For Your Considerationâ€¦The RAW Judicial Review for 3/21/11
Welcome back to the longest running, action-adventure, passive-aggressive, Mania-bound-whether-I-like-it-or-not column on the world wide pulse, For Your Consideration. Iâ€™m Andrew Wheeler, and as always, this week brings you a full RAW Judicial Review.
But before getting to that, I want to indulge in the time-honored tradition of leaping to conclusions about Wrestlemania cards before the actual event. This is something that has been done for generations, dating back to the early days of pro wrestling when old timey newsie kids would stand on street corners and yell snarky comments about George Hackenschmidt to unemployed laborers during the depression. Well the newsies have been replaced by the IWC and crippling economic despair has been replaced with iPads, but the tone remains the same.
John Cena v. The Miz:
Anyone with half a brain and a computer (which immediately disqualified the Amish and parts of the South) is going to argue that the WWE has basically turned this into John Cena versus The Rock. And thatâ€™s a fine accusation to make. Vince realized that The Miz on his own doesnâ€™t have the legs to carry a main event feud. In fact, based on the way this has been booked, it wouldnâ€™t surprise me if this wasnâ€™t even close to the original plan.
My guess is that this was being built up to be Cena/Orton as a face/face showdown. Now before you begin to groan about how these two have faced each other a thousand times, let me remind you that they never faced each other one-on-one at Mania and they never faced each other as face versus face. In hindsight, an Orton/Cena match would have done well because it is an established star versus an established star. Even better, the WWE could have continued with the whole â€œburying Cenaâ€ thing, only this time itâ€™s coming out of the mouth of someone who needs that final nudge.
The Miz has been booked as a terrible champion. Through no fault of his own, heâ€™s had his entire championship run built around the fact that he has no business being WWE Champion. And the fans believed it. Miz won the title through wacky shenanigans, defeated Orton in an innovative but weak matter and then had match after match where Alex Riley needed to interfere to keep him afloat. Thatâ€™s fine for a middling transitional champion, but that isnâ€™t a recipe for success when youâ€™re the guy headlining Wrestlemania.
Yes, Miz got a clean win over John Morrison, but thatâ€™s meant less and less when you realize that Morrisonâ€™s momentary push to the top has stalled and heâ€™ll be spending Mania babysitting Snooki. Miz had a great feud with Jerry Lawler, but Lawler is still viewed as an announcer in most peopleâ€™s eyes. Jerryâ€™s been brought out and flattened by a lot of wrestlers over the years, so while itâ€™s great that the company chose to build him up, it didnâ€™t do a ton for Miz. Sure, Miz seemed like less of a goofy heel and more of a dick heel during the feud, but at the end of the day he beat a 60-something announcer (and not always clean).
The announcement of The Rock as the third man in this feud has done wondersâ€¦for The Rock. Cena has been getting slammed week after week, and his â€œknockoutâ€ promo two weeks ago highlighted just how much of a disparity exists between him and Rocky. Miz became a true afterthought, serving as the petulant child butting in during a fight between Mommy & Daddy.
The Rock right now is the biggest name in the WWE, which is great except he isnâ€™t a wrestler in the company. Rock will bring eyeballs to Mania and he is good for a lot of nostalgia buys, but will he still love us tomorrow? The Rock promises to never leave us again, but the draw of a five million dollar payday on a flick will top having to wrestle in Peoria.
Miz has taken over the Chris Jericho role from Wrestlemania X-8, where his feud with Triple H quickly became Hunter/Stephanie, with Jericho as the third wheel. The Miz has laid out Cena a lot over the past several weeks, but he has yet to come across as Johnâ€™s equal. Hell, the WWE wouldnâ€™t let him get a clean win over The Great Khali! Yes, Miz did lay him out with a chair, but that only happened after (a) an Alex Riley save and (b) Khali making Miz look like a chump and getting a DQ win. Let Miz beat him. Let Miz look like a halfway decent champion and maybe heâ€™ll get the credibility needed to make the feud with Cena look credible.
The match itself has little to no heat. We all expect it to end with Cena taking back his title, which will set up the showdown between John and The Rock. Itâ€™s Tyson/Austin all over again, only unlike Mania 14 where Shawn was leaving, The Miz is sticking around.
