Monday, August 28, 2006

Raw Report

Date: 08/28/06 from Atlantic City, NJ.

The Big News: God willing, we’ve only got a few weeks left of this DX vs. McMahons feud.

Title Changes/Turns: None.

Match Results: John Cena b Chris Masters-DQ; Candice Michelle b Torrie Wilson; Jeff Hardy b Randy Orton; Mikey Mondo & Kenny Doane b Hacksaw Jim Duggan & Eugene Dinsmore; Lita b Mickie James; Triple H & Shawn Michaels b Ken Kennedy, William Regal & Fit Finlay.

Show Analysis:

A somber Shane McMahon started the show. He said that DX has gone too far and broke Vince’s heart. Shane said Vince was obsessed with DX, so he took the night off in his hotel room for his health. Shane was thus running the show, and announced DX against mystery opponents. Edge came out and complained about what John Cena did last week. Edge complaining is a really tired routine. After this feud with Cena they should have him playing a different role.

Edge wanted Cena fired, but Cena came out and noted that if he left he would have gotten in the last shot by throwing Edge in the river. John Cena suggested one last match for the title, and if Edge wins he will leave for Smackdown. Edge accepted provided it is at a location of his choosing in a match of his choosing. Cena accepted. Shane then said that Cena would have to wrestle next.

John Cena beat Chris Masters via disqualification. Masters came out looking less ripped. Cena hit a belly to belly suplex, vertical suplex and punches. Masters came back with a clothesline, power slam and camel clutch. Cena escaped and hit a shoulder block, Cena slam and five knuckle shuffle. He went for the FU, but Masters reversed with an inverted DDT. He went for the Masterlock, but Cena blocked and reversed into the STFU.

Edge ran in with a nasty expression on his face for the DQ. He hit Cena with a chair twice, then rammed Cena with a ladder, then threw Cena through a table. He grabbed a microphone and announced the title match would be in his hometown Toronto in a match he has never lost, TLC. This was a well laid out angle. I’m betting Edge gets a much better reaction than two years ago in Toronto when he was a face.

All the jobbers wanted to wrestle DX backstage, but Shane McMahon turned them down. He then got on the phone with Vince. Vince was in his hotel, and got room service. They delivered chickens (for choke the chicken jokes) and Vince made freaked out facial expressions. Carlito and Trish were backstage. Carlito heard Trish was retiring after Unforgiven from Lita announcing it on WWE.com. Trish didn’t deny this, but was annoyed Lita made it public. They started to make out when Orton jumped Carlito from behind and rammed him into the wall.

Candice Michelle beat Torrie Wilson in a Back to School Paddle on a Poll match. The gimmick was that the first one to the paddle won, and would get to use the paddle. They did a spot where Torrie supposedly stuck her finger up one of Candice’s orifices when Candice was climbing. Candice used chops, and Torrie gave her a power bomb for a long crotch to the face spot. Torrie used the stink face but Candice bit her ass and got the paddle. Candice and Torrie paddled each other.

Jeff Hardy beat Randy Orton in a number one contender match for the Intercontinental Title. Now they’re turning this into a comedy routine. They traded punches and kicks early. Jeff clotheslined Orton to the outside and hit a springboard corkscrew to the outside. Jeff went for a tope but crashed and burned. Orton rammed Jeff into the apron. Jeff came back with a side suplex, clotheslines, a leg drop to the groin, and a drop kick off the second rope.

Orton went to the eye and hit a neck breaker. Jeff hit a huracanrana and went for a springboard crossbody, but was caught with a drop kick. Jeff went for the swanton but Orton rolled out of the ring Carlito jumped Orton from behind and sent him into the ring. He then spit apple in Orton’s face and Jeff hit the twist of fate and swanton bomb for the pin.

Shane came up to DX backstage with security, and they exchanged quips. DX for some reason shamelessly plugged Vince McMahon’s DVD. Corporate shilling wasn’t cool even in 1982, guys. The highlight of this segment was easily Claudio Castagnoli dressed up as one of the security guards. I think he could get over better in WWE than half the roster they have signed.

