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And the Wiener Is...
November 12, 2002

by Christopher Robin Zimmerman  Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


So, last week, I promised that I was only doing the RAW Recap ONE TIME, while I awaited the arrival of CRZ's hand-picked replacement.  So here we are a week later, and OO's RAW Recapper is...

Me, again.

Trust me, this is not some sick running joke.  There really is somebody waiting in the wings to take over this gig.  The stars simply did not align correctly this week.  Want the whole explanation?

In any case, since it turned out that people actually did like my way-shorter-than-CRZ-would-ever-have-permitted recap from last week -- and since the OOutage yesterday meant I didn't actually write a Monday column -- I figured, what the hell?  I'll do the recap again this week.

Same deal:  straight recap in black, editorial content in italicized red.  So whether you just want to know what happened, or whether you saw the show and just want an opinionated mini-rant on the show, you'll find what you need below.


  • No video packages or any backstage silliness to start, just the opening theme and pyro, and then...
  • Rob Van Dam and Kane defeated Chris Jericho and Christian via disqualification (so Jericho and Christian retain the tag titles).  Fast start to the match, with RVD hitting a couple big spots, and then tagging out to Kane for some domination.  Then RVD was back in, and for an extended period, the champs stayed in control.  Kane got a hot tag, but Jericho quickly short circuited the house-afire act, using a tag belt to KO RVD in all the chaos while the ref was distracted.  Kane kept on plugging away, though, and seemed to have Christian pinned for the win when Jericho just gave up and blatantly pasted Kane with a chairshot in front of the ref to cause the DQ.  [One of those cheap finishes that tells a good story: Jericho is out for himself, and that means holding on to tag gold by any means necessary as well as taking out his Elimination Chamber opponents with foreign objects.  And the match itself: very good, seemingly 6-7 minutes long and without and slow spots.]
  • Backstage 1: Terri interviewed Chris Jericho, who said he's taking out all the other Elimination Chamber wrestlers tonight and that he alone will win the World Title at Survivor Series.  When Christian chimes in that if anyone can't wrestle in the Elimination Chamber, he'll "get their spot," Jericho punked him out and said only HE (Jericho) will win the title.
  • Backstage 2: Gregory Helms, Ace Reporter, interviewed Booker T, who very briefly talked about facing Triple H later in the night before Goldust interrupted and mentioned something about Testicles (Goldust and Hurricane are slated to face Test and Steven Richards later tonight).  [First backstage bit was very effective; the second, well, both Goldust and Booker have had better outings.]
  • Jeff Hardy beat Lance Storm.  William Regal was at ringside for Storm, and interfered in his behalf sporadically.  This resulted in Tommy Dreamer coming out to aid Hardy.  Dreamer's interference eventually led to Jeff getting the opening necessary to hit the Swanton for the pinfall.  [A pretty solid 5 minutes; a missed spot or two by Jeff and the sort of left-field inclusion of Dreamer were the only holes.]
  • Backstage: Eric Bischoff summoned Terri to his office, and told her that she had a match tonight against Victoria.  Eric said he assumed she'd want revenge from last week, but Terri said she wanted no part of "that psycho."  Eric said either Terri would go to the ring (where Victoria was, by now, waiting), or she would lose her job.
  • So, Terri went to the ring, and tried to convince Victoria that there was no reason to have a match.  Terri admitted that Victoria was the "better woman" and said that after last week, she had nothing left to prove.  Victoria said, "OK we don't have to have the match," but decided she still wanted to dismantle Terri anyway.  Something about her pretty blond hair and so on and so forth reminds her of Trish, apparently.  In the midst of a very-convincing looking beat-down, Trish Stratus herself finally showed up and prevented Victoria from using a ladder to further decimate Terri.  Officials quickly swarmed and pulled the women apart, though, before they could tease us with any more brawling preview for their PPV hardcore match.  [Actually a very effective segment, from Terri not wanting anything to do with Victoria, to Victoria taking Terri apart -- it's nice to see Terri's still got that rag-doll sell-job, circa her 1996 run-in with Chyna, down to a T -- to Trish's save.  It all builds interest in a women's hardcore style match that could actually be very good (or at the very least, unique).  I mean, assuming that Victoria has no reason to pick up a microphone on Sunday, that is.]