Wrestlemaniaâ€™s main event is a face-off between two big stars. If Rock relents and hugs Cena, the crowd will turn on it and call it all bullshit. If The Rock drops John, then the biggest star in the company just got bested by someone who hasnâ€™t wrestled in seven years. The only out may be for Cena to turn heel and waylay The Rock, which at least puts heat on someone who will in fact still be a draw in the company in the weeks and months ahead.
Edge v. Alberto Del Rio
Rumors are running rampant that this may become a triple threat match with Christian involved, but until it happens, itâ€™s just a rumor. Edge facing Del Rio one-on-one is fine with me because Alberto has been the closest thing to lightning in a bottle that they WWE has had in a while. Del Rio has worked every time he shouldnâ€™t. He was a babyface masked lucha star who was cast as a dastardly unmasked heel. That sounds like a TNA move, because that company is hell bent on putting people in roles they donâ€™t belong in.
Edge last year got his â€œmain eventâ€ match with Chris Jericho, which was a match that was underwhelming. Edge as a face has never really worked, and while this run has been just fine, thereâ€™s no denying that Edge as a top heel is one of the best in the business today.
Alberto Del Rio winning the Royal Rumble was a pretty big surprise, since the past few years have seen established stars win what is the second biggest match in the company. Since then, Del Rio disposed of Kofi Kingston (while in the process further burying the now relatively useless Intercontinental Title), appeared weekly on RAW and gained a few hundred pounds of dead weight. Donâ€™t get me wrong, I think Brodus Clay has a tremendous look, but he hasnâ€™t been booked as a legitimate threat and he wasnâ€™t really needed to further get Del Rio over.
Edge dropping the belt to Del Rio on the PPV would be a big step for Alberto, but the question is where to go from there. Another Mysterio feud for Del Rio feels way too repetitive, and the thought of him working with Big Show or Kane is nauseating. Maybe drafting someone like John Morrison over to Smackdown would help, but that would take away the spot that may be reserved for Christian.
My biggest fear is that the WWE will go with a triple-threat match and somehow Christian will cost Edge the title. This will set up yet another Edge/Christian singles feud, which for some reason just never fully clicked with the audience.
Jerry Lawler v. Michael Cole w/ Kurt SwAngle
The hottest feud in the company is between an announcer and a former wrestler turned announcer. Michael Coleâ€™s months and months (and months) of awful heel announcing has culminated in him potentially getting his comeuppance at the hands of Jerry Lawler. Lawler also gets his first Wrestlemania match, which will be the â€œfeel goodâ€ moment for the evening.
Will this match be any good? No chance at all. Will it get one hell of a reaction from the fans? You bet. This is the companyâ€™s attempt to do Hart/McMahon again but without the horrendous finish. The minute Cole gets put up for the piledriver, the arena should pop like crazy. Everything else will be shenanigans, which is fine.
The downside to this feud is the addition of Steve Austin as referee. The heat for this match should have stayed on Lawler overcoming the odds, which is why I was fine with JBL as the referee. If they wanted Bradshaw as the ref and SwAngle outside, Steve could have still come down to try and even the odds a little. Now? Thereâ€™s no reason for Lawler to not destroy Cole. The point of having a coach and a ref in on the fix was so that the deck was stacked against Jerry. Sadly that â€œedgeâ€ is lost.
Triple H v. The Undertaker
This feud has buried the entire locker-room and killed the momentum of two potential main event heels. Hunter and Taker are fighting in some sort of bizarro universe where they are top draws and relevant figures. In reality, Undertakerâ€™s been missing for months and Hunterâ€™s been off television for almost a year.
Their story has been outside the regular WWE continuity, which is fine but there are very few people who are ordering Mania to see this match. First, this isnâ€™t HBK/Taker. Shawn performed a miracle and got two incredible and off-the-wall matches from The Undertaker. Triple H isnâ€™t going to do that. He wrestles a slower match, with more ground-and-pound than aerial moves. Second, this is a match that has zero consequence for the WWE. Yes, the Streak is valuable, but there is no chance the company is going to end it, let alone end it before Taker can go for 20 and 0.
