Monday, October 31, 2011

WWE Raw Report

Date: 10/24/11 from Atlanta, GA.

The Big News: Pay-per-view is dead. For WWE, anyway.

Show Analysis:

Rock was on the screen to start the show. He had a graying beard. He said that he and John Cena represent different eras. He acknowledged Cena’s offer to team up but then rejected it with a hell no. He said that he doesn’t want to slap hands with Cena and would rather slap Cena’s face. Rock then said he thought about it more and that the world hates R. Truth and Miz and wants to see them get their asses kicked. So Rock agreed to take the match and said he would show Cena what Cena will be receiving at WrestleMania.

This segment didn’t work very well. The gray hair is a negative for a kick ass figure. The constant cuts to the audience watching Rock on the screen again accentuated the fact he wasn’t there and the crowd didn’t react that well. It’s a well-established angle that usually works where two faces who don’t like each other put aside their differences to team up against menacing heels, but the problem is they haven’t done enough to put real heat on Miz and Truth. The crowd would much rather see Rock kick Cena’s ass than those of Miz and Truth, which makes Rock less likeable to those who support him for agreeing to the match.

Mark Henry beat CM Punk via DQ. The stipulation was that if Punk won he would get a title match, so Alberto Del Rio ordered Ricardo Rodriguez to attack Henry for the DQ. He hit Henry with his shoe until the ref called for the DQ. Punk went after Del Rio and Rodriguez. Del Rio ran away so Punk grabbed Rodriguez and threw him to Henry for the world’s strongest slam.

Kermit and Miss Piggy appeared on the stage for the first of a great many Muppets segments. They were interrupted by Vickie Guerrero and Jack Swagger. Swagger threatened to make frog legs and a ham sandwich out of them. Kermit said he didn’t want trouble with Swagger or his mother. Vickie got mad and this led to an argument with Miss Piggy. Santino came out and said they couldn’t be picking on the Muppets because Swagger would be wrestling Santino and Dolph Ziggler would be wrestling Zack Ryder. Kermit and Piggy said “Woo Woo Woo, You Know It.” Kelly Kelly then kissed Kermit on her way to the ring and Miss Piggy freaked out.

Eve Torres won a costume battle royal. Costumes used to be an excuse to get the women in risqué costumes but now they wear more clothes than usual. Rosa Mendes, Aksana, AJ, Tamina and Kaitlyn went out quickly. Kelly Kelly and Eve eliminated the Bella twins.

That left the heel Natalya against the three faces Alicia Fox, Kelly and Eve. The faces of course triple teamed Natalya. Natalya fought them off one on three and eliminated Kelly and then Alicia on her own. That gave Eve the opportunity to throw Natalya out from behind to win. Hey, I’m just relaying what they did. Afterwards, Beth and Natalya were going to attack Eve but Kelly and Alicia made the save.

Backstage, Bunsen prepared a potion for Beaker to give to Santino. Beaker ran off with the potion but ran into Christian. Christian poured the potion onto the ground. Sheamus stuck up for Beaker and they acted like they were family members because they have similar hair.

Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett beat Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston. The heels worked over Kingston, who tagged Bourne. Barrett went for wasteland but Bourne countered with a DDT. Bourne went to the top but Rhodes distracted him and Barrett gave him wasteland for the pin. After the match, Christian came out to help the heels attack the tag champs but Sheamus made the save. They showed Statler and Waldorf watching and bantering in a luxury box.

John Laurinaitis was texting backstage when CM Punk came in. Punk complained about Ricardo Rodriguez. Punk wanted to know what he had to do to get a title match. How about you win a match, buddy? Punk went on and on like he has to jump through hoops to get a title shot. Laurinaitis said Punk could get a title match if Del Rio agreed. They announced Brodus Clay for next week.

Big Show beat Alberto Del Rio in a slow and boring match. Del Rio beat on Show forever. Finally Del Rio went for an enzuigiri and Show just caught him with a punch for the clean win. After the match, CM Punk came out and put Alberto Del Rio in the anaconda vise until Del Rio agreed to the title match. Somebody introduce these guys to the concept of duress.

