For Your Consideration…’Cause Every Girl’s Crazy ‘Bout Monday Night RAW

For Your Consideration…’Cause Every Girl’s Crazy ‘Bout Monday Night RAW

So there’s good news and bad news as I start this week’s column. The good news is that my hack-ery didn’t get in the way of me coming up with a second stupid column title to correlate with the guest host. The bad news is that there will not be a column next week. Next Tuesday and Wednesday I take the Florida Bar exam, so the night before I’ll be wrapped up in studying law and not watching RAW live (rest assured it’ll be DVR’d). This also means that I’ll (hopefully) be back in my normal Thursday slot with a column I’ve been working on for a few weeks now. I won’t say much other than it deals with TNA, and it’s positive. I swear…a positive TNA column.

Hold on while I insert my obligatory plug for my Twitter page, twitter.com/awheeler316. I’m up to 90 followers, so thanks PulseWrestling community. Or should I say PulseWrestling Universe? On second thought, no…no…I won’t call you guys that. I would never call you guys that. Only the brain-trust in Connecticut would call a collection of fans a universe.

Before I begin RAW, I just want to give a few thoughts on last week’s Smackdown/ECW/Superstars taping. As I mentioned last Monday, my fiancé and I attended the multi-show taping in Miami. It was my first television taping since the Kevin Federline RAW a few years back (though I did get to attend Survivor Series). It was also my fiancé’s first foray into the live world of the WWE, so I looked forward to watching it through fresh eyes.

The first thing that struck me was the make-up of the crowd. I was really happy to see so many children and families. It’s nice to know that pro wrestling is still being ingrained in the minds of the youth, because I would bet good money that most of us started our love of wrestling back when we were little kids. The only downside was that the majority of the kids there were wearing Jeff Hardy t-shirts, and with the recent news that Jeff is taking a sabbatical before SummerSlam, I hope Vince and Creative can keep the youngsters hooked.

My fiancé’s expectations for the show were probably not that high considering our last pro wrestling outing was at a poorly paced ROH live event. Let me tell you, there is a big difference for a casual fan between sitting in a local gymnasium on folding chairs and witnessing the spectacle that is a WWE event. No matter how cynical we may become from years of being a loyal viewer, you cannot deny that there is a bit of magic when you see a live WWE event. My fiancé and I had really great seats in the lower bowl about seven rows from the ring, which is close enough to see the wrestler’s faces and hear the pyro. And wow did I forget how loud that pyro can get!

The opening of the show was a surprise for the local crowd, as Miami-based MVP started out the night in a dark match against Alex Riley. Riley should be on television any day now based on his promo skills and his look. Riley’s a throwback to the early 90’s gimmick heyday, as he came out in a letter jacket and had a valet. He cut a promo about wishing that he started in a “book smart” town, which doesn’t seem to work for the character. Riley’s got a solid enough look, but he needs to play up the varsity jock character and not deviate into the Dean Douglas territory. Either way, my fiancé was excited to see a wrestler she’d actually seen on television (not that this is a knock against Bison Smith…a household name for any indie fan with a wealth of Japanese torrents on his hard drive).

The ECW show was surprisingly slow. I always enjoyed watching ECW, though between some of the talent switches and some of the limited match-ups, you get a lot of fast-forward fodder. The opening contest between Christian and Shelton Benjamin was pretty good, but I was really shocked at how indifferent the fans were to Christian. The WWE hasn’t let Christian get on the mic enough, and when he is on the mic, he seems too bland and generic. Bland and generic were the buzz terms Kevin Dunn used to have for Christian, not the terms we the fans would apply to him. Maybe its time to turn Christian heel and let him run at the top of the card in ECW. Frankly, the apathy was shocking. On a side note, nothing exposed the stupidity of the crowd more than when they chanted “USA” during a Christian match. Guess the folks in Miami forgot that he’s Canadian.

ECW’s fast-forwardness continued with matches featuring the seriously underwhelming Yoshi Tatsu (who was completely carried by the underrated Paul Burchill) and a Goldust/Ryder match that felt more like filler and less like a worthy televised match. While I liked the idea of Finlay taking the slot as veteran talent making the new guys, I don’t think Goldust has the same clout. You can’t treat a nostalgia trip as a jobber and expect the crowd to think it’s a big deal when a young superstar gets the win. On a side note, Zach Ryder got one hell of a heel reaction from the fans. He was more over than anyone previously out there. Sheamus, on the other hand, was greeted with pure apathy. Thankfully, his squash was short.

