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The Nitro-fication of RAW Begins
July 23, 2002

by The Cubs' Fan
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Discarded  /// column opener: "I ain't doing RAW when CRZ quits."

He was totally right, you know? Completely. Undeniable. So why am I here? Hey, why am I? Hmm...

I could've wrote more, but I'm writing this last and it's 5 am and I don't care and I suppose you don't either. All I'm gonna say is that I'm doing the RAW report this week and promise no more - not next week, nor a warning when I plan to stop. Well, if they give me a warning that they're going do something that's awful enough that I don't want to deal with this anymore, I'll try to pass it on. I do my own stuff, which intersects with CRZ's (mostly because he's really good and I am to be) but in the end is my own. If that's not good enough for you, there's other RAW reports that I can't be bothered to link to at this time of night. Go to weeklyvisitor.com and see if Sofa's written his yet. Except if you're a moron, don't go because if morons cause another site I like to go away, people will die.

Hey look, I'm not taping the early preview, oops!

Before I threaten more homicide, let's get it started.

TV 14 DLV CC attitude entertainment picture of Bischoff. Open - hey, look, they couldn't bother to adjust the opens when Trish lost the Women's Title or Benoit switched over, but now that Triple H is here - lots of shots of Shawn too. And shots of Benoit too - I guess I shouldn't complain but I probably am going to anyway - it's just that kind of night. NOTHING'S FOREVER. FIREWORKS. (Hmm, PIEYRO? That's why I didn't steal his running jokes.) Crowd has signs. We've got a new undisputed champion who's the Rock and new Tag Team Champions (but why do we care, that's SmackDown!) and this is actually the first night of the Eric Bischoff era. How best to start the Eric Bischoff era?

Play that crappy music, white boy - it's RAW General Manager Eric Bischoff himself. There's the airplane. There's a very slow walk with posing. Sign: "RAW is NITRO". We take a look at The King and JR - apparently, they've been given a new, very Nitro like seating arrangement - to the left of the stage and ramp as you'd walk down. At least they're actually facing the ring, though. "Thank you so so much! Oh! And I love each and every one of you too! Which is why, tonight, I, Eric Bischoff, am bringing to you, the Undisputed WWE Champion! The Rock is here tonight! You're welcome! But that's not all - because I, Eric Bischoff, am also bringing you the man who's going to make this show the #1 show in the history of all of Sports Entertainment. the man, who last night, I stole from Stephanie McMahon. I bring to you the man who's going to be the myth, and the next legend, the man who is Ruthless Aggression - my man, Triple H!" Play his music. While Triple H's taking his usual time to the ring - isn't that double jacket really hot this time of year? Good that he has a refreshing cold drink! - I'd like to sarcastically point out that it seemed more like they were negotiating for a date than a contract last night, but maybe your mind just goes plays when it gets really bored. That shot of Eric raising his hands and exposing his gut could fill a whole column (it's that big.) Only one corner and that's it - thank god. "And tonight, I, Eric Bischoff (3)-" "No, tonight, the Game, brings you, his best friend, the Showstopper, the Icon, Shawn Michaels!" HBK is dancing his way out as we explain how it was really Shawn who brought Triple H to RAW and not Eric. Here's a hug. High five. "Tonight, I, Eric Bischoff (4) bring you the combination of Triple H and Shawn Michaels! But that's not all, because tonight, right here on RAW, I'm going to name this man - Shawn Michaels - to be the manager of the Game, Triple H! [Looks of bemusement exchanged.] That's right, any time you see Triple H in action, you're gonna see this man Shawn Michaels, in his corner! From now on when you see this man [HHH] in feature films around the world, you're gonna see this man [HBK] in a supporting role! Anytime you see this man - Triple H - anywhere in the world, Shawn Michaels will not be far behind!" Fans figured out they weren't supposed to like it after the first repetition - oh Shawn's got the mic from Triple H. "Bischoff, I recognize you don't know me that well, and to be perfectly honest, I got no problem being Triple H's manager. I do however have a huge - HUGE problem with you telling me anything!" "Well you see, Shawn, I'm telling you, you're going to be Triple H's manager because I'm Eric Bischoff (5). And you will Triple H's manager, because I am Eric Bischoff (6)." The old Vince chant for Eric. "You see Shawn Michaels, you don't have the stroke around here when you were pushing around Vince McMahon. I'm not Vince McMahon.  I'm Eric Bischoff. (NO FREAKING WAY, 7) And quite frankly, you don't have an alternative." Couldn't he jump? Bischoff sucks chant. "I recognize you're Eric Bischoff, and it's high time you recognize that I'm SHAWN MICHAELS. I don't need stroke around here, I've been here for fifteen years, everyone knows that I don't react to ultimatums very well. [Aside to Triple H:] I don't know how you feel about this, and I'm really sorry, buddy [back to Eric:] but when I'm giving a choice of your way or the highway, HBK always the HIGHWAY." He's walking out. Triple H is annoyed at the situation "You go right ahead! You go right ahead! You take the highway! Because if you do, you're walking out on every one of these fans! You're walking out on every fan around the world! I will not let you back!" This is Vince/Austin, I guess. Shawn is gone. Eric and Triple H pantomime, then Eric remembers he's got a mic. Eric to Triple H: "I'll tell you what, I'll tell you what, you're worried about what I'm doing? You should be worried about what you're doing. If this guy is your friend and you're tight as much as everyone says you are, I don't know about you, but I'd go talk some sense into him." Triple H looks and...walks out. In a hurry, to go catch Shawn, I guess. "Now that we have that taken care of - tonight, I Eric Bischoff (8), am going to unify the European Championship and the InterContinetial Championship, right here tonight! And as you can see right here about the ring [a new belt, hooked up to a ladder match clasp, lowers] the Unified InternContinetial Championship - that's right, the European Champion (short pause) Jeff Hardy must face R - V - D, the InterContinetial Champion in this Unification - oh, but that's not all, because I Eric Bischoff (9) deem this unification match...to be a LADDER MATCH! 

