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Night of the Sequel: It's March 
All Over Again!
April 22, 2003

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com


Big Danny T. is out today... and in fact, he's only got a week or two left before he becomes Exclusive Property of Stephanie McMahon's SmackDown.  Rather than cart out some stop-gap measure or hastily announce a permanent replacement who'll be gone in a month and a half, I'm just gonna do RAW myself this week.

Hell, I used to be a good recapper (I think so, anyway, after going back and reading a bunch of my old shit while looking for NFD Redux pieces).  I just got into bad habits: now, the only things I recap are PPVs, and you folks DEMAND that those be ready practically before the event ends.  There's very little time for transcription, blow-by-blow, or actual wit when you're focusing every ounce of your energy on maintaining your 45 words-per-minute average and turning out a factually-accurate product inside an hour or so!

So we'll see if this is any fun (or any good) when I take a little longer to do a recap...  but rest assured, I plan on finding somebody good and committed to take over for Danny before too long.  Because frankly, this seems like a good idea tonight, when I actually got to watch RAW in real time with no beverage to slake my thirst besides red-flavored, Equal™-sweetened, Kroger-brand "Drink-Aid."  Which is a far cry from most Monday nights when I'm stuck popping in a tape at midnight after four hours of band-practice-level boozing.  For once, I've got time and my full faculties...  not something I can count on happening again with regularity.

It's all the more motivation to find someone good (really good), and committed for the long haul, and to find him fast.  Know of anyone?  Not named CRZ?

Here goes...

Cold Open:  Backstage

Ric Flair is in Eric Bischoff's office.  Flair wants to know what's up with Bischoff booking Triple H in a title match against Booker T with only one week's notice.  Bischoff says it's all about putting on "compelling television."  And to that end, Bischoff also says he's got another idea:  Shawn Michaels will be the special guest referee for the WM19 rematch between Booker T and HHH!

"Compelling TV", eh, Bisch?  How's about you let US be the judge of that?

Flair is not impressed by Bischoff's reasoning, and starts flying off the handle.  Bischoff tells him "Tough shit" (paraphrasing, of course), and tells him to go take his aggressions out somewhere else.

After the opening credits and a few introductory thoughts from Jerry Lawler and Jonathan Coachman, we're LIVE in Atlanta, GA for...

Chris Jericho vs. The Hurricane

We briefly recap Hurricane's pinfall win over Flair from last week (hmmmm...), and then it's Jump Start City: Hurricane dashes into the ring, and we're off. Hurricane controls for a minute or two, culminating in a springboard senton thingie to the outside of the ring onto Jericho.  On commentary, Coach is suggesting that maybe the Hurricane really IS a superhero... and Lawler, in his only really clever moments of the night, suggests that Coach stop trying to convince King that Hurricane is really a superhero, and start trying to convince himself that he is actually a commentator.  Zing.

Jericho, meanwhile, has gained the offensive edge in the ring, and the crowd shows its first sign of life, with a healthy "Jericho Sucks" chant.  Hurricane's hope spots include a DDT out of nowhere, dodging the Lionsault, and hitting a chokeslam after reversing a top rope move by Jericho.  That last one had the crowd going: they thought Hurricane might get the pin.  But no...  Jericho made his comeback a minute or so later, locked in the Walls of Jericho, and got the submission win.

Winner: Jericho by tap-out, about 6 minutes-ish.

After the match, Ric Flair -- no doubt looking to heed Bischoff's suggestion about taking his aggressions out on someone else, and having had his memory conveniently jogged by the pre-match video footage -- stormed the ring and attacked the already-spent Hurricane.  Flair locked the kid in the Figure Four until officials broke it up.

Backstage:  The Rock, armed with guitar, arrives in an absolutely massive hummer limo.  I'm not sure whether to make a "hummer" joke or a "he's obviously overcompensating for something" joke... so I'll do neither.  I'll just say that the Rock wasted no time telling us the fans were not "Boo"-ing, they were instead excited about how spectacular Rock Concert "Two" would be.  And also that we should stop looking at his ass.  I guess I'd be worried, too, if somebody tipped me off that wrestling's 90% male audience was fixated on my ass, so....

