The SmarK RAW Rant - July 30 / 2001
Posted by Scott Keith on 07.30.2001
The Rock returns!
The SmarK RAW-K rant for July 30, 2001
- Just to set the record straight, the rumors of TheSmarks’ death were greatly exaggerated. Thankfully a webhosting company co-owned by a fan of mine graciously offered us a dedicated server in exchange for putting their ads on our site, so we’re not only alive and well, we’re up another few notches in the process. Take THAT, you elitist webhosts with your “no wrestling site” clauses and money-grubbing demands.
- Speaking of moving up in the world, those of you who have often accused me of selling out can feel even more vindicated, because I’m officially going Hollywood next year, acting as script supervisor for a new movie called “Dark Nights”, which shoots next year with some potentially big names attached to it. Motto for the internet age: It’s not what you know, it’s who reads your column. I’m hoping to springboard into screenwriting through this and hopefully do a movie about wrestling that gives it a better name than “Ready to Rumble” did, at least. That’s a lofty goal, I know, but I think I’m up to the task.
- My final thought on those stupid Subway commercials before we start: Would YOU trust a spokesman who goes to grocery stores, picks up teenaged boys and buys them giant phallic-shaped sandwiches?
- Live from Philadelphia, home of cheesesteak and cream cheese.
- Your hosts are supposed to be JR & Michael Cole, until Tommy Dreamer gives good ol’ MC the heave-ho and Paul Heyman reclaims his spot at ringside.
- Opening interview: Tazz is bitter. In other news, sun rises in the morning. Film at 11. He lays out all the stuff that’s gonna happen tonight, before Chris Jericho butts in and hey, LET’S GET IT ON.
- Tazz v. Chris Jericho. Faster than I can type this, Jericho wins with the Lionsault. Back to color commentary for Tazz, I guess. DUD
- Meanwhile, Vince & Regal prep for the Rock’s big return, acting like total nerds the whole time. Tajiri comes in bearing pies and flashes an eyebrow in a funny bit.
- Hardcore title match: Rob Van Dam v. Tajiri. Rob’s pop is getting pretty scary. Gymnastics exhibition to start wows the crowd. Rob points at himself and gets kicked in the face as a reward, but he comes back with a slingshot legdrop for two. He grabs a chair, but Tajiri kicks it back in his face off a handspring and gets two. Rob goes up and gets crotched, and Tajiri baseball slides a chair in his face and gets two. Handspring is caught by RVD, but Tajiri turns it into a german suplex for two. Rolling submission move confuses the crowd, so he goes for a crucifix instead, which Rob reverses into a Regal Roll. Split-legged moonsault gets two, and ***** Frog Splash finishes. Hmm, that one was just getting going when they went home. **
- Meanwhile, the Alliance, acting equally goofy, also readies for the Rock. Debra even brings her patented cookies, but unfortunately Austin neglects to mention to Booker T just how “special” the recipe is, and before you can say “indigestion”, he’s ready to barf. Someone should call the NAACP for subjecting the poor guy to that kind of inhumane treatment.
- Meanwhile, Big Show annoys Vince (and by proxy, us all) by running down a list of potential names for the (now former) ShowGunn. I’m glad the WWF came to their senses and decided not to swipe my name.
- Kurt has words for Booker & Austin, and challenges Austin to a WWF title match at SummerSlam, which pretty much gives away the finish to the WCW title match, since he would have mentioned his own belt if it was gonna be title v. title. By the way, since you asked, I think it’s definitely a good idea to do Angle v. Austin while the angle is hot and save Rock for revitalizing the traditionally limp fall buyrates.
- Meanwhile, the McMahon Clan trip over themselves to get to a limo outside, but it’s just Kanyon. Man, he won the US title on Smackdown and he STILL doesn’t get respect.
