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inVasion of the Title Snatchers? 
January 27, 2004

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com


Seems like RAW tried a little experiment last night.  Don't get me wrong, they put on a good little show...  but it's one that almost felt like it was being presented in reverse of the normal, conventional fashion.

What do I mean? Read on and find out, dummies....

Video Package: We open with a stop and go version of Mick Foley/Randy Orton highlights from the Rumble PPV.  The inference is that we'll find out about Foley's motivations tonight.

Opening theme/pyro/etc., and Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler say "howdy," but instead of telling us about a particular big match for tonight, they make sure we're caught up to speed on what happened at the Rumble in a super-condensed manner.  Then it's time for...

For Some Reason, NOT The Highlight Reel

Chris Jericho is out, and here's here to talk, although there is no JeriTron 5000 in sight. For the record, he uses his old "countdown," then a pyro burst, and then his new track off the "WWE Originals" album, which is pretty much solid indication that you can call this a face turn.  [And a complete digression, if I may: I'm sick of this lazy tag-the-guy's-old-intro-onto-a-new-song thing.  For instance, Test's music sounds clunky and ridiculous; Christian had a similar problem; Booker just debuted another example of this problem 2 weeks ago. And now, Jericho's got a theme that is 10 seconds of his old theme, and then a whole new song that was never meant to include those 10 seconds, and it is awkward as all hell.  In a perfect world, they'd realize that a new theme means letting go of the past.  But realistically, there are certain things -- like the Y2J countdown -- that are necessary to keep.  But c'mon, make it sound decent.  Give me Jericho's old theme, his new one, a guitar, a decent keyboard, and Cool Edit, and I promise you, I'd be able to come up with some kind of transition or pitch shifting or something to make it sound cool and fit smoothly into a pyro/lighting scheme.  And if I could do it, money bags Jim Johnston shouldn't have any trouble figuring it out.  Get on the job, Potsie!  This cut-and-paste shit ain't doing it, and it's half-assed things like this that result in guys having to go back to tired old entrance themes for another 2 years when fans reject the new one.  Unless this was just a one-time deal to try to pimp the god-awful Originals album by actually using one of the 2 or 3 not-totally-crappy tracks on TV.  In which case, I say "viva la half-assery!" and take back my big, silly rant.]

But what was I saying?  Oh yeah, that Jericho is out to do some talking.  First thing he says is that normally he'd be pissed that Chris Benoit won the Royal Rumble last night instead of him.  But fact is, Benoit's on SD!, so that means the RAW Title Shot at WM20 is still wide open.  And by virtue of being the last RAW man eliminated from the Rumble, Jericho thinks HE deserves a shot at HHH.  In fact, come to think of it, he doesn't even want to wait until WM20.  He wants to cash in his Survivor Series Favor and get that title shot TONIGHT.  Then he'll win the title, and take it New Hampshire, and Oregon, and South Dakota, and North Dakota, and so on and so forth until he takes the World Title into WrestleMania 20 at Madison Square Garden.  YEEEAAAAAAAGHHHH!

Lost in the (admittedly-funny) Howard Dean riff is any chance for the announcers to play up the fact that Jericho, being the crafty bastard that he is (and should remain even if he is a babyface), was insisting on a World Title shot against HHH just 24 hours after HHH was stretchered out of a brutal match against Shawn Michaels.  Seems to me that's something that might have gotten some play....  instead, Eric Bischoff interrupts right after Jericho's homage to the Daily Show, and said, "OK, you want to use your Favor, so it's on!".  Curious... But wait, there's more, and it's not sold in any store: Bischoff thinks Jericho might change his mind when he hears about another match Bischoff has scheduled for tonight.  It'll be Kane vs. Trish Stratus, one-on-one!  Unless, of course, Jericho wants to use his Favor to un-book it.  Jericho gets a really tortured look on his face, and although he doesn't say anything, Bischoff reads him like an open book, and says "I can see you've still got feelings for Trish, you softie.  So I take it you'll be using your Favor to cancel the match...  consider it done!"  [One can't help but wonder if Jericho will dispute that his favor is used up, since he never explicitly said he wanted to use it to save Trish....  Bischoff just assumed.]

