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The Raw Review Crew v2 – WWE Raw KOTR Novemeber 29th, 2010

Keith: Welcome one and all to the glorious return of the Raw Review Crew – bigger and better than ever. Because now it includes me.

Each week we will bring you in-depth, and sometimes out of depth, analysis of Raw. Our reviewers include regular fans, smart fans and complete morons. I leave it up to you to decide which is which.

Dave: Welcome! Yay we are back! The RRC returns in full fizzle straight off a 3 hour KOTR EXTRAVAGANZA over at the Oratory Forums. Check it out..the party was slammin’!

And check out our brand new RRC starting right now..

Dave: First up this week, we have Justin C. with his thoughts.

Justin C.:

Hey everyone! Welcome to our first RRC! Hope everyone enjoys it.

I thought this weeks raw was an ok show. I think compared to the last two weeks, it was slighlty below par. Had this RAW not followed two awesome RAWs in a row, I think I might have rated this show a little bit higher. Let’s get right down to my review.

The show opened with a nice review package of last week’s events. The WWE production crew once again brought their A game with this package. Alex Riley came out and said that tonight would be an awesome night. He said people would remember where they were on this night. Riley then took a shot at Punk’s commentary for referencing his DUI arrest last week. Already we get an idea of how great Punk’s commentary would be for the rest of the night.

Riley disappeared, then we got Alberto del Rio vs Daniel Bryan in the first King of the Ring match. I really thought this match would end up being the finals, mostly because I think they were the two that could have used the title of King the most. They had a good match as expected. Bryan went for a dive to the outside and hit his shoulder on the barricade. Back in the ring, Bryan missed a dropkick, and del Rio applied his armbar submission for the win. Good match that elevated del Rio, and didn’t make Bryan look bad because of how he sold the arm injury.

They then brought up past KOTR winners, and a surprise mention was Brock Lesnar. Someone is trying to still get on Brock’s good side huh?

R-Truth then appeared, back to playing his old music. No Eve though. She’s the only thing that makes his entrance somewhat bearable. Truth said how he commended Cena for doing the right thing, and going out with dignity rather then giving in to Wade Barrett and the Nexus. Truth challenged any member of Nexus to a match. So he couldn’t beat Barrett a few weeks ago, but now he wants to challenge anyone in Nexus. They cut backstage and showed Michael McGillicutty walking out of the Nexus locker room. As he was walking down the hall, he stopped with a surprise look on his face. He was then attacked by a mysterious person in jean shorts. At the end, the person did a “You Can’t See Me” with his hand. Who could it be?

John Morrison defeated Cody Rhodes in the next KOTR match. I like Rhodes gimmick, but I don’t think it will get him to the main event level. Morrison has what it takes in ring to get over, but it doesn’t seem to be catching onwith the fans quite yet. He also needs some work on his mic skills. Morrison won with the running knee to the face. Just an ok match. The next match between Ezekiel Jackson and Drew McIntyre went to a double countout. I guess they wanted to protect both guys because they see them having a bright future. But McIntyre has had his chance already, and they seemed to hesitate with him. Jackson just looks like Ahmed Johnson 2010, but isn’t as over with the fans. He’s yet to show he can hang with an actual wrestler in the ring. They cut to Daniel Bryan backstage with ice on his shoulder and the Bellas tending to him. Alex Riley came by and said Bryan wishes he could be him. Thank god he’s not. Hopefully this was a tease to a potential Bryan/Miz WWE Title feud down the line.

Back from break, out came our new WWE Champion! The Miz. Miz was rocking an awesome suit. Miz came out and said two images should how the WWE Universe thought of his win last week. They cut to two pics of the death stae girl last week. Miz said to the people who say you can’t do it and can’t chase your dreams, believe them. Miz said it takes an exceptional person to prove everyone wrong, and you people aren’t me. Miz went on to say he will have a long title reign. Jerry Lawler interrupted saying that his win wasn’t awesome because he beat up someone that was injured by 7 people earlier. This lead to Michael Cole interrupting Lawler saying to leave The Miz alone. All this time, C.M. Punk just had this great look of “Please Stop” on his face. The RAW GM chimed in, and announced a WWE Title Match between The Miz and Jerry Lawler later, a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match.

