Monday, October 21, 2002

WWE RAW Review: 10/21/02

I just keep thinking the same thing, week in and week out. "It just can't get any worse than this." And bless them, those RAW writers just keep proving me wrong. Week in and week fucking out.

So let's see, what went down last night? Triple H flapped his gums, and Hurricane ran in for no particular reason. Seriously, what if Hurricane had run off with Triple H's tape and buried it somewhere in the hills of Tennessee? Sure, we'd have never been subjected to... yeah, that... but looking at this through the eyes of the storyline, it would've only made Kane seem that much guiltier in the long run. Let's see, Triple H comes out to the ring, tells us he's got a juicy video, Helms steals it forever. Boy, there must've been something on that video that the red guy didn't want us to see. I wonder if he would've... killed... to keep it out of the public eye? hmmmm...

OK, so we hear from Triple H about how he's the best thing for the company, about how he deserves to be where he is today, he EARNED it. And then he goes on to prove his point by squashing the living hell out of a guy who made a big jump to RAW less than a month ago, starring in the worst main event we've seen in years, ruining the angle that followed, and putting the viewing public through fifteen of the most embarrassing minutes EVER SHOWN ON TELEVISION. Way to hit it out of the park, booker-man. I know I'll never criticize you again.

Jeff Hardy and Christopher Nowinski seemed to be moving in slow motion last night. That, or they were wrestling underwater and I just wasn't made aware. Poor Jeff's woes continue, and I wonder if the guy will ever realize what it was that made him so exciting to watch all those years ago. It wasn't the retarded elephant paintings covering half his body, nor was it that goofy blacklight-sensitive powder he buries himself in pre-match. The next Shawn Michaels? More like the next Koko B. Ware.

Regal and Storm are still together, with their new tights. Storm's needed a new look for a while, even though I still didn't mind the black and red long tights. And meanwhile, Regal has completed his transformation to the Steven Regal of WCW. He's slapping people around when he wants to, he's going nowhere fast, he's stuck in a dead end tag team, and now he's playing the nationality card full time. I guess this has been the case for a couple weeks now, it just took the change in wardrobe for me to notice. The match was below what I'd expect from the two, with Spike of all people collecting the three count. Pretty cool how Regal sold the finish there, taking the bulldog, laying down for three and then immediately, casually rolling out of the ring and walking away as though nothing had happened. Storm wraps this deal up with the sissy-kick post match, missing Bubba's head by roughly three miles, but doing enough damage with the wind alone to knock the big man out. The Dudleys are doing nothing for me, and it won't be long before Storm is in the same boat, the way this division is headed. Why don't they just let him dominate the Intercontinental Title scene? He's like the poster boy for unused midcard greatness, and the IC belt is... ... ...shit.

I'll agree with the praise from previous reviewers, Chris Jericho and Christian totally nailed their promo Monday night. They've got that whole Edge & Christian vibe going, like they're two guys who really hang out when they're off camera, and have a blast doing so. That, and they get big time points for paying more attention to past storylines than the current writing team. I remember Trish on all fours, begging like a dog not too long ago. Damn, Trish IS a slut!

I missed Bischoff's speech, because I blinked. From what I've read, he promised a gimmick called the "Elimination Chamber." What's that, a match in a port-o-potty? Better yet, maybe they'll break out "Kennel in a Cell" again, and force the guys to fight in the area between cages, nasty piles of dog shit and all. "Elimination Chamber" indeed... just break out the War Games and get it over with!

Test and D'Lo met, assuring us that one guy would finally stop his "We Seriously Don't Hold a Grudge. Seriously." losing streak. I think, combined, these guys have lost something like fifteen hundred matches in the last year and a half. I don't have a problem with pairing Stacey with Test. Neither of them were going anywhere on their own, so let the kids have fun. Kudos to Test, for catching some major league air during D'Lo's powerbomb. That thing just looked vicious.

