Raw from JHawk's Beak (1/27/2003)by Jared "JHawk" Hawkins
Jan 27, 2003, 23:26
Raw from JHawk's Beak (1/27/2003)
by Jared "JHawk" Hawkins
This week's Raw recap is being brought to you by Sports Night: The Complete Series on DVD. Get your copy NOW!
E-Mail of the Week: Last week, I questioned how D'Lo Brown could cry racism over being left out of the Royal Rumble when Booker T and Shelton Benjamin were both in. TSM reader Mat explains:
They were teaming with white people! Shelton has R.C. Haas (I refuse to call him Charlie) and Booker has Goldust. Meanwhile D'Lo, a proud black man, is not allowed in the Rumble! CONSPIRACY! CONSPIRACY!
... I'm just kidding, but at least there's an explanation. I like Teddy Long as a manager, though, I think he's a pretty good mic worker.
Well, if you have to have a reason for it, there you go. And I do think Long as a manager can work, but in my opinion D'Lo is a good enough mic worker that he doesn't need a mouthpiece.
If you want to be immortalized in the E-mail of the Week, then drop me a line at the link at the end of this article.
Super Bowl thoughts: Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their victory over the Oakland Raiders. I'm not surprised the Bucs won it, but I am surprised they won it that handily. I would like to know how the game would have ended up had Raiders receivers actually caught the short passes. When Tim Brown drops an easy one, you know it's going to be a long day. But what do I do on Sundays until August rolls around?
Now, onto matters concerning last week's Raw. Some of you have expressed concern as to how anybody could have bought into the Stacy Keibler chairshot angle when A) the chair clearly hit the post and B) Test's acting sucked. First off, yes, the chair hit the post. It's called a sound effect. It was there because sometimes the sound makes you ignore what your eyes are actually seeing. You weren't supposed to be watching the ringpost. You were supposed to be watching the chair and Stacy's reaction as it made "contact". As far as Test's acting goes ... well, I still don't think it was all that bad, but I can see where people might be upset with it. But in fairness to Test, I've had some acting classes, and pretty much anybody with any acting experience will tell you that crying on cue is one of the hardest things to pull off. Of course, once upon a time the same angle would have been sold without one of the wrestlers needing to cry about the chick getting a chair shot. Whatever happened to simply showing concern? That's the way the business has changed, I guess.
Tonight: Bischoff has 16 (or 14 or 28 or however many they claim this week) days left of guaranteed power, and he still has to turn Raw around. Like making it a halfway decent show. However, instead of trading Triple H and the rest of the Four HOSS!men (thanks to Bob Jurkerson) even up for Chris Benoit and firing Scott Steiner, thus making the show ten times better by default, he's banking on Steve Austin to show up nearly two full weeks after his deadline expires. Oh, and maybe they'll have some of those alleged wrestling matches too. If they thought that far ahead, anyway.
Let's begin, shall we?
Last Monday, Scott Steiner challenged Triple H, got Batista instead, and then got his ass kicked by four guys.
We are live from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois! Kane and RVD vs. HHH and Batista (one good worker, which means one more good worker than last week's main event)! Will Stone Cold answer Bischoff?
One fall: Booker T vs. Mr. Extreme
No Test or Stacy tonight after last week's "tragic accident". Last week, Hardy lost to RVD and teased a heel turn. Booker with a side headlock to start. Hardy breaks it into a hammerlock. Headlock by Booker, and he hooks the arm, but Hardy flips out of it. Nice wrestling so far. Booker starts pounding at Hardy. Forearms and chops. Irish whip, and Hardy comes back with a flying forearm and a series of punches for 2. Booker with more chops. Hardy blocks a backdrop and clotheslines Booker for 2. Into a chinlock. Arm wringer, but Booker reverses and hits a leg lariat. Spinning heel kick gets 2. Punch in the corner. Whip, but Hardy gets the feet up and dropkicks Booker for 2. Hardy avoids a spinning leg lariat, then ducks a leg lariat and Booker crotches himself. Hardy up top, but he misses the Whisper in the Wind. Booker with a spinebuster for 2. Hardy ducks a scissor kick and gets the jawbreaker. Double legdrop to the "lower abdomen". Up top, and this time he hits the Whisper in the Wind, but only for 2. Corner whip, but Booker with the Jack Brisco rollup for the pin at 4:45 of a surprisingly decent matchup. ** Booker gets the SPINNAROONIE, but turns around into a Hardy clothesline. He dumps Booker over the top rope and climbs up top, but Booker moves and Hardy hits the guardrail. Nick Patrick prevents further action.
