Monday, November 17, 2008

WWE Raw Report

Date: 11/17/08 from Atlanta, GA.

The Big News: You mean besides Brock? Survivor Series is this Sunday.

Show Analysis:

The show started with the Stephanie McMahon Self-Aggrandizement Station, also known as the “WWE Superstar Forum.” Basically the idea was all the wrestlers got to ask questions of Stephanie and she would blow them all off like the ineffectual pawns that they are. It’s funny how we always get these types of segments when the McMahons are “in charge” of the show. It’s bad for the product to emphasize GM characters over wrestlers, but it’s certainly good for the booker’s ego when she is also the GM. And isn’t that what’s truly important?

Randy Orton wanted to know why John Cena is getting the title shot at Survivor Series. Stephanie blew him off, saying that was Shane’s decision and Cena was a top contender before he got injured. Cody Rhodes wanted to know why Orton wasn’t suspended for punting Ted DiBiase. Stephanie basically ignored him and made Orton vs. CM Punk on Raw in a 30 man lumberjack match. Randy Orton complained, but Stephanie blew him off and asked for the next question.
Santino had a question. He noted the presence of Acorn (Akon), and had a rap in that spirit. He turned a baseball cap to the side and commenced the rap, “My name is Santino and I’m from Europe/I like my pancakes with maple syrup. I lost my title to William Regal/His knee to my head should have been illegal. Now I’m healthy and it is vital/I want back my IC title.” He celebrated and told Regal that he got served. This was awesome even by Santino standards. He’s supposed to be a heel but all the other wrestlers including the faces were cracking up in the ring. The crowd cheered at the end and Akon seemed greatly amused as well.

Stephanie blew off Santino by noting he had two rematches in Europe and lost. JBL wanted to know where Vince is, because he wanted to talk to Vince. Of course, Stephanie blew him off too, saying Vince is out of the picture and she’s in charge. Shawn Michaels wanted to fight JBL. Stephanie McMahon made it 0 for 14,000 in wrestler requests by saying he would need to be patient, but he attacked JBL anyway.

Kelly Kelly beat Victoria. The Raw women are wrestling the Smackdown women in a Survivor Series elimination match, so this was a preview. Kelly used a whirlybird, dropkick and handspring elbow. Victoria retaliated with a clothesline, back breaker and torture rack drop. Kelly then rolled up Victoria for the pin. Victoria jumped Kelly after the match and gave her the widow’s peak. As Victoria was about to leave, the Raw women came out and attacked Victoria. Beth gave her the widow’s peak. “They came out in just the nick of time,” Jerry Lawler noted as the ref tended to an unconscious Kelly in the ring.

Batista beat Manu in what they announced as Manu’s singles debut. They gave Manu offense here, but having a monster lose his first singles match in four minutes isn’t what I would do. Manu hit a Samoan drop, threw Batista into the post, applied a nerve hold, used a corner avalanche and hit a diving head butt. Batista cut him off with a spear and Batista bomb for the pin. After the match Rhodes thought about getting into it with Batista but decided against getting squashed again. Batista then said he has waited three years to beat up Randy Orton and he will do it at Survivor Series.

They brought out Chief Jay Strongbow in front of the crowd, which was nice of them to do but the crowd didn’t react. Backstage, Randy Orton reprimanded Cody Rhodes for not getting into the ring with Batista. Rhodes told Orton to keep talking, because that’s what Orton does best. They aired a video package on Evan Bourne and he came out on crutches to talk about his return. Mike Knox came out and starred at him a while. They then did a wacky segment backstage where Shawn Michaels feigned nervousness about teaming with Rey Mysterio for the first time but then became more confident and enthusiastically greeted the returning Dolph Ziggler.

Miz and John Morrison beat Rey Mysterio and Shawn Michaels. Michaels hit a baseball slide and pescado on Miz and Rey gave Morrison a tope. Rey hit a senton off the top and huracanrana on Miz. The heels gained control on Rey. Miz threw him into the post, and Morrison used an abdominal stretch and stomach breaker. Rey hit a dropkick and made the tag. Michaels came in with a flying forearm, inverted atomic drop, body slam and elbow off the top on Miz. Rey gave Miz a monkey flip and 619, and Michaels hit sweet chin music. However, Morrison snuck in a superkick on Michaels and Miz covered for the pin. This was a fun match and it was nice to see them put over the younger guys.

Chris Jericho told Stephanie that everything will change when John Cena returns to Raw. He said that Cena is a bad influence, and that he will cause chaos and trouble. Thus, he concluded that he needs to retain his title. Kane and JBL met backstage. JBL said they are compatible as partners. Kane responded that JBL’s hobby is financial analysis and Kane’s is electrocuting groins with car batteries. Kane said that if JBL gets in his way there will be a mutiny.

CM Punk backstage said that the last few weeks have been frustrating. He doesn’t know why Orton kicked him in the head, but suspects it was to make a statement and it ended up ruining Punk’s miracle year. Punk said that with the lumberjacks, Orton won’t be able to go anywhere. Punk noted he hasn’t been handed everything; he has worked for it. Punk vowed payback. This was an excellent, serious promo. I think WWE probably doesn’t have a clue what a good promo Punk is, particularly as a heel. That’s going to be a revelation when they do.

JBL and Kane beat Cryme Tyme. This was pretty much a squash. JTG and Shad did gain a little offense at the beginning with shoulder blocks. However, the heels gained control on JTG and never looked back. Kane gave JTG a side slam and clothesline off the top. Kane was setting up for a choke slam but JBL tagged in, hit the clothesline from hell, and scored the pin. They teased dissension afterwards for Survivor Series. Backstage, Mike Knox jumped Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne and hit Bourne’s injured leg with a crutch.

