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Does the Punishment Fit the Crime? 
July 4, 2006

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com


Well, that didn't take long.

Less than 24 hours after his arrest on misdemeanor drug charges -- which will, ironically, end up being so minor that they cost him less than the associated traffic ticket which precipitated the search of his car -- Rob Van Dam was forced to drop his WWE Title on Monday Night RAW. 

Is it a case of WWE over-reacting? That's hard to say. On one hand, the courts will barely slap RVD (and his passenger, Sabu) on the wrists, which says a lot about how society views the severity of their crime. But on the other, WWE is a publicly traded company with a brand-spanking new "wellness policy" that needs to be taken

seriously. And stated clearly in that "wellness policy" is a clause that allows WWE to dole out ANY punishment to any worker who is convicted of any drug-related charges, regardless of severity.

Now, RVD has yet to have his day in court, but c'mon: given his past, who really expects him to try to get out of this one? WWE seems well within it's stated "rights" to take his title, and could even take his job if they see fit (though it shouldn't come to that in any sane universe).

And still: I have this lingering.... well, it's almost a sympathy for RVD. Not so much because he got punished, but that he got punished so severely and with such rapidity that I'm not entirely sure that anybody took the time to think this through.

What it reminds me of is a week or so ago when the White Sox General Manager actually had the dim-witted bravado to go on TV and threaten to fire Ozzie Guillen following the incident where Ozzie called a particularly slimy and asshatted journalist a "fag" in passing. Ozzie's only "crime"? Using a simple colloquialism and language that I'm guessing 90% of us use, without attaching any malice to the Alternative Lifestyle in question. Ozzie's only *real* crime? Being so retarded that he thought a man in his position could get away with doing this without it causing him major headaches.

Same thing with RVD, except that his "General Manager" actually followed through on the asshatted threat without taking even a day or two to reflect on matters. Let's face it: if you haven't taken a puff of dum-dum smoke in your life, you probably haven't -- technically -- lived, and if you don't know how to medicate an aching back or a throbbing knee without going to your physician then you're just not looking hard enough. With the painkillers, there *is* admittedly an issue of actually harmful abuse of the substance that doesn't exist with pot, but I figure that's for WWE's drug testing to find out; not for some cop to determine based on a micro-stash in some guy's luggage. So I leave that avenue of criticism open, too, but mostly: I just can't believe that a man in Rob's position could be such a moron as to get caught out in a situation like this.

It's as I've opined more than once: there are a lot of laws in this country that I think are unnecessary and unjust, but there's one crime that our Great Nation has never deigned to legislate.... the crime of stupidity. I think that's the main thing RVD and Sabu are guilty of here.

And I'm just not entirely set in my thinking as to whether or not I agree with that being sufficient cause for shaking up storylines out of left field and taking away RVD's title (and in so doing, severely hamstringing ECW's prospects), while you continue to let proven retards like Randy Orton into the spotlight.

It's a tough issue, and one I'll be trying to sort out in my own head over the next day or two. I encourage all y'all to put on your Introspection Caps and do the same, cuz I'm pretty sure -- once you get past the Letter of the Law, which is only there to give comfort to the simple minded PC types who want something easy to latch onto and pontificate about without actually stopping to consider the underlying reality of a given situation, and try to ponder the Spirit of the Law -- there are no easy answers on this one.

Anyway: if I've spoiled the ending for tonight's RAW with that PreRamble, I'm ever so sorry. But it really was the night's only compelling development. DX was at its lamest yet, there were more than a few completely worthless throw-away segments, and memorable highlights were few and far between.

One could blame it on the fact that they had to re-write the show to accommodate the title change, but one would be ignoring the simple fact that they didn't re-write anything except for one promo to accommodate the title change. I'll bet a body part that the only way the show would have been different if done as originally planned is that Sabu would have been RVD's "dream partner" and we would have gotten some fireworks between Foley and Flair (who I'm told were in the building and under the impression they were gonna work as recently as 5pm last night) as they showed up as Edge and Cena's partners, respectively.

Everything else was exactly as originally envisioned, though, and I can't say it was one of RAW's stronger efforts. Here's the tale:

Video Package: DX made fun of the McMahons, then dumped poop on them. It was 10 minutes of hilarious in a 15 minute bag last week, but this week, it's a big ol' Fast Forward!