We go to the back, where Triple H is walking and Shawn is leaving with his bag - Triple H grabs him by the arm to try to stop him. "Shawn! Calm down!"  "What do you mean, CALM DOWN? I've got news for you - I've been here fifteen years and I've earned the right to do what I want! YOU of all people should know that I've got big problems with people telling me what to do! Look, I know you came to RAW because of me, but it was YOUR choice - I did not choose to work for Eric Bischoff!" "Right, I came here because of you, and now you're gonna walk out me? Huh? You're gonna walk out on me? [pause] No, you're gonna walk out everybody, it's not just me, it's the fans too! Bischoff was right! What's the matter Shawn, is it because he told you to do, would being my manager really be that bad? You, with your back injury, you can't even work anymore! Shawn, would being by my side be that bad-" "Look, I of all people know that I'm not the Show Stopper anymore, but I've still got my pride. Where is going to stop? Checking you in to hotels? Carrying your bags? You tell me-" "DAMNIT SHAWN, I'm not asking you to be my personal lackey, I'm asking you not to walk out the door! I'm asking not to you to take your ball and go home - like Stone Cold did! [boos] Please Shawn, all I'm asking you to do is, let's make the ride together! If you just calm down Shawn, and just say, we can think this through, I think I've got this idea, I'll make this idea." "You better have a good idea." "Shawn just stay, alright, because I promise, if I can work this out, this will be damn good." Triple H pats Shawn on the shoulder and walks off. Hey, not only is Shawn coming back (and SOON), Billy and Chuck only dream of being that gay. 

WWE European Champion Jeff Hardy vs WWE InterContinental Champion Rob Van Dam in a title for title ladder match for the Unified InterContential Title - ALREADY? The story is that Eric wants to have his first match on RAW be a big one. Jeff walks under the a ladder in the aisle because he's LIVING FOR THE MOMENT. They've got a latter set up at the base of the ramp and one on each side of the ring. JR says the European Title will be vacated forever, so I guess it's technically not really a unification match. Neither man comes out with their old belts - the new one is hanging already. We take note that both competitors have been in a ladder match recently (RVD d. Eddie, Undertaker d. Jeff) and that Bischoff is pushing them hard after a PPV the previous night. Lockup, RVD with a waistlock, Jeff with a standing switch, RVD with an armdrag takedown, Jeff with the leg scissors reversal, RVD escapes and there's the face off. How cute, pointless mat wrestling. Lockup, headlock by Jeff, into the ropes, Jeff off the ropes, over, off and into a dropkick. Jeff starts to roll him out, but RVD grabs him - is he trying to cover? He figures it out (or Jeff clues him in) and gets a front facelock after an awkward moment, Jeff battling him into the corner. Kick, kick, corner whip, reversal, Jeff kips up, RVD grabs the legs, Jeff takes him down with a spinning headscissors. Now RVD is staggered, managing to stagger backwards all the way across the ring so Jeff can clothesline him out over where the desk usually would be. It's just empty there now and it looks like the timekeepers table might have been moved too. Jeff out on the ramp side to grab a ladder, but before he can bring it, RVD's back up and hitting a sliding dropkick into the ladder. RVd sets up - Asai moonsault off the apron! RVd grabs the ladder and sets it up - climbing fast but Jeff with a forearm, then yanking RVD off the ladder by his leg. Knocking the ladder over, stomp, stomp, stomp. Whip, reversed, Jeff goes over, RVD goes for a monkey flip but Jeff hits the Compactor (that move where Jeff kinda legdrops the back of RVD's legs) but he can't get a count on that and no one but me (and WA! geeks) know that name. Jeff setting up the ladder again, climbing up - but RVD is up and pulling him off, knocking over the ladder in the process. RVD folds up the ladder and can't seem to decide if he wants to leave it leaning on the ropes or not - he ends up picking it up, but Jeff is back up and dropkicks the ladder out of the ring. They both look at each other, then take off to grab the other two ladders and bring them back in - now we've got dueling ladders. Joust and RVD loses his grip on impact. Jeff oddly gives him time to pick it up, and they joust again - this time RVD hurts his hands on impact and drops it again, so he instead hits a jumping spin kick into the ladder and Jeff. RVD chant. RVD moves his ladder back a little bit, then trips over it on the way to Jeff's ladder.  Now setting Jeff on his ladder and going to the ropes for speed - cartwheel moonsault! Now going back to his ladder and setting it up - he's a little off to the left but climbing anyway - on the second step and pawing for it, but Jeff with forearms in the back to stop it. Jeff climbs up behind him - back superplex! JR wants to say a Russian Legsweep but from that height it's kinda moot. Jeff up first and opts not to climb - instead he sets his ladder on top of the RVD and he's going up - Swanton on the ladder! That was kinda dumb, RVD at least was smart enough to put the ladder under the victim. Replay as Jeff is up, in pain but adjusting the ladder. RVD is up and noticing it - climbing the other side and now they're both exchanging punches - RVD getting the better of it, but gets caught reaching for the belt, taking control again and smashing Jeff's face into the ladder but both men hang on - RVD climbs all the way up - super sunset flip powerbomb! Jeff very nearly landed on the ladder left on the mat - inches. RVD accidentally knocks over the ladder while recovering on the ground. Foot Locker Replay from Ladder Cam. RVD with a spinning legdrop, then setting Jeff on the ladder again - Rolling Thunder. RVD looks and points up, then grabs his ladder again - he's off to the side again but climbing anyway. Jeff is up and jabbing his own ladder into RVD's back, twice. Now setting up and climbing his own ladder - he's a little ways away too, and RVD pokes him back with his foot. Jeff sits on the top of the ladder and RVD almost topples the ladder with another jab kick. Another. Another to the ladder - it goes down, Jeff does a somersault in air and again almost lands on the ladder. This ain't exciting, this is scary. I think he might have actually clipped it with his right arm on the way down. RVD now sitting on top of his ladder - hey, no, he's still kinda stuck in the ladder and you're gonna hit it too - Jeff manages to shove it away a little but, and RVD does an off the top of the ladder splash - not a Five Star because he had no distance to jump. Both are down in pain. Replays as RVD is up and setting up the ladder again, climbing, grabbing his ribs, grabbing the belt - he's your winner. (6:58) RVD jumps off the ladder and collapses on the mat - the impact knocking the ladder over onto Jeff Hardy, which cracks RVD up for a second. Jeff is DEAD. Lillian announcers him as the New Unified InterContential Champion - come back next week to see if we stick with that name. Mike Sparks checks on Jeff after raising RVD's hands - now RVD is over to take the ladder off of him, help him up, and raise his (injured?) arm. Replays of the splash. This was kind an ordinary ladder match.

