Raw from JHawk's Beak
By Jared "JHawk" Hawkins
Mar 17, 2003, 23:33

Raw from JHawk's Beak (3/17/2003)
by Jared "JHawk" Hawkins

E-mail of the Week: This week's winner goes to Tara, who sent me this one on Tuesday.

I was at the gund yesterday, and raw pretty much sucked. Molly had a match, and she was awesome; the Hurricane was very entertaining, but there was a lot of dead air. I was looking forward to wrestling, particularly booker/rock, and a the womens match; which didn't happen. I was actually excited to see d-von, and that just goes to show you how much the show blew. After the show the rock and austin spent 20 minutes sparring verbally, which saved me from leaving pissed off. Normally, I would think that it was cool that they stayed late to do that for the crowd, but hell, we deserved it. It's sad that the best parts of the show happened after raw went off air.

I suppose we should give WWE credit for doing something to send the crowd home happy, because WCW never did that. I went to one Thunder in Cleveland that featured eight matches, the longest of which was barely four minutes, plus a lot of blatant false advertising. This was when they were still hot (5/21/1998), but Goldberg was heavily advertised and not there, Ric Flair was heavily advertised and not there because of his legal battle with Bischoff, and most of the guys who were there as scheduled did nothing but a short promo. No dark match, nothing to fill the dead air...nothing. Hell, Booker T and Chris Benoit had been wrestling each other on damn near every TV show for two months, but they did nothing that night but a promo that set up their best of seven series. We got royally hosed that night. That was the only time a Cleveland crowd ever booed the "Thank you for being here and drive safely" announcement. It was that bad, and they never again sold out in Cleveland.

As always, feedback me at the link at the bottom of the page to get a chance at having the E-mail of the Week.

No Forums Quote of the Week this week since I've been sick and haven't been on the forums enough this week to justify it. It should return next week.

Tonight: Allegedly we'll have Austin vs. Bischoff in a no disqualification match, plus we'll have a lot more WrestleMania hype. Will we top the 25-minute mark in the actual wrestling department? HA! And I still feel like shit, so this should be fun...for you. For me? Not so much.

Segment 1

Tonight's Raw is dedicated to the soldiers in the Middle East. Nice touch no matter what you actually think about the upcoming war.

Easy E is in the ring, and he has one lone spotlight on him a la 1997 Nitro. He reiterates the announcement of Bischoff vs. Austin in... a lumberjack match. And the entire Raw roster will be lumberjacks. And if anybody doesn't do their job, they're fired. Bischoff wishes him good luck.

L-I-V-E LIVE! It's St. Patrick's Day, and we're in St. Louis, Missouri's Savvis Center. Drink a Guinness and settle in! 16,349 WWE fans have sold out the arena! Austin vs. Bischoff! And guess who curtain jerks yet AGAIN!

One fall: Rob....................Van.................Dam and Kane vs. Chief Morley and Lance Storm (World Tag Team Champion)

Put the guy we want to see on first. Great way to draw the ratings. Do we have a count on how many weeks RVD's been in the opening match? If Regal's still out, shouldn't we consider stripping them of the belts about now? Oh wait, the Hunter rule. I forgot. Morley makes one thing perfectly clear. Should the Dudleys interfere, there will be hell to be. WHY THE FUCK WOULD THEY BE IN THE GODDAMN BUILDING? Morley and Kane start. Morley with a side headlock. Throw-off, Kane with a shoulderblock. Choke throw to the corner, and a series of punches. Corner whip, but Morley with a boot. That doesn't last long. Tag to RVD, Kane powerslam, and RVD off the top with a legdrop. Cover for 2. Cartwheel moonsault that ends up as almost a knee to the groin, and RVD punches away. Monkey flip...nope. Morley counters with a Hotshot. Tag to Storm. RVD rolls underneath a clothesline and hits a leg lariat for 2. Monkey flip. Morley grabs the foot, and Storm gets the DDT for 2. Morley tagged in. RVD fights back but gets leveled with a clothesline. Reverse chinlock, RVD fights out of it, but Morley hits a spinebuster for 2. Abdominal stretch, but RVD counters with a roll up for 2. Kane and Storm are both tagged in, and it's basically all Kane. Morley in illegally and met with a backdrop. Side slam to Storm. Clothesline to Morley. Up top...flying clothesline! Choke slam...but Morley in, and they hit a double DDT! And in comes RVD! Rolling thunder to Morley. Mule kick to Storm, right into the choke slam for the pin in 4:55. Good opener, but a bit sloppy. *1/4 RVD goes for a Five Star, but Morley rolls out of the ring before he can leap. And here come the Suspended Goddamn Dudley Boyz...and they jump RVD and Kane.?!?!?!?!? RVD over the top, and dear God, what a bump! 3D through a table to Kane, and that explains why they've been in the building all this time. If you can't beat them, join them.


