Tuesday, January 12, 2010

WWE Raw Report

Date: 01/11/10 from Minneapolis, MN.

The Big News: If you want a quick capsule explanation of what has gone wrong with WWE booking over the past decade, just watch the way the company booked Mike Tyson in 1998 and then how they booked Tyson in 2010.

Show Analysis:

The show started with Mike Tyson. All the announcers put him over huge. He got a lot of boos from the crowd anyway but they cheered him when he started talking. They showed video of him knocking out Shawn Michaels and some fans chanted “you screwed Shawn” which was very funny.

Sheamus came out and called Tyson a washed up ex-champ. Sheamus said he is WWE champion which means he is the baddest man on the planet. The comedy continues. Tyson cocked back for a punch and Sheamus flinched huge like an 8-year-old. I guess he’s still shook from what happened with Mark Cuban.

Next up was the precession of people asking for a title shot at the Royal Rumble. Randy Orton was first and demanded a shot from Tyson. Next was John Cena, who was not popular with this crowd. He said he has beaten everyone there, although he acknowledged he beat Mike Tyson in Punch-Out. I’m not sure how many people understood the reference, but I did so it’s fine by me.

Finally, Kofi Kingston of all people came out. He basically acknowledged that he doesn’t deserve a shot and lost clean last week to Orton, but just said he wants a title shot because he hasn’t gotten one before. He added that he won’t wait for a title shot just because he hasn’t won matches to earn one. Kofi looked like such a loser here, but I guess they felt Cena vs. Orton MMMMCLXII for the title shot would feel played out so they threw in a random third guy. And Kofi if nothing else definitely qualifies as a random third guy.

As Kofi was speaking, the crowd chanted “Cena sucks” and then “Randy.” Sheamus said he just defended against Cena and wants the Royal Rumble off. I don’t really care because it’s just Sheamus, but I don’t understand why they’re booking him like a chickenshit heel. It doesn’t fit with the character they’d previously given him. Mike Tyson said that he has never ducked a challenge and made a triple threat match with the winner getting a title shot at the Rumble.

Alicia Fox beat Kelly Kelly to advance in the women’s title tournament. Kelly threw Alicia over the top rope and hit a clothesline off the apron. She followed with the whirlybird but her huracanrana attempt was reversed into a power bomb for the pin.

Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase beat Mark Henry and Evan Bourne. Prior to the match DiBiase and Rhodes teased dissension in Legacy by arguing over who’s turn it will be to advance at the Royal Rumble this year. Legacy briefly worked over Bourne. He tagged Henry, who gave Rhodes a press slam. Henry tagged back in Bourne for the shooting star but DiBiase pulled Rhodes out of the way. Rhodes then hit the crossroads for the pin.

Backstage, Shawn Michaels and HHH weighed the merits of making peace with Mike Tyson. HHH pointed out he’s insane. Michaels, however, said that he thinks Tyson is a changed man and will prove it.

Shawn Michaels confronted Tyson after the commercial break. He said he forgave Tyson for knocking him out. Tyson then went heel. He said that he doesn’t need forgiveness. He enjoyed it; he doesn’t regret it; he would do it again. Chris Jericho then came in. So if you had 0 weeks in the pool for how long Jericho would be gone, a winner is you. Stipulations, shnipulations, WWE wants its monkey men.

Chris Jericho said that he got Mike Tyson’s number and that they are now friends. Thus, Tyson made a match of DX vs. Jericho and Tyson, where if Jericho wins he can stay on Raw forever. Yes, that’s right; they booked a match with Mike Tyson and advertised it for 80 minutes.

Jack Swagger came out and said that he will win the Royal Rumble and go to WrestleMania. He posited that no one will be able to throw him over the top rope and issued an over the top challenge. Santino came out to accept, and the announcers immediately pointed out Santino sucks at battle royals and holds the record for quickest elimination in Rumble history. So of course he won.

Swagger went to throw out Santino but Santino hung on and Swagger flew out. You know, I wouldn’t book segments that serve no purpose other than to bury and humiliate my best young talent, but maybe that’s just me. What, is this guy a heroin addict? Did he pull a Mel Phillips? Did they find out he’s a spy for TNA? I know they love burying guys, but Swagger has as much star potential as anyone on the entire roster.

Randy Orton beat John Cena and Kofi Kingston in a triple threat. Can you guess who did the job? Of course you can. Cena and Kingston double teamed Orton a lot early. Orton then basically took over 1-on-2. He would beat up one then the other. He hit a DDT off the ropes on Cena but Kingston used a frog crossbody on him off the top. Orton responded with a back breaker on Kingston and punches for Orton.

Kingston gained control with the S.O.S. on Orton but Cena caught Kingston as he went for the boom drop and applied the STF. Cena then used the Cena slam on Orton but his FU attempt was broken up by Kingston. Kingston hit the boom drop and trouble in paradise on Cena but Cena fell to the floor. At that point, Cody Rhodes interfered by kicking the steps into Cena’s head and distracting the referee. DiBiase attacked Kingston from behind and Orton hit the RKO on Kingston and pinned him yet again. They told the story that Legacy is together again.

