wrestling / TV Reports

The REAL SmarK RAW Rant – March 25 / 2002

March 27, 2002 | Posted by Scott Keith

The REAL SmarK RAW Rant – March 25 2002

– Wow, there’s sure not much middle ground with you guys, is there? Okay, for those people whose lives revolve around knowing what rating I give to a bunch of 2-minute matches, here’s the actual RAW rant which was in the can hours ago but delayed so that I could flex my creative muscles a bit. Oh, and as a note to a couple of AOLusers – “Mirror Universe” is a geeky Star Trek reference, not a comic book reference. If you’re going to insult me, at least get your facts straight. And a better ISP.

– Live from Sean Penn State.

– Your hosts are JR & Lawler.

– Linda once again raises the electricity level by laying out the rules for the draft: Only 20 picks tonight; Jericho & HHH are both exempt from the draft due to being in the title match; Austin is exempt because apparently his lawyer had the incredible foresight to put a clause in his contract that would make him a “free agent” should the WWF roster split into two different promotions. God forbid they just say “He’s having a contract dispute” and leave it at that. It worked for Shawn Michaels in 1993, even if it was a lie.

– Opening match: Tazz v. Mr. Perfect. Smell the ratings! Perfect attacks and gets a dropkick, but Tazz slugs back. T-Bone Tazzplex (thanks for the correction, Mike), but Perfect gets an atomic drop, which sets up the Perfectplex for two. They slug it out, and Tazz gets the choke for the win at 1:53. What a waste of both guys. Remember just like two months ago when Tazz was getting over again? DUD

– Meanwhile, Flair & AA plot out their draft picks in the Flair War Room. Vince plots his picks in the Vince War Room. Billionaire Ted plots out his picks in…oh, wait, sorry, this is a humor-free recap.

– Vince is out for his first pick. Blah blah blah, and he picks…The Rock. Well, Smackdown IS the Rock’s show. A little stat screen follows the pick, listing his vital stats. Nice touch. Rock comes out and Vince lays down the law: No more laying his hands on Vince, no more talk about anal penetration with his boot (hear hear!) and never again say “It doesn’t matter”, because it’s RUDE, darnit. Oh, and Vince made Hogan and Rock. Couldn’t go a whole show without Vince taking credit for Hulkamania, of course. Verne Who? Rock wants to go out with a bang (but not before nailing Vince with one last “It doesn’t matter…”). Rock sucks up to the crowd by getting them to recite their oh-so-creative catchphrase (“We are Penn State” – you’d think that was fairly obvious, what with the show being listed coming from “Penn State” and all, but then stuff like that is just another reason why American college sports get about as much coverage in Canada as the CFL draft does in the US). Rock alters it into a new chant at Vince for them: “You Are An Asshole”. That’s pretty obvious, too.

– And now it’s time for Flair’s #1 pick: The Undertaker. Damn, must still be doing the fake rant. (checks notes) Damn. This must be like an NHL GM drafting someone as trade bait.

– Meanwhile, Kurt Angle is upset with Vince for not picking him #1. Undertaker storms in, too, but Vince promises to make it all right. Common sense tells me that “making it all right” means giving Taker a shot at HHH at Backlash, which should be another notch on HHH’s crappy match streak. And speaking of HHH, why shouldn’t he be drafted? It’s not like he’s gonna be WWF champion forever (although knowing him…) and he’s gotta end up SOMEWHERE once he loses it.

– Edge & DDP v. Christian & Booker T. I’m concerned that with the split, we’ll never get the “Shampoo on a Pole” match that the people DEMAND. Why, just yesterday I was walking down the street and heard a couple of 13-year olds having a heated discussion about who would win such an epic battle! In fact, it got so bad that one of them hung up his cell phone on the other. Presumably they e-mailed each other via AOL and made up later. Edge & Booker slug it out, as we are forced to endure the pain of having this Feud of the Year contender ripped from us just as it hits its zenith! Or is that apex? I always get those two mixed up. Booker gets a sidekick to take control, and Christian powerslams Edge for two. Edge gets a spinebuster, and gets what I guess can be laughingly referred to as a hot tag to DDP. Booker stuns him by showing him a bar of soap, but misses the axe kick. Diamond Cutter gets two. Christian gives DDP the Unprettier (talk about your redundant statements), and Booker finishes with the axe kick at 2:09. More filler than a hot dog. Ѕ*

– Meanwhile, reads off his stats to Vince, thus making himself his #2 pick.

