Monday, May 29, 2006

Raw Report

WWE Raw Report

By: Todd Martin

Date: 05/29/06 from Tacoma, WA.

The Big News: Rob Van Dam and Kurt Angle will be joining ECW, Edge earned a title shot at Vengeance, Vince McMahon continued to torture Triple H and Kane attacked Kane.

Title Changes/Turns: None.

Match Results: Shelton Benjamin NC Kane; Umaga b Viscera; Torrie Wilson & Beth Phoenix b Candice Michelle & Victoria; John Cena b Johnny Nitro; Edge b Big Show; Triple H b Kenny Doane.

Show Analysis:

The show started with a boring, pointless segment that was reminiscent of that period when every show began with a boring 20 minute promo. Vince McMahon came out and basically said nothing. He recounted the past few weeks’ events. He then said he wouldn’t announce a General Manager as promised, but that he did have an executive assistant, Jonathan Coachman.

Coach announced John Cena against someone he hasn’t faced, a number one contender match for Vengeance with Big Show vs. Edge and a Shelton Benjamin title defense against Kane. The non-announcement of a GM brings the trend of blatant bait and switch false advertising of something major to three of four weeks. It’s like they’re doing it just because they can and it’s so disrespectful to the audience.

Shelton Benjamin and Kane battled to a no contest. Benjamin sent Kane into the post and applied the dreaded rest hold. Kane came back with a big boot, clothesline, side slam, and clothesline off the top. He went for the choke slam but Benjamin reversed, rolled up Kane and grabbed the ropes for a near fall. Kane then went for the tombstone, but that was reversed into a DDT. Benjamin hit the stinger splash, but when he went for a second Kane caught him with the choke slam.

At that point the voices came again, and someone came out to Kane’s old music with a mask. He was a little bigger than Kane, but clearly had implants in his shoes. He didn’t look intimidating because he was less muscular than Kane was in that outfit, and he had weird hair. Faux Kane choke slammed Kane. This is great. If there’s one angle that needed to be recreated, it was Undertaker vs. Undertaker. That worked so well the first time. I also like the fact they treated Benjamin and his title as a total afterthought. That jobber needs some burying.

Coach backstage was looking for HHH. Armando offered his assistance on anything Coach needs. Viscera then confronted Armando, and said he was out for revenge on Umaga. Armando found this amusing. Elsewhere, HHH wasn’t sure if Vince was angry at him by not putting him in the number one contender match. HHH said he has done everything Vince asked, and he took out the Squad simply because they got in his way. Vince made HHH vs. Kenny a lumberjack match with the Squad at ringside.

Umaga beat Viscera. As Viscera came to the ring, Umaga gave him the downward spiral on the ramp. He hit a splash off the top and the Samoan spike for the pin. Lillian appears to like Viscera again, which is just ridiculous. It never made sense why she would like this obese, sleazy molester in the first place, and then he laughed at her marriage proposal on national television and left with some prostitutes instead. But apparently “my bad” was enough to set things straight. Umaga is quickly growing on me. Watching him destroy people is fun.

Torrie Wilson and Beth Phoenix, accompanied by Trish Stratus, beat Candice Michelle and Victoria, accompanied by Mickie James. Victoria and Beth traded punches. Beth hit a side slam (which Jim Ross really needs to stop calling a sidewalk slam) on Victoria. Torrie gave Victoria the stink face. Victoria gained control and tagged Candice. She hit a splash and elbow, but Victoria missed a leg drop and Beth got the tag. Beth came in with clotheslines, a gut wrench suplex and a Michinoku driver for the pin.

John Cena beat the debuting Johnny Nitro, along with Melina. This was pretty much a squash, with the five knuckle shuffle, FU and STFU. I don’t see the wisdom of punishing people on air, and this wasn’t a good way to debut a new character on the show. Rob Van Dam did commentary during the match. Jerry Lawler was ridiculing ECW, including Tazz, who he called a Lawler wannabe. That brought out RVD, who argued with Lawler. The irony is they were allies when Lawler went to ECW. RVD didn’t frame ECW very well, as he basically just presented it as hardcore wrestling.

