Monday, July 16, 2007

Raw Report

Date: 07/16/07 from Corpus Christi, TX.

The Big News: Raw was again focused on the Great American Bash, and we got some more solid build on that front.

Conclusive Finishes: 5 of 6.

Show Analysis:

Triple H’s music played to start the show, but King Booker came out instead. He said that he’s the only king in the WWE. He approached Jerry Lawler and made the same claim. He demanded Lawler kiss his finger. Lawler refused, so they got into a brawl. This was a good start to the show. Lawler is always effective in this role.

They aired a series of short packages throughout the show, with various wrestlers weighing in on the Lashley-Cena match this Sunday. It felt very similar to UFC build, and was good stuff. I also like that they didn’t make sure that exactly half the wrestlers pick Lashley and exactly half pick Cena, because that would have felt contrived. Ric Flair, Edge, Steve Austin and JBL picked John Cena. Batista and Mick Foley picked Lashley.

Jeff Hardy won a 4 way match to earn an Intercontinental Title shot Sunday over Santino Marella, Shelton Benjamin and William Regal. Regal eliminated Santino with a knee very quickly. The heels worked over Jeff, who eventually made the comeback. He hit the twist of fate on Regal for the pin. Benjamin hit a blockbuster on Jeff off the top, but only got a two. Jeff executed a pescado on both Benjamin and Haas, but missed the swanton. He rolled up Benjamin shortly thereafter for the win. This was a good match that picked up at the end.

This match also started the trend of the night, which was the announcers constantly talking about how much fun the fans were having and how the wrestlers were putting smiles on fans’ faces. It wasn’t even subtle the first time they did it, and yet they kept repeating themselves over and over again. It was so superficial and obvious, and once again made the company look desperate when it comes to external criticism of the industry.

Randy Orton backstage vowed to end Cody Rhodes’ career before it starts. Santino spoke with Maria, and was again discouraged. He said he feels like a fraud and wants to quit, but then he spends time with Maria. He invited her to spend the night with him again. It’s kind of hard to feel sorry for young Santino when he gets to spend the night with Maria.

Snitsky defeated Val Venis in a short match with a pump handle slam. Cody Rhodes said he plans on making a good first impression. Jerry Lawler in the ring then explained what a bullrope match is. They had a bullrope, and he explained how the wrestlers are tied together and that the bell could be used as a weapon. Lawler noted that it is Dusty’s specialty. I think this was done just to mock TNA.

Randy Orton beat Cody Rhodes. Orton hit a clothesline, punches, the Garvin stomp, a power slam, a European uppercut, a back breaker and the RKO for the pin. He dominated basically the entire match with Cody only getting a few brief comebacks including a dropkick off the top. This was so stupid. I thought the whole point of the Dusty-Orton program was to set up the big debut of Cody to avenge his father. Instead, they debut this guy who has the potential to be a big star with no advance notice in a throwaway match and job him out.

I just don’t get why WWE has so much trouble grasping that you never have a second chance to make a first impression. This is a company that for twenty years was phenomenal about introducing you to characters over a long period of time, giving them a series of wins, and setting them up for success. Yet in the past few years they bring up wrestlers way before they are ready, have them losing way too quickly, and dig themselves in a serious hole as far as making the crowd accept these guys as stars.

Melina and Beth Phoenix defeated Candice and Mickie James. This was a quick and inconsequential match. Melina pinned Mickie with her guillotine leg drop move. William Regal approached Hacksaw Jim Duggan backstage. Regal wanted Duggan’s 2x4, supposedly to have it bronzed. Duggan wouldn’t give it to him, and so they got into a shouting match with a bunch of double entendres. This was utterly bizarre, but absolutely hilarious. Regal was great here.

Sandman beat Carlito via DQ. Sandman was going up for the Rolling Rock when William Regal interfered. Jim Duggan made the save. Yes indeed, it is now time for a Duggan and Sandman vs. Carlito and Regal feud. That is pretty much the zaniest feud ever.

Mr. Kennedy beat Super Crazy. Crazy hit a pair of moonsaults, but was caught when he went for the third. Kennedy then used a reverse suplex off the top for the pin. WWE I understand is currently taking suggestions for the name of the move, with the Clean Living and the All Natural Solution leading the way. They then aired a video package saying that HHH will come back better than ever.

