Raw from JHawk's Beak
By Jared "JHawk" Hawkins
Jul 8, 2002, 22:40
Raw from JHawk's Beak (7/8/2002)
by Jared "JHawk" Hawkins
Memorable Wrestling Quotes: "Well, Conquistador #1 is about 6'4", and the other Conquistador is 6'1", so he appears shorter than his partner." -Lord Alfred Hayes on an episode of WWF Prime Time Wrestling
As I prepare to write this recap, I ask the question, "When can we start calling it OVW Heat?" I'm glad to see some of these guys getting called up, but at the same time, on SmackDown! they immediately get put into matches against former World Champions on the main show, while over on Raw they get nothing matches against midcarders on the secondary show. I'm still unsure which is actually the proper way to go, but you'd think with fewer main eventers on the Raw roster, they'd do things the other way around.
The wwe.com preview hypes the hell out of Undertaker-Rock at Vengeance (pointless with Rock on SmackDown) and the possibility of Triple H joining the nWo (also pointless because Hunter's on SmackDown and the only way to pull it off requires defeating the purpose of the brand extension), while mentioning in passing two matches--Chris Benoit vs. Bubba Ray Dudley and William Regal vs. Jeff Hardy for the European Title. Nice to see they at least mention what's probably going to be a title change. Seriously, he came a finger tip away from winning the World Title, and I'm expected to believe he'll be job fodder for William Regal?
And before anybody asks me what happened to the "This Week in Wrestling History" segment that usually opens my Raw recaps, let me just say that I'll be starting a new column that should more than make up for it, and the first one should be on the site around 5pm Eastern Tuesday (that's today for most of you unless you West Coasters are too lazy to watch the feed on your own time).
And now, onto the show.
Mr. McAsshole wishes us a good evening, and then informs us The Undertaker has the night off. But due to the controversy of the Angle-Undertaker match on SmackDown, it will now be Rock vs. Undertaker vs. Angle at Vengeance for the Undisputed Title. Please please please please please let Angle go over.
We are LIVE from the First Union Center in Philadelphia. It ain't no bingo hall, but by God these people have their signs!
Here comes Booker T, and he's not scheduled to wrestle, but he's dressed to fight anyway. Remember last week when the nWo said they were going to take out Booker? Surprisingly, JR does too! Booker's gonna cut to the chase. All he's heard is the nWo's going to take him out for what he did to X-Pac, so they can do anything they want. But he's going to promise us he won't squeal like that "Chuck E. Cheese rat-faced" etc etc. X-Pac, and he also promises us it'll happen in the ring instead of backstage. And like his daddy said...umm...I have no idea what the hell his daddy said. But he doesn't get the nWo, but instead he gets Eddy Guerrero. He's also dressed to wrestle, but we have no idea if he has a match tonight or not. Eddy wants to speak. Eddy tells Booker, "If anybody's a sucker, it's you, Holmes." Eddy says the nWo will do it on their terms. He was screwed by the Dudleys last week, so he was going to get his frustrations out on the first guy who came out, and that's Booker. There's the brawl, there's Charles Robinson, there's the bell, and we have...
Booker T vs. Eddy Guerrero
Booker goes for a scissor kick, but Eddy counters with a dropkick to the knee. Eddy with a choke in the corner, and now an inside cradle gets 2. Eddy goes for the pin near the ropes and uses said ropes for leverage, but only gets 2. Eddy with punches in the corner, then he goes to work on Booker T's leg. This would theoretically prevent all of Booker's fancy kicks. Nope, leg lariat by Booker T. The advantage doesn't last long, as Eddy gets in a brain buster (or, if you're Jim Ross, a suplex) for 2. A neckbreaker gets 2, and there's the whip into the corner, but Booker leaps over a charging Eddy and into a sunset flip for the pin at 3:08. That's it? Postmatch, Booker kicks Eddy out of the ring, and gets jumped by Chris BeNOIT. There's the 2-on-1, here's Goldust to make the save. Goldust being double teamed (which I hear he likes quite a bit), but The New Dudley Boyz make the save with chairs.
Disappointing. A really good match while it lasted, but only three minutes for that? Very unsatisfying. And what exactly is that segment building to? Aren't Booker's issues with the nWo? Christ, Hunter isn't officially in the group yet and they're already keeping Booker as far away from them as they can! Well, let's see how they build from here before we give an all-out reaction, but I'm not convinced I like this.
