Monday, August 27, 2007

Raw Report

Date: 08/27/07 from Boston, MA.

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.

Show Analysis:

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.

Final Thoughts:

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.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bunch of Reviews

I've been catching up on a bunch of stuff. Here are some thoughts:

- I caught 300 on DVD. Didn't think it was all that good. I liked Sin City a lot, but the story here was too simply and straightforward to the point of being redundant. Still had a style to it, but kind of empty.

-Suburbia was a pretty good little B movie. Think Panic Room or What Lies Beneath. It was effective at what it sought to do, but wasn't terribly innovative in any way.

-One of my favorite movies of the year is The Lookout. I wasn't expecting that much from it, but I thought it was a very well made drama/action film with interesting characters and a nicely constructed plot. Granted, I don't think it has been a great year for movies, but this is one of the best I've seen.

-Common's new album is a bit of a disappointment. It's good, but nothing special. I usually like shorter albums because they're carefully crafted, but this has some dull filler. The best songs are the singles, which is a rarity in hip hop I think. And the best song he released this year was on the Freedom Fighters soundtrack.

-On the other hand, Talib Kweli's new album is fantastic. I just love it. I've been listening to it nonstop. Now granted I'm a big mark for Kweli dating back years, but I can't see how anyone wouldn't love this album. I highly, highly recommend it.

-I also watched the Simpsons Season 10 on DVD. There is of course the line of thinking that the Simpsons declined. And as I've been watching each season on DVD and remembering the episodes, I keep waiting for the decline and every year I think "well, that was great. No decline there." That trend ended with season 10, where there was a clear decline in the overall quality of episodes. 11 got worse, so that's pretty much the point of decline for the Simpsons in my mind.

I'm heading to Vegas Saturday for 74, which I'm really looking forward to. Koscheck-GSP in particular has a lot of interest for me. I don't know whether this will mean anything, but this countdown special did a better job of getting me really excited than any in a while.

Also, I recorded Figure 4 Daily with Bryan Alvarez this evening, so you can check that out tomorrow. Hope everyone has a good weekend.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Raw Report

Date: 08/20/07 from Fayetteville, NC.

The Big News: You mean besides Michael Vick? Well, Vince’s illegitimate child is a boy.

Show Analysis:

Jim Ross and Tazz were doing commentary this week, to sell Jerry Lawler’s injury last week. That was a nice touch to get over the angle. I think as a general policy, if you do an injury angle with someone, they shouldn’t wrestle before the next pay-per-view.

Randy Orton started the show. He said this would be his last time in the ring without the title. He argued that the beginning of the end was when he gave John Cena the RKO on a chair at Saturday Night’s Main Event. He put this over big, which is another nice touch. The events prior to a match should have relevance to the way the match goes. Orton implored Cena to forfeit his title.

That brought out Vince McMahon. To talk about the pay-per-view title match main event, you ask? Why no, to talk about his offspring angle. He said he found out his offspring is male. He said that he hopes his son is more like Randy Orton than John Cena, Stephanie or Shane.

John Cena came out, and said that Vince is arrogant and disrespectful, and he would be ashamed to call Vince father. Cena said he will retain his title at SummerSlam. Vince said that if Cena doesn’t show up, he will be stripped of the title. Vince then said he could have done Cena’s mom. Cena slapped him.

Vince then made Cena vs. “the undefeated Snitsky.” What, do all the jobs he did on Raw before he dyed his teeth and dropped his first name not count? Just for kicks, here are some wrestlers that hold one-on-one victories over Snitsky in the WWE: Shelton Benjamin, Trevor Murdoch, Kenny Dykstra, Matt Striker, Goldust and Eugene. Seriously. If you assume your fans are stupid and don’t remember history, you’re going to end up with stupid fans who don’t care about history.

I hated this opening. The title match was used as a backdrop for this silly offspring angle, when that title match is supposed to be selling pay-per-views this weekend. This has been a recurring problem over a great many years, which is why I don’t like Vince as a performer in spite of his undeniable performance skills. He makes himself the centerpiece of everything, and when he gets enamored with his angle it undermines or buries main event programs, titles, and pay-per-views.

