Tuesday, November 24, 2009

WWE Raw Report

Date: 11/24/09 from Hershey, PA.

The Big News: WWE finally pushed a new guy into the immediate main event picture. For better or worse.

Show Analysis:

First, I just want to mention that my e-mail account may have been bouncing some e-mails last week. If you sent me an e-mail and it got sent back, that was unintentional and please do re-send. Second, the report may (or may not) be a day late next week.

Jesse Ventura was announced to start the show but Randy Orton came out instead. He wanted Ventura to give him another title shot against Cena. Ventura joined him. One of the Raw screens misspelled governor, which is so embarrassing. Ventura had on a flashy jacket and glasses and said he wasn’t dressed like a governor but like a pro wrestler.

Ventura said he likes Orton’s style, but that he’s an independent demanding revolution. He vowed to bring something completely new to the WWE. I was expecting a new gimmick match for Chavo vs. Hornswoggle but it actually turned out to be a novel and clever idea.

Ventura observed that the same people always get title shots in WWE. He said the next title shot wouldn’t go to Orton, Shawn Michaels, Triple H or Chris Jericho. Instead, there would be Raw matches between wrestlers who have never been world champion. The winners would then compete in a breakthrough battle royal to crown a number one contender. Ventura then announced a few matches that have never been made before, C.M. Punk vs. John Cena and Hart Dynasty vs. DX. I loved this premise and Ventura’s delivery was great.

Kofi Kingston beat Dolph Ziggler. I’m so happy with the way they booked Kingston at the Survivor Series. That was exactly what they need to be doing. Ziggler worked over Kingston. Kingston came back with the high double leg drop. Kingston missed trouble in paradise but then hit it on a second try for the pin.

They did a few vignettes where wrestlers said what they’re thankful for. I remember these vividly from the early Survivor Series events. My favorite was “I’m thankful that I ain’t Ricky Rude.” The vignettes this year for whatever reason seemed dull to me. Miz said he isn’t thankful for his greatness because he expects that and the people should be grateful to him.

Sheamus beat Finlay in a very quick match. They brawled at the onset. Sheamus hit the razor’s edge for the pin. Sheamus attacked Finlay after the bell and kicked him into the crowd.

Teddy Long was going to say what he’s thankful for but Vickie Guerrero interrupted and said the people should be thankful she has power and influence. Alex Escobar added that she’s eye candy. They teased Long throwing mashed potatoes on them but Escobar just took them. Elsewhere, Orton again asked Ventura to put him in the battle royal. Ventura put over Orton but said he wouldn’t go back on his decision. This felt very true to Ventura’s announcer character.

John Cena beat C.M. Punk in a pretty good match. Punk before the match said he’s thankful that he straight edge. He criticized the people for gluttony during Thanksgiving. He has these gigantic rolls under his eyes like he hasn’t slept in weeks. I’m not sure if it’s makeup of some kind but I like the look a lot for the character.

Punk went after Cena’s neck. Cena came back with the five knuckle shuffle and tried the FU but Punk landed on his feet. Punk went for the GTS but Cena escaped and applied the STF. Punk got to the ropes and hit a high kick for two. He hit a high knee but had a bulldog attempt reversed. Cena then hit a top rope rocker dropper and second rope FU for the pin.

Backstage, Jesse Ventura met with Vince McMahon. Vince thought that Jesse wanted to make a match between the two. Jesse said no, he actually wanted Vince to announce later in the show. He said that Vince’s father didn’t believe in him so he made him an announcer rather than giving him a more powerful position. Jesse had an outfit with a bow tie for Vince to wear.

MVP, Mark Henry and R. Truth beat Chavo Guerrero, Chris Masters and Jack Swagger in a match where all three winners advanced to the battle royal. Given Mark Henry, Chavo Guerrero and Jack Swagger were all ECW champions, that tells you where the ECW title stands in the WWE hierarchy of world titles. Maybe they should call it the ECW TV title. RVD made that title as big as the ECW world title anyway. The heels worked over MVP, who tagged Truth. A brawl broke out. Henry press slammed Chavo onto Swagger on the floor. Truth then hit a flying forearm on Masters for the pin.

