Tuesday, April 27, 2010

WWE Raw Report

Date: 04/26/10 from Richmond, VA.

The Big News: WWE’s annual draft special was surprisingly uneventful. It was, however, a very good wrestling show.

Show Analysis:

Hart Dynasty beat Show Miz to win the unified tag team titles. I’ve mentioned it before, but I really like Hart Dynasty as a face team. I think the dynamic of Tyson Kidd as the flyer and David Hart Smith as the powerhouse works so well with them as the good guys.

Prior to the match, Miz said that the Hart Dynasty have been handed everything because of Bret. He said that he thought Dynasty meant that you won championships. He called the Harts losers and Bret the biggest loser of all. He then demanded Bret come out and proclaim Show Miz the greatest tag team of all team. Bret declared Show Miz the greatest tag team of all time, the Mountie the greatest Intercontinental champion of all time and David Arquette the greatest world champion of all time. Bret then told Miz that the Hart Dynasty was going to take the tag titles.

Smith did well early, hitting a delayed vertical suplex and shoulder tackle on Miz. Show Miz briefly worked over Smith, who got the tag to Kidd. Kidd hit a springboard dropkick on Show but was caught by a big boot. Show stood on Kidd and Miz hit a neck breaker. Kidd finally got the tag and Smith used a series of rollups.

Miz went for the pin with his feet on the ropes but Bret pushed the feet off. Kidd then hit a somersault senton off the apron onto Show. Smith got a rollup for a close two, with the crowd reacting like it was the finish. Hart Dynasty followed with the Hart attack and Kidd applied the sharpshooter to Miz. Miz tapped out and there was a really big crowd reaction to the title change. This was a great start to the show. Show knocked out Miz after the match.

Backstage, Jack Swagger said that he dominated at Extreme Rules and cut the viper’s head off. Edge made his entrance, and I guess this was a misdirection for later in the show. He told Swagger that he beat Jericho and now he’s next in line for a shot at Swagger’s title.

Michelle McCool and Layla beat Maryse and Eve Torres. Eve used a kick and clothesline on Layla. When she went to tag, Maryse kicked her instead. Maryse and Eve brawled on the floor. Eve coming back into the ring was caught with a kick. Michelle gave Eve a clothesline and followed with a choke and dragon sleeper. Eve reversed the dragon sleeper into a scorpion death drop.

Eve hit dropkicks and a neck breaker, at which point Maryse tagged herself in. Maryse went on and on trash talking Eve, and of course when she turned around she was caught by a kick to the head from Michelle. Michelle covered for the pin. This was a very good match by WWE women’s standards.

They announced the first draft pick as Kelly Kelly drafted to Smackdown. This led to the pattern for the evening, which was that the announcers would freak out after each and every pick as if aliens had just landed in New York and brought with them the cures for all human disease. I mean seriously, this was the worst shit ever.

It’s unbelievably insulting that WWE believes its audience so unspeakably brain-dead that they can be tricked into thinking obviously inconsequential events are important simply by the announcers going crazy. And it’s completely counterproductive because the announcers couldn’t even believably sell the major switches as important when you’d just heard them do the same thing for trivial switches. Anyway, they continued doing this all night.

CM Punk beat Evan Bourne. Punk hit a back breaker and kicks. Bourne countered with kicks and knees. Bourne went for a plancha but Serena stepped in front of Punk. Bourne then dove over her with a springboard plancha, which was a very cool spot. Bourne went for the shooting star back in the ring but he was crotched by the masked man and Punk then hit the GTS for the pin. This was another crisp and entertaining match.

The next draft pick was Big Show to Smackdown. I would have kept him with Miz since I thought they were working well together, but hopefully they’ve got plans for Miz as a singles attraction. Backstage, Teddy Long “welcomed” Show to Smackdown. Show teased being angry but then was happy. Long then literally started dancing. Because, you know, it’s not like Show has been on seemingly every Smackdown for the last eight months.

