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One Step Backwards... but HEY!,
About Two Steps Forward! 
June 29, 2004

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com


Well, they not only did it again: they did it in even more spectacular fashion... RAW was flopping between good and bad with INCREDIBLE velocity last night, sometimes as many as 3 times in one little segment (namely, the "tag" of the main event).

I wish I had some sense that WWE knew when it was sucking, some sense that if they MUST do the Suck, that they should keep it segregated as much as possible from the rest.  But nope: tonight, it was fully integrated into the rest of the show, apparently here to stay.

At least on this night, I feel pretty sure there was enough good to outweigh the bad. Or at least, a strong enough combination of the Good and the Fast Forwarding to outweigh the bad.  Here's what happened.....

Who Cares?: Last week, apparently WWE won some awards from something called ProMax.  The ProMaxi's?  Kids, I just want you to know, there are about a billion feminine hygiene product jokes running through my brain right now, but in deference to getting this recap started on the least-juvenile note possible, I'll just make fun of WWE for putting in this little self-congratulatory video that nobody outside the company could possibly give two shits about.  The ProMaxi's?  Honestly.... 

Video Package: All things Eugene, Triple H, and Benoit from last week.  You saw it.  Or should have at least read about it.

Opening pyro/theme/etc., and we are welcomed to Richmond, VA, where tonight we've got a rare World Title defense.  And you better believe Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler don't let us forget it.

The Three E's: Evolution, Eugene, Entertainment

To interrupt the hype and get this show on the road, here's Evolution.  Orton and Batista look strangely prepared-to-wrestle-right-now, make a note of it.  Triple H, however, is here for talking: he announces that Eric Bischoff has assured him that at Vengeance, he will receive the World Title shot, no matter who wins tonight between Chris Benoit and Kane.  BOOO!  But then HHH moves on to other matters...

He calls Eugene out to the ring, and Eugene is only mildly trepidatious before finally getting in the ring with his Favorite Wrestler.  HHH puts Eugene at ease with a Bill Of Goods (tm, Jim Ross' Mama, apparently) about how HHH didn't mean to do any harm to Eugene last week in their match.  He was just trying to toughen him up for all the matches he'll have against other guys, ones who aren't his friends.  HHH is still Eugene's friend, though, and as his friend, he wants Eugene to know that Chris Benoit is...  it's really tough for HHH to use such strong and foul language...  but Benoit is....  oh this is so personally offensive to HHH...  Benoit is a Big Jerk.  Eugene is shocked and appalled, and HHH apologizes for the profanity, but Benoit really is the J-Word, and is not Eugene's friend.  Eugene says Benoit told him the chairshot was an accident, but HHH assures him that Benoit is lying, that he's a big jerk, and that he's jealous of Eugene having friends like HHH.  And to let Eugene know how good a friend he has in HHH, HHH invites Eugene to become an Honorary Member of Evolution.  Eugene is ecstatic, and... my this is odd, but the other members of Evolution don't seem to be on the same page, and have reactions ranging from Batista's "this seem kind of silly" to Ric Flair in the middle to Randy Orton's outright displeasure.  But before we can get much further with the reaction shots....

Here comes William Regal with a mic in hand.  He tells Eugene not to do it, that it's a trap.  But HHH responds by saying that it's not a trap and Eugene can trust him, because HHH would never lie to a friend.  Unlike William Regal, who has been lying to Eugene all along: he never cared about Eugene, he only trained and took care of Eugene because he was hired by Eric Bischoff, and Regal took the job because he wanted his wrestling job back.  Eugene looks at Regal for an explanation, and Regal is kind of flustered at first, realizes he can't honestly deny the core charges, but then tries in on a "Well, it started out that way, but..." defense, when HHH interrupts.  "But nothing," says HHH, and paints it like Regal just copped to the worst possible interpretation of HHH's accusations possible.  Eugene is heart-broken.  And when HHH tells Eugene, it's OK, you can still go with William Regal if you want, even though he's a liar, or you can come with Evolution where we'd never lie to a friend, that's when we get....

