WWE News & Views #23: Raw Recap, News, Opinions on Y2J, Angle, HBK and Q&A

Lots to do this week. After doing a Summerslam Recap on Monday I was going to do this on Wednesday, but some things came up and I had to push it back today. Probably a good thing considering the possibly big news about Chris Jericho. It's in the News section, which follows the Raw recap. There's also the Three Count, where I talk about Angle, Michaels and the diva trade, the Q&A that features some HHH and in the column flashback I bring you back to a parody I wrote about four years ago. As always, let's start it out with the Raw thoughts.

Raw Recap for 08/22/05
After a good Summerslam I was eager for Raw to see how WWE would follow up.

The opening of the show saw Shawn Michaels come out mostly to cheers due to the handshake at the end of Summerslam. He rips Hogan a bit, saying he's back in Florida until the next big match while he has to be at Raw. Then he sorta turns face again in the same promo until Chris Masters interrupts. Ugh. Not the guy I'd have HBK feud with. Masters calls HBK old and balding. Michaels makes fun of his poses, which was hilarious. Then Michaels says he knows what he wants so he punches him, then knocks him out of the ring with the flying forearm. This was alright, but I wish Michaels stayed heel.

Jericho talks to Bischoff about another match with Cena. Bischoff tells him it's for the title and the loser gets fired too. Well, I guess that's a good way to explain why Jericho is going to be gone.

Angle vs. Benjamin was a welcome match to see. When I see Angle in the ring I like it. Then when I heard Benjamin's music I was excited. This was a match I wanted to see. It didn't disappoint, either. As expected, they traded holds on the mat before Angle started throwing some suplexes, Benjamin started jumping around. Loved some of the counters like the dragon whip after the ankle lock as well as a DDT out of the Angle Slam. The pop up superplex by Angle was also really good to see again. I love that move. Then the finish with Angle forcing him to tap to the ankle lock after about 12 minutes was the right way to end. It has left me wanting more for the future, though. That's for sure. Post match, Angle did his gold medal ceremony re-enactment again because he rules. I love when Angle gets pushed strong. ***1/4 and the best Raw TV match in a while.

My boy Kerwin White cut a promo about how he speaks for middle America. Good, so that doesn't include me because I'm middle Canada, right? Who will be the voice for me? Maybe they can bring Kurrgan back! Anyway, he mentioned Shelton Benjamin so maybe they're feuding. I don't know. All I'm sure of is: "If it ain't White, it ain't right." Love it.

Snitsky admired Maria's feet. Big Show interrupted, calling him a freak. This was one of those horribly written and acted segments in wrestling that makes you embarrassed to be a fan. They happen about twice a show in WWE most weeks.

Conway beat Hardy because Hardy was still selling his injuries from Summerslam when Edge "knocked him out." Nobody really paid attention to the match since Edge and Lita were on the announce table. Conway generated little heat and looked bad as he tried to climb the top rope for his top rope elbow move and it took him a few years to finally get his balance. Weak match. Then Edge came down to beat up Hardy some more, ending it by kicking the stairs while Hardy's head was trapped between them and the ring. That was a cool visual, if not sick. I guess it's Hardy's turn to be the guy with the concussion angle.

Carlito had Ric Flair on his Cabana talk show. He insulted Flair, the crowd cheered for everything Flair did because he sucked up to them by calling it Flair country, wooing a lot and doing his catchphrases. The end result? Carlito spit his apple on him, then Flair beat him up before Carlito bailed. Probably leads to a match at Unforgiven. This was the second interview segment of the night that saw a legend start a feud with a young heel, following the one with Michaels-Masters.

Show wrestled Snitsky. I left the room, came back and saw Snitsky walking away. I guess Show beat him up and he bailed. Snitsky's reaction is exactly my reaction when I see him in a match: I just turn my back and walk away. Nice job, Gene!

Cade and Murdoch were introduced to us warning all the tag teams. All the tag teams? I'm still laughing. Oh wait, it wasn't supposed to be funny? Damn.

Torrie and Candice got traded to Raw. Apparently trading is now open all the time. Who knows, really. Anyway, they call out Ashley, who has already learned the "bend over to show your cleavage" talent really well. Quick learner, that's good. Torrie and Candice beat her up. I guess that was beating her up. I thought Hogan would come out to drop the big leg on Ashley because he thought she was stealing his spotlight. No luck. As long as Trish is back next week I'm fine. I'm very Trish deprived right now. That's not good for me or you.

Other stuff happened. I missed it.

Came back with Jericho vs. Cena starting with Bischoff outside the ring. This match was pretty good, just like the match before. I liked this one a bit more because Cena's selling was a lot better. After being put in the Walls of Jericho, he was struggling to do the FU, stumbling around like Marty Jannetty on a Saturday night (or any night really). Fun match, though. Jericho was cool after the match too. I hope he enjoys his time away and when he does come back that he's refreshed and motivated to be better than ever. Call it *** and it left a good taste in my mouth to end the show, which is great.