WWE Trading Cards - you know, call me silly, but I don't think Trish is really naked behind that screen.

Here's the exterior of Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan - and here's the inside.

Christopher Nowinski is here to talk, I guess, though he's dressed to wrestle. Maybe an open challenge? Tickets are still on sale for next week's RAW in Greensboro - the Rock will be there, and so will Ric Flair. Pose at two corners! "First, I'd like to thank Mr. Bischoff for giving me the time to come out here and get something off my chest. Because every since I've made my debut in the WWE, I've been perplexed as to why you people seem to hate me - just because I'm a Harvard graduate? You people should be grateful to have some of my intelligence in your presence! But I understand why you people can't relate to me, because I am a Harvard graduate. You people should be excited about what I'm going to bring to you and future generations of WWE fans, and that's, my friends-" "DEAD MAN WALKING" Hey, it's the Undertaker and his bike. Let's discuss how he's no longer champion despite not actually losing his belt. Christopher back off in to a corner. "Undertaker, I understand you're probably about losing your title last night; You probably have something important to say, so, here you go." And he hands over the microphone! Wow, he really is a smart guy! Backing off in the corner - but Undertaker reaches out a hand. Christopher accepts it and they shake. Christopher is ready to leave now but Undertaker is not letting go and now he's shaking his head. Nowinkski gives a great "oh no" expression right before the knee lift, knee lift, knee lift, corner whip, Undertaker charges in and clotheslines Nowinksi. Kick to the gut, Last Ride. I guess he's a face again. It's all about Respect to JR, and not at all about being mad about the the title (although, gosh darn it, he didn't get pinned to lose that title!)

Backstage, Eric talks to someone off camera - you better recognize D'Lo Brown and Shawn Stasiak are distracting me by their pacing in the background. "You saw it for yourself, the Undertaker, the man himself is filled with Ruthless Aggression. And Rhyno [camera turns to reveal Rhyno], that's what you're going to be when you sign with me. I mean, this show is all about momentum, that's what I'm all about, that's what I've been telling you all day long. When you're ready - nine months is a long time, I know you're filled with Ruthless Aggression - I know you, I know you inside and out, I've read about you, I've watched you, I know everything about you, which is why I want you to sign with me! Side by side, making RAW the number one show in sports entertainment around the world! Whadda you say?" "Thank you for the first class travels." "Hey, my pleasure!" "You know what, when I'm ready to come back - let's just keep in touch. The pleasure's been all mine." "No, mine - you take care, you take care!" Rhyno walks off, and Eric turns to walk away himself when D'Lo and Shawn corner him. They argue for a moment of his time - D'Lo's funny here, hitting best on "HBO! Help a Brother Out!" but I'm tired of transcribing [read: listening to Eric's voice] already. Long story short, after trying to brush them off, Eric's got a three minute hole to fill, so he'll give them a chance - be careful what you ask for, though. He wants to see a winner, and he wants to be entertained - if they don't entertain him, he'll be forced to entertain the fans and no one wants that. Eric ditches them, and D'Lo and Stasiak stare at each other before walking off. No one asks D'Lo how he feels about no more European Title.

