Monday, June 21, 2010

WWE Raw Report

Date: 06/21/10 from Bridgeport, CT.

The Big News: Vince McMahon revealed himself to apparently have been behind the NXT invasion, but then the NXT guys turned on him.

Show Analysis:

Vince McMahon came out to start the show. He said that there was chaos last night and there was only one person to blame, Bret Hart. Vince said that Bret made bad decisions firing Wade Barrett and not showing up or providing additional protection at the PPV. Thus, he fired Bret as GM. Vince announced a new anonymous general manager who will send e-mail decisions to Michael Cole at ringside and Cole will read them. Cole received the first GM decision and it said that the seven members of the NXT group were hired.

Sheamus came out and said that this isn’t how he wanted o win the title. He added that he couldn’t accept the title under these circumstances and held the belt up for Vince to take. That was cheered but Sheamus then laughed and took the title back. He celebrated his win and thanked the NXT guys. He proclaimed that he didn’t need the help. Sheamus was very good here.

John Cena was next out. He was smiling and literally telling jokes, because who cares if he lost the WWE title? This was so stupid. Cena wanted his title rematch later on Raw. To my shock, the GM made the match with Vince McMahon as referee. Of course, with the finish they provided they might as well have just done the usual overt bait and switch.

Chris Jericho beat Evan Bourne in a great little match. Jericho vowed before the match to retire if he lost. Jericho worked Bourne over while Bourne kept going for rollups. Jericho went for the Walls but Bourne escaped and hit a tornado DDT for two. Bourne hit the double knees to the face but Jericho rolled through and applied the Walls. Bourne struggled for the ropes and finally got them. Bourne hit a kick to the face and went for the shooting star press but Jericho got his knees up. That looked awesome. Jericho then really quickly hit the code breaker for the pin. Jericho shoved Bourne down after the match.

Backstage, Vince McMahon was on the phone with the GM. Vince liked what the GM did but said that he doesn’t want to be surprised himself. Elsewhere, Ted DiBiase apologized to Virgil for last week. However, he added that Virgil’s services are no longer needed because he got an upgrade. Maryse came in. Virgil asked what DiBiase would do for protection. DiBiase said he would go to the drug store. That was a great line. Virgil got in DiBiase’s face but then left. I’m very glad they’re finally pairing Maryse with a singles act. I would have paired her with someone who has more upside but she’ll help DiBiase and they can always switch her to someone else later.

The Hart Dynasty was angry backstage about Bret being fired and what the NXT guys did. Of course they had to script Tyson Kidd to say that the last time Bret left WWE an argument could be made that both sides were wrong. Natalya dedicated her match to Bret, and of course didn’t even win.

Natalya wrestled Timina to a no contest. Timina used punches and kicks. Natalya hit a body slam. Simina went for a Samoan drop but had it reversed at which point the NXT guys came out. Wade Barrett said he was there to apologize but Kidd immediately took out a couple guys with a somersault plancha. The NXT guys laid out the Hart Dynasty. I like the idea of the NXT guys coming out whenever. It adds an air of unpredictability and excitement.

The NXT guys all took turns on the microphone continuing where the last left off, which felt so contrived. David Otunga apologized. He said that they did what they did because they love WWE and that now they’ve got contracts things can go back to normal. Heath Slater was interrupted by Daniel Bryan chants. He said they have no problem with WWE wrestlers and it is nothing personal.

Justin Gabriel apologized to Bret Hart and the Hart Dynasty. Darren Young apologized to John Cena. Skip Sheffield insincerely apologized to the fans and tried to get them to do his NXT catchphrase. Michael Tarver said that anyone would have done what they did.

That led to Wade Barrett. Barrett said he had a contract and title shot but he aligned himself with the other guys out of loyalty because they decided to stick together from the beginning and make sure they all got contracts. So was the first season of NXT all a big dream then? He said they have a bond that will never be broken. Barrett said they could make Sheamus a target just as easily as Cena so he better watch it. This was a boring segment. Obviously it was all a ruse, but I don’t understand what exactly they were trying to accomplish in storyline here.

John Morrison beat Zack Ryder. Ted DiBiase was supposed to wrestle Morrison but he came out with Maryse and said he had better things to do but had a replacement. Ryder hit a drop kick and knee drop. Morrison responded with a jaw breaker, power bomb and starship pain for the pin. Backstage, John Cena didn’t accept the NXT apology and said that actions bring about reactions. Vince told Cena he would ensure the best man won.

Great Khali and Eve Torres beat Primo Colon and Alicia Fox. Primo didn’t want in with Khali so he immediately tagged Alicia. Eve had the advantage on Alicia and first and then Alicia took over for a little while. Eve hit an enzuigiri and moonsault but Primo came in and grabbed her. She slapped him and tagged Khali. Alicia left and Khali gave Primo the tree slam for the pin.