Backstage, Booker and Goldust...well, Goldust is celebrating. Goldust wants to dance, but Booker says they're not out of the woods yet. Goldust has another plan, and Booker objects, but to quote Bon Jovi in Young Guns 2, "I'm going down in a Blaze of Glory." Goldust leaves, and Booker mistakes a vendor for X-Pac and beats the hell out of him.
Coach is with Jackie Gayda and Trish Stratus, and after a recap of last week's cheap shot by Trish the Bitch, we get more ass jokes. Jackie takes offense to Trish's interference and claims Trish is jealous of the attention she got on TE2. They get interrupted by Christopher Nowinski, and he wants to know why everybody dresses like it's a 7-year-old's birthday party. Trish wants a mixed tag, but Chris wants to know who her partner is. "The Lone Ranger? Maybe Yosemite Sam." Bradshaw. Uh oh...
Ah, there we go. Now we finally build up to the nWo involvement tonight. I don't know why Booker started freaking out when he realized it wasn't X-Pac he beat up. Maybe he fears a lawsuit, I dunno.
And now a mixed tag team match. *yawn* Trish is the best worker in this match. Bradshaw's underrated in my opinion (he's no Stan Hansen, but who is), Nowinski has potential, but Jackie should be down in OVW learning how to work a match without resorting to using "you're jealous of me" to get it over. And this is from someone who likes Jackie.
And now, the People's Moment: Lillian wants The Rock's strudel.
In the ring, Lillian had no clue they were showing that, so she's still laughing.
One fall: Chris BeNOIT (w/Eddy Guerrero) vs. Bubba Ray Dudley (w/Spike Dudley)
A sign in the crowd says Eddy's "Greasier than a Big Mac". That's not nice. The Dudleys are on their way to the ring, but are met by Ben Franklindust in a pitch to get some help against the nWo. Bubba says no because they don't even like Booker and Goldust, but Goldust says it's not a matter of "like", because "there were times I wanted to punch Thomas Jefferson right in the gonads". They storm off, and we go to the ring, where Benoit and Eddy are staring at the Titantron is disbelief. THAT is talent. Benoit starts off with the advantage. Beautiful snap suplex. Into the turnbuckle, a chop, and Benoit kicks Bubba down to the mat. Bubba comes back, and those slaps to the chest echo across the building. Into the turnbuckle, there's a bodyslam, and we'll never find out if the senton works. Maybe we will, as Bubba counters a superplex. Nope, it didn't work. Belly-to-back suplex by Benoit, and then a clothesline for 2. Both men exchange blows now, and Bubba with a belly-to-back of his own. Bubba with punches and chops, and a side slam gets 2. Eddy knocks Spike down and grabs Bubba, but Bubba is still able to get the Bubba Bomb in. Referee Chad Patten gets 2, but is interrupted by Eddy throwing Spike into Patten. A Crippler Crossface later, and Benoit wins in 3:55. Postmatch, Eddy and Benoit eliminate Spike and focus on Bubba, and out come Booker and Goldust to make the save.
Another OK match, nothing spectacular, and I actually thought it was longer than it actually was. Great spot with Eddy using Spike to break the count though. How do you call for the DQ on that? So apparently the point is to get Spike and Bubba to help out in a war with the nWo to even the odds a little bit. But where does that leave Benoit and Eddy? Are they joining the nWo? Are they half of a new Four Horsemen? Or are they going to feud with Johnny Stamboli and Sean O'Haire on Heat? Either way, smell da ratings!
Let's get a video package of Christopher Nowinski giving us a tour of Harvard. Nice enough segment, if you care about this sort of garbage.
Your hosts here at the First Union Center are Good Ol' Jr and The Pharaoh and the WWE's Official Diva Talent Scout. And they're discussing the Undisputed Title situation, complete with footage of last week's ladder match.
Earlier tonight, Mr. Extreme limps in and runs into The Man (WHOO!), who gives him props. Yep, he's being pushed. This helps hype Jeff's European Title shot tonight. But Big Stevie Cool calls Ric Flair old, and it's guys like Flair who have taken the spotlight away from Steven Richards. His "last big run" is over, and Flair challenges Richards to a match. Stevie accepts, and gets in a cheap shot to accentuate his answer.
What can I say about this Jeff Hardy push except "At least he's been there longer than Brock"? Other than that, it's the same thing--shove him down my fucking throat. Which reminds me, shouldn't we do something to build toward that? Eh, it's early yet. Sadly, I'm more interested in seeing how Flair-Richards turns out. Trust me, any fan with an IQ over 50 should see Richards as somewhat credible by the end of that one. Now if they can pull it off and still have Flair win the match, that would be better.
