Welcome to a special Friday edition of the Wrath of Tito. Well, nothing really special other than actually appearing on a Friday. Today, I'll discuss the current issues in professional wrestling and then review Smackdown, which I watched in focus. I've been watching Smackdown casually lately, given how busy I've been on the weekends, and when I do take a good look at the show, I'm too burnt out to write a column.

No FACT or FICTION this week. I usually write up and send out the topics on Tuesday or Wednesday, but Monday Night RAW left a horrible taste in my mouth. I mean seriously, that was one of the worst RAWs of 2003, easily, and there have been some bad shows. The usual WWE blind marks got on me for being "negative", but I'm sorry, I'm just stating my opinion on the show. If you thought Kane setting Jim Ross on fire was a great storyline, then check your head. If wrestling is supposed to show any realism whatsoever, then Kane would be arrested on the spot. The shock value of this segment was NOT there, and it would have been stupid in 1998-1999, the WWE's shock value peak before they started focusing more on wrestling in 2000, which is the best year of the WWF "Attitude" Dynasty.

The rest of the show featured bad wrestling. Many of my readers were badly disturbed by The Evolution group beating the Dudleys 3-0 in the elimination match. I forgot to mention it in my column, but I agree. You have the Dudley Boys, D'Von and Bubba, who are multiple World Tag champions and Spike, who has had good tag team success himself. At the very least make it 3-1 instead of a shutout. And I'm all for making a heel stable look strong. But here, you have a inexperienced Orton, an aged Flair, and Triple H, the only exception since he's the World Champion. Sorry, but it makes no sense to me to shut the Dudleys out. I don't know about you, but every single person who walks out of the ring against Triple H looks weaker than when they entered? Gee, why is that always so? The whole RAW brand has no credibility, and when someone does beat Triple H for the World Title, it won't mean anything, and then a decision will be made to put the title BACK on Triple H, which is exactly what he and Stephanie want.

But enough of that. That match had no tag team chemistry between the teams, just as the rest of the multiple wrestler matches suffered from the same problem. If you take a look at teams of Smackdown, such as Guerreros, Eddie/Tajiri, Benoit/Angle, Edge/Mysterio, Benoit/Rhyno, and Benjamin/Haas. They have tag team chemistry, in that they'll do moves together and set each other up for hot tags. It's a thing of beauty. Guys on the RAW roster need to seriously take at Smackdown's work regarding tag matches. Smackdown matches are much easier on the eyes, while RAW ones are very sloppy.

I'm LAUGHING at the reported rumors about Kurt Angle getting a "big head", so to speak. Rumor has it that Kurt Angle didn't want to job to Brock Lesnar at Vengeance, so he somehow convinced WWE management to place the Big Show in the Main Event at the Pay Per View to avoid doing the job. For one, Kurt Angle is owed a victory from Lesnar, given what happened Wrestlemania, of all places. Secondly, after Wrestlemania, didn't we hear rumors that Brock Lesnar was getting a big head? And also, wasn't the WWE management pushing the Big Show anyway? They couldn't keep him out of a feud with Brock Lesnar if they tried. I really don't see Kurt Angle getting a swelled ego here. Besides, the best plan would be to have Lesnar vs. Angle at Summerslam instead of Vengeance. I'm sure one of the road agents or a McMahon figured that one out, given that Summerslam is part of the Fab 4 Pay Per Views, which all WWE wrestlers can be a part of instead of the separate brand PPVs.

Plenty of Vengeance floor seats available? Of course. Demand to see the WWE live is down, so those seats, among many others, won't get sold. The last time I attended an event in Pittsburgh, I did notice that the ticket prices are lower from what they used to be, although I don't know the prices of the floor tickets. I can imagine that in a big city or big arena, the WWE will still charge maybe a $100 or more for those floor tickets. I wouldn't get caught red-handed buying those shitty tickets, because if you're not in the first 3 rows on the floor, the tickets are worthless because you won't see anything anyway. The WWE should offer cheaper prices to those seats that make it hard to see over many people AND from all of the signs. I had 4th row for a WWE show in 1998, and I could barely see over the signs and the people standing. I speak from experience. I know that if I was 4 more rows back, I'd be even more pissed, especially today when the prices are high.

But it's simple economics for why Vengeance hasn't sold out. There is NO demand to see a WWE Pay Per View live, so why spend the extra bucks on the show for something you don't want to see? I'm getting the impression that this show is a throwaway show anyhow, with Big Show vs. Lesnar vs. Angle setting up Angle vs. Lesnar at Summerslam, which is so clearly obvious. The midcard has been poorly booked, although Benoit vs. Guerrero WILL be a sight to see for that United States title. Finally, Benoit and Guerrero get to show everyone who should REALLY get the push on the Smackdown roster. That is, if they get 20 minutes or more to fight over that title.

Let's discuss Smackdown...


Smackdown started off with a Vince McMahon interview... Welcome to 1998-1999 repetitive hell. Vince bores us from the start, and then Brock Lesnar interrupts. Interesting... Lesnar and Vince have never really interacted on this level before, so it wasn't too bad. If were the booker, I'd make Lesnar Vince's World Champion, meaning he was champion under Vince's banner and going after all of the faces to become pure evil. If not, maybe bringing in Bill Goldberg to become Vince's hired thug would work as well. Not bad...

Our first match was fantastic with Matt Hardy and Chris Benoit. The two have very good chemistry together, just as they did when they wrestled on Smackdown a few months (weeks maybe?) ago. This WAS good television wrestling. This is what I'll pay to see. Great finish with Benoit slapping on the Crossface from the ropes. Give me good wrestling or give me death.