The “main event” was a sloppy outing between Vladamir Kozlov and Tommy Dreamer. I was pumped to see Dreamer during his improbable title run, as any old school ECW fan would be, but having your champion job in a short match really doesn’t help the champ…or the brand.

Now by this point I want to say that it was already eight o’clock (with the first match starting at 6:45) and the crowd was getting a little worn out. To further kill the audience, we got Superstars. ECW gave us one of the Bella Twins against Katie Lea, with the predictable “switcheroo” finish coming way too long into the match. Smackdown’s contributions were a forgettable Cryme Time/Hart match where Shad and JTG again for some reason got the win. Our Superstars “main event” was a Mysterio/Ziggler promo that was decent, but just highlighted the illogical nature of pro wrestling. At the end of the promo, Mysterio was left in the ring shaking his fist at Dolph, when it was clear that they were like five feet from one another. I guess the reality of wrestling (to borrow a phrase from a fellow columnist) is killed when you see the show live.

Smackdown was all about CM Punk, which is great. The opening promo between Punk and Hardy continued Punk’s “being a face while being booed” by mocking Jeff for championing the fact that he hadn’t tested positive for drugs in a year. The kids still cheered Hardy, who was MASSIVELY over. Who would have thought that the biggest star on Smackdown would be Jeff Hardy? It just shows you how absolutely stacked RAW is despite not being as entertaining.

Punk/Morrison was a (as Jim Ross would say) spirited outing, but to be honest it was a bit forgettable. The new “heel” Punk seems to be relying on rest-holds, which is great at getting the audience to hate you, but after sitting for about two hours already, it runs the risk of killing the live crowd. Morrison’s fluke win was a nice continuation of his assent to the main event, but again the audience was really indifferent to John.

A lot of Smackdown was a blur, with some nonsense featuring Layla and Ricky Ortiz (who sucks a lot in real life too) and a WAY too long R-Truth/Kane match. We also got our second Hart/Cryme Time match of the night, and its tough for the audience to pretend to be excited about seeing these four wrestle again (even if it did include Eve Torres and Natalya Neidhart and Natalya’s muffin top).

I was pissed that we were being saddled with an Edge interview, which would be great on television but the live audience sort of gets cheated out of a match. On top of that, we in the live crowd only heard Edge’s responses to questions that weren’t broadcast over the PA. Brilliant. Speaking of brilliant, Jerichos’ promo where he somehow turned Edge face AND made the already irate crowd more upset was a thing of pure beauty. His main event match with Ziggler against Jeff and Mysterio was forgettable, with Hardy and Rey laid out while Punk just watched on.

End of live show. Sadly, the show didn’t end there. By this point over three hours into the show, we were promised a dark match main event cage match. My fiancé, who was a real trooper sitting through A LOT of wrestling with a smile, came to a realization that most of the audience failed to. She asked me if the Punk/Hardy main event was televised. I explained to her that it was a dark match, and with all the sarcasm intended, that we were lucky enough to get to watch it. She then pointed out that the title was on the line, and who would believe that the company would let the champion lose in a non-televised match. Suddenly, the entire WWE live events concept lost all of its air for the children sitting around us.

The match…if you can call it that…lasted three minutes. Punk got in the ring, got tossed around by Hardy, Hardy went for a Swanton, missed, Punk escaped and the match was over. BUT WAIT, there’s more. Punk went back into the ring and cut yet another promo on Hardy, who laid him out with a Twist of Fate to send the paying masses home happy (and exhausted). In perhaps the greatest moment of the night, a dejected Punk teased throwing his shirt to the crowd when he at the last moment tossed it back into the cage. CM Punk as a heel is going to make the WWE a lot of money.

With that said…

You want fire, ashes, see me lyin face down, RAW is WAR is…uh…on television.

Again, RAW is opening with the live crowd shot rather than a video replay. The company wastes no time hyping ZZ Top’s appearance, which means I should just infuse as many “Back to the Future”-isms as I can.

