What up? Welcome to the WWE News & Views. Sorry to say again, but this is going to be a shorter edition of the N&V for the second straight week. Started up a new job this week, so I've had less time for emails and writing about this crazy business of pro wrestling. Things should be back to normal for next week, I think.
Before I get started, I want to say thanks to all those who responded to me on my big top 50 WWE PPV matches of the last five full years column. I'm still responding to some of those emails, which is another reason why this column is shorter than normal. I had a lot of fun writing the column and I'm in the process of putting together a feedback/response column to add on to it. Either that or I'll just tag it on to a smaller column in the future.
Two other things to note before I begin. One, you're probably going to be seeing more columns here on the Rajah.com main page as a result of a discussion I've had with Rajah. Basically, we think there should be more columns on the main page and so what we're going to do is have many of the columns (but not all) from the Oratory appear here on Rajah's main page as well. We think you'll like it.
Lastly, at some point this month at the Oratory we'll be running something we are calling the Oratory Writer Search where we will hire at least one person to write for us based on their column writer. Details will follow soon, but for now just know that if you want to write for us then in the coming weeks you'll have the opportunity to do so. Don't ask me anything more about it. All I'm gonna say is keep hanging around this place and I'll let you know all of the details for it. I promise. Now, on to the column.
Raw Recap for 05/09/05
Admittedly, this is going to be a weak recap. Just gonna bullet point a lot of the things rather than get into it in detail.
So we start with HHH saying goodbye. It was fun. I say he comes back when Batista faces the winner of this tourney and tries to cost him the match. Good job by both guys here.
Jericho over Daivari was alright. Poor Jericho has no direction right now.
Backstage stuff happens, but did it really happen since the Flair/Christian match they set up never even happened? Weird.
Viscera beat Grenier, and then he ate some nachos while hitting on Lillian. It's funny in the "I can't believe I'm watching this" kind of way.
Kane over Benoit had me groaning by the end. I would have loved it so much if this tournament resulted in Michaels-Benoit III. But no, that wish didn't come true. Instead, boring babyface Kane gets another win because he's tall. Good for him.
Flair over Tomko after a Christian screwball. I think Tyson Tomko is the Orlando Jordan of Raw. Neither guy ever seems to Raw, although somehow OJ is US Champion because they booked him to a cheap win once. Flair is a tweener now, I guess.
Stacy comes out to shill STUFF magazine. That Todd dude tries to flirt, but he's too much of a nerd. Then Simon and Maven come out to kill the heat some more as Hurricane and Rosey save this god-awful segment. I like Keibler and I thought her pictures were great. Just please, USE HER! Make her a heel valet. It would be nice.
Coach mentions ECW to Bischoff, so Eric says he's trying to squash it like he did the last. Oh, you mean like WWE did to WCW? Yeah, thought so.
Benjamin beat Conway in a solid match. Shelton rules. I forgot to add earlier, the best part of this match was the upcoming breakup of La Rez. It's about time. That gimmick is so boring and so stupid. Conway's got skills. I'd love to see him get a singles run at some point, either on Raw or SD.
Turns out that the Maria/Michaels interview where she called Edge "The Edge" is a part of her new gimmick as the dumb chick announcer. According to the Torch, they did four takes of it to get the "comedy" right and that was the best take. I guess we've got another contender for worst gimmick of the year.
Main event with Edge beating Michaels with the briefcase was okay for what it was, but too rushed. They need more than ten minutes for TV main events. I'm already tired of Edge winning by smashing people in the head with a briefcase. It reminds me too much of Mongo McMichael's briefcase in WCW and that's never a good thing.
The show was below average and one that I'm probably not going to remember anytime soon. At least next week looks already with Flair vs. Christian, Benjamin/Jericho vs. Hassan/Daivari and Edge vs. Kane, although that's obviously not the best choice for a quality match to end the tourney. I guess it's being done to set up Edge with Lita. I don't care much for Lita in any role, but maybe she'll be better if she's a heel. Worth a shot.
4 out of 10. Last week's was the best of the year and this was one of the worst.
- Luther Reigns got released today. I don't know if you can call it a surprising release because he has barely been used in recent months. Also, there was a question of how much use could they get out of him. Personally, I felt he was a strong talker that was great in the role he initially played as Kurt Angle's bodyguard/protector. From there, though, his career never really went anywhere. This is not a case of a guy doing anything wrong or bad. It's just a case of there not being a role for him.
- Looks like we can pencil in HHH vs. Batista III for Raw's Vengeance PPV on June 26th. It will be a Hell in a Cell match, which I guess follows the tradition of the last two years when HHH had HIAC matches at around this time of the year. January is the Rumble, November is Survivor Series and June is HHH in the Cell month. I guess. I wonder if Batista will still be champion. To me, I don't see why they want to do that match again unless HHH ends up costing him the belt.
