Tuesday, June 09, 2009

WWE Raw Report

Date: 06/08/09 from Lafayette, LA.

The Big News: Randy Orton is presumably the champion again, and Vickie Guerrero got quite the sendoff.

Show Analysis:

Batista came out to celebrate his title win at the start of the show. He said he did it for the people who are sick of Randy Orton. He added that Orton has hurt a lot of people and he is going to hurt Orton. Batista said he will take Orton’s pride, his dignity, and then got cut off before finishing. I’m pretty sure he was going to add that he would take Orton’s integrity, his manhood, and whatever’s left, because Batista always gets his man. Ah, nothing like a joke based on one random promo from 17 years ago.

Randy Orton came out, and Legacy jumped Batista from behind. They went after Batista’s shoulder. They put Batista’s arm in a chair and stomped away. While this was going on Batista said that “this will never be over” and “you’ll never get rid of me,” which to me came across as cheesy, inauthentic and scripted. If you have the faculties and energy to articulate that sentiment, you’re going to devote that energy to trying to stop them rather than lying there cutting a talking point promo.

In any event, Orton finished Batista off by yanking his arm backwards. Orton left the title, while Batista left the building in an ambulance. Last night I was down on the idea of switching this title given Batista was going to be out and they have been switching the titles way too frequently. But after seeing what they did on Raw, I think WWE was right after all. The way they did this helps keep Batista stronger than he would have been failing and leaving injured yet again. And Orton probably gets more heat out of the situation than if he had just beaten Batista. So it was a smart move by WWE.

Kofi Kingston beat William Regal. Regal said prior to the match the last thing we need is a Jamaican as US champ. Or even worse, it could be someone from Ghana. Personally, I think only Americans should be able to hold the US title. You’ve got these foreigners taking our jobs, owning our companies, taking our championships, and then turning up their noses at us. I’m looking at you, Georges St. Pierre. Regal worked over Kofi. Kofi came back with the high double leg drop and trouble in paradise for the pin. This was a disappointment, short and kind of sloppy.

Randy Orton backstage said that Batista is done. He noted that as the former champion, he has a rematch clause and will use it later in the show. He said that either Batista comes back or Orton wins via forfeit. I realize that they tried to pass on the heat over this to Vickie Guerrero, but to me it sets a really bizarre precedent. Edge can just run over CM Punk with a car, challenge him to a rematch, and he’s champion again.

Maryse beat Kelly Kelly. Mickie James did commentary. Kelly hit a crossbody off the ropes, but when she went up again Maryse pulled her off and hit the implant DDT for the pin. Mickie and Maryse blew kisses at each other after the match. I didn’t think it was possible for blown kisses to be so sexy.

Backstage, Maryse and Miz had another great segment. Miz came onto Maryse and Maryse blew him off. Miz said he’s awesome and Maryse rolled her eyes. I’ve thought Maryse has good heel mannerisms for a while, but at some point she has become unbelievably awesome. She has main event star presence. Given she isn’t much of a wrestler, I’d advocate sticking her with a main event wrestler. She could be a successful part of a top of the card act, like Edge and Lita.

Santino, Goldust and Festus beat Chavo Guerrero, The Brian Kendrick and Jamie Noble. The faces dominated early, with Festus hitting an avalanche, Santino using a leg trip and Goldust landing a lariat. The heels worked over Goldust, who tagged Santino. Santino came in with punches on Noble and a judo throw. Noble went after Hornswoggle but Hornswoggle stomped his foot and Santino rolled up Noble for the pin. This was fine.

Miz came out for a match with John Cena that never took place. Miz has a new t-shirt with Cena’s name crossed out on the front and “I’m awesome” on the back. If they put that shirt on sale to the public, I predict it sells huge. Miz said he has called out Cena week after week and Cena has done nothing. He said that Cena has no excuses now and he will get his.

Cena came out. He wasn’t angry at Miz for taunting him for weeks. No, he came out smiling and amused, like Miz was totally beneath him. Well that totally buried Miz. Big Show then came out. He gave Cena a choke slam and camel clutch. An angry Miz then came in and hit Show with a series of chair shots. He gave one to Cena as well, before Show got up and Miz left. They presented Miz as more of a threat at the end here, which redeemed him to a degree.

