Welcome to the column that's a dish best served cold, the Wrath of Tito. Where are my Judgment Day thoughts? Where are they? Last week was a shitty, shitty week, insomuch that I'm just starting to recover from it this week. I didn't feel like writing a column last night or this afternoon, so I figured I'd hold it off for this column in a mini-review.
Overall, Judgment Day was watchable. There were enough entertaining moments for me not to totally thrash the show. I liked the ladder match between Tajiri/Eddie vs. Team Angle, although I'm not for hurting the credibility of the tag team titles by making the longtime champs losing to a substitute team. The spinning slam from Benjamin was sooo nasty and vicious looking, as was the ladder to the face when Tajiri had on the Tarantula. Although Ladder Matches have been overdone throughout the past 3 years, it was easily the best match of the show and something more than what you'd see on television these days.
I laughed at the Steve Austin stuff, but I can agree that it should be held and reserved for television. I thought Brock Lesnar looked his best in several months in his match against the Big Show, actually looking like he was energetic to be there, which was a change. The ending was quite entertaining and a good finish to the show. Of course, the co-main event was so insulting between Kevin Nash and Triple H. A SHITTY match between the two, as expected, with a joke of a DQ finish, which only prolongs a feud that DOES NOT draw money. But what do they do? The WWE will make it headline the next show, the RAW exclusive Badd Blood, which may be the lowest buyrate recorded for the WWE in 6 years or so. Keep it up, guys, and you'll keep losing viewers and dollars, ala 1993 and 1994, where the WWE failed to evolve and set themselves up for competition to butcher them up until they awoke from their coma in late 1997. Gotta love, too, how Kevin Nash is the only one of late to kick out of the Pedigree, while everyone else's finisher has been watered down.
The Women's 4-way was a clusterfuck, as it was jammed into the show, as was the 6 man tag, the one wasting Chris Benoit for the 4th Pay Per View in a row. Both were television matches, if that. Benoit deserves better, as I wonder why the WWE won't let one of their most talented in ring performers have anything outside of elevation for the Big Show or to spruce up the tag team division. I thought Sable looked damn fine last night, showing up those who keep insisting that she's "old" or a "grandma". Take that! The IC battle royal was terribly put together, especially how quickly it came down to a final 4. I do like the winner, Christian, but he's already a lame duck champ with the controversy and the WWE wanting Booker T to have the title since Triple H won't ever put him over.
The show gets about a [ C+ ] at most, only because Triple H vs. Nash can't and won't deliver a good match, while many other wrestlers are continually being wasted, such as many in the IC tournament and especially Chris Benoit.
I keep hearing newsbytes regarding Vince McMahon's backstage attitude towards booking, such as not wanting the brands to be competitive (despite himself saying they would be when the split occurred), loving Nash vs. Triple H, and other stuff. LOOK! He's still making a profit off of his product. Sure, he's probably about 1/3 of the billionaire he once was, but he can still live nice and do whatever the fuck he wants because he monopolizes the cable market when it comes to professional wrestling. He can slow his product down all he wants, and who will answer him? Only the fans, as well as possible competition out there, with only the still weak NWA-TNA even coming close to challenging. When you're a monopoly, you don't have to produce as much good output as you would in the heat of competition, so why bother?
Of course, us paying fans want him to bother and with the vast talent roster he does have, it's amazing how he can't put on good television programming every week. That's Vince McMahon for you, who's thinking patterns indicate one dimensional thinking sometimes. Ok, I've seen Star Trek 2, Wrath of Khan too many times that I'm starting to quote it. Here's a good Khan quote for Vince to suck on: "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few". Think about that Vince, as you have a whole entire fan base wanting to keep watching and tell their friends that they actually watch wrestling, still.
Speaking of movies, I've seen a few... I thought X-2 was a better movie than the first X-Men movie, but overall, it was a movie that should have gone on for an extra hour to resolve something, other than losing one of the X-Men in battle. I thought Matrix Reloaded was a very good visual, with badass fighting scenes and incredible/mind blowing special effects, but in terms of the story it was trying to tell, it kinda went off the trail a bit. Agent Smith, like many other villains I cheer during movies (Khan, Vader, General Zod), is such an awesome character, especially when he's multiplied by several hundred or so. Just seeing that character in action for Matrix 3 is well worth admission.
