Monday, January 22, 2007

Raw Report

Date: 01/22/07 from Lafayette, LA.

The Big News: Following another standout performance on the mic and in the ring, I’m starting to become a believer again in Shawn Michaels as a main event single.

Title Changes/Turns: None.

Conclusive Finishes: 4 of 7. Due to its overuse, I’m now counting the rollup with the tights or ropes as an inconclusive finish, as well as rollups that are treated as fluky even without the tights or ropes.

Match Results: Jeff Hardy b Joey Mercury; Super Crazy b Chris Masters; Great Khali won battle royal; John Cena b Jonathan Coachman-DQ; Candice Michelle & Mickie James b Melina & Victoria; Kenny Dykstra b Carlito Caribbean Cool; Edge b Shawn Michaels.

Show Analysis:

They made note of Bam Bam Bigelow’s death prior to the beginning of the show. Shawn Michaels came out to start the show. He said that last week he felt he could beat even the most overwhelming odds, and that he won’t suppress those feelings any more. He said he’s back, and will once again be champion. He said he will win the Royal Rumble and no one will stop his destiny. Edge came out and said he will win the Rumble and become champ. Michaels told him to shut up, challenged him to fight, and called him a coward. They fought into the crowd and brawled some more after the break. This was a really hot start to the show.

Jeff Hardy beat Joey Mercury in a “Raw vs. Smackdown challenge.” I wouldn’t do “interpromotional” feuds on the midcard with little emphasis, because it makes it hard to try to turn it into a big angle later. The champion of champions storyline in the fall was a perfect example of that. Johnny Nitro came to ringside with Mercury but was ejected by the referee. Hardy won quickly with the whisper in the wind and twist of fate. Backstage, Vince McMahon made Shawn Michaels vs. Edge in a street fight.

Vince McMahon came to the ring and had a letter to Donald Trump. He basically said he wants to be on the Apprentice, and put himself over. He credited himself for USA being the number one cable network. He said that the people love him and he loves the people back, so he will show his appreciation next week. John Cena came out and said Vince doesn’t appreciate the people or even listen to them. He wanted to know why Vince is kissing Trump’s ass. Coach ended up putting over Trump as richer than McMahon, but Vince screamed that Trump has nothing on him. Vince made John Cena vs. Coach.

Super Crazy beat Chris Masters. Crazy did a hilarious interview where he said he attacked Masters last week because he’s super crazy. Masters worked over Crazy and hit a wheelbarrow slam. Crazy came back with a clothesline, spinning heel kick, drop kick, missile drop kick and standing moonsault. Masters got him in the Masterlock but Crazy pushed off the ropes and bridged for the pin ala Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart or Roddy Piper vs. Bret Hart. This match was not good, as both men were off a number of times.

Kenny Dykstra backstage said he will win the Royal Rumble. Maria was unconvinced, but Kenny insisted that 2007 will be his year. Orton approached Edge backstage. They went overboard with the makeup, as Orton looked like he had been in a horrible car accident. Orton was angry that Edge wasn’t there last week, and teased that he wouldn’t be there for Edge in the main event. I’m glad that he didn’t explicitly say he wouldn’t be there, as that would have been one of those overdone swerves that nobody buys in the first place.

Coach said that he couldn’t change his match with John Cena, but he could make him wrestle in another match first. Basically Coach made a battle royal where Cena would be targeted, and at the end Cena would get the match with Coach. This reminded me of a Smoky Mountain Wrestling angle where Jim Cornette made the babyface (I think Brad Armstrong) wrestle in a battle royal against a bunch of heels at the start of a show where he would get a title match at the end. The face just jumped over the top at the start of the battle royal and outsmarted all the heels. I really liked that angle.

In any event, Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch came out first. Cena gave Murdoch the FU to the floor and Cade the five knuckle shuffle. Shelton Benjamin, Charlie Haas and Viscera then came out, and Viscera gave Cena the elbow drop. That brought in Great Khali, who laid out all the heels and eliminated Viscera by himself. I guess that precludes Viscera’s elimination being a big spot on Sunday. Khali threw Cena out to win and sent Cena into the steps. He gave Cena his chop and left.

