WWE News & Views #8: Raw Recap, WM21 Hype, and More


This is the second week of the return of the News & Views column that you will get from me hopefully every Tuesday from here on out. I've set it up so it's not something I'll have to write all in one day, but it's stuff I can do over the course of a week. It's fun and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I'm enjoying writing it. As I did last week, I'll start off with the Raw Recap, hit on the top news items from the week, throw in three points for you to ponder in the Three Count section and then bring it home with some reader comments and questions. Last week I asked you for some questions and you sure hit me with some good news. I haven't even responded to all of them yet, but I'm working on it.

Before I get started here, I wanted to mention that for WrestleMania I'll be doing a live recap similar to how I did the recaps for pretty much all WWE shows for over a year in 2003 through to Summerslam last year. I don't know if I'll be doing every PPV again, but I'm definitely doing it for WM. I don't know for sure if my live recap will be here at Rajah's main page because I just asked Raj about it and he didn't let me know if it was need. If not, you could always check it out on the Oratory on Sunday night. If Rajah gets back to me before Friday's WM preview then I'll mention it in there again just to remind you. Let's go…

Raw Recap for 03/28/05
It’s the last Raw before WrestleMania, so we’re here today to find out if WWE did a good job of hyping up WM21. Honestly, though, heading into the show I didn’t think there was much they could do in order to get people more excited about it because I felt they’ve done a pretty good job of it as it is. Let’s see how they did.

We started out the show with Chris Jericho in the ring for his Highlight Reel segment. He talks about WM21, how he yearns for this title shot in the Money in the Bank match because he’s been there before and he wants to get it again. He did a good job of throwing in cliches and playing up the match. His guests are Chris Benoit and Shelton Benjamin. Jericho theorizes that the three are almost friends. How cute. Benoit says Jericho isn’t the hungriest, he is because he did it last year. Then Benjamin says he wants in the most since he’s never been there before. Predictably, my boy Christian comes on out. Says they’re all full of crap, which was delivered perfectly I might add. At this point the broadcast here on TSN in Canada cut out. No idea why, but I guess they lost the signal for it, which didn’t happen before. After like two minutes, they came back to show Benoit attack Edge, who was now in the ring and then went to break again, this time being a legit break. Good opening segment by all involved.

Edge, Christian & Tyson Job-ko vs. Benoit, Benjamin & Jericho
When we came back from the break, this six man tag started. Gee, I wonder who will take the fall here. What a mystery. Lots of action early on, but then Benoit goes to headbutt Christian, Job-ko intervenes and Benoit headbutts him, but draws a huge cut above his eye in the process. When we came back from break, they showed a replay of it. You could see that when Benoit went to headbutt Job-ko, his hand slipped on Job-ko’s head, so when he went to headbutt his own hand (the proper way to do the move), he ended up cracking Job-ko’s head and that’s what drew the blood. I actually had people email me after Raw asking if Benoit bladed or if he bladed hardway. Come on people, think about it? Why would he cut himself on a headbutt? That’s just stupid. It was definitely hardway and it was a lot of lost blood. That’s going to need a big time stitch job. What I liked about the match after was how the heel team, particularly Christian, worked over the cut. That’s what you have to do to try to add some sense of legitimacy to this wacky business. After the hot tag to Jericho, everybody was hitting their signature spots on the wrong people, pretty much, which is a nice way to build up the “every man for himself” idea at WM21. Jericho finished off Job-ko with the Walls of Jericho for the win. Of course he did, that’s why they call the guy Job-ko. Post match, Christian cleans house with a ladder, but then Kane comes down to the ring. Since heels have no brains 95% of the time, Christian doesn’t leave the ring, gets attacked by Kane and so does the rest of the people in the ring. Kane props the ladder up over Edge, climbs it and sets the ringposts on fire. This makes Kane the favorite in the match, I guess. He’s not winning. Good match, but not as good as they’ve done in recent weeks. By the way, with Lawler saying at different points that both Christian and Kane were his picks, you can eliminate both from winning the match. My pick is…wait till the preview on Friday. Ha, I love doing that!

