Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Even More Raw Wrestling Thoughts

My previous post on Monday Night Raw actually garnered some hits off Google, and I decided to watch again this week since the show was pretty good last time, thus I felt I should throw up another run down of the show. Though this time I was slightly distracted by things like tuna, writing and pretty pictures (basically, the things that get us all), so I wasn't as focused and thus probably missed a lot of things. I also just had a lot harder time getting in this show, which might be partly due to the company (Emily constantly screaming about the fakeness of it all) and partly just by the fact wrestling isn't as engaging as it once was for me.

Vince has an earth shattering announcement: I actually didn't see this, because I was busy trying to make a tuna, mayo and pepper concoction for sandwiches. But the announcers went over it about a hundred more times during the night, just so I was aware that Vince McMahon did grace television viewers with his presence. I was too busy not listening to the announcers going on about why he was there, so I don't actually know. I checked a few real sports websites, and it seems like the WWE is trying to get Aaron Rodgers to appear on the Friday Smackdown show, which is in Green Bay. I am sure you all know by now how much that thrills me and just makes me so giddy to watch that episode (which is be about not at all). Though it also might have been an announcement about some celebrity/sport star appearing at WrestleMania, because they usually like doing that to get mainstream press. No matter what it was about, I am pretty sure I don't care. At one point I might have cared because the plan was for Undertaker to face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, but that isn't happening because Lesnar is contracted to UFC, which refuses too allow their fighters to partake in outside activity that could cause injuries. So yeah, I'll just keep on not caring, despite the fact I've written a mountain sized paragraph about my apparent lack of caring.

CM Punk & Nexus Attack Randy Orton: I started watching part way through the verbal exchange between Punk and Orton. Punk was explaining why he cost Orton the title at the Royal Rumble. WWE actually proved they sometimes have a memory by having Punk air a video from 2 years ago where Orton cost Punk his title at the time. I appreciate them coming up with an actual reason for the feud, but the video footage was during a time Punk was the face and Orton was the heel. It really did make Punk come off as sympathetic, which is sort of not what you want out of your top heel. Though luckily, Punk was at his naturally smarmy self and quickly returned to his despicable roots, plus Orton is basically at top babyface status and would take more work to get the fans to go against him. The exchange eventually led to Orton wanting to fight with Punk, but Punk is a coward in charge of a stable of brutes, thus he just had them come in to give Orton a giant gang beatdown. The best part of this was that Orton didn't appear on the show after this attack (opposed to last week where Edge won a match after being hit with a guitar), which allowed the beat down to come off as a big deal. It further cemented the Nexus as the top bad guy threat in the company, and that actually became the theme of this show. After this, CM Punk told his guys that the plan was to hurt the wrestlers in the Elimination Chamber match, in order to increase Punk's odds of winning and getting the WWE title shot at WrestleMania. All in all, an acceptable start to the show and set the tone for what should be expected storyline wise.

Mason Ryan destroys R Truth but loses by DQ:
This was not a pretty match at all. Ryan is a tall and ripped bodybuilder type, and basically, the perfect look of what WWE wants you to believe a wrestler should be. The problem is he is essentially a rookie and about as green as a lime. The bigger problem this match was designed to showcase Ryan, despite the fact he doesn't have much to showcase yet. This caused a dreadful match to sit through. The even worse part is that R Truth was given almost no offense during this match. I understand that you need to have your monster heel destroying wrestlers in order to get him over, but R Truth is one of the participants in the Raw version of the Elimination Chamber, which is supposed to be one of the main events at the Elimination Chamber PPV show. You'd think the goal is to keep your wrestlers strong who are scheduled in the upcoming main event, so that fans think that any of the six have a chance to win the match, Instead, R Truth came off as a total throwaway guy, and even worse, is that no one would have given him a chance before this. The goal should have been to build him, but instead, he is now in a worse spot. Though it did make Ryan look like a monster, and I can tell the goal is to elevate him (it just should have been against another opponent). Anyway, Ryan kept on beating up Truth after the match, so the ref reversed his decision giving an unconscious Truth the meaningless win.