Yet another interruption, this time from Eric Bischoff.  Eric says that he won't let these two toy with his nephews emotions.  If they want to, though, they can fight it out later tonight in a match.  Thing is, Bischoff things a match like this needs a referee who could call things right down the middle.  A Special Referee, if you will.  And Richmond is about 10 seconds ahead of Bischoff when he finally announces that there's no ref who could possibly be more special than Eugene.  So it's on: HHH vs. Regal, with Eugene as the referee.  Close with shots of Eugene looking conflicted, Regal looking indignant, and HHH looking smug.


Randy Orton/Batista vs. Chris Jericho/Edge

Well, so that's why they were already dressed to wrestle: it's a rematch from last week.  Early part of the match is notable for two reasons:  (1) on commentary they do a commendable job of putting over Jericho's lingering head injuries/possible concussion from last week, and (2) an obnoxious buzzing is eventually revealed to be the in-house fire alarm, but NOBODY IN THE ARENA MOVED EVEN AN INCH.  Ha!  Fire?  Who cares, we're watching wrestling!  I love the bloody single-mindedness!  In fact, the alarm went on for minutes, and the crowd eventually used it as the basis for a "Y-2-J" chant, using the cadence of the alarm.  Clever bastards.  Anyway, the story here was Jericho started the match for his team, and INSISTED that he get himself a piece of Batista right away.  And that worked for all of a minute or so before Evolution cut the ring in half on him.  Jericho's fire up, hilariously enough, coincided with somebody figuring out how to shut off the fire alarm, so it got an even bigger pop than it normally would have.  Decoy Hot Tag comes to Edge at about the 4 minute mark, and we pretty much go directly into Chaos Breaking Loose.  All four guys get involved, Jericho and Edge eventually toss Evolution out of the ring, and then follow up (Jericho with a plancha on Batista, Edge with a baseball slide on Orton).  Heels down, faces up, let's look at some....


Back, and the ref has sorted things out, and it's Edge and Orton, the legal men in the ring.  And Edge is nominally in charge for about 7 nanoseconds before formula dictates that we enter tonight's Extended Genuine Face In Peril Segment.  Orton gets a tag, and Batista takes over, and the pace of the match slows a bit.  The target of Evolution seems to be Edge's ribs/abdomen/lower back, which means lots of gut stomps, body scissors, and other stuff.  [Special Thank You Note to Two Guys I Usually Shit On: Orton and Batista, way NOT to bust out the bear hug or the Abominable Stretch, I appreciate that more than you can know.  I was actually sitting here calling for the Batista Bearhug of Momentum Stopping, and was pleased as punch when it never came.  These were still Transparent Restholds to anyone who's seen more than 4 tag team matches in his life, and the match still could have maybe been shortened by a few minutes, but this at least kept that slower, middle part of the match from being a drag on the rest.]  After about 5-6 minutes of this Evolution Domination, Edge finally gets to his corner and hot tags Jericho.  Jericho -- who had been once or twice knocked from the apron and was selling a "I'm feelin' kinda woozy" vibe -- was a house afire, then paused to act woozy, then house afire, and so on and so forth.  Between him and the announcers, I was waiting for one gentle nudge to send him crumpling to the mat, which is what they WANTED us to feel.  So: nice work.  

Eventually all four guys get involved in the wacky brawling, and Jericho keeps fighting through the head trauma.  Edge powders out, and it looks like Jericho's in trouble, though: Orton sets him up for an RKO.  But Jericho shoves him off into a corner, and turns around... where Batista is recovered and is sprinting at Jericho with a clothesline.  But Jericho ducks, and Orton EATS IT.  Whoa.  You guys know all about my Trish Sympathy, but that was a fairly good one, Randall. Too bad you're only ALMOST as pretty as Trish: instead of sympathy, you get a mere "kudos" for making this two weeks in a row in which Batista's Clothesline From Hell goes over as a pretty wicked move that doesn't know its own strength.  Bradwho?  Anyway, Orton is down and stays that way, Edge comes back and hits the surprised/confused Batista with a Spear, Jericho follows up with a Lionsault, and Jericho scores the pin at about the 18 minute mark.  Like I said above, maybe a bit overlong (or maybe I'm just becoming too familiar with the "WWE style" or tag match formula, I don't know), but still pretty solid fun all the way, especially with the way it made Jericho seem like a fricking Warrior out there.  Doesn't necessarily mean I want to see him waste a PPV match against Batista, but if it's more like this, I can handle it....

