Welcome to the Wrath of Tito, the franchise column that has discussed professional wrestling for over 5 and a half years now. Today, we'll hit upon several news and notes and review RAW. Simple and just.
I did NOT see Great American Bash on Sunday Night. Sorry, but the Pay Per View AND the Smackdown roster aren't appealing right now, so I'll tell the WWE with the money saved that I don't have any desire to watch the Smackdown roster on PPV. The only comments I have, and this is with regards to the pictures shown on RAW during the Smackdown Rebound was how looney the whole Paul Bearer/Undertaker stuff was. Hey, we aren't in 1994 any longer so you can ditch the supernatural bullcrap. And secondly, Bradshaw is the NEW World Champion... Fine, it's time for Bradshaw to step it up. The ball was handed to him and it's time for him to prove to everyone he's worthy of holding a belt that has the old WWF World Championship and WCW's World Title wrapped into one. It's your time to shine Bradshaw, so back it up in the ring and give Smackdown viewers a heel that viewers want to see getting beat up by the faces instead of negative heel heat, the kind the changes the channel.
I did, however, catch parts of Smackdown, and there's really nothing to comment on. That show is an absolute mess, given how stale several wrestlers are, how weak the midcard is, and how only Paul Heyman draws interest. Folks, Heyman doesn't wrestle in the ring, but he draws interest because he always has something fresh to say. It's not the usual cookie cutter stuff we've seen on Smackdown before Heyman came back. I know Vince McMahon will get into another argument with Heyman over creative issues, that way Heyman can be off of television for several months again.
-Speaking of Vince McMahon, he missed the Great American Bash show due to health reasons. No word yet if he missed RAW or if he'll miss the Smackdown tapings. I wish the guy his very best, even if I have a few differences in the way he runs his company at times. I've always figured Vince would have health problems soon given his past and admitted steroid use AND from the amount of stress he's had running the WWE with an iron fist. This is in addition to the fact that he's getting old, pushing 60, if not there already. My best wishes to Vince and his family during a possible health crisis for Vinnie-Mac.
-I'm not putting much stock into Sting coming to the WWE. Several websites, without providing a credited source, have said that Sting is coming to the WWE soon and will show up at a RAW or a Smackdown taping. This comes in addition to the WWE posting a link to some comments Flair made on a streaming video page. This, in no way, proves to me, a dedicated Sting fan, that he's signed with the WWE. Until I see WWE.com saying he was signed or if Meltzer/Keller/Scherer report it by betting their life and kids on it, I won't believe a single report out there.
In my opinion, the only way he'll sign with the WWE is to get access to his video library. Vince McMahon probably owns maybe 90% of Sting's televised matches, thanks to buying up the old NWA-WCW video library. The WWE might want to cut Sting a deal to release a DVD collection for Sting's fans, which could result in Sting touring with the WWE. THAT'S IT! Allow me to present reasons why Sting won't join the WWE:
1) The contract. Sting, a veteran, wouldn't take chump change to get there. The WWE's not willing to give the $700,000 downside guarantee they gave Kevin Nash or Scott Hall to come in at this point in time, even though Sting is a better draw and wrestler. The WWE is cheap at this point and by not retaining Bill Goldberg proves this fact.
2) Sting wants to wrestle a limited amount of dates. During the last days of his career in WCW, he had a nice contract which gave him lots of time off. The shows he does, like WWA or NWA-TNA gives him time off and flexibility to do other projects, such as acting roles. The WWE fought with Hogan, Nash, Hall, and Goldberg over the limited amount of dates they wanted to wrestle. If you give a former WCW star a limited schedule, it's bad morale for the WWE locker room, period, who work a tough schedule. The WWE wouldn't even give Brock Lesnar a more limited schedule. Sting is on record as saying he'd only work one or two television tapings per week and a Pay Per View each month.
3) Age. Sting is no spring chicken. He's in his 40's and is more apt to injury, as shown during his final days in WCW. In addition, he's an older name and WWE fans who didn't watch WCW could think "here's another washed up WCW guy that the WWE is bringing in". It happened with Nash, Hall, Steiner, and Goldberg.
4) Christian beliefs. Sting is a born again Christian. Yes, so is Shawn Michaels (and if the WWE was smart, they'd get HBK to help bring in Sting). However, Sting is on record speaking out about the WWE's content. Vince McMahon and the WWE used to have great memories on wrestlers who spoke out against their companies or tried to harm them through competition, but as you can see lately, the WWE has been more forgiving (Goldberg, Sable, Eric Bischoff).
I still don't see Sting doing it. He's invested his money well and he can make good money wrestling at HIS pace, not the WWE's. While I'd like to see Sting shake things up in the WWE by giving us matches you though you'd never see (Rock vs. Sting, HHH vs. Sting, etc.), it's very understandable that he wouldn't do it.
