The Oratory RAW Review Crew: 09/23/02
I guess things could've become progressively worse. What I saw last night, thankfully, was an acknowledgement of a couple of the most serious problems that have been plaguing the WWE for months, coupled with steps toward eliminating them. Triple H's presence on camera last night was notably smaller, for starters. Instead of peeking his head into every segment, even those that were in no way related to his character, he was used sparingly and effectively. He didn't even speak, which garners some big time points from yours truly. For the first time since his return, I didn't mind seeing him. And, in following with that bandage, we got a couple new additions to the thin RAW roster and a big time cease and desist order regarding the almost nonstop jumps from Monday to Thursday and vice versa. While Hurricane Helms and Randy Orton don't have much of a niche to climb directly into, we'll at least get to see a fresh body in the ring from time to time, and they'll get an opportunity to become players on a show that really needs them right now.
Easy E was intently focused on becoming a heel last night, of which he did a decent job. The crowd welcomed him with warm applause, but Bisch turned on them quickly. If they had any questions about the direction of his character, those were all cleared up when he sicced his dogs on Booker T, perhaps the biggest face on the show. Even Rosie and Jamal, who had been cheered because of their powerful offense, despite repeated attempts to prove they weren't good guys, finally broke through as heels following the beatdown on Book. They've got a lot of material they can chew on here, with Eric arguably holding Booker down in WCW, and if they do it right, this could be the rocketship to superstardom the former Harlem Heater has needed for months. The real telling moment about how serious they are with this will come next week, in his home town. For once, the stars look to have aligned just right, and I really think this is gonna work. Eric's full turn was quite successful this week, and if he keeps playing the role to perfection while Booker just says the right things and wins the right matches, we've got something. I just hope they get him away from the tag division, because he's ready to fly solo.
I'll take Orton, I guess. I was hoping for someone along the lines of Batista, someone with a big physique and a few big time power moves that can get over immediately and start to make an impact in that new environment. But we'll settle for Randy Orton, and the slow ascention he's got ahead of him. His match with Richards, probably the most underspoken worker on RAW, wasn't anything to write home about until the last minute, what with the dozen nearfalls and cool frogsplash / crossbody finisher. I guess it's like JR said; if he stays healthy and continues to work well and improve in the ring, fans will eventually come around. They've just got to stay firm behind his push, because any sort of wavering or uncertainty will kill him dead before he's even off the runway.
Man, did that concert suck. Interesting how, just after the band played, JR said something like "I don't think people are interested in my taste of music. That's not gonna sell tickets." I think he was talking about more than his own taste there...
I'll agree with Corey, it's cool to see Jericho winning matches cleanly again, but last night's match was a throwaway. Goldust hasn't been doing anything for me since The Rock kept telling him to "stop touching yourself!" He used to be a cutting edge character, believably getting into his opponents' minds and evolving logically. Now he's just there for comedy relief, and he doesn't really care about what he's doing any more. Give me back my Hennig. And, lord oh lord, did they REALLY mention his "Hollywood Backlot Brawl" with Roddy Piper on WWE television? Oh, my god, talk about a dark hour. I was hoping I'd never remember that match.
Hurricane as Kane's partner makes as much sense as anyone, I suppose. The similarities in their gimmicks are cute, but I can see myself getting tired of them relatively quickly. The Hurricane character works in this instance, but I'd really like to see them drop it after his partnership with the Big Red Machine comes to a close. I'm just sick of it, and that mask / green hair combo looks... bad. Really bad. The time was right to get the gold off the UnAmericans, unfortunately, since they've been treading water since winning the damn things and nobody bought them as legitimate competitors any more. Thank the booking crew for that one. Jeez, they screwed up an angle this easy, and I maintain optimism that they can pull off Booker / Bischoff? I must've forgotten to take my medication.
The main event was all the proof we need that they should've let Ric retire the night Y2J arrived on RAW. He's only embarassing himself out there now, going through the motions and watching his own body betray him. It's sad to watch. Otherwise, the main event was all you could ask for. WWE.com confirmed what Corey suspected, Bubba messed up his shoulder at some point last night, but I was more concerned with Triple H. That fall through the corner off the table was absolutely nasty, and he was visibly stunned in the moments after. I don't like the guy, but I certainly don't want to see him hurt on national TV again. RVD provided probably one of the best cover jobs I've seen, but the spot was still obviously botched to everybody whose eyes were open at the time.
Unlike last week, when I felt almost depressed after the program, I felt a twitch of hope this week, like somebody in the window office finally realized what's been going on and took charge of the situation. The problems are being addressed, and the program benefitted immediately from that. I'll give it an 'average' rating."
Score: 5.0 / 10