Welcome to another edition of the WRATH of TITO. I'm a busy man these days, juggling graduate school work and actual part time work to pay for graduate school. So basically, I'm strapped for time, insomuch that I barely have free time to churn out my 2 weekly columns, the Wrath of Tito and FACT or FICTION. I'd give my right eye if I could write wrestling columns or do internet work for a living, a good living in fact.
Speaking of Wrestling's FACT or FICTION, you can read the latest edition by Clicking Here.
So Viacom and Spike Lee reached a settlement to allow the "New TNN" to become Spike TV. Right now, it's honestly a lost cause. TNN spent a lot of money hyping Spike TV, and if I were them, I'd go after Spike Lee for damages caused through false advertising. Spike's a pretty fired up guy and he would have taken this to court if he knew he had a chance. I'm guessing he'll get a very small percentage of the network's profits or he'll be given an outlet to feature some of his films. Either way, Spike TV is already damaged because we all waited for its debut 2 weeks ago, and what happened? It never came and TNN became the "New TNN: First Network for Men" with the intended programming of Spike TV.
And let me say this... the programming of the "New TNN" absolutely SUCKS. I'm a longtime fan of "Ren and Stimpy", and their return isn't that bad, albeit extremely sick at times. But "Gary the Rat" and "Stripperella" are bad, bad cartoons. What's worse is that the "New TNN" is banking on those 3 shows to boom their network or to grow around, and that definitely won't happen. And then you have this show on TNN called Monday Night RAW... boy has that show sucked lately!
You know what's sad about the Hulk Hogan/Mr. America vs. Vince McMahon match? There might have been a definite end to it at Vengeance, where a reported Hair vs. Mask match was going to happen, with Vince booking himself to lose. Would that be the end of it? It's hard to say, but it would beat having these two argue with each other for several months with no matches to resolve anything. But I believe Hogan will return, and Wrestlemania 20 will definitely be the place it could happen. Hopefully, it won't be for the long haul again, because I can't take more than 2 or 3 months of Hogan before I have to puke out my vitamins and start saying my prayers that something makes that old fart retire.
I just roll my eyes at any rumors about Jeff Hardy maybe grooming himself for a WWE return. Whatever. I don't want him in the promotion I watch weekly until he's serious about performing again. If he's going to come back, you better throw his ass into the weight room, scrape off all of the paint, and threaten fines if he shows up late, IF he returns to the WWE. After getting murdered by Triple H, Steve Austin, and the Undertaker for the past 2 years, he just stopped caring, which I don't blame, but as wrestling fans, we deserve to see wrestlers who want to be there and who still have that drive on television. Jeff Hardy cared more about his body paint and projects outside of wrestling(which the WWE let him do!) than entertaining the fans after a while.
So what did I think about SMACKDOWN? I had thoughts of writing a column after I saw the show, but then I realized I had to work at 7:00 am in the morning the next day. After working the whole day, I figured I'd write the Smackdown column then, but I was tired and unmotivated to do anything at that point. But anyway, I thought the show was another bad writing effort by the WWE for Smackdown. Ever since Paul Heyman left, the writers have become "yes men" to Vince and the show is more modeled in his eyes instead of being fun to watch in Heyman's eyes.
The only decent thing written was Vince's closure of his feud with Mr. America, as he used past footage of Hogan pulling up the mask to get him fired. But that's it. I really don't see the big deal about this non-stop push for the Big Show. He's terrible and he's not over as a heel. He's just a 7 foot tall fatass whom the WWE is paying $1 million per year for 5 more years. That's it, and not only for the love of large wrestlers by Vince, but to justify his salary, his guaranteed salary as created by the Monday Night Wars of 1997-1998, where wrestlers from that time received inflated wages through competition. Ask Brock Lesnar, who received a ridiculous sum by the WWE, straight out of college, just because WCW might have been interested in him at the time. But at least Lesnar is presentable in the ring. Big Show is not. I don't see what he'll add to the Vengeance Pay Per View with Angle/Lesnar other than CLEARLY telling fans that this show is a blowaway Pay Per View before the big Angle vs. Lesnar match up at Summerslam.