Video Package: Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler send us to a recap of Kane/Lita/Matt Hardy from last week.  I don't recap crap.  In fact, with my extra 15 minutes of FF Freedom, instituted this week thanks to the Power of DVR, I don't even watch crap.


Backstage: Ric Flair is cautioning HHH against including Eugene in Evolution because "it kills our gimmick" (HEY! Who's the one that's against letting the marks get smart to the business again?).  HHH puts Flair at ease saying he learned from Flair, the Dirtiest Player in the Game, and this is all a set-up to use Eugene to get what he wants: the World Title.  And then, after that, Eugene is worthless and gets squashed like a bug.  Oy: again with the "secret revelation made in front of a fucking TV CAMERA" gimmick.  There are smarter, less-logic-defying ways of accomplishing the same things, you know. Not only does this segment force fans to wonder "Why doesn't somebody just show Eugene this video?", it also kills Jerry Lawler's gimmick of blithely saying HHH really is Eugene's friend just to annoy JR.  Unless Lawler's even more "special" than Eugene.

WWE Diva Search Round 2, Segment 1: I don't watch crap, I don't recap crap.

Backstage:  It's Lita crying into a cell phone ("Please return my calls, Matt") and Stacy coming up to comfort her.  I know it's crap, but dammit, I think this one is part of my RAW Recapper job description... so I continue watching.  Stacy's all "what's the matter?" and Lita's all "I'm about to give a horrible monologue that only further slays my character."  OK, actually, not: Lita basically weepily says some of the mean things that I spent last week saying about her... how she's clearly stupid and weak for having gotten herself into such a retarded mess, and she's pretty much a horrible person for whom no right minded individual could have sympathy.  Except she's saying them about herself, which is such a blatant cry for sympathy that it boomarangs on her and just comes off as further lameness.  Stacy, not exactly renowned as the Rocket Scientist of the Diva Locker Room, still manages to dredge up the one option that should have been hammering Lita over the head over the last month but which STILL has no place in a wrestling storyline when she asks, "So what are you going to do?".  And Lita just weeps some more and says she doesn't know.  Somebody alert the SmackDown! Your Vote people and get Kerry and Bush to appear on RAW to debate Whether Or Not Lita Can Have An Abortion!  Ratings gold, people!  Or not.  

Jim Ross Ring Entrance: cops are surrounding the ring, and JR will interview Kane for the first time since Kane set him on fire, right after these....


A Normal Life: A Verbal Essay by Kane

Kane tries to put Jim Ross off his game with vague threats, but JR nuts up and says he's still here to do his job.  The job involves briefly touching on Kane's assault on Shawn Michaels (too briefly, I say, because that's the NON-CRAPPY part of what Kane could talk about)... and then moves on to Kane bringing back a 2-months-dormant issue about how he wants a Normal Life.  About how maybe he can't have a totally normal life, but there's one thing he can have: an offspring.  A son or daughter to mold in his image.  I'll say this: the words coming out of Glen Jacob's mouth are the purest nonsense, but the man is putting everything he can behind selling them.

