WWE Raw Report
The Big News: Al Sharpton preached education reform to WWE fans, John Cena beat down Randy Orton some more, and Rosa Mendes had a match for the ages.
MVP and Mark Henry were in the ring for the VIP Lounge to start the show. MVP went to introduce Al Sharpton, but Big Show and Chris Jericho interrupted him. Jericho took umbrage with MVP’s introduction for Sharpton, saying it wasn’t good enough for the most prominent civil rights leader of our time. Jericho and MVP then bickered back and forth about Sharpton’s greatest accolades. It was a pretty obvious and desperate ploy to get as positive of a reaction for Sharpton as possible.
Sharpton came out to boos anyway, while all four of the wrestlers applauded him. It was quite the amusing scene. He talked about his education reform tour. MVP asked for a tag title match on Raw. Jericho noted that Henry and MVP already had a shot and that Jericho and Show were scheduled for another match later in the show already. Jericho mixed in an amusing tirade against the fans.
Sharpton asked the people if they wanted a title match and when they cheered he said the people spoke and made the match. Jericho cried discrimination, a point Michael Cole emphasized in the next segment and was clearly a WWE joke at Sharpton’s expense. Sharpton wasn’t a disaster here in a good or a bad sense, but his presence felt pointless and undesired.
Chris Jericho and Big Show beat MVP and Mark Henry. They gave them a lot of time. The match was okay with a pretty good finishing sequence. The heels worked over MVP for a bit, and then worked over Henry for a little while. Show applied a long headlock on MVP.
MVP came in with an overhead belly to belly, yakuza kick and balling on Jericho. He went for the playmaker but Show broke it up. Henry sent Show out of the ring, and MVP got a rollup on Jericho for two. They really got the crowd with that near fall. MVP hit a DDT for two. However, he got caught bouncing off the ropes by a Show punch and Jericho hit the code breaker for the pin.
Al Sharpton, Primo Colon, Chavo Guerrero, Hornswoggle, Santino and Chris Masters did “comedy” backstage. It was funny. Just kidding. Elsewhere, Randy Orton cut a brief promo saying he would win back the title.
Mickie James beat Rosa Mendes in a 4 hour, 23 minute, 34 second bout. Alicia Fox was in Rosa’s corner. When you look at some of the matches that are given time on Raw and some of the matches that aren’t it becomes so apparent WWE writers have no concept of what constitutes a good wrestling match. They gave Rosa more than enough rope to hang herself, as this was among the worst matches in Raw history.
Here’s the rundown of the match. Rosa horribly botched something, Mickie hit a dropkick, Rosa horribly botched something, Mickie hit a neck breaker, Rosa hit kicks and shoulders, Mickie came back with a huracanrana, Rosa horribly botched something, Rosa horribly botched something else, and Mickie hit the chick kick for the pin. I don’t think I fully appreciated just how bad Rosa is until this match. “What a match!” proclaimed Michael Cole at the conclusion. How am I supposed to believe anything he says when he’s shameless enough to praise crap that awful?
Legacy came out to do a promo. Ted DiBiase said that no one expects them to win on Sunday but that they are primed for the victory of their careers. Yes, Sunday. I’m used to WWE pay-per-views every three weeks, but this pay-per-view more than any other I can recall is jarring in just how quickly it seemingly has come. It feels beyond unnecessary and too quick.
Cody Rhodes put over DX’s accomplishments big but said they would win. Shawn Michaels interrupted this chanting boring and HHH made fun of them as nerds and assholes. DX treated this like a joke. They came to the ring, Legacy left, and HHH promised hell. The dynamic here was all wrong. The heel young guys are putting over how good the face legends are, while the face legends make fun of the heel young guys and treat them like jokes. Hello, one of these groups is more in need of being talked up than the other.
Jack Swagger (who came out wearing the US title) beat Evan Bourne. Swagger hit a powerslam and back breaker. Bourne avoided the gut wrench power bomb and dove with his knees off the top rope. Swagger hit the power bomb for the pin. After the match, Swagger said he would officially be US champion Sunday. Miz came out to disagree. They started brawling, allowing Kofi Kingston to come in and take back the belt. This “stealing the belt” storyline is such a stupid program.
Chavo Guerrero and Chris Masters beat Hornswoggle and Santino. Masters beat Santino with the Masterlock and then applied the Masterlock to Hornswoggle after the match. Chavo Guerrero felt this was too much and punched Masters to break the hold. This was supposed to be a face spot but the crowd didn’t cheer at all. I’d like to think it’s because they loathe Hornswoggle and his crappy segments as much as I do, but I think it’s more likely just apathy.
They announced Ben Roethlisberger as the guest host of Raw next week. If I’m a Steelers fan, I’m none too pleased about him scheduling goofy wrestling gig distractions the day after a key night game when his team is 1-2. If this story gets national attention over the next couple days, I expect he’s going to receive a lot of criticism for doing this during the season.
The gauntlet match with John Cena against Chris Jericho, Big Show and Randy Orton was more of an angle than a match. Jericho attacked Cena first. Cena went for the FU a few times but couldn’t get it. Jericho applied the Walls. Cena got to the ropes but Jericho refused to break and just kept the hold on. Big Show then came out and went after Cena with punches to the body. Cena went for the FU but Jericho attacked Cena from behind for the DQ.
Orton then came down to the ring looking evil and ready to pick the bones of the beaten down Cena. A funny thing happened at that point. The Hell in a Cell cage started to lower. And all of a sudden Orton went from confident to scared. He tried to run away but Cena grabbed him to keep him from escaping. Orton panicked, but then he was just able to easily leave through the cage door. Orton climbed the cell with Cena chasing. They brawled on the top of the cell and Cena gave Orton the FU.
I really liked the start of this segment. The story of the heels beating down the champion and weakening him for Orton to me was compelling storytelling. I didn’t like the twist of the cage lowering and Orton turning chicken heel at all.
To begin with, I don’t think Orton should be portrayed as a coward. It’s a trait that works well for many heels (like Chris Jericho for example), but I think it undermines Orton and diminishes his character.
Moreover, psychologically it’s just weird to have Orton so excited about getting this beaten up Cena only to become terrified when the cage lowered. Shouldn’t he be happy that he gets this terribly weakened champion all to himself? If he’s such a coward, why does he even want a title rematch in a cell match? Why would he even want this gauntlet match? It’s not unjustifiable psychologically, but to me it strains credibility within the context of the story.
Then there’s the fact that Orton just left through the cage door immediately after the cage lowered. What exactly is the point of this cage if he can leave so easily? It was like they brought the cage there to specifically make the point that you can escape, which seems to me the exact opposite feeling you want fans to have about the cage.
And finally, there’s the issue of the consumer perspective. What are we paying for? Cena’s already beaten up Orton, made him submit and taken his title. Orton has done nothing in the interim and apparently has no confidence in himself in this rematch. So what’s the point of the whole thing? It’s just not very good storytelling or build.
This was one of those episodes Raw where a million little things were really eating at me, and it had some big negatives on top of the host of little negatives. I sense I probably came down harder on this show than most because of the little things that drove me nuts, but I thought this show was pretty darn dreadful.