Monday, August 25, 2008

WWE Raw Report

Date: 08/25/08 from Wilkes-Barre, PA.

The Big News: For the second week in a row, a strong Shawn Michaels/Chris Jericho segment overshadowed the rest of a largely bad edition of Raw.

Show Analysis:

CM Punk beat JBL. Michael Cole began to explain the rules of the scramble match by noting, “The rules are quite simple.” After 30 seconds of explanation, Jerry Lawler noted that he was still confused, but that the rules are available on for people to read and digest. Lawler then asked Cole to clarify the rules for him.

JBL started with slugging blows on Punk. Punk retaliated with a variety of kicks, a tope, and a crossbody off the top. JBL got offense of his own with a big boot, fall away slam, bear hug and abdominal stretch. JBL then brought back the human torture rack, which will always be the rebel rack to me.

Punk hit a tornado DDT, springboard clothesline, high knee and bulldog. Punk went for the GTS, but JBL escaped and hit the clothesline from hell for a two count. An exasperated JBL brought a chair into the ring, but the referee took it away and Punk hit a weak-looking (but safe) GTS for the pin. It was smart of them to give the champion Punk a solid win after he was pinned last week.

Mike Adamle announced that John Cena has a herniated disc in his “necks” from the Batista match, and will be out indefinitely. He promised to announce a worthwhile replacement for the Raw scramble match. Kane cut a promo backstage saying that what Batista did to Cena is nothing compared to what he did to Rey Mysterio.

Backstage, Adamle met with Primo Colon, and apologized for last week. Primo said that he is nothing like Carlito, who he labeled a jerk. Primo said he is a better man than Carlito, which made Adamle smile. Shawn Michaels showed up, looking for Chris Jericho. It struck me here that they should have milked this angle a little longer. It feels too soon for Michaels to be back after the angle with his wife. I would have called an audible, but Jericho in the scramble, and held off Michaels-Jericho for October.

Kelly Kelly beat Beth Phoenix. Kelly used la magistral for a near fall. Kelly busted up Beth’s nose badly with a kick. That Kelly Kelly is a shooter. Kelly went for a handspring elbow, but Santino pulled Beth out of the way. Beth got mad at Santino for that and as she was yelling at Santino Kelly rolled her up for the pin. A livid Beth attacked Santino for comedy after the match.

Primo Colon beat Charlito (Charlie Haas in Carlito attire). Primo hit a huracanrana. Charlito used a knee lift and clothesline. Primo hit a clothesline and did a goofy dance that just isn’t going to fly for a WWE face in 2008. He followed that with a monkey flip. Charlito went for the back stabber, but Primo got out and hit a crossbody off the top for the pin.

Shawn Michaels came to the ring and said that his wife is tough and she will be okay. He said he came to SummerSlam to thank the people and his wife was there to support him. She got punched in the face and Jericho blamed her. Michaels said that when he looked in his wife’s eyes, he knew he wasn’t going anywhere.

Michaels and Jericho have done all the little things in this angle right, but I really think he should have said that he knew he had to come back to get revenge on Jericho as opposed to knowing that he would continue wrestling more broadly. Framing it as a pseudo-last stand (without explicitly saying that) is more dramatic and bankable.

Chris Jericho appeared on the screen, and said that Michaels was lucky Jericho was at WWE studios because if he was at Raw he would destroy Michaels like he did the last time. Jericho continued that if they wrestle again it will be worse. Jericho said that Michaels will try to sue him for the beating. Michaels said that if he does what he wants to Jericho he will be thrown in jail. Michaels agreed to waive all liability, so they settled on an unsanctioned match. Michaels said he will never forgive Jericho and at Unforgiven it will be eye for an eye. This was a very good segment.

Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase beat Jerry Lawler and Hacksaw Jim Duggan. It’s too bad there was such a break before this match took place, because Duggan and Lawler did a tremendous job building it. The heels worked over Lawler, who eventually pulled down the strap, made his comeback, and tagged Duggan. Duggan came in with clotheslines and hit the three point stance on DiBiase, but Rhodes broke up the pin. DiBiase then hit the cobra clutch leg sweep for the pin.

After the match, Cody Rhodes vowed that they would get back their titles from Cryme Tyme. He added that Cryme Tyme will never win the titles. Cryme Tyme showed up, and said that they borrowed the belts because they weren’t getting a title shot. They asked for a title shot at Unforgiven, and the tag champions agreed.

