Gingle bells, Triple H smells, Vince McMahon laid an egg... The WWE mobile lost its wheel and the ratings/buyrates went away! Hey! Welcome to the returning edition of the Wrath of Tito. You'll have to forgive me for last week, for I had a lot of work piled up. Between working one part time job and doing a whole lot in terms of writing exams or lesson plans for my other job, I couldn't find a legit 2 hours to sit down and type this very column. Given that I write once a week, I put a lot into my one opportunity to talk wrestling and it takes me about 2 hours to write this column. I'd have an hour here or an hour there, but I wasn't in the mood to talk wrestling.
Besides, I would have ripped Last Week's RAW a new one... seriously, how many fucking times does the WWE have to relive the 1993 Royal Rumble finish, where Bret Hart and Lex Luger landed at the same time? While Edge and Benoit probably did the best job landing at the same time than anybody, it's still ridiculous to recycle that angle. Even worse, the Battle Royal was supposed to be for the World Title, NOT the #1 contender's spot. What's with the rewriting on the storylines? I did, however, enjoy the finish of the Triple H vs. Edge vs. Benoit match, which had Benoit pinned while Edge tapped out at the same time. That was well done and somewhat innovative (although I've seen another variation of that before). The rest of the show was insanely lame and had it not been for the main event being decent, the show would have been flushed, Tito-style. FINGER OF SHAME to the WWE recycling the damn 1993 Royal Rumble finish, over and over again!!!!
-The BIG NEWS OF THE WEEK is that Triple H finally admitted to being a "top writer" on Monday Night RAW while appearing on TSN for an interview. He also said that everything goes through Vince McMahon, which is an attempt to cover up what he admitted. Yeah, but don't you think that Vince McMahon would give the benefit of the doubt to his own son in law? I'd like to think so... Wrestlers with creative power are absolute poison to the business, as past instances have shown (Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Jeff Jarrett, Ole Anderson, etc.). Triple H, ever since his comeback in 2002, has been non-stop at the top and always in the title hunt. While I'll not dispute that he's the top heel of RAW and he's earned that through name recognition, I recognize that his title runs have NOT drawn new viewers and that every opponent he's had (outside of Benoit and HBK) have NOT benefitted from a so-called Triple H rub. He's not creating news stars, and as a member of the creative team, it should be a responsibility of HHH's to do so. Instead, he has to keep playing his indestructable heel who is always champion or soon to be champion. It's hard, any more, to bet against Triple H for a big singles match. It's been like that for years. I'll give him credit where it's due with regards to Benoit (even though Benoit was completely taken out of the title hunt), but other than that, Triple H is mad with power.
-In what could be a related story, Paul Heyman was removed from the WWE creative team. I believe Heyman's current role was a creative consultant, as he reviews the shows and gives his ideas. A lot of the singles matches turning into tag matches have Heyman's finger prints all over them, for instance. This has happened before, as Heyman is outspoken in his disagreements with the McMahons. He was removed as top writer of Smackdown just before Wrestlemania 19 and that show has fallen downhill ever since. Why was he removed? He disagreed with Vince on certain pushes, such as the big Albert push and Heyman's want to push Matt Hardy while Johnny Ace (VP of WWE talent relations) hated Hardy. While I don't believe Heyman will be removed from the WWE, I believe they are probably going to use him again as an on screen talent (which he's very good at) and maybe do some ECW video projects since the ECW DVD is selling so well. Time will tell...
-Did I catch the NWA-TNA Pay Per View? No.
-Hopefully, the Christy Hemme appearance in one softcore porn video doesn't ruin her WWE career. I remember the days when Chastity was crucified for her former porn career by WCW and Time Warner. That was bullshit on WCW's part, for it wasn't like Chastity was doing pornos while she was in WCW. And since when did being a former porn star hurt someone's ability to be a wrestler's manager? It didn't stop WCW from using Tylene Buck (or Major Guns), who posed topless for many years. Yeah, Buck wasn't taking meat on video, but posing topless still goes against Time Warner's pathetic view of "family entertainment" with regards to professional wrestling, even though teenage males and young adult males are your largest audience of viewers (hence the many video game ads). And you know, we wouldn't want to lynch Christy for her softcore porn appearance, given who she beat out in Carmella (Playmate of the Year, 2003) and the WWE's involvement with Girls Gone Wild. Wouldn't want to be hypocrites, would we?
