Monday, June 12, 2006

Raw Report

Date: 06/12/06 from University Park, PA.

The Big News: Shawn Michaels returned to Raw and reformed DX with Triple H. Also, in the WTF department, Ric Flair will wrestle Mick Foley in a 2 of 3 falls wrestling match next week at Vengeance.

Title Changes/Turns: None.

Match Results: Randy Orton DCOR Kane; Torrie Wilson b Candice Michelle; Triple H NC Spirit Squad; Umaga b Hacksaw Jim Duggan; Johnny Nitro b Carlito Caribbean Cool; John Cena b Edge-DQ.

Show Analysis:

Paul Heyman appeared at the start of the show. He acknowledged controversy last night, but said that match was ECW rules, which meant anything goes even if he wasn’t a licensed official. Thus, Rob Van Dam is still the WWE champion, and tomorrow night he will make the title the ECW world championship. Heyman invited Edge to show up tomorrow, and said that RVD would defend the title against Edge at Vengeance. Heyman and RVD got a heel reception.

Randy Orton and Kane fought to a double count out. They had a bad brawl, with Kane using a big boot, clothesline, side slam and clothesline off the top. He went for a choke slam, but Orton got to the ropes. Kane knocked him out of the ring and they brawled up the ramp for a lame count out finish. Orton went for the RKO on the stage, but Kane avoided it. At that point Faux Kane entered and knocked Kane off the stage. They didn’t do an elaborate injury angle as they have done in the past for stage dives.

Charlie Haas came out and acknowledged knocking Lillian off the apron last week. He invited her into the ring and apologized. He asked Lillian to accept his apology, but before she could Viscera came out. Viscera said even if Lillian accepted his apology, he wouldn’t. He proceeded to attack Haas and hit an avalanche and splash. Lillian tried to stop him and didn’t seem pleased with his actions.

Eugene backstage said he had bad feelings about Hacksaw Jim Duggan’s upcoming match with Umaga. Duggan wasn’t worried and cut a great vintage promo. Vince McMahon then delivered a “State of the Union Address.” Why they even bothered to label this promo that is beyond me, because it was a completely pointless and generic McMahon promo you’ve heard 8,000 times. He plugged ECW tomorrow, and reiterated that RVD is champion. He then said he is angry about what HHH did, and promised to teach HHH a lesson like he did Shawn Michaels.

Torrie Wilson beat Candice Michelle in a “Wet and Wild Water Contest.” The winner got to be on the cover of some WWE magazine. They had water balloons and water guns, and this was basically just an excuse to get them really wet in white see-through clothing. This was just great for what it was. As far as WWE’s softcore porn gimmick matches go, this ranks near the top. They aired a video package recapping the Cena-RVD match from One Night Stand. It was expertly put together with the goal of making Cena look like he was screwed.

HHH and the Spirit Squad went to a no contest. Vince McMahon came out and announced the Squad members in succession like a gauntlet match. This was a smart idea, because it allowed for the odds to get worse over time and become graver. Mikey came out first, followed by Kenny, Johnny and Nicky. There were DX and HBK chants. Vince called for them to break HHH’s neck with a chair and then called for Mitch.

Mitch was thrown out and Shawn Michaels appeared. He gave Mitch sweet chest music and then ran in for the save. DX cleaned house, delivered crotch chops, and HHH mooned Vince. The crowd loved this and it was booked really well. I like HHH and Michaels together, but they need to get away from the old DX gimmick quickly. It’s going to seem like a totally uncool midlife crisis in about three weeks.

Backstage, Vince McMahon announced Spirit Squad vs. DX for Vengeance. Umaga destroyed Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Jim Ross got in a Mid South reference. Umaga was annihilating Duggan when Eugene tried to get the two by four to Duggan. Umaga still cut off Duggan and broke the board with his head. He then used the Samoan spike for the pin. Umaga tied up Eugene and gave Duggan the butt to the face, which made Eugene sad. Memo to movie goers: stop watching See No Evil so we don’t have to watch any more ads!

