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The SmarK RAW Rant – October 22 / 2001

October 23, 2001 | Posted by Scott Keith

The SmarK RAW Rant – October 22 2001

– Note to the concerned: This is an alternative to the “instant” RAW report already up on the site. Since “instant” has never described my stuff, have no fear, you’ll be able to read both. I’ve added all my Wrestleline RAWs (June – October) to the TV report archives here on 411, so you can peruse them if you want. For those of you who e-mailed me looking for the new home of my RAW rants and got directed here, welcome, and wipe your feet first.

– Well, the Seattle Mariners never fail to choke in the ALCS, and this year is no exception. I guess I’m going Diamondbacks all the way this year.

– Thanks for all the kind words from the other 411 writers upon my arrival here. Don’t worry – when I control the world political scene and the Keithist Revolution clears out the old guard, you’ll be the last ones lined up against the wall and shot. It’s the least I can do.

– Live from Owen Hart’s Deathtrap, Missouri. Or “Kansas City”, as the locals call it.

– Your hosts are JR & Paul E.

– Opening interview: Vince & Linda come out arm-in-arm. “This is the way, if you’re a WWF fan, to kick off RAW!”, JR quips. I guess I’m not a WWF fan, then, because I was hoping for something more along the lines of Rock & Jericho. Vince has apparently been in therapy for the past two months. For the benefit of those playing along at home, I will give you a multiple choice smart-ass retort to this storyline development:

a) After the Undertaker-Kronik feud, I needed therapy, too!
b) “Now, Vince, when I count to three and snap my fingers, you will awake feeling rested and refreshed. One, two…he-got-him-no-he-didn’t-c’mon-ref!”
c) Apparently he woke up two months ago and realized he was the owner of WCW.
d) Two words: Toupee rot.
e) “The XFL lost HOW MUCH MONEY?”
f) “I gave birth to THEM? DOCTOR!”

Shane & Stephanie interrupt, and it’s everyone’s dream: All McMahons, all the time. Isn’t it weird how one of the principal source of complaint about the product has been the oversaturation of McMahons, so the solution is apparently to bring them all out at once? The children think Vince should retire. Vince claims to have “earned” everything he got (apparently forcing your own father out of his lifelong business after inheriting a large share of it is “earning” things in today’s revised WWF history) and he wants Shane to take a similar leap of faith and put the Alliance on the line at Survivor Series, one match, winner takes all. What’s “all”? They likely haven’t thought that far yet. What’s the match? Ditto. But, by god, there’s some sort of match for some sort of vague goal at the next PPV, and you know that’s five or six steps ahead of their normal booking as of late. Vince wants to do something with Austin tonight, but he’s injured. So instead we get Rock & Jericho v. The Dudleyz for the tag titles tonight for no adequately explored reason. Linda goes for the big finish, calling Shane a WUSS. Oooh, I bet Shane needs therapy now, just like Vince.

– Lita & Trish v. Mighty Molly & Irascible Ivory. Okay, I just made that name up. I, along with everyone else, are at a loss to explain the WWF’s (and Jim Ross in particular) strange need to get Trish into a wrestling ring as soon as possible following the injury, as though anyone actually cares about women’s wrestling enough to miss her. Lita controls both heels, and the faces flapjack Ivory for two. Ivory tries to powerbomb Trish, but gets rolled up for two. Trish chokes her out, but Ivory snapmares her out of the corner and gets a backbreaker. Molly necksnap and she chokes Trish out. Suplex and Molly goes up, but gets crotched. Trisha-a-canrana leads to the hot tag to Lita, and she’s a house of fire. Poetry in Motion from the faces, and it’s BONZO GONZO. Ivory lariats Lita out of the corner, however. Lita comes back with a double-clothesline on the heels and Twists Ivory’s Fate, and the Litasault finishes at 4:20. Not half-bad, but I wish they’d make up their mind if the women’s “division” is going to be T&A matches with Stacy & Torrie or actually decent wrestling matches with the people who can actually wrestle. Switching from one to the other in a 24-hour span kind of sends mixed signals. *1/2 It also occurs to me that Lita & Trish were feuding just a few weeks ago, but in the grand scheme of things no one cares about the women anyway.

– Meanwhile, vince tries to get RVD to jump ship, but he’s happy just being RVD. So Vince exacts revenge for free thinking by booking him against the Big Show.

– Meanwhile, Matt walks in on a half-nekkid Trish and nearly sneaks a peak. Lita misses catching him by about 10 seconds. Matt’s getting set up for a breakup here.

– Meanwhile, Mick Foley moves into William Regal’s office under the new time-share desk program. He vows that it’ll be all clean finishes tonight and sets up the Connect Four board.

