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The Booking Report

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The Booking Report: Raw (03.09.01) vs. SmackDown (03.09.04)


It’s been a really strange week for me. Quite frankly, I think we should get right down to business because if we do not, there is a very good chance I will just fall asleep and put off doing this for another day.



Raw September 1, 2003






Battle of the Commentators

Rating: 0/10


Going in we all knew exactly where this match would rank. That is unless it led to the temporary (or permanent) departure of Jerry Lawler from Raw. Naturally that did not occur and instead Al Snow turned heel for no apparent reason. This match wasn’t even one of those things that only us ‘net fans hated, seeing how it was also the lowest rated segment on Raw. If that doesn’t show McMahon that literally nobody is interested in this tripe, I don’t know what will. Of course we will also be getting Round 2 of this raging war between the Raw and Heat announce teams once JR takes on the Coach at Unforgiven. Too bad we will never be able to blow this feud off properly since all of the Raw brand commentators would be competing in a tag team match leaving no one in the booth. Maybe that wouldn’t be so bad after all. Who knows, without the ridiculous metaphors and hyperbole the match could be watchable. Who am I kidding?


Pointless 10 Minute Matchmaking Segment

Rating: 0/10


The only reason that this is ahead of the last match is because at least this didn’t insult me as a wrestling fan. However, every time that an entire segment is wasted on a lengthy promo dedicated to the GM making matches, it will get a very low score. There is no reason why Austin couldn’t have condensed his announcement into a two minute backstage interview. Honestly, all he did was make two PPV matches and the Raw main event. Even the Jericho-Christian match could have been thrown together without Austin cutting off the Highlight Reel. Just have both heels arguing with Austin in the back about not being on show, so he puts them in a match. I just don’t see the logic in wasting so much when in reality only a fraction of that time is actually needed. That is unless the segment adds heat to the said match. Austin didn’t add anything to any of the matches, so end of story.






Jumper Cables meet Testicles

Rating: 3/10


I can’t even accurately put a rate these Kane segments anymore. Especially when WWE openly admits that this storyline is not meant to be logical or make any sense at all. How am I supposed to assess this? When it comes to the level of WrestleCrap, I would give this a 10/10 as I was laughing my ass off the whole way through, but when it comes to legitimate entertainment this was garbage. The only positive was that Rob Van Dam was finally the guy to stop one of Kane’s attacks. You really have to wonder what kinds of nut jobs are even thinking up of twists involving shocking a man’s genitals. Things like this shouldn’t come to anyone’s mind when writing a wrestling show. Whether I like this stuff or not it has been drawing viewers for three months now, so maybe I’m the crazy one. More often than not I don’t understand why the general public likes what they like, this just might be another one of those times.






The French vs. The (AMERICAN) Superheroes

Rating: 4/10


Considering the Champions won this match once all was said and done, why make it non-title? The fact that a title is on the line can sometimes cause a crowd to be more into the match, which would make the match come off better than it actually was. I like that after about a month Rosey and the Hurricane have finally worked together on Raw. It was also a good idea to not have them get obliterated in this match, since they are the #2 face team following the Dudley Boyz. This was nothing special. It just comes down to the fact that I’d rather see a match than the usual xenophobic garbage we have been getting for quite a while now.


The Weekly Women’s Match

Rating: 4/10


Nothing out of the ordinary and thus it received the typical rating. The biggest problem with this division and the reason why it cannot reach a level higher than it is at right now is simply that it is damn near impossible to create another major face. Reason being, Trish is #1 no matter how you cut it. Therefore she is always in the title picture. Now in order to create a face equal to Trish, Trish would need to be de-pushed and this person would need to go to the top. They tried that with Gail Kim and it flopped because quite frankly most fans just plain like watching Trish. She is easy on the eyes and can put on decent matches. Trish’s only partner every week is Ivory, who only appears on TV when Trish needs a partner. That is an issue and it is an issue that will not be rectified until the ladies get more time on TV, which will probably piss off many of you since you prefer watching horrible matches including the “real wrestlers”. Well as they keep introducing new women and keep turning them all heel, eventually we will have about a dozen heels taking on Trish with Ivory as the backup and Jacqueline doing whatever the fuck they have been paying her to do for the last several years. I say give this routine until the end of the year and even then the marks will notice how stale and repetitive the division has become.


