Wow, I’m back again. I always feel the best way to leave unexplained absences are unexplained, and I intend to maintain my feelings to answer any questions about where the column has been. If an explanation HAS to be given, I guess I could say I’ve been busy these past Sundays. But now it’s time to delve into the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the WWE once again…
We kick off as we always seem to do now with a brief glance at my inbox.
Two items of mail this week, both quite quick.
The first is from regular Mailbagger Martin Wookey. He’s regular because he’s here for a second time. It doesn’t take much to become a regular. He also takes advantage of my generosity.
“Hey.. Umm.. Well..
“If you’ve got anything to say to me whatsoever, good or bad, even just some random plug for a website, e-mail me at [email@example.com]”
http://www.runehelper.net (All help for Runescape online game)
I’ll let that pass as you wrote in once before. I might change my mind about the plugging thing mind you. I did actually play RuneScape ones, very good fun.
My second, and last is from Sara Jones. Even this piece of mail is slightly tarnished, she only read the column because I kept plugging it.
“Your column is as fabulous as Dennis Rodman’s wig. Only not as flashy, but just as substantial. Good job, my friend.
Slightly disturbing comparison, but hey, it’s feedback. Thank you Sara.
If you’ve got anything to say to me whatsoever, good or bad, e-mail me at [firstname.lastname@example.org].
And now what you’ve all come for; The column!
My favourite match of the week from RAW was a simple one for me to choose. Shelton Benjamin vs. Shawn Michaels stood out like a brand new car in the scrapheap that the other matches were. Some would say that Edge/Masters v Cena/Flair was a good contest, but I feel that was made so more by the Flair Country crowd rather than the participants. In the HBK/Shelton match, screwy ending aside, we saw some great athletic competition. It’s a shame that it didn’t quite come up to the standard of their first match in the Gold Rush tournament last year.
SmackDown! also had one match that stood out from the rest. I personally thought that Chris Benoit vs. Randy Orton was a PPV-calibre match that made both guys look really good. Of course the irony is that a match like this will never get 26 minutes on a PPV, but when you get it for free, you can’t complain. Another positive I’d take from this is that maybe, just maybe, Benoit might be given another main event push now he’s away from Booker T and the U.S. Title. We can all dream can’t we?
Royal Rumble qualification
This would have been quite a bland point when it was originally scheduled to be included two weeks ago, but since then a further development was added. The original point is that having people qualify for the Royal Rumble match is so simple in thought, but perfectly logical in execution. Why SHOULD people just “announce” that they’re entering the match? Why should people be announced on WWE.com without a reason given as to why they’re involved? Having a simple one-on-one match not only can be used as a filler match, but gives the filler match a purpose, and the winner gets something as a result. My final addition to the point is that by WANTING to qualify for the Rumble match by competing, it adds prestige to the Rumble itself. My case in point is the celebration shown by the Mexicools after winning their 3-Way Tag Team match on SmackDown!. Simple celebration that shows that going to the Rumble MEANS something.
Kurt Angle: World Champion
I haven’t had a chance to mention this due to my lapse in writing, but I love Kurt Angle as a World Champion, and I love Kurt Angle as a face. Changing the “You Suck” chants to meaning the opponent is a stroke of genius, and far more logical than the 2003 face turn, where Kurt said that the “You Suck” chants were a sign of affection towards him. Kurt may not be in the best of health, but that doesn’t stop him being a wrestling machine that will get cheered based on his wrestling ability alone. Now he’s finally been given a run with a World Title and a chance to prove himself as a face after two previous failures, Angle is the shining light on SmackDown! at the moment.
Although I’m enjoying SmackDown! more at the moment, it is hard to ignore the incredibly strong ratings that RAW has been pulling in since Edge won the WWE Title, 4.3, 4.1 and this week a 4.5 (or a “5 iMPACT!s rating). It’s difficult to know what it is that changed to see the ratings shoot up, but it’s either the fact that Cena lost the belt, or that Edge won it. Or of course, Shelton’s mama has caused a wave of interest throughout America. Whatever the cause is, it’s a sign that the WWE isn’t on a downward curve whatsoever as far as the television viewers are concerned.
…Excuse me a second.
Chris: Mark Henry in the Good section AGAIN?!
Brain: Yes, I know.
Chris: You’ve lost your mind now.
