Monday, July 14, 2003

WWE RAW Review: 07/14/03

I wasn't overly crazy about this week's show. Nothing really stood out as such a completely, embarrassingly, audience mis-reading segment as last week, but... wait. Did Kane really set JR on fire last night, or did I just have a really weird dream? Yeah, I guess there was something that stood out as insulting to those of us who enjoy continuing a relationship with our own minds, but there were a couple segments I enjoyed this time around. No matter what you may have read elsewhere, I'm of the persuasion that this wasn't much better than we saw seven short days ago.

Time is short on my end, so I'm aiming to cut my recap short as well. Of course, every time a columnist says something like that, they wind up writing about twelve hundred words, delivering a longer writeup than they have in months. I've been guilty of that for years, myself. Saying "I'm going to keep this short" is like bringing a birthday cake out to the ring and claiming "nobody's going to fall into this cake tonight." See what I mean? I just managed to drag a sentence that should've been about six words long into a paragraph about thirty times that length. Let's just dive into this.

I liked Jericho's appearance last night. One aspect of his character that he's really toned down on since coming to WWE is his outrageous variety in hair stylings... and it's something I honestly miss. Sure, we all enjoyed the ongoing saga of his goatee / beard / mustache, and its flight from the angry slice of the razor, but it's just not the same. Regardless, he was in great form last night, his segment didn't feel rushed and it looked like he was given a lot of freedom to take his own path with the promo. A major problem with his character is that he still doesn't feel like he's a main eventer, let alone a former World Champion. Sure, he went over Austin and the Rock in the same night. He was the first undisputed champion in the history of North American wrestling. But he still feels like he's a step and a half back from Austin, Triple H and Kurt Angle. Jobbing him to a retired main eventer in a split second isn't helping that image.

I dislike six-man tags. I dislike intergender tags even more. Combine the two, and Q is an unhappy camper. Test is making some good progress as a heel, (it's about time... he's been in WWE for what, five years?) but the lady-beater gimmick has been eternally doomed. There's no conceivable payoff to the storyline(s), save one; complete and utter annihilation of the perceived heel, pretty much erasing any steps forward taken with the gimmick in the first place. Maybe they'll prove me wrong with this one. Keep your fingers crossed, because despite all the shit he gets on the net, Test is still a guy who works hard, looks the part of a Main Eventer, has the athleticism and isn't afraid to take advice.

Isn't it funny, how Triple H's former opponents always seem to gravitate toward one another? Kane and RVD went immediately from laying down on PPV for the champ to tagging together, in less than a month, and are only now starting to show signs of breaking up. Now, less than a month after Kevin Nash focused on the ceiling lights while opposing Triple H at Bad Blood, he's teaming with Scott Steiner in what looks to be another dead-end tag team from hell. I'm taking bets right now on who Goldberg will be teaming up with this winter.

Lance Storm and Maven slopped their way through six minutes of missed spots, ugly exchanges and all around nastiness. And hey! Lance jobbed again! But it's ok, because this gimmick has legs. It's not burying him or the rest of the talent who can still tell the difference between a rest hold and honest psychology. Not in the least.

Oh yeah, and Maven's about useless. He's only ever been over because of his theme song. There. I said it.

I wouldn't have booked the Evolution / Dudleys match any differently. Evolution has needed a decisive victory like this for a while, and though there was WAY too much Buh Buh Ray offense in the middle of that, in the end it all worked out correctly. I nearly pissed myself when Flair sent out the universal signal for "numbah wonnn," simultaneously lip synching an unmistakable "fuck you." Come to think of it, Flair in general was just golden last night. It's funny when you can say a fifty year old man, without a shirt, parading around the ring and flipping people off was one of the strongest parts of the broadcast.

For those who may have missed it with that last paragraph; I LIKE EVOLUTION. I've liked the idea since its inception, (Batista included) and so long as they don't go trying to call themselves the Four Horsemen again, I'll continue to like it. Triple H has been oversaturated, there's no mistaking that. Evolution is still a damn good stable, both in theory and in execution.

Booker and Christian should've left well enough alone with their outstanding match that started with a brawl into the crowd a couple weeks back. Even if it meant Booker would never have won the Intercontinental title, at least I could've looked back on the feud and recalled one or two very good matches. Since that one, though, they've been pounding the feud into the ground with endless rematches that have been steadily descending in quality. How long does the "mandatory rematch" clause continue to go into effect? I mean, if they cleanly defeat one another for the title, alternating every night, couldn't a feud conceivably go on forever, thanks to that little plot device?

Gail and Molly started out very strongly, absolutely clicking right off the bat and landing a great series of exchanges with one another. Once we passed the halfway point, however, it all seemed to fall apart. Both girls looked rushed, which is no surprise considering they went on at like 10:59, and we really needed to hurry on over to that Kane interview segment. The crowd was dead, with the exception of one complete reject, who refused to quit shouting "Oooooo," like so many tone-deaf howler monkeys. I wish I still lived in Indianapolis, so I could've been at that event live, found the guy and stared at him like some sort of false higher authority. Hey, I may have a large forum within which to spread my opinions, but that doesn't mean I've gotta lie about being a wuss about confrontation.

...I mean... "I would've found that guy and kicked his ass! Fuckin' A!!"

I hate when they fill the main event slot with an interview. Especially one with a poorly gimmicked storyline element, such as setting a guy on fire (just for example). Austin coming out to the ring was even dumber... this felt like a ride on "Pirates of the Caribbean" or something, the video feed felt completely pre-taped, and I kept waiting for Austin's live reactions to run long and run over the time permitted by the tape.

On the whole, I loved the way they explained Kane's lack of facial scars, as it goes a long way toward explaining the inaccuracies in his character's history (the voice box, the lack of scars, the sudden shaving of his head, the insinuations of others who have supposedly seen him without his mask / wardrobe). But the whole "violent monster" thing is overplayed and hard to believe. I mean, if he's looking to freak people out, why doesn't he just start shooting lightning bolts out of his fingers and setting cameramen on fire again?

In the end, this would've been a tough pill to swallow live. I don't blame the crowd one bit for being so harsh to the women's title match. I wouldn't have been a happy camper either, when I looked at the watch, saw who was in the ring and knew there wasn't enough time for another match AND that Kane interview. An ugly show that probably wasn't as bad as the taste that last segment left in my mouth. Hah, and so much for that 'short writeup' thing again.

On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is poor and 10 is amazing...
Overall Score: 3.7

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