MIGUELITO'S RAW THOUGHTS
May 13, 2002
Normally, I'd apologize for slacking off and not writing an article last week. But there are a few mitigating circumstances that *I* think let me off the hook. First, my best friend (and the best man at my wedding) popped into town Monday, so I went out to dinner with him. Second, the Avalanche were playing the Sharks, which kept me from watching Raw on Tuesday night. Third, Raw SUCKED EGGS last week; after watching the first few minutes on the tape Wednesday, I decided there was no way in hell I was sitting through this crap. So that meant no column for last week.
I am back, though, ready to give you my thoughts and opinions one another edition of WWE Raw. Let's hope that Raw is back in form, too. Lord knows, it can't get much worse than last week.
As I say every week, the WWE can immediately put me in a good mood by starting out Raw with a match. This week, we start out with a handicapped match, as Brock Lesnar battles former WW(F)E tag-team champions, the Hardy Boyz. This oughta be pretty entertaining. Lesnar has handled each man rather handily in the past, and has only had problems with the Hardyz when they cheat and use a chair (or Lita).
Brock Lesnar is an amazing wrestler. For being a rookie, he shows surprisingly little greenness in the ring. Pairing him up with the Hardyz was a good idea, too. But I think WWE needs to remember who they are getting over. The Hardyz don't need a rub from beating Lesnar, but Lesnar can sure use a rub from the Hardyz. Lesnar going over the Hardyz would be a VERY good idea, imho. Unfortunately, WWE hates me, and has decided to try to protect the Hardyz.
Lesnar gets in a tremendous amount of offense here. Lesnar looked strong through most of the match, but the Hardyz regrouped, eventually nailing a combo elbow drop/leg drop from the top rope. The Hardyz go for the pin, so Paul E. pulls the referee out of the ring. The ref disqualifies Lesnar, giving the win to the Hardyz. Unfortunately, this somehow leads to a tag-team challenge at the PPV: The Hardyz against Lesnar and Heyman. You read that right, Heyman. And I don't care WHAT WWE has in store for the PPV, this is simply a bad idea. Lesnar should stand on his own, against the former tag champs, and get the win at the PPV. *THAT* is how you get a new guy over as a monster.
Hmmm... between this match and the hardcore title schmozz last week, I am starting to get a little sour on Raw opening matches. Is WWE trying to make these unpalatable to us? Or is this crappy booking actually an attempt to do something entertaining? THIS is the type of question that keeps me up at night. Not this night, fortunately, but some nights. Seriously.
We go straight from commercial to an nWo/Flair promo. XPAC is complaining about the firing of Scott Hall. Flair says he fired Hall to show that Flair doesn't condone failure. Flair also says that Nash isn't really suspended, but is recovering from bicep surgery. Old news to internet readers, of course, but a pretty big shock to average fans, and a pretty slick way to try to make sense out of seemingly-contradictory storylines. But oh, god, this doesn't sound promising: tonight we will find out who the newest member of the nWo is. Show and Pac are excited! I wish I were...
Back from commercial, and here comes the Nature Boy! Flair, showing he is a very intelligent owner, comes to the ring with the Big Show. ALWAYS have someone around for protection if you've pissed off Steve Austin! Apparently, Flair has learned from Vince McMahon's mistakes.
For some reason, the fans aren't cheering for Flair anymore. Hey, everyone, this is still the Greatest Wrestler Of All Time! Show him some Respect! Even Flair is saying he deserves it. Flair cracks on the Maple Leafs to get some local heat. Flair remembered he is in the WWE not the WWF!
Finally we get down to business as Flair explains his actions. You know, it's kinda weird watching Flair and Show standing together in the ring. Who remembers when Show took the WCW title from Flair? Flair does the smartest thing that any owner/commisioner has ever done, as he signs a Flair/Hogan match for the Undisputed Championship! Now *THAT* is exactly what Flair needs to do! As the Evil Owner, he needs to constantly abuse his position for his own gain. I can really get behind this angle! And, praise be, this segment is kept short. Keepign interview segments under 10 minutes is a Good Thing.
