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The Booking Report: Raw (July 21, 2003) vs. SmackDown (July 24, 2003)
Posted by Retro Rob on Jul 25, 2003, 13:21
The Booking Report: Raw (July 21, 2003) vs. SmackDown (July 24, 2003)
Has this been a slow week or what? I wasn’t sure whether or not I would be around tomorrow, so you get this a day early.
Remember how I told you all last week about my injury exploits, which led to me needing a MRI? As usual the medical service is utterly horrendous seeing how they misplaced my results. Wait actually they didn’t misplace my results; they have no record of me at all in their computers. In other words, I never even took the damn thing. I love it how after reaffirming that I did indeed get a MRI, the receptionist kindly tells me that I did not because the computer says so. Why would I lie about something like that? There is no chance of personal gain. Well if that was the case and I was never supposed to get one, how could they have allowed me to take the test anyway? If there is no record of me ever having an appointment didn’t they more or less subject some stranger to an unnecessary test that included sending a large amount of radiation through their body? Is that even legal? More importantly, I can’t wait to hear what the insurance company thinks about all of this. You know what, fuck all of them. I know that I probably have a small tear of the meniscus, but until I rip the damn thing apart I will just put it off. Come to think of it, I have doctor’s appointment on the 30th, so we’ll see what he has to say as well.
On a happier note, I finally have a surge of motivation running through my body to do a DVD review, so I started Hulk Still Rules. I decided to go with this format for that column as well because I am done with play by play… FOREVER. After two and a half years of doing that shit I am worn out. Plus how many of you honestly read it anyway? I know that I always gloss over PBP because if I didn’t see the match already I wouldn’t want it to be completely spoiled and if I did see the match why would I need to know what happened? So expect a very laid back commentary on the DVD somewhere down the line. I don’t give timeframes anymore. You will get it once it’s finished, thus no pressure on me.
Speaking of timeframes and pressure, those of you who know I review Confidential but fail to read the column: this is for you. I have decided to stop doing that show and focus fully on this column as well as whatever extra stuff I sporadically pump out. My final Confidential review will be of the August 2nd show, which works out well since I will be out of town the next week anyway. Considering that column was read by close to 2,000 people over the six sites that it appeared on I will not have the ability to plug this column as easily, but at least I will finally be able to move on to something new. Just as a reminder, those of you on the staff who were interested in taking over for me (Pete and Stephen) contact Dames and if one of you decides to go for it e-mail me and I’ll hook you up with all the sites I sent the column to. A couple people who do not currently write for TSM also seemed to be interested, but unless no one on the current staff fills the spot we will not be looking to bring a new guy aboard.
Vengeance is right around the corner and to hear my thoughts on it check out the upcoming Pre-PPV Crossface, or just read what I have to say about SmackDown in this column. I’m not sure if I’m going to be watching the show or not. My budget is a little tight, so it comes down to whether my PPV buddy is willing or not since that would cut the cost in half. On the paper the show looks like the best PPV since WrestleMania XIX and odds are it will be the best until the next SmackDown only show in October. As usual my only real goal as far as PPV predictions goes is to beat all of the other IWC personalities over at StableWars.com. I’m not that confident in my picks, but we’ll see what happens. I’ll keep you all updated in next week’s column.
I have a question for everyone. When it comes to buying tickets for a WWE event, is it easier to score really good seats by purchasing them over the phone or on Tickermaster.com? I’m probably going to go to the SmackDown house show in Nassau since the floor seats are only $45, but I don’t want to be sitting in the 9th row on the floor. I want to be in one of the first three, so which of those options is the way to go? I won’t be able to make it to the box office and I wouldn’t risk it anyway in case there is a line, so that is not a choice. Also, I sort of need to know by this evening, so if you can help me at all shoot me an e-mail ASAP.
