Welcome to the brand new WRATH OF TITO, here on a special Friday. Hey, I found some time this afternoon to FINALLY review Smackdown, so why not go ahead and do it?
A couple readers need a brief lesson on the RATINGS. Why? Just from the past few days of reporting news, I've been catching HELL from readers regarding the comparison of the RAW and Smackdown ratings. Let's get a few things straight. Firstly, Smackdown is on NETWORK television, RAW is on CABLE television. The ratings on CABLE television are skewed by roughly 1.0 in comparison to NETWORK television. It's just how it is, considering that Network television receives better ratings than Cable, especially in prime time.
Further proof of this is shown when the AP releases the top 10 lists regarding Cable television. Last week's RAW, from 10-11 pm, was the top rated show on cable television. In these AP reports, the CABLE ratings are converted into NETWORK ratings, and would you believe that the 2nd Hour of RAW that week received a 2.8 rating in Network measures??? That is well below the average Smackdown Network rating of 3.4 weekly.
Do you see what I mean? Cable ratings are roughly 1.0 or so larger than Network ratings, but that's just a number. This means that a 3.4 on Smackdown is LARGER than a 3.9 on RAW. Therefore, Smackdown is and has been getting more viewers than RAW for all of 2003 so far, and a good bit of the last half of 2002. I should probably explain this more when I attempt to compile news regarding ratings, but there you go. Also, for anyone who dogs me about RAW being the better show, here's further proof of how you're wrong.
Now, with RAW, it's reported that Vince McMahon is focusing more of his resources towards RAW lately. I understand that, because the creative direction on that show is terrible and the workrate of the matches is absolutely pathetic. However, this also comes with the report of RAW getting the larger venues for houseshows and television shows. This means that RAW wrestlers will receive larger payoffs, even if those large venues aren't selling out. General admission for larger venues is larger than smaller venues, obviously. The WWE better watch that it doesn't shoot themselves in the foot, as you do NOT want to lower the morale of the group of workers who have worked so hard to keep Smackdown's ratings stable. Guys like the Guerreros, Kurt Angle, the injured Edge, Rey Mysterio, Chris Benoit, and Brock Lesnar are fresher and more compelling characters than those seen on RAW, barring Austin and the Rock. The Smackdown guys have busted their asses to keep that show afloat, but to suddenly reward them with more money going to wrestlers who lack improvement, well, that's somewhat bullshit.
It's all about morale, and when you piss off your wrestlers based on your own arrogance, the whole boat begins to sink. Ask WCW. Bischoff and Hogan's arrogant ways shot down the morale of many wrestlers, who either didn't care about their matches anymore or they ran off elsewhere to help another federation. Contracts don't last forever.
Yesterday, I received my review copy of Scott Keith's "Tonight... In this Very Ring book, and I'm already into it. I was reading Piper's book, but when you send me a copy for free to review, I'll drop whatever I'm doing and work on the free good. But anyway, barring any shit I have to do for graduate school, which is a lot, I hope to whip out a review of this book sometime in the near future. My pacing on reading books has greatly slowed since I read Hogan and Heenan's books in just 2 weeks during the beginning of January. I mean, I have to study and do homework, you know, and also work to pay for school.
Piper's book, I will add, was pretty good from the start. The stories in the first chapter alone were pretty funny. Aside from any time off I'd want when Spring Break rolls around (in 3-4 weeks), I hope to catch up on my wrestling books, including reading Jerry Lawler's book. I'm currently in the 3rd or 4th chapter of that book. It's soooo long and drawn out. The book, itself, is about as think as Foley's 2nd book, but this one goes into high detail about Lawler's childhood. Piper skips his childhood and goes straight into his wrestling career. Now that's what I like.
On to the Smackdown review.
Our first match was Funaki/Torrie Wilson vs. Nidia and Jamie Noble. A prime example of Heyman-less booking: a match with no purpose and no storyline to back it, or a match that nobody will care about. Other than seeing 3 of the hottest ladies in the WWE, aside from Stacy, this match wasn't anything to be thrilled with.
