For Your Consideration…The RAW Judicial Review for 10/3/11

For Your Consideration…The RAW Judicial Review for 10/3/11

Welcome back to the longest running action-adventure, passive-aggressive, voting confidently column on the world wide web, For Your Consideration. I’m your host Andrew Wheeler, and after coming off Hell in a Cell, the WWE has to set the table once again for another looming filler PPV. And based on what occurred at the Hell in a Cell PPV, there were plenty of potential elements to exploit.

The Hell in a Cell PPV was an odd show. The matches were all fairly predictable, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A linear storyline coming to its next logical conclusion is the kind of thing we as wrestling fans have begged for since the dawn of the modern era, so to fault them for delivering what they promised is never a good idea. Sheamus/Christian was an excuse to get Sheamus over further as a babyface, and Christian has done such a good job of making himself the untenable heel that he can take a loss and still be a top level guy. The Diva Title switch was what it was, even if most agree that it happened a few weeks too late. Nerf Air Boom beating SwAngle/Ziggler can only add credibility to their title run, which has yet to turn the corner into irrelevance. Mark Henry going strong over Randy Orton has further cemented him as the top monster heel, a role that hasn’t really existed in the WWE in some time. Cody making John Slo-Mo-Rrison his bitch was incredibly confusing, especially considering the mini-push John was getting before his injury. On the plus side, they brought back the white Intercontinental Title.

Then there’s the main event. The triple-threat Hell in a Cell match was constructed just fine, complete with a novel ending that kinda makes you forget about the lack of blood and the absence of a “big bump”. Del Rio outsmarted the babyfaces and he regained his title. This of course begs the question of why hotshotting the belt was necessary in the first place. Sure, there’s the ratings argument, but that seems relatively weak. We’ve been conditioned to tune in regardless of who the champion is, because whether it’s Del Rio or Punk or Miz, the general audience is guaranteed to see John Cena. And that’s what they’re tuning in for in droves.

After the match, chaos ensued when Resurrection-Truth and The Miz showed up dressed like Kriss-Kross and beat down everyone with pipes. This led to them being “arrested”, complete with Hunter sucker-punching them while in custody. You know, as most COO’s would do. This felt like the end of a RAW building to a PPV, not necessarily a PPV.

Speaking of RAW…

The RAW Judicial Review for 10/3/11

There’s no pyro and no ballyhoo, but there are plenty of folks in the Cajundome yelling and screaming. I wonder if anyone’s made a condom called Cajun Dome. Before everything can get settled, we dive right into a match. Yes, you read that correctly, a wrestling match…to open RAW…following a PPV. Something is afoot at the Circle K.

Randy Orton v. Drew McIntyre

Either Drew is getting time because they’re seriously considering giving him a push or because the rest of the roster is occupied. Oh wait, there’s a 12-man tag later on. Randy and Drew have a fine little match in which they battle over who has the better spray tan, though Drew’s offensive flurries made him look incredibly weak. No one bought that he was really going to win, not even Drew. McIntyre was a house of fire when he re-debuted, but that seems to have completely faded, probably due in part to his chaotic relationship with his ex-girlfriend. Vince doesn’t forget stuff. In the end, it’s the hanging DDT and the RKO for the WWF Challenge win.

After the match, Randy decides to go for another RKO because even though he’s a babyface, he needs to remind the fans that he’s dangerous despite losing. While celebrating, Orton is interrupted by Mark Henry. Kudos to the cameraman who got a great shot of Orton doing his stupid Arms Wide Open pose seconds before Henry’s music hit. This leads to an impromptu brawl before security comes out. Ironically, it’s Mark Henry that takes a tumble into the crowd. See, here would have been a great chance for Henry to build even more heat. Orton did logically compete in an actual wrestling match, so the thought of him besting a fresh World Champion is disconcerting. Regardless, we got a pull-apart brawl as we fade to…

Commercial.

We’re back and Mark Henry apparently didn’t have enough in him to walk all the way to the back. Apparently carrying that world title takes more effort than it looks. They air a “Hall of Pain” video, which mainly shows Henry dismantling a bunch of guys who are slower and clumsier than he is. You know, if Henry’s whole gimmick is to eradicate all of the other giant lummoxes who can’t really work, this might turn him face.