Back from commercial, and we find out the Flair/Hogan match is going to be a no-DQ match. Oh, and Hogan drives up on his bike. Nice of you to join us this evening, Terry!
It's time for us to take a trip; we are heading to Planet Stasiak! Earlier today, Eddie Guerrero asked Stasiak if there was weed on Planet Stasiak! Stasiak challenged Guerrero for a match tonight, to which Eddie replied, "The only thing I'm going to smoke tonight, is your ASS!" YUCK!!!
LATINO HEAT!!! LATINO HEAT!!! Guerrero is AWESOME! Wait a minute... RVD is heading out to the ring. Are we gonna have a guest commentator? RVD heads right to the commentary table to join Lawler and Ross. Ross just gave Guerrero the kiss of death, saying that tonight's match is a non-title match. Stasiak is going to get a pin on Guerrero!
Or maybe not. Stasiak gets in some power moves - including a tilt-a-whirl slam, but then jobs to an eyepoke. Guerrero regains control, however, nails Stasiak with a BrainBuster, then Feels Froggy for the win. RVD (who wasn't at the commentary table, but actually just pulled a chair up and took a seat at ringside) jumps into the ring, puts Eddie down with a spin kick, and then tosses him out of the ring. That won't make Eddie a happy camper!
RVD heads to the back, but gets stopped by a challenge by Eddie. OOPS! Eddie said "WWF!" Eddie asks, "Who do you think you are?" RVD answers, "That's an easy one to answer. I'm R-V-D." Nothing further is going to happen between these two tonight, and that segment pretty much sucked.
What in the world happened to the creative team tonight? So far, pretty much everything that has happened tonight has sucked. Where are the cool Guerrero promos? Where are the intense moments between PPV opponents? Where's an awesome 5-7 minute match? Why does everything we have seen tonight seem to be happening in slow-motion?
Coach tries to get an interview with Steve Austin, but Austin ain't answering the door. Debra swears that she'll send Steve right out. Uh-huh. Sure.
Back from commercial, and shut my mouth, it IS Steve Austin with Coach. The fans still haven't gotten the hang of saying "Who" or "Why," but they sure can say What. Austin says he will be watching tonight's title match, which doesn't sound very promising, either.
A Day In the Life of Tommy Dreamer: Tommy shares a toothbrush with his dog. He gargles with hairspray. He shaves his tongue. He apparently drinks toilet water. (YUCK!) "It's better than regular water, it's a lot colder." What in the hell was that? Of course, if it eventually gets Tommy some more ring time, then maybe it is worth it. But I doubt it.
Here comes William Regal to the announcer table. Just in case you weren't sure, that is a Good Thing. Regal reminds us that he is the greatest European champion of all time. And here comes.... Terri? I don't see a connection here.... Here comes MOLLY!!! MOLLY!!! MOLLY!!! Molly mocks Terri's "lil devil" pose, but gets nailed trying to get into the ring. That's not a good idea. Terri is trying to do some damage, but all she is really doing is pissing Molly off. Molly with a sweet snap suplex. Molly chokes Terri on the ring ropes.
Regal exalts the virtues of Molly, while Terri actually hits a top-rope Hurricarana! But again, all she really does is ticks of Molly. Molly with a small package for the win. Molly tosses Terri out of the ring. Regal is in the ring? HUH? Oh, Regal is putting over Molly's virtue (again). Regal offers to escort Molly up the ramp. Hmmm.... There they go, arm-in-arm up the ramp. And that's the segment? What the hell?
FLAIR! Flair's in his robe, and he is heading towards the ring. Obviously, the title match isn't going to be our main event tonight.
Back from commercial, and Flair is making his way to the ring. Ross rightly proclaims Flair one of the greatest, mentioning Flair's 16 world titles. Hogan comes down to the ring on a motorcycle. Are we going to see the Undertaker tonight? I think that's a safe bet.
After five minutes of entrances, finally, we get to the match. After Hogan gets the better part of a few shoulder blocks, Flair goes out to get a chair. Did I mention this is a no DQ match. Back into the ring, Flair chops, Hogan no-sells. Punches, chops, mount in the corner, all your standard Hogan offense. And a Flair Flop! Flair gets slammed off the top rope; we are seeing all of Flair's standard moves, too! Hogan chokes, Flair with a low blow! And Hogan actually sells it!