Mick Foley and Paul Heyman had a debate, which reminded me of a Heyman/Lawler debate on Raw almost ten years ago. Foley said he is guilty of being a prostitute, like everyone in WWE who compromises to get to the top. Foley said the difference is he traded a low-rent pimp like Heyman for the billionaire pimp McMahon. He said he is annoyed that Tommy Dreamer and Terry Funk are labeled hardcore after what Edge and Foley did at WrestleMania.

He called the ECW locker room a bunch of rip-offs, and Heyman responded that he is a Terry Funk rip-off. Foley said Funk was the greatest wrestler he ever saw and Dreamer has a lot of heart, but they don’t the guts he does. Heyman said derisively they didn’t have the guts to wear the sock. Heyman asked how many shots Foley got at the WWE title before he pulled the sock out of his pants. That’s not a great point, Paul, given Foley had title programs with Shawn Michaels, Undertaker and Steve Austin before Mr. Socko.

Foley said Dreamer and Funk didn’t have the guts to show what they had outside their comfort zone and on a bigger stage like he did. That’s an odd claim given both went to WWE after their ECW runs, and Funk also went to WCW and held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. In any event, Foley said Heyman resents him because he made it big outside of ECW. Heyman said he doesn’t resent Foley at all, but rather what Foley has become. He said Foley threw away his legacy. Heyman said Dreamer and Funk will live up to the standards of ECW and the Edge-Foley Mania match.

Heyman said there is a new vision for ECW. It was about time this point was made, because ECW will succeed or fail based on its progressive vision, not its regressive vision. Heyman said all the old good stuff will be there, but there will be a lot more. He said anyone can jump to ECW from Raw or Smackdown, plus Heyman has two draft picks.

RVD is his Raw draft pick, which is weird given RVD presumably would jump freely. He then introduced his Smackdown draft pick, Kurt Angle. Angle beat the hell out of Foley and gave him the Angle slam. That was kind of weird, given his natural role at least at first in ECW is as a heel given his history there.

Edge beat Big Show to become number one contender. Show hit chops early, stood on Edge, delivered a head butt, executed snake eyes, and threw Edge off the top. Edge came back with a drop toe hold into the turnbuckle and a DDT. He went for a spear but Show grabbed him by the throat. Edge grabbed the referee to stop this, and brought a chair into the ring. Show knocked it away and went for the choke slam again, but Lita gave him a low blow. He went after Lita, at which point Edge hit him with a chair and gave him the spear for the pin. Edge should have been booked stronger here. Yes, Show is big. But in 2006 he doesn’t have one twentieth Edge’s potential as a headliner.

HHH beat Kenny in a lumberjack match. This was a typical Spirit Squad match, with constant interference, but HHH beat them all anyway. Interference kept him subdued for most of the match, but HHH came back by crotching Kenny, and hitting a spine buster. He went for the pedigree, but had to fight off the entire Squad. So he did, and then hit the pedigree for the pin. The Squad all jumped HHH after the match and went after his leg, but he got a sledgehammer and ran them off. Jesus being booked like Jesus makes a lot more sense if he is supposed to be the face, and joking aside I had no problem with this at all. Vince McMahon then came out and said next week he has a challenge for HHH, to join the kiss my ass club.

Final Thoughts:

This was one of those Raw shows that are entertaining and eventful, but more counter-productive than productive as far as the direction of the promotion. Vince McMahon badly needs to give up his position as top heel. The act was stale when Clinton was still President. Edge or John Cena should have that position.


Blogger 17Haze said...

Interesting show. Once again another Bait and Switch, which I didn't think was a big deal the first couple of times but now its getting to the point where its making me mad.

The one thing I think is very interesting is the are putting RVD and Angle on ECW on the Sci-Fi channel. And to my understanding they are only guaranteed to be on the air for the summer time. So it seems like a big risk to me to put these two and especially Angle on ECW. But at least that means they are giving ECW some star power to suceed.

I'm getting tired of seeing the Spirit Squad in main events all the time against 1 or 2 guys. This reminds me of when they had Cena, Triple H and Edge face eachother in 3 straight weeks before Backlash. I think they need to shake things up a little.

Overall I didn't think was one of their best shows but still enjoyable.

