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Suck-Free TV! 
September 9, 2003

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com


Hey, how about that: RAW puts the suck back up on the shelf, and ends up doing a show about which I can offer no major complaints.  See how easy it is, RAW?

Here's how it went down:

Cold Open: with Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler hyping the opening match while the strobe lights flash and the cage is lowered around the ring.  Then they cut to the opening theme and montage, and when we come back, it's straight to...

Kane vs. Rob Van Dam (Steel Cage Match)

Almost right away, JR and King decide to remind us of last week's glaring logic holes, and wonder how Kane could have survived that flaming dumpster unscathed.  As if by plan, the cameras immediately get to zoom in on some pinkish make-up on Kane's neck and arm, which are allegedly his scar remnants from that attack.  My urge to praise WWE for addressing the problem and my belief that they might have just as well ignored the whole mess cancel each other out, and we move on to talk about the match....  which after a hot start from Rob Van Dam pretty much turns into all Kane, all the time.  Kane uses RVD as a human javelin a few times, and eventually RVD is busted open (one time, as RVD lie in the space between the ropes and the cage, I SWEAR it looked like he was blatantly going for the blade, and the production crew kept the close-up shot rolling throughout).  Then Kane gave up on the javelin toss, and just started slamming RVD into the same segment of the cage over and over again.  It got me thinking that the announcers should have said something like, "Kane doesn't even care about winning this match, because if he keeps this up, he's going to toss RVD right through the cage and to the floor."  But then I realized why they didn't: because Kane DID toss RVD through the broken cage segment and to the floor!  The ref wants to declare RVD the winner, but here comes Eric Bischoff:  he says to win, you need to go over the top of the cage or through the door, and this doesn't count.  So the match MUST CONTINUE.  After these...


When we come back, JR and King tell us that Kane's attack during the commercial was brutal, but we don't get to see much in the way of replay because we have to stay on the live action.  That's because, against all odds, RVD is rallying.  In fact, he puts Kane down, and decides it's time to go out over the top of the cage.  Problem is that Kane had no intentions of staying down, and he catches RVD; they are standing together, trading blows on the top rope, when Kane gains the edge and chokeslams RVD off the top rope in a nice spot.  Kane gets the pinfall win, and medics swarm to check on RVD.  Kane saunters up the ramp and an evil grin on his face.

How do you like that?  A good little match, and Kane comes off as a monster without having to resort to jumper cables and car batteries.  This show is starting off in promising fashion.


Moments Ago: we get the full recap of what happened with RVD and Kane, including the footage of Kane brutalizing RVD during the first commercial break, and then footage of RVD getting stretchered out during the second break.

Last week: Lawler and JR narrate a recap of last week's main event match, in which Goldberg man-handled all of Evolution, apparently.  Not one word was spoken about the fact that Shawn Michaels single-handedly made the match fun to watch.

Eric Bischoff Public Statement

Bischoff comes out and stands on the ramp, and says he's got a few things he'd like to say (and that he should be allowed equal time because later tonight, Steve Austin is doing a "State of the RAW Address").  First, he announces that at that PPV, he's now booked Kane vs. Shane McMahon.  Then he announces that he's changing another of his matches at the PPV, and now, instead of JR vs. Coach one-on-one, we'll see JR and Lawler vs. Coach and Al Snow, with this stipulation:  the winning team is the RAW brand's lead announce team.  And three, Bischoff announces that tonight's main event will be a tag match with Goldberg vs. Triple H, each with a mystery partner of Bischoff's choosing.  Love the idea about getting some wrestlers into that announcer match and also giving it a stipulation that might be worth caring about...  the main event for tonight's RAW seems like a good way to set up some dastardly attack on Goldberg by Evolution, which is also what the doctor ordered.


Earlier today: Lance Storm thinks he isn't ready yet, but Goldust peps him up and says tonight's the night to go out there and introduce people -- NAY! the STORMTROOPERS! -- to the new Lance Storm.

Lance Storm (w/ Goldust ) vs. Rico (w/ Miss Jackie)

Rico tried to get people to chant "Boring," but Goldust enticed them to chant "Rico Sucks" instead.  This was actually a nice little match, with Rico mostly leaving the antics at the door and trying to spend the precious few minutes of bell-to-bell time playing to Storm's strength, which is the ring work.  The finish finally got the seconds involved, as Jackie tried to stop Lance from hitting a top rope move, but instead, Lance gave her a big kiss (only after consulting with Goldust, of course).  Then, when Rico charged, Lance dodged, and Rico knocked Jackie to the floor.  Lance went back up top, hit a missile dropkick, and got the pinfall win.  And then, my friends, it was time to dance.  Dance, Lance, Dance!  The new Lance Storm is funny!