Raw July 21, 2003
Lance Storm’s “Major Push”
Storm’s push to the top continues, yet he is still scrapping the bottom of the barrel as far as I’m concerned. Similarly to last week, I wouldn’t place the blame on Lance, but instead on the way he is being written. I understand that cutting away from “that boring guy” is meant to be humorous, but it is also counterproductive since the company is supposedly about to push him to the top. I still stand by sentiments last week, giving someone a “boring” gimmick has about a 3% chance of success. Unlike other heels that have garnered chants from the crowd (YOU SUCK) this one isn’t really about heel heat, but actual boredom. Why do I want to watch a boring guy? Especially when the commentators are constantly reiterating how much he sucks. Bring back the “Calgary, Alberta, Canada” gimmick or even “Can I just be serious for a moment?” Anything that gives me a reason to not flip the channel. Also, the commentators should be putting over that Lance is a sound technical wrestler, not that he is incredibly boring to watch. This is a WRESTLING show; give credit where credit is due.
Trish Stratus/Gail Kim vs. Victoria/Molly Holly
It’s official, Gail Kim is now just like every other Diva, just Asian. It’s only taken them a month to completely devalue her. However I would blame this week’s “effort” on both Gail and the writers. As far as Gail is concerned, she has yet to live up to her hype AT ALL. Name one move that she did that could be described as “eye-popping”. Whoever called her the female Rey Mysterio should be utterly appalled and humiliated. Fine, she got a little nervous and screwed up. Well that could mean a few things, like maybe pushing her to the top of the women’s division so quickly wasn’t the best idea in the world. As far as the creative team goes, they are having serious issues when it comes to putting over the champions. Except Triple H of course. Gail Kim has yet to have an impressive title defense or victory and crowd knows that which is why they could care less about her. So before she is even built up as someone deserving of the title, they plant the seeds for a rift between her and the biggest female face in the company. Great idea. Maybe teaming her with Trish for a few weeks so she would rub off of Trish’s popularity would have been an effective method in getting her a little over. But god knows we have to start problems between the two of them so quickly. Why do they have to do this you ask? Because obviously the entire creative team consists of people suffering from Adult ADD. Take a deep breath and allow characters and feuds to grow naturally. After the amount of failure this company has seen since the Invasion angle you’d think they would have learned that. At least they are taking some steps in the right direction as pertains to the more important storylines on Raw.
Booker T vs. Test – IC Title
Speaking of weak, pathetic champions I present BOOKER T. I can only hope that that US Title turns out to be nothing like this atrocity. Our first IC Champion did not cleanly defend his title once. So finally when he was defeated by Booker T in a great segment I thought things would start to turn around. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As bad of a champion as Christian was, Booker is even worse because he is a face that needs assistance in order to win. At least people expect crap like that from Christian. Booker needed a match to be restarted last week and a distraction from Stacy Keibler’s ass this week. For the umpteenth time, booking Booker as a strong champion is not that hard. All they need to do is give him a streak of decisive wins. Not against major stars, but anyone. Raw has a decent amount of mid-card heels like Rodney Mack, Stevie Richards and Lance Storm. Right there is three weeks of title defenses. The problem with Booker now is like Jericho and RVD in the past; the crowd no longer cares about him. WWE took way to long to pull the trigger on his push and they will now suffer for it. He was the hottest thing going on Raw from January to March. Yet as we all expected, he was wasted and not used in a (semi) productive way until almost 7 months later. On the plus side, having ONE last Booker-Christian rematch at SummerSlam is a very good idea if and only if Booker puts him away once and for all. That would be two months too late, but it has to happen in order for both guys to move on. Another positive: TEST. I still love his new character. What I want to know is where Kevin Nash was? Isn’t the feud with Steiner over? Now it’s time to move on and feud with Nash. The thing with Steiner has been going on since the beginning of the spring.