Stacy Keibler: Former Marketing Genius

Rating: 5/10


We have some good and some bad here. The good being that I still really like the way Test has been portraying himself since the heel turn. The way he can be such an asshole to Stacy is actually quite entertaining. Stacy on the other hand has really dropped down a few notches in my eyes. For example, before the big mixed tag match she was going on and on about how much she hates Test and how badly he treated her. His response, “Don’t worry about it Stacy. How about we come out to YOUR music tonight?” Stacy happily says, “Ok” and smiles like the ditz that she is. Didn’t this woman used to have at least HALF a brain? All of a sudden she is willing to go along with the guy who previously said he would treat her like a whore solely because he offered to use HER entrance music?


None of that really matters though seeing how we have nothing to worry about. That thrilling and breathtaking feud between Test and Scott Steiner will go on for at least another month, which would bring the current tally to EIGHT MONTHS. I think that is a new record since McMahon decided to promote a PPV every month. Fuck, that record might go back to the days of when we only had WrestleMania, SummerSlam and the Survivor Series. Eight non-stop, continuos months of Test vs. Steiner. You’d have to think Scott wasn’t expecting that when he finally signed with the company.


Heel vs. Heel

Rating: 6/10


Since the rebirth of the Intercontinental Title, this has to have been the most hard fought match over it. Yes it did end with cheating, something I’ve been saying has to stop, but in this case it worked within the story of the match. When you have two of the most notorious heels in wrestling going at it there is no finish more appropriate than one out-cheating the other. That whole concept of who would get the last laugh made for an entertaining and unique match up that we have not seen the likes of in a long time. On the other hand, the crowd was rather dead up until the end where Christian ran out to get the belt. The reason for this was because neither man was given a slightly likeable edge going into the match. I’m not saying that either Jericho or Christian needed to turn 100% face, but something about Christian wanting to get out of Jericho’s shadow would have assisted the crowd in knowing who to cheer for. I would really like to see a little feud come out of this going into Unforgiven, but odds are Nash will be going at it with Jericho once again upon his return in the next week or so.






The Six Man

Rating: 8/10


I was really into just about every facet of this match. For starters, the interaction between Maven and everyone else would be a great prelude to a heel turn, yet even if he doesn’t turn it does add another dimension to his character. Shawn Michaels was fucking ON during that match. If he works like that at Unforgiven, Orton could possibly have the match of his career. Goldberg continued his rampage by dismantling both Orton and Flair, but not really touching Triple H. I do think that somewhere before the big match, Goldberg should get a pinfall win over the Game, but what are the odds of that happening. Not so surprising, the only thing that pissed me was how JR kept screaming about how NOW “Goldberg is one step closer to Unforgiven.” Seriously, Goldberg has beaten Orton half a dozen times over the last two months and how does doing that again bring him one step closer to Unforgiven?


If Triple H does go through with the rumored fact turn, somebody better be lined up to take over Evolution for him because at this rate Orton is too much of a JTTS to be that man. Maybe a win over HBK will remedy that problem. However it doesn’t change the fact that more times than not Orton would take the fall as opposed to Flair or Triple H.






Total Wrestling Time: 33:26

Total Matches: 6


The main event was definitely a fun match and a good omen for the feuds it encompassed. The Intercontinental Title match could easily lead to a feud between Christian and Jericho, which may give the Christian the rub he has been looking for since winning that godforsaken belt in May. Pretty much everything else was either complete and utter shit or decent yet also pointless. Either way, I would imagine this has been one of the better Raws in a while, which is pretty sad seeing how bad the bottom three segments were. For some reason I doubt this episode was good enough to entice viewers to skip Monday Night Football next week.



SmackDown! September 4, 2003






Benoit vs. A-Train: Take Two

Rating: 3/10


I really don’t understand why A-Train needed to be added to a perfectly well off feud between Benoit and Rhyno. Actually the feud has been quite uninspired. Regardless, A-Train has no place being involved with it.


Like I said in July when Rhyno finally turned on Benoit, the “explanation” for his turn would hurt the feud in the long run and it has. It’s gotten to the point where we don’t even know why Rhyno is still going after Benoit. The storyline has essentially been dropped and has been replaced with Rhyno attacking Benoit either during his matches or backstage. Is that thought provoking or what? I really couldn’t care less as to whether or not this feud continues or mysteriously disappears. It doesn’t matter who wins the blowoff because ultimately there is no purpose or reason behind it. How WWE can screw up something as basic as turning one friend on another is beyond me. The six year olds playing with their action figures can come up with more heated rivalries than this.






