Welcome to the Raw Deal for a three hour edition of Raw featuring three major title matches (okay, really it’s just two plus ECW) with performers from all three brands on the show. In this edition I’ll run down everything on the show with star ratings for the matches (yes there were actually good matches!), give the three stars of the night, a rating for the show and then share a couple of emails I received recently about a couple of Raw performers. Lots to talk about with a three hour show, so I’m skipping “The Deal On” part for this week.
Before I begin, I have to make note about the passing of a legend in Japan, Mitsuharu Misawa. I haven’t watched much Japanese wrestling in my life, but I once owned three Misawa comp tapes and I think anybody that’s ever watched him can attest that he was a very special performer. Look him up, watch a match and you can see from a pure wrestling standpoint that he truly was great. RIP Misawa.
(If somebody wants to make me a banner with the words Raw Deal on it with pics of some Raw performers on it that would be great. If not, I don’t mind using my other banners.)
From Charlotte, North Carolina here’s the Raw Deal…
Intercontinental Title: Chris Jericho (c) d. Rey Mysterio (***)
Jericho’s pre-match promo was terrific, basically telling Mysterio that protecting his mask will be his downfall. This is shaping up to be the feud of the year, which would be the second year in a row for Jericho since his feud with Michaels last year was the best thing on WWE TV. And he had a major role in booking both of them. Vince trusts him to book his storylines now. Too bad he couldn’t book the whole show. Maybe it would make sense. The match was great as expected, but that’s no surprise. I could watch these two wrestle every week for a year and not get bored by it. They’re good enough to always keep me interested. Loved the finish with Mysterio having the advantage, Jericho countering by grabbing at his mask and Mysterio fighting that off, only to succumb to the Codebreaker for the loss. Very similar to their Extreme Rules match. I’m assuming this feud continues hopefully until Summerslam when Jericho’s title goes on the line against Mysterio’s mask with Rey winning it. Rey should never take the mask off in WWE. He did it in WCW ten years ago and it made him just another guy. Keep it on him to differentiate him from the pack. I also wonder if somebody was curious to see his face that hasn’t seen it before, don’t they just google it and see it? I just typed in “Rey Mysterio unmasked” and dozens of pics just showed up. I guess the assumption on WWE’s part is if we don’t show you his face you’ll never see his face…even though you have the internet at your fingertips. For storyline sake, keep the mask on the guy. There’s nothing to gain by taking it off.
Hey, there’s Orton backstage. Didn’t he get destroyed by HHH? I guess he’s fine. There’s Cena do to a promo that wasn’t very good. I swear they should just let Cena write his own promos. He’s more creative than the writers they got for him, and at least it would feel more natural. Trust your performers, Vince!
Vince tells us in a promo that somebody bought Raw. It was for sale? Sure. Let’s run with it. The person he sold it to isn’t somebody you’d expect. Ted Turner? Mike Tyson? Bin Laden? Kermit the Frog? Stan Kroenke? Tiffany? George Bush? We’ll find out after the title match. I really had no idea. I was hoping for Mike Adamle, personally, just for the promos again. Or is it THE Mike Adamle?
ECW Title: Tommy Dreamer (c) d. Christian (*1/4)
Three title matches! Three hours! All three brands! And they got about four minutes. Feel the extremeness of a match ending on a small package! How do they expect fans to care about titles, especially the third “world title” in the company when they don’t even trust the wrestlers to have a match for ten or more minutes on a three hour show? I don’t get this company sometimes. Can we please get Christian off this brand so that he can feud with Edge, who needs a new feud, right now? Please?
The Bella girls that don’t do anything talked to Kelly about the buyer. Oprah? I wish. Paris Hilton? She is that stupid. Obama? Vince hates him, so sure. The best part was when they wondered if they would lose their jobs. What do the Bella Twins do anyway? I guess they wrestle sometimes. Who knew?
Here’s another video of Batista getting beaten up that we saw about 45 minutes ago at the start of the show. This time they included disgusting clips of his biceps muscle being repaired. Fun for the whole family!
