Welcome to the latest edition of the Wrath of Tito. Today, we'll discuss various issues and review the latest edition of Monday Night RAW. It's too bad that Smackdown isn't on Monday Night instead, BUT the recent jump by Benoit at least gives me something exciting to watch on RAW. I'm curious about Benoit and Shawn Michaels working together, and we'll find out next week when the WWE shoots the gun and gives us Benoit vs. Michaels for free. Crazy money could be made in the future with this match, but yet, the WWE is willing to give it away with only one week's build up. Make sense? And you wonder why Steve Austin walked out in 2002 when they asked him to wrestle and to lose against Brock Lesnar.

But not Steve Austin insists that it was more of a health issue... Speaking of that, I hope to be writing a few extra columns to review Steve Austin's book and the WWE Originals CD. I'll warn you in advance that I didn't like either one. I take that back... I liked having something to read with Steve Austin, BUT the content of the book was extremely week and it was clearly a WWE book, not a Steve Austin book. Why skip over Wrestlemania 13 that fast? Ok, I'm giving too much away. I thought WWE Originals was a bad, bad attempt at putting WWE superstars up for singing music. They should have thought about it before putting it out on the market. Enough of that, too.

What makes me excited is the Monday Night Wars DVD just released today. I'm out of money for the week until payday on Thursday, but man, it looks great. The WWE needs to dip into the video archives more and more, and the ongoing success of each DVD should tell them to start the 24/7 channel while there are still wrestling fans out there. Since 2000, the fanbase has lost members by the year...

Watching Booker T and Rob Van Dam going through the motions against the overrated Randy Orton last night got me thinking. The WWE heels are lacking on the RAW roster, and there is a surplus of faces on RAW right now with Jericho's turn. Then, you have the overpushed Mark Henry out for 4 months. Hey, that leaves Teddy Long open for managing Booker T!!! But in addition to this heel turn, why not turn RVD a heel? Take a page from his old ECW playbook. Have him come out and say "since RAW doesn't love me, I'm going to Smackdown". Maybe plant RVD in the crowd at a Smackdown in order to make Eric Bischoff mad. That's right, whereas you called him Mr. Monday Night during his ECW run, you could call him "Mr. Thursday Night" and make him a very cocky heel again. Maybe let him say I'm the "Whole F'N Show" with the bleep, of course. Heel turns for both Booker T and RVD, in my opinion, would refresh their careers and maybe provide motivation for each wrestler. Their face characters are extremely stale and it's affecting them greatly.

With Randy Orton, he looked just as bad in the main event. His wrestling ability is STILL behind the intended main event push that the WWE, or Triple H, wants. Secondly, did you hear his backstage interview last night? Good lord, he couldn't form a sentence if he tried! I'm telling ya, it's a big mistake by the WWE in 2004 if they try to push this guy to the main event. At this point, he doesn't deserve to even beat Mick Foley!

Why in the hell is NWA-TNA still trying to bother with Lex Luger? They plan on possibly bringing him in for the April Pay Per View. Seriously, what fan out there would get "wet with excitement" when they see the name "Lex Luger" on this card? Who will shell out $20-$30 for a show that hypes an appearance by Luger on the show? NWA-TNA, as I keep repeating, are going about their federation COMPLETELY WRONG. Bringing in WCW hasbeens is not the way to go. Why? Just look at the final years of WCW. Those hasbeens couldn't keep fans in the stands, nor could it draw ratings or buyrates. This is despite the fact that these hasbeens were always pushed as main eventers. There is NO CHANCE IN HELL that NWA-TNA will land a cable deal with this crappy product.

I've seen early internet pictures of Torrie Wilson and Sable's duel Playboy spread. It's OK... The choice of poses and what is exposed (as Booger says on Revenge of the Nerds: "this is bullshit! I want some bush! Pan down!") is a bit weak. I thought that both Torrie and Sable looked similar, given the blonde hair, excessive eye shadow, and their boobs look very similar. Yes, it's nice to see both of them partially (and I stress that) nude together, but it could have been better.

Back when Triple H was complaining about Confidential "exposing the business" (despite maybe getting a million or under viewers per show), the prediction was made that if Confidential was turned into a fluff show, the ratings would go south. It has certainly happened, and Confidential is a show the WWE doesn't even bother to advertise any more. Good job, guys. This leads, now, to an idea about bringing ECW back. For one, it's NOT ECW. ECW was Paul Heyman's baby, and being on the independent scene, he had free reign on the content he choose to offer. TNN would probably get offended at the violent wrestling, and the letters "ECW" probably anger TNN after the real ECW was a big failure on TNN before.

But the question is Can an ECW type show be successful in 2004?. First, remember that NWA-TNA has some ECW elements and several of its marquee wrestlers (Sandman, Raven), in addition to the violent spotfest style of wrestling. This isn't drawing on Pay Per View, so this could be proof positive. Other indy feds have tried to use the violent style and aren't creating large fanbases the way ECW did during the 1990's. The violent style was weakened when the WWE took parts of it for the Attitude era, in addition to making Hardcore matches laughable. Secondly, would the WWE be willing to pay guaranteed contracts to guys wrestling a violent style? Right now, the WWE stresses to the midcarders to tone their styles down to not risk injuries. If you do ECW, it better be EXTREME Championship Wrestling or fans won't buy it. I honestly think this was an idea brought up at a creative meeting, but it won't go any further than that.