This was a novel build for a pay-per-view title match. I’m used to the antiquated, tired formula where a challenger wins a bunch of matches to earn a title match. But WWE is true avant-garde sports entertainment, where the challenger loses a bunch of matches and then gets a title shot because he attacks the champion after the champion loses cleanly to someone else.

Gonzo and Fozzie were chatting backstage. Gonzo said it would be easy to become WWE champion. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger showed up, with Swagger pulling out Gonzo’s arms and wrapping them around while wacky music played in the background.

Santino beat Jack Swagger. Animal (non-Road Warrior version) rang the bell. Swagger worked over Santino and did pushups on him. Santino made his comeback with a head butt but was caught in the ankle lock. Santino escaped. Beaker gave Santino the potion from earlier. Santino spit it in Swagger’s face and rolled Swagger up for the win.

Zack Ryder beat Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler worked over Ryder. Ryder hit his running kick but Ziggler kicked out. Ziggler used a jaw breaker but was caught with a knee charging Ryder. The referee seemed to count three but then realized Ziggler’s foot was on the bottom rope and called for the match to continue. Vickie tripped Ryder and Ziggler went for the zig zag but Ryder shrugged him off and hit the rough rider for the win. This was a nice finishing sequence.

They announced HHH would be out due to injury for at least five weeks. They also announced Kevin Nash re-signed and will be on Raw next week. Why he needed to be re-signed when he had a no-cut contract to begin with remains a mystery to me. Michael Cole then announced Jim Ross wouldn’t be there. Good thing they advertised that and Cole spent much of this show running down Ross. Cole made fun of Ross and just generally acted like a complete jackass. He teased Ross might show up next week.

Statler and Waldorf were turned off by this nonsense. Elsewhere, Miss Piggy came on to John Morrison. He tried to set up Piggy with Hornswoggle. He kissed her so she hit him. He was excited. Kermit came in and got bagged by Cody Rhodes.

John Cena beat Miz. Miz beat up Cena a bit. Cena hit a big clothesline and top rope rocker dropper for near falls. Miz and Cena were brawling on the outside when R. Truth attacked Cena in a Scream mask. The announcers acted like it was a fan, as if anyone on Earth watching thought it was anybody but Truth. They went back in the ring and Cena just immediately put Miz in the STF anyway for the submission. Truth attacked in the mask afterwards but Cena laid him out too. Good thing Cena has Rock coming back to help him against these treacherous heels.

Final Thoughts:

What do you even say at this point?

Monday, October 24, 2011

WWE Raw Report

Date: 10/24/11 from Austin, TX.

The Big News: John Cena wanted to wrestle Miz and Truth. John Laurinaitis made Cena and Zack Ryder versus Miz and Truth. But Miz and Truth beat up Ryder and then beat up Cena two on one. So Laurinaitis announced that because of that, Cena would get to choose his partner against Miz and Truth for Survivor Series. And you’ll never guess who Cena chose after all those developments.

Show Analysis:

HHH came out to start the show. He said he was always taught that in the wrestling business you can either make friends or make money, but he has been lucky to make money and still have his share of friends. He cited Shawn Michaels, Sean Waltman and Kevin Nash. However, when HHH reached a position of power he realized some people were just there because of that power. HHH said he thought Nash would be there for life but Nash changed. Nash tried to break his neck, but instead he broke his heart. Some of the crowd mocked the cheesiness of that line.

HHH called Nash out to the ring for an ass whipping. John Laurinaitis showed up instead and said that to his knowledge, Nash wasn’t there. HHH told Laurinaitis to shut up and not enter the ring. HHH said Laurinaitis reports to him and told Laurinaitis to go find Nash. So what exactly does Laurinaitis have power over? HHH said that if Laurinaitis couldn’t find Nash, HHH would embarrass the company by finding Nash on his own and ending up in jail. He told Laurinaitis to sign Nash to a big contract to come back. Wasn’t the story that Nash had a no cut contract so that he would be paid and under contract whether he worked or not?

As HHH was leaving, Kevin Nash attacked him from behind with a sledgehammer. HHH sold it huge and collapsed backstage. He was being carried into an ambulance on a stretcher when Nash pulled him off the stretcher and hit him with the sledgehammer again in the head.

