Originally Published December 22, 2003
December 22, 2003...High Atop an Empty Raw Arena
Raw Theme Plays. This song just gives me a headache now. No joke.
Jerry Lawler and Jonathon Coachman are standing by...what? Coachman? Ugh. Jim Ross is down in New Orleans helping Oklahoma prepare for the Sugar Bowl. No one specifies
how he's helping them, but it doesn't matter. We got the Coach, with his arm in a sling thanks to Goldberg. King Jerry makes sure he knows the ground rules. Step out of line, JC, and Lawler will toss you from the balcony of this arena. I pray for the Coach to step out of line.
(1) WrestleMania: Shawn Michaels pinned Chris Jericho with a roll-up This was a good way to start off the show tonight. Michaels and Jericho really delivered some memorable performances and WrestleMania was at the top of the list. The more I look back on the year, the more I realize that Y2J has really been the constant on the brand. He's played the heel to a tee. In a world already equipped with a top bad guy, Chris carved out his spot and ran with it. Shawn Michaels also had a great year. HBK's in-ring return can do a lot for WWE if it's handled well. With so many on-again, off-again heroes on Spike TV, Shawn is a character they could count on to lead the good guys. Great finish saw Jericho attempt a back suplex, Michaels flip out of it and roll up for the pin. Three seconds later, the Boy Toy takes the victory. You know what would make this match complete? If they would hug.
Shawn and Chris hug. Jim Ross says he can't believe it. But just as it appears that the Degenerate and the Fozzyman are falling in love, Chris kicks him in the groin. Michaels crumbles and the King of Bling Bling leaves to a chorus of boos. (JG Note: With the holidays coming up, that might be a fun game to play. Walk up to Uncle Louie with your arms stretched out. "Uncle Louie, give me a hug. How have you been?" Then...bam! Kick him in the balls.)
Still to come: Rock...Goldberg...Shrinky Dinks...OK, maybe not Shrinky Dinks, but definitely Rock and Goldberg.
Commercial Break. Spike TV now has the OO7 Days of Christmas. Yeah, until Christmas is over. Then we'll have "Ring in '04 with 007" and then "James Bond January" and then ...
Raw Rewind: Molly Holly force-feeds Lita a page from her book, Ted DiBiase-style.
Jerry Lawler is reading WWE Unscripted. Coachman is looking on. (JG Note: They don't have the Coach reading it because that would require too much suspension of disbelief) The King absolutely loves this book and reveals to us that he's reading about Raw World Champion Triple H. (JG Note: I know it might sound like I'm joking, but I would have bet a major organ that he was staring a picture of "puppies." This is one of the longest periods of time I've ever seen Lawler go without getting horny about something.) JC laments that
he should write his own book. Jerry makes some jokes and we have a sudden flashback.
(2) Guttman's Alt Raw Report 1/27/03 - WWE Women's Champion Victoria (W/ Steven Richards) pinned Trish Stratus We switch to hour two with Victoria knocking Trish to the outside and holding aloft her magic belt in the same way Prince Adam held his sword. It's a brutal beatdown with the former ho pounding on "Canada's Greatest Export" (J.R.'s words). The crowd proved that women's wrestling is still searching for some sort of niche by yelling about how they wanted puppies. The girls responded with more violence as the weapons came out and the action got hardcore. Pretty good spots with trash cans and other accessories. King Jerry pointed out how long this feud had played out and it definitely makes you think. This may be the most successful thins that this program has pulled of yet. Every week we're handed the same two girls with the same story – but they seem to make it work fairly well. That's something to be commended. Finale saw Richards come into the ring and get beat down by a stick wielding Trish like she was Tawny Katain. Vicki caught her from behind and got a very near fall. However, when Trish tried to reverse the situation and hit her TrishDog on the Women's Champ, Steven interference saw Stratus take a header to the outside and find herself pinned. Vick continued to assault Miss Trish until Steven peeled her away.
Still to come: Ric Flair's ten minute face turn and a crazy ass ladder match.
Commercial Break. They show a hype package for that off the hook Raw X Show. I was there. If Vince McMahon had gone up to each fan personally and punched them in the face, this event couldn't have been any worse.