Kenny and Mikey beat Jim Duggan and Eugene to retain the tag titles. Highlanders briefly did commentary and were funny, but they got ejected along with the extra members of the Spirit Squad. Responded an indignant Jim Ross: “They’ve got ring cards!” The Squad hit a double suplex on Eugene and worked him over. Eugene made the tag to Duggan who came in with clotheslines and body slams. He went for the three point stance but ran into an exposed turnbuckle and was rolled up for the pin.

After the match, Umaga came to the ring. The Squad ran away through the crowd. Umaga attacked Eugene and gave him the downward spiral. He gave Duggan the Samoan spike. He gave Eugene the butt drop and a Samoan spike of his own. Armando said he was angry at Kane for what he did at SummerSlam, so Umaga took him out. He said Kane is the only monster in the WWE.

Johnny Nitro and Melina came out for a press conference. This was a great car crash segment, as it went on and on with little in the way of purpose. The crowd chanted “boring,” booed and generally gave it go away heat. Ross remarked, “it’s only a two hour show here, folks.” Melina had her hair all done up. Nitro put himself over. He said Mick Foley can fantasize about Melina, but only he has her, and Melina wouldn’t associate herself with Foley.

Melina then made this point another 50 times. She said Foley is an ass kisser who wanted more than friendship. She called him a disgusting freak. Melina said she would never associate herself with regular people like Foley because she’s a star and out of his league. Nitro said he will do things Foley never could do and called himself the future of sports entertainment. And so, 40 minutes later, the segment ended.

Lita beat Mickie James to retain the Women’s Title. Lita rammed Mickie into the apron and threw her knee into the mat. Mickie did a really good job selling the knee. Mickie came back with punches, kicks, an enzuigiri, a drop kick, a monkey flip, and a fisherman suplex. Mickie went for a huracanrana but Lita gave her a power bomb and grabbed the ropes for the pin. It is unclear exactly where Mickie now is on the face/heel spectrum.

DX beat William Regal, Finlay and Kennedy in a handicap match. I guess these guys just aren’t as much of a threat as the McMahons are. The Smackdown heels worked over Shawn. Little Bastard even came from under the ring to get in on the action. Shawn tagged HHH, who hit a spine buster on Finlay and went for the pedigree. Kennedy broke that up, but missed the Kenton bomb. Regal tried to hit HHH with a chair but hit Finlay and HHH hit Regal with the pedigree for the pin.

Shane then brought out Big Show. Show went for a double choke slam but they used a double low blow. Finlay hit HHH with the shillelagh, and the heels worked over DX. An angry Vince came out with a pipe. Vince hit HHH repeatedly with the pipe and bloodied him. He choked him and choked Shawn. Vince hit Shawn with a video camera and Shawn bled as well. Vince choked Shawn with wire. Shane hit HHH with a pipe. Vince announced DX vs. Big Show and McMahons in Hell in a Cell. I think it’s silly to waste this kind of angle on such a tired feud, let alone to waste one of their two biggest stipulation matches on it. Vince McMahon has always claimed he does what is best for business. It seems to me ego is winning out over business these days.

Final Thoughts:

I liked this much of this show by 2006 Raw standards. It was a straight forward show with solid build for the PPV. They do need to get out of the rut of every match having a disputed finish where nothing is proved. They clearly are uncomfortable with putting anyone over. That has two huge negative repercussions. First, it makes it really hard to create stars. Second, match results mean nothing and it’s a lot harder to get people to pay to see who will win on PPVs. This second point is a large reason why UFC is whooping up on WWE this year. They make the PPV main events feel important, while in WWE no matter who wins things will be pretty much the same the next day.

14 Comments:

Blogger Dave Ling & Franchise said...

