The Oratory RAW Review Crew: 10/14/02
Bless their hearts, they're trying. They sure as hell aren't succeeding, but they're trying. RAW was a trainwreck last night. Plain and simple. A few segments had promise going in, but just failed to deliver for one reason or another. May as well just start in at the top...
The program opened up on an up note, showing us the team of Y2J and Christian wasn't just a one-shot deal. These guys could have promise, if they aren't pigeonholed into the 'loser with a gold belt' category previously occupied by the UnAmericans. Why is it so difficult to come up with a compelling storyline that involves people disliking one another and fighting to resolve their differences? I mean, it ain't Shakespheare. You've pretty much got the basics of a storyline laid out for you... you've got the finish line, all you have to do is start somewhere and let the story do its thing.
Here's where I'd be bitching about how everybody involved in the opening match, besides the Hurricane, mailed in their performances last night. On one hand, the other three have legitimate reason to be taking it a little easy, after a tremendous TLC match last week. On the other, this is a TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH. It's one of three titles left on the program. It should mean a little something more than what we got. These guys looked so sloppy and carefree, you would've thought they were wrestling in the heightened elevation of Denver again. But the end result is new tag team champions, guys who can't even pin a cruiserweight without using the ropes. Great. Better start counting the profits right now, boys.
Storm and Snow picked up right where Jericho, Kane and Christian left off, giving us another match that went about nowhere. Al Snow has given us two subpar performances in as many weeks now, and I'm starting to wonder why he's being booked as a more important face than most of the other guys on the roster. I like the guy a lot, and I think he's got the skills and personality to go far if he wants to... he just hasn't wanted to in the last three years. Don't reward him for that. The same goes for Lance Storm, who was surprisingly off last night. I usually love the guy's work in the ring, but that match just left a bad taste in my mouth. Let's get rid of these three minute nothing matches, give him twenty minutes and a meaty, physical feud to work with, and then see if he's still as boring. On the positive side, William Regal was entertaining on the microphone for the minute he was back there, actually acting like a human being and walking out when JR and Lawler started poking fun at him. I'd have done the same thing.
Victoria is a poor actress. Keep her in the ring, where her actions can overpower her words, and she's got a damn fine chance.
Though the character he's portraying is tired, overplayed and undeserving of the title, I've got to admit Triple H delivers the most professional promos in the business. And no, I'm not referring to the whole ordeal with Kane and the corpse sex. Hell, I don't think Gordon F'ing Solie could've saved that monstrosity. His backstage segment with Ric Flair, moments after his match with RVD was announced, was as solid as they come. I've got to give him credit where it's due, after giving him shit every other day of the year.
Jeff Hardy beat Rico. Okay, why did we see that? Aren't matches supposed to mean something on the show before a PPV? You could've heard a pin drop when Eric Bischoff announced this match moments earlier. Given a good direction, Rico could really take off in the next year, but with those horrid Lash LeRoux sideburns, that leopard-skin outfit and that homoerotic theme music, he's going south faster than Trish Stratus at a Diva recruitment fair. (ohhh!! and I even tied it in with the show!! yes! yes!)
I refuse to comment on the Kane / HHH segment, and hope it goes away without mention, the same way the Big Show's feud with the Bossman did two years ago. How the hell do they think this is selling PPV buys?
OK, so now not only is the Hurricane ineffective in the ring and a pussy backstage, but he's also extremely unimportant to his tag team partner. And he jumped to RAW why, exactly? I'll give the guy all the credit in the world, he's trying his best to make this work. He was the only guy inspired throughout the opening tag bout, his attention to detail is a treat (instance; whenever he tags Kane into the ring, he holds his arm for a few moments afterwards, selling the ferocity of his partner's tag..), and he can really go between the ropes when moveset limitations aren't crippling him. Yet, he still sits in a gimmick that's run completely dry... going nowhere. Talk about a poster boy for what's wrong with the WWE right now.
Molly's new haircut looks like shit.
The Pat Patterson segment was actually really well done. They read that crowd to perfection, allowing him to speak French until Bischoff cut him off in his own, inimitably condescending manner. The fans didn't give two shits about him when he came into the ring, but when he left, it was as a hero. This worked so well, it's a shame to see it surrounded by meaningless storyline advancement. The Three Minute Warning was predictable, of course, as was the injury to Patterson, considering the track record of the Islanders... but I'm willing to overlook that. One of the few successful segments on the whole show.
Shit, even Tommy Dreamer, probably the most consistent player on RAW over the last few months, looked like crap last night. The match sucked, the finish was lame, and the end result blew.
I really wish they hadn't rushed Randy Orton's heel turn like that. The thing that was so cool about this slow burn was watching as bits and pieces of the general assembly slowly got the idea that this guy was a turd, and turned on him subsequently. Those NFL History-style vignettes were absolutely perfect... especially this week's. And then they just toss out the full scale turn this week, during his last appearance for several months. Sure, they did it in a way that got the guy instantly over, but is anyone going to remember that when he comes back?
Could've done without the Booker / Big Show match, even though it gave us the funniest moment on RAW in months. Mark already pointed it out on the forums, (and repeated my commentary from last night! ohhh!!!! bitch!!!) but I'll go ahead and cover the ground for anyone who doesn't frequent our populated boards of bulletin. Watching Triple H scoot by, almost unnoticed, in the background of the match was funny enough. That he was driving a forklift in full wrestling gear while Ric Flair directed traffic made it absolutely, ridiculously, hilarious. I wish they'd have just let the whole thing go by without a mention, never tying it in to anything later in the program. That was the only redeemable portion of the match. Despite the fact that everything backstage was blatantly pre-taped, they couldn't manage to edit out a clear shot of Chris Jericho, with chair, standing outside of the women's restroom as Booker and Wight fought their way through the door. Great production, guys.
And the main event I'd rather forget about. The gimmick totally killed this match, with Jericho being the only one to come out of it looking any better than he did before. Y2J was great, barking orders outside the ring and just getting his face in the middle of everything at any opportunity. Why couldn't Coach have just moved the forklift after he asked Triple H what it was doing there? Does one have to weigh upwards of 300 pounds to set such a device into motion? Maybe the levers were rusted, so only a pro wrestler could activate it. Whatever.
The crowd went apeshit for the full-scale run in, and Kane's warpath afterwards. Maybe this whole "I do dead people" thing actually worked. Or maybe they were applauding the end of the show. Or maybe they just really, really hate D'Lo and Kane was trying to turn him improptu heel by chokeslamming him to end the segment.
Score: 1.75 / 10