The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal for 10/24/11
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter at @johnreport
Live from Austin, Texas this is the Raw Deal…
Instead of starting the show with the usual wrestler music and promo, they went to the announcers right away. They talked about all the events at Vengeance, putting it over as a hectic night. There were some big things that happened, which I covered live on Sunday, but it wasn’t as big as they made it out to be. It is a nice idea to make it seem important even though it was more of a transitional PPV more than anything.
The COO Triple H walked out to the ring in a t-shirt and jeans. I guess he’s not in the suit wearing mood. Hunter says he was told by his trainer Killer Kowalski that you can either be in the business to make friends or to make money. He said he was lucky to make money (and marry rich while doing it – I added that part), but he also made some very good friends too: Shawn Michaels, Sean Waltman & Kevin Nash. No mention of Scott Hall, who is in WWE sponsored rehab once again. The fans boo Nash’s name. Hunter made the Wolfpack hand gesture sign, which drew a big pop although that was likely because it was also the Texas Longhorns sign, which is where Raw was. Hunter turned on his serious movie actor voice and said that Nash broke his heart. Aww, that’s so sad. Hunter wanted to fight Nash, so he called him out.
Instead of Nash, we got Raw interim GM John Laurinaitis. He wanted to get in the ring, but Hunter told him if he did he would kick his ass. Hunter cranked up the seriousness by saying that he wants JL to sign Nash because if he didn’t Hunter would go to his house and get arrested for what he would do. Oh God, I’m having flashbacks to that fight at Orton’s “house” a few years ago where the cameraman caught Orton getting thrown through a window. Then Hunter got “arrested.” It was so cheesy. He wanted JL to give him a contract he can’t refuse. Hunter also reminded him that he’s still COO so JL reported to him. My head hurts with this storyline. Anyway, Hunter walked up the ramp, turned around when he got to talk so his back was to the entrance and to the surprise of nobody there was Nash. He ran into Hunter with a sledgehammer in his hands, crushing Hunter in the back with it. He hit him the way Hunter does, with his hand in front of the sledge to protect the guy.
Does the fact that Nash was backstage before this segment mean that he’s already signed to a contract? Obviously he really is, but storyline wise is that the case too? We don’t know yet. For what it’s worth he’s been cleared to wrestle after having some medical issue before. I’d expect Nash vs. Triple at Survivor Series now. I should point out that Hunter was very over with the Austin crowd. He got a huge pop.
The scene continued with the inept medical staff checking on Hunter while another camera showed Nash walking backstage. Hey look there’s Teddy Long standing there doing nothing. I bet he’s thinking about making a tag match somehow. After showing some replays, they showed Hunter being helped backstage. He was coughing a lot. Then he collapsed on the floor as people panicked some more. The show went to commercial.
Back from break, the announcers busted out the SERIOUS VOICES~! (two nights in a row) describe the action. Once the replays stopped, they showed Hunter being loaded into the ambulance. Nash threatened the inept medical staff, they left Hunter alone, Nash propped him up against some conveniently placed boxes so he was facing him vertically. He reared back and used the sledgehammer to hit Hunter in the face with it. You could hear somebody yell “SECURITY” in the background (hey raspy voiced Michael Hayes how you doing?) and finally they grabbed Nash. Not only is the medical staff inept, but so is security. I also love how no wrestlers like Hunter enough to check on him or help him in any way. Maybe some of the jobbers should take sucking up lessons. Seriously though, they did a good job of putting over the seriousness of the attack. I’m just not sure if I want to see Nash vs. Hunter. We did see it in 2003 when Hunter was a heel and Nash was a face. They had barely passable matches then. I’d imagine it would be a pure brawl now. Anyway, Laurinaitis apologized to Hunter for this happening as they finally got him out of there. Is he being sincere? That’s the question the viewer is left to ponder. I’m sure the promo about Laurinaitis bringing in Nash to cause problems for Hunter is coming soon. The worst part of the whole segment: “Does he have a pulse?” – Inept doctor. Did the creative team come up with that one or was it an adlib? Wow.
Thirty minutes into the show, I think we’re going to have a match. On TNA Impact Wrestling this past Thursday it took them 45 minutes. They had three matches the whole show that totaled about nine minutes. At least Smackdown has in-ring action. That’s my favorite show.
Randy Orton & Sheamus d. Christian & Cody Rhodes (***)
The faces were both very over, especially Orton. The Austin crowd was better than the San Antonio crowd the night before. The faces each won in singles the night before too. They went to break about two minutes in. The heels worked over Sheamus for a bit, and then Orton got the hot tag. The chemistry of these four was “OFF DA HOOK” as Booker T. would say. Orton’s dropkick on Christian was great. Sheamus got back in, got a lot of offense in, then Rhodes fought back with his jump kick. Christian even snuck in a spear behind the ref’s back. Orton broke up the pin, though. Orton got the RKO on Christian, which took him out, so Cody threw Orton out of the ring to take him out. Sheamus went for the Brogue Kick on Rhodes, but it missed totally. They improvised with the Celtic Cross (Razor’s Edge) for the pinfall win at 12 minutes. Good match with all four working hard. It doesn’t advance anything because the heels lost to these guys a night earlier, but I’m not about to complain about a good match.
