Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Raw Report

Date: 09/18/06 from Montreal, QC.

The Big News: None.

Title Changes/Turns: None.

Match Results: Umaga b Kane-DQ; Ric Flair b Johnny Jeter; Six-Pack: Johnny Nitro b Randy Orton, Chris Masters, Super Crazy, Jeff Hardy and Carlito Caribbean Cool; Candice Michelle b Lita; Edge, Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch b John Cena, Triple H & Shawn Michaels.

Show Analysis:

The show started with John Cena coming out to boos. I really wish WWE would get some courage and deal more head on with this reaction. Cena laughed and smiled as if he thought it was cool thousands of people were indicating they can’t stand him. What kind of hero gets shit on by tens of thousands of people and laughs about it and sucks up to them? It’s particularly ridiculous when this is supposed to be a rebellious hip-hop persona. When he smiles and takes his punishment like a jovial whipping boy it emasculates him.

Jerry Lawler also played along with this reaction. He did his fake laugh repeatedly, and acted like this was so amusing and fun. You could almost hear Vince telling him to do that in his headset. This reaction by Lawler came across as so desperate, with the promotion trying to put a happy face on an undesired reaction. Look, this reaction is not a bad thing. It shows passion in the crowd. But you have to utilize it, rather than laughing it off and trying to avoid it.

Cena badly needs to tell off the people that boo him. He actually has a really good point. He works hard. He’s not that bad. He deserves his position. A lot of the negativity is flat out hating. Cena needs to say this, and not in a cutesy manner. “You don’t like me? Well, fuck you.” That’s pretty much the sentiment. If he stands up to the people that boo him, the people that like him will rally behind him. And quite frankly, it will probably make the people that hate him now like him more. Regardless, WWE needs to stop fighting the crowd reactions to Cena and instead should use that heat to their advantage.

Cena said he went through a lot at Unforgiven, and couldn’t remember anything. Then he saw his title, and remembered that he is the champion. He said that after everything they went through, his feud with Edge is through. Edge came out to a big reaction. He said last night was a fluke, and he has a rematch clause. Cena said he saw hunger and fire in Edge at Unforgiven and he respects that, but challenged Edge to have the rematch immediately. Edge said that they aren’t in Canada, and made a bunch of anti-Quebec and anti-French comments that turned the crowd on him. He said he will take the title back, but not in Montreal.

Cena wanted to know why Edge was out there if not to throw down. Edge said he had a plan, and Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch ran in. They gave Cena the high low. They are a very tough sell as threats given they have been treated as jobbers for a long time. They apparently have been winning on Heat, but nobody knows that. DX came out and fought off Cade and Murdoch. Jonathan Coachman made a six man tag main event. This was a hot, albeit strange, start to the show.

Coach backstage wanted to speak to the McMahons via television. He said he would run Raw like the McMahons. They need a stale heel GM fill-in to appear eight times on the show lest anyone get the idea that a stale heel GM is not in fact a requisite part of professional wrestling and the McMahons do not in fact have to get 20 minutes of air time every show. Coach brought in Shelton Benjamin to speak to Vince through the camera. Shelton wanted to know why he wasn’t the McMahons’ partner, and concluded it was a racial thing before Coach escorted him off. Well, it’s better than making Shelton a part of Cryme Tyme.

Umaga beat Kane via disqualification. This was your basic WWF big man match. Kane threw punches, and Umaga hit a belly to belly and kicks. Umaga brought a chair into the ring, but there was a ref bump. Armando distracted Kane and Umaga hit Kane with a chair. Another referee came in to count, but Kane kicked out. Umaga hit a Samoan drop, but Kane came back with a big boot, clothesline and shoulder tackle. Kane brought a chair into the ring, but Umaga hit a thrust to the throat and chop. Umaga accidentally ran into the post and Kane hit a clothesline off the top.

Kane then grabbed a chair and hit Umaga with it three times for the disqualification. Kane chased Armando backstage and was going to attack him with a steel spike. Umaga jumped Kane from behind and left. Kane sat up and smiled. Considering they did a lame non-finish with these guys just last night, and they would do the same lame non-finish in the main event of this show, perhaps they should have found a different way of advancing this feud. It goes to what I was writing about the other week: matches need to feel like more than just a backdrop for other things.

They did another cutaway backstage to Maria wishing Vince well. This was really crappy comedic writing, with her thinking he was Ed McMahon or Jim McMahon. The Spirit Squad butted in. They said that they were sad about what happened to the McMahons, but happy that they were still the tag champions. Johnny Jeter said he challenged Ric Flair to a match and would dedicate it to Vince.

Ric Flair beat Johnny. Johnny wanted to go on his own, so the Squad waited at the ramp. Johnny hit punches, and Flair came back with chops. Johnny went to the eye and hit a sloppy back body drop on the floor. He hit a chop block, went after Flair’s leg, and applied the figure four. He hit a suplex into the ring, but missed the Johnny Go Round off the top. Flair retaliated with a chop block and chops. He went after the knee. He tried to apply the figure four, but Johnny rolled him up. Flair reversed that with a cradle of his own for the pin.

Lita backstage said she was sorry about what happened to Vince, and wanted to talk about the Women’s Title. Mickie James came in, and they got into an argument about whether Lita deserves it. Mickie put over Trish Stratus, which they should have just avoided doing since they had a really personal feud this year. Lita slapped Mickie, and they are apparently feuding now. That feud should work well, and they can get Mickie over as a face by linking her with Edge’s next opponent.

