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5/26 WWE Raw review: Ric Flair teams with Michaels against Hunter

May 27, 2003 - 12:08:00 AM
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By Mallory Mahling, Torch Team Contributor

WWE Raw "Alternative Perspective" review
May 26, 2003
Live from Mobile, Alabama
Aired on TNN


Top Five Items from the Program

(1) The Triple H/Ric Flair/Shawn Michaels dynamic that worked so well last week was also featured prominently in tonight's show. It included one jaw-dropping swerve after another.

(2) Chris Jericho's guest on tonight's Highlight Reel was Bill Goldberg. Although the IWC seemed to think that Goldberg would spear Jericho, it was just the opposite thanks to a little pepper spray. The wily Jericho also challenged Goldberg to match at Bad Blood.

(3) He's baaack -- Randy Orton, that is. He was tonight's mystery man.

(4) He's gonna be baaack -- The Rock will be Jericho's guest on next Monday's Highlight Reel.

(5) Uniformed service men and women were guests of WWE tonight and were serenaded by Lillian Garcia and a tone-deaf Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Review of the Program

Quarter Hour 1

After sitting through that festive holiday movie, "Kickboxer," on TNN, it was finally time to trade in one Van Dam for another.

The show opened with a review of the circumstances leading up to last week's amazing Ric Flair vs. Triple H match.

Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler welcomed viewers to this Memorial Day edition of Raw, live from the Mobile Civic Center in Mobile, Alabama.

"Sexy Boy" hit and Shawn Michaels was the first one out tonight, and the Mobile fans greeted him with a huge pop. Michaels immediately introduced the "greatest heavyweight champion of all time, Ric Flair." The Mobile crowd gave him a huge pop, too.

In a voice choked with emotion, Shawn said that in his eyes, Flair was everything that was great and wonderful about this business. For 18 years he'd been waiting to say that Flair was the reason Michaels wanted to do this job. He'd spent every day of his career trying to reach the level that Flair reaches on a nightly basis. There was a time in his career that he felt he'd reached that level, but after last week's match with Triple H, Ric Flair was, is, and always would be the greatest wrestler in the world. Although he feared it would sound selfish, Michaels wanted to know where he stood in the standard set by Flair. So tonight, it would be his honor and privilege to go one-on-one with the Nature Boy.

Flair thanked Michaels for his encouragement last week and accepted his challenge.

Triple H headed out to rain on their mutual admiration parade. The Game said he'd told Flair six months ago that he needed to be The Man. Triple H acknowledged that the limousine riding, jet flying Flair was back. He begged Flair not to turn his back on him and bite the hand that fed him.

Flair told Triple H he had the belt and was the greatest wrestler alive today ("Boo," went the crowd), but Shawn had reminded him that he no longer needed to be subservient to Triple H.

Triple H lit into the "old bastard" and took credit for making Flair what he is today. (More boos.) He reminded Flair that he wouldn't want to go up against the Game and that Flair's window of opportunity was about to close.

Eric Bischoff came out to a loud "Asshole" chorus and wanted to throw his weight around, too. When he looked in that ring, he said he saw three of the biggest egos in the business.

Quarter Hour 2

He said Flair vs. Michaels was too big a match for the likes of Mobile, Alabama. Instead, it would be HBK vs. Ric Flair at "Eric Bischoff Presents Bad Blood." Tonight Flair and Michaels would team up in a handicap match against Triple H (and his poufy hair).

(Commercial break)

The King noted that a poll was now being conducted at wwe.com to see if Goldberg would spear Jericho during the Highlight Reel. (I guess they like the Internet Wrestling Community when it suits their purposes.)

(1) Booker T pinned Test (w/Stacy Keibler). Lest we forget, highlights were shown of last week's bidding war by Test and the Big Bad Booty Daddy for Stacy's managerial services. Decent match, but you could practically hear a pin drop during most of it. The crowd finally came to life when Booker went for the Spineroonie. A missile drop kick by Booker and a near fall. Booker back body dropped Test to the outside, but Booker's subsequent baseball slide knocked Stacy out cold when Test pulled her into harm's way. Test ignored her and went on with the match, but Scott Steiner came out and carried the injured Stacy to the back. Test was furious (you could tell by the assortment of angry faces he made), and his fuming gave Booker an opportunity to take the win.

