Raw from JHawk's Beak (July 22, 2002)
By Jared "JHawk" Hawkins
Jul 22, 2002, 22:50
Raw from JHawk's Beak (7/22/2002)
by Jared "JHawk" Hawkins
Wrestling's Stupidest Quotes: "The last time we had a pay-per-view in this building, Booker T won the then WWF Championship on November 14, 1999." -Good Ol' JR, last night on Vengeance. Of all the times Lawler can't call JR on something, that had to be it.
Stephanie McMahon said at Vengeance she's going to "take the heart of out Raw". If she means RVD, then this show officially becomes meaningless to recap (although I'll do it since I have nothing better to do). I'm hoping the key word is "heart". As in "Heartbreak Kid". As in JHawk saying, "Thank God, one less non-wrestler to waste my time on my Raw recap."
And since it was a pretty active debate between the HHHaters and everybody else in "The One and Only Vengeance Thread" in our forums Sunday night, let me state the following for the record. HBK at Vengeance...over. HHH's entrance at Vengeance...over. HHH's "Frankly, I know she likes it" line at Vengeance...over. HHH at any other point of his big decision 15-minute interview at Vengeance...Not over. People popped for Hunter spitting his water like a walrus and for getting a funny line on Steph, and outside of that they didn't give a shit about that segment. Next useless idea, please.
The preshow TNN preview for tonight kissed Hunter's ass, kissed The Rock's ass, but didn't mention the wrestling at all. So guess where the focus is tonight. I am dreading watching this show tonight. Anyway, let's get on with it, maybe they'll surprise us.
They put up a scary picture of Bischoff in between the flashing WWE logo thing and the opening. If they do that with Steph at SmackDown I'll probably die of a heart attack from the scare.
We are LIVE from the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan! And Eric Bischoff's first official night in power is tonight! A new Undisputed Champion and new Tag Team Champions were crowned last night!
But by God, here comes Earache Bitchoff, and I predict that within the next 20 minutes he breaks his arm trying to pat himself on the back! And Good Ol' JR and The Pharaoh are now back near the stage because it worked so damn well on Nitro. Well, at least they get to face the ring, which WCW never allowed under Bischoff. Bischoff mentions The Rock's name for a cheap pop and takes credit for it as if he's head booker or something. Then he kisses Triple H's ass. Hey, notice how much smaller the pop was compared to The Rock's? And here comes Hungry Hungry Hippos to an OK but not spectacular pop, and if that's all he's getting for the entrance, then this isn't going to be good. Well, not for the seven remaining Hunter marks, anyway. Look at them together. Give Eric a denim vest, and they're twins. And Hunter brings us his best friend, the Holy Bible Kid, who got a better pop during Hunter's speil than he did when they finally said his name. See, sometimes brevity really is the soul of wit. Yes, that was a wrestling recapper quoting...um...quoting somebody smart. Bischoff takes credit for the two guys in the ring, and he says Shawn is now Hunter's manager, which draws...boos. See, if Shawn's not wrestling, nobody really cares. Sign in crowd: "Bischoff get the F out". He's still better than Steph. Anyway, Shawn has no problem with being Hunter's manager, but he doesn't like being told what to do. *cough*jobtoBretHart*cough* Oh, Bischoff told him to manage because "I'm Eric Bischoff." Yeah, that makes me care. Bischoff's the only one with any heat at all. Bischoff says that he's not Vince, so Shawn isn't pushing him around like he did Vince a couple of years ago. Ooo, he's shooting! It's time for Bischoff to recognize that Shawn Michaels is Shawn Michaels. Shawn decides to take the highway instead of Bischoff's way, and Bischoff says if he leaves, he won't be back. He's walking. If they're really friends, Hunter will talk some sense into him, so Hunter goes after Shawn. And tonight, the European and Intercontinental Titles will be unified, as it's Jeff Hardy and Rob Van Dam in a ladder match. That has what exactly to do with this segment?