Brain: How can I lose my mind, I AM a mind!
Chris: There better be a good reason…
Brain: There is… just type what I tell you to type.
Sorry about that, just needed a little time to think. Yes, Mark Henry is making a second straight appearance in the Good section of the column, and there’s another perfectly sensible reason for it. Smarks hate Mark Henry. That is a fact that will go down in history as being unquestionably true. But not even the most smarkiest smark can argue that Henry has put in some time and effort into improving his in-ring work, evidenced by the two solid matches that he has had with Rey Mysterio over the past two weeks. The way he reversed a lateral press into his Powerslam was possibly the best example of him having a new lease of energy. He’ll still be released come the Autumn though.
Where’s your muscles gone?
This may sound odd, but I think it’s good. A certain few wrestlers are no longer looking as chiselled as they did a few months ago. Why is this good? Well it means that the drugs plan that Vince McMahon decided to introduce has begun to take affect. I’d much rather the people I watched on TV actually lived longer than looked like an Adonis for a few years.
And the rest…
His name is Finlay. And he loves to fight. And boy, can he fight. Having not seen him wrestle for a while, he is as stiff as hell, and makes every move look like his victim is dead. His finisher (the Emerald Frosion) is also fitting in with his character. Now he just needs to win a match.
I actually thought John Cena was entertaining on RAW this week. I must be getting delirious in the cold weather.
I like the fact that the WWE ran an angle with Shaquille O’Neal, even if it won’t go very far. O’Neal is as big as they come in the US sports field, so why not get some press coverage from him? He’s almost as good at Basketball as BEN ROETHLISBERGER is at American Football. GO STEELERS.
Let’s switch to some negative stuff now…
Triple H: “I’m not making any new superstars”
HAHAHA Hunter, go to hell. Was this supposed to be some kind of internet reference? The fact that HHH was booked to completely blow the WWE Champion out of the water when he asked him to team with him was just embarrassingly bad.
No Online Velocity or Heat for the UK
This may anger me more than most others, but it sure angers me a lot. As a WWE fan from the UK who does NOT have Sky, I now no longer have a (legal) way of watching Velocity or Heat, purely because Sky don’t want people watching the aforementioned shows before they can watch them on their “wonderful” network. I enjoyed watching the occasional Velocity or Heat, but now I can’t. On another Sky-related note, their decision to move the RAW repeat from Wednesday to Thursday will REALLY screw up the TWO chatroom and forum rules about spoilers, probably adding an extra day to it.
People On RAW Going Nowhere
This week’s “Over the Top Rope” challenge proved just how badly some of the RAW lower card are being treated. In the match were Gregory Helms, Lance Cade and Rob Conway, three guys who I feel have a lot of potential if given a chance. In addition to them you have Val Venis, Rene Dupree (when not getting hernia after hernia), Danny Basham, Chavo Guerrero and Matt Striker all sitting around doing nothing useful. At least they’re trying with Striker’s teacher gimmick, the rest of those guys don’t appear to be going anywhere in the near future. It’s such a shame, because they all have talent in some form, and it would be nice to see a few new faces on RAW once in a while.
And the rest…
Although the Spirit Squad entertained me on their debut, I still can’t help thinking of how Ken Doane, Nick Nemeth, Nick Mitchell, Mike Mondo and Johnny Jeter could very well be ditched if the gimmick doesn’t take off. And THAT will be a true waste of talent.
What did I say about Bobby Lashley and microphones? The guy LOOKS such a big threat, but SOUNDS like a big girl’s blouse.
I don’t get how there were matches for the “last” places on the RAW and SmackDown! Royal Rumble entrant list, when there are still places left on both brands…
Vince picking the Royal Rumble numbers takes away a lot of fun, such as the Eddie/Flair skit we had last year.
Orlando Jordan as a bi-sexual character? Yeah, THAT’s gonna get him over…
And so finally, we hit the hot topic of my disappointment this week…
This Week’s Ugliness:
What happened to the RAW General Manager?
When Eric Bischoff was fired as RAW’s General Manager on RAW on the 5th December, Vince McMahon promised us that we would see a new General Manager very soon. And, true to his word, Vince began interviewing people the next week on RAW, from Trevor Murdoch to Christopher Nowinski to Candice Michelle to Dusty Rhodes. And again two weeks later, with Matt Striker, Torrie Wilson and Chloe all lobbying for the job.
