The Big News: Randy Orton kicked John Cena’s father in the head in a great angle to end the show. Unfortunately, those 30 seconds weren’t enough to redeem the previous 2 hours and 5 minutes.
Conclusive Finishes: It’s back. 1 of 4. Boy, I shouldn’t have given them the benefit of the doubt on this one. This was the sort of show where matches felt like nothing more than backdrops for angles that ironically made matches feel less important. If WWE wants to ever reverse the negative trend on their pay-per-views, they have to make match results feel important. And having long matches end with weak run-ins or never get started just teaches fans that matches are just artificial devises to advance WWE’s storylines.
At UFC 74 Saturday, the entire arena was hanging on every moment of the Georges St. Pierre and Randy Couture fights. Not only did the crowd love these two men, but they desperately wanted to see them win. It created true drama throughout the fights, and intense interest in the simple result of a single fight. WWE knows how to create characters and fun shows, but they’ve lost that atmosphere where fans are hanging on the result of a match, and this type of booking makes it unlikely they’ll ever recapture that most basic building block of wrestling booking.
The show started with a video package on Randy Orton vs. John Cena. With Cena having retained the title for so long, this is a great time to really emphasize the importance of the title. Fans are more likely to buy it. Randy Orton came out. He said that he spent all day in church, because he witnessed a miracle when Cena retained his title. Orton said that he should be the champion, and that Cena should thank God he survived. He said that Cena won’t be lucky next time, and demanded a rematch.
John Cena came out. He greeted his father in the front row, which was angle alert time. Cena said that Orton couldn’t get the job done, and once again the champ is here. He said that Orton had his shot and lost, which meant that Orton moves down and others move up. Now that is a point they should make constantly to make pay-per-view matches feel important. Cena suggested he wrestle HHH instead. William Regal came out, and for no apparent reason made Cena vs. King Booker. Orton tried to attack Cena, but was sent out of the ring.
Jeff Hardy and Mr. Kennedy battled to a no contest. Jeff nailed Kennedy with punches and kicks, and followed with a baseball slide and pescado. Kennedy threw Jeff backwards over the top rope to the outside, and worked him over. Jeff came back with the whisper in the wind and a side Russian leg sweep. Jeff went for the swanton, but Kennedy got up his knees. What was building into a very good match then abruptly ended. Umaga then came out for no apparent reason. Kennedy left the ring, but Umaga laid out Jeff with a crescent kick, running butt drop and Samoan spike. Kennedy encouraged him to do this.
I hated this finish so much. It was one of those Nitro finishes where the match just trails off, as if match results are completely insignificant and wins and losses don’t matter. And now Umaga has turned twice in about a one month period. Yeah, Umaga is better as a heel. So why the fuck did you turn him in the first place? It’s not like all of the reasons for keeping Umaga a heel weren’t apparent a month ago. Turning people back and forth impulsively just makes it hard for fans to truly invest in faces and heels. This was such lazy, crappy, counterproductive booking.
Vince McMahon was Carlito’s guest in the Cabana. Prior to this, they said that Vince would be the most renowned guest ever in the Cabana. That’s a great message to send to your fans – the 62 year old owner is a bigger deal than your champion. Somehow I don’t think the NBA would give David Stern higher billing that LeBron James in marketing the league. Anyway, Carlito wished Vince a happy birthday, and Vince claimed to be 50. He said that he will sue the mother of the bastard son for emotional distress. He added that everyone answers to him.
That brought out HHH for some really crappy comedy. He said that he narrowed down the mother of Vince’s child to four women. There was a fat African-American woman who Vince thought was Aretha Franklin, a woman with an eye patch who had her eye poked out by Vince, Carlito’s “sister” and a cross-dresser. HHH then said that Vince was running an illegal rooster fighting ring, and tricked him into saying he loves cocks. Oh, the wit. Carlito spit apple in HHH’s face, so HHH laid him out. This segment died a horrible death, and the comedy was just horrendous. It was a completely and total waste of HHH’s Raw return, and they should leave this type of comedy for people lower on the card. Or better yet, leave it off the show altogether. Awful, awful segment.
Brian Kendrick, Paul London and Cody Rhodes beat Daivari, Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas. The heels worked over Kendrick, who tagged Cody. Cody pinned Daivari after a body slam, knee drop, powerslam, and crossbody off the top. This was good but too short. After the match, Daivari was angry. Cryme Tyme came out and stole and sold off his headdress. Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch came out, but Cryme Tyme stole Cade’s hat and sold it off.
Randy Orton demanded a title shot from Vince. Vince said he didn’t deserve it, and he would have to show he deserves it. If a “championship” actually signifies that you’re the best wrestler, wouldn’t one normally show that you deserve a shot by defeating other wrestlers?
Beth Phoenix vs. Maria ended before it started. Beth jumped Maria from behind and laid her out with a fisherman buster. Couldn’t she have just defeated Maria cleanly in a match? Candice backstage said she isn’t intimidated by Beth. Snitsky walked in and made some threatening remarks for no reason. William Regal then told Vince that his entire family will be on Raw next week with their attorneys to confront him.
John Cena beat King Booker via DQ. Cena applied the STFU early, but Booker got to the ropes. Booker hit a heel kick. Cena hit a clothesline. Then Randy Orton ran in out of the middle of nowhere for the DQ. They beat down Cena. Orton was going to kick Cena in the head, but he hesitated. He then grabbed Cena’s father out of the crowd and kicked him in the head. That was a good angle to end the show.
This was the worst Raw since the Trump vs. Rosie debacle. Just a wretched, wretched show. The comedy flopped, the booking was horrendous, and the attempts to build to the next PPV were totally counterproductive. I hope the direction next week is much better.