Hello, my intended...
I received an interesting e-mail regarding last weeks' Recap in reference to my statement concerning my loss of respect for Mick Foley. I can only hope that the person that wrote this e-mail - one 'Whitey' Bramer, by name - is indicitive of the sort of folks that generally read me, except that he stands out as one of these folks that can use the 'Send' button on his mail-client... He disagrees with my take on Foley, but does so both graciously and diplomatically - and with nary a swear to be found.
If this was one of the 'other' wrestling sites, disagreement with a staffer is generally invitation to enjoin in brutally crude mockery of said dissenter - or simply banning them from one's forums if they happen to be/work for Roddy Piper.
But I digress... Here is the letter he sent to me - reprinted without permission, but my e-mail policy is/was/always has been that of the postal service, which e-mail emulates. To wit: If you send me something I didn't ask for, it's mine to do with as I will. (Of course, I can re-edit this to show only the significant areas if it really IS a problem seeing one's name in lights, Brother Bramer.)
OK, I've read your work on The Ring Post and like it quite a bit. You're one of the main names I look for when I go to the page. BUT (you knew it was coming, right?), I think you're all wrong about Mick Foley. You're the first to point out how crappy the WWE is right now, and rightly so. At least in my mind, most of the highlights I have of watching wrestling from 1997-2000 involves Mick Foley in one way or another. Yes, he retired, and yes, he was very specific about staying gone. Here's the thing: so what? Terry Funk retired about 50 times, does that mean that his matches against Cactus Jack in ECW sucked? All I'm asking is this: give Mick Foley at least a few weeks to remind you of how great he was back in the day. He's not going to be around forever, I give him until Wrestlemania at the most, so why not enjoy him while he's here? Anyway, that's my two cents. Thanks for doing the recaps, there have been many a week where that's the only wrestling "news" I got.
Wasn't that something? Well, Brother Bramen, I'm going to address your concerns as to my loss of respect for Foley - because you asked (and I needed to do something to lead in tonight's Recap).
Mick Foley reportedly left the wrestling business because of two things. His children, and his health. If anyone else has seen 'Beyond the Mat' you can see the genuine sadness and regret that he emanated over letting his kids see him smashed to a bloody pulp by Duane Johnson, while handcuffed. It's one of the main reasons I can't stand the Rock and never will (the other being the Sharpshooter). His wife has gone on record herself with various anecdotes about seeing her husband wandering around in a daze unsure of where he was, and how glad she was that he put all that hazard aside to be a husband and father.
Any worker can tell you being on the road 300+ nights a year doesn't make much of a family portrait. I thought it was commendable that he set aside the business he loved because he wanted to be there for his kids, and to remove the constant burden of worry from his wife that she'd wind up a widow or worse. To do such a thing, as the stand-up guy he's already known to be, impressed me like no one else could.
As an author of several bestselling books, and occasional appearances on a variety of television shows (notably, hosting one of those Robot Destruction Derby things) Mick was in no fiscal need of returning to the ring at all, by most estimates. Sure, he could have taken a bath if he bought any of that WWe stock, but I think he's a bit smarter than Bradshaw - even after the concussions.
So, after about a year, he's back. You know he is, because of all the other net-pundits simultaneously ejaculating about it on their little op-cols. "Hooray for us!" they intone gleefully. "Jack is back. Foley rules! Wrestling will stop sucking again!"
We all know that Bobo's different from the rest of the internet. Why? Because Bobo doesn't think his fucking entertainment is more important than the happiness of those little kids, or that saint of a woman; both parties whom I'm pretty sure love Mick Foley more than we fans ever could - or ever WILL.
To turn his back on THAT in order to return to the ring so that you pack of bastards can cream your shorts watching him bleed buckets is more than disappointing to me. Why?
Because that's not the Mick Foley -I- knew.
It's certainly not the Mick Foley I respected.
That Mick Foley is gone now, I guess... But it's okay, as long as the fans are happy. Right?
God knows I hope you're right, Whitey. I hope and pray that he'll short-time it and go back home after Wrestlemania, and stay there. They need him more than I do.
But history says you're wrong. Does anyone remember the last few 'old stars' that made a 'triumphant return' after being out of the spotlight for a while? You remember, they were going to do a few matches and then bow back out after Wrestlemania...
