Welcome to the TUESDAY, TUESDAY, TUESDAY edition of the Wrath of Tito. I hope you enjoyed the double dose of the Wrath last week, as you'll be receiving from here on out, or at least until Thanksgiving when I hope to graduate.
Let me go off topic from wrestling here to start and discuss two deaths recently. I'm very sad about Johnny Cash. Now granted, I'm only 23 years old and I didn't see Cash at the height of his career. However, I've heard and generally liked what I've heard from him throughout the years. I've always liked "Ring of Fire" and "I Walk the Line", arguably Johnny Cash's two biggest hits. "Boy Named Sue" always made me laugh, and the "Man in Black", I thought, was a very strong song. My history teacher talked about World War 2 and actually played "Drunken Ira Hayes" for us in class (I later had someone parody that song for my column entitled "Drunken Scott Hall"). I bought a Greatest Hits CD for a discount price at a K-Mart several years ago and enjoyed it very much.
Then I heard what I'll call the GREATEST COVER SONG EVER in "Hurt". I was amazed at how good it was. I was a NIN fan for their first 3 albums, and I liked "Hurt" off of the Downward Spiral CD. Johnny Cash covered it so well, and is a great case where the cover sounds better than the original. Then you watch the video, and it almost puts a tear in your eye (or puts a tear in your eye now). I looked at the CD with "Hurt" on it called American IV: The Man Comes Around and I recognized many song titles on them, including the Beatles's "In My Life", Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Waters", and Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus". So I bought the CD and it has become one of my favorite CDs that I've bought in the last 2 years. Hopefully, the Grammys think that way, too.
For the small contributions his music has given to me, I've enjoyed and cherished it. He's a legend and a pioneer in the music industry, and it's sad to see him go, especially when he planned on doing one more album and he didn't want to retire. May he rest in peace.
Secondly, John Ritter died unexpectedly on the same day. Poor guy died without any doctors detecting his heart condition to treat it, and he was in the middle of taping the second season of "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter", which seemed to see some success. I used to watch "Three's Company" when I was little on TBS via re-runs and thought the show was totally corny. I actually thought his 180 performance as a caring father in the "Problem Child" movies were more rememberable for myself. May he rest in peace as well.
It seems like many of the stars of yesterday are leaving us, one by one, in every form of entertainment.
Ok, getting back to business, but keeping those two in your minds... I laugh at the idea of Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 20. Why? For one, it will be a TERRIBLE match. Doesn't anybody remember the "Age in the Cage" match or the many other after 1995 Hogan vs. Savage match? Both were healthy and all of the matches were eyesores. Ok, so the Madison Square Garden crowd would eat that shit up with a spoon, correct? Yeah, that's a good point. However, I'm fearing something else... What if their reactions at Wrestlemania 20 make Vince McMahon want to keep BOTH guys on the rosters afterward? See, it's that influence that could be bad for the WWE. Let's go back to 2002, shall we? Hogan was well received at Wrestlemania 18 and shortly thereafter, so what happened? The WWE gave Hogan lots of airtime and the WWE Undisputed Title, and the ratings dropped! It's one thing to show up once or just a few times, but to become a WWE regular? The older guys seriously can't hang and are proven to be damaging on the ratings, especially on UPN, where the audience is proven to be younger than it is on RAW.
Plus, both guys are money and push hungry at their ages, and the WWE doesn't need that right now. Just look at Hulk Hogan, who has been let go by the WWE twice now for those such problems. Let us also remember that Randy Savage hasn't been on national cable stations since I believe 1999? Maybe early 2000? Welcome to 2003, as many fans might not receive him well. Then again, we'll see. I think the match at Wrestlemania 20 would be entertaining just because the fans will be screaming for it, but outside of that match, things won't look so bright, especially since both fight nagging injuries DAILY, mind you. The WWE has enough veterans screwing things up backstage and some on screen, thereby making it worthless to keep both Savage and Hogan long after Wrestlemania 20.
Billy Gunn is out of action, once again. You know, I don't wish injuries on other people, but what is the deal with this guy? He's usually durable for a run of a few months, and then, BAM, he's out for months with terrible injuries, only to come back, receive a big pop on his first night back and receive an instant push because of that. The WWE is using Gunn wrong. He can't stay healthy at his age and at his bulk, so what they should do is maybe try to use him as a developmental instructor. Yeah, he's a bad singles wrestler, but he's been in wrestling for years and he's been a respectable tag wrestler at times. Plus, I'm sure he could help smaller wrestlers get larger in muscle mass in a matter of moments. Remember how Smoking Gunn/Rockabilly Billy Gunn turned into Mr. Ass, literally overnight? He got huge and quick. Then again, he'll have to alert wrestlers that something else would shrink when getting larger....