The show concluded with a face off between John Cena and Bobby Lashley. Cena parodied being hurt and scared, and said that he never learned to read. His delivery was moderately funny, but what made it funnier was Lashley staring blankly forward as this was going on. Cena said he never backs down and will give his best at the Bash. Lashley said that Cena is the hype man and can promote the match, while he’ll just be ready to fight. Cena said he will put Lashley to the test at the Bash.

This was as effective as one could hope given Lashley’s limitations. This segment reminded me of Rob Van Dam. RVD is a guy who has undeniable charisma. He was always very over with the crowd, even when he was buried. He’s certainly a much better wrestler than Lashley. Yet, WWE never gave him the chance to succeed as a top star because he couldn’t cut a good enough promo. And here we have Lashley, who has none of RVD’s strengths and is just as bad if not worse on the mic. This point has been made before, but it’s so glaring I have trouble letting it go. It is almost surreal that in the current climate they are pushing this guy so hard.

Final Thoughts:

There’s not much else to add.

19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, would've been way better to push RVD in these times, especially because he never plead guilty to drug posession.. oh wait...

2:12 AM  
Anonymous Dave S. said...

The Lashley push is mind-boggling. His presence in the main event literally makes me not want to watch the show. I never thought I'd say this, but I can't wait for HHH to come back. Hopefully he gives Lashley the burial he deserves. However, if HHH picks this guy to actually put over strong, then I will probably give up and stop watching Raw altogether.

5:32 AM  
Anonymous kaethler said...

The duggan/sandman thing got me excited and i have no idea why. was funny seeing one with a 2X4 and one with a singap *gets slapped by WWE* i mean kendo stick.

the face-off was great. I also was laughing at lashley just staring off in the distance. I thought the real story they were telling was about Lashley, who seemed like he was jealous of Cena's "hype-man" ability and was almost rolling his eyes.

Also, I think they're starting to build Lashley as a guy who just wants to kick ass and doesn't care about talking, as opposed to a guy who doesn't mind talking but just sucks at it. It's a slightly different spin, but makes Lashley look a lot better.

Basically, the way they showed Lashley handling the face-off tonight made Lashley look short-tempered with 0 bullshit, rather than a guy who can't hang on the mic.

7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Explain how they were mocking TNA with Lawler's description of the bullrope match.

As for Cody Rhodes, he is definitely a few years away from physically being able to be a convincing wrestling performer. You can clearly see how Orton towered over Cody the first time they faced off. That point was further exacerbated yesterday in their match. Yes he is an athlete but at this point he should be in a program with somebody else.

10:37 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

RVD was at his hottest in 2001 when he first came to WWE. That's when WWE decided he couldn't talk, and they buried him off and on for FIVE YEARS before his marijuana arrest in 2006. By the time that happened he was much less hot, not as good in the ring, and had lost a lot of his passion. In short, that's not when I was suggesting pushing him would have worked great.

And it's an idiotic point anyway. The problem with Lashley is that he has nothing going for him other than his physique. Thus pushing him sends the message to the rest of the locker room that if you want to get pushed hard, you need to get pumped up really big. Meanwhile, RVD had plenty going for him, with the drug rest being completely incidental. It would certainly not encourage marijuana use to have pushed RVD (even if the timeline worked, which it doesn't), because the marijuana use had absolutely nothing to do with why he would have been pushed in WWE. It's not like anyone would say "boy, I need to start smoking dope, that'll get me a push." And that incentive system is the whole problem in the first place. God I hate these superfluous "ah ha!" points.

As far as the bullrope/TNA thing, TNA seemingly has three stipulation matches every PPV, and they never explain any of them. So fans going in very frequently have no idea what a match is going to me, how it works, or what to expect. I was joking that WWE was mocking TNA with the explanation of a bullrope match (which is a lot older and more understandable in the first place), but it struck me as funny that WWE would be so explicit in explaining when TNA never does that.

As far as Cody Rhodes goes, I don't think he's ready yet either. But he's got tremendous potential. That suggests he should be kept out of the ring altogether until he's ready, rather than doing jobs that will hinder his ability to get over when he is ready.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What have you seen of Cody Rhodes in the ring or on the mike that gives you the impression that he has tremendous potential?

