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The SmarK RAW Rant – July 9 / 2001

July 9, 2001 | Posted by Scott Keith

The SmarK RAW Rant for July 9, 2001

– Well, I sure called the Buff Bagwell firing last week, didn’t I? Unfortunately, I was completely caught off-guard by the self-destruction of Eyada.com and the loss of my daily Meltzer fix. The final show today speculated some VERY big happenings for tonight, many of them dealing with stuff I’ve been saying for weeks now, right here, IN THIS VERY COLUMN. That’s always the difference between the WWF and the ex-WCW: No matter how dumb things get, they ARE paying attention if you yell loud enough. That’s why I yell so loud so often.

– How about that Jason Giambi? I was disappointed to see him blow it in the semis, mainly because I’ve hardly ever seen Luis Gonzalez, and I’m generally partial to the AL anyway. Go Jays! Only…uh…11 games back. Never mind.

– Live from Mylanta, GA.

– Your hosts are JR and Paul Heyman.

– Opening match: Shane O Mac v. DDP. But wait, Undertaker comes out during DDP’s slot. He wants Page, so Shane clears out.

– Undertaker v. DDP. DDP comes swinging a chair and jumps Taker, but no selling occurs. I’m shocked. UT goes for the chokeslam, but Shane comes in with the SWERVE and turns on him, caning him with the kendo stick. Taker tosses Shane, but DDP chairshots him. They beat on Undertaker, and Sara tries to make the save, but DDP Diamond Cuts her (thank god) and hopefully removes her from the storyline. No 24-on-1 beatdown like I’ve been asking for, but it’s on the right track and I’ve got a good feeling about it. JR totally oversells it. No match.

– Meanwhile, DDP steals the motorcycle and takes the rest of the night off.

– WWF tag title match: The Dudley Boyz v. The APA. APA clean house, and Bubba starts with Faarooq. Elbow gets two for Bubba, but Faarooq powerslams him for two. APA doubleteam and Bradshaw gets two. Big boot gets two. Dudleyz beat on Bradshaw in the corner and take over on him, but Bradshaw no-sells most of it and slams D-Von. Dudz cheat and gets a double-team neckbreaker for two. Bradshaw powerbombs Bubba out of the corner, tags all around. Faarooq gets a spinebuster on D-Von for two, and a pier-six erupts. Wazzup for Faarooq, and Bubba goes to fetch the table…only to get a crutch upside the head from Spike. Clothesline from Heck finishes D-Von and the APA win a third tag title. Not exactly the direction I would have gone, but I guess doing good promos gets you a title. Match was pretty plodding with the APA not selling enough to make the Dudleyz effective heels. ѕ*

– Meanwhile, Vince & Austin talk things over, although it’s mainly Vince talking and Austin repeating it. Kurt Angle, still wearing the cowboy hat, interrupts with presents for everyone. Well, except for Debra, of course. And it’s…badges. Austin donates his to Debra, then hits the line everyone knows is coming…”Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges”. Fun fact: This is in fact a grievous misquote of the original line, and in fact most people who use it have no clue where it originally comes from. The line is actually from Treasure of the Sierra Madre, one of my favorite Bogey movies among many great ones, and the real line is “I don’t have to show you no stinkin’ badge”. Not that it matters, because the misquote is by far the more well-known line. If Warner would ever release the friggin’ movie on DVD I could watch it again, but NOOOOOO. Thankfully the rest of my Bogart collection is easy enough to convert from VHS to DVD, except for the African Queen, which is still a glaring omission from the DVD world. Anyway, Austin gives Angle what-for, lets him know that hat was actually a joke and Angle’s a goof, and if Angle was a REAL man he’d go kick Booker’s ass and win the WCW title tonight. I smell a face turn for Angle.

