Tuesday, June 23, 2009

WWE Raw Report

Date: 06/22/09 from Green Bay, WI.

The Big News: Fear not, Affliction fans. Donald Trump sold back Monday Night Raw to Vince McMahon, and has re-dedicated his efforts to raising awareness of the sold-out Affliction Trilogy event.

Show Analysis:

Raw’s opening package had Donald Trump all over the place. He came out to start the show. He plugged the no commercial gimmick and the full ticket refund gimmick. I wonder if WWE gave the Green Bay fans a refund on the Ticketmaster extortion charges too.

John Cena then made his entrance to enthusiastically shill the WWE gimmicks. He called out Miz. Miz called Cena a coward, so Cena invited him to the ring. Miz again called him a coward, this time to his face. Cena said that he would wrestle Miz in a “main event” match this Sunday. Cena said he doesn’t get rattled and that Sunday Miz will realize he doesn’t belong in the ring with him. He called Miz a WWE never-was. He told Miz to pray he makes it out in one piece. Miz punched Cena in the mouth and ran away. Cena no sold it and laughed. The way this was presented they pretty much have to put over Miz Sunday or he’s buried miles under the ground.

They ran a number of Vince McMahon vignettes throughout the show. In the first, Vince McMahon was apparently given a crappy “backup” limousine because Donald Trump as owner of Raw was in possession of the better limousine. Okay. It was broken down, so Vince demanded a new limo.

Jeff Hardy, Great Khali and Rey Mysterio beat Chris Jericho, Edge and Dolph Ziggler in the non-Raw match of the week. You have to admire their resolve in enforcing the brand split that they were so adamant about at the WWE draft a few weeks ago. This was a weird spot-oriented match.

They did a cool spot where Rey jumped off Khali’s shoulders onto the floor. Jericho gave Khali a code breaker, sort of, and Edge gave Khali a spear. Rey hit an Asai moonsault. Jeff then used the twist of fate and swanton on Dolph for the pin. Punk raised Jeff’s hand after the match but Jeff pushed him away. I really like that program. It’s fresh and intriguing.

Vince McMahon went to what he thought would be his office, but it was Trump’s. Trump said that when he purchased the Raw television show he received an office in Green Bay as part of the deal. Santina was there, and Trump fired her to play off the Miss California thing. Santino showed up and said there must be something he could do, but then went, “Eh, she had a good run.” That appears to be the blow off of the Santina gimmick.

Cody Rhodes beat Primo Colon. Cody worked over Primo. Michael Cole said that Cody is the son of the “All-American” Dusty Rhodes. He’s a wrestling historian, that Michael Cole. Primo came back with elbows. Cody hit a side Russian leg sweep. Primo used a springboard crossbody but Cody rolled through and grabbed the tights for the pin.

Goldust, Hornswoggle and Vince McMahon met backstage. Goldust had Vince try on his wig, saying it worked so well for Goldberg. Vince then discovered his office, which was a toilet stall. Festus was using the stall and reading the Wall Street Journal.

HHH and Randy Orton battled to a draw in a last man standing match. They brawled on the floor, and Orton went after HHH’s knee. Orton attacked HHH with a chair. HHH hit a low blow and went for the pedigree on the announce table but Orton reversed into an RKO on the table. HHH got up at 9. They brawled to the ramp, where HHH gave Orton a spine buster but had a pedigree reversed.

HHH went to hit Orton with a ladder but accidentally hit a crew guy instead. Orton hit HHH with the ladder, put HHH’s leg in the ladder, and stomped on it repeatedly. The referee was counting but Orton stopped the count and went for an RKO off the ladder. HHH sent him away and hit him with the ladder. He then hit a pedigree at the entrance way, but neither man could get up at 10. This was a strong match with a non-finish.

I don’t understand why they even bothered doing this if that was the planned finish. You can get away with non-conclusive TV matches to build up PPV matches, but usually you do that weeks before the PPV match when people aren’t sure where things are going. Here, they announced HHH vs. Orton would be a PPV match, but then said that they would give it away on TV the week of the PPV instead and made a big deal about it. Everyone with a brain is thinking, “They’re going to screw us,” and then they do just that. It’s not the sort of booking that engenders goodwill.

Maryse and Miz met backstage. Maryse reiterated that she wanted to see Miz do something impressive against Cena. She said that one cheap shot doesn’t prove anything.

Donald Trump came out. He promised all sorts of big things. It felt like a ninth grade student council election speech. He said there would be celebrity hosts each week on Raw and commercial free Raws every week. Vince McMahon came out and wasn’t pleased with Trump. He said these moves would make him go bankrupt. Trump said he paid big money for the TV show, so he can do whatever he wants. He added that he could sell Raw at any time and double his money.