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

The bait and switch was ridiculous: it's one thing if they do it after hyping something so that it adds intrigue and ratings, that can be effective if used sparingly. It's entirely different where you hype something exclusively on your website so that it adds zip to ratings and the swerve to get back at the "hardcores" who read the website. The Kane angle also was ridiculous for the reasons that Todd mentioned.
Despite the annoying forst half hour, I enjoyed the show from there. The Foley-Heyman segment was strong. I suppose RVD was contractually bound to Raw and could not jump; ergo, Heyman had to draft him or not have him. On one hand, I like that ECW is being booked as another major league brand but are they spreading their talent too thin? I'm not sure they have enough stars for three brands right now particlularly with the injury sitaution on Smackdown.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous James said...

This show had some small highs and big lows for me. Here they are:

* Enjoyed the surprise of Angle being an ECW draft pick. I saw one Web site speculate that Angle will be unhappy with this cuz it's likely he'll receive a pay cut due to losing out on PPV money. I am gonna guess that WWE is gonna make it worth Angle's while. Having Kurt in ECW shows me that the new ECW isn't just gonna be garbage cans and barbed wire. There's some promise of great wrestling. I'd love to see RVD vs. Kurt Angle for a while. I'm also hoping that CM Punk gets out of purgatory and is given an opportunity to work with Angle and RVD at some point.

Come to think of it, that was the only thing I liked. Now, the lows:

Coach as flunky - I would much rather see him as a manager for Shelton Benjamin. The IC champ needs some help on the mic; Coach is pretty good on the stick. Sounds like a good match to me. Five minutes into his new gig and he's looking for Triple H, and is an afterthought the rest of the show.

Nitro/Melina squashed - Why bring in someone over to RAW and squash them? You covered this, so no need to expound.

Andre The Giant video/Big Show - I think this was absolute AWFUL timing. Who's the brains here? Let's show a video showing how great Andre was, how unstoppable he is, etc., etc. and then 5 minutes later, have Big Show come out and lose. I wouldn't have even put show in the ring with Edge (have the No. 1 contender's match pit Edge vs. Carlito) and have Big Show come out and beat the crap outta someone else. Having just seen the Andre video, you might spark something in the fans' minds like ''Wow, Andre was a monster, now look at Big show! Maybe, just maybe, we have the second coming?''
Guess not.

Oh, only WWE can take five youngsters as talented and hard working as the Spirit Squad and ram them down our throats so much that I'm already sick of them.
And, I'm already over Triple H being a face. Is he gonna kiss Vince's ass next week? I don't care, and that's not a good thing.

2:32 AM  
Blogger Bugs said...

Just curious. What is wrong with JR calling it a sidewalk slam? I'm terrible about remembering the name of moves, so maybe the 'side slam' and the 'sidewalk slam' are different. But if they're the same I think 'sidewalk slam' sounds cooler. It would hurt more to get slammed onto a sidewalk than just being slammed in the ring.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

The side slam and sidewalk slam are different. With a side slam, you lift the guy up on your side, and drop him down on your side. With a sidewalk slam, you lift the guy up by the back of his legs, and then throw him straight back like a spine buster. I wanted to find a picture on the net to link you to, but I found Wikipedia (gasp) has the move wrong and other people have followed suit. They describe a sidewalk slam as if it were a side slam, and then describe a side slam as if it were a uranage. Sigh. Nobody cares. The irony of the whole thing is I'm almost certain that I first learned of the sidewalk slam watching Ron Simmons do it in WCW, and Jim Ross was most certainly calling the move a lot of the time.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous dan said...

I'm really disappointed with the lackluster job they've done in promoting the Cena-RVD match. Here's a thought. If you have a WORLD title match in 2 weeks, maybe that should be the focus of your show.

I think they've done a poor job with the DX stuff. They've made the turn so inevitable that it's killed all the tension. I'm not sure what the right way would have been, but I'm sure it's not this.

2:20 PM  
Blogger DenisGorman said...

Does it even matter if Cena retains or if RVD wins the World Title at ONS II? The promotion's entire focus has been Mr. StepHHHanie McMaHHHon's face turn.

Initially, I was in favor of re-forming DX. Short-term, DX can make the company money and it's a way to hide Michaels while he's recovering from knee surgery, along with turning HHH face. But, he's in three or four segments a night. Enough's enough. Turn him or get off the pot.

Finally, keep up with the bait-and-switch tactics, Vince. You're audience won't leave. Keep telling yourself that.

4:39 PM  
Blogger 17Haze said...

Hopefully Vince will learn if he keeps getting those 3.6 ratings like he did last week.

8:34 PM  

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