THE OBTUSE RECAP RAW: Promo Tank Job DEATH Part I February 10, 2004
by Jeb Tennyson Lund OnlineOnslaught.com/CitizenScholar.net
"Sometimes I wish they'd just take a commercial break during a promo." — Brad Smoley
I decided to do a recap again because the last time I did one, Rosie beat a cat to death, Test declared Stacy was his whore, Kane tied RVD up like The Gimp, and Bischoff made all rapey-rapey with Linda McMahon. FUN! This is not to say that I wanted to bring down some bad juju on fellow Raw viewers because I was recapping the show. I just figured that the odds were pretty good that I'd have fun.
And I did. That Triple H: Loon and Psychotherapist promo, followed by the Shawn Michaels promo was pure gold. Something else happened, too. Don't ask me. I wrote it down so I wouldn't have to remember.
Before I write anything else, I would like to thank the USA Network's commercials for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for embedding the song "Jerk It Out" so firmly in my brain that neither booze, electroshock therapy or a rusted trowel will remove it.
THE SHOW We are Live! from the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon.
JR and Lawler welcome you and announce a Triple Threat Match for the Intercontinental Title between Booker v. RVD v. Orton. Plus Benoit v. Flair and Benoit v. Contract v. Triple H v. Contract v. Carpet.
Cue Goldberg's music. His beard is obviously chewing away at layers of his skin like so much blood from a face-hugger alien. Goldberg looks at people as he makes his way down to the ring as if to ask, "Who's next? Are you next? Is there a 'Now Serving' number thingy? Someone is NEXT."
See, Goldberg and JR and Lawler don't know who's next, either.
And his opponent is... VINCE? "No Chance" plays and Vince pumps his arms so much while coming down the ramp that he might as well complete the visual image and just use a wheelchair. Either that or he just power walked around downtown Portland with ten-pound weights around his wrists, and the sensation of unweighted arms is starting to make him feel tingly, in a manly way.
He grabs the mic. "I'll be damned if it isn't Vince McMahon in the same ring as Bill Goldberg." Vince imagines Goldberg wants to know who's next, especially since that's his catchphrase. Vince says that there is no more "next" tonight. As of this moment, Vince is officially canceling the match. Stone Cold Steve Austin comes out. Somewhere Suzanne Somers weeps as she realizes that the proud tradition of sheriffing (sheriffitude? sheriffation? sheriffic?) has passed her by.
Big Stone Cold chant.
Vince is frustrated that he's been interrupted. Stone Cold wants to know what in the hell Vince is doing on this show. He says Vince has already broken two of Sheriff Austin's laws: being in the ring; pissing Austin off.
Vince counters that he too is pissed off. In fact, he's incensed at Stone Cold's manipulation of talent, especially at what Austin seems to be doing by giving Goldberg a ticket to No Way Out.
A big asshole chant fills the arena, and Austin does the "Do you hear that? That's ten thousand people calling you an asshole!" thing.
Vince says that last week Austin talked about equal time on shows, apparently in reference to Raw stars getting equal time to mess around on Smackdown. I can't tell because I'm trying to listen while walking to the fridge for sweet booze to numb the pain of minute eight of the promos. Vince announces that he has invited someone here to Raw, someone "who may soil Raw forever!" If it's this meth-head I know named Graham, Vince is out of his fucking league. Sell the company! Sell the children!
Cue Paul Heyman's music — entitled, "It's the Music That Plays When Paul Heyman Enters and Exits the Ring." Hey, wait a minute! It isPaul Heyman!
Heyman says that Vince has saved the best for last. Can he really mean it? Is Heyman the last person who will cut a promo in the first hour? Don't you bet on it. Heyman then accuses Stone Cold of using a legal loophole to get Benoit on Raw. This sounds important for a second, but it's not: just more "Since it's wrestling, let's mention lawyers because Lawyers Make Wrestling What It Is" talk.
(You guys remember the Titanium Litigator, too, right? I know that in my life, there was no one who spoke more eloquently about Tort reform than that man, when he held someone in a headlock and spat out of the small hole in his black hood. Let's just say that when I'm in a polling booth, I think of his promos and that sweet legdrop he called "Motion to Dismiss.")
