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October 14, 2009

Thoughts on Raw

Shortly after 9 p.m. on Monday night, I sat in a packed arena as pyro went off, crunchy guitars played over the sound system and larger-than-life characters appeared on stage to kick off a two-hour spectacle.

No, I wasn’t in Indianapolis for Raw. I was at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia for the first of back-to-back Kiss concerts – I also saw Gene, Paul and the boys perform the next night at Verizon Center in Washington.

So now you know why my take on Monday’s episode of Raw is so late in getting posted. I may still be able to rock and roll all night, but now it’s more like sleep every day rather than party every day.

Anyway, onto Raw:

• The main story line focused on the dissension within Legacy, as Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase Jr. and Cody Rhodes all had their own agendas. The popular opinion – which I agree with – is that DiBiase is eventually going to turn babyface, probably around the time his direct-to-DVD movie “The Marine 2” comes out.

• I’m a little confused as to why DiBiase and Rhodes would care so much about earning a spot on the Raw team for the Bragging Rights pay-per-view on Oct. 25 that they would be willing to stab each other in the back. And what did DiBiase have to gain by pinning Orton in the tag match that pitted DiBiase and Rhodes against Orton and John Cena?

• The whole concept of having a team of Raw stars facing a team of Smackdown stars at Bragging Rights is flawed. The rosters are shuffled so frequently that the notion that wrestlers have some sort of brand loyalty is absurd. I think it would be more believable if the competitors in the match had a tangible incentive, such as the winning team getting a big monetary bonus.

• Guest hosts Nancy O’Dell and Maria Menounos from “Access Hollywood” were fine. They seemed to enjoy being there and their presence on the show was not intrusive. Menounos didn’t embarrass herself at all when she participated in a six-woman tag match.

• The comedy bits with Triple H interacting with an absent Shawn Michaels via telephone and a life-sized cardboard cutout of Michaels were amusing. The best part was when Triple H’s call to Michaels went to voicemail, and Michaels’ greeting was him singing his “Sexy Boy” song with slightly altered lyrics.

• I’m glad the Chris Jericho-Big Show match was mostly played for laughs and that Big Show only won by count-out. Before the match started, I was certain that Big Show was going to beat Jericho in a squash.

• It definitely was a shock when Jillian Hall won the WWE Divas title from Mickie James. As much as I like James, I was kind of glad to see Hall go over. Hall is a decent worker and has a distinctive character, but she has never gotten a significant push. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that she wasn’t getting one now, either, as Melina – who was part of a divas trade – was given an immediate title shot and made quick work of Hall.

• The divas trade was engineered by O’Dell, so apparently the guest hosts really can do anything they want. I suppose that means that next week’s host, Snoop Dogg, can veto the trade if he likes. My head is hurting from trying to make sense of all this. Either that or it’s hurting from those two Kiss shows.

• I know the announcers have to hype future shows, but when they were talking about next week’s Raw possibly being Cena’s last appearance on the show “forever,” I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. Instead of “forever” perhaps they should have said that Cena would be off of Raw until the next draft – or until a Raw guest host puts together a trade to get him back.

• Jack Swagger’s victory over MVP was surprisingly clean and quick. That’s great for Swagger. For MVP, not so much.

• The Kofi Kingston-Evan Bourne match was OK, but it definitely needed to go longer than just a few minutes. The other thing that hurt the match was the lack of drama concerning the outcome. At this point, everyone knows that Bourne is just a glorified enhancement talent.

• Santino Marella had the line of the night. When interacting with former girlfriend Beth Phoenix, he said: “When we were together, I faked every organism.”

• With Snoop Dogg hosting next week, I suppose that’s an indication that WWE does not drug test the guest hosts.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 1:22 PM | | Comments (43)
        

Comments

"I want to rock and rock all night and part of every day!"

hey eck,

I know this is wrestling related, but did you watch "The Band that Wouldn't Die" on ESPN last night? Pretty interesting documentary about the Baltimore Colts marching band.


