Monday, December 18, 2006

WWE Raw Live 3 Hour Report

Date: 12/18/06 from Washington, DC.

The Big News: After wrestling two matches last week, Edge wrestled three this week, totaling around an hour of in-ring action. He won a battle royal, lost a title match, and concluded the show by taking out DX along with Randy Orton.

Title Changes/Turns: None.

Conclusive Finishes: 3 of 6. Not a good week in this department, but the longer matches made this issue less evident.

Match Results: Edge won battle royal; Johnny Nitro, Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin b Matt & Jeff Hardy; Kenny Dykstra b Ric Flair; John Cena b Edge; Victoria b Mickie James; Triple H, Shawn Michaels & John Cena b Edge, Randy Orton & Umaga-DQ.

Show Analysis:

I was at Verizon Center for a strong three hour edition of Raw. The arena was a near sellout, which is impressive in a city not known for overwhelming attendance. The show started with an at least relatively new WWE video package. It was excellently produced, as these videos usually are. It was a pretty live crowd initially, but it did get tired towards the end of what was a long show.

Craig Simpson defeated Christian York in a dark match opener. Simpson was announced from DC, and got a good reaction for someone that nobody knew. I’m not sure who he is either. He won a decent match with a tilt a whirl back breaker and running power slam.

Edge won a battle royal also featuring Ric Flair, Eugene, Gene Snitsky, Viscera, Val Venis, Lance Cade, Trevor Murdoch, the Highlanders, Super Crazy, Sgt. Slaughter, Johnny Nitro, Shelton Benjamin, Faarooq, Cryme Tyme, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Brooklyn Brawler, Shawn Michaels, Carlito, Kenny Dykstra, Charlie Haas, Chris Masters, Randy Orton, Triple H, Jeff Hardy, Rob Conway, Johnny Jeter and Jerry Lawler.

Edge was slow to get in the ring. Brawler was the first wrestler out. DX eliminated Viscera. Cryme Tyme took out Faarooq, who lamented his elimination with a single word. Haas and Benjamin eliminated Cryme Tyme. DX tricked and dumped Eugene. It came down to DX against Randy Orton, Edge, Johnny Nitro, Lance Cade and Chris Masters. HHH eliminated Masters, but all the heels took out HHH.

That left Michaels alone. He got rid of Nitro, and Orton eliminated Cade. Michaels avoided the RKO and sent Orton out to seemingly win. However, Edge had been knocked to the outside but not eliminated and he pulled Michaels out from behind by the hair to win the match. The battle royal was okay. They took too much time clearing the ring, as it’s hard to do anything when there are over 15 guys in the ring. After they got down to the final ten or so, the match was very well booked. I expect this match to do a very good rating.

Backstage, Edge said he would win the title and defend against Umaga at New Year’s Revolution. I don’t know if it was a good idea to make mention of that, since nobody believes that match will be taking place. Edge told Orton he would be moving onto bigger things. Chris Masters said he put Torrie in the Masterlock as payback to Carlito. They introduced Vladimir Kozlov (Oleg Prudius), who was announced as a world sambo champion, essentially playing the role of Fedor Emelianenko. This was not Las Vegas nor the Real Deal, and the fans booed him. He insincerely said he loves the WWE and the United States, and spoke some words in another language.

Chris Masters and Carlito were to have a match, but it never got started. They brawled into the crowd, and Carlito bladed. Masters ran off and that was the end of that. Johnny Nitro and the World’s Greatest Tag Team then defeated the Hardyz in a handicap match. Nitro got a really impressive heel reaction, which was an encouraging sign. The crowd took to him like a star. Jeff limped out and most of the match consisted of the heels working over Jeff. After the second hot tag, Matt came in with clotheslines, a bulldog, and side effects. Haas snapped Jeff’s neck on the ropes and Benjamin rolled him up with the tights for the pin. The heels beat down the Hardyz afterwards, with Nitro focusing on Jeff.

Armando said that Umaga would beat Edge or John Cena, but they would rather beat Cena because he would be an easier opponent and for revenge. Nitro ran into K-Fed backstage. Melina was impressed by Federline’s bravery. They introduced Sylvester Stallone on the big screen, and he got a nice reaction. They did a video interview with him plugging Rocky Balboa.

