Monday, April 02, 2007

Raw Report

Date: 04/02/07 from Dayton, OH.

The Big News: WWE followed up WrestleMania with a solid Raw that continued their recent streak. Vince McMahon was very agitated about losing his hair, while the challengers are lining up for John Cena.

Conclusive Finishes: 5 of 5.

Show Analysis:

John Cena came out to start the show. He received a passionate mixed reaction, and he’s back to the point where he gets a substantial quantity of boos each week. He said the champ is here, which immediately brought out Shawn Michaels. Michaels said that this is usually the point where he comes out and says that he made history with his opponent. He got in subtle references to past opponents Bret Hart (“screw jobs”), Mick Foley (“mind games”) and Hulk Hogan (“brother”).

Michaels said that Cena won last night, and he doesn’t like it. He added that he won’t lie to himself and say his opponent was the better man. He said Cena did win but that Cena is not the better man. Cena said that sounded like a challenge and that he would take on Michaels any time. Michaels suggested right then, but Coach came out. Coach said there would be no WWE title match, and instead Michaels and Cena would defend their tag titles in a 20 man 10 team battle royal.

This was a really odd promo by Michaels. I think the underlying idea was that Michaels is always carrying opponents to classic matches, but he doesn’t feel like giving Cena credit because everyone knows Michaels is the better worker. Seriously. He didn’t spell this out, but that’s absolutely how the promo was structured. On the plus side, it was subtle enough that I don’t think most people will get it to where it will hurt. I wouldn’t continue forward with this theme because it buries Cena.

Shawn Michaels and John Cena won a tag team battle royal over Fit Finlay and King Booker, Rob Van Dam and Sabu, Cryme Tyme, Highlanders, Kenny Dykstra and Chris Masters, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Eugene (in an odd bit of storyline discontinuity given they were just feuding before Eugene turned back face for no reason), Chavo Guerrero and Gregory Helms, Elijah Burke and Matt Striker, and Deuce and Domino.

The rules were that if one member of the team was thrown over the top rope, both members were eliminated. Dykstra went out, followed by JTG and Eugene. Cena dumped both Deuce and Domino. Finlay eliminated Striker and Booker pushed RVD off the top to the floor. That left Booker and Finlay with Cena and Michaels. Michaels gave Finlay sweet chin music to eliminate him.

Coach came out and said that there would be a second 10 team battle royal for the tag titles. Matt and Jeff Hardy won the second match over Michaels and Cena, Guerrero and Helms, Paul London and Brian Kendrick, Dave Taylor and William Regal, Sandman and Tommy Dreamer, Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch, Marcus Cor Von and Kevin Thorn, Johnny Nitro and the Miz, and Viscera and Val Venis.

Venis was out first, followed by Regal. Jerry Lawler referred to Regal as Steve (his name pre-WWF). Ross corrected him, but then referred to his partner as William Taylor. Dreamer and Miz were eliminated next, at which point Michaels grabbed Cena from behind and threw him over the top rope. That cost them the tag titles, and Michaels indicated he just wants the WWE title. If they were going to do this they should have done it at the end of the match for dramatic effect rather than randomly in the middle. Following the elimination of the champs, it came down to the Hardyz and Cade/Murdoch. Hardyz did stereo leg drops off the ropes and eliminated Cade and Murdoch to win.

Neither of these battle royals was very good, as there were few stories within the matches and they consisted mostly of simple eliminations. However, they did tell a fun story and constituted an interesting way to start the show. Moreover, battle royals work better than gauntlet and handicap matches in these circumstances. They tell the story of the star battling against all odds without burying the opponents.

Shawn Michaels backstage said that the tag titles were muddying waters. Randy Orton confronted Michaels. He said Michaels got his title shot, and Cena is giving him another one because he knows that he can beat Michaels but not Orton. Michaels said that he is better than Orton. They then did a backstage vignette where your view was supposedly Vince McMahon’s as he wandered around backstage. This allowed them to show people laughing at Vince without giving a view of him yet. It was a little goofy.

Vince McMahon came out wearing a hat. He said last night will be a date that lives in infamy. He blamed Steve Austin for the injustice. He said that he would rewrite history, and had Lillian Garcia announce him as the winner last night. He then announced that Lashley would defend his title against Umaga. Vince said people wouldn’t get to see Vince bald, because he had his hat surgically cemented to his head.

