Tuesday, December 16, 2008

WWE Raw Report

Date: 12/15/08 from Pittsburgh, PA.

The Big News: Randy Orton and the Legacy tried to take out Batista, and John Cena got drawn into the conflict.

Show Analysis:

Kelly Kelly and Melina beat Jillian Hall and Beth Phoenix. This felt like it lasted 90 seconds and ended abruptly with a Kelly rollup of Jillian. It was one of those matches that are so short and pointless that they would be better off just not having it because it makes matches in general seem so pointless. Beth and Jillian jumped Kelly after the match until Kane made the save. Kane offered his hand, but Kelly left. Kelly got booed for that, but the announcers made clear Kelly is supposed to be the face. Backstage, Kane chased Kelly into a dark room where he said they needed to talk.

Rey Mysterio beat Sim Snuka via DQ. Sim Snuka is Deuce, who said he wanted to be introduced by his real name. Of course, Sim Snuka isn’t his real name. God love WWE and their need to brand all their performers and fans. The announcers then speculated if Snuka was telling the truth that he’s Snuka’s son. That sure made them look like idiots. Cody Rhodes and Manu watched from ringside. Snuka hit a tilt-a-whirl side slam and high knee. Rey came back with a senton off the apron but bumped into Manu. Manu and Cody proceeded to jump Rey. Rey escaped but then ran into Mike Knox. Knox gave him the Knox out on the floor.

I’m sorry to say this for Snuka’s sake, but I hope they aren’t planning on adding him to the second generation clique as they are teasing. He has been buried so much by this point that it will just further weaken the status of Rhodes and Manu. I think the best option is for Snuka to want to join but for him to be rejected as unfit for the group. That will of course bury Snuka underground but it will help to get over the Legacy as an elite group where not just everyone with the right last name gets in.

They had another DX Christmas segment plugging WWE Shop zone. I didn’t mention these previously given that they are only commercials, but they actually have been very funny. This new one was no exception. However, they then immediately did a clunky segue into how the joking, stress free Shawn Michaels of the commercial was actually taped a few weeks ago before Michaels went completely bankrupt and had to turn to JBL for help.

Kelly was backstage trapped in a dark room with Kane and a camera man. Kane is apparently in love with Kelly because he presented an award with her last week. Kane accused her of leading him along. He offered to let her out, but then slammed the door and said that he knew she felt something for him. This was total comedy as Kelly is a dreadful actress and was overacting like crazy.

Randy Orton did an interview backstage where he challenged Batista to a rematch. He said that he hadn’t heard back and labeled Batista a coward. Batista showed up and said that he had an answer for Orton. Orton immediately slapped him and ran away to the ring. As Batista pursued, Manu and Cody jumped him from behind. The Legacy was beating down Batista when John Cena made the save. Randy Orton stood at the entrance seething. This was a great angle.

Batista thanked Cena backstage. They were informed they would be wrestling Cody, Orton and Manu in a handicap match later. I really think they should avoid doing these handicap matches. It just reminds me too much of the Spirit Squad and makes the heels seem inferior. Just have it 2 on 2 with the other guy interfering. That has the same face/heel dynamic without the promotion sending the implicit message that Cody and Manu are jobbers.

Jim Duggan was set to wrestle Chris Jericho but Jericho came out in a suit. He refused to wrestle. Jericho said that he is the superstar of the year and that it is a slap in the face for him to have to wrestle someone like Duggan. Jericho asserted he wouldn’t wrestle such a bottom of the barrel talent. He said he wouldn’t wrestle again until he has a match worthy of his talent. This was another good angle.

Kane and Kelly were still in that creepy room backstage. Kane wanted to know if Kelly wanted to get to know him. She said no. He concluded that there must be someone else. Kelly apparently gave up a name and Kane went storming out of the room. Kelly told Kane not to hurt “him.” Did I mention she’s a really bad actress?

Miz and John Morrison retained the tag titles defeating CM Punk and Kofi Kingston in a good match. William Regal watched from his thrown. The heels worked over Punk, who got the tag to Kofi. Kofi hit a frog crossbody, high dropkicks and a high double leg drop on Morrison. Punk hit a pescado on Miz. Kofi, however, missed a springboard crossbody and Morrison hit a springboard kick and the moonlight drive for the pin. Kane then came out and attacked Miz. He gave Miz a choke slam and tombstone.

JBL came out to show Shawn Michaels’ comments from the pay-per-view. This angle hits all the wrong notes. Nobody buys Shawn Michaels is in any trouble and the harder Michaels tries to sell it the more it just comes off as crass exploitation of the suffering of people with real troubles. Even if you buy the storyline, it strikes all the wrong cords. How is Shawn Michaels sympathetic under this story? He ran through millions of dollars because he’s an idiot and sold himself out because his main event wrestler salary isn’t enough money and he feels he’s above ever getting a real job. Let that character be humiliated by JBL. He deserves it.

Kelly was backstage with Candice and Mickie. She was upset. They wanted to know about Miz, and she was appalled. “Are you serious? The Miz?” she replied. Wow. She should be Shawn’s girlfriend. Let me get this straight. This girl is in a room on national television with Kane and a cameraman. This is so horrible and upsetting that she decides she needs to sacrifice some poor schmuck who did nothing to her. So this guy gets destroyed because she wrongly fingered him, and when he is brought up, her reaction is disgust that anyone could even think she would be associated with this poor guy who for all we know is in the hospital now. And she is supposed to be a face.

