Tuesday, February 23, 2010

WWE Raw Report

Date: 02/22/10 from Indianapolis, IN.

The Big News: Three of the top four WrestleMania matches were officially announced on Raw.

Show Analysis:

Raw began with the return of new world champion Chris Jericho following his extended departure from Raw. He said basically nothing but just repeatedly gloated about winning the Elimination Chamber match, which was very amusing. Eventually Edge speared him from behind and announced he would take on Jericho for the title at WrestleMania. This was a good angle and it led immediately into another good angle.

John Cena came out next. He said that Vince McMahon screwed him by forcing him to wrestle again in a singles match after the Elimination Chamber. I don’t see how that’s any more unfair than Sheamus being forced to defend his singles title in a six person match in a Chamber and come in as the first man to boot. In fact, I’d argue Sheamus was screwed significantly worse than Cena.

Cena said he wanted his rematch on Raw, which brought out Vince McMahon to tell him he wouldn’t be getting it. It’s not a big deal, but they should table this routine for a little bit. It’s a good concept in theory because you tease a match and then pull it back for later, but they’ve done it so many times it almost feels like the face is disingenuous in temporarily teasing the fans with a match everyone knows won’t be delivered.

Vince McMahon said that he made a deal with Batista where Batista would attack Bret Hart and Batista would then get a title shot. Vince said Batista won’t defend the title until WrestleMania, and that both Sheamus and Cena are in line for title rematches. Thus, he announced Cena vs. Batista for later on Raw. If Cena won he would get the shot and if Batista won Sheamus would get the shot. Cena looked scurred of the prospect of wrestling Batista.

Maryse beat Gail Kim in the long awaited finals of the women’s title tournament. It’s only the women’s title, but they really shouldn’t have advertised a PPV title match only to yank it during the show and provide it on free TV the next day instead. On the plus side, they gave them a little more time than the average women’s match, which you ought to for a title tournament final. The match itself was okay by WWE women’s match standards.

Gail hit a clothesline and punches early but Maryse grabbed the ropes when Gail went for eat defeat. Maryse went for her implant DDT but Gail reversed into a cradle for two. Gail went for a springboard crossbody but missed. Gail went for a victory roll but Maryse threw her off into the ropes and hit the implant DDT for the pin.

There was a weird moment during the match when Gail was bleeding from her mouth and Lawler brought attention to her mouth but didn’t say she was bleeding. So WWE may actually have a bizarre policy where they won’t even acknowledge someone is bleeding even if it is an accident. I can’t recall if they explicitly mentioned bleeding when it happened on Sunday or the other week on ECW.

Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes met backstage. Rhodes said that he knew DiBiase would betray Orton but that he was still on Orton’s side. Orton said that if anyone was at fault it was himself for teaching Rhodes and DiBiase too well. Orton said he hasn’t been the leader he should be and said that he asked for a six man tag to show Legacy is still on the same page.

Orton left and DiBiase came in (pretty much immediately to the point of implausibility) to ask how the conversation went. Rhodes said almost too well. DiBiase then asked Rhodes if they were sticking to the plan. Rhodes said yes, so the audience was basically clued in that Rhodes and DiBiase were planning to stab Orton in the back.

Evan Bourne, Kofi Kingston and Yoshi Tatsu beat Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase. They announced Tatsu signed with Raw as a free agent. I’m still wondering where Abraham Washington ends up. Tatsu had some success with kicks early but Legacy took over on Bourne. Rhodes hit the Alabama slam and DiBiase used a head over heels clothesline.

Bourne eventually got the tag to Kingston. Kingston hit a springboard clothesline on DiBiase but Orton cut him off when he went for the boom drop. Orton began working over Kingston as DiBiase and Rhodes whispered to each other. Rhodes tagged in but Orton then hit Rhodes with a DDT. DiBiase got in Orton’s face outside the ring and Orton gave him an RKO on the floor. In the ring Kingston tagged Tatsu. Tatsu hit a kick on Rhodes and tagged in Bourne for the shooting star and the pin.

