Hello, my intended...
Before anyone asks, I got in a bit late from work this evening so I won't be doing the mini-article that generally precedes my Recap. If you're good, I might be able to put something together by around Thursday - but no promises.
All in all, the matches lined up leave me wondering something that I think I've been asking all month. To wit: "I should care BECAUSE?"
Honestly, it's been such a huge let-down for me. Vince and the gang used to rule the EARTH at ONE thing if nothing else, and that was: Hype.
We all know very well that Hulk Hogan couldn't wrestle his car keys away from a twelve year old girl, but Vince managed to put so much Hype on this - let's be honest - bald headed geek that most people were convinced he was a fucking superhero. I'd go so far as to say some people are STILL convinced. In order to make Hogan look EXTRA heroic, they put him against dastardly heathens that would destroy our way of life - which of course he'd defeat. Easily.
Except for me and maybe Barbwire Mike, people generally like to see the good guys win.
People pay money for things they like.
Money is good for business.
I hate using Hogan as a reference twice in one month, but most people know who he is already so I don't have to explain myself too much. Gimme a break for being a little lazy; I'm sitting through Raw for you, okay?
Bottom line, Hogan would tell us that if 'we said our prayers, ate our vitamins, and exercised' we could be 'just like the Hulkster'. Most folks bought it as readily as they'd buy, "You can be anything you want to be - even the President - if you try your best and stick to it."
Right, I know. Kids were fucking STUPID way back when.
We know now that Hulkster couldn't even be the Hulkster without vicious backstage politicking, staggering amounts of steroids, and a kickback to Marvel Comics. Just like we know now that you can't be President unless you sell your soul like junk bonds to every scumbag lobbyist and fatcat with a checkbook and conspire to have your little brother rig an entire state's ballots... But I digress.
Consider Del Wilkes, for a moment... As a guy, he's pretty much like anyone else in the business. With that Patriot mask on, though, he becomes someone you cheer for, because he's standing up for what he believes in and fighting the good fight against those that stand against us. Corny? Inspiring? Whatever. It's a side you're either on or not, and you react according to your tastes. Thus, cheering for Wilkes was like cheering for ourselves (as Americans, anyway) and most of us like that shit.
In a nutshell, I admit we've become more jaded and cynical as a people. Wrestling tried to adapt to that by introducing the 'Attitude' Era, wherein there were no more good vs. bad scenarios - only shades of gray. It started off successfully enough, since it was 'new', but it's about six or seven years old now. Thus, it comes as no surprise that people aren't as 'charged up' as they once were, since it's hard to cheer for 'the gray guy' - especially when he's facing another 'gray guy'. It basically means that the onus of getting over now rests solely on the personality and charisma of the guy in question. While it works for guys like the Rock, Angle amd Austin, most guys simply aren't up to it.
The steady decline of 'sports-entertainment' these last couple years stands as proof that I'm right.
What do you know? I managed something after all, with just fifteen minutes to go until showtime, yet. Spiffy.
Tonight's Raw comes at us from Hershey, PA, and with Royal Rumble over there's all sorts of stuff ramping up for tonight. God knows what. Maybe He cares?
Standard Raw intro with the usual fluff and frippery, followed by Bischoff's picture and a replay of Foley thrashing Orton last night. I'm sure the crowd went bananas, because Philly loves Cactus Jack and always will.
HHH retains the title, like I should be surprised...
Jericho jerks the curtain. Ditto.
They're using his Singing Wrestler track as his intro theme. He's wearing black and pink, which I guess means he's just giving up on getting anywhere in the WWe.
Benoit wins the Rumble? THAT's a surprise.
Jericho wants to get the title shot against HHH since he was the last Raw guy in the Rumble, and he wants it as his as yet uncashed Survivor Series favor from Bischoff. Cue Bischoff to the ring. Eric makes sure he heard right, and then Jericho estimates that the 10,000 people in Hershey are calling Eric an asshole. Eric gives Jericho his match, but to PROVE he's an asshole he's gonna book Trish Stratus against Kane tonight. He's also not happy that Smackdown's won the Rumble two years in a row, so he'll let Jericho decide whether to use his favor to get the title shot, or to cancel Kane's vicious, savage thrash of Trish. Eric says he can see in Chris's face that he'll pick to save Trish. So instead of a title shot against Triple H, Eric is going to have Jericho and RVD (the last Raw guys in the Rumble) take on Flair and Batista for THEIR title. Oh, and it'll be three on two because he's throwing Orton in there too.
