Saturday, September 09, 2006

WWF Raw Is War (17.01.2000)

From the file marked "Pick an unmarked tape, convert to DVD, post some thoughts on the blog". And why not?

So we're at the New Haven Coliseum in Connecticut for Raw but just for some perspective, here's what went down on the Jakked taping:

Papi Chulo d. Unknown (dark match)
Hardcore Holly & Crash Holly d. The Mean Street Posse (Pete Gas & Joey Abs)
Too Cool (Scotty II Hotty & Grandmaster Sexay) d. Kaientai (Taka Michinoku & Sho Funaki)
Viscera vs. Gangrel went to a no-contest
Davey Boy Smith d. Kevin Landry by pinfall

Sounds OK I suppose, the tag matches don't look too bad. Death count is already at two though (Crash Holly, Davey Boy Smith) though the status of Kevin Landry is not something I'm aware of so maybe it's three.

For added perspective - this is the go home show prior to the 2000 Royal Rumble.

Raw Is War

- Opening promo has Cactus Jack challenge Triple H to a fight, no titles on the line. Clips from the Cactus Jack comeback match in 1997 (where he pinned HHH after a good brawl) air on the TitanTron and Triple H answers the challenge. He brings out the rest of D-Generation-X for the 4-on-1 beatdown until The Rock comes in for the save. Big Show wanders out next and he disposes of The Rock then goes after DX. I guess he was a tweener then. Acolytes (Faarooq & Bradshaw) run-in next since they've got The Outlaws for the title at The Rumble and it's all a big brawl until DX scarpers.

-Video package: On SmackDown! last week, Big Boss Man & Prince Albert had more miscomunication problems in a tag team match against The Hardy Boyz, leading to a Boss Man/Albert split.

WWF Hardcore Title: Big Boss Man (c) vs. Test

They do the standard Hardcore brawl and fight backstage. Into the toilets in fact, then back out to the ring where Prince Albert gets involved, allowing Test to take control and he scores the pin and the title following a nightstick-assisted elbow drop off the top rope.

D'Lo Brown & The Godfather vs. Edge & Christian

Short tag match, Edge ends up with the ho's outside and Christian gets pinned. Nothing happening here apart from the "with the benefit of hindsight" subtext going on Godfather offers the ho's to the losers anyway since they're all babyfaces and not playa haters and Edge retreats from Godfather's three skanks who try to come on to him.

- Backstage, Big Boss Man and Giant Bernard continue to fight, all the way into Tori's locker room in fact. Tori goes to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley (who are running the show ever since Vince decided to take time off at the end of 1999) and demands punishment for Albert so we get Albert vs. Kane later tonight. Hey, she said punishment for Albert not punishment for all of us!

Kurt Angle vs. Mystery Opponent

Angle has a mystery opponent at the Rumble so he has one here too in order to prepare. Since he knows everyone in the WWF locker room, he'll have no problem. Neat bit of psychology there (his Rumble opponent was Tazz, fresh from ECW who Angle wouldn't have known). Anyway, the mystery man tonight is Steve Blackman. Story here is the backstage cutaway to Triple H and Steph. See, Steph clearly had a crush on Angle and Triple H didn't like it so he was the one who arranged for The Lethal Weapon to dismantle Kurt. Davey Boy Smith gets involved though and canes Blackman in the nuts for an easy Angle win which delights Stephanie and infuriates Hunter. Man, this didn't even come to a head until SummerSlam, eight months later. EIGHT FUCKING MONTHS ahead they were planning stuff, unlike now where pay-per-view undercards are thrown together on a weeks notice. Yikes.

- Next it's a preview for the Miss Royal Rumble Swimsuit contest. Terri wins favour by claiming "less is more", whilst WWF Women's Champion The Kat (remember when non-wrestlers like her held the title?) claims she doesn't need any strategy and everyone should remember Armageddon (where she whipped her baps out on live pay-per-view). B.B. (Hardcore Holly's girlfriend) claims that "bigger is better" before Ivory calls everyone a pervert. Jacqueline and Luna Vachon then rip off Ivory's dress and she's such a MILF in her nighty. Phwoar! Mae Young then waddles down and threatens to whip 'em out which disgusts everyone but at least there's no chance of that happening at the pay-per-view, right?

- The WWF Slam of the Week sees Test win the Hardcore Title earlier tonight.

The Acolytes (Faarooq & Bradshaw) vs. DX (WWE Champion Triple H & X-Pac)

"Watch Triple H and learn how to stun!" notes Stephanie on commentary. Indeed. Acolytes dominate to start, heels take over for a bit, Acolytes dominate again and The Outlaws run-in for the DQ, you know how it goes. That DX is so clever for orchestrating all this.

