“The Power” comes back on and we get a recap of the Bischoff trial. Thankfully, they used the recap with the cheesy law music and typewriter. God, it’s just the little things that make me laugh like introducing Foley as the prosecutor with him eating a moon pie. Anyway, after the recap, we get no Raw video sadly and instead go right into the music of Vince McMahon as Vinnie Mac comes out on the stage with a mike in tow. He says “as promised,” but his mike doesn’t seem to work. They do a little throw back and forth with the mike. “You throw me that mike like a man.” God damn, someone’s a little presumptuous. Anyway, McMahon says that as promised, he fired Bischoff and it’s not a switch-and-bait thing, he’s staying fired and he thanks Bischoff for the contributions and wishes him a merry Christmas. How sweet; Vince does have a heart! Vince goes on to talk about the new general manager and mentions some names like Stephanie (heavy boos) and Shane (good pop). He says it could be anyone and has had someone knocking on his door all day by the name of Theo Epstein (surprisingly, I knew who that was). McMahon then says it could be Ted Turner wanting to get back into the ‘rassling business. Let the phone call from the 80s go, McMahon. Talk about holding a grudge. He then says it could be one of the fans, which got a huge, gullible pop. He then says that he was just ribbing and couldn’t be one of them. Oh, insider terminology! Mark-out time! McMahon then says he will be interviewing people tonight but there will be an interim general manager who is described with a long list of compliments including his virility, and it’s Vince naturally. Vince then says he’s going to pick up where Eric left off and by the end of tonight, we will know all the participants in the Elimination Chamber because we will have elimination chamber qualifying matches tonight. Vince then introduces the first match to which he says there will be no censorship during one of the man’s entrances. Thank God, no Angle bleeps! Wow, I can’t believe we only got an eight minute McMahon promo. Is he sick?
Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match
Kurt Angle Vs. Ric Flair
This was not as good as you would think considering the quality of both men involved, but I still enjoyed the match a little. Angle is pissing me off more and more lately though with his horrible offense. The guy has the ability to do all sorts of moves as we could see in 2000 and 2001, but does he? No. The guy basically works over the whole back and neck area, even grounding his opponents with leg locks to work over the area more. What does he finish with though? A goddamn ankle lock. Look at Flair in this match for instance. In the limited amount of time he had to mount an offense, what did he do? Chop-blocks, atomic drop variations; all working over the legs and knees. Why? Maybe because his freaking finisher is the Figure Four Leglock. Emphasis on the word “leglock” please. Angle is normally very good and when he busts out the Ankle Lock out of sheer desperation, it’s amazing, but when the guy hits a backdrop and a suplex and then goes right for the ankle, I swear I want to shoot myself. Seeing the guy’s work in 2000, 2001, and most of 2002, it’s utterly pathetic and I pray Angle will realize the folly of his ways soon. Then again, the prime of his career just may be well and gone. Anyway, the match was kept short and interrupted by a break (commercial break times one equals ankle lock after two back moves; great psychology), but other than that, there wasn’t much. They had some nice opening exchanges and I liked how Angle was grounding Flair with the leglock, I just hated how I knew he was going to try and finish on the ankle. Flair’s comeback was short but very sweet with the leg working culminating into the figure four. Anyone else find it odd that Flair is back without a promo or anything to explain his road rage or the Last Man Standing match at Survivor Series? This is one of these instances where it was such a beat-down, you need a promo or rationalization about the storyline or else you’re just confirming all the criticism you get. Anyway, in the end, Angle brought a chair in the ring and Flair grabbed it from him. As the ref went to get the chair, Angle got the gold medal in his hand and nailed Flair with them in a quick shot. With a quick placing of them in his tights, he covered Flair and got the win.
