Monday Night’s RAW in Milwaukee, WI seemed like a blur of last week’s show with a different more pro-Cena crowd. The most memorable moments of the show Monday were Vince McMahon doing his best imitation of his son-in-law, Triple H, with “holy water” in a church with his son Shane McMahon by his side; Mickie James as Trish Stratus with her pants having trouble staying up and Trish Stratus back to being a brunette for one night imitating Mickie James and giving her a kiss on the lips.
Other things happened, but at times the various storyline advancements of the other superstars of RAW seem to take too long, were too soon, some too late or just too much in general. I find it absolutely brutal to watch Umanga in his squashing of his opponents even against the artist formerly known as Ring of Honor’s Colt Cabana, not because it’s so intense, because it’s a train wreck. Everything about it was straight out of the 1980s WWF formula of pushing a big wrestler in a total squash where they don’t even bother or barely mention the jobber’s name in the match. WWE wants people to forget that Umanga was once Three Minute Warning’s Jamal so they replay his butt shot to the turnbuckle move a few times for those who got up to get a drink. The packaging of Umanga isn’t much better than when he was Jamal. The savage costume/over-the-top makeup/idea that the audience is supposed to be afraid of him, just isn’t working for me. It’s overkill when WWE tries to do this, as of right now, the Umanga character looks dead in the water. I don’t even think Ric Flair can making something passable out of this and I’m actually wishing he wasn’t involved in this storyline. Flair goes from being a IC Champion, to a possible WWE Heavyweight contender to fighting a 80s-throwback solo version of the Samoan Swat Team. I don’t feel the audience is connecting to this but I don’t think this is going to stop the WWE from pushing it down our throats.
The too soon category has to be this abrupt push of the heel Kane. Kane performs best as a heel and is usually boring if a face for a long period of time, but I felt they could have stretched out Big Show and Kane until Backlash and allow the breakup to occur on the actual pay-per-view. This is the second week in a row where a tag team breaks up on RAW. The plus side of this was the crowd was very pro-Big Show as he gave a lashing to Mikey of the Spirit Squad ,so when the turn happened after the “snap” and throwing of chairs into the ring, the crowd was going to have zero sympathy for Kane. The absolute absurdity of this was when Kane was hearing voices in his head that the audience could hear with him. I understand WWE needs to promote their horror/suspense movie but why dumb down the audience to this sort of level? So after all these years the audience just NOW gets access to Kane’s deepest thoughts? What a shame we had to miss the voices during the wedding angle with Lita or when he worked with The Undertaker! Wouldn’t it be easier to trust the promotion of their trailers for the movie, the behind-the-scenes video packages that always air when RAW returns from a commercial break to actually sell the movie? So when John Cena’s movie comes out in the Fall, will he all of a sudden be a Marine too?
In another storyline of green talent trying to be accepted, Carlito is just so over with the fans versus Chris Masters that if the idea is the audience has to still back Masters despite his lack of on-camera personality, than WWE has a lot of work to do. Carlito has ever potential to be the next breakout like The Rock was, that if they could get The Rock to come back long enough to work a program with Carlito in the future, that would be some amazing television. Masters and Carlito can put on a good program but WWE needs to really help Masters out because if they are going to make him a breakout star I feel he has years to go after Carlito becomes a strong mid-carder to main eventer. WWE doesn’t seem to be trying to define who the face and heel is anymore in this feud, but the lack of direction, makes me wonder if they need to get a more experienced veteran or returning veteran involved to help the talent progress in their program. I could see Test coming in just to show his size and strength and make a statement against a storyline that people aren’t feeling passionate about just yet. He to my knowledge has never worked with either gentlemen and could at least be a fresh start for him.
The Vince and Shane McMahon in church segment was like anticipating a car wreck on the way, hoping that you can hit the brakes or swerve just in time to avoid a bad accident. Some it was going to be offensive no matter what Vince did. Others will think that in Vince’s effort to push buttons and be controversial that it was just boring. For me, Vince wrote it in such a way that it was so over the top that I couldn’t take it seriously enough to be offended. He obviously paid a church high dollars to get away with that segment and I believe the McMahon family are Catholics since Stephanie McMahon married Paul “The King of Kings” Levesque in a Catholic church. Shane’s reaction as Vince’s foil throughout the skit made the skit bearable. I was really expecting that it would end in such a over the top way that Undertaker Lightning would strike Vince down. Religion’s a topic that doesn’t belong in pro wrestling, however, someone has made the recent point that Vince McMahon has taken a shot at every race, group, stereotype that religion was sure to follow, but I hope it will be over sooner than later.
The John Cena, Triple H and Edge (with Lita) segment is a nice dynamic where each has a chance to shine and keep the story fresh as one can be with Cena as champion. Each city seems mixed for Cena and at least the WWE is addressing it in the storylines instead of ignoring it happening all together. Cena gets a reaction, negative and positive, and in the wrestling business that’s all that matters. Having said that, I hope he drops the belt soon just for a change of pace, I don’t feel he ever leads his matches and it would serve him well to take the passenger seat and learn from Triple H and Edge.
The angle that I hope doesn’t end anytime soon is Mickie James and Trish Stratus. Their storyline makes the show for me each and every week. This past Monday reminds that audience that no matter how pretty divas are, until they are fully trained shouldn’t be in the ring. I love Maria and what she contributes to the show, but I feel like I hold my breath whenever she is about to attempt to execute a wrestling move and knowing how careful someone like James has to be with her, ruins the entire match. The match didn’t matter and Stratus coming in as Mickie James was fantastic. What a excellent way to remind us how hot Trish was a brunette once upon a time, that she can wear something besides pants and has excellent timing to pull of Mickie perfectly. People forget Trish Stratus’ work on MAD TV in 2003 and her coming out jumping around reminded me of her work outside the WWE. The pulling in for the kiss was a nice touch and brought me back to when Trish Stratus got the kiss of death from Lita during their feud two years ago. I love the reverse psychology being used and their storyline is so engaging and week in and week out is being talked about with much more passion than most of the storylines in wrestling today. Great work ladies.
Speaking of ladies, I want to give public props to my friend Patty Therre of Bella Online and Wrestling On The Fringe. She’s a great writer and a friend in a business where female writers are few and far between. Please check out her work and thanks again Patty for being in my corner.
Thanks to all those who tune into the Big E Sports show at Rockland World Radio every Tuesday between 7-8 EST to hear hosts Erik Fenton, Dave Lagreca and I to discuss professional wrestling and whatever else is going on! The Tammy Sytch interview will be archived and put up soon, thank you for the high number of requests and interest and I hope you will return again next week. You just never know what we’re going to talk about next! Always remember, for things to change, you have to make movement. Thanks for reading and for all the feedback, feel free to contact me anytime at Bam@4sternstaging.com.