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The SmarK RAW Rant – September 17 / 2001

September 17, 2001 | Posted by Scott Keith

The SmarK RAW Rant for September 17 2001

– Far be it from me to preach to anyone, but I have to disagree with The Rick about Smackdown – they should have cancelled the show and given the wrestlers the weekend off to be with their family. While George Bush may have told the nation to go back to normality, I’m pretty sure he was referring to things like essential services, such as work. The last thing I’d consider wrestling to be, maniacal self-promotion by JR & Heyman aside, is some sort of essential service and national rallying point for Americans. Especially a company known for exploiting racial prejudices at the drop of a hat and then brushing it off as “just entertainment” when they’re called on it. If Smackdown helped YOU cope, then I’m glad for you. For me, however, I could have done without wrestling for a few nights, and in fact I skipped most of the show as a result.

– Anyway, onto other things: Given that I was in major need of a Tony Hawk fix last week (you can only 100% THPS2 so many times before you need something else), I made an impulse decision to pick up Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2 for PS2, even though I hated the first one for PS1. Imagine my surprise when Acclaim actually delivered a GOOD GAME. Almost on par with good ol’ Tony in terms of playability, tricks, and sheer size of parks, I’ve been hooked on it for the better part of a week now, with no signs of stopping. The trick chaining system is awesome, producing some truly spectacular combos. There’s some major issues I have with control and how hard it can be to get grinds timed properly, but even THPS2 had it’s faults. The soundtrack kicks ass as well, but it is too short with only 6 or 7 songs. Big recommendation for this one from me.

– If they cancelled the Emmys and no one cared, would the TV industry take a hint? Guess we’ll find out.

– Live from Nashville, TN.

– Your hosts are JR & Paul E.

– Opening match, WWF tag titles: Undertaker & Kane v. The Dudley Boyz. Quick, everyone predict the finish right now! Kinda anti-climactic return for Kane, as he just walks out in the opening match. He pounds on D-Von to start. Sideslam and flying lariat get two. Taker comes in and misses a blind charge, but Bubba still can’t get him to sell. ROPEWALK OF DOOM into a cross-armbreaker goes nowhere. Note to UT: Give it up, no one’s buying it. Bubba suplexes him, but UT hits the flying clothesline. Kane tries a chokeslam, but gets hit in the injured arm. Wazzup Drop, and Bubba gets the table. D-Von keeps working the arm, but Kane comes back and powerbombs Bubba out of the corner, hot tag Taker. It’s quasi-bonzo gonzo, maybe 0.3 on the BG Scale. Legdrop on D-Von gets two. Ref is bumped, cue Kronik. Kane goes through the table as a result, and UT walks into 3D and gets pinned at 6:46. Whoa, two jobs in a row for Taker. They really REALLY need to find something to do with the Dudleyz, though. Completely predictable, but necessary, finish. Match was the usual plodding affair from the Brothers of No-Selling. *1/2

– Meanwhile, Kronik joins the Alliance. Why would anyone want to join that bunch of losers at this point? Anyway, Shane makes UT & Kane v. Kronik for the WCW tag titles at the PPV.

– Meanwhile, Hurricane discusses his need for a sidekick with Lance Storm. Apparently Ivory is only 99.44% pure, and he needs someone 100% pure. Assuming Ivory holds other properties as the soap, she floats in water, has her name stamped on her stomach, and her remaining 0.56% is made up of 0.11% uncombined alkali, 0.28% carbonates and 0.17% mineral matter.

– Meanwhile, RVD is just chillin’ and illin’ in Austin’s dressing room, which doesn’t impress Austin all that much. Rob’s bid for Steve’s job as Alliance leader impresses him even less.

