The RAW Ross Report – 4th July 2005

Ok, so the format is that I get home on a Tuesday afternoon, RAW having been taped the previous night at 2am through to 4am, and I watch the show fresh with no preconceptions as to what will happen… my good gawd, could this potentially get me to start enjoying wrestling as a mark again, or at least a smart mark? We can but see… meanwhile, let’s get on with it and lay down the rules for the grading system.

A = Tom Hanks
B = Tom Cruise
C = Tom Waits
D = Tom Mallaburn (some scrawny little git I went to school with)
E = Tom Zenk

Bear in mind that you’ve got to be lenient with live segmented TV, you can’t expect the same performance as you’ll get on Pay Per View. This will manifest itself in it being easier to score a higher grade but, concurrently, a lot of the wrestlers don’t get as much of a chance to shine – nor make much of an effort to shine – when it’s not PPV.

Carlito’s Cabana hosts Hulk Hogan

Not a great deal happens here, as this is clearly the big plug for Hogan’s upcoming reality show on VH1 which does, admittedly, look pretty amusing wherein Hogan takes parenting to another level in demanding to know whether his daughters potential suitor has AIDS and looking like he might want to strangle the dude with his large intestine all at the same time. Long story short, Carlito suggest he might like to slip Hogan’s daughter a quick sausage, despite the horrendous amount of disease the ugly lass might have, Hogan gets upset for some odd reason and punches Carlito. Cue Angle to come out and yak it up, further Hogan punching leads to Carlito and Kurt smacking the Oldster around and Shawn Michaels legs it out to the rescue of Captain Geritol. The segment makes it clear that we’re going to have a tag match later on and that’s not cool.

The Verdict: Well, it achieved its two main goals – Hogan’s TV show got a plug and the main event for the night got set up. It didn’t run too long and kept my attention despite only featuring one performer I give a toss about (Angle) so you can’t say much fairer than that.

Match One: Kane and The Big Show vs Edge and Snitsky

I sincerely hope those folks backstage are realising how futile trying to get Edge over is – the man has mid-card written on places where Jericho has 100% main eventer – and those places are few and far between. Anyways, stuff happens, Edge gets smacked around, Kane chokeslams Snitsky and pins him whilst Edge and Lita attempt to emote but just look like a horse and the horse it rode in on.

The Verdict: The Big Show actually looks like he’s putting on even more weight. His usefulness in the ring seems absolutely dictated by which show he’s on – on Smackdown, he was in his element, the big man dishing out the beatings. On RAW, his workrate seems to totally slow down and he’s back to being a slug. Hey, maybe he can job to Jeff Hardy again? Kane looked adequate here and Snitsky and Edge performed by the numbers, making this very much a nothing match. Where to now? Not sure. It did occur to me that Snitsky in TNA would look totally at home kicking the shit out of Raven, which is bad news for the top guy in the number two promotion but great news for the WWE. Perhaps Edge might like to cash in his money in the bank thingy at the Great American Bash – only a month or two too late – and continue on his path of not being over?

Backstage, Michaels mugs it up like a proper twat and makes me want to switch channels, even though I’m watching a video recording.

Match Two: The Heartthrobs vs Viscera

Romeo and Antonio get off to a good start by flubbing taking off their easy-remove trousers. They then show less enthusiasm for dry humping Lillian than they did for dry humping the dude ring announcer at the last RAW PPV they were on (was it Backlash? I can’t remember…) The match is feeble, the crowd aren’t into it and the ‘Throbs get disqualified for the tame “ramming the other guy’s nuts into the corner post” spot that has NEVER IN THE HISTORY OF WRESTLING RESULTED IN A DQ UNTIL NOW.

The Verdict: Lillian was gold here, struggling to announce Viscera’s ring entrance. The Heartthrobs and Vis did their thing but unless this was all build up for the return of the Godfather, it’s going to fall flat as the crowd have gone dead on the big joke of Vis being a ladies man – it was funny for a few weeks but it’s not amusing no more, kids.

Backstage, Maria introduces Chavo Guerrero to RAW. Chavo promptly kills all of his non-existent heat, pronounces himself to be a proud American by the name of Kerwin White and looks a lot like Gunther from Friends in the process. God bless America!

