Welcome to the very column that tasks you weekly, the WRATH OF TITO. It's the usual today, as we'll discuss various wrestling topics and then review Monday Night RAW. I'm out of whack today, given that I'm used to coming back to school on Sunday nights as opposed to Monday nights. But hey, I'm not complaining. A day off from class is FANTASTIC.
It seems to be a dry spell when it comes to wrestling news lately. No major jumps, nothing major in the way of backstage disturbances. Kurt Angle's return is something to very much look foward to, and will probably keep my interest in pro wrestling throughout what could be a long summer for the WWE. I seriously can't wait for Sting's WWE debut, but I just know he'll get fed to Triple H, the pro wrestling killer, like the rest of the former WCW wrestlers. Such a shame that Vince McMahon can't ditch his hatred for WCW and make himself a lot of money from the fed's past stars and video libraries. That's Vince for you, the man who only tries to make money when there's competition that could put him out of business. Easily, the most ridiculous way to run a business, EVER!
I thought Smackdown had some excellent wrestling on it, namely the Chris Benoit vs. Matt Hardy match and the rematch between Tajiri/Eddie Guerrero vs. Team Angle match. I don't know why Matt Hardy and Chris Benoit are SHIT ON the way the WWE shits on them, because that match alone is great proof of how misused both guys are. Matt's your Cruiserweight champion, and he's not even defending his title. Chris Benoit is put in meaningless feuds, used as the elevation guy for Cena and the Big Show, who aren't bringing in extra business as Brock's opponents. It's garbage, and the misuse of these guys proves how good Paul Heyman was as Smackdown's top writer. The new main writers are clearly influenced by WWE road agents and the McMahons. It's not right, whatsoever, as the best workers are getting held down while the worst rises to the top. I guess shit floats, eh?
The 4 year anniversary of the WWF Over the Edge Pay Per View where Owen Hart died was on Friday (May 23rd). It's hard to believe that Owen died that long ago. It sucks, too, as he would most likely be relaxing at home with his family, since he aimed at retiring from pro wrestling which would have been about 2 years ago. I definitely miss him, as do many fans throughout. As I keep insisting every year, when are we going to see an Owen Hart tribute video produced by the WWE? His fans deserve it. Sure, you can go online and find someone's cheaply made collection of Owen matches on VHS, but it would lack the production and extra footage that the WWE could give. I'm sure an issue comes up regarding who makes the profit off this video. But anyway, may Owen continue to rest in peace and continue to be remembered as a bright spot in the somewhat dark professional wrestling.
I really have nothing else to say, other than Bruce Almighty is a pretty darn good movie, the Spurs vs. Nets AND Devils vs. Mighty Ducks will be very entertaining Finals series in their respective sports, Weird Al's "Poodle Hat" is a must-buy CD, Star Trek Nemesis is a solid DVD, and I can't wait for Metallica's new CD, "St. Anger" when it comes out on June 10th.
RAW review is NEXT!!!
Shawn Michaels comes out, and he introduces Ric Flair. Hmmm... Interesting. Did you know that the WWE had Ric Flair on their roster for several months and didn't care to use him outside of being Triple H's "yes man"? Shawn says nice things to Flair, and then HBK challenges Ric Flair to a match. HOLY SHIT! You know, the WWE should be wiser and save this for the Pay Per View, especially since Nash vs. Triple H is NOT going to draw buyers. Triple H, the show killer, comes down and is pissed off about HBK and Flair respecting each other. Triple H is upset that Flair might leave him as the unnoticed manager. Triple H then goes into a heavy rant on Flair, threatening him and being a total douche. Eric Bischoff comes out and goes into a crazy rant, too, and goes with my thinking of putting Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels on at Bad Blood (formerly Badd Blood). BRAVO TO THE WWE, we have a reason to now buy the RAW exclusive Pay Per View~! Bischoff plays a face boss here and books Triple H vs. Ric Flair/HBK. I'm sure you can smell the swerve on this match, but it will still be fun anyway. Off to a good start...
Weird how the WWE is promoting WWE.com polls now on the shows. Oh yeah, it's the latest trend to get hits for their site or to entice people to go to Shopzone.
Booker T vs. Test is our first match. You know, I actually LIKED the Booker T/Test tag team back in the day. Beats Steiner/Test here in 2003. Back and forth stuff, as the match's quality is hurt by the usual lack of crowd reaction for Test. He's the most not-over heel in the WWE today. I mean, what, besides lame cheap heat, gives you a reason to cheer or jeer this guy? Test threw Stacy into the way of a baseball slide, and Test lost the match from yet another distraction when Scott Steiner checked on Stacy. As filler as filler matches can be, but at least it advanced the storyline between Test/Stacy/Steiner, while giving Booker T a win on the way to Bad Blood.
Looks like someone hit Steve Austin's face with a shovel. Triple H walks in and kisses up to Austin to get the Hell in the Cell match revoked. Kinda funny, actually. It actually has Triple H acting below someone. Oh wait, now Triple H is yelling and acting like a tough heel again. So much for that 2 minutes of decent Triple H. After all of that, the "match is still on" between Nash and Triple H at Bad Blood in the Hell in the Cell.
