wrestling / TV Reports

The SmarK RAW Rant – October 29 / 2001

October 30, 2001 | Posted by Scott Keith

The SmarK RAW Rant for October 29, 2001

“The fact that logic cannot satisfy us awakens an almost insatiable hunger for the irrational.”
* A. N. Wilson

– You’ll have to pardon me if I engage in actual thought during this show, as that seems to be a taboo process these days when it comes to the WWF.

– Live from Louisville, KY

– Your hosts are JR & Paul E.

– Opening interview: Vince and the WWF roster come out to deliver some bluster. Steph’s slap on Linda will not go unpunished, much like Vince’s two-month long mental torture of Linda earlier this year will not go unpunished. Oh, wait, that DID go unpunished, sorry. Vince announces his WWF team at Survivor Series will be Undertaker, Kane, Angle, Jericho and the Rock. The big match will apparently be a plain ol’ elimination 10-man, so on the bright side maybe they’re going back to the standard format for the show. Stephanie interrupts to fulfil our daily intake of Vitamin MAC, and recaps Smackdown for us, complete with video package. She brings out Shane as a search for a can of roach spray to drink in order to end my life without hearing yet another Shane interview. Shane announces that, indeed, one member of Team WWF will defect to the Alliance, TONIGHT. That’s actually a good strategy – announce the turn two hours in advance and build up to it. Interview was brutally boring.

– Meanwhile, Shane & Steph meet up with Austin. Apparently those three are the only ones who know The Big Secret.

– Intercontinental title: Edge v. Rob Van Dam. Rob flips over him, but gets dropkicked and flapjacked. Edge counters a monkey flip, but gets kicked down and dumped. Rob splashes him off the apron and they head back in. Edge misses a blind charge and Rob lariats him for two. Standing moonsault gets two. Rob hits foot on a charge and Edge gets a weird slam for the double KO. Edge comes back with a backdrop and leg lariat, but Rob gets his own. Split-legged moonsault hits knee, and Edge rolls him up for two. Rob superkicks him into Rolling Thunder for two, reversed for two by Edge. Edge-O-Matic gets two, spear gets two. Edge goes up, but gets slammed off. Five-star frog splash misses and Edge Impales him for the pin at 5:28. I guess they’re trying to use RVD to build up Edge, but it’s only going to have the WCW Booking Effect, where Edge’s failed push is just going to drag Rob’s push down until everyone is basking in mediocrity. Match was okay for five minutes. *1/2

– Meanwhile, Austin laughs at RVD for losing to Edge, thus invalidating the whole idea of why they might have used Rob to put him over. Austin’s great, but comments like that don’t help anyone. Tazz wants in on the Big Secret and gets verbally punked out.

– Meanwhile, APA ponders the possible traitor, but it seems that Jericho has called a WWF meeting.

– The Hurricane & Mighty Molly v. Tajiri & Torrie. Helms does some posing, but gets kicked in the face. Tajiri spins Molly, but gets superkicked off a handspring. Tajiri’s charge hits foot. Reversal sequence goes nowhere fast and they collide. The chicks tag in and Torrie uses the venerable hairtosses and a handspring, which JR diplomatically notes was not done quite as well as Tajiri can. Hurricane clotheslines Torrie, but gets caught in the Tarantula, so Molly cradles Torrie for the pin at 2:41. Nice to see them building on HeAT, but the match was brutal. Ѕ*

– Meanwhile, Jericho gives the troops a peptalk and lets them know how much he loves the WWF. Rock shows up to bury his self-esteem a bit, letting him know that while Rock was winning the big one in 1999, Jericho was still getting his ass whipped by Juventud Guerrera, and thus Jericho has no right to be leading the WWF. That’s pretty damn funny. He thinks that no one would even be stupid enough to join the Alliance…and shoots a loaded glance at Jericho. This segment was so awesome that if I ever have children, I would gladly let my daughter marry it.

– Meanwhile, Regal asks Austin for the Big Secret, but Austin dodges the question…and he wants to see Angle.

– Meanwhile, Jericho bitches at UT & Kane for missing the meeting. Taker gets in his face and again declares that he can’t be a WWF leader, but Jericho instead deflects suspicion onto Kane.

– DDP comes out with a surprise for us, as it seems Big Show is the traitor. Sure. And indeed, Show comes out and chokeslams him. Yawn. Why did they even bother bringing DDP back? The poor guy is never gonna get a fair shake anyway.

– Meanwhile, Vince meets with Angle and gives him a 2×4 to use against Austin at their meeting, if need be. Wait a second…maybe it’s a sign that Jim Duggan is coming out of retirement again to team with Kurt Angle!

