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COMMENT





Raw: Kane unmasked!
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


Greetings all.

Jon Waldman here, sneaking my way into the RAW Report. This week, Nick's on a leave of absence; from what I heard he lost his smile or something.

In any case, for those of you who didn't catch my one-time recap of NWA-TNA, I do things a little bit differently around here. First off, I give ratings out of 10. Anything above a nine is a must-see again, a seven means it's compilation worthy, above a five means its worth a second look before you reset your tape, above a three means its worth watching once, above a one means it's worth at least a fast-forward, and anything below that is pure tripe that should inspire you to write a nasty letter to TSN, asking them to censor a little more frequently.

I also don't go on match times here. A good match is a good match no matter how long it is. A fast match can be tape-worthy, and a long match can be god-awful.

Before I begin, I should make a follow-up note to my TNA rant. The unknown guy I couldn't figure out was Erik Watts. Go figure. One of the guys I actually had seen before and I didn't know who he was.

Live from New York, it's Monday Night RAW!

Show kicks off with a note about the Kane vs. Triple H mask vs. title match. Methinks this will not be the second coming of Guererro vs. Mysterio.

Match 1 - Scott Steiner (w/Stacy)/Booker T. vs. Test/Christian

The Un-Americans reunite to take on WCW's last two official champs.Stacy does her second rope schtick at Steiner's request. Surprisingly, they don't mention her photo spread in Stuff Magazine. Booker is dominated for a short time by Christian and Test. Test at one point mocks Steiner. Booker turns the match quickly and ìhot tagsî Steiner (about 2 minutes in? dear lord). Stiener gets two count on Test after the Scorpion Slop Death Drop. Stacy gets up on apron when Test goes for a pin with his feet on the ropes. Test grabs Stacy, but she slaps him. End result is that Steiner gets pushed into Stacy, who appears to hurt her ankle. Test gets the big boot for the 3-count.

Winners: Un-Americans

RATING: 2 out of 10 - Why concentrate on an uninteresting feud between Test and Steiner when Booker/Christian is red hot? Boo-urns.

Backstage Kane is looking in a mirror. We get a flashback to Kane's debut at Badd Blood in October 1997 (now renamed Bad Blood).

JR and the King then promo a survey on wwe.com that asks who will win the match tonight. If anyone actually goes and does this survey, please let us know. I'm very curious to see if anyone does.

Match #2 - Chris Nowinski (w/Theodore Long) vs. Maven

Prior to the match, Long promos, saying Chris was discriminated against and lost Tough Enough because he was smart. Dear god, they're STILL talking about TE?

Maven wins in under a minute with a rolling clutch pin.

Winner: Maven

RATING: .5 out of 10 - This was an upset-like win, but it's not an upset if you get a "W" over Nowinski. YUCK.

Earlier in the night, Evolution arrives in a limo. Two women arrive with them, but are stopped by security from going into the arena. Who cares?

Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel is next. Jericho enters to a Y2J chant before he starts insulting the crowd. Jericho shows footage from last week with Lance Storm and Austin. Storm is Jericho's guest and reads a prepared statement about how great an athlete he is. Midway through, movers carry Jericho's set. Austin appears on the Titantron and says the segment was boring so he's putting a stop to it. He then sets up our next match.

Match #3 - Chris Jericho/Lance Storm vs. Dudleyz

The Thrillseekers reunite! The Dudleyz - well, they reunite and break up every week. Starts out Tornado style until Dudleyz clear the ring. Bubba gets a sideslam on Lance for two. Jericho gets some outside interference so Storm can take over with a lower body dropkick. Jericho tags in and gets the juke and jive leg drop on Bubba who was bent over the middle rope. King says this is the first time Jericho and Storm are tagging up. Ross corrects him. Storm tags in and gets a two after a high leg lariat. Bubba reverses for a few and gets a sunset flip(!) for two. Storm tags Jericho back in, who takes over on Bubba. He prevents Bubba from making a tag, and eventually makes an unsuccessful attempt at the Liontamer. Storm takes over with a Buffalo arm-lock and eventually a sleeper (Get it? He's boring everyone to sleep! HA!). Bubba fights out and eventually gets the hot tag. D-Von gets his second-rope neckbreaker for two on Storm. Bubba and D-Von get the double-flap on Jericho then the Wassup Drop on Storm. D-Von is unable to get to the tables, but sets up Jericho for the implant reverse DDT. Storm breaks up the move with a sweet springboard clothesline. Eventually, heel miscommunication leads to a 3D on Storm for the 3 count.

