THE BREW SPEW
Greetings, salutations, and howarya? Good to see you again.
Spewin' on Raw:
Instead of listing every single segment, I think I'll try simply commenting on happenings which were of interest. Lets put this idea in the oven and see if it bakes, shall we?
A 20 minute interview to start the show usually doesn't strike me as a good way to start, but it made sense considering the sudden switch of the Backlash main event. Good interaction between two of the Fed's top guys. I especially liked Taker's "cue ball" reference, and Austin's "does that mean you're dead?" bit - both were great, and it was refreshing to see Austin get a good old fashioned dose of disrespect from his opponent.
Booker T wrestling a hardcore match kinda surprised me, until the ending. I, for one, am thrilled that Buh Buh is getting a singles run. I think he'll shock the world - he's definately good enough to do so. The dancing was funny, but hopefully it doesn't continue. Goldust (in funky sorta-new attire) taking the loss, thus allowing Booker T to NOT take the loss, is a very good thing.
Whoever booked the Undertaker/Rob Van Dam match deserves a pat on the back and a hearty well-done - that match was MUCH better than I thought it was going to be. At least two pure "Johnny Ace" false finishes and some fantastic facial expressions by the Undertaker made the entire match for me, and RVD comes out of the match looking like a million bucks, even though he didn't wrestle like it. RVD REALLY has to work on his punching and forearms; they just look horrible. The Taker carried this match, folks; it's true, it's true. As for Eddie Guererro, he looks to be in fantastic shape, and his run-in was handled really well, to the point that I actually forgot he was out there until he nailed RVD with the belt. I don't think you can ask for anything too much better than that match on free TV these days.
Jazz not speaking did absolutely nothing for me at all. I was interested when I saw her take the commentary position, but to have her sit there and do nothing is pretty lame. Show us some personality, damnit! Holly/Trish match was quite good, with quite a few hard shots in there, including Jazz's belt shot on Trish. Is it me, or are Trish's breasts even bigger? Or were they just pushed up more than normal? Or am I just staring too much? I am definately liking Molly as a heel. She looks good in black, too!
Kane/X-Pac was ok, but it bugs me when you see a vignette with X-Pac saying "ok guys, don't come out, I wanna do this" and then seeing them do just that. However, Kane FINALLY (maybe) losing the mask is SUCH a step in the right direction. He needs to get beyond it and tweak his character into something different, and since "Kane-enites" seems to be getting over really well, now is a great time to do it. I saw more Kane signs tonight than I think I've ever seen. Plus, I really liked X-Pac wearing the mask, and the other two acting scared of 'em while he had it on. He shouldn't have done the "ewww, it stinks" thing on the way out to the ring, though, since he had already worn it earlier. Maybe it's X-Pac's face that stinks, I dunno. Either way, a really good step in the right direction for this storyline.
Does anybody really dig the fact that the nWo "switch to black and white/film melt" thing starts before the commercials end?
Spike setting a new WWF record for Fastest Title Match (I think) was great, simply because it was ABOUT TIME somebody used Regal's gimmick against him. I dug everybody congratulating Spike, and the Buh Buh/Spike "reunion" was cool.
Brock Lesner continues to impress without saying a word, and why should he as long as Heyman's in his corner? While the whole "impervious to pain" thing gives me some unpleasant Barbarian flashbacks, I'm still reeeeally psyched to see him wrestle (hopefully he actually WILL wrestle on TV one of these days). I especially liked how he tossed Jeff Hardy to the outside as if he was simply brushing away a mosquito. It was as if he was saying "Please, little person - just go away." The gorilla press throw to the outside on Matt was equally impressive, but how about those two ULTRA-STIFF chair shots?? WOW! Brock RULES, and he hasn't even had a match yet!! Hope my expectations don't get TOO high. I've also heard a few people suggest the name "The Brock Buster" for Brock's finishing move - works for me!
I FREAKED when Mr. Perfect Perflect-Plexed The Big Show. I CRINGED when Show kicked out at 1. Yikes - so much for THAT finisher......
Austin/Hall was a bit messy, but again decently booked. You knew X-Pac was going to interfere, so you might as well do it in an entertaining matter. Wasn't expecting Bradshaw AND Flair to run in. They need to concentrate a little more on Bradshaw now - let him build up his own little feud for the nWo on something other than them trashing his already-trashed APA office. Austin laying the Stunner on Flair at the end was excellent, but if Nash gets suspended for merely GRABBING Flair, what's going to happen to Austin? Something tells me the penalty won't be as severe. *gasp* FAVORITISM~!
