THE MIDWEEK NEWS

How 'bout those St. Louis Rams? I know my Ravens suck, but the Ravens weren't supposed to be good this year. Pittsburgh is the only real competition the Rams have for the dubious title of Worst Team In The Whole Damn NFL, and at least Cowher's gang looks like they give a shit. Maybe when whatever pod person replaced Kurt Warner is finished with him, the Rams might have a chance to salvage an 8-8 season? Remember Jim Mora's infamous "Playoffs?" press conference, Rams fans? Better look it up and memorize it. Mike Martz might be reciting it on his way to the unemployment line.

Anyone else want to disagree with me and claim that he really is an offensive genius? Anyone? Bueller?

Oh, Josh? 110-93. Don't start saying squat about me unless you can beat me in the head-to-head matchup. Yes, I DO own you, and I have the AKC papers to prove it. This weekend's sheer dominance on my part is just the latest of many footnotes.

One last bit of old business before we get started for real: no one spotted last week's classic, which was, "I shall return in the dark and be seen," by John Ashbery, in his poem, "At The Inn." After a three-week layoff on the literary load, you HAD to know I'd come back with something obscure. However, since interest in spotting the classic has waned to the point of non-existence, I've decided to discontinue the feature. You'll just have to look elsewhere for your little slice of past literary excellence. Current literary excellence, of course, remains in abundance right here, in this very column.

Now that all of that is settled, here's all the news that's fit to steal, all the dirt that's fir to deal, and all the mud that's fit to sling.

So I Dub Thee Mediocre

Unforgiven was this Sunday, and let's just say it didn't set the wrestling world on fire. You can look here for the always-excellent post-PPV Crossface, which I sadly couldn't be a part of this time. It's a long story, and it involves downed cable lines and ripoff sports bars, so I'll spare you the details. I got a tape to watch Monday night, though, so I'm all caught up now. For one man's perspective, check out Dames' Diatribe on Unforgiven, as Dames BRINGS THE CONTENT~! every month with his PPV thoughts.

My thoughts on Unforgiven? Glad you asked.

-- The Anti-Americans vs. Bookdust/Kane/Bubba: I thought Booker should have gotten the pin, but you had to know it'd be either him or Kane. Goldust makes no sense, and Bubba can't look too strong if he's going to be facing HHH, so that leaves two. Solid ten-minute opener with a hot finish. 5/10

-- Jericho vs. Flair: C'mon, like Flair would fall for the injury ruse. I hate it when babyfaces are booked to act so stupid, especially someone like Flair, who's seen (and used) tricks like that before. This was a better match than their last outing, though I really think Flair's on borrowed time as a wrestler, and the interest is steep. 5/10

-- Edge vs. Eddy: Wow, who told Edge how to sell? He did a complete turnaround in that department, completely putting over his supposed head injury, as opposed to ignoring his injured arm last time. The match was excellent, and the consistent selling and psychology only helped it. On any other PPV, this would be the match of the night. 8.5/10

-- Billy & Chuck vs. The Izland Boyz. You know the Z's are coming. The Island Boys are impressive for a pair of fat guys, but all they really are at this point is a pair of fat guys. This was good enough for government work, only because the hetero duo dragged a good match out of the Samoans. 3/10

-- HHH vs. RVD: Who really expected the Big Gold Belt to change hands? HHH came out looking like a winner, of course, since he treated Jericho like a bitch earlier this year, and RVD lost to Jericho by submission a week before this match. What a company man that Hunter fella is. 4/10

-- Molly vs. Trish: They've had very similar matches before. This was decent, but nothing we hadn't seen from them, and nothing that will get the horndogs in the audience, the front office, and at the announce table to take the girls seriously in the ring. 3/10

-- Angle vs. Benoit: Not only the match of the night, it's certainly the match of the year so far. A MOTYC was expected from these two, and they certainly delivered: good mat wrestling, chain sequences, superb counters, a hot finish, and CHEATING TO WIN~! Sign me up for a series of rematches. 9/10

-- Brock vs. Taker: Another company man was on display here. All Taker had to do was become the latest legend to fall before the young, unstoppable champion. But the finish was mysteriously changed to the ridiculous double-DQ, which presumably sets up a rematch next month. If Taker doesn't do the job in that one, then he could really become a Dead Man and I wouldn't bat an eyelash. They actually had a pretty decent match going until the politically-motivated shitty ending. 5/10

I won't even comment on the farcically stupid "payoff" to the Stephanie HLA angle. Anything with that many logic holes just insults the fans' intelligence on so many levels.

Moving right along from one night of mediocre TV to another...

Raw: The Cliff Notes

As always, check JHawk's Raw report for your detailed recapping needs. I had to suffer thru this one on tape, too, so between Unforgiven and Raw, I'd say I ruined a perfectly good videotape. My sincerest apologies to the fine folks at TDK for abusing their excellent products in so beastly a fashion.

-- Molly vs. Trish vs. Victoria: Another solid match for the girls. Expect them to tread water with the Women's division until Jazz comes back to challenge Trish. I know, I'm surprised at the mere mention of such a thing, too. 4/10

-- Jeff Hardy vs. The Big Slow: Ugh. I don't like either guy, and this match sucked the savage sausage. Probably a step back for both of them. -1/10

-- Tommy Dreamer kicked the snot out of Chris Harvard in a "classroom." Of course it wasn't "Hardcore;" why do you ask? Oh. Right.