The matches should have been Triple H versus Sheamus and Wade Barrett versus The Undertaker. Hunter giving the rub again to Sheamus would have pulled him out of the midcard limbo that heâ€™s been occupying, while at the same time letting both men tell the time-honored â€œrevengeâ€ story. Wade Barrett should have gotten his chance to be a victim for Taker, since he was the one who led the charge to have Undertaker buried alive. The secret to making stars in wrestling is put them in there with established main eventers and have them look like legitimate threats. Thatâ€™s pretty much it.
Instead, weâ€™re getting, to paraphrase George Costanza, a match designed for the glorification of their massive egos. Hunter thinks heâ€™s going to have match of the year, but he isnâ€™t. Theyâ€™ll get plenty of time, but they probably wonâ€™t even be match of the night. Their Wrestlemania 17 match was a very entertaining brawl, but it wasnâ€™t overly memorable. Thatâ€™s what I expect here. Only slower.
Rey Mysterio v. Cody Rhodes
Rey handpicked this match, which means heâ€™s looking to actually be motivated this year. Reyâ€™s stuff with Punk proved that he can still go, and if Rhodes is motivated, he can step up and become a player in the company. Cody has said that heâ€™s looking to steal the show, and while you usually need an opponent with functioning knees, at least here heâ€™s going to give it the old college try anyway. Anything to make people seem more like legitimate stars is a plus in my book.
Sheamus v. Daniel Bryan
These two had a very good RAW match, and maybe with a little more time, they can have a great Wrestlemania match. The one positive to no Money in the Bank this year is that Bryan can have a singles match and a chance to shine, so hopefully this one pans out that way. Sheamus has been booked as such a directionless joke for so long that he needs a little confidence booster. If Bryan can prove himself in that role, heâ€™ll have a job for a decade (while probably doing a lot of jobs for a decade).
John Morrison, Trish Stratus & Snooki v. Dolph Ziggler & LayCool
Morrison and Ziggler are two guys who have become victims of the lack of a MITB match. Unlike Daniel Bryan who is going to have a shot at shining in a singles match, these two are part of the continued trend of â€œcelebrityâ€ matches. Theyâ€™re also part of the continuing trend of Diva matches. Neither of these terms are exciting, so at best Morrison gets his picture on TMZ while the press takes subtle jabs at him while mocking Snooki.
Yes, itâ€™s exposure, and yes, itâ€™s an opportunity to introduce more fans to the two men with the abs they hope will draw in a female audience, but itâ€™s coming at the expense of what would have been Morrisonâ€™s year to win the briefcase on the big stage.
I know thereâ€™s a potential Kane/Big Show/Corre match and another Diva match yet to be announced, but Iâ€™ll spare myself the pain until I make my triumphant return to reclaim my Rasslin Roundtable Wrestlemania Championship.
Remember folks that you can follow me on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/awheeler316), friend me on Facebook and give your feedback in the comments section down below. Now without further adoâ€¦
The RAW Judicial Review for 3/21/11
â€œThe champ is here.â€
No pyro, no ballyhoo and (thankfully) no Nickelback as the Pittsburgh (home of the Vicksburgs) get introduced to Jim Ross. Five bucks this is Cole in a fat suit.
Thereâ€™s the music andâ€¦itâ€™s Cole in a fat suit. Either that or they resigned Ed Ferrara. He does this gimmick for a few minutes until a â€œYou Suckâ€ chant erupts. Cole runs into his Cole Mine, which Iâ€™m about 90% sure is a gay euphemism for anal sex (not that thereâ€™s anything wrong with that).
Here comes Triple H, complete with sewer grate effect, crazy lighting and that mythic gum that he manages to not spit into the crowd. You know, with all of that water spitting, he must be really dehydrated.
Hunterâ€™s entrance gets about a minute, as they blare the music loudly to cover the long-gone cheers. Production cuts to the standard 18-1 shot made by some kid. Canâ€™t believe a tree had to die for that. Couldnâ€™t they have just reused old posters from when it was like 11-1?
Triple H says heâ€™s been in the business for almost twenty years and wonders if this will be the last time heâ€™ll be in that arena. In two weeks heâ€™ll have the defining moment of his career. So in two weeks heâ€™s going back in time to Wrestlemania X-7?
