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The Next Generation of WWE Superstars


Plankton
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I’ve written three diaries here on EWB. The one most people tend to remember is the IWF and the one no one remembers is the short-lived ODW diary I did for EDDL. The one in the middle, my first diary, is The Next Generation of WWE Superstars. The hook was that in January of 2003 every WWE wrestler in the upper midcard or main event had been fired, and it was my job to rebuild from that point. This hook, though, wasn’t what I planned to be the centerpiece of the diary. The whole project, as I planned it, would have a beginning, a middle, and an end so to speak. The focal point was to be a stable I named Pandora’s Box and the climax was to happen at WrestleMania 20, where I would end the diary. All of this took place, except I didn’t end it when I planned. For better or for worse (that’s all up to the reader to decide; and you’ll see what I think soon enough), I continued. Apart from one hiatus, I continued until November 2004 where I just got tired of writing. Since then, I’ve continued the game on my own time and am, as of writing, in July 2008. And boy, things have changed!

But that’s to come much later. Like I said before, the Next Gen diary was my first try. I was reading over a little bit here and there the other day and realized I made a ton of horrible mistakes. In fact, I’ve always regarded the first several months as horrible booking choices and have since sort of erased from the past as much as I could without literally approaching the situation as if it didn’t happen. The reality of the Next Gen diary was that it was my first and it took quite a while, in my opinion, for me to get into the swing of things. I sincerely believe that by all means the diary shouldn’t have garnered as much attention as it did in the early stages (it wasn’t a ton, but it was more than it should have), but I felt that I brought it up to a respectable level eventually.

This repost will include two things. Obviously, the reposting of what I had originally written. That will be promptly followed by commentary of the post. I’ll criticize my decisions and writing, as well as comment on what I felt I did right. This is all subjective, of course, and the writer is never fully unbiased, but I’ll try my best. Even though I am the origin of the words, I still believe I serve as a suitable perspective.

I think this diary can be of value to several people; to those who just want to read a diary, to others who want to improve their skills, and especially to those who haven’t written a diary, but would like to. The one thing I want to make very clear is that I am in no way putting myself in some kind of high regard. I don’t think people can learn from this because of some false notion that I’m this great writer who has an abundance of knowledge that is begging to be shared. Rather, I think this is a very, very flawed diary (albeit one that some people have found entertaining) and hopefully several of us can learn from my mistakes (myself included, as I haven’t read through it all for the second time just yet). I’ll admit that I was a little apprehensive about putting out all my mistakes in such a blatant fashion, but I really do think it would be more fun to revisit this series of stories with a critical eye.

So here we go. From the beginning, The Next Generation of WWE Superstars: Revisited.

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The WWE had high hopes for 2003. Their product had been lacking at best recently, but things began to look up. Although they were losing money at an extremely fast rate and all of their TV shows but Raw had been canceled, the angles were improving. Brock Lesnar was put into a promising feud with Kurt Angle, Triple H had aligned himself with two new young stars, Randy Orton and Dave Batista, Booker T and Goldust had retained the tag titles, and the return of Steve Austin and The Rock were inevitable. It seemed that finally things were about to go Vince McMahon’s way… until January 31.

(Vince is sitting in his office when there’s a knock on his door)

Vince: Come in.

(The Rock, Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar, and every other main eventer and upper Midcarder in the WWE enters)

Vince (looking baffled): What’s this all about?

The Rock: Vince, we need to talk business.

Vince: What kind of business? Is this about Patterson again, because I warned him that if that happened one more time…

The Undertaker: This is much more serious, Vince. We’re talking about finances.

Vince (suddenly looking tense): Well, listen, boys, I know things have been a little tight lately, but I swear, things are going to turn around.

Steve Austin: That’s what you said right before I left eight months ago, and so far it doesn’t seem like a thing has improved financially.

Kurt Angle: The thing is, Vince, we just don’t believe you anymore. We want to, but we can’t. You’ve made empty promise after empty promise for two years now. We’re fed up. We’re tired of getting screwed out of paychecks.

Vince: So what are you saying?

Rock: What we’re saying is this, all of us right here, we’re refusing work until you can continue paying us on a regular basis again. Until you can do that, we’re on strike.

Vince (fuming now): A Strike? A STRIKE?! You can’t go on strike! You know why?! Because you’re all FIRED!

The WWE went into a panic. They began to make cut backs, seeing as the ratings would sink immediately once the public realized what had happened. After cutting the women’s division and firing a few more workers, this is what they were left with:

Main Eventers

None

Upper Midcarders

None

Midcarders

Faces

Al Snow

Billy Kidman

Bubba Ray Dudley

D-von Dudley

Goldust

Jeff Hardy

Rey Mysterio Jr.

Rikishi

Spike Dudley

Tajiri

Test

The Hurricane

Heels

Chris Kanyon

Christian

Jamie Noble

John Cena

Lance Storm

Matt Hardy

Raven

Rico

William Regal

Lower Midcarders

Faces

Scotty 2 Hotty

Spanky

Tommy Dreamer

Heels

B2

Crash Holly

Dave Batista

D’Lo Brown

James Maritato (Cousin Nunzio)

Johnny Stamboli

Mark Jindrak

Randy Orton

Sean Morley

Shannon Moore

Shelton Benjamin

Openers

Faces

Funaki

Heels

Bill Demott

Chavo Guererro Jr.

Justin Credible

Steven Richards

All the staff remained the same.

This is where I come in. I went in for an interview as a writer on February 1. The meeting had been scheduled two months in advance, so I was nervous to say the least. A friend’s advice of pretending that Vince was a long time friend was working rather well to calm me down though.

Vince: Thanks for meeting with me.

Me: Hey, no problem… uh, I mean, no, thank <i>you</i>.

Vince: Ahem, yes. Well, I’ve looked over your resume and although your ideas seem… (looking at resume) a wrestling goat?!

Me: Yeah, see there’d be this scientist, right? And he’d have this stable of followers who would kidnap another wrestler and put him in this morphing chamber and they’d turn him into a goat. Once this wrestler finds out what has happened to him, in a fit of rage he…

Vince (interrupting, looking baffled): Uh, yes, yes, that’s very creative. But despite your obvious… talent, it’s really not in our budget to hire anyone right now. In fact… we may never be able to hire anyone ever again.

Me: Well… I’ll work for really cheap if that helps.

Vince (laughing): Well, I’m afraid the only way you could fit into our budget right now would be if you worked for free.

Me: Alright. It’s a deal.

Vince: Excuse me?

Me: You said I could work for free.

Vince: No, I was only… hmmm… well, why not? (muttering) We’re going to go out of business either way. At least this way I wouldn’t have to book the shows.

Me: So it’s a deal, right?

Vince: Under one condition.

Me: What’s that?

Vince: No goats or other such nonsense.

Me: Fine, fine…

Vince (shaking my hand): Welcome aboard! (whispering to himself) I’m going to regret this…

I sure had my work cut out for me. I needed a way to develop new stars quickly. I had an idea almost immediately in the form of a 4-man round robin tournament. I couldn’t wait to get started.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

I chose to write the backstory in a more lighthearted fashion (although it wouldn’t be reflected in the actual shows) because, really, there’s not a very reasonable way to explain such a thing happening. I was worried that I would lose the reader by trying to convince them that the better half of the WWE’s roster walking out was something that could actually happen, and furthermore, that Vince would hire a nobody to take complete control afterwards. By making it more of a joke than anything, I didn’t have to worry about turning anyone off by being too serious in an illogical setting. I quite liked the tone and intensified it in future “Sophie Skits” (as they became to be known).

So far, I think my work was standard, but we haven’t even gotten to the core of a diary.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Raw January 3, 2003

TNN

Raw opens up with some pyro. JR and Jerry Lawler are near ringside.

JR: Welcome everyone to the NEW WWE!

Lawler: That’s right, JR, The new WWE! Forget about aging grandfathers rasslin’ around in tights (author’s note: The King making fun of old men in tights, isn’t that ironic?), this is the next generation of WWE superstars!

JR: Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, we take the first step in crowning a new WWE Heavyweight champion! There will be four unique matches that several WWE next generation superstars go through to decide four men who will compete in a round robin tournament. The winner of that tournament will be the new WWE Heavyweight Champion!

Lawler: And also, two of those winners will wrestle in the main event! Who do you think they’ll be, JR?

JR: I have no idea, King, but I can guarantee this, we’re going to be in for a ride!

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Tajiri vs. Christian vs. Chavo Guererro Jr.

This was a nice fast paced opener. Rey and Chavo started things out, which ended up with Rey pinning Chavo after a moonsault. Tajiri ran in and had a wrestling sequence with Rey for a little while. Rey tagged Christian in who took many stiff kicks to the head. Christian made a comeback and pinned Tajiri after an unprettier. Rey ran in and after a few minutes was able to score a victory with the West Coast Pop.

Winner: Rey Mysterio Jr.

JR: Rey Mysterio is the first man to qualify for that round robin tournament!

Lawler: Now this is what the next generation of the WWE is all about!

Crowd: 71%

Match: 80%

Overall: 75%

SKeith: **3/4

Ladder Match: Billy Kidman vs. Matt Hardy

JR: This is the second qualifying match for the Round Robin tournament, folks. It looks like both of these young studs have their work cut out for them.

Lawler: And don’t think that these two have it any easier than Rey did, because although he had to go through three other superstars, these two will have to wrestle in a ladder match.

JR: This definitely isn’t an enviable situation.

This was another good match, which unfortunately the fans didn’t get into too much. Both men put on a strong showing, but Matt Hardy got the victory after a Twist of Fate.

Winner: Matt Hardy

Crowd: 69%

Match: 81%

Overall: 75%

Matt Hardy Interview

Cole: Matt, how do you feel after that hard fought victory?

Matt: I feel unbeatable right now, Micheal! In fact, I’m making a guarantee right here and now: I’m going to go through every man in the round robin tournament undefeated! And you can bet one thing is for sure, whoever is in my first match next Monday on Raw, I’m going to make sure to beat them within an inch of their life. And I’m going to continue to do that to all…

Cole (looking uncomfortable): Well, actually, your first match is tonight against Rey Mysterio.

Matt: WHAT?! Tonight?! After that match?!

Cole: Um… well… yes.

Matt (fuming): Rey Mysterio! You better watch yourself tonight, because my adrenaline is pumping. Get ready for a beating. (stomps off)

Dudley Boyz vs. Un-Americans

JR: And speaking of tournaments, King, here’s another that the next generation of WWE superstars are competing in. The winner of this match will go on to wrestle the winner of Team Angle vs. Test and Goldust, which will decide the new WWE Tag Team Champions.

An overall good match which saw the Dudleyz beat Lance Storm and William Regal with the 3D.

Winners: Dudley Boyz

Crowd: 75%

Match: 81%

Overall: 78%

SKeith:***

Dave Batista Video Package

A video package of Dave Batista is shown. It basically consist clips of him dominating opponents.

Overall: 79%

Dave Batista vs. Spike Dudley

A total squash. Spike gets in just a little offense at the beginning, but Batista destroys him throughout most the match, ending the slaughter with a sitout powerbomb.

Winner: Dave Batista

JR: Batista is a monster!

Lawler: The boys in the back better watch out for this guy! I wouldn’t want to be on his bad side.

Crowd: 63%

Match: 77%

Overall: 70%

SKeith: **1/2

Test/Goldust vs. Team Angle

JR: Can you believe how arrogant Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin are, King? Their former team mate isn’t even employed here anymore and they’re still trying to mooch off of his success.

Team Angle gets an upset victory when Goldust accidentally knocks Test out with a flying clothesline.

Winners: Team Angle

Lawler: I don’t think Goldust intended for that to happen.

JR: Test doesn’t look too happy about what just went on. Nonetheless, Team Angle will wrestle the Dudley Boyz next week to decide who will be the new tag champions.

Crowd: 62

Match: 70

Overall: 66

SKeith: **

Hardcore Match: Al Snow vs. Raven

JR: This match, ladies and gentlemen, will decide the third man in the round robin tournament.

Lawler: This won’t be a walk in the park for either one of these guys. It’s a hardcore match, which they both specialize in.

This was your standard garbage match with some nice wrestling mixed in for quality. Al Snow got the duke after he made Raven tap out to a beast choker.

Winner: Al Snow

Lawler: A submission in a hardcore match?

JR: Al Snow is certainly diverse and full of surprises. That may what he needs to win the title this month.

Crowd: 72%

Match: 73%

Overall: 72%

Skeith: **3/4

10 Man Battle Royal

Participants: Funaki, Jamie Noble, Johnny Stamboli, Rkishi, Steven Richards, The Hurricane, Tommy Dreamer, Chris Kanyon, Jeff Hardy, Scotty 2 Hotty.

JR: King, this is it. This is the last match to decide who will be in the round robin tournament for the WWE Heavyweight Title. It could be anyone of these ten hungry superstars!

Everyone went out relatively quickly until Jamie Noble and The Hurricane were the last two left. They both held on for a little while, having a nice wrestling sequence here and there, until Jamie Noble pushed Hurricane off the turnbuckle when he was going for a flying body press.

Winner: Jamie Noble

Crowd: 66%

Match: 75%

Overall: 70%

Interview with Jamie Noble

Cole: Jamie, can I get a…

Noble: This is it! This is my time to prove myself! No more fooling around, Cole! I’m coming prepared next week! I’m either going to win this thing, or go down fighting! (Walks off)

JR: That is one prepared son of a gun.

Overall: 65%

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Matt Hardy (Round Robin Match #1)

This was a good quality match, highlighting the night. Rey went for a hurricanranna, but Matt reversed it into a powerbomb and then gave him a Twist of Fate for the victory. Hardy celebrated in the ring.

Winner: Matt Hardy

JR: Matt Hardy has just taken the first step to becoming the new Heayweight champion!

Crowd: 78%

Match: 75%

Overall: 77%

Skeith: ***

Overall Show Rating: 72%

Rating: 3.97

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I’m not going to comment much on the writing, other than to say that there should have been a lot more elaboration.

There are plenty of things wrong with this show, and it lies less in what I did and more in what I didn’t do. For starters, I should have opened up with some snazzy video, saying something about the company being abandoned by its heroes and how tonight new heroes would arise from the ashes. You know, something real dramatic. While the voice over talked about heroes abandoning the WWE, they could show clips of the likes Angle, Austin, and The Rock wrestling in black and white, and then, when it’s said how new heroes will arise, show guys like Mysterio, Matt Hardy, and Cena wrestling in bright colors. That’s what I should have done.

I still stand by the idea of a round robin tournament. The thinking was that, since I needed to build up a few guys as main eventers right away, by doing this I would concentrate all of the attention on the four guys I saw worthy as being such. The problem: I picked the wrong guys. Mysterio was okay (he was the most over wrestler in the company), but as we’ll see later, he went way further than he should have. If anything, Rey should have been the guy to lose all three matches (or at least two). Noble, aside from being a bad pick in general, went too far as well. I like Noble and I’m happy with how hard I pushed him, but it was way too much too quick. Coincidentally, I remember comments from readers that suggested the concept of Noble as champion was drawing them into the diary. In retrospect, I still don’t like it.

The other two were also bad choices. Al Snow, like Mysterio, could have been a good “three losses” guy, but it was a poor choice with Mysterio already involved. Matt Hardy would have been a good choice, but considering the direction, it wasn’t. I should have kept the Mattitude thing going instead of dropping it for no reason (Shannon Moore was even still around! They could have been a good tag team when I was at a lack for them). In retrospect, I wish I would have taken the Mattitude idea into a darker direction in an effort to put Matt into the main event. I still wouldn’t have put him in the tournament though.

So who should I have included? I already said that Mysterio was good “three losses” guy, considering his overness. I would have definitely added John Cena and Raven to increase the presence of heavyweights. Although I wish it didn’t matter, I really think the lack of heavyweights (especially in the WM 19 main event) can hurt the product. And although I still don’t quite like the idea of Al Snow in the tournament, he may have been the best choice for the fourth man. He would have needed a lot more emphasis on his return to active wrestling though and a clever feud to boot. I probably would have made Cena a tweener as well to avoid poor reactions to heel vs. heel matches. That would have set up a face turn in the near future.

BUT… I didn’t do that. We’ll see eventually where all of that lead us.

The problem with the ladder match, as it was later pointed out, was that Hardy won by a pinfall instead of grabbing some kind of prize. It was a stupid mistake.

I was in the process of turning Jamie Noble from trailer trash to a no gimmicks needed character (even though EWR didn’t have gimmicks yet). I really should have put that idea over way more than I did, although that mistake becomes more apparent later as Noble is still assumed to be wrestling in jeans at this point. Perhaps his interview with Cole was better off being sort of vague.

Elsewhere in the tournament, Al Snow defeated Raven in a hardcore match using a submission hold, which is always a touch a kind of liked. It showed the unpredictability of Snow and hinted at a more technical wrestler rather than a hardcore one. I also think the battle royal Jamie Noble won was a good idea. It gives off the impression that anyone could advance into the tournament (even Funaki) and putting Noble over nine other men was a good way, I felt, to put him into the tournament since he was probably the least likely.

Everything else on the card is pretty standard. The doomed Test/Goldust relationship started, while Team Angle begins their road to being one of the top tag teams of all time. And the Dudley Boyz and Un-Americans let us all know they’re still alive. The idea of a second tournament might have been overkill, but I couldn’t really think of a better way to do it (perhaps a four corners match…) and I didn’t want the belts vacated for too long.

Batista got a video package and a squash match, but that was probably bad timing on my part. If Batista was such a powerful force, why didn’t he get a shot in the tournament. Even Funaki got a chance! That one may just remain a mystery.

Overall, this was a first show and not a whole lot else. No one’s first show in a diary is glamorous, but because of the circumstance surrounding this one, perhaps it should have been. But hey, I don’t think it turned out all that bad. It set the pace for things to come just fine and I was really still feeling things out as a diary writer. We’ll see as we continue in the diary that criticism will be much easier (and hopefully more entertaining) to make as I sign new workers, change gimmicks, create feuds, and a whole lot more. This, I believe, will be when this diary revisit will start to take shape.

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The next day my assistant Sophie had some news for me.

Sophie: Hey, boss.

Me: Hey, Soph. What’s up?

Sophie: Sir, is that very professional?

Me: Sophie, I’m working here for free. How professional can you expect me to be?

