Monday, February 16, 2009

WWE Raw Report

Date: 02/16/09 from Spokane, WA.

The Big News: With No Way Out over, WWE finally began the build for WrestleMania.

Show Analysis:

Vickie Guerrero came out to start the show and introduced Edge. Edge celebrated winning the title at No Way Out. He called himself a miracle, and said that like Jesus turned water into wine he turned the WWE title into the world title. Really, that’s more like turning water into water. Vickie explained that when Stephanie McMahon went to the hospital with Shane, Vickie was in charge. Thus, she was able to replace Kofi Kingston with Edge in the second elimination chamber.

John Cena then came out. He congratulated Edge, but said that he wanted a rematch and that he would get Edge. This was a good opening segment. If Edge vs. Cena is the plan for WrestleMania, that’s a really underwhelming match. Backstage, Shane McMahon challenged Randy Orton to an unsanctioned fight to settle their score.

William Regal, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase beat CM Punk and Cryme Tyme. Punk hit the GTS on Rhodes at the onset of the match, but Rhodes’ partners pulled him out of the ring. The heels got heat on Punk including a series of Regal knees. Punk hit an enzuigiri and tagged in JTG. A brawl broke out, and DiBiase hit a cobra clutch slam (called Dream Street) for the pin. Backstage, Stephanie tried to talk Shane out of the fight with Orton, but Shane wasn’t having it.

Chris Jericho made his way to the ring and implored members of the academy not to vote for Mickey Rourke. He said that it will encourage washed up legends to continue when they need to shut up and shut it down for their own good. That brought out Roddy Piper.

Piper told Jericho that he has liked and respected Jericho for most of Jericho’s career. However, now Jericho isn’t entertaining but judgmental and patronizing. Piper told Jericho to shut up. Piper said that the Wrestler isn’t about old timers wanting another run, but about the honor and respect they have. He added that it’s about physical and emotional pain, and the thrill of performing. An emotional Piper said that Ric Flair was right, that wrestlers live for that.

Piper talked about fans remembering spending time watching great wrestling moments with now deceased family members. He said those moments shouldn’t be buried but should be celebrated. Piper noted that he has one hip and hurts all the time, but as long as the fans say so he will crawl out to give one more memorable moment because old school’s cool. Jericho then kicked Piper in the leg and screamed at him to crawl around. It’s hard to understate just how phenomenal Piper was in this segment. It was one of the best promos I’ve ever seen.

Randy Orton backstage said that he has no problem fighting Shane, and that he doesn’t need Rhodes and DiBiase to leave Shane unconscious. Kane beat Jamie Noble in 16 seconds with a choke slam. Noble before the match said that he won’t fumble his big WrestleMania moment and he’ll last longer than the 9 seconds Chavo Guerrero made it last year against Kane. I’m fine with the occasional buffoon to laugh at, but it’s amazing how many guys WWE books to be total jokes. It’s their favorite and most repeated archetype these days, and that’s ridiculous.

JBL came out for a historic announcement. He said he doesn’t care that Shawn Michaels is now free and financially secure, because he had an epiphany. His new goal is to end the Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak. Shawn Michaels then came out and said that the showstopper, headliner and main event is back. He said he is Mr. WrestleMania and wants to face Undertaker himself.

Michaels proposed a match between himself and JBL next week with the winner getting Undertaker. JBL agreed. Michaels then started poking JBL and said JBL will be lucky to make it to Mania. Michaels came across really obnoxious in this segment. As for Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, that may end up being the match with the most interest at WrestleMania.

Rey Mysterio beat Mike Knox. The crowd was hot for this one. Knox hit a big clothesline, threw Rey under the bottom rope, and hit a tilt-a-whirl back breaker. Rey came back with a bulldog, enzuigiri and 619. He went for the west coast pop but Knox ducked under. Knox tied Rey into the tree of woe, but charged into the post and Rey rolled him up for the pin.

Melina retained the women’s title beating Beth Phoenix. Santino has a new look. Gone is the eyebrow, but in are highlights in the hair. Beth worked over Melina. On the outside, Rosa attacked Melina. That brought out Kelly, Candice and Mickie, who beat up Santino and Rosa. In the ring, Melina used a small package for the pin. I just don’t understand why Melina retained here given what a flop she has been as champion.

They announced Terry Funk and Dory Funk, Jr. for the Hall of Fame, and they will be inducted by that egg sucking dog Dusty Rhodes. Backstage, Stephanie McMahon was on the phone with someone who she asked to come and intervene in Shane and Orton’s fight.

