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The SmarK RAW Rant – August 27 / 2001

August 27, 2001 | Posted by Scott Keith

The Smark RAW Rant for August 27, 2001

– I’d talk about WWF Excess a bit before we begin, but I’d probably fall asleep just recapping it, so we’ll leave well enough alone and move along…

– Things That Make You Wonder About the Drugs In Titan Tower: WCW referee Billy Silverman has heat on him. You thought DDP and Palumbo had committed heinous acts of snobbery? That’s NOTHING compared to Billy, who should be hung by his testicles and arrested by the Etiquette Police for such an infraction as he committed. For you see, most WWF wrestlers fly coach, whereas main eventers such as HHH, Rock, Austin, Undertaker and X-Pac (okay, butt-buddies of main eventers in some cases) get to fly first class because they’ve EARNED IT, dammit. But Billy Silverman, uppity referee, actually had the GALL, the GUMPTION, to pay extra money and upgrade his flight to first-class. What a jerk. Even though, by definition, as a referee he’ll never be a main eventer and thus would be confined to coach for the rest of his life, but that’s his place and he should LIKE IT, DAMMIT. Okay, so I just saw A Knight’s Tale tonight and perhaps I’m in an disestablishmentarianistic type of mood, but this is IMPORTANT STUFF, kids. Treatment like this is exactly the reason why Vince Russo got so pissed off and left for WCW, and as a direct result bankrupted the entire company and gave us a monopoly. Billy, stand up for your right to fly first class! We’re with you in spirit, man! FIGHT THE POWER! WE DON’T WANT ANOTHER RUSSO!

– Speaking of people legally dumb enough to compete in the Special Olympics, Forrest Gump will be out on DVD by the time you read this.

– Live from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

– Your hosts are Jim “It’s Not Ballet Out There!” Ross and Paul Heyman.

– What the hell is that buzzing noise on every WWF show these days, anyway? It can’t be TNN, because TSN’s feed picks it up, too.

– Opening interview: Shane-O-Mac cuts a brutally pointless interview against the Rock and accuses him of disrespecting the tradition and history of the WCW title. Insert smart-ass comment here. No, wait, Rock is about to do so for me, as he comes out to respond and indeed points out the recent de-valuing of the belt because of “the guy from Scream 2” winning it. I wonder briefly why he didn’t mention a guy named Vince booking himself to win the title despite not being a wrestler, but then you’d open up ANOTHER can of worms and no one leaves happy. Rock offers Shane a shot at said title, RIGHT NOW, but of course when he just brings it, Shane buggers off and Rhyno sneaks in for a GOAR GOAR GOAR and Rock sells it like the guy on the cover of Van Halen 3. Coincidentally, listening to Shane talk these days is like listening to that album.

– Meanwhile, Debra tends to an arm injury that Austin has apparently suffered. Raven & RVD want Austin’s blessing for their Hardcore title match tonight, but he’s in so much pain that instead they volunteer to take his place against Jericho & Angle in our main event tonight.

– Undertaker v. Albert. Slugfest to start, and Albert whips him around but gets dropped and elbowed. Albert slugs him down, but Taker gets the lariat. Ropewalk of Doom and cross-armbreaker (as JR sells it like he’s some kind master of submissions because he can do an armbar), but X-Pac breaks it up. UT goes after him, and shrugs off a shot with the CW title, because he’s a heavyweight and all. Thanks, Nilton. Albert jumps him and sets up for the Baldobomb, but that would require Taker to sell something, so he shrugs Albert off and chokeslams him for the pin at 3:21. I have no idea what possible point or positive can be taken from this for anyone involved who isn’t dumb enough to have his wife’s name tattooed on his throat, but that Undertaker is a HOSS because Jim Ross tells me so and apparently being a hoss is something to aspire to. Kane, by the way, is out with an elbow infection and bad back, which astounds me because I haven’t seen either Kane or Undertaker take so much as a bump in about three months now, but I guess it goes with being a hoss. This ain’t ballet, you know. ј*

