Monday, July 14, 2008

WWE Raw Report

Date: 07/14/08 from Raleigh, NC.

The Big News: A strong edition of Raw concluded with a silly angle.

Show Analysis:

Shane and Stephanie McMahon appeared at the beginning of the show, annoyed that their pleas for unity have been ignored. They reiterated this desire for unity, and threatened action if they are ignored. The premise that the owners of a wrestling company don’t want conflict on their show is pretty silly.

To show that they are still being ignored, the cameras immediately cut to a brawl between Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels. Kane then came out with a bag. He apologized to Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole and then left. As Mike Goldberg would say, that Kane is pure class. Less classy were Michaels and Jericho, who continued fighting backstage.

Mickie James beat Katie Lea. Katie pulled Mickie by the hair, and then we got what will make for the greatest gif in the history of the internet. The camera zoomed in really close on Katie’s cleavage as she seemingly smothered Mickie with her breasts (she had a headlock on). Words cannot do this mesmerizing sight justice. Anyway, Mickie came back with the huracanrana and Charlie Thesz press off the top for the pin.

Kofi Kingston beat Paul Burchill. After Katie and Mickie’s match, Katie and Paul Burchill went after Mickie. Kofi made the save and issued an impromptu challenge to set up this match with Mickie and Katie in the corners. Kofi used a series of leap frogs, a dropkick, punches, a clothesline, a side Ghanan leg sweep and a high leg drop. Katie got up on the apron, but Mickie pulled her off and Kofi hit trouble in paradise for the pin.

Santino and Matt Striker met backstage. Santino said he had an open invitation for the entire locker room to fight him, and that he would beat someone up. Kane showed up and asked Santino where CM Punk was. “Did you try the Pepsi machine,” responded Santino. I cackled in laughter. Kane found Punk, and said that he knows “he” is dead. Kane wanted Punk in the ring one-on-one. Punk accepted in order to prove himself. Punk asked Kane about the bag but Kane just laughed and walked off.

John Cena cut a promo backstage. JBL apparently challenged Cena to a New York City parking lot brawl in Long Island. Cena cut a serious promo about the match, putting it over as a horrible war where two men fight in a parking lot surrounded by cars. Cena talked about the violence of the match and threatened to do horrible things to JBL. He accepted the match and then challenged JBL and two partners to wrestle Cena and Cryme Tyme on Raw. He concluded, “You want some, come get some.”

This was a tremendous promo by Cena. The material was much better and the serious delivery works significantly better for him. He really needs to pattern himself more in this style than the annoying comedy they write for him. Cena is such a phenomenal performer that if they give him good stuff he will excel with it. I also really like the pairing of Cena with Cryme Tyme. It helps all three. Cena gets more credibility as a “street” character and Cryme Tyme are positioned as serious threats.

Santino came to the ring and wanted to know who had the canoles to accept his challenge. He said they would be deaf meat. Beth Phoenix of all people came out. She hit punches, a body slam, and after Santino missed a charge in the corner she rolled him up for the pin. I don’t know about turning Beth face. It’s not the right role for her.

Kelly Kelly came to the ring, but Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes interrupted her and told her to leave. So she left. Cody said that they aren’t bad people, but actually good people and better than their fathers. They reiterated that they are so talented they don’t have to pay dues. Hacksaw Jim Duggan came out, and said he has known them and their fathers for years. Duggan said that he always appreciated the people who paved the way. Duggan put Rhodes and DiBiase over as performers, but said as people they have got a lot of growing up to do.

Duggan started to leave, but Cody said, “Let’s talk about this.” He said that Duggan made some valid points, but then made fun of Duggan for being old and trying to relive glory days that weren’t all that glorious. DiBiase called Duggan pathetic and said that if anyone needs to grow up it’s Duggan. Duggan was very sad, and they left.

JBL appeared on the screen, and got DiBiase and Rhodes to team with him in the main event. Duggan did a great job here, both in what he said and his reactions to what Rhodes and DiBiase said. The putting down of Duggan was so much more effective than beat him up, and it was very smart of the writing team to recognize that would be the case.

CM Punk beat Kane via count out. They had a text poll on which champion is most at risk Sunday. They really pushed that it would be Punk, and the poll results agreed, which suggests Punk is retaining. Punk and Kane traded punches and kicks. Punk hit a roaring elbow, spinning back fist, high kick, enzuigiri, high knees and a crossbody off the top. Michael Cole made the baffling assertion that the longer the match went the more it would favor Kane. So he’s never watched an MMA fight. Or a boxing match. Or any sort of real physical competition.

