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March 11, 2008

WWE pulls double switch with Mayweather, Big Show

The Floyd Mayweather babyface experiment is over, and WWE’s big-money angle for WrestleMania XXIV looks to be back on track.

With wrestling fans loudly rejecting WWE’s presentation of Mayweather as the babyface in the build-up for his match with The Big Show, the company did the smart thing by going with the flow.

Last night on a special three-hour episode of Raw, the cocky, obnoxious Mayweather clearly was portrayed as the heel during the official weigh-in. Big Show, who had a lot of heel heat himself after brutally attacking Rey Mysterio twice recently, won the crowd over by bringing out his “posse,” which consisted of most of the mid-carders – both babyfaces and heels – in the locker room.

The message was simple, clear and effective: Mayweather was an outsider who was going to make more money in one night than most wrestlers would earn in their entire careers, and he was flaunting it.

After some verbal sparring, Big Show grabbed Mayweather, pressed him over his head and tossed him outside the ring onto a group of wrestlers. Mayweather landed awkwardly and did a great job of selling his elbow. A melee ensued between Mayweather’s entourage and the wrestlers, and Shane McMahon ended up getting knocked down hard.

The scene had a chaotic, realistic look to it, just like the initial confrontation between Mayweather and Big Show last month at the No Way Out pay-per-view. The angle last night definitely had the crowd buzzing, which WWE has to be happy about after last week’s Big Show-Mayweather angle was met with indifference.

Here's video of last night's encounter.

Other thoughts on last night’s “WrestleMania Rewind” edition of Raw:

Chris Jericho and Jeff Hardy had their second outstanding match in the past 15 days. I have to admit that the finish, which saw Jericho get the clean pin to capture the Intercontinental title for a record eighth time, completely caught me off guard. Since Jericho had defeated Hardy two weeks ago, I thought for sure Hardy would win this one. I’m not sure where WWE is going with this, but it should be careful not to have Hardy do too many jobs. In his past four high-profile singles matches (against Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels and Jericho twice), Hardy is just 1-3. …

It wasn’t a classic like their match on Raw in London last year or their meeting at WrestleMania 23, but John Cena and Michaels had a very good television main event, which ended in a no-contest when Orton interfered. Cena and Michaels work very well together. Then again, Michaels pretty much works well with everybody. …

The WrestleMania match that has had the best build-up has been Michaels-Ric Flair. Their promos last night were right on the mark. No one needs to turn heel for this match to get over, and, in fact, I think a turn actually would hurt it. WWE has done a great job of establishing that Flair and Michaels have mutual respect and admiration, but also that they both are competitive and will go all out to win at WrestleMania. …

In an effort to make the Big Show-Mayweather angle seem more realistic, Shane McMahon was less in character than usual. When Big Show and Mayweather first got in the ring together, McMahon reminded me of his father (when Vince was an announcer before he became the Mr. McMahon character) by saying, “I’d appreciate some decorum.” …

It was a good idea to try to add some sizzle to the Batista-Umaga match at WrestleMania by having them trade blows, but I’m still not all that excited about it. …

There must be something to the rumors about CM Punk being in the doghouse. It seems like he has been losing quite frequently lately, including last night’s defeat against Edge. I did like the finish, which saw Punk charge after one of the Edgeheads only to get caught by a spear from Edge out of nowhere. …

After the way Finlay beat down Mr. Kennedy, I was wondering if Kennedy is in the doghouse. ..

Melina committed an obvious gimmick infringement when she pilfered ODB’s “I’m not just another pretty face” catch phrase. …

Jerry Lawler finally got his wish, as there was a wardrobe malfunction in the Melina-Maria match. He probably wasn’t too excited, however, as it was just Maria’s sash failing to stay securely around her waist. …

So, WWE brought in Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik to face Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo (who work for WWE as backstage producers) just as an excuse for Jillian Hall to do her bad singer gimmick? It’s not like I actually wanted to see them wrestle – the Sheik looked like he could barely walk – but why even bother flying in Sheik and Volkoff for that?

Posted by Kevin Eck at 4:06 AM | | Comments (24)
        

Comments

Another great column.

I'm glad WWE have recaptured some of the magic that made the first angle at No Way Out so memorable.

Hopefully they can carry it through to Mania with the same momentum.