Randy Orton and Sheamus beat Cody Rhodes and Christian. He heels worked over Sheamus, who got the tag to Orton. Orton hit a powerslam, neck breaker and draping DDT on Christian. Orton went for the RKO on Christian but Rhodes attacked him from behind. Orton went for the RKO on Rhodes but Rhodes escaped. Christian hit an elbow off the second rope and the heels took back over for a brief period.

Orton got the tag back to Sheamus, who hit a knee lift and back breaker on Rhodes. Christian hit a spear behind the referee’s back on Sheamus and Rhodes covered, but Orton broke up the pin. Orton gave Christian the RKO. Rhodes went for a springboard kick and Sheamus attempted to counter with a botched Brogue kick. Sheamus then hit the razor’s edge for the win. This was a fun match.

John Laurinaitis was on the phone backstage with Stephanie McMahon. He said that HHH was fine and that he wasn’t responsible for what happened. He spoke with David Otunga briefly about how he didn’t want there to be a perception of unsafe working conditions. John Cena then came in and told some jokes after losing the title match last night via interference. But he told them with an angry tone, and that’s the important thing. Cena wanted R. Truth and Miz. Laurinaitis offered Miz and Truth vs. Cena and a partner of Laurinaitis’ choice. Cena responded with a Dynamic Dudes joke.

Dolph Ziggler beat Santino Marella. Jack Swagger distracted Santino and Ziggler hit the zig zag for the win. Swagger put Santino in the ankle lock after the match but Mason Ryan ran in for the save. That’s easiest spot to get a big reaction but the crowd didn’t care at all. Backstage, Zack Ryder celebrated upon learning he would be Cena’s partner in the main event.

Alberto Del Rio came out and said that he proved once and for all that he is better than John Cena. Del Rio said he would be moving on to new challengers but that nobody is better than him so he will be champion for a long time. CM Punk came out and said he has beaten Del Rio multiple times and didn’t get a one-on-one rematch with Del Rio after losing the title.

Del Rio responded by correctly pointing out Punk didn’t even win the night before, when he was pinned at Vengeance. Del Rio said losers don’t deserve title shots and Punk should go win a match. Punk responded by threatening to put Del Rio to sleep. John Laurinaitis came out and said he was in charge this segment. Punk suggested Punk vs. Del Rio for the title at Survivor Series. See, I would have thought the whole “pinned in your last match” would be a pretty good counterpoint.

Punk wanted to know the catch. Laurinaitis bumbled over his words and wanted Punk to tell him that he respects Laurinaitis. Punk said things aren’t better with Laurinaitis in charge and told another Dynamic Dudes joke. Punk said “I respect you funk man” as a combination Brian Pillman/Curb Your Enthusiasm reference. Laurinaitis gave Punk another chance.

Punk said he respects Laurinaitis’ deer in headlights look, how he doesn’t know how to hold a microphone, how he used to wrestle with a mullet, how he got to the top of the WWE structure with brownnosing and not talent, and now no one in the business has done so much with so little. Laurinaitis responded that Punk isn’t suitable for a title shot and that he would take another week to think it over. Punk then attacked Del Rio. He went for the GTS but Ricardo Rodriguez made the save and got the GTS himself. Laurinaitis was just terrible in this segment.

Alicia Fox beat Natalya. They did some mat wrestling early, which was actually pretty good. Alicia then used a kind of sloppy rollup for the win, which still looked much better than most of the finishes on this show. Beth and Natalya jumped Alicia after the match but Alicia escaped.

Wade Barrett beat John Morrison. Barrett worked over Morrison. He went for wasteland but Morrison escaped. Morrison went for starship pain but Barrett rolled out and Morrison landed on his feet. Morrison went for a springboard kick that was supposed to be caught into wasteland but that was botched so Barrett picked him up and gave him another wasteland for the win.

Michael Cole stood on the announce table to complain about what Jim Ross had supposedly been saying on Twitter. It’s worth pointing out at this point that the entire theme of this show was Twitter. They talked about it over and over again during every match like some sort of bizarre obsession. It was so irritating.