Honestly, what was it with the homosexual innuendos last night? First we have Booker T, threatening to give Chris Jericho an "injection of Vitamin T, right up his ass." Then, less than an hour later, we get Kane threatening to beat up and / or kill Triple H on the side of the road, before "playing the game" from behind. Not that it's an entirely new path, considering Rocky's past fascination with anal violations, but it's still something that caught me as very disturbing.

The mixed tag was pretty much decent. I honestly thought Trish was going to snap in half when Y2J locked her in to the Walls. She was bending in all sorts of ways I'd never expect to be humaly possible. Pretty gruesome. I'm in agreement with Corey, it's great to see a heel team that can actually hold their own for a change, and win matches without breaking the rules every step of the way.

Oh yeah, and I guess there was some sort of video package airing last night, as well. I hope Hunter dies. I hope he gets ebola from handling the raw meat they used to simulate Katie Vick's brains, and dies. And I hope Kane really does violate his rotting corpse. Twenty minutes of my life I'm never going to get back. Inexcusable, and roughly twenty times worse than anything WCW ever did. I'd take David Arquette's championship run over this. I'd take the Black Scorpion in favor of this. Hell, I'd watch the Giant fall from a twenty story building over and over again before I'd agree to watch this slop again. Never have I ever been so embarrassed to be a wrestling fan, and considering some of the muck I've waded through, that says one HELL of a lot. Fuck you, WWE. Fuck you in the asshole with a rubber dildo.

With the audience sufficiently shell-shocked, the program attempted to move on from there.

Al Snow doesn't have it anymore. There, I've said it. I LOVED the guy when he debuted, and again when he had the potential angle of the year with Rocky right on his doorstep some time ago. This isn't the same guy. He doesn't look like he gives a crap in the ring, and his character on the outside is dull. Sorry to see it happen.

Far and away the brightest moment of the night was Shawn Michaels, and his WWE New York (err... The World) promo. Simply put, classic HBK. Michaels at his best, giving the fans what they want to see and shouting what they want to hear. Great, great television.

And then the main event had so much wrong with it, I won't even try to start a list. Let's just say it was, at least, a step up from the previous Triple H segment and leave it at that.

In conclusion... holy hell. When I was growing up, I read the comic book Spawn almost religiously. Spawn was my absolute favorite character, and I was a die-hard fan. I bought everything with his face on it. I saw the movie, I collected the toys, I purchased every issue of the comic book the very day they were released. My collection numbered well into the hundreds. I collected this book for YEARS, and then one day I realized what I was reading. The writing sucked balls, and had for quite some time. I was buying it for the habit of buying it, and nothing more. About two years ago, I quit buying Spawn. I went cold turkey. I sold much of the merchandise I'd bought, but I still have my unbroken string of comic books, sitting, unread for years, in a box in my bedroom. The owner, in his anxiousness to market the character, overlooked what had attracted people there in the first place. He killed his core audience, and has been suffering ever since.

I just hope, some day, I don't look next to my TV and see a bunch of old WWE videos, sitting untouched for years, as a result of this. There was a moment when I honestly sat and debated with myself. Why am I even watching this? What's keeping me here? I've been watching wrestling for almost sixteen years, and not once has a single storyline forced me to ask myself that question. Things need to shape the fuck up.

On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is poor and 10 is amazing...
Overall Score: 1

Sunday, October 20, 2002

The World's Greatest WWE No Mercy 2002 Preview

So, yeah, remember Summerslam? You should, it was only two months ago... then again, I don't blame you for overlooking it, because this month's PPV has about a tenth of the anticipation and excitement going in as the big SS did less than sixty days ago. It's amazing how a writing staff can do something so well, and then follow up by doing everything else so poorly. Kane / Triple H would've been a halfway entertaining main event without the storylines surrounding it. The intrigue of a new face in the women's divison and Victoria's notable athleticism would've been more than enough to carry that match without a silly "she stepped on me" drama thrown in. Brock and the Undertaker could give us the match (and CLEAN FINISH) we were hoping for last month, without a broken hand / adultery gimmick. Sometimes it's best just to let a soap opera remain a soap opera, and to let a wrestling program remain a wrestling program. Seeing as how the live audience booed RAW's top angle out of the building, I think it's safe to say they aren't drawing in any new buyers with these kinds of storylines.