Cold Open: Shawn Michaels and Triple H are approaching the building, where they are met by Coach. HHH and Shawn just want in so they can get to work, but Coach tells them that it's been a matter of record for some days that DX is banned from the building. Apparently, this info was announced on WWE.com, and DX whiffed on it. That's OK, guys, nobody cool reads WWE.com. Shawn's all "So what are we gonna do?" and Trips is all "[sporting an evil grin]" as Coach forcefully asks them to leave. Feigning intimidation, DX does so... but the implication is that They Have A Plan.

Opening Theme/Pyro/Etc., and we're live in Philadelphia, PA, which up until about 2 weeks ago was the proud home of ECW, but which now probably hates ECW more than any other metropolitan area on the planet. Philly can be dicks like that. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler run down a few of our big matches (including the 3-team Dream Partner Tag Match and an IC Title Match), before we kick things off with....

It Must Suck to Be Rob

Edge and Lita hit the ring for some talky-talk. Hey, Lita, 10-out-of-10 for the simple and flattering new haircut, but aren't you supposed to be a total whore? That outfit's doing NOTHING for my wang, honey!

Edge starts up, as is his wont, by being a total prick. He mocks all manner of Philly Sports Teams (and the fans bite on each and every taunt) before finally comparing himself to Terrell Owens, as they share one thing: they both couldn't wait to leave Philadelphia. BOO~!

Then Edge gets a bit more on task, talking about winning back his WWE Title tomorrow night on ECW's show, and how first he's gonna give everybody a taste of his ass-kickingness tonight in the Dream Partner Tag Match. In fact, he's just about to introduce his partner when...

John Cena runs in. And by "runs in," I mean "runs in." He doesn't stop to talk or explain himself or give us any real context for his petulant brattiness: he just sprints to the ring and tries to tackle Edge. I know others disagree with me on this, and have "bought into" Cena as the intense bad-ass, but I still have serious issues with little things like this, as I think they are out-of-character, and give the Cena Haters so much to harp on. Cena's character is, at heart, a clown, and he uses his words as one of his best weapons, and it's just so annoying and out-of-context when they try the Stone Cold "actions-louder-than-words" act with him. Instead of feeling compelling and believable, Cena's little tantrums have all the gravitas of the third grader who had his Tonka Truck taken away by the teacher.

Cena and Edge roll around on the mat, briefly, but are interrupted by Rob Van Dam's music. So they break, with Edge rolling outside to the warm loving embrace of Lita, while Cena stands in the ring. Not surprisingly, the love for RVD is solid, but not overwhelming; such is life when Vince has fucked ECW right up its pooper, and created a situation in which not even Philly is a pro-ECW city.

And this might be where some of my "quasi-sympathy" for Rob developed: because it's not like he hasn't already been asked to castrate himself on TV the past few weeks with displays of mutual respect towards Cena, and whatnot.... but here, the guy had to up that vibe AND essentially cut the promo in which he gave away his own WWE Title. Yes, he was a retard for doing what he did, but that doesn't mean that I can't feel badly for him that TV (and ECW) will be worse for him losing the title and getting over-punished by a knee-jerk, PR- and PC-obsessed company... not to mention the fact that the company basically gave him the rope and told him to go hang himself last night.

First, RVD puts over Cena once again, saying that Cena came damned close to winning the WWE Title last week by making Rob tap out. And RVD's been hearing the whispers, but he's also a fighting champion, so he wants to prove himself to Cena by facing him again tonight, one-on-one, for the WWE Title. Cena seems to like that, but Edge chimes in by calling Bullshit on that.... because he's got a guaranteed title shot on ECW tomorrow night, and he's not gonna see that ruined by Cena winning the title here on RAW.

But RVD's a step ahead of him, "I thought you'd say something like that, and it's not like you wouldn't just interfere in our match tonight anyway. So screw it: I say we just do Saturday Night's Main Event right here, tonight. John Cena vs. Edge vs. Rob Van Dam for the WWE Title." This seems to appease both Cena and Edge, no matter how little sense it makes coming out of RVD's mouth. Hey: maybe they can make the arrest into a storyline, and Van Dam has just been REALLY fucking baked and stOOpid the past month straight, resulting in all his asinine comments and actions?

