Whenever you call me, I'll be there... Whenever you want me, I'll be there... Whenever you need me, I'll be there... I'll be around... Welcome everybody to the Wrath of Tito, the column that's always a dish best served cold! Today, we've got yet another action packed column! In addition to the traditional RAW review, I'll discuss the latest in wrestling headlines, Smackdown, and the second half of NWA-TNA Impact (the first half was cut off from NCAA stuff regarding Pitt and WVU). It shall be fun...
For those of you who follow my Weblog, I'll have you know that I moved my BLOG from Blogger.com to LiveJournal.com. Live journal is in a more favorable format and now readers can leave comments. For anyone who wants to participate in discussion, you must register for a log-in name. I'll warn, though, that the hammer will be brought down on any monkey business. I've got 5+ years of experience as a message board moderator/administrator and IP's/usernames will be banned if ignorance happens. I ask nicely that if you have criticisms to address, please do them in a professional manner. You can access my new BLOG at either http://www.livejournal.com/~wrathoftito OR http://www.livejournal.com/users/wrathoftito/... This is a good way for readers to interact with me, given that my email can tend to get very clogged up.
Secondly, before I start the remainder of the column, I'll have you know that I finally updated my Column Archives! That's right, nearly a year later... But they are updated through today's column and who knows if I'll keep up on it. The majority of my columns through the last 3 or so years can be found in the LordsofPain.net archives anyway... And if you don't want to search through archives, I recommend going to Yahoo.com or Google.com to search for a subject matter discussed in my column. I actually use those quite often to look up columns of mine. The Column Archives address is http://mrtitopdc.tripod.com/ for anyone who wants to read most of my columns from 1998-2005 (some columns were lost, though, but the majority of material ever written by me is there).
-The BIG NEWS OF THE WEEK is former WWF superstar and Rocker Marty Jannetty earning a spot on the WWE roster by simply proving he was a good wrestler, still. He wrestled Kurt Angle to a fantastic match on Smackdown just a day after he had an impressive tag team performance with Shawn Michaels. Jannetty, to his credit, is completely clean from his past substance demons (much like HBK) and seems to be in excellent shape. With his head screwed on tight and a clear focus on performing well again, it's clear that Jannetty is an excellent pick up by the WWE. What's actually clear is that Jannetty can actually work a match and won a job in the ring.
Simply put, Jannetty knows how to work a match. He has experience dating back to the 1980's of wrestling knowledge and he knows how to tell a story in the ring. On Smackdown, he mat wrestled with Kurt Angle. That HAD to impress Kurt, as I believe Marty more than held his own against a former Olympian wrestler. Jannetty is one who many current WWE fans have no prior knowledge of, given that Jannetty was out of the WWE by 1996 or 1997 after the "New Rockers" flamed out with Al Snow. The afterthought about Shawn Michaels to many newer fans was that he was a former tag wrestler... but with whom? Thanks to a great idea by WWE's creative team of bringing Marty back to wrestle Kurt Angle, the WWE may have found a good veteran to perform in the ring.
Jannetty was most likely hired to help elevate other talent and use his in-ring knowledge to help teach others, given that most Ohio Valley Wrestling guys seem to lack the ability to tell a story in the ring. In addition, I get the feeling that the WWE might make the Rockers reunion a permanent thing since Shawn Michaels doesn't appear to be in the World Title scene any day now. Why not pad the tag team division, I say! Imagine if the WWE officially reunited Edge and Christian... can you just freakin' imagine Rockers vs. Edge & Christian? Of course, that feud might upstage Triple H's piss poor feuds at the top as well as roadblock Edge's intended main event push (which I guarantee won't last long, just as the one in 2002-2003 fizzled).
Still, this is a triumph in the wrestling ring. Years of drug and alcohol abuse have left many former WWF guys out in the cold. Just look at Jake "the Snake" Roberts, who is in terrible shape from refusing to clean up his substance problem. Marty Jannetty, however, took the initiative to clean himself up and maybe breathe a second life into his wrestling career. I certainly hope so, as I pray the demons of the road don't get to him as they did for Scott Hall in 2002.
-Rumor has it that NWA-TNA is sending out feelers to the Rock about possibly working for them. Kudos to TNA for the effort, but it's unlikely that the Rock would join TNA. Why? Never bite the hand that fed you... Without the WWE, the Rock would NOT be in Hollywood right now. I'm sure Dwayne Johnson is smart enough to realize that fact and joining NWA-TNA could be an insult to the faction who made him. Yeah, the WWE let his contract run out. But why have a contract if you're only showing up 3-4 times a year for WWE stuff, IF that? I'm assuming the WWE would prefer a pay-per-appearance basis for the Rock, who has been full-time in Hollywood since losing to Bill Goldberg at Backlash in 2003. TNA is smart to make an offer, but the Rock is probably way out of their checkbook range and probably too loyal to the WWE to make a jump.