Victoria vs. Trish Stratus
Women's Championship

This one should actually be much better than it has any right to be. Trish has improved by leaps and bounds since her debut in the ring (and subsequent title reign), and while she's not quite good enough to be carrying title matches on her own, Victoria seems more than capable of picking up the slack here. I'm sorry to see Molly up and vanish from the division, but with only one reigning face on the roster, there's only so many times you can pair up the same heel with her before things get repetitive and boring. It's also too bad they dropped the mentor thing they had going with Ms. Holly and Victoria, as that had much stronger legs than this whole "I'm the little person she stepped on as she climbed to the top" deal we've got going on now. But that's the direction we seem to be heading with the booking right now... the whole 'face from the past' thing... so I guess I'll have to take what I can get.

If there's one thing I'm damn sure of, it's the fact that I'm much happier watching Trish and Victoria, two women who can put on an exciting match without brutalizing the eyes, than I am watching Sherri Martel and Alundra Blayze. The women's division has come a long way, and I've gotta applaud it for that. Let's just hope nobody gets hurt, as Victoria's been slightly sloppy since her debut. It'll be fun, if kept relatively short. I'm thinking Victoria looks much stronger here, but I'm also thinking Trish has a money feud with Jazz coming up upon her return, so it's a tough one to call. Let's take a risk and go with the new chick. She can always drop the strap before December.
Winner: Victoria looks a lot like Victorious

Booker T & Goldust vs. Christian & Chris Jericho
World Tag Team Championship

On paper, this one looks really good. Almost a fanboy's wet dream (if you leave out Goldust, or replace him with Benoit or Angle, or somebody.) Booker and Jericho are two guys pegged by everyone except the bookers as the future of the sport, with Christian just a few steps behind them. Meanwhile, Goldust remains inexplicably over and continues his trend of wedging his way into matches involving guys with ridiculous amounts of talent. While I don't see he and Booker as tag team championship material, they do have this bizarre sort of chemistry together that keeps the team functional despite the difference between characters. However, their matches don't flow much... or... at all, and therein lies the problem wit this match.

With Christian dogging it in the ring since his jump to RAW, and Jericho coming off a string of the best matches he's wrestled in years, there's going to be a big hot & cold element here. Or, if things continue for the team the way they did Monday, a distinct cold & cold element. And again, if they pick up where they left off at TLC two weeks ago, an untouchable hot & hot element. You get the idea. Straight up, this team sucked balls Monday night, when they walked away tag team champions. They didn't look like a team that should even tag together regularly, let alone a team that should be walking away with some gold. So, let's put it this way; if Y2J and Christian come to play later this evening, this one could potentially blow the roof off the place and solidify them as legit tag champions.Then again, if they make sucking balls a regular gig, this could stink up the arena and further tarnish one of the two men's belts left on RAW. I'd wager that no matter which direction Jericho and Christian choose to take this, Booker and Goldust won't be far behind. They're just as variable as their opponents, ready to kick ass if the other guys want to, or willing to suck ass if the opponents choose to follow that route.

