The Week In Wrestling 7.28.02

Note to Brendan Johnson: I’ve been using the Storm Foundation for a few weeks myself.

Last week: after Vengeance, I sad down, and I just couldn’t come up with anything remotely entertaining. Normally, that doesn’t stop me, as you all well know… but I was exhausted and just wanted to go to bed. This week, however, I’m currently in Connecticut and Widro’s Supercool Posting Systemtm is taking care of this for me. The secret is to finish it on Friday so the Sunday hangover doesn’t keep me from posting. Ah well.

Note to Chris Clark: Can’t see Goldberg or Bischoff in the WWF, eh?

Some Vengeance Thoughts. Weird finishes, overall mediocre show, I thought. The main event was good… the Jericho joining the Storm Foundation was good, even though I thought it would be an Edge turn. The non-finish in the Brock match was dumb. They want Brock over, they need to let him go solidly over some people… some big people. Let Heyman distract the ref by getting on the apron during a pinfall, but let Brock do some F5ing. There are ways to protect other guys without them actually having to draw a DQ every time. Save the DQs for when he actually holds the belts. Also, long lingering promos aren’t really necessary on a PPV. Also, I don’t see the deal with jobbing Benoit out to Bubba Ray over and over. I like Bubba Ray and all, but they don’t even consider putting belts on him… they do on Benoit.

Regardless, the show only put me to sleep once for about two minutes… so it was a good show overall.

On a super positive note, I might be going to Summerslam! More on this story as it develops.

WWF

Raw

They moved JR and King into the Nitro announcer position, but facing the ring.

Opened with Bischoff fellating himself for finally getting Shawn Michaels and HHH on his show. Of course, if he’d done it five years ago, we might be watching Nitro right now and Vince might be trying to make money selling old merchendise on the Nostalgia Section of Ebay. Regardless, he demands Michaels be HHH’s manager, and much like Shawn is known to do when told to do something (his words, not mine) he walks out. HHH goes to smooth things out. Eric Bischoff might have the collest gimmick in the world, being when he announces something cool that the fans pop for (Like the Rock being there) and the fans pop, he smiles and raises his fist like it’s for him. Priceless. He also announces tonight will be the unification of the European and Intercontinental titles. Angle’s Eurocontinental title has been made permanent. He lowers the belt, and it’s actually a new belt, so I assume the Euro title is done.

Bischoff and HHH both convinced Shawn Michael’s to stay by pointing out he’d be walking out on “all the fans” when, not four weeks ago, he said he wasn’t here for the fans anymore. Damn memories. Of course, it’s been two weeks… I assume I was supposed to forget about the nOw… or the oNw… or whatever it was called.

The Ladder match to unify the titles was decent as ladder matches go. I assume this decision was made on the fly and they’re not really planning on feuding these two guys long term. Why they wouldn’t just move the Euro title to Smackdown so the single’s wrestlers have something to go for is beyond me. Jeff took a sick looking headfirst bump off the ladder, followed by a big splash off the top of a second ladder. Some of that “mutual respect” crap post match, too. RVD is now technically holding two belts. I assume they are “Unifying” the titles in case they ever want to separate them later. For those keeping count, the Intercontinetnal belt is three belts now. The WCW US Title, the WWF European Title, and the WWF Intercontinental Title. I think a fun gimmick for someone would to start coming out holding three belts, just for an impressive, cocky heelish visual… but that’s just me, and the WWF doesn’t respond to my resumes when I try to get jobs… even ones in my field!

Tough Enough Chris got rid of the tear away khakis, and therefore I no longer have a use for him. Neither, apparently does the Undertaker who came out during Chris’s promo. Chris wanted to know why people hate him, while talking down the fans. Chris offers the mic to the Undertaker, knowing he has something important to say. Taker takes the mic, offeres a hand, and last ride’s Chris to hell. That’s it… nothing to say, just a last ride.

Bischoff was in the back talking to Rhyno… who must be close to returning? Bischoff is trying to recruit him. After, D-lo and Planet Staziak ask Bischoff if they can be on Raw. Bisch has a three minute hole to fill, so the two of them must have a match. They “better entertain Bischoff, or else he’ll have to entertain the fans, and it won’t be pretty.” Well, they had their match, with Bischoff watching… and at the end he sicced the Island Boys on them. Makes perfect sense, of course, to put a new tag team on Raw. You know, with the belts on Smackdown and no one to wrestle for them and all.

Bischoff brings up the phatness of the Seven Series set between Booker T and Benoit… possibly the best thing WCW ever did… and for the TV Title no less. So, Bischoff sets the match for tonight, winner of which gets an IC title shot next week. Whoa, building next week during the current week… they must have a GENIOUS backstage now.

Rock had a promo, which Eddie Guerrero interrupted because his kids like the Rock… which Eddie doesn’t like… so he goes on a rambling promo about how he yelled at his kids for liking the Rock. Eddie hates the Rock because he doesn’t respect anyone. Eddie then also points out that no one can wear a mullet like he can. I can’t disagree with him. Rock then points out that Eddie looks like Billy Ray Cyrus had sex with a retarded hyena. Fair enough. Eddie says “Essay” or whatever WAY too much. After Eddie left, Brock came out with Paul and blew by the Rock without even looking at him. Then Tommy Dreamer came out… and I assume we’re going right into a match? That’s different.

Of course, after the last two weeks when it looked like Tommy Dreamer was about to get some sort of push, they feed him to Lesnar… which really doesn’t help either of them. Brock squashes someone who is already thought of as a jobber… Tommy continues to be a jobber after two weeks in a row of getting decent pops.