P.S : Has anyone else noticed how abnormally small Lashley's ears are? His ears are smaller than Foley's half ear.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Cody is a good talker, has good athleticism, and the right bloodlines. I don't know how good he can potentially become, but he's a guy that I would have pegged for potential stardom. If he doesn't develop to that level, fine. But do everything you can to set him up to succeed.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, obviously people like Nancy Grace would see the difference between 'good drugs' and bad ones and just call it incidental. So the logical pick for the WWE Championship would probably be the other spot monkey Jeff Hardy, he was released by some kind of a drug thingy years ago, but doesn't matter... he doesn't look 'roidy' :D

Sorry, do you know anything about bodybuilding? Do you honestly believe that you just take a few pills everyday to build up a body like Lashley? So even IF he's taking them which was never acknowledged (like RVD, Jeff Hardy, Masters) and he was never even remotely linked to steroid abuse (like Orton, Edge, Mysterio, Helms), he's working his ass off to maintain that body... well that really sends a bad message to the locker room, work your ass off and you get pushed... or do you really want to deny that he improved remarkably in the ring or on the mic or whatever aspect of wrestling entertainment you can find....

I don't want to say that WWE doesn't push people based on their physique, but you don't get that physique just by sitting arround and laughing about the cruiserweights.

Oh and you made the best point of them all, RVD didn't get the push he wanted so it was just logicall and good that he took the drugs.. yeah they really should have known that and after he proved the 'creative team' wrong, the only thing right for them to do would have been to give him some sort of push... oh wait, wasn't he ECW World Heavyweight and WWE Champion at that time?

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

little correction... RVD and Hardy were'nt convicted steroid users they took other drugs... probably the 'not so bad ones' but anyway...

4:01 PM  
Anonymous CF Kane (cameo) said...

I think the main problem I have with Lashley's push, beyond all of the aesthetic arguments, is just that he's not much of a performer. Watching him staring blankly into space, silently waiting for his cue to 'erupt', was amusing. It reminded me of some of the kids I used to teach in theater, afraid they'll forget their lines. I have a suspicion that they are giving him the belt here (why else the program this early?), so that they can eventually feed him to Hunter down the line (I mean, uh, Hunter can 'work with him' )and save Cena/HHH for Mania.
It was an odd face-off at the end of the show because with the juxtaposition of the two faces, one of whom has literally no personality to speak of, it makes it hard for Cena to really do much of a promo on him. It's almost as though he was going easy on him, knowing he was dealing with, promo wise, an unarmed man. My hunch tells me that HHH will not be so kind as to spare Lashley's feelings, although I'm certain that he will still give his all to put a smile on all of our faces.
I just don't know what you can do with Lashley...he really can't be a heel, because he's so bland, he desperately needs a 'manager' to talk for him, but there's nobody on hand to do that, and as a face, he has zero charisma. He's just a big mass in a t-shirt...at least with Dave Batista, they set a program in motion that made the fans want to see him win the belt from Hunter. Does anybody, beyond Cena-haters, want to see him beat Cena? They are asking for it when HHH comes back, because the fans will back Hunter 100% and boo ol' Bobby Lashley outta the building worse than Cena ever got. I see this as one big lead balloon.
Lastly, I agree that they seem to have the Cody Rhodes situation backwards...shouldn't he emerge after the Bash, once Orton has left Dusty a bloody mess, to avenge his father? Why is Dusty the one avenging his son? Is Dusty getting a push after this? At this point, nothing would surprise me.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

When did I ever say anything about it being easy to get a physique like Lashley's? That's just asinine and irrelevant. Of course you have to work out a lot to maintain a physique like that. That's completely irrelevant to anything. The point is not that Lashley or Batista is lazy. The point is that they have a physique that you cannot attain naturally while working full time on the road. And that tells everyone else on the roster that if you get that unnatural look, you too can get a big push even if you can't wrestle and can't talk and have no charisma.

Do I want to deny that Lashley has improved remarkably on the mic and in the ring? YES. He's god awful on the mic and hasn't improved one bit. In the ring, he has improved. But it certainly hasn't been remarkable, and he's still well below average among current WWE wrestlers.