They recapped The Miz & R-Truth attacking Cena at Vengeance.
Backstage, John Laurinaitis was talking to Stephanie McMahon apparently to calm her down. He was mad that she was blaming him for the Nash attack. We’re to assume she’s not there, I guess. Anyway, David Otunga was there to suck up to JL. Then John Cena walked in, calling Otunga “Carlton Banks.” Nice Fresh Prince reference. I doubt he can dance like him. Cena wants a match with Miz & Truth, so JL told him that he’s picking his partner for later in the show. Then Cena made a skateboard reference, which is a shot at JL because he used to have a skateboard as part of the Dynamic Dudes. Laurinaitis, aka Johnny Ace, is in this picture HERE. He’s on the right. Shane Douglas is on the left. They were in WCW. Nice hair.
We see a video telling us that next Monday The Muppets are the guest stars of Raw. The ten year old version of me would be marking out. Can Statler and Waldorf replace the commentary team please?
They were really pushing Twitter stuff all night. As Ziggler walked to the ring, they posted one of his tweets. The pushing of Twitter was very annoying. They did it more on this show than they’ve ever had. At one point they bragged about their trending topics being more than the World Series game. You don’t make money for trending topics. You make money based on viewers. Keep that in mind, WWE.
Dolph Ziggler d. Santino (1/2*)
Ziggler had Swagger & Vickie with him. This was a non-title match. Santino got some offense in, went for the Cobra, Swagger distracted the ref & Santino, so Ziggler hit the Zig Zag out of nowhere to get the win. Yes, he had to cheat to beat Santino. Match was less than two minutes. Post match, Swagger put Santino into the ankle lock, Mason Ryan came out for the save. Barely any reaction. Ziggler bailed, Swagger got attacked and they left as Ryan went into yelling babyface mode. Can Ziggler get a good match out of Ryan? Doubt it, but he’s as good a candidate as there is.
The Bellas were having a conversation on camera as Zack Ryder came running by to say that he was chosen as John Cena’s partner. Crowd popped. He was so happy. The girls were happy too. I thought they were heels? Not like I care. Good for Zack, or so I thought.
They plugged Del Rio doing a speech and Rock coming back for Survivor Series on November 20.
The second hour started with Del Rio coming out for a victory speech. He claimed Cena gets no more title chances because he lost his rematch and that nobody in WWE is worthy of getting a shot at him. Cue CM Punk’s music. He was over huge. He said that he’s beaten Del Rio before (on Raw a few weeks back) and that he never got a singles match after he lost the title. He did lose the rematch at HIAC, but it was a Triple Threat. It’s a technicality really. John Laurinaitis came out. He said he’d give Punk the shot if Punk told the world that he respected JL. Punk had a hard time doing that. He ripped into JL, calling him a kissass who wasn’t a very good wrestler, but somehow made a rise in WWE to corporate executive. He even made a skateboard reference too. It was a great promo. Wish I had more time to do it justice. Anyway, JL said that it wasn’t good enough and he needed to think about it some more. Punk went after “Berto,” but the champ escaped and Punk ended up giving the GTS to Rodriguez although it didn’t look very smooth. I’m assuming the Survivor Series match becomes official next week. This was a good segment mostly thanks to Punk.
Alicia Fox d. Natalya (*)
They had a three minute match with Beth on commentary. I like both of them, but this was rushed. Fox rolled her up for the win. Has Natalya won a singles match since she’s turned heel? I guess her job is to lose to the girls before they lose to Beth because she lost to Kelly & Eve via rollups as well. Obviously she’s one of the best workers they have. It would be nice if she won once in a while too. Post match Natalya & Beth tried to attack, but Alicia managed to escape.
Wade Barrett d. John Morrison (**)
Hey look, a Morrison match. I wonder if he will win. Nope. The finish was supposed to be Morrison leaping off the ropes, Barrett catching him and hitting the Wasteland, but he wasn’t able to hold onto him. He ended up picking him back up before delivering the Wasteland to win clean after about 9 minutes. I’m surprised it took that long since Morrison has been losing much quicker. Barrett’s getting a push up the ladder, it seems.
