For Your Considerationâ€¦Commercial Free, Steroid Free, but Hardly Cheap
Welcome to the commercial free edition of Monday Night RAW. This is gonna be a bit of a challenge for me as I usually use the commercial breaks to pause, gather my thoughts and wait for a Castrol GTX commercial to dump sludge and gunk onto rednecks. Sadly, this week will be a solid two hours of wrestling without my Duralast thumbs up or my JVC Kaboombox of the Week (howâ€™s THAT for a â€œManiaâ€ reference?). One commercial from me: follow Andrew Wheeler on Twitter at twitter.com/awheeler316.
Without further ado, letâ€™s see a black and white clip of two old wrestlers hugging for the amusement of men in mustaches. No, that ainâ€™t WCW, but it sure is close.
I like the fact that the WWE chose to keep Foley in the Signature even if he did abandon the company like a jackass.
Oh good, weâ€™re opening with a re-telling of what happened last week, because Cole didnâ€™t repeat ad nauseum what happened a hundred times last Monday night. Here we see the RAW main event picture, which my good friend Pulse Glazer covered in his most recent â€œA Modest Blogâ€. The coolest part is that the blog stemmed directly from an AIM conversation he and I had on Friday, when I said that I was pretty sure RAW would devolve into a championship scramble while he thinks itâ€™ll be a Hell in the Cell.
Well, the opening vignette this week tried very hard to make Trumpâ€™s pretape not look as terrible as it was. We also see Hunter eliminate Cena to get his match with Ortonâ€¦again. Trump is again hyping how unprecedented his decision is, while I would, from a kayfabe point of view, call it stupid. Why would you buy a company and give away your main event on free television? Heâ€™s not Bischoff giving away Hogan/Goldberg and thus single-handedly driving the death knell into WCWâ€™s coffin, but heâ€™s dangerously close from the first moment.
The actual RAW open starts with shots of Donald Trump. Let me get this straight, William Regal STILL gets no love in the intro but Trump gets twenty seconds on his own. Trump didnâ€™t deserve that spot, especially considering he didnâ€™t get Bobby Lashley over, while Regal got Finlay over.
Pyro and live from Green Bay, which always seems to get odd special RAWs. Remember, this market also got the â€œWhoâ€™s Vinceâ€™s Kidâ€ reveal. We get a gold plated graphic for Hunter and Orton. Lillian Garcia introduces Donald, and if I know Trump like I know Trump, heâ€™ll fire her for a hotter gal.
Trump delays his entrance by a good twenty seconds to kill the crowd, but then gets escorted out to the ring by Kelly Kelly. Not a bad choice I guess. Trump doing the opening of RAW is a bit surreal. Donald Trump talks about how much he loves RAW and I cannot get Darryl Hammondâ€™s impersonation of him out of my mind. Donald again beats into our head that this is commercial free, which means heâ€™s just a rich version of Michael Cole.
Trump promises world championship matches unlike what Vince gives, which Iâ€™m sure makes sense. â€œAfter the show is overâ€¦Iâ€™m giving you a full refund.â€ Waitâ€¦what?! Heâ€™s giving the live audience a refund in a recession. Yeah, that makes sense Vince. $245,000 back to the fans from â€œTrumpâ€, when we know its Vince footing the bill. Well, thatâ€™s a great way to get him over with the live audience, but most of the fans at home are waiting for the other shoe to fall and we find out whoâ€™s gonna be the new GM.
Instead of a commercial, we get Cenaâ€™s entrance. Johnâ€™s wearing his new John Deere merchandise. So heâ€™s a hiphop guy who is now trying to appeal to rednecksâ€¦sure. Cena starts off by sucking up to Trump. Cena is now doing his â€œfamousâ€ hype interviews where he basically keeps repeating everything we already know hoping for a pop. Yep, even Cenaâ€™s like Cole. Cena mentions that heâ€™s fighting the walking lawsuit The Big Show.