Anyway, Heyman is here to talk to Goldberg. He says that Goldberg will not be able to come to No Way Out and ruin the main event. But he invites Goldberg to come and enjoy watching "the superior show." He can only watch it, though: no interference. The price for interference is dire. He says Goldberg is a big fish in a small pond, but that Brock Lesnar is a shark that could eat him alive.
He goes on to add that Lesnar told him to tell Goldberg to watch Brock defeat Guerrero. (He also told Heyman to tell Goldberg to tell Austin that Torrie doesn't like Austin, and she told Dawn Marie to tell Sable to tell Lesnar that.) And, of course, Lesnar said not to interfere, because otherwise Brock will, "Be forced to deal with Goldberg."
(Then he'll cope with him. Then bargain with him. Later, will come understanding and acceptance. It seems as if Lesnar is going through Stages of Grief with Goldberg. Or vice-versa.)
Finally, Heyman quips, "After Brock beats you, Goldberg, people won't look at you and say 'Who's next?' They'll say, "Who's Goldberg?" Goldberg gets all twitchy and volcanic and manly, because he's a mannish manly man. "I've said it before and I'll say it again. BROCK LESNAR... IS NEXT!"
Heyman then wanders around and cuts this promo. "I'M PAUL HEYMAN! I'M PAUL HEYMAN! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? I'M PAUL HEYMAN." I guess we can't say he isn't feeling like himself. Of course, he wanders in circles rather obviously, turning his back for extended periods. Goldberg crouches in wait for him to turn around, then spears him.
Austin's liking this. He kicks Heyman out of the ring, then grabs two beers, opens them and shoves them in his face. Goldberg readies himself to spear McMahon, but McMahon dodges, and Goldberg spears Austin instead.
JR: AUSTIN MAY HAVE BEEN BROKEN IN HALF!
Thanks, JR. So what's he down to now? About 1/128th his original size?
Outkast wants you to know that Ice Cold is cooler than Cool. This is going to be a long recap. I've heard that song for 76 straight days. Please, Lord. I like it, just as I like Zeppelin, but I need a break. If you can disappear "Whole Lotta Love" for two years, I will convert to whatever you choose for me. Except Mormonism. Then I'm throwing a goddamn bottle at you, Jesus. Evan Williams will fight you to the death — mine, presumably.
After 16 minutes, we finally go to:
We're back! Moments ago, Austin was put asunder, split in twain and forced to say, "Hey, Ya!"
BACKSTAGE: Austin broken-in-half-edly sits down on a crummy chair or some rigging. I didn't notice because Goldberg was making a lot of noise asking some techie if he was next and then shouting, "AUSTIN! Hey, Austin!" He walks up to Steve and tells him that the spear was a mistake. "I ain't apologizing [to your ass], but it was [an ass] mistake. That's [assin'] what it was. [Ass.*]" He wants to know if Austin can accept that, or if he should expect to be walking out one day and get a stunner. Austin says that, if he gives Goldberg a stunner, "It won't be no mistake." Goldberg says he can live with that.
* — "Ass" added, because Goldberg obviously meant to say it but forgot.
BISCHOFF'S OFFICE: Vince is screaming like a guy who needs to get slapped to "snap out of it" in a disaster movie. He tells Bischoff that Goldberg is "a lunatic... a ticking time bomb. He tried to spear me...! You go tell your man Bill Goldberg that he's OFFICIALLY SUSPENDED!" I guess Vince never got the memo that Bill has a switch that deactivates him. He then leans in to Bischoff and adds, "If Bill Goldberg shows up at No Way Out this Sunday, then it's going to be YOUR ASS." See, there's the "ass." Now everyone's happy.
Chris "Awkward" Jericho and Trish "Bubbles" Stratus v. Molly Holly (Women's Champion) and Matt Hardy Version1 (Jobs to Zach Gowan) in a "This Is Supposed to Only Be Man-on-Man or Woman-on-Woman Tag, But We All Know That Condition Will Disintegrate Around Minute #2" Match Nice cape, Trish. We go back to her match with Kane from last week. Jericho Past comes out to help her and gets hurt. Back to real life, where Jericho Present comes out. (There will not be a Jericho Future until anyone believes he has one.) He and Trish smile and stretch, and put their hands on each others' shoulders. Jericho's leg is heavily wrapped. JR makes a note of it. Molly Holly comes out, followed by JobsToGowan1.
