Point of View Archive


Point of View, May 25, 2004: Smackdown. Ugh.

It's not just that they've got Booker T and Bradshaw, the top two heels on the show, looking like chumps... let alone with Bradshaw getting that kind of push.

It's not just that the tag team division has blown for almost a year.

It's not just that they're essentially running the exact same pay-per-view next month after the first one bombed.

It's that they can't even do the freaking cruiserweight division right.

Tajiri. Mysterio. Chavo. Moore. London. Kidman. Noble. Helms. Ultimo. Eight men who, given time and even the simplest 'rivalry' booking, can put on an entertaining match; all under WWE contract right now.

If they wanted to, they could sign any of dozens of top cruiserweights from around the world, like AJ Styles, Jerry Lynn, Christopher Daniels, Spanky, and countless Japanese and Mexicans who would give their eye teeth to be on WWE television. They can have a division that rivals what WCW had.

Instead we get one of the worst female wrestlers the company has, and an old man, holding the belt. They can't figure out that people enjoy watching Ultimo Dragon in matches longer than two minutes, yet booking Jackie as the champ is somehow a common sense move?

Vince, like so many bookers, just can't understand that cruiserweights are a low-risk standby solution. The right talent can tear the roof down consistently, and while that doesn't draw the way a really good storyline involving heavyweights will, it at least provides a minimum level of how good the shows are.

Here's an example from my booking of Mercury. Last year there wasn't much in the way of involving storylines, so the 'momentum' was created with big matches featuring a somewhat interchangeable set of upper-card wrestlers. Sure, it took a lot of effort (and now I'm stuck writing epics every month to keep up the standards), but by mustering through with solid action the shows were always interesting.

Raw doesn't need cruisers to pop the crowd, because it has enough sports entertainment done by competent wrestlers. Smackdown lacks the storylines and the talented heavyweights, and it has the cruiserweight division RIGHT THERE, yet those guys are relegated to Velocity.

I don't get how the same man can be responsible for both Raw and Smackdown, but there it is. And yes, Raw is good, no question about it. Even a retard angle works when it leads to WRESTLING.


Point of View, March 15, 2004: Wrestlemania 20

The bad: Victoria/Molly, the tag title matches, Show vs Cena (Cena just punched and FU'ed), Lesnar vs Goldberg (total abortion), evening gown match, Hall of Fame related filler.

The mediocre: Undertaker isn't the deadman, Kane was over the top as being afraid, and the match wasn't nearly epic enough for Wrestlemania. The cruiserweight match had its moments but was mostly proof of how badly the division is being ignored.

The good: Angle vs Eddie wasn't the blowaway spectacular they could have, but I expect to see that eventually. Jericho vs Christian had some nice moments, but Christian just isn't a world-class worker.

The great: HE FINALLY TAPPED! WHOOOO! Match of the year! Benoit for life! Benoit and Eddie are the champs and all is right with the world. And at the same time...

You don't want to be here if HHH is the one to take the title from Benoit.

Overall this was an above-average show due to the main event, but it just doesn't match up to 17 and 19. If you missed it, make sure you find some way to see the main event.


Point of View, February 7, 2004: The Ten Best WWE Matches I Saw from 2003

-Kurt Angle vs Chris Benoit, Royal Rumble. The start had its flaws, but then things built to a thoroughly awesome closing stretch. The nearfalls and Angle's debut of the heel hook were done to perfection.

-Kurt Angle vs Brock Lesnar, Wrestlemania. Aside from Lesnar's botched shooting star press, this was a hell of a match. Not technical perfection, but for two guys throwing each other around the ring it was dandy.

-Chris Jericho vs Shawn Michaels, Wrestlemania. Wrong man won, but this was a very nicely built contest with great nearfalls and pacing.

-Kurt Angle vs Brock Lesnar, Summerslam. Not quite as good as Wrestlemania, but still good.

-Kurt Angle vs John Cena, No Mercy. Really weak at the start, HOT at the end. Cena's charisma really shined through here, and this was many times better than any match he's had to date.

