Monday, April 16, 2007

Raw Report

Date: 04/16/07 from Milan, Italy.

The Big News: Italy didn’t greet John Cena warmly.

Conclusive Finishes: 3 of 6.

Show Analysis:

Coach came out to start the show and said that despite what happened last week he would get his way. He announced John Cena vs. Edge and Randy Orton for the main event and then introduced Vince McMahon. Vince put down Milan and brought out Umaga. He said Lashley wouldn’t be there, but Umaga was ready for action. Nobody came out, so Vince brought a “fan” into the ring.

This “fan” was introduced as Santino Morella (presumably after Gino “Gorilla Monsoon” Morella). He is of course Paul Heyman’s shootfighter Boris Alexiev. The crowd was into Santino, who got a little offense early with punches and kicks. Vince then announced the match would be no holds barred. Umaga just destroyed Santino with a body slam, leg drop, head butt and corner splash. Umaga went to the top, but Lashley interfered. He hit Umaga three times in the head with a chair and then used the spear. He put Santino on top, and Santino was announced as the new Intercontinental champ.

I like this as a basic idea to introduce a new face. The face comes out of the crowd and scores a big upset win. It’s a very old pro wrestling angle dating back to the territory days and was essentially the plan Heyman had to make Daniel Puder a star recently. The execution here was awful, however. They treated Santino as a jobber who needed help from another face and was no real threat to anyone. That doesn’t create a new star. That creates a new low to mid level face and devalues the Intercontinental Title.

If they want to freshen up the card, they need to actually push people. An enormous problem WWE has had in recent years is they don’t introduce new characters in a way that sets them up for success. And of course as a result their main event mix is usually stale. We have seen everyone and their mother score a fluke win over a star when another star interferes. It doesn’t get that guy over. If you want to get someone over, you have to put them over someone else. If you’re not willing to have someone important genuinely lose in order to establish the new guy, the fans will recognize this and they won’t treat the new guy seriously.

Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin beat Carlito and Ric Flair. The Carlito burial continues. Prior to the match, Carlito said he let Flair down. Flair said that wasn’t the case and that they could win and get themselves back into title contention. Carlito cleared the ring early. The heels worked over Flair briefly and then Carlito came back in. Haas kind of tripped Carlito in what amounted to a blown spot and Benjamin hit the T-bone on Carlito for the pin. Carlito was angry with both Flair and Torrie Wilson after the match.

John Cena backstage was booed. Shawn Michaels approached him. Michaels said he doesn’t care about Cena any more and he will leave Cena lying next week. They then aired a weird package that implored you to worship the Great Khali. That would certainly make for a Khali Jolly Christmas. They announced that Great Khali will wrestle next week. Next thing you know they’ll be advertising upcoming Bobby Lashley promos.

Johnny Nitro beat Eugene very quickly with a neck breaker. They then introduced an Italian announcer, who said he had a big surprise: a diva fashion show~! The crowd reacted with thunderous apathy. The participants were Candice, Victoria, Mickie, Maria, Torrie, and Melina. Torrie won, which was absolutely ridiculous. Maria totally destroyed the field, and it wasn’t even close. I was outraged. Melina jumped Torrie after this.

Lance Cade beat Jeff Hardy. Matt Hardy and Trevor Murdoch were at ringside. Jeff totally dominated the match, which telegraphed the finish. Jeff hit the whisper in the wind, a somersault leg drop, jaw breaker and clotheslines. He was going for the swanton but was distracted by Murdoch. Matt took out Murdoch but that bought Cade time, and Cade got his knees up when Jeff went for the move. Cade then hit a lariat for the pin.

Chris Masters beat Super Crazy. Crazy kind of hit a drop kick and followed with a somersault plancha. He missed a moonsault, but went for a crucifix cradle. Masters dropped down with a Samoan drop and hit a back drop. Crazy hit a standing moonsault, but Masters hit a wheelbarrow slam for the pin. There were dueling chants in this match, although I have no idea why.

John Cena beat Randy Orton and Edge in a handicap match. Edge and Orton came out together and worked over Cena. Cena received a high volume of boos from the crowd, which chanted “Cena sucks” and “RKO” at various points. As Orton and Edge were working over Cena, Shawn Michaels came out and pulled down the ropes as Orton was bouncing off.

Cena then gave Edge the Cena slam and five knuckle shuffle. He went for the FU, but Orton hit a drop kick and there was a ref bump. Edge went for the spear on Cena but hit Orton instead. Michaels then went for sweet chin music on Cena but hit Edge. Cena gave Michaels the FU and pinned Edge. The finish was good, albeit perhaps a little overbooked. This was not the right crowd for that finish, but there was no way to know that going in.
Final Thoughts:
This was an average edition of Raw. There was some good and some bad, and nothing particularly noteworthy in either direction. The introduction of Santino Morella frustrated me because they had the foundation of a good idea but executed it such that it wasn’t.

10 Comments:

Anonymous the masterbater said...

I think the thing with Maria, just shows that the WWE does not care about what the fans want. They force people who they think is right.