Lashley came out and pulled off Vince’s hat. Vince scurried to cover his head. He tried using a towel, Lawler’s crown, and J.R.’s hat, but Lashley kept pulling them off. Vince hid under the ring apron but Lashley pulled him out. Eventually he hid under Lillian’s skirt, so Lashley pulled off the skirt. This was absolutely hilarious. Five star comedy. Vince was fantastic.

Ric Flair and Carlito beat Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas. The heels worked over Carlito, who eventually tagged in Flair. Flair came in with chops but Benjamin turned the tide with a back body drop. Carlito made the save with a chop block to Haas. Flair used another chop block and applied the figure four to Haas for the submission. I’m glad they are drawing out the Flair and Carlito issue so it will mean something when the story plays itself out.

Melina came out and said that she proved Ashley is just another pretty face. She had a special photo op arranged, but wouldn’t you know it was interrupted. Mickie came out and attacked Melina. I’m glad they are back to a women’s title program that could hypothetically produce decent matches. They announced that next week Mick Foley will present a special wish for Make a Wish on Raw. Angle alert, and I don’t mean Kurt. Or even Eric.

Great Khali beat Super Crazy with the chop and tree slam. Backstage, Armando told Vince to take it easy. Vince went nuts again, and made Umaga and Armando vs. Lashley in a handicap. He warned Armando not to fail him. This made little sense, given Vince supposedly wanted to get revenge on Lashley very badly and putting Armando in the match would make that much less likely. Matt and Jeff Hardy were interviewed, and talked about how happy they were to win the titles. This was a nice, short bit to put over the significance of the belts.

Edge came out and said that a lesser man wouldn’t be there after the hell he went through the previous night. He said he was confused upon hearing that Michaels and Orton want title shots and Cena is still champ. Edge said he has beaten up and outsmarted all of them. Edge said he is the best and he will be the next WWE champion. This was an effective serious promo.

Lashley defeated Umaga and Armando. Jim Ross’s voice was in really bad shape the entire night, and he threw in the towel this final segment and Jerry Lawler did the commentary on his own. This match was mostly Umaga working over Lashley with Armando watching. Umaga gave him the Samoan drop and running butt drop. He went for the Samoan spike but had it blocked. Lashley gave him the spear. Umaga went for an avalanche but accidentally landed on Armando. Lashley gave Armando the running power slam for the pin. There was very little crowd reaction to this match, which is not a good sign for Lashley in the midst of the biggest push of his career.

Final Thoughts:

WWE still seems focused coming out of WrestleMania, and this was an even better show than many recent weeks. It didn’t feature much in the way of good wrestling, but the booking was strong with some great comedy and freshening up of programs.

19 Comments:

Blogger Tyson said...

Duggan and Eugene (in an odd bit of storyline discontinuity given they were just feuding before Eugene turned back face for no reason)

I'll buy that it's understood Hacksaw would forgive someone who had been attacked and embarrased by vince the week before.

If they were going to do this they should have done it at the end of the match for dramatic effect rather than randomly in the middle.

I thought the timing for this was perfect, Michaels was money on his delivery. And the timing allowed for a good showing from Cade, Murdoch and the Hardys. Built well to the elimination, similar to the Taker-HBK finish of Royal Rumble.

Neither of.......the opponents.

The battle royals were effective in showing that there is no lack of tag teams in WWE. Wrestlemania didn't feature one tag match and they ran out 21 teams tonight. Impressive. You could tell this was a TV battle royal, based on the way the eliminations ran. Most of the match seemed on the fly, not an easy task. Under these circumstances if you were looking for the dramatic effect, the Gauntlet match is better suited for it.

Eventually he hid under Lillian’s skirt. Five star comedy.

JR's call in this spot was five star comedy.

Lashley did a good job, but when the fans are chanting "We Want Austin" at a deafening level, well..Lashley did a great job.

Mick Foley will present a special wish for Make a Wish on Raw. Angle alert, and I don’t mean Kurt. Or even Eric.

Are they gonna bring Eric Angle back as a fake Kurt Angle, just to piss em off?

Matt and Jeff Hardy were interviewed, and talked about how happy they were to win the titles

Wait..that's his brother.

They put the tag titles over yeah, but WWE finally realized that there is more money right now in the Hardys as a tag team and are going forward with it. Their stories should be told. Is backyard wrestling less dangerous than backyard fight clubs? Yes. Are backyard fight clubs inevitable? Yes.

Vince McMahon’s as he wandered around backstage. This allowed them to show people laughing at Vince without giving a view of him yet.

