JG's 3/15/04 Raw Insanity: The Crippling Champ, The Debuting Grisham, and Look What Vince McMahon Did!
By James Guttman
In a stunning move, Brock Lesnar has decided to leave World Wrestling Entertainment in favor of pursuing more "respectable" roles, like that of an NFL player. However, after some soul searching, Brock decided that football was below him as well. In an effort to finally find happiness, Lesnar applied to and met with Skippy Rosenblatt, assistant night-manager of his local McDonald's.
Skippy: Hello Brocktune, please take a seat.
Brock: Thanks. You got questions? Ask 'em.
Skippy: Well, I've reviewed your resume and seem to think that you have some excellent potential for employment here.
Brock: That's great. When do I start? What do I do? Run the whole place? I don't want too many hours. I get tired sometimes.
Skippy: Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Brocktune. We've had a number of other qualified applicants come in for interviews. Just this morning I saw a gentleman by the name of Nathan Jones that appears to have everything we look for in an employee. The best part is that if we hire him, we'd save money on milk.
Brock: Are you saying he's better than me?
Skippy: No, not at all. I'm just confused by your resume is all. Like this, for example. Under "other skills," you wrote "once pushed a one-legged guy down a flight of stairs."
Brock: Haha. Yeah, that's true. That happened.
Skippy: I'm not questioning that. I'm just wondering how that makes you a better McDonald's Employee.
Brock: It shows that I, uh…um, uh, know how to use stairs.
Skippy: What? OK, forget it. I guess that makes sense in some weird way. If we were to hire you, would you have reliable transportation to and from work?
Brock: I own a plane.
Skippy: A bit much, but that works I suppose. Now, would I be able to contact your former employer, uh…a Mister Vincent McMahon?
Brock: I'm not sure. He liked me, but I did only give him like four days notice.
Skippy: Alrighty then, maybe I won't. It was great meeting with you, Brocktune. I guess I'll be calling you soon if we have a place for you.
Brock: OK, I'm going to go punch some old people in the face.
Skippy: You do that. Enjoy. We have other applicants waiting that I really need to get to. Have a good day.
Lesnar leaves and heads through the lobby. He stops at the next interviewee.
Brock: Be careful in there. The interviewer is a tough one.
Lesnar leaves and Skippy enters the lobby. The other applicant sits there excited with his resume in hand.
Skippy: I'm ready for another interviewee.
Bill Goldberg: (Slamming down his resume) I'm next!
WrestleMania is in the record books and once again New York's fans made themselves a part of the show. Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg both ended their runs with a bizarre contest which was overshadowed by the crowd reaction. With "you sold out" chants ringing through the Garden's hollowed halls, Brock shot the crowd the double finger. It was surreal. The match and reaction brings up interesting debate and in many ways you could say that the fans were wrong. They couldn't allow a performer to step down early in his career, thus avoiding injuries and tribulations that the road brings with it. He's given great matches and done a lot to add to WWE's mystique over the last few years. In many ways you could say that Brock is wrong. When it's Goldberg, everyone jumps down his throat for a lack of passion. Why shouldn't the Next Big Thing suffer the same fate? Doesn't he owe his fans and the performers that helped elevate him more than a last minute abandonment? The questions could go back and forth all day. In the end, there really isn't a right or wrong. The fans are the way they are and Brock is the way he is. The fact that so many people in the arena knew about his departure shocked me a bit. The fact that they reacted to it the way they did didn't. To quote the new poet laureate of WWE, John Cena, "it be's like that sometimes" or whatever it is he says.
That's deep stuff, this is Raw. Let's just get set for another regular old edition of Spike Lee's wrestling showcase featuring the World Champion Triple…Benoit? Chris Benoit? Yeah, hell froze over last night and the most unimaginable finish to a WrestleMania went down. How's it all going to play out? Will the Crippler emerge tonight with his title intact? Who kidnapped Triple H last night and replaced him with that other guy that wrestled Michaels and Benoit? How's Molly's bald head? Is it the whole "getting beat up" thing that turns Trish on and made her join up with Christian last night? Gotta get a girl like that, huh? It's on like Teflon folks. Last night it all began again. Escape the rules, Smack your TV, and begin all over cause it's the night after RassleMania and business is sure to pick up!
March 15, 2004...Jersey, baby!
