It's time for another edition of 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. This show took place one night after the Night of Champions PPV, so I'll also go over that show in addition to Raw.
The Deal on…Night of Champions
Here are some general thoughts on the matches from Sunday night at Night of Champions.
Jericho & Show over Legacy to retain the Tag Titles - I would have been happier if the partner was a younger wrestler like Miz, Ziggler or Swagger that could have benefited more from being with Jericho. Show had nothing else going on really, so it makes sense from that point of view. Match was just okay. It's hard to be excited about the "division" when only three or four teams exist in all of WWE. Apparently Vinny Mac was upset about the lack of reaction to this match. Really? You book heel vs. heel matches to open a PPV (very stupid move that a wrestling promoter of 30 F'N YEARS should know) and then you have Legacy in the match even though all they do is lose on TV every week. It's not the wrestlers, Vince. It's you. (*1/4)
(2014 Thoughts: The idea was that they wanted a big name partner for Jericho, so that's why they picked Show. They were a good fit together. Also, heel vs. heel really is stupid especially as a PPV opener.)
I loved CM Punk's promo. His character is tremendous right now. Jericho's my favorite in all of WWE, but Punk's probably second since Edge is out.
Christian over Dreamer for the ECW Title - The crowd didn't care too much about Dreamer being an ECW guy in Philly. Match was a pretty basic face vs. face match with Christian getting the win with Killswitch. I'd still rather see him on Smackdown. I assume Kozlov is the next challenger, but Benjamin would be the better choice to me. (*3/4)
(2014 Thoughts: I thought Christian was being wasted on ECW. I still feel that way.)
Jericho/Show reminds me of Owen teaming with Yokozuna in the 90s. It could be fun, but again, there's not really a division.
Kofi Kingston over five others to retain the US Title - This was like Money in the Bank without the ladders involved, so it was fine. I love how they spent weeks building up the issue with Show and Bourne along with Kingston over the IC title, yet when it came to the match neither of those two were in it. A week ago I picked Kingston to win, then changed my mind to Swagger by week's end. I think the right guy won. (**1/2)
(2014 Thoughts: Kingston was still fairly new and they were trying to establish him as a credible champ. Nothing wrong with that.)
McCool over Melina to retain the Women's Title - I never got a chance to write about it, but Melina's backstage promo on Michelle on Smackdown was one of the worst I've ever seen. Why do babyface divas in WWE talk like 12 year old girls, or even worse, like Paris Hilton? Wait, that's the same thing. The PG rating plus the babyface run has neutered Melina's sex appeal and my desire to watch her. The announcers tried to put over the physicality of the match, but it was just okay. Melina did a bunch of spots that amounted to nothing because neither woman sold much of anything and it ended on a rollup. Weird. (*1/2)
(2014 Thoughts: A Paris Hilton reference? That is so 2009. I know she's still around today, but not in the public eye much anymore, which is a great thing. Thank you society. I don't remember anything from the match.)
Orton over Cena and Hunter McMahon to retain the WWE Title - The greatest match ever~! (TM Cena) Um, no. Not even close. (Don't ask me for a list!) This was the typical three way match with two guys fighting in the ring, the third guy selling the beating on the floor and then coming back into the fray when there's a nearfall. It's a very tired formula. The finish had Orton tap to HHH's sharpshooter and Cena's crossface at the same time. However, tapping out doesn't matter if you do it when two guys apply a hold. Then Legacy comes in, saves Orton because it's No DQ and he hits a RKO on Cena for the pin. You know what means? Orton didn't pin HHH, so get ready for more of them in the future. It's not over. Here's a question, though. If it's no DQ why not use a weapon? Grab a chair, grab the sledgehammer, grab whatever you can get your hands on and use it to help win the match. Oops, there I go asking logical questions again. My bad. BTW, as soon as I saw this match going on early in the show I knew that not only was Orton retaining, but that Hardy was winning in the main event. (***1/2)
(2014 Thoughts: I've been doing that complaint during No DQ matches for over five years. If you can use weapons why wouldn't you use them immediately? Makes no sense to me. As for the match, these storylines were so stale five years ago. Reading about them now makes them even worse.)
