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The Booking Report, July 11, 2003
Guest_TSMAdmin_*
post Sep 21 2003, 05:12 PM
Post #1





Guests






The Booking Report: Raw (July 7, 2003) vs. SmackDown! (July 10, 2003)

It’s only taken me over two years, but FINALLY I have come up with an original idea for a weekly column. *Pauses for applause*

This little brainfart popped into my head while I was taking a shower after Raw. Surprisingly, within five days it has already been tweaked about four times. My original idea was to base the column on “What Worked” and “What Didn’t Work” from Raw and SmackDown. Keep in mind, I thought of this after a long, tiring episode of Raw, so it took me about 45 minutes to remember that that’s DEAN’S gimmick.

Anyhow, I’ve been hanging around with this group since the Rantsylvania and Delphi Board days. I’m probably dating myself with that reference, but I’ll take the chance. Looking back on those four years I have noticed that there is one consistency that NEVER changed. What is it you ask? The fact that 97% of the people who I have crossed paths with in the IWC (writers, posters, readers, etc) always found something to complain about. That is understandable since it is very rare for an event to be a perfect one in the eye’s of everyone. However, this complaining and bitching is rarely followed by ideas in which the company could have used to better their product. This all bubbles down to one underlying theme, most people seem to be REACTIVE in that they will react to a something by complaining. However, there are those of us who fall under the PROACTIVE grouping. These proactive people are still pointing out problems, but they also make points on how to get rid of these problems.

Seeing how “Big Brother” is watching us as we speak, I figured this would be as good a time as any to partake in a column like this one. More or less I will go over what is being done right and what is being done wrong, more so in a booking sense as opposed to wrestling. Then when I come across something that is wrong, I’ll say why it is wrong and how it could be better. I will absolutely not go into the details of the actual show, do play by play, or even say what the result of some of the matches are. This is strictly a commentary on the WWE’s weekly product, so I highly suggest that you check out Spoon’s Raw recap and JHawk’s SmackDown recap for a quick memory refresher as to what actually happened.

On top of that, I will also compare Raw to SmackDown. Remember when they first announced the brand split they said it was going to start competition between the two brands. I’m certainly not blind, but I don’t see any of this competition they speak of. Therefore, I will be the judge of this competition. I’m actually shocked that no one has coined this idea already and if you know someone who has; don’t tell me, it will kill my buzz.

Moreover, depending on the feedback I receive, I would like to put together a mid-week column that would follow in the format of this one, but would consist of what all you thought about Raw and SmackDown. Obviously if I only get two pieces of feedback this idea would be rendered pointless. I will get back to this idea at the end of the column, once you have all seen the format and what it is all about.

Lastly, each of the segments that I list will be rated on a 1-10 scale based on both match quality and booking quality. The segments will not be listed chronologically. Instead I have divided each show into five categories: The Crap, The Bad, The Decent, The Good, The Great. Simple enough, right? The segments, which are not the exact 11 segments that you see on Raw, will be ordered based on their quality. We’ll start with The Crap and work our way up to The Great. Maybe “The Great” is wishful thinking on my part. At this point I will settle for “The Decent”. From there the entire show will also be rated on a 1-100 scale followed by My Final Thoughts. Of course since there are two shows to analyze, I will go through this process twice.

Keep your arms and legs within the vehicle at all times, but also try to enjoy the ride.




