JG's 4/21/03 Raw Insanity: Michaels and Hunter Love Nash, Goldberg Hates Rock Concerts, and Rodney Mack Starts Beating Up White Boys
By James Guttman
Originally Published: April 21, 2003
Back in the olden days (the 80's), I remember sitting down to watch wrestling and being greeted by the canary yellow suit of Vince McMahon, the misshapen sunglasses of Jesse Ventura, and the hopelessly out of place Bruno Sammartino. The shows were far from blockbuster. Most of the time we were showcased epic encounters between Outlaw Ron Bass and Tim Horner. You watched the squashes, laughed at the interview segments and waited for something important to be announced. The funny thing about those shows is that there was never a feeling of emptiness. Perhaps it was the fact that you went into it expecting nothing monumental. When a major event did happen, you were lucky. When it didn't, you were prepared. But this isn't 1987 (unless of course you're Chris Jericho's musical tastes), it's 2003. The wrestling world has morphed and evolved and we're always waiting for something huge. Nowadays, we're promised the world at each broadcast. When it happens, we expect it. When it doesn't, we're left flat. Lately WWE's fanbase has been flatter than Viscera's toilet seat.
But that all will change tonight…or will it? Once again, WWE has loaded a broadcast with big name angles and marquee matches. But will it be enough? Is tonight's episode of Raw destined to be the one to turn it all around? Will the Game Triple H and the Book Booker T give us a WrestleMania World Title rematch to remember? Where do the loyalties of Big Daddy Oz Kevin Nash lay? What does Vince's savior de jour have in store for the Rock's Concert? Can the Whole Dam Show Rob Van Dam and the Partially Burnt Dentist Kane hold on to their precarious position as World Tag Team Champions for another week? What are Scott Steiner's thoughts on domestic issues? Why can't the Rabbit just buy a box of Trix? Well, we've got questions and Raw supposedly has answers. Let's see for ourselves as we tear down and try to figure out… Raw.
We start things off with a bang with the Nature Boy Ric Flair pacing back and forth in the Leather Couch room while General Manager Eric Bischoff kicks back and pages through the latest "Swank" magazine. Seems that Slick Ric has issues with Uncle Eric. Apparently the Dirtiest Player in the Game and the…uh Game have problems with Eric's recent bookings. How could Bisch set up a six man match at Backlash with him, Trips and Chris Jericho against Kevin Nash, Shawn Michaels and Booker T? While we're on the subject, how about the title match tonight between Hunter and Book? What's the deal? Well "the Whiz Kid of 1996" lets Naitch know that it's all about compelling TV. This is compelling TV! (JG Note: This is compelling TV?) But Sleazy E ain't outta surprises yet. Tonight's title match will have a special guest referee…Shawn Michaels! Flair protests and Schoff reminds him that Booker "unintentionally" hit Shawn last week. Ric then reminds him that Triple H almost maimed HBK right before that. Well, Bischoff tells the Nature Boy to chill out. In fact, take your angry Charlotte aggression out on someone else. Hell, Eric's just doing his job. I guess if things don't go Ric's way, he can always punch Bischoff in catering again.
Raw Theme Plays. Then Vince McMahon reveals today's theme ingredient – Shark Fin.
Stand Back…because you smell.
(1) Chris Jericho defeated Hurricane via submission
Sort of an abrupt way to start the show. These two are more than capable of putting on a good match although they both seem to be stuck in the same rut. They can play parts in the feuds of others but for some reason they can't really gel into a story of their own. Solid opener that got the crowd going. Big finish saw Suga Shane rolled into a Walls of Jericho when Y2J+3 reversed the Eye of the Hurricane. Jericho is still in his shiny pants and Shane Helms is still clad as a little green Superhero. All is right in the world.