- Matt Hardy & Lita v. Hurricane Helms & Torrie Wilson. Torrie & Lita start and pretend to wrestle for a bit. Helms inferferes and they double-suplex Lita for two. Lita gets an inverted DDT, tags abound. Matt sideslams Hurricane for two. Poetry in Motion on both heels, but Helms gets a neckbreaker on Matt. Sugar Smack is blocked and Matt gets the yodelling legdrop for two. Twist of Fate, as Torrie blows her cue and doesn’t interfere until after the move. You could see Matt standing there twisting in the wind waiting for her. She eventually lowblows Matt and Helms gets the pin. I could do with seeing a singles match without the chicks. ½*
- Meanwhile, Austin gives Booker a peptalk.
- Oh my god, Test is ALIVE! Man, I just saw the poor guy on the side of my milk carton last week. Anyway, he’s hosting WWFNY and gives his usual electrifying interview.
- WCW title match: Kurt Angle v. Booker T. Sadly, there is no little plaque on the title belt that says “Kurt Angle”. The WWF production guys have no sense of style anymore. They brawl in the aisle, but Alliance forces gang up on Angle and lay him out. WWF guys even it up, but Angle is hurtin’ and things are OUTTA CONTROL, BABEE, so we take a break while everyone calms down. We return with Booker pounding on him (note to Undertaker: That stuff Angle is doing? SELLING.), and into the ring as Angle fires back with a clothesline and belly-to-belly. Booker is reeling and/or rocking, but Angle makes the time-honored babyface mistake of chasing the heel manager, and Booker takes the opportunity to pounce. Well, Kurt’s new at the babyface gig, we’ll cut him some slack. But if he tries to suplex someone into the ring and gets tripped by a manager who then holds his legs down…well, don’t say I didn’t warn him. They slug it out and Booker goes low and clotheslines him for two. Kneedrop and back heel kick get two. Angle comes back, but eats knee, and Booker gets two. Booker hits the chinlock, and Angle fights free, only to walk into the flying forearm for two. Booker stomps a mudhole, but makes a crucial tactical error by failing to walk it dry, and Angle fights back. Released german suplex and it’s a double KO. Shane brings a chair into play, but Booker misses with it and Angle comes back with a german suplex for two. Axe kick is dodged, Angle Slam is not. Anglelock, but Austin takes a mulligan on that run-in from last week, but only gets as far as KICK WHAM before Angle blocks the STUNNER part. Ref gets bumped, so Charles Robinson runs in to count two on Angle after an Axe Kick. Angle Slam again, but Austin successfully goes KICK WHAM STUNNER this time, and that’s all she wrote as Booker wins the WCW title for a fourth time. Super hot match. ***1/2 Keeping Booker strong is definitely the right decision for business.
- Austin hightails it outta there in his pickup.
- Meanwhile, Angle tells Debra the awful truth: She’s a useless valet who is wasting valuable airtime that people without indecipherable southern drawls could be using to get over. Oh wait, sorry, it’s just him telling her that her cookies suck. But he was THINKING that other stuff, you could tell.
- Edge & Christian v. Lance Storm & Chris Kanyon. They’re wasting perfectly good chances at inside jokes by not having Kanyon claim to have won the US title in a tournament in Rio De Janeiro. Edge flapjacks Kanyon and gets a heel kick. They double-team Kanyon and get two. Christian holds off both heels and backbreakers Kanyon for two. Kanyon comes back with an assisted crucifix that gets two, and Christian is YOUR face-in-peril. Fans seem less than enthused with the match, but it’s Philly, so it’s not you’d expect any intelligent reactions to a good match anyway. Storm dropkick gets two, Kanyon suplex gets two. Doubleteam Boston crab/legdrop combo gets two. Christian comes back with a crossbody for two, and a neckbreaker for two. Blind charge misses, and Christian makes the hot tag to Edge. He’s a house of fire. Spear for Storm gets two. Storm grabs the US title and swings for the fences, but misses and gets Impaled. No ref, so Kanyon Flatlines Edge and Storm gets the pin. Technically sound but the crowd’s total lack of patience killed it a bit. **1/2
- Title unification match: Billy Kidman v. X-Pac. Thank god, now all we need is to get rid of the dual tag titles, too. Kidman attacks and gets a rana, but X-pac hiptosses him clear out of the ring. Ouch. He follows with a somersault plancha, desperately trying to get over as a face and not succeeding too well. They brawl outside, and X-Pac meets the post with his very favorite muscle. Back in, Kidman gets a slingshot legdrop for two. Spinebuster and he goes up, but misses a splash. X-Pac comes back with a pair of kicks and a powerbomb for two. Hey, YOU CAN’T POWERBOMB KIDMAN! Well, there goes that theory. Broncobuster, and X-Pac goes up, but gets dropkicked coming down for two. Kid Krusher gets two, rolled over for two by X-Pac. Bulldog hurts both guys and they head up top, which results in an X-Factor off the top for the pin and the titles for X-Pac. For those curious as to why Sean would agree to job for Kidman at the PPV, there ya go. Match was good for TV, but you just get the feeling there’s a ****1/2 match buried in there somewhere that’s desperately trying to get out and can’t. **1/4
- Meanwhile, ANOTHER limo arrives, and just in case the joke isn’t deader than Teddy Roosevelt yet, this time it’s Finkel.