Raw July 7, 2003


THE CRAP


Chris Jericho vs. Mark Jindrak
Rating: 0/10

*Takes a deep breath* This match was wrong on SO MANY levels. First of all, hasn’t the WWE learned that debuts with little or no hype (Orlando Jordan, Garrison Cade, and the Basham Brothers) generally do not go over very well? However, when booked correctly, a debut with no hype can be largely successful. For instance, take John Cena’s debut match with Kurt Angle last year. Like Cena, Jindrak received no hype and was just thrown into a match with a main event star in which they both did the job. The difference between Cena and Jindrak’s debuts is that Cena literally took Angle to the edge and back. Jindrak on the other hand had a run of the mill 4 minute special on Raw. Not to mention the fact that this match should have taken place before the Highlight Reel when Jericho at least had a miniscule of fan interest behind him. Because Jericho’s heel turn flopped earlier and no one had any idea who Jindrak was, this match had zero heat. All I know is that there is absolutely no reason not to air vignettes before a wrestler’s debut, especially when you have a shitload of footage of them competing in both WCW and OVW. In the end this match did nothing for Jericho and hurt Jindrak more than it helped him.

Rosie vs. Hurricane
Rating: 0/10

Before we get to Rosie’s involvement with Theodore Long and Rodney Mack, what happened to Hurricane going after the tag-team titles and why did he job cleanly to Rosie? Back in March Hurricane went toe-to-toe with the Rock in a match that was 4x longer than his loss to Rosie. There is something seriously wrong with that.

Post match antics included Long saying something to Rosie and Rosie then avalanching him in the corner. This pissed off Rodney Mack who then went after Rosie. First, isn’t Long supposed to represent wrestlers who were somehow screwed by “The Man” or were at least discriminated against in some fashion? All Rosie has going for him is a loss to Goldberg and not being on TV much since then. On the other hand, at least Rosie looks black as opposed to Mack. Rosie’s attack on Long seemed like it may have been a face turn, but nothing was really definitive. If that was indeed a face turn, it shouldn’t have gone down this week. Due to his losing streak Rosie should have went to Long looking for guidance. After joining forces with Long his luck would have taken a turn for the better. Seeing how Long was taking credit for his victories, Rosie decides to leave him to prove to himself that he never really needed Long. The really scary part about this segment is that now we have a Rosie-Mack feud on our hands.


THE BAD


Val Venis/Gail Kim vs. Stevie Richards/Victoria
Rating: 2/10

Gail Kim debuts last week and wins the Women’s Title in a battle royal in which the champion (Jazz) was never actually eliminated. After that display Gail was not exactly met with cheers and admiration from fans in the arena and watching at home. So instead of giving her a solid title defense over someone this week, she is thrown in a mixed tag match. Either way, a win is a win and Gail could use as many of them as she can get. Gail’s actual wrestling skill has failed to impress me thus far. I have no clue how anyone could call her a female Rey Mysterio. In these matches from last week the only “eye-popping” moves we have seen from her have been a hurricanrana, mexican arm drag, and flying headscissors. She might have done a moonsault in the battle royal, I don’t remember. Nevertheless, none of those moves have been considered big spots since the late 80s/early 90s. I’ll touch upon the women’s division later on with the Trish-Molly match.

Randy Orton/Ric Flair vs. Bubba Ray Dudley/Rob Van Dam
Rating: 2/10

This match was the direct result of Bubba accusing Evolution of attacking Tommy Dreamer backstage when in reality Kane was the perpetrator. This was being promoted as Bubba and a partner of his choice. Considering the entire basis of this match revolved around the fact that Orton and Flair attacked Bubba’s friend Tommy Dreamer, only to have us find out a little earlier that it was Kane behind the attack sort of made this match a moot point. Bubba was wrong, so why does he have to extract revenge on Evolution? Most likely so the writers had an excuse to keep Rob Van Dam in the World Title picture. Obviously the match was pretty bad and was just thrown together to serve as a “main event” in a wrestling sense.

Moving past the actual match, there is no excuse for the World Champion not to appear on the flagship show of the company. Whether you like Triple H or not, he should have been on Raw in some shape or form. The logic probably was that wrestling a five minute squash on Heat was enough for one night. This match could have served as a good way to jumpstart the HHH-Goldberg feud. Have Orton and Flair go over after HHH interferes. Beatdown results on Bubba and RVD. Spike makes the failed save attempt. Cue Goldberg’s music. Spears for all three heels and a Jackhammer on Orton. There you have it. Goldberg is still a monster and now he and HHH have a reason to feud. However we now know that Goldberg had an arm injury. Why not do what the old NWA used to do, simply have Goldberg run out to the ring and the heels would than cowardly back away from him.