Big Poppa Steroid Pump is backstage, and
Hey, one segment and I'm not completely bored with show. They're improving! A pretty decent opening match, and notice that Hardy did less of the high flying stuff this week and got a better match out of it. The heel turn could be just what Hardy needs to freshen his act a little bit (should they pull the final trigger on it, which I'm not sure they will).
They've done a hell of a job with the Nathan Jones vignettes, but the last Aussie that got this treatment was Outback Jack. Think about it.
Scott Steiner makes his way to the ring, and if I understand any of this, I'll attempt to translate. Last week, everybody saw what happened, and Steiner knows Hunter orchestrated it all. Steiner's getting "WHAT"ed about three sentences in. Steiner calls Hunter out again, and here comes Hungry Hungry Hippos, but he's not in his gear even with a match later tonight. He's like my ex-girlfriend before a friend's wedding. Hunter wants to know how long it's going to take Steiner to get the hint that he's better than Scotty. HUGE "you suck" chant, and I don't know if that's because they think he's a good heel or if it's because they're bored with him already. Hunter says he'll prove it to Steiner one more time, but he forgot to mention that Steiner doesn't just get him...he gets the rest of the Four HOSS!men as well. So if he still wants it, he has no problem with it. They hit the ring and have him surrounded, but Steiner has a "lead" pipe to keep them at bay.
HHHater Clock: 1 segment, 4:07. Well, they haven't named Triple H's supergroup yet, and they haven't given Steiner anybody to help him keep the sides even yet, but on the bright side, they kept this segment pretty short. I still say they should blow this off for free if they insist on having the rematch, because I'm sure as hell not paying for it if it makes pay-per-view. At least they set it up so that Steiner learned from last week's beatdown, but at some point he's going to need allies to avoid a 4-on-1 beating.
Someone Feeds Terri is with Teddy Long and Down with D'Lo Brown to talk about his match with The Hurricane. Teddy interjects: Why were there no black superheroes besides Black Lightning, who nobody remembers anyway? My answer: There was a black superhero? D'Lo is the true black superhero. My God, this angle is bombing fast.
One fall: The Hurricane vs. Down with D'Lo Brown (w/Teddy Long)
Wrestling sequence to start, but D'Lo stops that with a right hand. Forearms to the back. D'Lo goes into an abdominal stretch and use the ropes for leverage. Old school, baby! Hurricane breaks it with an armdrag, but D'Lo quickly hits a spinning side slam for 2. Hurricane fights back, and he gets off a nice rana. D'Lo comes back with more forearms and stomps. Trading blows in the corner, and Hurricane comes back with some flying clothelines. Double wristlock neck takedown thingie for 2, and I'll admit I have no idea what to call that one. Hurricane takes D'Lo to the floor with a headscissors, and he's over the top with a somersault plancha! In the ring, and Hurricane slingshots into an Oklahoma roll for 2. Nice move! D'Lo goes to the back again, and gets the pin with the Sky High (now dubbed the "Fade to Black") at 3:58. Decent for what it was. *
An update on Stacy Keibler is next.
A decent match (and that's two today for a nice change of pace), but the racism angle with D'Lo is getting very old very fast. I understand that racism is prevalent in society and that wrestling has always played off of society, but I don't ever remember Ernie Ladd or somebody using racism to get heat, and he was big when racism was a far bigger issue than it is today. The crowd isn't reacting to it at all, and D'Lo will probably get the blame for it even though it's the gimmick itself that isn't working.
