Raw from JHawk's Beak
By Jared "JHawk" Hawkins
Jun 24, 2002, 22:28
Raw from JHawk's Beak
by Jared "JHawk" Hawkins
This Week in Wrestling History: June 24, 2001. Steve Austin defeats Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit in a triple threat match to retain the WWF Championship in the main event of King of the Ring. Of course, Austin had already tapped out while in the simultaneous Walls of Jericho and Crippler Crossface, but there can only be one winner. Why Austin wasn't eliminated to allow for Jericho-Benoit one-on-one is one of those unanswered mysteries like "Who drove the hummer?"
Tonight, we will have a "special presentation" for new King of the Ring Brock Lesnar (because "coronations" are sooooooooooo 2000)! And what will the remaining fallout from King of the Ring be tonight? What special surprise do Booker T and Goldust have in store? King of the Ring was Vince McMahon-free...will it be two nights in a row? And how soon will they turn down the crowd mics so people don't think RVD's as over as he really is? Tune in to find out!
We are LIVE from the Gund Arena in Cleveland, Ohio! The ring is surrounded by Raw superstars, but why?
Let's find out, because here's Mr. McAsshole, probably to tell us there's some sort of battle royal. Mr. McMahon is going answer some frequently asked questions tonight. He's a success. What's his secret? Let's find out. The main quality: ruthless aggression. Every regional promotion got their asses kicked because of ruthless aggression. He beat the federal government because of ruthless aggression. He bought WCW because of ruthless aggression. What about the World Wildlife Fund? The XFL? Just asking! The question is "Which of you has that quality?" Crowd starts chanting "RVD". Vince starts staring at certain people individually. Bradshaw. Trish Stratus. Li'l Spike Dudley. One person who isn't standing out here has that ruthless aggression...Brock Lesnar. "Does that bother you, RVD? It damn well should, and I know it does." Bubba Ray Dudley wanted to make a name for himself by interfering in Eddy Guerrero's match, so tonight, it's Bubba vs. Eddy one-on-one. Onto Jeff Hardy, who gets The Undertaker in a non-title match with Matt Hardy barred from ringside. Who among this group wants to be the next legend, because if they don't want it, Vince doesn't want them. And out come the nWold, and the Holy Bible Kid has the mic. He's sorry they're late, but there are no WWE superstars on the level of the nWo. He offers Vince the nWo's services, and Big Lazy Cool says if there's a problem with that, then main event a couple of WrestleManias first. And Booker T has the stick. "NWO has to go. They ain't stars, they just blow." And Goldust has the mic, claiming Goldust and Booker are tight. Homies. "By God, we're practically married." Booker takes offense to that one, and he asks McMahon for a one-on-one match with one member of the nWo. It won't be Booker T vs. Shawn Michaels though, because Shawn is the icon! He possesses ruthless aggression. It won't be Booker T vs. Kevin Nash because Nash is still hurt, and if Nash doesn't live up to expectations when he's healthy, he'll be on the unemployment line with Scott Hall. Vince, however, doesn't like Booker trying to tell him what to do, so it will be X-Pac and The Big Show against Goldust and Booker T, and the nWo is barred from ringside. Booker digs that, and there's a Spinaroonie.
So we'll have at least three matches tonight, plus the coro--um, I mean, "special presentation" for Brock Lesnar. I'm not real interested in anything except the nWo against Goldust and Booker T, and that's only because I'm really interested on if something major's coming down or not. No real thoughts on this except "I sure as hell didn't miss Vince at King of the Ring."
Tag Team Contest scheduled for one fall: Spike Dudley and Bradshaw (Hardcore Champion) vs. William Regal (European Champion) and Christopher Nowinski
This stems from last week, showing that occasionally we remember things from one week to the next. Lawler reads out of Nowinski's college yearbook, and the match is underway. Bradshaw starts off with Nowinski, and he's doing a solid job of kicking Nowinski's ass. There's a fallaway slam. Spike tagged in, and a flying forearm, but some "ruthless aggression" sends Spike to the floor. Cheap shots by Regal on the outside, and Spike comes back in and is met with a backbreaker by Nowinski for 2. Regal in, and snap mare and a knee gets a near fall. Bradshaw is tagged in, and he does his damage on both men. Spike going for a Dudley Dawg on Regal but he gets dumped to the floor. Bradshaw nearly takes Regal's head off, but it's Nowinski with a roll up and a handful of tights for the pin at 2:45. Did Chris cheat like that on all of his tests?