I'm happy for Zach Gowen, I really am, but his gimmick of having a fake leg is getting exposed too much. Does it have to get ripped off every match? That's what it appears to be. Plus, he has to be one of the smallest wrestlers on the roster, especially when we talk about the muscular department. The ending of Smackdown was good for him, as the fans popped big for it, but the match was very much an eyesore, especially for a main event.
Did I mention that Sable looked her best since her WWE return on Thursday? And people still rag on her about being older. Whatever. Decent bout between Nunzio and Rey Mysterio to start the show. Nunzio can really go, and the WWE has yet to let the fans show everybody he can. I'm still not impressed with the Bashams. Rhyno/Benoit have been making them look decent in the recent weeks, and Linda Myles as their manager just isn't working, especially when she's taller than them. The speech that Undertaker gave Orlando Jordan was probably improvised. I'm sure Undertaker tells everybody who walks in that door, no matter how popular they instantly become, that they'll pay dues under his watch. Jordan isn't that impressive, and probably won't ever be if Cole/Tazz keep shoving the fact that he was trained by Rocky Johnson down our throats! We'll see if Jordan has that charisma, ala the Rock, to boom his wrestling career, otherwise, Cole/Tazz are wasting their time. Gotta love how Albert was the man to make sure Jordan "paid his dues". I love seeing how the WWE Good Ol' Boy Network© is still in place.
The worst part of the night was seeing Billy Gunn beating John Cena. Cena would have been your PERFECT United States champion, but now it appears that the Vince McMahon boner for Billy Gunn is fully erect and that he'll probably be the first Smackdown United States champion, despite the crowds getting silent once his entrance ends. Poor Cena, too, as he has the task of wrestling the Undertaker at Vengeance and having all of his offense look like shit against the Taker. Just too bad. US Title brackets anyone? Brackets?
The highlight of the night was Tajiri/Eddie Guerrero vs. Haas/Benjamin. Eddie and Haas/Benjamin have great chemistry together, and Tajiri can certainly handle his own. Their WRESTLING MATCHES, not the ladder match, have been very well polished and a great treat to watch, seeing that good tag team wrestling is always absent on the RAW brand. I'm telling you, as I said in a Fact or Fiction many moons ago, Haas and Benjamin are still the best thing to come out of Ohio Valley Wrestling. Name other wrestlers who are as polished as these two from OVW? It took Lesnar forever to learn the WWE ropes as it has taken these two to learn them very quickly. I'm happy to see Eddie Guerrero as a bad guy again. Then again, will the WWE want to give him a good push as a heel instead of putting midcarders over?
Smackdown receives a C+ in my book, thanks to the tag match. Other than that, keep on trying...
Ok, enough with Smackdown, onto RAW!
Booker T vs. Christian was a very dry match, for whatever reason. The two guys tried hard, yes, but they just couldn't get anything working and the crowd was dead silent at times. Maybe it's chemistry, maybe it's the crowd's bias for Christian, or maybe it's been a long year and both guys are worn out? Don't know, but for whatever reason, this match just didn't "have it", especially after they restarted the match. Booker T actually won the match in the end, which by the way, was a match that WAS NOT HYPED FOR THE IC TITLE! I mean seriously, if you're going to have a title match, hype it the week before instead of just shoving it out there without telling a single fan. Hey, wasn't that Austin's argument that a match of serious proportions had no hype to it, referring to his match with Brock Lesnar in 2002 which made Austin walk out of the company? I don't believe in Booker T as the IC champion, either. After getting a World Title shot at Wrestlemania, Booker T is knocked down a notch to the IC title.
The worst part of RAW happened with Rosey vs. Hurricane. Long and Rodney Mack came out, bored us, and Rosey fought Hurricane to a match which he actually won. No more Jamal, so Rosey is deserving of a singles push, despite not ever getting over? What's even worse was his face turn afterward on Long and Mack. Yay, Rosey is getting the overweight samoan push. Maybe they'll put on bright tights on him and tell him to "make a difference" like Rikishi once did as Fatu.
Our next match of the night was Gail Kim/Val Venis vs. Steven Richards/Victoria was our next bout. I didn't get to see Gail Kim last week, but let me say this: what a piece of ash! Good gawd! As for her wrestling ability.... hardly innovative. I've seen women do those moves before, and she's not lightning quick like I've seen some places hype. I feel bad for Steven Richards, though. Here, you have a guy who worked his ass off to get in the shape he's in, and nobody in WWE creative has anything good to do with him other than be Victoria's flunky. That's pathetic.
