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The Crossface

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Before we get to tonight's Crossface, let's introduce you to our contributors.


Brandon Truitt: Brandon is a regular here on the Crossface and happens to own a heaping helping of shoot interviews. Make sure to check out his recap of the Vampiro shoot interview. He will also be your moderator tonight.


Dr. Tom: Tom brings the content every week, providing the reader with his Smackdown recaps, The Mid-Week News, movie reviews and much more! Read up on Tom's feelings of this week's developments in the WWE here.


Patrick Spoon: Now, that the fall season has arrived, Spoon will be your one and only Tough Enough 3 recapper. He'll also chime in with his love of Kylie Minogue and other pop culture phenomenons. Don't forget to read his recap of Tough Enough Week Seven.




Brandon: Ok... first question. What do you think about the decision to let Albert put Rey Misterio out of commission?


Dr. Tom: I think it sucks. Albert might be built into a competent midcard heel, but he needs a name change, a gimmick, and a purpose to do what he does. having Rey taken out by some random HOSS BAH GAWD doesn't do anyone any good. You can read my thoughts on this subject in more detail here.

Brandon: It does Undertaker good... he gets someone to squash when he comes out from under that rock where Sarataker spawned their first brat.

Patrick: Well, it seemed to me that MATTITUDE~! was being groomed for an upper midcard role, what with his associations with Brock and Heyman over the last few months, as well as his claims to have beaten the Undertaker two straight times. But once again, logic fails us, and MATTITUDE~!, who is over, and has a tremendous gimmick, is shunted away to make way for another sudden big man push, just like Big Show a month ago.

Dr. Tom: I guess the thrilling Taker-Big Slow feud will be put on hold for the awesome Taker-Albert program! I'm so excited I could drink a gallon of arsenic!



Brandon: What do you think of the convenient leaks that say Heyman wanted Mattitude in Albert's spot? Heyman damage control or the truth?


Dr. Tom: It definitely sucks that Matt Hardy was shoved aside for this. Rey-Matt (and Edge-Matt until Rey comes back) would have been entertaining matches.

Patrick: It's the truth. I don't think Heyman would allow such a thing to happen if he really is the head Smackdown person.

Dr. Tom: I heard Heyman didn't write anyone into the role, but he and a couple others were pushing for Matt. Then Vince came along and decided that Smackdown clearly needs more untalented big men, so he put Albert in the spot.

Patrick: Yes, all roads lead to Vince, and all the Heymans in the world won't stop the big man pushes.



Brandon: What about the Benoit promo? Will this finally destroy the stigma he has as a guy who can't talk?


Patrick: If he continues to speak with that intensity and internal drive that you could feel coming from him, then yes. It was almost invalidated, the interview that is, by him being eliminated not last, but second. But if him speaking was a one-shot deal and they don't let him really speak for a couple of weeks, people will forget and he'll still be thought of as a guy who can't talk.

Dr. Tom: Probably. I think I'd prefer he play the badass more than the guy who has to kiss his kids goodbye and try and earn the top spot after 17 years, though. But I thought it was a good promo. Very quietly intense.



Brandon: Speaking of the four-way, what did you think of it? Was that match worth it when you realize that the winner will job to Big Show at Armageddon?


Dr. Tom: The one area Smackdown is deficient in is mike skills, with Rock away. Angle and Heyman are the best they have, and then there's a big falloff. If they can get Benoit over as a promo guy, it'll only help the show that much more.

Brandon: You forget... the People's Mullet has GREAT mic skills.

Dr. Tom: True, but he uses them to play a racial stereotype and carcicature, not cut actual promos.

Patrick: It makes Big Show look tremendous to beat Angle, that's for sure. That match alone made Angle into a (well, even more) credible challenger for the WWE Title, and to have Big Show most likely have a glorified squash will make him look unstoppable, and make Brock look like Superman (once again, even more) when he returns to regain the title at the Royal Rumble. So really, Angle's win helped Lesnar in the end.

Dr. Tom: The match was amazing, and seeing it is worth whatever comes after it. The outcome is only known because of Angle's knee problems. If he's healthy, then there's no sense of finality hanging over the whole thing.