– WWF tag title match: Chris Jericho & The Rock v. Booker T & Test. Brawl to start, and Rock pounds Booker and gets a samoan drop for two. Jericho stomps on him and adds some CANADIAN VIOLENCE, and a missile dropkick gets two. Test cheapshots him, however, and a Booker spinebuster turns the tide. Teest hammers away and gets a corner clothesline. Suplex gets two, and he hits the chinlock. Jericho rollup gets two, but Test hits Uncle Slam for two. Booker sidekicks him and a slam gets two. Jericho flapjacks him, and gets an enzuigiri to allow the hot tag to Rocky. Rock lays some smackdown on Test and suplexes Booker. DDT for Test, and he tosses Booker. Punch-punch-kiss-that-right-punch, but Test ducks and Jericho gets hits with it instead. Now, the question is: Does supercharging a punch ONLY work on heels or are babyfaces hit with the same force? I’ll have to look into that. Test charges but walks into a spinebuster, and Rock sets up for the People’s Elbow. Jericho suddenly jumps in and bulldogs Rock in retaliation for the wayward punch, however, then hits his new finisher, the forward legsweep. He heads out to sneer, but when Test goes for the obvious pin on Rock, Jericho suddenly changes his mind and makes the save. Huh. He calls for another tag from Rock, but Rock tags him in more ways than one and drags him back in for a Rock Bottom, and walks out. Test goes for the pin on Jericho, but Rock changes his mind and breaks it up. Huh. Booker charges in, but hits Test by mistake, and Jericho puts Test in the Walls for the submission at 8:09. I can honestly say I’ve never seen that booking before, even in Wacky Tag Team Partner matches. Bravo to whoever thought of it. Rock & Jericho exchange some more words, quite possibly involving Juventud (who gets more free press on RAW than the entire Alliance, seemingly…) and we all wonder if one of them is turning. Match was flat thanks to the dumbass crowd, but technically fine. **1/4

– Meanwhile, Angle goes to see Austin with his board. Austin cowers, but then offers Angle a spot in the Alliance. Angle tells him to go to hell. More on this segment later.

– Stacy v. Lita. Lord knows I was waiting for this match. Stacy flips away from a hiptoss, but gets sideslammed for two. Lita hits boot and gets hit with the devastating Kevin Nash Foot Choke in the corner. Hey, three more moves and Stacy will be at Nash’s level. Lita suplexes her for two, but Stacy gets a jawbreaker. Lita dumps her and follows with a plancha attempt that misses by 6 feet and gets nothing but railing. Matt comes out to help her, but takes a shot at Stacy and ends up elbowing Lita in the face as a result. Well, I guess that’s how you southerners keep your women in line. Stacy only gets two, and Lita finishes with the Twist of Fate at 2:47. I’d say it was silly for Lita to win after that, but it would require giving a flying fuck about the match. DUD Lita wants some space from Matt.

– Meanwhile, Rock confronts Angle about accusations and insinuations.

– Creed’s “My Sacrifice” accompanies a new compilation of clips to feature what seems to be the WWF’s new slogan: Desire. What is this, a wrestling promotion or a perfume? Next time, why not just write a list of vague one-word emotions on a roll of toilet paper and let a monkey pick one at random. I mean, is “Desire” really that much more descriptive than “Attitude” or “Get it?” in terms of ad campaigns?

– US title match: Kurt Angle v. William Regal. Regal has strange, evil James Bond sounding music, something between The Hurricane and Darth Vader. He attacks but gets clotheslined and they brawl out. Regal bounces him off the apron in vicious fashion and they head in. Angle backdrops him, but Regal comes back with a neckvice. Angle chops out, but gets crotched. Angle takes him down and gets a belly to belly and a pair of german suplexes. Angle Slam is blocked, but the Anglelock isn’t, and Regal taps at 3:24. Bit of a car wreck, but fundamentally cool. * My question: Why can’t an Olympic wrestler and a trained shooter/carnival wrestler have an actual WRESTLING match instead of punching each other for two minutes? I mean, they certainly mention Angle’s wrestling background enough, but the only time I’ve ever seen it come into play was the WM-X7 match against Benoit.

– Meanwhile, Vince and UT have a confrontation. Apparently, and this came as a great shock to me, Vince has never said more than two words to Undertaker in the 11 years he’s been in the WWF. I guess I was just dreaming the whole UT/Kane v. Austin storyline of 1998 and the Corporate Ministry storyline where Taker was worshipping Vince as his god for the better part of four months.

