It's that time of the week for the retro Raw Deal. I paste in what I wrote originally five years ago and add in (2014 Thoughts) after the key matches and segments. Easy to follow and understand. The next PPV was called Night of Champions on July 26, so they had two more weeks to build it up. Let's get to it.
The Deal on…a couple of different things
Usually I write about one singular topic here, but I feel like doing a few bullet points in this space this week.
- The Jericho/Mysterio match from last week's Smackdown was the best TV match in WWE this year. I'd say their match at the last PPV (Extreme Rules) was better because it was a faster paced match, but this one was a lot of fun too at about 25 minutes in length. Hell of a good match that I assume is the "last" one in this series. People should go out of their way to watch this one. I give it ****1/4 after the initial viewing. This has been the feud of the year so far. No question about it.
(2014 Thoughts: That feud really was awesome. It's proof that a midcard feud can really work if they can have several matches over a few months. At the time it was the feud of the year, but I think CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy passed it later that summer.)
- Another Jericho thing that I love (can you tell he's my favorite or what?) is his ongoing Twitter banter with The Miz. It's more like a destruction of the Miz, but I'll give Miz some credit for some decent ones. It's just that most of Jericho's lines are epic while Miz seems like he's trying too hard while failing miserably most of the time. Hopefully they take it on air with Miz being Jericho's new partner where they can insult eachother in the ring. I'm anti-Twitter, by the way, but Jericho owning Miz is great.
(2014 Thoughts: This was when Twitter was still pretty new for a lot of us and when we saw wrestlers banter on there it was always interesting to try to guess if it was legit or just for storyline reasons. I definitely *was* anti-Twitter at that point, but then I joined a month later. I love it.)
- They changed the name of Cyber Sunday again. Now the name is Bragging Rights. I guess at Bragging Rights the winner of the title matches will have the bragging rights over their opponent. I can picture the bad jokes by the writing team in my head already. It's not a good name, but it's better than Annihilation.
(2014 Thoughts: Little did I know that there would be a "coveted" Bragging Rights trophy at that show. How silly of me. Somebody thought Bragging Rights was a good idea. I'm not sure who.)
- Jim Ross mentioned in a recent blog that Shawn Michaels is likely to be back in the ring by late August, maybe for Summerslam, while the Undertaker would be back in September. Michaels is my all time favorite wrestler, so I'm very excited about his return. Get him back in the main event picture and throw the title on him right away. He deserves one more run. As for Undertaker, I'm really looking forward to a feud with Chris Jericho because it's never been done before and Jericho's track record in the past 18 months in terms of great feuds is the best in the business. Just please don't give us Undertaker vs. Kane or Undertaker vs. Khali. I don't need to see those ever again.
(2014 Thoughts: Michaels did come back for what ended up being one final run. He didn't get the WWE or World Title again, though. As for Undertaker, he also returned to action and feuded with CM Punk for the World Title although their matches were not as good as the match they had at WrestleMania 29. We actually got another Undertaker feud in 2010 with Kane as a heel that was pushed pretty hard.)
- Some thoughts on UFC 100 because I loved it and I'm sure some people reading this watched it too. If you didn't watch or you don't care about UFC just skip these next two paragraphs for the Raw Deal.
I'm such a fan of Lesnar. I go crazy rooting for him when he fights. I don't know what it is, but I just enjoy watching him perform so much. I guess it's a man-crush. Brock dominated like I thought and played the heel so well. He destroyed Mir even more than I thought he would. The post fight interview was hilarious. GSP schooled Alves although I wish GSP would wear shorts. It's not fun watching him fight on a 55 inch HD TV. Put your junk in some trunks, Georges. Somebody wake up Bisping. One of the most definitive knockouts I've ever seen although it wasn't that surprising since it felt like Bisping was going to walk into a right hand the entire fight with the way he was standing.
I have no problem with Lesnar being "unsportsmanlike" or whatever label you want to call his behavior after the fight. I don't like fighters always touching gloves. It's a fight. Some of these guys don't like eachother. Yes it's a sport and yes there's a lot of respect that should be there during the fight, but let's not forget how much junk Mir was talking. He was cocky in every single interview he had. Lesnar had every right to be a jerk to him because Mir was a jerk to him first. If somebody treats you with respect you should give it back. However, if somebody treats you with disrespect then by all means be the biggest asshole you can be to them. They deserve it. Mir deserved it. Lesnar wiped the stupid grin off Mir's face and I, for one, loved it. To the people bitching about it I say stop being so soft. It's a man's sport. Be a man. Where's Randy Savage to sing when you need him?
