Monday, April 17, 2006

Raw Report

WWE Raw Report

Date: 04/17/06 from St. Louis, MO.

The Big News: God made his WWE debut. He has apparently been studying tapes of lame Undertaker angles.

Title Changes/Turns: None.

Match Results: Kane b Rob Conway; Charlie Haas b Shelton Benjamin; Shawn Michaels b Umaga-DQ; Kenny Doane, Johnny Jeter, Mikey Mondo, Nicky Nemeth & Mitch b Rob Van Dam; Edge & John Cena b Triple H.

Show Analysis:

Vince McMahon came out to start the show. He said the question is if he will go to hell. He noted that he may have offended Shane in a small way last week, and so he very well might have offended other people in a large way. Wrong. You have to go pretty far to elicit moral outrage now that everyone sees you as among the sleaziest human beings in the world, Vince. He said he won’t be going to hell, because he was already in hell earlier in the day: East St. Louis.

Vince announced he is founding his own religion, McMahonism, where he is the lord, master and god of all sports entertainment, and you will worship him. I guess that makes Ted Turner Satan. Bret Hart is Judas, Joey Styles is Jerry Falwell, and of course Triple H is Jesus, not to be mistaken with the guy fighting Butterbean at Rumble on the Rock.

Vince showed a bunch of pictures meant for comedy. He was on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He was carrying down his copy of Muscle and Fitness like the Ten Commandments. He was at the Last Supper. He was with Buddha, and then the Pope. These initially got some laughs, and then a boring chant broke out. Vince opened the doors to his church and invited people to convert to McMahonism. He vowed to make Shawn Michaels worship at his feet at Backlash, and again dared God to strike him down.

Vince guaranteed victory at Backlash, and then Shawn Michaels came in with sweet chin music. Michaels did another pronounced crotch chop that the announcers mentioned. I don’t like the idea of a DX reunion at all. The whole strength of that unit was that it was cool, and Shawn and Hunter running around acting like teenagers and reprising a nearly ten year old gimmick is decidedly uncool.

Backstage, HHH suggested Vince lay off the God stuff, so an angry Vince made Edge & John Cena vs. Triple H. HHH acted like a total face here, which was the clearest signal yet he is turning face. I think that turn is a good idea, as HHH is tired as a heel and a feud with him against Edge would work well. An angry Rob Conway in the ring promised to change his losing ways, but then Kane came out.

Kane destroyed Rob Conway with the choke slam. Kane actually got a bigger face reaction than he has in a while, which was odd. Kane started yelling at Lillian Garcia after the match, thinking she said something about May 19. He grabbed her by the throat for the choke slam, but Big Show came out looking like the world’s biggest slob to calm him down. Kane grabbed Show by the throat, but this time Show gave him the choke slam. Kane sat up and grinned. Jonathan Coachman did the ring announcing from this point on.

Chavo Guerrero, Jr. did an interview with Jim Ross. He said he may have acted hastily in retiring, but he made a promise and let everyone down, so he concluded it was the right decision. Ross said that’s a drastic decision and asked if Eddie would approve. Chavo said they supported each other’s decisions. All he ever trained to do was wrestle, but maybe he isn’t good enough and it wasn’t meant to be. He suggested he could try to become a real estate broker.

Ross said it was only one loss, and Eddie might not approve of Chavo quitting the family business. Chavo said he feels he made the decision, and his wrestling career has come to an end. Chavo was really good in this segment, and much better than I would have expected. It reminded me more of the Mick Foley sit down interviews that made him a star than the many J.R. sit down interviews they have done since. I feel much more optimistic about this program now.

Charlie Haas beat Shelton Benjamin. The stipulation was that if Benjamin beat an opponent of RVD’s choosing, he would get a shot at Money in the Bank at Backlash, but if Benjamin lost, he would have to put his Intercontinental Title on the line at that event. Haas came out to little to no reaction, and I’m not sure if the fans really got the story. Benjamin sold the shock well. Haas came in with arm drags, a drop kick, and a clothesline off the top. He hit chops, and went for a sunset flip that was countered into a back breaker.

Benjamin hit a clothesline, threw Haas into the steps, and used a body slam on the floor. Joey Styles labeled this a “great sports entertainment contest.” It’s a wrestling match, Joey. Get a backbone. Coach and Lawler continued by talking about having no idea where Haas has been, and of course Styles played dumb on that as well. Then again, perhaps it’s a bit much to expect them to acknowledge Haas losing in the finals of the Super Eight to Davey Richards.

Haas retaliated with a back drop, clotheslines and knees. He missed a drop kick, and Benjamin hit a belly-to-back suplex. He hit rolling thunder, laughing at RVD. Benjamin hit a stinger splash and spin kick. He teased the frog splash, but instead missed a senton off the top and Haas won with a jackknife cradle. This was a fun match. It’s nice to see them bring in a newcomer that can actually wrestle. Benjamin continues to take off as a heel since they dumped Mama. It’s a lot easier to project star charisma when you’re an arrogant super-athlete rather than a whimpering mama’s boy. Who would have figured?

Armando Alejandro Estrada said he converted to McMahonism and wanted to make a donation to the church of Umaga vs. Shawn Michaels. Vince made the match. Shelton Benjamin came to Vince as well, and said he saw the light of McMahonism. He said only Vince could save one of his disciples from not having a chance at Money in the Bank. Vince said he could do something about it. All the heel begging for Vince’s help really hurts their effectiveness, and it is the same tired cycle over the last so many years where the non-wrestling authority figures are promoted over the wrestlers and the buy rates subsequently suffer.

