Wow, the nWo is sure a threat, eh? Cowering from one man in a little room. Boy, they're gonna just destroy the WWF, eh?
I used to think that Vince McMahon's thoughts were pure gold. The angles he developed were controversial, thought provoking, and above all, entertaining. He turned professional wrestling into "sports entertainment." Against all odds, he pulled his failing business out of the hole dug for it by Ted Turner's WCW and systematically destroyed and absorbed his opposition. His business went public and he became Billionaire Vince.
He was on top of the world.
Then he started to lose his mind. He tried to take on the NFL with his "smashmouth style" XFL league that tanked hard after its first season. He lost millions upon millions of dollars and staggered away from the project with enough egg on his face to make an omelet fit for Paul Wight.
Oh, and while he was gone, he left his kids on top of the creative heap in his absence. His daughter put herself over legitimate wrestlers and booked herself to win the women's title while playing backstage games that broke up the consummate wrestling couple, HHH and Chyna. His son pushed his personal favorite wrestlers and also booked himself to win most of his matches.
Then Vince returned in time to see WCW eat itself through corporate backstabbing, locker room politics, and overspending. He laughed from his high horse and swept in and purchased what was left of the company for a mere 25 million dollars and took over the last hour ever of Nitro's broadcast to start up what could well have been the angle of the century, Shane's WCW versus Vince's WWF.
Fans waited with baited breath for the war to begin. It began strong with a pop-inducing run in by Lance Storm. Momentum grew slowly and deliberately...and then, mostly due to the absence of the real stars of the federation (Flair, Sting, Hogan, Goldberg, Nash, Steiner, Luger, etc...) the whole thing started losing steam. When it started to weaken to the point that we were all sure it would tank totally, the world was shocked when ECW rose from the ashes to join the fight. In a memorable reunion on RAW, the angle hit its prime, and quickly started to lose steam.
The Alliance of WCW and ECW filled out its ranks with WWF mainstays like Kurt Angle, Steve Austin, and Test and soon it became more of a joke than a legitimate invasion. The whole thing fizzled out in short order (and much to the relief of all who had been watching it for three months) with a lackluster ending that wound up pitting WWF superstars against one another while the WCW wrestlers were shuffled to the back of the deck. When the final cards were on the table, "the invasion" boiled down to yet another Rock/Austin faceoff.
What a bunch of bullshit.
While we all reeled from the pain of that failed angle, we were treated to the Vince McMahon "Kiss My Ass Club." Fans got to see Vince's hairy posterior week after week as the most loyal employees were forced to stare into his crack, and in some cases even kiss it, after which he danced around with his pants down. Ugh.
Once that was over we went through the motions until rumors started spreading that Nash was being courted by the WWF for a return...then Scott Hall and Hulk Hogan entered the mix.
The nWo appeared in the WWF. After an underwhelming debut at No Way Out, they went on to destroy the Rock in a very expensive and elaborate stunt last week. Like the spot or hate it (and I hated it), it was meant to establish the nWo as a crazy trio willing to do anything to take out their enemies. At least, that's what I thought they were after.
Then, the following Thursday, they ran and hid from Steve Austin. I can't say as I am still convinced that they are any sort of real threat to the company or those employed by it.
Let's see if they can redeem themselves this week, or if we are in for another "Invasion" storyline that is destined for failure.
The Good, Bad, and Ugly for WWF RAW, Televised on February 25, 2002
BAD: I could have been at this show, considering that it's about 5 miles down the road from where I am sitting right now, but I will be damned if I am paying $80 a seat to watch the bulk of the show on that big screen like I did the last time I attended a live WWF event.
BAD: As if we weren't convinced that the nWo wasn't a bunch of weaklings, we get to see their cowardice from Thursday night over again before this show starts.
GOOD: Austin versus Hennig. Kurt even does the spit/swat on the matchup screen!
BAD: There's no chance in hell it's gonna end without nWo interference.
GOOD: Hogan uses the Hulkamania line as a heel. He may well have done that before but I don't remember it. That's kind of cool, actually. Now maybe he can actually behave like the "Hulkster" a little more and put on some sort of match with The Rock at Wrestlemania.
BAD: I hear tell that Nash doesn't have an opponent because he may have to step in if Hall self destructs and gets fired. Not exactly confidence inspiring, is it?
GOOD: Hall cuts a decent promo...although he does still sound a little drunk, doesn't he? Maybe it's the toothpick.
DUH: Everyone and their brother knew that Hall and Austin were going to face off at Wrestlemania...it's not exactly breaking news now.
EH: The Hardies. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Hurry up and cheat to lose so I can go get a snack.
EW: I could have done without that blender full of spleen. I think I will hold off on that snack now.
