THE SPECIALISTS 6/15 WWE Raw Hits & Misses: Trump Buys Raw, Fatal Four Way, Edge vs. Hardy vs. Punk
Jun 16, 2009 - 4:52:12 PM
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By Jon Mezzera, Torch Specialist
Jericho vs. Mysterio: Once again, Chris Jericho finds himself in the Raw Hit column, which he owned in 2008. He gave another good promo before this match against Rey Mysterio, where he told the truth about Raw going down after he got drafted to Smackdown. The match itself was another good match between these two. I liked the aggression that Mysterio showed early in the match as his anger towards Jericho led to him changing his typical tactics in the ring. That was the start of a very well booked match that told a story from start to finish. The match was also very well executed. There was a ton of high energy action throughout. It culminated with Jericho proving himself correct, that Mysterio's mask would be his downfall. This is a case where everything came together, from the storyline of the feud, to the storyline of the match, to the actual in ring performance of the wrestlers for a very good match.
Fatal Four Way: I enjoyed this match quite a bit. I didn't have high hopes which is probably unfair. I wasn't thrilled with the four choices being the same old choices for possible WWE Champion. Randy Orton was the predictable winner. But, for all the negatives that can be levied against John Cena and Triple H, it is important to remember that they can still have good matches. So can Orton. Big Show hasn't been able to have good matches lately, but in this circumstance, with three other wrestlers to create movement, he was able to do so. He even looked more mobile in the match than he has lately. The ending was particularly strong as each man hit his finisher on Big Show, leading Orton to get the victory. It was good to see him get the win, as he makes the most sense as Champion among those four. It was also a clean victory.
The Miz: Once again, the Miz was awesome. I liked his promo selling himself to the new owner of Raw. I also liked his interaction with Goldust. WWE could certainly use Goldust in a more meaningful way. Miz was once again truthful as a heel in pointing out that this was Goldust's fourth or fifth go around with WWE, and that he is trying to recapture some magic from the past. It was also good to see him beat up Goldust in the end and shoot Hornswoggle with the t-shirt gun.
Punk - Matt Hardy: This was a nice backstage encounter. It started with the good interview with CM Punk talking about how he did the same thing last year to Edge that he did this year to Jeff Hardy, only the fans loved it then, but some hate it now. He made another good case for himself. He was then interrupted by Matt Hardy who was solid in his praise for Punk. However, Punk got in the final word by putting Hardy down for never winning Money in the Bank. It was short and to the point, got both wresters a chance to talk on the mic, and accomplished its goals well.
Edge vs. Hardy vs. Punk: This was the best match of the night, which isn't surprising. Unlike the Fatal Four Way, I was really looking forward to this match, and it did not disappoint. That could have been a PPV match and I can't imagine too many people complaining. It featured plenty of great wrestling action. It was well booked given the Triple Threat format. It had a lot of energy and never slowed down. They did an outstanding job of selling Punk being in trouble at the end when he hurt his knee. He did a great job of selling that injury, while fighting through the pain to eventually get the win.
Battle Royale: For the most part, the in ring action on Raw was quite good. These Battle Royales are often stinky, but this one was good. It was nice to see guys like William Regal and Kofi Kingston last longer than they often do in these situations. There were several good moments throughout the match, like when Big Show lifted Matt Hardy back into the ring, only to eliminate him right away. Triple H was the predictable winner, but the match was entertaining to watch. I was disappointed that Miz didn't eliminate John Cena. That would have made him 8-0 against Cena. WWE missed an opportunity there. He should have eliminated Cena, only to have Triple H recover to eliminate him. But, that is my only complaint in what was a good match.
Countdown Clock: TNA tried this awhile back on Impact and it wasn't a good idea then. At the time, I felt that having a clock to tell the audience when certain events would happen just underscored the fact that Impact wasn't live. I understand the idea to get the fans wanting to stick around for something specific, but I didn't think it was a good idea. Obviously, Raw is live. But, this just reminded the audience that Raw is scripted. Part of the fun of professional wrestling is suspending our disbelief and pretending it is real. It is hard to do that when WWE is announcing the exact start time for a match later in the show. It was bad enough during the Intercontinental Title match that was over 30 minutes before hand. But, when they showed it again during the ECW Title match only 10 minutes before hand, it was really bad. How did they know that Christian vs. Tommy Dreamer would be so short? What if that match had gone 15 minutes? It was just not a good experiment.
