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Tom Dean




A couple of weeks ago, I speculated that RAW was going to be the "grab bag show" and Smackdown the "WWF style" show. I gotta say that I feel pretty good about that right now. Better, at least, than the people who said RAW was gonna be the "crap show" and Smackdown the "great show". I have enjoyed the hell out of RAW so far, and it's been precisely because we're seeing a wider variety of things from it. Kane is showing some very large potential. If they can do something interesting with his "articulate freak" character... I truly feel it can be huge. It's sure as hell seeming like he can do some serious talkin'. Bubba Ray Dudley is also showing signs that he can use his in-ring presence and speaking ability to become a big-time player. The women's division is clicking pretty well. Booker's still a joke, but you can't have everything. Booker no doubt wishes that he had been made to look strong in comparison to the top stars... which the WWF probably would have done IF he had come up through the WWF "system"... much like Brock Lesnar right now. This Lesnar thing is being done just so right. Umm, and need I mention that RAW has the better announcer crew.

Smackdown, by contrast, was pretty blah. Who's getting elevated? Edge, arguably. (He was feuding with Angle even before the split though.) D-Von, very arguably. (Only if they come up with good angles for him. Vince getting into his mind could definitely work. Unlike Bubba, I don't think D-Von makes it without some strong writing to back it up.) That was about it though. Smackdown basically seemed to me to be about the same people in the same roles that we're used to. It seemed like most of the Smackdown people who were formerly underutilized will continue to be so. (And don't let anyone kid you that the cruiserweights are not in this category, until definitely proven otherwise.) There weren't nearly as many of the "holy crap, there's so-and-so finally doing something interesting" moments on Smackdown. Well, that's what I mark out about anyway.

Let me hasten to point out I don't know if RAW being better actually, like, results in more money being made, or anything that the WWF would consider positive. But, I think it is better, for whatever that's worth. Hey, is it being too fanboyish to speculate that Flair and Heyman have more involvement in planning RAW than they do in Smackdown?

Back to Smackdown... Hogan in the red and yellow... blah. After Wrestlemania, if you recall, I was marking out like a mofo about the Hogan/Rock match. More rationally, I was thinking that a Hogan-Rock vs. nWo match would put heat back on the faltering nWo, and would lead very nicely to the promotional split. As it turns out, they didn't go that way... they just dumped the "nWo will lead to the split" idea altogether, and basically split without a specific storyline justification. Which is fine with me, believe me... I have no need to see the nWo dominate storylines. Anyway, even though I was marking out post-Wrestlemania, I am getting sick of Hogan already... and I definitely don't wanna see the guy in red and yellow. What was interesting about the 2002 version was that he had tweaked his character a little bit. I don't see why they want to waste that.

That's just me. I don't think the honeymoon is over yet with the general public. If the bookers think HHH has any chance to be cheered against Hogan, they're goofy. HHH will be booed, and hard. I'm not sure if they realize this or not... they haven't tipped their hand on that. It's definitely quite possible that they do. Hell, HHH could go nWo during the match... it'd be lame... but it'd make sense.

I know I keep saying it, but, Jazz is useless. Why did they screw up a really fun Trish-Molly match (Molly is looking like a great heel) with Jazz' heat-sucking presence. That was ohhh so menacing and interesting, how she just sat there and said nothing. You can't help thinking that maybe, after Jazz' promo a little while back about being the "biggest bitch in the WWF" (which I personally thought was ok), they decided that talking just wasn't her thing.

Well, at least she doesn't call herself "Hot Sexy Mocha", like Linda on Tough Enough 2. (FEEL THE SEGUE) DAMN, those TE2 promos HURT. Especially if your name is Jacob. His stumbling promo probably set him back pretty big. And he definitely choked, because he was a good talker on the cast selection show. My men's pick, Matt, went out this week with an injury. He seemed to be doing really well, too. Oh well. At least I'm already doing better than last year, when my women's pick quit in week 2. I guess I do still have to go with Jacob as the men's favorite at this point. But there is some serious competition. Jacob said he thought that with Matt out, it was either him or Hawk. He best not underestimate Kenny, though. Although they didn't show his entire promo, what I heard sounded very good. He definitely did a good promo on the cast selection show. Boy, they sure are emphasizing mic work this season.

That's it from under the Seattle Steelheads hat. KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES!!

Tom Dean
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