Miz told Maryse he's tired of her playing him. He can get any woman he wants apparently. Of course they are really a couple. The purpose of this was to explain Maryse going away for a bit because she needs surgery on the knee she injured months ago.
(2014 Thoughts: The third sentence should add to the list of reasons to hate The Miz.)
Mickie James over Maryse to win the Divas Title - They built the feud up well, but the match was flat. Maybe Maryse was tentative because of the knee. I don't know. Glad to see Mickie with the belt again, but I wouldn't mind if she turned heel because I love her in that role. (1/2*)
(2014 Thoughts: Mickie didn't end up turning heel in WWE again. This was her only Divas Title reign.)
Mysterio over Ziggler to retain the IC Title - Okay match although the crowd was quiet for it. It was mostly Ziggler on offense with Rey doing what he could to make him look good, which is what he's best at. I loved the top rope Gutbuster by Ziggler on Rey. That move is ten times more impressive than his finishing move. Ziggler will probably get the title at Summerslam. I hope it continues because working with Mysterio will make Ziggler better. (**1/4)
(2014 Thoughts: All valid points although I admit I don't remember the feud that well.)
Jeff Hardy over CM Punk to win the World Title - What would a WWE PPV in 2009 be without a foolish title switch? You've got a hot character in CM Punk. He wins Money in the Bank, he cashes it in on a babyface like Jeff Hardy, he starts acting like a complete jerk to everybody, he gets out of a match by kicking the ref on purpose and in the rematch what do you do? You take the belt off him? Lame. I don't know what this means for Hardy. He could lose it at Summerslam. Or maybe he re-signed with the company and we haven't read about it yet. I don't know. As a match it was pretty much what most people thought. Punk played the heel role well and Hardy kept on fighting back as the persistent babyface. My only gripe was that after Punk hit the GTS and Hardy kicked out, within 20 seconds of that Hardy was running up the aisle chasing the guy as if nothing happened. You have to sell finishers more than that. I hope this result means Hardy's sticking around long term. If not, expect Punk to get the belt back even though he never should lost the damn thing because he's the best character on Smackdown right now (only because Jericho's not in a more prominent role). (***3/4)
(2014 Thoughts: They did do the title switch again at SummerSlam. It seemed like this one was only done to lead to another match between them. Hardy ended up leaving shortly after that SummerSlam match and he hasn't been in WWE since. There were way too many major title changes in 2009. It was an ongoing complaint of mine all year long.)
I'd give it a 6.5 on the 1-10 scale. There was a nothing terrible on the show, yet there was nothing to blow your mind either. The two main title matches were slightly above average and everything else was about what we thought it might be. If you missed it don't worry. You didn't miss much.
(2014 Thoughts: That seems fair to me although I honestly don't remember that much from the show.
Live from Washington, DC here's the Raw Deal…
Apparently before Raw this week there were a couple of great Superstars matches in John Morrison vs. my fellow Canadian Tyson Kidd (said to be better than any match on Raw, which isn't saying much) and Randy Orton vs. Primo Colon. Good stuff except for the fact that Superstars isn't shown here in Canada, but thankfully there are other ways to see it.
(2014 Thoughts: The good thing about matches like that is they usually got more time, so they were better than what we were used to seeing on regular TV.)
Before I get to the actual show, I need to talk about my love for Shaquille O'Neal. I'm a huge basketball fan, NBA and NCAA. The NFL is first, NBA is second and I guess WWE is third although MLB is right there too. Anyway, I've been watching Shaquille O'Neal entertain me since about 1991 when he was at Louisiana State. I've seen his NBA career from the beginning until now and he is without question one of the best players ever. He is also probably the most entertaining athlete of the last 30 years other than maybe Charles Barkley. Both of them are naturally funny, though. I had high hopes for him here because I know he's a genuine WWE fan that "gets it" so my only hope was that the writing team wouldn't kill his greatness for me.
(2014 Thoughts: He really is one of my favorite athletes ever. I figured he would do well on Raw.)
