Raw is War
Raw is War, Spike TV
12/29/03 (6 p.m. EST/PST on DirecTV 325)
The final Raw before 2004 sees the
son-in-law Triple H meet up with the spiritually gifted and egotistically
aligned Heart Break Kid (HBK) for the World Heavyweight Championship belt.
(Writer's note) But before we get
into the show and everything I witnessed for two hours, this is the deal: This
is my brain. I'm trying not to copy everyone else on the Internet nor their
style, humor or other variations. The guys on the Torch (www.pwtorch.com) are a
lot better at this than I am. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to do it. I
know my limitations, but I have my opinions.
Before the show, MTV2 broke out a
Greatest Hits for Kid Rock. Nice. American Bad Ass on the CD player as
another Bond movie "The World is Not Enough" ends. Sophie Marceau and Denise
Richards are the only reasons why you should see this sub-par movie. But I
Bond music ends, opening montage hits...
Mick Foley walks out on Randy Orton two weeks ago. GM Eric Bischoff yells at him
that if he leaves, then that's it for him on RAW. Orton spits in Foley's face.
Foley wipes it off and walks off... The Hardcore Legend is gone, walking away
from a fight. (Sad music... hint: see WM XX)
Opening music... Bad late1990s rip-off
of a hard alternative riff. Yeah, yeah. I refuse to see the chance in you,
We're in San Antonio, Texas, home of
Shawn Michaels, the HBK!
OK, this is what we get --- four
matches, including an InterContinental Title defense by Orton against Booker T.
T is smacked around in the first skit by Mark Henry and Teddy "Believe Dat!"
Long. Orton beats T later in the night, but gets a "Dusty finish" when Kane
pyros the ring, distracting T when he had Orton on the mat for a possible win.
The first match - RVD v. Big
Poppa Pump - wasn't bad. RVD carried the match by bumping the hell out of
Steiner's power moves. RVD wins with the 5-Star Flog Splash.
The Dudley Boys (D-Von and Bubba
Ray) lose by DQ when guest referee Ric Flair (Whoooooooooo!) stops the match
for, of all things, a closed fist. The D-Boys lose to a pair of jabronis and get
beaten up by Batista, Flair's tag-team partner, for their troubles. Observation
- Bubba came out in camo short shorts... ugh! Oh, they're singing, too. WWE has
a new album coming out with WWE wrestlers singing on it... yeah, can't wait for
that CD to hit the Cutout Bin soon...
For the teens and the lonely guys out
there, there was a six-woman Happy Holidays match between Trish Stratus-Lita-Stacy
Keibler vs. Molly Holly-Jackie-Victoria. Lots of skimpy outfits, some decent
wrestling, way too much of Jerry "The King" Lawler screaming "puppies!" every 2
seconds. Someone needs to get The King off the Viagra and into a retirement
home. Oh, Trish pinned Molly for the win, by the way.
In between these four matches,
which total about 30 minutes (generously) of in-ring action, there was the
continuing saga of Stone Cole Steve Austin's reinstatement to the WWE/RAW.
Mostly a lot of blah, blah, blah and plenty of time to check out the Alamo Bowl,
where Nebraska won, 17-3. There's just too much talking and too little in-ring
action on this show.
That is, until the last 35 minutes.
Then, with two commercial breaks interrupting the flow of the match, we see HBK
v. Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship. Plenty of action. Lots of
moves. A pay-per-view quality match that was designed to get everyone back who
missed the show over the NFL regular season. (Oh, by the way, I miss Monday
Night Football already. Help!)
HBK and HHH, both members of the
infamous Cliq, have really good in-ring chemistry and know how to work a match
together. This was the first extended in-ring showcasing for Michaels, who
recently told the WWE that he was ready to work a full-time schedule. Almost
five years ago, Michaels retired due to chronic back troubles.
Plenty of in-ring psychology as
HBK worked on HHH's legs and HHH worked on HBK's back. Two ref bumps toward the
end introduces Bischoff into the ring as the replacement referee. Ric Flair, who
is in Triple H's corner as a member of Evolution (read Four Horsemen knockoff),
also made his presence felt as well.
In the end, HBK caught a groggy,
frizzy haired HHH with a super kick (aka Sweet Chin Music) for the 1-2-3. But
wait! HBK fell onto HHH and his shoulders were down on the mat as well... it is
a tie! Tie goes to the champ and HH retains the belt.
HBK is pissed. He sees the replay
on the giant RAW-tron, then slugs Flair and Bischoff to get his heat back in
front of the hometown crowd. Bischoff gets onto the mic and fires him.
Enter Stone Cold. The last time
we saw our intrepid beer-guzzling everyman, he was already eight or nine cans of
Miller Lite down as he drove off in his truck when he learned that he could
return to RAW, but not on his terms. (Remember kids, drive hammered, get
Austin comes in, announces that
he's back, reinstates HBK, tells the world that a "new sheriff is in town" and
then stuns Bischoff to end the show.
Commercial breaks: Nothing more
than movies, DVD and video games. The most seen was Final Fantasy X-2, which has
realistic-looking teen-age girls drawn in Japanese anime style that is
attracting the masturbatory gazes of teens and lonely guys everywhere. The
demographic that the WWE is aiming for is 18-32 male/female. But really! Most of
the movies are brainless entertainment and the games are nothing more than
glamorized violence wrapped in pretty animation. The real demographic aimed for
by the WWE -- 13-24 year old males with money to burn and time on their hands.
The only non-movie/video game
commercial: Strydex wipes.... because zits are bad, m'kay!
The real story for Monday's RAW:
When Triple H (who is married to Vince McMahon's daughter) and his buddies have
any half-way decent matches set, the rest of the card is nothing more than
filler that is designed to keep the attention on their match. The four matches
before the WC title fight were good, but nothing spectacular and with little to
no memorable moves that make you remember it once they were over with. And, in
the other big move of the night, they waited until the very end to tell us that
Stone Cold was really coming back. Yeah, he isn't a full-time wrestler anymore,
but he's more popular than HBK/HHH.
I'll drink to that. This RAW is
rated 2 1/2 beers (out of five).