Trump has done what superstars canâ€™t, according to Cena, is make a statement. We now get a Miz package. I like this because youâ€™re giving Miz a spotlight, which might make a new star, but we all know Cenaâ€™s gonna squash him in their match. I still stick by the fact that The Miz should have eliminated Cena last week to get him over. The package was successful in getting over that Miz is a douche.
Cena is now calling out The Miz, and the long pauses between entrances seems to exist solely to kill time. On the plus side, Priceless might finally get an entrance. Miz is still in his anti-Cena shirt, which I donâ€™t think is for sale onlineâ€¦yes. Miz said that heâ€™s pretty much made his point and Cena is a coward and hasnâ€™t responded. Cena is now saying heâ€™s in the ring and Miz should just mosey on down, and mosey on down he does. Well, we know Showâ€™s fighting Cena tonight, so this will probably end in Miz getting knocked on his ass and being made to look like a chump. Iâ€™m just guessing of course. Miz might lay out Cena and elevate himself.
Miz gets in Cenaâ€™s face and calls him a coward. Cena now reads right from the script and talks about how this is where theyâ€™d fight. Suddenly, RAW is like an audiobook, where wrestlers just read what they would do. John said that Miz will main event a PPVâ€¦wait, what? Miz/Cena at the Bash. Hmmâ€¦thatâ€™s not too bad for The Miz. Hey, jobbing on a PPV is way better than not being on a PPV. Just ask John Morrison, MVP, Shelton Benjamin and Evan Bourne. Cena talks about how heâ€™s gone through a lot of crap and he doesnâ€™t get rattled. Not at the ECW PPV when the fans wanted to kill him, not at the Hall of Fame when he got embarrassed by the audience and not when the fans chant that he canâ€™t wrestle, even though he kinda can. Cena says that Miz brought a knife to a gunfight. â€œThe Real World has been cancelled.â€ Oh, sick burn. Sick, sick burn. Now I wanna buy the PPV.
Miz is a â€œWWE never-wasâ€. Nice, Cena, but to be fair Mizâ€™s comments about him for the past few weeks were a lot more truthful. Cena, showing there is no separation between ring and church, advocates for Miz to pray. Oddly, now the crowd is chanting for Cena. Maybe this Miz feud will help him. Miz slugs Cena and fleas. Cena didnâ€™t sell that punch at all. I give the match at The Bash four minutes before Cena squashes him.
Well, now is when weâ€™d go to commercial, but instead we get footage of Vince stuck in Green Bay with a broken down limo. And a camera, for some reason. Why would a cameraman follow around Vince? This isnâ€™t particularly funny, but the delivery of Vince saying â€œLimomanâ€ was classic. Limoman tells Vince they could walk to the arena, but Vince doesnâ€™t walk. I hope Limoman gets a match tonight. Now, in a move that is not in anyway homoerotic, Vince is riding Limoman. Sadly, unlike Hunter at Armageddon 99, Limoman canâ€™t carry Vince. This skit is STILL going on, as Vince I guess is now officially a heel again.
We see a bucked of KFC and Jim Ross and Todd Grisham. I guess that is how weâ€™re paying for this show. Todd: â€œDid you ever think Donald Trump would sell RAW?â€ If that screw-up doesnâ€™t get Todd fired, I donâ€™t know what will. Wow Todd, wow.
I hear the shrieking of girls, which means its time for Jeff Hardy. Heâ€™s still rocking his Oreo cookie facepaint, and the audience is going batshit. I just donâ€™t get it, folks. We see a graphic of Hardy/Punk, in what should be a pretty good match and a solid victory for CM. Jeffâ€™s tag partner isâ€¦Khali? Seriously? If this is our alternative to commercials, I say bring on the commercials! Their tag team partner is Rey Mysterio. Is this a six-man or are they just bringing out the entire Smackdown roster to kill time? I have a feeling later weâ€™ll get a segment where Dolph Ziggler just introduces himself to everyone in section 208.