Hulk Hogan, Goldberg and Shawn Michaels, in case you don't remember... We know how Hogan worked out. We know how Michaels worked out. We know how Goldberg is GOING to work out. God knows how it'll go with Foley, but the smart money doesn't suggest he's going to just fade back away after putting Orton over. Anything for the fans, right, Vince? No price is too high, right?
I think this time it IS too high a price, folks. What does anyone think he has yet to prove in the ring? After all Foley's given to the business already, who among you thinks you deserve anything more from him?
Please go home, Mister Foley. We're just not worth it.
That's MY two cents.
Standard Raw intro with Bischoff's picture being booed, and then we go to replay bits of that HBK/HHH match and then Austin calling Benoit to the ring and Benoit praying desperately while cutting a promo that none of us watching now remember how he used to get his ass thrashed routinely every miniscule chance they gave him at the gold.
Goody, they're at Penn State. Goldberg will face Kane, and HBK will face Orton. Coach is at the announce table, too.
Jericho's jerking the curtain again, but he's got the Jeritron 5000 back for the Highlight Reel. Y2J calls out his guest for tonight, chris Benoit. They shake hands in the center of the ring, and Jericho congratulates Benoit on winning the Rumble - and finding the loophole that lets him be on Raw. Jericho reminds him that he's not dealing with just Levesque - he's dealing with all of Evolution, as well as the biggest assclown ever, Eric Bischoff.
Benoit explains that he's been working the whole 18 years to be the best, and if HHH disagrees he can 'prove him wrong'. Jericho explains he's well aware of all the kudos heaped on Benoit, but the fact is that Benoit just hasn't been able to win the big ones, has he? They go to a replay of Flair telling him as much after the Rumble.
Flair comes out in a suit. Benoit doles out scowlies. Flair gets a mic. He asks if there was something he said that Benoit didn't understand? More scowlies from Benoit. Flair calls him a 'Runner-Up' and 'Second-Best', and lets him know that this is not Smackdown. Only ONE guy rules the roost on Raw, and that's HHH (Heh, tell Steph). HHH lives by words Flair made famous, 'To be the man, you have to BEAT the man.' and he doesn't think Benoit can get it done. Benoit says he'd like to test those words out on Flair tonight.
Bischoff comes out, dressed as mild-mannered Clark Kent. He tells Benoit that this isn't Smackdown, and he's gonna have to deal with it. Flair can't wrestle him because he and Batista are going to defend their Tag Straps against Jericho and Christian. However, if Benoit would be so kind to wait in the ring, he'll have his first match since returning to Raw after THIS...
Commercials. I like how they segued this, but I wonder how they handle it live? Probably just Bischoff standing there like a douchebag, but they COULD play the commercials on the Titantron, right? (If you use this idea, Vince, you fucking owe me a commission.)
Benoit's pacing in the ring waiting for whomever Bischoff is going to send out against him. It's Mark Henry. Benoit doesn't look impressed, so that makes it unanimous around the world. They circle each other after the bell, and then Benoit makes with the chops. Henry makes with the Papabear and staggers Benoit to the corner. He walks in on him slowly, and gets a kick and more chops. Henry lays a variety of clubbing on Benoit. Shoulderblocks, Forearm Smashes, Clotheslines. Benoit starts chopping back, and gets punched inside out. Benoit responds with a dropkick to either of Mark's legs and then brings him down with an enzuigirii. Benoit goes to the top as HHH comes to the ramp, and Henry eats the headbutt as he starts standing back up, sending him back down. Benoit clamps on the Crossface and Henry taps. Hunter claps slowly as he backs away up the ramp from whence he came. Nice match, actually, but I'm not surprised Benoit went over. He's been in there with Wight, Eudy and a host of other monsters, he's supposed to crap his pants over HENRY? No, clearly not.
Commercials. 'Escape the Rules with Raw' is a stupid pitch, no two ways about it.
Stone Cold talks to HBK in the back, and asks if HBK thinks because Benoit's there he's suddenly out of the picture. Austin says that Michaels has done everything the business has asked of him (except job to non-Kliquers, or put over the young guys - but now's not the time for facts, right?) Anyway, he wants to know what Michaels is 'gonna do about' the situation, since he deserves that rematch and whatnot.