- It appears as though there will be no TNA superstars at WWE's ECW One Night Stand PPV in June. Not a surprise. When word came out on the weekend saying TNA wrestlers would appear I thought something was fishy. I just don't see TNA agreeing to let their wrestlers appear on a WWE produced show.
- On the Matt Hardy front, he'll be wrestling for Ring of Honor against Christopher Daniels on July 16th. That's just a few days after his no compete contract is up, so obviously he's going to get right into the thick of things.
- Finally, the business lost another one this week as former WWE writer Chris Kreski died at age 42 of cancer. I know the name Chris Kreski doesn't ring a bell to you, but he's a man that deserves credit for heading up the WWE writing team during the year 2000 and a little bit after that. That was arguably the best year WWE ever had in terms of matches, storylines and money drawn. He had a great mind for the business and even though he wasn't a part of WWE for a few years, I'm sure his loss hit the hearts of many in Stamford this week. RIP Chris and thanks for all the hard work you put in for us even if we didn't know you well enough to thank you at the time.
The Three Count
1. I have a feeling my money is going to be spent on a few WWE products in the coming weeks/months. First, I have to pick up the WM21 DVD probably this weekend when I'll have the time to watch it. While I liked the PPV a lot, I'm very excited to see the Hall of Fame ceremony, which is the third DVD in the set. Then there's Cena's CD. At this point I'm leaning towards picking it up based on liking Bad, Bad Man as well as the two songs he's used as his theme song now. Then there's also that upcoming Best of the '80s DVD they're gonna put out. Man, that's the stuff I know I'm going to love since I grew up on WWE in the '80s. I wish I had more money to spend on this stuff.
2. I know I'll be asked this question, so I might as well address it here. I have no idea who the next talent release will be in WWE. It could be anybody that's on the roster that isn't used a whole lot. A guy like Val Venis is a candidate because he's been there for a while, his contract is larger than a newer guy and he hasn't been used in an angle for a couple years now. I thin he's horribly misused, but I don't except WWE to all of a sudden start using him again. Another is Bob Holly. He could be kept because he's a veteran worker to help bring along the younger ones (just ask Rene Dupree, ha), but he's also done some stupid initiation deals in the past that almost got him fired. Then there's the ones like Kenzo Suzuki, who are newer, but they don't seem to have a gimmick that can lost in the long term.
3. I think pairing up Edge and Lita on screen would be a BAD move. Don't have much more to add to that. Just saying, it might not be as genius as WWE thinks.
Reader Questions & Comments
Reader comments will be in yellow, while mine will be in white.
I am a big Randy Orton fan and I just have a quick question for you. Do you think Orton would have won the Heavyweight Championship if Brock Lesnar had not left the company?
What I mean by this, is that by giving Orton the belt at age 24, Lesnar could not have the claim to fame that he was the youngest ever champion in WWE/F history. Had Orton won the belt at Wrestlemania 21, he would have won the belt at age 25, which would have been the same age at which Lesnar won the WWE championship for the first time. I accept that Orton would still have been the youngest ever champion if he won at WM21, but the age time would have not been so clear. It's just a small theory I have. Keep up the good work.
Wembley, London, U.K.
Good question. Obviously there's no right answer to this because when you play the "if" card you're opening a whole can of worms. I see your side of it. Personally, I would say that Orton would have won the belt even if Lesnar was still around. Orton was feuding with Mick Foley when Lesnar was still with the company around WM20 and it seemed like Orton was being groomed for the belt. It's just that most of us thought it would be at WM21 rather than Summerslam, although I wasn't shocked by it. I think WWE did the right thing by putting the belt on Orton when they did although I hated that they turned him babyface at that point. Things would have probably turned out better had HHH been
kicked out of Evolution and then become the babyface out of the situation rather than WWE forcing Orton down our throats as a face.
To sum it up, I see where you're coming from, but I think he'd have won the belt whether Lesnar was there or not. Mainly because I have to wonder who else would there have been on Raw to put in the title scene? Orton had to be the choice based on how he was built up.
What are your thoughts about possibly having WWE bring back the old War Games double ring cage matches. Assuming that Raw and Smackdown remain separate brands, I think it would be a great idea to hold an annual pay per view that put 5 of Raw's best against 5 of Smackdown's elite. Each team could be made up of both faces and heels chosen by each show's general manager thereby creating possible problems among each team itself getting along while they have to work together for their brand to win. I've always enjoyed these matches and would love to see a return of this format.
It would be great to see, but the problem is Vince McMahon's unwillingness to go with other people's ideas. I think Vince should use other things WCW did like PPV names such as Halloween Havoc and Starrcade, although they did start using Great American Bash last year so that's a nice start. Back on Wargames, though, it's one of my favorite gimmick matches in the history of wrestling. I love the concept of it. WWE would be very wise to bust it out at like Survivor Series or something, put five Raw guys against five Smackdown guys and go from there. Put a stipulation on it to make it seem bigger and then fans will really buy into the concept. Since there hasn't been a Wargames match in about a decade there'd be a lot of fans who would order it just because they heard about it in the past from their friends or whatever. I say it's a great idea. I'd love to see it.
