TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 11/30: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live Raw on USA Network
Nov 30, 2009 - 10:10:40 PM
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WWE Raw Live Report
November 30, 2009
Live from Baltimore, Md.
Aired live on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor
WWE Raw opened with a plug for Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston...tonight. Yes, they're giving away their hottest feud on free TV tonight without any pre-show advertising. I'll be shocked if they give away the match, much less a clean finish. Also, Verne Troyer, a/k/a Mini Me is hosting the show.
In-ring: Chris Jericho and Big Show came to the ring dressed in suits to start the show. Jericho said they want to clear the air on some false beliefs going around that DX is the greatest tag team of all time. Jericho said they're going to deal with facts and expose DX right now. He paused and said they have embarrassed and beaten every tag team put in their way. On and on down the list. Jericho said DX has been together since 1996, but have never won tag team gold. Actually, 1997 was the official formation.
Big Show said they will dominate and destroy DX beyond the point of recognition. So, they're vowing to maim and nearly kill DX. Can't back that one up, so no one's buying the promo here. Show with another fact: over 43 championships between Jericho and him. Show said Jericho was the first Undisputed champion and he is the only man to hold the WCW, WWE, and ECW titles. Jericho emphasized that they can't be beat. A video reel of their domination played in the background over their shoulders as Show sold The Fist as he vowed to send DX into a deep coma.
Jericho said DX doesn't know what they're getting themselves into. Lighting was darkness to set a heelish tone, then the audience chanted "DX, DX" to interrupt this boring monologue. Finally, DX's music hit to bring out Shawn Michaels and Triple H. I don't know if Jericho and Show were intentionally boring to set up a bigger pop for DX, but that six-minute promo was utter boredom.
Triple H took the mic in the ring and got right down to the facts: "You are boring us to death." Well, that confirms it. Hunter, wearing some sort of beanie shaped like an army helmet, said they have amassed an army of DX followers who believe in DX not because of the merchandise or funny jokes but because they grab life by the throat and get what they want. So, Hunter advocated violence to get what he wants. Great message. Michaels then talked about wrestling in his hometown of San Antonio at the TLC PPV to become the tag champs for the first time ever.
Hunter then entered game show host narrator to say not only does a tag match victory at TLC mean DX is tag champs, but Jericho is off Raw for good. Hunter reminded us Jericho is on Raw only because he has the tag belts. "Bye-bye," Hunter said. Jericho sneered. Hunter said they are going to personally remove Jericho from Raw in two weeks so they don't have to hear him whine anymore. Crowd chimed in with the "na na na goodbye" song.
Jericho paused and said everyone knows that without Chris Jericho, Raw is nothing. He said the ratings will go in the toilet and the show will be left with no one but crazies like DX. Jericho said it drives them crazy every day that JeriShow has the titles while they have none. He said they won the titles the first night of their existence while DX rests on their reputation. Jericho told them there's nothing they can do about losing at TLC.
Hunter said Jericho makes a lot of interesting points, but the only point he has to say is that two weeks can't come fast enough. He said Jericho's time is limited on Raw with the clock ticking. He wanted Jericho one-on-one tonight. Jericho smirked and backed away to conference with Big Show on the challenge. Don't they have to run this through Mini Me? Jericho said he accepts, but under one condition. Big Show said if Jericho loses, he faces DX in a handicap match next week. But, if Hunter loses, he faces Jericho and Show in a handicap match. (Removing the idea that WWE somehow had to find a way to book that stipulation for next week, why would anyone logically make that challenge? Why not, "If Hunter loses, he has to wrestle the entire Raw roster with a blindfold and one hand tied behind his back with mousetraps on the floor and Shawn Michaels is barred from the country?" Anyways, the match was set for tonight. JeriShow left the ring to leave DX in the ring to think about the gutless challenge. PYB (3) talk time: 14:30.
Raw Flashback: Kofi vs. Orton explodes tonight. Also, Verne Troyer hosts. Jerry Lawler advertised him "from the Austin Powers movies." What is this, 1999? Goodness gracious, WWE continues to date themselves after the Scooby Doo references for Freddy Prinze, Jr. a few months ago.
In-ring: Divas champion Melina and Gail Kim came to the ring for a divas tag match to start the show. After the screen inexplicably went blank for a few seconds, they cut backstage where Josh Mathews interviewed Maryse and Jillian Hall. Maryse talked about her return to WWE to attack Melina last week as the Gobbledygooker, then the heel divas marched to the ring. Gail had to hold back Melina from smashing Maryse before the opening bell.
1 -- Divas champion MELINA & GAIL KIM vs. MARYSE & JILLIAN HALL
Melina and Maryse were going to start, but Maryse played the heel and backed off to her corner to tag in Jillian without mixing it up with Melina. Maryse eventually picked her spot and picked up a win over the champion to get her hand raised and establish herself as the #1 contender to Melina's title.