The Theodore Long Five Minute White Boy Challenge

Teddy Long comes out with Rodney Mack, and informs us all that the only way he could get a spot on RAW for his client was to issue an open challenge.  In this case, it's the "Five Minute White Boy Challenge" in which Mack will face and defeat any Caucasian in under five minutes (or else, I presume, he goes back to Heat?).

In any case, Mack hits the ring and has no trouble dismissing an unnamed white opponent.  It's squash-tastic, and in fact, Mack worked so fast that he barely left Long enough time (as guest commentator) to squeeze in the accusation that Coach drinks "Hater-ade" along with our suggested FDA daily value of 97 "playas"...

Winner: Rodney Mack in under 2 minutes.

Backstage:  Booker T confronts Shawn Michaels.  Booker wants Shawn to know that what happened last week (Booker, intending to hit HHH, struck Shawn) was an accident.  Shawn isn't 100% sold.  So Booker goes to Plan B.  He throws a bone to smarks everywhere by remembering that it was about 10 months ago IN THIS VERY BUILDING, where the nWo, led by Michaels and a superkick, turned on Booker.  So, Booker figures, his inadvertent shot last week makes him and Shawn even.  Even: just how he expects Shawn to call the main event match.

Earlier Today: a zero-content video package of Goldberg mingling with some troops at Atlanta's Ft. McSomethingorother was taped.

In-Ring Promo: Lita

Coach is in the ring, and introduces Lita.  Lita comes in to a real nice pop, and tells us that it's been far too long since she's been inside a WWE ring... but it won't be much longer.  Lita says just last week, her doctor cleared her to....

Then Eric Bischoff interrupts.  He excuses Coach, and starts filling in some of the blanks that Lita didn't quite get to.  But only after giving Lita the patented Vince McMahon Creepy Old Guy Ogle.  Then it's on to business:  Apparently, Lita's doctor has only cleared her to start training. She can't actually wrestle for two months.  And in the interim period, she is "worthless" to Eric.  Unless, maybe, she wants to help him get the same kind of publicity for RAW that Torrie Wilson has gotten for SmackDown...

Lita sees where this is going, and says that while she's very happy for Torrie's success, she would only do a Playboy lay-out on her own terms.  Not because her boss told her to.  Bischoff tried backing off, saying "Of course I don't want you to do something you're uncomfortable with" out of one side of his mouth, while trying to MAKE Lita comfortable with it by holding her job and her paycheck hostage.  Bischoff suggests Lita drop by his hotel room later tonight for an "audition," at which point, Lita's had enough.  She tells Bischoff to go to hell, and walks out.  Bischoff, rather after the fact, announces she is fired.

Backstage:  Triple H plays tough, telling Flair he's not concerned about having to defend against Booker.  But he is worried about Shawn Michaels' agenda.  Flair settles him down and says he'll take care of getting some "insurance."

Vignette: Mr. America is coming.  And Hulk Hogan hears he's awesome.

Test and Scott Steiner vs. Three Minute Warning

Scott Nowinski is on guest commentary, randomly tossing in some anti-Steiner comments, but mostly just cementing the storyline development that he paid 3MW to be at last week's debate for "security," and that he's keeping them on the payroll this week to take care of Steiner.

