It's retro Raw Deal time. Like I've done for over a month now, 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 three weeks to build it up. Let's get to it.
(2014 Thoughts: A banner? I think that was the first one. Don't even remember who sent it. I'm glad that the banners have improved over the years. Got my buddy Melo Man to help me with them now.)
Welcome to the Raw Deal. This week's Raw was a rare taped show that was filmed immediately after last week's live Raw in San Jose because of the Raw crew going on tour in Australia last week. I read the results a week ago quickly, so I had an ideas as to what was coming this week. That didn't sour the show on me. To me, if it's a good show then it's good regardless of whether it was live or taped.
(2014 Thoughts: I still feel that way about taped shows. Most of the time I find out the results even though I'd rather watch it so that it feels new. If the show is entertaining then I'll enjoy it live or on tape even I know the results.)
The Deal on…Edge's Injury
This one sucks. In case you don't know, Edge was wrestling Jeff Hardy during a house show in San Diego when he landed from a typical leapfrog spot and collapsed to the mat with a torn Achilles tendon. That was terrible to read on Saturday morning and it sucks just the same today. (Much to my surprise, WWE.com put up an article on the injury that you can read about here if you want a bit more info on it.) We don't know the exact diagnosis, but from watching sports over the years as much as I have I know that tearing your Achilles tendon is a severe injury that will put somebody on the shelf for eight months at least. It's usually the result of wear and tear over the years. He likely had pain in his foot for months, continued to work through it and then it just snapped on him doing a regular bump in the ring that he's done many times before. It's different than tearing the ACL in your knee, which can happen to the healthiest of people in an instant. Anyway, the question is what does WWE do now?
(2014 Thoughts: My eight month diagnosis was close. He missed nearly six full months to end 2009 and then returned at the January at the Royal Rumble, so it was about seven months. Credit to him for getting back the way he did although when he returned you could tell it took about a month or two for him to be back to normal.)
Edge is the co-holder of the unified tag titles with Chris Jericho appearing on all brands whenever they want. This week's Raw and Smackdown are already taped, so the writing time has well over a week to figure out what they want to do with Edge's injury. I'm assuming he's on crutches right now and can't even walk out to the ring without some type of help. My suggestion is a simple beatdown by Jericho. They can mention Edge got hurt in a non-televised match, he can come out in street clothes, on crutches and maybe with a boot on his foot to protect it. He can forfeit his half of the belts, Jericho can be furious about it and beat him down brutally. Then, in 8 or 9 months (right around WrestleMania) hopefully Edge is healthy enough to come back, he can be a babyface in a return feud with Jericho that would likely be great considering the two guys involved. He's better as a heel, but he'd be fresh in that role and I think it would work fine. I guess we'll find out next week.
(2014 Thoughts: The WrestleMania match at WM26 did happen, so I was on point with that. They didn't have Jericho beat him down although he did verbally assault Edge by calling him weak and injury prone while he was out. As for the partner, we'll get to that in next week's Retro Raw Deal.)
In my opinion Edge has been the best performer in WWE over the course of the last four years since he's been put in a main event role. He's had the best combination of character development, in-ring matches and promos of anybody in the company. On the other hand, it's the opportunity for others in the company to step up and fill the void, so that when he does get back there will be fresh feuds for him. Have to try to make a positive out of a negative. Get back soon, Edge. We'll miss ya.
(2014 Thoughts: I really hate that it ended the Jericho/Edge team because I was such a huge fan of them together. There was so much potential for that angle.)
Taped from San Jose, California here's the Raw Deal…
This Week's GM is...Ted Dibiase
Good. Love this man. He was truly one of my favorites growing up and my opinion is that he, along with Mr. Perfect and Owen Hart, is the best wrestler in company history to not be a World Champion. The theme song might be my favorite ever too. And the Million Dollar belt is great as well. Dibiase worked for WWE for years as a road agent, but he's moved on now. Obviously he's still got close ties there and I think it's likely that he'll be in the joke WWE Hall of Fame this year or next. We learned no more title defenses until Night of Champions and that Edge & Jericho would defend against Rhodes & Dibiase. Of course this was before the Edge injury, which WWE correctly did not acknowledge. Dibiase makes Rhodes wrestle Henry (did you hear those piped in cheers for Henry’s name?) and his son Dibiase Jr. wrestle Orton, which drew a nice reaction. I like the idea. Fun opening segment carried by one of the best talkers in company history, which is no surprise to me.
(2014 Thoughts: He was the main guy in the 2010 Hall of Fame, so I was right in that prediction. He's one of the weaker "main" guys they've had, no offense to him. It made sense that he would put his son in a match with the WWE Champion even though it was his buddy.)
Mysterio vs. Jericho one more time on Smackdown this week. I hear it's awesome. Maybe the last match in what's been the feud of the year so far.
(2014 Thoughts: That was such an amazing feud, but that's no surprise considering the talent of both guys.)