  • Backstage:  Ric Flair offered up some bland pleasantries to Dave Batista, who barely registered a response to the living legend.  [Um, I guess this is a textbook example of "we'll have to wait and see."  As it was, utterly pointless.  As the basis for a future storyline, perhaps, there could be something here...]
  • Batista proceeded to squash D'Lo Brown in under 90 seconds.  He used a sit-out powerbomb as his finisher again this week. [Hey, I'll give Project Batista a chance, I guess... but did it have to be D'Lo?  C'mon, people...]
  • Shawn Michaels hit the ring for a promo.  He briefly referenced his "beliefs," but didn't get too religion-y on us before spouting off that he also believes in retribution.  As such, his main focus on Sunday is going to be making sure that HHH does not retain the World Title.  But, as a footnote, Shawn also mentioned that he believes (TESTIFY!) that he can win the gold one more time.  Before he could expand on that thought, HHH interrupted, and said that no matter what Shawn believes, HE (HHH) is God inside the ring.  This led to a physical altercation, which HHH got the better of, eventually landing a Pedigree.  But before HHH could take out Shawn with a sledgehammer, officials stormed the ring to break it up.  [Nice attempt to lend some logic to Shawn's participation -- him being mostly out to stop HHH, and not so much to win the title himself -- and well-delivered, for the most part.  The jury is still out on how "cool" and likable Michaels can be in his Born Again role, but I thought he toed the line perfectly last night: referencing what he "believes" in an oblique sort of way, but not bashing us over the head with unnecessary religion, a la Jake Roberts about 6 years ago.]
  • Three Minute Warning beat Bubba and Spike Dudley.  TMW had Rico, and the Duds were accompanied by Jeff Hardy, as it was announced before the match that those six would have a six-man tables match at the PPV this Sunday.  Rico took out Spike, and when Jeff went over to take care of Rico, Rosie and Jamal were able to team up on Bubba long enough to hit the Super Samoan Drop and get the pinfall.  After the match, Jeff and Spike were stacked up like cordwood on a table, and Jamal delivered a phat-ass splash off the top rope to put them both through it.  [The match was only about 2 minutes, but it served its purpose in terms of setting up the PPV match.  Though it also re-raised the question of why Tommy Dreamer was involved in Jeff's shit earlier, when THIS was the more pressing storyline for Hardy?]
  • An extended remix of the Scott Steiner promo aired, and this time, the Cincinnati crowd seemed to respond very loudly to it (as opposed to last week's near silence).  The announcers strongly encouraged Steiner to come to RAW, and also revealed that Steiner will be interviewed this weekend on Confidential, where he will reveal which brand he will join. [Sounds like SOMEbody desperately wants Confidential to break to 0.6 barrier this week, doesn't it?]
  • Chris Nowinski beat Al Snow.  The pre-match promo was more notable than the match, here, as Nowinski first told the Cinci crowd that after much thought, he was positive that Pete Rose deserved to be in the Hall of Fame (HUGE cheers).  Then he told them that he just tricked them into cheering him because they are all stupid sheep.  Then Snow's intro interrupted, and they had a 90 second match, which Nowinski won by rolling through a high cross body and putting his feet on the ropes for leverage.  Nowinski tried to beat Snow down again after the match, but Maven made the save. [Seriously, the match was a big fat nothing, and Maven's save was really sloppy -- about what you'd expect between two students.  But the promo was gold.  I'm sure it's been done before -- and I'm sure my opinion is affected by the SW-Ohio-centric content -- but Nowinski going for META-Heat could be a cool on-going gimmick.]
  • Eric Bischoff cut a quick promo on the entrance stage, explaining the Elimination Chamber.  First he gave us a look at a "making of the Chamber," which didn't really do much, except to provide some soundbites ("10 tons of steel!" or "2 miles of chain!").  For lack of any real solid visual record, the best description would seem to be "a big-ass steel dome."  But after that, Sleazy E did supply us with a few rules.  Inside the big chamber, the men would be locked into six mini-chambers.  Two men would be selected at random to start the match.  One of the mini-chambers would be opened at random every five minutes until all six men are involved in the match ("Release the Kraken"?), and the match would continue until five men had been eliminated via pinfall or submission.  The last man standing is the World Champ.  Bischoff closed by naming himself the most innovative and dynamic force in Sports Entertainment.  [OK, so it sounds like a convoluted cage match.  But Hell in the Cell was just "a cage with a roof," so I'm not about to judge this one on paper when I can just wait 5 days and see it in reality.]
