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Dr. Tom's RAW Report 8/26/02

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Guest TSMAdmin

WWE RAW 8/26/02


Summerslam is in the bag, and was a very good show. You can read The Dames' Diatribe on it, or check out The Crossface and see what the rest of us at TSM thought about it.


Thanks to preseason football pre-empting Smackdown in my area this week, I'm covering Raw while JHawk fills in for me on Thursday. Fear not, for the universe will be restored to its proper order next week.


Live (plus seven seconds) from MSG – not just a Chinese food additive anymore – in the city so nice they named it twice, this is WWE Raw for 8/26/02. Your hosts are Bah Gawd and Puppies, Puppies.


Easy Eric Bischoff comes out to welcome us all to “Eric Bischoff’s Monday Night Raw.” He talks for a little while, the most significant thing being that the Hardcore and Intercontinental titles will be combined tonight. Good riddance to the Hardcore strap, says I. Easy E also introduces us to new Undisputed Champion Brock Lesnarberg, with agent Paul E. Dangerously. Heyman reminds us how he told us all that Brock would win KOTR, destroy Hogan, win the title, solve world hunger, cure the common cold, and so on. Brock tells us he’s the youngest Undisputed Champion in history. That’s still a pretty small pool there, slugger. What is he, the fifth? Wow, the youngest of five – get in line for your cookie, kid. Anyway, Paul starts talking again when The Holy Bible Kid comes out . . . but it’s not Michaels, as a posing HHHGH is doing us the courtesy of playing “Sexy Boy” one last time. H tells us Shawn didn’t belong in the same ring with him. Hmm, remind me who won that match? H puts over his crippling of HBK, and I’m just wondering what all of this has to do with Lesnar. Now we get to the point, as HHH takes credit for “softening up” The Rock, as he said he would, and now he’s waiting, as he said he would be. H gets in the ring and acts tough, but before we can get to any throwing down, The Undertaker comes out and hits the ring. UT reminds us he’s the #1 contender (he is?), only to get punked out by HHH. Lesnar helps, until UT turns the tide and sends both guys out of the ring.


After the break, Bischoff announces a main event of UT-HHH to determine the #1 contender.


Booker T (with Goldust) vs, Chris-TIAN (with Lance Storm). Booker pounds Christian, but misses the early axe kick. Christian comes back with the slop drop neckbreaker and sme abuse in the corner. Snapmare leads to the chinlock, and a “USA!” chant starts while Booker fights out. Christian knees him off the ropes, but Booker rallies by chopping the ever-lovin’ shit out of Christian in the corner. Booker get the heel kick, and a botched sunset flip still leads to a rollup for 2. Christian tries the Flair pin, but Goldust shoves his feet off the ropes. Booker hits a side kick, and in comes Storm. In comes Goldust to take care of him, and they brawl to the outside. Booker shoves out of the Unprettier and finishes with the axe kick at 3:16. This was a by-the-numbers opener, but wasn’t long enough to be anything special. 3/10


After the break, Christian vents to Storm until Test calms them down by saying he has something big planned for later, apparently involving a large American flag.


Tag Match: Thoze Damn Dudleyz v2.0 vs. William Regal and Chris Harvard Nowinski (with Molly Holly). In case you’re wondering why Molly is with the heels, they show a segment where Chris sucks up to her and hits on her at the same time. Harvard shoves Bubba into the corner, where Bubba unleashes the fists and chops. Neckbreaker gets 2, and Spike comes in with the double stomp off the top. He quickly ends up in trouble and gets crotched by both Harvard and Molly on the ringpost. Spike tries an Acid Drop on Regal, but Harvard comes in, and Spike manages to take both of them over. In comes Bubba (a bit early for the hot tag, no?) to clean house. Nice release German on Harvard, and a side slam for Regal. Harvard gets tossed, and it’s Flip, Flop, and Fly time. Molly misses the Molly-Go-Round, so Bubba slams her, and Spike adds the Wassup. The tables are summoned, and after the heels tease a rally, Bubba hits the Bubba Bomb on Regal for the win at 3:14. After the bell, Bubba goes to put Molly thru the table, but Harvard catches her in a nice display of chivalry. Spike does the Acid Drop, but Regal doesn’t manage to break the table with his face. Ouch. Bubba powerbombs him thru it and makes sure it breaks. Pretty lame match, with lame extracurricular crap. 1/10


Meanwhile, Bischoff talks to a Hall of Famer we don’t get to see.


After the break, Molly expresses her gratitude to the “gentlemanly” Mr. Nowinski.


Easy E introduces his Hall of Famer: Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka! Bischoff has a highlight package prepared just for Snuka, showing some of the more important moments in his illustrious career. Snuka receives a Lifetime Achievement Award, which is a pretty nice-looking plaque. Bischoff realizes that this segment has gone on for three minutes now, so you know what that means. The Island Boys come out and do their usual, much to the dismay of JR.


