Welcome to the column that the pros read... the Wrath of Tito. I do believe that I'm feeling stronger everyday... as it's been a nice 3 weeks since my hernia operation. I feel pretty good, as I've bounced back pretty quickly. Outside of too much caffeine, I keep myself in pretty good shape. I worked out daily, never had any weight problems, and I don't drink, use drugs, or use any tobacco product. I was at a family reunion recently and everyone was playing either football or basketball. The doctor told me "no aerobic activity for 6 weeks!", which I had to bite my tongue to keep remembering.

Anyway... I didn't catch Smackdown. I went out Thursday evening and my VCR was taping Bush's speech at the Republican Convention (for the record, I watched Kerry's speech at the Democrat convention). Hey, I like keeping up with politics. What bugs me is that I hyped seeing Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle, 2 out of 3 falls, and my dumbass didn't see it. Of course, the rest of the country probably didn't either with Convention coverage or pre-season football, as the low Overnight rating (2.5) suggested.

Secondly, I missed most of NWA-TNA Impact. Yes, big FINGER OF SHAME to me this week for missing shows I promised I'd watch. I swear, around 3:00 pm, I got off the computer and went upstairs thinking "I'm going to watch NWA-TNA right now". Then, my Game Cube winked at me. It said "come over here baby" and flashed Madden 2005 as a sex toy. I couldn't resist! My thirst to play a game of Madden took my mind off of NWA-TNA. When I was done playing a game, it hit me that I could catch the last 10 minutes of NWA-TNA! So I tuned in to see AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy tagging up. Hardy basically looks like the same wrestler he was before he left the WWE, except for more face and body paint. Good, albeit quick, tag match from what I saw.

I'll TRY to catch them both this week. No guarantees this week, though!

-I finished Ric Flair's book, "To Be the Man" late last week. I would like to review it here, but I think I'll write an extra column this week so that I can focus on the content of what got Bret Hart fired up. I will say that in short, it's a book that I recommend that everyone should read.

Looking at my bookshelf, I could either start Freddie Blassie's book or finish Jerry Lawler's book. I'd keep going through the Spider-Man Essentials that I've been reading, but it's a tough read after Stan Lee quit writing Spiderman after issue #100.

-Oh, and getting back to the Game Cube, is WWE Day of Reckoning any good? Worth buying? Does it's wrestling engine work well? Is it like the AKI engine found in WCW Revenge, Wrestlemania 2000, No Mercy, and Def Jam Vendetta?

-I'm wondering what the true extent of the Paul Heyman/creative team rumors are. I'm guessing he's being brought on as a consultant, which he was demoted to during March of 2003 after being the top Smackdown writer. Basically, as a consultant, Heyman will watch the shows and send in a review of what he thought. Heyman's influence on the creative teams will depend whether the writers want to read what Heyman wrote or not, I'm guessing. I personally think Heyman should become head writer of Smackdown again. Just think how he'd book JBL or the Undertaker. Undertaker's only interesting storyline this year was when Heyman was egging him on to become a bad guy, although it had a bad ending with Paul Bearer getting cemented. Just look at Heyman's work with the so-called washed-up Big Show in 2002. Heyman's writing instantly built up Big Show as a legit contender and kept him as a contender through Heyman's tenure as head writer. Heyman had a lot to do with Lesnar's early success, too. JBL and the Undertaker NEED good creative ideas to keep their characters interesting and drawing money if Vince McMahon wants them in the main event. Heyman is the key...

-I love the stuff about the WWE Dress Code, as it's driving everyone nuts to dress nice for a change or to see the double standards applied. For instance, since the Undertaker is the "deadman", he doesn't have to follow the dress code in case he's spotted backstage all dressed up. That would "ruin" his character, even though everybody knows, by now, that wrestling is fake. It's also funny that most road agents probably don't follow the dress code either, showing how great the WWE is on "leading by example". But I admire the thought of a dress code. I think it builds character. I always liked it when I heard that a school implemented a dress code, especially given what a lot of females wear these days to school. Although I didn't mind seeing extra skin back in my day, the clothing NOW shows way more cleavage and way more skin than what my school allowed... not that I mind, but it's clearly a distraction in a school. I know that when someone would walk into my classroom with a very tight or low cut shirt, the whole class took notice and stared at her instead of the blackboard/teacher. A dress code wouldn't allow that to happen.