The main event was the big showdown between Randy Orton and Shane McMahon. They brawled into the crowd. Orton threw Shane into the announce table and steps. Shane hit Orton with the ring bell twice and set up for the Van Terminator. At that point Rhodes and DiBiase ran in to interfere. Rhodes hit the roll of the dice and Orton punted Shane. Stephanie came out to mourn our fallen hero. “I love you, Shane,” said the little kid in the front row. I’ll give this much to gallant Shane: Orton never could get the best of him one-on-one to the end. He’s a true warrior.

As Shane was carted off, Orton gave Stephanie the RKO. He then acted shocked by what he did. HHH ran in to check in on Stephanie. A seething HHH stared down Orton, who looked resigned and concerned about what he got himself into. Orton and HHH both did a great job here, and that’s apparently your other big Mania match.

Final Thoughts:

I have mixed feelings about WWE’s recent programming, from No Way Out last night to Raw tonight. On one hand, this was an entertaining show, and No Way Out was even better. But ultimately the goal of wrestling is to make money, and I suspect WWE may have thrown away a lot of money by taking so long to get around to setting up their key WrestleMania matches.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great show tonight. Piper...what can you say about's too bad that at this time he can't wrestle as well as talk. I am not sure where they are going with this angle with Jericho...haven't we already had a legend killer?

The HHH face at the end of the show was IMPRESSIVE. That was some good anger going on there. I was wondering when they were finally going to use the real life relationship with Stephanie and HHH. I mean he has dropped hints before.

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I give the win of the final match to Shane. Hey Orton wasn't moving before Rhodes and Dibiase came out. I guess there will be no more jokes about who Steph's married to.

1:03 AM  
Anonymous #1 HHH Hater said...

WOW great ANOTHER HHH Main Event for Wrestlemania! Those who say HHH doesn’t influence backstage politics are wrong WAY WRONG!

6:18 AM  
Blogger s1rweeze said...

WWE's decision to seemingly go with Edge/Cena is really, REALLY disappointing. That's not a knock on either guy, but they feuded for almost an entire year in 2006. It's been done to death and there's nothing new to see here.

They were better off with Cena/Orton and HHH/Edge. Those are at least some relatively fresh matchups, and Cena/Orton has much more of a "big match" feel to it. Switching Orton and Edge at the last minute reminds me of when Vince Russo decided to put the IC title on Roaddog and the Hardcore title on Billy Gunn, instead of the opposite which was A) what they had been building towards for weeks, B) what the fans wanted to see, and C) the most logical thing to do. Needlessly swerving the audience at the expense of backstory and logic was the only reason that move was made. Seriously, what was wrong with Cena/Orton and HHH/Edge?

As for next week, I really hope they don't have Orton bring out the lawyers again.

6:25 AM  
Anonymous joebeck said...

For some reason, the whole angle with HHH being in another main event doesn't really bother me all that bad this time around. I was genuinly surprised when he came out at the end, and there's more to this storyline than, "That's my title and I want it." Also, I'm hoping the nature of the story removes lame comedy from it.

At any rate, for about 30 seconds at the end of Raw last night I was reminded of the appeal of wrestling. I wanted to see Orton get his.

6:45 AM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Overall, a very good show, but two things really stood out.

1) Piper/Jericho was just awesome - after 10 months, I FINALLY want to see Jericho get his ass kicked instead of nodding my head in agreement after everything he does/says. I was expecting Piper to cut one of his over-the-top, nonsensical promos, but by going the complete opposite route he was more effective than I could have imagined. As the poster above wrote, it's too bad he can't go in the ring anymore, because after last night a WM match with Jericho (with weeks of promos from those two) could have been money.

2) I continue to be confounded by the treatment of Orton and The Legacy. They did a decent job of recovering from SUPER SHANE's beat down of The Legacy a few weeks back with the whole "Randy is a smart heel and suffered the indignation of Shane's sissy punches to prevent a 20 on 3 situation" but the last 2 nights again left me annoyed. First, Shane dominated Randy in the NWO match, beats up Cody & Ted (this time when they CAN fight back), and Randy "wins" with a fluke RKO. Then on RAW they fight again, but this time Randy makes a point to say he can win without backup. Of course, Shane goes and destroys Randy for most of the match, knocking him unconscious this time. Only when Cody & Ted run down (attacking a beaten up Shane) are they able to subdue this super human specimen. So basically, as Todd mentioned in his Raw Report, over the past 2 nights it has been established that Shane can take Randy one on one, no problem. If the whole point of this angle was to eventually have Triple H show up on Raw to defend the McMahon honor, that's fine. The ending of the show was very effective and I kinda want to see Orton/HHH in an all out battle now. But what's the point (and where's the money), when it's already been shown that Randy can't even effectively take out a non-wrestler?

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

I actually liked the show. I think HHH-Orton is off to a great start and UT-Michaels should be excellent. Also Jericho-Flair/Rourke has a nice build going as well.

I didn't get the "egg sucking dog" comment about Dusty. Can someone explain what that means?

