Monday, December 21, 2009

WWE Raw Report

Date: 12/21/09 from Tampa, FL.

The Big News: After last week’s debacle, WWE finally realized what they needed more of. Goofy comedy.

Show Analysis:

The show started with Johnny Damon coming out. He received repeated boos and when the crowd wouldn’t let up it was pretty clear they flat out didn’t like the guy as opposed to just teasing him. Damon has played for the Royals, Red Sox and Yankees and those teams are all hated rivals of the Tampa Bay Rays. Particularly those dastardly Royals. Willie Wilson still gets death threats from the Tampa area code.

Damon came out to “Center Field” and wished the crowd a Merry Christmas. They booed. Hey, in Philadelphia they would have thrown batteries. Damon said he was world champion in Boston and New York and gave them a little crotch chop. He announced something involving Secret Santas giving wrestlers wishes.

At that point a blonde came out of the crowd attacking a Tiger mascot with a golf club. That would have been funnier if an NFL team hadn’t done the exact same gag to national attention weeks ago. They come across so second rate with dated stolen jokes. The crowd didn’t react at all and the announcers did their fake laugh gimmick. Damon then announced a divas match. Damon seemed enthusiastic about serving as guest host, but he wasn’t a good performer at all unfortunately.

Melina, Kelly Kelly and Gail Kim defeated Maryse, Alicia Fox and Jillian Hall. The women were all wearing Christmas outfits. Gail hit a crossbody off the top on Jillian, but the heels took over briefly on Gail. Gail got the tag to Kelly who came in with clotheslines, a huracanrana and a leg drop on Maryse. Maryse’s partners broke up the pin attempt and a brawl broke out. Maryse lifted Kelly for a slam but Melina dropkicked Kelly on top for the pin. This was one of the best women’s matches on Raw in ages. Not that it was a great match or anything, but it was much crisper than usual.

Next up was a little people’s court segment. Shawn Michaels and HHH went under the ring and when they turned on the lights it was a backstage corridor supposedly under the ring. There was a room for the little people’s court. The court of course had little jurors and a little judge. Hornswoggle came in and screamed at DX. They aired footage of DX abusing Hornswoggle and said he was bringing an NIED claim. This was a long segment and it didn’t even conclude the thing, but it was better than I expected. It wasn’t funny but it wasn’t offensive or overly stupid either.

Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry and Evan Bourne beat Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes. Kingston tagged in early and went to town on Rhodes. The crowd started chanting for Kofi at which point he missed a move and Rhodes tagged Orton. The heels worked over Kingston, who eventually got the tag to Bourne. Bourne took out all his opponents with dropkicks and hit the shooting star press on Rhodes. DiBiase broke up the pin attempt.

Orton grabbed Bourne and clotheslined him on the floor. He rolled Bourne back in and Rhodes covered but Bourne kicked out. The heels went after Bourne, with Bourne continually trying to fight back. Bourne finally got the tag to Kingston who came in with chops, a dropkick, a springboard dropkick and the boom drop on Orton. The crowd was into this. Rhodes broke up a pin attempt but Henry took out Rhodes. Orton tagged in DiBiase but Kingston caught DiBiase with the trouble in paradise for the pin immediately. This was a great match, well laid out and well executed with the right finish.

Backstage, they did a segment with Sgt. Slaughter in a Santa suit and Johnny Damon making a match between Carlito and Chris Masters, fighting over Eve. Later they did basically the same thing with Dusty in the Santa suit to make MVP vs. Sheamus.

Little people’s court concluded with another segment. HHH and Michaels tried to make peace but kept making references to size. Hornswoggle aired footage of HHH giving him the pedigree. The judge banged her gavel which apparently in WWE means guilty. Michaels then went on a rant about how Hornswoggle would have to prove himself before being admitted into DX.

The little people responded by throwing things at DX. They then chased DX out of the room. DX tried to hold them in the room while they reached out with their hands like a zombie movie. DX escaped from under the ring but Michaels was pulled back under like a horror movie. HHH eventually assisted him in escaping. I did like the horror gags at the end but ultimately this just felt like a waste of time.

