It's time for another Retro Raw Deal from five years ago as we go back to June 8, 2009 for this edition. This show followed the Extreme Rules PPV. I didn't write full PPV reviews back then, but I did mention the show in this review too so I'll just leave that part in.
This is the third week doing the retro review. What I'll do is paste in what I originally wrote five years ago, then add in 2014 Thoughts in italics after that particular segment. I'm not going to re-watch it. I'm just adding in thoughts to what is already there.
The Deal On…Extreme Rules
I have yet to see the show, but it was definitely a newsworthy show with CM Punk leaving the event as the new World Champion. I mentioned in my preview of the PPV that I thought it would make sense to do that because all signs pointed to Jeff Hardy winning the belt, which he did. However, due to his contract status it made sense to move the belt off of him until he decides to stay long term or not. It appears as though he'll probably take a few months off before coming back later in the year although with a guy like him you never really know. The rumor is that they're going to try CM Punk out as a heel even though, to me, that seems like a poor decision because Smackdown needs babyfaces especially with great heels like Edge and Jericho already there. I guess we'll see what happens with Punk as champion.
(2014 Thoughts: There were so many things going on in that paragraph right there. Hardy's contract was a major unknown. It expired two months after this and he didn't stay in WWE. As for Punk, the rumors of the heel turn were true because he used the Money in the Bank cash-in to become a top heel. It was great. That Punk/Hardy rivalry was the feud of the year in 2009.)
I was surprised Batista won the belt, although after seeing Raw it made more sense. I'll touch on that more later. Loved reading about the finish of the Jericho/Mysterio match. Jericho pulls off the mask, Mysterio covers himself up and that costs him the title. Very creative finish there. I'm glad I was wrong about the ECW title match because I think guys like Tommy Dreamer need to be in the business to help the younger guys learn about what it's like to really love to be a performer. Dreamer's emotions always seem genuine to me, which is what makes me like a guy like him. Good to see him win the belt. Can Christian get moved to Smackdown now? Guess not. Nothing else was too surprising from the show.
(2014 Thoughts: The Jericho/Mysterio feud was excellent. That was a Smackdown thing just like Punk/Hardy was. Smackdown was the much better show in 2009 in my opinion.)
I'm surprised Umaga got released. I thought he was generally well liked by management while being a potential future opponent of The Undertaker. I wonder if his release was due to a possible disciplinary issue or maybe a failed drug test. Could be simply running out of ideas for the guy although I get the feeling there's more to this story.
(2014 Thoughts: We found out that he failed a Wellness Test and refused to go to rehab, so WWE released him. In December of 2009, he died of a heart attack while drugs were found in his system. There were reports that WWE was going to bring him back around the time of his death too. Sad story. RIP Umaga.)
From Lafayette, Louisiana here's the Raw Deal…
Batista promo leading to injury
This was great. Batista came out all happy and confident about his title win. Orton was like, no, I don't think so. Then they absolutely destroyed him. It was beautiful to see them systematically go after the left arm the way they did. The chair, the slow bending of the arm and then the sudden break was cheesy, yet so different from the things that we see that it worked. Batista was legit hurt, they put the belt on him in order to generate interest in Raw and then they quickly got rid of him, leaving the title picture wide open. I don't mind it. Also cool to find out that they took out his left arm here even though his legit injury was his right arm. Good to know they're protecting the injury by doing it that way.
(2014 Thoughts: I remember this well. Fans were all happy that Batista won the WWE Title again, but Randy Orton and his Legacy buddies Cody Rhodes & Ted Dibiase absolutely destroyed him. It was a great heel attack and a way to piss off the fans.)
Regarding Batista, I thought he did a great job selling the severity of the injury. I guess he's used to it. Just read at F4W that it's a torn biceps that will take six months to recover from. It's a tough break for a good guy who unfortunately has had way too many injuries in the last five years. He just came back from being on the shelf, wrestled for two months and then got hurt again. Feel bad for the guy. I guess that's the risk you take when you're nearly 40 years old like he is with a body like he has. Muscles are going to tear easier on somebody like that. I was really looking forward to an impending heel turn too, so it sucks that we won't get that until later in the year if it even happens.
(2014 Thoughts: I genuinely liked the guy at this point in his career. Five years later I can't say I'm as big of a fan of him, but I always had respect for him. He ended up missing three months after the torn biceps instead of six months as was originally thought. The heel turn did happen later in the year although it was when he was moved to the Smackdown brand.)
