The RAW Ross Report – 12th July 2005

We’ve got 10 minutes before Big Brother starts and, ashamed as I am to confess that I waste time watching the pap that is on offer, I have to hold my hand up and say that I won’t be happy until that spawn of Satan, Makosi, is evicted and, preferably, executed. This paragraph will have made no sense to any American other than my missus.

Less of that, more of this:

A = Straight up, no nonsense chocolate
B = Orange Creme
C = Malteser
D = Toffee
E = Coffee Cream

Carlito starts RAW with the Cabana again and takes altogether too long to get anywhere. Jericho interrupts and falls foul of the same problem – they basically have about 30 seconds of material each and have to stretch it out to 4 minutes apiece. Roddy Piper thankfully interrupts and polishes off the agony by announcing that he’s going to speak to Shawn Michaels later on. Well, that was a great use of 10 minutes, wasn’t it? Jericho looks old and sad these days.

The Verdict: This doesn’t look promising thus far… Let’s hope something entertaining happens fast.

Match One: Chris Masters vs Tajiri

Bollocks – so much for my hopes. Masters takes the win here by thwarting the Tarantula attempt, hitting a face-first semi-powerbomb and then cinching in the Masterlock for the submission.

The Verdict: I really don’t know where to start on this one. Tajiri is a useful kinda geezer, so I see no reason to job him to Masters. Why waste some of the draft movement on people who ended up sacked when Tajiri could be over on Smackdown mixing it up in the future with Super Crazy and Juventud? The most perplexing question of all is why WWE is persisting with Chris Masters. He can’t even eke out the tiniest reaction of an audience, hasn’t a clue how to deport himself as a star and can’t work beyond an incredibly basic level. What do they hope to achieve? By taking six months of jobbing person after person to the man, they’ll either be left with someone who will lose but not help anyone in the process or a chap who will continue winning everything, which is infinitely more worrying. Come on guys, lose the stiff now. Tajiri tried really hard, bless him, let’s give him a medal or a coconut or something fun that he can eat.

Backstage, Edge and Snitsky discuss Gene’s foot fetish. Worrying, but not as worrying as this skit being the best part of the show thus far.

Match Two: Carlito vs Shelton Benjamin

Following a back and forth will they/won’t they suplex over the ropes to the floor segment, Carlito takes a bump off the apron to the floor and then strolls off for the countout loss to retain his increasingly worthless hunk of gold.

The Verdict: No, no, no. It looks like they’re going to go for a Honky Tonk Man sort of thing with Carlito, the irony being that Benjamin has sort of gone up that route for ages without meaning to, because his IC reign was so damn long without any real or credible IC defences. Not exactly the same, I confess, but still not reminiscent of the great days of the IC title when it was held by Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, Randy Savage et al. At least it’s a step up from Billy Gunn. Marginally. Either way, I still don’t get it about either of these guys. Benjamin is pretty good, alright. Sadly, the reaction to his arrival in the arena was befitting of a jobber, not the guy who should ostensibly be the number three face on RAW right now. I just didn’t see anything above plain, average, simplistic basics out of Carlito here either. You can only have “ok” for so long before it becomes boring.

John Cena trots out and walks around the ring about 24 times waiting for three people to start chanting his name so that he can make a point of listening for it. Very, very sad. The interview that follows is yet more of an attempt to become The Rock 2005, the exact thing that he shouldn’t be doing. The great thing about the Rock was that we’d never really seen that sort of thing before, a guy who was a total prick openly used as a face and loved for it. Cena tries to meld the attitude of Steve Austin with the smart-ass street cred of the Rock and comes up with an uncomfortable failure. Seriously, the man is such a toady and the crowd know it, hence the weak reactions. I remember when the Rock would *have* to stop his promos because the crowd were chanting his name so loudly. The “Cena” chants, when at their loudest, are quieter than the “Rocky” chants that were in their embryonic stage and THAT is the saddest part of all. Not quite, actually. I find myself wanting Triple H to come back and squish Cena for the strap and that’s probably sadder still. Still one worse, I’ve got a feeling that Tripper is going to come back as a face and build up to a WrestleMania match with Kurt Angle for the belt, where he’s going to win another WM main event as a face. So anyway, Cena. Yeah, Cena was boring, he threw a few insults at Jericho when he turned up, including his running gag of Y2J being cheap, a gag that comes across about the same level as if he were to call him a poo-poo head. Then he FUd Bischoff to little reaction and little point. Yawn.

