Welcome to an all new edition of the WRATH of TITO. It's finals week, and I'm a complete grouch during this time. I HATE it! I mean seriously, you pay thousands of dollars for 3 months of stress that will give you gray hairs, and your life is dependent on how you do on some exams, which again, you paid thousands for. Ugh... Well, I hope I can land a job after school to make it all worth it.
Lots of strange stuff happening in the world of the WWE lately, eh? Take for example, Monday, where we were hearing that Ric Flair and Eric Bischoff were arguing backstage. Those two have never liked each other, and this stems from Bischoff's immediate kissing up to Hogan in 1994. See, in 1994, Flair became the booker, and was working to groom Steve Austin into the company's new main eventer. Then, Hulk Hogan was signed and given huge creative power, making any Flair bookings meaningless. Flair, actually, was never respected by the Turner owned WCW. This dates back to 1987-1988 when Flair was in constant dispute with Dusty Rhodes, the booker of NWA/WCW at the time. Dusty didn't want Flair as champion, not respecting the business that Flair actually gave them back in the day.
What year was the best year for NWA/WCW? 1989, by far, and that was when Flair was in control of the booking sheets. He lost it in 1990 and the company went into the shitter with the Black Scorpion fiasco, and Ole Anderson was now in charge and kept Flair out of the World Title situation. Flair saved the day at Starrcade 1990 when he agreed to play the Scorpion, and once he had the World Title, Dusty Rhodes returned as head booker to WCW in 1991 and wanted to, again, take the World Title off of Flair. This heated dispute came to a head at Great American Bash 1991, where Flair refused to put over the talentless Lex Luger for the World Title, who was Dusty's boy, and Flair was then fired and went to the WWE for some success as the WWF champion there.
Flair returned and was disrespected by Eric Bischoff by the start in 1993. Flair was put in humiliating renditions of the 4 Horsemen, and was again, kept away from the top. Then, when the hyped match at Starrcade, Sid vs. Vader, couldn't be delivered, Flair stepped in for Scissors Sid and made a great match at Starrcade with Vader. To save his own ass, Bischoff made Flair the booker in early 1994, and we would then see WCW slowly growing from the bottom up. Flair and Steamboat were used to create new stars, namely a guy in black tights named Steve Austin. But Hulk Hogan's entrance changed everything, and Bischoff was straight up Hogan's ass for many years to come.
Their heat came to a head in late 1998 or early 1999, I believe, when Flair didn't attend a WCW Thunder. However, Flair DID request for the day off to go see his son at an amateur wrestling tournament well in advance. Bischoff, somehow, didn't see the notice and went off, and took Flair off of television for many months. This sparked the emotional return of Flair once WCW's business started to tank, and if you remember the 4 Horsemen revival, which had Flair returning and introducing a new group, which included himself, Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, and Mongo. Remember? Flair would then do a worked shoot against Bischoff, which was the famous "FIRE ME?!? I'M ALREADY FIRED!!!" speech, if you ever find that soundbyte anywhere. That incident, alone, makes you wonder why a fight between the two hasn't happened before Monday. Amazing.
What caused it? My assumption is that Bischoff probably made some offhand comment to another wrestler or personality about Flair and WCW, and by heresay, it came back to Flair, and thus prompted Flair to enter Bischoff's office and chew him out and nearly getting into a brawl. Very unexpected, indeed. What will happen for the sake fo the future of RAW? You'll have to ask yourself a few questions. Which guy is more important to the WWE product? Will either man want to work the same show together? Both are well off, money wise, so will one of them just simply leave the WWE? One one hand, you have one guy who is the RAW General Manager. On the other, it's Triple H's manager. Yikes, call that even in my books. Neither man has sparked business upon their arrivals, and in fact, actually saw ratings drops weeks after their arrivals. My guess and assumption is that Bischoff will be gone, since he was the man who signed many of the wrestlers' paychecks before, and I bet that Arn Anderson has seen his last straw as WWE road agent. Anderson joined in on the verbal dispute between Flair and Bischoff, and has been seen as a poor agent, stemming from the way he handled the International Plane incident (Excessive partying by WWE stars on the flight back from Europe, which led to the firing of Curt Hennig and Scott Hall, and got a few other wrestlers in hot water. It's said that Anderson let a lot of the partying occur and wasn't quick to break that up.), how he apparently sets up matches, and this incident will land him into some deep shite as well.
