Monday, May 22, 2006

Raw Report

Date: 05/22/06 from Las Vegas, NV.

The Big News: Triple H may have finally broken with Vince McMahon and turned face. Or maybe not. Also, Paul Heyman made his return to WWE television.

Title Changes/Turns: I don’t think HHH is a full-fledged face yet, but he is close.

Match Results: Shelton Benjamin b Rob Van Dam-DQ; John Cena b Chris Masters; Kane b Trevor Murdoch; Mickie James b Torrie Wilson; Shawn Michaels NC Kenny Doane, Mikey Mondo, Nicky Nemeth, Johnny Jeter & Mitch Mitch.

Show Analysis:

At the onset of the show, Vince McMahon said that he is sure what HHH did was an accident, but he would demand an apology anyway. He added that if he didn’t receive a sincere apology, there would be immediate retaliation. This was so 1998 Steve Austin.

Mick Foley came out in a suit. He thanked the fans for their continuing support, in spite of a few misunderstandings. He hilariously explained, “I am not a bad guy. It is okay to cheer me. Parents, tell the kids boos are not really necessary. I’m a lovely guy.” After this, mentioning Las Vegas got a cheap pop, but he then turned on the crowd by saying it isn’t nice to be in Las Vegas. Basically, Vegas has a bunch of people looking to change their lives with a roll of the dice, when it is better to earn your accomplishments like Foley.

He introduced Edge, and wanted to present Edge with the old WWE Hardcore Title. Edge said he couldn’t accept the title, because Foley had to toil in Bingo Halls for so many years while he was disrespected by people like Ric Flair. Edge said Foley deserves to be the hardcore champion. Foley pointed out the irony of Flair working in a ladder match this year at WrestleMania after all his stunt man remarks. Foley said both he and Edge wanted to be hardcore champion, so they should resolve it with a match in Las Vegas. Shockingly, there were actually people gullible enough to buy this as a possibility. Edge and Foley instead decided they would be co-holders of the hardcore title.

Paul Heyman came out, and got a nice reaction. He talked about a prostitute being in the ring, but meant Foley, not Lita. Heyman said that Foley prostitutes his family’s love for Edge and Lita, but he won’t prostitute the name of hardcore. He called Foley a shell of his former self. Foley’s facial reaction was great. Foley said he is the co-holder of the WWE Hardcore Title, a WWE superstar, real life action figure, and book writer. He said that Heyman is the one who has nothing left. He’s not GM of Smackdown, doesn’t own his company, and has no power.

Heyman said he does have the power to issue a tag challenge for One Night Stand. Foley refused. Heyman laughed, and said Lita was the only one in the ring with any nuts. Foley and Edge went after Heyman, but Heyman introduced Funk and Dreamer as their opponents for One Night Stand. Funk and Dreamer brought weapons and ran Edge and Foley off. All participants involved did a very good job here, but there seemed to be something missing. A big part of the problem is nobody buys Funk and Dreamer as threats to Edge and Foley.

Shelton Benjamin beat Rob Van Dam via disqualification in an Intercontinental Title match. RVD dominated early with kicks, but Benjamin turned it around by dropping him on the turnbuckle. Benjamin tried to neutralize RVD with holds, but RVD kept coming back with kicks. Eventually he hit a standing moonsault and Rolling Thunder, but there was a referee bump. Scorpio Sky ran out. Sorry. Reflexive response. Benjamin brought the belt into the ring, and RVD kicked it into his face right as the referee was recovering. The referee called for a DQ. RVD seemed to be going for more, but he was really sloppy. It’s going to take him time to get back to his ECW style if he is allowed to do that.

Vince McMahon came to the ring, and alluded to making Shawn Michaels’ life a living hell. He made some threats and asked for two words from Triple H. Triple H came out and said he had two words for Vince. They teased it out, but his words were “I’m sorry.” Vince accepted the apology, provided HHH come out and hit Michaels with a sledgehammer on his command after the main event. HHH said they had an understanding, and they shook hands.

Kane was interviewed. He said that May 19 was the date that his mother was killed in a fire, and he has fought many years to suppress those memories. But, those days have passed, his movie is out, and he gets to inflict pain and punishment on his opponents. So he’s never been happier. That’s comforting.