-I, once again, didn't catch NWA-TNA Impact. Given the results I've read, there's not enough buzz for me to care enough about watching. Besides, I'm getting severely lazy when it comes to taping wrestling events. Maybe I'm not force-feeding wrestling to myself like I used to?
-If Paul Bearer is gone from the WWE again, who wants to bet he'll bash the WWE in an interview or website once he's done? Because clearly, the WWE is done with Bearer at this point and there really is no use for him (although I'm not one to say someone should be denied work or a paycheck). We'll see...
Ok, enough of this, on to the RAW review!
Our first match of the night was a rematch of last week with Chris Jericho/Edge vs. Batista/Orton. Aside from Eugene's highlight reel and Batista knocking out Jericho last week, the WWE needs to firmly entrench Jericho as an enemy to Evolution. Jericho's feud with Christian went on and on and on while previous adversaries took on Evolution in Benoit, Edge, Shelton Benjamin, among others. Pretty solid tag team bout, being better than last week by several notches. The teams had better chemistry with each other and their opponents and I'm liking Batista more and more by the week. Jericho got revenge on Batista with a pin on him, even though Batista got out of the Walls of Jericho. Well done.
I enjoyed the Flair and Triple H discussion backstage, for HHH made it very clear he's learning off of Flair. You know, given the many times Flair has fooled Sting into schemes only for a nasty turn to happen.
I'll ignore all of the WWE Divas promos. I'll just say that aside from the nice T&A in bikinis, the segments are pure fluff and are taking up too much time on a WRESTLING show. The segments will always weigh down the RAW grade in the end.
Backstage, Stacy Keibler continues to collect a WWE paycheck by being the "shoulder to lean on" for Lita (and also Matt Hardy) by talking to Lita about the pregnancy and what a fool Lita was for screwing Kane. By the way, Scott Keith at 411mania.com had a great quote regarding Lita/Kane: "You’d think that if she was getting blackmailed into sex, she’s at least bring a condom for him." Funny stuff! I'll have to admit that Lita looked her best last night since her return from the neck injury in that tight tan suit.
Bad interview with Kane by Jim Ross, which was more of the same CRAZY KANE stuff. Oh, but there's cops around the ring to stop Kane if he tries to light Jim Ross on fire again. A bunch of readers were asking what Kane would do to the Undertaker/Paul Heyman regarding the death of Paul Bearer on Great American Bash. After all, Bearer revealed himself to be Kane's father during the Russo-creative days, where Bearer claimed he had an affair with the Undertaker's mother. Good point. This interview was more focused on the bad Kane/Hardy/Lita storyline than the actual title shot Kane was receiving later that night. Matt Hardy tried for a running attack but the police officers outside arrested him on Eric Bischoff's orders. Bischoff then gives Kane stipulations in his match, though, where he can beat Benoit by pinfall or submission, BUT that Benoit can only defeat Kane by submission. That slime Bischoff!
The next match was Triple H vs. William Regal. Regal still has those damn tights! Somewhat of a short match for the top of the hour, I thought, for both needed more time to develop a match. Ric Flair threw in a pair of brass knuckles to HHH, but Regal eventually had the knucks to knock HHH and try for a pin. Eugene saw the knucks and disqualified Regal. This would cause Regal to attack HHH and for Eugene to attack Regal in return! HHH calms his fan down. Some big payoff has to happen here, for Eugene hanging around with HHH could result in heel heat for Eugene very soon. I'm assuming this is well thought out? HHH would later egg Eugene on backstage about Regal.
La Resistance vs. Sgt. Slaughter/Rhyno. Usual Slaughter out of retirement match and La Resistance won by hitting their finisher on Slaughter to get "heel heat" heading into Independence Day. They'll need to do a lot more outside of being foreigners or American haters. Bad match.....
Eugene was announced to be the interim General Manager next week on RAW, while Bischoff has the week off. What the hell? That ought to be an interesting show.
I just shook my head at the Bash recap, especially regarding the Dudleys/Undertaker match. Was that lightning I saw?
Pretty good main event between Kane and Chris Benoit and a clean finish with Benoit making Kane tap. Well, that takes Kane out of the World Title picture for good and puts him heavily into the Lita pregnancy angle, I suppose? Guys like Benoit and Kurt Angle seem to get the best out of Kane, while bigger wrestlers struggle heavily. Kane needs the "David vs. Goliath" type deal to look great. Afterward, Lita ran down but her life was spared because Kane wants a baby. This allowed Lita to Kane in the nuts and for Benoit to get another shot in. End of show.
LAST WORD: Better wrestling this week and the Evolution/Eugene/Good Guys feud has been excellent for the past few weeks. The Lita stuff is total crap, though, and to make it a focus of the show is even worse, even outshadowing a big win by Benoit. I'll go [ B+ ], citing that the better stuff shouldn't be outshined by absolute crap (Lita, WWE Divas contest, etc).
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