The tag on the segment has Edge promising that after tonight's match, the WWE Champ will be "Rated R," while Van Dam counters that the correct pronunciation is "RVD." Meantime, Cena stays mute, and perhaps that's for the best.

Outside the Arena: Vince McMahon arrived in his limo, and is met by the Coach. Coach assures Vince that DX is *not* here (although they *were* here), which sets Vince's lame-dar on high alert. He suspects something, and shuttles Coach inside. In the background, a jeep full of obnoxious Girls Gone Wild arrives, all screeching their dim little heads off.


Torrie Wilson vs. Lita

Lita's (still?) in the ring as we return, and the fact that she's wrestling certainly explains the un-wang-ifying-osity of her wardrobe for tonight. Torrie gets her full entrance and a pimping for the lame "WWE Summer Sizzler" Magazine.

Then Torrie pretty much gets her ass kicked for a minute. Then Torrie reverses an Irish Whip into a corner, and decides to give Lita the Stinkface. But in a *really* sloppy and fake-y spot, Lita pulls a reversal so the ref ALMOST gets Torrie's be-thonged ass in his face, but Torrie stops at the last second. The distraction is enough for Lita to strike with a DDT. Fin.

Your Winner: Lita, via pinfall, in well under 2 minutes. Pointless throw-away segment, or scraping the rust off Lita in case Trish really does decide to walk away from WWE: YOU make the call! And the hell? Just use the Twist of Fate, Lita. You're more over than Matt at this point, so I think you can just claim the move as part of your divorce settlement. Mostly, it's just a better finisher, but partly, among the minority of fans who care about real life drama, it'd get you even more heel heat.

Backstage: Vince is in his office, and is berating Coach about how things just don't seem right. There's no catering. His plumbing is screwed up. The hallways are like a ghost town. Coach's excuse is that it's a long holiday weekend, and some of the employees might be off, resulting in a few plumbing issues or lack of food delivery. This sends Vince flying off the handle, seeing as how *he* has never taken a day off in his life. He orders Coach to stand a vigilant guard, because Vince is damned sure that DX is up to something here tonight....


Eugene/Hacksaw Duggan/Val Venis/Viscera/Snitsky vs. the Spirit Squad (10-Man Tag Match)

A total throw-away match here, and the crowd's level of (dis)interest tells you all you need to know. I'm guessing they just booked this one to make sure the Spirit Squad (who are, afterall, the tag champs) "got their heat back."

Short and formulaic. Val started for his team, got a few shots in, and became the Decoy Babyface in Peril, as he got a tag to Eugene in after just 90 seconds. Then Eugene quickly became the REAL Babyface in Peril. I could probalby tell you actual moves and play-by-play if I had cared enough to be paying close attention, but I didn't really. Instead, I'll tell you that the STORY of the mind-numbingly by-the-numbers match was that Kenny's the most talented, Mikey's the most goofy, and Johnny (after competing at the last PPV with a busted nose) is now the butch/shoot-fighty one.

Und zat? Is all zee people need to know.

Eugene got an Ice Cold Tag in to Snitsky at about the 4 minute mark. Snitsky was a House o' Chilliness as he went to town on the Squad.... but eventually, the numbers caught up with him, and his teammates had to come into the ring to join in the fight. The Pier 10 Brawl eventually ended in favor of the Squad, as all the babyfaces were scattered about ringside, leaving Mikey and Kenny to hit a cool top-rope-senton/top-rope-legdrop combo on Snitsky for the win.

Your Winners: the Spirit Squad, via pinfall, in about 5 minutes. Anybody who doubted my original prognosis, 6 months ago, about Mikey and Kenny being the most amusing of these five can kindly lick me after tonight's outing! Still: as mostly-fast-paced and inoffensive as this was, it would also have been extremely uninteresting and FF'able if I were a weaker man. We get it: you want the Squad to be remembered for something other than Shit Showers when the Highlanders show up.... nee haw. The Spirit Squad are celebrating when they are interrupted by.....