The announcers recapped the same stuff again. Then Cole cut a promo on Jim Ross again. He showed some pics of what JR is doing now. They were photoshopped pics of Ross that Vince McMahon likely found hilarious. He said he’s calling out Ross to come to Atlanta for Raw next week for a Michael Cole Challenge, whatever that is. If Ross wins, then Cole quits as the announcer on Raw. I wonder if this leads to Cole becoming a manager, or if it’s just a pointless waste of time. Remember after the Lawler feud ended, Cole cut a promo about going back to normal? Forget that. Vince loves the gimmick too much. Awful segment.
Zack Ryder was interviewed by Josh Mathews in the designated interview area backstage. Ryder was cutting a promo about how excited he was. Miz & Truth attacked Ryder, throwing him into the lighting panels and effectively taking him out of the match. Is that an unsafe working environment? Sorry. I shouldn’t ask questions.
The Miz and R-Truth cut a heel promo. It was well done. I like their anger. I don’t like how three weeks ago everybody was bitching about them attacking people. Now nobody does anything about it. There’s no continuity with that. They said Hunter got what he deserved and nothing could save Cena. This was only just the beginning. They should have told Cena that he can’t see the Awesome Truth because he never knows where they’ll show up next. Maybe down the road. I liked the promo. Anyway, they went to break and then Cena made his entrance.
John Cena d. The Miz & R-Truth via DQ (*)
They worked about five minutes. When Cena got to the ring, he stood beside the guy with the “We Hate Cena” shirt again. It was more of a story than a match. Cena was about to finish off The Miz with the AA when R-Truth attacked him with the dreaded water bottle for the DQ ending. They continued to attack Cena post match. I guess nobody likes Cena just like nobody likes Nash because he doesn’t get saved.
Post match, Miz & Truth went to grab chairs. The skateboard man Laurinaitis told them to stop, saying he won’t stand for chaos. How many segments has he been in? And how much chaos has there been the last two nights? He’s so bad that Mike Adamle even thinks so. Laurinaitis said that at Survivor Series Miz & Truth would face Cena and a partner of his choosing.
Cena grabbed the microphone from Laurinaitis. He paused for a second, realizing he had the power to choose who his opponent would be. He did a good a good job of delaying it. The crowd knew it would be The Rock, so they started to chant his name. When he finally got around to saying “The Rock” there was this gob of spit coming out of his mouth. Awful timing haha. Click here if you missed the spit of Cena. I’m sure if they do a video package on it they will edit the spit out. Hopefully somebody makes fun of him for that down the road. Anyway, the show ended with Miz & Truth freaking out because Cena picked The Rock as his partner. Truth’s facial expressions were hilarious.
I guess the 5 on 5 match is off and it’s Cena & The Rock vs. The Miz & R-Truth. Cue the people want Cena to turn heel. It could work in that match at Survivor Series although personally I don’t see Cena going heel yet. I’d expect Rock & Cena to go over clean. It will also likely be the last match of the night.
Three Stars of the Show
1. CM Punk – Great promo especially for ripping on Laurinaitis.
2. The Miz
4.5 out of 10
Last week: 6
2011 High Score: 9.1 (March 28)
2011 Low Score: 3.5 (October 10)
2011 Average: 5.69
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 3.5, 6.5, 6, 5.5
I’m giving it a score of 4.5 this week. That could be generous on my part. There was way too much of John Laurinaitis on this show. I understand the idea is to make it feel like “anything can happen” on Raw, but this week there were too many segments featuring the interim GM. Perhaps this is all leading to the mysterious Board of Directors determining that JL is unfit to be GM, so they replace him with Mick Foley at some point in November when he’s expected to be back in WWE. The skateboard jokes are funny for those that know Laurinaitis was in the Dynamic Dudes, but I’m sure that 80% of the audience has no idea what they mean.
The CM Punk/Del Rio segment was interesting. Obviously that’s going to be the WWE Title match at Survivor Series, which is fine by me. It was nice to see that Punk showed some of that anti-authority behavior that got him over as a huge babyface in the first place.
I liked the way they set up the Cena announcement with Rock as his tag team partner for Survivor Series. Aside from the gob of spit on the microphone, it was well done. I was hoping for the traditional 5 on 5 tag team match at SS like they had announced, but I guess they changed their mind. That’s nothing new. The fans were ready for it, so it worked.
Last point, the Twitter stuff is getting really annoying. It’s nice that they are pushing social media because it makes the fans feel like they are a part of the show in some way, but it’s gotten to the point where it detracts from the show. It’s another way to promote the talent on Raw. It’s also a way to annoy the hell out of people because that’s what it is doing to me.
Keep checking out thejohnreport.net daily for more articles by our amazing crew of writers. I’ll be back on Saturday with the next edition of Canton’s Corner. Next Wednesday November 2 at 10pmET TJR Radio returns as well. That should be fun.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit my 10+ year column archive at the Wrestling Oratory right HERE.