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September 16, 2008

Jericho, Michaels to take feud to higher level

When the main event steel cage match for the world heavyweight title between Chris Jericho and CM Punk opened the show, you knew the final segment was going to be a big announcement of some sort. Sure enough, Shawn Michaels returned to TV after a one-week absence and revealed that he was facing Jericho in a ladder match for the title at the No Mercy pay-per-view on Oct. 5.

Michaels and Jericho are engaged in the hottest feud in some time, and a ladder match between these two has the potential to be a classic. I’m guessing that the match at No Mercy – their fourth meeting on pay-per-view this year – will not be their last. This is one program that I just don’t want to see end.

With this match and Triple H versus Jeff Hardy for the WWE title headlining the card, No Mercy is shaping up nicely.

Other thoughts on last night’s show:

The Jericho-Punk cage match was very good. There were some nice false finishes, the best one being when Punk nearly got out of the cage while trapped in the Walls of Jericho. The match told a story, as Punk looked strong in defeat, and Jericho stole another victory (he has taken over Edge’s role as the ultimate opportunist). Jericho is getting “fluke” wins, but his character is a weasel, so that’s what should happen. The fact that he keeps taking a beating and finding ways to get the last laugh against the likes of Batista and Punk, however, shows that he is tough as well as cunning.

As for Punk, the two-month title reign was successful in elevating him, and not having the belt anymore hasn’t hurt him. I think he will end up being a multi-time world champion. …

I liked the interaction backstage between Jericho and JBL and the fact that they aren’t suddenly friends just because they are both heels. Jericho, JBL and Randy Orton all have heat with one another, which is the way it should be. There is no honor among thieves when chasing the world title. …

There were some great lines during the verbal exchanges between Batista, Orton, JBL, Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix. Among the highlights: JBL referred to Glamarella as “Mr. and Mr. Phoenix,” and he told Orton to “take the bass out of your eyeballs;” Marella said to Orton, “You are always injury, just like your dad;” Marella said his father was always healthy, then added, “Well, he did have the herpes, but he managed it well;” after Batista basically called Phoenix a pig, Marella said, “Just because she squeals sometimes doesn’t mean she’s a pig.”

It was a fun segment, and Batista was good as the babyface who put the heels in their places. He appears way more comfortable on the stick than he used to be. …

Someone who did not appear comfortable speaking was Mike Adamle. One week after I wrote that he wasn’t embarrassing himself as Raw general manager, Adamle stumbled over his words several times during the final segment. If he can’t string together several decent performances in a row over the next couple months, WWE should cut its losses and move someone else into the role. …

Speaking of Adamle, why he is talking to Kelly Kelly backstage every week? Is there an angle in the works? If Adamle gets Kelly Kelly as a love interest there is no justice in the WWE Universe. …

Kane’s delivery on his promo was good, but the explanation for his attack on Rey Mysterio was a stretch. Something about Mysterio hiding behind a mask just like all the fans who figuratively wear masks, pretending to be good people when they really aren’t. Kane’s rationale for turning heel – that he’s a monster and people stare at him and make fun of him – was exactly the same as it was for his heel turn of several years ago. Plus, he said that Mysterio didn’t have the guts to unmask, but a lot of fans know that Mysterio wrestled for a couple years without his mask in WCW. I guess WWE’s answer to the gaps in logic could be that Kane is a lunatic, so nothing he says has to make any sense. …

It’s nice to see Evan Bourne on Raw for the second straight week, but he came off like a geek when he confronted Kane. Bourne ended up backing away with a frightened look on his face as Kane laughed maniacally. Maybe the story will be that Bourne is afraid of monsters, and his pal Mysterio encourages him to face his fears. Suddenly, a new character known as Super Evan will appear under a mask. Nah, that would be too silly. …

Speaking of silly – although this is a good kind of silly – Charlie Haas’ impersonation gimmick is starting to get over. Good Ol’ Jim Haas was funny, although Charlie Haas Layfield is still my favorite. I got a chuckle out of seeing Haas (as Ross) pimp J.R.’s barbecue sauce. On Ross’ blog last week, he sarcastically complained that JBL’s Mamajuana energy drink gets plenty of free advertising, “so what about spreading the wealth with a little BBQ media stretch?”