Jericho and Matt to start. Lockup. Headlock, then reversal. Jericho elbows Matt's head. He knocks him down, then runs the ropes. Matt gets up only to eat an elbow. Jericho throws him into ropes, holds him, then chops him. Into the ropes again, and Matt goes for sunset flip, which Jericho converts to the Walls. Matt grabs the ropes, then rushes to tag in Molly after Jericho breaks the hold.
Molly goes to hit Jericho. Jericho grabs her arm and looks at her. Small cheer. He wrenches her around and then hits her in the small of the back. See, he's still a jerk. He tags in Trish.
Trish comes in and gets a waistlock takedown on Molly. Molly powers out of it by standing up and goes for an armbar takedown, which Trish reverses into an armbar of her own, then a pinfall attempt. Trish goes for a pin. Molly breaks out and stands up. Trish grabs a headlock; Molly pushes out, runs the ropes and takes a clothesline. Trish's pin is no good. Both get up and trade punches. Trish whips Molly to the corner, but her whip is reversed. Trish hops the corner turnbuckle and bounces off for a 'rana. Molly's down. Trish rushes Molly, but Molly pulls Trish down so that Trish's neck bounces off the bottom rope. Molly straddles her and goes for a Face/Mouth Camel Clutch, I guess. What do you call that? She then pulls Trish up and goes for a Northern Lights suplex, but Trish kicks out. Molly picks her up again, whip to ropes, but Trish ducks a clothesline and gets a neckbreaker. Both women roll and struggle to make the tag.
Why am I listening to "Heart of Glass" right now? Oh, yeah, I'm drunk. Also, Debbie Harry will kick your fucking ass. I don't care if she's forty: she OWNS you. And she still looks prettier than your girl.
Anyway, Jericho and Hardy are in. Jericho gets a flying forearm on Hardy after some rope-bouncing and running. Hardy's up, eats a shoulder block. Jericho misses a clothesline and hits the corner, but gets a boot up on Hardy's charge. Jericho goes for an enzuiguri on the dazed Hardy and barely clips him. Yeah, he made almost mosquito-ish contact, but it was still there, albeit barely. (Still not a "Whiffed RKO.") Hardy recoils, even though he wasn't hit, but Jericho bounces up and connects with a enzuiguri seconds later.
Hey, he fucked up a spot. But he corrected it before you could even think about it. And Matt sold the flinch on the first one well enough that you could buy him getting hit by the second. That's fuckin' teamwork. Whatever.
Jericho's pinfall attempt barely gets two. Matt gets up and eats a chop. He reverses Jericho's whip to the ropes, but Jericho holds onto the ropes, and Matt charges. Jericho ducks and hoists Matt over the ropes. Matt lands and stands dazed on the apron before Jericho hits him with a springboard dropkick. Matt's on the ground. The dropkick hurt Jericho's bad leg, so he swoons around the ring. Molly's climbing the top turnbuckle, about to take Jericho out, but Jericho limps (backward) into the ropes and crotches Molly inadvertently. Then he sees Matt and leaps out of the ring, missing Matt and landing on the bum leg. He's hopping. Matt grabs him and throws him at the steps. Jericho takes them knees-first and flips over them, in proud Foley tradition. He's down. Trish, in the ring, hits the ankle-canrana on Molly, who was still on the turnbuckle. While she waits for Molly to get up and take some more finishers, Hardy reaches over the ropes and yanks her to the ground by the hair.
Christian runs in and pulls Matt off the apron, kabonging Matt's head on the apron in the process. He then whips Matt to the barricade. In the ring, Molly goes for the handspring elbow on Trish, but Trish climbs atop the turnbuckle and lifts her legs up and out of danger at the last second. She puts her legs over Molly's shoulders and flips her forward into a rollup for the pin.
Trish goes to see if Jericho's okay as Christian backs up the ramp, sneering at everything. JR and Lawler play up Jericho's injury as well as Christian's ambiguity.
