For Your Consideration…Jerry Springer Hosts RAW. I’m Serious.

For Your Consideration…Jerry Springer Hosts RAW. I’m Serious.

Another week, another RAW. Decent news week this week for professional wrestling, with several stories coming from all ends of the spectrum. Unfortunately, due to a series of personal matters (including the passing of my grandmother), my time this week has been a bit limited in terms of writing my column. I will absolutely take the two and a half hour mental break to watch RAW and compose my Judicial Review, but unfortunately it does not leave me a lot of recreational time to comment on the other events going on in Sports Entertainment with the depth I normally do. Also, next week there will not be a “For Your Consideration” column as I am going to be out of town to go take the Florida Bar Exam. In the meantime, you can keep up with all things FYC related on my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=profile&id=100000654073648 or on my Twitter site: twitter.com/awheeler316.

Before I begin, I will just lightly touch on some of the issues going on, though I again state that time is my enemy here so they will be more brief bullet points and not a thorough analysis.

First, there’s the news that Bobby Lashley has officially departed TNA. Allow me a minute for the shock to settle in. Anyone who has been a longtime reader of mine knows my feelings on Bobby Lashley, and they aren’t good. While I was never a fan of Lashley in the WWE, I did see how Vince could find potential in a man his size with his athletic physique and skill potential. Notice I said skill potential and not skill, because anyone who has watched the bulk of his work knows that he was at best competent and at worst he was like an Alzheimer’s patient in a supermarket.

My frustration with Bobby Lashley stemmed less from the fact that he wasn’t great in the ring and more from his pure ambivalence towards pro wrestling in general. The WWE, the fans and the entire wrestling community didn’t really appreciate when Brock Lesnar turned his back on the enterprise to go attempt to make a fortune doing anything other than sullying his name in a wrestling ring, so why would Bobby Lashley think we would forgive and forget with him? Lesnar had immense amounts of talents in the ring, and if it weren’t for some truly incompetent booking on the part of Creative, he probably would have been an even bigger star than he was (a highly touted botched Wrestlemania moonsault aside). Lashley did not have the goodwill that Lesnar had accrued, so when he abandoned wrestling like a pile of refuse in order to stake his fortune in the world of MMA, the fans were upset but not outraged.

My outrage (that I spewed forth in a column that’s somewhere in my archive) came from the fact that Lashley couldn’t leave well enough alone. I can accept someone leaving wrestling because they believe that they can make their money in another arena. That’s fine with me. People can pull up their spikes and move their tents to wherever they can make the most money. If Bobby Lashley had stuck with Strikeforce and he became a great success, then that’s all fine and dandy. Unfortunately, Lashley decided that rather than just leave pro wrestling as a carcass on the side of the road, he would use it up like some girl desperate for attention and willing to do anything for affection. Rather than go back to the WWE and their so-called “heavy” schedule, the guy who didn’t have to pay too many dues to begin with went with the lighter schedule of TNA. And TNA took him with open arms, because TNA is in fact that pathetic. Yes, I’m forgoing my standard tongue-in-cheek and going with straight vitriol because I am going to be damned if that fool is going to be allowed to continue to make pro wrestling his whipping boy. He made it known every chance he could get that MMA was his passion and that wrestling just paid the bills, as if he was some amazing actor who had to wait tables to keep the lights on. And the worst part is that TNA allowed him to use them because they thought they were going to use him. Sure enough, Bobby beat them to the punch. He wrestled (and beat) Samoa Joe and he never even got to have his extended “dream” feud with Kurt Angle. His final angle in TNA was that of someone who hated the business, said it was beneath him and then walked out on the company. Oh, and anyone that thinks it was noble of him to leave by getting “beaten down” by Abyss in that lame pretape can save their collective breath. Bobby Lashley used TNA, and when he saw the cash cow of Strikeforce within his grasp, he fled. But don’t be fooled; the minute that guy loses a match and is no longer MMA material, he’ll be right back on TNA. Hell, he’ll probably be main eventing.