Test vs. Kevin Nash
Rating: 3/10

The segment leading to this match where Test puts his hands on Trish and Nash makes the save actually surprised me because Kev got a pretty big pop. Yet once he came down to the ring for the match, the crowd was dead. Now the Highlight Reel may have killed them, but I think this is more proof that fans do enjoy Nash as long as he isn’t wrestling. What really caught me off guard was how Test went over Nash due to typical shenanigans, which resulted from Trish trying to alert the ref to Test cheating. Where does this go from here? Did Nash do the job as punishment for his recent complaining and overall suckitude, or is this going to turn into a mini-feud? Either way, Nash’s career is over seeing how the man moves slower than the Big Show and Test will not get over now considering he hasn’t in the last four years. This match did continue the “Test is a chauvinistic asshole” storyline well, so even though we all know he will not get over, this segment forwarded his current push properly.

It seems like the only time Test ever had any heat was when he had a charismatic person to play off of like Shane McMahon or Stacy Keibler. Why not pair Test with a woman unlike all of the other women in the WWE in that she isn’t interested in her own independence or success. Instead she is there for Test and is willing (and happy) to put up with all the shit he puts her through. I don’t understand why all the divas in the WWE have to be alike when it comes to how they deal with men. Having a subservient female character would be a major heat generator from practically all the women who watch the WWE. Plus this would give Test something fresh and different to work with.

Steve Austin and Kane
Rating: 3/10

Earlier in the show it was revealed that Kane bloodied Tommy Dreamer and Rico because he thought they were laughing at him. Moreover, Kane wanted to quit Raw because he felt that the fans would also find humor in the fact that he is ugly. Austin then convinced Kane to come down to the ring under the guise that the fans would cheer for him. I thought that was a little risky on the WWE’s part. The Montreal crowd is always an unpredictable one and the crowd for this show has been quite pissed for the last hour. However it all worked out and Kane was cheered for. Hopefully this was not Kane’s official heel turn. Misinterpreting a relatively simple line from Steve Austin is not enough for a full-fledged heel turn in my book. No selling the Stunner and then chokeslaming Austin “STRAIGHT TO HELL THROUGH HELL FIRE AND BRIMSTONE BAH GAWD” was a step in the right direction on the “Kane is a monster again” front. This entire Kane fiasco is getting more absurd each week as now from show to show he looks less disfigured. At least when they scaled back on his costume they did so over six years. Within the last three weeks Kane has lost his scarred haircut, the black makeup on his face, and his cross-eyed contacts. Before you know it he will look just like you or me. Eh, not me, but maybe you. Personally I think he looks like a lean George the Animal Steele. This all worked on one level, recreating Kane as an unbeatable monster. However his reasoning for attacking Austin, Rico, and Dreamer was lame and his face is miraculously looking more normal each week.


THE DECENT


Trish Stratus vs. Molly Holly – Contender’s Match
Rating: 4/10

Remember how earlier I said that Gail Kim should have had a convincing title defense on this show? Well, Molly would have been the perfect opponent. Plug that match in the place of the mixed tag and replace Molly with Victoria in the contenders’ match. This would have made sense since Trish and Victoria were the last two to be eliminated in the battle royal. If I remember correctly, Molly was one of the first to go out. The next question would be why did Trish Stratus job cleanly to Molly? Well, I really wouldn’t consider it clean since she took a beating from Test earlier. Was it due to all the trouble she got in courtesy of my interview? I doubt it. Hold on though. For those of you who remember, in the interview Trish hinted at something new happening to her character. Could it be a heel turn? If Trish turned heel, that would leave Gail Kim, Ivory, and Jacqueline as the remaining faces. On the heel side you would have Trish, Molly, Victoria, and Jazz. As much as I would like to see a new face dominating the division, Gail Kim doesn’t seem like she could do as good a job as Trish has over the last year and a half. I guess it is worth a try though. I mean how hard would it be to turn Trish face again?