Uh, Mr. Helmsley, you're on. Hey, Mr. Helmsley, I saw Mania last night. I saw you tap to Chris Benoit. Are you, uh, feeling ok?
Why yes, my friend. Here have a flower. I wish you a lifetime of happiness. Chant with me. Aoooommmmmm
Triple H comes out and he's clad in a sling. I've ripped this guy apart for a year and a half now but last night was the first time in a long time that I genuinely felt Hunter did what was right for the team. Although the Game is most likely going to win the title back, it still shows that WWE is serious about pushing Benoit and Trips knows what's right. Face facts, with the H-Man having so much pull, he wouldn't have to job if he really didn't want to. I respected the way he ended that match and applaud everyone involved. I might applaud, but the evil Triple H character doesn't. You see, the crowd may chant "you tapped out" and revel in the fact that the Rabid Wolverine is the new champion. Well la-di-friggin-da. You think one match makes a man the best? No way. Being the best means staying the best. It means proving yourself every day of the year. (JG Note: The promo was very reminiscent of one that Ric Flair gave on Prime Time Wrestling just after losing the World Title in 1992. It was one of the most forgotten, but probably one of my favorites. Flair said that "being the man and staying the man were two very different things." Hunter followed that lead with his in-ring monologue tonight and did a fairly good job with it.) As I was dissecting this interview in my head and referencing obscure promos from the early '90s, my fiancé broke my train of thought and asked "Does Hunter use a flat iron?" He might. Who knows? The Flathaired Assassin explains that he is the best thing going today. Chris Benoit may think that he won, but he's wrong. Now the target is on your chest, Toothless Boy. It's time for Hunter to go hunting. Next time around it'll be one-on-one. Once this sling comes off, it's time to reclaim what rightfully belongs to the Meatloaf man…
WWE Christmas Party 2003:
Hey there, Vince. Great party.
No problem, Crippler. I'd like to introduce you to my other daughter, Penelope. No one knows about her, but she's new in town and could use someone to show her around.
The rest is history. Chris Benoit hit’s the scene and he's carrying the World Title that WCW tried to give him to stay and work for Kevin Sullivan. Crips tells Trips that he's, well listen:
"You know, I was back there listening to you run your mouth. Going on and on and on and on and on and on with your pissing and moaning. And finally I just had enough. You say it takes more than one match to become the best? Well last night at WrestleMania 20, Madison Square Garden, I beat Shawn Michaels. I beat you, Triple H. I made you tap and I became the best….You talk about consistency, week after week, month after month, year after year, well I'll tell you what. When your arm gets better and you think you're able to get back in this ring with me. When you think you're man enough, you do that. Because week after week, month after month, year after year, from here on in, I'm gonna kick your ass and make you tap and tap and tap and tap and tap and tap and tap!"
- World Champion Chris Benoit, 9:10PM
Damn. The two stare each other down and Hunter finally responds by telling the Champ that it won't happen on his "best damn day." (JG Note: Yesterday was his best damn day and he did that.) Chris concedes that today is not his best damn day and then unloads on Gameboy with a punch and kick.
Triple H scrambles and his Evolutionary buddies save the day. Ric Flair, Batista, Helmsley, and Randy Orton surround the ring and box the Toothless Aggressor in. (JG Note: If I had to choose a side of the ring to escape from out of these four, I probably would have chosen the side with the 55 year old man guarding it.) With all four men holding Benny-wa at bay, Shawn Michaels rushes to the ring and evens the odds. Well, not really even…but he helps cause he has a chair…"I really don't know how much longer Vince McMahon has. Only Vince McMahon knows what his resources are. Quite frankly, I've spent the majority of my career in the same position as Vince. Digging out of that hole can be a long and painful process...and to date he has not demonstrated to me that he has the creative ability or resources to get out of that hole anytime in the near future."
- Eric Bischoff Prodigy Chat, October 12, 1996
Eric Bischoff is in the heezy fo sheezy and he just got off the phone with the man who dug himself out of that 1996 hole, Vince McMahon. Vinnie Mac said that Chris Benoit will not defend that title tonight and he'll be here later to explain why. As payback for beating the Rocky Socks last night, the Evolution trio will get a chance to do the handi-cap match thing again. This time, they'll meet Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit. How's that one grab ya?