– By the way, while I’m at it, I’m getting pretty damn sick of JR’s “aw shucks, I’m just a regular guy” attitude in the Ross Report, where he’s been saying things like “I’d like to see more of the light heavyweight division” for literally the past two years now, despite one of the only guys with the necessary power and influence to make it so. I also find it equally funny that he criticizes the “half-speed” nature of WCW (which the WWF now OWNS, a fact which Vince seems to forget on a daily basis) while pimping fat and slow fossils like Undertaker as “hosses”, whatever the hell a “hoss” is. Note to JR: Most of us aren’t from Oklahoma, try speaking English. Further, it’s rather cynical and pretty damn sick to continue pushing for a more “physical” style when the result is the highest rate of major injuries I’ve ever seen in a major company and your biggest draw is wrestling on a broken back and several minor injuries. Do you think Vince McMahon ever sends “thank you” cards to Shawn Michaels for taking bumps on his back until he could hardly walk anymore? Do you think Vince cared about Bret Hart’s concussions when he sent him packing for WCW in 1997? Did anyone in the WWF buy a copy of the Dynamite Kid’s book and remember that he used to work for them? You think Vince would ever mention Bruno Sammartino again if he couldn’t make money off it somehow? Loyalty means NOTHING to Vince McMahon. For all those who think Undertaker will be allowed to leave with dignity and join the WWF front office for his years of service, just keep in mind that we all thought the same thing about Bret Hart. Hell, Jim Ross himself should know better than anyone about that side of Vince. But I’m on a rant.

– Meanwhile, Shane Helms uses a Green Lantern anecdote to prep for Matt Hardy. I’m not sure when Mirror Master ever fought GL, actually, since he was always Flash’s whipping boy generally speaking, but that’s kinda beside the point.

– European title match: Matt Hardy v. Shane Helms. And again with the retardation, as Helms is now reduced to wearing a geeky superhero costume because the bookers won’t let him get over by, you know, being a wrestler, because that’s the way dubya-see-dubya did things and this is SPORTZ ENTERTAINMENT, dammit. This would seem to fall into the TL Hopper school of gimmick changes, as in Vince’s mind the fans are supposed to look at Helms and go “Haw haw, Maude, that boy is dressed like a SUPER-HERO, let’s boo him! BOO!” Because, to Vince, who is so insecure that he actually cares about what mainstream media thinks about wrestling in general, the only way to make wrestling look cool by comparison is to make fun of comic books. Sure, the wrestling industry can buy and sell the comic industry 10 times over, but how many movies about wrestling have been made compared to comic books, and how many of them have broken 10 million? Julius Schwartz and Stan Lee and their ilk created icons recognized nearly 40 years after their birth, while Vince McMahon is perceived as a glorified ringmaster of a drug-filled circus sideshow who has failed at every “legitimate” enterprise he’s ever tried. 50 years from now, people will still wear stylized “S” symbols on t-shirts and will know how to finish the sentence “Look, up in the sky…” while Steve Austin will be in a nursing home somewhere, remembering when he could walk and brush his teeth without assistance from a nurse. So, sure, Vince, go ahead and bury your own talent by making them huge geeks in order to thumb your nose at a subculture perceived as less cool than your own, but at least DC Comics was never stupid enough to try to start a football league or put BODYBUILDING on PPV. Anyway, to the match. Matt attacks, but gets superkicked. Flying bodypress gets two. Matt gets a legsweep and backdrop, and goes up for the yodelling legdrop. It gets two. Helms counters a superplex and Ivory comes down to punk out Lita, and a distracted Matt falls victim to Nightmare on Helms Street for the pin and the title at 2:20. TWO MINUTES??? They couldn’t even save that match until Unforgiven and give them 8 or 9? Is there some iron-clad rule now that says you have to weigh more than 240 to even get more time for your match than a Green Day song? Self-fulfilling prophecy: Tell everyone that cruiserweights aren’t given a shot because it’s not over, and then cut off the nuts of everyone in that division in order to prove your own point. Ѕ*

– Meanwhile, Kurt Angle beats the holy hell out of Raven to make a point to Steve Austin. When we come back, the entire segment is shown again in it’s entirety. Hey, there’s another two minutes you could have given to the previous match.