Sheamus came out. He said that the good news is HHH won’t be drafted but the bad news is HHH will never wrestle again. Sheamus said he took HHH out and now he wants the WWE title. Randy Orton came out and said that nobody hated HHH as much as him but he fought HHH face to face and not with a pipe. I would not in a million years script Orton to lecture people about not fighting fair. Aside from the hypocrisy it doesn’t fit his character even as a face at all.

Sheamus pointed out Orton had his title shot and lost. Sheamus and Orton then traded threats. Cena came out and my God, even on the John Cena Obnoxious Meter he was a 9.7 this week. It’s funny, because for years I couldn’t understand why fans were so harsh on Cena, and now I can’t understand why he doesn’t get significantly more negative reactions. I can’t even put into words how obnoxious he was here.

For some reason, Cena got to pick the number one contender for his title. Apparently, the hierarchy for who gets to determine the top contender for the championship goes: 1) celebrity guest host for the week; 2) the champion himself. All of a sudden letting the fans decide seems like the fairest course of action. He announced Sheamus vs. Orton to determine the top contender.

Raw won a 10 man battle royal and earned 3 draft picks in the process. Santino and Ted DiBiase were the survivors over Rey Mysterio, Kane, R. Truth, Drew McIntyre, Shad, Mark Henry, MVP and Yoshi Tatsu. Santino said he was the Raw captain. Kane hit him and they got started. Drew tried to throw out Tatsu but just threw out himself. Shad dumped Tatsu. Rey eliminated MVP with a head scissors. Santino simultaneously took out Truth and Shad and celebrated before being caught by a Kane choke slam.

Henry lifted Kane over his head to throw him out, but Rey gave Henry the 619 to the belly and Kane sent Henry out. Kane charged DiBiase but DiBiase pulled down the ropes. Rey hit a springboard senton on DiBiase and they did a series of spots with Rey and DiBiase each coming close to eliminating the other. It was good stuff. DiBiase finally got ride of Rey and Raw won. Santino started celebrating big time even though DiBiase did all the work so DiBiase laid him out with Dream Street.

John Morrison was the first pick to Raw. I hope they use the opportunity to tinker with his persona. I think the guy has big upside as a face but it feels like he’s playing a goofy character and not being himself and I think that undermines his upward potential as a face. R. Truth was the second pick, which doesn’t matter one way or another. Edge was the third pick. I assume the priority there is simply to improve Raw, because his potential feuds on Raw don’t feel any fresher than his potential feuds on Smackdown.

Chris Jericho did a promo before his match. He wanted Edge fined and suspended for hurting him at Extreme Rules. He further complained about losing to Heath Slater. He explained that the Slater loss distracted him and led to the loss to Edge. Thus, he demanded an apology from Slater. Slater came out. He said he was sorry Jericho couldn’t beat him and added that he wouldn’t beat Christian either.

Chris Jericho beat Christian. Jericho pressed Christian over the top to the floor but missed a lionsault back in the ring. Christian hit a flying elbow off the second rope and went for the kill switch but Jericho escaped. Christian went for a dropkick off the ropes but was caught in a Walls attempt. Christian reversed that into a cradle for two. Jericho followed with an enzuigiri for two.

Jericho went for the Walls again but couldn’t get it and Christian again cradled him. Jericho tried the Walls for a third time and finally got it. Christian fought it and got to the ropes. Christian gained control and dove off the top but was caught with a code breaker and pinned. This was an excellent match.

Jericho gave Slater the code breaker afterwards as well. The next draft pick was Kofi Kingston to Smackdown. Kingston ran down and gave Jericho trouble in paradise. Looking at the rosters, it would seem Kingston might be in line for a push on Smackdown.

Jack Swagger beat John Morrison. Morrison grounded Swagger with wrestling. Morrison hit an enzuigiri but Swagger took back over with wrestling. Swagger followed with punches and kicks. Morrison gained control with punches and a standing shooting star press. Swagger went for the Vader bomb but pulled up and Morrison slingshot him into the turnbuckle.

Morrison followed with a springboard front kick and shining wizard. Morrison covered but Swagger got his foot on the ropes. Morrison threw Swagger into the barricade and reversed a gut wrench power bomb attempt into a side Russian leg sweep. Morrison went for starship pain but Swagger got up and caught him in the gut wrench power bomb for the pin. This was yet another very good match. Christian was drafted, which means next to nothing given he was only on Raw for two months.

