Tuesday, September 22, 2009

WWE Raw Report

Date: 09/21/09 from Little Rock, AR.

The Big News: Cedric the Entertainer was on Raw! Also, there were some wrestling angles and stuff.

Show Analysis:

The Bella Twins (who are apparently now Raw regulars despite being traded to ECW a few months ago) and Cedric the Entertainer arrived in a limousine to start Raw. A bunch of random people came out of the limousine including a football team, old woman, rabbi and goat. It was meant as comedy but didn’t do anything for me.

DX came out to start the show. They said that they will be wrestling Legacy in a Hell in a Cell match at, well, Hell in a Cell. They then pointed out that Shawn Michaels won the first Hell in a Cell and HHH has won the most Hell in a Cell matches of anyone. They added that Legacy has never competed in the Cell. DX promised Legacy the beatings of their lives and that the feud will come to an end. This was a good promo.

Triple H beat Cody Rhodes via DQ. HHH sent Cody into the post early and applied the crossface. Cody gained control and beat down HHH. On the outside of the ring, Legacy dropped Shawn Michaels on the announce table and they did a high/low on Michaels. Back in the ring, HHH went for the pedigree on Cody but DiBiase hit HHH with a chair for the disqualification. DiBiase hit HHH in the head with a chair and looked to break his neck with the chair but Michaels made the save with a sledgehammer. This feud to me is the best thing on Raw right now. It’s also become a genuine attempt to elevate Legacy, which I’m very happy about.

Cedric the Entertainer came out to very little reaction. Michael Cole labeled this a “standing ovation.” Cedric said he’s a wrestling fan and told some awful jokes. The announcers did their off-the-charts irritating and condescending fake laughter. Santino came out and told a crappy joke of his own. Chavo Guerrero then came out and challenged Cedric to a match. Santino accepted for Cedric.

The Miz beat Evan Bourne clean. Before the match Miz had the United States Title and said he’s more like a champion than Kofi Kingston ever has been. Kingston laid him out and took back the title. Miz crotched Bourne and followed with a neck breaker, knee lift and double chicken wing. Bourne crotched Miz on the top rope and followed with a top rope huracanrana. Bourne went for a shooting star but Miz moved out of the way. Bourne compensated and landed on his feet, but Miz then hit the skull crushing finale for the pin.

Jerry Lawler hosted a contract signing for John Cena and Randy Orton’s Hell in a Cell match. Earlier, Orton had told Legacy they had the night off and he’d handle the contract signing himself. Lawler said that there was a no physicality rule for the evening. Cena was smiling, goofing around, mugging for the camera and generally just making the whole thing seem like a joke.

Orton signed the contract and told Lawler to leave. Orton said that he has never been more dangerous. He noted that he has been in a Hell in a Cell match and Cena hasn’t. Orton concluded that he knows what to expect from the match and what it takes to win.

Cena responded with one of his goofy, obnoxious promos. He played footage of Orton submitting and made a bunch of goofy faces to imitate Orton for comedy. He laughed at the idea he would be intimidated by Orton. He said Orton should be worried because he doesn’t know what Cena is capable of. Cena said he would destroy Orton. Orton then said he found two men who would put Cena through hell. Chris Jericho and Big Show attacked Cena. Mark Henry and MVP made the save. Cedric made a 6 man tag main event.

Beth Phoenix beat Mickie James in literally right around a minute. Alicia Fox was at ringside. Mickie avoided a slingshot suplex and hit a neck breaker and Thesz press off the top rope to the floor. Alicia distracted her allowing Beth to send her into the post and hit the glam slam for the pin. Alicia gave Mickie an ax kick after the match. To recap, they decided to build a title match by having someone other than the challenger pin the champion in 60 seconds.

Kofi Kingston beat Jack Swagger via count out in a US title match. If you thought the booking of the women’s title program was bad, this was amazingly much worse. Miz ran out about 25 seconds into the match and stole the US title again. Swagger then attacked Miz and took back the title. Rather than returning to the ring for his title match, Swagger then proceeded to leave with the title himself and be counted out. So officially the US title is nothing more than a prop and having possession of the strap is more important than actually winning the championship. Whoever came up with this idea shouldn’t be allowed within 500 feet of a booking meeting for a pro wrestling company ever again.

