(*Note: The official theme song of Mollyopoly # 6 is 'Disinherit' from Veruca Salt)
Before I get started on Raw and Molly this week, let me start off by saying SmackDown is a horrible show. The people behind SD should be ashamed of themselves-but the product gets worse on a weekly basis, so odds are that not only are they not ashamed, but these clowns probably even think they're doing a great job. It sucks, because SD USED to be SUPERIOR to Raw. SD USED to be the show where you could see an Ironman match;Rey Mysterio;Steph;Chris Benoit and the healing presence of Paul Heyman.SD at one point featured a much higher workrate, much more intense matchups,and better all-around booking. And now..?
SD looks like it may hit rock-bottom soon, and I say hurry it up already...because rock-bottom would be a good thing for SD. Rock-bottom would be a good place for SD to begin anew and afresh.
I've watched this show over the last month, and pretty much every Internet writer -myself included-condemns the show out of hand. But I re-watched some of the most recent SD episodes, and honestly..? I don't see where Raw is that much better than SD. Indeed, if not for 3 or 4 different guys, the shows would probably be pulling similarly low ratings. I mean really, without HHH, Benoit, HBK and maybe Chris Jericho, Raw is SD. The spitting image. Of course, 2 of those 4 workers were pulled DIRECTLY from SD, and the emphasis has always been on Raw as a franchise. But from my standpoint, that strengthens my argument. It seems as though the WWE is trying to kill off SD, but the booking and the matches-save for 4 workers-is really no better or worse than what you get on SD. I swear to God, sometimes I sit through Raw and I wish BELATEDLY for the 'glory days' of 2000 to the early part of 2002 (And 1997? Forget about it).
Let's review. You can make a case for Christian and Trish being must-see T.V. But does someone like, say, Eugene really make Raw a better show? Does the Lita/Matt/Kane angle really keep you glued to your television set (granted, I said I liked it, but that's all. I just like it. This angle isn't even as good as the RTC angle from a few years back)? Did Goldberg and Austin really add anything to the show? And does the Women's Division really add anything at all to Raw? You say it looks like they're trying new things, 'new' angles with Gail and Victoria and Molly? I say you might be asleep. I have a LOT of Nora Greenwalds' matches, promos, skits, etc., on tape. I have EVERY match from her 2nd title run from the time she took the belt to the 5/10/2004 Raw. Every match, every bit of airtime she had on Raw or SD during that span of time. Business was good for the Women's Division, with longer matches, promos and a bit more emphasis placed on it. Then, WWE Survivor Series came and went, and so did the emphasis on that division and everyone in it EXCEPT Trish and Lita...who were summarily shifted AWAY from the other women, and into their current storylines. There were no less than a half-a-dozen 'demotions' of Molly down the card in favor of either a) another female (Trish, Lita or Vicky...pick one) or b) segments for non-wrestlers (read: Austin, Jonathan Coachman) or c) the endless barrage of commercials (remember when, before the brand-split, how Raw and SD used to be able to get almost EVERYONE on the ROSTER onto BOTH SHOWS? What exactly is their problem now? Raw could be re-named as 'Evolution vs. HBK and Benoit Monday Nights' and nobody would know the difference. That is all Raw IS). So I am not going to be FOOLED by the WWE making some half-assed 'commitment' to the Women's Division. I've seen it all before. I've seen the WWE talk up the athletic prowess of Lita, Trish, Molly, Gail, Vicky, et al., just so months later they can work shorter matches on a show that-with the departure of Austin and Goldberg-HAS LESS STAR POWER THAN EVER BEFORE. In that context, the women should be enjoying MORE airtime, higher workrates, MORE promos...but the opposite is happening. The Women's Division-much like WWE cruiserweight and tag-team wrestling-is no more than a way for the WWE to fill out a card...and if they could rid of all these things, I'm sure they would. They are certainly seem to be trying to. Now, it COULD be that the WWE may one day realize that between who you see on Raw and who is down in OVW (Alexis Laree, Shaniqua and Jillian Hall, among others), that they may one day have TOO MANY women to justify having just ONE Women's Division...giving them impetus to make a 2nd division, or perhaps even give them a show of their own? This is the optimist in me, at last raising his seldom-seen, wishy-washy head.