Cut to a replay of Foley's 'Deep Dark Place' speech from last week - and the spitting. Orton's punked out and then bashed.
Cut to Foley in the back, passing Test. Test takes umbrage at Foley stealing his spot at the Rumble, and that's enough of a distraction for Orton to waffle Mick a few times with the IC belt and pronounce, "Make no mistake, Mick. You ARE my BITCH."
Entertained yet, kids? Good for you.
La Resistance coming to the ring now, and it'll be Dupree wrestling this time with Conway in the support role. And HE gets to face Rico with Miss Booby, er, Jackie. Good thing tits are over with the fans, otherwise we'd go to the bathroom during this. Dupree charges in, but gets drop-toed to the mat and then forced to give Rico a horsie ride while being spanked. Conway threatens Jackie on the outside, and Rico puts a stop to it, but it lets Dupree get in some cheapshots. Rico rolled back in and he'll eat some brawlies from Dupree before being clamped into the Slaughter Head Wrench after a snapmare. Dupree switches to a chinlock, and wears Rico to the mat. The crowd gets behind Rico and he powers out, but gets pounded back to the mat for another nice head-wrench, sprinkled with punches. Flows to a chinlock again. Jackie's pounding the mat to get the crowd up, and Rico gets up too. Rico with a Jawbreaker, Manhattan Drop, Back Body Drop, and a Crescent Kick to the temple. Dupree in trouble, but gets out at the twocount. Rico slaps him around some more, and doles out the Rico Kick, too. Dupree with the upperhand, but then Stacie Kiebler comes out again - for no reason, again - and she hops up on the apron and shakes her moneymaker. Dupree's eyes bug out, and Rico gets another win with another kick.
Kiebler explains that if Playboy's looking for THE hottest pair of WWe Divas, they're right THERE. The two chicks do some gyrating to Kiebler's techno track from the Singing Wrestler CD.
Cut to Trish in the back, and she walks past Christian reading Rolling Stone. He makes a reference to the Beatles, and how they were great until Yoko Ono fucked everything up between John and Paul and ultimately ruined them. He also says if it was him back then, he'd fucking lay waste to that bitch with the One-Man Con-Chair-Toe to protect what was good and just. He then smirks and wishes Trish luck in her latest attempt at the WC. Trish looks like she discovered she stepped in dogshit, which I guess is close enough to 'concerned' for her acting coach.
Linda McMahon addresses some college kids to help get out the 18-30 vote. Heh. If they had any pull with that demo, they'd be getting better than 3s and 4s, right? Dumbasses.
Trish Stratus comes out, and Eric interrupts from the Titantron. It seems Bischoff scheduled the Women's Title match before they figured out who the number one contender was, but she shouldn't worry. They'll have that match next week. However, since he knows she came to wrestle, he'll send someone out for her to face directly.
Kane stalks towards Stratus, and she tries to bail but he catches her and brings her up for the chokeslam. Jericho comes out to make the save, and sacrifices himself to the monster while Trish hits the bricks at slightly under Mach Three. Kane smashes all over Jericho with a chair, and then bounces him off the ringpost. - concentrating his attacks on the legs of Y2J. Jericho is left in a crumpled heap on the arena floor, but Kane remains in the ring...
Jericho in the back being worked on by the trainers, and Trish is trying to show concern. Christian interrupts and takes Jericho to task for throwing everything away. They had a match and shit, so she should scram. Jericho gets in Christian's face and says 'You don't talk to her like that again. And you don't talk to ME like that again. I know what's at stake. I know what we have to do. Just worry about holding up YOUR end.'
God Bless that Canadian. That was a GREAT performance from the Lionheart.
Goldberg comes out, and Coach calls him a Brock Lesnar wannabe - despite Bill being around years before Brock... Sigh. Kane and Bill lock up, but Kane starts in with the brawlies hot and heavy. Bill responds with a clothesline and makes with his own brawlies. Kane with that big uppercut, Bill with a flying shoulderblock. Kane with a Kitchen Sink Kneelift, Bill with a kick, Kane with the Big Boot. Kane working on Bill with some BigMan moves leading up to a Sidewalk Slam, which gets two. Kane clamps on a chinlock, bearing down on Bill with his bulk. Bill battles to a vertical base and frees himself with some elbows, but Kane bonks him with the uppercut again. Kane sets Bill in the corner and starts punching on him, then chokes for a four-count. Kane marches back in, but gets some more beating. Kane does the chokeslam, and we'll have the Undertaker Dead Man Returns Teaser to interrupt the match long enough for Bill to get back up and lay in the Spear for the win. The ring fills with fog, which worries me that the Ultimate Warrior is going to pop up now. Kane does the Deadguy Situp none the worse for wear or his loss, and we apparently lose the feed as Kane exits through the crowd...
