Welcome to the Wrath of Tito, the column that never pulls punches. I've got a lot to talk about... I attended a whole day of live wrestling on Sunday, which I'll discuss today. And as usual, the latest news and views on the recent pro wrestling stuff, along with my RAW review. Sound good?
I got a whole mouthful of wrestling on SUNDAY. First, I attended and helped out with the backyard federation I always hype in this very column, Willygoat Valley Wrestling. They wrestled in the morning at 9am, wrestling in a ring that would be later used for an independent federation at 1pm later that day called Regional Pro Wrestling. The guys from WVW did their best, had fun doing it, and they did good at what they do. I've been a supporter of backyard wrestling for years, and attending and providing a helping hand to that fed has been my distinct honor.
I stayed for about the first half of the RPW show... for I wanted to go grab a bite to eat (I was STARVING!) before heading over to the Wesbanco Arena for the WWE Houseshow in Wheeling, WV. I was VERY impressed with another great 6 man bout featuring CHIKARA wrestlers, whom I've seen before at a Black Diamond Wrestling show wrestling a 6 man match. Returning was Mike Quackenbush, the Wildcards, and Shane Storm. The other two wrestlers, I didn't hear their names clearly, nor could I find their bios on any websites. Mike Quackenbush has impressed me from the days where I saw him on a local Pittsburgh federation's television show and he's really entertaining to see live. The Wildcards are great bump machines, in my book, and they really get a lot of heat from the crowd. Shane Storm has an interesting look, but he moves with good agility. Another awesome 6 man bout between these guys. I saw them hit a DDT with all 6 guys involved. This time, they hit a triple suplex and did a spot where everyone applied a submission hold on each other. VERY entertaining and I could seriously watch this kind of fun wrestling all day long.
Another match featured a really nice individual who learned of who I actually was (my apologies for not catching your name, please email me!). He told me he has read my columns for 3 years and was extremely nice to the guys on the show beforehand, rooting them on, which I thought was very classy. He had a tough act to follow after the CHIKARA six man classic, but he pulled off a very good singles match.
There was another match that I'm forgetting, in addition to the quickest battle royals that I've ever seen. I would have liked to have stayed for the rest of the show, but I seriously needed a break before the WWE show.....
I went to the WWE Houseshow in Wheeling, WV on Sunday night. Wheeling was having their annual Italian Festival that weekend, which brought thousands upon thousands of extra people into the Ohio Valley. Yet, the WWE only drew 3,000 AT MOST in the Wesbanco Arena, a place that can hold anywhere between 5,000-6,000 for wrestling events (I thought about a little over 2,000 were paid attendance, in my opinion). The show overall? Pretty decent show... I saw wrestlers I haven't seen for a while, like Val Venis and the returning Rodney Mack and Chuck Palumbo. Hurricane and Rosey were insanely over (although they were in the opening match) and they were allowed to be themselves in the ring, for once, instead of jobbing. They CAN work out on RAW, but only if the WWE cares to actually push them (which won't happen).
The WWE has an odd new cost-saving set up now, which has two large steel structures in 2 of the corners to light up the ring. This saves money, for the old set up was costly to hang up lights from the ceiling. But damn, those lights are BRIGHT! I had to stare into that light all evening!
I was happy to see Triple H vs. Chris Benoit LIVE. They looked to be fine tuning some counters for their Ironman match, and this was proven later when watching RAW and seeing a lot of the moves performed. Pretty good match, overall, which saw Eugene make his return to the ring, a night before he showed up on RAW. Kane vs. Jericho and Tajiri/Rhyno vs. La Resistance were both pretty solid. Good show overall, although not outstanding for the higher prices for this show (WWE jacked up the prices for this show).
And now, the news........
-Congrats to Brock Lesnar for signing with the Minnesota Vikings. Yes, he signed at a low $230,000 and chances are he'll be on the practice squad. But that's not the point. He's living out his dream by possibly playing for the Vikings and eventually making an NFL roster, which I believe he'll do in a year, barring injury. I admire Brock Lesnar for doing what HE wants to do. He's walking away from something around $5 to $10 million just to maybe make an NFL roster, which has NO guaranteed contracts. I sincerely hope he makes it, although I'd like to see him one day return to the WWE... they could use another solid main eventer and Lesnar helped carry the Smackdown roster for a while there.