Why do I love the sick and dirty fuzz-distortion on the guitar of No Doubt's "It's My Life," but still feel dirty listening to the song? That distortion sounds like sweet mess, in a foul guitar way. The best guitar way, really. Umm... I don't like the song! I'm manly! Shut up!
Members of the Portland Trailblazers are in the audience, and you can't even see where their drugs or weapons are. Because of this, I don't actually believe that these are real Portland Trailblazers.
BACKSTAGE: Christian meets Trish backstage and apologizes for being a childish jerk over the past couple of weeks. He says that, since she and Jericho are "just friends," there's no reason why they all can't get along together as friends. Trish thinks this sounds okay, but there's a little moment where she seems startled when Christian makes the "just friends" comment as if it were official. Christian asks about Jericho. She says his knee is sprained and he might be out for three weeks. Christian goes in to check on him, but stops and looks back while the door's halfway open. He tells Trish that she looks really good today.
(Just for drama's sake, why couldn't he have closed the door again before saying that? Does he want Jericho to know he's flirting with Trish? I don't think so, so why possibly blow the whole deal with that kind of sloppy delivery? Why do I think about these things? Maybe I should close my eyes and rub them real hard and marvel at the strange flashy colors that appear when you do that. If I spend any more time questioning WWE dramatic structure I'm going to wind up squatting by the dryer, in the garage, holding an Elementary German primer, staring at the cat and saying, "Guten tag! Wie gehts?" — then crying openly when the cat refuses to respond and instead licks himself.)
MEANWHILE: Jindrak and Cade are backstage on one of the Official WWE Couches, looking at Torrie and Sable in Playboy. Stacy and Jackie come out to ask Cadedrak what they think they're doing. Cadedrak look embarrassed that they were caught looking at porn. Stacy and Jackie are furious that they couldn't be the porn that gets looked at. Cadedrak are suddenly in the very-WWE position of now feeling embarrassed for looking at pornography that doesn't feature women they work with everyday. Those bastards! Maybe they can make up for it by assaulting either Jackie or Stacy in the shower. Jackie and Stacy leave after saying that they'll show the world that Playboy made a mistake.
Could this be the time that we've all expected but almost never dared believe in? The time when two women defy the company, defy the FCC, defy even expectations and define themselves as complete, confident and empowered women by stripping totally naked and licking each other on free television? I think it is. I really do. I'm starting to feel very proud of them. And Susan B. Anthony is starting to get very HOT in her grave.
MEANWHILE: Foley is backstage. Coach comes to ask why he's here, especially since Orton has embarrassed him so much. But Foley says he might just embarrass Orton, cost him his IC championship, or maybe both.
UP NEXT. OMG~~~!!!! BENOIT!!!!! v. NATURE BOY~~!!!! OMG!
RAW REWIND: Flair tells Benoit he'll never grasp the big one. He means the belt.
Chris Benoit v. Ric Flair for the Smark Nitro Title Flair comes out, having ripped apart one of Queen Elizabeth's chairs and covering himself with whatever pieces of cloth he could stitch together. Benoit comes out, and they show a replay of his match with Mark Henry and mention that Benoit injured Henry's shoulder. He robbed Henry of his STANK.
Benoit and Flair circle each other. Lockup. Flair pushes Benoit to the corner. Benoit breaks out. Lockup, Benoit in corner. Flair chops. Benoit chops back, then breaks out of the corner again. Benoit shakes his head as if to focus more clearly on what's coming. Another lockup, another trip to the ropes and...
My wife wants to know something. But because I was touch-typing and locked into Raw and then had to break my concentration, I now not only have no fucking clue what's happening on the screen, but I don't know what she wanted to know. I know nothing! Given the fact that I look like I'm chewing glass, I'll never know what she wanted, because she says something like, "Whatever, only a cosmetic fire," or, "will probably survive," and backs away. That problem will put itself out. Sure, I feel terrible, but I know she doesn't really care. If she did, she'd be back, or never leave. The upshot of this all is that now I can't begin to tell you what's happening in the match. JR is no help.
JR: Benoit not showing any surcease. (Of what? Sorrow? Delivery of dry goods?)