It was quite the run of matches here, as next up was Chavo Guerrero vs. Cedric the Entertainer. And it went longer than the two previous matches combined. Santino was the referee. Cedric came out in a cape and mask. He went under the ring and a much larger and well built man in a cape and mask came back out. That imposter Cedric laid out Chavo and went back under the ring. Hornswoggle came out from under the ring in a cape and mask and gave Chavo the frog splash. He went back under the ring and the real Cedric came back out and covered for the pin. Cedric, Imposter Cedric and Hornswoggle then danced together. Utter crap.

They announced Rev. Al Sharpton as guest host next week. That has the potential to be perversely entertaining. Backstage, Chris Jericho and Big Show wanted to speak with Cedric the Entertainer.

Jerry Lawler thanked Lillian Garcia for ten years of service and said she is the diva of the decade. They let Lillian give a goodbye speech in the ring. She was immediately crying and put over what a privilege it has been to work for WWE and that her heart will always be with the WWE fans. This clearly meant a lot to her. Michael Cole then immediately cut to plugging the main event. This felt like a grudging tribute, but Lillian made it feel special anyway.

Randy Orton, Chris Jericho and Big Show beat MVP, Mark Henry and John Cena. Prior to the match Jericho said that if the faces won Orton would have to wrestle Cena, MVP and Henry in a gauntlet match next week but that if the heels won Cena would have to wrestle Orton, Jericho and Show in a gauntlet match. The heels worked over Cena. He got the hot tag to MVP who hit balling on Jericho but was cut off by a Show head butt. They worked over MVP. He eventually got the tag to Henry (I’m getting kind of sick of WWE formula tag matches), who gave Orton head butts. Cena threw Show over the top, but Orton then hit the RKO on Henry for the pin.

Final Thoughts:

I didn’t care for this show much. It had a lot more segments that aggravated me than the past few weeks. I’ve officially turned on the guest host concept. I liked it as an idea at first but I’ve grown sick of it. It would be fine if the guest hosts were used to complement the general product, but instead they’re treated as the stars of the show. That’s okay if it’s someone like Shaquille O’Neal or Bob Barker, but it’s annoying with B-list and C-list celebrities like Cedric the Entertainer. If I wanted to watch comedy with revolving celebrities, I’d watch Jay Leno. If I watch a wrestling show, I want wrestling. The focus should be matches and interviews and angles.

Watching WWE’s Best of Smackdown DVD over the weekend it was obvious that WWE now more than ever views itself as this goofy comedy show where the highlights are the most ridiculous and bizarre segments the creative team can come up with rather than the stuff that actually resonates with fans. Likewise, these guest host segments have become masturbatory exercises for the company, an opportunity to feel accepted as “legitimate” (read: better than rasslin’) entertainment. I wish they would just be proud to be pro wrestling again.

12 Comments:

Blogger Maxer said...

Todd - Why do they have a guest host anyway? Ratings? Or is it because they know Raw is a sinking ship.

My beef is why not incorporate a guest host on Smackdown as well. Either have it consistent, or just totally kill the whole concept.

My interpretation is that they just don't give two sh*ts about Smasckdown.

9:49 AM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

"Frederick The Entertainment" rules.

Or not.

Another 45 to 60 minutes of life (thanks FF on DVR) I'll never get back.

- Matt in Anchorage

11:11 AM  
Anonymous The Masterbater said...

Todd you get a chance to watch the Rise and Fall of WCW? What is your take on that if you did? I hear different things about it. I don't want to purchase it if it is a bias outlook. The reason is why ask is I only enjoy the memories of what wrestling use to be, by buying these DVD's. This new product WWE is going with is just not cutting it for me. Maybe I am just getting old, it's like when the old timers use to say "what wrestling use to be". Maybe this is the new thing these days I have no clue maybe I can't accept change.

1:06 PM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

Santino's comedy act, which is mostly lifted from Norm Crosby with the malaprops, jumped the shark months ago. Don't know who the big guy was with Cedric & Hornswoggle, but apparently Vince doesn't believe it's time to end Chavo's torture. Here's a news flash, Vince. We're sick of it, too!

This was another night where the writers were composing the show while on a crack binge. There's no other way to explain it. Beth Phoenix squashes Mickie in a minute or so? We've seen better, and while Alicia has shown some improvement in the ring, she's not ready for a title run.

