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September 23, 2008

The kids are alright on Raw

Before getting into last night’s Raw, I want to apologize for the later-than-usual post. I was tied up with some of my other duties at The Baltimore Sun (including writing a piece on why the Orioles shouldn’t trade Brian Roberts, which you can read at baltimoresun.com/faceoff starting Wednesday morning). I just hate it when real work gets in the way of blogging.

Now onto the show. I thought the first two segments (the multi-person promo and the CM Punk-Cody Rhodes match) were good – and they also made a statement about the current direction and future of Raw. In addition to Punk and Rhodes, four other wrestlers in those segments — Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase Jr., Manu and Kofi Kingston — are all in their twenties. Considering that six more guys on the show last night are also under the age of 30 — Lance Cade, John Morrison, The Miz Evan Bourne and Cryme Tyme — WWE has an impressive group of wrestlers who are still years away from their primes.

Orton already is one of the top stars in the business, and Punk is getting there. I wouldn’t be surprised if several others from this list also became major players, specifically DiBiase, Morrison and Bourne. There are always growing pains with a youth movement, but the future looks bright.

Other thoughts on last night’s show:

To commemorate the 800th episode of Raw, the announcers told us it was the 800th episode about 800 times. ...

Chris Jericho cut another good promo and has really become a guy the fans love to hate. Orton was good, as well. I like him in the role of a heel who doesn’t like anybody, even fellow heels. ...

It’s always nice to see Shane McMahon on television. After all these years, that little shuffle that he does still cracks me up. Let’s see a show of hands: How many people were hoping that Shane-O-Mac was coming out to fire Raw general manager Mike Adamle? I’m guessing there are a lot of hands up right now. ...

I’m glad that McMahon’s past with Kane was acknowledged, but Shane forget to mention that in addition to Kane giving his mother a tombstone piledriver and electrocuting McMahon’s testicles, McMahon pushed Kane into a flaming dumpster and crashed a car with Kane inside. And they’re all still alive and no one is in jail. I think that segment, which had Adamle standing there oblivious to the Kane-Shane story line, was mainly done as a spoof on Adamle’s complete lack of knowledge about the product. ...

Speaking of wrestlers who have a history, why was it not even hinted that Shawn Michaels and Batista — who were tag-team partners last night — were rivals several months ago? ...

I think the jury is still out as to whether Cade can become a star, but having him make the winning pin on Michaels in the main event might be an indication that WWE is going to make an attempt at making him one. ...

I hope no one thinks that Bourne’s loss to Kane means that he is being buried. Bourne got in a decent amount of offense, and, honestly, he shouldn’t be defeating Kane at this point. Kane has a match with Rey Mysterio at the No Mercy pay-per-view on Oct. 5, and with Bourne being established as a friend of Mysterio’s, the result made perfect sense. ...

The crowd in Cincinnati was pretty hot for most of the night. I guess the people in Cincy are starved for some sports entertainment. They certainly aren’t getting any from the Bengals or Reds. ...

I’m confused as to why WWE would have Kelly Kelly defeat Beth Phoenix again before Phoenix’s WWE women’s title defense against Candice Michelle at No Mercy. I don’t think anyone should pin the champ before a big match unless it’s the challenger in a non-title or tag match. With two wins over the champ, Kelly should be in line to face the winner of that match. Speaking of Michelle, was she even on the show last night? Did I miss her while I was switching to Monday Night Football during commercials? ...

Michael Cole asked Jerry Lawler if he has ever seen a diva as powerful as Phoenix. “Absolutely not,” Lawler replied. Well, what was he going to say? “Yes -- Chyna” probably wouldn’t sit too well ...

Charlie Haas’ Mr. Perfect impersonation was good for a laugh. The best part was when he introduced himself at the beginning of the clip and paused for the audience to cheer. He got zero reaction (which was the idea) and then said, “Thank you.” ...

If those clips of Cryme Tyme’s and Miz and Morrison’s wwe.com shows were supposed to be the best of, I don’t think I’m missing much. ...

I loved the Happy Days reference when Santino Marella called Deuce “Fonzie.” I suppose that makes Marella “Potsie.” I think it would be cool if Deuce’s catch phrase became “Sit on it.” Yes, I’m old.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 9:29 PM | | Comments (25)
        

Comments

The highlight of the show was Shane and yes I raised my hand at the firing statement.

I just don't think Cade has it.

I don't like where WWE is going. First they destroy the women's divison, then thay bring in a bunch of youngsters out of nowhere. Oh, and it's rather pathetic how the WWE is trying to put Beth over Chyna. LOL the only female to pin Chyna in her career was Ivory....who happens to be one of the greatest female wrestlers that the WWE has had, and she didn't even put up a fight.