With his shades and his kango, Johnny the Coach is just too cool for school. He tries to engage the King in some banter about the Raw X Show, but Jerry cuts him off. It's been a few minutes and Lawler is all hot bothered again. He's got the longest legs on Raw...Stacy Kiebler comes barreling in and she's a walking billboard for BOD body spray. Coachman tries to reprimand Lawler for his constant drooling, but he's once again cut off. We learn that Kiebs would rather be with the King than the Coach. Why? That's easy - Johnny smells. She sprays him with some BOD and he's good to go. See kids, even Coachman gets the ladies with BOD body spray. Buy it and Stacy Kiebler might hook up with you!
(3) Guttman's Raw Alt Report 9/29/03 - Rob Van Dam defeated Christian in a Ladder Match to capture the Intercontinental Title This match started at 10:53. Up until this point, I had been completely apathetic for an hour and fifty three minutes. This contest stole the show. Not just that, but it somewhat saved the night. A solid contest and a spectacular showing between two guys that I have been saying for weeks would could provide a classic when put in the main event position of Raw. It's their one chance to really show what they are capable of and this match did just that. Great bumps and pretty sound psychology made this one of the better ladder matches I've seen. Good spot with Van Dam setting the ladder from the barricade to the apron and placing Christian on top. He then climbed the ringside barrier and dropped a spinning guillotine leg drop. Not to be outdone, the Peepmeister wedged the ladder between the middle and second rope in the corner and slingshot Robby V's face into it. A number of other good spots, but the best came at the close. Mr. Monday Night set up the ladder and climbed to the peak. From a huge height, he leapt and landed the Five Star Frog Splash. One misstep and he would have been splattered. With the Champ incapacitated, the Whole Dam Show climbed the ladder and became the new Intercontinental Champion.
Add on: In hindsight, this match was really better than I remembered it. RVD and Christian proved their worth in the main event that night. Unfortunately, I hated the rest of the show at the time. Looking back at the match by itself, it was really good.
Still to come: Eric Bischoff gets a face full of revenge and the Rock smells stuff.
Commercial Break. This week, Smackdown is in Iraq. Wouldn't it have been funny if Nathan Jones got confused and quit when they made
(4) Backlash 2003 - Goldberg pinned the Rock with a Jackhammer I did a parody of Twas the Night Before Christmas this week, where I had Santa beat down Goldberg. It seemed harsh, but it was more of a tradition than anything. Last year I did one where St. Nick beat up Triple H. I like seeing Santa beat people down. It may be the disappointment over the dropping of the Xanta Klaus gimmick. My favorite piece of feedback on this was from someone who simply wrote "Goldberg's Jewish." I guess the fact that I had a professional wrestler savagely pummeled by a fictional fat old jolly character that brings children gifts was ok. The fact that Bill's not Catholic just ruins the entire realism. Ugh. Anyhow, this was a pretty good match and definitely exceeded my expectations at the time. The frustration that I have with Bill Goldberg is that he's really blessed with natural charisma and a wrestling "look." If he just had better temperament and some passion for what he does, he could be amazing. There's indy guys out there that would sell their souls for his gifts. I guess that's the way life works sometimes. This historic match comes full circle with People's Elbows, Rock Bottoms and eventually a Spear. After Maivia's planted, Buffalo Bill hoists him up and plants him with a Jackhammer. By the way, I agree that Bill's got a right to be upset over his character. However, I still say this quote proves that he knew what he was signing up for:
"I personally believe that everything I’ve stood for when I got into the ring would be compromised and succumbed to the circus-like atmosphere that’s out there, and that’s putting it mildly..."
- Bill Goldberg regarding the WWF - Desert Sun Interview - January 17, 2002
Still to come: Austin goes Bisch Hunting and Jericho gets some tongue.
Commercial Break. ..."Live and Let Die February"..."A 007 Easter"...
Raw rewind: Vince McMahon offers to allow Eric Bischoff to keep his job if he can sign Steve Austin. Bischoff offers to give McMahon his life savings if he makes it 1997 again.
(5) No Way Out 2003 - Steve Austin pinned Eric Bischoff after a Stunner Before the contest, Bisch offers to forfeit, but it's all for naught. The Bionic Redneck makes his return and stomps a mud hole in him before walking it dry. This match was probably one of the better moments of the year. It had the return of a big name. It had a deep rooted rivalry that appeals to casual fans and smart marks. It was just a good example of a solid way to bring back a top name. After yanking up an exhausted Eric's arm a few times, Steve decides to end the beating and Stun him into defeat.
