Welcome to yet another lovely edition of the Wrath of Tito, the column that stands behind its opinions no matter what. It's been an annoying week of e-mails, as I seem to be getting more of the usual crap: "if you don't like it, then don't watch it".
I call that bullshit. I've been a wrestling fan since the late 1980's, and surprise surprise, I wasn't one of those bandwagon jumpers once the WWF Attitude became the fad during 1998-1999. Oh no! You see, I thought that the late 1980's and early 1990's in pro wrestling were great. Then, the middle 1990's presented horrible wrestling, as both WCW and the WWF lost a lot of money back then. I didn't care for WCW's lackluster programming, nor did I care for the terrible gimmicks that the WWE tried (Duke the Dumpster, TL Hopper, Henry Godwin, I could go on and on). But I stuck with it. I know that when wrestling is in it's peak years, there's nothing better on television.
Ever since 2001, namely Wrestlemania 17 from the Houston Astrodome, the WWE has been on a major downturn. Their stars from the peak years have lost their starpower, the storylines are misleading or incomplete, and the large stockpile of talent is badly misused. Don't believe me, then compare numbers from 2001 and 2002. 2001 saw weaker numbers through the summer and at the end of the year than 2000, thereby making 2002 a bad year in comparison (although the WWE still makes a profit).
But my point is, I'm a loyal viewer. IN MY OPINION, I believe that the WWE has the goods to turn the promotion around. Their talent roster, right now, is so huge and many younger wrestlers have yet to even show their potential. The OVW guys, like Batista and Cena, or the younger Attitude wrestlers, like Edge, or the WCW and ECW imports, such as Rob Van Dam, Booker T, or even Chris Jericho. And much more! Hell, the rosters are so big that it can be split into two. On Smackdown, you have the Guerreros, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Edge, and Rey Mysterio always putting on great matches. On RAW, fans are still craving Rob Van Dam and still cheering for Booker T and Goldust.
I watch because I know the potential that the WWE has, and once they get things in order again, the next successful wave will be a good ride. However, recent developments in the WWE have angered me, and hear me out.
On Smackdown, take a look what happened on the recent show. Albert and the Big Show, two gigantic underachievers or two wrestlers with many pushes failing, are given the Smackdown spotlight as if they are what the fans come to see. Let's ignore the wrestlers blowing off the roof, night after night with great matches. What can the Big Show offer to the WWE now? He's still a tall and out of shape wrestler. Watch him wrestle. He just stands in the middle of the ring and fends off his opponents. No real talent in that. Then, you have Albert. How can you market his look? A guy with a hairy back with no charisma or speaking ability as a heel? Renaming him the A-Train won't help, as at the end of the day, it's still old hairy Albert wrestling in that ring.
As for RAW, Shawn Michaels and Triple H's feud has dominated the airwaves. What has that done for WWE television on Monday nights? Lowered ratings. Now, I'm happy that Shawn Michaels is making a comeback. I'm glad that he has his life in order and is wrestling well, despite the limitations with his back injury. HOWEVER, the nostalgia of his return is gone, just like it disappeared from Hulk Hogan, and Hogan was more popular upon returning to the WWE than Michaels. 3 long months of HBK vs. Triple H, while every other up and coming wrestler on RAW gets left out in the cold.
The whole midcard has gone to junk in the WWE. I don't know if anybody knows this or not, but successful promotions have great midcards also carrying the show. Look at WCW during 1996-1998. Can you say Luchadores and Cruiserweights? With the 1998 Attitude era for the WWF, they had a weak roster at the time, yet entertaining booking of the midcard kept viewers tuned in as they waited for the next installment of Austin vs. McMahon.
I watch because I KNOW the WWE has the potential within themselves to turn things around and at least stop the decreasing buyrates, ratings, and overall profits. I see that WWE television COULD get better with a lot better booking and elevation of newer stars. Sure, I get very angry with some of the things wrestling does, but damn it, I'm passionate about it. I've liked it for all of these years, more than most fans my age (22).