With nothing to fill time, I guess, they plug the movie trailer awards and go to the Angle/Hemme sketch where Christy shows how she won the diva search by faking an orgasm. Hey, at least she has SOME talent, right?

Bischoff talks to Batista backstage hoping there’s no fighting in the ring tonight. Then the comedy genius continues as Batista calls Bischoff “the gimp” from Pulp Fiction. At least he didn’t call him one of the guys from the movie Ready to Rumble, or even worse, Mr. Nanny.

My Girl Trish vs. That Chick Christy in Arm Wrestling
How funny is it that Lita accompanied Christy to the ring while wearing a shirt that had the same picture you’d see on a bottle with poison labeled on it? I’m sure Matt Hardy loved that. Anyway, Christy came out first and my girl Trish came out second looking smoking hot in a nice outfit. Just as they went to go the first time, Trish pulled out (maybe that’s not the best choice of words when I talk about Trish) and started doing curls with the women’s title showing off some excellent cleavage. Have I mentioned that I love this woman? Well, I do. They go at it again, Christy wins quickly. Trish says she wasn’t ready, so they go again and Christy wins fast again. I guess having no muscle on your arms is an advantage. Who knew? After it’s over, Trish shoves Lillian and gives it to Lita in the uh…backside…with her foot. Sorry, couldn’t resist that Lita joke. Then she bails as Christy stared at her. You know, if this segment didn’t involve Trish I would have summed it by saying it was horrible because really, it was. It’s just that I love Trish too much to say that. As for Christy, her whole “angry face” thing doesn’t work. Stick to faking orgasms and taking off your clothes, girl. You’re good at that.

Randy Orton comes into the ring. He’s not scared of Undertaker. Yeah, we heard it before. It’s a shame Randy’s shoulder is hurt because he’s had to cut the same promo for a whole month. The lights go out, the video wall cues up and an Undertaker video airs with the number twelve on the screen, then we see a montage of clips showing the twelve matches he has won over the years starting with Kane last year. Of those twelve matches, I think I’d rate only three of them over three stars, those being the Flair and HHH ones as well as the Diesel one, which was surprisingly pretty good due to Kevin Nash actually trying hard. The rest, though? Ugly stuff. Just seeing Giant Gonzalez/El Gigante in here makes me laugh when I think that somebody within WWE thought that a character as ridiculous as that would get over. Remember the ether? So bad. Post video, the ringposts light on fire, which I guess is a good way to get some more use out of Kane’s pyro. To Orton’s credit, he sold it well.

Backstage, Kane tells Orton it was nice to see his pyro out there. No, actually he said something that he was lucky to escape with his soul when he lost to his brother at Mania twice. Then he tells Orton he has six days to prove to Undertaker he’s really not scared, which in other words means we’ll see Orton on Smackdown.

Holy crap, there’s a tag division? Uh, no, there is not
Nothing to see here. They trot out the tag champions Regal & Tajiri to face Dean & Maven (they’re a team?) as well as La Resistance. Wow, they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel here. Lawler theorized that since they didn’t have a tag title match at Mania, Bischoff was smart to give them something here. In other words: “We know this division, so have this match for filler!” I quickly retreated to the bathroom, came back, saw Tajiri kick Maven in the head and that was it. Wasn’t Maven in the main event at Survivor Series? Oh wait, I’m not here to talk about the past.

Hunter grunts in a mirror. Hey, the Ultimate Warrior would be proud! He tells Bischoff he’s not promising to keep it civil.

Michaels vs. Hassan
Hassan comes out to rant before the match because cutting the same promo every week is fun. Just ask HHH and Orton. Michaels comes out for the match and dominates early, sending Hassan to the floor as they cut to a break. When we came back, we saw Hassan working on Michaels back. He put him in a Camel Clutch, but they were like two feet from the ropes, so of course Michaels broke it. Now Michaels gets momentum with the usual forearm, slam, elbow and the setup for the superkick. Just as he’s about to finish it, here comes Kurt Angle through the crowd. Ross asks how he got there. Bad security, Jim. That’s the answer. Michaels superkicks Hassan, slips out of an Angle Slam and Angle ducks out of the superkick attempt. Good stuff as Angle bails out. This match was a little bit better than Benoit/Hassan in part because it had more time and they let Hassan get more offense in. I just don’t know about Hassan’s offense yet. I hate the Camel Clutch as a finisher. This isn’t 1985, it isn’t as credible in this day and age. He’s a pretty good seller, though. As for Michaels/Angle, it was nice to have Michaels hold him off.

