Monday, March 02, 2009

WWE Raw Report

Date: 03/02/09 from Boston, MA.

The Big News: WWE continued its drive towards WrestleMania, making clearer the top matches on the show.

Show Analysis:

Jerry Lawler began the show by making an announcement that he said was both the biggest announcement he has made on Raw and one of the biggest matches, if not the biggest, in the history of Raw. What was this historic, epic match? Why, Edge vs. John Cena for the world title.

This was really dumb. First, nobody buys this as some huge match. We’ve seen Cena vs. Edge in a title match on Raw seemingly 8 million times already. Trying to sell the fans on this just makes them think you view them as idiots.

Second, you’ve got your biggest show of the year in a few weeks and announcers should be careful to avoid ludicrous hyperbole that makes you roll your eyes and ignore them. If ever there is a time to be reserved on hype for individual TV shows, it’s now.

Third, wasn’t the whole storyline that Cena was going to hunt down Vickie Guerrero for as long as it took to get his title shot? Usually when you do a storyline like that the heel doesn’t give in within the week. Are they so impatient and fidgety that they can’t even do a six week story now?

Chris Jericho then conducted a segment in the old Piper’s Pit set. He showed the Jimmy Snuka angle, and had Snuka on as a guest. Jericho praised Snuka and his feud with Piper, but noted Snuka is still doing independent dates in his 60. He added that Snuka entered the Rumble last year, selfishly taking a spot of someone who deserved it and could have won. He told Snuka it is time to pack it up and that wrestlers need to be careful not to end up like Snuka.

Jericho asked if Snuka understood, and Snuka said no. So Jericho took out a cocoanut. Snuka took the cocoanut and threatened Jericho. Jericho backed off, saying repeatedly “don’t disgrace yourself.” That’s a tremendous heel line when he’s about to get his comeuppance. Jericho left, and Snuka turned his back for seemingly five minutes like an idiot. Of course Jericho jumped him from behind and beat him down.

This was a marked step down from the other Jericho segments in recent weeks, for two principal reasons. First, they have played off the cocoanut angle so many times over the years it feels terribly stale. Second, Snuka has never been a good talker, and the thing that has been making these segments is not nostalgia but mic work. The segments work much better when Jericho gets verbal pushback. As such, they should be using guys like Arn Anderson and Michael Hayes instead of guys like Snuka. Still, Jericho performed well again and the segment was good.

Kane beat Mike Knox and Rey Mysterio to earn a spot in the Money in the Bank. That’s right. Kane is in, not Rey. Really. The story of the match was that Rey would try to fight off one monster and then the other. Knox threw Rey under the bottom rope, which is a cool spot, and then went after Rey’s back.

Rey came back with a spinning head scissors and went for the 619 on Knox, but Kane caught Rey. Kane kicked Knox out of the ring and went for the choke slam, but Rey escaped and hit the 619 and a springboard senton. Knox broke up the pin and hit a downward spiral on Rey. Kane then hit a choke slam on Knox and covered for the pin. Kane added a choke slam for Rey after the match.

Kelly Kelly and Mickie James beat Beth Phoenix and Jillian Hall. The match was just a backdrop for the build for a Melina vs. Maryse match. Those two did commentary for no apparent reason other than they are going to feud and they couldn’t figure out a more organic way to get there. The heels worked over Kelly, who tagged Mickie. Mickie hit a Thesz press off the top on Jillian. She tagged back Kelly, who hit a top rope sunset flip for the pin. Melina and Maryse bickered on commentary and after the match Maryse gave Melina a DDT on the floor.

Randy Orton and Legacy came out with an army of security and lawyers. Orton challenged the winner of Edge vs. John Cena to a title match. He said that HHH isn’t going to WrestleMania, but rather going to jail because he is pressing charges for assault with a deadly weapon.

At this point I was hating the segment. It’s wrestling. We see assault with a deadly weapon every other week. If you could press charges for this, WWE would need to hire an entirely new roster because everyone on the current roster would be imprisoned. And Randy the Litigator is so much lamer a character than Randy the Viper.

Thankfully, things got much, much better. HHH came out to the ring and got in Orton’s face. He said that after all he has done, Orton needs to beat him at Mania. He said Orton has to avenge the moment that defines his life, the Evolution betrayal. HHH said he is not a good person. He wasn’t happy for Orton’s success and made the decision to take what was his. He said that no Orton can do the same, but instead he runs out of fear because he knows he doesn’t have what it takes. HHH concluded that Orton is still the kid that carried his bags.

A lawyer called for security, but Orton stopped them and said he changed his mind. He said he would face HHH, on the condition HHH doesn’t put his hands on Orton until Mania. HHH agreed. At that point, Orton said it felt great to punt Vince, Shane and especially Stephanie. He said he can still smell Stephanie. HHH got back in the ring and in Orton’s face, but he couldn’t attack. HHH said that the last time they wrestled he broke Orton’s collarbone. HHH added that was business, but this is personal and he will break Orton’s neck. This was a great segment, and HHH in particular was tremendous.