Wouldn't it have been SUPER-cool if Chris said, "Fuck Trish. Gimme the Nose!" I think so, too.
RVD coming out for the handicap match Bischoff means to use as a punishment for the Raw guy's failure. Next comes 75% of Evolution. Wrestlemania Magazine is going to be in 3-D, complete with 3-D glasses. Go buy it now. Heh.
Flair and Chris to start with a collar and elbow, but Flair gets on a headlock. They dosie-do around the ring and Flair gets a dropkick. Jericho with a Thesz press gets in some licks, and then Flair begs off long enough to jab a thumb in Jericho's eye and execute a kitchen-sink kneelift. Orton tagged in and starts brawling Jericho but Chris turns the tables and gets the tag after a twocount. RVD in with some kicks on Orton, who tags Batista almost immediately.
Batista and RVD go at it some, with RVD and Jericho getting in some heel-style doubleteaming of Dave in the goodguy corner. Tag to Orton, whom RVD promptly starts thrashing anew. Orton turns the tide with some vicious brawlies, and then tags in Flair. Flair gets beat up with some highspots and Rolling Thunder, then he boots Evolution off the apron and Jericho comes in to put the Walls on the fallen Flair. Evolution makes the save and Orton tosses Jericho out the ring to Batista, who promptly powerbombs him onto the floor.
RVD is now facing three-quarters of Evolution solo, so what will we give the fans next?
Commercials. Yeah, that'll get ratings.
Back, and VanDam is trying to outwrestle Flair in there as Jericho is still stretched out on the floor. RVD gets worked over in the heel corner a bit as the trainer comes out to assist Y2J. Flair doles out some kneedrops on RVD and then tags in Orton, who clamps on an armbar. RVD starts to free himself, and Flair breaks it up before RVD can reverse it. Orton now with a Fuchiwara style armbar so Flair can get in some stomping on RVD. Tag to Flair, who continues working the arm and shoulder as Jericho battles to regain his senses. RVD starts flipping around to get loose of Flair, and Flair responds with some chops and a droptoe to immobilize RVD long enough to tag Orton in. Orton STILL working the armbar as Jericho shakily gets to his own corner. The crowd is almost as tired of the armbar as I am when RVD starts digging deep to get loose - and eat Orton's dropkick. Tag to Flair. Choppy-Woo, Choppy-Woo. Flair backs RVD to the corner and RVD hits Ric with a diving pinwheel kick and gets the tag.
Jericho cleans house, chopblocking Batista and going for the Walls. Orton interferes for the save. Flair tries to interfere too, but RVD gets up in time to stop him. Flair suffers the five-star as Jericho re-chop-blocks Batista and gets him in the Walls. Orton tries to hit Y2J with the RKO, but fucking MISSES (God bless live TV) so he has to try it again. This time it works, and he gets the win for Evolution...
Bischoff has Orton complaining to him about how Foley cheated him out of an all-Evolution WM Main Event. Bless you, Foley. Bless you. Orton asks for permission to beat on Foley the moment his eye lays - he lays his eyes on him. (God bless live TV). Eric grants the permission, and Austin is suddenly there. He says he'll let Orton try to whip Foley's ass, but only after Foley gets equal time to address all of Orton's allegations. Jesus, Steve, it's only a two-hour show... C'mon.
Cut to the back, and Trish thanks Jericho for saving her life. That sort of favor requires at least a hummer, in my book, but she gives him the 'let's be friends' speech, instead. She also says she can't be the friend Christian is, and can't go out on the town to score chicks with him. Jericho wonders how she knew about it, and that'll cue Christian. Trish exits, and Christian explains that he wasn't able to help save Jericho from Evolution because he was in Bischoff's office trying to smooth things over because the King of Bling Bling is on thin ice with the brass for his repeated failures. He also says that he got them a match against someone, but Jericho has to get it together because he's fucking up everything over some teenage crush. Wearing Hart's colors doesn't help, I think.
Victoria up next, with Stevie in tow. It's a tag match, with her teammate being... Lita.
LITA? I guess whipping Molly makes Victoria a face now, eh?
