Monday, July 31, 2006

Raw Report

Date: 07/31/06 from East Rutherford, NJ

The Big News: Ric Flair finally got his comeback on Mick Foley, while the McMahons got the better of DX for the first time in forever.

Title Changes/Turns: None.

Match Results: Johnny Nitro b Carlito and Shelton Benjamin; Trish Stratus & Candice Michelle b Victoria & Mickie James; John Cena b Matt Striker; Rory McAllister b Johnny Jeter; Umaga b Shawn Michaels.

Show Analysis:

The McMahons came out to start the show, and things went haywire on the west coast USA feed of Raw. They cut away from the McMahons, and came back with a feed of the McMahons standing over an unconscious Shawn Michaels, and Jim Ross speculating if this would happen to HHH next week. Yes, they cut to the end of the show here three minutes in. One has to wonder if USA is trying to send viewers a message. They then went to the next show on USA, and I thought that was that.

But no, WWE would not be so easily deterred on this evening. The screen went black, and then we came back to Shawn Michaels cutting a promo from last week. This was great perverse entertainment. It was like a wondrous trip through space and time. This should have happened on the ECW show to appease the Sci-Fi folks. We got to go into the future, and back in time, like the Jetsons Meet the Flintstones movie or those movies about the guy who went back to the future, I forget the name. As Coach came out, they cut back to this week, and Shawn Michaels and HHH were interrupting the McMahons.

Shawn and Hunter had photos from the McMahon family album. They showed Vince as a kid, which was him with an “I love cocks” outfit. They showed Shane as a kid, with a silver spoon literally in his mouth. Finally, they showed Stephanie’s child, with HHH’s face. Shawn noted she looks familiar. Shane threatened to change their diapers at SummerSlam, and DX and the McMahons then argued about whose music would get played to end the segment. This was totally bizarre television, and it’s an interesting tact to build a grudge match by emphasizing that the whole feud is a work and they are family members.

Throughout the show, they ran prerecorded vignettes with the divas saying who they wanted to see eliminated. I only mention this because the first one was hilarious. The girl said who she wanted to see go, and stopped. They proceeded to air an extra five seconds of dead air and then a bell rang before they cut back to the show. She was going to get her time whether she wanted it or not. Also as a random note, Jim Ross threw in a billion pop culture references this show, including to the BCS, Terrell Owens, Shakira, the WNBA and Rosie O’Donnell. It was like he was trying to throw in contemporary references to balance out JBL on Smackdown.

Johnny Nitro retained the Intercontinental Title, defeating Carlito and Shelton Benjamin in a triple threat match. They thanked TSN in Canada, and advertised Raw coming to the Score next week. Benjamin hit a somersault plancha on the other two to start the match. Carlito used a knee lift and clothesline on Benjamin, and elbows and a huracanrana on Nitro. Benjamin came back with a tornado DDT on Carlito and made the cover, but Melina put Carlito’s foot on the ropes. Nitro then jumped both guys from behind and grabbed Carlito’s tights for the pin. Carlito and Benjamin seemed motivated here, and this was pretty good.

Next up was “Orton Knows Best.” This was not a good segment. Randy Orton said after he kills the legend of Hulk Hogan, he will move on to movies, books and a reality show. He introduced the cast, which was comprised of four actors imitating the Hogan family. I wonder if most Raw viewers would be able to tell who the real and the fake Nick and Linda are. Fake Brooke was more attractive than Real Brooke. Orton attacked Nick and threw him out of the ring, and then came onto Brooke. Hulk cut a promo on Orton, so Orton gave him an RKO. He smacked Jerry Lawler on the way out. This was played for comedy, but nobody was laughing and it wasn’t like it was getting heat either. After this, Lawler challenged Orton to a match next week in Memphis.

Armando thanked Vince and Shane for giving Umaga the match with Shawn Michaels. He congratulated them on the child, and offered Cuban cigars. They asked for a few more boxes. Candice and Trish beat Victoria and Mickie, with Torrie Wilson as the special referee. This was a bad match. Candice’s offense has no believability. Victoria and Mickie worked her over for a bit, but Victoria got crotched and she made the tag. That led to the only good section of the match, as Trish came in with the Stratusphere, forearms, chops and a power bomb. Mickie went to the eyes and hit a knee, but then Torrie stopped grabbed her to stop her and Trish “hit” a badly botched Stratusfaction for the pin.

Melina introduced Mick Foley, who said he would give the fans what they want, Foley and Ric Flair in that ring that night. This didn’t get much of a reaction, unfortunately. He then intimated that instead they would go after tag team gold, and basically said he was joking on that as well. Foley pointed out the similarities between himself and Flair. He said they both help out young superstars, as Flair took Randy Orton under his wing, and Foley took Melina under his wing.