Gail Kim, Eve Torres & Tamina beat Melina & the Bella Twins: Or at least, I think it was Tamina who was on the face side. I also don't think she even entered into the match. Basically, the story was that Natayala was doing commentary and talking about her upcoming match next week against Eve for the Diva title. So, at least WWE corrected last week's wrong, and had Natayala actually want to win her title back. Kim also kept her issues with the Bella Twins by brawling with them on the outside while Torres pinned Melina for the win. Poor Melina was once one of the top women wrestlers, but now she gets to be the designated job girl. The Bellas also still are about as bad in the ring as they are pretty outside of the ring, for the record. This match was basically just a way to announce the title match for next week, and to make me wish they'd wrap up the stupid Kim vs. Bella storyline (and make me hope Kim finally gets something worthwhile).

John Morrison defeated Michael McGillicutty: I didn't mention this last week, but McGillicutty is the son of the late, great Mr Perfect Curt Hennig. So obviously, the geniuses at WWE wanted to give him a name that has nothing to do with his father, because being associated with a wrestling legend would only help in getting you over. As for the match, it was pretty tight and both guys produced solid work. McGillicutty is still pretty young in his career, but nowhere near as green and rough as Ryan. Morrison is really hot right now with the crowd, and has a lot of high flying moves that keep people in the match. For the most part, it was an entertaining match, and showcased the skills of Morrison (while still making McGillicutty look relatively good). Match ended with Morrision pinning Mr. Perfect's son (I got tired of typing that awful name) with a move called the Starship Pain, which is a springboard off the top rope into a spinning moonsault. After the match, Punk came out to spray something in Morrison's eyes in order to 'injure' yet another wrestler that is supposed to be in the Chamber match. This time it worked though, because Morrison was kept strong in the match but the attack helped push the storyline of Punk wanting everyone weak going into the Chamber.

Jerry 'The King' Lawler gets in a kerfuffle with The Miz: The segment starts with Miz promising he was going to come out to congratulate Lawler on winning the number one contendership for the WWE title last week. Of course, Miz does it in such a backhanded way and insults Jerry instead. This leads to a back and forth verbal exchange, which is far more entertaining than usual because Lawler has amazing wrestling instincts thanks to being a headliner for over 30 years. I realize the prospect of a 60 plus guy getting a world title shot may not normally be very appealing, but Lawler is amazing on the mic and really knows how to get angles across. Right now, the fan are so into him and the heat for Lawler is incredibly. The audience really wants to see Lawler win the title. Besides, the two Elimination Chambers are really the selling point of the next PPV (hence the name), and so WWE isn't really relying on this match to be what draws the buy rates. I think, it is a great storyline for a one moth deal or so, and plus it can be Lawler's last big hurrah (and hopefully, gets him his first match ever at WrestleMania). Anyway, this segment ends with Miz attacking Lawler and Ted Dibiase coming coming out to help Miz. Then, this leads to Daniel Bryan coming to the rescue for Lawler. In the world of wrestling, this of course means that the four must now partake in a impromptu tag team match.

Jerry Lawler & Daniel Bryan defeat Ted Dibiase & Miz: Really fun match since the crowd was really into it, and all the guys are good workers (even the 60 plus Lawler). I was also glad that the Dibiase angle from last week wasn't forgotten, and it made sense he'd want revenge this week. Though that doesn't explain why Maryse was back out this week with him, since she slapped him and allowed him to get punched by Lawler (I don't even think her involvement was acknowledged this week). The match got a lot of time, and each guy had their moments to showcase their moves, which is all you can ask for. In the end, Lawler got the pin by hitting Dibiase with a fist drop off the ropes (a move that got a ridiculously loud pop from the crowd). Lawler remains strong, without getting full revenge on Miz, which is exactly what you want to do in the build up towards their title match.

