Tuesday, May 18, 2010

WWE Raw Report

Date: 05/17/10 from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The Big News: Bret Hart won the United States Title.

Show Analysis:

Bret Hart came out to start the show. He got a huge reaction, which made me happy. He said that he heard about Miz’s challenge and initially told WWE he would accept. But then he thought about it more and realized he doesn’t want to be one of those wrestlers who hold on too long. Thus, he concluded that he wouldn’t wrestle anymore and hoped he wasn’t disappointing anyone.

Chris Jericho interrupted Bret and got another big reaction. Jericho wanted to know why Bret ever came back to WWE. He said that Bret is tarnishing his status and is already one of those wrestlers holding on too long. Jericho labeled Bret the ultimate hypocrite who came back to WWE because he is an ego-driven phony. Jericho said Bret deserved to be screwed.

Bret responded by talking about Jericho hanging around the Hart basement trying to learn to wrestle. Bret said Jericho is the phony walking around now like he’s a big shot. Jericho said that he’s better than Bret ever was, and the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. Jericho said he’s the only person who matters now and that Bret’s fans are sickened to see what he has become.

Jericho continued by saying that nobody wants to see Bret any more. The crowd responded by chanting “we want Bret.” Jericho said that now Bret is just a guy afraid to take on Miz in a fight. He concluded that Bret doesn’t mean anything, the Hart name doesn’t mean anything, and Stu would be ashamed of Bret.

Bret told Jericho that he accepted the match. Jericho claimed Bret would try to get himself disqualified and asked for a no-DQ match. Bret said he wouldn’t want it any other way. He said he would take the US title and the Hart Dynasty would take the tag titles.

I absolutely loved this opening. It may have been the best segment with Bret Hart since he returned to WWE, because the crowd loved him so much and Jericho was much better in my opinion verbally dueling with Bret than Vince McMahon was. This was a really inspired segment in making Jericho look like a jerk and Bret look like a hero.

During the show they aired three spoofs of commercials. Spoofing a commercial makes you come across as bottom of the barrel lame, uncreative and low rent. It’s a commercial. It’s not high art. If you want to do a spoof, by all means spoof a movie or a song or a current event. And f you want to do a fake commercial, you should at least be able to make up your own 30 second premise rather than ripping off a three year old joke from freaking Visa. Congratulations, you’re miraculously even lamer than Date Movie.

Anyway, one of these was comedy based around the idea of Great Khali crammed in a tight rental car. The second was about R. Truth slapping Ted DiBiase. The third was comedy about a woman going on a blind date with Goldust. They also did a vignette later with Santino Marella. In spite of my criticism of the idea of them spoofing commercials, the vignettes themselves were mostly fine.

Edge beat Christian. The story was that Edge and Randy Orton got to pick the other’s opponent for Raw, so Christian came out. Smackdown wrestlers were all over the show and they didn’t really even try to explain it. It’s beating a dead horse at this point, but it really is ridiculous they can’t work out a basic, logical and consistent premise for how the different brands work and when they can mix. Particularly when your announcers were freaking out like maniacs when Kelly Kelly got drafted to Smackdown three weeks ago.

Edge got a big face pop, and the crowd didn’t seem to know how to react when Christian came out to wrestle him. They seemed ready to cheer Edge a ton but weren’t about to boo Christian. Christian chased Edge around but was caught with punches. Christian hit a baseball slide and springboard crossbody but then crashed into the barricade charging at Edge. They teased a count out all the way to nine.

Edge worked over Christian for a while. Christian came back with a tornado DDT for two. He followed with a second rope dropkick for another near fall. Christian set up for the kill switch but Edge escaped twice. Christian missed a splash off the top and Edge hit an implant DDT for two. They did a series of rollup attempts. Edge went for the spear but Christian avoided it. Christian went for the kill switch but Edge countered by throwing Christian into the post and hitting a spear for the pin.

This was a very good match. Edge and Christian as you would expect worked really well together and they gave them plenty of time for the match to build. After this, Randy Orton appeared on the screen. He said that he didn’t know why Christian was out there, because that wasn’t Edge’s opponent for the night.

