Welcome, one and all, to another glorious edition of The WRATH of TITO. Today, we'll discuss various topics in wrestling and then review RAW, which is commonplace on Tuesdays here on Lordsofpain.net. I had a busy weekend or I would have done a Smackdown recap. I sort of watched the shows in various parts, watching 15 minutes of it here, watching 15 minutes of it there. I do like the returning United States title and do think the new title looks beautiful, while I keep wondering when the Big Show vs. Lesnar feud will end. I honestly do.

If you haven't checked it out yet, why not catch the latest edition of WRESTLING's FACT or FICTION, with guest Scott Keith, author of the wrestling books "The Buzz on Professional Wrestling" and "Tonight... In This Very Ring", along with a bigtime contributor to 411mania.com. Thanks to the guys on the LoP Forums for somewhat sparking the idea to ask Mr. Keith for a one week only contribution.

While I'm in a plugging mood, I have to give props to the Willygoat Valley Wrestling (WVW), a backyard fed in my area, for a GREAT show Sunday. It was one of their best backyard shows that I've ever attended, and I give them all of the credit in the world for a great event. Their event was aptly named "First Chin Omelet", which is what you won't see the WWE using as an event name, ever.

I'm sure many have noticed that Backyard Wrestling isn't as popular lately as it was a few years ago. It's just a simple fad that came and went with the bigtime popularity of the WWE. When you're excited about professional wrestling, you're hungry for more, so you'll grab a few friends and go at it. When the WWE became very popular in 1998, more newer and younger fans became wrestling fans, insomuch that they'd explore other avenues of pro wrestling, such as ECW, which I insist most of the "Best of Backyard Wrestling" hardcore style you see is from that. I mean seriously, you see kids doing Froggy splashes through tables all the time, which is a RVD/ECW influence. But now, here in 2003, WWE isn't as popular, along with ECW and WCW being dead, which has created interest in backyard wrestling to dry up, and I know the individuals at Backyard Inc. know that, as Volumes 3, 4, 5, and the Backyard Babes videos aren't selling as well as they'd like.

And of course, the younger fans have grown up, gone on to college, thus closing up many backyard feds. I tried to start the "Backyard BBQ" website again a while ago, but found no interest, as many websites of the feds are closing down. If anything, the fact that fans don't want to mimmick their favorite WWE superstars proves that wrestling's popularity, namely the WWE's and their dominance of the industry, is going down the tubes. Indicators like WWE toys going on clearance, special deals or discounts given to you when buying a wrestling ticket, or fans no longer wanting to act like pro wrestlers with their friends are signs that pro wrestling is very well on its decline.

How do you fix it? I've gone over this a billion times. The reason the WWE sucks is because of the creative team in place. There's too much McMahon influence, namely a senile Vince McMahon or an ignorant Stephanie McMahon. When I say "ignorant" for Stephanie, just because she grew up as the daughter of a wrestling promoter DOES NOT MEAN she's a great creative mind. So what if she hung out backstage with wrestlers as a child. Big deal! That DOES NOT make her an instant creative mind in determining what the fans want. Why is it so ironic that the WWE's decline began when her role on the creative team greatly increased? Vince is out of his mind and he's just losing it in the modern age where he has no competition to challenge him anymore. What's even worse is that the McMahon ideas are given to a bunch of secondary soap opera writers, who can't even make it on regular television shows.

Ugh, it's like beating a dead horse. On to the RAW review.

RAW is MSG

The show opens up with a match in Scott Steiner/Booker T vs. Test/Christian. I'd kinda like to see Goldberg, Booker T, and Steiner form a WCW stable, but then again, they'd be the bitches of the Evolution if that were to happen, knowing what Vince would love to do instead of giving something meaningful for wrestling fans to watch. OK opening match, although many of the wrestlers and styles of the wrestlers in the ring were somewhat stale.

Backstage, we saw Kane looking in the mirror, and we then get some flashbacks of his debut at Bad Blood 1997. I guess it was somewhat like a flashback? It's bad enough that there are cameras EVERYWHERE on WWE events, but to view a flashback of a wrestler? This happened throughout the night, and sadly, the big unmasking was a big letdown.

Next match was terrible and shouldn't have been on the card. Maven runs in and beats Chris Nowinski in no time. I mean seriously, quit wasting my time, WWE. This match helps neither guy because Maven wasn't able to show what he has and Nowinski's role in Teddy Long's camp is diminished by this quick loss. These Tough Enough guys could sure use some more wrestling training before they keep stinking up my television.