MVP beat Matt Hardy. Matt was in control early. MVP came back with balling, but missed the running yakuza kick. Matt hit the scorpion death drop and tried to hit MVP with the cast. MVP stopped that and hit the playmaker for the win. Matt is really missing something with his current character. I feel like they need to either switch up his character or turn him back face, because he seems like less of a star every week these days.

Vickie Guerrero came out. Earlier they showed a video package with her covered in mud and slop. Jerry Lawler made a bunch of big noises as she came out. Vickie cried about this. She said she has never been so humiliated, and she saw the people laughing at her. She announced she is resigning as GM of Raw.

That brought Edge out. That post-draft brand split sure lasted long. Edge said he was going to apologize for what he said Sunday, but then Vickie quit. Edge said now he doesn’t need to apologize or continue their marriage, because he only married her for power and now Vickie is worthless. Edge said when he went out in public with Vickie, people thought she was his mother. He said he has movie star looks, so how could he be in love with a she-beast. She cried.

Edge continued by saying that when he kissed Vickie he had to rush to the bathroom to dry heave. He added that the only saving grace was they never consummated the marriage. He said he wants a divorce, and left her screaming and crying.

This segment came across so malicious. Vince McMahon in general comes across as a miserable human being who loves humiliating people with less power than him just because he can, and this segment drove home that perception like few segments I can ever recall. You’ve got the widow of a wrestler who died at a young age, and this is her final segment.

On her way out, she is portrayed as a stupid, manipulated, beastly, disgusting, pig. If they went after her for reasons related to her character, that would be one thing. But this was basically an assault on her looks, and I find it hard to imagine that she and her family could take this as anything less than utter public humiliation.

It’s not like they even have a storyline justification for it, either. Edge is a heel going forward, and if they presented her with some dignity Edge would get heat out of being so mean to her. Instead, they basically encouraged people to laugh at the disgusting pig lady, and a lot of the crowd reacted to this segment by laughing at Vickie and joining in with Edge. I’ve talked before about advertising rates and the public perception of WWE, and this was the sort of segment where if you showed it to someone who doesn’t watch wrestling they would conclude this is entertainment for the real scum of the Earth. If you then explained who Vickie Guerrero is, they’d think even worse.

On the plus side, now is the perfect opportunity to elevate Tiffany from interim general manager of ECW to permanent general manager of Raw.

Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes beat the Colons to earn a title shot. They worked over Primo, who hit an enzuigiri and tagged Carlito. Carlito hit a springboard clothesline, knee lift and dropkick. The heels then gained an advantage on Carlito and worked him over. He got the tag to Primo, who came in with punches, elbows and a springboard crossbody. However, Rhodes snapped Primo’s neck on the top rope and DiBiase hit Dream Street for the pin. This was a good match, although the crowd didn’t react much.

Randy Orton came out in the main event for his match with Batista. Batista didn’t come out. They showed an ambulance arrive, but HHH got out instead of Batista. Orton was never presented with the title, but presumably he is now. Legacy was with Orton, but they devised the brilliant strategy of attacking HHH one by one. HHH took out Rhodes and DiBiase with no effort, and then went after Orton.

Orton and HHH fought, and in the end HHH dropped a chair on Orton’s neck as revenge for Batista. Orton sold it huge. This was a hot angle, although HHH vs. Orton is just as stale as Batista vs. Orton. I’m at the point where I desperately want something new for the top program.

Final Thoughts:

With the exception of the Vickie Guerrero segment, I thought this was a pretty good show. Hopefully HHH vs. Orton doesn’t go on too long and they segue into something fresher.

Next week, WWE announced a big three hour Raw with all three brands. And we’ve got a big announcement too in regards to next week’s Raw report. Oh yes. Excitement is coming. Shapiro.

19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent recap of the show.

12:28 AM  
Blogger John said...