Santino Marella beat Kofi Kingston. Kofi hit a dropkick and European uppercut, but missed a springboard crossbody. Santino used an abdominal stretch, but Kofi escaped and hit the side Ghanan leg sweep and high double leg drop. Santino started to leave, but Beth came to the ring and told him to get in there and fight. Beth then tripped Kofi, who fell and was knocked out on Santino’s knee. Santino covered for the pin. Beth backed Santino into the corner, but she kissed him. Santino returned the favor. This was a fun segment.

They did a Smackdown Your Vote segment from the Democratic Convention. This is a big year for Smackdown Your Vote. If they don’t endorse one of the presidential candidates, it will only be a minority of elections that they have endorsed a presidential candidate since instituting their bipartisan voting campaign. Mike Adamle also announced Rey Mysterio for the scramble match. Sticking his return in a multi-person match is stupid and desperate.

Batista beat Kane via DQ. They traded punches. Kane went after Batista’s leg, and worked it over for approximately five hours. Batista applied a fully extended arm bar. Kane sat in it, grabbed the ropes, and sold this arm bar by shaking his hand. The man needs to fight Frank Mir.

Batista hit a powerslam and spine buster, but Kane attacked Batista’s leg with a chair for the DQ. Batista gained control and attacked Kane’s leg with a chair as well. This was a painfully boring match. It was the worst long match on Raw in a very long time. And it didn’t feel like a main event at all. I didn’t even realize it was the final segment until they went off the air.

Final Thoughts:

This was not a good show. The main event was really bad, Cena’s absence was notable, and there wasn’t much that advanced stories in a positive direction. Jericho/Michaels continues to be the clear highlight of Raw, with Santino always livening up the midcard.

Monday, August 18, 2008

WWE Raw Report

Date: 08/18/08 from Chicago, IL.

The Big News: WWE announced the main event for Unforgiven, and it’s TNA-rific.

Show Analysis:

Chris Jericho opened the show. He said he was not there to apologize, and that Shawn Michaels should apologize for what happened to his wife. They then zoomed to Keith Lipinski in the crowd. Dr. Keith gives Jericho the thumbs down but gives WWE putting him on camera the thumbs up. Keith also did nothing to plug this website, so I really think Bryan should fire him.

Jericho posited that Michaels should have sent in a letter of resignation rather than come out to get the fans to beg him not to leave. Jericho thus concluded the fans are also responsible for what happened. Jericho said that Michaels’ last time in a WWE ring was spent cradling his injured wife and knowing that he was responsible. Jericho said Michaels tarnished his legacy forever and that Michaels will have to live with that. This was a really good follow-up to the excellent angle last night.

Batista beat Paul Burchill in a quick squash. Batista hit the spear and the Batista bomb for the pin. Backstage, Mike Adamle was about to introduce Primo (Eddie) Colon, but as Primo started to talk Adamle saw John Cena and ran away to say something to Cena. I just don’t get why they bury guys before they even have a chance to get over. Why even bother signing someone if you think so little of them that you purposely humiliate them in their first appearance?

Adamle went to talk to Cena, but Cena blew him off and walked into Batista. Cena told Batista that the previous night was a great match and that the better man won. They shook hands. Cena then noted “that was last night.” Evidently Cena is expecting next time will go differently.

Mickie James and Kelly Kelly beat Jillian Hall and Katie Lea. Poor Katie can’t catch a break. The heels teamed up for an electric chair on Kelly. Jillian stood on Kelly’s hair and threw Kelly by the hair. Katie hit a back breaker. Kelly tagged Mickie, who came in with a spinning head scissors, clotheslines, enzuigiri and neck breaker on Katie. Katie rolled up Mickie and grabbed the tights, but only got a two. Mickie then hit the implant DDT for the pin.

JBL defeated Jamie Noble via ref stoppage. They exchanged punches, but JBL soon took over. He hit a fall away slam, and followed with stiff punches, kicks and elbows. He hit three clotheslines from hell and covered. That led to a bizarre finish, as rather than count three, the referee counted one and then stopped his count and ruled the match over. I’m fine with referee stoppages, but a ref stoppage when one guy has the pin is non-sensical and completely idiotic. Jamie Noble did a great job selling here.