Stupid unamusing skit with Hurricane, Rosey and Stacey trying to get Americans to dye their hair, act like sluts and chow down on whatever they can get their fat faces stuck into. At least that was what I read from the whole thing.

The Highlight Reel is next featuring John Cena. Long story short, Jericho acts like a whiny bitch, claims to have performed in front of 50,000 fans (that look suspiciously like a confused bunch of pikeys waiting for a kebab or something) and Cena tries to be the Rock without much success. The height of his edginess is to call Jericho “cheap”. Ouch, that’s got to hurt. Perhaps he can hide Jericho’s trousers and tread on his foot in a game of Conga next? They start trying to claw each other’s eyes out and I go to the fridge to liberate another beverage.

The Bikini Bootcamp is next and is a complete waste of time, except for the second girl totally falling out of her bra but being shite enough to have put star stick-on’s over her nips. For shame! Bollocks to the lot of them, just have them strip naked and the person with the most vertically neat pubes wins.

Match Three: Val Venis vs Renee Dupree

Ah, the quest to get “The French Phenom” over continues. The match is of course utter wank and finishes when Dupree has to cheat with his feet on the ropes to pin the lowest ranking babyface on RAW. Not a promising start.

The Verdict: Dupree’s gimmick is adequate and his appearance is notable (and notably stupid) enough to work but the boy is painfully mediocre in the ring. When you can even get a clean win on Val Venis with your finisher, you’re lower than Chris Masters. And that’s low. The only positive I can take from this would be the idea of Rob Conway coming out and renouncing France and all its hellish methods of torture (such as mime, the Tour De France and Camembert) and proclaiming himself the Ironman again, then handing Renee his ass on a garlic platter. But if that was going to happen, surely the 4th July was the time and place to do it? Heck, it could have worked and got someone up to mid-level face ranking after a year of almost single-handedly running the tag team division. Shucks.

Match Four: Kurt Angle and Carlito vs Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan

The match is, as you would expect, pretty good when Kurt and Shawn are in there and pretty ropey when they are not. Eventually, Hogan gingerly catches Carlito in the face with the big boot, tenderly ducks whilst Angle falls over the top rope, then does his very best impression of Triple H at WM19 but learning Swahili before dropping the legdrop and pinning Carlito. Post match, Michaels makes an ass of himself by posing Hogan style and revealing a physique that Bob Geldof probably feels is worth of an international charity concert, then redeems himself spectacularly by booting Hogan in the mouth. Granted, a bit late, and Michaels is the mother of all turd burglars, but anyone who kicks Hogan in the face gets my vote. The crowd bizarrely seem to start chanting “You Screwed Bret” before settling on “You Suck” and Michaels take the Triple H exit of the ring in a finale that was so long I thought the American feed might cut to commercial and return to find Michaels about three feet away from where he had been.

The Verdict: Decent TV match with moderate performances by Angle and Michaels, but hard to get enthused when each encounter between the two gets poorer. Hogan will hopefully now only return for a boring match at SummerSlam (which will sadly get much higher billing than it deserves) with Shawn and waste a spot where a Christian or suchlike could do something of note. Carlito looked well out of his depth here.

The Overall Verdict: A moderate show with nothing that stood out as diabolically bad, but the Diva search was tedious, the Hogan bias must have been nice for Hogan fans but, for me, was equable to having leeches placed under the foreskin, the Michaels heel turn was telegraphed but enjoyable because you actually could understand why he was doing it as he was doing it, which is a rare thing. Dupree made only a whimper in his “redebut” on the show, Jericho and Cena have got a decent thing going on that will hopefully amount to a decent match between now and SummerSlam but the rest was mainly filler and not all that thrilling.

Overall Grade: C

Individual Grades:
C – Carlito
C – Hulk Hogan
B – Kurt Angle
B – Shawn Michaels
C – Kane
C – The Big Show
C – Edge
C – Snitsky
B – Lillian Garcia
D – Viscera
C – The Heartthrobs
C – John Cena
C – Chris Jericho
C – Kerwin White
C – Val Venis
D – Renee Dupree
B – The Diva who fell out of her top
D – The rest of them