I assume this is the official breakup for Orton and Rhodes/DiBiase. I have mixed feelings on it. It’s good that they were conscious about not making Orton look like a fool. It’s been obvious that Rhodes and DiBiase can’t be trusted and if Orton got suckered by them there is the risk that it would make him look like a chump. With that said, Rhodes and DiBiase need all the help they can get in this feud and opening the breakup with Orton outsmarting and laying out both of them was the sort of young talent burial at a critical juncture that has led to such a stale main event picture.

Shawn Michaels came out for a promo. He said that his explanation for what he did at the Elimination Chamber isn’t complicated. He did what he had to. Michaels said he knew that wouldn’t be popular but that he can live with that. He added that he knows his action spur a reaction from Undertaker. In fact, he was counting on it.

Undertaker joined Michaels. He had weird yellow marks on his face, maybe from the accident yesterday, and looked positively ancient. He said that Michaels had his attention. Michaels told Undertaker that he wrestled a nearly perfect match last year, but he can’t live with that. Michaels said Undertaker ignored him so he had to get Taker’s attention.

In the middle of this serious and crucial promo for one of the biggest matches of the year, the crowd decided to start chanting “what” at Michaels. “What” seriously may be the most irritating fan development in wrestling history. Shut the fuck up, you obnoxious, narcissistic, ADD-suffering dimwits.

Michaels told the Undertaker to wrestle him at WrestleMania and get his revenge. Undertaker responded that he would on one condition, that Michaels put up his career. Michaels said that if he can’t beat Undertaker he has no career. This was an excellent angle with Michaels as usual doing a great job.

As for the career vs. title stipulation, I have mixed feelings. I think it’s a nice hook to build interest in the match. But ultimately WWE is boxing itself into a corner. Either Undertaker’s streak ends for no good reason or more likely they do yet another stipulation match knowing full well that they’re going to renege on the stipulation. It’s even worse here because people are going to remember and care more when they go back on their word. I don’t see why they couldn’t achieve the exact same goal by having Michaels simply imply he’ll leave forever if he loses.

Christian beat Carlito in the first money in the bank qualifier. Now that they are doing money in the bank again, Miz is such an obvious pick to win this year. He fits the gimmick perfectly in just about every way. They also introduced a couple of the NXT rookies here. Heath Slater cut an obnoxious promo and Michael Tarver cut a very good little one.

They announced Christian has signed with Raw. I’m surprised they didn’t do a storyline bidding war between Raw and Smackdown for one or two of the top ECW guys to make their debuts on a new show seem important. That’s the whole reason I like “free agency” better than “drafts.” You can make it feel like the wrestlers have agency and goals they’re moving towards. Instead, this just felt like another draft with the guys randomly distributed by the promotion. It’s not a big deal though, and moving over the ECW guys should bolster the depth on Raw and Smackdown.

Christian missed a crossbody off the top early in the match. Carlito hit a knee lift but Christian countered with an inverted DDT. Christian climbed the ropes but Carlito caught him and hit the roll of the dice for two. Christian went for the kill switch. Carlito reversed into a springboard elbow attempt but that was countered into another kill switch attempt. Carlito reversed again but Christian sent him into the post and finally hit the kill switch for the pin. This was a very fun little match.

Jewel and bull rider Ty Murray did two segments on the show. Earlier Jewel and Jillian Hall got into a singing confrontation and Jewel slapped Jillian. Here, they did a dreadful segment which involved riding a mechanical bull. The WWE women came out and rode it. It wasn’t much of a competition because it went slow and nobody was close to being thrown off.

Miz and Big Show came out to point out what a waste of time this was which led to Murray challenging Show to ride the bull. He of course failed and they played it for comedy but it was one of those segments where nobody is laughing except the guffawing announcers. Three hours later Murray and Jewel made a match with Miz and Show against MVP and Mark Henry.

Miz Show beat Mark Henry and MVP. They showed Bryan Danielson watching backstage, and again the commentary focused on Danielson. They talked about how the internet is angry that Miz is Danielson’s coach given how long Danielson has been wrestling for and how Miz claims Danielson has no personality. It’s at least to me a very intriguing angle and I’m quite curious how the whole thing will turn out. Hopefully they don’t bury Danielson to spite the internet.