Punk went for the GTS, but Kane escaped. Kane went for the choke slam, but Punk escaped. Punk hit a bulldog off the apron on Kane, and Kane was counted out. Kane threw chairs into the ring after the match and attacked Punk. He went to break Punk’s neck with a chair, but Batista made the save with a spear. Punk offered to shake hands, but Batista said he’s not Punk’s friend and was just protecting his title shot. Punk shoved Batista and Batista laid out Punk with a spine buster, further suggesting Punk’s title is safe for now.

Chris Jericho beat Paul London. Jericho hit a head butt, kick to the head, clothesline, double arm suplex into a back breaker, and applied the Walls for the tap. After the match Jericho cut a silly promo with a serious delivery. He said that London can follow Shawn Michaels’ path to deceit, lies, disgrace and pain or follow his road to honor, integrity and greatness. Michaels came out and said that while Jericho doesn’t know the meaning of righteousness or truth, he is right that at the Bash the worst is yet to come.

Jamie Noble backstage suggested to Layla that they could be Raw’s power couple. Layla said that she doesn’t date short men, so the rumors of Kevin Nash joining the WWE writing team may be true. Noble said he would prove himself by beating up the next guy to arrive. It was Snitsky, and Noble challenged Snitsky to a fight in the ring. In the ring Snitsky kicked Noble in the head and laid him out with a pump handle slam. Layla seemed sympathetic towards Noble so maybe they will get together.

John Cena and Cryme Tyme beat JBL, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase via DQ. The heels worked over Shad and then JTG, until Cena eventually tagged in. He hit shoulder blocks on Cody, and a Cena slam, five knuckle shuffle and FU on DiBiase. He followed with a top rope rocker dropper on Cody and applied the STFU. JBL broke this up with a kick and inexplicably he was disqualified. This was just as bad as that crappy Kofi/Jericho finish. We’ve seen tag partners break up a pin in every tag team match over the last 20 years and no one ever gets disqualified.

After the match, JBL called John Cena to follow him to the back. Cena pursued, and ended up wandering around the parking lot looking for JBL. JBL hit Cena from behind with a pipe, leaned him against a car, and supposedly tried to drive another car straight into Cena’s head. According to, Cena was “grazed” by the car and escaped. So fear not, John Cena is not in fact dead via JBL splattering his head apart with a car.

Final Thoughts:

I really liked this show. It was a fun, well-booked show pretty much across the board and a significant improvement from last week. There continues to be a push towards elevating new talent, and we’re starting to see some fruit from that initiative based on crowd reactions.

As for the concluding angle, I always hate the unbelievable vehicle angles. Nobody buys them, so rather than getting heat on the heels it just sends the message that the whole show is fake and thus undermines the matches you are trying to sell.

Finally a couple plugs. First, I’ll be blogging from Affliction Banned this weekend at, so you can check out my report on the show there. Second, I’ll be on Inside MMA this Friday on HDNet, so you can check that out too.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps I am incapable of suspending my disbelief. Perhaps I am blessed with a good memory. But am I the only one who was annoyed with the Batista-Punk confrontation.

Last week, in Raw's opening segment, Batista strolled to the ring to shake Punk's hand and congratulate him.

Last night, Batista blew off Punk's attempted handshake, saying, "I'm not your friend."

Would it have hurt Batista, with a cocky and dismissive look on his face, to shake Punk's hand? It would have gotten over the idea of Batista viewing Punk as a non-threat.

RE: The end of the show. Vehicular homicide always equals TV ratings and PPV buyrates. I know I believed Austin, HHH and Kane were dead after the trio's respective automobile incidents. It made me want to buy PPVs.

--Denis Gorman

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know...she doesn't get a lot of credit anywhere but here but Mickie James is one of the few stars that emerged in the WWE in the last few years who actually got there via incredible energy and character development over being pushed down our throats. The amount of time she pushed into getting herself over initially as a heel and later as a babyface has really paid off by the crowd reactions for her.

-- Devone Rush

10:39 AM  
Blogger Houston Mitchell said...

As far as Kane goes, do you think he's carrying around his old mask in his bag? The "Is he dead or is he alive" is referring to the old Kane. This ends with him walking into a fiery inferno and coming out as the old masked Kane.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

That's the theory that's going around some message boards. I'm not sure about the storyline itself, but as far as the things that could be in the bag, the mask makes more sense than almost anything I can think of.

10:03 AM  

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