Flair takes over on offense as the crowd starts up a "Let's Go Hogan" chant. Remember the good ol' days, when Hogan was confined to Smackdown? So do I. Hogan takes over outside the ring, then throws Flair back in. Back bodydrop, and Hogan falls to the deadly Thumb Eyelock. Flair starts working on Hogan's knee! Hogan blocks a knee drop, then locks in the figure four! Flair makes it to the ropes to force the break.
Holy Shit, Hogan just suplexed Flair over the top rope! When did Hogan learn all these moves? Flair with some chops, and Hogan is Hulking up! Big Foot in the Face! Leg Drop O' Doom! 1 - 2 - XPac makes the save! Hogan quick dispatches Waltman, so Show comes running into the ring. Show gets some shots on Hogan, but here comes Bradshaw! Bradshaw runs off Show, and here comes Austin! Austin stunners Flair, Hogan hits another Leg Drop O' Doom, and that's it.
As much as I hate to say I enjoyed anything relating to Hogan, that was a nice little match. Flair has said he can get a three-star match out of a broomstick, and he just proved it here. Hogan actually did some work in the ring, too, including actually selling for Flair (something Hogan was remiss to do in WCW), which made the match even better. Bravo, WWE. Your first of the evening!
Back from commercial, we see how Austin screwed Flair out of his 17th World Title. Austin smiles all the way back to the lockerroom. Back to the nWo lockerroom, and Flair is not a happy camper. Flair destroys some furniture, then makes two matches tonight: Bradshaw -vs- XPac/Show, Austin -vs- new nWo member in a lumberjack match. Tonight just keeps getting worse and worse.
It's now time to kick the OVERbooking machine into overdrive, as we have a mixed tag-team match: Trish Stratus and Bubba Ray -vs- Jazz and Steven Richards. There's no mixing of the sexes, and whoever gets the pin wins that respective title.
I know, it didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, either.
Bubba starts out the match by throwing Trish over the top rope into Richards and Jazz. Bubba and Trish work as a team, but Trish has problems getting a trash can into the ring. Finally in, and Trish starts putting some major hurtin' on Jazz. Richards tries to help, but Dancin' Bubba stops that. Richards gets a stop sign to the groin by Trish, then a hockey stick to the groin by Bubba. Richards tries to fight back, but Justin Credible comes in with a Singapore Cane! Cane, and then a superkick! Credible covers, but Crash is in. Credible disposes of Crash, but then falls victim to a guitar shot by Bubba. Bubba is going to work on Richards, but Richards tags Jazz! Smart move, cuz it means Bubba has to exit and Trish must come in.
Jazz is smarting from the trash can shots, but still starts to work on Trish, who also is not at 100%. Trish pulls a Stratusfaction out of nowhere, however, to put this match out of its misery and win the WWE Woman's title. Bubba holds her arms up high. Jazz, ever the awesome heel, tries to attack Trish, but Trish is ready. Trish nails Jazz with the title belt, then asks Bubba to get the table. Bubba superbombs Jazz through the table, Trish celebrates her title win, and we go to commercial (thank god).
Back from commercial, and hey, there's the Undertaker! He's not happy about Hogan destroying 'Taker's bike. Coach flirts with death by trying to get a word or two out of the 'Taker. Instead of venting his anger on Coach, though, Undertaker walks away.
Back to the lockerroom, where Goldustin is excited to be a Lumberjack. The Lumberjack song! Booker T is dressed as a lumberjack, for some reason. Apparently, Goldustin told Booker he needed to dress the part. Booker is pissed when he sees that Goldustin isn't also wearing garb. Goldustin tries to smooth things over, telling Booker how good he looks in the costume. Booker walks away. Goldustin wants to know why things between the two always end this way. Maybe it's cuz the WWE cannot figure out how to use Booker T correctly?