Undertaker beat Edge via count out. Undertaker made his entrance to a big response. Edge didn’t bother competing. He stood on the apron and took the count out. Then Christian threw Edge back in the ring and Undertaker gave Edge a choke slam. Obviously, they delivered absolutely nothing with this match, but I was totally cool with it. The fans got a bonus Undertaker entrance and appearance, Edge already provided a good match, and you didn’t advertise anything in advance that you didn’t deliver.

Backstage, Maryse was getting her makeup done. First, she badmouthed Trish Stratus. Then she made a point to note she’s French Canadian as opposed to Canadian. Then she started mocking Eve Torres. Eve came up from behind and attacked her.

They did a backstage vignette with Buzz Aldrin. Buzz had all this merchandise all over his office and was plugging his iphone application. It came across kind of sad to see this man who was involved in such a seminal event in human history shamelessly hawking this tacky crap on Raw. Oh well. Vickie Guerrero came in and wanted the office. Buzz pointed out that she resigned last week and said that WWE will name her replacement as GM on Raw next week. The Bellas escorted Vickie out.

Mark Henry was coming to the ring for a match presumably with Batista when Batista attacked him from behind. Batista hit him with a 2 x 4, rammed him into the post twice, and threw him into the steps. Henry did a good job selling this, which isn’t always an easy task for such a big man.

Ted DiBiase beat Yoshi Tatsu. DiBiase was escorted to the ring by Wrestling Superstar Virgil. Virgil didn’t look very happy and unfortunately wasn’t dressed in one of his old suits. There were chants for Virgil. Tatsu used some hip tosses. DiBiase took over with some punches and kicks. Tatsu came back with kicks but missed a head kick and was caught with Dream Street for the pin. This was fine but a little disappointing. DiBiase said that the original version isn’t ashamed to be the new Virgil. DiBiase said Virgil will be in his corner on Sunday against R. Truth. Presumably Virgil will turn on DiBiase.

Bret Hart beat the Miz to win the United States title. Miz said prior to the match that not only would he beat Bret but he would publicly humiliate him and spit on the Hart heritage. He vowed to make Bret tap to the sharpshooter. Miz said he didn’t trust Bret so he paid off a couple guys to neutralize the Hart Dynasty. Vladimir Kozlov and William Regal came out. Man, you get what you pay for. Miz should have anted up for better goons.

The Hart Dynasty came out of the crowd and brawled with Regal and Kozlov to the back. Chris Jericho then came into the ring to join Miz. Natalya joined Bret. She slapped Jericho. Jericho recovered and went after Bret, but David Hart Smith made the save and attacked Jericho. Miz knocked Smith out of the ring, leaving just Miz and Bret. Miz went for the sharpshooter but Tyson Kidd hit a springboard dropkick to break it up.

Hart Dynasty proceeded to hit the Hart Attack on Miz. Bret applied the sharpshooter and Miz tapped out. This was a fun segment designed to make the fans happy and I love it when they have feel good moments with legends like this from time to time. One interesting note during this match was that Michael Cole kept heeling on Bret, so his NXT persona appears to be drifting to Raw.

Maryse, Layla El and Michelle McCool beat Eve Torres and the Bella Twins. Michelle and Layla now both have women’s title belts. Eve hit a Samoan drop and neck breaker on Layla. Brie tagged in but was caught with a Michelle kick to the face. She got the tag to Nikki, who hit dropkicks and a monkey flip on Michelle. Nikki missed a crossbody off the ropes. Maryse tagged herself in, hit the implant DDT on Nikki, and scored the pin. After the match Maryse and Eve did a bad looking pull apart. This was a sloppy match.

Backstage, John Cena cut a cheesy, overacted promo. He said he would take out Sheamus to make sure Sheamus isn’t an obstacle at Over the Limit. He added that the I quit stipulation is because he wants no dispute over who is the best between Cena and Batista. If Batista can make him say I quit, he doesn’t deserve another shot at becoming champ. He loudly vowed not to quit and the crowd booed. I have trouble explaining what happened with John Cena. I really thought he was a fantastic promo for years and years but now I think he has become atrocious. Often his material isn’t very good but here his delivery was awful.

Randy Orton beat Jack Swagger via DQ. Orton used the Garvin stomp. He missed a knee drop and Swagger took over with mat wrestling. Swagger hit a belly to belly, sent Orton into the announce table twice, hit two Vader bombs, and rammed Orton into the apron. Orton countered another Vader bomb attempt with a kick. Orton hit clotheslines, a powerslam, and a DDT off the ropes. Orton set up for the RKO but Edge ran in for the DQ. Orton gave Swagger the RKO but Edge gave Orton the spear. This was a good match.

