Monday, July 13, 2009

WWE Raw Report

Date: 07/13/09 from Orlando, FL.

The Big News: Seth Green was guest host and wrestled a match on Raw, and it worked out a whole lot better than I would have imagined.

Show Analysis:

HHH came out to start the show and introduce the guest host, Seth Green (he’s a C-list actor). That was a smart move clearly made to ensure Green would get a positive reaction. Green came out and appeared to be 3’4” and 54 pounds. He announced a six person diva swimsuit match. HHH and Green plugged his show and told jokes about Randy Orton. An angry Orton came out, and Green announced Orton and Legacy vs. HHH, John Cena and Green. Using someone like Green as a “celebrity” to me sounded like a bad idea, but this came off fine. The audience was kind to him and he was okay.

Maryse, Rosa Mendes and Alicia Fox beat Gail Kim, Mickie James and Kelly Kelly. They were wearing swimsuits which were as skimpy as WWE has shown in ages. It didn’t come off as sleazy, either. I enjoyed it. Gail hit a huracanrana and Kelly hit a handspring elbow on Rosa. The heels worked over Kelly. Kelly tagged in Mickie, who hit a Thesz press off the top. Maryse, however, threw her into the post and hit an implant DDT for the pin. As an aside, Mickie had a more normal physique than the other ultra-skinny women, and I thought she looked better for it.

Backstage, Seth Green met with Chris Jericho. Jericho reprimanded him, so Green suggested he leave. Jericho said that he had something to say and told Green to stay out of his business. Later, Green asked Big Show for advice. Show told Green to watch his match with Evan Bourne to see how people Green’s size fare in WWE and offered help for one million dollars (the old Austin Powers Dr. Evil joke).

Miz beat Primo Colon. Primo called out Carlito, but Miz came out instead. Primo hit a side Russian leg sweep, back elbow, dropkick and springboard crossbody. However, Carlito then came out and got on apron to distract Primo. Miz hit a full nelson forward leg sweep for the pin. Carlito attacked Primo after the match and spit apple on him.

I hated this segment. Primo and Carlito are legitimate brothers and they broke up last week. They should be doing something to acknowledge that and make this feel different than any old generic feud, but here they are doing the most formulaic of heel interference scenarios. This is phony, lazy booking with a complete lack of vision.

Jack Swagger beat MVP. Swagger used wrestling early and MVP retaliated with punches. I could just hear Jesse Ventura in the back of my head going on a rant about technical wrestling and rule breaking. Swagger worked over MVP. MVP came back with balling but Swagger snapped his arm over the ropes and hit the gutwrench power bomb for the pin. This was not a good match.

Chris Jericho came out to acknowledge Edge’s injury. He said that he should have known better than to take a tag team partner as frail and easily injured as Edge. He said that Edge was the weak link in the team and that Jericho shouldn’t be punished for Edge’s imperfections. He then said that he had a clause in the Night of Champions contract that if Edge was injured he could choose a new partner. They should have just stuck Tom Zenk in a mask and claimed he was Edge.

Mark Henry came out. He teased that he would be Jericho’s partner, but then said he was there to be Jericho’s opponent. Jericho’s facials in reacting to this were great. They delayed for a while, Henry beat up Jericho a bit, and then Jericho just left for a count out. They appear to be doing a gimmick where heels just walk out on matches with Henry. Henry has an awesome new gimmick where he raises his hands and all the fans stand and then puts his hands down and all the fans sit. It took off amazingly well here and given a few weeks it will be huge and a great visual. Props to whoever had that idea.

Hornswoggle beat Chavo Guerrero. Guerrero had one hand tied behind his back. Hornswoggle used the stink face and a small package for the pin. I would have preferred commercials. Backstage, Randy Orton praised Ted DiBiase for slapping his father. Cody Rhodes said that Dusty Rhodes may be a future guest host on WWE Raw.

Big Show beat Evan Bourne in a squash. Show threw Bourne around for a while. Bourne hit one dropkick off the top and then Show speared him and applied the camel clutch for the submission. Kofi Kingston made the save afterwards. This was your typical WWE “bury the talented smaller guy for no good reason” booking. ZZ Top was announced as the guest hosts for next week.

HHH, John Cena and Seth Green battled to a double DQ with Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase. Green was all scared coming out. I guess it’s better than taking the match as a joke, but it begged the question why exactly he made the match to begin with. They did a spot where Green tagged in and ran away to set up HHH and Cena getting in shots on Legacy. The heels worked over Cena, who got the tag to HHH.

HHH came in with a face buster and spine buster for Orton. Orton caught HHH with the RKO, but Green made the save which was the big spot. Orton kicked Green and went to punt him but Cena made the save. Then all of a sudden Rhodes brought a chair into the ring and HHH a sledgehammer and that was that. The match worked much better than I would have expected, although the finish was horrendous.

