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