The 1/19/03 Swift Raw Report

The 1/19/04 Swift Raw Report

I'm hating wrestling (as well as life in general) these days, so if this is unnecessarily sarcastic and overly combative, that's why.


-- Unlike Smackdown, they at least announced the Rumble-based theme of the show beforehand, without some friggin' non-wrestler coming out every 30 seconds to bait-and-switch title matches and the like.

-- Before I forget, the Green Bay crowd was everything the Connecticut crowd wasn't last week. They've somehow puzzled it out that going to a wrestling show is supposed to be FUN, and being loud and vocal is usually a part of that territory.

-- The opening tag match was kinda fun, and it features the theme of Guys They Really Should/Should've Done More With (well, and Rob Van Dam). The two heels bump like crazy for RVD and Booker, and then it goes into the usual tag formula from there. Hardy and Christian are probably a better team than Jericho and Christian are, if only because Y2J is turning anyway. Besides, the tag division on Raw is SO DAMN BAD, they could do worse than to have these two be the top heel team. Hey look, the Unprettier got countered again! Anyway, the heat segment was fine (maybe coulda been longer), and again, Hardy makes RVD look like a million bucks. My only issue with this is the kinda-contrived finish (Booker gets both with a double-ax kick when they go down for a double-backdrop on RVD), but what the hell? This was a perfectly fine tag team match, and anything else is just nitpicking, really. (Booker T/RVD(win) beat Matt Hardy(loss, of fucking course)/Christian, Five-Star Frog Splash, 6:05)

-- I was kind of wavering where to put the Jericho/Dupree match. I mean, Y2J held up his end of the bargain as usual, of course. But, oddly enough, Dupree wasn't too offensive, coming up with a Death Valley Driver that, well, is at least better than John Cena's. But, the deal was sealed when Jericho busted out a picture-perfect Jumping High Kick, and thus it goes up here...that's the rules. Borrowing from Toshiaki Kawada = good, no exceptions. Oh, and someone tapped to the Walls for the first time in, errr...probably since the last time the Super Bowl was interesting. Have to say I was surprised with this one, although I wouldn't place many bets on the next La Resistance match being any good or anything. (Chris Jericho beat Rene Dupree, Walls of Jericho, 4:35).

-- The backstage segment with Jericho and Christian was good. I'm almost amazed to see some of the midcard types (talking more about Christian than Jericho there, of course) actually being allowed to have characters and nuance beyond a very basic template.

-- I've said it before, I'll say it again, I don't think there are many other people (in any endeavor) who can do video highlight packages like the WWF does. I think the only way they could possibly improve them would be to get the guy who does the voiceovers for NFL Films.

-- Ric Flair, even now, is still the king. Raw could be two hours of him rambling on about whatever, and all I'll say is "hang on, let me get a soda and some popcorn first."

-- Randy Orton for President!

-- Molly talks a little trash with Trish, and I'm always down with that. Molly can hold the Women's title until 2018, and I'd be more than cool with that. However, Christian's half of the promo with her was AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME. Christian is the fucking man, and I hope they start to utilize his character more. "I forgot about the midgets..."

-- The Hurricane's promo was fantastic. Again, it's nice to see a lower-end guy at least get a chance to come up with some kind of depth of character. Your mileage may vary, but I think Hurricane really is an excellent promo guy.

-- The actual match was great, even though there was no way Hurricane was winning. However, Orton sold a whole bunch for him, and they at least convinced the back of your mind that just maybe the underdog had a chance this time (not quite HHH-TAKA level, but then again, Orton isn't HHH yet). Few sell a lariat as well as Hurricane does, as he shows right in the beginning. Lita should watch film of Orton's dropkick, as an aside. Hurricane gets an AWESOME European Uppercut, then comes off the top with the Buff Blockbuster. He stays on offense by using his speed (makes sense), but Orton gets an RKO out of absolutely nowhere for the win. When DDP used the Diamond Cutter, it made his matches that much more interesting, because he had about a thousand ways he could bust it out. Literally any second, he could end a match. The Hurricane got to look good, Orton gets the win, everyone gets something out of it. And, to make the segment efficient, they segue it into an Evolution/Dudleys brawl, ending with the Coach going through a table. This all works for me. (Randy Orton beat Hurricane, RKO, 2:52). Damn, that was shorter than I remembered, but no matter.


-- Hey, how was Once Upon A Time in Mexico, anyway? Never did get around to seeing it.

-- This isn't good or bad for the purposes of this show, but the "Bart Gunn gets his ass kicked by Butterbean" thing reminds me. You may be amazed to know that a few years later (on 12/11/01, to be precise) he had one of the most unlikely Match of the Year Candidates ever as All Japan invaders in the finals of New Japan's G-1 Tag League. He and Jim Steele (the former Wolf Hawkfield) went almost 30 minutes against the "TenKoji" team of Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima. While a lot of the puro types tend to crap on Barton/Steele's work for the most part, everyone agrees that the match was unbelievably good, especially because everyone in the place thought that they actually could unseat the wildly-popular home team. It's available on the file-sharing services, and it's worth checking out.

-- Austin's promo didn't grate with me as it had been lately. I don't know how much authority he has over a guy who doesn't have a contract with them (in storyline terms, although...after all that GM/overseer/whatever the fuck it was that week, maybe he did), but whatever.

