Welcome to the column that holds NOTHING back, the Wrath of Tito. Today, boys and girls, we'll be discussing Monday Night RAW, the PWI 500, and a few other wrestling issues. What you won't be seeing is a Unforgiven review. Why? Because I didn't watch it. I didn't have any interest to drive home (for 2 hours) late at night just to watch what would be a mediocre Pay Per View, at least on paper. I'm not to 'high' on the RAW roster right now, which I'm sure you've figured out on my RAW columns. The storylines are bad, the midcard is pitiful, and the main event scene has been shit on by Triple H. Let's hope his time off gives RAW some new life or at least a little bit of improvement.
I am happy to hear that Bill Goldberg won the RAW World Title. You've spend $1.5 million or whatever the figure is to bring him in, so why not try him as champion? His salary, in the case of Mark Henry and the Big Show, justifies the push. It all depends on how the booking committee pushes him or exposes him to whether his title reign will help RAW or not. I'm of the belief that he's just keeping the seat warm for Triple H, who is in much need of some time off. Just reading the feedback, many were satisfied with the Orton vs. Michaels match, while the rest of the card just appeared to be there. I don't know? I'm sure I'll watch the show one day, but from the way it looks on paper through the results, it would have been a waste of time for me to watch and then bash through a column. What a time saver! Besides, that Bills vs. Dolphins game was pretty darn good on ESPN last night, so I was pretty entertained on Sunday night.
I bought the Pro Wrestling Illustrated 500 the other day. I remember back when the PWI 500 was within the regular Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine, but now, it has its own magazine and somewhat taken a life of its own. Hell the damn price for this year's issue is even up, costing buyers $9.95! So wrong on many levels, although the magazine is pretty thick and is all color photos. I'll spend a few days reading it, so I guess it's worth it. All me to list the top 25 of this list. It was compiled from this time last year until the present, so keep that in mind.
1. Brock Lesnar
2. Triple H
3. Kurt Angle
4. Keiji Muto
5. Chris Jericho
6. Big Show
7. Booker T
8. Kenta Kobashi
9. Eddie Guerrero
10. Rob Van Dam
11. AJ Styles
12. John Cena
13. Chris Benoit
14. El Hijo Del Santo
15. Jeff Jarrett
16. Shinya Hashimoto
17. Matt Hardy
18. The Undertaker
19. Rey Mysterio Jr.
20. Christopher Daniels
24. Koji Kanemoto
25. Charlie Haas
Ok, first of all, let me say that when it comes to NWA-TNA, indies, or international wrestling, I'm completely ignorant because I don't watch any of that stuff. Sorry, I don't go out of my way to pay for someone's programming or to find tapes of something. Not my thing. I'll mostly comment on WWE guys here. For this year's PWI 500, I pretty much agree with the list, for the first time ever! Lesnar at #1 makes sense. He's been healthy the whole time and almost dominant. Good choice. Triple H at #2 makes sense only from his long title reigns. His success is manufactured through his soon to be wife Stephanie, but fine, #2 is good for him. Kurt Angle is perfect for #3 because he had some injuries, but still wrestled great afterward and before that. I'm glad to see that PWI gave props to the BEST RAW performer at #5. Big Show is a product of a Vince McMahon personal push, but it's probably his best year yet in the WWE, so fine, #6 is OK for him. Booker T at #7 makes sense, although I'd rank Eddie Guerrero before Booker T, but then again, Guerrero just got really hot recently, probably during the process of printing this magazine.
Last year's #1 ranked wrestler, Rob Van Dam, is at #10. I'd argue he should be lower because of his many, many losses to heels this year. I'd put Chris Benoit above John Cena, but then again, Cena has had a better push than Benoit and can actually WIN matches. Poor Benoit. He's involved in the match of the year, and gets no love after that. Ok, I like Matt Hardy at #17. Without a big push behind him, Hardy is getting over on his own and working great in the ring. The Undertaker is reasonable at #18 due to his injuries. Same with Mysterio at #19. I thought the magazine may have overrated Hurricane at #21, for he's had a bad year, with the exception of looking great when the Rock was around. Kane gets no love from PWI at #23. He was out for an injury, but I still say the unmasking seriously hurt his career. I love Charlie Haas at #25. Probably the highest tag team specialist you'll ever see (they gave props to Benjamin at #30, too).
