Tuesday, December 02, 2008

WWE Raw Report

Date: 12/01/08 from Washington, DC.

The Big News: The Slammy nominees for superstar of the year were announced. Start your office pools now!

Show Analysis:

Chris Jericho started the show backstage at the MCI Center concourse in Washington, DC. It was a familiar setting, what with Fill Up Buster in the background. Jericho said he doesn’t want to mingle with John Cena’s fans, and instead he hired security to keep fans from touching him. He entered through the crowd, noting he is different than Cena’s fans because he has accomplished his goals, takes pride in his appearance and has morals.

In the ring, Jericho said that none of these people were worthy of being his fans, but that one John Cena fan is worth saving, Jericho’s son. Jericho brought up when Cena beat him and he was removed from Raw. Jericho said at the time his son was only two and didn’t realize the legendary status of his father, and when his son did become a wrestling fan he became a fan of Cena. He talked about how his son used Cena’s catchphrases and mannerisms.

Jericho was disgusted as a father that his son’s hero was the guy who got him fired. Thus, Jericho banned his son from watching WWE. However, Jericho will let his son watch Armageddon so he can see Jericho take away Cena’s title. This was a strong promo and one that advanced Jericho’s character more than any promo in a while. The tie-in to the son was nicely executed.

Rey Mysterio was set to wrestle the Miz in the Intercontinental title shot tournament, but Mike Knox was waiting on the ramp and jumped Rey on the way to the ring. Stephanie McMahon backstage said Rey suffered an elbow injury. Layla asked Stephanie to remove Rey from the tournament since he couldn’t compete. Stephanie seemed to agree and Layla was greatly pleased. Why would she want that exactly? So someone would get a bye and be left healthier going into the title shot?

CM Punk and Kofi Kingston beat Manu and Cody Rhodes. Priceless worked over Punk, including a Cody double ax handle off the top and surfboard. Kofi got the tag and came in with a dropkick, side Ghanan leg sweep and high double leg drop on Cody. He finished Cody with the trouble in paradise.

Backstage, Randy Orton ran into Cody and Manu. Orton said he wouldn’t gloat, and said he saw potential in Manu and Cody. Orton suggested that they meet to discuss their collective potential. Elsewhere, Chris Jericho told Kane that people don’t think Kane can beat Cena and that he will tap out. Kane wasn’t fooled and said he wouldn’t be manipulated by Jericho’s mind games. Kane said that he loves the people and would do it for the people. I figured with a line like that he would set Cena on fire or something.

Melina beat Jillian Hall with the last call, which is kind of a sunset flip without the flip. This was a nothing match. Melina seems to me a natural heel and out of place as a face. Santino and Beth did commentary, and afterwards Santino tried to show up Melina by doing her splits spot. He of course failed. Michael Cole guffawed, and proved that his fake laugh is in fact obnoxious enough to kill off even Santino’s comedy.

They went backstage after a commercial break, and Santino was receiving a massage. However, it turned out to be Goldust rather than Beth. Santino shrieked and ran off. Cole once again broke into loud, fake laughter. I cannot overstate how annoying this is. It’s homicidal rage inducing.

JBL came to the ring and said he hadn’t heard back from Shawn Michaels on his offer. Thus, he had another offer, a Raw street fight. Michaels came to the ring. JBL said that in a financial crisis, Michaels is struggling. Meanwhile, JBL’s wife saw it coming so he stockpiled and invested in gold. JBL said that Michaels lost all his money, so JBL offered Michaels a job working for him. He said that Michaels could end up like the old washed-up wrestlers hawking Polaroids and autographs in high school gyms. That was a good line.

JBL encouraged Michaels to either take his offer or to take a shot at him and throw the offer away. Michaels was nearly in tears and he just left. Both Michaels and JBL turned in great performances here. It’s a good, emotional story. Unfortunately, the whole thing completely falls flat for me because I just don’t buy Michaels as a guy in financial trouble.

Michaels has made millions, has a multi-million dollar contract, and is best buddies with Triple H. Michaels has more financial security than just about anyone in the entire business, even if he is the worst investor in the world. It’s like they had a great script for a movie about an aging Hollywood starlet struggling to maintain her career in an industry dominated by younger women and then they cast Scarlet Johansson for the part. Or they decided to revive ECW and made Stephanie McMahon the leader. Anyway, this was a good idea, good execution, but just an awful choice for the role in Michaels.