So anyway, Kane says that he didn't just want the sweet, sweet loving from Lita.  No.  Instead, he took "all the precautions" to make sure Lita would be impregnated during their time together.  So he, what, made sure both he and Lita converted to Catholicism and then were secretly wed in the Eyes of God before their weekend get-away?  Tee hee!  Anyway, now his plan has worked, and in eight months, he'll be a father.  And before that, tonight, he'll be the World Champion.  JR doesn't want to rain on Kane's parade, but does point out that Lita's baby isn't necessarily his: it could still be Matt Hardy's.  Kane no likey the sound of that, and seems like maybe he's gonna have to teach Jim Ross a lesson... but that's when Matt Hardy himself runs out from the audience and attacks Kane.  He actually gets the better of Kane for about 30 seconds until Eric Bischoff comes out on the stage with a mic in hand and orders his Crack Security Staff to quit standing around and get in the ring to break this up.  They do, and drag Matt from the ring....

Matt is being dragged away because Bischoff doesn't want anything to ruin his main event.  And something like Matt Hardy sticking his nose where it doesn't belong would ruin things.  Just like Chris Benoit sticking his nose where it didn't belong ruined LAST week's main event.  So as punishment, Bischoff has a few added stipulations to tonight's main event:  (1) the only way Benoit can win the match and retain his title is if he can make Kane tap out, and (2) Kane can win the match via pinfall, submission, DQ, or count-out and the title will change hands no matter what!  Bastard!  Then, in an odd exchange, Bischoff gives Kane The Meaningful Eye Contact of Manly Affection and tells him "Good luck" in a suggestive tone of voice.  Kane just nods and smiles.... Whhhaaaaaaaa?


More Self-Congratulatory Theatre: JR and the King tell us that RAW was the #1 rated show on all of cable TV last week.  And if they'd just thanked the fans and been done with it, that'd have been fine.  Instead, Kind insisted on riffing on this for minutes: it ended up being a pointless digression over whether they have cable in Oklahoma.  Jesus.

William Regal vs. Triple H

Eugene as the special ref is in his usual ring gear, with a ref shirt over his jacket.  I'm starting to think they are intentionally keeping Eugene in that outfit at all times in the name of an Hilarious Vignette (at some point in the next few weeks) where he gets an Evolution Make-Over, but at the end, just when he looks civilized he does something stupid like muss up his hair and do the HHH spit take to ruin the illusion and supply us with our punchline.  Or maybe I'm just rambling with a little mild fantasy booking tangent because this match really wasn't anything except a canvas upon which to paint an angle.  HHH was going out of his way to wrestle clean and not give Eugene ANYthing to complain about.  Regal was wrestling clean, but aggressively, which meant sometimes Eugene was giving him a bit of the what-for.  Clean mat wrestling sort of favors Regal, though, so when HHH got upset over being unable to gain the advantage, it was End Game Time.  Ric Flair hopped up on the apron, and distracted Eugene, and pointed his attention one way, while using his other hand to toss a pair of brass knuckles into the ring.  HHH grabbed them, and was getting ready to use them when Regal blocked the shot, and countered with a left hand of his own.  HHH went down, and Regal saw the knucks.  Regal got angry, and decided to take the knucks and use them himself.  And of course, that's exactly when Flair told Eugene to turn around and look at the cheater.  Eugene was crest-fallen when he saw Regal brandishing the knucks.  Regal looked like a kid caught with his hand in a cookie jar, too, knowing he couldn't explain this to Eugene.  Eugene's all "You're not supposed to do that, William" and calls for the disqualification.  HHH wins by DQ, maybe about 4 minutes... and not much of a match, but a fun and effective angle that continues to make great use of Eugene.

After the match: Regal tries to plead his case to Eugene, but Eugene decides he's heard enough lies and he turns his back on Regal.  At that moment, HHH recovers and decides to attack Regal...  and in so doing, Regal tumbles into Eugene and knocks him down.  Immediately, Eugene pops up, and does his Hulk Up routine: he thinks Regal attacked him.  So Eugene goes berzerk on Regal, as HHH and Flair look on with shocked smiles on their faces.  Finally, they decide the "friendly" thing to do will be to pull Eugene off and calm him down.  Eugene leaves with HHH, as Regal recovers. The final shot is of Eugene accepting an embrace from HHH, while HHH turns his head so everybody but Eugene can see it and gives us a Shit Eating Grim.  William Regal sees it, and he is pissed.  But can't do anything about it.


