Monday, April 28, 2008

Raw Report

Date: 04/28/08 from East Rutherford, NJ.

The Big News: You people disrespected me, so you don’t get to read about the big news.

Show Analysis:

HHH came out to start the show and said the Age of Orton is dead and the Game is back. Randy Orton intervened, and said the odds were stacked against him. HHH pointed out Orton was very confident before the match. Orton said he is a victim of his own success, because he was so dominant they wouldn’t put him against anyone one-on-one.

HHH said the three person and four person matches benefited Orton, who could sit back and capitalize on other people’s work. Orton said he would invoke his rematch clause at Judgment Day. HHH said people are tired of Orton’s talk, and told him to leave the ring. Orton refused, so HHH hit him with the microphone. An angry Orton changed his mind and said he would invoke his rematch clause for Raw.

Mickie James, Maria, Kelly Kelly, Cherry, Michelle McCool and Ashley beat Beth Phoenix, Melina, Victoria, Natalya, Layla and Jillian Hall. Despite involving 12 women again, only five or so really did anything. The women brawled at the beginning, leaving Beth and Kelly in the ring. Beth gave Kelly a tree slam, Melina gave her a DDT, and Jillian went for a handspring elbow but was blocked. Kelly tagged Mickie, who used punches, a huracanrana, a Thesz press, and a rollup on Jillian for the pin.

JBL beat Highlander Robbie. Highlander Rory was at ringside, and backed off when JBL challenged him. JBL destroyed Robbie with punches, kicks, elbows, a back suplex, and a clothesline from Hell for the pin. I was having flashbacks to a Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw squash from 1996. After the match, JBL said that John Cena robbed him of the title. He vowed to destroy Cena and then take back the title.

Paul London and Brian Kendrick beat Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch. Cade used a high back drop on London, and Murdoch hit an elbow. London tagged Kendrick, who hit a flying forearm and dropkick on Cade. Cade hit a clothesline to take back over, but Kendrick abruptly rolled up Murdoch for the pin. The rednecks argued after the match. Murdoch took a microphone and sung that he’s got friends in low places. He was booed at first, but cheered when he finished. He was pretty damn good, and apparently will be the face coming out of this. I’m all for more of Murdoch singing.

Paul and Katie Lea Burchill beat Super Crazy in a handicap match. Paul dropped a knee, and Katie hit an elbow and kick. Katie missed a kick, and Crazy used a huracanrana on Paul. He went for a moonsault on Paul, but he missed. Katie then hit a dropkick off the top and Paul finished Crazy with the curb stomp. Katie took the pin.

Next up was the coronation of King Regal. He said he wouldn’t relinquish his general manager post, and that as GM and king he is the most powerful entity in WWE. He said xenophobia and jealousy will prevent the audience from liking him, but they will have no choice but to respect and fear him.

Mr. Kennedy interrupted, and said he couldn’t congratulate Regal given Kennedy wasn’t even invited to participate in the tournament. Regal said nobody talks to him unless granted an appointment, and told Kennedy to apologize. Kennedy instead said that he’s Mr. Kennedy. Regal responded by punching him in the mouth and apparently busting him open hardway. Kennedy and Regal got into a fight. They added a new harder edge to Regal, which is encouraging.

Cody Rhodes beat Santino Marella. Before the match, Santino bashed the Sopranos for their fake Italian stereotypes and phony accents. Santino hit kicks and punches, and Cody missed a springboard crossbody. Santino used a judo throw and camel clutch, but Cody escaped with the electric chair. Cody went for a bulldog, but Santino escaped. Cody then hit a DDT for the pin. After the match, Cody was going to badmouth Santino, but Carlito shut him up with the back stabber.

Chris Jericho was in a tuxedo for an award edition of the Highlight Reel. The award was for best actor in sports entertainment. The nominees were Mr. Fuji and Don Muraco for Fuji General, Michael Cole for Deliverance Part II (Heidenreich molesting him) and Shawn Michaels for pretending he had a knee injury to beat Batista. He announced Shawn as the winner.