(2014 Thoughts: This is an example of how much of a Lesnar mark I am. I really loved seeing him in UFC. Frank Mir talked a lot of junk and Lesnar shut him up. I remember it well. That Savage line made me a bit sad, though. I miss that man.)
Live from Orlando, Florida here's the Raw Deal…
This Week's GM is...Seth Green
I honestly don't know much about Seth Green's career aside from being in the Austin Powers movies. I don't know what Robot Chicken is. I don't know if it's popular. I'm in my late 20s, I don't think I'm old and out of touch with what's cool today, but maybe I am. I do know he's got a background in comedy, so I figured he'd do alright. It also felt like he was a legit WWE fan as opposed to the celebs that say they are even though they really aren't.
(2014 Thoughts: I remember people getting mad at me for not knowing what Robot Chicken was. I'm sorry! I can't watch everything on television.)
Triple H McMahon brought him out and they proceeded to talk about the Robot Chicken show. They showed a clip. I laughed a bit. The announcers laughed as if it was funnier than Borat or Seinfeld. You have to love the ridiculousness of a man in his 60s like Jerry Lawler talking about the greatness of Robot Chicken. Orton came out, Hunter wanted to wrestle him in singles, but Green had another idea, which was to put Orton, Rhodes and Dibiase against the team of Cena, Hunter and himself. That was a nice twist. He came off well in the segment as the tiny, nerdy guy and left me surprisingly optimistic about the rest of the night.
(2014 Thoughts: I think I was just happy because Seth Green didn't book another Orton vs. HHH match because we saw that so many times. Green did come across like a guy who actually cared, so I did appreciate that from him.)
(2014 Thoughts: The Maryse pin was always lovely to watch.)
Maryse, Alicia Fox and Rosa Mendes d. Mickie James, Gail Kim and Kelly Kelly in a summer swimsuit spectacular (1/4*)
Is it wrong that I find Maryse hotter in her wrestling gear than I do in the outfit that she wore here? Maybe I'm just nuts. I love how they felt the need to put palm trees and surfboards on the outside of the ring as if they were going to make the match feel more like summer. I like Mickie the best of all these girls because she doesn't look anorexic. She's got muscles in her legs and arms, which help out the other tremendous curves she has. Maryse got the pin on Mickie with her version of the DDT, which is different than Mickie's DDT finisher. It was fine although I miss the days of the Trish/Terri wet t-shirt contest when WWE wasn't so kid friendly.
(2014 Thoughts: How could I not use the Seinfeld "they're real and they're spectacular" line here? Probably because they're not real, but they are spectacular. Anyway, they were building up Mickie as the babyface challenger to Maryse's Divas Title so it made sense that Maryse would get the pin in this match to make her look strong.)
Jericho told Seth he's a big star and Seth didn't go out of his way to accommodate him, which was a mistake. Jericho had an agenda and felt like he had something to say. I know he's one half of the tag champs, which means he can be on all shows wrestling, but does that mean he can also be on all shows doing angles? I guess so.
(2014 Thoughts: Believe me I wasn't complaining about more Jericho.)
The Miz d. Primo (1/2*)
They got what, just over two minutes? At least Miz got a nice heel reaction. This feud between the Colon brothers is way too soon, but that's not a surprise since they are unable to book tag teams properly anymore. I just don't see this whole thing working out well.
(2014 Thoughts: I liked Carlito & Primo together. Breaking them up really didn't help either of them.)
I'm glad that they didn't go with an angle to explain Edge's injury. It's wrestling. Injuries are a part of the business. I hope he heals up and is back for WrestleMania.
(2014 Thoughts: He was able to get back at the Royal Rumble, so he missed over six months of action.)