-TWGTT vs Eddie & Chavo, A Couple Times.
-TWGTT vs Eddie & Tajiri, A Couple Times.
-TWGTT vs Mysterio & Kidman, Vengeance. Haas & Benjamin were stellar all year and were perfectly fine hanging with Eddie and Tajiri and Rey.

-Kurt Angle vs Brock Lesnar, Ironman Match. This one is tricky, because it wouldn't be "top ten" based purely on how many stars it gets. The use of weapons and stalling, along with a total lack of nearfalls and the probability of nothing happening during the commercials means that this wasn't on par with their other stuff. At the same time there was this nice 'real sport' feel with the scoring, as Angle had to get enough offense in the waning minutes to try and catch up.

-Kurt Angle vs Undertaker, Smackdown. I don't care for the way that Undertaker easily shook off extended ankle locks before he hit the Last Ride, but other than that it had a nice story ('taker brawling and Angle wrestling) heading into the most extensive finishing sequence I've ever seen in an Undertaker match. Easily one of my 5 favorite matches from Mean Mark, who can turn it on when he wants to.

The sad part is that October '02 through September '03 had a lot of great action on the Smackdown end of things. Sadly that ended with the 'big man extravaganza' (Oct-Nov) and the 'Bob Holly Push Of Doom' (Dec-Jan), not to mention the baffling choice of giving the Bashams a long reign instead of Haas & Benjamin. Raw can't seem to get anything going that doesn't involve Shawn. Oh well.


Point of View, November 10, 2003: What's changed?

Nothing.

The focus of shows are STILL 'who books the matches, and who is on either side of said booker'. That covers the elimination matches at Survivor Series. And what else on SS will get hype? Goldberg vs HHH, with HHH coming back from his honeymoon and quite likely to take the title; Kane vs Shane, with the SCARY possibility of Shane going over; big musclebound guys who can't wrestle (Heidenreich, Batista, Jones, Morgan); yet another Vince McMahon match.

I know that Austin vs Vince worked for a long while. That's great. But Vince McMahon's best feuds are behind him, and subbing in Eric Bischoff or Paul Heyman for Vince isn't going to work as a ratings magnet either. Having McMahons in prominent feuds on both shows isn't going to draw people in. Having guys around who are ONLY there because of their size does jack squat to stop dwindling house shows and buyrates. Putting the tag titles on schmucks like the Bashams won't make people change the channel from Friends.

2000 was a phenomenal year for the WWF. 2001 was decent. 2002 had its high spots. But it's been a veritable wasteland since Wrestlemania 19. No really interesting feuds, only a handful of especially good/memorable matches, and yet they still have more than enough talent between the writers and the workers to blow us away on at least one thing per month.

But you've heard it before. I've said all of these things in one form or another for years now. "Push the good wrestlers, push the guys who are over, push the guys who represent something new and exciting". And for every John Cena (success who gets pushed), there's a Matt Hardy (got over and was ignored way too much). For every Randy Orton (pushed as a future superstar and deserves it) there's a Nathan Jones (pushed as a superstar but sucks). For every Kurt Angle (great worker who gets time in the ring) there's an Ultimo Dragon or a Rhyno (depushed by Vince on a whim).

WWE is by Vince, for Vince. When Vince listens to the fans first, it's magic. When he listens to himself first, it's rehash after rehash. Vince stopped listening to the fans a long time ago. How do I know?

Because if he listened to the fans he could hear a pin drop when Shane called out Kane after the hardcore match with Test. He'd hear the booing during so many Stephanie promos. He'd feel the apathy during every Linda segment that doesn't involve her getting tombstoned. The fans aren't entertained, but he is. And so we get more of the same. The only thing that stops them from pushing the McMahons any more this year, it seems, is HHH and Steph taking time off to get married- a luxury I might add that few workers get.

That's why I don't watch Raw or Smackdown much, or go to Hooters to watch PPVs. Sad but true.


