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.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vince's kid?....TELL ME NO ONE SEES VISECRA COMING 50 MILES OUT..thats what passes for "hip" these days in the WWE..OMG the genetic jackhammr's son is a big black sex machine..hahahehe so cool

3:12 AM  
Blogger nevs999 said...

In the "big" picture none of this matters, but the "undefeated" Snitsky garbage just about sent me over the edge.

What is WWE trying to tell me and other viewers who have clearly WASTED hours of their lives watching this crap?

Most of it is so easy to forget, I guess I'll just make them happy and do so.

- Matt in Anchorage

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

I made this point last week in my ECW report over at the LAW, but I loathe it when WWE deems obvious match outcomes "upsets." See this week's Rhodes-Benjamin match. JR referred to the match as an another upset (presumably meaning that last week's win over Charlie Haas was an upset, too) which is patently absurd. This does nothing for either man: Cody doesn't get over because it was just an "upset" over a glorified jobber and obviously the losers don't get over either. It's also insulting to the audience who saw a Rhodes victory from a mile away.
They needed to retire the McMahon child storyline for just this one week and focus on SummerSlam. I like the angle overall, but it's not selling buys this time around, so it has no place on a go-home show. Also, a slower build to the angle's resolution will mean more interest in the resolution when it happens.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've got a question. If you're HHH, do you want to return to WWE action considering it's current state?

To me, it's like being out of major league baseball action and returning to find yourself in Class A of the minor leagues.

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

More arrogant/insecure Vince nonsense this week, coupled with the usual nonsensical writing. Are we actually supposed to believe that essentially the whole roster believes that it's possible Vince is their father? Not only did Vince get around that much, but nobody feels that it's possible their mom wouldn't have slept with Vince McMahon if he passed through their town?

The moment that really make it clear this angle is designed more to stroke Vince's ego than it is to entertain was when Cena said that he actually hoped Vince wasn't his father with a delivery suggesting this was a shockingly outrageous idea. Apparently only a true rebel would not want to find out that the man he actually thought was his father was cuckolded by Vince.

The only other person scripted to not hope Vince is their daddy is Melina, and that's only done so Vince could have the story be that he had an affair with her.

Pathetic.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous CF Kane said...

I agree that this was a dull show yet again. I really do think that Orton/Cena will be a good match, and it's a shame that the potential of their first title match was overlooked by a stupid angle which will make zero money for anybody. I also was confused by the dynamic of the tag team match. London/Kendrick were champs on Smackdown for A YEAR, and yet their first win over the Raw champs is ignored (I didn't even realize they'd won until Ross said something) to get over a couple of guys doing a clownish angle which will inevitably explore all the dynamics of WWE-themed racism. Ditto on Cody Rhodes--he's got a long way to go--and on that Carlito v. Kennedy bout. I knew the moment Kennedy came out that it would be a no-decision leading to a Triple Threat. This way they can have Kennedy pin Carlito, get the belt off Umaga, and keep Umaga's 'heat', which really just doesn't work as well as a face. A monster who doesn't talk is usually a heel, not a face. I don't see how this will work, but it's not really my problem. Every time I see Gene Snitsky I actively feel badly for him--that juice he's on is just doing a number on his body. It can't possibly be worth it to him. Poor man.

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Steve Khan said...

I agree with you up and down.

At least Chris Jericho should feel good. If he decides to return, he can claim to be undefeated, since he has a new haircut.

Also, I don't think they should bother turning Umaga face. I think that would be the beginning of the end for his time as a semi-top level guy.

7:22 PM  
Anonymous mean dean said...

I've got a question. If you're HHH, do you want to return to WWE action considering it's current state?

Of course he does, because when Aitch comes back, any possible upswing in ratings or buys he can attribute to himself, regardless of his involvement.

12:04 AM  
Blogger nevs999 said...

http://www.411mania.com/wrestling/news/58743/More-WWE-News:-Rosey-Possibly-Back,-Foley-Shunned,-Highlanders-to-Smackdown-and-More!.htm

- Mick Foley has been trying to obtain a more regular role on Raw. Vince McMahon doesn't feel it is a good idea because while Foley was a big deal, he doesn't connect that well with fans in 2007.

What? But Vince and other "old timers" do connect? Give me a break. At least Foley says something that is legit funny once in a while.

- Matt in Anchorage

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Joebeck said...

I was just thinking about how easy it would be to make this whole illegitamate child thing a good story line.

Just fess up to HHH being the son-in-law of Vince. Make HHH a superheel who gets all the "father's priveledges."

That way when the illegitamate son who actually has bloodrights comes back he has a legit beef with Vince and with someone who can....oh, I don't know.......wrestle a match at a pay-per-view.

I know how incredibly dorky it is to be thinking up possible storylines for a wrestling program, but to me it just seems so stupid that they're wasting something that could be good on a lot of levels by just not putting any thought into it.

I've never bought a pay-per-view or gone to a live event, though I've been tempted before because of certain storylines. But because of crap like this, I guess I can be called another casual fan lost due to lack of a good product.

10:52 PM  

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