We get a clip of Hornswoggle beating Chavo on Superstars. That actually happened? Poor Chavo. He should go back to being Kerwin White if that's the best booking they can do for him. Anyway, Horny talked to Seth, who made a rematch of that Superstars match and then Big Show walked in to do his "one million dollars" impression as Dr. Evil. I chuckled just a bit. I miss Show doing comedy. His Hogan impression at Backlash 2000 is one of the funniest things ever in WWE history. Look it up.
(2014 Thoughts: This was the beginning of the Hornswoggle/Chavo rivalry that lasted way too long.)
Jack Swagger d. MVP (*1/4)
So who did MVP piss off now? And why would they rush this match just one week after a productive promo? They should have been put in a tag, they could have had Swagger avoid MVP because he "doesn't fight criminals" and they could have saved this match a bit. I like Swagger and think he's got a great future ahead of him, but MVP needs to be getting wins. I just don't get it. They need to be creating new stars especially on the babyface side since all they seem to have are young heels, yet they continue to do nothing with MVP. Not only does he lose, but he loses clean. I'd have booked it so Swagger wins by cheating, yet they did it clean as a whistle. Even worse was that the announcers tried to put this over as a huge win for Swagger as if MVP was a huge star that was tough to beat. All he has done on Raw is lose matches…over and over again. All he did for months last year was lose. Then when they do book him in matches to win the fans won't react because they think of him as a loser. They're destroying somebody that the people actually like. I don't get it.
(2014 Thoughts: You could tell I was really backing a push for MVP, but they really didn't care to push him anymore. It was nothing against Swagger. I liked the guy. It's just that they could have had something with MVP. Instead, he kept on losing and eventually left the company.)
I like how they show footage of Edge's injury. It tells the audience it's a real injury unlike all the bullshit ones that happened when Orton kicked somebody in the head.
(2014 Thoughts: Kids, don't try this at home!)
Jericho talks, then has a match…we think? (1/4*)
Jericho came out to say Edge is injury prone and frail. Lucky for him he had a clause in his contract stating he could replace Edge as a partner because he knew he'd get hurt. A bit of a stretch, but it's Jericho, so he can pull it off. He's picking a partner worthy of standing next to him and here's…Mark Henry? Ugh. See what I mean. They could have had MVP in this spot to wrestle Jericho when he's unprepared and beat him. But no, we get Sexual Chocolate. He's not fresh or exciting. He's the complete opposite of both of those things. He beats up Jericho a bit, and then Chris runs away. Mark Henry is the new Berzerker: he wins by countouts. What a gimmick. I guess somebody got tired of Jericho having the best feuds in the company, so they fed him to Mark Henry.
(2014 Thoughts: That was a good way of explaining the Edge injury in a storyline to make Jericho look like a jerk. They really tried to get Henry over as a babyface. It didn't work out so well.)
Hornswoggle d. Chavo with one arm tied behind his back (DUD)
They showed another clip of Horny beating Chavo on Superstars just to make you laugh again because he's so cute! I'm really tired of Hornswoggle wrestling at all. And don't write me saying the kids like him. Nobody made noise during this. The most excited person was Chicken Robot fan Jerry Lawler busting out the "small package" joke when Horny won. They should put Horny back with Finlay. The other stuff Hornswoggle does is really just bad filler.
(2014 Thoughts: It was just beginning of the worst feud of the year.)
Randy Orton told the Legacy boys to leave Seth Green to him. Also during this Cody said that his dad Dusty Rhodes might be GM of Raw next week, which didn't end up happening. Oh well. Dusty will definitely work well in the role in the future.
Big Show d. Evan Bourne like a bug (1/4*)
Wow, that spear was nasty. I don't know if Bourne tried to take the bump by flipping over all the way to his stomach and came up short or if Show simply hit him harder than he thought. You could see Bourne lying there as if is he was praying, thanking God that he was alright. I would be too. I wish Bourne was on Smackdown where he would actually be allowed to have matches like people get to do on that show.
(2014 Thoughts: Smackdown was more of the wrestling show while Raw was more of a mix. Big Show would turn out to be the new tag partner of Chris Jericho, so they did the smart thing by having him look like a beast in a match like this against a much smaller opponent.)
Here's a clip of Robot Chicken. Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole with their big fake laughs think it's hilarious, so I'm going to go buy it! No.
