1142003 Welcome to Falls Count Anywhere!

My name is Chris, and you called down the thunder, now it’s time to reap the whirlwind. RAW RAW starts off with Booker T and Jericho taking on Jericho and Christian. The match started out with all sorts of action. I like it when the heels run into the ring through the crowd to Pearl Harbor the faces. It just makes them seem smarter. EVERYBODY comes out from the ramp, so the smarter guys come through the crowd. RVD suffers a touch of his sloppiness, but not that bad, just an ugly jumping back kick. Christian and Jericho are a great team, as Christian obviously has tried to emulate Jericho for ages. Booker was Booker, which is all I can ask. Sweet twisting cross-body by RVD onto Jericho. Nice Split-legged moonsault, too. OK, he’s recovered. Double scissor kick by Booker! The crowd is nuts for this match. Nice Sleeper Takedown for the pin by Jericho. This is the type of match that you should start a show off with. Austin and Coach have a little thing backstage that shows that Coach has some heel charisma left. Molly does a great interview, probably the best heel woman’s interview in ages. She talked about the media getting their money-grubbing hands on the great Lita comeback story. She then beat down Teri, who was doing the interview, and then dragged her down to the ring. She continued to beat her, and when Teri got a mini-comeback, the crowd popped good. Lita came out for the save, but Gail Kim, in disguise, came out and hit Lita, before giving they teamed her and gave her a Double DDT. Austin and Michaels have a little bit where Austin is subtly trying to ask Shawn to be on his Survivor Series team. It was nice to see Austin playing against type here, but it was a little awkward. At least Michaels saying yes got a good pop. They sold the Lita injury and continued the Christian infatuation angle by having him come to check on her. Nice touch. Bautista comes out with Ric Flair for a match with Maven. Man, Bautista looks like Mike Awesome did back in 1993. Look where that got him. Labron James was at RAW tonight. They are doing the right thing by getting the hottest young name in sports on the show briefly. It makes the product look cooler. Bautista destroys Maven like he should. They are getting smarter about booking these guys to look like beasts. Maybe they did learn something from the Goldberg intro. Then again, he is teamed with HHH, so you kinda have to expect that. Stiff clothesline that made me hurt. Hey, Maven got booed for hitting Flair. That was a scary ending though, where Bautista powerbombed Maven and almost dropped him directly on his neck. Kane cut a very Ole Anderson promo on Shane. It was a good promo, if you weren’t looking at the screen, where they were doing a fisheye lens look at EMTs working on a

theoretical Shane McMahon. Kane can be a good talker, but then they do this White Castle of Fear type crap and almost ruin it. Cade and Jindraik have a non-title match with the Dudleys. Cade looks so much like Johnny Ace during his All Japan heyday. He isn’t quite as good, since he lacks charisma, but he’s decent in the ring. The crowd is dead for this. They turn(?) Cade and Jindraik by having Steiner come out and distract BuhBuh by pressing Stacey. That commercial for Austin’s book was actually touching, talking about Pillman and the gold chain that they bought when they were the Hollywood Blondes. Still the best tag team ever. A contract signing! YEAH!!! I’m sorry, it’s hard to muster any excitement since these are almost universally awful. Well, this one did little for me, though Austin was intense. Wow, they’ve brought out Val Venis and his hoard of babes. I like the one with the big legs! He was out to watch Rico (with the extra hot Jacky Gayda) and Lance Storm. I will say this, they aren’t giving up on Lance, which is nice to see. It’s actually not a bad match, as these two can actually go. Hey, nice rope running enzugiri from Rico. The match ends with Lance winning and the ladies dancing with Lance. No heat for the match, but the post-match dancing got that “it’s not great, but it’s interesting” heat. Trish and Jericho talk backstage in that whole weird Heel / Face love thing. Jericho was great. Watch Confidential this weekend, as the Road Warrior Hawk retrospective will be on and they’ll be talking with Animal. It should be interesting as Animal is good out of character. They kept up with the whole showing of the house shows. Good call, guy. Keep it up and you’ll see a rebound soon enough. Trish and John Heidenreich team against Victoria and Steven Richards. It was not a bad match when Trish and Victoria were in, since Trish got to show us what she’s got a few times. I love Trish and Victoria, and Stevie is awesome sometimes, but he seldom gets the chance to do anything other than sell or interfere in Victoria’s matches. John Heidenreich’s offense seems, in the words of Tracey Morgan, unorthadoxed. Not much heat, except for the girls brawling. Hey, Coach did his heel interviewer schtick with Austin briefly, allowing Austin to vent more venom. Well, Michaels took on Mark Henry in a match that kinda hid Henry’s weaknesses. The match went as I thought it would, with Michaels getting the win. Austin made the mistake of sending Teddy Long to the back, which will never allow me to get excited about a match. Austin then called out Bautista.

