TV REPORTS KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT 6/2: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live USA Network cablecast
Jun 2, 2008 - 10:23:15 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor
KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT
JUNE 2, 2008
WHAT HAPPENED: 1ST HOUR
-The Raw opening aired, then Jim Ross opened the show, seeming a little distracted.
-Triple H's intro music played and he walked out onto the stage wearing his WWE Title belt. Ross said Triple H won the Last Man Standing match in San Diego the night before. He said it was a disaster for Orton. Jerry Lawler said Orton had a disastrous landing where Orton broke his collarbone. Triple H said, "Well, the Age or Orton is officially broken. That's right. It's done, finished, over. It's as if it never existed." He said both he and Orton knew neither would be the same leaving as they were coming in. He said Orton is watching this from a hospital room "beaten, battered, bruised with a broken collarbone." He said he's beaten and battered, too, but it's a hell of a lot easier to handle when he can say he's still WWE Champion. He said Orton is out of the way and he doesn't know who's next and he doesn't care. John Cena's music interrupted.
Cena entered the ring and said he knows how Triple H feels, not knowing the future. He said everybody watching around the world knows the future is now. Huh? He said he doesn't hate Triple H. He said for the most part they see eye-to-eye about a lot of things other than the WWE Championship. He said Triple H has truly conquered everyone but him. He said with the WWE Draft looming, he doesn't know if he'll have another opportunity. He asked, "Are you ready? Are you ready for the biggest event of this business." He equated it to Yankees vs. Red Sox, Celtics vs. Lakers, Stanley Cup, World Series, the Lottery, the Super Bowl all rolled into one. "Triple H, are you ready to fight?" he asked. Triple H said a very big star in the industry once looked him dead in the eye and said to him, "You want some, come get some." Jeff Hardy's music interrupted.
Jeff Hardy limped to the ring. Ross said Hardy put on an amazing performance in a "winning effort 24 hours ago." Hardy said three men from Raw won matches last night, not just two, "and here we are." He talked about each of their wins. Hardy said he knows what Vince McMahon likes. He likes to deliver what the fans wants and he loves firsts. Triple H said those two could work out whatever he wants; it sounded good to him.
Vince McMahon walked out onto the stage and said what fans want is info on how to be eligible to win a million dollars next week. He then suggested a "totally original idea he came up with himself" of having Hardy vs. Cena in the TV main event with the winner facing Triple H at Night of the Champions.
-Ross plugged Chris Jericho vs. JBL.
-A promo aired hyping the June 23 WWE Draft "exclusively on USA Network."
-Mr. Kennedy walked to the ring and responded to Paul Burchill's Curb Stomp last week. He said he got his "girlfriend William Regal fired last week," and he heard "he cried like a little British pansy on his way out the door." He said he gets to follow in his footsteps because he'll have plenty to cry about when he gets his ass whipped by "Mr. Kennedy! Kennedy!" Burchill stepped out onto the stage with Katie Lea. He said he can't wrestle Kennedy because he's busy training his sister Katie for her first women's match. He said he found a suitable replacement in Umaga.
1 -- UMAGA vs. MR. KENNEDY
Umaga walked to the ring with his ribs taped. Ross said he didn't have info on Umaga's condition because he wasn't able to share a word with him earlier in the day. Umaga hit an early Samoan Drop, then applied a nerve hold, then tossed Kennedy to the floor. He then leaped off the ring apron toward Kennedy. Kennedy moved. Umaga hit his head on the table, then sold that his ribs hit the table. He collapsed and rolled on the ringside mat as the ref (and fans) counted him out.
WINNER: Kennedy via countout in 2:00. I like the selling of last night's PPV match.
-As Kennedy had his hand raised, Paul Burchill attacked him from behind, then left the ring.
-They went backstage where a guy in a suit who looked very important carried a plastic case full of what looked like cash.
