Monday, March 17, 2008

Raw Report

Date: 03/17/08 from Lafayette, LA.

The Big News: A seventeen on two handicap match proved to be not all that much of a challenge for John Cena and Randy Orton. HHH? Well, that’s another story.

Show Analysis:

Raw kicked off with the Highlight Reel. Chris Jericho celebrated his Intercontinental Title win, and then brought out the Big Show. Show was wearing a relatively tight t-shirt this week, and he really does look in markedly better shape. I think it helps his character a lot, because he had more menace early in his career before he put on additional weight.

Jericho needled Show about getting punched, and showed the press slam from last week. Show laughed about it, and said that nobody likes Floyd Mayweather. Show said that Jericho is much better in the ring than Mayweather, and Jericho wouldn’t last two minutes with Show, so Mayweather is in real trouble.

Jericho responded that while nobody likes Mayweather, everyone thinks Show is a jackass too. Jericho said that Mayweather will knock Show’s teeth out. Show called Jericho loud, arrogant, disrespectful, and way over his head. He suggested they wrestle for the Intercontinental title, and added that Jericho looks like he’s ready for a night of karaoke singing Justin Timberlake. Jericho accepted the match.

Vince McMahon gloated about his place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He said he would celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by ending Ric Flair’s career. To that end, he announced Ric Flair vs. Vince McMahon in a street fight.

CM Punk beat Carlito in what is probably somebody’s idea of fun. Carlito threw him to the floor and followed with punches, kicks and a springboard elbow. Punk hit a high knee and bulldog. He went for a springboard, but fell into a Carlito dropkick. Carlito went for the back stabber, but Punk escaped. Punk went for go 2 sleep, but Carlito countered and hit a neck breaker. Punk retaliated with an enzuigiri and hit go 2 sleep for the pin.

They aired a vignette with the premise being that Santino Marella was trying to direct Snoop Dogg to tell Maria she should have stuck with Santino and not posed for Playboy. Snoop disagreed with this, said that Maria should be able to do what he wants, and walked out. Snoop has always been a big defender of women. His tribute to women at the end of the Chronic was almost as touching as the one at the end of Reflection Eternal.

Umaga beat Paul London and Brian Kendrick in a handicap match. Umaga hit a cool Samoan drop spot on both of them at the same time. He followed with running butt drops on each. Kendrick at that point walked away, so Kendrick and London are apparently not going to last much longer as a team. Oddly, the announcers completely ignored this development. I’m not sure what that means. Umaga then hit the Samoan spike on London for the pin.

William Regal backstage wanted to know how HHH would stop Randy Orton and John Cena from walking out in the main event. HHH said that if either were to walk out, they would be removed from the main event at WrestleMania. Elsewhere, Ric Flair said he didn’t want Shawn Michaels to go get into his affairs against Vince. Flair said Vince had no chance in hell of beating him. This was a great quick promo.

JBL came out and said that he was looking forward to confronting Finlay, but unfortunately Finlay was looking after Hornswoggle. JBL said that he had to do something for St. Patrick’s Day, so he would take on the second toughest Irishman in the company, Colin Delaney.

Delaney came out to absolutely no reaction. Seriously, I think the crowd would have been louder if Lillian Garcia had asked for a moment of silence to mourn somebody’s death. I think the majority of the crowd didn’t know who he was, which isn’t a good sign for ECW. JBL quickly defeated Delaney with a big boot and three clotheslines from hell.

In a completely unexpected spectacle of a match, Ric Flair won a street fight over Vince McMahon. They did much more than anyone could have expected. I think the idea was to convince people that Flair has another great match in him against Shawn Michaels. Flair dominated early with stomps, chops and punches. Vince sent Flair into the post, and hit him with a TV monitor. Flair juiced.

