Monday, December 04, 2006

Raw Report

Date: 12/04/06 from Charleston, SC.

The Big News: USC isn’t playing for the National Championship. And things aren’t going much better for Matt Hardy.

Title Changes/Turns: None.

Conclusive Finishes: 4 of 5.

Match Results: Highlanders b Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch; Victoria b Maria; Carlito Caribbean Cool b Viscera; Shelton Benjamin b Super Crazy; Edge, Randy Orton, Joey Mercury & Johnny Nitro b Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy.

Show Analysis:

A few notes to start the report. First, thanks to Justin Shapiro for filling in last week with a really fun ECW report. Second, I weighed in with some of my thoughts on year-end awards for wrestlemag.com, which you can check out at: http://www.wrestlemag.com/news/index.php?p=3869. There are also thoughts from other writers there which make for a good read, and I’m thinking of doing a write-up for the Observer awards this year depending on how time consuming the exam period ends up being.

The show started with a particularly well done video package on last week’s Ric Flair angle. John Cena came out and received what seemed to be more boos than usual. He was ready to fight Umaga right there. Melina came out, and said he has bigger things to worry about in the form of Kevin Federline. Cena compared Melina to Britney Spears, so she slapped him. Cena lifted her up for the FU, but Chris Masters came in and stopped him.

Coach announced John Cena in the Masterlock challenge, and said that if Cena lost Masters would get a title shot next week. Cena basically said nobody will care about that, so Coach said the Masterlock challenge would be for the WWE Title. This was an effective opener, with Cena easily being able to handle multiple issues at the same time.

Kenny Doane backstage went to Edge and Randy Orton and said that the Spirit Squad is dead. Apparently he escaped from Louisville. He wanted to join Edge and Orton. They said he would have to prove himself first. They are going to have to protect Doane if they want to rehabilitate him from the Spirit Squad burial.

Highlanders beat Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch in a match they dedicated to Roddy Piper. The crowd was really dead for the match and didn’t react to the Highlanders’ cheerleading for Piper. Maybe people thought it was an angle, maybe they didn’t care about the Highlanders, or maybe they associated it with the Eddie Guerrero stuff. In any event, Highlanders won with a rollup in a nothing match.

Victoria beat Maria very quickly. She had a Chad Johnson style checklist with Candice, Maria, Torrie and Mickie listed on it. After the match Mickie came in to check on Maria and got a widow’s peak for her efforts. Mickie-Victoria is an effective, serious build.

They did an unfunny comedy sketch with Cryme Tyme visiting a retirement home. I’m guessing the idea was taken from a Brian Pillman story. In any event, they sung colorful carols and left with an old lady who told off the director of the retirement home. Backstage, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Super Crazy and Todd Grisham apparently found this hilarious, as they were doing this really unbelievable fake laughing. Shelton Benjamin said Cryme Tyme just reinforces a bunch of negative stereotypes and challenged Super Crazy to a match.

Shelton Benjamin beat Super Crazy in a brief match. He hit a kick to the head, but missed the stinger splash. It’s now called the Shelton splash by Jim Ross, presumably because Sting works for the opposition. Then again, few people watching Raw even know that, so I’m not sure how useful that change is. Crazy missed a moonsault and Benjamin hit the T-Bone for the pin. Charlie Haas came out after the match to celebrate, but Benjamin was confused. I’m all for putting them back together. With Edge/Orton, MNM, Hardyz and Benjamin/Haas, they would have their best tag division in years.

John Cena won the Masterlock Challenge by making Chris Masters tap out to a full nelson. No, this didn’t make any sense. Cena was trying to break the hold when Masters rammed him into the referee. Cena then put on a full nelson of his own for the tap out. I thought the idea of the Masterlock challenge was to see if the other guy could break Masters’ full nelson, but whatever. It wouldn’t make sense to have Cena break the hold out of the blue, since it means more to Masters than it would mean to Cena to break it. I also don’t like the idea at all of the title being on the line in this sort of thing, but as long as it didn’t change hands it’s not that big of a deal. Umaga came in and had a hot pull apart brawl with Cena after this.

Backstage, Viscera wanted Torrie Wilson to dump Carlito and get with him. Torrie was uninterested, and Carlito spit apple in his face. Ron Simmons made his cameo appearance, and the joke has more than run its course. Elsewhere, Shawn Michaels said that Ric Flair would be back and now their feud with Edge & Orton is personal. Michaels said Edge & Orton did to Flair what they knew they could never do to DX. HHH was great, just sneering menacingly and angrily in the background.