But since then it appears that “interim” General Manager Vince McMahon has decided to take over. We’ve seen Vince in the authority position time and time again, with feuds against Austin, Shane, Hogan, Zach Gowen, Stephanie, Triple H, JR, the list goes on and on. Now we have his feud with HBK, which now almost certainly will end with a match at WrestleMania.
My point is that seeing Vince as the authority figure of RAW is boring, mainly because we’ve seen it so many times before. If they HAD to get rid of Bischoff as the GM, which I think was a bad decision, then this would have been the perfect time to establish somebody new as a General Manager, somebody who we hadn’t seen in an authority role before, thus giving us fresh situations and fresh angles to run.
But instead we get Vince, doing what he does best: book himself as the main man in the company. Everyone else? Well, they might stand a chance if they’re nice to him.
And now, as a special Royal Rumble bonus:
Why aren’t the titles being defended?
Tonight we have the second biggest PPV of the year, the Royal Rumble. Now we all know that at least an hour of the PPV will be dedicated to my favourite match of the year, the Royal Rumble itself. But that leaves two hours to fill, and we have five undercard matches. The WWE Title, the World Title and the Cruiserweight Title are being defended.
But neither set of the Tag Team Titles are, all four champions are in the Rumble. The Intercontinental Title isn’t, Flair is in the Rumble. The US Title isn’t, Booker T is in the Rumble. And the Women’s Title isn’t, because Trish has a guest referee job. The Tag Team titles especially are being completely overlooked, and have been for a long time. The RAW tag team titles haven’t been defended for over TWO MONTHS. Of course the main reason for this is a combination of Kane and Show having other feuds, and the fact there a very few tag teams left on RAW. But SmackDown! don’t have that excuse, so why not have an MNM title defence?
In conclusion, I don’t understand how on the second biggest PPV of the year, SO MANY titles are being ignored. They don’t even have a HHH singles match to take up 30 minutes of what’s left.
Time to move on to my Royal Rumble predictions:
Royal Rumble Predictions
On paper it looks half-decent, but you never know with a WWE PPV.
Cruiserweight Title Invitational
Nobody even knows whether this match will be a Battle Royal, a singles match, or a gauntlet type thing ala WrestleMania XX. As far as I’m concerned it doesn’t matter, Kid Kash will retain.
Prediction: Kid Kash
Ashley v Mickie James
Special Referee: Trish Stratus
I wish they’d take notice of the fact that Ashley can’t wrestle ANYONE, even if they have the experience of a Victoria, a Trish or a Mickie. It’ll be a bad match, but the intrigue is more about who’s going to turn on who. My guess is Ashley wins, Mickie turns.
The Boogeyman v JBL
Boogeyman, ooooooh yeah. He’s coming to get JBL on his PPV debut, but with JBL being the golden boy I wouldn’t expect Boogey to get a clean win. My guess is…
Prediction: Boogeyman by Count-Out
World Heavyweight Championship Match
Kurt Angle v Mark Henry
I’ll say it again, Henry’s size and look make him a perfect candidate for fodder to a champion. Angle wins, Henry jobs and goes back to midcard, everyone’s happy.
Prediction: Kurt Angle
WWE Championship Match
Edge v John Cena
Never before has a title match been so unpredictable. Will Cena win and re-take the title like everyone thought he would do when he lost the belt? Or will the high RAW ratings since Edge was made champion allow him to keep the title. I really don’t know, so I’ll go with what I’m hoping for.
Royal Rumble Match
In 2000 everyone knew Rock would win. In 2001 it was Austin, 2002 it was HHH, 2003 it was Brock, 2004 we kinda knew it would be Benoit, 2005 we knew it would be Batista. 2006 is a bit more hard to predict though, as there are a few people who could win the Rumble instead of the usual one who stands out above the rest. However, if one person is the most likely to win the match, it’s not Simon Dean, it’s not The Coach, it’s…
Prediction: *sigh* Triple H.
So that concludes GB&U #7, hope you enjoyed it. As ever, I would LOVE to hear anything from my readers, be it praise or criticism of my views. Any e-mails will be published unless you request for me not to. You saw the e-mails earlier, you could be a part of the column! Don’t forget my address:
Until next time, have a good week, and enjoy the Royal Rumble PPV.