Now we endure a replay of Mysterio costing Jericho the match against Hardy in a mid-level match. For my money, Edge/Morrison was THE match of Smackdown last week. â€œTonightâ€™s commercial free RAW is brought to you byâ€¦â€ Sounds strikingly like a commercial, but what do I know?
Here comes Jericho, wearing the IC belt like its an appendage. I guess this is the big hype match, but thereâ€™s no way they can put Punk with Jericho and his partner (who Iâ€™m guessing is Dolph). Sure enough, as I type that, here comes Dolph Ziggler, who has new theme music. Hmmâ€¦new music, a win over Khali and Jim Ross is talking about his amateur collegiate background. Sounds like a push to me. Their partner thankfully is the greatest wrestler on the WWE roster, Edge. I donâ€™t say that in a fan way, I say that from an objective point of view. No one else seems to be able to carry everyone they wrestle to a great match AND deliver solid promos and sell storylines. Edge is the most reliable guy they have.
Wait, here comes Punkâ€¦in camo shorts. We get a shot of Jeff Hardy scowling and looking like a complete moron with the paint by numbers on his face. Punk joins Jim Ross, Todd Grisham and two buckets of chicken at the commentary booth. Well, the chicken canâ€™t be as bad as Don West.
I love Punk on commentary because he always seems to make sense. Khali and Jericho are in the ring, which is like a wrestling black hole. You know, when talent and non-talent merge. Khali dumps all three heels to the outside and the stupid fans cheer, which means weâ€™ll see more Khali. Jeff hits a dive on the heels and Rey does the Andre spot by leaping off of Khali. The Great Khali teases a jump off the ropes.
Well, the Countdown is back, saying we are 23 minutes away from the Last Man Standing. So, what does that mean, astute FYC reader? If youâ€™re thinking screwjob, youâ€™re right. My guess is Priceless is going to lay out Hunter, and in the main event slot Trump will announce the â€œnewâ€ Bash main event, Hunter versus Orton with another stip. Punk delivers line of the night by asking if he can have some chicken as Todd and JR go for the hard-sell. Meanwhile, Edge is pounding away on Mysterio as Punk puts of Rey.
Edge spears Hardy and then â€œspearsâ€ Khali. Mysterio jumps edge from behind and hits a 619. Rey then hits a moonsault on Jericho and Punk chooses to take this time to sell the PPV. Jeff Hardy and Dolph are alone in the ring, which means Dolph is about to job. Sure enough, Swanton Bomb and its over. Jim Ross asks if Hardy will be the new champion, apparently forgetting Punk is sitting right there.
Punk is going into the ring to congratulate Hardy. Punk raises Hardyâ€™s hand, but Jeff looks pissed. Punk is now standing alone in the ring holding the gold. Apparently sportsmanship is heelish. Wow Punk can sell this angle.
Vince is wandering in the back and stumbles upon Trumpâ€™s locked office. I smell comedy. Wait, no, itâ€™s Santina. See, using this character minimally is the best way. Just donâ€™t let Santina wrestle. Why is Vince all pissed off about Trumpâ€™s actions anyway? He sold the freaking show. He has no financial stake. In fact, I would imagine Vince would want Trump to fail so that he can show that HE was truly the better businessman.
Donald finally comes out and says that he set Vince up with an office. Wow, Trump and Santina in the same shotâ€¦odd. Trump then fires Santina like he did Miss California. Then we see Santino walk into the shot all upset. â€œEhâ€¦she had a good run.â€ How meta.
Ah, shots of the Packers, which somehow transitions into a â€œspeaking of transformers, weâ€™re getting a Transformers commercialâ€¦erâ€¦previewâ€¦we have no commercials.â€ Lawler, Cole and the chicken are back just in time for the vacuum of boredom, the Colons. Even worse, its Primo, who I absolutely cannot stand. Heâ€™s annoying and his mustache looks ridiculous.
