everyone out there in Internet land. My name is Keith Champagne
and I’ll be your guest RAW reviewer/recapper (spell
check tells me that’s not a word but screw it! I’m
living on the edge tonight) while Chris Garcia is away on
a TOP SECRET mission for Fanboy Planet. (Okay. So he's
bubbles tickle our noses.
comic fans reading this might know my name from many years
of inking fine comic books, primarily from DC Comics or,
dare I hope, from my more recent ventures into the writing
side of the business with Legion of Superheroes,
Armor X, JSA and a bunch of stuff that I can’t
mention by name because it hasn’t been solicited or
you probably don’t know is that I’m a long time
wrestling fan. Some of my favorite memories as an impressionable
youth are of my father taking my two brothers and I to New
Haven or Hartford, CT when the WWF would roll into town.
I can’t remember a time when I haven’t watched
wrestling—with one exception that I’ll detail
shortly. I’ve even been lucky enough to lift weights
in the gym at Titan Towers and goof around in the ring while
the Hardy Boys and Giant Silva were training nearby. I’ve
been front row at Wrestlemania, back stage at Summerslam,
chatted with Stone Cold and The Rock, broke bread with Owen
Hart, and backed a hearse into a stack of audio equipment
right in front of Vincent K. himself.
thick and thin, I’ve seen it all, with the exception
of the exception that I mentioned above. Over the last couple
of years, for some reason my interest faded drastically,
somehow coinciding with the fact that wrestling got boring
and my cable descrambler box that enabled me to watch all
the PPV’s for free was made obsolete by the advent
of digital cable. My attention has also been stolen to some
degree by the rise of Mixed Martial Arts, which I’m
also a longtime fan of and even inspired me to train the
last few years in Gracie Jiu Jitsu.
is all my long-winded way of saying that this is the first
show I’ll have seen in quite a while and I’m
approaching it from the perspective of a lapsed fan hoping
to once again fall in love with the squared circle. I’m
not even close to being up to date on current storylines.
I may not even recognize all the WWE SUPERSTARS or DIVAS
that grace the ring tonight. But I’ll do my best to
take it all in and report it to you, the fine and discerning
reader of Fanboy Planet.
to remind you --
Keith writes good comics.
said that, it’s now 8:58 (perfect timing, this must
be destiny!) so I’m going to flip my TV on, crack
open a diet Ginger Ale, unwrap a protein bar, and jump into
did you guys know that RAW is no longer on Spike TV? If
so, maybe one of you could have told me? No harm done, I
managed to utilize the power of the preview guide and find
the intrepid RAW, now back on USA network. When did that
did you guys know that SUMMERSLAM was held last night? Guess
I missed it.
show opened with a really nice, sentimental montage consisting
of flashes of the greats, like Andre The Giant (my all-time
favorite) and curiously, it made me nostalgic for Vince
as an announcer. I grew up on his voice; to me, it just
sounds like what a wrestling announcer should, even if he
was never as good technically as JR. He always had enthusiasm,
comes strolling out, looking flashy and rants and raves
and brags about still being the champion. Then they cut
to Lita who is sporting some serious cleavage. She must
have hit puberty since the last time I watched RAW. She
tosses the championship belt in Bridgeport Harbor (which
was much cooler when Stone Cold tossed the Intercontinental
belt in the water a few years ago), and then Edge debuts
a new “RATED R” belt.
the slogan “RATED R SUPERSTAR;” it’s catchy.
Jeff Hardy runs out, looking a little heavier then the last
time I saw him. I remember hearing somewhere that Hardy
got fired for drug issues so I’d assume he’s
cleaned up his act. A lot of people gain weight in rehab
-- just look at Courtney Love.
in that top like a sausage...
while I was typing this, I thought I heard Jerry Lawler
say something about Kane facing Johnny Knoxville tonight.
Is it going to be a Jackass night on RAW or did
I hear him wrong? The odds lean heavily in favor of faulty
ears but nonetheless, color me intrigued.
up, The Spirit Squad (and nothing says spirit like the lime
green, matching togs they’re wearing) face off against
Hacksaw Jim Duggan, The Highlanders, and some guy who’s
name I didn’t catch but looks a little like a younger
Hacksaw…so I’m going to call him L’il
Jimmy for the duration of this match.
Highlanders look kind of silly (and if there can be only
one, why are there two of them?) so I’ll say I like
them because, for some reason, they remind me of Butch and
Luke, the Bushwhackers. Don’t get me wrong, the Bushwhackers
sucked but back before they were castrated by the McMahon
machine, they were called the Sheepherders and you couldn’t
buy two more sadistic sons of guns outside of Abdullah the
Butcher. I maintain a soft spot in my hardened heart for
Duncan and Connor McLeod double-team and pin a member of
the Spirit Squad. It’s a cool looking move but by
double-teaming the lime green guy, they cheated to win and
I just can’t condone that kind of behavior. Is Jack
Tunney still the WWF president? I’m going to lodge
yells at some guy working out backstage but I was on the
phone with my wife so I missed it. Sorry. I did catch some
product placement for that Bowflex machine and a movie poster
in the background. And Vince growled that he feels “GNARLY”
which sounds pretty ominous.
my email during the commercials, I get a note from Andy
Smith. Andy is currently penciling Claw The Unconquered
from Wildstorm/DC and is all kinds of talented. So I’ll
pimp him here. Give Claw a look if you haven’t
advantage of Randy Orton’s vignette to reply to a
couple of emails but I do wonder if his father, Cowboy Bob,
ever got that cast off his arm. That must have been a SEVERE
break, he wore that thing for years! Some guy with a crazy
afro haircut eats an apple… which is good. One a day
keeps the doctor away. Good health rules!
on and shows how they defaced Vince’s plane. I can’t
help but remember that the last time I watched wrestling
on a regular basis, DX was funny. This wasn’t close
to being amusing but they did seem to put Vince into an
even gnarlier (F U, spellcheck!!) mood. Hopefully, that’ll
pay dividends later on.