Then of course Kurt Angle attacking Cena post match was even better. I love that man.

Above average show. I like two long matches, plus the promos were pretty good. Still some crap involving Snitsky, but otherwise I was pleased.

6.75

The News
- Big news of the week is obviously the rumor of Chris Jericho's departure from WWE. It may not be so cut and dry, though. He may not be off to TNA like it may seem if you go to chrisjericho.com right now. There is apparently a press release on his site that Pro Wrestling Insider's Mike Johnson got a hold of before the site crashed and posted it at PWI. Here's some of what Jericho wrote in this release that was apparently written on August 22nd:

"I eventually had my first match on Oct 2, 1990 in Ponoka, Alberta….and on August 22, 2005 in Hampton, Virginia, I had my last match. For now. Yes it’s true. After months of speculation and rumors and numerous decoys and red herrings being thrown about, the official news from the boss man (me) is that I am leaving the WWE."

"Whether I do achieve success outside of wrestling or I don’t, I can say one thing for sure…I’m not retiring from the wrestling business. Too many people over too many years have said that and have constantly returned. I’m not leaving the WWE for good, I’m not leaving wrestling for good. When I’m ready to come back I will. It may be one month, it may be one year, but when the time is right, I’ll know and I will return and be better than ever...I wouldn’t think of returning any other way."

"You won’t see me doing any conventions or indie shots in the meantime. If I’m going to be in the wrestling biz, it will be with the WWE. I’m a member of the WWE family for the rest of my life…just like the mafia…and I have absolutely nothing bad to say about my company. So you won’t see me doing any shoot interviews either. Why would I? Vince and I have accomplished a lot of awesome things together and I have nothing but respect for him."

Johnson also mentions that Jericho noted that he's going to keep himself busy professionally with his rock band Fozzy and his satellite radio show while also going on acting auditions, noting that he's filmed a role for a Sci-Fi Channel film that will air next year. Jericho will also continue to make appearances on VH-1's Best Week Ever.

The link to the press release is here although I've not personally read it myself since the link to that press release has been down most of the evening.

What is interesting is that this picture was the first thing I saw at ChrisJericho.com at about 5:30pmET today when a friend mentioned it to me. The picture is of Jericho doing his famous pose under a spotlight with the letters TNA emblazoned on it. Why is that there if Jericho is only planning to wrestle for WWE? Did somebody hack into his site, put that graphic front and center and then just leave it there? I have no idea, really. Rather than speculate on the possibility of Jericho in TNA I think it's just best to let this situation play out, find out the real truth and then go from there. As of now (again, it's just past 10pmET as I write this) there's nothing at tnawrestling.com about Jericho. That leads me to believe that either somebody hacked Jericho's site or something very fishy is going on here.

Thanks to Mike Johnson for being one of the few people who seemingly could access Jericho's site today. What I'd suggest is keep checking out Jericho's site because he will most likely set the record on this whole thing. I hope it's sooner than later because the longer it goes, the bigger the rumors will get and the crazier the rumors will be.

I'm leaning more towards the site being hacked considering what Jericho said in his statement. I don't think Jericho is leaving WWE full time. His contract DID expire right after Summerslam, then he worked Raw and had no more obligates left with WWE. However, there's no proof yet of him leaving for sure. I think he's taking a break and like he said it may be a long time or a short time. I just don't see him wrestling elsewhere.

- In two weeks when Smackdown moves to Friday on UPN it's going to be called "Friday Night Smackdown." What's funny is for those of us in Canada we're getting the show on Thursday nights at 8pm on The Score, which is the Canadian channel that shows SD. Some of us get a UPN channel too, so we'll have a few opportunities to catch Smackdown each week.

- It looks like Torrie Wilson was the one that suggested her and Candice moving to Raw. Apparently Torrie is sick of doing nothing on Smackdown (as she should be, really) and asked to go to Raw so her and Candice could pair up as some bitchy heels to counter Ashley, as well as a returning Trish Stratus, I'm guessing. Torrie has decent skills in the ring, so it'll be interesting to see if they actually push her as an in-ring competitor. More on this in the Three Count section below.

- Jim Ross is bringing the Ross Report back to WWE.com this week. My question is what's he going to write about now that A-Train is gone meaning he'll be unable to write about the size of his head. Maybe Snitsky's feet? Oh the intrigue. Actually I like JR. Good guy. Emailed me in the past a few times. Yes, I kissed his ass. Then he asked me for my head size. It was so weird. Here's the form to contact JR. Ask him about if he misses A-Train's head. I bet he does!

In all seriousness, it'll be good to see weekly commentaries from Jim Ross. He's an insightful man that has had a huge impact on the company considering his role in the past as the vice president of talent relations, which is similar to being a GM on a professional sports team basically.