Commercial Break. 10 Things Every Guy Should Experience on Spike TV is hyping their WrestleMania edition. The winners get to go to WrestleMania 20! WrestleMania 20 was last night. Kinda anticlimatic, no?
Backstage John Coachman catches up with the Heartbreak Deity Shawn Michaels. HBK lays claim to the first title match with Chris Benoit, considering that he holds a pinfall over the Champ while Hunter does not. Tonight the Man Toy will go out to the ring and protect his investment. He'll protect the Champion. He'll protect his tag team partner. (Marty Jannetty Note: Yeah, right.)
(1) Women's Champion Victoria & Lita defeated Molly Holly & Jazz when Lita pinned Jazz Molly Holly was wearing the Genius Lanny Poffo style blonde wig with chinstrap in this one and did the classic "just-had-your-head-shaved" character. As the match neared completion, Shiny Happy Victoria went to pull Mighty Baldie off the ring apron, but instead yanked her fake hair right off. Flabbergasted, Holly ran from the match, clutching her gleaming dome. Jazz was left to hold up the team on her own and suffered a pinfall to Lita following a snap DDT. Molly Holly must really like working there. If my boss told me to shave my head, I'd spit at him.
Still to come: The Missing Tooth Guy teams with the Leather Chaps and Mirrors Guy to face the Cowboy's Kid, the Former Deacon with the Belly Button Ring, and the Crazy Old Man. Also, Jackie Gayda meets Stacy and the Dudleys challenge Team Rob Van Booker for the World Tag Titles.
Commercial Break. "Can't get enough nuts? Grab a Snickers, now packed with even more nuts." I knew a lot of girls in college that are probably rushing out to grab a Snickers right now.
We're back and it's like a silent movie. Jim Ross is yappin' away in the King's ear and there's no audio. It goes on for a little while like this until the sound kicks back in and we learn that they're talking about the strange betrayal of Chris Jericho by Trish Stratus. Let's go to a photo montage of recaps…
Photo Montage of Trish and Christian beating down Jericho at Mania I didn't know girls liked getting beat up. For Valentine's Day next year, I'm giving my fiancé a short-arm clothesline.
Chris Jericho is just walking along, minding his own business, when he's bum rushed by announce team newcomer Todd Grisham. Grish asks him how he felt about losing to Christian last night. Y2J ignores. What about Trish Stratus? This time Jericho responds with a cold stare. Todd then says "What I'm asking is how do you feel about Trish Stratus betraying and humiliating you last night?" (JG Note: This guy has tact, huh? What I really mean is how do you feel about being punked out last night and having your beating heart ripped from your chest while you cried like a little bitch? I'm just wondering)
Matt Hardy Version Who? Fun Fact: Matt is starting to think that Jeff had the right idea.
Matt Hardy enters the ring and awaits his Fozzy opponent.
I hate you. You broke my heart, eh. I want my stuff back, by the way. You have my records and Pert Plus Conditioner. I want them back.
Downtown to Chinatown,
(2) Matt Hardy defeated Chris Jericho via disqualification The King of Bling Bling is in a serious mood tonight and Mr. Mattitude takes full advantage of the situation. He pound away on Y2J+4, noting that he's slapping him "just like Trish." Incensed, Jericho opens up on the Hardy Boy and begins to go psychotic. No matter, because Jim Ross tells us that Christian and Strats have taken the "coward's way out" and stayed home tonight. Good idea on their part. Y2Crazy goes so coo-coo that he finds himself disqualified for choking out Version One outside the ring. Hey, it's a win, Matt. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth You wanted a win, you got one. God bless.
Commercial Break. According to the Dawn of the Dead commercial, when Hell fills up, the dead will walk the Earth. Great. If you thought that it's hard to find parking now, just wait.
We come back to see Chris Jericho drive away. That means Christian and Trish Stratus will show up. Consider it Wrestling Logic rule #21.
Randy Orton is still basking in the afterglow of his pinfall on Mick Foley last night. The Intercontinental Champion recounts the victory from last night and then challenges Mickey to do it one-on-one. How's that gonna feel? How are you going to explain that loss to your little son, Huey. (JG Note: It's pretty crazy that he named his kids "Huey and Dewey." I'm naming my kids Bert and Ernie.) The challenge is made and we await the response.
All three members of
Commercial Break. Twix it Up? Bad idea. Twix should capitalize on Snickers and make their slogan "Twix, for when you don't want nuts in your mouth."