Randy Orton came out. He said he needed stitches the previous night but still won. He labeled that one of the most courageous performances in wrestling history. He said he is the future of the wrestling industry. Johnny Nitro came out and said he is the future of the industry. Nitro said he still has his title, and Orton doesn’t have any title. Nitro said Orton has been coasting on his rep while Nitro has gone to the top. Orton said he could take the Intercontinental Title or Melina any time he wants.

That brought out Chris Masters, who said he should be the Intercontinental Champion, and that he is the future of wrestling. Orton, Melina and Nitro laughed at him, which was funny. Nitro said this conversation was for people who matter, which was even funnier. Carlito then came out and said that while Orton won at Unforgiven, he’s a sore loser. He jumped Orton, and all the heels ganged up on him until Super Crazy and Jeff Hardy made the save. Coach made a six pack challenge for the Intercontinental Title, first pin wins. Jim Ross said Nitro’s title was as good as gone, which pretty much telegraphed the finish under WWE logic. This was a strong segment setting up the match.

Johnny Nitro won the six pack challenge. The basic layout of this match was Wrestler A hits Wrestler B with a move. Wrestler A covers Wrestler B, but Wrestler C makes the save. Repeat that pattern a bunch of times and you have the match. Obviously, there was way too much going on to keep track of, but that said, this was better than I expected. That’s principally because the guys all worked hard and the finishing sequence was cool if predictable.

Everyone went after Nitro in the midpoint of the match, and Crazy hit a springboard moonsault to the floor. Carlito went for a springboard but was caught with an Orton drop kick. Orton and Nitro hit a double back drop, but Orton then gave Nitro the RKO. Carlito hit the back cracker on Orton. Masters applied the Masterlock on Carlito, but Crazy broke it with a drop kick. Crazy went to the top, but Hardy knocked him off and hit the swanton on Masters. Nitro threw Hardy out of the ring and covered Masters for the win.

Cryme Tyme was back, and they car jacked a guy this week. HHH and Shawn Michaels had a message for Vince. They had a video tribute of them getting the best of the McMahons, and HHH read a poem. Candice then beat Lita. The crowd chanted nasty things at Lita in French. Lita worked Candice over with kicks, a suplex, and a side Russian leg sweep. She was going for a moonsault when Mickie James distracted her and Candice hit a second rope power bomb for the pin.

Edge, Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch beat John Cena and DX via disqualification. The heels worked over Michaels with an inverted atomic drop/big boot combo, neck breaker and more. Michaels hit an enzuigiri on Cade and tagged HHH. HHH went for the pedigree on Edge, but Cade broke that up with a clothesline. Edge brought in a chair and went to hit HHH with it but HHH gave Edge a spine buster. Murdoch went to hit Michaels with the chair, but Michaels took the chair and hit Murdoch with it for the DQ. Cena then gave Cade an FU. Edge was left alone with the other three. He was given sweet chin music and a pedigree. The focus of this match was on DX vs. Edge, which would suggest they are moving in that direction now.

Final Thoughts:

This show certainly didn’t extend the Raw streak of good shows to three, but it wasn’t awful either. There was more of an emphasis on wrestling again, but the booking was awful this week with not a single winner gaining anything from their win. It’s frustrating to see the same tired feuds continue, and the continuing focus on the McMahons even when they aren’t on the show is very irritating. On the plus side, the show went by quickly, and was generally a fun atmosphere. The talking segments were good. It didn’t have the same focus of the past few weeks without a PPV to build, which speaks to the need for long term planning where they are moving towards something in the future rather than just flying in a holding pattern.


Anonymous mean dean said...

I was happy to see the streak of "if Lita comes out happy she wins, if she comes out frumpy she loses" continued.

As I was reading over the report, the recap of the Umaga/Kane match reminded me of one of the things I hate most about the sports entertainment style. It's so irritating when a ref bump occurs, then all kinds of illegal activity takes place, then a pin, then another ref comes out to make the count. Obviously that other ref had to be paying attention to the match to see that the pin was taking place....but he somehow missed someone getting hit with a chair? Shouldn't he be coming out and calling a DQ?

Which, as I was typing all that, made me think of something I had considered for awhile that I think could be kind of neat. The one negative is it means there's more characters that aren't the actual wrestlers being focused on, but I think it can work. What if each individual ref had his own little quirks and tendencies? Like, Nick Patrick was really strict, and would DQ someone just for using closed fists, Little Naitch would be notorious for fast counts, Mike Chioda would be more lenient to interference and use of international objects, etc. I think it could be a neat little wrinkle that, while if done wrong could take away from what should be focused on, but at the same time if done properly could add something to matches. It's always one of the fun things to follow when watching an NBA game and Dick Bavetta is reffing, or an MLB game with Angel Hernandez behind the plate.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Steve Khan said...

John Cena must be one hell of a fisherman. Unless he swam to the bottom of that river to find his title.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Ha! I completely forgot about that. I'm sure there's room for scuba gear in the Thug'z Mansion.

12:03 AM  
Blogger Dave Ling & Franchise said...

Todd, I'm going to have to disagree with your final thoughts here, I thought the 6 man match was really good television and in the end did help Nitro with the win.

Sure the match was a simple formula, but this is wrestling not a M. Night Shyamalan movie. Its an effective formula, don't fix it if it ain't broke.

They're really putting a lot of juice behind Nitro now and its fun to watch him go from hopeless Tough Enough winner to a key performer.

7:52 AM  

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