Welcome to yet another fun filled edition of the WRATH OF TITO. I get to review RAW again, yay, the show I dread to even watch anymore. True story, I came home last night from Mrs. Tito's, and didn't feel any excitement to immediately watch RAW. I waited until this morning to watch it, and sadly, it would have put me to sleep if I watched it last night.
Let's spice things up with a joke I heard on Bob and Tom a few weeks ago: A man walks into a bar and sees a sign that says "Cheese Sandwiches: $2.00, Handjobs: $10.00. So the man approaches the female bar tender and says "hey, are you the one who gives the handjobs", and the lady bartender replies "why yes I am". The man then says "Ok, wash your hands and make me a cheese sandwich!"
Ok, what was the point of that joke? Because this upcoming week's Pay Per View, Armageddon, is a joke. Right now, there are only FOUR matches booked for the show, and this is less than a week away from when the show is going to happen. Sure, the 2 out of 3 falls match will take a lot of the show, but still. The preparation of the WWE, in a time of decreasing business, is just pathetic. Hell, the 4 way tag match for the RAW roster is an easy cop out on booking, and the same goes for the 3 way on the women's match. This show is going to get one of the lowest WWE buyrates since 1998, easily.
And with Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H, making the match 2 out of 3 falls with gimmicks. Sure, it's their 3rd Pay Per View, so why not go out with a bang. I agree. But making it another specialty match between the two, especially this drastic, only proves that a straight up wrestling match between Michaels and Triple H won't ever work here in 2002. They have to gimmick it heavily just so people will pay any attention to the match, and even that's not working well. So when you are pushing a legend, HBK, and a guy who has been in the Main Event longer than he should, Triple H, and getting NO INCREASED BUSINESS, it's time to try something else.
But hey, that's way too easy to do. Besides, business was much better when both wrestlers did different things. In 2000, business was good when Triple H was on top because he COULD wrestle a good match. Now, he's too slow due to added muscle mass and leg injuries. Shawn Michaels, however, was a face wrestler during the WORST times of the WWE. 1995-1996 and some of 1997, he was a face for the most part, and those were the times where the WWE went down the tubes, to the point in 1997, where USA Networks considered terminating Monday Night RAW from its prime time line up. Now, here in 2002, we have a face Shawn Michaels and a bad wrestling Triple H. Coincidence? I think not.
Reading Calvin's notes from the Torch Newsletter, I nearly spit out my drink when I read that Vince McMahon wanted to give Albert the big push in order to build him up as a "serious opponent" for the Undertaker in 2003. WHO THE FUCK WANTS TO SEE UNDERTAKER VS. ALBERT?!??!?!?!?!?! Who does? Neither man can carry a match if they tried, as the only time they look reasonably good, and that's putting it lightly, is when a smaller wrestler bumps like a champ for them. But now, you'll have one big piece of shit wrestling an old piece of shit? Wow, smell the buyrates and ratings on that. It's this type of ignorance that kills the WWE. Vince McMahon is satisfying his needs, while leaving his millions of fans out in the cold.
Again with the great Torch notes, I really hope that NWA-TNA goes after Sting. Why? Because if the NWA-TNA is interested, then the WWE will become interested. It's somewhat of a dream of mine to see Sting in the WWE, and I'd really love it if the WWE at least got him to do a one-night deal, like say appearing in the Royal Rumble or something. That would be perfect, and Sting wouldn't have to be subjected to the sleezy WWE storylines. Instead, he'd help make the WWE some money for one night, while giving his fans one more chance to appreciate the man called Sting.
Time to get RAW.
First thing of the night was Eric Bischoff and Chief Morley coming out and announcing that Triple H vs. HBK would be 2 out of 3 falls, with minimal pops from the crowd. Yep, the Armageddon buyrate will be low. That's not to say that HBK vs. HHH will be bad, though. I think they'll put on a good match, as they'll have 3 opportunities to get it right. I do think that by making the 3rd fall a LADDER MATCH, it automatically means that HBK vs. Triple H will go 3 falls. Nobody ever goes just 2 falls in these things. Maybe, for cheap RAW ratings, go 2 falls in a row for one guy, but on the 2nd fall, make it controversial to make the Ladder Match fall happen on Monday Night RAW. I wouldn't doubt that would happen, but either way, Triple H is getting that belt back and lord help us, as he's already squashed any wrestler who could challenge him on the RAW roster.
Our first match was Booker T/Goldust vs. Lance Storm/William Regal. Regal and Storm have to be one of the more boring teams, ever. I don't mind, too much, both wrestlers as singles, but in this team, they are torture to watch. Not a bad tag match, but the quiet crowd for the ending should tell the WWE that Regal and Storm just aren't an exciting heel tag team. It's just too obvious. It's also obvious that Booker T and Goldust are still insanely over, but overall, the WWE has blown opportunity after opportunity to give these guys a moment of glory. That's why I fear that their team is ending when Goldust says that he's the "weak link" of the team, meaning that good ol' Stevie Ray could be brought in to reform Harlem Heat. Yeah, what a replacement for Goldust: one of the WORST wrestlers in the history of man.
Funny segment with Jericho and Trish Stratus. I wonder with Hogan's book if he'll mention that the Smackdown with Hulk Hogan vs. Chris Jericho as the main event had one of the lowest Smackdown ratings in the show's history. I wonder...
