Tuesday, March 31, 2009

WWE Raw Report

Date: 03/30/09 from Dallas, TX.

The Big News: WrestleMania is Sunday. So is WEC.

Show Analysis:

Alicia Fox, Brie Bella, Eve Torres, Kelly Kelly, Gail Kim, Maria, Mickie James, Melina and Tiffany beat Natalya, Jillian Hall, Katie Lea, Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix, Layla, Rosa Mendes and Maryse. This was one of those non-matches where they do like two moves and then someone (Tiffany) rolls someone else (Katie Lea) up for the pin. Tiffany winning was kind of odd since I doubt even half of the Raw audience even knows who she is.

This was mostly just a backdrop for Santino Marella anyway. Santino came out in a robe. He still wants in the women’s battle royal and said he is an equal rights pioneer. He then took off the robe and danced around in some skimpy attire as the women laughed. Beth was annoyed and all the other women jumped him. They need to find something new and more substantive for Santino to do, because his act is losing steam.

Chris Jericho beat Jerry Lawler. They traded punches and kicks, with Jericho gaining control. Lawler eventually pulled down the strap and made a comeback with punches. All of a sudden Jericho caught him in the Walls for the submission. After the match Lawler came back with a punch. Jericho left, noting he already beat Lawler. He then vowed to beat the legends at Mania. I’m surprised they didn’t have Ric Flair cut a promo about his watch.

Edge confronted John Cena backstage, and said that they would need to take out Big Show together or they would be sitting ducks. Cena said he’d rather lose on his own than win with Edge’s help. Rey Mysterio beat JBL in a non-title match. JBL worked him over. Rey came back with an enzuigiri, 619 and springboard splash for the pin.

Big Show beat John Cena. Show dominated with power moves. He stood on Cena, brushed off Cena’s moves, threw him into the barricade and choked Cena. He went for the choke slam, but Cena escaped and went for the STF. He couldn’t apply it. Show went for the knockout punch but Cena ducked under and went for the FU. Show blocked that and hit the choke slam for the clean pin. Edge jumped Cena afterwards. I’m glad this was just focused on the match and not the love triangle.

Shawn Michaels arrived in a hearse and appeared in the ring in front of a casket. He said that he’s not afraid and that Undertaker’s streak will end. He noted that Undertaker hasn’t been able to beat him, and that he has played psychological games without retribution. He’ll never get his comeuppance, he crowed. The lights went out and Undertaker appeared in the ring, but Michaels was gone. Undertaker destroyed the set. He then slowly sensed Michaels might be in the casket. He opened it, but Michaels wasn’t there. Taker turned around and Michaels came from under the casket with sweet chin music and a bunch of crotch chops. Michaels did a great job here.

Kane won an eight man battle royal with the Money in the Bank participants. Mark Henry threw out Finlay. Hornswoggle then distracted Henry, allowing Kane to dump him. Kane threw out MVP and Benjamin together. Punk dumped Kingston. Christian threw Punk over the top, but Punk held on. Kane then grabbed Christian and tossed him over the top to take out Punk for the win. I figured Kane would win here, since everyone will figure the winner isn’t winning Money in the Bank and nobody expects Kane to win that anyway.

Raw ended with a compelling segment that worked well on its own but didn’t make a ton of sense if you’ve been watching the show every week. Randy Orton came out and recapped the history of Evolution. He said at that time he vowed that he would ruin HHH’s life, but that he needed to wait until he could assemble a group and HHH had more than ever before to take. They then aired a series of videos that made it seem like Orton won the Rumble, targeted HHH, and then sought to destroy HHH’s family as well.

The only problem with this is that the whole start of the angle a few weeks ago was that Orton was scared of HHH and wanted to wrestle for Edge’s title. An angry HHH then browbeat Orton into accepting a match with him and Orton only accepted because HHH agreed not to touch Orton between then and WrestleMania.

Orton said he did all those horrible things to get HHH to attack him (so why’d you ask for the stipulation that he couldn’t touch you?), because then HHH would feel in control and he could counterattack (so if HHH didn’t attack you in your home you couldn’t have attacked him 3 on 1 the next week?). He further explained that the whole IED thing was a fake (since it doesn’t fit with the new story).

Orton continued by saying that HHH can’t bring his sledgehammer to WrestleMania, because he talked to Vickie Guerrero and if HHH is disqualified at WrestleMania he loses the title. Wait, aren’t the McMahons ultimately in charge? Wasn’t Vickie appointed by them? And if she does have this power, why haven’t the McMahons fired her?

Anyway, long story short, Orton told a great story here, but it made absolutely no sense if you’ve been following the show for the past two months. This was staggeringly illogical for a WrestleMania main event, and yet another example of how they really need long term planning.

The segment picked up with the arrival of a limousine. Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes and security came out to protect Orton. Vince McMahon’s music played, and he strutted out for a fight. Then Shane McMahon’s music played, and he joined Vince on the stage. Finally, HHH’s music came on. They all looked at each other and marched down the stage towards the ring. “Oh my God, it’s on,” Lawler exclaimed. The McMahons beat up security, reached Legacy, and a gigantic brawl broke out to close the show. The setup of this showdown was tremendous.

Final Thoughts:

This show was light on angles. They clearly figure the groundwork is laid for the show, and focused here on recapping the programs and putting the final touches on the key feuds. This was a well constructed show overall, but on its own it didn’t do a lot to make you want to see WrestleMania. Then again, the angles for Michaels/Undertaker and Orton/HHH were pretty good and there’s not a lot you could do to get people all that excited about anything else by this stage of the game. WWE dug its own grave in regards to WrestleMania a long time ago. Regardless of the build, it should be a fun show as WrestleMania always is, and I hope everyone traveling to Houston has a good time.


