The Oratory RAW Review Crew: 02/03/03
Maybe it was the half bottle of wine I went through in the last thirty minutes, but I found last night's RAW to be absolutely excellent. It did seem to go slightly downhill as time ran out, but on the whole that was a really strong two hours' worth of material. Me likey the writing, and me likey the timing.
I had fun listening to that poor Spanish announcer, performing both the voice of Eric Bischoff and Chief Morley. No wonder the WWE never tours south of the border; to them, everybody's got the same voice. And not only that, but it's a boring, emotionless voice that rarely changes pitch. I'd love to hear him perform a woman's part, or try to keep up with two guys when they're arguing.
My silly, rube mind thought that whole Spanish-overdub thang was all part of an elaborate angle being set up, at first. No dice, man, no dice.
I'm all about seeing Test and Christian in singles action. Test looked seriously motivated last night, and in so doing outshined most of the roster with just two minutes of airtime. Triple H hasn't looked that good in YEARS. He seems to be moving toward a more serious attitude and look, and that's definitely something I can get behind. With RAW overflowing with good heels that have nothing to do, (D'Lo, Orton, Batista, Christian, Nowinski, Rico and Steven Richards all spring to mind) it's gonna be good to have a solid face they can play off of. So long as he doesn't get complacent and forget why he's looking good all of a sudden, Test's got the ammunition to do something with this shot.
Great backstage segment between RVD and Kane, teasing both guys as heels and quietly testing the crowd's reactions. You just KNEW something was going to come of it when Kane ran off last week, and I'm glad they didn't just drop it by the wayside. Big ups all around here, especially for going that extra mile and playing their emotions off one another in a match later in the night. That's what I'm TALKING about!!!
I can't believe Rosey tried a split-legged moonsault, and didn't kill several people ringside in the process. He can do some crazy stuff for a big guy, but he's got no personality and has found his way into a nowhere tag team that's only together because they're both of the same nationality. Think about the repercussions if they tried that with any other group of people than the Samoans. Hey, here they come down the aisle now; it's Ron Simmons and D'Von Dudley, the blackies! Oh, I see Tajiri and Funaki tagging up... let's get a big round of applause for the slants!
Eh, whatever. I'm usually totally opposed to such blind PC rage, but it's just something I thought was a little off-kilter. The match was all I'd expect from two teams I'm not really that high on to begin with. Three Minutes have faded from sight really quickly, despite the WWE's most valiant efforts, and I'm always a much bigger fan of the Dudleys when they aren't boring, predictable, crowd-pleasing faces. It was nice to see somebody reverse the 3-D, (it's about time) but I don't really care about the end result.
I really liked the concept behind the Bischoff skits. They're successfully building interest toward Austin's return, keeping Bischoff's character a strong heel, and finishing it all off with a moderate payoff that doesn't involve giving Stone Cold's return away on free tv. I'm never really pleased when they try to do the "hyuck, look, it's the locals in their bars!" bits, so that drug this down a ways for me, but otherwise I enjoyed it. Eric's limo driver looked like that guy from the X-Files who had a siamese twin that lived in this big cavern in his side, and came out after dark to kill people. Good for a laugh when they're on an abandoned road in the dark, trying to figure out where they are. I kept waiting for suspenseful music.
"The Evolution" sounds good to me. I kept waiting for them to say "and THIS is the evolution... of the Four Horsemen." But, thankfully, they never did it. I love the old school aura they're surrounding these guys with, showing up when they feel like it and just obliterating whoever happens to be in the way at the time. They don't come down riding vespas, or wearing silly matching outfits. They don't swing around painted sledgehammers or anything, they just surround a guy and beat the living hell out of him. And it's not even a WWE-style beating, it's the kind of pummeling that you'd actually expect a guy to pass out from. Good stuff, it gets the thumbs up from me.
To address Dave's comment about Triple H's "coal into diamond" thing... I was actually thinking of Richard Pryor and Christopher Reeve in Superman III. But hey, to each his own, right?
I was really impressed with the Victoria / Molly match. Unfortunately, I'm in the not-so-vocal minority on that one. Despite the fact these ladies have been busting their asses, giving us some great matches on free TV lately, the receptions they're gathering usually gauge between slim and none. Victoria does seem to get a nice "Oooo!" for her vicious finisher, but that's pretty much the extent of it. Maybe it's got something to do with poor Molly's wardrobe... she was dressed like a pregnant woman last night. Maybe they should start calling her "Momma Molly Holly." Or something.
I still love seeing Jazz on my set, and though I'm really intrigued about where they're going with this, she seemed restrained last night. Maybe somebody said something to her about her brutal treatment of Trish last week..? Guys, no! That's why we LOVE her!!
Storm, Regal, Booker and Goldust really clicked last night. Just about everything looked really tight, with a few exceptions, and even the bizarre finish came off great from where I was sitting. I was eating this one up with a big, wooden spoon. It's great that the heels went over cleanly, which is almost unheard of these days, and I won't contest the breakup of the Booker T / Goldust team. Nope, not one bit. Hurry to the main event, Booker, while you're still motivated!
The Kane / RVD matchup didn't have the heart behind it I was expecting. They didn't look like they cared, which works as a sort of antithesis to what these "teased tag team breakup" matches are usually supposed to be. I approve of the way they put RVD over as the guy who was going to eventually win the match, since he's got a lot more potential than Kane, and the whole schebang with Jeff Hardy came off flawlessly. I really like seeing him as the directionless loser, who just wants to kick a little ass and makes the mistake of attacking the wrong guy over and over again. They've got to go somewhere with it soon, though, before he's eternally branded as a gimp, but for now they've got my attention.
Yeah, and then they pull that shit with Goldust and the electrical boxes. GAHHHH...
Jericho / Steiner was a lot better than I thought it would be. It wasn't a five star, holy god, break out the VCR, tell the grandkids about this matchup, but it was solid. And damn if Jericho didn't come off looking just as strong as, if not stronger than, he did when he came in. He kept up with Steiner, worked a logical psychological match centering on Scotty's back and jobbed gracefully. I got caught up in a bit of nostalgia, watching Scott attempt a lame-looking powerbomb... I thought back to when this guy didn't have 57" arms, when he didn't bulk himself up to the point of being nearly immobile, when he was head and shoulders above everybody around him. I remembered my heart skipping a beat when he introduced me to the hurricanrana. I remembered shouting out loud when I saw a Steiner Screwdriver for the first time. And then I came back to the present, and just shook my head. He's not worthless now, but damn... he was SO good in the past.
Overall, I LOVED this show. It's not quite MC Hammer on crack, but it was certainly something funky. Seany likey.
Score: 8.75 / 10