Mike Adamle came out to announce Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk for Raw, and said that Shane and Stephanie McMahon made the Unforgiven main event. It will be a “championship scramble,” with Punk, JBL, Kane, Batista and Cena in a five man, twenty minute match. The title changes hands whenever anyone pins anyone else, and whoever scored the last pin at the end of the twenty minutes is champion.

This is such a stupid idea. It’s like one of TNA’s moronic gimmick matches even down to the TNA name. It’s convoluted and gimmicky, and will mean less than just having a singles match. Throwing out random gimmicks devalues when you have an actual gimmick that means something. Passing around the title devalues the title. And determining the champion based on whoever last had control at the end of a 20 minute time limit feels arbitrary and inconclusive. I really hate this gimmick.

John Cena beat Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes. Before the match, Cryme Tyme came out and stole the tag team belts. Of course, if you can’t beat a man 2 on 1, isn’t he the rightful tag team champions anyway? DiBiase hit punches, a dropkick, a fist drop and a suplex. DiBiase used a side Russian leg sweep, and sent Cena into the barricade and steps.

Cena came back with a suplex on DiBiase and punches. Cole called the punches ground and pound. I guess that makes Mirko Cro Cop a great ground and pound fighter, but hey, it’s better than Cro Cop being a great pound and grounder. Cena followed with shoulder blocks, the Cena slam and five knuckle shuffle on Rhodes. He knocked DiBiase out of the ring and applied the STFU on Rhodes for the submission.

This was two straight segments I really hated. At least they gave DiBiase and Rhodes a lot of offense, but it totally and unnecessarily buries your tag team champions when they lose a handicap match. They could have just done what they did with Batista or JBL. Or hell, just have a long match where Ted DiBiase has tons of success against John Cena, but Cena beats him clean at the end. Fans are left thinking that DiBiase is a guy with a lot of upside, but Cena’s just better now.

The irony is that they probably think they are putting Cena over strong, but really the win would mean more if he won a hard fought singles match because the handicap match just teaches the fans that the opponents were jokes. The handicap matches I used to think were done to intentionally bury people, but I think maybe they’re just so stupid they don’t know any better.

They aired a video clip from last night. Michaels was questioned about his wife. Well, actually, they just zoomed in on her lip. In any event, Michaels said he would go home and comfort his wife and kids. He added “and then…” but trailed off. This was a phenomenal, phenomenal performance by Michaels. This is an old school wrestling feud, where you really want to see the face get his revenge on this heel. They went to CM Punk, who said he would hold Jericho accountable for what he did.

D-Lo Brown beat Santino Marella via DQ. Kofi Kingston did commentary. D-Lo hit a body slam and leg drop. He went for the frog splash, but Beth Phoenix came in the ring and stood in front of Santino. D-Lo told her to get to stepping, so she slapped him for the DQ. D-Lo slapped Santino, hit a back drop, and clotheslined him out of the ring. Kofi dropped Santino on the table. Beth helped Santino to the back, while Santino hilariously declared that he is still champion and D-Lo is stupid.

Kane came out for a promo. He said he carried around his bag for a while, and it comforted him and put a smile on his face. Sort of like Tim Sylvia and his UFC title. At least he didn’t kill Jens Pulver when he lost it. Kane then described how much he hates Rey Mysterio. The promo was filled with lots on *how much* he hates Rey, but very little on *why*. I guess he’s just crazy.

In any event, he called Rey a slime who hides behind a mask and a fungus that grows in the marshes of your psyche. Okay. Kane said six weeks ago he figuratively eviscerated Rey. He said that Rey is still physically alive, but that Rey’s spirit is crushed. Batista came out and fought with Kane. Batista hit a spear, but when he went for the Batista bomb Kane attacked his leg and hit a choke slam.

Chris Jericho pinned CM Punk. It was in Chicago, so Punk got a nice reaction and proceeded to lose in relatively clean fashion. Jericho hit a clothesline and back breaker. Punk retaliated with a high kick, butterfly suplex into a back breaker and high knee. Jericho escaped the bulldog, hit the lionsault, and applied the Walls. Punk got out and hit the high knee and bulldog. Punk was distracted by Lance Cade at that point. Jericho hit Punk from behind and used the code breaker for the pin.