Pretty decent opener, and a swerve that somewhat explains why they've been in the building for the last month. Two problems: If, in fact, they were with Morley for a month, then why have they been AGAINST Morley the last couple of weeks? Two...why go to Morley's side in the first place? OK, they get "reinstated", but it's been MONTHS since they started this feud. At least they're trying. But hey, who saw that one coming? No lying!

Segment 2

Backstage, the Dudleys were told to make a choice this week, and that choice was to join their administration. They're not happy about it, but they have to feed their families. And now that they've made their decision, they're officially reinstated. OK, I'll buy it. Oh yeah, Mr. Bischoff needs two more lumberjacks tonight...and they're clearly pissed.

Hungry Hungry Hippos is in his wrestling gear, and The Man WHOO! is so far in the background I almost didn't see him. Flair's getting disrespected in St. Louis? Only by Hunter, granted, but in St. Louis? Hunter's got the stick, and he was right last week. Booker doesn't deserve the title shot. And Booker proved him right by actually standing up for himself when he's being told to go back to 1860. This time Hunter's calling him out for a "face-to-face" showdown. But instead of Booker T, he gets South Park's Jimmy. Goldust says that it was an Oscar worthy performance, and sure, Hunter's confident. But Goldust knows that deep down..."down the cock-cock-cockles of your heart" he's worried. OK, that was cute. Hunter laughs at Goldust' impediment, for lack of a better term. And when he loses the World Title, then he will never...Hunter cuts him off to mock his "condition". And Goldust levels him with a right hand. And some shots for Flair. Eventually the numbers become too much and they go into severe double teaming mode. Where's Booker? Pedigree is set up, but there's Booker T, and he's doing a number and getting a HUGE pop. HUGE leg lariat to Hunter! Goldust back up with a clothesline, and Flair tries to run and can't. Booker wants the scissors kick, but Hunter pulls Flair out of the ring before it connects. Listen to that fucking crowd!


HHHater Clock: One segment, 7:28. Anybody who says Booker T isn't over enough to win the title at WrestleMania needs to play that tape back and listen. That crowd popped huge for Booker making the save, which is rare to hear for anything on this show. If this keeps up, Hunter might accidentally put someone over. I'm getting a little worried about the WrestleMania result with as much as Booker's actually getting the upperhand, but listen to that crowd. Booker's GOT to win the title after a reaction like that. And how's this for weird? Two good segments to open the show!

Segment 3

Tonight, Trish and Jazz meet Victoria and Steven Richards. Um...why?

Backstage, Hunter is throwing shit in the locker room. And if Bischoff wants them to be lumberjacks, then he wants Goldust in the ring tonight.

One fall: Maven vs. Rico (w/Jamal and Rosey)

Rico? On Raw? I'm not complaining, just shocked. Maven with a headlock to start, and Rico takes him down. Front facelock by Maven, reversal by Rico, and a forearm smash. Elbowsmash by Maven, and an armdrag into a takedown. Go back to 1997 Nitro, as Rocky wants to be in pictures shows up and we CUT AWAY FROM THE MATCH! God, I hate that. Rico with a kick to the back of the head. Rico distracts the referee, and Jamal hits a rope stunner. Rico with his stepover back kick for 2. Choke against the ropes. Chinlock with a rope camel clutch. Some stomps from Rico now, and a European uppercut to the back of the head. Rico continues to work on the neck. Psychology? On Raw? I'm not complaining, just shocked. Neck vice by Rico. Reverse neckbreaker for 2. Nice elbowdrop, and up to the second turnbuckle, but Maven avoids the elbow. Maven kicks away at the left arm, and a single-arm DDT. Backdrop. Flying bulldog for a slow 2 1/2. Irish whip, and Rosey grabs Rico so Maven can miss the dropkick. But when Rico approaches, Maven gets a backslide for the win at 4:49. The crowd was dead, but I liked it! **