Anyone else see the angle that Regal's head went down on that Pedigree? He was outside the ring and out for awhile and Kennedy was over there checking on him for awhile too. Ouch.

7:07 AM  
Anonymous MAZ said...

Well, I guess my boycott officially ended last night thanks to 1) Carson Palmer and 2) Brett Favre. Palmer looked great. The Bengals looked great. Favre and the Pack looked bad. I feel so bad for Favre. He looked like a deer in headlights last night. If last night is any indication, it's going to be a long season in GB.

Since the game was so lopsided, I did catch some of the WWE action and can honestly say that nothing that I saw was worth watching.

I missed Edge and Cena because it was only like 21-0 and I've got Greg Jennings on my fantasy football team and I was hoping to see him put up some numbers. On paper, Cena and Edge should be a great matchup, but it seems to me that it is there is something really missing. I think a big problem is that I put Edge in a different league than Cena. Cena to Smackdown will create quite a void on RAW. If he does leave to Smackdown, my first choice for #1 challenger to Edge would have been Kurt Angle. There was at least some build up there before Angle went to ECW.

It really doesn't say a whole lot about the state of RAW when Jeff Hardy is the #1 contender for the IC belt in all of two weeks.

Why not give Hardy a few weeks back in the ring and then let him have run ins with Edge and Orton?

If Randy Orton and Carlito disappeared, would anyone miss them?

Todd, you are right in that matches are now so uneventful and characters so dull that it is hard to pull for anyone.

Okay, for at least this week, I'm on the Umaga bandwagon. Anyone who goes out and beats down Eugene and Duggan gets a thumbs up from me. Umaga - Kane is probably headed for the most anticipated matchup for the next PPV. Let's hope that they don't screw this feud up (which we all know is most likely going to happen).

DX and the McMahons. I caught most of this match. Greg Jennings is no longer in the ball game so what the hey. Once again here we have the WWE's supposed #1 product RAW, and they have to call upon Smackdown for competition for DX and then you have to bring in the Big Show on top of that. That says that RAW has no talent.

I have to admit that I missed the match, but got to witness the beat down. Once again, the beat down was excessive and my impression was that the crowd did not really respond in the manner that you want, i.e. booing, angry at the McMahons, Big Show,etc.

My impression was that the crowd is now use to these types of endings and was basically ho hum about it. These events are supposed to build to the feud to a climax instead it looks like it is merely extending the misery that is the DX-McMahon feud.

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Jim said...

On their way from Glens Falls to Poughkepsee, some of the ECW crew was at a local Gold's Gym yesterday afternoon to my surprise. Malenko, Dibiase, Test and Kevin Thorn were there, as were Ariel and Kelly. Ariel is a lot hotter than Kelly, at least from a distance...not to say that kelly isn't hot. Test is really big and cut, and he turned a lot of heads, not necessarily from wrestling fans, but he was the biggest guy in the gym kind of thing.

7:49 AM  
Anonymous mean dean said...

I find it funny that WWE has such a hard time giving clean wins on free TV, yet when they do, it's in situations like Carlito/Shelton/Nitro each beating each other leading to the triple threat "winner is the least loser" match they had.

Funny you mentioned Claudio, a friend of mine LOVES him, what I've seen from him he seems to have decent enough charisma but has looked lost in the ring. I haven't seen anything recently, though.

When McMahon was getting ready to announce the D-X match for Unforgiven, I was saying to myself that I was hoping for it to be HiaC (in the trainwreck mentality). Then he actually did, and my jaw just hit the floor.

Odds that the actual D-X/McMahon's blowoff match will be a 5 on 2 Elimination Chamber match, where Shawn starts off against both McMahons, and then Trips, Edge, Show and Booker are in each chamber: 3-2.

7:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...in WWE no matter who wins things will be pretty much the same the next day.

Unless you're blowing off characters isn't this the entire point of storyline based entertainment?