This was definitely a good episode of RAW, much better than it's been in the past.

RESPONSE FROK KE: No, I didn't see it.

Hey Kev hope you had fun at the KISS concerts, it's good to have some personal fun, life's not all about work!

As far as Raw goes I thought the episode was OK, not the best but by no means the worst. I have a question though, in the 1st Divas Title match Mickie James took down Jillian with the Lou Thesz Press and then some punches. The King said she was lucky not to be disqualified for using closed fists, yet how come the Big Show has a finishing move which is a knockout punch- how can that be allowed if other superstars can't hit with a closed fist? or is this one of those WWE issues we are just meant to ignore Thanks.

Kevin,

A couple of things:

- I thought Monday was one of the worst Raws I have ever seen. Terrible start with Triple H going on and on.

- Michael Cole gets more annoying by the week, instead of him telling us how great WWE is why don't they put on a product that would be worth such praise.

Also, they really need to stop with those "do you know" graphics. Yeah we got it Raw was watched by more people on Earth than are actually alive on the planet. Right.

- The Santino comment was funny, but doesn't that go against being PG?

Sean

Kev, I was in Philly as well for KISS........better than watching RAW.

How nice of Triple H to insult Smackdown's wrestling by using Great Khali when all HHH does nowadays is his version of the 5 moves of doom.

Who did Mickie James p--- off? First, she loses a 2 minute match against Hall, and then she's unceremoniously sent to SmackDown?

Is the Raw roster thinning up or something? Why are the same wrestlers wrestling multiple times on the same show?

That guy from the Indianapolis Pacemakers or whatever the team is called should be ashamed of himself for doing a Cena "You can't see me". Doesn't he have any dignity?

Maria Menounos may be better in the ring than Lacey Von Erich, but having her go one on one against an (supposedly) actual wrestler and actually dominating just destroys the wrestler's credibility. The heels are really suffering thanks to these guest hosts.

Kev,
Great blog. Very informative and insightful.
Another great line was when Maria Menounas was talking to Triple H and mentioned that he had been training her.
She said something to the effect of
He has been showing her 2 kicks and putting someone in a hold for 15 minutes. That was pretty funny.
I thought it was a very good raw.

Speaking of rolling one's eyes at things said by the announcers, when Michael Cole repeatedly explained the possible consequences of the Cena-DiBiase-Rhodes match, he sounded like he was trying to make a four-year-old understand something. Yes, Michael, the winner gets a spot on Team Raw. We understand; thank you. Please call the match. I hope that he was only following the instructions fed into his ear.

RESPONSE FROM KE: I'm almost certain that's the case.

Raw is Melina!!!

I often thought that having money play into wins/losses would make every match mean more. Right now unless you're involved in a title match or some kind of personal feud, the matches have little or no impact. But, if you came out and said the winner gets $x amount and the loser gets nothing, it at least makes it look like there's an incentive.

They wasted 25 minutes between HHH, Big Show and Jericho. For what??? They are showing the same talent too much on one show. Instead, they should give more minutes to matches with action. Mickie James losing in such an awful way was surprising. Legacy received a nice push lately, but Cody is a mid-card heel at best, and Dibiase cant act with that stupid crazed look. Orton really has "it". His skills, mic work, look, facial expressions, ability to draw heat have really come along. The ability of the guest host to do anything is getting old, but I still think it adds to the show. Can't wait for Snoop!!

Kevin,

In honor of seeing KISS in concert you should review a match from when Bruno Sammartino was world champion, because that was the last time KISS was relevant.

RESPONSE FROM KE: That's it. You've gone too far this time.

Another site reports that Mickie James is not happy with her role in the WWE. They are not happy with her weight and her "in ring performance"??? She is carrying most matches because Rosa and Jillian keep screwing up!!
ALBANO- OFTEN IMITATED BUT NEVER DUPLICATED. R.I.P.

Any thoughts on The Miz/John Morrison match announced for Bragging Rights?

RESPONSE FROM KE: I'm looking forward to it. I don't think it's been built up very well, though.

