Monday, September 15, 2008

WWE Raw Report

Date: 09/15/08 from Memphis, TN.

The Big News: Chris Jericho fended off a challenge from CM Punk to retain his title, but now he has to take on Shawn Michaels for that title in a ladder match.

Show Analysis:

Chris Jericho beat CM Punk in a cage match. At the beginning both men took turns trying to escape the cage. Punk hit a high knee and bulldog, but Jericho escaped the GTS. Jericho applied an ankle lock, but Punk got out with an enzuigiri. Jericho then applied the Walls, but Punk tried to crawl out of the cage. Jericho went for the lionsault, but landed on Punk’s knees.

Punk hit some kicks, but Jericho sent him into the cage and then gave him a dropkick into the cage. Jericho went to escape the cage, but Punk caught him and teased GTS off the top rope. Both men fell to the canvas. Jericho went to escape again, but Punk caught him this time with an electric chair off the ropes. Punk began throwing Jericho into the cage repeatedly, but Jericho raked Punk’s face and fell out the cage door for the win.

I saw three positives about this opener and one negative. First on the positive side, I like that they had the guts to put over Jericho without interference to help strengthen him as champion. Second, the match itself was excellent. Third, I think it’s a good idea from time to time to put something big on at the beginning of the show. It encourages people to tune in on time every week. On the negative side, the finish did make Punk look kind of dumb.

Backstage, Mike Adamle spoke with Dolph Ziggler (Nick Nemeth). Dolph Ziggler? Dolph Ziggler? What, is he supposed to be a combination of Ivan Drago and the Boogie Nights porn star? Look, the idea of a kayfabe wrestling name should not be that it’s so off-the-charts idiotic that there is no way in hell the wrestler can ever be taken seriously. WWE has come up with an awful lot of stupid names in recent months, but this is unquestionably rock bottom. Dolph Ziggler. Jesus Christ.

Chris Jericho then came to talk with Adamle. Adamle wanted to discuss No Mercy with him. Elsewhere backstage, Kane was in his mask. He said he was forced to remove his mask, and that he unmasked to appeal to the fans. No, actually, you were a face before you unmasked and then you turned heel immediately afterwards and started setting people on fire. It’s not like this is a huge deal, but they shouldn’t punish their fans for remembering the past.

Kane said that everyone hides behind masks when we’re all deep down only concerned about ourselves. He said that when he attacked Rey Mysterio he was attacking all of us. Evan Bourne confronted Kane. Bourne said Rey is courageous and that he can’t wait to see Rey beat Kane. Kane laughed.

Candice Michelle beat Jillian Hall. Beth watched from ringside. Candice hit a springboard kick and Jillian used a Samoan drop. Then the match completely fell apart to where I had no idea what they were even trying half the time. Eventually Jillian went for a handspring elbow but was caught with the unprettier for the pin. Candice has been just dreadful since returning. Candice’s top started to come apart as the match ended, so she had the referee adjust her bra rather than raise her hand. That may be a referee first. After the match Candice challenged Beth, but it was a setup and Candice gave her a sucker dropkick as she was entering the ring. What poor sportswomanship.

In one of WWE’s bullshit “did you know” facts, they claimed they sell more copies of WWE Magazine at newsstands than ESPN and SI combined. I have no idea what doctored numbers they are relying on, but I would be shocked if WWE sells as many magazines at newsstands year round as SI sells of its swimsuit edition alone. And even if somehow there’s some deceptive trick that makes this true, it means nothing given SI and ESPN have like ten times the number of subscribers if not more. These facts really do annoy me, because they want a more intelligent audience yet they treat their audience like idiots who can’t see through the most obvious manipulations and distortions. Then again, this sort of thing has worked for other people recently.

JBL beat Tommy Dreamer with a clothesline from hell in a hurry. JBL then waited in the ring for Mike Adamle, calling for a title shot. Instead, he got Randy Orton, who said it doesn’t matter because he’ll come back and take the title either way when he’s healthy. Santino and Beth joined the fray, and Santino berated Orton for always being hurt just like his father and the cast. That was a clever nod to older fans.

Santino said that his father is always healthy, and that he deals with the herpes well. Santino wanted an apology from Orton for disparaging Santino, and JBL wanted an apology from Orton for interrupting JBL. That brought out Batista, who said this was pathetic with all of them making promises they can’t keep like a bunch of politicians. Ummm, weren’t you lobbying people to get out and vote just the other week?

In any event, Batista threatened to beat them all up and challenged JBL in particular. Adamle appeared on the screen and said he would make an announcement about the title situation at the end of the show. Batista then jumped JBL. Santino tried to join in, but got a spine buster and JBL escaped. Beth slapped Batista a couple times so Batista gave her a spine buster onto Santino as well.

Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase and Manu beat Kofi Kingston, Jerry Lawler and Good Ol’ Jim Haas. This was easily Charlie Haas’ least funny impression yet. He had a gigantic belly and delivered a mocking bad impression of Jim Ross. It came across as just another excuse for Vince to mock Jim Ross rather than a good idea for an impression for Haas.

The heels briefly worked over Lawler, who tagged Haas. He came in with punches, a dropkick and a Thesz press. Cole started repeating things like Ross, which was funny. Haas hit a big splash, but Cody broke it up. All hell broke loose, and Orton hit the cobra clutch leg sweep for the pin. They need a name for that. How about the million dollar drop? Oh, screw it. That’s the name now.

JBL approached Jericho in the locker room. JBL said they made a good team last week, but Jericho wasn’t having it. He said he’s the champion, and isn’t looking to give JBL a title shot. Elsewhere, Batista wanted to know from Adamle whether he would be the number one contender. Lance Cade interrupted Batista, so Batista threw him into the wall and threatened him.

Jamie Noble beat Paul Burchill. Noble used a bunch of punches, then applied an arm bar. This time, the guy didn’t sit in the arm bar or shake his arm. Instead, he tapped out immediately. This made me very happy. Layla then came out, speaking with an English accent. She said she was sorry. Sorry it took her this long to get rid of him. That $*#@%! Layla ran down waffle houses and pickup trucks, and said she has found a man worthy of her. William Regal came out and they left together. Noble did a great job selling this with his facials. I love this feud.

Rey Mysterio beat Kane via DQ. Rey used a bunch of hit and run early. Kane rolled Rey into the ring post. Kane missed a big boot and Rey hit low kicks and a bulldog. Rey came off the top but was caught. Rey then escaped and hit an enzuigiri. Rey went for a 619 but was given a clothesline. Kane was then stomping in the corner and the referee inexplicably called for a DQ. This was a bad match with a really crappy finish. Evan Bourne ran in after the match and the midgets used a bunch of double team flying moves on Kane. This feud is doing nobody any favors. It’s like the Rockers vs. the Twin Towers.

Chris Jericho came out at the end of the show and said that neither JBL nor Batista deserves a title shot. Thus, he suggested they face each other at No Mercy and then he’ll face the winner on the same night. Mike Adamle came out and said Batista vs. JBL would take place at No Mercy to determine the number one contender. However, Jericho would defend the title against Shawn Michaels. Michaels came out and added it would be a ladder match.

Final Thoughts:

I liked the big picture stuff on this show. They did a good job setting up Jericho vs. Michaels in a ladder match. It’s a strong main event, and they are setting up a bunch of future matches as well. That’s the most important part of a wrestling show, so this edition of Raw was a success in my book. There was more bad stuff on this show than good, but the good stuff is also the most important stuff, I’m fine with that.

I haven’t plugged any of my other stuff in a little while, but it continues. I had lunch with Frank Mir at Spike TV’s studios today and a piece will be coming on that at tomorrow or Wednesday. I’ll be back with coverage from the Strikeforce show at the Playboy Mansion Saturday as well, and I did a rare detailed English-language interview with Kazuo Misaki that I think is quite interesting here:

Hope everyone has a good week.


Anonymous Eddie T. said...

"Then again, this sort of thing has worked for other people recently."

I needed that line. Thank you.

1:24 AM  
Anonymous the masterbater said...

On a different side of things I was watching the Mr. Perfect video and I thought it was good, but did you find it odd when it came to Arn Anderson kayfabing talking about giving his spot and it didn't go well as planned since he turned on the Horseman but then you see Ric Flair talk about him and Henning planning this ahead of time getting the idea from somewhere else for Flair to get hit with the door from the beginning? Just want to know is Arn Anderson's head ok? Does he really want us to think that the stuff we see today is actually really happening? Cause he really seems lost to me.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Todd, I think you missed what the end of Punk vs. Jericho was supposed to be. I watched it quite a few times on DVR replay, because it didn't seem to make sense, but after careful viewing, this is what they were attempting to depict:

Punk is taking it to Jericho, while holding onto him so he can't escape. He smashes the back of Jericho's head into the cage, but he does it so hard that Jericho's head bounces back, and the two of them crack heads. They're both woozy, so Punk loses his grip, and Jericho, nearly unconscious, falls back through the door.

The fact that it took many many viewings to tell what was supposed to be happening obviously means it wasn't done that well. The announcers missed it too, thinking Punk had headbutted Jericho out.

2:37 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

I couldn't see the Punk/Jericho finish very well based on the camera angle, so I suspect you are right Bob. The problem was they were doing this against the cage door and they had the usual camera angle looking at Jericho's back. To me, even given that was the plan, it still makes Punk look dumb. Why would he be ramming Jericho's head into the cage right next to the door? It's just a recipe for the disaster. Certainly not the end of the world, but a minor negative for Punk.

9:56 AM  

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