Neither team should be competing here, but then again neither should Kane & Hurricane. I'm taking the Canadians to retain.
Winners: Chris & Christian

Dawn Marie vs. Torrie Wilson

I'll be honest, I haven't been paying attention to this feud. They're both hot, let's just leave it at that. Forget everything we saw about Torrie's wrinkly-ass dad, this is here to fill the T&A quota of the night, since the Women's match seems to be concentrating more on actual wrestling. I could do without it, but I won't complain. I mean, it could be worse. We could be seeing Teri's skanky, 65-year-old ass out there trying to look sexy again.
Winner: Dawn Marie, because I dig brunettes

Rob Van Dam vs. Ric Flair

Hoo, boy. It must suck to be Rob Van Dam right now. One minute you're in the main event, this close to winning the World Title, and the next a whole month has passed and at the last moment you've been thrown into a match against a guy whose style is like the polar opposite of your own. I like both guys as individuals, but this one is gonna be ugly. I thought we'd already determined that these two were as incompatible as they come, when they first met in a tag match the night after Unforgiven. Memories of Flair trying to maintain his bearings and horribly botching a monkey flip spring immediately to mind. Now, don't get me wrong... a mat wrestler can most certainly put on a good to great match with a high flying risk taker. It's just not freaking likely when the mat wrestler is a rapidly aging Ric Flair and the risk taker is Rob Van Dam.

I said it last month, and I'll say it again this month (and next month, and the month after that, and as long as they're willing to keep putting him in the ring), they need to get the Nature Boy out of the ring entirely. He's doing nothing for the product by slapping on those tights, and the only thing he's doing for himself is tarnishing that legendary status. It's becoming more and more sad to see him in there each week, seeing his brilliant, tactical mind starting to falter, and his once-iron body betraying him at nearly every step. Please, just stop the suffering. Give him one last match, against someone who can give him a last match worth remembering, and then retire him forever.

This feud won't advance either man, and after this month RVD will be completely out of the picture as far as Triple H is concerned. RVD gets the nod, but at what cost?
Winner: Rob Van Dam

Benoit and Angle vs. Edge and Rey Mysterio, Jr.
WWE Tag Team Championship Tournament Finals

This is your show stealer, right here. Talk about four guys who have been absolutely on fire over the last month. These four, teamed with the Guerreros, are the major reason Smackdown is widely regarded as the better show, and I don't think I'll ever get any sort of argument in making that statement, either. The tension between Benoit and Angle have been played out almost perfectly over the last month, with Thursday being the perfect way for them to head into the PPV. Along those same lines, Edge and Rey have worked well enough together, merging their unique styles, and are already set up for a feud with Eddy and Chavo upon their victory in this match. Likewise, Benoit and Angle are a powder keg, set to blow when one man loses this match for the other and finally turns one full heel and one full face. It's extremely easy booking to predict, but it doesn't make it any less interesting, or less exciting to see unfold. Sometimes I'd trade all the surprises in the world, ever major turn in a main event, for the ease and tradition of an angle allowed to follow its own natural course. Look at MMA; sure, you get your fair share of surprises and upsets, but the majority of the time there's a guy who deserves to win and a guy who deserves to lose. You don't get people stringing opponents along, in an intricate plot not even a Hollywood producer could follow. You get two guys who want to beat the shit out of each other, and one guy who's likely to win. Sometimes I wish pro wrestling would realize that's where the excitement is. We can only suspend our disbelief so far.

Whoah, I got off track. Benoit and Angle have both proven they can work an excellent match with Rey Rey, and Angle's put on clinics with Edge in the past. The only real variable here is how well Benoit will take to Edge, and I don't think that's much of an issue in and of itself, considering how good these two have been across the board over the last six months. I already revealed my choice for the end of this match a bit above; I'd be surprised if we didn't see Benoit locking in a crossface on the Olympian, or Angle trapping the Wolverine in an ankle lock before it all ends. Edge and Rey are picking up the win, and moving on to a match with the team that deserved to be in this match, Eddy and Chavo.
Winners: Edge & Rey Mysterio, Jr.

World Heavyweight Champion Triple H vs. Intercontinental Champion Kane
Champion vs. Champion; Winner Take All

iUf! For those who don't "habla espa?ol", iUf! is Spanish for "What the hell is the WWE thinking, writing a feud between two heavyweights that centers not around the physicality of the match, but instead on Kane's history of fucking dead bodies???" Those wacky Spanish, how they can condense such an intricate, detailed message into just two short letters and a set of exclamation marks, I'll never know.