Therefore, I'll keep watching and I'll say what I want. I've earned my right to speak my mind through the money I've spent on the WWE (tickets, merchandise, Pay Per Views, etc.) and the time I've spent watching for 15 years or so. I KNOW it can get better, it's just a matter of effort for Vince McMahon to start booking for the fans, and not for himself, such as pushing Albert recently. Or should I say A-Train?
On to some random stuff... You don't get any lower than the Anna Nicole Smith show on E!. Ask Joanie "Chyna" Laurer and Sean "X-Pac" Waltman. Anna Nicole Smith has become a gigantic slob of what once was one of the hottest females in America in the 1990's. Of course, she's rich, she'll do what she wants. Just like Vince McMahon, who is rich, and he'll do what he wants, such as pushing A-Train or Albert. I'm just about to yack everytime I watch E!, as I see previews of her being her stupid self. I bet on the next episode, Waltman and Laurer help push the wheel barrel that has Anna Nicole Smith in so that she can go to the store or something.
I'm happy that the person playing Nunzio got into the WWE. He was formerly known as Little Guido, and put his body on the line for many years, just for the pure entertainment of us blood thirsty fans. Congrats to him and I hope this gimmick works out for him. I'm sure you could place your bets on how quick it will take for him to get shoved on Velocity. At least he won't have to fight Albert there.
A writer of the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution" wrote that Vince McMahon told him that Stone Cold Steve Austin would return in 2003. I agree with several message board posters in that Austin better watch out if he returns. The second Vince McMahon gets, he COULD pull a real life screwjob on Austin. Hey, the Bret Hart screwjob helped spark the WWE to the top, so why not screw another star, Vince could think.
On to the Smackdown review.
Our first match was B-2 versus Rikishi. Well, he's no longer B-squared. Those WWE marketing geniuses. Crappy opener here, although the ending has its significance. Notice how B-2 or Bull Buchanan can beat Rikishi, while John Cena can't. It only goes to show you that WWE wrestlers who have been there for a while get all of the chances in the world to succeed, but if you're new and young, heaven forbid the WWE even care about you. Bull Buchanan has failed to become something many, many times already. But hey, we gotta keep trying. No need for fresher faces to get pushed.
I liked the segment between Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar. It's planting seeds for an eventual Lesnar vs. Angle showdown, possibly at Wrestlemania. Angle convinced Lesnar to be in his corner at Armageddon, which leads me to believe that Lesnar will accidentally mess up Angle's match. Lesnar will get the title back, and Angle will win the Royal Rumble, however it will be set up. Not bad.
And now, Albert has been renamed A-Train. Ugh. Again, you'll need more than a new name to help Albert's career. Get him in better shape, shave that sasquatch, and improve his moveset. Gotta give credit to Paul Heyman for at least trying with big piles of monkey crap such as the Big Show and Albert.
Our next match was Bill DeMott vs. Shannon Moore. Funny how Shannon Moore is rumored to be on the WWE cutting block soon. HE'S A CRUISERWEIGHT!! YOU HAVE HIM JOBBING TO HEAVYWEIGHTS!!! How can you see how talented he is when you don't push his division, the Cruiserweight division, and you don't even let him wrestle within his division? Just let him go so that he can be a staple in NWA-TNA's X division, if that's still popular. It could be just me, but I have yet to see any potential in pushing Bill DeMott right now.
Next match was FANTASTIC!!! Billy Kidman/Chris Benoit vs. the Guerreros was a quality television match. I do appreciate how the WWE at least gives us one great match from the Guerreros, Benoit, Edge, Mysterio, and Angle grouping, and long matches at that. Kidman fits right in with these guys, as he was one of the WCW wrestlers that the older guys didn't want to shine, too, along with Chavo, Benoit, and Eddie. I disliked the referee work at the end, as he was very confused on the legal man. Still, damn good stuff, and this is what I WANT to see on television. NOT the Al Wilson-Torrie Wilson-Dawn Marie garbage.
