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Making Lemonade
August 5, 2003

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com


On one hand, you've got Shane McMahon coming back to spice things up.  On another, you've got the uncertain health statuses of both Triple H and Kevin Nash... with RAW needed a good, fun show to get off a two week string of flat, tepid efforts, they didn't necessarily have the deck stacked completely in their favor.

So the hope I had going in to last night's RAW was this: that they play to their strengths and act wisely to mask deficiencies.  And you know what?  I think that's almost exactly how things went down.  You need look no further than at the tack taken by the Fed to redesign the SummerSlam main event in the face of uncertainty over HHH's condition.  I'd say that they ended up with an upgrade in terms of match quality, while also melding in a few storylines that will boost interest in the main event, while also allowing them to hold back on various singles matches until the next RAW-only PPV.  Very beneficial move all around.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves.  Let's run down last night's RAW in order:

Video Package: all the Kane, Shane, Vince, and Austin you can handle from the previous week.  Kane's crazy, Shane wants revenge, Vince wasn't too upset at Kane, and Austin's gonna stay a GM.

Opening credits/pyro/etc, and then a few quick comments from The Coach and the King, who hype Goldberg vs. Ric Flair as our main event later tonight.

Shane McMahon Promo

Shane hits the ring to open the show, and after dancing around for a bit, reveals that it is his intention to be right up in Kane's face from now until the end of time, and that he doesn't care how big a monster Kane is, he (Shane) will make his life a living hell.  This brought out Eric Bischoff, who says he sympathizes with Shane, but that he comes bearing bad news.  You see, Eric talked to Vince over the weekend, and Vince has ordered Bischoff to sign Kane vs. Rob Van Dam at SummerSlam.  And further more, if Shane thinks he can get his revenge tonight on RAW, he can forget about it, because Vince also wants Shane banned from the building.  Shane refused, and challenged Eric to make him leave... and Eric kind of puffed up and reminded us that he's Mr. Black Belt Karate Fighters.

Before things can get out of hand, Steve Austin made a grand entrance, and stirred up some more shit between Shane and Eric by reminding us of Eric's professed love for mature women.  Austin further tried to get Shane and Eric to agree to a no holds barred match later tonight; Shane, of course, was all for it.  Bischoff begged off for a minute or two, then suddenly relented (he apparently had some sort of evil plot hatch in his mind).  With the match signed, Bischoff left and Shane and Austin had a beer.


Bubba Dudley vs. Rene Dupree

La Resistance's already cheap, one dimensional heat is further crippled by a Canadian crowd that was mostly just interested in getting to some kind of spot with tables... and they didn't get it.  Instead, some simple back-and-forth for about 3 minutes, leading up to Grenier attempting to interfere for his partner.  It backfired, and while the ref ushered him out of the ring, D-Von Dudley came in and whacked Dupree with the French flag, allowing Bubba to hit the full-nelson powerbomb for the pinfall win.  Nothing offensive here, but I honestly don't know if they could make the tag division any more bland and un-intriguing...  so we keep this feud simmering until the Duds win the titles back.  And then what?  There's no real light at the end of the tunnel.

Backstage: Evolution is hanging out, making small talk.  Apparently, HHH has a groin injury, but it ain't that bad, because they turn it into a joke about how he had a handful of babes massaging it last night.  Then Eric Bischoff walks in, and has a proposition for Evolution.  Because kicking camera men out is for pansies, HHH wields his massive power to instead force us to....


Video Package:  RAW's Ruthless Aggression tour of Australia is recapped.  Shown are such thrilling highlights as Stacy and Trish at a zoo!  Not shown: Kevin Nash passing out at a hotel!

Scott Steiner vs. Randy Orton

Ah, Canada.  No matter what I say about you, I still love that you will boo Scott Steiner mercilessly.  Even when he's attempting to use Stacy Keibler as some sort of payola to bribe you into cheering.  Prior to the match, Orton made some comment about how more people want to see his nipples than Stacy's, which is only enough to ensure he's a tweener.  For about 2 minutes.  Then Steiner's the full heel again.  Also: at about the 3 minute mark, they did a belly-to-belly superplex spot, and I swear to you, Steiner looked like he was very close to killing Orton; he just barely got enough elevation to keep from snapping the kid's neck.  I may not be Randy's biggest fan, but I don't think even that mansard Lund would wish THAT upon him.  A minute or so after that, Test made a run in, and provided just enough of a distraction that when Steiner finally turned his attention back to Orton, he had recovered enough to deliver the RKO for the pinfall win.  Aside from the scary superplex, actually decently paced action here; the involvement of Test keeps that storyline brewing while the rest of this segment was basically the continuation of Project Orton.  So I guess kudos for accomplishing two things in one segment?  Yeah, let's go with that....

Backstage: Evolution again, and Bischoff's still around.  We learn that Bischoff and HHH have made a deal: HHH's SummerSlam title match against Goldberg will be No Disqualification (so the rest of Evolution can interfere), and tonight, HHH and Evolution will help Bischoff win his match against Shane McMahon.


