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1/6 Raw review: Mahling's "alternative perspective" rundown

Jan 7, 2003 - 1:37:00 AM
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WWE Raw "Alternative Perspective" Rundown
January 6, 2003
Live from Phoenix, Ariz.
Aired on TNN
Report by Mallory Mahling, Torch Team Contributor


Top Five Items from the Program

(1) Scott Steiner bested Triple H again tonight. Even in a rigged body building contest, Steiner prevailed over an incensed Triple H.

(2) Raw's General Manager said that 2003 would be the year of Eric Bischoff. He demanded respect, and said if he didn't get it, there would be consequences. "You suck," the crowd respectfully told him.

(3) Tonight's Raw Retro Moment involved Marc Mero, who introduced the new and improved Sable. You remember her, the busty blonde who wanted to be admired for her mind. She came out wearing a potato sack, which she pulled off to reveal a couple of pasties and the teensiest of thongs.

(4) Bubba and D-Von Dudley were thoroughly squashed tonight, presumably to put over Bischoff's new heel faction.

(5) The line up for the Royal Rumble is taking shape, with Chris Jericho, Batista, Shawn Michaels, and Christian entered so far.

Review of the Program

Quarter Hour 1

What a surprise. The first thing we see after two weeks off is the face of Triple H, followed by highlights of his arm wrestling match with Scott Steiner.

Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler welcomed viewers to Raw, live from the America West Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, and announced there would be a Pose Down Challenge later tonight.

Bubba and D-Von Dudley headed to the ring for the first match. Eric Bischoff and Chief Morley came out instead of their opponents to announce that a new year meant a new attitude. The new attitude seemed to have something to do with Jerry Lawler and J.R.'s tag team victory two weeks ago and the fact that the Dudleys had been instrumental in their win.

Eric said it had been a slap in the face of all he stood for. The year 2003 would be the Year of Eric Bischoff. He demanded respect, and if he didn't get it, there would be consequences. "You suck," the crowd respectfully told him.

Bischoff decided that there should be a no-disqualification, handicap match. The Dudley's opponents were predictable, especially when Eric starting looking at his watch. Three Minute Warning and Rico lumbered out, followed by Batista, one of the 15 Raw stars entered in the Royal Rumble.

(1) Three Minute Warning & Rico & Batista (w/Ric Flair) over Bubba & D-Von Dudley. As the trouncing got underway, Bischoff took the mic and barked orders while the Chief insinuated himself into the match. It had become much more than a handicap match and it didn't look good for the Dudleys. Bischoff bullied the referee into making a count, but Bubba got to his feet and attempted a comeback. Flair jumped into the fray and put Bubba in the Figure Four, and one of the Island Boys splashed off the top and just about took Flair out, too. Batista powerbombed D-Von and Bischoff demanded that the ref make the count. With the Dudleys squashed flatter than pancakes, the bad guys sauntered off, pleased with themselves and looking very much like the NWO.

(Commercial break)

Quarter Hour 2

Returning from commercial, the Dudleys were still in the ring being tended by medics, and William Regal and Lance Storm were at the announce position chastising J.R. and the King. (It would have been more effective if they'd had a microphone.) Then Regal and Storm hopped into the ring and inflicted some more pain on the Dudleys.

In his dressing room, Triple H was admiring his physique in a mirror. When Flair walked in, Triple H began to whine about the arm wrestling contest. His arm hurt, he said, and it was unfair. Wah, wah, wah. Then he mocked Freakzilla.

Scott Steiner didn't appreciate the humor and said he'd kick Triple H's ass at the Royal Rumble, and, if necessary, he'd rip Triple H's head off tonight. As Steiner stalked off, Triple H had a devious smile on his face.

(Commercial break) (Take a look back at the legendary Four Horsemen on this week's Confidential.)

(2) Victoria (w/Stevie Richards) & Molly Holly over Trish Stratus & Jacqueline. This short match featured four excellent competitors and did not disappoint. Trish seemed to have stepped up her game even more, but Victoria pinned Trish with some outside interference from Dancing Stevie Richards.

Quarter Hour 3

Backstage, Terri was interviewing Booker T and Goldust (who kept playing with Terri's hair). Booker said if this was going to be the year of Bischoff, they were in trouble. Then Booker fondly recalled the time Bischoff had kissed the lovely Rikishietta's big behind.

Bischoff and Morley had been watching on a monitor and the General Manager was livid. The Chief tried his best to calm him down.

(Commercial break)

A video clip was shown of Chris Jericho insulting Shawn Michaels. Jericho headed to the ring to share a dream he'd been having. In his dream, he got a title shot at WrestleMania. But it wasn't just about the title; it was about being known as the best in the world, he said. Chris Jericho announced that he was entered in the Royal Rumble.

"Sexy Boy" hit and Shawn Michaels came out to a good pop. (He seemed touched by the show of support from the Phoenix crowd.) Michaels said he'd come out to take issue with the idea of Jericho being the best. Jericho wasn't interested in any constructive criticism, so Michaels challenged him to go to Eric Bischoff and volunteer to be the number one entrant in the Rumble.

Quarter Hour 4

And if he didn't, Michaels would volunteer to do just that. If Jericho wanted to prove he was the best, he'd have to go through Michaels.

Jericho didn't see any point in waiting for the Royal Rumble and volunteered to kick HBK's ass on the spot.

RNN BREAKING NEWS: Randy Orton headed to the ring with a major announcement. His shoulder was up to 93 percent mobility. Orton looked over at Shawn and said he knew Michaels was jealous that Orton's comeback story was more inspirational that Michael's. There was a new sexy boy in town.

Michaels had heard enough (including a blown line or bow) and threw a punch. Jericho jumped in and quickly twisted Michaels into the Walls of Jericho.