Raw is Shaq
Jerry Lawler introduced Shaq to guide him through the interview. He is not a 15 time MVP, Lawler. He’s a 15 time All-Star. Big difference. He’s a one time MVP even though he should really have three or four, but that’s his punishment for being big. Shaq didn't know the five guys in the Beat the Clock match even though he apparently booked it, so he told us at the same time that we saw it on the screen. I don't like Beat the Clock. It's a stupid gimmick. It also doesn't makes sense that HHH and Cena combined to make Orton tap on Sunday, yet they're in matches that are on the same level as a guy who didn't even wrestle the night before (Henry) and two guys that lost in a US title match on Sunday (MVP and Swagger). Um, that's a little strange to me. We'll throw our brains out the window a bit and run with it. Here comes Jericho. Loved the Kobe line although Shaq and Kobe have been on good terms the last three or four years (I did see Shaq rip up the Kobe sign, which was pretty funny too). Clearly, Shaq felt more comfortable here working off somebody else. I loved kissing the forehead and calling him Christina. Their chemistry was great. I like how it weaved nicely into Big Show coming out even with Jericho having to bust out the "big problems" line that is a bit cheesy. Show's only about two inches shorter than O'Neal, but he's a lot heavier. I hope my buddies that call Shaq "fat" were watching this. Anyway, Shaq wanted to wrestle Show. Show said no, the NBA would be against him. Suddenly he's a caring NBA fan. Long story short, Shaq brought Cryme Tyme out to say they'd be facing the tag champs with Shaq as the outside enforcer. Good enough for me. This was fun as soon as Jericho got out there. Much like the Seth Green opening segment, it worked.
(2014 Thoughts: This was an entertaining opening segment. Only problem with stuff like this is it makes the guest host look like a bigger star than the talent and that's not productive for WWE in terms of making people interested in their show as well as PPVs.)
Mark Henry d. Carlito in 6:49 to Beat the Clock (3/4*)
This was a brutal match. This is why they needlessly turned Carlito? So they could have him lose a match to a babyface in seven matches while boring the hell out of me? Every heel on the show other than Orton seems to lose all the time. Why do you need more? Anyway, the crowd was dead for most of it because why should they be sympathetic to Mark Henry when he's 200 pounds heavier than the dude he's beating on? Beats me. At least they popped for his finisher. That's something.
(2014 Thoughts: Henry as a babyface just didn't work. Plus like I said all the time, they hurt Carlito big time when they had him break up with his brother Primo.)
Mickie James, Gail Kim & Kelly Kelly d. Beth Phoenix, Rosa Mendez & Alicia Fox (1/2*)
Maryse is having knee surgery in Alabama, so they lack heels. The only positive here is I'm becoming a fan of Alicia. I guess the story was that Gail got the blind tag and scored the pin, which caused Mickie to make a face. Lawler didn't even play it up. He was terrible at calling this match on his own. I hope Mickie turns heel. It would be fun to see her in that role again.
(2014 Thoughts: No heel turn like I mentioned earlier. It was a transitional period at this point.)
Here's the token Hornswoggle segment. Shaq says Horny went to high school with him. That's not true. He's like 15 years older than Horny. Don't email me asking about that. Horny's missed dunk was funny in the same way that it's funny when a baby falls on his face just as he's getting used to walking. I guess the reason why Michael Cole got sent backstage was so that he could be laughed at for saying that whole thing was "Shaqalicious." I miss when Rock made fun of him. Maybe Shaq requested him for it. I don't know.
(2014 Thoughts: I remember this segment being awful.)
MVP wrestled Chris Masters to a double countout (*)
Hey there's Chris Masters back with more hair on his head. Got to love hair plugs, I guess. Good for him in working his way back to WWE. I can't say I missed him that much. Of course MVP is booked like a loser again. The double countout finish is brutal. I'm sure somebody will email me to say it's a positive because he didn't get pinned like usual. He is by far the worst booked person on the WWE roster and has been for over a year now. I don't understand it. I am already dreading the inevitable Henry/Masters feud. You know it's coming.