Backstage, Triple H was angry with Shawn Michaels. Michaels acted nervously and wouldn’t look at Hunter. Hunter yelled at him for the kick at Survivor Series. Michaels said that he’s sorry and he figured Hunter would pedigree him first. Hunter basically admitted this and they bickered back and forth. Michaels said he has the dodgy eye thing and that he was aiming for Cena. This was all pretty damn funny.

A little person then came in and delivered a lawsuit to DX. Hornswoggle is suing them in little people’s court next week with guest host Mini-Me. That sounds like death. Or at the very least gonorrhea.

Evan Bourne was going to wrestle Primo Colon in a qualifying match, but Orton jumped Primo before the match and said he was now in the match. Ventura appeared on the screen. He said rules are made to broken so he would break his rule and put Orton in the battle royal if Orton could beat Bourne. Ventura said persistency pays off and he likes Orton’s style. Orton threw Bourne into the post, caught a springboard and countered with a power slam and then hit the RKO for the pin.

They ran an ad for the new WWE movie with Ted DiBiase. It’s strange that they’re now plugging that movie and DiBiase is still Orton’s heel lackey. There aren’t really any movements towards DiBiase going face either. Perhaps they have decided to delay it until WrestleMania. If so, they should still plant seeds every few weeks so it will feel more important when it finally happens.

The Indians (Mickie James, Kelly Kelly and Melina) beat the Pilgrims (Michelle McCool, Layla and Jillian Hall) in a Mayflower Melee match. This was one of those goofy WWE comedy segments. It was better than they usually are. The two teams came out in outfits. The heels were disgusted with their pilgrim outfits and goofy pilgrim music. The music really was quite hilarious.

The Gobbledy Gooker came out as the time keeper. The faces came out to Tatanka’s music. The announcers spent most of the match apologizing for using the term “Indian.” The other heels abandoned Jillian because they were irritated with the costumes and Melina pinned Jillian.

After the match the Gobbledy Gooker attacked Melina. The Gooker took off her head and Michael Cole pretty much immediately identified this to be Maryse. I thought it was funny because I could hardly make out anything other than blonde hair. Maryse had trouble removing the Gooker outfit but was determined to for whatever reason. She spent what seemed like a minute completely detaching herself and then threw the outfit at Melina. This whole segment was weird.

DX beat Hart Dynasty. The Dynasty worked over Michaels briefly. HHH tagged in and hit a face buster and two spine busters. He went for the pedigree but it was broken up. Dynasty went for the springboard Hart attack but Michaels hit sweet chin music on Smith and HHH hit the pedigree on Kidd for the pin. This was just designed to put over DX. They weren’t trying to build Hart Dynasty for the future at all.

Chris Jericho after the match came out and said Ventura made Jericho and Big Show vs. DX for the tag titles at TLC. Jericho said Show wasn’t there (taping his movie presumably). HHH said that he was at the chocolate factory. Michaels said the match would be a TLC match. He was then about to say “if you’re not down with that,” but Jericho cut them off. He started screaming in rage. He said that as long as he has the titles, DX never will. Well, duh.

Batista came out for a promo. They played Rey Mysterio’s music and Michael Cole started talking about how surprised he was to see Rey. That was funny since before the break they had showed Batista walking toward the ring and said he would explain his annihilation of Rey. Batista said Rey will spend Thanksgiving in a hospital bed and that he has no one to blame but himself for stabbing Batista in the back and not leaving when Batista gave him a chance.

Batista said he is coming for Undertaker and the world title. Kane came out and told Batista to make an example of him. Batista left. I really like Batista as a heel. He feels fresher and I’m all for putting the title on him. It is a little tricky though because I sense a lot of the crowd (beyond just Washington DC) still wants to cheer him.

Legacy beat Cryme Tyme. They worked over JTG. Shad tagged in and gave DiBiase a power bomb. Rhodes made the save. DiBiase hit a cobra clutch into a uranage for the pin. This meant that the competitors in the battle royal would be R. Truth, Sheamus, Cody Rhodes, Mark Henry, Kofi Kingston, Randy Orton, MVP and Ted DiBiase. That group doesn’t speak well at all for the job WWE has done building new talent.

