Monday, August 30, 2010

WWE Raw Report

Date: 08/30/10 from Boston, MA.

The Big News: CM Punk was involved in a segment for the ages.

Show Analysis:

The show started with a comically absurd, self-glorifying video package about the 900th episode of Raw. Did you know that Raw has more episodes than any other television show that qualifies under WWE standards for such a comparison? This continued throughout the show and made WWE come across so desperate for respect. They just kept going on and on trying to act like they are a bigger deal than television shows with 100 times their cultural appeal.

Bret Hart then came out. There was no acknowledgement of the anonymous GM seemingly exiling him a couple weeks ago. Bret continued the Raw self-promotion and noted that the Undertaker and himself are the only wrestlers still around from the beginning of the show.

That brought out Kane. Kane said that the Undertaker is no long around because he is no longer a phenom. Welcome to the night of the technicalities, ladies and gentlemen. There was a really loud Undertaker chant. Kane said that Undertaker is like Bret: weak, feeble and washed-up. Kane added that the last time he was really the Undertaker was at WrestleMania against Shawn Michaels. Kane said that Undertaker took out an icon in Michaels so he would take out an icon in Bret.

Kane grabbed Bret by the throat. Hart Dynasty went for the save but Kane fought them off. The lights went out and Undertaker appeared in the ring. Kane teased fighting Undertaker but left. I liked the interplay here with Bret Hart and Kane.

The anonymous GM popped up and announced a match between Bret Hart and Undertaker for later in the show. Okay, now I know that the GM said a few weeks ago he never wanted to see Bret wrestle again. That was completely ignored. And I don’t know why you even bother announcing a match like Bret vs. Taker anyway. Everyone knows you’re not going to deliver and of course you don’t. You get all the downside of a shameless bait and switch with none of the upside.

Miz & Alex Riley beat Kofi Kingston & Joe Hennig and Daniel Bryan & Kaval in a triple threat tag match. Oh yes, I knew there was trouble coming when I saw Bryan and Kaval teamed together. But getting mad at WWE for repeatedly jobbing out talented wrestlers just because they had success on the independent scene at this point is kind of like getting mad at Mel Gibson for going on drunken, bigoted tirades. It’s just who they are.

Three wrestlers were in the ring at the same time during this match, which was a little unwieldy. Kaval applied a dragon sleeper on Hennig but Riley broke it up. Kaval followed with a double foot stomp off the top but Miz came in and hit the skull crushing finale on Kaval for the pin. After the match, Miz laid out Bryan with the briefcase.

Melina and Eve Torres beat Lay Cool. This started a long series of crappy, hurried finishes. At the beginning of the match, Melina just threw Layla into Michelle McCool and pinned Layla. Michelle afterwards said that the match they just had, like Melina, was forgettable. Well, that is true, but I don’t know about pointing it out. Lay Cool challenged Melina to a title unification match at Night of Champions. Melina accepted if it was a lumberjack match. Lay Cool agreed. I hope they go ahead and merge the titles.

NXT backstage was angry about being labeled weak. Wade Barrett said they would beat five great wrestlers on Raw and he would take the title at the PPV to prove Nexus’ strength. He vowed to do something on Raw that would have people talking forever. Elsewhere, Chris Jericho said that being the best isn’t just his catchphrase but that he seems to be the only person to believe it these days. Thus, Jericho vowed to leave WWE forever if he doesn’t win the title at the PPV. Josh Mathews pointed out we’ve been through this 8,000 times with Jericho.

John Morrison and R. Truth battled to a double DQ with Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes. They fought for like 30 seconds before everyone was disqualified for fighting. I don’t know why they even bothered doing this segment given it accomplished nothing and every match on the show was ridiculously rushed already.

Bret Hart and Undertaker didn’t wrestle. They were out there for the match when Wade Barrett came in and went after Undertaker. Undertaker beat him up and dumped him out of the ring. The lights went out. Kane appeared in the ring and fought with Undertaker. The lack of reaction to this was a really bad sign. Undertaker grabbed Kane by the throat and the lights went out again.

Kane was gone when the lights came back on and Nexus surrounded the ring. Undertaker beat them all up one on five until the lights went out again. When they came on this time Barrett had Undertaker over his head and gave him the wasteland (the forward fireman carry slam). Justin Gabriel then gave Undertaker the 450 splash. This segment was hokey and counterproductive in the seeming goal of getting over Nexus.

Jack Swagger beat Evan Bourne. This match was just a backdrop for Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio came out just as the match started. He did his elaborate entrance and by the time he got to ringside, Swagger submitted Bourne with the ankle lock. Del Rio bragged about taking out Rey Mysterio. He said he was disappointed the Raw audience didn’t see that, so they’re now acknowledging that Raw viewers don’t watch Smackdown. Del Rio said that he would recreate the scene. He applied the armbar on Bourne and was going to use a chair on the arm when Mark Henry made the save.

Next up was an amazing, amazing segment. They played an old clip of the Rock. CM Punk and the Straight Edge Society came out. Punk said that he’s better than the Rock and the announcers had a hearty laugh at this notion. Punk took a shot at the Tooth Fairy and asked if fans miss the Rock. Well, duh. You see, the theme of this segment was “great things about Raw that are gone now.” Seriously.

So Punk next brought up how Raw used to be edgy. He brought up DX’s catchphrase, DX invading Nitro and the Steve Austin beer bath of Vince McMahon. He mixed in some newer stuff that didn’t get over nearly as well like HHH destroying Randy Orton’s “home” and John Cena throwing Edge into water. Punk criticized Raw’s poor family values.