Haas’ shtick will run its course eventually, but he can keep it going for a quite a while. We still haven’t seen The Haas-break Kid, Bret “The Hitman” Haas, Hunter Haas Helmsley, Hollywood Haas Hogan, Haas-tista, The Charlie Haas or Haas-swoggle. …

The six-man match with Haas, Jerry Lawler and Kofi Kingston against Ted DiBiase Jr., Cody Rhodes and Manu was pretty entertaining. I was so happy to see Haas come out as Lawler and Kingston’s partner instead of Hacksaw Jim Duggan. …

I wonder if Paul Burchill does impersonations. He better do something, because he couldn’t be more buried. Losing to Jamie Noble in about a minute? Ouch. …

Layla, who is now with William Regal, told Noble that it was over. Did it ever begin? …

Since the show was in Memphis, I was hoping that The Honky Tonk Man would make a cameo and confront Marella. It was curious that Marella did not mention the Honk-O-Meter this week. …

There was no Honky Tonk Man, but we did get the next best thing – Jillian Hall singing Elvis. I have a feeling I’m in the minority on this, but I love Hall’s bad-singing gimmick. You at least have to admit that it’s better than “the mole.”

Posted by Kevin Eck at 3:54 AM | | Comments (24)
        

Comments

Great blog - as always.

Adamale is painful to watch. Absolutely painful. I would rather see Black Jack Mulligan and Abdullah the Butcher do Shakespeare in the Park than watch him any longer on Raw.

Santino is at Roddy Piper and The Rock levels of greatness on the mic. He has great crossover potential for the company.

"Pologize"

Is it just me, or has the writing of Raw gotten significantly better in the past couple of months?

I have actually been entertained, rather than just watching Raw out of habit.

Lots of great work from the veterans, and Dibiase and Rhodes are the future.

It's a good time to be watching Raw.

Except for the Adamle experiment. He only got interesting because he was so horrible on a live mic, and now, in his new position, he's adding nothing

Ugh, did you have to remind us of the mole??

Can't wait to No Mercy...that ladder match should go thirty minutes and be a MOTY candidate. And HHH vs. Jeff should be pretty good as well.

Overall, a good show. Batista is booked well as a strong face and that in-ring segment was awesome. Great steel cage match. More Evan Bourne and Santino, the two most entertaining talents on the roster. There was some obvious filler (Noble vs. Regal and the terrible Candice match), but can't complain.

Overall, I thought this was a rather weak episode of RAW, but putting your world title cage match as the show opener sets you up for an anti-climax.
I really feel sorry for Kane- the guy has had to attempt to make so many lame storylines seem reasonable, and this one is no exception. I think it's obvious as you've said that Mysterio's mask was not their original payoff to this story.
And maybe I'm in the minority, but I thought Haas's JR impession was kinda lame. In fact, other than CHL, none of his impersonations has seemed very clever to me. I'm wondering which running gag will tire quicker- Haas's impressions or the Honk-O-Meter. I mean, I love Marella on the mic and think he should've been winning more than he was, but for him to be IC champ and get anywhere close to Honky Tonk's record would be hard to stomach.
And you didn't touch on him much, but Randy Orton's mic work has improved by leaps and bounds. I can't wait for this guy to get back in the ring and back up his increasingly strong promos.
And as much as I'm starting to tire of the Jericho/ Michaels feud ( it started strong, but the endless "intense" promos have worn on me), I agree that a ladder match between these two could be match of the year caliber.

The most shocking part of the show wasn't the HBK-Y2J announcment, it was Batista cutting a great promo. He combined a bit of "Stone Cold Bad Ass" with a little Rock humor. It wasn't on the level of those two, but it was the best I've seen Dave on the mic in a very long time.

Hopefully he can keep up the good work, because he's a pretty good worker and is already over, so the only thing keeping him from joining the elite was his promo skills.

