Monday Night RAW | Charlotte Coliseum – Charlotte, North Carolina | TV Rating: 4.8
The Good: Well the show proper, one night after the WWE has triumphed over the Alliance, can only start with Vince McMahon crowing. It’s a cultural reset and one that is understandable. This pales into insignificance with the return at the end of the show of Ric Flair being the Consortium!~ Ok. so the timing is odd in one sense (Flair being a part of WCW would have immediately given it legitimacy) and despite the attempts at logic, it doesn’t all hang true. But Flair coming back, to his home state, is a great moment.
(Flair claims Shane and Stephanie sold him their stock to a consortium, to fund their purchases of WCW and ECW, and the consortium was him!)
His commentary was arguably passé 20 years ago but Jerry Lawler replaced Paul Heyman on commentary (Paul is fired by Vince on-screen and beaten up by Good ol’ JR) but it’s a nice touch for him to return here, and Heyman being an iconic heel was great stuff.
The Bad: Trish and Lita would have some famous matches in the future years. This one tonight isn’t one of them. They manage to mess up a wristlock… It’s THAT bad. Even though they are sent on their merry way, I’ve no desire to see any more of Shane and Stephanie but of course, they have to show up to get their “final” comeuppance from Vince.
The “Kiss My Ass” Club may perfectly fit in with the character (on-screen or off, come to think of it) of Vince but William Regal literally kissing Vince’s ass live on Raw can’t be said to be entertaining, as much as Regal channels his British comedy heroes with his facial expressions. Oh, and Chris Jericho Vs. Kane goes to a three-minute no-contest DQ decision. Utterly pointless filler.
The Indifferent: The pre-show video clip of Mick Foley meeting Vince on his private jet and resigning as Commissioner needed to be done storyline-wise and it’s nice that Foley could walk out rather than be fired but the “worked shoot” nature of Foley’s comments don’t really work.
Rob Van Dam gets “punished” for not defecting to the WWE months earlier (his job is safe because he’s a champion) by the second of the two frequent “punishments” the bookers had in 2001, a handicap match against the Dudley’s! The other is of course a match against The Big Show, which would evolve into “One on One with The Undertaker!”. Van Dam takes some brutal spots which seem incongruous in the context of such a pointless and meaningless match… Nice that he got a job though.
The idea of The Rock and Kurt Angle clashing over the “World Title” (the former WCW Title) looks good on paper but both phone it in. William Regal defeats Taz in less than a minute. If someone can explain how Taz still has a job after the Alliance became history please let me know…
Overall: It’s tempting, with the return of Ric Flair, to see this as a “reset” show. Except the show seems to suggest we’re going to get a re-run of Austin/McMahon hostilities and more Rock/Jericho. So we’re essentially getting the same old same old. Flair’s return aside there’s nothing new on here. And even that isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel… Least the Invasion is over?