The flagship show is just getting too damn painful to watch. I love wrestling so I don't mind a lot of the corny stuff but lately RAW has been so bad that I can't even stand to finish the show. Besides the lame guest host segments and the cheesy main event, I thought the worse decision of the night was giving the Diva's title to Jillian Hall only to take it away. Kevin I know I'm pretty much repeating your thoughts about Hall but it just pains me to see such a deserving worker get the rug pulled out from under her for the benefit of someone that's already been a champion multiple times. At least Jillian Hall has polished ring skills, Melina is clumsy in the ring and I cringe when I see her work because I always feel that she's a bad injury waiting to happen. I think the WWE takes too many chances with some of the Diva's that they push. I respect them all for what they do but some seem to be pushed more for their looks rather than their wrestling skills.

"I’m a little confused as to why DiBiase and Rhodes would care so much about earning a spot on the Raw team for the Bragging Rights pay-per-view on Oct. 25 that they would be willing to stab each other in the back. And what did DiBiase have to gain by pinning Orton in the tag match that pitted DiBiase and Rhodes against Orton and John Cena"?

I would like to answer these questions as the story made semi-sense to me.
I think the name of the upcoming PPV is the answer to both questions. They each want to prove themselves to each other and prove themselves to Orton for treating them like lackeys. I think that is the idea.
Shame Bourne is never given wins. He's quite entertaining.
Santino is the funniest TV character at the moment, in all genres.

Why would team captain HHH want John Cena involved in the Raw versus Smackdown match? Wouldn't he be pretty much spent after the Iron Man match and not ready to contribute?

fire Harbaugh .

So many things I did not like about Raw this week.The "Instant" (well put) title shot for Melina goes way past the worst of TNA booking examples.Could have sworn jericho got in the ring to stop the count,I guess theres some kind of rule now about how far you have to get into the ring.?.Horrible comedy segments with HHH,and I cant imagine anything worse than a comedy segment with HHH AND Hornswoggle.HHH talking about "Gimmick Infringement",ya,everybody knows the WWE doesn't use back-room talk like the poorly run TNA does.All the stuff with Orton/Legacy and Smilin' Cena just made no sense at all.I wish I had those two hours back.

"And what did DiBiase have to gain by pinning Orton in the tag match that pitted DiBiase and Rhodes against Orton and John Cena?"

A chance at pinning the WWE champion? It used to be that back in the day, pinning the champ in any format maybe got you a shot at the title. It at least is a chance for DiBiase to claim he has pinned the WWE champ!

It is something he can claim to Orton in the future to gain leverage in Legacy. It made complete sense.

Awesome! Wish I could have been there, I can't wait for December 6th to see them here in Dallas. Anyways on to RAW. I absolutely love the tension that has been slowly building in Legacy over the past 3-4 months. Like you I do find it puzziling what Ted would have to gain from pinning Randy, then again it could make Cody's words ring true, he said something to the extent of "Ted you are looking to redeem yourself, and what better way to do this than pinning the WWE Champion Randy Orton." It is a sad state of affairs for Evan Bourne right now, I get that he is nothing more than glorified enhancement talent, but why is he stuck with that position. If pulled off correctly he could have an excellent feud with Chavo Guerrero (It's not like he's doing anything important right now). I did find the DX segments suprisingly funny this time around, and it was nice to see them planting the seeds for an eventual HHH/HBK program in the back of our minds. Once again they keep trying to shove this whole brand loyalty down our throat. There has been to many storylines this year that contradict this notion. All in all it was a decent RAW, with decent guest hosts. Looking forward to next week to see what Snoop Dog has in store.

Who idea was it to book Bourne as a jobber!

Fire him!

Now!

Couple of points:

*I'm glad that we're finally seeing some sort of progress with the break-up of Legacy. It seems the only way to break off into new directions once the the Cena/Orton feud finally comes to an end. I'm intruiged as to where it will end up, as I think there are a lot of places that the WWE creative team could take this.