I can't WAIT for Kurt Angle's return! At least with Angle back, it gives Benoit someone meaningful to wrestle, even if it's on consecutive Pay Per Views or Smackdowns.....
Another tasteless week for the WWE in terms of Confidential. The fact that the WWE, namely Vince and Hogan, kept going into depth about Elizabeth's personal life and the Easter 911 domestic violence case was just ridiculous to watch. I guess that's the whole point of doing the controversial shows is to get people to watch, but if you remember the HLA or the Kiss My Ass club segments, controversy doesn't always deliver. Besides, you must enjoy the hypocrisy of the WWE here, as they employ a well known domestic abuse violator, Steve Austin, while they poke fun at Lex Luger. I'd love for some newspaper out there to find documented proof that Luger was possibly going to come back to the WWE soon, just to show you that the WWE was willing to take on someone who distributes illegal muscle enhancing substances. I remember hearing reports that the WWE was interested, but it's hard to officially prove that.
I did enjoy the Freddy Blassie segment on Confidential, though. It featured a lot of Blassie talking and a good bit of clips. Nice stuff. The show also talked to Jesse Ventura about a few topics, while doing a very nice segment on Booker T and Stevie Ray. Stevie Ray on WWE television! Oh my God! With the signings of the Legion of Doom lately, you have to wonder how long it will take for Stevie Ray to find work, too. I laughed at Hogan vs. Andre from Wrestlemania 3 being the "From the Vault" match. That's just a special piece of work that you just don't put on a show without announcing or for the hell of it. They should announce these matches ahead of time.
I wonder what feature of Confidential will actually make me tape it this week?
On to the RAW review!
Oh man, nothing like a tobacco commercial that compares cigarette companies to the suicide doctor, Dr. Kevorkian. Actually, they are alike... you can CHOOSE to smoke a cigarette, just like you can choose Dr. Kevorkian's suicide services. I swear, these tobacco commercials get more ridiculous by the week! Half of them actually have cigarette companies making them, thanks to the tobacco lawsuits of a few years ago requiring them to do so, in which they'll make the most ridiculous commercials possible to keep selling smokes!
First match was Dudleys vs. 3 Minute Warning. Dead crowd, just moments into the match. The Dudleys are stale, while 3 Minute Warning are far from the team once hyped from the HWA as the next great tag team. Dull match in its early goings.... Typical moves from each team. The Guerreros and Team Angle have wrestled many times, yet their matches never got old. Why can't that ever happen with any feuds on RAW? Every tag match is so boring and repetitive here. Eventually, after sloppy tag action, a 3D occurred. Rico, FINALLY, leaves 3 Minute Warning to a possible and respectable singles career.
Backstage, we see more comedy from Bischoff and Austin. Also, Triple H offers Ric Flair the chance to lay down for the Game in the match later. I doubt the Nature Boy would give in...
Now, we get Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel, which disappeared last week without any mention. He's mad about Christian tossing him over the top rope at Judgment Day. Christian with the new haircut.... Is that Jeff Jarrett in the ring?!?!? Instead of confronting Christian, Jericho said "I would have done the same thing". Now that's funny. Jericho asks Christian about the controversy, the bad finish, and Christian uses some Triple H material in saying Booker T isn't championship material. Christian was getting some strong heat here. Rob Van Dam comes down to address Christian... Duuuuuuuuude! RVD actually sounds decent here, and Christian doesn't want him as an opponent. The heels then attack, and Kane makes the save. Really good segment... Steve Austin then interrupts and declares a World Tag title match between Jericho/Christian vs. Kane/RVD, instead of the expected Christian vs. RVD match. That's just weird psychology there.
Chris Jericho/Christian vs. Rob Van Dam/Kane was decent enough, with a good "face in peril" situation involving Rob Van Dam. The crowd was actually into it, too, unlike the Dudleys vs. 3MW match. It goes to show you which tag teams "have it" and which don't. It's weird seeing Christian's new look. The match ended in a no contest or DQ, and Booker T would run down and attack Christian. Wow, they let him act like a face against an opponent. Good stuff here.