The ECW wetdream is over, folks, no matter how many other feds try to recreate it.

On to the RAW review.

RAW is TITO

The show starts off with Bill Goldberg coming out to the ring, getting ready for a match. Then, Vince McMahon's music hits and he comes down to the ring to confront Goldberg about his No Way Out ticket. Steve Austin drives down to the ring with his 4 wheeler to get on Vince McMahon, and they argue as if they've feuded before. Vince then brings out Paul Heyman to state his case about Goldberg at No Way Out. Lots of good dialogue between these guys, and Heyman's lines were really good with the threats towards Goldberg. Goldberg spears Heyman, but misses McMahon and hits Steve Austin with a spear. Vince ran out of the ring with fear, and later made Eric Bischoff "suspend" Goldberg. After the segment, Goldberg and Austin talked about the accidental spear, possibly creating a future feud there (and maybe a reason why Austin gets rid of Goldberg on RAW?). This segment was surreal, in that you had 4 guys in the ring at the same time that you'd never imagine seeing in 1998. I'm curious about how the ratings play out for this quarter hour, alone.

We had a decent opening mixed tag match with Trish Stratus/Chris Jericho vs. Matt Hardy/Molly Holly. Each pairing of wrestlers had pretty good chemistry with each other, and this match had no complaints from me. Christian helped Jericho/Stratus win the match, and afterward, Christian was kissing up to Trish. Uh oh, it looks like we'll be seeing Trish falling for Christian and Jericho showing some jealousy. I guess it will ultimately lead to Christian's real intentions getting revealed, and Jericho/Trish will then get together. WWE wonders why they are labeled "a soap opera for men".

Backstage, Jindrak and Cade are looking at Torrie and Sable's Playboy spread when Jackie and Stacy walk in. Basically, a hidden advertisement for the Playboy issue. Here's a prediction: given Playboy's expanding subscriptions since the last Playboy spread, the WWE will boast that this is the top selling Playboy in years, which they did for Torrie and Chyna's issues.

The next match was Chris Benoit vs. Ric Flair. It was good overall, although you can clearly see that Flair can't keep up anymore since his body is breaking down at an older age. I mean, Flair wrestles a FULL TIME schedule at his older age and it's bound to happen that he's wearing down. Benoit is faster type of wrestler. Otherwise, I liked the match and having Flair's chest bleeding was a nice touch if it was intentional. Now, let's give Benoit a wrestler who isn't older or a total fatass, like Mark Henry, and we'll see why he's the best wrestler in the WWE.

After the match, we have the immediate contract signing for Benoit vs. Triple H. Triple H went into a LONG speech about how Benoit can't win the big match, etc. *YAWN* @ Triple H's usual attempts to trash the credibility of his opponents. He's talking the same way he did with Booker T, last year, and we all know how well that match turned out. Shawn Michaels, though, came out to interrupt before Benoit could sign the contract and talked about how close he was at beating Triple H. He was so obsessed that he'd eventually superkick Benoit and sign the contract himself! Ummm, wouldn't the contract have the intended person's name in print where you're supposed to sign? I guess this is the first step towards inserting HBK into the match at Wrestlemania, and I bet Benoit vs. HBK will result in a DRAW or a Triple H attack on both to get HBK into the Wrestlemania match. So much for the Royal Rumble win, eh Benoit?

The next bout was Hurricane vs. Kane, which was a total squash match. A message for Shane Helms: GET OUT OF THE WWE!!! Seriously, the fed doesn't want you, despite your talented ability, charisma, and mic skills. After Kane won, he was denied his pyro and we had more Undertaker promos. I hope that the Undertaker has been growing his hair long for the role....

Some very touchy stuff about Randy Orton was provided by Mick Foley. Foley talked about Orton's military involvement, saying he was a bad officer and went AWOL (not A-Wall, who should rest in peace... Ok, I'll stop using that joke). This is just as personal as when the Rock brought up Kurt Angle's crying over the 1996 Olympics. Necessary for a wrestling feud? I don't think so, but I'm sure many will agree that it is. This would upset Orton and have him call Foley into the backstage area. Flair and Batista were waiting for Foley, and Foley took a weak powerbomb into a highly gimmicked table (which for Foley, isn't a bad thing).

The main event, as I discussed above, just wasn't there with Rob Van Dam vs. Booker T vs. Randy Orton. Orton main eventing is a disaster, but what has RVD or Booker T done lately to deserve to be in it, too? A match with a lack of motivation from fans to care about these guys, and a lack of motivation by the wrestlers to step it up and make it look like a main event match! Orton won the match, Foley tried to come out and get a shot in, but he was put down once again. Yay.

LAST WORD: This show was pretty good after the Benoit stuff, but quickly went South after that and the main event wasn't very good. I'm 50/50 on this show, and the 50% I liked outweighs the bad. I'll give it a generous [ B ] grade, and hope that Kane can have more important matches and that Orton can bust out a great match sometime.

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@That's all for today. Thanks a million for reading.

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