Originally Published February 2, 2004
WWE Employee Newsletter
Hello underlings, we hope that this newsletter finds you in good health (and with big muscles). Before we begin, we here at Titan Tower want to thank everyone for putting on a spectacular Royal Rumble match. The show itself was off-the-charts, amazing, off-the-hook, in-your-face, and so on. We would also like wish congratulations to Chris Benoit on his victory. As many of you know, Mr. Benoit was the winner of the 2004 Royal Rumble. We haven't yet told him that we were only kidding, so please keep that fact on the down low.
There have been some policy changes within World Wrestling Entertainment that we would like to make our employees aware of. These policies are to be followed strictly. We feel that they will improve the product and give the outside community the sense that we're not just making this crap up as we go along:
1. Wrestlers are no longer permitted to speak with reporters. However, management is allowed to speak to, mock, intimidate, and slap the notes from the hands of reporters.
2. In keeping with the tradition of advancement and the desire to present the performers of WWE in a larger-than-life light, undercard wrestlers will be known as "superstars," while the top tier performers will be referred to by the new term "Triple H."
Female Athletes….Divas will no longer be allowed to ask questions at company meetings.
4. Any requests for vacation time must be filed at least three (3) weeks prior to the time you are looking to take off. This policy is strictly enforced for everyone except Sean O'Haire, who can take time off whenever he wants to because we won't notice.
5. Ring action must be slowed down in the interest of slowly building up matches rather than presenting an exhibition of high-spots. All undercard matches will still remain less than five minutes long. Midcard wrestlers are encouraged to concentrate on headlocks and armbars for the duration of their performance. This is to ensure that fans will lose interest in you prior to your eventual termination. Uh…we mean, so that no one gets hurt.
Note to Cruiserweight Performers
It has come to our attention that many light heavyweight wrestlers have been making an effort to adjust to the new policy changes of WWE. We have been told by various road agents that many of you have gone out of your way to change your ring-style to adapt to the new
Triple H slowed down presentation. However, we have learned that many of you have failed to accomplish the other specified goal set forth by this office - to grow a foot and gain 100 pounds. If any cruiserweights are interested in
keeping their jobs reaching this goal, Mr. McMahon can forward you the phone number of the plastic surgeon that helped to make Chyna look somewhat like a human being.
WWE wishes to congratulate the following employees on a job well done:
John Coachman - for finally completing his first book. Coach is expected to return to the library shortly for the second installment of Curious George's Adventures.
Jackie Gayda - for giving the company
two reasons to keep her employed
Stephanie McMahon - for being just so damn amazing. We love you, Steph.
Brian "Spanky" Kendrick - for showing Paul London that there's no hope.
We thank you all again for your hard work and dedication to World Wrestling Entertainment. If you have any questions or suggestions, please print them out on a 8.5 X 11 piece of white loose leaf paper, include a self addressed stamped envelope, address it to Titan Tower c/o of Human Resources, and then shove it up your ass.
I won't reveal who leaked that memo to me. But forget all that. That's work stuff. Work sucks. That's why we all gather around the television on Monday to answer those pressing questions. Will the Legend Killer Randy Orton continue to spit at the Hardcore Legend Mick Foley? Will the love triangle between Trish Stratus, Chris Jericho, and Christian continue to evolve? Speaking of Evolving, can Ric Flair and Batista spend another week as the World Tag Team Champions or will they be taken down by…uh, whatever tag team on the show? Does Sheriff Stone Cold have a trick or two up his sleeve for his natural nemesis, General Manager Eric Bischoff? Are Triple H's days as champion numbered now that the Rabid Wolverine Chris Benoit is on Raw, alongside the Rabid Poodle Shawn Michaels? Would you expose yourself in the entertainment portion of a major sporting event just to take the media's focus off of your brother's legal problems? Hypothetically speaking, of course. Let's answer some of these. It's Monday and it's Nine o'clock. Escape the rules. Rob a liquor store, tear the tags off of mattresses, and watch Raw!
February 2, 2004...Penn State
Recap of Chris Benoit's Royal Rumble victory and pending WrestleMania title match. In a related story, it snowed in hell this week.
Raw Theme Plays. I can't fully explain how sick I am of this theme song.