-Apparently, Ric Flair's contract is coming up here shortly... I'm assuming he was signed in late 2001 to a 3 year deal, so his contract is probably already expired (as he appeared the night after Survivor Series 2003) and he's working on a handshake agreement right now. Is Ric Flair worth re-signing? You bet your bottom dollar. He's a legend in this business and his presence around the fans is respected. Plus, you can make a nice dollar off of him if you release a SECOND Ric Flair DVD, which I'd lay down and buy in a second!!! This is a big no brainer, especially with NWA-TNA probably wanting Ric Flair, a man who has lineage to their World Title.
-OK, I'll talk some NWA-TNA now... I'm only kidding with all of the pokes at that organization, such as what you see above. Now, if they gave me some interesting wrestling to watch instead of old WCW stars and spotfests, I'd consider not joking about them. But what's no joking matter is the airing of the WWE footage, as the WWE was at Universal Studios filming Royal Rumble commercials while NWA-TNA stars visited them with cookies and balloons. I heard that WWE wrestlers had their faces blurred, but that goes against legal threats from the WWE to actually air the footage. TNA is creating some long term doom for themselves, as WCW learned the hard way about lawsuits against the WWE. Remember the use of Hall and Nash as current WWE stars in 1996? WCW lost that lawsuit and the terms of the lawsuit stated that the WWE could match any offer to buy WCW whenever that happened. That kept a lot of buyers out of the market. TNA couldn't be more foolish with this, especially so early in the organization's time. Look for more news on this situation to erupt in the upcoming weeks.
-Congrats to Bret "the Hitman" Hart on his wedding, which was just announced recently even though it happened a while ago. I wish him the absolute best, despite his bad health problems. The post-concussion syndrome and the stroke have wrecked the poor guy and it probably affects whether he'll appear in future wrestling venues or not. Regardless, a thanks to him for all of the many years of great wrestling and the insight/wisdom given to us in your columns. Hopefully, you can put out the novel of a biography you've been promising for years, one I'd buy in a heartbeat.
-Speaking of biographies, I'm enjoying Jerry Lawler's book as I read it. Yeah, I'm slowly reading it, but I'm a busy man these days and don't have time for a few hours of reading. I just finished the Andy Kauffman stuff, which was very excellent and well said on Lawler's part with respect to Andy. While Andy is passed off as a flake by many media outlets and a lot of Hollywood, it appears he actually understood the wrestling business, even moreso than a lot of wrestlers back then (and a lot more than guys these days). Outside of Foley's self-written book, this is the most descriptive wrestling book on the market... it gets better by the chapter.
-I was reading on Scott Keith's BLOG that WWE Survivor Series did better than the recent brand Pay Per Views with 320,000 buys, approximately. The brand Pay Per Views are barely making 200,000 buys or more recently, under 200,000 buys, a new low. A reason for the bigger buys? You could suggest that it's name value, but what I'll suggest is this: both brands were together, wrestling on the same card. Both RAW and Smackdown are rosters with an insane amount of holes in them, and given that fact, fans aren't tuning in to see both rosters. Now, if those rosters were merged into one again, then viewership would definitely be up. Survivor Series performed better with buys because both rosters appeared on the shows. Houseshows would improve if both rosters wrestled on the card (as they did in the beginning until the WWE split those off). Television ratings would be higher if both rosters merged. The WWE needs depth at the tag team level and they need fresh main event match ups. Of course, merging the rosters would force the WWE to release a bunch of deserving wrestlers, which TNA would eat up with a spoon!