Vince hit Flair with a trash can, but Flair kicked out. Vince hit Flair with a Singapore cane multiple times, but Flair kicked out. Vince hit Flair with a chair and covered, but Michaels ran in and pulled the referee out. That was absolutely ridiculous. All the major players are being put over strong going into Mania, but Flair needs help to avoid being defeated by the 62-year-old owner of the company.

In any event, Vince next brought in a table. By this point, he was completely gassed. He had about as much energy as Phil Baroni in round four of the Kala Hose fight. Vince slowly set up the table, but Flair gave him two low blows. He placed Vince on the table and then hit a splash off the top of all things for the pin.

Maria and Candice beat Jillian and Victoria. Santino did commentary, and was his typically hilarious self arguing with Jerry Lawler. Jillian hit a handspring elbow on Maria. Victoria went for a standing moonsault but landed on Maria’s knees. Candice was tagged in, and went to work with clotheslines and a spinning wheel kick on Victoria.

Victoria hit a back breaker, but Jillian missed a 450 and Candice hit the unprettier on Jillian for the pin. After the match, Santino threw a drink on Lawler. He then stole Lawler’s sandwich and gloated obnoxiously about it, which was tremendous. He ate the sandwich and celebrated. I hope they do go ahead with Lawler vs. Santino at Mania.

They ran a half-face/half-heel package on Floyd Mayweather that made him more sympathetic than not. Between this and the following segment, it’s very hard to figure out what exactly they are aiming for with Show vs. Mayweather.

Big Show beat Chris Jericho via DQ. Show hit punches, kicks and chops. Jericho went for a baseball slide but was caught and hurled into the barricade. Show went for a second rope corner splash ala Vader but missed. Jericho hit a lionsault and covered but Show tossed him to the outside. At that point, Jericho grabbed his belt and hit Show with it for a DQ. Show then laid out Jericho with a punch and choke slam. Jericho was certainly booked like a heel in this match, but I’m not sure how we were supposed to take it.

Randy Orton and John Cena spoke backstage. Cena said they would go out there and beat up everybody until there would be nobody left. Orton suggested they take a dive and not get hurt. Cena said he was cool with that if Orton wanted to lay down. Orton wanted Cena to take the dive, but Cena wasn’t going for that. HHH came in and said the match would continue until they beat every opponent or could no longer physically continue.

Randy Orton and John Cena beat everybody in an absolutely idiotic main event. First, a minor quibble. They repeatedly said everybody on the Raw roster was in the match, even as it was apparent that key stars including Mr. Kennedy, HHH, Chris Jericho, Big Show, Ric Flair, and Shawn Michaels weren’t there. No explanation was given why HHH wouldn’t want Michaels, Show and Kennedy in particular out there. It was a 17 on 2 handicap elimination match, with all the other guys standing on the apron.

The more major issue is booking three quarters of your roster to be total jokes is so unbelievably stupid. Yes, it makes Cena and Orton look like more of a threat. But not by much. Do they really come out of this match significantly stronger than they entered? Of course not. But their opponents, who were treated like absolute losers, come out looking much worse. And presumably Raw is still going to be on the air after Mania and they are going to need to use these guys. So why bury them? This seems to be a regular WWE gimmick under WWE creative, and it’s so stupid and counterproductive.

Anyway, Cena rolled up Santino for the pin. Cena tapped out Trevor Murdoch with the STFU. Cena pinned Lance Cade after an Orton RKO. Orton eliminated Super Crazy with an RKO. Cena defeated Robbie McAllister with a top rope rocker dropper. He pinned D.H. Smith the FU. Orton pinned Paul Burchill with the RKO. Orton defeated Val Venis with an RKO. Cena and Orton hit a double team RKO on Cody to pin him. At this point the rest of the opponents realized they couldn’t win 17 on 2, so they all ran in for the DQ.

Cena cleared the ring of most of the jobbers anyway with a chair. That left just Umaga and JBL. JBL went to hit Orton with a chair, but he missed and hit Umaga. Umaga gave Orton the Samoan spike and then chased JBL to the back. HHH then came out and laid out Orton and Cena with pedigrees.

