Monday, January 25, 2010

WWE Raw Report

Date: 01/25/10 from Columbus, OH.

The Big News: The Royal Rumble match itself is the primary focus of WWE’s Royal Rumble PPV build this year and Bret Hart will return next week on Raw.

Show Analysis:

DX spoke to each other and the crowd to start the show. HHH wanted to know where the leprechaun was. Shawn Michaels said he sent Hornswoggle home because this was serious business. Hooray! Michaels talked about how important winning the Royal Rumble is to him. HHH said it is important to him too. He knows Michaels wants Undertaker, but he wants a title shot. HHH said that it will come down to them and they will always be friends, but if HHH has to step on Shawn’s dream to get to his he will. Michaels said that he understood. This was a very strong segment. HHH in particular was really good.

DX beat Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase. Michaels was in control early but Legacy took over. The announcers said that this year’s Royal Rumble is the most star studded ever. They need to stop saying that every single year. It just makes them seem full of it.

Michaels kicked DiBiase in the gut and tagged HHH. HHH came in with a high knee and face buster for DiBiase and spine busters for both Legacy members. He went for the pedigree but Michaels tagged himself in. Michaels and HHH teased dissension but Michaels hit sweet chin music on DiBiase and HHH knocked Rhodes out of the ring. Michaels covered for the pin.

MVP cut a promo before his match. He said that Miz can’t keep running from him forever because he’s the number one contender and he will take the title. Miz came out and started talking about MVP’s incarceration again. MVP said Miz would be very popular in jail and there would be a bunch of friends fighting to be Miz’s exclusive friend. That was clever. I say if Raw becomes more like Oz, that’s a good thing.

Big Show beat MVP. They put over the idea that Miz and Big Show are now aligned, so Miz is apparently taking Chris Jericho’s spot. I think the dynamic between Show and the trash-talking, egotistical smaller heel works well, so it’s smart to keep it going. This match, on the other hand, was not what I would call smart booking. MVP hit a face buster and yakuza kick but then he was just caught with a choke slam for the clean pin in two minutes or so. After the match the announcers were still selling an MVP vs. Miz title match. This segment sure buried MVP, Miz and the title.

Backstage, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase were bickering. Randy Orton suggested they get it together and said that he would take the title from Sheamus with or without them. Oddly, Randy Orton had very little presence on this show.

The guest host this week was Dule Hill from the TV show “Psych.” I don’t know who that is, but that’s okay. I’m going to be more tolerant of random Raw guest hosts from here on in. James Roday, another actor from “Psych”, was scheduled to be on the show but couldn’t attend because he had an appendectomy. Miz told Hill that he had to google Hill’s name to find out who he is and that the Miz is more famous than Hill. I can understand Miz’s perspective. Hill said Miz would wrestle someone of his choosing later in the show.

Maryse beat Eve Torres to advance to the finals of the women’s title tournament. Maryse before the match did a promo but was interrupted by Dule Hill playing with the fireworks. Eve hit a somersault senton and body slam. She missed a moonsault. Maryse went for the implant DDT but it was reversed into a suplex for two. Maryse then hit the implant DDT for the pin. This was good by WWE women’s match standards.

Vince McMahon came out and said that if Undertaker were there he would dare him to call Vince a coward. He then said there’s no reason to bring back Bret Hart because the people have forgotten about him. He went into the crowd asking fans why he should bring back Bret. Let’s just say these fans did not represent themselves well as sentient beings. Vince concluded there was no good reason to bring back Bret and went to leave.

John Cena interrupted. He didn’t like Vince’s comments about Bret Hart or his treatment of Roddy Piper. Cena noted they helped to build Vince’s empire and he treats these people like commodities. Cena said Vince is just about himself and is pathetic. Cena told Vince to do the right thing and invite Bret to Raw next week. So Vince did. And then he made Sheamus vs. Cena for later in the show.

I thought this was very good segment. I liked the way they set up Bret’s return and the basic thrust of the angle. The one negative is that Cena has done so many smarmy, cutesy promos that everything he says comes across as insincere to me now. It makes him less effective when doing serious promos, which I thought at one point he was excellent at.

Kofi Kingston beat the Miz. Miz worked over Kingston briefly. Kingston hit a frog splash off the top but Miz kicked out at two. MVP’s music played, Miz turned his back on Kingston like an idiot and of course Kingston then hit trouble in paradise for the pin. This was some continued great build for a US title program.

Carlito and Dule Hill were in the production truck. Hill said he would put in a random code and that would be Carlito’s opponent for the night. Kelly Kelly was the random selection and Carlito was happy. However, Santino then interrupted the proposed match. He offered to take Kelly’s place, but Jack Swagger jumped Santino from behind and laid him out. Amazingly, Carlito didn’t end up losing to Kelly. If you’d have asked me to give odds on that after Hill made the match, it would have been +3000 Carlito not losing.

John Cena and Dule Hill did comedy backstage. James Roday was on speaker phone, I guess since they figured some people would miss him otherwise. Alicia Fox came in and was flirting with Hill. Hill said he would come to ringside as a good luck charm for her but she threatened him if she lost.