He has no idea what this match will take out of both men. When you consider how injured they already are (and how injury prone they tend to be), this could bankrupt the WWEâ€™s nonexistent health care policy.
Hunter says ending Undertakerâ€™s streak is worth all of his titles combined. Is he not aware what the price of gold is per ounce? Triple H says before they kill each other, he wants him to come to RAW and stand face-to-face and tell him whatâ€™s going to happen at Wrestlemania.
Triple H then quotes Takerâ€™s Johnny Cash song and says that when he ends the streak, itâ€™s done. Taker will go 18-1 and he will relax in peaceful slumber,
Sweet Lord, here comes Teddy DiBiase. Ted says that one year ago he was a rising Superstar in the WWE and wrestled in his first Mania match against Randy Orton. This year heâ€™s an afterthought. Next year heâ€™ll be a future endeavored star. DiBiase asks what would happen if he takes out Hunter two weeks from Wrestlemania.
Hunter flattens Ted but then he gives him some punches before Triple H bounces him off of the steel steps. Teddy gets launched into the barricade, which allows Hunter to grab a chair. Triple H Khaliâ€™s him with the chair, effectively killing him.
Hunter picks up the lifeless form of Teddy and puts him on the announce table. Teddy then gets Pedigreed through the table, thus making him the #1 Contender for the US Title.
John Cena will respond to The Mizâ€™s endless beatdown live via satellite.
Whoever sold their soul to get â€œHopâ€ produced made a terrible mistake.
Weâ€™re back with Sheamus in the ring. He may have lost the felt cape, but it came at the expense of his entrance.
Sheamus v. Evan Bourne
Sheamus slams down Bourne and hits him with a short-arm clothesline. He then proceeds to drop several knees across Evanâ€™s face before clubbing him with punches. Evan comes back with Token Offense and tries for AirBourne, but Sheamus moves and connects with the Brother Kick for the pin.
Sheamus says heâ€™s now eure chumpun ah da united states. This brings out Daniel Bryan, who is rocking his sweet generic t-shirt. Bryan says that everyone in this country gets an opportunity. He invokes his rematch clause at Wrestlemania. Sheamus throws the title at him and kicks him in the face.
Itâ€™s Wrestlemania Rewind Week: Rey Mysterio v. Randy Orton. You know, they could have thrown in SwAngle and weâ€™d never notice.
RAWâ€™s Slam of the Week is brought to you by Sucker Punch, which appears to be schoolgirls fighting dragons for some reason. We get to relive Orton kicking Mason Ryan in the skull.
Weâ€™re live as Randy Orton leaves the LexExpress. Scott Stafford stops him, and since Randy knows how he is, I guess we should too. Orton says his bus is full of PuNexus torture porn and he says heâ€™s a sick and twisted guy.
Maryse v. Eve Torres
Maryse mocks Eveâ€™s lame clapping. Eve for some reason is dressed like a penny tonight, making her seem even cheeper than normal. The bell rings and Maryse stops to flip her hair. Eve applauds her for not blowing it and they screech at one another. Eve slaps Maryse and she sells it like a Three Stooges movie.
Cole interrupts the Divas match from inside The Cole Mine to say he has another worldwide exclusive. Eve bangs Maryseâ€™s head on the top turnbuckle and then unleashes some kicks. Eve goes for the standing moonsault but takes two knees to the gut. A â€œCole Mineâ€ chant has started, proving once again why Pennsylvania will never be New York. Maryse gets reversed and Eve drops her for the pin.
Michael Cole starts announcement but Eve tries to attack him. She slaps at Cole and for the first time ever gets a pop. Cole asks if she wants some of this, which sounds like sexual harassment.
Did you know John Cenaâ€™s a good guy when it comes to Make-A-Wish?
WWE Giant Penny Title: The Corre v. Borscht Marinara w/ Snukette
Hereâ€™s the rematch weâ€™ve all been clamoring for. Gabriel and Marella start it off and Santino begins with Five Moves of Wackiness and tries for The Cobra but Slater distracts and Gabriel gets a spinning heel kick for two. He then tags in Heath Slater, who grabs a resthold.