Following the bell Ric Flair ran to ringside and beat Hurricane like one of his son's friends. Enraged, Slick Ric tosses Cane into the ring and locks on the figure four. The Coach screams "This is insult to injury!" (JG Note: No Coach, my column is Insult to Injury.) We question Flair's Nature Mind as we rush to a shot of …
A Limo in the parking lot and who should step out but the People's Champ the Rock. The Great One is live in Hotlanta and he knows the people want to hear the Honky Tonk Rock sing. He knows they want to see the Honky Tonk Rock dance and he knows they want to hear his new hit single "That's Alright Rooty Poo Mama." Well, he's gonna oblige him being the gentleman he is. Rocko grabs his six string, Peggy Sue and the Colonel. Tonight we've got ourselves the Scorpion King and the Rock Concert Too.
Commercial Break. TNN puts the "FU back in Fun." Before that it was just "N."
Theodore Long and Rodney Mack busta move out to the ring. Teddy ain't mad atcha but he's gonna holla at you, playa. Seems that it's a big conspiracy by the "man" to keep Rodney Mack off of Raw (JG Note: Jeff Hardy wishes he could blame "the man.") So tonight Theodore's gonna propose the White Boy five-minute Challenge. Rodney Mack is going to beat a white boy in less than 300 seconds. Belieedat. In fact, for some strange reason there's a jobber in the ring. Rodney doesn't care what this prelim's name is. Tonight he's just a punk ass white boy and the Mack is gonna take him down. Honestly, there is no one in this business today that can cut a promo like Teddy Long.
(2) Rodney Mack pinned "Unnamed Jobber with Evans written on his tights" after a powerslam in 1:46 of the "Five Minute White Boy Challenge
Once again Theodore joined in on commentary and provided some great stuff. He got into things with Jerry Lawler and tried to call the King out on his friendship with the "black" mayor of Memphis. Coachman took to it and called Long a racist for his views. Peanuthead don't listen to haters trying to bring him down. He tells J.C. and the King to lay off the "Haterade" before leaving the booth. Hehe – Haterade. This was one of the best-booked segments I've seen on Raw in a while. It allowed Rodney and Long the ability to get their characters over without having to sacrifice another character's development. At this point, there aren't too many guys that Rodney could be put over at such an early stage. Although many will probably complain about this match being a "squash," I think it served it's purpose. Well thought out. I backed the Mack. Actually, I had to back the Mack because I didn't know this other guy's name. I'll just call him Red Tyler.
Booker T is in the house and he's walking the hallways. As he reaches his destination, the door with the Shawn Michaels Stick-On nametag, Mr. T enters. As one would expect to find in a room labeled "Shawn Michaels," Booker finds…uh, Shawn Michaels. T wants to know the dillio, Rocker. Why are you the special guest ref tonight? HBK assures the T-Man that he's as surprised about this as Book is (JG Note: Careful, Booker that's what he said to Bret.) But to add more background to this one, BT brings up the fact that a year ago in this very arena, Shawn Michaels superkicked him. Wow, that was a while ago? The N.W.O.? How much has this company been through in the last two years? But the Spinnaroony Man got his revenge last week. Basic wrestling blah blah. "Call it down the middle. Play your cards right." Shawn can dig that and agrees. Or does he…? Muwahahahaha!
Commercial Break. Bruce Almighty is the new film where Jim Carey spends a day playing God. Following suit, Raw will now be called "Hunter Almighty."
Goldberg supports our troops and all their pets.
The Coach is standing center ring and he's fixing to give us a big Heat Reunion. Is it D-Lo Brown? No… Is it DJ Scribble and that girl who introduced Stephanie as "a woman twice my size" on one of the first episodes and was never heard from again? No…
Loading….10%….30%….50%… Lita Version Eh
With that we welcome the Dark Angel herself, Lita to the ring. I'm not a big Amy Dumas fan, but she definitely has a talent for getting over. Also with her look and gimmick, she should have no problem finding a spot on one of the shows. Everyone is so happy. After all the pain caused by Jessica Alba, Lita finally heard from her doctor last week that she can start…
I'm ba-ack…and look like Baretta...