Chief Morley is watching the clip of Hulk Hogan puncing Vince McMahon on SmackDown! In walks Easy E, who wants the tape turned off. Morley is shocked that Stephanie was able to bring back Hogan, but he thinks that it could buy Bischoff some time. Bisch doesn't buy it because an angry Vince McMahon might fire him anyway.
Y2J+3 is with Terri, and Jericho will face Steiner in a top contenders match next week. But LAST week, Jericho took Stacy out with a chair. Here's the footage. Stacy suffered a grade 2 concussion, but she's home recovering with Test by her side. And even though Terri admits it was an accident, she thinks Jericho owes an apology. Jericho says he needs to face the public and address the situation.
Well, this is where they make or break that angle. If Jericho acts like a prick and says he did it on purpose, then it should make Jericho a bigger heel. If he cries about it being an accident, then he'll have zero heat. Sadly, no matter what happens, I'll make the prediction here and now that Steiner beats Jericho thanks to Test's interference next week.
Later tonight, Trish vs. Victoria is a Chicago Street Fight for the Women's Title, and the Dudley Boyz meet Regal and Storm in a table match for the World Tag Team Title.
But first, Chris Jericho is on his way to the ring, and realistically, we could have saved some time and dropped the last segment and just used this one. That adds about two minutes to one of the matches and quite possibly improves the show. It could also hurt the show if the wrong match gets that two minutes, but hey, it's probably worth the gamble. Jericho gets an "asshole" chant before he ever speaks. Jericho says that sometimes things happen accidentally that put things into perspective, and one of those has just happened...his number one contenders match being signed for next week. Yes! But he feels terrible about what happened to Stacy. But he gets interrupted by ChrisTIAN. And Christian says Jericho doesn't have to apologize for anything. "This isn't a dance floor, this is a wrestling ring, and if these fans can't understand that, they can go to hell." Bottom line, it's Stacy's fault for being there and not Jericho's for using the chair. But Jericho disagrees. It's Test's fault. "Because if he was any type of a real man, he wouldn't have ducked out of the way of that chair shot..." He's got a point. "I'm sorry that Stacy has such a coward for a boyfriend." And Test got exactly what he deserved for bringing her to ringside in the first place and for eliminating Jericho from the Rumble. And he is going to get interrupted by the Holy Bible Kid. Oh yay. Yes, that's sarcasm. It seems that Jericho is telling the world what it takes to be a man "while wearing those pants". He's got a point, I suppose. So HBK tells us how to be a man. You don't outsmart...er, cheap shot someone from behind. HBK gets a cheap Chicago pop (and admits to it off-mic), and HBK says he's coming to fight. We have a brawl in mid-ring, but HBK was stupid enough to go in 1-on-2. HBK is able to dispose of Christian, but Jericho slides underneath the ring to avoid Sweet Chin Music. Now's the time for HBK's STRIPPER DANCE!
Backstage, Steven Richards encourages Victoria to beat on a garbage can with Trish's picture, while Trish the Cheating Bitch has her fists taped. The street fight is next!
OK, maybe it'll be HBK costing Jericho his title shot. Either way, Jericho gets hosed next week, and we as paying fans will have to suffer for it by sitting through another godawful HHH-Steiner match. And the segment doesn't do anything for Jericho as it is. It's like they don't want it to look like WWE condones violence against women, so Jericho gives a half-assed acceptance of doing it but blames it on Test moving out of the way. I'm supposed to hate Jericho because Test moved out of the way?
