Tuesday, February 24, 2009

WWE Raw Report

Date: 02/23/09 from Nashville, TN.

The Big News: Chris Jericho continued his feud with wrestling legends, this time verbally dueling with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat.

Show Analysis:

Vickie Guerrero came out to start the show and said that after what happened to Shane and Stephanie McMahon, she is now the interim general manager of Raw. She wished the McMahons the best. John Cena came out, not understanding why she got the job. He suggested Mike Adamle or Michael Cole would be better, making fun of both. He told Vickie not to lie to the fans, and said that she doesn’t care about the McMahons, only that her husband is champion. He said he wanted to use his rematch clause on this edition of Raw.

Edge and Big Show joined the proceedings. Edge said that he doesn’t answer to Cena, and that Cena can never reach the status he wants because he is in Edge’s era. Edge presented Cena as the shining beacon of hope that all fans cling to, and said that when Cena loses his title rematch the people will be left with nothing. Umm, okay. Cena made fun of Vickie, so Show told him to show some respect. Cena responded by implying Show and Vickie are sexually involved. Vickie said that Edge is her husband, Show her friend and Cena her subordinate. She announced Cena would face either a friend or family later in the show.

CM Punk beat John Morrison and the Miz to earn a spot in the Money in the Bank match at WrestleMania. It was a triple threat but functioned as a handicap match most of the way with Miz and Morrison double teaming Punk. Punk went for the GTS on Miz, but Miz got caught in the ropes. Punk gave him a high kick, but Morrison then dumped Punk out of the ring. Morrison attempted a shooting star press off the apron, but hit Miz instead of Punk.

Miz and Morrison double teamed for a little while, but Punk eventually fought them both off with a bulldog/clothesline combination and a power slam on Morrison. Miz and Morrison hit him with a kick/electric chair combination. Morrison and Miz then turned on each other. They both went for pins and began fighting. Miz went for a suplex on Morrison, but Punk caught Morrison. He then spun Morrison around to knock Miz out of the ring and hit the go 2 sleep for the pin. This was a clever finish and a good match. The lack of crowd reaction hurt, but this crowd appeared pretty dead for much of the show.

Cryme Tyme and Melina beat Dolph Ziggler, Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix. You know, in the history of lame gimmicks, Dolph’s gimmick as the guy who likes to introduce himself repeatedly really is all time bad. The heels worked over JTG. JTG tagged Shad. Shad came in with clotheslines on Dolph. Dolph tagged Santino. Santino pumped himself up but then charged into an STO for the pin.

Shawn Michaels beat JBL. They traded punches early. JBL went to throw Michaels into the post. Michaels reversed and sent JBL into the post, but JBL bounced back into Michaels’ head. JBL went for a superplex. Michaels fought him off, but then JBL came in and knocked Michaels to the floor with a yakuza kick. JBL worked over Michaels with an abdominal stretch, but Michaels then made his comeback.

Michaels hit a flying forearm, inverted atomic drops, a body slam, and an elbow off the top. JBL avoided sweet chin music, and Michaels avoided the clothesline from hell. JBL hit a big boot and went for the clothesline from hell again but ran right into sweet chin music. The match was okay but not particularly good. Vladimir Kozlov then came to the ring, and they announced he would face Michaels on Raw next week for a chance to face Undertaker. Michaels went to attack Kozlov but was caught with a spine buster.

Mike Knox beat Jamie Noble in 29 seconds. Noble before the match said that if he lasted longer than last week he knew he would be going to WrestleMania. Knox beat him with the downward spiral. They had a clock, because you know, they figure everyone loves to watch people get humiliated as much as Vince. They then ran a tremendous video package announcing Ricky Steamboat for the Hall of Fame. They put over his match with Randy Savage and aired a lot of WCW footage. He will be inducted by Ric Flair.

They then introduced Ricky Steamboat to the crowd. The crowd didn’t react much, but they didn’t react to basically anything. Steamboat was dressed in a suit and looked good. He put over the meaning of the Hall of Fame and put over the crowd. That brought out Chris Jericho. Jericho celebrated Mickey Rourke not winning an Oscar, and said he’s a loser just like his character in the movie and Flair, Piper and Steamboat.