Winner: Kurt Angle
Star Wrestler: Ric Flair
Kurt Angle is pissing me off more and more by the week and not because he sucks, because he really doesn’t, but rather because he’s messing up his matches with very minute things that really shouldn’t even be a factor with someone at the level of a Kurt Angle. His workrate has drastically dropped this year and it shows with his program with John Cena. If this was 2001, John Cena would be having the best matches of his career. As it stands, he’s not. Put Flair against Cena and I guarantee you that Cena will be raving about those matches for the rest of his career. Flair is such a great worker and one of those that you really can’t tell except by the physical look that he is so old. With Piper and Orton senior, you can easily tell by watching them move in the ring that they are past it and old, but not with Flair. Does it really matter though? The guy still delivers better promos, matches, feuds, and even expressions better than half the roster. The guy still has it, but who knows how much longer he’s going to subject himself to the toll of the road.
After the match, Angle grabs a mike and asks, “You suck, huh?” He then says that he’s going to take that for granted, just like they have to take for granted that he comes out every week and listen to that. Well, he is proud to say that he did not volunteer to go over next week to Afghanistan. Why would he fly thirty hours and risk his life for the troops of this country that doesn’t respect him? He says he’s not that stupid and he doesn’t suck. He won a gold medal with a broken neck, and he asks what the troops have done. He then says if they catch Osama, maybe he’d go over there and sign some autographs. Holy shit, I can not believe they are doing. What is this, the third or fourth tasteless angle from WWE this month? Too damn many to count, guys. Angle goes on to say that their perception of a hero is whacked as their heroes are a basketball and hockey player. He then goes to Daivari who is in front of a statue of Larry Bird and some hockey player. Like I’ve said before, basketball used to be the sport I knew everything about and Larry Bird was the guy I idolized. In fact, I’m staring at a plaque of him now. Hockey I don’t know so much about hence my ignorance. Well, let’s see how this one goes. Daivari asks if Bird and the hockey player are ready, and he says he’ll show them who’s ready. Angle then tells Daivari to do to them what the crowd does to him: desecrate them! Daivari than hocks a big loogie in the back of his throat and spits right on Larry Bird. Doesn’t piss me off because I thought he was going to do worse like take some paint or what-not to the statue. Daivari then says he can do miles better and pulls out a spray can. That’s what I was thinking, but with these real figures, I doubt they will do it. Sure enough, John Cena pops out in front of Daivari and pulls the can away from him. Cena then delivers a hard slap to Daivari’s face making him fly backwards cursing in Farsi. Holy shit that was an amazing slap. The look that accompanied it was just as cool too. Hmm, methinks Cena can play the pissed off/vicious gimmick better than Kurt.
Cena tells Angle enough and says that it’s bush league to send out the Iron Sheik wannabe to spray paint Larry Bird. Angle’s better than that. You got that right, Cena. Cena then jokes saying actually, he’s not. Cena then gets serious and says that Angle saying he is too good to go over to Afghanistan to visit the people who are dying for him makes Angle a heartless bastard. Cena goes on to talk about how they can’t be home for the holidays so Angle can, but it’s too good for Angle. Why? Because the people think he sucks? Well, Cena admits that half the people think he sucks! Wow, can’t believe he acknowledged that. Actually, I can, and I’m a little happy. It’s better than pretending it’s not going on and at least it might be a sign that WWE is going to do something about it finally. Cena then goes ape shit putting over America and how people can do what they want. He says he doesn’t care how many medals Angle won, because that’s a privilege that earns respect, but it’s time to face facts. Without the troops Angle is too good for, there is no America. Without America, there are no American heroes. If he can’t get that, then he can’t see him and with that he sprays the camera lens black as we go to a break. Weird segment I thought. I’m kind of pissed WWE is using the troops to get heat for Angle, but Cena in the segment picked it up. Then again, Cena basically used that as fodder to get back over. Finally, the segment ended on a rather weird and anti-climatic note. Ah, WWE. I can never take a definitive stance on you. At least I know that slap was stiffer than most of the other “stiff” matches you claim to have.
Commercial break times two equals WWE again exploiting something just to get someone over because they can’t do it anyway. God forbid you turn Cena heel because that’s what the people want.