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6/23 Raw review: Guttman's "alt perspective" review

Jun 24, 2003 - 2:11:00 AM

By James Guttman, Torch Team Contributor

WWE Raw Alt Perspective Review
June 23, 2003
Live from Madison Square Garden in New York City
Aired on TNN
Report by James Guttman, Torch Team Contributor

It's always good to watch family bonding on television. Back in the days of Cyndi Lauper and Atari, we'd all gather round the tube and enjoy the wonderful closeness of families like the Keatons and the Huxtables. Times have changed, but family members still get along and share common views on TV today. Take WWE for example. On Smackdown, Vince McMahon has waged a war on Mr. America. Stopping at nothing, Vince has attacked the mysterious hero, subjected him to a polygraph and even humiliated his one-legged friend. Why? All for the glory of taking his mask. Over on Raw Triple H, Vince's future family-tied frizz master, has accused Kane of murder, portrayed him in a home video depicting necrophilia and even stolen Chyna from him at WrestleMania 15. But tonight if Hunter holds on to his strap against the Big Red Machine, he gets the glory of taking off his mask. Now isn't that just a Hallmark Greeting card begging to be made?

So gather the family in the living room, make a fresh pot of Hot Cocoa and think about Spike Lee as you settle down for tonight's Raw. What will we learn tonight? Is Booker T's hopes of winning the Intercontinental Title for Christian within reach or will he be left Missing in Action? Does Test have revenge on his mind for his ex-thang Stacy Kiebler and her massive new Michigan All-American Scott Steiner? Can Lance Storm prove his nay-sayers wrong and squash the boring stigma that General Manager Steve Austin cast upon him last week? Will the animalistic Bill Goldberg rise against the machine and make the big wigs of WWE eat their words as he Spears his way into Madison Square Garden? What will Mick Foley have to say in front of his New York crowd as he bids farewell for the time being? The question on everyone's mind though is: Will the Big Red Machine Kane be defeated by the Cerebral Assassin Triple H, thus losing his mask? Where does Rob Van Dam factor into all of this? Well gear up because tonight it's Kane/Hunter 2 and this one's for Katie.

Raw Theme Plays. Hey Chairy, what's today's secret word? Today's secret word, boys and girls, is Diesel. You know what to do whenever you see the secret word, don't you? That's right. Take a nap!

Welcome to New York City everybody. Welcome to the Garden. (JG Note: Being from New York, I always thought it was cool how Vince and his posse are so in love with MSG. Then again, I'm from Long Island and Nassau Coliseum gets kicked around enough to make up for it.) Tonight is a big one as the Game puts his security blanket World Title on the line against the fake Diesel's mask.

Ever notice how even though it reads "Holla if you hear me" on the TitanTron for Scott Steiner's entrance he still enunciates it "Holler?" It's the little things that drive me crazy.

(1) Test & Christian defeated Scott Steiner & Booker T when Test pinned Steiner. Test has definitely developed his character. Sure it might be the classic "woman beater" story that worked for Jeff Jarrett briefly, but it's working nonetheless. I still point to his match against Brock Lesnar in the King of the Ring Tournament. He has a lot of potential and his been featured in enough prominent storylines that he could be the sleeper choice to break into main events. Jim Ross refers to Christian as one of the luckiest champions in WWE right now. OK, let me see if I got this. Christians lucky. Lance Storms boring. I love how much effort they put into mocking the mid-card. All in all, this was a good opener. Stacy got involved in this one, but it was all for not as she was knocked to the floor by her ex-Testicle, who pushed Steiner into her. Andrew then waffled Big Poppa Pump with a Barbarian Boot to the Face and scored the three count. After the bell, Kiebs complained about her injured ankle and the Testy Christians took off. It looks like Test lost a tooth. Jr and King wonder if he hurt Stacy on purpose. I wonder if they're serious.