Do you see the WWE getting back into the multi-wrestler groups anytime soon. Look at the boost Evolution gave Batista and Orton. The Nation gave the Rock a spotlight (who can forget when the Rock gave Farooq a huge picture of himself). DX helped elevate HHH, Road Dogg, and Billy Gun. Even Mongo was given credibility by being part of the 4 Horsemen. Wasn't Gangrel the leader of the Brood ahead of Edge and Christian? In my opinion it helps bring the best talent to the top and allows feuds that last manymonths because a single wrestler can feud with each member. It also gives an instant boost to whoever turns on the group, or is turned on by the group.
I think WWE will always have factions or groups because they've been a part of wrestling since the early days of the business. Even though there currently isn't a group on Raw, there is The Cabinet on Smackdown. The Cabinet is a more traditional group than Evolution was since it has the main event guy, the tag team and the midcard guy. Of course, they barely push Orlando Jordan even when he's the champion and the Bashams have rarely been a part of an above average storyline, so The Cabinet is mostly JBL and a bunch of lackeys at this point. Like you said, stables tend to elevate people who otherwise wouldn't have had that elevation, so in many ways they are a good thing. I have no idea what sort of new stable there'll be on Raw although I doubt it would be some sort of new Evolution group. I hope they go in a new direction. That would be nice.
I was just watching my WrestleMania 19 DVD, and in the vignette before the Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels, was struck by Chris Jericho's character. I have only been watching WWE since Backlash 2004, and have not seen Chris Jericho as a heel. He is MUCH better in that role, because he is constantly generating a crowd reaction. And he won some matches. Seeing that he is now in a rut and his contract expires in 8 months, do you think he will renew it or have a break?
I don't really know, but I'd guess that he renews his contract. I know he said he might want to concentrate on performing with Fozzy. I don't know that he'd have to leave WWE to do that, though. A break could conceivably happen because he's been a guy who has been durable for WWE. I can't remember Jericho taking much time off at all in the near six years he's been with WWE. He deserves a break. I would hope that they turn him heel, that he gets moved to Smackdown and that he re-signs, giving John Cena a foe to deal with towards the end of the year. It would be fun to see those guys against one another. If I had to see Jericho in a face or heel role I'll always choose heel. I just think he's more natural there.
Finally, we'll bring it home this week with a commentary…
That's how quickly the shape of the WWE can change. Quicker than making some toast and faster than saying "My god he's gotta kick out, he can't lose," things change.
Take Wrestlemania 21 for example. Going into the PPV people thought that certain things would happen; that Orton would beat The Undertaker, uncertainties about the HBK vs. Angle match and the fact that Hulk Hogan would only be there in the Hall of Fame capacity. And look what happened - just as Orton was going for the kill, Undertaker reversed it and hit the Tombstone. HBK vs. Angle is a contender for Match of the Year and who will ever forget The Hulkster coming out and kicking ass?
3 seconds is a long time in Wrestling on a sadder front as well. The Bret Hart Screw Job took 3 seconds, from him being put into the Sharpshooter to Hebner calling the bell then hot wheeling it to a nearby waiting car. For Droz' neck to be broken in a freak wrestling accident which caused his career to be cut short. And for people's lives to be taken away due to faulty wires bringing down Owen Hart.
Think about your own lives. What happens in 3 seconds for you? The words "I love you" to be said or "I'm sorry its over." 3 seconds is a long time
Looking to the future. The shape of the WWE seems set. Batista will hold onto his title till at least Summerslam - the same can go for John Cena. The future of the WWE looks to be in good condition, with the signing of Kazarian from TNA and the development of current talent.
But then again, in 3 seconds time......
This was written after the death of Chris Candido and this is another example of how in 3 seconds, lives and futures are changed. RIP 1972 - 2005
That was Matt "Archmaverik" Rutherford from Aberystwyth, Wales and he's got a website at www.lovehatepassionfury.com. Thanks Matt.
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 500 words or less (used to be 350). I plan on posting a couple, so I don't want you to go really long. If you want to write me a lot then that's cool, but don't expect all of it to be posted. I can only post so much, you know? 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 email@example.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.
The next News & Views will probably be posted on Tuesday evening or Wednesday at some point depending on my schedule. I always aim for Tuesday nights, it just doesn't always land on that day for me. I'll be back on the weekend with Matt Seagull with a For Love or Money column too. Haven't done one of those in a couple months, so it should be fun.
One final plug. I've found a place to do some blogging at thewrestlingblog.com, so check that out if you get a chance. It's me, as well as some other wrestling writers from other internet sites. It's fun so far. I'll try to update a couple times during the week. Thanks for reading.
Smell ya later,
John C. - firstname.lastname@example.org
Links to check out:
The Oratory - The Best Wrestling Columns on the Net!
The John Report Archives - Missed something that I wrote? That's the place to go.
WrestleLine - Another great site I write for.