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Expect the Expected!
November 5, 2002

by Christopher Robin Zimmerman  Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


In the absence of CRZ, who is revered, respected, and ready enough to take over the reigns of the RAW Recap?

Well, trust me, it ain't me.

But the logistics of our current situation dictate that CRZ's designated replacement cannot start work till next week's show.  I'll leave you in the dark as to who it will be.  Though I have a feeling you won't be too shocked.

So rather than tempt your tastebuds with some other stop gap solution for one week's time, I figured I'd just do this my own damn self, and then be done with it, so that next week we can open our new chapter.

In an attempt to deviate from my usual brisk, to-the-point, and finish-centric style used for PPV recaps, I'll try to make sure to fully recap all backstage segments, and to also editorialize a bit.  The bits where I tell you what I think will be red and in italics, so you can either take them or leave them, depending on what you like to get out of a TV recap.

So, with all that said, here's the run down of last night's RAW:

  • F-VIEW opened the show with footage of Eric Bischoff reviewing the tape of his kiss with Steph from SmackDown.  After he watched it, he looked...  forlorn?  [I told you they wouldn't leave well enough alone with that nonsense...]
  • After opening pyro/etc., Rosie and Jamal (now officially dubbed "Three Minute Warning" with all royalties being redirected to The Rick) beat Bubba Dudley and Jeff Hardy in the opening match.  Started off hot, with Jeff hitting the drop shot from the ring to the floor onto both J&R, then Bubba became your Babyface in Peril for several minutes.  After a hot tag to Jeff, things broke loose, as Rico tried to interfere (but was interrupted when Spike Dudley ran out).  Bubba and Rosie wound up getting tangled up in an outside the ring fracas, too, though Rosie was able to extricate himself just long enough to shove Jeff Hardy (going for a Swanton) off the top rope, into the waiting arms of Jamal.  After the Super Samoan Drop, Jeff was pinned.  [About 5-6 minutes, and a solid opener.  Even more welcome simply due to the fact that after last week, RAW actually opened with a wrestling match instead of a painful 20 minute yuk-fest.]
  • Backstage, Victoria welcomed Ivory back to RAW, and then promptly went into a diatribe about the scars and bruises she plans to put on Trish's pretty little body at Survivor Series.  Ivory tried to point out that she's got a shot at Trish later tonight before Victoria's shot, but Victoria just kept babbling as she walked away.  [Olivier she's not, so having Victoria conveying her psycho status in actions, rather than words, might be the right play...  on the other hand, I got no qualms with Ivory finally back on TV after however long it's been.]
  • Trish Stratus beat Ivory in a 4 minute women's match.  Victoria came to the commentary table, but said nothing during the entire match.  Trish won with a bulldog, and when she was walking back, Victoria pelted her with water bottle, which sparked a brawl on top of the stage.  [Decent match, and a good intense post-match brawl.  I'll have to let you know later if I prefer Ivory's new Side Hatch pants, or the old Rear View Window pants.  Things of that import require much contemplation.]
  • Backstage, F-VIEW picked up Victoria returning to the women's locker room, where she immediately got into an argument with Terri.  Victoria then decided to relieve Terri of her clothes, and had her down to a bra and thong when...
  • RNN interrupted with an Injury Update on Randy Orton.  He's up to 32% mobility in his injured right shoulder, and it's all thanks to YOU, the fans at home.  [F-VIEW and RNN both served their purposes here: one delivered some titilation while building Victoria's character, the other got some laughs as it furthered Orton as a heel.]
  • Backstage, Bischoff lambasted a techie guy for putting an F-VIEW camera in his locker room just as HHH and Ric Flair walked in.  HHH is upset that he's being over-taxed by Bischoff, what with all these coffin matches and elimination chambers.  Bischoff tells him he's just showcasing him because he knows, deep down, that HHH is the best in the business.  HHH is not sold, and says he's the Franchise, and that Bischoff better not be "under the influence" of anyone.  At this juncture, Flair plays the videotape of Bischoff kissing Steph, just to underscore HHH's insinuation. [A zero content segment, if you ask me.  Ripping on Bischoff doesn't make HHH a bigger heel, and all this going back to The Kiss can only lead to obnoxious garbage.]
  • Lance Storm and William Regal beat Al Snow and Tommy Dreamer.  Before the match, Storm's pre-match promo was interrupted by Scott Steiner's music and video on the TitanTron (which drew, well, a tepid response, it seemed like).  A very brief match... it felt like maybe 3 minutes, and not a whole lot happened.  Match ended out of nowhere when Regal kicked Dreamer in the face, and Storm got the pin.  [Sure, the kick looked/sounded pretty stiff, but surely, there's gonna have to be more to this apparent anti-climax?]
  • Backstage, Stacy Keibler once again tried to sell Test on her new -- ahem -- nutty marketing scheme.  Test seemed as disintered in "testicles" as he did in Stacy's ass when she bent over to pick up some fan mail.  [I guess he's desensitized? The bastard.]  Finally, he relented, and as part of the new scheme, Stacy brought in someone to cut Test's hair.  [I have no idea what a haircut as to do with "testicles," so I guess this was just a little mini angle to placate the smarts who read all about Test's misadventure a few weeks back...]
  • Dave Batista squashed Justin Credible in under 2 minutes, pinning him with a sit-out powerbomb.  [So Batista gets a win AND a first name...  big night for the guy!]
