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The SmarK RAW Rant – June 17 2002

June 17, 2002 | Posted by Scott Keith

The SmarK RAW Rant – June 17, 2002

– Live from Oakland, CA

– Opening match, KOTR Quarterfinal: Rob Van Dam v. X-Pac. X-Pac gets a devastating armdrag and headlock to start. Rob kicks back, but X-Pac goes to the eyes. Monkeyflip and Rob dumps him. He follows with a quebrada and a baseball slide, which sets up the guillotine on the railing. Back in, X-Pac misses a slingshot in and RVD gets two. X-Pac blocks a rana with a powerbomb, and gets a spinkick for two. We hit the chinlock. Rob gets dumped and X-Pac follows with a somersault plancha. Whoa, he must have gotten some really good pot tonight. Back in, Broncobuster misses and Rob comes back with a spinkick of his own, and he blocks the X-Factor by doing the splits. Rolling Thunder gets two. Man, that’s the move that pinned the Undertaker, how could he kick out? I’m shocked and appalled. Rob goes up but gets dropkicked off into the railing, but Booker runs in and flattens X-Pac, and the rest is academic. Rob finishes at 5:57. I hates run-ins, yes I do. X-Pac actually did an admirable job of reigning Rob in here, though. **1/4

– Clip of JR’s interview from Confidential.

– Meanwhile, X-Pac feels robbed by circumstances.

– Vince comes out to give his side of the Steve Austin thing. He’s gone. He won’t be back. We get the usual stuff – he left after Wrestlemania, returned two weeks later, and then bugged out again last week. Apparently the winner of King of the Ring gets a title shot at Summerslam. Vince says thank you and toasts him with a beer. Well, that was something like a memorial service. You have to wonder how the fans are supposed to tell the difference between storyline and reality with Vince playing Mr. McMahon while delivering a speech that sounds like a setup for Austin to make a run-in at the end of the show.

– Raven v. Jeff Hardy. Jeff attacks and sends Raven out with a headscissors, and follows with the railrunner while UT looks on. Back in, Raven gets control and gets Ricky Morton’s knee from the second rope, for two. Rebound clothesline and kneelift get two. Jeff comes back with the jawbreaker and a mule kick, and he gets a leg lariat. Raven misses a dropkick, and Jeff legdrops for two. Jeff goes up, but Raven blocks a headscissors and crotches him. Up top, Jeff blocks a superplex and drops Raven, then follows with the swanton for the pin at 3:47. I guess Jeff has found his smile again. *

– Meanwhile, Goldust gets all literary on Booker. See, sometimes it CAN be Shakespeare. Goldust likes the idea of “King Booker”.

-Meanwhile, Molly uses the power of the Thighmaster.

– Meanwhile, X-Pac is still all riled up. Paul Heyman asks the nWo to mind their own business tonight. Are these guys heels or faces or what?

– Chris Harvard v. Spike Dudley. Chris attacks and mauls him on the outside, and back in for a backbreaker that gets two. Choking follows as the imaginative “Harvard Sucks” chant starts. Spike’s rollup is blocked by a lariat that gets two. Nice one, too. Cross-corner whip gets two. To the top, but Spike comes back with the double-stomp. Spear and running forearms set up the Acid Drop, but Spike chases Regal and gets hit with a weak variation on the Bubba Bomb for the pin at 3:18. Total squash, but you gotta start building up the new stars. ј*

– Ric Flair comes out as the fans are completely unsure how to react anymore. Ross is building him up so I guess he’s a babyface again. Flair doesn’t miss being an owner, and he’s not ready to go home yet. So he’s gonna wrestle again tonight, and will prove to Lesnar who the Dirtiest Player in the Game still is. And Austin’s music hits!? And then changes to Eddy’s. Ah, a swerve. Eddy promises that we’ve heard that music for the last time. Well, that’s just mean. Eddy’s mad because he doesn’t get to face Austin at the PPV. So am I – that was the only decent match on paper. So Eddy’s gonna take his problems out on Flair, because he holds him personally responsible for driving Austin away. Benoit joins us to stick up for Flair – and flashes the four fingers. Uh oh, don’t go there, don’t want the newsboard geeks to choke on their breakfast burritos with excitement. Eddy still thinks Flair’s a loser, so they decide to hook it up at King of the Ring. Benoit sticks up for Flair again, and then turns on him because of driving out Austin, too – no Gutteral Vengeance for Benoit, either. Man, Flair’s getting no love tonight. Flair decides to make a go of it, but the Apocalypse comes early for him as the heel beatdown proceeds in earnest. Eddy puts him in the figure-four, and no one saves. Benoit kicks the dirt on Flair. All we needed was the Snot Rocket.