Kofi Kingston d. William Regal to retain the US Title (1/2*)
They got what, two minutes here? Way to establish the new champ. I'd prefer to see Regal retire sooner rather than later and become the GM because he's great in a role like that.
(2014 Thoughts: It was just a short match for new champ Kingston. Regal doesn't wrestle that often anymore. He was always great in the commish/GM type of role.)
Fine promo by Orton with the Legacy boys basically saying he'll be champ by the end of the night. Good job of keeping viewers watching to see what went down later.
Maryse d. Kelly Kelly to retain the Divas Title (1/2*)
Remember last week when I bitched about how they don't let the divas talk or show any personality aside from the smiles or sneers in the ring? This week they had Mickie James come out wearing some piece of fabric that I guess was a dress in order to say Maryse fears her. See, it's not a huge angle, but it's something at least. These three women are freaking beautiful, for the record. They almost make me forget about how much I loved Trish. Almost.
(2014 Thoughts: I didn't even talk about the match did I? Haha. Maryse won clean in about three minutes. None of the three women work for WWE. My favorite was the one not in the match, of course. But that's not really news if you're a long time reader.)
Hey fans, here's a clip of the Hogpen match because it was terrible and we want you to suffer through it even if you didn't see the PPV. Thanks Vince.
(2014 Thoughts: I remember the Santina/Vickie Hogpen match when it happened at Extreme Rules, but I haven't watched it since and have no plans to do so.)
(2014 Thoughts: I really don't remember it. After seeing that image, I'm kind of glad that I forgot it.)
Goldust, Festus and Marella (w/Horny) d. Noble, Chavo and Kendrick (DUD)
The comedy faces against the heels that think they're good even though they're basically losers. I think they put that team together to show how easy it is to book a cruiserweight that thinks they're tough. Anyway, I'm sure the kids loved this one. The good guys won in four minutes. Next.
(2014 Thoughts: Seven people involved in this match. Only Marella and Hornswoggle stayed employed for the five years as wrestlers. Goldust got fired and came back. Noble retired, but he still works for WWE backstage. These comedy segments were brutal.)
(2014 Thoughts: I forgot how bad the ring gear of The Miz was during this run. That's just awful.)
Cena vs. Miz...sort of...
I liked Miz' pre-match promo because he's in a good zone with his character. He believes in the stuff that he's saying, which means the crowd is going to boo him even more for the actions he does. As soon as Cena came out I knew Show was coming out too because they seem intent on keeping Cena out of the title picture even though he's beat Show twice. I'm tired of Cena vs. Show. I'm tired of wondering if Cena can beat the big guy because has he ever really lost to the guy? I don't remember. Let it end already. I guess the direction now is to involve Miz into the feud more, probably leading to a three way match at the next PPV with Miz getting a fluke win to elevate him a bit. I'm not sure exactly how it's going to happen, but that at least makes sense to me.
(2014 Thoughts: There wasn't a match due to Big Show showing up. It led to a PPV match at The Bash, which was the next PPV, where Cena beat Miz rather easily in six minutes. One year after this The Miz won Money in the Bank and two years after main evented WrestleMania 27 in a forgettable match against Cena. This felt like a test run to elevate Miz more than anything.)
MVP d. Matt Hardy (*)
Pretty basic TV match with Hardy losing again. It's the right move because they need MVP to be getting wins like this. Please get this man a storyline that the fans can sink their teeth into because he really needs it just like the company needs him to be a big star.
(2014 Thoughts: It was a four minute match. Neither guy is in the company now. I really was hoping for MVP to get pushed to the main event level, yet they never pulled the trigger.)
Excuse Me...There Goes Vickie
This was pretty cruel, huh? It seems like it's a tradition in WWE because when Eric Bischoff got fired he did so while getting tossed into a garbage truck by Vince McMahon. This might have been worse. Edge ran her down for being disgusting, admitting that he only married her for her power (obviously) and saying that when they were out people thought she was his mother? He's in his mid-30s and she's 41, yet she looks like his mother? Um, sure. I understand those that think this was pretty cruel to her, but I think she was probably understanding about it because she's been such a great heel that has drawn a lot of heat. She really performed better in her role than I'm sure most of us ever would have ever imagined. Kudos to her for the job she did.
(2014 Thoughts: Five years later Vickie is still in the company in a management type role because in WWE nobody ever really quits or gets fired. Edge ended their on screen marriage in this segment by ripping on her saying that he only married her for her power and said she was worthless. He was still a heel, but calling her a "she-beast" and telling her how he had to dry heave after kissing her made him popular. It was smart of WWE to put her in management type roles because she was always great at getting heat.)