Anyway, Cole had some photoshopped pictures supposedly sent out by Ross on Twitter. It was basically just a chance to make fun of Ross’ weight. Cole challenged Ross to a Michael Cole Challenge next week. Cole said that if Ross wins, Cole will quit and Ross can have his seat back. The Michael Cole victory celebration is going to be unbearable.

John Cena beat Miz and R. Truth via disqualification. Miz and Truth attacked Zack Ryder backstage before the match and took him out. They worked over Cena for a while. Cena made his own comeback but when he went for the FU on Miz, Truth almost hit him with a water bottle for a DQ. That was a great finish. They beat up Cena some more after the match and brought chairs into the ring.

Laurinaitis interrupted, telling Miz and Truth to stop. He told them to leave and announced Miz and Truth vs. Cena and a partner of Cena’s choice at Survivor Series. Cena thought it over and then decided on the Rock. You know, this entire show wouldn’t have felt quite so completely fake if they hadn’t publicly announced that themselves over a month ago.

Final Thoughts:


Monday, October 17, 2011

WWE Raw Report

Date: 10/17/11 from Mexico City, Mexico.

The Big News: Jim Ross returned to Raw, albeit in a non-commentating capacity.

Show Analysis:

The show started with John Laurinaitis. Laurinaitis is a bad speaker and many in the audience not understanding what he said didn’t help matters. He said that the show would mark the return of Rey Mysterio, and then paused and said he meant to San Diego to see his doctor. That didn’t get much heat because of the language issue and the crowd just started loudly chanting rather than listening to Laurinaitis.

Laurinaitis said it was a mistake to let go of Jim Ross and brought Ross out. Ross returned to the announce table but Laurinaitis instead directed him into the ring. Laurinaitis hugged Ross and said he owed Ross an apology. He then said Ross wasn’t back to commentate but rather to team with John Cena in a tag team match against Alberto Del Rio and Michael Cole. Cole returned to super obnoxious mode frequently throughout the show. I just don’t get how anyone couldn’t have figured out how counterproductive that is by now.

Mark Henry, Christian and Cody Rhodes defeated Randy Orton, Sheamus and John Morrison. Orton went after Rhodes a lot early and ended up chasing him to the back. That left just a tag match. The two remaining heels worked over Morrison. Morrison finally was about to get the tag when Christian pulled Sheamus off the apron. Sheamus and Christian brawled into the crowd, leaving only Henry and Morrison. Of course, Henry gave Morrison the world’s strongest slam moments later for the pin. Hopefully they keep pushing Henry strong. It helps make the title feel more important.

John Laurinaitis was on the phone backstage when the Bellas came in to remind Laurinaitis that they exist. They kissed him and left. Then Alberto Del Rio came in and was annoyed with the main event tag match. Laurinaitis said the winner of the match would get to pick the stipulation for the Del Rio-Cena match Sunday. I totally didn’t realize Vengeance was Sunday. I don’t foresee monster business.

Eve Torres beat Natalya with a moonsault. Kelly Kelly and Beth Phoenix were in the corners.

CM Punk beat Miz. Miz before the match said he and Truth did what Punk couldn’t, removing HHH from Raw. Truth and HHH were in the corners initially. Miz worked over Punk. Jerry Lawler quoted a Taylor Swift song and Michael Cole responded that she is in Lawler’s age bracket. Well, her fans, anyway. Truth hit Punk with a bottle of water on the outside and HHH went after Truth. At that point Laurinaitis came out and said there was an immigration problem with HHH. HHH was escorted from ringside.

Punk made his comeback with a neck breaker, high knee and top rope elbow. Punk went for the GTS but Miz got out. Truth was up on the apron so Punk threw Miz into Truth and rolled up Miz for the pin. Miz and Truth jumped Punk after the match. They teased leaving but then came back and beat him up some more.

Zack Ryder beat Jack Swagger. Swagger, Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler all cut promos in the ring prior to the match. They basically just ran down Mexico. Ziggler told a joke about how Affliction shirts will never go back in style and Titus O’Neill will never get over. Swagger started to sing the Star Spangled Banner when Ryder interrupted. Ryder was not over at all, unfortunately. He won quickly with double knees and the Rough Rider. Afterwards, Swagger and Ziggler looked for the double team but Mason Ryan made the save.