Kenny Dykstra beat Ric Flair. I’m not sure why they didn’t just use Doane for Kenny’s name, and the only reason I can come up with is it’s a play off former Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets star Lenny Dykstra. Kenny hit some kicks and a choke. Flair came back with an atomic drop and chops. Kenny threw him off the top, but missed his leg drop off the top. Flair hit some more chops, but Kenny rolled him up for the pin. Flair offered to shake hands after the match, but Kenny declined.

John Cena beat Edge to retain the WWE Title. Obviously, they didn’t run the title match at the end of the show as advertised, which likely means they didn’t have a plan firmly in place just last week. This was another strong match from Cena and Edge, and probably the best on this show. The crowd was split, and we got dueling chants and the typical Cena reaction. Cena had a real superstar aura.

Edge and Cena fought back and forth, and hit a double cross body. Edge knocked Cena off the apron to the floor. Cena hit clotheslines, cross body blocks, and the Cena slam. However, he missed the five knuckle shuffle, and Edge hit the spear for a near fall. Cena whipped out a rocker dropper off the top rope for a near fall. He followed with the stun gun and five knuckle shuffle. He went for the FU, but Edge got out and Cena hit a backwards suplex.

Cena went for the FU again, but there was a ref bump. Orton ran in and hit the FU. Then DX came in and gave Edge the pedigree. Cena covered for the pin. After the match Cena realized what happened, and teased getting angry at DX. That would seem to suggest they are thinking Cena vs. HHH for Mania, since they pretty clearly were teasing it. On this evening Cena ended up shaking hands with them.

They did a Cryme Tyme segment which really died live. Cryme Tyme brought out a George W. Bush impersonator to boos. He alluded to Kanye West’s comments about Bush, and “Bush” talked about how he’s down with Cryme Tyme. He made a reference to “George Jefferson,” presumably an allusion to Thomas Jefferson having a child with one of his slaves, but Cryme Tyme cut him off. They hugged him and stole his wallet. When he found out, he seemingly called them the n word, but it was blanked out.

The crowd seemed amused at Cryme Tyme at first, but as they went into the heavier stuff the crowd went really silent. You could hear a number of people gasping at the idea WWE would be doing some of this stuff, and people seemed pretty offended by the segment. It didn’t bother me that much because of the ham fisted delivery, but this got a unique type of reaction I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed at a wrestling show. That’s not a good thing. WWE really needs to understand these types of jokes are different when Dave Chappelle is telling them than when they are coming from Stephanie McMahon and Brian Gewirtz.

Victoria beat Mickie James clean. Mickie went for some rollups and a spinning head scissors. She attempted a DDT but Victoria escaped and kicked her in the head. She then hit the Widow’s Peak for the pin. She added another item to her list: the women’s championship. I would suspect that they didn’t plan for this program to result in a title change, but it has worked so well that I would go for it.

Kevin Federline came out. He said that no one knows the real Kevin Federline, and that K-Fed is just a media creation. He said the real Federline does great things, and he will beat Cena. He said on January 1, K-Fed is dead, but Federline will be whipping Cena’s ass. Federline got a good heel reaction, but it was a bit disappointing based on what I was expecting. The way this interview was scripted and delivered, it seems they might try to send off Federline as a face, which I don’t see working.

John Cena and DX beat Umaga and Rated RKO via DQ. Edge said that DX will die at New Year’s Revolution. The match didn’t really build, with people just rotating in and out. Cena fought Umaga to the back. Edge hit HHH with a chair for the DQ. Edge and Orton gave Michaels a double RKO on a chair. HHH went for the sledge hammer, but Edge kicked him into the announcers’ table. After booking the sledge hammer spot as a strong comeback for so long, it was really effective to see it cut off. Edge gave HHH two concertos on the announce table. They went after Shawn Michaels but Dean Malenko, Steve Keirn, Tony Garea and Mike Rotunda made the save. DX sold huge for this.

Final Thoughts:

This was as I said at the beginning a strong show. Raw probably doesn’t have enough talent for a three hour show, so they concentrated on spending a lot of time on their top acts. That was a wise move, as there weren’t any segments of death where the audience lost interest in the show. I’m very interested to see how New Year’s Revolution does. They have done such a strong build for the show that I hope it does well so WWE can potentially take a lesson from that.


