Welcome to the very latest edition of the WRATH OF TITO. I'm your host, as always, Mr. Tito, telling it like it is for over 4 years now here on LordsofPain.net. Lots to cover in the wrestling world, as the whole Elizabeth/Luger unfortunate situation has spread its news everywhere, along with other news and notes of interest.
Props goes out to the Valley Wrestling Federation and Willygoat Xtreme Wrestling for putting on another classic backyard event on Sunday. Well worth getting out of work early and making a 2 hour drive late at night. They have officially merged into one federation, and you can check out their website by CLICKING HERE.
The Lex Luger/Miss Elizabeth situation has taken a turn for the worse as Lex was taken into custody for having illegal muscle enhancing substances in his home, probably steroids. You have to wonder why Luger would be taking steroids. I mean, he has a great physique that does not need any extreme bulking if he's just going about his everyday life... oh wait, maybe he was bulking up for something? Let's see here, what would he need to bulk up for? WWA? Nah, he doesn't need size to wrestle there, as your past credentials and name will make you money there. He's too old for bodybuilding competitions, although they drug test there.
So what could Lex Luger be bulking up for? Ahhhh, how about a WWE return? Why else would Luger be bulking up for, in a place where you can be on steroids and nobody will care because Vince cares more about marketing your look than if you can wrestle or not, as if Luger can wrestle. Sounds like Luger just closed his final door of possibility by getting caught with the possible steroids, as if he signs with the WWE, bad publicity could follow.
But you have to wonder what in the world prompted this whole situation between Luger and Elizabeth. From all of the books, newsletters, and whatnot that I've read, Miss Elizabeth isn't a known drug user. Why would she need to use drugs? It's not like her body was in pain from years of standing around and looking incredibly beautiful. If she was on drugs, it's a good guess that something drove her to doing drugs, such as an abusive boyfriend. On Easter, there was a reported domestic disturbance there, so something could be up that we don't exactly know about. So before assume that Miss Elizabeth is just another mindless WWE/WCW veteran who is out of the sport and doing drugs, wait until the investigation wraps up.
But even if she is a known drug user, just look at the industry she came from. She is a lighter case because she had a lighter schedule than most, but the fact is she only had a 15 year career in professional wrestling and if she didn't personally save her money, she'll have nothing to show for it. The same goes for almost every wrestler out there. They go into a major fed for about 5 good years, tops, and then go from fed to fed for work, and they end up wrestling some small independent show in your area for chump change, and they are forced to do that at an older age, where their bodies break down and where the paydays aren't very big. The wrestling industry takes a bite out of you, chews it up for a while, and then spits you out in just a matter of years. Sure, we as fans deserve to see the best on television, I agree. However, the wrestlers you once cheered for, Hennig, Rick Rude, Davey Boy Smith, and others are all gone because they had to take muscle enhancers to keep up the LOOK of a wrestler to market to feds or because they took drugs to take their minds off of the nagging injuries they had from the time on the road.
I'm growing sick and tired of seeing wrestlers or personalities that I watched as a kid in the 1980's and early 1990's just dropping like flies, and they are only in their 40's when they die. There's still plenty of good years to live during that time, yet life in the wrestling industry won't allow it. OK, the wrestlers chose that lifestyle, but still, there are only a few professions that will totally take a massive dump on you after 5 good years, if that, of working for the company.
Changing gears... lots of response and praise for the comments I made against Bradshaw's WWE.com column. I can understand, completely, sticking up for a fellow wrestler in the locker room, especially if you've known them for a long time, like I'm sure Bradshaw has with Triple H. However, I'd like to see him honestly look me with a straight face and tell me that Triple H is good for business on the RAW side, a World Champion in 2003 that draws in fans, or if he's still a great performer just like 2000 where Bradshaw insisted that he took the ball and ran with it (despite having great opponents in Foley, Rock, Angle, Jericho, Benoit, and later Austin).
He can't. He's posting a column on WWE.com, a place that rarely criticizes its own product. With Triple H, he's Vince's future son-in-law, and Stephanie is one of the key members of the creative team. Why would you EVER publicly bash Triple H? Guys like Steve Austin and the Rock are allowed, every once and a while, because the WWE would never fire them. Hell, Austin walks out of the company and he's allowed to come back. Bradshaw is an entertaining wrestler, but let's be honest here, you could argue he's expendable. He has been out with an injury, and does anybody honestly miss him? Steve Austin and the Rock are proven draws, while I believe Bradshaw failed with his main event push last year on RAW.
I'm sure Bradshaw wouldn't want to lose his job over saying what he really wants to say about Triple H. I'm sure he has a wife and kids to feed, and to be honest, if I was a WWE wrestler, I wouldn't dare publicly bash Triple H. I wouldn't want to lose my job because someone couldn't take honest criticism.