Backstage, Vince is going to get rid of people week by week, and this week he starts with renewing the ECW feud between Raven and Tommy Dreamer--the loser to never appear on Raw. And into his locker room he goes, and he stumbles into Jackie. And "unexpected surprise" even though he invited her. Jackie's going to show her ruthless aggression by teaming with Molly Holly against Linda and Trish Stratus. But didn't Linda sign with SmackDown? Does it really matter? Jackie then previews her outfit for Divas Undressed, and hot damn! Undertaker walks in on them, and Jackie grabs her coat and scampers along. Even though Taker kept his title, he's pissed that The Rock got involved and nearly cost him the title. Taker wants The Rock now, but he's not here. So Taker should just pretend Jeff Hardy is The Rock. Taker's going to make Jeff Hardy famous tonight, and that doesn't sound good.
Don't we still have the 24/7 rule for the Hardcore Title? And if so, shouldn't Nowinski be Hardcore Champion right now? Am I overanalyzing WWE booking again? Gotcha. The match was too short to be of any interest to anybody but Nowinski's parents and people doing workrate reports, but it didn't bore me.
What did bore me was this backstage shit with Vince. First off, we want to make new stars, so let's take Raven and Dreamer and put them in a loser leaves match so they have no chance of getting over. Let's ogle Jackie for a while. Let's talk to The Undertaker. All Vince, all the time.
One fall: Bubba Ray Dudley vs. Eddy Guerrero
Bubba scares Lillian out of finishing the intros, and goes for the tables before Guerrero's music hits. Backstage, Terri is with Eddy, and tables aren't going to intimidate him because "Latino Heat" is the brightest star of all. By the way, Triple H is having his elbow surgery tomorrow. We know you care. Match starts off even as I note the sign saying "Hey Austin. Stay the F out." Bubba tells himself to get the tables as soon as he gets Eddy down, and Eddy attacks. Bubba quickly goes for the Bubba Bomb, but Eddy counters it into a Victory roll for the pin in :58. That's it? Eddy then attacks Bubba from behind and brings the table into the ring, unaware that Bubba is on his feet. He turns around, right into a power bomb through the table. Chris BeNOIT runs in from behind and locks the Crippler Crossface on Bubba until several referees pull him off.
*yawn* I like my matches to be longer than the postmatch antics, particularly when it's between two guys who are allegedly being given a push. You might as well have had Bubba Ray lie down for Eddy for as long as they gave that match. This did nothing for anybody. I could have gone to this show, but I'm glad I didn't waste the forty bucks if this is what we're getting out of it.
We are LIVE from the Gund Arena for WWE Raw!
Crocodile Hunterdust is on the hunt for the nWo locker room. He finds The Big Show sleeping on the couch. X-Pac comes out of the john, and Goldust refers to him as a greaserat. "But beware. They tend to suck." There's the chase and Big Show goes "Mmm, cheeseburger."
The Hardy Boyz are together, and since there aren't any tag team titles on Raw, they're going to become stars on their own.
The chase continues to Goldust's locker room, and Booker levels X-Pac coming in with a pizza tin.
You'd have to see the Goldust bit to truly get it, but once again the Goldust segments remain comic gold. And this one actually furthered something. Always a plus.
Does anybody who isn't a female under 21 give a shit about the Hardy Boyz anymore? Do they really think Jeff can get over by getting his ass kicked? Well, I guess it worked for Spike Dudley in ECW.
