Another wrestler has passed away... Michael Lockwood, aka Crash Holly, died on Thursday afternoon at the age of 34. I'm very sad to hear about yet another well known professional wrestler dying before the age of 50. I may have had a brief dispute with Crash Holly over a span of time, but it was never anything personal. I was a bit overjoyed when Jerry Lynn defeated Crash Holly for the Lightweight title, and in doing so, I made somewhat snide remarks about Crash as a wrestler. Crash personally e-mailed me about this, and I responded back. Instead of sending another e-mail, Crash went on his 2 hour audio show and dedicated the entire show to yours truly. After that, I poked fun at Crash since he took our conversation to his audio show. However, it was never anything personal, in fact, I was very open about how the WWE was misusing him at the end of his WWE run. I felt that the WWE was wrong for keeping him on Velocity or to make him the second flunky of Matt Hardy, when the WWE creative team should have utilized him as a Cruiserweight.
It's very unfortunate that Crash died at the age of 34. It's too young. I hope for heaven's sake it was nothing drug related, which is what many of the under-50 wrestlers have died of lately. Crash entered the WWE after getting turned down at the ECW training school by Tazz. Crash then entered the WWE through the developmental system and was eventually promoted to become Bob Holly's cousin in the storylines. They made a fun and entertaining tag team. Crash would then gain the Hardcore Title and declare that the title was on the line, 24/7, which created a big craze in early 2000. While the 24/7 Hardcore Title storylines began to get ridiculous, the storylines Crash originally had were very fun, including attacks in hotel rooms, airports, and playgrounds. After that, the WWE creative team had no idea on what to do with Crash.
May Michael Lockwood/Crash Holly rest in peace, and my deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends right now. Look for a tribute to be on next week's RAW and/or Smackdown.
Welcome to the Friday edition of the WRATH of TITO. Today's column will review Smackdown and a few other things...
RAW rating came in at a 3.4. Continued failures on the RAW roster. Things will only get worse once Triple H returns and wins his World Title back. Here's something funny... A guy at work is a HUGE Bill Goldberg fan, insomuch that he tries to look like him with the shaved head and goatee. I asked him what he thought about Triple H coming back and taking his World Title back. He said Goldberg will CRUSH Triple H and retain his title... sigh. Little does the guy know that Goldberg's being set up to fall (as witnessed with an ankle injury as World Champion) and he'll be out of the WWE after Wrestlemania 20. I'm sorry, but I may really begin to casually watch RAW if Triple H is the champ again.
I can't wait for the Ric Flair DVD. I haven't been this excited to buy a wrestling video in a LONG time. It's aboot time that the WWE began to utilize that massive video archive.
Some people have given me grief about my criticism of John Heidenreich in the RAW column. Some are saying that "injuries happen" when it comes to Steven Richards getting injured on Heidenreich's botched finisher. Please. Richards has been squashed by main eventers throughout 2003, but did he ever suffer an injury that will take him out for weeks? NO! The point is that Heidenreich is inexperienced and shouldn't be out there until he's safe enough to work with. Right now, he isn't, plain and simple.
Enough... onto Smackdown!
Our first match was Rey Mysterio vs. John Cena, with Michael Cole hyping that Cena will be the 5th member of Team Lesnar. Cena gets on the mic and gets pretty nasty over Rey Mysterio, calling him a baby, a dominatrix, and Gary Coleman. Cena gets some face pops for his rap. Wow, he truly is becoming a face. They go back and forth, trading blows. Rey-Rey goes for the West Coast Pop, but is nutted in midair. Cena then wins with the F-U drop. HE'S A HEEL! Actually, the crowd pops for him still. After the match, Paul Heyman comes out with Team Lesnar and gives him a spot on the Survivor Series team. John Cena has a problem with this, for nobody tells Cena what to do. He won't join Team Sasquatch, quoting Cena. Albert attacks from behind and Team Lesnar runs in for a massive beatdown. Everyone gets a lick in, and Lesnar crushes Cena with a chairshot. Albert exits stage left before he could possibly become the official 5th member of Team Lesnar. It would only make sense for him to join at this point. Great segment there at the end with the Cena confrontation. I'm liking this Survivor Series build up!
Backstage, Albert confronts Team Lesnar and Paul Heyman about wanting more of John Cena. Albert then gets offered a spot, and he joins. We officially have a lot of tall guys on one team... Holy cow, that's a big group of wrestlers.
Backstage, Chavo tells Eddie Guerrero that he's banned from ringside during the handicap match against the Bashams.