This was the segue into a rant against Steve Austin. Punk ran down Austin’s character, when all of a sudden Steve Austin’s music played. The crowd went nuts of course. But Austin did not come out. Punk then laughed and pointed out that Steve Austin is gone and wasn’t there on Raw.

So, having pointed out Rock is gone, Steve Austin is gone and the show is no longer edgy, what else from the past was there left to bring up? You guessed it! They aired a video clip of Brock Lesnar superplexing Big Show on Smackdown, the ring breaking, and the crowd going crazy. Punk said he didn’t know who the other guy in the ring with Show was. He then made fun of Show for being fat.

Having teased Rock, Steve Austin and Brock Lesnar, we finally got the big run-in. Big Show came out. He started bringing up his own worst segments to make fun of himself. He then did an impression. Who was this impression of? Take three guesses, brother. Yes, Big Show did a Hulk Hogan impression on Raw. If fans had started chanting TNA, it would have worked on two levels.

Punk responded, “That was boring. You’re not entertaining. And nobody likes you.” I broke out in laughter. That line was seriously the best comedy on Raw in ages. Anyway, Show was saddened by this and a fight broke out. Straight Edge Society left. Punk was great throughout this segment, by the way.

So, to recap this segment. They pointed out Rock was great but left WWE to go do movies. They pointed out the show used to be edgy but now it’s PG. They brought up how Steve Austin was great and now is gone. They aired a great clip of UFC’s biggest star. And then they had one of their guys do an impression of a guy who works for TNA. Wow. I mean, this was entertaining as hell. But just, wow.

Sheamus came out for the main event and complained about his treatment on Raw. Edge joined him. Edge said he has had many bad things happen to him as well but that he has given it back three times as much. Edge ran down his accomplishments and vowed to win the title from Sheamus.

Nexus beat John Cena, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Edge and Chris Jericho. This was an elimination match so you knew there would be some terrible finishes. Jericho just walked away and was counted out. Edge then knocked down the referee and was disqualified. Nexus worked over Sheamus and Heath Slater pinned him clean with a leaping neck breaker. Of course, Slater was then immediately pinned with an FU by Cena.

Nexus worked over Cena. Cena made his own comeback and tapped out David Otunga with the STF. However, Justin Gabriel then hit the 450 on Cena for the pin. Immediately Orton came in and gave Gabriel the RKO for the pin. Tarver missed a superman punch on Orton and was pinned with the RKO. Barrett then came in with an RKO on Orton for the pin.

I liked that they finally put over Nexus strong here. If they want them to be major players, they need to get some wins. With that said, the pins had very little resonance because of the booking. Rather than letting the big wins over Cena and Sheamus sink in, the guys who beat them were immediately pinned themselves. It had the effect of pretty much instantaneously negating what had just happened. But on the plus side, Barrett did get the big win over a major player at the end and was standing tall to close the show. So this segment gets an overall thumbs up from me.

Final Thoughts:

This show flew by and was very interesting viewing. It was also terribly booked and counterproductive in a variety of ways.

8 Comments:

Blogger Ryan said...

CM Punk was the star of this show. It's a travesty to me that he's not in the main event mix on either RAW or the star-power lacking Smackdown. He's consistently one of the company's better performers. I just don't get the total lack of push for him, week after week, month after month...

12:33 AM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

One big snoozer until the SES/Big Show segment. Miz wins again, when he should be jobbing to create challengers for the US title. A true GM would've stripped him of both the US title and the MITB briefcase by now for his actions.

Most of the other matches were lazily booked, as if Gewirtz and crew had tickets for the US Open and wanted to be there instead. At least one Raw between PPV's is booked this way with lousy finishes, and as long as McMahon refuses to acknowledge any true competition within the industry, this is the way that it's going to stay.

5:14 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

I hate to be a nitpicking jerk, but this is a pet peeve of mine, so I can't help it:

"Nexus worked over Cena. Cena made his own comeback and tapped out David Otunga with the STF."

Of course Cena made his own comeback. Who else could make Cena's comeback? I defy anyone to write a sentence that describes someone else making Cena's comeback without sounding ridiculous.

Dave Meltzer seems to have started this, I believe when Triple H was insecurely booking himself to look ridiculously strong. Triple H would get attacked by several wrestlers, in a situation where you'd expect him to either get beaten down or someone to make the save for him. Triple H would instead beat up the multiple attackers by himself, which Dave would quite amusingly describe as Triple H making his own save. Somehow over time this mutated into wrestlers making this own comeback, which is silly for the reason ranted about above.

OK, I'm done. Sorry.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned that Raw featured perhaps the best fan sign ever:

Nexus is a scary cat!
He is scare to fight John Cena team

As for the actual show, Todd pretty much said it all: It was fast paced but had ridiculously short matches, bad booking, and an annoying insecurity about Raw's status in the entertainment world.

I wonder why Lay Cool said in their challenge that one of them would fight Melina to unify the titles? Maybe one of them is injured. Hopefully they'll call the unified champ the women's champ and retire the butterfly tramp-stamp divas belt.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

The idea of a wrestler making their own comeback is in contrast to another wrestler making the comeback for the team after getting the tag. I can understand finding the expression silly if it's a 2 on 1 beatdown, but in a tag match I don't really see the issue.

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight, Kane attacks Bret Hart, the Undertaker makes the save and the GM makes a match with Bret Hart vs. the Undertaker. HA?

For those of you that watched NXT tonight, why did Alex Riley attack Percy Watson and then 2 minutes later they were in the ring together attacking Kaval? HA?

What in the wide world of booking is going on here?

9:19 PM  
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