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Dave Batista

Jerry 'the King' Lawler


Slobberknockers abound
The Oratory RAW Review Crew: 02/10/03

I can't really say the words to do Curt Hennig justice. Nor can WWE, apparently, as they decided to go with the tried and true "ghosted photo for a couple seconds" technique. He'll be missed, without question, but I can't help wishing he could've rode out a little higher on that horse. A great athlete who was just starting to rediscover himself when he was dropped from the WWE roster about a year ago.

Bischoff kicked off the show with a promo that embodied everything his character should be. He was intense, he was in your face, and he didn't give a shit if he stepped on you to get where he wanted to be. Between this and his last segment at the bars last week, when he broke that beer mug over the kid's face, he's been outstanding as a believable, strong character. A great heel and exactly the kind of person who should be in a position of power like that. I even enjoyed his kicking JR out of the announcer's booth, as it logically furthered their ongoing storyline. This "administration vs. the announce crew" feud has been a serious undercurrent to RAW for months now, and though it's gotten out of hand in the past, I'm glad to see they're still running with it. I don't want to see JR winning any more matches, but I like seeing him face off with Bisch in a battle of the minds.

Unfortunately, JR's absense meant more King for us. As a graphic designer, I can't help but be offended by the typography on the cover of that book he keeps shilling. God damn, it makes me want to throw up. It's like they laid the whole thing out in Microsoft Paint. Fire whoever crapped out that horrid piece of ass.

Though I'm nowhere near a fan of the King (what, you didn't already GET that impression?), I can't help but admit it was nice to hear him and the Coach up there together. I think the program's become way too oversaturated with those same two voices, and it was a cool change of pace to hear two different voices playing off of one another in the booth. Coach got on my nerves for a bit, but once he'd warmed up and shaken those butterflies out of his stomach, he and Lawler got along well. By the end of the program, I'd forgotten JR wasn't there.

Somebody pulled the emergency brake on the Jeff Hardy turn. I guess you can't really turn a guy heel if all the girls are gonna wet themselves whenever he takes off his shirt, so we've taken a step backwards since last week. I think his look is really becoming conductive to a serious heel run, if he'll just get off that kick of slapping blacklight powder all over his face every match. I really liked the extra-greasy, blood-red hairstyle, and the paint-coated brow / eyes can go over really well if he wants it to.

Booker looks motivated, that's a good sign. The crowd was eating up the early moments of this match, with the major league flurries of offense, and it was short enough to maintain their interest throughout. I wasn't crazy about seeing D'Lo in there, as I think Mr. Brown has a long way to go as a heel, and a squash like this isn't going to help his chances.

I'm so glad to see Jazz back on the roster, and she seems to have made a dramatic impact on the women's division. Four weeks ago, I was ready to just throw my hands up in the air and say goodbye to the title as a whole. It'd stagnated horribly, to the point where it wasn't even being defended on any kind of schedule. Then, three weeks ago, we got a great street fight between Victoria and Trish... and BAM, Jazz made her return. Now we're coming out of our third straight week of solid women's action, and I'm glad to see those sparks of life once again. The WWE is doing a great job of putting her over as the ruthless, unstoppable force in the division, picking right back up where she left off. Give me more of this. Keeping up this pace, she'll be rivalling Benoit and Angle if not surpassing them.. but, to their credit, Molly's letting her pull off a lot more than I'd imagine Albert or the Big Show would. But hot damn, if that isn't the best STF in North America. It makes my neck hurt, just watching it.

Aaaand the show then took a nosedive. RVD and Kane worked in a forgettable match against the Three Minute Warning. Insert your own fresh weekly "these guys suxors lol!!" phrase here. I'm running out of creativity. You know, in about three years, when RVD has undergone several major surgeries and his best years are behind him, I'd bet any amount of money the WWE creative team will be sitting around a table, wondering "why didn't we use that guy when we had him?" I've stated several times in the past that I think Rob's the only logical World Champion on RAW, and he's so far out of that title hunt, it's not even worth a joke. He's RIGHT THERE. He's the only guy who wrestles like he gives a shit every week, he's the most popular member of the roster, and he's got the skills in the ring. The only thing he's lacking is any sort of character, and that didn't slow down Brock Lesnar.