Gail Kim and Alicia Fox bickered backstage. They were about to get into a pie fight, but then Santino came in. He said they shouldn’t be fighting but rather preparing food. So they hit him with pies. The Bellas and Eve Torres tried to help him but he made some more misogynistic remarks and they hit him with pies too. Vickie Guerrero then snuck in with a cake to attack Santino but Santino accidentally knocked it into her face. This was a clever comedy segment.

Sheamus won a battle royal to become number one contender to John Cena’s title. Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura did commentary. Vince at first just acted like Mr. McMahon but then he settled into kind of doing his old announcer role, which I enjoyed a lot. I always liked Vince in that capacity, and he did his typical stuff like calling eliminations before they happened and then taking it back. Vince and Jesse also did more discussion of rules and strategy than usual, which I like but Vince tries to discourage in his announcers.

Orton stood on the outside for much of the match. Sheamus threw out Truth and MVP. Henry eliminated both members of Legacy together. Sheamus immediately dumped Henry. Orton then came in. He threw Kingston over the top but Kingston skinned the cat and threw out Orton. Sheamus then eliminated Kingston to win.

The show concluded with a contract signing featuring John Cena, Sheamus and Jesse Ventura. Cena did one of his screaming showman promos that come across phony and scripted. They signed the contract. Ventura announced the match to tepid applause. Ventura then said he thinks there’s a conspiracy to keep Cena champ because he’s exactly the sort of champ WWE likes. Sheamus then attacked Cena with a kick, threw him into the post and body slammed him into the table. Ventura announced this would be a table match, which got no response at all.

Final Thoughts:

For the most part I really liked this show. The writing felt significantly better than it has been, both in terms of the writing of individual segments and the comedy and also in terms of the way they built angles and laid out the show. Three hours is too long given how many shows they do, but this didn’t drag. Jesse Ventura was also one of the better guest hosts.

I would have absolutely raved about this show except for the ending. I’ve been strongly advocating the elevation of new wrestlers for ages, backing everyone from Miz to Kofi Kingston to Jack Swagger to Evan Bourne to MVP to Cody Rhodes to Ted DiBiase. But here they finally push a new guy into a main event, and it’s of all people Sheamus.

To me, the three big keys to sustained success in wrestling are wrestling ability, speaking ability and charisma. I’m cool with pushing anyone who has any of these elements. But to me, Sheamus has none. He hasn’t shown he can talk. He’s not a good wrestler. And I don’t think he has any charisma. He’s just a big stiff with a gimmicky look. The wrestler he most reminds me of is Mordecai, complete with basically the same finisher. If you don’t remember Mordecai, well, there’s a reason for that. I know Vince will always have the size fetish, but it’s so frustrating that here they are determined to put a new guy in the top picture and it’s this loser instead of one of two dozen more talented and entertaining performers.

Still, this show definitely registers as a success for me. It was better booked, entertaining, and at least they tried to elevate a new guy.

Monday, November 16, 2009

WWE Raw Report

Date: 11/16/09 from New York, NY.

The Big News: Roddy Piper couldn’t get a fight out of Vince McMahon, but Randy Orton sure could get a fight out of Kofi Kingston.

Show Analysis:

Roddy Piper opened the show backstage. He was with character actor Luis Guzman, since I guess they feel a week can’t go by without them shilling some random movie. Piper then introduced the Iron Chef, which turned out instead to be the Iron Sheik. Sheik ranted and raved whenever Hulk Hogan’s name was mentioned and even beat up a Hulk Hogan action figure with an Iron Sheik action figure. They then cut to a new introduction with new music for Raw.

Miz beat MVP in a fun opener. Miz did some mic work before the match which worked great because the crowd was really hot. Miz reprimanded the Yankees for buying a title while he earned his. MVP dominated the match with slams, punches, clotheslines, a face buster and balling. Miz avoided the playmaker but then walked into a yakuza kick for a two count. Miz then hit the skull crushing finale for the pin. Miz carries himself very well as US champion.

Santino Marella beat Chavo Guerrero. Santino came out heavily clothed in a bunch of New York attire and proceeded to take off a Rangers jersey, Giants jersey, Knicks jersey, Jets jersey, Mets jersey and Phillies jersey leading to a Yankees jersey at the bottom. Chavo hit the tree amigos. They then did a spot where Chavo kept going to the top but Santino would roll to the other side of the ring. Finally Hornswoggle came out to distract Chavo for the 323rd time and Santino got the pin.