Define Blogging.

I still gotta finish watching the show, but shows like this really show how big the WWE is when compared with even 1998. They have so many different talents, I could see why they would think about going global. I just think it's better to invest strongly in the domestic product first. Oh yeah the three brands thing. If WWE had a brand in Japan and ran their show during even AM RAWs timeslot the show would draw ridiculous ratings. RIDICULOUS.

Damn how bout those match times..unders across the board. Ref bumps went over in one match. In fact, Austin may have been the only over thing on the show. Beers and Bumps. Sandman was close, maybe an ipod with Enter Sandman and he could come to the ring on his own time. My apologies to Andre as I definately did not do him justice. Khali is impressive. Where's The Giant? Welcome to the show.

Congratulations on tying me Todd. I am somehow listed as #1 in the bracket pool though. Who's complainin?

1:18 AM  
Anonymous Sonny said...

I think I was watching a whole different show....all I got out of Raw was re-cap after re-cap of mania, HOF induction, austins movie, and commercials....it seemed like a very disjointed show to me

6:00 AM  
Anonymous mean dean said...

Vince + Fedora = Fantastic

Lillian - Skirt = Fantastic x5

9:02 AM  
Blogger Joshua said...

if Shawn seriously believes he 'carried' John Cena on Sunday, he is way, way out of his fucking mind.

9:45 AM  
Blogger nevs999 said...

I'm curious if any of my esteemed colleagues kept track of the previously posted WMXXIII over-under pool and would post the results?

- Matt in Anchorage

P.S. - As a born and bred Michigander, it's clear to me WMXXIII's best sign was clearly the one reading: Wrestlemania 23, Lions 0.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WM23 Over/Under Results

Batista vs. Undertaker
20 Minutes / Under (15:47)

HBK vs. Cena
34 minutes / Under (28:21)

Money in the Bank
26 minutes / Under (19:10)

Womens Match
11 minutes / Under (3:14)

US Title match
10 minutes / Under (9:19)

Hair Match
18 minutes / Under (14:00)

ECW Match
20 minutes / Under (6:26)

Monsters Match
16 minutes / Under (5:31)

Totals
Tables Broken 7
Under 1 (ECW Announce Table)

Chair Shots 10
Under 0 (Can't recall any)

Ref Bumps 4
Over (I think Shane & Austin took 4 themselves)

Run Ins 3
Under 1 (Shane McMahon)

Conclusive Finishes 5 (Todd Martin's rules)
Over (I counted 7, the lumberjills match the only disputed)

Nipple Slips 2
Under 0

Title Changes 2
Under 1 (Undertaker d Batista)

Beers Drank 7 (Steve Austin)
Push

Beers Drank 2 (Sandman)
Under 1

Unadvertised Matches 1
Push
(Ric Flair & Carlito vs. Chavo & Helms)


Tiebreaker
Winner of Money in the Bank :
Mr. Kennedy

Kind of surprising, as most thought that the match times might not be high enough.

2:42 PM  
Blogger Tyson said...

if Shawn seriously believes he 'carried' John Cena on Sunday, he is way, way out of his fucking mind.

I agree with your point, but Michaels more than likely laid out almost the entire match.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Uncle Morty said...