– Lance Storm v. Jeff Hardy. Storm works the arm, but gets dropkicked into the turnbuckle. Rollup is blocked, but he tosses Storm and follows with the Railrunner. Storm comes back with a backbreaker for two. Backdrop gets two. Whip to the corner gets two. Lance grabs a surfboard, but Jeff mulekicks out. Slugfest is won by Jeff, and he legdrops Storm and a legsweep gets two. Corkscrew senton gets two. Storm comes back with a Stormkick for two. Ivory and Lita squabble at ringside, allowing Jeff to hit a tope con hilo on Storm. He goes up, but the swanton hits knee (EEEEEE-YOWCH!). They head up again, and Storm reverses a rana attempt into the half-crab for the submission at 5:54. Wow, almost six minutes on a RAW? Must be the writers’ night off or something. Not that I’m complaining. **1/4

– Meanwhile, Shane questions Stephanie’s logic in signing for yet another handicap match against the Rock tonight. She has a plan, and Shane’s not the boss of her. He’s not so big, either.

– Shawn Stasiak v. Perry Saturn. Oh, man, this crowd is dead tonight as is, and I can’t see this match helping that much. Stasiak attacks to start, and hits a gut wrench for two. Corner clothesline, but a 2nd try misses and Saturn comes back. I actually think the first one was supposed to miss and they got their signals crossed. Overhead belly-to-belly and springboard dropkick get two for Perry. Stasiak gets an elbow for two, and Saturn goes after Stacy. That goes nowhere and he small-packages Stasiak for two. Bodypress misses, but Stasiak lands face-first on a leapfrog attempt and Saturn finishes with the Three-Handled Moss-Covered Family Gredunza at 2:49. That one just killed the crowd, and for good reason. ј* We head backstage, as Raven & Terri torture Moppy and then put her out of her misery by running her through a woodchipper. Is there some huge delegation of fans who are actually caring about this stupid tangent for Saturn enough to justify keeping it going longer than one week? I don’t think I’ve heard more than two or three people popping for the angle at any one time, yet it’s been dragged out for weeks now as though he’s actually over or something. I like Saturn well enough, but geez, enough already. Reform the Flock or something if you can’t think of anything to do with Raven & Saturn besides this nonsense. Hell, you’ve got Raven, Saturn, Kanyon, Kidman and Sick Boy all under contract, it’s right there.

– Meanwhile, Stephanie complains to RVD about Shane bossing her around, and Rob lends a sympathetic ear. Stephanie appreciates it and gives him a match against Y2J on Sunday.

– Meanwhile, The Hurricane offers Molly a spot as his new sidekick. Spike doesn’t appreciate it. Geez, let the woman have a career. I’m sure “jobber valet” doesn’t pay all that well.

– Meanwhile, Tazz wants some REAL competition, so Shane books him in a handicap match against he and Booker.

– Booker T & Shane McMahon v. Tazz. Ambush on Tazz to start, and Booker pounds away on him. Hart Attack and Shane elbows him down. Elbow gets two. Booker comes in a heel kick, more double-teaming, and they dump Tazz and beat him on him outside. This is just thrilling to sit through. Shane clotheslines him off the railing. Back in, more double-teaming, before Tazz finally gets tired of selling and fights back with suplexes, only to get clipped by Shane while giving Booker the Tazzmission. Axe Kick (blown badly by Tazz, as he dropped down way too soon) and Spinarooni set up Shane’s flying elbow for the pin at 6:02. Yeah, two guys beating up on Tazz sure makes them look like world-beaters. Match was a total yawner that put the crowd further to sleep. Ѕ*

– European title match: The Hurricane v. Spike Dudley. They trade headlocks to start, and Helms superkicks him and dons his cape. He goes up, but Molly pulls off the cape, thus rendering him helpless or something. Spike goes for the Acid Drop, but gets dumped. Back in, Molly goes for a missile dropkick on Helms, but hits Spike by mistake, and the Eye of the Hurricane finishes at 2:59. That wasn’t much of a match. DUD And just what the world needs, another love triangle storyline.

– Meanwhile, Shane has a chat with Torrie, as he assumes she’s just setting Tajiri up to take the fall later.

– US title match: Tajiri v. Christian. I’m thinking neither guy can really afford to job here. Christian attacks to start, but Tajiri chops away. Thrust kick pops the crowd, but Christian powerbombs him. Backbreaker gets two, and he continues to work the back. Tajiri comes back with another kick, and a handspring elbow for two. Tarantula, but Christian DDTs him. They head out and Christian grabs a chair, but Tajiri mists the ref for the DQ at 4:05. This could (and should) have been so much better. Ѕ* Edge (who we apparently have not seen or heard from since the Christian heel turn RAW, except of course for Smackdown & Excess, where we both saw and heard from him) stops a post-match beatdown by Christian.