Honest to god, what the hell. Is it not blatantly obvious how much the audience despises this angle? Has it ever occurred to the writers that maybe, just maybe, there should be a few subjects that they write off as simply not acceptable for a wrestling storyline? Not because they push the envelope, but because they're seriously uneasy subjects that have nothing to do with attracting potential viewers and everything to do with embarrassing the core audience. There are only a few times I've been more embarrassed to be watching RAW than I was this past Monday. Remember that time the entire Alliance came out, and starting singing to Stone Cold? That was one of them. This shit should be immediately retired, written off as a dream sequence and stricken from the record faster than Andre the Giant's World Title reign prior to Wrestlemania IV.

Seriously, look at this. I'm so intense in my hatred about the angle that I can't even be bothered to comment on the match itself. Kane's lost some weight, as has Triple H. This still won't be that good. It won't even be in the same LEAGUE as a match to retire the Intercontinental Title should be. Kick, wham, pedigree, sledgehammer, corpses coming from below the ring to deliver their own, semen-drenched pedigree, whatever. Hoss or no, Kane's not winning this one.
Winner: Dribble Aitch

Brock Lesnar vs. the Undertaker
WWE Championship; Hell in a Cell

Why's this one in the cell again? Any particular reasoning behind that? No? Didn't think so. Sure, they could've actually made HIAC mean something here, by giving Lesnar a tainted victory thanks to Heyman's help last month. They could've put the thing to use for the very reason it was constructed in the first place, to keep one guy's cronies from coming into the ring and ruining another match for the Undertaker. But nah, this was all Steph's idea. Marketing genius that she is, she's decided that this match will take place in the infamous cube of misery AND (get this!!) THE UNDERTAKER WILL BE ALLOWED TO WEAR HIS CAST! Oh, holy god, hold me back. That decision's ramifications haven't even begun to sink in yet.

You know what I'd like to see here? A taste of honest-to-goodness, old school cage match psychology. You know, the kind of matches they had where one guy was guaranteed to leave a bloody mess, and the other guy would be doing a stretcher job? The kind of cage matches they had before the WWE decided it was much more exciting to watch guys step through the door than it was to watch them scale the cage. I'd like to see a Hell in a Cell match where the participants actually stay inside the cage. No matter what the outcome, if these two try to keep up with the tradition that is HIAC this match will be doomed to fail. They can't do it. Not even an F5 on the top (which would, admittedly, be pretty cool) would hold water next to the kind of shit that Mick Foley and Shawn Michaels have done. Their only chance here is to break all the preconceived notions people have about HIAC matches, and begin their own legacy inside the steel. They need to give us a solid match, not a spot-fest. They need to use the cage intelligently and creatively. But more importantly, they need to tie it all together with a solid match and a clean finish. If they can do that, which is admittedly a huge task, they're golden. Otherwise, file this next to "Kennel in a Cell" or "Bossman in a cell" at WMXV.
Winner: Brock Lesnar


Despite the horrendous booking filling 75% of the card, a few lucky breaks could make this a somewhat decent PPV after all. The Black Gold / Canadians match has potential to be much better than expected, if Jericho can get Christian off his ass again, Trish and Victoria might be good, Brock / Taker might be interesting, and of course the Smackdown tag match should rip the house down. If the writers realize how badly their work is failing, the next month might yet be salvageable, but it's still a little too early to be making predictions about that one. Especially considering how much Vince likes to shove more of the same down our throats after a vocal displeasure with the product. We'll see.
until next time, i remain

Monday, October 14, 2002

WWE RAW Review: 10/14/02

Bless their hearts, they're trying. They sure as hell aren't succeeding, but they're trying. RAW was a trainwreck last night. Plain and simple. A few segments had promise going in, but just failed to deliver for one reason or another. May as well just start in at the top...

