TV REPORTS WWE RAW ROUNDTABLE REVIEWS 6/1: Caldwell, Donofrio, Parks, Valentino rate and review
Jun 2, 2009 - 11:56:29 AM
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James Caldwell, Torch Assistant Editor (5.5)
This was an uncomfortable show. I think that's the best way to describe it. I fear for Ric Flair's life every time he starts hyper-ventilating or takes a beating. Like I've said in prior RT reviews, I'm still be haunted by Flair's fake heart attack angle on WCW Nitro years and years ago. It replays in my mind every time I see Flair's face turn red. As for the final "main event" segment attempting to sell the PPV, it was just there. Standard WWE fare. Randy Orton was in control going to the PPV; will fans pay money to see (a) Orton get his comeuppance, (b) Batista attempt to win the World Title, or (c) Ric Flair's beating avenged? WWE tried to cast a wide net there, but I have a feeling it was too little, too late after last week's Denver Debacle of a show and too many PPVs in a short period of time.
What bumped the show to a thumbs up was the Kofi Kingston vs. MVP match. Stellar over-ten-minute title match with Kofi pulling out the full arsenal of offensive moves. MVP had a strong performance leading the match and they had good chemistry in the ring. Adding William Regal and Matt Hardy to the mix for a four-way match on Sunday should be a nice under-card match.
Nothing else from the show really stood out. The Miz was in a secondary role without a PPV match to hype, so he wasn't in a position to be a star on the show. Meanwhile, Big Show vs. John Cena was standard PPV build-up to reinforce the submission match on Sunday. There. Fine. But, without a follow-up on Cena's physical condition, it just came across like a basic TV segment.
Tony Donofrio, PWTorch.com Contributor (7.0)
This week, Raw got back to doing what WWE is supposed to do best, putting on entertaining wrestling shows. It’s just a shame that they waited till this late in the game, just one week before Extreme Rules, to get down to putting together a show that was worth watching and entertaining.
Using Ric Flair in a parking lot fight was just a way to use Flair in an active role where he wasn't technically breaking his retirement. The finish could've been done a little better; have Batista try to climb the cage or have Rhodes and DiBiase attack Batista outside the cage allowing Orton to escape before the show goes off the air. You could hear Batista saying "you gotta come out sometime" and he's right. How did Orton get away with what he did? The TV audience will never know. Nonetheless, it came off strong (and by way, Flair is still amazing on the mic and will be till the day he passes!). Following this story, Batista squashing Rhodes in 3 minutes in the cage doesn't do much to make Legacy look strong also. Rhodes and DiBiase are quickly turning into Orton's Hawkins and Ryder, a couple of lackeys.
I actually enjoyed the end of the Cena/Chavo vs. Big Show/Miz match. It was humorous but didn't take away from the action at hand. The match itself wasn't too bad either but all signs point that Cena is going to win on Sunday also. That wouldn't be so bad if Cena had lost last month at Judgment Day, as he should have, in my opinion.
Kofi Kingston and MVP put on a solid match and I was happy to see Kofi come out on top. Here's hoping that MVP is now onto bigger and better things after his rematch on Sunday. As for the Santino-Santina saga, I didn't mind the one segment of comic relief. It was one part of the show and wasn't overkill like we saw last week with the comedy segments. The divas match wasn't bad for what it was and I'm glad they're at least trying to re-establish a Women's Division on both Raw and Smackdown now. This past week, the Unified Tag Titles have gotten some air time too, which was nice to see. Although, here's hoping that William Regal and Matt Hardy aren't a permanent staple as a tag team. Overall, not a great show by any means, but a solid final Raw before Extreme Rules. It just may be too little, too late for the Raw side buildup though.
Greg Parks, PWTorch.com Contributor (6.0)
A thumbs-up show, but it's not saying much considering what WWE has offered in the 9pm ET time-slot the past few weeks. Maybe I just have to accept the fact that with WWE branding their TV shows differently, that the kind of stuff they are putting on Raw just doesn't appeal to me. Maybe I've lost touch with what the fans want, since clearly, Vince McMahon always likes to brag that he knows what his fans want.
The highlight was without a doubt, MVP vs. Kofi Kingston. It felt like a PPV match with the tricks they were pulling out of their proverbial bags in that one. The show-long theme of Ric Flair vs. Randy Orton was an interesting way to build to Batista vs. Orton. Its success hinges on what the fans remember about Flair and Batista's past relationship, though it has been cemented in the past few weeks with Batista calling Flair a mentor and the like.
The Divas tag match was the usual over-booked mess at the end. The Colons against Regal and Matt was OK, nothing more. I liked Vickie Guerrero's character a lot more on Smackdown than I do on Raw. I don't know if it's the snorting while laughing or the cackling during her segment with Santino, but she's become a caricature instead of a relatively-serious authority figure. Why did Cena turn on Chavo? That was kinda heelish of him. Not a great show, but a breath of fresh air compared to the past few weeks.
Shawn Valentino, PWTorch.com Contributor (2.0)
Raw continues to be going through one of its lamest stretches in the history of the show. We are truly understanding how much Shawn Michaels has carried the show with his matches and compelling feuds over the last few years. The only good things on the show were The Miz, a solid match between MVP and Kofi, as well as the incredible Macho Man DVD commercial. Miz continues to give some solid, scathing promos, although it is getting a bit repetitive. MVP and Kingston were given time to showcase some athleticism and pulled off a fun encounter.
The rest of the show was an absolute abomination. Remember when steel cage matches used to mean something and were not just throwaway bouts to open a weekly program. Within fifteen minutes after the match ended, my friend and I struggled to remember how the contest finished. While MVP and Kingston put on a good match, their pre-match exchange was atrocious. MVP is just completely miscast as a face and he comes off as a watered down smiling dork. You know things are bad when Josh Matthews looks like the coolest guy on screen next to two wrestlers. Vicki is getting worse and worse each week, as is Santino. The segments between the two were awful low-brow "comedy" at its absolute worse.
I remember when I was watching Nitro and my mom walked by and asked what that old man was doing in the ring. She was asking about Ric Flair and that was over ten years ago. Last year, Shawn Michaels performed a miracle and almost erased fifteen years of mediocre memories of Flair with an emotional "final match" that gave him the ultimate ending to his storied career. Me, and millions of other fans had reached closure and were happy to see him ride off into the sunset. This latest comeback attempt has been absolutely pathetic. Watching this senile old man ranting and embarrassing himself trying to prove he still has it as he approaches senior citizenship makes the entire show looks terrible. It may please a few die-hard Flair fans, but to casual viewers, watching this washed up lunatic beating down one of the top young superstars in the company destroys the suspension of disbelief and is a detriment to the future of wrestling.
It goes back to WWE's inability to create new stars over the last five years. The ending of the show was beyond stupid, with Flair being punted by Orton, and having the devastating move completely ignored by everybody as if it did not happen. This was so bad that even Batista struggled to keep from laughing as he had a goofy grin on his face after seeing Nature Boy get beat down. That was similar to the smile I had on my own face hoping this means the end of Flair, because this is the finale he really deserves.
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