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.


Anonymous mean dean said...

Disappointed you didn't mention the Mike Rotunda as IRS cameo during the respective backstage segment. That was my favorite part of the first hour.

I can't wait to see who the illegitimate child's mother is! [/sarcasm]

12:46 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

was that david caruso that handed in the summons? I really hope that his kid turns out to be a wrestler...

2:13 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

I wasn't as enamored with the Dating Game segment as you were, feeling it was kind of amusing but also pretty stupid. I did think it was funny when Duggan went to give his introductory statement, noticed his wedding ring, said "whoops", and took it off and put it in his pocket.

The end of the was intriguing. For a few seconds I thought they were going to blow Vince up again and then resume the previously planned storyline. To be honest, I was kind of hoping for that. While I was never a fan of the storyline in the first place, after enduring it for several weeks part of me feels ripped off that I didn't get to see the ending (I EARNED it!).

Is anyone afraid that the paternity suit means Vince is finally pulling the trigger on the incest storyline with Stephanie?

3:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also thought the Dating Game segment was tremendous. Regal's comments where priceless. Marella needs to go and now. He serves no purpose in the WWE. Where can they really go with the Maria/Marella segement anyway? It can't be anything positive at all.

Loved the line from McMahon as he was passing Paul London. Guess he doesn't read the dirt sheets at all.

8:49 AM  
Blogger Anthony said...

There was a great sign in the third row of the crowd

: We have Cena nuff

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anytime Rotunda gets in the show its awesome..Regal even better..CENA ENUFF SIGN WAS BEAUTIFUL..You know Vince took the ratings being down as not enough him so now we gonna get him up the ying yang..ENOUGH CODY RHODES!!! GOD HOW MUCH BUTT IS DUSTY KISSING

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Steve Khan said...

Santino is in a lot of pain

8:35 PM  
Blogger nevs999 said...

OK, riddle me this: What demo is Vince playing to with paternity suits and swipes at both Congress and the media?

I don't see any youngsters digging on that and it just seems silly and extremely unentertaining to 30-somethings like me.

- Matt in Anchorage

12:41 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

His swipes at congress and the IRS are as petty and pointless as his billionaire Ted skits ten years ago where he poked fun at Ted Turner's father dying and implied that WCW encouraged it's wrestlers to take steroids.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think maria and santino make an awesome couple

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

santino and maria look cute together

10:37 AM  

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