Randy Orton came to the ring to say that he will punt the NXT guys and if Barrett gets the title Orton will take it from him. Miz interrupted and said the voices in his head are sick of Orton in the main event. Miz said he will hold the US title and WWE title at the same time. Miz started to do his catchphrase but then attacked Orton. Orton gave him a powerslam but Miz slipped out when he went for the RKO. Edge then came in and speared Orton. Edge said now the real fun begins. I like the idea of a Miz-Orton feud, although obviously the goal should be to elevate Miz to the next level.

John Cena and Sheamus was the second no contest of the evening. Vince was the referee at ringside as opposed to in the ring. Sheamus hit a body slam and elbow drop. He worked over Cena with punches. Cena went for the FU but was countered with a powerslam. Cena used the Cena slam and five knuckle. He applied the STF but Sheamus got to the ropes. Sheamus sent Cena into the steps twice and hit his kick at which point the NXT guys ran out. Sheamus left.

Vince McMahon got in the ring with the NXT guys and took responsibility for all of their actions. He said that next week the GM will reveal something. He was all pleased but the NXT guys circled him and laid him out. Barrett and Gabriel hit their finishes. The crowd chanted Daniel Bryan and NXT.

Final Thoughts:

I liked most of this show. It was entertaining and I enjoyed most of the undercard programs they were setting up. But the main direction of this show is such a confusing mess.

Let’s go through the storyline “progression.” Four weeks ago, Bret Hart was named GM. The NXT guys were feuding with each other. Three weeks ago, Vince McMahon came on Raw to point out he hired Bret as GM and implied he had some sort of plan for Bret.

Two weeks ago, the NXT guys joined together to attack WWE personnel. Last week, Wade Barrett explained they were angry about their treatment by WWE management and wanted WWE contracts and better treatment. Bret refused and fired Barrett, so they attacked Bret in a car and demanded his response on Sunday.

Sunday Bret doesn’t show up and the NXT guys attack again. Monday Vince fires Bret for firing Barrett and letting the NXT guys mess with the show again. The NXT guys are hired by Vince’s anonymous new GM. Vince later announces he was behind the NXT actions and then the NXT guys turn on him.

Maybe WWE has some really good explanation for all these events. But if they do, it’s well over my head. This all makes no sense to me.

If the NXT guys were conspiring together from the beginning, why were they arguing, bickering and ridiculing each other every week on the show?

Why would the NXT guys attack Raw to get WWE contracts if Vince McMahon was behind them in the first place and could have just given them contracts from the beginning?

Why would Vince McMahon order the NXT guys to attack his own announcers and security? Does he hate Justin Roberts?

Why did Vince McMahon make Bret Hart the general manager and give him control for a few weeks rather than just having his guys just attack him in the first place?

Why would Vince fire Bret Hart for letting the NXT guys run wild if that’s what he wanted in the first place?

If Vince was the NXT benefactor and all they wanted was WWE contracts, why would they attack Vince and jeopardize those contracts?

It doesn’t come across like WWE is telling a story with a beginning, a middle and an end. It comes across like they’re just making everything up as they go, devising a “surprising” scenario each week and then trying to connect it as best as they can to what happened before. That’s not how you effectively book a wrestling show. That’s not how you effectively write television. That’s not how you effectively tell any sort of story. It’s crappy writing predicated on the audience being too stupid to notice or too accustomed to no logic in wrestling to care.

People seem to really want this NXT thing to work because it’s different and they want to like the current product. But I’m sorry, shoddy writing is shoddy writing, and drastically lowering our standards for wrestling as compared to any other form of entertainment isn’t the answer.

I’m so beaten down by this stuff.


Anonymous mean dean said...

Vince barely went into any detail as to how involved he was, even saying that he takes "partial responsibility," so it wouldn't be impossible to piece things together if they want.

Basically, they can explain it all away like this:

-After NXT concludes, the rookies realize they all got a raw deal and put their differences aside to join forces and rebel against WWE management.

-NXT rookies invade and destroy Raw, Vince sees what they do and is impressed, supports their efforts.

-Whatever 'plan' Vince had for Bret was altered now that he had the NXT guys on his side. He has them beat Bret up for whatever comeuppance he had planned.

-NXT were against WWE management all along, now that they have their contracts they have no reason to stay on Vince's side, and thus beat him up (of course, why wouldn't he just fire them now? It's a logic gap, but one that's been dodged for years with Stone Cold and countless others attacking authorities. They can come up with something as a throwaway answer if they feel they need to address this).