The program opened up on an up note, showing us the team of Y2J and Christian wasn't just a one-shot deal. These guys could have promise, if they aren't pigeonholed into the 'loser with a gold belt' category previously occupied by the UnAmericans. Why is it so difficult to come up with a compelling storyline that involves people disliking one another and fighting to resolve their differences? I mean, it ain't Shakespheare. You've pretty much got the basics of a storyline laid out for you... you've got the finish line, all you have to do is start somewhere and let the story do its thing.

Here's where I'd be bitching about how everybody involved in the opening match, besides the Hurricane, mailed in their performances last night. On one hand, the other three have legitimate reason to be taking it a little easy, after a tremendous TLC match last week. On the other, this is a TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH. It's one of three titles left on the program. It should mean a little something more than what we got. These guys looked so sloppy and carefree, you would've thought they were wrestling in the heightened elevation of Denver again. But the end result is new tag team champions, guys who can't even pin a cruiserweight without using the ropes. Great. Better start counting the profits right now, boys.

Storm and Snow picked up right where Jericho, Kane and Christian left off, giving us another match that went about nowhere. Al Snow has given us two subpar performances in as many weeks now, and I'm starting to wonder why he's being booked as a more important face than most of the other guys on the roster. I like the guy a lot, and I think he's got the skills and personality to go far if he wants to... he just hasn't wanted to in the last three years. Don't reward him for that. The same goes for Lance Storm, who was surprisingly off last night. I usually love the guy's work in the ring, but that match just left a bad taste in my mouth. Let's get rid of these three minute nothing matches, give him twenty minutes and a meaty, physical feud to work with, and then see if he's still as boring. On the positive side, William Regal was entertaining on the microphone for the minute he was back there, actually acting like a human being and walking out when JR and Lawler started poking fun at him. I'd have done the same thing.

Victoria is a poor actress. Keep her in the ring, where her actions can overpower her words, and she's got a damn fine chance.

Though the character he's portraying is tired, overplayed and undeserving of the title, I've got to admit Triple H delivers the most professional promos in the business. And no, I'm not referring to the whole ordeal with Kane and the corpse sex. Hell, I don't think Gordon F'ing Solie could've saved that monstrosity. His backstage segment with Ric Flair, moments after his match with RVD was announced, was as solid as they come. I've got to give him credit where it's due, after giving him shit every other day of the year.

Jeff Hardy beat Rico. Okay, why did we see that? Aren't matches supposed to mean something on the show before a PPV? You could've heard a pin drop when Eric Bischoff announced this match moments earlier. Given a good direction, Rico could really take off in the next year, but with those horrid Lash LeRoux sideburns, that leopard-skin outfit and that homoerotic theme music, he's going south faster than Trish Stratus at a Diva recruitment fair. (ohhh!! and I even tied it in with the show!! yes! yes!)

I refuse to comment on the Kane / HHH segment, and hope it goes away without mention, the same way the Big Show's feud with the Bossman did two years ago. How the hell do they think this is selling PPV buys?

OK, so now not only is the Hurricane ineffective in the ring and a pussy backstage, but he's also extremely unimportant to his tag team partner. And he jumped to RAW why, exactly? I'll give the guy all the credit in the world, he's trying his best to make this work. He was the only guy inspired throughout the opening tag bout, his attention to detail is a treat (instance; whenever he tags Kane into the ring, he holds his arm for a few moments afterwards, selling the ferocity of his partner's tag..), and he can really go between the ropes when moveset limitations aren't crippling him. Yet, he still sits in a gimmick that's run completely dry... going nowhere. Talk about a poster boy for what's wrong with the WWE right now.

Molly's new haircut looks like shit.