Backstage: The Hurricane and Citizen Roosevelt are conversing about Rosie's prospects of developing as a Super Hero In Training... 'Cane says you gotta take it slow, but Rosie's ready to rock.  Then Christian interrupts and has some nasty things to say.  Specifically, he wonders what Hurricane is smoking to make him think he can beat Christian tonight on RAW.  Hurricane is confident in his Hurripowers, and then Rosie shows us a big box labeled "S.H.I.T." which he says contain his super hero kit.  Which is apparently homemade.

Elsewhere backstage: Shane McMahon is shucking and jiving.  Alrighty then.

In the GM Office: somehow, Rodney Mack has gained access to Eric Bischoff's office, and is hanging out with Sleazy E when Austin comes in.  Austin is not happy about Bischoff's underhanded dealings with Evolution, but Bischoff says there's nothing Austin can do about it.  The wheels begin turning in Austin's mind as Bischoff saunters out.


Christian vs. The Hurricane

See, unlike last week when Rico and Val just sort of went out there, here, we've at least seen these two already this week.  There may not be a huge pressing issue, but we've been primed for this match.  Thanks to that effort, the crowd's paying attention, and that means the always solid effort you would expect from these two comes off as RAW-worthy.  Unfortunately, the solid effort isn't our purpose here tonight.  The fast-paced action gets cut short at no more than 2 minutes or so, when Christian wins via pinfall, following a roll-up out of nowhere and a massive handful of tights.

Story kicks in afterwards, as Christian tries to continue to beatdown... but there's a tubby, masked, Samoan man out to make the save.  He's wearing purple and orange spandex, with a t-shirt that reads "Super Hero in Training," and he plants Christian with a spinning sideslam as the ever-sharp Canuck crowd decides to chant "Holy Shit" at the guy.  HA!  Perfect!  Hurricane and Rosie strike a pose once Christian is dispatched.  Alright, so maybe here's ONE tag team to help freshen things up... too bad that, like the Duds, they're fan favorites...

Backstage: Kane's police van has arrived.  The assembled police army seems to ensure that Kane will not be leaving the van unless specifically ordered to by somebody.  


Goldberg vs. Ric Flair

Thanks to Shane vs. Bischoff -- which Coach and King have helpfully dubbed a "pay-per-view caliber match" -- what was once our main event is now a midshow special.  Goldberg is out to a mixed reaction, and a goodly portion of the crowd is cheering for Flair.  Triple H has joined the commentary team, and says nothing to make us think he's anything but confident that he'll work the SummerSlam main event.  Goldberg's hot to start the match, and in between offensive moves, makes gestures towards HHH.  But his distractedness allows Flair to rally using knee clips and pokes to the eye.  Oh, that dastardly Flair!  Goldberg would kind of no sell most of those moves and fire back with punches, which eventually proved frustrating for Evolution.  With Flair unable to mount a sustained offense, Randy Orton decided to make the run-in with a steel chair for the blatant DQ at about the 5 minute mark.  The match played like they were trying to keep Flair competitive for a reasonable amount of time, but without giving him a second of genuine offense....  in a more Goldberg-friendly venue, it probably would have played a bit better, but in Canada, eye pokes were the hands-down high spots here.  

But that's OK, because again, the match was just prelude to a bigger story.  Evolution, now joined by HHH, tried to continue a post-match attack on Goldberg.  They had him down three-on-one, until Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash ran in to even the odds.  This brought out Chris Jericho, who re-un-evened the odds (to cheers, those damned Canucks).  Nash and a steel chair finally brought the advantage over to the babyface side, and that's when Steve Austin decided to appear on the entrance ramp (which was really just an entrance carpet this week).

Austin said he can't do anything about Bischoff adding a No DQ stip to Goldberg vs. Triple H at SummerSlam, but seeing this big brawl, he's got an idea:  he can't undo Bischoff's stipulations, but he can add a few of his own.  For one, he's putting four more men into the match... and for two, he's putting the match inside of the dreaded Elimination Chamber.  Whoa.  HHH, Goldberg, Nash, Michaels, Jericho, and Randy Orton inside the Chamber at SummerSlam, and that's the bottom line, and now, you six can go back to fighting, if you want.  HHH, however, would prefer to look absolutely shaken by Austin's announcement on his way out of the ring.  That left Ric Flair exposed and alone; and so Goldberg decided to nail him with a spear.


Pointless Segue: Terri was interviewing Pat Croce for some attempted SlamBall/WWE synergy, but I wasn't paying attention until Terri suddenly got cut off by the announcers when Chris Jericho (still lingering around the ring) decided to attack Michaels and Nash (who had stayed in the ring to celebrate their good fortune in being added to the title match) from behind.  Jericho got about 8 nanoseconds of offense before Nash grabbed him and jackknifed him.  To boos.  Michaels gets boos because of Montreal, and Nash gets boos because he just attacked Mr. Canada.

Backstage: Flair is selling the Spear from Goldberg, as Evolution watches on while doctors tend to him.  Eric Bischoff rolls in, and tries to get HHH to say that their deal for later tonight is still on.  But HHH says that if Eric can't do anything to change the Elimination Chamber match, then he can forget about Evolution's help against Shane.  Bischoff left to go and figure out another plan.