Val Venis is in the ring with a "lucky fan" from Jersey. She has the honor of getting
(3) Kane pinned Val Venis after a choke slam Val got his ass handed to him. Kane-o pounded away on him as the announcers recapped the monster's loss to his American Dead Ass brother, the Undertaker last night. I still can't understand how they had months to update Taker's look and kept him exactly the same, only with a leather cowboy hat. Silly stuff. Match ends as Venis fell victim to a choke slam and a pinfall. What else did you expect?
Recap of the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. You can bet your butt that this thing is coming to DVD and Fanatix Pay-per-view series soon enough.
Commercial Break. 1-800-CALL-ATT is "free for you and cheap for them." Any collect call is free for me. Who cares about "them?" Screw "them."
(4) Jackie Gayda vs. Stacy Kiebler was called off when Vince McMahon commandeered the ring Nothing to recap here. Jackie kicked Kiebs from the ring early on and then locked on a resthold, prompting Big Mac to come out and call the whole thing off. He must have thought it was a Rhyno match.
Last night, Mr, McMahon declared that it would all begin again. That's not just some clever catchphrase. He meant it. Things have gotten stale around here. Vince knows you want new superstars. You want new matches and rivalries. Damnit, you'll get that. Next week, Smackdown is coming to Raw. Everyone's names is going into a lottery. According to VKM, whether you're "Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero, or a relative of mine," your name goes in that tumbler. We're going to shift the rosters and create a new WWE! I felt like Matt Gould in the final episode of Joe Schmo, "What is going awwwwnn?" Crazy stuff. On one hand, it's a good short term shot to the arm. On the other, it's sort of undoing a great amount of work that has been done to successfully present the rosters as separate. On a the third hand, I now have a whole bunch of new people I'm going to have to think of silly names for in this report. The King and the Cowboy speak about how they could be split up as a result of all this and then fire away to the ads.
Commercial Break. For a limited time, Subway has a 6 inch Tuna Sub for only $2.79. For an extended time, you can buy a can of tuna and make it yourself for about a third of that price.
Eric Bischoff's version of Lewis Rach, Johnny Spade, is on the phone and can't give the person on the other line a response to this roster shakeup. Easy E comes in to the picture and is confronted by DeEvolution X. Could this spell the end of the team? Bisch confirms that no one is safe from this….no one!
(5) World Tag Team Champions Booker T & Rob Van Dam defeated the Dudley Boys when Booker pinned Bubba Ray Now that they've made this announcement, everything for the rest of Raw means nothing. They should have held off until the end of the show. What's worse, is that the first match after the announcement is this one - which didn't mean much to begin with. Ross and Lawler spent most of the time focusing on the big announcement. What's worse is that this whole thing dragged on. They even cut halfway through for a…
Commercial Break. There's a Jakks Pacific commercial featuring Goldberg and Brock Lesnar action figures. Last night, Toys R Us in Time Square ran out of Brock figures and hundreds of fans stood outside chanting "You sold out" for hours.
We're back and this thing is still going on. There's really nothing behind it and with the prospect that the tag champs could be split next week, there's even less. Basic stuff ending with Booker T landing a Scissors Kick and scoring a pin.
Commercial Break. The Rock is starring in the new film "Walking Tall." Strange enough, Vince McMahon is starring in the new film "Walking Funny."
Excuse me, Mr. McMahon. It's me - Spike Dudley. Uh, which show will I be on?
What show will you be on? What show are you on now? You still work here? I'm still paying you? Get out there right now and let Christian kick your ass. Goddamnit, talk about throwing money out the window.
Spike Dudley comes out and gets a few waves in until Edge's little brother, Christian, pops out with the former Fitness Model, Trish Stratus. Mister Christian takes down the Sunday Night Heater and allows his new old lady to land a kick to Spikey's head.
Following the beat down, Christian says that his lady has something she wants to get off her chest. Strats reminds us that it was Jericho who bet on whether or not he could "nail" her. What type of cheap slut do you think she is? Trisha then says that while Y2J tried to screw her, she screwed him. Spike TV beeps out both mentions of "screw." (JG Note: Vince didn't BEEP Bret. Bret BEEP Bret.) Christian says he is not a CLB because he got the girl. TS ends the promo by telling the Highlight of the Night "You can't get no Stratusfaction." Didn't Lawler use that joke already? She then makes out with Christian. I guess Trish digs the dudes after all.