And I don't get what it is with the Internet taking some heat lately. OH, the ratings are down, let's blame the internet for it all! Please. Go to a live show and poll everyone there, if possible. You'd be lucky if 5% of those wrestling fans would say "yeah, I check out wrestling news on the internet" or "yeah, I post my wrestling opinions somewhere on the internet". Hardly the majority of WRESTLING FANS. They won't be the ones influencing your product. Someone at home, with NO knowledge of Triple H being engaged to Stephanie could simply think "gee, Triple H can't perform in the ring like he used to" or "gee, Triple H is beating every face he wrestles and only puts over guys that Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler told me who were his friends in real life", or better yet, "why are all of Triple H's former face opponents now wrestling in the midcard?". To blame the internet for the slide is totally ridiculous.
Blame the internet?!?!? Surely, you can't be serious!
On to the RAW review!
The WWE had a graphic for Miss Elizabeth to start off the show. Excellent.
Clips of the EXCITING angle between Eric Bischoff, Linda McMahon, and Steve Austin are shown. I'll be honest, here. This angle will NOT work if it's face Steve Austin fighting his boss, again, for power in the company. I can see this working if Austin turns heel, to which he could maybe go after one Bill Goldberg. Maybe.
The show starts off with Steve Austin coming down to the ring with some sort of briefcase. Austin starts the "What" type speech. Seriously, if you're going to get this angle over, don't recycle 2001-2002 stuff. Austin promises a beer party later on. Soo 1998.... Steve Austin addresses the Intercontinental Title situation, saying it was a bad idea. In the briefcase, he has the Intercontinental title, and at Judgment Day, there will be a battle royal for that title. The WWE is listening to fans?!? Eric Bischoff would them come out. Hot crowd tonight, at least early on. I do like how they are talking about the IC title as if it's big stuff. I'm HOPING that Smackdown will bring back the United States title as their midcard title. Bischoff agrees to the IC title return, despite being the one who abolished it. Bischoff has an announcement, and Kevin Nash vs. Triple H at Judgment Day. It was met with a mild response. Is the Intercontinental title more over than Triple H vs. Nash? Austin announced that he's hired "somebody", and it's Jim Ross. Thank GOD! I can't take Johnathan Coachman any longer! Bischoff then fires Jim Ross, but Austin rehires him, over and over again. They dispute over having some matches over if Jim Ross should stay on or not. Who will wrestle Chief Morley? Jerry Lawler volunteers. Well put together segment, I like. Easily the best non-wrestling RAW segment to open up RAW in a LONG time.
Our first match of the night was Jerry Lawler vs. Chief Morley for Jim Ross's job on the line. I find it funny that Coachman is still playing the happy face, despite if Ross getting his job back, Coachman will be off RAW. Oh well. This crowd is HOT HOT HOT! Canada is reliable for hot crowds, usually. Not a great match on workrate, by any means, but this was about entertainment. Jim Ross wins his job back after lots of interference from both sides. Afterward, Eric Bischoff slapped Chief Morley. Steve Austin summons Johnathan Coachman to the ring to salute him for a job well done. Austin ponders having 3 announcers for RAW, but Austin stuns Coachman instead. Fuck yeah! Coachman is one of the best at backstage interviews, so put him in his best place.
After 2 segments, it's been fun with Austin as the GM. The key is to keep things fresh and to avoid recycling material of the past.
Backstage, Eric Bischoff fires Chief Morley. However, he didn't ask Steve Austin. Austin, though, still agrees that Morley is fired.
It's very refreshing to hear Jim Ross again. Backstage, we have Stacy talking with Scott Steiner/Test. They are called the Testicles?
Kane/Rob Van Dam vs. Test/Scott Steiner is up next. No hype for this tag title match? Canadians don't like Scott Steiner. RVD was almost dropped on his head by Steiner. Phew! That was a close one. It wouldn't be a bad idea to turn Scott Steiner heel. He's better off that way, in my opinion. Nice sunset flip out of the powerbomb by Rob Van Dam. The Canadians, like the rest of the world, are quiet whenever Test is inside the ring. Test hits the pumphandle slam on Kane. Gotta love that Test uses the Uncle Slam as a regular move. Uncle Slam was the Patriot's finisher, back in the day. Nice Test elbow. Nice finish, with Test big booting Steiner, Kane chokeslamming Test, and RVD splashing Test for the pin. Acceptable, although the tag chemistry of both teams during the match was off until the very end of the match. I have a feeling that Test/Steiner are going to win the titles very soon, but I hope they find a way to get them some strong heel heat before attempting it.
Backstage, Steve Austin is making adjustments to Bischoff's office, such as bringing in a picture, having lots of beer, and a desk in place of the couch.
Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel... Lots of weird stuff in the ring with Jericho. Jericho takes a shot at Roddy Piper, and then states he'll enter the IC title battle royal. Fine, if you won't give him another run with the World Title, then why not the IC title? Jericho is playing to the crowd here. Highlights are shown of Backlash and last week's RAW, as if we need any reminder of how bad Triple H vs. Kevin Nash will be at Judgment Day. Nash tells Jericho to shut up, which gets boos from the crowd, and then does some senseless shouting. Jericho says he has another person in the Reel, and it's Triple H. More displays of affection between Kevin Nash and Triple H!! Just what we need! The crowd only cheered for Jericho giving Kevin Nash the low blow, which goes to show you that neither man will draw a Pay Per View buyrate, especially together. We get an early preview of how BAD their match at Judgment Day will be. Nash has the worst offense EVER of a main eventer. Crowd turns to dead silence because NOBODY FUCKING CARES ABOUT EITHER WRESTLER HERE IN 2003. Kevin Nash vs. Triple H and Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar will equal an even lower buyrate that Backlash could ever imagine. They keep trying and trying with hardcore stuff to get pops here or there, but this is such a tough sell. Good friends are willing to take these crazy risks, whereas they wouldn't attempt an intense angle with any other wrestlers. Segment ended with Triple H playing Grand Theft Auto and driving away. I'll admit that it was a good brawl, but I can remember past brawls, such as an Austin vs. Triple H brawl that had the crowd screaming for every moment. You didn't have that here.
Still outside, Chris Jericho admires his work, when Steve Austin confronts him and gives him a match for next week's RAW in Kevin Nash. I hope the fans turn on Nash and cheer for Jericho next week. SPREAD THE WORD!!!
Booker T vs. Lance Storm is your next match. Lance Storm is playing up to the Canadian crowd, very proudly. Ever since I heard that Lance Storm does the book thing on his website, you look at the guy in a new light. Go to Storm's website at StormWrestling.com, if you will... The Canadian crowd is actually split on this one, showing that there is SOME care for Booker T. Kind of a quick match here, which is a shame.
Backstage, La Resistance or whatever hit on Stacy Kiebler backstage. Rene Dupree is a very good talker.
I bet the WWE GAVE the Matrix that advertisement spot for that replay clip.
La Resistance take on TEAM SUNDAY NIGHT HEAT in Tommy Dreamer and Spike Dudley. At least the WWE is giving their roster spots on RAW instead of jobbers. Do you notice that lately? The WWE is clearly bringing in jobbers for squash matches just to cut some costs of paying a WWE roster wrestler for a night. That's pretty mean, brother. Good to see that La Resistance have same tights to make for a uniform tag team. Nice doubleteam hiptoss by the Frenchies. They win with a move that looked like a double chokeslam. Afterward, Dupree tries to attack the former ECW wrestlers with the kendo stick, only to get met by Steiner and Test. Wait a second! Test and Steiner were HEELS against RVD/Kane earlier, but now they are FACES against La Resistance. No get?
The WWE will be featuring Miss Elizabeth on Confidential. It seems to be something of an insider look at her death rather than a tribute to her life. That's just not right.
Backstage, Bischoff is talking to Linda McMahon on the phone, complaining to her about Austin and then hitting on her, probably setting up the firing of Bischoff by Vince McMahon sometime soon. Backstage again. Terri, dressed as Barbi, interviews Christian. That's funny of the WWE to have Bill Goldberg wrestling a Canadian in CANADA. Could they get any more stupid with Bill Goldberg?
Trish Stratus vs. Jazz is our next bout. I've seen these two wrestle each other way more than I've ever wanted to. The crowd is dead silent. Looking at the clock, it's 10:50, making me wonder how the WWE will have Goldberg vs. Christian and the Beer Party segment on tonight. Did Teddy Long blow that spot when he fell off the ring? Victoria distracted Trish, and Jazz won by cheating with the title. Talk about rushed, geesh!
Christian vs. Bill Goldberg. New tights? How pathetic. There's no need to change his look. The WWE had Goldberg chants piped in heavily, but hey, it's Canada. What I like about Goldberg are the different looking power moves he tries. 3 Minute Warning and Rico want Goldberg, first, so step aside Goldberg. 3MW had the advantage, lost it, and Rico was Jackhammered. Christian hits Goldberg with a chair and runs away. Then, Steve Austin comes out and ladies and gentleman, we have Bill Goldberg and Steve Austin in the ring in the same ring at the same time! Austin wants some beer, and he then makes Goldberg vs. Christian next week on RAW. Not good enough says Goldberg. Austin makes it a cage match. They then both do some 2 beer salutes, and some women come in, along with crowd members for a big ol' beer bash. I keep watching this, thinking Goldberg might spear Austin, but this could be planting seeds for the future.
LAST WORD: A MUCH better RAW than in recent times. Now, granted that the match quality was a bit down or short, but storyline wise, RAW was top notch. From the first episode, Austin was FUN as the co-GM. Nash and Triple H was a good brawl, but a total tough sell for the Pay Per View. Test/Steiner stuff was the worst part. I really liked the beginning fo the show, which put me in a good mood for the rest of the show. This show gets a [ A- ] (A Minus) in my gradebook. I guess this is what the rumor mill talked about regarding the WWE toning down the intensity of the matches, aside from Triple H and Nash brawling.
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