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   Tue, September 30, 2003



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COMMENT





Ladder match saves dismal Raw
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


Welcome to the Raw Report. Once again, I have been asked to fill in for Nick Tywalk, and I do so without a complaint.

Quick notes before the show starts. Thanks to everyone who wrote in regarding my WWF Greatest Hits review. I'm glad you all enjoyed a little bit of an alternative review, rather than the newest vid to hit the market. If I can hunt down any others, rest assured I'll do a write-up on them.

I also want to thank those of you who corrected me on a couple of my boo-boos. The Von Erich tragedy was, in fact, a couple years after the Superstars match aired. And yes, I did err in not mentioning that Undertaker is also still active in the WWE. Theoretically, you can add Slaughter to the list, and Big Bossman is still in OVW I believe.

I will note, however, that the majority of e-mail that I get at SLAM! is corrective in nature. So to get a bit of a variation in my mail, let's do a survey, shall we? Here's my question, in honour of the Coliseum Video find what match, outside of a WWE pay-per-view match, would you like to see included in a future WWE DVD release? This can be anything that is in WWE's extensive tape library, including WCW and AWA matches. I'll include some of your responses in my next DVD review. Just click on the link at the start of the article; the subject tag has already been provided, so leave that alone (otherwise there's a risk I won't receive it).

Tonight's RAW is live from Chicago, and what better way to start off the show than with the man who's WWF career began in Chi Town, Chris Jericho.

Yes folks, it's the Highlight Reel, and Eric Bischoff is out with our hero. Bischoff announces that Austin is suspended for the week because of his attack on Eric last week. JR is then brought out, and after he arrives, Bischoff announces that Coach gets to pick the stipulation for tonight's match. Coach elects for a "country whippin" match, because he wants to whip JR like a government mule. I wonder if Bush Jr. ever does any whipping like that.

JR gets the standard "You suck!" comment in before Jericho attacks him and gets the Walls. Austin runs out, sending Y2J and Eric scurrying. Austin says he was out there to prevent anything form happening to JR. Looks like you're too little too late Steve-o.

Back from the break, we see Austin being held back outside the building.

Match 1 Dudley Boyz vs. Scott Steiner/Test (w/Stacy) for the Tag titles

I joked earlier today about yet another Test/Christian vs. Booker/Steiner match opening one of my RAW coverages. Well, I get half of that this week.

Match starts with Steiner and Bubba, but Scott quickly tags out. Bubba immediately gets the advantage, but Test interrupts the Dusty routine with an eye-poke. He goes to tag Steiner but he refuses to tag in. Test continues, trying to get the meltdown, but Bubba escapes. After a bit of action, Test gets the meltdown for two, until Steiner breaks up the pin. Test heads out to get a chair, but Stacy grabs it away. Dudleyz hit a backdrop/neckbreaker combo on Scott. Test then takes out both Dudleyz with a double clothesline and sets up for the big boot. Stacy, however, hits him with the chair. Dudleyz then hit the 3d for the win.

Winners and still champions: Dudley Boyz
Rating: 1.5 out of 10 - the psychology by Steiner and Stacy was good, but not enough to save the match.

Post match, Scott and Stacy celebrate, and Scott asks her if she'll apologize for costing him the Unforgiven match and his match tonight, she says she will, but he refuses her apology, and then attacks her, hitting a B2B side suplex! Good boos for Scotty. This heel turn was LONG overdue. Hopefully he'll finally be productive.

Following a break and recap, Kane comes out, start to cut a promo on Shane before Hurricane comes out. Hurricane shows a video of the two winning the tag belts last year, and asks what has happened to Kane. Kane rambles, then challenges Hurricance, who refuses. Kane says someone else will fight him, and spots a kid in the audience. Hey, I think I saw this on NBC's special a few years ago.

Kane goes after the kid, but Hurricane makes the save. Kane takes him out and prepares to chokeslam him before Rosey saves his trainer. The two dispose of Kane, and we later learn that Kane will face Hurricane tonight.

Back from break, we see Mark Jindrak, Lance Cade and Maven playing Wrestlemania 19. La Resistance bust on them, leading to a 6-man tag match.