Still to come: Shane McMahon likes to jump on stuff and Batista beats down the Heartbreak Deity.
Commercial Break. Crafmatic Adjustable Bed costs 50% less than other quality flat beds. What if you have a crappy flat bed like I do?
Recap of Kane losing his mask, then losing that puffy clown hair, and the crap around his eyes.
Captain Coachman and Jerry discuss Kane's heinous attack on Mrs. Linda McMahon. JC doesn't condone what he did, but he condones good TV. That attack was good TV. You know what else is good TV? (JG Note: My Secret Identity with Jerry Connell?) This Monday's Raw. It's Triple H defending the World Title against Shawn Michaels. They touch upon that and segue back to the Kane issue. That attack on Linda lead to this match from Survivor Series. It's the Big Red Monster meeting the owner's son.
(6) Survivor Series 2003: Kane defeated Shane McMahon in an Ambulance Match The funny thing about this feud is that if you look back on it, it's really ridiculous. At the time, we're used to seeing Shane McMahon wrestling every week. If you watch the match by itself a month or two later, it just looks so mismatched. Shane-o-Mac should really sit down and think about his character. If he were more of a managerial type non-wrestler, he'd be great on TV. His authority gimmicks always did well. This Super Atomic-Mega Man thing didn't. You have to go with your look. There were a few cuts in the video, but we got to see McMahon nail that
Van Terminator Coast to Coast from the Ambulance. I really didn't like this spot. Shane landed on a gimmicked cushion or something - a very obvious cushion, not hidden or anything, Before you e-mail me, I know that it's hard to land in that exact spot. I know that there's a big risk involved with it. But in the end, it just seemed flat. Come to think of it, that match was pretty flat. I remember that we did an Audio Roundtable after the Series and talked about it at the time. The feud had been pretty much based on spectacle. It was outrageous attacks and shocking bumps. If that's the case, the final match should have the most spectacle and most shocking bumps. This one didn't really scratch the surface. They should have saved that flaming dumpster for the Survivor Series. Kane beats him. Shane goes home.
Still to come: The Game and the dirtiest player in him.
Commercial Break. If you don't wear our body spray, other men won't play shirtless basketball with you.
Raw Rewind - Guttman's Alt Report 3/3/03 -
The Rocky One parades around the room before discovering that there is a gremlin in his closet by the name of Hurricane. At first the Brahma Champ cannot believe his eyes, but when Suga Shane Hurricane jumps out and questions Rocky on his loss to Booker and challenge to Steve, it all becomes so real. Maivia is perplexed as to Peeping Shane's closet sitting. He questions his desires to see the People's Champ "naked." He shrugs it off and then points out that despite the Three Counter's big talk last week – Rocky M tossed him over the ropes in the Battle Royal. But Hurricane has a different memory – it was that of the Great One being tossed out of the fray by the Five-Time WCW Champion. Well, because the Rock is the heel he claims that he "slipped over the top rope." He argues with the crowd throughout the interview – telling them to listen or to not laugh at his jokes. The way the Rock involves the audience is awesome. It is honestly his best skill and one that is shared with Steve Austin. That should make this match so great at Mania. Rocko tells Cane that he's "nothing." He then pretends that his cell phone is ringing and says "KaCow. KaCow. Hello? It's nothing – it says it knows you." (JG Note: Why does the Rock's Cell Phone go "KaCow?") He even points out that Hurri has braces. After asking if he's the president of student council, Maivia breaks into Scorpion King chants. How does Suga Shane respond? By claiming that the Rock has a small strudel. (JG Note: I knew that "nickname" would come in handy). Helms finishes his confrontation by claiming that the Rock is afraid of Steve Austin. That's why he has back-up waiting for Steve's arrival. With that, the Hurricane flies away and the Rock talks to his groin. Great piece. Really solid stuff. Rocky may know a lot more about this business than anyone has ever given him credit for.
Coach and Lawler introduce a musical montage devoted to the performers that have passed away this year: Stu Hart, Mike "Crash Holly" Lockwood, Curt Hennig, Mike "Hawk" Hegstrand, Elizabeth Heulette, and Fred Blassie. Really great piece. This may be one of the best tribute packages they've ever done. It was simple, yet used familiar footage. Anyone who watched any of these people perform had to have been moved by this.