DX came out following the match. They said that they will work as a unit at Survivor Series. They then called Hornswoggle out from under the ring. They teased that they would let Hornswoggle join them but instead HHH gave him the pedigree. I think this was supposed to be a face spot, and it certainly was with me, but the crowd for whatever reason greeted it as a heel move. Michael Cole explained afterwards that Hornswoggle was acting like a petulant child, and I’m with Cole on this one. DX carried Hornswoggle out on a DX stretcher.

They aired a great video package looking back on famous WWE moments in Madison Square Garden. Chris Jericho and Roddy Piper met backstage. Jericho felt disrespected by Piper. Piper brought in Chris Masters for more pec dancing and blew his nose repeatedly.

Melina beat Alicia in a lumberjill match to retain the women’s title. An actor from 30 Rock did the ring introductions and was the big focal point here for whatever reason. Oh well. At least it wasn’t Rhonda Shear. All the Raw and Smackdown women were at ringside. I don’t care when they do the constant intermingling, but it does drive me absolutely nuts when they then try to hard sell brand differentiation. The match itself was better than most recent Melina matches. Alicia hit a tilt-a-whirl back breaker but was caught with the last call for the pin.

Roddy Piper came out to the ring. He said that he walks out to a standing ovation at MSG every time, and that’s because of the fans. You know, I wake up in the morning and there’s light every time, and that’s because of the sun. Piper did a kind of rambling nostalgic promo, clearly having a lot of fun. He said he wants one more match with Vince McMahon, which is when things picked up.

Piper referenced getting fired for his Real Sports interview, and that brought out Vince. Vince made fun of Piper’s appearance. Piper made fun of Vince’s flashy pinstripe suit. Vince said he looks better than all the wrestlers and he has beaten them all. Vince added that he is officially retired. Piper called Vince a coward and again challenged Vince to come out later for a fight. This was very compelling television. It had an unpredictable feel that today’s controlled WWE environment rarely has.

Sheamus issued an open challenge but nobody came out so he beat up some random old guy at ringside. He then kicked Jerry Lawler and Lawler was helped out. Matt Striker was the replacement and made a remark about an opportunity opening up that made me wonder if this might not be just another short term angle with Lawler. I guess we will see next week. I hope Lawler stays in his spot. I enjoy him in his role and I don’t care much for Striker as an announcer. They announced a three hour Raw Thanksgiving next week with Jesse Ventura as guest host.

Jack Swagger beat Evan Bourne in basically a squash. Swagger controlled things early with a clothesline to the back of the head. Bourne hit a leaping knee and double knee off the ropes, but was then caught with the Oklahoma Stampede into a doctor bomb for the pin. This is such crappy booking.

To begin with, they just did the exact same angle two times in a matter of months, with Bourne winning one week in an upset and then Swagger killing him the next week. And of all the angles to shamelessly rerun, this was quite the selection. Bourne’s treated like a joke and Swagger’s the guy who lost to the joke twice now. You know you’re doing an awful job of booking when you give television time to two guys two straight weeks and they both come out worse off than they went in.

Roddy Piper came out for his challenge to Vince McMahon. Randy Orton appeared instead. He beat up Piper with punches and kicks. He went for the punt. Kofi Kingston was supposed to make the save but was waiting for a music cue that came late (I don’t understand musical intros for impromptu brawls in the first place), so Orton had to just pull up on the kick and wait for Kingston.

Kingston and Orton then had a hot, fantastic brawl. They brawled all over the building. Orton was dominant early on but Kingston took control after countering a punt attempt. Kingston teased putting Orton through a table but the referees pulled him off. Kingston then broke free, ran back, and hit a high double leg drop through a table. They have done a fabulous job building up Kingston. Please, please, please follow through.

John Cena & Undertaker beat Chris Jericho & Big Show and HHH & Shawn Michaels. Cena cut one of his obnoxious cutesy promos before the match. The average age of these six Survivor Series headliners is 39 years old. That’s the average. They’re slowly morphing into the AWA. The match featured three legal men in the ring at all times which was weird and chaotic. They did a whole bunch of moves.

