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September 2, 2008

A bittersweet episode of Raw

At first glance, last night’s Raw was a good show. There was an awesome final segment, a major star made a special appearance and the program never dragged.

But the episode also accentuated the depressing reality of the injury situation on Raw.

On the go-home show for Sunday’s Unforgiven pay-per-view, Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho closed the program by signing the contract for their match. We’ve all seen these contract signing segments many times before, but the intense performances of Michaels and Jericho put this one at another level. The entire time that they sat across the table from one another, Michaels started intently at Jericho, while Jericho never looked directly at Michaels until right at the end.

The verbal confrontation briefly turned physical, as Michaels thwarted a sneak attack by Lance Cade. While Jericho stood outside the ring, Michaels lunged at him and landed awkwardly on the floor. Obviously, that was how Michaels suffered a torn triceps.

That one slip by Michaels in the closing seconds of what has been a tremendous build-up has put Sunday’s match in jeopardy and could put Michaels out of action for four to six months. We should know more about Michaels’ prognosis soon, although Michaels reportedly is vowing that he will wrestle at Unforgiven.

At the beginning of the show, Randy Orton, who is out of action with a broken collarbone, made an appearance. It was great to see Orton back on television and he cut a good promo, but he is not expected to be healthy enough to get back in the ring for at least a couple months.

To further illustrate how Raw’s star power has been diminished by injuries, there was a tease that John Cena was going to be on the show. It turned out to be Charlie Haas doing a Cena impersonation. Cena, who underwent surgery last week to repair a herniated disk, is a quick healer, but not that quick.

With Cena, Orton and now Michaels on the sideline, it will be up to guys such as CM Punk, Batista, Jericho and others to carry the show until they come back.

Other thoughts on last night’s show:

It almost seemed at first as if Orton was cutting a babyface promo. He was cheered for ripping Beth Phoenix, Santino Marella and the team of Ted DiBiase Jr. and Cody Rhodes. The cheers quickly turned to jeers, however, when Orton began bad-mouthing Punk.

Punk, who now is getting a superstar-level reaction from the crowd, more than held his own in the verbal confrontation with Orton. The segment successfully planted the seed for a future program between the two. …

There also seemed to be a foreshadowing of an alliance between Orton and DiBiase and Rhodes. As I have said in the past, I think it would be a good fit. …

Haas is still a loser, but at least he is an entertaining loser now. I can’t wait to see who he impersonates next. Hopefully, he will expand his repertoire to include some WWE Hall of Famers. …

What is the only thing worse than seeing The Miz on Raw? Seeing The Miz on Raw in two segments. …

I understand the reasons behind Candice Michelle pinning Phoenix in a tag team match. WWE wanted to play up Michelle’s return and set up a program between her and Phoenix. That’s fine, but then why have Phoenix get pinned last week by Kelly Kelly? The women’s champ shouldn’t lose back-to-back matches. And shouldn’t Kelly’s win last week have earned her a shot at the title? …

William Regal deserves better than to be jobbing to Jamie Noble. I know that Noble is a good worker, but Regal should be a little higher on the card. And I’m just not that interested in Noble’s story line with Layla. …

You have to love Santino Marella’s Honk-O-Meter. Maybe The Honky Tonk Man will show up on Raw at some point and smash a guitar over Marella’s head. At the very least, Haas could dress up as Honky and confront Marella.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 11:37 AM | | Comments (18)
        

Comments

Don't forget that Mickie James has still to receive her title rematch, so Beth now has three major contenders in the shape of Mickie, Kelly and Candice.

>>>There also seemed to be a foreshadowing of an alliance between Orton and DiBiase and Rhodes. As I have said in the past, I think it would be a good fit. …<<<

Are you kidding me? Add Lacey Von Erich and Reed Flair and you have a monster stable to end all monster stables.

Orton coming out to start the show was great. But to think it was a baby face turn never entered my mind. One, the fans were excited to see a star who had been off TV for awhile and two, Orton lives in that area (I remember his Dad always being introduced from Kansas City, MO). I didn't hear the boos for Orton when Punk came out, just a strong pop for Punk.
Honk-O-Meter was great! Almost as good as Santina calling him the "Honky Tonky Man"

The Miz is Mr. Eck's John Cena. Even the slightest Miz sighting now sets him off. Get used to it Kevin. With ECW shifting its traveling show from Smackdown to Raw...you will be seeing much more of the Fedora my friend. BTW, Don't miss the Dirt Sheet tonight, Kev. I anticipate great things tonight on SciFi!

Santino Marella looked great last night playing his air trombone laying on his back. Not only does Marella do great promos, but he is the John Ritter of the ring. He sells the foolishness like that episode of Three's Company where there was some kind of misunderstanding. Eck's adopted son is probably the funniest dude on RAW these days.

