WWE Raw Report
The Big News: Batista earned a shot at Randy Orton’s title with help from John Cena.
Vickie Guerrero started the show. She said she is proud that Edge won the Smackdown title and happy to introduce Randy Orton as the new Raw champion. Orton said the McMahons are in mourning because their protector and champion has fallen. He noted that he took out HHH just like he said he would. Vickie announced Orton will defend the title on the next PPV against the winner of a Batista vs. Big Show bout later in the show. MVP then came out to antagonize Orton and Vickie made that match as well for Raw.
Kofi Kingston beat The Brian Kendrick. Kendrick hit a top rope dropkick. Kingston responded with the high double leg drop, springboard crossbody and trouble in paradise for the pin. This was a good match, although I wish they hadn’t slotted Kendrick so low in week 1. They announced that John Cena will be out for a long time. Vickie congratulated Big Show for that backstage, but said that their relationship will now be strictly professional.
Santina Marella, Mickie James, Kelly Kelly and Brie Bella beat Beth Phoenix, Maryse, Rosa Mendes and Jillian Hall. Beth chopped Santina, who shrieked and tagged Brie. Brie went under the ring and came out with Nikki and Hornswoggle. Idiotic “comedy” ensued. God I hate Hornswoggle. Santina rolled up Jillian for the win.
Matt Hardy beat Goldust. Hardy was wearing a cast and talked about his broken hand. He called Jeff a heartless barbarian and said that he isn’t a quitter. Goldust then came out for the match. Matt backed off repeatedly until Goldust turned his back. Matt then hit Goldust with the cast for the pin. They are apparently going to do the old Bob Orton Jr. angle with Matt.
Randy Orton beat MVP via disqualification. MVP worked over Orton for much of the match. He hit a yakuza kick, while Orton nailed a neck breaker. MVP took over with an overhead belly to belly, face buster and balling. The balling spot didn’t get nearly the same reaction it does on Smackdown, illustrating the difference in Raw and Smackdown viewership numbers. MVP missed the yakuza kick, Orton dumped him over the top rope, and then Shane McMahon attacked Orton for the DQ.
Shane attacked Orton with a Singapore cane and hit en elbow off the top. He then ran into the crowd. Shane looks in much better shape now than when he first came back, and it makes him much more credible in this role. Vickie announced Shane vs. Orton for next week, and hopefully that’s the blow off of that for now. As for MVP/Orton, they gave MVP a ton of offense and tried to establish him at a high level.
Miz came out and challenged John Cena. The announcers made it clear Cena was injured and unavailable. “I’m tired of the same guys in main events every week in Raw,” said the Miz. Preach on! The man spits nothing but the truth. Like Beanie Sigel. Or Julius Smokes. “That’s why the Miz is going to grab the brass ring,” he continued. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold up there, Sparky. Perhaps you should just stick with the idea of new main eventers in theory, because I’m not digging the specifics of your plan. Anyway, Miz announced himself the winner over Cena via forfeit.
Carlito and Primo Colon beat Chavo Guerrero and Jamie Noble. The Colons were in control early, but the heels briefly worked over Primo. He tagged Carlito, who came in with a back drop, sit down power bomb and double jump somersault senton. Primo took out Chavo with a tope and Carlito hit the back cracker on Noble for the pin.
Batista beat Big Show via count out. This was an awful, plodding, deadly boring retread of a match complete with a horrendous finish and setting up a bout nobody wants to see. Show worked over Batista seemingly forever. Batista came back with a spine buster, but Show hit a choke slam. At that point, John Cena came out on the ramp and Show was counted out.
This was another not-so-great edition of Raw. Between the cutting down on brand mixing, the absence of HHH, and the slight role of Cena, the show was a lot lighter on star power.
I really hated the main event on a number of levels. As noted already, the match itself was awful. But the booking beyond that I thought was also really bad.
First, the idea of a title is that it signifies the best wrestler. WWE PPVs have collapsed in large part because they have killed off the idea that their titles mean anything. Thus, nobody cares to see wrestlers fight for them. And the last two days are yet another example of the crappy booking that has led to that situation. A cheap interference finish in a title match is okay if used very sparingly, but otherwise it just makes the titles feel pointless.
Edge beat Cena last night solely because Big Show interfered. Then 24 hours later they do the same exact diminution of the other title, by having Batista earn a title shot solely because Cena interfered. What are these title matches for, when neither champions nor challengers establish themselves as even negligibly better than the other members of WWE’s established main eventer club? It’s the same group, everyone stays at the same level regardless of whether they win or lose, and the wins or losses rarely come because one is better than the other. What’s the point? It’s just a prolonged exercise in preserving the status quo.
Second, and speaking of the status quo, Batista is challenging for the title again? Really? I swear this guy has unsuccessfully challenged for a title on pay-per-view 25 times in the past three years. Would it kill them to give someone else a push for once? I have nothing against Batista as a performer, but Batista as a face challenger was tired years ago. It’s almost to the point of farce now. He always challenges the heel champion. He never wins. He never truly loses. And the next month he challenges again. Give someone else a shot, for Christ’s sake.
Third, if Cena was going to show up at the end of the show, why did they do the angle earlier with the Miz? I’ve seen the angle tons of times over the years where the heel challenges a face knowing that the face isn’t there. I didn’t know it was possible for a promotion to be so stupid as to fuck this up by having it come out later that the face is in fact there. Are fans supposed to think Cena is a coward who won’t respond to a challenge from the Miz of all people? Or are they just assumed to be so stupid as to not remember what they saw two segments ago?
Much of this show wasn’t that bad. But the big picture stuff was.