5:49 AM  
Anonymous Dave S. said...

You were way too nice in calling this an "average" show Todd; it was absolutely terrible. I watch Raw every week, and I can say that the last 2 episodes have been the worst ones in probably the past 6 months. Last night's show was totally worthless. The opening segement would have been so much better if they had actually used a WRESTLER ON THE CURRENT ROSTER instead of some random guy from the audience. Why couldn't one of the Hardys have that spot, or Carlito, or any number of younger faces who could have made something of the opportunity? Instead, we get this random guy who nobody has ever seen before, and he is destined to fail.

And don't even get me started on the main event. Why the hell were Edge and Orton so willing to team up again, after all the shit that they've done to each other the past few months? The match clearly should have had one of them turning on the other (preferably Orton turning on Edge); instead they were made to look like bumbling fools so that Cena could get yet another win against all the odds. There is a reason why there is a new backlash against Cena from the fans: because this push has gone far past the point of absurdity. He "beats the odds" on every single show, and there are absolutely no stong heels on any of the brands because of booking like this. Seriously, name one strong heel on Raw or Smackdown. Edge and Orton have been jobbed out numerous times in the past few months to Cena and Lashley, and everyone on Smackdown exists just to make Undertaker and Batista look strong (even Kennedy, who did a clean job last week for absolutely no reason).

You kept saying before Wrestlemania that you hoped WWE didn't shoot its load with WM and actually had some long term plans for after the show. Well, they obviously don't. They have started no intriguing new stories (other than the CM Punk turn), and Raw has been absolutely terrible. At least Smackdown is watchable, because they actually let people wrestle.

6:19 AM  
Blogger Pizano Paulie said...

Could this show be more average but I just have to get these thoughts out.

1. I actually had fun with the IC title change. However, I was hoping that this was an excite the Italian fans than job him out. Then I found out it is Boris generic russian name. For a guy they actually want to use he just looked awkward next to the WWE sized guys. Also why is it WWE finds so much comedy in giving people ethnic gimmicks that they aren't.. Couldn't they have given the Italian gimmick to Matt Copani, oh wait I forgot he was busy getting fired for being Muhammed Hussan despite not being arab.

Since WWE is in the business of assigning ehtnicity, and raw is in England next week. I truly hope this Santino guy makes way for Lord Chesterfield of Paddington. Played of course by the same guy.

Speaking of the lets bring the cold war back russian guys, what happened to the Ivan Drago wanna be who kept coming to all the shows touting he was going to sign and beat America or whatever.

Next up can they really have the stones to still call Shelton and Haas "the world's GREATEST tag team". At this point the way they have been booked I would not say its astrech to call them certainly the worlds greatest jobbers. It is almost to the point they can't undo the damage they have done to Shelton, I never thought they could bury him below the 80's sitcom gimmick of Shelton and his Momma, which will be airing tuesdays this fall on fox right before an all new Married with Children.

I appreciate the warning labels wwe is starting to provide slowly but surely. It started with the ECW warning that Snitsky is coming, Snitsky is up next, etc, etc. Now they are warning Khali matches. If we could get this I will truly be happy...

WARNING: John Cena will waffle from serious promo to homeless mans Rock routine NEXT.....

I was glad tho see they have decided to take steps to make there stars feel less important. Was it really necessary to take Melina away as Nitro's Vallet/Manager?

On the bright side thow we got the weight watcher classic between Super Gordo I mean Crazy and Chris Masters... On the bright side Super Crazy does appear thinner, however assuming he keeps his job long enough he will fluctuate between 200 and 300 Lbs over the summer. Even better Masters is surprisingly ripped again, tothepoint he was able to trim his look at my new facial hair so you don't notice how much smaller I am beard..

All in all, the show was fine nothing more nothing less...

9:01 AM  
Anonymous The Bozeman Barbarian said...