7:51 AM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

I'm going to take a flier that "egg sucking dog" is a term of endearment the Funks have used for opponents from time to time.

The Piper/Jericho segment owned the show, no doubt about it. You have to wonder if the business currently employs any young performers we'll want to hear from 10-20 years from now in the same way Flair and Piper sell the importance of the past, traditions, etc.

Here's hoping I'm not still paying attention then so I won't find out.

- Matt in Anchorage

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Funny stuff:

"I’ll give this much to gallant Shane: Orton never could get the best of him one-on-one to the end. He’s a true warrior."

I could keep getting mad about it, but I guess it's their company to ruin, right?

The Triple H angle is kind of interesting from an insider perspective. I'm not sure it's that interesting from the money-making perspective, since from the Orton/Shane booking we should expect that Triple H will just annihilate Orton.

It would have been better to establish in storyline that Triple H and Stephanie are married first. You'd still have the explosion between former partners without the unnecessary Russo-esque twist that Triple H is upset because he's secretly married to Stephanie in real life.

Someone needs to tell WWE that it's 2009, and nobody believes pro wrestling is real, and nobody even believes parts of it are real. If they're looking for a reaction of "Triple H must be mad at Orton for real because he's breaking character and revealing his marriage to Stephanie", that's not going to happen today. As has been pointed out many times, every time they portray one segment as real, they effectively portray everything else as fake, thus lessening the temporary suspension of disbelief that normally results from quality entertainment.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Although I do have to say the acting from Orton and Triple H was superb. Orton was able to depict a range of conflicted emotions, and Triple H just looked absolutely furious.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous F.Leghorn said...

I tuned in to see where things were going for Mania, and found it all a bit underwhelming. I do think that HHH/Orton is a pretty good matchup, as they've mostly stayed away from each other over the past couple of years, and this angle does establish a reason for the rancor ( Game's reactions at the end were pretty was Orton's look of regret/disdain. He really is in a zone right now, and it's a shame that they couldn't have him just dismantle Shane like he should have. Really, I was just rolling my eyes at the end of that fight. Explain to me why I would ever think that he could beat the Game at this point. There's the chickenshit heel, and then there's just a guy getting his ass kicked by a suit. That ain't right.).
Edge/Cena as a match just seems as though it's tacked on, but I guess they didn't have any choice in the matter, as Orton/Cena didn't move anybody, either. Let's face it, there isn't anybody for Cena to feud with which would be interesting, unless they turn him heel, and that'll be a cold day in July. Frankly, you could say the same about Edge, and I love that guy.
I agree that Michaels really came off as obnoxious here, and am I the only person who thought, you know, JBL may have been a jerk, but he paid you, you're in the clear, why be so smug about it?It's not as though Michaels really had to do anything degrading or anything. It summed up that it was a dumb program to begin with. Plus, there gonna have to do some real work to make sense of a match of Taker/HBK. Will the match be a good one? Of course. But what's the motivation for either one? It's on the way, I suppose.
Jericho and Piper was a pleasure to listen to, and Jericho surely got his heat back in a big way. I am guessing he's facing Austin at Mania. That'll work.
I still hate how they've treated Orton, and think that they have done some real damage to him. When matchups look stale, as many do with Cena, it's booking like this which is the reason why.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

I totally agree on Cena/Orton and HHH/Edge being better than Orton/HHH and Cena/Edge. And the Billy Gunn/Road Dogg comparison works perfectly.

As for Shane, it's disappointing that the angle didn't end with him just getting destroyed. I really figured it would because Shane would recognize it's the best thing for business, but evidently that perspective didn't win out. The top heel should be able to beat most of the faces fairly, but then needs to cheat to overcome the very top faces. They shouldn't need to cheat to beat the likes of Shane.

Terry Funk always used to refer to Dusty Rhodes as "that egg sucking dog Dusty Rhodes." It's what I immediately thought of when I imagined Terry and Dusty giving speeches at the Hall. I expect them both to give a number of good natured shots at each other.

I'm not sure about establishing Hunter as married to Stephanie, but regardless of that issue he was so tremendous in selling being pained and upset like he never has that it worked phenomenally the first time.

I didn't feel like JBL treated Michaels that badly either, which is a lot of why Michaels seemed so obnoxious. But I suspect that was just a one time thing.

7:38 PM  
Blogger Maxer said...

HHH/Orton, Cena/Edge and potentially Taker/HBK.

Can we call this Wrestlemania Rewind?

Whose the legend that Jericho is going to fight? Vampiro?

I am so not looking forward to this Wrestlemania.

LOVED the Piper promo. I hope guys had notebooks and pens in their hands during this segment and were writing down ways on how to cut a great promo.

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Money in the Bank is about work rate? I thought it was about insane stunts.

11:38 AM  

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