Monday, December 29, 2008

WWE Raw Report

Date: 12/29/08 from Manchester, NH.

The Big News: JBL earned a Royal Rumble title shot, with help from Shawn Michaels.

Show Analysis:

Rey Mysterio came out to start the show. He said that he respects Shawn Michaels and understands his troubles, but that they have a problem. Michaels came out. Rey told Michaels that he knows Shawn is a good person. He asked Michaels to be honorable and face Rey one-on-one with the winner advancing to the fatal four way. Michaels accepted but JBL came out and vetoed that. He ordered Michaels to leave, and after Michaels left Snitsky jumped Rey. John Cena made the save.

Randy Orton met backstage with Cody Rhodes, Sim Snuka and Manu. Orton said their group would be bigger than the Horsemen, Evolution or DX, but that he wouldn’t tolerate losers. He said that all three of them would wrestle on Raw, and that if any of them lost, they would be out of the group. I like the idea of an initiation, but the key to it working is that the junior members have to prove themselves to be valuable members of the team.

Cody Rhodes beat CM Punk via count out. William Regal was at ringside, and they announced he will meet Punk for the title next week. After all that build they probably should have saved it for a pay-per-view. Punk hit a crossbody off the top but Cody rolled through for a two. Punk hit a tope and high knee on the outside, but was distracted by Regal and Cody rolled into the ring for the count out. This was such an awful, contrived finish. Punk beat up Cody after the match but Regal came in with a running knee for Punk. They keep saying they want this group to be some legendary group, but at this point it’s Randy Orton and the Spirit Squad.

John Cena met with Stephanie McMahon backstage. He was annoyed that he was just scheduled to do commentary for the main event, and said this was lame. Speaking of lame, Cena then cut one of those lame, goofy promos that make Cena look like the most obnoxious loser on the face of the planet. Cena asked for a match that would “change life on his planet.” This was ungodly awful scripting. Goldust then did a comedy promo that miraculously may have been even worse than Cena’s. He told a series of jokes. Not one was remotely funny.

Melina won a battle royal to earn a women’s title shot. Beth and Santino did commentary. Katie Lea eliminated Candice and Jillian dumped Kelly. Mickie took out both Katie and Jillian. Melina finally eliminated Mickie to win. Melina hasn’t been good since returning nor has the audience taken to her, but it’s her “turn” so this was no surprise. Melina and Beth fought after the match and Rosa jumped the barricade to help Beth.

Chris Jericho backstage was annoyed about being named jerk of the year by WWE Magazine. He said that the real jerks are the fans. Sim Snuka then defeated Superhaas Charlie Snuka. Sim hit a knee drop, used a choke and landed a high knee. Haas came back with a flying forearm and back breaker but Sim got up his knees when Haas went for the superfly splash. Sim then hit a head kick for the pin.

John Cena, Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston and Cryme Tyme beat Mike Knox, Kane, Dolph Ziggler, Miz and John Morrison. The heels worked over Kofi briefly, and he made the tag to Rey. Rey was going wild when Rey caught him with a punch and Miz power bombed him down. The heels then put the boots to Rey. Rey came back with a reverse top rope huracanrana on Morrison and tagged Cena.

Cena hit shoulder blocks on Knox. Kane went for a choke slam but Kofi broke it up with a dropkick off the top. Cena gave Knox and Dolph the Cena slam and teamed with Kofi for a simultaneous five knuckle shuffle and high double leg drop. Kofi gave Dolph trouble in paradise and Cena hit the FU on Knox. Cena tagged Rey, who hit Knox with a top rope splash for the pin. This was a very fun match.

Kelly Kelly backstage told Randy Orton that she protected him from Kane and thought that the night they had together was special. She wanted to know why he’s avoiding her. Orton said it wasn’t that special, that he used her, and that she’s pathetic. He said he didn’t need her as a distraction. Kelly did a great job selling this. And by great job selling this I mean that she was so unbelievably bad looking upset that they would have been better off dressing up Jim Duggan in drag and hoping people would be fooled into thinking it was actually Kelly.

Matt Hardy beat Manu. Matt hit a baseball slide, elbow drops and side effect. Manu avoided the twist of fate, and hit a neck breaker and corner avalanche. Matt then hit the twist of fate for the pin. So, the final scorecard for the initiation process: one junior dork fluke win, one junior dork clean loss and one junior dork win over one of the lowest guys on the totem pole.

JBL won a four way over Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton and Chris Jericho. Jericho hit the code breaker on JBL but Michaels made the save. Michaels tagged in and pinned Jericho with sweet chin music. Orton and JBL fought back and forth. Orton went for his kick but Michaels tagged in. Orton tried the RKO on Michaels but Michaels escaped and pinned Orton with sweet chin music. That was Michaels’ cue to lie down for JBL. Michaels hesitated forever and couldn’t do it. He instead stood there and let JBL give him the clothesline from hell for the pin.