Final Thoughts:

This show was terribly booked. It was one of the worst booked shows of the year. It buried people, it had segments that made no sense, and it did little to make me interested in anything they have coming up. I feel like WWE has been booked very competently this year, but this reminded me of Raw editions in previous years where the foolishness of the booking left me angry.

The one shining bright spot is the Michaels/Jericho program, which is just on an entirely different plane of existence from the rest of this show. Michaels vs. Jericho is the best put-together wrestling feud since Batista vs. HHH. The term “money program” gets thrown around in describing pro wrestling, but I think for the most part a money program is a dated concept in WWE.

WWE puts together big shows with big stars, and draws based on the names of those stars and the names of those shows. The notion of a money program where people pay their money to see the culmination of a personal issue between two people is something that I don’t think really exists for the most part anymore in pro wrestling. Batista/HHH to me was the last program that had that feel.

Jericho/Michaels has that feel. If there are still wrestling fans who order pay-per-views because they have to know who is going to win a specific match, this match should be able to pop a substantial buy rate. And the match is going to be the perfect test of whether that type of pro wrestling fan still exists, or whether that’s exclusively UFC’s audience now. In short, Jericho vs. Michaels is a money program if in fact such a thing still exists.

Next week, WWE has announced that Raw will be on the Sci-Fi Network at 9. However, my DVR says that Raw will not be on Sci-Fi here and will instead air on USA at 11 (despite the US Open not being on at 9 on USA). Anyway, if Raw is on here at 9, the report will be up at the normal time. If it comes on at 11, it will probably come on Tuesday. Oddly enough, the week after, Raw is listed at both 6 and 9 on USA, so the report may come in earlier that week.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

WWE Raw Report

Date: 08/11/08 from Richmond, VA.

The Big News: SummerSlam is Sunday, and the Raw focus was on Batista vs. John Cena.

Show Analysis:

John Cena came out to start the show and said that while he may not have an issue with Batista he does have a match with Batista. He called Batista to the ring, and told Batista that they needed to work together on Raw. Cena said that at SummerSlam they will meet and it is six years in the making.

Cena said he has been watching Batista, and that Batista was groomed for success in a way that he wasn’t. He said that Sunday he will prove he is the better man. Batista responded that he has been watching Cena too. He noted that they have both won Rumbles, both won WrestleMania main events, and both won titles. Batista said he respects Cena, but wouldn’t do some of the things Cena does and he understands why people over the age of 15 would like to see him beat Cena senseless.

Batista asserted that Sunday he will prove he is better. They shook hands. This segment was okay, but it felt like there was something missing. The fact that the match feels tremendously rushed is a significant part of that.

Beth Phoenix beat Kelly Kelly in a brief but very sloppy match. Kelly slapped Beth, but Beth took over with kicks. Beth went for a press slam but Kelly reversed into a rollup. Beth caught her with the glam slam for the pin. Santino did commentary and put over the Beth and Santino couple as “Glamarella.” Beth went to attack Kelly after the match, but Mickie James and Kofi Kingston made the save. Santino challenged Mickie to a match, and Mickie accepted.

Santino Marella beat Mickie James. Mickie dominated the match with a drop toehold, spanking, arm drag and kicks. However, Santino got into it with Kofi, and that gave Beth an opportunity to jump in the ring and throw Mickie into the post. Santino grabbed the tights, scored the pin and celebrated triumphantly. This was fun.

Backstage, Kane met with Mike Adamle. Adamle told Kane that there wasn’t a spot on SummerSlam for him or Chris Jericho, so they would be wrestling on Raw in a SummerSlam match. This was a total TNA moment – non-sensical stipulation that doesn’t mean anything anyway. At least there were no poles involved.

Adamle told Kane that he would also have to show what’s in the bag. Adamle said that he doesn’t want kids going back to school carrying around bags mimicking Kane. Why this is undesirable or why children would do such a thing went unexplained. In any event, Kane told Adamle that he was making a big mistake.

Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase cut a promo backstage. Cody talked about how they are a team while Cena and Batista can’t stand each other. DiBiase asserted that their careers are further along than any Hall of Famers at their age. DiBiase said next year it could easily be him against DiBiase in the SummerSlam main event. DiBiase said that they would win back the tag titles. What ever happened to their feud with Hacksaw Jim Duggan, by the way?

