Monday, May 26, 2003

WWE RAW Review: 05/26/03

I live to see good Flair and Michaels promos, and I agreed with everything they said to one another last night, but the whole segment just fell flat to me. They should've left well enough alone with all the tears last week, and not tried to recapture that glory once again a mere seven days later. But you know Vince McMahon, no matter how many times he gets electrocuted, he'll always try to capture that lightning in a bottle a second, third, fourth and fifth time. I was actually relieved to see Triple H arrive, breaking up this verbal orgy, and I'm in agreement with everybody in the world who's been saying Flair should've been slid into the main event slot at Bad Blood, knocking Nash down the same route Scott Steiner took after WrestleMania. Ric and Trips have great chemistry together, a solid storyline and a hot potato in Flair's face turn to run with, while Big Daddy Limp and Haitch have... a match that'll rival the Undertaker / Bossman collision at Wrestlemania XV for "Worst HIAC Ever." Whatever. In other news, Trips seems to have permed his hair several times in the last week, and it's starting to resemble a beautiful patch of shrubbery more than it is human hair.

JR's history is off. All night, he was proclaiming Flair / Michaels v. Triple H as "the first ever teaming of Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair," though they teamed together against Bret Hart and Randy Savage, ages ago, in a match I've got on my desktop at home. I'm surprised nobody else picked up on that, since it was on the OFTP all year.

Booker T and Test didn't light my fire last night. I like Booker T, and have ever since his series with Chris Benoit in WCW all those years ago, but his offense is getting on my nerves. He hasn't introduced a new maneuver in ages, and one could almost call his entire match with their eyes closed, he's become so repetitive. I'd still rather see him with the title than Triple H, but he's begun to fall from grace in my eyes. I've really got a problem with the scissor kick as a finisher. It's bad enough that we get to watch his opponent hunch over for about fifteen seconds, while he looks at his hand, slowly wanders to the ropes, bounces off and delivers the maneuver... now he's pinning people with it. Honest to god, that's as bad as "the worm." Ugly match, highlighting both guys' weaknesses.

Hey, now that I think about it, Triple H is starting to look more and more like He-Man, savior of Eternia. He's just primping that hair for the eventual bowl cut, then he'll start to come to the ring with a sledgehammer and a shield, then he'll wear fuzzy underpants and a big chest protector. Then he'll eventually ride down to the ring on an enormous green tiger, and he'll finally transform the entryway of RAW to look just like Castle Greyskull, with wrestlers emerging from the mouth/drawbridge. And then he'll top off the whole schpeel by changing "I am the game, you wanna play me" to "I have the power, you wanna try me". Maybe he'll bring back Papa Shango, so he can squash a guy who looks like Skeletor. Flair can grow a moustache and be Man at Arms.

Somebody stop me, next time I get off on a tangent like that.

Victoria seemed to age about ten years in the last month, and has gone the Ivory route of attempting to cover up for it; wearing more bizarre, revealing outfits each week. Richards and Venis had a solid, hard hitting match, but I've lost my enthusiasm for these two as it's becoming obvious WWE will never do anything with them. Venis was THIS CLOSE to completing a successful rebranding as Chief Morley, and could've easily lit up the midcard if he'd returned as just Sean Morley and worked the "you fired me and I'm working twice as hard to prove my worth" storyline. Instead, they took a huge step backward and took him back to the porn star gimmick that ran its course four years ago. Nice clean matchup, if too short, surprisingly lacking in interference from Trish, and a fresh break from the overwritten storylines we're used to seeing.

I didn't have a problem with Nash's interview. It felt offbeat and unscripted, sure, but I think that's something they should explore a little further with the rest of their roster. It's amazing how different an interview with a WWE superstar is, as opposed to an athlete from any other sport.. it's hard to believe what these guys are saying if they're reading it from a cue card or memorizing a script the night before. Nobody gets in front of the camera with an entire monologue in mind, it's meant to be spur of the moment stuff. Nash felt like he was giving unscripted answers, and I liked the change of pace.

Christian and Goldust had a relatively good match, until we got into the "golden globes" stall fest. Strange ending, with Goldust taking the clean pin off a powerslam. I don't have any idea what they're trying to do with this whole storyline.

Looks like Rodney Mack and the Dudleys are due for a feud, which is funny considering the different nationalities supposedly tied up in the Dudley bloodline. I wouldn't be surprised if they revealed Mack himself was, in fact, a lost Dudley brother. Seems to me they're dropping the ball in this department, as they had a perfect scenario to debut and absolutely MAKE a new face in this "random white jobber squash" angle, in the same vein as the 1-2-3 Kid. Bring in the American Dragon or Shark Boy, give them a competitive match, and give them the nod. Fans will eat it up, their first big feud will write itself, and the WWE will have a new face or two around which to build the future. Don't give that first pinfall victory to somebody who's already failed in a main event bid, like Bubba Dudley.

I'm an American, and I didn't give two shits about the flag match. I didn't feel betrayed as a citizen, I didn't want to tear La Resistance in half. I just kind of stared in unmotivated silence. RVD's fading fast, Kane's still floating belly-up and bloated in the water, and the Flying Frenchmen are being hurried along their path to the tag titles.

Jericho was in ass-kickin' form last night, though I'm not sure why they put the whole thing under the shelter of the Highlight Reel, because there was no part of this that felt like an interview. It was Jericho cutting a promo, Goldberg doing the run in, Jericho pulling some heel tactics and Goldberg rolling around in agony. I didn't mind their use of the old mace / pepper spray cliche here, because Goldberg and Jericho pulled it off fairly well. And then Jericho made the whole thing worthwhile, delivering a spear on Goldberg, rolling out of the ring and never breaking stride on his way up the ramp and out of the building. He even went so far as to mock Goldberg's inability to start his own car a couple months ago. Quality stuff.

Wait. That car stall wasn't planned? Maybe somebody's trying to send WWE a message. Automobiles probably shouldn't be a major part of a live wrestling program. Imagine if the car that tried to run down Goldberg had stalled... then we'd have been treated to five minutes' worth of Goldberg's telephone conversation, door hanging wide open, while the stunt men tried in desperation to start their vehicle, a hundred yards away.

Not much of a main event... and what was the deal with Shawn Michaels landing the superkick at the three minute mark, then proceeding to sell as though we were three quarters of the way through an iron man match? Strange. Can't say I didn't see Flair's turn coming, though I was hoping I'd be wrong. At the very least they've got Randy Orton back, which is something I'm happy to see because I really liked the Evolution stable in its first incarnation and was disappointed with the way it all turned out. I'm a sucker for stables, what can I say? Though I did think for a while they were going to show the guy in the black mask, hanging out in Ric Flair's locker room, then just completely forget about him for the rest of the show.

Thumbs up to Kevin Nash, too, for failing to sell a chair shot to the back of the head and a chair shot to his surgically-repaired hamstring. What a stupid main event angle this is.

An underachieving show, on the whole. Nothing was head and shoulders above anything else, and nothing was really Katie Vick-style terrible. Just a mediocre program, really. I kept waiting for the meat of the program to start, but it never really arrived.

On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is poor and 10 is amazing...
Overall Score: 4.3

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