– Meanwhile, Raven gets attention for his ankle after Angle’s attack. Shawn Stasiak volunteers to Austin to take his place, but Austin is dubious. Austin bitches out Raven for being useless, and gives him a shot to the ankle for good measure.

– Meanwhile, Edge meets and mocks Hugh Morrus. Christian barges in to defend Edge’s honor, noting that people have always made fun of Edge’s goofy name. Yeah, I guess being named “Edge” would probably get you beat up a lot in school. Imagine what someone like The Goon had to endure, though. Edge gets volunteered for a title match with Morrus.

– Let’s recap the Test-APA situation as the Drum Solo push for Test continues. You know it’s coming, but there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

– Test v. Bradshaw. Someone get JR a cup, he’s about to fill it. He declares it a slobberknocker before it even begins. Well, that’s just getting our hopes up. Bradshaw clobbers him to start. DDT and neckbreaker, but Test escapes a powerbomb and gets Uncle Slam to take over. Blind charge hits foot, but Bradshaw walks into a sideslam. Test goes up, elbow misses. Bradshaw comes back with a clothesline and powerslam for two. Test gets caught with a blockbuster slam. Shane has words for Bradshaw, but Test collides with him by accident and Bradshaw gets a rollup for two. Shane pulls him out, and when he comes back in, Test finishes him with the Kick of Fear at 3:38. Standard power match, but it felt longer than it was, with an overbooked ending. It’s BRADSHAW, for god’s sake, just job him. Ѕ*

– Meanwhile, RVD sucks up to Austin while he bickers with Debra. Rob assures Steve he’ll do all the work and carry the match.

– WCW Title match: The Rock v. Rhyno. Brawl outside to start, where Rhyno GOARs Rock on the floor. Into the ring, he gets two. Slam gets two. Rock tosses him and takes a breather, really selling the rib injury. You da man, Rock. Back in, Rock fights back but gets bearhugged. See, watch and learn, as Rhyno pulls out a stale move and revives it by using it to further weaken an established injury area, plus Rock is so crazy over that the fans eat up any chance to stomp their feet to encourage him. PSYCHOLOGY, baby. Rock fights out, but Rhyno hits him in the ribs and goes back to the move. See, he’s putting the onus of escape on Rock and forcing him to expend more energy by controlling the pace of the match. You just don’t see this stuff on TV anymore. Rock gets a samoan drop, but it hurts him just as much. Rhyno spears him in the corner for two. He chokes him down for two. Rock fights back, but gets suplexed for two. Rock gets a belly to belly to buy time, but he’s still in trouble. Rock slugs away and gets a DDT for two. Rhyno short-arms him, but Rock no-sells and gets the spinebuster. Rhyno goes low to counter. The APA come down and chase Shane around as Rock staggers into position for the GOAR GOAR GOAR, but he sidesteps and hits the Rock Bottom for the pin at 8:07. More good, basic psychology from Rhyno infinitely improves what would normally be a boring squash for the Rock. Kudos to the Rock for adding that dimension to his selling in recent years, too – he’d never have been able to pull it off pre-99. Now compare this match to Rhyno v. Undertaker from a couple of weeks ago and you tell me which match Rhyno got the better rub out of. ***

– Meanwhile, Stasiak devises a plan as cunning as a fox who’s just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University – he’ll wait until Kurt Angle comes into the catering room, at which point a bucket of rancid milk will fall on his head and humiliate him. Sadly for him, Debra walks in and takes it. I’ll leave the cheap innuendo to the WWF writers in this case.

– Meanwhile, Steve & Debra get into an argument over the milking and Steve places the blame on Angle.