Loser Leaves Raw: Tommy Dreamer vs. Raven
Security is surrounding the ring to escort the loser of this match out of the building. Couldn't we put Bossman or somebody in this match instead? And is there any rule against them still appearing on Heat? Raven gets a couple of early falls, but Dreamer starts his comeback with a boot to the face. Dreamer with some clotheslines, and a powerslam by Dreamer for the two count. Reverse neckbreaker by Dreamer for 2. Dreamer ends up hitting the ringpost shoulder first and goes for the Raven Effect, but Dreamer gets the DDT for 2. There's the Death Valley Driver--and Dreamer gets the pin at 2:21 (!). Who did Raven piss off? Raven calls it a "bunch of crap" as security makes sure he doesn't return to the ring. You mean there's no Raven-Steven Richards blowoff?
Backstage, Heyman is going to meet King Brock's public and give a proper coronation. So now we ARE calling it a coronation.
Raven doesn't even get to shower, just to leave the building, and as he reaches the parking garage, he gets taken out by Matt Hardy. So there you go, junior high school girls. There's your hero.
Well, since I had no interest in seeing either guy lose their Raw privileges, I can't say I'm upset Dreamer won, although Raven's more marketable. Then again, Raven only expressly has to leave Raw, so he could go to SmackDown or Heat or Velocity or The Bottom Line. Nice pop for Dreamer on the pin though. But another case of the so-called good guy getting in a cheap shot. Did the arena even see that? No reaction to it at all if they did. And why the hell were the headlights on Raven's car already on? Smell the payoff!
King of the Ring coronations suck by nature, and I doubt this one will be any exception.
Is the show over yet?
TONIGHT, Jeff Hardy becomes famous or dies trying, but first...
Good Ol' JR is in the ring with Your God and Mine Paul E. Heyman, and instead of a trophy, the prize is a title shot at SummerSlam. This was Heyman's idea that he alluded to on Raw two weeks ago and never brought up again. Of course, the fans had that idea about nine years ago. So let's bring out King Brock I so that Heyman can kiss his ass for a while. Brock is the answer to all of Vince McMahon's questions about ruthless aggression. Did we really need the red carpet treatment in the ring for this? Paul wants us to put our envy aside and applaud the 2002 King of the Ring. Mixed reaction from the crowd, but Brock is jumped from behind by Rob...Van...Dam, and he quickly clears him from the ring. Heyman tries to restrain Brock as RVD's music plays.
Dear God, this show sucks. We've been on the air for just over an hour, and we at 6:04 of actual wrestling time. Meanwhile, Vince McMahon has been on the air just under 20 minutes, and we can include 18-20 minutes of commercial in that. Would somebody please get the hint that shows like this are what kills the ratings? The crowd has lost so much patience that even RVD couldn't wake them up.
Backstage, Heyman is pissed because Brock only gets one first King of the Ring coronation and RVD screwed it up. Heyman wants Lesnar to get his Intercontinental Title shot tonight. Vince agrees, and Heyman thanks Vince for the opportunity. Did the program have any matches listed at all?
Non-title match scheduled for one fall: Jeff Hardy vs. The Undertaker (Undisputed WWE Champion)
Jeff's actually back to his natural hair color. When the hell did that happen? Taker kicks the match off by throwing Hardy around and leveling him with elbows. Running powerslam by Taker and the cover, but Taker allows Hardy to kick out. There's the Big Boot, and Hardy is hanging over the ring apron. Taker goes for the legdrop, but Hardy moves, and over he goes with a pescado. Hardy attempts the running guardrail clothesline, but Taker catches him and chokeslams him on the concrete floor! Back in the ring, and Taker takes him down with the Last Ride. Taker covers with just a forearm to the face for the pin at 2:40. Taker rides up to the top of the ramp, but Jeff has the mic, and he wants another match next week, and this time he wants the title on the line. When will he learn? Ah, he wants a ladder match! That gives him a slim chance to win as opposed to no chance. Taker apparently accepts.
I was all set to praise this for actually being the smart way to blow off the feud, but alas, they just can't do anything outside of the Goldust skits right tonight. I haven't wanted to see the previous three matches of this feud, I had no interest in this back in December when the Hardyz couldn't get the hint, so why extend this another week? The only chance Jeff Hardy has is if Undertaker just isn't capable of climbing the damn ladder.
Jesus, you already gave Brock King of the Ring, and he's already main eventing SummerSlam, and now he's getting a title match with RVD too? Talk about pushing somebody to the moon.
