PAS: I was in Cali so this is a day late. TKG: I avoided watching this Monday so this is a day late
TKG: I dug Goldberg vs. Matt Hardy. They really should do an extended Matt Hardy vs. Goldberg series like they did with Matt Hardy and Lesnar. The weird thing about Goldberg in WCW is that for a guy who was getting the “monster” push, he never really worked any series with big bumping guys. It was all Goldberg vs. Jerry Flynn, Goldberg vs. Hugh Morrus, Goldberg vs. Finlay, Golberg vs. Buddy Lee Parker. Never Goldberg vs. Lee Scott. Or Pablo Marquez. So kind of stoked to see it here. Instead the match was kind of weird as it started with this whole Matt Hardy as the “striker” vs. Goldberg the “wrestler” section. So it was really laid out like a Buddy Le Parker match. Still it was good fun. Oddly Goldberg eats Matt Hardy’s offense better than Lance Storm did on Heat. Fun fun match. I also really like how whenever Goldberg works Japan he tries to look as stereotypically Jewish as possible. I remember watching him in All Japan, and he was picking pennies off the floor on the way to the ring. He must have seen how over Bob Sapp cooning for the Japanese crowds and gone “Well I guess I’m gonna need to do that”. He comes back from Japan this time with the full beard, the slightest hints of payos and I think he may have been wearing a tallis cloth over his head on the way to the ring.
PAS: I think Goldberg may be working a Golem gimmick. Although he sells better then a guy with a Golem gimmick should.
PAS: Goddam was Mark Henry v. Chris Jericho great. I think this is the best Jericho match since we have been watching the show, as Mark Henry continues his reign as superworker of the show. For some reason everyone works really stiff with Henry as Jericho was just pasting him with forearms and kicks. The whole match was based around Jericho working over the thigh to get Henry down for the Boston Crab, and they worked a lot of nice false finishes around the Walls. I also really loved the WWE bulldog where Jericho ripped out Mark Henry’s braids. It was like when girls used to fight in the quad of my highschool, with the extensions littering the sidewalk.
TKG: Once again Mark Henry with the match of the week. Best Jericho match we’ve seen since starting this. Easily smoking the cage match. On some level I didn’t like the finish where he was able to hit his finisher after being in the liontamer for so long. I mean he is the worlds strongest man and all, but I thought he should have been unable to do it the first time and the match should have gone on another five-ten minutes before Henry finally hit the slam. Bur still the match built nicely around the constant attempts at liontamer and the idea that it was near impossible to put the submission on the stronger man. Henry sold the leg really great for the whole match and you just got the idea that on some level Jericho was overshooting to try to get a tap out victory. He needed to try to win with a strike like the lionsault instead (HBK beat Henry with a quick strike). Jazz prevented that. Favorite section may have been the backbreaker into backbreaker/choke which Jericho selling like sleeper and eventually breaking out of it through really stiff kneestrikes. Both this match and the main event both had lots of submissions but here they had meaning as both guys really worked in them and fought out of them. You get a real sense of why Henry and Jericho are on such a level above RVD and Orton.
TKG: I really dig how Brian Gerwitz is always taking shots at shittyness of Paul Heyman booking. Gerwitz is much more clever than Russo with his shitty Gilberg stuff. I really love the Evolution as parody of Triple Threat. God damn was that Franchise promo tonight laugh out loud funny. It was letter perfect with the bleeped out cursing at the beginning the, student of the game stuff, the who made who line (straight quote from endless Douglas speeches), the speech so long that Helmsley started tripping over his words, the “shoot” sections (“you don’t want to talk about that”) the long you held me back, the clique held me down stuff, the once I was on my own I became the Franchise of this promotion and it eats at all the jealous people who always held me down. That combined with Helmsley being more broken down and more roided than Douglas makes the parody that much funnier. I don’t know how much sense it makes from a business sense to waste almost thirty minutes of your show on a parody of the lameness of ECW. But it made me laugh.
PAS: I really enjoyed the Randy Orton sections of the mainevent. He had a bunch of neat small pieces of work in the bodyscissors, along with a nice bladejob, a really sweet uppercut and a nasty finisher. Outside of the one big bump to the floor and the taking of the DDT, Van Damn was as stoned and useless as I have ever seen him. His work in the bodyscissors was terrible, as he would alternate between doing nothing, and absolutely comical reversals. His elbows to Orton’s shins, and the matwork he does to get out of the final bodyscissors almost made me spit iced tea out of my nose. Plus he blew three spots and was out of position for a half a dozen more.
TKG: This is the first time that the WWE production crew has showed transitions in their matches that go past a commercial break. Normally the commercial starts with one person on offense and you return with the opponent on offense and you have no idea whats going on. Here they recapped the transition. Huge improvement.
TKG: I really dig how Brian Gerwitz is always taking shots at shittyness of Paul Heyman booking. Gerwitz is much more clever than Russo with his shitty Gilberg stuff. I really love the Evolution as parody of Triple Threat. The whole Randy Orton as “Legend Killer” Justin Credible is hilarious. The forcing him down the audience’s throat by giving him endless segments, the uncomfortably small trunks on guys Heyman pushes, the slim waist, the shitty long matches with RVD where poor Orton struggles to carry RVD while RVD does absolutely nothing but stall and take a few bumps. It really needed to end with a gore through a table. And Orton needs bigger teeth and a Singapore cane already. I don’t know how much sense it makes from a business perspective to waste thirty minutes of your show on a parody of the lameness of ECW. But it made me laugh.
What Didn’t Work
TKG: Outside of the Henry/Jericho match this show sucked. The joshi match ended sloppily as all hell, Booker vs. Kane was just backyard ugly, RVD is not ready for live television, it takes two long segments to explain the whole sheriff thing, year long match set up segment without a chicken getting gutted or a table being turned over, and the entire rest of show being jokes at Heyman’s expense.
PAS: Lita looked surprisingly good for the first part of the joshi tag, but it fell apart bad at the end. Including three consecutive blown spots
TKG: Wow RVD trying to reverse out of holds may have been the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.
PAS: I think Flair v. Bubba singles would be amusing as a poor mans Buddy Landell v. poor mans Tony Anthony, but I really didn’t need to see poor mans Brian Lee v. a poor mans Mustafa.
TKG: I really dig how Brian Gerwitz is always taking shots at shittyness of Paul Heyman booking. Gerwitz is much more clever than Russo with his shitty Gilberg stuff. I really love the Evolution as parody of Triple Threat. That said they aren't doing enough funny stuff with Batista as the tattooed Beast from the East. he should be throwing all of his opponents through holes in the floor at least. He didn't put D-Von into a hole. I didn't laugh. D-Von rolling out all of his D-Von the singles wrestler offense did make me laugh. But I don't think it was intended to be funny.
PAS: I like how the Martinete is now really over as a finish, but that Booker v. Kane stuff was painfully bad and awkward. Can’t imagine the blowoff will be nearly as good as Perro Aguyo v. Universo.
PAS: I liked the superkick on Coach, but if they are going to have Helmsley and Michaels oil each other up they should do it literally rather then metaphorically, At least then all of the OVW fans could have something to rub one out too now that La Resistance and Cade and Jindrak are on Heat.
These are from Scherer: RAW (cable rating) First Broadcast of the Year (January 2002) 4.9 Last Broadcast before the Brand Extension (March 2002) 5.4 Latest rating for the show (This past week) 3.1 SMACKDOWN (broadcast rating)