WINNER: Maryse & Jillian at 2:57. Okay tag match. Jillian is a good enough secondary heel and she kept the match going before the ultimate finish to set up Maryse as the next contender to the women's division title on Raw. (1/2*)
Video package: They showed Sheamus winning the #1 contender battle royal last week, then giving John Cena a powerslam through the contract table. ... Backstage: They showed Sheamus walking down the hallway. We'll hear from up on the other side of the break.
In-ring: Sheamus came to the ring as Michael Cole talked about Sheamus having a "chance of a lifetime" against John Cena. Sheamus said he doesn't need to pin or submit Cena, even though he can. He said all he needs to do is put him through a table and he's already done it once. Easy way of putting the WWE Title in jeopardy with the deck stacked against Cena. Sheamus said Cena will then take him seriously. Santino Marella then came out as Sheamus's opponent. Lawler was confused that Sheamus was scheduled to wrestle tonight even though Justin Roberts announced a one-fall match and the ref was in the ring before Sheamus even came out. Let's get it together folks. Santino said Sheamus must be very focused on his match against "John Chana" tonight. He said Sheamus must not be "so smart person" for over-looking him in his promo. He said Sheamus must be "jealious-oh" because he has skin pigmentation. Santino said Sheamus must think he's after his Lucky Charms.
Santino called him "Lameus" and Sheamus had enough. He blasted him with a right hand to beat down Santino. Sheamus gave him a running clothesline and stalked Santino as Cole did his "low tone voice" to sell the "serious nature" of the action. Anything to help sell Cena being in jeopardy. Sheamus toyed with Santino for a bit before delivering his bicycle kick to the head. Sheamus then wanted the Outsider's Edge and he bounced Santino's head off the mat executing Scott Hall's finisher. Sheamus wasn't done, as he went under the ring and retrieved a table. Sheamus set it up in the corner as the audience chanted Cena's name. Sheamus then put Santino through the table with a running bodyslam that left Santino slumped in the corner. Sheamus screamed at the hard camera before leaving the ring and said, "It's nothing compared to what I'm going to do to John Cena." Effective segment after the initial comedy that distracted from trying to set up Sheamus as a credible threat to Cena. PYB (3) talk time: 10:05.
Backstage: They faded to a shot of Jericho and Big Show walking down the hallway. They stopped when they spotted Verne Troyer on his phone way down below on the floor. Show leaned down to shake hands with Troyer, who then went back to being on the phone. Jericho tried to get his attention, but Troyer no-sold. Jericho, upset, stomped off. Troyer then shook hands with Big Show to wrap the segment.
On-stage: Verne Troyer came out on stage and sat on a stool to talk about everyone being so nice to him in Los Angeles during Summerslam except for one inconsiderate jerk...The Miz. On cue, Miz's music interrupted and he came out on stage. "Really?! I'm inconsiderate?" Miz said he doesn't remember seeing him at the Summerslam party. He knelt down and sarcastically apologized, saying he felt awful. Miz said if he could give him... one million dollars and put him in some cool clothes, maybe he could call him Mini Miz. Troyer said it's not like he's heard that one before. He shot back that Miz hasn't been in any movies before, but they filmed two Jackass movies. Troyer said he's a better actor and star than Miz. Miz said he has no problem using two ringposts as the uprights for him to punt Troyer right through them. Mark Henry's music interrupted and Henry came out on stage to defend Mini Me.
Miz congratulated Troyer on being saved by the World's Blandest Man. He went into Fat Bastard voice telling Troyer to get in his belly. Miz said Henry is about as boring as this excuse for a human being's attempt at hosting his show. Miz cut a promo on Henry's perceived boring and bland persona, which begs the question of what happened to "I'm better than you in the ring and I'll prove it?" Troyer said he's tired of listening to Miz, so he booked a match - Miz vs. Mark Henry. Rough-around-the-edges segment. PYB (3) talk time: 6:15.
Plug for later: Triple H vs. Chris Jericho. What happened to Little's People Court with Hornswoggle? Also, what happened to wrestling on this show? Just a bunch of filler talk in the first hour tonight.
In-ring: Kofi Kingston came to the ring for the unadvertised match against Randy Orton, but Cody Rhodes ambushed him before he could enter the ring. Cody left Kofi KO'ed on the floor, but Kofi slowly entered the ring and said he still wanted the match against Orton. Orton's music hit, but Ted DiBiase ambushed Kofi from behind and attacked the leg. Cole said they were expecting Kingston vs. Orton tonight, but now it seems unlikely. Kofi sold a left knee injury as refs checked on him. Orton's music hit a second time and Orton made record time hitting the ring.