Wow, I didn't know the WWE hired Chyna/Joanie Laurer back. Oh wait, that's Stephanie. Boy, is she a big girl now. You know, several people were saying she was putting on a few pounds, and I didn't notice it. It's not pounds she's putting on: it's muscle. She's bulking up for some reason or another, as if her role requires her to have muscles. I guess having a steroid loaded hard-on inside you will "inspire" you to get larger in terms of muscle mass. Steph better hopes Triple H doesn't suddenly shout "Oh Chyna" in bed. Steph announced that Torrie Wilson would be in Playboy, which will be quite a sight when it comes out. Did I mention how Billy Kidman is the luckiest man alive?
Next match was Eddie Guerrero vs. Nunzio. Now we're talking! Two capable workers. For the short time they had, they worked well together, until the clusterfuck after the abrupt finish, where the new FBI and later Rikishi hit the ring. A few things here. I HATE Rikishi. He's such an anchor in the midcard division, in that anybody who fights him will automatically lose, and on top of that, get embarrassed. Don't know why, either, as his fatass can no longer have any matches worth watching and that cool dancing fat guy gimmick died long ago. Also, it's not the FBI unless Tommy Rich is the manager OR if Tracy Smothers is in the group. I won't have it.
Our next bout was Rhyno/Chris Benoit vs. Matt Hardy/Shannon Moore. I'm glad to see Rhyno isn't a worthless bodyguard for Matt Hardy. No offense to Matt or anything, but Rhyno is no bodyguard. He's a wrestler. Looks like Heyman won his battle to get Rhyno wrestling, which could be one of the few reasons he lost his job as head Smackdown writer. The fans were highly into Rhyno, and he was getting into it. Good midcard tag match here, especially when Benoit was in and working great with Moore and Hardy.
Next segment we had the Undertaker calling out the fat and hairy piece of shit named A-Train. Someone tell A-Train to start doing sit ups, pronto! It was a dumb call out that led to the Big Show and Albert beating down the Taker, and then Nathan Jones makes the save. I'll agree with Scott Keith here in saying that Big Show/Albert vs. Nathan Jones/Undertaker could be the worst Wrestlemania match ever if it happens. Hell, I'll go on record as saying it would be worse than the Kronic vs. Undertaker/Kane match.
AWESOME rap that John Cena did on Brock Lesnar. Funny how Cena can rip on Lesnar, a main eventer, but when it comes to ripping on guys like the Undertaker or Triple H by a midcarder, it ain't happening.
The 5 minute bout between Brian Kendrick and Kurt Angle was entertaining, but I don't see where Kendrick could go from here. He's a small guy, in a land where you either have to tall or have excessive muscle packed on your small frame, which is pretty dangerous. Kendrick will have to add muscle just to look like a regular Cruiserweight in the WWE, let alone if he wants to keep moving up the ladder. I liked where Kendrick kicked Angle in the face when he had his free shot. Entertaining, but it will be meaningless in the long run for Kendrick to wrestle this match, especially since not everybody is as generous as Angle in selling you're moves.
I didn't watch No Way Out, so I enjoyed the recap of the Hogan vs. Rock match.
Our main event was Team Angle vs. Brock Lesnar. I enjoyed the loads of cheating by Heyman and Kurt Angle throughout the match. I do, however, have a problem with Lesnar getting a CLEAN win over the World Tag Team champions. You see where I'm going? Flawed booking allows something like this to happen, and even further, more pathetic booking would let a "Sports Entertainment" match to be booked, such as Lesnar vs. Heyman in a freakin' Cage for next week. Give us wrestling, not goofiness.
LAST WORD: Some might suggest that I'm a picky wrestling fan for saying this, but I clearly notice the absence of Heyman in this show. You should protect your Tag Team champions, especially in a handicap match. So what if Lesnar lost that match, it was to the freakin' tag champs~! It makes no sense to waste the fans time with a Heyman beatdown in next week's Smackdown, as we slowly hype the Angle vs. Lesnar match. Now that Heyman is out of the way, Vince has full reign to push his big men, and we'll see a large dosage of Albert, Undertaker, Big Show, and now Nathan Jones shoved down our throats. The workrate was better than RAW, and I still care about that than just having a great heel on your show, such as the Rock, hence a [ B ] (B) grade for this show. However, I'm forecasting bad things for this show, as seen in a few examples tonight, because the logic of booking seems to be disappearing already (You NEVER make your World Tag Champs lose a handicap match!!!!).
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