This actual match was good in the sense that it freshened up the women’s division a little bit. We haven’t seen Molly used in a productive way in months, so throwing her back into the mix should help to lessen the usual stuff we see from Trish, Victoria, and Jazz. A solid outing from Gail Kim culminating in a sound victory over Molly could be exactly what she needs to get finally generate some crowd reaction.

The Highlight Reel with Shawn Michaels
Rating: 5/10

At first I thought this segment was going to be one of the best in recent memory, however that all changed by the time it was over and done with. Even though there was really no reason to bring up the Screwjob of 1997 once again, it provided us with a different view of both Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho. It was almost like a smark’s wet dream, HBK was getting booed out of the building and Jericho was being praised like the second coming of Jesus Christ all while there were Bret Hart chants in the background. Although once Michaels turned Jericho heel everything went downhill. Those of you who have played EWR know that when you use a heel to turn a face heel, that wrestler you are trying to turn will most likely end up a tweener and more often then not will lose overness. Likewise, in the real world a tweener will usually receive little or no reaction from a crowd because of confusion as to whether they should cheer or boo. That is EXACTLY what happened to Jericho. To sum up what happened, the crowd was booing Shawn because of what happened six years prior and on top of that he was channeling the old “I could give a fuck about the fans” trait that deep down he has always possessed. Meanwhile, Jericho was hamming it up as Mr. Canada. Then all a sudden that dastardly HBK announces that Jericho actually lives in Florida. So now as a fan in the live audience, do you boo Jericho for not really being Mr. Canada, or do you ignore this fact since enemy of the state Shawn Michaels brought it up? Quite the conundrum, which then resulted in a dead crowd for the remaining hour of the show.

Turning Jericho heel in Montreal really wouldn’t have been that hard. There were a number of things they could have done like have Jericho agree with Shawn that the people should move on, or have Chris come forward with the fact that he left Canada to live in Florida. Simply having Jericho turn down the opportunity to wrestle Shawn tonight and instead wait until Raw in Hollywood would have been substantial enough. Bottom line: Don’t turn a wrestler heel by having another heel make derogatory comments about them.


THE GOOD


Christian vs. Booker T – Intercontinental Title
Rating: 8/10

After two months of Booker chasing Christian for the title, the WWE finally pulled the trigger on the title change. As much as I like Christian, he wasn’t really turning into the Honky Tonk Man of the new millennium. Honky’s original success as the Intercontinental evolved into what it became, whereas Christian’s push as a cowardly champion has been shoved down our throats week after week. Back in 1987/1988, the live crowds would go ballistic anytime HTM was victim of a nearfall. They DESPERATELY wanted to see him lose the title. So besides him being pushed too heavily, why else did Christian’s reign fail? His character, although he is a heel, isn’t as dislikable as HTM’s was back in the day. Honky had fucking Jimmy Hart in his corner. How could he go wrong? Also keep in mind that HTM was the champion for a whooping 16 months. Now obviously there is no chance of any title reign lasting that long with the current ADD phase our society is in, but still Christian had the title for two months. People really weren’t DYING to see a new champion after two months. Maybe five, but not two.

I think the real problem with this entire feud stems back to when Christian won the title at Judgment Day. Now if Booker won the battle royal and Christian cheated to beat him for the title at lets say SummerSlam, Christian automatically would have had more heel heat and the Intercontinental Title would have been more prestigious. From there Christian would have a lengthy reign (5-7 months). In the beginning of his reign Booker would gun for the title numerous times, but Christian would cheat and find loopholes to keep the title. For the next several months have Christian retain his title against other wrestlers in the same manner. Finally after it seems like NO ONE can beat Christian, Booker reenters the picture and after failing at first, wins the title on his second attempt.