Match 2 La Resistance/Rob Conway vs. Mark Jindrak/Lance Cade/Maven

Pier-sixery to start, until Dupree and Cade are left in the ring. Cade is whipped into the ropes and Conway hits him with the flag pole so the heels can take over. Conway and Dupree take turns tagging in and beating on Cade. Conway gets a Buffalo armlock on Cade, who breaks it up and goes for the tag. La Resistance takes out Jindrak and Maven, but Maven gets the eventual tag in any case and comes in hitting dropkicks a-plenty. Eventually, Mark Jinrak gets a blind tag in, and more pier-sixery happens. At one point, Maven is hit with La Souflee, but Cade and Jindrak hit their version of the Hart Attack, a dropkick substituted for the clothesline (my vote for coolest double-team move today), for the three-count.

Winners: Maven/Jindrak/Cade
Rating: 2 out of 10 - Match was too short to get going, and too much pier-six confusion for my liking.

Back from the break, Austin's outside, and RVD comes out to thank him for the match tonight. We then see a MASSIVE guy, John something-or-other come out to meet Austin. The two then exit stage left. My guess is this guy is an OVW recruit.

Next up, Triple H is in a studio...somewhere. The gist of his thankfully short promo is that he's putting a $100,000 bounty on Goldberg. Any man or woman who puts Goldberg on the shelf gets the money. Hmm. I wonder which "Hitman" would be interested in collecting on that one?

Match 3 Jim Ross vs. Jonathan Coachman - Country Whippin' match for the RAW announcing team

Before the match starts, Snow clarifies that both announcing and colour jobs are on the line. Jericho then comes out and joins Al for commentary, and is absolutely hilarious. At one point, he compares Coach to a young Tito Santana, which get an out-loud laugh form this fellow Winnipegger.

JR starts out with the advantage and Coach ducks in and out of the ring. Coach eventually takes over, and gets a pretty good advantage. Eventually, JR regains the control thanks to a lowblow, until Bischoff comes out. JR maintains control, and even hits Eric with the strap. Coach attempts a clothesline, but JR half ducks it, then hits a sloooow stunner for the win.

Winner: Jim Ross
Rating 1 out of 10 - not as bad as I thought it would be, thankfully.

After the match, the King comes out as Snow leaves to aid Coach. Jericho, however, stays on the set and cuts some funny promo stuff on Austin. Austin, JR and the King celebrate.

This week's Wrestlemania Recall is the Butterbean/Bart Gunn match

Back from the break, JR and the King intro a package from the WM sell-out. Gee, they should thank the Internet for this one, since so many sites (SLAM! excluded) gave out the passwords for the advance tickets.

Terri's in the ring to interview Lita, and immediately, King starts on the sex jokes. Okay, now that I have the chance, I have to cut on King. If there is a big force contributing to the lack of respect the women's division are getting, it's Lawler's utter refusal to treat them as athletes, and only as sex objects. Jerry, for god sake, your job is to put the talent over, not yourself. If you can't do your job properly, then leave.

Anyways, rant aside, Lita starts the standard "welcome back" speech, until Molly Holly and Gail Kim come out. Molly's upset that she's the champ, yet Trish gets a DVD and Lita gets a book. The two then attack Lita until Trish makes the save. Victoria, however, comes out to give the heels the edge, and gives Trish a wicked Widow's Peak. I like where all this is going.

Match 4 Kane vs. Hurricane

Hurricane starts off quickly, dropkicking Kane out, then hitting a top rope hilo to the Kane on the floor. Kane retaliates, however, and sends Hurricane back in. Hurricane briefly controls and hits the Shining Wizard for two. He then goes for the 10 punch, but Kane powerslams out of it. A chokeslam then finishes the match in favour of Kane.

Winner: Kane
Rating: .5 out of 10 - In theory, what WWE did was good here - a squash to show how harsh Kane is. In theory, though, communism works. This was way too short and not devastating enough.

Post-match, a second chokeslam is delivered.

Backstage, Mark Lloyd interviews Goldberg as Steven Richards tries to collect the bounty. No dice. Richards, at this point, is not being used for anything worthwhile, and should just be dumped.