I’m not sure what exactly it is, but Orton vs. Sheamus is more interesting to me than any Raw title match in quite a while. Maybe it’s just that it feels genuinely different. It doesn’t hurt that the winner isn’t clear and that the direction will likely be different depending who comes out on top.

Backstage, Mike Tyson threatened to tear out Hornswoggle’s intestines and jump rope with them. He said he would rip out Hornswoggle’s brain, put it in a newspaper, and smash it against the window like Silly Putty. I was so very disappointed when he didn’t follow through on these threats. I mean, I didn’t think it was possible for my feelings about Hornswoggle to be articulated so perfectly. I want to chop him up and put him inside the mattress like drug money.

Miz did a promo starting backstage and then coming out in front of the people. He talked about how he was once banned from the WWE locker room. He referenced JBL by name mocking him and said that everyone ridiculed him and wanted him to quit. Miz noted that he used that negativity as fuel and now he doesn’t go in the locker room because he has a private dressing room. He said he will publicly humiliate MVP and that MVP doesn’t belong in the same ring with him.

Miz said he’s the reason people watch Raw and the most entertaining star on the show. He made some remarks about MVP’s criminal past, which brought out MVP. MVP said he has embraced that past and talks about it openly. Since when? MVP said he has worked hard to get back into society. They traded insults.

At this point the segment fell apart a little because they had all this scripted material and they got lost. So you had each guy delivering lines that didn’t really correspond to what the other person had just said. God I wish they’d just give the guys bullet points. The basic gist was MVP saying that he is a dangerous person and daring Miz to bring that out of him. They then got into a brawl.

I loved Miz’s promo here. They did a great job bringing up real events to make his character feel more authentic, and his delivery was phenomenal. If they’d just ran with him when he caught fire against Cena, I think he would be a Jericho/Edge level heel at this point.

Eve Torres beat Katie Lea Burchill. They announced Katie has been signed to Raw. Katie hit a back breaker. Eve came back with dropkicks and used a rollup for the pin. They announced next week’s guest hosts are a guy from Miami Vice and Napoleon Dynamite.

Vince McMahon came out and said that he wanted to end the rumors that he brought security to keep Bret Hart from entering the building. Vince said that Bret screwed Bret and last week he screwed Bret. The crowd started chanting boring, which is not a good sign. Vince said Bret will never be seen in WWE again. Like Jericho?

DX beat Chris Jericho and Mike Tyson. Tyson and Michaels locked up and Tyson shoved Michaels down. Michaels ran into a shoulder block by Tyson. A frustrated Michaels tagged HHH. Jericho came in and DX gained control. Jericho hit an enzuigiri on Michaels and tagged back Tyson.

Hornswoggle then came out with boxing gloves. Jericho came in to yell at DX but Tyson took off his shirt behind Jericho to reveal a DX shirt. He then hit the KO punch on Jericho and Michaels pinned him. The punch looked phenomenal, so props to Jericho and Tyson assuming Jericho is still alive and has all his teeth.

Final Thoughts:

12 years ago, WWF shelled out a ton of money to bring in Mike Tyson. There was no guarantee it would be a good investment, but they made it work really well by carefully building up a story and making it all seem like a really big deal. By the end, all Tyson had done was stand outside the ring as a second referee and then punch Michaels. It made the WWF millions of dollars and turned the tide of the Monday Night War.

Here we are 12 years later, and you couldn’t have a more stark contrast. You actually had Tyson doing a match, but WWE only thought to advertise it for 80 minutes. And this match was a TNA style “fake match” where the only logical explanation is that Tyson was pretending to wrestle in order to deceive DX. You know who used to pull that crap? WCW, while WWF was kicking its ass. And the big payoff is Tyson celebrating with the annoying midget. So yeah, thumbs down on that.


Blogger hobbyfan said...

More proof that Raw head writer Brian Gewirtz is an idiot:

1. Santino over Swagger? Are you kidding? Who did Swag piss off to be treated like this?

2. No balance in the booking in re.: Orton-Kofi. Orton has now beaten Kofi 3 times in the last month, and this time he needed illegal help. I don't care that a triple threat usually means no-DQ, but in this case you have to punish the heels and force a rematch next week. Seems to me they swerved the internet since it was speculated that we'd get Sheamus-Cena III at the Rumble. Sheamus, in fact, was as shocked as anyone that Orton would be next, but if they find their brains in time, Creative should void this result and have a do-over next week. It must happen.

3. Inability to adhere to stips in re.: Chris Jericho. I guess Tyson's idea of closure was to pull the same ream on Jericho that he did with HBK 12 years before.

4. Tyson & Swagger, two guys with the same speech problem, not getting together. Blown opportunity #103501 for the creative team.

Now, let's give Michael "Miz" Mizanin some credit. He can do decent voice impressions, though his JBL voice needs work as opposed to a dead-on Dr. Evil at the Slammys last month. He's already beaten MVP, but the bloom is off the rose on his US title reign, and the lazy idiots in the creative office won't give anyone else a thought as the next champ.