Dolph Ziggler beat Mason Ryan via DQ. Vickie slapped Ryan and Ryan proceeded to go crazy on Ziggler. He was disqualified for beating up Ziggler too much in the corner.

Backstage, Jim Ross told John Cena he doesn’t need to be wrestling and didn’t want to screw things up for Cena. Cena said Ross is a Hall of Famer and the greatest voice WWE ever had, and that he has the right partner. Cena told Ross to stand in the corner and let Cena do his thing. Ross said he would like to get his hands on Cole and Cena said he’d do him that favor. Cena felt much more genuine and likeable in this segment without a bunch of added showmanship.

John Cena and Jim Ross beat Alberto Del Rio and Michael Cole. John Cena interestingly got what seemed to be a really positive reaction coming out, much more so than in the US of late. However, the crowd over time turned on him, chanted Mexico and by the end he was heavily booed. I almost wonder if this whole scenario was booked to try to get Jim Ross booed.

Cole wanted Ross at the start. Ross slapped hard so Cole tagged Del Rio. Ross tagged in Cena. Del Rio worked over Cena for a while and then missed a senton off the ropes. Cena made his comebacks with shoulderblocks, the Cena slam and the five knuckle. Del Rio in desperation tagged Cole. Cena gave him the FU and was thinking STF but instead he tagged Ross back in. Ross applied the ankle lock and Cole tapped. Cena gave Del Rio the FU on the floor. He counted Del Rio out for a count of 10 and announced they would have a last man standing match.

Final Thoughts:

This Raw was much better than last week’s show. I know, some standard. It’s hard to even judge if this was good or bad in general terms because last week lowered the bar so low. I will say it was weird to build a show in Mexico so heavily around promos in English and the English broadcast team.

Monday, October 10, 2011

WWE Raw Report

Date: 10/10/11 from Oklahoma City, OK.

The Big News: The John Laurinaitis Era has begun.

Show Analysis:

They cut backstage to start the show and nobody was around. HHH walked out of his office and came to the ring. He said he was bewildered to see everyone walk out. He added that the people who walked out walked out not only on HHH but on the people. HHH made fun of the boycotters who wouldn’t perform unless HHH stepped down. HHH asked the fans whether he should give in, and everyone said no. HHH said he won’t be blackmailed or coerced to quit. He said that he would wrestle a broomstick for the next two hours and it would probably give him a better match than most of the guys in the parking lot. Ha! Get it? Because everybody on the roster sucks!

John Cena showed up and said that everyone wanted to know where he stood. Cena noted that the people in the parking lot were all lobbying him while HHH hadn’t been in touch. Cena said HHH is his boss and that he would stay. Cena said his loyalty lies with the people and shook hands with HHH.

Sheamus was next out. He said that he once tried to take out HHH to make a name for himself. HHH could have filed a lawsuit but instead he came back and gave Sheamus the biggest ass whipping of his life. I like how everyone is scripted to put over how badly HHH kicks their asses. Sheamus said he wouldn’t join those losers sitting out there in the parking lot.

CM Punk then came out. He said that he started the whole thing, but that he never broke his word because his contract was expiring. Punk added that he was making a point to the whole company and not one man. He said that WWE is about settling conflict in the ring, and that he dealt with HHH and Cena personally. Punk concluded that he was the last guy they would expect to have in the foxhole with them, but there he was. He asked what they would do now.

HHH made Sheamus vs. Cena with HHH as referee and Punk doing commentary and ringing the bell. HHH and Punk bantered comically and HHH gave him his jacket to wear. Cena, Sheamus and Punk came off as such pandering, corporate suck-ups here. Not that I’m saying that’s a bad thing. I’ve always had affection for pandering, corporate babyfaces.

Sheamus and John Cena fought to a no contest. CM Punk did drop in an amusing Rob Naylor reference before Vince McMahon came out to interrupt the match with a video labeling him WWE chairman. Vince said he wanted to have a word with HHH, and so Sheamus and Cena just walked off and left. Vince said he likes what HHH is doing but the board of directors is concerned things will get out of control and shows will have to be cancelled. Thus, the board of directors told HHH that his services are no longer needed. They are looking for a new full time GM but for now John Laurinaitis is interim GM.