Backstage, Bischoff yelled at security for letting in Angle. He also blamed them for the failures of WCW. Come on Eric, that’s too much! Okay, so he didn’t, but you know he wanted to.

Ross & Lawler go over the Mania card. Four hour show with eight matches, Piper’s Pit with Austin and the Hall of Fame people will be there in some fashion. Video of the HHH vs. Batista aired. Good stuff as usual from the video package crew.

Triple H and Batista in a “Face-off”
The Nose and Flair came out first. HHH is in his ring gear for some reason. I guess you need your ring gear to sit in a chair. Batista comes out next also in his ring gear. As expected, HHH talks for five minutes saying the same stuff he’s been saying for over a month now. Batista was like a brother to him, he was nothing before he met HHH and so on. All of this is true, of course. Lots of closeups on the faces as HHH got all intense while Batista went from a cocky grin to intense. Feel the acting! He told Batista he couldn’t beat him. Then Batista let out the “are you talking to me?” line from the movie trailer, which drew a good pop. He thanks them for teaching him a lot, “especially you Ric, you are a true legend.” Flair smiled. I’m guessing that was done to set up HHH blaming Flair for when he loses the belt and turns Flair face, which I think is the next step in this angle. Batista says he’s winning on Sunday and that HHH is an asshole, which does lead to an asshole chant. Remember the days of really good WWF/E when crowds would chant that at like every heel in the show without being prompted? That’s a sign of the business today. It’s good, but that as good as it was. Long staredown, then HHH bitchslaps him and they brawl. Flair jumps on Batista, then gets tossed off. Security grabbed Batista, allowing HHH to get in a shot, Batista fought back and got on top of him again. Then he flung security away in one motion. Would have been funny if one of the security guys screwed up the spot and held on a little longer just for fun. Hunter eventually bailed, Batista gave the now tremendously overdone “thumbs down” sign and we were left with a staredown as JR shilled WM21 at the top of his lungs. The segment was pretty good, I must say. They did a good job of allowing Batista to look strong here without having him cut a longer promo. He just needed to say a few words, so it worked well. The crowd was into everything here. Hopefully it’s like that on Sunday too.

Final Thoughts
Overall, this was a pretty average show the whole way. Like I said, many of the promos this week were just repeats of previous weeks. If you saw every week of Raw, but you missed this week then you didn’t miss that much. The last part of the show was pretty good. Match wise, there was nothing I’ll remember a week from now. That’s fine, though. The matches will deliver on Sunday, I think. The two most memorable things on the show for me were Benoit’s gusher and Trish’s curls for different reasons. Okay show this week.

Match Results
Jericho, Benoit, Benjamin over Christian, Edge, Job-ko - **1/2 (Solid match.)
Regal & Tajiri over La Rez & Maven, Dean – 1/2* (Just plain filler.)
Michaels over Hassan via DQ - ** (Too slow to be anything better.)

I’ll be back on Friday with the WrestleMania preview, Saturday with the Smackdown recap and Sunday with the live WrestleMania recap. Holy shit, busy week!

5 out of 10.

The News

- There are once again rumors that former WCW star Sting is in talks with WWE. This is probably the 4,571st time that Sting has had discussions with WWE in the past four years yet nothing has ever happened. I like Sting, but he's in his mid-40s now, he probably has enough money to last him a lifetime and I doubt he'd be willing to go work for WWE on a full time schedule at his age.