Point of View, August 17, 2003: Potential, forever lost

It all goes back to the McMahons eventually. Whether it needs to or not, that's what happens. The McMahons have been active in the following things over the last few months:

-Undertaker vs Cena, Undertaker vs A-Train
-Kane
-Austin vs Bischoff
-Lesnar vs Angle
-Mr. America, followed by Zach Gowan

And wouldn't you know it, those happen to be the most hyped thing on a given show 99% of the time.

Do we need Vince to turn Brock heel? Do we need Shane to put Kane over as a monster? The answer isn't just 'no'; the answer is that those things are just about the worst things possible. Heat gets transferred from the wrestlers to the McMahons at every stage possible, making the storylines predictable and mediocre where they could have been compelling.

I was really getting into the Kane storyline until it took the 'sports entertainment' turn. Going after JR, going after Linda, going after Shane... none of it is that interesting, and in the end Kane isn't a monster at all. He's just a normal heel (see: not attacking Vince on sight, 'I don't want to do what the crowd wants me to do', etc).

There's always bright spots on WWE programming, but I think you all know me well enough to know that Haas & Benjamin vs Mysterio & Kidman is goodness, or that Cena is gold on the mic, or that Eddie is lord of all heels, or that there are any number of other non-hyped segments worth cherishing in a week's time. The problem is that the focus inevitably swings back to the McMahons, the storylines always get derailed just when they get interesting. The payoffs rarely materialize, the 'money' feuds rarely have a conclusive finish, and HHH STILL has the damn belt after all this time.

There's a reason why the POV column lies dormant week after week. I hope things change but I don't expect them to.


Point of View, July 15, 2003: ROH, Smackdown, Kane

Ring of Honor, June 28, Philadelphia- If you want to go to an ROH show, DO NOT go to the Murphy Rec. Center during the summer. Never ever never EVER. Itís like 95 degrees the whole show, wrestlers get tired and have to go at 75%, etc. This was the first ROH show Iíve seen in any form that lacked a **** match, but it was still well worth it.

Smackdown, July 1, Rochester- Overall I enjoyed this more than Wrestlemania 18. Better seat, hotter crowd, fun ending. People who were over: Ultimo Dragon, Rey Mysterio, Spanky, Kanyon, Matt Hardy (#3), Angle (#1), Lesnar (#5), Benoit, Undertaker, Eddie Guerrero (#2 pre-turn), Cena (#4), Gowan. Vince got the most heat by far, followed by Big Show. Lots of Hogan chants because he wasnít there. Not much booing overall. Not over: Billy Gunn, Albert.

The tag title match was the best Iíve seen live, but the post-match stuff dragged on waaaaaay too long. Zachís win got the biggest pop of the night, and I enjoyed being able to see the payoff of so many crappy segments with an amazing moonsault. The highlight came after the cameras stopped rolling, however. Zach did some Hogan poses, then held the fake leg and gave Big Show a legdrop WITH THE FAKE LEG~! If he thought of that, heís a genius. That was the second biggest pop of the night.

Eventful show, with a title change, Hoganís firing and Zach getting the win.

Kane- Overall, I like the storylineís ups more than I hate the downs. The hair is a nice touch, Glen (Kane) has good facial expressions, and the Ďscars were in his mindí thing makes a lot of sense as far as explaining the character. I *LOVE* shades-of-grey subplot with Austin trying to make Kane be aggressive circa 1998, but instead turning Kane all the way back to before Wrestlemania 14, when Kane was a psychopathÖ and Bischoff calls him on it. At the same time we have insultingly bad stuff like Kane lighting JR on fire, the mascara when Kane unmasked, and once again we have Kane forgetting all about HHH even though one of the biggest payoffs in the WWE right now is Kane pinning HHH for the title (itís a lot more developed than the non-existent HHH/Goldberg non-feud).

Will it be another two months before I write a POV? Stay tuned!