Oh great, heâ€™s cutting a promo. Remember when Carlito was a main event prospect? Yeah, me neither. The Colons attempt at humor by again bringing up Randy Orton and oil, but turn it into a lame gay joke. Walking around with that facial hair and making gay jokes is a glass house situation.
Oh sweet merciful crap, Priceless is getting a real intro. I didnâ€™t even recognize their music. So weâ€™re getting Primo versus Cody, a surefire future Wrestlemania main event. If Priceless doesnâ€™t win the gold on Sunday, I give up with the tag division. Putting the tag titles on guys who are perceived to be in the main event makes more sense then letting the belts languish on untalented Spanish guys. Cole, in an attempt to be relevant, asks if this is an important match for these guys. No Cole, the match weâ€™re watching is unimportant, so maybe we should just turn off our sets and go read a book. Way to sell the product.
Rhodes dumps Primo to the outside and we again see Carlito wearing the two belts, which makes me wonder why they arenâ€™t making a unified tag title. This match is a lot of stalling and rolling around, and the arena is so quiet you can hear the sizzle on the chicken.
This match feels like it belongs on an old episode of â€œPrime Timeâ€. Somehow Rhodes rolls up Primo and may or may not have used the tights for the win. Well that match was about as fun as a commercial break, so you owe me Trump.
Cody pulls the old fake handshake to a fan at ringside, which is awesome. These guys earned their entrance.
Vince is backstage with wacky shenanigans in the locker-room, which means weâ€™re gonna see Goldust and Hornswoggle. Sure enough, there they are. Goldust is offering his wig to Trump. To prove how hilarious this is, he puts the wig on Vince. Itâ€™s like watching amateur hour on local cable access. The payoff to the joke is that Vinceâ€™s office is a toilet and Festus comes walking out of it.
So the whole point of getting Trump was to get eyeballs on RAW and show that this is the best show on television. Instead, weâ€™re getting lame comedy and throwaway matches with the lone exception being the WWE Title Match.
Now, since there are no commercials, we can get a six minute long recap of Orton/Hunter, which is set to what sounds like the soundtrack from â€œEl Mariachiâ€. All the predictable beats are there and Iâ€™m getting bored.
Hunterâ€™s entrance, which I commented on was getting stale at least three days before Heyman said it, so take that for what its worth (not much). Ortonâ€™s getting booed out of the building, and frankly I donâ€™t know why. Randy Orton won the WWE Title in relatively clean fashion, he has a cool look, a great theme song and heâ€™s going against one of the least over faces in the company. Sure, the fans hate Cena (or love him, depending on the hickishness of the town), but at least they care about him. The fans just seem apathetic about Hunter.
This match works perfectly for a commercial-free match because there is a lot of downtime. To add on what Glazer talked about in his column, I really think the WWE is going about this all wrong by doing Hunter/Orton again at The Bash. Having Randy do a throw-away title defense against a guy like MVP would have made more sense. If they really do go ahead and go with a HITC, youâ€™re giving away the big blowoff to a rushed insta-feud. Why not let them circle each other without touching and save the Hell in the Cell for Summerslam?
Hunter dumps Orton to the outside as we see a replay of Hunter possibly hurting his knee. Wow, imagine if Hunter really did tear his quad. Youâ€™d actually be able to hear Vinceâ€™s Wilhelm Scream.
The title match is pretty much slow moves followed by lots of resting. Hunter kicked a chair into Ortonâ€™s face but Randy pasted HHH with the same chair. That was the kind of chair shot that would kill a wrestler in a normal match, but this ainâ€™t a normal match and when you have the book you ainâ€™t a normal wrestler. Orton, for some reason, breaks the 10 count to attack Hunter, with Cole using Cole-ish logic to say that Randy knew Hunter would get up. Uhâ€¦ok.
Orton clears away the announce table, but the chicken has flown the coop. What I would give for Orton to beat Hunter with the chicken wing, becoming the 21st Century Bob Backlund. Hunter goes low on Randy and is going for the Pedigree but it gets reversed into an RKO. Cole shouts RKO about twenty times as Hunter takes a bit of a nap.