Sheamus went to no contest with David Otunga:
Sheamus came out insulting Mark Henry for never winning the world title despite being in the company for 15 years. He also threw in some fat jokes. This lead Henry to coming out and brawling with Sheamus. Henry ended up getting the better of Sheamus and laying him out with a powerslam. Otunga then stood over the fallen Sheamus, and raised his fist for the apparent victory he earned for doing nothing. The screen then cut to the back to show the Nexus laughing over what happened, which left you with the impression they manipulated the situation so that Sheamus (another Chamber entrant) got beat up. I understand they didn't want Otunga to actually wrestle Sheamus or be the one to cause the injury since it would put sympathy on Sheamus (who is also a heel). I also realize this angle shows that Nexus are evil manipulators (even though, Henry's attack seemed to be more because Sheamus insulted him out of nowhere before the match). The problem is that Sheamus ended up coming off looking really weak by being destroyed by Henry, who isn't even scheduled for the PPV. Sheamus is a former world champion and a guys they want in the main event, but this whole angle made him look pretty weak and didn't really help anyone in the long term (since WWE never ends up doing anything with Henry anyway).

Alberto Del Rios beats Santino Marella: This match was designed to get Rios on TV and continue to build momentum for his match at WrestleMania. Though Marella isn't really the most credible opponent, but he is super over with the fans. Rios got more heat by beating a fan faovurite and gets more exposure by being on the most watched of the WWE shows. All in all, it was a decent enough segment for what they wanted to accomplish, and it remained entertaining since the fans are so into Marella (and beginning to dislike Rios, which is the purpose).

John Cena, Vicki Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler waste my time: I assume the purpose of this segment was to get Vicki and Ziggler more time on TV and try to elevate Ziggler into the main event scene based off exposure. I realize you are supposed to help elevate a guy by pairing him up with established main eventers. This segment did not help Ziggler at all. Cena just insulted the heels and the whole things didn't really lead to anything. Basically, the heels ended up coming off bad, and the segment was pointless unless this eventually goes somewhere (but considering everyone involved has other feuds, I am assuming it doesn't). Unfortunately, I think this actually hurt Ziggler and it was a pretty annoying and stupid segment on top of that.

CM Punk defeated Cena by DQ:
The main event just added to may annoyance. The actual match was fine and both guys have good chemistry with each other. The problem is that this match ruined all the build the show was trying create. Cena lost after low blowing Punk for no identifiable reason. This then brought out the rest of Nexus to attack and injure Cena (like they had been doing all night). Lawler then gave Cena a chair and he was able to beat off the entire group by himself and stand truimphantly in the ring to end the show. I understand the value in having a happy ending, but this segment ended up protecting the last person who needed it. Cena is an established main eventer and essentially is bullet proof at this point. Nexus is a group that they are trying to get over as the top heel group, but only has one established main eventer, CM Punk (even Punk is no where as established as Cena). Yet Cena is able to take out the whole group by himself with a chair. Nexus failed in injuring every guy in the Chamber match, because they couldn't harm Cena. I really think, this was a case where Nexus needed that rub by being able to follow through on their threat and lay out Cena to end the show. It would have helped making them look like an unstoppable force that they need to be perceived as. The worse part is, Mason destroyed Truth earlier in the show to come off as a monster heel, but was easily knocked down by a single chair shot to end the show. Essentially, the previous work in that match was completely negated by the end of the night because Mason Ryan just looked like the rest of the schmucks in Nexus rather than an unbeatable giant (so the previous match only served to bury Truth rather than elevate Ryan). Nexus failed their task, and Cena proved he was better than all of them. So, what is the reason for tuning in the next week? Oh well, the kids were happy.

Final Thoughts: I think this show hurt the momentum they gained from last week, and definitely ended up being a small pothole on the "Road to WrestleMania." It sacrificed certain wrestlers that are scheduled for a main event, in order to get over a top heel group but then made that group look like pansies by the end of the night. It seemed like a pretty counter productive show. Plus some of these guys on Nexus just aren't ready for single matches, and should be protected in tag team affairs. Some of the wrestling was decent and the Lawler-Miz build is still strong and they seem to be doing a decent job at building up Rios. Hopefully, they can get some of their other wrestlers over and also produce the kind of matches that makes people want to tune in (and get excited about WrestleMania). I now likely won't bother checking out next week (though considering it falls on Valentine's Day, it probably didn't have a good chance of being watched even if this week got me excited). My final verdict is the Super Bowl was a far more entertaining television program, between two shows that had rather disappointing endings (yeah, still not over it).

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