Flair's chest is bleeding. GODDAMN! Either he bladed, or Benoit chopped him like a deranged Canadian God-Head. Fuck, who cares? And why do I not know this for sure? Flair picks up Benoit, punch to forehead. Benoit's down again. Flair picks him up again. Whip to corner. Chops. Benoit reverses. Chops. Chops. Benoit whips Flair to the opposite corner.
I want pork chops RIGHT NOW. I can't express this sincerely enough.
Flair comes out. Elbow to Benoit's head, but it's a mutually painful strike. Flair flops to the mat. Up to his knees. Benoit's still down. Flair runs off the ropes and lands a kneedrop on Benoit's head. Flair goes outside, to the top rope. Benoit's up, punches and chops Flair. Flair falters and stays standing on the bottom ropes outside. Benoit wrenches him up top for the SUPERPLEX. (God, that impact scares me.) Flair twitches on the mat.
Benoit drags his thumb across his throat! He's going up top, and the swandive headbutt—MISSES! Flair rolled out of the way. Both men are down.
Welcome back to Nitro.
Benoit's hanging over the second rope in the corner. Flair's down. As he gets up and grabs Benoit by the back of the head, we get a clip of Flair posting Benoit's left shoulder during the break.
Punches to Benoit's head in the corner. Benoit struggles to mid-ring. Somehow he makes it up and chops the chop-choppity out of Flair. Flair counters and gets Benoit back in the corner yet again for more chops. Benoit grabs Flair's forehead and cuts off the chop offense. Yet another reverse and more chops.
Benoit pulls Flair out and whips him to the ropes, hoping to grab him off it for either a sleeper or some lock. Flair reverses, however, to a sleeper. Before he can lock it in fully, Benoit runs toward the turnbuckle and dives. The momentum yanks Flair forward and face-first into the top of the turnbuckle. Flair's dazed.
Both men down. Flair's up first and grabs Benoit, going for a side-headlock takeover. He almost has Benoit on the ground in the headlock when Benoit cinches his legs around Flair's neck and reverses it. The reversal is incomplete. Flair pops his head out and keeps his back on Benoit's chest and neck, reclining almost — full leverage. Flair grabs Benoit under the arms, plants his feet and tries to use more leverage for the pin. Benoit keeps getting the shoulder up, and the ref's there with his eyes almost parallel to the mat to make sure. Flair gives up and stands up. Kick to Benoit's head. Picks up Benoit. Whip to the corner. Benoit ricochets off, stunned. Flair's dazed, too. Flair goes to backdrop Benoit, but Benoit flips out of it and goes for a waistlock — German suplex. Second German. Flair tries to grab at the ref's belt. No good. Third German. Flair grabs again at the ref and finally gets hold of his shirt. As the ref struggles, he low-blows Benoit with his heel.
Benoit is down. Flair makes his way to his feet, and locks in the figure-four! Benoit flails viciously and almost spastically makes the ropes before even three seconds pass. Flair won't release the hold for a few seconds, but the ref starts to lose patience. Flair breaks the hold and picks up Benoit, leaves him standing awkwardly, then runs to the ropes and bounces off to take out Benoit's knee from behind. Benoit's down; Flair's up.
"Wooooo!" Struts.... Kicks the knee. He goes for the figure-four again, but Benoit grabs his head and wrenches him forward. Benoit scrabbles his way over Flair's shoulder and locks in the crossface! Flair taps. It was an ugly reversal, but it looked real. I don't think there could be a technical term for Benoit just yanking Flair like that. If there is, I'm an idiot. Email me with the name. Who cares, though? It looked damn good, hard-scrabble, desperate and intense. The match was about 15 minutes long, if you count the ad break.
After the match, there's a fairly decent cheer for Benoit. Good match.
Triple H is backstage watching. He gets a ref to come over, then barks orders at him: "Go tell Bischoff to get that ring ready. Tell Bischoff the contract signing with Benoit is next." Well, we all thought he was a booker anyway.
Right now, I could consider beating a man for a cheeseburger.
Chris Benoit v. Triple H in an X-Treme Contract Signing with Eric Bischoff, Carpeting and PENS!!! Yes, PENS!!!!! Bischoff stands behind the table, which is set between the two typical office chairs and atop the plush red carpet of contractual action! Bischoff introduces Benoit, who's standing sweatily in place... looking, to be honest, very much out of place. Bischoff then says, "And now, a man who needs no formal introduction..." then gives Triple H a formal introduction.