John Cena beat Chris Masters with the STFU in a title match. Afterwards, Rob Van Dam came out. He said he will be using his Money in the Bank title shot at One Night Stand, where he will be more comfortable. RVD and Cena then got into a fight. Cena was getting the best of it until Masters ran in, and RVD took the opportunity to “hit” the worst Van Daminator ever with the briefcase.

Backstage, Carlito and Maria were off to play some cards. They ran into Gene Snitsky, who had hired an escort. He approached Goldust, and somehow concluded that because Goldust was dressed in showgirl attire, it must be a showgirl and not a large, overweight man in showgirl attire. Snitsky was enamored with Goldust’s feet, which troubled Goldust, who was just chilling in women’s clothing. Carlito didn’t find this cool. Maria added that it wasn’t funny. No, wait, that was me. Elsewhere, Shawn Michaels was pissed off at HHH for apologizing to Vince. Michaels called him a sellout.

Kane defeated Trevor Murdoch with the choke slam. Murdoch talked trash about See No Evil before the match. Afterwards a video played saying that “this will never be over.” Kane acted confused. Perhaps it will turn out that Kane hasn’t been having episodes this whole time, but rather that someone is screwing with his head. I like that angle much better anyway, as long as it isn’t DDP.

They aired a flashback for 24/7 which focused on the NWO. It was a fun little package. That would make a great DVD collection. WWE has done spotlights on a lot of the key angles in the Monday Night War and NWO DVDs, but it would be fun to just have all the NWO angles from 1996 put together in a DVD set. It was an exciting period.

Mickie James beat Torrie Wilson with the implant DDT. This came precariously close to completely falling apart. Trish announced after the match that Beth Phoenix is the newest Raw Diva. She attacked Mickie from behind, and Mickie ran off with her title into the crowd.

Viscera came out and said he had big news. He said that he realized it is time for him to settle down, and invited Lillian into the ring. Lillian pointed out the last time they were in Vegas he dumped her for ho’s. Viscera said that was his bad and apologized. He then took out a cheeseburger and said if they got married she could cook for him. He said he was hungry and horny and asked Lillian to marry her.

Of course, if you were looking at your clock during this segment, you knew what was coming. Armando showed up, and was particularly great this week in introducing Umaga. The whole act works much better when the entrance is unexpected, and all of a sudden you have got Umaga charging towards the ring to destroy somebody the fans like. Or in this case Viscera. Umaga just obliterated him, climaxing with the spike. They should have let Lillian get back Viscera for being a general creep to her.

Spirit Squad and Shawn Michaels had what was labeled a match by Jim Ross, but didn’t really have any elements of a wrestling match. Vince McMahon ordered the referee to leave, and the Squad gave Michaels an extended beat down. They gave him High Spirits. Shawn Michaels made a comeback when they brought a chair into the ring. He went to town with the chair, hit the elbow off the top, and hit sweet chin music twice. He went for a third, but he got hit in the leg with a chair, which was an awesome spot.

They tore up Michaels’ pants and went after his knee. The fans were chanting for HHH. They put Michaels’ leg in the chair and Kenny came off the top with the knee. Vince called for HHH, who went to the ring with the sledgehammer. The fans chanted DX. Kenny took the sledgehammer from HHH and wanted to use it, but HHH stopped him and fought off the Spirit Squad. This was a great beat down as far as getting heat on the Squad and Vince and sympathy for Vince. However, if this was intended to be a key point in a HHH face turn, it went on too long. It’s hard to like a guy who would let Michaels get so completely obliterated for such a long time.

Final Thoughts:

This show was laid out really well. I don’t know if I’m all that excited about the places they are planning to go, but they are doing a good job with traditional wrestling build. One thing I have liked about recent editions of Raw is that they are doing a better job protecting wrestlers that have significant upside. That may not pay off in the short term, but it is good for the long term development of younger wrestlers who haven’t reached the top of their career trajectory yet.

6 Comments:

Anonymous MAZ said...