Chicago Street Fight for the WWE Women's Championship: Trish the Cheating Bitch vs. Victoria (champion--w/Steven Richards)
Victoria attacks Trish with a kendo stick in the aisle before the bell ever rings. HARD Irish whip into the steps. Victoria tosses Trish into the crowd. Trish chick kicks Victoria to get back ringside, then clotheslines Victoria for 2. So falls count anywhere...and this is different from a hardcore match how, exactly? Victoria regains the advantage. Trish avoids a shoulderblock and hits the champ with a trash can lid. Into the ring comes the whole can now, and Trish has two lids...cymbal shot to the champ! The can is set between the middle and top turnbuckle, but Victoria ends up slingshotting Trish into it. Now it's Victoria using the trash can lid. And again! Cover for 2. Victoria up top, but a trash can lid to the face and a handstand headscissors earns Trish a near fall. Trish kicks Victoria out of the ring and dives onto her. Lawler: "This is like that beer commercial." Back in the ring, and a neckbreaker gets 2. Richards goes to use a fire extinguisher, but can't get it to work until he gets it in Victoria's face. Chick kick, and Stevie makes the save at 2. Trish canes the hell out of Stevie, but walks into Victoria's side kick, which gets 2 3/4. Taunts and slaps from the champ, but Trish goes for the Stratusfaction...and Stevie makes the save, allowing Victoria to send Trish face-first into the guardrail. Victoria follows and covers for the pin at 5:42. Decent enough but no real sense of psychology. Can we please end this feud now? *1/2 Victoria wants more, but Stevie gets her to the back...but Jazz comes out and pushes her out of the way. About damn time that knee healed. Jazz stares Trish down...and stomps her in the face. Double chickenwing! DDT! Fisherman buster! Now let the cruisers use that move! Another DDT! Into the STF, and Charles Robinson had better call security, because she ain't letting go! She finally lets go and yells "I'm back, baby!" And thank God for that, because we need something to freshen up this division.
And up next, a table match for the World Tag Team Championship!
It's nice to see Jazz back because if she's anywhere close to healthy, then she can go in the ring. And maybe we'll see something different than variations of Victoria vs. Trish every week. But with Jazz coming back, then I have to wonder why Trish didn't regain the title this week. I like the belt on Victoria a whole lot more than I like it on Trish, and since Trish caused Jazz's injury (storyline-wise, at least), they don't really need the title to be an issue, but normally they'd want something extra to build a women's feud. But the nice thing is (and WWE migh not have even realized it yet), they have a ready-made Jazz-Victoria feud waiting for them if they want it, because Stevie and Jazz were together before Jazz got hurt. It writes itself.
Table Match for the World Tag Team Championship: The Reunited Damn Dudley Boyz vs. William Regal and Lance Storm (champions)
JR is shocked that the Dudleys are getting a fair shot, which leads me to think something's up. Cheap shot by the Dudleys to start, and it only takes one table spot to win this one. D-Von uses Regal's own Union Jack to work over Regal. Bubba uses Storm's own Canadian flag against him. Bubba chops away at Storm and takes him down with a huge spear. Bubba dumps Storm out of the ring, and JR says the Dudleys are 6-1 in table title matches since May 2000 ... or 2001. Either way, where the hell did they figure that from? I don't remember the Dudleys winning six table matches ever. Reverse 3D to Regal, and a regular 3D to Storm. Wuzzup headbutt to Storm. "D-Von get the tables!" But there aren't any tables underneath the ring. "ECW" chant starts as D-Von looks in vain for tables. So there's 45,000 of them under the ring for no reason but NONE when you need them? Out comes Chief Morley to a HUGE "asshole" chant, and he's got the only table in the building. Why not just use the fucking broadcast table in a pinch? The Dudleys go after them, and he threatens termination, and out come Three Minute Warning and Rico. Shit like this is why WCW is out of business. Bubba finally works over both of 3MW, but Jamal takes him down with a Samoan drop. Out comes Li'l Spike Dudley to work over Regal, and he hits the Dudley Dawg on Jamal, but Rosey crotches him on the top rope and Rico knocks him off with a spinning leg lariat. Table set up, and Rosey power bombs D-Von through it to allow the champs to retain in 6:27. Can you say "Fuck you" to your fans any more blatantly? DUD, but this was on its way to a good rating before this stupid fucking finish.
This started off to be very nicely booked. The Dudleys were not only going over, but they were going over so damn big that there was no possible way this feud wasn't completely blown off. But instead, we have management intentionally screwing the faces over (which hasn't worked since McMahon-Austin ended the first time), and what progress had been made on what's been a pretty decent show overall is nearly ruined with one stupid match. This is typical WCW booking where you tease giving the fans what they want but finding a way not to give it to them which by itself is fine), but doing so in a way that makes everybody look weak and, as a result, preventing people from paying money to see the real blowoff.