Booker’s title win did help to fix one problem with Raw, as while Christian held the title there were only heel champions on the show. The match itself was not a technical masterpiece, but I enjoyed it. The false finish early on was nice touch as well as having both men quite frustrated near the end of the match. Typically it is just the heel or just the face who start going crazy after not being able to put away their opponent, so seeing both men feel this way was nice for a change. The most annoying part of this match took place afterwards when JR was going ballistic about how now “Booker is the MAN”. I mean sure, Booker won a secondary title on Raw. Booker is a FIVE TIME WCW WORLD CHAMPION, but now after winning the rehashed Intercontinental Title he is finally THE MAN? I don’t think so.


THE GREAT


Nadda


FINAL THOUGHTS

Rating: 25
Total Matches: 6
Total Wrestling Time: 34:59

The show started off on a high note but rapidly declined to a level of crap we haven’t seen in at least a month. Unfortunately the Highlight Reel did the live crowd in and there was no changing their minds from then on. Can you really blame them though? The main event crap was a complete joke. The final segment on the last three Raws has been very strong, so this week was an overall disappointment in that sense as well. Besides the opener, every match on this show sucked wrestling-wise. At least we know that we will be getting one potentially great match in two weeks. Too bad it will probably end with Randy Orton causing a DQ.

One thing that really bothered me, the absence of Triple H (World Champion), Goldberg (in the midst of an effective push) and La Resistance (Tag Champs, “hometown” heroes”). Understandably none of these people would have salvaged the show, but they are all major players who should have done SOMETHING. None of these absences were ever explained by anyone either. From what we know, Triple H was MIA because he worked a Heat match. Not an excuse. Goldberg may have been missing because they thought he would get booed. If they booked him well that shouldn’t have been a factor. There is a rumor that he had an infection in his arm. Well if that was the case, why not say SOMETHING this way he stays fresh in our minds. Finally, La Resistance were probably off the show because they would get cheered. Would that have been such a bad thing? This team’s gimmick revolves around their nationality, thus why not let them get a face pop in the Montreal? If anything it would have added heat to their gimmick when performing in front of American fans. All in all, the show would have gotten an even 30 from me, but the fact that four relatively important people were missing, as well as the lasting effect the show left on me, I knocked 5 points off.




SmackDown! July 10, 2003


THE CRAP


Zach Gowen Contract Signing
Rating: 0/10

Before all of this went down, it was decided to re-air the handicap match from last week in it’s entirety, reason being, since last week was the 4th of July weekend many people go away. Based on the ratings from last week, odds are there were some fans that missed the match. Sure the match was also shown on the B and C-level shows, but how many causal fans are actually tuning into Afterburn every week? The one downside of showing the match again is that this is the second, third, or even the fourth time we have seen it within one week. An obvious solution would have been to join the match in progress as Vince was telling the Big Show to chokeslam Stephanie. That would have left about two minutes of the match. I personally get chills when I see Zach Gowen wrestle (mostly bump), so it didn’t bother me any, but I do see how it could have annoyed most people.

So I basically just said that I mark for Zach Gowen, thus why is his contract signing scrapping the bottom of the barrel? Well all of this nonsense about getting a contract has been going on for over two months. He finally won the damn thing, so let’s move on and have him actually wrestle. Unfortunately, McMahon sees this as a good time to throw himself into a wrestling match. In one corner we have Vince McMahon, winner of the 1999 Royal Rumble and an ex-WWF Champion. In the other corner we have one-legged Zach Gowen who beat the Big Show with help from a steel chair, Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar. There is no doubt in my mind that Vince will do the job, it’s just that this whole scenario seems pointless. On the upside, maybe after he loses Vince will go on another one of those extended hiatuses he takes every now and then. It would be nice to have the General Manager actually running HER OWN show again.