-Vince McMahon walked out to detail his "McMahon's Million Dollar Mania" concept. He said he's going to give away his money and it's no scam. He rambled about giving away 100,000 or 125,000 or 250,000 dollars. He said by next week he'll have given away a million. He said all anyone has to do is register at WWE.com. He said he'll ask for their phone number and address. He said they must be a resident of the U.S. and must be watching Raw. He joked that the U.S. resident issue might be a problem for some Bakersfield fans. He asked why he'd give away a million dollars every week on Raw. "Maybe because I'm a little eccentric or maybe generous or maybe I want to attract more people to enjoy what you enjoy every week," he said. He invited viewers who watched years ago but have stopped, maybe they "can come back home." He said they're not everybody's cup of tea, but maybe even some new viewers will enjoy it. He said those who won't watch may be snobs who look down on them. He said WWE fans represent Americana - every race, every income level, etc. He said they are in a special club club themselves, an elite club where no WWE fans are related. He said that's fine, because they aren't invited themselves. He said WWE events should have a sign up that says, "No snobs allowed." He said it was time to give those snobs an example of how much fun they have on Raw every night. He asked them to stand up and cheer and boo. "We're talking Bakersfield, California. We're talking Americana!" He said next week on Raw it's all about the money. The theme song "Money, Money, Money" played. Lawler laughed about the cash having its own theme song. I guess that whole segment was necessary to establish the contest, but it was too long and kind of pathetic that McMahon had to rally WWE fans like that. It was just overly defensive about how "elitists" perceive the product. Although fans are generally "in" on his character, it's hard to expect them to suddenly rally behind McMahon without any transition of character after years of his trying to destroy fan favorite wrestlers.
-A commercial aired hyping the replay of One Night Stand, in particular Undertaker losing.
-Ross plugged that Santino Marella fights Jimmy Kimmel's cousin Sal on Smackdown this Friday. You know, because Santino is a Raw wrestler, so it makes sense he'd wrestle on Smackdown. How do they expect anyone to take the draft seriously if they just arbitrarily have wrestlers such as Santino wrestle on both brands?
Cody noted before the match that they can't start without a time keeper. (Well, he botched pronouncing "time keeper," but we knew what he meant.) He said a special time keeper had been assigned the match. Roddy Piper's bagpipe music played and Piper made his way to the ring. He actually made his huge belly appear to have muscular definition and did the Rick Rude ab brushing for the camera. Talk about denial! He rang the bell to start the match. Piper tried to trip Santino at ringside. With the ref distracted, Carlito kicked Holly and then Carlito fell on top of him and rolled him up for the win.
WINNERS: Santino & Carlito in 1:00. If WWE doesn't have enough confidence in these wrestlers to carry a match longer than a minute or two, they shouldn't even be on the roster. The answer to ratings problems isn't diminishing the undercard more, it's elevating them in the eyes of the fans as being significant and capable of entertaining, competitive matches.
-Ross and Lawler hyped the two singles main event matches.
-Santino congratulated Carlito on their win. He said they're "weiners." Carlito correct his pronunciation and then walked away. Todd Grisham walked up to Santino and asked about fighting Cousin Sal on Smackdown on Friday. Carlito said not even Roddy the Piper can save Cousin Sal. Santino read a Top Ten List. Grisham said that's David Letterman's thing, not Kimmel's. He then talked about "Headlines." Grisham said that's Jay Leno's bit. He did the "...for me to poop on" line. Grisham said that's from Conan. That was just lousy comedy.
-Holly charged into the locker room and asked Cody why he didn't tell him about Roddy Piper being the guest time keeper. Holly said he's the veteran of the team and the leader. Cody said it was a non-title match and they're still champs. Holly said if that keeps up, not for long. Ted DiBiase Jr. walked in and said he's about three weeks away from choosing a partner and becoming the new tag team champion. He said the look on his face will be like him: priceless.