John Cena beat Jack Swagger. They gave these two a lot of time and they delivered a fun match. Swagger looked the best he has in ages. By giving Swagger a lot it also made it feel like Cena accomplished something by scoring the win. Swagger scored a takedown early and worked over Cena with wrestling and brawling.

Swagger hit a side slam, leg drop and Vader bomb for two. Cena retaliated with the Cena slam and five knuckle but Swagger avoided the FU and hit an Oklahoma stampede. Cena fought off a superplex attempt but missed the top rope rocker dropper attempt. Swagger went for another Vader bomb but missed and Cena applied the STF for the submission.

Chris Masters beat Carlito in a quick match. They teased the Masterlock and the back stabber before Masters successfully applied the Masterlock for the victory. Poor Carlito. Masters and Eve kissed after the match. They then did “comedy” backstage with Santa IRS telling Miz he owes back taxes and Mae Young making out with Johnny Damon. You know, there’s no rule that says you can’t go fifteen minutes on a wrestling show without wacky comedy. Particularly when your writers suck at writing comedy. Oh well. They announced Timbaland as guest host next week.

Sheamus beat MVP in a squash. He used punches and kicks and a back breaker. MVP got an exceedingly brief comeback but Sheamus cut him off with the big boot and razor’s edge for the pin. Sheamus got basically no reaction and the crowd was dead for this. Cena after the match came out and said he wanted his rematch then, but Sheamus left.

Johnny Damon and Vince McMahon met backstage. Damon made a Sheamus vs. Cena title match for next week. Presumably Cena wins via DQ in some sort of screw job. Damon asked Vince if Bret Hart is coming in. Vince said that’s a bah humbug question.

Miz beat Santino Claus. Miz jumped Santino with punches, kicks and a neck breaker. Santino did his comedy comeback but missed a fist drop off the second rope. Miz hit the skull crushing finale for the pin.

The “main event” was a stupid prolonged skit. Big Show called out “the real Santa.” He wanted a wish and asked for Chris Jericho back on Raw. Santa granted the wish. Hornswoggle then came out and pulled off Santa’s beard to reveal Jericho. A bunch of little people came out from under the ring in DX gear. The crowd was not reacting to this at all. How many stupid comedy segments need to bomb on Raw before they just present a semi-serious wrestling product?

Jerishow got rid of the little people. Show gave one a side slam. They went after Hornswoggle but Hornswoggle fought back with sweet shin music on Jericho. Show lifted Hornswoggle for a choke slam but DX made the save. DX acknowledged that Hornswoggle is growing on them and made him the DX mascot. So Hornswoggle is now officially associated with DX. I’d personally prefer him to be associated with Siegfried and Roy’s tiger or perhaps a live volcano, but maybe that’s just me.

Final Thoughts:

I’m a wrestling fan. Raw these days unfortunately is not written for wrestling fans. This leads to a lot of frustration as they trot out one stupid comedy vignette after another.

On the plus side, this was at least better than last week. I did greatly enjoy the six man tag and Cena/Swagger, and the show was shaping up to be a genuinely good one before it fell off a cliff in the second half. And the writers of the show might actually have had a better night than whoever called that final play of the first half for the Redskins.

Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and an enjoyable holiday season.


Blogger AKFooFighter said...

Aren't his majesty HHH and Hornswoggle brothers-in law?

I smell more, um, "comedy".

Happy Holidays to one and all.

- Matt in Anchorage

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Mike Awesome said...

Boy does sports entertainment suck. What an awful show.

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Little People's Court wasn't offensive? Sure, I suppose, if it's not offensive that all little people are also mentally retarded and unable to speak (except the words "suck it"). I know, I know -- it's comedy (or what passes for it in WWE). I guess I'd be more willing to give it a pass if it were actually funny.

The notion that there's a whole world under the ring is kind of amusing, but it doesn't fit with what I think the show is supposed to be. I'd blame myself for misunderstanding the show's premise if I'd seen any kind of consistency from them, but I haven't.

Also funny were HBK getting dragged under the ring and HHH responding to HBK's request that he not smash Hornswaggle because it's Christmas by saying that's what he wanted for Christmas.

But, again, if I wanted funny, there are shows on TV that are consistently much funnier. Likewise if I wanted better drama, better acting, or better anything they're trying to present. Their only specialty, simulated wrestling, embarrasses them. So we get shows like this.