TNA, however, should court disgruntled WWE wrestlers whose contracts are ending soon. Jericho's contract, as I suggested last week, is ending in November. THAT'S someone they should seriously court, as Jericho has been shit on ever since he won the Undisputed Title in late 2001. Jericho has suffered for more than 4 years now, ladies and gentlemen. What should that tell you? TNA would definitely spotlight a talent like Jericho and he wouldn't be a washed-up pick up, such as other former WCW, ECW, and WWF stars... Jericho should NOT be stupid like Rob Van Dam was, who re-signed with the WWE last year after being disgruntled with his role in the WWE. RVD should have jumped ship... Guys like Booker T and Kane should get the hell out of the WWE as well.
-Bret Hart just so happens to be in Los Angeles for Wrestlemania 21 weekend... Interesting, I never knew that an Autograph signing at Rob Van Dam's comic book store was so important enough to fly out to Los Angeles? I'm sure RVD's comic store can afford such a big appearance, no offense to his business operation. Something is definitely up, as Bret wouldn't just fly out there Wrestlemania weekend for autograph signing. Perhaps make the Hall of Fame induction a big clusterfuck of 8 inductees by having Bret as a "surprise" inductee? I'm suggesting that Hart has something to do with Wrestlemania 21, no doubt. Maybe Bret is inducting Roddy Piper? They are related and Piper had enough respect for Hart to put him over cleanly at Wrestlemania 8. That's definitely what could be happening...
-Paisley in the WWE? Definitely looks like she's making her WWE return (she was a side reporter until she injured herself training to wrestle), as Sharmell Sullivan looks to be assisting her real life husband, Booker T, in the feud with Heidenreich. On Smackdown, the cameras were panned heavily on her during Booker's match. I liked the Paisley character, despite the piece of shit wrestler she valeted (The Artist formerly known as Prince Iaeka[sp?] ). She's a very beautiful African American, too, as the WWE Divas could use some more diversity instead of the many white girls gained by the Diva Search contest.
-Road Warrior Animal as an announcer? I'd tune in just to hear him shout "YOU KNOW SOMETHING MICHAEL COLE?!?". If he's joining the WWE as an announcer, I DEMAND that he does it with the face paint. That would be unique for a personality to keep the paint on as well as keeping the Road Warrior tradition going.
SMACKDOWN THOUGHTS: Fantastic bout between Marty Jannetty and Kurt Angle to start out the show. Lots of great mat wrestling, many near falls, and GREAT counters by Jannetty to the Anklelock before ultimately submitting. I'd love to hear what Angle thought of that match, for I'm sure he had to be impressed. If I had a star system, I'd go **** and maybe suggest that it's been the best televised match this year... Well, HBK vs. Edge, no-DQ, was very good... let me think on that. The punishment for John Cena FU-dropping Teddy Long? No touching JBL until Wrestlemania, unless it's a match. I would have signed the petition if I knew that weak punishment was coming... Once again, the WWE looks to be dipping into Eddie Guerrero's personal problems by having Chavo Guerrero question his passion. Chavo should really question the Smackdown creative team and the McMahons, asking them why Eddie was scapegoated for Brock Lesnar leaving the WWE and Kurt Angle's neck injury hurting the main event scene?
Booker T defeated Luther Reigns in an awful match... I remember when Reigns was a lot more agile during WCW World Wide matches as Horshu. Looks like he's added way too much bulk. If the WWE wants to make something out of Reigns, they should push his intensity more, just as they did when he talked about being in prison before his Undertaker feud. Heidenreich read a poem after the match and it's very clear to me that Heidenreich is going to kidnap Sharmell Sullivan. JOY! The contract signing was stupid... Randy Orton slapping the Undertaker was ballsy but then using goofy lightning, smoke, and other 1990's WWF childish crap cheapened the segment. The WWE tries to present reality in a lot of their storylines yet they screw it up with Undertaker and Kane. It's especially worse for the Undertaker who was somewhat normal as a biker during 2000-2003. I miss the Biker Undertaker, actually, as that's a version of the Undertaker that I could actually tolerate and sometimes cheer for.
