Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Sorry, I can't help myself...

I promised last week that I'd stop writing about wrestling for a while. Well, I apologize, but it's been more interesting of late than it's been for quite a while - I just can't help but turn back to it.

Last night's "lottery" was a neat plot twist. Six "random" names from each show were drawn and drafted to the other show. Wrestlers, managers, valets, and announcers were all theoretically draftable. The only moves of real note, though, were RVD and Triple H moving from Raw to Smackdown, and a returning (from neck surgery) Edge going to Raw. Paul Heyman (Smackdown "GM") was moved to Raw, but quit and hopped into a waiting limo, giving us the opportunity for a neat plot twist down the road. The hot rumor is that one or more of the WWE weekend shows will be blown up and remade into an ECW-type third show brand, with Heyman running it.

Also noteworthy is that Benoit appears to be developing into a strong champ, with lots of clean submission wins (the most dominating type), and a 1-on-1 scheduled for the next PPV with Shawn Michaels (who looks like they might be trying to give him a heel push). Triple H was given a (Smackdown) title match with Eddy last night as the main event. Surprisingly, it ended in a no-contest as interference was rampant from members of both locker rooms. I expected Aich to get the belt (by the way, Aich is about my size - though bulkier - and I was really surprised by just how small Eddy is. I'd say he can't be taller than 5'9" at most), and was glad to see it stay with Eddy. I hope he gets a decent run with it - the fans are really into him as champ so far.

All in all, Raw was a pretty strong show yesterday. After tonight's Smackdown taping, we'll find out the final state of the rosters ("trades" are supposedly permitted until tonight), and if/who the new Smackdown GM will be. Probably Steph again. Meanwhile, it would have been nice to see a little bit more roster turnover - 8 or 10 would have even been better. The people who really get a bounce out of the move are Edge (though his work on Smackdown was great, he now gets back on the show with all the performers he had great runs with in his tag days, plus he's back on the show with ex-partner Christian), Spike Dudley (instead of being squash material on Raw, he now gets to actually compete with the other smaller guys on Smackdown), and Nidia (who can now wrestle instead of just being a valet). The Benjamin/Haas tag team is split (teased last week on Smackdown during the gauntlet match) with Benjamin getting a shot on Raw. And the talented but not over tag team of Cade and Jindrak was split up as well, Jindrak moving to Thursdays.

Without some changes, the tag team division is all but toast now on both shows - the APA was split up last week so there's only two true teams left on Smackdown (Rikishi/Scotty and the Bashams), and RVD getting sent to Thursdays puts both him and Booker T back in singles, so all Raw really has left are the Dudleys, two of the former three-member La Resistance team (Rene Dupree went to Smackdown) and Evolution's Flair and Batista. The other tag teams on both shows are typically either temporary teams or comedy acts (like Hurricane and Rosey).

And finally for now, I'll give Triple H his props. He's really picked up his ringwork lately, to the point where I no longer fast-forward through his matches. He also seems to have lost some of his excess bulk (as have, mysteriously, a lot of the other wrestlers) Combined with the occasional loss, I can almost accept him again.

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