As for the actual segment, Gowen was definitely not “on” tonight during his promo like he was three weeks ago. Vince making the match could have taken place in a two second backstage promo and Gowen could have signed his contract off-screen. Therefore the sole purpose of this segment was to have Sable hit Stephanie over the head with a clipboard. Why she did this still baffles me since there was no direct reason. I was laughing pretty hard though. It was a fucking clipboard people, not an object that would lay a person out for two minutes. Stephanie’s “Raging Bull” charge at Sable was equally hilarious. Their match at Vengeance has no chance whatsoever of even hitting DUD. Then again didn’t most us say that when Stephanie fought a non-wrestler at No Way Out 2001 in Trish Stratus? At least Sable has wrestled, albeit over four years ago.

Billy Gunn/Torrie Wilson vs. Jamie Noble/Nidia
Rating: 1/10

Speaking of general stupidity, after Billy and Torrie clean up their dirty work they start giggling like ten year old school girls. You had sex and some old guy walked past you. Get over it. I love how this company supposedly caters to mature adults. Was it ever explained why Torrie ditched Kidman, or did the writer’s just figure we would all forget about that special night when Billy gave an Oscar worthy performance with his Al Wilson impersonation?

There was no backstory leading to this besides that fact that every female heel on the SmackDown roster automatically hates Torrie Wilson. My best guess is that the match existed so we would remember that Billy Gunn is back and is (sadly) in the United States Title tournament. Instead of throwing him into this match, I would have had him do commentary during the Guerrero-Ultimo match since he would be facing the winner in the semi-finals.

I am digging this current Noble/Nidia storyline. Showing how two pieces of white trash spend their fortune on stuff that most middle-class people would buy in a heartbeat is actually high concept. For the WWE at least. Come on, how could you not love Nidia screaming “Let’s go to Applebee’s” after hearing that Noble inherited $827,000. This week a new aspect is being added to angle as now it looks like they may start throwing their money around a little. Maybe this will lead to a resurgence of the old, “How low will a common fan go for $100?” angle that we have seen so many times. It’s been about five years, so it might be time to dust that one off again.


THE BAD


Eddie Guerrero vs. Ultimo Dragon – US Title Tournament
Rating: 3/10

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would see the names “Eddie Guerrero” and “Ultimo Dragon” under any sort of negative category. Congratulations WWE! Where to start with this one… I guess the length would be a good place. Not even three and a half minutes were given to this match. Billy Gunn and John Cena got more time than that last week. Maybe cutting the 12 minute THREE ON ONE handicap match down a little would have assisted in giving these two enough time to put together something resembling a wrestling match. Furthermore, what hell is this “push” they are giving the Dragon? First the guy beats Shannon Moore. The next week he isn’t even on the show. Now he loses in three minutes to Eddie Guerrero. What the fuck is that? Why is he even in the US Title tournament? Shouldn’t Stephanie have put wrestlers in it that have proven themselves in the company? Even if it were A-Train I would be fine with that because at least then Ultimo Dragon would not be doing the job in his second televised match. The Dragon should be wrestling quasi-squashes against guys like Nunzio and Noble just to showcase his arsenal to the fans and shed any remaining ring rust.

WARNING: I am about to go off on a tangent that does not really relate to the quality of this segment. You have been warned.

This match right here has in my mind revealed exactly who will be winning the title at Vengeance. Let’s look at what we have left in this tournament. Eddie Guerrero vs. Billy Gunn and Chris Benoit vs. Matt Hardy. Pushing the US Title to the side for a moment, Eddie is currently feuding with Tajiri and Benoit is on the verge of turning/being turned on by Rhyno. With that in mind, wouldn’t it make sense for Eddie to face Tajiri at Vengeance? Because of that Tajiri will probably assist in Gunn wining his semi final match. Now on to Benoit vs. Hardy. I believe Benoit has to win this match. Just to keep with the current storyline, Moore should try to interfere, but Rhyno would make the save. This takes us to Gunn vs. Benoit. I see Rhyno running in and costing Benoit the match whether it is on purpose or by accident. Unfortunately that would make Billy Gunn the first US Champion.