Sheamus won the final first round KOTR Match over Kofi Kingston. At this time last year, Kofi appeared to be the next breakout star in the company, but he completely went downhill after his “STUPID” incident with Randy Orton. It’s a shame because they made him after his beatdown of Randy Orton at MSG. Next was Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater vs Yoshi Tatsu & Mark Henry. During the match John Cena appeared with his front row tickets. I’ve never been able to get front row tickets my whole life, but John Cena can get them in one week’s time? He came over the barrier after the match and gave the Attitude Adjustment to Slater through the announce table. Punk was great here with “This isn’t the Spanish announce table.” and “Real mature, he spilled my diet coke!”

Morrison defeated Alberto del Rio in the semis. Real short match. Morrison won after del Rio was distracted by Rey Mysterio honking his car horn. Punk with another great quote, “He’s a car thief on the side. He stole my car twice!” With Sheamus getting the bye, Morrison and Sheamus meet in the finals. Wade Barrett then came out and said no matter what Cena does, he’s not getting re-instated. They cut to Cena in the back. So he’s fired but still gets use of a company camera? He said he’s taking out Nexus one-by-one. Gabriel, Husky Harris, and David Otunga looked ready to attack, but were then jumped by other WWE stars. Cena gave the AA to Gabriel on a car in a nice looking spot. There was then a Divas tag match, meh. They then showed Ted DiBiase backstage being yelled at by Maryse. DiBiase responded with “SHUT UP!” then left.

The finals of the KOTR saw Sheamus defeat Morrison in what was a very good match. Morrison sold his arm injury very well. In the main event, The Miz won his TLC match over Jerry Lawler. A surprisingly good match given Lawler’s limitations. Lawler appeared on his way to winning after putting Miz through a table, but Michael Cole came in and stopped Lawler from climbing the ladder. With both men on top of the ladder, Miz hit Lawler with the belt and then grabbed it for the win.

My Thoughts:

-I thought the King of the Ring Tournament was ok. I’m not a fan of Sheamus winning, as I don’t think he needs it. Sheamus is already a main eventer. I think the tournament could have been used to elevate somebody like Bryan, del Rio, or Morrison to the main event level. But instead, Sheamus wins, and his new King title will just be used in his feud with HHH, the King of Kings. I’d much rather have had Bryan or Morrison win and then be put into a title program with Miz, especially if Orton is out with a knee injury. The matches could have been a little longer as well. Especially given the talent in the matches. They had three hours and could have given every match at least ten minutes. It could have been a nice showcase of their abilities, but instead they rushed through everything except Bryan/del Rio and the finals. I’d have to give the tournament a thumbs in the middle. The short matches were ok, but could have been so much better.

-The Jerry Lawler/Miz interactions were good. Lawler deserves his title shot and delivered. The two sold a great story in the ring. Miz’s first night as champion was great and his promo was effective getting him over as a heel, and more than someone who just won out of luck. Hopefully they give Miz an extended title run, and by extended I mean more than a month. Maybe he can hold the title til Wrestlemania. I think he can get enough heat from the crowd that people will accept his title reign and take him as a serious threat. It’s something fresh on RAW. It’ll be interesting to see what they do with the announce team, as I find it hard to believe Cole and Lawler can co-exist anymore on commentary. Hopefully Jim Ross comes back.

-As far as the Cena/Nexus stuff goes, I’m still unsure. While it’s nice to see Cena get more serious and have a different attitude, I don’t like that he is back so quickly. He just gave a heart felt speech on RAW last week about spending time with his family, but now he’s back to destroy Nexus? And he gets use of comapny equipment? Barrett said that he apparently won’t ask for him to be re-instated no matter what, so I actually am interested to see how he gets back in the WWE. It’s all building to Cena vs Barrett eventually, but when they do it is the question. My guess is the RAW GM or Vince McMahon say Cena gets one shot v Barrett, and if he wins he’s back, if not he’s gone forever, and for real this time.

-As far as the small things, I really liked what they did with Ted DiBiase. He seemed quite serious in that brief segment. Perhaps they are trying to get more serious with him and turn him into a Daniel Bryan type wrestler. By yelling at Maryse as well, they may also be hinting at a potential face turn. I don’t know if he needs to turn face with all the faces already on RAW, but it’d be interesteing depending on how they handle it. C.M. Punk was awesome once again on commentary. His insider jokes and one-liners are great.