Mark Hey-Hey-Henry v. John Slo-Mo-Rrison

So much for that theory. Poor John Morrison. I still stand by my assertion from last week that if the WWE swapped him with Bourne that things might seem a little more balanced. On the other hand, Evan didn’t enter into a relationship with a woman who opened her mouth to either screech uncontrollably or bury other talent and the product. The match starts with John bouncing off of Henry like some kind of scruffy Shawn Michaels, which succeeds in making Mark look dangerous. John finally gets some token offense, including connecting with Starship Pain. Sadly, Michael Cole has reduced Morrison to fluke-win status as he said that this would be a major upset. Look, I know Mark Henry is the champion and all, but John Morrison isn’t Darren Young and him almost winning shouldn’t be positioned as a Barry Horowitz moment. Up until this latest round of burying, he was poised to be a main eventer. Now he’s being jobbed to the majority of the Smackdown locker-room. Hey at least he’s getting beat by the World Champ and not the IC Champ because he winds up taking a World’s Strongest Slam for the pin.

Henry, through labored breaths, informs us that he’s done with Randy Orton, making him five months behind the majority of the fans. He also explains to The Big Show how to find him. Think of Mark Henry as a sweaty GPS.

In the back, Team Lawsuit (SwAngle, Del Rio, Rhodes, Christian, Ziggler, Ogunta, Vickie and Johnny Ace) talk about moving forward with their legal action. Riveting stuff. Apparently Vince saw the Casey Anthony ratings and figured fans were clamoring for more courtroom drama. I have a JD and even I don’t wanna sit through this.

Commercial.

We’re back and Team Lawsuit delivers the corniest, most overly-rehearsed promo in recent memory. Every guy says part of a line and then hands the microphone over like it’s a relay race. The gist of it is that they not so much with the liking of the Triple H. I’m sure it was more dynamic than that, but I was distracted by the vortex of awful that was SwAngle’s new dye job. He’s like a child of the corn.

Triple H comes out and laments the current state of wrestling. He can’t believe guys would get together and sue rather than fight. Apparently he’s mistaking America for Sparta. Rather than address legitimate concerns about working conditions and overall safety, he mocks them for being a bunch of cowards who would settle their differences civilly as opposed to using violence. What I would give for them to follow this segment with an anti-bullying PSA. In the end Hunter says that these men will compete in a six-man tag that was already announced.

So just to sum up; a collection of heels including the WWE Champion were treated like annoying midcard jokes at the expense of a guy who doesn’t actually compete full time. Gotcha.

Commercial

Kelly Kelly & Eve Eve v. Divas of Destruction

Kelly goes crazy about ten seconds in and this turns into a wild Diva brawl. Kelly smashes Beth against the announce table as she screams like a banshee. At least that’s the analogy Randy Orton would have used. Or so he’s been told. A lot. The whole match gets thrown out and we establish that despite her small size, Kelly Kelly subscribes to the WWE logic that bitches be crazy.

Triple H and Johnny “I don’t know what to do with my hands to make them look natural” Ace are in the back. Ace suggests a Vote of Confidence for later in the show, which isn’t at all an SEC violation. Hunter points out that Johnny is either the mastermind behind all of this or he just sucks at following orders. Given his years of Yes Man status, I’m gonna assume it’s the former. Hey, maybe this storyline is going somewhere and they’re going to reveal who is behind all of this, and then reveal who moved the briefcase in the Austin/McMahons ladder match, and then reveal who was the RAW GM, and the guy doing GTV, and the dozens of people hiding in limos and Hummers on Nitro. Or, you know, maybe they won’t.

Commercial.

Brodus Clays is returning. America can finally rest easy.

We then get a replay of the Miz/Truth run-in at the PPV. The whole replay. Here again is the problem with doing a major angle on a PPV. The percentage of fans who order the PPV broadcast is a fraction of the RAW audience, so pretending that everyone saw the show is impossible. The only way to rectify this is to air the segment, which pisses off the fans that did in fact order the show. It’s, as my intern once said, sick of one, half-dozen the other.

This leads to the broadcast of a YouTube clip that Miz posted via Twitter. He’s so damn tech savvy. He and Truth are super duper sorry this week. They apologize for attacking the refs and the wrestlers and the cameramen and for causing the BP oil spill, but all they wanted was a chance to explain. Oh won’t you let them explain! Why won’t you let them explain?! You know, for guys who are fired, they sure are getting a lot of air time.

John Cena, CM Punk, Nerf Air Boom, Sheamus and…Mason Ryan v. Team Lawsuit

We get Punk and Cena’s entrances and then go right for a…

Commercial.

At least the commercial could cover in case Mason Ryan screwed up his entrance by tripping and falling down the ramp. The twelve-man tag was pretty much what everyone expects from a match like this; the main event guys get a few minutes to shine and then Evan Bourne gets beaten up by six men. This match was fine but it was clearly filler. The main storyline going on in the WWE is Hunter and his rise to power, which means all other RAW-based stories no longer exist. So long CM Punk revolutionary push, we hardly knew ye. Speaking of dismissals, Vickie gets sent to the back as we go to go…

Commercial.