Point of View, May 26, 2003: Politics... in Puroresu

I spend a couple minutes a day, every day, going to 411 and 1wrestling to look for news bits. I then pass on the worthwhile nuggets. Sadly, there's not much out there anymore aside from booking plans, ratings and injuries.

Remember the old days? Back when there was WCW and ECW, and jumps every week, and a sense that anything could happen at any moment? Well, such a thing still exists... in Japan.

While the US & Canada market has consolidated in the last two decades, Japan has expanded. In 1999 there were two major federations (New Japan and All Japan) and a 'hardcore' alternative (FMW), much like here. However, in 2000 things started to break down.

All Japan's owner and founder, Giant Baba, died. The company was then run by top wrestler Mitsuharu Misawa, and Mrs. Baba. When Mrs. Baba tried to interject her opinion as owner (which isn't tolerated in the male-dominated Japanese culture), Misawa took a walk... along with just about every single wrestler in the federation. He formed a new federation, NOAH. All Japan was forced to piece together scraps from various federations, from the dying FMW to the short-lived WAR. In addition, All Japan salvaged its business through cross-promotion with New Japan.

In 2001, one major federation died and another was born. FMW was dealt a deathblow when its superstar Hayabusa was paralyzed while doing a lionsault. Also, Shinya Hashimoto of New Japan opened Zero-One. Zero-One was backed to an extent by New Japan, and took in wrestling refugees from many federations. They also had a working relationship with NOAH. Meanwhile, Keiji Mutoh (aka. Great Muta), a New Japan wrestler, won All Japan's prestigious Triple Crown heavyweight title in one of the highlights of the cross-promotion.

2002 started with a bombshell: Mutoh and two other wrestlers jumped from New Japan to All Japan. New Japan immediately severed ties, and instead strengthened a new relationship with NOAH. On a different front, two new promotions attempted to take the place of FMW, but since neither had even close to the star power FMW had, neither has managed to accomplish much.

2003 has only seen the weirdness continue. Kojima, one of the wrestlers who went from New Japan to All Japan, made a one-night-only return on New Japan's big January 4th show. All Japan started heavy cross-promotion with Zero-One. NOAH continues to work with both New Japan and Zero-One. And now thrown into the mix is the fifth major promotion, World Japan, which threatens to steal several of All Japan's top heavyweights. This would be a crushing blow, and would likely force All Japan to merge with Zero-One.

The bizarre cat's cradle of alliances, jumps, crossovers and rivalries is too complex and storied to cover in one article. Just about every wrestler has either jumped at one point or as had a big role in a crossover, where before 2000 such things happened once or twice a year at most.

Following Japan's wrestling scene offers great matches every year, and now, tons of the intrigue which made things so fun in the US during the Monday Night Wars. Too bad none of it is aired on this side of the Pacific.


Point of View, April 20, 2003: Bumper Crop redux

On July 19th of last year I touched on the recent influx of new talent thanks to the roster split. At the time there was Maven, Harvard, Batista, Cena, Orton and Lesnar. Since then several more have been added: Benjamin, Haas, Jones and Kendrick. I'll analyze the development from last year and the potential of all of them.

Harvard- Definition of mediocrity. Unable to have a good match, unable to get non-cheap heat, and stuck on Raw where he has no way to sharpen his skills. Unless he gets a killer gimmick or suddenly finds mic talent, he'll never amount to much.

Maven- Even worse than Chris. He hasn't done a new move in the last year to my knowledge, he's still a bad actor, and he has even less heat. They should keep him in OVW until he really deserves a spot on Heat.

Randy Orton- Showed a lot of personality with the heel turn, and had a couple decent matches (most notably one against Brock). Hopefully his foot recovers, but that seems somewhat doubtful at this point.

Batista- Good lariat, good sit-out powerbomb, good spinebuster. That's all. He needs a lot more work, so I'd recommend more time in OVW once he's healthy.