Kozlov yelling encouragement at Santino was so convincing I thought he was going to yell â€œSloth love Chunk.â€ Marella gets the tag and Kozlov comes out with a headbutt and a terrible kick. Barrett distracts Vlad and Slated drops him with an inverted DDT. Gabriel hits the 450 Splash for the pin.
After the match, The Corre attack Borsht Marinara. This gets interrupted by Kane and Big Show, who very slowly make the save. I donâ€™t care how bad they are, I love their old combined theme. Show and Kane demolish The Corre, and I think I smell our 8-Man Tag at Mania. And it does not smell very good.
This culminates in the Worldâ€™s Largest Chokeslam on Ezekiel Jackson. Fun fact: that chokeslam put Batista on the shelf for months. Glad theyâ€™re bringing it back.
John Cena is live via irony and getting his microphone adjusted.
Next week The Rock will be live on RAW in Chicago. What does Pittsburgh get? John Cena on a jumbo screen. Maybe they should have won that Super Bowl.
We get a recap of The Miz destroying John Cena, which thankfully manages to minimize the sheer endlessness of the attack from last week.
Johnâ€™s sitting in his home and promises that next weekâ€™s RAW will be epic. Next week on RAW he will be face-to-face with The Rock and next week that problem will be settled. So theyâ€™re giving away their Wrestlemania moment on free television?
Cena says heâ€™s underestimated The Miz and thatâ€™s why Miz has owned him for the past several weeks. John says that him sitting in that poorly decorated room is proof that The Miz deserves the WWE Title. Cena promises to be watching and at Wrestlemania he wants to be making history.
Cole leaves The Cole Mine and points out that heâ€™s live and he has an announcement, next. Wonder what it is. Itâ€™s not like Lawler has another pro wrestling relative he never acknowledged or anything.
Cole and Kurt SwAngle are running around in circles in the ring. Michael Cole asks for our attention before introducing us to SwAngle. Cole revisits Brian Christopherâ€™s return last week and they cut around Grandmaster Sexay being all blown up.
Cole says that Christopher sent him a gift, which was the Lawler Family Photo Album. We get shots of Jerryâ€™s father, which absolutely murders the crowd. Cole calls his father a midget, which is supposed to be an insult apparently. Cole says that both Jerry and his father are both cowards. No Lawler ever amounted to anything in the history of Hill Valley.
Cole says that Lawlerâ€™s whole family have one thing in common: theyâ€™re all a bunch of losers. Jerry stands up and SwAngle cold cocks him. Lawler fires back and rams SwAngle into the announce table. Cole runs out of the ring and Jerry gets blindsided by a clothesline. Cole returns to his Cole Mine and SwAngle smashes Jerryâ€™s face against it while Michael berates him. SwAngle drops Jerry and puts the ankle lock on him again. Cole then locks in the hold himself as he berates him.
WWE Magazine features interviews with The Rock, Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels. Clearly theyâ€™re just using a recycled issue from 1998.
Weâ€™re back with a Wrestlemania commercial reminding us that weâ€™re 13 days away.
Cole now has a Twitter sign on his desk as he apologizes for snapping. So heâ€™s stealing Ken Shamrockâ€™s gimmick? From one train wreck to another, we get highlights of Snooki on RAW from every news outlet that wasnâ€™t busy ignoring Japan to cover Charlie Sheen and Rebecca Black.
Dolph Ziggler w/ LayCool & Vickie Guerrero v. John Slo-Mo-Rrison w/ Trish Stratus
Ziggler and Morrison lock up and Dolph breaks that up to hammer John to the mat. John fires back in the corner with punches but gets kicked in the ankle. Dolph drops him for two. He gets up and drops another elbow for two before locking in a rest hold. Ziggler gets launched out of the ring and crashes into the mat.
The GMail goes off, and I paraphrase â€œMorrison and Trish will face Dolph, LayCool and Vickie.â€ Trish grabs Vickieâ€™s hair as we fade toâ€¦
Dolph Ziggler, LayCool & Vickie Guerrero v. John Slo-Mo-Rrison & Trish Stratus
Weâ€™re back with Ziggler once again with a headlock. Glad they added all those women to make this match seem different. John fights out and tries for the running kick, but Dolph moves and tags in Layla.