Kane's starting with the man in the mirror. He's asking him to make a change. Actually, Kane is looking in a mirror and seems to be doing a some soul searching. We have a good old fashioned Saved by the Bell dream sequence fade-in as we recall the early days of Kane. Retro-video shows the Big Red Unibomb make his October 1997 debut by attacking his brother the Undertaker. We see him escorted by his "father" Paul Bearer. It's funny to think that he had already killed Katie Vick by the time all that happened. You get the vibe that the Kane character comes to an end tonight? Who could be under that mask? JR promises me that Kano's life will change tonight. But first I have to support the men and women who work hard to make advertisements for Raw - except Carrot Top.

Commercial Break. reports that 7 out of 10 smokers want to quit. The other 3 chased the survey taker with a rusty pipe.

Jim Ross and the King offer yet another poll. What do you think will be the outcome of the Helmsley/Yankum match tonight? While you're there, do us a favor. Proofread the website for us. Also, make sure you read the articles quick. You never know when stories about SARS and Shawn Michaels frustration may up and - poof - go away.

So let me get this straight. My character is that of a guy who went to Harvard, graduated top of his class, is managed by an anti-White activist and is oppressed? Where does the aluminum foil mask fit into all this? Whatever. I'll do it, but I won't try to figure it out. I'm getting a headache.

(2) Maven pinned Christopher Nowinksi with an awkward roll-up into a back bridge Teddy Long gave a huge contradictory speech prior to this one. He first claims that Nowinski should have won Tough Enough. Although Maven, the winner, is black. Then he insults Maven's blackness by claiming that "light-skinned brothers went out three years ago." Isnt Rodney Mack lighter than Maven? This Christopher and Teddy Long team may be the undoing of Theodore's whole shtick. Sort of sad, I was starting to enjoy it. Although there are worse teams Rodney could be in. Really strange finish that saw the Mavenator roll through on Chris and back bridge for a three count. It looked like two. Jim Ross thought it was two. It was three. This match was very short and ended pretty weird. They need to split Harvard and the Hater Hater up as soon as possible.

Evolution is here. Randy Orton, Ric Flair and the World Champion Triple H step out of a limousine and are greeted as they enter the arena. They're not alone. They brought a commercial break with them.

Commercial Break. Tomorrow Shawn Michaelss DVD is available at Suncoast. In a related story, tomorrow his former partner Marty Jannetty will watch a DVD.

Bam! Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel. No time to prepare. We're back and right in the middle of the Manitoba Fozzy Lionheart's Clockwork Orange House of Shiny Pajamas. Jericho has a special guest tonight. He rips on New York City but defends himself by claiming to "call it like it is." (JG Note: I ain't got time to bleed). You want some straight talk? Let's talk about Steve Austin's bullying of his Canadian Wheel Man Lance Storm last week. Let's go to the videotape.

Recap of Stone Cold heckling Lance Storm with "boring" chants. Shouldn't Garrison Cade have been angry too?

Show some respect, peons. In fact, rise to your feet and welcome the Impact Player, Lance Storm!

OK time to get in character. Think boring. Thing boring. Be boring. Nananananana. Nanananananana

Here comes the Canadian Librarian and he's got a bone to pick with the fans and the General Manager. But rather than verbalize his thoughts on the spot, he's opted to read a statement.

"As we all know, nobody enjoys a good laugh more than I do, but last week Stone Cold Steve Austin overstepped his bounds. I am an athlete, pure and simple. My abilities inside this ring are more than enough to entertain the masses. If you want bells and whistles, I suggest that you attend the circus. In the meantime, since you have been insulting and damaging to my credibility as a competitor, not to mention my pride, I would appreciate it if you would stop chanting 'boring.'"
Lance Storm, reading a statement, 9:25pm

Whether or not Lance was done didn't matter. At this point, movers showed up and cleared Jericho's set like an episode of Trading Spaces. Seems that the Bionic Redneck does not enjoy this segment anymore. In fact, this is boring. No more set. Let's have a match. Weird thing in this one as Steve was superimposed in front of a wall backstage. They couldnt find a wall? Y2J tries to jaw with Rattlesnake but is shot down and referred to as a bitch. He then lectures the Boring Storm that his heckling was meant to inspire. He applauds his skills but then cuts him down for being a baby in the face of tough love (JG Note: How very Goldberg/Linda-esque) Let's do this. You want to piss off Steve? Here are your opponents and they know about tables.