OVERALL: Excellent show. The new Raw is 2-for-2 in my book. SmackDown! better pull up it's britches this week - they've got themselves some competition! By the way, I am definately enjoying the new Raw set, especially the "ParalleloTron", but I'm still bitter that Test lost his theme music. I'll get over it.....eventually.
The Cruiserweight Conundrum
So I sat back last Thursday and watched the awesome match between Tajiri and Kidman, and it got me to thinking. Obviously, the cruiserweights are going to be a big part of SmackDown!, but I can't help but think of the times the Fed has tried and failed to build a proper cruiserweight division. Why have the cruiserweights failed to get over in the Fed? Try this theory on for size.
When you look at a regular WWF feud (ie. A feud between non-cruiserweights), the feud is 99.9% of the time built on something which makes the combatants dislike each other. Thus, when the match happens, it's a little more hard-hitting and intense because we KNOW that they dislike each other. Lots of punching, lots of kicking, lots of moves which are made to "really hurt" their opponents. And this is good....as long as you're not a cruiserweight.
You see, cruiserweights are renowned for their acrobatics, ariel spots, and technical wrestling ability. They are NOT renowned for their ability to brawl. And this is where the major problem comes in. In a feud, we're supposed to believe that the participants don't like each other. So, with that in mind, if YOU were a cruiserweight, when you are in the ring with somebody you 'disliked', would you flying-head-scissors them into submission? Would you Asai moonsault them until they begged for mercy? Would you hurricanrana them until they yelled for mommy? Of course not. You'd beat them down like the scum they are. However, cruiserweights don't beat their opponents down, do they? Of course not - cruiserweights are renowned for their acrobatics, ariel spots, and technical wrestling ability. They are NOT renowned for their ability to brawl. And now, the vicious circle has started over again.
Therefore, in order to get the cruiserweights over, I believe that they will have to either a) go about building cruiserweight storylines in a completely different manner, or b) tweak the way the cruiserweights wrestle in order to make the story in the ring a believable one. My guess is that they'll go with the latter, as it's a lot easier to do. This means that the cruiserweights need to incorporate brawling (GOOD brawling, not just the occasional lame-looking punch) into their matches, as well as the acrobatics, ariel spots, and technical wrestling ability which makes them such a popular item amongst the Internet wrestling community. And it seems to me that this is not an easy thing to do, judging by the failures of past "Light-Heavyweight" divisions. However, the Fed has never had a more talented cruiserweight roster than they do right now, so if THIS group can't do it, nobody can.
Just Another New World Order
I've also seen quite a few people saying that the Fed has completely botched up the nWo gimmick, and until recently, I was one of them. However, when looking at the issue from all sides as I tend to do, I came up with this little theory, which I now offer you, along with a big glass of milk to wash it down.
in WCW, the nWo took over the entire promotion, both in front of and behind the camera. This was never (ever!) going to happen in the WWF. Thus, when the WWF advertised them as "the poison that would kill the WWF", this was a big mistake, because it was completely believable. We'd all seen what the nWo "did" to WCW. It was only natural to assume they'd take over the WWF as well. But, they didn't. Their arrival did not live up to the MASSIVE hype, which is not completely the nWo's fault. NOBODY could have lived up to that hype.
The nWo had their initial "big push" as most 'new' talents get when they're first put on TV. It was a good run, but again, I think the expectations were simply too high. When I look at them now, they're not feuding with the Fed's ultra-top guys anymore. They have simply become a part of the show, and becuase of this, people seem to think the nWo has failed. BUT....how many times have we heard WWF performers and staff say that "The WWF is like a big family" and "We all work together to make money" and things of that nature? Well, perhaps the nWo are doing just that. They're not in the #1 storyline right now, but if they were in the #1 storyline ALL the time, we'd probably be totally sick of them right now. Instead, they're in a storyline with Kane and Bradshaw - not ultra-top guys, but definately 'over' guys. So, perhaps now they're simply "doing their part" to make the show as a whole a better one. And that's not a bad thing - that's a good thing.
Final Thought: I hear Shawn Michaels may re-appear at Backlash, and him and Triple H may turn heel/nWo at Backlash (of course, that's just what I hear). Is this a good thing?
Mail the Author
Comment about this article in Wienerville