-They went to Ross and Lawler at ringside. They talked about Chris Jericho "encouraging" Shawn Michaels during One Night Stand. They interviewed him from backstage. Jericho said he did everything he could to encourage Michaels to victory. He said he has the heart of a champion. He said he's held a lot of championships over the years, just like his IC Title. Jericho said he hasn't been defending the IC Title often enough, and from now on he's going to defend it every chance he gets. They began to fade the screen to commercial, but Jericho interjected and said since Michaels is watching from home, he wanted to dedicate his match to Michaels. This Jericho character is a riot, and it's just getting started. This is really a good fit for him and he's playing the role well with the right dose of subtlety to sneak up on some people.
WHAT HAPPENED: 2ND HOUR
-Ross and Lawler plugged the Staples Center press conference tomorrow. "Everybody's invited!" said Ross. They said McMahon, Triple H, Cena, and Maria will be there.
3 -- JBL vs. CHRIS JERICHO
Early in the match, a crawler on the screen plugged that fans should visit the WWE website to register for the million dollar contest. Five minutes in, they fought at ringside. Jericho went for a slidekick, but JBL side stepped him and then gave him a big boot. JBL grabbed a chair and shoved the ref. The ref DQ'd JBL. Jericho kicked JBL so the chair jabbed his throat. JBL bled from the mouth again. Jericho threatened to hit JBL, but JBL begged for mercy. Jericho paused, thought better of it, dropped the chair, and walked away with his IC Title belt.
WINNER: Jericho via DQ in 5:00 to retain the IC Title.
STAR RATING: *
-A recap aired of the McMahon segment on the money giveaway. They showed the plastic container full of cash was still on the stage.
4 -- "GLAMAZON" BETH PHOENIX & KATIE LEA vs. MICKIE JAMES & MELINA
Ross said this is an unpredictable diva tag team match-up. Lawler said this is their first chance to see Katie Lea in action. Melina seemed emotionally distraught watching the match to the point that Mickie seemed disturbed by her demeanor. Melina demanded a tag in against Glamazon. Mickie gave it to her. Melina attacked Glamazon with a vengeance. Ross called her a "hellcat." It led to a tumble to the floor where Melina charged at Glamazon, but Glamazon clotheslined her (awkwardly). Then she threw her into the ring and tagged in Katie again. Mickie got a hot tag and went on a flurry against Katie. Katie came back briefly and kicked Melina. Glamazon hit Mickie from behind and Katie scored the pin.
WINNER: Katie & Glamazon in 5:00.
STAR RATING: *1/4
-Afterward, Burchill walked to the ring applauding his sister's first match and first win. Kennedy attacked Burchill from behind. Katie tried to warn him. He pounded on Burchill in the ring with a barrage of punches. Burchill escaped, but not without a struggle.
-Cryme Tyme walked out onto the stage and eyed the cash in the plastic case on the stage. They made some gestures toward the armed security guards who were watching the cash. They showed Lawler trying to log on to WWE.com. It came up as "Service Unavailable." He concluded that WWE fans had jammed WWE.com. In fact, it just meant their Internet service in the arena was down.
5 -- TREVOR MURDOCH vs. LANCE CADE
Murdoch said before the match that Cade tried to embarrass him before, and now he wants to beat him up. He sang about how he's been beaten up before, but is still standing. It didn't get much crowd reaction. They brawled right to the floor. Cade pounded on Murdoch's head after a shot to the ringpost dropped Murdoch. Murdoch came back and leaped off the top rope. Cade met him with a punch to the gut, then gave him his finisher for the clean win.
WINNER: Cade in 2:00. It's amazing that so much TV time was dedicated to this team over the years, and then a slow build to their break-up, and then when they finally wrestle on TV against each other, it gets zero hype before the match begins and lasts just two minutes. And the guy with arguably less potential gets the win (but his body fits the mold better!) They wonder why only a handful of guys draw when there's this huge, huge dropoff between the top teir and everyone else.
-They showed Hardy warming up backstage for his first-ever Raw match against Cena.