Mickie James and Candice Michelle beat Beth Phoenix and Melina. Candice has remixed ring music and a new entrance. It doesn’t appear to be for the better. She prances around to the point of being kind of obnoxious. William Regal came out and announced a three brand diva battle royal at SummerSlam for a women’s title match against Candice.

Beth used a slingshot suplex on Mickie. Jim Ross said a lot of wrestlers have used that move. I was hoping for a reference to “Heavy Metal” Van Hammer, but instead we only got Tully Blanchard. Candice hit a northern lights suplex on Melina and then a weird rolling cradle on Melina for the pin. The idea seemed to be that Candice is a dominant champion heading into this title shot battle royal, which was an effective idea.

Santino approached Regal backstage. He called Regal a home wrecker, and said that Regal sounds like a limp wristed hairdresser. King Booker backstage said that he would ruin HHH’s surprise. He said HHH would be on this program, and invited HHH to celebrate his coronation. Elsewhere, Val Venis said “hello daddy” to Vince. Daivari tried to convince Vince of their blood relationship. Vince also ran into Mr. Kennedy. During this time, Vince was talking with Coach about his grievances with Shane and what he is looking for in a son.

Cody Rhodes beat Shelton Benjamin. Benjamin worked over Cody. Cody hit a bulldog, but Benjamin kicked out. Benjamin hit a back breaker, but Cody used a botched rollup for the win. After the match, Charlie Haas jumped him and the WGTT laid out Cody. This was not a good match, and it was particularly apparent this week that Cody isn’t ready yet.

Paul London and Brian Kendrick beat Trevor Murdoch and Lance Cade. Kendrick hit a drop kick and arm drags on Cade. The heels worked over London briefly. London and Kendrick hit simultaneous topes suicidas, at which point Cryme Tyme ran out. They stole Trevor Murdoch’s hat and sold it off for two dollars. This distracted the rednecks, and Kendrick won with the crucifix cradle. There was no pop for the finish, which I didn’t care for. It made the tag titles look like a joke, and it’s unclear who exactly the title contenders are supposed to be.

They ran three main vignettes from the dinner with Maria and Ron Simmons. Santino showed up at the beginning with Jillian Hall. He acted surprised to run into Maria there. He asked if Maria wanted them to join her and Simmons. She said okay. Simmons had increasing difficulty coming up with answers that rhyme with “damn.”

A guy asked for Santino’s autograph. Santino asked if there was anything else the guy wanted to say, and the guy pulled out a pre-prepared statement about how great Santino is and how large he is downstairs. Simmons called this a sham. The end featured Santino threatening to beat up Simmons if Simmons put his hands on Santino again. Simmons then shoved a tray of food on Santino. There were some hits and misses with comedy here, but it was overall pretty darn funny again.

King Booker came out. There were chants for Triple H. The King said that despite Jerome’s efforts, he prevailed as the one true king. He called out HHH, and an imposter came out. He put the crown on Booker’s head, and left. Booker then confronted Jim Ross. He was angry about Ross’ comments last week, and would break out of his kingly speak from time to time. He said that Ross could redeem himself by kissing Booker’s finger. Ross said he wouldn’t do it, so Sharmell pushed his head down to the ring. Booker shoved Ross and left.

I liked this segment in a number of ways. I liked that they teased HHH explicitly to build anticipation for SummerSlam. I like that they didn’t beat up the imposter, because that’s a really tired spot. Most of all, I really enjoy Booker’s performances. He’s so much fun in his role, and yet there’s enough menace to not make it too campy.

Umaga was the guest for Carlito’s Cabana. Carlito said he wanted a title shot. Mr. Kennedy came out and said he wanted a title shot. Sound familiar? Kennedy noted that he did what Umaga couldn’t – beat and destroy Lashley. Umaga attacked Kennedy. Umaga still doesn’t appear particularly over as a face, but there is time left on that one. Regal announced Kennedy vs. Carlito for a title shot at Umanga.

Mr. Kennedy and Carlito battled to a draw. This was a disaster. The beginning in particular was just awful. The match completely fell apart, and they seemed incapable of putting together even the most basic of moves. The crowd began to grow restless, and it reacted with hostility when someone kicked out of a pin from then on. The second half of the match wasn’t that bad, though.