-I wouldn't look into much with CW Anderson getting a dark match with the WWE, for he put over a WWE prospect. I really liked CW Anderson from my viewership of his work on ECW there at the end. I loved how he looked like the Anderson brothers and was a pretty good worker overall. Maybe Evolution needs an Anderson with Flair in the group? Best of luck to CW...
On to the RAW review! I am now writing my RAW reviews first and my opening arguments second... I seem to have no motivation to write RAW after my opening statements, which is the result of my change. Do my RAW reviews seem better? You know the email address...
-Speaking of e-mail, I'm getting absolutely POUNDED on emails lately. I don't what I've done or said, but I'm getting destroyed with emails. I read them all, but only answer specific ones requesting something or whatever else (like any emails mentioning Chicago have been getting replies!). I probably should re-open my BLOG, which a bunch of readers have requested lately. I could respond to feedback there, as well as other stuff to bullshit about. Do you want the BLOG back? firstname.lastname@example.org
Backstage, Triple H and Batista have another heated discussion, although Batista, for once, sticks up for himself better this week.
Also backstage, Chris Jericho's demeaning role as GM continues by making Christian "Captain Charisma", the actual character with tights and mask. Oh har har, that's so funny. By the way, Christian has charisma? News to me... Jericho makes a few matches here, including an interesting tag match between Benoit/Jericho vs. HHH/Batista and Lita vs. Trish Status for the Women's title. I would have announced the Lita vs. Trish match a week in advance, that way, the WWE didn't have to rush the hype for the bout as they did throughout the night with various clips. The clips, though, were a great reminder of how truly good Trish Stratus is as a wrestler and entertainer. Seriously, she's THAT good and the true Godsend to that division.
Next, we had one of the sloppiest matches on RAW this year with Maven vs. Eugene. Not Eugene's fault, either, as Tough Enough winner Maven needs a whole lot of work still. He just seems uncertain of his abilities in the ring and it was heavily exposed going up against a gimmick wrestler in Eugene (Eugene can work, but the guy has to wrestle like he's mentally handicapped). Maven eventually had William Regal thrown out of the match, which led to an attack on Eugene in a corner that led to a DQ for Maven. Wow, that lame attempt for heel heat certainly won't help establish Maven as a heel, nor will it make anyone care in general. Send Maven back to OVW, while we're young! There's a Rodney Dangerfield reference for you.
A freakin' Limbo Competition was next with all of the RAW Divas, but this was at least better than the long and drawn out strip tease as we saw last week. Yeah, I had no problem seeing beautiful women stripping, but that segment was toooooooo long and I can go places if I want to see something like that. I bet the WWE was happy that Christy actually won the Limbo competition, given that she won the Diva competition. That leads to Chris Jericho singing a Fozzy song (or actually, what he sang on a WWE CD as himself?)... Now, Jericho was on VH1 recently commenting on "Awesomely Bad Rock Songs". The irony of that is too much for this singing attempt! Thankfully, this is interrupted by Muhammad Hassan... well, no, I'm not thankful for that. Hearing rumors about having Chilly Willy coming in as a wrestling army guy leads me to believe that the WWE is going the 1990-1991 route: fighting an American war in the wrestling ring. This route was also taken with the Iron Sheik, but the Sheik was at least better handled and he could wrestle back before cocaine was a hell of a drug. This stuff about playing up the tragedy of 9/11 is total bullshit on the WWE's part, as it was bullshit when Lance Storm blamed George W. Bush for 9/11 happening during the Unamericans gimmick. While Hassan is a legit Arabian American, to his credit, playing up the 9/11 tragedy should be a no-no for any entertainment organization. Just my opinion.
The next match was Simon Dean vs. the Hurricane. I was actually excited to finally see Simon wrestle... BUT, he's gone through the WWE filter. Funny thing is that the WWE tells you to buy the ECW DVD, yet they have this guy who wrestled for ECW with a boatload of charisma and exciting moves wrestling a very tired WWE style of match with punching and weak transition moves. I understand that he's supposed to be a fitness guy first, but damn, this is wrestling. Let the man formerly known as Nova unleashed and I'm sure it will get noticed. Of course, that could be what the WWE is afraid of... Simon won his first match, but by holding the tights. By the way, I wonder if Shane Helms (the Hurricane) has talked to TNA about whenever his WWE contract runs out. He has to be unhappy with his WWE role right now.
