Monday, March 22, 2010

WWE Raw Report

Date: 03/22/10 from San Jose, CA.

The Big News: Raw was squarely focused on WrestleMania 26.

Show Analysis:

I want to thank everyone who e-mailed with kind thoughts and wishes about my mom’s passing. It was much appreciated during a tough period. It feels silly discussing the subject in the context of pro wrestling, but I have some thoughts on my blog.

This show wasn’t so much a self-contained wrestling show as a 2 hour WrestleMania hype special. There were constant video packages throughout the show along with discussion of the matches and final promos by the wrestlers. It was very effective in driving home the importance of Mania.

Shawn Michaels came out to start the show. He said that he was feeling like he did before he threw Marty Jannetty through the window, before he won the title at WrestleMania XII and last week before he superkicked Undertaker. He had the feeling that he could do anything. Michaels said he is just getting started and that he will be remembered as the guy who ended the streak.

Michaels was interrupted by a video on his career which finished with Undertaker saying Michaels will rest in peace. Michaels told Taker to say that to his face. That brought out guest host Pete Rose, who made Shawn Michaels vs. Kane for later in the show. He wanted Michaels to get revenge on Kane, since Kane attacked Rose at WrestleMania three straight years.

John Morrison beat Miz. R. Truth and Big Show did commentary. Morrison hit an Asai moonsault early. Miz took over and worked over Morrison. Morrison retaliated with a running knee, somersault flip power bomb off the ropes and starship pain for the pin. Truth and Morrison celebrated after the match. They have the most awkward chemistry ever.

Kofi Kingston beat Vladimir Kozlov to qualify for Money in the Bank. Jack Swagger for some reason was on commentary. This was a very short match that Kingston finished with trouble in paradise. Kingston is a good addition to Money in the Bank so he can throw in a few cool spots.

They mentioned Stu Hart going into the Hall of Fame but didn’t have a video for him. They did have a video for fellow inductee Bob Uecker. Also, they announced next week the guest hosts will be the cast of the movie Hot Tub Time Machine.

Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase cut a promo before their match. Rhodes said that after 18 months of oppression they were finally free. He said that they never needed Orton and that Orton needed them instead. DiBiase added that they don’t care who wins as long as Orton loses. DiBiase said that people are jealous of them. Rhodes and DiBiase teased dissension with a few subtle jabs at each other during this to suggest they aren’t actually on the same page.

Sheamus, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase beat Randy Orton and HHH. Orton and HHH met backstage earlier in the show but didn’t get along. HHH was successful early but the heels took over following a disagreement between Orton and HHH over a tag. HHH eventually hit a spine buster and made the tag to Orton.

Orton hit power slams on Sheamus and Rhodes and gave Sheamus a back breaker. Watching Orton firing up like a face is just bizarre. Orton was going for the RKO on Sheamus but went after Rhodes with a DDT attempt instead. Sheamus hit the big boot on Orton and covered for the pin. After the match HHH attacked Sheamus and they played HHH’s music.

Bret Hart came out for a promo. He said that he never thought he would return to Mania but that now he could leave on the right note after beating Vince in a no holds barred match. Bret says he is tired of “Bret screwed Bret” and next week it will be “Bret beat Vince.” He alluded to Vince’s comment about the dysfunctional Harts and said they will be all over Phoenix for Stu’s Hall of Fame induction.

Bret said Vince managed to drive half his own family out of WWE but the Harts will be in full force to see Bret give Vince the beating of his life. Bret mentioned that he has some great memories at Mania of his matches with Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Roddy Piper and his brother Owen. He vowed to be the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be at this year’s Mania. Vince then came out and said that at Mania Bret is screwed. Bret was great here.

Shawn Michaels beat Kane in a no-DQ match. Kane hit a vertical suplex, but Michaels took over with chops and applied a crossface and an ankle lock. Kane got to the ropes. Michaels hit an elbow off the top and went for sweet chin music but the lights went out and Undertaker gave him a choke slam. Kane covered but Michaels kicked out. Michaels then hit sweet chin music for the pin. This was exactly what it needed to be.

Christian was backstage with Pete Rose. Rose felt that his luck was changing and was talking himself up. He even took a shot at San Francisco, which of course was a harbinger of trouble. Kane emerged to pull Rose into his dressing room and comedic violent noises ensued.

Michelle McCool. Layla and Maryse beat Beth Phoenix, Gail Kim and Eve Torres in an exceedingly brief match. Gail and Michelle did a little chain wrestling and Michelle caught her in the faith breaker for the pin.

Batista came out with security. He said that people have to get used to the fact he is the champion and Cena is losing at Mania. Batista said Cena has never beaten him and will never beat him. I hope Batista wins at Mania because this is a story they could revisit every 10 months or so and make really mean something, ala Raven and Tommy Dreamer. Batista basically reiterated his promo from a few weeks ago about not caring about fans and only about money.