Speaking of the parade of fools that is TNA, they announced that they are going to go head-to-head with the WWE starting in March. Are you fucking serious? Are you fucking SERIOUS? TNA has a deathwish, plain and simple. They simply cannot compete in any substantial way with the WWE, which is kinda sad when you consider the fact that RAW has essentially phoned it in the past several months with guest stars and wacky DX hijinks along with the occasional Chris Masters match and they still pull in substantially larger numbers than TNA.

Hell, like I said before, ECW was pulling in numbers that weren’t all that far off from TNA’s. They were a half a ratings point away from TNA and what did the WWE do? They scrapped the entire show. And who the hell was on that ECW roster anyway that the so-called mainstream fan was dying to see? Christian? William Regal? Look at TNA’s roster on paper alone and it’s absolutely stupefying to believe that they are pulling in the anemic numbers they pull in. You know what? Let them move to Monday Nights and embarrass themselves when they say they got roughly half the audience that RAW pulled in. What does TNA think they can pull out of their hats that will beat Vince at this point? They already busted out Jeff Hardy, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, the n.W.o. and Mister Kennedy and it maybe got them a .3 increase. The WWE has the major “stars” right now in pro wrestling, and those guys are staying put. Do you really think Randy Orton is going to abandon the WWE and his guaranteed $600k for main eventing Wrestlemania to go work in an amusement park in Orlando? Is John Cena going to say no thanks to his merchandise deal to go work with Matt Morgan? Triple H, The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels might all be older, but they sure as hell know where their bread is buttered. TNA has no secret card that they can play. They already played it, and it didn’t really work. The audience didn’t tune in in massive droves. Worst of all, they have next to no support from the IWC, a community that seems to thrive on ripping apart the WWE. No one (at least no one who is sane) is saying that the fans should turn their back on Sheamus and the WWE roster to watch what TNA is producing. It isn’t happening. And as for the nostalgia kick? I have friends who used to watch wrestling who flip the channels now and run across the Nasty Boys on TNA and they realize why they were embarrassed in the first place to ever say they liked wrestling.

So sure, move TNA to Monday Nights, because nothing will make me happier than to see them go under and the talent they have wind up in the WWE. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Styles/Michaels or another Joe/Punk. Would you?

One last note on TNA before I get to Monday Night RAW. Last night they had their PPV event Sussuido (to paraphrase an old Eric S. joke), which was a no-win proposition for the company. I was going to help contribute to the Roundtable but then I realized that I was going to be fighting an uphill battle against logic and lose. The show itself, when you read it on paper, kinda sorta makes sense. TNA wants to promote itself as the wave of the future, so it is going to allow a lot of the younger guys to get the spotlight. It’s almost as if TNA knows what we want but is unable to give it to us. They are just so close in getting it right, but they miss by such a wide margin in execution that it’s either incompetence or indifference.

Take the main event: Styles versus Joe. The fans always love to see AJ Styles wrestle Samoa Joe. We like it just like we love Angle/Styles, but then again with the way that TNA beat that into the ground recently I’d rather watch Cena/Orton one more time. Here, TNA could have given us a straight up wrestling match. Instead, we go Styles parading around as a poor man’s Ric Flair because Hulk Hogan doesn’t believe that the TNA Champion and face of the company has what it takes to be a main eventer on his own and wants to make him a major heel. Instead, he created Charles Robinson Part 2. Joe, on the other hand, is so lost in the smoke here that I wouldn’t blame him if he too decided to take his shot in MMA. The match was written in our minds before it even happened. No one expected it to be remotely clean, and the shenanigans pulled down what should be an automatic three and a half star match to begin with. That’s how good Styles and Joe are and how bad TNA is. TNA right now isn’t making their GOOD wrestlers look good, which is a bad sign.