(2014 Thoughts: They probably should have brought Masters back and put him over strong here. Didn't happen.)
Kofi Kingston d. Bryan Kendrick (N/A)
Trouble in Paradise. Pin. Kendrick is another heel that talks a lot of smack about how great he is, then loses all the time. Just like Chavo and Jamie Noble. Vince sure loves the smaller guys doesn't he?
(2014 Thoughts: That last question was very sarcastic in case you couldn't tell. You probably could!)
Backstage, Dibiase attacked HHH with a pipe in the knee. He should have gone to the ground and yelled "why?" about 15 times. It's a shame that 70% of my readers won't get that reference. It’s Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding, look it up. This is their way of saying HHH is going to lose tonight and it's not going to be without an excuse. God forbid somebody looks good against a 10 year main eventer that's rich, married to the boss' daughter and has held more world titles than anybody else in the history of the company.
(2014 Thoughts: Poor Triple H. He was such a bad babyface during this time period. Hard to be sympathetic for the guy.)
HHH did not beat the clock against Cody Rhodes (*3/4)
This is one of the better singles matches I've seen from Cody, so kudos to him for doing a good job. I love how Triple H is trying to beat the 6:49 time, yet he spends two minutes putting a guy in a side headlock. Cole tried to cover it by saying he was giving his knee time to rest. The last minute was okay with Dibiase coming out. Since when have they DQ'd somebody for hitting a person that jumped on an apron? It happens all the time. I guess we have to pretend again. The Pedigree hit at one second, but that didn't give him enough time to win. I felt no sympathy for HHH. Why should I? The only thing I was happy about was that it meant that we wouldn't have to watch HHH vs. Orton at Summerslam. Thanks for that one, I guess.
(2014 Thoughts: It was building to something although we didn't know it yet. I was glad when Triple H was out of the title picture. That's for sure.)
Backstage, Shaq's playing scrabble with Santino. I love how he chose to do this than watch a HHH match. I'm sure they fire people for that. Cryme Tyme came in, they did some bonding with Shaq. Santino tried to fit in with a rap that apparently is from ESPN. I guess it was funny. Don't they do this every week on Smackdown with Jesse as the token white rapper guy? Oops, there I go making sense again. Anyway, at least Shaq held his own well in another comedy segment.
(2014 Thoughts: A Jesse white rapper reference? Oh five years ago in WWE really wasn't a good time. Trust me.)
Hornswoggle d. Chavo (-*)
Chavo had a blindfold, missed a splash, shorty pinned him. Horny's 4-0 over Chavo in the worst series of matches in the history of WWE. Oh wait, that's HHH vs. Steiner in 2003. Cue the posedown! My bad. I should not bring that horrible memory back in our minds. Use Horny as a manager or whatever. Stop putting him in matches. I'm tired of his matches.
(2014 Thoughts: Oh the pain. Oh the horror. Please make it stop!)
Orton was backstage getting dressed into his ring gear despite not having a match. I guess the voices in his head told him to get his gear on. Swagger laughed at him, insinuating that he was going to win. Did anybody believe him? No, of course not. Then Mark Henry came in smiling and then he laughed. Wow, look at that range of acting. Give that man a push now! Or maybe a sandwich.
(2014 Thoughts: Maybe he had a dark match. That's why he changed.)
Evan Bourne d. Jack Swagger (*1/2)
Bourne won. Good match. I hope to see more from them because they have good chemistry together. Of course this means Bourne is going to Summerslam! Oh wait, he's not one of the five. That's why Beat the Clock is stupid. Why not say you picked ten guys, put them in five matches and say that whoever gets the fastest win is the winner. Instead, one of the five contenders loses in three minutes. I like Bourne. I like Swagger. I liked this.
(2014 Thoughts: That booking is so confusing. Never made sense to me.)
Next week's host is Jeremy Piven from Entourage and some movie that's going to be bomb soon. I'm hoping he comes out as Ari Gold because that's a great character. I think Entourage has peaked, but it is Piven's best work of his career by far.
(2014 Thoughts: You know what that means next week: SUMMERFEST! Yeah.)