Show hit a spear on MVP and followed with chops and a leg drop. Henry got the tag in. He used head butts on Show and a corner avalanche. Miz came off the ropes but was caught with the world’s strongest slam. As Henry turned around Show nailed him with the knockout punch for the pin.

They announced the next entrant into the WWE Hall of Fame is Wendi Richter. It’s a joke pick, but whatever, it’s only the WWE Hall of Fame. She’s probably marginally more deserving than Koko B. Ware given her six month peak was fairly notable. They also announced Cheech and Chong as guest hosts next week as well as Orton vs. DiBiase.

They replayed the Bret Hart angle from last week. Vince said that he was considering facing Bret at Mania, but that now he just wanted to say he had nothing to do with Bret’s accident. Vince invited Bret back next week on Raw to say farewell. After a commercial break they already announced that Bret had accepted. This setup seems to suggest they are going to do the story that Bret faked the car accident. I guess we’ll see how it comes across.

John Cena beat Batista via DQ. Batista kept ducking out between the ropes and then he kicked Cena low for the DQ. He then beat the hell out of Cena. He kicked Cena in the head, threw him into the post, smashed him into the barricade and rammed him into the post on the outside. He then gave him four very hard and spaced out chair shots to the back. This was a great demonstration that a chair shot to the back can be just as effective and dramatic as a shot to the head. I’m very glad that WWE changed their policy on that. This was a very strong angle to close a strong show. I’m really digging heel Batista.

Final Thoughts:

Last week’s bad Raw proved to be a blip rather than a trend. This week’s Raw was an excellent show full of interesting and fun angles from top to bottom. I’m greatly enjoying the WrestleMania build this year and now that they have the major angles announced we’re heading into the home stretch.


Blogger Patrick said...

I figured they would do some sort of career thing with Michaels. Not bad...it would just be disappointing that HBK would get both the Flair "retirement" and the streak. I wish on the mitb qualifiers they wouldn't make it so obvious who was going to win. Did anyone really think Carlito was going to win? It's sad that raw will be good for only a few more weeks. After Wrestlemania, the writing goes back into the toilet.

1:39 AM  
Blogger Vince said...

Good post. Nice site...I added it to my blog list.


2:04 AM  
Anonymous DW said...

The Orton/Legacy backstage scene was very well done. Orton is an accomplished actor, another of his many talents, it seems - and that will serve him well in the film that he has been cast in. Rhodes and DiBiase were also excellent. Unlike many of the ridiculous backstage antics that go on, were I not the jaded fan that I am, I would believe every word of what went on simply because the acting wasn't amateurish. (And I disagree that Dibiase's appearance was so rushed it was to the point of implausibility. I'd assume that if he sent Rhodes in to set Orton up, he was waiting right outside a nearby doorway.)

In any case, it was great, and Orton's characterization is evolving slowly and perfectly unlike so many of the "now you see me now you don't" kind of things that pro wrestling often offers. The man truly knows what he is doing and can execute it. So much so that I didn't expect the turnaround that happened in the tag match. Great stuff.

Not so for the rest of the show except for one other high point. Very little of Triple H.

3:29 AM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

I guess someone gave Edge a memo and said that he could only have a minute to make his decision for Wrestlemania. Jericho gets speared for the 2nd time in almost as many weeks, and we know that story will continue on Friday.

I wish there was some sort of explanation on why they stalled on the Divas finals. It would've been better to end the tournament at Elimination Chamber, but Smackdown's Mean Girls needed to get paid, if you know what I mean and I think you do. That said, we got the predictable result, as Maryse is a 2-time Divas champ. Time, though, to unify the titles, but that could be ruined if Mickie James is screwed out of the women's title on Friday by the Mean Girls (Me-Chelle McCool, Laymela, and Piggy Guerrero).

Speaking of delayed angles, that brings us to Randy Orton and the Legacy. Randy seemed to know Cody & Teddy were plotting against him. Remember, he's been there before (Evolution), so he wasn't buying into Teddy's attempt at working both sides of the street.