Oh speaking of that... Dawn Marie and Al Wilson were out in the ring. Through several minutes of time thrown out the window, Al declared that he'll still marry Dawn Marie. That would prompt Torrie Wilson to run in and do some female brawling. By the way, Torrie had an awesome case of THO this week. If you don't know what THO is, then imagine what happens to a female's chest when they are excited or cold. 'Nuff said. Armageddon will apparently have the uncensored footage of the Torrie and Dawn angle from last week that UPN nixed.
Next, it was Crash Holly vs. Jamie Noble. Not much of a match, as Nunzio runs in and stomps a mudhole in Crash. I hope that the WWE doesn't make a mockery out of the white trash angle and realize that Little Guido is quite the Cruiserweight. Doubt it, though.
I liked the Scott Steiner and Stephanie segment. Steiner's character is a breath of fresh air in the WWE right now, and the crowd was heavily into him. I was laughing at the way he was hitting on Stephanie, saying that she wasn't that kind of girl to be one of Steiner's freaks. Scott Steiner said he couldn't trust Stephanie, therefore, he's going to RAW. GOOD move here. I just fear that Steiner could get screwed with by you know who on Monday Night RAW. I'm sure you know who I'm talking about.
And now, the main event. It was Albert-Train and the Big Show against Edge and Kurt Angle. The match had Edge bouncing off of the Big Show for a while, while A-Train came in and did powermoves. Then, at the end, Kurt Angle had a surge of offense that almost won the match. The Big Show got the win by pinning Kurt Angle with the Chokeslam. I didn't like how the Big Show completely no-sold the Angleslam, though. I mean, sure, he's larger than the normal individual, but at Show's size, he doesn't get tossed too often. Therefore, it should hurt him, you know? The show ends with Albert and Big Show in the ring, as Vince McMahon was in the back, jacking off at his large wrestlers that he personally wants pushed.
LAST WORD: This show flirts with greatness, then comes back to Earth with bad moments. It's obvious that the smaller workers are better than the tall or fat workers. Yet, who gets more time or squashes more wrestlers? I don't understand the concept of pushing the wrestlers who can't get it done in the ring. I'll give this show a [ B- ] (B minus), the same grade as last week. Overall, a better show than last week, but man, come to the realization that Albert is pathetic and that the Big Show is a very weak champion. Let the capable workers get the ball for a change.
The contestants were in Iceland again this week, and training on the cold and unforgiving ring outside. Watching several backyard events outside in the cold, I can tell that individuals tend to be more sore afterward than in a better environment. That ring looked way too stiff, like the oldschool WWF rings.
The show was quite entertaining with the attempts to rib Al Snow. It seems that these guys are out to joke with each other, letting loose from the stress of the competition. Jonah seems to be getting more likeable as the show goes on, even patching up with Bill DeMott after comments were taken the wrong way.
Big wants the guys to treat Jamie nicely. Huh? Special treatment for a female? I'll have you know that this competition has 2 winners, and Jamie should be treated as though she's on a level playing field with the guys. It looks like the Tough Enough producers are pushing for her to APPEAR as though she is going to win, such as the lifting competition the contestants had. We'll see.
Good stuff with Jonah and John in the ring, while the group of kids were on the outside. Seems like Jonah got all of the credit for the match, while I thought John played the heel of the match well.
I'll go with Jonah and John as my winners. By the way, go to ToughEnough.com and read the cast's bios. It gives you a good sense of where they came from and why they act the way they do.
Check out the Valley Wrestling Federation and Willygoat Xtreme Wrestling. Two great backyard feds.
WRESTLEPALOOZA.com - Audio Show, Columns, News, and more!
KOLTERSHOCK!!! - A site that you shouldn't view with small children present!
X-Entertainment.com - One of the most entertaining pages on the net!
@Back Monday with my Armageddon thoughts!
Take Care, and Thanks for Reading.