Kennedy threw Carlito into the post and kicked him into the steps. Carlito returned the post favor, and hit a clothesline, drop kick, neck breaker and superplex. They then both cradled each other for a double pin, which was a horrendous finish. Regal of course made a triple threat match for SummerSlam. When two guys say they want a title shot, a match is set up between them to determine the title shot, and there is a draw to set up a triple threat match, it feels off the charts FAKE. It’s just so contrived, predictable and obvious that it hinders your ability to suspend disbelief in the program generally.

John Cena beat Snitsky via DQ. Prior to the match, Snitsky told Vince that he didn’t know his parents, only pain, and that he would bring Cena his pain. He called Vince dad. Snitsky hit a big boot and worked over Cena with basic moves. Cena came back with a top rope rocker dropper. He went for the FU, but Orton ran in and gave Cena two RKOs to end the show.

Final Thoughts:

This was a surprisingly ineffective go home show for SummerSlam. I was expecting a lot better. The wrestling was bad, the booking was bad, and the PPV build was bad. I don’t think it will hurt the SummerSlam buy rate, but they definitely could have gone into the pay-per-view on a higher note.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Raw Report

Date: 08/13/07 from New York, NY.

The Big News: Vince McMahon’s illegitimate child is someone on the WWE roster.

Show Analysis:

Vince McMahon came out to start the show, with the WWE roster surrounding the ring. Vince said that the woman bringing a paternity suit against him is withholding the child’s name. He said that this is extortion, but that he can’t be intimidated. He added that he takes solace that the wrestlers and his family support him. He asked for the support of the fans. Stephanie came out, and said that the illegitimate wrestler is one of the wrestlers surrounding the ring. As Vince left, he stared at Mr. Kennedy, which got a big reaction.

Mr. Kennedy defeated Sandman. Prior to the match, they ran a video package on Lashley, and tied his injury to Mr. Kennedy. It was presented in a way that I think will make it more successful than most injury angles. The beginning of this match featured some comically bad brawling. Kennedy hit a running knee to the head and the rolling fireman carry slam for the pin. The announcers speculated some more that Kennedy is Vince’s son, which certainly suggests that is no longer the plan.

Backstage, Coach suggested to Vince that they go over the entire roster, and try to figure out who might be his child. Vince claimed to be sexually active since before he was a teenager. Coach concluded they couldn’t eliminate anyone. Ric Flair then came in and said whoo a bunch of times. I’m not sure if we are supposed to think Flair is a possibility. On one hand, Flair was adopted. On the other, Vince would have been three years old at the time of conception.

They were getting ready for WWE Idol backstage. Michael Cole and JBL were singing in wigs. It was goofy, but not very funny. JBL berated Cole, which was kind of funny. William Regal said that Maria would be a judge, and next week Maria will go on a date with Ron Simmons. Santino came in and wasn’t pleased by this. He said he would sing a song so romantic on WWE Idol that it would melt Maria’s heart. Santino is great in this role.

Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch beat Cryme Tyme via DQ. Cryme Tyme supposedly sold Lillian Garcia’s chair for $1,000 before the match. Cade and Murdoch worked over Shad with a side Russian leg sweep, big boot and elbow drop. Shad tagged JTG, who hit a blockbuster and leg drop off the second rope on Murdoch. The rednecks hit the high/low on JTG and covered, but Shad came in with a chair for the DQ. This was a weird finish. If this is going to be a feud, it sure makes the face challengers look bad to start. If it isn’t going to be a feud, they should have just had the pin.

Snitsky beat Highlander Robbie with a pump handle slam. He also gave Highlander Rory a pump handle slam. Backstage, Vince talked about having sex in every state. Coach suggested Vince list all his past indiscretions and Coach would do some research. Cody Rhodes approached Vince and gave him a condom, which led Vince to make a remark about having a big dick. This stuff makes Vince come across as so insecure.