SpongeBisch Squareface enters the squared circle and lies to Coach Johnny about how he's doing a better job than JR before sending him on his way. Easy E eyes Lita like she was a box of wine before welcoming her back to the show. He informs her that she has talent we haven't even seen yet. In fact, how about doing what Torrie Wilson did for Smackdown and bare it all for Playboy? (JG Note: Once again Eric Bischoff runs his show by stealing ideas.) He scans her up and down and comes across like the old guy at the club. But if Miss Congeniality is going to show the world her goods, she better give Uncle Eric a peek first. What say tonight Litattitude comes to Bisch's hotel room and give him a private show (JG Note: and bring a pizza, some midget porn, a bottle of Jose Cuervo and some ring-dings). In fact, much like Pat Patterson said to Murray Hodgeson – "Give me every reason to keep you on the payroll." Well too bad Lita spent all her money on pantyhose shirts or else she could get a lawyer and have a hell of a sexual harassment suit. But alas, Miss Amy hath no lawyer to speak of. Instead she tells Greasy E to take this job and shove it before leaving the ring. Flustered by the thwarting of his sweaty advances, Eric screams that she is fired as she leaves. There was once a time when Eric Bischoff would play the role of the man who hooks up with Lita. Now he plays the roll of the man who skeeves Lita out. It's only been five years. Those were a tough five years.
Commercial Break. Gatorade asks "What drives you?" In the commercial, there's a female soccer player that answers "Millions of Little Girls." Everytime, without fail, that this commercial comes on and she says that I turn to my girlfriend and say "That's what drives me." I think it stopped being funny a while ago but whatever.
Team Nose is chilling backstage. Slick Ric tells Hunter all he did to fix this title match situation. Triple H is annoyed by all this before having a moment of clarity. Yes, the Game has a plan. He doesn't tell us what it is but assures Ric that he's gonna fix it (JG Note: He's gonna tell his fiancée to change the script.)
(3) Scott Steiner & Test defeated Three Minute Warning when Scott pinned Jamal
Chris Nowinski joined Jerry and Coachy at ringside for this one as we learned some background. Seems that Scott Steiner has been looking to get his hands on Three-Minute Boring since last week's attack during his epic debate with Christopher. Test is there…well just because. All in all, nothing different than you would picture. Pretty routine until Test hit Jamal with a very awkward but impressive pumphandle slam. Rico then interfered but found himself on the apron with Stacy Kiebler grabbing at his leg. Showing his evil side, Rico Martel kicked her to the ground before lifting her up for an assault. Seeing this act of brutality being done by someone besides himself, Scotty chases Sideburns off and consoles Kiebs. But the head Testicle sees this from the ring and it just doesn't look right. Like a boyfriend in Ricki Lake's Backstage Soundproof Booth, Andrew thinks his lady may be looking elsewhere for loving. Distracted, Testes found himself taken down by Jamal. Minute and a half turned to celebrate when Scotty ran in and hit him with a Reverse DDT. Three seconds later, Three Minute Warning come out on the "L" side again. Operation Rebuild Scott Steiner Week 4 – Now Complete. Test has some things to iron out with Stacy as the two argue into the ..
Commercial Break. Gatorade has more questions. This time they ask "Is it in you?" Uh…I highly doubt it, but if it is can you please get it the hell out?
Oh Scotty Steiner thought this was over? Not by a long shot. Test is coming to get answers. Why did Scotty have to come in and get the win, thus stealing all the glory? Why is he kicking it to his ladyfriend? Before things get heated Miss Hancock steps in and thanks Scotty for his help. Pump tells her she's welcome and then tells Andrew that as for his opinon of him…well, he follows that up by spitting on the ground. In some cultures that's a sign of love.
WWE's answer to Otis of Maybery, Eric Bischoff is dialing up some 900 lines on his cell when Big Kevin Nash confronts him. Big Kev wants to know the deal with the Kliq. When he returned to Raw, it was under the impression that he'd be back to hang with his old running buddies. Eric tries to explain, but Kevin tells the GM that he won't control, manipulate or con him (JG Note: That's Kevin's thing) Eric squirms around the situation before finally giving Diesel some advice to take this situation into his own power. Kevin assures us that he's taking his own side – the winning side.