Women's Tag Team Match scheduled for one fall: Trish Stratus and Linda Miles vs. Pure and Wholesome Molly Holly (WWE Women's Champion) and Jackie Gayda
I still question making Linda the face when everybody thought she was a whiny bitch. Molly says it's an honor to bring dignity by earning it instead of sleeping her way to the top. Trish takes offense because Molly cheated, and it'll be a pleasure "to kick your fat ass". Them's fighting words. Trish and Linda begin by working on Jackie's arm. Molly's (not much bigger than Trish's) ass tags in after Jackie gets a near fall, and it's cheap heel tactics by Molly. Heel double teaming as they choke Linda against the ropes. The crowd's trying to rally Linda (probably so they can actually cheer SOMETHING tonight). Linda takes Molly down with a sunset flip for 2. Molly quickly regains control with a snap suplex and tags Jackie. Jackie up top, but Linda crotches her and make the hot tag. Jackie quickly tags in Molly, and now all four girls in the ring. Linda with a nice dropkick to Jackie, and out to the floor they go. Molly misses the handspring elbow, and Trish quickly takes Molly down with the Stratusfaction for the pin at 4:44.
Not saying much, I know, but the best match of the night by far at this point. Amazing what giving an extra two minutes will do, isn't it? This was at least decent enough for the crowd to get into, so that's a plus. I might as well give up on asking Lawler to stop the fat ass jokes since even though they're not doing much except pissing two-thirds of the world's men off, they're insisting on making that her gimmick. *sigh*
Your hosts are JR and The Pharaoh, and Lawler nearly orgasms because there's an article about him in this month's Raw magazine. Somebody buy that man a hooker already!
Here's how we set up tonight's Intercontinental Title Match, and the crowd reaction seemed louder in the replays. Coach interviews RVD, who doesn't need Mr. McMahon's motivation because the crowd reminds him who he is. Heyman comes in and bitches out RVD and takes credit for every opportunity RVD's ever gotten, but Lesnar cuts him off. Brock: "Tonight, I'm going to show you the meaning of ruthless aggression." He speaks!
Nash and Michaels are screaming at X-Pac and Show to get the job done, or Nash has some asses to kick.
Brock Lesnar speaks! And although it was only a couple of sentences, it was much more articulate than Jeff Hardy's ever been. Pretty strong segment, and it seems like the crowd's finally starting to wake up.
If Nash threatens to kick people's asses every week, then will the nWo ever lose?
And I mention the Stacker 2 commercials for one reason. Why in the fuck did they mute out "Jeff" when the racing guy says "Jeff Gordon"? If there's a lawsuit threatened (which would be bullshit), why not just take the entire line out?
Tag Team Contest scheduled for one fall: 123-Pac and The Too Damn Big Show (w/o The Holy Bible Kid and Big Lazy Cool) vs. Goldust and Booker T
Show and Booker start, and we get "X-Pac sucks" chants before we get contact. Show throws Booker down to the mat. Back into the corner, and Show with a hard slap to the chest. Booker with some jumping jacks, and there are some punches and chops. Show catches Booker coming in with a side slam as Michaels and Nash look on. X-Pac in, and he gets some chops and forearms. Booker takes him down with a flying forearm and a leg lariat. Kneedrop, and a tag to Goldust. Goldust with a clothesline, and a boot choke, and there's the world's scariest bronco buster by the former Intercontinental Champion. Flying butt bump by Goldust, and Goldust avoids X-Pac's dropkick, only to be taken down by Show. Goldust is going to play face-in-peril as Show comes in and headbutts him down. The crowd is rallying behind Goldust as X-Pac comes back in. X-Pac with a bodyslam and a snap legdrop, and Booker makes the save to avoid the pin. Into the chinlock we go. Goldust fights back, and he gets a backslide for 2, but X-Pac quickly gets a leg lariat for 2. Goldust yells "Oh fuck" after a turnbuckle smash and gets bleeped. Tag to Show, and a vertical suplex to bring Goldust down! And he sits down on Goldust's head! I hope he didn't cut one. There's the Final Cut and a cover, but Booker again makes the save. Show with a clothesline into the corner and a tag to X-Pac. There's the corner kick combo, and that's the set up for the bronco buster, but Goldust moves out of the way. Tag to Show--and the hot tag to Booker T. A superkick staggers Show, but Show takes him dwon with a clothesline. Booker is back with a flying leg lariat, and there's the scissors kick followed by the Spinnaroonie. Booker with a spinebuster to X-Pac and the tag, and there's a double suplex to Show. Goldust sets Show up in the corner for Shattered Dreams, but Show catches him by the throat and takes him down with the Choke Slam for the pin at 9:49. Some people might say they're surprised that both men were legal, but I'm not.