Next up was WWE Idol. The judges were William Regal, Maria and Mick Foley. Foley said that this demonstrated he will do basically anything for money. Jillian Hall was first, and did her usual routine. Foley and Regal panned her, while Maria said she looked pretty. The second contestants were Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik. Volkoff sang the Soviet national anthem. This made me very happy. Regal said that it was a shame Volkoff didn’t lose his voice like Sheik lost his title in MSG. Iron Sheik responded with HARSH WORDS~! What were they? I have no earthly idea. And I figured out “Las Vegas” on the first listen.

Next was Lillian, who pandered to the crowd with “New York, New York.” Santino came out, called her a prostitute, and she left. This also made me happy. I didn’t want the payoff of this being a cheap plug for Lillian’s CD. Santino sang to Maria. Foley said listening to Santino sing is almost as painful as watching him wrestle. Santino told Maria to leave with him, but Maria didn’t want to. Ron Simmons came out.

Santino said, “What, are you going to start running, like Sesame Street? Oh, look at me, I’m the Cookie Monster!” I swear to God. This was even more undecipherable than Iron Sheik’s rant, even understanding the words that came out of his mouth. Simmons punched Santino, and was declared the winner. This was another fine comedy segment. I am totally in favor of the WWE writers getting in all their zany comedy in one weekly 15 minute skit, and then keeping the rest of the show relatively serious. That philosophy will help in particular the main event programs.

Cody Rhodes pinned Charlie Haas. Cody hit punches, a knee drop, drop kicks, a bulldog, and a crossbody off the top. Haas rolled through on the crossbody for a two count. Cody locked in a small package moments later for the win.

They then did the coronation ceremony. King Booker said he has proved he is the one true king. Lawler said he wouldn’t crown Booker, because he hasn’t proven that. Lawler was handed a note that Booker will be wrestling another king at SummerSlam – Triple H. They ran a video package on HHH and Booker freaked out. He attacked Lawler and hit him in the head with the TV monitor. I think the WWE’s handling of HHH is smart. A lot of the appeal of HHH’s return is seeing him for the first time in a while. I think they are better off not showing HHH before SummerSlam. It will help the buy rate.

They ran video packages throughout the show on the legends whose careers Orton has “ended.” I don’t think these were effective at all. Nobody buys that he ended the careers of guys like Shawn Michaels who are injured. Everyone knows Michaels will be back. Nobody buys that he ended the careers of old guys like Sgt. Slaughter, who are just brought in from time to time to job to younger guys. The result is the whole thing seems phony, like Sid’s winning streak. They would be better off just running down the people Orton has pinned, and saying that now he wants to win the title. It feels more real and is thus more effective.

Umaga and John Cena beat Randy Orton and Carlito. Cena and Umaga cleared the ring early, and stared at each other. Cena hit the five knuckle shuffle on Carlito and went for the FU, but Orton grabbed Carlito to stop that. Carlito jumped Cena from behind, and the heels worked over Cena. This led to some amusing chants between the fans. The guys would chant “Randy Orton” and the women would yell “sucks.” What was funny about it was the guys were nonchalant about chanting for Orton, while the women were really adamant and passionate in yelling “sucks.” If this were a domestic argument, the guy would have thrown in the towel in about 10 seconds and concluded it just wasn’t worth it.

Cena leaped for the tag to Umaga, but Umaga didn’t reach out for it. Carlito hit Umaga anyway, and Umaga came in and cleaned house on Orton and Carlito. Carlito went for the back stabber on Umaga but couldn’t pull it off. Cena hit the FU on Carlito for the pin. Ross said that Cena dodged a bullet. I thought of Pacman Jones. You know, I still think he was a better pick than Carlos Rogers. The show ended with Linda telling Vince that he no longer has a home.

Final Thoughts:

This show was fine. All my main points have already been made.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Crush Dies

I remember him quite vividly for whatever reason, from the period when he was a babyface with the orange outfit around 1992. I remember the introductory vignettes when he would squash pineapples in Hawaii to get over his finisher. The idea of squeezing a guy's head didn't seem so goofy as a finisher to me then.

He also had a memorable feud with Randy Savage. I thought it worked really well with Crush turning on his mentor Savage, and was Savage's last major WWF feud.