Sophie: Point well taken.

Me: Now grab a chair and drink some soda with me. I’m watching the tape of last night’s Raw. Can you believe the lack of fan reaction that ladder match got? Those guys busted their balls out there. Even Workrate fanatic Scott Keith didn’t think it was awesome.

Sophie: How many stars did he give it?

Me: I don’t know. I forgot to write it down. But I’m sure it was very average. I wonder what went wrong?

Sophie: Well, it was a little rushed. You just threw a gimmick match out there without giving the fans a reason to care about either guy.

Me: (long pause) Sophie?

Sophie: Yes, sir?

Me: Give me the soda back.

Sophie: (sigh) We have some work to do, okay?

Me: what do you mean? The next show isn’t until Monday. We have plenty of time to brainstorm.

Sophie: Actually there are other things you need to attend to.

Me: Like?

Sophie: Like these. (she hands me some papers) Some of the wrestlers sent some memos to you.

Me: Why didn’t they just tell me to my face?

Sophie: You had your door locked up all day while you played office football with Rikishi.

Me: Oh yeah… that reminds I need you to pick me up some shoulder pads later.

Sophie: Are you going to take a look at the memos?

Me: Oh, alright. Hmmm… let’s see. Chavo wants to be moved up the roster. Sure why not? Okay, let’s see here. Batista also wants to be moved up the roster. I think I’ll wait a little until I make that move. Batista… he’s the mean looking guy, right?

Sophie: Yes, most of the guys in the back are.

Me: Okay, if he asks you about it and he looks all mad, tell him we lost his memo in the mail. We’ll blame it on Patterson.

Sophie: Sure thing.

(Sophie exits)

It was Friday night and I was just about done writing out next Monday's Raw when Sophie showed up.

Sophie: Excuse me, sir.

Me: Yeah, Soph?

Sophie: I have a question I have been meaning to ask you.

Me: Okay, shoot.

Sophie: If Matt Hardy and Billy Kidman were wrestling in a ladder match, why exactly did it end with Matt pinning Kidman?

Me: Because it was like a regular match, but with a ladder.

Sophie: But the whole point in the ladder being in there is so they can climb it and grab a prize.

Me:... D'oh! Curse those Hardy boys and their spotty matches! I was only thinking about the cool moves they could do and nothing else. I feel so ridiculous. Sophie, grab a soda. You deserve it.

Sophie: Well, it was a fan who brought it to my attention... you know, Scott Keith said in his report that it's these kinds of logic gaps that killed WCW.

Me: Sophie, give me back the soda.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

So here we have the first Sophie skit featuring one of my favorite lines from the entire diary: “Sophie, give me back the soda.” There are a lot of vague references here that I kind of liked about the skits. They allowed me to discuss various aspects in EWR while not breaking kayfabe, so to speak. In this one, I make a reference to Scott Keith’s star ratings and even mention that I forgot to write one down, which was very legitimate. I introduce the memos as well, although later on I wouldn’t bother bringing up such issues as moving workers up and down the roster.

I also criticize my poor decision of using a ladder match on Raw with no build-up, which I thought was a clever way to bring the blunder to light and quickly make the reader forget by approaching it in a humorous way. And speaking of mistakes, the “fan” who brought the ladder match error to my attention was, I believe, grind your soul. Good call on that one.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Raw

January 10, 2003

TNN

Pyro shoots out throughout the arena and JR and Lawler are once again at ringside.

JR: Welcome everyone to Monday Night Raw! We have an action packed show ready for you today. The second match out of a series of six in a round robin tournament will take place today when Matt Hardy wrestles Al Snow.

Lawler: Al Snow better watch out because Matt’s on a winning streak that he’s determined to keep.

JR: Last Monday certainly was hellacious for that young man. He beat Billy Kidman in a brutal ladder match and then went on to defeat Rey Mysterio in the first match of the tournament. He could gain quite an advantage today if he beats Al Snow. Now let’s start things off with a title match!

WWE Tag Team Championship Match: The Dudley Boyz vs. Team Angle

This was a back and forth match which ended with Shelton Benjamin pinning Bubba using the ropes for leverage. The Dudleyz looked pretty pissed afterwards.

Winners: Team Angle

JR: That conniving Benjamin and Haas has stolen the belts from the Dudleyz!

Crowd: 63%

Match: 83%

Overall: 73%

SKeith: **3/4

John Cena Challenges Rey

John Cena comes down to the ring with a microphone.

Cena: This one goes out to all my dogs, because I know you be achin’, yo. The WWE committee made a big mistake last week in not booking yours truly in a match. So to all my fans, I feel for ya. Now although last week, I got screwed, this week I intend to get what’s due to me, because I noticed something last night. Rey Mysterio Jr. got a total of two matches to perform. Now I ask you, what did he do to deserve that kind of attention while a dope dog like me got to sit in the back? Tonight, I plan to take my frustrations out on that very individual. So, Rey Mysterio, get yo midget butt out here.

Rey comes out with a microphone and stops at the entrance way.

Rey: You got something to say to me?

Cena: Yeah, I do. I don’t see what’s so special about you. In fact, I’ve been watching your career since WCW and I’ve never seen you as any more than an average lightweight wrestler. I don’t see why you got such an honor as to be in the round robin tournament.

Rey: I earned that.

Cena: Chill, dog, chill. All I’m trying to get at is, I want you in the ring tonight. My fans deserve to see me whoop yo butt.

JR: Rey has to wrestle two other matches this month against some of the best performers in the world. This match won’t be in the best interest to his stamina.

Rey (pausing to look around at the crowd): You got it!

Rey leaves while Cena has a big smile on his face.

Overall: 80%

The Hurricane vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.

This was a nice fast paced match thrown out there for the delight of the workrate fanatics. The Hurricane won with the Shining Wizard.

Winner: The Hurricane

Crowd: 63%

Match: 87%

Overall: 75%

Skeith: D’oh! Forgot again

Dave Batista vs. Jeff Hardy

JR: This one should be a very close match, King. Both of these men are young and hungry.

Surprisingly, Batista completely squashed his opponent. Jeff was barely able to get in any offense at all before he fell victim to the dreaded sitout powerbomb.

Winner: Dave Batista

Lawler: I can’t believe it, JR! He left Jeff completely out!

JR: I tell you what. This Batista is a scary individual.

Crowd: 67%

Match: 84%

Overall: 75%

Skeith: **3/4

Test and Goldust Talk Things Out

Goldust: Can you feel that in the air, Test?

Test: What are you talking about?

Goldust: A new dynamic duo is being formed right before the fans’ eyes. Goldust and Test, former partners of a certain… traitor left in the dust only to find each other…

Test: Hey now! I’m just fine being a singles wrestler. If you wouldn’t keep signing me up for these stupid tag matches, I could get on with my career.

Goldust: Come on, Test. Just give it a shot, okay? Let’s test the waters in our match tonight against Lance Storm and William Regal.

Test: (sigh) Fine, but I’m not guaranteeing anything.

Goldust: Perfect. That’s all I ask.

Overall: 66%

Test and Goldust vs. Un-Americans

A nice match which Test and Goldust almost won. Test seemed a little disinterested at first, but eventually seemed to get into it. Goldust made the hot tag to Test and he cleared William Regal out with a clothesline. He then grabbed Lance Storm and hit the Test Drive. William Regal ran in, broke up the three count, and hit Test with his knucks to get the cheap win.

Winners: The Un-Americans

JR: That evil William Regal has done it again!

Crowd: 80%

Match: 80%

Overall: 79%

Skeith: ***

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. John Cena

Rey and Cena had a great match, which contained plenty of close calls. Rey ended up winning though after the West Coast Pop.

Winner: Rey Mysterio Jr.

JR: Rey has won this match and thank God he’s still in good enough shape to still compete in the round robin tournament.

But just as JR says this, Jamie Noble comes running down the ramp and begins to assault Rey. He’s now wearing long black tights, showing that he’s more serious and more focused on his wrestling.

JR: Jamie Noble is making an impact on his opponents!

Crowd: 76%

Match: 81%

Overall: 78%

SKeith: ***

Interview with Christian

Christian is shown with a bandage wrapped around his head.

Cole: Christian, you’re about ready to have your match with Tajiri which you requested. Why in the world would you request a match against such a dangerous opponent?

Christian: You’re asking me why? Don’t you see these bandages wrapped around my head? I’ve had a massive headache ever since last Monday night when Tajiri hit me with those stiff kicks of his.

Cole: Well, how do the bandages help?

Christian: Don’t question my nursing skills, Cole! I have a very bad headache, take my word for it, okay?

Cole: Even so, why would you want another match with him if he hurt you so much?

Christian: Because, Michael, I’m going to make him feel the constant pain that I felt this week. In just a few minutes, Tajiri is going to get what he has coming to him.

Overall: 84%

Christian vs. Tajiri

Christian and Tajiri put together a very good match. Tajiri seemed like he had the win while Christian was dazed and on his knees. Tajiri went for his lethal kick, but Christian ducked, got up and clotheslined him. Christian walked outside the ring and seemed to be grabbing something. He got back into the ring and nailed Tajiri with a monkey wrench. The ref didn’t see it and Christian got the pin.

Winner: Christian

Crowd: 73%

Match: 86%

Overall: 79%

Skeith: ***

Matt Hardy Interview

Cole: Matt Hardy, tonight you continue the round robin tournament and face Al Snow. How do you feel?

Matt: Michael, I feel great because this is the start of a revolution. After each match I become one step closer to fulfilling my destiny. And Cole, mark my words, there is no way that I will let a guy like Al Snow ruin my chance at greatness.

Overall: 82%

Matt Hardy vs. Al Snow

Matt Hardy wrestled aggressively throughout the whole match, but so did Al Snow, which seemed to catch Matt off guard. Matt took control eventually and seemed to have his second tournament win in the bag, but Al Snow was able to reverse out of the Twist of Fate and Snow Plow Matt for the three count.

Winner: Al Snow

JR: Matt Hardy can’t believe it!

Lawler: He’s throwing a fit in the ring!

JR: Al Snow has just put a dent in the plans of Matt Hardy and the young superstar does not look happy about it at all!

Crowd: 78%

Match: 74%

Overall: 82%

Skeith: ***

Overall: 77%

Rating: 3.92

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

I must note first of all that, even though I don’t think it’s too bad, the JR/Lawler commentary leaves a lot to be desired, but I eventually do fix that. At this point I knew it was lacking and I lot of that was because I found Lawler a little difficult to write for.

The opening Tag Team Championship match between Team Angle and The Dudleyz was… short. Not that I’m a huge fan of long match write-ups, but something like a title match (let alone one that’s filling a vacant title) should be a little bit lengthier. It would have been at least a matter of five more sentences just describing the pacing or something. Booking-wise, it was a good move to give Team Angle the belts. They were fresh and that was something needed at this point. Although it may have been a good choice to wait until the PPV to give them the titles, I felt that one tournament spanning a month was enough and I wanted to get the belts on someone ASAP.

Ugh. The John Cena promo. Cena’s rapper gimmick and my inability to write them well is precisely the reason why he was not pushed right away. Although I’m sure there have been worse Cena promo’s in the Dome (please tell me I’m not the worst…), and despite the fact that I actually worked on this for a while, it is weak dialogue. I’m not exactly sure that rapper John Cena is the kind of guy that would plan to take his frustrations out on “that very individual.” Oh, how very thug-like of you, John.

But again, booking-wise, this wasn’t a bad choice. The promo put Cena over and Mysterio went over in the match. Both men got to have a match during a week (and in Cena’s case, a month) where there was nothing for them.

The Chavo/Hurricane match was short, but I don’t think it was too offensive. It could have used at least a few additional sentences, but since they were going to be wrestling in another series of matches, it wasn’t bad the way it was. Likewise, the Batista squash was good short, but I think a couple of sentences accompanying what I already had could have put Batista over a little bit more as a monster in the eye of the reader (especially since he was defeating a then notable star, Jeff Hardy).

The Test/Goldust team was furthered here as well. Knowing Test’s charisma was low, I decided to go ahead with a backstage skit anyways. The rating wasn’t horrendous, so I was content. The low rating was almost a blessing as it gave me a reason to be satisfied with the sub par dialogue, since I could play it off like I was writing to the extent of the rating. Their match itself could have used a sentence or two describing the bulk of the bout, but I thought the stuff describing the finish was suitable. Again, I’m not a huge fan of lengthy match reports. For writing, I prefer to explain the match in summary.

While that tag match showed a little bit of progressions towards better summary skills, the Mysterio/Cena match showed I still had a ways to go. It was way too brief, and I actually spent more time explaining what happened afterwards. That was even not descriptive enough. Where was Cena during the assault? What did this assault consist of? Did he brawl with Rey? Did he knock him to the ground and stomp him? Did he perform a powerbomb on the aisle? What happened afterwards? Did he get pulled away by road agents or just walk off? It was a pivotal point of the night that should have included much more information. If we as the reader are supposed to believe that Rey couldn’t fight back because he had just wrestled a hard-fought match, we need to be told that (or better yet, shown).

But, I do mention that Noble had on some wrestling tights, signifying that he was much more serious and leaning towards a No Gimmick Needed character. It’s the little touches that count…

“Don’t question my nursing skills, Cole!”

I kind of like that line.

I jumpstarted the Tajiri/Christian feud, which was a result of the match they were involved in when Tajiri kicked Christian a little too hard. It was simple and very realistic. There are the types of feuds people should be having, IMO. While I’m not sure I can relate to the anger that I would feel from having someone accuse me of engaging in necrophilia, I do think it’s easy to relate to a guy pissed off for getting kicked in the head very hard, or being the guy on the other end of the fence and feeling the wrath of someone who is obviously taking his anger too far. Because it’s easy to relate to Christian in this feud, I needed his reactions to be way over the top and I think I succeeded in the interview and his actions in the ring. And speaking of the match, I think the actual match description is a decent length. Nothing fantastic, but an improvement.

Matt Hardy’s promo seems pretty useless, but in retrospect, I wanted to get the idea across that Matt was very confident that he would be going on to win tonight. This, I feel, aided in the shock he went into in the ring (although maybe attacking Snow would have been better).

I was still getting the ball rolling at this point and saving just a few surprises for later. Some of them were good ideas and others were… ideas. Either way, it should be fun.

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  • 3 weeks later...

It was Tuesday night and I had just gotten done moving into my new office.

Al Snow: Hey, boss.

Me: Hey, Al. How are you?

Al: Pretty good. What’s with the new office?

Me: Oh, Rikishi made a diving touchdown through the wall. Vince was a little pissed, but what are you going to do, right?

Al: Yeah, well, I have something to ask you. What do you think of moving me up the card?

Me: Hmmm… how popular do you think you are with the fans right now?

Al: Fairly popular.

Me: Put it into a percentage.

Al: Well… maybe 77%

Me: I’ll tell you what Al, you get that percentage up to 80, and I’ll consider it, okay?

Al: Okay, thanks.

(At this point Sophie walks in)

Sophie: Nice room.

Me: Thanks. It used to belong to Patterson.

Sophie: Where’s he at now?

Me: Oh, he got in trouble for losing some memo or something, so he gets me old office with the hole in the wall.

Sophie: Nice. Well, here are some reports. (she hands me some papers)

Me: Okay, let’s see here… according to a survey, the fans see the tag titles as less meaningful now that Team Angle has them. Well, that’s ridiculous! Team Angle is awesome!

Sophie: The fans don’t seem to think so yet. I think you need to build them up more.

Me: Yeah, yeah. Now what’s this? Apparently the Dudleyz were a little pissed about having to job to Team Angle… Sophie, am I the only person who likes these guys?

Sophie: I wouldn’t go that far.

Me: Hey, did you see these ratings? They went down. Why?

Sophie: Maybe we need to push more people before we can expect higher ratings. This last show was an overall better product according to popular opinion, so I wouldn’t worry about that until TNN gives you a call.

Me: Alright, anything else I need to take care of?

Sophie: Well, Rey hasn’t said anything about it, but I think he should be moved up the card.

Me: What’s his popularity like?

Sophie: He’s the most over guy in the promotion, I’ll tell you that much.

Me: Can you put it into a percentage?

Sophie: Why? That’s dumb.

Me: Just do it!

Sophie: I don’t know, 84%

Me: It’s done! Move him up the card.

(Suddenly Rey appears out of nowhere)

Rey: Thanks for the push, boss!

Me: Whoa! I didn’t expect you to respond immediately like that. That’s uncanny. Yeah, well, no problem… creepy cruiserweight.

** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

It was Monday morning and I was just about ready to put the final touches on Raw when I got a knock on my door. It was Sophie.

Me: Come in, Sophie! Boy, I sure am in a great mood. Things are really looking up for us, aren’t they?

Sophie: Well, actually, I have a question to ask regarding our pace.

Me: What?

Sophie: You know that this is the last Monday before the PPV, right? The Round Robin tournament still had four matches to go, counting the one you plan on showcasing at the PPV. That’s three matches you need to cram in this addition’s Raw.

Me: Well, Sophie, I respect you and everything, but you’re wrong. Look at this calendar. See? We have a Raw after this.

Sophie: Sir, that calendar is on January. This is February.

(I get up out of my chair and begin to walk away)

Sophie: Where are you going?

Me: I’m going to slam my head in the door a couple of times. I’ll be right back.

Sophie: Get over here! (she grabs my arm and sits me down) We need to figure this out, okay? Vince is counting on you!

Me: Yeah! You’re right! Okay, what matches are left?

Sophie: Al Snow vs. Jamie Noble, Rey Mysterio vs. Al Snow, Rey Mysterio vs. Jamie Noble, and Matt Hardy vs. Jamie Noble. One of those will be on the PPV.

Me: Sophie… I have an idea. It’s not a huge thing, but I think it’s enough to cover our blunder.

Sophie: <i>Your</i> blunder.

Me: Yeah, my blunder. Whatever.

** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Raw

February 20, 2003

TNN

JR: Welcome everyone to Monday Night Raw! King, tonight’s program is looking to be monumental.

Lawler: That’s right, JR, because we’re going to be seeing a total of <i>three</i> round robin matches. Depending on how those results go, we’ll know who will be wrestling who at No Way Out this Sunday on PPV!

JR: So far Matt Hardy has one loss and one win, Al Snow has one victory, Rey Mysterio has one loss, and Jamie Noble hasn’t wrestled at all.