Winners: Dudleyz

RATING: 7 out of 10 - Surprisingly solid match, reminiscent of the Dudleyz's earlier WWF work. I hope they keep the Thrillseekers together.

Still to come tonight - HBK/Nash vs. Flair and Orton

Another Kane flashback replays action from RAW five months ago when Batista ripped off Kane's mask. What? No footage of X-Pac or the Undertaker stealing Kane's mask? Damnit.

Backstage we go and Randy Orton is reading Tietam Brown. Flair comes in and they talk about tonight's tag and title matches.

To the ring we go, and La Resistance is out to sing the French national anthem. Damn I miss Dino BravoÖHurricane interrupts to set up our next match.

Match #4 - La Resistance vs. Hurricane/Sgt. Slaughter

Slaughter runs through his repertoire of moves on Dupree (larger than Nash's moveset by about 3 moves) while Hurricane executes one of the sweetest planchas I've ever seen. Slaughter eventually gets the Cobra Clutch on Dupree, which Grenier interrupts. Slaughter then locks the Clutch on Grenier. Dupree hits Sarge with the title belt for the 1-2-3.

Winners: La Resistance

RATING: 1 out of 10 - Only point is because Hurricane hit such a sweet move. He was so wasted tonight, but hopefully he'll find a partner better suited for him next week and re-challenge.

Backstage again and Kane's still looking at the mirror. Man is he vein or what? We get a dream like flashback to Austin's speech three weeks back.

Austin comes out to the ring, and introduces the WMXX logo. Wait a minute, it's suspended from the ceiling, kinda like the Undertaker's symbolÖ watch out!

Before Austin can be jumped and tied down to the logo, he calls out Mick Foley. Austin says he wants to give him something. Mick backs off for a moment and Austin reassures him it's not a stunner. Cute.

Out comes RVD, carrying the Hardcore Title in a sealed case. Accompanying RVD are Tommy Dreamer, all three Dudleyz and Al Snow. They roll a video of Mick, with primarily WWF career highlights, save for the famous home movie shots and a shot of Mick with the King of the Deathmatch trophy. Austin then presents the belt to Foley.

Foley starts to talk, but Vince interrupts, he says while he'd personally like to break the glass-sealed belt over Foley's face and make him bleed, professionally he wants to say thank you to Mick. Mick gives Vince a big hug in a hilarious moment. Foley then does a classic speech, with the pre-requisite cheap pop, book plug, and Al Snow joke. This was a wicked segment.

Match #5 - HBK/Nash vs. Flair/Orton

Nash gets next to no pop coming out. 2 Dudes with Attitudes re-unite! HBK and Flair start with back and forth action, including chopping. Flair tags in Orton and more back and forth action goes with HBK. Nash is tagged in, gets a sideslam for two on OrtonOrton tags to Flair, who gets clotheslined out. Orton gets the same treatment. HBK is tagged and hits a decent pescado before we go to break. Back in the ring, Michaels and Flair are going at it. HBK gets a rolling clutch, which Orton breaks up with a clothesline from the apron. Orton starts to take over, giving Michaels a chance to do the Kilq Flip. Orton works HBK's arm with an overhead arm-bar (move #24). HBK tries to tag Nash, but Orton hammers him down and converts to a standing side arm-bar (move #37). Flair tags in and works more on HBK's arm. Michaels attempts a backslide, but Flair gets a blind tag to Orton who breaks up the non-existent pin. Orton works a policeman's arm-bar (move # 18), before going back to the standing side arm-bar (move #37). Michaels is eventually able to free himself and hits a cross-body before going to the double KO-spot.

Both men tag out, and once again, Nash gets next to no pop. For god sake, get rid of him! Nash cleans house and calls for the Jackknife on Orton, but Flair low-blows him. Nash gets a doubleclothesline and an actual hot tag to Michaels. Man did Nash blow up quickly. HBK cleans house and calls for the superkick on Flair, who blocks it. HBK throws Orton out, hits the Savage elbow on Flair, then scores with the superkick for the three count.