Trish Stratus and Bubba Ray Dudley vs WWE Women's Champion Molly Holly and William Regal in a Intergender match - Bubba Ray's left arm is taped heavily and he's not really moving it from his side. He's got a bandage on his head too. Entrances are five seconds long for some reason. JR goes to great lengths to stress how much more dangerous Intergender matches are than Mixed Tags because the men can face the women and that's kinda not even and why is Bubba forced to wrestle that injured. Hey, someone finally remembered that these two were together. The women selected their own partners, so if you don't mind me saying this, Trish is kinda an airhead. Regal and Bubba to start - Regal's no idiot and goes for that taped arm. Right. Whip, somehow Bubba managers to reverse it with the bad arm, Regal rebounds out into a backdrop. Clothesline with the good arm. Bubba tries to grab Regal to stop him from making the tag but can't do it with only one arm. Regal hugs Molly's lower regions for comfort, then tag outs. Bubba decides to tag out to Trish, but Molly forearms him the back before he can. She wants a Test of Strength! Bubba puts up his other arm, so Molly puts up that arm and Bubba switches arms. Repeat until Bubba is dancing - Molly slaps him in the face. Bubba lets it sinks in, then pulls back for a punch, Bubba pauses as Molly covers up (I sure hope we're not supposed to think he has second thoughts about hitting a woman because that would be outrageously nutty) and Bubba ends up slapping her on the behind. Now the tag to Trish, and Molly turns into a clothesline. Hiptoss. Dropkick. Forearm, forearm, whip, reversed, Regal pulls the hair and takes hers down from outside. Northern Lights Suplex one two no. Holding and tag for Regal - Regal thinks about a punch and does not do it. Armbar, flip takedown and covering her one pulling her up! Pulling her up, then a single leg takedown - stomp on the face? Nah. I guess this is Real being a gentleman - knee to the midsection would seem to counter that. Forearm for Bubba on the apron for good measure. Looks like the timekeepers table has just got moved to the other corner. Regal holds Trish in a full nelson - Molly dropkicks but Trish gets free and Regal gets it. Now a tag to Bubba - clothesline, clothesline, whip, reversed (Bubba's arm hurts on the reversed whip), clothesline is ducked under and Bubba locks on the full nelson, but Regal quickly hits a sneaky mule kick to escape. Regal with another full nelson to hold Bubba for Molly, who's going up, but Bubba breaks free early, pushing Regal into the ropes and crotching Molly. Clothesline for Regal, tag to Trish, who runs to the corner and delivers the Stratusphere (the bottom rope headscissors) to take Molly out of the ring. Bubba slams Regal and Trish goes up - WHAT ARE YOU DOING. They look at the crowd, and Bubba goes to shove Trish - then stops his hands just short when he realizes where they would've been going. Sexual harassment is not right in the WWE workplace! Bubba out to get the tables himself, but gets distracted by Molly walking off - meanwhile, Trish gets a back suplex from Regal. There's the Regal Stretch - Trish has no choose to give, Bubba can't get back from chasing Molly in time. (3:57) JR's forgotten that's it's the Regal Stretch.

Backstage, Eric talks to the inside of a room we can't see - when the three minutes are up, it's their time. Moving on, Eric walks down a hallway and runs into Chris Benoit. Normal kissing up goes on - after that great table match last night, what he'd really like to see is a match between Benoit and Booker T. "I mean, do you remember we had series we had between you two in WCW? It was classic!" Hey, not ever word he says is a lie. Winner gets a shot against RVD for the Unified IC Title. Benoit gets about two words in and notices the Eric Bischoff picture hanging on the wall as he walks away - shaking his head. 

Backstage, the Rock walks! He's next. 

The thing that I don't do (enough of?) is denote to you where commercials are - it makes a big deal in the flow of the show but they're kinda non-existent when you're just fast forwarding. One's here.

Stacker 2 Singapore Cane Match of Last Monday - actually, these are all Tommy Dreamer highlights. 