Cena opens the show to a MASSIVE pop. Wow. If he got that pop every week, RAW would be doing a 10.0. My fiancé just pointed out that watching RAW with commentary is better than no commentary. When Cole is a better option, you know that R-Truth match sucked.

Our main event is Cena/Hunter versus Legacy. Super. Meh.

Cena’s excited for some reason. Cena pretends to be a fan at home and apparently we at home are supposed to mark out for ZZ Top. Apparently it’s 1990 all over again. John then goes right back into hype mode and calls the triple threat match the greatest match of all time. You know, like at Wrestlemania 24 where the match was so dull the power went out. Cena also called this triple-threat the main event of Wrestlemania, even though the true main event was Taker/Edge. And the show stealer was Flair/Michaels. And the Orton/HHH/Cena match was dull as hell. But no, it’s going to be awesome next Sunday. Buy the PPV. Don’t torrent it. I’m sure it’ll be totally worth it. After all, as Cole told us last week, Hunter’s in the best shape of his career. For reals.

Orton’s out now, still rocking the t-shirt and no pants. Orton then reminds us that he won at Wrestlemania. Oh yeah, and Orton’s said “kicked” for the first time tonight. Seriously, pick something other than “kicked” or “punted” or any other soccer term. Soccer doesn’t exactly denote excitement.

Cena cuts off Orton’s promo and admits that he, like everyone else, wasn’t paying attention to Randy. Not gonna lie, I kinda tuned him out too. Cena then talks about Orton’s theme song and points out that it makes no damn sense whatsoever. The song might have worked for Snitsky, but whatever.

John just said he’s pounding Orton’s head into mush, so to the TV-PG rating I say, “FUCK YOU!” The TV-PG rating is going to ruin the WWE’s edge. Pound your face into mush? Are you serious? You gonna give him a knuckle sandwich on top of it? Look, I’m glad kids are in the crowd, but this is ridiculous.

Cena challenges Orton “right here, right now”, and in a complete swerve, Legacy comes running out of the crowd. That’s stunning. Completely unexpected. Its like Creative found an old script from a ten year old episode of RAW and just replaced “Austin” with “Cena” and “Legacy” with “Corporation” and “Triple H” with…well…they could keep that.

Speaking of the Game, he shows up and Legacy just leaves despite the fact that they have the numbers advantage still. How can you be an effective heel team if you can’t hold the advantage in a three-on-two situation? Hunter calls Legacy “girls”, which is the height of wit. Triple H, in the lie of the century, says that he doesn’t care if he wins the WWE Title. See Internet Community, he really never cared about the belt. Guess all of the years of conspiracy theories were just all wrong.

Triple H and John Cena sort of bury Seth Green while name dropping Hornswaggle and Hobbits, to ensure that the geek-dom marks out. Hunter finally gets to the point and talks about how Legacy got beat by the star of “Can’t Hardly Wait.” Orton then decides to make the main event a handicap match, which means that Orton must be a member of ZZ Top.

John and Hunter try desperately to make this segment light-hearted and funny, but the audience just isn’t buying it. Cena does his shtick about how no one would take this handicap match but then he accepts. Somehow the white hot crowd is now dead. Then, finally, Cena officially accepts as Cole asks if they know what they’re doing. No, Cole, they didn’t read the script. This is pure shoot.

Lawler and Cole (now wearing a suit and tie) are on camera verbally blowing ZZ Top. ZZ Top are in the back, which is a smart idea. Don’t let them in front of a live crowd or anything, because its not like they ever have to control a live audience. Santino shows up for a Z-grade SNL skit (not a ZZ Top joke, a joke about the lack of comedy) with them as they put a fake beard on Santino. He somehow now looks like Charlie Daniels. ZZ Top then starts singing, which goes on way too long with Santino pretending to play guitar. Great Scott!

Commercial.

Last week Big Show made Evan Bourne look like a complete bitch. This week, we get to watch it again on replay. Thanks Castrol GTX. Too bad the JVC Kaboombox was unavailable to sponsor this week’s Squash of the Week.

Kofi Kingston comes out first as this match is actually SPONSORED by Dave and Busters. Are you kidding me? We’re sponsoring matches now? This is absolutely insane! Speaking of insane, we get a six-pack challenge at Night of Champions between Kofi/MVP/Carlito/Swagger/Miz/Show. On the one hand, it makes sense to get them on television. On the other hand, what was the point of watching weeks of Kofi/Show?!