Rocky Maivia is playing that old six string (JG Note: Bought it at the five and dime), when he's confronted by the former director of Shattered Dreams Productions, Terri. She asks the Eyebrow what we can expect tonight. He gives his word that tonight he will give the people what they want. He also asks Miss Terri not to look at the People's Booty too long because it gets hot. She must have eye lasers.
Commercial Break. TNN presents the "Most Extreme Elimination Challenge." I hope it's better than that show they had on last year, "The Kinda Extreme Elimination Challenge."
"Can you smell it?" Yes? Ha. The one who smelt it, dealt it.
Here's the Brahma Bull and it looks like we're gearing up for another installment of the most electrifying non-wrestling portion of the show – "The Rock Concert." Maivia is here to give the people of Atlanta a show. He's going to do things much like the band on "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" He's going to do it Rockapella style Well, then do it Rockapella. The Scorpion King treats us to some little ditties about the people of Georgia. I'm really hoping he's trying to be bad because this man can't sing. If Rock auditioned for American Idol, Simon Cowell would stab him with a letter opener. He even busts some songs on Bill Goldberg himself. He calls him a whisker biscuit and if he doesn't like it, he can shine it up real nice and stick it straight up his candy ass. But regardless of the Great One's personal ish with Da Man, Rockyboy promised to take care of the people, and he will do just that. Ladies and Gentlemen….
Wow. Out from the back to remind us of happier times in the WWF before most people tuned the "F" Out came Duane Gil"berg." I love Gilberg for so many reasons. Partially because while growing up and watching those episodes of Superstars (with Bruno Sammartino and McMahon that I mentioned in the start of this report), Duane Gil was constantly being squashed. Whether it be as a singles star or with fellow jobber partner Barry Hardy (no relation). When Bill Goldberg came to be in WCW, Duane was given a rare second chance. Everytime Gilberg came out on TV he looked like he was genuinely having fun. Great great stuff. Oh wait…doesn’t Goldberg want to kill him? Did anyone read Bill's book? No? Ok… got me there – most people didn't read his book. Well, basically Bill wants to kill him.
Gilberg runs around the ring flexing his out of shape body and making funny faces. Rock then proceeds to do a great old school "heel interviews insulting face imposter interview" ala Lawler/Piper 1994. It was great stuff and did a good job of building up the match this Sunday. It even brought with it the new Rockism "Giggle-panties." I think Rock gets third graders and feeds them lots of sugar and waits for them to insult each other to pick up new catchphrases. The Scorpion King then prepares to belt out his top hit, a parody of "Devil Went Down to Georgia" entitled "Rock Went Down to Georgia." Rocky flubs the opening but proceeds to hit us with a lyrical breakdown of how Bill Goldberg's mom is whore while Gilberg claps and dances around. This was seriously one of the funniest things I've seen on this show since I can remember. I really hope they can find something for Duane to do after this run ends…or his life ends, whichever comes first. I say this because just then, Goldberg pulled up. He hasn't had any bread since last Wednesday afternoon and he's in a real bad mood.
Rocky calls out security and gets a group of people wearing "Event Staff" jackets. Ridiculous. Rocko doesn't need security. He's not in trouble – Gilberg is. (JG Note: Told you.) After all, Duane's been making fun of Billy G for years. But relax, Gil, Rock knows that ol'Berg doesn't have "the balls" to come out here. Even Gilberg lowers his head and prepares after that line.
I used to inhale the pyro and breathe it out my nose and then one day I woke up with seven fingers. I stopped inhaling the pyro after that. Yeah, no one notices the fingers because I wear these gloves.
