Tuesday, May 26, 2009

WWE Raw Report

Date: 05/25/09 from Los Angeles, CA.

The Big News: I can’t recall an entertainment product this pathetically crafted to soothe the insecurities and neuroses of its creator since M. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water.

Show Analysis:

Michael Cole and Jim Ross did commentary this week, since Jerry Lawler was wrestling in the main event. They announced a “capacity crowd” at the Staples Center, even though the entire gigantic top section was clearly blocked off. They had to use weird camera angles for crowd shots to try to cover for that.

They ran a long video package explaining Vince McMahon’s feud with the Denver Nuggets’ owner for the 100 percent of his audience that doesn’t give a shit. The fake Nuggets owner came out, and they then showed a fake David Stern, fake Jerry Buss and fake Jack Nicholson in the front row. I can’t even put into words how low rent this made WWE look.

The fake Nuggets owner talked about how he hates the WWE. Vince McMahon then came out and cut a long, unfunny, juvenile, idiotic and generally worthless promo on the guy. He shoved him down. Good for you, Vince. You sure showed them. And it was so entertaining for us, the WWE Universe. Thanks so much. I sure wish that UFC shows started with long skits featuring Dana White cutting promos on a fake Loretta Hunt.

Miz came out in a Cleveland Cavaliers jersey, and said that the Cavs will win the NBA title because LeBron James, like the Miz, is awesome. He said John Cena is a phony poser like Kobe Bryant. Cena finally came out, but Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes jumped him from behind. Batista, Big Show and Jerry Lawler joined the fracas. Cena and Batista cleared the ring.

Kelly Kelly beat Maryse via DQ. Maryse was announced as from Montreal, Ontario. I understand their sister city is New Orleans, Georgia. Maryse and Kelly brawled, and it went to the outside. Maryse threw Kelly on the announce table, and was disqualified for this.

How did this get approved? Shouldn’t someone in the writing room have pointed out that someone has been shoved onto the announce table 18,000 times over the history of Raw and it has never even been a DQ tease let alone a DQ? Is it so hard to come up with a different scenario for a DQ? Maryse hits Kelly with the title belt? Maryse refuses to break a choke hold at five? Maryse hits the referee? Someone interferes? Something? I mean, I know we WWE viewers are a dumb bunch, but surely a few of us have some semblance of memory and logic, right?

Fake Jack Nicholson was backstage. Despite looking absolutely nothing like the real Nicholson, he was mobbed by the moronic WWE performers. Hornswoggle, Goldust and the Bellas were so excited he was there. It ended with a moronic parody of A Few Good Men by Goldust. He’s doing the Tourette’s gimmick again. I really missed that one.

Ric Flair met with Batista backstage. Flair insisted that he was going to call out Randy Orton. Batista suggested Flair call out Orton after Batista destroys Orton in the cage match. I took this as a clear heel tease, because the sentiment was so condescending. Batista didn’t deliver this in a condescending manner, however.

Kofi Kingston beat Matt Hardy and William Regal in a triple threat match to earn a United States title shot. Regal hit Kofi with knees and European uppercuts. Kofi did a cool spot where he bounced off the ropes via his head. He went for a high double leg drop but Matt tripped him up. Kofi hit a missile dropkick on Regal and high double leg drop on Matt. Regal used an exploder on Kofi and Matt used a side effect on Regal. Kofi then nailed Regal with trouble in paradise. Matt went to hit Kofi with the cast but Kofi caught him with trouble in paradise as well to secure the pin.

Flair called out Orton. Orton said that he could beat up Flair, but that he wouldn’t lower himself to beating up a 60-year-old like Chris Jericho did. Flair started screaming at him. Orton said it is all over for Flair. Flair slapped Orton. Orton then beat up Flair until Batista made the save and Orton bailed. Batista held Flair back. This was a good angle. Mr. Kennedy then came out and said he would be the mystery partner in the 10 man tag main event. I’m not sure why he did that at this point in the show.