Cena- Wow. What can I say about John Cena? The rapper gimmick has defied all expectations because his raps are awesome. Too bad he gets squashed so much in the ring, and when he's on offense it's often chinlocks and sleepers. If he went back to the fast pace of his debut matches and combined that with cheapshots and other forms of cheating, he'd be a lot more credible for Backlash. This won't be his first shot at the title, and I'd be shocked if he doesn't get a reign in the next two years.

Lesnar- Thank you, Rock. Thank you, Hogan. Thank you, Undertaker. Thank you, Angle. All of them not only managed to groom Brock for the big time, but they also put him over clean when it counted. Even HHH's attempt to cut him off at the knees failed, and Brock is now one of the few guys to get a big pop at every show. He needs to talk less and be more intense on the mic, but in the ring he's done a much better job of making matches interesting. Unless he gets a serious injury, Brock will be the centerpiece of the WWE for this decade.

Benjamin- Very athletic, very crisp, and good charisma whenever he gets the spotlight. I don't see main events in his near future, but I do expect him to be a mainstay.

Haas- Technically sound. Like Benjamin, I'm going to wait a few more months before I dub him a superstar of the future.

Kendrick- An awesome wrestler, though that isn't always clear when he's facing Mattitude. He needs to have longer matches with faster wrestlers. Brian has a wealth of ability and personality to make up for not being a 300+ pound monster like Vince has such a jones for.

Nathan Jones- He looks for all the world like a believable psycho, but he needs to start doing power moves and fight more credible opponents than DeMott and the FBI. I wonder why he's being kept out of the ring, given that he seemed decent in the Zero-One match I saw him in from last fall. Jones is getting up there in age, so it's now or never.

Final Thoughts- One thing that the WWE has done a great job of is finding the right new talent for its system. Whether it be wrestling ability or charisma, a vast majority of the ones to come up through the farm system are worthy additions to the roster. Add success stories like Rock and Angle and it becomes clear just how vital the new blood is to the long-term success of the company.


Point of View, April 6, 2003: HHHistory.

Title losses:
-1998. European title, lost to D-Lo after a Rock run-in. Stripped of the IC title due to injury.
-1999. WWF title, lost to Vince after Austin hit him with the steel steps. WWF title, lost to Big Show after Vince hit him with a chair to set up the chokeslam.
-2000. WWF title, lost to Rock after an Austin chairshot set up the people's elbow. WWF title, lost to Rock when Rock pinned Vince.
-2001. IC title, lost to Kane when Austin accidentally hits him. Tag titles, got injured in the match but Austin (then WWF champion) was pinned instead.
-2002. WWE title, lost to Hogan when Undertaker hit him with a chair. Raw title, lost to Shawn but regained the next month.

Feuds:
-1998. Owen, won two singles matches but lost in a meaningless 6-man. Beat Rock with the climax in a ladder match at Summerslam.
-1999. Feud with the Corporation leads to a heel turn, and he beats X-Pac whom he screwed out of the European title. Beat Rock. Beat Austin. Beat Vince.
-2000. Retires Foley. Trades the title with Rock but doesn't actually lose it in the end. Beat Jericho. Beat Angle. Beat Benoit. Was supposedly dropped 30 feet while inside a car but returned two weeks later unscathed.
-2001. Screwed out of the title by Austin, whom he then beats clean the next month. Loses to Undertaker, comes back the next month to take the tag titles from he and Kane. Loses to Kane when Austin screws up.
-2002. Wins Rumble, then beats Angle to solidify the title shot. Beats Jericho (twice). Loses to Hogan when Undertaker screws him, then loses to Undertaker with a cheap rollup after beating Hogan clean in a contendership match. Loses twice to Shawn but gets the vital win at the end. Handed the Raw title. Beat RVD. Beat Kane.
-2003. Beat Steiner (twice), beat Booker.

Notice the lack of convincing losses of feuds or titles. Notice how after his return in 2002 he beats down every newcomer but puts over the old vets.