The Three Count
1. In an article with the Baltimore Sun, the great Kurt Angle said he wants to wrestle another ten years. As somebody that has written columns thinking Angle was done for good twice now, all I can say is I hope it doesn't happen. Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge Angle fan. He's one of my all-time favorites, in that very elite group of being in my personal top three or four. It's just that knowing his health history, knowing how his neck and arms are never going to be 100% makes me think that Angle wrestling another ten years is highly unlikely.

2. Shawn Michaels was a guest on the Mancow radio show last week to plug his match with Hogan at Summerslam. Basically he said he had to carry Hogan to a good match, which he did. It wasn't great. It wasn't epic. It was good, though. It was watchable. Because of Shawn. Here's the best part of the interview: When asked if Hogan vs. Michaels is the biggest match ever, Michael said, "Yes, until The Rock comes back and they have HBK vs. The Rock." When asked if he thought Rock would return, Michaels said, "I think he's gonna have to."

Michaels vs. Rock? For the love of God, yes. Two of my absolute favorites. I would LOVE that match in a setting like WrestleMania. It would be wonderful. Should be noted, though, that Rock once said about six years ago that he wouldn't want to wrestle Michaels due to what Michaels did to Bret Hart at Survivor Series '97. Rock is a close friend of Hart who was taken under his wing when he joined WWE in late 1996, so I wonder if Rock feels the same. Obviously Rock wouldn't be asked to work a schedule that puts him on the road for a few months, but I could see him finding time to work at WrestleMania for a match like this if he's able to change his opinion on Michaels. For all I know he could have by now. I'm just saying what I remember reading from Rock in the past.

There's already rumblings of Hogan vs. Austin @ WM22. Add Rock vs. Michaels to that? Man, talk about dream matches.

3. I don't know about you, but the Diva trade between Raw and Smackdown out of nowhere was hilarious to me. Look at the write-up on Candice Michelle's page at WWE.com.

After the 2005 Draft Lottery, Candice was traded to SmackDown! Candice was quickly traded back to RAW, however, after the Diva claimed Theodore Long thought she was too hot for network TV.

In other words, we had no storylines for her on Raw, we had no storylines for her on Smackdown after that big trade that didn't make sense and now we moved her back to Raw because we MIGHT have a storyline. Never mind that WWE has never mentioned trades being allowed at any time. It just came out of nowhere. This is the problem with WWE that nobody in the company seems to notice. Logic holes. Big, gaping holes. They shouldn't happen, yet they do a lot. Maybe they should just hire somebody to say no to ideas that break logic.

Hey Vince McMahon, you're only hurting yourselves when you treat your fans like idiots. That, Vinny, is NOT good business.

Reader Questions & Comments
As always, reader comments in yellow and mine in regular font.

First email is about HHH, written before Summerslam, as most of these are.
A question about Triple H... do you think he will return as a face? It would make sense for me for two reasons: First, as far as I am concerned, his heel-speeches about being "the greatest wrestler alive today" and such has been heard too many times to have any effect on the audience. He seems to have lost a lost of things that made him the top-heel once - or I simply got used to it somehow. If I was stuck like him in my job, I would look for a way to change things...

Second, now that HBK and Jericho turned heel, Raw seems to be overcrowded by top-heels. Jericho's feud with John Cena should last in my opinion, I think it could lead to some really good matches. The feud with HBK and Hogan is *hopefully* over after SummerSlam. I also speak my prayers (that Hogan leaves the ring for good) and eat my vitamins (to stand watching him wrestle), but I hope that this feud will be his last one as wrestler. I also hope that the Eugene-Angle-angle (hehe) is over after SummerSlam as well. Even though I like the acting abilities of Dinsmore, I think Kurt Angles abilities are wasted in the feud. He should main-event. So we have HBK, Jericho, Angle, Carlito, Edge who all should be after Cena's title. Additionally, there are several mid-card-heels (like Dupree, Masters, ...) and - last but not least - the heel GM of the Show. Ahh.. I would love to see him feud with HHH instead of Cena.

What do you think...?

Regards,
Marc

It's an interesting question for sure. On one hand, Triple H has done just about everything as a heel, but on the other hand I just don't like him as much as a babyface. What makes him such a good character is his cockiness, his bravado and his ability to exude hate from a crowd. The fact that he's married to the boss' daughter in real life makes the fans that know that fact hate him even more, I'm guessing.

Like you said, there's lots of potential with him as a babyface too. I just think, and this is a gut feeling, that they moved John Cena to Raw largely to feud with HHH at some point for a good three or four month stretch. I think that's something that is in the cards. Personally, what I'd love is for HHH to come back as a face for a couple of months. Side with Cena against the likes of Angle and Edge, for example. Then turn on him. Do something dastardly like that. He's at his best as the villain. I think he'd be better as a face now than he was in 2002 when he seemed forced at everything, but I'll always prefer the guy as a heel. That's just what he is.