The Pat Patterson segment was actually really well done. They read that crowd to perfection, allowing him to speak French until Bischoff cut him off in his own, inimitably condescending manner. The fans didn't give two shits about him when he came into the ring, but when he left, it was as a hero. This worked so well, it's a shame to see it surrounded by meaningless storyline advancement. The Three Minute Warning was predictable, of course, as was the injury to Patterson, considering the track record of the Islanders... but I'm willing to overlook that. One of the few successful segments on the whole show.

Shit, even Tommy Dreamer, probably the most consistent player on RAW over the last few months, looked like crap last night. The match sucked, the finish was lame, and the end result blew.

I really wish they hadn't rushed Randy Orton's heel turn like that. The thing that was so cool about this slow burn was watching as bits and pieces of the general assembly slowly got the idea that this guy was a turd, and turned on him subsequently. Those NFL History-style vignettes were absolutely perfect... especially this week's. And then they just toss out the full scale turn this week, during his last appearance for several months. Sure, they did it in a way that got the guy instantly over, but is anyone going to remember that when he comes back?

Could've done without the Booker / Big Show match, even though it gave us the funniest moment on RAW in months. Mark already pointed it out on the forums, (and repeated my commentary from last night! ohhh!!!! bitch!!!) but I'll go ahead and cover the ground for anyone who doesn't frequent our populated boards of bulletin. Watching Triple H scoot by, almost unnoticed, in the background of the match was funny enough. That he was driving a forklift in full wrestling gear while Ric Flair directed traffic made it absolutely, ridiculously, hilarious. I wish they'd have just let the whole thing go by without a mention, never tying it in to anything later in the program. That was the only redeemable portion of the match. Despite the fact that everything backstage was blatantly pre-taped, they couldn't manage to edit out a clear shot of Chris Jericho, with chair, standing outside of the women's restroom as Booker and Wight fought their way through the door. Great production, guys.

And the main event I'd rather forget about. The gimmick totally killed this match, with Jericho being the only one to come out of it looking any better than he did before. Y2J was great, barking orders outside the ring and just getting his face in the middle of everything at any opportunity. Why couldn't Coach have just moved the forklift after he asked Triple H what it was doing there? Does one have to weigh upwards of 300 pounds to set such a device into motion? Maybe the levers were rusted, so only a pro wrestler could activate it. Whatever.

The crowd went apeshit for the full-scale run in, and Kane's warpath afterwards. Maybe this whole "I do dead people" thing actually worked. Or maybe they were applauding the end of the show. Or maybe they just really, really hate D'Lo and Kane was trying to turn him improptu heel by chokeslamming him to end the segment.

On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is poor and 10 is amazing...
Overall Score: 1.75

Monday, October 7, 2002

WWE RAW Review: 10/07/02

Well, when you've hit rock bottom, they say there's only one place you can go from there. Of course, the WWE hadn't quite hit rock bottom just yet as of last week's showing, but if this crew's overall grade can be trusted, they were damn close.

Following up on a program like last week isn't easy. The negative reaction I guaged, during my limited floats around the net, was overwhelming so I can only imagine what it was like for the writing team. They're working under tremendous pressure, not only to improve their own program, but to keep up with a Smackdown roster overflowing with the kind of talent this RAW brand really needs. Add to that the almost instant negative feedback regarding this week's pitched "RAW Roulette" theme, and they had their work cut out for them. Even though I'd love the challenge, I wouldn't want to take over the head writer's duties for the WWE right now... talk about a thankless job.

That said, the program was certainly several steps above last week's. Granted, much of it was due to the spectacular main event, but just as much credit should go toward the writers, for booking such a match as well as giving it enough time to be successful. A majority of the roster seemed to be making a concentrated effort to improve this week, and while I can't say the same for 100% of the crew, a little headway is better than none at all.

