Welcome to the newest edition of the Wrath of Tito. I'm PUMPED for tonight, as I get to attend Smackdown in Pittsburgh, PA. Hey, nothing like an Undisputed World Title match, supposed to be at Wrestlemania, when you buy tickets for the television show. So what if it's Benoit vs. Lesnar instead of Angle vs. Lesnar. Either way, I'm happy, especially when I bought the tickets just to see Hulk Hogan live for one time in my life.
Without Kurt Angle, Wrestlemania could be a disappointing show. Wrestlemania was hinged upon Lesnar vs. Angle. You have a former NCAA Heavyweight champion against an Olympic champion, with both guys making great strides in the WWE, headlining the show. However, we are now left with a card minus the headlining match, especially since we've seen Austin vs. Rock before in 2 prior Wrestlemanias. Booker T vs. Triple H will only be good if Booker T seems to have a winning chance and if he wins the WWE title.
With Bill Goldberg, I think he knows that the WWE will give in to his contractual needs, hence the reason why he won't budge on anything. He knows the WWE is in trouble without the dependable Kurt Angle on the shows. He knows Austin can't be relied on. He knows that the Rock is leaving after Backlash. He won't budge, and the WWE won't know what trouble they'll be in when Wrestlemania might tank this year. When the Rock is gone, it's going to be hard for the WWE to rely on Triple H, Undertaker, and Steve Austin, all guys who have dominated in the past 4-5 years, to carry the promotion and draw new interest. The WWE won't create new stars to replace Angle, especially over those 3.
Speaking of Triple H, I picked up his bobblehead the other day at K-Mart. The store in the Athens area is closing down, so I got the sombitch for a really cheap price. Last week, I had full intentions on buying Lita, Kane, and Triple H from them to add to my collection. However, the closing K-Mart wouldn't take checks, so I couldn't get them at the time. I went back this week, and there were 4 Triple H bobbleheads left and nothing else. Last week, Angle, Rock, Austin, Lita, Kane, and Triple H were all there on the shelves. What does that say? I will say that the Triple H bobblehead is well detailed, though, probably the closest looking one out of the WWE's Rumblehead series.
Smackdown was an average show. I don't see the Guerreros working out as faces. With Kurt Angle gone, the door is wide open for Eddie Guerrero to become the brand's top heel. Oh wait, Albert and Big Show will step into those roles. MY BAD. I hope I see a good show in Pittsburgh tonight to tell you about on Wednesday.
Finally, MAJOR PROPS to the Valley Wrestling Federation (VWF) and Willygoat Xtreme Wrestling for putting on an AWESOME backyard wrestling event Sunday. The two feds have held 6 events together, and the one held on Sunday was a fine piece of work by all of those involved.
On to my RAW review.
Our first match is Rob Van Dam and Kane versus Chris Jericho/Christian. I hope they give this match time to develop... Pretty good back and forth action between these guys. Wow, great finish to end this bout. Rob Van Dam hit his ***** Frog Splash, and but Jericho would hit the Lionsault for the victory while RVD was selling the gigantic leap off the top rope. Allbeit short, that was a pretty good opening bout, and probably the best match RAW has had in maybe 4 weeks, which isn't saying something, but it's a good match for the love of Christ.
The WWE is sinking pretty low to be associated with Girls Gone Wild. Not that I mind the content of that show, but cross promoting on GGW won't give you a new audience as much as it will give GGW more buyers of their shows.
Booker T comes to the ring, mic in hand. He addresses what Triple H said last week, but goes off on a tangent on how he grew up. He admits to being in jail one time, and gets back to Triple H's comments. ???? Who wrote this speech? Booker T calls out Triple H, but Ric Flair comes out instead. Flair does the same thing with Booker T, saying he isn't worthy of Triple H. Geesh. I really hope Booker T gets the win, clean win in fact, at Wrestlemania, or this is complete bullshit towards Booker T. Flair makes an offering of having Booker T carry Flair and Triple H's bags next week. That's pretty low. Booker T asks if Triple H is in the locker room and then punches Flair.
