Tuesday, June 02, 2009

WWE Raw Report

Date: 06/01/09 from Birmingham, AL.

The Big News: Ric Flair became a pawn in the conflict between Randy Orton and Batista.

Show Analysis:

The show began with Randy Orton and Legacy in a cage. Orton said he will give Batista the beating of his life. He did a coin flip to determine whether Cody Rhodes or Ted DiBiase would wrestle Batista in a cage. Rhodes won the flip and said that cage matches are in his blood.

An enthusiastic Ric Flair then came out. He had tons of energy. He called Orton a punk. He said he will call out Orton every week until Orton faces him. He challenged Orton to a fight in the parking lot, and kept saying punk over and over again. Orton eventually accepted. Flair was really great here.

Batista beat Cody Rhodes in a squash in a cage match. Rhodes tried to run, but Batista caught him. Batista sent him into the cage repeatedly, speared him and hit the Batista bomb for the pin. I didn’t like two things about this match. First, the TNA tactic of giving away stipulation matches on free TV to get you to pay to see the stipulation match on pay-per-view typically doesn’t work very well. Cage matches are supposed to be a culmination of an issue, not an opening match gimmick.

Second, this was example number 138,432 of why young talent has so much trouble getting over in WWE. They clearly want to push Cody Rhodes, yet whenever he’s in a match setting with a star he’s always getting destroyed. Of course Batista should beat Rhodes clean here. But if you have future plans for Rhodes, for Christ’s sake let him get in some offense so fans won’t perceive him as a joke compared to a “real” star like Batista.

Backstage, Vickie Guerrero told Big Show that he would be teaming with the Miz to wrestle John Cena and a randomly selected partner. She had Show draw the name from the bag, and Chavo Guerrero not so coincidentally was the name drawn. Show said he planned to hut Cena and would hurt Chavo as well if he got in the way.

Maryse and Beth Phoenix beat Kelly Kelly and Mickie James. The match didn’t really build and was very fast. Rosa took out Mickie on the apron. That allowed Maryse to hit a DDT in the ring on Kelly and score the pin.

Primo and Carlito Colon beat William Regal and Matt Hardy. Regal hit some European uppercuts on Primo, and Matt followed with leg drops. Primo got the tag to Carlito. Carlito came in with body slams on Regal and a springboard elbow. Matt tried to hit Carlito with his cast but hit Regal instead. Carlito then used the back cracker for the win.

Backstage, Ric Flair told Batista to stay out of his fight with Orton. Flair said he misses wrestling, and needs to prove who he is. He said that he will get his licks in on Orton and make Batista proud. Flair told Batista he needs Batista to be a friend and believe in him. Batista said that he does believe in Flair. This was a strong segment.

Matt Hardy and William Regal met backstage with Vickie Guerrero. They wanted another title shot, and had a plan. They suggested Vickie wrestle Santino on Raw in a warm up for Santina. Vickie hated this idea. Matt then whispered his secret plan to Vickie and Vickie liked it. What, she couldn’t figure out for herself that they were planning to interfere on her behalf? Vickie laughed and snorted like a pig.

John Cena and Chavo Guerrero beat Big Show and the Miz. Prior to the match, Miz said he is 6-0 against the corporate sellout Cena. He said Cena has the support of 9-year-olds, like the Jonas brothers, SpongeBob or Hannah Montana. Miz said he would go 7-0 against Cena because he’s the Miz and he’s awesome.

Miz wanted in the match at the beginning, but Show told him to stay on the apron. Show beat up Cena with a side slam, head butt and knee drops. Miz tagged himself in and laid in some punches on Cena, but Cena made the comeback. He gave Miz shoulder blocks, a Cena slam and the five knuckle shuffle. He went for the FU but Show tagged in and gave him the choke slam.

However, the referee didn’t see the tag. Show asked for the tag but Miz said that he had it. Show then gave Miz the KO punch and Chavo tagged in and covered Miz for the pin. After the match, Cena gave Chavo the FU and Show gave Cena the KO punch.

I was baffled by this finish. Why on Earth would you have Chavo pin Miz? Why not just have Show KO Chavo and then Miz steal the pin? It fits perfectly into the situation and the storyline they have with the Miz, but instead you have Show treat Miz like a nobody and then Miz is pinned by Chavo Guerrero of all people. Don’t the WWE decision makers get that they need new stars desperately and that young guys need all the help in the world to get over because of the way they book?

Kofi Kingston beat MVP to win the United States title. They built this like an old school title match. The crowd didn’t react big because it was different, but I thought it was a very fun change of pace and exactly the sort of thing that helps matches feel more meaningful.

They started with lockups early and exchanged holds. Kofi hit a dropkick and huracanrana. MVP used a yakuza kick, scoop slam, balling and a superplex. MVP went for the playmaker but Kofi escaped. Kofi went for the trouble in paradise, but MVP escaped. Kofi went for a victory roll. MVP dropped down like Bret/Owen at WrestleMania X, but Kofi then reversed that for the pin.

Vickie Guerrero and Santino didn’t really have a match. They showed footage of pigs from the previous hog pen match but unsurprisingly didn’t show HHH taking comedy bumps in the slop. Santino was going to slop Vickie. Regal and Matt ran in but Santino saw it coming and slung the slop everywhere including on Regal. Matt and Regal then laid out Santino. Vickie poured slop all over him. This was disgusting.