– Intercontinental title: Albert v. Rhyno. Slugfest is won by Albert, but Rhyno stomps him down. X-Pac sneaks in with a superkick that gets two for Albert. Rhyno punches away, and gets a spinebuster. More punching and a backdrop suplex, and Rhyno goes up with a flying splash for two. GOAR GOAR GOAR misses. I hate explaining my jokes, but since a bunch of people reading this weren’t around when I originated the Gore joke on TheSmarks, I might as well explain the origin. See, the week before I started on with Wrestleline, a guy in the crowd had a sign for Rhyno that said “GOAR”, which I immediately pointed out and mocked. Up to that point I had been using Michael Jenkinson’s “ALGORE!” pun, but I figured I’d go for the ironic twist and use the mispelled “GOAR” as my new riff. However, that week a reader wrote me to point out that if you look up “Goar” at the dictionary.com site, it’s actually listed as an acceptable, albeit rarely used, variant on “Gore”. So now in tribute to that fan with the unconventionally spelled (but still grammatically correct) Rhyno sign, I now use GOAR for Rhyno. Anyway, Baldobomb is blocked, and X-Pac runs in only get…guess what…GOARED. See, it’s more fun when everyone knows the joke, isn’t it? Kids, feel free to start spelling “gore” as “goar” and if your teacher protests, show him or her the entry on the ‘net and LAUGH AT THEIR INFERIOR SPELLING PROWESS. See, I’m fun AND educational. This match is neither, as Albert uses the big kick for the pin on the distracted Rhyno moments later. That’s called a “segue”. Feel free to use that bit of grammar in school, too. You can really impress your teacher by then relating back to wrestling by noting that in the ring, a “segue” is known as a “transition”, as wrestlers transition from one move to another through a related move, much like I transitioned from one point to another. That whole bit with me comparing wrestling to writing is called an analogy. You can use that one, too. Remember, though, if your parents give you a monetary bonus of any sort for getting an “A” in English, I get a 10% cut. That’s called “extortion”. I’d prefer you not use that one. Albert’s still not over, for those keeping score. Ѕ*

– Meanwhile, Kurt barges into Booker’s dressing room to introduce himself.

– Big Slow v. Jeff Hardy. WHY WHY WHY? Slow tosses him around as usual, as Trish joins us. Jeff gets the railrunner outside, but back in he leaps into a powerbomb variant and gets pinned in short order. WHY WHY WHY treat Hardy like a jobber and kill any value he has left? ј* Trish kisses Jeff. I think you’re barking up the wrong tree, there, Trish.

– Meanwhile, Angle gets a peptalk from Vince and warms up. Angle & Austin argue over leadership of Team WWF in a silly segment that tries to recapture the magic of last week’s exchange and falls flat, and then Chris Jericho barges in to offer his services. He gets laughed out of the room. Yep, that push is dead.

– Meanwhile, Lita and Matt make out at WWF NY. Yeesh, nice biceps…is Lita pumping up to replace Chyna or something?

– Meanwhile, Shane gives Booker a babyface peptalk, except that Shane is a heel now and so is Booker by association, which totally negates that stuff from Smackdown.

– Meanwhile, Vince gives Angle a peptalk. Angle doesn’t need anyone, because he’s an AMERICAN, dammit. Well, that’s a pretty clear sign of a face turn.

– WCW title match: Booker T v. Kurt Angle. Booker attacks to start and lays in a chop. High kick, but Angle dumps him and they brawl outside. Shane decks Angle from behind, which Nick Patrick ignores. Maybe Hulk Hogan paid him off again. Back in, Booker gets a missile dropkick for two. Kneedrop and more chops, and they slug it out. Forearm gets two for Booker. He dumps Angle and drops him on the railing, and into the steps. Nice to see Booker adapting to a heel style so quickly. Back in, Angle gets a backdrop suplex, but Booker spinwheel kicks him for two. Angle suplexes Booker to come back, and gets a face pop for doing so. Angle comes back, drawing an “Angle” chant in the process, and gets a belly-to-belly. Angle Slam is blocked, however, and Booker follows with the axe kick. Angle knocks him down again, and they slug it out. Angle walks into a spinebuster. Enzuigiri is reversed to the Anglelock, but Nick Patrick takes a walk. AWESOME. This is exactly how you need to book this. Booker bumps Angle into Patrick, and takes the Angle Slam. Hebner runs in for two, but Patrick punks him out. REF FIGHT! Shane gives T the belt, KA-POW, and Charles Robinson slides in to make the final count and Booker retains, turns heel, and turns Angle face all in one shot. Now all they have to do is convince Undertaker or Kane to put him over clean and they’ve got the next monster heel. The match was all that and a bag of chips. ***1/4

– Meanwhile, Angle questions Austin, but if you’ll check back two bullets, you’ll note that Angle didn’t need anyone, which Austin points out. Austin then assumes de facto leadership of Team WWF.

– Meanwhile, the APA try to make nice-nice with the Dudleyz, but they’re not buying. Hmmm.