Lawler: That’ll change tonight when we see Al Snow vs. Jamie Noble, Rey Mysterio vs. Al Snow, and Jamie Noble vs. Matt Hardy.

JR: Right now let’s go backstage where Micheal Cole is talking to Jamie Noble.

Interview with Jamie Noble

Cole: Tonight, Jamie Noble, you’ll wrestle in your first two matches in the Round Robin Tournament. How do you feel about facing two men in one night?

Noble: This is just the opportunity I need. I’m going to show the world tonight that Jamie Noble is a world class athlete. I’m going to make a sweep across the tournament. Tonight, I make my impact!

Overall: 78%

Al Snow vs. Jamie Noble (Round Robin Match #3)

Both competitors put on a very good quality match, which got an okay fan reaction. The match was pretty close until Matt Hardy came in and hit Al Snow with the chair while the ref’s back was turned. Jamie Noble got the victory.

Winner: Jamie Noble

JR: That dastardly Matt Hardy has screwed Al Snow’s chances of a clean sweep in this tournament!

Lawler: His only hope now is that he can get that other win tonight and tie someone.

Crowd: 69%

Match: 86%

Overall: 77%

SKeith: ***

Randy Orton and Dave Batista Align Themselves

Orton: You know, Batista, I’ve been watching you lately and although you’ve been destroying people left and right, your opponent tonight, Rikishi, is a pretty big guy.

Batista: I’m not worried.

Orton: Well, I’m just saying, if you need the help of a friend, I’m here for you.

Batista looks Orton over and then shakes his hand.

Batista: Thanks.

Overall: 63%

Dave Batista vs. Rikishi

Randy comes down the ring with Batista. A short match which ended with Batista pinning Rikishi while Orton held down his legs.

JR: Dave Batista has now just become that much more dangerous now that he has Randy Orton on his side!

Winner: Dave Batista

Crowd: 67%

Match: 70%

Overall: 68%

SKeith: **1/2

Team Angle Goes Through a Table

The Dudley Boyz music hits and they make there way down the ring with a table.

Bubba: Team Angle, as you probably know by now, it was announced this morning that you’ll have to defend your tag belts against us at No Way Out this Sunday.

JR: That’s news to us!

Bubba: And although that makes me and D-Von very happy, we want to hire the stakes a little. Because we just don’t want your belts on the line Sunday night, we want your <i>health</i> on the line as well. We challenge you in one of the most brutal matches, <i>our</i> specialty match, a <i>tables</i> match!

Team Angle’s music plays but no one comes out.

JR: Look! Team Angle is sneaking behind the Dudleyz through the crowd! I guess they’re accepting the challenge!

Team Angle catches The Dudleyz by surprise, but their plan backfires and they get 3D’d through a table for their troubles. Bubba grabs a microphone.

Bubba: See you this Sunday!

Overall: 70%

Tajiri Gets Attacked

We’re shown a clip of Tajiri preparing for a match.

JR: There’s Tajiri preparing for his second match with Christian and… What the...?!

Christian runs in the locker room and starts beating on Tajiri. He grabs his head and starts repeatedly banging it against the wall.

JR: That’s a cement wall! Christian has lost it! He’s lost his mind!

Lawler: All of this over a headache? I can’t believe it!

JR: Christian has seriously lost his mind!

They quickly cut to a commercial.

Overall: 77%

Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. The Hurricane

JR: Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve gotten word that Tajiri seems to be in stable condition, but he’s being sent to a hospital anyways for precautions sake.

Chavo and Hurricane put on another great match, adding a second to what could be a series. Chavo got the duke after a brainbuster.

Winner: Chavo Guerrero Jr.

Crowd: 63%

Match: 88%

Overall: 75%

SKeith: **3/4

Tommy Dreamer and Spike Dudley vs. The Un-Americans

JR: Tommy Dreamer and Spike Dudley are going to be worthy opponents for Storm and Regal seeing as they use very similar styles.

A nice match which ended with Lance Storm pinning Tommy Dreamer. After the match Test and Goldust ran in and cleaned the Un-Americans out. Test looked very enthused.

Winners: The Un-Americans

JR: Test and Goldust are getting a head start on their match against these two next Sunday!

Crowd: 71%

Match: 84%

Overall: 77%

SKeith: ***

Matt Hardy and Al Snow Battle It Out

Al Snow is backstage preparing for his match against Rey Mysterio later tonight when out of nowhere Matt Hardy attacks. Al fights back and the two give each other a brutal beating before some road agents break them up.

JR: This is going to take a heavy effect on both men during their matches tonight!

Overall: 83%

Jamie Noble vs. Matt Hardy (Round Robin Match #4)

Matt Hardy was worn down from his earlier fight with Al, so although it was a good match, Jamie Noble got the easy victory. After the match he started screaming out, blaming Snow for his loss.

Winner: Jamie Noble

Crowd: 52%

Match: 86%

Overall: 69%

SKeith: **1/2

Rey Mysterio vs. Al Snow (Round Robin Match #5)

A great match with a nice display of sportsmanship. Matt tried to interfere mid-match, but both men beat on him until he left. The match came to an end when Rey pinned Al with a West Coast Pop.

Winner: Rey Mysterio Jr.

JR: Rey Mysterio and Jamie Noble will wrestle each other at No Way Out! Rey’s only chance to win the belt is to beat Noble twice in one night, once to tie and the other to break that tie! We hope to see you there!

Crowd: 70%

Match: 89%

Overall: 79%

SKeith: ***

Overall: 74%

Rating: 4.28

** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

While my shows were fairly dormant in mediocrity, the more lighthearted Sophie segments were developing nicely. I had begun making references to EWR related concepts, like making people (notably Sophie) put things into a percentage. Also (and this is one of my favorite lines), I referenced the immediate responses you get from workers when you do things like move them up the roster. Every time I see Rey Mysterio in the game now (currently in April of 2009- I just finished my seventh WrestleMania. It was a doozy) I still think of him as a “creepy cruiserweight.” Unfortunately, down the line the Sophie segments would lose a little bit of their luster.

The calendar mistake was, as you probably figured out on your own, legit. It kind of screwed up this Raw for me.

Speaking of that Raw:

-JR starts out by saying we’ll see three matches tonight in the tournament, and based on those matches, we’ll know who will be facing each other at No Way Out. Well, apparently JR must not be too familiar with round robin tournament, because it’s pretty obvious that Rey and Noble will be wrestling each other because they’ll be the only match left. Sure, a tie may have required an extra match, but it was sort of a dumb thing to include. Not a horrible mistake, but it’s probably something I should have reworded or left alone.

-I like the Jamie Noble promos where he concentrates more on being a serious No Gimmick Needed wrestler, but I think they are always cut off short and not heelish enough. I like what I have, but it desires a little more.

-Booking-wise, the Noble/Snow match was a good idea. Hardy’s angry that he didn’t get his clean sweep and is going to make sure Al doesn’t win. This keeps Snow out of the finale, keeps him strong, and sets up a feud with Hardy. Writing-wise, though, I didn’t mention what Noble did to get the pin on Snow and that leaves the segment a little flat for me.

-I realigned Orton and Batista mainly to give Batista a little bit of character. Orton’s involvement in the fed was meant to be minimal, but as we’ll see later it was a bit more, and I’m still unsure of how I feel about that. The segment itself wasn’t anything great, but I guess it fit the ratings. I think it feels more like a cheesy Say No to Drugs commercial than anything. Plus, they didn’t come off heelish at all.

-Batista needed Orton to win probably did less for him as a monster, but as JR points out, Orton’s involvement makes him even more dangerous. I should have done one of two things though: either have described some of Rikishi’s offense as giving Batista a lot of trouble, justifying the interference, or had Rikishi mount some offense late into the squash, only to be stopped by Orton. The latter probably would have been better, as it would have kept Batista strong and given off the impression that any offense one could throw at the monster would be stopped by of Randy.

-The Team Angle/Dudleyz segment came off kind of rushed and seemed like something that would be thrown out their at the last second with time constraints. As usual in the beginning of this diary, it needed more description.

-I like the development of Christian from cocky to psycho. Again, I think the booking was good, but I didn’t even say who Tajiri’s opponent would be (perhaps Christian?). Underdeveloped, but the right idea.

-Matt Hardy’s second attack on Al Snow may have been overkill, but I think the blame falls more on the writing and less on the booking. Matt Hardy was banking on a quick and effective sneak attack to further insure that Snow wouldn’t win, but that obviously did not work and he got a fight. The description and commentating should have told the whole story.

-The Hardy/Noble match was done okay, but again, I needed to include what Noble did to defeat Hardy. The placement of the match may have been a little off too, as it makes little sense that Hardy would attack Snow before his own match rather than before Snow’s.

-I was happy with the Rey/Snow match. Again, I concentrated on how badly Hardy wanted to screw Snow over (to a point of obsession now), but his anger was getting the best of him.

A pretty blah show overall. No Way Out marks the first show I enjoyed and also kicks off some of the better storylines.

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  • 2 months later...

It was Tuesday morning and Sophie was in my office as soon as I walked in.

Sophie: Did you see the ratings?

Me: No, not yet. What did we get?

Sophie: A 4.28!

Me: Hey, that’s great. You were right; things are starting to look up.

Sophie: Here are some memos from the wrestlers.

Me: Hmmm… Rikishi wants to be moved up the roster… well, although he’s over enough, I want this new WWE to be more concentrated on workrate. Plus, the lower is morale is, the easier he’ll be to tackle when we play office football. Dave Batista is requesting again to be moved up the roster… well, let’s do it this time. And Al Snow seems to be trying to get moved up once again. Well, I admire his determination, so lets do it.

Sophie: What’s the card so far for No Way Out? You’re late in announcing it. That won’t be good for business.

Me: I know, I know. Remember the January thing? That really messed me up. Okay, here’s the card:

WWE Heavyweight Championship Match: Rey Mysterio vs. Jamie Noble

Al Snow v. Matt hardy

Christian vs. Tajiri

Test and Goldust vs. The Un-Americans

WWE Tag Team Championship/Tables Match: The Dudley Boyz vs. Team Angle

The Hurricane vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.

Dave Batista vs. Mystery Opponent

Sophie: A mystery opponent?

Me: Yeah, I think the pay-off should be good.

Sophie: I hope you’re right.

** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

No Way Out

February 26, 2003

Pay-Per-View[/

Dark Match: Tommy Dreamer, Billy Kidman, Funaki, and Jeff Hardy vs. Raven, Steven Richards, James Maritato, and Justin Credible

A nice filler match to get the crowd going. Everyone got a chance to hit their signature moves. It ended when Kidman did a shooting star press on Justin Credible.

Winners: Tommy Dreamer, Billy Kidman, Funaki, and Jeff Hardy

Crowd: 60%

Match: 82%

Overall: 71%

SKeith: **1/2

Pyro goes off, officially starting the PPV.

JR: Welcome everyone to No Way Out! I’m JR here with Jerry “The King” Lawler.

Lawler: This is exciting, JR, because this is the first Pay-Per-View that the next generation of WWE superstars will be headlining!

JR: We can guarantee you, folks, this will be a night of high flying brutality.

Dave Batista vs. Mystery opponent

Dave Batista comes out first, accompanied by Randy Orton. The two wait in the ring for the mystery man… and out comes Tazz in his old ECW gear!

JR: It’s Tazz! Tazz is in the WWE!

Lawler: I thought he was gone!

Batista looked a little surprised at first, but put his mean face on as soon as Tazz hit the ring. Tazz took control early, but the match was pretty back and forth as a whole. The ending came when Tazz knocked Randy out and locked the Tazzmission on Batista for the submission victory.

Winner: Tazz

JR: Tazz made Batista tap! I can’t believe it! The monster tapped!

Crowd: 70%

Match: 85%

Overall: 77%

SKeith: ***

WWE Tag Team Championship/Tables Match: Team Angle © vs. The Dudley Boyz

A good overall match that saw Team Angle upset The Dudleyz. D-Von went through a table first via a double powerbomb, Shelton went second via a powerbomb from Bubba, and Bubba went last when Haas bulldogged him from the top rope through a table.

Winners and still champions: Team Angle

JR: Team Angle has just beaten the Dudleyz at their own game!

Crowd: 68%

Match: 80%

Overall: 74%

SKeith: **3/4

The Hurricane vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.

These two put on another great match which ended with Hurricane giving Chavo a shining wizard.

Winner: The Hurricane

Crowd: 64%

Match: 89%

Overall: 76%

SKeith: ***

Al Snow vs. Matt Hardy

JR: This is a grudge match, pure and simple. Matt Hardy blames Al Snow for his failure to win the round robin tournament and now wants revenge.

Another really good match that the fans got into. Matt Hardy won when he rolled up Al Snow and grabbed his tights.

JR: That conniving Matt Hardy has done it again!

Winner: Matt Hardy

Crowd: 72%

Match: 85%

Overall: 78%

SKeith: ***

Test and Goldust vs. The Un-Americans

Test seemed very enthused during the entire match and really worked hard as a unit with Goldust. It seemed like they had the match won when Test had Lance set up for the Test Drive, when all of a sudden Goldust ran in and started beating the life out of Test. He hit the Curtain Call on him and walked out. Lance got the easy pin and victory.

JR: Why would Goldust do such a thing?! They had finally started to work as a team!

Lawler: Test looks infuriated!

Winners: The Un-Americans

Crowd: 86%

Match: 81%

Overall: 84%

SKeith: ***1/4

Christian vs. Tajiri

This match was brutal. Both competitors were being very stiff. Tajiri ended up scoring the pinfall after a kick to the head. Christian attacked him after the match was already over and it took six referees to separate them.

Winner: Tajiri

JR: This is enough already! Christian just needs to end this thing before anybody gets seriously hurt!

Crowd: 73%

Match: 86%

Overall: 79%

SKeith: ***

WWE Heavyweight Championship Match: Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Jamie Noble (Round Robin Match #6)

JR: I want to remind the fans that if Rey Mysterio wins this match, he does not win the belt. Both competitors will be tied with two wins and they will have to fight a second match as a tie breaker. This could get interesting.

A superb match by both individuals. Rey Mysterio ended up scoring a pinfall after a moonsault into a roll-up. Jamie Noble was fuming.

Winner: Rey Mysterio Jr.

JR: Rey did it!

Lawler: Yeah, but he’ll have to put Jamie Noble again if he wants the belt.

Crowd: 76%

Match: 92%

Overall: 84%

SKeith: ***1/4

WWE Heavyweight Championship Match: Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Jamie Noble (Round Robin Tie Breaker)

The fans got even more into this match and both competitors took it up a notch to provide the best match thus far for the next generation of WWE superstars. Jamie Noble ended up winning after he hit Rey with a sweet Tiger Bomb.

Winner and new champion: Jamie Noble

JR: Jamie Noble is the new WWE Heavyweight Champion! I can’t believe it!

Crowd: 78%

Match: 92%

Overall: 85%

SKeith: ***1/2

Overall: 80%

Buyrate: 0.60

Attendance: 7090

** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Monday morning rolled around and I was about ready to write another edition of Raw. I was in a really good mood since No Way Out had gone extremely well.

Me: Heya, Sophster, how are you doing?

Sophie: Just fine. How are you?

Me: Terrific. I really think last night went well.

Sophie: Well, you’ll be in an even better mood in a little bit.

Me: Why’s that?

Sophie: I just got a call from Vince he says he wants you to take the day off. You don’t have to book this week’s Raw.

Me: Awesome! Well, who’s going to do it then?

Sophie: Anyone of your choosing.

Me: Anyone of my choosing, eh? Hey, Sophie, have you ever wanted to book a wrestling show?

Sophie: Well, no, not re…

Me: Great! It’s all yours then. Oh, and Sophie, don’t screw it up, alright?

Sophie: Can I say something that might be out of line?

Me: What? Do you want a soda or something?

(Sophie throws her hands up in frustration and stomps off)

Me: Women…

Days later, March 1

Me: Sophie…

Sophie: Yeah?

Me: We took a survey and fans only gave our show quality a score of 69%. Do you hate me, Sophie? Are you trying to make my life miserable?

Sophie: Hey, I never said I wanted to book that stupid show!

Me: I specifically heard you say that ever since you were a little girl you always wanted to book a wrestling show.

Sophie: I never said that.

Me: Okay, you didn’t, but I could see it in your eyes.

Sophie. Well, the show got a 4.30 rating, which is the highest yet since you’ve been in the driver’s seat.

Me: Well at least that’s a good sign.

Sophie: So are you ready for your meeting?

Me: My meeting?

Sophie: Yeah, your monthly review with Vince. It’s in five minutes. Did you forget?

Me: Oh…. Ooooh, that. No, I didn’t forget. I was… merely waiting. You know, you don’t want to seem too pushy by showing up early.

Sophie: Yeah, whatever, get to your meeting.

(At the meeting)

Vince: Ah, you’ve finally arrived… you know I hate to wait on people.

Me: Oh… well, I hate to be on time, so I guess we’re even.

Vince: Yes. I guess so. Let’s get this started. I’ll be blunt. We’re very pleased with the way things are being handled. The ratings aren’t near where they used to be, but they aren’t nearly as bad as we thought they would be.

Me: Hey, thanks, Vince.

Vince: But don’t get too cocky just yet! Things better improve rapidly. And Wrestle Mania better be a blockbuster. That’s my centerpiece and I won’t be happy if you screw it up.

Me: Great! I think it’s the perfect time to do my goat idea…

Vince: No revenge seeking goat.

Me: Okay, fine.

Vince: Onto other business. We made $1,920,000 off of merchandise.

Me: Hey, those Crash Holly shirts must be flying of the hooks.

Vince: Well, actually we just kept Austin and The Rock’s merchandise in stock.

Me: Oh.

Vince: So other than that, that’s all we have to discuss.

Me: Well, Vince, it’s been good talking to you.

(We shake hands and Vince pulls me close)

Vince: Don’t screw Wrestle Mania up, or else.

** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

It was once again Monday morning and Sophie had some news for me.

Sophie: The Dudleys are pissed.

Me: There’s a bathroom right down the hall. Why don’t they use that?

Sophie: I mean, they’re angry.

Me: Oh, yeah. Um… why?

Sophie: I’m not sure if you’ve noticed or not, but they haven’t been winning very many matches. Plus, they’ve been jobbing to a team considerably lower in overness.