I have to agree with Wayne, this years Wresrtlemania dose not excite me one bit. Here are the matches I would have put on the card...
100% I would have had Undertaker against Ric Flair...have the streak vs. retirement...Flair/Michaels does absolutely nothing for me...it shoud mean something for both participants...I would have had Jeff Hardy vs. HHH for the belt...HHH should have won the belt at the last PPV, and this match would have been awesome. Cena vs. Orton, w/ no belt on the line just because they hate each other, and JBL vs. Jericho in some sort of gimmick match. What happened w/ that fued? It sort of just ended, with no big payoff match. With Edge causing CM Punk to loose on ECW, have CM Punk vs. Edge for the Smackdown title, I think that would be an awesome match. MVP should go against Matt Hardy, but if he is still injured, then put him w/ Batista...but MVP should get the victory. Chavo and the ECW title should be nowhere on the card, cause Chavo may be the most boring wrestler around...but if you need to have it defended, maybe Kane? He may have a new carrer in ECW...Have the 2 tag-team champs wrestle for unification of the belts, since there are no decent teams anymore (who even are the champs now???). Money in the bank should have HBK, Shelton Benjaman, Carlito, Finaly, and whoever else dose not have a match...but only 6 people...last years 8 or so was too many. The only "star: I am leaving out is Umaga I think, I gues you can put him in the MIB. But in my opinion, that is a card I may wanna see!!! Not the garbage that is being offered this year. What do you think???

Kevin,

I think the reason they had Hardy drop the IC belt is because he will win the Money in the Bank match and then immediately after the triple threat match is over he will challenge whoever wins it - probably Orton in my opinion - and then Hardy will beat Orton and become new W.W.E. Champion.

Sean

Jeff Hardy dropped the belt because he is now suspended for 60 days for a failed drug test.

I guess we know now why Hardy lost the IC belt. Just when he was getting it together in the ring, his personal demons do him in.

Kevin-

looks like Jeff Hardy got pinned clean because he has been suspended for 60 days for violating the welness policy. I really hate to see this, I hope it doesn't set him back to much. 60 days can put out anyone's fire.

jimmy

I'm really disappointed with he way they booked Hardy last night. Despite JR still trying to push his "hottest athlete in WWE" schtick, the fact is the WWE is in danger of undoing all the momentum they gave to Hardy. Losing to Orton at a PPV and coming up just short in the elimination chamber is one thing, but 2 straight losses to Jericho doesn't help him at all. At this point he needs to win MITB to avoid sliding back to high mid-card status. the worst part is he didn't even lose the IC belt to someone who could defend it at WM 24! So both US and IC titles are still buried in the MITB match.
Also, thank GOD they didn't make iron sheik wrestle; my hips hurt just watching him struggle down the backstage hallways.

Kevin, the reason they had Jericho winning the I-C title is that they suspended Jeff Hardy for 60 days for violating the wellness policy. You think the Iron Sheik had trouble walking, Nikolai Volkoff looked like he didn't want to be there and Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo looked like they wobbled to the ring. They were great back in their prime but now they look to be hanging around the buffett table too much. I was surprised that Rotundo did't fall flat on his face after giving the airplane spin to Jillian. As for Kennedy getting beat down. He is getting ready to make a movie so I think the beat down was a way to get him off of TV for awhile. Yeah i thought thre Orton run in ruined the main event. Orton shoulda waited til the match was over then do the RKO on Cena. I'm kinda surprised at the main event for next week, Cena and Orton vs. the Raw roster. I thought it was going to be Orton/Cena vs. Flair/HBK. The bunny match and the Big Show/Mayweather matches dont do a thing for me.

Well, I guess we know why Jeff Hardy lost last night. WWE.com has posted that Hardy has been suspended for 60 days due to his 2nd violation of the drug policy.

I guess the "Writing was on the Wall" for Hardy since he is now suspended for 60 days.

Jeff Hardy was suspended for violating the wellness policy again... THAT's why he lost again last night. I'm starting to worry about him again.

WWE definitely went the right way with the Mayweather-Show angle. This was just what they needed to pull the excitement back to that of No Way Out. I also liked the interviews from all 3 triple threat entrants explaining their desire for the WWE title. Triple H in charge next week with this Orton-Cena versus the entire raw roster will also be interesting.

According to The Sun, Jeff Hardy has been suspended for 60 days after failing his second drug test hence dropping his IC belt. I was really looking forward to a Hardy title push after Mania, now Jericho will surely get the push by winning the money in the bank. I'm very disappointed in Hardy for what surely was leading to his first ever WWE title. Do you think he can come back from this, or WWE will let want to jeopardize the product by giving him another big push?

I think we know where WWE was going with the Jeff Hardy loss last night. According to wwe.com, Jeff has been suspended 60 days for violating the Wellness Policy. He won't be at WrestleMania.