I thought the show was pretty good, considering how exhausted the entire company likely was. I thought Michaels' promo was very interesting because it seemed as though he was biting his tongue from completely burying Cena last night as he did Hogan after their match--I'd guess he was warned, no matter his bitterness, that Cena is off-limits, and rightly so. I'm still intrigued by how Cena must take all the booing he received last night, and at Mania. The look on his face before he spoke last night dictated to me that he must feel as though he can't win for losing. The jeers seem, to me, to be unfair--Cena works very hard in his matches, I think that he's been a good champ, and outside of Edge, I see nobody on Raw who the company should push as a long-term champion besides Cena. I'll agree that his reign has been a long one, but if they were just hot-shotting the belt every few months then people would bitch about it.
I thought it was a smart way to get the tag belts off of Cena & HBK without either guy having to take the pin, and also helps to amp up the feud even more. To me, HBK was working as a total heel here, and while I'd have liked to have seen him superkick Cena out of the ring instead of just tossing him, I can't argue with the strategy. I think the reason that they did this at the point in the match that they did is so the Hardyz could actually win the belts on their own, instead of just winning them by default. I cannot fathom who the hell Matt & Jeff are meant to defend these belts against ( yes, this battle royal showed WWE has a 'lot of tag teams'...it also showed that nearly all of them were makeshift crews just thrown together, and the majority of them were also
completely hopeless. Why in the fuck is Jim Duggan still drawing a paycheck? ). Can we also assume that Backlash will be a four-way with Cena, HBK, Edge & Orton? I'd guess part of the reason for this is that HBK let it be known not too subtly that he will not be doing another job to Cena. This way Orton can do the job...and they can even put the title on somebody else without Cena taking the loss (unlikely, but...). Do they put the belt on Edge or Orton so, when Hunter comes back, he can get the title off one of them instead of having to have him beat Cena? What do they do with Umaga now? Is he Smackdown bound? Who's gonna take the IC belt off of him? The crowd isn't responding all that well to Lashley, but I'd guess that a Raw crowd was hoping to get a Raw main event, instead of the face of ECW. I think that the next couple of months will be the test to see if Lashley gets over stronger at all since he's the focus of Vince's attentions. I wonder what their long-term idea of Lashley is...eventually back to Smackdown? Cena got over despite his weaknesses in the ring due to his charisma...while Lashley seems like a nice fellow, I don't know how well the strong silent type goes over (but this topic was already beaten to death last week, so let's leave it dead ).
Nitro and Ken Doane should start a tag team together called 'Overshadowed Boyfriends'..they could even bring in Billy Kidman to manage them. It does seem like Nitro has been forgotten about..he was showing a lot of potential, but seems to have hit the wall. Finally, it has to be said, that watching Flair & Carlito as a tag team is kinda painful...I know it's building to a Flair 'heel' turn, but is there any chance that could work? Flair will never get booed, and nobody gives a fuck about Carlito. Why job out WGTT to these guys, when they could be tearing up a really entertaining 'feud' with Hardys?
It must be said, Vince seems as revitalized as HBK these last few months. That's a good sign for the future. He looks like he's having fun, and not at our expense.

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bit with Ron Simmons was priceless. I was really laughing and it's been a while since they have managed to get that out of me.

DAMN!!

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would Flair turn heel? Carlito was much more popular and in a much better spot as a heel. Carlito is a natural heel anyway. Flair comes out of this whole dead angle unscathed and is 6 months closer to his last title shot.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous mean dean said...

The jeers seem, to me, to be unfair--Cena works very hard in his matches, I think that he's been a good champ, and outside of Edge, I see nobody on Raw who the company should push as a long-term champion besides Cena.

They're not unfair because, at this point, the people booing him (myself included) aren't booing him because of his lack of skills or lack of effort. A few are, but those are the ones that want the Benoits of the world on top. For the most part, the people booing are doing so either because they're tired of him or because he's so popular and resonates so well with the younger/female crowd. The same thing happened for awhile with The Rock as a face. It's not "cool" to like him anymore.

Besides, it's perfectly fair for people to boo whomever they choose. They bought the ticket. It's not quite the same as chanting "you fucked up."

9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the most part, the people booing are doing so either because they're tired of him or because he's so popular and resonates so well with the younger/female crowd.

Yes. I like to refer to these particular fans as HATERS.

Cena's next t-shirt..

Front : Love me or Hate Me?

Back : "Your girl would still date me.....Don't Hate, Appreciate"

6:42 AM  
Anonymous tyson said...

Why in the fuck is Jim Duggan still drawing a paycheck?

Hacksaw Jim Duggan is a hall of famer. If you're asking why he still has a job, buy a ticket, go to a show, and watch Duggan stick his thumb up in the air and listen to 15,000 people scream "HOOOO!". Let's not forget who this product is for.

I'm glad I didn't read Dave Meltzer's update on Sunday. What kinda asshole throws spoilers out there for Wrestlemania? Seriously. There's a place for reporting on wrestling, not like that though. Guy has a vested interest in MMA because they have nobody to cover their shit and need the underbelly of the wrestling community to propel their success. I'm not hating on it, cause I actually enjoy it. But everybody already knows wrestling is scripted. Hell they even call it entertainment. MMA is doing a good job of riding the illusion though. Dont get me wrong, every single one of those guys are world class athletes and train as hard or harder than anyone. But, let's take it easy and putting the show over as a man on man survival of the fittest. I mean it's not boxing.


ECW last night was pretty good last night. The crowd reacts so much better wit a match like that Extreme Rules main event. They were into everything. That match alone got more chants than every match on the show in the last 2 months. I saw 2 hardways and it looked like Burke fucked up his knee. Long Live ECW. I see why they don't do this very often.