Someone Feed Terri is awaiting Steve Austin, but the Holy Bible Kid walks into Austin's locker room.


Wow! If this keeps up, this is going to start resembling a wrestling show. Three segments, three good segments, including two good matches (for Raw anyway). I'm not thrilled that we forgot about Maven's neck by the end of the match, but I'm not going to use that as a negative. Rico and Maven both looked pretty damn good tonight.

HHHater Clock: Two segments, 7:52.

Segment 4

Cold Stones Steve Austin is staring HBK down, and he wants to make sure that he has something else to say. Apparently it was snowing in Texas, and now it's not. But his real reason for being there is that he's going to be a lumberjack tonight and just wanted to be straight with him. Michaels WILL throw him back in the ring. But what if Chris Jericho stops him? BUT...The Rock is a lumberjack tonight. No biggie, because The Rock got beat by The Hurricane last week, much like he will at WrestleMania. If Austin's going down, Bisch is going with him.

The Rock has run into Theodore Long, and Long's hiding a magazine from him. Apparently it's the new WWE Magazine, which is all about "Hating on the brothers", and The Hurricane is on the cover. Don't worry, Rodney Mack's facing him next, and nobody will remember what happened last week. Long has to apologize to Rock and calls it a conspiracy to keep the brothers down. Rodney Mack speaks! And he'll take care of Hurricane. Ready to back the Mack?


I'm confused. They're actually playing off of The Hurricane's win from last week? Rocky's acting upset about losing to The Hurricane? Could it be that they're actually pushing somebody who's gotten over in the past three weeks? Who died and replaced the writing team with competent people? (You haven't seen the match yet.) Ohhhhhhhh, good point. But hey, if they're pushing The Hurricane, I'm down with it.

Segment 5

WrestleMania Moment: Andre the Giant slams Big John Studd at WrestleMania I.

The road to WrestleMania is going through St. Louis!

One fall: The Hurricane vs. Rodney Mack (w/Theodore Long)

Quick roll up by The Hurricane for 1. Mack no-sells a shoulderblock. He wants Mack to go off the ropes, and he catches Mack with a flying clothesline. Long with the distraction, and Mack with the clothesline. Powerslam for 2. Turnbuckle smash, and a flying tackle off the second turnbuckle. Elbowdrop for 2. Mack misses a charge, and Hurricane with a flying neckbreaker. Flying headscissors (sorta), and a shining enzuigiri. Up top, beautiful flying bodypress for 2. Blockbuster, he calls for the Hurrichokeslam, but in comes The Rock for the DQ at 2:50. It was just hitting a groove too. * Hurricane gets his shots in, but The Rock takes him down with a DDT. Over the top rope goes The Hurricane. Rock follows him out, and there's a groin drop onto the guardrail. Another low blow, and he's got a chair. And a series of shots right to the back. Finally, Rocky did something heelish besides insult the fans.


I can't say I didn't see that coming, but I also can't say I didn't like the segment. Rocky was embarrassed last week, he was pissed off, so he found a way to get revenge for it. It helps establish that Rocky is indeed a heel now and sets up a potential rematch at some point down the line. And no, The Hurricane has no shot at winning a rematch, but even if he loses it, they can still build off this feud and keep the momentum going.

Segment 6

No surprise here. Trish vs. Victoria vs. Jazz for the Women's Title at WrestleMania.