You know, my hope is that the potential commentating team of Steve Austin and Eric Bischoff do well at Unforgiven when announcing during Jim Ross/Jerry Lawler vs. Al Snow/Johnathan Coachman. Why? Why not have Austin and Bischoff as your RAW commentating team? Let's be honest here, Jerry Lawler is a terrible color commentator right now. He just doesn't have "it", and his act is very stale right now. He seems to go through the motions. Then, you have Jim Ross. I watched an old WWF match the other day, when Ross was just starting out, and he was a very good commentator back then. Why? He didn't shout like he does now! Ever since 1998 and the Foley vs. Undertaker Hell in the Cell match, he shouts during his matches instead of just commentating in a speaking voice. He goes "MY GAWD! HOW MUCH MORE CAN HE TAKE?", and that makes him sound worse than he probably thinks he is. He's getting as bad as Tony Shiavone right now, and that's not good.
Bischoff is an experienced announcer. Sure, he was cheesy during Nitro, but he was the Vice President and his job was to sell the product or lose his job. He had to do what he did back then. When Bischoff commentated, though, he seemed excited to be there and calling the matches. And then we'd see a rare HEEL play by play announcer and a FACE color commentator if Austin was his partner at the table. I think Austin would have fun with the role since he loves to talk, anyway. I'd take Bischoff/Austin over Ross/Lawler and Coachman/Snow any day of the week in the RAW booth. RAW needs drastic production improvements, and that's a step in the right direction. Both Lawler and Ross can be used in other departments of the WWE, so no unemployment there. I'm sure some sports network would be somewhat interested in Ross for football commentating, too. RAW could use some new theme music and maybe a facelift on the colors. Then, we could discuss the actual wrestling and storylines of the show...
Ok, let's get RAW!
Our first match was Chris Jericho vs. Rob Van Dam. These two have wrestled many, many times. We take a break early on in the show... hey, football is on! Back... this is match number 93848848 between the two. Too bad none of their matches mean anything in the long run, as the bookers just put their matches here or there instead of ever seriously pushing each guy. Referee bump and that prompts Christian to attack both competitors with... you guessed it, a title belt! He accidentally (although it didn't look it) hit Jericho, and then laid out Rob Van Dam. Both guys were knocked out, and Austin made a Triple Threat match in spite of Christian. Another gimmick match added to the card... it could be the match that steals the show, though.
Oh wow... the WWE just showed clips of the Bill Goldberg vs. Hulk Hogan match from Nitro on July 6th, 1998. I believe it's the 2nd highest rated wrestling segment of all time, and it was the last time WCW beat the WWF, EVER, in the ratings.
The next match was Spike Dudley vs. Rob Conway. Spike is being forced to compete by Eric Bischoff, since you know, the Dudleys feuded with Bischoff forever a few months ago. The Duds go right after the Frenchies, and Rob Conway goes immediately after the neck. A Rude Awakening neckbreaker defeated Spike in a very short match. That won't get your new talent over. Rob Conway goes to get a table, puts it up in the ring, and then puts Spike Dudley through the table. I'm sure the WWE doesn't mind the blown table spot last week by La Resistance, for they can use it for a sympathy angle.
Backstage, Boss Bischoff are with Coach and Al Snow, and I guess there's an idea Coachman will perform later. Funny how Al Snow looks at his former Tough Enough 3 contestant as if he never saw her in his life.
Our next match was the Fabulous Moolah against Victoria Moolah is wrestling in this match for her 80th birthday. Very fitting of the WWE to do a tribute to her. Victoria seems to be breaking character and enjoying the moment. It's somewhat scary to see how slow Moolah and Mae Young move these days, but you know, they are pretty fucking old. Moolah wins via roll up and Victoria attacks both old ladies afterward. Randy Orton oddly makes the save, and introduces himself to Moolah. "I'm Randy Orton, Legend Killer", and BOOM, he RKO's Moolah. That looked pretty sick, too. By the way, how about the idea of Victoria being a valet for Randy Orton? That could work...
More Goldberg highlights... Very nice, but could this have been used to hype Goldberg's entrance?
Goldust/Lance Storm vs. Rodney Mack/Mark Henry was next. Storm is all happy and dancing now. We'll see if charisma is the answer for Storm. I doubt it, for good storylines would be a better route to go. Why do I shudder when I see Rodney Mack and Mark Henry come out? I guess I'm guaranteed back wrestling from one guy who is overrated and another who has a guaranteed contract that the WWE refuses to buyout already. Ross said this is the biggest, strongest, most athletic person you'll ever see. Personally, I thought Vader was a beast in the ring. Mark Henry makes the pin and nobody cares in the ring, whatsoever. The crowd has no movement, but hey, let's keep pushing shitty wrestlers! Why not? It's only millions of dollars lost, who the fuck cares?
Backstage, Randy Orton was talking with Evolution until he ran into Shawn Michaels. They have some words and it ended nicely with Orton saying he'll use HBK as a stepping stone, with HBK responding with a slap and saying "you better step hard".