La Resistance vs......  Perfect Pitch?

The tag champs are out, and Rob Conway gives us a bit of rhetoric about Independence Day being a sham because all America does is repress independence everywhere in the world.  Then he hands the mic over to Sylvain Grenier... and ow, my ears are bleeding.  Luckily, he only gets a few bars into his slaughtering (OMG FORESHADOWING~!) of "O, Canada" before it's time to reveal their opponents tonight....

La Resistance vs. Sgt. Slaughter and Rhyno (Non-Title Match)

Alrighty, so we drag out Sarge for a Fourth of July themed match against the Frenchies, I guess.  I immediately knew what the match formula would be here, and was vindicated when Rhyno came out red hot, then La Resistance cheated to take advantage.  A time-compressed Face In Peril Segment led to the Hot Tag to Slaughter at about the 3 minute mark.  He got in a few trademarked spots (including the Cobra Clutch for a big pop), but eventually came up short.  Rhyno saved him once (after a DDT), but then was tossed out of the ring to allow La Resistance to hit their tag team neckbreaker (the Au Revoir) on Sarge for the clean win.  Maybe 4-5 mintues, and formulaic, but Sarge is probably about as plausible in the ring today as he was when he was the Dumbest Idea for a WWF/E Champion Until Bradshaw back in '91, so it's cool they can bring him out as a special attraction/cheap pop artist.


Backstage: HHH and Eugene are having a friendly chat.  Except it's not so friendly... it's all about HHH telling Eugene it's OK to get angry. Angry at William Regal for lying and cheating.  Angry at Chris Benoit for hitting him with a chair.  Angry at Kane for pretending to be his friend and then attacking him.  Eugene is biting his lip and nodding along at this; one might get the idea that he could get angry again at Regal, or Benoit, or Kane... which is exactly what HHH wants, that magnificent bastard.  HHH closes by saying that he's also angry at those guys for messing with his friend.  And that if there's one thing Evolution does, it's take care of their friends.  It looks like Eugene would kill for HHH, if he asked... which is exactly as it should be.  An excellently-performed vignette, and unlike the other one with HHH/Flair, this one does nothing but flow perfectly logically as part of the show.

Diva Search Round 2, Segment 2: I don't watch crap, I don't recap crap. NEXT!

Vengeance PPV Line-Up: pretty much what you'd expect... Edge vs. Orton, and also Jericho vs. Batista have been added.

SD! Rebound: I don't recap recaps.


Backstage: Ric Flair is thanking Eric Bischoff for "making the right decision."  Hmmm... then in walks Coach, and Flair decides his business is done.  Coach then buddies up to GM Sleazy E and introduces the concept of "Hey, so you're going on vacation next week."  Clever lad.  Coach is confident he'll make a great Interim GM for Bischoff...  but Bischoff has other ideas.  Coach thinks he smells what the Sleaze is cooking and says, "Aw shucks, I guess that's OK if you decide to replace me with a 16 time World Champ."  But Bischoff isn't giving the job to Ric Flair, either.  He needs somebody he can trust... somebody like family...  and again, the live crowd is about 10 seconds ahead of Eric, as they start hooting for "Eugene."  And sure enough, Bischoff announces that next week, the GM For A Night will be his very own nephew, Eugene.

Chris Benoit vs. Kane (World Title Match, Benoit May Win Via Submission Only)

Bit of grappling to start, as Benoit tried to prove he could get Kane in a Compromising Position.  But two Crossface Attempts failed...  that led to Benoit changing gears and going for a SharpShooter.  And that didn't work, either.  The power of Kane meant that Benoit was launched out of the ring when he tried that, actually.  And with Kane dominant and with Benoit down and baffled as to what to try next and with us having seen the Princely Sum of a grand total of about 90 seconds of action, let's break for some...


