Welcome to another delightful edition of the Wrath of Tito. I hope you enjoyed a rare Smackdown review column. I just so happened to have time Friday afternoon to whip one up. A couple of you got on me about Brian Hendrick. Hey, I thought he was talented, but as I said in the Wrath, he's too small to mean anything in the long run. Unless he packs on 50 pounds of muscle like many other wrestlers due (which puts great stress on the body, hence the many bicep/tricep tears in the WWE), he'll get lost in the fold, and maybe in a few years, we'll hear about how he was unfortunately released.
Also, I didn't know where he came from or what matches he's had on the indie scene. I thought he looked good, wrestling wise, but again, he's too small at this point in time. In the WWE, size matters because that's what Vince McMahon jacks off to. Even if he's thrown into the Cruiserweight division, what will it matter? No road agent or member of the creative team gives 2 shits about the Cruiserweight division (aside from Dean Malenko), and even if Cruiserweights get airtime, they aren't allowed to upstage the main event wrestlers. I mean, heaven forbid that a Cruiserweight match blow off the arena ceiling, while Albert vs. Undertaker makes fans go to the restroom. Oh no, we can't have that.
The weekend was very bad to the WWE, at least on the RAW side. Randy Orton has some kind of leg injury, while Batista probably ripped a tricep muscle. So much for the Evolution making an impact in the WWE, as if it was ever going to, anyway. Add to this the fact that Triple H, himself, is pretty banged up these days, making Ric Flair your healthiest member of the Evolution, and he's over 50. Scary, right?
With Triple H, I have a proposition: TAKE TIME OFF. Now, this isn't because I hate Triple H. My hatred for him is based on his influence backstage and NOT being able to back that up in the ring, especially from his work from 2002 until the present. Coming back from his quadricep injury, Triple H added way too much muscle mass to his upper body, along with reportedly coming back faster than he should. It's hurt his in-ring ability to the highest degree, and even worse when you add to the fact that he came back as a FACE and not a heel in 2002. He's a natural heel.
Right now, his legs are causing him problems, as he has a partial tear somewhere and probably a hyperextension somewhere else. After putting over Booker T at Wrestlemania (hey, Triple H won the Undisputed title at last year's Wrestlemania, so give back!), take a break. Let the legs heal up, drop some weight to increase your speed, and spend some quality time with the new fiance. Then, he could come back completely refreshed or energized by either King of the Ring or even Summerslam, thus maximizing his effectiveness in the WWE and maybe return to something close to 2000. He badly needs it or his name will continue to get dragged through the mud as the guy who can't wrestle anymore, yet he's remaining at the top because of whom he's screwing.
I'm more than halfway through Scott Keith's Tonight... In this Very Ring, and I hope to have a book review of that sometime this week. Note, though, that my week will be very busy next week, as I'll basically be taking a day or two off to travel to Pittsburgh for Smackdown, as when I'm in school, it's a nice 4 hours away instead of under 2 like it is when I'm home. So I have to get some stuff done regarding school this week before I do anything this week, but we'll see. If I can have a few hours, somewhere, to just sit down and finish the book, I could have a review up by Wednesday or Thursday. "Tonight... In this Very Ring" is a comprehensive look at the rise then fall then rise then fall of the WWF/WWE, and it was just recently put out on book shelves.
On to the RAW review, mmmkay?
Booker T comes out, mic in hand. He's happy about his chance to fight for the World Title, and then Triple H minus 2 injured Evolution members, but with Flair, comes out. Triple H has the lamest mic skills anymore. Ohhhh, bullshit to Triple H dogging Booker T's WCW title run by mentioning former WCW champs, such as Russo and David Arquette. Damn him. Triple H dogged him pretty good, which scares me, because that's Triple H and it's how he treats all of the opponents whom he wants underneath him. Booker T gets to fight Scott Steiner, as Triple H
booked it told him so.
Jeff Hardy comes out. With his deteriorating looks, I don't understand how any female fans could "scream" for him. His opponent is Christian, who like Jeff Hardy, hasn't improved his wrestling ability since 2000. Ohhhhh, that one had to hurt the Hardy or Edge/Christian marks, but it's the damn truth, like it or not. A pretty careless suplex on the ropes by Christian. Ahhhh, Tito marks for the abdominal stretch. I love it in tag matches when tag teams cheat with it, you know, the other guy will hold his partner's hand for "leverage" to make the submission hold hurt more. Decent bout, with Christian winning cleanly.
Chief Morley comes to the ring, mic in hand, and states that if Spike Dudley beats Morley, then he'll re-instate them. As if that storyline was anything to care about, but here we go. The Chief has himself in great shape for his wrestling return lately. Morley whips out the triple-suplex. Everyone seems to be stealing Benoit moves lately. Morley wins with the Money Shot, in a match that looked like a 1980's jobber match. The Dudleys remain suspended, but who cares?
Backstage, Jericho and Christian get the job of blockading Austin before he comes in.
And now, the boring women's match. Trish Stratus/Jackie took on Jazz/Victoria. Victoria is pretty tough to work through an ACL injury. Nice dropkick by Jazz. Victoria accidentally hit Jazz with a kick, although it's hard to call it that when when her foot was a good 6 inches away. I don't know why Victoria does that "special" sidewalk slam. Wouldn't it make more sense to do just a regular sidewalk slam, and save the effort for later? Ah, the logic of some of these wrestlers... Trish is wearing my favorite outfit of hers, the shiny maroon/red one. Nice sunset flip by Victoria, and a decent finish. Well, it was watchable, but this is as exciting as it will ever get.
