TJR: The Raw Deal for August 31/09 (The Shockmaster!)

The John Report: The Raw Deal for August 31/09

Welcome to the Raw Deal. Before we get to the show, I need to plug the fact that I finally joined the Twitter world at Twitter.com/johnreport so add me on there and read my tweets. I feel like less of a person for saying the word “tweets” by the way. I’ll probably use it mainly for plugging my wrestling columns as well as my NFL ones (I’ll mention those at the end of this column). Now that I’ve got that out of the way, it’s time to get to the column.

Live from Detroit, Michigan here’s the Raw Deal…

This week’s GM is…Dusty Rhodes
I love how they couldn’t announce it last week because they had no idea who would be. Got to love the lack of long term planning. I like Dusty. He’s got great presence in the ring and that awful scarred up forehead from way too many blade jobs in his day. I wonder if a toothpick could start blood on that thing. He’s also a master at sucking up to the crowd, which he did here. Dusty announces that tonight’s main event is Randy Orton defending the title against Cody Rhodes with Dusty in his corner and John Cena as the referee. Orton did his slow motion walk to the ring. He’s the new Undertaker. Hey, they mentioned that Orton punted him two years ago. Continuity? That’s nice. Cody came out, said he wanted this opportunity and that he would be the youngest WWE champion in history like Orton. Oh, how I laughed and laughed at that one. Orton said the “fix is obviously in” and Dusty said it was. That was what got me thinking that there’d be a swerve in the main event. Very strong opening segment, though. I think it did a good job of keeping the viewer tuned in to see what would happen in the main event with so many combustible elements in the ring, as JR would put it.

They’re showing the Undertaker/Michaels WM25 match of the year on ECW tonight. I’ve got no problem with that match being shown for free (they should have aired that whole match on NBC), but I hope that doesn’t mean they’re giving up on ECW because it’s been pretty good recently.

Six Divas Battle Royal won by Beth Phoenix (1/2*)
Remember when Alicia Fox beat Mickie James in that tag match? Apparently the bookers don’t because she was eliminated second. Things were pretty sloppy throughout this one. Gail and Jillian seemed off. Beth played possum, then came back and eliminated Gail to get the win. Why did they need to do this match to justify a Mickie vs. Beth match later in the show? Just give Beth a title shot. “Earning” shots in a division when there’s only 7 or 8 people isn’t that impressive.

Chris Jericho d. MVP (***)
Hey look, an actual good match on Raw given time! Crazy! They went about ten minutes. They should have just ditched the women’s battle royal and given another five minutes to this. I liked the chemistry they showed. It was good crisp wrestling with MVP scoring some nice nearfalls while never hitting his Playmaker finisher, which I still don’t like. They even got the “guy is out on the floor so let’s go to commercial” spot. That’s nice to see in a match with MVP. You’ll notice too that the crowd was into this because Jericho’s such a good heel, but also because they want to see MVP being used better. The pinfall attempt by MVP when Jericho was going for the Walls of Jericho at the end with the rollup was great. I thought that was it. It was similar to JTG beating Jericho on Smackdown a couple weeks back. Just when you thought MVP would win, BAM, Jericho hit him with the Codebreaker for the victory. Lovely. Post match, the announcers played up the fact that MVP took him to his limit, which is exactly how it should be booked. I was very happy with this.

Comedy time with DX looking over the WCW DVD as DX interrupted. Dusty said after Cody wins the belt he would give a title shot to the DX guys with HBK delivering the line of the night by asking HHH: “Haven’t you had enough shots lately?” in regards to HHH’s title shots. Oh yes he has. Then they did a bit plugging DVDs with Michaels plugging the WCW one, Dusty plugging his and HHH plugging the DX one that I will never get because I don’t need to relive DX vs. McMahons and that brutally awful feud. Michaels went to put the DVD, but HHH says he doesn’t know how to work it. Ha, Shawn asked if they should watch Raw and HHH said they wouldn’t watch Raw because Dusty’s guest host and he already knows what’s going to happen. Inside jokes are fun once in a while. I wonder what the dumb fan thinks. Oh wait, they don’t think. My bad.

Here’s a video package. You know what this means…

Hornswoggle d. Chavo in some bullrope bullshit thing (-**)
Make it stop! Please make it stop! Horny was dressed like a cowboy while Chavo was dressed like a cow. Nobody laughed. The crowd was dead. Doesn’t matter because I’m sure Vince thought it was hilarious. Chavo took off the giant cow head (did I really just type that?) and tried to cheat when Evan Bourne came out. He helped Horny hit the splash, then he tied Chavo up and won. The announcers laughing their heads off is brutal enough, but Michael Cole busting out the “What a mooooooooove” and laughing hysterically was as bad as anything they could ever say. The irony of all this was that they made fun of stupid WCW storylines prior to and after this! You’re mocking stupid shit and you’ve done this match for like 8 weeks in a row! End this shit! It’s brutal. Maybe Vince McMahon lets his five year old grandson book this every week. That’s my only explanation for why it keeps happening.