I really liked the Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho Highlight Reel. VERY well done segment. I thought it would be another ridiculous allusion to November 1997, but it wasn't. HBK was in the role that he did what he had to do, the Montreal fans need to get over it 5 and a half years later, and they should be more angry at him for beating Jericho at Wrestlemania 19. Excellent. Jericho kept egging the Canadian stuff on until HBK challenged him to a match right then and there, which Jericho turned down, instantly turning Jericho heel in front of a heavily biased crowd. You couldn't ask for better mic work out of Jericho on this very fine piece of work. Very good stuff, and it makes me look foward to their encounter in Los Angeles in 2 weeks.
Kevin Nash was cloned and he fought himself? Oh, I'm sorry, he wrestled Test last night. And you know, I didn't quite expect the ending with Test going over Kevin Nash. The match was a pile of shit, but that opened my eyes. The Big Daddy Bitch finally learned his role in the business, and that's of a veteran who just doesn't have it anymore. I guarantee he'll walk out of the company soon or work with the WWE for an official release. He's worthless to the WWE unless he's used in this role, and that's to put over younger talent who so desparately need somebody to put them over.
Our next match was Mark Jindrak vs. Chris Jericho. Jindrak wasn't too impressive in his first televised match, especially since he debuted on RAW without any introduction. Not many people know that he was once a former WCW Tag Team Champion, but maybe some local talent they used or another no-name developmental guy. Jericho tried hard, but it's hard to wrestle a guy nobody knows or doesn't want to care for, yet. I'll laugh if the WWE keeps up the plans of putting Jindrak into the Evolution.
Next, we had Molly Holly vs. Trish Stratus in a #1 Contender's bout. Glad to see Molly, the best all around women's wrestler, getting some RAW airtime. The match was OK, as it's hard to go out there when you have no heat behind it in the first place. Molly won, though, and I'm happy. Next week, she'll carry Gail Kim and just maybe make a presentable women's wrestling match before disappearing from RAW for a few months again.
Our main event was Bubba Dudley/Rob Van Dam vs. Ric Flair/Randy Orton. Wha? For one, RVD is a lame mystery partner, although I can't remember a mystery partner that was actually good in the last 5 years. Secondly, Bubba without D'Von? Not much of a tag team match, chemistry wise, that's for sure. The faces win, as I say "so what".
But that's not all... Steve Austin confronted Kane in the ring, to which they brawl and we are reminded that they feuded in 1998. Yes, that's right, 5 WHOLE YEARS AGO, and we witnessed the same exact brawling. Kane would recover from the Stunner and chokeslam Austin to finish out the show. I'm still not convinced the WWE will seriously push Kane, especially since he looks terrible without the mask. It just doesn't fit.
By the way, there was NO Triple H or Bill Goldberg on this very show. *GASP* I don't know why, other than the WWE's plans for pushing the Jericho/HBK match and the Kane/Austin feud. Goldberg should have been there, but we'll find out what locker room mystery occurs this week that kept Goldberg off the show. Triple H is actually wrestling on Heat this week, in what is dubbed "the biggest match in Maven's history". Whatever. Triple H already murdered Maven on an episode of RAW, in what is always called "the match that Triple H squashed Tough Enough forever". Remember? Triple H gave Maven no offense, as it was like a 6 minute squash match. Nobody will tune into Heat to see Triple H make Maven his bitch once again.
LAST WORD: Not a great night for RAW in the ring, most certainly. I see the WWE trying with Kane, although I know it will ultimately fail as long as Triple H is there to squash him, and I really liked the HBK/Jericho segment. Great mic work in that match to set up what should be an exciting bout in 2 weeks. Can't wait. But everything else on RAW is struggling, as new stars just can't be made and nobody knows who to work a match to get the crowds popping. Such a shame. I'll give this show a [ C ]. RAW needs some major improvement and the roster needs looked at, up and down, to see who is over or can get over, instead of shoving boring characters down our throats, thank you very much.
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