You know how I said earlier that I would offer ways to improve the bad decisions made by the WWE creative staff. In this predicament, Gunn winning title seems to be the way to go. The only saving grace would be if that have Rhyno fuck Benoit over in his match against Hardy next week. If that were to happen Benoit vs. Rhyno would probably be added to Vengeance and Hardy would take on Gunn in the finals. Therefore, Matt would have a chance of winning the title. Whereas if Benoit is Gunn’s opponent it is essentially a given that Rhyno will cost him the belt.

Let’s just wait a week and see exactly what happens in the Benoit-Hardy match before we jump to any conclusions.


THE DECENT


Matt Hardy/Shannon Moore vs. Rhyno/Chris Benoit
Rating: 5/10

Like the last match, this one was also not allotted enough time. I was pleasantly surprised that it was taken into consideration that Matt would be facing Benoit next week, so this match was put together to add some fuel to the fire. Even though there wasn’t any tension between Rhyno and Benoit tonight, I would like to think that the split is still on. SmackDown really needs a couple fresh faces in the main event scene. If a good feud can develop from this, both guys may be credible contenders for the WWE Title. As of right now, I would say the only credible opponents for Brock Lesnar would be Kurt Angle, the Big Show, and the Undertaker. Hey if Cena miraculously goes over the Undertaker maybe we could add him to the list too. More on that feud in a little bit. Seeing how Benoit won this match and how this company likes to go back and forth with wins and loses, using WWE logic Matt will win next week. Quite frankly I think that’s the way to go, this way we could have the first Benoit and Rhyno added to the Vengeance card. The match will not be conclusive by any means, but it will put something good on the PPV.

Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show/The World's Greatest Tag Team – Falls Count Anywhere
Rating: 6/10

Before we get to the bulk of this one, couldn’t they come up with something a little more creative than that for Haas and Benjamin? Forgetting about that, I thought this match was good in the sense that it didn’t make anyone seem weak. Haas and Benjamin got some solid offense in on Brock and it took a big spot to put the Champ down. I think it is amazing that the WWE has actually built up the Big Show as a legitimate contender and main eventer. Even more amazing is that Brock is usually able to get pretty decent matches out of the guy. This match in particular did run too long for a handicap match, about 12 minutes. If they were to shave it down to seven, that would leave five minutes that could have been added to Eddie-Dragon.

On to Kurt Angle’s role in this match and storyline. I like how Kurt didn’t get involved at all here thus causing a rift in his relationship with Brock, but I think it would have been better if either a) Brock did not know that Vince called for him, or b) Kurt just wanted retribution for Brock not helping him in the opening segment. One way they could salvage this is if it is revealed that Vince only detained Kurt for a couple of minutes, yet he still didn’t make the save. Either way, I like the slow burn they are using in regards to the upcoming feud between the two. I didn’t think the backstage segments with Kurt and Brock were as “fun-loving” as last week’s. In the end that will be a moot point because if Brock is the one to turn on Kurt he will once again be a badass heel and no one will give a fuck what he did one month prior.

Rey Mysterio/Billy Kidman vs. FBI vs. APA vs. Basham Brothers – Contender’s Match
Rating: 6/10