How about the rest of the list? Just your mixed assortment of WWE talent, and nothing too embarrassing. I love reading the former OVW wrestler profiles, and how PWI clearly states how over and great they were down in Louisville, whereas they are made to suck in the WWE. Take the Basham brothers. Doug Basham and Damaja (Danny Basham) were apparently big stars in OVW, and now they are put together as brothers for a tag team in which a former Tough Enough 2 contestant gets more attention than they do. I don't see too many problems with this year's issue, and it's leaving me with a lack of material to write about! Ugh!!! Good job, fellas.
Oh, by the way, besides THIS column, I have updated my column archives. Yeah, I'm lazy about that, so sue me! You can read nearly EVERY written column of mine from the very beginning at http://mrtitopdc.tripod.com. It hasn't been updated since June 10th! For shame!!!!
I've also began reading the Hardy Boyz book again. I read a recommendation somewhere that it gets better as you read it, and I have to agree with that. I'm probably around 100 pages into it, where the Hardys begin their developmental training for the WWE. I like the idea that they started wrestling from scratch, learning on their own, which is a pretty tough way of doing things, I'd assume. I'm forced to read it in pieces, such as before a class, while I'm dropping anchor, among other things when I can fit it into my days.
Nothing more to say, so on to the RAW review!
RAW starts off with saluting various soldiers in the crowd who served in Afganistan and Iraq. God, I hope they don't do any angles involving those guys tonight. I've had enough.
Johnathan Coachman and Al Snow come out first, to NO HEAT WHATSOEVER, and go to the announcer's position. I'm telling you, Austin and Bischoff would be your perfect announcing team right now. I love how the WWE insists on pushing feuds that aren't over, but they kept it up with Ross/Lawler vs. Snow/Coachman.
Bill Goldberg comes out to the ring, in street clothes and with title in hand to a pretty nice crowd pop. Excellent. They even have his nameplate changed. I just noticed how mangled Goldberg's forehead is from recent bladejobs. Goldberg didn't say much before Steve Austin would run down to the ring. Weird to hear Al Snow and Coach praising a face like Goldberg for winning on Sunday, but they bash the face commissioner in Steve Austin? How odd. Austin said he liked 4 things in life, but mentioned 5... At Unforgiven, Goldberg made Austin happy by winning the World Title, and salutes Goldberg with some beer. However, before the drinking party can start, Eric Bischoff comes out and Snow/Coachman love it. I might add that Al Snow is fucking terrible on color commentary, just as bad as Lawler has been since he returned. Bischoff comes out and kisses Goldberg's ass and says "Vince McMahon didn't creat Bill Goldberg; Eric Bischoff created Bill Goldberg". He gloats some more about Goldberg's win, which pisses off Goldberg to spear Bischoff. Bischoff took the spear wrong, too, and his head probably doesn't feel too good after whiplashing off the bottom rope.
During the break, Snow and Coachman helped Bischoff to the back.
Our opening match of the night was Christian vs. Rob Van Dam. From the many reviews I read, I heard that Jericho vs. Christian vs. RVD was insanely boring last night. The crowd seems to be hot early on in this match, so let's hope the WWE keeps entertaining the fans with some good material to keep them into matches. With Rob Van Dam, I believe he's due for a heel turn. He played a great cock in his day with the Mr. Monday Night stuff, and even sounded decent on the mic as a heel. Nice split-legged-moonsault on the back by RVD. RVD is going for many near falls, with some nice fancy footwork. FUCK THAT FINISH with Christian disqualifying himself by hitting RVD with the IC title. Why the hell is everyone and their mother using the beltshot? Does Vince McMahon have a total hard on for that finish? The match wasn't that bad. Christian attacks RVD with a ladder afterward (which looked stiff to RVD's head), probably making a ladder match for the future. Christian did the Frog Splash off the ladder to RVD, which looked pretty nice, actually.