Michael Cole announced that Faarooq's status for Team Angle is up in the air...
Next match was the Big Show versus Bradshaw. Let's notice how Bradshaw will magically sell for a guy making more money than him. SHOCKING! Sloooowww match, with a pretty silent crowd. Bradshaw isn't the most over face, you know. Bradshaw loses to the chokeslam because he'll lose to veteran hosses and cleanly as well! Well, that just takes a crap on Team Angle even more... I'm wondering who Team Angle will add?
Backstage, Heyman harrasses Torrie Wilson about something.
Backstage, Angle tells Benoit that Faarooq is out with an injury. Torrie Wilson comes in and delivers a message about the main event... It will be Jones/Morgan/Lesnar/A-Train vs. Angle/Benoit. Angle and Benoit made one of the best tag teams of the past 10 years, in my opinion, so I wouldn't shortchange them.
Sitdown interview with the Undertaker. Less is more with this feud, brotha. He goes over the evil things Vince has done over the years. Maybe Vince could reveal himself as Sara's stalker, since he was the man behind the voice used in the segments (even though it turned out to be DDP).
Odd party promo with the Cat, Ernest Miller... I hope he's improved his wrestling ability lately.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Bashams is next. The crowd noise is so poorly edited for the whole match. It's mixing noise here and there. Don't know what's up with the Smackdown producers? I'm not honestly sure that the Bashams are ready to be World Champions, but then again, they look more ready than the Grenier and Dupree on RAW. Nice headscissors move on both Bashams. The Bashams try to do the switch on Eddie's frogsplash, but Eddie knows better and eventually rolls up one of the Bashams for the 1, 2, and 3. Looks like Chavo is turning during the World Title match next week.
Oh lord, when I said "less is more", I should have known that a Vince McMahon segment was coming. Shoot! At least this isn't at the beginning of the show and since it's at the midway point of tonight's show, the kind fans can enjoy a bathroom break. Vince acts like a religious guy and gets on one knee and asks to be forgiven for what he'll do to the Undertaker. Vince is overacting lately. Why doesn't he act like a true promoter and stay backstage. Maybe write GOOD wrestling ideas for RAW, which is so badly needed. Vince claims that he's been "chosen" to be evil or whatever... and to bury the Undertaker. Ok...
Bob Holly is coming back...
Tajiri and Nunzio took on Ultimo Dragon and Jamie Noble in a tag match. Noble is back? I couldn't remember when he was gone? Must have been a storyline during my hiatus. 4 solid workers in this ring right now. I can't see how Vince McMahon hates Ultimo. Oh wait, because he wrestles his own style, a style of which McMahon didn't brainwash him with. I bet Tajiri and Ultimo could put on a kickass lightweight match. Decent tag bout... Noble finds a win with a roll up and runs for cover as the Japanese Mafia tries to run in.
Long time killing by the WWE with the Survivor Series hype AND long entrances for EACH wrestler. By the way, for the WWE Stunt Action toy ring, I has to be insulting to the wrestlers to see how bouncy that ring is.
The Main Event was Brock Lesnar/Matt Morgan/Nathan Jones/A-Train versus Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit. Lesnar goes to the announcer's table, very confident in his partners. Actually, he's shielding injuries which Lesnar is suffering through at the moment. Nathan Jones doesn't seem as though he intended to become a professional wrestler. The New Skyscrapers (Morgan and Jones) are selling nothing, but then again, they have maybe 2 years combined wrestling training, so what do you expect? Benoit and Angle are doing their damn best to sell their moves. A-Train is in, and you don't understand I appreciate A-Train as a wrestler now in this match, compared to Jones and Morgan, who looked extremely sloppy. Lesnar joins the match, making another experienced or good wrestler to join the match for the heels. Kurt Angle gets a hot tag that ignites the crowd. Nathan Jones took a pretty rough bump off of the top rope. Angle hits the Anklelock, but Big Show eventually runs in for the DQ finish. Heels attack... I like Matt Morgan's sitdown powerbomb. John Cena would run in and attack with the chair, but Albert would stop him. Some violent chairshots tonight on Smackdown.
LAST WORD: Storylinewise, it was good with the Team Angle vs. Team Lesnar stuff. Vince vs. Undertaker stuff is just terrible, but nobody questions Vince McMahon on quality backstage. The wrestling, this week, was better, so I'll give it a grade of a [ B+ ] (B Plus). Survivor Series looks pretty good on paper. Let's hope that Nathan Jones and Matt Morgan learn a thing or two before then.
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@That's all for today's column. Just chill till the next episode....