Monday, May 24, 2010

WWE Raw Report

Date: 05/24/10 from Toledo, OH.

The Big News: With Batista’s departure, WWE’s talent roster is the thinnest it has been since WCW folded.

Show Analysis:

The show started with Batista. He was helped out by two referees, with his arm in a sling and wearing a ridiculous pair of glasses. The whole thing seemed to be played for comedy, and it was very funny. Batista sat down in a wheelchair in the ring and demanded a spotlight.

Batista acknowledged quitting, but said he did it because his life was threatened. He said he would sue WWE and John Cena and would then sue the fans for supporting what happened to him. I’m going to weigh in with my expert legal opinion on this one and proclaim Batista’s lawsuit against the fans unlikely to win. Batista said he could have done what Cena did but he believes in honor. He said that he is out for weeks, months, maybe years. But he vowed to be back and get his rematch.

He was interrupted by the new GM of Raw, Bret Hart. Bret announced a “new pay-per-view concept” (sounds like we hear that every month) Fatal Four Way. Bret said that John Cena’s three opponents for that would be determined on Raw. Bret said Batista would have a chance to get back in. Wait a second. Wasn’t the whole stipulation of the match last night that it would be Batista and Cena’s last match for the title? I guess multiple person matches don’t count.

Anyway, Batista pointed out he is hurt and in a wheelchair. Bret said that Batista’s opponent is hurt too, Randy Orton. Batista he reiterated that he can’t compete. Bret said he could take the match or forfeit. Batista threatened to quit the company. So Bret said that winner and qualifier was Orton. What a great way to make the fatal four way PPV feel important, have the first guy (and a face at that) thrown in without even qualifying.

Batista screamed at the fans that the company will fall apart without him and then he quit WWE. As Batista was leaving, the ring announcer said, “Let’s hear it for Batista.” That was another hilarious touch. This whole segment was very amusing to me, but I’m not sure it’s the way you should be handling the conclusion to a world title program and the departure of a big time player. I’m going to miss Batista.

Sheamus beat Mark Henry to qualify for the fatal four way title match. Henry hit a body slam and threw Sheamus over the top. Sheamus retaliated with a chop block, stomps and shoulder blocks. Henry took over with clotheslines and a splash but his shoulder gave out when he went for a press slam. Sheamus then hit the bicycle kick for the win.

They did a comedy vignette backstage with Jon Lovitz and Maryse. Lovitz won her over by speaking French and pointing out he’s rich but then rejected her. Elsewhere, Edge wanted to wrestle the injured John Cena for his shot into the fatal four way. Chris Jericho also wanted in the fatal four way. So Bret Hart made Edge vs. Jericho vs. Cena. If Edge or Jericho won, they would be in the match. If Cena won, Bret would find someone else. Jericho threatened Bret, so they appear to be building something between the two.

Maryse and Alicia Fox beat Gail Kim and Eve Torres. The heels worked on Gail briefly, with Maryse hitting a back breaker. Eve tagged in and hit a neck breaker and standing moonsault on Maryse. Alicia then kicked Eve in the head and Maryse used an implant DDT for the pin.

R. Truth beat Miz to win the United States title. They announced that Bret Hart had abdicated the title and that this singles match was made to determine a new champion. Miz worked over Truth. Truth came back with a dropkick off the second rope and a downward spiral. Truth went for a crossbody off the top but Miz rolled through for two. Truth then hit the lie detector for the win. This was a good match, but there is no excuse for putting up the vacated title in a singles match between two midcarders without at the very least a mini-tournament. This whole presentation did a number on the value of the US title and did Truth no favors either.

John Cena cut a promo backstage saying he felt good when Batista quit because it meant closure but then Sheamus came out and kicked him in the face. He said that the challengers never stop coming for the title but he will stand and fight. He kept saying “Cenanation” over and over again. That’s just what we need: more pointless corporate buzzwords nobody uses shamelessly crammed down our throats like we’re mindless, easily manipulated parakeets.

Next up Jon Lovitz hosted a “superstar search,” looking for WWE stars’ hidden talents. I feel like we’ve seen this vignette under a different name a bunch of times now and it’s always awful. This segment was particularly hideous, and it’s all on the horrendous material because Lovitz himself did as well as could be expected.

Great Khali and Ranjin Singh came out singing in suits. Lovitz didn’t like it. He then got rid of Jillian Hall before she started. Finally he brought a plant into the ring to show his talent, which was pulling out his fake eye. Ted DiBiase then came out and wanted to buy the eye. Santino made the save and threatened to use a secret pressure point he learned from Lovitz. It worked on Virgil but DiBiase laid him out with Dream Street. Lovitz proclaimed DiBiase the winner. God I hated this segment. I mean, I really really hated this segment.