After the break, Snuka gets back to his feet, but The Internet Hates Jericho comes out and puts him in a Boston Crab. Jericho grabs a mike and declares that he deserves an award, not some has-been. Jericho says he was screwed in his match last night, and has footage of The Man tapping while simultaneously reaching the ropes. I think he has a point there. Jericho offers his own special version of “New York, New York” for all the Fozzy fanatics. Hmm, methinks those weren’t Sinatra’s original lyrics.


Back from the break, Jericho is still singing when Jeff Hardy interrupts him. This sets up:


Mid-Show Main Event: The Internet Hates Jericho vs. Jeff Hardy. Jericho clotheslines Jeff down and dropkicks him. Jeff hits the flying jalapeno and takes Jericho over with a headscissors. Jericho misses a dropkick, so Jeff catapults him to the outside and nails him with a plancha from the top rope. Jeff tries the railrunner, but Jericho turns it into a powerslam on the floor. Back in, Jericho gets a backbreaker and chokes Jeff with a ridiculously floofy piece of his own attire. Jericho snapmares Jeff and applies a bow and arrow. Jeff fights out, only to get pounded back down and dropkicked in the head for 2. Jericho hits a back suplex and drops a series of elbows for 2. Jeff misses a dropkick, and Jericho does what looks like a very poor senton off the ropes for 2. Jericho takes perverse joy in knocking Jeff down, encouraging him to get back up, and knocking him back down again. See, his heel act is great, but he NEVER WINS, and that hurts the character. I mean, why put a 53 year-old whom WWE has portrayed as nothing but a semi-competent crazy old coot over Jericho? Jericho slaps on an abdominal stretch, but Jeff hiptosses out. Jericho tries a turnaround crossbody on a whip to the corner, but Jeff counters with a dropkick to the midsection. Corkscrew moonsault ends up as a big whiff; Jericho tried to sell it, but Jeff needs to learn how to make contact on the damn thing. Jawbreaker and the jumping gut kick get 2. Jericho tries for the Boston Crab, but Jeff cradles for 2. Jericho hits the bulldog, but the Lionsault hits knees. Jeff does a rollup for 2, and it looks like Jericho lifts the shoulder a hair too late. Jeff nails the Swanton, but his slow covers gets 2 as Jericho grabs the rope. Jeff goes for a ‘rana, which Jericho reverses into a Boston Crab. He won’t break the hold, so that draws the DQ at 10:43. I don’t mind the DQ ending here, since Jeff is supposed to be Flair’s little buddy, but it’s another loss for Jericho. There were a few slow spots here, and I’m not a fan of Jeff as a singles wrestler, but Jericho’s heel act is always good, so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt. 5/10


Meanwhile, we go from one skeleton to another, as Terri asks Brock and Paul who they’d prefer to see win the main event tonight, and Brock says it doesn’t make a difference.


Meanwhile, Test promises to burn the American flag. Ok, that would be going WAY too far. Flying it upside-down is a little questionable, but burning the flag would be in extremely poor taste. I can't see WWE going that far, especially in NY.


After the break, the Canadian Trio hits the ring, complete with flag and blowtorch. Test says it’s aboot time we Americans learn what the rest of the world thinks about us, eh? Hint, jackass: we know, and we just don’t give a shit. Before any burning can commence, Kane’s pyro scares everyone for a moment. Booker T and Goldust come in to save Old Glory, but fall victim to superior numbers. The pyro hits again, and this time, it IS Kane, complete with retooled costume and mask. Kane cleans house, no-sells a chairshot from Christian, and plants him with a chokeslam. Test gets the same treatment, and the Canadians flee. Booker gives the fans a Spinaroonie, and Kane adds a Kanearoonie.