Final Thoughts:

This show was a mixed bag. On the positive side, they nicely set up their key programs through WrestleMania, with Randy Orton against John Cena and JBL against Shawn Michaels. Hopefully they just stick with the obvious and avoid trying to swerve people. This show also had a good 10 man tag and a pretty good main event as well. On the negative side, there was a fair amount of bad comedy, and the Legacy angle once again buried Orton’s teammates when they should be and presumably are trying to help them.


Anonymous tyson kaethler said...

I literally cringed at the Cody/Punk finish. Punk looked like such a joke. how shitty do you have to be (storyline wise) to forget about the 10 count? And on top of that, as a face, attack the heel after the match, AND get layed out?

Manu losing... I hope they're going somewhere with this.

Is it just me, or does the booking team throw wrestlers in matches together before coming up with a finish? Like, with Cody and Punk, wouldn't it have been better to just have Cody squash D'Lo or some other guy? It's like they had to choose that crappy finish because, "uh oh, we don't want Punk to look bad losing to Cody by pin." you know what, Punk would have looked less bad if he had a good short match, and lost to a roll-up fair and square. the way they did it, he looked pathetic, and so did Cody.

11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mean Mike Knox jumped Rey and not Snitsky...

12:04 AM  
Blogger DW said...

Good comment about Punk, tyson. You're hitting the nail on the head when you mention that they don't want Punk to look bad losing to Cody by pin. And as you said, their alternative made him look worse. The kicker is, no one need look bad with a clean loss. It should build momentum, but the WWE is aiming this at a fan base that they have coddled with nonsense - so there are few intelligent people left watching to appreciate a good back-and-forth feud.

Basically, this show sucked from start to finish. The "legacy" team is a joke. In typical WWE fashion, anything interesting, like heels making a legitimate name for themselves, is lost in order to please a bunch of fans who haven't the collective brain power to turn on a light. The five-man tag was more evidence of this - it served to make fools of the heels and let the fans rejoice for the faces. Boring. We've seen it a thousand times.

And the main event? Even their most talented performer, Randy Orton, can't get a break. He has to get pinned - cleanly - by a has-been whose time has been over for years. Ah, yes, but HBK - and Regal - are cronies of the guy who married the boss's daughter, EgoTriple H, and so they will always look good - even if they are defeated, which is rare. Who cares about people like Orton, who the fans clearly appreciate. How is the WWE supposed to sanely promote a big time heel if he's always losing? Oh yes...I forgot, the average fan is an idiot. They don't care. And neither should the rest of us. The WWE's programming is aimed the brain-dead. Not sure how much longer I can keep watching in the hopes of seeing something interesting. In the meantime, people like Randy Orton manage to hold my interest amid all of the bs - now that's real talent. Ya listening, EgoTriple H?

5:17 AM  
Blogger s1rweeze said...

I'm going to guess that Todd is watching Raw on mute these days, because there was a lot of good material Michael Cole provided that fell by the wayside, the most blatant being "Dolph Ziggler is undefeated!" (Batista pinned him clean 4 weeks ago). I know its like beating a dead horse at this point, but I'm not sure it can be overstated how AWFUL Cole and King are together - there's less than zero chemistry and their energy seems very forced. PLEASE bring JR back to Raw, or replace King.

6:13 AM  
Anonymous the masterbater said...

I sometimes feel stupid watching Raw like I am embarrassed to watch it for some reason. I am trying to watch it but can’t. It is like trying to watch your favorite team play but they are just stinking up the joint and you can’t watch anymore. I feel like I am watching some bad television series that is just god awfully lame, with lame jokes and tries to make your intelligence pretty low. Where is the seriousness? Where is the realness? They have bad acting like they are all reading from the script and it is just pretty bad in comedy and storyline at the moment for me. The wrestling seems rushed and it feels like you can see that it is staged. Maybe I have watched wrestling too long to see this or maybe it is just me. Cena in my opinion tries hard for his effort but he is not cutting it and Stephanie McMahon, GOD I really hate her. It seems to me like she is trying to act like this mature woman with authority when she just really has no talent. I rather see Shane or Vince out there than her (and that is not saying much). It is all lame comedy. If I want to watch lame comedy and cheesy soap opera drama I might as well watch Nick at Night. I don't think wrestling is the same anymore meaning the 5 star matches and build ups.

7:35 AM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

"Sosa spelled backwards is Asos" -

C'mon lame impressions of Will Ferrell's impression of the late, great Harry's gold, Jerry, gold.

