TV REPORTS KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT 10/30: Ongoing "virtual time' coverage of live show
Oct 30, 2006 - 10:55:00 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor
OCTOBER 30, 2006
LIVE ON USA NETWORK
-The show opened with Randy Orton and Edge sitting mid-ring. No pyro this week, saving WWE tens of thousands of dollars. Edge said it's a sacred day, his birthday, but he can't stomach spending it with the fans. He said he threw up a little in his mouth, but then swallowed it. Orton said perhaps he'll feel better if he sees a clip of Orton pinning Triple H on Raw last week. They went to the clip. Back live, Orton smiled and so did Edge. Edge said that got him fired up and happy. He said DX will have to not only face them at Cyber Sunday, but also a special referee voted in by the fans. He told the fans who were heckling him to shut up because it's his birthday. He said he was hosting "The Cutting Edge" tonight, and his guests would be Eric Bischoff, "a guy who used to run Raw and WCW," Jonathan Coachman, and Mr. Vince McMahon. Coach had a really short ring intro. He practically sprinted to the ring. McMahon's ring entrance lasted a little longer. Bischoff looked tiny in there standing next to a bunch of people in the 6-2 to 6-4 range.
Edge asked each of the potential referees to explain why he should be special referee. Bischoff plugged his book, and bragged that it would debut on the "New York Times Bestseller List." The back of Bischoff's usually kempt hair was unruly, looking like he just woke up from a nap on a long bus ride. Bischoff talked about how he understands what controversy is all about. He said if he gets their vote, he promises to show DX what controversy is all about.
Coach then gave his speech, continuing the riff on the election season. He begged the fans to give him a chance to show DX that he is no joke. Lawler said he was doing what he does best, begging for another job.
He handed the mic to McMahon, who said he wouldn't pontificate about why he should get the fans' votes. He just said he would show DX the same dignity and respect that they have shown him in the past. He announced that due to personal reasons, Shawn Michaels wouldn't be there. He said with Triple H alone, he would square off against Randy Orton in a rubber match (because, well, they want to see if they can draw an even lower rating than the last two weeks). He said Edge would be the special referee. Vince then asked for a moment alone in the ring with Coach. The rest dutifully left the ring.
Vince scolded Coach over getting Raw into a position of being with a champion come next weeek's Raw. Coach said that was only the case if the fans voted for his title to be on the line. "Cena lost to ECW within the last year," said Vince, messing up his wording. Boy, Vince McMahon is going to chew him out backstage. Coach said he thought of giving Cena the night off so he'd be fresh come Sunday at Cyber Sunday. Vince didn't like that idea. Coach stammered and proposed that Cena takes on both King Booker and Big Show in a handicapped match later. Ross interjected, "Why don't you just shoot Cena?" Coach then said he was thinking of asking Vince what he would do to get wisdom from him. Vince said he saw an opportunity to allow the fans watching live to determine who would face Cena live in the main event. He offered up King Booker, first mistakenly referring to him as WCW Champion, then correcting himself. He offered up Big Show. Or he suggested it might be someone who has never been a champion and never will. He looked over at Coach and the crowd popped. Coach got bug-eyed and then looked betrayed. Vince told fans to go to "dubayeedotcom," whatever that is. He never enunciates "Double-U, Double-U, Eeee" when he plugs the website. If someone else did that, they'd never hear the end of it from him. He then announced not only online voting, but also text messaging. This is like the old days when they'd plug their 900 number to earn a few extra bucks for fan voting. Vince pulled out his phone. They showed shots of fans in the crowd text messaging their vote.
-They showed Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross at ringside. Lawler logged into WWE.com to vote for Coach. Lawler had to type in security code to prevent auto-vote tampering.
1 -- JOHNNY NITRO (w/Melina) vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. CARLITO
These are the three challengers on the ballot to face Jeff Hardy for the IC Title at Cyber Sunday. As the match was about to begin, Jeff Hardy's music played and he made his unique entrance. He watched from ringside. Carlito was tossed to ringside by Nitro and Shelton in the opening minute. Nitro caught Shelton coming off the top rope, but before he could go for the pin, Carlito yanked him to ringside, then gave Shelton the back cracker in the ring for the win. Ross asked if Carlito was impressive enough to "receive your vote exclusively on WWE.com."