Christian vs. Dreamer: I don't think this was the best match to showcase for ECW on a special 3 hour Raw. Tommy Dreamer isn't having great matches right now, and Christian hasn't been either. They are both babyfaces. The crowd wasn't into the action, and having the countdown clock remind the audience that this was going to be a short match wasn't going to help get the fans into the action. It was a way of saying that this match isn't important, it is going to be short, so don't bother getting invested in it. It was a total throwaway match.
Replay Videos: It is not surprising that a three hour Raw would feature several recap videos to fill out the time. In general that is fine. I guess I just got tired of seeing the same footage of Legacy destroying Batista's arm. We saw it during the opening video, which included Triple H's return at the end of last week's Raw. That is fine, but it was the same video that we saw on ECW, Superstars and Smackdown last week. In addition to seeing Batista's arm broken on Raw last week, that meant that as soon as this video aired, fans who watch all shows had seen the same footage five times, which is over kill. To make matters worse, they showed that part of the video package again later in the show, making it six total times. Throw in replays of Vickie Guerrero quitting and being dumped by Edge (two separate videos), plus all the "before the commercial" or the "earlier tonight" replays and it gets redundant after awhile.
McMahon Sells Raw: The initial announcement from Vince McMahon that he was selling Raw was a bit intriguing. However, there were two problems with the intrigue. The first is that any speculation about who he might have sold Raw to was over shadowed by all the logistical questions that were running through my mind. If Raw is no longer part of WWE, then will matches from Raw be on WWE PPVs? If the Raw wrestlers are no longer WWE employees, will they be eligible for the 2010 draft? Will the Colon brothers, now property of a new owner, still be obliged to defend the unified Tag Team Titles against employees of a different company? Will WWE show Raw Rebounds on ECW, Superstars and Smackdown, if it isn't owned by the same company? If Superstars is owned by WWE, will Raw wrestlers who aren't under WWE contract still appear? Etc, etc. The second problem was that the announcement of who the new owner is came relatively soon after we found out there was a new owner. This did not allow for much time for speculation and anticipation. If you want to make fans stick around to find out the answer to a question, why give the answer so soon? That was a lot to object to before we found out that Donald Trump was the new owner. The crowd certainly wasn't thrilled with the reveal. Did WWE forget that Vince McMahon has been a babyface this year? The fans weren't happy to see him sell Raw to Trump. Trump had some nice moments two years ago in the build up to WrestleMania 23, but some really rough moments too. He has some main stream appeal, but wrestling fans aren't going to get excited about his involvement. They are going to try to play him up as the friend to the fans, but how long can that last? He can't give away commercial free Raws every week. Hopefully he will announce a GM (with a strong WWE connection) soon.
James vs. Mendes: This was not a good match. It was sloppy. What I kept thinking during this 3 minute match was that this should be a short squash match for Mickie James as a former multiple time Women's Champion over a relative new comer who hasn't wrestled much, especially in singles matches. The problem is that Women's Title matches are the same length. Six Divas tag matches are the same length. By comparison, to make James look strong, she should have defeated Mendes is about 30 seconds. Mendes got in too much offense for a match that should have just enhanced James in her quest to defeat Maryse for the Divas Title.
Isn't There a PPV in Two Weeks?: I'm not sure that WWE realizes this. They did announce Priceless vs. Primo & Carlito at The Bash (I guess it isn't American or Great any more?). They also announced Hardy vs. Punk for the World Title which should be great. But, nothing else has been announced and there is less than two weeks to go. It is hard enough to promote PPVs that come every three weeks without giving away PPV matches like they did this week or like they are doing next week with Triple H vs. Orton in a Last Man Standing match, just a few weeks after they had similar gimmick matches at Extreme Rules. This makes little sense. Sure, the match can be good (didn't Orton win the WWE Title from Triple H in a Last Man Standing match last year?), but it is detrimental to the long term ability of the company to sell PPVs. Why should I buy The Bash? Are the going to just have an Orton vs. Triple H rematch? Is it going to just be more of Cena vs. Big Show? Why should I pay for more of the same when I can watch Raw without commercials and see the potential PPV main event?
Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com's WWE Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw, Smackdown, ECW, and Superstars each week. Email him at email@example.com.
For another view from the original Hitlist author, compare Jason Powell's views to mine by visiting prowrestling.NET's "Hitlist" section here.
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