Gail Kim beat Alicia Fox. Alicia hit a tilt a whirl back breaker but missed a kick. Gail responded with a power slam for two. Things fell apart from there and after a bunch of botchery Gail hit the “eat defeat” for the pin. After the match Alicia slapped Dule Hill, which seemed kind of uncalled for to me.

They announced next week William Shatner will be the guest host. Did you know that he is now 78 years old? This is amazing to me. There are way too many goofy guest hosts between now and WrestleMania. It’s a recipe for disaster when it comes to setting up the top programs for that event.

Sheamus beat John Cena via DQ. John Cena hit a suplex but Sheamus took over with a DDT and power slam. He threw Cena into the steps on the outside and they teased a count out. Cena got in and hit the Cena slam and five knuckle but Sheamus avoided the FU. Sheamus hit a back breaker but Cena countered a big boot attempt into the STF. Sheamus grabbed the bottom rope and hit the big boot on the floor. They teased a count out again but Randy Orton ran in and gave Sheamus the RKO. Cena then gave Orton the FU and stood over the two title participants to end the show.

Final Thoughts:

This show reminded me a lot of last week’s show. The build towards the Royal Rumble gave each show more focus and they were better shows than other recent editions of Raw. Each show was also highlighted by an excellent opening segment. I thought the Vince McMahon segment this week was strong as well.

On the negative side, the treatment of championships on this show was so bad. The US champion and number one contender both lost relatively cleanly in just a few minutes, and there are no signs that either of the two winners will be moving into the title picture. So what exactly does the US title even signify?

Then in the main event of the go home show for the Royal Rumble, both wrestlers in the WWE title match were left laying as a third guy who isn’t even challenging for the title stands over them. Maybe I’m being rigid and close-minded here, but I’d never build a title match by having both champion and challenger lose and I’d never have the final image prior to a PPV title match be both champion and challenger laid out. These seem to me pretty basic propositions.


Blogger hobbyfan said...

The booking of some of the matches only made Cena's remarks about Vince's ego ring so true. Cena was all over the place, as if they needed to plug his guest spot on "Psych" every segment. I thought his promo on Vince was spot-on, but the reality is that Vince has to dial it down and step away from the spotlight once and for all.

That said, Sheamus vs. Cena in the main event was fine but deserved a little more time. Cena still hasn't beaten Sheamus, which will only build anticipation the next time they meet (which probably won't be for the title, either).

I can't see DX losing to Brother Punk's Traveling Salvation Show on Friday, but rather a no contest coming out of that. That said, DX has had better matches with Legacy, so this felt rather random at best.

Speaking of random, that would explain writing an excuse for Santino to get on the show, and for Swagger to continue his issue. Carlito vs. Kelly? Carlito has wrestled women before, so this wouldn't have been as bad as you'd imagine.

Miz more famous than Dule Hill? Uh, Hill has had one other hit show. You might've heard of it. "The West Wing", with Martin Sheen? Miz's delusions are just making me just short of ill.

I can see it now. Santino shows up next week dressed as Capt. Kirk to amuse William Shatner. They really need to send the court jester down to get some real match time in, and lose the comedy act.

Women's semi-finals were predictable. It's Maryse vs. Gail in the finals, but they didn't say when. Maybe next week?

As for Vince, I think there's a receipt headed his way when Bret returns next week.

5:37 AM  
Anonymous PeteW said...

I thought the ending to RAW this week summed up nicely so many of the weaknesses of the creative staff in the WWE. Weakness #1 – Missed Opportunities. They should be promoting the PPV event of Sheamus vs Orton. We got the Kofi – Orton feud shoved down our throats but this major meeting, practically nothing. The potential strife between HBK and Trips has gotten more air time even though they continue to do their cheeky bits together. How often are we treated to two top heels squaring off? This is a rare occurrence and it’s being pretty much overlooked. Weakness #2 – Predictability. After Orton did his stare down during Sheamus’ match last week, you knew Sheamus would do the same during Orton’s. When Sheamus delivered the pump kick to Orton last week, you knew Orton would deliver the RKO during Sheamus’ match this week. As soon as Vince set up the Sheamus-Cena match, I emailed my friend predicting accurately the exact ending to the show right down to Cena standing over the two of them. Weakness #3 – Faces must always look superior. Without a doubt, Cena is one of the best examples of wrestlers selling badly. He goes to the brink of unconsciousness and then seconds later jumps around like he’s never been touched. He should watch Orton and figure out the art of making moves look real. Weakness #4 – Send the crowd home happy. I loathe this expression. I did not go home happy. As Todd mentioned, Cena standing over the two men going into the PPV Title match was absurd. Once again, you had Cena overacting struggling to get in the ring but he was able to turn it around on a dime, deliver the attitude adjuster and then flex and pose and scream in celebration as if he’d never been in a fight. This set up is a result of the thinking that the crowd wouldn’t be happy if Orton had delivered the DDT and stood over Sheamus and Cena. Remember too, Orton was the fresh man. There is no reason why he couldn’t have DDT’d Cena. I think the crowd would have been just as happy – and if not – too bad. That’s what you do to tell a story realistically. Weakness #5 –Lame Finishers. Has anyone watched finishers like the pedigree or the attitude adjuster? They’re hardly finishers. They’re not as devastating as a simple bulldog or DDT. No one used to get up from DDTs. The attitude adjuster is a bodyslam for crying out loud. The victims sell it like a bomb explosion for Cena. The pedigree is just dumb. Weakness #6 – Cliché Moments. I could go on about the “hot tag” but since I’m referring to the final match on RAW I’ll turn my wrath to moves like the 5 knuckle shuffle. It’s insulting to watch as a heel (it’s always a heel) lies there like a corpse from the effects of clothesline or something for enough time for paint to dry while Cena does his shtick standing over them. I mean it’s okay for a squash match, but he does it over everyone. Which leads to the final big weakness that will ultimately send intelligent fans packing – Weakness #7 – total lack of realism.