I was kind of surprised at Jericho's fluke win too since I wondered if they were really going to book two fluke champions in a row. It does make more sense for a heel to be a fluke champion though since we can at least hate him for winning when he doesn't deserve it. Booking Punk as a fluke never made sense to me.

I have to add when Jericho suggested the two top contenders fight for number one then immediately face him I was hoping it would happen. Then he could've dubbed himself the new cerebral assasin.

The Kane heel turn explanation was pathetic. Even if I didn't know about Mysterio's unmasked past wouldn't it make more sense for Kane to have a beef with someone with a belt. For instance if he'd been upset with Punk back when Punk had the title because Punk wore the 'mask' of a champion, but inside was just a fraud who got there by fluke.

As far as HonkyTonk Man goes, a few years ago he had a website and mentioned a few times that WWE wanted him to sign a legends contract for even a cameo appearance, but that he would then lose the rights to his name and gimmick so he's steadfastly refused to do so (apparently they only offered $10,000 to sign the contract). It's too bad since he Marella could've had some awesome interactions. Honky could've tried thwarting Marella to ensure he remained the greatest IC champion of all time, but kept accidentally getting Marella wins instead.

As long as WWE keeps Katie Lea around, the heck with Paul! Also Kevin you spoke of Roxxi in TNA taking blows... how about Beth taking a pretty powerful spinebuster on Mr. Pheonix from Batista. Im also glad that Haas has something that he can actually get a little bit of TV time with. I think he is a great worker and very funny in his current routine!

The Boogeyman didn't like Jillian's mole ... or maybe he did, considering he ate it off her face

Hopefully the CM Punk push isn't over, but I do believe it has cooled off a bit. If you remember, Randy Orton went three years between title reigns (and Vince loves Orton!), so Punk may have a long wait.

That ladder match is going to be fantastic.

I think feuds involving masks with either Rey or Kane are kind of played out since they've both spent significant parts of their careers without them on.

I am enjoying the Jericho/Michaels feud, but are we to actually expect Michaels to win the belt? This will be a great match, but Jericho will likely keep the belt until either Cena returns or they give Batista a run with it. That will then open the door for Orton when he returns.

I'm loving the gimmick with Haas. Maybe they could have him feud with Santino with Haas coming out as a different former IC champ each week.

Appearently there was a return of the cryptic messages on RAW last night, this time saying "WhoIs" around Jillian's song. I didn't catch it, and judging from your post you didn't either, but I was wondering if youv'e heard anything about it?

RESPONSE FROM KEVIN ECK: Nope, I didn't catch it and haven't heard anything about it.-

wow...2 weeks in a row I watched the whole show. Granted I was doing ebay at the same time, but I wasnt so bored I needed to change to something else. The whole exchange w/ JBL, Randy Orton, Mr. & Mrs Phoenix was great (until Batista arrived...I still cant stand him). Love that they gave the IC champion some decent interaction for once. That is one thing I never understood...shouldnt the IC champ be the #2 guy in the company? Growing up it was always like that, and the IC matches were always the second main event behind the world title match. My question Kev, is when do you think that changed? Who was champion when the IC belt became almost meaningless??

RESPONSE FROM KEVIN ECK: I think it became a joke in 1998-99 when the title kept changing every month or so and guys like Val Venis, Road Dogg, The Godfather, D-Lo Brown and Goldust held it. Later, guys like Albert and Billy Gunn had title reigns. And remember, at one point the title was done away with for about six or seven months.

Don't forget the, once again, absolutely awful performance by Candice Michelle. When she dropkicked Jillian, I thought THAT was the worst dropkick I'd ever seen ... and then she tried it with Beth and I found myself wondering what was worse - Candice's in-ring skills or inability to act. Seriously, she makes Jessica Simpson look good. On the upside, I thought Jamie Noble did a good job of embodying the rejected and hurting puppy without overplaying and indicating his pain and, thus, becoming a laughable caricature. Now, if only Batista could form more than two coherent sentences in a row (and Candice Michelle went away) the babyfaces wouldn't look like such idiots. What's the deal with that, anyway?