Santino and Mickie James beat Beth Phoenix and Chavo Guerrero. The heels worked over Santino, and Santino ran away from Beth. Mickie came in with dropkicks to Beth. Beth went after Santino and Mickie used a crucifix cradle on her for the pin. Santino got to pick a match between Santina and Vickie at Extreme Rules. Vickie said she wasn’t worried because Chavo would be in her corner. Santino was given some awful comedy material that died a horrible death with the audience and announced a hog pen match.

Big Show and Miz met backstage. Show said that he doesn’t like the Miz, that nobody likes the Miz, and that Miz won’t get the pin on John Cena because he is going to make Cena tap out. Good luck on that one, buddy.

Goldust and Hornswoggle beat Festus and The Brian Kendrick. Festus wouldn’t attack Hornswoggle so Kendrick tagged in and beat up Hornswoggle. Goldust tagged in and hit an inverted atomic drop and lariat. Kendrick wanted the tag but Festus refused. Goldust gave Kendrick a power slam, Hornswoggle gave him the frog splash and Goldust hit the final cut for the pin. Goldust looked good here. Kendrick was going to punish Festus with a chair after but Primo Colon rang a bell.

Mr. Kennedy, MVP, Jerry Lawler, Batista and John Cena beat Big Show, Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase and the Miz. The heels worked over MVP. He got the tag to Kennedy, who got in a little offense but then got worked over himself. He eventually tagged Cena. Cena tagged MVP and they did balling and you can’t see me together. MVP hit the playmaker on Rhodes for the win. It was smart to give the pin to someone who can use it more. After the finish there was a series where everyone gave each other finishers. It culminated with a Cena and Batista double team suplex on Show.

Final Thoughts:

Hey Vince, you know how you want higher ad rates? Know how it drives you nuts that advertisers think your audience has no education level and no disposable income? Well, it’s not because of blood or T&A. Those things didn’t sink The Sopranos. No, in fact, the problem is nonsense like you’ve pulled this week and on this show. You’re 63 years old. Grow up. Mature adults don’t want to be associated with this idiocy.

The interview I referred to last week with Alex Reimer is actually available here:


Sorry for the wrong link last week. Also, here is the second piece in my UFC retrospective series. It focuses on the dark days of UFC and features thoughts from Jens Pulver, Pat Miletich and Kevin Randleman.


Monday, May 18, 2009

WWE Raw Report

Date: 05/18/09 from Louisville, KY.

The Big News: Raw was good! Huzzah!

Show Analysis:

Randy Orton came out to start the show. He said that he was going to take out Batista for good, but Ric Flair had to intervene. Orton said that Flair never liked him much in Evolution because he was a threat to Triple H. He said that he kicked Flair in the skull just like the other members of Evolution and they will never have their retribution. He dared Flair to get in his business again.

Ric Flair joined Orton, and pointed out that Orton didn’t beat Batista but instead got himself intentionally disqualified. He said that Orton was the heir apparent in Evolution, but Batista blew by him. I like the attempt to tie in history here, but it’s harder to do when you don’t have long term planning seeing storylines through (remember Flair turned on Batista and helped HHH when Evolution dissolved).

Flair told Orton that he suggested to Vickie Guerrero that Batista wrestle Orton in a cage match at Extreme Rules and she made the match. Orton said Flair delivered that message, so he had a message for Flair to deliver to Batista. Somehow Flair couldn’t crack the code of that oh-so-subtle message and stood there grinning right before Orton punched him in the mouth and put the boots to him. Batista and Legacy joined the fray, with Legacy winning the numbers game. John Cena then made the save. Vickie Guerrero would make Cena and Batista vs. Legacy for the main event.

Kelly Kelly won a battle royal for a women’s title shot over Rosa Mendes, Beth Phoenix, Mickie James and the Bellas. Maryse (announced as “Maurice” by Michael Cole) did commentary. Even though there were only seven participants, they basically all jumped over the top as quickly as possible. Kelly eliminated Beth, leaving Kelly and Mickie as the final two. Maryse then sprayed something in Mickie’s eyes (Arrogance, perhaps?), and Kelly dumped Mickie to win. This was very sloppy.

