Welcome back, everyone, to the one and ONLY Wrath of Tito. I was about to write this weekend, given that I had already witness a whole shitload of wrestling by the time Saturday evening hit. That's right, I watched Smackdown, actually caught NWA-TNA Impact, and I caught an independent show from XWF Inc.. At the XWF Inc. show, I met one of my favorite ECW stars of all time.
-I met, took a picture with, and got an autograph by New Jack, one of my favorite ECW wrestlers of all time. He was one of the nicest professional wrestlers that I've ever met in person. He came out during a barbed wire match and destroyed one of the wrestlers in the match. Then, he got on the microphone, cut a pretty nice promo, and said that during the intermission, I'll sign whatever you want me to or take pictures. Sure enough, during intermission, he came out, signed whatever you asked and took pictures with you. Very nice guy to talk to. The poor guy, though, has nothing but hamburger on his forehead from his blading all of these years during his matches.
But regardless, New Jack is someone who makes you proud that you pay money for wrestling tickets, videos, or spend time every week watching their shows. I watched New Jack closely from 1996-1997 before my UPN station decided to lift ECW's infomercial after some foul language complaints. I remember how shocked I was when he took his first balcony dive and the many other dives thereafter. When you heard "Natural Born Killers", you knew the shit was about to hit the fan. I loved the many 3 way matches between the Gangstas, Dudleys, and Eliminators. It was great when New Jack would run to the ring with a trashcan full of weapons and hurl them into the ring. But once you heard Ice Cube and Dr. Dre on the loud speakers, it made you instantly pumped and you knew that you were getting your money's worth.
-I saw New Jack on Saturday when I attended the XWF Inc. independent show, and it was one of the best shows I've seen. Before I review the show, my apologies go out to the promoter of the fed. I once got nasty with one a show review of theirs just because I thought it was Jimmy Hart's XWF company that he formed in 2001 shortly after WCW folded. Jim Duggan and Viscera were a part of that show, so I was thinking this was a part of Jimmy Hart's organization. Given that I didn't like the way Jimmy Hart's XWF was run, I got a little extra nasty on a show review that I did. I have been to almost every XWF Inc. show since then and I have enjoyed them thoroughly, as I have reported in THIS column. Just wanted to clear the air, if you we'll... It's a great fed and if you're in the Eastern Ohio or Northern Panhandle of West Virginia areas, it's worth checking out.
The show featured some great tag team wrestling, a really hot Cruiserweight opener (Jason Thunder vs. Virus), 2 very violent matches with blood, barbedwire, broken beer bottles, chairs, and New Jack running in on one match, and a World Title 3 way over-the-top-rope elimination type match that ended in controversy (via Luger and Bret, Royal Rumble 1993, only with 3 people). My best wishes goes to Michael "8X10" Cruz for taking a painful tombstone off the end of a steel chair. I cringed when I saw him take that move ( 8X10 is a great heel gimmick, in my opinion). Speaking of heels, you gotta see this one heel personality named Jack "Hotter than Hot" Blaze. He cuts a great promo and his heel reactions to heckling crowds are priceless. XWF Inc. also has a pretty good commissioner named Naomi Sinclair, and please check out her website by CLICKING HERE.
Overall, an awesome independent show by XWF Inc. and I got to meet New Jack. A very satisfying day as a wrestling fan.
-So I watched SMACKDOWN... Nice to see that the WWE is stealing ideas from old 1980's comedies. If you ever saw the movie "Moving Violations", a personal favorite comedy starring Bill Murray's little brother, you'd notice that Eddie and Angle's attack on Teddy Long's car was swiped! In this movie, Dana Cannon (who Murray played) was sitting on a car when 2 angry cops started attacking it. They would soon find out that it wasn't Dana's but the police commissioner's! Same thing here with Teddy Long, who'd you'd figure would have insurance with a high paying job as Smackdown GM. Or hell, he could buy another car! Or hell, he could press charges and get the money out of Angle and Guerrero for his car! I thought Long's grief over his car made him look like a weaker character. He should be a strong GM, not someone sobbing over a car.