Shawn Michaels beat Vladimir Kozlov. Kozlov got even less of a reaction on Raw than he gets on Smackdown. Kozlov landed some punches. Michaels used a chop block but Kozlov quickly reversed his figure four attempt. Kozlov applied the human torture rack. “It could almost be a submission maneuver,” Michael Cole informed us. Michaels escaped and went for a flying forearm, but ran into a “head butt” for two. Sadly, Kozlov’s head may have missed Michaels by a full two feet.

Michaels came back with an elbow off the top and sweet chin music for the pin. The match was bad, but it had the right finish. I’m glad they’ve stopped the teasing and made it explicitly clear it will be Undertaker vs. Michaels at WrestleMania. Undertaker appeared at the entrance after the match. They announced Bill Watts for the Hall of Fame, with Jim Ross inducting. I hope they give those guys some time to talk.

John Cena beat Edge via DQ. Edge worked over Cena, but Cena came back with shoulder blocks. Cena went for the FU, but Edge escaped and hit an implant DDT for two. Edge knocked Cena off the top rope to the floor and they teased a count out, but Cena got back in at 9. Cena hit a top rope rocker dropper and five knuckle shuffle but Edge blocked the FU and applied the sharpshooter. Cena escaped to the ropes. Edge went for the spear but Cena countered into the STF. Edge got to the ropes.

Edge hit the spear, but Cena kicked out. Edge brought in a title belt at that point. Cena stopped him and went for the FU, but Edge grabbed the belt back from the referee and hit Cena with it for the DQ. After the hyperbole of the opening segment, this was quite the crappy finish.

After the match Vickie announced Big Show as the number one contender for Mania. I guess they felt Edge vs. Cena was too familiar and so they added Show to freshen things up. My philosophy would have been that Edge vs. Cena vs. Show isn’t going to add any interest whatsoever, so why not match Edge and Cena against younger guys and try to elevate them?

Final Thoughts:

This was clearly the worst episode of Raw since No Way Out. I still wouldn’t call it a bad show, because it had some key strong points, but I thought more segments were misses than hits as far as building up WrestleMania. Still, not every show can be a home run, and I do expect the build to continue to be good in the coming weeks.


Blogger s1rweeze said...

Presumably, they're still trying to lure Hogan to do a WM program with Cena, leaving the WWE title match as Edge/Show. On paper from both a workrate and intrigue standpoint, that might be the weakest title match they've ever had. Edge would really have to bust ass to get people to cheer for Big Show.

I'm really happy to see they've gone with the "no contact til the match" angle for HHH/Orton. It fits perfectly, especially after Orton raised the stakes a bit with that sleazy comment about Stephanie. I think this is the first time we've seen HHH in a "Randy-Savage-psycho" mode, isn't it? It suits him very well, especially against Orton. I'd love to see him stay in that mode and feud with Jericho (assuming HHH gets drafted to Raw)

6:18 AM  
Anonymous SteRDLK said...

I hope Chris Jericho cuts a promo next week which belittles most legends, but he says there are some he respects such as Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart and The Rock for never selling out like Piper, Steamboat, Flair and Snuka have.

This promo would bring his Mania opponent out who challenges him to a match at Mania, on behalf of all wrestling legends worldwide, most likely Steve Austin with it being in Texas.

I think Kane will win MITB. That would be good to see as he deserves it more than anybody.

Didnt Randy Orton already avenge Evolution turning on him by forming Rated RKO? Edge said his career stalled when they turned on him, and that they should form an alliance to take back their careers and their lives. I suppose thats what we have come to expect from WWE, inconsistency. I have to say though, Triple H did a great promo, first time in a long long time for that.

I am massively disappointed that Big Show is the number one contender. He has done absolutely nothing to justify this. The only thing I can working is Vickie cheating on Edge, costing him the title to Big Show. I can see Edge turning face, sadly. I suppose it is a swerve, but not in a good way sadly.

I hope the Raw & Smackdown title vs title matches are unification, it could make the belts worth something again. Maryse should win as Melina just isn't good enough.

Is John Cena facing Hulk Hogan? It's the only direction I can see them taking Cena, as he has used the rematch clause.

Where does Vladimir Kozlov go now? Will he interfere in the Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels match? Hope not, he is dreadful. I guess this means that Undertaker will have defeated every member of Evolution, DX and Rated RKO come WrestleMania.

There looks to be some good and bad points as far as WrestleMania build up is concerned, and Raw pretty much epitomised this.

8:07 AM  
Anonymous maxflipper said...

Todd - I have no problem with Kane being in the MITB match. As a matter of fact, I can see him winning it. He has jobbed to get others over (Kofi, Rey, Punk) so I think it's time he gets his due.

Besides, I don't see him being around much longer anyway, so he deserves another title run (longer than one day). He has never raised problems backstage and is a reliable steady worker, who, despite being a heel, still gets cheered.

That's when you know you have fans respect.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Timelord said...

Personally I think they have already given up on the World title match, and they are throwing the whole box and dice into the WWE title match and probably HBK/Taker and to a degree Hardy v Hardy.

Which is interesting when you consider they invalidated the whole "Trips can't touch Randy" idea with what transpired on Smackdown.

3:41 AM  

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