If the Sheik had not worn those curled, pointed boots all those years, he wouldn't have such bad corns!
Too bad they didn't add a Wrestlemania recall match of Jake "the Snake" Roberts vs. The "Honky Tonk" Man! It would have been Great to see Alice Cooper put a BOA on Jimmy Hart again!
I think Mayweather hit his "Funny Bone" on Palumbo's head. I wonder what Super Crazy will do with his $100?

As you've probably heard by now, Jeff Hardy is in serious trouble. He's been suspended for 60 days for violating the wellness program and will not be participating in Wrestlemania.

Interestingly enough, I thought that when Jeff Hardy entered the ring last night he had some interesting facial expressions. He wasn't as into it as usual and almost seemed to be frowning. I said to a friend, "He doesn't look too happy right now, you don't think they're having him go down in this one do you?"

That being said, he put on a heck of a match.

well, I guess we know now why Jeff Hardy dropped the IC title last night. I really feel for the guy, as this drug suspension comes right on the cusp of what could've been the biggest push of his career. You can't blame the WWE if they don't give the guy a WWE title run, as the risk of him relapsing as he just did makes him a shaky pick to be champion.

It sounds like Jeff Hardy has job himself with failing that Wellness policy. He's out 60 days this time. I knew something was up with Jericho winning that title. Besides Jericho needs to go ahead and become a heel, he's more enjoyable as one.

Could Hardy dropping the Intercontinental title possibly have something to do with his alleged suspension for violating WWE's substance abuse policy?

Sounds an awful lot like RVD dropping the ECW title before his suspension at the tail end of his WWE stint.

Kev-- love the blog.... I'm guessing you've heard about Jeff Hardy's suspension? Explains the title drop. Who should replace him, Matt in a surprise to us and most especially MVP in MITB?

Forget the Big Show, did you see the size of that one bodyguard Floyd had with him? I bet he had 2 or 3 inches on the Big Show & more weight. They wouldn't let him get too close to the Big Show for it would make the Big Show not look so large.

I'd like to find out who that is and if the WWE could sign that big lad to a contract.

Kudos to Floyd for selling that overhead press and landing it right then selling an injury from it.

Classic, I don't think this was a shoot at all with Floyd's staff, they all knew that Show was going to throw Floyd 15 feet into the wrestlers. Just like with Big Show's nose, this was an excellent script.

And you have to give Big Show credit, he sure can work a microphone really well.

RESPONSE FROM KEVIN ECK: It definitely was all scripted. But it was scripted to look more realistic and less like a wrestling angle.

I enjoyed the March 10 edition of Raw. The highlights for me were the Hardy- Jericho match, the Iron Sheik and Volkoff, The Mayweather and Big Show weigh-in, and the main event. I enjoyed the Intercontinental title match. At first I thought the title change was to try to keep ratings strong throughout the show, but today we found out it was because of a Wellness Policy violation. What I want to know is (and this is rhetorical) why is it that Jeff Hardy was wrestling every week with his style that is extremely high impact? Shouldn’t wrestlers get time off to recover from their bumps and bruises? I think WWE should have an off-season. It would help the wrestlers recover naturally instead of having to resort to other methods to ease their pain.
I enjoyed the Volkoff segment because he’s a Maryland local, and I think the Sheik is funny. I was shocked when Mayweather cut a promo that wasn't horrible! The showdown that followed was entertaining as well. The main event between Michaels and Cena, was pretty good, but I think Shawn Michaels is crazy for attempting the high risk moves he does.

That is a Shame about jeff Hardy

Shame about Hardy. Too bad they didn't do the same to Orton when he was busted for the second time under the Wellness Policy (fourth time altogether). Consistency would be nice. But that's not what wrestling is known for, is it?

It's a shame to hear that that's what happened to Jeff Hardy. Lately I've lost interest in WWE favouring TNA for better matches. However I was always going to tune in for Wrestlemania.

I new that Hardy was turning heads again and was expecting to see him in money in the bank, so was suprised when he no showed. I didn't see CM Punk taking the win either. Frankly I don't see the point in ECW, it really is a waste of time which is reflected by the lack of exposure it's wrestlers get at any events. Anyone not genned up on ECW would think the company was comprised of maybe 5 wrestlers all told. Which point in fact is probably correct. But anyway. I thought Mr. Kennedy would take the case. After all he is way too overlooked. He has good matches and get this, can actually wrestle. Shelton is like the token wrestler for this match, forget what Hardy might have done had he been there, Benjamin is the human highlight roll in this match. It's just a shame he will fade into the background now until next years match. Thought we would have seen more of a fight between Y2J and MVP, given their recent feud. Is it just me or has Jericho actually managed to get worse than before? It's like while his in ring ability has declined his mouth has got even bigger, why he's IC champ I don't know, he's about as entertaining as Chavo Guerrero.