John Cena joined Batista and was serenaded by “you can’t wrestle” chants. He said he had lost confidence in himself because he keeps failing to stop Batista. Batista said Cena is a loser just like all the people, and this somehow brought about a 180 in Cena’s attitude. He said he is like the people and they all realize what a jerk Batista is. Cena said Batista hasn’t take him out and that Dave Batista can and will be beat. Batista called Cena a corporate creation and they got into a pull apart brawl to end the show.

This was an effective segment, but Cena has a huge problem at least with me in that I’m at the point where literally everything he says seems scripted, phony and insincere. It’s not really his fault. His biggest fault is trying really hard to sell cheesy serious material and stupid comedy, but he has done it so often that he no longer seems like a person but rather a performer delivering bad lines at all times.

This basically never happens in pro wrestling, but it reminds me of Chris Rock. I thought he was probably the funniest man alive years ago delivering his own standup material but he kept doing these awful movies and by the end I no longer found him nearly as funny even when he was doing good stuff.

Final Thoughts:

This has been WWE’s best year of WrestleMania hype in a while, and the final Raw was very effective in getting over the top matches on the show. I hope the show does very well and that in turn teaches WWE to invest further in more long term planning and serious, concentrated build.

8 Comments:

Anonymous mean dean said...

Glad to have you back, Todd.

I'm hoping Batista retains at 'Mania as much to keep the history with him and Cena alive as because I feel like he's the freshest act in the company right now. Between him and Punk you've got two heels that are really at the top of their game and I feel like WWE could really hit a hot period if they take advantage of both properly.

11:24 PM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

Kane tombstoned Pete Rose two straight years (1998-99), not three.

Batista is SO not going over at Wrestlemania.

If John Cena is going to get over by just cutting promos, then he needs to start writing freestyle raps again. Gewirtz and his staff of imbeciles are holding him down in that regard.

5:53 AM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

I kept thinking...old-school wrestling promos. One after another, each performer said what needed to be said and the show moved along. Pretty impressive, considering some of the dreck thrown our way in the past few weeks.

I'll be watching WM XVI - as long as the group of my wife's students make it over to the house in time.

My best to you and your family, Todd.

- Matt in Anchorage

8:53 AM  
Anonymous The Masterbater said...

You know I never liked Batista, thought he was garbage, couldn't wrestle worth a lick and thought he was all about just body, but never thought I would say this but with his new attitude he is giving, I love him now! Just love it, love it, love it, or it could be that I just despise Cena that much that by Batista whooping and saying the truth on Cena made me more and more pleased.

Sorry for the loss Todd, I couldn't imagine what you were going through. Glad to have you back though.

12:46 PM  
Anonymous DW said...

The epic selfishness of Triple H was on display once again on this episode of Raw. The man simply will not let himself look bad and he will not let anybody upstage him and look better than he, especially when working the same segment with him. The fact that he is a significant influence backstage for ALL that goes on in the ring makes his prominence even more repulsive.


Why wasn't it he who was pinned in the handicap match? No, it had to be Orton and not only that, while Orton was surprised and taken out by Sheamus, when the same thing was attempted on Triple H, he avoided it and remained standing in the ring at the end of it.

The message was - 1) Triple H is the number one guy and 2) his WM match is more important than the match Orton and Legacy are in.

On a side note, Orton and Sheamus had promise as a match for WM when they started a feud a month or so ago, but Trips had nothing for
WM and he probably decided he wanted it and promptly ended the excitment of Orton vs Sheamus which ended abruptly and with strangely little mention.

Triple H - nothing more than an overrated egomaniac selling this business as his own personal star package.

5:14 PM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

DW: You're forgetting one important detail. Hunter's not headlining this Wrestlemania, is he? Nope! Your personal hatred for the man is getting in the way of analyzing the overall picture of the PPV.

12:19 PM  
Anonymous DW said...

Ummmmm...hobbyfan..... The detail of Triple H not headlining the next WM event is irrelevant to my point. It's enough that the man has a nepotistic connection to the business whereby he can call the shots and always make himself look good - and always at the expense of others. He's a selfish prick - and I say that not out of any personal hatred - I don't even know the man. I say that simply out of what I witness week after week and the facts regarding his familial connections.

Regarding the event he DOES have at WM, there was a nice feud building with Orton and Sheamus, Trips having nothing for the big day, until he decided he wanted the Sheamus match - and the Orton/Sheamus feud suddenly went nowhere. Mark my words, Trips' match at WM will be billed high on the card, and certainly higher than Orton's.

I'm not losing focus, hobbyfan, it's only getting sharper the more I watch Triple H's egomanical stranglehold on a sport that he controls behind the scenes.

1:56 PM  
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