Monday, September 04, 2006

Raw Report

Date: 09/04/06 from Atlanta, GA.

The Big News: Raw was actually quite strong this week. We’ll see if improved focus will pay off in an improved buy rate for Unforgiven.

Title Changes/Turns: None.

Match Results: Jeff Hardy b Johnny Nitro-DQ; Super Crazy b Chris Masters; Highlanders b Charlie Haas & Viscera and Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch; Edge, Randy Orton & Lita b John Cena, Carlito Caribbean Cool & Trish Stratus.

Show Analysis:

We start with a correction from last week’s report, thanks to Jim Ross (http://jrsbarbq.com/blog/2006/08/30/12/#more-12). When the Highlanders were escorted from ringside, he joked that they had green cards, not “ring cards.” Frankly, I didn’t know what ring cards were either, but just thought it sounded really funny, like the old manager’s license. It was hardly meant as a damnation of some sort. My apologies. With that, we move on to the show.

Edge began the show on a ladder. He said he could now count down to the time when he will no longer have to deal with John Cena. He said Cena will go to CW, and CW stands for “can’t win” because Cena can’t beat Edge in Edge’s hometown in Edge’s match. He aired a video package of pro-Edge propaganda. Cena entered the ring. Edge jumped off the ladder but Cena caught him and put him through a table with the FU.

Jeff Hardy beat Johnny Nitro via disqualification. Hardy was painting backstage prior to the match to make the point that Melina and Nitro’s press conference was like watching paint dry. This was so forced. Hardy went for some rollups early in the match. Nitro dominated most of the match, attacking Hardy’s back. He used a back breaker, punches, and a side suplex. Hardy hit a jaw breaker, but Nitro quickly struck back with a hot shot, back breaker and side Russian leg sweep.

Hardy retaliated with the electric chair, and rolled through on a Nitro crossbody attempt for a near fall. Nitro hit a standing shooting star press for two. Hardy went to the top, but Melina distracted him and Nitro knocked him off. Hardy still was able to come back with a twist of fate, but Melina stopped the count for a disqualification. Hardy gave Nitro the swanton afterwards. This was a pretty good little match.

Trish ran into Lita backstage. They argued, and Trish challenged Lita to one last match for the women’s title at Unforgiven. Lita accepted, and they got into a fight. Carlito was pulling Trish off when Randy Orton jumped him from behind and they had a pull apart brawl. Lita went to the McMahons’ office and muttered incoherently. Somehow Shane figured out what she wanted, and ended up making a 6 person tag with Cena, Carlito and Trish vs. Edge, Orton and Lita.

Super Crazy beat Chris Masters. Masters issued an open challenge, and Raw newcomer Crazy came out. Masters overpowered him early, slamming him and ramming him into the post. Crazy came back with a springboard drop kick and somersault pescado. Crazy hit a sunset flip off the top for a near fall. Crazy missed a springboard crossbody and Masters went for the Masterlock. Crazy escaped and rolled up Masters for two. Masters hit a clothesline, but Crazy drop kicked his leg and hit a moonsault for three. This was a surprisingly good match, and I was pleasantly surprised to see them give Crazy something of a push and put him over cleanly.

The McMahons and Big Show came to the ring. Vince was in better spirits. Shane gloated about last week. Show said he would leave Triple H and Shawn Michaels handicapped after tomorrow night’s match. Vince said the fans aren’t laughing anymore, and he who laughs last laughs loudest. He said they would destroy DX in Hell in a Cell. DX came out with a sledgehammer and chair, looking angry. HHH said it has been a while since they tasted their own blood, and thanked Vince for reminding them who they are. They came to the ring and laid out the McMahon security force as the McMahons and Show fled. This was a hot segment.

Highlanders won a three way match to earn a tag title shot at Unforgiven over Charlie Haas & Viscera and Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch. The Spirit Squad watched from ringside. Cade and Murdoch hit a high-low and inverted atomic drop/yakuza kick combination on Rory. Murdoch hit some stiff blows on Rory. Viscera gave Rory a leg drop and an avalanche to Cade and Murdoch. Robbie tagged in and won with a sunset flip into the ring on Haas. This wasn’t much of a match. Backstage, Carlito told Trish he was pissed off about the way Orton talked about him and said he would spit in Orton’s face.

Maria was doing the kiss cam when Ric Flair came out. He wanted a kiss from Maria, so they kissed. He started to talk about making Mick Foley quit when Armando came out. He wanted Flair to declare Umaga the man, but Flair refused. Armando proceeded to bring out Umaga. As Umaga entered the ring, Kane came out. He attacked Umaga with punches and kicked him out of the ring. Backstage, Vince McMahon made himself vs. HHH from Madison Square Garden next week on Raw.

They aired the first “Cryme Tyme” vignette, which featured 2 unintelligent black criminals stealing money from a restaurant and beating up the clerk. This wasn’t actually as offensive as it reads, because it was done tongue in cheek, but this whole concept is so stupid. It’s not like this gimmick is going to make any money, and the most likely consequences are pissing people off, bringing negative attention to the product, and further eroding the mainstream view of wrestling and wrestling fans.

Also, you have to consider the source of humor to understand the message it sends. Sarah Silverman and Mel Gibson can tell the same joke, and people are rightfully going to take it very differently. WWE is a company that has exploited cheap and offensive stereotypes for decades. They gave us Goldust, designed to exploit fans’ homophobia. They gave us Hispanic heels who ride to the ring on lawn mowers carrying tequila bottles. They gave us fried chicken eating jive soul bro Slick. They gave us Muhammad Hassan and his masked men with piano wire. WWE has constantly shown derision or outright hostility towards minority groups in its storylines, and hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to racial humor even jokingly depicting blacks as moronic criminals.

