Every Tuesday and Friday we give you the scoop on what's happening in and out of the wrestling ring.

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in...


Raw Thoughts
Wrestling is a funny business. Just when you think you've seen it all, something comes along that kicks you right in the crotch. Last night, former WCW general manager Eric Bischoff was named the new General Manager of Raw.

If you started watching wrestling in the last few years, you may not know who Eric Bischoff is and why this is such a monumental event. Bischoff gave a little bit of his background on air last night, but really only scratched the surface.

It's true that he did try to destroy the WWE while he was running WCW. It's true that he did sign away the WWE's top talent and that he'd give away the results of taped Raw programs live on Nitro. He once challenged Vince McMahon to fight him at a WCW pay per view and then had live cameras outside the building waiting for McMahon to show up. Bischoff signed Rick Rude away from the WWE after Rude had taped an edition of Raw. The night the taped Raw aired with Rude on it, the wrestler appeared live on Nitro. And now Eric Bischoff works for the WWE.

In the wrestling world, this is the equivalent of Hitler being named ambassador to Poland.

I get the feeling some days that Vince McMahon was recently cursed with the Chinese proverb "may you live in interesting times." Hulk Hogan was welcomed back with open arms to the WWE after testifying against McMahon in the 1994 steroid trial. One of his biggest stars, Steve Austin, has flown the coop to Looneyville. McMahon recently tried to patch things up with the traitorous Vince Russo.

Three years ago ECW, WCW and the WWF were locked in a vicious battle against each other and now all three figureheads of those companies are on Raw. To quote Paul Heyman's reaction to Bischoff's appearance, "What a f***ing business, huh?!"

As wrestling fans, we live in interesting times as well. The WWE is so desperate to get out of the funk they are in they are giving us things that a successful company would never even consider. Now the real question is, will it work? The WCW, ECW and NWO invasions have all tanked. Shawn Michaels and The Rock's return have yet to make a ratings impact.

Can Eric Bischoff make a difference? The answer is a definite maybe. While Eric was announced as General Manager to Raw, he is actually only an onscreen personality and has no real power. But maybe word of mouth and that sense that anything can happen in the WWE can help. If nothing else, I know that writing about the return of Bischoff is more fun than writing about a Bradshaw vs. Chris Nowinski match.

Speaking of which, the rest of Raw was solid entertainment. I'm sure we were all expecting Stephanie or Shane McMahon to be named as the General Manager which might have caused a riot. Yet another surprise that had a good payoff. One thing I did notice is that Bischoff's return was structured in a way to get a better rating. Bischoff appeared in the Booker T skit and then they went to commercial so we could all call our friends and tell them to turn on Raw. That type of time management is what got Raw out of its previous slump and it's good to see them paying attention to things like that again. It was also nice to see Eric is dying his hair again.

Jeff Hardy's push is on again this week after going on hiatus last week. I'm all for a Hardy push but why does the WWE insist on keeping Guerrero and Benoit as a team? Wouldn't they be more effective as singles stars? The more you clump up the good wrestlers means the more holes that need to be filled by Molly Holly and Bradshaw matches.

The NWO is dead at long last. I'm not really sorry to see it go, other than I'll miss Shawn Michaels. Hopefully he'll be back soon enough.

Tommy Dreamer followed up his hot promo last week with a "ruthless aggression" style match this week with Stevie Richards. I could watch two men beat the bejesus out of each other with sticks all night long. I'm digging Dreamer's new push so far.

I'm looking forward to Smackdown to see who the new GM of that show is, but it will be tough to top the shock value of Bischoff. I'll just bet now that it's Stephanie McMahon which gives Triple H incentive to jump to Raw. I'm also looking forward to next week's Raw to see how they follow up on Bischoff's debut. I guess business may be picking up after all.

Orton Injured
WWE newcomer Randy Orton was knocked out during his match with Batista at a house show over the weekend. Reports are that Batista went for a clothesline, but it appeared Batista's arm was too high and caught Orton square in the head. He landed awkwardly.

Batista stalled for a minute, then went to pick up Orton, but the newcomer was limp and didn't respond. After throwing a glance at the referee, Batista covered Orton for a quick pin. Medics then entered the ring and tended to Orton for about five minutes, including reviving him with smelling salt. Orton eventually made it to the back mostly under his own power, probably suffering a mild concussion. The WWE isn't really confirming or denying that at this time.

The Natives Are Restless
An Associated Press report states that the Hawaiian community is upset with Rock being cast in the role of a Hawaiian in the upcoming movie about Hawaii's Kamehameha the Great (not the guy from Dragon Ball Z). I guess they find it ridiculous that Kamehameha is going to be played by The Rock, who is half Samoan. The Samoans were a fierce enemy of the Hawaiians during that time. Hey, Australian born Mel Gibson played The Patriot and no one complained. Ok, no one complained about that part because they were too busy talking about how much the movie sucked, but I digress…

Russo Interview
Land of the evil pop ups, 1Wrestling, has an exclusive interview with Vince Russo posted. In it he reveals that he made the call to Vince McMahon about returning, not vice versa. He also defends his decision to give David Arquette the WCW world title and talks about his new role with NWA-TNA. Check it out here.

I think that's enough for today. Be sure and check out yesterday's new Book It and join me again on Friday.

Michael Goodson




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