Mixed Tag Team Match scheduled for one fall: Trish the Cheating Bitch and Bradshaw (Hardcore Champion) vs. Jackie Gayda and Christopher Nowinski
I still say Bradshaw should be managed by Stan Hansen. The problem is most of you are thinking "Who's Stan Hansen?" Bradshaw and Chris start it off, and Nowinski wants to play football. Ah, the Heisman pose, and he takes a Tastykake break when Bradshaw charges. Now the women are in, and Trish knocks Jackie down with a clothesline and gets 2, thanks to Nowinski's save. Jackie and Trish fuck a series up so bad that the crowd boos. Jackie tags Chris, and he tries to elbow Trish even though it's men vs. men. Bradshaw with a fallaway slam, and Jackie is on Bradshaw's back. Bradshaw chases Nowinski out of the arena, leaving the women against each other. Trish with chops. Those will bust an implant. Jackie with a clothesline, and she gets the advantage. Superplex attempted, but Trish fights it off...and MISSES a top-rope bulldog for the pin at 3:21. The crowd boos as Trish looks disgusted. Hey, she fucked it up.
Backstage, Eddy and Benoit are bitching about the interference, when they're confronted by the nWold. Nash reminds them there's strength in numbers, and Shawn tells them to listen to what Kevin has to say.
Well, there's proof that the Tough Enough crew aren't ready for Prime Time. But Trish, being the senior member of the match, should have been able to adjust to Jackie's wrong position for that bulldog. I mean, Trish overshot her and Jackie had to try to sell that. Well, an experienced wrestler would have no-sold it and changed the finish. They're both at fault for that utter crap. The little we got of Bradshaw and Nowinski was actually decent.
I won't say anything about the backstage bit except "At least I didn't hear Nash refer to them as vanilla midgets".
The People's Moment: The Rock does impressions of the WWE roster. And they say he isn't a comedy act.
And welcome to the nWo Hour! X-Suck came out about 30 seconds late. Didn't RVD get depushed for that? The Holy Bible Kid has the stick, and Triple H was definitely with them at King of the Ring. Here's the clip if you don't believe us. Why is The Big Show still with them? Shawn goes into the history of the Clique (although he left Justin Credible out of it. Poor Aldo). They drove together, got druck together, carried each other to their rooms, had sex together...well, maybe not that last one. At least not that they're admitting). Anyway, all they had was each other, but Triple H hasn't responded to them. And they won't be ignored by anyone. So Hunter has until Vengeance to give them an answer. He's either with them or against them. There used to be the Clique, which like the nWo was for life. "Either you're going to make the biggest decision of your life, or you're going to make the last decision of your life." Good line to end on, but no, Big Lazy Cool has been cleared to wrestle, he's in his gear, and he has a lot of emotion and wants some physical contact. RUN X-PAC, RUN! Nash asks for Eddy and Benoit's assistance and challenges Booker, "Fairydust", the Dudleyz, and whoever else they can find. And Nash knows Hunter's watching (unless he's wrestling at that house show), and if Hunter doesn't join them, he'll do to Hunter what he's going to do to Booker T.
Here comes Ric Flair. Ric vs. Stevie is NEXT!
Anybody else begging for RVD to be that fifth partner? Anyway, that could be an interesting 10-man tag, but this was one of the most unintentionally funny interviews ever. With everything they said that could be misconstrued as homosexual innuendo, Pat Patterson must have wriiten the segment. *rimshot*
One fall: The Man (WHOO!) vs. Big Stevie Cool
Never mind the match, The Rock will be at SmackDown! Stevie is from Philly, and Flair's got the red boot but the black tights, so the outcome's in doubt. And where else but Philly will the crowd WHOO that loud for chops? Flair works over Stevie in the corner. And working on him in another corner now. More chops (more WHOO!s). Flair dumps Richards to the floor, and Stevie getting no offense yet worries me. It's almost as if Stevie's trying to wear Flair out by taking his punches. In the ring, and Flair finally gets the advantage, but misses a dropkick. Flair struts, then drops the elbow. More chops. Flair telegraphs a backdrop, but Stevie telegraphs a suplex. Flair punches out of it, another chop, and Flair goes for the figure-four, and Stevie taps in 3:41. Um...that was...um...
That was...um...that sucked. I have no problem with Flair going over, but Jesus, that was probably the only chance Stevie had of ever getting over, and he was allowed a backdrop and some token offense. That's a shame, because Stevie's got more talent than half the guys they're pushing right now. They really needed Stevie to at least get a near fall there. Say hello to that OVW contract, Stevie.