Shawn limped out. Jericho said that nobody goes from pious preacher to backstabbing bastard as quickly as Shawn. Jericho congratulated Shawn, told them to play Shawn’s music, and left. This was a nice close to the segment, with Shawn looking upset. They need to better define Jericho’s motivations, which I just don’t get. After the match, Santino made fun of Roddy Piper so Piper slapped him.

HHH and Randy Orton fought to a no contest. HHH hit a clothesline, and ran Orton into the post. He worked on Orton’s shoulder and arm. Orton kicked HHH in the face, and applied a long headlock. Orton hit the Garvin stomp and sent HHH into the steps. HHH fired back with punches and a face buster. Orton retaliated with a power slam and back breaker. HHH hit a superplex, and applied the crossface.

At that point, we saw William Regal in the production truck. He said that the people disrespected him, so they don’t deserve to see the finish of the match. He told a production guy to take it off the air. We got a few more seconds of audio with no picture, and then it just cut out altogether.

Final Thoughts:

I’ll wait until at least next week to decide what to make of the ending of the show. I think as a general proposition, you don’t want to have fans feel like they were screwed out of what they were promised. That doesn’t mean that you always deliver what fans expect, but it shouldn’t feel like the promotion promised something and then screwed fans out of it. No matter how clever the concept may seem, that emotion hurts business.

Of course, the idea here is clearly to transfer the heat to William Regal. We’ll see how that goes. I would like to see Regal be given a more prominent position, so maybe this will pay off in that regard. Or maybe it will just lead to frustration towards the company. Let’s just call this the NFL draft version of Raw, and we’ll evaluate what to make of it with the benefit of hindsight.


Anonymous tyson k said...

Orton and Hunter went like 22 minutes or so. Even though there were some dragging parts with lots of rest holds, it was a good TV match. The Regal thing was interesting... but I definitely felt a little baited and switched. But, I guess I shouldn't have expected a clean finish on TV between these 2.

I noticed they were in Jersey tonight. As the match went on, the crowd became more pro-Orton, and I started noticing some definite boo's towards Trips.

I think they ended Orton's reign too early. Some people will say there's no new contenders for him, but the same problem is on all the brands, so maybe a switch-em-up was in order instead of taking the belt off him.

People seem to be more pro-Orton as time goes on. I get the feeling Triple H as champion will burn out his fan-base quickly. I doubt WWE could execute this, but it would be REALLY cool I think to see Orton and Triple H do a double-turn. They tried this back in 2004 as you can remember, which failed. But I think if they did it in a more natural and less forced way, it would be awesome.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

I noticed the light boos for HHH as well.

HHH may be better suited as a heel, but I really don't think Orton works as a face. He has an unlikable quality about him that always comes through.

1:03 AM  
Anonymous tyson k said...

I think Orton will have to turn face eventually, but it will be when the crowd noticeably is cheering him more and more (to the point they can't sweep it under the rug).

If Orton turned face naturally just through people thinking he's a cool asshole (sort of how Rock was turning face on his own in 1998), instead of trying to make the crowd laugh and cater to them (like in 2004), I think it could work.

But, my perception on this is probably skewed, as I've become a huge Orton fan since last year (especially since October).

Sorry for the horribly constructed sentences, but it's pretty late here.

2:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, did anyone have any WCW flashbacks at the end? I remember it seemed like every WCW main event on Nitro went off the air with the match still going.

I also think Muraco and Fuji should've been nominated for Fuji Vice, clearly their best work.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Bobcat said...

Fuji hospital clearly deserved the best actor award.

Do you think the crowd is going to start liking Santino soon? The man is hilarious. If it doesn't work out in wrestling he should go into movies.

8:27 AM  
Blogger brian said...

Shawn deserved best actor award for his post-Montreal performance

3:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you guys think went on with Adamle and Taz yesterday? Was that a work?

7:43 AM  
Anonymous Steve Khan said...

Santino Marella will get the biggest reaction of his career from a North American crowd next week in Toronto.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Bobcat said...

How many fans know he's Canadian, though? Don't even most Canadian fans think of him as Italian?

3:32 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

I don't know if Canadians know Santino he was born there, but they're ahead of the curve as far as cheering the best performers heel or face, so I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him get a big positive reaction.

The Adamle/Tazz stuff was a work. Weird work, but work.

4:16 PM  

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