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.


Anonymous Bob said...

"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."

That's because you DIDN'T understand the words coming out of his mouth. Santino asked Ron Simmons if he were going to start RHYMING like Sesame Street, which I thought was pretty funny.

This edition of Raw made me think of Scott Williams' recent comment on the Observer site that many fans have conned themselves into thinking wrestling is something great when it is "middle-brow (at best) entertainment".

This show certainly didn't push the "at best" qualifier in the least, as I don't know when I've seen anything more childish: Vince bragging about his genital size, Vince bragging about how he became sexually active at an age when it should have been impossible, Vince bragging about his conquests in all 50 states, Vince bragging about standing up to Congress, etc.

On top of that, they have so little respect for their audience that they don't even bother to come up with a story that makes any sense. At first they seemed to say that the woman suing Vince refused to reveal the name of her child, which is stretching believability already. Then it became clear that we were supposed to also believe the woman hadn't revealed her own name, which led to Vince and Coach having to try to figure out her identity. Since when can you sue someone anonymously?

As much as Vince tries to position WWE as something more than "rasslin'", this show had all the hallmarks of being thrown together with a "here, this should entertain those dumb marks" mentalility.

5:53 AM  
Anonymous CF Kane said...

I don't really disagree with Bob; but, for what was presented as 'wrasslin', I thought it was ok. I would say that, to me, the funniest part of the show was the Boogeyman singing 'Cats in the Cradle'...kudos to him for remembering all the words. I do sense a bit of a Honky Tonk Man style 'push' with Santino, in that the original plan to push him as a face fell so flat, they decided to heel him out, and while he still can't work very well, it probably will work short term. This doesn't mean he should hold the IC belt for a year like Ferris did. I was thinking that Hunter would come out for the MSG pop during the King segment, but you're right, a large part of the buyrate depends on people wanting to see him back, so might as well save it for PPV. I also agree that the Orton segments fall flat; he's a good heel on his own merits, and these vignettes reminded me of when they were pushing the 'MasterLock' challenge, and paraded out the same tired old World of Wheels acts like Slaughter, etc. Since when is RVD a 'legend'? The WWE certainly never treated him as such.
Two things: is Jeff Hardy gone for good? If so, wow, that was fast. Also, is there a sense that Orton will win the title at the PPV? I don't know if they feel too great about it, but if not, Cena's got no challengers until Hunter is ready to go heel on him for Mania.
I do think that Kennedy will be the 'son', anyway, but man, I really don't care at all about any of this. I do sense the last two shows have been Vince's ego needing to be boosted a bit. Glad we're here to help. WWE is boring. I really don't have much interest in it again. Not sure how that'll change in the future.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous BOFF said...

Hey Todd.

As a student of the law, let me ask you something. If Vince's "child" were a WWE superstar, that would mean that, presumably, he or she is an adult. What good would a paternity suit do when the child is no longer a minor if "child support" is no longer an issue?

5:31 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

I didn't watch Sesame Street as a kid (I was living overseas), so I don't associate rhyming with that program. But yeah, that's what was said.

You know, boff, I was thinking about making that exact point this week in the report. The explanation I came up with to justify the angle is that the woman is suing to get back the costs of child support that weren't contributed. I don't know if that's a cause of action in any states, but it seems within the realm of possibility. But yeah, that's a bit of a hole.

9:53 AM  

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