La Resistance is feeling unloved backstage. With Sylvan Grenier making his flamboyant return to the team, they expected this to be a happy tonight. Well, ol' Stone Cold had gone and made their brown eyes blue by fining them. Enraged, pre-pubescent Renee Dupree vows to go the ring and take care of business. Conway is left with Grenier and the poodle. I fell bad for Rob Conway.
Renee Dupree is here to transition Stone Cold Steve Austin from the storyline with Lesnar and Goldberg. He takes the microphone and begins to rundown the United States. So what if they didn't fight in our war? Why would Dupe get shot for you "American Pieces of Crap?" He goes on and the glass breaks…
Stone Cold appears and take a wild guess at what happens. Yup. He beats him. Renee gets beaten down and the Stone Cold Sheriff celebrates the mud hole stomping and Stunner with some brews. Well, that was…uh, filler.
Next Week: The Lottery - No, not the Shirley Jackson short story where they stone each other to death. The Vince McMahon one.
Commercial Break. The lead character of the new movie "Hell Boy" must be Shawn Michaels's natural nemesis.
(6) World Champion Chris Benoit & Shawn Michaels defeated Ric Flair, Batista, & Randy Orton when Benoit forced Batista to submit to the Sharpshooter Again, this match seemed more like a going-away party for the Raw angles than an actual match. You have to wonder if any of these factors will be in play after next week anyway. Will Benoit still be on Raw? Will Michaels be on the same roster as him anyway? Will Evolution still be together? With so many outside issues kicking in during this match, the contest itself suffered. As a bout, it was good. As a match capable of overcoming so many other distractions, it wasn't. Then again, probably no match could have done that. Halfway through, we saw the Titan Tron reveal Mick Foley's arrival. Shocked over Foley's arrival, Orton gets distracted and things get crazy. Everyone ends up in the ring and you know that means someone is coming on down. Someone does - Foley. Mankind rushes the ring and pounds away on Randall with the ref incapicated. In the ring, HBK hammered away on the Nature Boy, but an interfering Triple H landed a Pedigree on the Boy Toy, allowing Flair to cover him as another ref ran out to count. Things settled down again, but picked up when Hunter entered to give Benoit a Pedigree and ended up being Superkicked by the Boy Toy. Trips rolled out and Benoit rolled Tista over in a Sharpshooter. Davey B submitted to it and Earl Hebner called for the bell. (JG Note: Earl Hebner Note: Honestly, he submitted. It wasn't like that other Sharpshooter.)
Join us next week as everything goes upside down. Shawn and Chris share mutual respect as we fade to black…
All in all… nothing special, but it wasn't supposed to be. Tonight's Raw was about next week's Raw.
I'm going to hold my tongue on the whole roster reset for now. It has potential to be a horrible idea, killing all the work they've done until now to distinguish the two brands. Casual fans are just now starting to realize who's on what show, so in that sense it might be a step back. Then again, it could take people who watch one of the two shows and have them watch both to follow a performer they've been tuning in one time each week to see. If we're talking short-term effects, it's good. It's going to get people talking and create some immediately interesting TV. Also, it explains the reason for the roster walkout on Heyman last Thursday and opens the door for that hoped-for ECW late night brand. Ultimately, it could go either way.
Having the announcement half-way through and immediately proceeding the forgettable Dudleys-RVD/Booker match really dragged down the show. Even Jim Ross had to make mention of how hard it must be for these two teams to perform after such a bombshell. It was like WCW storylines leading into the final Nitro - it just didn't seem to mean anything.
That was pretty much the problem with this entire show. It will be historic in that it was the first night of Chris Benoit's title reign and had the announcement of the new Roster Lottery, but other than that it was a buildup for next week's show. With such a big promotion altering angle taking place next week, this episode had no chance of being off the charts amazing. That wasn't the point. Next week's Raw is the point. You'll be tuning in, right? That was the idea.
Well, that's it for me this week. I'm still unpacking after big move this past weekend. Funny thing about moving. You expect to find all the crap that you've lost through the years and then don't. It's annoying. I guess the old apartment ate it. While I look for all my old stuff, take in the week and meet me back here next Monday for some more Insanity. Hey, whatever happened to Jimmy Snuka being in the Rock and Sock Corner?
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