– During the break, Rhyno GOAR GOAR GOARs Tajiri to set up a match on Sunday. Talk about the hard sell.

– The Rock v. Stephanie McMahon & Test. They brawl outside to start, and Rock hits a belly to belly back in the ring. Test sideslams him and pounds away. Legsweep gets two. Rock comes back, but gets powerbombed for two. Steph adds a slap, but Rock fights back again with the forearm. Fists and fire, and smackdown is laid. DDT gets two. Test clotheslines him and Steph comes in to finish, but Rock kips up. Test clobbers him from behind and sets up for the high kick, but Rock catches him with Rock Bottom. Nick Patrick is busy talking to Steph, of course. Rock takes out Patrick and goes after her, but Shane and Booker charge in as the beatdown is on for what appears to be a Sportz Entertainment Finish at around 7:00. Major-league beatdown follows, and then it gets even sillier as Nick Patrick revives and Stephanie gets to pin the Rock. So let’s see, she gets to pin the biggest star in the business, and has herself booked as the potential love interest of three different guys at once (HHH, Test and RVD) as well as one repressed love interest (Jericho) as well as a position as the owner of ECW and a part in just about every segment of the show. And you thought Dusty Rhodes had an ego problem. Match was okay, but essentially a repeat of last week with a stupider finish. *1/2

– Meanwhile, RVD harrasses Austin, who has locked himself in his dressing room. If Rob can learn to act, he’ll be huge in this role.

– Chris Jericho & Kurt Angle v. Rob Van Dam & Steve Austin. Big brawl outside and we head all over the place at ringside. In the ring, Jericho chops away at Austin and gets a forearm. Austin comes back, but gets dropkicked for two. RVD comes in, but takes an enzuigiri and Angle bodypresses him. RVD’s rolling splash is reversed by Angle for two. Rob tosses Jericho to the apron, then sends him to the railing. Austin puts him on the table the hard way, but Angle saves him and they all brawl outside. Rob guillotines Jericho on the railing, and we head back in. Spinning legdrop gets two. Austin stomps a mudhole and grabs a sleeper (?!). Jericho escapes, but RVD cuts off the hot tag. Jericho sunset flips him out of the corner for two and hits The Stroke, hot tag Angle. The faces double-team Austin, and RVD tries to save but hits Austin by mistake. The ref is bumped (three in one show!) and Angle gets the Anglelock on Austin, but RVD saves. Jericho nails him in turn and grabs the Walls, but Austin breaks that up with the ringbell. Angle rolls up Austin for two. Suplex gets two. Double-KO results, KICK WHAM STUNNER is countered with the Angle Slam for the clean pin at 8:59. Standard, solid mix-and-match tag match main event. ***

The Bottom Line: Unforgiven is looking pretty good from a quality standpoint, but I’m not sure how much serious hype they can do in a week. A complaint I’ve been hearing a lot from readers lately is that after InVasion, the actual invasion just kind of petered out, and I can’t say as I disagree with that. What was fresh and exciting for about two weeks is now rather dull and repetitive again thanks to the usual homogenization of the talent by the WWF, because god forbid someone bring a new style of wrestling into the promotion. Tajiri and RVD seem to have escaped by being so drastically different that the WWF has no choice but to push them, but others have not been so lucky. Besides, how dangerous an invasion can it be if all the “invading” takes place within well-defined programming blocks and the “invaders” do guest spots on recap shows? The initial stuff popped a huge buyrate because the fans were instinctively waiting for the Nashes, Steiners, Goldbergs and Flairs to actually INVADE and shake things up, but that didn’t happen, and instead you’ve got a bunch of WWF guys holding the WCW titles, and Steve Austin leading the invaders. And the ratings are dropping the longer they plod along with no long-term direction.

The wrestling was good this week, but I wouldn’t exactly call it an entertaining show. I think Austin’s heel turn, brilliant as it is, is really sucking the life out of the fanbase the longer it goes. Call it a thumbs in a middle type show, but I’m looking forward to some good long matches at Unforgiven.

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