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The SmarK RAW Rant – July 29 2002

July 29, 2002 | Posted by Scott Keith

The SmarK RAW Rant – July 29, 2002

– Live from Greensboro, NC

– Your hosts are JR & King.

– Bischoff’s face in place of the WWE logo is just SO creepy.

– Your GM and role model, the Bisch, is out for the opening interview. Your newest members of RAW: Team Canada. Test waves a US flag upside-down, which for some reason annoys the crowd. Storm shoots down some US icons. I dunno, calling John Wayne a prostitute in the south is a little dangerous. Funny, but dangerous. Christian then goes over the line by insulting Big Macs and porn. What kind of a person would SAY such a thing? Shawn interrupts, and he wants HHH. Eric will see what he can do. Test dismisses him in slightly less polite terms. Shawn just HAS to play the “I beat Bret Hart” card in response. Tonight, Team Canada makes an impact. Given the miracle of making it from the ring to a limo in like 10 seconds flat, I wouldn’t bet against them pulling off something equally miraculous tonight. And way to ruin a perfectly good heel promo, Shawn.

– Meanwhile, someone reports a limo with a woman in it, which Bischoff assumes to be Stephanie. You know what they say happens when you make an assumption – you make an ass out of “U” and “Umption”.

– Booker T v. Eddy Guerrero. Hopefully this gets more than the 3 minutes it got when it was the opening match a couple of weeks ago. Eddy pounds away in the corner to start, but gets flapjacked. Booker with a spinkick for two. Elbow gets two. Eddy ducks a back kick and rolls into a suplex, but Booker reverses, and Eddy reverses THAT and gets his own backdrop suplex. Cool sequence. Eddy stomps him down and works the ribs over in the corner with a dropkick. Eddy with the rear chinlock after a freaky submission move fails to click, but Eddy goes back to the back. Forearms get two. Eddy pounds the back in the corner again, and loosens a turnbuckle ala Benoit last week. They slug it out and Booker comes back with a backdrop and sidekick for two. He starts chopping, but Eddy gets an off-balance rana and finishes his turnbuckle alterations. Booker blocks the ride into it, reverses Eddy in, and finishes with the axe kick at 5:26. Well, we’re getting there. **

– Meanwhile, the limo has Moolah and Mae Young in it. I bet Brian Gewirtz wrote that one.

– Meanwhile, Shawn is desperately seeking Hunter. He runs into Booker and blows him off, so Book & Goldust plot an ass-whooping.

– Trish Stratus & Bubba Dudley v. Big Show & Molly Holly. Show is “subbing” for Regal, who pulled a muscle. Molly attacks Trish and gets a suplex for two. Trish clotheslines her down and gets a dropkick, but Molly takes her down and brings in Show. He misses an elbow and Bubba gives it a go, but Show no-sells and smacks him around. The ragdolling of Bubba goes on a while, but Show misses a charge and Molly comes back in, as does Trish. Kawada kick gets two for Trish. She slugs away, but charges into an elbow. Trish’s rana from the top gets two, however. Show trips her up and it’s BONZO GONZO, as Molly is about to fall victim to the Wazzup Drop before Show saves. Molly superplexes Trish for two. Molly heads back up and misses the Molly Go Round, and Bubba & Trish use the Dudley Device for the pin at 4:16. Not terribly offensive, but this Bubba-Show feud isn’t exactly rocking my world. *

– Meanwhile, Shawn pisses off Big Show, too. Man, he’s like 0-for-2 tonight.

– Meanwhile, Ric gives Jeff Hardy a peptalk about not killing himself for ratings, but Eric Bischoff disagrees. He really does care about Jeff’s health, though. Ric has a big announcement later tonight. You think he’ll announce his retirement for the 18th time? Oh, and speaking of retired, Mae & Moolah harass Eric about plugging Moolah’s book.