Oh yeah. Michael Langdan ripped me off so don't buy DVDs from that fool.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Uncle Morty said...

I certainly don't disagree that people can boo whomever they like--I even understand that people are tired of Cena. He has had a long, nearly uninterrupted run at the top of the card, and familiarity does breed contempt. My point was, if people are booing Cena, as had been in the past, because of his meat-and-potatoes approach in the ring, then I would give him some credit for working hard with the limited skillset that he has. It's certainly more than fair for the fans to boo him if they just don't like him. Cena has grown on me in the last few months, but there's no question his character is a bit stuck in neutral. I would have rather seen him toss HBK out in that tag team battle royal then the other way around, if only due to the fact that Michaels had just called him a chump not but fifteen minutes earlier. Cena comes off as soft; I mean, I like milk and cookies too, but not at every meal. He should've been pissed off.
Point taken on Duggan; can I at least lobby for him to wear a goddamn shirt in the ring?

4:18 PM  
Anonymous tyson said...

can I at least lobby for him to wear a goddamn shirt in the ring?

I guess you didn't see Mae Young's tits a few years back at the Rumble.

6:04 PM  
Anonymous mean dean said...

I like milk and cookies too, but not at every meal.

That's right on the nose for Cena, sir.

I guess you didn't see Mae Young's tits a few years back at the Rumble.

At least those were prostheses...

11:02 AM  
Anonymous tyson said...

At least those were prostheses...

You Hope.

Did UFC buy Pride? I keep waitin' for the story to break.

I remember when Vince bought WCW he did a simulcast on both national television shows. I guess there's a difference.

You know what's crazy, being the champion in today's pro wrestling. It ain't like it was. EVER before. People have no idea what it takes to be the top guy in WWE, not showing any sympathy because there's a 1000 guys that would kill themselves for the spot.

But give credit where credit is due.

There's a lack of depth in heels in WWE. The only time Cena was put in a program with a great talker/worker of his era (Edge), the ratings jumped. Half of it was Edge playing up the Rated R gimmick soaking up the 'I fucked my friends girlfriend' heat and fans being presented with a fresh guy at the top level, the other half can only be credited to fans interested in Cena's chase.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Uncle Morty said...

I think Tyson nailed it in the need for a fresh heel for Cena to mix it up with down the road. It's inevitable that Hunter is coming back sooner or later to take back what is 'his', but, while I have no problems with HHH, that's more of a rehash of an old program than anything new. The champ is only as good as his competition, and if it is gonna just be DX pissing on Cena from the balcony, that seems, storywise, counterproductive. Is there money to be made there? Sure. A lot? Dunno. But, then, I'm not sure who else is out there to really get the fans excited. Is it Mr. Kennedy? Possibly, but I think that's a ways down the road.

2:31 PM  
Anonymous tyson said...

The only way for the HHH character to stay fresh is for him to miss long periods of time like this.

There hasn't been any development in his character since evolution and he needed DX just as much as Shawn Michaels did.

The whole cerebral assassin deal has been dead and I could see a return to that side of the game. In fact, I encourage it. He needs to turn on Michaels and it'd be good for Michaels to play heel through that whole process til the end. In targeting Cena they've worked together before and Cena owes him a win on the big stage, it is inevitable. He's as good a candidate as any for Cena's chase but the problem is, as I stated earlier, being champion isn't what it was like before. HHH will come off as an old, tired act carrying around the championship. This is 2007, novelty runs are fine when kept short.

Anybody interested in a bring back Angle campaign? Todd, in your years of watching pro wrestling, have you ever seen a greater misuse of talent than what has been done with Kurt Angle since the day he started with TNA (without using the letters WCW)? All the publicity he did and the radio spots ended up meaning nothing. TNA is biding its time and waiting for WWE to boom so they can ride the wave, but damn, how long is it gonna be before some of those guys start to lose focus? And that's assuming that most already have not. Power Blend anyone?

Thats wrong I should support the Dudleys and any wrestler for that matter that trys to invest in something other than getting their own ass kicked. They were always good businessmen, I guess being off the road and with TNA has allowed them to focus on those things. I just have an overwhelming feeling that the northeast is not into TNA, hell I'm willing to bet half the people who go to ECW shows have no idea who "Monty Brown" is. From now on I'll refer to TNA as CPW. Cherry Pickin Wrestling.

8:56 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home