They announced next week the guest host is Wayne Brady. It’s really time to kill the guest host gimmick. Backstage, Ted DiBiase was looking for his own Virgil. So of course he went to the Boricua and the brother. Carlito said he would rather not be on Raw than agree to that. R. Truth slapped DiBiase.

Hornswoggle beat Dolph Ziggler via count out. Dolph chased Hornswoggle around but as he was going back into the ring Hornswoggle threw shoes at him and the force of these shoes knocked Dolph off the apron twice. After the match Dolph put Hornswoggle in a sleeper. Everything about this segment was implausible and stupid, from the question of who exactly in storyline would book this in the first place to the physics defying conclusion.

Chris Jericho was drafted to Raw. It furthers the joke of Jericho being banished from Raw forever and returning 25 times in the past year, but I’m just happy Jericho is back every week to improve the quality of the A show.

A livid Batista stormed the ring before the main event and complained about not being the number one contender. He said he wouldn’t leave until Cena gave him a match. Sheamus then came out and said Batista’s a loser like Orton. Orton offered to face Batista one-on-one after Sheamus. So Cena made a triple threat. I always dislike these segments where it appears title contenders are determined on the basis of who asks.

Batista won a triple threat match over Randy Orton and Sheamus. They were given a lot of time and this was a good main event. Sheamus went after Orton early while Batista watched Sheamus hit a power slam and Batista then came in and went after both. Batista gave Orton a hard clothesline and threw Sheamus into the announce table. Orton kicked Batista and sent Sheamus into the ring post. Batista kicked Orton in the head and applied an RNC. Sheamus broke that up. They oddly cut to a commercial break just as Batista was calling for the Batista bomb.

Orton threw Batista into the post and Sheamus hit a hard clothesline on Orton on the floor. Orton then sent Sheamus into the table. Batista threw Orton into the apron. Sheamus gave Orton a back breaker. Obviously, this was very back and forth throughout. Orton gave both clotheslines and hit a power slam on Batista. Orton set up for the RKO when he was caught by a knee from Sheamus. Sheamus went for the razor’s edge but Batista speared Sheamus for two.

Batista went for a Batista bomb on Sheamus but Orton gave Batista a back breaker and Sheamus then hit the big boot on Batista. Orton hit a power slam on Sheamus. Orton went for the RKO but Edge then ran in with a spear on Orton. Batista covered Orton for the pin. Edge smiled smugly so I guess he’s a heel again. If I had to choose turning Edge or Orton back quickly, I would have gone with Orton. I think Edge is effective as a face; I think the problem has just been the material. In any event, he certainly works well as a heel too.

Final Thoughts:

The draft itself this year felt basically pointless. They gave Raw a few big stars to make up for the losses of Shawn Michaels and HHH, and obviously thinned out the talent on Smackdown considerably. But for the most part, things feel the same. To freshen up the card, they need to create new stars. Shifting guys around only lasts you for so long.

With that said, I really liked the show. It was one of the best in-ring editions of Raw in ages. They gave a bunch of matches time to build and matched up people who were for the most part likely to deliver good matches. The finishes were largely good and the matches delivered. There wasn’t one blow away match, but from top to bottom it was a fun night of wrestling.

Monday, April 19, 2010

WWE Raw is Smackdown Report

Date: 04/19/10 from East Rutherford, NJ.

The Big News: Tragically, R. Truth was instantaneously vaporized by fireworks in a horrible live television accident. He is survived by his NXT rookie David Otunga, his boots, and his immortal theme song, “What’s Up What’s Up What’s Up What’s Up. (What’s Up.)”

Show Analysis:

With most of the Raw crew stranded on the other side of the Atlantic, Raw featured mostly Smackdown wrestlers with a few Raw guys mixed in. HHH came out to start the show. He acknowledged the situation and cut a promo about beating up Sheamus on Sunday. The Straight Edge Society then came out. Punk noted that if he’s drafted he will bring the Straight Edge Society with him to Raw.