Molly Holly vs. Trish Stratus (Women's Title Match)

Title's on the line because.... um... well, because Trish has been losing a lot lately?  Eh, probably not that.  I'm sure this could be a very good match, but instead, it lasts all of 90 seconds before Victoria interferes, and attacks Trish at ringside (Victoria appeared to wrench her already injured knee on the move).  The ref had no choice but to call for the DQ. Victoria and Molly argued briefly about Victoria causing the DQ, but got back together in the name of throttling Trish.  Gail Kim ran out for the save, but once Molly and Victoria were gone, Gail pulled the patented Orndorff: you know, the raise your friend's arm, but then, instead of letting go when you drop the arm, pull them in for a short-arm clothesline.  As effective today as it was in 1986!  So now, Gail Kim's a heel, I guess.  We must wait till next week to hear the why.  Match was barely there, but hey, the story afterwards has a few intriguing possibilities.

Backstage: Eric Bischoff approaches the police van, and says that there's been some sort of incident elsewhere backstage, and two officers are down.  The cops all leave, and Bischoff is alone with Kane.  And some keys.  Cue the dramatic music.


Backstage: Lance Storm is talking to someone who is just off camera, admitting that yes, he IS boring.  He has no choice to but address the problem, and so he's asking for help from the least-boring person he knows of.  I swore it'd be Rico, but nope: it's Goldust, who promises that the pair will have a "B-B-B-B-B-B-Ball" together.  Hmm, maybe another interesting tag team, but one that also seems likely to be fan favorites?

Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Jericho

Alright, so no real hype for this match other than a few graphics earlier in the show.  In this case, though, it's forgivable, because the two performers/characters are such that they can get the crowd involved without a ton of help.  That's doubly true in Canada, where Jericho was RVD's equal in terms of cheers.  Unlike Steiner and Goldberg, though, there were no real boos for RVD... just equal pops for both guys' highspots.  Just a really good match, with somebody finally tipping the announcers off that -- instead of bickering like a pair of idiots -- they should proclaim that THIS is also a "PPV caliber" match.  Last half of the match was awesome with a ton of teased finishes and near falls.  Both guys went for their finishes, but missed, and then the match continued for several more minutes.  It honestly felt like it could end at any second, which is as good an indicator as any of a really well-constructed match.  Finish finally came when RVD landed a solid kick while Jericho argued with the ref about something, and then RVD followed up with a lightning quick split-legged moonsault to get the pin.  Tremendous 12-14 minute match; regardless of the structure of the show this week, THIS was your main event-feeling match.

And on top of that, a little story time AFTER the match, too.  Jericho grabs a mic and announces that this is all a conspiracy against him, and that the only reason he lost his match to RVD was because he was attacked earlier by Kevin Nash.  He says he wants to take something of Nash's that is very precious to him.... so he challenges Nash to a Hair vs. Hair match at some indeterminate point in the future.  I'm guessing at the September PPV...  again, see how putting these two in the Chamber match means you can save back a singles contest for later?  Works really nicely....


Eric Bischoff vs. Shane McMahon (No DQ)

Before the match started, Bischoff did a stupid, time-killing bit where he kicked at some production crew guy, who was holding a pad.  Wheeee!  When Eric whiffed on a kick, somebody got smart and cued Shane's music, so we could get started.  Bischoff controlled the first 30 seconds with karate kicks, and then Shane came back over the top with a spear and some mount-punches.  While he was pounding away, Kane's music and pyro hit, and Shane immediately gave up on Bischoff, and met Kane half-way in the entrance aisle.  Shane was tenacious, but nothing he did to Kane made any real impact.  Kane finally had enough, and brutally tossed Shane into the ringpost, and then gave him the Tombstone on the steel ring steps.  Shane, of course, was selling it like he was dead.  Kane rolled Shane into Bischoff, who cockily covered him for the three count after about a 3 minute main event brawl.  A tease of just what kind of bumps Shane might take against Kane (like the wicked one into the ringpost) keeps that story alive (probably also for the September PPV, now), but I think in the short-term, the story here will be why Kane was willing to do Bischoff's dirty work.  Not much as a match or brawl, but sets us up for future weeks.

Then the show kind of dragged on awkwardly, as Bischoff did some celebration in the ring, and then was told by Earl Hebner that somebody wanted Bischoff to go up and celebrate at the commentary table, which is where he ended the show.

Much better all-around effort this week, and as good as RAW's had in almost a month.  They did some tweaking, and gone were the easy-out segments like La Resistance vs. Cade/Jindrak... even the throwaway bits had something behind them and accomplished something.  I'll take that.  If I had to find something to complain about, it'd be that the announcing got on my nerves last night... bickering can be entertaining if it's clever and pointed towards a particular goal.  But I get the impression King's just instigating for the sake of having something to say, and Coach isn't quick enough to get back out from under it (at least, not without totally breaking character and upstaging Lawler, which I'm sure is a no-no).  But even that complaint loses steam, as they also mentioned that Jim Ross could be back as early as next week.  

More thoughts/fall-out in OO tomorrow.


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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