As for their Eight Man STUD Tournament (which sounds like a review at a gay burlesque show), they opted to go with mostly clean finishes but also with mostly dull matches. Elijah Burke versus Mister Kennedy was their main event on PPV. On Pay Per View. On a program that people who didn’t torrent it or stream it had to pay for, TNA gave us Future Endeavored Black Guy from ECW versus Future Endeavored White Guy from Behind Enemy Lines: Newark.

I’m all for giving new guys a chance, but the message this sent was the same one they tried so hard to avoid: Former WWE guys will always trump home-grown talent. Even worse, the bulk of the matches on this show were forgettable. Kennedy beat Angle by using a chain with dog tags so that they can now feud, Abyss beat Foley but thanks to some asinine stipulation he needs to now unmask (because, according to Hogan, Abyss is their John Cena…right). Morgan beats Hernandez in a match with enough blown spots that I can’t believe TNA thinks it’s a smart idea to let their guys wrestle live EVER. Oh, and Burke beat Nigel in the opening match. Smart.

In the end, they made Elijah Burke the #1 Contender against AJ Styles. It doesn’t really mean anything. Styles is neutered to the point where it almost feels like he’s being punished, and as for Burke, I just don’t buy it. Look, he isn’t the first guy to rip off The Rock, but doing it as a face is difficult. For example, just look at The Rock when he was a face. He was a highwire act to keep the fans from completely turning on him on an almost nightly basis at some points. His shtick is best aped by a midcard heel, which was Burke’s perfect role. Instead, TNA has to pump him up to be something truly special against a guy that was special enough without Ric Flair giving him his endorsement.

TNA is a company who has a champion pretending to be a legend, a number one contender that couldn’t cut it on ECW and a television show going live on Monday Nights against RAW at a point in time where RAW is building to Wrestlemania and is actually producing a show with forward momentum. Thank goodness this is a private company without shareholders or I’d be busting out the Business Judgment Rule.

Enough of this, this went way too long, time for…

The Judicial Review: Monday Night RAW

“It’s not over…”

For those of you expecting me to cover the Westminster Kennel Dog Show, I hate to disappoint you but I’ll be covering wrestling tonight.

RAW opens with the singing of our National Anthem, because for those of you who had to work all day, today is in fact President’s Day. Happy birthday President Coolidge.

We transition from our National Anthem to a song by a bunch of Canadians who have less fans on Facebook than a pickle. Pyro, ballyhoo and enthusiasm welcome us to cable TV’s hottest show, which is live from Iowa. So in case you were wondering what was going on in the middle of nowhere, now you know.

Jerry Springer is the host of tonight’s show, and in addition to mediating bad relationships, he’s going to let Bret Hart have a live microphone. Also, Batista is going to respond to John Cena. After he gave the best promo of his life on Smackdown, how can he top it tonight?

RAW is opening with Sheamus, and in order to appease the sensitivity of some readers, I will refrain from calling his unnatural screaming a retarded yell (though I will point out that the term retarded is in fact a legitimate legal definition still in the 21st century).

Last week, Sheamus kicked Randy Orton, the guy who normally kicks people. What’s next? Dogs and cats living together?

Cole is forced to hype CNBC’s coverage of the dog show. Man, remember when there would be no RAW the week of the dog show because those bitches used to pull in better ratings than this? It would be the only time all year I would actually watch Nitro, and yet it didn’t make me want to stick with their product live. Too bad for TNA USA finally came to its senses and decided to move those puppies to another channel.

Randy Orton and his voices, baby oil and natural tan comes down to the ring for the first of three “blockbuster” Elimination Chamber matches. Sheamus looks on with bearded confusion as Randy poses. I love how the WWE didn’t waste any time to give us this match more than once.

Sheamus backs Orton into the corner and he does his…uh…slightly less mentally stable yell. I tell you what, I’ll just say that he yells O’Doyle Rules and leave it at that. Sheamus points on Orton and Cole calls him rough and tough. Cole then beats into our skulls that the Elimination Chamber is a wrestler’s last chance to main event Wrestlemania. Sheamus now starts pounding his chest like Chris Farley faking a heart attack before going for the bicycle kick. Orton slithers out of the ring like some sort of reptile to miss the kick, and runs right into a…

Commercial.