The Diva Search continued next, as they all showed their “talent”. My wife actually made me watch this, God knows why. So, here’s what they did.

Punk chick: Dodgy monkey flip on Christy Hemme, who looked bewildered.
Tits Out chick: punched Earl Hebner in the nuts
Athletic blonde chick: did some flips and landed on her cooch.
Horse face chick: covered herself in paint, laid on some paper, got booed out of the arena.
Brooke Hogan looking chick: very weak dance and some rubbish with handcuffs

At this point, I gave up the will to live and pretended I was paying attention. This whole bunch of crap is a sure fire loser and I have no idea what anyone in the office thinks that this will achieve, since Hemme hasn’t exactly been amazing in the last year, including not being able to come across as a face opposite a clearly heelish Victoria.

Match Three: Kurt Angle vs Matt Striker

Striker nearly gets to the three minute mark unscathed (it’s one of them “survive for 3 minute” matches) but Angle grabs the ankle and tugs like he’s a schoolboy with his first copy of Jug’o’rama.

The Verdict: This was mildly diverting and mildly dramatic but nothing to yell about. It keeps Angle in our minds and that’s about it. Striker looked decent out there, perhaps he might be worth a shot.

Matt Hardy attacks Edge from behind backstage and confusion abounds. Superbly played though.

It’s 1995 all over again and the Boogeyman is on his way to the WWE, a mere 10 years too later. I miss Mantaur. I miss the Berzerker. Heck, I miss Duke Droese. I can’t wait for this Boogeyman thing. It could be fun. Granted, it’ll look totally stupid and the fans will piss all over it, but that’s half the fun.

Match Four: Edge vs Kane

After a few minutes of “the usual” from these two, Snitsky turns up and rumbles out and into the crowd with the Big Red Machine, leaving Edge in the ring for Matt Hardy to leap on and we have ourselves a ruck. Matt gets his hands on a microphone and drawls that he’s going to make their lives hell and that the WWE can kiss his ass. Then he lays perfectly still on the ground whilst they handcuff him and starts mouthing off as soon as he stands up.

The Verdict: I like what they were doing in theory, it was super. The execution wasn’t as good as the concept was, but it was still the highlight of the show by a country mile. Matt was looking a little bit on the chunky side, wasn’t he? One too many visits to the local lard farm, I suspect… With absolutely ZERO majorly over faces on RAW, Hardy has his best chance at a top line run EVER but the early signs are not promising – his promo voice wasn’t so good and he didn’t really look the part but let’s give him a month and see where he goes with things.

Piper’s Pit to finish as we just listen to Michaels drone on about how he did everything to entertain the fans for 20 years, how he created more moments than anyone etc etc etc. He tells a massive porky about creating the most WrestleMania moments ever, which I must refute. When I think top 5 WM moments, I’d say, immediately, Hogan slamming Andre, Warrior pinning Hogan, Bret Hart holding Austin in the Sharpshooter, Benoit getting Triple H to tap out and Austin smacking the shit out of the Rock at the end of 17. Hogan, Austin, Bret, Trip, Beniot, Warrior, Andre, The Rock. No Michaels. Thanks for playing. Ah, bollocks to it, Piper does his best to entertain me and Michaels kicks him in the face. Has anyone else noticed that Michaels, with his religious thing and the all white costume this week, is slowly morphing into Mordecai? I’ll give some credit to it, he’s more interesting now than he’s been in about a decade but I really don’t think that’s saying much. They’re trying to build up a whole conflicted interest sorta thing, like they were leading toward with Bret Hart before the out and out “I hate America” heel turn, but there’s something just lacking here. Perhaps if the angle involved two wrestlers who weren’t HBK and Hogan, I’d care more.

The Overall Verdict: Aside from the very entertaining and unexpected segments with Matt Hardy, this show was a complete bore and a waste of my time.

Overall Grade: D

Individual Grades:
C – Carlito
D+ – Chris Jericho
B – Roddy Piper
C+ – Shelton Benjamin
B – Tajiri
D – Chris Masters
D – John Cena
C – Eric Bischoff
C+ – Kurt Angle
C+ – Matt Striker
C – Edge
C – Kane
C+ – Matt Hardy
C – Shawn Michaels