Monday, September 11, 2006

Raw Report

WWE Raw Report

By: Todd Martin

Date: 09/11/06 from New York, NY.

The Big News: Raw set its 2006 record with two good shows in a row. Hopefully next week they can bring that number up to an impressive three. WWE returned to Madison Square Garden and delivered a mostly fun show that set up Unforgiven well.

Title Changes/Turns: None.

Match Results: Umaga b Ric Flair-DQ; Rowdy Roddy Piper & Highlanders b Kenny Doane, Johnny Jeter & Mikey Mondo; John Cena, Carlito Caribbean Cool & Jeff Hardy b Edge, Randy Orton & Johnny Nitro; Super Crazy b Chris Masters; Trish Stratus b Mickie James; Vince McMahon b Triple H.

Show Analysis:

The show began with a moment of silence and America the Beautiful.

Umaga beat Ric Flair via disqualification. Flair chopped Umaga repeatedly, but Umaga mostly no sold and grabbed Flair by the throat. Armando signaled for the Samoan spike, but Flair hit three low blows and punches. Umaga threw him all the way out of the ring to the floor. Flair grabbed a chair and hit him twice in the head with it. Umaga no sold that, and Flair acted afraid and ran away. Flair grabbed the steps at ringside, but Umaga ripped them away. Finally he caught Flair and gave him a Samoan drop on the floor.

At that point Kane came out and brawled with Umaga. He went for the choke slam, but Umaga gave him a belly to belly suplex and hit him with a chair twice. Kane sat up, hit a big boot, and hit Umaga with a chair twice to send him from the ring. Kane then hurled the steps over the top rope onto Umaga on the floor, which was impressive. Kane hit Umaga with the steps and Umaga left.

The first part of this was a fantastic opening. The violence on Flair was so sudden that it had a really strong effect in putting over Umaga. However, the second part with Kane felt like a really formulaic brawl of “monsters.” They would have been better off with Umaga killing Flair, and Kane coming up on the steps and staring at Umaga. Shane and Vince McMahon were backstage at the Madison Square Garden Walk of Fame. Of course this was a buildup to Vince’s star.

Roddy Piper and the Highlanders beat the Spirit Squad in a six man tag. Piper came out with the Highlanders and New York Police Department bagpipe players. Piper and the Highlanders traded slaps for fun. The Squad came out and made fun of their kilts, so Piper challenged them to a match. Squad used their numbers advantage, as Mikey, Kenny and Johnny worked over Robbie with a double suplex, punches, kicks and elbows. Robbie tagged Piper, who came in with punches, an eye poke, low blows and knee lifts. Piper back dropped Kenny over the top rope onto the rest of the Squad and the Highlanders hit a slingshot reverse suplex for a Piper pin. Piper was a pleasant surprise.

Johnny Nitro and Melina backstage said that they aren’t boring, but Mick Foley was. Behind them Jeff Hardy was splashing random paint on a sheet of paper. Nitro kicked this over, and for some reason this infuriated Hardy. He dumped a couple cans of paint on Nitro, so he would have to wrestle covered with paint. They ran a nice little video package for Trish Stratus’ “final” match Sunday. I wish they showed all their performers this kind of respect, particularly ones who have been around for a long time.

Jeff Hardy, John Cena and Carlito beat Edge, Randy Orton and Johnny Nitro. Edge prior to the match said that this would be Cena’s final Raw. Edge said that Cena could go back to his old raps, and he had a rap for him as well. It wasn’t very good, but Edge’s mannerisms and facials were great. I also like that he is back to being more arrogant rather than whiny. Ross responded to this rap, “What am I supposed to say to that? You the man, dog?”

The story of this match was John Cena. He wasn’t even in the match all that much, and yet the crowd chanted back and forth, for and against him, for pretty much the entire match. This was really interesting, although it did distract from the match. Carlos Colon was in attendance, and they pointed him out. Nitro and Hardy started, with Hardy hitting punches and a leg drop to the groin. Carlito came in with punches and a drop kick. Orton was tagged, and Orton and Edge worked over Carlito. Carlito hit a huracanrana on Edge and tagged in Cena.

Cena came in with punches on Orton and a fisherman buster. He went after Edge, but Orton gave him a suplex. Carlito came in, but got worked over by the heels. He made the tag to Hardy who choked Orton and clotheslined him to the outside. Hardy screwed up a springboard plancha off of Carlito to the outside. The heels worked over Hardy’s leg, and then worked over Carlito.

Cena tagged in and went to town. Orton was going to jump him from behind, but Carlito gave Orton the back cracker and Hardy hit the swanton on him. Cena went for the FU on Edge, but Nitro stopped it. Cena then gave Nitro the FU and applied the STFU for the tap out as Edge left up the apron. The match was unfocused and mediocre, but had a decent ending.

They aired some packages for Hell in a Cell throughout the show. With all the dramatic moments, it just underscores the silliness of using the gimmick for such a stale feud. One gets the sense that there may be desperation over not wanting to deliver a really weak buy rate for the DX vs. McMahons blow off. They aired another Cryme Tyme vignette, with them robbing a guy.