Next up was a weird train wreck segment. Buzz Aldrin came to the ring to talk about space flight. He got “what” chants. His deliver was really goofy. Zack Ryder and Alicia Fox interrupted him. That was a quick courtship. Ryder ran down Canada. They showed the epic youtube clip of Buzz punching out a moon landing conspiracy theorist. He was supposed to introduce Evan Bourne and Gail Kim but they evidently lost confidence in him and just played Bourne’s music as Buzz was talking. Buzz still delivered what he was supposed to.

Evan Bourne and Gail Kim beat Zack Ryder and Alicia Fox. Alicia hit a Northern lights suplex on Gail for two. Gail hit a neck breaker. Bourne used a spinning head scissors and high knee on Ryder. Bourne went for the shooting star but Alicia pushed Ryder out of the ring so Bourne hit a crossbody to the floor on Ryder. Gail then hit eat defeat on Alicia for the win. Buzz did the moonwalk after. They announced Jon Lovitz as guest host for Raw next week, which could be good.

John Cena beat Sheamus via DQ. Cena sent Sheamus into the steps and posted Sheamus. Sheamus hit a back breaker, knee to the head, and worked Cena over. Cena came back with the five knuckle shuffle and was booed. He went for the FU but Sheamus grabbed the ropes. Cena threw Sheamus to the floor. Batista then came in and hit three spine busters and the Batista bomb for the DQ. Batista then put Cena in the rings of Saturn and screamed at Cena to quit. Cena wouldn’t do so as the show ended.

I was fine with the finish to Orton/Swagger because you don’t really want to beat either guy going into the PPV, but they really shouldn’t have used the same lame run-in DQ finish twice in the same show.

Final Thoughts:

I thought this was an enjoyable show. The Bret Hart/Chris Jericho/Miz stuff worked very well and there was some good wrestling throughout. The great crowd in Toronto was also a huge help as it made it a hot show. Some of the finishes were pretty darn weak, but overall the show delivered.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Tony said...

Todd,

I'm surprised you didn't mention how that Edge / Christian match was such a gigantic missed opportunity. It's their first match since Christian's return to the company. Common sense and wrestling booking 101 says it should be saved for PPV with the buildup talking about their rich history as a tag team.

So of course, they book it unadvertised as a total afterthought as part of the Edge / Orton feud.

Had it happened in TNA, all the Net would be up in arms talking about the atrocious booking in that company. But since it's WWE, somehow people barely react. I say Double Standards.

4:53 AM  
Anonymous PeteW said...

I was shocked at the Christain - Edge throw-away match too. I had expected a big feud or reunion between these two. I think we've become so numb to the horrendous booking and inconsistant storylines in the WWE that we take the pathetic in stride. The Orton-Swagger match was excellent even though you knew it would end with Edge interferrng. Talk about inconsistant booking. Swagger looks top level when he fights Orton. But on SD, he was a buffoon against Show - and just about everybody else. He is definitely the most inconsistently booked performer on the roster. I think Ted Jr is dynamic and totally owning his personna. He is a great performer and a very strong heel. And finally, any show without Trips is just so much more entertaining and refreeshing that each week I dread his inevitable return more and more.

5:45 AM  
Blogger Matt Betush said...

We all know how WWE writers completely ignore the past, and I wont be surprised if we see the big Edge/Christian match down the line where they won't even reference last night's encounter.

Todd, as for the spoofs that they played as "commercials"...yes, spoofing isn't necessarily high brow material, but the spoofs they did last night were way more entertaining than anything original they would have came up with.

7:28 AM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

The ad spoofs were right on target, though for the life of me I don't know why they did 2 GEICO parodies without using a gecko or a caveman.

Edge vs. Christian hasn't been done--until last night, that is--in years, but I guess they wanted to get this out of the way and close that piece of business from last month. Easily the best match on the show, so of course it has to be a curtain jerker.

Bret Hart winning the US title was sewn up when Jericho insisted on making it No-DQ. Miz's fate was sealed, but I suspect that there'll be some kind of trade-off that puts the tag titles back in Miz's & Jericho's hands on Sunday, though I'd rather not see that. Too early for the Hart Dynasty to lose the tag titles.