Goldust and Booker T’s thing of the week was a Don King wig for Booker T. Only in America… SUCKKAAAAAAAA!!!

For some reason, they had a Spike vs Big Show match. It was completely ridiculous. Guess they’re using Bischoff now to try and get him over. Show was going to then put him through a table, so Bubba ran out for the save. Problem was, Show ended up laying Spike on the table, and chokeslamming Bubba through Spike and the table. Didn’t look pretty.

HHH and Shawn Michaels came out to DX music for the first time since Shawn got hurt. The shirts have been redone minus the S*CK IT! Logo on the back. HHH even busts out the old “Let’s Get Ready To Suck IIIIIITTTT” line. I’m wondering when X-Pac’s coming out to join them. My thoughts are immediately interrupted by a turn I TOTALLY didn’t see coming this soon. No sarcasm there. After the Suck it line, HHH turns on and Pedigreed Michaels. He ripped off the shirt and left Shawn lying in the ring. Smartly, they’re forcing us to wait till next week for the explanation. Time for HHH to get back to heelishness. JR is of course shocked and appalled by the guy who beats people with sledgehammers. The only guy who gets gentler Pedigrees is the Rock.

After the break, for the benefit of us all, Steph decides to come to Raw. Yee-Haw.

Main event: Guerrero and Rock had a fantastic match with false finishes and all. First one saw Eddie go up in a Rock Bottom and turn it into an armdrag… then he missed the frog splash and unfortunately jobbed out to the People’s Elbow. People losing to that move look so bad. Regardless, it couldn’t ruin the whole match. Post match, Brock came out and grabbed the title from Hebner, and then tossed it at Rock’s feet. Brock mind game stuff is good.

We flash backstage to Steph and Bischoff. Since Steph lost last night, Bischoff loses on Raw. Brock has left to go to Smackdown. Makes perfect sense… the guy who had to sell out his company to Steph goes to work for her.

Well, Raw did it’s job. I want to watch Smackdown.

Smackdown

Opens with Steph and her new song. I don’t want to watch anymore luckily, she quickly saves it by announcing Edge/Jericho in a Steel Cage and the debut of Rey. Steph’s song is freakin awful. You’d think they would have learned with the WWF Rap album that the audiences aren’t meshing. Lil Kim, or a cheap (which is saying something) imitation, doesn’t do it.

Open with Mizzark Henry. Well, this can’t go anywhere good. The match is against Kurt Angle, and ends with Brock Lesnar interference go figure.

Steph now has Stacy as her personal assistant. Well, if this goes anywhere close to where Vince went with her, it could make me start to like Steph. Steph gets some flowers and we get informed that Eric will be raiding someone from Smackdown this evening. We get a bunch of red herrings, including Kurt Angle throughout most of the show.

Tag Title match between Edge and Storm vs Rock and Hogan well, this can’t go anywhere good for the Storm Foundation. Somehow, it does, with a little help from Brock Lesnar. Basically, the match was a three man assault on the Rock, until Brock came down to draw a DQ to tick off the Rock.

Rey made his debut. He’s back in the mask and has a freaking HUGE tattoo on his back now. His entrance is somewhat unique as he doesn’t step out from behind the curtain, but is rather launched from beneath the stage. Also, he’s sporting some Vampire Contacts and some patent leather spiderman pants. Unfortunately, they didn’t carry over his WCW music. Since they based his entrance vignettes on it, I thought they might. Instead, it’s a crazy rap song. I would say helluva good debut and expect his first title shot to be at Summerslam. Post match, Test bullied him a bit, then had a match with John Cena. Cena beat him in another rollup upset.

The Cage match was ok for a TV cage match. Edge won it and then got beat up by the Storm foundation, until Rey came out and regulated, taking out three guys on his own.

At the end of the show, Bischoff was on Smackdown, and revealed the person he’s stealing will be

None other than

Wait for it

Kurt shows up behind Steph after Bischoff pulls away in the limo. It isn’t Kurt in the limo. Steph ends the week of television with: “But Kurt, if you’re not in the limo who is?” Excellent way to end the show and build anticipation to Raw. As I said before, a cliffhanger ending isn’t hard to do. Bischoff was the master of it.

The Week In Wrestling

Well, it was certainly a good week to be a WWF fan. I missed NWA for the first time since they started, but it was OK.

Raw and Smackdown both felt like new beginnings this week, much more than they did last week. Storylines started launching and they seem very coherent. They’re doing exactly what they need to do, and that is differentiate the shows a little bit not doing the same exact shows with different people and a different set. Raw generally “felt” different than Raw this week. The pace and flow of the show and everything. The differentiation is what makes the whole idea of the “split” work. The Feudin GMs angle might be a enough of a spin on the whole evil owner thing to make it seem new. And, even if it is Steph, it’s watchable.

Of course, we’ve seen WCW and WWF both do “new beginnings” shows an awful lot, and usually the interest in actually making the stories coherent fails. Eventually, the need to protect their top tier stars overrides the need to have the show actually be good. Both shows did stuff this week to both make you want to watch the other show AND watch the next episode of the same show. Of course, making people jump every show won’t work forever, but it’s a good start. Having those couple of people be able to go between shows really helps that, even if it is only the Rock and the GMs. Again, I say having the tag titles bounce around could only help them, but apparently someone doesn’t think so.

I’m honestly looking forward to next week to see where things are going. I want to know why HHH turned on Michaels. I want to see Rey again. Finally, lots of stuff are there to connect the shows. If they haven’t hired a new writing staff quite yet, I’m quite surprised because EVERYTHING was better this week then it has been in awhile. It felt like a new beginning.

Now let’s keep it up.

End Transmission