Monday, April 10, 2006

Raw Report

Date: 04/10/06 from Milwaukee, WI.

The Big News: Vince McMahon took on the federal government in 1994 and won. Now he has set his sights higher, literally and figuratively. Vince and Shane went to church to call out God. I’m not even a religious person, and I’m half-expecting something horrible to happen to Vince at some point in the coming weeks.

Title Changes/Turns: Kane turned heel, apparently to help sell his horror movie. Talk about your lost causes.

Match Results: Rob Van Dam b Rob Conway; Johnny Jeter & Nicky Nemeth-DQ; Umaga b Colt Cabana; Mickie James b Maria; John Cena & Triple H b John Cena.

Show Analysis:

Edge came out to start the show, happy that he is back in the title picture with the 3 way at Backlash. He wanted more appreciation as the most watched WWE champion, and said he will become two-time champion. John Cena came out, and got the typical amazing mixed reaction that can only be dubbed the Cena pop. He pointed out Edge only had the title for two weeks, and viewers just wanted to see Cena win back the title. He challenged Edge.

Edge said he doesn’t care about the fans, even though Cena does. He further noted that in spite of that, all the fans over the age of seven can’t stand Cena. Cena admitted to unrest, and said that is because people remember what he was and want to see a different side of him be more ruthless and tell off the fans. Well, that’s exactly what I have been saying for six months. Unfortunately he did this in a really cute manner that undermined the whole thing.

Cena said he doesn’t want to end up like Edge or HHH. That brought out HHH to a predominantly face reaction. HHH said no one will ever confuse himself and Cena. HHH said the fans respect him, and Cena of course added he respects him as well. Cena challenged HHH. Edge interrupted, said he destroyed Mick Foley, was the star of WrestleMania XXII, and will be champion. HHH said he beat Foley six years ago like it wasn’t a big deal.

He announced Vince McMahon’s main event for the evening is HHH and John Cena vs. Edge. Edge was annoyed. Cena slapped HHH in the face and left. This was an interesting open to the show, and I really enjoy the Cena dynamic, but they still don’t get why he is being booed. It should be apparent from the boos for Rey Mysterio that it’s not just about the wrestling, and Cena is as soft now as he ever has been. The character is totally uncool.

Rob Van Dam beat Rob Conway quickly with the frog splash. They announced RVD as Mr. Money in the Bank, which to me is a bad idea. They did that gimmick with Edge all of last year, while Mr. Monday Night already applies to RVD and sounds better to boot. Shelton Benjamin did commentary with nice clothes and no Mama, which makes me happy. It’s amazing how much more of a star he comes across as without that albatross around his neck.

Benjamin challenged RVD to a match at Backlash. RVD declined, unless Benjamin would put up the Intercontinental Title. RVD had to have hated that script. ECW Rob Van Dam would never have done that. He would have given a cocky smirk, and laughed at the idea that Benjamin could beat him. That’s my new habit when I watch RVD since his return. I imagine what the over RVD would be saying if he didn’t have hack script writers putting words in his mouth.

Mickie was interviewed backstage. She said that of all the WrestleManias, this was her best so far, and she can’t wait to go back to Toronto to celebrate. Maria pointed out that she is not from Toronto. Mickie flipped out and challenged Maria to a title match. Maria was excited by this. I love Mickie James even better acting like Trish. It’s just a really fun angle, and is probably the best booked program on Raw.

Spirit Squad beat Big Show and Kane via disqualification. Kane was hearing voices backstage, and so was the audience apparently. They want him to turn heel to help sell his new movie. Does that make us crazy for hearing the voices as well? Big Show tried to calm him down. Show and Kane just destroyed Johnny and Nicky early, with chokes, slams, kicks, chops and the like. Johnny applied a head lock to Kane, but Kane got out with a belly to back suplex.

Show stood on Johnny, and press slammed Nicky onto the rest of the Squad. Squad gained the advantage with outside interference, and punched and kicked Kane for a while. Kane finally made a comeback, threw some chairs into the ring and was disqualified. He choke slammed Johnny, Nicky and the referee. Show tried to calm him down, and I could have sworn he said “you’re out of your fucking mind” on the air without the censors catching it. Kane responded by giving him a choke slam. This match was ungodly boring and went on forever.

Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon did a vignette in a church. Basically the gimmick was Vince doing all sorts of sacrilegious things, and Shane looking on in disbelief. Vince said he had never been in this sort of place before, and was looking for Shawn Michaels’ tag partner. Vince drank from the holy water and spat it out like HHH. He called out God, and said they have a lot in common.

They are both creators, but God rests on the seventh day so Vince has a stronger work ethic. God has his disciple Shawn, and Vince has his disciple Shane. Like God, Vince McMahon has his Commandments, and he read them off. Shawn broke all Vince’s Commandments, and God can’t protect him. Shane said a prayer basically praising Vince. Vince vowed to unleash the apocalypse on Shawn, and asked God to strike him down right there. Shane moved to the side, which was pretty funny. Vince said Shawn’s partner has forsaken him, and we heard thunder as Vince celebrated.

