But then again, I'm getting ahead of myself.. Let's start this beast out with comments on..
I liked just about everything about this show. The decidedly different color choices (blue in the place of red EVERYWHERE, including the ropes.. I'm surprised Kane didn't come out in blue), the dual, circular Titan trons,and the set... which was superb. Following the last airing of Smackdown,which saw the monumental forming of the 'corporate ministry', Thursday's offering was easily just as memorable, if not more so. There were a couple noteworthy points, so I'll delve right into those
-I was expecting an hour-long program, so needless to say I was pleasantly surprised to see it continue to a 2-hour performance. Some things shouldn't be rushed, and I don't think it would have been nearly as successful had the HHH / Rock match had been shoved into the same hour as the interview that set it up.
-Good god, is the Rock over!!
-Mankindis god, on a mic and in the ring. Nobody can even compete with this guy..
-On the same page,Al Snow played his part to a 'T' as the overly-worried owner. It would seem that Lawler's not the only puppy-lover seeing air time on Thursday nights.
-The tag division continued it's destined journey down the toilet bowl. I knew these gold straps would be used as a weak means to push Show & Taker as complete monsters, but I imagined they'd get a bit more inventive with the tag scene itself. How long have we seen the Acolytes and/orX-Pac & Kane involved with the title match? Repetition leads to boredom, which in turn leads to a different choice with the remote.
-Jericho's debut was slightly impressive, but he's showing a bit of rust from the long absence, and he hasn't had time to adjust to the slight changes in the construction of WWF rings. Give him a couple weeks and a more suitable opponent, and we'll start to see some magic. I was completely loving the double powerbomb again though, and his Liontamer (er... "modified crab maneuver", according to WWF.COM) hasn't lost anything.
-Following the match, the Fink managed to be funnier than his initial 'warrior' appearance.. hey, at least he made his attack from the FRONT, before being jumped from behind. Also, a Shamrock / Jericho program could be beauty.
-Good to see there's still a TINY bit of unity in the former 'Union' as Mankind andShamrock have recently made saves for Test..
-Regarding HBK's turn, even after reading the spoilers I enjoyed it.. watching the crowd get so into him as the show opened, and watching exactly how events transpired sent shivers down my spine. I can only compare it to Jericho's arrival on Raw a few weeks ago. You knew what was coming, but you stillcouldn't brace.
Overall Grade: A-
An overly-glorified Raw, quite a bit better than the offerings of only a few weeks ago. Still, I wonder if the curse of a new show will strike yet again. Seems everyone gets really excited for the debut of a new show before, weeks later, it becomes dull and throwaway
Moving on, let's take a look at..
ECW on TNN
I was running to the supermarket with my girlfriend during the first 15 minutes of the program, so I must've missed the powerbomb through a table, as well as a bit more commentary directed totally at TNN and it's television audience. Aside from that, in the fleeting moments we were treated to actual ECW TV, I was very impressed... with the in-ring action. I enjoyed the hell out of the RVD/Jerry Lynn match they gave us, with more than a couple beautiful spots.. the most memorable of which was the sunset flip powerbomb from the ring apron into a table, and the multiple van-daminators through chairs. I was sick of Alfonso and his whistle after the first couple times I heard it, though. My question is this..is every broadcast set to include 40 minutes of commercial time?!?! Good god, we saw about 4 minutes of ring time, then went to a commercial. I think we came and went about 3 times during the said TV title match. That, and Styles needs to be ringside... with a color commentator. By mentioning Austin, ECW as a whole came off as a cheap, bitter, poseur of a program and did very little to shake this image. The amateurish quality of the video, the interviews and the backstage bits further dismissed this as a promotion not quite ready for the big time. Having never seen Taz in action, I'd thought the tales of his legendary no-selling were just exaggerations.. a quick squash later and I don't see a man deserving of this title. Good to see Cyrus again, but who's he surrounding himself with?! I guess you've gotta build mic skills somehow, eh?
All in all, I was completely impressed by the match quality and intensity,but was almost repulsed by the interviews, production quality and MOTHERLOVINGCOMMERCIALS!!!!!