*What ever happened to Gail Kim's title shot? Didn't she win some sort of fatal four-way a month or two back to earn herself the role of number one contender, yet I don't ever remember seeing her actually get a shot, unless I have completely missed it. I remember you saying at the time, Kevin, that you were looking forward to a Mickie James/Gail Kim fight, but perhaps not a Kim heel turn.

*Agreed about the line of the night. Santino had me in stiches.

*Also agree that the two girls did a good job of guest host. They got involved enough to make an impression, but didn't do too much to get in the way.

*The Swagger/MVP match looked rushed, as if they were, perhaps, behind schedule.

*Overall, quite a good episode of Raw, in my opinion.

Kev , my ex-wife was a huge KISS fan . She saw them many , many , years ago perform @ the "Paddock" nite club in O.C. long before they made it big .
...... Frankly , just another example of us being like oil and water .

I like Snoop Dogg, although I'm not really sure how a gangster rapper, porn producer, pot enthusiast fits into "kid friendly PG" WWE.

"Who idea was it to book Bourne as a jobber!"

_________________________________

My guess is HHH. It might have been Trips' idea to bring Bourne to Raw, in the first place, as we all know how well that works out for midcarders. Keep your friends close, and your enemies (i..e rising young talent) closer.

Jack Swagger’s victory over MVP was surprisingly clean and quick. That’s great for Swagger. For MVP, not so much.

Man, I KNOW. I was sure that Jack Swagger's winning streak would continue and that whoever he wound up facing would be doing a job.

And when I heard the ticking clock, I blurted out "DAMN IT!" Which is not at all typical for me, because in addition to being a decent wrestler the guy has got one of the most awesome entrances in the WWE today. The music, the pyro, the pose that he does while silhouetted against the pyro, it all comes together beautifully. Normally I love to see MVP's entrance almost as much as the actual match that follows.

But this time I was frustrated because I knew that it meant he would be doing another job, which sucks. For God's sake, when was the last time MVP won a singles match? Was it the last time he faced Swagger, at SummerSlam?

The whole concept of having a team of Raw stars facing a team of Smackdown stars at Bragging Rights is flawed. The rosters are shuffled so frequently that the notion that wrestlers have some sort of brand loyalty is absurd. I think it would be more believable if the competitors in the match had a tangible incentive, such as the winning team getting a big monetary bonus.

Like Cody Rhodes, I am a comic book nerd. Marvel Comics used to give out these things called "No Prizes" to fans. I never got one of them so I can't tell you what they looked like, but you got a No Prize if you were able to point out a hole in the plot of a story or some other type of mistake...FOLLOWED by an explanation of why it wasn't a mistake after all. Like if somebody was drawn with the wrong colour eyes, you might write in and say "Hey, I noticed that (character)'s eyes were blue on page 17 when they've always been brown before. But obviously this isn't a mistake, because you guys are too good to ever make a mistake! So here's why they were brown: she must have been wearing coloured contacts! Yes, that's it!" Something like that. If they liked your explanation, they'd send you a No Prize.

I think that you're right when you say that it doesn't make sense for the wrestlers to have much loyalty to any brand. But I am going to do something similar to the No-Prize thing, and present an explanation for why these guys would care as much as they do.

Here's what I've come up with: HHH is part of the Raw roster, and has been since the draft. If lots of people are watching Raw (as the WWE likes to remind us all the time with those "Did you know...?" graphics), HHH might feel that his presence on Raw has had something to do with that, that it's because of his matches that so many people tune in to Raw. So might HBK, Cody Rhodes, Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger, and everybody else.

The guys on the Smackdown roster might likewise feel that they are putting on the better show, the better matches, that they are more exciting to watch than the Raw guys, and that any success the show enjoys is directly attributable to them.