Speaking of things no one understands, here comes Primo, who should do nicely to take the pin in this match. The third member of the team is MVP.

First out for team “boo!” is Jack Swagger and his slick new haircut. His partner is the other half of the ex-Useless Colons, Carl Ito. Carl (to make him evil, we’re gonna make him non-Latin) is wearing black arm socks to show he is in fact a bad guy. Speaking of bad guys, Big Show is out and he seems angry. Or surly. Or hungry. Either way, he looks annoyed and is pretty annoying.

So Swagger and Kofi are starting out, and you can already see dollar signs at the possibility of these two working together. Anyway, the Six Pack Challenge lets the WWE get a lot of guys who would have been away on television. On top of it, it doesn’t force the company to put the gold on Show. In the ring, MVP and Kofi just dropped Swagger and MVP goes for the Ballin’ Elbow but Carl pulls Jack out of the ring. As he leaves, we make like a tree and get outta here.

Commercial.

We’re back with the electrifying combination of Kofi Kingston and The Big Show. Why would ZZ Top book such a match? Wouldn’t you think they would book a Divas match too? Carl comes in and starts wailing on Kingston. Looking at a match like this and adding Bourne and Miz and the RAW midcard feels pretty solid. Sadly, that means that MVP and Big Show are now midcarders. Carl hit a great dropkick that looks like it might have made some contact. Watching these guys just makes me think of all of the great potential for RAW, but somehow two of the three feuds here are so uninteresting. Kingston is no Mysterio, so his feud with Show feels recycled. Primo and Carl is a poor man’s Rockers break-up, and Primo’s sloppy antics have been anything but awe-inspiring. MVP and Swagger could be an intriguing match of future headliners, but Swagger’s clean win last week still seemed illogical.

Speaking of illogical, Carl goes for the Backstabber but Show spears him by accident and Primo wins with a head-butt. So in a match with five guys in the US Title match, the winner is the guy not even in the bout. After Primo wins, Big Show becomes my favorite superstar ever as he just lays out Primo. Show, diminishing his awesomeness, proceeds to lay out everyone else. Cole talks about how Show made a statement, which would make sense except for the fact that he’s done it like a hundred times. If anything, Big Show made a familiar statement. Cole thanks Dave and Busters for sponsoring this match-up…seriously Vince, how much money do you need?

We get MORE ZZ Top and Santino because that’s what the fans demand. Santino turns talking about Big Show into talking about ZZ Top’s big…show….ugh. Thankfully, Jericho shows up to save us as Jericho calls them all icons. Chris calls Fozzy 25% as good as ZZ Top, and that Jericho should jam with them. See, this is how you let a Superstar interact with celebrities and make it count. ZZ Top then book a match with Chris against Mark Henry. This leads to them singing and pretending to play instruments. A match against the World’s Strongest Man, how could I have been so careless?

Commercial.

Cole continues to whore the ZZ Top concert. The Brian Kendrick lobbies to be Jericho’s partner and then Kendrick starts to berate Jerry Lawler. Kendrick was half of the tag champs for a year with his partner (name of partner erased from the record books per edict of Mr. McMahon). Shockingly, Jerry Lawler enters the ring. Wow, who saw this coming? Lawler announces Kendrick’s opponent…Jerry Lawler. Now Lawler’s stealing from Mister Kennedy…Kennedy. The audience immediately starts chanting for Lawler, though something tells me that the deserving Kendrick won’t beat the announcer. Hell, based on the way he’s been booked lately, they’d probably put Cole over Kendrick.

I really wish that the WWE would have gone through with it and made Kendrick Jericho’s partner, but it looks like that’s not going to happen when Brian jobs to The King. At the moment, however, Kendrick has the advantage. And as I type that, Jerry starts punching Kendrick in the head. Lawler just threw a dropkick, which makes me wish Jim Ross were on commentary. Kendrick then shows the Lawler how to throw a real dropkick but The Kendrick gets countered into a second rope right hand for…the pin. Seriously? If you’re going to use Kendrick to put over announcers, just release him to TNA where he can go job for someone more deserving…like Kevin Nash. But he’s no good at confrontation.

Commercial.

