Monday, June 07, 2010

WWE Raw Report

Date: 06/07/10 from Miami, FL.

The Big News: WWE executed possibly the biggest, most visually arresting hotshot angle in the history of Monday Night Raw….

….

….

And they saved it for the NXT geeks.

Show Analysis:

Bret Hart and Teddy Long came out to start the show. They put over the idea that viewers would be in control. Randy Orton joined them with his arm in a sling. He said he wanted Edge. Edge came out and agreed. Long suggested something to Bret and Bret announced they would compete in either a debate, sit up contest, or match with one of Edge’s arms tied behind his back. They then asked the fans in the arena, who of course cheered for the match. This was not a promising start to a supposed viewer’s choice show, with only one choice anyone would vote for being provided.

Big Show beat Chris Jericho in a body slam challenge. The other choices fans could vote on were a submission match or over the top challenge. Jericho did a good job selling being upset at the stipulation. Jericho slapped Show so Show slapped him a few times. Jericho tried a body slam but of course got nowhere. Jericho went after Show’s arm for a little bit. He went for a crossbody but was caught with a body slam for the win. Show then made Jericho tap to a camel clutch and threw him over the top rope.

Hart Dynasty beat Great Khali and Hornswoggle. The other choices for Hart Dynasty’s opponents were the Usos or the Dudebusters. That was not a good sign at all where WWE builds up a match and the fans go for the joke pick instead. Khali worked over Tyson Kidd. Hornswoggle missed a frog splash off the top and Kidd pinned him. The Usos attacked the Harts after the match but the Dynasty fought them off this time.

Jerry Lawler’s crown went missing, which set up a lame show-long story. Lawler hired the A-Team to find the crown. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson said that he thought he knew who had it. The A-Team guys were playing their roles from the movie. This was surreal.

Vladimir Kozlov beat Santino Marella in a dance off. The other choices were an arm wrestling match or a wrestling match, so they obviously wanted the dance off. Santino and Kozlov did a bunch of wacky stuff. The crowd seemed to enjoy this but it didn’t really do it for me. The highlight was Santino doing what appeared to be a variation of the Carlton dance. The crowd preferred Kozlov to Santino.

Maryse won a 12 woman battle royal over the Bellas, Rosa Mendes, Jillian Hall, Gail Kim, Alicia Fox, Kelly Kelly, Layla, Michelle McCool, Tiffany and Eve Torres. The other options for the women were a 6 on 6 tag match or a champion vs. champion match. It came down to Eve, Lay Cool, Jillian and Maryse. Eve threw out Lay Cool together. Jillian and Maryse got rid of Eve. Jillian wanted to celebrate together with Maryse but Maryse threw her out instead.

Kane beat Sheamus via count out. The other choices for Sheamus’ opponent were Mark Henry or Evan Bourne but they led you towards Kane by booking a confrontation between Kane and Sheamus prior to the match. Kane accused Sheamus of attacking his brother but Sheamus said he would acknowledge if he did. Sheamus hit a powerslam and worked over Kane. Kane finally got a choke slam and Sheamus just rolled out of the ring and took the count out.

Wade Barrett did a promo backstage. He said his winning NXT was never in question and it’s just the start of things for him. He vowed to accomplish something that has never been accomplished in WWE. Elsewhere, the A-Team confronted Ted DiBiase and Virgil. They wanted the crown and Rampage was ready to fight Virgil. IRS had the crown and said Lawler didn’t pay back taxes on it. Gas went off or something, knocking out the A-Team.

Miz and Zack Ryder beat R. Truth and John Morrison. The other choices for Miz’s partner were William Regal and Dolph Ziggler while the other choices for Truth’s partner were MVP or Christian. The heels worked over Truth, who got the tag to Morrison. A brawl broke out. Morrison collided with the post and Miz hit the skull crushing finale for the pin. That finish would occur again later in the show. Backstage, Kane accused Bret Hart of taking out his brother.

Randy Orton beat Edge via DQ. Edge had his hand tied behind his back. Orton used stomps and went for the RKO but Edge escaped. Edge got his hand free and attacked Orton repeatedly until he was disqualified. Edge went for a spear but was caught with a kick. Edge then hit Orton with a chair twice including once to the injured shoulder. It seems stupid to be doing this physicality with Orton injured.

Backstage, Evan Bourne thanked John Cena for choosing him as a tag partner last week. John Cena then cut a promo saying he was happy that his fate was in the hands of the fans. Elsewhere, one of the A-Team guys did comedy with Gene Okerlund.

