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Monday nights rule
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun


RAW vs. Smackdown! It's no contest in my books. Week after week, RAW is the must-see TV show, while Smackdown! too often looks more like an afterthought. To watch Smackdown! live is like watching paint dry. It just seems to take forever, owing to the fact that it's taped, with large empty sequences between matches.

I can't really put a finger on my dislike for Smackdown!

I love the likes of John Cena, Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, The Big Show ... and hell, I've grown to like JBL, though his group of henchmen do nothing for me.

And The Undertaker is The Undertaker, a living legend.

But guys like Heidenreich, Luther Reigns and The Bashams ... well, maybe that's why my TV set is tuned to Simpsons reruns on Thursday night.

Then there's the announcers. I just love RAW's Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler.

I love the way they control the pace of the program and how well The King plays off good ol' JR.

That same chemistry doesn't happen on Smackdown! I've got nothing against Tazz ... I've always believed he was overrated as a wrestler.

And, maybe I expect too much out of him as an announcer, but he just doesn't cut it. Neither does Michael Cole. The show needs more charisma. And, I suspect, it needs Cena or Angle to be its champion soon.

I drop everything for RAW. The 9-11 p.m. timeslot on Monday nights at home is mine. I sit entranced in front of my TV set. It is wrestling programming at its best, although it has certainly had some pretty dark moments, too.

With Smackdown's No Way Out pay-per-view tonight, I shouldn't be coming up with negatives, especially since it looks like there'll be a couple of excellent matches.

But in the deep corners of my mind, I've come to expect I'll be disappointed if it has the Smackdown! stamp on it.

- Here's the card for No Way Out. JBL will put his title on the line against The Big Show in a barbed wire cage match; The Undertaker faces Reigns; Angle meets Cena; The Bashams face Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero. And in a six-man cruiserweight elmination match, it'll be Funaki vs, Paul London vs. Shannon Moore vs. Chavo Guerrero vs. Spike Dudley vs. Akio. Joy, Michelle, Rochelle and Lauren will compete in three events to determine Smackdown! Rookie Diva of 2005.

- Western wrestling fans will be happy when RAW and Smackdown! roll through late in May. Calgary gets a RAW TV show on May 30, while Edmonton gets Smackdown! on May 31. It looks like WWE will make its next swing through this side of Canada in late July and early August. It's possible Toronto could get a Smackdown! TV show during the tour.

- Rowdy Roddy Piper will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame during Wrestlemania ceremonies.

- JBL married Meredith Whitney, a Fox Business News contributor.

- Toronto's Squared Circle Pro Wrestling Gym is searching for new wrestlers. Check out www.squaredcircletraining.com for details.


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