Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Raw Report

Date: 07/21/08 from Uncasville, CT.

The Big News: Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix find each other oddly irresistible.

Show Analysis:

At the beginning of the show, Batista was shown leaving the production truck. There was no reference to Shane or Stephanie McMahon, which is odd given last week was clearly booked as if to set up an intervention this week. The episode description for Raw even said that the McMahons’ plan to reel in Raw would be revealed. I’m not sure why they changed plans.

Batista made his way to the ring and blamed Kane for costing him the title. He said that since Shane and Stephanie weren’t there, he was putting himself in charge and making Batista vs. CM Punk for the title. JBL appeared on the screen and pointed out Batista already had his title shot and didn’t win. JBL noted that he beat John Cena and said he deserves the next title shot at SummerSlam. Punk came out and said he wants to prove he can beat Batista, so he accepted the title match for Raw. JBL was livid but Batista had his mic cut.

Shawn Michaels’ music played, but the crowd sensed something was up because there wasn’t much of a pop. Lance Cade then came out and invited Michaels to join him. Cade defeated Paul London in a short match with a back breaker, shoulder block and sit down power bomb, and again called out Michaels. The announcers played up that Cade was trained by Michaels, but not that London was as well or that he was looking for revenge.

Cade called for Chris Jericho to join him. Jericho said that Michaels wasn’t coming, and that what happened to Michaels is on the fans. Michaels wanted to please the fans, and now his career is over with a detached retina that will prevent him from seeing properly for the rest of his life.

Jericho admonished the fans, saying he came back to save them but that they don’t deserve to be saved. Jericho said he is proud of what he did to Michaels, and that he is saved for getting rid of Michaels. Jericho was very good here. This program really has been booked perfectly for Bryan Danielson to come in with a big push immediately.

Beth Phoenix beat Kelly Kelly. Beth is still a heel, and it would be apparent later in the show where they were going with last week’s Beth/Santino angle. Beth slammed Kelly into the turnbuckle and hit a body slam. Kelly fought back with forearms, a whirly bird, and a dropkick. Kelly went for the handspring elbow but Beth caught her and set up for the glam slam. Kelly rolled out but Beth held on and hit the glam slam for the pin. They gave Kelly a surprising amount of offense here.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan announced that he is thinking about retirement. He said that he has had a great run, made a lot of friends, and survived cancer. However, he feels that Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes may be right that time has passed him by. The crowd didn’t want Duggan to quit, but Duggan said he just wanted to say thanks.

Jerry Lawler interrupted him, and said there is no age limit in WWE. Lawler posited that Duggan should continue for as long as he enjoys wrestling. Lawler noted Duggan’s presence gets people to chant U.S.A. This made Duggan happy. He said he doesn’t want to give up wrestling, and thanked Lawler.

This brought out the dastardly DiBiase and Rhodes. DiBiase made fun of Lawler for dating girls younger than him, and said both Lawler and Duggan need to retire. Rhodes said that when Duggan won the Royal Rumble he was two and a half and when Lawler slapped Andy Kaufman he wasn’t even born. Lawler offered to show him what the moment was like and slapped him. This was a great angle. Duggan has done a tremendous job the past two weeks.

John Cena and Cryme Tyme beat JBL, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase. The heels worked over JTG forever. JBL used a clothesline and shoulder block and DiBiase used a body slam and double foot stomp off the second rope. JTG finally tagged Cena who came in with the Cena slam on DiBiase and spear on JBL. JBL left and Cena hit the double FU on the tag champions for the pin.

I get that they wanted to put Cena over strong after last night, but I really disliked this finish. They are in the process of pushing DiBiase and Rhodes and this is the sort of loss that conditions fans not to take them seriously. If JBL was going to leave, they could have just booked Cryme Tyme and Cena to comically beat them up 3 on 2 and it wouldn’t do nearly the damage of Cena beating them by himself.