-Looking ahead to TLC, my guess is that as long as Orton is healthy he will get his re-match with Miz, probably in some kind of Tables Match. We will probably see a rubber match between Morrison and Sheamus. Daneil Bryan will defend the US Title again against Ted DiBiase more than likely. On Smackdown we’ll get Edge vs Kane in a TLC Match, and probably Rey Mysterio vs Alberto del Rio in a chairs are legal match.

That’s my recap of RAW. I thought the last hour brought it to slightly above average, so I’m giving the show a 6. I thought the KOTR torunament could have been handled better and used to elevate someone other than Sheamus. But the finals match was good, and showed Sheamus can have a good match with anyone. The main event was great drama and told a great story. As I said in the beginning, I think had this show not followed two awesome RAWs, it’d be looked upon under a better light. But it had a lot to live up to, and I think the KOTR tourney slightly disappointed. And Cena being back so quickly completely took away from his speech last week.

That’s all from me. I think I’ll try to be the guy that reviews the show then gives my thoughts at the end. For those interested, as well as writing here, I also have a blog at jceveryblog.blogspot.com that you are free to check out.

Until next week,

Justin C

Dave: Next up, we have Keith Freed’s (errr…yeah) on the show.

Keith Freed: I went segment by segment, writing live, so excuse any snap judgements.

– Intro: Nice recap. And I love the video of that incredibly pissed off girl. That’s money, every time. I want to drink that girl’s sorrow like a fine wine.

– Riley: Punk made this piece on commentary – “He looks like he‘s dressed for court,” “It‘s nice that a DUI is job security.” Riley kinda sucks. Except by kinda, I mean “really, really.”

– Del Rio d. Bryan: You knew Del Rio was going to dominate physically, but I loved seeing all the near falls for Bryan, and I’d have bought most of them for the finish. Trading German suplexes was great, too, even if Cole can’t tell us it even happened. God, man, at least attempt to tell us the names of moves! I’m not a fan of the finish, which Punk pointed out is a spot they use with Bryan too often. But the tap out was nice because it showed that no one sells like Bryan. I wish this could’ve been the final, but it was good anyway. Both guys are going to be superstars.

**3/4

– R-Truth promo: I am just totally bored by this guy. He is a big fan of the Cena ‘Talk real loud, then talk soft’ thing. Except he sucks. At least Cena is usually winking at the ridiculous nature of what he’s saying.

– Michael McGuill-just change his fucking name to Hennig already!!!! Gets attacked by a be-purpled stranger: Um, yeah, Cena was gone for a long time. Way to be true to your stips, fellas. But no commentary at all? Really? No one’s even a little curious?

– Morrison d. Rhodes: I never knew Cody had Pixy Stix for legs. He plays his gimmick really well, though I still think he’s a bit bland in the ring. Morrison being pushed to the moon would be a good move right now, as he’s going to start getting worse pops if he doesn’t go somewhere soon. But, hey, he dominated Rhodes, so they must have some big plans, right? Please?

*3/4

– Jackson/McEntyre went to a Double Countout: Really? Honestly? That was terrible, and the crowd rightfully shit all over it. And I love Cole making sure Punk knows he’s a “superstar,” not a wrestler. Way to be a little bitch, Mikey.

DUD

– Bryan/Bellas meet Riley backstage: Honestly, Riley just gets worse. “The WW champion”? The guy can barely get out a full sentence most nights.

– Miz promo and Lawler interruption: Great, great promo from the Miz. Decent interruption from Lawler, surprisingly. But Cole was just over the top throughout – the heel role is fine in little doses, but he’s gone over the deep end.

And booking Miz vs. Lawler in a TLC makes me want to shoot my TV.

– Sheamus/Kofi: I’m still waiting for Kingston to impress me with more than a move or two. He is charismatic, though. And he got way more offense in here than I expected. I love Sheamus, though. Great finish, as Kofi looked dead after that kick.

**

– Team Affirmative Action/Slater and Gabriel: Weird to see Yoshi in the ring for once. Maybe he helped Henry buckle his girdle tonight. Cena interrupts as a fan with tickets, Henry gets the win and then Cena tosses Slater through the announce table. Once again, Punk ruled this one on commentary.

1/2* for the “match,” but no one cared about that anyway.

– Nexus backstage: Man Otunga sucks. Thank God Barrett cut him off.

– Arn/Lawler backstage: Now see, that’s a match I want to see, not Lawler in a TLC. I’d watch Arn and Lawler go 20 minutes right now.