– Chris Jericho interrupts the introductions before our next match, so the handicap match is now a tag match…

– Kane & Chris Jericho v. Lance Storm & Mike Awesome. Fun fact: Arnie’s part in End of Days was “Jericho Kane”. Awesome slugs it out with Kane, but gets clotheslined and sideslammed. Jericho uses MIDCARD VIOLENCE and a bodypress gets two. Elbow off the top, but Awesome nails him from behind and Storm comes in. Jericho makes with the chops and the bulldog, but Awesome hits him from behind with a chunk of the glass ceiling and Jericho is YOUR midcarder-in-peril. Awesome plants him, and drops an elbow for two. Team Canada pounds him, and may I just say that the loss of their WCW music is a travesty, and the loss of Mike Awesome’s Canadian citizenship equally so. Storm misses a dropkick, but Jericho misses the Lionsault. Awesome hits the chinlock, then gets a belly to belly for two. More double-teams, but Jericho gets an enzuigiri, hot tag Kane. Big boot Awesome, and powerslam sets up the flying lariat. Kane’s hotter than a cup of coffee to the face! Storm saves at two, but Jericho dropkicks him. Storm & Awesome double-team Kane, but Jericho gets the Walls of Jericho on Storm…and all hell breaks loose.

– At this point, I feel the need to tell you a very old and very traditional story passed on from generation to generation of wrestling writer that I think relates to this week’s show:

It seems there was a cornflake, and his name was Paul. Now, Paul wasn’t the biggest cornflake in the box, and he wasn’t the nicest or tastiest, but Paul had ambition, and that’s something the other cornflakes couldn’t claim to have. I mean, really, how many ambitious cornflakes do you know? Have you ever poured a bowl of cornflakes and even stopped to think to yourself “What is this flake’s purpose of being, and am I destroying it by eating it?”

Stop and think about that one before you eat breakfast tomorrow. I personally don’t have time to eat it in the morning, so I’ve never really stopped to consider the moral plight of the cornflakes, and besides which I’m partial to Cheerios so I wouldn’t be confronted with that PARTICULAR moral dilemma as such anyway.

But I digress.

Anyway, Paul the cornflake saw an opportunity for a spot at the top of the box, if only he could bypass the other cornflakes and somehow make his way up there. He saw all the other, more well-connected cornflakes partying it up near the crease at the top, and he wondered every morning what he was missing.

Each day he would awake (insomuch as a cornflake knows the difference between sleeping and waking in the first place) and plot a new strategy for rising to the top of the box, and each day he would fall asleep again (insomuch as a cornflake…well, you get the idea) not having figured it out.

But Paul didn’t give up! In addition to ambition, he had stubbornness as well, and each day that passed he noticed that more and more of the cornflakes above him were disappearing, usually in the morning. In fact, after a few days he noticed that he was getting near to the top himself, without having to do much of anything at all!

Well, as you can imagine, this was quite an exciting revelation for our little cornflake friend.

Finally, the blessed day came when that last bit of leftover cornflakes was poured out of the box, and Paul found himself all alone in the box, king of the heap. But Paul now had two bigger problems: Loneliness, and garbage.

For you see, the cornflake eaters in question didn’t take the time to fish Paul out of the bottom of the box of cornflakes, and simply tossed the supposedly-empty box of cornflakes into the garbage and forgot about it.

Paul sat in the darkness for a good many days, as the garbage was taken out and recycled at a local facility near the premises, and Paul was shaken out of the box by the process and he was left sitting in a pile of wax paper and rotten bananas.

Indeed, an existance, if you can call it that, that I wouldn’t personally wish on anyone, friend or enemy.

But Paul perservered, even as the moisture seeped into him and he lost all his cripsy texture and flavor, until one day he was a soggy cornflake sitting on the bottom of a garbage pile. I think a bird ate him, I’m not sure.

They don’t have cornflake obituaries, after all. But I think the world may be a better place if we did. Think of the cornflakes!

Paul died, and went towards the bright light he saw, as his cornflake soul rose to cornflake heaven, and he met the cornflake St. Peter.

“Paul”, he said, showering him with beautiful light and whole cream, “your time on this world is not yet over. You still have many breakfasts to enrich with a full day’s supply of Vitamin B and Niacin, and you still have many boxes to climb until you are the top flake.”

“But St. Peter,” Paul replied in shock, “Look at my mangled form! Whereas before I was a lovely cornflake and crispy and whole, now I’m just a soggy shell of my former self!”

“Ah, my cornflake friend,” St. Peter said calmly, “matters such as these are easily solved.” And with a wave of his hand, Paul the cornflake was reborn as a glorious Grape Nut.

“Thank you, St. Peter!” the newly nutted Paul exclaimed, “How can I ever thank you?”

“Just be the best breakfast you can be.” St. Peter replied, and with another wave Paul the Grape Nut was back on earth.

The first thing he noticed was that he was back in a box again, and was back on the bottom again. He looked up, and couldn’t help but think that the other Grape Nuts on top of the box were having a much better time of it than he was.

So Paul the Grape Nut, formerly Paul the cornflake, once again began plotting his ascent to the top of the box, and much of the same stuff happened over and over again to him in the years and decades that followed.

When does this story of woe end?

