Monday, May 15, 2006

Raw Report

Date: 05/15/06 from Lubbock, TX.

The Big News: Triple H moved closer to a break with the McMahons, while Mick Foley had a confrontation with Terry Funk.

Title Changes/Turns: Shelton Benjamin won back the Intercontinental Title from Rob Van Dam.

Match Results: Triple H, Shelton Benjamin & Chris Masters b Rob Van Dam & John Cena; Spirit Squad b Gene Snitsky & Goldust; Matt Striker b Eugene; Umaga b Chris Wellman; Shawn Michaels NC Kenny Doane.

Show Analysis:
Vince McMahon came out at the start, and said he was changing the main event for the better. It would be Rob Van Dam and John Cena vs. HHH, Chris Masters and Shelton Benjamin in a 3 on 2 Texas tornado handicap match with both titles on the line depending on who scored the pin. The match started out too wild, with everyone brawling all over the place and no build.

Coming back from a break, the heels went to work triple teaming RVD, and the match was really good from that point on. Benjamin and HHH got into an argument while Masters put RVD in the Masterlock. RVD was able to fight them all off, and went for the frog splash on Benjamin, but HHH pushed him off the top to the floor. Cena then came in with clotheslines and suplexes on all three. He hit the five knuckle shuffle on Benjamin, and sent HHH to the floor when he went for the pedigree. Cena then applied the STFU to Benjamin. Masters broke that up. RVD hit the five star on Benjamin, but HHH gave RVD the pedigree.

Cena hit the FU on Masters, and HHH gave Cena the pedigree. Benjamin made the cover on RVD, and HHH made the cover on Cena, but Benjamin got the cover first and scored the pin to win the IC Title. HHH thought he won, so he gave the referee the pedigree and stormed off. This was good, and the crowd was hot for it. The negative is the finish, as it buries the title when the champion is beaten and they aren’t even building to a PPV title match with the man who has him beat. Well, this was at least less problematic than Rey’s treatment on Smackdown.

Trish Stratus called out Mickie James. Beth came out and attacked Mickie again. Trish said Beth is Mickie’s old friend and Trish’s new friend. Beth said she wouldn’t let Mickie get away with what she did. Backstage, Shane McMahon told an angry HHH that Vince wanted to collect his favor, and HHH would be in Kenny’s corner against Shawn Michaels with Shane McMahon as special referee. Spirit Squad then retained the tag titles defeating Gene Snitsky and Goldust with a bulldog off the trampoline off the floor into the ring for the pin. That was a cool spot.

Mick Foley came out for an interview. He still received mostly cheers and few boos, and played to the crowd with thumbs up and smiles. He said what he did was unbelievable, because he couldn’t even believe he attacked Tommy Dreamer and joined Edge himself. He said he owed an apology, and said he is sorry. That got cheers. He said he couldn’t apologize to Dreamer, so he would apologize to Terry Funk. They put over Funk as Foley’s mentor. Foley wanted to shake hands, but Funk told him not so fast. He wanted to know why Foley humiliated Dreamer.

Foley said it was because he and Edge made history at WrestleMania with the greatest hardcore match ever, and he wasn’t going to let second-rate ECW scumbags come into a WWE ring as if they represent hardcore. Thus, Edge and Foley made a pact to protect what they created. He said he would defend three things with his life: the honor of his wife, the honor of his children, and the honor of his legacy. Funk said Foley is ECW, and talked about all they have been through together. He said Foley is like a son to him and they hugged.

Foley said that they hadn’t stood in a WWE ring together since 1998, but they should have in 2003 when Foley was honored as a hardcore legend. Instead, he asserted Funk didn’t show up because he wanted more money. Foley said Funk broke his heart. He continued that one day Funk will die, and it will cost a lot of money for Foley to come to a dump like West Texas and speak at his funeral. He then reconsidered and said he would come there for free to spit on Funk’s grave.

Funk then tried to get Foley to fight him. He slapped Foley multiple times, called his wife a whore, and said his kids are bastards. But it was only after he said that WWE sucks that Foley attacked. Funk fought off Foley and Edge, but Lita gave Funk a low blow. Edge hit Funk with the barbed wire bat twice, and Edge and Foley gave him the Socko/spear combination. This started a little slow, with Foley’s motivation and explanation a little convoluted. However, it picked up and built into an excellent, heated segment. Funk did a really good job in support.