Comedy time with Santino playing with action figures in front of Seth, who looked freaked out. Hunter McMahon and Cena came in to talk strategy. Seth was actually funny in pointing out he was only 5'4" and getting a little help from the inhaler to get ready for the match. Then Hunter and Cena argued just a bit about who will protect the midget on their team. I guess that's promoting Night of Champions, but I don't know.
(2014 Thoughts: It didn't read like it was that funny.)
Next week's GM(s) on Raw: ZZ Top. Wow. Nothing says catering to kids, teens and men in the 18-34 age group like a couple of 60 year olds with funny looking beards. I'm sure Vince loves it, though. That's what matters.
(2014 Thoughts: I just remember them being really bad at it. We'll see in next week's Retro Raw Deal.)
Apparently 12 Rounds with John Cena is the #1 DVD in America. I haven't seen it. Maybe I will on cable in a few years. I've yet to see any WWE produced films. I really don't think I'm missing much.
(2014 Thoughts: I still haven't seen it. The only Cena ones that I've seen are The Marine and Legendary, which was actually pretty good.)
Seth Green, Triple H & John Cena wrestled Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes & Ted Dibiase to a double DQ (**)
I can’t believe they booked Seth Green in a main event on TV. And that it worked! It actually worked. The crowd ate it up when he got in there to pop Cody Rhodes for a shot to the jaw, which shows that they can book celebrities better than most of the other babyfaces on the show. I noticed they kept Dibiase out of the ring because of the minor injury he has, which is smart. The best part was when Green broke up the pin, Orton had this crazed look in his eye, went for the kick and got tackled by Cena just before he could hit it. That was excellent. The crowd was even chanting for Seth. The end of it seemed to be screwed up a bit. It’s like they all knew it was going to be the double DQ ending (obviously), but they didn’t know how to get there. The show ended with HHH almost hitting Cena with his girlfriend Sledgie. I strongly dislike HHH the babyface right now. He needs to be heel. He’s way more tolerable in that role.
(2014 Thoughts: Sometimes I write these and don't remember them at all, but I do recall this one. Green did pretty well considering he looked so out of place. They booked it in a smart way. There was actual drama when it looked like Orton was going to drill him and Cena made the big save. My Triple H comment was very true. He's always been better as a heel. It's not even close, really.)
Three Stars of the Show
1. Seth Green - He came off like the biggest star of the show. That's probably not the best way to sell a PPV in two weeks.
2. Chris Jericho – I liked his promo. That’s enough.
3. Big Show – They need to replay that spear even more than they replay things involving Hornswoggle.
(2014 Thoughts: I really don't take the three stars thing seriously too much, but Green was really pushed like the biggest star on this show. That's not necessarily a good thing.)
As soon as the show finished I thought, “It wasn’t that bad” but as I sat here writing about it I was left to wonder what was good on the show. Green’s role was enjoyable, though. I’m not even joking. I anticipated writing jokes about how bad he would be in the role, but he was more than passable. The problem is they did a better job of promoting him and his show, which has less viewers than Raw as far as I know, than they did in promoting Night of Champions. That’s concerning because when you look at their PPV buys they are down all across the board, so why not do more to make fans want to pay to watch Night of Champions? It’s the same thing with the commercial free Raw. They cared more about that than a PPV.
(2014 Thoughts: If Green was a major motion picture star I could understand sucking up to him more, but it's not like he is anything close to that.)
The idea that Mark Henry is the third biggest babyface (in terms of pushes he seems to be) on Raw right now really bugs me. He's not the answer. Not even close. He's also much better in the heel role because why should fans feel sympathy for a guy bigger and stronger than everybody else? And what intangible does he have (other than his size) that MVP doesn’t have to warrant such a push? I’ve never understood the thinking that a guy has to lose for years before you push them especially when you need new main event level talent.
(2014 Thoughts: Funny that I mentioned Henry and MVP together since they would eventually be a tag team together although they didn't get too far.
Rating: 4.5 (out of 10)
Last week: 7
It’s a slightly below average show this week because none of the matches left any kind of impression on me while they didn’t do a great job in promoting Night of Champions in a couple of weeks.
(2014 Thoughts: That score seems a bit nice. It was not a great period for Raw.)
That's all for this week. Please let me know what you think via the comment box below or contact me using any of the methods you see here.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org