Best parts of this match were mild "Holy Shit" moments when Steiner was able to do a big suplex on Jamal, and Test was able to hit the same man with a pump-handle slam.  Hey, I never said those two weren't strong.  Mostly tepid action, though, to set up the finish, which had Stacy Keibler neutralizing attempted interference from Rico, only to be kicked to the mat outside the ring.  Steiner went over and demolished Rico, and then tended to poor Stacy.  Test saw this, and got pissy (hey, he remembers a month ago and Steiner did the same thing!  Positively AMAZING wherewithal from a guy who thought Goldust was the perfect confidant to help him deceive his girlfriend about his masturbatory patterns!), and promptly lost the advantage.  Steiner was all business, though, and quickly blind-tagged himself back into the ring while Test was crumbled in the (wrong, completely illegal) corner, and then hit Jamal with a sideslam out of nowhere to get the pinfall win.  On commentary, Nowinski muses about perhaps docking 3MW's pay for their ineffective work.  On this website, I muse that if Nowinski got this rematch booked on Heat, 3MW would be a shoe-in to win!

Winners: Steiner and Test, when Steiner pinned Jamal, at about the 5 minute mark.  

Backstage (1): Stacey tries to explain to Test that Steiner was helping her, and deserves a "Thank you."  Test is still not a happy camper.

Backstage (2): Kevin Nash confronts Eric Bischoff, saying that Bischoff coaxed him back by promising that he'd be reunited with both his former Clique buddies, HHH and HBK.  Bischoff claims that he can't control the way things happen sometimes, and that now, it looks like Nash will have to pick a side.  Nash says he doesn't like getting jerked around like this, but that, OK, he'll pick a side.  The winning side.  HIS side.  Which is just down the road from Arn Anderson's Spot, I bet.

Backstage (3): Rock is tuning up his guitar, and has nothing illuminating to tell Terri when she tries to interview him.  Other than another vague admonition about not looking at his ass.  

Rock Concert II

The Rock took to the ring for a night of song... and promptly put his guitar aside and sing only a capella all night long.  You know something: I'm starting to think that maybe the Rock's not as good a guitar player as he'd like us to believe.  I challenge him to a duel!  And then Hogan, you're next: You, Me, Bass Off.  At the Hot House.

Anyway, Rock gets mostly babyface heat at first.  That gives way to a mild "Goldberg" chant, which gives way to some "boos" as Rock flips the Total Prick switch into the "on" position.  But it's still mostly mixed reactions throughout the rest of the night for Rock.

Rock does two a capella renditions of "Georgia on My Mind" (one about the inbred nature of most Georgia residents, the other running down "Whisker Biscuit" himself, Goldberg).  Then, the Rock announces, he has a surprise:  Goldberg didn't want to come out and entertain his hometown fans in Atlanta, but the Rock really wanted him there in person to hear each and every note of the Rock Concert.  So he personally brought Goldberg to RAW, and...

Hey, wait:  that's Gillberg!  Gillberg -- complete with facial spasms and pasty, doughy physique -- makes it to the ring to "Gillberg" chants that are about as equally loud as the previous "Goldberg" chants (uh oh).  Rock invites "Goldberg" to enjoy his next number, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," which has, of course, been altered to make fun of Goldberg AND his mother.  Gillberg dances around like a coked-up mental patient on Hee Haw until...

Goldberg -- the real one -- arrives backstage in a sporty Barracuda, and immediately makes for the ring.  Hey, there's some full-strength "Goldberg" chants; whew!  Rock rapidly theorizes that Goldberg must be here to get revenge for all those years of mocking Gillberg has engaged in.  He calls security out to the ring, and they form a protective barrier.  But not really.  Goldberg storms the ring, cutting through the security guards like a single under-motivated unit of Liechtenstein's special forces through France. And no, he wasn't going after Gillberg: he was going after the Rock, who immediately powdered out.  Security tried to detain Goldberg, but he threw them all out of the ring.  Then, Gillberg made an ill-advised attempt to take out Goldberg.  Goldberg no sold the attack, but while he was distracted by Gillberg, the Rock swooped in and knocked him down from behind.  