I'm with you fellow Smashmouth Driving posters. I don't know why I keep watching Raw, but I do. I may look into some counseling. I'm thankful for the FF button on the DVR, I can say that with certainty.

Happy New Year.

- Matt in Anchorage (a real-life fan of your 0-16 Detroit Lions)

10:54 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

I certainly feel like WWE frequently books matches for PPVs without finishes in mind and then don't know what to do, but the idea that they would do that for a TV show is crazy. And entirely possible based on stuff like Rhodes/Punk.

I'm surprised how much feedback I got on Snitsky and Knox. The funny thing is I actually mixed them up at some other point in the report but caught myself that time. The fact it happened two times this week says it probably will happen again, although I'll try to avoid that.

At least Orton has talent and rep with the fans enough that he can get away with some losses. I was surprised he lost so clean to Michaels, but he'll be fine for Mania. But those other Legacy guys do not have such luxuries.

That's amazing Cole said that about Ziggler. I totally would have referenced that if I picked up on it. I don't watch Raw on mute, but I think I do tune out the announcers in my head for stretches, so there you go.

If you look at the occasional demographic studies of TV audiences, you'll see exactly who WWE attracts with their programming.

As for the Lions, congrats! I seriously would rather my team go 0-16 one year than 2-14, 4-12 or 6-10. I think it's pretty cool, actually. They should make t-shirts.

12:33 PM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

Oh, they made T-shirts - mine has been ordered.

- Matt in Anchorage

12:39 PM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

Or this..

12:40 PM  
Blogger John said...

RAW was cringe-worthy this week – more so than usual. I totally agree with the other posters especially DW. Orton is the attraction on RAW. He sells every move; every offense against him – and yet he’s treated like a fool. You can’t act like a braggart if you can’t back it up. Losing to the likes of JBL and HBK is ridiculous all for the sake of some ripped off storyline from “The Wrestler”. HBK is looking terrible – his days have passed. He shouldn’t be nailing the biggest superstars like Orton and Jericho with ease with his sweet chin music. And to think an out of shape blob like JBL could be any competition to someone in such extraordinary shape and skill as Orton is just ridiculous. The “drama” at the end was so badly acted it was humorous. Before the match started, any viewer with a brain knew it would end up JBL and HBK for the sake of the “story”. I’ll never understand the importance put on the story – they’re all bad to begin with. Fans will “pop” much more just watching two real good wrestlers go at it. This concept is lost on the writing team. I suppose without stories, the WWE would realize their “writers” aren’t necessary.
If the WWE even wants to keep any modicum of a sense of reality to this former “sport” they’re running into the ground, then allow the better athlete to shine as they actually would in a real match. Get over the hang ups of “faces” and “heels” and start hooking the viewers by just presenting good matches. I don’t want to be able to guess the outcome of every match because I know the “face”, I know the “story” and I know who is getting the “push”.
And finally, saddling Orton with “Legacy” is another drain on him. The group has no bite. They desperately need Ted DiBiase back to give them some clout. Oh right he’s out because Orton “punted” him. I love that the “creative” team thinks the rest of us don’t know he’s making a movie. Just like Batista was out because of the “punt” but while he’s out, he’ll get his hamstring repaired for 6 months. The whole Orton “punt” thing is just another foul method used by the writers to insure he’s loathed by the fans. Once again, they underestimate the true fans.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody enjoying JBL's work in his current role? I know the whole Shawn Michaels as his "employee" is a tough sell but for some reason it's seems to be working.

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was ridiculous to me that the Orton/KellyKelly encounter didn't reappear in the 4way! Either, she screws him there, or even better, helps him win, then later on in Wrestlemania, screws him there (with some obvious help for him between now and then). writers probably just missed that opportunity (or not)...

5:25 PM  
Blogger DW said...

Sorry, but I don't call any of those Kelly Kelly/Orton suggestions "opportunities." It's just more ridiculous script writing that detracts from exciting competition - two people who are equal to each other squaring off. Face or heel, it shouldn't matter - the build and anticipation would be much more exciting if we knew that either could win on skill and/or power.

Yes, I get it that the average fan can't think beyond the simpleton stage - I'm just hoping that one day some of us can start enjoying pro wrestling again.

7:30 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

I think JBL is doing terrific in his current role. He has always been a great talker and he's in better shape too now which helps. I've really come around on JBL. He seemed to be a real waste of roster space from like 96-04 but now he totally works as a major character. Happy new year to everyone!

4:52 PM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

Happy New Year to you as well, Todd.

On a different note of discussion, how great was the Winter Classic at Wrigley? I'm a lifelong Wings and Cubs fan, so the showcase was about the best thing ever for me personally.

I dare say it was more entertaining than a Santino Marella promo.

- Matt in Anchorage

12:28 PM  

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