Randy Orton, Edge and Lita beat John Cena, Carlito and Trish. Teddy Long was in the crowd cheering for Cena, wanting him to jump to Smackdown. Orton and Cena started. Cena hit a shoulder tackle and neck breaker. Carlito came in but Orton went to the eye and tagged out. Trish and Lita tagged in, and Trish got the better of the exchange. After a break, Carlito went to town on Orton with a knee lift, clothesline and springboard elbow. However, he was sent to the outside and Edge worked him over.

Orton and Edge tagged back and forth beating down Carlito. Carlito finally made the tag to Cena, and the faces beat up the heels. In the ring, Trish hit the Stratusphere on Lita and was ready for the chick kick. Edge was about to spear Trish, but Carlito made the save. Then Orton leaped into the screen with an RKO on Trish, and Lita covered for the pin. This was a dramatic conclusion to the show.

Final Thoughts:

This was easily among the best Raws of the year. There was solid build for the pay-per-view, better wrestling than usual and nothing insulting with one very notable exception. I was kind of dreading the show after being spoiled by an overabundance of great wrestling this weekend, but Raw did a very good job of what WWE historically has done well.

But that won’t stop me from concluding the report the way I planned all along. You really need to pick up the PWG Battle of Los Angeles 2006. Three incredible shows make for an awesome value, and it’s a must have for fans starved for high quality professional wrestling. You can see my reviews of the shows elsewhere on this site, and Bryan Alvarez will have a huge write-up in F4W this week as well. You should definitely pick it up.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Dave S. said...

I watched Raw tonight, and I definitely didn't think it was anything special. The main event was decent, although it meant absolutely nothing, and none of the other matches were memorable at all. I thought the interview segments were good (Edge, the McMahons, and Flair/Umaga), but the rest of the 2 hours was pretty boring.

11:57 PM  
Blogger D. R. Tucker said...

"Also, you have to consider the source of humor to understand the message it sends. Sarah Silverman and Mel Gibson can tell the same joke, and people are rightfully going to take it very differently. WWE is a company that has exploited cheap and offensive stereotypes for decades. They gave us Goldust, designed to exploit fans’ homophobia. They gave us Hispanic heels who ride to the ring on lawn mowers carrying tequila bottles. They gave us fried chicken eating jive soul bro Slick. They gave us Muhammad Hassan and his masked men with piano wire. (Vince) has constantly shown derision or outright hostility towards minority groups in its storylines..."

Vince also made The Rock, Eddie Guerrero and Booker T world champions.

Look, if CBS can get away with Racist Survivor, Vince can get away with this. It might not be right, but that's how it is.

12:41 AM  
Blogger Dave Ling & Franchise said...

Cryme Tyme... it's like a cheap knock off of Los Guerreros with African American guys. The vignette last night was obviously tongue and cheek and I wasn't offended at all and maybe they can actually be pretty funny.

Plus, they're a tag team and the WWE tag team division is dead so any help it can get is welcome in my books.

Are they going to draw money? No, but how many Superstars are on TV today taht don't draw money? A bunch, and it's easier to identify the few that actually do draw money rather then the mound of over-pumped deadbeats who couldn't draw flies with shit.

6:33 AM  
Anonymous The Masterbater said...

Hey Todd you forgot about one more cheap steriotype on rich white boys, they did "the Mean Street Posse"!!

6:51 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

The ending of the Hardy v. Nitro match is a strong contender for worst finish of the year. The two title matches at SummerSlam are close contenders as well. It's like when Roger Ebert pans a movie because in order for the plot to work, everyone in it has to be stupid. So when Melina ran in, why did the referee not continue to count? She didn't break up the cover, so he very well could have. Also, this finish begs the question as to why this doesn;t happen in every title match if it's that easy to end the match in a DQ. The same finish occurred in the Cena-Edge match at SNME.

8:59 AM  
Anonymous MAZ said...

The bits that I caught of the show weren't bad.

I really liked the opening with Edge on the ladder. He just gets better and better and is leaving Cena in the dust. I don't necessarily dislike Cena, but I think that he's missing something. I don't know what it is exactly, but I just don't put him in the same league as say Rock, Austin, HHH, Hart, etc.

I liked the DX - McMahon action because it didn't take all night. It was short and to the point. I still don't like the idea of DX on ECW. I think that gains you nothing.

I'm beginning to like Johnny Nitro. I didn't really care for the match with Jeff Hardy because I would prefer Hardy to have some matches against lesser opponents to let him build up a claim for the IC title. Since his return, I've yet to see Hardy hit a clean Twist of Fate. Speaking of the IC title, I thought Kane was the #1 contender??? If so, why are they working on a Nitro-Hardy bout at Unforgiven.

Speaking of Kane, I missed the segment with Umaga. Since Flair was somewhat involved and Umaga laid out Flair a long time ago, I wonder whether we'll see Flair teaming with Kane at some point against Umaga and Armando.

I hate to see Trish Stratus go but at the same time, I really could care less about the women's wrestling scene.

As for the Highlanders, Viscera, Charlie Haas, and the other two guys wrestling in the tag match, none of them belong in the WWE.

As for the Cry Me Ty Me vignette, I had flipped off RAW and flipped back to see a portion of it. I was scratching my head trying to figure out what had happened to RAW as I was thinking that for some reason it must have ended early.

All in all, I wouldn't call it a great show, but it was much better than what has been offered in the past.

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad things are some criminals actually act that way between each other. When they face someone of opposition their demeanor will change.

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

either a really well produced vignette or really poorly produced if you didnt notice it was wrestling. and with john cena rapping and running around with his spinner chains, how long was it really going to be before a african american person or group tried to pull his card?

3:10 PM  

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