Santino beat Chavo Guerrero in a really entertaining comedy match. Santino was so unbelievably awesome here. Just his entrance was absolutely hilarious as he shamelessly pandered to the crowd. He waved at the crowd, smiled, feigned humility, and shook the hands of the ring announcer and referee. Chavo worked over Santino, but Santino hulked up. He then made his comeback, but couldn’t believe that he was actually succeeding in executing these moves. Chavo finally charged into the turnbuckle and Santino covered for the pin. Chavo after the match said that Santina would defend her Ms. WrestleMania crown against Vickie Guerrero later in the show.

Miz came onto Maryse backstage. Maryse wasn’t having it. Elsewhere, Vickie was upset that Chavo made the match with Santina. Chavo said he had a plan. Orton came in, and was angry that Vickie made a cage match without consulting him. Vickie said she doesn’t need to consult with anyone. Orton replied that she needs to worry about staying on his good side.

The Colons beat Goldust and The Brian Kendrick. I laughed at Goldust as Kendrick’s partner, but man did it ever bury Kendrick that he couldn’t get anyone better than Goldust for a partner. Kendrick was pleased at first but then turned on Goldust basically immediately when Goldust wasn’t doing well. Kendrick tagged himself in and worked the rest of the match. Primo beat Kendrick with a springboard crossbody press.

Kendrick yelled at Goldust afterwards. Hornswoggle came in to help and they fought off Kendrick. This was kind of funny, but it’s that type of burial comedy that keeps everyone but the top few guys from getting over.

Miz came out acting like John Cena. He was awesome here. Miz is working so well as a singles heel with all the focus on him. The association with Cena is helping a lot too. He pointed out that Cena is terrified of him, and did a remix of a Cena rap. It was intentionally really lame. He concluded that it is Miz 5, Cena 0 and declared himself awesome.Jerry Lawler came in to make the save for Cena. He said that calling someone out isn’t a victory. Lawler called out Batista, Steve Austin, Bruno Sammartino and Hulk Hogan to make the point. He said that if he wants a match with Cena he should see Vickie Guerrero. Miz said he would do just that, which brought out Big Show. Show said Miz will have to wait, because he is wrestling Cena in a submission match at Extreme Rules.

Miz said that he would wait until after Cena beats Show. He then ran away from an infuriated Show. Show took out his aggression on Lawler, who was gone for the rest of the show. Jim Ross filled in on commentary.

I thought for sure that they would have Cena or Show just destroy Miz here, but God bless them, they didn’t. So please, WWE, I’m pleading with you, let Miz keep his heat. Don’t bury this guy. It’s almost incomprehensible if you had thought about this going in, but Miz is clicking. You want new stars, and this sort of angle is precisely how you create a new star. Give this guy a chance to become a singles star. If you stay the course, it might work. But you can destroy it all in just one week, so please be careful. And as an aside, can we now say that splitting up Miz and John Morrison might not have been the dumbest thing WWE could have done after all? I’m looking at you, Dave and Bryan.

MVP beat Matt Hardy in a US Title match. The announcers sold that Vickie Guerrero might have given Matt this match as a reward for helping Edge at Judgment Day. Matt hit MVP in the knee with the cast and worked over the knee. MVP came back with balling and the playmaker for the pin.

Backstage, Ric Flair told Batista that he was going to call out Randy Orton next week. Batista didn’t want him to do that. An annoyed Flair said that he doesn’t want to be retired, that he can still do it, and that he’ll beat up Orton in a street fight. Clearly, they are at the very least planting the seeds for Flair returning. Personally, I think Flair returning is kind of like ending Undertaker’s streak. Maybe you can come up with a really great reason for doing it, but if you can’t, you lose a lot more than you gain by pulling the trigger.