We’re back and Orton is delivering the feared Garvin Stomp onto Sheamus. Legacy strolls down to the ring, which distracts Orton and allows Sheamus to take over. He then institutes his own stomps and punches, making this a catch-as-catch-can match for the brawling sect.

Orton combats the stomps and punches with stomps and punches before finally hitting a dropkick. What does he follow that up with? You guessed it, stomps. On the plus side, they’re versatile stomps. Well…versatile in terms of where he stomps.

Randy now starts pounding his fists into the ground and goes for the RKO but Sheamus ducks out of the way and the move is kinda botched and Sheamus winds up outside. Long story short, Orton rams Sheamus into the steel. Teddy jumps Sheamus but Sheamus fights him off. Cody charges Sheamus and gets Randy disqualified. Cole lets out an “Uh oh” that really should have been followed by “Spaghetti-Ohs” based on the pitch.

Legacy pleads with Orton and blame each other before Orton RKO’s Cody. Sheamus bicycle kicks Teddy and Orton fucking snaps and RKO’s Sheamus. The audience ERUPTS, and if they wanted to turn Orton face, that just did it. I mean, they won’t, but it would have.

Bret Hart is in the back in a lime green shirt and he means bidness. Fun fact: he used to wear his mirrored sunglasses so that he could hide his nervous darting eyes. Well not that fun a fact, but a fact nonetheless.

Commercial.

We’re back and Jerry “Ed Hardy” Lawler and Michael “Casual Male” Cole throw us to an overly long recap package of the Bret Hart saga.

Speak of the devil, here comes Bret Hart. Hart says it’s no real shock that Vince McMahon isn’t there tonight. He says that he would have waited for Vince at his car, at his limo and at his hotel. Uh, I’m no expert but I think someone needs to explain to him the concept of stalking. That is, unless he’s planning on reviving the old Stalker gimmick. That would make some damn money.

Fans chant “Bret” before Hart says that he was looking for retribution but then Vince spit in his face and attacked him. Bret’s upset that McMahon said that he deserved to be screwed, so Bret says that McMahon deserves to have the holy hell beat out of him. That’s…like…your…opinion, man.

Hart says that Vince is under the bottom of the barrel. Bret says it would have been so sweet to have one last match at Wrestlemania, but Vince lied about giving him one more match. Victory lasts for a lifetime, but excellence lasts forever. Good line. Put it on a t-shirt. Bret thanks the Superstars for welcoming him back and then he thanks-cringe-the WWE Universe. Bret also thanks John Cena, because for the last few weeks, Hart got to live a last few special moments. I don’t understand why Bret has chosen to dye his hair with this cinnamon sable instead of jet black, since that was his look. Bret decides that he is going to take this opportunity to say goodbye, so he pulls a Mick Foley and a Ric Flair and he fake leaves wrestling.

Bret is in the back and he shakes hands with Kofi Kingston. If this ends with his limo exploding, I quit. Bret says goodbye to Jack Swagger and Alicia Fox. Primo gets a moment in the sun, and Bret modifies the old Mark Wahlberg line and tells him to “Say hello to your dad for me.” Gail Kim hugs Bret, Evan Bourne shakes his hand and that’s it. The best he could get was upper midcard?

Cole and Lawler use the super cereal voice to let us know this is real. We now see Bret Hart and John Cena walking in the back. Cena says that everyone has nothing but respect, but Cena wants him for Wrestlemania. John shakes his hand and Bret says to call him when he’s at Stampede. Off camera, we get an…ugh…car accident and Bret’s leg gets pinned between the limo door and another car. Well I guess he decided he couldn’t actually wrestle after all. Fake acting fills up several minutes before Bret’s leg gets put in a cast and he’s stretchered out. And to think he was only moments away from retirement. Wait, I think I saw this movie…

Commercial.