Vince offered to buy back Raw for the same amount, then 25 percent more, then 50 and 75 before Trump finally agreed to sell it back at double the price. Vince said Trump was fired, so Trump slapped him. This whole storyline is utterly devoid of logic on so many levels, but at least it’s over now after a whopping one week.

Vince McMahon backstage told Randy Orton that Sunday he will wrestle HHH in a 3 stages of hell match. First will be a wrestling match, then falls count anywhere, then a stretcher match.
Mickie James and the Bella Twins beat Maryse, Rosa Mendes and Beth Phoenix. The heels worked over Brie. Brie tagged Mickie. Mickie came in with clotheslines, dropkicks, a neck breaker, and a kick on Rosa for the pin.

Big Show beat John Cena. Cena went after Show with punches early. Show dropped Cena on the barricade, hit a spear, used a back suplex and stood on Cena. Cena came back with a top rope rocker dropper and five knuckle, but Show cut him off with a choke slam and corner splash. Cena finally applied the FU, but Miz came out. Cena broke the hold to knock him off the apron. Cena lifted Show for the FU but Miz pushed Cena over and Show fell on top of Cena for the pin. This didn’t seem to drag as much as some of Cena and Show’s recent matches, but that’s not saying much.

HHH attacked Orton at the end of the show and slammed the car trunk on Orton’s back. He said that Orton is going to Hell on Sunday.

Final Thoughts:

WWE feels like such a desperate promotion these days, throwing a bunch of different random ideas at the wall every week and then giving up on them and starting over with new ideas the next week. This Donald Trump angle is just the latest example. I don’t know if I’m unique in this, but my interest in the product is eroding at a really fast pace these days.


Anonymous mean dean said...

The one thing on Raw that's really holding my interest is Miz, so we'll see if they allow him to shine on Sunday, or kill off my last glimpse of hope.

1:15 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

One thing they did do right was kill off the Santina thing before it got too old. It went pretty much the perfect length.

1:35 AM  
Anonymous Duke said...

Hey Todd..Do everyone a favor,If your interest in the current WWE product is "eroding really fast" then dont write these Raw reports anymore because its very obvious you dont care about the show, better yet dont watch the show anymore either. Go eat a protein bar and go watch MMA with all the other cool kids. Go wear an affliction shirt and write a TUF report. WWE is not meant to be taken that serious..not everything in the goofy world of pro wrestling is supposed to have logic and make sense. Its not that serious bucko. Oh and while your at it, tell your buddies over at Meltzers site to move along too and just devote there time to MMA becuae every time I read Meltzers Wrestling ppv report he doesnt seem to care much either. Its like MMA is the new pop culture icon for all the "in crowd" in crowd usually equates to; extroverted, bar hopping, to cool for "fake wrestling" kinda people. Ever since ol Davey Meltzer got a taste of MMA hes been giving wrestling the cold shoulder. Nobody knew or gave a crap about "precious" MMA until a few years ago and now all these MMMA meathead fans gotta hate on wrestling and call it fake like they did 20 years ago. Unreal. And people like you and Meltzer seem to be embarrassed to be associated with it because its not the "in thing" these days. What were you Todd, a lifelong fan who turned your back on wrestling when MMA got popular or were you just a bandwagon jumper who became a fan during the Attitude era?

1:42 AM  
Anonymous DW said...

Duke is either a Triple H fan or Triple H himself - the man who is responsible for the horrendous state that the WWE is in, primarily due to the size of his ego and his desire to be the most famous man in pro wrestling history - all at the expense of the other performers and the business itself

Listen Duke/Trips - there are other fans out there besides the average idiot who will buy the crap the WWE produces. We aren't asking for Hemingway, just a little continuity, sense and drama to appeal to a larger audience.

3:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why do they have a clock for when the last man standing match will start...doesnt that just kill off any realism?

6:01 AM  
Anonymous The Masterbater said...

WWE makes a big deal to have Trump come in do all these special appearances and do this angle AND IT ONLY LAST A WEEK? Feels like this was a waste of Trump’s time even though I feel he made some money in this. Anyways, unlike some other people here Todd, I enjoy reading your Raw reviews each week rather than watching it. At least MMA doesn’t insult the intelligence of their fans. Also, Todd are you going to make a piece about Misawa?

6:34 AM  
Anonymous mike said...

I didn't think the show was that bad, even with some nonsensical Trump-McMahon business thrown in.

I actually think they should've ran this storyline a bit longer, even without Trump there weekly. I liked the idea of random GM's, which would create fresh weekly storylines. No commercials would of course be idiotic.