Elsewhere backstage, Chavo Guerrero tried to get Vickie to jump off the couch onto him with a frog splash. Vickie was having second thoughts about the match, but Santina came in and said that the only way Vickie wins is if pigs can fly. An angry Vickie said she would do the match after all.

Vickie Guerrero beat Santina Marella to be crowned Ms. WrestleMania. Vickie slapped Santina, and Santina responded by kissing Vickie. Chavo announced the match would be no-DQ. Santina somehow couldn’t figure out what was going to happen, so she squared off with Vickie and allowed Chavo to jump her from behind. Santina fought off Chavo and dumped him over the top rope, but William Regal then came in. He laid out Santina with an exploder and running knee to the head, and Vickie covered for the pin. They played “So Hot” and Vickie danced and celebrated.

Batista and John Cena beat Legacy. The heels first worked over Batista, who eventually got the tag to Cena. Cena hit the five knuckle and FU on Rhodes, but Orton tagged himself in and went to work on Cena. Cena eventually got the tag to Batista. Batista came in with a power slam on Orton. Big Show came out and fought to the back with Cena, seemingly leaving Batista alone against three men. However, Ric Flair came down to help and Batista speared Orton for the pin.

Final Thoughts:

This was the first honest-to-goodness strong episode of Raw in quite a while. The comedy was much, much, much better than the WWE average, and the main angles throughout the show worked well too. WWE tends to build momentum towards pay-per-views, whether it’s positive or negative, so hopefully this portends well for what’s to come the next couple weeks. I’m crossing my fingers when it comes to Miz. They’ve got something here that came out of nowhere, and I really hope they don’t squander it.

Final Plugs:

I want to make mention of a number of things this week. First, I’m doing an 8-part series on UFC history leading up to UFC 100 at CBSSports.com. The first piece is on Royce Gracie, and I’ve got his thoughts on all the key points in his career. I think you’ll really enjoy it if you’re a fan of the sport. It’s located here:


Second, I’ll be on Alex Reimer’s radio show Thursday evening talking pro wrestling. You can check that out here:


Third, I’ll be on the Arkansas Radio Network with Shawn and Wally talking UFC 98 Thursday at 4:30PM Central/2:30PM Pacific. You can listen to that here:


Finally, I’ll be in Vegas for UFC 98 this weekend and will be blogging on the weekend’s events at CBSSports.com. Okay, that’s it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

WWE Raw Report

Date: 05/11/09 from Columbus, OH.

The Big News: Batista looked to take out Randy Orton in advance of Judgment Day.

Show Analysis:

Raw had quite the opening this week. Randy Orton and Legacy came out, and Orton said that the McMahons pride themselves on listening to the audience. That’s a good one. Orton said that he put an end to the McMahons last week and now the company revolves around him. He said that Vickie Guerrero had announced a no physical contact ruling for Batista and Orton until Judgment Day. Wait, you say, didn’t they kill that stipulation off in a week less than two months ago? Oh, wait, it gets better.

Batista came out. Orton said that Batista won’t win the title and offered Batista a spot in Legacy as his enforcer. DiBiase said that getting punted by Orton was the best thing that ever happened to his career. Batista said he loathes Orton and he won’t be Orton’s backup. An angry Orton said that if there weren’t this no physical contact ruling he would drop Batista right there. Batista said Vickie wasn’t going to call off the Judgment Day main event, and there was nothing stopping him from destroying Orton.

Vickie came out, and asked “Did I just hear you call me predictable?” Only problem was, Batista had not in fact called her predictable. “I’m not predictable!” she continued. Good thing for those overly scripted promos. Anyway, Batista had just laughed at the idea that Vickie would stand by her own rulings. So what was her reaction? Why, she rescinded her no contact rule that lasted for a grand total of about 10 minutes. So, what was the point exactly of that? God only knows. Maybe they changed the script for Raw during the first five minutes of the show.