Linda McMahon “fires” Steve Austin
Whether you want to believe it or not, Linda McMahon is a proven ratings draw. That is mainly because whenever she stops by something major happens. After an announcement like this one, she might have lost a little bit of her appeal. I mean telling Steve Austin that a GM cannot attack his wrestlers isn’t really up there with announcing the brand split or Mick Foley’s return at WrestleMania 2000. So that was the one major minus in this segment. It was hyped to be a big deal and nothing came out of it. On the other hand, Eric Bischoff was ON. He was perfect in his role and should be commended. Linda’s ultimatum for Steve accomplished two goals. 1) Austin will no longer be kicking the shit out of all the heels and 2) the fans have a reason to tune in again next week. Although the outcome of Austin’s choice is rather predictable, it is still SOMETHING to hype for the next show.
My other issue with this segment was the contradictions made by everyone about the Kane situation. First of all, if JR has not pressed charges yet there is no reason for Kane to be under house arrest. As far as I know, an attack like the one on JR doesn’t even need for the victim to place charges because it was a federal offense. Secondly, even though he is allowed to come to work, WWE is not forced to employ someone who lit one of his co-workers on fire. In other words, why does this man still have a job? Last week’s incident could have been considered attempted homicide. Even if he wasn’t “fired”, I would have liked an explanation as to why Linda is willing to keep Kane around. More on the Kane storyline later.
Goldberg and Triple H
This segment reeked so much of Goldberg’s debut against the Rock. The crowd played it up exactly the same way. They knew he was about to walk out and interrupt the Game, yet the Cerebral Assassin was shocked by this sudden turn of events. Moreover, Goldberg hasn’t been on the show in a few weeks, so this could have been looked at as a fresh start. In that case, why is Goldberg still talking? I was thrilled that Goldberg finally turned into a bad motherfucker again when he literally demolished Lance Storm and Rodney Mack. Yet when faced by HHH he is all talk and no action. No words needed to be uttered by Goldberg besides “YOU’RE NEXT!” followed by a spear to Flair. Also like with the Rock, HHH stated, “no one can stop us”. Can’t they get anymore creative than that when it comes to a reason to jumpstart this feud? Finally, Raw will have had two months to build up to the SummerSlam main event. Now one month in they start. There is something very wrong with that picture. What I really want to know if whether HHH’s t-shirt plug will cause an increase in sales of a product that otherwise would have been overlooked.
Randy Orton vs. Val Venis
As far as I can tell Randy Orton has all the tools necessary to be a main event player down the line. He has a great look and a good amount of charisma. His in-ring work can be a little better, but then again how many wrestlers are putting on **** classics within their first two years in the business. Sure there are some exceptions like Kurt Angle, but for the most part the best wrestlers evolve over the years. I think using the “Legend Killer” moniker is a good idea. He shouldn’t have started using it already though. Thus far the “Legend Killer” has pinned the Dudley Boyz with help from Triple H, cleanly beat Tommy Dreamer and Val Venis, as well as pushing Mick Foley down a flight of stairs. Once the guy beats HBK at SummerSlam he will be set. Until then, he comes off sounding like a fool. Wins like this one is exactly what he needs to build up his skills and pick up some heat from the fans. One problem throughout the entire show was the pitiful commentary, so Triple H doing color was a very good idea. His three minutes on headset were more entertaining than anything Lawler or the Coach said all night. It was also funny that Trips was the only one interested in actually putting over the talent in the ring seeing how Lawler kept harping about JR. Not to worry everyone, the commentary on this show is going to have it’s own section in my Final Thoughts. That’s gonna be a good read…
Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels
Lets get one thing out of the way right off the bat, both participants in this match are on my Top 5 favorite wrestlers of all-time list. Keep that in mind while I tear this match apart. Actually, depending on how you want to look at this match it could be called a success. Yeah, a success in the sense that it put over Randy Orton.