HHH asked Punk why his followers had to shave their heads but he didn’t. Punk said it’s because he’s the leader and his hair represents purity. HHH joked about Rey Mysterio shaving Punk’s head on Sunday. Punk tried to recruit HHH to the Straight Edge Society. HHH responded by ranting about freedom. Punk said that he wasn’t asking HHH to join bur rather telling him. The heels jumped HHH but Rey made the save as they tried to shave HHH’s head. Rey shaved off a little bit of Punk’s hair before Punk escaped.

This opening segment went awfully long, but Punk and HHH did a good job in making it entertaining as possible. I also liked the angle with Rey taking a little of Punk’s hair prior to the show.

Drew McIntyre beat Matt Hardy. They started in the ring. Seriously, they cut out the entrance of the guy who has nothing but an entrance. McIntyre hit punches and kicks. Matt used a side effect. They ran into each other head to head. Then Matt went to the second rope and was pulled off by McIntyre. McIntyre covered and that was in fact the finish. This was a bad match with a bad finish.

They aired a few brief promos from Belfast throughout the show. John Cena said that everyone’s fine and they’re sorry they can’t be at Raw. He said he would be ready for his match Sunday and vowed to be at the PPV for sure. Randy Orton said that the world title will follow him at the draft next week. Sheamus attacked a crew guy to make a point to HHH.

Vladimir Kozlov made his entrance. He said that he has been treated unfairly by the guest hosts and had Jerry Lawler read a statement for him. The statement said that he wants elite competition and suggested the New Jersey Nets’ new Russian owner is going to move the team.

MacGruber came out with an American flag, acting unbelievably obnoxious. He had that Dr. Ken air that said he was just making fun of the whole show, although admittedly the material seemed designed to fit that purpose as well. He got in Kozlov’s face and called him a giant pile of suck. Kozlov said that if MacGruber said anything more about him he would end MacGruber. So MacGruber made fun of Kozlov’s mom.

What was Kozlov’s response to this? Did he destroy this obnoxious little dipshit? Why no. He said that he would destroy MacGruber later in the show. Huh? Okay, now I don’t care about the fact this made Kozlov look like a joke as a monster heel. The truth is the ship sailed on people taking Kozlov seriously years ago. But just from a basic logic standpoint, why would this furious Russian giant just stand there and let this annoying little turd mock him and his family? Why did his revenge have to come later in the show? This made absolutely no sense, and was irritating because MacGruber was just begging to be killed.

As if this segment wasn’t fake enough already, they proceeded to go much further. MacGruber announced that Kozlov would instead have to wrestle R. Truth. R. Truth came out as MacGruber obnoxiously danced and shouted “what’s up.” Fireworks then went off to the sides of the stage as Truth stood in the middle. The flames went down and you saw Truth crouch down and run into the backstage area. Then they placed two boots on the side of the stage as if Truth had been blown up. This was elementary school play level execution. It appeared that the joke was that WWE is ridiculous, fake nonsense.

With Truth dead, Kozlov said that he would kill MacGruber. And in the final touch, now MacGruber was all scared. Apparently he knew earlier that for some reason no matter how much he antagonized Kozlov right to Kozlov’s face, Kozlov was somehow obliged not to do anything until later. But now he no longer had that protection. This was the sort of segment that enhances the perception that only mentally handicapped people are fans of 21st century WWE.

Backstage, HHH spoke with MacGruber. MacGruber pissed himself but claimed implausibly that someone else had peed in his pants and he had agreed to wear them. Kane came in at that moment and MacGruber claimed it was Kane. Kane was taken aback and MacGruber ran away.

Undertaker beat Jack Swagger. Swagger issued an open challenge, which led to the return of Undertaker. They traded head locks. Undertaker used old school. Swagger retaliated with a powerslam and sent Undertaker into the steps. Undertaker came back with a leg drop on the apron, DDT and snake eyes. Undertaker went for a choke slam but Swagger escaped. Swagger hit a DDT and went for the Vader bomb but was caught with a choke slam. Undertaker then hit the tombstone and pinned Swagger clean.