HHH vs. Legacy next week. If you don't think Shawn Michaels is coming back soon to reform DX with Triple H then I've got four words for you: You are a moron. Nothing says degenerate like a 44 year old (Michaels) and a 40 year old (HHH) that are married with two kids each. I'm a huge Shawn Michaels supporter and I like 95% of the stuff he's done, but that DX vs. McMahons feud from a couple years back was some of the worst shit I've ever seen.
(2014 Thoughts: Hunter added a kid to that total too. Michaels did return as expected.)
John Cena d. The Miz to Beat the Clock (*1/4)
The funniest part of this was Miz bragging about being from Cleveland. It’s not the greatest city. That’s putting it mildly. (Fun times in Cleveland today! – It’s a youtube video, look it up.) Cena won with the STF. He didn’t beat Evan Bourne’s time, so Bourne goes to Summerslam! Nope. Sorry. Miz is another midcard heel that looks like crap. Why do they have to constantly bury anybody that feels new? I don’t understand. Cena gets pinned clean at a PPV. I guess it was clean. What's his reward? Another PPV title match. Look, it's not complicated. If somebody loses and they are not the champion they do not get the next title match. Move on to somebody else. Stop doing the same shit over and over. This means we get Cena vs. Orton again at SummerSlam.
(2014 Thoughts: I remember people getting pissed about the Bourne thing because he had the fastest time in a Beat The Clock matches, but he wasn't one of the chosen five so he didn't get to move on. Weird huh? Cena getting a title match right after getting pinned in 3 way is lame booking. But that's how WWE was at this time. They had nobody else ready.)
Cryme Tyme d. Chris Jericho & Big Show via DQ with Shaquille O’Neal as special enforcer (*3/4)
This felt very rushed. I don’t think anybody remembers the match. It’s half a day later and I don’t even remember what happened. Post match, Show challenged Shaq. They did the double choke. Crowd was eating it up. Cryme Tyme helped Shaq, then he knocked Show over with a shoulder tackle of some kind because he botched the clothesline attempt. That’s okay. I have no idea if any of this means a push for Cryme Tyme, but I’d be okay with it. It’s something different. They’ll get better by working against Jericho, so if they went with this as a Summerslam match I’d be perfectly fine with it.
(2014 Thoughts: Cryme Tyme really didn't get a push. It was more of a one night thing for them to hang out with Shaq so they could do this tag match setting up the Show/Shaq showdown. It was really well done.)
I seriously doubt Shaquille O’Neal will be wrestling Big Show at Summerslam. He’s making $18 million to play for the Cleveland Cavs this year. They’re not going to allow him to risk it. I know that WCW had Karl Malone and Dennis Rodman working for them ten years ago while they were active, but I don’t see the Cavs allowing it. I do see Shaq having a match in WWE once he’s retired in a couple of years. He would be a huge draw in the ring at WrestleMania down the road. Just not right now.
(2014 Thoughts: Shaq was one of the best guest hosts. No doubt about it. I'm actually surprised he didn't try wrestling at least one match after retiring. He would be a good fit.)
After the show, everybody came out to wish HHH a Happy Birthday.
(2014 Thoughts: Vintage sucking up!)
Three Stars of the Show
1. Shaquille O’Neal – He fit in great. He’s a legit wrestling fan and a very good entertainer that fits the demographic that WWE is trying to reach. Excellent choice.
2. Big Show – See, when used properly he’s a huge asset to the show. Have to give him credit for willing to let a guy like O’Neal upstage him the way he did with Mayweather.
3. Evan Bourne – He was great. Will a push follow? I hope so, but I have my doubts.
(2014 Thoughts: Shaq was in the open and the key part of the main event. He did well. Show did too.)
Rating: 5.5 (out of 10)
Last week: 3
There were nine matches on this show, so I guess I can't complain that much considering I'm the guy complaining about a lack of matches every week. Of course none of the matches were given that much time, nor were any of them close to being the greatest match ever~! (TM Cena) It reminded me of the Russo Raw’s of 1999 when they had this many matches with none of them getting over 10 minutes. We didn’t even get the “guy lays out on the floor as the show goes to commercial” match like usual. I feel so sad.
