The Weekend Hotline News Report 01.18.03

RIP: The Week In Wrestling: 2001 – 2003 we barely knew ya, kid.

So, in the first week of the diet/workout combo, I’ve come to the conclusion that Elliptical Trainers are the Devil’s toy. I have never had my legs hurt more than after 36 minutes on one of those stupid, stupid things. Bikes, nothing treadmills, nada stairmasters, kinda suck Ellipticals DIE DIE DIE!

Also, if you want to feel good about yourself, lift on a universal. It’s much easier to throw up weights with pulleys. However, the scale said I was down to a slim, trim, 234 today of course, I fluctuate 5 pounds on a good shit, so who’s to say if it’s working or not. Watch this space for more updates.

Note to FLEA: I’ll be on Smackdown this week with GRUT FEARS DANIELS sign. I expect my check by early next week I gotta put a down payment on a house come March 1st. Just think, IT CAN BE LIKE YOUR BIRTHDAY PRESENT TO ME. 😀

Welcome to the Pre-Rumble news report. All the years I’ve been watching wrestling, and this is still my favorite PPV in all the land. Even if they do blow it this year and make it the 1-minute intervals (for Shawn “ancient” Michaels), I’ll enjoy it.

In fact, I’m almost positive it’ll be 1-minute intervals, because it was 1-minute intervals when Shawn won it last time around. LAME.

The Raw Awards

Yeah, it’s been done, done again, beaten to death, and done over again and there’s really not too much left to say so, real quick:

Diva of the Deacde: Definitely not Trish. Sunny or Sable without question, considering they are the ONLY reason people watched in the late ninties. The two of them WERE the show’s ratings and Sunny redefined what women meant in the WWF, plain and simple. Sunny was the first “Diva” as they define it now: The hot valet that can wrestle.

Network Difficulties: Austin/Pillman gun incident. Again, without question. I remember seeing this and not really believing what I was seeing. This, to that point, was the edgiest thing ANY wrestling show had did. This caused a serious backlash, whereas the hand thing just caused people to roll their eyes and go “what the hell are they doing.”

The Rock: He can keep telling us that his heart and soul is with the WWF as long as he wants. The satellite feed proved otherwise. He was barely there. Much like Summerslam, New York viciously turned on the Rock, booing the hell out of him. Sometimes, I do love my state.

Superstar of the Decade: The obvious choice won. Raw IS Austin, and I’d be hard pressed to remember ever seeing Hogan wrestle on Raw (or even when it was Primetime, for that matter). Between the two of them, I’d give it to Austin, hands down. Of course, the fact that Vince said he wasn’t invited AND he didn’t show up at the end of the show or something, basically proves how much of a shitbag this show was. Everything was set-up for him to return on this show, but I’m sure they’re saving it to try to pop a rating on Raw. However, Vince even acknowledging him proves, in my mind, that he’ll be back possibly as early as tomorrow. Or, he’ll be back on Monday as Bischoff tries to “shake up” Raw.

Match of the Decade: Not everyone was going to be happy with this, regardless of what they picked. Although, I’ve been watching Raw just about every week since it became Raw (and before) and I know there’s been better matches than this. Was Austin/Benoit on Raw? HHH/Jericho? Regardless TLC won for it’s name, even though this was, by far, the WORST of the TLC matches.

Top Raw Moment: The Beer truck happened in my town, so I’m stoked it was the top best Raw moment ever? Possibly definitely one of the most fun and most memorable.

The problem I had with this show is similar to the one a lot of older fans had. They basically discounted everything before the “Attitude” era officially started. There were plenty of moments on Raw I would have preferred to see. The beginning with the Manhattan Center. Undertaker beginning the “coming up through the ring mat” that Sting would make famous during the New World Order storyline. Diesel opening a casket during his final feud with the Undertaker to find a perfect representation of himself as a wax dummy. Jericho’s debut. It was basically a political show and it’s what we all should have expected. Austin and HHH got most of the respect while everyone else just kind of sat there.