[Q5 -- second hour]
2 -- RANDY ORTON vs. KOFI KINGSTON
The bell sounded after the ref checked with Kofi one more time, then Orton quickly went after the knee that was softened up by Legacy. The crowd tried to rally behind Kofi as Orton took apart the knee. Orton stalked Kofi then went back to attacking the knee. Ref threatened to DQ him, but he inexplicably didn't DQ Orton. WWE is quite inconsistent with how much leeway referees are given to determine DQs. Orton backed away, then Kofi made a brief comeback, but Orton finished him off with the RKO for the pin and the win.
Post-match: Orton picked up Kingston and wanted to continue the attack. He put Kingston in the corner and executed his elevated DDT straight into the mat after a pause for added effect. Orton did his viper-like stalk to go with his evil-eyes facial expression to sell the attack. Crowd chanted, "Randy sucks" to help sell the angle. Orton's music hit again as the announcers talked about Orton being a tortured soul and obsessed with revenge on Kingston, who seemingly pushed Orton too far.
WINNER: Orton at 3:08. The match outcome sets up Kingston for revenge at a later date, but why they went this route of Kingston taking a pinfall loss was questionable. Orton was at least awesome as the classic Orton heel getting his revenge on Kingston for the past few weeks. Good to see Orton strong again. Now they can set up a strong comeback from Kingston. (n/a)
Backstage: MVP was hanging out with Verne Troyer playing the Smackdown vs. Raw video game. Jillian Hall barged in wanting to sing "Single Ladies" by Beyonce, but MVP distracted her by telling Troyer than Henry isn't that boring or bland. He's just all-business in the ring. MVP then did everyone a disservice by asking Jillian to sing her song. Henry started dancing to convey that he's "not bland," but he accidentally fell on top of Jillian and squashed her. MVP and Henry walked away from the crime scene and Troyer comically said, "Hey guys, I think she's dead." Jillian continued to sell the effects flat on her face on the ground.
Announcers: Cole and Lawler broke down the TLC PPV card. Backstage: They showed a red sports car speed up backstage. Out came John Cena looking very serious. Interesting intro.
In-ring: WWE champion John Cena stormed the ring and said it's his turn to make a statement; it's his turn to go to war. Cena emphatically called out Sheamus for a title match right here tonight. Instead, out came Carlito. Que? Carlito, sporting no facial hair, slowly walked to the ring and said he knows he's not Sheamus and he doesn't even know Sheamus, but there's a whole locker room full of folks hoping Cena loses because they're all tired of Cena hogging the spotlight with his hats, t-shirts, and wrist bands. Carlito said Sheamus is going to do to Cena what they all want to do: put him through a table and become new WWE champion. He said Cena might represent the people, but Sheamus represents the locker room. Carlito told Cena his reign as champ is over. Cena said he's never been more serious that Carlito picked the wrong guy on the wrong night. Cena gave Carlito a challenge to step up and come get the title. "It's party time, let's go," Cena said. Cena then took off his hat and his "damn t-shirt" and chucked them out of the ring. Carlito decided to take a bite out of his apple instead of taking a fight to Cena, who blasted him with a right hand before delivering the FU. Cena dumped Carlito to the outside, then Sheamus's music hit.
Sheamus came out on stage and stared into the ring. Cena told him to come get some. Sheamus slowly walked down the ramp, but he stopped. Cena flexed and readied himself for a fight like a Gladiator movie, but Sheamus merely backed away and left the stage. Cena sold anger and frustration in the ring to wrap the segment. Good segment, although the "we hate your merchandise, t-shirts, hogging the spotlight" promo should probably be directed at bulletproof DX. Surprise use of Carlito, but he served his purpose well. PYB (3) talk time: 7:37.
Backstage: They showed The Miz walking down the hallway. He has Mark Henry next.
On-stage: Verne Troyer was back on stage sitting on a stool to introduce "two bros, two homies, two good friends" MVP and Mark Henry. MVP came out on stage in street clothes to lead out Mark Henry. MVP told the audience to prepare themselves for an epic moment. He said MVP thinks Henry has no personality, so they're going to give people a dose of reality. MVP tried to warm up the crowd for Henry to "do it big" showing some personality. Cue up a generic hip-hop beat. MVP rapped in the background as Henry tried rapping, but he rapped in the same tone as he usually talks. Basically, Miz has nowhere to hide and it's Raw, not Real World. They eventually cut off Henry and faded to black. That wasn't smooth. JC: I don't know where in the world this "no personality Mark Henry" issue came from, but this was not good TV. Apparently, WWE has decided - with their Caucasian writers writing for African-American wrestlers - that the only way for an African-American wrestler to show personality is to act like a rapper. Henry has potential to be a good babyface, but WWE has given him nothing to work with. This wasn't good.
[Commercial Break. Oh, but wait, WWE says order the Jeff Hardy DVD as they try to make money off a former star currently facing felonies and misdemeanor charges.]