By the same token, Maryse doesn't send me. She's a one-trick pony, and giving her back the Diva title is a mistake waiting to happen. Better that she is a transitional champ waiting for a title unification match. It's pretty obvious that it'll be Gail Kim getting fed to Maryse at the Rumble, but why not think outside the box for once?

As for Vince, well, I've said enough about him that doesn't need to be repeated here.

5:48 AM  
Anonymous mcory said...

Not only did WWE disregard the stipulation with Jericho re-appearing, they also broke the storyline where Cena vowed not to lose a match until he wins the title again! I realize that there has never been long-term consistency in professional wrestling, but this is simple storytelling from one week to the next!

Of course, the WWE will spin it that Cena didn't lose, he just failed to win. Or they will just ignore the loss and pretend Cena is still undefeated since losing the title. Or they just plain won't mention it again.

It's maddening.

6:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I don't get it? TNA Monday night war was just a one time deal?

7:33 AM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

Not to go all cliche on you fine peeps, but Monday's shows have become the proverbial car accident. I don't want to look - but I can't look away. Raw is Rubberneck...quickly.

Long live fast forward on the good 'ol DVR machine.

- Matt in Anchorage

9:34 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

no bret=no views for me.

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Mike Awesome said...

Another Monday night, another terribly written show. Right about now I'm sure Swagger wishes he had a different workout partner.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous DW said...

Here's the state of Raw right now - you can easily tell who's pulling all the puppet strings but nobody has the balls to tell the wastebag Triple H he's ruining Raw and pro wrestling. The final match. Just as I predicted when I saw the scene with Tyson and Jericho earlier - a set-up on Jericho. HBK and HHH did some lame wrestling with Tyson then he tagged in Jericho who got manhandled by Trips. Hornswoggle was allowed to wander inside the ring wearing boxing gloves. And then, Tyson took off his T shirt to reveal a DX T shirt under it and they all beat Jericho who did his vaudvillian take on the shock of the unveiling. So pathetic. And as I'm watching I'm thinking of the 100 and one bumps Orton took in his match with Cena and Kofi. Shoulder blocks, multiple body slams, kicks to the head from Kofi, etc. Then you have Trips at the end soaking in all the applause for doing comedy shtick which amounted to nothing.

As for Orton winning the three-way - he most definitely should go on to wrestle Seamus for the title. As Todd pointed out, it's the most interesting concept Raw has had for I don't know how long. Kingston has had more than his share of time in the spotlight and he still can't ignite a crowd on his entrance and he still can't get the "boom boom" thing to work. It's all empty prancing; foolishness just like Cena's "you can't see me schtick." You only have to look at Orton staring down the crowd to see he's the real deal when it comes to putting over a character. And he's shit on week after week. Instead of having Ted and Cody come in to assist Orton, they should have given Orton the break they gave Legacy earlier. They had a great win that really felt good because they used skill and ring savvy to win. Heels winning really felt good. Had they done that for Orton, they would have lost nothing and gained more depth in the fantastic character Orton is trying to preserve with the WWE's nonsensical script he's handed week after week.

But, we have to remember the fans. They behave like brainless robots every week - they simply do not know what to do with themselves when heels triumph. They can't even muster up jeers on their entrance. An arena full of dimwitted faces eating popcorn and holding up signs or waving for the cameras. In a way, I don't blame the WWE for treating them like the idiots they prove themselves to be.

4:10 PM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

DW: I'll give you this. Legacy won their match on their own merits, but they still are mind-controlled robots aiding Orton when needed. If Rhodes & DiBiase could win the honest way, why couldn't Orton be afforded the same courtesy? After all, he'd beat Kofi clean the previous week!

I say, the correct call in this case is to force a rematch next week with Legacy banned from ringside. Sheamus, the rookie, didn't look like he was digging the idea of facing a sociopathic thug at the Rumble. By getting the title match, Orton comes off as a whiny, spoiled brat. In other words, the same kind of thuggish rogue Hunter used to be, but much worse.

As for Legacy, if this push doesn't get them a tag title shot and a renewed feud with DX, then it's for nothing. They blew it by not turning DiBiase face in support of the movie. Morons.

5:44 PM  
Anonymous Steve Khan said...

Did anyone else notice Orton was pissed at Kofi for some reason on the RKO spot? It looked like Orton yelled "STUPID! STUPID!" at Kofi after he hit it. I don't know why. Perhaps he was annoyed Kofi got up too fast right before Randy hit the RKO.

Also, if Bret appears on Raw next week, what a terrible build.

6:20 PM  
Anonymous DW said...


Maybe I'm not reading your post correctly, but it seems like you are implying something that I didn't write. My post indicated that Orton should have been allowed to win his match clean, just like Legacy did earlier. From what I read of your post, you think I stated the opposite because it sounds like you disgree with me and you state your opinion - which is the same as mine.

Orton didn't need Legacy in that match - it spoiled the entire match and spoiled his cred going into the match with Seamus.

3:39 PM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

DW: Yeah, I did misread your comment. Orton needing help, IMPO, cheapens the finish and makes him suddenly weak after 2 previous clean wins over Kofi. Like I said at the outset, more proof that Gewirtz is an idiot, and Vince is a bigger one for seeing this through.

8:25 AM  
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8:58 PM  

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