Watching RAW on Monday was strange to say the least, considering this last week has been long, painful and confusing to all of us. It feels like two weeks ago was two years ago with all the sensationalism-like media coverage of the Benoit tragedy. Right or wrong, it’s amazing what ex-talent is crawling out of the woodwork to have their say. I wondered what it was like to be at the arena, for I’m sure many, was the first time for many, their first time going to a WWE show without Benoit in a long time. It was back to business for the WWE, and though that is the right thing to do for the WWE and all it’s employees, it’s hard not to feel the fire that is coming from the outside from the media and federal officials, who have never supported wrestling/sports entertainment. The question is will the media use this opportunity to attack the WWE for Benoit’s high steroid prescription circulation from his personal doctor? This story is huge ratings for the media, so don’t look for it to end anytime soon.
The show was mostly about the main event players and the quest for the Cena gold. Mr. Kennedy, who mostly reminds me of the Rock in terms of mic skills and ring talent, gets to be the butt of Cena’s jokes. The real funny guy, King Booker, came out next, and managed to push back a smile when Cena tells him to “kiss his championship ass.” Randy Orton came out next and he was his usual pre-madonna self. Bobby Lashley came out of course and said he never lost his ECW Championship therefore, should be the one to have the title shot. William Regal came out and is in charge of the show, and develops the Beat the Clock system to determine the number one contender for Great American Bash against Cena. So basically, Cena gets the night off from wrestling or defending his title. The Great American Bash for me has always represented the past WCW PPVs, and in the new WWE version of it; Eddy Guerrero and JBL.
The first Beat the Clock match was Randy Orton versus Jeff Hardy with some good solid action and a really nice finish with the RKO. The second Beat the Clock match was King Booker versus Val Venis, and it’s laughable that they pushed Val as a threat when he hasn’t won a match against someone in the main event picture in years. If you’re in a match with Val in 2007, you’re pretty much going to win without a problem. So in that respect, that was disappointing. The third Beat the Clock match was Super Crazy versus Mr. Kennedy and though I loved the fact Super Crazy won because it wasn’t something you could have predicted, he should have been in the running for the title shot automatically instead of it not mattering that he won in relationship to the championship picture. The final Beat the Clock match with Bobby Lashley and Shelton Benjamin was a good, short one with no surprise on Lashley winning with about 24 seconds to spare from the best Booker time.
Lashley versus Cena should be interesting, but will it sell the PPV? Cena is going to be the baby face more so than Lashley since Lashley did the cheap shot afterwards in that Stone Cold like way. Problem is, Lashley isn’t Austin. If Lashley doesn’t beat Cena, then Triple H must. They were really pushing him with his surgery and movie-like trailer teaser and his return so I think they are counting on the pop he got last time he was gone and rebuilding himself from his in-ring injury a few years back.
On a lesser note, Umaga is now IC Champ when he squashed Santino. Did people care either way? Not really, he had the kiss of bad luck from Maria who lost earlier in the night to Melina. I’m not surprised, but there’s no real IC division (sort of like the tag team that had momentum, yet no air time last night), so I’m not sure what it matters for right now. It’s not like before when wrestlers would be shown, commentating or watching from the Gorilla Position, wanting to be the next guy in line for the title.
The state of wrestling right now is going to be directly parallel to how the media coverage continues on the Benoit tragedy, steroid use/abuse and stars that are no longer in the business who have a opinion on the business. The WWE has to either, continue on as if they did nothing wrong, or keep having stars on the defensive for them on all the cable news networks. The WWE is also doing subtle things to increase the image of the company, like mentioning how Cena is a good representation of the company (and for further examples, read Andy Wheeler’s column this week) for the Make A Wish Foundation and showing the ‘Don’t Try This At Home’ commercial during RAW. But the problem is, don’t count on the media acknowledging that anytime soon.
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.