Tuesday, October 07, 2008

WWE Raw Report

Date: 10/06/08 from Seattle, WA.

The Big News: Raw was fun, but didn’t make much sense.

Show Analysis:

Chris Jericho came out to start the show. He said that Mike Adamle wouldn’t be at Raw, so he was put in charge. He pointed out that he retained his title at No Mercy, but then noted Shawn Michaels permanently disfigured him. The camera zoomed in on a nasty looking chipped tooth. Between the bruising on his cheek and the freaky tooth he looked like a character from the video game The Condemned.

Jericho said that he will have to look at that for the rest of his life, but when he does so he will smile because he beat Michaels in Michaels’ match. Jericho added that he is through with Michaels, and announced Michaels vs. Lance Cade in a no-DQ match on Raw. He said that everyone will have to acknowledge his dominance.

Batista came to the ring and congratulated Jericho. He then told Jericho to pick a number, because that will be the number of days before Batista takes his title shot. Jericho said he will find a way to beat Batista and he will make sure Batista’s name is synonymous with failure. He then told Batista to get out of his ring, but Batista responded by giving him a spine buster. During a commercial break, Jericho said that JBL and Batista would meet again on Raw for the number one contender status with Jericho as referee. This was an entertaining segment, and Chris Jericho was tremendous again.

Santino and Beth Phoenix beat Jamie Noble and Mickie James. Santino said prior to the match that he has been criticized for being too ethnic, so he has made an effort to be more American for the people. He announced his new favorite NBA team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. This of course got cheap heat. Santino added, “The NBA: it’s terrific.” The crowd didn’t react at all, but I popped huge for that one. This wasn’t much of a match. Beth grabbed Noble’s tights in the corner and when he freed himself Santino rolled him up for the pin.

William Regal and Layla were at ringside and after the match Regal and Noble had an awesome brawl. Regal went absolutely nuts. They then cut backstage, where Shawn Michaels said that Jericho wants Cade to do his dirty work. Michaels said he would show he has plenty of gas left in the tank.

Ted DiBiase beat Kofi Kingston. Manu and Cody Rhodes were out there, so Punk joined the scene to even the odds. Kofi hit punches, a dropkick, a top rope frog crossbody and the side Ghanan leg sweep. He was going for the high double leg drop but Cody got on the apron. Punk knocked Cody off the apron, but Kofi stopped going for the leg drop, instead walking away from DiBiase to look at Cody on the floor. DiBiase of course came up from behind with the million dollar drop for the pin.

I absolutely hate this form of the distraction finish. It makes the face look like such a complete moron. If you are in control of a match and someone stands on the apron, you are an unbelievable moron if you stop what you’re doing, turn your back on your opponent, and investigate this disturbance. It is a cartoonish level of incompetence that is at least borderline acceptable for a referee but inexcusable for a face the fans are supposed to believe in.

Chris Jericho approached Randy Orton backstage. He said they don’t like each other, but neither wants Batista as the number one contender. Why Orton would prefer JBL as number one contender to Batista I’m not exactly sure, but Jericho enlisted his help anyway.

They aired a pair of really well done video packages on John Cena. The first package went over his injury and they sold that it came from his match with Batista. They then went over his surgery, and the doctor said he will be back in three to four months. The second vignette talked about how Cena came back to the show after going through surgery. These were very effective in putting over Cena’s heart and passion for the business.

Kane and Mark Henry beat Matt Hardy and Rey Mysterio. Matt hit a chop block on Kane and teamed with Rey for a double dropkick. The heels gained control on Matt for a spell, but he got the tag to Rey. Rey hit a springboard leg drop to Henry, but Kane punched Rey in the back of the head. Jared Shaw does not approve. Because, you know, it’s all about fairness and playing by the rules.

The heels worked over Rey. Henry stood on him. However, Kane missed a clothesline off the top and Rey made the tag to Matt. Matt hit a swinging neck breaker on Kane. Kane went for the choke slam, but Matt escaped and hit a bulldog off the second rope. Matt dumped Henry to the outside and set up Kane for the 619. Matt went to the top rope but Henry hurled Rey into the top rope. That knocked Matt off and Kane gave him a choke slam for the pin. That was a cool finish.

Shawn Michaels beat Lance Cade. Cade hit a clothesline, dropped Michaels on the announce table, and sent him through a table on the floor with a sidewalk slam. That was about it, however, as Michaels gained control of a chair. Michaels repeatedly hit Cade with the chair all over his body ala Steve Austin vs. The Rock at WrestleMania XVII. Michaels pinned Cade, but continued to fume in the corner after the match. He grabbed the chair again and kept hitting Cade even more with the chair.

If they want to elevate Cade, they need to do something to differentiate him. He’s got generic music, generic tights, a generic look and a generic style. He’s a good performer but he needs something to distinguish him.

Jerry Lawler got in the ring to announce that at Cyber Sunday fans will be able to choose Santino’s opponent. The options are Roddy Piper, Goldust or the Honky Tonk Man. This was clearly meant to build towards Honky, but the crowd surprisingly didn’t react much to him. You have to pay a dollar to vote this year, by the way. Yeah, right.

Great Khali came out to plug a segment he did with some jackass from Jackass. The guy wanted to know if Khali is well hung. Khali found this inappropriate, and invited him to Raw next week. These angles with D-list celebrities have the exact opposite of the intended effect. Khali then hosted Kiss Cam. It built to him kissing Lillian. He has been drifting into comedy face mode quite frequently in recent months.