Carlito beat Viscera in an awful match. Just about every move was botched. It was horrific. Viscera hit a clothesline and stood on Carlito. Carlito went for a springboard crossbody but was brushed aside. Viscera missed an elbow, and Carlito hit the knee lift. Torrie grabbed Viscera’s foot coming off the ropes, and in the midst of this one of the straps of her outfit came apart. She spent the rest of the match holding it up, in what was the only drama of the match. Carlito hit a drop kick off the top, springboard senton and quebrada for the pin.

Armando backstage said that John Cena couldn’t touch Umaga for the rest of the year. Coach made Cena vs. Armando for next week. Val Venis was doing kiss cam in the ring with two women. They were obviously models sitting in the front row hired to do this, but they pretended to be reluctant. They ended up rolling around the ring making out, of course. Eugene came out and wanted a kiss, but they refused. He said he’s special repeatedly, and attacked Venis. This gimmick is totally ineffective.

Randy Orton, Edge and MNM beat DX and the Hardyz. They invoked WWE Booking Rule 302 here: Any match featuring Matt Hardy and Edge must end with Edge pinning Matt Hardy. The teams brawled early, with HHH choking Orton and Michaels giving him chops and a swinging neck breaker. The heels ended up working over Jeff, who tagged Matt.

All eight ended up brawling again at that point. Michaels hit a flying forearm, the Hardyz hit stereo pescados, and HHH hit the spine buster. At that point Kenny hit Michaels with a chair and HHH chased him into the crowd. In the ring, Jeff was going for a swanton, but he was pushed off the top rope. Edge hit a spear and pinned Matt. After the match, Kenny received sweet chin music and a pedigree with Orton and Edge watching. I really hope Kenny doesn’t become a lackey character.

Final Thoughts:

Raw continues to be better. I think John Cena vs. Umaga is going to do well on PPV. I’m not a fan of the 80s cartoon character push for Umaga, but he is as fresh and credible a main event challenger as they have had in ages. There’s the rare situation in WWE where the result is uncertain and people will be interested to see who wins. The wrestling wasn’t very good on this show, but the pacing and build was strong.

8 Comments:

Anonymous steve khan said...

I guess I'll wait and see where the Haas/Benjamin thing goes, but I thought it would've been more effective if Shelton chose Haas (next week or so) to be his partner against Cryme Tyme, instead of Haas jumping on Benjamin like his number one fan.

I hated that DX just HAD to beat up Kenny at the end of the show. Edge/Orton finally get a win, yet its DX's music that's played to end the show. The angle would've been perfect if it ended with Edge/Orton standing tall. I like that it's taking a more serious direction, at least.

12:07 AM  
Anonymous Dave S. said...

Overall, I thought this was better than the last 3 or for 4 Raws, at least. I agree with both Todd and the previoius poster that Kenny shouldn't have gotten beaten up at the end of the show. He should have hit Michaels with the chair, then ran into the crowd to draw HHH away from the match. There was no logical reason for DX to get the upper hand against him at the end of the show. As hard as it is to believe that HHH and Michaels will actually put over Orton and Edge during the course of this feud, it is even harder to believe they will do anything to help Kenny.

I also really like the Cena-Umaga feud, and I honestly think the best booking decision would be to have Umaga win the title, then lose it back to Cena either before Wrestlemania or at it. I'm kind of surprised you didn't mention how similar the Cena-Umaga pull-apart brawl was to the ones Angle and Joe had before their ppv match. There are certainly worse feuds to steal from, I guess.

12:39 AM  
Anonymous Sonny said...

steve, I think the Haas/Benjamin thing is done to feed Haas to Shelton not to make them a tag team...Haas wants to join up with Benjamin and Cryme Tyme would bash him for not being "black" leads to a match between haas/benjamin and Cryme Tyme...benjamin turns & cryme tyme drops the lame comedy you got your serious stable with Benjamin as the leader and Cryme Tyme as the muscle...something along those lines but Hass/Benjamin wont be a tag team

8:05 AM  
Anonymous dan said...

Anyone know what the crowd was looking at during the beginning of the main event?

9:24 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

I really like Sonny's scenario, but there's no way that's WWE's plan. They haven't executed a story with multiple steps planned in advance in ages.

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Sonny said...

Yea Todd, in a time when booking is done hours in advance there is no way they would think along those lines

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Andrew (USC Law) said...

Not sure if this is the appropriate place to post this, but since you mentioned them in the top of your report, I will anyway. I just wanted to say good luck on your exams. Crazy to think that there is only one semester left, right? Well, best of luck with this semester's exams and with your final semester of law school.

5:44 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Thanks, Andrew. You too.

8:02 PM  

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