One fall: Trish the Cheating Bitch and Jazz vs. Victoria (WWE Women's Champion) and Steven Richards

For those who asked and didn't already get an answer, I call Trish a "cheating bitch" because it seems that whenever she does the intergender thing, she gets the first shot in on the male heel, but we're supposed to feel sorry for her when the heel gets revenge. Nothing personal, contrary to popular belief. Last week, transmission problems left Jazz and Trish 20 seconds to wrestle before Victoria interfered. Somehow that makes a Jazz/Trish team "logical". Earlier today, Victoria treated the belt like Golem with the ring in The Two Towers. Richards makes the mistake of bringing up his past relationship with Jazz. About damn time! Jazz and Victoria start. No advantage there until Victoria slaps Jazz. Jazz slaps back, and it's on! Powerslam by Victoria for 2. Jazz finally comes back and gets a dropkick from behind. Walking powerslam by Jazz for 2. JR points out that Jazz hasn't tagged Trish, but Victoria hasn't tagged Stevie in either, making that pointless. There's the tag to Trish, which Trish doesn't seem to approve of, and Trish gets in a clothesline for 2. Nice dropkick. Chick kick for 2. Series of forearms and chops. Boot to the chest, but Victoria throws Trish off her shoulders when she goes for a Victory roll. Victoria has her by the hair and holds her for Stevie, but Trish reverses it and sends Victoria face first into Stevie's crotch. Stratusphere to Stevie, but Victoria's legal and takes her down. The crowd is getting behind Trish. Kick to the face. Slingshot somersaukt legdrop, but Trish rolls away. Tag to Stevie, and he misses a move in the corner and again gets hit below the belt. Trish goes for the tag, but Jazz short arms her and walks away a la Sid and Hogan in 1992. Spinebuster by Stevie, and in comes Victoria...WIDOW'S PEAK! One, two, three, good night. Time of the fall: 5:51. Not too damn bad. ** Stevie wants the StevieT, but Victoria wants it done on a chair, and Mr. Extreme plays the hero and makes the save, doing one hell of a number on Richards. Victoria tries to help, which, of course, backfires. Jeff up top...and Richards saves Victoria from a Swanton Bomb. And Jeff kisses Trish. What the bloody hell? That's basically what Trish's look says too, "What the bloody hell?" Lawler: "Now I know I should have gone to help her."

Tonight, Triple H vs. Goldust. Plus the lumberjack match.


No complaints about the match itself, but if the goal is to turn Jeff Hardy into a super face, I'm not sure this is the way to go. Sure, the ladies might go for it (emphasis on the word "might"), but the guys are just going to be pissed that they didn't get to kiss Trish when Jeff freaking Hardy got to. Guys like me can't win. We're not good-looking enough to get most of the pretty girls, and the ones who aren't hung up on looks go for guys like Jeff freaking Hardy.

Segment 7

Your hosts are Good Ol' JR and The Pharaoh, who go over the Shawn Michaels-Chris Jericho match for WrestleMania XIX. And it's mostly a video package blowjob for HBK. Nice package, but someone else is in the match.

Y2J+3 is with the returning Coach, who asks about the match. See that footage? Powerful, emotional stuff. But Y2J used to dream about being Shawn Michaels. Now it's about ending his career. ChrisTIAN runs out, and they have a tag team match next against Test and..."Does it matter?"


There's not really much to say about this segment. It would be very nice if they'd portray Jericho as something other than fodder for Shawn Michaels, but there's still another week of buildup before the match.

Segment 8

My Future Wife walks down the steps and tells Test that his partner's ready. He needs a few seconds to get ready...and he reads through the Torrie Wilson issue of Playboy. Uh oh!

One fall: Y2J+3 and ChrisTIAN vs. Test (w/My Future Wife) and Big Poppa Steroid Pump

