"Gutsy like the Guts Dozer" is how I'd describe the changes that will take
place in a few weeks. A roster split that will establish two separate
entities is tentatively scheduled for January 7 in Madison Square Garden,
where Vince McMahon and Ric Flair will divvy up the WWF talent, perhaps in
a (brr) draft. (I never can tell how much I should assume everybody
already knows. I figure you guys read the Observer and Torch websites
just like I do.) Like segragation, the two rosters will be separate and
equal, with one side getting Raw and the other Smackdown, one side getting
Steve Austin and the other side getting The Rock, and, at some
post-WrestleMania point in the future, each side running their own PPVs.
The split was originally scheduled for July 30 stemming from Vince and Linda's divooooooorce, but was abandoned after the fans completely rejected the WCW name. The intention is no longer to relaunch the WCW brand but to instead create two WWFs (even though the "WCW" company would've been made up of WWF wrestlers anyway). The problem with killing off the WCW name is that there's no real appeal, outside of Ric Flair, to the disenfranchised WCW audience. Without additional audience, the WWF is just adding more PPVs for their current fanbase to buy, with no guarantee that they're going to start spending twice as much money every month. For now the plans seems to be for house shows to feature talent from both sides, giving them a unique allure, but keep in mind that the goal from the summer was to end up with two independent touring entities, with the Raw side running Saturday through Monday and the Smackdown side running Thursday through Sunday starting off with a live Smackdown.
The potential benefits are that if each company succeeds, the WWF increases its revenue and rectifies the problem of talent burning out too quickly by being on four hours of TV each week. With half of the big stars only appearing on one of the two shows each week, theoretically both Raw and Smackdown become must-see. On the other hand, each TV show will also be featuring half as many stars as usual. They'll really have no choice but to build up a new set of guys to the tippy top level out of necessity, since each side is going to need more than two top stars. Launching a new entity during the WWF's coldest run in years is certainly risky, but could solve many of the problems that have contributed to the slide.
Hello, my name is RAW and I totally ruled.
Can't say enough good things about this one. They oughta sign the crowd and tour with them. Not only do The Rock and Trish Stratus share a beautiful kiss, but they then compete in a really enjoyable main event with Trish WAILING AWAY on the co-owner like she should have at WrestleMania and busting him open (she's a spitfire) and the crowd was all loving it and Trish was totally awesome and never exposed as incompetent and there were lowblows aplenty and the work between Rock and Angle was their usual magic and the facial expressions were hilarious and Trish decides to become Miss Elizabeth and runs to the back and out came STONE COLD HULK HOGAN stalking Vince and the Macho Rock wins.
Super duper Austin vs. Jericho match, complete with THEOLD Stone Cold theme. I cannot for the life of me understand why they'd do a clean Austin win (in a non-title match, even), especially after Rock pinned Jericho last week, but we'll see what happens.
T vs. A, this match had some serious hossrate, ladies and gentlemen, and it kind of ruled. Test has been getting the big push but I suppoooose this sets up Test and Christian vs. Albert and Scotty for HeAT or some such. Christian vs. Van Dam was good although Christian has fast become my "guy who they oughta push that guy hard he's good guy." Rawesome worker and sexcellent talker, what's not to like? His SIZE? Don't go there! At worst they could put him with Matt Hardy after the Hardys' program and feud them with face Dudleys. There's really no reason for the Dudleys to be heels now that they aren't running an invasion angle. Their heel act pretty much stinks while their face routine had all those signature spots that were over. There's gotta be some connect the dots booking where Matt Hardy can turn heel and take Stacy Keibler, Jeff ends up with Lita (but ha ha he's a gay guy ha ha Fuck You), and the Dudleys turn face and put Keibs through a table in whatever order. She seemed to be really digging that Test "Andrew" Martin, although that's been dropped, apparently. And she and Matt don't cliq at all for me. But I'm just throwing spaghetti noodles at the wall here.
The Hardys vs. Spike Dudley and Tajiri was good in the 3 or whatever minutes it got. *Very* Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes vs. Ricky Steamboat and Shane Douglas. (Okay, not really.) Tajiri has fast become my "guy who they oughta push that guy hard he's good guy." Rawesome worker who got really, really over right away, what's not to like? His SIZE? Don't go there! People criticize the Hardys in backstage skits, but I'm usually into their vignettes as of late except for brief moments of atrociousness.
Wackiest thing? All clean finishes. I'll be cowkicked.
WCW has the Starrcade PPV on 12/32/01, headlined by Sean O'Haire vs. Bill Goldberg and Vampiro & the Insane Clown Posse burning in holy water. WWF has Armageddon nee Payback nee Vengeance on 12/9/01 with a list of matches to be performed:
Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle ... VI? (January Raw, March Smackdown, August SummerSlam, September Unforgiven, October Raw, I believe that's it.) This is for the WWF Championship.
The Rock vs. Chris Jericho ... III? (The two WorldCW Title switches.) This is for the Giant Gold Belt. A-U, gimme back my gold!
Steve Austin or Kurt Angle vs. The Rock or Chris Jericho. It'd be Rock/Austin III, and Jericho/Austin um IV, and Rock/Angle let's say IV as well. This is for BOTH BELTS.
Edge vs. William Regal for the Intercontinental (and United States teehee) Title. Style clash? Regal is a style clash with almost everybody but that doesn't mean he's not good. This could be good! But also it could be average. Romance in Durango number 95. Congratulations to the Edgester for not losing the Intercontinental Title this much.
Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy with Lita as the guest referee. This is all Buff Bagwell vs. Diamond Dallas Page with Kimberly as the guest referee. I'm really looking forward to the match, although previous Hardy vs. Hardy encounters have been disappointing (Royal Rumble sequence, King of the Ring qualifying match, I think they had a Hardcore Title match on Smackdown in April 2000 that I never saw). God bless them for not going to a ladder match right away.
Kane and The Big Show vs. The Dudley Boyz for the WWF (and WCW teehee) Tag Team Titles. The Big Show has challenged for the tag titles three times in the last four months, right, and he's had a different partner each time. I have no idea how they're going to sustain TWO tag divisions after the split seeing how well this one is going. Here are some teams: Raven and Saturn (if neither of them are cut), Page and Kanyon (when Kanyon comes back, if Page isn't cut), Raven and Kanyon (if Raven isn't cut), Storm and Credible (if Credible isn't cut), Funaki and Kaz Hayashi (the replacement Taka), another combination of cruiserweights like Billy Kidman and Shane Helms, HWA folks like Jamie Knoble and Shannon Moore. And the Steiner Brothers*. WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF. (J/k that means just kidding.)
Trish Stratus vs. Miss Jackie for the WWF Women's Title. Don't.
Test and Christian vs. Albert and Scotty 2 Hotty? I make no promises.
* Segue trapped in the middle of blurb. Scott Steiner debuted with WWAS, beating up Grandmaster Sexay and Robert Davitt and then competing in the main event against Jeff Jarrett and Road Dogg.
Either this was a slow week for news *or* I haven't gotten an Observer yet *or* I'm forgetting some not very important tidbits like the one about Mark Henry having to gain weight.
R.I.P. The Shooters