Cue the six-minute entrance. Granted, we've all seen it, and for many it's tiresome. But this time it's pretty special. Triple H goes through his antic flexing and waving the belt around and hoisting himself on ropes. During all this, Benoit stands stock still. I mean this. I can discern no movement on his part at all. None. (If he were a cheeseburger, I would know his every move: this is how vigilant I am.) Somehow the contrast makes Triple H's vain repetitive pageantry look incredibly pointless and dumb. The music dies down, and Triple H comes to a standstill. Benoit's body language — however (likely) unintentional — seems to say, "Was that it?" Hilarious.
Bischoff asks them to be seated. Benoit doesn't move. Triple H, as the champion, has the option of signing first. He signs. Bischoff then moves to take the pen from Triple H, but he won't hand over the pen. "Hold on a second," he says.
Triple H: You've gotta be feeling pretty good about yourself right about now, Chris. You won the Royal Rumble. You get to face the champion at WrestleMania. You get to go to Madison Square Garden — the BIGGEST STAGE in the WORLD. And maybe you win the title. So you've got to be feeling pretty good, Chris. You've made it, Chris. You're one of the best, Chris. But you have to ask yourself what it means to put your name on that contract. You have to ask yourself what comes after that, Chris. Do you have a picnic without being afraid of TANKS, Chris? Are you so arrogant to think that TANKS don't HAPPEN to CANADIANS? Because they can, if your lip doesn't stop curling at me. You like curling, though, don't you, Frenchie? The point is the contract, though, PIERRE. YOU SPEAK ENGLISH??? Because when you put your John Asscock on that contract, ass yourself this, "Ass it all worth it, Blanco Niño?" Chris, Chris, Chris? A bird in the hand is worth almost thirteen in Vancouver, Chris. Do you live there? It's like England, but you can drive there. (At this moment, listening to Hunter, Benoit realizes the #1 benefit of being on Smackdown: not listening to Hunter.) Picture yourself, Chris, on a train at the station with the Rock's marshmallow pie. You think you know what it's like to tangle with the PIE? You wouldn't recognize The Big Madison Square Garden Pie even if you were in an EconoVan with goggles on. I can't even believe I'm saying this shit, man. I'm the champion, and I'm so awesome that I'm actually frightening myself. Do you know what it's like to wake up each day and look at yourself in the mirror and say "SHINGLEMEAT! WHO IS THAT BAD-ASS MANIAC"? No you don't, Angela. I do. I signed this contract for the title match because I HAVE to face me. I don't have a choice. My therapist told me to do it. Sometimes the saddest face is the one looking back at you from the oven. But you don't have to do it. You're short and look like a bag of golf clubs. Do you think you can drive in the ring, Clubs? Ha! Chris? LAUGH! Life without laughter is like life without a truck. You sicken me. Me. The GAME. Do you ever think that robins look lonely — like they want you to touch them, but they can't trust you? Look, I need to tell you something. I'm hungry. I mean it. I'm fucking hungry. Hungry for the title, yeah. But also like that ice-pick-in-the-gut hungry. Do you think you could wait for me to get the hot-dog guy over here? You're just standing there, Mom. I was just thinking of something. We could have a Falls Count Anywhere match at 'Mania. That way, if you "Foley" everything up and hit me with, like, a bag of popcorn, it can bust open, and I can eat some of it. God, I shouldn't have brought the whole PIE thing up. Look, do you know what you're getting into with THE GAME? Sure, you're good. You have lots of muscles. Did I ever tell you about this place in Boston that has really good mussels? ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? CAN YOU HEAR ME? Unnnngghhhhh. FUCK YOU. GAME GAME GAME! Game HELLO? Should I do the Cena Thing and wave my hand around? Um.... Benoit? Benoit? BENOIT? Sometimes I don't understand this job. Look, I need a milkshake or something, Statue Dude. Remember that thing I said about jobs. If a pigeon starts to crap on you, just put it in the crossface or something, okay? Man, nachos would be good too.