That's a lot of information for one to digest. Anyway, I have a question. Did anybody see ANY value of the Triple H vs. Maven match last week on RAW? I'm still baffled at that squash match. Fine, I'll admit that Maven isn't in the caliber of Triple H, but is one guy, a heel actually, pounding on another guy really entertaining? Especially when it's 5 minutes or more of it? Seriously, that's not entertaining. Whoever thought at the creative meeting that "hey, I'm sure the fans will LOVE seeing Triple H beat up a green wrestler for 5 minutes". Nobody in their right mind wants to see it. The only positive I saw out of that match was that Triple H was clearly healthy now, so there are no more excuses for having bad matches, namely in main events of shows. It's time for Triple H to put up or shut up and prove that everyone is wrong about him staying at the top for his political power. Have some good matches for a change.
I didn't feel the need to write another Wrath of Tito last week, on Friday, concerning the Smackdown show I attended. I mean, why state the same opinion twice? I will add a few notes, though. Dawn Marie was NOT nude when she opened up her shirt. She wore a flesh covering on her chest to hide the goods. Don't fault me, for I had upperdeck seats, and when I see someone open up their shirt and I see 2 large tan objects hanging out, they sure look like titties to me. Someone sent me a picture of it, too, so that's more proof of that. There no nipples shown. I will NOT e-mail it to anyone or post it somewhere, if anyone is asking. Anyway... A reader, also at the show, informed me that Eric Angle snuck in just before the main event match. That explains why the arena lights turned off for like 15 seconds or so.
I thought the show was the best Smackdown show that I've attended. I went to one in Pittsburgh (where Angle beat Booker T for the WCW Title) and one in Columbus (the SD before Survivor Series 2002). The show had 2 very good tag team matches, and I liked the event. I don't care what anybody else thought. The victory by Angle, as cheap as it was, will add more heat to Lesnar vs. Angle. It also came as a great swerve to me, as I thought Angle would lose the title. I was shocked when I saw it. I will say, though, that Velocity was such a poor show and Rikishi only had pops when he hinted at giving someone the stinkface. Dead crowd for Big Show and Albert, too. Why can I clearly see the problems of the WWE?
The funniest thing of the show, though, was a man called Sharkboy. Don't know who he is? Then CLICK HERE for his website. He fought in the first match of the night, in a dark match, against Kanyon (By the way, Kanyon is now managed by Jackie Gayda from Tough Enough 2, and she looked INCREDIBLE!). Yeah, it's the first match of the night and the crowd is fired up anyway, but people instantly cheered Sharkboy from the moment he came out. People loved the gimmick. There were some casual wrestling fans behind me, and they loved the guy. The whole Pittsburgh crowd loved him! They cheered for Sharkboy the whole match, and were even into the close finishes when Sharkboy hit some near finishers (he's a decent wrestler, besides the gimmick). Then, throughout the night, various "We Want Sharkboy" chants were started, such as the ones during the Shannon Moore vs. Matt Stryker Velocity match and the Matt Hardy vs. Brian Kendrick/Pittsburgh Penguin match. The gimmick is so corny that you can't help but love it and support it, and I thought Shark boy was a good enough wrestler to be a solid addition to the Cruiserweight division.
I saw Rodney Carrington on Saturday night. I haven't laughed that hard for consecutive hours in a long time.
No matter what happens overseas or what your opinion is of the current administration's decisions towards Iraq, at least show support for the men and women who are out there in the Middle East, fighting on enemy lines.
On to my RAW review!
Nice of the WWE to dedicate tonight's RAW to the armed forces overseas. Good job. (I'm being serious, this isn't sarcasm)
The show starts off with Eric Bischoff, absent of marks on his face, in the ring and spotlighted. He talks about his match tonight, and it will be a Lumberjack match. Damn it, I mark out for those kind of matches. I miss the old NWA/WCW/World Class ones where the Lumberjacks had HUGE leather straps, and they cracked anybody who came near the ropes.