Backstage, HBK tries to start shit with Flair to motivate him to beat Triple H this evening... I'd love to see Natch win it one more time.
Oh good, a bathroom break. Rodney Mack comes down to the ring, to no heat once again. BUT HEY! LET'S KEEP HIM ON TELEVISION! Instead of using cheap local talent, the WWE actually puts a guy like Spike Dudley on television to accept the White Boy Challenge. So instead of a 2 minute extended squash, we get an extended match of Spike selling Rodney's weak moveset? Rodney hits the Tazzmission or newly named "Blackout", and Spike holds on for the last minute and almost makes it. The countdown actually got the fans cheering, but you can't do this magic every week.
Interesting stuff with the new Stan Lee cartoon starting on TNN.. I wonder how that will do?
And now, we get lots of hangover jokes with Austin making a lot of noise for Eric Bischoff to hurt his head. Funny, funny. Austin then gets Moolah and Mae Young to "entertain" Eric Bischoff.
*YAWN* La Resistance vs. Steiner/Test, a rematch from last night goes down. I can't help but notice the excessive pimples that everyone in this ring have on their backs. That's not normal, is it? The less of Test we see on television, the better. I don't see why the WWE hasn't realized this over the years. Short match here, as La Resistance rolled up Test. Man, if these two can't draw a crowd together, imagine the singles feud! Stacy walks out of the ring without either wrestler. Good choice.
Austin walks into an "interrogation room"?
Austin is seen interrogating Lance Storm, and Austin eventually admits to hitting Goldberg's car. Oh, but wait... someone put Storm up to it, and we'll continue this storyline next week. *rolls eyes*
Backstage, the swerve is built up with Flair lecturing Triple H, giving him a great speech about taking the match seriously. That was good stuff by Flair, but I have that feeling we're going to get swerved...
Bill Goldberg vs. Lance Storm is next. Goldberg's newer music seems to have more punch to it than the earlier mix. As much as I want Goldberg pushed, you have to take a look at Lance Storm and wonder why more effort isn't put into his character than newcomers like Goldberg. Storm listens to everything asked of him, does good things outside of wrestling, and he didn't spend many years training hard just to get squashed in under 2 minutes. Afterward, Storm reveals that Chris Jericho set up the whole ordeal with the automobile hitting Goldberg's limo. Every feud stars somewhere...
Outside the arena, Coachman confronts Jericho about being the man who set up the hit on Goldberg. Jericho admits it, and then informs us that Goldberg will be a guest on the highlight reel next week.
Ric Flair vs. Triple H is our main event. I marked out when Flair pulled back the hand for the opening handshake. Triple H badly oversold the toss over the corner. Oh well, I'd do the same if I was wrestling Ric Flair. Flair can still hit a beautiful vertical suplex. Triple H loves his Spinebuster. For as much as he does it, you'd figure Arn Anderson was his favorite Horsemen, not Flair. It's good to see Triple H heavily selling the rib injury. Flair hits the Figure 4, the move that actually beat the Hurricane last week. Of course, Triple H is beyond the Hurricane's level, remember. Flair is landing some devastating chops this evening. Referee is bumped. Triple H brings in the title belt, and Flair uses it. Flair almost had HHH beat. D'oh! After a few reversals of Pedigrees, including an attempt by Flair, Triple H Pedigrees Flair for the win. Kevin Nash then runs down to attack HHH, but the Game runs away. Steve Austin walks over the hurting Triple H and declares a Nash vs. Triple H rematch in a Hell in the Cell match for Badd Blood. Hmmm, I didn't see that coming, but I wonder if either man will be brave to take the pain of a dangerous cage match. Hell in the Cell labeling is another way to say that this match needs help to attract buyers.
LAST WORD: I liked this week's RAW. They seemed to have an element of chaos going throughout, with some actually watchable matches this week *gasp* and some decent storylines moving. Flair vs. Triple H was probably one of Triple H's more watchable matches lately, although that doesn't say much. Jericho/Christian vs. RVD/Kane was good as well. I like Austin's role as co-general manager, thus far. I'll give this show a [ A- ] (A Minus). I wouldn't mind watching this kind of show every Monday night.
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