Get the knives and money, we're in this together. It's the Coach, alongside the King and Good old J.R. We are kickin' it in Penn State with a stacked show. Bill Goldberg faces Kane. Then from there, Hall of Fame-bound Shawn Michaels meets Intercontinental Champion Randy Orton. What the hell are we waiting for? Let's get this thing started.
The show kicks off with the Highlight Reel set all ready to go in the ring. Chris Jericho lounges leisurely on his chair and welcomes the crowd back to another edition of Jericho's Pit. He compares the exposure of his guest to "Janet Jackson's right boobie." He jumped from Smackdown and he's on the big time now. It's Chris Benoit! (JG Note: Did you ever think you'd hear Chris Benoit used in an analogy with Janet Jackson's boobie?)
Benoit's here and he's feeling toothlessly aggressive. He takes a seat as Y2J+4 recounts the genius that is the Rabid Wolverine. After all, the Crippler found the loophole in the Royal Rumble stipulation. It never specified which champion he could challenge. Because of this astute business sense, Chris Benoit journeyed to Raw to take Triple H "downtown to China Town." (JG Note: Much like "Sanctimonious Son-of-a-Bitch," Jericho will now take what appeared to be an ad-lib last week and repeat it until it sounds corny and rehearsed.) CJ explains that the Wolverine is dealing with far more than the H Man. He has to contend with Evolution and the "ass clown" Eric Bischoff. According to the Rabid Crippler, nothing will stop him from being the best. If Hunter wants to do away with him, he'll have to prove him wrong. Fozzy sees his point but then points to a bigger threat in Chris Benoit's life - that being Chris Benoit himself. Pretty deep. You can't win the big one, Toothless. You know what you were told at the Royal Rumble. In case you forgot, let's cue up the Geritol 5000 and show that footage.
Geritol 5000: Ric Flair tells Chris Benoit that he can't win the big one.
Cue Ric Flair.
You mean that crazy guy screaming in his boxer shorts?
Yeah. Tell him he's on.
No. I quit.
Nature Boy Ric Flair styles and profiles up that aisle. He takes the microphone and reiterates his sentiments to Chris Benoit. In case you missed it, son, Ric Flair called you the greatest technical wrestler alive. He thinks you are a physical specimen, second to none. (JG Note: When did that become Ric's thing? When I was a kid, he wouldn't salivate over other men's bodies. Now he's practically licking Batista's bicep. Is that Evolution?) But the one problem is that you can't be the greatest. You kept losing the big one. You kept missing that brass ring. You dropped the ball. Well, this is Raw, kiddo. The man around here is married to the boss's kid. It's Triple H and he lives by Ric Flair's motto that to be the man you gotta beat the man. Beliedat, whooooo!
The Crippler agrees that Hunter is the man and that he will be the man to beat him. But that's WrestleMania. Tonight's tonight. How about tonight we make it Chris Benoit versus Ric Flair?
Hulk Hogan: A few million dollars.
Nash and Hall Another few million.
Working for Vince McMahon as General Manager of the program you used to verbally bash: Priceless.
Eric Bischoff has his "Where's Waldo" glasses on tonight. He likes the idea of Benoit-Flair, but it's not going to happen like that. Bischoff is different than his bald Smackdown counterpart, Paul Heyman. He's got his brand under his thumb. Just to prove it, Uncle Eric cancels Chris Jericho's number one contender match against Christian. Instead he teams Y2J with Edge's little brother against Ric Flair and Batista for the tag titles. Don't feel left out, Monsieur Benoit. You'll be wrestling your first match on Raw tonight. In fact, you're wrestling your first match on Raw…next.
Commercial Break. Burger King says that sometimes you're hungry and sometimes you're so hungry that you need a Whopper. That isn't a selling point. Hey man, I'm so hungry I could eat a Whopper.
