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Tom Dean




Gee, who would possibly have thought from watching his recent matches and promos that Curt Hennig liked to take a drink once in a while? Total shocker.

What's up with them shilling Vince's appearance on the Costas show? Is WWE really, really sure this is something they will WANT people to see? Please pull some sort of pre-prepared stunt, Vince... I will laugh so hard.

Is it just me, or does the guy in that commercial who usually doesn't ski in the Northeast because the mountains are so tiny look like Planet Stasiak? And he has the same indescribable flair for slapstick comedy. Thank you, Shawn Stasiak, for making us laugh at incompetence... again.

All right, I went pretty negative last week, so this is the most positive way I can put it: Someone needs to hit the reset button on this stuff. This is way, way worse than the Alliance. During the Alliance, at least I could hope every week that they would save it by doing some things that seemed sort of obvious. This stuff they're doing now has nowhere to even go. How would you go about resurrecting this? What interesting thing could possibly happen? An nWo of Big Show/X-Pac/Booker is going to be interesting? Austin's mic work is gonna suddenly become interesting, when he probably couldn't stop people from saying "what?" after every sentence even if he wanted to? God bless Flair as a promo guy, but, him wrestling on a regular basis is going to be interesting? RAW, which I was so happy about for the first couple of shows after the split, just has nothing to work with.

You know what, I'm kind of letting them off the hook if I say that. They don't have Kane, and the nWo is eviscerated... but they sure as hell still have enough to put on an entertaining wrestling show. They just need to TRY. If you're going to have Bradshaw as your #2 face -- a guy who they presumably think can get over in large part because he is a good promo guy -- then LET HIM DO PROMOS. If you see that Brock Lesnar and Bubba Ray Dudley are getting reactions, then ELEVATE THEM. If you have guys like Raven who even after the split are STILL literally standing around with nothing to do, maybe you should try to integrate them into the programming.

You can't just sit there and say "Well, it's Austin, Flair, and something called the nWo, we decided as a group that that was going to be what we devote most of our time to, so that's how it's gotta be." If you're gonna be like that, then, I ask you, what in HOLY FUCKING HELL was the split supposed to accomplish?? When it felt at about 10:30 last night that they were just trying to kill a half hour until the main event... how is that even possible? Where is the utilization of the whole roster, which supposedly was the reason they needed to split?

That's why just about the only thing I *did* like about yesterday's RAW was the Tommy Dreamer vignette. It was amusing, and at least now when (if?) Tommy Dreamer wrestles on RAW, someone might care about it... without J.R. trying to convince us that the hardcore title is coveted more than Lita's undies, or without somone dragging Dreamer around the arena on a motorcycle, or without all these other gimmicks that JUST DON'T WORK if we don't care about the PEOPLE involved.

As for Hogan, suffice it to say that his matches and backstage skits are like the Mick Foley-Owen Hart battles that Mick discusses several times in his books. I keep expecting Hogan to hit someone with a bag of popcorn, or to say "I... can't... huh huh... breathe!" The "bald" promo on Smackdown, to be fair, was the first entertaining thing he's done since they put him back in red & yellow.

It hurts. One of the hardest things in wrestling to accomplish is to kill the Toronto crowd for the main event. But they accomplished it last night, in between the Bradshaw handicap match, Hogan being dragged around backstage (replayed TWICE), and the "mystery nWo member" shill that, to put it mildly, fell completely flat. Probably doesn't help that Canada doesn't even like Austin anyway. Let me know if you have EVER seen the Toronto arena be that silent for a main event. Urrgh... it just hurts. I'm not even going to get into the Booker turn... suffice it to say that I can't think of a way (storyline-wise or business-wise) in which it makes sense.

The damndest thing about all of this is that Judgment Day still looks like a pretty good card. Not much we haven't seen before, but, you gotta figure HHH-Jericho, RVD-Eddie, and Angle-Edge will all be good matches. The haircut stip seems to have been the perfect move, really rejuvenating an Angle-Edge feud that had been floundering previously. RVD-Eddie has always been interesting (except J.R. really, really needs to stop calling Eddie's finisher the Five Star Frog Splash.) HHH-Jericho is not doing it for me anymore as a plotline, true. I can't keep track of it anymore... Jericho is mad at HHH because the Undertaker interfered in Jericho's match against Hogan... or something? I dunno, it's sketchy backstory for a match in the first place, never mind Hell in the Cell. The writers' failure to do ANYTHING at all productive or entertaining with the long-anticipated Jericho-Stephanie hookup was a complete fumble. And, I don't mean to be a smarky smark smark, but, there is not much suspense when it seems almost impossible that Jericho could be allowed to win. I don't think a non-smark fan thinks Jericho will win either. Y2J and HHH exist on different levels, and I think that's been made abundantly obvious to everyone. All that said, strictly as a wrestling match, you gotta figure that'll be a real good one.

The two handicap matches (Austin-Big Show/Flair and Lesnar w/ Heyman-Hardyz) figure to be horrible, I'm not sure which is worse. And Hogan-Taker is obviously there for nostalgia. Still, three very good matches is, by most standards, a good PPV.


Undertaker d. Hogan - They just have to get the belt off Hogan.

HHH d. Jericho

Austin d. Big Show & Flair - If they wanted the nWo to be worth ANYTHING, they would have had Booker beat Austin yesterday. Maybe they realize this now and will have Booker interfere for the win here to try to make up for it, but damn, it'd just be stupid at this point. I'll stick with the Austin prediction. Oh, by the way, Flair's explanation of Hall and Nash's absences was really good. He's the only guy who seems to come up with decent plotline explanations for these kind of things. Of course, he couldn't explain why he fought Vince in the first place if they were both nWo affiliated all along, or the five million other things that make no sense.

Angle d. Edge - Not a clean win... a new, more "intense" look and character for Edge might be good for him, although he does still need to be funny. Edge vs. Hawk from "Tough Enough", I wanna see it.

RVD d. Eddie

Lesnar & Heyman d. Hardy Boyz - You would really hope so, anyway. I am not sure what the point of Heyman wrestling is supposed to be.

I'm guessing Smackdown will announce Tajiri vs. Kidman for the cruiserweight title, with Kidman taking Tajiri's title and girl. (And that'd make four good matches!) Probably also Randy Orton vs. D'Von or some nonsense. Hopefully not Mark Henry.


Tom Dean
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