It was cool of WWE to bring back Undertaker as a surprise for the live fans who weren’t getting the show they expected. With that said, the way they keep jobbing out Swagger is so stupid. Putting aside the fact that the guy needs all the help he can get, it totally buries the title. Why would anyone pay to see a title match when the “champion” lost 80 percent of his matches prior to winning the title and is losing basically all of his matches after winning it? This is such basic stuff.

Chris Jericho backstage told CM Punk to stick with him to win the main event. He then advised MacGruber to offer a handshake to Kozlov and then slap him in the face. This evidently struck MacGruber as a good idea.

Kozlov was scheduled to wrestle MacGruber. MacGruber offered a handshake and then slapped Kozlov in the face. Kozlov grabbed MacGruber and head butted him a few times. MacGruber’s selling was among the worst I’ve ever seen in any pro wrestling match. He appeared to be unfamiliar with the concepts of physical violence and pain. Ryan Phillippe then came out to save MacGruber. He announced that this was a handicap match with MacGruber and Khaluber (Great Khali) versus Kozlov.

Kozlov for some reason let MacGruber go again. Kozlov and Khali tried to wrestle briefly and, well, at least it was better than MacGruber and Kozlov. Khali gave Kozlov the big chop and Kozlov left. Khali pursued and this was labeled a count out win for Khali and MacGruber. MacGruber then cut one final obnoxious promo. Sadly, he left the show without dying a horrible death. Maybe he will be drawn and quartered on a future PPV.

HHH, Edge and Rey Mysterio beat Chris Jericho, CM Punk and Luke Gallows. After all the nonsense on this show, it was nice to see a straight forward wrestling match to close. Rey hit a somersault plancha on the heels early. The heels took over on Rey. Rey got the tag to Edge, but Jericho tripped Edge as he went for a spear and the heels took over on Edge. Edge got the tag to HHH. HHH hit punches, a clothesline and a spine buster on Punk. He went for the pedigree but Gallows broke it up with a clothesline. Rey took out Gallows with a springboard senton. Rey hit the 619 on Punk and HHH hit the pedigree for the pin.

Final Thoughts:

I’ve ranted enough. This show blew.

Monday, April 12, 2010

WWE Raw Report

Date: 04/12/10 from London, England.

The Big News: Bret Hart has to say that Show Miz is the greatest tag team ever next week!

Show Analysis:

David Hasselhoff came out to start the show. They flashed “Hoff” repeatedly on the screen ala the Abraham Washington Show and piped in chants for him. They acted like he is this big star in 2010 without any seeming irony. At least Hasselhoff himself clearly gets it.

Hasselhoff announced Jack Swagger vs. Randy Orton at Extreme Rules for the world title. It sure undermines the idea of a draft when you’ve got guys supposedly from different shows wrestling each other literally the night before. Hasselhoff also announced three matches for Raw. He carried himself well and seemed amiable, but the glorification of self-parodying B-celebrities is not really what I’m looking for in a wrestling show.

Eve Torres beat Maryse to win the Raw women’s title. They pulled each other’s hair early on. Maryse slapped Eve and threw her into the apron. Eve came back with a neck breaker but missed a moonsault. Maryse laughed and slapped Eve around. She went for her DDT but Eve cradled her for the pin.

Big Show and Miz came out. Show said that at first he was skeptical of teaming with Miz but now he realizes they have the chance to be special together. Miz said that he is amazed such a large man can have such a small ego. He proclaimed Show Miz the greatest tag team in WWE history. That brought out Bret Hart, who said he could think of two teams off the top of his head that were better. Only two? Bret referenced the Hart Foundation and the British Bulldogs. Miz called Bret delusional.

Hart Dynasty came out. Again, if you’re doing a draft in a few weeks, couldn’t you just wait to do this angle on Smackdown? Miz pointed out they’re not supposed to be on Raw. Bret replied that he invited them. That’s total TNA: random people having random authority for no explained reason.

David Hart Smith challenged Miz to a match where if Smith won Hart Dynasty would get a tag title shot at Extreme Rules. Miz accepted, but said that if Miz won, Bret would have to declare Show Miz the greatest tag team of all time next week. The Harts huddled up and conferred as if this was a very difficult decision. They accepted.