It doesn’t…it’s just a cereal.

(Cue “Laughter” sign in audience)

Thank you, thank you, I’ll be appearing at the Hilton all next week at the Improv festival…oh, wait, I was doing a RAW rant. Sorry, I forgot. Now where was I…lessee, Jericho has Storm in the Walls, big brawl…oh yeah!

– Tommy Dreamer and Rob Van Dam proceed to run into the ring via the audience and team up with Storm & Awesome to beat on Kane & Jericho. And a bunch of WWF B-teamers run in to make the save…but wait a second, they seem to all have something in common…Tazz…The Dudley Boyz…Raven…Rhyno…Justin…it’s a MONSTER ECW BEATDOWN! Storm & Awesome rejoin Team ECW, everyone kicks ass on Kane & Jericho, and Heyman tells off and JR and joins them in the ring for a MONSTER PROMO. Markout city. He calls a JR a fat pig, and says he’s sick of being a corporate sellout whore who has to sit there week in and week out and shill the WCW-WWF “Invasion” nonsense. Basically, everyone can kiss his ass, because ECW is BACK. The crowd eats it up with a spoon. Even Paul’s creditor’s are chanting “E-C-Dub.” Well, maybe not. ECW: We put the “fun” in “defunct”.

– JR ponders how long Paul had the whole wacky scheme planned out. From about 4 pm this afternoon if their usual booking methods are in evidence.

– Meanwhile, Vince & Shane meet in the back and book a TWENTY-man tag match tonight, 10 ECW guys v. 5 WWF/5 WCW, one night only.

– Light heavyweight title: X-Pac v. Scotty 2 Hotty. Kevin Nash trick #1: When someone gets hot, immediately put yourself over them to give yourself the rub. Just saying. Scotty knocks him down and gets a clothesline after a gymnastic sequence. Scotty works the arm and headscissors X-Pac, but gets dumped. X-Pac comes off the top onto him. Back in, Lightning Legdrop gets two. Broncobuster misses and Scotty comes back with a superkick for two. Bulldog is blocked, X-Factor is reversed to a jawbreaker, and Scotty goes for the Worm. X-Pac rolls out to break up the move, and they brawl outside. Scotty sunset flips in, X-Pac grabs the ropes, and gets the pin to retain in a match no one cared about. *1/4 For those who listen to commentaries and watch deleted scenes on DVDs, one thing you’ll often hear the director talking about how a scene looked good on paper and had some neat special effects, but just served no purpose and needed to be cut out so that the audience could get to the next plot point with a minimum of stalling. This was that scene, and it should have been left in the “deleted matches” section of RAW. The crowd desperately wants to get to the climax and we’re busy farting around with X-Pac and his “Look at me, I’m on TV” self-push in the Lightheavyweight division.

– Meanwhile, Shane steps up as Team Leader, but Vince goes around him and tells his Elite WWF Crew to ignore his orders. And really, is there any more elite fighting force than Billy Gunn, Bob Holly, Big Show and the Acolytes?

– The APA, Bob Holly, Billy Gunn, Big Slow, Sean O’ Haire, Chuck Palumbo, Mark Jindrak, Sean Stasiak & Kanyon v. Team ECW. But wait! Team WCW and Team WWF get all in each other’s faces and brawl, and the WWF guys clean house. The ECW hit the ring (with matching shirts) and TCB 10-on-5. The WCW guys come in to oppose them…but it’s another SWERVE, as Shane and Paul have been in cahoots all along. Vince comes out in shock as Team WECW pick off the WWF guys one-by-one and Shane gloats. He announces the merger of the two dead promotions…and the sale of ECW to Stephanie. Truly that plot twist marks the end of the civilized world as we know it.

The Bottom Line: This is the same sort of thing Vince Russo did all the time in WCW. I just wanted to get that out of the way first thing.

Again, much like other weeks, as a show it was immensely shocking and entertaining. But it leads to the inevitable question: What the hell is going on? The entire first couple of weeks are now rendered completely pointless, not to mention the first hour of the SAME SHOW, as all that work that went into turning Shane is now for nothing, since he seems to be a de facto babyface again now that he’s aligned with the ultra-hip ECW crew.

Those are questions for another time, however, as I’m just glad to see the WWF finally doing SOMETHING to make a major shakeup in the status quo and hopefully give everyone a kick in the ass. Of course, it always seems to end up as McMahon v. McMahon v. McMahon v. McMahon v. McMahon v. McMahon, but what can ya do at this point? WCW is gonna get totally overshadowed by ECW here, though, I guarantee. That’s probably a good thing since the WCW brand is so uncool to begin with.

Now all they need is Goldberg and we’re getting somewhere.


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