Jericho accused Steamboat of selling his soul by becoming the “Dragon”, the karate kid, and feeding into stereotypes. He talked about Steamboat carrying the Komodo dragon and spitting fire like a circus freak. Jericho said that Steamboat retired and ended up broken down with a broken family, still working backstage in the business. Jericho labeled him a life long sellout, the loyal dog that is getting his bone with the Hall. He called Steamboat a hypocrite and started to leave.

Steamboat stopped him, saying that if Jericho wanted to talk about hypocrisy he had something to say. He said he remembered signing an autograph for Jericho 20 years ago, and noted that Jericho described Steamboat as his hero in his autobiography. He further noted how Jericho has gone back and forth between embracing and turning on fans for years like a hypocrite.

Steamboat added that never changed at any point in his career. He always entertained the audience, and he returned to WWE to help the young talent and pass the torch because he loves the business. He said he’s not a hypocrite or a sellout, but a Hall of Famer. Jericho kneed him low, hit him with the microphone and sent him into the video wall in response. He yelled at Steamboat and called him a has been.

Both Jericho and Steamboat were so fantastic in this segment. What’s so great about Jericho’s feuds is that he finds little ways to add believability. Those little touches of reality add poignancy and emotion that so many cookie cutter feuds lack. Jericho’s segments have recently been the best stuff in pro wrestling every week.

John Cena beat Chavo Guerrero. Vickie said that Cena wouldn’t get his title rematch. Cena vowed to hunt Vickie for a title shot on Raw and Smackdown. All she has to do is avoid him for 22 more days and the mandatory title rematch vanishes. Seriously, I don’t understand this rematch clause concept at all. Apparently it’s in your contract that you get a rematch if you lose a title, but the general manager can just say no and you have no recourse other than to bug him or her. Anyway, Chavo was Cena’s opponent, predictable but crappy. Cena won in a hurry with the five knuckle shuffle, FU and STF.

Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase came to the ring, and Orton had a sledgehammer. Orton said he’s a victim. He wanted to mind his own business but the McMahons just wouldn’t stay out of his way. He said he hoped Stephanie’s kids were watching her get the RKO so they can learn from their mother’s mistakes.

A furious HHH charged to the ring with a sledgehammer. When he arrived, Orton suggested they lose the sledgehammers. Both men threw them away, but when HHH got into the ring he pulled out a second sledgehammer. Legacy ran away. The doors to the parking lot were locked, so they ducked into a dressing room and barricaded the door. HHH broke through it with a sledgehammer like the Shining.

HHH closed in on DiBiase and Orton and hit DiBiase with the sledgehammer. He swung at Orton but crashed through a mirror. Orton and DiBiase again ran off. They grabbed weapons, but then thought better of it, threw them down and ran away again. They got into a car which HHH hit with a sledgehammer before they drove off. I didn’t like this angle. It all felt too goofy to me, more like a cartoon than a serious angle. I would have just kept them apart more explicitly.

Final Thoughts:

I thought this was a good show overall. Some of the WrestleMania angles are working better than others, but on the whole the direction is solid.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So who is Jerhico suppose to face in Wrestlemania?? Are they just going to give it a big suprise or some sort?

6:15 AM  
Blogger s1rweeze said...

They're trying to go for a "Flair vs. Savage at WM8" vibe going between HHH and Orton, but there are better ways to do it than last night. Just pull out the old classic "neither can touch one another until the match" angle a la HHH/Austin in 2001. I think that would do a much better job building up tension.

As effective as Jericho's segments have been the past few weeks, I'm worried about the minimal payoff his segments have to offer. Whatever legend steps up to face him at Wrestlemania is going to get largely overshadowed by Hogan/Cena if it happens. I'd rather all the legends get behind one younger guy (CM Punk? Kennedy?) so he gets a major rub.

6:17 AM  
Anonymous mike said...

I think the crowd was dead during the jericho segment because of Noble's injury. Couldn't Knox tell that Noble was out after the kick?

I also thought the end was cartoonish. My wife sat down right when that segment started and made all sorts of jokes about it.

I agree, keep them apart as long as possible. If they want to use the "Orton is hiding behind lawyers" argument they've made before, then Orton should have had bodyguards or a restraining order. This lack of confrontation would build the match better.

Of course I don't like this feud as I see it as HHH and his ego trying to keep the hot guy down (Orton).

7:35 AM  
Anonymous SteRDLK said...

I said when HHH was getting through the door "Heres Hunter!" as in the Shining, glad it wasnt just me that noticed it!

I agree about Chris Jericho, I think he is improved remarkably over the last year.