Katie Lea and Paul Burchill beat Kofi Kingston and Mickie James. Kofi did a bunch of his jumping moves, but Katie distracted him and Paul hit a chop block. Paul worked over Kofi’s leg. Kofi went for a kick on Burchill but hit the ring post on the outside, and Paul hit a neck breaker for the pin.

Jamie Noble and Layla were chatting backstage. Batista wanted to find Kane. Noble kind of blew him off, so Batista choked Noble and told him to let Kane know that he is looking for him. Elsewhere, Punk said he doesn’t want to hold onto his title through technicalities. If he goes down, he wants to go down swinging. JBL interrupted and said that at SummerSlam he plans on wrestling the champion. Punk pointed out his first successful title defense came against JBL.

Santino came to the ring and said that his challenge last week was to men, not women. He challenged any man to come fight him. D-Lo Brown made his return. He didn’t get much of a reaction, although he did get some chants during the match. D-Lo hit a slam, leg drop, clothesline and the frog splash for the pin. After the match, Beth attacked Santino. They struggled for a while, and then they kissed. They then both backed off, confused by this turn of events.

Batista beat CM Punk via disqualification. Kane attacked Batista before the match and gave him a choke slam. Punk made the save and knocked Kane out of the ring. The match started and Punk did well for himself. He hit kicks, forearms, elbows, knees, a neck breaker and a bulldog. Batista responded with a spine buster and spear.

JBL then ran in for the DQ and gave Batista the clothesline from Hell. Cena came out to fight JBL but accidentally nailed Batista. Batista went for the Batista bomb on Cena and Cena went for the FU on Batista. Neither man succeeded and they had a pull apart brawl at the conclusion of the show.

Final Thoughts:

This was a decidedly average, cookie-cutter version of Raw. It felt booked mostly just to maintain the status quo. It wasn’t a bad show by any means, but it was uneventful. It would appear they are setting up a multi-person title match for SummerSlam. Perhaps there will be a 6 man Hell in a Cell. Finally, if they want to get Punk over, they are going to eventually need to start putting him over. This role of continually getting lucky is not doing him any favors.


Blogger Patrick said...

I am starting to get the sense that the crowd doesn't believe in CM Punk. I also get the feeling that the wwe isn't going to put him over and that he truly is a transitional champion. Off topic, I thought that the Santino stuff was awesome this week. Both him and Beth acted that scene out very well and the crowd loved it.

12:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

C.M. Emasculated.

That's what WWE's booking has done to Punk.

--Denis Gorman

6:13 AM  
Anonymous the masterbater said...

So what is this I hear a push for Bryan Danielson?? Is he coming to the WWE? I heard he was in dark matches but I didn't know he was actually going to be a part of an angle here.

6:41 AM  
Anonymous mike said...

A coupel of thoughts:

1: Punk will almost assuredly be a transitional champion. The way they are booking him is awful. Might as well just take the belt off him now and get this over with.

2: The Jericho segment and Santino-Pheonix was great.

3: Todd, great job on Inside MMA on Friday. Too bad the guy to your left barely spoke. Was he stoned or something?

4: Todd, you said: "Kofi did a bunch of his jumping moves, but Katie distracted him and Paul hit a chop block." I can't blame Kofi, Katie distracts me too. Good God, she's hot.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Even if WWE does want fans to take Punk seriously as champion, it's certainly not the message that is going to come across to the average fan.

The Danielson observation by me was not a suggestion that Danielson is coming in, or even speculation to that effect. I was just pointing out that the way they have done the angle has set up a perfect spot for Danielson to come in with a prominent position and get over quickly.

Katie Lea is not only hot, but she has tremendous charisma that makes her even more attractive. I'm not even sure what it is.

Thanks for the kind words on Inside MMA. The guy on my left, Roy Nelson, is actually a very bright guy. I was speaking with him before the show and he had a tremendous understanding of the business of MMA, more than the vast majority of fighters I have spoken with. I think perhaps him not speaking as much is more due to me and Thomas Denny speaking more unfortunately.

11:27 AM  

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