I liked the Mick Foley turn much better this week as he and Edge fraternized inside the ring. Unfortunately, my worst dreams came true as the whole turn is doing nothing but to bury Edge further down the WWE ladder. Also, I've never cared for Paul Heyman and I am not a fan of the WWE trying the hardest to spike an interest in ECW which to quote Jerry Lawler stands for and has always stood for Extremely Crappy Wrestling. Having said all that the WWE's product as of late isn't any better but I've digressed. Anyway, Edge was just in a battle for the WWE title and now we have to labor thru the Edge/Mick Foley versus Tommy Dreamer and Terry Funk. I have a hard time viewing Edge and Foley as the heels in this matchup nor do I even care about the outcome. To me this is a huge downgrade for Edge.

Shelton Benjamin versus RVD match made no sense with regards to the referee's decision. Once again the implied ECW bias is oh so weak.

Liked the Vince & HHH segment. Good build up for HHH's turn.

Just as I don't like the WWE using RAW to try to build ECW, I don't care for them trying to push See No Evil.

Next, what did Chris Masters do to earn a shot at John Cena? Also I didn't like the build for the Cena/RVD showdown. I agree that Van Daminator on Cena sucked.

What to do with Kane? I know, put him in the ring with Trevor Murdoch and have him choke slam him about a dozen times. I actually enjoyed this match simply because I have no idea why Murdoch is in the WWE.

Still can't stand Umaga although I was certainly glad to see him put an end to what was yet another pointless segment featuring Viscera.

Frankly, I'm ready for Kane and Umaga to get it on.

I still love the Spirit Squad. They are everything that you love to hate about a wrestler/tag team.

I thought the beat down on Shaun Michaels went way too long. It's been way too long since the WWE had this kind of ending to a show.

One final note. Prior to RAW, I had the opportunity to watch Viking: The Ultimate Obstacle Course Challenge on ESPN. It was great.

7:42 AM  
Blogger klassic rocco said...

I'm not exactly sure where you are going with this type of commentary Mr. Martin. Can't you as a journalist report what has happened without knocking where you assume it is leading to. Just report what you see and don't speculate on where you "think" it is going.

It was the best laid out Raw in years. The story looks impressive and it is promising. Who knows exactly where it is going for it is a week to week product and though most of it is planned, certain specifics do change depending on how it is received by writers because on paper and actually played out can be totally different things at times so in closing though I think you do a great job at reporting the news, you can be, as many reporters are , very judgemental on a product you obviously love and owe a better part of your enjoyment towards.

Thank you Mr. Martin! Have a nice day!

8:41 AM  
Blogger klassic rocco said...

I'm not exactly sure where you are going with this type of commentary Mr. Martin. Can't you as a journalist report what has happened without knocking where you assume it is leading to. Just report what you see and don't speculate on where you "think" it is going.

It was the best laid out Raw in years. The story looks impressive and it is promising. Who knows exactly where it is going for it is a week to week product and though most of it is planned, certain specifics do change depending on how it is received by writers because on paper and actually played out can be totally different things at times so in closing though I think you do a great job at reporting the news, you can be, as many reporters are , very judgemental on a product you obviously love and owe a better part of your enjoyment towards.

Thank you Mr. Martin! Have a nice day!

8:41 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Rocco, I don't think one can evaluate wrestling without taking into account where they are going. Wrestling more than anything else is about build. You can produce a very entertaining self-contained show, but if it doesn't lead anywhere or it sets up problems for the future, it is ultimately counterproductive. I think you get inferior analysis if you just evaluate a show as if it is stand alone. Where they are going is really important. And in this case what I'm commenting on in the future isn't too mysterious. I'm specifically referring to the recreation of ECW and DX, both of which I am skeptical of as long term viable entities. But I guess we will see.

9:45 AM  
Blogger DenisGorman said...

WWE keeps screwing up Van Dam. No one wants to see a pissed off RVD. RVD was over in ECW because he was a cocky, psuedo-heel and nothing bothered him.

If WWE ever pushed him as the cool, cocky psuedo-heel, they'd make money hand-over-fist.

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Please allow me to post a plug for my own work on wrestling here. Todd plugged it for me some weeks ago and I just wanted to remind everyone that I will have a new column up sometime today. It will be part one of a three part series on WrestleMania and workrate. Each Mania match and event is measured by WRAP (Work Rate above Average Performer) which is the difference between the match's star rating and the expected star rating given the match's length.
I'd appreciate it if you would read it and please check out the rest of the site which is an extraordinary collection of WWE's history.

1:02 PM  

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