I will say that tonight had some GREAT television, and thankfully, it got me through this edition of RAW. I have 2 televisions rigged in my room, which rules, and I had one on wrestling all night, while the other one was flipping to baseball, a GREAT documentary on the History Channel about comic books, and Weird Al TV on Vh1.

On to the Highlight Reel, as Chris Jericho introduces his buddy Lance Storm, who is not boring, says Storm. I liked Storm until his tag team with Regal, which just seemed to take any heat he had away and seemed to limit his wrestling style, for whatever God knows reason. Austin interrupts and makes a tag match, and a dandy of one it was.... Very good tag chemistry between Jericho/Storm and the Dudley Boys. This IS tag team wrestling I'd like to see on RAW, not RVD/Kane having no tag moves together or La Resistance showing out inexperienced they are in the ring. Jericho/Storm should be the EVIL heel team holding those titles, while many face teams should rise for the challenge. Storm badly needs something like a reuniting of his tag team with Jericho to save his WWE career, at this point.

Our next match was La Resistance vs. Hurricane/Sgt. Slaughter. How ironic is it that the French are considered turncoats on the US for not helping them during the war with Iraq, while Sgt. Slaughter was a turncoat himself when he joined the Iraqi WWF stable in late 1990 and the first half of 1991. Terrible match, but kinda nice to see Sgt. Slaughter, whom I'll mark out for whenever.

VERY nice tribute to Mick Foley done by the WWE here in Madison Square Garden. I liked the idea of presenting him with the Hardcore Title in the frame, while giving a fitting video tribute. Vince McMahon would even show tribute. Good stuff. Later, the Evolution would beat the shite out of Foley, probably slowly setting up the Summerslam main event in Mick Foley vs. Triple H. I'll put money down that HHH would put the World Title on Foley, but you know, not anyone else named HBK or Nash (Nash, I believe, his title reign was overruled once Foley came into the picture).

Next match was Kevin Nash/HBK vs. Ric Flair/Randy Orton. Evolution vs. the 2 Disgruntled Bad Blood Clique Members. I can understand why HBK is upset, as a match of his importance with Ric Flair should have went around 25 minutes or so, but Kevin Nash being upset because there's nothing for him to do after his feud with Triple H? Oh please. What does Nash bring to the table here in 2003? Nothing. He doesn't try to improve his moveset and you can clearly see he's going through the motions in his old age. This match wasn't up to par due to Nash, while the rest of the guys are either too old or not ready for a big tag match that goes over 10 minutes on television.

GREAT USE out of Rodney Mack on having Bill Goldberg squash him. About damn time Mack was slaughtered, along with Bill Goldberg getting a push as an unstoppable monster. While Goldberg lacks fundamentals, Mack lacks the intensity or inner-ring charisma that Goldberg has and can get over with.

What was with the Wrestlemania Flashback? I'd laugh if the WWE kept doing this every week, as the clips would get lamer and lamer. Hell, tonight we had the crappy HHH and Stephanie stuff from the Chris Jericho vs. Triple H match at Wrestlemania 18.

Our final match was Triple H vs. Kane. Not very good, given that Triple H is unwilling to show any flare in the ring, like he once showed in 2000. He doesn't care as long as he's champion, flying first class, and having creative power over other wrestlers. Triple H lost the match, making Kane unmask afterward. After the Evolution tried to unmask him themselves, Kane eventually did it by himself, revealing that he was bald in the front and had black facepaint to cover his eyes, to you know, make him look better with a mask on. It's a simple trick that Batman did in his movies. Thankfully, Glen Jacobs is somewhat ugly anyway, so it looked a little hideous when the mask came off, but the hair?!? What the hell? Might as well put on the facepaint and rename him Doink, while we're at it. Kane's identity IS his mask, and the WWE just shot this poor guy down by unmasking him. Such a shame.

LAST WORD: I don't know what it is, but the WWE doesn't seem to try when it comes to Madison Square Garden RAWs anymore. We had just one good match this week, while the rest were crap or just average RAW matches. The stuff with Foley was cool, but the rest of the show seemed to be going through the motions, given that they have around 2 months before their next Pay Per View opportunity. I'll give this show a [ C ] (C). The Kane unmasking was very disappointing, and you can see that fans COULD have backed Kane as champion by the way they were cheering for those near-falls. Too bad, so sad.

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Mr. Tito 1998 - 2003 LordsofPain.net/WrestlingHeadlines.com