Vacant WWE Title: Randy Orton d. Triple H, John Cena and Big Show in a Fatal Fourway (**3/4)
I love how Big Show gets a title shot even though he lost at WrestleMania clean, plus he lost to Cena at JDay and Extreme Rules clean both times. Why should fans care about titles or number one contender matches when you constantly give title shots to people that lose? I’m not saying that he’s a bad performer or that he’s not worthy. It’s just that when you have him lose these big matches all the time you’re telling your viewers that he’s not worthy. Anyway, the match was actually well booked with some believable nearfalls happening throughout with Orton mostly being the one that broke up the pin attempts. Big Show’s offensive run in matches like these are great, by the way. That’s when he’s at his absolute best. Being in mutli man matches is the best thing for him because he moves at such a slow pace that it makes his singles matches too slow. One of my favorite three ways ever was Angle vs. Lesnar vs. Show at Vengeance 2003. Hell of a match. Where was I? Oh yeah, Show’s run of dominance ended thanks to a HHH Pedigree, which then led to Cena hitting the FU (I hate the new name) on HHH. Orton slimed his way in, chucked Cena into the post, hit the RKO on Show and that was it. Good booking. Orton outsmarted everyone just as the top heel should. Orton gets his fifth title even though he never should have lost his fourth one, but these are the things they do for ratings, or at least try to do. Solid match. Can’t complain too much because they hit all the spots they needed to hit and did a good job making you think somebody else would win even though obviously it was going to be Orton the whole time. And I agree with that, he should be the champ.
The new “owner” of Raw is…
Big reveal time. The new owner of Raw is Donald Trump. What? And the crowd goes…mild. Even as Trump tried to run down Vince, to say that he was unfair to the fans and to promote a commercial free Raw next week the crowd didn’t react to this at all. They clearly wanted Flair. I don’t blame them. I would have wanted Flair too. What I’m looking forward to is if the media outlets are stupid enough to give Vince the press he wants by actually believing Trump is the new owner of Raw. I love Trump back if only for the sheer comedy of it all. He’s terrible at reading lines off the monitor. He sounds as if he’s a person in real estate (which he is) trying to play a TV character (which he is not). There’s no believability in the things that he says. How many people believe that he actually watches WWE or Raw? It’s great unintentional comedy that we haven’t seen in WWE since Adamle was there. It’s potentially bad television, though, if you think it’s going to bring viewers in. I won’t dismiss it totally yet. Have to be a bit patient with this one. With that said, it already got off on the wrong foot if you listen to the crowd reactions. The key will be if they put somebody on as GM. Trump’s not going to be on every week, nor should he. Maybe they hire Flair as the GM, which would be fine with me. Wait and see before really judging this angle. By the way, Trump’s young trophy wife is awesome. Who says money can’t buy you happiness? He’s a 60 year old man with awful hair, then look at his gorgeous wife. Money can buy you anything, kids. Remember that. His daughter Ivanka? Very nice! High five!
Hey, all this makes me wonder can I buy ECW? I have $20 in my pocket.
Ten man battle royal later to determine Orton’s new opponent. Why even have the other eight guys when you know it’s HHH or Cena? Oh yeah, they need three hours to kill. My bad.
Mickie James d. Rosa Mendez (1/4*)
Nothing I’m going to remember the second I’m finished writing about it. Rosa’s still pretty green obviously, but I do like her ring presence. The good thing is at least the Mickie/Maryse rivalry is making some sense, so hopefully they get a PPV match out of that. Maryse can flip her hair in my direction any time she wants, for the record. I think she’s overtaken Mickie as my favorite diva in the post-Trish era. When Trish was around, nobody was close.
Hey, there’s Goldust and Hornswoggle shooting t-shirts to the crowd. Maybe we can see this kind of excitement live next week with no commercials! Wow! Thanks Donald! Anyway, here comes The Miz for his weekly promo to try to get him over with the crowd even though they never seem to have enough faith in the guy to put him in an actual match. Wouldn’t that be a good barometer to tell if the crowd truly hates him? Cena’s done, he’s the future, blah blah…hey there’s Goludst and Horny. Yes, Ahmed Johnson reference! Man, that was like 14 years ago. I feel old. Goldust told him that everybody went to take a piss when Miz talked, so he should change his name to The Wiz. Vince probably came up with that amazing joke. Maybe he doesn’t realize that’s his name because his real name is Mike Mizanin? Miz took exception to being called pee, gave Goldust a DDT and the shot the midget in the nuts with the t-shirt gun! Yes! That was great. Reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer’s a movie judge: “Barney’s movie was great, but football in the groin is a football in the groin.” The message is people getting hit in the groin is always funny. It’s even better when it’s a midget or old person getting hit there. It’s a shame the announcers didn’t go into their serious, quiet voices when Horny took that shot. Would have made it that much funnier. Basically Miz is a douche for doing this. I actually like him for it. I’m perverse. If you want to relive the greatness of “t-shirt in the groin” here’s the GIF link for ya: T-shirt to the groin. You’re welcome.