Backstage, Shawn's pissed that he's being told what to do, and Hunter's pissed because he's only there because Shawn's there, and he's walking out on the fans. Shawn admits to not being the showstopper, and Hunter asks Shawn "not to take your ball and go home like Austin did". Shoots galore. Hunter has an idea to make it work, and Shawn says it had better be good.
Eh, whatever. I don't give a shit about the rehashed "wrestler vs. boss" angle and haven't since around Fully Loaded 99 or so. Who cares if a non-wrestler walks out? Some decent shootish lines, but mostly a waste of time. The most important part of the segment (at least what should be the most important part of the segment) is the ladder match for the "Unified Intercontinental Title". This should be an excellent match, but didn't we try this in 1999 too? The belts were split again within a month. And if Hardy wins, that loud "click" you hear will be smarks around the world turning their TVs off and telling Vince to go to hell. Especially when they're not that far out of RVD's hometown.
Ladder Match to unify the WWE Intercontinental and European Championships: Mr. F'N Extreme (European Champion) vs. Rob...Van...Dam (Intercontinental Champion)
Good, open with the only match you've bothered announcing. If this was Extreme Wrestling Revenge, Jeff Hardy would be sending Vince an e-mail saying the fans are starting to resent him. Good wrestling sequence to start. RVD breaks a headlock and connects with a dropkick, and RVD goes for a cover to hammer home the ladder match stipulation. Jeff with a spinning anklescissors, and note that there are already three ladders at ringside. Out to the floor, and there's RVD with an Asai moonsault. RVD sets up the ladder, and up he goes, and that belt's up a bit too high. Gotta make use of that 20-foot ladder. This time Hardy goes up the ladder and comes crashing down. RVD sets up the ladder as a battering ram, but Hardy dropkicks it out of RVD's hands. Neat spot. Out to the ring they go, they each grab a ladder, and this time it's dueling ladders until RVD knocks Hardy down. If RVD loses, I hope things get thrown in the ring. It could be like a Cleveland Browns replay call. Hardy is placed on the ladder...cartwheel moonsault. RVD goes for the belt, and he touches the belt, but Hardy with a Russian legsweep to send him off the ladder. Ladder on top of RVD...Swanton Bomb...oh shit, no. Hardy going for it. RVD up the other side. Brawl on top of the ladder, and RVD with a sunset power bomb off the top of the ladder. HUGE RVD chant, and they can't afford to use Vengeance booking here. RVD puts Hardy on a ladder and hits the rolling thunder. RVD's going to go for it again, but he uses the other ladder to slow RVD down...and now each man climbs a ladder..RVD knocks Hardy down, reaches up...and hits a Five Star off the top of the ladder. Shit, under rule #1 in the wrestling guidelines, that should be it for RVD. RVD climbs...and he got it! Thank God! Rule #1 fails! RVD retains in 6:57, the European Title is apparently dead, and all is right with the world. The ladder fell on top of Hardy when RVD fell. RVD checks on Hardy "in a show of class" after the match.
Not as good as their ladder match at SummerSlam last year (hell, not as good as their hardcore match at Invasion), but not a bad way to "open" the card. The right guy went over, Hardy still looked decent even though nobody older than 13 really cares about him, and the crowd popped for it. Way too short to be considered among the classic ladder matches, but since RVD won, I won't bitch about it.
"It's already been an auspicious night" in Grand Rapids, says JR. Whatever. You know how to get to Michigan? Drive down I-90 until you Toledo, then follow the stench north.
Christopher Nowinski comes to the ring (in full gear), but this isn't announced as a match. Nowinski can't figure out why being a Harvard graduate is enough for them to hate him. No, they hate you because you're getting pushed harder than freaking Benoit, Guerrero, and RVD. But before he can bore us to death, here comes Dead Man Walking. Methinks we're getting a match after all this segment. Nowinski immediately hands Taker the mic to try to save his ass. There's the handshake, and Taker won't let go...and there's the knee to the midsection. Taker does quick work of Nowinski, goes for the Last Ride, and there's nothing for him to do but brace himself for the landing (which he did well, by the way).