– Flair comes out for pick #2: The nWo. How does THAT work, exactly? I don’t recall “three guys with one pick” being in Linda’s little speech at the beginning. Although really, if you think about it, Nash is worth -2 people, while Hall & X-Pac combined are only another 1.5 guys, so really Flair comes out Ѕ pick in the hole here.

– Meanwhile, Vince is upset with Flair picking the nWo (which makes no sense because the idea was supposed to be for them to “poison” the WWF, so Vince should be happy that Flair has them), but Angle cheers him up with his suggestion for the #3 pick…Chris Benoit. See, now Angle should be doing ALL the picking with suggestions like that one.

– Meanwhile, the nWo confronts Flair. X-Pac, who hasn’t even been with them for the duration of one show, apparently speaks for them now as though it’s been him and not Hogan all along. Flair decides to go the intimidation route by picking Kane for his #3 choice. Wow, Kane, Undertaker, Nash AND Hall on the same show? Must-see TV!

– Trish Stratus v. Ivory. Ivory hammers her, but gets hair-pulled down for two. Ivory gets a jawbreaker, but Trish backdrops her. Bodypress misses and Ivory stomps her. Hairpull slam and Ivory goes up, but gets rana’d off (Trish tried a handstand rana out of the corner but she was too short to reach up with her feet) and the Trishdog finishes at 2:40. Match of the night so far. Ѕ*

– Vince’s #4 selection: Hulk Hogan. Who’s the vanilla midget now, brother?

– Flair’s #4 selection: Rob Van Dam. Vince is bummed because RAW gets the IC belt. So Angle asks for a match tonight with RVD, where he will thus win the belt and take it to Smackdown. Why isn’t this guy booking with ideas like that? He’s not only an awesome athlete and gold medalist, but he’s a brilliant strategist too.

– Meanwhile, it’s Rock & Hogan v. The nWo tonight.

– Vince’s #5 selection: Chuck & Billy. I give up.

– Hulk Hogan & Rock v. Hall, Nash & X-Pac. I guess the lightheavyweight title is officially dead and buried, which is a GREAT start to rejuvenate that division, just like JR’s been promising for the past three years. And kudos to X-Pac for innovating new ways to get a main-event push without doing jackshit for anyone in the past two years. Hogan and X-Pac start and X-Pac goes flying out from the awesome power of Wrinklemania. Hall tries and he gets overpowered as though Hogan was a divorce judge. Nash next, and he gets into a shoving match before trembling at the awesome power of the Orange Goblin. Nash fires back, but Hogan no-sells and cleans house. X-Pac comes in and turns the tide by threatening to talk again. Hogan & Hall clothesline each other, with neither guy being able to actually take a flat back bump properly. That’s always a good sign of long-term drawing power. Hot tag Rocky, and he gives Nash the forearm as the match suddenly speeds up from 45 to 78 RPM. Funny how that happens when Hogan tags out and Rock tags in. Rock Bottom for Nash, and Hogan wants in. I’m shocked. Legdrop gets two. The nWo triple-team our heroes, but Kane makes the save for the nWo finish at 5:06. Hogan acts shocked when his team DOESN’T win by DQ. Real, real bad. -* But, boy, people sure like that Hogan fella, so let’s push him as the #1 babyface.

– Meanwhile, Vince & Flair get in each others face. Flair takes Booker T, so Vince takes Edge. Flair takes Big Show (what?), so Vince takes Rikishi. What is this, an inside joke or something? Show, Nash, UT, Kane and Hall on the same show? RAW is gonna lick more balls than Pam Anderson.

– Jeff Hardy v. Billy. They could have gotten so much mileage out of a Chuck & Billy split that it’s not even funny. Put them each on different shows and have them passing love letters to each other like West Side Story…it’d be so perversely bad that it would probably gain them a cult following. Chuck could show up on the other show wearing a false moustache and pretending to be a pizza delivery guy or something, and everyone could act all ignorant out of sympathy. Anyway, Billy hammers Jeff to start, but misses a charge. Jeff goes low and gets a DDT, but Chuck gets involved and causes Jeff to miss the swanton. He still manages to roll up Billy for the pin at 1:50 as Lita once again nearly kills an innocent bystander (in this case, Rico) with her incredibly sloppy rana. DUD

– Meanwhile, Vince chooses D-Von and Flair chooses Bubba. It’s like a Shakespearean tragedy. Unfortunately it was written by William’s less-talented second-cousin, Jethro.