BAD: Why exactly did they have the titles change on Smackdown instead of the PPV? I still don't understand the logic of that booking. It just seems that having Chuck and Billy win the belts on a taped television event takes a little of the luster away from their win.
GOOD: At least the push actually went somewhere.
UGLY: Looks like Chuck took a hedge trimmer to his hair there. Yegads. Can't he even afford Supercuts?
GOOD: Sweet tornado DDT there by Matt. Billy sold it well too. Good spot.
BAD: Lita cheats again. What a fucking shock. Turn this team heel please.
OWCH: Looks like Chuck really clocked Jeff in the jaw there with that jungle kick. Owch.
HEH: Yeah, it's logical that Steph and Jericho join forces...heals tend to hang with other heels. Of course, this could also be construed as Stephanie's usual shtick whereby she gloms on to whoever has the most heat so she can suck on it like the attention Shop Vac that she is.
PREDICTION: Jericho loses the title to HHH at Wrestlemania because of interference by Stephanie who was on HHH's side all along. He turns heel and rejoins his wife the moment that the gold is around his waist. Meanwhile, Jericho goes back to the midcard to fight with Test and Edge over the Intercontinental Championship because that's where HHH feels he belongs.
BREASTY: Debra. Always.
AWESOME: Arn Anderson. Always.
FUNNY: DDP's appearance behind Christian.
FUNNIER: Christian's answer to DDP's accusation that he's too negative: "That's a bunch of crap! I'm not negative!"
FUNNIEST: Arn's attempt at a smile. This was a pretty entertaining little skit.
BAD: WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? How much longer until it goes away?
GOOD: Austin's crazy eyes. As much as I hate that catchphrase, I love listening to (and watching) him spew.
BAD: Is it me or does the "race for the Intercontinental title" really a bunch of crap? Who really cares who has the title and who is next in line for a shot? I remember the days when it mattered...a long time ago.
INTERESTING: Is that Chris from Tough Enough right behind Regal? What's he doing in my state?
EVEN MORE INTERESTING: Why do I give a shit?
GOOD: As far as triple threat matches go, this isn't too bad, even if The Big Show is in the match.
GREAT: The five-star frog splash by RVD, considering the way Show was layed out. Rob was forced to twist a bit in midair to land right. Nice work.
BAD: Didn't RVD beat Regal in like 30 seconds on television recently? Why should I care about a rematch at Wrestlemania?
BAD: Could they make Booker more of a buffoon? Speaking Japanese in the ring is going to help him win his match? I guess I am not supposed to understand.
GOOD: The absurdity of the whole APA office doorway being locked (in spite of it just being a door to a room with no walls) is actually worth a couple of chuckles, especially when Bradshaw dropped the key when he reached around to get it.
HEH: Friendly Tap again, eh? CyanIndigo and I drove by there just the other night.
BAD: Glad to see that Booker's Japanese lessons are paying off as he gets squashed by Rikishi.
GOOD: He got a clean win...and was that a pop I heard for the Spinaroonie? Could this be another case of a performer getting over a bad gimmick and getting legitimate heat on the basis of his charisma alone? How can it be? Guess it's time to bury him further before people really start liking him.
WOW: Marc Henry is the world's strongest man? Wow. He looks pretty good, actually. Maybe now he can actually win a match or two without having to pretend to have sex with an 85 year old woman.
GOD DAMN: Stephanie doesn't need a microphone to be heard in that arena. When she shouts, the whole place can hear her.
UGLY: I never thought I'd ever say this, but Stephanie has proven to me that a woman can actually have tits that are too big. Yeap. My whole life has been a lie.
GOOD: It's about time that they played the "Jericho causes HHH's injury" as part of this feud. I have been waiting for this and I have to say that I am glad that they finally got around to making it a part of this rivalry.
BAD: They go from talking about how Jericho put HHH out of action for 8 months to taking shots at his penis size. Welcome to the new old new WWF where it's all about tits, ass, and dicks!
GOOD: HHH's retort, "Even a 747 looks small when it's flying into the Grand Canyon." Heh. I know it's an old line, but it got a grin out of me.
BAD: What are they doing about Angle anyway? He seems to be in limbo as a third wheel honing in on the feud between Jericho and HHH.
BOUNCY: Look at Stephanie run! She's gonna get black eyes if she's not careful.
GOOD: I can always stand Angle versus Jericho.
BAD: Perfect seems to be a little off in his promo today. He's misspeaking himself a lot.
OH YEAH: Jazz. She's the Women's Champion! I forgot about here. Who the hell does she have left to fight?
UGH: They need to lose the Mighty Molly routine. The poor chicky has it bad enough being relegated as the only jobber in a division containing four women. Forcing her to maintain a lame ass gimmick as well is just salt in the wounds.