Then Bischoff moved on to another matter, what to do with Jericho tonight.  Yes, Jericho was the last RAW man in the Rumble match, but that's not something that Bischoff's particularly happy about.  For the second year in a row, SD! won the Rumble, and made RAW look bad.  Jericho was the last man who could have stopped that and he failed.  And so did the second-to-last RAW guy eliminated, Rob Van Dam.  So tonight, to teach them not to disappoint the boss, Jericho and Van Dam will team up to face Ric Flair, Batista, and Randy Orton in a handicap match.  Oh, and it's next....


Chris Jericho and Rob Van Dam vs. Ric Flair, Batista, and Randy Orton

We get started with Jericho in the ring, and it doesn't take too long before the numbers game kicks in and the ring is cut in half.  Announcers are laying it on heavy with regards to Orton, who is allegedly showing us his new brutal edge because he thinks he would have won the Rumble match if not for Mick Foley's interference.  Jericho makes a warm tag to RVD after maybe 5 minutes of mostly getting his ass kicked, and we do a mini-house-afire segment.  RVD cleans house on Flair and Orton with some kicks, and Jericho gets his wind back enough to do a sweet spot with Batista (ducking a from-the-apron clothesline and hitting him with a springboard dropkick).  Unfortunately, inside the ring, Orton and Flair are able to regain the edge on RVD, while Jericho gets caught in mid-air by Batista when he tries a high cross body from the ring to the floor.  Batista lays him out with a spinebuster (or a "modified powerbomb," if you want to trust JR instead of The Rick) on the mats at ringside.  Jericho's head bounces off the floor, and we're concerned about a possible concussion as we head to....


Back from the break, and Jericho is still KO'ed outside the ring, and getting looked at by officials and trainers.  That's leaving RVD in the ring to get his ass whomped soundly.  With Jericho a non-factor due to the spinebuster/possible concussion, Evolution has carte blanche to work over RVD however they see fit.  In this case, they decide to work the arm and shoulder.  Kind of.  In the sort of display that you'd think SHOULD have been fixed by Mr. Referee and his Magical Ear-Piece of Talking to Somebody Backstage, Evolution failed to work on the SAME shoulder.  Flair and Orton picked the left arm to work on (and that's the one RVD decided to sell most convincingly), while Batista, for some reason, spent his few minutes working on RVD's right arm.  D'oh.  I guess it was OK, though, since JR and King decided to mostly gloss over the focused attack on RVD to talk about how brave Jericho was for crawling and inching his way back to his corner after he convinced officials to let him continue.  I'm guessing it was probably about 6-7 minutes after we came back from the break that Van Dam finally got enough separation (and actually had a partner in his corner), and was able to make the hot tag.  Jericho, despite being worse for wear, went on a tear.  He took out Randy Orton, and then focused on Batista (the legal man)... eventually, Batista was chopped down and locked into the Walls of Jericho.  When Flair tried to interfere, Van Dam took him down, and then hit him with a Five Star Frog Splash.  Unfortunately, since the Five Star takes as much out of Rob as it does his opponent (and apparently, also distracts the referee), he was impotent to do anything when Randy Orton snuck in and nailed Jericho with the RKO out of the Walls of Jericho position.  (Actually, Orton whiffed on the first RKO attempt, pretty much because it looked like Jericho didn't know he was coming and was still sitting down in the Walls and not on his feet getting ready to take the bump.  To his credit, Jericho didn't sell it, because that would have looked awful.  However, instead of trying to come up with a transitionary spot, Orton just rushed into a re-do, which also made Jericho look weak, since he had just seen Orton try to RKO him and fail, and had to just stand there, get in a ready position to take the bump, and then sell the second RKO attempt like it he had no idea it was coming.)  Batista managed to drape an arm over Jericho after the RKO, and between Orton's finisher and the "possible concussion," Jericho stayed down for the three count.  All things considered, a really good, main event-feeling 18 minute match.  On a replay, they glossed right over the blown spot, pretended it didn't happen, showed the successful RKO and cover, and hell, to be honest, as awkward as it was, I'd forgotten all about it and was trying to figure out how to say good things about the other 17 minutes and 50 seconds before they even made it to the next set of....