Clips of the Eastern Asian tour that was never even mentioned on the WWE website before now.
Backstage, Triple H and company storm Bischoff's office crying about Steiner's involvement earlier, and then about Steiner being given a chance at being number one contender. Eric starts to explain, but Hunter decides that his group is no longer concerned about it.
Matt and John are already making their Raw debut, and Al Snow makes sure they're ready, because "This is Raw, and this is live, and there are no second chances." And Christopher Nowinski was watching in the shadows.
Rob...Van...Dam is stretching in the back, and Kane sort of apologizes for eliminating RVD at the Rumble, but RVD says he just thought it was too early. RVD says they're unstoppable because Kane has a choke slam, RVD has his stuff..."Did I mention you have the choke slam?" RVD tries to goad Kane into doing the thumbs thing...and he gets it!
HHHater Clock: Two segments, 5:10. Well, maybe there's hope for Jericho to get his title shot after all, because they more or less said they're going to screw Steiner out of it. Is anybody really going to care though?
"This is Raw, and this is live, and there are no second chances." Just ask Jackie Gayda.
And even though I'd still much rather see RVD as a singles wrestler (and possibly World Champion), I do have to admit that this team with Kane isn't too bad. They have a good mix of styles that makes for some intriguing matches, and their interaction in the backstage area is usually pretty good. Too bad they've yet to get a real chance against a halfway decent team to make those "intriguing" matches any good.
We're in the Chicago area (but not in Chicago contrary to what JR tells you), and let's relive the Tough Enough III finale.
Contractually obligated Tough Enough Exhibition: Matt Cappotelli vs. John Hennigan (both with Al Snow)
If it's an "exhibition", why not use it for Confidential? Side headlocks to start. Nice takedown by Matt, reversed into a headscissors by John. High hiptoss by Matt for 2. Another hiptoss, and John lands on his feet and armdrags Matt over. Dropkick with a backflip by John for 2, and Christopher Nowinski runs in and asks for the match to stop at 1:36. He's not bitter about not winning Tough Enough 1, but he doesn't need anybody rubbing it in. Tommy F'N Dreamer runs out and runs Nowinski off. Now he's got the stick, and what he thinks Nowinski was trying to say was "Congratulations." He reminds them how lucky they are to be there on their fourth day under contract in front of a sold out Chicago crowd. So on behalf of every veteran, both past and present, welcome. Handshakes...cane shots! And to a HUGE pop, believe it or not. Admittedly just an exhibition and no finish, so no rating.
Bisch is headed to ringside.
Since it was admittedly just an exhibition, I won't go into detail about what worked and what didn't, but what I clearly saw was that they have some of the basics down and they're certainly good athletes. And they worked with each other instead of the established wrestlers, which prevented Jackie Gayda v. 2.0. Time will tell if they can make it or not. However, the main thing was Dreamer giving them their initiation, and all I can say about that was "You should have for the cane shot when Dreamer visited Trax West like Scott did." Dreamer doesn't necessarily turn heel with it, but it gets the point across.
Sean O'Haire vignette condones smoking and drinking.
And here comes Eric Bischoff to the ring with fancy manilla envelope. WAY too many Shane McMahon signs for my liking. (I like Shane, but have him replace Steph.) Crowd chants for Austin, and Bischoff quickly says Austin isn't there, but don't pin it on him. Bischoff shows the explanation of Austin's walkout from the June 15, 2002 episode of Confidential. The short version, thankfully. The other side of the story can be found in the next issue of Raw magazine (but Bisch teases the No Way Out appearance before saying so). Wow, an entire segment for a commercial. He'll talk about Vince, JR, Debra, Triple H, The Rock, etc. etc. etc. But Bisch hopes Austin accepts the bid to be at No Way Out and then returns to Raw. Why should he consider the offer? "Austin" chants as we replay his Desire video to Creed's "My Sacrifice". Guys, we have Confidential for stuff like this. Notice how that piece actually kind of tipped off that Austin might walk out? "When it's not fun anymore, it's time for someone else to step in and do this thing."