Miz beat David Hart Smith. This match didn’t have the heat I would have expected but it was good. Smith used a delayed vertical suplex. Miz applied a camel clutch. Smith hit power slams and a belly to belly suplex. Miz dove off the ropes but was hit with a big boot and Smith applied the sharpshooter. Show got on the apron but Smith knocked him off. Tyson Kidd went after Show but was caught with a punch. Smith had Miz up for a power slam but Show used a kidney punch and Miz hit the skull crushing finale for the pin.

The announcers acted like it was this huge deal that Bret will have to say Show Miz is the greatest tag team of all team. Jerry Lawler suggested it would be one of the worst days of Bret’s life. This is such an idiotic, juvenile angle. Is there anyone above the age of 8 who views it as some sort of punishment to be forced to say something you don’t believe and everyone knows to be false? Why would Bret possibly care about this?

Batista and David Otunga were chatting backstage. They seemed to be friendly but then Batista told Otunga to get him a cup of coffee. Otunga went to do it but ran into Hasselhoff. Hasselhoff told Otunga he would have to wrestle John Cena.

Evan Bourne beat Carlito in a brief match that was good while it lasted. Carlito worked over Bourne. He went for a back stabber off the ropes but missed. Bourne then hit the shooting star press for the pin.

John Cena beat David Otunga. Batista came out with Otunga and watched the match from the stage. Cena hit punches and suplexes. He dared Batista to come down before finally finishing Otunga with the STF. Cena again challenged Batista after the match but Batista left.

Sheamus did a promo where he said that HHH only brings out the sledgehammer when he’s scared and he’s scared to death of Sheamus. Sheamus continued that things just got scarier because the match between himself and HHH will be a street fight. He said that wrestling with Sheamus will be a mistake HHH will regret for the rest of his life. That brought out Kofi Kingston, who vowed revenge for last week and said they were scheduled to wrestle.

Kofi Kingston beat Sheamus via DQ in a good match. Kingston used kicks and hit a dropkick off the top. Sheamus grounded him and took over with a power slam. Kingston hit more kicks, the boom drop and trouble in paradise but Sheamus grabbed the bottom rope. They continued fighting on the floor, at which point Sheamus hit Kingston with a TV monitor for the DQ. Sheamus threw Kingston into the post and hit a big boot.

Carlito and Vladimir Kozlov were backstage and frustrated. Carlito said the guest hosts just care about themselves. He said that if he doesn’t get traded to Smackdown he is going to quit. Kozlov then vowed next week to either get what he wants or destroy the cast of the movie “MacGruber.”

Randy Orton backstage said he is fine with extreme rules. He said that he has sent plenty of people to the hospital by breaking the rules. He noted that the match with Jack Swagger is about the title but that his match later on Raw with Batista was something he had been looking forward to for a long time.

The Bellas beat Kelly Kelly & Gail Kim and Jillian Hall & Rosa Mendes in a Baywatch themed triple threat match. Santino was guest referee. Jillian hit a Samoan drop on a Bella. Rosa followed with some awful kicks and a suplex. A brawl broke out and the Bellas switched. The wrong Bella then rolled up Rosa for the pin. After the match Santino choked on his whistle but Hornswoggle dislodged it with a frog splash in a stupid comedy bit.

Randy Orton beat Batista via DQ. This reminded me of those old Nitro matches between two stars that went a while and then abruptly ended with an utterly predictable and completely unsatisfying run-in. Orton hit a back breaker and used the Garvin stomp. Batista took over with a kick to the head. Batista went for a spear that Orton was supposed to counter with a kick but the kick missed badly. Orton was smart enough to quickly throw Batista into the post to compensate, but the announcers made fools of themselves selling this kick that missed by two feet.

Orton and Batista traded punches. Orton hit clotheslines and a power slam but Batista rolled out as Orton set up for the punt. Orton used his DDT off the ropes and went for the RKO but Batista countered with a spine buster. Batista went for the Batista bomb but Orton countered into the RKO. Jack Swagger then ran in with a gut wrench power bomb on Orton. Cena ran out and applied the STF to Batista. Batista tapped out and then passed out. Cena counted to ten to close the show.