Steven Richards vs. Jackie was next. This is funny in many ways, because Steven's best friend in real life, Crash Holly, also fought with Jackie. Of course, Crash lost to Jackie in the end. Intergender matches always suck, with the exception of when Jeff Jarrett fought with the women wrestlers as preparation to wrestle Chyna before he bolted to WCW. Victoria ran in and reminded us that the women's division sucks. Why not give Steven Richards a good feud with somebody and feature that on the Pay Per View instead of the insulting women's match? That makes more sense to me.
Terri interviewed Jeff Hardy next. I loved her comment "in the past, many compared you to a young Shawn Michaels". Yes indeed, in the PAST. Hardy is a gigantic shell of what he was before 2001. And damn, what the hell did he do to his arm with that paint? The interview ended with a funny note when Shawn Michaels arrived, as Jeff Hardy told HBK to come to him if he needed advice on Ladder Matches. Yeah, the Hardys and Jeff Hardy have such great winning records in matches involving ladders, not.
Next, it was Rob Van Dam vs. Batista. Didn't last long, as Kane couldn't resist running down to go after Batista. Gotta love how Rob Van Dam went from a Main Eventer at Survivor Series to being involved in transition matches on a television show. And people wonder why no opponents look good when they do fight Triple H.
Our next match was derived from Mtv Heat. Firstly, who watches Heat these days? It's on a horrible timeslot at 7:00 pm on Sundays, when many football games are running over because they are close. Plus, ESPN's NFL Prime Time is a can't miss show. Secondly, when you feature your WORST wrestlers on the show, constantly, why watch on a consistent basis? Al Snow/Maven vs. D'Lo/Chris Nowinski wasn't a bad tag match, at all. I just don't see the Tough Enough feuds getting the fans pumped up, though, especially when the Tough Enough students need more training, especially Nowinski.
Phew! Booker T and Goldust are still a team!
Next, it was Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy. SQUASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jeff Hardy is once again embarrassed by a main eventer, as Triple H sold nothing and killed Hardy off with 2 Pedigrees to finish him off. It's sad to see this happening regularly on Monday Night RAW with Jeff Hardy. And to think, Jeff Hardy had the potential to grow when he beat Triple H for the Intercontinental Title on Smackdown in the early summer of 2001, but he was squashed to lose the title back to Triple H a few days later and Hardy hasn't been the same since. The problems in the WWE are too obvious.
After the match and more pounding of Jeff Hardy, HBK makes his way to the ring. But we are met with a good moment on RAW, as Ric Flair takes the mic and addresses Michaels. Flair flirted with some Monday Night Wars talk, as Flair was one of the top guys on Nitro while Michaels was the top man of RAW during points in 1996. Flair should talk more, instead of the dull Triple H. By the way, has the WWE even connected Batista and Triple H, given that Flair works with them both? Nope. Segment ended abruptly, though, although it showed that RAW would end with HBK and Triple H doing something.
3 Minute Warning was once again trashed by ONE WRESTLER, as Kane beat them both in a handicap match. Same thing happened with the Big Show, just before he joined the Smackdown roster. Despite 3 Minute Warning's own shortcomings in the ring, you shouldn't bury them like this by making them lose a freakin' handicap match. No wrestler should suffer though this, unless it's a total fluke win. This wasn't. Rob Van Dam would run down for no reason, as if Kane has any problems handling these two.
Testicles jokes are getting old.
Still don't care about Randy Orton, and in the end, he won't be that breakout star the WWE badly needs right now.
Our main event was Dudley Boyz/Trish Stratus vs. Jericho & Christian/Victoria as an intergender tables match. Been there, done that with these 6 man/woman tables matches. Only here, it's an extended version of the ever-so repetitive match, divided actually by a commercial. Amazing. Match ended with Booker T/Goldust and Regal/Storm running in to create a HARD SELL for the Pay Per View, and Dudleys/Trish won the match.
The end had a parking lot brawl between Shawn Michaels and Triple H. Sloppy brawling goes down, and the show ended with HBK jumping on Triple H in a gimmicked dumpster. That's proof that Triple H will win at Armageddon, especially since logic dictates that a 4th match between these two would lose even more fans.
LAST WORD: Unlike Smackdown, the booking here doesn't allow for a good match to suddenly just happen. Instead, we get squashes, clusterfucks, and recycled matches. The storylines are a joke, and Triple H is too powerful at the top, as he's a HEEL with many weak face competitors going up against him, while a legend from the past is his chief rival. *sigh* I very much want to be excited to watch RAW every week, but I find myself shaking my head afterward. It's just like Thunder now. At least Nitro would have one to be proud of, while this one doesn't let you have anything to be proud of; it's one big embarrassment. I'll give this show a [ C- ] (C Minus). With the ratings of this show dropping, while Smackdown's ratings are actually stable right now, the WWE must question who in the hell they have writing this show. If Stephanie and Vince are overseeing both shows, it only goes to show you what a genius Paul Heyman is, as he at least writes up something respectable to watch on Thursdays, while Gerwertz and the other soap opera writers have no clue what the fuck they are doing right now. Heyman for president!
Check out the Valley Wrestling Federation and Willygoat Xtreme Wrestling. Two great backyard feds.
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X-Entertainment.com - One of the most entertaining pages on the net!
@I hope to have a Smackdown review, although it could be late again on Friday.
Take Care, and Thanks for Reading.