The State of RAW Address
June 5, 2003 - by Emer Prevost
But, overall, RAW has shown some promise of going back to the greatness of the
early and mid 90s, but then flushes itself back into a blackening abyss of
sorrow and necrophilia. With the problems I shall discuss here, you will
plainly see that the last year of RAW has been nothing short of disappointing.
My fellow wrestling fans..
After viewing the last twelve months of WWE's RAW, I feel that an evaluation is
From June 2002 until June 2003, we have seen a lot. Some of it, we never
thought we'd see, like Eric Bischoff on the RAW stage shaking hands and hugging
Vince McMahon. And, we have seen things that we knew would happen, such as
Triple H's seemingly endless title reign.
I believe that most of the problem lands on the man in the center of most of the
problems, Triple H. I am not going to discount his phenomenal talent, and
awesome work rate, but he is the main cause for most of RAW's sorrows.
Another grim date is October 7, 2002, the night Triple H and Kane began their
feud. Now, I know that someone who hasn't seen RAW lately would ask why that is
a bad thing. Well, it wasn't that the feud was a bad idea. Far from it. It
was that the RAW writing team threw in a necrophilia angle, and thereby brought
all hopes of a decent program between two talented workers to a screaming halt.
I think it can all be traced back to September 2, 2002, the night Triple H was
awarded the WCW--oops, I mean RAW World Championship. Since then, "The Game"
has only lost the belt once, and that was to longtime friend, Shawn Michaels.
It seems that as of this writing, the only person who has a chance of taking
that belt off of Trips' waist is another long time friend, Kevin Nash. And,
I'll bet ya that Hunter will carry the belt again, a month after losing it to
Nash. I'm no psychic, but I have a hunch.
There was also Triple H's feud with Scott Steiner, but I'll cover that one
But, I guess that most fans wouldn't gripe about Hunter's stranglehold on the
World Title if their were some other championship matches to hope for. Sure, we
have the Women's Title, and bless Fit Finlay, he is trying to get the Divas to
put out some great matches, but it isn't the same.
But, some fans are clamoring for the Hardcore Title to return. For those who
really want that, I have a few simple questions for you, do you really want to
see that tattered belt being put up twenty-four seven again? Do you want to see
a belt meant for hardcore athletes go to a more technical star like Lance Storm
(they gave it to him in WCW, and Vince is in nostalgia mode, remember that)? Do
you want to see an entertaining, yet bottom of the barrel belt go to someone who
needs a push, like Tommy Dreamer or The Hurricane?
Recently, the WWE brought back a long loved belt, the Intercontinental Title.
So, we have something to shoot for. They gave the belt to Christian first, so
they at least had the smarts to put it on someone who has shown worlds of
promise. But, the WWE's master plan is to give the belt to Booker T. This
isn't a bad idea, but Booker shouldn't hold a mid-card belt, not since he has
announced his five times, five times, five times, five times, five times as WCW
Champ week after week. Besides, the IC belt was to help push mid card stars
into a world title run. So, I think that the belt should go to the likes of Rob
Van Dam, Lance Storm, Kane, or the Hurricane. I don't care if these guys have
held the belt in the past. They still need decent pushes.
But, like I said, Triple H's backstage stroke is only one of the woes that has
befallen RAW over the last year. There's also the WWE's signing of Scott
Steiner, Goldberg, and The Legion Of Doom. These three "ratings magnets" have
driven away more fans then they have attracted. Sure, Steiner and Goldberg each
had a ratings surge, but they didn't keep the ratings up. And as for the LOD, I
have tarnished their good name enough in an earlier article, so I won't bore you
After that debacle, you would think that the WWE would have wised up and kept
Steiner away from any more title shots. Did they? Hell no! One month later,
at No Way Out, an almost identical match took place. And, just like the
previous match, fans went to the bathroom and shut off their TV sets. Finally
after it bombed twice, the feud ended and Scott Steiner hasn't been in any big
feuds since then, unless you count Chris Nowinski, La Resistance, or Test as
major feuds. But, if you think those are major feuds, you should seek help.
Steiner first arrived on WWE TV in 1993, but that was a happier time. When he
came back in 2002, he had changed from a talented young superstar to a washed up
pile of steroid gained muscle and nauseatingly large bulging veins.
He was immediately thrown into a championship match with Triple H (see, I told
you I'd cover it later), and the results were boring. Steiner was blown up
after just a few minutes and Triple H had to carry him the whole match.
That seems to be a major problem with RAW, too much ego. Every day, you hear
about another backstage fight, or another person demanding something backstage
on RAW. It is said that there is always some kind of backstage tension on RAW,
and the proof is here in black and white. Triple H never loses his title, and
Goldberg never loses period.
As for Bill Goldberg, he never impressed me. Even when he was in WCW his only
good match was carried all the way by "Diamond" Dallas Page, but that has no
place when talking about Goldberg's recent RAW run.
Essentially, Goldberg is, was, and always will be a 2D character. Since Bill
only knows a few moves (punch, kick, career ending superkick, spear, &
Jackhammer), his matches are rather short and dull. Sure, he throws in a suplex
or two here and there, but so does Scott Steiner, and we all know how much of a
winner he is.
Right now, Goldberg is being groomed for a WWE World Title run. We all know
that he will get the title, because he refuses to job to anyone. So, now,
instead of just having the Kliq's stroke and massive combined ego, we also have
to deal with some guy who thinks he's top dog just because he was "'Da Man" in a
company that was going belly up.