D-Von! Why don't I stutter anymore?

(3) The Dudley Boys defeated Lance Storm & Chris Jericho when D-Von pinned Storm I see where the whole Lance Storm gimmick is going. I don't know. I may have to go with Shane Douglas on this one. Here's the problem and I'll most likely write about this again. While it is something viable for him to do while on the roster, it can't really progress. How strange would it be to see him win a championship and hold it up, videotaped for history, with fans chanting "boring?" He could definitely play into it, though and eventually make it a contest where the fans rile him up and he tries to impress them. But all in all, this storyline has more valleys than hills and is a big risk for him to take with his character. Is it better than nothing? At the moment, yes. If it goes bad, could it haunt him for a long time? Yes. I'm pulling for ya, Lance. I hope you can pull it off. Life is full of choices. Crowd got on Storm for using a long rest hold and ripped in with the chants. Pretty solid match in some areas but prettywell, boring in others. Y2J and DJ Lance showed some great teamwork. A mistimed attack sees the Stormtrooper run at D-Von with a flying forearm but misses and mistakenly knocks Jericho off the apron. Left alone to fight the duo, the ever charismatic Lance is struck with a 3D and put to rest.

Tonight it's Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash meeting Ric Flair and Randy Orton. Stop! commercial time. Uh oh, uh oh, uh oh

Commercial Break. You know why that woman goes crazy and slides down the hallway for a Milky Way bar? It's because there's a whole candy machine in her office devoted to Milky Ways. She's probably so high on sugar that she can't even see.

Were outside Madison Square Garden. The camera man was just given a ticket for sitting on a milk crate.

Recap of Kane's history with Triple H. We see Batista rip the mask from his face five months ago. Batista? He exists?

Kanes is still pacing and pondering his fate. He's also confused over the fact that they acknowledged Batista. Lance Storm may be "boring," but he's done well with other causes. Look, he's even inspired America's youth to start reading. Don't believe me? Here's an example

Randy Orton is reading Mick Foley's newest book when he's joined by Ric Flair. Much like a grandpa asking his grandson what he learned at school, Flair inquires as to what Orton is feeding his mind. Ace Cowboy Randy reads a passage involving breasts and lost loves. Ric goes wild and questions whether or not Mankind has ever touched a breast. (JG Note: He has children, Ric. Unless he does things differently than most people, I'd assume he's touched a breast.) Forget all that, though Orty. Tonight we pound the Dudes with Attitude and look out for Mick Foley. If Flair sees him, he's going to knock him out. Also, they are to make sure that Hunter retains the gold. Ready? Whoaaaa Bundys!

Come on, Bradshaw, give em back. Those are our sequined jackets and berets. You're not even supposed to be here. Please give them back. No, no more wedgies. Please!

It's the World Tag Team Champions that use Fox News to get heat, La Resistance. (JG Note: Seriously, they should get Neil Cavuto out here and have him head butt them with his gigantic head.) However, this is no laughing matter. No no. The French Fries request that you all stand Volkoff-style and respect the French Anthem. You don't have to suffer as badly as the MSG fans though. They sit through it, but you get to escape to the wondrous world of commercials.

Commercial Break. Why does the Maxim Hair Color commercial remind me that it's in the men's grooming section? Who's looking in the produce aisle under the broccoli for hair dye?

Stand Backit's the superhero with the power to make Tank Abbot dance.

A verbal confrontation ensues between Helms and the Frenchmen. They offer a match against Hurricane and a partner of his choice. I feel like I have Sgt. Slaughter radar. For some reason I can always sense when they're going to bring him out. Everytime they do, I say the same thing, "Oh man. Look at Sgt. Slaughter."

(4) La Resistance defeated the Hurricane & Sgt. Slaughter when Renee pinned Slaughter Big pop for the Sarge as he went to slow work on the Chirac-boosters. When the Hurricane leaps from the buckle onto Sylvan below he lands on his face. Pretty sick looking. Slaughter caught both Resisters and locked on the Cobra Clutch. When Grenier tied himself in the ropes and distracted the referee, it left an opening for Renee to attack with one of the tag straps. Dupree scored the win over Col. Mustafa's old partner. Sgt Slaughter looks like Mean Genes husky little brother. Hey, every wonder how la Resistance light their dressing room?

