Haley’s News And World Report 12.31.03

The Little Things

Let’s do this.

1. How Cute Are You?

In my last report, I called for more spontaneous commentary out of the new stars of RAW in the hopes that it could help get their characters’ personalities more over with the crowd. Randy Orton stepped up.

To begin last night’s show, Randy told Lillian to get her “cute little butt” up in the ring to announce him as the winner of his match with Mick Foley from last week. Excellent touch. An even better touch was him demanding to be proclaimed the new Hardcore Legend on top of that.

The best part of this was that it felt very natural on the mic. Not contrived, not like he was trying to remember lines, but like he does this type of thing all the time.

2. Nice Pants

Does Ric Flair ever stop? Coming out to the ring to ref his match in khaki pants was just an excellent touch. To his credit, JR gave us the hard sell by saying that he was doing so in a very exasperated manner that made the act seem even more over the top than it actually was. This is what I’ve been SCREAMING for out of the announce team for the past year. A comment here and there can really help convey a particular mood and JR hit the nail right on the head.

3. Some Things Never Change

You didn’t think I’d let Victoria’s raising of the championship belt go unnoted did you? The slow manner in which she raised it and the shivering was just an awesome visual. Credit the camera guys for giving us the shot and JR once again for acting surprised about said shivering. In case you couldn’t tell, I love Victoria and I was impressed more than usual with JR last night.

Oh and the pigtails. Gotta love those.

4. What A Drag

Did anyone else think it was funny when Austin pulled his pick-up out of the arena and dragged a piece of camera equipment with him? Probably accidental, but a great touch that exemplified the type of chaos we have come to expect from Austin.

5. By The Skin Of His Teeth

During the great main event, I thought the best part was the combination of moves HBK pulled on Flair and HHH. First he got HHH out of the ring and himself back in the ring by skinning the cat, then did his mock Flair strut. This of course lured the mad manager up on the apron and set him up for a sucker punch that put him to the floor with HHH. The plancha to knock them all out was icing on the cake. Very smooth sequence that played on the personalities of both HBK (his cockiness) and Flair (his irritation at being mocked).

Keep the comments coming. I have a few readers’ thoughts on last nights main event, but would love more for the column next week.

The Main Point

Last Monday’s main event was probably some of the best free television we’ve been treated to in awhile. The chemistry between HBK and HHH is amazing, as Eric noted yesterday and the swerve ending was actually somewhat hard to see coming. They seem to want to give HBK a “losing streak” of sorts, which might be an interlude to him putting over some younger talent. If this happens and he gives the effort he did last night, I think we will all be winners.

There is actually a lot to this angle if this is where they are going. HBK has never been known as a loser but a slump for an older star is not an unreasonable plot device. If they go with it, audiences could buy it both on the initial surprise and the suspense in waiting for him to break it. Possibly against HHH one last time.

Wrestlemania Ramblings

The lastest WM XX gossip says that the Rock n Sock connection will reform and take on members of Evolution, not including the champ, HHH. Also, HHH may find himself in a match with a returning Edge and Goldberg might not even be around. If he is, he may have to return a job to the Rock. And Austin may battle Bischoff in a gimmick match

Most of this is bad news to me for one simple reason:

Lack of suspense.

We know how much of these matches will end. Bischoff stands about as good a chance of going over a returning Austin as I do of nailing a Victoria’s Secret model. Would Rock n Sock put over a combo of Orton/Batista/Flair? Probably not. Foley presumably needs to make an impact upon his return (if that is when it is) and Flair doesn’t need to be put over at all. Finally, I’d be shocked if HHH dropped the strap to Edge if he can compete at all.

In my opinion the best WM matches are the ones where we really didn’t know what was going to happen. Warrior/Hogan jumps to mind pretty quickly. The above card sounds like a decent RAW pay-per-view and not like a WM XX super card for that half of the roster. Wouldn’t a match like Rock vs. HHH be a lot more fun? Even if there is some reluctance to go with this, for whatever reasons, at least we don’t really know who would win.

Another problem with this card is the lack of credible heels. There simply aren’t enough viable threats to the Austins, Foleys, HBKs and Edges that we all want to see at the pay per view. Jericho is too caught up in a love story, Kane is sinking into the midcard with BPP, and the Evolution boys are very young. This is something they should’ve been addressing over the past year but really haven’t.

Goldberg probably needs to be a part of this card based on his star power but financial and political reasons may keep him out.

Quickies – Dust To Dust

Goldust is out of his contract early and free to work where he wants. He really isn’t the same without his Wwe gimmick that Vince owns, but who knows? Maybe he can take his charisma elsewhere and make it happen. Best of luck to him.

Quickies II – As The World Turns

Jericho is behind much of the Trish/Jericho love story angle. Well duh. Do you think the creative staff could’ve come up with something halfway novel on their own? Jericho has now proven he can write, announce, work the stick and wrestle. He is a one-man wrestling federation.

Missing Links

The entire Columns section is loaded with good end of the year material. Ross Williams continues his jouney through the year that was, NoSoul is his hilarious self and Grut is trying his hardest to beat me out for column of the year with a last minute splurge of Wrestling Tales. Enjoy them all!

Happy New Year and drop me a line if you can when you’re hungover.

Haley