Winners: Two Dudes with Attitudes

RATING: 6 out of 10 - The match was surprisingly watchable, mainly because Nash was in for such a little amount of time.

Another Kane flashback to last week's set up for tonight's match.

For those interested, the wwe.com pole saw 56 percent of voters think Kane would win. Goes to show that there are some who actually have a slim hope that the company will do the right thing tonightÖ

Backstage, Kane works out.

During the break, Mick was signing a book for Vince. Flair and Orton came backstage, and after a few words, Flair and Foley started fighting. Eventually, Orton took over and he and Foley brawled. Orton hit Foley with a bottle, threw him into a stairwell and kicked him down a flight of stairs. Vince turned on Foley, calling for a janitor to get rid of him. Another hot segment!

Rodney Mack and Teddy Long are in the ring for the white-boy challenge.

Match #6 - Goldberg vs. Rodney Mack

Uh oh. Mack attacks Goldberg while he's in the fireworks. Goldberg gains advantage on the ramp, however. Back in the ring, Goldberg destroys Mack, finishing the match and Mack's streak in 26 seconds with the Jackhammer.

Winner: Goldberg

RATING: 1.5 out of 10 - Really hot segment for Goldberg. My guess is Long will now bring in a huge African-American superstar to whip Nowinski and Mack's asses. Here's to hoping it's not Zeus.

Backstage, RVD give Kane a pep-talk. Kane then breaks the mirror. Ooh the suspense! Methinks there'll be seven years of bad luck for Dr. Yankem.

Match #8 Kane vs. Triple H (w/Ric Flair) - Title vs. Mask

Match starts with back and forth action. Eventually, Kane tosses Triple H and whips him into the steps. Some outside action, including some fighting in the stands. Eventually, Flair distracts the ref while Triple H nails Kane with a chair, leading to a commercial break. Back in the ring, Triple H hits Kane with a few different moves, which Kane either sits-up from or no-sells. Kane takes over, but hits Triple H and Earl Hebner with the flying clothesline. Hebner no-sells the move, however, and Kane hits him (while missing Triple H) with the big boot. Flair tries to interfere with the belt, but Kane gets rid of him.

Kane hits Triple H with the belt, and a second ref comes in for the two-count. In anger, Kane throws the hapless second ref out. Triple H hits a lowblow and the Pedigree for two! Triple H tries a second Pedigree, which Kane reverses into a slingshot. Triple H connects with a recovering Flair on the move. Now Randy Orton interferes and hits the ìO-Crusherî. God I hate that name; it sounds like a fancy juicer to me. I'll call it the "Evolutionizer" for now until someone can write in to myself or Nick with a better name for it. Triple H then hits another Pedigree for the three-count. Surprise, surprise, Triple Naitch goes over.

Winner: Triple H.

RATING: 4.5 out of 10 - Too little drama here, not enough of a build on Triple H's part, and it just did nothing for me.

Post match, Eric Bischoff comes down and tells Kane to unmask. Evolution is about to do the honours until RVD comes down and saves his former partner. Kane then unmasks, yanking out half of his hair. Man, he does look like a freak! Not so much burned or anything, but the dark make-up around the eyes and streaks of paint around his face looked pretty cool. Kane then turns on RVD, chokeslamming him. Must've been jealous of RVD's full head of hair.

Overall

This was a decent show, with some hot segments, pretty good tag-team action and some promising build up of Randy Orton. The main event was a disappointment. Once again, however, Triple H keeps his vanity belt, and once again I plead for anyone to break character and pin the jerk and take the title.

I'm curious to see where they go with Kane now. The character is finally dead, and there isn't much you can do with him unless he all the sudden becomes a mega-heel. Look for a match with RVD at SummerSlam before Kane takes a hiatus to be completely re-vamped.

Nick will be back next week. Until next time, keep it real.

Jon Waldman has been a frequent contributor to SLAM! Wrestling since 2000. Regularly the video game guru and PPV stat man, Jon subbed for RAW Report regular Nick Tywalk this week. To help Nick find his smile again, e-mail him and show him some love.