Kane is pulling on his wet hair. Hes having another dream sequence. I rememberI rememberI remember.Retro-video takes us back to Steve Austin's pep talk and Stunner on the Kaneman. What will happen? Something tells me that all the people who bought Kane masks from Shopzone will be on Ebay tonight.

Commercial Break. The same Kelsey Grammar who wouldnt allow the Tough Enough House into his neighborhood because he looked down on wrestling is now doing the voice for TNNs Gary the Rat. Its a cartoon about a Rat whos a lawyer.

I've started "What." I've started "Boring." Let's see if I can get them to chant "cookie dough." You dare me? Seriously, "cookie dough." You dare me?

The Ringmaster is here tonight for a very important reason. Next year we will all return to this very building for WrestleMania!

A big WreslteMania sign is illuminated with pyro. We all sort of just stare at it. Then the pyro stops and nothing else happens.

Austin then says that WrestleMania 20 is a story for another day and we should move on. (JG Note: My girlfriend asked "Isn't he the one who brought it up?") We're here to talk about something else. Remember that Hell in a Cell match? Remember that thing? Well when Stunning Steve was down on his luck and the refs refused to work, he turned to someone he could trust in. He turned to Mick Foley. Foley, get out here. The Rattlesnake has something for you. Jerry Lawler screams "Mick Foleys here tonight?" Jerry, he announced last week that hed be here tonight. Remember? I saw it on TV and I remember. You were there. You feeling ok?

Foley hits the ring and is cheered by the crowd. Stone Cold applauds his compadre and gives him accolades on his upcoming book. In fact, Mankind, Steve-o's got something to give you. No, not a Stunner. You're so silly.

One of a kind! And five of his friends!

Rob Van Dam enters the ring alongside the Dudley Boys, Tommy Dreamer, Al Snow and Spike Lee Dudley. Robby carries with him a framed Hardcore Championship. Stone Cold then offers a reminder to those of you who may have forgotten why Mick Foley is such a legend.

Video Tribute to Foley. Great piece. It's rare to see a performer treated with the level of respect that Mick is. It was very well done.

Stone Cold then presented Foley with the Hardcore title and congratulated him. But before Mick could respond

Hi, I prostituted my teenage daughter.

Vince McMahon? Vince McMahon is here and he's dressed like a 70s porn director complete with button-up shirt open to his naval. He stomps and waddles his way to the ring and confronts the group. (JG Note: "Uh, Mr. McMahonhi, Spike Dudley. I work for you. No no, that's not me. You're thinking of Mark Lloyd. I'm Spike Dudley - the wrestler. Yes, Spike. Yes, like the channel thing.") Mick, last time you were with the Vinnie of the Mac, you told him that you would never step foot in WWFE again. McMahon says that he cannot stand Mick personally but professionally has two words for him on behalf of everyone in the arena and around the world. "Thank you." Vince then offers his hand and Foley shakes it. Mankind then hugs an unwilling Mac. Maybe Vince has some sort of curse on him that makes him evil only on Tuesdays.

Dude Love thanks the crowd and takes a shot at Al Snow. He mentions the emotion he's feeling and tells us about witnessing Jimmy Snuka live in this building. When he returned, he didn't expect the reception he received to be so welcoming. It means so much to him to be back "home." He leaves us with a quote from Frosty the Snowman, "I'll say goodbye, but don't you cry, I'll be back again someday." Good piece. Strange for Vince's character. Set for Terrible Terry? No Terry Funk. Maybe he'll show up as surprise guest on a Castrol GTX commercial. I better pay attention.

Commercial Break. Did they change the dog's voice on the Greyhound commercials? Like it wasn't weird enough that the dog talked, now they screw with his voice too?