- Booker T. confirmed on a radio show that he re-signed with WWE for two more years. I remember in 2003 I think it was when he said he had one or two years left. Guess he changed his mind, which is cool because he's one of the good guys in the wrestling business. He's not the worker he was, but he's got credibility as a veteran leader in the locker room who can help the younger workers get better.

- People are always wondering about the Dudley Boys coming back. They haven't been hurt, just been on a hiatus imposed by WWE. It's been longer than I thought, but it will probably make them fresh when they get back, so that's a good thing. They should be back before the June WWE-produced ECW PPV, which makes sense since they're as much a part of ECW history as anybody.

- Steve Austin was taken out as the man to induct Roddy Piper due to creative differences. While it's not confirmed, my guess is the reason for that is due to WWE not wanting to put Austin in front of the cameras until he's in Piper's Pit on Sunday. I agree with that logic. Chris Jericho is inducting Piper, I guess because he hosts a talk show on wrestling TV the same way Piper did.

- Late news today saying that Jeff Jarrett's meeting with Spike TV officials today to see if he could get TNA on Spike TV when the WWE shows move from there to USA Network, as rumored. Personally, I don't see it happening because I believe it was Viacom, the owners of Spike TV, who initiated the deal to get WWE programming off their network. So why would they be willing to take on TNA, which is obviously a lesser known product? I just don't see it happening.

The Three Count
1. One of the things that's sad about this year's WrestleMania is that the secondary titles are not being defended on this year's show. While both world titles are on the line and the women's title is on the line, there's no sign of the United States Title, the Intercontinental or either Tag Team Title. The Cruiserweight Title was to be defended at WM, but Chavo Guerrero got hurt, so his match against Paul London will take place at a future date. The Smackdown tag champs are on the show, it's just that Eddie and Rey against eachother and the IC champ is on the show even if Shelton Benjamin isn't defending it. I think all of these belts not being defended is a bad sign. The reason you have titles is to allow wrestlers to act as if winning those belts mean something special when they reach that level. Instead, the champions aren't even worthy of defending their belts on a PPV. I don't remember a champion on any level with less credibility than Orlando Jordan right now. He doesn't even get matches on Smackdown only PPVs, yet they put a belt on him because they thought it was cute to have two friends having belts. It's weak. I like the secondary belts. Or at least I did when they meant something. I just hope that one of these days WWE realizes what they could have with those belts because it would really help the whole company if those championships were given some meaning.

2. I know it's probably too early to think about this, but I'm wondering about if WWE is doing a draft lottery this year. Remember that last year they had about five or six weeks in between WM and Backlash. This year there's only three weeks between them, so if they do the lottery again say two weeks after Mania then there's very little time to put on a card for the Raw only Backlash show. It should be interesting to see because I think they need to do the lottery, but they'll really be rushing things for Backlash. It's something to keep an eye on.

3. Finally, I wanted to touch on an email sent to me from a from a reader named Mike asking about what WrestleMania traditions I have and why it appeals so much to me. It's a hard question to answer in just a paragraph, but I'll try.

I think what makes WM so special to me is that it's going on 21 years now. I remember every single one of them although the first few are shady. Of course I've seen them all on tape now. I was at WM6 and while it's not considered a great PPV it was unbelievable to see live. I love WWE. I think you guys know that from reading my work. WrestleMania is the pinnacle of WWE. Most of the time it delivers. It really is like the Super Bowl. I like the NFL more than WWE, but they are comparable events in terms of how much I anticipate both. Since my favorite team is the St. Louis Rams, when they were in the game I anticipated way more than normal because of how much I loved them, but it's comparable to how I anticipated last year's event, for example, because of how much I like Chris Benoit's work. If you're a fan of WWE then you're probably going to watch WrestleMania. I think that's a sign of a successful show that is an example of how you can make a tradition work. They do a good job in Mania in general even if fans are always going to criticize it. One of my friends said it best when he said that we'll criticize stuff for weeks and months on end, but for those four hours we'll mark out for things the way we did when we watched our first WrestleMania. Every one is special in its own way. That's what is so appealing about it.