Notice how he survived two Booker finishers, but the pedigree- the only impact move of the match by HHH- puts Booker down so hard that HHH can take twenty seconds to cover, then make the weakest cover possible and still get a very drawn-out pinfall.

Rock, Undertaker and Hogan put over Lesnar. HHH got the Raw title handed to him following Summerslam to take the wind out of Lesnar's win over Rock.

HHH as a heel has cleanly defeated Austin, Foley, Jericho, and a then-popular X-Pac.

HHH has had three pay-per-view matches with Jericho, and won all three clean.

Nobody else has entered Wrestlemania as a heel world champion and left with the title. HHH has done so twice.

Here's the question. Take a look at the sum total of the push that HHH has received since 1998. Involvement in top storylines, main eventing constantly, generally comes out on top, multiple world title reigns. How many other wrestlers given the same treatment for such an extended period of time would not manage to get a bigger reaction and drive more ticket sales than HHH? And do you honestly think that the WWE couldn't get guys like RVD, Jericho, Booker, Cena, etc over as main event draws with half that effort?

Rant over.


Point of View, April 4, 2003: Wrestlemania 19

Second best Wrestlemania ever.

The Good:

-Lesnar vs Angle. Sure, the botched shooting star press hurts it. Sure the match was spotty towards the end. Sure Angle risked life and limb and Lesnar came away with a concussion. This was still a better main event than pretty much every Wrestlemania with the exception of 17. Lesnar's best performance to date. Angle remains the man. And if that shooting star had hit? Oy, the mind boggles.

-Shawn vs Jericho. Love the match, hate the predictable finish. Jericho's best since the Rock feud, and Shawn's best since his back injury.

-Hogan vs Vince. Vince's Evil Look Of Doom, Piper, blood, signature moves galore, heat. What more do you want?

-Rock vs Austin. Epic? No. Good? Yes. Very much so. After the silliness on Raw leading up, Rock gets down to business and finally gets revenge for Austin's face turn. Rock was the better man and he hounded Austin until he got the win. This is the bastard cousin of Misawa vs Kawada 6/94 only with the right man winning (don't worry if you don't know what I'm talking about).

-Women's title. Great by the low standards of the WWE female wrestlers, and all three did their part. Didn't go too long either.

The Bad:

-Raw title match. This one gets its own column.

-Less than 20 (and even 10) minutes for the Smackdown tag title match. Criminal!

-Mysterio vs Hardy, which wasn't very crisp, was way too short and gave us nothing we haven't seen a bunch of times from both of them.

The Ugly:

-Nathan Jones gets a huge push, gets treated like a monster... and never ever wrestles. I mean, Sean O'Haire can at least work a good match and cut a promo! Jones can only look scary. Yes, he's evil; let's see him do something more intriguing than a savate kick.

-Catfight. The Miller Lite girls are D-level short-term celebrities, and the segment was better suited to Heat than the biggest show of the year.

-Limp Bizkit. A friend of mine named JT (who is a one-man encyclopedia of metal knowledge) said that he's able to deal with Durst because Fred is a smart businessman. JT, of course, didn't have to sit through him whining about being a "Crack Addict".

-The crowd. They were DEAD for the vast majority of the show, even though it was the best show by far since Summerslam. If you pay to get in, MAKE NOISE!

Wrestlemania 19 had 90% of its hype devoted to the top six matches on the card. Five of them delivered. While nothing here is all-time good, the bad stuff was inconsequential and generally short. This still doesn't touch Wrestlemania 17, but then, nothing else does.


Point of View, February 12, 2003: Now or Never [aka "yes, again with Booker"].

They've set it up. Booker T, the only man willing to step up to HHH's group without immediately gunning for a title, has been set up for a major singles push. His storyline with Golddust has reached a 'climax' in the supposed electrocution. Now, Booker is a man possessed, fighting unbeatable odds for the sake of revenge.

The smart money seems to be on HHH retaining at No Way Out. Steiner has been simply abysmal in the ring, and I'd doubt that he'll get rewarded with the big gold belt. That would leave Booker as the next in line to lead the charge.