Backstage: Orton is in Eric Bischoff's office and is shouting at the boss.  He says Mick Foley ruined everything for him last night, even every fan's dream of the All Evolution WM20 Main Event.  The thank you  note is in the mail, Mick.  Orton manages to mangle only one sentence the entire rant, en route to telling Bischoff that if Foley shows up tonight, he (Orton) wants permission to exact his vengeance.  Bischoff says "Permission Granted," but that's when Steve Austin showed up and gave Lite Beer From Miller a little free product placement lovin'.  He told Orton that it wasn't just a rumor that Foley would show up tonight, it was a Stone Cold Fact.  And further, Orton can try to kick Foley's ass all he wants.  Austin doesn't think he can get it done, but he can try...

Elsewhere backstage: Jericho is sitting in his locker room, upset over his loss, when Trish Stratus decides to invite herself in.  She thanks Chris for saving her from the match with Kane, because she knows how much a World Title shot would have meant to him.  Jericho downplayed it, saying it was the right thing to do.  Trish said she still appreciated it, and that she also appreciates that after last week, it seems like she and Jericho both know what they want out of this relationship.  This week, it's Jericho's turn to give us the half-surprise, half-hope look on his face as he wonders what Trish is talking about.  But Trish is talking about being Just Friends.  Argghh, that old chestnut!  Jericho gives us the least convincing "Oh yeah, that's all I ever wanted, Trish, to be your friend" in the history of western civilization.  And Trish offers up that they got along so great before and thinks they can be Really Good Friends.  But not like what Jericho's got with Christian.  Because Trish won't go out with Chris and help him score broads.  At that, Jericho gets a little upset and asks "Who told you about that?" (what, was he too busy going out and picking up floozies again last week to, I don't know, WATCH RAW or something?!?).  But before Trish can answer, Christian barges in and wants to know what the hell is going on and what they're doing.  When Jericho says they're just having a little conversation, Christian rudely invites Trish to get lost because he's got Big News for Jericho.  So she leaves after a Handshake of Friendship (they teased the Hug of Non-Platonic Affection, but I think Trish probably just realized the Jericho was all disgusting and sweaty from his match, and being all shower-fresh herself, didn't want any of that action).  Christian delays unveiling the big news for a moment to verbally undress Jericho for throwing away his Title Shot to save a girl who doesn't even care about him.  He accuses Jericho of having a "teenage crush" and of forgetting that "this is RAW, not an episode of The OC."  Christian even manages to sneak in the part about how Jericho tossed him from the Rumble again this year, to which Jericho retorts that Christian tried to toss him first.  And plus, Jericho wants to know where Christian was when Jericho was out there getting his ass kicked in a handicap match.  And that's when Christian decides to unveil the Big News.  He was with Eric Bischoff, arranging for Vitamin C to get a World Tag Team Title Match against Evolution next week on RAW.  Christian puts his finger in Jericho's chest and says he better bring his A-game next week and get his head out of his ass.  

Nice segment, they packed a lot of things, a lot of possibilities, into about 2 minutes here... I also like that they've got all the player involved acting much more reasonably: Christian is now teetering on the brink of betraying his partner not because Jericho dares to like girls but because he sees Jericho as an obstacle/stepping stone in his career path, and the Trish/Jericho thing is a lot better this way (simmering under because Trish realizes Jericho genuinely likes her, undercut by Christian's antics, and landing them in the Just Friends holding pattern) than it was 3 weeks ago (when Jericho was being whiny and vaguely whipped, while Trish was ignoring over a months worth obvious signs in favor of being kind of bitchy towards him).