Josh Matthews and Mickie James are on the stage for some reason. Matthews reminds us that Maryse beat Mickie last week. Wow Mickie, HD is not kind to you. James then said it’s Night of Champions, not Night of Trampions. Get it? Because Maryse is a tramp. Remember, Maryse did Playboy, which is trampy. Unlike Mickie, who did hardcore fetish shoots with photos that were more appropriate for an anatomy book.

The Miz comes out to point out the obvious that Maryse is sexy and Mickie will work at a Waffle House. Miz compared Mickie to Rachel Ray, which is dead-on. Mickie then asked if Miz gets his material from the Net, but he’s too busy Twittering. This distraction is enough for Maryse to come out and spray Mickie in the eyes with hair spray. I love the way they set this up to look like the Old School interview slot. I half expect Hercules to get hit with a briefcase.

We see Mark Henry walking to the ring. I don’t want any trouble with no reefer addicts.

Commercial. Punk versus Mysterio on Smackdown.

We’re back with Jericho coming to the ring without any of his gold. What’s the point of that? Why not make Chris look like a legit superstar? This just seems illogical. On a side note, is it wrong that I secretly hope that Jericho’s tag partner is going to be Christian? How awesome would that be? On a side note to my side note, how much does it suck that the WWE didn’t pull the trigger on an Edge/Christian in-ring showdown?

The World’s Strongest Man smiles his way down to the ring, and I can only pray that this week will yet again be a short Mark Henry match. Jericho’s expression just sold Henry as more of a threat than years of Henry matches ever could. Seriously, just give Chris the damn book.

Jericho keeps running in and out of the ring while Cole and Lawler read the Edge/Jericho transcript from Friday with all of the enthusiasm of a porn star doing Shakespeare. And not in a necrophilia kind of way, perverts. Cole reminds us that Mark Henry is the World’s Strongest Man, and that this isn’t fake. Unlike Triple H, who really isn’t King of Kings. The United States doesn’t permit monarchies.

Henry is now literally and figuratively squashing Jericho. Thankfully, Chris gets the advantage by using the highly skilled “move out of the way”. I think he used that in a match with Tiger Mask. Wow, Mark Henry has left a giant sweat stain in the middle of the ring. In the right light, it looks like Jesus, and hasn’t Jesus suffered enough that he shouldn’t be forced to watch a Mark Henry match?

Mark is tossing Jericho around the ring, but has yet to do a real wrestling move. Wait, I take it back, he just pulled off the giant swing. Cole asks when the last time we saw that was, and I remind you that the WWE just re-hired Eugene. I’m glad they did because Nick Dinsmore got a raw deal. Not a RAW deal, just a raw deal.

Jericho goes for the Walls put Henry launches him out of the ring, which allows Chris to get a chair and hit Henry for the DQ. Henry then no-sells a chair shot and launches Jericho into Cole! Cole got laid out! Awesome! Cole might be out cold, making Mark Henry the greatest wrestler ever! Jericho goes for the Codebreaker but it gets turned into the World’s Strongest Slam. The World’s Strongest man celebrates. Weight has nothing to do with it.

Before commercial break, we get one more replay of Jericho being launched into Cole. I think someone’s gotta turn that into their avatar.

Oh no, more ZZ Top. Chavo shows up to remind us that he should be treated with dignity so ZZ Top make another match with Hornswoggle, which leads them to call this a “Sharp Dressed Man” match. Hey kid, what’s with the life preserver? You jump ship?

Commercial.

Hornswoggle comes out in a tiny tux and I just can’t take any more. This RAW has been absolutely unbearable. Chavo comes out in a tux where his legs were sewn together. I can’t…I just can’t. Look, I understand that there needs to be comedy matches, but so far on RAW we’ve already seen an announcer go over a talented wrestler and now yet again we’re going to watch a former world champion lose to a midget. In the end, Chavo gets stripped to his boxers.

Cena and Hunter in the back have a bromance moment until Hunter talks about how he lied earlier about not wanting to win the gold, so I guess the Net was right all along! Whoa!

Commercial.

RAW Fact is that RAW is the longest running show ever. But enough about the length of tonight’s episode…

Santino and ZZ Top continue to do shtick that isn’t funny. Why the hell wouldn’t they put them in the ring? Kelly Kelly shows up in denim shorts to dance, which just makes me miss Stacy Keibler. This leads to the rest of the Divas parading into the shot to whore dance. This ends with Santino taking his pants off, and even ZZ Top decide to leave. Oh how I envy them.