Matt Striker beat Eugene. Before the match, Striker mocked immigrants and Texas Tech, and vowed to teach Eugene a lesson. Eugene hit the leg drop, but Striker kicked out. Eugene went for the Rock Bottom, but Striker got out and hit the Golden Rule for the pin. Striker’s knockoff Dean Douglas character is a dead-end gimmick for a dead-end performer. The other Matt Striker was always better than this guy.

Backstage, Carlito said he liked Eugene until he messed with Carlito. Maria didn’t understand Carlito’s t-shirt. This of course built to Maria excitedly proclaiming that she swallows, and Carlito saying that is cool. While vulgar, this was an amusing little backstage segment. Elsewhere, HHH confronted Vince McMahon backstage. HHH was furious and said nothing. Vince said that since HHH got a title shot, it would be time for HHH to return the favor and bash in Michaels’ head with a sledgehammer.

Umaga beat Chris Wellman. Armando claimed that Wellman is the toughest guy in all of Texas, which was funny. Even Wellman had this quizzical look after Armando made that claim. Umaga threw Wellman over his head really hard off the steps to the floor. He used the thumb for the pin. Backstage, Spirit Squad voiced their appreciation for Shane McMahon.

Shawn Michaels and Kenny went to a no-contest. Michaels went after Shane from the very beginning. He went for an elbow off the top on Kenny, but Shane pushed him off. Kenny hit a DDT, elbow and other moves, and Shane tried to fast count Michaels. Kenny whipped and choked Michaels with a belt. Michaels came back with an inverted atomic drop and punches. He whipped Shane with the belt, sending him from the ring.

Michaels hit a body slam and the elbow off the top on Kenny. He followed that with sweet chin music, but Shane jumped Michaels with a series of back breakers. He called HHH into the ring, and held him for HHH to attack with the sledgehammer. HHH swung, and they played it like he intended to hit Michaels, but Michaels moved out of the way. With Shane laid out, Vince came out and called for help. HHH apologized to Vince as the show ended.

Final Thoughts:

This show overall was above average based on recent Raw standards. The one thing that’s problematic is they have false advertised major matches two weeks in a row, for no good reason. It’s just traditional bait and switch: promising something you think people want to see but that you don’t want to deliver. That is not a good pattern to develop. Otherwise, there are some good stories being told on Raw, and the main event direction in particular feels strong.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have enjoyed the opening match much more if the referee had intentionally ran past the HHH pin and opted to count Shelton Benjamin's pinfall. It would have added an additional layer of heat between Vince McMahon and HHH.

As for the Foley turn, I expected the explanation to be lame and I certainly wasn't disappointed. I really don't care for Foley's turn for several reasons. First, I am completed turned off when the try to incorporate Smackdown or ECW as part of RAW. Each of these products should stand on their own and the constant co-mingling the productions seems to cheapen each of the products. Second, Mick Foley has not played a major role in the WWE as of late, but has stood out as something as an ambassador for the WWE fans. To turn Foley now leaves a void within the WWE and let's face it there really isn't anyone around who can fill that void. Third, Foley's turn leaves Edge in limbo. He has no one to fight who can elevate his heel status.

As for bringing out Terry Funk to job for the Foley turn, who cares? Funk is too damn old and I am sick and tired of somebody old being put over as still able to mix it up with someone 20-30 years younger. I frankly didn't buy either Foley or Funk's arguments. Also, it looked like Funk would have a hard time punching his way out of a wet paper bag and I swear that one of his punches missed Foley entirely and Foley went down. WWE needs to get away from this.

As for the finale, once again who cares. Obviously, HHH is going to turn to a face, but they week in and week out drag it out and give the fans few reasons to pull for HHH turn. Before the match, they could have at least had Shane come across as pompous and or derrogatory towards HHH to give HHH a reason just to flat out hit Shane without any kind of duck by Shaun Michaels. The rush to the ring by paramedics is old and stale. Vince's response was weak. When was the last time that the paramedics had to cart someone out of the ring because HHH nailed them with a sledgehammer? I can't think of a single time. Why not send the Spirit Squad down to attack HHH or something to add some heat. Vince coming down and crying over Shane once again only served to cheapen the whole thing.