Michaels hit an elbow off the top on Jericho. He went for sweet chin music but Cena cut him off with shoulder blocks and the five knuckle shuffle. He went for the FU but HHH tagged himself in. HHH gave Cena a high knee, face buster and spine buster. He went for the pedigree but Show broke that up. Michaels hit sweet chin music on Show. Jericho hit the code breaker on Michaels. Undertaker hit the choke slam on Jericho. HHH clotheslined Undertaker to the outside. Cena hit the FU on HHH for the pin. And after the match, Undertaker hit the tombstone on Cena.

Final Thoughts:

I enjoyed this show. MSG events are pretty much always a lot of fun. I thought the two highlights were the Piper/McMahon segment and the Kingston/Orton brawl. The broken record is now decomposing, but for the love of God I hope they freshen up the main event mix after Survivor Series.

Monday, November 09, 2009

WWE Raw Report

Date: 11/09/09 from Sheffield, England.

The Big News: There’s only one Ricky Hatton. Or maybe two.

Show Analysis:

Ricky Hatton came out to Blue Moon, looking in Hatton’s renowned non-fighting shape. He got a nice reaction but no singing of “Hatton Wonderland.” I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Hatton said he has had some good memories in Sheffield but was there to make some new ones.

Jerishow came out, with even Jericho looking significantly taller than Hatton. Somebody should point out to Vince McMahon that Hatton’s last fight drew significantly more US PPV buys than WrestleMania. His infatuation with size has over time become something akin to a World War I general infatuated with horses.

Big Show said his breakfast was bigger than Hatton and told Hatton t get out of the ring. Hatton mocked Show for the Floyd Mayweather KO. Show offered Hatton a free punch. Hatton was going to take it but Jericho stepped in. That led to more bickering between Show and Jericho. Hatton made Jerishow vs. DX for later on Raw. Jericho and Show together then turned their sights on Hatton, but DX came out. HHH pointed out how Jerishow keeps screwing with guest hosts and bad things keep happening to them. DX took out Jericho, and Show left rather than choosing to fight two on one.

Alicia Fox beat Kelly Kelly in one of those women’s matches where they try all these elaborate moves and two out of three look bad. Kelly used a sloppy huracanrana and rocker dropper. Alicia came back with a sloppy axe kick for the pin.

Sheamus beat somebody. They had a ring introduction and said this was a one fall match, but then only announced one competitor. The announcers never announced the opponent’s name and WWE.com just announced him as “a local competitor.” Is it so hard to just give him a name? Oh well. Sheamus won with a uranage into a back breaker, big boot, and razor’s edge for the finish.

Backstage, Ricky Hatton did a comedy vignette with Chavo Guerrero and Santino Marella. Santino was dressed as Ricky Fatton. Hatton beat Chavo at darts. Chavo challenged Santino to a match. Hatton accepted the match himself. Elsewhere, Miz was doing an interview talking about beating John Morrison at Survivor Series. Jack Swagger interrupted and they bickered about who would be team captain.

Evan Bourne beat Jack Swagger. So much for that great winning streak. Swagger threw Bourne around and hit a Vader bomb and big boot. Miz came out to distract Swagger. Bourne hit a spinning kick and shooting star press for the pin. This was like the prototypical WWE match where they accomplish nothing other than teaching the audience not to take a young star seriously. It’s so stupid that it should be outrageous, but they do it so often it’s just expected.

MVP Lounge featured MVP, Mark Henry and Kofi Kingston. I’m very happy that they made a Survivor Series tag match with Kingston and Randy Orton as captains. It will allow them to showcase both Kingston and Orton without hurting either. MVP and Henry put over Kingston and they had some champagne.

Legacy came out to interrupt. Orton said they are low class street thugs and they should go back to the hood where they came from. Kingston slapped Orton. I hate racial angles. I don’t think it makes you mad at the heel; it just makes WWE look sleazy. At least MVP was actually in prison. I don’t see what about Henry (a US Olympian) or Kingston (a graduate of a highly selected university) suggests criminality to WWE other than the color of their skin.

Randy Orton beat Mark Henry. Orton dominated the early part of the match. Henry was starting a comeback when Orton reversed a choke slam attempt into the RKO for the pin. A lot of people cheered Orton here. Orton slapped Kingston after the match and Kingston punched him back.

