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Tom Dean




Guess who's back, back again...

Last week, I speculated that if Chris Jericho had been "lowered" to the level of fighting "rookies" and comedy jobbers as Undertaker has been, the Internet wrestling community would have thrown a fit about it. "Kandriasin" wrote in to say:

Well, [Jericho] DID defend the title against Maven shortly after he for eating gross stuff, well, uh...damn, I was looking for a Mr. Perfect joke or something. Aw, hell. Well, um, thanks for your time.

Hey, no problem!

Strange thing about Smackdown... I enjoyed the skits a lot more than the wrestling. The only match I really got into was the solid Angle-Hardcore Holly confrontation. The main event, HHH-Hogan, was mad weak. So there wasn't a ton of great wrestling, but the backstage stuff was solid. Hurricane did his first non-campy comedy promo, which is about damn time, and I thought it came off very well. The stalker thing was stupid (stalker angles usually are), but nonetheless, I'm intrigued about Jamie Knoble. Edge also pulled off a very good serious promo that reminded me a lot of the style of his friend Mick Foley. (Damn... now THERE is a guy we need back, DESPERATELY.) Maven and Tajiri were both very entertaining with their little hospital feud. Maven has a real naturalness in his delivery. I am liking his future a lot. And the skits in general kept themselves relatively short and to the point. (There wasn't much Vince!)

Cole/Tazz, oddly enough, actually enhanced the action. Cole referred to TWO YEAR OLD history in Holly/Angle, which is very unusual in WWE. Cole also asked Tazz some semi-interesting questions about the specifics of holds and whatnot. Cole/Tazz certainly outshined J.R./Lawler a few days later, who were announcing a thrown-together show and definitely seemed to let it affect them.

Damn, though... I wish they realized just how fake the fake crowd noise on Smackdown is. It really fucks with my suspension of disbelief to hear it.

Judging by Velocity, it seems like Tough Enough's Linda will be a face, and TE Jackie a heel. Very interesting decision... there was little doubt in my mind that they would go the other way around. Linda's match with Ivory was horrendous, but I thought she performed well in her backstage skit on Smackdown, so maybe she can in fact pull the face act off in time. Jackie, we'll just have to see. Perhaps Vince will want to play kissyface with her for a while and that's why she's heel?

Chris Nowitzki or whatever the hell he is (shouldn't he be shooting three-pointers?) apparently is the first Tough Enough person to get a gimmick. If they don't overdo it (*cough*), it will be a good gimmick at that. They should consider giving gimmicks to some of the other Tough Enough people too. I think they feel like since we were introduced to them as nongimmicked rookies, we won't be able to accept them as gimmicked wrestlers. I don't think they should sweat that. No one much cares. I am far from a fan of outlandish gimmicks, but on the other hand, seeing too many people with names like "Linda", "Jackie", and "Chris" running around does get a bit dull. Maven and Nidia can keep their names because they're weird names.

Yeah, so Chris Harvard debuted on RAW, and what else can I say about that show? It was a huge mess. The crowd was D-E-D, dead. (And yet, if you believe the sound editing, that NEVER happens on Smackdown... nope, it provides two hours of never-ending thrills to 20,000 people weekly, without fail. Anyway.) A lot of people seem to think the crowd was dejected because of the announcement that Austin wasn't there... but who buys those announcements anyway? I bet three-quarters of the crowd expected Austin to interfere in the main event. I myself think that the crowd deadness was mostly because the Flair-Vince angle came so totally out of nowhere that people were just stunned. Or, more pessimistically, perhaps they were in "oh, terrific, yet another fight to determine control of WWE, how many of these are there gonna be?" mode. Seriously, they couldn't have built that match up any more perfunctorily than they did. Flair-Vince is not exactly a brilliant athletic display that attracts interest without a storyline. To pull "I woke up today and decided that RAW sucks so badly that I'd rather risk losing my company than have to deal with it existing, so let's fight for ownership" out of ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE is just weak.

It's a frantic situation right now. I think that HHH-Taker is one of the weaker PPV main events you could get. I don't expect KOTR to do much business at all. Austin's jumped ship. Benoit is hurt. Lesnar is neither over enough nor, at this point, good enough to main event. Flair is too damn old to be the focus of a promotion in the ring. Same with Hogan on the other side. Edge is hurt. Angle, God bless him, is one of the few stars willing to elevate other people, so as a result, he ends up with midcard guys. HHH is reasonably over, but not crazy over. Where, exactly, is the answer?

When you lay it out like that, I think the answer is actually rather obvious. Answer #1 is to start building some new stars. Answer #2, and the short-term answer, is to get Austin back for crissake. I love how Net people are trying to kick Austin out the door. Hello... VINCE IS NOT GOING TO FIRE AUSTIN. That is the absolute, total last thing he wants. I guarantee what Vince wants is for this situation to be resolved and Austin to get back to work. So why don't YOU want that?? The whole idea of it is just crazy. Austin has a couple of bad months, so you want to fire him?? What the hell is wrong with you people. WWE is NOT bigger than Steve Austin. They can act like they are, but right now, they're not. They NEED him. Vince knows this, believe me.

Maybe Austin walked because he didn't want to lose to Lesnar. Maybe he walked because he was going to win, but thought it wasn't smart business for him to even face Lesnar in the first place. Maybe he walked because he felt the bookers should be concentrating on the feud with Eddy that he asked for. Maybe he walked because he didn't like Michaels' promo taking shots at him. Maybe he walked just because he doesn't like the Clique reunion in general. Maybe he walked because he was shopping for cowboy hats. It could have been any one of, or combination of, five million things. Do I care why? Am I gonna be offended by the answer? Hell no! Just get the guy back on the air, that's all. And that's all I have to say about that.

It's getting to the point where there is almost no point in having a women's division on RAW if Lawler is announcing. He has said on his website that he doesn't think women have a purpose in the ring... he feels they should only be valets. That's nice that he feels that way, but, he should nonetheless be told to call the action as if he actually cares about it. He is killing Molly every time he opens his mouth, just like he killed Jazz. And if you kill the heels, that ends up killing the faces too.

I think Jericho should win KOTR, because he seems really purposeless right now, and Smackdown needs him to maintain his status as a top heel. I would also accept Booker T as the King. Anyone else would be kinda lame, I think.

Can you excavate that, schmendrick?

Tom Dean
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