Trish Stratus comes out for some commentary, and then Val Venis comes out. Venis is starting his own Adult Film and invites Victoria to join his company. Steven Richards, his opponent, doesn't like the idea and starts the match. Crowd seems dead silent for whenever Richards is on the offensive. OK midcard match, but nothing special. Val Venis used the Spinebuster to transition into his "Money Shot" finisher. Ugh, I hate the spinebuster!
Dumb and Dumberer looks like it will be a total failure, seeing the previews at Bruce Almighty and during the RAW commercials. However, Terminator 3, Hulk, and even Charlie's Angels 2 look pretty good. It's going to be a pretty good summer of movies, that's for sure.
Backstage, the Coach is with Kevin Nash. Oh my God, what a terrible interview. Nash can't talk anymore. Christian is with Terri backstage, and Christian easily out-talks Nash. Goldust comes in and stutters, which prompts Booker T to come in to rip into Christian. Good stuff. Backstage, again, Eric Bischoff and Steve Austin talk, and they talk about competing. I like having these 2 as co-GM's. It's actually been fun so far.
Lilian Garcia is one hell of a singer, but she was rather ackward signing at Judgment Day for Torrie's entrance. Leave it to the WWE to do something tasteless on Memorial Day. La Resistance interrupts and then cuts anti-American promos. While I don't care for it, I don't especially care for Steve Austin walking down and destroying both wrestlers, singlehandedly. Austin then invites Lilian back into the ring wants to do a duet on America the Beautiful. I would be remiss if I didn't say Lilian looked fantastic tonight, possibly her best ever. Lilian then drinks a beer with Austin, which damn near drowns her. Funny stuff.
Ric Flair walks out of his locker room, but he has a masked man lurking in his locker room. Smell the intrigue!
The next match was Christian vs. Goldust. I like Christian's new look. It's about time for a change, for sure. Decent midcard match here. Goldust won the NON TITLE match, which only hurts Christian as champion. I'm assuming he'll get his win back next week, but you can guarantee Christian will have to cheat to win, thereby making him a weak champion heading into Bad Blood.
The White Boy challenge continues, but this time, Rodney Mack has to fight Bubba Dudley. This should be a pretty physical match. It was starting to be a rough fight, until Chris Nowinski hit Bubba with his protective mask to help Rodney win. Huh? I'm hoping for a good explanation on this, besides the possible Nowinski "you stupid people" explanation.
Backstage, the French Pimples complain to Bischoff. Sylvian gets a "flag match" against Rob Van Dam, which could give the Frenchies a tag team title shot at Bad Blood. Flag Match? Will it have WCW Flag Match rules? (I can't remember the goofy rules, so don't ask)
Flair and Triple H have a backstage confrontation to set up the swerve, possibly.
Rob Van Dam vs. Sylvian is up next, and it's a flag match. Duuuuuude, it's a FLAG MATCH! Slopfest here, as Sylvian is pretty green and RVD doesn't carry. Rene Dupree seems to be healed from the Austin attack to not sell it and hit RVD with a clothesline, just after he helped take Kane out. RVD wins the match, but the referee was knocked out. Hoss Kane comes in and cleans house, until he's hit with the flag. The now healthy Dupree puts the flag back up, and RVD gets the double chockslam and Sylvian gets the French flag for the win. What a slopfest this match was.
Chris Jericho Highlight Reel is next... he goes into his old WCW stuff with Goldberg, saying he couldn't get anywhere against Goldberg, so he came to the WWE. Somewhat true, but you also had Kevin Nash, the head booker at the time, and Eric Bischoff, who personally hated Jericho at the time, giving Jericho good reason to leave. Bill Goldberg comes down and talks redneck, in which he accepts Jericho's challenge for Bad Blood. Jericho somehow blids Goldberg and then spears Goldberg, thus going against the WWE.com poll. That wasn't nice. Aside from Goldberg talking, it was a good segment. This is the 2nd time Goldberg was pepper sprayed, as he was sprayed during his match with Totally Buff in his very last WCW match.
Jim Ross announced that the Rock will be Jericho's guest in the Highlight Reel next week! Very nice...
Our main event was Ric Flair/Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H. HBK starts, thus setting up the swerve. I saw this one coming the second the match was made. Flair punches HBK, and Triple H Pedigrees HBK to win the handicap match. Backstage, the Masked Man that was in Flair's locker room takes out Kevin Nash. I dare to ask who that very person is... I can't wait for all of the non-stop internet speculation... oh wait, it's Randy Orton, as he's unmasked and the Evolution continues. Predictable, but you gotta hype the Pay Per Views somehow, and you need either HBK or Flair to be the heel at Bad Blood.
LAST WORD: If you were looking for a show with quality wrestling, this show wasn't it. However, if you were looking for a show that was storyline driven to set up a Pay Per View, then this was it. I thought the storylines were solid on this episode of RAW, aside from the fact that Kevin Nash will NEVER be over as the #1 face contender. I look forward to Flair vs. HBK at Bad Blood, but we'll have to see about the rest of the show if the RAW brand can carry a Pay Per View. I'll give this show a [ B- ] (B Minus) for good storylines but bad wrestling. Seems like a fair grade to me.
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