THE SPECIALISTS ABSURDITY OF IT ALL - 3/23 WWE RAW: Desperation Is Thy Name, Orton Kisses An Unconscious Steph, The Most Over Diva In WWE Is Santino
Mar 24, 2009 - 12:24:09 PM
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By Shane McKinkley, Torch specialist
"Did I fall or was I pushed?
And where's the blood?
I'm coming home
To make it all right
So dry your eyes"
-"Harrowdown Hill" by Thom Yorke
Wow. Not quite what we expected from the WWE product.
I wrote WrestleMania 25 was shaping up to be like a "Saturday morning cartoon special." I called the direction WWE was going in "heartless and gutless." Hell, before this show the extent of the WrestleMania hype was slapping a big "25" and expecting people to buy it cuz it's the 25th anniversary...sorta. Let's review the absurdity of Raw.
It's Ric Flair. It's good that you accept that your friends are going to fight for ya. It's good you spoke for all three of those guys. Apparently the status of Flair for Mania has been moved from "ringside" to "corner."
However, it's still Jericho vs. 4 other guys...and if we add in Rourke getting a free punch at Jericho's mug, that's five guys.
God then talks to Flair in the ring: "Now listen to me!" Flair loses it and cries out in fear. Actually it was Jericho. Jericho walks to the stage while doing a promo. "25 years ago... The Wrestler...zzzzzz." Sorry folks, but "The Wrestler" is not relevant anymore. Ever since the Oscars, that movie has fallen off the map.
Jericho talks about how he's going to beat up his goofy friends at Mania. This still feels like a Cyber Sunday type of hokey match. The big question last Mania was "is the Mayweather-Show match going to be a dud?" (It actually turned out to be one of the highlights of the show.) Piper does nothing but throw punches and eye pokes, and fans haven't seen Snuka or Steamboat in the ring in a long time. Flair's obviously the calling card here.
Jericho has the gumption to point out that after he wins, Rourke will cry and say, "I caused this." We're stretching here. It's like asking to build the Empire State Building with silly putty. Jericho can only do so much to pump up his 3-on-1 match (credit to biglegdrop.com for pic).
Eight minutes in and this is a fairly by-the-book promo. Then things start to get interesting...
Flair is busted open and starts to bleed heavily. This was a shock to most WWE viewers, as really the only time you would see blood is when a wrestler would bust open their mouth or their nose. The thing that really sold me on this was the infamous "gold watch" that Jericho broke. On all accounts, it should be Jericho vs. Flair, but it's Jericho vs. Flair's buddies. This is the match that fans are wondering, "How the heck are they going to do that one?"
Another extreme rulez match. Not really much more can be put into the Jeff vs. Matt storyline, so what we have here is pumping up the concept of the match.
Gee. Cena vs. Edge. Cena vs. Show. Now Edge vs. Show. What I wouldn't give for Edge to attack Cena on the red carpet while Cena's walking to his movie premiere.
Orton asked Vickie for a two-on-one handicap match. You sort of figured that Orton needed to do something that was controversial, or he would just look like a dumb meathead.
We've got blood and steel chairs in the first 20 minutes of the show. As stated before, this Raw was a shock to the WWE audience that was conditioned to know what to expect.
Yes, that rogue Cena caused this whole Vickie storyline. Damn you, Cena. Doesn't Leno have a disdain for wrestlers?
Christian gets the win in the MITB showcase match. However, Vince continues his hatred towards Christian with Finlay along with little Horny knocking out that poor smuck with a ladder and having that ridiculous Irish jig playing. "Ha ha! There's your victory! We'll have Hornswoggle steal your thunder!" I'm surprised that Hornswoggle didn't kick Christian's ass (credit to wrestlingrevealed.com for pic).
Cole: "It's like WrestleMania tonight!" Well, not really. We all know that these shows are more of "showcase matches" than anything else.
Raw comes back. Recap of the show. Recap of Trips-Orton. Recap of the history of the world.
Orton: "I'm not a coward. I just beat up on non-wrestlers." It's akin to boasting that you're such a badass on Rock Band 2 when you're stuck on easy mode. "Triple H, you need to remember who you're dealing with. Please don't break my collarbone again."
Oh yeah, here's your world champ Edge. Winner of the Triple Threat match will win Vickie's heart. Because being Vickie's love is more important than being champion, I guess.