– Intercontinental title match: Edge v. Hugh Morrus. Hugh lays in the chops to start, and gets an avalanche. Edge comes back with La Majastral for two. Rollup gets two. Hugh powerslams him for two and drops an elbow for two. Edge cradle gets two. Match is really slow and the crowd just died after the entrances. Could it be because the WWF has so completely buried WCW that anyone from the Alliance short of Booker T or an ex-WWF guy who fights a current WWF guy these days is automatically assumed to be jobbing? Nah, that’s just SILLY, it must be because DeMott needs a better gimmick, like a wrestling plumber or a hillbilly. Yeah! Everyone loves hillbillies! Hugh gets a suplex and goes up, but misses an elbow. Edge with the legsweep and leg lariat, and the Edge-O-Matic gets two. Hugh pancakes him and goes up, but Christian distracts the ref and then clotheslines Hugh on the top rope to earn a DQ for his brother at 4:34. I HATE those cutesy finishes where both guys end up looking stupid. Ѕ*

– Meanwhile, the Big Show disses Booker T by wearing a wig and saying “sucka” a lot. This was about as funny as the midget. But hey, as long as Booker beats Big Show and gets some heat back, no problem, right?

– Meanwhile, Stephanie have another one of their Bruce and Maddie moments. A future program between Jericho and RVD is teased. Unforgiven is the perfect time for a double-turn. Jericho goes for another “ho” joke about Steph, although I thought some sort of “VD” comment would be more apropos.

– Booker T v. The Big Slow. See, now how can JR talk about WCW guys working half-speed with a straight face while guys like Big Show and his equally vapid partner Billy Gunn continue to be booked this high in the show? Slow offers up an attempt at a Spinarooni, but Booker attacks. Slow overpowers him, but misses a blind charge and Booker gets a side kick to take over. Slow overpowers him again and tries a powerbomb, but Booker blocks and scissor-kicks him. Spinarooni, but Slow catches him. Booker goes low, but gets dumped. Slow chases, and Booker hits him with a chair and gets DQ’d at 2:27. This does nothing for Booker because no one cares about Big Show to begin with and beating him up thus doesn’t elevate Booker any more, either. Further, beating him clean would do FAR more to help than a lame DQ finish would. DUD

– Chris Jericho & Kurt Angle v. RVD & Tazz. Austin is injured, so Tazz is offered up as a replacement. Big brawl to start, and RVD spinkicks Angle to take him down. Angle crossbodies Tazz for two. Jericho with the Midcard Violence, and a triple suplex for two. RVD beats on him in the corner, and Jericho comes back with the forearm and the Stroke for two. Leg lariat gets two. They go up and Jericho gets a superplex for two. Jericho gets tripped on the apron and Rob guillotines him. Back in, Jericho is YOUR midcarder-in-peril. Tazz suplexes him, and Rob superkicks him for two and hits the chinlock. Jericho escapes, but misses a dropkick. Tazzplex gets two. Jericho DDTs him, but Rob cuts off the tag and goes back to the chinlock. Jericho gets a sunset flip for two. Rob moonsaults him, but hits knee and it’s hot tag Angle. Belly to belly gets two on Tazz, but Van Dam nails him and gets a frog splash. Tazz gets two off it. Jericho deals with RVD outside and puts him in the Walls, but Austin punks him out. Back in, Tazzmission is reversed to the Angle Slam for the pin at 11:36. Good stuff. *** Austin punks out Angle and steals his medals, and Ross is aghast. He wasn’t so aghast when Benoit did the same thing three months ago, but three months is a long time in wrestling. I think Rob raised his stock again with this performance, but we’ll see if a First Class Flyer will sell for him.

The Bottom Line: The first hour sucked donkey balls, with about 5 minutes total of wrestling and a whole bunch of talking and recaps. The second hour started and ended better, but the bookers got the DQ virus in between and tanked that, too.

But hey, 20 minutes of good wrestling on a RAW is a rarity these days, so I’m happy for the most part. Nothing else memorable or particularly productive about the show, however, as they spin their creative wheels and prep for rematches at Unforgiven.

Until next week, keep watching the skies…

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