Backstage, Booker T goes into Triple H's locker room and says "Triple H, do you have something to say to me". Triple H gives him a dollar and says "get me a towel". Har har. Leave it to the WWE to notice that some fans said Triple H's comments from last week's RAW were racist, and push it this week with Booker T getting asked to carry bags or get Triple H a towel.
Here's something on the CIGARETTE commercials. My good buddy Nick Ponton e-mailed me and told me about how several cigarette producers actually make several of the cigarette commercials you see. That makes sense. Part of the many tobacco lawsuits required cigarette companies to make anti-smoking ads. Hence the reason why some are so ridiculous or giving meaningless facts to get people to ignore them and increase teen smoking.
Backstage again, Triple H and Flair look for Booker T.
The deteriorating Jeff Hardy comes out next. Why just paint your left arm? Hey, his opponent is Rico. This could be good. Rico is getting an unfair opportunity to shine in the WWE. Interrupting the match, Steve Austin is shown backstage walking into the arena. Way to get the fans into this match! This match was garbage, given the constant interference of 3 Minute Warning and a lousy roll up victory. This match does nothing for any of the wrestlers involved.
Triple H is apparently ripping on Tough Enough in front of Maven and someone else. That's an assumption because the sound was out for most of the segment. All I heard was Maven calling Triple H "numbnuts" and Triple H laying down a challenge. They are playing to the internet crowd, tonight.
Goldust with his twitching problems tries to talk to Steve Austin backstage. Wow, that twitching gimmick is doing wonders for Goldust and promos backstage.
The Rock is backstage, and rips on Cleveland for Jim Thome leaving and for Lebron James not wanting to come there. AWESOME song by the Rock about Cleveland, especially the Hall of Fame line. The Rock's opponent is the Hurricane! The match will be a No Disqualification match, where ALL SUPER POWERS ARE ALLOWED! Devastating! This is a great promo and the Rock is making it look like a HUGE match. The Rock takes a cheapshot and gives a grin to finish off the segment. The Rock is continuing to be the best thing for RAW in 2003, period.
Commercials ran long, as we had "transmissions problems". Actually, the WWE hired a bunch of former WCW producers lately. That was a joke. Speaking of jokes, it's the women's division and a #1 contender's match between Jazz and Trish Stratus. Jazz is probably looking her sexiest tonight, but I still wouldn't tap it. Victoria ends this eyesore of a match by attacking both, easily setting up a 3 Way Women's title match at Wrestlemania 19. Speaking of Victoria, if the WWE wants to do some justice for having Limp Bizkit playing live, they should go get T.A.T.U. and let them lip sync Victoria's theme. With TATU, I root them on for their actions, BUT I know that their act is a fake in 2 ways: they don't passionately love each other and they don't sing their music (ala Milli Vanilli style).
Eric Bischoff comes out to discuss Steve Austin, and goes into the "insider" world by mentioning WCW firing. (Real quick story: Austin tore his bicep and was out for a few months. Bischoff fired Austin via Fed Ex or had his secretary tell Austin the bad news over the phone. Austin has said that Bischoff told him that nobody would get over wearing black tights and wrestling the way he did at the time [very technical]. Austin has been bitter for years over this, and he actually imitated Bischoff during his brief stint in ECW.) Austin comes out to the ring to a pretty good pop. Heavy "what" speech. Austin is probably loving this segment by imitating the guy who used to sign his paychecks. The Rock interrupts because he's the man. "The Rock just wants to slap your face!" Haha! Austin's mic skills are still the same from 1998, making Rock seem stronger in this war of words. "You want the Rock to come down? Let me think about it.. NAH!". The Rock is on tonight, brotha. Austin then attacks Bischoff, only for the Rock to run down but suddenly back off. Good stuff. I like how the WWE is pushing the fact that Rock can't beat Austin at Wrestlemania, given the 2 Wrestlemanias they've headlined.
