So it’s been three weeks since RAW returned to USA. And for a while tonight, it actually felt like the RAW of old. Between Mick Foley’s appearance on the Cabana, Stone Cold’s drunken tirade and The Rock’s constant promos for Doom, it was like taking a ride in the Wayback Machine. All that was missing was Matt Pinfield pimping tonight’s guest stars on Farmclub.com.
In case you’d forgotten, last week’s episode ended with Linda McMahon firing JR, arguably the best announcer in WWE history. But in case you did forget, that’s okay, because tonight’s RAW kicked off with a video recap of the whole painful event, ending with Linda McMahon stiff-legging JR in the balls.
Vince then comes out and immediately starts hyping the Taboo Tuesday PPV. He tells the crowd he personally challenged Eric Bischoff to come up with something innovative and groundbreaking. In other words, something totally unlike RAW. Vince addressed Stone Cold’s rumored return. If he showed up, Vince just might have to kick his ass. With his face. Vince then introduced a video retrospective of JR’s RAW career. This Hallmark card had all the highlights you’d expect: JR kissing McMahon’s bare ass; JR being set on fire by Kane; JR getting beaten and bloodied wearing a variety of OU gear; and, of course, last week’s nutshot heard ’round the world.
That out of the way, Vince introduces JR’s replacement, none other than Jonathan Coachman. Ugh. Coach’s new screen introduces his segment as “The Playa’s Club, featuring The Coach.” Double ugh. And is he wearing JR’s hat? Heresy! In the first of many JRism’s Coach uses tonight, he tells us “Business is about to pick up.” Because he’s the new voice of the people, see. That’s odd, because I don’t know any people who sound like a racially confused/sexually ambigious sycophant. Well, except Coach, of course.
Backstage, Kurt Angle corners Vince and demands he be made the new Number One contender. In the middle of his plea, a hurricane noise sweeps through the arena. A few seconds later, it’s the Hurricane! Jebus, how many people have to be killed before Vince kills this bit? The Hurricane defends JR and disses Coach. At that, Vince tells Angle to “Sic him!”, and Angle does just that. Good to see Angle is thinking for himself these days.
(1) Kurt Angle defeats The Hurricane The Hurricane put up a valiant effort, but once Angle locked in the Ankle Lock, it was all over. Isn’t this guy supposed to be a superhero? Seems the only superpower he has is getting superjobbed. Meanwhile, Coach’s commentary consisted entirely of imitating JR. So much so that I’m going to start calling him JC, as in “Man, I wish someone would kick JC in the nuts.” After the match, we got our first shot from the Stone Cold-Cam, set up outside to capture Stone Cold’s arrival. Although judging by Austin’s performance later in the night, a simple breathalyzer would’ve been just as effective.
Afterward, Vince is seen talking with Eric Bischoff in the leather couch room. “Did you like that? Did you like the way I said ‘Sic him!’?” Bug-eyed Vince asked Bischoff, who’s clearly uncomfortable with Vince’s delivery. Me too. I keep expecting McMahon to tell Bischoff to wake up the gimp. “Yeah, that was great,” Eric mutters. McMahon asks Bischoff about Taboo Tuesday‘s main event, at which point the Bisch comes out of his shell. Basically, he wants to have a Triple Threat Match between John Cena, Kurt Angle, and one of the three winners of tonight’s qualifying matches between Big Show and Edge, Carlito and HBK and an 18-Man Over the Top Battle Royale With Cheese! Starting next week, the fans can vote on which of tonight’s three winners will be the third man in the Triple Threat Match. Vince finds this to be both cool and competitive and gives Bisch his blessing. Isn’t Vince supposed to hate Bischoff? I wish someone would kick them both in the nuts.
Coach introduces his announcing partner, Jerry “The King” Lawler, who tells Coach if his head gets any bigger, he’s going to need a 20-gallon hat. And if this gets any lamer, I’m going to need a 20-gallon bucket.
(2) Big Show defeats Edge via pinfall in Qualifying Match The first of tonight’s qualifying matches was pretty sloppy. As was the announcing. When Edge hit Big Show with the Spear, JC yelled “Gore! Gore! Gore!” Lawler corrected him, prompting Coach to yell, “So spank me! Spank me! Spank me!” At another point, Coach had this to say about Big Show: “Big Show is so big.” Yes, he really said that. And he didn’t even follow it up with anything clever like “when he sits around the house, he sits around the house.” Lawler immediately took him to task, “You’re taking JR’s place, and all you can say is ‘Big Show is big’? Is that your contribution to RAW? Is that your analytical analysis?” Even Paul Heyman contributed more than this. Eventually, Edge tried to sneak his briefcase into the ring, but was distracted when JBL’s music played. Big Show took advantage of the opportunity and pinned Edge.