Ricky Hatton beat Chavo Guerrero. They announced this as “mixed martial arts” rules, which they then explained meant the boxer could only win by knockout and the wrestler could only win by pin fall or submission. Hatton wore boxing gloves. He landed some punches. Chavo scored a takedown but Hatton got back up. Chavo looked for another takedown but was caught with a punch for the ten count. This was pretty darn awful.

Celebrity angles can be a cool way to generate attention (although there is an issue of diminishing returns) and do fun angles. However, I think when it comes to athlete guest hosts you should just do angles and not bill matches. Boxers doing matches has been a big money attraction many times in the past. To me, doing it as a throwaway comedy midcard TV angle makes it a lot harder to make money next time.

They did another John Cena/DX comedy bit in advance of their Survivor Series match. Cena was with Hornswoggle and DX wanted Cena to hand him over. Hornswoggle eventually came out, but was dressed like Cena rather than DX. When DX left he went back to his DX gear. They announced Roddy Piper as guest host for next week. That should be fun.

DX beat Chris Jericho and Big Show. Jericho and Show worked over Michaels, who eventually got the tag to HHH. HHH came in with a face buster on Show and went for the pedigree but Show reversed it and hit the spear. John Cena was doing commentary for this and trying to hard sell the Survivor Series match, which was quite interesting. He was trying his heart out, god bless the guy.

HHH eventually tagged Michaels, who gave Jericho a flying forearm, inverted atomic drops and the elbow off the top. Michaels missed sweet chin music and Jericho went for the Walls but Michaels got out. Show hit a corner avalanche on both Jericho and Michaels. He then went for the KO punch on Michaels but hit Jericho instead. HHH sent Show out of the ring and Michaels covered for the pin. They then announced next week will be a triple threat match with Jericho and Show vs. DX vs. Undertaker and John Cena.

Final Thoughts:

On an absolute scale, I didn’t care for this show much, in terms of angles or matches. Relative to a lot of the recent shows, I thought it was pretty much average. Because DX/Cena feels stale and because they aren’t really pushing it very hard anyway, it feels like the top angle on Raw these days is the revolving guest host gimmick.

Monday, November 02, 2009

WWE Raw Report

Date: 11/02/09 from Worcester, MA.

The Big News: Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne are big wrestling fans.

Show Analysis:

Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne were in the ring to start the show. Miz came out and asked them to have his loss to Evan Bourne last week struck from the record. Ozzy wanted to know who the Miz is. Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase came out and wanted a handicap match with Kofi Kingston. Big Show then came out and demanded an apology for what the Raw roster did to him last week. Ozzy apologized, which was funny. Show said he was talking about an apology from the wrestlers involved.

DX came out and whispered alternate suggestions to Ozzy and Sharon. Ozzy made Miz vs. “Evan Bron” for the US title. “Close enough,” said Triple H. Sharon then made “Kobe Kingston” vs. Randy Orton. Show tried to make Cena vs. HHH vs. Michaels but HHH interjected and made Cena vs. Jericho vs. Show.

Miz beat Evan Bourne in a fun short match. Bourne went for some pinning attempts. He hit an enzuigiri and went for the shooting star press but Miz rolled out of the way and Bourne landed on his feet. Miz then hit the skull crushing finale for the pin.

Sheamus beat Jamie Noble. The crowd is still at the point of complete disinterest in Sheamus, mugging for the camera and not reacting to anything in the match. Sheamus hit a uranage into a back breaker and a leaping front kick. He had the pin but picked up Noble. He then kept kicking Noble in the corner and the referee stopped the match. Sheamus kicked Noble out of the ring and gave him a power bomb on the floor. Noble did a terrific job selling and was carried out on a stretcher.

Kofi Kingston did a brief interview backstage. He said that Randy Orton is a bully looking to blame someone else for his troubles. Kingston said he won’t be bullied and won’t back down. He added that he left Orton’s mirror on the car last week so that Orton could see who is responsible for Orton losing the title. This was another good promo by Kingston, who I’m really becoming high on.