(1) Chris Benoit defeated Mark Henry with a Crippler Crossface submission You think that Mark Henry gets disappointed too when he finds out he's the surprise wrestler? Mark's another example of a huge push that just one day lost the interest of the writers. As Benoit's first opponent, I think it was a bad choice. There was nothing intriguing about Chris Benoit meeting Mark Henry. There was no sense of seeing two brands collide. The Crippler just looked like another guy beating Sexual Chocolate. The whole match seemed to suck a lot of steam from Chris's current standing. It seemed like just another match. Not what you want when pushing to a WrestleMania title match. Towards the end of the contest, Triple H came out and watched from the ramp, offering sarcastic applause at the conclusion. The finish was a bit ridiculous as O'Henry tapped out to the Crippler Crossface immediately. My fiancée asked why the World's Strongest Man was being such a wuss and tapping out so fast. I didn't have an answer.
Commercial Break. There's a new WrestleMania 20 commercial spot that features Vince McMahon looking into the camera and stoically stating "Where it all will begin again." What exactly is it? When did they lose it?
Steve Austin is wearing a camouflaged jacket so I can’t see him. He confronts Shawn Michaels backstage. What's the deal, HBK? Why are you so depressed? You upset over Chris Benoit coming to Raw? You upset that he's getting a title shot? Michaels blasts back. Chris Benoit won the Royal Rumble! Shawn is but one man, despite the fact that his t-shirt proclaims him to be the "Source of All Strength." Quit ya bitching, Boy Toy! The guy in the F0Ck shirt tells the guy in the sacrilegious shirt that if he wants a title match with Triple H, he should just take it. Austin walks away and Shawn stares into space.
Recap of Mick Foley's saliva-based feud with Randy Orton.
Speaking of Mankind, he's walking backstage. He happens across Test, who appears somewhat angry aboot something. Hey Foley, what's the deal? You have some -beep- attacking the Testicle at the Royal Rumble. Cactus attempts to explain his actions, but Randy Orton flies out from behind with the Intercontinental Title upside his head. Foley falls and is attacked by both Ort and Testie. Randy pushes Test away and drops to one knee. He calls Mick his "bitch." Randy's bitch lays on the ground as we roll the adverts.
Commercial Break. They should make the show "10 Things Every Guy Shouldn't Experience." They could do episodes about getting kicked in the groin by a mule and the Lifetime Network.
(2) Rico pinned Renee Dupree after a spin kick Once again we make mention of janet.'s boob slip. This time Lawler makes sure to mention that WWE did it first. I love watching Vince McMahon try to take the credit for the thing that half the world is apologizing for. The King then confirms that Hugh Hefner is scouting two divas for Playboy. You thought Steven Richards and Victoria turning baby face wasn't explained enough? Meet a kinder and gentler Rico and Jackie. For some reason, we cheer him on as he rides Renee Dupree and slaps his butt. I can understand that the point of this mini-feud is to give Jackie Gayda a push by association, like Lita/Essa Rios. But they couldn't find a better counterpart heel than a member of La Resistance? Shouldn't the French heels be fighting all-Americans? Why are they fighting the guy in glitter and eye shadow? Match drags on for a bit until Stacy Kiebler struts down the aisle and flashes her butt to a stunned Dupe. He quickly regains his composure and thrusts at Rico with a clothesline. The cross dresser ducks and Dupree runs head-on into his partner, Rob Conway, who's standing on the apron. Reek nails him with a spin kick and gets the pin. Nothing exciting, but in the case of an angle like this - the match itself doesn't really matter. It was background noise.
After the bell, Kiebler takes the house mic and raises Gayda's hand in the air. She announces that they are the hottest Divas in WWE. From there, they dance. (JG Note: Now it is time on Raw when we dance! Pet my monkey! Pet him! Now I am as happy as a little girl.)
Trish Stratus must be walking in the Canadian section of the locker room, because she happens upon Christian who's reading a Rolling Stone Magazine. The cover depicts the Beatles, which leads Mister Christian into a funny thought. The Beatles were broken up by Yoko Ono. She's the woman who came between friends and broke up the greatest band in history. You know what Tian would have done if he were Paul McCartney? Huh, Trish? He… well, he…uh….
"..You know if I was Paul McCartney, what I would have done? I wouldn't have waited for Yoko to break up the Beatles. Cause I would have taken that Skank, I would have slammed her to the ground, and smashed her in the head with a one man Concerto. Bang! I'm just crazy like that. That's just me."
- Christian, 9:43pm
He wishes her luck and leaves. Stratus-ono meets Miss Molly for the Women's title - next!