Cryme Tyme beat the Highlanders in a quick match. Shad and JTG hit shoulder blocks. Rory pushed JTG over the ropes and threw him into the ring apron. Shad quickly got the hot tag and came in with clotheslines, a face first suplex and an STO for the pin.

JBL called out CM Punk for a competition. He berated Punk, but Punk cut him off and told him to shut up. Punk said that he’s the champ because he earned it. He added that retaining the title at SummerSlam will be the crowning achievement of his career and he will prove he is the man. JBL called him Cinderella and said fairy tales aren’t real. JBL noted that WrestleMania was a huge stage and Punk came up big there, but he doesn’t have much time left.

JBL asserted that he can beat Punk at anything, and challenged him to a whiskey drinking contest. JBL said he would concede victory if Punk took just one shot. Punk responded that he would not compromise his beliefs. JBL said that he would toast the end of Punk’s title run, at which point Punk had a change of heart. He toasted to JBL and then threw the whiskey in JBL’s face. He followed with a high knee.

This segment was good, but I don’t know about booking an angle where the face refuses to drink on moral grounds. The straight edge gimmick isn’t really a face gimmick. It worked the best by far when he was a heel feuding with Raven, so I wouldn’t really emphasize that aspect of the character until he eventually turns heel.

Chris Jericho beat Kane. Lance Cade distracted Kane and allowed Jericho to hit a springboard dropkick. Jericho went for the Walls but Kane fought out and hit a side slam. Kane used a clothesline off the top and went for the choke slam when Adamle came out with security. Kane was distracted and grabbed the bag, which allowed Jericho to hit the code breaker for the pin.

Adamle got in the ring and said he knew what was in the bag and what was meant by “is he alive or dead.” Adamle explained that Kane is “he” and said that Kane can exorcise his demons and live a normal life. He told Kane to hand over the bag. Kane said that there is indeed a mask in the bag, and the man who wore it has been scarred and tortured beyond all human recognition. However, it was not Kane’s mask. Kane opened the bag and it was Rey Mysterio’s mask. Kane chuckled and walked off.

This whole angle was kind of silly, but we’ll see where they go from here. Rey’s last appearance on Raw was the same week as Kane flipping out and asking “is he alive or dead,” so evidently Kane jumped Rey and did unspeakable things to him in the middle of that show.

William Regal beat Jamie Noble in a good, short match. Regal hit forearms and knees. Noble came back with a somersault senton into the corner and crossbody off the top. Regal retaliated with a powerslam and running knee to the head for the pin.

Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes beat Batista and John Cena. Cena and Batista disagreed about who would start, and the heels took the opportunity to jump Cena. Cena fought them off and did the “you can’t see me” to Batista before hitting the five knuckle shuffle on Rhodes. The heels briefly took over and Cena tagged back in Batista, which allowed Batista to give Cena the thumbs down and go for the Batista bomb on DiBiase. Cena stopped that, and Rhodes hit a chop block.

Batista hit a powerslam and tagged in Cena with a slap to the face. Cena got in Batista’s face. DiBiase rammed them together and rolled up Cena for the pin. After the match Cena and Batista fought off the tag champs. Batista called Cena back to the ring. Security came out and they had a pull apart brawl to close the show.

Final Thoughts:

This show was fine. Of course, one would hope for more than fine in the final Raw before a major pay-per-view. This year WWE has usually had very good shows heading into pay-per-views which made this mid-level show kind of surprising. It was an entertaining enough show, but it didn’t get me excited about any matches on the pay-per-view. They really blew it by rushing to Cena vs. Batista. You only get one chance to do a first match. It’s not going to mean all that much at SummerSlam, and it could have been huge at a future WrestleMania with a proper build.

Monday, August 04, 2008

WWE Raw Report

Date: 08/04/08 from Knoxville, TN.

The Big News: JBL earned a title shot against CM Punk at SummerSlam, while Batista and John Cena captured the tag team titles.

Show Analysis:

Mike Adamle appeared on the stage to start the show. He had reading glasses on so he could consult and read off the script from time to time. That certainly isn’t a great vote of confidence in him. He was booed and there were chants of “you suck.” Adamle talked about a man who wasn’t taken seriously and wasn’t doing a good job. But he was referring to Ronald Reagan, who he claimed turned out to be one of the best presidents.

Adamle noted that sometimes first impressions can be deceiving. He mentioned how he misidentified Jeff Hardy as Jeff Harvey. Adamle noted that everyone makes mistakes but the important thing is that we grow from them. He wants an opportunity, and announced there would be three title matches on Raw including Batista and John Cena vs. Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase.