Back from commercial, and here comes the nWo. XPac still wears Kane's mask, which I can dig. It'll be funnier once Kane gets back, of course. Here comes Bradshaw, who still doesn't seem like a viable top-level face to me. Bradshaw knocks XPac around a bit, then asks Show to tag in. Bradshaw runs into a cheap shot by XPac, and starts taking a double-team beatdown. Bradshaw gets in offense when XPac is in the ring. Of course, once Bradshaw gets close to Show, the nWo takes over. Show does some heavy beating of Bradshaw outside the ring, then plays with him inside the ring.
Bradshaw boots Show out of the ring, then hits a fall-away slam on XPac. Bradshaw into the ropes, where he catches a chairshot in the back. Show back in, Chokeslam to seal the deal. Another one, and Bradshaw is a rag doll! XPac asks for the tag, Show obliges. XPac in and immediately covers Bradshaw for the pin. That is exactly the way that match SHOULD HAVE played out. One man -vs- two should be a squash, unless the one man is Brock Lesnar, and the two men are the Hardyz.
Back from commercial, Lawler and Ross recap the crap, er, show that we've seen so far tonight. Up next is the main event. Coach catches up with Hogan, who is in his leather jacket and shiny black helmet. Hogan babbles for a while, 'til he catches a tire iron in the back. Attached to that tire iron is the Undertaker! Speaking of being attached, Undertaker attaches Hogan to a rope, then attaches the rope to Hogan's motorcycle. Looks like Undertaker is going to go for a ride, and Hogan's going to get to tag along!
Taker rides off, dragging Hogan behind him. The two drive off into the sunset, as we go to a replay of 'Taker introducing Hogan to the tire iron. Ho! We are back. Hogan gets dragged right into a conveniently placed pile of boxes and pipes. Sorta reminds me of a Half-Life level, actually. "Welcome to my world, Hogan. Welcome to my world. HAHAHAHAHA! I'll see you Sunday!" The Undertaker RULES! That segment sucked ass, but the Undertaker RULES!
Back from commercial, and we replay the Undertaker attack again. Coming up next: a replay of this replay! We are back live, as Sgt. Slaughter and some EMTs are here to work on Hogan. For some reason, Slaughter isn't getting out of the EMTs way. If I had just been dragged around by a motorcycle, then crashed into a deadly pile of cardboard boxes and metal pipes, causing me serious neck problems, interfering with my breathing, the first thing I would want would be for Sgt. Slaughter to GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY and let the trained medical professionals work on me. Anyway, Hogan gets a cervical collar and oxygen (?). I guess those pipes have the ability to suck air out of a persons lungs or something...
Out to the ring, and the ring is surrounded by heels. As expected. Flair's music plays, and everyone stands around wondering what's up. And now Austin's music plays. Austin stops half-way down to the ring, then fights his way into the ring. I see Raven, Show, Flair, XPac, Bossman, Justin Creidble, Lesnar, Regal, Booker T, Goldustin, and Eddie Guerrero. If I see more, I'll let you know. The numbers take over, and Austin is in trouble. As the bad guys work Austin over, Flair grabs the mic. Austin's opponent tonight is: Booker T? What the hell? Why would Booker T join the nWo? Booker became GI Bro (and then immediately dropped that gimmick) to battle the nWo in WCW. Of course, Flair was pretty anti-nWo, too. Damn, I miss when the WWF, er, WWE used to actually try to be consistent.
Anyway, this announcement was a surprise to Booker, too. I am sure Booker is thinking the same thing I am: "Why the hell have me join the nWo when you are trying to turn me face? Doesn't being in the nWo immediately make me a heel? Why waste the last few weeks building a feud with Goldustin just to throw it away with hot-shot booking? Oh, and how loudly will the crowd pop for the Spinaroonie tonight?"
Booker into the ring, and we are on. Booker with a great sidekick. Booker is looking good in there, and is actually getting a bit of applause for his big moves. Austin outside, and gets punked out by Brock Lesnar. Someone needs to tell Lesnar to protect Austin's neck! Lesnar drive Austin into the ring apron a few times, then tosses Austin back in.