Backstage: HHH confronts Bischoff in a hall-way, and wants to know how the mystery partners will be, but Bischoff isn't telling.  HHH gets all snippy, and utters the words, "You don't want the wrong guy to get hurt tonight, Eric."  Bischoff seems to take that as a threat, and the two leave, apparently not on good terms.   Now see, this was a little 30 second throw-away segment, but it's the type of one that helps make a show: I had the mystery partner gimmick pegged as Evolution getting a chance to 3-on-1 Goldberg, but here, the creative teams stops thinking like this is a sitcom or soap opera and starts thinking like wrestling fans will think.  They realize we might be onto that, and they give us a quick little skit backstage to put just a seed of doubt into our minds.  I appreciate that.


Molly Holly and Gail Kim vs. Trish Stratus and Jacqueline

Good lord, I hate being right...  I said they'd ignore Ivory's role in this, and sure enough, the gimmick seems to be "Trish goes through random partners until she finds one who can help her beat Molly and Gail."  Because lord knows coming up with an angle to set up Lita's return that didn't make the other women look back would be so very impossible to invent.  Anyway, Jackie starts, and eventually gets beat down.  Gail actually carries Jackie over to her corner, and gives us a heel assisted Hot Tag of sorts.  Unfortunately, Gail must be about as stupid as she is hot, because after helping Jackie to tag Trish in, she immediately walks back towards her corner and turns her back on Trish.  You figure it out.  Heat sequence for Trish, which included an OOld School Double Noggin Knocker and then a cool lucha type move where she transitioned from doing a bulldog on Molly to doing a double headlock/leg-scissors-takeover on both Molly and Gail.  Unfortunately, the Molly and Gail double team proved to be too much.  They tossed Trish out over the top in a sick bump, then double DDT'ed Jackie, and then tossed Trish back into the ring for another move or two before pinning her.  Then after the match, they double DDT'ed Trish as well.  Evil Jezebels!  And what is this, like four segments in a row that I haven't been able to bitch about?


Steve Austin's State of RAW Address

First order of business, destroy the nice fancy podium assembled in the ring for the address.  Second order of business: Austin knows how HHH thinks, and so he's added a few stipulations to the PPV main event title match.  Now, if HHH tries to get counted-out or if he tries to use Evolution and get himself DQ'ed, it won't work.  The World Title will change hands via count-out or DQ at Unforgiven.  Second order of business: telling us all how bad it sucks that he can't deliver an ass-whooping unless he's physically provoked.  A straw poll reveals 99% of RAW viewers like to say "Hell Yeah."  Before Austin can tell us what he might be wanting to change on this front, Christian comes out and declares, "Hello, InterContinental Champion over here."
XTian declares that the "peepulation" are outraged that their IC Champ is being woefully underutilized.  Austin suggests that no, the [mocking finger quotes]peepulation[end mocking finger quotes] think XTian is an asshole.  Ah, cheap but ever so satisfyingly effective!  XTian says he's not even out here for his apology any more, nor to rail Austin for not signing him to a match tonight.  He's out here because he's the IC Champ and his voice deserves to be heard.  He wants his own weekly talk show, the "Peep Show."  Since he beat Jericho last week, he figures maybe it's time to replace the Highlight Reel...

But that brings out Jericho, who stands eye-to-eye with XTian for about 5 seconds, and then just starts beating the crap out of him to suddenly massive "Y2J" chants.  He sends Christian packing and is basking in the cheers as Austin says, "Hey, that's some nice senseless violence.  I like it."  But for some reason, Jericho decides to turn back to the dark side by telling Austin to "Stop patronizing me, you sanctimonious son of a bitch."  Aw, dammit, and here I thought we just saw a face turn.  Jericho laces into Austin for a good couple minutes, culminating in the statement that he drops down to his knees every day and prays for Austin to get fired because he's a terrible GM.  He says these things because he knows that Austin can't do anything about it unless Jericho physcially touches Austin.  But Austin's not rattled at all.  He thinks it's kind of funny, and I guess he likes Jericho's spunk.  He tells Jericho they can do two things:  (1) Jericho can keep blustering and sweating and ranting and raving like a jack-ass, or (2) he can relax and have a beer with ol' Stone Cold.  Jericho's on to Austin... he knows the standard trick is that Austin hands a guy a beer, and then he Stunners him.  But, Jericho thinks out loud, Austin can't do that unless Jericho touches him.  So OK, Jericho just won't provoke Austin, and maybe he will have a beer if he can only get the crowd in Huntsville to give him a "Do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do."  Austin declares that the worst attempted catchphrase in RAW history, but still decides to have a beer with Jericho.