Final Thoughts:

This show was a mixed bag. It had some good build, and it also had some weird and outright crappy booking. We’ll see what they do next week, but I’m not expecting a strong buy rate for Mania.


Anonymous #1 HHH Hater said...

Why does HHH get to book the matches (well I know really why), but just the point of it makes me think what the hell. He is not the champion. It doesn't make sense. I would understand if Randy Orton, since he is the champion, would get to make such a stipulation and have Cena and HHH wrestle the handicap match but then it would be no DQ it would just be HHH pinning and pedigree everyone and winning to show how great he is. This makes me sick! Then have him to stand atop Cena and Orton. I would wonder if HHH was a champion, and Randy Orton would make that type of stipulation would that sit right with him? Would he want to be laid out while Orton stands on top of him holding his belt? PLEASE, he would have a fit.

I think your right Todd Wrestlemania does not have that same build in my opinion. It feels like they are just going with this Mayweather angle and think they will make enough money just by the name itself. Which is obviously is dumb. There is no effort, no great storyline. Nothing!

6:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 17-2 match was ridiculous. I agree, it made the roster look bad. It also would've made more sense to do it during Orton's week and have the 2 faces go against the 17 wrestlers. Lousy booking for sure.

I didn't get the Punk-Carlito joke comment. Can you explain what the joke was?

9:09 AM  
Blogger brian said...

The Wrestlemania build isn't doing much for me either so far. Like last year, I'll probly watch it out of curiosity about the celebrity involvement and because it's Wrestlemania, but so far this year I was more excited about the Royal Rumble becuase they did such a good job building Jeff Hardy to the point where you actually thought he might win. Looking back, it's probably for the best that he didn't.

But surely there's only so many years that WWE can rely on the WM name to draw? It's big matches that made Wrestlemania special in the past, not more fireworks and more elaborate sets and entrances. And didn't WWE tone down the celeb involvement during the Rock/Austin era because it was the actual, y'know, wrestlers and matches that could sell the event?

10:41 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Carlito and Punk have had something of a backstage feud, which apparently goes back to Carlito hitting on Maria when she was seeing Punk. Carlito for no real reason on a house show ran down Punk in front of the crowd. So my thinking is somebody may have put together this match looking to have a little fun with Carlito.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Todd, there is still one week to go and they can still build for Mania on one show. Granted - not easy and the build has been like an old hack with a spluttering engine.

For me, I think the bookers are banking on Flair/Michaels to bring in the smarks. They know the result already as we all do, but having said that - being his last what will Flair bring out? And HBK is bound to help when needed as well just to make him look good. That match is not about the result. It'a about the quality and how Ric will go out, and I can't see it being anything less than a classic because Naitch deserves nothing less.

Honestly, the bomb for me is Show v Mayweather. I've hated it from the day it was announced and I've seen nothing to change that view.

As far as bringing in the marks is concerned, especially the ones who only get one or two pay perviews a year, it will be a struggle - especially with the main event. You'll get the Cena marks buying because Cena has also not lost at Mania yet. You'll get the haters also wanting to see him lose even if he doesn't get pinned (which I have a feeling might just happen but I could be wrong). Adding Trips as a tweener rather than a full blown face or heel is nothing more than a curiosity and that's not good because that's a key selling point.

The build to Edge/Taker has been a bit better although last week didn't really help.

It's also good that we have a battle royal for the first time since Mania 4 (I don't count the gimmick one) to give ECW a bit of notice.

What's not good is that yet again - the IC title is not being defended at Mania. You want BS? That's it!!

8:13 PM  
Blogger DW said...

hhh hater is right on the money. Todd, if you want to know the reason why they put all those men in against Orton and Cena only to have them lose, it wasn't because they weren't thinking, it's because they weren't thinking straight. It was all a setup for the selfish, egotistical Triple H to come away looking like a friggin' god again, cleaning up a ring that the entire roster fell to.

2:13 PM  

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