It's more contrived than it needs to be, and of course it could have been done more effectively from the start than it has been, but I don't think it's a lost cause like I worried it may be after last Monday. I think they can still salvage something good from this going forward, especially with the crowd's reaction.

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i dont quite get were they are going with this either and it is getting kinda out of control for my liking and needs to be better written or ended soon

11:38 PM  
Blogger AKFooFighter said...

As always Todd, great job.

Your summation just saved me from whirling through the DVR recording after a horrible night at my golf league.

Thanks, brutha.

- Matt in Anchorage

11:40 PM  
Anonymous chris said...

If Maryse doesn't dump her tendency to always try to get the attention on herself, even when she isn't supposed to be the focus, she'll be a horrible manager. The last thing DiBiase needs right now is Maryse at ringside during his matches making faces and flipping her hair, trying to get the crowd to react to her while causing everyone to ignore him and his opponent.

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

It seems that Daniel Bryan is more over now than he was when he was on tv.

12:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not just call it what it excuse to get Vince on tv and to be "hip"......Does any one else smell Stephaine getting her face back on tv as well?

1:41 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Todd, I totally agree about the shoddy writing, except the second part of your conclusion that they just do something surprising and then try to connect it as best they can with past storyline. From what I can tell, they don't much care if it connects or not.

This whole NXT thing started off well but quickly because very Russo-esque.

Rest of the show was pretty good, although for a few minutes I was wondering if something had gone horribly wrong as they played backstage vignette after backstage vignette. That was very odd, made more so by them doing a fade-in/fade-out between vignettes. It was starting to remind me of that stupid Nitro that Kevin Nash booked where he played all the vignettes in a row during the first hour, with no matches or cuts to the arena, in some idiotic attempt to prove some point about how people will tune in no matter what you show (how'd that work out?).

3:59 AM  
Anonymous Tony said...

mean dean : "It's a logic gap, but one that's been dodged for years with Stone Cold and countless others attacking authorities."

Actually the truth is they did give an explanation during the original McMahon / Austin deal in late '98. That being Vince could but didn't want to fire Austin because 1) Austin was making him tons of money and 2) he'd rather keep Austin and 'make his life a living hell' because Vince was evil, that is as long as Austin wasn't the champion of his company.

As far as I'm concerned, this was a pretty acceptable explanation. So they did dodge the issue afterwards with Bischoff and all the heel authority figures they've had over the years BUT NOT with Austin.

The whole NXT deal didn't make any sense but that comes with booking everything on the fly. As long as they don't come back to a semblance of long-term booking, the writing will suck. And they had the WCW example to learn the lesson from, but they didn't.

Maryse deserves better than the DiBiase sidekick role. Outside of his obvious lack of charisma, DiBiase's character is fine except it shows a real lack of imagination to do the exact same schtick than your father, and in a worse way as well. It's just smells recycling which is why it can't get over.

Loved the 'Danielson' chants. It shows WWE crowds these days are not exclusively made of the educated kids and families demo they are going after. Therefore, showing how disconnected to their actual paying costumers they are.

4:58 AM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

Dr. Frankenstein lost control of his monster. If you believe Vince McMahon had any control over the NXT rebels, then he lost control of them, too.

Of course, McMahon and his head Raw scribbler, Brian Gewirtz, have a creative IQ of about -100 between them, which is why the writing is incoherent, inconsistent, and too often incomprehensible. Mean Dean hit the bullseye with his analysis.

The reason Maryse is with DiBiase now is to give him heat, but as Chris noted, it'll backfire if she continues to call attention to herself. That makes her a heat parasite, then. If they really wanted DiBiase to get heat, then they could've brought Piggy Guerrero over from Smackdown again, but that would be too easy, and she wore out her welcome in a hurry last time.

Jericho-Bourne III was easily the best match on the show, so of course it gets the curtain jerker spot. Bourne got the rub, now let's hope Uncreative doesn't take it away from him again.

We're all tired of Vince's act, and we know he'll turn himself face after being attacked. However, it's time he finally manned up and retired, because no matter how you slice it, he's still stale.

5:17 AM  
Blogger brian said...

I was interested after the initial NXT invasion angle, but I'm quickly losing interest. I appreciate people trying to connect the dots and explain how this all *could* make sense, but since it's pretty obvious WWE isn't putting any thought into the long-term (or even short-term week to week) development of this story, I'm not inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt and try to connect the dots for them.

"It was starting to remind me of that stupid Nitro that Kevin Nash booked where he played all the vignettes in a row during the first hour, with no matches or cuts to the arena, in some idiotic attempt to prove some point about how people will tune in no matter what you show (how'd that work out?)."

Did Nash really do that? Jeez...

1:05 PM  

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