Out comes the ringer and he's got revenge on his mind. Berg marches to the ring and literally bursts through the "security" waiting for him. By the time he gets to the ring though, the People's Champ has already taken off. Left with nothing else to beat on, Billy Boy tosses the Event Staff around like rag dolls. Seriously, he killed these guys. As he finished, the bravest man I've ever seen in my life, Gilberg, attacked him from behind. Duane hit Goldie with some shots that he no-sold until the Great One attacked, flooring Da Man with a Rock Bottom. The Golden one rolled around in pain as the Rocky One left the scene.
But wait…there's more. It's gonna take more than that to keep Goldenburger down (JG Note: A Limousine window perhaps?) He chases the Great One through the curtain but is too late as Maivia jumps into his awaiting limo. Berg runs after and gets into his waiting Barracuda. He revs it up but it stalls. I have no idea if that was planned or not – but I doubt it. He gets out and goes off on foot. But as he leaves the building, we see the Rock come from behind. He outsmarted Bill! Oh, you boys – playing tricks on the new guy. Great segment.
Commercial Break. Castrol GTX helps old cars feel young again. Sports cars make old men feel young again.
Vignette for Renee Dupree and Sylvan Granier. Great video. Funny enough, the slogan of the French Duo "N'ayez pas peur – Don't Be Afraid" is actually a variation of WWE's motto, "Ne soyez pas l'observation de nos expositions. – Don't be enjoying our show."
Remember what happened before the break? No? With Bill and Rocky? No? Well, rewatch it.
"Spike Dudley, Trish Stratus, I'm sure you two are wondering exactly who are your opponents in this evening's inter-gender tag team match up. Well allow me to introduce them to you now. After a slight misunderstanding last week, these men have proven their loyalty to the Bischoff Administration by accepting this match. They also just happen to be my hand picked challengers to face RVD and Kane for the World Tag Team Titles at Backlash. Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce Bubba Ray and D-Von – the Dudley Boys!"
(4) The Dudley Boys defeated Trish Stratus & Spike Dudley
I wasn't even sure if I should count this as a match. Things started with Spike trying to make nice, but they had other plane. Bubba laid him out with a powerbomb and then Chief Valhoo demanded that they batter Trish. While D-Von hesitated, Bubba went on the attack. They laid her out and Venis told them to put her through a table, which caused the Boys to disagree. Chief Sean got the table himself and the two argued over whether or not to put her through. Just then, Team Burn Out of Rob and Kane-o made the save, running the Duds back to home base.
Once the ring was cleared of everyone but a beaten Trish, Jazz and Teddy Long rushed the scene. J-Zazz hoisted her up and dropped her down to the table below, once again declaring that the "Bitch is Back." Raw just accomplished more in the last twenty minutes than they did in the last four months.
Rocky's coming back and he's fixing to give us a second helping of the Rock Concert. Second verse same as the first…
Commercial Break. Remember when Eddie Murphy would make fun of someone who made a movie like "Daddy Daycare?"
Triple H and Big Daddy Cool are hanging in the stairwell. Hunter tells Nash to wash his hair in cold water and then use conditioner to give it that natural shine.
The Great One is back and he's here to give you all an encore. (JG Note: I guess he's just not happy closing out a Rock Concert unless he gets run off). He's got more tunes designed to insight the crowd. But like a shadow in the night, Billy Goldberg rushes in and takes him down. He tosses the Scorpion Bull over the rope and proceeds to beat him down. BG Gold tosses his adversary back into the ring, but as he awaits to land the Spear Christian takes him down! Edge's little brother takes some shots, as does the Great one but Goldy comes back and hits them both with Spears. But when he takes his focus away from the Rocky Christians, Maivia takes charge and knocks BG down with some vicious chairshots becoming entangled in his own headset microphone in the process. As the People's Champ leaves area, Goldberg gets to his feet and I go to the…
Commercial Break. Hey CSI, what do jumpers take off if they don't have glasses?
Coach and King run down this Sunday's big Backlash card. Backlash is Sunday? Is it just me or do these things seem to sneak up on you now?