The match itself accomplished two goals as it both put me to sleep and then pissed me off. Definite MOTYC right there… I don’t see what there was to like about this match. The match progressed at a snail’s pace, which killed the crowd altogether. It is very hard to make a crowd not care about Shawn Michaels or Chris Jericho, especially the two together. Some people are saying that the match told a story. Generally a live crowd takes notice of things like that (see Benoit-Angle) and reacts to it positively. The reaction to this was utter silence. This was hyped as a WrestleMania rematch. Their WrestleMania match was awesome; thus this was a huge letdown. From what I could tell, if it weren’t for Chris Jericho’s occasional mocking and heel mannerisms this match would have had NO heat at all.
Now we can’t forget about the interference can we? Probably not since that is the only part of the match that will be mentioned for the weeks to come. Two weeks ago when this match was announced, I said Orton would run in. Last week I said the match will be ruined by Orton running in. If I’m not mistaken, Randy Orton did indeed run in and hit the RKO on a chair. Quite frankly that was a great move in the continued push of Randy Orton, but Chris Jericho now gets the short end of the stick. I don’t give a shit how anyone wants to construe this finish as Michaels putting Jericho over, because he did not. If it weren’t for the RKO, Shawn probably would have had the strength to power out of the Walls of Jericho. Can’t forget the Coach saying, “Shawn Michaels has essentially been fighting three men” or “Shawn Michaels may have to tap out because of Randy Orton’s interference”. Hell, if Orton didn’t run in odds are HBK would have gone on the offense since he had just SUPERKICKED JERICHO IN THE FACE WITH A STEEL CHAIR. As far as Ric Flair goes, why did Hebner even allow him to stick around ringside?
This match was used 100% as a launching pad for the Shawn Michaels-Randy Orton match at SummerSlam. Chris Jericho was only thrown into the mix so the match could be billed as a WrestleMania rematch, which would ultimately lead to relatively high ratings. So all of you who want to celebrate this is as a great Chris Jericho moment, let’s see what role he plays in SummerSlam because odds are he will be appearing in a role much smaller than the man he “beat” and the man that helped him “win” this match. Having a match with Shawn Michaels is a logical step for the “Legend Killer” to take, but he didn’t have to do it by ruining this match. He could have interfered after this match, or simply called out Shawn Michaels next week. Had Jericho beaten Shawn cleanly Orton could have went on a tirade about how Shawn doesn’t have “it” anymore. Odds are that would have added more heat to the their feud than Orton just running in during a match.
As if the match itself, the lack of heat, and interference wasn’t bad enough, there were other contributing factors like an ill-timed commercial break and like I said before the utterly atrocious commentary. Once again, I am not going to touch upon the commentary yet because that was more of a general problem. As for the commercial break, what the fuck was that? Ultimately the production team decides when to go to commercial. Does Kevin Dunn not understand that more times than not when a wrestler has another wrestler in his finishing submission hold there is a relatively good chance of high drama? That was the first worthwhile bit in the entire match and they jump to a break. Unbelievable. In conclusion, this match did a great job of putting Randy Orton over, but ultimately fucked Chris Jericho and the viewing public over. The really sad thing is that I went into this match actually looking forward to it, yet it pissed me off more than anything else on the show did. And to top it off it featured two of my favorite wrestlers fighting in a 25 minute match. What were the odds of WWE fucking this up for me? I guess by now I shouldn’t even be asking that question anymore.
Kane “earns a living”
I was really torn on this segment was originally going to call it DECENT due to all the logic gaps in this entire storyline. On the other hand, Kane is really being built up as a legitimate threat to everyone in the company, plus this is professional wrestling, so when it comes right down to it little annoyances and formalities shouldn’t play a huge factor. Some of these annoyances would be why WWE did not fire Kane, or why the cops did not run out to help Linda. I don’t believe attacking a middle-aged female CEO of a billion dollar corporation constitutes “earning a living”, which was the only reason Kane was allowed to compete in the first place. The other major flaw was the lame camera angle for the tombstone. That’s what happens on live TV I guess. Either way, majority of the fanbase will buy whatever angle is used for next week’s video package anyway, so in the end this production error doesn’t matter that much. Putting those points aside, I *love* where they are going with this. For the first time since 1998 Kane is being viewed as a monster again and on top of that the people are reacting to it. The pop following his assault on Linda was great. However, as usual they have booked themselves in a corner.