Candice Michelle looked bad, bad, bad last night...and you could see it on her face that she knew she had a terrible performance as she walked back up the ramp. Her headscissors thing looked terrible. She completely missed the leg hook on that small package that beat Phoenix. Beth had to roll herself up...point blank. Beth sold the package because Candice completely blew her part. CM kept pulling her bra strap down. I can't tell if she was trying to show off her new clavicle to Beth or if she was implying that she would be better off going back to taking her clothes off for a living.

Eck, I give you props. I think you called it a week or two back that the Handicap match loss to Cena would end up being a source of motivation for Dibiase & Rhodes. Sure enough...it happened, and I am sure you were the first one cheering when they laid Cryme Tyme to waste.

"The Miz is Mr. Eck's John Cena. Even the slightest Miz sighting now sets him off. Get used to it Kevin. With ECW shifting its traveling show from Smackdown to Raw...you will be seeing much more of the Fedora my friend."

That idea was scrapped a couple months ago. ECW is staying with Smackdown.

"I can't tell if she was trying to show off her new clavicle to Beth or if she was implying that she would be better off going back to taking her clothes off for a living."

Classy, especially since Candice was a model and an actress in movies and commericials before coming to WWE, not a stripper.

either it has just been so long that I've forgotten that Randy was that good on the mic, or he really improved during his time off. I really think Punk and Randy could be an extremely good rivalry, though I expect we'll end up seeing more of Cryme Tyme and Priceless as it looks like wwe is going to bring in a bit of a privelaged vs self made man kind of vibe into this whole thing.

Martin,

There is not going to be a rematch. The title push is now Candice Michelle's, no matter how terrible she looks doing it.

So.. all that about the women's stuff and not a word about Rey? I thought he looked pretty good in the oh-so-rare "little guy kicks the crap out of giant guy" spot.

Also, just as a random thought... if they elect to go with a "Jericho killed Michaels" injury angle at Unforgiven, I wonder how possible (without hurting Shawn's neck) it'd be to have Jericho do his usual Codebreaker, but with Michaels' head turned so his "bad eye" takes the knees. Might make a handy video clip to re-run at later times to sell what a heinous thing Jericho did...

I've just got to add that the crowd was h-o-t. A good response from the crowd makes watching wrestling that much entertaining! Me, I was hellzapoppin' madly all the way thru the show. I wish it was always like that...

Keep it up Eck....

Doesn't Jericho capture the perfect weasel-like heel. I loved the non-eye contact during the Michaels encounter. Shame HBK had to get hurt.

Jericho has proved he can run the gamut of wrestling characters.
From the Wild and crazy baby face "Stephanie is a ....."

to the cold, emotionless, robotic voiced heel he criticized Orton for being in his return

Side note, Jericho's book is right up there with Foley's first one as you can tell its not a ghost written book....

"Maybe the Honky Tonk Man will show up on Raw [at] some point and smash a guitar over Marella's head...."
_______________________________

My brother suggested the exact same thing.

BoorTon is back? Yipee. Another lame episode hyped up by McMahon Jr. Thankfully for the WWE it looks like Christian is on his way back as well as Sid. Hopefully the overrated HeartFake kid is retired once and for all. And what's with the gray hair on Jericho? What's he 35? I know Fozzy was bad but geez!

"I can't tell if she was trying to show off her new clavicle to Beth or if she was implying that she would be better off going back to taking her clothes off for a living."

I thought it was a female version of pulling the strap of the singlet off the shoulder.

A lame version, but still...

chris,
How nice of you to attempt to line item veto my post and miss the salient points altogether. The Miz isn't going away time soon and after starring in Hotel Erotica and posing in Playboy, Candice is closer to being Sarah Palin's honorary daughter than you might think. My apologies for not having a research assistant proof my posts.

"How nice of you to attempt to line item veto my post and miss the salient points altogether. The Miz isn't going away time soon and after starring in Hotel Erotica and posing in Playboy, Candice is closer to being Sarah Palin's honorary daughter than you might think."

I didn't say the Miz was going away. I said ECW tapings are staying with Smackdown instead of moving to Raw as was planned at one time.

I really don't think posing for Playboy and doing a nude scene in a TV show is the same as being a stripper for a living.

chris,
I think we can call it even. You didn't say the Miz was going away, and I didn't say Candice was a stripper.

Not to beat a dead horse (or a diva with a funky collarbone), but Candice did some rather extreme photo sessions back in the day...bondage stuff.

She wasn't a stripper, but still...

Grow up all of you. Cant you talk about wrestling instead of disscussing candice michelle

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