8:49 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

I wouldn't expect Cena to leave for Smackdown, Maz. The plan at one point was for Cena to feud with Umaga for the title going into Survivor Series. That could change, but I can't see them moving Cena to Smackdown. They don't care about Smackdown and they've already got Batista over there anyway in the top face slot.

I actually ran into ECW talent at a Gold's Gym in Poughkeepsie six years ago, Jim, so that's funny you basically did the same. I used to really enjoy those ECW shows at the Mid Hudson Civic Center during college.

Dean, Claudio has improved a lot. About a year and a half ago he was still green, but you could see the upside. Now he's a much better worker in the ring and has charisma to boot. I think really highly of him. He even has a physique for WWE and is tall.

"...in WWE no matter who wins things will be pretty much the same the next day.

Unless you're blowing off characters isn't this the entire point of storyline based entertainment? "

NO!!! I'm glad you asked that, because that's my whole point. WWE has been doing this for so long that people are just sort of accepting that as the proper way to book. But no, it's not. The point of storyline based entertainment in pro wrestling is to get people to pay to see matches. And they won't pay to see matches if they don't care who wins. There need to be stakes. And the easiest way to make stakes is have people move up or down the card based on losses and wins.

And that's how wrestling has always been done. You divide up the roster. You choose a certain number of main event level guys. These guys rarely lose, so when you set them up to face each other fans aren't sure who will win and thus want to see (Edge, Cena, Batista). Then you have some veterans that were main eventers for a long time, so you protect them, but you also have them lose to the main eventers or up and comers. You match them up with newer wrestlers, and if the newer wrestler wins, he moves up. But sometimes the veteran wins, and the other guy moves back down (Undertaker, Shawn, Flair). Then you have younger guys who are getting a push. These guys start with smaller feuds and move up the card slowly, rarely losing. That way when they are up to the main event level, there is a lot of anticipation to see if they will take the title (WWE doesn't protect anybody so there's nobody who fits this description but take your pick of the younger talent). Then you have the rest of the card. Some mid-carders who win sometimes and lose sometimes, and some lower card guys that mostly lose. But the point is you have specific goals about who is going to be moving to future main events, and you book the shows so that people will care about those matches, and so that the results will matter in the long term future of the promotion. If you just keep everyone at the same level so you can continue on the same way forever, you have a dearth of new main event talent (check), everything feels redundant and boring (check), and nobody cares who wins or loses (check) so that nobody orders the PPVs (check). The last thing WWE needs these days is parity 50/50 booking or matches that prove nothing, because you're maintaining a pretty bad status quo.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Dave S. said...

Just to prove that wins and losses don't matter in WWE, witness Edge's claim that he has "never lost" a TLC match. I definitely remember a TLC match on Smackdown with Edge and Christian vs. the Dudleys vs. the Hardys vs. Beniot and Jericho, where Benoit and Jericho won (I'd say this was in 2001). Benoit got hurt during the match and went to the back, then came out at the end and climbed the ladder to win.

It is really amazing to me that the people who work for WWE either don't remember who wins matches or they choose to intentionally lie about the results.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous mean dean said...

Has Claudio improved his build? Because the stuff I saw of him, his height was apparant and impressive enough, but he had a very unimpressive physique. Kind of looked like a high school basketball player who grew young, but hadn't grown into his frame yet.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand.

But if WWE has no competition, is in no danger of compeition and it is not even close to losing money by their financial statements...Why is it such a big deal? WWE is in no financial trouble and hasn't been for quite some time. What you really should be complaining about is TNA and their lack of ability to get THEIR product mainstream. I mean why harp on the world champion, the one who set the standards, and give TNA the mid carder that loses all the time...second rate reporting. Not to say by you but various others around the net. I visit WO from time to time and what I can never understand is why WWE gets live PPV coverage, but TNA does not. It's like the reporting treats TNA like the minor leagues and when you're always thought of as second rate, you'll always be second rate. I just think the goal shouldn't be to better WWE's product. Because they know how to create great wrestling, they know how to and when to give the fans what they want. What should be happening, but isn't is trying to help and point out things in promotions that can help the wrestling business grow as a whole. WWE started an entire new brand of wrestling, no matter the name or what its about, its oppurtunity, straight simple. As far as I'm concerned that is one of the best moves gor the business in the last 5 years. Wrestling to me is like speed skating, I mean in those long races you've got the guys out front that get way ahead and coast to victory. And then you've got the guys in last place, in fear of getting lapped a second time. Point being..who needs more help and if you aren't helping the loser, you aren't helping the sport. Agree?