Big Show/Mayweather true to form was a huge letdown. I don't know about you, but I am getting sick and tired of having these celebrity sportsman v wrestler matches where the wrestler always loses. I mean you look at the match up, and it seems farsical at best, yes we all know it's all worked out before, and that its all a show, but go up to any wrestler and say your an amazing actor, and you'll probably end up with a fat lip. Why then is the sportsman put over by the wrestler. Surely it should be the other way round. What does it say about wrestling if any joe bloggs can walk in and challenge a main eventer and win, it destroys wrestlings credibility. You don't see wrestlers challenging other sportsman to a face off at their particular sport, and why because we all know for a fact that they'd almost certainly lose. Why then does wrestling have to be made out to be a walk in the park. It was the same with Bam Bam Bigelow/Lawrence Taylor match. Taylor couldn't wrestle his way out of a paper bag, and yet Bigelow put him over. At least they were roughly the same size. Mayweather/Big Show come on. Big Show even came across as the face in the match, so why does he have to lose. I almost switched the show off after that match I was so angry. Sad I know!

Belfast Brawl was a huge disappointment. I was expecting a real donnybrook and Finley for most of the match looked like he was suffering from some really bad hangover, consistently a step behind and never really getting it together, when you would have thought in his choice of match, with a big revenge angle in play he would have been the aggressor? I hope JBL lifts the belt off Orton, we may actually get some decent title matches.

Taker/Edge wasn't bad, the streak is impressive, however every year he gets a little older and cannot perform quite as well as he did the last one, that said Edge can get a good match out of pretty much anyone, he's a good talent. Don't get me wrong I enjoy watching Taker, his character's really cool and he's a good worker, but his matches are getting a bit formulaic these days, its like he must hit old school, then the choke slam, and so on and so on in the same order everytime. It reminds me of Bret Hart, his matches always seem to finish in the same way too. Following the same finishes.

Flair/Michaels wasn't too bad, it was obvious who was going to win, but I thought Flair made a bit more of an effort this time round, and Michaels did just enough flying around to make it entertaining.

I felt cheated that the battle royal wasn't actually included in its entirety in the televised event. As a way to kick off the show, would have been much better, even if it was that the stipulated winner would take on the ECW champ, given the amount of time between the battle royal and the title match it wouldn't have made a difference. Instead it felt like one of those Oscar nights when they say, other awards that were given away tonight were..... (montage sequence follows)

The title match between Kane was just the right length, nobody wants to see these 2 guys go longer than 30 seconds. It reminded me of Warrior V Honky Tonk at Summer Slam 88, although that was better.

The diva match as always was pointless and gave me an excuse to go take a leak. Santino hit the nail on the head though on Raw the next night when he said he'd reached the lowest point of the WWE having to compete with tthe divas. Priceless moment no. 101 right there! However naff he is in the ring, he does come out with some gems!

Batista/Umaga was far too short.

Triple threat wasn't too bad, not sure why Cena had the big entrance, certainly a lot better than the previous years with his driving escapade though, where the entire audience sat there fingers crossed hoping that he'd crash and burn before he reached the building. Band was a nice touch though. Although I found myself thinking why hasn't the Game got any kind of super dupa entrance. Match wasn't bad, only the result was wrong. But hey typical WWE, take the fans money and then royally screw them over.

Randy Orton sums WWE up in a nutshell as to just how bad it is these days. You go back 20 years and wonder why the Red Rooster was never a main event star like Orton is now, as they're virtually the same quality in the ring, hang on thats unfair to the Rooster.

Hall of Fame class parade was a bit of a letdown. It was like well here's half the class, the other half we kind of lost in transit from the other night, so to make up for it, heres Larry one of our grips who will be accepting Ric Flairs award. Larry and Ric are best buds they go way back, and heres some random woman we found buying a Rocky t'shirt out front who's accepting an award for so and so. This group of tourists will accept an award on behalf of. Now play the cheesy music and everyone clap. It was the same with Make a Wish, what was the point?

Like the inclusion of celebrity guests this year though, doing the interviews and what have you. John Legend did a nice job with the opening number.

Right time to shoot. Almost 2am. (UK time) need to catch some zzzz's

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
E-mail Kevin.
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