JBL came out. He congratulated Adamle and said that Adamle is a born winner. JBL then lobbied for a title shot against CM Punk at SummerSlam. Chris Jericho interrupted and wanted the title shot himself. They argued about it, and Adamle ended up making JBL and Jericho vs. Punk. If Jericho or JBL won, that individual would get a title shot. If Punk won, neither would get a title shot. If the ten minute time limit expired, there would be a triple threat.

This segment was fine as a self-contained segment, but it didn’t portend particularly well for Adamle’s future as GM. The gimmick of an incompetent GM subtly undermines the programs you are putting together, and the reality of an incompetent guy playing GM is even worse. But for a first week performance, this definitely could have been worse.

Kofi Kingston beat Paul Burchill to retain the Intercontinental title. Katie Lea provided a distraction, and Paul hit stomps and a neck breaker. Kingston retaliated with kicks, a springboard crossbody, the side Ghanan leg sweep, the high knee drop and trouble in paradise for the pin.

I noticed during this match that Michael Cole faithfully follows Vince McMahon’s edict and calls very few moves. It seemed like Jerry Lawler was calling as many moves as Cole. Michael Cole also got in his reference to John Cena as the master of the pound and ground. Well, at least he didn’t call him the master of the pray and lay.

Mickie James beat Katie Lea to retain the women’s title. James hit a Thesz press of the apron, punches, a huracanrana, elbows and a neck breaker. Katie used a jaw breaker and northern lights suplex for a near fall. However, James then hit the implant DDT for the pin. This result was kind of surprising given they seemed to have been grooming Katie for the women’s title and she has lost to Mickie a number of times now. Moreover, Mickie dominated the match.

Beth Phoenix jumped Mickie after the match and hit the glam slam. Santino came out to applaud and exchanged ass grabs with Beth. They then went to Adamle’s office, and asked for title shots at SummerSlam. Adamle said there was only room for one of those matches, and they would have to decide which.

Santino said he wanted what Beth wanted, to see him as the Intercontinental champion. Beth said she didn’t want that, and wanted a women’s title match. Santino laughed and said he didn’t want to be women’s champion. Adamle ended up making Kofi and Mickie vs. Santino and Beth for both titles in a winner take all match. This was a very funny segment. Beth’s facial expressions are tremendous. She was hilarious in reacting to Santino.

Batista and Cena cut promos backstage. Batista said he liked the idea of a title match, but didn’t like teaming with Cena. He said he would rather compete for the world title. He told Cena to stay out of his way. Cena, meanwhile, talked about how good Batista is. He said that one of them needs to step up and prove who is best. As for the night, Cena felt they would either win or lose and tear each other to pieces. Cena hoped for victory.

They aired a “ exclusive” on television with Jamie Noble asking Layla out. Layla said Noble’s always getting his butt whipped and she doesn’t associate with losers. Layla was then dancing in the ring, and William Regal interrupted her. You can most certainly guess what happened next. Noble came out and had a tremendous pull-apart brawl with Regal. This was one of the better pull-apart brawls you will ever see, and they didn’t even have a previous issue to get it over.

JBL and Chris Jericho defeated CM Punk. This was like one of those WWE triple threats where one guy lies on the outside for minutes on end while the other two fight in the ring. Jericho and JBL double teamed Punk early, but Punk threw Jericho over the top. JBL hit a fall away slam, punches, kicks and a swinging neck breaker. JBL went after Jericho, but Jericho threw him into the steps.

Jericho hit a fist drop off the second rope, body slam and applied the abdominal stretch on Punk. JBL came in and hit a clothesline on Punk, but Jericho broke up the pin. Jericho hit a lionsault on Punk but JBL broke up the pin. JBL and Jericho traded blows, and Punk gave JBL a clothesline off the top. Punk hit a high knee on Jericho and the go 2 sleep on JBL, but Jericho broke up the pin on JBL.

Punk went for go 2 sleep on Jericho, but Jericho raked the eyes and applied the Walls. JBL broke that up. Jericho snapped JBL’s neck over the ropes, but JBL fell back on Punk and scored the pin in the last second of the ten minutes. The finish was effective for what they were trying to do, but it felt too contrived to me. As for the match itself, it was a fun match and the crowd really got behind Punk.