9:35 PM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

"Little People's Court", complete with the real "People's Court" theme (which rules), was DOA. It wasn't until the end of the show that the idiot writers remembered that Hornswoggle can talk. Those same writers (and DX themselves) forgot that 'Swoggle was made an honorary member of DX (w/Khali, Runjin Singh, & Boogeyman) two years ago. Small wonder (pun intended) this angle flopped.

On to the wrestling. Women's match was fine, and for the 2nd week in a row, Melina was never tagged in. Hmmmm. Miz vs. Santino Claus should not have been the last match. Period. They need to find a new challenger for the US title, and preferably yesterday.

8 months ago, on draft night, Jack Swagger & John Cena had one of the best Raw matches of the year. They nearly matched it this time, but it was obvious how much has changed since the draft, and since Swag came over in July. They made a mistake moving him to Raw, and won't cop to it. He'd be a title contender on Smackdown almost immediately.

Johnny Damon wasn't that great as a guest host. They bring him out to a 24 year old John Fogerty record ("Centerfield" is one word in this case), and he projected 0 charisma. Vince stonewalled him on the Bret Hart question, making it obvious Bret will be coming soon.

Forget Geritol on Christmas Day. Steph & Hunter should draw up retirement papers for the old man.

I guess they're not done yet with "Jeri-Show", but they have miscast Show as this overgrown man-child who's bought into Jericho's lame rhetoric.

To AKFooFighter: 'Swoggle & HHH are not related in storyline anymore. JBL took care of that nearly 2 years ago by ratting out Finlay (who's been missing from the DX-'Swoggle angle because he's on Smackdown).

5:44 AM  
Anonymous The Masterbater said...

You think they would take it more seriously when TNA comes at them for a "Monday Night War"? I just don't see them as much competition (TNA) or taken any seriously, which in my opinion would not make the wrestling product in the U.S. any better.

Also, what are these Bret Hart references? I heard he signed a short term talent contract. I mean is he coming in to do a guest host thing or what? What are they going to do with Hart? I hope he has something in his contract that says not to humiliate him or anything in such manner or Vince getting the last laugh. Are he and Shawn Michaels in good terms?

7:53 AM  
Anonymous mike said...

I agree with Bob. The People's Court segment was offensive. These human beings didn't ask to be born this way. Why is it ok to make jokes at their expense? I'd rather see the Katie Vick storyline again. It may be stupid but at least it isn't offensive.

8:08 AM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

"To AKFooFighter: 'Swoggle & HHH are not related in storyline anymore. JBL took care of that nearly 2 years ago by ratting out Finlay (who's been missing from the DX-'Swoggle angle because he's on Smackdown)."

Thanks, hobbyfan. How quickly they (I) forget. These episodes are so memorable, it's almost like trying to keep up with the plot twists of "Lost". Or not.

- Matt in Anchorage

8:51 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

That skins game was an abomination. My brother in law is a skins fan and he was so happy to see jason Campbell get hurt.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous SteRDLK said...

Raw was actually decent this week, with 2 very good matches.

The comedy wasnt THAT bad, aside from them taking the piss out of little people.

Of all the people these "celebs" want to be guest host, they pick Bret? Over The Rock, Austin, Hogan? Its clear Hart is coming in.

Miz needs a real feud. Maybe MVP would be a good feud.

I felt sick seeing MVP job to Sheamus. What a joke.

And to AK FooFighter, Finlay could easily come to Raw, just ride with Jericho every week. What draft?

Ia it just me, or is Jack Swagger a mix of Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar? He shoudl be treated like so. He should be a star.

Chris Masters? Yawn. Carlito jobbing to one of the least talented wrestlers in history is a farce.

Marry Christmas 'rasslin fans!

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're supposed to explain what NIED means as opposed to using the abbreviation as means to lawsterbate.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous DW said...