– William Regal v. Rikishi. Rikishi seems less than thrilled as he makes his entrance, and indeed Brock Lesnar and his Mysterious Companion Paul Heyman storm the ring and demolish Rikishi. No match.

– Vince comes out and picks Brock at his #8 guy, but Flair points out that it’s HIS pick, so he wants Lesnar instead. Now all he has to do is actually wrestle a match and he’s set. Vince wants REVENGE~!, so he picks Mark Henry instead. I wait for Flair to counter with Mae Young or Sammy the Transvestite, but instead it’s William Regal. Vince takes Maven so he can import the Hardcore division to Smackdown. Yeah, because that Hardcore title is so unlikely to change hands before the split officially begins. Flair’s final pick is Lita. This is a joke, right? I mean, in general, this whole draft is just a rib and the real draft will be announced on Smackdown, right? RIGHT?

– Intercontinental title: Rob Van Dam v. Kurt Angle. Angle gets a german suplex for two. He slugs away, but Rob superkicks him for two. Angle comes back with a belly to belly and stomps RVD down and hits the rolling germans. Rob comes back with rolling thunder for two. Spinkick and he goes up, but Angle bails. Back in, the ref is bumped and it’s a DQ at 3:00. What’s with all the screwjobs in the meaningless filler matches when everyone goes separate ways in two shows anyway? ѕ* Edge & Angle brawl afterwards.

– WWF title match: HHH v. Chris Jericho v. Stephanie McMahon. I’m left wondering what Jericho’s purpose in this match even is. HHH goes after Jericho to start, but gets dumped. Jericho covers Steph for two. HHH goes after her, but Jericho rescues, being a concerned Canadian and all. HHH takes out Jericho and goes after Steph again, but Jericho attacks, and gets catapulted into Steph while she stands there like an idiot waiting for the spot. Steph bails and Jericho goes for the leg and work on it. Steph helps. HHH shoves Jericho into Steph, so she slaps him. Dissention! I’m sure if anyone gave a shit about this feud anymore it’d be a big deal. Jericho bulldogs HHH, but misses the Lionsault. Steph gets two. Walls for Steph, but HHH saves, and dumps Jericho. Another Pedigree tease for Steph, but Jericho saves with a missile dropkick that gets two. Jericho grabs a belt and a chair, but both guys topple over out of sheer boredom, and Stephanie covers each of them for two. HHH gives her a lariat, but gets put into the Walls. Steph makes the save. KICK WHAM PEDIGREE on Jericho gets two, and he rolls out of the ring and apparently hits his head on the glass ceiling and knocks himself out, because he’s not seen again on the show. HHH finishes Stephanie with a spinebuster at 8:09 and she’s gone “forever”. Current betting has her back by Summerslam. Match was a total mess thanks to the guys having to dumb it down about 400 notches to accommodate her Highness. *

The Bottom Line:

If Vince wants to sabotage Flair’s show right off the bat, he did a great job by taking all the good talent himself, that’s for sure.

This is one of those shows where, for me, everything went horribly wrong, from the series of horrible matches that meant nothing, to the retarded draft choices (splitting up the Dudleyz?), to hearing the name “Mark Henry” used in a non-ironic manner, to Hogan’s god-awful abomination of a match. And Stephanie can’t just LEAVE, can she? No, she has to book herself in the presumed #1 angle for the past few months, and then lose a World title triple-threat match as though she was an actual piece of talent worthy of giving someone the rub on the way out. Well, fuck her, and fuck the WWF for playing semantic games with their programming while ignoring their #1 draw because they don’t want to lose face and admit that signing the nWo was a big mistake. Maybe, just maybe, if they’d listen to Austin and DO SOMETHING about their shitty “creative” team instead of paying Stephanie her thousands of dollars a year to write bad soap opera plots, they wouldn’t be in the position where their own stars are rebelling against them. You THINK that might be a bad sign, Vince? Because I know we “smart marks” are just a bunch of annoying whiners who don’t know anything about the business, but I’m pretty sure that Austin guy knows a thing or two about it.

Brand extend THIS.


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