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RAW deal just isn't what it used to be for me
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun


Is it just me or is wrestling just not as riveting these days?

Used to be, not so long ago, you couldn't tear me away from the TV on Monday nights.

My wife would poke her head in. "Not now. I'm watching RAW. Talk to you when it's over," I'd bark at the intruder.

That was my own little world -- a universe made so captivating by characters like "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and The Rock. Those guys could talk ... and I'd hang on every word.

It was a delicate blend of comedy, trash talk and good old ass kicking. But it worked. I was hooked.

Now don't get me wrong ... I still park my carcass on the couch each Monday night. And, for the most part, I still like what I see. But it's not the same. The magnetism, the charisma ... something is missing.

And don't get me started about Smackdown! First, if you've ever seen a Smackdown! TV taping live, you know that it's slow moving. It lacks that live electricity because it's taped a few nights earlier. And then to watch it ... well, most Thursday nights here in Canada, I just can't be bothered. Tazz and Michael Cole? Uh, no!

All is not doom and gloom. I like the charisma of guys like Edge and John Cena. I like Triple H when he's going sledgehammer on someone. I like the maniacal, power-walking Vince McMahon. I like Carlito and think he's cool. I like ... no, I love Trish Stratus and the divas, some of them are being unfairly cast into wrestling roles. I like The Big Show, just wish he'd get a chance to become the monster champion he should be. I like Shelton Benjamin and his Mama. I like, no I love Ric "The Nature Boy" Flair ... just wish he'd get more microphone time. I like Joey Styles, but I miss Jim Ross.

I like most of what I see on TNA and will be happier when it moves to a better time slot soon.

Wrestling has come a long way since the main event would see the champion of the day beat on a jobber for four minutes. I guess I just want more.

More vignettes. More wrestling. More comedy. More T and A. And more (or any) Stone Cold Steve Austin. Tough customer to satisfy, eh?

- Mean Gene Okerlund has been added to the list for WWE's Hall of Fame inductions on April 1, the day before Wrestlemania, in Chicago. The ceremony will be taped and aired on TSN on April 3, at 8 p.m.

- Shawn Michaels vs. Shane McMahon during Saturday Night's Main Event? Say what you want about Shane O'Mac, but the guy has pulled off a couple of "Holy S--t" daredevil moves in his short wrestling career. Saturday Night's Main Event, on March 18 at 8 p.m. on NBC, will also feature Cena and Triple H vs. Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio and either Kurt Angle or The Undertaker.

- A couple of readers wonder why I don't give more coverage to TNA's Impact.The fact is the show airs late Saturday night, too late for press time. Now, I know the event is taped, but the fact is some segments are edited, others are cut out. So to report on the tapings would be inaccurate. Can't wait for that prime-time TV slot. And stay tuned for more TNA interviews in upcoming columns.

- Canada's Walk of Fame, hosted by Stratus, on March 8, will be open to the public at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Toronto (the southwest corner of John and Richmond Streets). Fans should arrive by 7:30 a.m. Seating is first-come, first-served, and Trish will sign autographs immediately following the press conference.


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