Welcome to News & Analysis at TheBalrogsLair.com. I’d like to start this report out by sending my personal grieve and condolences out to the family, friends, and fans of Michael Lockwood. A good guy in the business of professional wrestling who we lost earlier this week at the age of 34. He will be remembered by most as Crash Holly, the one Hardcore Champion that was able to bring fan interest back into the Hardcore division in 2000. His matches were both entertaining and truly hardcore. He wasn’t afraid to stand up for what he believes in, and it caused him problems sometimes. Nevertheless, he was a character to remember, and a great guy to hang with.
The latest developments on this tragic story are that Lockwood was found on Thursday in the apartment of Steven Richards, a close friend of his. He’s been living with Steven for the time being, in Florida. Reports are also indicating that the believed reason for death was an overdose. This hasn’t been cleared at the moment, nor confirmed in any way, but it has been said by several sources that Lockwood was going through a very tough time in his personal life in the time of his death. We’ll keep you updated on that sad story, as more developments take place.
This has been without a shadow of a doubt a really tough week, I’m sure for most of us. I was talking to several people online and I was reminded of all the people we’ve lost in our industry this year. It’s just been a terrible year. I, myself, remember having to write a “Rest In Peace” Top Story here at TBL at least once a month in the past several months. It’s just horrible to see all these wonderful people passing away and sometimes it makes you stop and think about deeper things than last week’s RAW, or the card for the Survivor Series. We’ll try our best to remain professional and try to move on, but I can tell you one thing for sure, and that’s that we will never forget all the wonderful people we had the privilege of knowing through our TV screens. Rest In Peace.
The WWE is gearing up for their Survivor Series PPV with full speed. The event is only a week away of this writing, and the card is all but confirmed. Here’s what the latest edition of it looks like:
* Bill Goldberg vs. Triple H — World Championship Match
* Shane McMahon vs. Kane — Ambulance Match
* Vince McMahon vs. The Undertaker — Buried Alive Match
* Molly Holly vs. Lita — Women’s Championship Match
* Tajiri vs. Jamie Noble — Cruiserweight Championship Match
* The Bashams vs. Los Guerreros — WWE Tag Teams Championship Match
* Shawn Michaels, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, The Dudleyz vs. Chris Jericho, Christian, Scott Steiner, Mark Henry, and Randy Orton — Team Austin vs. Team Bischoff w/ Austin’s rights on the line
* Brock Lesnar, A-Train, Big Show, Matt Morgan, Nathan Jones vs. Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Bradshaw, Bob Holly, and John Cena — Team Lesnar vs. Team Angle
Let’s go through the card by doing the analysis of this week’s programming…
Big Bill returned on RAW to continue the program with Triple H and Evolution. I personally enjoyed his returned and thought it was done nice for a couple of reasons. First, they didn’t kill Batista by having Austin put him down, something that they like to do for the Rattlesnake. Second, they didn’t kill Goldberg either, and gave him some heat. I thought that just those two factors alone saved the segment. They also set up for tomorrow’s RAW, where they’ll do a Batista/Goldberg match. I think that’s a smart move, but maybe they should have done that match at the PPV itself or at a later time. Either way, it could just be the set up for a later confrontation, and WWE certainly could use that to keep Goldberg alive and at the same time establish Batista. Nice move.
Shane wasn’t on RAW, but we were treated to a nice package where Kane told us how evil he is. Ohhhh. There’s supposed to be some sort of confrontation between these two on RAW from what I hear, and I guess that’s how we’ll explain Shane’s “challenge” made for this Monday. Can you say fried testicles?
Over on SmackDown, WWE has kept The Undertaker off TV and have taped several vignettes with him talking about the upcoming match with McMahon. At first I thought that was a great move, and even after last week’s show, I figured McMahon won’t show up for at least one week, but boy did they get me. Not only did Vince show up, but he managed to once again prove to the world that he has officially lost it. Ugh. ‘Taker stated several days ago in a radio interview that he will not be doing the old school ‘Taker gimmick anytime soon. Don’t buy it, he was in character when he did that interview. My best guess is that the plan is still on for McMahon to get the win at the Survivor Series event, and for ‘Taker to take some time off, making a return either around the Royal Rumble or at WrestleMania XX with his old gimmick. If that happens, I’d look for it to be a one-night only deal. I can tell you one thing, and that’s — I can’t wait! I’m a huge fan of that gimmick for some reason.