6:09 AM  
Blogger Gambra said...

I read this report on f4online and I just have one comment about it.. In one paragraph you mention that the US Title, MVP and Miz have been "buried" and then the in the next you state that there's a really nice build to the US Title match? It's one or the other dude..

9:40 AM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

Gambra: Todd was being sarcastic in his second remark in re.: the US title.

There is just too much going on with the Royal Rumble right around the corner, and the writing idiots felt that they had to jam more stuff in than necessary. In a case like this, less is definitely more.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous HHH said...

I agree with you there Todd, really bad booking, they had all the champs look like total tools. It should have been me standing on top of everyone. I remember when I was champion none of that would ever happen. I would always get the best of everyone. But you will see me main eventing Wrestlemania again this year. So no worries. I have a streak in main eventing wrestlemanias so it should be no surprise to anyone.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous HHH said...

I agree with you there Todd, really bad booking, they had all the champs look like total tools. It should have been me standing on top of everyone. I remember when I was champion none of that would ever happen. I would always get the best of everyone. But you will see me main eventing Wrestlemania again this year. So no worries. I have a streak in main eventing wrestlemanias so it should be no surprise to anyone.

10:24 AM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

Yes, his Majesty and Michaels pulled off a nice opening segment. The best part? The dynamic geezer duo disappeared soon after.

Less HHH is always a plus.

- Matt in Anchorage

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

I thought the stuff with Dule Hill was ok. he seemed pretty into it, he knew who everyone was and his comedy was delivered well. This was one week where I would say the writing was on.

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Steve Khan said...

Vince was fantastic in his segment. It was his best performance in a while, and Cena was great too. I agree with Todd it was a little more difficult to take him seriously because it was his first not-lame promo in months (probably longer).

It was amusing that Rhodes pushed Michaels into Hunter and it still made no difference at all. Michaels wasn't concerned that tagging HHH might cost them the match, because how could it? They were facing a team that wasn't also DX.

I'm probably in the minority but I think Gail Kim will in the tournament and they'll have Maryse chase her afterwards. Nobody will care about Gail chasing Maryse but they will care about Maryse chasing Gail because, despite being a heel, she's far more interesting. I loved her proclamation to Hill, "I DO NOT ACCEPT YOUR APOLOGY!"

It wouldn't surprise me to see Cena win the Rumble and choose Taker for WrestleMania, leaving us with a Michaels vs Hunter match.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous DW said...

Bravo, PeteW! Your post should be the business model for the WWE! Great words - the WWE should be paying attention.

Essentially, last night's show was a fuckup in the opening segment, a fuckup in the closing segment and boring-ass crap in the middle.

For openers - and I am reminded of the criticism I received last week when is was incorrectly pointed out to me that Orton "buried" Masters like Triple H buries people. Of course, that didnt' happen, but Trips was involved in a true "burial" in the opening match. Legacy, one of the top tags in the company and two of the top singles wrestlers, were used as pawns for the ongoing DX breakup. Yeah, that's really good. Take two of your top stars and make them the patsies for two aging has-beens. And the knockouts weren't even significant - Trips' and HBK's finishers to Cody and Ted were like throwaway moments in their little snit feud. A shame.

And at the end? Orton capped off a halfway decent Sheamus match with Cena (except for the silly "you can't see me" moment that Cena did and reported with the proper criticism by PeteW) with his expert viper-like action. The man was at his best and it would have been tremendous to see him rule over both Cena and Sheamus at that moment. But no - it gets fucked up by having Cena take Orton down - total nonsense to appease idiot fans who might slit their collective wrists if they didn't have a face come out on top at the end of the show. At this point, I'm not sure I would object to the lot of them doing just that.

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Mike Awesome said...

I remember when the Rumble was fun. Now, not so much. We all know the most stale character on TV will be winning after coming in second the last two years.

8:08 PM  
Blogger Max said...

DX opening up Smackdown? WOW. THERE's a surprise. PFFFT

5:54 AM  
Anonymous Russ said...

Todd, would you favor RVD returning to WWE or going to TNA when he comes back?

12:23 PM  

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