I can't say I'm too high on Kenzo Suzuki... He didn't have too much chemistry with Rob Van Dam and it exposed Kenzo heavily. I guess he's teaming up with Rene Dupree, now? Evil Foreign faction coming up? Oh wait, Japan is FOR the Iraqi war and Dupree's French gimmick depicts France's stance on the Iraqi war. Whoops. No complaints, whatsoever, with the Kidman vs. Chavo match... the rematch of Chavo/Noble vs. Kidman/London should be a good one, especially if given significant time on a Pay Per View. It would be like the Cruiserweight division stealing the show during the last days of WCW. I hope Chavo isn't seriously hurt from a possible injury sustained from this match. Booker T vs. John Cena, match #2, was OK. While Cena has great crowd reactions, the matches just aren't flowing very well between Booker and Cena. I don't know whether it's from Booker being burned out or from Cena still being green. Who knows? I wish the best for both guys and their series.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle, 2 out of 3 falls... NEXT WEEK ON SMACKDOWN!!!! Yeah!! That's a keeper! If you're a discouraged Smackdown fan, at least stop by to watch THAT match.
Paul Heyman was out in the ring with Josh Matthews when Heyman introduced John Heidenreich. Kudos to the WWE for getting Heidenreich in great shape AND for putting him with Paul Heyman. The problem will be Heidenreich's in-ring work and making fans believe in this so-called monster. Seriously, what does he bring that Tyson Tomko, Nathan Jones, Matt Morgan, or other big wrestlers haven't already tried? He attacked Josh Matthews with a few power moves (and I liked the slingshot into the ropes and onto the knees), but got little reaction for his attack. I'll be patient on him and give him the benefit of the doubt because Heyman is with him (Heyman, you remember, made the Big Show have a pretty good comeback in 2002-2003).
Pretty good bout between Angle vs. Mysterio. Angle looks to be a more careful wrestler as opposed to being very aggressive with Mysterio in previous matches. I'm guessing Eddie vs. Angle will be a technical masterpiece next week, or at least I can hope. Great use of a Smackdown flashback with using Arnold Schwarzenegger's appearance during a Smackdown in 1999. That was a great use of a celebrity and Arnold seemed to WANT to be there. Arnold was there to promote his comeback movie, "End of Days", if you didn't remember. I remember it because I HATED that movie and disliked every comeback movie until he put out Terminator 3 last year. Undertaker vs. Orlando Jordan was a pretty dull main event, as expected. Why can't the Undertaker revert to his American Badass gimmick already? He's getting too caught up in the deadman gimmick, insomuch that it's killing his ability to sell... something he would somewhat do as the biker Undertaker. What a shame! I liked watching the Undertaker from Wrestlemania 18 to Wrestlemania 20. He just needs to be himself and go out there and wrestle well... the fans cheer for him anyway, but he's hurting the longterm growth of the company by wrestling the way he does right now.
Overall, it was an OK show. Some good wrestling, so mediocre stuff. At least it had more wrestling than RAW has had in recent times. I'll go [ C+ ].
-And now, NWA-TNA Impact. My good pal Villiano has been bothering me for months to give NWA-TNA a chance. Last time I watched, Dusty Rhodes and AJ Styles were having problems with each other, which overshadowed Jarrett vs. AJ Styles title feud. Back then, I argued that Dusty Rhodes adds nothing to the show based on his stale character. I may have liked him on previous federations, but the nostalgia from his appearances wore thin after his feud with Steve Corino in ECW. He was portrayed as a character that Vince Russo despised. Seriously, why are Russo and Rhodes your on-screen characters. In addition, Larry Zybysko is your commissioner or whatever the figurehead is? Wow, all of the stale WCW names are here in TNA, the so-called innovative new wrestling program.
However, those old faces shouldn't hurt the rest of the show. I've never seen the hexagon ring. I wasn't aware matches had a 10 minute time limit. This was all new to me, as were the superstars of NWA-TNA. Opening match was pretty solid, with Christopher Daniels vs. Chris Harris going at each other for a full 10 minutes. Those guys didn't stop. Same went for the 6 man match between Amazing Red/Chris Sabin/Sonjay Dutt vs. Eddie Villa/Cassidy O'Reilly/John McChesney. Those guys didn't stop and were hitting some amazing spots. Great looking matches, just based on how good fo shape all of the wrestlers were and how they kept hitting spot, after spot, after spot. I'm more of a psychology fan, but these matches were pretty fun to watch.
