wrestling / TV Reports

The SmarK RAW Rant – January 28 / 2002

January 29, 2002 | Posted by Scott Keith

The SmarK RAW Rant – January 28, 2002

– Okay, for those of you who have been following the “mystery hacker” nonsense on TheSmarks.com, worry no more. I discovered the identity of our annoying friend “Hackmaster” and had a long talk with them, the end result of which is that everything has been worked out and there will be no more incidents, on the condition that I don’t persue action against them, and don’t go public with their identity until they’re ready to do so themselves. As I said, I have trusted this person in the past and I believe our differences have been ironed out enough that I can do so again. So there you go.

– Live from Richmond, VA

– Your hosts are JR & The King.

– Opening match: Kane v. The Big Show. Wow, right to the action! Isn’t it tradition to get a last meal or absolution or something first? Show pounds away to start, as JR promises that this won’t last long. That’s what they say about those big needles you get as a kid, too. Elbowdrop gets two for Show. Sideslam gets two. Show hits the chinlock to take the torrid action down a notch and give us a chance to breathe, and gets a big boot. Blind charge misses and Kane slams him and goes up, but once again the bitter hand of irony interjects herself, like a foul mistress giving a blowjob with poison ivy in her mouth, as Show catches Kane with a chokeslam so vile and heinous that I can feel my teeth falling out as we speak. It only gets two, however. Kane tries his own, but Show elbows out like Alexander the Great cutting the Gordian Knot, until another chokeslam, like that same vile mistress turning her ironic knobwork on Big Show, finishes for Kane at 2:49. Epics like this don’t just grow on trees, you know. ј*

– Meanwhile, Flair meets with the APA, who are unhappy about the impending nWo invasion, to say the least. To say the most, Bradshaw thinks they’re a bunch of self-centered, backstabbing assholes. And that’s a shoot, brutha.

– More words of wisdom from Goldust. Sounds like the Rock is his target. Good creepy, slow build here, though, which hopefully they will actually pay off.

– Intercontinental title: William Regal v. Rob Van Dam. Rob attacks and Regal runs, but gets posted. The loud “RVD” chants are mysteriously mixed down after a few seconds. Hmmm. Back in, heelkick gets two. Standing moonsault gets two, and Regal goes low to draw an intentional DQ at 1:25. Whoa, twice as long as the Smackdown match, and just as good. DUD The Dudleyz mug RVD for no adequately explored reason, but Edge saves. The heels overcome the power of the Pretty Boyz and beat them down, probably to set up a tag match at No Way Out.

– Meanwhile, Steph is all upset with Flair for booking her hubbie against Booker T. But VINCE booked that match, not Ric. Who cares who booked the match in the first place?

– The Godfather & DDP v. Lance Storm & Christian. Godfather’s “retooled” gimmick is death. Seriously, they either need to find a whole new gimmick for the guy or go back to pimpin’ hos and all that stuff. The poor crowd is just dying to yell “Pimpin ain’t easy” or any of the other singalong chants associated with him. DDP & Godfather do a little routine about DDP getting escort service on Sunday night, which is funny because he was just on Excess and was talking about how much he loved Kimberly in between his boring motivational speeches and PC double-speak. Godfather pounds on Storm to start, but Christian pulls the top rope down to put the Canadian Horsemen in charge. Storm gets a dropkick for two and they choke away. Double suplex gets two. Storm legdrop gets two. Christian legsweep gets two. Christian charges but misses, hot tag DDP. Crowd still doesn’t seem to get that he’s a babyface. He cleans house, but Storm rolls him up for two. Christian gets, uh, Escort Trained, and DDP finishes Storm with the Diamond Cutter at 4:00. It amazes me that Storm & Christian job to every thrown-together team on the roster while Billy & Chuck are the probable next in line for the tag belts. Actually, it doesn’t, come to think of it. Ѕ*

– Meanwhile, Vince is so preoccupied with his thoughts that he can’t even verbally abuse his limo driver!

– Ric Flair comes out to suck up to the crowd and call out Vince. He shows a new video dedicated to WWF history, and MAN is it a doozy. The idea is to summarize 30 years of WWF tradition, and it’s ALL there, from Bruno to Graham to Backlund to Hogan to Bret Hart (!!!) to Shawn to Diesel & Ramon to the present, including all the “eras”, great moments, and memorable matches. That was one HELL of a video. Kudos for putting Owen Hart in there. The point, according to Flair, is to remind Vince of the tradition of the WWF, and what exactly he would be throwing away if he let the nWo into the promotion again. Vince comes out in a sulky mood, and Flair offers him a carte blanche apology for anything he may have possibly said or done that could convince him to sink so low as to bring in the people who destroyed WCW and laid waste to it before they left. Does he want to beat him right there? Smash his head in with a lead pipe? Because ANYTHING would be better than bringing the nWo back in. Man, when you need someone to get an angle over point-by-point, call The Man. Vince’s offer: Sell him back 50% of the WWF, and then get the hell out. He’ll even give Flair a couple of days to think it over. AWESOME. You can practically feel the black cloud forming over the arena, and not only that, but it logically builds interest to the next TV show so we can find out what Flair’s decision will be. Episodic television, that’s what they need. Enough cutesy self-satisfied ironic detachment – let’s get dark and gloomy for a change. Not only that, but the angle works on several levels – the dark and mysterious level for marks, and the “these guys destroyed WCW” level for smarts which they’re openly acknowledging. And why not? WCW is already dead and buried, so pissing on the grave can’t hurt anymore. And again, they need Bischoff to take Vince’s place as the on-screen heel mouthpiece, because while Vince might garner sympathy for building the WWF and holding it against invaders, Bischoff will get NONE from WWF fans. This segment made the whole show.