Me: Ahhh… that makes sense. Let’s move them up the card. They’re over enough to be upper midcarders. Go on. Give them a call.

Sophie: Can’t you do it?

Me: I’m busy.

Sophie: You’re playing Donkey Kong.

Me: And I’m at the end boss too. Leave me alone for a little bit and make that call.

(Sophie makes the call which takes about 5 minutes)

Sophie: well, it’s alright for now, but you’re not out of the clear yet.

Me: I know, I know. I still have Diddy Kong left though and the boss is almost dead.

Sophie: I’m talking about The Dudley Boyz!

Me: Oh, yeah, so that went well?

Sophie: They said they’re considerably happier, but not convinced fully.

Me: Put their morale in a percentage. I love it when you do that.

Sophie: Somewhere around 58%.

Me: I can live with that. Well, let’s give them a push, alright?

Sophie: Okay, we have more talent business to take care of though.

Me: What’s that?

Sophie: Goldust is very over right now, let’s call it 86%, but he’s not too happy that he’s still a midcarder.

Me: Move him up. While you’re at it, move Christian and Jamie Noble up the ranks too.

Sophie: Alright. You haven’t used, Rico, Scotty 2 Hotty, Sean Morley, D’lo Brown, Spanky, Shannon Moore, Mark Jindrak, Sean O’Haire, Johnny Stamboli, Crash Holly, Bill Demott, B2, or Chris Kanyon yet. That’s quite a load.

Me: Let’s make some roster cuts then.

Sophie: Isn’t that Vince’s job?

Me: I don’t know. Let’s do it anyways. Get rid of B2. Put Jindrak and O’Haire in OVW. Fire Demott. And… should we keep Crash Holly or not?

Sophie: We might as well for now.

Me: Okay. I don’t have any ideas for him, so unless I think of any we’ll probably get rid of him. Same goes for Scotty 2 Hotty.

Sophie: And everyone else?

Me: I have plans for everyone else. With the tournament out of the way, I’ll have more room to move them into storylines.

Sophie: You seem to be lacking with tag teams, I’ve noticed. Are you going to get on that?

Me: Sophie, get in the closet.

Sophie: Do you even know what you mean when you say that?

Me: Not really.

Tomorrow, the road to WrestleMania begins!

As always, feedback is welcome and appreciated.

** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Who booked this crap?

Oh. Yeah.

Come on, you knew I was going to say it eventually.

I’m a little late, but I have a good excuse: I’m planning for my wedding. This is actually my fake excuse to cover up my laziness, but I really am getting married, so I don’t feel bad misleading you.

So, here we are at the first PPV, No Way Out. And boy, is it a doozy. It contains the biggest mistake so far in the diary. Overall, as far as booking goes, it’s pretty “eh.” The writing is atrocious, as always with the early stuff. But hey, I didn’t really think anyone was reading at this point. Let’s get started.

-From a booking perspective, I liked the 8-man tag. Sure, it’s a product of lazy booking (“Here’s what we’ll do! We’re going to get eight guys that we have no clue what to do with, throw them in a ring, and let them hit their finishers! Genius!”), but it’s a good idea for a dark match if you’re not using them anyways. On the negative side of things, it really says something for my range of planning when I have no clue what I am going to do with any of these individuals. Justin Credible might be excusable, but everyone else should have had at least a small role in current storylines. This basically shows that I concentrated way too much on the round robin tournament, which didn’t necessarily rock anyone’s world.

-I still like Tazz as the mystery opponent. It was perhaps a bit underwhelming, but he had mystery opponent experience before from the Royal Rumble 2000, so I thought, hey, this guy must know what he’s doing with this kind of thing. I think it made him looked a little more important, put him over as a tough guy, and added some intrigue. I don’t think it was written very well though. I should have highlighted some of Tazz’s more brutal offense if I wanted to put him over. And maybe Tazz should have taken out Randy Orton for fun. That boy’s gotta earn his keep somehow.

-And speaking of Randy Orton, I know it’s a debatable topic whether or not he is affective as a main eventer, but it’s frustrating to know that I wasn’t using him as anything more than a manager. Same goes for John Cena, who doesn’t even appear on this show.

-The Team Angle/Dudleyz match worked. It wasn’t written horribly (I think some people appreciated matches written in a more concise way) and I think I included the key spots.

-Again, the Hurricane/Chavo series of matches suffers from horribly written recaps. Since the feud was based off of two competitors have great matches out of respect, at the time it didn’t seem necessary to write long match recaps. In retrospect, it’s very underwhelming.

-Matt Hardy and Al Snow’s match suffers from a similar problem. “Another really good match that the fans got into. Matt Hardy won when he rolled up Al Snow and grabbed his tights.” It’s like you’re really there!

-Ugh. The Goldust and Test feud starts with a whimper. I think I dislike this not so much because it was rushed, but because it’s Test. I mean, come on, Test.

-I like the Christian/Tajiri feud alright, but this match could have used a little more.

-And finally, the two Mysterio/Noble matches. I thought this ending was appropriate. Rey goes over for tying Noble, but ultimately Noble wins the second match and the belt. No one goes out looking weak. However, in retrospect, Jamie Noble was not a good choice. The problem was not that Jamie Noble is a bad wrestler or an unbelievable main eventer (in my opinion, at least), but that the timing sucked. I’m a big believer in the face going over in the WrestleMania main event, which means that Noble’s reign was destined to be abrupt. Had I put the belt on a face and given them a decently long title reign, I could have built Noble up as a main eventer and used him to dethrone the face champion sometime after WrestleMania. Instead, I took the direction I did and Noble lost the steam he had going out of this PPV a month later. On the other hand, Noble as champion seemed to appeal to some readers and gave the diary a feel different from others.

-Also, as much as I like to say that size doesn’t matter (insert naughty joke here), having two cruiserweights headline the first PPV was pretty underwhelming. WrestleMania had the same problem (the exact same problem).

-Following the below average PPV were two of my favorite Sophie segments. I actually laughed out loud at a few of these reading them over which doesn’t happen a lot, so if you’ll excuse me in being narcissistic for a second, I’ll copy and paste some of my favorite lines.

Sophie: Can I say something that might be out of line?

Me: What? Do you want a soda or something?

-

Me: I specifically heard you say that ever since you were a little girl you always wanted to book a wrestling show.

-

Vince: Ah, you’ve finally arrived… you know I hate to wait on people.

Me: Oh… well, I hate to be on time, so I guess we’re even.

-

Sophie: The Dudleys are pissed.

Me: There’s a bathroom right down the hall. Why don’t they use that?

-

Sophie: Can’t you do it?

Me: I’m busy.

Sophie: You’re playing Donkey Kong.

Me: And I’m at the end boss too. Leave me alone for a little bit and make that call.

(Sophie makes the call which takes about 5 minutes)

Sophie: well, it’s alright for now, but you’re not out of the clear yet.

Me: I know, I know. I still have Diddy Kong left though and the boss is almost dead.

-

Sophie: You seem to be lacking with tag teams, I’ve noticed. Are you going to get on that?

Me: Sophie, get in the closet.

Sophie: Do you even know what you mean when you say that?

Me: Not really.

-Looking back on it, maybe I should have just skipped the shows altogether and just kept the Sophie segments. :shifty:

Edited by Plankton
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Guest Cheesegood

Wow! I really like this! The Sophie segments a bit more than the actual writing though :)

However, you do seem to be a great writer and it can only improve.

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Yes!

I was hoping this would return a few months back (even made a post about it in the Essa thread, IIRC).

Despite me going through the EWB3 archives and reading this along with other diaries, I'll be checking in to see if you do anything new and whatnot.

Thanks for bringing this back. I've always liked it more than the IWF, although the IWF within itself was innovate for it's time.

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  • 1 month later...

Slowly but surely.

And we’re going to try something a little different with the formatting this time. My comments are in bold and parentheses.

Raw

March 3, 2003

TNN

JR: Welcome ladies and gentlemen! I’m JR along with Jerry “The King” Lawler.

Lawler: And JR, I’m excited tonight, because tonight’s program offers a second chance for three individuals!

JR: That’s right, King. Tonight Jamie Noble will be forced to defend his newly begotten title against the three men he beat to get it, Rey Mysterio, Al Snow, and Matt Hardy, in a Fatal Four Way match! But right now let’s go to the ring!

(I still hate the King/Lawler commentary. It just didn’t click with me. But I like the idea of the fourway match, even though I probably should have inducted another midcarder into my shallow main event scene.)

Billy Kidman vs. John Cena

Cena and Kidman put on a nice technical match which ended with Cena pinning Kidman.

Winner: John Cena

JR: I’ll tell you what, King, that John Cena sure is starting to pick up some steam.

(No he’s not, JR, you liar. In fact, John Cena won’t pick up any significant steam for about a year, a HUGE folly on my part. Color me redundant, but it’s the truth.)

Crowd: 65%

Match: 80%

Overall: 72%

SKeith: **3/4

Goldust Explains His Motives

Cole: Goldust, last week at No Way Out you turned on your partner Test. Why in the world would you do that?

(Excuse me for breaking in here in the middle of this, but I personally LOVED Michael Cole in this role because his commentary is typically so cliché that it’s pretty hard not to nail. Thanks, Mike.)

Goldust: The reason should be obvious, Cole. Two months ago I was on top of the world. I was part of the greatest tag team in wrestling history; my future was brighter than ever. But that all came crashing down. I was soon paired up with the uncharismatic slug called Test. He has no purpose, no aspirations, and no future. The writing was on the wall, Cole. It was only a matter of time before he took me down with him.

Cole: Well, actually he seemed to be getting into it. You guys almost won your match last night. In fact, you would have if you hadn’t turned on him.

Goldust: Micheal, Micheal, victory may have been won on that night, but the future, it looked as dim as ever. There is no future for Test. He’s a fading star. And thanks to me, I will make sure he fades just a little faster. I’m going to stomp… him… out.

JR: That sadistic Goldust has gone mad!

Lawler: He seems just a little bitter over losing his old partner, don’t you think, JR?

(Well, maybe mad is the wrong word. I always kind of liked Goldust’s motives here. So maybe it wasn’t that complex, but I think it made some sense. Goldust’s interview probably could have been better, by the way.)

Overall: 84%

Test vs. Lance Storm

Test wrestled very aggressively, still visibly upset over Goldust turning on him. He won the match with a Test Drive.

Winner: Test

Goldust ran in and beat on Test post match.

(Lance Storm should have been main eventing at this point. No doubt about it. I know that the tag team division needed some teams and the Regal/Storm connection was already established, but the main event scene was definitely starving and in need of someone like Lance Storm. But instead of even using Lance effectively in the tag division, I jobbed him out to Test. Poor move on my part.)

Crowd: 73%

Match: 86%

Overall: 79%

SKeith: ***

WWE Tag Team Championship Match: Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty vs. Team Angle ©

JR: This will be another tough task for Team Angle. Rikishi and Scotty are very familiar with each other.

Team Angle continues to dominate. Shelton pinned Scotty via a superkick.

Winners: Team Angle

(Total squash; the way it should be. Rikishi’s bleak future was set in stone and I never really had any plans for Scotty.)

Crowd: 66%

Match: 76%

Quality 71%

SKeith: **1/2

The Hurricane vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.

Hurricane and Chavo put on one more outstanding match which ended with The Hurricane pinning Chavo after a flying body press. They both shook hands.

Winner: The Hurricane

JR: What a great show of sportsmanship, King!

(This respectful feud could have used a bit more flavor, but they were putting on the best matches in the company and that was enough for me. At this point there future as a tag team was a definite.)

Crowd: 64%

Match: 90%

Overall: 77%

SKeith: ***

Christian vs. Spanky

Christian brutalizes Spanky with some stiff kicks and punches throughout the whole match. Spanky got in some offense, but was ultimately defeated when Christian gave him a total of three unprettiers.

Winner: Christian

Post match, he started screaming to the camera that Tajiri better watch out.

JR: Christian is sending a harsh message to Tajiri!

(This was Spanky’s first appearance, unless I am horribly mistaken. He could have used a bit of a better debut, but it didn’t hinder his future. It was probably for the best that was a jobber, but I should have just called him Brian Kendrick from the get go.)

Crowd: 53%

Match: 83%

Overall: 68%

SKeith: **1/2

Orton and Batista Warn Tazz

Randy Orton and Dave Batista are backstage, looking very intense.

Orton: Tazz, you think you humiliated Batista last week? You think you brought the giant tumbling down? You think you defeated Dave Batista fair and square? Well, you’re wrong. Let’s look at the facts, Tazz. Batista had no idea who he would be facing last week. You had plenty of warning. You had a ton of preparation. My partner had none. You may have been able to make him submit, I’ll give you that, but I guarantee you, if you would have been caught off guard like my man was last week, he would have done way worse to you than you did to him. Tazz, you better watch your back in our match tonight because Batista will be right there at ringside and there’s no telling what could happen to you if you were caught off guard.

JR: There match is next!

(Hey, this wasn’t too bad. Orton’s never been awesome on the mic, so I’ll take what I can get.)

Overall: 64%

Randy Orton vs. Tazz

Tazz wailed on Orton, looking very pissed off. He beat Orton in pretty short order, but was ambushed by Batista. Both he and Orton stomped a mud hole in Tazz and then left him lying.

Winner: Tazz

(Depending on who you are, treating Randy Orton like a jobber to the stars is either a good thing or a bad thing. I’m still not sure.)

Crowd: 68%

Match: 82%

Overall: 75%

SKeith: **3/4

The Dudley Boyz vs. Raven and Chris Kanyon

Raven is in the ring with a microphone.

Raven: Tonight the WWE sees the rebirth of a dangerous tag team. Tonight Kanyon and I begin our destruction of…

But they’re cut off by the Dudleys music and the match is on. It was a nice energetic match that led to a Dudley victory. Raven and Kanyon, however, got revenge afterwards by DDTing both of their opponents.

Winners: The Dudley Boyz

JR: Raven and Chris Kanyon may not have won, but they sure have created an impact!

(Eh, Raven and Kanyon deserved more. I did a very WWE thing by cutting of the interview, but I think it worked. And it IS the WWE. Raven and Kanyon, by the way, should have been in the main event scene along with our boy Lance Storm.)

Crowd: 74%

Match: 85%

Overall: 79%

SKeith: ***

Jamie Noble Interview

Cole: Jamie Noble, it’s only been one week since your victory over Rey Mysterio for the title, and now you have to wrestle all three men that you already beat last month in a Fatal Four Way Match. Are you prepared?

Noble: Michael Cole, I’m more than prepared. I’m excited. Because not only did I prove myself by beating all three of those guys last month, but now I will further prove my dominance by beating them again, but this time, all at once!

(So why is Jamie Noble a heel?)

Overall: 81%

WWE Heavyweight Championship Fatal Four Way Match: Jamie Noble © vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Al Snow vs. Matt Hardy

1st Elimination: Al Snow pinned Matt Hardy after a Snowplow.

2nd Elimination: Jamie Noble pinned Al Snow after Matt hit him with a chair.

3rd Elimination: Jamie Noble pinned Rey Mysterio after a Tiger Bomb.

Winner: Jamie Noble

(Boy, what an epic battle that was. I definitely could have elaborated more, but you win some and you lose some.)

Crowd: 77%

Match: 89%

Overall: 83%

SKeith: ***1/4

Overall Show Rating: 76%

Rating: 4.24

(I feel okay about this show in retrospect. Feuds were being established and we even got a new wrestler debuting. Plus, John Cena! I wonder when Rapping Rico shows up…)

** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

It was Sunday evening and I was just about done writing the next day’s Raw. Sophie came in my office with some news for me.

Sophie: Boss, I have some… Why don’t you have a shirt on?

Me: It’s a long story. I’ll just say this: if Crash Holly tells you to go check out something cool in the bathroom, don’t go, okay?

Sophie: …Alright. Whatever. Here’s some memos. Rey, Shelton, and Lance all want to be moved up the roster.

Me: Okay, move Lance Storm up. Let’s wait a little for the other two. I don’t want to be too hasty.

Sophie: And that brings us to the next bit of business. I have a message from Vince. He says you need to kick things up a notch. He wants some shake-ups for WrestleMania.

Me: Hmmm… I’ve had this idea I’ve been waiting to use. How’s the budget? Can we hire someone?

Sophie: Maybe someone under $100,000 a month. The cuts you just made should compensate.

Me: Perfect. I’ll have to redo Raw a little, but it’s time to get things rolling. I need you to make some calls, okay? I think some stars will be born.

(Stars will be born, people! Get excited! Get pumped! Get ready for a failed stable!)

I'm being a really crappy updater. Sorry. I've got my wedding in about three months, but I'll be honest, it's not really that time consuming for the groom unless the women want it to be, and thankfully I'm good at pretending to be really busy.

Seriously though, I've been out and about between college and wedding plans back at home. I have been frequenting the boards somewhat and am still here, so drop me a PM or something. And for those who care, I've been trying to be online more often. So... that's that.

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Raw

March 10, 2003

TNN

JR: Welcome everybody to Monday Night Raw. Tonight the road to WrestleMania continues and the action is starting right now!

(As you can tell, I was getting sick of having to open the show with the same old shtick between JR and Lawler. Instead of thinking of new ways to do it, I just pretty much stopped.)

Tazz and Tommy Dreamer vs. Dave Batista and Randy Orton

Tazz comes out to the ring alone with a mic.

Tazz: Now I’m not one to call for help when I’m in trouble, but when two young punks like Randy Orton and Dave Batista insist on making your life a living hell, sometimes even the proud like myself have to turn to someone. But if I’m going to ask for any kind of assistance, you can bet it’s going to be someone close enough to me that I can call them my family.

Tommy Dreamer then came out to a decent pop. Their opponents ran to the ring next and the match was on. It was nice and energetic, but ended with Randy Orton planting a chair shot on Tommy Dreamer while the ref’s back was turned. That was enough to score a pinfall.

Winners: Dave Batista and Randy Orton

(Taz and Dreamer probably should have gone over, as this would have been a better way to utilize Tommy further. Instead, he stays down at the bottom of the card and Batista and Orton get a victory. Considering that Tommy Dreamer was hit in the head with a chair by Orton, I don’t see why they didn’t have a feud or something down the road. Still, this was the beginning of the bond between the ECW Alumni that I was developing.)

