The John Report: The Raw Deal for 06/22/09 (Plus Bash & Trade thoughts)
Welcome to the Raw Deal for the last Raw of June. There are a lot of things to get to this week first with some thoughts on The Bash from Sunday, then of course this week’s Raw and after that I’ll talk about the 15 person trade that was posted on WWE.com after the show was over. The mailbag will be back next week most likely because there’s so much to get to this week.
The Deal on…The Bash
I watched it on Sunday night and I liked it for the most part. It had a good atmosphere right from the get go and the booking was similar to what I had predicted on Friday. A predictable show isn’t bad. Judgment Day was unpredictable and that was bad. It’s all about telling the stories the right way. That’s what really matters. I’ll just give out some quick thoughts with star ratings.
Dreamer retains ECW Title – This was fine for an opener. I like scramble matches once in a while. I think it would be good to do one of those when they need a number one contender instead of a tournament or battle royal just for something different. I’m fine with Dreamer retaining because the belt doesn’t matter much anyway. (**1/4)
Mysterio over Jericho for IC Title – Loved it. Absolutely loved it. Even though you knew Mysterio was winning that match, they kept you interested the entire time and I loved the final spot with Mysterio having a second mask on. The counters were sick. Jericho’s codebreaker was great, turning the rana into a powerbomb was awesome and then Mysterio countering with the second mask was even better. I loved the double springboard splash too. That’s how you book a feud and a final match (I assume) with the babyface winning. To me this is the feud of the year so far although I would have liked if they had four or five months to tell the story instead of rushing it in only two or three months. Second best match of the year (Edge/Cena at Backlash would be third) behind Michaels/Taker at Mania, which probably won’t be topped. Find this match and watch it, people. Pro wrestling at its best. (****1/4)
Ziggler over Khali – Didn’t even watch this one. I stepped out for ten minutes and felt better for it. Anything that leads to Kane vs. Khali is not good.
Edge & Jericho over Colons and Legacy for the tag belts – I love Edge and Jericho together. That booking was fun. The tag belts suck anyway, might as well put them on the best and get them on all the shows if they’re able to defend on all three brands (or at least two) like I believe they will. Team Ego rules. (**)
McCool over Melina – I enjoyed it enough. They told a pretty good story, McCool’s developed into a very good heel women’s wrestler and she deserves the belt. (*1/2)
Jeff Hardy over CM Punk but Punk retains World Title – The booking of this match was fantastic. The “I didn’t know it was the ref” excuse rules. This is how you turn people heel. Take your time. Don’t rush it. The fans are going to boo everything Punk says from now on and he doesn’t have to change his behavior that much. Hardy is great as the unlucky babyface while Punk can really do a good job of acting smug. I like this feud a lot. (***)
John Cena over Miz – It went like I thought. They went about 7 minutes, Miz got some offense in, but then he lost convincingly. I’m sure some didn’t like it because they think Miz should have done more against Cena. I didn’t expect that to happen. Right or wrong (probably wrong), that’s how WWE books their younger wrestlers against the more established guys. (*)
Randy Orton over HHH – It’s a shame that the regular fall and falls count anywhere fall were so short because I hate stretcher matches. The drama for pushing a guy over a yellow line is terrible. Legacy coming out to help Orton was predictable, then they kept it going even after that with a sledgehammer under a trap door. Then he loses because of the piece of metal covering the trap door. Whatever. Why should I feel bad for the guy that’s main evented for TEN YEARS, that has held world titles more than anybody in company history, that gets title matches constantly and is married to the boss’ daughter? The match was fine, but Last Man Standing on Monday was better. (**1/2)
I liked the PPV. I’d give it 7 out of 10 mainly for Jericho/Mysterio, but also because most of the matches were pretty entertaining from a storyline point of view.
From San Jose, California here’s the Raw Deal…
I should point out that I have read the spoilers for next week’s Raw already and I feel bad for doing it because it will tarnish some of the thoughts I have on this show. I will not give any spoilers away in this recap, but it will prevent me from expanding some of my thoughts because if I did that it would be giving things away. If you read the spoilers and want to email me about what’s happening next week go ahead because like I said I’ve read them too.
Crazy Old Guy Vince…
It didn’t take long for him to say something that made no sense. Apparently Trump made some 15 person trade (I’ll talk about that after Raw) and that his idea for a special guest GM every week apparently exists even though Vince bought back Raw from him. How does it still exist? Or more importantly why does it exist? Let me lay this out for you so you understand. If I buy something from somebody it’s mine. I can do what I want. If I buy a red car I can paint it black. If I buy a house I can put wood floor instead of carpet. If I buy Raw I have to do what the guy that owned the show for one week wanted to do. Um, okay? Maybe it’s a condition of the sale, which would again make Vince McMahon the worst businessman ever for not only paying double, but also doing what Trump wanted. I guess we’ll throw our brain out the window again and just move on.
