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OO RAW RECAP
Stealing the Whole F'n Show 
September 30, 2003

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com

 

It's not usually RAW's forte, but last night, they delivered a dramatic title change in an outstanding main event wrestling match.  It was a climax that more than adequately capped off a preceding 100 minutes that fluctuated between extremely entertaining and extremely flip-away-able.

Here's how the whole show went down:

Opening theme and pyro and all that noise.... leading directly to Lillian Garcia introducing us to our RAW Announce Team of Jonathan Coachman and Al Snow, who preview tonight's show (IC Ladder Match, plus HBK/Goldberg vs. Orton/Flair) and then kick it down to the ring.

Highlight Reel with Chris Jericho

Jericho is accompanied to the ring by Eric Bischoff.  Jericho recaps last week's main event (in which Steve Austin attacked Special Ref Bischoff and prevented Jericho from beating Goldberg for the World Title), and then tells us that Bischoff has a special announcement.  Bischoff gets on the stick and says that, due to Austin's unprovoked attack, he has been suspended for one week and won't be here tonight.  Boos and catcalls are Bischoff's prize.

Jericho then moves things along, and introduces his next guest, "Jolly and Rotund JR," Jim Ross.  Bischoff wants to talk to JR, and says that since Austin made this match for later tonight, in which JR will fight Coach with the RAW Announcer Job on the line, Bischoff feels like with Austin gone, maybe Bischoff will add a stipulation.  He goes so far as to ask Coach what stip he'd like; Coach feigns being flustered by the sudden question, but comes up with a "Country Whipping Match," on the grounds that he wanted to blubber the phrase "like a government mule" about 48 time over the course of the rest of the show.  Jericho immediately puts a stop to that, saying that such a match would not be fair, since JR's back is still scarred and scabrous after he was lit on fire by Kane 3 months ago.  Bischoff takes that under consideration, acknowledges that compassion is a big part of his GM job, and then... of course, he says the Country Whipping Match is on.

JR calls Bischoff a dirty word, which gets Bischoff riled.  Jericho steps between them and say, "Eric, you know you can't attack the talent.  But nobody said I couldn't."  So he punks out JR and slaps him in the Walls of Jericho, further weakening the back of Ross.  Finally, Steve Austin makes a surprise appearance and scares off Bischoff and Jericho.  Bischoff grabs a mic and asks "What the hell are you doing here?", Austin replies, "Well, I figured you'd do something stupid like this, so I came to Chicago, anyway," then Bischoff came back with "Alright, hot shot, but now I'm sending security to get you out of the building."  And of course, Austin tricked security into unhanding him so that he could beat the shit out of them and leave the building under his own power.  Fun, busy segment to open the show; if nothing else, it added a stip to the Announcer Fight that means those two won't have to even try to "wrestle."

[ads]

In the parking lot: Austin has been relegated to a little ghetto in the parking lot, and is being watched by a half dozen security guards.  He gives them the finger(s), as Coach and Snow praise the decision to banish Austin from the building.

Test/Scott Steiner vs. the Dudley Boyz (Tag Title Match)

From the get-go, Steiner is not seeing eye to eye with Test.  First, Stacy will sort of flirt with Steiner but not with Test.  Then, once the match starts, Steiner won't tag in no matter how much trouble Test gets in.  We get just enough match time to get that story across, then we enter End Game: Test goes for a steel chair, but Stacy gets on the apron and steals it away, and then whacks Test with it.  Steiner, trying to come to Stacy's aid, instead bumps into her and then walks into a double-team neck-breaker from the Duds.  Then Bubba and D-Von are easily able to hit a 3-D on the debilitated Test to score the pinfall win.  The Duds celebrate and leave the ring.

After the match, Test is KO'ed in a corner, but Steiner grabs a mic and invites Stacy to the middle of the ring.  He talks about how he really doesn't care about that jerk, Test, and he and Stacy share a laugh at Test's bad fortune tonight.  But then Scott wants to know if Stacy's interested in Scott forgiving her for what she's been doing lately.  You know, like making him lose the match that made him Test's slave, and then also costing him the tag team titles tonight.  Steiner's all giving us what I have to assume is his idea of smooth and debonair, while Stacy's coming back at him with a come-hither "I know I was naughty, but you are powerless to remain angry at me" smile.  The crowd is assuming this ends with Scott and Stacy making out in the ring to taunt Test.  The crowd assumes wrong.  Instead, Steiner snaps, and says, "Hell no" he does not forgive Stacy.  Then, when she tries to run away, he grabs her by the hair and pulls her back in for a belly-to-belly suplex.  The match was completely "bleh," but as soon as we turned from Week 297 of Steiner vs. Test to Week 1 of Steiner Going Heel, I perked up a bit; Steiner's just a much more natural heel, and I see this working.