Matt Hardy beat Drew McIntyre. This was an amusing deal, as the choice for McIntyre’s opponent was Goldust, Yoshi Tatsu or a “mystery opponent” who was Matt Hardy in silhouette holding up the V1 sign. Drew hit a boot but ran into the post and was hit with the twist of fate for the pin.

Rampage woke up backstage from the gas and was told that IRS, Ted DiBiase and Virgil were taking him to the ring. DiBiase in the ring announced his plan to turn over Rampage to Roddy Piper. You know, because Piper feuded with Mr. T 25 years ago and Rampage is playing the character that Mr. T was famous for back then. Piper was going to attack Rampage when the other A-Team guy, Gene Okerlund and Dusty Rhodes made the save. Rampage gave DiBiase a spine buster and Virgil a choke slam. There was very little crowd reaction to any of this. The guest host next week is someone named Mark Feuerstein.

John Cena and CM Punk fought to a no contest. The other choices for Cena’s opponent were Rey Mysterio and Jack Swagger. Punk was a big surprise winning because they had pushed Rey as the choice and the angle at the end seemed better laid out for a face vs. face match. Cena went for the mask. Punk came back with kicks. Cena used punches and a bulldog but was cut off by Luke Gallows interference. Punk worked over Cena and Cena came back with a Cena slam and five knuckle shuffle attempt.

At that point, Wade Barrett came out and all hell broke loose. The NXT guys came in from the crowd, all wearing “N” armbands. They jumped the Straight Edge Society and laid them out. They then surrounded John Cena and jumped him. Barrett was leading the other guys. With Cena down, the NXT guys went to town. They attacked Matt Striker and Jerry Lawler. Michael Cole turned tail and ran.

The NXT guys attacked the ring announcer and the time keeper. Daniel Bryan choked out Justin Roberts. They tore out the ropes, pulled up the ring and removed the mats from the floor. They beat down John Cena forever, with all the guys taking turns hitting him with moves. They laid waste to the entire ringside area. John Cena was carried out on a stretcher.

Final Thoughts:

Most of this show was bad. It had bad finishes, bad wrestling, bad comedy and a bad atmosphere. They said WWE Universe about 18,000 times and kept promising viewer power while delivering the same old formula show, which felt completely patronizing. Quinton Jackson, who is a dynamic personality in MMA, was completely uninteresting doing WWE’s goofy scripted comedy. All this added up to a deadly boring show.

Then came the amazing final segment. That was one hell of an incredible angle. They pulled out all the stops to deliver something really memorable and that would get over the actors involved practically instantaneously. It was so different and so much more serious than anything they have done in ages, the sort of outsider angle that would have meant gigantic business if executed at a different time with different players.

Which makes it all the more baffling that they used this huge angle for guys who they have booked as complete geeks for weeks and weeks. There’s just no excuse if you were going to do this to not better present and protect these guys in the preceding weeks. And there’s the additional problem that most of these guys have no talent.

The good news is that most of the Raw audience doesn’t watch NXT, so they may not perceive them as badly. And you can hide their varying degrees of ineptitude by letting Daniel Bryan and Justin Gabriel do the wrestling and Wade Barrett do the talking. Still, this is the sort of segment that really leaves you wondering about the wrestling competence of the people booking WWE television. I’ve seen a lot of home run angles over the years, and it’s hard to recall ever seeing an angle this good where the focal players were so lacking in talent and prior presentation.

My latest MMA piece on Chuck Liddell and aging fighters is available at:

http://sports.espn.go.com/extra/mma/news/story?id=5258647

13 Comments:

Anonymous Phil DiLiegro said...

I agree with you completely and if anything am more pessimistic about the angle than you are. Primarily, it's impossible to have any faith in WWE to follow through on anything. I would be very surprised to find out if they even have the next chapter in this angle ironed out, since obviously tonight's angle was booked on very short notice.
There is also the huge issue of the lack of talent involved as you point out. Also, the storyline that these guys are now all on the same side contradicts all the TV until now.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Steve Khan said...

I agree with you on most of this show. One additional positive about the NXT angle is that it might get people to tune in on Tuesdays for the new season.

One thing that bothered me is what they did with Sheamus/Kane. When they started pushing Sheamus in Dec/Jan, he often played a chicken shit heel, which was stupid. Lately, though, he's been more in-your-face and a more serious heel. But walking out during a match with Kane? Really?

10:10 PM  
Anonymous SteRDLK said...

There was an angle last week with Undertaker being injured.

Then Cena gets obliterated by NXT rookies tonight.