No wonder fans are running from RAW like rats scurrying from a sinking ship, we
all know that the end result of every show is Goldberg getting a push he doesn't
deserve, Triple H will keep his title (or drop it to a friend), and all the real
talent is either on SmackDown! or stuck in the muck that is mid-card hell.
But, with all the negatives, there are some positives. The did bring back the
Intercontinental Title, and Christian is the current champ. That much is good.
The WWE also fired Jeff Hardy, another plus.
Before anyone starts sending my nasty e-mails, let me explain something. Yes,
Jeff was supposed to be the Shawn Michaels of the Hardy Boyz, but he didn't
assert himself and started taking drugs and his work rate suffered for it.
While some people can't take the truth, it's right there. Jeff didn't cut it,
and now rather than be the Shawn Michaels of the Hardy Boyz, he turned into the
Marty Jannetty. But, maybe Jeff lost his edge from the drugs and the lack of
Matt Hardy. Maybe Jeff is like Stevie Ray, really good with a Booker T. (Matt
Hardy in Jeff's case), but unable to make the jump into singles action.
Speaking of hiring and firing, another downside to the last year was the
terminations of D-Lo Brown and Raven. Once more, I ask that no one send my hate
mail until I speak my piece.
Most people would agree that firing Raven was a dumb move on the WWE's part, but
most wouldn't say the same for D-Lo. Well, D-Lo had a boatload of talent.
Think about it, he really didn't need to have a flashy gimmick (or even a decent
catchphrase), and he still had some fans. The only gimmick that almost killed
his career was the Lo Down gimmick (but that is another story for another day),
and even that was tolerable.
But, when I think about it, I am happy that D-Lo and Raven are gone. I was a
fan of both, but they were both misused by the WWE and would have stayed in
mid-card hell for the rest of their careers.
Look at it. Raven, who is World Champion material, was reduced to main eventing
every single Heat. How can something like this happen? They were giving title
shots to Bubba Ray Dudley for God's sake! Raven could have been the dark horse
champion, a man no one thought could beat Triple H. But, no, they shipped him
to Heat and left him their to rot.
D-Lo too, was a Heat regular who could have gone to WWE greatness. Oh, well, I
guess both guys can just become NWA: TNA greats then. Vince's loss.
Before I continue, if I have anything else negative to say about RAW, I'll say
it. I don't care if I said I was done. If the negative works in hand with the
positive, then so be it.
Not surprisingly, Austin's return is welcomed by the WWE, because they see that
Austin was the Dutch boy with his (middle) finger in the dike that was the WWE.
But, even after he was made Co-GM, something wasn't right.
Sticking to hiring and firing, the return of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was a
breath of fresh air for us all. Even without being in the ring, he works great
as co-General Manager of RAW. But, Austin leads to a few negatives to go with
the major positive of coming back.
In the past year, Austin has walked away, came back, "fired", and "re-hired" as
the Co-GM. His first walkout was a thorn in the side of wrestling fans all over
the world. It would have been different if Austin would have walked out on
house show, but he walked out before a RAW broadcast, and this forced the
bookers to do something that doesn't come easy, writing something new on the
For the first three weeks of Austin's run as Bischoff's partner lead to beer
bashes. Not just one, but three. The first and third were widely heralded
('Steve Austin's Beer Bash', & 'Steve Austin's Memorial Day Celebration'), but
the second was just Austin coming out after a match and saying, "It's time for
another beer bash.. the second one only counts as a beer bash because Austin
announced it as such.
It got dull a minute into the first one, so you know my stand on the other two.
What was so damn great about someone chugging beer after beer after beer that
was so damn interesting? Maybe I'm missing something from not drinking, who
knows. I just know that one beer bash was fine, two was tolerable, and the
third was just a way to eat up time on Memorial Day.
Speaking of holidays:
RAW has fallen on a few holidays over the past year, the biggest ones being
Memorial Day and Marin Luther King, Jr. day. Both of these RAWs proved to us
all that when in doubt, so something real dumb on the holidays. If it isn't
D-Lo breaking out his racist gimmick officially on MLK Day, it's La Resistance
interrupting the singing of America the beautiful on Memorial Day.
What if Easter somehow (although impossibly) landed on a Monday? What would we
see? My guess is the "resurrection" of an older star, or someone like Tommy
Dreamer beating the crap out of an Easter Bunny with a kendo stick. But, since
that will never happen, let's just not dwell on it.
Overall, I feel that the state of RAW is: On the edge. It is so close to failure you can smell it. But, dammit, Vince
and company are trying (we all hope) to make it a better show and making the
Hey, wait a sec. I just thought of something. I've been looking at this all
wrong. Earlier, I blamed Triple H for most of the problems on RAW, but I was
wrong. Who is allowing Trips to hold on to that belt for so long? Who thought
that Scott Steiner and Goldberg would help RAW? Who writes all the WWE checks?
The answer is simple. It's Vincent Kennedy McMahon. If anyone should be
crucified (literally) for giving us such drek in the last year, it's the boss
himself, Vinnie Mac! So, send all your hate mail to Vince, he'd really love to
hear from you.
Oh, one final thought;
I didn't mention the RAW X show. I didn't because that could be an article in
and of itself. So, by leaving it out here, I have more to work with. Besides,
we all know that the RAW X Special was an embarrassment anyway, why remind the
world of it now. I'll wait until RAW turns 11, then I'll lower the boom on the
by Emer Prevost
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