Raw Rewind - Guttman's Alt Raw Report 5/19/03
Wet head, purple tights, it can only mean one thing – Hunter Hearst Helmsley. The Corporate Champ is getting his midsection taped up and preparing for his cakewalk with Slick Ric. As the Cerebral Assassin takes a seat and begins to enjoy Freddie Blassie's book, the crazy old guy in sequins, Ric Flair, approaches him. Naitch has something to say to you, Hunter. It was only six months ago that you came up to him and inquired as to where his killer instinct had gone. You wanted him to be the man. Flair then claims that H told him, "I want to see you – pardon the pun - in the Game. (JG Note: He said, "pardon the pun" so he obviously picked up that it had a double meaning. If you put bars around them, this would be a scene from Oz.) Well those words lit a fire in this Stylin' and Profilin' furnace. Ric then goes off on a classic Flair flip-out, lambasting the Game and promising to never lay down for anyone again! Trips's world crumbles as his now-former friend lets out an old school "Woo!"
(7) Raw 5/19/03 - World Champion Triple H pinned Ric Flair after a Pedigree. We start it off with an out-stretched hand from the Nature Boy. When the Game tries to shake, Ric pulls back and pats his hair. Classic spots by both men with Naitch responding to H's mocking "Wooo" with a thumb to the eyes early. I say it every week. Flair is timeless. Seriously, Ric Flair didn't jump off of any ladders tonight. He didn't do kung fu or moonsaults. Hell, I'm not sure if he's ever made it off that top rope without getting caught. He didn't do any of those things. He just wrestled. I think the fact that Flair is still able to generate a good reaction from an audience proves that the fans, at heart, enjoy
wrestling. I'm not saying that other things can't be thrown in (JG Note: I'm gonna rip your mask off...I screwed your brains out...These are bisexual lesbians...Chuck, will you marry me?...He tore his leg off!), but pure ability will always be respected. Some close calls for Captain Prenup as Slick Ric had him nearly defeated on a number of occasions. In fact, following a ref bump he waffled the Game with the World title and covered him for a close near fall. But he is the Game and he makes the rules. You lose. Flair gets planted with a Pedigree and Triple H takes the victory.
Raw Rewind shows clips of the Rock concert in Sacramento. The Rock dresses like
Mr. Slave from South Park.
Commercial Break. I miss CSI and Carrotop.
Recap of Steve Austin and Eric Bischoff's pie-eating contest. Stone Cold calls out scary old Mae Young, who strips to a thong and gives Bisch a Bronco Buster. It was sort of the real end to the WCW-WWF wars. June 15, 2003 - The day Vince paid an old woman to repeatedly slam her crotch into Eric Bischoff's face on television.
(8) Survivor Series 2003 -Team Bischoff defeated Team Austin in a Classic Survivor Series match. This was a good match. Bischoff's rivalry with Austin was handled well and settled in the ring by wrestlers. I said it at the time they did it, and I'll say it now. You use non-wrestlers to draw interest, and use the wrestlers to settle the scores. It's when you start getting your announcers kneepads and wrist tape that you know you've done something wrong. This match was done well and only overshadowed by the post match good bye for a tearful Stone Cold Steve Austin. Shawn Michaels tried to hold on, but alas the interference from Batista cost Stone Cold his job.
Raw Rewind: JG's 12/15 Raw Insanity - (Foley forfeits match with Orton) Out comes Randy Orton. He steps between Mankind and the parking lot. You leaving, Cactus? You walking out? Oh...look. Is that a tear, Mickey? Like the scene in A Christmas Story when Scut Farkas taunts Ralphie, Randy verbally jabs him with "Are you gonna cry?" Legends don’t walk away, pal. You're no legend, Foley. You're a coward. Orton puts an explanation point on things by rearing back and spitting full force into Mick's face. Foley wipes away the phlegm and continues walking out as the camera fades to black.
Coach and Lawler push Monday once more and then giggle as Jerry playfully threatens to toss Coachman to his death. It was like the way Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon used to close the shows...only not funny or entertaining. Fade out...
Okey doke... That's it. It was a recap show. Nothing more and nothing less. I wouldn't have even recapped it, except I'm going to be away next week. I won't be able to do the Raw Insanity. It'll be ok. You'll get by. Check out Mallory Mahling's Live Raw Report and join me in two weeks for some wacky hijacks and wild mishaps. I
hope you all have a Happy Holiday. Be Well!