William Regal and Matt Hardy fought to a double count out. Regal prior to the match complained about his reception. He said that the United Kingdom is more respected around the world than the United States because of its respect and loyalty. Both Hardy and Regal dropped the other on the apron, and threw the other into the barricade. They kept brawling and were counted out. They continued to brawl after the match was over, and had to be separated by officials. Regal is always great in this capacity.

Chris Jericho came to the ring for a promo. He put over his history, beating Steve Austin and the Rock on the same night to become undisputed champion. He said that is bigger than anything Cena has done. However, Jericho still needed more, so at Unforgiven he won the first ever scramble match. Actually, that was Matt Hardy. Jericho continued on anyway, recounting his recent wins. He said he is the best in the world and he won’t let Cena take what is his. Jericho said he would save Raw by taking out Cena. This was good, although Jericho has kind of settled into a stock promo.

Randy Orton beat CM Punk in a lumberjack match. They did some spots early where one wrestler would fall out of the ring and get pounded. Jerry Lawler explained the idea behind the lumberjack match, which was a cool touch. Orton worked over Punk. Punk came back with a swinging neck breaker, forearms, slaps, a spinning back fist and a high kick. He went for go 2 sleep but Orton hit a back breaker. Orton was knocked outside and Punk hit a crossbody off the top to the floor. In the ring Punk was distracted by Regal and Orton hit the RKO for the pin. After the match Orton went for the kick again but Batista stopped him with a spear. The lumberjacks then got in a big brawl.

Final Thoughts:

I thought this was an overall good go home show for Survivor Series. I can’t say I’m terribly excited about the card, but they did fine with what they have. This will be a very interesting buy rate. It’s got two huge question marks: what the return of Cena means and the effects of the economy. They have built Cena’s return very well so one would expect that to move some pay-per-views. On the other hand, this is the first big traditional WWE pay-per-view since the economy tanked and the economy has hit the pay-per-view industry very hard. I’m not sure how all that will play out, but it will be interesting to see.

I won’t be doing the report next week since I’m taking a red eye flight that evening. Jeuron Dove will be filling in, so be sure to check that out. Also, at the time of the merger I mentioned that I was debating whether I would continue doing these reports. I was vacillating on it for a while but I’m pretty much settled back in my routine now. So I do plan on continuing for the foreseeable future. I wanted to mention that because I realized I hadn’t said anything about it for months and I hadn’t intended to leave it as some sort of continuing open question.


Anonymous Patrick said...

Yea Todd! Keep up the good work!

Don't you think it was weird that they had HBK preview his own match? I thought it really lessened the importance of the match seeing as HBK wasn't taking it seriously at all.

12:14 AM  
Anonymous Eddie T. said...

Todd, glad to hear you'll keep the reports rolling, as it doesn't take Stephanie McMahon's new Palin glasses to see how great of a job you're doing! Wouldn't it have been amazing if the RAW Superstar Forum went down like this:

Cody: Why wasn't Orton suspended for giving DiBiase a concussion?

Stephanie: First off, it's just a concussion and we all know these are not as bad as Chris Nowinski claims. Second, we made Randy champion when he should have been suspended or fired, and you want us to suspend him for some kick? How about we let him beat CM Punk again instead?

Santino: *does the bit he did*

Stephanie: Unfortunately, we are not interested in booking any matches for the IC title.

JBL: Where is Vince?

Stephanie: He's trying to sign Brock.

Randy Orton: Why is John Cena getting a title shot instead of me?

Stephanie: He would draw better numbers on PPV than you. (credit Dave and Bryan for this one)

In closing, am I the only one who noticed that John Cena has a huge bald spot on the back of his head? The very last shot of him in that great video package was a shot from behind looking to the Garden, and Cena doesn't have his regular fade cut, instead has shot hair everywhere and the bald spot is visible.

1:17 AM  
Blogger s1rweeze said...

Todd, I'm a little surprised that you enjoyed Punk's promo as much as you did, since it was GLARINGLY OBVIOUS through his tone and cadence that he was reading off of cue cards. I thought it was embarassing.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Mehrdad said...

I have to disagree about Punk's promo being as good as you said. It looked scripted as hell and there seemed to be not very much emotion behind it. Granted, it was supposed to be serious, but a serious promo is one that should have to most emotion, in my opinion.

10:00 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

To me, a lot of wrestling promos that are supposed to be serious involve a lot of yelling and feel phony. I thought Punk's promo was very believable in its straight forward seriousness, but maybe I'm in the minority on this one.

I thought the HBK intro to the match was weird too. It didn't really take me in any direction other than that, though. It was just different.

Funny stuff, Eddie. They also should have had someone complain about the testing for marijuana. Now that would have been great television.

Cena has had a weird haircut for a while so I never really examined it. I'll have to look for that. It would certainly make sense, since a fade is really out of style.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Timelord said...

One thing that annoyed me about the Jericho promo was the yawning gap between Vengeance 2001 and Unforgiven 2008. Had the writers forgotten who had put Jericho on the shelf for two years? Even if Chris ignored it during the promo it would have been nice for the King to observe it.

I personally don't mind the cue cards. The trick is to hide the fact that you're using them and on that I agree with you, Todd.

But on Punk being a heel? I don't know if that could be managed because although he isn't super face (a la Steve Austin for example) he's over enough to make a heel turn more difficult to achieve. Even if in the cold hard light of day you're right, Todd. But we aren't the majority (that is, the paying WWE marks).

3:54 AM  

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