Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Raw last night

So Raw last night was at the very least intriguing. :) Some of the highlights --

  1. Shawn Michaels acknowledging he'd feigned a knee injury and knocking Chris Jericho out cold with the Superkick. Not quite sure how this is supposed to make Shawny a face, exactly, but it's at least intriguing, and adds another layer to the HBK character. Shawn has done a very good job, in my opinion, since coming back from his injury of retaining his happy-go-lucky, carefree, funny character without treading too far down any paths his new Christian faith would leave him feeling uncomfortable with. However since Ric Flair asked him to do the honours of retiring him at Wrestlemania, I have felt it hasn't been quite the same HBK - while Shawn didn't exactly go out doin' a jig last night, he did give us some hints that this sulky, moody, distant character he's been representing to us for the last two months still has some layers in him, that the old HBK is still in there. I go for that. :)
  2. Some major turns! While Lance Cade turning on Trevor Murdoch was definitely foreseen and foreshadowed in recent weeks, I didn't expect it would come after a win. And while I'm not particularly happy that one of the most cohesive tag teams the WWE has is breaking up, these are two characters I feel can stand on their own, and I look forward to seeing where they go with this. Good stuff. Similarly, Beth Phoenix's brutal backstage beatdown on Melina ... I guess you just don't expect to see that kind of physicality from "the girls". Men beat the s-h-you-know-the-rest out of each other all the time on wrestling, but this just took what the women do to each other to a whole other level - but then that's Beth Phoenix for you. My only question then - does this make Melina face? I mean I'm sorry but she's one of the most unlikeable characters on WWE television ... although she's hot, so I guess that makes it all OK right?
  3. Jeff Hardy's return - YES! Nice job. And while I don't entirely appreciate William Regal cutting him off - let the man speak to his fans, we've all been wanting to see where he's been at since his one-two punch of suspension-house fire in the course of as many days; but at the same time, I get what WWE was trying to do. We had him come out, touch lightly on the subject as a mea culpa, let's move forward and onward. And you know what? For someone who broke Vince McMahon's trust twice, and is on his way out the door permanently should he make the same mistakes again, he wasn't even depushed as badly as I thought he might be! I foresee a nice little situation with him, Y2J and Shawn Michaels for the Intercontinental Title ... and that can't provide anything too bad in the way of matchups. I'm looking forward to it.
  4. John Cena's return - having him stand up to Regal over an issue which has genuinely pissed off a bunch of fans was a great way to give him a rub, and having him interact with someone so over as Mickie James was kinda cool too. His match with Orton went OK, although it was really just them realizing they'd put hours into a 'go-home' show with almost no reference to the PPV they were pushing - it brought out JBL and Triple H, and created the build they needed to take us to Judgement Day - something which the show overall had been lacking (its main weakness - when you're plugging a PPV 3 weeks after the previous one, you really need to kick the promotion and 'must see' feeling up a notch). Nonetheless, they tried in the end, and kudos to the WWE for at least making the effort.
Overall I think this was a strong Raw. Vince McMahon made good on his promise to shareholders this week that William Regal would find other ways to consolidate and use his power than simply shutting events down, and while the PPV build wasn't the centrepiece of this broadcast as it should have been, it was hardly 'forgotten', and for the first time in awhile I felt like several plots that have been left to simmer were moved forward (is/isn't Shawn faking an injury? how will Jeff Hardy's return go down? when will Cade and Murdoch break up?). A strong show, and any failings were either very small, made up for, or both, taking the broadcast as a whole. A top notch effort by the "E".


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