WWE Undisputed Champion the Rock is out to talk, and if you don't understand the connection, you haven't watched Nitro long enough. When JR says "best Triple Threat match ever", do you wonder what the previous greatest one is? I mean, if the previous greatest one featuring a guy getting concussed before it even started, it's not even lofty standards. Maybe it was Savio Vega vs Crush vs Faarooq? Nah. JR: "A Rock for all ages!" Undertaker still didn't get pinned. Rock goes two corners before getting a microphone. The belt's bigger yep. He's talking his time to say something. And now he's saying something but not on mic. "Finally, the Rock has come back to Grand Rapids! Now before the Rock says anything else, the Rock is not going to go riding motorcycles with the Undertaker, the Rock is not going to be caught dead sharing a glass of milk with Kurt Angle, but after what happened at Vengeance, the Triple Threat match at Vengeance, the Rock has got two words to say to the Undertaker and Kurt Angle: Thank you. The Rock says thank you for making that match at Vengeance one of the most exciting and electrifying matches the Rock has ever seen! But that was last night, that was last night, last night, THIS is tonight! And tonight is the Rock is here to doing exactly what he'd said he do, the Rock told ol' what's his name, Eric Jerkoff, Eric Jackoff, doesn't matter what that Jabrone's name is, oh yeah the Rock told him he was going to come, live, to RAW, right smack dab middle in the people's ring, the Undisputed Champion!" "LATINO HEAT!" Hey, it's steady Eddie Guerrero and he saw Undertaker do this same thing two segments ago so he thought he might as well try it. "Odale, Odale, LA ROCA [now they're blatantly sucking up to CRZ], ese, who do you think you are, homes? You know what? I got a problem with you, esse." Rocky chant. "You see - hey, I'm talking to you, Rock. You see - hey, you, I'm talking to you Rock, you see, I got these two chavaltas (sp?), these two little girls at home, and they worship the ground that their father walks on they idolize me, man. And you see, man, the other night, when I talked in the room, to say good night for them to show the respect that he deserves, ese, I saw something very disturbing, Ese. See, I looked on the wall, and not only did they have a picture of me, but right next to that picture, was a poster of el ray de la grande - the Rock! Ooooh, ooooh, ese, Mr. Big Shot, the movie star, esse. You know, in my heart, I knew had to teach my chavaletes, my two little girls, I had to teach them a lesson, I had to show them disciple. So I got your poster, man, and I got it and I ripped it up and I burned it and they ran after me [on his knees] going 'daddy, oh papa papa, que! Por que! Why did you rip that poster' [on his feet, looking down as 'his kids'] SHUT UP! Silenta-" "Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa who you sick psychopathic freak! Hey, what's the hell's wrong with you? You actually talk to your kids like that? You actually talk to your kids like that? You come out here, running you mouth like that - hey, let's get it straight, the Rock ain't no movie star. So what, the Rock's been in a couple movies, no bid deal. Eddie Guerrero, YOU are a movie star. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, we al know, the Rock's seen all your movies, so congratulations, a string of hits. But the Rock was always wondering, clear something up for the Rock - who were you, were you Cheech or Chong?" "Ese, esse, you know what, man, that's exactly - that's exactly what's talking about homes. You don't respect no one, hug. You know what, man. The reality, man, is that you're jealous, you're jealous of me man. You know what man, see you know, and all these gavacho know that I'm the better wrestler, homes. I'm more good looking! The People's Champion? Odale esse, hey, let me tell you something, man, I've got the hottest haircut going on in America today - nobody but nobody can wear the mullet like I can, ese. C'mon, this should be called the People's Mullet!" "The hottest haircut in America? The hottest haircut in America? Should be called the People's Mullet? Well the Rock tell you this - with a haircut like that and a face like that, it looks like Billy Ray Cyrus had sex with an retarded hyena!" Eddie is annoyed, then fake amused. "Ese, you're funny man, you know what ese, you know what? I'm tired of getting disrespected. Tonight, just like I taught my kids a lesson about how to respect my father, I'm gonna teach you a lesson in how to respect me, and it starts tonight. Odale me, Man, in that ring, me an you, manoio a mano, and I''ll tell you homes, if and when Ikick your ass and beat you, let's say how about you give me a shot at your WWE Championanto?" "Want a shot at the Rock tonight? You beat the Rock tonight and you go on next week and get a shot at the Rock's WWE Undisputed championship? I'll tell you what - the Rock doesn't speak all that way Spanish, but let me answer you in a way you'll understand. It goes like this[to the tune of - I'm afraid to guess, but I'll say La Bamba"] "Eddie Guerrero/You want a shot at the Great One/But there's only one problem/You never told him/whether you you were Cheech or were you Chong!/arribra arribra. Wait, it's not over - the Rock and Guerrero/in the ring will meet/and when it's all over/the Rock whooping ass on Latino Heat!/ah ya arriba arriba." "Odale" "arriba arriba!" "Ese!" "arriba arriba!" "B-" "ahaha figro" "I'm gonna kick your ass!" "I'll tell you what, the Rock says this - [pause for chant] - Eddie Guerrero, all joking aside, the Rock knows you're one big bad cat, the Rock knows you can go and you can bring it, so the Rock says this. The Rock will tell you what he's going to do tonight - the Rock is going to lay the smack down on your candy chulo, and if you don't understand what the Rock just said, if he doesn't understand what the Rock just said, tonight on Raw, the Rock is gonna whoop your candy ass - if you smell what the Rock is cooking!" Thank god that's over - so why didn't Eddie just ask for a title match? I apologizing for butchering all the Spanish. Eddie leaves and we talk while Rock heads up the apron - oh, this is so Brock (w/Paul E) can interrupt - Brock is in the next match, and ignores the Rock on the way to the ring. The Rock takes a long look at his SummerSlam challenger and - smiles.