– Del Rio/Morrison: Del Rio seemed pretty damn dominant until Mysterio interrupted by honking ADR’s car horn – the ultimate insult to Mexicans, I guess, according to the WWE. You could kinda predict this happening, but they want to protect Del Rio and still have a face vs. heel final. So it’s a necessary evil, even though it’s kind of a lame finish. Punk ruled though: “He steals cars on the side! That’s what he does! He stole my car twice!”

*

– Barrett promo/Fired Cena is still in the building: This was actually a really effective bit. Barrett gives his usual solid promo, then Cena interrupts with one of his own, followed by a beat down. Although you have to wonder about neither Cena or the Nexus being able to see things until they’re in the camera shot. That’s pretty stupid. Nice beating, with Gabriel playing Nexus MVP again by taking the car spots. I don’t think he’s gotten nearly enough credit since this angle began.

– Women’s match: This certainly did happen. Interesting that WWE now has two women on the roster who can wrestle – Gail and Natalya – and they’re both faces and only Nattie will ever get a push because Gail pissed someone off. And I still say Alicia Fox is among the very worst female wrestlers in company history.

1/2*

– Nexus sneaking: “Hey let’s put the two guys who talk worst in a backstage segment!” Yeah.

– DiBiase/Maryse backstage: See, I know this was a frustration thing for Teddy Jr., but I applaud someone telling Maryse to shut up. He must be pissed that this was his only screen time of the night, though.

– Morrison/Sheamus backstage interview: Decent from both but nothing special. They hit the same notes they usually do in promos.

– KOTR finals: Awesome, awesome TV match. Sheamus is consistently solid in the ring, and I think this was Morrison’s best match in quite some time. He sold the shoulder injury very, very well and Sheamus’ offense focused well on the injury. Better than I thought was allowed in the WWE today, actually. And Sheamus is a great choice as king, as it gives him a solid push without needing him to have a set rival. I love the guy. (But wait until Dave shits all over him in a little while. No, he won’t explain it)

***1/4

– Lawler/Miz: This actually wasn’t that bad – until the end. You set up a Lawler upset win all damn night, you tease him up the ladder, you have the guy work his ass off, you have Miz bump like a champ – all to put over Cole as a heel? What the fuck?

And how bad have you made your new champ look? He can only beat a 60-year-old man who wrestles once a year by getting helped from his man servant and the punk announcer who’s been blowing him for the past year? I understand cowardly champs, but the Miz is a quality worker. Don’t cut off his legs because you won’t to work a new angle.

** for match, -* for booking

Show gets a 6.5 from me – Punk commentary bumped it up a whole half point.

Dave: And the party continues on with Tony “I hate liberals” H.

Tony H.: I liked this Raw. No, I really liked this Raw. Let me tell you why.

A number of people have said that this Raw was average. My response to that is: average in compared to what? Last night was the third entertaining Raw in a row, which is great, but before the ‘Old School’ Raw, it tended to be mediocre at best. This was better than the vast majority of Raw episodes this year.

Let’s start with the wrestling.

Alberto Del Rio vs Daniel Bryan was great. Lots of shoulder work by both guys and even better facial exp’ressions. Alberto Del Rio is a star and a complete package of great promos, look, and gimmick with amazing ring presence to boot. The finish after Bryan hurt his shoulder with a high risk move was well done and Punk’s commentary that “he does that every week!” added so much to the match, showing that Del Rio should have that scouted well. It also adds to my theory about Bryan that I will delve into later.

John Morrison vs Cody Rhodes was alright. I like Morrison and I like Cody and the way he has played his gimmick, but Cody may have been the least believable guy in the tournament. He’s great in the ring, but he doesn’t look like a threat. The missed kick by Cody/kick by Morrison finish was nicely done.

Drew McIntyre vs Ezekial Jackson was what it was. In a perfect scenario, this would be a time limit draw instead of a double countout so that both men could have shown off their skills. That said, there was more that I liked than didn’t like. McIntyre looked credible and would have made for an excellent king I think. Big Zeke is a big tough dude who will look tough whether he wins a tournament or not. What I liked about the ending was that Drew clearly knew that the match would end in a double countout, but still pulled Zeke back to keep him from winning. Better nobody when than I lose, I like it.