Yeah, a dull show...I really think that, more than creating a new 'star', the intention of the IC title hotshot was just to get the belt off of Umaga, period, and use Lashley as the reason for it to happen. I was surprised by the reaction that Cena got...I have given him some credit over the last few months, but I agree with Dave S. that this Hoganization of Cena is doing nobody any favors. I think they pretty much have to get the belt off of him at Backlash, or the 'controversial' champion is going to start getting booed out of personal appearances at World of Wheels. The question remains, though, is who do you put the belt on? Edge has had it twice, Orton is not over as a strong heel (and, I know it's dumb to ask this, but how does Orton even merit being in a title match? When's the last time he even won a match? Frankly, the goes for Edge, as well. They'd jobbed out to DX so often, I don't know if anybody really sees them as title 'contenders' anymore, and instead are just shitheels. I'm a huge Edge fan, but he needs to get in a program where he's put over strongly again, else it's just a broken record.). I think that they may as well give it to HBK for a while; it freshens up the top of the card, somewhat, and let Cena mix it up with Orton for awhile. Plus, with Hunter due back soon, it sets up a whole thing between he and HBK which, while hardly a new concept, at least should make a couple of strong PPV matches. I know that HBK doesn't want to be a heel anymore, but he is such a natural asshole, I think he'd make it work with a title run. But the main problem remains...who else is there to add to the mix? Benoit is not the answer; CM Punk is not too believable as a topcard guy, and I don't think Kennedy is ready. This push of Lashley has exposed him to no end, so that nobody is really going to buy him as a top 'star'. Eventually he's gonna have to work without the heat-seeking safety net of Vince McMahon, and I don't see it happenin'. I guess, as the bizarre promo explains so clearly, it is the Great Khali's time in the sun. Good lord.
Nitro now seems to be a man without a country, and having him beat up Eugene, who everybody but the mentally challenged hates, is a waste of seven minutes of life. I have a feeling that there is a push for Masters coming up--he may take the strap off of Lord Chesterfield next week to a shattering British yawn. I really do think the 'post-Mania' plan is 'When's Hunter coming back?' I still don't see the point of the Flair/Carlito dynamic. Nobody gives a crap, if Flair is going heel this is a weird way to do it. I also believe that Torrie looks like Carlito's proud mother at ringside...he should dump the skirt.
I think that Orton & Edge were put back together because they decided they'd pulled the plug on those guys too soon; it was a bit absurd for them to just ignore all the dissension which had been put into the relationship over the last couple of months, but, as heels go, they are all they've got left. Sadly, as Dave S mentions, they've also been revealed to be bumblers who rarely get the upper hand. This is a waste of Edge's talent and presence and Orton's too. For god's sake, somebody in this group has to win a match!

5:03 PM  
Anonymous tyson said...

Couldn't they have given the Italian gimmick to Matt Copani, oh wait I forgot he was busy getting fired for being Muhammed Hussan despite not being arab.

Yeah I second your motion, it should have been Johnny B Badd in this spot...

As for as this whole angle, the shit was great. End of story. They protected this Santino, didn't hurt Umaga, and Lashley scored another coup on Vince. Santino is a star in the WWE storyline and they can market him as such. If they want to job him out they can, if they want to keep him around they can. His potential is sky high.

Lance Cade showed he has what it takes to get a nice little run. He's JBL without the knowledge. That or Jeff Hardy has been carrying more guys on his back than Kobe Bryant.

Is it me or did Jerry Lawler seem genuinely pissed off tonight? So much so to take unwarranted shots at Tazz. Maybe he's upset that the ONS match was the biggest match of both their careers over the past 10 years.

Mickie James..knockout. Standing next to all the Vivid girls she looked like the only wholesome one of the bunch. And she works better than almost all of em. Aight, so Victoria isn't a vivid girl. But she can wrestle and that's her job.

Super Crazy will be a star before going to ECW. That's a good thing.

Chris Masters, Carlito and Shelton Benjamin are quickly becoming some of the most overrated talents. Benjamin is better when the focus isn't on him. Carlito is better when the focus is on him. And Masters is better when he's just the "dirty work heel" (is that carny?). Simply stated, (I know he's still gotta job) do you wanna be Val Venis or do you want to be Edge? Make up your mind, or go to TNA and start over.

Will WWE be having BBQ stands at the shows for those of us who can't make it to Oklahoma City?

WWE production is strong and the Khali promo was more of a don't forget about this guy cause he's not on TV this week deal.

Your report was basic and clean cut. Fair enough.

I said last week my comments won't appear here any longer, but this week is the last. From this point forward you can catch my comments on Raw, ECW, Smackdown (if I catch it), current events and All sports at:
http://tysonsview.blogspot.com

Call it shameless promotion? Not a big deal cause you can get to my blog through the link in my name in most of my posts.

Todd, guess Nick Young wasn't one to differ. There's a new star in Southern Cal...and I read your Kayfabe deal and commented there, but I hope you take that same exact stance when UFC drops a Randy Couture DvD in a few months. And for someone who hates kayfabe...you are ranking ultimate fighters.

Backlash is shaping up to be a strong show, the WWE PPVs will be amazing throughout the year as long as they don't fuck up finishes. The main event finish from Raw was fine in gaurenteeing that you won't see the same finish at Backlash. Eliminating an option alot of the audience saw coming.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Dave S. said...

Tyson, I thought you were "never posting here again"?

You have to love statements like "Lance Cade showed he has what it takes to get a nice little run." I cannot fathom someone not on WWE's payroll saying that.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous mean dean said...

I cannot fathom someone not on WWE's payroll saying that.

Well, y'know, it depends on how he meant it...

If he meant "give him a little two month or so IC Title run and put him in some higher profile matches, yet never push him any more than they pushed Val or someone comparable," then I could buy it.

If he meant it like the quote read on the other hand....then I'm right there with ya.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Tyson said...

Somebody gets it.

Long live Black Machismo!

Please, Dave S., save the please don't go chants. Its too much.

9:44 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

For some reason this reminded me of my all time favorite Philly crowd chant: "we're not hostile." I think it came between "you fucked out" and "we want blood."

1:52 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Up, even.

1:54 AM  

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