Commercial Break. There's a new WrestleMania 3D magazine that comes with special glasses. When you put the glasses on, Triple H climbs out of the screen and punches you in the face.
Recap of Linda McMahon telling people to vote.
Trish bops along to the ring in her candy pants, ready to face Molly Holly. Her anticipation is cut short by Mr. Lens Crafter Advertisement for the Night, Eric Bischoff. Easy E has to go ahead and cancel that title match, Trisha. Yeah. Sorry, but you're not the number one contender to the Women's Title. (JG Note: What? There's contenders? Isn't there like 5 women in the rotation? Molly only fights one?) Let's bring out your substitute opponent. He looks just like Molly except he's big, bald, scary-looking, and a man.
(3) Kane defeated Trish Stratus via disqualification Don't quote me on that. I'm only guessing at the official decision. Kane stalked her and picked her up in a choke slam. Chris Jericho rushed to Trish's defense and was savagely beaten about the ringside area by the Big Red Machine while she sprinted away. Now that's love. Kane calls for his pyro and Jim Ross tells us that the monster's not going anywhere. He's facing Goldberg next! Us? We watch a commercial first.
Commercial Break. I don't dig the new Monster commercial.
Chris Jericho's knee is all sorts of messed-up. He's being consoled by Trish, who hovers over him. Y2J isn't concerned over the pain, baby. He has something that he needs to get out in the open. Just as he is about to bare his heart to Strats, Christian comes running in. He chastises his fallen partner over the decision to risk his health with a title match on the horizon. The tirade doesn't end there as the Wanna-Beatle lays into Trish as well. He tells her to "get out of here." The King of Bling Bling finally has heard enough and stands nose-to-nose with the C.L.B. You don't talk to her like that! You show some respect! Jericho assures his partner that he is prepared for his duty this evening. After some tense moments of staring, Christian jets.
(4) Goldberg and Kane wrestled to a no-contest For the second time, don't quote me on this decision. I'm guessing. Not bad, but far from what I would have expected this match to be. For starters, I kept forgetting that Goldberg wasn't World Champion. This conflict would have had more steam if they were allowed to do a one-on-one feud when Bill held the Gold. This wasn't a conflict. It was more of just two big names being placed in a match that had no intention of declaring a clear winner. Highlight of the action? This gem by Coachman when speaking about Kane:
Coachman: Well, the man is paranoid. Beaten as a child. Burned as a child. But who could ex…
Ross: Kane is choking Goldberg now!
They cut that man off. Seriously, like mid-word. He was shut down. Later they revisit Coachman's statement and he speaks about Kane being paranormal. No mention of burnt. Jerry asks if he means "paranormal" or "paranoia." Either way, he definitely doesn't mean burnt - anything but burnt. Kane's not burnt. We appear to be on the road to a finish when the Big Red Machine grabs the Goldenbergler in a choke slam position. That the cue for the lightning bolt and blue lights.
Freaky Undertaker Video plays on the screen. I've heard it compared to The Ring, Nine Inch Nails, and Marilyn Manson videos. Anyone of those will suffice.
The video cuts and Kane-o regains his composure. He turns around only to be Speared by Billy G. Before anything else can happen, the ring fills with smoke and the lights turn blue again. Bells sound as the Monster flees through the crowd. See what I mean? I have no idea who won.
Commercial Break. You know what I miss? The old WCW MasterCard commercials.
Recap of what happened ten sentences ago. Still to come - the Boy Toy against Mick Foley's Bitch Master.
Hey Booker, it's Goldust. What's up, man? Yeah, I knew you'd remember the name. Anyway, listen. I figured that since we're both free agents, we can go and team up on the independent sce…what? You still work there? Really? I thought they let you go, too. OK, never mind. Take care.
We shuffle the deck and find two cards that got lost somewhere. They face each other tonight. Booker T is in the ring preparing for…
Matt Hardy Factoid: Jobbing to Zach Gowen on Smackdown was better than doing nothing on Raw.