– Meanwhile, Edge does some male bonding with Angle. “Are you sure you guys have the same parents?” “I know, it’s kinda hard to believe…” but before Edge can finish, Rhyno storms in with a GOAR GOAR GOAR on him, and Angle looks ready to exact revenge. Maybe he should have said “Hey, Edge, look out” or something to take care of that pre-emptively.

– Cruiserweight title: Billy Kidman v. Tajiri. Kidman works the arm and gets a rana, but misses a blind charge. Tajiri enzuigiris him and Kidman bails. Tajiri follows with a baseball slide, and he goes up after Kidman returns, but misses a moonsault. Kidman hits the chinlock. Powerbomb gets two, slingshot legdrop gets two. Suplex, but Tajiri superkicks him twice and hits a leg lariat out of the corner for two. Crowd doesn’t seem that into it. Paul Heyman redeems the dead crowd by getting the Line of the Night: When talking about Big Show v. RVD tonight, Paul notes that it’s unfair for Rob to wrestle a 500-pound guy like Show. Ross responds “What am I supposed to do about it? Send him to Weight Watchers?” Heyman: “Yeah! I read the Ross Report, you know!” Handspring elbow gets two. Kidman DDT gets two. Tajiri cradle gets two. Tajiri tries something and ends up with only a slam for two. They go to the corner but fuck up the Tarantula spot, then head out to the middle and start again before getting it. Is Kidman stoned tonight or something? I know it’s their first match together, but geez. The Big Kick To the Head is ducked and reversed to a Rydien bomb for two. Reversal sequence leads to the Big Kick to the Head for the pin and the title at 5:08. Crowd still needs educatin’, but all they need to do is throw a 5-minute cruiserweight match out there, EVERY show, and it’ll get over eventually on the work. **

– DDP comes out to motivate us, complete with Garth Brooks headset microphone in case he needs to bust into “Friends in Low Places”. Come to think of it, that’s a pretty appropriate song for him. Anyway, for those who lost at the PPV, it’s not a BAD thing, it’s a GOOD thing, much like all the losers in Kansas City. Kane comes out to dispute that philosophy, so DDP puts it in perspective for him: Kane’s mangled flesh is a GOOD thing, because Halloween is right around the corner. That’s a pretty funny line, I’ll give him that. Kane chokeslams him in response. Funny segment, but can’t poor DDP feud with someone not related to the Undertaker?

– US title match: Rhyno v. Kurt Angle. Staredown and they jockey on the mat. Angle with a german suplex, but he gets clotheslined. Angle suplexes him and slugs away. OLYMPIC VIOLENCE and a fivearm gets two. Rhyno busts out the airplane spin and stomps away in the corner, working on the ribs as his body part of choice tonight. Spinebuster gets two, and Rhyno chokes away. Angle dumps him and they brawl. Back in, Rhyno botches a neckbreaker in horrible fashion but gets two. He hits the chinlock, presumably so they can get their shit together, but Angle escapes and gets the anklelock. Rhyno makes the ropes and goes back to the chinlock. Belly to belly gets two, and Rhyno pounds him down. Angle chops back, and gets a bodypress for two. Overhead belly to belly and rolling germans, but Rhyno sends him to the corner and clotheslines him. Angle gets the Eponymous Slam, but he can only barely cover and gets two. Angle goes up, but misses the moonsault, and the ribs are hurtin’. GOAR GOAR GOAR knocks both guys out of the ring, and Rhyno peels him off the floor and tosses him in for two. Suplex attempt is reversed to a go-behind and anklelock for the submission and title at 11:31. Kinda defeats the purpose of Rhyno going on a rampage, no? Really great PPV quality match, though. ***1/2

– European title match: The Hurricane v. Bradshaw. I don’t like the looks of this. Helms does some posing, and gets shoved around. Molly tries to help, but Bradshaw brushes her aside. Back in, Bradshaw keeps hammering him. Hurricane dropkicks the knee for his one offensive move in the match, but can’t suplex him. Molly goes up and gets caught with a blockbuster slam, allowing Hurricane to try a clothesline, which Bradshaw shrugs off. Clothesline from Heck finishes at 3:09. Total squash, and I just don’t get why they’re even wasting time with Hurricane anymore, since he’s obviously just going to be stuck as a comedy jobber forever. Ѕ* In fact, why didn’t they just put the WCW tag titles on the guy last night if they were gonna job him hard on RAW? The Hardyz weren’t even on the show tonight in a wrestling capacity.