Match 5 Randy Orton/Ric Flair vs. Goldberg/HBK

Goldberg and Flair start us off. Goldberg asks for a test-of-strength, but Flair gets a cheap-shot in to start. Orton then helps Flair, but both are overpowered. Michaels is then tagged in, and Orton once again interjects himself in the match. Orton, somehow, becomes the legal man, blocking a superkick from Michaels, and converting it into his back-neckbreaker.

Orton then tags in Flair, who exchanges chops with HBK. Flair eventually gets a drop toe-hold, and tags Orton back in, who gets a dropkick for two, followed by a fistdrop for two. Michaels reverses a whipinto a roll-up, but Flair had been tagged, so no dice. Flair starts to strut as HBK kips up, hits a clothesline, and tags in Goldberg as Orton gets the tag as well. A cool spot results, as Goldberg Gorilla Presses Orton then, before Orton even hits the mat, spears Flair. Goldberg readies the Jackhammer, but Rodney Mack comes in with a chair for the DQ.

Winners: Goldberg/HBK (by DQ)
Rating: 2 out of 10 - not bad, but Evolution were made to look very weak, especially Flair.

Post match, Mack gets a spear and Jackhammer as Mark Henry takes out and bloodies Michaels on the outside. Henry drags Michaels up the stage and says that he'll collect the bounty. Good build-up to next week, if I might say so myself, even if the match will suck.

After the break, Henry and Long challenge Goldberg for next week. This is all we see of Long, unfortunately. I have to say that Long is rapidly becoming the funnest part of RAW. I wonder what the conversion rate is on the dollar dollar bill.

Next up, we get scenes from the opening of The Rundown. Hey guess what, I was at the opening of the movie in Toronto. Oh well, check out my review anyways.

Backstage, Christian is walking, flirts with Lita and Trish, and then is told to do it again by the production staff. Production error! Production error! I watch TV good! (thank you WWE for allowing me to continue my Undergrads references).

Match 6 Christian vs. RVD - ladder match for the Intercontinental title

Both men start the match with some jawing until Christian gets the advantage. This doesn't last long, as RVD kicks his way to control. Rob then goes under the ring to get a ladder (rather than the one positioned at ringside). Christian blocks Rob from using it and retrieves the standing ladder. Rob then baseball-slides the ladder into Christian and hits a Hilo con suicida (rope-free tope con hilo) onto Christian who was holding the ladder. I always love that spot.

Still on the outside, Christian takes over and sets a ladder up on the stairs and barricade. A couple whip reversals and suplex reversal later, Christian is on the ladder and Rob hits his twisting legdrop in a nice spot.

Back in, Rob sets up a ladder in the corner, but Christian reverses a whip into it. He then sets the ladder up on the second rope, and catapults Rob's face into it. Sick!

Christian then makes the first attempt for the belts, but Rob pushes him off. Rob then sets up Christian near a ladder, lifts him up, Gorilla Presses him onto it, and immediately follows with a standing moonsault! Damn this is a hot match. Rob attempts a climb, but Christian gets his yet-to-be-named fall out inverted DDT (that survey will come later) off the ladder. Christian then leans a ladder against the second ropes, but RVD monkey flips him onto it and then hits a Rolling Thunder!

RVD then sets up a ladder in the corner, prepares for a move but Christian pushes him off. Christian picks up a ladder, but RVD spin kicks it into Christian's face. RVD sets up Christian on the ladder, goes for the Five Star Frog Splash, but hits metal. Ouch.

Christian shoves RVD out of the ring with a ladder then climbs. RVD tried to get Christian off but fails to do so. RVD then opts for my favourite No Mercy move, kicking the ladder out from under Christian. Both then set up the ladder, but it falls, with Christian getting his crotch-rope spot, and RVD leaping off onto the pre-positioned ladder! RVD then hits a wicked Five Star off the top! The climb, positioned over Christian, is elementary, and we have a new champion!

Winner and new champion: Rob Van Dam
Rating: 9.5 out of 10 - just when you think you've seen it all, these two pull out some wickedly innovative spots. RVD was ON tonight, and the crowd was massively behind him.

Overall, this show would have sucked had it not been for the ladder match. I hope WWE is getting the message that long matches are really big with the fans. I doubt that's actually the message they're hearing, but I can hope, can't I?

Until next we meet, keep it real.

Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! since 2000. Remember to e-mail Jon with your thoughts on what non-ppv match you would like to see on the next WWE DVD.