Monday Night Raw – January 27, 2003

Monday Night Raw
Date: January 27, 2003
Location: Allstate Arena, Chicago, Illinois
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

Eric Bischoff’s time to fix Raw continues to count down but he has a secret weapon: magazine interviews! Yeah that was his big announcement last week: Steve Austin can tell his side of the story in Raw Magazine. I’m going to assume that it leads to an on-screen return but at least it gives us something to talk about other than HHH vs. Scott Steiner, which is still going for some reason as well. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – January 13, 2003

Monday Night Raw
Date: January 13, 2003
Location: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the go home Raw before Sunday’s Royal Rumble and hopefully we actually hear a few more names for the Rumble itself. However, we’re lucky enough to get more of HHH vs. Scott Steiner without having them actually doing anything physical. Throw in more of Bischoff as McMahon and the show could manage to set new standards for horrible. Above all else though, Vince McMahon is here tonight and that makes for some drama. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – July 4, 2002

Smackdown
Date: July 4, 2002
Location: FleetCenter, Boston, Massachusetts
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We’ve got a huge holiday show here with Kurt Angle challenging the Undertaker for the World Title a few days after Undertaker defended against Jeff Hardy in a ladder match. Other than that Smackdown has become the breeding ground for the new generation so it should be interesting to see where John Cena, Randy Orton and Batista go from here. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – June 27, 2002

Smackdown
Date: June 27, 2002
Location: Allstate Arena, Chicago, Illinois
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

We’re in the big city tonight and it’s time for a new challenger to face Undertaker. I know Jeff Hardy is getting a title shot on Raw next week but it’s fairly clear that we’re getting some combination of Rock/HHH/Undertaker for the title at Vengeance. Why Smackdown is getting back to back pay per view title shots isn’t immediately clear. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – May 9, 2002

Smackdown
Date: May 9, 2002
Location: Harbor Yard Arena, Bridgeport, Connecticut
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

As horrible as Raw has been in recent weeks, Smackdown is really starting to find a groove. They’ve hit that perfect balance of wrestling, storyline and entertainment to make two hours go by very quickly. The shows aren’t great but they’re easy to sit through and you actually get some good wrestling. Let’s get to it.

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Bryan or Batista?

So Scott, now that the IWC is rejoicing over Bryan most likely being added to the title match at WMania. How do you see that match ending? Do they go with Big Dave (most likely the original plan), or do they do what most EVERYBODY wants and finally give Bryan the title?

They already played chicken with the fanbase once and lost badly.  I really don't see them trying it again.  Clearly HHH is going to pin Bryan after three Pedigrees and then he'll take care of business in the main event and beat both Orton & Batista with one hand behind his back before impregnating Stephanie at ringside on the post-show.  

HHH vs. Orton vs. Batista vs. Bryan

Hello,

After the close of Raw, do you think it's possible they set up a four-way dance for the title? They have established an animosity (some subtle, some more overt) between all four competitors. Also, it would seriously stack the odds against Bryan and truly make him an underdog, making his (presumed) win more impressive. Plus, you could still have Batista/Bryan and HHH/Bryan later down the line.

It just doesn't make sense at the moment for them to stick with Orton/Batista, especially if it is the closing match. They would HAVE to know what the reaction would be either a complete burial on the likes of Goldberg/Lesnar or crickets like HHH/Jericho or HHH/Orton.

Thoughts?  


I know that people keep saying "They can't possibly run Orton-Batista" but they honestly think it's a big match that people want to see, and all signs point to them signing an idiotic agreement to put Batista over for the title in the main event of the show.  So no matter if everyone hates it or not, they're gonna do it.  Bryan's probably gonna have to settle for getting the belt somewhere between Wrestlemani-RAW and Extreme Rules.  

Batista, Hogan, Flair, DOD and 1994

Scott,

With the Batista rumored "win the belt" clause in his contract, it got me thinking back to Hogan's WCW jump in 1994. They bring him in, first PPV he takes the belt off Flair. Then in October, he beats Flair in a cage match with Flair's career on the line, all this to build to a Starrcade main with him against Brother Booty Man? 

Did Hogan's creative clause give him the power to book all of his angles? I mean, why not build to the Flair career match at Starrcade?

Oh yeah dude, I'm pretty sure Hogan's contract literally said the words "HOGAN CAN DO WHATEVER THE FUCK HE WANTS" in bold letters.  Really though, the Havoc show was more important to Bischoff than Starrcade, and it worked in this case and popped a big number.  But yes, Hogan had iron-clad and complete control over everything he did, absolutely.  

How to win the crowd back for Batista

Scott,

Instead of coming up with creative backstage segments and camera/audio tricks to mask the negative crowd reaction to Batista, why doesn't WWE take the path of least resistance to getting Batista's babyface heat back? Create a situation in which Daniel Bryan is getting beat up by some Authority goons and have Batista make the save. Or have Bryan team up with Batista in tag match, or have Bryan talk up Batista as his good friend, or have Batista say when he wins the title at WM he's going to give Bryan the first shot. Basically use Bryan to get Batista over again. Seems easy enough, right?

The fact that they haven't done this yet makes me believe WWE is really planning to turn Batista heel and have him feud with Bryan, either before or after WrestleMania, which is why they're keeping them separate for now. Thoughts?

You'd be wasting Bryan on him.  I'd actually have Hulk Hogan make the save and do the posedown routine with Bryan to give him the rub in the same way he did with Edge in 02.  Fans would see right through the babyface act if Batista was doing it and would just keep booing him anyway.  Trust me, they tried it already a million times with John Cena and it never works.  

Wouldn’t it make more sense for Batista to get the title closer to his movie’s release?

Howdy Scott,

I'm not convinced that WWE is intent on having Batista walk out of WrestleMania as champion.


If Guardians of the Galaxy isn't coming out until August 1, why do most people think WWE is hotshotting the title on Batista at WrestleMania? Right now he's only scheduled through Extreme Rules and considering his limited dates will probably not be scheduled for the mid-to-late May European tour, meaning if he has the belt he'd be missing approximately two weeks of dates, including the Raw/Smackdown in England.

I am assuming WWE wants Batista to walk around with the title during promotional appearances for the movie like The Rock did last year, so wouldn't it make more sense to put the belt on him at Money in the Bank (June 29) or Battleground (July 20)?

Thoughts?

This entire Batista deal is crossing the line more every day from mere disaster into hilarious unintentional comedy, and the payoff will be the WM crowd shitting all over his title win like no other match.  You're right, the entire thing makes no sense on several levels, especially since no one knows how the movie is even going to do and the guy that's supposed to be the FACE OF THE WWE after Wrestlemania is doing one quick segment a week and not even being allowed to talk.  You just can't buy entertainment like this.