Ah, just as soon as things had gotten back to normal, things must change once again. For the next few months I will be unavailable for some Monday nights and thus unavailable to do the usual RAW-based column. Normally, I’d use this as an opportunity to slack off and take a 3-month vacation. Instead, and since a lot of readers have requested this, I will do a SmackDown-based column as my schedule permits.
This provides a good place for me to reflect on the past 20 weeks and what we have learned from this column. So, how are things exactly?
1 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Things Could Be Better
I remember the first few debates I opened up in the column focused on how the RAW announce team and the tag team divisions could be better. The argument was that the talent was certainly there, but bad booking combined with some lack of motivation in a few characters produced a rather tepid product on screen. Also, and perhaps most importantly, it seems a lack of proper perspective regarding wrestling history has been missing. For example, if Jerry Lawler would ever get his head out of his porn and take a look at a few old tapes of Jesse Ventura playing off of Gorilla Monsoon, Jim Ross and even Vince himself, it would help his career out tremendously. Lawler is one of the few IWC targets who I feel is criticized justifably.
As of now, there still seems like there is a void in the tag team ranks despite the heat that RVD can generate. The injury to Regal has certainly stolen Storm’s thunder (yes, I meant to write that) since Morley has several roles to fill in the show. I still contend that tag teams are an effective way to generate heat between characters, create rivalries, etc., but it does not seem like WWe wants to make them a focus.
The announce team is still plagued by Lawler’s antics but Coach is not a bad replacement for Ross in the interim. He tends to focus more on the matches and is less of a shill. There is still loads of room for improvement, however.
2 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Things Could Be Worse
Hey, let’s be honest with ourselves people. This is not the WWe that produced wrestling clowns, wrestling plumbers, fake Undertakers, fake Outsiders and so on. I believe my column has proven that week in and week out there are a handful of wrestlers who actually are working on their character and their craft in the ring and who prove that RAW isn’t going to hell in a handbasket like some would have you believe.
In particular, wrestlers like Chief Morley, Victoria, Chris Jericho and the Rock as well as personalities like Eric Bischoff and Goldust are rather consistent in what they do and can’t be so abysmally bad that it leads one to think WWe is going bankrupt. WWe has provided plenty of suprises, some interesting matchups and a handful of stars certainly worth keeping an eye on going forward (Yes, I’m hinting at Mr. Cena who will take the Rock’s spot in my column, like it or not) that make it worth putting up with the Clique and their backstage antics. Seriously.
And if HHH and his buddies are the worst thing going on in your life right now, my friend, you might want to go find something to take their place. ASAP.
3 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Little Things Count
As in item 1, putting all the little things together (personalities, in-ring work, sound booking) will produce a more watchable product for the fans. Once all of these tie together, wrestling will climb back to the heights it achieved in the late 90s. Until then, try to enjoy what you can get in spots. It’ll make your life easier. I wouldn’t say any of this if I hadn’t received tons of email from readers saying that my column was a breath of fresh air amidst a fog of undue negativity on this site and within the IWC in general. The last thing most of you people need is a Canadian in his mother’s basement trying to ruin your television viewing experience.
Since Mondays are no longer an option, we will apply this same logic to SmackDown! to see what they are doing right (and wrong). This seems especially necessary as the star power that once made the show a unanimous favorite among the IWC has lost its gas and is now running on the fumes known as The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, Chris Benoit, and Hulk Hogan.
But before we do this, one last time for old time’s sake.
Readers’ Picks: The Future’s So Bright
As I indefinitely retire the Readers’ Picks section for RAW, I find it fitting that this bit wraps it up. Going out of his confrontation with Goldberg much as I’d like to imagine myself going out of doing RAW columns, the Rock takes the honors this week for his gathering of the sunglasses after the Rock Bottom to Goldberg. I’ll let the Hollywood Cowboy, Derek Houck do the honors:
As Rock Rock Bottomed Goldberg, the People’s Shades fell off in the ruckus, and the Rock’s first concern upon drilling Whiskers into the ground was not the audience reaction, not the physical exertion of slamming down Goldberg, but of quickly grabbing up his shades baby and placing them upon his head JUST RIGHT before once again assuming his confident air and leaving the ring. That’s keeping your priorities in order man. 😉
I will certainly miss recounting his antics in this column. No doubt about it.
