First off, props to the go-to man, Dan, for filling my “spot” (not Arn Anderson’s spot, not Eugene’s spot, not the dog Spot’s spot, my spot) last week as I dealt with that category one annoying Hurricane Ophelia as she brushed my area and sharing her love with all of North Carolina and parts of the Northeast coast of the United States. We faired well, just lost a back porch door that didn’t crash into my house. The worst aspect of the storm was it took so long to get through, instead of just doing her business and leaving, it stalled a few times in two days. Hopefully this will be the last one, but anyone who knows the history of Wilmington, NC, we are never that spared.
I did catch the latest WWE PPV this weekend, WWE Unforgiven, and I was impressed with the effort of the show overall. Ric Flair is always and forever the man and I am so pleased they kicked off the show with his match. Flair is just amazing, no matter how he ages, he can still go – and the fans have clear (and much due) respect for him, where he can really do no wrong. Flair and Carlito have incredible chemistry and that was a gorgeous blue sequined robe. Of course, the fact Flair actually hit his top rope chop and raised his finger symbolizing “one” was one of the pops of the night, was such a treat that I don’t know if doing it again on RAW really was such a good idea because I think it took away from it’s “this is the reward for you who bought the PPV and came to the arena tonight” idea. The speech was also a very nice touch, and it’s nice to see at least one belt given some creditability and prestige instead of just being a glorified prop. The Flair segments peppered throughout the entire night with the ladies (aka the hires) were cute though I wasn’t sure if fans or the mainstream media were going to give some sort of politically correct backlash for Flair basically mixing pills and alcohol (implied naturally) on camera as a bad message to send out.
THE woman of the WWE is back as well, welcome back Trish Stratus! Her talent shines with very little ring rust to boot and she proves just why she is such a important part of the RAW roster and especially as the leader of the limiting Women’s Division. With Trish’s guidance, and Fit Finley’s incredible abilities, Ashley could be incredibly good at some point in the future. Obviously now, that’s not the case and some of her spills outside the rings for instance were incredibly scary to watch. This is however, not a knock on Victoria’s talent as the only other real full time female roster on the WWE, I am also a very big fan of her work and feel she is one of the most unappreciated workers in the WWE.
I find it interesting that Tyson Tomoko is able to destroy (enhancement) talent in a matter of minutes with a knock out (all of a sudden, wrestling does KOs too? I thought they gave that up with Bart Gunn), but Snitsky has to put forth a longer match that isn’t quite as cut and dry. Maybe Tyson is more marketable but I don’t know if we’re going to see a influx of Tomoko signs anytime soon – he just isn’t the same without Christian.
It’s still scary how much Kerwin White (can’t I just call him Chavo?) looks like Eric Bischoff now and how distracting that can be watching his matches now. Shelton finally gets a win but I still think they are completely misusing Shelton Benjamin. When talent loses so much, it’s very difficult for fans to keep rallying for him to win especially when Shelton rarely works the microphone. I think he needs a manager, mentor or a valet to get his career back on track. My quick suggestion would be Ron Simmons.
Matt Hardy versus Edge was definitely match of the night in the steel cage and it was great to see everyone involved stepped up for a compelling story inside the ring. The spot of the night was the top of the cage leg drop onto Edge, which it shouldn’t be underminded how dangerous that really is and how smoothly it was pulled off. This is the shot that their feud needed to keep it good and going, with the crowd solidly behind Hardy. It made RAW that much more enjoyable, even in the 8 man tag scenario, to basically have Hardy representing one of the four main event faces on RAW. It gave Matt some legitimacy that he definitely was needing since Edge has been outpromoing him for weeks.
I’m not behind Cade and Murdoch necessarily, however, Murdoch is a really good talent, he’s very solid in his study of old school style Dick Murdoch matches. Cade, no matter how you package him, doesn’t impress me but he is the more attractive, modern partner for Murdoch in the team. WWE could bring back the tag team division again, if they were willing to hire talent and really develop them to bring prestige back to the titles with active competition. I’m not sure how TNA is currently doing with their tag teams but when I was more active in watching their product, they had a much better grasp on how to approach the division.
Maria’s “flub” calling Chris Masters the Masturbate and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Michelangelo reference had me tearing up in laughter. I really have no love for her character but that was funny television and I wouldn’t be shocked to see The Masturbate take off in fan sign production.
Speaking of Masters versus Shawn Michaels, that was a pleasant surprise in terms of work performance. I wasn’t sure who was going to take the win but I was happy with the work produced by both men. Michaels can make anyone look like a million dollars but the real test for Masters will be how he can hold his own against other main eventers? I wouldn’t give Masters such a hard time if he would get a new finisher, there’s nothing devastating by a full nelson. I also have the same problem w/ Cena’s “F U” fireman’s carry which is why unrealistically Cena is champion over Kurt Angle. Cena brings his own underdog emotion, but he’s just as limited in the ring as Masters is, except with more ring presence. The overall opinion with the talent I watched the PPV with is Angle would give the WWE a good look as champion, especially with his very legit wrestling skills and intense look, against the champion offered by TNA at the moment and would counter UFC appropriately. However, currently Vince is still banking on the crossover appeal to John Cena, his appeal toward the women/young ladies and the whole “Chain Gang Soldiers” concept. Angle however, does have his loyalists, including myself, who appreciate his intense style of wrestling that can adapt to any style and let’s his actions speak for him.
As far as the RAW main event, I usually do not like eight-man tags, because nothing is up for grabs, it’s just something that seems more appropriate on house shows. However, this one was a great deal of fun and it showed all the possible chemistry between the eight men, since this is basically the main event boys on RAW until Triple H comes back. It also helps that both the PPV crowd and the RAW crowd were hot and happy to have WWE back in the neighborhood. The photo-op at the end was the nice touch (and let’s not forgetting Vince holding up the invalid WWE Championship with Kurt’s name on it another nice photo-op moment for the crowd), the baby face talent pileup with HBK hamming it up on the squashed Edge. Wrestling seemed like a great deal of fun again to have a different finish and a different feel to end the show, and it was important for the WWE to have two solid wrestling shows before they go back over to USA in two weeks and that’s putting it in perspective. Thanks for reading and always feel free to drop me a line at Bam@insidepulse.com.