Dolph Ziggler beat Santa Claas. The crowd was into this, as they chanted “Santa” for Charlie. Thank God this was in Pittsburgh and not Philadelphia. Charlie gave Dolph a gift, but Dolph wasn’t feeling the Christmas spirit. They then had a nothing match. Dolph won with a dropkick and modified neck breaker.

Jim Duggan was approached by Cryme Tyme backstage, and they told Duggan that it was time. I assume we’ll find out what this means next week. Chris Jericho met with Stephanie McMahon backstage. Stephanie said she expects Jericho to perform when she says so. Jericho then said that Batista’s 30 day rematch clause expired, and now he has no claim.

Huh? Let me get this straight. Batista has a clause in his contract that says he gets a title shot within 30 days, unless the company refuses to give him one and then he no longer gets that title shot? What? Remember Batista came out and asked for his rematch right after losing the title. Stephanie told him he would get it later. Then he never did. I don’t care if Batista gets screwed out of his title shot. But what exactly is the meaning of this supposed rematch clause they’ve been trying to get over if it lasts for only 30 days and the company is allowed to turn down all requests for the rematch during that 30 day period? It makes no damn sense.

Stephanie then announced there would be four matches next week, that the winners would meet in a fatal four way the week after and the winner of that would get a title shot at the Royal Rumble. Randy Orton, Cody and Manu met backstage. Orton was annoyed that they failed to take out Batista. Orton said they would need to succeed or the group would be broken up.

Batista and John Cena beat Randy Orton, Manu and Cody Rhodes via DQ. Cena was booed. Cena and Batista were dominant early. The heels got heat on Batista, who tagged in Cena. Cena hit shoulder blocks, a Cena slam and five knuckle shuffle on Manu. He went for the FU, but Cody broke it up. The Legacy then worked over Cena. Cody missed a knee drop and Cena got the tag.

Batista hit clotheslines, a power slam and spine buster on Cody. Batista went for the Batista bomb, but Orton threw Manu into Batista to break that up. He then gave Batista an RKO. He directed Manu and Cody to beat up Cena on the outside, and hit Batista with the kick of death to the head in the ring. The heels were disqualified for double teaming Cena on the outside. This was a very well set up main event angle.

Final Thoughts:

The good news is that I think the big picture stuff right now is really good on Raw. Randy Orton is clicking on all cylinders and his feud with Batista and John Cena is working really well. There is also a lot of room for storyline growth, with Batista and Cena eventually turning on each other as Orton and the Legacy try to divide and conquer.

On the negative side, this show in particular reminded me of TNA where there were so many little mistakes from the beginning to the end. There are so many little details that don’t make sense, or that hit the wrong note in making you root for one wrestler over another. It reflects a lack of attention to detail, or perhaps more likely just that the writers don’t care. But internal logic is pivotal to any good story, and the lack of that logic undermines everything.

Final Plugs:

I’ve got a bunch of stuff coming at CBSSports.com over the next couple weeks. There’s a piece on MMA books, and which ones would and wouldn’t make good Christmas gifts. That will run in the next couple days. I’ll be at the Affliction press conference Wednesday and will have a piece from there hopefully with quotes from Tito Ortiz, Andrei Arlovski, Tom Atencio and others. I’m also working on a piece on the Quinton Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva rivalry with exclusive quotes from each fighter.


Anonymous tyson kaethler said...

I actually think Orton's team was DQ'd cause Orton shoved the ref back to do his kick. Not that it matters much.

I thought that the Punk/Kofi VS Morrison/Miz match was awesome in the end. They had a lot of near falls, and the crowd was completely into the match. The crowd actually thought the match was going to end on like 5 different occasions. I'm glad Miz and Morrison are getting bigger pushes. Their promos are so bad they're awesome, but their in-ring stuff is legitimately great.

4:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Miz was a jerk to Kelly going back to the Extreme Expose days.

5:14 AM  
Anonymous hhh said...

I see your point Todd, I never had a problem with the 30 day rematches. As you can see I never been turned down for a rematch and I usuall can go over my rematch clause to 3 to 5 title rematches over 30 days and I think one period I had 3 rematches in a row in pay per views that went over 3 months. But than I again look who I am.

7:56 AM  
Anonymous mike said...

Santino did not speak=bad episode. Kelly is really the worst actress but yet I don't care. She is smoking hot. I bet "him" will be Hornswoggle.

8:24 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

I got a couple e-mails on Kelly and Miz, and I had completely forgotten they had an issue revolving around Balls Mahoney in ECW (I was watching ECW only sporadically at that time). That changes my perspective on the angle for sure, as it fits together a lot better with that detail. Of course, it would be helpful if the announcers brought that up, because if people don't remember that (and the ratings suggest a minority of Raw viewers would have even seen it, let alone remembered it and connected the dots) it does no good and they may have the same reaction I did.

10:13 AM  
Anonymous SteRDLK said...

Anybody notice that after Orton slapped Dave and he ran off, Dave followed just walking. When Orton got to the stage Batista was right behind him!!!

11:22 AM  

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