For probably the first time, Maven actually looked somewhat decent in the ring last night. He took a beatdown, handed out some offense of his own and didn't pull the whole match down in the process. Otherwise, this was a pretty throwaway tag matchup. I still like Nowinski a lot, though he hasn't gone anywhere lately, and still have a little bit of hope for D'Lo's new angle. He tries to pin the illegal man, then shouts to Nick Patrick "You won't count because I'm black!!" It could go somewhere or it could go nowhere, because it's something that was previously labeled as too risky, and I for one am glad to see they're at least taking the risk. Sometimes you have to twist the old rules in the process of inventing the new ones.
Good GOD, Raven looks like shit. I'll acknowledge that he needed a change, but it sure as hell wasn't that shitty titty haircut. Nor is it those new, classic-style ring tights. Raven's always been a guy who struck me as having a really cool, if somewhat out-there, fashion sense. I dug his wardrobe when he was grunge. I questioned his logic when he painted an ankh on his face, but accepted it. I really liked his red dreds, and I thought the black paint under the eyes and bleached dreds were another half-step in the right direction. Now he just looks like a nasty old guy with a horrible haircut. Add to that the fact that they're jobbing him with no mic time to Jeff Hardy, instead of giving the guy a fucking CHANCE, and... well, it's no wonder we all bought into the rumor they'd released him several weeks ago.
Sean O'Haire looks like something out of the trench coat British bands of the early 80s. Give him some classic Cure or Joy Division to come out to the ring to, and he'll have a chance. I don't know about his character, nor that of Nathan Jones, for that matter... both seem like they're based around too much fiction to get far, but I guess we'll see. I thought O'Haire had a great look when he was in WCW, so I'm anxious to see him active again, if nothing else. And hey! They're trying to build new names, so I can't fault them for that. Cheers!
I could've lived without Vince's involvement with the show until the very end, when he got into it with Bischoff. It was fun, seeing the stars sneak out to follow the successful lead of the Dudleys. Perfect ground for Chris Jericho to make an appearance. I actually thought to myself "Why doesn't the rest of the roster come out and ask for what they want?" after Bubba and D'Von got their way. If nothing else, RAW's use of Y2J has been perfect for the last few months. Every chance they've got, they've reinforced him as a cocky dickhead, and I love it. They haven't shoved it in our faces, but they've kept us reminded.
I was glad to hear they'll be giving RAW another kick in the pants within the next month. This has the potential to be a fun couple of weeks, but I wish the Vince had chosen the right GM to replace with Shane. Steph shouldn't have grabbed Smackdown! in the first place.
I can go either way on the weightlifing segment. All night, whenever they mentioned the whole bench press thing, I kept thinking about this skit they did with Dino Bravo back when he was trying to get over as the "strongest man on Earth" or something. I guess he'd recently bench pressed a ton of weight, and was aiming to do it again live on WWF TV to get himself further over. So they pulled out the bench and a ton of weight, promoted the hell out of it and finally Dino laid back to do the deed, with Jesse Ventura there to spot for him and Alfred Hayes calling the action. He pulls the bar off the rack, instantly struggling. He looks like he's fighting for his life, and Ventura finally says enough's enough, and helps him get the thing back up on the rack. There's a moment of silence, then Jesse and Alfred start celebrating, telling us "he did it! he did it!" Then they cut away and never mention the incident again.
So I guess it's safe to say I'm glad they didn't try any legitimate bodybuilding last night. Besides, seeing Trips flailing around the ring with that one piece of shirt stuck on his arm was fun enough as it was. Not sure why Scotty tore his clothes off... maybe he was planning to make Hunter the next of his "freaks"? But it pushed Sunday's big event, so all's well that ends well.
I was happy as hell to see they closed the show out with the angle that's absolutely stealing the spotlight. I've been loving every minute of the war between Michaels and Jericho, from the moment they hinted at it the Monday before the Survivor Series, up to the activities last night. They're both so incredibly perfect for this story; Michaels, the veteran, understanding how to get completely under Jericho's skin because Y2J is so much like he was. Jericho, the young star, hungry and anxious to enjoy the main event as soon as possible. Shawn is gonna be over as a face no matter what he does, and the audience loves to hate Chris. It's a match made in heaven, and I'm pleased as punch they haven't dropped the ball.
A slow kickoff, but a strong and steady build to the conclusion. I dug this.
Overall Score: 7.1