And then, in a beautiful moment, Jericho accidentally drops the first beer Austin throws at him.  Jericho sort of goes to grab it off the mat, but picks up on a look that Austin shoots at him.  Then the crowd gets it, and they're all like "Ooooohhhh, Party Foul!"  Austin takes another beer, walks up to two steps in front of Jericho, and makes a big show out of gently underhanding him another beer, which Jericho catches to cheers.  Then Austin vamps and does the same act again so that he and Jericho both have two beers.  Hi-freaking-larious.  They do the double Stone Cold Toast, and the fans seems to be loving it.  And then Jericho got overzealous and patted Austin on the back.  Whoops.  Austin took that as Phyiscal Provocation, and to another huge pop, Stunners Jericho to end the segment.  I have no idea what this means for the direction of Jericho, but just as a way to fill up 15 minute of my time last night, this was a ton o' fun.


La Resistance and Rob Conway and Rodney Mack and Mark Henry vs. the Dudley Boyz and Spike Dudley and the Hurricane and Rosey

Whoa, doctor, that's a lot of dudes.  Big ol' schmozz to start, then it sort of settles down.  Sort of.  There's still 10 guys here all trying to get at least one big spot in on TV, so even when slowed down, it's fast paced.  Finally, this re-degenerates into a Pier 10 Brawl, and after everyone else powders out for some reason or another, Mark Henry gets the last laugh (actually, a powerslam) in on Bubba Dudley for the pin.  A nothing match, but too fast-paced, chaotic, and brief to complain about.

After the match, La Resistance continued the attack, and attempted to toss Spike Dudley over the top rope and through a table that had been set up at ringside.  I say "attempted" because they missed badly, and didn't give Spike enough air.  Instead of going through the table, Spike landed a full three feet short, and only the back of his head smacked the very edge of the table.  It was sick, and I had all sorts of awful visions going through my head when I saw the bump, but the ref almost immediately gave the international sign "Don't worry, he's not dead".  I figured they'd just cut the losses and end it there, but Hurricane improvised a spot with La Resistance where HE got caught and put through the table in a much safer-looking spot.  And since Spike was apparently OK, they felt fine replaying his rude bump about a half-dozen times for our alleged enjoyment.

Backstage: Eric Bischoff is enjoying the action with Al Snow and Jonanthan Coachman, who are providing their impersonations of JR and Lawler.  Bischoff tells them to just shut up for a second, because he just had an idea: all three Dudleys vs. La Resistance and Rob Conway at Unforgiven... in a TABLES MATCH! [Aha, well, now the improvised table spot with Hurricane makes sense... SOMEbody had to eat wood in that melee otherwise this segment could not take place.]  The three guys are into the whole mutual admiration society thing for a bit when Gail Kim shows up and asks to talk to Eric.  Alone.  You better believe Sleazy E told Snow and Coach to scram.  And then he used his powers of telekinesis to force the production crew to cut to a commercial even though they had the camera RIGHT THERE and things were just starting to get interesting.


Backstage: Terri catches up with Triple H, who is conveniently drinking a delicious YJ Stinger.  In fact, Goldberg is a lot like YJ Stinger, according to HHH.  They are both well-marketed and come in an attractive package.  But the difference is, once you open the package, YJ Stinger delivers, and all Goldberg does is give you gas.  That's right, kids, YJ Stinger: It Doesn't Give You Gas.  Drink up!

Earlier tonight: Kane destroyed Rob Van Dam inside the steel cage.

Live via Satellite:  Shane McMahon talks to us from WWE Studios in Connecticut.  JR tries to conduct the interview, but all of a sudden Eric Bischoff interrupts (whoa, he's got Gail Kim hanging all over him, and four and a half minutes later, he'd rather be chatting up Shane McMahon?).  Long story short, Bischoff announces that Kane vs. Shane at the PPV is going to be a last man standing match.  Bischoff is all proud of himself, but Shane says, "Screw you, Eric."  Bischoff responds, "No, no.  I just screwed you."  [On a night when I don't have much to bitch about, this was by far the worst segment...  the old crappy, over-scripted dialogue problem reared its ugly head again, and was only made more glaring a problem when contrasted by such things as Austin and Jericho obviously improvising and doing a great job of it earlier.  And also, Bischoff goes from Gail Kim to this?  And that fast?  That must constitute a continuity error...]