Lita and Victoria vs. Molly Holly and Jazz

The story here, as told in video recaps, is that Jazz beat Lita last week on RAW (thanks to Teddy Long), while Victoria pinned Molly last night on Heat in a non-title match.  So they've consolidated here to make a tag match...  and proceed immediately to ignore the issues so that Lawler can talk about Playboy featuring a pair of WWE divas in an upcoming issue, and goes on various tangents about how Lita and Victoria would be mighty hot.  Then he notices Jazz has new ringwear that borders on the wedgie-tastic, and thinks maybe Molly and Jazz is an option, too.  Apparently, Lawler is the stereotypical guy who only looks at the pictures in Playboy, because right there in black-and-white in the "coming next month" section of the magazine, they already revealed that Torrie Wilson and Sable will be featured in next month's issue (I believe just in repeats of past pictorials, nothing new).  Idiot.  Further, when JR tries heroically to call the actual match, King gets on his case, and tells him he sucks for not playing along with him.  I think he actually said something like, "Don't you notice how hot these girls are?  That's the first thing I notice: a girl's looks."  Which may be true at some level, but I'd still have given $10 to a collection if JR had shot back with, "You know, King, if you want to compare notes and talk about which one of these women I'd leave my wife for the fastest, let's get a drink after the show.  But for now, did it occur to you that maybe there's a wrestling match going on, and that in this society we're trying to have it's considered a virtue to put one's cock and balls away for upwards of minutes at a time to go to work and do one's job.  You know, exactly like how you aren't doing right now?".  But JR opted for ignoring Lawler almost entirely.  Sadly, that did not make him go away.  The match?  Besides making me want to fill my ears with molten silver, pretty solid.  It was Lita who got beat down by the heels, then a hot tag to Victoria at about the five minute mark, then chaos ruled.  Lita wound up occupying Jazz at ringside, while Victoria and Molly did a few spots in the ring, culminating in Victoria reversing her way into a roll-up for a pinfall win.  Her second pin on Molly in two nights, but neither with the title on the line.  I think JR got that point through despite Lawler's blithering idiocy about the already-decided Playboy matter....

Backstage: Triple H is WALKING.  And wearing a lot of bandages.  And sunglasses.  And possibly a little bit of make-up.  Not that they'd ever exaggerate injuries in pro wrestling!

inVasion 2004!

HHH makes a grand geyser-like entrance, as Jim Ross recounts in a bit more detail what went down in the Last Man Standing Match at the PPV, and opines that a case can be made for Shawn Michaels being the World Champ.  But HHH will dispute that, and in fact DOES dispute it as soon as he gets a live mic.  HHH says that sure he got taken to the limit at the Rumble, and sure he left on a stretcher, but he also left with the World Title.  Because even though HBK said it might come down to One Second, when that one second came, Michaels didn't have enough heart to get on his feet and take the title.

Cue "Sexy Boy," and out comes Shawn.  HHH is upset at this, and gets in Shawn's face, "Haven't you had enough yet?  What do I have to do to get rid of you?"...  to which Shawn SHOULD have replied "What do you have to do?  How about just beat me.  One time.  That's all.  But you can't" (and then go into a tirade about their last two match results).  Instead, Shawn did a vague spiel about how they aren't even close to being done, but rather, are just getting started together.

And with that, it's time for Sheriff Austin to ride in on his All Terrain Vehicle of Law Enforcement, and hop in the ring.  Austin says they had a hell of a match, and that with HHH retaining on a technicality, he thinks that once again, Shawn Michaels deserves a rematch.  Apparently, that'll be forthcoming at some point in the next few weeks.  But, Austin says, it won't be happening at WrestleMania.  Because, you see, the winner of the Royal Rumble gets to face the champ at WM.  But nobody ever said WHICH champ the winner would face (well, they did last year, and conveniently ignored the convention this year).  Austin says the winner of the Rumble will face the RAW World Champion at WM20, and then proceeds to invite the Rumble Winner, Chris Benoit down to the ring...