- Outside, the Rock is HERE. In front of the Rocky statue. Nice touch. I guess the production guys DO have some style.
- Table match: The Dudley Boyz v. Undertaker & Kane. Did you know Sara is only 24? Undertaker is becoming more like Kevin Nash in AND out of the ring every day. Big brawl to start, and UT & Kane dominate that pretty handily. Kane sideslams D-von, but misses an elbow. He ignores that setback and gets a powerslam and flying lariat. Bubba stops a chokeslam attempt, then pounds on Taker. Taker comes back with the flying clothesline and a corner splash, but stops to go after D-Von. Back in, Dudz double-team him with a neckbreaker and a table is gotten. D-Von can’t suplex UT through it, and UT tries the ROPEWALK OF DOOM but can’t land it. He settles for a chokeslam instead, but Nick Patrick moves the table. DDP skulks in to go after Sara and she gets put into table position, but Kane stops that and UT casually puts Bubba through that table to win. Say, here’s a CRAZY idea as to how to get DDP over as a heel: Have him actually ACCOMPLISH something with his interference once in a while. He comes in, and not only does his scheme against Sara backfire, but the Dudleyz lose the match! Nothing like Undertaker to kill a perfectly good show. *
- Main event interview: The McMahon Clan await the arrival of the Great One in the ring. Another new remix of Rock’s music greets them, and jumpin jellybeans is that a huge belt buckle or what? Shane reminds Rock of all the times Vince screwed him over, and in fact should Rock go WWF apparently he’ll get screwed over and over, many times a night. Well, that’s, uh…pleasant. Vince makes HIS pitch: Sure, he’s a lying no-good jerk, but at least he’s up front about it. He may be a liar, but he’s not lying about being a liar. And with that kind of sales pitch on both sides, Rock makes the smart choice and lays BOTH guys out with the Rock Bottom. I was thinking he’d do the Sting thing, but instead he chooses the WWF. But just not Vince, I’m guessing.
The Bottom Line: Well, the Rock is back, so the rubes are happy, and the wrestling was pretty swank for a RAW, so I’m happy. So basically we’re all happy.
See, WWF, that wasn’t so hard, was it? Screw the sports entertainment, give me some cruiserweight matches, 10 minute heavyweight title main events, and Canadians causing grievous bodily harm to each other, and it’s all good. The marks may not like it, but MY entertainment is what really matters.
You gotta worry about the long-term future of Steve Austin, though, when he can hardly even do a run-in anymore due to injuries. I’m torn on the Summerslam match, though – a job to Kurt Angle puts Kurt into the stratosphere and gives Austin some much-needed time off, but at the same time it cheapens the Rock-Austin blowoff unless they do like Sting-Hogan and delay it for another 6 months after that. And if you’re gonna delay 6 months, then you might as well delay until Wrestlemania 18.
Good show this week either way, see you again in 7 for another try at it.