Another Team Canada?!? Can't we get new ideas? They wrestled in an 8 man match and it was a short match... also, it was dominated with the manager's apparent problem with Dusty Rhodes. I've never seen an 8 man match go so quickly. Abyss vs. Sonny Siaki was decent. I've heard that Abyss is an NWA favorite? I'm still surpised that NWA-TNA is still trying to make the connection between wrestling and NASCAR. I've been a wrestling fan for almost 20 years now and I can't remember a time when I actually liked NASCAR (although I know about it from Sportscenter). I don't see the connection between liking both. I guess Jeff Jarrett is still the NWA-TNA champion, as he squashed a guy named Frankie Capone in mere moments. Yeah, Russo is contributing ideas with the amount of matches crammed into this one hour. The main event featured good ol' Jeff Hardy vs. Frankie Kazarian... If I spelled any names wrong, I'm using results based off of another site as a reference. This match had quite a lot of run-ins, as I didn't really get a good look as to if Hardy has improved or not with TNA.
Overall, I liked the first two matches... the rest, well, it was just there. The storylines here just aren't doing it for me, especially when Russo vs. Dusty Rhodes seemed to dominate the show. That makes me want to turn the show off. And seriously, can someone replace Don West as an announcer? I love listening to Mike Tenay, but West sounds so out of place. I would much rather listen to Mark Madden on his worst day. I'll give this show a [ C+ ] as well.
-It seems as though the WWE is concerned with Eddie Guerrero, insomuch that rumors suggest that he's on the brink of returning to drugs or alcohol. If he is, it's the WWE's responsibility to get him some help. The WWE signed Guerrero, trusting that he has cleaned himself up from the painkiller addition and drinking. Guerrero, however, has been scapegoated for his reign as World Champion. He lost both Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle for the Spring/Summer, immediately cutting out the legs of Guerrero for his early title reign. While Eddie gave great effort, he was stuck feuding with John "Bradshaw" Layfield for most of the Spring/Summer. Look, JBL can be a world champion, but the WWE rushed him and in doing so, it hurt Guerrero's reign as champion. Everyone thought Guerrero would have Triple H to feud with when the Smackdown and RAW rosters exchanged talent, but HHH quickly politicked himself back onto the RAW roster. Eddie was left with nobody to feud with as Kurt Angle healed up. Hopefully, his feud with Angle will give Eddie the confidence to stay on the wagon instead of falling off. In addition, it's up to the McMahons and road agents to make sure that Guerrero's confidence in himself is still there, despite a rocky time for Smackdown while Guerrero was champion.
-And speaking of Brock Lesnar... he was cut by the Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday. It seemed like a nice attempt at becoming an NFL player by Lesnar and the coaches/players respected his try. Lesnar lasted through camp, whereas many other non-drafted tryouts usually quit early. He just didn't have it mentally to be in the NFL, right now. Maybe if he goes to NFL Europe and trains for a year, he could eventually make a squad next year. Lesnar has the physical means to make the NFL; it's just matter of learning how to play. He hasn't played football since he was in high school. I believe in him when he's saying he'll keep trying at football instead of quickly jumping back to the WWE. I admire Lesnar's guts to quit a million dollar job to live out his dream to play in the NFL, in addition, I'll now admire Lesnar for not wanting to quit his dream.
-I'm currently reading through Ric Flair's book, "To Be the Man". I'm just about to start his 1991 WWF entry, as I'm excited to get through it and read about his WCW return. Poor Ric Flair's book, though... it has to split time with my new addiction, Madden 2005.
OK, I've typed enough for the Introduction... on to RAW!
Next, it was Tajiri/Rhyno vs. La Resistance/Coach. Last week, the WWE should have talked the Rock into wrestling THIS match on Tajiri/Rhyno's team. But this week, it was all Rhyno because Tajiri is actually injured. This match was Rhyno fending off the opposition like Neo did against many Agent Smiths on the Matrix 2... but not as flashy and without special effects. La Resistance won...
Papa Roach is still a band?
Next match was William Regal vs. Batista. Pretty short bout here, giving both guys nothing to develop. Then again, these two are might not mesh well if given a lot of time to wrestle. Ric Flair ran down and helped Batista win the match.