Our next match was Triple H vs. Maven. Let's see how much offense Triple H allows Maven to hit him with or if it's a normal Triple H squash. Looking at Triple H, though, he seems to be a healthy now, at least as far as his knees or legs are concerned. Triple H is giving Maven nothing to work with at all. Not even a good spurt of offense. I understand that Maven is still green, but man, he has some WWE wins under his belt. Triple H could have beat Maven with the pathetic sleeper, but lets Maven survive. Triple H gets the offense back with the spine buster and then hits the Pedigree for the win. Is this kind of wrestling supposed to be entertaining, because I missed that information session. Afterward, Triple H tries to kill Maven in the ropes, but Al Snow makes the save. Triple H then attacks Al Snow, possibly making a political statement about Tough Enough or at least knocking it down a notch. What a dick.
Eric Bischoff vs. Steve Austin next week on RAW. SMELL THE RATINGS! Come on writers, give it up on the top face wrestler versus the boss storyline.
Scott Steiner just did his best segment in the WWE: he was a secondary character during a brief Austin segment. I'm glad the WWE is depushing him. It goes to show you, though, that by not releasing Steiner, it means his attitude is good enough to keep him around as a veteran. He's just too old and unhealthy to be anything of what he used to be (which was just decent).
The Dudleys have been reinstated, and they come out to wrestle. (Did I miss something?) Whoops, Chief Morley declares that if D'Von beats Morley and Lance Storm, they'll be reinstated. Oh, it was the dumbass commentators telling us the wrong info. Great job there Ross and Lawler. Storm and Morley won the worthless handicap match. Dudleys vs. Morley/Storm at Wrestlemania? Oh yeah, I can't wait for that one. Joy.
I would only see the movie "Willard" just for Crispen Glover, who was brilliant in his performance as George McFly in "Back to the Future".
Girls Gone Wild segment is next. Orange t-shirts don't work too well in wet t-shirt contests. Just before Lawler was about to spray the ladies, Stacy Keibler walks out, looking WAY better than any of the girls in the ring. She gets the girls "wet" and we see no nipples. This segment was filmed to plug that Stacy will be on the GGW Pay Per View. Lawler sprays Keibler's fine ass to finish off the segment.
Wrestlemania Moment: Pete Rose getting attacked by Kane for the first time. Ah, that never gets old. If only Kane could have slammed him harder to keep him from his continuous begging to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Rules are rules. You gamble on the sport of baseball, you should get banned. I don't care how much baseball needs to please their fans, they need to keep Rose banned as a precedent for all future baseball players or managers thinking about gambling on a game that they play.
Rock vs. Hurricane is next. Oh man, this should be pretty good. The Rock throws on the Hurricane's cape. It just occurred to me that the Hurricane is in the Main Event. Thank you Rock. What's with the weardown moves? Get this match started with some action and excitement! What's sad, though, is that the WWE completely ditched the Rock vs. Booker T match that they hyped last week and have been hyping all weekend. Hurricane gets some offense in here, and is continuing with it. The Rock is much generous than Triple H, especially the crap we witnessed earlier. Funny stuff with the attempted chokeslams. The crowd exploded when the Hurricane finally got one off. The Rock goes for the People's Elbow without the elbow pad. Ah, that wasn't nice. Steve Austin comes down and distracts the Rock to allow for the Hurricane to get the roll up victory. Not bad. It had a slow start, but got good and Rocky is a very generous man, something Triple H, Austin, and the Undertaker could learn from.
LAST WORD: The first match was a good opener and main event wasn't bad. The Rock is my hero and a reason to keep watching RAW. Everything else needs some major help. Triple H vs. Maven is a match that nobody wants to see. The Dudleys vs. "establishment" feud is boring and stale. The Rico vs. Hardy match was a waste. This was another segment heavy show, if not the heaviest one yet of 2003. 2 watchable matches, while the rest of the show struggled, with fault being directly pointed at the writers and Triple H. I'll give this show a generous [ B ] (B), but for the love of Christ, give us some wrestling to watch and make Triple H actually sell moves of his opponents, no matter who they are.
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