Backstage, Bischoff is talking to The Man Beast Rhyno, apparently in a recruiting pitch. Why are D'Lo and Stasiak pacing behind Eric? Rhyno thanks Eric for the first class travel and says they'll keep in touch. Meat and D'Lo Brown ask for an opportunity to be on Raw, and he's got a three minute hole, so they'll get it. BUT...if there's no winner or they bore him, Bischoff will be forced to entertain the crowd himself. Oh no...
See, that's how you use The Undertaker effectively. Short, to the point, and not in a sanctioned match or a nothing promo. Sadly, Nowinski has more heat that Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
Nice to see we're remembering Rhyno, as that's exactly one mention in nine months, unlike Lita's nine appearances in six weeks. But why do we force D'Lo and Stasiak to be humuliated by Bischoff on national television? A three minute match isn't enough for these two, and yet that's a shoot too...they're only getting three minutes tops. If the crowd pops for it and Bischoff still pulls his shit...
Intergender Tag Team Match scheduled for one fall: Trish the Bitch and American Dream Bubba Ray Dudley vs. Molly Holly (Women's Champion) and William Regal
And men can face the women this week. But shouldn't this be Benoit and not Regal? You mean THAT was the blowoff? Well, Regal makes more sense with Molly, but if you're building a feud, build the feud. Bubba and Regal start, and despite only having one arm, Bubba kicks Regal's ass. Regal cowers in the corner and tags Molly. Molly wants a test of strength, but Bubba dances, and she slaps him. Bubba is pissed and slaps Molly's ass, and in coming Trish. Regal pulls Trish's hair from the apron, and Molly gets a Northern Lights suplex for 2. Regal tagged in. Arm wringer into a snap mare for 2. Knee to the midsection, and Regal knocks Bubba off the apron. Trish is able to get the tag about to Bubba 15 seconds later. Regal holds Bubba, Molly is up top...but Regal gets elbowed into the ropes and down goes Molly. Tag to Trish, they clear Molly out of the ring...Trish down onto Regal with the Wuzzup Headbutt. Bubba is about to do the get the tables bit, then stops and goes himself. Molly hits Bubba from behind, Trish therefore pays more attention to that, and Regal with a back suplex and the Regal Stretch on Trish to get the win in 3:56.
Backstage, Bischoff talks to someone, then leaves...and runs into Benoit. Bischoff gives Benoit a match with Booker T and brings up their best of 7 series. And the winner gets RVD next week. I am so there! That will be sweet! Now I see why Benoit's not against Bubba. And I like it!
The Rock is here and heading to the ring. Rah.
Why do they insist on these intergender matches? All it is is a basic "comedy" match that doesn't really mean anything. At least it was a decent match, but we've seen this for about three months straight now.
Benoit vs. Booker? Please give them 15 minutes. Pretty please? That means "as long as the opening interview" in case you have no sense of time.
And here comes Rocky wants to be in pictures with his underserved WWE Undisputed Title. Say what you want about Hunter, but at least he doesn't win the title when he's got a movie to film in six weeks. "What if Hogan would have been cheered in WCW?" See Rock, The. Finally The Rock has come back to Grand Rapids. The Rock thanks Taker and Angle for making the match at Vengeance one of the best matches he's ever seen. But that was last night. Tonight, he's on Raw just like he promised Bischoff...and here comes Latino Heat. I don't say this often, but thank you, Eddy. Eddy, with bruises under his bicep and on his midsection, insults the Rock in Spanish and English, and he talks about how his daughters have pictures of both Eddy and The Rock in their wallets. So he taught them discipline and ripped up their Rocky poster. "Why papa?" Who cares? Rock calls Eddy a "sick psychopathic freak", then claims Eddy's the real movie star. "Who were you? Cheech or Chong?" Not funny since everybody else already said that line. Eddy says Rock respects nobody and is jealous of Eddy. Everybody knows he's the better wrestler (true), better looking (also true), and a better hairstyle (well, two out of three ain't bad). Rock says his hair and face look like Billy Ray Cyrus had sex with a retarded hyena. Where the fuck did that come from? Finally, the point, as Eddy challenges Rocky to a match, and he wants a title shot if he wins. Why not just give him the shot tonight since Eddy's already done more to earn it than The Rock did. Rocky ducks the challenge by mocking Eddy's Spanglish. Will the Spanish speaking people and their descendants protest this please? I'M offended and it's not even my culture! The challenge is finally accepted. And hey, even with all the Rock's Spanish insulting crap, it was still shorter than Hunter's segment! BUT WAIT! Out comes King Brock I for...