Billy Kidman vs. Paul London was a good midcard filler... The dropkick by Kidman as London tried to jump into the ring was most impressive, as was London's many flipping moves. It's a shame that the WWE hasn't built either Cruiserweight up for the fans to care about them, but at least both can wrestle. Carlito's character is growing on me... I'll admit it!!! I really don't get the Big Show feud with the Sumo wrestler and why I should care to see it? Ohhh, they stood face to face in the ring. Big deal. Good main event between John Cena/Eddie Guerrero/Rey Mysterio vs. JBL/Bashams... Definitely 3 different flavors for the heels to work with, which made things quite interesting.
LAST WORD: A better Smackdown than most, even though it only had 4 matches... but 3 were good. Pretty decent Wrestlemania hype, too, as JBL vs. Cena, HBK vs. Angle, and Undertaker vs. Orton were sold well. What else does this roster have to offer, though? I'll go [ B- ] on this week's show. Things can improve but Smackdown is in a lot better shape now than what it was last year just after Brock Lesnar left and Angle semi-retired.
NWA-TNA IMPACT THOUGHTS: Impact was cut in half this week, thanks to local FOX Sports coverage of PITT and WVU press conferences... The first thing I saw was the "King of the Mountain" Jeff Jarrett coming out for an interview with Outlaw Billy Gunn along his side. Jesus, Jarrett interviews are hard to take. It's hard to say which is worse? HHH talking or Jarrett? Both are quite egotistical and both believe their own hype... hmmm... I guess TNA pulled a swerve at their Pay Per View, as Monty Brown turned heel and joined Jarrett's darkside. When you're the booker and you notice a breakout star gaining popularity, what do you do? You turn him heel and make him a thug for you. Exactly what appears to have happened to Monty Brown and his promo explaining his heel turn was absolutely awful. Oh joy, yet another heel stable at the top who claims to be unstoppable in professional wrestling. JUST WHAT WE NEEDED!
What the hell was up with the Dusty Rhodes segment with his two private secretaries? Is that really necessary? It reminds me of a local indy promotion who has a bunch of executives in the storylines and bickering over who is in charge. Shocker vs. David Young was pretty decent... I've heard many things about the Shocker over the years and he showed some glimpses of what he can do on Friday afternoon. The main event was Buck Quartermain and Lex Lovett vs. Diamond Dallas Page/Sean Waltman. I love the music mix for DDP's theme music, taking his WWE beginning and mixing it with his WCW theme. Good stuff. Sean Waltman... man, is he looking in terrible shape these days. He was all pale and off on his muscle tone, insomuch that he was a little loose in his wrestling gear. People insist that Waltman is STILL a good wrestler. Really? He does the same old moves, over and over again. Spinkicks, the kicks in the corner, and the Broncobuster. What happened to the fantastic worker once named the Lightning Kid from Global Wrestling Federation that everybody raved about? Waltman's a guy who needs some sort of makeover in both his look and moveset, as well as attitude.
OK tag match, even though there wasn't much tag team unity between the two teams. After the match, Kevin Nash called out Dusty Rhodes (who has a cool cover of Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen as his theme song) to make a match at the next Pay Per View. Nash wants Nash/Waltman/DDP vs. Brown/Jarrett/Outlaw in a cage match at the next event, to which Dusty said he'll make a decision next week. That's NOT a match that would convince yours truly to buy a Pay Per View, as I detest at least 4 wrestlers in that match and the cage will make the match more ineffective.
LAST WORD: What can I say, I was stripped of the first half hour of this show? I would have loved to see America's Most Wanted wrestle a match, for I've heard a lot of good things about those two as a team. From what I saw, though, the show is hinging on old names to draw fans in, while Jarrett attaches himself to a breakout star of the promotion? Whatever, this is sooooooo WCW all over again. In fact, this is 2001 WCW where there was a great undercard of Cruiserweight wrestling (including the incoming Cruiserweight tag division) while a bunch of older guys, namely Steiner brothers, kept stinking up the joint at the top. I honestly don't know how much of this Jeff Jarrett lovefest that I can take... For the many readers who kept begging me to give NWA-TNA a chance, I'll keep watching... but I'll warn that if this boring crap keeps up on Impact, I'll quit being so generous with regards to Jarrett's fed.
-No Surreal Life 4 this week, as Vh1, once again, pre-empted it without announcement. That's 4 times this season, as fans of the show are most likely lost by now. Way to go Vh1! You're proving that you're a Viacom network every week now!
Let's get RAW!
The WWE announcers then talk about Michaels's opponent in Kurt Angle and a very nice production video is shown on his career highlights. Seriously, since late 1999, Angle has experienced an incredible career! This is in addition to time off from neck surgeries, too. Who else has learned so quickly on how to be the absolute best in the business? Damn, I can't wait until this match happens at Wrestlemania!