Outside the Arena: it seems DX has decided to throw a little Fourth of July tailgate party. Would it have been wrong of me, if I had been there live at the arena, to have left my seat and gone outside because free BBQ and beer was increasingly seeming to be a better use of my time? Anyway, as Shawn displays a VERY unmanly lack of Grilling Ability, Triple H makes a few penis jokes with the different sized hot dogs. Oh, go ahead, just use your imaginations, you'll probably come up with something funnier than HHH did. Then one of WWE's truck drivers came up and asked for a plate full of food. HHH noted that this guy was on the road alot and probably got lonely. "Sure, sometimes," said the guy. So HHH distracted Shawn by saying he just saw Mr. Fuji over on the other side of the parking lot. "Mr. Fuji?!?! I LOVE that guy!" says Shawn as he leaves. In come two strippers who show their boobies to the poor truck driver. It looked to me like a fine display of Sideboob, But a Black Screen of Death suggests a naughty Nipple must have appeared briefly. When the picture pops back up, the truck driver and the strippers are gone, and Shawn comes back into frame saying he couldn't find Mr. Fuji. You know: "big ups" (as the kids say) to Shawn for not wanting to be associated with topless skanks, but honestly, does ANYbody want to be closely associated with a God who thinks that chunky brown poop baths and penis jokes are OK but who casts fans of delicious, beautiful female ta-tas directly into hell? I know I don't.

Anyway, once Shawn is back, he also tries to get the segment back on track by directly addressing the Spirit Squad (who, for some reason, stayed in the ring this whole time to watch the spectacle on the TitanTron). "Either you stay in there smelling like the feces you were rolling in last week, or you can come out here and let us beat the feces out of you." Which apparently was a rhetorical threat, because then HHH hit the only funny (non-Fuji-related) line of the skit when he muttered "Jesus, who writes this feces, anyways? It's brutal." I'm not the expert on this terminology, but I'm pretty damned sure that rates a mighty "Snerk." Then, as a capper, DX has got two words for ya, which are gladly supplied by the party tent full of hyperactive paid extras.


Highlanders vs. Matt Striker and Rob Conway

So here we go: our first look at Rory and Robbie McAllister. Well, YOUR first look. I've seen this shtick for about 6 months now on OVW TV, and it's not like they're adding much of anything new at this point.

Striker starts, and falls prey to a lot of kilt-related offense. Just think of how Finlay uses the ring apron on SD!, and that's pretty much what the Highlanders do with their kilts. Very homoerotic, but it gets some yuks out of the fans. Then Striker tags in Conway, who falls prey to pretty much the same bag of tricks. Then Conway decides to tag in Striker again, but Striker just backs slowly away from the ring, making the International Sign for "Them guys is kuh-RAZY!"... which means Conway is easy pickin's for a move that JR assures us is called the "Scot Drop" (pretty much a double Torture Rack, then both Highlanders drop down and sit out).

Your Winners: the Highlanders, via pinfall, in about 2 minutes. It's harder for me to say, since I'm used to their gimmick already, but I'm guessing this was a pretty effective and crowd pleasing introduction to the duo. Now to see if they can parlay that into anything resembling long-term legitimacy....

Outside the Arena: HHH is standing behind a hot dog stand, when Candice Michelle approaches and asks HHH why Shawn Michaels just went into a truck over on the other side of the parking lot. Exhibiting what at first seemed like food poisoning symptoms, but which were later revealed to be HHH's idea of Faking Orgasm, Hunter explained that Michaels had gone into the TV Production truck, which is like the pulsating nerve center through which all important substances flow. Which means it's exactly like his throbbing, erect penis, in case you missed the subtlety, there! Towards the end of the explanation, Candice starts flailing around in an allegedly orgasmic way, as well, and then finally, two new skanks anviliciously reveal themselves from under the hot dog stand. So very dumb and unfunny; unless you're maybe 15 years old. Which I guess is increasingly what WWE's going for. Instead of DX being the "Beavis," they'll just settle for the much easier and less-entertaining job of being the "Butthead." Color me disappointed.


Outside the Arena: Shawn Michaels is hanging out of the production truck, gesturing (in the Finest Manner of All Gesturing, Broadly) across the parking lot for HHH to come and join him. Also joining HHH: Candice and the Two Skanks. Shawn and Hunter marvel at all the screens and technology in the truck, noting "there must be a camera in every room!".... ugh. So is that now "WWE Canon" for explaining previously-unexplainable camera shots? How hard would it be for DX to just take 30 seconds to set-up/dispatch a Hidden Camera Detail to do their bidding, instead of raising the rather distressing question "Why does WWE put cameras in all public restrooms?"? The answer is: "Not very hard at all, but don't tell the Writer Monkeys that." Anyway, after using Titties McSuperbowl and the Two Skanks to lure a couple of the producers out of the truck, HHH and Shawn sit down to take over control of the telecast. Their first act? To press the button they were told not to press. Causing the show to go "off the air." For all of 2 seconds. Before smoothly cutting to....

