Welcome to the RAW edition of the Wrath of Tito. This makes TWO columns in a row, *GASP*, as I'll try to be daily for this week. After today, I have WWE Originals, Stone Cold Truth book, the new Best of Backyard DVD, and eventually, the Monday Night War DVD to review. A whole lot of stuff to write about.

I'm already getting some flack for some of my non-wrestling opinions over on my Blog at http://mrtito.blogspot.com, and I don't mind. I like having good discussions outside of wrestling, which is why I participate heavily on LoPForums.com. Check it out, if you weeeeellll.

Just a brief message to transmit to two individuals: Blade and Turd Furgeson, if you are reading this, please e-mail me about Fantasy Baseball regarding your participation in the 4th annual LoP league.

Ok, there's something about Shawn Michaels I wanted to discuss. This is nothing regarding him as a wrestler or his role on TV. I'm wondering about his back condition. Why? I don't know if some of the newer readers know this, but I had my spinal cord fused, which is what Michaels had done to his back. Although, my surgery was to correct for scoliosis (50 degree curvature), while HBK was to repair discs or something on his back. Regardless, both of us have fused spines, that's my point.

I had this surgery 8 years ago, he had his about 6 years ago. At the age of 23, I always notice that the pains I ever have in my back are in the lower portions or the neck area, given how your spine is fused. My neck has been especially killing me lately. With this actual experience to report about, I wonder how Michaels feels, especially since he has the luxury of being a full-time WWE wrestler again. If the middle majority of your back isn't taking the pain, is the lower portion or neck area hurting on Shawn, at all? I certainly hope not, for he's become a class act performer since coming out of retirement in 2002.

It's not in any way to discredit Michaels, for he could feel fine. Just wondering, since I sort of have a similar situation to him and my neck is bothering me to the point where I'll have it looked at.

I really have nothing else to say, on to the RAW review.


Opening interview saw more talking nonsense with Triple H on Chris Benoit. We were here last year with HHH and Booker T, and look where Booker T went. Eventually, it forced brawling and Benoit slapped on the Crossface to prompt Evolution to run down.

The first match of the night was Ric Flair/Batista vs. Booker T/Rob Van Dam. Decent tag match here, although I question why Booker T and RVD won the Tag Titles without any good build up or big tag team wins prior to this match. It's the usual lack of regard or respect for Tag Titles from the WWE. The WWE wonders why nobody tunes in to see a title defended any more. I guess this is another way of giving a pacifier to RVD to not leave the WWE.

The next match was Kane vs. Chris Jericho. Kane and Jericho have had many mini-feuds. I believe one of Chris's first big WWE main event wins was against Kane, if I'm not mistaken, at Armageddon 2000? I can't remember the event specifically (nor am I online at this time to check), but I do remember it being a last man standing match and Jericho put something large on Kane to keep him from getting up. Short match here, as the match was called off because Jericho's knee was injured. Man, they didn't call the match when Angle was working on the knee at No Way Out, now did they? After the match, more Undertaker stuff. Ohhh, the boogy man is coming back at Wrestlemania. Put the mask back on Kane, for Christ's sake!

Next, we had Randy Orton calling out Mick Foley. After a while of more boring talking, they get into a brawl and the rest of Evolution came out for a major beatdown. This is ALL Randy Orton can do. Nothing, as a heel, can make more fans come to the arena to see him get his against the faces. He's unoriginal and very lame. It's ludicrous of the WWE to push Orton any where near the World Title, and it's even worse that Mick Foley is STILL the only guy willing to put over wrestlers on RAW.

We get duel advertisements with Stacy/Jackie wanting to be in Playboy, and Steve Austin joking with Eric Bischoff about Bischoff calling out Vince McMahon in 1998 during the Monday Night Wars. The DVD does show some Nitro footage of Bischoff's antics regarding this, by the way, in the excellent documentary portion of the DVD. Vince McMahon WAS there and he said the match will take place next week. Oh my... gotta admire Eric Bischoff for being a great sport upon all humilations received at the hands of Vince McMahon on television.

Next match was Trish/Victoria vs. Molly Holly/Jazz. Why is it that every women's match is just recycling the same matches, over and over and over again? The only "new" thing is that Victoria gets to hit her wicked power moves on the heels now, but that's it!! The match was somewhat short, too, and Victoria gets the pin on Molly Holly to probably become the next challenger for the title. Ok.

Backstage, Christian gave Trish a rose that was supposed to be by Chris Jericho. Uh oh, someone tell Soap Opera Digest about this madness. Seriously Trish, set your VCR and tape the FREAKIN' shows to see who truly loves you! (or at least watch backstage on the monitors)

The main event was Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels, the opportunity to make big money in the future that went down the drain. The match was pretty good, but not the best match of the year so far (that was Sunday night). Very fast paced match, and I'm sure Michaels was relieved to have someone of his caliber to FINALLY work with. Triple H's distraction enabled Shawn Michaels to defeat Chris Benoit with the Sweet Chin Music. That's two in a row by HBK, and the WWE just pissed on Benoit's great Royal Rumble win.

LAST WORD: Am I the only one convinced Benoit's not getting his title victory this year? Seriously, he's been crapped on several times already on RAW, as the HHH & HBK show won't let anybody else steal their spotlight. The wrestling was above average tonight, but the angles to set up Wrestlemania 20 are weak. Smackdown has a far superior line up than RAW for Wrestlemania. I'll give this show a [ B- ] (B minus), but it could be even worse if the storyline set up for Wrestlemania doesn't improve for RAW, next week or beyond, no matter how good the wrestling is.

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@That's all for today. Just chill till the next episode...

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