If you don't believe that the WWE pays attention to their whittle WWE universe and how stinky this Vickie angle is, you're wrong. They had a video package of Cena telling both men to man up. Cena: "Edge: you're an eight-time champ. Show: uh....you're really big." Cena goes on more with his rant to make this Vickie love fiasco somewhat credible. Gee, who continues with this Vickie soap opera after Cena is done? WWE. "Yes, we know how bad this feud is. But we've got no other option but to ride it out. We're past the point of no return."
Would like it if Vickie dumps both men after it is all said and done. The whole "I'm going to win your heart because the other dude is weak" is somewhat lame. Or that anybody in WWE thought that the "Vickie and Big Show are in love" could be seen as realistic.
Show lands probably the worst finishing punch ever on Edge. He might as well hit Edge with a pillow. Edge falls like a tree. Zzzzz.
JBL promises something big at WrestleMania. He arrives in a flying limo? The ring is covered in Jim Ross's barbeque sauce? George Bush (played by Will Ferrell) as the special ref? (credit to ndn1.newsweek.com for pic).
Good, quick match with Mysterio and Regal.
After the world gets taken over by ants, Kid Rock will be the only one left standing. Maybe he can get a shot in on Jericho, since it's apparent that Jericho is going to get owned at the big show.
Taker's promo: "We're going to enter another dimension. The cheesy dimension." You know what wrestling fans need today? Laser pointers. They were all the rage in the late '90s.
Holy moly. There's doing a '90s Taker "graveyard" bit-with HBK! HBK giving off lines like "surrounded by the darkness of death." Yeah! Kick that plastic tombstone head! "Rest in Peace!" I wonder how many re-takes they had to do for this. I couldn't imagine doing that promo while keeping a straight face. I do admit that I'm a bit of a fan of campy bits in wrestling, as long as they serve a purpose.
They return to an angry Undertaker. "Nobody...and I mean NOBODY...makes fun of my guyliner!" The "HBK becomes the Undertaker" bit was cheesy, but sometimes you got to take chances. It's equivalent to HBK going "nah nah nah." I was a fan of it, but I can understand why some people didn't like it.
Typically, a HOF contribution to wrestling can be summed up in one sentence. Even "celebrity HOFs" like Pete Rose or William "The Refrigerator" Perry get a pass. But Koko B. Ware? Over some guys who are still not in the HOF?
The gender-bending Santino comes out. Who's the most over Diva in the WWE? Santino. I would have cheered if Santino was in that Miss WrestleMania doohickey, but it would have made the divas look like chumps. Of course, I don't doubt that Santino won't be involved in that match somehow in doing commentary or being at ringside.
Santino lands a headbutt to the butt. Good gah! (credit to images.showhype.com for pic).
The end of the show relies on one of the most effective tricks wrestling has: "Handcuff face to the ropes while heel does something evil." Did they go overboard with Orton? It would probably cause some advertisers to rethink their deals with WWE. Although there was no swearing, no blood, and no threats of rape, it was still uncomfortable to watch. And it was also effective.
The main knock on WWE lately was that they were too pansy. They dragged the hell out of that last bit and let the imaginations of their fans do the work. The kissing of an unconscious Steph while her husband looks on cuffed to the ropes...uncomfortable.
Did they have to go down that route? Pretty much. SuperTripsMania was getting ridiculous, and Orton was usually looking like a dumb meathead on every show. I felt that the last bit was effective, but I can understand why a lot of people (especially advertisers) didn't like it. I couldn't imagine the little WWE tykes were asking their parents as a salivating Orton was threatening to do...something...to Steph right in front of Trips. It wasn't the most horrible thing in the world, but as stated before it was a shock to see WWE take that adult-oriented direction considering the content shown over months and months.
I think that despite the backlash that will occur from that Orton bit, Orton's character was at such a low point he was seen as nothing more but a dumb male model who always got owned by Trips.
A lot about Raw tonight...either you loved it or you hated it. The actual wrestling didn't matter and thus more focus was put into storylines.
However, you wouldn't point out that the WrestleMania hype has been "sound" or "expertly planned out." From the fans standpoint, it's been drivel for three weeks, then suddenly people start bleeding heavily and husbands are handcuffed and forced to watch their wife get beaten up by a lunatic.
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