Backstage: Coach runs up to Vince McMahon in a hallway, and has something VERY important to tell him. But Vince wants none of it just now, as he's really gotta pee, and his personal bathroom is not working, so.... much as it pains him, he'll have to use a public urinal. Coach tries to stop him, but Vince's bladder shall not be denied! Vince storms into the bathroom, while Coach looks on in concern....

In the Restroom: a Hidden Camera (present for no readily apparent reason) spies Vince McMahon walking up to a urinal and relieving himself. Nothing embarrassing, yet, not even when Vince stops to refer to his junk as "The Eight Wonder of the World, Andre the Giant." But that's when Coach sprints into the restroom and startles Vince, who spins around and briefly pisses on Coach's shoes. Ha? There's a whole lot of "Look what you made me do" and whatnot from Vince, but once Coach finally explains "Look, DX took over the production truck, and you're on TV right now," Vince goes from angry-at-Coach to angry-at-DX in a heartbeat. Vince storms out of the restroom, giving JR *just barely* enough time to note (in an hilariously indignant tone of voice) "Hey, he didn't wash his hands!") before we break for....


Vince Loves Cocks!

We come back from break, with Vince already in the ring and looking mighty upset. But as he starts his diatribe, the tomfoolery also begins. Vince's first mic keeps cutting in and out. Possibly an honest technical mistake. But then Vince's second mic keeps getting all kinds of feedback in it, and he realizes this is no error, this is DX screwing with him. So he gets a third mic, and REALLY starts getting angry...

Which is when his mic suddenly goes into Helium Mode. Vince's voice is pitched up about 3 octaves so he sounds like a chipmunk, which is, admittedly, kinda funny when Vince is making his Angry Face and shouting lines like "Goddammit, do you people think this is funny?". Yes, Vince, sadly, I do. He insists that they bring his mic "down." So they do, all the way down into Barry White Mode. Vince's ranting is not nearly as funny here. In fact: it's not funny at all, so I'm not exactly upset when Vince orders DX to "normalize" his mic, and they go ahead and do it.

So now, Vince finally gets to start his spiel about being humiliated the week before and how he won't stand for it and yadda yadda yadda, but all the while a Green Telestrator is drawing a chicken on the screen next to him, and when it's done, a "cock-a-doodle-doo" noise signals the addition of a "Word Bubble" above Vince's head, reading "I Loves Cocks." Philly: "You Love Cocks, You Love Cocks, You Love Cocks." Hey, it's only 2 weeks after I insisted upon it, but leave it to Philly to come up with some good chantery!

Vince starts getting even more worked up, but the Voice of HHH cuts him off, and directs him to the TitanTron, where a video of last week's Poop Shower plays. PLONK. When that's over, Vince is smiling, because he's got an idea: at Saturday Night's Main Event, it'll be DX vs. the Spirit Squad one more time, except this time, it's Elimination Style, so if the Squad can eliminate even one of DX, then they'll get to focus on the other one all by his lonesome, and that'll be bad. Ummmm: huhwhat? The Squad couldn't get a single decision against DX at the PPV, so how does it flow, logically, that this Elimination Match works in their favor, Vince? Oh, right, it doesn't, and it's all my fault for thinking too hard....

Anyway, Vince stands in the ring after that Proud Proclamation, and gets dead silence. He demands that DX show him a minimal level of respect by playing his music so he can leave the ring.... and they do? Huh. But wait: just as I'm really starting to wonder how you can whiff on an opportunity to bust out "Stand Back" right here, they do, and Vince has to leave the rest of the way up the ramp to his 20-year-old classic. How embarrassing?


Johnny Nitro vs. Carlito (IC Title Match)

To prove that DX is in control of the production truck, there are many replays and rewinds of Melina's entrance. As if Lawler wasn't already acting like a big enough tool... 