Booker and the Show wasn't quite the kickoff I was hoping for. I still despise WWE for introducing an exit through the cage door as an acceptable end to the match, as it's a curse which has helped to kill off the heat for multiple matches. Book hit a sweet scissor leg drop off the top rope midway through, and won a relatively hard fought victory over the Big Show. The announcing team did a good job putting over Show's ferocity here, noting how pissed he was about losing to Jeff Hardy last week, and it actually seemed to mean something when Booker won. I'm excited about his upcoming feud with Chris Jericho, as it guarantees at least one of them a shot at something better than the limbo they've been enduring for the last year. The beating Y2J handed out looked more than a little pathetic, with Book's blade job almost ridiculous as a result, but I'm confident this is going somewhere. After all... Booker and Chris Benoit weren't exactly going anywhere when they met in WCW, and that feud's become almost legendary in the years since. This one is gonna launch somebody through the roof, mark my words.

There's a reason we haven't seen a blindfold match in fifteen years. They SUCK! Big time props to Earl Hebner, for opening the mask directly in front of the camera, showing the world that you could indeed see through the front of that black hood. Gotta say, this was kept mercifully short, so no major complaints. It was fun, and it didn't take time away from anything. I miss the days when D-Lo was going somewhere.

I was waiting for Regal to split an ankle in those high heels. Wouldn't that be a wonderful way to end a career?

Al Snow looked to be half asleep through his match with Test last night. I was a big fan of the guy when he first arrived in the WWF, and shades of that wrestler are still visible in today's Al Snow, but it just doesn't feel right anymore. He never recovered from the dropping of his feud with the Rock with no big payoff or reasonable explanation, which I still think is a crying shame. That series could've gone somewhere, as Al was breaking out of his light hearted, comedic persona and becoming a serious, psychotic competitor. But enough reflecting about aborted angles from the late 90s. This was an understandable junk brawl that ended with the right man on top. They botched some spots, but I wasn't really expecting ballet going into this one as it was, so I didn't mind all that much. Snow earns a bonus point for taking the time to put on that hideous bowling shirt.

Why is Jerry Lawler still in the ring? Someone stop him, before he methodically squashes EVERY former ECW talent. I don't tune in to see horny, balding, out of shape fifty year old men parade around in the ring and flirt with whores. I dunno, call me crazy...

The main event was... just what the doctor ordered to pull this one out of the dumps. RAW proved they do still have a couple people on the roster who can work fresh, exciting matches, and I was never happier to see it. I'll admit I had reservations going in, but when I realized they were giving this half an hour to work with, most of my fears were alleviated. RVD, Spike and Y2J really came in with something to prove, and I think when the dust had settled, they'd done a superb job of filling in the humongous shoes left behind by various Smackdown counterparts. Jericho and Christian, particularly, really clicked as a squad and absolutely dominated this match. Spike took his usual inhuman beating, and Jeff Hardy proved why everybody thinks he'll be dead within another year. Good lord, I've seen that leap from the twenty-foot ladder through a table so many times over the years... and it still takes my breath away. And then, to top it off, he takes that horrifying headfirst fall through the table on the floor. Damn... talk about a credible finish on that end. I didn't even really have a problem with Kane being in there, either, since he was used about as well as possible. He took some mean offense, and didn't even attempt to keep up when the other guys went into headfirst spot mode. The only thing I would've changed here was Hurricane's non-presence. God, he would've fit that match like a glove... remember his ladder matches with Shannon Moore against the Jung Dragons in WCW? Can't win them all, I guess, and it was a minor flaw in a major league matchup.

They should've just cut the show as soon as this one ended, though. You wanna know what it sounds like when an audience literally DIES? Rewind the tapes, you heard it when Hunter started talking. I'll refrain from commenting on the whole 'murderer' angle until I know how they're handling it, though...

Much more entertaining than last week. Match quality could still use a boost, but HOT DAMN was that TLC match fun. It wasn't the best of the TLCs, but it's more than deserving to carry the name. Above average, just for that match, and I'm interested in seeing something equally as entertaining next week.

On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is poor and 10 is amazing...
Overall Score: 6.2