-Ross and Lawler talked about Undertaker leaving WWE. He said it's like losing a member of the family. Lawler said the story will be followed up on Smackdown on Friday.
-They went backstage to Mickie getting her neck iced by a trainer. Cena checked on her. He said he wanted to apologize for Mike Adamle last night. He said everybody is talking about them. Mickie said people can't even be friends anymore. (Boy, has this scenario played out so many times for real behind the scenes, usually with married wrestlers.) Cena then told Mickie she left something behind last night. He handed her a wad of leopard print underwear. She acted bashful and said she had to go see the trainer. Cena then drank some of JBL's magic potion. It's so stupid to have wrestlers sometimes acknowledge the camera is present, but in a situation like this not reveal it but then have the entire basis of the skit being how they're upset with people gossiping about them, only to them flirt with each other and end with underwear being dropped in Mickie's lap. It's just not a consistent form or narrative, and it's lazy and amateurish and unnecessary and distracts fans from the storyline by turning to each other and asking, "Are they complete idiots? There's a camera right there, and they're flirting with each other, and they're blaming others for gossiping."
-They went back to Lawler registering for the money giveaway. Ross said he's not eligible. Lawler said he quits.
-As Jeff Hardy came to the ring, they replayed Hardy's leap dive off the truck onto Umaga on the asphault. Ross said that there was nothing between Hardy and the pavement other than Umaga.
6 -- JOHN CENA vs. JEFF HARDY -- No. 1 Contender's Match
The match began at 11 minutes before the top of the hour, so there was some time for a full-fledged match here. It'd be the first of the night. A fan charged into the ring and was quickly tackled by security. He was treated roughly as he put up a fight as he was tossed out of the ringside area. Cena made ridiculous faces as Hardy smiled. Ross said Raw is live and anything can happen. Lawler asked Ross not to streak. The crowd remained distracted for another minute. (If anyone was there live, let us know what happened off camera.) Ross plugged the money giveaway next week, then Lawler noted that his understanding is money will be given away all night. Hardy kicked Cena to the floor, then dove onto him. Then they cut to a break, of course.
Hardy was in the midst of a flurry of offense after the break. Cena came back and scored some near falls. At 9:00 Hardy then came back with a Swanton dive off the top rope, but Cena moved. Then he hit two flying shoulder tackles and a side slam. He signalled for the You Can't See Me routine to a mix of cheers and boos. Hardy lay there for a minute as Cena postured and stalled and waved his hand and allowed him to fistdrop him, which looked stupid and unrealistic (as usual). Hardy made a comeback with some forearms and a reverse sidekick and a swing kick in the corner. Hardy dragged Cena to mid-ring for a near fall. Cena countered a Twist of Fate with an FU attempt. Hardy blocked that and climbed to the top rope. Hardy dove at Cena, but Cena rolled through, then lifted Hardy and executed an FU for the win.
WINNER: Cena in 13:00.
STAR RATING: **1/2
-Afterward, Triple H walked onto the stage as his music played. Cena walked up to Triple H on the stage, pointed at him, and indicated he wanted the belt back. Triple H held it in the air. Cena stared at Triple H and the belt as the show ended.
-A promo aired hyping the million dollar giveaway. That rating will be interesting. It'll help that they won't be going up against the Stanley Cup Playoffs and that the NBA did them the favor of scheduling the Celtics-Lakers series for Sunday and Tuesday. TNA ought to just cancel Slammiversary, probably.
-Send your thoughts on Raw (name, hometown, 0-10 score, picks for best and worst matches, and a paragraph of thoughts on the show) to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
-If you missed last night's stellar MMA fight on cable's Versus channel between 145 pound superstar Urijah Faber and former UFC champion Jens Pulver, you can get a full report at our sister site, MMATorch.com. You can also listen to the post-show audio discussion on the event hosted by new MMATorch editor Jamie Penick at this link: MMATorch Audio Show: WEC Faber vs. Pulver Post-Event Analysis
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