Brock Lesnar (w/Paul E, the TV14 DLV/CC tags and no cane) vs Tommy Dreamer (w/two canes) in a Singapore Cane match - we turned the hour in the middle of that dissertation, though. We're going a long way without a break which means a two minute segment coming up. Tickets for tomorrow night's SmackDown!'s taping are still available. Dreamer Dreamer throws one and and strikes with the other. Cane. Can added Russian legsweep. Brock goes to the outside, so Dreamer is to the apron - running jumping cane shot is blocked - overhead belly to belly suplex on the floor! Brock picks up the cane - and throws it down. Stomp, stomp, thrown into the steps. Dreamer thrown in, Brock in. Corner whip, and Dreamer goes down. "Get up! Get up! Come on!" Running shoulder to the gut. Corner whip, running shoulder to the gut. Big backbuster, holding on for another. Stomp. Corner whip, charging in but Dreamer moves out of the way and Brock posts himself. Dreamer pulls him out, kick to the upper thigh [Heyman goes ape about it being a low blow], DDT one two NO. Dreamer goes for the cane left in the ring - shot to the injured shoulder. Pose. Shot - not it's caught, Dreamer's picked up - F5 onto the cane, though the announcers don't really notice. One two three. (2:35) He won without even using the cane, that's your story. Or maybe not - Undertaker is in with a cane for no reason - there a shot to the stomach, shot to the back, and Brock tumbles out. Payback for last week, I forget until JR reminded me. Let's go to break.

Backstage - well, first, they goof up and Eric think it's cue for the next three minute bit - we hear him telling D'Lo and Stasiak they have three minutes and telling the timekeeper to ring the bell, but ignore it as it's time for HBK and Big Show to talk. I'm so tired of transcribing. That Rock/Eddie piece? Forty minutes, I haven't even gone back to check the Spanglish. Big Show's still mad about that Superkick. Shawn hasn't been in the ring in FOUR YEARS, but maybe he's still got something left - does Show really want to find out? Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't, but walking away right now makes me think he doesn't.

Shockingly, we move to Eric telling D'Lo and Stasiak they have three minutes!

you betta recognize D'Lo Brown vs Shawn Stasiak - I'd actually do this match, because as much as I dislike wasting my time with Stasiak, D'Lo's cool with me, but then they kinda already gave away what this match was really gonna be about. :30 seconds is actually on time, what do you know. Stasiak's pretty much getting most of the offense - he puts an armbar on :58 in, and Eric yells about it. Lawler: "Yea, that's a wrestling hold! You can't do that and be entertaining!" It's a lot easier when they say it for me. Three minutes ends at 1:15 when everyone in the stands looks to see the run in through the crowd, though the Island Boyz don't actually hit the ring till about (NC 1:35) Even though JR and Lawler have no idea who these guys are, I'll tell you they're Ekmo and Kimo - now if I could only remember which was which. Of course they layout the men in the ring. I think it's Ekmo who's hits the top rope splash and Kimo who ends up hitting the Vader bomb, but I could be wrong. They're pumped to be here. We get 2:30 before the break - I guess that was the short segment.

What a great idea to introduce a tag team on a show that has no tag team division!

Moving past the Slam Ball hype...

Backstage, Triple H has something in a bag for Shawn. "Are you serious?" Of course he's serious. In a few minutes. Blah blah blah.

Elsewhere, Goldust congratulates Booker T (w/rib tape) on his win over the Big Show. "It's like David slaying Goliath! You truly are King of the Giant Killers!" "King, huh? So that's what you're hiding behind your back, some kind of crown you wanna put on my head, you wanna me go out there [pause for a wince], you want me to go out there and make a fool out of me tonight, right? "No, no, I'd never do anything like that! You are the king of the Giant Killers! You are the king, but I didn't bring a crown, but I have something for you to wear." "What is that?" Well, it's a Don King wig, and he's put it on Booker's head. "Please, tell me that you're not mad. Please! It looks good." "Goldy goldy goldy, my brother, my brother, my strong, assertive, somewhat perverted tag team partner! No, I'm not mad, 'cause the King says, picture this, that snap tooth, gap tooth wolverine, against the five time WCW Champion, oh my brother, only in America, Only in America!, now can you dig that?" ... "SUCKAAAAAA!"

XXX Scissors Kick through the table of Yesterday

Booker T (w/ads) vs Chris Benoit for the #1 Contendership to the Unified InterContinental Title - You know, this isn't the first site that I've written for that Eric Bischoff has personally killed. That was DDTDigest.com. I've always felt a little bit guilty about not doing another piece for Bill since WCW folded - it's not that I didn't have ideas, it's just that I didn't get around to finishing any of them. As luck would have it, one of those unfinished pieces sitting around my hard drive is a look back at the Best of 7. And since I know they aren't gonna bother to give any more background here than "they had a Best of 7 in WCW", let me take a break from this and talk about some good television. You may want to skip two paragraphs if you don't care.

Back in WCW, they had a Television Title, which was on about the same level as the WWE European Title, except that people actually took it seriously and cared about it (until Konnan won it.) Booker T won the title in late '97, because Rick Martel forget his wrestling tights or something along those lines, and it ended up leading to his first major WCW single's push. In Spring of '98, Booker was still champion, and went to two 10 minute time limit draws against Benoit (which, being WCW, were more like 7 minute draws), leading up to a pay per view match where Benoit could've won, except for ref nuttyness. The issue not resolved, they actually traded the TV title four times one weekend set of house shows, but WCW didn't actually acknowledge those changes on TV. Instead, thanks to a Benoit distraction, Booker lost the title to Fit Finley (though he's had some memorable matches against then Steve Regal, he was mostly used as a jobber by WCW, and is now a WWE road agent), and Booker repaid by costing Benoit a match against Finley. WCW tried to announcer Booker as the #1 contender but Benoit punked them out before they could, so the only fair way they could solve the matter was a best of 7 series over two weeks, with the winner getting the shot at Finley at the PPV.