Final Thoughts:

I thought this show was pretty good. It had all of the trappings of WWE’s current mentality towards pro wrestling that I’m not a huge advocate of, but I thought the segments for the most part succeeded in what they were trying to do. The crowd seemed into the show throughout and Seth Green did well with what he was given.

I want to make mention of a documentary I had a chance to see on “Gentleman” Chris Adams. It looks at his life and death and has interviews with a lot of people from the World Class era in Texas. I think it’s an enjoyable watch for people interested in that period:

http://www.eyesoda.com/film/374

Also, I’ll be on Fight Network Radio tomorrow at around 4:10PM Eastern/1:10PM Pacific with John Pollock. We’ll be talking Raw as well as UFC 100 and whatever else is going on. I think this one could be a lot of fun. You can listen at:

http://hardcoresportsradio.com/

15 Comments:

Blogger s1rweeze said...

Raw being at the mercy of USA Network (specifically Bonnie Hammer) has been such a detriment to the show. There's no faith from anyone that people will tune in to watch classic wrestling angles and development, hence the "current trappings of WWE's current mentality" as Todd put it.

Now there's nothing but Bischoff-esque grabs for ratings out of desperation, like the ridiculous money giveaway awhile back, three hour Raws that are designed to feel "special" but aren't, endless anniversaries, pointless celebrity appearances, etc. How much is USA Network to blame for this? How much different would Raw be if USA had someone say "just do your thing"?

10:53 AM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

We'll know for sure if USA has any real say in the "Guest Host of the Week" if/when someone like Jeffrey Donovan or Bruce Campbell from "Burn Notice" or James Roday from "Psych" are brought in for some cross-promotion within the network. Right now, Vince is using what Hollywood connections he has available, and that includes musicians like Dusty Hill & Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Wouldn't be at all surprised if LEMMY shows up the next time they're in LA.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Max said...

I like ZZ Top's music and all, but come on?!?!?!?!

12:58 PM  
Anonymous F.Leghorn said...

I agree with all the comments above, and in particular Max. Is it suddenly 1985? Why wasn't I told? Why wasn't my hairline told? Who in the world remembers ZZ Top at this stage?
But, I haven't watched in a while, and just rely on Todd's reports and freeloading on Bryan, so I guess I shouldn't beef.

4:04 PM  
Anonymous DW said...

Todd, I couldn't disagree more about this latest edition of the Triple H Show - I mean, Raw. I still appreciate your writeups and the chance to discuss them, though!

Actually, you couldn't really say that Seth Green wrestled - he sort of ran away from everybody and looked scared, except for his breakup of the pin (how original!) and to me, the whole thing was worse than anything I could have imagined.

As for Triple H, is there any limit to this man's ego? Not only does he have to introduce the "celebrity" *snicker* host, but he has to offer us some juvenile bathroom humor about his colleague Randy Orton. Pretty silly stuff - I'm sure Linda McMahon, on the Connecticut State Board of Education, would be proud to show that footage to her fellow board members. It's all the more distasteful when you realize that Trips' dialogue was probably written by Trips himself - or at least approved by him - so of course, Orton is permitted no lines to ridicule Trips. Nice position to be in, ain't it? It's really terribly sad that Trips is so insecure and hungry for maintaining the top spot with the fans that he resorts to this sort of stuff. I can't stress enough how much the conflict of interest between Trips' role as a performer and a creative team member can undermine this show. Further, after they showed the stop action clip of him wrestling Dakota Fanning, this is what he had to say. "That was a recreation. She didn't really do that to me." Uh, Trips? We all know that stuff is comedy, that it's not real. Sheesh, the egomaniac couldn't even play it for laughs. Worse, he used the wrong word when he said it was a "recreation" because that implies that it did really happen and that it was recreated in that stop action clip. Open mouth, Trips. Insert foot. What an egotistical prick.

The rest of the show was terrible - just a collection of claptrap until Trips could make another appearance. Divas parading around in skimpy clothes, Jericho..isn't he supposed to be on SmackDown? The Colons forced to act out a tired old brother vs brother feud, Henry able to make the idiot crowd respond with tactics that aren't even good enough for vaudeville....the only decent match that had any good action was Swagger vs MVP. But as long as Trips is in charge, those two will rot in the midcard ranks. Hornwoggle and Chavo repeating last week's antics...yawn...but I guess you have to give the kids something, God knows there was nothing else on this show for them, and Big Show keeping Evan Bourne down for a contrived "save" by another wrestler.

The final match, Green's "title match" was the worst of all - for three reasons - 1) he has NO stage presence, and 2) Trips is involved, so you know he'll shine whether he wins or loses and 3) tired old "formula" used for the match. Heels take control after a display of power by the faces, the *snicker* hot tag, the guest host gets one move to show there's a reason for him being there and the faces clean house. Oh yes, Trips celebrates after the bell. We've seen it all before, so many times I've lost count. Just pull out any old script, change a few names, change the date and you have a new edition of the Triple H Show, I mean Raw.