Edge & Jericho d. Carlito & Primo (*)
This was a typical TV tag match. The heels dominated the action as they should, Primo got the hot tag, he did his flips and while that was impressive it wasn’t enough for them to get the win. Love the Codebreaker into a Spear finish. That was awesome. I’m so sad that this is the last TV match of the great Edge/Jericho team for a while at least. Post match, Carlito beats the crap out of his brother because they lost three matches in a row. I don’t like it. What's the point of breaking up the Colon brothers? Do they think fans are clamoring for a feud with them? Trust me, nobody is. They’ve attempted to push Carlito in singles multiple times and it never really worked. Finally he was in a role that he seemed to excel at and they cut it off way too soon. Fans like tag team wrestling and they’re the best babyface team in the company, yet here they are ending it before they should.
(2014 Thoughts: It was typical WWE in that they broke up a good team. Carlito was out of the company about a year after this while Primo has bounced around as a lower card wrestler and tag team wrestler that is part of Los Matadores now. This was the last match for Edge & Jericho as tag champs. Team Ego would have been amazing if Edge didn't get hurt. I might cry. Or not.)
Orton tells Ted Jr. that he’s going to win their match and Teddy gets all up in his face saying his dad was better than Orton’s dad. This is true. I guess it’s on, bitches.
(2014 Thoughts: Seriously, Teddy's dad was definitely better than Randy's dad. No question about that. Teasing a Legacy split was an interesting angle at least.)
Mickie James & Gail Kim d. Maryse & Alicia Fox (*1/4)
This was a lot better than the match from the week before probably because Gail Kim was involved. She’s arguably the best performer of the females in WWE although you’d never know that from the brief time she was on Smackdown because she was never used. I like that they let her show off her athleticism. I’m definitely a fan of the Maryse/Mickie feud because they’re not rushing it. They’re taking it slow and it’s working. It also helps that I find both of them to be spectacular to look at. I may finally be over my Trish withdrawal. Maybe.
(2014 Thoughts: Three years after Trish left and I still missed her. That's dedication. Anyway, that Mickie/Maryse feud was really solid with a build up over two months.)
Cody talks with Ted Sr. and he basically wants out of the match against Henry. Not happening. He even sings his dad’s common man song. This wasn’t very good. At least it was better than that godawful Teddy Long/John Morrison segment from last week’s Smackdown. If they want to kill Morrison’s babyface momentum that segment did a great job of doing it.
(2014 Thoughts: What an odd random rant that was. Rhodes wanted out of Henry match since Henry was back as a babyface threat. I don't recall the Long/Morrison thing that well. That's probably a good thing.)
Mark Henry d. Cody Rhodes (DUD)
Rhodes didn’t want to fight him, but Dibiase made him. So what does Cody do? He takes off after less than two minutes. If the booking was more consistent, Dibiase would send him back out there, Henry would squash him, pin him and then Rhodes would be really pissed about what happened. As it is, Cody basically outsmarted Dibiase by simply bailing on the match. I’d imagine that next week they do the match again with Cody losing clean although really I don’t care a whole heck of a lot about anything regarding Mark Henry. How’s the prosthetic hand he fathered with Mae Young doing? It’s got to be about 9 or 10 years old now. Maybe old enough to grow little hairs on his fingers. How cute. If you have no idea what I’m talking about believe me you’re better off. I wish I was making it up.
(2014 Thoughts: I really hate the heel walks out of the match finish. Don't know how else to say it. Hate is a strong enough word.)
Randy Orton d. Ted Dibiase Jr. (**1/4)
I enjoyed it. I think what I said last week about Henry getting cheered because he was against Orton rang true this week as well with Dibiase getting some cheers by the end of this. To his credit, he earned it as well. He really showed a lot in the ring, which is great because they really don’t have him wrestling on TV enough. He should be in matches on Raw every week and on Superstars every three weeks or so. You can’t improve without working on TV. I think he’s got a very bright future. I liked the chemistry of these two as well. They’re probably good friends, so I’m sure they enjoyed working this match as well. The strong rumor is that Dibiase’s going to be turned babyface by year’s end when his movie, The Marine 2, comes out. I think it would be too soon to break up Legacy, but that’s how they do things in WWE. They rush title changes and they rush character turns. It’s a shame that they do it because patience is so key in telling stories in wrestling. With all that said, this was a very effective match in terms of showing how good Ted Jr. will be in the ring when he gets a chance to show it. I like his potential a lot.
(2014 Thoughts: This match was pretty good and I remember it because the crowd reacted strongly to Dibiase fighting back against Orton. Those rumors of Dibiase turning face were around for a long time. It didn't even happen.)
Triple H talks. Nothing to see here.
(2014 Thoughts: You're welcome for the detailed description lol.)
