Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Wrath of Tito, the column that pulls no punches and takes no bullshit! Today, boys and girls, we'll discuss the latest episode of Monday Night RAW, along with a host of topics. I liked RAW last week, so we'll see how it goes this week, down below.
Before I go any further, I have to offer my congrats to Vince Mig for winning the 3rd Annual LoP Fantasy Baseball League. He dominated most of the season, and even broke in to the 90's (scoring is out of 100 in a Rotisserie league), something of which I've never witnessed at a time other than the beginning of the season. I just want to say thanks to everyone who participated in the league this year and I hope to see everyone back next year.
OK, on to some wrestling business. I get my fair share of e-mail, and it's not just regular spam. Many independent feds send me their results, as well as webmasters of professional wrestlers' websites for plugs to their material. One webmaster in particular caught my eye last week, and it was the webmaster of Zach Gowen's website, just letting me know that Zach posted a brand new commentary on his website. I was shocked that I was sent this, for I'm a big critic of the Zach Gowen "feel pity for my one leg" storyline. I replied to the webmaster the following message:
Mr. Tito: I'm curious to know what Gowen thinks of a columnist, such as myself, who doesn't like his contributions to the WWE shows. He must think something or I wouldn't be receiving this e-mail.
Yesterday, I checked my email, and I received two responses. One said that my email would be fowarded to Zach. The second, still from the webmaster, gave me a message from Zach Gowen himself. Here's what he said, and keep in mind that it is unedited:
Zach Gowen: "*Shrug* I don't think too much of your opinion Mr. Tito. Keep up the good work on your "columns" kid."
Of course, when a wrestler replies, I have to respond, especially when he tries to be insulting:
Mr. Tito: "Please, let me respond:
Zach, before you get off calling me a "kid", you should look up your own age lately.
Secondly, you can kiss my ass if you don't like my opinions regarding your position in the WWE or the WWE in general. Why? I'm a paying customer. My video tape purchases, Pay Per View purchases, and 4 hours per week watching your television shows puts a paycheck in your pocket every week. So to dislike what I think of you on television (notice: not as a person) and try to insult me is rather ignorant on your part, and shows who the real "kid" is here in that situation. I dare you to respond.
Besides, if you don't think much of wrestling columnists, then why are you trying to get me to plug your website?"
I'm still baffled that Zach Gowen's website would try to get ME to plug the website despite me being very critical in his storyline. This wasn't just the first Zach Gowen website ask for plugs, either. Why would I plug their website when I don't allow his storyline to get shoved down my throat? Yeah, I feel bad that Gowen has one leg and it's a testament to the guy for becoming a professional wrestler. I dislike what the WWE does with him, regarding the pity push for Gowen because he has a handicap. I don't care to see his storylines taking up excessive time on Smackdown, and then you have veterans such as a Chris Benoit, Rhyno, or a Matt Hardy who only have one week to promote a Pay Per View match.
It's Crash Holly 2003.
Enough of that. "The Rundown" only did $18 million in the box office. While it was #1, for the hype the movie received through television, theater trailers, and all over the internet, it should have been higher, probably towards $30 million. They'll get "rocked" next week when more arrivals enter the theaters, and drown out the Rundown's box office numbers even more. I wouldn't say that this movie is instantly making the Rock an overnight sensation when it comes to action movies. $18 million is nothing, for many other movies, with less advertisements did better on their opening weekends.
I'm sad to hear of another wrestler passing, this time Pitbull #2 Anthony Durante. He died of an apparent drug overdose, a pretty common death among professional wrestlers within the last 10 years. What can I say? I became an ECW fan around September of 1996 when my brother convinced me to give it another try when I didn't like the first show I watched from them. Around that time, I was caught up in a pretty cool storyline involving Shane Douglas and the Pitbulls. Shane Douglas injured Pitbull #1's neck, which of course, ignited a long feud between Douglas and Pitbull #2. It would later get cooler when the Pitbulls brought Ravishing Rick Rude into ECW, but that's another story. I liked the Pitbulls, although the reason they never could become bigger in ECW was from their drug problems. When I saw the headline about Durante passing away, I just unfortunately knew what his death would be. May he rest in peace and I'll remember the small contributions he gave me as a wrestling fan.
It gets worse... Scott Hall was reportedly arrested again recently, something involving a probation violation (his 3rd violation). Honestly, does this man even care to exist anymore? The man either can't stop partying, can't stop doing drugs/alcohol, or does the worst petty crimes around. He's a waste of space and a damn shame to the wrestling world because could you imagine the success he'd see if he were clean? Wow.