Crowd: 67%

Match: 83%

Overall: 67%

SKeith: **1/2

Tajiri vs. John Cena

JR: Tajiri showing up tonight is a definite sign that he’s not going to back down from Christian’s threats.

Lawler: I’d be worried if I were him. Christian has gone completely nuts!

Tajiri and Cena put on a good match which ended with Tajiri giving Cena the Kick of Death.

Winner: Tajiri

(Further misuse of Cena here. The Christian/Tajiri feud was really starting to lack interest.)

Crowd: 69%

Match: 84%

Overall: 68%

SKeith: **1/2

Raven and Kanyon Strike a Deal with The Un-Americans

A camera is shown sneaking up on Raven and Chris Kanyon while they’re in the middle of a conversation with Lance Storm and William Regal.

Raven: So what you’re saying is you guys are going to…

Lance sees the cameraman and chases him away.

JR: What was that all about?

(Intrigue!)

Overall: 85%

The Dudley Boyz vs. The Un-Americans

The Dudleys looked like they had then win, when all of a sudden Raven and Chris Kanyon came down, distracting them. Lance Storm used the opportunity to superkick Bubba and got the win. Both teams then beat down on the Dudley Boyz

Winners: The Un-Americans

JR: Raven and Chris Kanyon have made an alliance with The Un-Americans! This is not good news for the Dudleys!

(As much as I hate the “Wrestler X distracts Wrestler Y so that Wrestler Z can get the win” finish, here I am using it. And it sure won’t be the last time either. I like the Un-Americans/Raven & Kanyon alliance though, as it built interest in the tag division. Where are the champs anyways?)

Crowd: 75%

Match: 85%

Overall: 72%

SKeith: **3/4

A New Stable Arises

Jeff Hardy comes out to the ring, getting ready for his match with Steven Richards. As soon as he’s in the ring, three men jump him from the crowd.

JR: That’s Sean Morley, D’Lo Brown, and Taka Michinoku!

Lawler: What are they doing together?

All three men beat on Jeff for a while until they threw him out of the ring, leaving him lying. Sean Morley grabbed a mic.

Morley: Tonight you’re all witnessing a prophecy five years in the making! Because almost five years ago we came into the WWE with high hopes. We were promised everything by Vince McMahon. Money, television deals, women, the whole works. We were the future of this company! But things didn’t go exactly like it was promised to us. We busted our balls every single night for this company! And in the end all we got was a pink slip. Now I guarantee you that everyone in the back will tell you that the Attitude Era was all about Steve Austin and The Rock.

The Crowd popped for the names being dropped, adding to the realism that this wasn’t planned out.

Morley: Well I have news for all of the boys in the back, the Attitude Era was all about guys… like… us. We were the backbone of the WWE. We filled in all of the little spaces that The Rock and Steve Austin couldn’t or wouldn’t. And we never complained about it. We did it with a smile on our faces and determination in our eyes. We did it because we were promised the world. We knew that when the right time came, that would be us in the main event spot. We would be the ones wrestling the last match of Raw week in and week out, we would be the ones winning gold throughout the year, we would be the ones headlining WrestleMania. But when that time came, we got nothing. As time went on, we realized we had been lied to since day one and eventually they fired us. We were promised everything and got nothing! Tonight, we begin the process of taking back what’s rightfully ours! Tonight, The Attitude Era is back and we’re not leaving no matter what!

Eventually road agents and referees came along and escorted the three men to the back area.

JR: I can’t believe what we just saw, King!

Lawler: I can’t believe they’re not being arrested!

(I like this segment quite a bit. Aside from Morley saying “balls,” it feels natural to me and I’m actually realizing the opportunity I missed with Morley, even if I did push him pretty far in the in that year. Calling the stable The Attitude Era was also something I liked. I think it could be argued that the name was a little to geared towards the supposed smart mark crowd, but I think it makes sense and no one would care. Plus, the ratings were down and I would assume that a lot of the fans that were sticking around would be “members” of the IWC.)

Overall: 71%

Billy Kidman vs. James Maritato

These two put on a great match, but unfortunately, just as soon as it was reaching it’s climax, it was interrupted by The Attitude Era. This time the police came and arrested them. Sean Morley could be heard screaming “We will not be silenced!”

JR: Hopefully that’s the last we’ll be seeing of them.

Lawler: Something tells me they’ll be back sometime though, JR.

Winner: No Contest

(I think this might have been Maritato’s debut. I always liked the Maritato gimmick opposed to Nunzio, even if I do get a kick out of the real WWE’s version.)

Crowd: 57%

Match: 90%

Overall: 65%

SKeith:**

Shelton Benjamin vs. The Hurricane

Charlie Haas accompanied Shelton Benjamin. This was a really good match which ended with Benjamin getting the pin thanks to Haas holding down Hurricane’s legs. The two starting to beat down Hurricane, but Chavo came in for the rescue, which got a good pop from the fans.

Winner: Shelton Benjamin

JR: It looks like The Hurricane just found a new friend in Chavo!

(So why is one-half of the tag team champions wrestling in a singles match against a guy he has no previous beef with? This was pretty much here to both set up the feud between the four men and two solidify The Hurricane and Chavo as a tag team. Speaking of that tag team, which would later be known as Reckless Abandon, in other previous games of mine, I used the Hurricane/Kidman combination, but with incredibly similar results, so this was a tried and true method for me. I decided to switch it up this time around though, but ironically Chavo would get a 16 month injury, forcing me to team up Kidman and Hurricane up again.)

Crowd: 77%

Match: 85%

Overall: 72%

SKeith: **3/4

Matt Hardy Makes Al Snow Bleed

Al Snow was walking to the ring to cut a promo when Matt Hardy attacked him from behind with a chair! Matt beat him over the head repeatedly until blood was split. Al fell to the floor and Matt Left.

JR: That cursed Matt Hardy may have caused a serious injury!

(Ah! That cursed Matt Hardy! This is pretty much a paint by numbers feud.)

Overall: 71%

Test vs. Goldust

Test looked really pissed during this match. Goldust seemed a little intimidated, realizing what sleeping monster he had just awoken, and used every dirty trick in the book. Goldust got the win because he grabbed a handful of tights.

Winner: Goldust

(I was trying to bring some fire into test, but it wasn’t really working out because, well, this isn’t real. No matter what I wrote, I think people would continue to see boring old Test.)

Crowd: 79%

Match: 77%

Overall: 70%

SKeith: **1/2

Jamie Noble Interview

Cole: Jamie Noble, in just a few minutes Rey Mysterio and Christian will wrestle to decide the #1 contender. Do you have a preference?

Noble: Actually, Cole, I do, because so far I have proven myself against Rey Mysterio twice and if I’m going to be forced to wrestle him again, I will prove myself a third time. I’m really getting sick of it. Personally, if this is the best management can throw at me, I might as well just face the whole roster all at once. But if I do have to face him a third time, I’ll make sure that not only do I defeat him, but I humiliate him in front of everyone.

(Probably by giving him a wedgie.)

Overall: 77%

#1 Contenders Match: Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Christian

A close match that ended with Rey Mysterio pinning Christian.

Winner: Rey Mysterio Jr.

Tajiri runs in post match and kicks Christian in the head, to the delight of the crowd.

(So what’s the deal with the short main event descriptions? And why am I asking you, I wrote it. So, even though JR apparently didn’t hype it at the end of the show, it’ll be Noble and Mysterio at WrestleMania… worst. WM main event. Ever. Not that the guys aren’t good, but it’s visually lame. Mysterio was legitimately the most over guy on the roster and Noble was someone I was grooming to be a HUGE heel, so I felt justified at the time. If I were redoing this thing from the beginning (which doesn’t sound like an entirely bad idea), I might go for Cena/Raven, Cena/Lance, Dreamer/Raven, or something like that. Granted, none of those are phenomenal, especially that last one, but that’s kind of the point of the diary. Ending the show with emphasis on the Tajiri/Christian was probably a bad idea too, and the feud was looking about as original as the Hardy. Snow one as well.)

Crowd: 80%

Match: 89%

Overall: 75%

SKeith: **3/4

Overall Show Rating: I missed it

Rating: 4.30

(The introduction of The Attitude Era was a turning point, in my opinion. I hated the stable though. Sean Morley, D’Lo Brown, and the concept were good ideas in my book, but Taka and the lack of a fourth man was a major downfall. It’s not that Taka was bad (in fact, I’m still playing the game, and in 2010, he’s still employed), but he just didn’t fit. I REALLY wanted Ken Shamrock as the enforcer, but I couldn’t get a hold of him. I settled on three guys, which was really settling on a weak roster. I should have paired them with a fourth non-Attitude Era wrestler and called him a bodyguard or something. And that’s only the beginning of the weaknesses of this stable. But even after all of that, I love the idea and I love Morley’s role. We’ll see how the rest goes and if WrestleMania 19 can actually be a success.

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Raw

March 10, 2003

TNN

Pyro shoots out through the arena, kicking off the show.

JR: Welcome everybody to Monday Night Raw! I’m Jim Ross alongside Jerry “The King” Lawler and we sure do have a great program tonight. In the main event, a huge three-man tag match pitting Jamie Noble, Matt Hardy, and Christian against Rey Mysterio, Al Snow, and Tajiri.

(That’s right, kids, a THREE man tag. “Idiot!”)

Lalwer: And also, Tazz and Randy Orton are going to have a submission match, at the request of Tazz!

JR: Plus, the tag team belts are on the line when Reckless Abandon, the new tag team of Gregory Helms and Chavo Guerrero challenge Team Angle. But right now, ladies and gentlemen, let’s head out to the ring where Billy Kidman and John Cena will be squaring off.

Billy Kidman vs. John Cena

Kidman and Cena started things off with a nice wrestling sequence, which got applause of appreciation from the fans. Cena then turned the applause to boos when he cheap shotted Kidman, who was playing to the crowd. Cena controlled the majority of the match, but near the end Kidman was able to reverse Cena into the ropes and hit him with an elbow. He set him up by the turnbuckle and began to go for the shooting star press, but The Attitude Era came out of the crowd and attacked both men, drawing boos.

Winner: Draw

JR: I can’t believe it! The Attitude Era has found a way back into Raw again!

Lawler: How were they able to sneak in again?

Cut to a commercial.

(My match lengths are beginning to increase, which is a good thing.)

Crowd: 65%

Match: 82%

Overall: 73%

SKeith: **3/4

The Attitude Era Rambles On, Shane Makes a Challenge

After the commercial, The Attitude Era were still in the ring. Sean Morley was in the middle of a speech.

Morley: We will not be silenced! We will be heard! You can bring all the goons you want from the back, but it won’t matter, because next week, we’ll be here. And the week after that, we’ll be here. We’ll continue to show up by any means necessary until somebody gives us a chance to prove ourselves! Because I guarantee you…

Sean Morley’s speech was cut off by Shane McMahon’s music, which got a good pop.

Shane: Whoa, whoa, whoa, Sean, I don’t quite understand what you mean when you say that you were never given a chance in the WWE, because if I remember correctly, you and your two friends were given every opportunity to succeed, but you just dropped the ball every single time. If you want to crash a McMahon party, you can go right ahead, but I’m warning you now, if you play with fire, you’re going to get burned.

Morley: Is that a threat? Is the big corporate machine threatening us? You can try all you want to shut us down, McMahon, but in the end, we’ll still be the thorn in your side.

Shane: (looking like he is thinking things over carefully) Well, what if we decide to play at your level then, Morley?

Morley: (caught off guard and confused) What do you mean?

Shane: Well, what about this, you and your men will all wrestle one match each. If you win the majority of the matches, you get a contract and a chance to prove yourself. But if you lose, you can’t ever show up at a WWE event ever again. Not as a wrestler, not as a fan, not even as a hot dog vendor. If you lose, you’re out of here.

Morley: Three matches?

Shane: One tonight, one next week, and the last one at WrestleMania.

Morley: Who do we face?

Shane: If you accept, tonight, let’s say D’Lo would take on one of the men you just flattened out, Billy Kidman. Next week, Taka would take on his former partner Funaki, and at WrestleMania, you would take on… me.

The announcement got a big pop.

Morley: Okay, Shane, you’re on!

(I thought this segment started strong and ended weak. A little commentary by JR would have been a nice way to cap it off and I think it would have been best to keep the Attitude Era’s other two opponents a secret at this point. The problem with Shane making himself an opponent is that Shane isn’t really that tough of a challenge. And why let Morley get a WM match? What should have been done is that Morley should have acted as a thorn in Shane’s side until Shane made the overconfident challenge to Morley just so he could fight him. Morley, knowing he had an opportunity to wield some power, would demand the match be at WM. That’s probably how I would fix that.)

Overall: 77%

Lance Storm and Raven Hype Their Match

Cole: Tonight, you two gentlemen will be teaming up to face the Dudleys. Why such an odd pairing, considering you both have other partners?

Raven: This is a declaration of Kanyon and mine’s alliance with The Un-Americans. This is to show to the world that we are united against the Dudleys. We’re not going to back down.

Lance: And once the Dudleys are out of the way, the rest of the tag division will be easy pick-offs from there on.

(Seems somewhat reasonable to me, although I really should have ditched the Un-American gimmick considering it wasn’t really playing a significant role at this point.)

Overall: 79%

The Dudley Boyz vs. Raven and Lance Storm

The Dudleys controlled the earlier part of the match, exploiting the lack of experience their opponents had as a tag team. Raven and Storm cheated to get ahead though and used a lot of old school heel tactics that really got the fans riled up. Raven was in the ring with Bubba and whipped him into the roped, Storm tripped him and D-Von came out of his corner in protest. While the ref was busy with D-Von, Lance came in with a chair. Raven held back Bubba, but as Lance swung, Bubba ducked, causing Lance to hit Raven with the chair. Bubba cotheslined Lance out of the ring and pinned Raven for the win.

Winners: The Dudley Boyz

Raven and Lance begin a shoving match.

JR: It looks like there’s trouble in paradise!

Kanyon and Regal rush out and separate the two. After a few seconds of negotiation, the two hug.

(This might be nitpicking, but maybe a handshake would be better. Hugging just seems a little awkward considering how they’ve only been an alliance for a week.)

Crowd: 73%

Match: 86%

Overall: 79%

SKeith: ***

Goldust Interview

Cole: Goldust, it was officially announced this morning that you and Test will have a match at WrestleMania. You seemed unprepared in your match with him last week, how prepared do you think you will be at WrestleMania?

Goldust: Cole, did it ever cross your mind that maybe my demeanor in the ring was a guard? I’m not afraid of Test. It’s all mind games. Or is it? In two weeks at WrestleMania, Test will see just how scared of him I actually am.

Overall: 80%

Test Makes an Impromptu Challenge

Test’s music hit and he walked out to the ring with a mic.

Test: Goldust, come out here right now!

Goldust’s music hits and then he comes out (wow, dejavu).

Test: Goldust, I don’t want to wait until WrestleMania! I want you in the ring, right here, right now!

JR: Test isn’t wasting any time!

Goldust: (walking to the ring) Test, Test, Test, are we getting a little impatient? (By this time he is up on the apron) Do we need…

Test jumps Goldust and drags him into the ring. The crowd pops big time as Test gives Goldust a Test Drive and walks away.

(Laaaame. I could have at least put them in a tag team match.)

Overall: 75%

WWE Tag Team Championship Match: Reckless Abandon vs. Team Angle ©

The debut of Reckless Abandon is a positive one in this electrifying match. There were a lot of high flying moves used by Helms and Chavo brought a lot of technicality to the table. Both Haas and Shelton cheated like mad during the match to gain an advantage. In the end, the cheating was enough to grab a victory, as Shelton pinned Chavo via a handful of tights.

Winners: Team Angle

JR: I’m telling you, King, it won’t be too long before all that cheating catches up to them.

(I don’t have a problem with Reckless Abandon losing their debut match. I think the way the match was set up put them over since Team Angle had to cheat to win.)

Crowd: 65%

Match: 87%

Overall: 76%

SKeith: ***

Randy Orton Talks Trash

Orton: Tazz, tonight you challenged me in a match under two stipulations. One, the only way to win is by submission, and two, if you win, you get to pick the type of match you and Batista will have at WrestleMania. Well, Tazz, I feel sorry for you because obviously you were misinformed of my superior technical skills. As far as I’m concerned, tonight is just me softening you up for the beating you’ll get at WrestleMania.

Overall: 70%

Submission Match: Tazz vs. Randy Orton

Batista did not accompany Orton. Tazz started things off with a lot of power moves and stiff punches.

JR: Tazz is wearing his opponent down, but he better start going to some submission holds, or else it won’t do him any good.

Randy turned the match around with some arm bars, wearing down Tazz’s right arm, but Tazz eventually came back and locked in the tazzmission for the victory.

Winner: Tazz

JR: Tazz gets to pick the stipulation in his match against Batista at WrestleMania!

(This could have been written better, but I like the booking. Randy Orton’s still a glorified jobber, but I think this (in theory) put over his technical skills.)

Crowd: 62%

Match: 84%

Overall: 73%

SKeith: **3/4

Billy Kidman vs. D’Lo Brown

D’Lo is in street clothes, keeping the realism alive. The Sean Morley and Taka Michinoku come down with him, but Kidman is accompanied by Shane. Kidman and D’Lo put on a great match. Morley and Taka would trip Kidman up, and Shane would then proceed to chase them and keep them in check. Kidman seemed to have the match won when he went for the shooting star press, but Morley came in the ring and moved D’Lo. Shane jumped in the ring and pounced on Sean, dragging him out of the ring. Kidman did the Kid Krusher on D’Lo and scored the victory. Once Sean realized what had happened, he started going spastic.

Winner: Billy Kidman

JR: Sean Morley and the rest of The Attitude Era are already one step behind Shane McMahon!

(This was okay as far as the description went. It was enough to explain the match, but not so much that I was annoyed to write it all. I’m not wild about the booking choice. I think the faces should have been the ones to have to come from behind.)

Crowd: 57%

Match: 83%

Overall: 70%

SKeith: **1/2

Christian, Jamie Noble, and Matt Hardy vs. Rey Mysterio, Tajiri, and Al Snow

This was one of the best matches the next generation of WWE superstars have had so far, next to Rey and Noble’s matches at No Way Out. All the guys got to wrestle the person who they are facing at WrestleMania to add hype to the matches. Jamie Noble acted cocky all throughout the match and treated Rey like he was nothing. The match ended with Rey getting a victory roll on Noble for the pin.