Vickie announced Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes vs. Batista in a handicap match. If Batista won, he would get Orton 1-on-1 later on Raw. If Legacy won, they would get Batista 3-on-1. The match took place and it was another of those nothing matches with a total crap finish that makes matches look like pointless contrivances. Rhodes went to use a chair. Batista grabbed it, swung it at Rhodes, and despite not even hitting Rhodes he was disqualified. Just like last week, they should have just announced the 3-on-1 handicap match rather than throwing in some pointless screw job finishes to set it up.

Mickie James and Kelly Kelly beat Maryse and Jillian Hall. The heels worked over Kelly, who got the tag to Mickie. Mickie came in with a huracanrana and Charlie Thesz press off the top on Maryse. Maryse went for a DDT but Mickie grabbed the ropes to block and hit an implant DDT for the win.

Backstage, Randy Orton and Ted DiBiase spoke briefly. DiBiase said Cody Rhodes was gone, and they went to investigate. Orton found Rhodes, but when they went back to get DiBiase, Batista had taken DiBiase out. Elsewhere, Chavo Guerrero said he spoke with Big Show and they thought John Cena should be forced to compete on Raw in an “exhibition match” until Cena proves to Vickie he can go on Sunday. Vickie liked this and made the exhibition match against Miz.

Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole did their usual pay-per-view preview, but this time they went into the ring to announce the matches like an upcoming house show announcement. I like the idea, because they were able to get some crowd reactions to make it sound exciting and important. They should continue to do this.

The Brian Kendrick beat Carlito in a very, very short match. Kendrick threw Carlito into the post and pinned him. Kendrick declared that this was step one and that step two will be finding a tag team partner to take the titles.

John Cena and Miz had their exhibition match with Big Show watching at the announce table. Cena tried to keep his eyes on Show throughout. Miz hit some suplexes and worked over Cena. Cena came back with shoulder blocks, the Cena slam and the five knuckle shuffle. After being at death’s door last week Cena was basically fine this week. Vickie then announced that she had seen enough and that it was obvious Cena has no chance against the Big Show. Wait, wasn’t the match supposed to go until he proved he could compete? Anyway, Miz hit a DDT and declared himself 3-0 against Cena.

Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes met backstage. They knew that Batista was after them, so they devised a plan: they would split up and have Rhodes go after Batista on his own. You would think the writers could have come up with a somewhat more plausible series of events leading to Rhodes getting taken out. Of course, when Rhodes went after Batista, Batista took him out.

Santina approached Vickie backstage. Vickie wanted to know if Santina called her swine-like last week. You know, you could watch the show you’re the general manager of to find out. Santina said she wasn’t there last week and that was Santino. Chavo wasn’t buying this and went to pull off Santina’s wig. Santina stopped him.

Vickie ordered Rosa and Beth to kiss Santina. I was wondering how they were going to pull off an erection gag on a PG show, but that wasn’t where they were going. Rosa kissed Santina on the cheek and Santina started making out with Rosa. Santina then admitted she was a lesbian and made a bunch more pig noises. They cut to the announce table. You could see rows of people with no one laughing or even smiling while Lawler and Cole just guffawed with fake laughter. I actually thought the segment was funny, but the phony laughter is so insulting to the audience’s intelligence.

Santina beat Beth Phoenix. There were Santina chants. Since Santina is a face you can’t really have her beat up women, so she basically sold the entire match here. In the end Santina pinned Beth with a small package and celebrated ebulliently. The Santina gimmick is getting over but I’m not sure where you go with it.

MVP hosted the VIP Lounge. He called William Regal out, and labeled Regal boring. Regal retorted that MVP is arrogant. Matt Hardy then came out and said he shouldn’t have to compete with a broken hand. He added that he should get the next shot at MVP’s title when he is healthy. Kofi Kingston ran out to attack Matt, and Chavo Guerrero made a tag match.

MVP and Kofi Kingston beat Matt Hardy and William Regal. They gave this match some time which was nice because the hot tag was more meaningful. Matt hit Kofi with the cast and they worked over Kofi. Kofi got the tag to MVP, who hit balling. Kofi kicked Matt in his cast, so Matt just left. MVP then used the yakuza kick and playmaker on Regal for the pin.