Did I mention that Bret Hart is a very respectable individual? His latest column, which is found here, is a response to a recent Wrestlemania 20 challenge made by Kurt Angle. He's flattered by the challenge and Angle calling him the 20th Century's greatest wrestler. Hart then responds by listing the wrestlers whom he feels are the best wrestlers, praising Angle for being a good wrestler (which the WWE lacks more of), and then says something really sad about the challenge: "If I ever could have a last match, it would be with him." That's so sad. Bret was forced to retire after some terrible post concussion syndrome problems, and a stroke triggered by a bicycle wreck has apparently messed him up for good. That's a shame. I wish he could come back, but it's doubtful. He truly is one of the best there is, was, and ever will be.
I have nothing else to say, other than check out Al Birdy's website by Clicking Here. The things I do to see the Matrix Revolutions trailers early... On to RAW!
The show opens up with Chris Jericho and Eric Bischoff coming to the ring. Many fans are suggesting that Steve Austin vs. Chris Jericho will become a Wrestlemania 20 match. We'll see. I'm for the argument that Jericho is due for a Wrestlemania win after putting over Triple H and Shawn Michaels for 2 years in a row. Bischoff announced that Steve Austin was not in attendance. Funny how Jericho and Bischoff are acting as friends here in 2003, but man, when Jericho became the WWE's first ever Undisputed Champion, who was the first person he dogged for his problems with WCW? Yep, it was Eric Bischoff. Tonight's guest of the Highlight Reel is Jim Ross because we have a ***** match to watch later tonight. Might as well waste more time building it up... Johnathan Coachman wants to have a "Country Whoopin'" match, but Jericho makes sure to say that Ross's back is still healing from the attack from Kane. Jim Ross responds to the match making and sarcasm by saying Coachman, Jericho, and Bischoff "suck", and Jericho responds by attacking Jim Ross. Steve Austin then runs in, however he was said to not be there last night... Austin is suspended, but he shows up anyway. Two security guards, looking like independent wrestlers, come to escort Austin out of the ring. Austin attacks them, as predicted, making me wonder where the cops are in that arena to actually arrest Austin? Austin has had so many segments with police and security, it's pathetic. Boring start to RAW...
Backstage, Austin has been banished to the parking lot and has several police officers looking at him beyond a roadblock.
The first wrestling match was the Dudleys vs. Test/Scott Steiner. I just have to admit that Lilian Garcia is looking fantastic tonight... Two great ideas at work. The Scott Steiner slave to Test angle and the Dudleys as Tag Team champions. That was sarcasm, if you didn't notice. After a terrible match that lacked any tag team chemistry, the Dudleys pulled out the win. After the match, Steiner attacked Test. Steiner yells at Stacy afterward for her interference n the match, and Scott then proceeds to attack her. Big Poppa Pump is back as a heel? About time, but it could be too late...
Kane comes out to the ring and said he loved tasting Shane's blood last week. Shane was on his period? Before this promo could become a trainwreck, Hurricane interrupts and has a question for Kane: does he remember winning the tag titles with him last year? Oh my, the WWE is using past footage and history in their storylines? Hurricane asks what happened to Kane from last year to present. Hurricane doesn't want to fight, so he looks around in the audience. He yells at a Hurricane fan in the audience, a child, but the Hurricane made the save. Before Kane could get the upperhand, SHIT ran in and they fended off Kane. I smell a handicap match for later or next week.
Backstage, Maven, Cade, and Jindrak are playing Wrestlemania 19 (cheap plug!), while La Resistance and Conway argue with them, saying they read books instead of video games. Man, I agree with La Resistance for a change. I'm a die hard retro gamer, still playing the older Nintendo systems instead of buying a Game Cube, but I love a good book. I'm really getting into the Hardys book, by the way, and I'm just about into the ECW/WCW Invasion part, which I heard was really good. I'm glad to see a bunch of OVW wrestlers are getting the chance to wrestle on RAW. I, however, feel that all 6 guys still have a lot of work to do before getting regular airtime. Then again, the creative bookers don't give a shit about you unless you have a big contract, are sleeping with a booker, or are a veteran hoss. Silence in the crowd proves what I said about needing more work. Afer a while, Jindrak would make a pin. The match wasn't that bad. Imagine how good it would have been if these guys were well known by the crowd?
Backstage, Austin wants a beer from the police officers. Rob Van Dam, duuuuuuude, wants to talk to Austin and thank him for giving him the Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Title. Some tall individual, probably another local independent wrestler guy, approached Austin and said he had two tickets just to meet his idol, Steve Austin.