Next up was a positively bizarre segment, full of all sorts of lunacy. Mick Foley came out and got Foley chants. He said he had great news, that his blurry vision will heal up in a week or so as well his lacerations. The crowd cheered. He said the old Muppet Mick Foley is back. The crowd cheered again. Ric Flair then came out. The crowd didn’t know what to make of this. Flair said he has been wanting to talk to Foley for three years. They didn’t spell out why the two dislike each other at all, and the crowd clearly didn’t know either.
Flair said that Foley attacking ECW is BS, because he wanted to bring back ECW since he is just a glorified stuntman. At that point I thought, wow, Flair’s issue with Foley really doesn’t fit into the story they have been telling with Foley in recent weeks. Flair said other people wrestled their way to greatness, while Foley got there by falling off the Cell, and that pisses Flair off. Foley said new fans don’t care about Flair’s matches with Harley Race, Ricky Steamboat or Terry Funk. The complete lack of crowd reaction to those matches confirmed that. I do wonder how new fans learn about that period, because when I was a kid you could just go to Blockbuster and rent all of those shows on VHS.

Foley continued that to WWE fans, Flair will never be in the same league as Foley. Moreover, Flair can’t do anything about it because Foley would rip him apart. Flair challenged Foley immediately. Foley wouldn’t fight, but said he would out-wrestle Flair at Vengeance in Charlotte in a 2 of 3 falls wrestling match. Both men had great emotion, but this was even more non-sensical than other recent non-sensical Foley segments.

Where to start? First, Flair and Foley have this long-standing angle. It could mean something, but first you have to tell fans what exactly the angle is. Instead, they book the match with exactly two shows to build it. The angle directly contradicts the angle that Mick Foley just completed, so Foley appears to be shifting the feud to WWF vs. NWA in 2006. And the coup de gras is that they are having a 2 of 3 falls wrestling match with an ancient Nature Boy and a badly beaten up and out of shape Foley, who was never much of a technical wrestler. Is this farce? What is going on? Who came up with this idea? I would be more annoyed at this whole thing were it not so comically ridiculous.

Johnny Nitro beat Carlito. At Vengeance, the Intercontinental Title will be defended in a triple threat with Carlito, Shelton Benjamin and Nitro. I’m not sure why Nitro was added. Benjamin did commentary, and declared himself Above Average, so maybe Mike Sanders will make that match a four-way. Melina interfered throughout the match, and Nitro worked on the neck.

Carlito made a comeback with a knee lift, clothesline and back body drop. However, Benjamin prevented him from hitting the back cracker and Nitro hit an awful standing moonsault into a botched fist drop for the pin. I would not recommend this as a regular finish. The announcers pointed out that Carlito beat Benjamin and now Nitro beat Carlito. It appears they are setting up a Bryan Alvarez favorite: the title match to decide who sucks the least. That means Benjamin must beat Nitro next week.

Mickie was interviewed backstage. Mickie was amused that all of her enemies end up hurt. Apparently she grew up with Mickie, but then Beth became mean. Orton then did an interview, where he made excuses for losing to Kurt Angle and challenged him for Vengeance in a WWE ring under WWE rules. The Highlanders were in Times Square and are debuting soon. Edge backstage said he changed the wrestling landscape by beating 3 ECW guys and costing John Cena the title. He said he will beat RVD for the title, and will be at the ECW show tomorrow.

John Cena beat Edge via DQ in what would barely qualify as a match. Cena was brawling, when Lita jumped on his back for a quick DQ. Edge ran away through the crowd, and Cena got into a brawl with ECW wrestlers who had front row tickets. You knew they were in for something bad when the ECW crew was Balls Mahoney, Stevie Richards and Justin Credible. Cena gave them really hard chair shots. He took the mic and said he figured out how ECW does business at One Night Stand. Anyone can do anything. He said that he likes that, and tomorrow night he will be at the ECW show. He said he will do whatever he wants. This was another really strong promo from Cena to close the show.