Although I am on board about your thoughtful comments on Vickie, it amazes me to hear the reactions of the low life that attends these shows. Why would people cheer that? As you said it was simply cruel. And we live in a very internet savvy world; I can’t believe that at least 50% of the fans attending haven’t read internet reports knowing Vickie quit to be with her kids, Batista went into the PPV injured, etc. Anyway, my point of contention is the way Orton is being treated overall. He can out-wrestle just about anyone but he’s forced to act like a coward to the likes of Batista and Triple H – not to mention Flair. Since he’s become champion, he hasn’t won one match clean. Even Shane and Flair beat the crap out of him. Santino gets more victories! With Batista a year away from retirement and constantly injured, I’ll never understand why Orton wasn’t given a clean win over him at Extreme Rules. Instead we get a squash match covering Batitsa’s injury. Then on RAW, Batista basically beats up Orton, Cody and Ted until they bring in chairs to help out. Orton isn’t a threat to anyone in this role – he can be easily beaten now and he’s a coward. Somehow WWE “creative” can’t remember how a “heel” should behave. They should turn Trips again to get a lesson. He’ll show them. He’d NEVER allow himself to be treated like that. When he was a heel, he never ran, never acted the coward, etc. Because he called the shots, he’d make the faces look bad and be scared of him. Gee, how nice to be the boss’s son-in-law. So, it was just another typical ego boosting moment for Trips to turn up – discard Cody and Ted in seconds – and then literally beat Orton to a pulp. Orton showed no offense – he just kept trying to run. It’s pathetic, unentertaining and totally unrealistic. But lo and behold, the morons in the crowd cheered like fools for it. This show has become unwatchable.

7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Explain to me again how the WWE has become G rated? Was it the opening moments where Batista’s arm was “broken”? Maybe it was the disrespectful way Vickie was treated? It’s not okay to have Divas pose in Playboy, but it is okay to ridicule and humiliate someone over their appearance I guess. Maybe the G rating had to do with all the chair shots last night? How about Trips – the total self absorbed egomanic – using a sledgehammer? Maybe it was when he jammed a chair into Orton’s neck and posed over him? This company is full of crap. You can’t show that stuff and then claim to be “kid” friendly. I hope Linda is grilled by the Board of Education she sits on. And John, I agree with you. They’ve turned Orton into a wimp. I remember when he had matches against Trips and Batista and actually won! Oh, he must have been a “face” back then – which he was after Evolution ejected him.

7:31 AM  
Anonymous SteRDLK said...

I was really enjoying Raw, then the Vickie-Edge segment happened.

I think the moment he started saying everytime he kissed he wanted to puke was the final straw. He could have said "I used you for your power and you didnt even realise ya dumb bitch" but instead they totally humiliated her far worse than anybody I can remember. Much, much worse than Michael Cole and Mike Adamale have been treated, combined. Its comparable to the treatment of Jim Ross over his looks.

This soured the night, then came the complete burial of Legacy. Within 3 months, they have been victimised by a retired 58 year old at least 10 years past his peak, a 38 year old who wrestles once every 3 years, a 40 year old guy who has just returned from a serious injury, and a 40 year old guy who has returned after being punted in the head.

Now, I wouldnt mind if it was Batista and Triple H, fairly realistic, but one guy beating up 3? And one of them is apparently the best in the business?

I would love to know what goes through the minds of the creative team, and then what goes through the minds of the fans watching it, cheering on like the puppets they truly are. And they have the nerve to boo Chris Jericho for telling the truth. Oh yeah, they ar told to boo him, so they do.

But, onto the positives. The Miz is a star. He tells the truth as well, but yeah hes a "bad guy" for doing this. Cena treated him like shit, and next week they need to show that Miz is a threat by having him pin either Show or Cena CLEAN, even if its a tag team match.

7:51 AM  
Blogger s1rweeze said...

"I’m pretty sure he was going to add that he would take Orton’s integrity, his manhood, and whatever’s left, because Batista always gets his man. Ah, nothing like a joke based on one random promo from 17 years ago."

Big Bossman vs Mountie, Summerslam 1991, right? I need to get a life.

8:08 AM  
Blogger s1rweeze said...

Ack, wait... it was Mountie vs Roddy Piper at Royal Rumble 1992. I think.

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two of the last three Raws and the idiocy of Extreme Rules illuminated exactly why Vince struggles to get a better class of advertisers.

He used his forums to attempt to humiliate Kronke--and, by the way, the Nuggets owner did not have a say in the NBA playoff schedule; the league created it on--and Eddy's widow.

And what did it accomplish? Did it make Vince feel like a big man?