Some of the more universally panned angles on SD center around the John Bradshaw Layfield/Eddie Guerrero feud,and Jacquelines' current ownership of the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. You know what? The last time I was a mark for JBL, he was just Bradshaw, and the year was 1999 and the Undertaker had just formed his Ministry of Darkness and he then made Faarooq and Bradshaw members. I liked JBL then. I don't care for him now, at all, but...the only PROBLEM I have with his current push are the racist overtones. There is never a good time for that. Also, I think the push is too fast, and JBL isn't doing enough WRESTLING...and I'm not talking about squashes over Rey Mysterio and Paul London under a hood; I mean WRESTLING. If Brock Lesnar can put over Eddie Guerrero and The Big Show can put over Jeff Hardy-cleanly and repeatedly-than JBL should be working REAL matches. He's got his shot at Judgment Day. He is drawing a lot of heat...but is that HIM, or is it just because he has been working against two guys (Eddie and Rey) who are WAY over? We'll see. JBL has said that he has worked his whole career for this match. If JBL is motivated to new heights and this improves his in-ring, it SHOULD be good for SD as a whole, seeing as how he is the only heel on the show who can draw something more than MILD HEAT right now. Also, I was originally going to write 'JACKY KILLED THE BELT', but how exactly do you kill something that is already dead? Cruiserweight wrestling in the WWE is dead. CRUISERWEIGHT WRESTLING IN THE WWE IS DEAD, and it will STAY that way because Vince and Co. love their big men. I find it hard to root against the former Sweet Georgia Brown (although the promo she cut on 5/13/2004 REALLY made me re-think that philosophy...DAMN, is she horrible on the mic), and if I have to choose bitching and moaning over the WWE doing nothing with the C-Weight division and seeing a woman parade around the belt, then I'll take seeing a woman parade around the belt. The division is dead. Want to really make your voice heard? Want to really make the WWE stop and listen to what you have to say about it? Stop watching their shows, stop buying their games and magazines and DVDs and STOP BUYING their PPVs.
With that said, Jacky-and I love her to death-has all the natural charisma of a mass-grave and all the mic skills you would expect to find from a particularly loquacious brick. In other words, Jacky was-watermelon-sized breasts and all-the wrong woman for this angle, on the surface, at least. But then again, nobody else was doing anything with her, so anything that they DO do with her at this point is good to me. Who was the RIGHT woman? Jazz. Maybe Molly. Hell, maybe even Trish. She takes big bumps. The bottom line is, they could have put the belt on Stephanie or Linda McMahon, and it would NOT make a bit of difference to me at this point. The issue is dead-much like the division itself;indeed much like the women's division may be soon-and it is no different than the fact that Shane McMahon is undefeated against The Big Show on PPV. Let the Cruiserweight Division DIE. When it does, perhaps that will spark some backlash from the WWE consumers, and hit the WWE hard when PPV buyrates go south, and WWE merchandise sales plummet (this is all just speculation). But nothing good is going to happen for the C-Weights until the division hits rock-bottom. Vince and Co. don't care enough about the cruiserweights for it to go any other way.
The WWE is going to push what it has always wanted to push...big men and Playboy hopefuls. All you can do is force their hand...and watch something else on Monday and Thursday.
SD isn't THAT bad, at least not to me. Charlie Haas is already doing more than Shelton Benjamin. The 5/10/2004 Raw should have shown you all how quickly HHH can make you forget ALL ABOUT somebody. Sheltons' two big wins mean nothing. It is all going to be HHH and HBK FOREVER until one of them has a career-ending injury and is forced to retire. Annnnnnnnnd...Shelton STILL has no character, and no gimmick for that matter...other than the legit athlete angle. He is right now JUST the guy who beat HHH...a while ago. Charlie now has a gimmick AND two charismatic running mates in Rico and Jackie Gayda. The writers also seem to favor giving this face trio a lot of airtime. In other words, I would rather see you on T.V., getting a chance to work and show your charisma on the undercard RATHER than seeing someone get pushed hard early on, only to flame out quickly. Besides, HHH is still on Raw, and as you saw on Monday, he still has the UNCANNY ability to make you forget all about somebody, when he wants to. But we'll see with Shelton. It's not ALL perfect for Haas and Co.. Jackie is still CLOTHED (somewhat) during all of her T.V. appearances...and they have to work with Hardcore Holly and Billy Gunn at Judgment Day. There is a good and a bad to everything.