Final Thoughts:

This was a weird show. It was one of the most pointless first hours in the history of Raw, followed by three major angles in the second hour. There was very little wrestling, even less good wrestling, and nothing in the way of meaningful finishes. The Foley-Flair stuff was the most interesting, more for the wrong reasons than the right reasons. The stuff with Cena and DX were almost enough to redeem the show.

In closing, let me encourage you to check out my blog. I’ve been more active of late on it because I have more free time, and there’s all sorts of good stuff, including a review of One Night Stand, a look at a few recently written wrestling books, a warning about the new WWE Managers DVD and more. Let me know what you think, and I’ll be back tomorrow for the first ECW show on Sci-Fi.


Blogger AarCanaduh said...

I always look forward to your Raw reports on the Observer website.
In the case of the Flair-Foley confrontation, I always think back to the preceeding few weeks and think about how they could have been quietly building this up by telling the back story instead of devoting air-time to the meaningless crap I can barely remember. Oy.

5:14 AM  
Blogger Dave Ling & Franchise said...

Todd I'm relying on detailed, quality posts for the ECW shows on SciFi, no word on a Canadian distributor for the show yet...

In my opinion, they should've held off on Flair and Foley for SummerSlam and not just to try and spike interest in Vengance just because the show is in Charlotte. Foley and Flair would draw anywhere so why rush a two-week build to something that could've been much bigger?

DX... so what. If I have to see any more man ass on RAW I'm going to be deeply upset... 2 weeks in a row.

Cena. Getting better. The 'Same Old Shit' chants at ONS probably hit home.

7:23 AM  
Anonymous Mr. DL said...

Just wanted to say, you may want to go back and double check, but I think the finish of the Nitro/Carlito match was a whiffed Standing Shooting Star.

7:39 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

I think standing shooting star into a fist or chop is probably a better description than standing moonsault into it, now that you mention it. From the mat, the two are basically the same move, except you land forward on him in the shooting star and backward on him in the moonsault. Nitro basically landed in the same position and stretched out his arm, which made it a weird move to call. But his body motion did seem more like a shooting star. Wow, well, that's a lot of time spent on that topic.

8:03 AM  
Blogger nevs999 said...

So Todd, here's the thing: Let's say I didn't watch WWE/WWF television in the late 90s or whenever DX first came down the pike. What the hell is it and isn't it foolish of the Fed to assume we all know what we're supposed to be thrilled to see?

I have some idea of the DX history because I'm older and somewhat educated. But I'm guessing a lot of younger fans sit there in bewilderment as they are doing with the Flair/Foley angle (which I like, BTW, because it puts both entertaining men on TV for a segment or two).

All I kept thinking last night when JR & Lawler were telling Vince about "sucking it" is how many people have no clue this was a big thing seven, eight or however many years ago? Oh, and when will Chyna come back to complete the deal?

- Matt in Anchorage

8:47 AM  
Blogger 17Haze said...

All I can say is...we need more wet and wild matches with Torrie in them. Man she looked hot. But besides that I agree the Foley-Flair thing should be built up long enough for them to meet at Summerslam. But maybe they will get two matches, 1 at Vengance and a blowoff at Summerslam.

I like DX coming back. I know everybody doesn't like it, but I think it will make Triple H and Shawn Micheals a little fresher and maybe tweak their personalities a little bit, which they both could use. I just don't want 2 see Triple H's ass anymore.

I'm very much looking forward to ECW coming back tonight. I expect big things with Paul Heyman getting to book again and RVD and Kurt Angle leading the way with hopefully some young stars as well.

9:57 AM  
Blogger BDC said...

Did Shawn Michaels buy the shirt he was wearing last night at Ann Taylor Loft? Maybe he should try a nice strapless muscle shirt next time along with a sensible string of pearls to help draw the eye from his receding hairline.

9:58 AM  

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