Vince McMahon and Stephanie McMahon arguing backstage... how many times have we done this feud? Smackdown has become the McMahon show, and I'm surprised that Shane McMahon has resisted temptation to show his face on television. We're getting Linda McMahon next week on RAW. Great. Ever see the moment on the movie "Spaceballs" when Dark Hemlet shouts "I'm surrounded by Assholes!". Same thing applies here, only we're surrounded by McMahons, the equivalent of being assholes for ruining professional wrestling as we know it.

Next, we had Ultimo Dragon against Jamie Noble. Too short and way to push Ultimo Dragon by having Billy Gunn helping him with the victory. *sarcasm* Honestly, if you are going to spend money on bringing in a fine Japanese wrestler AND by hyping him through a Madison Square Garden debut, which was hyped from weeks of video vignettes, then why bother with either jobbing him to Eddie a few weeks ago or to give him a tainted win? The focus of this match was the Torrie and Noble storyline, and NOT the guy you hyped to bring in, Ultimo Dragon. Typical WWE. I'm sure the WWE knows that a great match would occur with Ultimo Dragon vs. Rey Mysterio, so they'll do everything in their power to make both guys look bad, such as instantly depushing Ultimo and making Rey Mysterio a tag team wrestler as Cruiserweight champion.

Oh, and speaking of that... Rey Mysterio/Billy Kidman beat two jobbers in masks, called the Los Conquistadors (sp?), a gimmick of which that has been done a billion times, but nothing will top Edge/Christian playing the roles a few years ago. It's a nice way to build up your #1 contender's by having them beat a jobber tag team, although I still wonder how a new team of Mysterio/Kidman can instantly get a #1 contender's match, when Benoit/Rhyno have been better than anybody in the tag ranks lately. Yeah, Kidman and Mysterio were a great tag team in WCW, but that was several years ago and it was WCW, something the WWE doesn't want you to remember.

2 GREAT John Cena raps this week. His mic work, alone is far superior to most WWE wrestlers, and once he gets more polished in the ring, the WWE will have a big star on their hands. His rap about Zach Gowen, I might add, has a lot of stolen jokes in it, though, but all is well and it made me laugh (although I'll go to hell for laughing). Poor Cena will get squashed by the Undertaker AND have nothing to show for it afterward, though.

The next bout was Rhyno vs. Sean O'Haire. This match didn't get too far, as the APA walked out and invited both to their bar room brawl at Vengeance. How pathetic. This match was whored out for a Pay Per View plug, as neither man was given a chance to work a match together. Who knows, it could have been good? This is a major problem with the WWE today, as they don't let newer stars shine, ever, and they'll continually deny them that chance. Sean O'Haire will never get an opportunity to show his potential by putting up with this crap or having the WWE handcuffing his style. The WWE also doesn't know what to do with Rhyno anymore, despite being very watchable in every match he wrestles in. The APA are old. Their gimmick is old and the wrestlers are getting older. They can't move like they used to, and heaven forbid they ever help out younger talent.

Our next match was a total carry job by Eddie Guerrero, as he fought the completely worthless Billy Gunn. Bravo to the WWE creative team for actually recognizing that Billy Gunn's only crowd response is his entrance, and the crowd goes silent once he begins wrestling (for good reason). The crowd was actually cheering for Eddie Guerrero, thus providing more evidence for how worthless Gunn is to the WWE here in 2003. He had his run in the late 1990's, but it's time to pack it up and learn how to become a road agent or to maybe become a physical trainer of the WWE, since it's his body, not his wrestling style, that he works on more. He's the modern day Lex Luger, but at least Luger looked presentable in the ring. Eddie won, thanks to help from Jamie Noble. Poor Noble. He'll be Gunn's bitch at Vengeance in a match nobody wants to see, and Gunn needs more help than Torrie Wilson to become a worthwhile superstar in the WWE again.

Wow, Stephanie and Sable brawled. Big deal. We've been there and done that with Stephanie vs. Trish Stratus, along with any other non-wrestling female feud. Don't care.

Our final match of the evening was Kurt Angle vs. Big Show/Shelton Benjamin/Charlie Haas. The match was good when Hass and Benjamin were in there with Kurt Angle, but only decent at best with the Big Slob slowing things. I can't say that I like the name "The World's Greatest Tag Team", but they are a pretty good team and they could be named Team Douchebag and I'd still want to watch them wrestle very well polished tag matches. Good looking finish with Angle pulling the upset after some Zach Gowen interference, but come on... Kurt Angle just beat the Tag Champs and a #1 contender in a handicap match!

LAST WORD: I liked the beginning, with Vince/Lesnar and Benoit vs. Hardy. John Cena's raps were great! The main event was watchable, nuff said. There's your positives. Everything else... eh. Billy Gunn vs. Jamie Noble feud was very flat and Gunn's work is beyond crap at this point. I'll lose sleep over the continued disrespect towards Sean O'Haire. I don't believe in Mysterio/Kidman as #1 tag team contenders! I'm getting excessively sick of Smackdown being surrounded by assholes... excuse me, McMahons. I'll give this show a [ C ]. Wet my appetite with Benoit vs. Hardy, but the rest of the show was so poorly booked. The monkeys in the back need to figure out who deserves a push (Ultimo Dragon, Benoit, Guerrero, Rhyno, Matt Hardy) and who doesn't (Billy Gunn) and go from there... It's not hard to do, and fuck seniority when it comes to giving the fans an unsatisfactory product.

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Take care, and thanks for reading!

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