Mark Henry d. Big Show via DQ (1/4*)
I don’t know what to say here. Wow, look at those headlocks? Or how about that test of strength was exciting? Mark Henry is apparently Samoan because headbutting him doesn’t work. The spear by Show was nice partly because it looked cool, but it also woke up the crowd that had gone to sleep (I can’t blame them for it). Henry did two moves, then Show took off the turnbuckle pad, the ref saw it and when Henry hit it that meant a DQ loss for Show. Then Show KNOCKED HIM THE FUCK OUT with the punch. It wasn’t that bad, really. It’s one of those rare instances when I thought five minutes was too long. The tag scenario will be much better for a confrontation, that’s for sure. They again pushed the story of Henry and MVP taking Jerishow to their limits. I don’t mind the feud, but it’s pretty safe to assume that MVP and Henry are losing that match.

The Legacy boys talked, then stared, then talked and stared some more. It’s about business tonight, nothing personal.

More comedy with DX talking to Dusty. They ask about the dreaded Fingerpoke of Doom win by Nash over Hogan asking who came up with that? Dusty mentioned it was Nash himself. Of course if you ask Nash he’ll deny it. Then they did a bit talking about 1996 to 1998 when WCW was winning, Michaels was on top and then when Michaels got hurt the WWF passed WCW for good in the spring of 1998. It took them a while to get there, but it was pretty funny thanks to Michaels’ comedic timing. Then they mentioned the Johnny B Badd gimmick that Dusty created being brutal. They did this because Mero’s been a staunch advocate of a union in wrestling as well as going on the talk show circuit talking about his friends in wrestling dying so young. He’s also a Facebook friend of me that posts these really positive messages all the time. Hey, I’d be that happy too if I got to bang Sable in her prime. Anyway, the whole thing ended comedically with Michaels ranting about how he came up with the Attitude concept (he says it in his book too), but had to sit at home injured while everybody else was cashing in. I didn’t mind this. It was fun.

Kofi Kingston d. Jack Swagger, Carlito and The Miz to retain the US Title (**3/4)
This was a lot of fun, again shocking me by having a ten minute match on Raw. They did the commercial spot with Kofi hitting an awesome splash onto all three heels on the floor. Miz played the “crafty guy that hides outside the ring” role while the other guys did most of the work. Carlito looks thinner since turning heel although maybe it’s the hair style, I don’t know. By the way, where’s Primo these days? Oh right, doing nothing like I thought. Way to break up one of the few teams in the company. Back to the match, I like the idea of Kofi continuing to overcome the odds in these multi-man matches, but I would rather see a singles feud over the belt that results in a PPV match. I say it every week. Kofi Kingston is too good and too popular to not be on every PPV. The finish was good with everybody hitting their finisher, then Kofi hitting his last on Carlito (aka the guy old man Vince knocked out last week) for the win. Fine with me.

Mickie James d. Beth Phoenix (*1/2)
Happy 30th birthday to Mickie James. She continues to look great. Why can’t they acknowledge it’s her birthday? Not a big deal, obviously. The crowd was dead for this. I liked how the announcers basically said, “Beth has been pushed terribly for the past few months, but we promise she’ll go back to being what she was when she was actually over.” That’s what they really mean when they say Beth is looking to return to her old form. Most of the match was Beth overpowering her, Mickie selling as if she was dead especially with her side and then Mickie hitting the DDT out of nowhere for the win. The DDT looked really nice this week, so the finish worked fantastically well. The match was the typical WWE women’s match.

The final Dusty with DX skit happened. They told the story the Shockmaster, which of course Michaels knew nothing about. Look it up on youtube, you will laugh. Then they recreated the whole thing with the Shockmaster coming through a wall, a voiceover and then it all kinda broke down. Santino was Shockmaster in a fat suit, Arn Anderson was the voice guy (“sorry Dusty” then he ran off) and Dusty was pissed that it didn’t work. He yelled out “It should have worked!” and I laughed pretty good there.

Cena did a promo. It was mostly serious. He’s very good at doing serious promos. The problem is the “funny” ones are generally not funny and hurt him more than they help. He said “I WILL NOT QUIT” many times, which makes me think they could steal the Rock/Foley finish from 1999 and do the voiceover thing after an edit. Either that or he’s winning the belt because he’s guaranteeing victory. I’m picking Cena.