Foley said Flair is a personal friend of the president while he is a personal friend of a hardcore porn star. He pointed out the porn star got a better reaction than Bush, and was correct in that. He said that one of those two got to the top by screwing a bunch of people, and the other appeared in adult films. Foley said that he made national headlines with his book, while Flair made national headlines with his road rage incident. At this point a livid Ric Flair came out and told Foley to shut up. He said no one cares about their books, and Foley’s lazier than Alex Rodriguez.

Flair referenced Bruiser Brody, Stan Hansen, Harley Race and Terry Funk, and said they aren’t imaginary bad asses. He said they would walk over Foley on the way to the bathroom. Foley sold this really well. Flair said that after Foley busted him open, he wants to taste Foley’s blood. Flair wants Foley with barbed wire, thumb tacks, nails and the like. Foley seemed intimidated. Flair threatened to shove Socko up Foley’s ass. He asked again if people want to see Flair and Foley, and again it got a tepid reaction. Flair said he wants whatever Cactus Jack has.

Flair said that Foley’s stuff about his family is crap when he’s running around with Melina. Flair said Melina is his sort of woman, and 15 years ago she would have rode Space Mountain. Foley replied that Flair sees her as a sexual conquest, whereas he sees her as a human being and a friend. He added that he only sees what his porn star friend has done with children overseas. Foley then labeled Flair an absentee father and multiple time divorcee. Flair looked pissed off as all hell, and Foley backed off quickly.

Foley said that one final thing they have in common is they are both fathers, and Foley never had the bonding experience of being able to tell his son he’s been arrested. Flair attacked him. Coach came out and announced Flair vs. Foley for SummerSlam, which still didn’t get much of a reaction. Foley said his contract says he wrestles when he wants. He only has so many matches left and doesn’t want to waste one on Flair. With that, he left. I’m not sure how well it played to the audience, but I absolutely loved this segment. It was fantastic build. Both men did a great job and Foley in particular was phenomenal.

John Cena beat Matt Striker. Edge came out to do commentary, but didn’t do so for very long, because Cena won with basically no effort. It was just the Cena slam, five knuckle shuffle, FU, and out. Cena drew the Cena reaction, with more boos than cheers. One prominent sign said “anyone but Cena.” That fan can’t possibly mean that. Just look at the WWE roster today. There are four dozen people nobody on earth would rather see every week in a more prominent position than Cena.

I don’t get the Cena backlash in general. Yeah, he’s not a particularly good wrestler. But it isn’t like work is being emphasized in WWE these days, and there are plenty of guys just as bad if not worse than him in the ring. And he’s got tons of charisma, is a good talker, a class act, works hard and represents the company well. He doesn’t even have the title any more, so what’s the problem? There’s a lot in WWE these days that deserves fan backlash, but pushing John Cena isn’t in the top 1000.

Rory of the Highlanders beat Johnny Jeter. Spirit Squad did a particularly obnoxious (in a good way) cheer before the match. If Mel Gibson isn’t able to get future movies approved, I suggest signing him to do six man tag matches with the Highlanders to give them the rub. Or at the very least, he needs to do a cameo and call Melina sugar tits. The Squad was interfering freely, so they were ejected from ringside. Johnny worked over Rory, and Ross was inspired to do a pirate impression for some reason. This was very funny. Lawler pointed out that isn’t the Highlanders’ gimmick. Rory hit a back body drop and a uranage into a back breaker. He hit the Johnny Go Round, and stopped to gloat. Rory rolled him up for the pin.

Next up was the diva search. They were booed. They eliminated another of the women. She was sad. And we’re one step closer to 11 months free of the diva search. Investigators backstage wanted to search HHH and Michaels’ bags for illegal substances. They found Cuban cigars in HHH’s bag. The investigator asked HHH to leave with him, and said they could do it the easy way or the hard way. Before Mr. Lewis had the opportunity to stretch Hunter, Hunter decided to leave freely.

Umaga beat Shawn Michaels. With HHH gone, Michaels was up against Umaga, as well as Armando, Vince and Shane in the corner. Michaels was faster early with chops, punches and a drop kick. Umaga took over with a head butt and rammed him into the announce table. He missed a butt drop and Michaels responded with chops and a flying forearm. Armando tried to interfere, but Michaels grabbed him and Umaga accidentally collided with Armando.

Umaga hit the Samoan drop and threw a fit over what happened to Armando. Umaga missed the Samoan drop, and Michaels came back with a low blow and elbow off the top. Michaels went for sweet chin music, but Vince grabbed his leg. Shane ran in and Michaels took him out, but walked into the Samoan spike for the pin. The McMahons jumped Michaels after the match, and Shane gave him sweet chin music with a chair. They announced next week Umaga will wrestle HHH.

