The Oratory RAW Review Crew: 01/27/03
Bit of a step down from last week, but I'm glad to see the trends that were developing before the Rumble have stuck around this far. It's a long cry from the worst RAW I've ever seen, and while it felt like things went into a holding pattern, that's not completely unexpected, all things considered. They took some big steps last week, and it was perhaps best to just let them simmer for an extra seven days.
Jeff Hardy, unfortunately, lost a little bit of that extra spring in his step this week. His angle's still interesting, if just because it's fresh and unexpected, but his ringwork still has a long way to go before I'll start saying nice things about it. I'm tempted to say he needs to tone down on the highspots if he's going heel, but then again I'm all about trying fresh things. I'm torn between my need to see something untried and my knowledge that fans are always going to cheer the small guy who takes all the risks.
Teddy Long's still a great mouthpiece, but I couldn't get into his anti-superhero tirade this week. I mean, come on... how can you overlook Luke Cage? Wait, scratch that.. Luke Cage sucks. But hey, Spawn's a black guy. Or, he was a black guy before his skin was melted off and he went to hell. Unless they changed all that, too, since Spawn's blown monkeys for a couple years now.
Am I getting off track? Nice, solid match between D'Lo and Helms. It was competitive most of the way through, and Brown didn't come across as a pussy... so kudos from me. Helms took a nasty spill on his powerbomb reversal near the match's climax, but it paid off for him when he hit that plancha to the floor and blood flew out of his mouth. Really cool visual, though I'd think twice before trying it out again.
Man, I'd already composed half of my paragraph about the women's title match, and how I didn't miss the hardcore division one bit while it was gone, and then these two went out and kicked ASS! Trish's biggest strength has always been her selling, along with her willingness to fold herself in half to put over just about anybody. So, I guess it makes sense that she'd shine especially bright in a hardcore setting. My only real complaint here was the match's finish, as Stratus absorbed all that offense, only to take a fall after a notably weak tumble to the floor. But hey, the right person went over again and the match was outstanding for free TV. And Jazz made her f'ing return! And she picked up right where she left off, tearing the living HELL out of the division's dominant face. It only took her about fifteen seconds to remind me why I missed her so much... if you don't make her submissions look good, she'll FORCE YOU to. Holy lord, did that STF look brutal.
I don't care about the Three Minute Warning. They haven't given me any reason to. So why are they still wasting time at the top of RAW's first hour? Hey, while we're on the subject, why are they being made to look stronger than Storm and Regal, the reigning champions, who have been kicking ass for the last few months? Oi, just when I thought they were starting to get it. I loved the whole 'no tables under the ring' schtick, especially when JR said "....but there are ALWAYS tables under there!" I don't know, I just thought it was hilarious. Otherwise, I'd have rather lived without this segment.
I'm running short on time here, so I'll skim over the Tough Enough segment. I'm glad they didn't blow their wad right away with the standing SSP, as that's something that's gonna tear the roof off the place when it's unveiled. I don't know how they convincingly kept Tommy Dreamer face after turning on the two newbies, but I'm glad they did. It matched his personality to a tee.
Aaaand we had the requisite beatdown to close the show. A little uninspiring, since it was pretty much the same thing we saw last week. But then again, it's also nice to see them building a dominant heel stable at the top of the card. I like this. I can tolerate Triple H like this. I dig this. Big time props to the writers for throwing in that little nugget with Jericho at the very end, picking Steiner's bones clean. Went right along with his character, and gave next week's match for the #1 contender's spot some extra momentum.
Sorry for the rushed nature of my writeup this week, I'll be back in full effect next time. Above average show, slightly less appealing than last week's.
Score: 5.7 / 10