Next, Edge came out to the ring for his crazy title tirade and blasted Randy Orton's role as General Manager. This leads to Orton coming down to the ring and both were sparring words. While Randy said he was once a World Champion (although a terrible one at that), Edge reminded Orton of who ended Orton's long Intercontinental Title reign. Well said. They would eventually erupt into a brawl that saw various WWE road agents running in to break it up. By the way, Jericho would later announce that Orton and Edge would wrestle next week. Wow, a decent interim GM decision. Can't believe my eyes, especially how the weak creative team and Vince McMahon wouldn't let Jericho or Orton even make a decision regarding the World Title. I thought the whole point of the interim GMs was to fuck with Triple H as World Champion and get the belt off of him to either Maven, Benoit, Orton, or Jericho? Instead, Bischoff will put the title up at the New Year's Evolution Pay Per View, which nobody in their right mind will buy.
Captain Charisma vs. Shelton Benjamin was next up. I seem to notice that the WWE is really playing up Benjamin's juvenile past, which is rather ignorant and could only lead to a heel turn, if you ask me. Instead, they should play up how he's overcome his past problems and how Benjamin has overcome them to become a great wrestler. Just remember, bringing up past problems never helped Booker T.... This match dragged and was not either guy's best effort. Benjamin wins with his bodyslam after some interference by Christian's costume. Whatever.
Gene Snitsky's over-the-top comments to Lita make me laugh every week. The WWE has truly found an entertaining goldmine with this guy, and by total accident. The WWE should have Trish Stratus hire Snitsky's services to get revenge for what happened last night on RAW.
Next, my expectations were high for Triple H/Batista vs. Jericho/Benoit... but the match was just decent. HHH and Batista don't flow as a team, which ultimately hurt this match. The match ended in disqualification just as it was really getting good, thanks to Triple H's use of a chair. The referee took a SWEET chairshot, while Batista did not, avoiding the brunt of it with his hand when Triple H tried to hit Jericho. I honestly hope Batista messed up on this shot and can take a legit chairshot, for his own career's sake. Next week, we'll likely see more of this heated relationship between Batista and HHH, as I'm sure HHH is loving every bit of it (and I'm sure he's writing that storyline).
Backstage, Trish had some nasty words for Lita... and Lita responded, ala Bugs Bunny, with a big ol' kiss on the lips of Trish. I'm sure a bunch of kiddie wrestling sites will plug "TRISH AND LITA LESBIAN KISSING!!! *CLICK HERE*". I hope they know that WWE images are subject to copyright, which is why you haven't seen WWE pictures or media on this website for a few years.
The main event was very good with Trish Stratus vs. Lita. The crowd was heavily into it and Lita seemed to be finally game for wrestling a good women's match. And again, Trish Stratus is a Godsend to this division... not only with the looks, but actual wrestling ability. Nice back and forth stuff between Trish and Lita, whom everybody knows hates each other from well played storylines (namely from Trish making fun of Lita for the past few months). Very nice reversal into the Twist of Fate and excellent finish with Lita hitting a picture perfect Moonsault for the win. If Lita can wrestle like this every week, to the point where she looks motivated and doesn't perform foolish spots that she can't hit everytime she does them, then you won't hear criticism from me. Good ending to what was a very dismal RAW.
LAST WORD: I never thought I'd say this, but a women's match actually saved this show from completely going into the toilet. Jericho's GM position meant nothing, other than making Lita vs. Trish that had a positive result. The rest of this show's matches weren't very good and fell short, while the storylines weren't working, in my opinion. I'll go [ C ], and it would be lower, had Lita and Trish Stratus not saved the show.
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