MIGUELITO ON WRESTLING
Well, there was another mishap with my VCR this weekend. This time, I did manage to get the last 10 minutes of Golden Age of Wrestling. But to actually recap those last 10 minutes (which would contain only four-five minutes of non-advertisement), I would have to boot into Windows. And I just cannot bring myself to boot out of Linux for a measly 10-minute recap. So instead, I regale you once again with my views on the World of Pro Wrestling.
Fortunately, this week I actually enjoyed WWFE's shows this week. Smackdown was uneven, but entertaining. And Raw, while also definitely uneven, was a very good show. The WWF somehow found a way to shake themselves out of the rut that they had been in, and they provided some moment that show just how good their product can be.
The unevenness of Raw should not be overlooked, however. One cannot simply forget that there was still far too much Vince McMahon (number of non-McMahon Raw's where Vince does not appear: 0. OOPS!) for my tastes. There was also the silly "extend a skit throughout every single segment, giving the payoff at the end of the show, when everything that needed to be said could've been done in 5 minutes" trap that the WWF always seems to fall in to. Why did we have to get a McMahon talking-on-the-cell-phone skit at the end of every segment? Why not just have Austin request Flair and McMahon meet in the ring at the end of the show for his announcment? It was a waste of our time.
And then there was the HORRENDOUS mistake of the APA office. I actually list this under the "Major Intelligence Insult" category. I am all for trying to give one last tip of the cap to the APA. And I understand the need to give Bradshaw a reason to join the feud between Kane and the nWo. But give your audience some credit! We know that Smackdown took place in a completely different STATE than Raw! Why would WWFE crews have moved the APA office from one city to another? Why would they then throw beer cans all over the ground? Are we to believe that, somehow, the set from last week was magically transported?
This was a horrendous mistake. Absolutely horrendous. Most any other night, it would've been a big enough mistake to sour me on the entire show. But WWFE did enough right on this night to make me overlook this oversight (and the other low points on the show). What was so right about the show? Well....
The opening segment: The opening segment was pure magic. RVD and Booker T got things off to an amazing start. They wrestled a delightful match, with each man getting to display just how good they really are. True, the men didn't get the time that RVD would've in ECW (or even that Booker would've in WCW), but they did get a solid six minutes to showcase their skills. The near-finishes were exciting; the pop for Booker's spinaroonie showed just how into the match the crowd was. The match succeeded in getting both men over. And then...
Eddie Guerrero!!! Eddie Guerrero's return to the WWF was handled perfectly. Eddie came out to wrestle, not to talk. He was his heelish best, attacking RVD from behind, adding more punishment after the frog splash, talking trash as he left the ring. I've been saying that Guerrero is ready to take his place as one of the industry's top heels for the last two years. Hopefully, WWFE is ready to elevate him. A feud for the I/C title definitely can't hurt!
Bubba Ray Dudley: I am not so sure that putting the hardcore title on Dudley this quickly was a good idea. The biggest problem with the hardcore title is it changes hands so frequently. Allowing Raven to hold onto the title for a few months could've helped establish the Hardcore title as something more than just a joke. But I digress. Bubba Ray looked pretty good wrestling his first match as a solo wrestler. But what really won me over last night was Bubba's look of surprise when he actually landed the second-rope senton. That attention to detail is what made the WWF of old so successful. To see that WWFE is starting to pay attention to details (*cough*APAofficeinthewrongcity*cough*) makes me believe that the creative team may just be turning the corner.
Molly: First, let me note that this was a missed opportunity. It should have been Jazz who came out to interfere in this match. The WWFE could've put over the importance of the Women's Championship AND the fact that Jazz will be on both shows AND that Jazz is a bad-ass all in one shot by having Jazz come out and dispense a beating. But they didn't; instead they chose Molly. And I cannot argue with that choice, either. In my opinion, Molly is the second-best female grappler in the WWFE, second only to Jazz. Anything the creative team does to get Molly over is okay with me. Hopefully, the Molly/Trish feud that we will be seeing will lead to a Molly/Jazz title showdown sometime in the near future. I don't know about you, but I would much rather see Molly/Jazz than, say, Hogan -vs- anyone.
Brock Lesnar: I really like the way that WWFE is building up Lesnar. Fans are going to be dying to see this guy in the ring soon. There is no reason for Lesnar to be rushed into anything. I hope that the creative team keeps this slow-boil introduction going. Fans are eating it up.
I *do* hope that WWFE realizes Lesnar is going to end up a defacto face.
Austin signing: This segment did draw on much longer than it should have. But there were a couple of things that I really liked about it. First was McMahon taking YAS (Yet Another Stunner). Second was Flair's reaction. But most of all, I *loved* Steve Austin's reaction to Flair's showboating. Austin had his beer up ready to toast Flair for a good three minutes. When he finally got tired of being snubbed, Austin went ahead and hit Flair with YAS. There's still a little bit of the 2001 heel Steve Austin left. I really liked that Steve Austin; I hope that we get to see more of him as the year progresses.
Raw was definitely a good show. Unfortunately, now we have to see what happens on Smackdown. All of the pieces for suckitude are in place; I don't see how the WWFE can come up with anything but a sucky show on Thursday (or tonight, if you want to be literal). Hopefully I'll be surprised again.
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