Booker T up next, sporting a ponytail of braids and his Singing Wrestler Track. I'm not sure which is more gay, so we'll call it a tie. He'll face... Matt Hardy. Matt has never run out of gas while driving, and his chest hair grows swiftly.
Matt starts in early with brawling on Booker, but gets backed off with retaliation brawlies. Booker is clotheslinesd in the corner and then bulldogged. Booker responds with chops. Hardy responds with the Sleeper. Booker surges into the corner to break the hold, and Hardy catches him with a diving forearm shot from the turnbuckles. Booker in trouble as Matt works his 'injured neck' with a RYU Stretch. Booker elbows out, but gets taken down with a kitchen Sink. It gets two. Kneeling chinlock applied to the hapless Booker, but he refuses to quit as frustration sets in on Hardy. Booker back up and he elbows free. Hardy tries for a Back Body Drop, but gets kicked. Booker tries for the big kick, but Hardy ducks and hits the Side Effect. They brawl some more, and then Booker hits a Spinebuster Whip on Hardy. Hardy tries to punch him, but Booker blocks and lays in some punching and a dropkick, and a spinkick. Hardy whips him to the corner, but eats an elbow trying to capitalize. Booker with another kick, Hardy with some brawlies. Booker with another kick. Hardy's down. Spinneroonie. Hardy tries for the Twist of Fate, but Book slips out of it and hits the Scissor Kick for the win. A nice match, but a bit too kicky for wrestling, in my opinion. Chant with me now: "Let Booker Work! Let Booker Work!"
Orton confronts HBK and promises to do to him what he did to Foley. "What, hit me with your belt?" Michaels quips. I've been waiting YEARS for someone to use that comeback, and it's MICHAELS? Blech. He warns Orton that if Randy's not careful, HBK'll be cleaning Orton's blood off his boot tonight.
Commercials. Snickers is sponsoring WMXX, and I've already used that in an article, so look it up if you care...
Time to play the Game. Yay. Wonder who he'll face...?
Face? He's the champ. He's just gonna talk for a while. Pay attention. As a suggestion, change the name to WORD Wrestling Entertainment. HHH warns that Benoit's in the big dance, and tells him that there's only ONE World Champion. Only one TRUE World Champion, and it's him. Brock Lesnar promptly falls out his chair laughing, so that'll make two of us... HHH warns us that next week they'll be signing the contracts for the WM thing, so we know in advance how much of the show is a loss.
HHH explains that against him, people's dreams become nightmares, and then we get a guy to come out so Benoit can see what Benoit's got to look forward to. Spike Dudley comes out, so I guess HHH is saying Benoit's future is as an elementary school teacher. That'd be fucking hilarious, actually. "Two plus two equals... FIVE! Hey, kids! Prove me WRONG!"
Triple H starts laughing in apparent agreement with my witticism, and then turns his back on Spike. Spike with some punching, but gets hit with the High Knee and then beaten on for daring to touch the Champ. HHH with a Suplex, followed by a kneedrop. HHH lays in a haymaker and then a knee to the belly. Pedigree. Threecount.
Austin marching around in the back and he goes to Goldberg's dressing room, which for some reason has a whole ROW of lockers. Austin starts bantering on Bill about Lesnar's comments, and says that he happens to have ringside seats to 'No Way Out'... He can't make it, though, so rather than waste the free ticket he gives to Goldberg to represent Raw and Austin's good name. He's then told not to do anything SCSA wouldn't, and Bill smirks as he assures he won't...
Jericho comes out for the tag title match. Then Christian comes out. Both get their intros, I guess to pad the show a bit. Next comes Evolution. Raw's having their first show in Portland, OR, next week - in case you care.