After the break, the roster was shown coming back into the building, shaking hands with Laurinaitis. So, all the faces walked out on the show and the fans in order to install John Laurinaitis as general manager. Good for them. They probably got a better deal than what the NBPA will end up with, and are only slightly less sympathetic than Latrell Sprewell in his final negotiations with the Wolves back in ‘04. John Morrison told Laurinaitis he sucks so Laurinaitis ordered him to the ring for a match. Christian suggested Laurinaitis should be permanent GM and Laurinaitis told him he would be wrestling Morrison. Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole returned.

Christian beat John Morrison. Both wrestled in their street clothes. Morrison was quickly distracted by Swagger and Ziggler and Christian hit a spear for the win. After the match, those three and Cody Rhodes attacked and beat up Morrison some more.

Backstage, John Laurinaitis told HHH that he didn’t want the job, but that he was appointed. Laurinaitis said he is willing to make sacrifices for the company because he loves WWE. HHH asked him if he ever tried to pick up his teeth with a bunch of broken fingers.

Randy Orton beat Mark Henry via DQ. Henry before the match said it took him 15 years to win the title and he’s the most dominant champion of all time. Henry said he will take on anybody provided they are the number one contender and Big Show wasn’t. Henry said that at Vengeance, vengeance will be his. Orton then interrupted and said that vengeance would be Orton’s.

Henry was in control early. Orton came back with a draping DDT and was setting up for the RKO when Rhodes came out. Orton knocked him out of the ring. Henry tried to use the distraction to hit the world’s strongest slam but Orton escaped and hit the RKO. Orton had Henry pinned but Rhodes then interfered for the DQ. This was a great way of setting up Henry vs. Orton for the title at Vengeance. Wait, what? Henry’s wrestling Big Show for the title at Vengeance? Oh.

After the match, Henry gave Orton two world’s strongest slams. Rhodes then gave Orton a roll of the dice and put a bag over Orton’s head. You know, I wasn’t sold on the idea of putting a bag over someone’s head as a main event angle, but after seeing it in practice, I think it’s got real money drawing potential. Rhodes then asked Orton if he would like a receipt with his paper bag and laughed maniacally. Money.

Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres beat Rosa Mendes and Tamina. Kelly did some spots with Rosa and Tamina. Then Eve came in and pinned Tamina with a kick to the face and a moonsault. This would have been a great match if only every spot didn’t look terrible.

John Laurinaitis came to the ring and announced John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio for the title at Vengeance. I think the crowd microphones weren’t working, because the crowd didn’t seem to react at all for that one. They probably broke down some time around halfway through the show, because it was almost like they were dead for absolutely everything in the second hour.

Laurinaitis then brought Jim Ross into the ring. He pointed out that Ross walked out on HHH after HHH gave him his job, not to mention walked out on the fans and walked out on his hometown crowd in Oklahoma. Geez, Ross really is a jerk and a fool. Laurinaitis concluded that makes Ross an ingrate and fired Ross. Serves him right. Ross just no sold this completely and walked to the back as if the show were over and nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Michael Cole celebrated by going crazy. The good times are back again on commentary.

Mason Ryan, Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne beat Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger and David Otunga. The heels worked over Kingston. Ryan tagged in and hit clotheslines and a big boot on Ziggler. Otunga broke up the pin. A brawl broke out and Ryan hit the twisting uranage for the pin. So Ryan is apparently the new contender for Ziggler’s title. That sounds like a good idea.

Alberto Del Rio and CM Punk fought to a no contest. In the middle of their match, Laurinaitis came out and announced Punk and Del Rio would be wrestling in a tag match against the reinstated Miz and R. Truth.

CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio beat Miz and R. Truth via DQ. Punk and Del Rio worked as a team for a bit until Del Rio sold his leg and walked off. The heels double teamed Punk. Punk hit a high knee, bulldog and top rope elbow on Miz. He went for the GTS but Truth broke it up and then Truth and Miz just attacked Punk for a big until they were disqualified. They sure fooled me. I figured after all that they’d just have someone win. It was a fitting end to a night of great finishes.