WINNER: Carlito in 3:00.
STAR RATING: 3/4* -- There were some nice spots, but it hardly added up to a full-fledged match. It still irritates me that a match that would last 10-20 minutes on PPV only last three minutes on TV, and there's no logical explanation for why one would last longer than the other. If someone hadn't ordered a PPV before, they'd see a line-up of seven matches, then figure the PPV must last about 30-45 minutes, and then wonder what they do to fill the other two-plus hours once all of the 2-6 minute matches are over.
-Todd Grisham interviewed John Cena. He asked if Cena was worried about someone winning his title and taking it to another show. Cena said he looks at it in a positive way because at Cyber Sunday he may gain another title. He said when he wakes up, he has no idea what he'll have for breakfast - could be Captain Crunch or Frosted Flakes or maybe a 30 pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon. He said he doesn't know. But he does know that tomorrow K-Fed's album comes out and "it's the bomb." Cena said literally the military is going to listen to them and kill themselves. That was just a terribly written, stupid line. Ugh. Cena said he's not worried because for once, it's up to the people. Cena asked Grisham whom he voted for. Grisham denied voting. Cena said he saw him texting on his phone. Grisham said he was texting his girlfriend. Cena said, "You like boys!" Cena said that's another conversation for another day. Cena then kept riding him until he finally cracked and yelled that he voted for King Booker and he hopes he beats him tonight. Cena asked if it felt good to get that off his chest. He said he's still not worried. Cena then turned to the camera and said, "I am the crazy bastard that will walk that aisle like Frankenstein on PCP and melt everything in my path! King Booker, Big Show, and God help Jonathan Coachman, you are looking down the barrel of a loaded gun. Worry about me, gentlemen, worry about me." That comedy was horrendous, the gay jokes are so lame, and the riding of Grisham was stupid (as was his context-less reaction), but the last few seconds were solid.
-Torrie Wilson approached Carlito backstage. She said he might want someone to talk to. Carlito said he hasn't been expressing his feelings about Trish leaving. He said as a man it's sometimes tough to express himself. Torrie invited him to meet her after the show. "Maybe we could get something to eat and you could wear something nice," said Carlito. Torrie asked what he said. He said, "You could give me some advice." Torrie said she'd wait for him outside. She walked away, and Carlito said, "Cool."
-Ross plugged Lita vs. Maria in a semi-final tourney match.
-An ECW commercial aired plugging a hot diva costume party. I guess they learned nothing from the flat ratings for the heavily-hyped "Diva Strip Poker."
-Ross announced that Maria or Lita will face Mickey James, and fans can vote for stips; No DQ, Diva Lumberjacks, or Submission match.
2 -- LITA vs. MARIA -- Women's Title Tournament Semi-Finals
Mickey joined Lawler and Ross on commentary. They showed various photos from the latest WWE Magazine of Maria and Ashley in a photo spread. Lita went for a cover with her feet on the ropes for leverage, but the ref saw it. Seconds later, Lita scored the pin after a DDT. Mickey said she's prepared to face her at Cyber Sunday. Lita got in Maria's face and said she's looking at the next WWE Women's Champion.
WINNER: Lita in 2:00.
STAR RATING: 1/2*
-Ross plugged that the Hunter vs. Orton match was up next.
-Another feature aired promoting "The Marine."
-Edge came out to his full entrance as special ref. Then Triple H came out to his full ring intro. He asked, "Are you ready?" Then he leaped at Edge and KO'd him with the mic and then a Pedigree. He asked for the scrap heap that was Edge to be dragged out of "my ring."