Final Thoughts:

This show was fine by current WWE standards. It didn’t insult me, and there wasn’t anything terribly counterproductive. Plus, the Foley-Flair segment was tons of fun. That’s good enough for me. One important point for Raw is that they need to pick up the Orton-Hogan build. That’s probably the most important match to drawing a buy rate for SummerSlam, and it has been underwhelming thus far.


Anonymous The masterbater said...

Who is this porn star Foley is refrencing too??

6:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i thought the flair foley stuff was very counter productive. Youve got two guys beyond the tail end of their career with the most focus of anyone on the show. yeah its great they can deliver but their legends theyve been doing this 20 years. Lets see some new wwe with some talent and the ability to build. carlito and benjamin and nitro are building this triple threat thing with very little mic time. as for the other guys if they aren't learning anything from flair foley cut em cause theyre useless. as for cena he's a poser, he's a fan and and you say that Candice's offense has no believability? WWE was obviously having production problems last night, they always improv well. As for WWE playing the DX angle as a work..i dont think you realize how nieve todays wrestling fan is. A fellow internet reader and pro wrestling guru I have known for 10 years and we have watched the same shows over the course of time tried to tell me yesterdays segments with the cigars had 'nothing whatsoever to do with rvd'....someone help me im really alone out here.

8:48 AM  
Anonymous MAZ said...

Todd, thanks for the updates.

It sounds as if most of the angles that RAW presented last night were met with boos or no reaction.

It also sounds as if the powers that be can't differentiate between the crowd booing a heel versus booing a poor presentation.

Right now the WWE has a golden opportunity with Edge as WWE champ. He has the ability to pull off the necessary arrogance to be a heel character as well as the ability to turn face somewhere down the road.

Unfortunately, the WWE has boxed themselves into a corner due to the dilution from ECW, creation of DX and just overall poor character development. The result is that Edge has no one really chasing him.
There is John Cena, but the WWE has diminished his character thanks to his ECW involvement and his recent in ring losses.

After Cena, there is nobody unless the WWE wants to move Batista or Kurt Angle back to RAW.

As for the Cena boos, he's been in the lime-light for too long and the fans have grown tired of his genre. They really need to have him shipped off to ECW or Smackdown as a demotion. Have him interfere in a match between DX and the McMahans so that Vince punishes him by sending him down to one of the other shows. I realize that one problem is that by doing so you are saying that Smackdown and ECW are inferior to RAW, but in reality they always have been so just admit it. Then once the DX - McMahan feud has run it's course, you can bring back Cena in a feud with Vince and then, if you want to put the title back on him, with Edge.

Speaking of RAW, Smackdown and ECW, I find it ironic that the WWE's Power 25 lists the top three wrestlers as #1. King Booker, #2. Big Show and #3. Edge???

This should never be. Edge should be #1 and for the WWE to push him to #3 says that RAW is not the top product and if it's not the top product that can only mean that the WWE has taken the necessary steps to bring RAW down a notch or two to the levels of Smackdown and ECW. I think that everyone would agree that this is clearly evident.

For the countless week in a row, I will point out that Umaga has no future. No way he beats Edge for a title. If Cena were the champ, no way he beats Cena for the belt. So he rampages through the WWE with no particular place to go.

Foley & Flair, I'll leave alone. Orton & Hogan, I still don't care.
What's the story on Kane? He has disappeared other than his bout with the Big Show on ECW??

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and i suppose no one wants to thank vince mcmahon for bringing in 6 of the hottest women in the world who would work in pro wrestling in the year 2006 right before bikini season?

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i like that cena idea if its loser leaves raw and not vince punishing

3:13 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

I don't know who Foley was referencing. I didn't recognize the name, and I *never* have watched pornography, so I wouldn't know the names.

Foley-Flair wasn't the focus of Raw on Monday. Hell, they've never been the focus of the Raw. They just are doing the best job, and thus attract the most discussion and bring the most attention. If they were putting these guys in the main event then I would probably agree. But they're stealing the show on their merits. The alternative would just not be allowing them on TV.

I absolutely agree with you Maz, that they need to be building undercard faces. That's something they have done a really poor job of in recent years. Edge can still feud with Hunter and Shawn, and I think it would work, but they should be creating new stars as well.

"and i suppose no one wants to thank vince mcmahon for bringing in 6 of the hottest women in the world who would work in pro wrestling in the year 2006 right before bikini season?"

Well, I can't speak for everyone, but NO, I don't want to thank Vince McMahon for bringing back the diva search. I want to smack him for it, actually.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cristy canyon is the porn star

screw the diva search but i agree the chicks are usually hot as hell. which is really the point because any real wrestling divas will come through the system. flair and foley got the most continuous on-air time of anything on the show next to the mcmahons and dx.

6:33 AM  

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