No surprise appearances, no nothing. Barely worth the time and no one with the charisma of Owen Hart to be the “Two Time Slammy Award Winner.” Actually, Matt Hardy would have been perfect for this, but it would have required him having been around and been given two awards.

The Rumble

Since I write the weekend news now, I get my own forum to do my predictions besides the roundtable. That’s HOT.

Roid Freaks Explode – for the Raw Championship: Perhaps literally! You never know. Regardless this is going to be one slow, plodding match. Both of these guys used to be tremendous wrestlers, but now plod around the ring slowly and sluggishly. To the WWE’s credit though, this feud has been pushed super hard for the last couple of weeks, considering it’s only been about a three week “feud” with nothing much, not even a tag match, happeneing. It will be interesting to see two guys dance around each other, each waiting for a muscle to slide off the bone of the other first.

Regardless, I don’t expect this to be any scientific masterpiece, but I do expect it to be entertaining if for no other reason then to see Steiner wrestle again. Steiner is fun to watch, because you never know if he’s going to snap and go Bob Holly on someone.

But, after HHH got stripped to his Underwear on Raw and Vince’s refusal to put his belts on WCW stars this quickly I expect some sort of non-committal, schmozz ending that sees HHH keeping the belt, and extend this feud through the February show and maybe all the way to ‘Mania. Unless, of course, Austin returns to Raw In which case Steiner is out faster than a light bulb on prom night.

Winner: HHH

Angle Vs Benoit – for the Smackdown! Championship: And everything the above match isn’t going to be, this one will be. Technical, sound, fun to watch, and a definite ending. Angle is almost frighteningly over with Team Angle and his knee gives people a reason to think Benoit might be able to beat him.

However, with the Angle/Lesnar match they are supposedly building to for Mania, I don’t really expect Benoit to get the upset here. I do expect some shenanigans from either Team Angle or Paul Heyman to protect the Benoit juggernaut. This match, as these guys proved before, will have to try really hard to be bad and will probably be worth the price of admission alone.

Winner: Angle

Brock v Show – Winner gets a spot in the Rumble: Winner of the Rumble gets a shot at their respective title I suppose. That seems to pretty much lock that Brock will go over Show yet again and then the company will continue to wonder why nothing they do gets the Giant over.

Winner: Brock

Dudleys vs Storm and Regal: Hey, did you know Storm and Regal are the best tag team on Raw? Just ask the announcers and they’ll tell you. Over and Over till you’re ready to punch them. The Dudleys reunion has been blah thus far, so I look to see the titles hop over to them for the time being.

Winners and New Champs: The Dudleys

Dawn Vs Torrie: FINALLY, the blowoff to end this whole stupid, sordid mess. Torrie will go over.

Winner: All of us.

The Rumble: I would list the participants, but only about five matter, as per usual. Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, Brock, Mystery #30, and RVD (oh, come ON, Daniels) ok, four matter.

Chris Jericho and Michaels are in it for the feud I don’t expect either of them to win. Brock has everything but a Rumble win and, unless Austin is the mystery entrant, I full expect Brock to win this.

Winner: Brock or Mystery Entrant #30

Top Story

Not a goddam thing, honestly. Kanyon making his big return in January hardly qualifies as a “big story.” Don’t get me wrong, I like Kanyon I have ever since he was Mortis, but I don’t have any belief that the WWE will give him any sort of sustained push, so he’ll be another jobber sittin out there for people to see every week maybe start to like, and then realize there’s no point because he never goes anywhere.

Someone used to joke a while back (and I apologize to whoever it was, especially if you’re reading this because I don’t remember) that Steve Blackman had the most unique push in WWF history. He rarely, if ever lost, but he never went anywhere. No titles, no thing. He was just pushed and pushed and pushed, but was never elevated.