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edge and Christian vs. the Dudleys vs. the Hardys vs. Beniot and Jericho

Your 100% right, may 24, 2001.

Only thing is benoit and jericho retained the titles. So technically edge has never lost a TLC match where he has come in as champion. WWE & tehnicalities definately do not mix.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous mean dean said...

The thing you have to remember about both WWE and pro wrestling, is that things only matter when it's convenient for it to matter. There's a couple of ways you can interpret a TLC match so that Edge never lost one. One being that Jericho and Benoit retained in that match, as was already mentioned, so Edge never lost in that sense. There's also the view of nobody is pinned, submitted, DQed, counted out, etc., so there can only be a winner, not a loser. Memory and interpretation in wrestling is selective.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Charlie Kane said...

Todd, I am in agreement with you on the notion that wins and losses have become wholly irrelevant in the WWE world. I understand what this fellow is saying about 'When you're number one, why try harder?' but there is something to be said for insuring that your product maintains a certain level of excellence and interest for the fans, in particular the fact that MMA seems to be picking off old wrestling fans left and right, and WWE is doing nothing to draw any new fans to their product. The shows are dull, and there is a real problem with the company's need to establish some fresh faces who can attract not only more buy rates, but keep some of the more learned marks from wandering over to UFC permanently. I relate most of my thoughts on wrestling from a plotting standpoint ( not necessarily work rate, as that is something that is valued, but as history dictates to us, not vitally important to making a guy a 'star'; otherwise, Chris Benoit would be a 10-time world's champion and Hulk Hogan would be selling cars somewhere.), like an entertaining movie or book. I have had a real problem with the overkill of MCMahon/DX as a feud because there really doesn't seem to be any value to a payoff ( is Hunter going to be more over? Is McMahon going to become a title contender?). In the end, even the kids who cheer solely for Cena know that DX will win, and then...what? Will Vince be taken off the show? Will DX split? I do understand, to be fair, that Raw is almost bone-dry as far as heels with any potential (Orton should be in that spot, but he can't get it together..Edge is the top heel by far, but has been only involved with Cena for nearly the entire year)so trotting out 'Mr.McMahon' was likely as much a move of 'who else do we got?' as anything else.
Plus, it distracted Hunter from the logical title chase until the winter/Wrestlemania build. But it still doesn't really mean too much, as a fellow pointed out, the reaction from the fans to the beat down at the end of the show was entirely humdrum. Plus, it's not as though HHH is a 'beloved face'. He was turned face via this feud, and his association with Michaels, but his popularity has never had anything to do with his 'likeability' as far as the fans are concerned. I don't mind Hunter, he's a solid worker and a terrific heel, but even if I was entirely a mark, I wouldn't have any opinion on his taking a beating, since he's done it too so many other people in the past. Who cares?
I do, however, think Cena is going to be moved to Smackdown. I may well be a dope to think this, but as the show is going to be on a 'new' network, and since it is completely desperate for someone to build around (Batista is dying on the vine...), I say Edge keeps the belt, and holds it until the next Wrestlemania for Hunter, who has said in the past he wanted to work with Edge. Plus, if Cena goes to Smackdown ( where he can get the belt back at Wrestlemania off of a heel Batista ), then they can avoid those embarrassing live crowds who more often than not are booing the poor fellow outta the building. I'm probably wrong on this, but with his movie coming up, it's time for Cena to go back 'home'.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Claudio has improved his build greatly. His physique was definitely unimpressive but now he's clearly on the roids (for better or worse). He's very muscular and looks like a WWE guy.