Match 1 saw Benoit win with an armbar takedown into the Crossface after Booker missed the Harlem Hangover, and Booker tied it up by hitting the Hangover in the second match. Benoit tried to go for the same armbar takedown in match three but it was blocked - he used a bridging German suplex instead. He tried for the same in Match 4, but was too tired to hold it for three count. Benoit did manage to reverse a suplex into the Crossface, and that put him up 3 to 1. Match 5 had Benoit distracted by a Stevie Ray appearance, and not noticing a missile dropkick till too late. Benoit nearly won Match 6 with a German suplex again, but Booker T got his shoulder up in time. That was one of the great things about the series - they built on the previous finishes. Anyway, Booker debuted that corner sunset flip move that he still uses from time to time to tie it up, but came up limping and Benoit attacked the leg after the match. Match 7 featuring Benoit working on Booker's legs - taking away some of Booker's offense in the process. Still, Benoit was unable to put Booker away - he would not stay down for three or give up. After a Swandive Headbutt didn't work, the ref checked on Benoit, and missed Bret Hart coming in and braining Booker with a chair. [I'd explain why, but that'd be another long digression and we're already at two long paragraphs here.] Benoit actually opted to explain the situation and DQ himself instead of taking the easy win - but WCW decided later in the night that it shouldn't end like that, called that a no contest, and ordered a Match 8 for the PPV. Again, Chris Benoit was breaking out everything he could but couldn't put Booker away - he even pulled out a Dragon suplex for the occasion but no dice. Benoit wouldn't go down easy himself, but after two Harlem Sidekicks and a Harlem Hangover, Booker won the match and the series. And a little later, he anti-climatically won the TV title back too.

Numbers of evil commissioners/owners/general managers needed for the angle: 0

Circle. Lockup, Benoit with an armbar, Booker reverses into his own, pulling to a headlock, off the ropes, shoulderblock by Booker. Booker's injury is actually his lower back. Lockup, armbar by Booker, Benoit rams him back first into the corner. Break, but only Benoit can hit a shoulder to the hut, shoulder to the gut, throwing him back in the corner, throwing him back to the corner, forearm to the back. Whip, clothesline misses, Booker with a thrust kick. Chop. Chop. Whip, reversed, Benoit with a knee, side backbreaker one two no. Corner whip, Booker falls down from the impact. Suplex to the mat. One two no. Right, but Booker with a right, forearm, Benoit with a right. Whip, no reversed to another standing thrust kick. Benoit is back up though, chop, chop, whip, reversed, Booker with a sleeper, Benoit reverse to a big backdrop. Benoit shaking it off, and untied a middle buckle? Hmm. Maybe so he can whip Booker back first? Exchange of punches, Booker gets the best of it with a chop, whip, backdrop. Clothesline. Whip, clothesline misses but Booker hits a forearm on the next trip. Whip, 115th Street Slam but I guess you could call it a spinebuster. He's calling for it and going up, but Benoit gets up on the way - hey, the missile dropkick! One two NO! Kick to the midsection, off the ropes, Scissors Kick but Booker backs out of the way, punch to the back, waistlock, no Booker's fighting out of it, Benoit with more forearms to the back. German Suplex! - and another! - and another! - and AN-no, Booker gets out of it with back elbows, and then gets his own waistlock, but Benoit escapes, of the ropes, clothesline ducked and Benoit hits the bridging German suplex one two NO! Both are slow up - suplex, no Booker with a spinning heel kick but Benoit ducks, shot to the back. (exposed) Corner whip, Booker kips up, Benoit charges - there's the corner sunset flip! one two NO! Okay, if Bret Hart hits Booker with a chairshot, we've got a something. Benoit goes for a double leg takedown, but it's blocked (huh?), so he just throws Booker face first into the exposed buckle (probably was supposed to be a slingshot there) - armbar takedown into the Crossface and Booker tries to hold out but can not. (5:55) Benoit takes his time letting go, of course. Replays - we talk about the pressure on the injured back, eh. Break.

It's nice to know this history stuff matters to someone who matters.

I, Eric Bischoff has joined the announce booth and I'm so sick of it.

Big Show vs Spike Dudley - Oh why bother. I'm taking this segment off too. Spike has his ribs taped too. Both men have forgotten those days when they were good friends and teammates. (Chokeslam, 1:02) Eric and Show are best friends now. Eric tells Show to get a table - and he does. Setting it up in the ring. Spike laid on the table. Bubba Ray Dudley is finally out, but with the position Spike's laid in, I think he's only here to get put through the table too. Sho' nuff - chokeslam through Spike through the table. 

Hey, it's Triple H's door. Yep.

So that was the short segment? I guess we had to get one to make up for the opening too.

Coming up later - the Rock vs Eddie Guerrero for the first time! It's up next!