Was that waiter carrying french fries when Haas collided with him? If so, he got "potatoed." HAHAHAHA!!!

I think the Orioles should probably keep Robert, unless they get blown away with a deal...wait, this is a wrestling blog, right?

I thought Raw was above average. Santino is gold, Batista seems to be getting better on the mic (maybe because of Santino), and I like the youth movement.

Jericho should wrestle Cena at WrestleMania for the belt. There are no shortage of opponents for Jericho to feud with before then (Orton and HBK to start with).

Good job Kev.

I thought it was hilarious when Batisita used Santino's mask to flick him with it.

I was originally disapointed when they gave Santino the IC belt, I was hoping they might make it mean something again soon, but if the plan is to make Santino look better and better through this Honkometer thing, it would be great. I think that way Santino could evolve into a credible "love to hate" heel.
When that is over they should really build it up again, ditch the US title and only have one set of tag team titles and only one main event belt. I also think its time for the wrestlers to show up on either show whenever they want, because its the best way to only have a few belts and also to keep the shows fresh. The concept of different brands was good for a while, but it has lost its touch.

Once they are done with the Santino, honkometer angle, I think the best way to make the titles mean something again is have either Vince or Shane come out in a fury, acknowledge that the titles are a joke and set up a great story line with 4 or 5 top mid carders fighting over the IC belt.

I like all the fresh faces on the card, but I think the best way to get people screaming loud at the main events is to build up the undercard story lines. Back in the day, I used to watch wrestling for IC story lines more than watching Hogan. I like seeing great matches and that is the main reason I watch wrestling as opposed to the other fluff, but a really good story makes great matches even better. Hopefully they will come up with some good stuff for the young guys before pushing them to main event status.

Well first of all i hope jericho holds the belt untill wrestlemania as he is raws best heel at the moment and i cant get enough of him on the tv.

As for how it goes has anyone noticed that there is a huge pointer to a heel only promo chris jericho told jbl he did not trust his past and orton and jericho are on a knife edge, im for jbl to beat batista at no mercy and then orton being thrown into the title challenge at the next ppv.

Santino Marella is gold i hope he gets close to the honky tonks record though i am unsure if i want him to break it.

As always good blog kev

Kevin -

Have you talked about the fact that the TV rating for Raw is now only PG? Not long ago it was PG D L V. Supposedly, WWE is headed back towards a violence and content code. There will be less sexual references, heavy violence and no blood and anything like that will be heavily edited.

There's just something very entertaining about Shane's little dance to me . . .

Regarding the main event tag match, just about the first thing I thought of about the Batista and Michaels partnership: Weren't they just in a stretcher match not too long ago?

Charlie Haas' perfect impersonation cracked me up so much.

I really enjoyed RAW, first time in a while I have actually.

I am a huge CM Punk mark, from his days in ROH, so seeing him so fired up in the match was great. Rhodes has that Orton-esque slither style of wrestling I think works quite well for a heel.

One point, has Orton been taking tattoo designs from Taker?

I did like the Miz & Morrison/Cryme Tyme feud build-up...each using their respective webshows to mock each others gimmicks...an interesting way to build feuds in my opinion.

Cade being in the main event, with 4 of RAW's biggest stars made sense if they are going to give him a push, but his mic skills still suck...

Candice Michelle was shown watching the divas match on a monitor in the back.

RESPONSE FROM KEVIN ECK: Thanks. So I did miss it switching back and forth.

real work? it's still real to me damnit.

RESPONSE FROM KEVIN ECK: Me, too. I just said that to look good to my bosses. :)

Eck-

Way to look like a badass heel in your full size picture in the Sun. It would have been more effective if you were giving the DX chop to Ken Murray.

RESPONSE FROM KEVIN ECK: Yeah, I was originally told that the picture was for the wrestling blog, so that's why I tried to put on my "wrestler face." I guess whenver I do those faceoffs I have to be the heel.

I was a little curious about the lack of any inner-team tension in the main event too. Didn't JBL try to hang Jericho a few months ago? Especially since it was a nice touch when Shane filled in Adamle about Kane earlier.

I surprisingly like Orton's character too, or maybe it's because I just read his interview where he was ribbing Umaga over HHH getting sent to Smackdown! with him.

When Shane came out, my first thought was "here it goes, they're going to do something nuts." Almost wish they did. Also made me think it's a shame Shane doesn't like being on camera. He's by far the best McMahon.

Lastly, Haas was "perfect" in his segment. As someone that remembers all of the old Mr. Perfect vignettes, I really enjoyed that. RIP Curt.