Rock beat a hasty retreat backstage, and Goldberg followed.  Cameras catch up just in time to see Goldberg come into frame as the Rock's big, long Hummer limo pulled out.  So Goldberg got in his 'Cuda, and tried to do a bad-ass peel out in pursuit.  He succeeded only in stalling the car.  [Hilarious stolen joke omitted; I was just the fence, I swear. I sold it to Matt.]  So after 10 seconds of awkwardly trying to restart the car, Goldberg just got out and ran out of the building on foot.  The Rock, meanwhile, emerged from some hiding place still inside the arena, making it clear that he had so totally tricked Goldberg into leaving the building.

Vignette: Those two French Guys are coming.  And The Rick hears they're really Canadians.  [You can tell because (a) they appear to be familiar with basic hygiene and grooming techniques, and (b) if you freeze frame during one part, you could TOTALLY see them watching hockey play-offs instead of shitty, pretentious movies!]

Trish Stratus and Spike Dudley vs. ????

Chief Morley comes out and says that he's got some very special opponents for Trish and Spike... they are proven, loyal members of his administration... and they are his hand-picked Tag Team Title challengers for this Sunday's PPV...  they are:

The Dudley Boyz vs. Trish Stratus/Spike Dudley

Bubba immediately decimates Spike with a powerbomb, but D-Von will not attack Trish, no matter how much Morley eggs him on.  Finally, while Trish is keeping an eye on D-Von and Chief, Bubba comes out of nowhere to flatten her with an Avalanche splash.  Morley now says that Duds have to put Trish through a table, but D-Von can't do it, telling Bubba to get his own damn table.  Before the Dudley situation can come to blows, the tag champs, RVD and Kane run out.  They effectively take care of brawling with Morley and the Dudleys at ringside, but Trish is still KO'ed in the ring.  So Jazz runs in and takes advantage, doing that elevated Chicken Wing-y thing and then dropping Trish onto the table that was in the ring.

Winner:  None, the match never started.  But hey, we got our PPV tag match signed and a little more heat on the women's title feud.

Backstage 1:  The Rock tells a crew guy to go get the ring ready for part two of the "Rock Concert," which he promises will go down without any further hitches now that that idiot Goldberg has been ditched.

Backstage 2:  HHH and Kevin Nash are deep in conversation in the bowels of the arena.  But we are too far away, and are not privy to the discussion.  Eh, it was probably about which conditioners they prefer, anyway.

Rock Concert II.V

Rock -- again, a capella, that hack -- started in on a version of "Nobody Does it Better," when Goldberg came in through the crowd.  Goldberg got one good shot in on the Rock before Christian was in the ring, running interference.  That gave Rock enough time to grab a steel chair and whack Goldberg good in the head.

Rock followed up with another half dozen or so solid shots with the chair, leaving Goldberg knocked down and the chair mangled.  Rock, proud of his handiwork, slowly left the ring while his music played... but by the time he was on top of the ramp, Goldberg had already woozily gotten to his feet, a fact that the announcers played up as absolutely incredible.

What I found incredible is that, for the first time that I can recall, The Rock "broke character" by mentioning himself in the first person!  In the course of his made up lyrics, I think I caught both a "me" and an "I."  You're slipping, Rocky!

Backstage:  Triple H, with an introduction from Kevin Nash, goes into Shawn Michaels dressing room for a conversation that, once again, we are not invited to witness.  Eh, it was probably just Shawn trying to get HHH to accept Jesus as his conditioner, anyway.

Triple H vs. Booker T II
(World Title Match)

Shawn Michaels is your special ref.  We start introductions for this match at about 10:44, eastern.  By the time the two wrestlers and the ref make ring entrances, it's six minutes later, but we've still got roughly 18 minutes to work with.  That's what I'm talking about!

Early stages are a feeling out process, and the announcers take the chance to build up the storyline side: circumstantial evidence has them assuming Nash made peace with HHH and Michaels, and that Booker's got the deck stacked against him.  Very early on, Flair tries to intervene on HHH's behalf, and Booker takes him out.  This immediately brings out Chris Jericho, who we must assume is Flair's "insurance policy," who manages to get in a few shots on Booker while Michaels is distracted by HHH (or is the "distraction" intentional on HBK's part, we are led to wonder).  On that speculative note, we take a commercial break, and come back to...