Jericho will be on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn tomorrow night (Tuesday/early Wednesday). Scott Steiner didn't get released yet? I had the partner pegged as HBK, but I guess that was too obvious, even by WWE standards. Test immediately goes after Jericho. Jericho ducks a clothesline, but not the elbow, and Christian's save attempt fails. Jericho gets dumped over the top rope and onto Christian. Back in, and some hard forearms, but Jericho gets one shot in and tags Christian. Tag to Steiner, and he dumps Christian into the turnbuckle. Series of punches, and there's a clothesline. Posing elbow into pushups. Kick to the ribs and a tag to Test. Whip reversal, cheap shot by Jericho, and it looks as if Test will be your face-in-peril. Tag to Jericho, who does a number on Test. Tag to Christian. Test catches him with a clothesline, and there's the tag to Steiner. He catches Christian in mid-air and powerslams him. Jericho in, and Steiner chops away at him. Press slam to Christian. Belly-to-belly to Jericho. Steiner with a waistlock, Christian grabs Earl Hebner, and Jericho gets in a low blow. Tag to Jericho, and he does the elbow and posing thing to a POP! Wow. Turnbuckle smash, and a chop. Jericho gets caught on a springboard bodyblock attempt and gets a belly-to-belly for his troubles. Tag to Test, and he goes to work over both heels. Jericho finally gets in a boot to the face, but Test gets a tilt-a-whirl slam in for 2. Power bomb, counter, chop block by Christian, Walls of Jericho, but in comes Steiner to Hotshot Jericho. Test goes for the Pumphandle, Jericho counters but gets sent into Christian, Pumphandle, cover, Christian pulls Test out of the ring. Jericho goes for a Lionsault, but misses, and Steiner takes him down with a belly-to-belly suplex. Test goes for the cover off a power bomb, but Christian makes the save. Christian goes for Stacy, but Steiner stops it. Stacy gets knocked off the apron and into Steiner's arms. Test gets Jericho with the full nelson slam, but sees Steiner and Stacy together, and Jericho gets the roll up for the win at 7:39. Talk about surprising! **

Next, Goldust vs. Hunter!


Where did these guys get their working shoes from tonight? Unfortunately, this is looking like a buildup to Test vs. Steiner, which isn't likely to be very good. This match, however, was definitely Steiner's best WWE effort to date, Test even looked somewhat competent, and Christian and Jericho are simply good workers. I can't believe this was as good as it was.

Segment 9

One fall: Hungry Hungry Hippos (World Heavyweight Champion w/The Man WHOO!) vs. South Park's Jimmy (w/Booker T)

Sign in crowd: "Booker get me a towel". Somebody in the front row is putting that over? Has to be a plant. Lockup, into the corner, Hunter misses a right hand and gets one of his own. Nice short jab by Goldust. Hunter wants boxing, and Goldust gets the best of it. Butt bump. Hunter with a low blow. Series of punches, but Goldust gets him over with a backdrop. Goldust favors the electrocuted left arm, and Hunter rams the left shoulder into the ringpost. And again. And a single-arm DDT for 2. Wristlock by Hunter. Goldust fights back, but Hunter catches him with a spinebuster slam. Hunter taunts Booker, which gives Goldust a brief opening that's stopped by a knee to the midsection. Hunter wants the Pedigree, but it's countered with a double-leg takedown into a cradle for 2. Hunter with more punches, but Goldust catches him with a lariat. Uppercut to the chin. Inverted atomic drop, followed by a clothesline for 2. Irish whip, but Hunter turns it around and dumps Goldust to the floor. Flair with some cheap shots, but Booker makes the save...and here comes Randy Orton through the crowd with a crutch to Booker T. Well, I got to admit I didn't see that one coming. Back in, and Goldust gets the bulldog headlock in. Ten punch corner count-along. Setting up for Shattered Dreams...but he favors the arm. That's enough of a break for Hunter to hit the high knee and the Pedigree for the win at 6:41. This wasn't bad either minus the "affliction" getting to Goldust. *1/4

Fred Durst gets a video package to hype Limp Bizkit's shitty performance at WrestleMania that's taking an actual wrestler off the card. Yes, that pisses me off. It's not even that it's Limp Bizkit, it's that it isn't wrestling at an event with wrestle in the title.


HHHater Clock: Three segments, 19:02, 6:41 of it wrestling time. And I really wanted to give the match a higher rating than I did, but when you've got a lot of punches (I mean a LOT of punches), it's hard to justify bumping it up higher than that. Still the best TV match for Hunter in months, and give Goldust credit for trying to get the gimmick over even during a match. But does Hunter ever cheat to win? I need to find those stats again, because he gets way too many clean wins for a heel.