Shawn Michaels did a satellite interview. He acknowledged that his eye is damaged, but said a combination of injuries have kept him out including his ribs, knees and back. He said he will feel it the rest of his life. He announced that he will have a reevaluation with doctors August 15 and publicly declare his future at SummerSlam. He said that he will heed the advice of doctors and teased retirement.

This was a very smart move by WWE. The announcement of Michaels’ future adds intrigue to SummerSlam while allowing them to save the Jericho vs. Michaels match for later in a way that doesn’t undermine the nature of the storyline.

Kane beat Matt Striker. Striker before the match was happy about the opportunity to finally get to wrestle. Of course, it didn’t turn out so well for him. Kane won with a clothesline off the top and choke slam. Kane was presented like a face and cheered in this segment. After the match Kane said he is in a better place because “he’s not alive, he’s dead.” He looked at the bag. Backstage, Mike Adamle told Kelly Kelly that next week Kane will have to reveal what is in the bag or he will take it from Kane.

Batista and John Cena beat Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase to win the tag team titles. Batista and Cena were dominant early. Batista looks really agile and athletic these days relative to when he had a bigger physique. He might want to lose even more weight. He can afford to lose more muscle mass and still look very big, and it will likely extend his career and allow him to have better matches.

The heels got the heat on Cena with a Cody DDT and dropkick and DiBiase fist drop and double ax handle off the ropes. Cena fought back and tagged in Batista by slapping him. They teased a blow up, but Batista instead went into the ring with a clothesline, back drop, spine buster and spear. Cena cleared the ring and Batista scored the pin with the Batista bomb. Batista and Cena took turns raising the belts after the match to milk the alternate crowd reactions. It was actually pretty even with both guys cheered more and some scattered boos. It certainly wasn’t Nate Quarry/Kalib Starnes.

Final Thoughts:

This was a good show that was entertaining and built SummerSlam well. I went heavy with commentary in the report so there’s not a lot to add here.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Saturday Night's Main Event Report

Date: 08/02/08 from Washington, DC.

The Big News: Nothing, really.

Show Analysis:

JBL, Kane, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase beat John Cena, Batista and Cryme Tyme. CM Punk did commentary on the match. Cryme Tyme and Batista had early success against Cody, including a military press by Shad. The heels then worked over Shad for a while. Kane dropped him on the barricade, DiBiase applied a camel clutch, and Cody hit a dropkick.

Shad finally made the hot tag to Cena. Cena came in with shoulder blocks, a Cena slam and the five knuckle shuffle on JBL. He went for the FU, but Kane broke it up with a big boot. Batista came in with a spear on Kane and spine buster on DiBiase. Cena tagged JTG and used a rocket launcher top rope splash sending JTG onto DiBiase. JTG covered, but DiBiase wasn’t the legal man. JBL was, and he hit the clothesline from hell for the pin. This was a good opener.

Great Khali beat Jimmy Wang Yang with a body slam, chop and tree slam. This wasn’t much. The match was presumably was put into place as a replacement for whatever they originally had planned to promote HHH vs. Great Khali for SummerSlam.

Early in the show, WWE featured comments on autism from Jeff Foxworthy, Carmen Electra and Ben Stiller. Jenny McCarthy then came in front of the crowd to plug the cause of trying to get at the problem. There was only superficial discussion of the disorder, as they directed people to the website to learn more. You can check it out at

Edge beat Jeff Hardy. Jeff hit a baseball slide and pescado. He went for a somersault senton on the floor but crashed into the barricade. Edge worked over Jeff for a little while including an implant DDT. Jeff hit the whisper in the wind but Edge kicked out. Jeff went for the swanton but couldn’t get into position in time. Edge went for a spear but missed. As the referee was counting Edge out, MVP gave Jeff a yakuza kick. Edge then came back in and hit the spear for the pin. This was a good main event.

Final Thoughts:

This was just a low key television show. It flowed well and was a solid hour of entertainment. For all the talk about raising autism awareness, there wasn’t a tremendous amount of discussion about autism. The show ended up kind of reminding me of EliteXC last weekend. Both were good self-contained shows for their select audiences, but had nothing to inspire larger viewership or affect the future. The key difference of course is that was WWE’s goal heading in whereas EliteXC took a major step backwards.