But I wonder how much "character building" the WWE is trying to do? I mean, they have these wrestlers signed under contracts. To "build character", all they have to do is to take them off shows or screw them creatively. Remember, today's WWE wrestler has a downside guaranteed contract, but they make a lot of money based on incentives from being a part of Pay Per View shows or television shows, or any other live shows. The WWE just has to hinder the wrestler from making those incentives and that should "build character" enough. I wonder if Vince implemented the dress code just so he could have a steady flow of money coming back his way from the wrestlers since the WWE is virtually a monopoly until NWA-TNA somehow finds a primetime slot on cable.

-Good to hear that Minnesota Vikings Coach Mike Tice said that Brock Lesnar could come back and make the practice squad later this season. What he means is that when the season progresses, injuries will happen. Therefore, once a football player goes on the Injured Reserved and out for the season, a practice squad member will likely get promoted to the team. That will probably leave an opening for Brock to join the practice squad. That doesn't guarantee much for next year, though, for Lesnar making an NFL squad and being able to say "I played in an NFL game". My very best wishes go out to Lesnar and his football dreams.

-I laughed at the recent rumor suggesting that Lex Luger is receiving phone calls from the WWE for work. YEAH RIGHT! What the hell would the WWE do with Lex Luger here in 2004? It's not like he's a Grade A performer, nor has he ever been, and he's not quite the spring chicken since he's in his 40's now. I also think he could bring bad press for his arrest around Miss Elizabeth's death, where steroids or other illegal muscle enhancers were found in Luger's home. The WWE fought a tough trial in 1994 to get rid of the steroid image (Luger was in the WWE in 1994 and was clean from roids), and the last thing they need is Lex Luger, a man who was arrested for possibly dealing and taking steroids, in addition to Miss Elizabeth dying in Luger's house (which can't help).

But I don't see what Luger can add to the WWE right now. Today's WWE fans might not even know who Lex Luger is, given that Luger's last WWE appearance was in 1995 and Luger was in WCW through 2000. In addition, the WWE learned from their experiences with Kevin Nash and Rick Steiner that former WCW bigshots just don't work out well in the WWE (in addition to Booker T, Diamond Dallas Page, and somewhat with Bill Goldberg). There's a good reason why Sting avoids the WWE and it's not his age or creative differences...

-I wouldn't put too much merit into a Jenna Jameson story in her book about the Undertaker. A reader sent in that she considers the Undertaker the weirdest person she's ever met, and that includes her past with Tommy Lee and Marilyn Manson. Well, I wouldn't consider Tommy Lee weird... he just wants to fuck a lot! But anyway, she apparently said that the Undertaker lives in character and threatened her boyfriend (I think she's married now?). Interesting... I'm hoping that Walden's has the book so that I can read about this (I doubt they do). And by the way, Jenna apparently blew over her ECW appearances. It goes to show you how much she thought of that gig. I always remember the fans chanting "bounce! bounce! bounce!" and she'd always comply.

-Well, it's been over a year and Hulk Hogan FINALLY responded to Macho Man Randy Savage's many, many challenges to fight Hulk Hogan in a real wrestling match. Here's what Hogan said at the Mtv Music awards when asked about Savage: "Every time I wrestle Mach, I beat him up pretty bad. I heard he's having a pretty tough time. If he can get a little oil in that wheelchair and get those legs pumped up because those legs are about the size of my arms I'll beat Macho Man up one more time. But this time it won't be so hard. God bless Miss Elizabeth, she's not here, so I'll just beat Macho up for free. No big deal." No really, God Bless Hogan. I swear, whenever Hogan busts out a quote in character that's not on WWE or WCW television, it's absolutely ridiculous! The stuff ripping on Savage's health is pretty funny, but the stuff about Miss Elizabeth is quite tasteless. Then again, Hogan's said a lot of shocking things during his many calls to the Bubba the Love Sponge show, among other sources. I do give Hogan credit, though, for taking the high road and avoiding giving Randy Savage any extra publicity for his CD/comments by keeping silent until now.

I do admire what Hogan said about P. Diddy's $1 million challenge: "I know a million dollars ain't that big of a hit to him. So if he's gonna get beat up, he might as well make it a hundred million dollars. I can't ever lose in front of my daughter. But I've got a lot of respect [for P. Diddy]. I saw him run for those kids in New York. So it's all good. If it's a million dollars for the kids, if he wants to put that up, I'll let him beat me." Hogan's always looking out for charities, something that he's done throughout his career.

Onto my RAW review.

