Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Limited interest entry of the month

As most of you have noticed, about once per month on average I write about wrestling, or relate another topic to wrestling. This is one of those entries. So if, in fact, you are one of the people who don't enjoy reading it when I talk about wrestling, then go away now. I promise I'll write more good stuff about my son in a day or two.

Still here? Good. In this particular entry, I'm going to dissect RAW, the Monday night show - and review the current (and forthcoming) roster. I'll do SmackDown later today or tomorrow.

In no particular order:

Steve Austin: Still wildly over with the fans. But he hasn't really brought anything new to the table in several years. Before he walked last June, he was in serious danger of dropping into the midcard - after a big pop on his return last month that he's still burning off, he's looking like a midcarder again. Has some serious physical issues that are being worked into the storyline. After being "fired" last night, hopefully they'll either rework his character a little bit (he doesn't need major changes - he only has another year or two left in his body, tops), or send him to an injury-depleted SmackDown.

Three Minute Warning (Rosey, Jamal, and Rico): Rico has real charisma as a heel, and a decent in-ring style. He's wasted with the ponderous Island Boys. Rosey and Jamal were good as Bischoff's henchmen, but once they became a tag team, they morphed into the proverbial JAG's (Just Another Guy). Get Rico away from them, and ship the Boys back to OVW for a new gimmick.

Kane: Despite being last fall's victim of the Triple H Effect (a total burying once making it into the title picture), he's over. We need to get him away for "cosmetic surgery" to "fix his burns", so he can finally lose the mask - it's shrunken to sub-Batman size anyways. Still one of the better-moving giants in the business.

Triple H: Speak of the devil. Back in the days when he was mixing it up with Foley, Rock, and company in his earlier title runs I enjoyed his character. He worked better matches, put lesser wrestlers over, and every week you thought the title really could get taken off him by the babyface. Since his quad injury in 2001, and his babyface run afterwards (culminated by his "divorce" from Stephanie), he's been a shadow of his old self. Hurry up and marry Steph for real, so you can change your last name to McMahon and get out of the ring, and into the booking room full-time.

Scott Steiner: After entering with such a splash (and with a big face push) in November, the Booty Daddy had the misfortune of having to lose clean to Trips in February, burying him. Now they're using him better (and hopefully with a heel turn coming), by letting him win squashes against some of the lower-card wrestlers. I enjoyed the way he demolished Nowinski yesterday. A few more months of that, and he'll be back atop the roster.

Rob Van Dam: RVD needs to do two things - improve his on-mic persona some more, and add more mat wrestling to his repertoire. RVD right now is the ultimate spot machine - a pleasure to watch, but no more than a buncerh of "Holy $#!+" moments. Given that he and Kane won the tag titles yesterday, they will probably remain teamed for a while to come.

Jeff Hardy: Making the transition from an RVD-type spot machine to a wrestler. Needs to lose the body paint - it looks dumb and is too distracting. The "young man in torment" thing can probably go a little farther, and I like the potential of pairing him with Trish.

Rock: Don't get used to having him around much more - he goes back to Hollywood in May for another movie, and I suspect he'll be mainly gone long-term after that, with an occasional cameo. He makes too much money as a leading man to pass up for wrestling. I love the heel turn, and hate the new tattoo. Rocky, you're not a Samoan warrior. It's not too late for the laser!

Chris Nowinski: Great natural heel charisma. Decent workrate. Great gimmick. Lousy hair. The only thing worse than that moptop for a Harvard grad would be a mullet.

Maven: No hair, nice charisma, very good workrate. He's come along real well, and a lot of folks have forgotten his "Tough Enough" past. He needs a better program than the Island Boys.

Hurricane: He is just mad over, though goofy as anything. A cruiserweight who can work with the big guys, bump like anything, and hit some amazing moves. Though I'm going to miss the Vertebreaker, I love how he's picked up the Shining Wizard as a move now - though he needs to start using it as a finisher, it's a great move. He was terrific in his program with Rock - and Triple H should watch Rock for a lesson in putting people over the right way.