If you factor in that these are supposed to be two separate "brands" that are competing against one another, then it makes a little more sense. The better the ratings are for a particular show, the better things are for the talent on that show, and the more likely it might be that they'd consider themselves better entertainers than their "competition". By the same token, if more people are tuning in to Smackdown than to Raw each week (and if they aren't, then they really ought to be), the guys currently on Raw might feel that they have something to prove, or that they have to step up their games. (That last part might actually be how they really feel.) And they might resent the Smackdown guys.

So it's not so much loyalty to one brand or the other as it is personal ego. And maybe it's not just about ratings. It might be these questions as well: "Who's a bigger star, Randy Orton or the Undertaker? Which is the greater accomplishment, beating CM Punk for his title or beating John Cena for his? Finally, who is simply tougher and stronger than everybody else?"

It's not a perfect explanation, and it doesn't change the fact that there's one very reliable and easy way to check which show is better: look at the ratings and trust that the fans know their stuff.

But it's the best explanation I can come up with. *shrug* And even if it doesn't really make sense, I think it'll make for a good match.

Thank God for the DVR invention! Ever since they started these guests hosts, I pretty much keep the DVR speeding through Raw, except for a Mickie James match.

I'm a big HBK mark, but the DX schtick has got to go. A 40something year old, and a near 40 year old, still pulling off sophomoric hijinks is pretty pathetic. At least Kevin Nash just sticks to stuff like "stay wet my friends". I know the DX act usually rises from the ashes annually to generate new merchandise sales, but enough is enough.

Did Mickie James fail a drug test, or upset someone?? That was a pretty abrupt dropping of the belt, two weeks before a PPV.

What have they done to Evan Bourne?! A glorified jobber now. Paying your dues is one thing, but this is ridiculous. They need to bring back the light heavyweight division again, me thinks.

I pray to God that when Edge comes back, he doesn't get punished and sent back to Raw.

Eck, you put the bar in front of me with the post of the week contest. I'm going to jump over it.

To be fair I'm a huge Springsteen and U2 guy myself. Combined Bruce and Bono are over 100 years old.

Both Raw and ECW this week were pretty PG-13. I was shocked and saddened that Melina switched to Raw. Hopefully she'll go back to SmackDown so I don't have to worry about catching Raw every week just to see her.

Raw was ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

I thought it was a decent Raw. Don't really care to see all the heels having matches against each other though. A little overdone in my opinion. Could Mickie be "Future Endeavored" soon?? Was it just me or did that opening segment seem to drag on? It seemed almost as long as a Rob Brown post on here...............

This Raw was the first time I actually rang somebody during it to keep myself amused. Very sad. The only thing worth noting is that Jillian is a fantastic wrestler, and I was stunned.

I was irritated that Miz only got a promo, too. I love that man more than I should.

What is wrong with WWE? Did Mickie James say something bad about Triple H or something? She is getting some VERY bad treatment in WWE right now.. and that's saying something for one of the women there since none of them outside McCool and maybe Melina seem to garner any good treatment from WWE.

So basically they're punishing her for being overweight, even though she looks spectacular, and sloppy work as of late? Dang, 4 years there and still no respect for the her or women's division I can't blame her if she's frusterated and just going through the motions. Plus it's made public WWE thinks she's overweight, I feel kind of bad for her, that's got to be a little embarrasing. Now her AND Beth will get run over by McCool on Smackdown :(. Go Mickie!

Mickie losing to Jillian was a quick way for them to get the title off of her, I guess. Maybe by being on Smackdown and having a new environment, Mickie will be happy.

Although she probably just needs some time away. To my knowledge, she hasn't taken an extended break like most other stars have.

Glad you had fun at the KISS concert. Now on to my wrestling comments.