Kane cannot be allowed to wallow anywhere besides in the main events. That being said, Goldberg and Triple H are officially feuding for the World Title. Who does that leave for Kane? Rob Van Dam is one possibility, but not right now. The only person that Kane should do battle with at SummerSlam is not Steve Austin, but Shane McMahon. Shane is generally well liked by the fans and now he has a damn serious vendetta with the Big Red Machine. In a perfect world I would rather the match at SummerSlam than on Raw. Shane would bump his ass all over the place for Kane in a short one-sided match. Since Shane’s body is not in “wrestling shape”, he never stops selling like RVD of Shawn Michaels do once they mount their comeback. Go back and watch Shane-Angle from KOTR 01, the guy is doubled over for practically the entire match. Also, jobbing Shane won’t kill any of his credibility whether it is in a minute or a half-hour because the guy rarely appears on TV anyway. The one step they HAVE to take in order to do this the right way though is to have Kane get “fired” by Austin or Bischoff next week. From there Shane would walk down, revoke the decision, and make his grudge match for the PPV. If they don’t at all make a big deal out of Kane damn near killing the CEO and downplay it like they did lighting JR on fire, I will be incredibly pissed off.
Total Matches: 4
Total Wrestling Time: 36:13
When I first decided to take on this column I was confused as to how I should come up with an overall rating for the show. Should it be based on an average of the segment ratings or my gut feeling? Good thing I chose a combination of both. I will be the first to tell you that this episode featured the most entertaining segments overall than the other two episodes I have “dissected”. However, something held this show down and it wasn’t Triple H for a change. Something pissed me off to levels I have not felt while watching WWE in a LONG TIME. That something was the commentary duo of Jonathan Coachman and Jerry Lawler. The two of them made me want to grow my hair long just for the sake of yanking every last strand out of my head (Thanks to whomever I stole that line from). I swear they did not call any one match to a satisfactory level. Every three seconds the names “JR” “Kane” “Linda” “Bischoff” or “Austin” were muttered. Fuck, I generally like the Coach and I blame most of this on Lawler. Triple H is sitting next to them in order to put Randy Orton over, so what does Lawler do? Ask him about FUCKING JIM ROSS. Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho are fighting in what should have been the Raw MOTY, so what does Lawler do? Compare everything that the Coach says to what JR would have said. At one point Lawler actually starts screaming about how the Coach said JR was at home because he in reality he was still in the hospital. I am utterly shocked that the ratings for this show were as high as they were because I thought for sure the constant repetition and back and forth garbage in the commentary would have caused a lot of channel changing. I don’t give a shit whether McMahon was telling Lawler to keep bringing JR up or it was mostly his own doing, but the bottom line is it annoyed the living hell out of me and ruined my overall perception of the show. One good idea I heard on the forum was that Lawler and the Coach should refuse to work next week because “they are at risk because of Kane” and have Austin and Bischoff replace them. If that were to happen, I couldn’t be happier.
The other big problem with this show was that although it was alright, it was being billed as a Raw version of Clash of the Champions. Clash of the Champions this was not. It was pretty much just a little bit better than what we get every other week. Two of the three hyped segments for this show didn’t deliver as they were billed to. By that I mean Linda’s lack of an important announcement and the non-match between Kane and RVD. I really don’t have much more to add than that. Here’s to SmackDown, which is probably going to be 100% PPV hype, but should still kick the ass of this crap. Oh yeah, does Raw even have it’s own tag team champions?