The other team consists of Molly and Jazz (with Teddy Long in tow). Lita and Moly to start, and they lock up. Lita with a waistlock takedown to a front chancery to suplex. Tag to Victoria. Tag to Jazz. Waistlock takedown on Victoria, followed by crossface forearm shots. Irish Whip to Backdrop attempt is clumsily reversed by Vic to a sloppy sunset flip. They get up, and Vic knocks Jazz down again and hits a standing moonsault on her. Molly somehow gets Vic knocked to the outside, and Jazz hits her with a legdrop coming back inside. Tag to Molly, who clamps on a sidecar headwrench on Vic. Tag to Jazz, who does the same thing - and then hits VIc with the Dominator and tries for the Warrior Splash. Nobody home, as Vic gets the hot tag to Lita. Lita cleans house, but the numbers win out. Tag to Vic, who gets in a powerslam on Molly for two before Jazz breaks it up. Lita and Jazz tangle up and roll out the ring. Victoria gets suplexed by Molly, but rolls through and gets the win.
Triple H coming through the backstage area, so brace for a twenty minute nap, folks.
Commercials. Hey, WWe is going to Japan... I wonder how the Nihongo crowd will react to their 'WWe Style' after seeing Ultra-Stiff Puroresu all these years? You'll be able to hear conversations in the cheap seats, folks. No bullshit.
They're even pushing Raw to the non-conformist teen crowd now... That commercial was fucking GAY. Don't run it again.
Oh, good. Here comes HHH to brag about the draw against HBK last night... Seems Triple H left on a stretcher, too. Blah Blah Blah, World Championship. Blah Blah Blah, you couldn't do it, Michaels. Blah Blah Blah, I'm still champ.
Cue Michaels, wearing a new shirt (available at ShopZone) and large bruises (available anywhere). HHH wants to know whether Michaels has had enough yet, but Michaels says they haven't even gotten STARTED yet. Fuck, how could this get worse?
Austin comes riding out. I had to ask, right? I just HAD to fucking ASK. Corner birdy spots as Austin proves he's more over than both of them, and will NEVER be able to work a match again, let alone a match like they did last night. Austin gets a mic and says it's a shame the main event ended in a tie last night, since the match reminded him of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. He then says that the stips of the Rumble allow the winner to face the champ at WM, but not WHICH champ.
Benoit comes out. The crowd chants his name gleefully as he gets a mic. He says that HBK and HHH went through hell for the championship - but so did HE. He worked his whole life to be the best, and he doesn't care if it's HBK or HHH when the time comes, he wants the Raw belt at Wrestlemania. He leaves the ring with HBK and HHH looking dumbstruck - at each other, no less.
Ross and King are still trying to make sense of these stirring events, and we'll have Kane come out for a match to let it all sink in to the folks at home. Replay of Spike faking Kane out at the Rumble with Undertaker's Gong and getting destroyed for it. Kane's opponent is Bubba Ray Dudley, by the way. Bubba opens it up with a series of clubbing shots and Kane bails out of the ring. Bubba follows him out and gets uppercutted out of his silly shoes. Kane back in and he gets in some shots on Bubba getting back in. Irish whip on Bubba, but he lands a series of clotheslines and brawls Kane into the fetal position. Kane punches Bubba straight in the eye and then lays a grinding gouge on the injured eye of Bubba. Kane then goes outside and gets half of the ring steps and brings them into the ring to bash Bubba. Kane gets DQ'ed, but continues beating on Bubba. D-Von rushes to the rescue, but it's totally ineffective and he gets a tombstone.
*BONG* The lights go out, and Kane is under a blue spotlight as we tease the return of the 'Dead Man'. Kane looks ready to piss his pants. I'm ready to put my head in the oven.
Cut to Bischoff in the back with a conference call to Heyman. Heyman threatens legal action for Bischoff and Austin screwing things around and trying to steal his stars. Coach comes in after Heyman suggests Bischoff 'lawyer up' and snickers a bit about Raw getting their ass kicked - again - last night. Bischoff decides to have Coach face Goldberg in a No-DQ match tonight for talking shit, and that leads us to some...
La Resistance comes out now... Conway will battle, Dupree will back him up from the floor. He'll face Rico, backed up by Miss Jackie. They lock up, but Conway with a headlock. Rico hits the old Tiger Spin, nicely, I might add. Then he spanks Conway. Then he kisses Conway. Conway throws him outside so Dupree can work him over, and he does. Conway starts working over Rico in the ring with brawlies and a VERY stiff looking clothesline before clamping on a chinlock... Rico gets up and Snapmares Conway to escape. Rico with a Manhattan Drop and a series of punches. Rico with a series of kicks, and he tries for the RicoKick, but Dupree interferes long enough for Conway to get the upper hand. Conway prepares to finish off Rico, but Jackie shows him her tits to distract him, and Rico gets the win with a crescent kick.
