacy is mighty hot!
Trish Stratus vs. Stacy Kiebler in the many stipulations match was next. Trish has new music, which oddly doesn't fit her. Stacy is looking her best tonight. Double roll up caused Trish to win. However, Stacy attacked Trish afterward, went for the paddle, lost it, and was spanked back by Trish. TNN is a bunch of hypocrites if they don't yell at the WWE for spanking when they were pissed off about ECW paddling Tammy Lynn Sytch. Victoria, whom the fans still have no clue who she is, attacked Trish afterward. Maybe Jazz and Victoria could team up to double the silence of the crowd for the women's division.
HUGE pop for RVD being Jeff Hardy's partner... in a tag match, I mean. Dude, RVD wouldn't do what Jeff Hardy likes to do.
Test took on Al Snow?!? Al freakin' Snow? Time to spin the wheel, and a Las Vegas Street Fight is the stipulation. Not a bad hardcore match here, as at least this stipulation match is somewhat paying off. Convenient of some idiot stagehand to leave his bowling ball underneath the ring. Vicious trashcan shots in this match. Al Snow won via hitting Test with a bowling ball. How much did that ball weight? I've been on fire in bowling lately, throwing several games over 200 when I'm usually around a 160 bowler.
Jerry Lawler vs. Steven Richards was an "It's Legal in Nevada" match. You mean pedophilia is legal in Nevada? Wow, Jerry Lawler would be loving live then! Oh wait, it's something to do with the Godfather. Ah yes, the Godfather, such a great use of talent there. The winner of this match gets to ride the HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO train! Jim Ross mentioned that Lawler beat Curt Hennig for the AWA title in the late 1980's. You'd never think to hear AWA history here on WWE television. Match was Steven Richards putting up an effort against an old, slow Jerry Lawler. The chick in the blue dress gave us a little nipple slip, too. Man, TNN is going to be so happy tomorrow morning.
Hurricane was attacked by Flair and Triple H, so we'll see who becomes Kane's partner or if the tag titles are still on the line in the TLC match.
The main event was the TLC match. They are starting early, but however, there's plenty of time used for entrances. You want to give fans action, quickly, with 2 big sporting events going on at the same time. Jeff Hardy looks like the usual stupid looking wrestler that has trouble applying facial paint. Spike's first TLC action, says Ross? I believe he ran in during the Wrestlemania 17 TLC match. Christian with new tights?!? Looks like Bret Hart tights. It looks it! So it's Kane, alone, vs. Bubba Ray and Spike Dudley vs. Chris Jericho and Christian vs. Jeff Hardy and Rob Van Dam. Slow paced in the early goings... RVD took a ballsy ladder spot when he flipped to his back and onto the ladder to take out 2 opponents. It's picking up and then we go to commercial break. Ugh, the WWE keeps doing that lately. I guess that's ok, though, as certain matches can now have more time that way. Oh damn! Devastating Van Terminator!!! Some nasty ladder shots tonight and the crowd is loving it. DEVASTATING Bubba Bomb off the ladders! Come to think of it, Christian and Chris Jericho would make a great tag team. Imagine the promos? Kane, who hardly did anything in this match, wins the match for his team. Kane has too many titles, brotha.
Kane is a murderer? What in the Vince Russo is going on?
LAST WORD: Desparate times call for desparate measures. Then again, the stupidity of "spin the wheel, make the deal" was a change from the regular format of RAW, so it kept you watching, at least from my point of view. I thought the match quality, aside from Al Snow vs. Test and the TLC main, was weak. But hey, 2 matches pretty much carried Smackdown last week, so hmmm.... The TLC match was darn good, as I have to wonder how sore the wrestlers will be tomorrow. I give this show a generous
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