The Oratory RAW Review Crew: 07/22/02
Hands down, best RAW I've seen in months. It was far from flawless, but went far enough as to remind me why I still sit down in front of the tube every Monday night, like some sort of wacked out religion. Coming off last week, when he didn't really convince me with his on-air personality, Eric Bischoff really let it all hang out and proved he's still got something worth watching in him. With a little direction, as he had last night, and the appearance that he actually believes every sleazy, self-centered thing he says, Bischoff's already one of the top heels in the federation. I love the storyline he's right in the middle of, re-enacting the wars that brought him fame and stealing all of Stephanie's talent, and he's brought a much-needed break from the unending image of Vince McMahon that clouded the last month of TV time. So far, Bisch gets a big thumbs up from me. If he can keep it up, he'll be one of their most successful signings.
The RVD / Jeff Hardy spot-a-thon was the absolute epitomy of a RAW match. Sure, it was spotty, risky and almost scary to watch. Sure, it lacked the emotional element that seeped out of Jeff's recent match with the Undertaker. I wasn't sitting on the edge of my seat from start to finish, wasn't biting my nails every time one of the guys got close enough to touch the belts. It was still fun as hell to watch. Nothing they did, with the exception of the ladder duel, seemed postured in the slightest bit. It just felt like two guys, on national television, kicking the snot out of each other with unique, bizarre maneuvers. Even the anticlimactic finish was a breath of fresh air. In a culture that's been raised on the belief that a match cannot and will not end unless immediately preceded by a signature maneuver, it was cool to see RVD hit a splash, scurry up the ladder and grab the belt before the camera even really had a chance to catch up with him. The definition of a spotfest, and not something I'll remember a year from now, but a load of fun all the same.
I couldn't help thinking Eddy's match with the Rock was some sort of attempt to make up for his feud-that-never-was with Stone Cold, even though that was likely far from the truth. Still, I couldn't shake the feeling. Alas; Guerrero will never be get the chance to work his magic with Maivia, as Rocky will be headed out of the fed not long after his match at Summerslam. Still, it was cool to see what could have been last night. The promo work was a little below what I'd hoped for, (come on, now we're feuding over posters on our daughter's walls?) but the match was everything I'd expect from a RAW. And yeah, like Justin said, that reversal of the Rock bottom was outta sight! I actually thought he might squeak out a victory with that, but it wasn't to be. Still, the match went quite a ways toward establishing Guerrero in the ring, as Rocky didn't dare try the Rock Bottom again. Now, if only he had a prime time face to take down, solidifying himself at the top of the card...
I like what I'm seeing. I want more.
Score: 8.5 / 10