Readers Jeff Hansen, Trest, and Ryan McGovern also voiced their support for the Great One.
Well, I did manage to catch most of the show last night so let’s do a test run of the Little Five for the 4.25.2003 edition of SmackDown!:
1. I Felt The Same Way About The Officiating In The Forum Last Night, Matt
Sometimes you don’t even need to say a word to be entertaining. When Crash lost to Rey last night, the exasperated look on Matt Hardy’s face at the announce position was absolutely priceless. I am still laughing even as I type this up. I guess Crash will be demoted to a Moore-on (another hilarious Little Thing) and should be giving his mentor fits in the upcoming weeks.
2. Pay The Piper
Hey, you can say what you want about him and most of the IWC already has: He is out of shape, he is white as a bone, he is old, he is a hypocrite, etc. You have to admit, though, that he has given the fans at least a shread of a reason to care about a match with Rikishi in it and I can’t say that I’ve honestly felt that way in over a year. Plus, he really is doing a good job of getting Sean O’Haire some time in the spotlight and teaching him how to use heel charisma, which he has in spades and is the reason he is still on our television sets.
3. Can You Dig That, Sucka?
I might as well use the bit aimed at displaying chests to get a few things off of my chest.
First, the obvious stuff. Torrie may well win the Little Thing of the Year award for adding that lollipop to her exhibition last night. I question anyone’s reproductive organs if they didn’t find that at least somewhat interesting.
Secondly, that little thing that Dawn Marie does with her arm when she makes her ring entrance Ã¢â‚¬â€œ that’s hot.
Thirdly, what is all of this bullshit I’m reading on the Internet about Sable? I thought I told the IWC clowns about in a previous column but apparently the word isn’t getting around fast enough. Listen, Sable and her ilk are on the show for a few minutes to give the predominantly male audience a chance to look at some ass. Nothing more. It helps keeps the core audience satisfied, it generates good Playboy PR for the company (as opposed to the bad stuff they normally get) and is pretty harmless in the big picture. Hell, it is even worth a decent laugh every now and then as demonstrated by that dance Nidia did during her part. Furthermore, Sable is on the show specifically to humble herself before Vince and the rest of the company for her past crimes. Sure, she gets paid a small sum to do this, but trust me, to any guy that has ever had an ingrate-woman take him to court, it is well worth it. When it happens to you, maybe you will have some perspective on this issue and will understand.
But even if you don’t like it or can’t understand all of that, where in the hell do some of these people get off trying to make fun of Sable’s age and appearance? Talk about a lack of perspective! Shit, dudes, I’ve seen pics of some of the IWC personalities making these comments and let’s just say that if their wives (if they ever get that far) look like that when approaching 40, they’ll be wiping up the stains with old wrestling newsletters well into the twilight years, assuming that they can still function in that capacity.
You know who you are.
Props to Tazz also for the line of the night: That lollipop did indeed get a huge workout.
4. West Coast Pop-Up
Rey Mysterio might have the most logical and entertaining entrance in the business today. The catchy, high energy music and burst from underneath the stage tells the audience that they are in for a high-speed thrillfest of a match and that is often exactly what he delivers.
5. Something I Never Thought I’d Ce
If you think I was impressed with Roddy Piper making me care about a Rikishi match, you can bet I was completely flabbergasted by the fact that John Cena made me care about a match with Albert in it. Using the video footage from last week was a very good reason to have Albert confront Brock Lesnar and served the dual purpose of portraying Cena as a cunning, manipulating heel.
Plus, very nice save on knocking over the vcr.
That’s it. See you next week and keep the feedback a comin’!