Match starts out with some back-and-forthy, but Nitro eventually gains control by using his powers of metrosexuality. Even though one of his showy moves was botched badly enough to get a "You Fucked Up" chant, some combination of his prancing around like a fairy and hitting the break-dancin' legdrop and doing the Playgirl Grab-Your-Package-Like-A-Queer Pose got him on the offensive. Seriously: how did I ever have a problem telling him and Mercury apart? Nitro was so totally the one who put more effort into acting like a choade! And who also, now that I have to look at him every week, is kinda gross and uncomfortable on the eyes. Not that I'm an expert on Male Sexual Attractiveness, or anything, but I've met very few broads who lust for a man on the Scott Weiland Diet. I mean, bravo for 1.7% bodyfat, but you forgot to have more than 62% of a body, you scrawny fuck; no self-respecting dude should wear smaller jeans than his smoking-hot girlfriend. 

Nitro's offensive (playing to such a dead crowd that Melina's screeching was actually really noticeable to the point of getting annoying for once) was countered in relatively short order by Carlito's obligatory comeback. Nothing much to it, I think it peaked with the jawjacker elbow.... which is when Melina got up on the apron to cause a distraction. Nitro tried to attack Carlito from behind, but Carlito ducked, and Nitro bumped into Melina. Carlito took advantage by hitting the double-knee back-cracker, but before the ref could finish the three-count, Melina dove into the ring and grabbed Carlito. Ding ding ding.

Your Winner: Carlito, via disqualification, in about 4 minutes (so Nitro retains the IC Title). Not devoid of action by any means, but devoid of meaning, context, and sizzle to be sure. We know these two can do better (hell, we saw 'em do better at the PPV), but they get a pass, since this was probably all just a pretext for what happened....

After the Match: Nitro and Melina started double-teaming on Carlito until Trish ran out for the save, correcting about a solid month's worth of wardrobe missteps by busting out nothing fancier than ripped jeans and a black halter top. Rick likey. Trish focused on Melina, Nitro ran a-scared from Carlito, and once Melina was finally booted from the ring, we got a few DX-style replays of the ladies catfighting before cutting back to the ring. Carlito and Trish didn't say a damned word, but I love how Carlito was playing it smooth, and telling Trish how much he digs the way she kicks ass (complete with pantomiming the I Refuse To Call It A Chick Kick Kick that she used to finish off Melina), and Trish was all "Yeah, I guess that is pretty cool." That's what I like to see out of you kids: more of that, and you could be one of the rare couples fans will actually cheer for to get together!

Backstage: RVD is warming up for his match, when Paul Heyman walks up and once again voices extreme (hee!) confusion over RVD's actions. Jesus, Paul, don't you read the news: HE'S HIGH! And thus, acting dumbly; you think "respecting John Cena" is stupid? RVD actually paid to see "Click." And *liked* it. But RVD says he's got it all under control, that he believes in his own abilities and wants to show everybody else out there what RVD's really all about. "I got this, Paul, don't worry." Famous last words, anyone?


Diva Search 2006: Nuh uh. Not when I have a 40 minute time shift and the finger to use it.

Backstage: a livid Vince McMahon tells Coach to get his limo ready, cuz Vince is leaving here before DX can do anything else to screw with him. Coach tries to remind Vince there *is* the small matter of a WWE Title Match still to come tonight, so he should probably stick around.... but Vince just wants to go home. Coach, grudgingly, complies. You know what? As stupid and backwards as it would be, I'm starting to think that *Coach* is the guy who might turn on Vince and reveal a DX t-shirt (instead of Shane, who would be a lot more fun as a cohort of Shawn and HHH).... I mean, Shane actually got covered in poop, and the worst DX ever did to Coach was let him reveal his smooth, waxed buttocks to the world. Meantime, Vince is now acting kinda pissy (get it, PISSY! cuz he PISSED on him!) towards Coach. Just thinking out loud, is all, folks....

Umaga vs. Some Guy

Armando Alejandro Estrrrrrrrrrrrrada tried to preface the match with some mic work, but before he could tell us his name, Shawn Michaels interrupted and talked over Estrrrrrrrada with an advertisement for the new DX t-shirt. Although Shawn was trying mightily to roll his "R's," I am here to report to you that his impersonation of Estrrrrrrrrrrada is NOWHERE near as funny and endearing as Maria the Mic Stand's.