Bob Barker next week. I have mixed emotions, but I think I will like it since I’m a Price is Right fan. Plus, he’s in his mid-80s on a live show, so you never know what might happen. Just please bring the skinny microphone for him, alright? He has to have that.

The main event is…not happening?
Orton comes out, Cody comes out with Dusty and then Cena comes out. Dusty said there was nothing a father wouldn’t do for his son and to Cena said, “I’m sorry buddy.” Orton and Cody beat the crap out of Cena. Dibiase came out to join the fun. The crowd was pissed. This worked well. DX came out, but Dusty helped his boys with the beatdown thanks to his trusty old boot. That’s old school, man. I’m surprised his head didn’t start bleeding out of habit. With the three faces out, they all posed. Then the best part of the show with Orton hitting Dusty with the RKO out of nowhere. That was fantastically done. Cody had this sad look on his face while Orton went into his stare mode as the crowd chanted Cody’s name. See, you know why this worked so well? Because Orton’s such a good heel that most people could turn face just being against him. Hell, he made people cheer for Mark Henry of all people. They’ve teased the Orton/Dibiase tension a bunch, but this was the first time where Cody looked independent rather than being Randy’s follower. Very good ending to the show. It leaves the viewer wondering what’s going to happen next week? I like it. One of the better Raw ending in a long time.

Three Stars of the Show
1. Randy Orton – For the first time in a while he looked like a total jerk similar to how he was booked earlier in the year.
2. Dusty Rhodes – He was great. “It should have worked!”
3. Kofi Kingston – Another exciting match for him. Use this guy more!

Rating: 7 (out of 10)
Last week: 5.5

Good show. Obviously the usual bad stuff (Chavowoggle, the announcing in general and Show/Henry going a bit long) existed, but they have finally put some quality matches on Raw. I liked the four way even though it’d be nice to see Kofi get an actual feud, I really liked MVP/Jericho because I’ve been clamoring for MVP to be used better and the main event worked. The crowd was chanting for Cody freakin’ Rhodes by the end of the night and that guy almost never wins. Two solid matches plus an ending segment that I really liked means a good show in my book. I’m fine with no real main event match because there was quality wrestling on this show and the ending angle worked perfectly. DX and Cena vs. Legacy next week? I think so.

If there’s a problem it’s that the Breaking Point lineup is really thin. Still no DX match. I assume they’ll go against Legacy again although I don’t see the point unless they put them over, even in a cheap way. I can’t imagine DX being left off the card. One more Raw to go, so we’ll know then.

Is Raw finally headed in the right direction or is this an aberration? I hope it’s heading in the right direction. I really do.

Thoughts from the Facebook friends aka Comment-Fest (TM my boy Emra)
Here are some random thoughts from some of my facebook friends (just head to Facebook.com/thejohnreport) after I asked for some comments about the show. I will put some additional, usually very sarcastic comments of my own when necessary in brackets following the quotation marks:

“Orton vs Rhodes….. glad to see nepotism doesnt run in the WWE.”

“Kicked him in the skull two years ago? WWE continuity??!! Do I have the right channel on?!?!?”

“I would pay to see a Dusty Rhodes vs Jack Swagger “Lisp Off.” (No Cody?)

“I heard the fans boo when Cena’s name was first brought up…and it put a smile to my face.”

“Wow Dusty, Abdulah the Butcher forked your forhead up!”

“Taker vs HBK on ECW? Who needs original content?”

“Is it just me or is Kelly Kelly the poor man’s version of Stacy Keibler? Damn I miss her and her legs.”

“I’m cheering for Jillian just to see something new but I’m getting ahead of myself aren’t I?” (Yep. You should know better.)

“I will never support a wrestler whose signature move involves making your opponent lay on the ground for 10 seconds while you showboat around and say something stupid before doing a move that is not that effective.” (So The Rock, Scotty 2 Hotty, MVP and Kofi Kingston are off the list.)

“Comedy HBK rules! :-)”

“Did Cole just say MVP has been nothing but impressive since being drafted to Raw? What about losing all PPV matches until Summerfest ‘er Slam, and jobbing every week until mid-July? Ugg… there I go remembering things again!!!”

“Vince is probably laughing histerically right now..thinking that we are actually laughing.” (Yep, he loves Hornswoggle.)

“This Hornbuckler/Chavo feud is so great, a recap is necessary every week!” (Can’t wait for the DVD!)