We now see Triple H somewhere, not backstage. He's asking Goldberg if staying on top is harder than getting to the top. HHH is sure to say that the World Title is his and he'll take it back. SO FUCKING FULL OF HIMSELF! He has a briefcase full of cash, $100,000, and he's offering it to anyone who takes out Bill Goldberg (i.e. injuring Goldberg until Triple H comes back). Kind of an interesting idea, for the whole WWE will now attack Goldberg everywhere. Kinda like the 24/7 hardcore rules? Oh man...
Coach vs. Jim Ross was next. I mean seriously, when the creative team and Vince McMahon get together, do they honestly feel that a match like this will generate interest? Jericho joins the announcing table to at least make the match have some entertaining audio. Coach dominated at first, whipping Jim Ross's back hard with the strap. Man, I could use some WCW Thunder right now with this entertainment. Coach hesitates on going for the kill, and Ross nutshots him for the advantage. MY GAWD! Ross gets in some whips, ripping off the Coach's shirt to make the strap hurt worse. Bischoff tries to interfere, Ross fights him off. Then, in a moment that was HILARIOUS, Jim Ross dodged a punch or clothesline from Coachman and stumbled on the ring. That had to hurt poor J.R. Ross then hits Coachman with a Stunner, and Lawler/Ross are back commentating. After the match, Steve Austin arrives through the crowd since he now has a ticket to the show. Wow, they've never done that angle before! He then gets out some beer and it's drinking time. God, help me. Such a terrible show tonight, so far...
Terri is in the ring and she introduces Lita, who seems to have changed her diet since we saw her last year. She dropped a lot of muscle that she was trying to put on, and she looks pretty damn fine for doing that. Lita has a book coming out tomorrow? Man, that's news to me. She was putting her great mic skills to work (sarcasm) until Gail Kim and Molly Holly came out. Molly, who actually has good mic skills, is upset about not getting a book/DVD, despite being the Women's Champion. They attack Lita, but Trish makes the save. And then Victoria helps out the heels and hits Trish with a completely badass move. Wow... Afterward, Molly would rip out pages of Lita's book on top of Lita. Call it an infomercial for Lita's book.
Hurricane vs. Kane was up next. It was a squash match, once again keeping Shane Helms on the bottom rung of the ladder. What was the point of this segment? It just gives fans a reason to stop watching.
Backstage, Bill Goldberg is asked about the Triple H hit. He talked about his match later that night, and Steven Richards tried to attack.
Next match was HBK/Goldberg vs. Orton/Flair. They were questioning if HBK would turn on Goldberg the whole match. It was a nice treat to see Flair and HBK wrestling in the ring. They had Michaels wrestling the majority of the match, which is a smart decision to do. Goldberg did the bodypress one guy and spear the other move, which is one of my favorites. The match was broken up via disqualification by Rodney Mack/Mark Henry. Rodney Mack was destroyed by Goldberg, but Mark Henry attacked Shawn Michaels via throwing him throwing into the stairs and busting HBK open. Goldberg vs. Mark Henry next week? As long as Goldberg wins it cleanly, I'm fine with that match. Bad decision on the finish.
I find it hilarious that the WWE is putting HHH into more and more commercials these days. What, are we applying for Hollywood? If you have it, you have it. They are just begging for Hollywood to give HHH a role so that he can be equal to the Rock, and that can't happen.
Backstage, Teddy Long eggs on Mark Henry, and Henry says he's aiming for the $100,000.
Our main event was Rob Van Dam vs. Christian in a ladder match. I guarantee that if this show bombs in the ratings, RVD and Christian will get blamed. Nice flip over the ropes and onto Christian with a ladder. Nasty slingshot into the ladder on RVD. That had to have hurt and probably did some damage to RVD's face. WOW @ the bodypress and then into the flip by RVD. That was a first... very nice. Christian has done the reverse DDT off the ladder before, but it's still impressive. Christian was almost impailed by the ladder on that one to his face. The Rolling Thunder had to have hurt both parties at that angle. The fans are into it, as they should be, for both guys are doing well in that ring. RVD missed a 5 star frog splash on a ladder, and then was rammed pretty hard with the ladder. RVD would then dropkick the ladder and Christian sold the bump as though it killed him. Both were going up, the ladder fell, but RVD landed on the other ladder. 5 star frog splash from the very top of the ladder by RVD. Holy cow! RVD positions the ladder over Christian and gets the title. New IC champion! GREAT match!!!
LAST WORD: This show sucked balls until Christian vs. Rob Van Dam, who gave it their all and put their bodies on the line to give this show a much needed boost. Major props to RVD and Christian, putting on a ladder match that I expected to flop from blown spots, but it was very crisp and the crowd was heavily into it. Let's hope these two are awarded for their hardwork for the future. This show gets a [ C+ ] (C Plus) thanks to the main event. I was in the D-range before RVD/Christian went on.
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@That's all for today's column. Just chill till the next episode....