Winners: Rey Mysterio, Tajiri, and Al Snow

JR: Rey Mysterio has just proved to Jamie Noble that he’s a force to reckon with!

(I think it would be a fun match to see, but as far as the description went, it didn’t seem all that great. Still, according to Scott Keith, it was our best match yet.)

Crowd: 76%

Match: 88%

Overall: 82%

SKeith: ***1/4

Overall Show Rating: 76%

Rating: 4.21

(This was an overall okay show. Things were beginning to smooth out and feuds were being developed. Guys like Tazz and Batista were beginning to be established as main eventers (even if I wouldn’t necessarily succeed with both).)

** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

It was another day and another buck was being made, well not really. I work for free.

Me: Sophie, you know what? I really am a genius, aren’t I?

Sophie: You might be on the same level as Lanny Pofo, but I don’t know if I’d go any further than that.

(Oooooh… a vague Genius reference.)

Me: Words hurt, Sophie.

Sophie: You really think you’re a genius?

Me: Maybe.

Sophie: Well, check out this memo, genius. (she hands me a memo)

Me: (Reading) Vince wants a new announcing team? He’s giving me full reign on this decision and he wants the color to debut this Monday, and the lead after WrestleMania. I thought it wasn’t in the budget…

(Ah, finally. Lawler’s gone and JR is about to follow. I wish I would have given a good reason here though.)

Sophie: We’ve been making money lately.

Me: Shouldn’t paying me be a first resort?

Sophie: You’ll work for free no matter what. You know it, Vince knows it, the whole enterprise knows it. You’re a monkey boy.

Me: A genius monkey boy.

Sophie: (getting in my face) No, just a monkey boy.

Me: Oh. Well, let’s figure out what to do with this announce team. Who are we on good terms with that have talent?

Sophie: Practically no one.

Me: Let’s think, what about the wrestlers? Can any of them announce?

Sophie: Yeah, several. Al Snow, Raven, Chavo, they’re all capable.

Me: Hmmm… that would just hinder story lines. Do we know of anyone at all?

Sophie: Well, there is this one guy…

Me: Oh, who? Who? Tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me.

Sophie: Didn’t your mother teach you any manners?

Me: No. Tell me, tell me, tell…

Sophie: Alright already. But… we have to be careful. No one should overhear this.

(That means YOU.)

(Sophie writes a name down on a piece of paper and slides it over to me, looking around her shoulder nervously)

Me: Oh! Are you sure that’s such a good idea?

Sophie: It would work.

Me: Well, yeah, but what’s Vince going to say?

Sophie: He gave you full reign over this decision. Apparently he can’t say too much. Besides, what’s he going to do, fire the guy who works well for free, or hire another expensive trendy college graduate who doesn’t know what they’re doing for a hefty price?

Me: Fine. Give him a call. And look around for lead commentators.

Sophie: I think I already have one in mind, but I won’t say anything until I get a hold of him.

Me: Oh, tell me, tell me, tell…

Sophie: (grabbing my collar) Put a sock in it, monkey boy!

Me: Sorry…

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I really like this diary and how you nit pick yourself. I am just getting of to writing my third diary (and hopefully, this one will stick for a long time.) I do have a little criticism from the past if you dont mind.

Dark Match: Tommy Dreamer, Billy Kidman, Funaki, and Jeff Hardy vs. Raven, Steven Richards, James Maritato, and Justin Credible

The dark match at No Way Out, this really could have been the set up for a much quicker ECW reunion rather than waiting till a couple of Raws later to actually hint at the idea. This move could have saved you in the ratings and given you a reason to push Raven, Tazz, Dreamer, and Credible (or is just me that likes him?) up to really jump start your upper midcard.

Just my 2 cents thought.

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I really like this diary and how you nit pick yourself. I am just getting of to writing my third diary (and hopefully, this one will stick for a long time.) I do have a little criticism from the past if you dont mind.

Dark Match: Tommy Dreamer, Billy Kidman, Funaki, and Jeff Hardy vs. Raven, Steven Richards, James Maritato, and Justin Credible

The dark match at No Way Out, this really could have been the set up for a much quicker ECW reunion rather than waiting till a couple of Raws later to actually hint at the idea. This move could have saved you in the ratings and given you a reason to push Raven, Tazz, Dreamer, and Credible (or is just me that likes him?) up to really jump start your upper midcard.

Just my 2 cents thought.

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Raw

March 24, 2003

TNN

JR: Welcome everyone to Monday Night Raw! I’m Jim Ross and whether I like it or not, I’m joined with my new co-host, Paul Heyman.

Heyman: That’s right, JR! I’m back whether you like it or not! And this time, I don’t plan on going away! You’re going to be stuck with me for a long time!

JR: We’ve barely started the program and you’re already irritating me!

Heyman: I’m just speaking the truth, JR!

JR: Whatever. Well, folks, let’s head down to the ring and get ready for another great edition of Raw!

(This was a pretty bad exchange, but I was really glad to get Lawler out of the way.)

Rey Mysterio Issues a Challenge

Rey Mysterio comes down to the ring with a microphone.

Rey: Last week I proved to Jamie Noble that my win over him at No Way Out was not a fluke. Now, I know that I’ll get my title shot next week, but my mind’s been reeling the past seven days, and I want my match now!

JR: That sounds like a good idea to me!

Jamie Noble’s music hit and he came out with a mic.

Noble: Whoa, You want your match tonight, Rey?

Rey: I don’t care, I want my match tonight!

Noble: Okay, you got it.

The fans cheer wildly.

Rey: Right here tonight?

Noble: Yeah, you’ll have your match tonight.

JR: Alright! It’s on!

Noble just stood there with a big smile on his face until they cut to a commercial.

(Ugh. Another really bad exchange. I’m on a roll.)

Overall: 83%

Chavo Guerrero vs. Charlie Haas

JR: This is a warm-up match for WrestleMania. These two teams will be battling it out for the tag team titles. And Paul, I have a sinking feeling that Team Angle’s luck will run out Sunday night.

Heyman: Well, JR, I happen to disagree, because it’s not luck that’s gotten Team Angle this far, it’s determination. This is one of the most technically sound tag teams I’ve seen in years and I think their chances of winning their match at WrestleMania are great!

(That exchange is more like it.)

Both men were escorted by their respective tag team partners. Haas got the early advantage by jumping Chavo when he got in the ring. Shelton would occasionally get involved, tripping Chavo or holding his legs, but Helms would chase him away. Chavo came back and hit a brainbuster later on the match. Shelton ran in the ring to break the count, but Helms ran in and clotheslined him right back out. Chavo then got the pin.

Winner: Chavo Guerrero

(Nothing too phenomenal, but I think it was able to illustrate the team work Chavo and Hurricane were developing.)

Crowd: 56%

Match: 89%

Overall: 72%

SKeith: **3/4

John Cena vs. Jeff Hardy

JR: Both of these are two young guns who have a lot to prove. Jeff Hardy’s had his brush with success in the past already; he’s a multiple time tag team champion.

Heyman: While that may be so, Cena is in great shape and, in my humble opinion, has the drive to beat Jeff Hardy tonight.

Jeff Hardy controlled early on, hitting some of his signature moves. Cena, out of desperation, threw Jeff to the outside to regroup himself. Once he was done, he went out of the ring and the two started brawling. The fight spilled back inside where Jeff set Cena up for the Swanton. Jeff pulled the move off, but Cena moved out of the way and hit a Proto-Bomb for the win.

Winner: John Cena

Heyman: I told you, JR! I told you! John Cena is far superior to Jeff Hardy! I told you Jeff Hardy would lose this match!

JR: I never said who was going to win!

(John Cena finally gets a little bit recognition, but it would have made more sense if he and Kidman would have finished the match they started. On the other hand, that would have most likely involved Kidman winning. It would be a real waste of an opportunity to have Kidman defeat D’Lo and then go on to lose to Cena the next night.)

Crowd: 69%

Match: 83%

Overall: 75%

SKeith: **3/4

Goldust Warns Test

Goldust is backstage by himself.

Goldust: Test, in less than a week you and I will be squaring off at the greatest event of all time, WrestleMania. I’ll make this short and sweet, Test: You better not plan on leaving that building in one piece, because I’m going to slowly pick you apart until I’ve dismantled you. I’m giving you fair warning now. If you go in that ring next week, be prepared.

Overall: 83%

Tajiri vs. Johnny Stamboli

JR: Folks, it was just announced this morning that Tajiri and Christian’s match at WrestleMania will be unsanctioned. Whatever happens in that match is not the fault of the WWE’s and you can bet that those two men will go all out.

Heyman: It’s a scary situation for both individuals. They can bring weapons, brawl to the back, brawl out to the streets, they can do whatever they want.

Tajiri starts off with the early advantage, giving Stamboli several stiff kicks to the side and legs. Stamboli comes back with some power moves early on, but Tajiri ends up getting the duke with a Kick of Death.

Winner: Tajiri

JR: I think Tajiri is more than ready for that unsanctioned match at WrestleMania!

Christian ran in with a chair and began to hit Tajiri with it. He laid Tajiri out on the floor and nailed him with a one man con-chairto.

Heyman: I think Christian is also ready!

(The development of the feud picks up a little bit here. Simple, but affective in my book.)

Crowd: 68%

Match: 87%

Overall: 77%

SKeith: ***

Tazz and Batista Brawl

Tazz walked out with a mic in his hand, presumably to cut a promo, but he was attacked on the ramp by Batista. Tazz fought back and the two began to have a wild brawl outside the ring. Road agents and referees came out and tried to separate them, but it was no use.

Heyman: These two hate each other with a passion! It’s impossible to keep them apart.

After a while of brawling, both men were busted open and bleeding all over the place. Randy Orton and Tommy Dreamer even came out to separate the two. About seven people, including Dreamer were holding Tazz back as nine or so guys, including Orton were walking Batista to the back. Tazz found his microphone and grabbed it.

Tazz: You think you’re a tough guy, huh? You think you can stand man-to-man with me, Batista? Well, how about this? At WrestleMania, let’s raise the bar. How about you fight me in a last man standing match?

Batista enthusiastically nods his head, audibly saying “I’m gonna kill ya!”

JR: I can’t believe it! A last man standing match!

(Two major stipulation matched for WrestleMania announced too close to each other. Still, I like both stipulations, especially this one.)

Overall: 69%

Raven, Chris Kanyon, and The Un-Americans Interview

Cole: Well, it was announced today that all four of you guys will be taking on the Dudleys at WrestleMania, not in a handicapped match, but a three-way match. How do you feel about this decision, considering your alliance?

Regal: Micheal Cole, it makes no difference because we, as an alliance, are rock solid.

Cole: Things didn’t appear that way last week on Raw when Raven and Lance Storm got in a shoving match.

Lance: Cole, you’d be wise to shut your mouth!

Raven: The truth is, there was a little tension, but we’ve smoothed things over now and everything will be alright.

Cole: So everything will be fine in the three-way match coming up next?

Kanyon: The three-way match? Regal’s wrestling Bubba one-on-one.

Cole: Um, no, I believe that’s a three-way match with you in it as well.

Kanyon threw his arms up into the air, walked off camera, and swore. All the other men looked distressed.

Overall: 73%

Chris Kanyon vs. Bubba Ray Dudley vs. William Regal

The majority of the match was spent with Regal and Kanyon double teaming Bubba. Bubba ended up ducking a Kanyon clothesline that hit Regal out of the ring instead. Bubba nailed Kanyon with the Bubba Cutter and got the first pin to eliminate him. Regal ran into the ring and started arguing with Kanyon, which allowed Bubba to catch him off guard and pin him after a Bubba Bomb.

Winner: Bubba Ray Dudley

JR: The Un-Americans, Raven, and Kanyon certainly do not look like they are ready for next week!

(I’m not wild about the development here, as it was more about the tension in the heel alliance and less about the Dudleyz.. If I remember correctly, it led to some fun stuff though.)

Crowd: 72%

Match: 80%

Overall: 76%

SKeith: ***

Taka Michinoku vs. Funaki

Taka was escorted by Sean Morley and D’Lo Brown. Shane McMahon came out with Funaki and announced that all wrestlers but the two competing had to leave ringside, drawing a pop from the crowd.

Heyman: This is it, JR! Taka needs to win this match to keep his The Attitude Era’s chances of success alive.

JR: That’s right. If Taka beats Funaki then Sean Morley has the chance to wrestle Shane McMahon at WrestleMania to fight over a contract for himself, Taka, and D’Lo Brown. But if anybody can beat Taka, it’s going to be his former partner, Funaki.

They started the match with a bunch of reversals, which got applause from the crowd. They kicked it up a notch mid-match by doing a bunch of high flying spots. Taka hit Funaki with an asai moonsault to the outside.

Heyman: Taka Michinoku has a dangerous arsenal of aerial maneuvers, JR!

Funaki gained control later on in the match and prepared to hit Taka with a top rope maneuver, but Taka hit the ropes, causing Funaki to crotch himself, went up on top and hit a Michinoku Driver for the pin.

Winner: Taka Michinoku

JR: Sean Morley’s going to WrestleMania to battle Shane McMahon!

(I like these match descriptions a lot better than the previous ones and I felt that this match was able to obviously put Taka over but also put Funaki over as a credible threat. Too bad I didn’t follow up on that.)

Crowd: 59%

Match: 85%

Overall: 72%

SKeith: **3/4

Al Snow and Matt Hardy: Face-to-Face

Al Snow came out with a mic.

Snow: For the past two months, Matt Hardy has been a pain in my side. I tried to go into the Round Robin Tournament being as fair of a player as possible, but Matt had to get in the way of fairness just because he couldn’t take a loss…

Matt Hardy then came out also with a microphone.

Matt: Hold on one second there, Al. I was robbed of that title, I hope you know. I had that match won, but you cheated.

Snow: How did I cheat?

Matt, obviously not knowing what to answer with, slapped Al across the face and the two began to have an intense stare-down that lasted until they cut to a commercial.

(This was a bunch of nothing and I was painfully trying to stretch the feud out. Unfortunately, this would sore me on both men for a little while, most notably Snow who, the more I think about it, probably should have been in the title picture.)

Overall: 75%

Rico vs. Rey Mysterio

Rey Mysterio entered first, looking prepared to wrestle Jamie Noble, but instead Rico’s music hit.

JR: That’s not Jamie Noble! He chickened out!

Rey looked disappointed, but nonetheless, got things started off early by hitting a plancha on Rico before he even entered the ring.

Heyman: Now come on, JR! You can’t tell me that’s fair!

JR: I’ll tell you what’s not fair: backing out of a title defense!

Rey and Rico had a really good match. Rey was able to hit all of his signature moves and ended it with a West Coast Hop.

Winner: Rey Mysterio

JR: Well, title shot or no title shot, Rey Mysterio gave us his all tonight and you can bet that at WrestleMania…

JR was cut off by Jamie Noble running in and attacking Rey.

JR: Well, he could at least have the decency of not ambushing him!

Heyman: Jamie Noble is a mastermind, JR! He’s carefully plotting his success at WrestleMania! Rey Mysterio’s in trouble because I don’t think that there’s any chance of him winning that match next week!

The show ended with Jamie Noble laying Rey out with a Tiger Bomb.

(I can’t say that I’m a big fan of that booking choice, but I was still learning at this point. It’s also frustrating to see that I was wasting Rico in a nothing role as well.)

Crowd: 79%

Match: 84%

Overall: 81%

SKeith: ***1/4

Overall Show Rating: Missed it once again

Rating: 4.23

(This was a pretty bland show leading up to WrestleMania 19. Hopefully things pick up.)

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WrestleMania 19

March 30, 2003

PPV

Dark Match: Billy Kidman vs. John Cena

Kidman and Cena got to finish the match they were never able to complete two weeks ago on Raw. A nice spotty match which was filled with some psychology. Cena worked on Kidman’s right leg, which slowed him down quite a bit. It didn’t keep Kidman from getting the win though. He pinned Cena after a shooting star press.

Winner: Billy Kidman

(Hey, here’s that match. And the right guy went over two. I think I just saved face.)

Crowd: 65%

Match: 83%

Overall: 66%

SKeith: **

WrestleMania opened with a lot of pyro. Jim Ross and Paul Heyman were seated ringside.

JR: Welcome everyone to the greatest sports entertainment event of the year! I’m Jim Ross seated alongside the always overbearing Paul Heyman.

Heyman: Even you can’t ruin this night for me, Ross. I’m so excited because tonight it’s put up or shut up time for Rey Mysterio. We’ll finally be spared of his whining and begging when Jamie Noble puts his lights out!

JR: Also tonight, one of many matches, Tajiri and Christian will fight in an unsanctioned match! There’s no telling what could happen in that one.

Heyman: And the match I’m most excited about, Sean Morley vs. Shane McMahon! If Morley wins this match, he and his crew will get contracts back into the WWE! The best part is it was just announced an hour ago that the match will be Falls Count Anywhere!

JR: That one’s sure to be a slobberknocker. But right now let’s get ready to see the settling of a grudge. Al Snow and Matt Hardy is the first match of the night!

Al Snow vs. Matt Hardy

Al Snow takes the Hardy boy to the mat and tried to wear him down. Matt was one step behind Al, who was schooling him. Frustration became obvious when he resorted to punching him in the face, starting a brawl in the ring between the two. Matt controlled for a while, but when he went for the Twist of Fate, Al was able to reverse it into a Snow Plow and got the win.

Winner: Al Snow

JR: Al Snow just got retribution!

(This was nicely placed on the card in my opinion. There was nothing flashy here, just a decent match to settle a sub par feud.)

Crowd: 72%

Match: 86%

Overall: 71%

SKeith: **1/2

Last Man Standing Match: Dave Batista vs. Tazz

JR: Tazz may be a mean sun of a gun, but Paul, I just don’t know if he can take down a monster like Batista in this type of match.

Heyman: Tazz may possibly be one of the most miserable men I’ve ever met in my life, but Batista is a mammoth. Even if Tazz did get him to submit last month, it’s going to take a ton more strength and skill to knock the man out!

This was a wild and bloody brawl. Batista started with an early advantage by pounding Tazz down and keeping him on the ground. Tazz started to make a comeback when he hit Batista with a few T-bone suplexes, but Randy Orton ran in with a chair and plastered him.