The Biz is out now and they are fighting a reunited Team Random Black Guys. MVP and Mark Hey-Hey Henry are out and Cole reminds us that we can watch dogs jump through hoops live on CNBC.

MVP and The Miz start it off and MVP beats him into the corner. Porter then kicks Miz in the head, out of the ring and right into a…

Commercial.

We’re back and Big Show has Mark Henry laid out and he’s going for the overly telegraphed Vader Bomb that shockingly doesn’t hit. I know it looks impressive but he takes so damn long that everyone can see it coming. MVP comes in now and he bounces off Show for a bit. He gets Show in the corner and hits the Ghetto Blaster. He goes for a second one but Big Show gets a boot up. He tags in Miz, who gets rolled up by MVP out of nowhere for the pin. Guess this is how they’ll get these guys on the EC PPV.

Commercial.

It’s time for Jerry Springer. He says that tonight we will see WWE Superstars Most Intimate Relationships Revealed. First out is Kelly Kelly. Kelly has a confession, and her confession is that she’s pregnant. Zuh? Jerry asks who the father is. She says she’s been in a lot of relationships and she said she doesn’t know who it is. Stop the pain, here comes Santino. This is just too stupid for words.

Santino says it’s an honor to meet Maury Povich before saying he is the father. Kelly says that while Santino was sleeping, she needed someone to finish the job. Michael Cole has a microphone and apparently he fucked Kelly. Lawler says it was him, because he also fucked Kelly. Smart, sexy and powerful Divas. Springer says that Kelly is too old to be Lawler’s girlfriend. Dang. Santino then gets a dig in by asking if Kelly ever saw Grandmaster Sexay.

The Bella Twins come out now and I realize that I made a critical mistake in not drinking before watching this show. They come out and the revelation is that Brie is a man. The twins start fighting and this gets interrupted by Chris Masters. Shoot me now. Kelly says she couldn’t resist. Now Eve Torres comes out and Kelly cannot keep a straight face. Eve and Kelly now start catfighting for a second. This is one of those ideas that sounded bad on paper and worse on execution, kinda like TNA’s PPV.

Eve has a secret and she says she’s been cheating on Chris with…The Great Khali. And to think I had my money on it being the fucking midget. Thankfully all the music cues, in addition to paying for another one of Jim Johnston’s cars, is drowning out the boos. The crowd is entertaining themselves by chanting “Jerry”. Santino asks who the father is and I bet it’s the fucking midget. Sure enough, here comes Hornswoggle. Jerry Springer quits and I can’t blame him.

Lawler tells Springer that it’s all a work. Well, the segment was a work. Everything else is real. Khali’s translator/Creative member says this has been all a waste of time. Lawler says that he’s going to reveal Jerry’s intimate relationship. Cue Mae Young. It’s like they packed all this stupid into RAW because I took the time earlier to put over the product when compared to TNA. Serves me right I guess. On the plus side, they combined all the stupid into one segment.

Commercial.

We’re back and it’s time for DiBiase and Kingston. Kofi delivers some chops and kicks as these to brawl over the title of Least Likely to Win the Elimination Chamber. Hopefully Kingston actually makes it into the cage this year.

Kofi starts leading the claps and charges Teddy in the corner. Teddy moves and Kofi gets hung up in the corner and Teddy hits Dream Street for the pin. That’s it? Khali’s entrance took longer than that.

Alright, time to induct a new Hall of Famer…Antonio Inoki. That’s pretty awesome. I’m also thrilled to see footage of him wrestling Dr. D. We also get footage of him beating Hulk Hogan, shaking Vince Sr’s hand and stills of him fighting Ali.

Commercial.

We’re back with more Cole and Lawler being serious about the whole Bret Hart injury. This leads to a recap of the Elimination Chamber card. As always, stay tuned to see PulseWrestling’s Rasslin Roundtable picks.