I liked Miz again, and really hope that he gets put over strong on Sunday. Of course, that won't happen. I really liked his coming to the ring to get closer to Cena to call him a coward. While I see the value of the chicken-shit heel, I do like heels that don't act that way all the time.

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Sean K. Robb said...

Hey Todd,

Pretty much a spot on review. Raw has been awful for months now.

But if your interest is really fading you should make a point of watching Smackdown. Week after week it's a great show, with fresh, interesting characters and feuds, Good 'Ol JR in the drivers seat AND - if you can believe it - some awesome wrestling.

Amazing how the same company can simultaneously create two such disparate shows, but there you have it. Three cheers for the "B" show!

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ever since ol Davey Meltzer got a taste of MMA hes been giving wrestling the cold shoulder.

Meltzer's been covering MMA for at least a decade now (as long as I've been reading), if not longer. That's one long cold shoulder.

10:25 AM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

I absolutely hate the cliche, but RAW is clearly the car accident you can't turn away from. You have to look...I wish it were different.

I'm right there with you, Todd. I do, however, appreciate your reports and would hate to see them come to an end.

And to quote the great Jim Harbaugh on Jim Rome's The Jungle from many years ago, Duke, "tell that guy to get a life."

I'm out.

- Matt in Anchorage

10:29 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Duke - Dave goes out of his way to continue to associate himself with wrestling, even in the MMA context. He's not trying to hate on wrestling in the least. As for me, I am at times embarrassed to be associated with wrestling, but it has nothing to do with it being an in thing or not, and everything to do with the way the WWE's product is often times presented. And it's not an either/or proposition when it comes to wrestling and MMA. One can enjoy both at the same time. There isn't a choice involved, as evidenced by the fact I continue to follow and right about both. I started watching wrestling in 1990 and have followed it very closely without interruption since. I first started watching MMA in 1993, but I didn't become hardcore into the sport like I am with wrestling until 1999 or so.

I don't like the countdown clocks for the same reasons anonymous mentioned, but at least they did it this week far in advance so you could plausibly imagine they had a few things planned that they could rearrange if a match went long.

I don't plan on writing anything about Misawa. Sad story. The second batch of tapes I ordered of Japanese wrestling had a ton of Misawa stuff, primarily against Kawada, and I was just blown away by him as a performer.

I watch Raw, Smackdown, ECW and TNA every week. With DVR it's real easy to watch them quickly, and I'll frequently work on something in the background. I do think Smackdown is a lot better than Raw these days.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous DW said...

Why do we still have a Triple H vs Orton feud? Besides the obvious reason, I mean, which is Triple H using the hottest guy in the WWE to promote himself as the biggest, most powerful star of the organization.....and then get himself inducted into the Hall of Fame with the most titles of any wrestler - ever. (Which is BS because the Hall of Fame ain't an independent organization.)

He beat Orton at WM25, which was (and should have been) the big moment for this feud. Yet they are continuing as though that never happened (and - snicker - it's kind of an evil justice for him for ruining that milestone PPV). The lines the announcers deliver and the endless matches where Triple H states (as he did last night) that "this isn't over" are proof of that. Two weeks ago, Lawler shrieked - when Triple H arrived from the ambulance and beat Orton all over the arena - "the Viper is slain!" And yet now he's sermonizing about what's going to happen at the next match. What happened to the Viper being slain? Lawler? Lawler?

It's no wonder so many of us think this crap is for mindless fools - that's the way the WWE is serving it up. You'd have to have wallpaper paste for brains to buy tickets and waste time at these events. Never mind the way the WWE tricks people into paying $40 plus for PPVs that don't deliver. Thank goodness a few of us can still stomach it enough to watch and criticize.

The WWE seems to fail to understand how foolish they look when they don't even have the slightest bit of continuity to all this. Further, Triple H is looking more and more like a fool - he had a lot of trouble in Monday's LMS match with Orton and yet he beat him senseless two weeks ago in what was essentially the same kind of match, albeit unofficial. And Shane had no trouble with Orton - on two occasions, yet Triple H can't put Orton away easily every time they meet? Trips is proving he's not as good a wrestler as his non-wrestler brother-in-law? This is the price you pay for crappy writing and selfish commandeering of the creative process. Trips deserves every bad word said about him - it's just a shame that the mindless fools who eat this stuff up don't see it.

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Here we go with the dumb writing again.

Vince is given the "backup" limo. Presumably the WWE owns two limos, and Trump got the good one. But, no, later he rants at the limo driver to call his boss, so apparently they're using a limo service. A limo service that has two limos, the main one and the backup one. And there were no other limo services to use in the area. Ten seconds of thought could have made this more logical.