Singapore Cane Match scheduled for one fall: King Brock I (w/Your God and Mine Paul E. Heyman) vs. Tommy F'N Dreamer
And Rocky was still in the aisle, and Brock just walked right by him without even glancing toward him. Dreamer starts quickly with a cane shot and a cane-helped Russian legsweep. But because this is the SummerSlam main eventer, Tommy's main goal is to bump like a champ for the heatless wonder, or the giant penis, or whatever you want to call him. And he does it quite well. Double backbreaker, and with Dreamer's back problems, I'm surprised he's willing to take that. Brock charges into the corner once too often, and Dreamer moves. DDT! That would be it in ECW, but this is King Brock, so it's only good for two. Dreamer goes for a cane shot to the ribs, but Brock grabs the cane with his underarm, puts Dreamer in the F5, and gets the pin in 2:34. Dreamer's gonna get a postmatch beating...but in comes The Undertaker with two cane shots to Brock, and Heyman gets the number contender the hell out of there.
Yes, Rocky's the face when he just insulted a large portion of the Southern United States and a large number of foreign countries. Funny? Yeah, sort of, because let's face it, Eddy can cut a promo without that accent if they'd let him. But you know if Eddy would have started with the black jokes Jesse Jackson would have been on CNN before the end of the segment. And since Rock is himself a minority he should know better. Which is probably why I'm the only one who will complain in the least about it. At least when Andy Kaufman insulted the entire city of Memphis, he was supposed to be the asshole. That's all I ask -- make it OK for me to boo him if he goes there. Here's hoping Eddy can get two wins in a row over La Roca.
And as Rocky would say, Dreamer knew his role. Bump like hell for a guy who's less over than you are when you're jobbing to Raven on Heat. Decent match, but all based on Tommy Dreamer's bumping. Talk about pushing the wrong guy.
Bischoff audibly calls for the bell for D'Lo Brown vs. Planet Stasiak, but let's focus backstage on The Too Damn Big Show saying Shawn doesn't look so tough. Is this a challenge?
Back to the ring, and didn't we already hear this? Anyway, this is a fast paced match, with D'Lo and Shawn each hitting one move, going for a cover, and getting another move and another cover. Stasiak puts on an armbar, and Bischoff cuts the last minute and a half off the damn match. At 1:30 (but 3:00 in Bischoff time), in come The Island Boyz to put a hurting on each guy. One of them hits D'Lo with a flying splash, the other one hits a Vader bomb on Stasiak (I don't know which man is which), and they leave the ring.
Fuck you! Bad enough you decided not to let them, you know, have time to develop a match, but then you cut it in half to introduce a new tag team...WHO CAN'T WIN THE TAG TEAM TITLES BECAUSE THEY'RE ON THE OTHER SHOW! At least use, say, Brock Lesnar and Matt Hardy as the sacrificial lambs. You know, two people nobody gives a shit about. Oh, and heaven forbid they use a wrestling hold in a wrestling match. Well, at least it's some new talent, which is good, but notice the 240-pounders hit SmackDown and the 350-pounds Islanders hits Raw.
I won't be seeing Slamball, I've having my foot amputated next Saturday.
Backstage, Hunter asks Shawn to put something in a plastic bag on.