Stacy Kiebler comes out for no fucking reason at all, and to her old theme - the shitty cover version of the ZZ Top classic - instead of the shitty techno thing she's got on the Singing Wrestler CD, which speaks VOLUMES about how much that track sucks, in my mind... Stacy congratulates Rico and Jackie and raises their hands. This was beyond pointless to do here - or at all.
Lillian Garcia in a vignette doing a pretty shitty imitation of Melissa Etheridge. "Rock all the way," she says of her track - or her date with the Rock, it's one of them for sure... Which one I have no idea.
Mick Foley marching in the backstage area, presumably to the ring eventually...
Coach comes out to his goofy hiphop intro instead of his faggy smooth-jazz one from last week. He looks like he's gonna get lynched, which is pretty much what's gonna happen. Coach tries to beg off the match with Goldberg because of all the lumps he's taken, and he repeats how sorry he is.
Teddy Long to the rescue, playa...? What the FUCK? He's got Mark Henry with him, and he'd like to rectify the situation of the Cracka Bischoff dumping his problems on Da Black Man. He'll give Coach the big Mark Henry to be in his corner for the match to watch his back... Interesting idea, but Bill's gonna be in FRONT of Coach - with a truckload of Kosher Beatdown like Uncle Sid used to whip up at the deli...
I guess since it's no DQ, Henry'll be a major factor in the match. (Duuuuh?) Goldberg coming through the backstage to the aisle, and gets his pyro. Coach looks like he's suddenly saved, and he and Henry go into a monkey-see, monkey-do bit with Goldberg's mannerisms. Bill and Mark lock it up, and Henry lariats Bill flat. Bill responds in kind. Henry rolls outside and counsels with Coach and Teddy, and then gets back in. Henry with some Papabear Beatdown on Bill while Coach is happily watching in the corner. Henry clamps on the bearhug, and it looks to be taking the steam out of Goldberg. Bill tries to fight clear, and lands a few punches. Bill spits on the mat and then clobbers Henry to the outside. Bill yanks Coach into the ring and Spears him into a coma. It's not enough, so he Jackhammers Coach too. Henry's still flat on the outside, and Bill puts a foot on Coach's chest for the threecount. Teddy has to restrain the World's Strongest Man - God knows how he does it, weighing about 300 pounds less than Henry and all. Bill talks to the camera in the meantime, and says that he doesn't care what show it is, Brock Lesnar's next. I don't think Lesnar's good enough yet, Bill. You'll need a seasoned vet like Angle or somebody to carry a stiff like <b>you</b> through a main event match.
Okay, I was wrong about Goldberg winning the Rumble - but I was RIGHT about him getting a match against Lesnar. I'm batting .500, which is good enough for the Hall of Fame, right?
Foley to close the show, I guess... It's 10:53, and Foley marches to the ring. The crowd chants his name. Foley thanks them. He then says he shall explain the incident of December 15th, and his lack of reaction to it. In short, he'll answer 'Why, Mick? Why?'
Mick puts himself over a little, and then draws a parallel to Pete Rose. Mick did all the amazing things he did because he was angry at the world - much like Rose did. However, unlike Rose, he's not STILL mad at the world. Because it'd be pathetic. He then addresses all the bits Orton's been running, and calls Orton to the ring - without Evolution. One on one, right now.
10:58. Orton starts down the ramp, with the IC strap over his shoulder. Orton wants to know what Foley wants.
Foley wants Orton to spit in his face again. Really.
Orton tries to explain things, but Foley slaps the mic out of his hands. Foley was spilling blood on six continents while Orton was latched onto his momma's breast, and he demands Orton do what he's told and spit on him. He slaps Orton a few times to inspire him. Orton spits, sorta.
Foley says he read a line from a book, and this guy said 'Turn the other cheek,' so he decides he'll do that since Orton's spit was so 'lackluster'. Orton digs up a greener at the urging of Foley and the crowd, and lops it on Foley's other cheek as directed.
Foley pretty much loses it and goes into a three minute tirade about how Orton's gone and done it now. Orton looks ready to piss himself as Foley lays in a withering intimidation with the angry rant. Mick then whips Orton's ass all over the place. Flair with the run-in, but gets punched out. Batista clotheslines Foley and they work the gang-up. Foley rolls outside and gets a chair and beats Evolution down. Evolution retreats and Foley slaps himself with the chair a little before pointing a warning finger at the three on the ramp as Ross exclaims Foley is indeed 'back'.
Too bad. I really respected Foley for a while there...
You're welcome. See you SOON.