We're back, and it's still kind of back-and-forthy grappling.  But then Kane takes the advantage by utilizing the unfair rules: he can't be disqualified or anything, so he just takes the brawl outside and uses various ring steps and ring posts to debilitate Benoit.  Then, to make sure his win is as cheap as possible, he hops in the ring and tells the ref to count Benoit out and give him his title.  Thus we are bludgeoned over the head with how unfair these rules are.  Benoit makes it into the ring at 9, though.  Kane tries for a pinfall, but Benoit just barely escapes.  Lawler starts rambling about the Crappy Part of Kane's Current Shtick (being a father, going to PTA meetings), and Jim Ross (bless 'em) gets pissy and tells Lawler to shut up and focus on the match.  Then again, Ross also announces that it's time for another break, and we've only been back from the last one for about 3 minutes.  What gives?


This time we come back and Kane's in control, seemingly focusing on the neck.  This goes on for a few minutes, and then Benoit starts his comeback, and the crowd's way into it.  In the "heat of the moment" Benoit covered Kane and wanted a pinfall, but the ref wouldn't give it to him because of the rules.  I don't know if I like the idea of the "heat of the moment" reversion to pure instinct, or if I think Benoit continuing to argue about the non-pinfall for 15 seconds afterwards makes him looking like a fucking moron for not remembering the rules.  I could go either way.  In any case, Benoit's firing up includes two sets of Triple Germans, a Swandive Headbutt, and other goodness.  And he still can't get Kane into a submission position.  And finally, Kane wages a mini comeback of his own... when Benoit goes up for a second headbutt, Kane catches him.  But Benoit re-reverses things by grabbing Kane's left arm and just dropping down to the floor from the top, tearing the shoulder out (allegedly, it actually looked like they didn't quite get it together on that spot, and it looked sloppy).  Kane was hurting, Benoit smelled blood.  So Benoit hops in the ring, hits a few more moves, and then manages to apply the Crossface to Kane's injured left shoulder.  Kane tried to get a rope break, tried to power out... but in the end, he had no choice but to tap.  Benoit's your winner via submission in a match that was probably 15 minutes, but because of the odd placement of six-minutes-worth of ads early on, felt more like only the last 6-7 minutes after the final ad break really "counted."  If that makes sense...  I think they must have screwed something on time management earlier.  End result: not quite as good as Bad Blood.

After the match: Kane was serenaded by "You Tapped Out" chants, and didn't much cotton to them.  So he decided to take it out on Benoit by attacking from behind after the bell.  He lays Benoit out with a chokeslam... and then, just when you thought you'd escape with no crap...

Here comes Lita. And she's smiling?  Yep.  She grabs the world title and hands it to Kane, and is making "Hey, whaddya say, me and you, OK?" gestures.  Kane is suspicious at first, but then thinks Lita might be on the level.  Then he gets downright enthusiastic about this saucy new Lita when she declares: Hey why not beat on Benoit some more?!?  Sounds like a good idea to Kane, so he turns around... and that's when Lita reveals her true colors.  She kicks Kane right in the... well, in the ass, it looked like.  Maybe the back of the leg.  But you can tell from Kane's sell job we're supposed to think he was kicked square in the balls.  And that only made him angry.  He recovers, turns around, and acts like he's going to chokeslam Lita.  Grabs her, elevates her, and then has a moment of Inner Conflict.  If he chokeslams Lita, might he cause a miscarriage and lose his offspring?  Is that maybe Lita's intention here, avoiding the whole abortion issue (which itself raises about a billion more sucky storyline digressions)?

It should be noted that the live crowd is running through all these Very Pressing and Dramatic Storyline Subtexts, and has decided that they're gonna stick with "You Tapped Out" because THAT'S WHAT'S IMPORTANT AND THAT'S WHAT DOESN'T SUCK!  Seriously: the crap with Kane and Lita's going on, and Richmond is saying "Wrap it up, jerks, and let's get back to the wrestling."  God bless you, Richmond, VA.