[ads]

Moments ago and During the Break:  First, the announcers take us through Steiner's heel turn, and then they show additional footage from during the break, when officials assisted Stacy to the back.  Behind her, Test has come around, and is looking very pleased at Steiner's change of demeanor.  I do believe we have a new top contending heel tag team, kids...

Hot Segment with Kane

Kane comes out for a promo, and walks us through some footage from last week (when Kane attacked Shane McMahon in the hospital).  He reminds us that Shane says it's not over as long as he's breathing, and Kane says, that's fine, it's not over, and he'll enjoy beating the hell out of Shane some more.

Then comes an interruption, from the Hurricane, who has some video footage of his own: Hurricane and Kane winning the Tag Titles to huge cheers mere months ago.  Hurricane wants to know why Kane had to go changing.  Kane says that footage is of a Kane that he hated, and now he likes what he's become.  He tells Hurricane to come on down and sample the New Kane, but Hurricane says he wants to be Kane's friend, not fight him.  So Kane decides he'll have to fight someone else.  He starts making threatening gestures towards a 10-year-old Hurricane fan in the front row, but before he can do anything more than talk about kicking the kid's ass, Hurricane makes the save.  When Kane gains the edge on Hurricane, Rosey runs out, and together with Hurricane, they get the better of Kane, and run him off.  Nice use of a little past history to set up a sacrificial lamb for Kane; still, it remains a pretty transparent sacrificial lamb set-up, so pardon me if I wasn't off my couch cheering.

[ads]

Earlier today: Mark Jindrak and Lance Cade are playing the new WWE videogame, tossing ever-so-clever accusations about one of them staying up all night practicing videogames and the other apparently staying up all night to masturbate.  They were unable to determine who had spent his time more productively before Maven shows up to declare he wants winner.  And then La Resistance and Rob Conway show up for an even less easily-discernable reason, and the six start trading patriotic taunts borrowed directly from "10th Grade Western History for Dumbasses."  It can only lead to a Special Challenge Match, which, conveniently, is our very next segment!

The First Ever OVW-Six-Month-Reunion Invitational: 
Mark Jindrak, Garrison Cade, and Maven vs. La Resistance and Rob Conway

Crazy six way brawl to start that eventually settled down a bit.  A lot of the heels cutting the ring in half and cheating to keep the edge, with Grenier quite obviously doing little more than standing in the corner while Conway and Dupree did most of the work (he's got a bad neck).  After about 5 minutes of perfectly acceptable, but ultimately mind-bendingly uncaptivating, ring work, we got more chaos after a hot tag (I think to Maven).  Eventually everybody powdered out, leaving Jindrak and Cade in the ring alone with Conway.  They hit their finisher (like the old Hart Attack, except instead of a clothesline, Jindrak hits an awesome high elevation drop kick), and it's all over.  Not awful, but one awkwardly-done skit between six guys who (with one possible exception) have not done anything to get fans to care just didn't render this in any way enthralling.

Later tonight: a graphic informs us that Hurricane vs. Kane has just been signed for later on.

[ads]

In the parking lot: Austin is pacing, when RVD comes out and thanks him for the IC Title shot tonight.  RVD promises to win the belt "for you" (for Austin), and I have to assume Austin was left standing there feeling like that exchange was even more awkwardly stilted for him than it was for those of us watching.  Then Austin goes back to pacing, when Jon Heidenreich (a Steiner-clone who's been in the developmental program for years) comes up and says he can't believe it.  It's such an honor to meet Stone Cold, and he wants to be a wrestler and blah, blah, blah.  Austin's just sort of nodding his head until Heidenreich mentions the magic phrase "I bought a ticket to see you."  At the mention of a ticket, an idea pops into Austin's head, and he invites Jon to join him for a chat somewhere away from the camera.

"Live" Via Satellite (and probably also Via Last Monday Right After RAW Tapings): Triple H has a huge announcement, but first, he does some sarcastic golf clapping for Goldberg.  Then he asks if Goldberg has started to get paranoid, what with him wearing that huge target around his waist.  HHH promises that Goldberg will quickly learn that staying on top is much harder than getting on top.  To hasten Goldberg's learning, HHH is going to make an offer: he has $100,000 and will give it to anyone, man or woman (and they only repeat the "man or woman" line about a dozen times later in the show, making ME the paranoid one... but I won't frighten you with my speculation), who can take out Goldberg.  HHH says they can do it in the ring, in the back, in the parking lot, wherever.  He just wants Goldberg taken out, and will pay handsomely to see it done.  On one hand, it's a stroke of genius since now chump after chump can come after Goldberg and make him look like a million bucks; on another hand, it unnecessarily keeps HHH involved in the storyline as the undermining, heat-usurping puppet master behind any person who actually DOES get one up on Goldberg.  Verdict: hung jury, for now.