Big Daddy Cool Nash is knock knock knockin' on Shawn Michaels's door. When the referee ready HBK answers, his former bodyguard tells him to keep an open mind. It seems that a certain somebody wants to talk to him. Who is it? Triple H. The Game enters the room and Shawn closes the door. Oh man, it's like the good old days only without Lex Luger around to bitch about it.
Commercial Break. Tobacco is whacko if you're a teen. By "whacko" they mean "really easy to buy without having to show proper ID"
Mr. America is coming to WWE. Ms. America is a beauty pageant.
Lillian Garcia has the mic and isn't singing. Instead she gets us ready by announcing that it's time for the World Heavyweight Title Match. Diamond Lil "shouts" an intro for our guest ref…
The Hartbreak Kid makes his way to the ring and Jerry Lawler reminds me that CASTROL GTX brings Backlash to me. Castrol GTX also brings me Eric Bischoff's hair color.
It's all about my head and how I wet it!
A Whole Pound of food men….Sucka!
(5) Triple H and Booker T wrestled to a no-contest
Well here's the obligatory WrestleMania rematch. Good showing by both men and despite having to compete with an overloaded backstory that didn't really involve the outcome of this one. The Book had to contend with interference from Ric Flair while HBRef tried to restore order. But to complicate things, Chris Jericho popped out of the locker room right as we cut to…
Commercial Break. Did you know that knowledge is the anti-drug? Who's job is it to think of these bad mottos?
We're back and the Game has the Five-time WCW Champ locked in a sleeper. The battle rages on and has quite a following at this point with Flair and Jericho standing watch at ringside. Despite all these odds, BT makes a stunning comeback and takes the Game from pillar to post, narrowly capturing the Gold on a few occasions with Triple He reaching the ropes with his hand or foot. T takes down the Champ and delivers a Spinaroony before vanquishing Flair and Fozzy and making the cover. He only gets a two count but sets the H man up for a flying elbow. What happens next is definitely something people will bring up years from now. Hunter reached to push referee Shawn into the ropes, thus causing Booker T to fall, but HBK was wearing snap-on workout pants. When Gamy reached up to push him, he accidentally unsnapped the pants leaving Shawn mid-ring in his white boxers and his pants around his ankles. Funny. Really really funny. Finale saw Flair distract the Heartbreak Guy while Y2J plastered the World Title across the Booker's head. Before Shawn counted, he looked down and saw the belt. Enraged at the cheating ways, he took down all three heels, laying Hunter out with a superkick. But as T rolled over to make the pin and Michaels counted two, Jericho and Ric ran in to break the count. They beat the Boy Toy and B Tizzy until the Nash man made his presence felt.
Diesel entered the ring and helped the Cerebral Assassin to his feet. Hunter protested that HBK had sold him out with a foot to the face. The Outsider nodded along before walking off to check on the other Dude with Attitude. However his distraction left an opening for the evil Helmsely to hit him with a low blow from behind. Hunter takes his leave with his former friends rolling in pain. They point fingers and make funny faces as we fade to black.
All in all… Good show this week. I mean that, Vinnie Mac. Tonight's show had some great elements that seemed to not only build for Sunday's Backlash, but also introducing some new talent and directions. I think the job being done on Goldberg has been tremendous. I said from the start that a guy like Bill needs to be used right or else he won't be worth a dime and up until now the promotion has done a good job pushing him. Will they be able to do it for a prolonged period? Probably not, but we'll deal with that when we get to it. For now, it's working. Another good aspect was how so many stories were blended together within certain segments to advance them. For example, the Dudleys match not only teased the Duds split, but it also pushed the feud with Van Dam and Kane and advanced Jazz's story with Trish. Very well put together program which seemed to have a definite direction. The only drawback would be the predictable ending to the show with Nash. There definitely should have been something to stir things up a bit. But other than that, tonight's episode of Raw was a good one. See you back here next Monday for another episode of Raw. Until then, remember to wet your hair and spit your water and one day you can be champion!
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