-- Randy Orton vs. Steven Richards: Yay, now Orton cang et verbally fellated while going absolutely nowhere on BOTH shows. What a big move. Yawn. 1/10

-- Jericho vs. Goldust: Decent match from both men, though the crowd didn't seem terribly into it for whatever reason. 5/10

-- Storm/Christian vs. Kane/'Cane: Yes, Shane Helms was the second jumper to Raw. It makes *perfect* sense to take a competitive cruiserweight off of the only show where they can flourish to turn him into a big man's bitch. Didn't Kane learn from the last time he partnered with a small man clad in black and green? 5/10

-- Booker vs. Rico: Two minutes? Gah. I hate it when they throw away perfectly good matches just for silly run-ins. Ah, Sportz Entertainment. 1/10

-- HHH/Flair vs. Bubba/RVD: Paint by numbers all the way here. Flair needs to stop trying to do the Flair Flip if he can only hit it once every three months. Bubba almost killed HHH with a botched table spot in the standard get-your-heat-back crap we're all so used to. Snore. 3/10

Other developments: It's a good thing I had a tape rolling Monday night. After struggling to make it thru Unforgiven, Raw literally put me to sleep. I saw the Women's match live, and the first promo, and then it was 11:15 and the world was a better place. Hurricane and Randy Orton jumped, ostensibly the last Smackdown chaps to hop to Raw, since Vince imposed a "roster freeze." The Island Boys beat up Bookdust a couple times. Uh … that's it, really. This wasn't an actively bad show, but it was certainly a yawner.

It's The Ratings, Stupid

The Raw rating actually climbed this week. Instead of the usual 3.4, Raw pulled in a 3.6 this week, on two hours of that selfsame score. This is coming off a PPV, however, so next week's rating will be the more important one.

(Credit: Nielsen Media Research)

Oh You Didn't Know? Yo' Ass Better Join The Club!

Brian James, aka Brian Armstrong, aka The Road Drug … er, Road Dogg, is scheduled to wrestle on this week's NWA: TNA show after all. James was in a car accident over the weekend, and while he was hospitalized, his injuries were not serious.

(Credit: Wrestlingobserver.com)

Meet The Press, WWE Style

Once again, WWE showed why they'll never get mainstream media credibility.

At a press conference in Seattle to hype WrestleMania XIX next March, it seems some people couldn't distinguish between kayfabe and a shoot. Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker continued their verbal jostling. Stephanie McMahon and Eric Bischoff took jabs at each other while introducing their respective stars.

It's things like that, that will keep wrestling as a bush-league industry in the eyes of a lot of people. WrestleMania is their crown jewel, their big moneymaker, and their big chance to get coverage outside of their niche market. So instead of putting their best foot forward and showing off the best their talent has to offer, they go and kayfabe a few feuds before a media crowd who certainly couldn't be bothered to care any less. Good job, guys.

Vince McMahon said the Rock would be at WrestleMania XIX, though he only mentioned that Hulk Hogan was "asleep" when asked about his appearance. Vince also offered no comment to a pointed question about steroid use. Strike two. An amusing question came up when a reporter asked if wrestling was "fake." I think that one's been covered already, Skip. The reporter was verbally berated by HHH, and was challenged by several other wrestlers to find out how real the business was.

Another banner day for WWE before the media.

(Credit: Wrestlingobserver.com)

Can't An Old Man Just Get A Bottle Of JD?

Last week, before Smackdown, Eric Bischoff walked around the locker room in his Justice of the Peace getup. He even asked one worker, in the annoying and obviously fake voice he used on-air, where he could get some whiskey. Bischoff's little prank was well-received in the locker room, unlike a lot of the "jokes" he played in WCW (the fake Flair heart attack, etc). This time, though, he's joking around as one of the boys instead of as a major power broker.

(Credit: PWTorch.com newsletter)

Odds, Ends, and Sundry Asides

Bubba Ray Dudley's injury is a pinched nerve in his neck that adversely affects his arm. Bubba is scheduled for an MRI before the course of treatment will be determined.

Lita has an interview at WWE.com, in which she discusses her recovery from surgery, says Smackdown is a far superior show to Raw, and goes on to say that WWE needs to utilize its current talent better as opposed to signing anyone else.

Tough Enough 3 tapings have completed. I'm sure you're all just as excited as I am to watch another season of the business being exposed by people who actually think nine weeks is long enough to learn to be a wrestler.

Nicole Bass was cross-examined by WWE lawyers today, and was reported to have broken down in tears on the witness stand.

The Sunday Night Heat replay, which currently airs at 11 pm Sundays on MTV, has been sacked in favor of syndicating "Fastlane."

(Sources: WWE.com, Wrestlingobserver.com)

That wraps up another edition of The Midweek News. I'll be back tomorrow with Smackdown, and the news junkies among you can look for weekend dealer Byron Vester for your fix on Sunday. Over and out.

Dr. Tom
(Remove the leading X from the name and domain fields to holler at me.)