Goldust is with Booker T, who compares Booker's win at Vengeance to David and Goliath. Booker's the king of the giant killer, so Goldust has something behind his back...a Don King wig. Booker says to picture Benoit vs. Booker. "Only in America."
Why yes, that was the entire segment, thank you very much. Props to Booker T for going along with that (and props to Goldust for being less racist than The Rock). Not their usual comic gold, but still better than a Beaver Cleavage skit.
One fall for a shot at the unified Intercontinental Championship next week: Booker T vs. Chris BeNOIT
We have 40 minutes and three more segments to follow, so I'm guaranteed to be disappointed. Can I cheer for a draw? Benoit opens with a wristlock. Countered into a headlock by Booker. Into the ropes goes Booker, there's the shoulderblock, and JR has already mistaken Benoit for RVD. Benoit gets the advantage and worked on the taped ribs and back of Booker. Nice Harlem side kick by Booker to regain control, but Benoit gets the advantage by working on the back and gets a near fall off a backbreaker. There's the snap suplex, shades of The Dynamite Kid, for 2. Benoit continues with chops, but Booker comes back with a sleeper, which is quickly broken. Benoit undoes the MIDDLE turnbuckle. Booker gets the best of a chop exchange, and begins to take control. There's a spinebuster from Booker, and he's going up for the Harlem Hangover. Nope, missile dropkick instead, but Benoit kicks out at 2. Benoit sidesteps the scissor kick, and here's the WWE return of the Benoit rolling German suplexes. Booker fights out after the third, but gets another German for a count of 2.99995. Benoit tries to whip Booker into the exposed turnbuckle, but Booker with the sunset flip out of it for 2. Benoit is able to get the Crippler Crossface, and Booker taps out at 5:52.
I would have rather seen another five minutes of it or so, but good enough. Booker may or may not be working with a back injury, but unlike when a certain rattlesnake and a certain game are in the ring, it became part of the psychology of the match. Good match, and I'm gonna be looking forward to Benoit-RVD all week.
Bischoff is now at the booth with JR and Lawler, and he plays producer all at once.
One fall: The Too Damn Big Show vs. L'il Spike Dudley
Yeah, this is almost fair. Either the return of Spike the Giant Killer or a 2-minute squash. And Spike has his ribs taped from the table match, so of course the match starts off all Big Show. Bischoff wants to know how Steph can possibly compete with Raw. *coughcruiserweightscough* There's the Choke Slam, and I was wrong. It was a 63 second squash. Bischoff gives the signal from the booth, and Show brings in the table. And before Show can use it, Bubba Ray runs in with a low blow, but he levels Bubba, then choke slams Bubba onto Spike, who just happened to be on the table. And we cut 90 seconds off of Stasiak-D'Lo for this?
Coming up next, more of the HHH-HBK lovefest.
Allow me to do my police officer impression. "Nothing to see here, please move along!" Why couldn't the Island Boys have made their premiere appearance here?
Coming up next! The Rock vs. Eddy Guerrero in a non-title match! But first, cue the DX theme! Because nostalgia = RATINGS! What the hell is it with rehashing 1999 tonight? In fairness, my brother predicted this two segments ago, and I didn't care enough to bother. Was that Rick Rude in the video package? I now dub these two D-Generation Sux. So who has next week in the "X-Pac returns" pool? And sadly, they're more over than they were nine segments ago. They were rebels before rebels were cool, which must mean they're both about 70 because I think James Dean cornered that market in the 1950s. Let's reintroduce the Michael Buffer impression! (WHO?) Exactly. And then Hunter Pedigrees Shawn Michaels. What in the hell? Now who I root for? This must have been the nWo swerve they were planning but didn't get the chance to do.
Um...if this is what the idea was...then why the fuck did we have Shawn be the guy that convinced Hunter to join Raw? Now you've proven that entire segment to be a complete waste of time. But you know, I'll give them credit. Like Custer on his Last Stand, I didn't see it coming. So who's the face and who's the heel? They are now less over than they were half a segment ago.