– Undertaker & Kane v. Booker T & Test. Taker & Test start, and Test hammers away. UT returns fire, and pops Booker for good measure. Test lariats him, but he no-sells. Booker with a sidekick and a sideslam (plus side of fries and side salad while riding side-saddle) all of which set up the kneedrop. Booker slugs away, but runs into a clothesline. Kane comes in and pounds away, but misses an elbow. Booker sidekicks him and Test beats him down. Kane no-sells and the Brothers Who Shouldn’t Work On Commission work the arm. Test gets the Rockette Kick on UT for two and they toss him, allowing Booker some tomfoolery. Back in, Taker gets stomped in the corner. Booker elbow gets two. Test pounds him in the corner, but Booker misses the axe kick and gets slammed. Hot tag Kane, and he cleans house like Tony Danza. Sideslam on Test and big boots for everyone. Kane gorilla presses Test, but Booker comes flying out of nowhere with a scissor kick. UT & Booker brawl outside and Taker hits the stairs, but of course he’s can’t be stopped because he’s the AMERICAN BADASS. In the ring, Kane gets a neckbreaker on Test for two. Chokeslam for Booker, but the chokeslam for Test is blocked, but Taker gets another big boot and Kane finishes with the forbidden tombstone at 8:11. Undertaker was in rare form here, pulling out THREE big boots instead of the usual one. I don’t get the booking in the slightest, as you’d think a single job to Test wouldn’t kill Kane, but apparently the creative team felt otherwise. Match was the same thing we’ve already seen multiple times in various combinations over the past month. *1/2

– Hardcore title: Rob Van Dam v. Big Show. Show tosses him around and pounds him. Corner clothesline and big boot set up a chokeslam, but Rob kicks out of it. Show dumps him to the floor and rubs his head on the stairs. He whips him at the post, but Rob jumps onto the apron and dropkicks him, then guillotines him on the apron. Rob loads up the plunder, but Show keeps shrugging off his offense. Back in, Show no-sells a garbage can and a chairshot. RVD finally manages a Van Daminator and the five-star frog splash for the pin at 4:44. Show gave him nothing here. Ѕ* They should have quit while they were ahead with Show – he got over playing the big guy who stands on the apron in tag matches, and of course once he gets over at the expense of a Tajiri or Spike Dudley, right back up to the top of the card he goes as a single only to die again. They should make him Hurricane’s bodyguard and solve about 18 problems at once.

– Meanwhile, Tazz attacks Maven at WWF NY to continue that thrilling feud.

– Meanwhile, Jericho gives Rock the “Rock” nameplate from the WCW title, just so he can hang it on his wall for memory’s sake. Rock gives Jericho his own present – a chair, just in case there’s a rematch. Ouch, gotta call that exchange a draw.

– WWF tag title match: The Dudley Boyz v. The Rock & Chris Jericho. Hey, it’s another “Can They Co-Exist?” plot to go along with the dozens we’ve already had since Vince Russo got his first taste of power. Here’s a new twist: How about two guys who CAN’T co-exist because they hate each other so much, despite both being babyfaces? D-Von hammers Jericho but gets forearmmed down. D-Von charges into the corner, but gets dropkicked for two. Rock slugs away and a DDT gets two. Bubba does his own punching and gets a dramatic sideslam for two. Rock samoan drop gets two. Jer-Rock-O double-backdrop Bubba, but Jericho gets caught in the corner. He suplexes D-Von and tags Rock, but they have some words. Rock takes his aggressions out on D-Von instead, and Jericho tries a superplex, but the Dudleyz catch him with a Dudley Device and Jericho is YOUR canuck-in-peril. Bubba suplex and D-Von hits the chinlock. Powerslam gets two. Bubba plays mindgames with Rocky, as the Dudleyz double-team Jericho. He gets an enzuigiri, hot tag Rock. He cleans house and he’s a house of fire in a pier-six brawl and all that. People’s elbow is stopped by Bubba, but Rock simply pounds him out of the ring and completes the move for two. Jericho bulldogs Bubba, but missile dropkicks Rock by accident. Or WAS it? He stops 3D, however, and Rock Bottom finishes D-Von at 7:49 to win the WWF tag titles. Match was the usual Dudley main. **1/4

The Bottom Line:

I’m kinda Jekyll-and-Hyde on this show. Jekyll says that it was nice to see all the decent wrestling with clean finishes and it made for an easy-to-watch and entertaining standalone show. Hyde says it’ll probably continue the downward ratings spiral because no one has any confidence in the current WWF product to get much better, myself included. The Alliance getting pasted all night match-after-match didn’t help much, either. The big plan would seem to be Alliance losing tons of matches leading up to Survivor Series only to shockingly win the big one and take the RAW timeslot as a result, but deep down I think the plan is to humiliate the WCW guys in rapid succession leading up to the show as one final thumbing of the nose to Ted Turner, before finally burying the angle completely at the PPV and moving onto D-GenerationWo or whatever combination of Hall/Nash/HHH/Michaels/X-Pac it ends up being as the next big challenge.

Whatever the plan, the fanbase is still waiting for that one blowaway RAW to make them come back for good, and this wasn’t it. It was good, but any semblance of a long-term direction is still lacking, and it’ll continue hurting the product until everyone stops and decides where they want to be at Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania and then books backwards from there.

Keeping Rock-Jericho up in the main event is a definite step in the right direction, though.

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