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PostSubject: 2003 Discussion   Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:18 pm

Discuss Raw in 2003.
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:53 am

Triple H vs Shawn Michaels - World Heavyweight Championship - Raw 29.12.2003
I'd be suprised if anyone's as high as me on this but this sort of match is right up my alley. The whole match is a fucking awesome sprint and everything about it just feels right. Shawn once again like I seem to be seeing a hella lot in these reviews lately is phenomenal. Once Trips gains the momentum I kinda feared for the match taking a breather and slowing down for a slow Triple H control segment but thankfully it sidestepped it and just kept going. Flair at ringside is an extra treat in itself. His reaction when Shawn starts strutting the around the ring is priceless and one of those reasons why Flair is just fucking insanely awesome. His constant working of the crowd at ringside is brilliant throughout. The whole Shawn's hometown angle is superbly played and it's perfect that they did this match in Shawn's hometown for him to gain maximum babyface support for the finish, which I absolutely adore. The false title win for Shawn is perfectly done and the pop for when everyone thinks he's won is fantastic. Bischoff plays his role in it brilliantly too. He comes in and refs the match straight down the middle but everyone knows he's a little bitch really. I just adored the finish with Bischoff taking the title back from Shawn and getting maximum heel heat despite actually just doing his job. It's perfect characterisation in a match. I could probably go on and on about how much I love every aspect of this.

****1/2+
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:54 am

Shawn Michaels vs. HHH (12/29/03)
Speaking of Raw 2004, this was actually pretty close to being squeezed into that year. In fact, it pretty much kicked off the roll that the show got on and put a knife in the heart of the shitty 2003. Shawn's going for the world title in his home town against his arch nemesis. The story pretty much writes itself. Loved Michaels' Flair Strut. Loved Flair flipping out and getting on the apron to get punched in the wrinkly face even more. Shawn is pretty much "on" for the majority of the beginning of this. He's got all the momentum in the world with it being in San Antonio. I know it's the mark in me, but I love Shawn's control segment at the beginning. It felt like the hometown team was on a 20 to 4 run in the first quarter of a playoff game. Everybody was having a good time watching their guy beat the shit out of someone they hated. Then, it all turns around as Shawn takes the In Your House 2 bump over the turnbuckle (although not as crazy). This leads to the normally painful to watch HHH control segment, but Shawn's injured back is already interesting enough of a subject that many are going to be at least a little invested in what's going on. Add in the crowd screaming obscenities at HHH like he was fucking the boss' daughter and the point of the match that is usually as dull as Shawn's medicine cabinet in 2003 is back to being pretty great. At one point in the comeback Shawn runs into the high knee from HHH and J.R. says that was like running into a telephone pole. I want to admit that the first thing I thought of after that was a young Shawn Michaels running down the sidewalk because his mom just called him for dinner, taking a turn too wide, and slamming full force into a big fucking pole. Not sure what that says about me, but hey it's late. I adore that figure four spot too. Flair trying to tear the rope in half after Shawn applies it is fantastic, as is the satisfaction he gets for breaking it up. The home stretch is exhilarating. The crowd is loosing their shit because they know who's walking out with that sweet gold belt buckle tonight. Really good nearfall as HHH hits Shawn with the belt and the crowd just groans as the ref wakes up just in time to see HHH fall on top. Their reaction (and J.R.'s. Sounded like someone stepped on a frog that was losing a 20 year battle with smoking. AEIGHE~! or something like that. IDK, just have to hear it to know what I'm talking about) is one of things that I love about wrasslin. The finish has Hebner getting bumped again (and looking like a drunk falling around in a bouncy ball pit) and Bischoff making the three for seemingly Michaels, which is pretty surreal. Crowd gives a nice pop for that, but it was not to be as everyone already knows. Hurts even more after they had the title swiped away thanks to a technicality that could have been prevented. I remember the weeks leading up to this, Shawn had been using that cover and I always wondered why it wasn't a double pin.

Retarded finish, this ruled 75 flavors of ARSE. I remember watching this with my brother on that faithful night. He hadn't watched wrestling in over a year because it really didn't interest him anymore, but he sat in my room with me and watched because it felt like a big deal. He never "marked out" or anything, but I could tell he was in to it. Definitely a favorite match of mine. I bet that I'm in the minority, but I feel this is their best match together. Everything fell into place on this one night. They tried a couple times after this trying to recapture the magic, but excluding the Mania 20 main event, I felt they never got close. No doubt this is making the list.