Brandon: If Angle wasn't gimped up, would you see a possible win over Show, leading to the oft-rumored Angle-Brock main event of Wrestlemania, with Lesnar beating Show at the Royal Rumble to along the way?


Dr. Tom: Absolutely. I might pay to see that one, just to watch a tub like Slow try to sell the Anglelock.

Patrick: They're already guaging crowd reactions at house shows for an Angle/Lesnar program. Big Show selling the Ankle Lock would be like watching a man with gas, though. He'll groan a little, but shrug it off.

Dr. Tom: I imagine he's sell it like Hogan or Kane, but with somewhat less pointless writhing.

Patrick: Hogan did a rather convincing job, I thought. At least he yelled and stuff.



Brandon: And now we get to RAW... What do you think of the announcement that Michaels-Triple H is now a Three Stages of Hell match? (Street fight, cage, ladder)


Dr. Tom: I think I already like the Austin-HHH one from 2001 better.

Patrick: I think it was a good idea to mask their flaws, both Shawn's and HHH's, by not making a straight wrestling match fall.

Brandon: Isn't that counterproductive when they're probably getting the better part of an hour for their match, Patrick? It's not going to matter how much they mask their weaknesses if they're on the mat for 20 of the 60 minutes.

Patrick: I see the Ladder Fall ending in Shawn going for the oh-so-famous splash off the ladder, but this time it blows up in his face. But with each fall being one of those supposed brutal affairs, there's a lot of time to just lay around or distract the crowd with some crazy spots.

And Austin/HHH didn't go that long, they went more like 38 minutes, I believe.

Dr. Tom: No one thought Rock and HHH could go for an hour, but they did it. Of course, HHH didn't suck then, and Rock wasn't a cripple, so there's probably not a comparison to be made there. I think the first fall will be pretty frenetic... well, as frenetic as a HHH match can get, at least. Then they'll slow things down in the middle fall, do a lot of restholds and lying around. Then they'll ramp it up again for the ladder match.

Patrick: I see them going more like 30 minutes.

Brandon: Patrick, almost nothing else is announced. Slow won't go over 8 minutes with Angle and this is the other main event.

Patrick: But there are other matches.

Dr. Tom: I think they'll go somewhere between 30-40 minutes. Under 30, and the three stages gimmick is cheapened; over 40, and you have to really wonder if they can do it.

Brandon: Look at them... unless the tag elimination match hits 30 minutes, the Michaels-Triple H match will be REALLY long.

Patrick: The four team Raw elimination match will surely take a good chunk of time. And Smackdown has yet to add their last matches to the card. Benoit and Los Guererros don't even have a match at the show, as far as I remember. Throw in a Steiner segment, as well as the Torrie/Dawn segment, and you've got your 2.75 hours. There is the Women's match also.

Brandon: Yeah... Albert-Edge and MAYBE Kidman vs. some jobber. That lineup will be pushing it, as Unforgiven already pissed people off by the amount of time spent on stupid skits instead of matches.

Dr. Tom: Smackdown will add Albert-Edge (ugh), Kidman vs. some random lightweight, Los Guerreros against uh... er... some team, and they have to give Benoit a match, too. I wouldn't mind seeing Kidman vs. MATTITUDE~! just to get Hardy on the PPV and into what could be a decent match.

Patrick: Ha, you think they're worried about pissing people off? The December show is traditionally weak anyway, I doubt it's really any skin off their backs.

Brandon: Patrick, I say this because they're already getting the lowest buyrates they've seen since early 1998. They piss people off enough and they'll start seeing .4 buyrates again soon.

Patrick: This program won't be where the turnaround will begin. I wholeheartedly believe that they're looking forward to the Royal Rumble.

Brandon: Patrick, why bother looking forward to it? Summerslam was the best built card since Wrestlemania X-7 and they blew THAT in 2 minutes on RAW the next night.

The Rumble isn't that well built at this point and they don't even know how they'll handle who gets the title shot from the Rumble match.

Dr. Tom: If they still had an Undisputed champion, it'd be easy. But HHH's vanity belt has complicated that.

Patrick: But they managed to sell out Nassau and get a pretty sizeable buyrate. The point is that the December show always gets the lowest buyrates and lowest interest despite the ways they've tried to improve it (Six man HITC, Unification).