– Meanwhile, Chris Harvard introduces himself to Vince. A cell phone call from Tony Garea (“Excuse me for a second, the phone is vibrating”) makes Vince guess that Austin is on the way back. The Law of the Swerve means that it’s not Austin, in which case they’d better have something really huge to pay this off.

– Trish & D-Lo Brown v. Crash & Molly Holly. I guess they’re related again? Crash starts with D-Lo and gets flapjacked and legdropped for two. Molly tosses Trish around and chokes her out. Backbreaker and Molly goes up, but the Molly Go Round misses. Tags abound. D-Lo gets a leg lariat and a sideslam for two. Molly brawls with Trish, and the Sky-High finishes Crash at 2:46. Just filler. ј* By the way, fuck the WWE for encouraging fans to chant “She’s a fatass” at someone. There’s enough bullemic women in the world without teaching girls watching that only certain body types are okay.

– Meanwhile, Lita’s at The World, and she’s worried about Matt, because “Sometimes it’s just not worse the rithk.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. Oh, sorry, I guess I meant that ANYONE could have said it better. Lay off the painkillers, Amy.

– Meanwhile, Vince is prepping the camera crew for “Austin’s” arrival. Jackie from Tough Enough (looking like Tori’s twin sister) arrives and Vince offers her a chance to jump to RAW if she competes in some sort of swimsuit thing. They’re REALLY stretching now.

– Undertaker v. Matt Hardy. Matt attacks to start, and UT hits boot, then shrugs it off and rips his head off. UT legdrops him on the apron and tries the powerbomb, but Matt escapes and gets a DDT, for two. UT puts him down for two, and Jeff hits the ring, but does nothing of note. Raven stops his rampage, and UT finishes Matt at 2:11. What the hell is the point of this “feud”? Raven handcuffs Jeff (Ooo, bondage – Jeff is kinkier than we thought) and UT beats on him. Okay, Undertaker can beat up both Hardy Boyz at will, got it. Ѕ*

– Meanwhile, Undertaker doesn’t want anyone making a name for themselves at his expense. I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments.

– Meanwhile, Vince gets another call from Tony Garea, but he’s cut off before we can confirm that it’s Austin. This time the phone rings – maybe it went to creative and threatened to go home because vibrating wasn’t consistent with its character.

– KOTR Quarterfinal – Brock Lesnar v. Booker T. The nWo joins us right away, doing a pre-emptive run-in, I guess. Brock attacks, but Booker slugs back. Brock suplexes him and dumps him while Nash does color and imitates JR. They brawl outside and Booker hits the stairs and the apron. Back in, Brock works him over in the corner and now Goldust joins us, too. Heyman is getting rather upset. Booker clotheslines Lesnar, but gets powerslammed for two. Brock stops to gawk at Goldust and gets sidekicked. Axe kick sets up the Spinaroonie, but Booker chases various nWo members and gets hit with the F5 at 3:22. Man, my browser keeps refreshing when he does that move. Booker & Goldust get beat down by the bad guys, which I assume sets up Booker/Goldust v. X-Pac/Show at the PPV with Nash & Shawn contributing whatever it is exactly that they contribute. Match was a total clusterfuck, with 18 people at ringside and the camera paying more attention to Nash & Shawn doing commentary. Ѕ*

– Meanwhile, Tony Garea is HERE. Man, this guy didn’t get this much mention on WWF TV even when he was tag champion.

– Vince comes back out again for the main event interview. Vince calls out Austin, but instead he gets Tony Garea, who tips off Vince that it’s…The Rock. THANK YOU GOD. Of course, the brand extension is full of more holes than a spaghetti strainer now, but desperate times and all that. Rock hits him with an “it doesn’t matter” for old times’ sake and then gives Vince 15 seconds to hit the bricks. The crowd helpfully counts down as Vince runs for his life. Rock knows he’s supposed to be on Smackdown, but when there’s a company that needs saving, he’s gonna do his best to make sure it gets saved. So he lays it on the line – if anyone in the back doesn’t wanna be there, then get the F out. He’ll be there for the PPV on Sunday and 50 years from now, because the promotion is in his blood, and this IS home for him.

The Bottom Line: RIP Stone Cold Era – 1997-2002. Tonight was the burial and eulogy all in one.

Witness, however, the awesome interview power of the Rock, who can make Tony Robbins sound unmotivated when he’s on. And tonight he was ON. Sure the rest of the show was drek, but now I’ve got Benoit v. Rock II to look forward to and I can be reasonably assured of Rocky doing the right thing for business AND giving me awesome matches.

See, I don’t ask for much.


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