As much as I love the Chicago crowd, they really don't have a right to be pissed about Austin's no-show this week. Bischoff's offer was clearly for No Way Out, and therefore, you can't expect him to be there any sooner than that. Regardless, you wasted over five minutes of time for what was basically an ad for Raw magazine, and this could have easily gone to putting another match onto this show.
Next Monday night in Washington, D.C., Scott Steiner meets Chris Jericho in a top contenders match. But tonight...
Tag Team Contest scheduled for one fall: Rob...Van...Dam and Kane vs. Don't Call Me Dave Batista (w/The Man WHOO!) and Hungry Hungry Hippos (w/Randy Orton)
JR says he talked to Austin, and "he hasn't said no" to Bischoff's offer. But he hasn't said yes either, I take it. Hunter's healthy enough to spit water this week, but he doesn't do a very good job. Kane and Batista start. Batista powers Kane to the corner and knees Kane repeatedly. Corner whip reversed, and Kane with a clothesline. Series of shots in the corner. Corner whip, but Batista with an elbow and a clothesline. Choke against the ropes. Kane comes back with a flying clothesline. He picks up Batista, tags RVD, powerslams Batista, and tosses RVD onto Batista for 2. RVD kicks away at Batista's legs. Batista immediately comes back, and the tag to HHH. And a series of stomps. Face gouge. Whip, RVD flips over Hunter's back, legsweep, stepover spin kick. RVD off the ropes, but HHH gets a high knee for 2. Tag to Batista and some basic double teaming. Three short clotheslines and Kane makes the save at 2. Forearm to the back and a tag to HHH. The crowd rallies behind RVD, and RVD misses an enzuigiri but gets in a spinning back kick. Tags on each end, and Kane side slams Batista. HHH is clotheslined over the top, and Kane up to the top rope...flying clothesline to Batista! RVD tagged in, and they go for a rocket launcher, but Batista moves. Orton tosses Kane into the ringpost. Hunter distracts Earl Hebner as three guys beat on Kane and unmask him. Kane runs to the back to sheild his face. RVD with rolling thunder to Hunter, and up top...flying bodypress to Batista, but he catches RVD and turns it into a spinebuster. High Angle Sitout Power Bomb, and RVD's so far down on the totem pole that Hunter doesn't even get to pin him anymore, as that's the match at 6:59. This actually didn't suck. *1/2 They try to quadruple team RVD, but Steiner is in with the pipe...and Jericho attacks from behind. Now Hunter and Co. quadruple team Steiner. Flair tosses Hebner out to the floor, and Hunter has busted Steiner open for the second straight week. High Angle Sitout Power Bomb by Batista, and Steiner's pants are actually falling off in mid-beatdown. Low blow and figure-four by Flair as Orton gets some shots in. And the Pedigree, Heaven forbid we forget that one. Hunter and group leave, and Jericho is in to pose over Steiner's lifeless body...and do some push-ups. Walls of Jericho.
END OF SHOW
Final HHHater Clock: Three segments, 13:20. And one of Hunter's best efforts against someone not named Shawn Michaels since the torn quadricep. The point here was to push Hunter's stable as the ultimate heel stable, and seeing as you can't screw it up just one week in, it's forgiveable. I didn't realize Scott Steiner had channeled the spirit of Dusty Rhodes though. The only real problem I have with the logistics of this is the removal of Kane's mask. Been there, done that, didn't give a shit the first two or three times.
Overall, some decent wrestling, just not quite enough of it (about 29 minutes tonight, if I did my math right), and some pretty solid angle development, but it's the minor details that hurt a show like this. Using the co-main event segment as an extended commercial? Management once again stacking the deck against the Dudley Boyz? Segments that do nothing but hype other segments (i.e. Jericho's backstage setting up the in-ring)? Stuff like that hurts promotions. A good effort, but they need to keep it going, and they need to be real careful not to alienate the fans in doing it.
As always, send me your feedback. And don't forget to check my archives.