Reader Questions & Comments
This is pretty straight forward. Last week I asked for your questions and comments. I received over 50 of them. I'm going to share some of them here and just keep going through my email to add more in every week. If I haven't responded to you yet, please be patient. I'm working on it. Keep sending them along. Reader comments will be in yellow, while mine will be in white.

First up isn't a question, but a commentary by Tony Wilson:

Let's face it, the WWE is suffering, in every sense of the word. The ratings are down, the fans are bored, and the quality of the shows is sub-standard, at best. Some will attribute this to the lack of star-power that the WWE used to have, with Mick Foley, The Rock, and of course, Steve Austin. However, I feel that the even bigger problem is WWE scrambling to try to fill those voids with guys who could never compare, because they're inexperienced, they're not good workers, and therefore, we're left with main events featuring people that we couldn't care less about.

Look at the push that Randy Orton was given. This kid was a very solid heel for months, and I actually appreciated his work as a "bad guy". But then, all of a sudden, we're supposed to be cheering for him? And even after that, he becomes the youngest World Champion ever? And don't even get me started on John Cena. . .

And then, there's Shelton Benjamin. Benjamin is a great worker, and an amazing performer, and this has certainly garnered cheers from the fans. Where the hell is his push? Sure, he was given the Intercontinental belt, but with HHH running the show, that belt doesn't mean a damn thing, anymore. I see great things from Benjamin in the future, I just wish he weren't being held back, now.

There was a time when the push you got was determined by your work-ethic and your popularity with the fans. Take Steve Austin, for example. He was also a solid heel, taking shots at Bret Hart's character, making fun of his pink and black tights. People loved to hate Stone Cold. But at Wrestlemania 13, people stopped booing him and started cheering him, because they realized that he was a great performer, not because it was part of a storyline. Steve Austin wasn't forced onto the audience. He paid his dues and had worked hard enough to earn the respect of the fans. The same goes for Mick Foley. He was an off-and-on heel, but he was especially heel going into King of the Ring in '98. However, as he was being helped out of the arena after the Hell in a Cell match, you could hear people chanting his name.

The bottom line is that these guys that WWE are trying to push off as today's stars still have a long way to go before they'll earn MY respect.

I don't have much to disagree with you on here, but I think Cena's going to be a star, so I don't mind WWE pushing him. The rest I agree with. Part of the reason things worked better in the late '90s was because guys like Austin, Foley and HHH had plenty of experience before they went big. Guys like Orton, Cena and Batista haven't even been wrestling for four years now, so that's why there are growing pains here. Otherwise, I agree.

What were the WWE thinking when they gave the title to JBL, and what are they thinking still having him champion 6 months later? I mean this guy is so boring, I am mean he is a HHH rip off. I think WWE were crazy giving him the title, and I hope John Cena wins it.

Martin (Big WWE FAN ... GO HBK)

I feel your pain. Believe me, I do. I think with putting the belt on JBL they did it because Vince was pretty pissed off when Lesnar left the way he did. Guerrero was supposed to have a longer reign, but got stressed out due to lack of buildings selling out and things of that nature. So McMahon put it on JBL, liked the gimmick a lot and decided to ride it out through WM21 where we presume Cena will win the belt. I give credit to Bradshaw for making the gimmick work and doing a good job for the most part, but it's not like people are paying to watch the guy. Numbers aren't up at all and the buyrate for No Way Out was one of the worst in WWE history. The main reason he's still champ is because Vince loves that gimmick. That's the best answer, I think.

Hey John, been reading everything Oratory for a year or so now. Been watching WWE since around the Invasion angle. So due to this, I largely missed most of Ric Flair’s older work. My question is about Flair. Last year Bret Hart commented during his spat with Flair that the guy is the most overrated wrestler in WWE history, or something to that effect. He said his moveset is the same every match. So after watching the recent matches Flair has had since the Invasion, I too have noticed his moveset is confined to chops, eye poke, Flair flop, whip into turnbuckles upside down, miss on the top rope, figure four, then some underhanded maneuver like a low blow. I just don’t see the best wrestler of all time that everyone makes him out to be. Yeah he has slowed down since he is past 50 but if Hart said that he is overrated and mentioned him using the same moveset when they hooked up in the 90’s as I noticed he does today, is there any merit to the claim? What matches should I look up that would prove otherwise?