Triple H is leaving, but here comes another limo. And it's Stephanie is under breach of contract, who wants Bischoff to know she's there. Um...shouldn't she be at a house show? You know, with her half of the company?
Non-title match scheduled for one fall: Latino Heat vs. Rocky wants to be in pictures (Undisputed WWE Champion)
It's non-title, so Eddy better win. Hell, Eddy better win even if it's for the title. Lockup, nothing doing. Lockup, Rock with a headlock and a hammerlock. Rocky? Wrestling? Where was this last night? Eddy off the ropes, and Rocky with a deep armdrag. Into an armbar now. Arm wringer. JR calls Eddy an egomaniac. Who the hell is Rocky then, Freud? Well, they're both psycho. Ah, that makes Rock a superegomaniac. Eddy gets the advantage during my rant, but Rocky uses his usual offense of shitty punches. Eddy gets the edge and chokes Rocky against the ropes while JR makes his obligatory barbecue sauce mention. Nice dropkick by Eddy, and now a snap mare into a reverse chinlock. JR actually discusses the psychology of a reverse chinlock. Another dropkick by Eddy, and the cover gets 2. Into a headscissors of almost a figure-four variety. And Eddy cheats to win, as he uses the ropes for leverage. Earl Hebner finally catches him. Rocky punches back, and Eddy slows him down with a clothesline. Back to the reverse chinlock. A long reverse chinlock. It doesn't bore the crowd, that's good. Hebner checks the arm, but it's not 1984 for the arm only drops twice. Comeback time for The Rock, and a discus punch that looked decent is followed up by a DDT for 2. Eddy knocks him down, but there's the kip-up. Rock Bottom is reversed into a cover for 2. That should have been the finish. Eddy drops Rocky throat first on the top rope and heads up top, but he misses the Frog Splash. Eddy hesitates, but walks into the spinebuster, and here is the most ignorant move in sports entertainment today, and a big fuck you to anybody who thought this was the start of Eddy's push, because that got the pin at 8:30. And out to the ring comes Brock. And Brock is holding the belt. Staredown, Brock stares at the belt, then at Rock, then at the belt, and then he holds the belt out...and drops it. "That's disrespect" says JR. Hey, Rocky's the one who insulted an entire race an hour ago.
Outside, Bischoff heads out to Steph's limo, and she's here to kick him in the testicles. Out of the limo she goes, and Eric does some shitty karate mocking until Brock comes out to play muscle man...and enters Steph's limo. "How does it feel to get kicked in your testicles?" Apparently Brock is moving over to SmackDown...
END OF SHOW
Can somebody explain to me why Rocky is going to job at SummerSlam to SmackDown's newest heatless wonder in a World Title match, but he can't job to one of the five best wrestlers in the company in a NON-title match? The match was good (Rocky finally did less of his shitty punching and more actual wrestling), but this isn't rocket science. Rocky loses tonight, gets his receipt next week, and you use it to elevate Eddy. Simple. *sigh*
As for Brock joining SmackDown, here's my take. It doesn't really matter who's on what show, because in the end, it's all in Vince McMahon's pocketbook. But they're overlooking one thing. If Brock is on SmackDown, that makes three straight pay-per-view main events highlighted by SmackDown talent. King of the Ring was SmackDown's turn. Vengeance didn't have a story line reason for it, but I assumed it was because Brock got the SummerSlam shot. And now they have Brock change shows to make it three straight. Kind of makes the draft pointless, doesn't it? And what does this mean for the Raw roster? If I'm being told I can't main event a PPV under Bischoff, I'm signing with Steph pronto.
Overall, what was good was pretty good, what was bad only served to piss me off. Poor booking and lack of detail make JHawk go absolutely crazy. And sadly, this was on a show that didn't suck. Imagine what the next bad show is going to look like.
I'll be back Thursday with Today in Wrestling History. Until then, I'll take all of the comments via e-mail.
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