Backstage: Molly is fixin' her hair all up nice or something when Gail walks in.  Molly asks if she got the match, and Gail announces yeah, she did.  And it was even easier than she thought.  Come to think of it, even faster than she thought, too.  [Ah, OK, so the joke is that Bischoff's a 30 second charlie, and that's why he was already done and talking to Shane so fast.  Not a continuity error, I guess.  Still sort of silly and unnecessary, though.]  Molly, bless her cute little heart, tries to sound all mean as she declares that this means next week is the end of Trish Stratus!

Scott Steiner vs. Stevie Richards (w/ Test, Stacy Keibler, and Victoria)

Hey, look: Stevie's got a Posse!  Is it better to be the GM of Heat, or a jobber on RAW?  That is the eternal questions.  Victoria and Test both try to interfere on Stevie's behalf, but it doesn't work, and in the end, Steiner wins what was little more than a squash match with a few extracurriculars.  After the match, Steiner grabs a mic and tells the retreating Test that he wants one more match against him, and he wants Stacy's services to be on the line again.  Test says he'll agree to the match... but only if Steiner puts his own services on the line, too.  Huh?  I guess Test has some issues he needs to work out.  Steiner, not blinking an eye, says that's OK with him, and that at Unforgiven, he won't be Test's bitch.  Or something.  Man alive, this feud just went from stale to stupid really fast.


Heat Commentary Team Comedy Hour

Al Snow and Coach are in the ring as we return from break, and start in presently with the taunting.  They've photoshopped a few allegedly funny pictures of JR's face on various bodies, in the guise of trying to help JR find a new career after he's loses his RAW commentator job at the PPV.  Actually, the "JR the Hutt" one was kind funny, but they then, they'd rifled through a half-dozen really stupid ones, so nobody was biting.  Finally, JR has had enough, and he decides to go to the ring.  King decides to second him.  JR and Coach go face to face, and finally JR has had enough: he unloads a big right hand on Coach.  When Al Snow tries to move in, Lawler steps up and stops him.  To add insult to injury, when Snow kneels down to check on Coach, JR kicks him through the ropes.  Yee haw!  I love Announcer Fights!  Not really!  But in a car wreck kind of way!

Backstage: Terri interviews Goldberg, whose comments can be distilled down to "Believe the hype, HHH.  Believe the hype."


Mystery Partner Tag Team Main Event

Triple H and Goldberg both enter.  And then Bischoff comes out on the ramp.  He says he's considered HHH's words of warning from earlier, and so with no further ado, here are the partners.  For HHH:  it's Ric Flair.  And for Goldberg: ah, shit, it's a set up, afterall, here comes Randy Orton.

Goldberg doesn't even wait for his "partner" to hit the ring, he just goes into attack mode.  But it's 3-on-1 and even Goldberg can't sustain any real offense.  Once Evolution gains the edge, the cage from the opening match suddenly starts lowering.  Randy Orton goes out and quickly grabs a chair as the cage lowers.  Goldberg has one rally, but HHH puts the kibosh on that with a brutal chairshot.  Goldberg's busted wide open.  Evolution continue the assault, HHH even doing a Lesnar by painting himself in Goldberg's blood.  The beat-down ended with Goldberg fucking up one Pedigree, but then correctly taking a second one.

An effective closing segment.  Just by throwing out the red herring of the Bischoff/HHH confrontation, it made the "obvious surprise" of Evolution as both partners a bit more palatable.  Bischoff's logic is quite clear: he heard HHH say "The wrong guy better not get hurt," and took it to mean that the still-injured HHH could not be put in harm's way tonight, otherwise the RAW brand might lose its PPV main event due to further injury.  The Evolution beatdown on Goldberg was also necessary; despite HHH "beating" Goldberg at the PPV, the fact is, HHH has looked pretty weak and ineffectual on every edition of RAW since his injury 6 weeks ago.  He needed this strong showing.  So "obvious" or not, I thought this was the right ending, and thought they put enough effort into swerving us that it was a relatively dramatic one, too.

Nothing tremendous, mind you, but effective.  Like most of the rest of the show.  It's amazing how things like the very good cage match opener and the awesomely entertaining Austin/Christian/Jericho segment can shine through and improve your opinion of a show as a whole when there's no festering pile of suck to distract you.  

For the first time in a month, RAW was Suck Free on Monday, and I salute them.  A very solid show.


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
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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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