2 DQ finishes in the last 3 bouts speaks to creative laziness. Period. The worst case scenario with Mark Henry is turning him back heel, but the opening is there because Cena didn't make the save for him 2 weeks in a row. If Batista is in fact leaving, this is the blowoff, and we'll be seeing Big Dave in a series of cheap, direct-to-DVD clunkers for the next 5 years.

I don't think Layla & Michelle are long for being co-champs. Since Vickie got caught in a bit of a lie, they can then turn around and say that because she misrepresented herself in order to take a women's title opportunity away from Rosa Mendes on Friday, then "Team LayCool" can be stripped and we get a tournament while Vickie finds herself either suspended or fired. It's the best case scenario I can think of. Vickie's act jumped the shark long ago, and she needs to leave yesterday.

It's safe to assume Bryan Danielson (nee Daniel Bryan) was sent down to Florida after last week, but it'd be poetic justice for him to cost JeriMiz vs. the Hart Dynasty, just to put Miz back in his place where he belongs, which is just below the midcard, IMPO.

Have to agree that Virgil is set up to turn on Ted DiBiase, Jr. on Sunday. What was forgotten was how Virgil turned on Ted, Sr. so long ago, with the urging of Roddy Piper. Once again, the writers think we don't remember the past. Their loss.

7:54 AM  
Anonymous Chuck Schick said...

I'm not surprised at all by the Edge/Christian match-up. It's clear that there's never been any thought of doing another program between the two, as, to be honest, it's a step down the card for Edge. I'm all for Christian, but in WWE, his slot is appreciably lower than Edge's, and that's just the way it is. The reaction from WWE bookers would probably be 'Stop living in the past', ironic as that may sound.
I think that Cena has just become a parody of himself, vis a vis the promos. He's like watching Al Pacino act; just scream and yell and bug yer eyes out. It's no wonder most fans over the age of 10 despise him. Contrast it with the superb work of Big Dave, and it stands out even more. I will say that I think Sheamus is getting much better, and while his look is rather mid-carder, he looks to be a real talent. Ditto the Miz, whose upcoming team with Jericho should be a lot of fun. I think they just wanted to get the US belt off of Miz, and while I'd always assumed it was Danielson who would get it, I suppose that they'll have some sort of tourney for it. I was struck by the fact that Cole said Hart has won the US Belt five times? Is that right? I know in WCW they tossed the straps around every week, but that seemed unlikely. I also picked up on Cole heeling on Hart; it sure seemed random. I am glad that Hart got the good pop in Canada, as in the US it was always a bit lukewarm, but he really shouldn't be near a ring ever again. He looked as bad as Duggan in there. Also, can I say that, god help me, I really find Natalya attractive? Knowing that it's the Anvil's genes makes me a bit uneasy.

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Steve Khan said...

I was at the show. It was great live.

I wish Natalya body slammed The Miz.

3:32 PM  
Anonymous SteRDLK said...

Cole was also "heeling" during the dias match, when he stated that LayCool being co-champs was great. Maybe not as evident as him agreeing with Jericho about Bret being a hasbeen, or ripping on American Dragon for weeks on NXT, but it was there and it was good.

5:02 PM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

I'm certainly showing my age, but the Jericho-Hart opening segment was everything you want professional wrestling to be...IMO.

- Matt in Anchorage

7:46 PM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

Re.: Michael Cole as a heel. Epic fail. I'm sure he knows that he's not well liked because he was swapped for Jim Ross 2 years ago, and with Ross now off the air, seemingly for good, Cole now is given a role to play, but he's better off as a color analyst if he's going to be a heel.

They tested the waters with Cole heeling on Josh Mathews on Velocity a few years back, and, feeling that it worked, decided to revive that vibe when NXT launched. Unfortunately, Cole has been so ingrained as a fish-out-of-water schlub (ex-newsman) trying to fit in for so long, changing his persona on air after 13 years just doesn't work.

I can't buy into Cole as a heel play-by-play guy. Jerry Lawler apparently doesn't want to be a heel analyst anymore, especially since he goes all Benny Hill when there's a women's match. If this leads to JR finally returning with a new deal, then maybe it's worth it. FWIW, Joey Styles is still on the payroll, and being forced to retire from broadcasting 2 years ago still must be sticking in his craw.....

8:42 AM  
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7:28 PM  

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