Final Thoughts:

I didn’t care for this show. There wasn’t anything particularly problematic, but I found it all rather boring and the tone of the show was grating. I’m also completely sick of these annoying guest hosts.

Monday, April 05, 2010

WWE Raw Report

Date: 04/05/10 from Moline, IL.

The Big News: John Cena didn’t have a lot of luck with tag team partners on Raw.

Show Analysis:

I want to start with a quick note from last week. When Undertaker came out before Shawn Michaels began his speech, he tipped his hat to Michaels before leaving. Sorry about that; I occasionally will miss a detail when I’m looking down to type and that was an important one. Thanks to everyone who let me know that. Also, what an incredible performance by Kurt Angle on Impact tonight.

Jack Swagger came out to begin Raw. I’m happy with the elevation of Swagger but it sure would have been nice if he weren’t humiliated repeatedly in the past few months and even in the days before his title win.

Swagger said that he thought about cashing in his title shot against John Cena but that he realized to be truly appreciated he needed to beat someone superior to Cena in Chris Jericho. Swagger said he would have beaten Cena even faster than the nine seconds it took him to beat Jericho. He added that he will be on Smackdown because nobody on Raw can compare to his abilities. This, unfortunately, was not a good promo at all. Swagger seemed nervous and his delivery left a lot to be desired. He’s a guy who might benefit from a mouthpiece, actually.

John Cena came out with his obnoxious, cutesy demeanor. He labeled Swagger the luckiest man in the world. Cena sarcastically said that the fans will be really sorry to see Swagger leave for Smackdown. He then called Swagger a liar for saying that nobody on Raw can compete with him. Cena said Swagger is not championship material and is a weasel. He challenged Swagger to a match on Raw and said he’d put up his title. Swagger declined, which brought out Randy Orton.

Randy Orton pointed out he beat Swagger last week and wanted another match with Swagger. That brought out Miz and Big Show for no apparent reason. They said it was all about them. Guest host David Otunga then was last out and made Orton vs. Swagger and Show Miz vs. Batista and Cena. Orton went for an RKO on Cena but Cena brushed it off and Orton hit the RKO on Swagger.

This wasn’t a good opening segment and I didn’t really understand the motivation for most of the people involved. It was like they wanted the two announced matches but didn’t have a clear and logical way to set them up.

Sheamus beat Kofi Kingston. This was a short match and not good. Kofi was going for kicks but was caught with a big boot and razor’s edge for the pin. Sheamus hit Kofi in the head with his pipe after the match. They showed HHH walking towards the ring backstage and cut to a commercial break, which is a different way for them to get people to stay tuned.

After the break, Sheamus said that HHH deprived him of the biggest moment of his career so he attacked HHH with a pipe and left him lying. He then mocked HHH for going to cry with his friend Shawn Michaels rather than coming to get revenge on Sheamus. Sheamus threatened to take HHH out. HHH came out. Sheamus had a pipe so HHH grabbed a sledgehammer and hit Sheamus with it. Sheamus ran away through the crowd. HHH then said that Sheamus was a silly Irishman bringing a pipe to a sledgehammer fight. I really liked this segment. Sheamus delivered a very good promo and the HHH line at the end was funny.

Eve Torres won a battle royal to earn a title shot at Maryse next week over the Bellas, Jillian Hall, Alicia Fox, Gail Kim, Kelly Kelly, Katie Lea and Rosa Mendes. The women had to wrestle in dresses. Maryse did commentary and was hilarious in burying some of these women as they came out in their dresses.

This was one of those matches where everyone just went diving out as quickly as possible. In less than a minute it was down to Kelly, Alicia, Eve and Jillian. Kelly hit a whirlybird on Alicia but Jillian then threw out Kelly. Alicia and Jillian double teamed Eve, but Alicia missed a charge and Eve sent her out. Alicia tried to pull Eve out anyway but failed. Jillian charged and Eve sent her out for the win.