…Introduces Batista as GM for the night
Good to see Dave back I guess, but he hasn’t been gone that long. I don’t know about you, but if I was a wrestler and somebody broke my arm and I had a chance to get revenge on that person a few weeks later I would book him in a 35 on 1 handicap match for his title to take away the possession that he cherishes the most. That’s just me. Dave’s different. He decides to have a four person tourney for the right to face Orton at the PPV while also putting Orton in a three man gauntlet match against three new Raw superstars. Orton talked too, saying it was unfair and things of that nature. I had no idea who the three people would be, so I guess it was good in terms of being unpredictable. It also probably led to people going to wwe.com to see the list after the show (I know I did), so in that sense it’s good that they kept the names quiet.
Triple H d. MVP in the most obvious word title tourney ever (*1/2)
This was fine for a TV match. I liked how MVP worked over the left leg quite a bit. One thing about HHH that I really like is that he sells injuries for weeks unlike some people. It reminds me of Bret Hart that way, who was the best at selling injuries for more than one show. I don’t think anybody thought that MVP was winning here, which obviously is a shame. That’s what happens when you barely use a guy that should be featured every single week in a prominent role.
Chris Jericho & Edge (Team Ego) d. Carlito & Primo to retain the tag titles (**)
I’m calling them Team Ego because that name needs to take off. Jim Ross used it on Smackdown on Friday and I hope it continues. I loved their pre-match promo too. I like everything about Jericho and Edge these days. They’re the two best performers in the company. I hope they keep the belts for a couple months because whoever does beat them is going to gain some credibility because of who they are. The finish was great with Jericho shoving Primo into the ropes, which stopped Carlito’s springboard and led to Edge’s spear for the win. Good booking there. Post match, Carlito blamed Primo. Gee, I wonder where this is headed.
Backstage, Batista warned the Legacy boys that if Cody and Ted interfered they’d be fired. That’s nice.
John Cena d. The Miz in the most obvious word title tourney ever (**1/2)
I liked it. I’m sure some will complain about Cena beating him clean two nights in a row, but honestly what did you expect? Cena’s the top guy and they’re not going to put anybody over him, especially clean. Even somebody of Edge’s calibre beat him at Backlash only because Show chokeslammed him into the spotlight literally. I don’t think Cena has a problem with putting people over. It’s just that Vince McMahon views him as his top money earner (he is, by far) and sees no reason to change that. I personally like Cena as a performer. Miz impressed me with his offense because he kept going at Cena. I liked all the punches he threw. I like how rabid he was. It makes perfect sense. I think he desperately needs a finishing move better than his high knee into a neckbreaker combo in order for people to react to his nearfalls. I was hoping Miz would move from this into a feud with Kofi Kingston over the US Title although after what we saw later in the show it doesn’t look like that will happen.
We find out from Ted that next week’s GM is his dad the Million Dollar Man, Ted Dibiase. Nice. Love that guy. Orton wants to know how it helps him this week. No answer. I don’t mind promoting the GM a week early.
Mickie James d. Beth Phoenix, Rosa and Kelly Kelly in a fatal fourway (*1/4)
I liked it just fine. They gave them more time than normal it seemed, but they also missed on a few spots along the way too. It was pretty obvious that Mickie was winning, which is fine because she deserves it. I love Maryse on commentary too. It adds more to her bitchy character. I’ve got no problems with Mickie vs. Maryse as the title feud, they deserve it.
Kofi Kingston wrestled Big Show to a no contest (*)
It seemed very rushed since they only got about three minutes. I’m not sure about this pairing. I’m sure there’ll be more of this in the future with the way it was booked with the double countout. I’d prefer to keep the US Title on Kingston, though, so it’ll be interesting to see how they put him over Show if they eventually do that.
Randy Orton d. Evan Bourne, Jack Swagger and loses to Mark Henry (*)
This was an interesting medley. I liked seeing Bourne against Orton although it was rather predictable. What was up with the announcers calling Orton’s top rope RKO on Bourne a “running bulldog?” They even said it more than once. Weird. I really liked seeing Swagger volunteer to not wrestle Orton. He’d be a perfect fit in the Legacy group although I guess it’s only for people that are second generation wrestlers. The group needs a power guy, which is a role that’s suited well for him. Not sure if that’s where they’re going, but I’d like it. I’m definitely a fan of Swagger.