Jack Swagger is better than what we've seen lately, too. Why have him or Mizizzle steal the US title? Here's an idea. How about the already overused ladder match among those three to settle the issue?

DX-Legacy should be good in the Cell, but apparently someone passed the crack pipe to Lawler & Cole, too, since they fouled up the commentary.

They need to balance out the booking on nights when they have heels winning nearly every match (all but 2), because it's wrong. Once again, you have heels bullying the guest host so they can get a stipulation in their favor. That must stop, because it's already old. They need a commissioner to work with these "hosts" to prevent this from happening again. Of course, Vince being senile and all, that isn't going to happen until he winds up in a home.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous DW said...

I'm really tired of the WWE shoving their "philosophies," bizarre as they are, down our throats. Triple H say Hell in a Cell will be the end of the Legacy vs DX feud. Why? Why would that end it? Why should that end it? Triple H beat Orton at WM 25 - the "grandest stage of them all" and yet that didn't end their feud. Cena beat Orton in an "I Quit" match and that didn't end their feud. Why would Hell in a Cell end the Legacy vs DX feud. It's nonsense. The WWE is so damn condescending to its fans, that it's beyond belief.

And the announcers continue to be the lowest of the low. I don't care if Vince is coaching them in their headpieces or not - the "orchestration" is getting to be too much. As it is, the face vs heel gambit is pretty obvious - we don't need the announcers to tell us how to think. Lawler shrieks that Cody made a "cowardly move" when he struck Triple H on the apron. Hell, lots of wrestlers use that move. And yet, when Triple H sent Cody into the steel ringpost three times, not a negative word was said. Gotta make sure the moronic fans understand where the WWE is going with this!

Evan Bourne can beat Chris Masters but he can't beat the Miz? Masters put him through more great holds than the Miz could even begin to muster and yet, he wins. Oh yes, the Miz is being pushed. So let's abort all common sense.

Cena was obnoxious in the contract signing, as Todd pointed out. Took all the heat right out of the upcoming match. Creative really hit that one out of the park.
There's so much wrong with Raw that I gave up after the contract signing. Bed was a far more attractive option than sitting through the rest of the WWE's nonsense.

I will make one more comment. Perhaps Triple H can bone up on how to deliver an insult. He can start by making sure the snide comments - that could be funny if delivered right - don't also apply to him. Critiquing Masters' hair when his own mop looks like a circus clown wig? Come on. Implying that Ted and Cody are gay - it's another story why they are anti-gay on the show, but I digress - well, it's ridiculous when you note that last night, there was nothing more gay looking than Triple H resting his head on HBK's shoulder after the opening match. He was really snuggling in there! Be careful Triple H, you're slowly revealing to all what a complete loser you are.

Let's face it. This crap is for stooges. It's created by stooges, and only stooges will find it entertaining. In an odd way, it's justified because the majority of the fans and the WWE management and creative team are cut from the same cloth.

3:11 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

I did see the Rise and Fall of WCW DVD. It was fine. Not biased, but not really very deep either. Just sort of a quick look at some of the key moments. A lot of stuff left out and there were some mistakes, but it wasn't awful history either. I'd recommend it if you were a fan during that period, but not overwhelmingly.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

I only saw the second half of the show, and I thought it was pretty bad. The Cedric match completely disrespected everyone on the roster by portraying what they do as a joke.

And, as I predicted last week, you -- yes, I'm speaking to you, Todd Martin -- were wrong in thinking the last chapter in Chavo vs. Hornswaggle had been written. I'm afraid you overestimated WWE creative there.

"Watching WWE’s Best of Smackdown DVD over the weekend it was obvious that WWE now more than ever views itself as this goofy comedy show where the highlights are the most ridiculous and bizarre segments the creative team can come up with..."

I was actually considering buying that. Now I won't bother, if that's what it's about.

WWE still has the talent to do a first-rate wrestling show if they so desired. They clearly do not have the talent to do more than a seventh-rate comedy show. Despite those fact (yes, facts), they're emphasizing the latter. It doesn't seem like a good idea to me, but what do I know?

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lillian's farewell speech was very touching.

11:04 PM  
Anonymous #1 HHH Hater said...

You think we can see the Warrior as a guest host?

6:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the next host should be the ghost of the Junk Yard Dog.

11:59 PM  
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9:22 AM  

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