Man, Jillian Hall would be a lot hotter if she didn't have those lip implants. But I agree about her gimmick. The way she butchers songs to get heat is borderline genius.

Did Adamle call Kelly Kelly 'K2'? Ugh...

And did I notice that Layla picked up British-esque accent?

Dunno, I might have 'misremembered' that...

Are you going to comment on the Jake the Snake breakdown in Cleveland? Jake's rep says he was drugged. Others say he drugged himself. Either way he broke down on video, and it's been on TMZ and other places. You interviewed him recently. What are your thoughts?

RESPONSE FROM KEVIN ECK: I responded to this on another post. I don't know what the real story is, but it's sad either way. When he was in Baltimore, Jake appeared clean, turned down an invitation from the boys to go out and legitimately seemed to want to stay clean. He took up Vince mcMahon's offer to get help and said he did it for his kids.

The person who used Batista in the same sentence at Stone Cold and The Rock needs to be banned from posting on Ring Posts forever.

The cage match was entertaining but why was there a cage match in the first place? Shouldn't there have been a series of Punk-Jericho matches that featured interference from Lance Cade before the settled matters in a cage?

Im glad to see the WWE giving Evan Bourne a push. He is one of the most entertaining in ring performers the WWE has had in awhile. I actually have been tuning into ECW just to see him and from talking to friends that also watch wrestling Im not the only one. I hope WWE dosnt drop the ball on him.
Candice Michelle is just painful to watch in the ring. I understand why Phoenix and Candice Michelle are fueding but it wasnt that good the first time around.

Time for Adamle to go. Novelty value has long gone and the guy is awful. Compare him to Vckie and there is just no comparision. I predict HBK to win the title and retire shortly after that.

I never thought I'd say that Charlie Haas was the standout of Raw lately. He's almost a rival to Santino for actually making me laugh and glad I didn't miss seeing it. Even if you don't like the gimmicks (which I love), you have to admit he looks confident on the mic and his in ring work is the closest he's looked to the WGTT days (even with the rubber gut). He's managed to shed the dreaded Haas pop and could be relevant if they chose to elevate him with this gimmick. It can't last forever, but it would be great to see him tease the crowd with an intro and right as the buzz wore off as he got to the ring, have the music hit again and the real superstar come confront him. I'm not talking about him spoofing Kane and getting jobbed out for no reason, but more like him spoofing Diesel and him getting a rub from Kevin Nash or someone else outside the box.

Also, how can Jericho/HBK keep things interesting on TV heading into an amazing PPV match? It needs a spark to get the edge back and I don't know if the title is that spark.

Kev,

I haven't caught raw for a couple of months so to come back and see hype for Y2J HBK in a ladder match was awesome. Also bout time Charlie Haas got some ring time now they just need to put the IC title around his waist.

Hey Kevin -

I just got turned on to your blog about a month ago and it is now pretty much a daily staple for me at work. I really love your takes on all things wrestling. I find i agree with you more often than not.

Example: "There was no Honky Tonk Man, but we did get the next best thing – Jillian Hall singing Elvis. I have a feeling I’m in the minority on this, but I love Hall’s bad-singing gimmick. You at least have to admit that it’s better than “the mole.”"

Couldn't have said it better myself. I absolutely LOVE this gimmick. The only thing to add is that my friends and i used to call her "the Hamburgler" rather than "the mole" because it seriously looked like someone smacked her in the face with some ground beef and it just stuck!!

Keep up the great work!!

~Steve

Charlie Haas is phenomenally hilarious. Why? It's not just the impersonations. It's the way in which he does them. he does it exactly like them. With Charlito, he walked to te ring just like Carlito (with the slight swagger and bobbing side to side) same with cena. when he came out of the 'curtains'. And true JBL impersonation was the most hilarious in part due to JBL being a [jerk] . Bret the Hitman Haas would be great though. I hope wwe people read your post.

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