Cole and Lawler are in the ring hyping Night of Champions.

Jericho, disheveled, is leaving until Legacy show up and talk about jumping Jericho. They don’t because they want to see who his tag team partner is. That makes sense. Again, Legacy is two-on-one but STILL don’t attack. Please break them up. Please. Cody Rhodes mentions Jericho’s father, but Jericho turns around and buries Dusty. In the end, Teddy threatens to have Orton kick Jericho in the head, but Chris then says that Orton could be his partner. Ooo…what a swerve. Hey, he could run for mayor.

Commercial.

Kelly Kelly and Gail Kim are next against Rosa Mendes and Alicia Fox. Sadly, this match is still in contention for match of the night. Gail Kim has been very spirited thus-far in the match, but Rosa and Alicia have been trading off pounding on her. Cole then points out that he’s wearing a tie this week, so I guess he got my memo from last Monday. Kelly gets tagged in and gets a spinning headscissors, hits a handspring elbow and a legdrop. Gail and Kelly double dropkick Rosa out of the ring but Alicia gets a surprise roll-up pin even though Kelly was clearly in the ropes. Brilliant. Even Cole seems apathetic as he says this was a big win. Hey you, get your damn hands off her!

Commerical.

ZZ Top actually show up in the arena to polite applause. Cole puts them over for doing a great job hosting RAW, which when you consider the source, makes sense. Legacy comes out looking shiny and confident. Triple H comes out first for his team to even more deafening polite applause. Hunter can, this Sunday, win the belt a 14th time. Flair who? Lawler talks about how Hunter can electrify the crowd, though I’m pretty sure he’s talking about the wrong late 90’s superstar. Lawler then said that there aren’t any words to describe Hunter’s feelings about Orton. How about hatred? That word works. Intense dislike? Palpable anger? Disgust? Mildly annoyed?

Cena comes out and Lawler says now that HE electrifies the crowd. Just pay the money and have Dwayne guest host a RAW. I don’t really even have the spirit to talk about this match. We’ve seen it a thousand times. What Lorraine? What?

Commercial.

The “G.I. Joe” commercials feature “American Badass”. Reason enough to not see the movie.

And we’re back as Marine II and Marine I double-clothesline each other. Hunter then gets tagged in only for him to (finally) succumb to three-on-one. Next week’s guest host is Shaq, which is actually a HUGE name for the WWE. Shaq’s a wrestling fan and his involvement with Hogan in WCW years ago was a legitimately major “get”. Now it’ll be good enough to pop the ratings. Will Shaq work a match? Now THAT would get people to tune in.

You know what probably doesn’t get the fans to tune in? A Cody Rhodes front facelock on Triple H. Seriously, this resthold has been on for several painstaking minutes. Lawler said Cody and Teddy are Clone-like, which is either a “Star Wars” reference or a “Spiderman” reference, but it has nothing to do with “Back to the Future”, so I must apologize for the crudity of his reference.

Hunter still going for the hot tag after three minutes only to eat a DDT. I’m begging for this match (and this night) to be over. Who knew that taking the Bar would actually be a less painful experience than watching this week’s RAW? What the hell was advanced storyline-wise? The main event is in a holding pattern for two months, Henry keeps getting an inexplicable babyface push, Santino keeps participating in unfunny skits and Chavo and Kendrick were reminded that having a job in the WWE is perilous.

Hunter and Orton are now both down on the mat as the ref starts a ten count, and the fact that the three-on-two match has had zero effect on the faces is just insane. Cena’s in the ring NBA Jam style as he clears the ring and Cody is lying in the center of the ring about to eat a Five Knuckle Shuffle. FU but it gets blocked but Cody is in the STFU but Marine II breaks it up. Damn you! Let this thing end! Let this late-term abortion of a RAW come to an abrupt end.

Orton goes for the kick, he misses and gets rolled up for the pin. So Cena pins Orton. What does that mean? Well that means Cena’s not winning the gold on Sunday.
Roads. Where we’re going we don’t need roads. Because no one at Night of Champions drives.

This Sunday we get to re-live Wrestlemania 24 as we go back…to the future. Well, the past, but you get it.

This has been for your consideration.

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