HHH still in control.  And Coach and King are still wondering if Michaels and HHH might be in cahoots, and if that means Nash is with them...  HHH kills some time with a sleeper, and immediately afterwards, we have Booker power-out and hit a big leg lariat.  Both men are down for the token 9 count (which only gets up to about 6), and then we enter End Game.  Booker hits a big kick to counter HHH coming off the top rope (impressive spot).  Then Booker hit the ax kick, but by the time he got done taking care of Flair and Jericho, HHH was able to kick out at 2.  Booker then set up for the Harlem Hangover (or something), but HHH was barely able to shove Michaels into the ropes, causing Book to crotch himself on the top turnbuckle.  HHH got a near fall with that, but Booker rallied again, and had HHH down after another ax kick.  But Michaels was distracted by Flair, while Jericho ran in and plastered Booker with the World Title belt.  Michaels turned around, and started to make the count... but then he saw the title belt in the ring, and stops counting to confront HHH about the incriminating evidence. Tempers between the two suspected "friends" flare, and HBK shows his true colors by hitting HHH with the Sweet Chin Music.  Booker tried pinning HHH after this, and Michaels counted to two before Flair and Jericho both got in the ring and broke it up by jumping on Michaels.  At this point, it just became a big brawl, and I assume the match officially became a No Decision here.

Kevin Nash walked out to the ring, and his first move was to check on HHH, who said, "Hey, I'm gonna be OK here, but what's up with your boy Shawn, huh?"  Nash was all "Alright, just let me check on him.  You just chill."  So Nash went over to Michaels, who was down following the brawl... at which point HHH clipped his knee from behind, effectively making Big Kev's choice for him.  HHH grabbed his belt and left to his music and Nash and Michaels commiserated together as the show came to a close.

Winner:  None, following a no decision at about the 16 minute mark.

RAW OOpinion
(a/k/a "The Cliff's Notes version of the same basic material you'll probably have to slog through in Wednesday's OO")

Hated the non-finish.  Really over-booked for something so anti-climactic... you get that much stuff going on, and SOMEthing should happen.  But it didn't.  It just established that Booker T is still an afterthought compared to the Clique and that the six-man tag match -- which we were told about a week ago -- will happen as scheduled at the PPV.  Oooh: the big finish is that the match we were already promised is still happening.  Sorry, but there was just not enough work done to make HHH's "betrayal" of Nash seem like a satisfying climax to a match that had no winner.

No substantive complaints about the preceding two hours and 5 minutes, though.  I think the worst I could say is that I have no optimism about the prospects of Test vs. Steiner, but hey, even their issue is an offshoot of cogent storytelling and recognition of established history.  Jericho/Hurricane?  Good match, right finish (including Flair's attack, which should keep Hurricane on the radar for a while longer)...  the White Boy Challenge?  Not PC, but kind of funny; short, too, which might be just the way to sneak Mack onto RAW to see if he'll catch on...  Lita to SmackDown (I'm assuming)? Right for storyline reasons, dubious for in-ring reasons, so we'll say the jury's still out there...  Rock Concert II and II.V?  They sorta tweaked the formula I laid out in Monday's OO, but c'mon, that was some pretty funny stuff, and I totally agree with letting the Rock get in some good shots on Goldberg before the PPV, too; Gillberg in addition to Christian was the one twist I didn't see coming, and it was a much-appreciated nod to history (though I'd sort of hoped they'd hold Gillberg back until Jericho could use him as ammo in a feud against Goldberg)....  and lastly, the "intergender" match?  That was a nice way to add depth to the Duds relationships with each other and with Morley, with RVD and Kane coming out to (a) maintain the ambiguity by interrupting while (b) putting some heat on the PPV tag title feud.

Danny's back for another week or two, and then... who knows?


SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
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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