Anonymous Bob said...

After praising Orton for weeks, I have to say that this week I thought he couldn't handle all the time he was given on the mic. He didn't outright choke, but it definitely got to the point where I was thinking, "OK, enough, wrap it up already", instead of being entertained.

The WWE has this odd concept of big, tough guys who get into feuds and handle it by apparently working with video editors during the week so they can give a speech and call up video packages during parts of their speech. Normally I just kind of ignore how little sense this makes, but when Orton summoned the Royal Rumble clip, which showed Legacy just barely able to defeat HHH in a three-on-situation, it was even sillier than usual.

The ending with Shane, Vince, and HHH was cool, in a big, dumb way (who would wait all week to get revenge, then come out and pose to music before doing so? how on earth did the camera miss the shot of them exiting the car? etc.). It would have been better if we didn't get to see Shane's patented attack which consists of a flurry of light taps. At least it ended with Orton and HHH battling alone in the ring together.

Overall, one of the weakest builds to a WrestleMania.

2:58 AM  
Blogger DW said...

This is what happens when you have a performer - EgoTriple H - significantly influencing the creative process, if not outright dominating it. WM25 is being planned as a star vehicle for EgoTriple H - that's the only explanation for his dominance and the nonsense that the main event has become. I applaud Randy Orton for putting up with it.

If anybody thinks Triple H is going to lose the main event of the silver anniversary of Wrestlemania, then your naivete is out of control. There's absolutely no reason to watch it - the main event is a given and all the other matches are standard free television fare, including the Michaels-Undertaker fiasco that is clearly being created as a feather in the cap for HBK.

Raw has become nothing more than utter nonsense - I'm waiting for the ratings to continue to drop (as they have since Triple H came back from SD).

8:55 AM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

I'm far from excited about WM25 this weekend. The only reason I'll be watching is because some high-school-aged family friends insist we must. Roger Murtaugh is always right - I am too old for this sh**.

It's such a shame the "E" is such a mess right now.

- Matt in Anchorage

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Steve Khan said...

DW, I wouldn't be so convinced. HHH was in the Main Event at WrestleMania 20, the last big 'anniversary', and he lost there. I think Orton is winning this match, and I think that's what HHH wants.

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Dave S. said...

I disagree with DW above also. I think there is a very good chance Orton will win the match. He is clearly being built up as the biggest star in the company, and HHH does have a history of putting over other wrestlers at Wrestlemania.

I also disagree with DW even more strenuously on his Undertaker-Michaels criticism. I am 100% sure that Undertaker is winning that match. It is clearly not being created as a "feather in the cap of HBK." It has been by far the best-built feud going into Wrestlemania, and I have no doubt that it will result in a ****+ match.

1:23 PM  
Anonymous SteRDLK said...

Raw lacked any logic whatsoever (barring Undertaker and Shawn Michaels)

It isn't worth getting into how poor Raw was, as it would take too long.

But I must praise Undertaker and Shawn Michaels for their excellent work yet again. They have made me believe that the Undertaker could actually lose, even though I highly doubt it, and if I do end up ordering WrestleMania, it will primarily be to see this match. Also, I have finally seen why people like Shawn Michaels, he is just so good as a heel, but last time he was a heel he was jobbing to an old orange man who can barely walk.

1:27 PM  
Blogger DW said...

I don't think you can compare the 20th anniversary of anything with the 25th. The 25th anniversary - the silver anniversary - of any event will always be more significant. When the WWE looks back, the 20th WM will just be part of the pack, but the 25th will be talked about as a milestone, with more meaning, therefore Triple H losing at the 20th doesn't register with me to compare it to the upcoming 25th WM. So, I really think this year's WM is a far more significant event - and in retrospect will have even more meaning. The WWE will be referring to this event for a long time so I can't imagine Triple H letting that go without a win.

And I don't think Randy Orton needs to be "put over" by anybody. He's already "over." He's won a WM main event, he's been the WWE champion, he's headlined PPVs and been considered a top name for a long time. He doesn't need Triple H to "put him over." Triple H may have a history of putting other wrestlers over. God knows, it's another thing he can crow about to stroke his own ego, which seems to be considerable. But Orton doesn't need his help. In my opinion, Orton has out-performed Triple H in this entire story they've been creating for them. If he were to win, it would be all about him, not anybody "putting him over."

I really think that it'll be a Triple H-fest. He won't lose, not when the he can look back and have the WWE constantly refer to him, as the main event winner of the biggest Wrestlemania since its inception. I just can't see it happening, given what we've witnessed of Triple H's dominating influence on so much of what goes on in the WWE. Orton won last year (and even then, Triple H struck the winning blow with a Pedigree to Cena that Orton capitalized on, if I remember correctly - Triple H didn't win, but he didn't lose, either) and he can win in 2010, but Triple H ain't lettin' this one go by without a win.

In the remote chance, though, that Orton were to win, I am certain that it won't be an authoritative win without some kind of questionable tactic. For this big event, Triple H would come out smelling like a rose if the impossible happened and Orton were to win.

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Joe said...

I can't believe I'm typing this, but Orton has done such a good job that I want to see Triple H win.

I don't think this feud has been about putting Orton over as much as it's been Orton making Triple H not feel stale anymore.

My only beef with this whole thing is that Orton isn't a monster. I remember during Brock Lesnar's last heel push thinking that they didn't have anyone booked strong enough to win, so when Eddie won, it felt like a special moment. With Orton, I feel like they can book a dozen guys to beat him and it wouldn't feel out of place or strange.

6:32 PM  
Blogger DW said...

Well the show is over and guess what? Trips wins! I hate to say I told you so.....but.....

8:04 PM  
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