Trish runs in and hits some forearms. Stratus whips Layla into the corner and hits the second-rope hurricarana. Trish brings back the very un-PG palm licking breast chop but gets kicked in the back by Michelle McCool.
McCool gets tagged in and hits a knee trembler. Michelle blocks Trish from making the tag as she herself tags in Layla, who smashes Trishâ€™s face into the mat. Trish finally breaks free and tags in Morrison who connects with the Flying Chuck but Trish gets blindsided, which distracts John. Dolph hits the ZigZag and lets Vickie Guerrero come in and take the pin. Thatâ€™ll do wonders for his career.
Did You Know a lot of people followed the WWE on Facebook?
We get a Sin Cara package of him doing more moves.
Michael Cole suddenly turns normal as he throws to a package of everyone putting over Triple H & Undertakerâ€™s promo. It was great to see Harley Race, though he looks like Tracey Smothers now.
Randy Orton is out now and heâ€™s so dark he looks red. I half expect him to open a casino.
Randy Orton v. Rey Mysterio
We get another replay of the bus interview, and you just know that bus is going to be destroyed. Speaking of destroyed, here comes Rey Mysterio and whatâ€™s left of his knees.
Rey goes for a waistlock but gets elbowed in the head. Orton charges but gets two feet to the face. Randy gets kicked in the thigh a few times but drops Rey with a punch to the head. Orton launches Mysterio to the outside, where he bellyflops onto the padding.
Orton whips Mysterio into the ring to drop a knee to the face. Randy grabs a resthold as the fans quietly mumble. Orton gives the hold up and props Mysterio on the top rope. Rey fights back and comes off the top rope with a Seated Senton but gets hit with the Vintage Scoopslam.
Randy props Rey up for the Second Rope DDT but Mysterio counters it into the 619 but Randy blocks it and this time hits the Second Rope DDT. Just as he drops to his knees, Punk appears on camera outside by the bus. He says he canâ€™t wait to go meet Ortonâ€™s wife. Randy sprints out of the arena.
Orton gets to the door and is clocked with a wrench in the back of the knee. Randyâ€™s wife opens the door and screeches, but when Punk tells her to leave, she leaves. He quotes Dean Martin before kicking him again. Punk blows a kiss to Ortonâ€™s wife through the glass as we fade toâ€¦
Weâ€™re back and despite The Undertaker being he living dead, he still has a publicist, who has notified us heâ€™ll be there next week.
Alex Riley is in the ring and apparently heâ€™s back. Riley is the Vice President of Corporate Communicationsâ€¦for some reason. Awesome, here comes The Miz. Miz is wearing a shiny purple suit, like heâ€™s The Joker.
Miz says weâ€™re all blessed to be able to watch him talk. People used to call him annoying, but now look how far heâ€™s come. He says heâ€™s better than every Superstar ever and the greatest champion in history. To commemorate this, Miz has flipped the WWE logo upside down, and that M stands for Poolâ€¦I mean Miz.
Miz unveils his newly designed title beltâ€¦which is the same belt with the W upside down. He mocks the stupidity of a spinning title before saying he wonâ€™t be a multi-time champion because heâ€™ll never lose the title. Heâ€™s The Miz and heâ€™sâ€¦Awesome.
John Cena appears on camera applauding as he compliments Miz for altering the title. Cena says he isnâ€™t invincible as his â€œhomeâ€ is revealed to be a set in Pittsburgh. Cena runs in the back towards the ring. Miz and Mizfit respond by taking off their jackets.
Cena goes after both men and itâ€™s two men punching one man. Riley gets dumped out of the ring and Miz flees. Mizfit gets caught in the STFU and taps repeatedly on the bright red ring.
Miz comes back but stops at the top of the ramp due to the invisible forcefield keeping faces and heels from being face-to-face. Cena locks in the STFU again until refs break it up. He does it a third time and more zebras get sent to the ring. Andâ€¦thatâ€™s it. Oy.
This has been for your consideration.
Tags: Andrew Wheeler, Andy Wheeler, For Your Consideration, john cena, John Morrison, randy orton, Raw, rey mysterio, shawn michaels, snooki, The Miz, the undertaker, triple h, Trish Stratus, wrestlemania, WWE