  • Triple H hit the ring for a promo, promising to retire Shawn Michaels for good inside the Elimination Chamber, en route to retaining his World Title.  He called HBK out to the ring, but instead of Michaels, Booker T came out and said HE was going to take the World Title.  A few catchphrases later -- hey, you gotta Hate the Game! -- and Chris Jericho came out to tell his side of the story.  Eventually, Jericho and HHH realized that they are partners later on RAW against Booker and Kane, but Kane isn't there.  So they decide to double team Booker.  Until Kane makes the dramatic (read: predictable) save.  [Actually a very effective segment in which Booker T might have been the biggest winner.  He looked and sounded like championship material when paired up verbally against HHH.]
  • Test beat the Hurricane.  Pretty much just a showcase for Test and his new haircut.  Hurricane tried to rally, but when he foolishly went for the chokeslam, Test countered and went for a new finisher that looked ripped off directly from Reno's old "Roll of the Dice."  [Another tepid segment that accomplished what it need to, even if it lacked some sizzle.]
  • After a new Chris Jericho tribute video, Jericho was spotted backstage bragging to Christian about how he'll be the new World Champion.  Christian talked about his upcoming match versus Rob Van Dam, and how if he beats and injures RVD, Bischoff will put HIM (Christian) into the elimination chamber so that he can be World Champion.  This leads to a humorous bit of debate between the tag champs, before Jericho decides to leave the locker room in frustration.  
  • Jericho walked out of the locker room and directly in an F-VIEW camera shot.  He walked into HHH and Flair, who tried to warn him about Shawn Michaels interfering in their match later.  Jericho declared that that was their problem, not his, and further got under HHH's skin by referencing Bischoff making out with his ex-wife. [The first bit, with Jericho and Christian, was really funny.  The second bit was again "zero content," and felt mostly like an excuse to remind us that Shawn Michaels is hanging around the building.]
  • Rob Van Dam beat Christian.  This one last about seven minutes, and was pretty action-packed.  Crowd didn't seem to buy Christian as a legit threat to beat RVD, but it didn't stop the two from busting ass.  RVD got the win with a Five Star.  [Good match, nothing to complain about here.]
  • Chris Nowinski hit the ring for a promo.  At first, he talked about how much he had looked forward to returning to Boston.  Then he turned the crowd by telling them how far downhill the city has slid since he left.  After Nowinski was done badmouthing Ted Williams, Larry Bird, and Nomar Garciaparra, Al Snow finally came out to interrupt.  But Snow was only the distraction, so that Maven could sneak up behind Nowinski and attack.  [Maven's return seemed to add some sizzle to the otherwise pointless Snow/Nowinski feud, and this little segment was a lot of fun.  So was it Ivory and Maven in return for Big Show?  Or is there more to come?]
  • Backstage, Goldust is pestering Kane about his teaming up with Booker, and Kane snaps and grabs Goldust by the throat.  Booker arrives in the nick of time, and calms things down, getting Kane to focus on the match tonight.  Hilarity also ensues when Goldust admits to a wee bout of necrophilia ("I was young.  And stupid!") in his past, and Kane stole Booker's delayed "Sucka" line.  [In this case, pointless, yes.  But also funny enough that you don't notice.]
  • Main event time, and Booker T and Kane beat Triple H and Jericho, when Booker pinned HHH.  Good action here, and decent heat, too, all eventually leading up to a ref bump at the 10 minute mark.  With the ref out, and Jericho/Kane occupied at ringside, HHH set up Booker for the Pedigree.  But Shawn Michaels ran out and nailed HHH with the Sweet Chin Music.  Booker covered and Shawn tossed the ref back into the ring to deliver the three count.  And just like that, JR can sell us on both Booker and Michaels having pinfall wins over the Champ in recent months!  [Another "no complaints" sort of match.  Good action, and the right finish, I think.]
  • Michaels then closed the show by cutting a promo on the top of the stage: he announced that yes, he will be joining the line-up for the Elimination Chamber match, and that it is now his intention to not just beat Triple H, but to walk out of MSG as the new World's Heavyweight Champion.  [Completely expected, but well delivered.]

Hey, how about that?  The worst I can say about RAW is that -- at times -- it was a bit boring or predictable.  But they effectively excised most of the Stupid Factor, which is a huge step in the right direction.  My only lingering anxiety comes from where they're going to go with Bischoff/Stephanie... at least when we had the Angle/Steph/HHH love triangle thing going on, it was merely soap-opera-ish.  This thing threatens to be soap-opera-ish AND downright creepy thanks to Sleazy E's participation...

But I digress.  Last night's RAW was about as good as they've had, from top to bottom, in over a month.  Yes, they had to use sort of bland segments (like squashes for Test and Batista, and the Snow/Dreamer vs. Regal/Storm match) to fill up time, but what you need to realize is that once they do some character building the RIGHT way (with the occasional squash match to convey dominance or to introduce a new move/style/look), we won't look at segments like that the same way.

I mean, I'd rather they do it this way than by simply trying to shock us with some outlandish crap like Test waxing his scrotum live in the ring as part of his new marketing plan.  Don't you agree?

RAW was very good at times, and at its worst, it was merely blandly predictable.  After a month of corpse-fucking and anal probings, I will take that, my friends, and be very happy.


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