HHH hit the ring after the match and beat up Truth and Miz. HHH and Punk cleared the ring together. Backstage, Laurinaitis told David Otunga that he would have the board make Miz and Truth vs. HHH and Punk at Vengeance. About time HHH and Punk became buddies. It was such a natural partnership.

Final Thoughts:

What a great show. I may have more faith in Vince Russo right now than the WWE writing team, but it’s close, so good for them.

Monday, October 03, 2011

WWE Raw Report

Date: 10/03/11 from Lafayette, LA.

The Big News: Nobody has any confidence in HHH.

Show Analysis:

Randy Orton beat Drew McIntyre. McIntyre hit a kick to the face, snap suplex, choke and neck breaker. Orton then made a quick comeback with the draping DDT and RKO for the pin. Orton gave McIntyre an additional RKO after the match. Mark Henry then came out and held up his title. Orton attacked Henry and they had a pull apart brawl. Orton threw Henry over the barricade. That feud apparently will continue.

Mark Henry beat John Morrison. Henry hit a clothesline and went for the world’s strongest slam but Morrison escaped and hit a series of kicks. Morrison successfully landed starship pain but Henry kicked out. Henry caught Morrison with a kick to the head and the world’s strongest slam for the pin. Henry then gave Morrison an additional world’s strongest slam after the match.

Henry took the microphone after the match and said that he heard Big Show is looking for him but he isn’t hard to find. Henry vowed that Show’s return to WWE will be the shortest in WWE history. Henry was just great screaming with fury. Unfortunately, the crowd was chanting “what” at him, not a good sign for a serious heel booked like such a monster.

Backstage, John Laurinaitis met with David Otunga and some other heels. Laurinaitis wanted to know if Otunga had anything to do with Miz and R. Truth filing a lawsuit. Otunga was evasive.

Christian, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes, David Otunga, Vickie Guerrero and Alberto Del Rio came to the ring. Del Rio said he got rid of John Cena and CM Punk but couldn’t celebrate because two guys who were supposed to be fired attacked him. He blamed HHH and said only HHH had the power to raise and lower the cell. Christian said that since HHH took over, Raw has been an unsafe place to work. Rhodes said they are all victims of HHH’s ego. Ziggler said HHH needs to be supervised. Swagger said his friends and family are concerned for him whenever he wrestles.

Vickie Guerrero took the microphone and got nuclear heat. It really was striking given she hasn’t been involved in a big heat angle in quite a while. She said as a woman she feels especially vulnerable. Otunga then said they can keep working and risk their livelihood or band together to take legal action. That brought out HHH, who said men used to fight, not whine and cry and file lawsuits. HHH told them to shut up and fight later in the show.

Beth Phoenix and Natalya beat Eve Torres and Kelly Kelly. Kelly just freaked out from the beginning, screeching and attacking Beth. She rammed Beth repeatedly into the announce table until she was disqualified and then just kept attacking Beth. Kelly was annoying and unlikeable acting like this, but it’s not like she brings anything to the table other than looks no matter what role she’s playing.

John Laurinaitis backstage told HHH that Laurinaitis is not responsible for what happened at Hell in a Cell. He wanted an apology from HHH for knocking him down accidentally last night. He then said that HHH should ask talent for a vote of confidence later in the show. HHH told everyone to come to the ring for that, including Laurinaitis.

The returning Santino Marella beat Jinder Mahal. Santino spoke gibberish in response to Mahal’s Indian prior to the match for comedy. Mahal missed a knee and Santino hit the cobra for the win in a matter of seconds.

They aired the angle with Miz and Truth from Hell in a Cell pretty much in its entirety. They then had a youtube video with Miz and Truth apologizing for the incident while complaining about HHH and explaining their wrongful termination and assault lawsuit.

John Cena, CM Punk, Sheamus, Mason Ryan, Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne beat Alberto Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, Cody Rhodes, Christian and David Otunga. They gave them over 25 minutes and this was a good match. The heels worked over Kingston for a while and then worked over Bourne for a while. Cena got the tag and hit shoulder blocks and the Cena slam on Del Rio. Cena went for the FU but Del Rio countered and the heels took over on Cena.