  • Backstage 1: F-VIEW invaded Stacy Keibler's dressing room.  Steven Richards came in, and asked if she could help with his career, like she has with Test's.  Stacy said no, because her hands were full with the Testicles.  So Steven asked for "motivation" instead, which consisted of Stacy whacking him across the ass with the Singapore cane.  Stacy was unsure of how to respond to Richards' bizarre fetish, but Test arrived in the nick of time, took the cane, and walloped Richards good.
  • Backstage 2: actually, via satellite, I'm sure, it was the latest Breaking News from RNN.  Randy Orton suffered a set-back, as his shoulder sling caused some chafing.  Luckily, thanks to a combination of our support and his doctors' application of various ointments, salves, balms, and liniments, he's working as hard as ever to come back.  [The F-VIEW thing was not nearly as funny as I'm sure somebody thought it was, but it was short and harmless, and had the benefit of featuring Stacy's ass.  The RNN thing WAS funny, but I begin to wonder how many times they can recycle the same basic sort of humor before it grows tired.  Remember, Orton's still got 2 months before he can come back.]
  • Test and Steven Richards beat the Hurricane and Goldust.  Despite teased tension between Test and Richards, this was basically squash city for Test, who pinned Hurricane after that Roll of the Dice-esque move from last week.  When Richards tried to celebrate with Stacy after the win, Test laid him out with a big boot, and warned everybody to never touch his Testicles (pointing to a smiling Stacy).  [They're giving the goofiness of the "Testicle" gimmick a chance to meld in with Test's more-long-term-marketable size and ass-kicking ability; I'll give this one 2-3 more weeks of pointless squashes before I get too upset or bored with it.]
  • Backstage: Booker T and Triple H confronted each other in a hallway.  It ended with HHH promising to go through the five men in the Chamber, one-by-one.  He started with five fingers up, and lowered them until Booker was being shown only the middle one.  [Stone Cold Lives On!  Not really...]
  • Triple H pinned Booker in the main event.  Decent brawling style match, that seemed to be favoring Booker in the final moments.  But before he could seal the deal, we got a distraction from Ric Flair that allowed HHH to nail a low blow, which opened the door for the Pedigree and the pinfall.  Immediately after the match, Shawn Michaels ran in and attacked HHH.  In turn, Jericho came out, and made it a two-on-one against HBK until Kane and RVD both came out.  At this point, it was Train Wreck Central, with every combination between the six Elimination Chamber participants pairing off.  Minus, that is, Michaels, who was biding his time in a corner while everybody else eliminated each other.  Finally, it seemed to come down to Kane and Jericho.  But after Kane chokeslammed Jericho, Michaels bounded to his feet and laid Kane out with some Sweet Chin Music.  Unbeknownst to Michaels, though, HHH had recovered, and attacked.  But Michaels was able to reverse a Pedigree and hit one of his own to take out HHH.  And just as you thought RAW was about to end on a happy note, Jericho got his wits back, and pasted Michaels with a chairshot to end the show.  [Main event match was merely OK, but the post-match chaos was, I thought, really fun.  Everybody hit some big spots, the crowd was popping for it all, and the way it played out was far from "obvious."  Jericho being the last man standing adds another element of intrigue to the Chamber match, which is a good thing considering a week ago, I thought there were really only two legitimate potential winners inside the Chamber...]

After a pair of weeks of incremental improvement, RAW hit its stride last night with a show that would be good and watchable by any standards.  Not just compared to its own October shittiness (which is how we got away with being fairly positive about the past two weeks).

You had a trio of good wrestling matches (opener, Hardy/Storm, main event), you had some funny/effective promos and skits (Nowinski leaps to mind), and best of all, you had effective builds to at least three PPV matches (good hardcore "tease" in the women's division, a viable excuse for the tables match, and the Elimination Chamber not only got a good explaining courtesy of Bischoff but also the wild show-closing fracas).

And though we once again had a couple of somewhat pointless segments (character building for Batista and Test, again), there was, just like last week, nothing really bad on last night's show.  Since this week's good was better than last week's by a significant margin, I'd say that makes RAW an unqualified success this time 'round.

Looking at the more obvious possibilities, I'm guessing that SD! still fields three show-stealing matches of its own for the PPV, but RAW's done a much better job of formulating its own additions to the Survivor Series card than it has in months past.  But that's a discussion for another time.

Good show last night. 


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