Well, that was Randyâ€™s finishing move on the announce table, which should have ended the match, but Hunter makes it up. Hunter then back bodydrops Orton onto the announce table and we countâ€¦again.
While the two battle up the ramp in slow motion, I feel compelled to again say how stupid this is. Even if they do stick with Hunter/Orton to headline the PPV, these two have beaten the hell out of each other so much on free TV this week that thereâ€™s no incentive to pay for it. Again. Remember folks, this was your Wrestlemania main event occupying the 10 pm slot on RAW.
Orton gets to his feet after eating a spinebuster, but it was a 9 count. Hunter made it up from an RKO at 9 but Randy takes almost the whole time to recover from a transition move. My hope is that Randy busts out the old Garvin Stomp and wins with that.
Randy and Hunter have battled to the space next to the ramp and Randy is â€œcoiling to strikeâ€ with the RKO. A mild â€œTriple Hâ€ chant starts as Orton gets launched over the barricade. Thankfully these fans are getting their money back. Orton lays out a backstage worker and grabs a ladder. Wow, big push tonight for Limoman and Backstage Guy. Not so much yet for The Brian Kendrick.
This has now turned into a ladder match, as Orton looks to Pilmanize Hunter with the ladder. In a great bit of bad timing, we get a shot of Hunter adjusting the ladder so that it is on his leg further. What a swerve! Hunter has turned on himself!
Now the one-legged Triple H is getting back to his feet. Randy again has Huntrer pretty much beat but breaks the count. This is the kind of character logic that makes people hate wrestling. Cole is using the â€œthis is seriousâ€ voice as Orton is setting Hunter up for an RKO off of the ladder. Hunter blocks it and hits Orton with the ladder. Now the one-legged Hunter hits Orton with a Pedigree on the steel. Both guys are down. Hunterâ€™s holding his knee and Orton is out cold and I bet this is your finish.
Sure enough, itâ€™s a double-KO and the crowd buries the finish. We get like eight replays before going to the back and seeing Maryse and Miz. Maryse, dressed like Captain Eeo from Disney and buries him in French. I wish the motivation for Miz to destroy Cena was to better his career rather than to nail Maryse, but whatever.
Trumpâ€™s press conference highlights are next as we see a lot of shots of Trump walking. Trump is now in the ring live, which should be uninspiring. Donald Trump is now AGAIN recapping what weâ€™ve seen earlier tonight, including the bit about the free tickets and the no commercials. Donald Trump also said he isnâ€™t appointing a General Manager, but rather will appoint a celebrity host every week. What the hell, is this SNL? â€œWho the hell wants a general manager?â€ I do. I want a clear figurehead that allows for coherent storylines.
Donald is now hyping Wrestlemania 26â€¦which draws out Vince. Vince said that Trump would do RAW commercial-free every week, which wonâ€™t happen. Whew, because all this typing is killing me. Vince also said the fans donâ€™t deserve their money back, which makes sense. These people are paying for a show, its economics. This is communism, folks. Donald Trump is a dirty commie.
The promo is slowing to a halt as the two billionaires banter back and forth. Vince now thinks Trump played him and Vince has admitted that Donald is smarter than him. McMahon is offering to buy RAW back. Well, I guess weâ€™re copping out on this Trump thing earlier than I thought. Donald Trump just agreed to sell RAW back to Vince. The level of insanity has driven me nuts. â€œDonald Trumpâ€¦youâ€™re FIRED.â€ So all of this was for the one week publicity blitz. Trump slaps Vince and security runs into the ring. Laurenitis is holding back Trump like heâ€™s an OVW grad.
Cole and Lawler are again touching the chicken, but Iâ€™ve yet to see anyone take a bite. Just saying.
