Monday, June 06, 2011

WWE Raw Report

Date: 06/06/11 from Richmond, VA.

The Big News: Steve Austin announced Andy Leavine as the winner of Tough Enough at the beginning of Raw and stuck around for more action.

Show Analysis:

Raw started with the conclusion of Tough Enough in the Raw ring. The show was built around making you want to see Andy Leavine win over Luke Robinson and all the coaches said they thought Andy should win. The announcers put over Andy’s “it factor” and charisma, which I never saw watching every episode of the show. In a positive sign, the crowd reacted to the wrestlers based on how they came across on the show, as opposed to the NXT crowds where it’s often clear only a fraction of the audience knows who anybody is.

Unfortunately, Andy couldn’t grasp the simple psychology that he was the good guy against the arrogant heel Luke, and diminished his crowd reactions throughout by acting cocky and aggressive himself when questioned by Steve Austin rather than just acting like the humble, nice family guy they were trying to portray him as. Vince McMahon came out and was going to announce the winner, but Austin said it’s his show and he would pick the winner. He announced Andy as the winner.

Vince proceeded to slapped Andy and Andy took this huge bump and sold like he was shot based on this slap from a 65-year-old man. And for good measure, Austin gave Andy the stunner. You know, if I spent 10 weeks on a competition theoretically designed to create new stars, I wouldn’t bury the winner at the end in front of the largest audience he has ever appeared before. Oh well, it’s not like Andy showed much beyond being the tallest of the group.

With Vince and Austin still in the ring, R. Truth came out dressed in a confederate army uniform. Part of Truth’s charm as a heel is his zaniness, but if you want him to be a headliner it would be unwise to turn him into a clown. Truth said the GM ordered him to apologize so he apologized to big jimmy, little jimmy and the soda. Austin said he should apologize for his attire.

Truth said that he was in Richmond, the capital of the confederacy. Truth said the confederacy had a good idea, secession. He said he is seceding from WWE because there is a companywide conspiracy against him. Vince told some jokes and said Truth should come talk with him about it. Truth did a gag where he can’t spell, even phonetically. It’s funny who tends to have these sorts of jokes written for them in WWE and who doesn’t.

Miz interrupted the scene. He said that if it wasn’t for Alex Riley, he would still be WWE champion. Miz said he deserves one last title shot. Alex Riley came out and said Miz deserves another beatdown instead. John Cena joined them and told some joke. He said Miz doesn’t deserve another shot, commended Riley for beating up Miz, and suggested Truth take off the outfit. The GM sent in an e-mail but Vince told Michael Cole to shut up. Vince then made Cena and Riley vs. Truth and Miz with Steve Austin as special guest referee. That’s the third special referee main event on Raw or Smackdown in the past two weeks. This opening segment was a debacle on a variety of levels.

Santino Marella beat Michael McGillicutty. Santino clotheslined McGillicutty from the ring and proceeded to shake the ropes and do Ultimate Warrior mannerisms. McGillicutty brushed aside a dropkick attempt and hit a dropkick of his own. He took over for a bit before Santino came back and did more Warrior mannerisms. He set up for the cobra but David Otunga pulled McGillicutty out of the ring. Vladimir Kozlov took out Otunga. Back in the ring, McGillicutty couldn’t hit his neck breaker and Santino used the cobra for the win. So it looks like McGillicutty and Otunga vs. Marella and Kozlov is the next tag title program.

Beth Phoenix and Kelly Kelly beat the Bellas. Kelly hit a huracanrana but was caught with a stun gun and the Bellas gained control. After a bit, Kelly got the tag to Beth. Beth hit clotheslines, an inverted atomic drop, a slingshot suplex and the glam slam for the win. Beth got an encouraging positive reaction for someone that hasn’t been on Raw or Smackdown a lot recently.

Backstage, Booker T was teaching Trish Stratus to do the spin-a-roonie. Interestingly, it involves channeling power from your hand more than leg and hip dexterity. Jack Swagger interrupted and said that if he was the Tough Enough trainer, all of the students would be winners. He challenged Booker to a match and Booker accepted.

Rey Mysterio beat CM Punk. Prior to the match, Punk pointed out he beat Mysterio again last week and claimed Mysterio has never beaten him. The announcers later pointed out that wasn’t true. Punk said he’d beat Mysterio again to prove the power of the new Nexus. Punk went after Mysterio’s back. Mysterio came back with punches, kicks and a crossbody but was cut off with a powerslam. Mysterio took out Mason Ryan on the apron, hit a DDT, and hit a splash off the top for the win. WWE has become heavily reliant on circular booking, but this was particularly striking in that regard.

They aired a new Capitol Punishment video with R. Truth posing questions for President Obama. Backstage, John Cena met with Alex Riley and made it clear he doesn’t trust Riley. They are billing next Monday’s three hour Raw as All Star Night.

Alberto Del Rio came out and reiterated that what happened to Big Show was an accident. He invited Show to come out for an apology. Ricardo Rodriguez came out dressed up like Show with a big fake belly and crutches. Del Rio said Show got what he deserved because bad things happen to bad people and they did some crappy comedy. Del Rio told Show not to make Del Rio his enemy. This segment sucked.

Kofi Kingston beat Zack Ryder. Dolph Ziggler was on commentary to build his feud with Kingston. Kingston hit a dropkick and Ryder responded by chestbumping and piefacing him. Ryder hit a neck breaker and kick to the face. However, Kingston responded with a clothesline, boom drop and trouble in paradise for the win. Poor Zack.