Anonymous Steve Khan said...

John Cena wrestled 3 different matches within 25 hours.

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Dave S. said...

I agree that this was a very good show. It kept me entertained for 3 hours and kept me from studying for a final exam which is tomorrow at 9 a.m.

I didn't find the George Bush impersonator thing offensive; it was just painfully unfunny. The only funny part of it was when the crowd booed heavily at the start of it when they announced Bush was coming out. The President of the United States was practically the most over heel on the show in Washington D.C.!

I'm surprised you didn't point out how retarded it was to have Cena and Umaga together in the main event, and for them to have fought to the back during it. It was only 2 weeks ago that Coach decreed that they couldn't touch each other for the rest of 2006, and now it has seemingly been forgotten. It wasn't even mentioned tonight. I'm still looking forward to that match though, and hopefully the Umaga title reign.

12:28 AM  
Anonymous Dan Wahlers said...

Dave S: Coach said that Cena and Umaga couldn't touch for the rest of 2006, unless it was in a match. JR and Lawler mentioned that tonight on the broadcast.

Seems like you had a good time, Todd. It was a fun show. I had some friends over, and a couple of them hadn't watched Raw in a while, because the show turned them off. And everyone liked the show. It reminded me of the old days when I wasn't seemingly the only person in my circle of friends that liked wrestling.

The one thing is I believe, and I'm not 100% sure, but I think Carlito was busted open hardway during the brawl with Masters. If you rewatch Raw on tape or something, you'll see that there was a spot where he ran face first into the camera. I think that's what caused him to bleed.

Like I said, I don't know for sure. But that's the way it looked on TV. It didn't look like he had enough time to blade, plus I couldn't imagine them booking another blade job on the show, when both HHH and HBK were doing it in the big angle of the night.

Speaking of that, how did the big Edge/Orton destruction of DX angle come off in the arena? On TV, Jim Ross was screaming at first for them to stop, and the usual stuff. He was great as he always is. Then him and Lawler went silent for the rest of the show, and they just showed crowd reactions, and they managed to find some concerned faces in the crowd.

It came off really well on TV, and the silence from the announcers really helped played it up as something big. It's proof that you don't always need to scream and yell to get an angle over. Someone needs to tell Mike Tenay and Don West that.

12:33 AM  
Anonymous mean dean said...

My favorite part of the show is how they booked Cena/Umaga. I'm not a fan of letting the opponents in a well built PPV match touch prior to the match (Rock/Austin before WM 17 I think was done exceptionally well for this), but if they do I'm cool with it as long as it's just brief brawling with nobody getting the upper hand.

The fact they didn't really do anything in the match itself, and then just brawled to the back and never seen again was perfect. It feels like Cena and Umaga have some real heat and just want to beat the crap out of each other, which should hopefully help get some attention to their PPV match.

I absolutely HATE Kenny Dykstra, though. Not only would Ken Doane be fine, but it sounds too close to Lenny Dykstra, and it just isn't a good wrestling name.

4:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked Todd Grisham introducing Vladimir Kozlov but after the interview, he called him Victor Kozlov, which must be news to the NY Islanders center.

7:07 AM  
Anonymous Sonny said...

I think Edge should have serious consideration for wrestler of the year, not just for wrestling those matches last night, but for the termendous year he has had as a whole. No other wrestler has made an impact like Edge over the course of this year. I mean he can always pull a decent match out of John Cena, and that in and of itself is a feat that should be recognized.

7:17 AM  
Blogger Ideen Barimani said...

I was at the show as well. It was refreshing to see many of the stars do double and tripe-duty. Edge should be wrestler of the year for the WWE. No one comes close to what he has done. I see Edge/Cena ranking favorably highly in the Observer feud of the year category. Nothing seemed dead and this show wanted me to order this PPV but I doubt I will but still..I have a soft spot for Micki James now. I really want the WWE to succeed and last night's show was a major step in that direction. It's not that hard to make great wrestling programs. Kevin Federline may have found his calling. Todd Grishman and Jonathan Coachman are pimps.

1:39 PM  
Anonymous Charlie Kane said...