(5) Shawn Michaels & Kevin Nash defeated Randy Orton & Ric Flair when Michaels pinned Flair Everyone in this one's a ring-veteran except Randy Orton who is 21. (JG Note: He buys Renee Dupree beer.) Randy has to be happy with his positioning right now. He's one of the few young wrestlers used with the veterans lately. They've definitely put a solid backing behind him. At this point, he's got bright days ahead. About two minutes into the match, we cut and leave for a quick advertising blitz.

Commercial Beak. I can't imagine thinking that the Twix commercial would sway anyone to try their product. "I don't know. I didn't want to try it before, but after seeing that bald guy play drums, I want a Twix now."

Kevin Nash reminds me of the story about the little boy that didnt want to do the dishes. The way he got out of it was to do a really poor job. His mom never made him wash the dishes again. Not too bad of a gig to get paid for standing on the apron. I will say that I hope they can find something to do with Big Daddy Cool though. They've invested a lot of time into him since his return. This wasn't a bad showcase for him as it allowed time for him to stay out of the action and only enter to do quick damage. Altogether good match saw HBK hit a flying elbow on Slick Ric and then nail the Sweet Chin Music for the payback pin.

The Votes are in. What did the audience thing would happen? Would Kane win the World Title or unmask? 56% of the fans voted for a new world champion. Not a good sign when 56% of the audience is expecting you to wiggle out of a teased storyline.

Speaking of the Undertaker's brother, he's backstage and preparing for tonight.

Commercial Break. How many anti-drugs are there? When I was a kid, we didn't have "anti-drugs." We had Nancy Reagan telling us to "just say no." That's it. She told me and Gary Coleman. Nancy Reagan was our anti-drug. That my also explain why my generation did so many drugs.

Were outside Madison Square Garden. Feel free to browse the fake handbags and bootleg videos.

During the break, Mick Foley was signing his new book just for Vince McMahon when Randy Orton and Ric Flair walked by. When Mick congratulated the Nature Boy, he was viciously attacked. Mankind regained the advantage and managed to stuff Mr. Socko down the dirtiest gullet in the game before being knocked upside the head with his own Hardcore Trophy by Randy Orton. Randy and Naitch took Cactus apart eventually kicking him down the stairs. Seeing Dude Love sprawled below, Vince turns evil again and calls for a janitor. He then prostitutes Mick to business associates. Looks like the Vince McMahon Being Nice Curse wears off around 10:40pm.

Let me holler at you, Playa. You ready? Holler, holler, holler, holler!

The Teddy Long is back and this time he's got the Mack. Seems that ol' Rodney wants to get his hands on a white boy. Remember that? Well it's White Boy Challenge time. We'll make it Five Minutes because three minutes isn't a good number for Raw.

Madison Square Garden, Bill Goldberg. Bill Goldberg, Madison Square Garden.

(6) Goldberg pinned Rodney Mack after a Jackhammer at the :26 mark in the Five-Minute White Boy Challenge Rowdy Rodney rushes the stage and attacks Bill while he's still sucking in his pyro. Goldy tosses the Mack Daddy to the ground and watches him roll up the ramp. Seriously, Rod rolled all the way down. He rolled slowly too. Weird. They enter the ring and the Goldenbergler hits a Jackhammer for the win. JR hypes BG as an animal. Although this may have taken some steam out of Rodney, this is the best they've used Bill yet.

Kane still has images of X-Pac, Torrie and Pete Rose running through his head as he focuses backstage. But hey, whats doing buddy? Its Rob Van Dam. Hes here to wish you luck (JG Note: And remind you to always remember to bring a towel.) Anywho, good luck. Rob pats his big burnt buddy on the shoulder and takes his leave. Dr. Kane once again peers into the mirror before shattering it with his forearm. Thats seven years bad luck. Will his luck run out? Is this the end of the mask? Do you need to go to the bathroom real quick? Nows your chance. Dont worry, youll only miss the

Commercial Break. Optimum Online taps into a highly overlooked demographic, old men who use the internet to learn dance steps to impress love interests.

WrestleMania flashback sees Triple H giving Stephanie the Pedigree at WrestleMania 18. Isn't WrestleMania close to a year away? Starting early, huh?