Nice pop for Benoit, who gets disbelieving looks from both Michaels and HHH.  Benoit manages to get through a simple little promo with some flair: he congratulates HHH and HBK for "going through hell" for the World Title the night before, but said it was nothing compared to the 18 years of hell that he's gone through in his career, and the 62 minutes of hell he went through in the Rumble match, to get this WM title shot.  He said he doesn't care if it's against HHH or Michaels, but at WM20, he will be the next World Champion.  Hit Benoit's music, hit the "JR Nearly Has a Stroke" button, and take us to a commercial.


Announcer Break:  we take a moment to visit with JR and King, who put over just what an unbelievable thing it was to see Chris Benoit on RAW.  Apparently, they don't read the internet.  

Last Night: we get the complete Kane recap.  Or at least the two highlights.  First, Kane is eliminated when he gets distracted by the lights going out and the Undertaker's entrance gong playing.  And then, in frustration, he decimated the next entrant in the Rumble match, Spike Dudley.  Which is all the justification we need for....

Bubba Ray Dudley vs. Kane

This was a nothing of a match, just a set-up for the latter shenanigans.  The only thing that stopped the onslaught of clubbering fists and forearms was Bubba pausing to yell something about not messing with his family.  Kane put up with this for about 90 seconds, then gained the edge, and then decided to put another Dudley down.  Kane grabbed the steel ring steps and hit Bubba in the head with them to get DQ'ed (three weeks in a row for that, now?).  When D-Von attempted the save, he got Tombstoned for his troubles.  Standing over his fallen foes, Kane decided to light his ringpost pyro, but when he brought his arms down, the lights went out.... and the Undertaker's gong sounded again.  This time, it was accompanied by a video on the TitanTron.  Very "The Ring"-esque, it was just quick cuts of various Taker and Kane moments with muddled voices and weird acid-y effects and stuff.  And then, it was done.  And then, the ring was basked in purple light.  And then, Kane didn't seem to appreciate the implication.

Backstage: Eric Bischoff is on speakerphone with Paul Heyman.  Despite Bischoff's assurances that this was all an Austin plot, Heyman is convinced that the two were in cahoots all along and just stole one of his top stars away.  A great chance to mention Mike Awesome is passed over, and instead Heyman cuts to the chase and promises to sue Bischoff's ass.  Anyone wanna bet against the only settlement he gets being one (1) Bill Goldberg?  Didn't think so...  As Heyman hung up after the threat, Bischoff was not in a pleasant mood.  Coach picked exactly the wrong moment to saunter in and start ribbing Bischoff about "rolling around on the mat like a couple of little girls" with Heyman the night before.  In a fit of rage, Bischoff tells Coach that he's got a match tonight: a no-DQ match, and it's against Goldberg.  D'oh.


Rico vs. Rob Conway

No set-up here, but as you'll see, it won't matter by the end.  Rico with his usual antics (ass-grabbing, kissing, et al) for some nice cheap laughs early.  But then with the help of Rene Dupree, Conway took the advantage.  Miss Jackie attempted to instigate the Rhythmic Clapping of Babyface Inspiration by pounding on the mat, but succeeded only in causing her top to drop down to her navel (visible on TV in a wideshot).  NOW the crowd is paying attention!  A mild "Jackie" chant somehow inspires Rico to make a comeback.  They go back and forth for a minute or so, but Conway seems to have regained the edge when Jackie gets up on the apron and INTENTIONALLY drops the top this time (you don't get to see anything, really, as the camera cut to a backshot immediately, and anyway, I'm sure that even if you did a super-zoom-in on the two frames they caught from the side, you'd find Jackie was wearing pasties or tape or something).  At least now we know the top was easy-out for a reason.  Conway gets distracted, kicked in the face, and pinned.  Yee haw!  Rico = Probable Nipples, so let's all cheer for him!  A forgettable 3 minute match, and we'll see if the finish accomplishes for these two what it did for another odd and sexually-ambiguous pair against a hated foreigner (Goldust and Marlena used the same tactic to beat The Sultan back in the day).