"But if WWE has no competition, is in no danger of compeition and it is not even close to losing money by their financial statements...Why is it such a big deal? WWE is in no financial trouble and hasn't been for quite some time."

WWE buy rates, TV ratings and house shows have collapsed in the past five years. There has been a continual decline with only a few periods where they even stayed steady. And they've been able to use every financial trick in the book to keep themselves in the black. But if your revenue streams keep going down, eventually you aren't going to be able to play around any more. You've got to make money to make money!

I agree that TNA needs to do a better job of getting their name out there, and also booking and putting together the show. But they don't have the glaring stupidity that WWE does creatively, so there isn't as much to say.

As for WWE getting live PPV coverage on the website, hey TNA gets live PPV coverage on the radio show, so I guess there is a tradeoff there. The thing is only Dave and Bryan (and maybe Alex) have administrator privileges, so there aren't really any options for doing live recapping of the show while it's going on if Dave and Bryan are doing the radio.

Your assessment of TNA and the distance it has to make up to catch WWE very much mirrors mine. I'm not sure what they can do to compete with WWE because WWE is just so far ahead of the game. Probably going head to head and presenting an obviously better product is the greatest opportunity, but even then I have my doubts. It's too bad.

Charlie, I agree with you pretty much across the board. Really to me it was just a question of when MMA would grab the wrestling fans. I've been telling people for years now that MMA satisfies what I like about pro wrestling much better than WWE does. That's been the case since 2002. It's just now UFC's got the exposure so people are figuring it out. And it's not a battle that WWE can't win long term. In Japan I felt it was an uphill battle for the pro wrestling companies, because legitimacy was always very important, and shootfighting just had them beat in that regard. But the US has always been more about entertainment. The problem is WWE's idea of entertainment is totally out of wack with the fans, so there is a strong market for a product that presents the fun of human conflict, larger than life characters, feuds and big showdowns to settle scores and determine who's the best. WWE is more like a bad variety show, and they don't even understand the reasons they suck. It's really sad, because there is no good reason why they shouldn't have been able to keep the momentum that they had from 97-01. Keep hiring the best talent. Protect and push younger talent. Push based on a meritocracy. Have match results matter. It's such simple stuff that they've systematically dropped the ball on. Okay, I should stop rambling and go to bed.

Oh, a final note. Yeah, it makes sense to send over a major star to help Smackdown in the fall on the new network, but I just don't think they care.

12:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was under the impression you have to spend money to make money. And WWE hasn't really been spending a ton of money. You're a wrestling fan at child birth. With the birth of every kid out there WWE gains new fans. So what if their parents don't buy the ppvs. One kid has 15 friends over for the show, I'm sure theres some people out there that remember them days. And since when did ratings become an issue? Because of the monday night war? WWE is ALWAYS going to have its advertising and not just because of their weekly television ratings, although that is the ace up the sleeve. They made a point on the McMahon dvd to say Smackdown fans aren't necessarily RAW's fans. And I believe that to be true in some respect. Alot more kids can watch pro wrestling on a friday night at 8pm than on a monday night@9 or tuesdays night @10. As for the house shows, over the past 5 years has WWE doubled or tripled the amount of shows they run per year? And because of that they run in cities they havent ran in years and some never before. I just feel TNA needs more help than WWE needs breakdowns. If putting Jim Cornette in the middle of the ring with a live mic for 15 minutes of a 1 hour show doesn't scream stupidity I don't know what does. I dont belive Sonjay Dutt to have ever been in a match on television without it being 4-6 people as well. And what are the rules of the "X division"? Is it weight class? Skill? Oh and hats off to Carlito for slippin in some tongue. THATS MY BOY RIGHT THERE!

9:06 AM  

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