– WWF title match: Chris Jericho v. Maven. Someone needs to organize the continuity – on Heat, the reasoning for the match was that Jericho issued the challenge to Maven himself, but JR and Lawler have it as being a match made by Flair. Maven now has actual TIGHTS. It’s kinda funny-sad to see Nidia hosting at WWF New York as we realize what a waste that portion of Tough Enough really was. Maven attacks to start and gets a clothesline and the DROPKICK OF DOOM for two. Well, the kid’s blown his moveset load now like a teenager on a phone sex line, it’s just a matter of time for him. Jericho bails and they brawl, which Jericho wins. Back in, Jericho punts him and introduces him to the post, then pulls off a turbuckle pad. Maven fights back, but gets elbowdropped. He fights off the Walls, and catapults Jericho into the exposed turnbuckle, as the harsh bitch goddess irony levels her hand again and bitchslaps Jericho. Small package gets two for Maven. Jericho is all “Fuck this” and hooks the Walls for the submission at 3:24. They were going for the HHH-Taka groove here and it wasn’t far off, and Maven didn’t even look embarassingly out of place. ** Undertaker heads out to finish Maven, so Jericho takes up a spot at the table and lounges. Maven stupidly attacks UT, and gets his ass kicked again, and his throat chaired to boot. They HAVE to do that angle with Rock now. It’s just begging for him to get turned into a mute until Wrestlemania.

– Meanwhile, UT lets us know that he’s not done with Maven yet. He wants R-E-S-P-E-C-T, take care, TCB, yo.

– Meanwhile, Jazz finds Billy & Chuck doing some decidedly un-kosher stretching exercises. “What about our groins?” “Good call!” I guess they’re gay again this week.

– Meanwhile, Steph continues to henpeck HHH, who agrees with me – he doesn’t care who booked the Booker T match, either.

– Chuck & Billy & Jazz v. Trish & The APA. Jazz gets a clothesline on Trish to start, but gets dropkicked out. Back in, Jazz uses the flying hammerlock, but Trish cradles for two. Bradshaw & Chuck go, as Bradshaw elbows him and pounds away. Billy dropkicks him, and Chuck stomps away. APA double-team Chuck for two. Faarooq gets Jungle-kicked for two, but he won’t sell anything else for him. It’s BONZO GONZO as Trish pounds away on Chuck, but he casually powerbombs her and gets the pin at 4:05. I still don’t see it. Ѕ* APA is getting more useless by the day.

– Booker T v. HHH. No Way Out is sponsored by WWF Shopzone. That’s a little sad, actually. Wristlock sequence to start, and HHH takes him down and pounds him. Steinerline and he pummels Booker, but gets sidekicked. Elbow gets two. HHH catches a spinebuster and and hammers away, then USES THE KNEE~! Neckbreaker gets two. He dumps Booker and clotheslines him on the floor, but Christian attacks him from behind and allows Booker to get two. Axe kick misses, but Steph runs out to deal with Christian. HHH goes over to talk her down off the apron, and next thing you know, Booker gets a rollup for the pin at 5:04. This was mostly an exhibition of HHH’s newer and slower moveset. The guy can totally stand to lose 40-50 pounds. Match was okay, despite the lack of offense for Booker. **

– Meanwhile, Hunter goes into roid rage and boots Steph out of the dressing room. She doesn’t take it too well. Next logical step: She runs to Jericho.

– Steve Austin v. Kurt Angle. Brawl to start, and they chop it out. Austin powerslam gets two. Anglelock is countered for two, and the THESZ PRESS and FU Elbow get two. Angle suplexes him for two, and pounds away between whipping Austin from pillar to post. The crowd gets deeply involved in a “You suck/What” chant. Clothesline gets two for Angle, but Austin comes back with a dramatic spinebuster for two. While I’m on the subject, what is with “spine on the pine” from JR? What pine? It’s a MAT, not wood. Angle gets the germans, but Austin puts him up top and superplexes him for two after a flurry of chops. They fight up and down the ramp and Angle keeps running away, but Austin drops him on the stairs. Back in, Angle charges and kisses the post like a long-lost lover. He goes low to subdue the Austin Machine and grabs a chair, but conveniently loses it to Austin, thus setting up an Austin DQ loss. But Austin is smart enough not to use the chair, despite Angle egging him on, and instead goes for the stunner, which Angle blocks. Ref bumped, and Angle teaches Austin a lesson by chairing him into oblivion. Amazingly the ref doesn’t see any of this. It gets two. Anklelock, but Austin powers out and makes the ropes. Angle Slam gets two, but he celebrates early, KICK WHAM STUNNER and it’s over at 10:27. This was not only tremendously paced and hard-fought, but there was all sorts of mini-stories about counting your chickens before they’re hatched, cheaters never prospering and all that other good guy v. bad guy stuff that Vince supposedly abolished in 1997. Well, FOO ON THAT. This match rocked harder than Back in Black and given another 10 minutes at that pace probably would have hit *****. As it is, ****.

The Bottom Line: Toss out the first hour and you’re left with one of the best hours of television that the WWF has ever put out, from the awesome Flair/Vince promo to Austin qualifying for No Way Out, there was almost no low spots in the later hour. Repeat after me: Slow build, slow build, slow build.

Until next week, buy me stuff!


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