Christian and Flair start off. Flair with a front chancery. Christian reverses to a hammerlock. Flair with an Irish Whip. Christian with a shoulder block, followed by an Abdominal Stretch and a Back Body Drop. Flair makes a blind tag to Batista and Dave works Christian over with a Sidebreaker and some bashing. Tag to Flair. Choppy-woo, plus a series of punches. Christian with a thumb to the eye to get some breathing room, and then tags Y2J. Y2J with the Choppy-Woo takes Flair down. Batista intervenes to break up the count. Christian takes Batista outside, and Jericho lays Flair out. Lionsault attempted, but Flair rolls away. Jericho lands on his feet, but collapses due to the leg injury earlier. Flair goes for the Figure Four, but Jericho reverses to an inside cradle. Batista smashes Christian against the ringpost and then interrupts Flair's tapping in the Walls with a low-bridge on Jericho. Flair gets the Lionheart to tap in the Figure Four, and the champs retain. A pretty good match, with Jericho selling his heart out. Could have been longer, though I guess they want the sparse time remaining for Michaels and Orton... (10:45 pm)
Next week, Flair versus Benoit, so that might be good until the inevitable screwjob... Sigh. I'm so fucking cynical. Too bad I'm right, huh? Orton struts to the ring to a lukewarm reaction at best. Sorry, kid, but nobody likes you - or cares enough to hate you.
HBK starts his intro (10:49 pm) for this non-title match. Huh? I thought it was for the title... Oh well, two hours is a long time to hold continuity...
Collar and elboq tieup, and Orton forces HBK to the corner. Repeat, only this time Orton doesn't break clean. HBK turns it around with some chops and then attempts a crucifix takedown, but settles for a Sunset Flip. Side headlock takedowns on the IC champ, and then HBK grinds the headlock on the mat. Orton works his way back up and then hits Michaels with a Back Elbow from an Irish Whip. Orton clamps on a Front Chancery and starts laying shots on HBK's back, punctuating with an uppercut. HBK fights back, and Orton tries to get that Dropkick in, but Michaels dodges and Randy kicks the referee instead. Ref outside and in a coma, and Orton tosses HBK into the corner. HBK does his half-hearted Flair Flipup into the Tree of Woe, and Orton gets the belt to finish him off.
Austin comes out with a spare referee, and he takes the unconscious one with him on the back of the fourwheeler. HBK is back on his feet by now, and takes him and Orton out to the floor with a clothesline. What next? Glad you asked!
Commercials. (10:56 pm)
We're back, and Orton's working a Kneeling Chinlock on Michaels, and we missed that Hangman's Backbreaker being fed to HBK. HBK back up and elbows free. Michaels to the ropes for some momentum, and Orton stops him with a Kitchen Sink Kneelift and then clamps the Kneeling Chinlock back on. Michaels digging deep and battles free. Orton tries to go to the Kitchen Sink again, but Michaels reverses it with a rollup for two. Orton pops Michaels one, and then gets his own twocount before - you guessed it - a chinlock. HBK fades to the mat, but charges back up and clamps on a Sleeper.
Orton counters with a Backdrop Suplex and then a Body Slam before going to the toprope for a Crossbody attempt. Michaels ducks and Orton does the Superman headfirst into the mat. They get to their feet, but Michaels hits with a Flying Forearm and then an Elbow Drop from the top. Strike Up the Band, and Ross calls it 'A Shawn Michaels Original' to piss me off. Orton gets in the RKO and before he can cover Foley comes out. Michaels wins with a tights-assisted schoolboy, and Foley comes in and lays the beatdown on Orton, clotheslining him over the railing, even. Orton tries to escape through the crowd with Foley close behind. Evolution runs out and HHH sends the tag champs out to support him while he gets in some cheapshots on the fallen HBK. Benoit intervenes and yanks HHH off HBK.
HHH backs away from Benoit, telling him he made a big mistake as he goes to the back. HBK gets up, and Benoit offers him his hand. HBK shakes it hesitantly, and then starts talking to the Wolverine about God knows what. They end the show with them staring at each other in the ring.
All in all, not a terrible show. Nice (if short) matches that furthered their respective storylines, but way too much cornball skits and screwjobs for my taste. Two and a half years, and they still can't balance 'between steak and sizzle'? Someone needs to be fucking FIRED. Hell, LOTS of people need to be fucking fired, but it'll never happen.
Sad, ain't it?
You're welcome. See you SOON.