Next up was the VIP Lounge with MVP hosting Jack Swagger. I think this segment benefitted both guys even though I’m not crazy about Swagger’s promos. Good idea to bring up MVP’s history in prison because I don’t think a lot of fans know about it and by doing that it humanizes the guy more. When he talks about trying to help youth avoid the same problems he had growing up I like it. I also enjoy Swagger saying MVP is beneath him and then walking away by saying he doesn’t fight criminals. And hey, they didn’t end up brawling like everybody else in this company does when they argue. Build to it. I like the potential of this feud.
(2014 Thoughts: Swagger was still fairly new by this point. MVP was more established. It was a good segment although it really didn't lead to that much.)
Teddy Jr. was pissed that his dad put him against Orton because he thinks Ted Sr. did it to make him fail. Ted Sr. basically insinuated that he did it to help make Teddy Jr. better, but the son didn’t agree and gave him a hard slap. Family on family violence = good times. I think Ted Sr. turned heel and face about 18 times in this show. Doesn’t matter really because it’s not a permanent role for him.
(2014 Thoughts: The "tough love" story made a lot of sense although since Dibiase wasn't a regular they were unable to follow up on the idea the right way.)
Evan Bourne d. Kofi Kingston
Buckle your seatbelts, this is going to be exciting...and it's over in three minutes? Huh? Kingston has zero momentum since winning the US title in a great match that I thought would elevate him going forward. I thought this match would be exciting, but it was rushed and weak as a result. Big Show beat the crap out of both of them afterward. Bourne sure knows how to take a bump.
(2014 Thoughts: This was when they were building up Big Show as a challenger for Kingston's US Title, but that plan changed after the Edge injury. I don't remember this match, but it was short so that's probably why.)
Now Cena talks. It’s been too long since he got to say “The Champ Is Here” apparently. He was champion at the end of April, so I guess just over two months is a long time. Do they really think all their fans are idiots all the time? I’d love to have that question answered by somebody that works in the creative department of WWE. Please enlighten me.
(2014 Thoughts: It's five years later and I'd still like an answer!)
John Cena and Triple H wrestled to a double disqualification (***1/4)
This is not the biggest match in Raw history. It’s the biggest match in Raw history since HHH wrestled Orton in a Last Man Standing match for the title a few weeks ago. I guess saying it’s the biggest match ever is better than saying the biggest match in about three weeks. That’s genius marketing. Give that person a raise! I liked the match in terms of the pacing because they took their time. It was slow, it was methodical and they really did a good job of making every move seem important. I love the “trading punches” spot they do in big matches. You can tell the crowd liked it too based on the way they were cheering for every punch. This is what I mean by slowing things down. I also liked how neither guy hit their finisher despite each of them being close to it. They really booked this match smartly by making it even the entire way through. I enjoyed it. Then they did the obvious thing by having Ted and Cody attack each guy to force a DQ in the most obvious ending ever. It’s better than a double countout, at least.
(2014 Thoughts: That's a good rating for a main event. A back and forth babyface match is something that the fans usually get into. The non clean finish is no surprise since Cena and Hunter rarely lose anyway.)
Post match, Orton said he had the goons break it up because that means nobody wins and nobody faces him at Night Of Champions. Ted Sr. comes out to say you’re wrong and that Night of Champions will be a triple threat with Orton defending against Cena and HHH. I hate triple threats. They are overdone way too much. It’s lazy booking and a formulaic match that doesn’t appeal to me nearly as much as one on one matches do. Then again, it spares us from another HHH/Orton singles match, so it’s good in that sense.
(2014 Thoughts: Orton's heel logic was so stupid. He really thought nobody would face him because it was a DQ finish? What a weak job by the creative team. Triple threats really are overdone, but it was no surprise considering those were the top three guys on the Raw brand by far.)
Three Stars of the Show
1. Ted Dibiase Sr. – It’s good to see him. Love the laugh, the music and the belt.
2. Ted Dibiase Jr. – They put him in a good match and he delivered the goods. I was impressed.
3. HHH & Cena – Very good TV main event. They brought a special feel to it.
(2014 Thoughts: I doubt Ted Jr. made it here too often, but he deserved it.)
Two straight above average shows. You know why? Because they didn’t make them promo heavy. They had to tape four hours of Raw in one night, so they allowed the stories to be told in the ring and that means a better show overall. It’s much better than the shows where only one match gets over five minutes, everything else seems rushed and they throw in bad comedy segments to fill the two hours. They need to format the shows like this more often. They do Smackdown this way and it works. Raw can work this way too. I doubt they’ll do it, but we can hope.
No idea on who next week's GM is. My three guesses are Virgil, the Shamwow guy that got arrested for assaulting a prostitute (dude you gotta pay her!) or the Repo Man.
Rating: 7 (out of 10)
Last week: 6.5
(2014 Thoughts: That score seems pretty friendly. I also remember that Shamwow hooker story pretty well. I have a weird memory.)
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