Booker T beat Jack Swagger via count out. They mostly just traded chops and punches back and forth. Booker hit a kick and Swagger just took the count out. That was an awful finish. The heel walking off can be okay sometimes if it’s a champion in trouble trying to save his title or there’s a big feud and it sells the face is out of control looking for revenge, but a wrestler just giving up on a match with an announcer three minutes in buries him with absolutely no positive benefit whatsoever.

Afterwards, Evan Bourne attacked Swagger from behind and ran away. Swagger chased after Bourne and was caught with a Booker T ax kick and Bourne shooting star press. They did a double spin-a-roonie that looked good.

R. Truth and Miz beat John Cena and Alex Riley via disqualification. Miz ran away from Riley until Truth cut off Riley. The heels took over until Riley finally made the tag. Cena came in with shoulder blocks, the Cena slam and the five knuckle on Miz. He went for the FU but Truth made the save. Cena threw Truth out of the ring and put the STF on Miz. Miz got to the ropes. Truth brought in a chair but Cena dropkicked it into Truth. Riley brought in the briefcase and teased hitting Cena with it for no apparent reason before then hitting Miz instead. Austin gave Miz the stunner and Cena covered for the win.

The GM then announced Cena and Riley were disqualified for Austin’s actions. Another big win for Truth over Cena. The GM then announced that because of what Austin did, Austin will be guest GM next week. So apparently the GM is bipolar. Austin then attacked Michael Cole, poured beer on him, and stunned him.

Final Thoughts:

This show sucked on just about every level.


Anonymous zillabeast said...

Any news on The Miz's injury? I read he busted his leg up in a post-show Dark Match with Cena.

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Ryan Rosenthal said...


I couldn't agree with your sentiment more... This show was utterly wretched.

I have a girlfriend who I (selectively) watch wrestling with. Being a fan since I was a small child, it's somewhat easier for me to overlook the glaring logic holes that litter these shows. After all, wrestling is sporadically a train-wreck. Still, I generally know better than to inflict this show on my girlfriend, who at best is someone who tolerates WWE's incarnation of wrestling.

Why am I mentioning her? Because WWE, in conjunction with USA, came up with a show that appealed to her in and of itself, Tough Enough. With that show she was slowly weened onto a product that she knew almost nothing about and grew some assemblage of appreciation for the performance that is "sports-entertainment".

So, the two of us were watching the finale as it bled into the opening segment on RAW. What transpired afterwards entirely erased all of the goodwill WWE had garnered from her as it pertains to taking wrestling as anything more than a carnival act for people of lower intelligence. The way they handled the segment with Andy and Luke was beyond moronic. It was insulting.

After seeing Andy, the guy my girlfriend wanted to win, slapped and sell for a senior citizen the way he did, only to follow with him being stunned out of his boots, cemented to her that she had wasted her time investing any energy into that show on any level.

Now granted, I know better (in that I've come to expect these things from WWE), but to a non-fan or a casual fan at best, this comes off as insulting.

Tough Enough nonsense aside, the show was painfully stupid (R-Truth, Cena, Del Rio segment), horribly booked (Swagger, Punk/Mysterio trading wins) and ended with Cole essentially no-selling the stunner as he stumbled around to walk into the FU.

Horrible. Show.

12:35 AM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

Congratulations to Andy. Just a bit of advice. Hope you survive the experience.

R-Truth was so over the top, it was just ridiculously funny. Best stuff he's done in a while. The fake presser w/Truth gives away that the whole series was ripped off from a series of beer commercials (Coors Light). I think Pete Coors will be calling Vince real soon, and to ask for sponsorship.

The reverse-decision DQ in the main was a replay from Wrestlemania, and all that says to me is that they'll go with the worst case scenario (Vince, the senile schmuck in charge) as the mystery GM because Uncreative couldn't think of a better way.

I just pray it isn't going that way. It'd be too stupid. Shoot, the whole show was predictable.

When will they ever let Alex Riley get a win?

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Ryan, you really hit the nail on the head how they made everyone who watched Tough Enough feel like they wasted their time. What a horrible end to the series. I'm sure they see it as an initiation, but this was not the time to do that.

No doubt they'll continue to make people feel like they wasted their time by making Andy look like a complete jobber. Then they'll wonder why interest drops off for the next season of Tough Enough.

Vince actually thinks one of the WWE's strengths is television production and they can leverage this to other areas. He's delusional, and Tough Enough exposed that. The outside production company gave the show a much grittier, less cartoonish feel, with intensity, occasional bleeped profanity, people talking using normal words ("wrestling"), people not using abnormal words ("WWE universe"), etc. It was often jarring to watch Raw after seeing what a real production company can do on Tough Enough.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Miz injury story was BS. Given Miz posted "prayformiz" on his Twitter account, for all we know it might have been Miz himself spreading the false rumor by e-mailing the major wrestling websites.

That's a really good point on Andy that I hadn't considered, Ryan. It makes a lot of sense that Tough Enough would draw some people that might not otherwise try wrestling, and treating the winner like a joke at the end would be a total turnoff to that audience, just like if UFC made it a point to bury the Ultimate Fighter guys from the first season to spite new fans of the sport.

And I totally agree about the contrast between Raw and Tough Enough as far as presentation where Tough Enough seemingly treats you like an adult before you return to the WWE Universe.

8:53 PM  

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