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Jim Ross vs. Jonathan Coachman (Country Whippin' Match for the RAW Announcer Job)

Chris Jericho comes out to help Al Snow on commentary, and within minutes proves to be the most interesting, insightful, and entertaining of any of the five men who would end up doing commentary on the night.  In the ring, this is a whole lot of JR-whips-Coach-but-drops-the-strap, then Coach-whips-JR-but-wastes-time-taunting-the-crowd, then JR-stages-big-comeback, then Coach-cheats-to-get-the-edge-back, and so on and so forth.  They laid in hard with the shots, so credit them for making this seem fairly credible, but smooth and graceful it was not.  The best part: Jericho on commentary.  Really.  Anyone who goes full out to try to convince me that Coach is like "a young Tito Santana" gets many style points.  Finish was Coach getting cocky yet again, wasting time trying to unshirt JR to whip his bare back, leaving JR enough time to recover.  JR, instead, unshirted Coach, whipped him a few times, and then hit an alleged Stone Cold Stunner for the pinfall win.  Al Snow immediately left the announce position to see to Coach, while Jerry Lawler immediately entered to make sure JR was OK.  And then Steve Austin (with his ticket), came in and celebrated with JR, King, and a few beers, all while Jericho vamped on commentary about the atrocity that had just taken place.  For my thoughts on this whole segment, I direct you to quotes from Y2J, who repeatedly opined that "This sucks."

[ads]

Welcome Back: Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are now re-installed as commentators, and are very happy to be back.

Where the Boys Aren't, Vol. 1

Terri is in the ring for an interview with noted animal lover and new author, Lita.  Lita glosses over the autobiography she wrote and the animal rescue thingie she founded while out with a neck injury, instead opting for the insanely easy cheap pop that "What's Up, Chicago?" earns her. Clever girl.  Lita doesn't want to talk about her neck injury; that's past, and she's here in WWE because she's 100% ready to go, and she's not gonna stop until she....

Gets interrupted by women's champ Molly Holly and her henchbabe Gail Kim.  Swear to god, no more than 2 minutes back on the job, and Lawler not only starts howling about the ring full of "Puppies," but tries to make it sound like we must have missed him doing so.  I feel more pity for him than anger towards him, I think.  Molly grabs the mic from Terri and rants, "First, Trish Stratus gets a DVD.  Now Lita's back and she gets a book?  Where's Gail's DVD?  I'm the women's champion, for crying out loud, so where's my book?"  Molly saunters over to this other side of the ring while talking, drawing Lita's attention.  Then Molly notes that she predicts Lita's book will be a "big hit."  As if on cue, Gail grabs the copy of Lita's book from Terri and whacks Lita in the back of the head with it.  

Gail and Molly continue with the beatdown for a minute, until Trish sprints out for the save.  Lita and Trish rally, but then Victoria dashes out to help the heels regain the edge.  Victoria eliminates Trish with the Widow's Peak, and Gail/Molly decimate Lita with a double DDT (Molly, in a genius stroke, even channels Ted DiBiase and stuffs Lita's mouth full of pages from her own autobiography).  The heels celebrate together on their way out of the ring.  Hey, one week after only a complete jack-ass would feel the need to qualify the women's tag match as good "for girls," these four (plus Victoria) turn around and give us an in ring promo/angle that was easily as competently executed and entertaining as the previous Kane/Hurricane segment.  Viva la RAW babes!  And I guess, Viva la Whoever Decided to Quit Booking Them Like an Inconsequential Sideshow, too!

[ads]

Hurricane vs. Kane

A 90 second squash.  "All parties banned from ringside" was the rule for this match, courtesy of Bischoff, so after a hot start, Hurricane got completely destroyed.  No Rosey to help.  Kane won with a chokeslam.  Then after the match, added on another chokeslam, just because he's a big jerk.  It did what it was supposed to do; it's just that when you already know exactly what it's supposed to do before it happens, it gets kinda boring...

Backstage: Mark Lloyd has Goldberg for an interview.  He asks Goldberg if the $100,000 bounty HHH has placed on his head means he's suspicious of his own tag partner, Shawn Michaels, tonight.  Goldberg says that he respects HBK, but anyone who tries to come after him will get destroyed.  On that note, Stevie Richards attacked out of the shadows, and got in exactly one shot on Goldberg before Goldberg laid him out.  Goldberg: 1-0 versus Bounty Hunters.