Afterward, Edge and Lita were complaining to Bischoff about JBL’s supposed “interference”. Edge told Bischoff he’ll be on SmackDown! Friday night to take care of JBL himself. And maybe pork a few divas while he’s at it.
Time for Carlito’s Cabana. Tonight’s guest? None other than Mrs. Foley’s baby boy, the Hardcore Legend Mick Foley! (*swoon*) Foley tells Carlito it’s cool to be on the Cabana. Not because Carlito’s cool, however, but because it’s rare Mick is ever in the ring with someone who has worse hair than he does. (That’s only because Dave Barry isn’t in the WWE.) “What happened to JR was a travesty,” Mick tells Sideshow. And he couldn’t believe Linda was the one who did it. At that, Linda interrupts Mick with a taped “live” announcement. (Linda’s delivery was less believable than that really bad ventroliquist who kept popping up during The Aristocrats. The one who wasn’t Bob Saget.) Linda says JR had the firing coming for attacking her family. You don’t mess with Linda’s family. Other things you don’t mess with: Linda’s hair, which looks to have more product in it than Jimmy Johnson’s. Turns out JR is having colon surgery this week, and she wants to let him know the entire McMahon family is
sacrificing a goat praying for him. Also, she’s heard rumors that JR might be planning on suing the WWE, saying Linda’s nutshot exacerbated his colon problem. Of course, the WWE’s lawyers will have none of that. I hope they’re really good lawyers, Linda, because you did kick your employee in the balls. On basic cable. Whatever. Evidently, Sacramento can be really humid this time of year.
Carlito puts his arm around Mick, telling him he needs to accept that JR’s not coming back. “Now he’s just an unemployed, out-of-shape loser…just like you!” That’s why Carlito brought Mick to the Cabana tonight, because he’s “the least coolest person Carlito’s ever seen.” At that, Foley tells Carlito about an ironic twist: He knows he’s not cool–he doesn’t even want to be cool–yet wherever he goes, fans tell him he’s cool. “Yet whenever the fans meet you,” he tells Carlito, “they just say you’re a horse’s ass.” Whinny indeed. When Carlito prepares to spit an apple in Foley’s face, Mick tells him he’d better worry about his upcoming qualifying match with HBK. “As a good friend of mine used to say,” he tells Carlito, “HBK will beat you like a government mule. And that would be cool. Have a nice day!” Yes!
Another look at the Stone Cold-cam reveals Sacramento to be a pretty boring place.
(3) HBK defeats Carlito via pinfall in Qualifying Match Carlito tries to get an early start, jumping HBK on his way to the ring. And that’s the highlight of the match. Unbelievably, this match is even worse than the Big Show/Edge snoozefest, as HBK appears to be have consumed a bottle of syzzurp before the match. (Is Mike Jones HBK’s manager now?) JC, meanwhile, continues to trot out every JR cliche he can think of, defending himself by telling King “you gotta wean people off JR. You can’t just quit cold turkey.” Fortunately, Coach’s insistence on using JR’s catchphrases leaves less time for his penile fixation. Still, I bet Coach isn’t quitting that cold turkey anytime soon either.
This is a really boring match, made even more boringer when HBK locks in the Sleeper hold. It’s the only offense HBK has up to this point, as he’s spent more time on his back than a cheerleader on prom night. In an effort to remind us how street he can be, JC throws out a little rhyme: “If HBK’s heart is beating, he’s still competing.” Looks like Young MCena’s not RAW’s lamest emcee after all. Finally, HBK delivers a little Sweet Chin Music to pick up the victory.
As HBK is celebrating, Ric Flair walks down the ramp. And we go to commercial. Awkward. Flair’s in mid-ramble when we come back. He has a big bandage across his forehead, the result of the beating he took at the hands of HHH two weeks ago. The Nature Boy is pissed. He never even says “Woooo!” Instead, he tells us when Hunter decided it was time for Flair to retire, it lit a fire under Flair’s ass like there hasn’t been since that one time, in band camp, when he and The Four Horsemen had a fart-lighting contest… And even though he’s 20 years older than Hunter, he can still drop an elbow on a suit jacket like nobody’s business.