In-ring: The Miz was on his way to the ring out of the break. They quickly went right to the ring for the match to start.
3 -- U.S. champion THE MIZ vs. MARK HENRY -- non-title match
The bell sounded and Miz tried to mount Henry in the corner to attack him with right hand blows. They cut to a shot of Troyer sitting on stage with the same peculiar facial expression he's maintained the entire show. Miz came back on Henry with a kick strike to the chops for a two count. Miz then tried a springboard splash, but Henry caught Miz in mid-air with the World's Strongest Slam for the easy pin and the win. Announcers said this puts Henry in the U.S. Title chase. Post-match: Henry walked on stage and met with Troyer, who wanted to bring the ladies out for a celebration. Out came the Bella Twins, Kelly Kelly, and Eve for some highly awkward dancing. Henry then lifted Troyer on his shoulders to complete the dance number.
WINNER: Henry at 2:01. Miz can get his heat back from the loss, but this did absolutely nothing for him. It's one thing for the heel champion to be chased by potential contenders and show weaknesses that make a potential title chase intriguing, but it's completely different just to toss him aside with a basic squash. It would be like exposing the villain, capturing the villain, and throwing him behind bars in the opening scene of CSI and having nothing left to intrigue the audience for the next 55 minutes. It simply defies logic. This whole show has defied logic. I'm starting to think WWE has already packed up the plane to Iraq because they're phoning this one. (n/a)
Backstage: They showed Chris Jericho walking down the hallway. Main event against Triple H is up next.
Next week: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban hosts Raw from Dallas. What a horrible graphic they used, as it looked like they used Microsoft Paint. Even the graphics department phoned it in tonight.
Backstage: DX was in their locker room talking about a horrible dream about them supposed to be in Little People's Court this week. Suddenly, Hornswoggle barged in and spoke jibberish with subtitles that explained Hornswoggle was upset with them dodging his legal threats. Hunter told him he has "nothing, nothing" on them. Suddenly, Troyer drove in on a motorized card and told Horny to sue DX for all they have. Doesn't Troyer have unlimited power on the show to do just that? Another sign of the writing team phoning this one in since they wrote off the only thing they advertised for the show ahead of time with a virtual dream sequence. Not that I'm complaining about them removing the b.s. comedy for a serious approach to selling the PPV, but it creates a perception the writing team doesn't know what it's doing from week to week.
In-ring: Chris Jericho came to the ring first for the main event. DX's music hit and they went through their routine. "You gotta love DX," Lawler said with about as much conviction as the writing team had writing this show. Shawn Michaels then went to the announce table before the match began.
4 -- Unified tag champion CHRIS JERICHO vs. TRIPLE H (w/Shawn Michaels)
Less than a minute into the match, Big Show's music hit and he stomped out to the ring still sporting a suit. Hunter was distracted, which allowed Jericho to take control. Show knocked over the cameraman and the screen went blank momentarily, then Show walked over to the announce table as they cut to break.
Back from break, Jericho was in control as Show was now positioned ringside on commentary. Line-up from left to right was Michaels, Lawler, Cole, and Show. Michaels and Show debated their respective abilities to climb a ladder before the top of the hour.
[Q9 -- over-run]
Hunter made his comeback at the top of the hour so everyone flipping channels for the over-run could see him in control and looking strong. Hunter then missed with a clothesline and Jericho grazed Hunter with an enziguiri kick for a two count. Jericho tried to follow with a Lionsault, but Hunter got his knees up to block. Hunter and Jericho then had a "boo, yay" punch exchange before Hunter exploded on Jericho with a clothesline for a two count. After Hunter scored a close nearfall, Show got up from his seat and KO Punched Hunter. Ref didn't see it, but he booted him. In the confusion, Michaels landed a superkick on Jericho. Ref turned around and saw Michaels involved, so he booted him. With the extra participants cleared from ringside, the match resumed with Hunter and Jericho KO'ed on the mat. Hunter stirred at eight, then Jericho at nine. Both men were up at nine, then Jericho wanted the codebreaker, but Hunter blocked and rolled up Jericho with a slight hook of the tights to put Jericho on the mat for the pin and the win. Next week, it's Jericho vs. DX in a handicap match.
WINNER: Hunter at 11:13. Good, basic TV main event selling one of the PPV main events at TLC. Good drama at the end with the extra involvement to build tension for the finish. Easily the best segment on an otherwise bad episode of Raw with WWE already halfway to Iraq on several fronts. (**1/4)
Post-match: Jericho was on his knees stunned from taking the sudden loss. After a replay of the high spots in the match, Hunter and Michaels were shown standing on stage. Michaels took the mic and reminded Jericho he's in a handicap match next week. He sold it as Jericho's last night on Raw. Jericho sold anguish in the ring while Hunter posed on stage and took a glance off camera looking for his cue to go off the air. And so they went off the air to conclude the show.
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