David Otunga was backstage with a bunch of lackeys and hangers-on who agreed with everything he said and laughed at his jokes. It was pretty amusing. Santino and Hornswoggle then came in for “comedy.”

Show Miz beat Batista and John Cena via count out. This went exactly how you would have expected. Cena started. He had success against Miz but Show took over on Cena. Miz missed a charge on Cena and Cena was ready to tag Batista but Batista of course left. Cena followed Batista, fought him on the ramp, and was counted out. David Otunga then came out to announce Show Miz defending the titles again later in the show against Cena and Otunga.

Ted DiBiase beat Christian. DiBiase now has the old Million Dollar Title and they even went through the history of the belt. DiBiase explained that last week Ted Sr. tried to act like a father for the first time but that it couldn’t make up for the lost years. DiBiase explained that his father always won him over through money rather than through the heart, so DiBiase gave his son the Million Dollar Title.

I don’t like this move for the same reason I don’t like AJ Styles impersonating Ric Flair or Shawn Stasiak doing Mr. Perfect’s gimmick. It’s hard to get over when it’s clear to fans that you’re doing a knockoff of someone else’s act, particularly when the other person was so much better at it.

The match itself between DiBiase and Christian was very good. Christian hit a baseball slide and springboard shoulder block to the outside. DiBiase retaliated with a neck breaker but Christian came back with a crossbody off the top. However, Christian was posted and DiBiase hit Dream Street for the pin.

They announced that in three weeks there will be a three hour draft special. They also announced next week the guest host will be David Hasselhoff. Just when you thought they’d scraped the bottom of the barrel. Coming soon to guest host Raw: Vanilla Ice! Dwight Gooden! Dustin Diamond! Carrot Top! The Noid!

Randy Orton beat Jack Swagger. Swagger used a slam and clothesline to the outside. He sent Orton into the barricade and into the post. Orton hit the DDT off the ropes but Swagger got his foot on the ropes at two. Orton followed with a power slam and back breaker. He went for the RKO but Swagger escaped and hit the big boot for two. Swagger hit two Vader bombs and went for the gut wrench power bomb but Orton ducked out and hit the RKO for the pin.

This was a good match and was booked in a way that I think ultimately didn’t do Swagger much harm. They treated him as pretty much an equal to Orton. But I continue to find it bewildering when they are “elevating” someone that the guy ends up doing job after job after job in the process. They protect guys who don’t need it and have the guys who need the help lose repeatedly.

Big Show and Miz beat John Cena and David Otunga. This was pretty much a repeat of earlier in the show. Cena started but did tag in Otunga. Otunga used a head lock and shoulder blocks on Miz and then tagged back in Cena. Show Miz took over on Cena. When Cena finally fought back and went for the tag Otunga left. Show then knocked out Cena off camera with a punch and scored the pin.

Batista came out and hit a Batista bomb. Otunga then said Batista had an announcement. Batista explained he would get his title rematch at Extreme Rules in a last man standing match. I didn’t really understand Otunga’s motivation in all this, but I’ll assume they have a good explanation on NXT or Smackdown.

Final Thoughts:

In some years after good WrestleMania builds, WWE has lost focus. That doesn’t appear to be happening this year. The direction continues to be solid and the shows are generally entertaining.

I don’t really understand why David Otunga was the guest host. I figured it was because they could get Jennifer Hudson with him, but she didn’t appear. I guess it was ultimately just because they felt the need to bring attention to NXT. While his presence was kind of weird, I thought he did a good job in the role. He has presence as a performer and can talk. He can’t really wrestle yet, but he’s got a lot of upside if he can step up his game in that department.

Sunday, April 04, 2010


I love this move. It probably won't come together because the Skins don't have a lot of talent, particularly on the O-line, but as a single deal I think it's great. I've always appreciated McNabb's talent and had a lot of respect for him playing in division. I also don't have resentment or anger towards him like other guys who played for my teams' rivals and then came to my team (see D. Sanders, J. Jagr). And Eagles fans never deserved the guy given how poorly they treated him and how well he played. Way to go Redskins! Really hope McNabb has a great year and makes the Eagles choke on this decision.