Hey, man, it's Hunter. Listen, I love the purple boots and trunks. I was wondering if I could order them in blue. Yeah, blue. No, I want it brighter than Jim Duggan-blue. No, a bit brighter than Hercules-blue. Give me the Ken Shamrock-blue, only a little brighter. I want to see if I can make the audience's retinas bleed."

Cue Kane. Tell him he has to pay for that mirror, too.

(7) World Champion Triple H pinned Kane after a Pedigree Kane hit the ring pretty hard and went right to work on the Game. Good solid match which showed that Triple H is capable of delivering a good match. When he's not jammed down my throat with a McMahon shoehorn, Trips can still deliver. Ric Flair was at ringside for this one and watched on. The battle spilled into the crowd and the weapons got involved right as we went to an abrupt

Commercial Break. Charlie's Angels hits theaters on Friday. It's aboutah, who cares what it's about? Who's going to see it for the plot twists?

We're back and Kane is still battling the Blue Meanie. Hunter attempts to knock down the Machine with right hands, but in Old School Fashion Kane no-sells them. He batters Hunterloaf from pillar to post but accidentally takes down the referee with a boot to the face. Ric Flair gets involved and is caught, forcing him to drop the World Title he planned to use as a weapon. Dr. Kane waffles Trips and covers him. After about ten seconds, another ref runs in but only gets a two count. (JG Note: The other ref could run in to make a count even though Kane just used an illegal weapon?) Irate, Yankum tosses the second official from the ring and attempts to revive original zebra, Earl Hebner. He's caught with a low blow and a Pedigree. Trips covers for the onetwo.kick out! Pretty good reaction as H goes for a second Pedigree but is reversed. The Big Red Machine then choke slams an attacking Flair and tosses Hunter into him. His undoing came when he attempted a choke slam but was ambushed from behind by Randy Orton. The ref revived just in time to see the Game hit a second Pedigree and score the pin. Bye bye, mask.

After the bell, Evolution regroup and congratulate their champion. You know what? You know who I haven't seen yet?

Mr. Bischoff, you're on. Uh, ok. I'll say it like that if you really want me to. You want me to start over? Ok. Ahem. Excuse me, Mr. Bischoff, you're Harley is gassed up, they're playing Voodoo child and Tony Shiavone just gave out the results of Raw. It's 1996, Ace of Base is on the radio and people love you. You're on. Was that better?

Easy E is in the hizzy. Unmask, Kane! Take it off! But just as the Vick-murdering dentist prepares to unmask, he's attacked by Hunter and his merry men. They pound the burn victim until his skunky bud, Rob Van Dam makes the save and joins him in clearing the ring. Rob sits on the mat like a four year old at story time and watches his partner pace from side to side coming close to revealing himself on several occasions.

Finally, after walking back and forth, Kane reaches up and takes off his mask. He reveals that his hair is fake and turns to show a burnt face complete with missing hair. Uh. Wow. Let me give you the visual. Black around the eyes, black between the eyes and down the nose. Random "burn scars" on his head. His hair was half shaved on the scalp with curly hair besides. He looked like a burnt clown. I didn't like this. I didn't like this at all. The unmasked monster then choke slams Rob and grimaces. The camera focuses in on this disturbing image as we fade to black.

All in all historic, but not spectacular. After years of waiting, Kane is finally unmasked and I don't really think the resulting character is all that intimidating. I hope they don't regret this, although I wouldn't be all that shocked if he just went back to wearing the mask again in a week and say that he stipulation was that he would have to unmask, not make it a permanent thing. Other than that, the show was average with some dragging and at times didn't really hold my interest. The best way to explain where I stand with the product right now is like this: When they showed the Foley tribute video, I saw moments from the late '90s and remember thinking "I liked the show better back then." But when they mentioned Shawn Michaels's Elimination Chamber win last November, I remember thinking "I like it better now than then." I guess it's easy to say that I've seen better and I've seen worse. We weren't really left with too much to anticipate for next week and Evolution is still only three members strong. Well, that's that. Kane has no mask. You happy now? Catch my commentaries throughout the week in the Guttman's Take section on the menu. See you next week. All that fuss and he looked like a charbroiled Doink the Clown .

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