Probably the best Diva Search segment happened last night... They had each Diva cut a promo on each other and it featured the most profane curse words I've ever heard on a professional wrestling show. These ladies were getting really nasty with each other, especially when it came to Carmella. I laughed when Carmella came up, shooting on one, saying she was turned down by Playboy and ripping another for weight (OUCH!) saying "shake that fatass, shake that fatass". I laughed good at that. Those other ladies have no chance against Carmella, as the WWE's negative perception of her is actually making voters keep her in the competition... Ok, the competition is rigged and the other ladies don't really stand out in comparison to her in looks and the Playboy background. The foul language used by these ladies actually made this segment entertaining!
Wow, Shawn Michaels at the Republican National Convention in New York City. I thought he was out with a neck injury sustained from Kane?
Backstage, the WWE continued with Trish Stratus ripping on Lita for her marriage. That prompted a quick reaction by Kane who then stared down Tyson Tomko. I wonder where the WWE is going with this? Is he going to become a bad husband or will a brief confrontation over a Lita basher slowly rot Kane into a face? That at least has my interest. After a brief staredown with Tomko, Kane told Trish "you're right" and laughed while walking away.
Kane & Lita came out and said whatever. Sorry, my attention was diverted to my other television as Senator John McCain was endorsing George W. Bush at the Republican Convention (yes, I watch the conventions... both of them). Eventually, Kane called out some Hardys, and it was a bunch of Matt Hardy imitators. Kane destroyed all 4 of them in a match thereafter, and then Lita announced that Kane has a match with Shawn Michaels at Unforgiven. Wow, this is instead of having HBK running down during the wedding or tonight? What pathetic booking by the WWE!!! I don't know why the WWE showed HBK at the RNC perfectly healthy and then announcing Kane vs. HBK without any confrontation.
Ric Flair vs. Chris Benoit was next... I'd give anything for a 15 minute match between these two. Instead, slightly over 5 and it was still pretty decent. Batista would run in to cause a disqualification. I assume Regal/Benoit vs. Batista/Regal is coming our way soon...
Highlight Reel featuring Chris Jericho was up next and his guest was an injured Edge. Poor Edge... the guy has neck surgery that takes a year away from his wrestling career, and since his return, his career has been pounded by injury. This interview would feature the return of Christian, who would maul Jericho as Edge watched. Reuniting Edge and Christian would be helpful to both Edge and Christian, both of whom are struggling on their own. Looks like they are holding off the official reunion for another show... Funny, they held off the break-up of these two forever.
Next, we had Nidia/Victoria vs. Gail Kim/Trish Stratus. Kudos to the WWE costume department... all 4 ladies looked very hot. Oh, they wrestled a match, too? Short tag team match with a distraction finish, as Victoria beat Gail Kim when Steven Richards in drag came down the ramp. I don't know where the WWE is going with this storyline or when they'll do something reasonable with it, either.
It's Kane vs. Randy Orton, NEXT WEEK on RAW. Orton is being "punished" for his goof earlier on Bischoff. Anybody want to predict the finish of this match?
The main event was Triple H vs. Eugene. Eugene has lost all fanfare since his Summerslam feud with HHH, as HHH has beatdown Eugene so many times already that Eugene has no credibility coming into this match. Not that a guy wrestling as a retard would have any credibility to begin with, but you get the idea. This was a BAD main event and it was a joke of the WWE to play up Eugene's victory, one caused by Orton's interference. This cheap win does nothing for Eugene and gives no credit to HHH for "making a new star". Orton still isn't over as a face despite the hard attempts performed last night. AGAIN, it was too early to turn him face and it was too early to make him World Champion.
LAST WORD: Ugh, RAW just churned out another weak show. This show was RED HOT heading into Summerslam but it's had a Summerslam hangover ever since. The early days of Orton as champion is causing HHH to go into his boring style of badass character. The midcard wasn't given much time to develop with all of the sports entertainment segments taking up too much time. This reminded me a lot of the boring 2003 RAW shows that almost had me quit watching wrestling entirely. I'll go [ C- ] (C minus) on this show. Before the WWE considers depushing Benoit to the midcard, they should consider at least putting him into the HHH vs. Orton match at Unforgiven... otherwise, this show doesn't look like something I'd buy.
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