Trump bought Raw and Raw only, so presumably this should make the brands more separate than ever, as they now actually have different owners. But, nope, we had a bunch of SmackDown guys here, without even an attempt to explain this that I heard. Again, a few seconds of thinking could have let them come up with some story about Trump throwing more money around to feature the top SmackDown wrestlers as well...or something.

Vince's office is a toilet stall. Does anybody laugh at stuff like that?

Trump was going to give us celebrity hosts? We're supposed to be angry that Vince repurchased Raw because we're deprived of celebrity hosts? Really?

So Vince buys back the show because Trump is going to bankrupt him by not running commercials and letting fans in for free. That makes no sense at all. Trump owns the show and would only be giving up his own profits. And typically businesses sell for several times their annual profits, so even if we ignore all logic, how could this bankrupt Vince in six months as he said? Couldn't they have at least tipped their hat toward their fans with brains by concocting some explanation of how Trump tricked Vince into a bad deal?

Then Vince negotiates to buy Raw back. Why should I care about any of this?

As far as actual wrestling, I honestly tried to watch Cena vs. Show, but after about two minutes I just zipped right to the end. Wow, that's some dreadful stuff.

Todd says: "I don’t know if I’m unique in this, but my interest in the product is eroding at a really fast pace these days." Trust me, Todd, you're not alone.

8:12 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Duke, what is wrong with wrestling fans that want a better product?

The WWE has professional Hollywood writers, so you'd expect things to be logical. Yes, logical. You can be crazy or funny or whatever, but if you don't have internal logic to the stories, the whole thing doesn't hang together and fails.

And who is criticizing wrestling for being fake?

I appreciate the suggestion to watch SmackDown, but for me it's on this goofy low-power SD channel that no cable or satellite systems pick up, and I can't pull it in reliably. Hopefully MyNetworkTV will collapse soon and they can move SmackDown to an HD channel that I can get.

Todd, I agree that Raw is embarrassing these days. I should probably make Duke happy and just stop watching.

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Wow, the show popped a HUGE (for this era) 4.5 rating. I guess not having commercials kept people tuned in. It will be interesting to see the rating next week when things are back to normal and after what I consider a pretty bad show this week.

8:34 PM  
Anonymous #1 HHH Hater said...

I mean seriously is this HHH and Orton feud ever going to end?? HHH seems to get way too many title shots. I feel like he will beat Hogan's record in main eventing in Wrestlemanias. Seriously he is a joke. I can see Austin, Rock and Hogan at their days going for the run for the title but HHH is not them. He doesn’t make the draw to me he doesn’t have that charisma and he is just not exciting in any way. This guy needs to step aside FOR GOOD (meaning not influencing anyone on their push and give them a crummy title shot and then that person disappears after ONE title shot) and let someone else shine.

7:44 AM  
Anonymous DW said...

Triple H has been in the business a LONG time. And yet he doesn't have the fame or raw media power that Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin or The Rock achieved in far fewer years.

But he is married into the family. The only thing keeping him alive.

That's about the size of it.

2:48 PM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

I had a high school teacher who made a point of saying, every time the class had a collective case of brain lock, "stupidity runs rampant". In a nutshell, that describes the Raw writing team with a comic book geek, Brian Gewirtz, at the helm. No attention to continuity, and Gewirtz should know better than that, given his obsession with comics.

I agree with Patrick. "Santina" had run her course, if you will, but as I e-mailed you on Tuesday, Todd, the gimmick jumped the shark within seconds of its debut. It's funny how Hulk Hogan was mentioned in this thread in relation to Triple H. In truth, that should've been in relation to Santina, because Hogan had the last transparent gimmick (Mr. America, 6 years ago), and it was infinitely worse because Hogan was past his prime (still is), while Santino Marella is still a developing talent that Uncreative doesn't know how to properly handle.

HHH-Orton will not win Feud of the Year unless the sheep vote in favor of it. It's gone too long, and only because of the lack of depth on the face side of Raw at the moment. Batista is back on the DL. Cena is busy with Big Show and Miz. HBK is on vaycay and due back soon. They probably want him back as early as next week, for all we know. Behind Hunter & Cena, who's there as a face? MVP & Kofi Kingston, plus the Colons.

Plus, Cena is supposedly going away to make another movie, so that might be enough to bring HBK back to fill the void, unless Big Show makes his annual face turn because of Miz.

Legacy is going for a 3-peat as tag champs, but do Cole & Lawler remember the two title runs last year? Maybe, but you wouldn't know. Does Vince? Apparently not. Sorry, but it ain't happening.

Vince-Trump II died virtually stillborn because it attracted the wrong kind of publicity, once the SEC heard about it. Enough said. Vince had to cut his losses and take the 1-week ratings boost and build on it.

4:46 PM  

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