For the third guy I didn’t know who it was going to be. There really weren’t babyface wrestlers that could benefit from pinning Orton in a vulnerable state. I thought maybe Christian, but I also know Vince never thinks that highly of him. When it was Mark Henry I thought…huh? The crowd responded to him more than I thought in part because they hate Orton so much. It’s a credit to Orton as a heel for a guy like Mark Henry, a WWE employee for over 12 years now, to be cheered. I don’t think Henry pinning Orton is a good sign for the future. I’d rather see a guy like MVP in that spot, or Christian like I said. As we all know, Vince loves the big guys and always will.
By the way, the theme song of Mark Henry when he was Sexual Chocolate is one of my favorites ever for its cheesiness. It’s sexual, baby. Those lyrics were godly.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Randy Orton – I thought he did a great job in putting over somebody like Henry while also doing well in selling his injuries.
2. The Miz – He impressed me in what really was one of the biggest singles matches of his career to date.
3. Chris Jericho & Edge – I just love seeing them together as a team even though it won’t last long. They’re both at their absolute peak of performers, so it’s great to see.
I liked the show. My complaint in the past was that there was not enough in-ring action on recent editions of Raw. This show made up for that. There were less of the meaningless backstage segments that usually were only good for killing time and more done to get characters over because they allowed them to tell stories in the ring. I like that. I hope it continues as a trend for future editions of Raw. Nothing was that memorable, but nothing was that bad either. Let’s call it a slightly above average show this week with the potential to be much better going forward.
Rating: 6 (out of 10)
Last week: 3
Thoughts on the 15 Person Trade
To Raw: Gail Kim, Alicia Fox, Jack Swagger, Evan Bourne and Mark Henry
The trade is good for Raw because Swagger and Bourne are much needed additions as fresh young faces to a show full of stale individuals. Swagger’s my boy and I like Bourne a lot for his athleticism. Not so crazy about Henry being pushed as a babyface threat to the title, but Vince is always going to like his big guys. He’s better than Kozlov or Khali at least. Man, I’m too positive lately. Not sure why they took two Divas off Smackdown when they have less of them on that show. Kim hasn’t been used properly since coming back to WWE.
To Smackdown: Matt Hardy, Finlay, David Hart Smith, Tyson Kidd and Natalya
I like Hardy as a heel, but moving him from to show to show so often probably isn’t a good thing for him. I guess his latest injury means he won’t be there immediately. Finlay’s basically the coach for the younger wrestlers, so they probably felt the need for him to help the younger wrestlers there. The Hart clan to Smackdown is terrific. They’re ready to be on one of the bigger shows, so I’m glad to see the move was made. I hope Natalya gets pushed towards the title eventually because she’s such a good wrestler that hasn’t had a chance to show it yet in WWE.
To ECW: Shelton Benjamin, Goldust, William Regal, Nikki & Brie Bella
We’re supposed to believe that Tiffany traded away five promising younger superstars so that she can acquire two 40 year olds, the twins that barely know how to wrestle and a guy in Shelton Benjamin who has been moved around so much he never seems to have an identity or home? Go writing team.
ECW’s logic on this trade boggles the mind. Here’s a copy of the email that GM Tiffany received:
Those trades you made were amazing.
The Detroit Lions, Los Angeles Clippers and Washington Nationals”
Oh well, at least I’ll enjoy Benjamin vs. Christian. Speaking of Christian, I wish he went to Smackdown to feud with Edge or align with him. He’s done enough on ECW. Hopefully there’s another random trade to get him there sooner rather than later.
I like the fact that they did trades. I wish they did it in other years. It is pretty random, though. I think they should have said something like “next week we will announce who is switching brands via a trade” and it will lead people to tune in the next week to see just who they are. They kind of threw it out there in the middle of a Vince promo, then barely mentioned it the rest of the night and didn’t even tell fans to check out WWE.com for the full trade results.
That’s it for this week. I don’t think I’ll have anything up on the weekend although if I do it will be the Survivor Series ’97 flashback. At this point I don’t see myself having time to write it out, but that could always change.
I appreciate any feedback you guys can give so please send me your thoughts at email@example.com about anything related to WWE past or present. Please, keep sending them in. If you add me on facebook (just head to Facebook.com/thejohnreport) you’ll see the links to my columns as well because I post them there just as soon as I post them on this website. It’s an account that I use only for my wrestling columns rather than a personal one.
Lastly, I want to wish a Happy Canada Day tomorrow to my fellow Mother Canuckers (that should be the name of Edge & Jericho) and also to the Americans out there for Independence Day on the 4th. Enjoy it.
Smell ya later,
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
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