Thanks
Aaron N.

I think some of what Bret said has some validity to it, but I disagreed with most of it. To me, you have to consider the time period. Fifteen years ago, and even 30 years ago when Flair started as a wrestler, matches were different. You had guys hooking in wrist locks for like two or three minutes. Now if a guy slaps in a reverse chinlock fans will strike up the "BORING!" chant. Back then guys didn't go to the top rope ever and they rarely brawled on the floor. Now you see Dawn Marie and Michelle McCool brawling on the floor in a two minute bad match. It's hard to compare Flair with a Benoit or Angle of today because it was such a different style back then. His matches were formulaic, but if you want to get technical so are everybody's matches.

It's like looking at pro sports. Can you really compare a guy like Bill Russell to Shaquille O'Neal in the NBA. Russell played when there were only like 12 teams in the league compared to the 30 that are there now. There were no foreigners then like there are now. It's just not the same thing, so how can you really compare? Wrestling is the same way. You can go back to the guys like Lou Thesz too. He was HUGE in his day, but can you compare him fairly to a Michaels or even Flair? I don't think so.

The best thing you can do to see how good Flair was is to get his DVD that WWE put out. It's really good. It's probably still listed at about $30 right now, but it could be lowered since it's been out for like a year. The DVD is good because you can see him wrestle a strong technical match against a Ricky Steamboat (there's three actually) or a brawl with Terry Funk that was totally different than the other matches.

I don’t know about Flair being the best ever. For me, what I like to do is to compare a wrestler's prime. I don't think his prime is as good as Michaels or Benoit in terms of in-ring accomplishments. However, when you consider he's done it for 30 years it's hard to argue against the guy. If you talked to a wrestling fan who was over like 35 years old he'd probably say Flair with good reason. He probably saw more. For me, a guy in my 20s, I'll take a Michaels or Benoit over Flair.

What are your thoughts on the Matt Hardy/Edge/Lita situation? Should Matt or Edge/Lita be moved to Smackdown? I'm trying to figure out how they can work around this real life angle, especially considering Lita's on-screen marriage to Kane is still a factor. Will we see Jeff Hardy any time soon? Maybe Edge and Lita can be traded for the Dudleys or something, to bring RAW's stagnant tag team status back to life. How many times do we have to watch Regal and Tajiri vs. La Resistance, or handpicked tag matches like in the previous weeks? Don't get me wrong, Tajiri's awesome, but RAW needs an abundance of something, much like Smackdown has with the cruiserweights. There should be more tag acts: the Dudleys, Tajiri/Regal, Tomko/Christian, Hurricane/Rosey, and hey, just for fun, Mark Henry and Viscera! Now that would be fucking crazy. I've enjoyed reading your articles, keep up the good work

Stevie Mac

I've had this question asked a bit, so I'll just tackle it once and hope it covers everything. I think for the Matt/Edge/Lita situation the best thing to do would be to move Matt to Smackdown. The only reason he left Smackdown in the first place was so he could be on Raw with his girlfriend, which would allow them to travel together and see eachother more often. Now that the relationship is over and there's bad blood there that won't be going away anytime soon it's probably a good idea for Matt to move to Smackdown where he could be a pretty good star.

I don't see Jeff coming back to WWE anytime soon. He's working for TNA these days and likes it there because they only work a few dates per month, as opposed to the 15 or so you'd work for WWE in a month. The money is less, but I don't think he cares about that. He hated the travel of WWE. Will be back in WWE some day? Yeah, but I'd say maybe in three years as opposed to this year.

As for the tag division, there's tons they COULD do, but who knows if they will do it. They have the potential to have a great division. One team to look out for is Joey Matthews & Johnny Nitro, a team that has wrestled dark matches at Smackdown before and has come up the ranks in OVW. Nitro is of course the guy that was with Bischoff on Raw for a while and a former Tough Enough winner. Matthews is a veteran tag wrestler from the indy scene for about six or seven years now. I'm hearing good things about them as a cocky, young heel tag team so maybe they can spark the division.