Shawn Michaels beat Umaga via disqualification. Vince McMahon came to ringside for the match. Umaga used a clothesline and gave Michaels a stiff kick to the floor. He hit chops, head butts and a knee drop. Michaels came back with punches and a pair of flying forearms to knock Umaga off his feet. He hit the elbow off the top and was going for sweet chin music when both Armando and Vince grabbed his legs. Umaga came from behind, threw him into the corner, tied him to the tree of woe, and head butted and punched Michaels until the referee disqualified him. He jammed Michaels in the throat with his thumb.

Vince told Umaga and Armando to leave, and said he would finish Shawn himself. He tied Shawn to the ropes and went to bring a chair into the ring, but fireworks shot out of the ring posts when he tried to enter. Vince panicked and left back to the entrance. He started to come back when the Kane fireworks went off and set a fire on the stage. We are supposed to believe this was interference from God. This is so utterly preposterous and unbelievably insulting to the intelligence of the audience.

Matt Striker had a classroom set up, and he was horrified with the state of schools in America. He doesn’t come across as bright enough to be doing a pompous teacher gimmick. He said people are more concerned with being cool than being smart, and gave the audience an F. Carlito came out, getting more of a face reaction this week.

Carlito said that Striker took his apple, and Carlito was one of the kids in school that thought it was more important to be cool. He said he used to get lectured and sent to detention, until he spit an apple in the teacher’s face and became the coolest guy on the island. He was ready to spit apple in Striker’s face, but Striker threatened to give him a beating. Carlito did it anyway and beat up Striker until Masters came in and applied the Masterlock.

Spirit Squad beat Rob Van Dam in a very quick five-on-one match to earn Benjamin a shot at Money in the Bank at Backlash. RVD fought them off for a little while until the numbers proved to be too much. They hit the High Spirits and Kenny Doane hit the leg drop off the top for the win. WWE pins people way too often. There are ways to advance storylines without having each side get pinned week after week. It doesn’t do major damage when RVD loses handicap matches, but it certainly doesn’t do him any favors as far as getting the crowd to believe in him.

Next up was the greatest segment ever. Trish, pretending to be Mickie, had a present under a box for Mickie, pretending to be Trish. Unfortunately it wasn’t Abdullah the Butcher again, and rather Trish’s former boyfriend Jack tied up. He said both of them are crazy. Trish said if Mickie is Trish, she would care about Jack, and if she is actually Mickie, she will realize she doesn’t care about him and isn’t Trish. This was hilarious, surrealist, Looney Tunes comedy logic.

Mickie did the only thing she could in response. She screamed at Trish to get her hands off “her” boyfriend, and ran into the ring to attack. Trish gave Mickie a spine buster and left. Mickie apologized to Jack and comforted him, but then concluded he cheated on her and kicked him in the head. This was seriously the funniest thing on Raw in ages.

HHH and Edge spoke backstage. Edge said that he would pin HHH later in the evening. HHH said John Cena wouldn’t let that happen, and would stab Edge in the back. HHH said he hates Cena a whole lot more than he hates Edge. He added that Edge has great reasons to hate Cena as well, given Cena took his title and Edge hasn’t done anything about it.

John Cena and Edge beat HHH. John Cena once again got the Cena reaction. HHH jumped him from behind and stomped him and punched him. Cena came back with a suplex, but HHH retaliated with punches, a crotch chop, and a knee drop. Cena got the momentum back with a shoulder block and clotheslines. He went for the five knuckle shuffle, but HHH gave him a spine buster.

Edge tagged in and knocked Cena to the floor. HHH punched Edge, gave him a spine buster, and a clothesline. Edge hit a spinning heel kick but Cena came in and attacked him with clotheslines and a belly to belly suplex. HHH went for the pedigree on Cena, but Cena got out and went for the FU. HHH sent Cena into the referee. He brought a sledgehammer into the ring and hit Cena in the head with it, but Edge speared HHH and pinned him. I’m not usually a fan of parity booking with main eventers, but I think this build is working.

Final Thoughts:

This was one of my favorite episodes of Raw in ages. Granted, that isn’t the highest of praise, but I got a kick out of a lot of things on this show. I particularly enjoyed the Haas-Benjamin segment, the Mickie-Trish segment and the Chavo interview. They are doing a good job building Backlash. The only negative is the Vince McMahon stuff, which is so tired. Everything on the show ran through him. If you are going to make someone such a focus, they should at least draw money and be involved with important matches. Instead the focus on Vince just undermines the significance of all the wrestlers and their programs which run underneath the pointless and ridiculous Vince vs. God feud. They also would have an easier time making Edge vs. Cena vs. HHH feel important if it wasn’t overshadowed by Vince’s weekly shenanigans.

5 Comments:

Blogger Swain said...

If Vince is so willing to push the envelope and prove that he bows to nobody, why weren't there pictures of him with Mohammed?

8:34 AM  
Blogger 17Haze said...

I have been to East St. Louis and Vince is right thats about as close to hell as you can get! But I thought that this was a decent show. They have built up Backlash well but I am tired of the handicapped matches. The stuff with Vince was funny last week but this week it was just pretty lame. Overall I'm still looking forward to Backlash.

10:19 AM  
Blogger FlairRocks said...

Isn't it kinda harsh to pick on Joey for using the term "sports entertainment" instead of "wrestling"? He's probably just being told what to do...

9:42 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Maybe. I'm used to sports entertainment being referred to, but "sports entertainment contest" is particularly ridiculous. They might as well just say it's a great work while they're at it. And Styles comes across particularly bad given he mocked this type of stuff year after year in ECW.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Not to mention, Gorilla Monsoon or Vince in their heyday never used sports entertainment contest to best of my recollection. Nor did Jim Ross and those would be the guys Styles would be asked to mimic. So this one's on Styles who may be trying too hard to meet company expectations and thus may be going too far the other way.

6:23 PM  

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