Trish and Victoria are having what is probably the most
athletic match of the show so far, my wife and son arrive
home. I miss the rest of the match helping my boy brush
his teeth and getting him ready for bed but, if you want
to know what happened while I was otherwise occupied, I’d
suggest the Pro
Wrestling Torch website. They do good recaps. If not,
I think the odds are good that they decided to hug instead
of wrestle, had a warm embrace, and left the ring as friends.
Friendship and love always win out in my world.
all good married men,
Keith skipped watching this match to spend some
quality time with his family.
time I finish putting my son to bed and get back to the
show, Jeff Hardy is performing a Swanton bomb on Edge. On
the verge of winning, John Cena comes running in. I don’t
see what he does because I’m busy writing the above
paragraph about Victoria and Trish but I’ll bet it
was really violent and controversial.
recap when the show returns from the commercial break proves
me right as Cena punches Edge through the crowd and through
the backstage area. Maybe they could take a few tips from
Trish and Victoria about how love and friendship are the
most important things?
it’s a pretty good brawl ending with Edge taking a
swim in Bridgeport Harbor followed by a cute USA commercial
where Triple H gets a sunburn. During the commercial break,
I surf over to pwtorch.com to see what I missed but their
real time recap is lagging. Sorry, guys…I feel as
if I’ve let you down.
and her boyfriend, Johnny Nitro, show off a cute entrance
and Johnny Nitro shows some good agility in his brief match
with Kane, who appears to be on the Jeff Hardy diet, sporting
less muscle mass and more body fat than I remember. I also
realize that while I heard Johnny Knoxville, the rest of
the world must have heard Jerry Lawler saying Johnny Nitro.
savage Samoan named Umaga runs in and, sporting the worst
name that I’ve ever heard and abs to match, decimates
Kane by sticking his thumb in the Big Red Machine’s
throat a couple of times until Kane coughs up blood. I’d
be concerned for his health but I’m too busy wondering
how long it takes to apply the cool looking Maori facial
tattoos on Umaga every night. Up close, they look pretty
cool…kind of like I imagined Mike Tyson would look
by now if he had kept up with his facial ink.
the commercial break, I realize that I’m kind of bored
and feeling a little antsy. I look at the clock and see
that I’ve got about a half an hour left, so I vow
to continue in my reporting duties. It’s not that
I mind what I’m watching; I just don’t feel
grabbed by any of it. I seem to like the ideal of the WWE
better than the actual WWE and instead of being wrapped
up in the storylines, I feel like an observer. Nothing is
getting me to invest any interest and having to sit through
a preview of John Cena’s upcoming movie doesn’t
help either. Nothing like being forced to swallow product
placement to really involve a viewer emotionally.
he pays attention to the guy with ink...
to channel flip but turn back during Calvin Ayre’s
bodog.net commercial. Interesting fact about Calvin Ayre
is that he’s Canadian but is barred from returning
to his home country. So he runs his Internet gambling empire
from Costa Rica, which is where most of those sites are
located. Rumor has it Calvin Ayre is starting his own Mixed
Martial Arts promotion to run against the UFC and try to
steal some of the burgeoning MMA market here in America.
way, while I’m digressing, PRIDE FC has the best fighters
in the world.
John Cena’s movie preview, Raw returns after about
a ten-minute commercial break, thankfully, with THE MAN,
The Nature Boy, Ric Flair taking on Randy Orton.
all the dirtiest player in the game (copyright and trademark
Ric Flair) takes is a beating from pillar to post. Finally,
the apple eating kid (who’s name, I learn, is Carlito)
runs in and makes the save but not before the referee reverses
the decision and awards Ric Flair the victory due to Orton’s
excessive violence. I check my wrestling rulebook and don’t
see any sections stating that excessive violence in wrestling
is wrong: In fact, as far back as I can remember, it’s
been encouraged. I make a note to write a second letter
to Jack Tunney, right after I find out if he’s still
the commercials, I try one last time to read the RAW recap
over at Pwtorch.com but it still hasn’t been updated.
For a half a second, I wonder if Wade Keller had a heart
attack or something but then Vince McMahon’s GNARLY
voice draws my attention back to my television set.
Foley proves my point about how love and friendship are
the most important things by literally kissing Vince’s
ass in order to save the job of his friend, Melina. Unfortunately,
she seems to subscribe to the laws of violence more than
she does love and thanks him by crushing his nuts with a
low blow. Mick writhes in pain, gets fired for his devoted
friendship, and the McMahons and Melina head to the back.
gonna squeal like a pig...
and Shane gloat their way out of the building, only to have
the rear axle of their limo ripped off, another prank perpetrated
by those scoundrels in DX. The show goes off the air with
Vince pulling some Oscar-worthy acting out of his recently-kissed
ass and I shut my TV off, my mission complete.
up, many punches were thrown, Ric Flair bled, Melina did
a split, and I missed a half an hour playing Daddy.
to Derek for inviting me to recap tonight’s show.
I had a good time and hope you enjoyed reading this. I’m
sure Chris Garcia will be back soon (if he survives his
secret mission) and maybe I’ll see you guys in the
squared circle again sometimes.
Champagne is preparing to ink his last issue of Firestorm
before moving on to a new project at DC with one of his
favorite pencillers. He’s written a bunch of comics
lately and the first of those books will begin being solicited
next month. You can check out his blog at www.keithchampagne.blogspot.com,
where he sometimes draws left-handed, just for a change
about today's column in the forums!