Bradley Center – Milwaukee, Wisconsin | TV Rating: 4.2
The Good: I mean again, we’ve not much to go on, but the pop for The Rock returning former T&A manager – now Women’s Wrestling icon – Trish Stratus’ kiss with interest absolutely pops the crowd. Honestly not sure anything else on the show even remotely qualifies…
The Bad: Albert and Test (Former T&A) get five whole minutes and do very little with them. Shame for the former T&A team that is largely forgotten about now post-alliance, and the initials will become more relevant in the future.
In a way it might be a little harsh to put it in the bad section. But whilst Steve Austin Vs Chris Jericho isn’t an awful match per se it’s just baffling booking. It’s almost a squash win for Austin (Jericho gets in the occasional shot) and he wins clean with the Stunner. Which is fine. But not fine when in six days time Jericho is in the unification tournament and his loss here does absolutely zero for his credibility leading into that. You could be kind and suggest it’s a swerve of sorts, to make Jericho’s win at Vengeance (spoiler, I’m sorry) all the more shocking but it doesn’t work like that. Jericho looks weak here and that would continue even when he got the title(s).
Again it’s difficult to blame the competitors when they are given about a minute and a brass knux finish but by the same token William Regan against Bradshaw is just pointless filler.
The Indifferent: Ok so it’s the usual “set up the main event in the opening long-winded promo” but at least it’s back and forth between Chris Jericho and Ric Flair without the presence of Vince and sees Y2J talking up his chances at Vengeance which is now less than a week away. But of course, we can’t have the show without Vince, so halfway through they re-hash that trope to set up the main event of the Rock & Trish (Former T&A) against Vince and Kurt Angle where the losers have to do some form of ass-kissing or else they lose their spots in the Unification Tournament… It wasn’t great.
Kane and Bubba Ray Dudley is the usual something and nothing TV match. Even distraction from Stacy and interference by D-Von can’t help Bubba last even three minutes before a Chokeslam finishes him off. The Big Show run’s in post-match to help Kane as I now realise that these two teams will be clashing at the upcoming PPV. Oh joy.
The Hardy’s against Tajiri & Spike Dudley is another of those “advancing the storylines” things that only exists so that Matt can hit his legdrop for the win but Jeff tags himself in to hit the Swanton to get the actual pin. Fine for what it was in that sense.
The four and a half minute Hardcore Title match between Rob Van Dam and Christian (the latter has refused to put his European title on the line in the match) is your usual Hardcore title match on TV. Again, fine but nothing special at all.
The main event of Vince & Angle against Rock & Ex- T&A Trish is alright, as these things go, but Vince’s obsession with getting Trish to kiss his ass isn’t creepy in a “good heel television” way. It’s just creepy. And as we all know it’s not even the worst interaction he had with Trish on TV. And it’s a moot point, but despite the match set-up, we don’t see any ass kissing afterwards.
Overall: If the last (Raw) show before a PPV is supposed to sell that PPV and make it unmissable then this fails on every level. If anything it made me less interested in the Unification tournament which is about the only thing they are relying on to sell that PPV in the first place.