Punk talked backstage basically saying he’s not a bad guy for doing what he did. Yep, he’s turning heel.
World Title: CM Punk d. Edge and Jeff in a Triple Threat (***1/2)
Best match of the night. Like I said about Jericho/Mysterio earlier, I won’t get sick of Edge vs. Jeff Hardy ever. They had a good, nearly four star match on Smackdown this past week while wrestling a different kind of match from their PPV ladder match. That’s the epitome of a good worker. You have to be able to work well no matter the stipulations or settings in the match. These two can do it. This match was a lot of fun. I liked the story of the match with Hardy being the one that by all rights should have won the match, yet he somehow found a way to get screwed out of the title by the end of it. He was aggressive going after Punk when he landed knee first on the ring steps, then he had Edge finished with the Twist of Fate and Swanton, but Punk snuck in and stole it from him by pinning Edge after the Swanton. The crowd didn’t really like it. I enjoyed every second of the match. Post match, Teddy Long announced Punk vs. Hardy at The Bash PPV that’s in 13 days even though they have barely promoted it.
Clearly they’re pushing Punk in the direction of a heel because JR’s commentary suggests that while his actions hint at it. It would have been even better if he faked the knee injury at the end of the match. That would have worked great. I don’t agree with the move because Smackdown already has two great heels in Jericho and Edge, who should both maintain that heel status for a long time. I guess Edge as a face would be different although he never really thrived in that role the way he does as a heel. Very cool of Punk to have “Misawa” written on his wrist tape, by the way.
Is it a shock that the two Smackdown matches on the show were great? I’d write about that show regularly except that I find my reviews would be repetitive because it’s generally such a good show. How many times can you Edge, Jericho, Hardy, Mysterio, Punk did a great job, you know? Plus, I hate the Friday night timeslot. I’m usually not in the mood to sit in front of the computer on the weekend to write about wrestling.
Carlito & Primo vs. David Hart Smith & Tyson Kidd ends in a DQ (*)
Legacy was out there doing commentary trying to show some personality. Honestly, though, they both come off as being very bland. Maybe it’s the writing, maybe it’s them. I’m not sure yet. At least they’re getting a PPV match after months of doing nothing. The match wasn’t much because it was over in about three minutes thanks to Legacy coming in to attack the Colon brothers. The first tag team feud in about two months. That’s nice.
Comedy time with Vince, who was sitting on a couch with Santino. Trump called Vince (we don’t hear Trump) to say he’s got another announcement after the battle royal. The comedy ended when Santino told Vince that compared to Trump he wasn’t that rich. I chuckled a bit. I admit it.
Ten Man Battle Royal: Triple H d. John Cena, Big Show, MVP, Matt Hardy, William Regal, Ted Dibiase, Cody Rhodes, Kofi Kingston and The Miz (**1/4)
This was predictable, but fine. You knew HHH and Cena were going to be the last two even though it would have been nice to see something else for a change. Does the second place person matter that much? What if Miz eliminated Cena while cheating? That would help him out. I would have liked to see MVP do more than be one of the first ones eliminated. Have the guy hang in there with HHH and Cena. Why not make him one of the final two just to tease something different for once? What’s gained by having somebody like Regal lasting longer than him? I realize that fans won’t remember this battle royal by the time next week comes around, but maybe if somebody like MVP did something of significance in a match like this they would cheer for him more than they do. They could have had MVP eliminate Cena here, then have him challenge Cena for the PPV and they could have a competitive, 12 minute PPV match that Cena wins cleanly while MVP puts up a great fight. Then they can team up against Miz and Show, which could then lead to Miz vs. Cena and Show vs. MVP down the road. That puts MVP over because he’s won the respect of a top guy like Cena. Instead, he’s stuck in the midcard with nothing to do again. Anyway, more HHH vs. Orton. What a shock.
The Donald’s Big Announcement is…
Next week on the commercial free Raw we’re going to see Orton defend the title against HHH in a Last Man Standing match. I thought it would be about a new GM. I was wrong. Basically they’re giving us a PPV main event level match on free TV six days before they’re going to try to convince you to spend $40 or more to see the same match again on a PPV that they’ve barely promoted. In other words, ratings are more important than PPV buys, which is the kind of backwards thinking that killed WCW. I’m not saying WWE is going to die. It’s just that TV should be used to create interest in the PPVs, not to make people disinterested in them.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Jeff Hardy – He was awesome. I hope he re-signs, but if he does choose to take time off I can’t say I blame him.