However, with Austin and Nash also returning over the coming weeks, it would be simplicity itself to shove Batista or the returning Rhino at Booker; let "main eventers" fight HHH. After all, they're the proven names. Why risk a midcarder like Booker T in a big match at Wrestlemania?

It's a lesson that many federations have learned the hard way. The AWA with Nick Bockwinkel instead of Hulk Hogan. 1995 WWF with Nash, Mabel and Sid instead of Michaels and Hart. 1999 WCW with Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair instead of, well, anyone else. 2000 ECW with Justin Credible instead of, well, anyone else. Do they really want to add "2003 WWE with HHH instead of ______" to the list?

Now is the time. If they wait for ratings to drop any further, it will be impossible to give new stars the mainstream exposure needed to carry the company in the future. Guys like HHH, Nash, Steiner and Austin won't be able to spark *fresh* interest in wrestling, and all the energy spent on promoting them goes straight down the drain when their legs give out.

It's the difference between Brock Lesnar and Test. Between Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit. Between Shawn Michaels of 1995 and Jeff Hardy of 2003. Unless the fans are led to believe that someone actually *can* win a big match against a top star, they won't care enough to give his matches heat when he actually does get the chance.

Booker T isn't a miracle ratings cure. No wrestler is. However, given the right promotion and the right storyline, he could be... if they set him up as a main event level superstar after No Way Out. Otherwise he'll most likely be stuck as an also-ran like Kane for the rest of his life.


Point of View, January 15, 2003: Curses

They had it. For one brief, shining moment they had it.

Booker T and Golddust went through one of the most coherent, cohesive and entertaining storylines in years. From 'dusts strange "courtship" to the nWo to the full face turn to the tag titles, there was always something to make the fans cheer. Something to make them care. The pair of wins over Jericho & Christian were not only the best tag title matches in some time outside the Smackdown 6, but they also represented great storytelling.

Then the WWF had to go and do it. They had to take something that was NEW and WORKING, and sacrifice it to something mediocre ("those damn brass knucks!") and something stale (Dudleyz).

At the Royal Rumble, Booker T and Golddust could be building off the climax of their storyline. Instead they're dead in the water. It would have been easy to do ANYTHING ELSE.

Consider the following: Regal and Storm become #1 Contenders by screwing the Dudleys, and also feud with King & JR in the meantime. At Rumble they face BookDust for the titles. Ref bump, Morley runs in for the screwjob, but King leaves the announce position... and turns heel, knocking out Golddust with the CHAIN OF DOOM. This leads to Golddust vs Lawler, and Booker becomes the leader of the anti-Bischoff crew while the Dudleys chase Regal & Storm.

I just came up with that off the top of my head in about three minutes. Apparently the WWF couldn't be bothered putting that much effort into Booker T.

Do you ever think to yourself that you're sick of seeing Booker T? That you wish he wasn't on TV as much, and that he'd play a smaller role on Raw? Are you likely to change the channel more during his match than any other? If you're like me, the answer to all these is an emphatic NO. Yet Booker gets the short end of the stick time and again; his big push is always just around the corner, but right now it's someone else's turn.

How many chances has Jackie had? How many times has Billy Gunn fallen on his face? When was the last time Big Show produced more revenue than his $1 million salary? Can you remember the last exciting William Regal match? Is there a logical explanation for HHH getting just as much hype in January 2003 as he did in January of 2002, and 2001, and 2000... when he was driving fans away at Wrestlemania 18?

The WWF plays lip service to the fans, but they're more concerned with getting certain people over than with rewarding the deserving stars. Jackie wins in Texas but Booker always loses; Chuck & Suck draw no heat and get treated to a painfully long run while BookDust is tossed aside after less than a month; Booker wins the feud but a month later Big Show is an unstoppable monster- and they happen to forget that Booker kicked his ass.

I don't think it ever will be Booker's turn. F**k you, Vince McMahon. Again.