After the match: Stacy Keibler comes out for absolutely no reason, and raises the hands of Jackie and Rico.  Oh, goddammit, here's the reason: now Lawler goes off for a minute and a half about how he just KNOWS that this means Stacy and Jackie will be the two divas in Playboy. For the next two sentences, imagine that I sound like Eric Cartman.  I hate you, Jerry Lawler.  I hate you so very, very much.

As If It Wasn't Bad Enough Already: JR's already putting up with one of the King's bad nights, and now, the WrestleMania Flashback of the night is WM9, and JR trying to be a legitimate sportscaster while looking ricockulous in a toga.  I feel for you, buddy....


Backstage: Mick Foley has arrivened!  Decked out in the WWE "Get Lit for the Holidays" Christmas shirt and his formal red flannel, Mick is truly a man for all seasons. 

Last Night: the announcers go into some detail about how Goldberg entered at #30, had a great run, eliminating 3 or 4 guys in the span of just a few minutes, but then had his Rumble ended by an uninvited run-in by Brock Lesnar.  They also glaze over the verbal sparring Lesnar and Goldberg did earlier in the night, and basically suggest that Goldberg would probably have won the Rumble if not for Lesnar, and so he's probably in a foul mood tonight.

Coach vs......  Mark Henry?

Well, not quite.  Coach came out first, and got on the mic.  Did a nice bit where he said, with a completely straight face, that nobody in the building wanted to see Coach against Goldberg.  Ha!  He said he was just joking around earlier, and wants Eric to change his mind...  but out comes Teddy Long and Mark Henry instead.  Teddy says that this is just another case of Whitey pawning off his troubles on the Black Man, and offers Coach the chance to have Mark Henry stand in his corner and help him out tonight against Goldberg.  Coach thinks that's peachy keen, but first....


Coach and Mark Henry vs. Goldberg (No DQ)

It's actually still only Coach vs. Goldberg, but because of the no DQ stip, Henry is involved and it's all legal.  In fact, Henry handles almost the entire match, while Coach sat on a turnbuckle and occasionally compared notes with Teddy Long.  Finally, about four minutes in, Goldberg is able to snatch powerslam Henry (looked impressive), and then tosses him out of the ring.  Leaving only the Coach.  Slam.  Spear.  Jackhammer.  Big pop.  Pinfall win.  For reasons unexplained, Henry was acting like he wanted more of Goldberg but Long held him back.  Goldberg, who paid attention to storylines at the Rumble, found himself a camera, and proceeded to ignore Henry in favor of swearing that he'd hunt Brock Lesnar even if it meant going to another show.  An effective little segment, maybe 5 minutes tops, and like I said on Monday, crowds are still many weeks away from getting tired of seeing Coach get his ass kicked.


Main Event Promo

It's time for Mick Foley to explain himself.  I can't tell if it was bored silence or riveted silence (I'd hope the latter, because this was pretty good stuff, kind of like a melding of good Cactus Jack and good Mankind promos of the past: part hardcore, part psycho), but the crowd gives Foley almost no reaction as he tells the tale of the Big Walk-Out.  Foley explains that in his career, hatred was his greatest asset, that whatever was wrong in his life, he could channel it into the ring and against an opponent and do terrible, unspeakable things.  But then he retired, and started to really enjoy life.  He didn't have any hatred left.  And since he didn't want to be the guy who comes back past his prime and embarrasses himself, he realized that night in Tampa, FL, that he couldn't step into the ring against Randy Orton.  His mistake wasn't walking out, Mick said, it was accepting the match in the first place when he didn't have what it took any more to compete.