I could be making this up, and I'm surprised I haven't read this anywhere if it is true, but my recollection is Crush and Chris Benoit were in the New Japan dojo at the same time, so they were breaking into the same business at roughly the same time period.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Observer Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame Ballot Out

Jun Akiyama
Gene & Ole Anderson
Masked Assassins (Jody Hamilton & Tom Renesto)
Red Bastien
Carlos Colon
The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von)
Ultimo Guerrero & Rey Bucanero
Gran Hamada
Volk Han
Owen Hart
Curt Hennig
Chris Jericho
Satoshi Kojima
Ivan Koloff
Karloff Lagarde
Jose Lothario
Mark Lewin
Midnight Express (Dennis Condrey & Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane)
Bill Miller
Fabulous Moolah
Dick Murdoch
Rey Mysterio
Paul Orndorff
Blue Panther
The Rock (Dwayne Johnson)
Rock & Roll Express
Rick Rude
Seiji Sakaguchi
Masa Saito
Kensuke Sasaki
Hans Schmidt
Sgt. Slaughter
Jimmy Snuka
Wilbur Snyder
Steiner Brothers
Kiyoshi Tamura
John Tolos
Enrique Torres
Universo 2000
Rob Van Dam
Villano III
Kerry Von Erich
Dr. Wagner Sr.
Johnny "Mr. Wrestling II" Walker
Tim "Mr. Wrestling" Woods

Lou Albano
Paco Alonso
Jim Crockett Jr.
Gary Hart
Jerry Jarrett
Gorilla Monsoon
Don Owen
Roy Shire
Jesse Ventura

Dave is taking on the insane task of doing the Hall of Fame in September, which is going to be a crazy busy month of events as it is. There's going to be so much stuff.

Another interesting note is that next year there will be a vote on whether to kick Benoit out of the Hall, with 60 percent vote needed.

I'm going to give this a lot more thought, but my preliminary inclination is the strongest candidates are Colon, Mysterio, Rock, Villano III and Alonso.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Raw Report

Date: 08/06/07 from Buffalo, NY.

The Big News: Vince McMahon made his return to WWE television, and this led to a lot of nonsense as one might expect.

Conclusive Finishes: I’m dropping this feature for the time being. Since I instituted it, WWE has gotten a lot better about making match results seem important. There are a lot less distraction and interference finishes, such that even when they do use them (as they did tonight), they aren’t much of a problem because they are the exception rather than the rule.

Show Analysis:

Vince McMahon started the show on the stage, with most Raw wrestlers in the ring. Vince said that he faked his own death to find out how much people cared about him. He said that he would be giving his feelings on a number of subjects throughout the show. Coach arrived late. Vince then announced a battle royal featuring the wrestlers in the ring, with the winner becoming the new general manager.

William Regal won the battle royal to become general manager. Umaga played the role of monster, eliminating the most opponents. King Booker was jawing with Jerry Lawler, which caused his elimination. The final four were Cody Rhodes, Carlito, Sandman, and Shelton Benjamin. Carlito eliminated Cody. Sandman then eliminated Carlito and Shelton to seemingly win.

However, Regal had been feigning an injury. He jumped Sandman from behind to eliminate him. He then celebrated like a Brazilian at a Paulo Filho fight. He pranced around in celebration. It was tremendous. Keeping Regal out of sight for pretty much the entire match was a good idea, because otherwise the finish would have been too obvious. Regal works well in this type of role.

Backstage, Coach bashed Regal as GM. Vince said Coach would be Regal’s assistant. Vince also likened the Congressional committees investigating him to Barney Fife. It’s amazing. WWE has done absolutely everything wrong in the aftermath of the Chris Benoit murder-suicide, but even taking that into account people still figured the company wouldn’t try to piss off Congress. Well, they were wrong. That’ll teach you, Dave, for giving WWE the benefit of the doubt on anything.

Elsewhere, King Booker said that Jerome and HHH are pretenders to his throne. They announced that next week there would be a special ceremony in New York City where the loser would crown the winner of this week’s Booker-Lawler match. This was followed by a brief squash where Snitsky beat Highlander Rory with a body slam.

They cut backstage, where Vince wasn’t satisfied with just giving Congress the finger. He said that the IRS is investigating him, and that the media will have a field day. He said that the facts don’t have anything to do with the news any more. Well, he’s right about that. Of course, the irony is WWE’s efforts of the past few weeks have made the news significantly less factual, not more.