Book with an arm bar, then a standing sidekick. Cover, only a two count. Off the ropes, Austin tries for the Stunner, Booker has that scouted. Into the ropes again, Austin hits a sidewalk slam. Austin into the ropes, Show tries to pull down the top rope, but has to be content to pull Austin over the top rope. nWo all over Austin outside the ring. Austin back in, Booker hits a scissors kick! Booker signals for the Spinaroonie, and the crowd pops! Look at all the camera flashes! Booker is over, dudes, you've GOTTA turn him.
Austin springs up, tries to capitalize on all the time Booker wasted with the Spinaroonie. But Booker hits a superkick! Another pop! Booker covers.. 1 - 2 - Austin's shoulder is up! Book covers again, again just a 2 count. Booker tries one more time, just 2 again. Amazingly, Ross explains why Booker tried covering Austin again (Austin had to use a lot of energy to kick out; that might've weakened him enough to get pinned on the second or third cover). Bravo, Jim Ross! Where've you been hiding the last two years?
Booker tosses Austin outside again, and Flair goes to town. Show dumps Austin on the security railing, then tosses Austin back in. Book takes a low blow. Austin starts single-handedly taking out all of the lumberjacks (*cough*bullshit*cough). Regal in, Austin stunners him. Book tries to clothesline Austin, but Austin ducks. Oops, I think Austin was supposed to roll Booker T up there, as Booker leaned over to get in position for a rollup. Never fear; in the WWE, if you blow a spot, you simply redo it! Booker throws another clothesline, Austin ducks again, but sure enough, this time Austin rolls T up. 1 - 2 - 3, Austin gets the pin on a very fast count. Austin immediately hops out of the ring, fights off Raven, and makes his way to the safety of the entrance ramp.
Austin turns to give Flair the bird. It's almost never a good idea to turn your back to the entrance, and sure enough, Austin pays for it. Austin gets NAILED from behind by Arn Anderson! ARN ANDERSON! AA IS THE SHIT! Arn whoops up something mighty on Austin. Austin rolls right to Lesnar, who throws Austin into the ring. Big Show picks up Austin, holds Austin up high, then chokeslams him to hell. Show with an elbowdrop. Another. Another. Shouldn't Show be doing something more devastating than elbowdropping Austin here? Alleged kneedrops into Austin's chest. Finally, Show picks up Austin, holds him up again, another chokeslam. And now Flair gets some rights in. Austin's bleeding from the mouth, Flair is standing triumphant, and we are outta time.
Well..... I don't know how many different times I can say "that sucked" in an article before I start sounding redundant. So I will try to avoid that phrase. But it so aptly describes this week's Raw. This was NOT a very good episode at all. The writing was pathetic pretty much throughout the show. A lot of the wrestlers seemed to be sleepwalking through their promos and matches. For god's sake, Hogan/Flair was the best match of the night. That is a VERY good indication that something very wrong is going on. Hopefully, the WWE can get things fixed for Judgement Day.
Speaking of Judgement Day, let me give my predictions on the matches that matter. The main event is going to be spoiled by the Hell in the Cell match. If HHH wins the Hell in the Cell match, then logically the Undertaker should win the title match. This sets up a Heel champion defending against a face challenger. And Smackdown desperately needs to keep HHH a face. The loss of the Rock has left Smackdown without a centerpiece good buy to build around. HHH has to be that guy.
If Jericho somehow walks out of Hell in the Cell the winner, then one would expect Hogan to successfully defend the title against Undertaker. This would set up a Hogan/Jericho match for the title on the next PPV. While this does leave HHH without an opponent on Smackdown, there are enough heels available to move someone into a program with Helmsley. I would actually prefer the fed goes in this direction.
But WWE has shown lately that they don't care about logic. They don't even really seem to be looking a month down the road anymore. So don't be surprised if both HHH's walk out of Judgement Day as winners. This will set up a rematch, of course. And one would expect that Helmsley gets his win back. But that also means HHH has to play the heel, which in the long run will be bad for Smackdown.
But I digress. We'll find out the answer to this, and all of our other questions, on Sunday night. Let's just enjoy the fact that this week's Raw is just a bad memory, and hope for the best for next Monday.
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