INSIDE THE RING NEWSLETTER
By Trevor Hunnicutt and Eddie T.
Shows this fun are inexcusable when Smackdown is as painful to watch as it is on a weekly basis. RAW this week was well booked, fun to watch, and remained largely focused on a WrestleMania for which it has held up its bargain. Triple H & Chris Benoit had a tremendous match (on the level of their last PPV match) and Shelton Benjamin & Edge had a tremendous TV match in a line of what has been great promotion for the ladder match that they got started on a few weeks too late. Kane vs. Christian and Tomko was average, but it was effective at doing what it set out to do. The Rockers vs. La Resistance was on the level of the best tag team matches we see on TV these days and Marty Jannetty, who was one of the best workers of his generation and all but forgotten years later, is doing something right, because he had a better night than most of the active guys do. Portrayal of Batista could use some work, but WWE is picking up the slack in other areas. Gene Snitsky vs. Batista was on the level of the Smackdown main events these days, where one guy is bad and the other guy is worse.
This was definitely one of the best WWE RAW shows this year, and would rank up there with the episode of RAW LIVE from Japan, as best show of the year for WWE, so far. I hate to do that, but I must point out here that on one of the “best shows of the year,” this past week, Triple H was not on TV until his match took place. Marty Jannetty needs a WWE contract, and he signed one today. The fact that he was better than half the roster, and in great shape shows a lot. His match with Angle was good enough to cement his spot on the roster, and boy, it’s great to have him back. Me and Trevor were chatting online the other day, and we noted that a lot of people in this industry still think they have it when they get older, while a lot others, do indeed have it, but remain hidden. I think Jannetty proved that on RAW. I was surprised with the pop for Jake “the Snake” Roberts after everything he’s gone through in life, but it’s great to see the WWE fans giving Jake some respect and admiration. He was indeed a great worker, and an important part of WWE’s past. No matter how bad of a shape he’s in, or what type of problems he’s having in life, he proved he can still cut a promo. It was great to see him again. The main event didn’t do much to portray Batista in any different way so far, but it did the job of putting him over, and having him be the main event in itself is something. They’re being smart by keeping his bouts short, especially when he’s not fighting Triple H or Benoit. Speaking of these two, they had an amazing match, that was definitely PPV quality. I think it might end up as a qualifier for the year’s best match! Shelton Benjamin and Edge had a tremendous bout as well, and proved that they’re indeed the up-and-coming future of the brand. The promotion for the ladder match at ‘Mania picked up this week, which can only be a good thing. Having Batista vs. Kane next week is a smart booking decision, but a waste in a way, because there’s always been interest between the two, and in the past (several short segments and one bout they’ve had), they’ve proved to work well together. Let’s see what happens next week.
For the first time in weeks, I actually managed to watch SmackDown. I did so since I heard the show was good, so I did sit through the tape, and I was pleasantly surprised. The show was indeed good this week, and it was nice to have the change for once. I don’t want to sound like I’m taking a shot at SmackDown, but the only good show they put up featured a guy who just returned to WWE (Jannetty), two guys who barely get on the show but managed to have a great match (Kidman and London), and two men from RAW (Bischoff and Orton). I think it’s a pretty good way to reflect on reality that SmackDown is simply show B at this point in time, and WWE doesn’t do anything to change that, when they can! Anyway, I liked the Angle/Jannetty match, as well as the Kidman/London bout, and also the main event. The wrestling on the program was much better this week, which is always a good thing! I also enjoyed the bit with Chavo Guerrero. Although I feel that they’ve failed to make the Guerrero/Mysterio program mean anything, I do think that the push this week was solid. The contract signing with Orton and Undertaker was well done. That type of segment that WWE has done millions of times is usually a waste, but this one was interesting to follow. I really don’t know if Cena will make it. I hope he does. His is a strange story that needs to be looked at closer, and not in this space. A much improved SmackDown this week, and I hope they keep it up!
RAW & ULTIMATE FIGHTER RATINGS
Monday Night RAW ended up doing a 3.8 rating this week, which is the same score as last week’s showing. Ultimate Fighter fell down to a 1.5, as the show has been doing slighltly decreasing in ratings over the past couple of weeks.
VINCE MCMAHON RETURNS TO TV TAPINGS
Vince McMahon returns to television tapings tomorrow with Monday Night RAW. He’s expected to be backstage at both RAW and SmackDown from this point forward. He isn’t expected to have an on-TV role for now, of course.
McMahon stopped attending TV tapings for a while following his freak injury at the Royal Rumble PPV, where he tore both of his quad muscles. It’ll be certainly great to have him back, and it’s hopefully for the better!
WWE SIGNS MARTY JANNETTY
Based on his performance on Monday Night RAW, as a tag team partner with Shawn Michaels against La Resistance, and mostly due to his spectactular performance on Thursday against Kurt Angle on SmackDown, World Wrestling Entertainment has signed Marty Jannetty to a contract. I think that the company was very smart to do so, as Jannetty obviously has a lot of gas left in the tank, and is currently in very good shape. He also seemed to get over quite well with fans. Although it has not been 100% confirmed what brand he will be on, logic would have him end up on RAW, where he could interact with his former Rockers partners, Shawn Michaels. It’s certainly great to have Jannetty, who is thought of as one of the better workers of the 80s, back in the company.
CURRENT WRESTLEMANIA CARD
a.. John “Bradshaw” Layfield vs. John Cena — WWE Championship
b.. Triple H vs. Batista — World Championship
c.. Money In the Bank Ladder Match — #1 Contender for the World Championship Match
d.. Trish Stratus vs. Christy Hemme — Women’s Championship
e.. Roddy Piper and Steve Austin — Piper’s Pit
f.. Akebono vs. The Big Show — Sumo Match [not joking]
g.. Randy Orton vs. The Undertaker
h.. Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle
i.. Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio [Not Made Official Yet]
j.. Booker T vs. Heidenreich [Not Made Official Yet]
For the first time I can remember, only three titles are on the line. The Intercontinental and United States Championships will most likely not be defended at the PPV. Neither will be the WWE or World Tag Team Titles, currently held by Mysterio and Guerrero, and Tajiri and Regal, respectively. It’s a good sign of what the bussiness is like these days.
WWE CONFIRMS ECW PPV
I’ve received several packages by WWE this past week. Seeing as I live in Los Angeles and have purchased a ticket for WrestleMania, they mailed me a package plugging this year’s PPV shows. “ECW One Night Stand” is shown as well, and it’s being advertised for Sunday, June 12, 2005. I guess that further makes this year’s return of ECW PPV official. Let’s hope RVD will heal up faster.
MARCH 20 IN WRESTLEMANIA HISTORY
Although such events as Louie Tillet winning the NWA Florida Heavyweight Title took place on March 20th in wrestling history, the most important one would have to be the performance WWF wrestlers put in front of 19,000 people in the Garden on that day in 1994, as WrestleMania X took place. It was the site of one of the most talked-about professional wrestling bouts, as Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon competed in the revolutionary Ladders Match for the Undisputed Intercontinental Championship. The bout made history, as years later, Ladder and TLC matches became synonyms for the next generation of professional wrestling. It all started in 1994, though. In the same night, Owen Hart was set out to become a main eventer, as he pinned brother Bret in the midst of his push as a heel, while Bret himself, with an injured leg that night, became the WWF Champion after defeating Yokozuna.
Eddie T — Levski11 at aol.com
Trevor Hunnicutt — THunnicutt at aol.com