The People's Moment (aren't these annoying): Rocky sings! Did Hanna-Barbera sue them over "Viva Rock Vegas"?
Out come Your God and Mine Paul E. Heyman and Ruthlessly Agressive King Brock I, and it's about damn time we build up the SummerSlam main eventer. Paul says "extreme" for the cheap Philly pop, and whoever wins the main event at Vengeance will be the sacrificial lamb in SummerSlam's champion vs. champion match. Yes, RVD's title is on the line at Vengeance. I'm praying for a DQ. Seriously. Paul says he can predict a new Intercontinental Champion because he not only created RVD in Philadelphia, he exploited him and the rest of WWE's former ECWers (and you too, Brock), just to satiate the bloodthirsty Philadelphia fans. They called Paul a genius, and because of that, he was able to sign Brock Lesnar. Tommy Dreamer interrupts (to an ECW chant), and Tommy said that everybody who busted their ass did it because they loved this business and performing in front of these fans. Paul tells Tommy to do something he's good at now. Tommy says before he ate crazy things, he was the "Innovator of Violence", and he can take any beating Brock can dish out. Let's take it to the extreme! Tommy beats the shit out of Brock with a kendo stick. Outside, he looks under the ring for the plunder. Another stick shot, and Dreamer is setting up his downfall...I mean, his next innovative move. Heyman gets him from behind, Dreamer goes for a power bomb, but in comes Brock with a clothesline. Out of the ring, F5 on the floor, and Rob...Van...Dam appears in the ring out of nowhere and kicks Heyman down. He works over Brock, grabs a chair...VAN FUCKING TERMINATOR TO PAUL HEYMAN! Goddamn, I missed that move! Brock's selling the two man beating he got, and he's pissed as he drags Heyman out of the ring.
ECW! ECW! ECW! ECW! ECW! ECW! OK, I'm done marking out for a while. Excellent segment. Obviously, that was set up for the Philadelphia fans, but for God's sake, give me more of this! Dreamer can get over doing this, RVD can do all the shit that got him over in the first place, and Brock can look vulnerable while getting over at the same time. It took weapons to keep Brock down, so he looks like a badass (and those kendo stick shots were loud as hell and thus appeared more painful than they are). And Heyman sold the Van Terminator so well that I thought he might be legitimately knocked out, so right away that move looks like a million.
Coach interviews former 76ers president (and mastermind of TNN's Slamball debuting August 3, which is essentially basketball on trampolines and thus worse than RollerJam) Pat Croce. This is worth cutting two minutes off of a match, uh huh. Seriously, I jump like Woody Harrelson in White Men Can't Jump and I could dunk off that.
One fall for the WWE European Championship: Mr. Extreme vs. William Regal (champion)
Jeff's still selling the ladder match beating, to his credit. JR's gotten so senile that even Lawler's calling him on it. Hardy ducks a charging Regal and punches away, then gets a cross body for 2. Flippy floppy thing gets 2. What else would you call it? Double leg takedown, both heels into the gut, but Regal gets the edge and works Jeff over on the floor. Back in the ring, and Regal gets a tiger bomb for 2. A European uppercut sends Jeff to the apron, and Jeff reenters with a sunset flip that gets 2. Union Jack by Regal gets 2. Regal with a running knee to the head for 2. Choke against the ropes, and Regal's actually getting good heat. Regal with a combination half nelson/chinlock, and Jeff fights it, but Regal takes him down and gets another two count. Jeff uses a form of an armdrag to get some distance, then gets 2 off of a high cross body. Regal sends Jeff to the floor and tries to remove the turnbuckle pad, but Jeff attacks from behind. Swanton Bomb, Jeff doesn't even roll off of Regal, and Jeff Hardy is YOUR European Champion at 4:24. Yep, I had it called at 5:30 this afternoon when I saw the preview, as did everybody else with half a brain, thank you very much.
Well, I was just starting to get into that match when it ended. This is why four minute TV matches suck. We have spent more time hyping SmackDown than we have, you know, giving matches the proper time to develop. *sigh* Decent match, but the ending just came too out of the blue for me to give it much credit.
The People's Moment: This Is Your Life, Rock! A boring fucking skit that will forever be the highest rated segment ever. Because we thought it would actually turn into something for a storyline. NOT because it was entertaining.
Coach catches up with Regal, who is in tears. Christ, it's a belt, not a fucking pacifier. Chris Harvard comes in to console him.