Backstage, Bischoff is getting treated for his injuries. Chris Jericho came in, looking like he's worked on his abs for the first time in his life. Jericho wants a World Title shot against Goldberg, tonight, and Bischoff grants it.
Tickets go on sale for Wrestlemania 20 this Saturday at 10:00 am. I'm sure they'll go quickly, but I have to wonder what the status of the WWE will be by March of next year.
Jindrak and Cade were supposed to come out for a tag match, BUT they were jumped by Evolution - Triple H, Randy Orton, and Ric Flair. That'll teach you younger wrestlers to attempt to get any television time. To the ring Evolution goes, and the "Goldberg" chants are heavy. HHH gets the mic and says he's the single best wrestler, and says that "Goldberg didn't beat me, I beat myself". He insists that he'll get his rematch and says "keep my title warm", which is a very real life comment because once Triple H comes back from his break, he'll take it back and continue stinking up RAW.
I'll tell you what, the "Rundown" promotional machine has been in high gear throughout all of television. You can't escape the media blitz! It better go above $100 million or a lot of money was wasted on advertising.
Now, dead silence from the hot crowd as Rodney Mack and Mark Henry come down. They WISH they could wrestle and get over. Teddy Long gets on the microphone and says Washington D.C. is another place that dislikes blacks. Dogging the hometown still isn't getting these guys over heels, although Long is making me laugh with his "Teddy Long for President". The challenge is for any white boy to challenge Mark Henry, and they can bring weapons if they choose. Tommy Dreamer answers and Henry no sells the kendo sticks. That's bullshit. Oh, but the trashcan shots hurt, though... After some attempted distractions from Mack, Henry wins the match with his stupid slam. Wow, that was not only bad for the eyes, but does NOTHING to establish Henry as a plausible wrestler or an over heel.
Al Snow took a shot at Gene Siskel when discussing that Ebert and Roper's 2 thumbs up about the "Rundown".
Backstage, a match between Maven/Cade/Jindrak vs. Evolution was made. Do we need any more squashes tonight?
Backstage, Austin argues with Christian/Jericho, and like I predicted, a Ladder Match was made for next week. That could be good, and Jericho has an evil look while Austin walks away. Austin also made Jim Ross vs. Coachman for the announcer's table, making me ask why RAW needs any more shitty matches to begin with. END THIS FEUD FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!
Next, it was a rematch of the Unforgiven match: Molly Holly/Gail Kim vs. Trish Stratus/Lita. The both teams look pretty good tonight... No, I'm not talking about their in-ring ability. Jesus Christ, the Broncos are MURDERING the Raiders, 21-0 as I write this column at 10:00 on a live review. So sad... No Jerry Porter means a lot. Back to the match. I like the use of the Lou Thesz Press by Trish. I wonder why Lita does so many spinning and high risk moves after breaking her neck. Then again, she got hurt on a television show. I'm BEGGING the WWE for a Lita vs. Gail Kim match. It will expose those two so badly. Nice flipping neckbreaker by Molly, the true wrestling talent of the women's division. Still the Women's champion, too. Well, I take back my earlier segment. These two teams seem to have great chemistry together, and maybe Lita's popularity is adding more cheers? They can't wrestle this tag match forever, which will be the downfall. Good match for the ladies.
Backstage, Jericho wants Bischoff as special guest referee, but Bischoff is hurt. He then offers to Bischoff to be the outside special guest referee. Man, so many things from 1998 keep coming back to haunt me...
We get a video recap of the EPIC Scott Steiner vs. Test feud. This feud is soooooooooooooooo great, it not only deserves television time and a Pay Per View spot, but a specially produced video to remind us of the hell. Backstage, Test and Steiner argue over the terms of the match, as Test asks Steiner to carry his bags.