And at this point, Mick decided he wanted to address Randy Orton directly for the rest of his explanation.  And out comes Orton (solo).  Mick says he's got a favor to ask of Randy.  Which surprises Orton.  He has a mic of his own and blurts out, "What, dare I ask, do you want?".  Foley grabs Orton's mic and throws it aside, probably on the grounds that any more talking by Orton will only screw things up.  Foley says he wants Orton to spit in his face again.  Just like in Tampa.  Orton is suspicious, and doesn't want to do it.  But then Foley starts slapping him around, daring him to do it if he's a man.  So Orton fires off a quick bit of spittle onto Foley's left cheek.  Foley looks like he's ready to rage, and Randy's cowering like a little girl against the ropes.  But Mick gets it under control.  He says he's remembering a book he once read, and it said something about turning the other cheek.  He wants Randy to spit on his other cheek, and this time, he doesn't want such a sissy-ass loogie.  He tells Randy to go deep down inside himself and hock up something truly magnificent.  Again, Orton doesn't like the way this is going, and begs off.  But Foley actually gets the live crowd to chant "Loogie -- Loogie," and Orton is shamed into it.  He hocks a nice one onto Foley's right cheek.

This time, Foley doesn't feign as much barely-contained rage.  In fact, he says that as a father of four, he's been peed on , pooped on, vomited on, et cetera... getting spit on by Randy Orton is no big deal to him.  But over the past month, Foley's realized Orton didn't just spit in his face, Orton spat on his legacy.  He accused Orton of telling a lie so big and repeating it so often (that Foley is a coward and Orton is a "hardcore legend") that people actually started to believe it, and THAT is what started to stir up Mick's emotions.  Foley got all Mankind on us at this point, punching himself in the forehead (opening up a cut) and saying he couldn't stand back and let people believe he was Randy Orton's Bitch.  He said he can't deny or suppress the hatred anymore.  He thinks there's a time and a place for it.  The place is Hershey, PA (cheap pop, no time for a Thumbs Up, though).  And the time, young Orton... is NOW.

Foley cut loose on Orton, and the crowd which was a bit subdued for most of the explanation erupts with cheers and "Foley" chants.  Evolution tries to come to the rescue, but Mick manages to grab a chair and fend them off after getting in a couple of parting blows.  The show ends with Foley in the ring, soaking up the chants, as Evolution ran with its tail between its legs.

Final Analysis

The big promo/angle at the end was definitely adequate pay-off to the walk-out and the past few weeks of teasing.  Foley told a story that holds water, and even if it wasn't the most electric explanation, it led up to a beatdown on Orton that WAS red hot.  Good stuff.

The opening RVD/Jericho vs. Evolution handicap match was (end spot aside), a really good, main event-type match.  I enjoy having at least one of these anchor matches on each show, and in this case, the fact that it opened instead of closing the show didn't bother me.  The thing with Foley was just fine as the headline act.  The feel that the show was "in reverse" because the main event match went on first and the big promo last was not a problem at all.

I'm not so keen on the fact they pulled the trigger on Benoit going to RAW.  Look, if this ends with anything less than Bret Hart showing up at WM20 to help Benoit defeat Shawn Michaels in a ****1/2 main event, then I'd have rather seen the Benoit/Lesnar match that's been cooking for the last month, and I just might have to throw in with the conspiracists who think this move is little more than HHH wrangling to get himself another opponent who can help carry him to good matches.  Neither Austin nor Benoit himself offered ANY logical explanation for why he showed up, either, which is another deal where I get annoyed by the laziness of the RAW team.  Much like Austin sauntering back in as "sheriff," this reeks of "It's so because we SAID it's so, and not because it makes any particular amount of sense."  But we'll see....  there is time.

[Hey, an idea: Michaels/Benoit at WM20, and then HHH is free to tag with Orton against the reconstituted Rock 'n' Sock Connection in a harmless, but fun and strong-drawing, sideshow match.  That way, the IC Title is not an issue with Foley/Orton....]

Still, overall a good, fun show.  If anything the "in reverse" thing gave the show a sort of on-the-edge-of-your-seat feel that was much appreciated on the night after a PPV an on the first RAW of the Road to WrestleMania.

Ratings, fall-out, and any other thoughts that strike me will follow in tomorrow's OO. See you then....


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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