-Oh please to Bret Hart returning through a storyline regarding Ric Flair's book. Bret has MORE CLASS than that, and it's cheesy storylines like this, using real life problems as heat seekers, is something that Bret is against. Just remember the time when Russo had him mention "Montreal" after a beatdown of Bill Goldberg, I believe. Later that week, Bret destroyed WCW and Russo in his Calgary column about that storyline and you didn't see Bret Hart in WCW for a while after that. Foley might return to the WWE for this type of storyline against Flair, but not Bret Hart. He's a man of honor, pride, and dignity.
-The WWE is committing suicide if they decide to have Randy Orton win the World Title at Summerslam against Chris Benoit. Orton is NOT ready. I understand that Triple H has a major wet dream about feuding with his apprentice, Randy Orton. But Jesus, Orton has yet to prove he's worthy of this push. Foley carried his ass and Orton couldn't generate anything interesting with Shelton Benjamin and Edge, both of whom have had good matches with other wrestlers. Orton is NOT ready and the RAW roster can't suffer through another lame World Champion, just as they did in 2003 when Triple H had no good opponents to work with (and that was fixed in 2004 with Benoit joining the RAW roster and HBK returning to full time).
-Chyna or Joanie reportedly blurted out that Vince McMahon and Triple H were paying for X-Pac's drug rehab and that X-Pac was on his way back to the WWE. This actually prompted a response from Sean Waltman, which basically confirmed who paid for his rehab and it probably means he'll be back in the WWE very soon. Just great. This is the same guy, who in 1996, was given the option of getting released by the WWE or go into drug rehab. Welcome to 2004... Seriously, what use is X-Pac at this point? He was a total waste after his storyline with Kane and politicked behind the scenes too much that even Triple H wouldn't stick up for him after a while. He's a waste of time and his 15 minutes of fame were over long ago. Degeneration X can't be reborn and neither can his once innovative wrestling ability.
Not much else to say, other than I can't wait for the Chris Benoit DVD! Whooooo!
Eric Bischoff announced that a Battle Royal was going to be held to determine the #1 contender to face the World Champion at Summerslam. Of course, a disadvantage of being an internet fan was reading about the Orton title push and instantly knowing who would win this match. Randy Orton won the battle royal, which was a pretty good dramatic one to the WWE's credit. Orton needs a LOT of work and an extensive program with Chris Benoit is needed. Don't hotshot the title to Orton at Summerslam. If you're going to give the title to Orton, make him win it at the event after Summerslam or something. Give him time to learn off of Benoit on the road and on television. Orton has about everything BUT a good in-ring style. Orton's current style is just stale and boring, which hurts the overall match. He needs to add spice to it and maybe the rabid wolverine could provide it?
ARGH, tons upon tons of Diva SHIT showed. The WWE brought back Kamala of all people and the goal of this Diva segment was to have each Diva attempt to seduce Kamala. What a joke. How can you have good programs with HHH and Benoit on the same show as this bullshit? You'd think that the WWE would get a clue after last week's booing from the crowd OR how pathetic the Divas looked in an actual segment when Eric Bischoff was yelling at them. Of course not, as the WWE is known for sticking to their guns on very bad ideas. Hey, it's just ratings, advertising dollars, houseshow dollars, and buyrates that could be lost from this negative crap. What should I care?
By the way, the Diva stuff completely killed off the Pittsburgh crowd, who weren't exactly peppy for the 60 minute Ironman match at the beginning. I'm soooooo glad I didn't get tickets for this show to endure an event with just 2 matches on the card.
The main event between Chris Benoit and Triple H, the Iron Man Match, was pretty good overall. I personally liked the Angle vs. Lesnar televised Iron Man match better, given that Benoit vs. HHH had more resting holds. Still, good mat wrestling and that's all you can ask for anymore. I liked the first fall from Benoit, where he rolled up HHH from the Crossface. The ending was quite predictable, which hurt the match for me... but I won't deny that this was truly excellent wrestling and HHH needs to thank his lucky stars for having Benoit on the RAW roster for 2004.
LAST WORD: Cut out the Diva Search crap, and this was a fine show. However, my grade counts for the entire show, so this week's RAW gets a [ B ]. This reality show attempt by the WWE is NOT WORKING and it must end immediately. Until that happens, I encourage every fan to boo the living crap out of the WWE when they see the Divas live OR to immediately change their channels when the Diva Search comes on television.
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