The Oratory RAW Review Crew: 11/04/02
Man, we weren't even past the opening credits before I found something to whine about. I remember a few years ago, when Vince was still flaunting his "Attitude", that opening sequence was a thing of beauty. So many quick, subliminal flashes, so much to absorb. I swear to god, they changed that thing every week. It was the attention to detail that really made the product such a complete package, and I loved it... sometimes more than I loved the shows that played afterward. So I tune in tonight, and what's the first thing I see? A long shot of the Big Show. The Big Show. Uhhh... gang? Didn't we trade him to Smackdown two full weeks ago? Maybe I'm nitpicking, but it reads to me like the reason they're screwing up so many of the big things is because they've quit caring about all the little things.
The boys from the islands weren't half bad tonight. For that matter, neither was Jeff Hardy... though I can't believe that tard's still walking. Of all the bumps he took last night, 90% of them were on that little spot between his neck and upper back. Not really the way you want to land. I think he and Ric Flair are having some sort of competition, to see who can make the viewers wince and cover their eyes the most often in the span of one match.
You know, I've always enjoyed seeing Ivory in the ring. Once she got past that whole storyline where she'd carry a ribbon everywhere with her, she's been steadily impressive between the ropes. Take a look at the way she woke the crowd up with that nasty slap in Trish's face, then carried the entire weight of the match, up to the finish. She knows what she's doing, but unfortunately suffers the same shortcomings as Molly. She can make herself look good, and she can make her opponents look good... but whenever she's losing, it looks like she's trying to fall behind. She'll bust her ass to tear into an opponent, and then all of a sudden can't come up with a way to avoid a series of punches and a bulldog. Sure, I'd much rather see Ivory and Molly than Terri and Stacy, but a flaw is a flaw.
If they aren't careful, they're gonna turn Randy Orton face again before he returns. These "RNN Updates" are hilarious, and the crowd's starting to eat it up.
Holy shit, who lit a fire under Lance Storm and William Regal last night? After that less-than-inspiring Scott Steiner vignette had finished, these two absolutely opened up on poor Al Snow with some of the most believable offense I've seen in months. If you'd never seen good psychology in action before, this was your chance... Storm started off the party, bending Snow's leg the wrong way around the edge of the apron, and they never gave the guy a chance to rest afterwards. Shit, even my leg hurt after that match. Segment of the night goes to William Regal, for locking in a reverse chinlock, grabbing ahold of Snow's injured leg, and then quickly standing up. Al had to WORK to return to a vertical base that time, and Willie R. wasn't offering any help. Thumbs up all the way, I'll watch shit like that all night long. Could've asked for more in the way of a finish, but it's getting these two over as stiff, ruthless, Brainbuster-esque bastards and I love it.
Wow, all those weeks of build and the crowd was still dead for Batista's RAW debut. Then again, the crowd was dead for pretty much everybody else's intro, as well... not to mention their matches, and their outros. Come to think of it, this crowd was a pretty solid piece of shit from start to finish.
Booker T cut the best promo I've ever heard him utter last night, finally completing the look as a main eventer. I don't have any illusions about his role at Survivor Series, but it's nice to see that he's still got more in the tank than a few "Suckaas" and a Spinaroonie. And I finally got to see him use that "Don't hate the playa" line against Trips, which is something I'd been waiting for since he started saying it religiously in WCW. Good segment, despite Kane's goofy run down the entryway. I don't know what it is, but I laugh every time I see him trying to haul ass. He looks like a ninny.
OK, so can we trade Hurricane Helms back to Smackdown now? Preferably without the superhero character? He's steadily gone nowhere since jumping to Monday nights. Test's new 'do isn't as bad as I'd feared, and he's got a new finisher to boot. A particularly sinister looking one, at that. This "Testicle" angle might actually go somewhere.
Christian and RVD put on a nice little match. Same complaint I had with the Regal / Storm vs. Snow / Dreamer match, the finish seemed a little hurried. Otherwise we got some quality stuff, telling a less detailed story with the leg. King inadvertently made me snicker, as RVD went for the top rope, wondering "How can RVD move so fast with that hurt leg?!" My thoughts exactly...
Chris Nowinski kicks ass. That's all there is to it. I was really dry to the guy when he first started getting all that attention, but I've come around to him. Last night he was calm, he was in control, he didn't even start to panic when the crowd didn't take the bait right away, and sure enough... it paid off. That whole segment was gold, and it gave Maven a return the likes of which he probably didn't deserve. It wouldn't have made sense with anybody else, though, and the bald, black-browed TE1 champ played his role better than I expected. This feud's got money in it.
And the main event continued the trend, which is shaping up to be a theme for tonight, of decent matches with poor finishes. For the most part, the offense in this one was solid, with Booker T taking the credit for most of that. Then we get to the last minute of the match, and suddenly everybody forgets how to wrestle. Shawn Michaels is in for the Chamber, he's planning to walk away champion, yadda yadda. I'm glad to see the guy back, but I don't buy him as World Champ for a second. He may take Triple H out of the equation, though, which would be super good news for the World Title itself.
Actually a halfway entertaining show this week. The mentions of Ms. Vick were a bit too frequent for their own good, and the finishes needed some major work, but I'll take this over the show we got two weeks ago. I'm pleased to see progress
Score: 4.5 / 10