Also at Judgment Day, Chavo Guerrero (w/Chavo Classic) is going to take on Jacky...with one arm tied behind his back. Admittedly, this would not be my 1st (or 101st, for that matter) choice for a booking on PPV that is going to cost you guys 35 bucks for the 'privilege' of viewing. But you know, hey. Madusa once held the WCW Cruiserweight Title. She wrestled men. She was way more over than Jacqueline is right now, but SHE didn't kill the belt. The Undertaker is going to squash Booker T., Mordechai is going to interfere at some point, and I don't care. RVD and the Dudleys are in the midst of an 'ECW Heritage' angle that is fairly interesting. I will upgrade that to 'VERY' interesting if Paul Heyman is allowed to continue to play a big role in this. Torrie and Dawn Marie are-for some reason-going to work a match at Judgment Day. Maybe this will be to establish the rumored Dawn and Rene Dupree program. Rene and John Cena also work Judgment Day, with the U.S. Title on the line, and while I reserve judgment on this program, there is also the chance that both of these guys could evoke SOME image of HHH and The Rock (I realize that neither Rene or John is not yet that good or as over as HHH and The Rock were and are, although Cena is making his push). Of course, I would feel a lot safer in saying that if SD were really promoting this angle. They aren't, and any positive things I say about this program could be nullified this Sunday. The fact is that while this feud could propel both guys to the top, it stands a much BETTER chance of being a disappointment. I think Rene would-in a perfect world-be built up SLOWLY. I think John Cena is still looking for that breakthough performance. I don't see how either of these things are addressed by having them feud RIGHT NOW. But we will see.
Also, as a side-note, I agree with EVERYTHING Rene Dupree said on the 5/13/2004 SD edition of 'Cafe du Rene'. I, however, think it is distasteful and wrong to evoke the name of the Iraqi prisoners to get cheap heat on SD, but that is just me. Anyway, Rene rules, he has the look and the charisma that the audience covets, and you know what? Pour le future, J' espere etre francais! De rien!!!
There. I tried to cover SD in a general way, and tried to do so without totally slamming the product. That fulfills my 'positivity' quota for about the next 2.3 years or so.
I watched The WWE Experience. I don't know why. I already saw Raw and SD. That's all The Experience did: recap Raw and SD, with a few extras, like Tazz and Dawn Marie (!) throwing the opening pitches for a Trenton Thunder home game, and Cena and the Method Man's cover shoot. Sigh. Another WWE recap show. Don't they already have this COVERED? Anyway, for the MILF-lover in me, Ivory was on full display, and that would be about the only reason to get up at 7:00 in the A.M. to watch this show. Enough.
WWE Monday Night Raw 5/10/2004 from San Jose, CA.
I've never been to San Jose, but I know a few people who have lived there...and they are all happy to be OUT of San Jose. San Jose is not quite the armpit of California-not even close(those honors would go out to Apple Valley, California City and Boron)-but there are always better places to be...any other night. Tonight, Raw is on the tube and THAT means that Molly Holly is gonna make an appearance...and that is why I can find the strength to go on. Who would have ever thought that Molly Holly-who, by the way can ballroom dance, likes anything with spicy peanut sauce, Italian food (UGH!!! To each their own) and suggests that Maria Callas' music might be something you might enjoy- would turn out to be the BIGGEST REASON I still watch wrestling? I wouldn't, but then again, I used to mark out HARD...to Diesel. So what do I know?
Shelton Benjamin vs. HHH: Oh, well here's a first:HHH was involved in the Throw-away Match of The Night (TMTN). That is all this was, as Shelton dominated most of the early goings with armdrags and other assorted holds. HBK ran-in to avenge last weeks' HHH run-in that cost HBK the World Heavyweight Title. Anyway, Bischoff then came out and ordered security to whisk Shawn away and THEN Easy E. suspended The Showstopper. For those keeping score, I'm not sure if this match ended in a DQ win for HHH or if it resulted in a No-Contest. I don't care either way because it did less than nothing for Shelton Benjamin...and the focus is STILL-after more than a year-on HHH and HBK, with the current World Champion still in the background. The last time I saw a World Champion treated as this much of an afterthought, the Big Bossman was dragging the casket of The Big Shows' 'dead' father around on the back of his car. As for the match, short, short, short. With all of the buildup, it should have gone on way longer. But if it did that, it would have entertained...and if it entertained, it wouldn't be the Throw-away Match of The Night. For all my current dislike of HHH, I-like almost EVERYBODY else-was his biggest fan in 1999-2000, and know that between himself and Shelton they could have come up with a lot better than this. I always give the devil his due, whether I like him or not, and honestly? The WWE World Heavyweight Title would be more interesting if somebody other than Benoit were holding it...if HHH were holding it. No knock on Benoit at all. That's just how I feel. And my feeling is that it SEEMS as though the WWE is booking around Benoit, as though they do not think that he can carry the Raw franchise as a top draw as the top face. This is probably why HBK still has that billing. In other words, until HHH leaves to make his movie (or movies) or until the HHH/HBK feud OFFICIALLY ends, NOBODY else on Raw is going to look THAT good.