Brandon: You have two choices Tom... HHH with his vanity belt and the Smackdown champion with the real one, or HHH with the unified one. Take your pick. And Patrick, the Six-man Hell in the Cell actually got an above average buyrate.

Patrick: I like the idea of whatever brand the winner happens to belong to gets the main event.

Brandon: Vengeance last year blew because people had soured on seeing the teased Rock-Austin match again.

Dr. Tom: Given that unappealing choice, I'll keep the split titles, but only to keep HHH from holding down the entire Smackdown roster.



Brandon: What do you think will happen in the Tag Team Elimination match between Jericho and Christian, the Dudleys, Storm and Regal, and Bookerdust?


Patrick: BookDust HAS to finally win. The drama this last week gives them the emotional momentum heading in, and they've been denied WAY too many times.

Dr. Tom: At this point, I think they have to put the titles on Bookdust. They've been jobbed too many times to all the other team to keep their heat much longer.

Patrick: But JeriChristian aren't retaining, I can tell you that.



Brandon: Do you think that Bookerdust will win just to keep Booker out of the World Title picture, or will the newly reformed Dudleyz pick up the win?

Dr. Tom: Considering all the verbal blowjobs JR has been doling their way, I wouldn't be surprised to see the completely unexciting team of Storm/Regal win it.

Brandon: Storm/Regal? That violates a major rule... you don't do heel to heel or face to face title changes.

Patrick: BookDust will win not to keep Booker out of the World Title picture, but just to make the months and months of jobbing seem worthwhile. The Dudleys still have enough reformation heat.

Dr. Tom: Actually, I think BookDust WILL win to keep Booker away from the Big Gold Belt. HHH has to know the reactions Booker's been getting, so shoving him off into the tag division keeps him away from threatening the vanity belt.



Brandon: If Booker is out of the title picture, who does that leave? Kane, RVD, and HBK will all be jobbed out and Jericho is a heel.

Patrick: But I'd rather see BookDust entertain me in the Tag ranks than Booker get buried and Goldust drift listlessly. As for the challenger, it will be Steiner or Austin, whenever he returns.

Dr. Tom: Exactly, Steiner.

Brandon: Steiner's working Smackdown house shows for now, so there's a chance he insisted on going to Smackdown.

Patrick: But Bisch and Morley had Phone Hijinks this week, leading to the SWERVE~! Of course, we know we'll see Stephanie get Steiner and Smackdown will win... AGAIN.

Dr. Tom: Besides, Brandon, what makes you think they've put any forethought into this? HHH whipped his prick out, demanded his belt back and that Booker go into the tag division, and It Shall Be Done. Who cares about next week, or next month?

Brandon: Someone will have to think of who HHH will face next month, even if they put Rainbow Brite (Jeff Hardy) in rehab and throw him in the ring with Triple H again.

Dr. Tom: I think they'll try to throw RVD into the mix again. Despite burying him a couple times already, I'm sure WWE thinks he's still king of the crowd pops, which means HHH has to beat him for the belt and completely kill his heat.

Patrick: Perhaps a Jericho/RVD/HHH match, killing two birds with one stone AND keeping them out of the Rumble.

Dr. Tom: Hmm, that does add in a blond guy to hold down for no good reason...

Brandon: Does anyone else find it funny that Brock had the title taken off of him for the exact same things that Triple H is doing, as in getting mild reactions and having no credible opponents?

Patrick: Their problem was that they made Brock look too good. After making Undertaker look amazing, Brock brutalizing him did a LOT to make him look strong. So they needed someone to come in and beat him, just to make things interesting.

Dr. Tom: I thought you meant acting like a jerk. I guess either works. No, it's not funny, and it's not surprising, either.

Brandon: That WOULD work if Triple H wasn't guaranteed to get his job back and then some.

Patrick: I seriously don't believe the reports of a bad attitude with Lesnar. I think it's more jealousy of his megapush.

Brandon: I think Lesnar may be stressed, but it's not assholitis.

Dr. Tom: I think jealousy probably had a lot to do with it, but a big push like that could give someone a big head.

Patrick: On a totally unrelated note, how great was the Booker/Goldust segment outside of Bisch's office tonight?

Brandon: If they hadn't been continually buried for months, it would have been great.

Patrick: Trust me, it's good stuff.

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