Next, we get clips of Shane vs. Kane from Unforgiven. What a dumbass Shane is. It shows you how full of himself he is, for he wants the big spots to be remembered over the wrestlers he's trying to "put over". He's not dedicated to the WWE. He just cares about himself and I'm surprised he's not World champion already. Shane McMahon is in the hospital, talking to the announcers, when Kane runs in and attacks. I thought Lesnar's attack on Gowen was enough, but here we are. Kane knocks him off the bed and beats up security. Kane leaves and Shane is coughing in pain. This does NOTHING for Kane as a wrestler. This push without the mask has been so worthless, as it's nothing but an ego-trip for Shane McMahon. He loves the attention and gets off on it as well. What a cancer.
Next match was SHIT/Hurricane vs. Conway/Dupree. No heat for the match... Devastating dropkick to the back of the head by Dupree. This French gimmick just isn't working anymore. Problems with the French were sooo 6 months ago, or even before that. Decent tag bout, but what I liked was seeing Hurricane and SHIT getting a lot of tag team offense in. They beat Conway and Dupree cleanly with the old 3 Count finisher. After the match, the Dudleys come out and salute SHIT/Hurricane and the armed forces at ringside. SHIT/Hurricane only took one match to beat the Frenchies, while it took the Dudleys several months.
Maven/Jindrak/Cade vs. Evolution was next. I question how hurt HHH is if he's wrestling tonight. Cade seems to be getting his share of offense tonight, doesn't look too bad. I was loving the Flair chops on Maven. I can't believe it... Evolution is giving a fighting chance to this very young duo. Nice flying move by Jindrak on HHH. I wish we'd see more of that from him and O'Haire. Maven had the match won with the missle dropkick, but the referee was hurt. HHH helped Flair get the pin by giving the Pedigree to Maven. I totally expected a squash from that match, but the youngsters put up a great fight. I liked this match. HHH gets on the mic and and says "you fans need me more than you need me", which I hope is an exit from HHH for a while. But good 6 man match, brotha, and thus raising the RAW grade significantly. Sure, a lot of green wrestlers in the match, but they were given a chance to do something against the likes of HHH and Flair.
We go to Hollywood next, and the Rock is with Mark Lloyd. "Is there any truth that I'll slap your lips off right now". That was funny. Rock thanks Vince McMahon and the "boys in the back", along with the fans, for putting him in the position as an actor. "Don't look at the Rock like he has 3 heads". Haha. Rundown should be a pretty big flick, yo. Amazing how the Rock can stay in character with a lot of press and cameras around him.
Our main event is up next. Eric Bischoff comes out first, in pain from the spear he previously received. The match was Chris Jericho vs. Bill Goldberg, a match in which I'm extremely curious on how it does in the overruns. Jericho has his backpack on tonight, for he'll bump like a machine tonight. Nice drop on the top ropes via bodypress by Goldberg. Goldberg then goes for the spear but hits the stairs on the outside. Ever since Bret Hart threw that damn pirate through those stairs in 1995 or 1996, the steel stairs have been overused. That kick scared me by Goldberg. Visions of Bret Hart... That's 2 mentions of Bret in one paragraph! Nice reversal by Jericho on the single arm DDT. Goldberg hits his awesome Bodypress into the spear, but Bischoff breaks the count. The distraction causes Jericho to hit a ballshot, and Jericho then hits the lionsault. Bischoff, though, counts fair and Goldberg kicks out. Steve Austin then runs out and punches Eric Bischoff, which will cause controversy next week on RAW. That distracts Chris Jericho and Goldberg wins via spear and Jackhammer. That was the best Goldberg has looked so far in the WWE. Bravo to Chris Jericho!
LAST WORD: The last RAW I apparently liked or gave a good grade to was on June 17th of this year. I liked many parts of this RAW. The opening segment was good, Christian vs. RVD was good when it lasted, the women's match was good for a change, the 6 man match was unexpectedly good, and the main event was Goldberg's best, thanks to Chris Jericho. The rest either seemed filler or just decent. That gets this show a [ B+ ] (B Plus) grade in my book, and I declare this the BEST RAW IN THREE MONTHS! Triple H selling moves and Goldberg looking good as the new champion seems to work.
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@That's all for today's column. Just chill till the next episode....