The Intercontinental Title is next!
This might shock some people, but I liked that match! It's called a formula because it works every time. Don't ask me how the crowd always responds to that, but they do, and I have to admit even Show looked decent in that one. Had they put that on the PPV and cut down that horrendous main event by 10 minutes, the entire card would have been immensely improved.
One fall for the WWE Intercontinental Championship: King Brock I vs. Rob...Van...Dam (champion)
Sign in crowd: "Brock ate Sid Vicious". Brock immediately charges RVD at the bell and drives him into the turnbuckle. Whip into the opposite corner and a clothesline. Chokehold in the corner. And we have either a fight or an ejection (or both) as the crowd looks everywhere but the ring. Another whip and charge, but RVD gets the boots up and here's the educated feet. RVD gets caught going for the monkey flip and counters Brock's power bomb with a rana. Out of the ring, and RVD comes after him, but gets caught and driven into the ring post. Back in the ring, and Brock begins to take RVD apart. A spinning heel kick by RVD is turned into a modified power bomb by Brock for 2. Here come the "Goldberg" chants. HUGE belly-to-belly suplex by the challenger. Series of shoulders in the corner, and the whip, and RVD catches him with an elbow, but it's Brock with another belly-to-belly for another two count. Knee to the face, and now a choke against the ropes. Brock into the backbreaker combo. RVD starts fighting back and targets the leg, but Brock quickly brings him back down with a clothesline. Brock into the bearhug to wear down the champion as the crowd begins the "RVD" chant. RVD tries to break with elbows, but Brock simply throws him down and covers for a near fall. Brock puts RVD into a running powerslam position and rams his back into the turnbuckle. And again. RVD is doing a hell of a job selling the back, much better than he was last night. RVD finally gets away from Brock and dropkicks his face into the second turnbuckle. Rolling thunder gets 2. Cartwheel moonsault gets 2. Brock reverses the whip, and Heyman grabs the ankle. Brock charges but gets drop toeholded into the middle rope. RVD off the top with a side kick and up top for the Five Star, but Heyman hooks the ankle. Earl Hebner sees it, but doesn't call for the bell. Lesnar grabs RVD for a press slam, but RVD is down behind him. There's the stepover heel kick, and the cover, but Heyman is in the ring to break up the count. That is going to force Hebner to call for the DQ at 9:49. Postmatch, Lesnar begins to open up on RVD, and he sends the chair into Lesnar. All that does is set up the Van Daminator. RVD chases Heyman around the ring, and he brings him down once in the ring. Five Star Frog Splash on Heyman, and there's "One of a Kind". Brock pulls RVD out of the ring and throws him down to the concrete with a spinebuster. Brock clears off the broadcast table and power bombs RVD through it. Brock stares down at RVD in disgust.
END OF SHOW
Much better match between these two than their King of the Ring match, mostly due to RVD's solid selling of the back prior to his comeback. Pretty solid booking too, as the audience is absolutely sure RVD can beat Lesnar, and once he finally does the roof will blow off whatever arena they happen to be in that night. Of course, RVD's going to have to be the guy who gets the pin or it's all for naught, and I can't see that happening if Lesnar's really going to main event SummerSlam. Lesnar's a more credible heel now than he was 24 hours ago,
All in all, the first 75-80 minutes totally sucked, the next 15 or so were OK, the last half an hour was actually pretty good. The idea seems to be to create new stars and new main eventers, and the last half an hour was a decent start. Now put Booker T over somebody important!
Until next week, be on the lookout for a rampaging Giant Showpotamus and Bandana-Wearing Greaserats.
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