Armando Alejandro Estrada introduced Umaga, who defeated Colt Cabana in a quick squash. Umaga looks like your typical Wild Samoan, Samoan Savage or Headshrinker. He hit a head butt off the second rope and applied the Tongan death grip for the win. I’m still waiting for that to be applied in an MMA setting.

Carlito said that he went on a diet and lost 275 pounds of deadweight. Carlito said that his dissension with Chris Masters isn’t just about Masters screwing up Mania or staring in the mirror all the time. Rather, Masters simply isn’t cool. Chris Masters came out and they argued about blame. The fans don’t seem to know who the face is yet. Masters implied he lost at Mania on purpose to get even with Carlito.

Carlito said that’s stupid and mocked him for it. Carlito called for a Masterlock challenge. When Masters was getting ready to apply the Masterlock Carlito hit him with a chair. This was funny, and I would love to see a gimmick where Masters gets outsmarted every single week because he’s an idiot. That’s what I call good comedy. Masters and Carlito will meet at Backlash. The also announced Jim Ross will interview Chavo Guerrero, Jr. next week on Raw.

Masters implied he lost at Mania to get even with Carlito. Carlito said that’s stupid and mocked him for it. Carlito called for a Masterlock challenge. When Masters was getting ready to apply the Masterlock Carlito hit him with a chair. This was funny. I would actually love to see a gimmick where Masters gets outsmarted every single week because he’s an idiot. That’s good comedy.

Mickie James beat Maria. This was, shock of all shocks, a bad match. Mickie used kicks, a body slam, and a back breaker. Maria actually went for the Oklahoma roll. Mickie came back with kicks and an awful chick kick for the pin. Trish then came out as Mickie James, and did a hell of a job with it. She kissed Mickie, and Mickie left in shock. I loved this angle.

John Cena and HHH beat Edge. This was a bizarre matchup on paper, but it ended up working out fine. Cena hit a belly to belly suplex on Edge, and a vertical suplex. HHH came in with a high knee. To my shock, Lita successfully distracted HHH. Edge rammed HHH into the announce table and steps, and hit an implant DDT. HHH came back with the spine buster. He tagged Cena, who hit the five knuckle shuffle. He had Edge up for the FU, but HHH pulled Edge off and hit the pedigree. Cena responded by giving HHH the FU and applied the STFU on Edge for the submission. I like the dynamic of this three-way program.

Final Thoughts:

This was an odd week for Raw. It had its strengths, but overall wasn’t a particularly good show. What I found interesting is that the problems with the show seem to be different right now. The problems in right years have primarily centered on ridiculous, illogical booking. This show didn’t really have that. Everything was directed towards building matches. They have the lineup for Backlash set and are already moving towards it quickly. The undercard seems more developed and the main event is more compelling.

The problem with this show wasn’t that it lacked booking logic. Rather, it felt like a time machine. You have big men feuding just because they are big. You have cartoon figures debuting in the middle of the card. You have no attention being paid to the quality of the wrestling. I guess overall I actually like this problem better. WWE delivered what it sought to deliver pretty well. They just need to connect better with what wrestling fans in 2006 are interested in seeing.


Blogger DenisGorman said...

Fans joke that Van Dam smokes up backstage. Well, if I were him, I'd be high as a kite after being given my script.

The writing/creative team clearly doesn't push the wrestlers' strengths. RVD is a cocky SOB. So why not push him that way? Because it makes too much sense?

8:53 PM  
Blogger 17Haze said...

I didn't know what to think when Vince and Shane were going to team against Shawn Michaels and GOD...But tonight was pretty funny with that angle. Shane plays the part of the son that knows his Dad is nuts, very well.

I also love the 3-Way Main Event for Backlash. Edge needs to be in there to keep things fresh, unfourtunatly it means he will get pinned at the PPV.

I'm also getting in to Smackdown a little more now with the King of the Ring coming back, London and Kendrick getting in the tag-title picture and I'm curious as to what they do with Mysterio as champ.

I think the WWE is getting things slowly back on track and I'm getting exciting about it. Hopefully they keep it up.

9:48 PM  
Blogger DenisGorman said...

I thought the Vince-Shane church vignette was one of the more over-the-top comedy bits that they've done in a while that was actually funny. Shane's body language was brilliant, especially after his father imitated HHH's water-spitting.

Backlash is going to be interesting. Whoever wins the strap at Backlash is going to lose it to Van Dam at ONS II. Does that set up a four-way for the title at Summerslam? I believe Edge, HHH and Cena will all have monster heel heat at the Ballroom, simply because of who they are and what they represent. An Edge-Van Dam match would probably be closest to an ECW-style main event match. HHH-Van Dam would be interesting, simply because of the behind-the-scenes machinations. The hatred Cena would receive at ONS would be off-the-charts; it would make Chicago look amateurish by comparison.

11:01 PM  
Blogger nevs999 said...

Todd, you're right on as usual.

What does it say when WWE's best program centers on the women's title picture, which features 1.5 to 2 actual wrestlers?

- Matt in Anchorage

9:00 AM  

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