Kane/Rob Van Dam come out first. Rob Van Dam is always in the RAW opener. Lance Storm/Chief Morley will take them on. Another Wrestlemania match given to us early? Storm, Morley, and Regal are all dry wrestlers here in 2003. I don't know if it's added bulk or heel turns, but they just aren't exciting to watch anymore. Armbar applied. The WWE has been trying weardown moves in many of their matches lately. A few problems with that. For one, the crowd gets quickly bored with them. Two, hardly any of the wrestlers will sell the weardowns a minute later. I love the Kane clothesline off the top to this day. RVD and Kane win it. Decent opening tag match. I'm fine with it. Afterward, the Dudleys come out and attack Morley. Nice swerve! The Dudleys turned on RVD and Kane! Devastating toss over the ropes on Rob Van Dam. I liked this. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
I CAN'T EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH: Give the Dudley Boyz some mic time! Both Bubba and D'Von can cut GREAT heel promos. Let them tell off the crowd. Let them rip on their opponents! Let them be the bastards that they can be. Their last run as heels sucked because nobody gave them mic time to get over. Don't drop the ball on this great opportunity, WWE.
Dudleys were backstage, and joined because they had no choice. Suspension was lifted, and the Dudleys agreed to be be in the Morley/Bischoff organization and to be lumberjacks later on.
Triple H and Ric Flair come down. Looks like cooler heads prevailed with Eric Bischoff and Ric Flair, at least that we know of. The Game is upset from the attack last week, and challenges Booker T to come down. However, Goldust comes down to the ring. I thought he was going to cut a serious promo, but then the twitching began. Triple H and Flair laugh hysterically. God, I hate this gimmick for Goldust. After Triple H mocks Goldust, Goldy attacks. Eventually, 2 on 1 prevails. Booker T makes the save. Booker T/Goldust vs. Flair/Triple H would be a darn good match. Sign it! I'm surprised Goldust wasn't mad at Triple H from his boys, Orton and Batista, attacking him and thus creating Goldust's current condition. I hope it sets up a match this week or next.
Backstage, Triple H is throwing a fit. He wants Goldust in the ring tonight.
Maven walks out. He's not worth a shit because he was badly embarrassed last week. Throw him in the pile with the rest of the losers. He will fight Rico the current most unappreciated wrestler on the WWE wrestler. Too bad he's not like 2-4 inches taller, he he might get pushed. If the crowd is silent, tell me what gives them motivation to care about this match? Maven was squashed last week and Rico is a manager of a terrible tag team. 2 distractions used in this match. One, the Live Event ticker and two, the Titantron of the Rock arriving. I like that arm bar kick Rico does. So talented, yet no care for him backstage. Ouch! Some of those moves on Maven's neck have to hurt. Nice elbow by Rico, as he hopped over Maven's midsection to drop one on the chest. Fans can't cheer for Maven due to what happened last week. Maven got the win off of a backslide. The BACKSLIDE?!? So 1980's of them. Watchable, but only for Rico wearing the backpack.
Terri backstage. Her implants seem to be shoved up to the moon tonight. She's outside Austin's locker room, and HBK suddenly enters the door. What is Shawn doing? Apologizing for not wanting to put Austin over at Wrestlemania 14?
Commercial stuff... I want to see Dreamcatcher and the new Grand Theft Auto Vice City commercial is badass!
Backstage, it's Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin talking. HBK said he agreed to be a lumberjack. He'll toss Austin in if he comes along his way. Austin then points out that Jericho is a lumberjack too, and HBK points out that Rock will be a lumberjack as well. Austin doesn't fear anybody who is a lumberjack. Good backstage segment.
Teddy Long confronts the Rock backstage and gives him the current issue of WWE magazine. The Hurricane is on the cover, and the Rock is upset. The Rock is putting over the Hurricane loss form last week by being paranoid about it. He will face Rodney Mack tonight. Mack is strangely looking like Perry Saturn lately, of his final ECW fame if you remember. Saturn wasn't quite as cut as he would later become, and Mack seems to have the tattoos in the same places as Saturn back then. Now watch, Mack will be made into a star off of the Rock, too. Amazing how Teddy Long became interesting again when talking to the Rock.
Nice Wrestlemania moment with Andre slamming Big John Studd. Sadly, neither man is with us here in 2003.
Hurricane comes out. The WWE muted his crowd heat, because you can clearly see the fans reacting to him but you can't hear any noise. Rodney Mack comes out. Will he start carrying mops to the ring, too? This guy has to be tough if he's married to Jazz. I mean, imagine HER hopping on top of you late at night. Ok, that was cruel, as I'm happy for both of them being able to work together on the same show. The wrestling business is cruel on love lives, and it's good to see 2 making it. Of course, credit the WWE for being nice enough to put them on the same show. Ok match, but it ended with the Rock running down and attacking Hurricane. Rock acts like the typical WWE main eventer in that after they put over a midcarder, they squash him the next week.