END FIRST HOUR
3 -- TRIPLE H vs. RANDY ORTON with Edge as special referee match
Orton bailed out to ringside and threw a fit when Hunter got the early advantage. Orton returned to the ring and he and Hunter exchanged punches. Hunter then clotheslined Orton to the floor. Hunter worked over Orton's left knee. He even paused and leaned on the top rope and smiled at the crowd as Orton grabbed at his hurting leg. He went back to work on the leg. Orton made a comeback at 3:00, prompting a brief chant of "DX, DX." A fan held up a siogn in the front row that said, "Where is Sting." They didn't plan ahead, so there was no room for the question mark. At least they didn't have to squish the "G" at the edge of the posterboard. Another said, "Randy, please kill DX." At 6:00, Edge charged to the ring and attacked Hunter. Ross reminded viewers that Michaels was not at the arena. Edge and Orton double-teamed Hunter. Hunter fought back against both heels briefly, but Edge cut that off with a stiff chairshot to the back. Hunter fell to the mat. Edge encouraged Orton to give Hunter an RKO. Orton set up a chair in mid-ring, then waited for Hunter to stand up. Orton went for an RKO, but Hunter blocked it and slammed Orton onto the chair. Edge then gave Hunter a Spear. Hunter rolled out of the ring. Edge lifted the chair out from under Orton, but when he turned around, he had the fear of God in his eyes as Hunter entered with the sledgehammer, having made the infamous Tommy Dreamer Comeback where, despite wrestling for six minutes, taking a two-on-one beating including several chairshots, and having just been given the top heel's finisher, he was able to make a full comeback. He swung the sledge hammer, knocking the hapless chair out of Edge's hands. Edge bailed out. Hunter stood in the ring as the DX music played. Hunter sold a left arm injury, at least, holding it close to his body.
WINNER: Triple H via DQ in 6:00.
STAR RATING: *1/4 -- Not particularly interesting action leading up to the DQ finish.
-Backstage, Sharmell and Booker were shown. Booker was warming up for the possibility of facing Cena in the main event.
Eugene was weepy scared before the match, backing into the corner of the ring, cowering in trepedation. Duggan tried to get Duggan to join him in the fight in mid-ring. Umaga no-sold Duggan's first punches and shoved him aside. Umaga went after Eugene in the corner, so Eugene rolled out of the ring. Umaga headbutted Duggan to the mat and then pounded away at him. Eugene hid behind Lilian Garcia. Umaga finished offf Duggan with a top rope headbutt. He finished offf Duggan with the Samoan Spike.
WINNER: Umaga in 1:30.
STAR RATING: 1/4* -- Just a quick squash. Not sure what they tried to accomplish last week with Eugene snapping and showing some fire when this week he's back to being totally chicken.
-Ross plugged the Umaga vs. Sandman or Kane or Chris Benoit match Cyber Sunday. Not that the buyrate had a chance to be good under any circumstances, but going up against the New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts game, with the two best QBs in the NFL facing off and two teams with a total of one loss this season, it's going to be the PPV most NFL fans skip, and there are a lot of fans of both WWE and the NFL.
-Backstage, Bischoff approached Coach backstage. He told Coach he should be afraid of Cena. Coach said to prove how he's not scared of anyone, the next person to walk out of the locker room he was standing in front of, he would beat up. Right on cue (oh, how stupidly convenient) Ron Simmons walked out and got in Coach's face. Coach fled. Simmons paused, then said, "Damn!" There's not another scripted show on TV that inserts so many implausibly convenient coincidences out of sheer laziness as the WWE writers do. It's as if WWE writers believe because they're scripted, they have no obligation to create any semblance of realism or believability into anything they do. In and of itself, it's just a stupid skit, but why excuse their lazy writing just because it's a little harmless skit. It's not harmless, either, because stuff like that chips away at the suspension of disbelief that is key to viewers getting wrapped up in any scripted entertainment show.