Coach went for the pin but Cena kicked out thankfully. At that point Umaga attacked Cena from behind for a DQ. He gave Cena the Samoan spike and splashed him from off the top through a table. They put this over as a serious injury after the break. They really need to give it a rest with the serious injury angles for maybe two or three months. They mean absolutely nothing right now because they happen basically every week, and the weapons are no more effective than just giving the other guy your finisher. But if WWE were to save the weapons for a rare occasion and when a guy gets beat up badly he is gone for a few weeks, you’ve got yourself an angle that actually means something.

Mickie James and Candice Michelle beat Victoria and Melina. It was a bad night for women without last names. The heels worked over Mickie, who eventually tagged Candice. Candice came in with clotheslines and drop kicks, but was cut off by a hard Victoria knee. Victoria went for the widow’s peak, but Mickie made the save. Mickie gave Melina a Charlie Thesz press off the apron to the floor, and Candice came off the ropes with some sort of botched move on Victoria for the pin. This wasn’t good.

Kenny Dykstra beat Carlito. Carlito dominated most of the match with a clothesline, knee lift, huracanrana and springboard elbow. Kenny scored the pin by grabbing the tights. Dykstra desperately needs to win matches with something other than a rollup grabbing the tights or ropes. That’s all he ever wins with, and it’s not getting him over at all. They evidently want to get him over since they put him over huge on commentary and give him a lot of pinfall wins. However, if they want to truly put him over, they need to truly put him over, and that means more than just these fluky rollup wins.

Backstage, Cryme Tyme was selling Royal Rumble numbers to Super Crazy and Eugene. Crazy was happy with any number and excited with what he was given. Eugene got 30 and was excited but they convinced him to pay more for number 1 and he did. After Eugene and Crazy left, it was revealed that the numbers weren’t real. They also admitted to selling Ron Simmons a fake Edvard Munch. Simmons had a predictable response. This was a pretty funny segment, and very funny by WWE standards.

Edge beat Shawn Michaels in an excellent street fight with a really predictable finish. Michaels hit Edge with a trash can and went for a pescado, but Edge hit him in the head with a hard trash can lid shot. That was a really impressive spot and Michaels bled. Edge gave Michaels a face buster on the steps, and hit Michaels with a chain. He dropped a ladder on Michaels. Michaels came back with a flying forearm and attacked Edge repeatedly with the chain. Edge bled. Michaels body slammed Edge on the ladder and was going to give him the elbow off the top but Edge cut him off.

Edge went for a superplex, but Michaels dropped him down with his ribs landing on the ladder. That was another really sick looking spot. Michaels then hit an elbow off the top. He went for sweet chin music but Edge avoided it and went for a botched electric chair spot. Edge went for the spear but Michaels countered with the Thesz press. Michaels hit Edge in the head with a chair and went for the concerto. At that point Orton came in and gave Michaels the RKO. Edge covered for the pin. Orton threw Edge over the top rope and set up Michaels for a concerto. Ric Flair made the save. Kenny and Carlito came out as well, but Michaels cleared the ring with sweet chin music to close the show.

Final Thoughts:

This was a strong show, as WWE usually produces going into PPVs. The contrast in the quality of shows when they are building an imminent PPV and when they aren’t is really striking. It’s yet another indication that WWE really needs to do more long term booking. If they spent weeks 1-3 leading up to a PPV building a story, the final angle in week 4 would mean so much more. Instead they seem to go overboard with zany comedy and ill conceived standalone angles and the PPVs don’t feel sufficiently like a culmination of important events. Consistency and patience are imperatives to reviving PPV buy rates, and it’s hard even for a strong show like this one to rehabilitate my interest in the Royal Rumble following the past few weeks.

Shawn Michaels has really been on fire since Triple H left. I was leery of the decision to keep Michaels as a single rather than using him to help give the rub to a younger star, but I’m coming around on the idea of him as a featured singles attraction during HHH’s absence. Michaels is reminding me again of why I thought so highly of him as a performer during his peak.