-- Jazz tried, but goddamn Lita is just so sloppy and bad. The worst thing is that she has an interesting moveset -- which, combined with the fact that she's already amazingly over, it leads me to believe that there's a very good wrestler in her somewhere (besides Matt Hardy that is). But, she just can't pull any of it off. She can't punch to save her life, but we knew this already. The dropkick is comical, the STO the worst I've ever seen. The one thing she did right was that roll-through into mounted punches. I could list everything, but basically, everything she does is hesitant, whether it's executing moves or in the flow to the next one. Meanwhile, Jazz's dropkick is nice and high, and she does what she can around the general sloppiness (including not getting her neck snapped on that headscissors). Lita almost pulls off a Blue Thunder Bomb, but she forgot the Bomb part. The inverted Twist of Fate is kinda neatish, and Jazz actually wins after interference from Teddy Long, so this is all right, I suppose. (Jazz beat Lita, shorts-assisted rollup, 3:40)

-- Most of Mark Henry's backstage promo on Jericho was shite, but it got a little interesting at the end there.

-- I'm confused. I thought Raw and Smackdown were distinct brands that very definitely were in competition with each other. If they're in competition, why are they having the other show's announcers on to hype their half of the Royal Rumble? I mean, they don't do any cross-promotion warfare or anything (which is why this isn't DOWN THERE), but if there's not going to be any pretense about that, come out and say that they're just two related arms of the same entity.

-- I don't know what to think about The World's Worst Wrestler winning the # 30 spot in the Rumble. On one hand, I'm now convinced that he's going to win without anyone laying a finger on him (I'm a pessimist, what can you say?). At least if he comes in at # 30, he's not going to be the one who eliminates 7 or 8 guys I actually enjoy watching all at once (that'll probably be the BoringTaker, now that I think of it). If the rumor is true, and he's not going to re-sign after Wrestlemania, then maybe he won't win after all. However, I don't think I've done enough world-changing good in prior lives to warrant THAT happening, so I'm banking on the idea that TalentlessBerg goes on to win the whole thing, then job to HHH (only after 37 people running in, of course) at 'Mania. (Order of elimination: RVD, Booker T, Chris Jericho, Mark Henry, Randy Orton, 6:59). Yes, Mark fucking Henry lasted longer than Booker T or Chris Jericho. The red-hot Randy Orton gets squashed like a little bitch at the end. I hate this fucking promotion.


-- The WWF memorializing Martin Luther King Day is hilarious on about a thousand different levels. Just a few weeks before, they did an angle with Teddy Long and Steve Austin that damn sure came close to Outright Racism territory. Also, look at how TEEMING the WWF is with African-American workers...the few they do have are always put in reverse-racism situations (the Nation, the White Boy Challenge), and made to look horribly unsympathetic. You can argue for the Rock and Booker T (which MAY cancel out the two examples I mentioned), but then I counter with Saba Simba, the fact that no Japanese man has ever gotten a fair shake, and neither have any Mexicans (the Guerreros are American, and besides, Eddie's gimmick is essentially racist anyway). It's bad enough that the racists just hide themselves better these days, but for Vince to actually pander to them because they tend to buy tickets to wrestling shows...it's enough to make my skin crawl. Yeah, I said it.

-- As if to prove my point, the King brings up MLK Day as in "despite it being MLK Day, the Coach...". UGH UGH UGH UGH UGH UGH UGH.

-- Never mind that the WWF Originals record is filled with absolute shite, they're using some of these songs as entrance music, too. Excuse me while I go open my veins.

-- Curiously: Why does "male-oriented humor" always have to mean "totally fucking stupid"? Are we all (in general) really like that? If we colonize outer space, I think I'm going to volunteer...I'd rather deal with the space creatures.

-- The Carrot Top commercials are back. Fantastic. It's too bad nobody gave me the choice to gouge my eyeballs out, because I would have seriously considered it.

-- Hey look! A big, fat, talentless waste of roster space squashes a talented wrestler stuck in gimmick hell! Business as usual in the WWF, then, but that doesn't mean I'm watching it. (Mark Henry beat Rico, a slam...how impressive, 2:45).

-- Spike Dudley beating Kane, even by DQ, was a genuine surprise. I don't mind the DQ so much, because I read an explanation on Percival Pringle's board by former referee James Beard about the whole thing, explaining that rules actually being enforced gives any given match almost infinitely-more spots to work with that will cause a crowd to react. And, as much as a silly elitist dorky know-it-all I can be about wrestling, I'm certainly not arguing with someone of his credentials. However, they then ruin any impact it may have had by having Kane destroy him and take him out of the match later. They can't get Spike onto Smackdown and into the CW division soon enough, although he'll still probably lose all the time (I mean hey, he's gotta be what...20 pounds lighter than Shannon Moore? Everyone knows height and weight are all that matters). (Spike Dudley beat Kane, DQ via chokehold, 1:05).

-- Goldberg! Scott Steiner! Test! This had no chance in hell of being even in the middle! (The World's Worst Wrestler beat Test (loss)/Scott Steiner, Jackhammer, 5:17)

-- Hey look, it's some of the Green Bay Packers! Thanks to you buttholes, I have to watch the BORING AS LIVING FUCK Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl. Yeah, I know they lost to the Eagles, but if they had won that game, I wouldn't have had to depend on the brittle Donovan McNabb to eliminate the Cats.

-- Joy of Joys! A "comedy" with Adam Sandler, Rob Schnieder, and post-"Almost Famous" Kate Hudson! What did I do to deserve this!?


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