-Ric Flair walked out onto the stage and introduced Sgt. Slaughter, Roddy Piper, and Dusty Rhodes. Notice how Dusty, as a scriptwriter for the shows with the most pull behind the scenes these days, get the honor of being the last of the three introduced, usually a slot reserved for the biggest star. Each of the three made their pitch for being Flair's partner at Cyber Sunday. Sarge did the same promo he did his entire career. Piper said all three of the others were world champions, but he wasn't. He lifted his kilt and said, "Me? Nothing!" He asked the fans to vote for him, then promiseed to make the Spirit Squad pay. He then kissed Dusty on the forehead. Dusty then did his routine. Flair then said it sounds like it doesn't matter because all three are greats. He said the fans can pick it. All four legends hugged. Lawler said they should run for office. No, they shouldn't.
-An ECW TV ad aired plugging the Diva Costume Party. Remember, WWE isn't wrestling, and it's barely sports entertainment. It's a model show.
-Todd Grisham interviewed Cryme Tyme. They stole the flat screen monitor from the interview set.
5 -- CRYME TYME vs. VISCERA & CHARLIE HAAS
Ross said Shad told him he's been arrested 23 times for assault. Viscera's ring entrance seemed to last forever. Ross said the background of Cryme Tyme is "unique." They set up the monitor they stole at ringside in front of the announcers' desk and plugged it in. It continues to amaze me how locked into this ratings-conceding formula WWE has been for years, where they always give up five or ten percent of their viewership in Q7 with segments that even the announcers have trouble feigning enthusiasm for. Cryme Tyme have already been firming established as a low-end comedy team with nothing in particular remarkable about their in-ring style and no person issues with any other wrestlers to get them hot out of the gate. I seriously can't imagine the writing of Raw these days takes more than an hour for one person. There's just no thought put into it, and it's so "formula" in nature that it's just filling slots. Cryme Tyme shook hands with Ross after their win. Then they had Lawler join them in watching the replay of their win on the stolen monitor they set up at ringside.
WINNERS: Cryme Tyme in 2:00.
STAR RATING: DUD
-Ross plugged the Cena main event fans' choice.
-A commercial aired for WrestleMania 23, plugging the ticket launch on Nov. 11.
-Todd Grisham interviewed Triple H backstage. He asked him whether he is concerned who the special guest referee is going to be. Hunter said he doesn't care because it doesn't matter. Way to sell the special stip in the main event. Fans, be sure to rush out and vote for a stip that the top babyface says doesn't matter. Hunter said Edge and Orton aren't stepping into the ring with just him or Michaels, but also "DX," whatever that means. Hunter held up the dented chair and the sledgehammer. He said, "You bring it, I'll bring it bigger." Here's an idea for the heels. Bring a sledgehhammer instead of a chair.
-Backstage, Coach was agonizing over a laptap, trying to decide whether to vote for Big Show or King Booker. Booker and Sharmell walked in. Booker said he was getting ready for his match against Cena. Big Show walked in. He said Booker should face Cena. Show said Booker should. Then they both looked at Coach and said he should be the one facing Cena.
-King Booker and Sharmell walked to the ring to their intro music. Big Show came out next. Ross said Coach earlier said he was looking forward to fighting Cena. Lawler said nobody would vote for Coach. Grisham stood in mid-ring and revealed the results. After a long drum roll, the screen said Coach got 74 percent of the votes. Show only got 12 percent; Booker got 14 percent. Show and Booker left the ring. Coach then made faces that are normally reserved for morning TV shows aimed at seven year olds.
-John Cena came out to his full ring intro.
6 -- JOHN CENA vs. COACH
Coachh tried to run away. Cena grabbed him and dragged him back to the ring. At ringside, though, Show gave Cena a spear and then Booker joined in on stomping away at him. Booker threw Cena into the ringside steps. Coach sat in the corner with a smile on his face. Cena was rolled into the ring, at which point Coach went for the cover. He got just a two count. Booker and Show joined Ross and Lawler on commentary. Show gave Booker a hard time for doing all of the talking. Cena made his comeback at 1:00, no-selling Coach's chops. Cena then went into his finishing routine for the win.
WINNER: Cena in 2:00.
STAR RATING: DUD
-A two hour TNA Impact would beat this Raw in the ratings, if not right away, within four weeks. WWE needs competition to get them out of this rut. Bad bad show. One of the worst.
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