I didn't like the way the whole firing thing worked out. I thought I saw a glimmer of hope, and a rare positive surprise, on the horizon at one point... but it wasn't meant to be. When Vince told Morley he'd have to win a match later in the night to retain his job, I was just DYING to hear him say "in one corner, it'll be Chief Morley... and in the other.... Errrric Bischooffff!" The match wouldn't have kicked any asses or taken any names, but from a storyline point of view, it would've been flawless. Setting the hungry wolves loose on one another. The one who wanted it most would take the prize, and the other would be... for lack of a better phrase... dead meat. That would've been classic Vince, too, but like I said; wasn't meant to be. To sum up this segment, imagine me sticking my tongue out, making that weird "tphhtttttt" noise, and giving a thumbs down.

I guess the whole ordeal with Morley and the Dudleys served as a decent enough blowoff to another of those underlying plot threads that I keep mentioning. It didn't keep my attention so well, but then again I'm not really a big fan of blowouts. Sean-o took some man-sized punishment, and I was just waiting for somebody... Regal and Storm... Jericho... ANYBODY... to run to his aid. Never happened.

Batista's finally starting to show some emotion, and I think he turned a bit of a corner last night. He didn't look like the big guy, trying to look like a badass and posturing himself whenever possible. He looked like the big guy, who'd just as soon kick a hole in the side of your head as look at you. That's the kind of emotion, ferocity and physicality he needed to be showing from day one. I'll applaud the segment, because I'm still crazy about this stable, but if they change the name to "EVILution," I'm going to lose my mind. Why would anybody even consider that notion? Good to see Booker getting some more face time, now they just need to do a little bit to establish that he took that beating in a "Scott Steiner.. holy shit... I'm gonna kill you guys next week" way, and not a "Tommy Dreamer... holy shit... I'll lay down for one of you in fifteen seconds next week" way. I'd also like to applaud Randy Orton's ability to tear the crotch out of his pants. Masterful stuff.

Y2J and Jeff Hardy were giving us something worth watching until they both kind of fell asleep halfway through. The crowd's attention was elsewhere, as well, though that doesn't really give them an excuse. Seriously, watch the first half of this match, grab something to eat, then watch the second half. You'd swear there's this big, forty five minute, epic series of nearfalls in between or something. Both guys look like they've blown the hell up.

I was betting on JR as the new GM, but was apparently mistaken. And actually, this is one thing that... while cool... wouldn't have been very good for the product. Though he's one hell of an announcer, Ross is not a performer. He doesn't have the authority in his eyes that an Eric Bischoff, Vince or Shane McMahon does. Behind a microphone, JR is the voice of god... in front of a camera, he's a slug. Let's keep him doing what he does best and try to improve areas that NEED improving.

What the hell happened at the end of this promo? Great christ, it's like they decided to shit all over us, by returning a couple of their worst-received angles and storylines all in one big chunk. After HLA and the return of the Vince McMahon KMAK (because all great klubs are spelled with a capital "K", and backwards letters and stuff), I was expecting Kurt Angle to drive a milk truck down to the ring, with Katie Vick strapped to the hood and Paul Wight dragging behind on a coffin. In the uncanny words of Vince himself, I wish this segment would've "Bisexualed its ass right outta here." The end result was what I'd wanted, Bisch back in power, but I wish they could've come up with a better way to do it.

So what we're left with is no visible change to the status quo, a greatly reduced Bischoff character, (sure, he didn't kiss ass, but he should've told Vince to take that job and shove it when the idea was even proposed) and... what? Nothing else? I was riding high on last week's show, but I just can't say the same this time around. It was mediocre, average at best.

Score: 5.25 / 10


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