It just hit me:

Mike Adamle is Sarah Palin.

That is all.

I think Raw has been amazing since the draft. I love the fact that they are shuffling in some fresh faces, it makes everything much more exciting. I get the feeling now that anyone can be champion (I mean that in a good way) and it adds some much needed excitment to the title picture rather than having Cena or HHH in every main event.

Am I the only one that likes Adamle? I think his "gimmick" is great. He just comes off as a guy who oblivious to the fact that no one respects him. His phrases are great "Adamle Orginals" and his "Edict" last night. Just pushes over the top of someone who thinks they are very important. I get a kick out of it.

Orton seemed to be getting some cheers from the crowd (more so than boos). Maybe he could become a stone cold like face, where he just does what he wants.

Kane's kick to Mysterio was impressive.

Charlie Hass's pause was great. I really hope he actually gets a push and doesn't just become a joke. It worked with Santino. Speaking of which "Bobtista" "I shoot'a lazers from my hands" Keep pushing the young guys, it is workign great despite what the ratings say.

I liked the Haas segment. If they can keep it interesting, I'll officially be on the Haas bandwagon. The only problem is that the Ravens play the Steelers on Monday, so I'll most likely only see Monday Night Raw during the commercial breaks of Monday Night Football. Go Ravens!!!

RESPONSE FROM KEVIN ECK: I have to admit that I will be watching the Ravens and taping Raw.

Oh yeah... and the Orioles should hang on to Brian Roberts and instead fire about half of their bullpen!

When Shane & Kane were in the back with Adamle, I said to my casual-viewer friend, "They have a history together!" and was about to fill her in when Shane gave the details for me.

That was definitely a spoof on Adamle's lack of knowledge. The Raw GM should know all of that information.

Did you notice that in going PG, they took out Steve Austin saying, "Give me a Hell Yeah!" in the opening video package, but they allowed Shane to talk about getting his testicles shocked?

I wonder why they spend so much time joking about Adamle's ineptitude, but when they have a talented announcer like Joey Styles they stick him in a do-nothing position.

I've never been a fan of the way Cryme Tyme's gimmick played out, so I doubt I'd like their show all that much, and I never liked anything I saw of Miz and Morrison's show. I don't watch either and don't feel like I'm missing anything.

I think the Duece gimmick is getting real old. He might get over a bit easier if he donned his OVW Jimmy Snuka Jr. gimmick.

..... electrocuting McMahon's testicles . To bad that wasn't Vince , and too bad it didn't happen before the conception of Shane and Steph .
Kevin, the quandary for next week is how do you handle watching Raw and the Ravens / Steelers game ? My guess is Ravens live , Raw taped .

RESPONSE FROM KEVIN ECK: You are right about next Monday. I never .... ever... miss a Ravens game -- not even for Raw.

Hey Kevin , after reading "face-off" we FINALLY agree about something , keeping B. Roberts . Adios , Cabrera, Huff , etc. etc.

Kane's kick on Mysterio was one of the better executed stunts on RAW that I can recall in recent memory. I think it was just as good as when Edge speared Mysterio in similar fashion on PPV last year.
Did they change Jack Swagger's finisher because it was too similar to Cade's? Before, Swagger would end up in a sitting position after the slam. But when he hit Dreamer and that other guy with it last night, it looked like he ended up on his knees.
We know what Orton has been doing with his time off besides rehabbing. His new ink is really cool. I used to not like him much because he was so stiff on the mic. But he has gotten better. I wonder how far he is away from returning. If it is as long as they say, aren't they starting a feud between him CM Punk too early? It will be stale before it even starts.

Kevin, have you noticed that since you commented on Michele McCool being too skinny for her belt, she now carries it on her shoulder rather than wrapped around her waste?

While reading Zach F.'s comments about Adamle being a boss who thinks he is important, it hit me. Perhaps his character is supposed to be like the Steve Carrell character from The Office.

RESPONSE FROM KEVIN ECK: About McCool, yes I have noticed. Obviously someone in WWE realized how silly it looked.

"Maybe he (Orton) could become a stone cold like face, where he just does what he wants."

I don't think anyone will be able to pull off that kind of face again, and I say this as someone who never really embraced the Rattlesnake.

Similarly, Joe Flacco won't be able to recreate the exploits of ... well ... umm ... Trent Dilfer?

Santino's promo about the "manimal Baptista" shooting lasers from his arms like he's eight-year old was the funniest thing from Santino so far... and he is always funny. I'm in love with him and his attention to detail. He goes the extra mile in every single promo and match he does. Truly a worker's worker.

The rest of the show left me cold for the second week in a row, though... I'm finding it hard to really get into any of the current feuds.

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