Austin knocks around Bautista and Mark Henry for a while, then Goldberg comes out and beats on Bautista until the Nature Boy (WWWWHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!) comes out and makes a save. The faces drink beer and Austin gives Goldberg a match with Bautista. This edition wasn’t as good as the recent shows. They all seem to have the same trouble: petering out at the end. If they had put Rico vs. Lance Storm on earlier, then had some hot angle right before Trish and Heidenreich match, that could have helped the show a lot. They need to work on pacing now that they’ve got their guys working better. NEWS Well, here’s a weird fact. SmackDown! wasn’t great last week, too little wrestling, and a few angles that seemed to twist too much. Undertaker wasn’t on much. Eddy Guerrero was a part of a large segment. Not much going on as far as ratings, it seemed. Boy was that wrong. SD! scored a 3.7, just about the highest in a year. It’s strange as every time I expect a downturn, it swings the other way. One thing this shows is that perhaps Vince is the McMahon who draws…or maybe it’s Heyman. Who knows? Some syndicated, Urban lifestyles show (I didn’t catch the name) had a feature on Booker T talking about his past which was pretty good, actually, as it made Booker look like a real star. They do a better job in five minutes of making Booker than the WWE has done since he came back. By the way, I just read the Observer’s second story on Road Warrior Hawk and they mentioned that Eddy Guerrero once got beat up for saying that Los Gringos Locos were better than the Hellraisers. I’d saw that’s an easy one in my book. Just goes to show that Hawk, while a great guy, had his dark side. FlashBack! Some moments are so big, you quickly forget that they were so important. RAW in 1997 had one such moment, a full six days before the WrestleMania that made Steve Austin into the superstar he would become. The match was a cage match main event between The Hitman Bret Hart and Sycho Sid. The match itself wasn’t great. Sid has never been one for moving much, and Bret can only carry so much dead weight. Still, it was better than 90% of Sid’s matches, since they had the escape the cage concept to work with. After a while, a long while in my opinion, Steve Austin came in to interfere on Bret’s behalf. You see, Austin had a match with Hart on the card at WrestleMania and he wanted it to be for the title. This brought out to Undertaker, who had the arranged title shot from Sid at Mania, to help Sid get the win, preserving his spot. This was a great way to end the match and set up so much for Mania.

Then All hell broke loose. They crew was starting to take down the cage, and Vine McMahon, who had yet to play the over-the-top heel that he has become famous for, was still a commentator and came into the ring to talk to Bret. It seemed odd, as they seldom did interviews with the losers at this point, but they frequently did do interviews in the ring, so it wasn’t THAT odd. Vince: You must be terribly frustrated... extremely frustrated over what has just happened. Bret reacted by pushing Vince down. Lawler, back at the announce table, said “Whoa.”, which actually sold the event as more legit that the usual angles we were used to seeing. Vince had not physically been a part of any angle since 1992, and the push was huge. At that point, the angle was over with all the smartmarks on the Usenet boards (back in the day when Rec:Sport-Pro Wrestling was hugely popular). Bret: Frustrated isn’t the goddamn word for it! This is BULLSH*T! Bret Hart, the king of fair play and clean living, had sworn on television. The common room of my suite was dead silent. Bret: You screwed me! Everybody screws me and nobody does a goddamn thing about it! Nobody in the building cares, nobody in the dressing room cares... So much GODDAMN injustice around here, I’ve had it up to here! This was one of the first time that Vince had been referred to as the Boss. Heyman had done it when ECW showed up on RAW a couple of weeks before, but this was Bret saying it, and that carried weight. Somewhere, Eddie Gilbert was smiling down on the whole situation. Bret: Everybody knows it! I know it! Everybody knows it. I should be the World Wrestling Federation Champion! And there it was. Bret had turned. The WrestleMania match with Austin was the official final portion of the turn, but it was clear from the whinging that Bret was a heel at that moment. The funny thing is, the audience still gave him mostly cheers…well, at least those that weren’t stunned. He paused a second and then came back with the final nail in the coffin for his facedom. Bret: Everybody just keeps turning a blind eye... You (Vince) keep turning a blind eye to it! I’ve got that Gorilla Monsoon, he turns a blind eye to it... Everybody in that goddamn dressing room knows that I’m the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be! (Turns to the fans) And if you don’t like it, tough SH*T!

That got him some boos, finally, but they weren’t solid boos like he got at the end of the double turn with Austin. IT was obvious that this was meant to prime the audience for booing him later in the week. Though this was a huge moment in the wrestling wars of the late 1990s, it was fast forgotten. WrestleMania 13 had introduced Austin as the main face in the company and turned Bret, which eclipsed the most modern moment in the history of the WWF to that point. Bischoff had been in the lead for almost a year at this point, and the ECW influence had started to creep in around the edges of the WWF, but no one had gone out on RAW and swore like Bret did. This was the official launching of the profanity-laced promo that would make the Austin and the Rock into the biggest stars of the modern era. This changed the direction of both RAW and Nitro, and got everyone thinking about how far could wrestling go and still keep its audience. Hart would form the Hart Foundation as a way to combat the system. The Hart Foundation angle led to a strong WWF period, which helped launch Austin and Rocky. The irony is that it was Bret and not Austin who did the big blow-up. Bret would later complain quite loudly about the profanity in modern wrestling. He even stopped letting his kids watch, even though he started the whole thing. Well, that’s Tuesday for ya. Friday, I’m starting my prelude to Survivor Series with a look at the five greatest Survivor Series matches ever.