Quarter Hour 3

Steve Austin (who was sporting a shiner that he said he got in the shower) was watching the match on a monitor and was pleased with Booker's progress. Triple H came in and did his best Eddie Haskell impression. But no matter what sort of compliment he came up with, Austin said the handicap match was still on.

Triple H lost his temper and called Austin a power hungry piece of trash. Triple H said he would come out on top since he always does.

Austin thanked him for stopping by and added that the match was still on. Triple H was about to explode.

(Commercial break)

Trish Stratus, still recovering from the huge bump she took at Judgment Day, joined J.R. and the King for commentary. They showed a copy of "Flair Magazine" with Trish on the cover.

(2) Val Venis over Steven Richard (w/Victoria). Venis did the "Hello ladies" bit, and the Southern Belles in the audience were eating it up. He said he was starting an adult film company, and he offered Victoria a starring role in "Victoria's Dirty Little Secret." Stevie Richards was not amused and began to pound on Chief Valbowski. The crowd wasn't into this match either. Big Val went for the Money Shot on Stevie and took the win.

(Commercial break)

Quarter Hour 4

Lots of close-ups of uniformed soldiers and sailors in the audience enjoying the show.

Backstage, Jonathan Coachman asked Kevin Nash about being out of control lately. With a twinkle in his eye, Nash noted that the champ was about to "stroke out" tonight and said he hoped Triple H would get his ass kicked tonight.

Terri was interviewing Christian, who mentioned his new haircut had cost $700. He was ragging on Mobile (a city named after a gas station) and said his Southern peeps creeped him out.

Stuttering Johndust took Christian to task for insulting the Alabamians. Christian pointed to his Intercontinental Title belt and new tights and said he was the champ with a capital "C." Booker interrupted. He disagreed and said the "C" stood for chump. He intended to win the belt at Bad Blood.

Austin informed Eric Bischoff that he would not present Bad Blood. Austin would present Bad Blood. Bischoff complained that Austin had offered free admission to uniformed servicemen. Back and forth it went between the co-General Managers. Bottom line, Stone Cold and Eric Bischoff agreed to have some kind of match at Bad Blood.

(Commercial break)

Lillian Garcia began to sing "America the Beautiful." Her song was interrupted by La Resistance. (We don't get to hear her sing nearly often enough; they should have let her finish the song.) They invaded the ring and went on a French-fried rant.

Austin's glass broke and he hit the ring. He stunnered Dupree and tossed them both out of the ring. "Parlez vous this, you son of a bitch," said Stone Cold as he extended his middle finger. La Resistance offered no resistance at all, and retreated.

Austin acknowledged the servicemen in the audience and said he'd come to the Red Neck Riviera to drink some beer. But first, he invited Lillian back into the ring to join him in a duet of "America the Beautiful." He asked the audience to sing along, too. (Austin meant it when he said he couldn't sing.)

Quarter Hour 5

Austin and Lillian toasted each other with beers, while the King quipped that Stone Cold had a Red Neck, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer. Austin was enjoying himself, and slapped hands all round ringside on his way out.

In his dressing room, Rick Flair admired himself in the mirror. In the background, a masked figure was watching him.

(Commercial break)

J.R. said that the Bad Blood pay per view would be free to all with military IDs.

(3) Goldust pinned Christian. This was a battle of the Golden Ones, as Christian's new tights are sparkly gold with a big "C" on one leg. It was a rather plodding match, with Goldust pinning Christian for the win. The non-title win, of course.

(Commercial break)

Quarter Hour 6

Theodore Long was already in the ring, meaning it was time for the White Boy Challenge. The White Boy he got, however, was Bubba Ray Dudley.

(4) White Boy Challenge: Rodney Mack over Bubba Ray Dudley via interference.

J.R. said Freddie Blassie had been hospitalized for the past few days and sent his best wishes.

Good match, which gave Big Mack someone his own size to pick on. Bubba had several near falls. But interference from Christopher Nowinski worked to Rodney's advantage and he pinned Bubba for the win.