BAD: Jazz can't quite get that cape ripped, can she? There's nothing worse than when a spot like that fails miserably.
AWFUL: The crowd seems to have collectively gone to the concession stand during this match.
FINALLY: Molly gets an ounce of offense.
BAH: It was barely an ounce.
BAD: Who's left to face Jazz at the next PPV? Do they have Francine hidden back there or are we stuck with Lita versus Jazz? What about Nidia? She's been all but invisible for months. What a waste of a perfectly good division.
COOL: Taker beats on Arn! Arn blades and bleeds like a champ!
BAD: JR can't understand why UT is going after Anderson. What an idiot. The second he threw the first punch, every single person in the arena and watching on TV knew that it was a ploy to get to Flair. We know you're not that stupid, Ross.
GOOD: I love watching Arn sell. I wish they'd let him get a single spinebuster in 'cause that would be cool.
BAD: The length of time it takes Angle and Jericho to make it to the ring. Okay guys get in there and start this match. These entrances are just too damned long.
BAD: I have to wonder about the logic behind the booking of this match...both these guys are supposed to be heels...having them fight one another really doesn't make a lot of sense, unless they plan to somehow introduce a new opponent for Angle at Wrestlemania via some odd run-in to cost him the match.
BAD: I hope they don't inject Angle into the Wrestlemania main event and make the match a three-way dance. Anything but a one on one would suck a lot.
UGH: Stephanie's advice to Jericho when Angle starts hitting the rolling German suplexes: "Come on Jericho, get out of it!" Well no shit. She must have had training as a manager from Harvey Whippleman.
STRANGE: Couple blown spots there during the ref bump -- one by the referee, it seemed.
GOOD: Angle's reaction to Kane standing behind him. Heh. I love that "weep take" by Angle. Good stuff.
OKAY: There we go. Looks like Kane is Angle's Wrestlemania opponent. Seems like a step down for Kurt to me, but there we are anyway.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY...to Ric Flair!
YEAH RIGHT: Hogan walks into the Rock's dressing room. What makes me think he's just not really in there?
YEAP: Hogan talks to a cardboard standup of the Rock...and an old one too. Check out the sideburns!
BAD: Hogan tells "Rock" that he's not in his league. So, talking to a cardboard cutout is your league, Hogan? What league is that exactly? The league of really old guys who cut promos to inanimate objects?
STUPID: As if the whole damned Ambulance stunt wasn't dumb enough, we get a view from a camera mounted on the truck's dashboard? Yeah, right. Unbelievable doesn't begin to describe the absurdity of that.
UM: When did the Friendly Tap become a gay bar?
AHA: Only since the APA's next opponents are a gay tag team, I guess.
OKAY: So that guy with the goatee, bad wig, and worse dress is supposed to be a drag queen? Oh man. Let's just try to forget this whole skit ever happened, shall we?
BAD: Hennig runs into the nWo on his way out to the ring and there's no mention from the commentators that he was once a member of the faction over in WCW and was drummed out with a major beating in a parking lot. Do a little research, guys, and you might actually help to get this whole angle over.
BAD: It's a shame that this match is just a run-in waiting to happen. The crowd is watching the ramp pretty closely, you may notice.
GOOD: What these two guys are giving us is pretty good so far...see how long it lasts.
WHAT? Austin gets a clean win on Perfect? There's no run-in during the match? I am shocked and delighted.
THERE WE GO: The attack by the nWo happens after the match. I can't say I am upset that they waited.
NICE: I like the effect of those faux concrete blocks when they smash to dust.
GOOD: Looks like the nWo are getting definitive boos finally.
BAD: What happened to JR and the King? We seem to have lost the feed here at the end of the show.
OVERALL: It seems that the nWo has redeemed itself a little this week with their attack on Austin. I have to keep wondering, however, where are the rest of the WWF superstars when he is being pummeled? I mean, if the New World Order is supposed to be trying to kill the company by taking out its biggest stars, you'd think that at least SOMEONE would try to help him out. There's plenty of guys that should be out there helping defend the company by assisting guys like Austin and Rocky when they are being unmercilessly triple teamed and deliberately injured. As for the rest of the card, I liked the double main event matches as Angle, Austin, Jericho, and Hennig are always great guys when it comes time to turn on the workrate. It almost makes me wish I had sprung for those tickets. Almost. Other than that, the rest of the show was fair to poor, with the Friendly Tap vignette leaving a very bad taste in my mouth.
Questions, comments, ham sammitch? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. All letters will be answered or scanned for my amusement.
I am Michaelangelo and will be for a while.Michaelangelo
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