Jillian Hall beat Mickie James. Hall prior to the match referenced an upcoming album by Lillian Garcia. Hall said that nobody wants to hear Garcia sing, and she proceeded to sing herself. Mickie interrupted. Mickie hit the Charlie Thesz press, a neck breaker, and a chick kick. Hall hit her face first full nelson slam for the pin. I think there’s a lot more potential in Mickie than in Jillian, so I don’t agree with this booking at all.

Carlito’s Cabana with John Cena was next. Cena again was playing a really cutesy role. He interviewed himself, alternating between two roles. He would joke around and then talk about how pissed off he was about what Carlito did last week. The joking around totally killed this segment’s effectiveness. If Cena doesn’t care about losing, why should we? I understand they like to give Cena comedy because his delivery is so good, but it really undermines his ability to be a money player.

I think that’s part of the reason that Cena is a hot character but he doesn’t move PPV buys. It’s also annoying, and there were more Cena sucks chants this week than usual. Cena eventually attacked Carlito. Randy Orton ran in and went for the RKO, but Cena pushed him out of the ring. Cena gave Carlito the FU. Regal announced that Cena would wrestle against the choice of Carlito and Orton. They made it seem like it would be either Carlito or Orton, but they chose Umaga instead.

Vince backstage expressed disappointment with his family. He was disappointed Shane wasn’t around when he “died,” and that Stephanie was concerned about her share of the estate. He said that Linda was being consoled by Basil DeVito. Vince said that he would get his family back together.

King Booker beat Jerry Lawler. It’s official: these guys don’t work together well at all. This was a really slow, bad match. It felt like two older wrestlers going through the motions at an independent show in front of 250 fans. They mostly just traded punches. Sharmell distracted Lawler and Booker hit the scissors kick for the pin. Mr. Kennedy then came out and said Kennedy over and over again until they cut to a commercial.

Next up was the Dating Game, which was tremendous television. They could do this every week and it would never get old. William Regal was the host. The three contestants were Jim Duggan, Ron Simmons, and Santino. Simmons was introduced as a man with a limited vocabulary. Santino was introduced as the man brutalized by Umaga. He smiled and said that he was in a lot of pain for his introductory remarks.

Maria was the other contestant, and it was announced that she likes Rainbow Bright. She asked Simmons what he would make her for breakfast in bed, and he replied spam. Santino wouldn’t let Maria finish her question. He said that it was him, and implored her to pick him. He was booed, and Maria thought it was someone doing an impression of him.

Santino told Maria that the other two bachelors didn’t like babies or puppies. Duggan called him a liar, and they started bickering. Regal told them both to shut up. Finally, Maria picked Simmons. Santino objected, but Simmons told him to scram. Santino said no one would stop him from leaving. That brought out Umaga, and Santino ran away through the crowd. God bless them, this was a great segment. Next week Regal needs to host Let’s Make a Deal.

John Cena beat Umaga via DQ. There were more Cena sucks chants. Umaga hit a spinning side slam, but missed a splash off the top. Cena applied the STFU, at which point Orton and Carlito ran in. Orton and Carlito encouraged Umaga to attack Cena, but Umaga was pissed off and laid out Carlito and Orton instead. Regal made Orton and Carlito vs. Cena and Umaga for next week, so Umaga is now a face.

The show ended with Vince leaving. It was just like when he died. As Vince was getting into his limo, Coach ran up to him. Coach had been delivered a summons, and he presented it to Vince. Apparently, it is a paternity suit over Vince’s illegitimate child.

Final Thoughts:

This was not a good show. It succumbed to a lot of the desperation and nonsense I had feared for some time. It could have been worse in that regard, but there were a lot of bad signs. They didn’t really build SummerSlam at all. The focus was much more on Vince, and I don’t see the illegitimate child storyline leading to any money matches. But the dumbest stuff was unquestionably Vince’s petty shots at the media and Congress. No possible good can come of that. Vince loves picking fights, but some fights are just not worth picking.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Yep, that's the Raw rating. *I'm* scared of Vince McMahon right now, and he doesn't know me, nor where I live. Bad things are going to happen.