Sylvan Grenier and Rene Dupree were whining to Eric Bischoff about Austin's rude American treatment, so Bischoff offered Grenier a flag match with Rob Van Dam tonight and a tag match at Bad Blood.

(Commercial break)

The King was about to announce the results of the Internet poll.

Backstage Chris Jericho was getting his makeup done for the Highlight Reel, as footage was shown of Austin grilling Lance Storm last week about the plot to run down Goldberg. Storm squealed and said Jericho had hatched the plot.

Quarter Hour 7

And the survey said: 81% to 19% that Goldberg would spear Jericho.

The Nature Boy, in sequined robe, was shown telling Triple H that he was not an old man or a has-been. Triple H said he'd be glad to give him something to cry about.

(Commercial break)

(5) Flag Match: Sylvan Grenier (w/Rene Dupree) with a tainted win over Rob Van Dam (w/Kane). The crowd definitely came to life when Van Dam made his entrance. The French flag was flying above one turnbuckle, and the American flag was high above the opposite turnbuckle. The only way to win the match would be to capture their respective flag. Dupree attacked Kane on the outside, and when RVD went to help Kane, Grenier attempted to capture his flag. Van Dam drop kicked him out of the ring. The battle continued. RVD came off the top turnbuckle, but knocked the referee out instead. Van Dam retrieved the American flag and it appeared he'd won the match. With the ref still out cold, the Frenchmen began to double team Van Dam. Dupree put the American flag back in place, then flap-jacked Van Dam and captured their French flag to take the win.

(Commercial break)

Quarter Hour 8

The Highlight Reel was next. Tonight would be hot, said Jericho, but next week his guest would be the most electrifying man in sports entertainment -- The Rock.

But on to tonight. Jericho said he'd tried to run over Goldberg a few weeks back because nobody wants Goldberg in WWE. They'd been friends back in their WCW days, but Goldberg's big ego had led to his becoming a big jerk. (He told the crowd to stop chanting "Goldberg," but it wasn't like there was a deafening chant going on.) He challenged Goldberg to a match at Bad Blood.

Cue Goldberg's music. The crowd was chanting "Goldberg" by this time and Jericho fled the ring as Big Bill headed out. Goldberg told Jericho to be careful what he wished for. If he wanted a match at Bad Blood, then so be it. He said Jericho was nothing but an ass.

When Jericho got up on the apron, Goldberg pulled him over the top rope by the throat. But Jericho was ready for him and sprayed something in Goldberg's eyes, blinding him. Jericho speared Goldberg and ran like the proverbial scalded dog.

(Commercial break)

A frantic Terri was running after Jericho with questions for the inquiring minds of her viewers. He jumped into a car, then jumped out again and ran off.

Quarter Hour 9

(6) Handicap Match: Triple H over Ric Flair & Shawn Michaels via a couple of swerves. As the lengthy entrances played out, Kevin Nash was shown watching on a monitor backstage.

Triple H started by pummeling the Heartbreak Kid, who rallied and returned the favor. When Triple H went for a Pedigree, HBK reversed it. Flair was anxious to tag in. When he did tag in, he sucker punched Shawn Michaels and began to beat the tar out of him. Backstage, the masked man took out Nash with a steel chair.

A Pedigree and a 1-2-3, and Triple H won the match. It turned into a two-on-one mugging as the Dirtiest Player in the Game joined forces with Triple H.

Big Kev hit the ring and began to clean house, but the masked man jumped into the ring. Triple H took the chair to Nash and HBK then pulled the sky mask off his partner in crime to reveal . . . Randy Orton. He's baaack.

Flair put Michaels in the Figure Four as Triple H worked Nash over with the chair and Orton contributed some well-placed kicks.

The Wrap Up The element of surprise was used to perfection tonight. The swerve with the Nature Boy and the Heartbreak Kid was well done, as was Randy Orton's return -- until he took a few steps and his limp gave him away. This was a very enjoyable Raw, due in large part to the brisk pace at which it moved. Lillian Garcia should be allowed to sing more. Conversely, if we're lucky, Stone Cold will never sing again.

Comments? You can reach me at mmahling@pwtorch.com. See you in The Lounge on Saturday.


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