[ads]

Shawn Michaels/Goldberg vs. Randy Orton/Ric Flair

Good old school style tag match, here.  Goldberg starts, gets in a few power moves on Orton and Flair, then tags in Michaels.  HBK does the quality work, hitting some moves, but also making the other guys look good.  This goes on for about 5 minutes, till it's time for Michaels to hit the hot tag to Goldberg.  In a cool spot, Goldberg press slammed Orton, and as soon as he dropped Orton, he sprinted out from under the press and into a spear on Flair.  Goldberg was getting ready to put the match away when Rodney Mack ran out with a chair and whacked Goldberg.  Instant DQ.  

Inside the ring, Goldberg and Mack brawled, with Goldberg rapidly gaining the edge and jackhammering Mack.  But outside the ring, Mark Henry had arrived: he slammed Michaels face first into the steel steps, bloodying HBK.  When Goldberg finished off Mack, he turned his attention to Henry, who had dragged Michaels' lifeless carcass to the top of the entrance ramp and was making "I want the money" gestures with his fingers.  The two lock eyes and jaw at each other, but that's all.  Match was pretty alright, which you expect from Michaels and any competent opponent(s).  Finish was cheap, but does a decent job setting up Henry as a semi-plausible (but utterly disposable) opponent for Goldberg next week.

[ads]

Backstage: Teddy Long is pumping up Mark Henry, telling him he did great sending a message to Goldberg.  Henry says he's challenging Goldberg for a one-on-one match next week.  Well, duh, Mark.  Thanks for connecting the dots for us.

Hollywood Minute: the Rock is a big movie star, and made a lot of money last weekend.  Go see "The Rundown," or else.

Backstage:  Christian is WALKING down a hall, and makes some kind of lascivious comments towards Trish and Lita, who are grimacing and nursing injuries off to one side.  Then a disembodied voice says, "OK, let's do it one more time," and Christian turns around and walks back to re-do the clip, passing by Lita and Trish again (this time, they are magically recovered, smiling and chatting).  D'oh.  Somebody finally realizes what's going on and cuts us back to a wide shot of the IC Belt hanging over the ring.  Christian, Trish, and Lita: the Bermuda Triangle of Backstage Technical Fuck-Ups!  Two weeks of Nitro-caliber snafus and counting!

[ads]

Rob Van Dam vs. Christian (IC Title Ladder Match)

As is my custom, I won't even try to recount the myriad cool spots that these two guys crammed into an outstanding spotfest of a main event.  Basic psychology was RVD-will-do-anything-including-putting-his-own-body-at-risk, leading to a thing where even his own offensive moves did damage to his ribs/back.  "Internal injuries" were theorized, and that is something that Christian attacked during middle portions of the match. My own personal favorite spot of the match: RVD press slammed Christian, holding him up for a good 10 seconds, then he dropped him front-first onto a ladder and INSTANTLY did a standing moonsault back onto Christian and the ladder.  It was so sudden, so unexpected, and so impactful that it had me shouting "Whoa, Holy Shit" all by myself in my living room.  There were also the more of the typical high-flying spots, too, including a wicked off-the-top-of-the-ladder inverted DDT by Christian, a leaping leg drop by RVD onto a "ladder bridge" outside the ring where Christian was laid out, and RVD springboard dropkicking a ladder out from under Christian, sending both men flying.

Final spot was cool:  after 10-12 minutes of tortuous action, both guys were slowly climbing up the ladder, but the ladder (having been damaged when Christian was slingshot into it earlier) teetered.  Christian landed hard in the middle of the ring, but RVD fell into a second ladder that had been set-up off to one side, and immediately climbed to the top of it.  To a monster "R-V-D"/points-to-self chant, he hit a top-of-the-ladder Five Star Frog Splash on Christian.  From there, it was just a matter of setting up one of the ladders (pinning Christian under it, actually), and climbing up to grab the IC belt.  New champ.  Awesome match.

Yeah, there were a couple of moments on this show where I just couldn't conceivably have cared any less about what was going on, and sure, the announcer fight was pretty much crap (and I'm really starting to get upset that so many average fans apparently see Jerry Lawler's commentary as so desirable that they DID seem to respond to that strap match at least as enthusiastically as the HBK/Goldberg tag match, but that's a rant for another day)...  but you give me something like this killer main event, and pepper in a few other quality bits (the bounty hunter thing should be good for Goldberg, the women's promo was another excellent step forward there, the HBK/Goldberg tag match was a quality match in and of itself, and the opening segment and subsequent Austin/Jericho bits were indisputably fun), and I'm gonna walk away feeling pretty decent about the show.

Good RAW.  Big ups to Christian and RVD for delivering.
  

E-MAIL RICK
BROWSE THE RAW RECAP ARCHIVES


  
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