Funny stuff with the Stacker 2 commercial which had the Big Show "steer wrestling".
Next match was Trish/Jazz vs. Victoria/Steven Richards. Few people have been hopping on me for my criticisms of the women's division. My beef is from the lack of excitement the division brings. I acknowledge that the women put on a great effort, but women's wrestling just isn't fun to watch, plain and simple, unless it brings something unique to the table. The current women's division does NOT do that. Typical match, which had the male in the match cheapshotting a female on the other team. Same stuff, different time. Jeff Hardy makes the save at the end for whatever reason. Whatever.
HBK promo, discussing Wrestlemania. VERY well put together.
Gotta love how WWE television shows plug their products, non stop. Test was seen reading the Torrie Wilson Playboy.
Christian/Chris Jericho took on Scott Steiner/Test. Good stuff with Steiner being a "mystery partner". Steiner is in his right role now, as he was clearly not ready or healthy to main event again. I MARK for Steiner wanting to get his push ups counted by the referee. Don't know why, but I love that. Jericho and Christian are carrying this match to anything. Nice set up for the lowblow by Christian. Good set up for the Walls of Jericho, too. Nice powerbomb by Test. Steiner caught Stacy during the match, and Test saw that as a sign of affection between the two. Thus it distracted Test, and Test/Steiner lost. Not a bad tag match. Steiner and Test are sooo slow though, but it's acceptable midcard wrestling.
Booker T has gone Busta Rhymes tonight with the hairdoo.
Goldust vs. Triple H is next. This would have the potential to be pretty good, but we'll see how much Trips gives back. Then again, who was putting over Triple H back in the day, long before Triple H was in the main event? His name was Goldust. (See Royal Rumble 1997 and Wrestlemania 13 for proof of that) Gotta love how Goldy is still selling the arm injury. However, Triple H is WORKING ON THE ARM, and it's hard to root for a face anymore when he's against Triple H. Uh oh, the Spinebuster. That's a sign the match will be ending soon whenever you watch a Triple H match. Randy Orton ran in and attacked Booker T with the crutch. Ross sells it as Orton lives in St. Louis and he's on the injured list. And in boring fashion, Triple H won. Goldust usually adds extra energy to a match, but working with Triple H these days is like working with a tackling dummy: you're not getting any reaction back from him. Triple H matches are so hard to watch anymore.
Limp Bizkit is sooooo obsolete here in 2003. "My Way or the Highway" was fine for Wrestlemania 17, and I had no problems with that. But Limp is yesterday's news, at least for their music. Durst had some good publicity when news of his dating of Britney Spears broke out, especially when Spears denied it totally.
Eric Bischoff is shown stretching, but the Rock comes in and sings a brief song to Bischoff. The Rock's guitar was signed by Willie Nelson. The Rock was going to play a "Rock concert" for St. Louis, but denies them by ripping on them pretty hard. The Rock then gets Eric to alter the match and change it to a no DQ match. The Rock's songs are just fantastic. Is he writing them on his own? Argh, I'm denied my Lumberjack match fix..........
Steve Austin vs. Eric Bischoff is your main event. I wonder if the decision to change it to a no-DQ match from a lumberjack match was booked on the fly? You'd figure that Bischoff would have the Dudley Boyz and Lance Storm also helping him to beatdown Austin. Austin hits the Stunner on Bischoff, and then the Rock runs in and hits Austin with the Stunner. It doesn't put Austin away, so the Rock comes back in. Rocky misses the People's Elbow. Stunner on Morley. Stunner on Bischoff, 1, 2, 3. Entertaining sportz entertainment match. The Rock then comes into the ring and Rock Bottoms Austin, and taunts him by drinking Austin's beer to finish the show off.
LAST WORD: That was quite a good RAW, and a much needed one heading into Wrestlemania. I thought the matches were better than last month's bullshit, and the storylines were good. The WWE needs to do Booker T/Goldust vs. Flair/Triple H next week. Ugh, Triple H is such a boring champion though and I wonder if any match of his will be fun to watch, ever again. I'll give this show an [ A- ] (A Minus). Solid show, and I hope things keep getting better heading into Wrestlemania. Just gotta correct that Triple H problem.
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