– WCW tag titles: The Dudley Boyz v. Kane & UT. Kane pounds on D-Von and gets a sideslam and elbow. Taker tosses D-Von around, but gets pulled out by Bubba and introduced to the stairs. It has no effect, of course, and back in he clotheslines both Dudleyz, but gets double-suplexed for two. Taker DDTs Bubba, hot tag Kane. He’s a house of fire. He goes up for the flying lariat, and it’s BONZO GONZO. Chokeslam for D-Von, no ref. Bubba hits Kane with the belt and D-Von gets two. JR & Heyman act like Stacy has just thought of a brilliant tactic that’s never been tried before because she handed Bubba the belt. Note to JR: Hyping Stacy as a criminal mastermind in anything but the ironic sense is about as convincing as Taker doing cross-armbreakers. Taker goes for the ROPEWALK OF DOOM, but Kane accidentally falls on the ropes and crotches him, and then walks into 3D for the pin at 4:58. Usual stale Dudleyz crap here. Ѕ*

– Street Fight: Shane McMahon v. Vince McMahon. On the bright side, at least Linda and Stephanie aren’t at ringside. Brawl outside to start, and vince uses a vicious cardboard sign on Shane’s back, then sends him to the stairs. Vince posts him and tosses some plunder into the ring, but gets hit with a lowblow. Shane drops elbow as JR tries to connect the 67,000 people in Houston for Wrestlemania with Shane & Vince wrestling there. Of course, if you’re gonna bring up THAT match, then you have to also bring up the storyline behind it, which would basically render this entire storyline completely non-sensical because everyone is acting exactly the opposite of their character only six months ago. Shane goes up, but hits a shooting star press on a garbage can. Vince uses a kendo stick for evil purposes. Or is that his cane? Vince dumps him and preps the table, but Shane lays him out with the ALUMINUM TRASHCAN LID OF HORROR and goes up for the Macho Mac elbow off the top. It misses by a good foot, but the announcers act like Vince should be dead anyway. Back in, Shane sets up the Shane Terminator, but Vince uses the garbage can to block it. TnT run in to beat up on Vince, but UT & Kane follow to chase them away, and Regal attacks UT, and Rock attacks Regal, and Austin attacks the Rock, and Angle chases him off, and Jericho is last out before Angle uses a chair to turn on the WWF and join the Alliance. Shane pins Vince as an afterthought at 11:07. Match was a contender for worst of the year, but the segment was all about building to the turn anyway. DUD

The Bottom Line: Well, Angle’s face turn was a total disaster, so turning him may turn out to be right for business purposes. BUT…you now have plot holes big enough to drive Steph’s breasts through. Just to start, the entire last three months of PPVs are now rendered meaningless. Plus Angle is awfully forgiving for a guy who got his beloved gold medals tossed off a bridge. Not to mention that he’s awfully forgiving for a guy who got screwed over by Austin & Regal for the World title just a few weeks ago. Not to mention the entire initial premise of the InVasion angle was Angle’s feud with Shane McMahon. Not to mention that the entire reason that Austin joined the Alliance was to get away from Angle. But you know what REALLY bugged me? That segment with Austin & Angle. The writers’ own internal logic established that the other wrestlers aren’t aware of the content of the vignettes (see: Rock is unaware of Angle’s comments towards him until Michael Cole informs him), and the wrestlers themselves are either unaware or purposely ignorant of the camera being there (see: Numerous examples of people looking for “private” spots like showers and locker rooms, where a cameraman happens to be waiting). So what does this tell us? That the segment violated the WWF’s own internal logic, because the “confrontation” was neither for the benefit of the wrestlers (who are unable to follow the vignettes in storyline-world) nor for the benefit of the home viewers (who don’t exist in storyline-world). Okay, yes, we know that the point in “real” terms was to swerve the fans, but there was no logical or rational storyline reason for Angle & Austin to fake a confrontation without there even being other wrestlers present to witness it and report back to the rest of the WWF team. People are not stupid. They might not all think about in terms as detailed as I just did, but when you throw enough stuff like that out there, it begins to feel “wrong”. And boy, speaking of wrong, is William Regal’s heel turn beginning to look like the biggest waste of time in months or what? They turn him with no explanation or reason given, stick him in basically the same role on the other side and then completely overshadow his “shocking” heel turn with another heel turn that makes even less sense less than a month later. Great work, guys.

Seriously, though, this was the kind of situation that was SCREAMING for the debut of a big WCW name or elevating some new piece of talent, or something. Instead, it’s reshuffle the deck with the same guys and arrive at the same place we were three months ago, with Austin top heel and Kurt Angle playing second banana beneath him.

The future ain’t what it used to be.

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