SmackDown! July 24, 2003
APA vs. FBI
This entire thing with the APA at Vengeance in really starting to piss me off because no matter how much “fun” it is, the bottom line is that people like Lombardi, Doink, Brother Love, and the Easter Bunny are on the SMACKDOWN’S PPV, but Matt Hardy, Ultimo Dragon, and Rhyno are not. I swear, if they have a Saddam Hussein impersonator in the match there will be hell to pay. Whether we like it or not, this “match” is on the card for the PPV and needed to be promoted. I would imagine this was as good a way as any to hype that match, yet it still sucked. That sure is good omen for the actual Brawl. At least this should be better than the Redneck Triathlon last month. Anyone else hear that pop for the Brooklyn Brawler when he ran out? Also, it’s really great to see that the FBI is now the most pathetic stable in the history of the WWE. And that is counting the Gang Warz from 97. Sure they suck in the ring, but this show (like Raw) is hard up for halfway decent tag teams, so why are Palumbo and Stambolli jobbing to a pair of 40 year olds within half a minute?
Stephanie McMahon and Sable
Like with the last segment, this is a match on the PPV and even though it will suck, it should be promoted in some way. Surprisingly I actually sort of liked this until Sable appeared on the big screen. Also before I remembered that Cena also has a match on the PPV. One that has barely been mentioned over the last month. Let’s cover the ladies first. Sable’s top coming off wasn’t such a bad decision because you know that there will be a few idiots who’ll buy the PPV in the hopes of seeing her uncensored. I was also very impressed with the hard bumps that they both took on the concrete while fighting around the limo. As long Stephanie sticks with her “Raging Bull” gimmick in the match I will be highly entertained.
So, considering I just named two pluses, why is this rated so low? Because of how Cena is coming off as someone who isn’t involved in a program of his own. Over the last three weeks John has been involved with Kurt Angle, Vince McMahon and now Stephanie McMahon. He has done two quick raps about the Undertaker during that time period. As far as physicality goes, Taker hit him with the big boot once. Honestly, why are these two even fighting at the PPV? The Undertaker hasn’t commented ONCE about his match with Cena. That definitely is not the way to put Cena over as a real threat to Taker, a man who hasn’t even acknowledged the said match or his opponent in a serious light. I’m really hoping that this match serves as a launching pad for a Cena-Angle feud, but it is becoming more and more apparent that purpose of it is just so Taker would be placed on the card. All they had to do was have Taker cut a promo, or have an extended fight with Cena, but none of that happened. There was essentially no hype for this at all and thus no one will give a shit about it. Even if Cena does win, who cares? The match would have been completely heatless. Understandably, Taker missed this show because his father was very ill and passed away Tuesday, however what about last week, or any of the shows before that?
Jamie Noble vs. Billy Gunn
I guess this means Noble won’t be jerking Heat with the Ultimo Dragon. I don’t really understand why this match is even taking place again. The face just beat the heel. What is left to do? I am happy that Noble is on Vengeance and considering Torrie’s indecent proposal; odds are he will even go over. Now the problem is how will they deliver Torrie and Noble having sex next week, or will they do a bait and switch. I have a couple of ideas for this, but none of them are really that great…er… good. One option would be a Torrie heel turn, but that would leave SmackDown with Steph as the only female face. Even if they do a double turn with Nidia and Torrie it would be utterly pointless. Maybe Noble will get Nidia to agree on a “three way” with Torrie, in which she will reveal that was why she was mad at him all along. He was planning on leaving her out of all fun. Yeah, all those ideas suck, but so does the way they booked this feud. Having a match based simply on Noble’s previous offers to Torrie would have been substantial enough. None of this garbage needed to be added and these two should not have fought on this show, especially in a one minute match. Noble looks like a fucking schmuck after this, so how will Gunn look when he jobs on the PPV?