Segment 10

Bischoff is warming up backstage, and Rocky's got a song: He puts himself over with a parody of "Another Saturday Night". Bisch grabs the guitar, but he can't grab his Willie Nelson autographed guitar. Rocky's got a great idea. After 10 years, a first-time ever "Rock concert" on Raw. He's got a good voice, but come on. But not tonight in St. Louis. After a bleep, he runs down St. Louis. Bisch apparently approves. Rocky wants to do it next week in Sacramento. Bisch asks Rocky to be a lumberjack, but to be honest, there would be so many guys around the ring that Bischoff looks weak. So just take Morley down there, make it a no DQ match, and Rocky will come down when the time is right. Another parody of "Another Saturday Night" where he says he'll whoop Austin's ass. Bischoff starts to laugh but catches himself.

Your hosts shill WrestleMania. Triple H vs. Booker T. The Undertaker/Nathan Jones vs. The Big Show/A-Train. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho. Matt Hardy vs. Rey Misterio Jr. Trish Stratus vs. Jazz vs. Victoria. Mr. McMahon vs. Hulk Hogan. Chris Benoit/Rhyno vs. Los Guerreros vs. Team Angle. And Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle. And finally...The Rock vs. Steve Austin. Nine matches so far by my count.

Austin is approaching the ring!


See, this is one of those minor problems that the writers need to consider. They had announced the Austin-Bischoff match as no DQ and talked about it extensively on Heat last night. Come into tonight, and we hype a lumberjack match all night long, only to turn it back into a no DQ match. This makes several of the earlier segments meaningless, particularly the Michaels-Austin segment. Why not just keep it no DQ in the first place?

Segment 11

Sold out at the Savvis Center. When have they done that recently? Nassau and that's about it.

No Disqualification Match: Cold Stones Steve Austin vs. Easy E (w/Chief Morley)

We're already after 11pm Eastern, so if it starts it isn't going very long. Bischoff heads to the floor for a Tastykake break right off the bat. Sign in crowd: "It's a trap Stone Cold". Thank you, Mr. Obvious. Austin charges Bischoff and takes Morley down. Now after Bischoff, who trips. He's got him! Hard right hand! Into the ring, and What Kicks in the corner. Into a Boston crab! Morley onto the apron to force the break. Punches and chops, and in comes Morley with a low blow. Now they double team Austin, and it's all legal. Bischoff taunts Austin and chokes him on the bottom rope. But Austin's up, and he's doing the What Kicks gain. STUNNER! In comes Morley...out goes Morley! And here comes The Rock. Stone Cold Stunner by The Rock to Austin! Bischoff covers...only for 2. Rocky can't believe it. In comes Rocky to work Austin over. People's Elbow...NO! Austin with punches and a clothesline sending Rocky to the floor. Stunner to Morley. Stunner to Bischoff! There's the pinat 4:22. Entertaining foru sure, but rather bad from an actual wrestling standpoint. DUD But in comes Rocky...flipping the bird...ROCK BOTTOM! And Rocky grabs a couple of cans of light beer. There's your staredown.


Well, I'll be damned. Hey, if you expected any better rating than that for Austin vs. Bischoff, you're out of your mind, but it was more entertaining that some of the technically better matches. Pretty good booking, as Austin looks good (although almost too good), but Rocky still gets to save face leading into WrestleMania. Inoffensive.

Final countdowns on our clocks:

HHHater Clock: Three segments, 19:02, 6:41 of it wrestling time. Nothing wrong with that.

Wrestling Time: Seven matches totalling 37:07. Basically right where they need it to be. Wrestling? On Raw? I'm not complaining, just shocked.

Overall, this is the best Raw in MONTHS. Literally months. Nothing offensive, all of the wrestling was at least decent, most of the booking was somewhat sensible. A few minor quibbles (particularly building to a lumberjack match over the entire show to change it to the original stip at the last minute), but plenty of solid angle development leading into the Big One on March 30.

Now let's see if they can keep the momentum going over the long term.

Send me your feedback, and if you missed it, check out my indy on-site report from this weekend.

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