Can you explain to me if Benjamin is in the dog house with the WWE management? I have seen him job out to Masters and Snitsky for the last month basically and he wasn't even on Raw on the 15th. To me he is the best in ring performer they have in the WWE, I understand he is lacking in the character and the mic skills but he still performs better then 99% of the other WWE superstars they have. I would like to see him in a program with Angle, or a long term program with Michaels. Could you imagine him and Angle or Benoit in an iron match for 60 mins. He can go and I just don't understand what they are doing with him. He isn't the basic 4 move character like everybody else just about.

Chris

I'm with you. I wish I could explain it. I think athletically speaking he's as good as anybody in the company. Obviously the likes of Angle and Michaels are tremendous athletes, but they have a lot more injuries than Benjamin. They make up for that with their savvy in the ring, which is something Benjamin is lacking to this point. I'm of the belief that in the next five years when the likes of Benoit, Angle and Michaels are likely done as in ring performers, it's going to be Benjamin that is the guy we see having the best matches on PPVs on a regular basis. He has all the tools in the ring to be that guy some day.

If there's a fault with him that I could see it's that personality wise he is lacking. He's like Benoit in that area. Benoit has gotten over largely in the last few years because of the way WWE has booked him as earning the fans respect through hard work. With Benjamin, he's okay on the microphone, but there have been backstage segments with him where it looked as if he was having trouble remembering the line he's supposed to say. Considering WWE seems to be so high on the acting and talking of their performers that may be the reason why he's being held back. It's a shame because it's guys like him that WWE needs to rely on for the future.

What do you think of the idea of HBK/HHH having one last run together? I think it would be pure genius for this to happen! The only way this can be pulled off and create major heat is if both stay as heels. I think as a wrestling fan, this would be MUST SEE TV!!! What do you think the chances of this happening are? Interested to hear your thoughts on this.

Brian Wacyk
Royse City, Tx.

Personally I'd love it. As a fan of wrestling, I dunno. There's a history of things in wrestling not being as good the second time around as they were the first time. People recreated things like the Horsemen and NWO and they were never as good. Remember WWE's NWO with Michaels, Nash, Show and others? Wasn't good. I wouldn't mind Michaels and HHH being allies, just not as DX. They're both older and long past those days. Plus it looks like Michaels is staying babyface for the future, so I doubt it happens. Maybe a babyface duo? Nah, keep HHH bad. He's better there.

Hey John, what do you think will become of the Undertaker? I think Smackdown! needs him as a number 1 contender or champ. The crowd is way into him and he's the most intimidating wrestler of all time in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, I think Randy Orton can be great for the long term. He's got everything going for him, but do you think Taker will ever be toward the top again?

Scott
Sparta, NJ

I don't see Undertaker as champion again. The reason being is that he's not gonig on the Smackdown tours, he's not on TV every week and I think for the champion they need somebody that's going to be around on a regular basis. Unless he can commit to being on the road all the time, to being at TV every week and to remaining free of injury I don't see them putting the belt on him again. I think that he, being a veteran of the business and knowing how the company operates, probably understands that too.

How You Can Be Here
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. Another option is write me a commentary that's around 500 words at the most and I'll consider posting it.

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. A location is fine too. That's up to you. Remember this too. The better your grammar, the more likely it is that you'll be in the feedback section.

I really enjoy answering your questions and hearing your ideas for stuff. It's a lot of fun, so please keep them coming.

Column Flashbacks
In this section from now on I'm going to link you to a column from my archives. Over the six years I've been writing online there's been plenty of things to write about, so I thought it would be a good idea to mention a column in this section during the News & Views that's available for you to peruse if you are so inclined.

For this one I'm going back four years to a column I wrote that's a parody of what an evening would be like with those wacky McMahon family members. Keep in mind it's a parody meaning it's a joke, so please spare me your gripes about how I insulted people. It's for comedic purposes. Maybe it's not funny to you. It was to me. Still is, actually. I don't think I've ever written anything better than the last two lines of that thing. It's epic. Anyhoo, here's a link to the Evening With the McMahons. Enjoy

In Closing…
As I say goodbye for the week, I'm feel like plugging Google Talk because it's a new chat client program offered by Google, which is a company that I think is fantastic. You can find me on there (my address is below). If you don't have Gmail then email me at that address and I can hook you up since I have about 50 Gmail invites left. So if you want to find me on IM, use that. I do use AOLIM and MSN, but I don't feel like giving those names out because when I've done that in the past I'd get too many IMs and felt bad because I couldn't talk to everybody. So get Google Talk and chat with me if you want.

I'll be back next week probably.

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 - Missed something that I wrote? That's the place to go.