Kelly Kelly beat Jillian Hall. Jillian prior to the match sung Smells Like Teen Spirit. Sadly, this wasn’t the cue for DDP to give her the diamond cutter. As for the match, I couldn’t concentrate at all so I have no idea what happened. Of course, I’m not complaining.

That’s because Miz, John Morrison and Cryme Tyme were doing commentary. They bickered back and forth in the most ridiculous manner imaginable. This started out absurd but over time it got better and better. By the end it was absolutely hilarious. They were playing the dozens, only you couldn’t hear any of the jokes because there was literally never a point where less than 2 people were talking at the same time. This was the greatest segment ever. It was a total sensory overload, absurdist comedy of the highest order.

Batista beat JBL in the main event. This was basically a recreation of Steve Austin vs. Dude Love from Over the Edge 1998. Chris Jericho was the special referee, William Regal the special timekeeper and Randy Orton the special commentator.

Chris Jericho basically cheated throughout. Batista hit a shoulder block, but Jericho was slow to count. JBL hit a swinging neck breaker and Jericho did a fast count. JBL then went for the pin again and Jericho did a normal count for some reason. Batista got a cover and Jericho didn’t count. Regal jumped Batista while Jericho was talking with JBL. Jericho tripped Batista, and that was the final straw. Batista gave JBL and Jericho a double spear.

At that moment, who should appear but Mike Adamle, who apparently got out of the meeting he was at and returned to Raw just in case Jericho was incapacitated in the closing moments of the show. He had a referee come down to the ring. Batista then hit the Batista bomb for the pin. Adamle then announced at Cyber Sunday Jericho will defend against Batista with the fans picking the referee from Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels or Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Final Thoughts:

I thought this show was fun. It was paced well with entertaining segments and quality character development. But it also was off the charts illogical. I’m fine with wrestling having its own rules, but this show was devoid of internal logic.

They start with the premise that the GM is unavailable because of a meeting that couldn’t be scheduled any of the other days of the week, but had to be scheduled on the day of the show he is in charge of. Okay, fine. So the solution to this problem is they make the champion of the show the general manager. Like if Bud Selig were tied up one day and he put David Ortiz in charge of baseball operations.

But fine, let’s accept that as well even though it makes no sense. Jericho now is angry at Batista and has say over who the number one contender is. And we’ve established Jericho is a character who will do anything to keep his title. So Jericho wants to screw Batista out of his number one contender status.

Does Jericho just strip Batista of the status and name Jimmy Wang Yang the number one contender? No, he sets up this match to decide it and stacks the deck. Because working as a crooked referee is just unfair enough but taking the title shot away altogether would be too unfair.

Okay, fine. So maybe Jericho’s stupid in his strategy. But who does he choose as the opponent for Batista? The guy he wants to win? Why, JBL. The guy who tried to kill Jericho earlier this year, and who Jericho just three weeks ago blew off and said he didn’t want to give a title shot to under any circumstances. What exactly is Jericho thinking, again? Let’s assume he changed his mind on JBL in the intervening weeks.

That brings us to the main event. Jericho is cheating away, trying to rip off Batista. But he’s knocked out by Batista. What should happen at precisely that moment? Why, the general manager Mike Adamle shows up in a total deus ex machina moment. Apparently, he arrived at the show after the meeting that was scheduled on the same day, just in case Jericho would get injured and would be unable to perform his duties as GM in the closing moments of the show.

Where exactly was Mike Adamle? Did he have a meeting with the McMahons in Connecticut and then fly five hours across the country and zoom to the building to be there at the very end of the show, just in case? Or did they fly out to Seattle to meet with him, only to schedule the meeting directly in conflict with the show rather than in the morning or afternoon?

But, fine. Let’s assume there’s a really good explanation for all of that. Why exactly did Adamle even feel the need to intervene? Was Jericho so incapacitated by a spear that he wouldn’t be able to continue for the rest of the night? Or was it so imperative that there not be a 30 second delay in GM coverage while Jericho recovered his senses?

The bottom line is simply that the motives of the chief characters in this story make no sense whatsoever. It’s not like this any of this is a huge deal. But the fact that this is just wrestling isn’t a good excuse for gaping logic holes. WWE wants to target higher end audiences. Well, a good way to attract them is by presenting a product that you can watch and make sense of without completely turning off your brain. WWE failed on that account tonight.


Blogger s1rweeze said...

"The NBA: it's terrific"

What an old reference. Did he at least say "terrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrific!"?

"Does Jericho just strip Batista of the status and name Jimmy Wang Yang the number one contender? No, he sets up this match to decide it and stacks the deck."

I've never understood this. It would've been a thousand times more entertaining and engaging to see a complete nobody in there while everyone and their mother interferes to try and get that guy to win. Didn't JBL just get squashed last night?

Another great writeup, Todd.

4:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the NBA is "Fan-tastic"....or at least they say so.

I am having some serious questioning of why I still watch wrestling. I am in my mid-30's and am basically about to turn into the guy they talked about in the Observer. Follow the business but not watch any product.

I find the only part of the show I enjoy anymore is Santino.


7:38 AM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

Todd Martin's WWE Raw Report - "It's terrific."

Man, that was good stuff. And yes, Marella is the best part of a show I can hardly waste time watching any more.

Word to Mike, invest in a DVR and watch the two-hour dreck that is Raw in 20-30 minutes.


- Matt in Anchorage

12:38 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home