When Steamboat mentioned Jerichos on/off relationship with the fans in the past, Jericho should have just said "But in the past I was immature and now I have corrected my ways"... well ya get where Im coming from.
I agree with s1rweeze that the legends should get behind a younger guy, hopefully, but I fear it will be Austin.

They must be going somewhere with Noble, is he gonna win MITB or something equally as stupid? I dont get jobbing one of the best lower card wrestlers so badly, same as Santino. They are both becoming stale in this way. The only thing I could think happen is Noble beating Santino or Dolph at Mania in about 6 seconds.

As soon as Chavito came out, I knew it would be a replica of a Cena vs Striker match I watched on Youtube the other day, (which had Edge and Lita at the Rated R announce table).

Actually, I can see Noble being against Dolph, Santino, Chavito, Funaki and Brooklyn Brawler at Mania to find the best of the worst.

Last but not least, the HHH/Orton segment. I didn't get why Orton and DiBiase would run from him. They are supposed to be bad guys, so why would it be them that offers to fight without weapons? No logic whatsoever there.

Then the chase. It reminded me of the time Carlito ran into the all to get Hornswoggle for some reason. Why didnt they pick the table up and just throw it at HHH, Im sure 2 220lbs+ men could lift a table and throw it. Makes Orton and Ted look very stupid.

Also, why were they carrying a sledgehammer in a briefcase? No need at all for that.

P.S. VINTAGE MICHAEL COLE!!!

8:41 AM  
Anonymous the masterbater said...

Hey Todd, since they are coming out with a Macho Man DVD and also he was on the cover of Saturday Nights Main Event, will we FINALLY see Macho Man in the Hall of Fame in the future? I know there is still friction between Savage and Vince but will Macho finally get his due?

8:51 AM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

Did I miss something? It seemed to me like Cole, Lawler, etc. just kind of went "Oh, yeah, HHH and Stone Cold Steph are married - ho, hum." I don't particularly care, but shouldn't the news have been presented in a more meaninful, important way?

Again, we have to bury the past to buy into the present. I'm sure Levesque loves being referred to as a "McMahon" because I always love it when people mistakenly call me or my kids by my wife's maiden name.

And what about HHH suddenly being so supportive of Vince, a "63-year-old man?" Yes, the same 63-year-old man you and your middle-aged, hair-plugged buddy made "Vince loves cocks" jokes about for years on end.

I wish the creative team and performers could find a way to acknowledge some of the viewers actually remember past episodes.

Good times.

- Matt in Anchorage

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Steve Khan said...

I thought it was funny that Orton and HHH both had sledgehammers with black tape wrapped around it (since they don't normally look like that). I guess they just missed each other at the sledgehammer store Monday morning.

Also, remember that time Shane McMahon took down the entire Legacy all by himself? HHH couldn't even do it with a sledgehammer.

10:24 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

I'm guessing Jericho will wrestle Flair at Mania (not that I'm advocating this), but I would also guess that WWE isn't entirely sure of the opponent at this point. If they are, it was a decision they only made recently.

I don't think the Noble angle is going anywhere. He'll probably lose quickly at Mania as a comedy spot. They love to humiliate people, even if it becomes repetitious.

I do expect with Randy Savage getting the DVD and being on the cover of the SNME DVD, combined with the fact they need people for the Hall, that they will induct him in. But Vince could always decide that he's willing to release products with Savage on them but that he doesn't want to deal with him in person.

The HHH-Steph thing is tricky, because if you make a big deal out of it it comes across like you were conning people before and as you point out there are strong storyline inconsistencies. I think they needed to finesse it, and I don't have any problem with the way they did it.

I didn't think of the contrast between Shane vs. Legacy as compared to HHH vs. Legacy, but that is funny. Hey, at least Legacy was more scared of HHH even if Shane did more damage.

11:48 AM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

"The HHH-Steph thing is tricky, because if you make a big deal out of it it comes across like you were conning people before and as you point out there are strong storyline inconsistencies. I think they needed to finesse it, and I don't have any problem with the way they did it."

Thanks, Todd. I can dig it.

I suppose we all need to better focus on the difference between the actors themselves and the characters they play on the shows. Lost's Matthew Fox isn't really Dr. Jack Shepard and Steph McMahon-Levesque isn't really SC Steph. They're acting - some much better than others.

Keep up the great work.

- Matt in Anchorage

12:07 PM  
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9:19 AM  

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