(5) Booker T pinned Matt Hardy after a Scissors Kick Jerry mentions that Chris Benoit should take a look at Matt Hardy. According to the King, Hardy had beaten a number of men on Smackdown, but has yet to win a match on Raw. (JG Note: Wow. That sucks.) Mish mosh with good action but no rhyme or reason. The fact that the crowd reacted at all was a testament to the abilities of two men that have become storyline afterthoughts. After T pinned Version One, the announcers lamented over the losing streak of the Hardy Boy. Note to Matt: When they make losing all the time your gimmick - that's a bad thing.
In the backstage area, Randall Orton meets up with the Source of All Strength, Shawn Michaels. Randy knows you're frustrated over your title hopes being shattered, Shawn. Don't worry, because tonight Orton is going to kill your Legend. HBK responds sternly and tells Ort that if he's not careful, his blood will grace the Heartbreak Kid's boot. You can tell Shawn is serious when he sucks in his top lip and doesn't open his teeth as he talks. They stare longingly into each other's eyes as the ads roll.
Commercial Break. Tomorrow at work, put a Snickers in your pocket and walk up to people saying, "Hungry? Grab it. Go ahead. Grab it."
Cue Triple H.
No. Last time I did that, he spit bees at me.
Out steps the World Champion, Triple H. Gameboy has a lot on his mind leading into the upcoming WrestleMania spectacular, emanating from Madison Square Garden and sponsored by Snicker's Crunchers. Trips reminds Chris Benoit that he is now in the big time. He's now set to face the one true World Champion. Hunter announces that next week will be a big contract signing between the two men as they head to Mania. Splendid. If anything, this announcement coupled with Austin's plea to Michaels to "take" his title match sets up HBK's possible inclusion in this one. Gamy saw the Crippler's match with Mark Henry earlier. It wasn't impressive. You want to see impressive? Watch this next match. (JG Note: You know what wasn't impressive? This promo.)
(6) World Champion Triple H pinned Spike Dudley after a Pedigree No one wrestles Spike Dudley. People beat up Spike Dudley. That's what Hunter Hearst Helmsley did. I can't really grasp the point of this match. It was a straight up squash for the one guy that really doesn't need to get a squash win. The Runt of the Litter gets destroyed before being hit with knee lift and drilled with a Pedigree. Your winner - Triple H.
Still to come: The Tag Team Champions of Ted Knight and Deacon Dave face off with John Lennon and Paul.
Commercial Break. WWE Originals - Buy it for someone you hate.
The Bionic Sheriff Steve Austin enters the Goldberg dressing room. You know, Billy, there's a big pay-per-view coming up this month. It's going to be a Smackdown show featuring Brock Lesnar against Eddie Guerrero. Stone Cold is just going to be plum busy for a while and won't be able to attend the show. Tell you what, since the Sheriff has some tickets he isn't going to use, what say you take em? Sound good? Berg accepts the offer and the Rattlesnake tells him to not doing anything he wouldn't do. BG laughs and agrees. I hope that doesn't mean that Goldberg is going to start driving a little jacked up golf cart now.
(7) World Tag Team Champions Ric Flair & Batista defeated Christian & Chris Jericho when Flair forced Jericho to submit to a Figure Four Leglock This match was pretty good on a number of levels. Not only was it a top match with four fairly good performers, but it also had a ton of storyline advancement behind it. Going in, I honestly expected Christian and Jericho to take the titles and play out an angle as the bickering and unwilling tag champs. It didn't happen. Not sure if that's a good thing or bad. Altogether, this was a pretty good match that was hindered in the fact that the fans were unsure whether or not to cheer for Christian. Action wise, the contest was solid. The finale came around when Y2J locked Ric Flair in the Walls of Jericho. Distracted, the ref didn't notice the Nature Boy tap out. Before he could, Batista rushed in and attacked Y2J. Capitalizing on his opponent's earlier knee injury, Slick Ric locked Chris in the Figure Four and scored a submission win for Evolution.
Up next: The Source of All Strength versus Bob Jr's kid.
Commercial Break. Brock Lesnar is big because he uses Cell-Tech and Nitro-Tech. Did you know that the word "gullible" isn't in the dictionary?
Next week: Chris Benoit squares off against Ric Flair.