Rob Van Dam ran out to help, with Christian hot on his heels. The Big Red Machine's pyro hit and Kane cleared the ring or Jericho, Orton, and Christian.

(Commercial break)

(3) World Tag Team Championship: William Regal & Lance Storm over Booker T & Goldust to capture the Tag Team Championship. Booker and Goldust were dominating the match, and an agitated Bischoff was shown watching on a monitor and running his hands through his greasy hair.

Lance Storm created an unfair advantage, which turned the match in Regal's favor.

Quarter Hour 5

Booker T had been double-teamed and finally managed to tag in his teammate. The Golden One was on fire and had near pin on Storm. But just as he was making the count, the ref caught a boot in the throat and was out of commission. It looked like a car wreck on the outside. Oh, the carnage (to borrow a word from Uncle T). But first, a word from the sponsors.

(Commercial break)

During the commercial, Chief Morley had come out wearing a referee shirt. He was knocked cold almost immediately. A third ref hurried out and the match continued. Storm pinned Goldust, who kicked out at the last second. Goldust made the tag to Booker, who was fresh and looked ready to put the finishing touches on the match. He went for a pin on Storm, but Morley pulled Booker off. In the confusion, Regal got out the brass knuckles and knocked out both Booker T and Goldust and pulled Storm across Booker while Morley made the count.

(Commercial break)

Quarter Hour 6

Storm and Regal were in Bischoff's office doing a little sucking up.

Raw Retro Moment: Marc Mero introduced the new and improved Sable. You remember her, the shapely blonde who wanted to be admired for her mind. She came out wearing a potato sack, which she pulled off to reveal a couple of pasties and the teensiest of thongs. Exploited by WWE, huh?

(4) Test (w/Stacy Keibler) pinned Christopher Nowinski (w/D-Lo Brown).

Earlier today, Nowinski had asked Brown to be in his corner and reminded him that Stacy had turned him down because he was a Black man.

This wasn't much of a match. D-Lo kept interfering, but it backfired when he got in the way and Nowinski accidentally took him out of the action. Test went for the pin and the 1-2-3. D-Lo knocked Test out and began to menace Stacy. He finally backed off and left Stacy to help Test.

(Commercial break)

Christian excitedly told Jericho that he had entered the Royal Rumble, too. Jericho thought that was a great idea; he could help Jericho win. No way, said Christian, and they began to bicker like children. Orton walked up and assured them he was in their corner. They looked less than thrilled and walked away.

Highlights were shown of the arm wrestling match that Steiner had won handily.

Quarter Hour 7

(Commercial break)

Time to play the Game. Triple H and Ric Flair headed to the ring for the pose down. He promised to kick Scott Steiner's ass. Blah, blah, blah. To judge the contest, Triple H said he would need six people from the audience. Although he had lots of volunteers, he picked six muscular gentlemen from the audience to be his body building judging panel and then explained the rules in excessive detail.

Jonathan Coachman introduced Scott Steiner next. Big Poppa Pump got right in Triple H's face. Triple H did some provocative stripping (including being unable to get his jacket off for all the muscles). Steiner didn't waste time with formalities; he just pulled off his tee shirt and was ready to get down to business. The pose down consisted of front double bicep, side chest, and most muscular.

Quarter Hour 8

Although Steiner clearly had the best poses, the "judges" gave the unanimous win to Triple H.

Steiner grabbed the mic and chewed out the judges. He said he'd let his freaks in Phoenix decide the real winner. They gave a unanimous vote to Big Poppa Pump.

Triple H tried to grab the mic, but Steiner wouldn't let go. He finally yanked Coach's mic out of his hand and insisted that the judges had been fair and impartial. The Game suggested a push-up competition. They began doing push ups, and suddenly the "judges" jumped Steiner. No problem. He took on all of them, even pressing one over his head.

(Commercial break)

(5) Rob Van Dam & Kane (w/Shawn Michaels) over Chris Jericho & Christian (w/Randy Orton). This may have been the main event, but they certainly didn't allow much time for it. It hadn't even started by the top of the third hour.

(Commercial break)

Quarter Hour 9

My mistake. It started during the commercial and was already a Pier Six brawl by the time the show came back from the break. Van Dam was taking a beating and unable to make the tag to Kane. Kane finally tagged in and Randy Orton immediately began to pound on RVD on the outside. Michaels shared a little sweet chin music with Orton before being attacked by the Christian and Jericho.

Kane got a near fall on Christian, then double suplexed Jericho and Christian. The Big Red Machine flew off the top rope, landed on Christian, and was about to go for his finisher. Christian got a near pin on Kane, then Christian and Jericho introduced a couple of chairs for a ConChairTo. The match turned back into a brawl. Shawn Michaels battled Orton through the crowd to get Orton out of the way. Van Dam came off the top with a Five Star Frog Splash and Kane pinned Christian to take the win.

Backstage, Bischoff was gloating. He said next week it would be Regal vs. Jerry Lawler. This his cell phone rang and his mood changed dramatically. It was Vince McMahon's secretary, who said Mister McMahon would be on Raw next week. Eric's face turned a paler shade of pasty as he wondered what the implications of McMahon's visit would be.

The Wrap Up A new year. A new attitude. A decent Raw. There were fewer matches than usual, but they did a good job of defining the faces and the heels. The pose down, although a little long, was well done. I'm loving the way Freakzilla keeps getting the better of Triple H in creative ways that don't involve a sledgehammer. Overall, an entertaining show. There is more than a little room for improvement, but it seems to be headed in the right direction.

Comments? You can reach me at mmahling@pwtorch.com. See you in The Lounge on Saturday.


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