****1/2
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:21 am

HHH/HBK Raw 03:
I don't think it's an all time classic or anything anymore. Still a great, unique atmosphere with plenty of cool themes (Flair at ringside, history between the two, hometown title match) and they busted their asses to make each other look great. Action was strong but lulled in certain sections. Back work wasn't extended enough and as usual the long term effects were blown off at the end. There were sections that contained great psychology (eg HHH losing it and ditching the wrestle approach for an all out slugfest and methodical brawl to gain the advantage, or HBK using Flair's own mannerisms against his protege) but then a lot of standard stuff to fill the gaps in between.

Point is, half the match is at a "fantastic" level of wrestling, while about half is still fine and effective - just not mesmerising. The sequences are basic and both men's limitations at this stage are obvious - but they managed to gel a lot of simple stuff together fluently to craft a satisfying match in overall. My point here is, that no sequence by itself was anything amazing. But the sum of the parts tied in together made for a special and meaningful TV match. However, it wouldn't be fair to group it with the truly elite matches as it just didn't have that sort of depth the whole way through. At least HHH was really on here, some sort of spark hit him here and he put in one of his best post quad performances ever. Post injury Michaels does have some deficiencies that I've noticed more than usual lately though. A lot of it gets a little repetitive and too choregraphed out, with his offence being hit or miss. Still, these two gelled together really well to create a well crafted, lengthy match that was memorable and had a bit of everything. It's just that it wasn't absolutely amazing in any one area.

****
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:41 am

La Resistance/Jericho/Christian vs. Dudley Boyz/Booker-T/Shane McMahon - 10/13/03
This was just alright, nothing too special here, which is a shame actually considering these guys were given 15 minutes to work a tables match and that's generally a recipe for success, especially given who's involved. But alas, things don't really pick up until the last part of the finishing stretch. But boy does it pick up good, especially for Shane's Coast-To-Coast. Man, the crowd ate that shit like a fresh batch of KFC. There's two FIP's here which I find really annoying, just stick to one you fuck! D-Von's FIP wasn't great, nor was Shane O'Mac's which surprised me more. Jericho really was trying SO hard to gain some heat here, it hurts to see him not get it because he is doing all the right things, but the people just aren't responding. Blame Booker-T for that. The finish sort of came out of nowhere, after ages of no table-activity, everything happens in the space of 2/3 minutes. And they let Booker score the win. So yeah, I won't be revisiting this anytime soon.

**1/2
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PostSubject: Re: 2003 Discussion   Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:31 am

Scott Steiner vs. Booker-T (Raw 3/3/03)
Was Steiner a heel here? This was right after NWO where he had the second match with HHH while laying babyface. IDK he kind of looked heel here. The dickish poses, getting up after a pin attempt and doing push-ups, facing babyface Booker T, yeah I'mma say he was a heel here. The chops in this were pretty gnarly; every one of them made a pretty loud sound and didn't look fun to take. Moments like Steiner catching Booker during a spin kick and kind of 'dropping' him, and then pretty much just running into Book during the spinaroonie made this bizarrely amusing. Booker goes for the 'Jack Brisco' roll-up to win and Steiner botches the shit out of it (when all he had to do was fall backwards at the right time), but Booker wins with it anyway. Well, he wins with some form of 'it'. I have no idea if this was good or bad, but it's probably better than all of HHH's TV matches around this time.

Scott Steiner vs. Christian (Raw 2/23/03)
Always down for some Christian. Christian's working heel and this is only a couple of weeks after the Booker match, so I guess Steiner wasn't heel in the Booker match? This is almost a Steiner squash and in some ways it felt too long, but overall it was OK. Christian loses a collar/elbow tie up and flings himself outside the ropes to sell Steiner's massiveness. Christian rules. He takes some good bumps off suplexes and what I'm assuming was MEANT to be a suplex. He taunts Steiner's arm-flex and threatens to beat the ref when a foot-on-the-rope pinfall doesn't get counted as three. I'm really glad Christian cut a lot of the 'drop-down' offense that he had during this time in later years, or at the very least made it seem less contrived. Looks backyard-y. If only he gave the same advice to Edge.
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