Backstage, we see Hurricane and SHIT talking about flying, and that moves into Molly Holly and Gail Kim talking about their match.
And now, a contract signing between Kane and Shane McMahon. Contract signings are so horrible in the WWE lately. Too overdone, for one, and they always result in one guy getting destroyed before or after signing. Oh, get this. They must sign legal release forms so that nobody in the WWE is held legally responsible. I can just hear the buyrates increasing. Another dead crowd reaction for Shane... but hey, let's keep using him in place of wrestlers! It makes so much sense!!!!!!!! They sign their stupid contracts and brawl in the ring. Lots of low blows from Shane because he loves giving low blows, har har. We see chairshots from Shane and we go through a table. Shane McMahon would make one hell of a backyard wrestler for the Best of Backyard Wrestling tapes!
Next, it was Trish Stratus versus Molly Holly and Gail Kim. Silent crowd, holy crowd. All of the pops, gone tonight. Young Gail Kim is not shining bright. Boring women's wrestling and bad matches are ruining tonight. We'll sleep until this match is over... Sleep until this match is over... Sing that to the tune of "Silent Night", arguably one of the best Christmas songs, ever. Actually, Trish and Molly wrestling wasn't THAT BAD, but Gail Kim still looks like an amateur... well, she is! Ohhh, nice combo with the pull away from the ropes and onto the knee by Kim and Molly. I love a good tag team move. Mollygoround finishes this. This match wasn't that bad, but man, nobody in the crowd wanted to see this, and they shouldn't. Afterward, Molly and Trish get more shots in as I notice the referee looks like Test. They set up the chairs to kill Trish with a top rope move, but Lita makes her return, looking hotter than ever, and ignites the crowd with some offense on Kim and Molly, especially the powerbomb on Kim. Good to see her back, as it was a long road recovering from her neck injury received on a television set. Let's hope she has a little more fundamentals in that ring, although I fear a Lita vs. Gail Kim match would be a total trainwreck!
Bischoff is with Gail Kim and Molly Holly, consoling them, until Steve Austin walks in and makes a tag match for Unforgiven involving the women.
Johnathan Coachman walks out with a cowboy hat and to Jim Ross's music, and Al Snow then walks out with king stuff on and to Lawler's music. Lawler and Ross's mics were turned off, thankfully, and we now get a possible preview of Coachman and Al Snow commentating.
Val Venis vs. Test is our next match. Wow, this is the worst match you'd want to debut as RAW announcers for. The crowd is back to dead, as they always are for Test matches. Plus, who can get behind Val Venis, a guy whom the WWE doesn't put on RAW anymore. Who should care? Stacy getting involved helped put a little pulp into the crowd, and distractions by Steiner and Stacy cause Test to lose to Val, and Val will go back to his cave. Steiner attacks, to no crowd cheers, and Test backs off. I still insist Stacy will turn heel in the match.
After the match, Jerry Lawler gets into the ring and challenges Al Snow to a match. Last week, the Coachman/Snow vs. Ross/Lawler feud drew the lowest segment for last week. But hey, the WWE never fucking learns!!!! Heaven forbid they learn from the past, ever, in their lives. Another crowd killing match, with bad wrestling. Lawler wins via reversing a suplex into a pin, which looked quite decent. Jim Ross saluted Lawler in the ring and was attacked by Johnathan Coachman to make sure more fans tune into Monday Night RAW.
God, the Unforgiven card looks rather boring...
Backstage, Austin challenges Triple H to do his "Goldberg going away party" alone, and Triple H says he'll do it to his Evolution friends.
The Rock will be on RAW, via satellite, to promote his movie "The Rundown", which I think will be a good flick, comedy and action wise.
No main event, for it was Triple H coming out for his "Goldberg going away party". When Triple H officially retires, I'll throw a "Triple H going away party"! We get balloons and confetti. He brags about beating everybody backstage, basically shitting on the entire RAW roster. HHH's mic cuts out on him, which I hope isn't a work. Karma is a bitch, you know. Triple H presents a picture of the Elimination Chamber match, where Goldberg is bloody. This is some pretty negative heel commentary by Triple H, one that doesn't promote a Pay Per View but damages the product in general. Hey, what more can you expect from the poorly drawing World Champion named Triple H? Instead of replaying a video, Bill Goldberg appears on the screen and taunts HHH, and says the special moment he'll get will occur right now when he comes to the ring. Nice press inverted into a powerslam by Goldberg, and that finishes RAW in a good way after some ignorant comments by HHH.
LAST WORD: Oh Jesus Christ, can a longtime wrestling fan get some actual good wrestling on a WRESTLING show? Yeah, I used the word "wrestling" three times in one sentence. I have no reason to watch this weekend's Pay Per View, and I hope the WWE actually does the right thing by sending Triple H out on a nice and long vacation. Let's hope. This show gets a [ D ] and it's a show for me to poop on!
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@That's all for today's column. Just chill till the next episode....