Monday, December 22, 2008

WWE Raw Report

Date: 12/22/08 from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The Big News: John Cena turned to a surprise tag team partner in Toronto.

Show Analysis:

Santino and Beth Phoenix started the show. Santino said that people have disrespected him for 12 months, so he would have some fun with the people. He had a secret to divulge to children about Santa Claus. Beth tried to stop him but he told her to shut up. Cena then showed up to save the day and said the secret was Santino doesn’t like Santa (Spoiler: there actually is no Santa Claus).

Santino and Beth challenged Cena and a partner to a match. Goldust was there, but Santino said someone with ovaries. Goldust replied, “Rats!” This actually cracked Santino up, and Cena agreed to a female partner. Santino said that when he won he would tell the secret of Santa.

Shawn Michaels beat Kane. Prior to the match, Kane apologized to Kelly for last week at the behest of Stephanie McMahon, but also wanted her to apologize for lying about the Miz. Michaels was greeted by loud and immediate chants of “you screwed Bret.” Remember when Vince talked about how Canada never got over the screw job, when in fact he was the one constantly booking angles around it? Well, now it really is Canada that isn’t over it.

Kane dominated with punches and clotheslines, but Michaels reversed a choke slam attempt into the crippler crossface. Kane hit a side slam and clothesline off the top, but Michaels again avoided the choke slam and hit sweet chin music for the pin.

Kofi Kingston beat Manu. Manu worked over Kofi with a cobra clutch. Kofi hit a frog crossbody and high double leg drop. Kofi went for the springboard crossbody. He was caught by Manu, but then flipped out with a crucifix cradle for the pin. I like Kofi, but they need to protect this Legacy group more.

Kelly and John Cena shook hands backstage, agreeing to be tag partners. Elsewhere, Sim Snuka wanted to join the Legacy. Randy Orton left the door open but didn’t want to talk to Manu or Cody Rhodes.

Shawn Michaels and CM Punk were chatting backstage when Triple H came in. He said Michaels wasn’t returning his calls. He said Shawn should have come to him for help, but Shawn said he had to get himself out of the problem because if he went to Triple H their friendship would never be the same. I don’t know if I buy that explanation, but I’m glad they made the effort to try to explain.

Mickie James and Melina beat Jillian and Layla. Melina’s outfit looked like what Sister Sherri would have worn if she wrestled when she managed Harlem Heat, and it even said “Sensational” on the back. William Regal did commentary, and noted the Intercontinental title means more to him than Layla. She’s just a woman, he said, and they’re two a penny. Jillian pushed Mickie off the top and the heels were in control briefly. Melina got the tag, and hit her leg drop move, face buster and the last call for the pin.

JBL beat Rey Mysterio via DQ. JBL is looking a lot more mobile these days. He went for a power bomb but it was reversed into a huracanrana and Rey followed with a pescado. JBL took over with a fall away slam, abdominal stretch, big clotheslines, elbow drops, a torture rack and a sleeper. Rey came back with a springboard senton, spinning head scissors, bulldog and tornado DDT. Rey went for the 619 but Shawn Michaels pulled JBL out of the ring and slapped JBL. The referee called for a DQ.

Huh? Okay, so if I run in and slap my friend in the middle of a match, he wins via DQ? Why don’t heels just do that whenever they’re in a tough match? And how is the slap a more actionable offense than blatantly interfering by pulling one combatant out of the ring when he’s about to be hit with a finishing move?

Randy Orton was to wrestle Batista, but Batista could not compete so Orton won via forfeit. Orton then cut a promo about how he has dreamed about taking out Batista for four years. He said that Christmas came early when he finally got to do it. The crowd began chanting “RKO.” Orton said Batista’s time is over and next time Batista sees him he will be the champion again.

Dolph Ziggler introduced himself to Kelly backstage. Miz and John Morrison then showed up, annoyed about last week. Miz wanted to know if Kelly was protecting Cena. Kelly said they were just tag team partners. Miz and Morrison informed Kelly that someone trashed her hotel room. She left the building to go check on that.

Chris Jericho beat CM Punk in a really fun match. Jericho was a big crowd favorite, although the crowd didn’t seem particularly anti-Punk. Punk was in control early with a springboard crossbody, kicks and a nasty looking high kick. Jericho hit a gut wrench suplex and the crowd began singing O Canada.

Jericho went for a superplex but Punk pushed him off and hit a top rope crossbody. Punk hit a power slam and went for the GTS but Jericho reversed into the Walls. Punk fought forever while the crowd chanted Y2J but Punk finally got out. Jericho went for the Walls again but Punk escaped. Punk hit a high knee and went for a springboard but fell right into the code breaker for the pin.

John Cena and Trish Stratus beat Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix. There were loud chants for Santino and Cena got the typical mixed reaction with a lot of boos. Santino acknowledged the Beth stalker character as Rosa Mendes. Cena said that Santa was there in Toronto and that he granted Cena a Christmas wish for a tag team partner, Trish. That was a great little surprise. Trish looks tremendous and got a nice reaction from the crowd.

They started with the men, then Trish came in with the Matrix move, a Thesz press and chops. Beth grabbed her by the throat, threw her into the turnbuckle, and hit a back breaker. Cena came in with shoulder tackles, a Cena slam and five knuckle shuffle for Santino. Cena went for the FU but Beth pulled Santino out. Trish gave Beth the chick kick and Cena hit the FU for the pin.

Final Thoughts:

This was a very enjoyable show. It felt like today’s ECW, in that it was built more around wrestling without overbooking every segment. I think it had the perfect mix of vignettes and wrestling, and I would love if every week were booked like this one. The four title shot elimination matches gave the show an overall direction, and Trish Stratus was a great surprise at the end. The unpredictable and enthusiastic crowd was also a plus.

Final Plugs:

I was on Alex Reimer’s No Holds Barred radio show on Thursday to talk about 2008 in pro wrestling. You can check that out here:

I’ll be in studio for MMA Nation with Luke Thomas of Bloody Elbow this Saturday from 4-6PM Eastern. It should be a fun listen going into UFC 92 that evening. You can listen to that on 106.7 WJFK in Washington DC or at:

I also have three new pieces up at First, for those looking for last minute gift ideas, I have a look at all the major MMA books released this year (Randy Couture, Matt Hughes, Tito Ortiz, Jonathan Snowden, Chuck Liddell) and which ones are worth purchasing:

There’s also a piece on Affliction’s press conference Wednesday, including thoughts from Andrei Arlovski, Josh Barnett, Thierry Sokoudjou and Matt Lindland:

Finally, I spoke with Wanderlei Silva and Quinton Jackson about their fight on Saturday night. This piece goes over their feud in Pride and their preparations for a third encounter. I think there’s some interesting stuff on their approaches to the fight that you can’t find anywhere else:

Finally, I want to wish everyone a happy holiday season and a merry Christmas.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny seeing DX commercials followed by the angle with Shawn Michaels and Triple H.

8:21 AM  
Blogger DW said...

Those DX commercials are pathetic. Two egos bigger than I don't know what - have to be in the spotlight. The merchandise was secondary for crying out loud -it was all about those two selfish goofs getting in front of the camera.

And did you notice in the mock fight, who had the upper hand? Lord knows EgoTrips would never allow, even his buddy HBK, to get the top spot.

7:59 PM  

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