Hi John, love the site, etc...

John, I'm worried. Wrestlemania is just a couple weeks away and I just read a report that Chavo has hurt his eye and will not wrestle for a month, meaning no match at Wrestlemania. That leaves no cruisers booked for the event, and Paul London is being wasted, probably in a Heat tag match with Funaki. I'm not sure exactly what goes on through the heads of the writers, but Paul London seriously can be the next Chris Benoit, save veteran status and résumé. Paul London has the hold on the fans that Benoit does: Works very hard in his matches, carries his opponents, doesn't speak much, just comes
through the curtain, puts on his hard hat and goes to work. The crowd is getting into him, with his Mysterio-like style and his energy. He is a great wrestler that is a really good asset, but has been sitting on his hands for 2 years. I remember one night on Smackdown about a year back when Brock Lesnar faced him in a squash and I thought, this man is going to be something. Yeah, I live in California and ROH doesn't exist around here, but after watching the tapes, this man is pure excellence.

It's nothing new with the cruiserweights getting snubbed, but I was really looking forward to the show they were going to put on. Hopefully open up some eyes. Do you have any info regarding the status of this match?

Thanks for reading, I'm glad you brought back the reviews for rajah.
Ryan Bentz

I don't know what to tell you other than I feel your pain. I was very much looking forward to London vs. Chavo at Mania, even if they got only like 10 minutes. I was going to love that match because London is awesome in the traditional babyface role as the guy who is energetic the whole match and brings the crowd into his matches based off of his energy. Since Chavo got hurt, the match is off and we don't know when it will happen now. It's a shame, but there's not much you can do if a guy gets hurt, right?

All the info I have is that the match is off. They'll probably save it for Smackdown's Judgment Day PPV in May unless they do it on Smackdown in April or something. Chavo's not out that long, but at least a month. It's a shame because last year's cruiser match was too fast and too overbooked to be anything special and now there might not be any cruiser match at all.

On the plus side, at least they're using London now. Better than nothing, right? There's a rumor that Eddie Guerrero might go heel following WM, so maybe they can do some tag team feud with the Guerreros against London & Mysterio. That would be electric. I think they'll be using London more this year. McMahon apparently likes him, which is good news because they need more guys like London and less in the Snitsky/Heidenreich mold.

How You Can Be Here
So now you're wondering how you can be in this column, right? Well, there are two choices for you. First choice is you can send me a commentary you may have about something current in WWE, or maybe something from the past if it's relevant. My rule is it has to be 350 words or less. I plan on posting a couple, so I don't want you to go really long. The other choice is you email me a question with regards to anything WWE related. Ask me what I think about a wrestler, what I think about a match from the past (I can give you a star rating and thoughts on it, for example), a storyline going on or anything else. My only request is no fantasy booking. I know people like to do that. I just don't want to do that in this column.

Send all comments and/or questions to me at oratoryjohn@gmail.com and throw in a name for me to reference to as well. I won't post your email address, but a name would be nice. Maybe even a location is fine too. That's up to you.

Closing Time
That's it for this week. Lots of stuff on tap this week. The WrestleMania 21 preview should be ready for Friday. On Sunday, I will be doing live coverage of WM21 at the Oratory for sure and possibly here on Rajah's main page as well. Like I said in the open, I'll let you know for sure on Friday. If you aren't watching Mania then check it out and I promise I'll cover it all for you. If you are watching it then hop on your computer after the show, give it a look and find out what I thought about it. If you're interested in Smackdown, check out the Oratory main page for the weekly Smackdown Grades there. I was thinking about posting my SD thoughts here at Rajah's, but I don't know if there's that much interest in SD these days.

The next edition of the News & Views will be on Tuesday, March 5th.

Smell ya later,
John C. - oratoryjohn@gmail.com

Links to check out:
The Oratory - The Best Wrestling Columns on the Net!
The John Report Archives
WrestleLine - Another great site I write for.