Does anyone find it odd that 85% of the WWE’s main roster has this kind of push now, the ones that do get any kind of push never go anywhere. Matt Hardy is getting what people would refer to as a “push” right now but, without a sub-belt for the mid-carders to feud over, there’s nothing for him to do. It’s the top tier, a tag division, and a massive chunk of people in the center that go nowhere, and thus take up space on the roster. Matt Hardy is a talented wrestler, yes, but he’s not ready for a run at the top title yet so he sits there, has fun (at least) with his character, and does nothing. I’m sure if you thought about it, you can name at least 15 guys who are just there. They’re dead wood. They contribute nothing to the show or to storylines. Test, for example has a funny gimmick, a hot valet, and nothing to do. We already know he’s not running for the World Title, because if he was, he would have been doing it two years ago.

This was the primary problem with uniting all the midcard belts onto one title. There’s nothing left for the not-ready-for-primetime players to fight about. Not everyone needs to be in a tag team. Brock Lesnar squashing Matt Hardy week after week doesn’t help either of them all that much. You don’t give the fans a reason to get behind a guy, they don’t get behind a guy. At least Smackdown has the cruiserweight belt, but that doesn’t help John Cena, Buchanan, Albert, or anyone else they’re trying to get over just like lack of a mid-card belt on Raw doesn’t help the Ravens or the Stevie Richardses.

This Past Week

I was semi-irritated by Raven showing up on Raw without the hint of an explanation even a passing comment would have been nice. What, because he changed his look, he’s a new person now? And what about him stalking Test and Stacy a couple weeks back? Did that actually happen, or are we supposed to forget it.

They want soap angles to drive people? Hey guys, HOW ABOUT A RAVEN WANTS STACY ONE EVER THINK OF THAT??? Raven stalks the two of them for a couple of weeks. Raven corners Stacy and does some bad things to her. Test demands Bischoff reinstate Raven. Raven is a heel, Test gets helped out by being a hero. THEN, you can even have Raven do a change of look to try to become what Stacy likes. All this panning out over several weeks. See guys, it’s not that hard. And it’s much better than just forgetting things ever happened it makes you look stupid.

The bench challenge pointless. I was actually looking forward to seeing which of them could bench more. Starting with 585 though? Phew then again, I saw some football players at RPI who warmed up on 295, so who am I to judge.

585 Christ, I can’t even squat that nor could I when I actually did squats on a regular basis.

8 years ago.

God I’m getting old.

And honestly, that’s about all that sticks out in the past week before the Rumble. Not a good sign of pre-PPV hype. They expect the Rumble to sell itself on the fact it’s the Rumble, much like they expect Mania to sell on the name alone. I don’t look for anything too STUNNING to happen on this show, although I could be STONE COLD wrong.

Bah, who am I kidding the last time something cool happened on a PPV, Sting dropped from the ceiling on a bungee cord. Everything cool was saved for Mondays and since the WWF doesn’t even compete anymore, they save the cool things for eh themselves, I guess.

In Other Reading

Matthew Poffel takes a look from outside the book. Scroll down to get to his thoughts on Catchphrases and the lack of them today. Personally, I think the Rock single-handedly killed the catchphrase, because he took fare MORE than his quota of them.

Dino Zucconi rings in on HIS sentiments on why Trish winning the Diva award was a pile of horse-boogers. He’s so riled he starts speaking Spanish. Read with Caution.

Read Gamble Just not his politics.

David Murphy is back and Praisin away. He looks at the big returns we’re looking at in early 2003. AND WHY THEY’RE GOOD, BY GOD. (JR Shills better get’cha readers, son).

In Closing

Tune in next week as my diet from hell continues and I will be a year older. 411 will be offering live coverage of the Rumble as well as the Rasslin Roundtable come Sunday. The news coverage is all in chaos, so look for Flea, Grut, and Ashish all at some point next week. Look for me on the music site come Tuesday.