The headline for this match looks like one of those “What word doesn’t belong in this group?” questions. The answer would obviously be the APA. Considering Raw has like two regular tag teams, maybe that is where the APA should have gone. Pushing that aside, using number one contender’s matches is always a good reason for a title match and it builds up the challengers. However, seeing how two of the teams eliminated themselves, Rey and Kidman really didn’t come off looking like THE BEST team in the match. In the eyes of most the seeds have been planted for a Kidman heel turn leading to a showdown at SummerSlam against Rey. Where does this leave Ultimo Dragon? I thought he was the next in line for a big push in the Cruiserweight division. I just don’t see the point in pushing Kidman. He lacks heat, charisma, and the in-ring skills that guys like Noble, Kendrick, Dragon and Nunzio possess. Working as Rey’s buddy is a good niche for him since it would allow him to mooch off Rey’s heat for awhile. Plus the two make for a good face tag team. My only other gripe is how the WWE is handling the Basham Brothers. It is good that they actually have a gimmick now. Although we don’t know exactly what it is, it’s a start. Based on the bits and pieces we have seen so far, they will only be able to go so far with a PG rating. How in-depth can an S&M gimmick go on a show that airs at 8:00 on network television? Even if they have a gimmick, the real problem is that they aren’t winning matches. The last match they won cleanly was their debut against Spanky and Rikishi. Since then I think they beat Rhyno and Benoit once due to a miscommunication. That is not a good track record for a new tag team, especially on a show where there is a total of five teams altogether.


THE GOOD


Kurt Angle and John Cena
Rating: 7/10

This segment would have received a perfect score if only there was a point in having it. Both Cena and Angle had the crowd playing out of the palm of their hands. Angle’s dorky freestyle (complete with dance steps) was a definite keeper and Cena’s was up there as one of his best. BUT WHY DID ANY OF THIS HAPPEN? John Cena is supposed to be feuding with the Undertaker. Speaking of the Dead Man, he was nowhere to be seen. Meanwhile, Angle is in this “ménage-a-trois” with Big Show and Brock Lesnar. Admittedly, Show did chokeslam Angle to close the segment, but why not have the Taker run in for the save since Lesnar did not? That would have resulted in a tag match next week and then I could have given this segment a higher rating. An even simpler solution would have been to announce an Angle-Cena match for show. Even after the segment was over, the viewer is left wondering what made Cena come down to the ring in the first place. Was it all an elaborate setup by the Big Show? Did Cena want to get back at Angle for beating him one year ago? Was Cena just jealous that he wasn’t scheduled to work a match?


THE GREAT


Riiiiight…


FINAL THOUGHTS

Rating: 38
Total Matches: 5
Total Wrestling Time: 32:48

If you look at the five matches on paper, this show could feasibly have been a very good episode of SmackDown. One mistake held this show back from getting a rating of 70 or higher and that was something as simple as time management. Any company that gives Eddie Guerrero vs. Ultimo Dragon less than three and a half minutes does not deserve to have a good show. Also, why give a THREE ON ONE handicap match more than 10 minutes? That is just absurd. I don’t card who you are; it shouldn’t take three people more than 6 minutes to pin you 1-2-3.

Vengeance is shaping up to be a pretty bad show, but it won’t be the worst of the year. However, I suggest everyone waits until after next week’s show before tearing the PPV apart. There is a chance that we will get Eddie vs. Tajiri, Benoit vs. Eddie, or Benoit vs. Rhyno, so I haven’t lost all hope yet.


THIS IS IT


SmackDown 1 :: Raw 0

Highlight of the Week: Booker T vs. Christian

Total Matches: 11
Total Wrestling Time: 67:47


So SmackDown wins week one, although it isn’t a win I would be proud of. Both shows this week suffered from serious flaws. Whether it is idiotic booking on Raw or misusage of time on SmackDown, both shows’ overall quality was brought down quite a bit.


FEEDBACK


Now that you all see how I will be writing this, feel free to send me your thoughts on which categories you thought the segments belonged under, or how you would rate the segments, or any comments you have on either show whether it be the Kane storyline on Raw or the US Title Tournament on SmackDown. If I get enough responses I would like to throw together something mid-week, this way everyone’s opinions could be heard.

Also, since this was my first time writing this column any feedback on the format, content, etc. would be greatly appreciated.

I’ll be back either Sunday or Monday with Confidential.

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