Right now, the Spirit Squad is about the best thing going in the WWE. They are pompous, arrogant and generally annoying. The rest of the WWE cast is stuck in bad story lines.

One final point. Shelve the DX crotch chops. DX was like ten years ago. Leave it in the past and move on to the 21st century.

9:01 AM  
Blogger 17Haze said...

I thought Raw was good. I think just the opposite of what anonymous said. They are doing a good job with Triple H's turn by just planting some seeds week in and week out. How many time's have we complained about the company just rushing into angles. This one is being well played out.

I do agree with him in this point. Terry Funk doesn't need to be in a WWE ring. He really looked old and awful. However, Foley is making his heel turn work. He just knows how to work a crowd.

I liked the opening match and idea. Obviously it was to get the IC title off RVD so he can make his title run. But like Todd said doing the ole bait and switch too many times is not good business.

9:48 AM  
Anonymous steve khan said...

So, Triple H loses his match (technically, he won) and loses his chance at the WWE Title. They show him throughout the night angry over what happened, and he ends up taking a sledgehammer to Shane McMahon by "accident."

RVD loses the match, loses the title, and we never see him again all night.

That's the biggest problem I had with tonight's RAW.

12:07 PM  
Anonymous MAZ said...

Todd,

I posted the anonymous comment above. Will post in the future as MAZ.

1:14 PM  
Blogger MarkOut said...

Thought last night's RAW was pretty good. Who the hell lit a fire under Foley? That was his greatest promo in forever. I really like the direction RAW is going in right now. Lots of intrigue and INTERSTING cliffhangers.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Jason said...

Although he stumbled a few times on the mic last night, Funk came across with some decent, old school passion. However, his offense was embarrassing and borderline hokey. His jabs appeared unrealistically soft.

I do like the DX buildup where they are slowly adding some logic for putting these two together. The interesting issue when they pair these guys again will be who'll take the lead. In the past, it was Michaels, but now...
Personally, I find it hard to believe that Michaels will play the sidekick role well. He has more natural charisma than HHH -- not too mention a far better worker in the ring.

I like the Foley turn, but find the explanation a bit awkward. First Joey Styles comes out and rips the WWE fans, and then, as a heel, Foley rips on the ECW fans. Exactly, why are the WWE fans supposed to hate Foley when he is ripping on an organization that just two weeks ago their spokesman ripped on them?

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Socko said...

Just got finished watching RAW (TiVO).

Best match was opening match. Without question, Shelton Benjamin pinned RVD before HHH pinned Cena. As a result, HHH came across as a whiner.

Liked the Trish Stratus/Mickie James/Beth angle.

Disappointed in the Foley turn. I agree that Foley's turn leaves Edge in limbo. I also think that Foley's turn diminishes Edge's role as the top heel in the WWE. I certainly hope that the next PPV main event isn't a triple threat match - Edge, Cena & RVD. I think the WWE does this way too often.

Week in and week out I find myself hoping and praying that Kane gets injured and knocked out of action. It is all too clear that the WWE doesn't have a clue as to what to do with him. Although he's only been around a few weeks, I'll say the same thing about Umaga. Having said all that, I would like to see these two characters collide.

What can you say about Terry Funk? You can say that he's old. I certainly hope that we are about to see Foley and Edge vs Dreamer and Funk.

I love the Spirit Squad. I wish that Vince would let them run one episode of RAW.

8:06 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Thanks maz, and welcome to you, markout and Mr. Socko.

11:49 PM  
Anonymous Houston said...

I'm not sure if I want to see DX reunited, but I am enjoying the slow build to it. I wish they gave all their storylines this much attention. I especially liked the fact HH said to Shawn "Wake up, I want you to see this coming." That can be taken two ways, either HHH wanted Shawn to watch the finishing blow, or HHH wanted Shawn to see him so he would duck out of the way.

It's little touches like that that lift a storyline, and it's those little touches that WWE has been missing for a long time.

1:42 AM  

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