The SmarK RAW Rant – July 11 2005

The SmarK RAW Rant – July 11 2005

– Live from New Jersey

– Your hosts are JR, Coach and King.

– We open with Carlito’s Cabana, and his guest is going to be that no good, filthy traitor Shawn Michaels. However, Chris Jericho answers the call instead and demands to do the interview, so Carlito offers him an apple and blows him off. Yes, the talk show wars are on. Love handles are NOT cool, says Carlito. Chris retorts with “Sideshow Bob”, thus showing that he’s pulling out the big guns. Finally, instead of Shawn, we get Roddy Piper, as I guess only someone truly insane could ask the tough questions of Shawn tonight.

– Chris Masters v. Tajiri. Tajiri tries kicks to counter the power moves, controlling much of the match as a result. The Tarantula is countered with the Masterlock, however, and it’s over. (Masters d. Tajiri, full nelson –> submission, 3:10, *)

– Meanwhile, Edge & Snitsky laugh about the wedding videos, and they add yet another disgusting layer to Snitsky’s character by revealing his foot fetish, as Edge bribes him with Lita’s toes. Now there’s a plot development we didn’t need.

– Intercontinental title: Carlito v. Shelton Benjamin. JR wonders if Carlito can beat Shelton in a “straight-up, one-on-one wrestling match”, which makes me wonder what the FIRST two victories were. Shelton controls, but falls victim to a particularly devastating ad break. Carlito uses his dizzying array of chinlocks to keep control as this thing drags on and on. Shelton comes back for some near-falls with the usual stuff that never gets a pin, and then kicks out of Carlito’s dreaded handful-of-tights-rollup finisher. Carlito gets fixated on the belt, however, and walks out to retain. It was getting pretty watchable and then fell apart near the “finish”. (Benjamin d. Carlito, COR, 14:25, **)

– And now, the champ is here. That’s the most self-evident catchphrase I’ve heard in a while. Crowd isn’t too much with him, either. Apparently Uncle Eric dislikes him, because he’s a loose cannon who plays by his own rules and has a problem with blah blah blah. The upshot of this is Cena v. Jericho at Summerslam, and Eric eats an FU for his troubles. Cena was just not feeling it at all this week.

– This week’s Diva Search Challenge: Who can make me fast-forward the quickest? They’re all winners this week!

– And now, the Kurt Angle Invitational moves to RAW, as his first victim is Matt Striker, the teacher fired for calling in “sick” to wrestle. It’s funny that someone fired from his last job for being a publicly exposed liar would fit in so well in the WWE.

– Kurt Angle v. Matt Striker. 3:00 time limit, if Striker makes it he wins the gold medals. Total squash, as you’d imagine, until Kurt goes for the anklelock and gets shoved into the post, knocking himself out. Striker goes low with 10 seconds left to really build tension, but Angle snaps off the heel hook for the submission. I gotta admit, they had me almost believing for a second there. (Angle d. Striker, heel hook –> submission, 2:59, *1/2)

– Meanwhile, the standard shot of Edge walking is interrupted by…Matt Hardy? Well, there goes my chance to get him to endorse the new book.

– The Boogeyman is coming. I guess since OVW has dried up, Vince is searching under his bed for new talent now.

– Edge v. Kane. Nothing happening match rushed to the non-finish, as Snitsky draws the DQ. (Kane d. Edge, DQ, 2:00, DUD). The big story is that Matt Hardy hits the ring and attacks afterwards, drawing the biggest babyface reaction and biggest star reaction he’s had in years. He grabs the mic and tells Edge that he’s dead, Lita that she’s a whore, and the WWE in general that they can kiss his ass and he gets as far as plugging Ring of Honor (I think) before the road agents tackle him and drag him out in handcuffs. The camera stayed on him too long for it to be anything but a total angle, but this is exactly the kind of edgy (pardon the pun) storyline that the program has been desperately lacking for years now. ROH is no threat anyway, why not do a thing where he plugs their shows and works for them as a “loose cannon” type character, ala Brian Pillman?

– And the main event interview is Shawn Michaels on Piper’s Pit, as Piper asks him “why?” and then steps aside. Hard hitting journalism there Roddy. Shawn explains that he does everything for the fans, and because they wanted “one more match” out of Hogan, he knew the only way to guarantee it was to sacrifice himself yet again and make it happen. And then, slyly, he slips in the “Showstoppa / Main event / Icon” spiel to let us know his REAL motivation for challenging Hogan. Piper calls him full of crap and a coward, so Shawn superkicks him and acts all pensive again, end of show.

The Good:

– Thank god for the Matt Hardy angle, because it finally gives me something to sink my teeth into as a fan and makes me want to watch and see what happens next. That’s a feeling that’s been lacking for a long time.

– The Shawn Michaels turn, while not interesting in terms of the match it will generate, provides a much more interesting character for HBK than the stale babyface he’s been playing for 3 years now, and if he can mix in enough of the arrogant 97 main event heel with his new introspective “aw shucks” persona, he might have something.

– Good job in striking while the iron is hot with Matt Striker, and if he sticks around and makes a few bucks off it before heading back to teaching again, even better.

– Aside from the Diva search, the show had a good flow to it and kept me watching for the whole thing.

The Bad:

– Big Show is already missing in action after two weeks on the show, and really does anyone care? It just goes to show what a worthless move that was. Ditto for the tag champions, who haven’t wrestled on RAW in what seems like an eternity and would have been better off had they just moved them to Smackdown and dumped the tag titles entirely.

– Three “talk shows” on RAW is massive overkill, especially when two of them involve guys who are active wrestlers and should be doing something more interesting.

– Carlito v. Benjamin is not the kind of feud to carry multiple PPVs, and they need to move Shelton up to something bigger before he becomes lost in the shuffle again for good.
The Inside Pulse:

A fairly entertaining show with a bombshell surprise angle carrying the weight this week, which hopefully means they’re finding their focus again leading into Summerslam. And they’ve even got two matches announced already! Good job this week overall.