The highlight of this match may have been a hilarious exchange between Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole. Lawler said, “I had a broken hand one time and I just couldn’t compete. I called the official and said my hand was broken and they didn’t force me out here to compete.” Cole responded, “Did you wrestle all your matches in protest?” This was not a good night for listening.

Randy Orton came out on his own and wanted out of the match with Batista. Batista joined him and Orton ran away. Batista caught him and gave him a pair of spine busters. He then hit him with a chair repeatedly for another lame DQ. Of course they shouldn’t be giving a finish to Orton vs. Batista before the PPV but why not just have a “confrontation” if this was the plan? These crap finishes are just out of control.

Batista went after Orton’s ankle, and Rhodes and DiBiase came out for the save. Batista fought them off, but Orton got away. Batista hurled the ring steps at Orton at the close of the show.

Final Thoughts:
This was better than some recent editions of Raw, but I certainly wouldn’t label it good.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Manny Ramirez

If I hear one more self-righteous indignant sportswriter try to crucify one more juicing athlete, I think my head is going to explode. It's a gigantic web of stupidity, hypocrisy and double standards. Oh the horrors! That monster! He's cheating all of the other good, clean players, like the ones whose names haven't come out yet! He's lying! (Or he admitted it! Or he's telling half-truths! Or he didn't say anything!) Throw him out of baseball! Wipe him from the record books! Ban him from the Hall of Fame! He has ruined our decent, pure game!

2 weeks go by and it's onto the next guy to throw under the bus....

The honest truth is none of them care. They only pretend to care because that sanctimonious attitude makes them feel better about themselves. If they cared, they would have been saying something ten years ago when all of this was obvious but completely undiscussed. If they cared, you wouldn't hear all this nonsense after the drug testing began about how now the game is clean again. If they cared, you wouldn't hear the steroid era referred to in the past tense.

Are we still at the point where we view steroid users as evil outliers to be whipped? Have we still not gotten the point after 8,000 separate revelations have come out to beat it into our heads?

Professional athletes are going to use performance enhancing drugs if they feel it gives them an advantage. You can try your best to deter them by setting up rigorous testing, but you're never going to know for sure. The guys who haven't been caught aren't benevolent angels, and the guys who have been caught aren't nefarious super-villains. If you can't deal with this reality, stop watching sports. But don't make it seem like these guys committed crimes against humanity just because they had the nerve to wake you from your two week long successful process of self-delusion.

Monday, May 04, 2009

WWE Raw Report

Date: 05/04/09 from Buffalo, NY.

The Big News: If you hate finishes in your wrestling matches, this was the show for you.

Show Analysis:

Shane McMahon and Randy Orton fought to a no contest. Shane jumped Orton from behind and they brawled on the floor. Shane set up for an elbow off the top rope onto a table on the floor when Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes ran in. MVP tried to make the save, but the heels beat him up and dumped him to the floor. Batista then ran in for the save and cleared the ring by himself while MVP was still lying beaten up outside of the ring.

Given Batista needs no help and MVP needs all the help he can get, why on Earth couldn’t they have cleared the ring together? What possible harm would come from that? Instead, they made it a point that MVP would fail on his own and then Batista would do it all by himself no thanks to MVP. This was like a perfect little 5 minute demonstration of why they have created two new stars in the past five years.

Vickie Guerrero came out and said her main event wouldn’t be jeopardized. She then proceeded to change it into a tag match. Okay. She announced that Shane and Orton would wrestle at the end of the show, with the winners of Batista vs. DiBiase and MVP vs. Rhodes getting to join the match.

Kofi Kingston beat Matt Hardy. This was basically a squash, surprisingly. Matt sold his hand, and was pinned after a neck breaker, dropkick, springboard crossbody, high double leg drop and trouble in paradise. Matt sold his hand big during the match, but knocked Kofi out with it after the match. He’s kind of a cross between Bob Orton Jr. and Lex Luger when he was doing the heel steel-plated forearm gimmick.