Are you ready? Degeneration X is back. Old music, old video, old annoying entrance (quick cuts from live to video), old gimmick. JR knew this was going to happen, but didn't bother saying it. They've inserted clips from Vengeance in here to cover up the Chyna stuff, I guess. Oh wait I just saw her - better go to X fireworks and crotch chopping. HBK brought Triple H to RAW, you know. It's about Fun and Friendship. "Oh my, just when you thought it was safe to turn on the old grappling show, look who's back in town! The boys who were the rebels before being rebels were cool, Degeneration X!" "With that said, [DX chant] you damn right. Are you ready? Are you said are you ready? [I'm only doing this once and never again] Then, for the thousands in attendance, and for the millions watching at home, leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet's get ready to SUCK IT!" KICK, PEDIGREE! Hey, I was right! That makes absolutely no sense but hey, Shawn is coming back for SummerSlam. Triple H rips off his shirt [women cheer] and throws it on Shawn before walking off.

"I need the number for a Jeff Gordon" - check the LOSERS CIRCLE, Kenny. Actually, Kenny's not been doing so well lately himself.

Moments Ago, JR was angered and appalled and disappionted - odd, he never liked that Degeneration X before. 

Triple H is leaving the building shirtless - there's his limo and he's gone. Hey, they're not sharing a ride. Anyway, he's leaving and someone else is leaving. It's Stephanie McMahon, and she's gonna to sit in that pose till someone rolls down the window. "Why don't you tell Eric Bischoff that his competition has arrived."

Latino Heat Eddie Guerrero vs WWE Undisputed Champion the Rock in a non-title match - I know for the purpose of believing Eddie has an actual shot to win, this has to be a non-title match, but given (at the time evil) Undertaker was just giving out shots left and right just a couple weeks ago and Rock's a good guy and Eddie's not an idiot, why didn't he at least ask for the title match? There's absolutely no way in the world that the Rock is 275 pounds. Circle. Lockup, break. Lockup, no they brush each other off. Lockup, Rock with a headlock, spinning into a hammerlock, cranking it in, Eddie turn it around to his own, headlock, Rock pushes him off, shoulderblock, but Eddie goes down. Rock off the ropes, over, under, Eddie runs into an armdrag, and another. Armbar held on. Eddie to his feet, but Rock with an elbow to the arm. Twisting. Eddie rolls out but Rock clotheslines him. Stomp. Whip, no Eddie with an armbar, Rock with a kick that clearly doesn't come close, whip, overhead belly to belly throw. Clothesline misses and Chavo hits a back suplex. Eddie grabbing his own back - stomp, right, kicks and now Eddie's are looking bad - they need to choose better camera angles. Right. Rock battling back with his own punches and getting the better of it - but Eddie knocks him down with a back elbow. Stomp. Right. Right. Right. Right. Right. Right. Right. Elbow to the head. Dropkick - only one foot connects but it down Rock anyway. Snap mare, chinlock. Rock battling up, right, right, right, right, off the ropes and Eddie hits a much better dropkick this time. One two no. Figure four sleeper! In their for a while - now Eddie grabs the ropes for leverages. Gets caught the second time and must break. Eddie with stomps and rights to the had - cover one two no. Back up and Rock with right, right, chop, chop, chop, whip, Eddie with a clothesline to take him down. Chinlock. Rock's losing it in there. Announcers putting over the Rock being weakened by the match last night - didn't Eddie have a match too? Arm raise - it drops. Arm raise #2 - it falls backwards. Arm Raise #3 - it stays up. Pulling Eddie by the hair, then getting up - right, right, right, Eddie's is block, Rock hits his. Again. Right, right, spit right. Kick, DDT one two no. Right. Corner whip, no reversed into a short clothesline by Eddie, but Rock kips up, and Eddie walks right into the Rock Bottom - counted into an armdrag and an Oklahoma roll one two NO! Rock misses a clothesline and Eddie hits a 'rana on him! Rock rests on the ropes, facing the outside. Eddie tries to jump the ropes but they're shaking too much from Rock leaning on them, so it takes two tries for the jumping out of the ring snap on the ropes. Eddie going all the way up - no time to even say how he's feeling - FROG SPLASH MISSES. Rock up and ready - Eddie sees him, charges, spinebuster. Elbow pad off, off the ropes, off the ropes, People's Elbow. One two three. (8:32) Rock celebrates, but Brock is back out and he's got grabbing the belt. Rock sees him, but Brock is just looking at him holding the belt. Stareoff - Rock is ready to go if Brock makes a move, but he keeps looking at the belt and looking at the Rock. Rock is just looking at him. Holding the belt out - then throwing it to the mat. And now he's walking out - meeting Paul E. on the ramp. Well thanks for that. Rock stares at him all the way up, then gets his belt and back to posing.

Outside, Eric is out to the Stephanie. Stephanie says she's going to kick him in the testicles, and Eric dares her to bring it on. Stephanie get out of the limo and Eric does Karate Kid poses. Meanwhile, Brock and Paul E. are here and Eric is too stupid to figure out what's going on until they get into the limo. The limo almost drives away before Stephanie can get in her parting shot. Eric yells as the car drives away, and there's the credits.

Why they bother continuing Undertaker/Brock if Brock was leaving? This show, so confusing.


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PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
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PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
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PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
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PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
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PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
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RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28




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