(8) Shawn Michaels pinned Intercontinental Champion Randy Orton with a roll-up in a non-title match The one thing that has to be noted about Randy Orton is how he's risen to the occasion in top spot matches. At first, he seemed a bit out of place, but he's learned to work a good sound match and hold up his end in the ring. This match was no exception. There were more restholds than highspots, but the crowd was into it for the most part. Good thing there weren't too many highspots, though. When Randall did go air-born and toss a dropkick, Michaels moved. Randy ended up landing his boots on the referee, sending him sprawling to the arena floor. With the official out of it, we're sure to have anarchy and chaos! No such luck. As Orton attempts to retrieve his title belt for use as a weapon, the engine roars. From the back rides Stone Cold Steve Austin in his Mario Kart. The Sheriff has a passenger - referee Earl Hebner. Stoney takes the old ref away and leaves Earl to officiate the match. (JG Note: Hebner is reffing the HBK match? Orton is sooooo screwed.) As a stunned IC Champ turns his attention back to the ring, Shawn lands a body press, sending both he and Randy to the floor. Good time for a commercial.
Commercial Break. Taco Bell invites me to get into "Club Chalupa." I've been meaning to go to that club. My good friends are there - heartburn and indigestion.
We're back and Orton is really into this whole Chinlock thing. Shawn struggles, but the Legend Killer presses on. Finally, after much time, Ort lets the move go and climbs the buckle. Big mistake. HBK ducks away, sending the third Generation star tumbling. Both men regain their composure and start to exchange blows. The Boy Toy gets the best of it (JG Note: He is the source of all strength, ya know.) Michaels sets his opponent up for the Sweet Chin Music but is caught. Randy turns him around for the RKO, but is pushed away. He bounces back with a hard DDT and looks to have the advantage when Mick Foley enters the picture. Marching up the ramp, Mankind distracts the Legend Killer enough that the Heartbreak God is able to roll him up for the pin.
Following the decision, Cactus enters the squared circle and exchanges punches with the brash young Orton. Mick goes nuts and chases the man to whom he is the bitch. Randy attempts to escape through the crowd and is followed by an angry and disrespected Hardcore Legend. Ric Flair and Batista show up, and are instructed by Triple H to follow behind as back-up.
With that situation under control, Hunter turns his focus to the Lord Shawn in the ring. The Game rushes in and sits atop Michaels, pelting him with punches. This prompts Chris Benoit to run from the back and halt the attack. After a staredown, H-Man retreats. With the day saved, Benoit and Michaels shake hands. Shawn Michaels makes friends with a Canadian as we fade to black.
All in all… Nothing really happened tonight. Storylines didn't advance, they just sort of jogged in place. While many of Raw's on-air conflicts received airtime, none moved forward.
Kane had the same go-around with the Undertaker that he did last week. While I am looking forward to seeing the return of the Dead Man gimmick, I would have rather seen a clear decision in Kane's match with Goldberg. If you're going to book this match to advance the feud between Kane and Taker, at least make this match the scene of a big angle. This week was the same as last week only with lightning and smoke. Bah.
So many matches seemed like throw-aways. Rico-Dupree II, Booker-Hardy, and Hunter-Spike stand out. The worst part was seeing Chris Benoit's first match on Raw be against Mark Henry. Henry has become the predictable jobber-monster. He's the A-Train of Raw. The aura of an intimidator drops when he taps out to a Crossface in a nano-second. Jericho's conflict with Christian ran the treadmill, as did the Orton-Foley conflict.
Sure Goldberg was at ringside for the No Way Out announcement. It's really more of a preparation for a Smackdown storyline, though. I guess that's why it didn't do much for me as far as the Raw brand was concerned. With Benoit-Hunter playing out on Monday, and Goldy going to a Heyman pay-per-view, it seems like Lesnar-Goldberg will get most of it's airtime on Thursday.
Randy and Michaels put on a good match. Also, the Flair/Tista-Christian/Jericho match was solid. But nothing really reached out and saved the show. In the end, tonight's Raw was an average creation wrapped up into a shiny package. You could have missed tonight's show and never noticed.
Nothing bad but nothing good. Sometimes you break even, I suppose. Sadly, this looked pretty good at the onset. Regardless, join me here next Monday as Chris Benoit fights Flair and then signs stuff! Be well.