Batista beat Dolph Ziggler. Dolph slapped Batista, hit a neck breaker and used some elbow drops. But he was caught coming off the ropes with a spine buster and given the Batista bomb for the pin in four minutes or so. Not that I care about Dolph Ziggler, but why do you job out any new character in his first match? Why even bother using the TV time to introduce him if you’re going to brand him as a jobber in his first match? With booking like this it’s no wonder the main event scene has been stale for years and years. Batista will wrestle Randy Orton at Armageddon.

Chris Jericho met with Randy Orton. Jericho said that after Cena wrestles Kane, they should jump Cena and destroy him. Orton said he is against Cena, but that he won’t fight Jericho’s battles. Orton said he will take out Batista and then the champion, no matter if it is Cena or Jericho. Jericho, however, noted to Orton that John Cena is always overshadowing Orton.

John Morrison beat Finlay to advance in the Intercontinental title shot tournament. Morrison worked over Finlay’s neck. Finlay came back with clotheslines and a senton, but Morrison laid out Hornswoggle. This distracted Finlay, who was kicked into the steps and hit with a springboard enzuigiri for the pin.

Stephanie McMahon announced the nominees for superstar of the year at the Slammies: Edge, Batista, Jeff Hardy, Chris Jericho, HHH and John Cena. What, you were expecting Nigel McGuinness or Georges St. Pierre? She said they would be in action next week against each other: Hardy vs. Jericho, Edge vs. Cena and HHH vs. Batista. HHH vs. Batista didn’t get as much of a pop as I would have expected. Stephanie started to announce HHH vs. Batista first and when a graphic for Hardy vs. Jericho appeared she said she pulled an Adamle. That poor guy.

Rey Mysterio beat Miz. After all that setup, Rey just came out, selling the injury. Rey hit the 619 but missed a splash off the top. Miz worked him over a bit but Rey rolled up Miz for the pin. This wasn’t much.

John Cena beat Kane. Kane missed a clothesline off the top, and Cena applied the STFU. Jericho ran out and Cena let go of the hold to attack Jericho. He laid out Jericho again, but when he went into the ring he got caught with a big boot. Kane went for the choke slam but Cena escaped and hit the FU for the pin. After the match, Cody, Manu, Orton and Jericho jumped Cena. Orton gave Cena a scary looking DDT on the floor. Jericho got his shots in and applied the walls. They certainly seemed to be teasing Orton vs. Cena for the Royal Rumble.

Final Thoughts:

This was a mixed bag show. I liked a number of the segments, and the build for the pay-per-view was generally pretty good. On the other hand, the wrestling wasn’t very good and the booking didn’t light up my world.

I want to thank Jeuron Dove for filling in last week. Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving holiday. I had a tremendous weekend of turkey, friends and trivia/air hockey beatdowns.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Mike said...

Todd,

Great review as always, thanks for continuing to review Raw. The Cole laughing is killing me too. Lastly, great article over at mmapayout. I find the whole UFC bully mentality very interesting and am curious to see how this plays out over the years.

8:57 AM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

I was hoping you can help me out. Where do I go to choose Santino as a write-in candidate for the Superstar of the Year Slammy?

The nomination snub is simply outrageous. How can I possibly take these awards seriously?

Yours in sarcasm...

- Matt in Anchorage

9:47 AM  
Blogger DWW said...

I would have to disagree that Dolph Ziggler was "jobbed" to Batista in their match. A typical jobber doesn't get the kind of great offense that Ziggler had, or the opportunity to show some unique moves or get to bring the veteran down a number of times. Granted, he lost, but that doesn't necessarily make it a "job." He certainly wasn't going to win against Batista. I'd say it was a good intro for him. Rather than the typical match where the new guy who is being pushed wins, in this case he showed a lot of skill and agility and yet lost. A nice change...and perhaps fans will remember that. A good match and a good showcase for Dolph.

Todd, you stated "not that I care about Ziggler," a comment I don't understandd as later in your article you bemoan that the state of the WWE has been stale for years. If no one cares about the newcomers, that is exactly what will continue. WWE fans are, for the most part, numb to anything that isn't spoon-fed, repetitve nonsense from the same old people.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Barry Horowitz said...

I agree with DWW I don't think Zigglar was jobbed either.

3:39 PM  

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