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.


Blogger AKFooFighter said...

Todd - You definitely nailed the show's highlights (Piper & Kingston), no doubt about it.

I look forward to hearing what the rest of the usual suspects have to say.

Keep up the great work.

- Matt in Anchorage

11:08 PM  
Blogger Kevin J. Olson said...

The missed cue was so funny. Orton was visibly pissed. I'm with ya: I don't understand the need for musical cues to indicate a run in. Was Kofi just waiting back there telling the music guy...I'm going to run in if he tries to punt's ridiculous.

That brawl was something else, though. That was the first time in a long time where I actually felt hatred between two WWE wrestlers. It didn't feel neutered at all...kudos to Orton for still being the best heel in the business, and even more kudos to Kofi for ratcheting up the intensity in that brawl.

Finally, I have to say I'm a tad surprised to hear you say you don't like Stryker. I always find his heel shtick kind of amusing, and he always brings history to the matches with his commentary -- something that is sorely lacking on the RAW broadcast.

Great stuff as always, Todd.

11:41 PM  
Blogger brian said...

lol @ the New York crowded siding with Horswoggle, who'd have thought it?

3:53 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

"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."

I think the idea was that just as Orton was going to do the kick, Kofi's music would start up and distract him, but even that was too late, so Orton had to stop the kick for no reason and then the music started.

Agree on Kofi being pushed very well. The crowd was actually going wild for him by the end. If they blow this, they are idiots.

Kofi does need new ring gear though. The serious bad-ass from Ghana shouldn't have goofy Jamaican caricatures on his trunks.

That Tombstone on Cena looked nasty. I watched in in slow motion a couple of times, and Undertaker was pulling the bump as normal, but as his knees hit Cena dropped down and his head seemed to hit really hard, with creases appearing on the back of his neck at the moment of impact. Must have looked worse than it was though, since I haven't seen any news about him being injured.

4:35 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Piper-McMahon was a great build, but it led to nothing and, worse, seems as if that's where it's going to stay, as there wasn't the slightest hint that there was more to come.

Piper's bald-and-dead joke was unintentionally hilarious. First he seemed to think the joke was way more edgy than it actually was, then he explained the joke, nothing that he was referring to Hogan with the bald line, then he further explained the joke by reiterating that he was the cause of Hogan being bald.

4:40 AM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

When the show started, especially with that SNL-style intro, I thought Piper was campaigning for a SNL gig down the road. How he never got one when he was hot at the movies 22 years ago is beyond me. Notice how Sheiky calmed down once the Bellas showed up.

MVP had Sherri Shepherd cheering him on again, this time as a ringside fan, but unlike the last trip to MSG for TV, it wasn't a success. Miz is right about earning his US title, while the Yankees spent nearly 200 mil on free agents to end a 9 year championship draught. However, he also kept his trap shut about his hometown Indians, since they blew their wad in an April beatdown of the Yanks and never threatened afterward. The problem is, the match was too short.

Santino needs to be sent down. Period. We've seen better from him & Chavo, but this comedy farce took the cake. Santino has lost his workrate, and is a bigger joke than you make Evan Bourne out to be.

Piper's in-ring promo dragged the show down. Yes, it was funny, but it didn't have the flow of Piper's Pit classics from the 80's. Piper comes off as a punch-drunk ex-pug, so you wonder why Vince didn't want to fight him. At 64, Dr. McNutty needs to hang it up anyway.

To understand why the fans turned on DX for the pedigree on Hornswoggle, consider this. Earlier Monday, a 14 year old girl was hit with a stray bullet from a gunman on a bike who was going after someone else. Hornswoggle is portrayed as a child-like figure, as Michael Cole pointed out. I don't think DX (or Vince) was prepared for the reaction, though.

Have to agree on the 50/50 booking with Swagger & Bourne being repeated. More proof that the Raw writers are idiots.

As for Striker, he has made a successful transition from wrestler to announcer in the past year and a half (he & Todd Grisham won the Slammy last year as best announce team), and they don't really need to scramble the teams again, especially when they're already short one with Jim Ross on the DL (Bell's Palsy). Next week, you'll get Lawler vs. Sheamus, with Striker working with Cole, and then Lawler returns the following week.

Judah Friedlander won't be a guest host anytime soon, but they could've come up with someone better from "30 Rock", like, for example, Tracy Morgan, who also hosts "Scare Tactics" for Syfy. Judah also pops up on those endless VH1 specials, the same ones Chris Jericho does.

Speaking of Jericho, didn't he look like a total tool backstage with Piper, then getting upstaged by Chris Masters? If Masters doesn't get a face push out of this....!

I think Undertaker tombstoning Cena at the end was just a reminder that Smackdown is the "A" show now, instead of Raw, if you want to read between the lines.

Can't wait for Jesse Ventura next week. That'll be fun!

5:56 AM  
Anonymous PeteW said...