– Hardcore title match: Bradshaw v. Jeff Hardy. Beatdown in the corner to start and Bradshaw drops an elbow for two. Jeff cradles for two. He walks into a blockbuster slam and bails, however. On the floor, Jeff hits the stairs and Bradshaw tosses them into the ring, along with some other plunder. It backfires, as Jeff uses a garbage can for two. He slugs away with girlish punches, but walks into a boot. Bradshaw tries a piledriver onto the stairs, which is reversed. Jeff locates his trusty ladder, but gets the stairs in the face. Jeff comes back with a corkscrew, but the dreaded trashcan lid puts him down again. Jeff uses it right back. STOP THE CARNAGE! Aluminum foil is not a toy, kids! Jeff goes up the ladder, Bradshaw follows, but gets knocked off again. Jeff completely misses the swanton but we pretend it hit and he gets the pin at 4:37. Johnny the Bull and eventually Tommy Dreamer then end up with the title. I hate this title. *

– Meanwhile, Benoit gets well-wishes from Team Canada.

– Intercontinental title match: Rob Van Dam v. Chris Benoit. Lockup in the corner and they exchange wristlocks to establish parity. Benoit tries a neckvice, but RVD flips out of it and gets a spinkick, and we’re back to square one. Benoit beats him down, but walks into an elbow and a bodypress that gets two. RVD with the dropkick and Benoit bails. Rob follows with a tope con hilo. See, that was Benoit’s strategy – sucker Rob into going for a dangerous move. Now, had it missed, the plan would have been perfect. Back in, Rob legdrops him for two. Benoit comes back with a dropkick to counter Rob’s cutesy splits. HA! Benoit goes for the shoulder in earnest and posts him. He legdrops the arm down and stomps away in the corner, into a standing armbar. His equilibrium appears to be still off from the injury, because he steadies himself with the ropes, which the ignorant announcers cite as “cheating”. Heathens. Rob tries a comeback, but a hammerlock northern lights suplex gets two for Benoit. Back to the post for Rob and Benoit suplexes him on the shoulder for two. Benoit charges and hits foot, and Rob rolls him up for two. He comes back with kicks, but Benoit blocks one and dragon-screws him. Don’t fuck with the master. Benoit gets two. Back to the shoulder, but Rob comes back with the spinkick to slow up the Wolverine Machine. Double KO, and they slug it out. Rob is on his way back to the post, but blocks and dropkicks Benoit into Rolling Thunder for two. Rob works him in the corner, but nearly walks into the Crossface. He gets a desperation spinkick, however…and misses the frog splash, only getting half of it. Crossface, but Rob makes the ropes. Benoit keeps on the shoulder, however. Back to the middle, where Rob legsweeps him for two. Back to the Crossface, and this time Rob pulls brass knuckles out of his tights to illegally break the hold, and when Chris is crying in pain Rob tries to hit him with the RINGBELL, but when Benoit uses his Canadian dexterity to move out of the way, RVD gets so desperate that he pulls a scale model of the Eiffel Tower out of his kneepad, but that’s so heavy , and he’s so clumsy, that he falls over and Chris gets tied in the ropes accidentally and ends up on top for the pin and the title, fair and square, at 10:16. Nice to see a good clean Canadian win over a cheating American! This was all good, with Benoit focusing on the shoulder the whole match and the finish actually being based on that. Besides the brass knuckles, ringbell and Eiffel Tower, of course. ****

– This week’s victim of Bischoff: Moolah and Mae, who plug the book for 3 minutes and then get wiped out by the Island Boyz. We don’t get to see it here in Canada, of course.

– We’re back with Mae Young getting carted out, and Bischoff declares himself to be in charge. Undertaker interrupts, but before he can get down to any serious ass-whooping, Chris Harvard stands up for Uncle Eric. Eric is so thankful that he grants a match against Undertaker, so Chris switches sides and sucks up to Undertaker instead.

– Undertaker v. Chris Harvard. Taker pounds him and takes off the shirt, so you know it’s serious. Chokeslam, but Chris goes low to block and gets a lariat. Dropkick gets two. Big boot turns the tide again and we get the ROPEWALK OF DOOM! Last Ride finishes at 1:40. Well, that certainly was a squash. DUD Another month and a half and Nowinski can earn a handshake!