WWE was hyping that Sylvester Stallone will be inducting Hulk Hogan into the Hall of Fame. Without Rocky 3, there would be no Hulkamania. Yeah, I said it. Rocky 3 made Hogan into a movie star and a well known name that everybody would soon notice in the AWA and later WWF. Therefore, it's quite fitting to have the guy who wrote and directed Rocky 3 to induct Hogan in. Plus, Stallone needs a few more plugs for his show, the Contender, and his magazine "Sly". We just can't get enough of those (:rolls eyes:). Stallone, though, was quite funny on Howard Stern recently...
Backstage, Regal, Tajiri, Christy Hemme, and Lita were talking backstage... they were talking about their upcoming 6 man intergender match when Christy alluded to her kicks. That prompted Tajiri and Regal to quickly cover up the nuts. Har har.
The very next match was Christy Hemme/Tajiri/William Regal vs. Maven/Simon Dean/Molly Holly... What's with the heels and their intergender teams lately? Are they purposely trying to lose? It's like Smackdown a few weeks ago when two Diva Search losers looked for tag partners in a match. The face chose the Big Show while the heel chose Rene Dupree. Duh... The match got quite offensive when Molly Holly, probably the most trained and best technician in the women's division, had to sell for Christy Hemme's terrible offense. Molly Holly, though, is probably used to this since she was the one who was training the primadonnas in WCW at the Power Plant. Nothing like training Major Gunnz to wrestle... Christy, once Maven and Dean were knocked out of the ring, hit the Twist of Fate on Molly Holly. To Molly's credit, she went for and missed the Molly-Go-Round to set up being weak enough to lose to Christy... BUT STILL! The only redeeming value was seeing a very beautiful Trish Stratus at ringside, who was oddly looking extra hot last night. Maybe it was the sideviews of the camera?
Next, we had an EXTREMELY LONG in-ring interview with Triple H... Waaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy too long and it's the same usual "I am great" shit that Triple H has said many times before. That HAD to be torture to listen to live. HHH trashing Batista's credibility, not his character, as well as many other wrestlers he's mentioned in his promos is quite damaging to the company. The WWE needs to have fans believe that Triple H can get beat at any second. When you think a heel champion can be beat, you'll pony up money to go see him lose. Instead, HHH is dominant and odds are in his favor to win most of his matches. Secondly, you know that any champion that is NOT Triple H will lose the title back to Triple H, for the most part (not Benoit and I'm at least thankful to HHH for that). Triple H is NOT a heel that draws fans in. Ric Flair was a heel who drew fans, as fans wanted to see the likes of Sting, Lex Luger, Ricky Steamboat, and even Dusty Rhodes beat up that pretty boy. The Rock, as a heel, drew fans because he was a cocky motherfucker that fans wanted Steve Austin to pound! Hollywood Hogan, during 1996-1997, was a heel who drew fans because he cut a great promo and had the prestige of an earlier face career to back it up. ETC! Triple H believes his own hype way too much and doing more and more of these promos just proves my point, time after time. And secondly, the creative power and ego of Triple H doesn't allow for any up and coming talent to ever share the main event spotlight with him. If he's part of the McMahon family now and it's in their best interest to make the WWE successful... why keep being selfish, HHH, and ruining the company? This was a damaging promo to Batista and to all of the careers that HHH has trashed since his return in 2002 (Chris Jericho, Kane, Rob Van Dam, Booker T... not Bill Goldberg, Kevin Nash, and Scott Steiner, however...)
Very good tag team match between Shelton Benjamin/Chris Jericho vs. Edge/Christian. Come on, WWE, put Edge and Christian together again on a permanent basis? It will surely benefit both careers, as Edge would now have someone to help him cheat to win and for jumping wrestlers while Christian could use Edge's push to help him elevate up the card. Damn good moves hit here, such as the Jericho reversal and into a neckbreaker (from a double suplex?). Shelton Benjamin is very impressive, though. He was full of energy in the ring and just hitting moves flawlessly. Someone work on this guy's promos because he's quite impressive in the ring. Maybe turn him heel and make him into the new member of Evolution? If I were booking the WWE, I would put Orton BACK into Evolution and make Shelton Benjamin a member. Does anybody have any problems with an Evolution consisting of Ric Flair, Triple H, Randy Orton, and Shelton Benjamin? That sounds good, damn good! Of course, there's a lack of an "enforcer" in the group, but oh well. The heels got the win with some cheating, and afterward, Edge, Christian, and Tomko beatdown Jericho and Benjamin. This prompted Chris Benoit to run out (probably playing the "good sportsmanship face" who wants every wrestler healthy for the match) to eliminate everyone from the ring. However, when his back was turned, Tyson Tomko attacked Benoit with some brutal shots from a ladder. The one to the back HAD to hurt. Benoit and Tomko had a staredown...