9:25 AM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

By the time I got done counting all the putts from my golf round, I simply got home and decided against watching most of this episode. I think I'm going to make it a regular habit.

More HHH = less viewing time from yours truly.

Let's go Red Wings.

- Matt in Anchorage

10:06 AM  
Blogger Max said...

So you have a major heel (Edge) completely berate a heel (Vicki)?

Welcome to WWE booking....

Wow HH made his triumphant return. Couldn't see that one coming huh?

10:28 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Thanks, anonymous 1.

I was kind of disturbed by the reaction of the people in the crowd on Monday, but WWE was leading them in that direction so it's hard to condemn them too harshly.

I'm fine with violence on wrestling, and sexuality assuming it doesn't come across too sleazy (revealing costumes are great by me; mud wrestling matches not so much). But the stuff that has always bothered me is the stuff that just comes across crass, mean-spirited and directed at the lowest common denominator.

Yes, Mountie-Piper. The Mountie's promo was okay, but Piper's was the really great one. "First thing I'm going to do! Bangs his chest...I don't know. First thing, I'm going to do, I'm going to take Roddy Piper's integrity. Eh? That's like Jacques Cousteau trying to find a dry spot in the ocean. I ain't got no damn integrity! How do you think I got so far? Second thing I'm going to do, I'm going to take Piper's manhood. Huh? I came here to fight! I don't know what you came here to do. I came here to win two championships in one night. I can't do that if I don't win the first. I think it's you that's been dreaming. And I think it's all wet, too."

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Another show full of poor writing, acting, and reasons to be embarrassed to watch this stuff.

Orton invoking his rematch clause was very poorly presented. They could easily have accomplished the same thing by clearly portraying it as Vickie making a crazy, biased decision. Instead, it was presented as if all rematches could be invoked money-in-the-bank style until at the very end when Vickie was mentioned.

I thought Miz was totally buried this week. He attacked Big Show with a chair, couldn't keep him down (with a chair!), and ended up fleeing the scene.

The segment where Vickie quit was horrible for the reasons Todd mentioned, but I have to say I got a kick out of the HUGE reaction her announcement got from the crowd. That was the biggest pop on the show.

I actually thought this was a face turn for Edge. Yes, someone being this repulsive could actually be grounds for them being recast as a good guy in this sick business.

I was doubly disgusted with the segment when I later found out that she'd quit. I thought this was probably just an angle. They could have done something interesting like have her make a bunch of horrible decisions (staring with Orton's rematch) leading to her storyline firing. Instead, they waste it on a segment designed to humiliate her.

More poor "hey, let's do a surprise" writing for the ending. Yes, it's a shock when the ambulance arrives and Triple H comes out. But what are we supposed to believe happened? Let's see, Triple H was planning to return, but before he could, Batista got injured, so he thought he'd take the opportunity to go to the hospital and ask if they could drive him back to Raw in the same ambulance so that Orton would think it was Batista but be shocked to find it was Triple H. And then, to top it off, he'd wait until the ref had almost hit the 10 count before arriving. What a scheme!

The big question: Why would Triple H do such a thing? Why wouldn't he just walk out there and attack Orton with the sledgehammer? Not to mention the implausibility of the ambulance staff going along with this, the timing issues, and so on.

I understood the ending as the ref stopped the count so Orton didn't win the title, although Todd may be correct that he did since they're advertising a title match for next week. But why should we even have to debate this? More atrocious writing from a group that doesn't understand that it's not a cliffhanger ending if you just arbitrary leave off the ending.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous DW said...

Todd, I am surprised at your comment that you are "fine with violence in wrestling." There is no place for the kind of violence we see in pro wrestling today. As it is, the actual ring action is violent, but it's controlled - it's supposed to be a fight - and it's really not violence in totality, it's just a violent sport. There's a difference. To read that you are fine with sledgehammer shots, chair bashes to the head, potentially injuring people's necks, backs, arms, etc., is shocking to say the least. This stuff is aimed at kids, Todd. You should know better.