JR: That’s perfectly legal in this match, folks!

Randy and Batista set up a table on the outside to powerbomb Tazz through and then double-teamed him for a while until Tazz was able to suplex Batista and then nail Randy with a chair, which busted him open. Tazz then put the Tazzmission on Randy, knocking him out.

JR: Tazz has the Tazzmission on Randy Orton. He’s out!

Tazz and Batista continued their match. Tazz busted Batista wide open with a chair shot and applied the Tazzmission.

Heyman: Tazz isn’t stupid! He saw that the technique he used against Randy worked and now he’s trying it on Batista.

Batista ran backwards into the corner, breaking up the submission. He picked Tazz up, carried him to the outside of the ring up on the apron and then did a sitout powerbomb right on the table, knocking Tazz out and giving him the victory!

Winner: Dave Batista

JR: That match was unbelievable!

Heyman: Like him or hate him, Batista earned that victory!

(I still really like that ending. The match didn’t do great in the ratings and the description, although much improved over matches from the previous month, maybe not have done justice to what I had in mind.)

Crowd: 70%

Match: 87%

Overall: 70%

SKeith: **1/2

The Dudley Boyz vs. Raven and Kanyon vs. The Un-Americans

JR: There’s been a lot of dissention between the alliance against the Dudleys, Paul. It’ll be interesting to see how well that coalition holds up in this match.

The two heel teams made a lot of quick tags to each other, trying to wear down the Dudleys early on. They picked on D-Von, keeping him in the corner a lot. Eventually, he was able to make the hot tag to Bubba and he cleaned house. Bubba then slapped the hand of William Regal, so that Regal and Raven were in the ring together. Raven went to the corner of the Dudleys to yell at them about how they won’t fight each other, but Regal saw an open oppurtnuity and gave Raven a neckbreaker, which earned him a pin and the first elimination. Raven and Kanyon were furious and beat on the Un-Americans before they were pulled to the back by referees.

JR: It looks like Raven and Kanyon just got screwed!

The second fall came when The Bubba easily pinned a worn out Lance Storm.

Heyman: That beating by the Un-Americans’ former allies was just enough to give the Dudleys an easy win!

Winners: The Dudley Boyz

(Again, the focus is a little off in this feud. I think maybe Regal should have gotten the win on the last Raw so that the Dudleys didn’t defeat both of these teams at every turn.)

Crowd: 77%

Match: 86%

Overall: 72%

SKeith: **3/4

Goldust vs. Test

JR: This feud has been a steaming pot of water, just waiting to boil over!

Heyman: Oh, that was a real great analogy, JR!

JR: And I guess you could do better?

Heyman: Why, yes I could. This match needs no analogies, just a simple explanation. It’s a feud sparked by betrayal and hate. If the ring is able to confide these men the entire match, I’ll be surprised.

Test overpowered Goldust in the majority of the match. The fans were eating it up, as Test was just pulverizing him for their delight. Goldust got in a lot of offense near the end thanks to some old school heel tactics. He choked Test on the ropes and put his legs on the ropes for leverage during rest holds. Test ended up getting the win, after he hit Goldust with a big boot followed up by a Test Drive.

Winner: Test

(Eh, it was what it was. The feud was bland, but I don’t think this match was offensive or anything.)

Crowd: 79%

Match: 77%

Overall: 70%

SKeith: **1/2

WWE Tag Team Championship Match: Team Angle © vs. Reckless Abandon

Heyman: JR, this is just the opportunity that Team Angle needs at this point. For two months they have been surprising everyone in the business with their impressive victories and tonight they’ll get their biggest one yet at WrestleMania against two of the greatest athletes at this time.

JR: Well, I agree with you on that last part, but I think tonight we’ll be seeing Team Angle’s fluke winning streak come to an end.

Team Angle cheated throughout the entire match, which got the fans all jacked. Helms and Chavo made a comeback near then end of the match, but it was stopped short by a belt shot on Chavo from Shelton Benjamin.

Heyman: It’s about time someone hit him with one of those!

Shelton covered Chavo, but he was able to kick out and get the hot tag to Helms. Helms was on fire, but soon was slowed down by Team Angle and Haas was able to get the pin after a Haascracker.

Winners: Team Angle

(The problem here is that it was vital for Team Angle to have at least a decently long title reign to establish themselves and Reckless Abandon needed some kind of momentum. I decided that a loss would have been more damaging for Team Angle (and the tag belts for that matter) and thus they got the win.)

JR: I’ll give credit where credit is due, Heyman, those two youngsters pulled out all the stops in that match.

Crowd: 67%

Match: 91%

Overall: 71%

SKeith: **1/2

Unsanctioned Match: Christian vs. Tajiri

Heyman: This might get a little scary, JR. There’s no telling what these two men are capable of at this point. Both of them are obsessed over hurting the other one.

JR: Referee Charles Robinson is watching over this match and his only job is to merely count the pins. Everything else he must let go on, no matter what. And you were right, Paul, this could get scary.

Christian brought a chair to the ring and immediately swung at Tajiri, who ducked and was able to turn around and hit Christian with a super stuff kick to the head.

JR: This one might be over now!

The pin only got a two count. Tajiri picked him up and the two brawled around the ring for a long while. Tajiri locked in the tarantula, released it and kicked Christian to the outside. He followed up with an asai moonsault out the ramp area. The two brawled up near the entrance way where Christian was able to gain an advantage. He tried to throw Tajiri over the edge and onto the hard concrete floor, but he was able to reverse it and kick Christian square in the face. Christian, blown away by the kick, fell backwards nestea plunge style into a bunch of tables. Tajiri played to the crowd a little and then hit a moonsault on Christian, which got him the pin and victory.

JR: That’s amazing! I can’t believe that both of those individuals are still alive!

Winner: Tajiri

(Not too shabby.)

Crowd: 73%

Match: 89%

Overall: 82%

SKeith: **3/4

Falls Count Anywhere Match: Shane McMahon vs. Sean Morley

JR: This match has high stakes, Paul. If Morley wins, he and his group get contracts back into the WWE, but if Shane wins, they’re never to be seen at a WWE event ever again, under any circumstances.

Heyman: A lot is on the line for Morley.

Sean Morley came out alone. He was wearing his old black tights. They both kept the match relatively close to the ring. Shane was able to gain a close advantage near the beginning, but Morley’s experience was too much. Sean controlled the majority of the match. Near the end Shane was able to make a minor comeback when he hit Sean with a flying elbow. And set him up for a Sky Twister Press.

JR: Shane may win this after all!

Shane jumped up to perform the move, but Morley moved out of place, which caused Shane to land flat on his face. Morley saw his opportunity and hit the money shot for the victory.

Winner: Sean Morley

JR: The WWE higher-ups will be forced to give Sean Morley, D’Lo Brown, and Taka Michinoku contracts!

(One of the big problems here was that this just followed a match in similar fashion. And what was the pint of a Falls Count Anywhere Match if they stayed in the ring?)

Crowd: 56%

Match: 76%

Overall: 59%

SKeith:*1/2

WWE Heavyweight Title Match: Jamie Noble © vs. Rey Mysterio

Heyman: This is it, JR! This one is for everything both of these men have ever dreamed of. One of these men’s’ purpose in life will be fulfilled tonight. One of these men will walk out of WrestleMania the WWE Heavyweight Champion of the world!

This was a really good fast paced match. Both guys seemed to have a counter for the other’s every move. Near the end Rey hit a 619 which was followed by a beautiful moonsault. He went for the cover, but only got a two count. He signaled for the West Coast Hop, but Jamie Noble reversed it into a Tiger Bomb. Noble seemed to have the victory in his grasp, but he only got a two count. He argued with the ref, which left Rey just enough time to gather himself and hit a dropkick.

Heyman: Jamie Noble just made a mistake that may cost him the match.

Rey signaled for the West Coast Hop and this time was able to hit it for the pin and victory.

JR: Rey Mysterio has done it! He’s become the new Heavyweight champion! His dream has come true!

Heyman: What a battle that was, JR! Even I have to admit, Rey Mysterio deserved that win!

Winner: Rey Mysterio

(This was not a WrestleMania main event. I like the match, but this was not what I needed. The right guy went over, I think, but at the expense of Noble’s push.)

Crowd: 83%

Match: 93%

Overall: 79%

SKeith: ***

Overall Show Rating: 71%

Buyrate: 0.63

Attendance: 7,687

(At the time I remember someone criticizing this show, saying it didn’t feel like WrestleMania; it just felt like a normal show. I can’t say I disagree. Back when I first posted it I felt that this was less my fault and more a result from my self-inflicted handicap. However, now I think that I was pushing the wrong guys in the wrong places. I’m all about pushing cruiserweights, but considering I had John Cena, Randy Orton, and Dave Batista on the roster, three current WWE main event level guys (in my opinion), it was really a mistake to go the route I did. But there’s no turning back now. In the end, I do believe it all worked out.)

** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Boy, did I realize I just made a dumb, dumb mistake. I was trying to figure out why the crowd reaction for the Shane/Morley match was so low… well, I never turned Shane face. D’oh! I feel sheepish. I feel so cheated…

Sophie: Well, you did it. Vince was very pleased with WrestleMania. Overall, he thinks there was something missing, but more or less, he was happy.

Me: That’s a load off of my mind.

Sophie: We’re going to do clip show to hype WrestleMania on Raw, so you don’t have to book it.

Me: Hey, great! That’s another load off my mind!

Sophie: Here are some memos from the wrestlers.

Me: Your good news streak has ended, Sophie. You should feel ashamed.

Sophie: Just read them.

Me: Okay… it looks like it’s time to move Tajiri up the roster, as well as Chavo. Keep Goldust where he’s at for now.

Sophie: Will do. Okay, get ready for your end of the month meeting.

Me: But tomorrow is the end of the month.

Sophie: Vince is full of surprises. Now get ready.

(I grabbed a pen and notebook to look important and headed to McMahon’s office immediately. Unlike last time, I was fully confident)

Vince: Welcome. I see you’ve arrived on time this month.

Me: Yeah, my watch is a little fast.

Vince: Well why don’t you keep it that way then. We have some news to keep you updated. IPW has gone bankrupt.

Me: That’s too bad. All those jobs are lost.

Vince: What are you talking about? It’s great!

Me: Oh, yeah, I mean, good! All of those jobs are lost! Ha ha!

Vince: That’s the corporate way! Our budget is expanding. We’re using the money to increase production and advertising costs. We’ve laid off a few announcers and referees, so if you feel the need to hire any talent, you are allowed to do so.

Me: Um, yeah, about this budget increase, do you think that maybe I could cash in on a little of that?

Vince: (all of a sudden getting serious) Are you saying that you’d like a little something in return for all of your hard work?

Me: Yeah, that’d be nice.

Vince: Ha ha! Well, why didn’t you say early?

(Vince reaches into a drawer and pulls out a sucker)

Vince: Here you go! Don’t eat it before supper.

Me: …You’re serious, aren’t you?

Vince: What do you mean?

Me: Uh, never mind. Thanks, Vince.

(That’s one of my favorite Vince moments in the diary. And speaking of Vince, I failed to mention earlier why I chose to use Shane McMahon as the WWE’s figurehead as opposed to Vince. At the time I felt that people were a little burnt out on the old man and I thought that since I was pushing a Next Generation so to speak, it would help build a new, younger image to have Shane appear. Vince wouldn’t appear in the diary at all, although he missed his EWR debut by about a month. As I continued the diary on my own, he had a major influence on Chris Jericho’s big WrestleMania headliner.)

Raw Rating: 4.52

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  • 2 months later...

April 7, 2003

TNN

Joey Styles: Welcome everybody to Monday Night Raw! I’m Joey Styles, filling in for Jim Ross today, and I’m joined by my former boss, Paul Heyman.

(I really didn’t like JR on commentary. I just couldn’t get a feel for his style. Plus, I’m a bit tired of him in reality, so this is a change I would like to legitimately see.)

Heyman: And Joey, tonight is the beginning of an eight man tournament to crown a new WWE Intercontinental Champion.

(I love tournaments! I just wish the reintroduction of the Intercontinental Championship would have been a little more monumental.)

Styles: That’s right. There will be four matches tonight for that tournament. Plus, Christian, Tajiri, and Jamie Noble will all wrestle to decide who will be the #1 contender for the Heavyweight title at Backlash. But right now, let’s see the first match in that tournament!

Randy Orton vs. Tommy Dreamer (Tournament Match)

Styles: While we don’t have the brackets for this tournament yet, we do know that the winner of this match will go on to face somebody next week.

(I didn’t release the brackets quite yet just in case of an injury. I’ve always found that it’s much easier to bounce back from an injury if you have the freedom to shuffle tournament brackets around a bit. You don’t want to get stuck with an undesirable match if it’s avoidable.)

Heyman: And personally I’m going to go with Randy Orton on this one. He not only has more ability than Tommy Dreamer, but he also has more brains than him.

Styles: Well, that remains to be seen on my account.

(Oh, you tell him, Joey.)

Tommy Dreamer opened the match up by brawling with Orton.

Styles: Randy may have more technical ability, but Dreamer has him beat in one area: brawling!

Dreamer goes outside, looks under the ring and finds a kendo stick.

Heyman: Oh, well wasn’t that conveniently placed, was it Joey?

Dreamer got back in the ring, swung the stick, Orton ducked and hit Dreamer with the O-Zone for the win.

Winner: Randy Orton

Styles: Randy Orton with a promising showing here tonight! He may very well go on to win this tournament!

(What is the O-Zone anyways?

I wish I would have put more stress on Randy Orton stepping his game up a bit. At this point he was transitioning away from being a whipping boy and I wish the commentary or the story in the ring would have reflected that transition a bit more.)

Crowd: 65%

Match: 81%

Overall: 73%

SKeith: **3/4

The Attitude Era Attack Tazz

Tazz came out to cut a promo.

Tazz: Last week, Batista successfully defeated me in the most grueling match of my career. And although that conniving little piece of crap called Randy Orton interfered early on in the match, the man beat me fair and square. Now, I’m a man of integrity, so I’m coming out here to congratulate…

The Attitude Era’s music played, interrupting Tazz.

Morley: What is this garbage? You lost, Tazz. We all saw it last night, we’re all very aware that you got beaten into the ground by Dave Batista. Why don’t you just go in the back, cry in the locker room, and let the rest of the boys in the back have some matches? Do you realize that the only member of The Attitude Era that has a match tonight is D’Lo? Taka and I have to sit back and not have a match tonight so that we can make room for your pitiful speech about how you got beaten a week ago.

Tazz: I’m trying to…

Morley: No, no, no, don’t even try to explain yourself, Tazz. You know what? If we can’t wrestle tonight, the least we could have a person to beat on.

The Attitude Era rushed to the ring and began to beat down Tazz. They all hit him with their signature moves and then Raw cut to a commercial.

(I feel satisfied with everything here except Tazz’s last line: “I’m trying to…” It just seems a little weak for Tazz. Overall though, The Attitude Era are making the presence felt and hey, they actually had a good point.)

Overall: 78%

Tazz Challenges Morley

After the commercials were over, The Attitude Era was going to the back and Tazz was still in the ring, gathering himself. He crawled over to a mic and grabbed it.

Tazz: You said you wanted a match tonight, Morley? Okay, I’ll give you a match. I was supposed to wrestle Rikishi tonight, but I want you instead!

Morley still had a mic with him.

Morley: You want me in a match tonight? Alright, you got it!

Styles: That’s going to happen tonight!

(Commissioner Tazz? I think the presence of Shane McMahon was certainly needed here.)

Overall: 75%

Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy (Tournament Match)

Styles: This is the second of four matches tonight in the tournament. This one should be interesting. These guys are brothers and they trained together.

Heyman: This is definitely going to be a close match, and for once, I don’t know who will win.

Matt started off aggressively, but Jeff countered all of his moves.

Styles: Jeff Hardy knows his brother so well that he has a counter for his every move.

The ending came when Jeff went for a Swanton Bomb, but missed because Matt moved. Matt then finished his brother off with a Twist of Fate.

Winner: Matt Hardy

Styles: Matt Hardy moves on in the tournament!

(The description here was a little too barebones. I like the idea of Jeff countering everything. An interesting story could have been told here as Jeff could have let Matt been the aggressor as he counter wrestled. Matt, frustrated, would then have resorted to cheating (or at least cheap, but legal, tactics) to win the match.)

Crowd: 72%

Match: 86%

Overall: 79%

SKeith: ***

Raven and Kanyon get revenge on the Un-Americans

The Un-Americans walked to the ring with a mic.

Lance: As I’m sure most of you saw us got royally screwed at WrestleMania. Unfortunately for us, we had aligned ourselves with two incapable human beings. Had we been in that match against the Dudleys one-one, there’s no doubt that we would have come out the victors.

Regal: So what we’d like right now is for that miserable Raven and Chris Kanyon to get their retched selves out here to and apologize for what they did to us at WrestleMania.

Raven and Kanyon ran out and slid into the ring with a surprisingly huge ovation. They immediately began to beat down on Storm and Regal and cleaned house.

Styles: I guess that’s as much of an apology as they’re going to get!

(This seems like a pretty ho-hum segment. Trying to imagine this live, I think it would be a little underwhelming. This could have all been changed though by just filling the segment out a little bit. Like the match that preceded this, it just seemed a little too barebones. Had Raven and Kanyon come out to seemingly apologize and then turn on their former partners, a little tension would have been added.)

Overall: 97%

D’Lo Brown vs. Scotty 2 Hotty

D’Lo was escorted by Taka. This match was basically a squash. Scotty was allowed quite a bit of offense actually, but D’Lo destroyed him more-or-less, ending the bout with a Lo Down.

Winner: D’Lo Brown

Crowd: 59%

Match: 81%

Overall: 70%

SKeith: **1/2

WWE Heavyweight Championship Match: Rey Mysterio © vs. Shelton Benjamin

Styles: Shelton Benjamin, who along with his partner Charlie Haas, has had a lot of success recently. Now he has a chance to prove himself even more by beating the best man in the company at the moment.

Heyman: If there’s any two men in the business right now who can get an upset victory of this caliber, it’s Team Angle. I’m going to go out on a limb, Joey, and predict a surprise victory.