Finally, Kane puts Lita down and says something about not crossing him ever again or he'll make her pay.  Whee.  But just when I thought I had my over-riding thesis about WWE ruining a decent show by ending it on an ultra-retarded note, WHAM! here's Chris Benoit to save the day.  He punks out Kane with the World Title belt, and celebrates to his music to end the show.  Hey, it's something, at least...

Final Analysis

Well, again, they mix the crap with the good with more crap and more good, and it makes it all very tough to get TOTALLY excited about the show.  But it's also tough to ignore the good when it's there, too.
I'm absolutely loving most everything they do with Eugene and Evolution.  It's a fascinating idea for so good a character to be so loyal to so evil a character.  Keep in mind, I wasn't watching WCW when they did the original Rick Steiner/Woman gimmick, so... well, anyway, I think even if I had, they are doing a way more clever job with Eugene and HHH this time around, and I'm loving it.  The finish to the Regal/HHH match and then the subsequent promo between HHH and Eugene couldn't have been much more perfect for building to future events.

But I'm absolutely hating just about everything that has to do with Lita, Kane, and the Dreaded Offspring.  It was retarded 2 months ago, it still is, and might only be getting more so.  I guess maybe Matt Hardy had a "win" of a night, getting 20 seconds of offense in on Kane, but they think they're salvaging Lita by having her realize she's as stupid and horrible as I said she was last week?  Wrong, no sympathy.  They think they're saving her by having her come out and ALMOST have some of her old balls back by attacking Kane?  Nah, because I have a feeling it'll come out that that wasn't Lita having balls, that was Lita trying to goad Kane into causing a miscarriage, because she DOESN'T have the balls enough to just decide that, in this instance, an abortion might be OK.  AND WHO IN THE BLUE FUCK DECIDED WRESTLING NEEDS AN ABORTION STORYLINE?  Punches in the eyeballs, all around.

The opening tag match was OK, and did it's job building to a pair of PPV singles matches. But by the same token, I can't get over the idea that the match I'd *like* to see is Jericho vs. Orton, with plenty of time to develop and expand over the course of a few PPVs.  But whatever.  It was still good stuff, and Edge/Orton will be OK, and if anybody can make me look forward to a Batista match, it's Jericho.  Well, it could also be Tajiri, except WWE seems to have entirely forgotten about that little morsel of Possible Revenging.

The diva search thing? Like I said, I didn't watch it, but I know from last week it was stupid, pointless crap, and can't imagine it suddenly got three trillion times more pertinent this week.  And mostly: allow me to be Angry As Hell on the behalf of Trish Stratus and the rest of the women who go out there, bust ass, have actual talent and reasons why I care about them.  They've put the work into becoming relatively important parts of the show (we even have a Trish/Victoria/Stevie-in-drag storyline that NEEDED to be followed up upon), and they show up not even once on RAW.  And a phalanx of anonymous babes shaking their asses at the Coach gets a good 6-8 minutes.  There's a couple other things really wrong with this entire concept and what it does to the Trishs, Mollys, and Victorias of the world, but I don't want to get too far into a digression here: maybe it'll get said later in the week....

So anyway, another paRAWdoxical mix of good and bad, almost like nobody at WWE really understands the Big Picture.  Instead, they are micromanaging: the people doing HHH/Eugene/Benoit are doing very well.  The people doing Kane/Lita are not.  And why isn't there anybody overseeing the whole process saying "OK, you: good.  But you: try again, that sucks ass."?  Just frustrating as hell... even more so if you tell me somebody IS overseeing the big picture and thinks that Kane/Lita and the Diva Search have any business on TV.

But I'd rather not contemplate that.

This week, though the paRAWdox continues, I say they definitely improved things a little bit, and we got more good than bad.  Two good wrestling matches, quality entertainment in the middle of the show with Eugene/HHH, and at least some of the crap (Diva Idol) was easily fast-forwarded over and didn't impact my enjoyment of the show.  Decent effort, and I don't think I'm giving the Thumbs Up just because of how low SD! set the bar with the preceding night's PPV either.  Last night's RAW was a step forward, albeit with more than a bit of lingering crap to give us pause for thought as we continue on... 


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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