Anonymous tyson smith said...

i agree about HBK. I'm 21 now, and was the biggest HBK fanboy when I was 10, around his 96 run as champ. I grew my hair out like him, said his catch phrases in school, and danced like him (lol @ that image). Anyway, ever since HBK's come back, I havent felt the same love for him. Of course, Im not 10 anymore, but HBK isn't in his prime either. But by the love of God, he is so fucking amazing. Even still. He still does every single move he did when he was younger, save for that skinning the cat over the ropes. Wonder why he stopped with that... Regardless, his title win at the elimination chamber in 2002 made me cry, and Ill probably shed a tear again if Michaels wins the rumble. If HBK faces Cena... wow.. that would be an amazing match.

11:52 PM  
Anonymous mean dean said...

He still does every single move he did when he was younger, save for that skinning the cat over the ropes.

Don't worry, you'll be seeing that if you watch the Rumble.

1:42 AM  
Blogger nevs999 said...

Yes, Shawn Michaels had a marvelous night on the mic and in the ring. But his hair plugs sure didn't (I can say so as a proud, balding man).

- Matt in Anchorage

8:07 AM  
Anonymous tyson said...

Sometimes I read the review and I like it. Other times I don't think we're watching the same show.

Due to its overuse, I’m now counting the rollup with the tights or ropes as an inconclusive finish, as well as rollups that are treated as fluky even without the tights or ropes.

Anything to make the product seem more lame I suppose.

They went overboard with the makeup, as Orton looked like he had been in a horrible car accident.

Sledgehammer and chair shots should cause some bruising.

The face just jumped over the top at the start of the battle royal and outsmarted all the heels.

Doing this wouldn't outsmart the heels, but the person who booked the match. In this case coach. With one foot out the door I could see them burying coach and this would have been a great time for it.

No mention of the pop Khali got when he started attacking all the heels? Thats weird. Not to mention everytime he raised his arms the people were cheering for him.

Until he attacked Cena of course.

Viscera ain't Yokozuna, Khali's elimination is the big spot. The Rumble was booked very well last year and this year will not be easy to top. Orton is the best talent WWE has on Raw. When did you not buy Shawn Michaels as a main event single? I guess these are the benefits of the strong booking.

Dykstra desperately needs to win matches with something other than a rollup grabbing the tights or ropes. That’s all he ever wins with, and it’s not getting him over at all.

Was I the only one who heard the very loud, very prominent "Kenny's Gay" chant. BUT THE "TNA" CHANT WAS SO BIG IT WAS THE BIG NEWS. Heel heat, Face heat, the guy is getting a reaction. Or "over".

There haven't been many Cryme Tyme skits that haven't been good. And any time they feature great talents, they're usually overly entertaining.

Edge Michaels was a great brawl. And the fact that when its a street fight the wrestlers actually were dressed like it was a street fight I thought was key and a nice touch. (And should always be the case) It seemed like at the end the crowd was waiting for more people to come out for the trademark show close before Rumble with all the guys in the ring. Can't do that with the 3 brands, and they did a hell of a job of making HBK look like a tough son of a bitch. Great Job.

But back to what you were saying about the interpromotional matches and taking away from the top matches. I can't remember many interpromotional matches before the champion of champions match. I don't think you can place blame on that match not drawing well because undercard wrestlers were fighting each other in interpromotional matches. Id go with the fact that nobody gives a shit who the champions are.

General Question : OTHER than Armando Alejandro Essssssssstrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrada, can anyone name a WWE wrestler(face or heel) brought up in the past year or two, whose catch phrases are mimmicked by the audience? If ya smelllllllllll what the rock is cookin...

I mean when was the last time you saw Steve Austin on WWE?


I said when was the last time you saw...nevermind.

Hey Todd why you buryin' our comments with thoughts on the Oscars. I mean really, a pro wrestling report and Oscar talk...Seriously man? I know life is different in LA, but whoa...

4:13 PM  
Blogger Biby Cletus said...

Nice post, its a really cool blog that you have here, keep up the good work, will be back.

Warm Regards

Biby Cletus - Blog

11:38 PM  

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