Hey, I saw this match last Saturday

Rating: 4/10


Quite frankly it was better this week, as Bradshaw skipped his pathetic “This isn’t an inter-gender match, so get Shaniqua out of here.” Damn, that was one lame way to verbally abuse someone. As much as I can’t stand the APA, if they NEVER beat Haas and Benjamin, I have no problem with this feud going on. Now if the APA does beat Haas and Benjamin that would make them the worst Tag Team Champions in the history of SmackDown. The WWE Tag Team Titles are actually one of the more prestigious Championships in WWE right now, so Bradshaw and Faarooq better not get their grubby hands on them.


The Flying Wheelchair

Rating: 6/10


I found myself laughing at this segment more than anything else. Although the entire concept here was quite absurd, it still worked well in the end. First of all, Brock, like Kane, seems to have gone off the deep end, but instead of burning people’s asses and shocking their testicles, Brock launches them down a flight of stairs while in a wheelchair. By doing so he keeps everything real, but still comes off as a psycho monster. Secondly, I’m glad that it was decided not to turn Brock into a whiny bitch. Now it seems like they are using his tap out in order to add more fuel to his mental instability. Finally, this easily could have hit the same level that most of the Kane angles do. The reason it did not was because everything stayed realistic and believable. Plus Zach Gowen won’t be on TV for at least another month. Sure that pretty much kills any chance of Matt Hardy winning the blowoff match in their now cancelled feud. You take the good with the bad.






Grand Theft Auto

Rating: 7/10


Nothing really amazing here besides Cena and Eddie doing their usual deals resulting in great chemistry and crowd heat. I’m not really looking that forward to the Latino Street Fight next week since it probably won’t be an actual match. However I cannot wait to see the ultimate blowoff to this feud whenever it may occur. I really wouldn’t be all that surprised to see Cena win the US Title when all is said and done. Unlike Benoit last month, Cena NEEDS a title like this in order to put him over the top. Eddie NEEDS to move past the US Title and focus on bigger goals. I just wish WWE would take notice that they do not need to go crazy in order to get a match over. This segment was relatively basic and did an awesome job of continuing the feud. Jumper cables need not apply.


Holy Fuck! They listened to me

Rating: 7/10


Last week I mentioned that unless a new wrestler enters the division or one of the current participants reinvents their character, the Cruiserweight division would continue to suck. So in this match we have Tajiri turn heel by misting Rey setting up the first Cruiserweight Title feud since Mysterio-Hardy. I much prefer seeing Tajiri turn than Kidman because Tajiri has more experience and prior success as a heel. Kidman on the other hand lacks the personality to ever succeed on his own, which is why he needs to have someone like Mysterio at his side. This was the best Cruiserweight match is a long time and hopefully the program that follows between these two will produce similar results.






Undertaker: Better than ever?

Rating: 9/10


Without a doubt, this was the best Undertaker match in over four years. The thing with the Undertaker is that over the past two years or so he has gradually been changing his style of wrestling from simple brawling to a more elaborate submission-based style. This was never really all that apparent because he would fight the likes of A-Train and the Big Show week in and week out, but when against someone like Kurt Angle he really shines. I was as impressed as everyone else by his performance on Thursday night. Too bad the match was marred by interference resulting in a DQ. I highly doubt that Taker didn’t want to do the job, but Brock’s interference was necessary in rebuilding his character and setting up the Iron Man match in a couple of weeks. If you missed SmackDown this week, do yourself a favor and hunt down a copy of this match. It may not have been a MOTYC, but it was the Undertaker’s best work in a damn long time.






Total Wrestling Time: 44:54

Total Matches: 4


I really like this new format that they have been using on SmackDown for the past two weeks. Instead of the usual five or six matches, we have been getting four with two of them being quite long for TV. By writing the show this way, even with two in-ring angles, the show seems to be very much about the wrestling, while at the same time pushing whatever the current storylines are. Also, as we all know, giving big matches more time makes them feel more epic and gives the wrestlers a better opportunity of putting on an excellent match. I really have no complaints at all this week as far as SmackDown is concerned.






SmackDown 6 :: Raw 1


Highlight of the Week: Kurt Angle vs. Undertaker

Lowlight of the Week: Clash of the Announcers


Total Matches: 10

Total Wrestling Time: 78:20


In my mind, this week was defined by how SmackDown is able to produce compelling television without pushing the limits of believability, whereas Raw doesn’t even try to do so anymore. Nevertheless, this was a great week wrestling-wise taking into consideration the usual standards set by each show. If every week was like this I would be quite happy.


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