Land begoshens! I actually found myself enjoying the show, as well, as it was a much more entertaining diversion than the Colts/Bengals game. Simple, strong booking minus the tomfoolery with some solid work from Edge, Cena, et al and no McMahons, dancing fat bastards, or tiresome nonsense (Crime Time aside, which seemed to involve the company lampooning an odd person, since the WWE, and guys like JBL, are known to be major supporters of the Grand Inquisitor--plus, it just wasn't funny at all. At least I could change the channel.) I am going to offer up another Mania booking idea and see if you think it'll head this way...Umaga takes out Cena, wins the belt, and is booked as an 'unbeatable monster' for a few months, just as Hunter wins the Royal Rumble for the title spot, with maybe an added incentive of Umaga injuring HBK for extra 'incentive'...I dunno that it's all that marketable in the long run, but I still don't see how you can get Cena and HHH to collide as long as DX is still a going concern ( and will it be? Once they take out Edge & Orton at NYR, who is left for them to fight? Cade & Murdoch? I assume that Edge/Orton will be feuding with Crime Time over the belts, as they've hinted at it already. Not that it's anything to look forward to...), although I agree that, for a second, I thought that Cena would just walk past DX after they took out Edge in the title fight, but instead he gladhanded 'em, even if reluctantly. I think it may be a good idea to get the title off of Cena for a little while, as he doesn't really need it anymore to be over/under with the crowds...otherwise, do they just turn Hunter in March and get it over with? I can't see a Cena turn anymore...he sells too many foam fingers to 8-year olds.

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Charlie Kane said...

For some odd reason, I used the word incentive twice in one sentence, once with quotation marks around it. I would like to apologize to everyone for that. I try to set a standard of excellence around here, but sometimes...ah, well.
Also, there's little doubt that Edge is Wrestler of the Year. I just wonder where he goes from here.....

4:38 PM  
Anonymous todd martin said...

Hope your exam went well, Dave. As far as Bush goes, his popularity rating in DC has been in the single digits for years. DC is heavily African American and of course urban and Bush doesn’t play well in those demographics. He actually didn’t get as bad of a reaction as I expected.

Hope you’re doing okay, Dan. Sorry to hear about your aunt over the weekend. Was going to shoot you an e-mail but forgot and was reminded now. I didn’t have an angle to see if Carlito was busted hardway, but he went over into the crowd where he had the perfect opportunity to blade and he bled in just the place he would if he did it intentionally, so I still think it was a blade. But you could be right. The DX angle got over pretty well I guess. There wasn’t overwhelming concern, but people didn’t treat in like a joke either. I thought people were into it, but people around me were chanting “one more time” after the first concerto so it was hard to hear (distinct minority). I totally agree that often times the screaming is counterproductive and they’re better off being more solemn.

Leaving the show, one of my friends complained about Umaga and Cena hooking up, and my response was exactly what you said Dean. I think the brawl to the back worked perfectly fine.

I totally noticed the Kozlov thing too and was amused by it, but when I pointed that out live nobody thought it was funny so I decided against commenting on it, figuring no one knows who Victor Kozlov is.

As you’ll see the day after tomorrow, I think Edge is an excellent candidate for wrestler of the year, but I must admit I was re-thinking at the show last night because Cena was clearly a higher level of star.

Don’t knock that Colts/Bengals game too much, Charlie. Peyton Manning got me to the finals of one of my fantasy football leagues, so it was a great game as far as I’m concern. It was needed too, because my fantasy football teams were mostly a disaster this year. I’m mopping up in basketball, though. I think HHH-Umaga would get over well with the crowds, but it’s going to be hard to book since neither man sells very much and HHH making Umaga into a clown would damage the character. As it is, Umaga got laughs last night when they did the promo with him and Armando backstage, and that’s not a good sign. I think they’ll be tempted to put Umaga vs. Undertaker on Mania with Umaga ending the streak, but I’m not a big fan of that idea.

Also, on the George Jefferson/Thomas Jefferson reference. I got some e-mails on this, and I think I missed what they were doing. I know the name George Jefferson from the Jeffersons show, but I never watched it. I didn’t think they meant him and just screwed up, because they alluded to him as the writer of the declaration of independence and the Bush guy was botching up everything. But I think what WWE might have been trying was “Bush” was trying to talk about Thomas Jefferson but said George because he’s not very bright. So I think I may have been misunderestimating the WWE creative team, and I think they were trying to tell a joke there. But who knows.

9:42 PM  

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