1) I'm really nervous right now as we've got tickets for when they're at the First Mariner on 11/30th -- and while I'm going mainly to see DX, my granddaughter/daughter are huge Cena fans, and if he loses to Orton at Bragging Rights, then he goes to Smackdown and won't be at that arena -- they're going to be really disappointed. Although the ads for the 11/30th show headline a 6 man tag match between DX/Cena vs Orton/Legacy. But I'm sure matches and wrestlers are subject to change.
2) While I admit I'm a huge DX, Triple H fan --- I'm starting to get annoyed. I feel like Monday Night is now the Triple H show and not Monday Night RAW. Too much advertising/pushing their merchandise. 3) Melina coming back to RAW - wonder if she and Morrison broke up in real life - from what I've heard, they were back together as a couple, so she was thilled going to Smackdown. Maybe that's changed and it's better for them to be on different brands -- speaking of that, I thought Jericho was on Smackdown??? But he's on RAW weekly... 4) the guest hosts were better than I expected. I watched Access Hollywood last night and they showed clips from Maria in the diva match, and they said she actually trained for 2 weeks prior to that at one of the wrestling schools/facilities. They showed her working out with one of the instructors (who by the way wasn't Triple H - LOL)..... My final thought/comment is wonder who'll host in Baltimore on 11/30th? Gee Kevin, do you think one of the Ravens will????

Have a great day. Keep up the great posts you do.

RESPONSE FROM KE: I read somewhere that Verne Troyer -- Mini-Me from the Austin Powers movies -- is hosting Raw in Baltimore. I am hoping that it was just a joke.

I'm sure those two KISS concerts were more interesting than Raw and ECW anyway.

Who else performed with Gene and Paul? I saw them a couple years back with Peter Criss and Tommy Thayer, a slap in the face as Ace Frehley is hands down the best member of the original band.

RESPONSE FROM KE: Thayer and Eric Singer.

A no-prize was actually just an empty envelope. When you got it in the mail, it had the Hulk on it saying "here's your no-prize!" And inside, nada. Because it was no prize, get it?

Raw was ok but not that special. I didnt like seeing Cena and Legacy wrestling twice on the show when other matches could have been longer or have Triple H wrestle. As far as Bragging Rights go Team Raw is stacked especially when 5 of the top guys on Smackdown are not on Team SD.

I'm glad that Jillian finally got a title in the WWE, even though it was for a minute or two. She's had to put up with dumb gimmick after dumb gimmick in the WWE and it finally paid off. She's gone from MNM's fashion consultant to JBL's manager (when she had the mole eaten off her face by the Boogeyman) to being the worst singer in WWE history. I for one can't wait for Miz-Morrison, because that match is half a year in the making. Let's hope they mention their "feud" that they've had on the Dirt Sheet this year.

Raw was painful. I didnt mind Maria but I had to turn during the last hour. I could bare to watch anymore.

Give Cody a break! He has more than enough potential.

Kev, I really enjoy this blog but shouldnt our number characters be limited?

A no-prize was actually just an empty envelope. When you got it in the mail, it had the Hulk on it saying "here's your no-prize!" And inside, nada. Because it was no prize, get it?

Ah, so a No Prize looked like an envelope with a picture of the Hulk on it! :p

I always had a feeling that it was something not exactly worthy of a trophy case, but I knew that it had to be mailable because the editors would always tell people that they were sending the things out. Anyway, thanks for describing it and giving me one less thing to wonder about when I'm lying awake at night letting my thoughts wander all over the place.

Interesting show overall. I guess the best way to look at the Dibiase & Rhodes situation was that it was stressed how important it was to represent their brand and help win the bragging rights. At the same time, the winner is siding with DX who just sent him out on a stretcher at Hell in a Cell.

I thought Maria Menounous did a great job in the ring...however the transition of the divas title was one of the worst moves ever. If Mickie was leaving Raw why couldn't she just get pinned by Melina? It's not like faces don't fight for titles (Morrison vs. Mysterio). Maybe Jillian slept with a higher up to get her 15 seconds of fame?

I disagree with you about the HBK cell phone thing...It was hard to distinguish what was being said many times and the timing was off. Bad move, and hopefully DX is ending after Bragging Rights.

Wonder if they'll be lifting the whole PG rating thing for Snoop Dogg when he guest hosts next week, I'm sure he'll arrive to the ring puffing on some Chronic while a choice cut from the album "Doggystyle" blares over the sound system in the arena...

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