Really quickly, I'll drop in some thoughts on Thursday's
Sid's unjustified push through the roof continued, as everybody's favorite job boys, The Public Enemy met their fate as victim numbers 2359 and 2360.. The night was later graced by what became a masterful piece from Rey, Kidman, Eddy and the Rednecks. Especially near the end, these six threw together a dynamite performance that kept me at the edge of my seat beyond the ending. So many near falls in such a short amount of time won't fail.. sheer beauty. Check the skies for the fourth horseman of the apocalypse, but I actually enjoyed the opening of the Cat's segment. Creating a tie between Iaukea and TAFKA Prince was just hilarious, and Sonny's rendition of 'Purple Rain' was just tantalizing. Maybe Monday night we could hear a little "Pussy Control"? It was around the beginning of the match itself that I decided enough was enough andit was time for some soup, so I readied my supper in time for Smackdown. Judging from the results I read, they handled the in-ring meetings ofSid and Benoit about as well as they could, considering the horrible push Sid's been getting lately. Is it just me, or does the big man really seem to harbor some sort of fear when confronted by our favorite crippler? He didn't want any part of him Monday night,and both had their finishers applied at the conclusion of Thursday's meeting.. I hope I'm reading this correctly, as putting Benoit over Sid would be HUGE.
Finally, a quick word on
Remember when all the hype went into the original Thunder airing? Sting and Hogan were to meet and figure out what to do about the World Title, recently held up. It was huge. Now Sting has it in his CONTRACT that he won't show for Thunder, and you'd have a helluva tough time convincing Hogan to do the show, as well. The same can be said for Heat, anymore. What was once a good forum for expanding upon feuds has become a bit of a music video show, and a recap of the week's events. Still, the jury's out a bit longer on this one for me.. for one reason. This deja-vu match deal,replaying important events in the WWF's history could be a VERY good idea, if played off correctly. Unfortunately, it seems as though Vince is still afraid of his past and won't mention anyone no longer under his employment. A shame, as I'd like to see a Michaels/Hall Ladder match on USA sometime.
Closing up, I recieved some viewer mail regarding some recent comments made in regards to D'Lo Brown. Hilgemann (email@example.com) wrote in to say:
"I don't get it. First, it was Dale, and now you. Your both extremely intelligent guys as far as I can gesture, and hell you in particular are part of the triad. But, it's as if you expected something else to occur. New Age Outlaws, Outsider's, Harlem Heat, The Steiner Brother's, The Rocker's,and hell you can go all the way back to Strike Force with Tito Santana and Rick Martel. Mizark and D'lo were a Tag Team. Mizark turned bad,they are obviously both going to be going into single's action after this feud which had to take place is over unless Mizark tags with JJ down the line. D'Lo is the next Rock only with great wrestling ability,so what's the problem? Listen to the ovation he gets. The guy is over,and I quite frankly think it's great that they decided NOT to have Mizark return and tag with D'lo. Just wondering what your thoughts are. If you really think about it, you know that's the way it had to be. They couldn't exactly just have Mizark return and not have anything to do with D'lo. So, it's either D'lo tagging with Mizark upon his return,or Mizark turning on D'lo upon his return. I believe the WWF went the smart route. Don't you? D'lo is a break out star in the process. D'lo has championship material written all over him. He's one of the select few. Ric Flair is able to do it, Shawn Michaels is able to do it, Bret Hart is able to do it, the Rock is able to do it, and many other's are able to do it, but these are the guys off the top of my head that doit really well. And that is being able to draw great heel and face heat. Triple H could get good face heat because of DX, but thus far until this Monday really he wasn't too capable of getting good heel heat because he really comes off more as annoying with his too intense, boring, and repetitive I am the game comments, and makes you want to change the channel, instead of a great heel like Vince McMahon. D'lo has shown he can do it. He has drawn great heel heat. Just think back to the D'lo Sucks chants, now they've turned into just D'lo chants much like the Rocky sucks chants turned into just Rocky. And all this without reallybeing able to show off his mic skills which from what he has shown are very good. As D'lo Brown's #1 fan, I'm glad they decided to get this feud on now, so he can move onto bigger and better things. I'm looking for a response to justify your comments. Keep up the great work and sorry for the length."
Rare as this is,I'm gonna have to say it... you've changed my mind. After reading your comments, I can see that a feud with Henry, while a step down from his intercontinental feud, was a necessary step in D'Lo's ascension to greatness in the WWF. You really made some excellent points, citing the great tag teams of old, leading to the superstars of their respective eras and really impressed me along the way. My question is this: Since such a turn needed to happen in order for Brown to logically move on, why couldn't it have occurred earlier? He was riding such a surge of popularity during this brief Intercontinental run that even the slightest error could have cost him (and the WWF) everything they've built to date. Why take that risk? Why not get this altercation out of the way before the status-raising feud with Jarrett? The fans' opinions are so fickle these days that their views can change within days if workers aren't feuding with the right people. I fear that the upcoming revenge program with Mizark will, in the end, result in a loss of fan recognition asa serious contender and could really hurt D'Lo's status when all is said and done.
Great letter, and thanks for writing. It's good to see that more and more people are realizing what a star D'Lo really is.
And that should do it for me. I'll be back eeearrly Tuesday morning (I open work at 7:30 am... yeowch!) for the Tuesday Review, so..
until then, i remain