The Oratory RAW Review Crew: 10/07/02
Well, when you've hit rock bottom, they say there's only one place you can go from there. Of course, the WWE hadn't quite hit rock bottom just yet as of last week's showing, but if this crew's overall grade can be trusted, they were damn close.
Following up on a program like last week isn't easy. The negative reaction I guaged, during my limited floats around the net, was overwhelming so I can only imagine what it was like for the writing team. They're working under tremendous pressure, not only to improve their own program, but to keep up with a Smackdown roster overflowing with the kind of talent this RAW brand really needs. Add to that the almost instant negative feedback regarding this week's pitched "RAW Roulette" theme, and they had their work cut out for them. Even though I'd love the challenge, I wouldn't want to take over the head writer's duties for the WWE right now... talk about a thankless job.
That said, the program was certainly several steps above last week's. Granted, much of it was due to the spectacular main event, but just as much credit should go toward the writers, for booking such a match as well as giving it enough time to be successful. A majority of the roster seemed to be making a concentrated effort to improve this week, and while I can't say the same for 100% of the crew, a little headway is better than none at all.
Booker and the Show wasn't quite the kickoff I was hoping for. I still despise WWE for introducing an exit through the cage door as an acceptable end to the match, as it's a curse which has helped to kill off the heat for multiple matches. Book hit a sweet scissor leg drop off the top rope midway through, and won a relatively hard fought victory over the Big Show. The announcing team did a good job putting over Show's ferocity here, noting how pissed he was about losing to Jeff Hardy last week, and it actually seemed to mean something when Booker won. I'm excited about his upcoming feud with Chris Jericho, as it guarantees at least one of them a shot at something better than the limbo they've been enduring for the last year. The beating Y2J handed out looked more than a little pathetic, with Book's blade job almost ridiculous as a result, but I'm confident this is going somewhere. After all... Booker and Chris Benoit weren't exactly going anywhere when they met in WCW, and that feud's become almost legendary in the years since. This one is gonna launch somebody through the roof, mark my words.
There's a reason we haven't seen a blindfold match in fifteen years. They SUCK! Big time props to Earl Hebner, for opening the mask directly in front of the camera, showing the world that you could indeed see through the front of that black hood. Gotta say, this was kept mercifully short, so no major complaints. It was fun, and it didn't take time away from anything. I miss the days when D-Lo was going somewhere.
I was waiting for Regal to split an ankle in those high heels. Wouldn't that be a wonderful way to end a career?
Al Snow looked to be half asleep through his match with Test last night. I was a big fan of the guy when he first arrived in the WWF, and shades of that wrestler are still visible in today's Al Snow, but it just doesn't feel right anymore. He never recovered from the dropping of his feud with the Rock with no big payoff or reasonable explanation, which I still think is a crying shame. That series could've gone somewhere, as Al was breaking out of his light hearted, comedic persona and becoming a serious, psychotic competitor. But enough reflecting about aborted angles from the late 90s. This was an understandable junk brawl that ended with the right man on top. They botched some spots, but I wasn't really expecting ballet going into this one as it was, so I didn't mind all that much. Snow earns a bonus point for taking the time to put on that hideous bowling shirt.
Why is Jerry Lawler still in the ring? Someone stop him, before he methodically squashes EVERY former ECW talent. I don't tune in to see horny, balding, out of shape fifty year old men parade around in the ring and flirt with whores. I dunno, call me crazy...
The main event was... just what the doctor ordered to pull this one out of the dumps. RAW proved they do still have a couple people on the roster who can work fresh, exciting matches, and I was never happier to see it. I'll admit I had reservations going in, but when I realized they were giving this half an hour to work with, most of my fears were alleviated. RVD, Spike and Y2J really came in with something to prove, and I think when the dust had settled, they'd done a superb job of filling in the humongous shoes left behind by various Smackdown counterparts. Jericho and Christian, particularly, really clicked as a squad and absolutely dominated this match. Spike took his usual inhuman beating, and Jeff Hardy proved why everybody thinks he'll be dead within another year. Good lord, I've seen that leap from the twenty-foot ladder through a table so many times over the years... and it still takes my breath away. And then, to top it off, he takes that horrifying headfirst fall through the table on the floor. Damn... talk about a credible finish on that end. I didn't even really have a problem with Kane being in there, either, since he was used about as well as possible. He took some mean offense, and didn't even attempt to keep up when the other guys went into headfirst spot mode. The only thing I would've changed here was Hurricane's non-presence. God, he would've fit that match like a glove... remember his ladder matches with Shannon Moore against the Jung Dragons in WCW? Can't win them all, I guess, and it was a minor flaw in a major league matchup.
They should've just cut the show as soon as this one ended, though. You wanna know what it sounds like when an audience literally DIES? Rewind the tapes, you heard it when Hunter started talking. I'll refrain from commenting on the whole 'murderer' angle until I know how they're handling it, though...
Much more entertaining than last week. Match quality could still use a boost, but HOT DAMN was that TLC match fun. It wasn't the best of the TLCs, but it's more than deserving to carry the name. Above average, just for that match, and I'm interested in seeing something equally as entertaining next week.
Score: 6.2 / 10