Kurt Angle/Brock Lesnar/Zach Gowen vs. Big Show/World’s Greatest Tag Team
I had mixed feelings about this match and how it was used to promote the PPV, but in the end I thought the positives slightly outweighed the negatives. On the plus side, I liked Vince taking out Gowen’s good leg with the chair because it was the logical thing to do. The kid already has only one leg going into the match, so by taking it out he is left with nothing. It was also nice that their feud did not overshadow the WWE Title match. I know many of you disagree, but Zach Gowen is being booked perfectly. Keep in mind that Gowen wasn’t supposed to be fighting in a match this high on the PPV card, but since Hogan left the company high and dry they had no choice. That being said, although he has been involved in the main events, Zach has not been made to look better than any of the guys he has interacted with (Lesnar, Angle, Haas, Benjamin, and Show). All of his offense on those guys hasn’t led to anything besides serving as a distraction or nuisance. As for his match with Vince, Gowen shouldn’t go over. Simple as that. If Vince wants his match with Brock to draw he can’t job to the 150 lb. one-legged wrestler. Plus it’s not like Gowen has another main event feud lined up. Odds are he will be sent down to the Cruiserweight division where he could draw in an underdog role. The other good thing that came out of this match was the real dissention between Angle and Lesnar, which is necessary for the three way in terms of crowd heat.
However (there is always a however), the final spot where Brock F5’ed Haas into Angle looked WAY too contrived. Lesnar blatantly looked at Kurt, move toward him, and then swung Haas. Sure it’s a minor detail, but it pissed me off. Also, aren’t Haas and Benjamin defending their titles against another team at Vengeance? Based on this match (and every other one they have competed in this month) I wouldn’t have known that. Has ANYTHING happened between WGTT and Rey/Kidman? Sure the challengers won a number one contender’s match THREE WEEKS AGO, but that is not excuse to completely leave out a short program leading to the match. I love the clips they showed to hype this match in that Vengeance music video. It consisted of Haas and Benjamin watching Rey and Kidman on a monitor. Compelling stuff right there. Originally I thought the match was put together for the purpose of giving WGTT someone to fight and so Kidman could turn on Rey. But if Rhyno is going to turn on Benoit in the US Title finals, they shouldn’t do another turn on the same show. That being said, I would imagine that only one of those would be happening on Sunday night. Does that mean there is a possibility of Rey and Kidman actually winning? Maybe if they lose the titles in a SummerSlam rematch, that would be where Kidman turns. If Haas and Benjamin do win, who the hell would be left to feud with them? All of the other tag teams are heels that haven’t won a match in ages (FBI, Bashams). The APA could be a possibility, but from what I understand Bradshaw has a hernia, which is the reason why they haven’t been working any actual matches. Taking all that into consideration, I’m changing my original prediction and am going with Rey and Kidman.
Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit
Going into this show I was expecting to like this segment much more than I actually did. I’m not entirely sure why, but it seemed a little flat to me. Either way it did a good job of adding a story to the US Title match as now Eddie wants to prove that he is (and always has been) better than Benoit. I think the real problem hear stems from Eddie’s character. Based on the reaction he gets from the fans, how should be booked? Currently they are booking him as a heel, yet due to the fact that he is cheered whichever face he takes on (Rhyno, Benoit) doesn’t look strong. However if they go another route and obviously book him as a face he would have lost his edge. I think looking back at Steve Austin’s character following King of the Ring 1996 would be a major help. Austin was being cheered as a heel like Eddie and had a mini-feud with Marc Mero (face). From there he just started fighting heels like Owen and HHH. So I would keep Eddie as a heel in the PPV match as well as in a program with Tajiri. Once that is over at SummerSlam he should continue to be booked the way he is but against heels like Hardy, Show, and Cena. I had one off-topic thought while watching this segment. How funny would it be if WWE decides that Benoit was blinded by the spray and works that into the PPV match? I mean Jake Roberts was blind for a pretty long time because of cologne, so why not car wax?