I never said it was logical, good or anything else that RVD took drugs. I made two points on RVD. First, the timeframe I was saying he merited much more of a push but didn't get it because he couldn't talk was many years before before the marijuana arrest. By the time he was given the ECW title, quite frankly, he wasn't as over, wasn't as good of a wrestler, and didn't have the same passion he did before. I didn't advocate WWE pushing RVD hard after that arrest, nor was that my point here. My second point in regard to RVD was that even if they did push the guy after the arrest, pushing a guy who has been caught with marijuana does not teach anyone in the roster to do anything because there is no causal link between the marijuana and the push like there is with the physique and the push. At that point, you're essentially just forgiving the guy for a past indiscretion, which is a completely different issue to discuss. And that applies differently with steroids too. If a guy is on steroids and has a ridiculous physique, but then is told to get off and his physique notably gets much smaller and he looks normal again, well, then there's no message being sent to the roster there either because the push isn't tied to the physique.

I'm getting really sick of having my points misrepresented, or completely irrelevant and inflammatory sidebars.

6:52 PM  
Anonymous F.Leghorn said...

I think we all know who it is in that 'anonymous' guise...it's the least convincing disguise since the Giant Machine. Don't worry, Todd, I think just about everybody else here follows your logic. I hope for your sake we don't get another 73 consecutive posts on this topic...ah, who'm I kiddin?
The 'entertainment' over 'size' argument just took another hit, I see, as we may now all salute the NEW..WORLD...HEAVYWEIGHT..CHAMPION! The Greeeeeeattt Khaaaaleeee!
Wow. Do you realize that, if Lashley takes the belt at GAB, the most convincing champion under the big top would be Johnny Nitro?
Tick tick tick tick......

7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, it is not irrelevant. My point is it is a lot of hard work to develop and maintain a body like that, yes hard work... that would be the message to the lockerrom and not throw in some pills and wait until your muscles pop out. I kind of wanted to destroy the urban legend among self-proclaimed experts that powerhouses don't deserve and can't do anything.

WWE Wrestling is about storytelling, so you need the heros, the villians, the powerhouses, the spot monkeys, to a certain point the Vanilla midgets and even the Freaks.... to tell that Story. One problem with Lashley is that he should play the monster heel, cause that is what everyone wants to see and what happens in most films, that the hero defies the odds and topples the giants or whatever.
Of course giants like the Great Kahli should never, ever in any way become WHC, but that's another story.

Oh yeah, and Lashley demonstrated with Benoit that he actually can work freestyle matches, that is one different style more than I have ever seen RVD doing.

I don't say Lashley's micskills are good, but if you havent heard the improvement in terms of articulation and timing then you're just complaining about his voice...he didn't chose to have that voice, he was born with it. Shawn Michaels voice sounded weird for me too when I heard it the first time, but I got used to it. The same will happen with Lashley too. I would call his micwork less horrible now, but I still think they should give him a mouthpiece or a don't talk gimmick.

Besides, who do you believe should have become No. 1 Contender? Was anyone else in the entire WWE pushed hard enough to be a credible opponent for Cena?

And once again, you have absolutely no prove at all that Bobby Lashley has ever taken steroids, except that you saw his body. A body like Lashleys cannot be attained naturally by working full time? Whoever said that? People who couldn't do that and just had to find a sorry excuse? That is just an assumption and no prove at all. So call me naive, but he is unguilty until proven guilty.

Oh yeah and leghorn, if you don't like the discussion, just don't follow it, or you should stand up against whoever forces you to ;) and Nitro calls himself Morrison now....

11:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't Khali go down with a roid related liver or kidney problem before a ppv last year?

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al Tyson - your poor grammar, abjecy denial of obvious facts and nonsensical posting style will give you away everytime.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Add John Kronos to the list

5:59 PM  
Anonymous tyson said...

"My second point in regard to RVD was that even if they did push the guy after the arrest, pushing a guy who has been caught with marijuana does not teach anyone in the roster to do anything because there is no causal link between the marijuana and the push like there is with the physique and the push."

"Do you remember what RVD 4:20 means?"

"I JUST SMOKED YOUR ASS!"

They built a brand off an idea he earns alot of credit for.

So much for disregarding your points.

8:02 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

When exactly did WWE promote RVD's ECW stoner gimmick?

Never, maybe?

12:42 PM  
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7:19 PM  

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