Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Raw Report

Date: 10/15/07 from Birmingham, England.

The Big News: Shawn Michaels made his in ring return to Raw.

Show Analysis:

At the start of the show, Randy Orton suggested to William Regal that Mr. Kennedy, Jeff Hardy and Shawn Michaels wrestle each other in a triple threat match. Regal said he would take that under advisement, and then went out to make an announcement. He said that since Orton likes threes, it would be Orton facing all three of his opponents in singles matches.

Randy Orton beat Jeff Hardy. Jeff hit a baseball slide and pescado. Orton took over with a headlock. Hardy came back with the whisper in the wind. He went to the top, but Kennedy came out to distract him. Orton crotched Jeff on the top rope, and hit the RKO for the pin. This was rather cookie cutter, but good enough.

Santino defeated Val Venis. Santino went after Val’s leg. Val never really got a comeback, and Santino scored the pin by grapping the ropes. This was sloppy but fine. Carlito backstage was joking with Coach about Hornswoggle. Coach said that he had a plan to get rid of Hornswoggle. This led to a show long story where Coach chased Hornswoggle into catering, the women’s locker room, and then had a bicycle/tricycle chase.

William Regal and Vince McMahon had a backstage discussion. Regal said that Triple H wasn’t in shape to compete, and Triple H would not appear on the show. That’s a good touch to sell the beating last week. Vince and Regal also had a discussion about the pronunciation of Umanga’s name.

Mr. Kennedy beat Randy Orton via DQ. They went back and forth early, with the announcers talking about which man is more arrogant. Orton hit some European uppercuts and a back breaker. Kennedy quickly hit his rolling fireman carry slam. At that point Jeff Hardy interfered with a drop kick and swanton on Kennedy for the DQ.

Vince McMahon came out and introduced Umaga. He said Umaga would be wrestling Andy Simmonz in a street fight, one of the choices for Cyber Sunday. Umaga destroyed him, and pinned him with a Samoan drop on a chair. Vince then said that they would be having a first blood match, another choice. Umaga hit Simmonz with a head butt, running butt drop and repeated Samoan spikes until he bled from the mouth. Vince finally announced a cage match. Umaga threw Simmonz repeatedly into the cage and left. This was a clever and very effective segment. It reminded me of Big Van Vader destroying jobbers in WCW.

Candice Michelle beat Jillian Hall. Prior to the match, Jillian put down Lilian Garcia’s singing. Candice beat Jillian quick with a spinning heel kick and the unprettier. Beth Phoenix did a short promo after the match. She said that Candice will get her women’s title match next week. Hardcore Holly approached Cody Rhodes backstage and wanted to know why Cody keeps challenging him. Cody said he would beat Holly and earn his respect. Holly slapped him.

Rory McAllister beat Brian Kendrick. Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch were at ringside. Rory worked over Kendrick. Kendrick tried to make a comeback but he was distracted by Robbie and Rory hit a slingshot reverse suplex for the pin. Kendrick and London are fantastic workers, and they have immense troubles getting decent matches out of the Highlanders. I don’t get why they are being pushed. All they had was a likeable gimmick as faces. As heels they aren’t over as characters and they are really quite bad in the ring.

Shawn Michaels did a promo backstage. He said you cannot kill that which is not your creation. That’s a dubious claim. Shawn said he will win the title from Orton at Cyber Sunday. Coach chased Hornswoggle to the ring. Hornswoggle hid under the ring, and Coach had a Wile E. Coyote detonator ready. He tried to set it off twice, but it didn’t work. He went under the ring to fix it, so of course Hornswoggle came out the other end and set off the bomb. Coach came out from under the ring with black stuff all over his face. This cartoon comedy doesn’t bother me, but I suspect it’s probably a turnoff for many.

Hardcore Holly defeated Cody Rhodes again. Holly worked Rhodes over with chops and punches. He went for the Alabama slam, but Cody got out. Cody then went for a series of pin attempts. He used a small package, crucifix slam, back slide, rolled through on a crossbody and more. There were seven or eight near falls, and the crowd didn’t react at all to a single one. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such a dead crowd for a series of near falls. Holly then pinned him clean with the Alabama slam.

The crowd not reacting to a single near fall was again a signal that this type of story does not work in 2007 WWE. The idea is you have the young guy challenging repeatedly and trying to gain the advantage, but he keeps coming up short. In theory, the crowd gets behind his efforts and when he wins it is a big deal. The problem with this concept is that for the past six years, WWE has buried so many young wrestlers that the crowd doesn’t want to invest in a loser. When a young guy loses a couple bouts easily, they learn not to take the guy seriously, and it is very hard to get him over. The reaction to this match made that crystal clear. This was supposed to be the week where the crowd really got into Cody trying to win and the exact opposite reaction occurred. If you want to get over a new star, you need to protect him. That’s all there is to it.

Shawn Michaels beat Randy Orton via DQ. Orton went for the superplex, but Michaels pushed him off the top and hit an elbow. Michaels set up for sweet chin music, but Kennedy ran in. The heels double teamed Michaels, but Jeff came out to help. Michaels avoided the RKO and hit sweet chin music to close the show. Michaels’ return should have been advertised in advance and probably saved for PPV.

Final Thoughts:

This was a middle of the line show. It had some good and some bad. There were some very effective segments and some very ineffective segments. I didn’t like the overarching storyline of three BS finishes to set up the PPV match, however. To me, the BS finishes devalue the ultimate match, and decrease rather than increase interest. They make matches feel irrelevant. To me, the formula for building up pay-per-view main events 80 percent of the time should be the champion and challenger winning a bunch of TV matches and then facing each other. It doesn’t require a large team of creative writers, but it has a long established history of drawing money in wrestling, boxing and MMA. Trading BS finishes doesn’t.


Anonymous mean dean said...

The idea is you have the young guy challenging repeatedly and trying to gain the advantage, but he keeps coming up short. In theory, the crowd gets behind his efforts and when he wins it is a big deal. The problem with this concept is that for the past six years, WWE has buried so many young wrestlers that the crowd doesn’t want to invest in a loser.

Ther other problem is that Cody's trying to get his "big win" over Sparky Plugg. Obviously a Triple H or Orton aren't going to be the guy sacrificed for this in the current WWE, but Bob Holly is just about the worst possible guy to use. Unfortunately, the Raw roster doesn't have much else to offer for that role, and probably the best guy, Booker, isn't exactly an option right now.

12:39 AM  
Blogger nevs999 said...

I'm proud to announce I didn't watch Raw last evening and managed to succesfully sleep through the night. I hope to make it a habit.

I'm a grown up now.

Thanks for the review, Todd.

- Matt in Anchorage

9:37 AM  
Anonymous themasterbater said...

This kid Cody beats a guy like Shelton Benjamin, a former IC and tag Champion, and they can't make him beat a guy like Bob Holly? Who is Bob Holly? What has he done in the last couple of years besides be an ass? What did Shelton Benjamin do to deserve this type of lack of respect? He should leave and go to TNA (even though I don't really watch it) but I would think he would have much more of a success there then what he is recieving in the WWE. I can only think is it the HHH plague? He beat HHH more than once and you get screwed over on the long run it's like this guy made a deal with the devil. You beat him a couple times in a short period then you get screwed over the long term.

1:35 PM  

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