I liked Cena's backstage promo. He's so much better on the microphone when he's serious rather than when he's reciting whatever bad joke the writers have for him that week.
(2014 Thoughts: Not much has changed regarding what I feel about his promos.)
Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes d. Carlito & Primo in a non-title match (*1/4)
This was a predictable outcome, yet it was also the right one. The tag belts aren't very valuable right now, which is a shame because I think fans in general enjoy good tag team wrestling. I think the Legacy boys should be holding the belts and should have been holding them for at least two or three months now. They will benefit from having them more than the Colon brothers will. I'm sure it's only a matter of time now until they do the switch.
(2014 Thoughts: It went about eight minutes and was the last match on a show full of short matches. This was typical WWE booking with champions losing a non-title match to build up contenders. Dibiase & Rhodes did end up getting a title match at The Bash, but so did the Edge & Jericho team that ended up winning the gold. Carlito & Dibiase are out of WWE while Cody is in relatively the same spot as a midcarder and Primo is one half of the Los Matadores comedy team.)
The Randy Savage DVD should be sweet. It would be even better if it had a proper documentary talking about his importance to the company as well as the business as a whole. Oh well, get the DVD anyway. Savage rules. Most of you would probably expect me to write a blurb about how it's a shame that he's not in the WWE Hall of Fame, but this year they put a marginal wrestler like Koko B Ware in, so really, what's so great about such an "honor" anyway? He doesn't need it.
(2014 Thoughts: It is a really good DVD of Savage's matches. Savage was still alive at this point and should have been put in the Hall of Fame. Instead, we can still make the same jokes about Koko while wondering what the hell WWE is thinking. Apparently WWE is making a proper documentary about Savage this year, so at least they got around to it five years after I complained about it.)
Main event time. I wasn't surprised by what was about to happen. Were you?
HHH returns to beat up Orton
Good execution, crowd ate it up and it was fun to see the heel get what he deserved. With that said, it's still the same feud we've seen too much of. The fans didn't go nuts for any of their previous matches this year both on PPV and TV, so why is it going to be different now? I understand why they are doing it. That doesn't make it good. Now there's a question of what's next for the vacant WWE title? I'd imagine some kind of mini-tournament or they'll just do a HHH vs. Orton match at the next PPV or maybe even next week.
(2014 Thoughts: I'm really glad I changed the format of these reviews over the years because what I wrote was pretty vague. Orton declared himself the new WWE Champ since he hurt Batista, but that wasn't legally right. Triple H came back to destroy Orton, Rhodes & Dibiase. Hunter was off while Batista was Orton's main challenger, but with Batista hurt they needed Hunter back. They ended up doing a four way match for the WWE Title one week later on Raw to determine the next WWE Champ. I never really liked any Orton vs. Triple H feud. Always bored me. By this point it was really tiresome because they did a long story in the early part of the year and it just kept on going.)
Three Stars of the Show
1. Randy Orton - He wins again even though nothing he did was that exciting.
2. Batista - I feel bad for the guy. He gets a spot here for a great job of putting over how much the belt means to him as well as selling the pain of his injury.
3. Vickie Guerrero - Goodbye. You should be proud of your work as GM even if the sendoff wasn't all that great.
(2014 Thoughts: I'm still shocked at how nice I was towards Batista. Then again, this was before I was on Twitter and before he blocked me for commenting on his attire in a joking manner. Times change.)
There was a total of about 20 minutes of wrestling on this show, so if you're looking for a pure wrestling show don't watch this one. Watch Smackdown. Still, I didn't mind this episode too much. It did a good job of building up to next week's three hour show because nobody knows who the new champion will be, or how they will be crowned. I'm curious about it. And who will the new GM be? More questions with answers hopefully to come in one week's time. I just hope Vinny Mac and the writing team have some of those answers ready by the time Raw comes on next week.
And if it all sucks then hey, at least least Smackdown's good, right?
(2014 Thoughts: It was definitely a transitional show as they were building up to a three hour Raw one week later. Those three hour episodes were only a once in a while type of thing. Smackdown was a much better show in 2009. There's no question about it. I started reviewing Smackdown in August 2009 for a few months, but didn't keep that going full time because life just got too busy.)
Rating: 5 (out of 10)
Last week: 7
(2014 Thoughts: That score seems generous to me. Barely any in-ring action. Nothing else seemed that great either.)
I took a peak at the show after this and it was much better, so that's something to look forward to next 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