Jerry Springer gives his Final Thoughts, and it’s actually about wrestling. He keeps it short and sweet and then Mae Young shows up and they leave together.

John Cena is heading to the ring to confront Batista and wrestle Triple H….next.

Commercial.

Cena comes out and I get to yet AGAIN hear the sound of that damned Spanish guitar and we relieve for the thousandth time the Cena/Batista/Hart/McMahon story.

John Cena says that he did nothing to provoke Batista but he will still fight Batista nonetheless. Thank goodness Cena isn’t involved in the Middle East Peace Process. Cena says he doesn’t make threats, which in it of itself was a threat. Batista appears on the screen live via satellite…in sunglasses. Batista says that Cena wants nothing to do with him, but Dave says that if they are ever in the same ring again, John is going to wish it was a bad dream. Cena says Dave don’t want none of that, but due to them being in two locations, the only thing being abused is the English language.

Dave points out the irony of the fact that Cena only runs his mouth when Batista isn’t there. Dave says that next week he’ll be at RAW. You know, like they promised to give us this week. Cena says that if he wants some, he should come get some. He then rips his shirt off so that he can intimidate him…via satellite. A reader pointed out that it sounded like John Cena was developing a southern drawl, but I attribute that to the fact that Cena used up all his acting prowess in the fake Bret Hart accident so he resorted to pretending to cut a promo for the Crocketts.

Triple H’s music hits and I’m shocked there hasn’t been any mention tonight of his partner and the whole going crazy thing. Cole takes this time to verbally blow Triple H before calling it a big fight feel.

Commercial.

Next week Ty Murray and Jewel are hosting RAW. Yes, you read that correctly. Jewel is hosting RAW next week. That sound you hear is my soul evaporating.

Cena and Hunter lock up and Hunter takes control. He whips Cena from corner to corner. This is the kind of blockbuster match that the WWE needs to use to sell a PPV. Fans aren’t plunking down their money because of a lame Jerry Springer skit. Further, that isn’t going to bring in mainstream fans. My fiancé walked into the room, took one look at the television set and rolled her eyes. She’s willing to accept that I watch wrestling, but even she saw how stupid that thing was.

Hunter is on the outside and Cena follows years of advice and takes a flying leap, but he misses Hunter and crashes into the security barrier. Hunger goes for a Pedigree but it gets reversed into a back bodydrop that almost gets botched, which would have had some serious repercussions for Mania. I wonder if it actually happened would we have heard Vince’s head explode.

Commercial.

We’re back and Triple H has a sleeper on Cena that Cole says he’s had locked on for a number of minutes. Well, they don’t call it a resthold for nothing.

Cena counters and busts out the Five Moves of Mediocrity. He his the Five Knuckle Shuffle and gets Hunter up for the FU but Triple H breaks free and hits a clothesline. Lawler asks if we ever thought we’d see these two main event RAW. Yeah, we would, since we just got it a few weeks ago.

Cena gets dumped on the top turnbuckle to be superplexed, but Cena overpowers him with a headbutt and he goes for the flying legdrop for two. Cena goes for the STFU but Hunter locks in a leg lock but Cena reverses it into the STFU and Hunter accidentally starts to tap before he crawls to the ropes. Cena goes for the FU but Hunter reverses it into a Spinebuster. Then the WWE Title magically flies into the ring, followed by Sheamus. Sheamus bicycle kicks Hunter. He then goes to bicycle kick Cena but misses. He tries again and hits it before yelling O’Doyle Rules. Sheamus now has Hunger and he hits the Razor’s Edge. Sheamus then grabs his title and holds it over his head and Lawler says it’s shocking. That’s the final image we are getting before the PPV, a strong heel champion taking out the two biggest stars on RAW. For all the things there were to bitch about on this week’s show, that sure as hell ain’t one of them. Sure the comedy bit went way too long and accomplished nothing, but at least where it counted we got some storyline advancement.

This has been for your consideration.

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