Career vs. undefeated streak. Let's just call Undertaker-Michaels II a retirement match and be done with it.

Batista's bizarre behavior continues. We can say he's overloaded on Vince's kool-aid to the point where his mind is gone. Since the match started after 11, you knew there was going to be some sort of screwy finish. However, it didn't have to be this way, and it illustrates the underlying problem with Vince and his writers.

Vincent Kennedy McMahon is 64, prematurely senile, and plays the part of a clinically insane executive on television who thrives and gets off on the misery of his employees. He's ignoring ethics, logic, and common sense. The ethics apply to his hasty decision to put John Cena in a sudden title defense vs. Batista at the PPV. You cannot do that without your Board of Directors, in the real world, anyway, questioning your sanity.

The common sense is lacking because Vince being Vince conceivably could be what finally undermines Linda's efforts to become a US Senator from Connecticut. Too many people will choose to vote against Linda because of Vince's pathetic obsession with getting himself over at the expense of more deserving talent.

This is where Hunter needs to step in and snap Vince back to reality, once and for all. Vince needs to retire, for good, and let Hunter & Steph take charge. For all we know, they may have different ideas that they've been waiting to use.

The correct call is for the Board to overrule Vince and void the Batista-Cena squash from Sunday and give Cena back the title. Another good idea for Friday would be to have Stephanie show up and send Vickie Guerrero packing, "firing" the corporate snitch for misconduct while enabling Mickie to keep the women's title.

I don't see Mizizzle in the Money in the Bank for Wrestlemania. More likely, ShoMiz will be defending the titles that night (Tag Team Turmoil, anyone?), and Miz is overexposed as it is.

They're in OKC next week. What are the chances that not only will Bret Hart be back, but native son Jim Ross, as well?

6:16 AM  
Blogger s1rweeze said...

That HBK/UT video package was one of the top 3 they've ever done. Never thought I'd ever hear a Kate Bush song on a wrestling show (although it was a cover, but still)

7:26 AM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

HHH not on the show, and yet it appears the sun is rising this morning. Who knew?

- Matt in Anchorage

8:22 AM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

They said Hunter was "injured" at Elimination Chamber, but didn't elaborate. Sheamus had a "concussion", and thus was also in absentia.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous The Masterbater said...

never really was a Batista fan, but after what he did to Cena his stock level went up for me. Glad to see him destroy Cena, my only complaint is that he didn't do a Batista bomb on the table or on the floor! Both would be nice.

6:16 PM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

Did anyone watch NXT? Michael Cole played heel play-by-play man working with Josh Mathews. One more reason to hope JR returns in OKC on Monday!

7:58 PM  
Anonymous Tony said...

A much improved show, which goes to show what a difference focused writing and relatively long-term direction can do. I wish the writing was focused like this for every PPV all-year long. Buyrates would probably higher as well. It’s funny to consider WWE writing has never been so disorganized and short-term focused before they set up this huge corporate environment and this army of dozens of writers and contributors, even though it should have had the opposite effect.

The WM card looks promising and I admit I’m jaded about the potential of the show. Trivia note : If plans don’t change (and that’s always a big “if” with WWE), it’ll be the first time HHH is not in a title match since 2001. On the other hand, it’ll be the 6th straight year Cena is. Ugh, so much for staleness.

HHH vs Sheamus does not speak WM to me, so I don’t put it past them to do HHH vs UT vs HBK Triple Threat in the end. Speaking of that, can you imagine the pressure on these guys as they are expected to do as good if not top last year’s effort. Especially since UT is in much worse shape than last year. They hooked me on that stip though, intriguing.

4:54 AM  
Anonymous Tony said...

Funny how little focus there was on the guest hosts this week, yet in the 5 minutes they appeared, they still had to write them in atrocious embarassing segments. Ugh

4:58 AM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

All Vince has to do to cure the bad writing is call his buddy Lorne Michaels to loan out some writers from Saturday Night Live. Failing that, of course, Bellevue's calling......

11:51 AM  
Anonymous オテモヤン said...


5:25 PM  
Anonymous Mandeep said...

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4:37 AM  

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