The show ended with the Flair/Orton brawl. Flair jumped Orton from behind and put the boots to him. They had an intense brawl that went out to the ringside area. Flair got in a lot of offense. There was blood all over the place but I’m not sure where it was coming from. It was on Flair’s chest, Flair’s head, Orton’s back and Orton’s shoulders. Flair used the Garvin stomp on the table and applied the figure four there. Rhodes and DiBiase then ran in to attack Flair.

Legacy locked Flair in the cage with Orton, at which point Batista finally came out. All he could do, though, was watch as Orton gave Flair and RKO and punt in the ring. This was a strong angle and Orton was tremendous in this segment. Orton is in my opinion the front runner for Wrestler of the Year as we approach the halfway point of 2009. But man, he would certainly benefit from some fresh opponents.

Final Thoughts:

This show was a mixed bag. On the plus side, I thought Flair/Batista/Orton was one of the strongest go home pay-per-view angles on Raw this year. I enjoyed the Kingston/MVP match as well. On the negative side, I don’t know who wants to see the slop stuff. And they have some serious problems when it comes to protecting young talent.


Blogger Patrick said...

I wouldn't say that wwe has a problem creating new stars. I WOULD say that Raw has a problem creating new stars. It seems that the shows that Vince has less control over are much better at star creation.

2:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess Batista met his match, the steel cage...could he not just climb over? Instead of standing there like an idiot and shaking the cage? Did he forget theres a 20 foot gaping hole at the top of the cage? Orton should have had Legacy patrolling the top for this to make any sense, what an illogical finish

3:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My major problem with this show was watching an out of shape, pot belly, 60 year old beat up the 29 year old chiseled from stone WWE Champion. How Orton manages to carry this nonsense off week after week – practically jobbing to Shane then Flair – is beyond me. Truth be told, it would have made more sense – and been more realistic – to have Orton just beat the hell out of Flair. There would have been no need for yet another Legacy interference. It could have ended with Orton locking himself and Flair in the cage with Batista then coming down to watch. I totally agree that Orton was tremendous in this segment selling his psychotic dark side with perfect intensity. Also, it would have made sense – as mentioned in the earlier post – to then have Legacy come out and hold Batista back from climbing the cage. Having Rhodes and DiBiase run away from Batista like scared children as they did really makes them look like wimps. The WWE has forgotten what makes a good heel. In the past they could be arrogant, ballsy and mean. Now they’re just cartoon evil characters that are all cowards. If Creative has to stick to the old fashioned idea of heels and faces, at least they could do it better!

5:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with comment #2... I found myself yelling at the idiot Batista as he stood there helplessly, or tried to break the chain on the door. Just climb over the cage, you moron.

6:42 AM  
Blogger Maxer said...

Another week of more Flair nonsense...Another week his retirement ceremony is tarnished...Can't he just disappear like the other legends have? Never thought I would say this, but I am so sick of him.

7:57 AM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

This just in from NHL officials, Orton won't be suspended for instigating the punt to Flair's head because he was not sending a message...I don't really have much to say about the show.

Let's go Red Wings.

- Matt in Anchorage

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Not a great show, but better than it has been in a while.

As you said, Batista squashed Rhodes in the cage, but it was more of a regular-match squash than a cage squash, which should end with the bloodied loser being carried out. If they can't or won't do blood (which I'm completely fine with as a decision), then they shouldn't do cage matches. When someone's head is rammed into the cage repeatedly, their face should be a crimson mask, not completely unchanged in appearance.

Flair's great, but I don't want to see him wrestle again. If they must do it, at least do it right instead of doing this stupid gimmick where he's wrestling but not really.

I feel bad for Flair that he's out of money, but it's honestly just pathetic to see this.

I also didn't see where the blood was coming from. It seemed to start when Flair threw Orton across the table into some pipes. I think it might have been a cut somewhere on Orton's body.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous DW said...

Anonymous #2 above is right on the money. The way Orton is being portrayed is just downright ridiculous. Perhaps there are folks who think that what creative is doing with Orton is entertaining. Me, I'd be more excited about watching a heel who could back up his threats, one who was accomplished so that I never knew if he was going to win a match with his skill and power or lose to the face (the heel vs face nonsense is a whole other argument). Right now, we know he'll win by any other means than skill - so what's the draw to watch? It's just a matter of time to see when he'll lose the belt. I want to be in suspense, wondering if he'll ever lose - legitimately.

Second, to have Orton losing to men who are light years below his equal is ludicrous - and an embarrassment. Flair? He's had his day. When you balance the scales, who's going to be in this for the long run? Ummmm....it's a no brainer. It's the guy even many in the crowds are acknowledging with cheers even as a heel - Orton. The idea of Flair and Shane McMahon beating up Orton is not only ridiculous, it's totally implausible. In the long run, this stuff could actually backfire on Orton. No disrespect to Flair, but his ship has sailed. A week ago, he looked like a cartoon clown when he had his fit in the ring with Batista. The old Flair is a thing of the past. Retire with dignity - and let the new blood grow.

5:18 PM  

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