IC/Hardcore Title Unification Match: RVD vs. Tommy Dreamer. This is under Hardcore rules, for those scoring at home. A nice “ECW!” chant starts as the two do the handshake of mutual respect. Moves and counters establish parity a little less than a minute in. Rob does a split on an Irish whip, so Tommy hits a sliding dropkick right into his face. Rob shoulders him into the corner but gets cracked with a kendo stick. Tommy uses the stick on a Russian legsweep for 2. Tommy goes out for a ladder, and raises it when Rob tries a baseball slide. Nice, and an acknowledgment of their history. Rob kicks the ladder into his face anyway, and covers for 2 on the floor. Rob sets up the ladder like a bridge between the ring and the barricade outside. Tommy spinebusters him on the floor for 2. Back in, Tommy tries to suplex Rob onto the ladder, but Rob blocks it. Tommy then tries a bulldog from the apron, so Rob shoves him into it facefirst. Rob crotches Tommy on the barricade and does a jumping side kick from the ladder. It gets 2. Rob grabs a chair, and uses it for a standing moonsault back in the ring for 2. He tries a split-legged moonsault, but Tommy raises the chair. Tommy goes for a DDT on the chair, which Rob turns into a Northern Lights suplex for 2. Tommy hits the DDT on the second try, and side slams Rob onto the ladder. JR goes off on another brief rant about how you can’t learn to fall on something like that. Maybe people would take him more seriously if WWE didn’t expose the business so completely with Tough Enough. Tommy misses an elbowdrop onto the ladder, so Rob does Rolling Thunder for 2. He goes up, but gets crotches, and Tommy sets the ladder across the second rope. Rob fights him off, knocking his face into the ladder, and comes down with a wheel kick. Dreamer is hung up in the ladder, and Rob frees him with a running Van Daminator. The FIVE-STAR Frog Splash ends it at 8:04. This was a better sendoff than the Hardcore belt deserved, with some good innovative spots and solid action. 7/10


Yummy Stacy comes out to make sure Trish Stratus isn’t going to interfere in the evening gown/tuxedo match, but The Fink chases her away with a perverted comment.


Evening Gown/Tuxedo Match: Howard Finkel vs. Lilian Garcia. You know, I never have to write about dumb shit like this on Smackdown. Goddamn you, preseason football. Eventually, Finkel’s sexist remarks lead all the girls to yank his clothes off. Howard Finkel in briefs is something I could have lived my ENTIRE LIFE without seeing and died a VERY happy man. Hopefully, this means the end of the incredibly stupid ring announcer angle. Why the hell was it in the semi-main event slot, though? Don’t EVEN tell me you want a rating for this shit.


Main Event, #1 Contender’s Match: HHHGH vs. The Undertaker. H goes after UT on the floor, sending him into the post and over the wall. In the ring, he tries an early Pedigree, but UT escapes and clotheslines him. UT hits a leaping clothesline, and the legdrop gets 2, brother. Ropewalk for 2, but Snake Eyes gets countered into a high knee from HHH. H sends UT out and tosses him into the steps. Back in, H does a swinging neckbreaker for 2. UT gets the better end of a brawl, but HHH slaps on a sleeper. UT punches out, only to eat a facebuster for 2. Back to the sleeper, and UT suplexes out. UT wins another brawl and clotheslines HHH for 2. The ref gets bumped as H gets whipped into him in the corner three times. Showing that he’s memorized the Manual Of Stupid Babyface Tactics, UT plants HHH with a one-armed chokeslam, but there’s NO REF. Brock comes out, and UT belts him off the apron. H lowblows Taker, but the Pedigree is reversed to a backdrop. Brock waylays UT with the belt, and HHH crawls over for the pin at 8:37. Not a bad little brawl, but the ending was annoying. It’s irritating how WWE tries to protect their top stars by ensuring the screwy finishes prevent someone from actually doing the job. At least Undertaker didn’t get his heat back right away. 4/10


Once again, the Dueling GM angle supercedes the main event, as Stephanie McMahon and Easy Eric bicker. Easy E boasts that he has the #1 Contender, but Steph informs Bischoff that she pays Lesnar very well to be exclusive to Smackdown, since it’s the champ’s prerogative to appear on both shows. Yeah, that’s worth trumping the main event for, yessir.


The breakdown:


The Good: I liked the Hardcore/IC title match. Dreamer and RVD have worked together a lot before, and it showed there. Chris Jericho's heel work continues to be very good, despite the fact they're burying his character more and more with each passing week. Kane's return was done well, and we got the added benefit of him saving Old Glory from a blowtorch. The main event wasn't a stellar match, but it was good for what it was, ending aside.


The Bad: Bubba and Spike just aren't the Dudley Boys. D'Von's absence is very noticeable every time Bubba and Spike team up. The supposed importance of the battling GMs trumped a main event yet again, which I think is just inexcusable. You're on TV to put the WRESTLING over, so get catty with each other before the damn match.


The Ugly: I hope we never, ever see another evening gown/tuxedo match again. It wasn't quite the abortion the Patterson/Brisco hardcore evening gown match was, but it was close.


Overall: JHawk, you can HAVE this freaking show. It wasn't actively bad, but it was definitely on the subpar side this week. Two good matches and one decent one can't make up for the main event getting tossed aside so the GMs can get some face time, and for the Finkel/Garcia fiasco. Smackdown has been better than Raw for a while now, and this show just allowed me to appreciate the distinction that much more. I'll take solid main events, cruiserweights, and young stars over a lot of talking, fat Samoan enforcers, and ring announcer angles any day of the week. 3.5/10


Dr. Tom

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