Super Crazy upset Chris Masters again. Masters beat down Crazy early. Crazy came back with a springboard crossbody for two. He hit a drop toe hold, springboard drop kick, drop kick off the top and standing moonsault for another near fall. He then rolled up Masters for the pin. This was a fun little match, and it’s nice to see Crazy getting the push. Of course, if they are open to pushing smaller guys who can’t talk, there are guys out there who are a lot better right now than Crazy.

Trish Stratus beat Mickie James. Mickie is now a face, without a real turn. The announcers really put over Trish, which was nice. Trish and Mickie went for pinning combinations early. Trish hit a Thesz press but ran into an elbow. Trish went for the Stratusphere, but Mickie hit a huracanrana. They hit simultaneous clotheslines. Mickie went to the top but Trish caught her with the Stratusphere.

They traded punches and Trish hit the whirly bird. She missed a chick kick and Mickie rolled her up for two. Trish went for the Stratusfaction, but Lita came out to distract her. Stratus used Lita’s face for leverage in hitting the Stratusfaction and scored the pin. Mickie and Trish shook hands and hugged after the match. Trish then thanked the fans. This was a good match and a nice TV sendoff for Trish.

Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch confronted DX on the way to the ring, and they jumped DX along with Shane McMahon. They rammed HHH into a limousine, and Big Show dropped Michaels on the limousine twice. They slammed the car door on HHH and he bled from the ear. Vince McMahon then said that his match with HHH would be no holds barred.

Vince McMahon beat HHH. HHH was selling his injuries huge, and Vince beat him up. Vince gave HHH the pedigree but HHH kicked out. HHH made a comeback, but Shane interfered. Michaels ran in, but Show came in with a power bomb on Michaels. Shane hit Michaels with a chair. Vince hit HHH with the sledgehammer and covered him for the pin.

The story here was the crowd reaction. After being so hot for Cena early, they were completely dead for this. They didn’t react much when HHH made his comebacks, nor did they react when Vince was beating him up. They were just really silent, and didn’t seem to care for the boring, tired segment. This amazing reaction to the first MSG main event in ages should serve as a strong sign about what current fans are interested in and aren’t interested in. Hopefully after Unforgiven the McMahons will have a greatly reduced or eliminated television role, and the focus of the show will be on fresher characters like Edge, Cena and Orton. They still have something really powerful with Cena if they can find a way to fully utilize the strongly divided crowds.

Final Thoughts:

If last week’s Raw was good, this edition of Raw was even better. There is finally a renewed emphasis on wrestling, along with more straight forward build and segments that don’t insult the audience. It was also nice to see them have the confidence to put people over the week before a pay-per-view. Usually these go home shows have one DQ non-finish after another. They would be well served to stay true to the model they have been following the past couple of weeks. This show was well worth the two hours.


Anonymous Tyson Smith said...

I thought the crowd was pathetic for the Trish/Mickie match, but I guess you can't expect much considering how they treat the women's division.

I got a kick out of Triple H pulling a Hulk Hogan in the main event and getting a mid-carder's response. He was acting like he was about to die, then he gets a pedigree, and out of nowhere he has no more spaghetti legs, and punches dont phase him. That was so Hogan. I thought the main event was lame as well. I'm so bored of McMahon.

I thought the Cena/Carlito/Jeff vs Edge/Orton/Nitro match was really good. It seemed like it went at least 25 minutes long, and they let Nitro, Orton, Jeff and Carlito work a lot, namely Carlito. The MSG crowd really digs Carlito, I think. And that's awesome. I think Carlito can become really huge if they protect him over the next year.

12:06 AM  
Anonymous Dave S. said...

I was at the Raw tonight, and I think your analysis of the show was pretty dead on. The only thing I disagree with you about was the crowd reaction in the main event. While the fued between DX and the McMahons is obviously very stale, I think the reason for the tepid crowd reaction was just total burnout. The taping started at 7:30, and the crowd really cooled off after the 6 man tag in the middle of the show. There were a ton of DX shirts in the audience, and people did pop big anytime DX was mentioned. And the crowd definitely was into Vince also. If the segment with HHH and Vince had taken place at 10:00 instead of the 6-man tag, I think it would have gotten a significantly better reaction.

Just as a side note, the ECW show that was shot beforehand is excellent and the crowd was really into most of it. I thought the ending should have been very different, but I won't spoil it for you.

12:06 AM  
Anonymous MAZ said...

After Unforgiven, maybe Vince and Shane can take on the Raiders because they are absolutely awful.

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Mean Dean said...

No way Maz, I want Shane and Vince vs. Art Shell and Al Davis.

I loved loved LOVED that they started the show with a match. SHOCKING!

Line of the night: "That was my painting!" - Jeff Hardy

11:05 AM  
Blogger Dave Ling & Franchise said...

Let me tell you, if the WWE puts Cena over this Sunday at the PPV in Toronto I'm going to lose it. Edge has always been a favourite amongst Canadian favourites at Toronto shows. I know they put Edge over Cena in Boston but the Toronto crowd is more likely to start throwing shit in the ring if they dare put Cena over.

7:02 AM  

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