We now get a recap of the dull Cena/Show feud, which is our main event. Trainers are now in the back working on Orton and Vince shows up and throws Priceless out of the building. Vince apparently is now a face again as he taunts Randy about pain. Orton pleads for clemency but instead is getting to find out his gimmick for The Bash. Itâ€™s a two-out-of-three falls. First is a regular match, second is a falls count anywhere and the third (ifâ€¦I mean whenâ€¦) will be a stretcher match. Itâ€™s the three stages of hell according to Vince. Iâ€™m not gonna lie, anyone left that wanted to see Orton/Hunter has officially given up hope. Your answer to negate the feeling that weâ€™ve seen those two fight a lot is to make them fight three more times.
Superstars main event is a triple threat with MVP/Hardy/Kofi for the US Title. Why the hell wouldnâ€™t they put THAT on RAW? Instead, we get Mickie and the Bella twins against Maryse, Rosa and Phoenix. Yawn. In the end, Mickie kicks Rosa in the head and gets the pin.
Cole, Lawler and Chicken hype â€œNational Treasureâ€. We now get a package about how much The Cubs love John Cena. Man, I hate The Cubs. As a Marlins fan and a Yankees supporter, I hate the Cubs on so many levels. Soriano is berry, berry happy to see John Cena.
Jerry and Michael are now magically in the ring hyping The Bash. What an unnecessary name change, by the way.
Speaking of unnecessary, we get Cena/Showâ€¦again. I just donâ€™t get why on a night where weâ€™re getting a commercial free show we donâ€™t let young talent get at least a bit of the spotlight. Use the extra time to give your midcard a chance to shine instead of endless video packages and replays and â€œcomedyâ€. Next week Iâ€™ll be the first to welcome back the commercials.
Show is right now wailing on Cena, and since Big Show doesnâ€™t have a match on the PPV, heâ€™s gonna win this match tonight. Basically this entire match is about killing time until Miz costs John the win. See, now why the hell couldnâ€™t the WWE put the title on The Big Show last week? Wouldnâ€™t having him hold the title make more sense? You know, aside from the massive lawsuit filed against him, heâ€™s the perfect placeholder champ.
The match continues to follow the standard formula of Cena goes for a move, Show slugs him and then slowly beats him down. The audience is now officially dead, just like this feud should be. What the hell is the WWE going to do with The Big Show? Hopefully Hunter and Orton finally finishes their interminable feuds and maybe weâ€™ll see a dull Hunter/Show feud. After The Bash, the WWE better shake things up, or else the ratings are going to suffer. Is Shawn Michaels the answer, or is elevating MVP the right solution?
Cenaâ€™s on the top rope and hits the legdrop. Heâ€™s going for the â€œYou Canâ€™t See Meâ€ and the audience for some reason is back to booing him. Make up your mind and go with it, and in an editorial comment, Iâ€™d say just cheer the guy. Go with it. Makes life easier. Cena just turned around and ate a chokeslam and Cole oversells it by saying â€œGoodnight from Green Bayâ€ even before he lands. Way to over-telegraph it, Michael. Show goes for the Yoko drop and actually hits it for once. Show is setting Cena up for the submission but Cena turns it into the STFU. Miz runs down to break it up but eats a fist. FU but Miz shoves him down and Show gets the pin. Hmmâ€¦didnâ€™t call that or anything.
Wow, Miz getting the closing shot on the go-home. Miz is mocking Cena and actually looks a bit like a big time player. Soak it in because after Sunday youâ€™ll probably wind up back in a feud with Goldust.
In the back we see Orton walking to his car but Hunter jumps him from behind. Good thing that camera guy is taping this assault and battery. Hunter slams the trunk into Ortonâ€™s back, and is now sitting next to him like in a bad action movie as he mocks him. Hunter tells Orton heâ€™s going to hell, which is original.
Alright, Iâ€™m done for tonight. If I get time, Iâ€™ll be back next week. Until then,
This has been for your consideration.
Tags: chris jericho, Donald Trump, edge, john cena, rey mysterio, The Miz, triple h, vince mcmahon, WWE