Shelton controlled a lot of the match, using a lot of technical moves to take Rey down. Rey began to pick up a little steam when he was able to pull of the 619. Charlie Haas ran down, but Rey hit him with a plancha before he could even touch the ring. Rey catapulted himself in the ring with a West Coast Hop and got the win.

Winner: Rey Mysterio

Styles: Rey Mysterio is definitely an amazing wrestler!

(This is actually a match I would love to see at this point in time. And I actually liked it in this alternate reality. Shelton poses some kind of threat, but doesn’t exactly lose any overness by being defeated either.)

Crowd: 75%

Match: 88%

Overall: 81%

SKeith: ***1/4

Al Snow vs. Goldust (Tournament Match)

Styles: Here we go with another tournament match. Again, folks, we don’t know what winners will go on to face who, but we do know that all of the winners will wrestle next week.

Goldust and Snow wrestled around for a while, neither gaining a great advantage. Goldust was able to set up for a Shattered Dreams, but Al got out of place just in time. Goldust tried to do a Curtain Call, but Al reversed it into a Snow Plow for the win.

Winner: Al Snow

Crowd: 77%

Match: 81%

Overall: 79%

SKeith: ***

Test vs. Dave Batista (Tournament Match)

Heyman: This is yet another tournament match, Joey, and in my humble opinion, the winner of this one has the best chance for victory.

Styles: You might be right with this one.

They started things off with a test of strength, which was broken up by a kick to the stomach by Batista. Both men continued to use a lot of power moves. Test go the surprise win with a Test Drive.

Winner: Test

Styles: Test won! He’s going to move on in the tournament!

Batista eventually gathered himself and plowed Test with a clothesline. He then proceeded to give Test a Sitout Powerbomb.

Heyman: The ending of that match did not set well for Batista at all!

(I actually remember someone sarcastically replying in my diary that a Test/Batista feud would be deadly to this diary (or something like that). This was not in response to that at all. However, lucky me, the ratings don’t look too shabby. But in reality, yeah, this would have sucked.)

Crowd: 70%

Match: 82%

Overall: 76%

SKeith: ***

Tazz vs. Sean Morley

Morley came down with Taka and D’Lo.

Styles: I don’t know how smart it was for Tazz to request this match after the beating he got earlier today.

Heyman: That will be a major factor in this match, you can count on that.

Morley dominated early on, taking advantage of a worn-out Tazz. Every time Tazz would begin to fight back, Taka or D’Lo would be on the outside tripping him or doing something else distracting. Tazz eventually T-Bone suplexed Morley and ran outside the ring to chase the other two. He tackled Taka, but D’Lo was able to throw Tazz back in the ring, where a rested Sean Morley hit him with the Fisherman Suplex for the pin and victory.

Winner: Sean Morley

Heyman: Tazz was trying to bite of more than he could chew and paid for it!

Crowd: 72%

Match: 84%

Overall: 78%

SKeith: ***

#1 Contender Match: Jamie Noble vs. Tajiri vs. Christian

Styles: The winner of this match will go on to Backlash to wrestle the WWE Heavyweight Champion, which right now is Rey Mysterio.

Heyman: I’m glad you mentioned that Rey Mysterio is only the champion right now, Joey, because we’re in the next generation of the WWE! Anything could happen this month.

All three men worked very well together, allowing each an equal amount of time to hit their signature moves. Jamie Noble was the first eliminated when Tajiri hit him with a springboard moonsault. Noble freaked out and began attacking him.

Styles: Noble has flipped! I think he was a little too confident that he would be winning this match since he was champion only a week ago.

Referees were finally able to pull Noble out of the ring. Christian quickly pinned Tajiri, but he only got a two count.

Styles: We’re down to Tajiri and Christian. Both men have been battling it out these last two months, so they’re very familiar with each other right now.

Christian beat down on a depleted Tajiri and eventually got the pin with an Unprettier.

Winner: Christian

Heyman: Christian will go on to Backlash to wrestle the WWE Heavyweight Champion!

(So Rey and Tajiri swap opponents to feud with. Now I’m not biased against cruiserweights or anything, but I think by having only cruiserweights in my main event scene, it has made that area of the card look a little weak. But better times aren’t too far off. As far as match quality goes, this was not necessarily a bad thing.)

Crowd: 76%

Match: 90%

Overall: 83%

SKeith: ***1/4

Overall Show Rating: 79%

Rating: 4.59

** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Tuesday morning rolled around and I was sitting in my office in a great mood.

Me: You know what, Sophie? Life’s good. Things would be perfect if I just had a salary.

Sophie: Where do you live anyways?

Me: In Rikishi’s living room at the moment, until I can find it in my budget to get a place of my own.

Sophie: You have no money, which means you have no budget.

Me: Yeah, I know. Don’t tell Rikishi.

Sophie: (sigh) Here are your papers for today.

Me: Hmm… Randy Orton would like moved up the ranks. I was going to do that anyways, so that’s nothing to worry about. And… NWATNA has a contract with Eddie Guerrero… why do we care?

Sophie: Because Eddie’s a good, over wrestler. Vince likes to make sure everyone knows what all of the former employees are doing.

Me: Is this called foreshadowing, Sophie?

Sophie: It might be if this wasn’t real and we were being watched (she looks over at you, the reader)…. But that’s ridiculous!

(Ooooh… foreshadowing.)

Me: Yeah, I guess you’re right! What’s that paper in your hand?

Sophie: It’s the list of what companies have hired and released what wrestlers. I only point out the important ones to you.

Me: Let me see that. Oh, no! XPW hired Evil Dead! What are we going to do? Sophie, this is hilarious. Why didn’t you ever show me?

Sophie: Companies hire crappy wrestlers every week. Even us. We have Rikishi, don’t we?

Me: I never really thought about it, but you’re right.

Sophie: Now, onto the really bad news.

Me: What’s that?

Sophie: Remember your big angle with The Attitude Era?

Me: Yeah, isn’t it great?

Sophie: Vince doesn’t like the stable. He likes Morley just fine, but not the other two.

Me: Rats! There has to be something I can do, but what?

Sophie: Oh, I have an idea, genius. What about get them over?

Me: That’s a horrible suggestion, Sophie. Wait a second, I have an idea! It’s so simple; I can’t believe it never crossed my mind. All I have to do is get them over a little more.

Sophie: I hate you.

Me: Jealousy isn’t an attractive trait.

Sophie: But if you don’t get it done like you want by Backlash, what then?

Me: I think I have a back-up plan…

(Here’s some sad news: I had huge plans for Eddie. It was a real shame that he got picked up because he was set for a role that would end up being filled by another former employee.

And as far as D’Lo and Taka goes, I really wish I would have pushed them as a tag team more than I did. I think maybe they could have worked out similar to the way Roderick Strong and Jack Evans have in ROH. As far as characteristics go, the dynamics between those two teams are very different, but in style and reason for being a team, they are similar. I really think it could have worked.

But what’s in the past is in the past (well, technically, it’s in the future for this version of the diary). There are a lot of exciting things coming up, like a new Intercontinental Champion, a ladder match, and an Oregon Trail Death Match! Okay, there’s no Oregon Trail Death Match, but there should have been.)

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Raw

April 14, 2003

TNN

Styles: Welcome everyone! I’m Joey Styles subbing again for Jim Ross…

Heyman: And I’m Paul Heyman!

Styles: Tonight’s program is packed, ladies and gentlemen! We’ll see Rey Mysterio defend the Heavyweight title against Goldust, Raven and Kanyon challenge Team Angle for the tag belts, and plus two matches in the tournament for the Intercontinental Championship! And speaking of that tournament, here’s one of those matches now!

Al Snow vs. Matt Hardy (Tournament Match)

Styles: These men have been seeing a lot of each other in the ring the past few months.

Heyman: That’s right, Joey. Matt Hardy and Al Snow just finished a gruesome feud at WrestleMania. This should be an interesting match.

They began the match with a ton of counters. Throughout the match both men began to counter the other’s signature moves, showing that the two are very familiar with one another. Al Snow was able to get the pinfall after a snowplow.

Winner: Al Snow

Styles: Al Snow’s going to go to Backlash to wrestle the winner of the Randy Orton/Test match!

(The ending of the match could have used a little more clarity, but I liked the attention that was drawn to the counters.)

Crowd: 73%

Match: 86%

Overall: 79%

SKeith: ***

Sean Morley Challenges Tazz

Sean Morley and The Attitude Era came out to the ring with a mic.

Morley: Now, Tazz, I want you to realize that what happened between you and us last week on Raw was strictly business related. Our destiny in the WWE is to dominate and you have to realize that you stood in between that. And I also realize that our match last week was a little unfair. You were beaten to a pulp by us earlier. I’ve been thinking about it all week, Tazz and I’ve decided that I need to teach you a lesson tonight! You and me, one-on-one, Tazz! I’m going to prove to you, myself, and the world, that you are inferior to me!

Tazz’s music hit and he came out with a mic.

Tazz: You want a match with me tonight? A fair match? Well, I got some news for you son, you’re right about the match we had last week. I’m not one to piss and moan, but you did have an unfair advantage. And now you want to challenge me tonight in a one-on-one match? Well, forget it!

Sean Morley looked stunned.

Tazz: I don’t want a one-on-one match! I want all three of you tonight in this ring!

Styles: Tazz is crazy!

All three members of The Attitude Era look stunned and then laughed.

Morley: Alright, Tazz. It’s your funeral. You got a deal.

(Hey, not too bad by my account, but maybe I’m a bit biased. I think at this point I was improving on fleshing out my verbal segments.)

Overall: 79%

Rico vs. Billy Kidman

Kidman and Rico had a nice filler match. Rico used standard heel offense until Kidman got the win with a Shooting Star Press.

Winner: Billy Kidman

Crowd: 68%

Match: 81%

Overall: 74%

SKeith: **3/4

WWE Tag Team Championship Match: Team Angle © vs. Raven and Chris Kanyon

Styles: Two matches were announced this morning for Backlash. One involving Reckless Abandon and Team Angle and the other The Un-Americans and Rave and Kanyon. Depending on how this match, we may see the tag belts switch over to the other match.

(It’s a good thing Joey wasn’t being the slightest bit vague here…)

It was apparent in this match just how over Rave and Kanyon are getting. The fans cheered wildly for their every move. Team Angle used their usual heel tactics to gain a lot of heat. Raven and Kanyon began to mount a comeback when Raven got a hot tag to Kanyon. Kanyon was a house of fire and hit the Downward Spiral on Shelton. He went for the cover, but Regal and Lance ran down to the ring and Regal pulled Kanyon off. Kanyon began to yell at them, leaving himself wide open for a Super Kick from Shelton, giving Team Angle the win.

Winners: Team Angle

Styles: Those bitter Un-Americans have ruined Raven and Kanyon’s chances!

The Un-Americans gave Raven and Kanyon a post match beat down.

Heyman: What wonderful tactics by the Un-Americans! They’re wearing Raven and Kanyon down before their match at Backlash!

Crowd: 71%

Match: 83%

Overall: 77%

SKeith: ***

Jamie Noble Interview

Cole: Jamie Noble, earlier today you challenged Tajiri to a match tonight. Why?

Noble: I’ll tell you why, Cole, because I was a shoe in for that match last week on Raw. That victory should have been mine, but Tajiri stole it from me. I’m a man of honor and integrity, so I’m going to accept my loss, but you can bet that I’m going to take my anger out on Tajiri. And since I am a man of honor and integrity, I’m going to do it in the ring.

(Jamie Noble: super heel. As much as I like the idea of Jamie Noble being a man of integrity, it doesn’t fit with a heel character unless that heel is being a walking contradiction. In Noble’s case, that part of his character wasn’t being drilled in hard enough and I think the contradiction part fell flat.)

Overall: 84%

Jamie Noble vs. Tajiri

Noble bombarded Tajiri with a flurry of punches as soon as he hit the ring. Noble dominated almost the entire match. He concentrated on Tajiri’s right leg mostly.

Heyman: Jamie Noble is putting a lot of damage on the right leg of Tajiri which is seriously going to hurt the Japanese Buzzsaw’s chances of winning. The majority of his offense lies on that one leg.

Noble looked at the crowd and signaled for the Tiger Bomb, but when he turned around Tajiri hit him with a Kick of Death with his left leg.

Styles: Tajiri’s full of surprises!

Tajiri pinned Noble and won the match.

Winner: Tajiri

Tajiri bowed to the audience a few times and a recuperated Jamie Noble attacked him from behind.

Styles: And I suppose that’s an example of Noble’s honor and integrity!

(See, the contradiction is there, just not enough. He should have been cheating throughout the match. Just standard heel tactics would have gotten the job done.)

Crowd: 75%

Match: 94%

Overall: 84%

SKeith: ***1/4

Randy Orton Interview

Cole: Randy Orton, in just a few minutes you’re going to be wrestling Test for a shot at the Intercontinental belt. All day long you’ve been talking about how angry you are at Test because of his victory over Batista, but shouldn’t you be relieved that you don’t have to wrestle your friend?

Orton: Micheal, it’s not about what I want, it’s about what Batista deserves. And Batista deserves no less than Test’s head on a platter for what he did to him last week.

Cole: All he did was beat him fair in a match…

Orton: He deprived Batista of success, Cole! That match was designed for a Batista victory, and Test disrupted those plans in favor of his own. Well, tonight, I’m going to ruin Test’s plans.

Overall: 76%

Randy Orton vs. Test (Tournament Match)

Randy Orton was accompanied by Dave Batista. Orton took a while getting ready, trying to frustrate Test. Eventually Test caught him and started to pound down on him. He seemed to have the match won when all of a sudden Batista shoved the ref on the ground and hit Test with a chair. Randy Orton covered him and the ref, not knowing what happened, crawled over and counted the pin.

Winner: Randy Orton

Batista and Randy beat down on him post match.

Crowd: 71%

Match: 81%

Overall: 76%

SKeith: ***

Tazz Prepares for Match

A clip is shown of Tazz hitting a punching bag right before a commercial break.

Styles: Tazz’s match against The Attitude Era is up next!

(I think this is the only time I used the “preparing for a match” segment in a diary. It’s an option I always forget about and even though it doesn’t seem to do a lot as far as storyline progression goes, I think it worked here.)

Overall: 74%

Tazz vs. The Attitude Era

The Attitude Era came out first and they all stayed in the ring, waiting for Tazz. Tazz’s music hit but he came out with a mic and stopped at the entrance ramp.

Tazz: You know something… you mentioned earlier today that our match last week wasn’t very fair. So I just decided not too long ago to throw a curve ball at you tonight. This isn’t going to be a handicap match. No, it’s going to be a 6-man tag match!

(Commissioner Tazz is at it again. As with the last show, Shane McMahon presence could have been used here.)

The Attitude Era looked angry.

Tazz: And like I said before, when you look for help, you always go to family.

The Dudley Boyz’ music hit, so the match changed to…

Tazz and The Dudley Boyz vs. The Attitude Era

Tazz and the Dudleys hit the ring and were immediately attacked. A big brawl broke out between all six men, but it was eventually settled down and the match resumed like a normal tag match. Morley stayed away from Tazz the entire match. Bubba seemed to have the win, but D’Lo rolled him up and held the tights, getting the cheap win.

Styles: What a bunch of cowards!

Winners: The Attitude Era

Crowd: 67%

Match: 82%

Overall: 74%

SKeith: **3/4

WWE Heavyweight Championship Match: Rey Mysterio © vs. Goldust

Styles: I just got some huge news via the headset. A total of four matches have just been announced for Backlash: Jamie Noble vs. Tajiri, Test vs. Dave Batista, D’Lo Brown and Taka Michinoku vs. The Dudley Boyz, and a one-on-one match between Sean Morley and Tazz. And get this Paul, no other wrestlers are allowed at ringside for that one.

Heyman: That is huge news!

Rey put on another fantastic showing. It was a good match, which only purpose was to put the belt and Rey over. Mysterio won after a West Coast Hop.

Winner: Rey Mysterio

Styles: Rey has won this match and I think he’s prepare for… wait! It’s Christian!

Christian ran in with a chair and leveled Rey.

Heyman: You know what I think, Joey? I think it looks Christian is just a little more prepared and focused than Rey!

The show ended with Christian staring down at Rey.

(In retrospect, the segment with Tazz preparing for his match could have been used as a match for Christian.)

Crowd: 83%

Match: 85%

Overall: 84%

SKeith: ***1/4

Overall Show Rating: 78%

Rating: 4.51

Backlash Card:

WWE Heavyweight Championship Match: Rey Mysterio © vs. Christian

Raven and Chris Kanyon vs. The Un-Americans

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: Randy Orton vs. Al Snow

Tajiri vs. Jamie Noble

Test vs. Dave Batista

WWE Tag Team Championship Match: Team Angle vs. Reckless Abandon

*** *** *** *** *** *** ***

I was relaxing in my office Thursday morning. I was in the midst of booking next week’s Raw already and I was stuck on what to do in a few segments, so I was a little stressed out. Sophie came in and slammed some papers down on my desk.

Sophie: The wrestlers are a little upset right now.

Me: Huh? Why?

Sophie: Batista started a fight with Justin Credible last night at a house show.

Me: What’s the story behind it?

Sophie: Credible was ribbing on him about how he didn’t have to pay his dues and Batista just slugged him.

Me: Hmmm… so what’s going to happen to him?

Sophie: Vince is making that your call.

Me: Why me?

Sophie: He has a lot of faith in you, I think. I don’t think he wants to make a decision that will screw up the booking for Raw. Things have been going nice lately.

Me: Well traditionally how is this stuff usually handled?

Sophie: The wrestler is either warned or suspended.

Me: Warn him for now. If it happens again, I guess I can make up for it somehow.

Sophie: The boys in the back may not be too happy with that decision.

Me: Yeah, but I really want him in action right now. If it happens again, we’ll suspend him

Sophie: Alright, if you say so. Oh yeah, I talked to Tajiri and Jamie Noble and they told me to ask you what you thought of moving them up the ranks.

Me: We’ll keep them where they’re at now, but they’ll be moving up soon anyways.

Sophie: Okay. Oh yeah, and one more thing before I let you finish what you’re doing.

Me: Yeah?

Sophie: It looks really unprofessional to go to work with no pants and just boxers.

Me: But these are nice boxers. See, they have little whales.

Sophie: (sigh) You’re impossible.

(I used to have boxers like that. I kind of miss those.)

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