- Meanwhile, Michael Cole is in San Antonio with an update on Steve Austin's spinal surgery. It went well enough but he wont be back in the ring for a good few months at least.

Buh Buh Ray Dudley vs. Jeff Hardy

This is from before Bubba became a total fatass and Jeff became a total screwup. Remember when these guys were still fresh? Anyway, D-Von Dudley goes after Terri (and who could blame him?) which allows Jeff to get the swanton for the three. Post match, The Dudley's get 3D's on both Jeff and Matt Hardy, then lay Jeff on a table and superbomb (as called by J.R.) Matt through Jeff and the table, neatly setting up their double tables match at the Royal Rumble.

WWF Intercontinental Title: Chris Jericho (c) vs. Rikishi

Despite being a dancin' machine and wishing to show off his patented steps - the Great Caesar's Ghost and the Electric Banana, Jericho is simply out here to destroy Rikishi. And that he does for about 12 seconds until Rikishi takes over, the referee gets bumped and the fun kicks in. First, Hardcore and Crash Holly run-in but Rikishi fights them both off and he tries to put Jericho in the Rikishi driver and has to stall for ages as Chyna misses her cue and runs in an age later for the low blow. She then chews out Jericho for taking an Intercontinental title defence so close to the Rumble (she and Jericho were 'co-champions' and in a triple threat match with bizarre choice Hardcore Holly at the big one) and they both get clotheslined by Rikishi for their troubles. No wonder this guy got so popular, he was just killing everyone here. He gives Chyna a belly-to-belly and goes for the second rope buttsplash but the referee is revived in time to see Hardcore nail Rikishi with a steel chair, giving the big man the disqualification win. Jericho has already left with the belt at this point so Too Cool fly in for the save and Rikishi gives Crash the Rikishi Driver which looks fucking great, and then they all dance. These guys were OVER but the crowd was weird during the match, being deadly quiet as they concentrated as hard as possible to try and follow the storylines but popping after each cavet unfolded.

- Backstage, Cactus Jack tells The Big Show he needs to work things out with The Rock because they all have a common enemy in the form of DX.

Prince Albert vs. Kane

Tori looks awesome. This match does not. It's mercifully short though, and Kane wins. Afterwards, Albert says he thinks Kane likes to be dominated by women...and so does he. I don't think it went anywhere but at least even the shittiest of stuff had angle development going on which you can't really say about the product in 2006.

- Backstage, Cactus Jack tells The Rock he needs to work things out with The Big Show because they all have a common enemy in the form of DX.

The Rock & The Big Show vs. The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg & Billy Gunn)

Naturally, Rock and Show just brawl with each other as soon as they hit the ring, playing off the earlier Cactus Jack warnings. Eventually (inevitably?) it boils down to a heat segment on The Rock and The Outlaws do their thing until Rock ends up on the floor and Show gives him a Giant headbutt. The heat continues as show plays full blown heel before Rock finally has enough and smashes him over the head with a steel chair allowing Gunn to get the pin. Post match, Rock is still pissed so he gives Show The People's Elbow for good measure as Triple H looks on and laughs menacingly. The only problem with the Rock/Big Show feud for me was that it might quite clear that nobody else had a hope in hell of winning The Royal Rumble that year since the spotlight was placed firmly on those two, and whaddaya know? They were the last two in. Still, that was probably better than a Rock/Show singles match so you win some you lose some I guess.

I usually don't like go home shows but this was a throughly fine waste of 90 minutes less commercials and actually makes me want to watch Royal Rumble 2000 again. The thing I noticed was how intricate and well booked it all was. Sure, it was mostly bad wrestling coupled with run-ins and comfortable finishes but every single segment on the show furthered an angle or storyline and built to something down the line. You just don't see that on Raw in 2006 where John Cena and Edge, and DX and The McMahons both have issues but do the same shit every week and the rest of the card is seemingly left to pot luck. You had far more scope for movement too as you not only had more main event talent mixing with each other (Big Show and Rock had the issue but both crossed into the Cactus Jack/Triple H feud) but the big stars were mixing with the guys on the undercard too, bringing everyone up (WWF Champion HHH being pissed off with Stephanie's attraction to newcommer Kurt Angle, upper mid-carder Kane facing undercarder Albert who was messing about with Big Boss Man at Hardcore Title level). RAW is sorely lacking this kind of booking and character development these days and it makes for some tedious and entirely predictable shows.


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