Hart Dynasty beat William Regal and Vladimir Kozlov. The heels very briefly worked on Tyson Kidd. Kidd got the tag to David Hart Smith and they hit the Hart attack on Regal shortly thereafter for the pin. After the match the Usos and Sarona Snuka (unidentified by the announcers) attacked the Hart Dynasty and Natalya. All three hit simultaneous top rope splashes. I hope they can talk or work because they don’t have a major league look at all.

The NXT guys were interviewed backstage. Everyone but Heath Slater wanted Heath Slater gone. I agree with everyone but Heath Slater. They then spotlighted Daniel Bryan attacking Michael Cole, with Bryan calling Cole a poor man’s Jim Ross. I always thought of Cole as a poor man’s Tony Schiavone myself. Cole vowed to call out Bryan tomorrow on NXT and demand an apology or he’ll sue Bryan. They announced Ashton Kutcher as guest host next week.

Edge beat Chris Jericho and John Cena to earn the final spot in the fatal four way. Jericho worked over Cena in the ring for a while as Edge was on the outside. Cena made his comeback with shoulder blocks, the Cena slam and the five knuckle. When he went for the FU of course Edge came in. He speared Jericho accidentally. Cena applied the STF on Edge but Jericho came in and put the Walls on Cena. He then put the Walls on Edge. Cena broke that up.

Cena went for the FU on Jericho but Edge broke that up with a slow motion spear. Jericho hit the code breaker on Cena but Edge then speared and covered Jericho for the win. Sheamus and Randy Orton came out after the match and they all looked at each other. This was a good match but these guys seemed a little off based on their usual standard.

Final Thoughts:

This show gets a mild thumbs down from me. There wasn’t much that was terrible beyond the superstar search segment, but I felt most segments weren’t particularly effective in what they were trying to accomplish. WWE is also heavily feeling the consequences these days of their continual burials of rising talent. With many of their established stars getting older and needing more time off, they just don’t have credible young stars to put in their place. As a result, Raw is dreadfully thin these days and there are no easy answers for how to fix that problem.

I’ll be in Las Vegas for UFC 114 this weekend, blogging on the event for the Los Angeles Times. You can check that out Saturday at Also, if you’re a subscriber I encourage you to check out the audio shows I’ve been doing weekly with Bryan Alvarez. I’m very pleased with how those are going and think you’ll enjoy them as well.


Blogger hobbyfan said...


The "Superstar Search" was done at least one time before in the guest host era, and that was when they had the Osbournes to do a mockery of "America's Got Talent". The seg this time was DOA because of that. Khali & Runjin doing obviously bad karaoke (you could hear Taco's 1982 hit version of "Puttin' on the Ritz" in the background, and the guys were way out of sync.). Lovitz knew enough to get rid of Jillian and her act before she started, which should be a sign that a gimmick change is nigh because after 3 years, that girl needs to showcase what really brought her up to the big leagues.

Three-way main was good stuff, but when you couple Jericho doing the job here with Henry jobbing to Sheamus and the quick dismissal of Khali, there's a pattern in relation to the poor showing of "MacGruber" at the box office (all three were in it). Naturally, they didn't mention the movie, which might be just as well for WWE to disavow any knowledge of that film ever being made to save the reps of their guys.

What you didn't bring up was Big Show (now a Smackdown guy) doing a commercial for USA. Bad timing, but with news of the big fella appearing on Royal Pains, they may bring him back for a 1-shot next month......

Since they wasted the mini-tournament for the IC title on Smackdown with Drew McIntyre's spoiled brat persona getting in the way, I guess they felt they couldn't do another one so soon for the US title, and, besides, Miz fell victim to the home state/town curse that afflicts many a Raw wrestler. He looked really serious from start to finish for a change, but once again, his mouth proved to be his undoing. Time to depush him so he can get some humility.

It'd been reported that Randy Orton suffered a separated shoulder, but they send him out at the end of the show, no-selling whatever injury he had. Maybe it wasn't as bad as they feared after all, but what do we know?

5:28 AM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

I liked how the show told us "something about ourselves: Individual improvement and redemption are vital, yet not enough. We are not in this alone."

Oh, wait...that was "Lost".

- Matt in Anchorage

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Todd, very important correction: It is "Cenation", not "Cenanation". Regardless, it pales in comparison to One Warrior Nation (OWN).

Bad show, in my opinion. Figures that after years of not being able to stand Batista, he turns heel, I start to like him, and he quits.

Bret Hart as GM is a decent enough idea, but I'm surprised Bret would do it. Is he hard up for money or something? I thought the Hall of Fame and one last WrestleMania match was more about erasing the stain on the end of his WWF career by creating some new final memories, but I'm not sure what a prolonged run as GM accomplishes. Maybe he just hadn't shaken the wrestling bug as well as I thought he had.

Lovitz did a good job, but I have no use for the guest host role at this point. Here's hoping Rampage Jackson gets put in some embarrassing situation, snaps, and rips one of Cena's arms off, causing them to rethink the whole idea.

9:37 AM  
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7:30 PM  

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