On the contrary, the comedy was indeed THAT bad. It was downright embarrassing, juvenile, and uninteresting, nevermind offensive. Kids don't have an attention span that long and adults are either mortified or bored. HBK and Triple H are just not good enough actors to carry off comedy (or what passes for it in the WWE) and the writers suck, so you have a lethal combination. This is nothing more than Triple H continuing to think he is the emperor of this industry. He's ripping himself a new one every week and I can only hope that he succeeds in driving himself into the ground. HBK is finished. He's an embarrassing caricature of Ric Flair - only we are laughing at him, not with him. He was once great - he's now destroyed his legacy. Keep selling the DX merchandise, Trips, because that's all you're worth and that ain't much.

I turned this crap off after the Orton tag match. I felt like a complete fool admitting that I watched it - I can barely stomach my usual aim of watching just to criticize. This week was beyond painful.

As for the ending of the Orton-Kofi tag match, I am of a different opinion than Todd. To me, it wasn't the "right finish." The right finish would have been the heels getting the hot tag and clearing the ring with Ted or Cody pinning Bourne and leaving the faces standing on the ramp with incredulous looks on their faces. Have we ever seen something like that? Nope - now that would be different and inspire me to tune in to another match to see what would happen. The "wallpaper paste for brains" average fans seem to like the same BS, though, so there's little hope.

And I might take a moment to mention the placement of commercials. Just as Orton steps into the ring with Kofi - which to me would signal a major moment in the match - the at home fans get treated to a commercial. And yet, when DX is in the midst of their silly, unfunny comic trial, there is no such station break. I guess it's who you marry on Raw....

5:53 PM  
Anonymous PeteW said...

I agree with your thoughts DW - especially concerning the six man tag. You have a team that exists as a tag team - Legacy. They know each other's moves, etc. They face 3 guys thrown together...and they lose. Being an actual "tag team" used to mean something. Now it only means something if you're a "face team". Also, even the announcers continue to remind us that with Cena no longer Champion, Orton can go for the belt again. So why isn't he going after Sheamus? Instead he's being saddled with Kofi for another round. I think Orton has done his good deed. And for the record, Chris Masters is actually a very talented wrestler. In the indies he showed what a depth of moves he actually has. Its not his fault the powers that be (ie Triple H) still forces him to over-use the Masterlock. I mean he went for it how many times in that match? The writers and people in control make sure most of the wrestlers don't shine too bright. And finally - I think Swagger has superstar written all over him. Recently I read the WWE had lost interest in him and he began to lose to guys like Evan Bourne. Although he was allowed to put on a great match with Cena, did anyone think he had a chance based on how he's been booked? Based on his size and ability, he couild have realistically had a solid chance against Cena. But we all know reality doesn't fit in sports entertainment.

6:19 PM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

DW: Legacy had gotten the better of Kofi the previous week. There is a reason that some of the booking is balanced out evenly. And you have to admit Hunter might be a wee bit (pun intended) embarassed by the material he & HBK were given this week. If there was a silver lining, it could be getting those writers replaced, or traded to Saturday Night Live, if Vince really wanted to be cruel to Lorne Michaels.

6:58 AM  
Anonymous DW said...


The rivalry between Randy Orton and Kofi Kingston (including interference by Legacy and whoever else they partner up with Kington) has never been evenly balanced. Orton always looks like the inept, cowardly bully while Kingston always looks strong - and this is regardless of who wins a match. My point about Monday's event was suggesting that something different happen, that is, faces not coming on on top, either by a win or some shenanigans after losing to heels. "Balance" isn't something the WWE is known for.

And if you think that Triple H is "given" any material - that is to say, that he hasn't already approved it, that is naive thinking in my opinion. Triple H has a say in everything that goes on - so he's no victim of the writers when it comes to the script.

3:42 PM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

I think we've already established that Hunter writes his own material, but even the best have off nights.

7:06 PM  
Anonymous DW said...

But hobbyfan, in your last post, you indicated that the writers give Triple H his material. Which is it? Does he write his own or is he given the script?

Of course, as you just stated, Triple H writes, or at least critiques his own material until it's to his liking - and since he attempts to lord it over everyone in the company by getting involved in every aspect of the business, I don't give him a break to have an "off night." He's getting exactly as he deserves - a rasher of vitriolic criticism.

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Even the best have off nights..."???? You think Trips is "the best"? Wow... everyone is entitled to their own opinion, think I just threw-up in my mouth a little.

3:57 PM  
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