– Oh, wait, now Team Canada is out to make an impact. Test does most of the dirty work as they beat down Undertaker, and Lance & Christian manage to screw up a Conchairto, but he still goes down. That was pretty weak.

– Meanwhile, Rock abuses the Coach (“Other than the night with the cows, you’re a stand-up guy!” *thumbs up*). That off-hand thumbs-up totally makes the line work. Coach won’t let that one go, so Rock tells a story about Coach drinking too much on the farm and getting some cow-lovin’ as a result. Rock’s imitation of a cow being violated finally drives Coach over the edge into confession, but Rock was joking. Whoops. After sending Coach to chase an imaginary cow, he moves onto the usual hype. This one will probably make the next Rock DVD. Rock does a delayed final catchphrase, complete with Ric Flair strut, to make the point about tonight. The world will be worse off when he leaves for Hollywood again.

– HHH is out to solve the Shawn Problem himself, in the ring, because he doesn’t solve problems in parking lots. Unless of course he’s hiring people to run other people over. HHH gives the motivation speech: Shawn being his manager was HIS idea, but Shawn just couldn’t give up the spotlight when it was time for someone else to shine. COUGH COUGH COUGH. Sorry, just a little bullshit in my throat there. HHH doesn’t think that Shawn can hang with him, because he’s the Game-Uh. Shawn’s career is over. Done. Through. Finished. Ended. Blah blah blah, but a stagehand informs HHH of some earth-shattering news and he leaves early. That’s a shame. We head to the back, where HHH finds that Shawn has been put through a car window. Well, there’s your Mystery Angle of the Month. Everyone loves mystery angles! This was actually well done, establishing the old “Everyone’s a suspect” deal ala Who Shot Mr. Burns. If there’s one thing that’s in abundance, it’s people backstage who want to kick Shawn’s ass, so it’s like one of those shoot angles, too. Of course, it would make more sense had Shawn turned on HHH so that HHH was considered a suspect on grounds of revenge, but that would have required HHH to look bad for more than 2 seconds, so forget that.

– We’re back, and everyone’s all concerned. Well, except Bischoff, who is impressed. HHH replies with a naughty word.

– The Rock v. Ric Flair. Flair works a headlock and they do a criss-cross, into a Rock armdrag. Backdrop and Flair takes a breather. Rock overpowers him, but gets armdragged by Flair. Now Rock needs a regroup session. Back in, Rock teases a clean break and then nails Flair, thus turning him heel. Rock chops away and struts, but Flair returns fire on both counts and dumps Rock. On the floor, more chops from Flair and they head back in. Flair goes for the knee, but Rock blocks the figure-four and gets a lariat. Crowd just totally turns on him. Rock lays the smackdown and chops away, and Flair walks into a spinebuster. People’s Elbow is blocked by the figure-four, but Rock escapes. Scorpion King Deathlock, but Flair makes the ropes. Rock goes back to it, but Flair pokes him in the eye and chops him down, into a figure-four for real this time. Rock makes the ropes. Flair keeps on the knee, but Rock slugs back. Flair blocks the spit-punch, however, and chops the hell out of him, and Rock is down. Rock kips up, Rock Bottom, goodbye at 7:23. Cute but pretty pedestrian overall. **1/4 They do the mutual respect deal, leaving Flair to make his announcement. However, before he can…Jericho makes his big entrance from Smackdownland and cleans Flair’s clock with a chair. He’s upset because Flair’s announcement would have overshadowed his big debut on RAW. Jericho-Flair could have some awesome buildup if they let it.

The Bottom Line:

Pretty fun show this week, with two major advantages over most shows lately:

1) A 10-minute, **** match between Benoit and RVD.
2) Shawn Michaels getting put face-first into a car window.

I feel those are two vital elements in any good show, especially Shawn getting assaulted in increasingly violent ways, can’t stress that one enough. Blood and Benoit, that’s all you need, not love. BLOOD AND BENOIT.

There you have it.

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