“I hope you’re enjoying Brad Pitt speaking Italian with a Tennessee accent while the rest of us enjoy yet ANOTHER Chavo/Hornswoggle match.” (Yes, I enjoyed Inglorious Basterds very much.)

“‘Look the sheriff is a leprecaun,’ sounding like a white Bill Cosby. King, please win the Mayoral election, for all of our sakes.” (Amen to that.)

“The outfits for the texas bullrope match are almost as ridiculous as the fact that chavo and hornswaggle constantly get tv matches…is smackdown on yet?” (You want to see more Kane vs. Khali don’t ya?)

“What a mooooooove. If it weren’t for this list of comments, I’d have changed the channel.” (See that Vince? The Commentfest keeps viewers for you!)

“So, Bourne was brought to Raw to be Hornswoggle’s back up? Great.”

“The only thing (correction: one of the many things) that would’ve made Charnsvoggle’s match better this week is if Chavo actually had some muscle mass, a la HHH or Chris Masters; then he would’ve been able to come out to the “cows with guns” music.”

“The Incredible Grape vs The Kool-Aid Man! Somebody’s going to get juiced!”

“Henry won in 1994…why do they keep calling him the world’s strongest man? Countless men have won since then…damn you again Vince for misleading viewers.” (Vinny Mac is so crafty isn’t he?)

“Great red vs grape kool aid…Cole and King commentary sucks oh damn black headbutt. WWE is racist again!”

“Is it me or when Michael Cole commentates he over does it to the point where its not believable and just plain annoying…anyone?” (Yes we all know it…except for Vinnie Mac. He thinks it’s great.)

“So if Kofi has repeatedly beaten all of his contenders at the same time, does that make Hornbuckler the #1 contender?” (Don’t be foolish! Horny’s the #1 contender for the WWE title. Not the crappy US belt!)

“Shockmaster… seriously, you take the piss after you had a midget vs a guy in cow costume… well done creative.”

“They mock the Shockmaster but hell, he will be remembered longer than the whole Chavowoggle saga!!”

“VINTAGE ORTON ENTRANCE!”

“They should do a segment with Dusty Rhodes and Jack Swagger both trying to pronounce words that begin with the letter S… That would be some true entertainment right there.”

“Bob Barker could be in a match… did you see him fuck Adam Sandler up in Happy Gilmore?” (The price is wrong, bitch.)

“Okay, I DEMAND Hornswoggle Plinko next week!!! DELIVER BOB BARKER!!!”

“Damn that was sweet…I didnt really even see it coming…told you a couple weeks ago the boot would become a Rhodes tradition…love it good shit…”

“If Dusty really liked his kid he would’ve been special ref instead of pulling that wack swerve! Wait..OUT COMES GOLDUST!!!!” (If he came out stuttering I would have loved it.)

“Man…I don’t belive Cole used vintage…this is shocking…I’m going to be up all night because of this.” (That was a vintage comment, man. Feel better?)

“The only way Bob Barker as guest GM is going to work is if every match is determined via Plinko. Each slot in the Plinko board is a type of match, kind of like how Raw Roulette.”

“YAY! A Johnny B. Badd reference! My favorite WCW wrestler of all time! Is me admitting that a..badd thing?!”

“NEXT WEEK- Round Umpteen-Gazillion of “HornChavo”; Bob Barker announces that it’s a DOG COLLAR MATCH and the loser gets NEUTERED! Poor Chavo will lose his lil’ Chavitos…Either that, or a SURGERY-CONE BLINDFOLD MATCH!”

“Not a bad Raw, didn’t see the swerve coming at the end but I liked it… Cowboy Hornswoggle FTW” (Thanks for posting, Vince McMahon.)

That’s it. Good selection as always. Thanks for the participation.

——

I appreciate any feedback you guys can give so please send me your thoughts at oratoryjohn@gmail.com about anything related to WWE past or present. If you add me on facebook (just head to Facebook.com/thejohnreport) you’ll see the links to my columns as well because I post them there just as soon as I post them on this website. I’m also now on Twitter at Twitter.com/johnreport too, so keep up to date on my writing by following me there as well.

I’ll be writing a weekly NFL picks column over at Sportsoratory.com and also a preview of the season that I hope to have posted by Thursday of this week. I like the NFL more than I like WWE, so I’m looking forward to having that outlet to talk about it. I will of course put the links to those things on my facebook and twitter accounts.

See you on the weekend for the Talking Smack column that will review Smackdown. Then I’ll be back here in a week with the Raw Deal as well as a preview for Breaking Point. Have a great week.

Smell ya later,
John Canton – oratoryjohn@gmail.com
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