They keep running these anti-cigarette commercials, yet studies keep coming out that those commercials actually INCREASE teen cigarette use, you know, because people want to rebel against authority. Again, if they want effective cigarette commercials, why not show someone suffering from Lung Cancer, coughing to their deaths? I could give a shit about what other teenagers do to inform others about cigarettes. OH, I MAKE COPIES OF MY HAND! The worst in the commercial where that girl is trying to talk to everyone, as she stutters through half of her message( the Emily from Cincinnati one). Nothing say "bush-league" like these cigarette commercials.
Backstage, we have the Coach talking to the Rock. "Are you on crack, Coach?". Funny stuff. Rock goes into his locker room and finds the Hurricane hidden in his locker room. Hurricane points out that Rock wanted Austin last week, but not this week. Rock rips on him pretty good, although being borderline face here. Not bad, but nothing like last week's backstage incident between these two.
Chris Jericho vs. Test is next, you know, the match that should have happened at No Way Out. Jericho whips out footage of Test signing a breast at Girls Gone Wild, thus pissing off Test. Test comes out to no heat, as he's acting like a heel now, I suppose? In the middle of the match, Christian is intimidating Stacy to come to the ring. This distracts Test, and Test is upset that Stacy came to ring since she's "injured". No heat for this match, but who seriously cares about Test? Test has some pretty brutal moves, yet nobody in the crowd pops for them. A slight cheer for Jericho almost hitting Test with the Walls of Jericho. Stacy distracts Jericho, and Test almost takes advantage of that, but thank Christian for the distraction to lead Jericho to the victory. Watchable, but it's no fun watching Test wrestle because he's such a dull character. Test gets a Con-Chairto, and as they are about to beat Stacy, Shawn Michaels runs down. HBK was successful at first, but a brutal chairshot ended that save. D'oh. Jericho then challenges HBK to set up their Wrestlemania match. Match was just there, but the HBK vs. Jericho feud is pretty good.
Goldust arrives backstage with his pathetic twitching gimmick. Some people laugh hard at this, while I just shake my head...
Christopher Nowinski is in the ring... He tries to rip on Austin, but gets attacked by the Dudley Boyz. Gotta love segments that are only booked to kill time. Hey, why not give that time back to the matches? Maybe introduce new characters or update another character?
Booker T vs. Scott Steiner is next. It's like the final Nitro, all over again, especially with the WWE going downhill in terms of profits lately. Har har. Looks like Steiner seems to be slowly turning heel here. Back and forth stuff, and eventually Flair and Triple H make their way down. Botched roll up finish ends the match. Subpar match, as Scott Steiner is completely worthless here in 2003.
Rock is seen backstage, again, but with guitar in hand. Eric Bischoff comes in, and the Rock immediately changes his mind about Austin being barred from the arena.
Our next bout has the potential to be good, as it's a hardcore tag match between Rob Van Dam/Kane vs. Tommy Dreamer/Al Snow. Trash can shots are NOT hardcore. The WWE hasn't learned why the Hardcore title became a failure after a while, besides the many title switches in one night or week from the 24/7 rule. Devastating Froggy Splash on 2 people. Jesus Christ, what a short tag match. But of course, Tommy Dreamer is a creative talent, and he's not hogging up television time, unlike other wrestlers with creative power *cough*Triple H*cough*.
Backstage, Austin damn near runs over many RAW roster wrestlers. Aside from Jericho/Christian, not much of a loss...
Damn, the Limp Bizkit song used for Wrestlemania 19 is TERRIBLE!
By the way, I admire anyone who has the patience to place the recent Zelda games for the N64 and Game Cube. I tried to play the first Zelda for the N64, but didn't get anywhere. I don't have the time to play it, either.
Steve Austin to a HUGE pop comes out. This is actually the first time I've seen Austin since he left the WWE, besides Sportscenter, as I missed No Way Out this year. Fans are back to saying the "What" chants, and Austin thanks the crowd and the people watching TV. After saying he'll raise hell more than ever, the Rock makes his way out. After ripping Austin and the crowd, Rock declares the one thing he never did was beat Austin at Wrestlemania. After more talking, Eric Bischoff comes out, saying that if the Rock beats Booker T in a match next week, he can fight Austin or Triple H at Wrestlemania. His choice. This segment is lasting 3 minutes too long, in which 3 Minute Warning attacks. Austin successfully fends them off, and the Rock hits the ring and it's Austin and Rock, face to face. Rock, playing the heel, backs off, but then swings at Austin, only to miss, and almost get stunnered. End of show, and a good finish.
LAST WORD: Again, I can't stress enough at how bad RAW's workrate is in terms of their matches. Not a good match, whatsoever, on the card. The midcard is weak, and the "big names" on the show are either stale or uncapable of wrestling here in 2003. HOWEVER, the storylines were pretty good. I liked the build up of Austin returning, and the heated confrontation between Austin and the Rock. The Rock is soooooo far beyond Triple H in terms of what a great heel should be. Jericho and HBK stuff was good, too, and I'm hoping Triple H does the good deed at Wrestlemania by putting over Booker T, since he's already humiliated him (maybe setting him up for a fall as champion?). I'll give this show a [ B- ], the same as last week, to go 4-5 for RAWs this year. The Rock is our savior.
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