The Dudleys are talking to someone off camera, and it's a former ECW guy, as they mention the bingo hall and how they kicked each other's asses. This is the only guy who is extreme enough to help them in the 10-man tag. Sure enough, it's Rob Van Dam, and it looks like he's in.
Ten man tag team match scheduled for one fall: Chris BeNOIT, Eddy Guerrero, X-Suck, The Too Damn Big Show, and Big Lazy Cool (w/The Holy Bible Kid vs. Well, first, let's hit a...
William Regal crying as if he just lost his favorite toy. The question is whether he's crying because he lost the title or if he's crying because he lost the title to Jeff freaking Hardy. Maybe he's crying because he realizes that one segment was probably the end of his career as a credible WWE superstar.
Ten man tag team match scheduled for one fall: Chris BeNOIT, Eddy Guerrero, X-Suck, The Too Damn Big Show, and Big Lazy Cool (w/The Holy Bible Kid vs. Rob...Van...Dam (Intercontinental Champion), Goldust, Booker T, and The New Dudley Boyz
This will be a bitch to follow, but I'll try by God. RVD and X-Pac start, and they use their feet as if in a Gorucho Mark mirror sketch. Wrestling sequence, and RVD with the stepover spin kick for the first two count of the match. Goldust in, and he gets an inverted atomic drop. X-Pac fights back, but gets caught with a sweet looking powerslam. Bubba Ray in, and he drops elbows on X-Pac, then a double axhandle for a count of 2. Spike is tagged in, and after a flying axhandle, he gets a spinning headscissors, but a DDT gives X-Pac a chance to tag in Benoit. Working him over in the heel corner, and now Eddy is tagged in. He beats the crap out of Spike, but after a dropkick, RVD is tagged in. Shouldn't it have been Booker's turn? Oh no... Eddy traps RVD in the heel corner and tags in Benoit, who takes RVD out of his boots with a snap suplex. Show tagged in, and he's going to overpower RVD. Beell out of the corner, and a delayed vertical suplex. Tag to X-Pac, and shouldn't it be Nash's turn? Well, in this case, I don't mind, actually. RVD rolls away from a clothesline and catches X-Pac with a superkick. There's a slam, and RVD up top, but Shawn Michaels crotches him. X-Pac telegraphs a backdrop, RVD flips over his back, spin kick, tag to Bubba Ray. Still no tag to Booker. Show with a blind tag, Shawn distracts Bubba, Show gets the advantage. RVD chases RVD to the back, and BAM! Chair shot, and out from behind the curtain comes Brock Lesnar. And the F5 on the metal stage! Back in the ring, and Bubba Ray is getting worked over by Benoit. Eddy is tagged in as RVD is helped to the back. Bubba finally gets to his corner, and the tag to Booker. And Booker is cleaning house on the nWo, but Nash hits him from behind. Now Nash tags in, and he takes Booker down with a Big Boot. Nash goes toward the corner to punch Bubba Ray, but he goes down clutching his knee (and he SCREAMS), everybody starts brawling into the ring, and Bubba is getting stomped by X-Pac when he's talking to Nash. Shawn superkicks Booker, and it's Show with a choke slam and a pin at 9:27. And now Shawn has the stick, and he tells Hunter that this is what's in store for him if he doesn't join him.
END OF SHOW
I'm under the assumption Nash really blew his knee out, because a fake injury makes absolutely no sense in the context of that match, but he didn't really do anything except walk, so I don't know how he could have gotten hurt. Bubba seemed legitimately concerned with Nash's well-being. As far as stuff that was definitely planned and makes no sense in that context, why would the nWo conspire with Brock Lesnar unless he was joining the nWo? That's not the nWo's style. And if I accept Booker having to be the one to job, couldn't he have at least gotten in some offense? He looked like Stevie in the Flair match! Decent enough match, but too many little things about it bothered me.
Anyway, the show was decent overall. Nothing especially good, nothing actively bad outside of the blown spots in the mixed tag. Decent wrestling overall, but this felt like a 2 hour 8 minute informercial for SmackDown! I mean, how many times did we mention The Rock's return? Which is fine if he'll ever be on Raw without winning the WWE Title. But since he won't be, stop with the damn People's Moments and show me what I tuned in to watch! But hey, no mentions of ruthless aggression, no Vince aside from that opening announcement, and decent wrestling. Call it a thumbs up, but only if you don't factor in The Rock.
This has been Raw for July 8. Check back here late Thursday for Dr. Tom's SmackDown recap. Until then, there was no ruthless aggression on this show, and thank God for that!
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