I have no idea what they were trying to do with this show, but whatever it was, it failed, just like almost every other show they've run over the last year or so. Green sucked. He's a behind-the-scenes person - absolutely NO stage presence. Hopefully we'll never see him again.

On another note, has anybody seen the cover of the new Muscle & Fitness magazine? The one with Triple H on the cover? Two questions: 1) How much did WWE pay them to get Trips on the cover, and 2) How much did they pay the photoshopper and airbrusher to make Triple H's body look like that? NO resemblance to the bloated man we see each week on Raw.

6:30 PM  
Blogger John said...

DW just saved me a lot of typing! I couldn’t agree more. I’m surprised Todd was as positive about this nonsense this week. And with Muscle & Fitness on the stands, word of advice to Trips – keep your shirt on! Those abs in the cover photo sure aren’t yours from what I saw on last night’s show! Funny, Trips doesn’t even have one of the top 5 physiques in the WWE (Orton, Morrison, Ziggler, DiBiase, Cena, etc…) why brag about his training regimen? But I digress from the show… One of the most annoying things to me is listening to smart mouth faces (Trips, often Cena) put down Orton and he has to stand there and look angry and not respond. If anyone has heard or read Randy Orton in interviews, they know he’s could rip the culprit apart verbally. Being a heel used to mean something. Now it just means you’re a loser!

6:51 PM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

I've seen that Muscle & Fitness cover. As per normal, it landed in certain parts of New York before Monday. I'm not sure when the photo shoot was done, but I can't say for sure about any photoshopping that was allegedly done. Like, they did interview the man!

Whatever happened to improvisation in this business, guys? I can't say for sure if Hunter wrote his own material (and if you cats can come up with evidence that says he did, I want to see it), but he's had better.

I'd just as soon see that women's tag match over and over again. Swoon city.

7:13 AM  
Anonymous DW said...

The only evidence needed is the fact that Triple H and his wife, Stephanie, are in charge of the creative process under Vince McMahon - and that every show is a star vehicle for Triple H. One has to make an educated guess about these things based on certain facts and what is witnessed on the broadcast. I'm certain most of us don't personally know these people, but a educated guess can certainly be made on the above criteria.

4:29 PM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

That's circumstantial, not concrete evidence, DW, if that's your real name (old Tazz joke). You have to factor in Raw head writer Brian Gewirtz, but it's easy to bribe him to write the material Hunter wants. Just buy him some comic books, and he'll be happier than a bus full of campers. Gewirtz isn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, so why do they keep him around?

Reportedly, at his core, Hunter is an old school guy himself, so if he needed to do some improv on his promos, he probably could. We just don't know for sure if he has to ad lib sometimes.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now Orton is selling for Seth Green. They expect us to believe that Green could break up a pin?

Ay!

9:30 PM  
Anonymous DW said...

Circumstantial? Hobbyfan, I made it clear that it's all opinion based on what we know and what we see. Of course, there's no clear evidence, but that shouldn't stop us from forming opinions.

And what's your hangup with calling people out on their real names? Is hobbyfan your real name?

3:45 PM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

DW, I said I was using an old Tazz line, and it was just for laughs. Sheeesh!

8:10 AM  
Anonymous DW said...

I still don't get it. Jokes have meaning, too - they are based on something inherent in the situation. So you must have a hangup there. I noticed in another blog post that you were criticizing someone for using the screen name "anonymous." A trend it seems....

Just sayin'.....and readin' between the lines.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Steve Khan said...

There was a lot to dislike about this show. I hated the way they handled Evan Bourne. They actually seem to like this guy, but he gets completely buried by Show. Why even have that match? Why not have Show beat up on Jamie Noble with Bourne/Kofi watching? The funny thing is, I think they think this is good for Bourne.

The opening segment was dreadfully bad before Orton arrived. I was fine with the main event until the finish.

Jericho began talking about his new tag partner, but why was Jericho fine with Henry cozying up to him if Henry wasn't the guy he had in mind? (Minor note: I do like the Henry crowd thing, but he should leave them standing when he's done, not sitting down.)

ZZ Top should be interesting. Except for wrestling fans.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Bobcat said...

Hey, ZZ Top was in a third-season episode of Bones or something!

On another note, what do you guys--Todd, Kahn, and DW--think of Smackdown? Compared to Raw, that's a really good show: Dolph Ziggler, John Morrison, and CM Punk are three young guys who are really shining, especially Punk. I think his delivery has been spot-on and his lines have been hilarious at times. Anyone know if he improvises it?

11:23 AM  

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