After that, things start to get weird. Flair tells us how he’s survived a plane crash and being hit by lightning, so he’s not afraid of HHH. To prove his point, he starts hitting himself in the forehead, busting his cut wide open again and bleeding all over the place. Yuck. This is really gross. And this is coming from a guy with a zombie-fixation. After asking the crowd, “Are you not entertained?” Rickie McBleedsalot calls out the Game, who ambles down the ramp. Flair wipes the blood from his eyes long enough to grab a baseball bat from under the ring, then chases HHH backstage, who runs away like one of JR’s proverbial scalded dogs.
When we come back, we get another shot from the Stone Cold-cam. What happened to Flair and HHH? Also, Carlito won’t spit on Maria’s face, which makes her cry. But not as much as Carlito cries about his loss to HBK. Why? Because it’s Mick Foley’s fault he lost. Carlito then challenges Foley to a “Loser Gets a Makeover” Match at Taboo Tuesday.
(4) Victoria, Torrie and Candice defeat Trish, Mickey Stalker and Ashley As expected, this match sucked. On the plus side, the cameraman got up close and personal with Mickey Stalker’s vagina.
Finally, the Stone Cold-Cam picks up Stone Cold driving into the arena. And not a moment too soon. Stone Cold promptly drives over every prop that gets in his way, and doesn’t stop until he’s driven clear to the ring. Austin says he’s given ten years of blood, sweat and tears to the WWE. And drank a bunch of beer on top of that. Evidently, all of it right before his promo. “There were good times and bad times,” he says, “but I never backed down from anyone in this sumbitchin’ company.” (Note to self: Use “sumbitchin’ ” somewhere in the next company newsletter.) And the only one who’s been Stone Cold’s friend the whole time is Jim Ross. What he saw on his TV last week was totally unacceptable, says Stone Cold, and he’s here to beat Vince’s ass. “Come on out, Vince” he taunts. “I got 48 beers. I can stand here all night.” Unless he has to pee. Wait, too late.
At that, a McMahon comes out, just not the one Stone Cold wants to see. Instead, it’s Stephanie, who tells Stone Cold he looks disappointed to see her. “Damn right I’m disappointed,” he slurs. “I was gonna beat the hell out of your damn daddy.” Next, he asks Stephanie to explain her family’s fascination with balls. “Your daddy’s always talking about his grapefruits, and last week you said you had bigger balls than any man in the company. Am I about to stun my first transvestite?” Austin may be drunk, but damn he’s funny.
Steph says it’s Stone Cold’s fault that JR was fired. And teases him by adding if he touches a McMahon, JR will stay fired. Stone Cold teases back, and threatens to spank her. “What if I put you over my knee, pull your little dress up…gotta be careful your balls don’t fall out.” At that, everyone–Stone Cold, Steph, the Coach, Lawler and myself–start to laugh. Stone Cold recovers and asks the crowd, “If you want to see me give this girl a spanking, give me a Hell Yeah!” “Hell no!” Coach yells. Talk about balls. “Nobody wants JR here, and nobody certainly wants you here,” he tells Stone Cold from the safety of the announce table. “So why don’t you get in your pretty little truck, put your tail between your legs and run out of the arena like the scalded dog you are.” Uh oh…
Austin shows Coach his recipe for Beer-Can Hat.
Before Stone Cold can kick Coach’s ass, Steph says she has a proposition for him. “Great”, Stone Cold says. “I’ve got $20.” This prompts another laugh from the King. Because everyone knows Stephanie McMahon’s propositions are a $50 BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY. Steph tells him if he wants to get JR’s job back, all he has to do is beat JC in a match on Taboo Tuesday. “If you win, JR will be rehired.” Of course, Stone Cold doesn’t trust her, but Stephanie says that as a McMahon, and as his boss, she guarantees it. At that, Steph leaves the ring so Stone Cold can get some beers drunk. Before leaving the arena, however, she informs Stone Cold that if he loses to Coach, he’s fired. Stone Cold shows Steph she’s still number one in his book, then drinks another beer on his way up to the announcing table. There, he taunts JC, breaking his sunglasses, ripping his shirt and filling his cowboy hat with beer, before putting the hat back on Coach’s head. Lawler tells JC he has HBO: Horrible Beer Odor. And he’s wearing ABC: Awful Beer Cologne. Good thing Lawler doesn’t get Showtime.
So, what do you think? Did tonight’s episode deserve a kick to the nuts, or just this recap?