Make Movement: Examing RAW From The Last Two Weeks

RAW last week had a lot of energy – the crowd was into everything you’d expect Charlotte, North Carolina to be into – Ric Flair, Jeff Hardy, Triple H, and Y2J. Ric Flair of course was the man of last week’s show, the King of Charlotte had the crowd in the palm of his hands the entire night. All of us were expecting the tinkling of a send off retirement angle, especially with emotional Flair, and instead, we got Ric Flair’s vow that he would die in the ring before he’d retire and with that, cued in Vince McMahon to come crash the party.

There’s no real explanation provided yet why Vince McMahon would place Flair in the ‘you have to win every match or you’re gone’ position (hasn’t this done before?) besides just being a heel. And naturally, Randy Orton would want to take out the Legend of Flair. I liked the pacing of Orton’s promo during the segment, at least addressing their history, and if you want Orton to be hated – put him against Flair in front of his hometown crowd. I loved the peppering of respect the whole night for Flair from Shawn Michaels’ pep talk to the backstage clapping before the match from Triple H and the camp of babyfaces. And though there was no surprise based on Jericho’s “Me Want Title Match” promo that he wanted a answer that he would be involved, Flair of course was not going to go out like that and for now, it’s enough to make Charlotte and Flair’s fan base happy that Flair is still around. The biggest question is, “now what?”

Flair will have to keep beating the odds whatever way he can but does that mean, because of Flair’s age, the ability to win cleanly is over? It shouldn’t be because he has always had more knowledge and talent than most of the talent in the WWE, but don’t put him in with Umaga anytime soon since last time they got in the ring, Umaga destroyed him. Last night, WWE didn’t have Ric Flair on at all which was a major drop of the ball to not put him up in SC Flair Country unless they expect to just transition him over to work on Smackdown again.

Technically, Flair should be able to challenge Orton for the WWE Championship, but the focus is on Y2J versus Orton. Will this catch wildfire? I think it’ll be fun, but if we expect everything to be over-the-top in Y2J’s actions, then I think we will all be disappointed. I think all of us are just trying to get used to Y2J being around again. His chemistry with Santino was good last week, and I’m so blown away by Santino’s true-to-character confidence that in a way, I just wanted Jericho to be able to keep up because he’s been gone for so long and make it work during their promo segment. The Lawler and Santino feud continues and for now, it still works because Santino’s strength are in promos and Lawler is a go-to favorite as a classic babyface for now. As far as Y2J’s new finisher, that’s going to take everyone a lot of time to get used to – it’s not the Walls of Jericho which gives the fans the chance to take the move in. I understand Y2J wanting to do something sudden but I think he needs to build around it more to give the fans the chance to really pop for it and not think “that’s it?” This week’s RAW was less on the silly and more on the development of the storyline, which was a good move to make.

By the way, if the Cookie Monster visual inclusion (though cute) plus the Coyote/Roadrunner segment with Hornswaggle and Carlito (ridiculous) any indication that Stephanie and Paul are watching entirely too much cartoons with their child?

The positives of RAW last week include the good dramatic and chemistry with Triple H and Jeff Hardy’s in-ring work together. Triple H’s character is being true to form, even mentioning how he’s turned on everyone’s he’s worked with. Hardy, ever the defiant yet calm character, holds his own in every situation and is currently one of the most important elements of the WWE right now in terms of constant delivery and popularity. I’m also looking forward to Mr. Kennedy versus Shawn Michaels in the next few weeks, and I’m also happy that WWE has really given Kennedy a chance to shine with a old-fashioned promo.

With this week’s RAW, Kennedy took what seemed to be a very long promo in terms of time, to bring out elements of Shawn Michaels’ past work in the form of “Marty Jeanetty”, “Razor Ramon” (let’s face it, most of us sort of hoped it’d be really Scott Hall since he no showed TNA), “Diesel” and even “HBK” himself. Shawn delivered some superkicks (totally missing hitting at least one of them but that’s the beauty of quick camera angles) and then later on, they had a old fashioned brawl on the outside during the Orton versus Michaels matchup. I like the momentum and psychology of this storyline if they can keep it fresh. For some reason, I felt the crowd wasn’t into very much of last night so it’s hard for me to gage whether fans are truly into this storyline yet.

On a side note, I saw TNA’s Turning Point PPV on Sunday and what a hot reaction from the audience for Gail Kim versus Awesome Kong! Great psychology from all involved, Gail is the Trish Stratus of TNA and the crowd loved it all. If only WWE would have more talented women wrestlers instead of divas and give us something even close to that fever pitch enthusiasm – instead, they bury Mickie James before her title shot to Beth Phoenix, who looked dangerously close to seriously hurting Mickie during one move last night. The TNA PPV and the storylines have a lot of work to do but they have the women’s division in terms of the two main event stars, very well done and a good model for the WWE if they could push Beth Phoenix to Kong-like levels.

The Pro Wrestling Advocates are back! Listen in at irrabbroadcasting.com for Big Poppa G, Renegade and I discussing the latest of the best and the worst of wrestling right now on The V. We have very big plans coming up for the end of 2007 and into 2008 – so stay tuned! You can also add us on MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/prowrestlingadvocates to be kept in the know for our latest broadcasts and upcoming events!

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@insidepulse.com.

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