I found RAW dull and boring for a show that took place at MSG. There was literally well over an hour of wasted time. Roddy Piper is past his prime in terms of being able to host a show and obviously not in good health. I thought it amusing how they seemed to drop the premise of the guest host establishing matches since the main event was already advertised. With no GM, who booked it? At least we didn’t have to listen to the charade of the host making up the matches. The show started strong with Miz but didn’t pick up again until after 10:30 when Orton finally came on. His appearance had no reason though. He wasn’t even sent out on behalf of Vince to give the situation some logic. His purpose would soon be revealed to put over Kofi – AGAIN. The announcers would drill it through our collective heads – AGAIN – about what a threat Kofi was, the fight inside him, how he wouldn’t take bullying from Orton, etc. Honestly, none of it makes sense to me. The “story” has shown that Kofi interfered with Orton, ruined his car, slapped him unprovoked... Who is the heel again? The guy that got hit with the steel case and opened up? Although I admit this segment finally brought some interest to an otherwise incredibly boring show, I don’t share your overall excitement over it. This segment diminished Orton for the sake of building Kofi. Kofi seemed to be able to bounce back from everything thrown at him whereas Orton did his job and sold, sold sold the threat of Kingston. To my eyes, Orton looked physically tremendous while Kofi just looked small. I don’t think Kingston is going to be able to carry off being a top tier performer. The only reason for his generating of excitement is because of Orton. Orton sells everything and makes everyone more exciting. Is this going to be Orton’s new role – elevating mid card players? I think part of the problem is they chose someone whom Trips designated as an up and comer – and not someone who can really carry it. The second problem is like everything else, the plan isn’t well thought out. There is a definite lack of logic and these situations need to be done not as one sided deals that always compromise the “heel”. Orton deserves better – and after last night – he deserves a raise

6:04 AM  
Anonymous DW said...

What more can be said about Triple H's oversized head? The crowd appropriately greeted his pedigree on Hornswoggle as a heel move. But it wasn't because it was intended to be a heel move by the WWE. It also wasn't intended to be a face move (or why would HBK be skipping around the ring in his usual moronic fashion?). This was nothing more than Triple H exhibiting his ego again, thinking he's above the outlined characters and storyline. He probably thought he was going to get a big laugh. It is true that he's ominpotent, but he isn't infallible and the audience let him know it. Finally the stooges might be waking up - but it takes a dwarf character to do it?

The Piper sequence was embarrassing. It was so easy to tell that the crowd wasn't into it. The typical WWE fan isn't looking for a sermon, they aren't looking for any sense of competition. All they want is to see over-the-top action, whether it makes sense or not, so the only reason I can think of why the WWE bores fans with these fillers is because they are out of ideas - no surprise, right?. As a friend of mine told me during the show, the WWE has turned wrestling into the Rocky Horror Show where you’re supposed to participate and boo and cheer like trained dogs. Far be it from them to have minds of their own.

I completely understand the push for young talent and if they see Kofi as deserving, that is, of course, their decision. The WWE isn't known for their decision making capability, but that's another story. Of course, it would be better to push more than one person - they must think that shoving one guy into the limelight solves all their staleness problems. But my biggest issue with Kofi's push is that it's one -sided. I think PeteW mentioned this - in order to put one guy over they are taking no interest in the other side of the feud. Orton is being completely trashed - for no reason. He's lost all believability as a credible heel. It makes no sense to even bring him out because the character they have asked him to play comes out, makes threats and then 1) runs away or 2) can't muster up the skill to fight the opponent off. They even have him begging off! The same thing EVERY time he appears. Who would believe that anything other than a beatdown would occur (see above - fans as trained dogs)? There's no suspense, no logical thinking. And the way Orton has been portrayed, I find it hard to believe he can bounce back from the cowardly fool he's asked to play. And why is Orton given the responsibility to be the fall guy anyway? Wasn't he just trashed by Cena, then Triple H before that? Prior to that, Shane McMahon, a non-wrestler, kicked his ass all over the ring. Before that he sold Jeff Hardy. Before that he sold the return of Chris Jericho. I think he's done his part lately. Where is the rest of the roster in contributing to the advancement of talent? I'm asking you, Triple H. Yes, you. You mouth off in interviews about how there's no depth and about how you put people over. Now, all you do is bore us to death with your smarmy rule of an idiotic program. I really think that Orton's participation on Raw has reached the stage where it's appearing that they are trying to hold him back. Makes sense because the man can sell like nobody's business and even amid all the stooge fans who lap up the crap as they are directed, you can still hear some people cheering him on. He's a star; he's shown that he can wrestle, he can act, he can sell (nobody does it like him) - but you know there can be only one star in the WWE. Cut to Orton being the cowardly, boasting ass of the WWE so his star won't shine and cast a shadow on you-know-who's schnozz.

6:09 PM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

DW: Go back to what I wrote before in re.: HHH pedigreeing Hornswoggle. The reaction wasn't what he was looking for, and it isn't his fault.

7:12 AM  
Anonymous HHH said...

Don't worry guys, I won't destroy Kofi's push to the top, of course till he faces me for a title shot which I will soon have probably around Wrestlemania, which I will be either defending or challenging for. Because we can't have that, that is when Triple H turns to Triple K when I face Kingston (like when I faced Booker T)!

7:34 AM  
Anonymous DW said...

No need to go back and read your post, hobbyfan. I completely understood it, but I don't agree with it. Regardless, MY post wasn't laying blame, simply pointing out that Triple H continues to consider himself above the show and any sort of simplistic message it is sending. He's done this before, turning on people who aren't his scripted enemies, clearly looking for the universal support he thinks he deserves. It backfired. No blame implied, simply disgust.

3:17 PM  
Blogger SHK said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Steve Khan said...

I enjoyed this show. It was the best Raw in a while, mostly due to the great brawl between Kofi/Orton and the Piper/Vince segment.

The main event was chaotic and I actually forgot what kind of match it was by the end. When Cena hit HHH with the FU I was wondering why Taker didn't hit the ring to break up the fall. Then I remembered he was on Cena's team. Then he tombstoned Cena.

The stuff with Cena/HHH/Michaels the past few weeks just seemed like one big parody of pro wrestling in general (and how stupid it can be). I don't remember the last time they did this little to promote a main event and Survivor Series will be another disappointment like the DX-led SummerSlam.

2:17 PM  
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