Kofi Kingston, MVP and Mark Henry beat Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase. This started as a singles match between Kingston and Orton, but Legacy interfered basically immediately. Kingston hit a tope on all three and the Osbournes announced a 6 man tag. The faces were successful early until the heels took over on MVP. MVP eventually got the tag to Henry who hit a corner avalanche on Rhodes. Orton went for the RKO on Henry but Kingston took out Orton. Henry then caught Rhodes coming off the ropes with the world’s strongest slam for the pin.

They did a “Raw’s Got Talent” sketch with Sharon, Ozzy and Great Khali as judges. The first act was Santino biting the head off a Batman doll, which everyone agreed sucked. The second act was Chris Masters flexing his muscles to a song, which was actually pretty damn funny.

The final act was Chavo Guerrero and Jillian Hall singing. Will Jillian’s gimmick never die? It’s a one note joke that was never funny and it’s been going on for years now. Bring back Ron Simmons. At least that one was funny even when it was kind of played out. Anyway, Sharon slapped Jillian and Khali gave Chavo the chop. Hornswoggle then came out for his cameo. This wasn’t good, but I was expecting much worse. They announced Ricky Hatton as guest host of Raw next week, which should be fun. I hope a heel shows clips of the Pacquiao fight for heat.

Alicia Fox won a 6 woman battle royal to earn another shot at the women’s title. Kelly Kelly accidentally dumped Gail Kim first. They’re labeled close friends so evidently one is turning on the other soon. Eve Torres eliminated both Bella twins. Jack Swagger came out, which distracted Eve and allowed her to be eliminated by Fox. Finally Fox caught Kelly in a handspring elbow attempt and threw her over the top.

Backstage, Chris Jericho told Ozzy Osbourne that Ozzy was his hero growing up but said that now he is better than Ozzy. After he left Ozzy asked Sharon, “Who is that joke?” Okay, it’s fine if the guest host says he doesn’t know who Santino is. And I’ll cut them a break on Miz, since he is still a guy on the rise. But it’s astonishingly stupid to bring in a celebrity and script him to say that he is completely unaware of the identity of one of your biggest stars.

Elsewhere backstage, DX told Hornswoggle that if he imitates DX again he will be in big trouble. John Cena came in and defended Hornswoggle. HHH pointed out he beat Cena two weeks ago. Michaels then pointed out they are in England next week where Michaels beat Cena. Cena responded that he has beaten Michaels and beaten HHH as well. He added that they have all beaten each other all the time.

This was the point where I threw my hands in the air in exasperation. They are now at the point where they’re affirmatively pointing out that their matches are stale and we’ve seen every possible finish already. And what was the reason for bringing this point up? Why, it was a masturbation joke. “Beat each other.” Get it? The Bella twins cringed and Cena was embarrassed. Cena and DX did some more goofy comedic interplay to build their title match.

Chris Jericho won a triple threat match over Big Show and John Cena. DX did commentary, which was quite the scene. They went on this long comedy discussion about math, including once again putting over the idiot logic that there are even odds of any result in a skill-based competition. Thank God they haven’t tried a WWE casino. HHH also made a bunch of inside references, referencing people talking into headsets and mocking Michael Cole for vintage over and over again.

Jericho and Show worked over Cena for a while together. Cena came back with a bulldog on Jericho but Show caught him with a spear and Jericho gave him a lionsault. Jericho covered but Show pulled him off. Jericho and Show got into an argument and Jericho slapped Show.

Cena took over on Show and Jericho. He gave Jericho the five knuckle and went for the FU but Show caught him with the knockout punch. Jericho then fell on Cena for the pin. After the match Jericho and Show put Cena in a combination camel clutch/Walls of Jericho. DX tried to make the save but Show caught Michaels with the KO punch and Jericho gave HHH the code breaker.

Final Thoughts:

This show had its hits and misses but I thought overall it was a success.

The Kofi Kingston-Randy Orton program seemed designed to build Orton back up following his title loss, but given how well Kingston is working as a more serious face I think WWE should reconsider how they are going to book the program. Orton is obviously the much better performer overall and maybe the most talented guy WWE has on the entire roster, but it’s not like he’s in great need of help. I think the priority should become to make Kingston look good and see what you can do with him. This is a more important point for Kingston than it is for Orton.