Molly takes on Lita at the PPV. I guess it’s kind of obvious that Lita will win the belt, to complete the wonderful story that her return was. I personally am not sure about this one right now. WWE likes to point some things out, make them obvious, and then throws for a loop at the last second sometimes, and I have the feeling this will happen here. It’s one of those gut calls, ya know? I still think that Lita is nowhere near her condition before the injury, and is still slow inside the ring at times. Molly is a much better champion at the moment. Nothing bad towards Lita, I still love her and watching her perform, but I feel that she’s behind the other divas and it’s obvious.
They set up Tajiri and Jamie Noble for the PPV this past week on SmackDown. I don’t really know why. The story here is that Noble, the angered boyfriend, is coming back to get his revenge on Tajiri over what happened to Nidia, several weeks ago. Did they forget that Ultimo Dragon won a #1 Contenders match? What the hell happened to that? WWE is the only place where you can have guys like Mysterio, Tajiri, Dragon, Noble, Kidman, and Moore, and not be able to take advantage of it. Unbelievable.
Los Guerreros are taking on the Basham brothers at the PPV. I just cannot believe that the company is doing this to Eddie. They have completely missed the boat with him, and it sucks. The guy was so over with the crowd, just two months ago, that he was more than ready for the main event. Not only that, but Guerrero deserved the spot. He’s been with the company since 2000, and has been proving himself from the old ECW and WCW days too. It’s just horrible what they’ve done to him. Now they’ve come up with this weird storyline that doesn’t do much for Eddie, but only puts Chavo over. Why? For What? Chavo is nothing but a cruiserweight, whereas Eddie, once a cruiserweight can very well carry the whole brand by himself, that’s how over he is. Well, I guess the breakup is on and down the road it’ll be Eddie vs. Chavo. Not that it’s bad this is happening, but it’s not the right time for it, nor is it the right thing to do in my opinion. Chavo should have remained the supportive player in this team.
Then we go to the classic Survivor type match that WWE has set up, one from each brand. I won’t lie to you — the RAW brand has the better match with the better hype. I also won’t lie to you when I say that this is the match that I’m looking forward to the most storyline wise. It’s really hard to predict what’s going to happen. Sure, it’s easy to say that Austin’s team will pick up the win because the writers are having hard time giving Austin people to stun and even though that’s bad, they love doing it. However, I don’t think a win for Team Austin is so evident here. In fact, it’ll be much more interesting if Team Bischoff won. Not only did guys like Christian and Jericho finally get their heat back, but it allows the creative team to throw something new and fresh at us. There’s several possibilities I have on mind… One of them has been discussed online, and that’s the return of Stephanie McMahon. Word has it that she might come in Austin’s place, sending Austin to SmackDown in some fashion, or keeping him on RAW in a different role. WWE has always wanted to do something with Bischoff and Stephanie since their indirect feud shortly after the brand split, so this will definitely could turn into something interesting. I’m one of those people who think that the McMahons are actually very good characters when they’re used right. Key phrase being “used right.” Anyway, I absolutely loved the Shawn Michaels/Steve Austin segment on RAW. It was nice to see that they didn’t just forget all the history behind the two. The way they reacted with each other and played it out was entertaining, at least to me. I’d say that there was too much Steve Austin on RAW, but all his promos were done right, so it’s hard to complain. I give WWE kudos for this storyline.
Other news and notes… Look out for Matt Hardy to debut on RAW, following Survivor Series. Word has it that it was Matt who asked WWE management to move him to the RAW brand, so he can spend more time with his girlfriend Lita. Also, he felt that he’ll be used better on Monday nights. I absolutely agree… Man, am I not happy with Big John on RAW, or what?! He almost killed Steven Richards with a slam. Richards re-aggravated an injury he’s worked with forever, and is hurting for the time being… While we’re on the subject, it looks like Little Johnny is going to end up being a doll that John talks to. He got the idea from the popular show South Park. I believe the character’s name was Mr. Garrison, the school teacher who talks to a hand puppet… I’m not that impressed with Matt Morgan and Nathan Jones. They have a lot of work to do. I will say, however, that Jones looks to be slightly improved since the last time we saw him… So far, they’ve done a good job with Cena’s turn. Let’s see how they carry on from here.
That will do it for this report folks. I should be back next week with more! Have a great week and don’t forget to check out TBL throughout the next seven days for the latest on the Survivor Series PPV. Peace.
Thanks for reading. See ya.