Upset by the interruption, Armando just sics Umaga on Some Guy, who is beaten within 30 seconds (including an attempted New Finisher, which is like a Flying Asiatic Spike, but it looked every bit as lame as the regular versioN).

Your Winner: Umaga, via pinfall, in less than a minute. Bleh.

After the Match: Armando tried to talk again, but this time, if he opened his mouth, DX cued up the burping noises. Again, I ask: Ha? Eventually Estrrrrrrrrrrada and Umaga left in disgust.

Outside the Arena: Vince was shuttled into his limo by a driver, but just before they could pull out, a bunch of fireworks started going off. We were supposed to believe they were coming out of the limo's moonroof, but the shot was staged so shabbily that you could actually see under the limo to where the pyro was going off directly behind the limo. I've seen my brother's student film project have better-framed attempted-special-effects shots than this. Anyway, once the fireworks are over, a soot-faced Vince stumbles out of the limo (which is also spewing green, natch, smoke), and falls to the pavement. Shawn Michaels and Triple H suddenly appear, standing over him, holding sparklers.... "Happy Fourth of July, Vince. After this, maybe next week, you'll let us into the building, eh?" 


This Week in Wrestling: Hulk Hogan shocked the world by becoming the mysterious third member of the invading New World Order faction. A "This Week in Wrestling" from WCW, instead of from the WWF's past? Why ever would they go that route? Awwwwwwww, shit, it's because....

The Dumb Is Here

Randy Orton hits the top of the entrance aisle, sporting women's jeans and a microphone. Let's just say neither suits him. Randall notes that preceding clip was quite convenient, because he's been thinking of Hogan a lot this past week. Just not *that* Hogan. He's been thinking of Brooke Hogan, that tasty 18-year-old (OK, so I guess she is legal) daughter of the Hulkster. Apparently, Hogan's doing a thing on his reality show where he's picking a date for daughter, and Randy throws his hat into the ring. He says if Brooke is lucky, she'll get to "find out, first-hand, exactly why they call me a legend." Hokay. And then, just because it's not an Orton promo until the English Language has been befouled, he states that if Hulk has a problem with that, "he might first-hand exactly just get to find out why they call me the Legend Killer." I can't make this shit up, kids. 

Nor can I fathom who thinks this storyline is a good idea. Look: has anybody stopped to think how awful a Hogan/Orton match would be? At this point, most fans are pretty well tipped off to the fact that Hogan sucks, and the only times they get fired up for him is in matches with "sizzle" (a la versus the Rock) or matches that might actually be good (a la versus Michaels). Hogan/Orton will send most fans into don't-give-a-shit mode, and the ones who remain? I'll repeat what I said last week, and warn that of the fans who DO bother caring about a Hogan/Orton storyline, they'll probably be the ones dumb and socially-stunted enough to cheer for Date Rapist Randall Orton. Tread carefully, Hulkster, and listen to those around you on this one.... this is *not* what you want to come back for. If not for you, then listen for your daughter's sake, cuz what kind of career is she gonna have when the only fan response she gets is for when some frat boy douchebag deflowers her as part of wrestling storyline?

Backstage: Tough Questions Todd Grisham has a few brief words with Edge. And by "brief," I mean Very Brief. Edge bottom lines it pretty quickly, saying he'll leave Philadelphia as something that this town hasn't seen in 23 years: a champion. Hmmmm, 23 years ago? That was before my time, but I'm *pretty* sure he can't be talking about the Phillies or the Eagles.... maybe the Sixers, since I think Dr. J was still around then? Or is Edge counting hockey? That'd be just like him, that lousy Canuck....


Rob Van Dam vs. Edge vs. John Cena (WWE Title Match)

All three guys enter, and then, as is increasingly the case, Lilian Garcia makes the "boxing-style" ring introductions.

And then, since it's already 5 till the hour, we're off. Early story of the match was RVD and Cena taking turns beating on Edge. But then that turned into more of a game of "can you top this?" as they beat on Edge. JR opined that Edge might be "eliminated," leaving us with just RVD vs. Cena.... and Lawler said, "What do you mean? If he's eliminated, then the match is over." And then JR said, "No, dummy, if Edge gets beaten up so bad that he gets tossed out of the ring and can't continue, then it'd be just RVD and Cena."

