Monday, April 21, 2008

Random thoughts as Raw goes on

I don't usually do a real-time Raw report like other sites do and I'm not going to start now - but I will offer thoughts as they come along over the evening. Keep checking back as I'll update it as I can. And if you ARE following my blog live (all like, one of you or whatever), please also keep in mind I'm a Canadian, and Raw up here in Soviet Canuckistan started at 9pm so I AM belated in posting this.

  • First, you HAVE to check out TMZ for some snippets of videos the US presidential candidates made for Raw tonight. LOVE that they were willing to do that - and *I* for one smell what Barack is cookin'. ;)
  • Chris Jericho vs. MVP was a great opening match (albeit short, but that's to be expected with a 7-match tournament over the course of the night), but I have to admit to being surprised and a bit annoyed that my pick to win the tournament was eliminated in the first match of the night (being MVP) - not that I mind Y2J either, though.
  • WTF does CM Punk need with the KOTR tournament? He's got a briefcase that says he doesn't need this ... as in fact Money in the Bank pretty much represents the same thing a KOTR win did a decade and a half ago. Matt Hardy, his first round opponent, could use the momentum and rub a bit more coming back from an injury. Sigh ... Oh well, CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho in round 2 should be OK at least. :)
  • That said, do NOT get me wrong. I am highly highly impressed. I WILL cop to being disappointed with the OUTCOMES of the first two tournament matches, as you may have picked up, BUT 1. I do think that's just about personal faves - from a storyline/"WWE-world" standpoint they picked the right guys to win - AND 2. the matches have been five-star by Raw standards thus far ... good stuff.
  • And then the next two matches were crap ... I mean, for real. How quickly that went south. Now I'm not writing off the tournament yet - and you'll see why in a minute - but I'm sorry, Khali vs. Finlay was more a vehicle to push forward the Khali-Big Show PPV match - and I understand this is the 'go home' Raw before a PPV, but that doesn't erase the fact they put themselves in a tough spot. To do stuff like Big Show's running interference on Khali's match cheapens the tournament; but to not pimp the upcoming PPV is to waste valuable air time, and not a good move from a business standpoint. So ... ? And I'm not even wasting blog space on Regal-Hornswoggle. Boo!
  • Although, why am I not writing the tournament off yet? The end result. Finlay-Regal, provided it goes off properly (ie, Finlay isn't essentially incapacitated by that knee), could be a really great hold-based/brawling/European-style match; stiff and grounded. Might not go over well with the thrillseeking North American audience but I don't mind that kind of match. And either way, CM Punk or Y2J vs. Regal or Finlay will provide an interesting contrast in styles for the final. Hopefully it comes off well.
  • Now - see - look at Michaels-Batista. There's a way of pimping a PPV, without interfering with the tournament. Very compelling promo, both did a good job. Batista actually came off, to me, as better than Shawn Michaels. Don't get me wrong, I am an ardent Shawn fan, but I have to admit this more subdued, quieter Shawn is starting to bug me. I love his newfound maturity yes, but you can be mature and fun-loving at the same time (I would like to think) ... he just doesn't seem himself. And I'm wondering how much of that might be real - if his heart might not be in it so much anymore.
  • PROPS to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain for lending their images to Raw tonight. I like that. As someone who follows both pretty closely, it's great. :D We should all stop taking ourselves so seriously, as these candidates did in order to appear on Raw. Yay!
  • Jericho-C.M. Punk was a MORE than passable match: no surprise considering these two and their ability level. Great match that again, I wish Chris Jericho had won, but 1. that's personal preference, not necessarily thinking with my 'promoter cap' on, and 2. again, it doesn't whatsoever take away from the quality of the bout. Nice work.
  • And I must say overall a strong Raw so far with only a legit misstep or two (and of course the occasional thing like Shawn Michaels' stoicism or a match outcome or two that I personally didn't enjoy but recognize their validity from a 'biz' standpoint). WWE thus far is two for two last week and this week ... let's see if they can keep it up for the 2nd half.
  • Not much to say about the Hillary-Barack imitators. We saw it coming - it was what it was. What I WILL say is it was better than the Rosie O'Donnell-Donald Trump parody. They had SOME wrestling moves, it WAS funny ... I just wish, as a Democrat (or at least I WOULD be a Democrat if I were American) that John McCain was subject to such skewering. But that's OK. It was actually a somewhat entertaining parody, and much better than expected.
  • Regal winning the tournament - I still stand by MVP being the right guy to win this tourney. Not terribly pleased with it. I can appreciate and understand wanting to reintroduce Regal as a full-time wrestler, but this doesn't exactly make him strong either: he beat a midget and an injured wrestler, and then a guy who wrestled two much harder-fought matches. The tournament started very, very strong and fizzled terribly in the last two rounds ... despite those matches having great potential. I'm still entertained, I still think this Raw has been strong; I'm not as critical of tonight's product as Jason Powell, over at, who I usually agree with on all things wrestling. But what could have been a four star, two thumbs up night, is quickly becoming two or three stars, and one thumb up. Hopefully the 8-man tag is a barnburner, but I have my doubts. Matches like that, especially in the go-home segment of a Raw, with a PPV to sell that hasn't really been sold, tend to degenerate into a mischmasch of chaos, trying to tell all sorts of stories at once. We'll see though. I held out great hope for the KOTR tournament and it disappointed, basically; maybe the reverse will hold true for tonight's main event.
  • Main event not as much a schmozz as I thought it would be - nor, when I thought about it, should it have been - lots of experienced pros in that ring, lots of title history, and lots of history between a lot of the players - particularly Cena with just about everyone in that ring ... Trips and Randy Orton ... The Brothers of Destruction ... etc. Still, three or four stars, as opposed to four or five.
  • Which basically sums up Raw - very entertaining ... of course. Tons of opportunity for it to be. Still, a few dropped balls and missteps prevent it from being the 5 star show I saw potentially becoming at the end of the night. The last hour really dragged it down, and was a reminder that Raw is most successful as a 2-hour show. On a 5-star rating, I give Raw 3 1/2 stars objectively - 4 stars because I was in a mood to enjoy it and be entertained, and indeed was.


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