2. Chris Jericho – When he says he’s the best in the business he’s right. Edge is a close second.
3. Hornswoggle – T-shirt to the groin! T-shirt to the groin! My God, Hornswoggle’s little Horn is broken in half! T-shirt to the groin!
It’s hard not to like a show that gives us three matches at the three star level plus a battle royal was booked well, even though it was pretty obvious. The high score this show receives is for the quality matches we saw in the ring. I’m not as crazy about some of the booking decisions or the Trump announcement, but I’ll refrain from ripping it. There are plenty of ways to make it better, that’s for sure. Hopefully they do that by bringing in a new GM next week. Good show this week for the most part.
Rating: 7.5 (out of 10)
Last week: 5
To wrap this up, here are some of your emails (in green font) over the last week or so with my responses (in regular font) immediately following.
First one is about The Miz:
Is it me, or do you agree with this? When he became a wrestler, I thought it was a joke, but him as a tag team with Morrison he held his own, and he’s developed well as a wrestler. He may not be main event, but can anybody handle the mic better than him other then Jericho? Putting him in the US title hunt would work, to free up MVP for main event slot (in the WWE Title hunt, or at least working with them). I was anti Miz, but he is actually a good worker. Can’t believe I just said that. Thoughts?
My opinion on him is similar to those that didn’t take him seriously as a performer because he often came off intentionally as a goof. I guess that was his persona on the reality shows he was on, but I have no idea since I never watched that stuff. He clearly has improved as a performer both in ring as well as on the microphone. I’d say he was most improved in 2008 while being a part of the best team with Morrison. I’m interested in seeing what he can do in singles especially in a longer match, say for 15 minutes? Can he keep the audience’s attention in the ring or is he merely just one of those guys that can talk? Time will tell. As far as his microphone work goes, he definitely has a lot of potential although I’d put Jericho, Edge and Cena as the top three talkers in the company with a few others there too. Miz has a long way to go to get that level of being a truly elite talker.
The next (and last one for this week because I’m tired) one is about my boy MVP:
I understand why you agree with most people about how MVP should (and will) get a big push. But as much as I respect the guy’s in- ring abilities and skills on the mic, he gets absolutely no pop during his entrance or when he wins. The only time he ever gets crowd reaction is when he yells, “BALLIN!”, which the crowd then responds accordingly. I’d rather see him as a great mid carder as he is now, as opposed to doing a main event or two for the title, losing both and getting his self-esteem crushed, and going right back down to the mid-card which is exactly what is going to happen. I’m sure you’ll disagree with my opinions but please remember this e-mail when in a few months it seems like you’re experiencing deja vu.
Ben (Legacy’s 4th member) V
I don’t necessarily disagree with your opinions on what will happen. What I maintain is that they SHOULD push this guy because he has the potential to be a top guy if they ever give him the opportunity. The problem is they do stupid things like have him lose every single match for what, three or four months, then he beats the Big Show on a fluke and all of a sudden he’s a good guy? They don’t let the characters tell stories. They just throw them out there and expect the fans to cheer just because he’s wrestling bad guys now instead of good guys. You have to give fans a reason to care. Right now the fans see him basically as a loser who can’t hang with the main event guys, which is exactly the opposite of what should be happening. I don’t blame you one bit for thinking that he won’t get pushed. You might be right. I just hope you’re wrong.
I appreciate any feedback you guys can give so please send me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org about anything related to WWE past or present. Please, keep sending them in. I will post some more in the column next week. If you add me on facebook you’ll the links to my columns as well because I post them there just as soon as I post them on this website. It’s an account that I use only for my wrestling columns rather than a personal one. I’m not sure I’ll sign up for Twitter. We’ll see on that one.
In case you missed it, I posted a review of WWF Badd Blood 1997 featuring Michaels vs. Undertaker in the first Hell in a Cell match plus a bunch of bad matches on the rest of the card. Not sure when the Survivor Series ’97 one will be posted. Maybe Friday or Saturday this week, but if not then it would be a couple of weeks after that because next I got another Raw Deal plus the Extreme Rules preview.
Until next week, remember Donald Trump loves you.
Smell ya later,
John Canton. – email@example.com
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