And then RVD and Cena finished beating on Edge and sent him flying out over the top rope and crashing to the floor. Ross made sure that Lawler ate some crow on that one. But also: with Edge down and RVD and Cena starting to give each other the stink eye, we have to break for our final....


Back, and Van Dam is on a rally (against Edge). The crowd is *not* as behind him a I would have expected, and if anything, I'd say that RVD and Cena are about equally popular, with a roughly 50/50 split. Hey, I know it's Philly, and I know it's RVD, but Vince really has fucked up badly on ECW (and Rob fucked himself over by behaving stupidly over the weekend), so I'm really wondering what kind of reaction he gets with the smaller ECW crowd tomorrow night on Sci-Fi.... hey, Philadelphia, since you had my back on the "You Love Cocks" chant, maybe do me a favor, and do NOT do the expected "You Fucked Up" chant at Van Dam. Instead, make me smile by doing the much funnier "Stupid Hippie *clap* *clap* *clapclapclap*" chant at him, OK?

I digress. RVD and Edge do a minute or so of stuff, with Cena's attempts to get into the ring (from the outside, where he'd been safely stashed) failing until he finally picked Edge's ankle on an Irish Whip. Edge and yanked outside and introduced to the ring steps, but then Cena got hit by an RVD plancha, and we entered the phase of the match where no guy maintained an advantage for long, and there were stretches of all three guys being knocked down.

Two memorable spots from this phase: (1) Cena tried to suplex Edge, but Van Dam came off the top rope and cross-body-blocked the spot where their bodies met, sending all three men crashing to the canvas in a heap. And (2) Van Dam got fancy after that, and took both guys down and set them in the middle of the ring so he could hit a double-corkscrew legdrop (on both guys), but when he went for the double-rolling thunder, it turned out that Cena and Edge were in cahoots and playing Double Possum, and they got up and snatched RVD out of mid-air to slam him. Of course, seconds after that, both Cena and Edge decided to sneak attack the other, and they double-clotheslined each other, once again leaving all three men on the mat.

Once all three guys got up from that last one, RVD was quickly sent to the outside, leaving Cena to do his full array of Wacky Moves (up to and including the Five Knuckle Shuffle) on Edge. "BOO," said Philly, and I'm with them. Cena set Edge up for the F-U, but Edge struggled, and they finally ended up near the ropes, and Cena just dumped Edge out of the ring. Then Cena got distracted when Lita came into the ring, and she got a full-force F-U for her troubles. But in the meantime: Van Dam fully recovered and had himself a steel chair. Which he threw at Cena. And which Cena caught. Because he's a dum-dum. A Van Daminator hits!

But instead of covering, RVD goes up top for the Frog Splash. Cena rolls out of the way, and quickly cinches an F-U on Van Dam. But just as he's going for the cover, Edge dashes in from Screen Right, and has the WWE Title belt, which he uses to clock Cena in the skull. Then, just to underscore RVD's total humiliation, instead of covering Cena, Edge makes sure to cover Van Dam to get the three-count.

Your Winner, and NEW WWE Champion: Edge, via pinfall, in about 10 minutes. Pretty solid, action-packed match that followed the standard rules of WWE-3-way psychology. Kinda odd in spots, just because there was no single, clear-cut babyface, but certainly never boring. And it led up to a finish that was pretty much what it had to be, if you buy into WWE's thinking that RVD had to be solidly jobbed-out on this night: the final story is that Cena out-fought RVD, but it was still Edge who came in and out-clevered everybody by actually pinning RVD. 

Show ends with nary a single reaction shot of RVD that I can remember (which bodes ill, and again makes me think that WWE's going to severely over-react to an offense that'll end up costing RVD maybe a couple hundred bucks in fines, ad nothing else, from a legal standpoint).... just Edge and Lita celebrating, Cena seething, and Jim Ross harping on the fact that Cena did all the "heavy lifting," but Edge snuck in and stole his title. Sorry 'bout yer damned luck, Rob. On one hand: I don't think you did anything all that wrong. On the other: you still have to be pretty damned retarded to be caught in this position given the opportunities that have finally developed for you in WWE/ECW.

I'll sleep on it, and let you know if I feel sorry for you or not in a couple days, OK?


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