With Vickie gone, the complexion of the match…doesn’t really change. Everyone starts hitting their finishers (or, in Mason Ryan’s case, a slam) like it’s the finale of a Fourth of July fireworks show, ultimately leading to Sheamus Brutha Kicking Dolph Ziggler for the pin. Right guy went over to highlight his push, and JBLatino was far enough away from the finish to not really taint him.

Poor Del Rio, by the way. His title win was completely overshadowed by everything going on in the broadcast. Hell, you’d think he was the Smackdown champion the way he was treated. John Cena and CM Punk both have legitimate gripes over the finish, with Cena being locked out and Punk having his skull bashed in by a pipe. But was any of that discussed? No. Guess we’ll have to wait a week on that one. This is where the frustration comes from. They have a perfectly constructed story, Guy A wins title and Guy B and Guy C have gripes so they voice their concerns and one of them gets a shot at Guy A. Pretty simple, right? The value in a storyline like that requires the immediacy that we never really got here, because the Triple H COO storyline took center stage. Well I have news for you, they could have done a ten man tag, pulled Cena, Punk and Del Rio, threw in The Mizfit, and let the three men who are tasked with carrying the show cut a promo on one another. I don’t think many people would have complained about a CM Punk promo over four extra minutes of that tag match.

Commercial.

The entire locker-room (minus CM Punk, John Cena and Randy Orton…the only guys who matter) come out to surround the ring. On the plus side, it’s Daniel Bryan in the main event. Jerry Lawler gets his own entrance, which pops the crowd nicely. Triple H comes into the center of the ring and talks about how he didn’t ask for the most powerful job in wrestling because it was just handed to him. Wait, was that supposed to make him sound sympathetic? He again talks about how lawsuits are stupid, just to further cement the transformation from Hunter to Vince Jr. Hunter says he’s Old School because he likes watching guys beat the crap out of one another. Sure, people stab each other in the back, but you never heard him complaining. Then again, how often does the guy holding the dagger complain?

Wade Barrett says that he is speaking for the Superstars when he says that the environment is unsafe and chaotic and that Hunter’s gotta go. Triple H points out that Wade led the Nexus attack that was way more unsafe than anything we’re currently seeing. Touché. I am a bit perplexed as to why David Otunga wasn’t the one to speak here, since he’s been the guy leading the anti-Hunter charge AND was part of Nexus.

Christian chimes in to say he also thinks it’s time for Hunter to pack up his denim vest/leather jacket combo and hit the bricks. Sadly, he doesn’t point out that he deserves one more match, but that would have been awesome if he did. Mike Chioda talks about how unsafe it is to be a referee, which is probably why he needed to take all those Wellness Policy violating chemicals. He says that refs are being attacked left and right, and after a mere 100 years, they are finally sick of the abuse. Beth Phoenix says that the Divas are scared that the fussing and the fighting might interfere with their three minutes of television time, and thus they want Hunter to go the way of disco. Finally, Jerry Lawler comes in the ring and tells Hunter that he has no confidence in him running the company and that he’s leaving. Uh oh, did the WWE fire his girlfriend again?

Jerry walks out and is followed by the Superstars, the referees, the ring crew, the camera guys and finally, Jim Ross. Hunter, like the proverbial cheese, stands alone as we fade to black.

So in the end the only guy left is Triple H, who the fans are still cheering for. Did the WWE just turn everyone heel? This is going one of two ways; either Hunter becomes hellbent on finding out who did this and seeks revenge or he uses this as a catalyst to turn heel, tell everyone he doesn’t care what they think and rule the WWE with an iron fist.

Here’s why the RAW GM was such a success. The RAW GM was able to be whatever the WWE needed it to be. If they needed a heel, it was a heel. If they needed a face, it was a face. Best of all, no one could really argue with it. Sure, Edge smashed the laptop, but the next week there was a new one. It was the most all-powerful authority figure in years, and it managed to keep a nice semblance of order. Hell, Teddy Long is pretty much like the computer, since all he does is say, “Hold up a minute, Playa,” and “The Un-der-takah!” and then get overruled.

This was a two hour show revolving around Triple H, but unlike the olden days, this probably won’t pay off with him winning the title. The championships and the Superstars have been marginalized for what is essentially a corporate power struggle, and unless I’m way off base, I don’t think the majority of the WWE’s audience spends its nights reading the Wall Street Journal.

This has been for your consideration.

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