The Oratory RAW Review Crew: 07/29/02
Kind of an offbeat night, but a fun offbeat night all the same. I was tickled pink to see the cleverly named "UnAmericans" making the jump to Monday night, as that means more Storm and Christian for me, but I'm worried about the repercussions. Here's hoping I don't lose my Eddy or Chris fix to those savages over on the Smackdown council, though one or the other seems almost inevitable. Despite their contrived name and almost universal label as midcarders, these Canadian troops were booked as a more threatening stable than even the mighty nWo last night. And, if they hadn't blown their most vital spot of the night, it would've gone off without a flaw. The promo to open the night, the cohesiveness of the team, it was almost picturesque... and then Test picked up the Undertaker for that Con-Chair-To. Man... if you listened closely, you could almost hear the sound of their heat suffocating. I guess we all learned an important lesson last night, though; if, god forbid, you screw up a big spot, don't make it even worse by looking around with a bewildered expression on your face. Do it again, and double the ferocity.
So yeah, I'm really happy with the direction they've taken as far as booking the Canadians. Here's hoping they didn't kill their own chances already.
Benoit vs. RVD... well, what do I need to say that hasn't been said before. A very nice match, with the Crippler teaching some brutal lessons in psychology. How sick was that hammerlock suplex, especially when Van Dam left the arm back there after landing. Looked like he dislocated his shoulder, even though deep down I knew he hadn't. Of course, it's a pity the Hardcore one landed his Rolling Thunder directly on that same shoulder without a flinch, but... how much can you really ask for? Great match, with the right man going over. This will be a stellar, stellar PPV rematch.
Finally, the main event that almost defies description. It's like they tried to mimic the feeling we got with Hogan / Rock at X-8, only in about a quarter of the time. Flair looked useless at the finish, laying out the great one, dancing, and then staring like a deer into headlights as the Rock Bottom put him down. Add to that the memorably fickle crowd, and you've got a match that just... feels.... weird. One minute, they'd be booing Rocky as though he'd just eaten an infant, the next they'd be chanting his name. I guess that's why they're always so careful to flesh out face vs. face matchups, and don't usually throw them onto the card at the last minute.
RAW is Jericho? I've heard it somewhere before, but I'm just as excited as before. Great to see he didn't miss the boat with the UnAmericans. Y2J vs. Ric Flair? I've been waiting five years for this, and it's not in any position to disappoint.
Oh, and my call for the HBK thing..? It's leading to a tag match at Summerslam. I'll expand with a feature length column later in the week.
Score: 7.85 / 10