RAW is TITO

The show started off with Eric Bischoff talking in the ring and saying there will be a cage match between Eugene and Triple H. Seriously, the fans didn't care last week, nor did they care this week. In fact, I don't think anybody cared during Summerslam. Bischoff then announced that since Edge is out with injury, he's STRIPPED of the Intercontinental Title. That would prompt both Chris Jericho and Christian to come out to the ring, and they demand to wrestle over the IC title. Since when are they both #1 contenders? After going through a few match ideas, including Christian's funny "no count out" idea. However, the WWE went to the well again by making Chris Jericho vs. Christian a LADDER MATCH at Unforgiven. Both guys are much older now and Christian has just come off the injured list. Don't expect an innovative match.

Our first match was Chris Benoit, William Regal, Tajiri, and Rhyno vs. La Resistance, Ric Flair, and Batista. Decent opening match, which served as a "kill 2 birds with one stone" Pay Per View hype. This would have been better, though, if the match were longer. Benoit/Regal/Tajiri/Rhyno won the match after Benoit forced Conway into submission. Looks like La Resistance will retain their titles and Batista is going to pin Chris Benoit at Unforgiven. You watch!

A video package hyped up Kane vs. Shawn Michaels. What the hell? This has been a poorly hyped feud, given that HBK and Kane haven't interacted with each other on television. I heard that HBK wasn't even at RAW, which shows you how flawed the WWE's booking logic is. That's why Paul Heyman needs to step in! I bet Heyman would do WONDERS with Kane!

Poor interview backstage by Randy Orton. I should start calling him the "Poor Man's Rock" from the way he attempts to act like a cool face or tries to make Rock's same facial expressions. The WWE is really shoving this face turn down our throats and I wasn't too excited, last week, when I heard Orton had to fight Kane this week. Putting it in a cage later has made it worse.

Backstage, more hilarious stuff from Trish Stratus ripping on Lita. I mean seriously, I could take weeks of that. This is the heel Trish Stratus we've been waiting for ever since her weak heel turn at Wrestlemania 20. This would lead to Nidia defending Lita in Spanish (?!?) and the confrontation would lead to this next match...

Nidia vs. Trish Stratus was next. The match was OK, but if focused on a WARDROBE MALFUNCTION, which gave a reason for Jerry Lawler to get wood and start shouting to remind everyone what a dirty old man he is. Trish won the match with the "Chick Kick" when Nidia (now from Puerto Rico, even though we saw her on Tough Enough speaking very American English) tried to fix her top from ripping off. Both competitors, though, looked quite good...

Oh man, the Triple H vs. Eugene cage match was TORTURE! A long, boring match which was nothing but an extended beatdown of what Triple H gave Eugene last week. Eugene even begged for mercy to show you who the true master was. Triple H won the match with a Pedigree that seemed forever to build up and then beatdown Eugene's shoulder, of all body parts. I think that the Eugene character has been overexposed and needs to be "put on the shelf" for a while... only to return as a midcarder. That gimmick just doesn't work in main event-like matches.

Backstage, Edge was mad about losing his IC Title. So what? What can you do, limp after Bischoff for the decision? Also, Kane told Lita to come watch his match with Randy Orton.

Chris Jericho vs. Tyson Tomko was up next, as it was rather short and just a quick way to quickly hype Christian vs. Chris Jericho for the IC title. Wait, does Christian's interference and helping Tomko winning signify a Christian reunion with Trish/Tomko? After all, Trish was supposed to be Christian's "boyfriend" after Wrestlemania 20 and Tomko was Christian's problem solver/bodyguard. Whatever...

You know your Diva Search competition is running out of ideas if you use an ARM WRESTLING contest to hype this contest, as if anyone has yet to care (although last week's segment was funny with the foul language).

I'm calling it now... Shelton Benjamin is the new 4th member of Evolution!

The main event was Kane vs. Randy Orton, but guess what, it's in the Cage as well! Wow, what a thrill! TWO boring cage matches on ONE show! It started off as a regular match until Randy Orton was oddly disqualified for hitting a lowblow on Kane. Yeah, good way to get Orton over as a face. Bischoff then made it Cage Match, as if the one earlier didn't suck. Back and forth stuff, drawing weak crowd reactions (cage matches, though, usually get weak reactions since fans can't see everything). HHH was on the outside for the whole match, taunting Orton throughout. Orton escaped the cage by RKO'ing Kane and fighting off Triple H to escape the cage. Flair and Batista came down and Kane recovered quickly to create a massive beatdown on Orton. However, Orton became superhuman and escaped the beatdown to end what was a terrible show.

LAST WORD: Phew! That was a BAD SHOW. The wrestling was pretty piss poor and the storylines to hype a Pay Per View, of all things, lacked any energy or creativity. I seriously have no reason to watch Unforgiven this Sunday. I'll go [ D+ ] (D plus) on this terrible show, and that's being generous. 3 bad shows in a row...

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