I think Shaq was a great GM. Seth Green was probably better in terms of an entertainment standpoint, but with me being a fan of O’Neal and not knowing much about Green I liked this more. The problem again, like with Green, is the GM comes off as the biggest star of the show. It’s not like people are talking about Cena vs. Orton or HHH “getting screwed” out of his 465th match with Orton. It’s all about Shaq vs. Show.
They need to do a better job of making Raw about the actual wrestlers rather than about the GM. Maybe that’s why I like Smackdown so much. Most weeks Teddy Long isn’t on. It’s about the matches and the wrestlers. Raw’s about the guy running the show even though the guy isn’t wrestling on the PPV that you’re trying to get fans to pay money to watch. Does that make sense from a booking perspective? No, of course not. That’s why Raw has problems.
(2014 Thought: I have nothing to add that. Good rant to end it. All those points were very true about this time period.)
Thoughts from the Facebook friends
Here are some random thoughts from some of my Facebook friends after I asked for some comments about the show. I will put some additional comments in when necessary in brackets following the quotation marks:
“I reckon they should call themselves Jerishow.”
(2014 Thoughts: I started using the name immediately after that. It made it onto WWE TV soon after. It's not that complicated to come up with that name, but we were definitely doing it before WWE was.)
“Wow, you're face to face with the best wrestler in WWE today and the World's largest Athlete and you threaten them with a match versus Cryme Tyme??? No wonder Big Show was laughing!”
“Regarding the opening segment, it's a shame (and somewhat shocking) that there are NO babyface tag teams on Raw at all - they had to bring on Cryme Tyme from Smackdown.”
“LUDVIG BORGA sign is awesome.”
“Dear Mickie James,
Thats what huffing will do to you.” (By a female.)
“Dear Mickie James,
I will leave my wife for you...” (By a male.)
“The best part about DVR-ing Raw? If you accidentally start watching Raw late, there are things you can easily fast-forward....like the Mark Henry match...” (Very good point!)
“Santino's rap has been the only part of intelligible writing on the show thus far.” (Since it was actually a total ripoff of an ESPN commercial the writing is the credit of other people.)
“How many more minutes of my life will Vince make me waste watching Chavo making an ass out of himself? Pro wrestling looks worse than ever and the announcers make themselves look like the biggest assholes of all chuckling and laughing when Hornswoggle gets offense and then making it seem like Chavo is a jerk for hitting the little idiot.”
“There was a take home tray of food in the locker room behind Orton...maybe he should have fed some to Mark Henry. He looked pretty hungry.”
“OMG is it that bad...that Triple H has to recite Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino. The writers have nothing so they steal from a movie.....Damn!”
“Alright! Cena vs. Orton! That's never main evented a Summerslam before!...oh wait.” (I’m a big “oh wait” fan when used in comedy. Use it in the future and be rewarded for it. I’m just saying.)
“Shaq and Teddy Long are friends too? I guess it's the black thing. WWE - standing at the forefront of racial integration.”
“Raw could be worse... but only if it was booked as a TNA pay per view.”
“Marlee Matlin would make a better host than ZZ Top...” (Note from John: She is deaf.)
“Also, what was up with the finish to Rhodes vs Triple H? If Triple H hit Ted he was DQ'ed? Isn't that supposed to be the other. . .wait a sec, its WWE Creative writing this. That explains everything.” (Now you get it. Don’t think. It’s easy.)
“They need to scrap this new host every week thing and change it to a new creative staff every week.”
“Was Shaq kissing Jericho, or the reflection of himself on Jericho's forehead?”
“Raw was decent. Cryme Tyme in a main event. Winning no less. Who'd a thunk it?” (Yes, but it was one of the worst wins in the history of wins.)
“What happened to Swagger/MVP, Big Show/Kofi/Bourne and that? Nothing. Because the top three guys are all that matter right now.”
That's week two of the reaction of my Facebook friends. Next week we'll do the same thing.
Next week it's Summerfest time! 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