Monday, August 11, 2003

WWE RAW Review: 08/11/03

I couldn't get into RAW last night. Maybe it had something to do with my late start, as I missed the entire opening segment due to this freelance project that just won't die. Maybe it was my demeanor, after a long day at work. Or maybe it was the weak, halfway insulting, throwaway episode the writers put together. The talent single handedly made the show watchable during a few segments, and saved the whole night from being one painful memory for yours truly, but WWE is starting to ask more and more of their viewers as the writing goes steadily downhill.

I didn't personally see the opening interview, as I think I've mentioned three or four times already, but I did read a relatively detailed writeup of the events that went down, so I'll opinionate on that alone. And before anyone cries foul, stand tall in the knowledge that I won't be allowing my feelings about this segment affect my grade, be they positive or negative. I'm all about equality, ladies and gents. Yessir.

Basically, Coach is out, JR is back in, Austin is clairvoyant and Bischoff is retarded. I don't see why this segment was portrayed in such a main event light, since every one of the involved parties should be playing a non-central, supporting role. Steve Austin is retired, and should be busying himself as GM of the show, booking matches and lending his years of experience to others. Eric Bischoff was never a full-time athlete, and should also be spending more time arranging matches, signing contracts and ensuring that his brand is more compelling than Smackdown (which, apparently, isn't even a concern any more.) Jim Ross, Jon Coachman and Jerry Lawler are announcers, NOT PERFORMERS. Gordon Solie was never the focus of a main event. Hell, Tony fucking Schiavone at least knew his place was behind the monitors. I don't tune in to see Lawler, Ross and / or the Coach. I will never tune in to see them. Take them out of this spotlight.

There's been this stupid little underlying thread to Vince McMahon's programming over the last couple of decades, sort of a moral to the WWE story, that says "those who sign contracts without reading them always pay in the end." See, he's trying to teach us something important. I guess that's why I read over the contract four or five times when I bought my new car about three months ago. Just making sure I didn't have to wrestle the dealer in a steel cage match somewhere down the line. One can never be too careful, I suppose.

I came into the show at the very beginning of the Steiner / Stacey vs. Rico / Gayda match, and immediately wished I hadn't. Rico and Jackie got a chuckle out of me, as the homoerotic one mocked Stacey's entrance / exit / entrance to the ring through the top and middle ropes. But it pretty much ended there. Yet, surprisingly enough, this wasn't quite as bad as my initial impressions had led me to believe it might be. Stacey and Jackie are, without question, two of the worst wrestlers alive today, but they weren't too blatantly terrible last night. Thumbs up to those two for moderately improving, and thumbs down to the writers for putting them opposite one another in the first place. A forgettable match, with an ugly finisher that looked to have knocked Stacey loopy. Loopy enough to turn heel next week, no doubt, in the next chapter of the writing team's comedy of errors. It'll be fun to see them explain why the fans should boo her when she's with Test. Honest to god, if they were gonna turn her why didn't they do it alongside Randy Orton last week?

Triple H had a mighty tough case of T.H.O. (titty hard-on, for the uninformed) backstage last night. A white shirt, a roided-up monster and a cold breeze across the nips. That's a lethal combination.

The Dudleys and La Resistance pretty much shot that whole "clean finish" thing I'd seen emerging over the last few weeks, ending their match in a DQ after roughly twenty two seconds with the weakest attempted flag shots I've ever seen. What, was Dupree worried about appearing as though he was seeking revenge for the nasty shot he took last week? Heaven forbid.

And then they drink. No explanation, it's just... time to drink. I echo that sentiment, actually. Coach must have eagle eyes, to have noted that they were drinking a French vintage. Yet he lacks the common sense to realize that champagne is not red. Nor does it come in a bottle of that shape. Kill...

Christian and Spike, with little motivation besides the painfully obvious "Spike TV" joke, put on a decent little match in their spare time last night. The offense was dominated a little too heavily by the tiny Dudley for my taste, but whatever. A clean, believable pin by the heel gets a thumbs up from me. Now if only we could get him back into the ring with the Hurricane for a lengthy match.

The Bischoff / Kane match sucked a dozen eggs. Kane's character makes absolutely no sense now, and I don't mean that in the "cool, unpredictable, interesting new character direction" kind of way. For every couple steps forward they take with this poor guy, he has to take half a dozen back. He gets wildly over as the mentally disturbed lunatic, and they turn him from a hot, hot tweener to a meaningless, overplayed heel. That logic is right up there with attempting to turn Chris Jericho heel, in the same ring with Shawn Michaels, in Montreal. Why are they fighting the currents? If people WANT to like someone, let them LIKE him!

The women's title match, however, was the one really noteworthy bit of booking on the entire program. Molly came out of that looking 100% stronger than she did going in, and it was done by building her up as an intelligent, fearless individual. She immediately took control of that match, with a specific goal in mind, and used her enemies' weaknesses against them over and over again. Great finish that got the perfect reaction from the live crowd.

Gail Kim's a blown spot machine as a heel, too. Hm.

I wasn't as stoked about the Highlight Reel as Samir was. I thought Nash was off his game last night, and the various Jericho hairdos were just really poor comedy, not to mention unimaginative. Par for the course, the writing made no sense as Nash demanded that Jericho accept his challenge... but Y2J's the one who made the challenge in the first place. Jericho accepts, and then promptly jobs for about the fifth straight week to a guy who's winded after strolling down to the ring. Yeah, great TV. Even if he goes over cleanly, knocks big Kev unconscious after the fight and shaves him bald next week, this little feud won't help Chris Jericho one bit because he's been treated like such a little bitch every week beforehand. I hate watching this.

Finally, the card wrapped up with the sequel to Goldberg / Flair. Not a terrible match at all, actually, with Flair turning up the intensity and Goldberg actually doing a damn fine job of selling the leg throughout. I despise that they so heavily featured Ric's use of foreign objects, as that really disrupted the flow of the match and emphatically stated that Flair can't hold a torch to Goldberg in the ring. And Shawn Michaels ended the match with some killer Sweet Chin Music, aligning himself with Goldberg despite their earlier hostilities and pretty much spitting into the wind at the same time. These swerves just for the sake of swerving are getting stupid.

In the end, they tried to jam too much lame shit into one package last night, and still effectively managed to go nowhere throughout the entire two hours. What did I learn last night? JR is back, and Eric Bischoff is fighting Shane McMahon at Summerslam, killing the waning crowd interest in the potential Shane / Kane singles face-off and hurting the card on the PPV by throwing Bischoff into the mix. Oh, and that Molly Holly knows what she's doing in the ring. This would've been a near-complete waste of my time if a few of the wrestlers themselves didn't care so much about the quality of their own segments.

On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is poor and 10 is amazing...
Overall Score: 2.2

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