Cena eventually got the tag to Sheamus. Sheamus hit a powerslam and knee lift on Ziggler. Sheamus went to the top but Christian grabbed him and Del Rio pushed him off the top. Ziggler gave Sheamus the famouser but Sheamus kicked out. Christian hit a spear on Sheamus, which set up the spot where everyone takes turns hitting moves on other guys. Bourne hit a double knee off the top on Christian. Rhodes hit the roll of the dice on Christian. Punk hit the GTS on Del Rio. Cena gave Otunga the FU. Ziggler hit the zig zag on Cena, but Sheamus then gave Ziggler the Brogue kick for the win.

The Raw wrestlers, Smackdown wrestlers, referees and Jerry Lawler circled the ring for the final segment. Lawler being there was a cruel development after having to endure Booker T the previous two hours. A few of the top faces weren’t out there, including John Cena, CM Punk and Randy Orton.

HHH said the COO role was a job he was given, not something he sought. He said that he’s not upset at Miz and Truth for what they did but rather for being unable to deal with their punishment. HHH said he likes watching wrestlers fight and the people like watching wrestlers fight. He concluded that he works for the fans and asked the wrestlers what they thought.

Wade Barrett said that it is an unsafe working environment and that HHH is incapable of controlling talent. Barrett said HHH likes chaos and is out of control. HHH responded by mocking Barrett for failing in his attempts to create chaos. Referee Mike Chioda said he has never seen so much referee abuse and for the first time in over a decade he is afraid to come to work.

Beth Phoenix said that on behalf of the women, they are afraid something might happen. HHH basically pointed out nothing has and Beth said that it could. Jerry Lawler then came in the ring. He said he agreed with some things said and disagreed with others. Lawler said he thinks the show is spiraling out of control. Lawler said someone behind the scenes is trying to sabotage HHH’s job and won’t stop until HHH is gone. Thus, Lawler concluded it is ultimately HHH’s fault that things are so dangerous for the performers.

Christian called for a vote. He voted no confidence with some other heels. Chioda and the referees said no confidence. Beth and the women said no confidence. Lawler said no confidence and walked out. The wrestlers then started walking about. Michael Cole walked out. The final faces walked out. Booker T and the ring announcer walked out. The cameramen put down their cameras and walked out. Finally, Jim Ross got up and walked out. Laurinaitis walked out onto the stage shaking his head with just HHH standing at ringside.

Final Thoughts:

On the positive side, I like the renewed focus on providing mostly clean finishes. I think that will be a very helpful development if it continues over time. This show also had good wrestling content.

On the downside, this HHH angle is just terrible. Who cares if HHH retains his COO job or not? It’s not like things are any different with him in charge. It’s not like he’s had the role for any real period of time. It’s not like he seems to care much about having the job. It’s not like he’s going to leave the show if they remove him from the job. And yet we have to listen to the announcers go on and on and on about it all two hours.

What’s even more annoying is it all feels so fake and contrived. HHH has only been in his role a few months and things are the same as they always are. They were doing tons of angles at a breakneck pace before HHH was in charge. A few angles with Miz and Truth don’t feel like anything out of the ordinary. Yet now the story is things are out of control and so everyone talks about that even though it doesn’t remotely feel that way. It’s just the directive, like everyone must say “WWE Universe” over and over again even though nobody in the real world would be caught dead using that asinine expression.

It’s fine if the heels say that things are out of control. They are after all heels, out to get rid of HHH the babyface. But when all the face wrestlers, announcers and cameramen seem to agree, it just feels ridiculous. It’s not that it inspires anger at the faces for doing that, although they certainly don’t come off well. It’s simply unbelievable that those characters are acting that way.

We’ve seen cars blowing up, vehicular attacks, gang beatdowns, big injury angles to top stars and a cavalcade of hotshot angles and now the cameramen are walking off the job because they’re terrified of a Miz run-in? The wrestlers are unanimous in turning on HHH as an authority figure because of a Miz run-in? It’s just bad storytelling. They haven’t made the stakes feel important or the actions feel believable, and by acting like it’s this huge deal it will be even harder next month when they try to hotshot another big angle.