Eddie Guerrero vs. Rhyno
I liked this match for a few reasons. It brought Rhyno back into the US Title picture and a turn on the PPV would make more sense now than it would have before this match. Eddie reinforced his character and did it tremendously. I don’t really care when he sprays people in the face with shit, I want to see him outsmart his opponents and the referee by using every trick in the book as well as making up his own as he goes. Eddie did a pretty good job carrying Rhyno who has been a little off lately. Speaking of Rhyno, hopefully he isn’t in the APA Brawl because that would take away from any role he plays in the Eddie-Benoit match. Looking back at the first half of the year I chose Kurt Angle as the best wrestler, but if Eddie keeps working like this until the end of 2003 he will no doubt take that prize.
Rey Mysterio/Billy Kidman vs. Matt Hardy/Shannon Moore
By all means this should have edged out the last match, but the lack of build for the tag title match hurt it. This match was ideal for the challengers as it makes them look like a viable threat. However does WGTT even give a shit about them? At the very least they could have laid them out after this match. Also aren’t these single brand PPVs supposed to allow talent that usually doesn’t make the PPVs their time in the spotlight? Matt Hardy hasn’t been on PPV since WrestleMania and the next chance he will have is in October. Shannon Moore has never been in a PPV match besides his interference at the Royal Rumble. Not really Shannon, but Matt is one of the hottest commodities in WWE and he is nowhere to be found. I was thinking that they might use him as Ultimo Dragon’s opponent on Heat, but that wouldn’t really make sense since Matt is no longer a cruiserweight. Also, Matt shouldn’t be jobbing to a guy who has barely been on TV and the Dragon shouldn’t be losing any matches period. Not until he establishes himself as a player. Therefore, the only heel cruiserweight that is not already on the card would be Shannon Moore and he has already lost to Dragon last month. I digress, this was a great match that featured a lot of innovative spots, so if Rey and Kidman can put forth this effort Sunday night that match should be one of the best we have seen this year.
Not this week.
Total Matches: 5
Total Wrestling Time: 35:31
Eh, this was a good enough PPV hype show. It was nice to see matches like Eddie-Benoit and Angle-Lesnar-Show promoted more than the McMahon garbage for once. Lack of anything for Cena-Taker and the tag title match knocked a few points off of it though. As well as not giving Matt Hardy or Ultimo Dragon anything to do at the PPV. Throwing together a Gunn-Noble rematch isn’t necessary when you have plenty of other more over wrestlers that could have been used in an original match. I was impressed with the in-ring work from three of the matches. Usually on the show before the PPV we get crap, so kudos to everyone for that.
Once again, for more of my PPV Predictions check out the upcoming Crossface.
THIS IS IT
SmackDown 3 :: Raw 0
Highlight of the Week: Kane Tombstones Linda
Lowlight of the Week: Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho
Total Matches: 9
Total Wrestling Time: 71:44
I would have liked to see more than nine matches this week between the two shows, but about half of the ones that they did give us were pretty good so I won’t complain. I feel kind of funny calling the Kane segment the HOTW. However, that was the most memorable event and it did a good job of building the Kane character even with all of the logic gaps. I chose Shawn-Jericho as the LOTW because of the expectations going in. Obviously it actually wasn’t the worst segment of the week on paper, but it did piss me off the most.
It seems like every week I give a different reason as to why SmackDown is superior to Raw. This week there were a lot of reasons, the most apparent being the commentary. Unlike Lawler and Coach, Tazz and Cole actually put over the in ring product and the wrestlers. I don’t care whether the Coach is ready or not to be on Raw, any idiot with half a brain can call a match substantially enough to make the talent look more important than the fat announcer that was lit on fire one week prior. Hell, I wasn’t even that thrilled with Tazz’s work last night, yet it didn’t completely ruin the show like what happened on Raw. Why not let Cole and Tazz talk to Lawler and Coach through the headset on Monday? At least that way I won’t be ramming my head against the wall for two entire hours.
7,000 words later I am done for another week. Keep an eye out for Confidential Sunday or Monday. “Mad props” to all of you who sent feedback. Just keep it coming. Don’t forget about my question earlier… Online or Phone?
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