Al Snow: I wish he'd get more TV time.

Rodney Mack: They dumped D'Lo Brown for this? All power, no finesse. If I wanted that, I'd save all A-Train's matches to videotape and put them in an air-tight vault for posterity.

Lance Storm: Great technical wrestler, no charisma, but in a good way. Probably in line for a gimmick refresh.

Steve Regal: Get well soon. Great heel - and he was fun as the babyface commissioner during the Alliance storyline, too.

Test: Finally was getting over with the Stacy "Testicles" storyline, and now they're ruining it by threatening to turn him heel again. Please don't ruin it, folks - I was finally starting to enjoy watching him on TV and now this!

The Dudleys: I've seen 'em heel, and I've seen 'em face - in the WWE, I prefer them face. Especially with Spike in the litter. The current "reluctant heels" gimmick may work for a while, though.

Randy Orton: When he's been healthy, he's been interesting. But he hasn't been healthy much.

Batista: Tons of physical potential, but definitely gets an "incomplete" for a grade. Hopefully when he comes back from his triceps tear he'll be more interesting.

Eric Bischoff: Love it. He's playing the Evil McMahon character far better than any of the McMahon's play it.

Steven Richards: He's a great psycho who can genuinely look like he belongs in the mixed programs with the women.

Goldust: I hope this Tourette's storyline ends soon. He's been terrific as a face since soon after his return last year - both comic and serious. Even though it held Booker T out of the singles picture, I loved when they were tagging together. The original Odd Couple of wrestling.

Christian: Great mat skills, but he seems doomed to be the comic foil for whatever heel he works with. He filled that role with Edge for years, and now he's doing the same thing with Jericho. A pity, but maybe he just doesn't have the main event skills or personality.

Chris Jericho: Y2J is awesome, and arguably the MVP of Raw. He always puts everything into his work, wherever he is on the card, works great matches, and can carry a program with anyone. He's one of the great heels of the business right now.

Chief Morley: I'm not sure what to think. He's got the look, the ring skills, and the mic skills to be on top of the business, but something's missing. Some people just have it, some don't - I think he just doesn't have it.

Tommy Dreamer: Please, please use this man better.

Booker T: Not the best worker in the world, but good enough, and he has amazing charisma. If there was any justice in the world, he would have taken the title off Triple H at Wrestlemania. A rematch at Backlash would be OK, but only if they let Book win. Booker is great on the mic, even when he's being incompehensible. Now can you dig that, sucka?

Kevin Nash: Get well fast, Big Lazy. As much as he can be painful to watch in the ring (though the buzz is that he's taken his time rehabbing to get in real top shape), he's got great presence, and he's terrific on the mic. They need someone who can carry an extended promo better that Triple H or Austin can, and they need him now. Rumor has it he's coming back in the old Diesel persona, which should be good for them.

Ric Flair: Still a legend. Wasted with Triple H, though they're finally letting Ric assert himself a little, with some more mic time and some physicality again. They need to let him have one more title, though. Maybe even as a fluke (have him inadverdently win a triple threat or something). But they need that before he sails into the sunset.

Shawn Michaels: He's still got what it takes. He's trying to get the born again message out a little too strongly (the t-shirts are kinda goofy, Shawn), though, and it hurts the character. He had a great run with Triple H in November-December - really the only guy who wasn't buried working with him, and not coincidentally the only one who got to have a title run. Maybe because he and Trips have been buds for years? Hmm...

Goldberg: They handled his debut yesterday perfectly. Don't push him as a face or a heel, just as an intense monster, and he will remain over. Big time. And let him be the one who destroys Triple H.

The entire women's roster: Huh? Actually, I like Trish a lot - she's really learned the business in the last couple of years. Victoria is promising, Ivory, Molly, and Jacqueline are wasted (Ivory has great mic skills), and I'd rather watch paint dry than watch Jazz. Stacy and Terri don't really count, because they're strictly eye candy.

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