Think the two could be linked? Two main eventers destroyed within a week, this is a great way to get over NXT guys, and more importantly, the "NXT" WWE champion, Wade Barrett.

Agreed with the whole article, except the word "amusing", which none of this crap was, except seeing Justin Roberts showing he can sell better than the WWE champ. Not a good thing.

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Tony said...

Awful comedy and silly gimmick matches galore tonight. It didn't help that this show lasted 3 hours.
I was ready to write this off as another boring formulaic Raw... when shit happened.

Like everybody else, I thought the final angle was so awesome. Yeah Todd, it's too bad the NXT rookies had been presented so badly until now, including such "riveting" TV as cutting promos on flowers or drinking soda forever. But it's not like last night's angle had been in the books for a long time. Knowing today's WWE, it was probably scripted sometime during the afternoon of the show at the earliest, and Vince changed his mind on it 25 times before it got on the air. Which is why it didn't make too much sense.

I have zero confidence that they will follow up on it the right way. But for one night only, it was a totally different, chaotic, exciting happening like WWE has ever seen for years, and it's good that they proved that when they want to, they can still produce the kind of edgy, unpredictable TV they were so famous for a decade ago.

4:50 AM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

Only one way to describe the show-ending angle with the NXT mutiny:

A-freakin'-mazin'!

Of the 3 "A-Team" actors, only Bradley Cooper wasn't in character, and appeared briefly. The stuff they did with Rampage & Sharito Copley reeked of something from the original series, and it should be pointed out for the record that Gene Okerlund appeared in 1 episode of the series, accompanying----who else?---Hulk Hogan. I don't recall seeing Piper appear on "A-Team", but he fought Mr. T at Wrestlemanias 1-2, not "B. A. Baracus". Piper must've been stone drunk to come out as a heel this time, when 7 months ago, he was a face confronting Vince at MSG. His acting here was atrocious. Shoot, Ted DiBiase, Sr. & Virgil weren't in the then-WWF during the "A-Team" years (1983-87), arriving after the series ended, so Ted, Jr. felt out of place. So did the whole skit.

Before Monday, nothing was even planned out, so everything was on the fly. Not good. The tag matches seemed rushed, and so was the latest chapter between Matt Hardy & Drew McIntyre. Drew's digging a hole for himself, IMPO, by implying that perhaps his letters from Vince are fake, and that the notion of being a future World champ with Vince's backing has gone to his head.

On to the finale. No one certainly saw this coming. I thought Cole got taken out along with Lawler & Striker, but I didn't see him run for the hills, either. Not sure if Serena ran off, too, because she was nowhere near the carnage at the end of the show as well. Was this what Barrett was talking about in his promo? That maybe this mutiny is him and the others banding together to take over Raw?

I think we're all certain that Barrett will challenge Cena next month, meaning that the title won't change hands at Fatal 4-Way.

Vince really needs to get the writers together for a conference and stick to what's decided there. It's either that, or retire. Last week's appearance now seems random, unless he inserts himself into this angle as a means of driving Bret off Raw, in which case, it falls under, "some people never learn".

5:40 AM  
Anonymous The Masterbater said...

Should have done that angle for the WCW/ECW invasion angle sooo sooo long ago...

But anyways, I don't think that beat down on Cena was enough. WWE should have put an extra 10 or 15 minutes so the NXT guys could beat on Cena some more. I enjoyed the Cena beat down more than anything I have seen in Raw in years. In my opinion when Cena was taken out on the stretcher the NXT guys should have came out and beat him up some more! Just my opinion.

7:47 AM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

My golf league started last evening, so I didn't see a second of the show for the first time in a long time...sounds like I missed something actually - dare I say - intriguing.

- Matt in Anchorage

9:49 AM  
Blogger mcory said...

I don't watch WWE consistently enough but I did see the Great Khali lose a match on Smackdown to Dolph Ziggler one month ago. After the match, the Great Khali said he was going home to India to get back into fighting shape. The implication was that he would be gone a long time and he started waving goodbye to the fans. And yet the Great Khali has been on RAW every week since. Did I miss something?

10:01 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

"Did I miss something?"

Yes, you missed the angle explaining the whole thing.

Unfortunately, the rest of us all missed it too.

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't stop watching that angle. It was awesome. It came out of nowhere at the tail end of a crappy show.

Somebody else mentioned how come no wrestlers came down and tried to stop them? Good question that needs to be answered.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

did anyone else notice when Kane came out to confront Bret that they had red lighting in the hall where he came from? I like little touches like that.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Bobcat said...

Great article on Liddell, BTW.

8:05 PM  
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7:28 PM  

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