In the highlight of the show, Santino met with Kelly Kelly backstage. Santino said that Santina wouldn’t be available on the show because she has the swine flu. He then explained this was funny because Vickie Guerrero is pig-like. Chavo Guerrero came in, and Santino went, “Oooh, Chavo. Duh duh duh!” Chavo told Santino not to make fun of the Guerrero family. Santino said he had a message for Vickie, and made a bunch of big noises. He then flexed his muscles in celebration of his greatness, and pranced off. This was a tremendous little segment.

Big Show wanted John Cena and asked Vickie Guerrero for the match. Vickie said that Cena can’t wrestle for two weeks, but that she will make the match for Judgment Day. Elsewhere backstage, the Bellas wanted to go out with MVP.

Cody Rhodes beat MVP via count out. William Regal did commentary. They made no explanation for why he was out there other than to do an obvious yet simultaneously non-sensical interference finish. Rhodes worked over MVP’s leg throughout the match, and as MVP was re-entering the ring from the outside Regal attacked his leg again. MVP was counted out. I suppose a count out is better than a pin, but if the onus is on creating new stars, those guys should probably be winning.

Next up was a sing off between Jillian Hall and her hand picked opponent Festus. They rang the bell and Festus gave his rendition of “Tomorrow.” Festus of course won. Miz then came out, attacked Festus, and threw him out of the ring. Miz called out John Cena again, and said Cena is all hype. He kept ragging on Cena for quite a while.

John Cena finally came out. Here’s his medical condition. He travels to shows. He’s cleared to wrestle in two weeks at the pay-per-view. But apparently right now he’s suffering such overwhelming internal trauma that he can barely move and has absolutely no energy to even lift his arms. I think this is the most unrealistic depiction of physical injury I’ve ever seen in any setting. Anyway, Big Show beat him up. It was hard to muster much sympathy for the guy given his physical behavior was about as believable as that of Festus.

Mickie James beat Maryse. Mickie hit the Thesz press, but missed a baseball slide. Maryse threw her into the barricade and applied a camel clutch. Mickie came back with an implant DDT for the pin. This was fine.

Ted DiBiase beat Batista via DQ. DiBiase used a neck breaker and drop toe hold. He then slapped Batista, which was so infuriating that Batista went insane and just kept beating up DiBiase in the corner until he was disqualified. This was such a crappy finish. It was one of those matches that helps neither the winner nor the loser and just buries the idea of matches in general.

Chavo and Vickie met backstage. Chavo suggested to Vickie that if MVP interferes in the main event he should lose the US title and if Batista interferes he should lose his title shot. Vickie didn’t agree with this, but Chavo just assumed she did and went out to announce it. They’re doing something here with Chavo and Vickie, but I’m not sure yet what it is.

Carlito beat The Brian Kendrick. Michael Cole said that Kendrick made an impressive debut last week on Raw. Huh, and here I thought he lost in just a manner of minutes. Carlito beat him here in 1 minute and 19 seconds when he countered sliced bread #2 and hit the back cracker for the pin. This was another impressive performance by Kendrick. They plugged the MVP stuff with the woman from the View, and Michael Cole talked about how much he loves to watch the View. Boy, that sure makes your announcer look cool. Maybe they can get the Jonas Brothers to team up with MVP to face Legacy next.

Shane McMahon vs. Legacy was, surprise, another non-finish. Legacy worked over Shane. Shane hit an elbow off the top on DiBiase. Rhodes missed a moonsault attempt on Shane. Shane made his big comeback and sent all three Legacy members to the floor. However, he missed an elbow off the top onto Orton on the announcers’ table. Legacy then hit Shane in the ankle with a chair and dropped the steps on Shane’s ankle. They sold that Orton had taken out Shane, and if this is the end of Shane for now, why couldn’t Orton, the main event heel, have finally just beaten him?

Final Thoughts:

This was another bad show in a series of bad Raws, and this may have been the worst. The culprit was once again really horrendous booking, seemingly geared towards keeping everyone at the exact same level above any other goal.