Backstage, Stacy Keibler hinted that she had some doubts about her man, Randy Orton, defeating the Undertaker at Wrestlemania... uh oh.
Entertaining segment backstage with Ric Flair talking to the handpicked Lumberjacks about maybe auditioning to Evolution. It will be a crying shame when the day comes when Ric Flair is no longer on television.
Also backstage, an ackward segment with Batista and Eric Bischoff, where Bischoff hinted that he wanted Batista to win. Instead of yelling back at the heel General Manager, Batista made a joke about being a politician or a car salesman. Who is feeding Batista script lines lately? He's been terrible ever since the contract signing on spoken word.
In the ring, "King of the Metrosexuals", Randy Orton, came out with Stacy Keibler to cut a promo. He first unveils a new t-shirt with the legends he's "killed", some of which who have since beat him back... Then, Randy cuts a pretty good promo about nobody believing that he can beat the Undertaker at Wrestlemania. Probably the best quotes Randy has EVER said in the WWE. Well scripted, too, as it played up Keibler's earlier doubts. Then, Randy stops in his tracks and shows love and compassion for Stacy by giving her a kiss. However, shortly after the kiss, Randy Orton delivered an RKO to Stacy. I'm not much for domestic violence used in angles, for it's petty, tasteless, and not suitable for children to see, the WWE has finally turned Randy Orton back as a heel. Thank GOD! His face run was embarrassing. Erase a mistake and have Randy rejoin Evolution. Then, have Evolution help him win at Wrestlemania against the Undertaker. Both being in Evolution again and getting a cheap win over the Undertaker at Wrestlemania should help Randy generate some major heat.
Instead of saving the match for next week, Chris Benoit easily defeated Tyson Tomko, despite the taped ribs. The WWE should have at least saved this bout for next week instead of quickly shooting the load this week. What's this do for Tomko? Nothing. He had a good moment by beating down Benoit earlier but now he's jobbed to the guy he injured on the same night? The WWE has absolutely no clue how to elevate guys from Ohio Valley Wrestling. I'm not saying Tomko is deserving of a push but how can you do business with a guy whom the fans see as not having a shred of credibility?
Backstage, Hassan and Shawn Michaels argue over who is overcoming more adversity. I'd suggest HBK, for he's overcome a bad drug habit and an injury that most thought ended his career. Oh yeah, plus many other countless injuries... Hassan's situation is racism and based on my own experiences (I went to graduate school with a few Arabians) and what I've read, the extreme racism of Middle Easterners has died down a bit since 3+ years after 9/11. I'm not saying it still doesn't exist, but I'm sure the stereotyping has died down a good bit. Hassan still has nothing going for him at Wrestlemania... And many were suggesting that he'd wrestle Hulk Hogan... HA!
"Are you talking to me?" Pretty funny Wrestlemania 21 promo...
The main event was Kane vs. Batista in a Lumberjack match. It's a shame the lumberjacks didn't have the leather straps... That's a REAL lumberjack match and highly entertaining to see someone getting whipped hard outside of the ring. Early on, the Lumberjacks played up attacking Batista... until Gene Snitsky attacked Kane and then all hell broke loose! A bunch of heels, though, attacked and beatdown Batista while Edge, Christian, and other Ladder match participants (?) attacked Kane in the ring. Eventually, through all of the chaos, Batista scored the win over Kane with an impressive Sitdown Powerbomb. That HAD to be hard to accomplish. The most impressive powerbomb, though, remains to be Kevin Nash powerbombing the Giant. No, not the Souled Out 1998 one, but another one he did sometime in 1996 or 1997 when Nash still had muscles and Giant was a lot lighter. The match wasn't anything special BUT at least Batista got the win over Kane, especially by hitting the finisher (and kicking out of Kane's chokeslam). Batista should have beat Snitsky and the WWE should arrange a rematch for next week. Batista needs some in-ring credibility.
LAST WORD: Better show than last week's toilet with some good undercard wrestling. However, Batista vs. Triple H is crumbling and that's NOT good. At least something worthwhile came out of Randy Orton tonight, which should be bonus points of some sort.... Two good televised promos and a good win for Batista, finally, helped this show to a [ C+ ] grade. Pay close attention to who wins or loses next week, for it's a good forecast of who is winning at Wrestlemania. ESPECIALLY if Triple H gets pinned in a match...
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