John and the other posters here have said it all better than I could. The show is a disgrace for any audience and the pseudo-efforts of the creative team, influenced by the most egotistical prick of all time, Triple H, so that he can be the big star, are all worthless and a waste of time. It's a shame that so many of the talented performers on Raw, headed by Randy Orton, the best of the lot, have to put up with this BS.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Well, this makes it even more sickening. From today's daily Observer update:

"Vickie Guerrero legitimately quit the company and was written out of storylines last night. There will be more in the new issue of the Observer that comes out tomorrow, but this is a decision that was made about a month ago, right around the time they started calling her a pig on TV."

And they wonder why people think pro wrestling is a scummy industry.

(By the way, I think I was clear, but just to make sure I don't intend to associate with this, when I said I got a kick out of the crowd's reaction to Vickie's announcement, I meant only the extremely loud cheers when she announced she was quitting, not the crowd's reaction to Edge's comments, etc. I have knocked Vickie for her bad acting, but I have always enjoyed how she was an absolute heat magnet and would get the crowd to boo like nobody else with her "excuse me!" routine.)

4:38 PM  
Blogger Steve Khan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Steve Khan said...

Does Triple H travel in an ambulance?

He takes out Priceless (who just beat the tag champs) easily, and destroys Orton in the middle of the ring. He got his revenge, so I guess we don't need to order the next PPV.

Also, when did the rematch clause turn into MITB? How can Orton just "cash in" whenever he wants?

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

So it turns out Orton did not win the title, because the writers were instructed to not have him win it, so they simply had the ref stop counting Batista out so that Orton would not be awarded the title by forfeit as stipulated.

Brilliant!

This is the kind of thing that drives me crazy. I'm not looking for high art, but simply competent writing that gets us from point A to point B in a reasonably believable manner. Not only do they not do that, but they seem to think it is a credit to them when they don't, that the surprise factor overrides all other concerns.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous DW said...

Bob,

You make excellent points regarding the wwe's illogical doings. Basically, these people don't care - they know most of the fans are not only scum (as evidenced by the way they received Vickie's fate) but they aren't exactly the most intelligent lot - and they buy into this foolishness, so the WWE doesn't even bother to try (and I'm not sure they could, even if they did).

And one correction to Todd's writeup - at the end Trips did not hit Orton in the neck with that chair - he hit him in the shoulder, the shoulder that was injured last year. Anybody who recorded the match, go back and take a look - it's a clear shoulder shot with that chair.

Why is this important? Um, well, Mr Kennedy was let go because he almost injured Orton's shoulder in his return match. And that was by accident. Here we have Triple H making an effort to damage the shoulder (and let's be honest, no matter how scripted this is, those chair shots hurt) and not only that, it was Triple H who injured Orton's shoulder originally - last year, when he tossed Orton out of the ring so carelessly.

Mr Kennedy will not be back, and yet Trips will remain in action. But those are the perks of being Mr Stephanie McMahon.

3:27 PM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

We've been over this over and over again in relation to the Raw creative team.

1. Vince McMahon is way past his prime as a creative visionary. He employs failed Hollywood writers and comic book geeks, but refuses to educate them on Wrestling Semantics 101. He figures that if he keeps them dumb, the audience will be treated similarly. Uh, Vince, it's 2009. With the internet, the average fan isn't as incompetent as you might think.

2. Common sense booking is repeatedly ignored. As has been noted here, Randy Orton, the #1 heel, has been made to look like a complete tool when confronted by HHH, Batista, and even Cena during their feuds. The sum potential of DiBiase & Rhodes has been devaluated by their association with Orton instead of elevated. Remember, these two had two tag title runs last year, plus Rhodes' run with Bob Holly, and are certainly capable of being over by themselves. Instead, they get repeatedly buried by the "Ruling Class", eef yew weel. (g)

3. And, then, there's Vicki Guerrero. As I wrote in e-mailing Todd on Tuesday, the creative dorks fumbled the ball big time with her departure. They could've split her & Edge up much sooner than they did, and put more emphasis on the pressure Vicki was under to "deliver the goods" on the live stage as opposed to having the safety net of having Smackdown pre-taped. There were too many plot holes when it came to the widow Guerrero, none of which were properly filled.

Speculation persists that Ric Flair will be the next GM. That would require suspension of disbelief, considering he was punted 10 days ago.

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am at loss without Todd's recap of Monday Night Raw.

9:52 PM  

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