Sheamus vs Kofi Kingston was entertaining. Kofi looked strong and that he had the match won. Ever since Sheamus moved into the main event last year, Sheamus has looked strong but always vulnerable. Punk’s commentary really added to this. If you watch wrestling, then you know wrestling logic, and you knew that Sheamus was winning since the winner would have a bye to the finals, so it had to be a heel.

Nexus vs Henry and Yoshi was more of an angle than a match. That’s a bit too bad because I would like to see Yoshi Tatsu get some time to show off on Raw as he has put on some good matches on Superstars and Mark Henry is actually very over. I’m not saying I want them to win the titles, but I like more tag teams on Raw and in WWE generally and it would still be nice to see both Henry and Yoshi pushed as singles guys for the US title at least. I’ll go into the Cena angle after the wrestling.

Alberto Del Rio vs John Morrison was good. They could have a better match on PPV, but it helped to add to the overall tournament. Del Rio just looks like a star and will be a world champ by this time next year, especially if Smackdown continues to be thin on solid main eventers. Rey’s interference with the car horn didn’t hurt anybody and Morrison got the win while getting weaker from the well done shoulder work. I approve.

There was a women’s tag match. Women fought and Santino came down. The best part was Punk’s commentary.

Morrison vs Sheamus was very good. These guys have great chemistry in the ring. The set up, wounded face battling against the odds vs tough heel who snuck into the finals via a bye, was tailor made for Morrison to win ala Bret Hart in 93, but I’m actually not opposed to Sheamus winning. First of all, Morrison looked very good from having come into this match banged up after fighting Del Rio (side note: this would have worked better had Del Rio threw him into the steps after their match in anger). While Sheamus was the one guy in the tournament who didn’t need the rub, his win is not a negative. Morrison beat him at Survivor Series, Sheamus beat a banged up Morrison to win the King of the Ring, and it is now set up for a classic rubber match. There is potential that comes from a Sheamus win. He looks like he belongs as king and can use it to go after anybody he wants since he is a bully.

I’ll go into the main event shortly, but first the angles.

Cena vs Nexus was well done. Some complain that Cena should have sold the fired gimmick and stayed away from Raw for at least a month. Why the hell should he do that? He should sit at home and mope and then get angry? The “I’ve got a front row seat” gimmick is old, but it’s effective. And last night they sold the Nexus vs the rest of us angle as well as they have since the beginning, with security not being in any rush to help them and the rest of the roster very eager to beat them up and stand with Cena. I liked this as much, if not better than, the bumbling build to the Summerslam main event tag. And Cena giving Gabriel the AA through a car was sick.

Miz’s promo was outstanding. The guy belongs in the main event and it’s hard to not be happy for him. I wish that Miz had a new title belt though. His rundown of how people never gave him credit or believed in him was amazing and a new way to trash legends like Steamboat and Lawler. Speaking of Lawler, there he is, interrupting. Do I like that Lawler is getting a title shot? No. Do I think it’s the end of the world? No. Not because I’m against a legend in this spot, but because in WWE land, Lawler is a legendary announcer, not wrestler. If Miz could have fought Steamboat for example, that would have been more compelling.

As to the match, Punk sold it very well in so much that one mistake could cost anyone in a TLC match. The match was way better than it had any right to be, which is a testament to both guys. It didn’t hurt Miz. He’s a heel who is completely full of himself and so needs to be humbled if he wants to succeed. He is not a dominant monster like even Sheamus. If he’s going to hold that title for a long time, and I hope he does, he is going to have to win by hook and by crook. The Cole interference should lead to something interesting in the coming weeks. Finally the full heel turn for Cole and I hope they don’t drop the ball with this.

Finally, my last two points. I have some optimism about both DiBiase and Bryan, who I think are set for another big clash. Daniel Bryan seems to be a guy who is more and more content with life. The backstage segment with the Bellas and Riley was more than just a funny segment from Riley. It showed that he has risen fast in WWE and now has a title and the women. Instead of being upset with losing the King of the Ring, he thinks things are going pretty well in life. Meanwhile, DiBiase is pissed, despite the fact that he has a beautiful woman and a large bank account. He is driven to have more. The potential for a great clash is there, and the potential for Bryan to turn into a smug heel at some point and even for DiBiase to turn into a face who wants to earn his way are both there, and I like it.

Then there is the commentary. Maybe part of the reason I liked the show so much is because of CM Punk. From the DUI jokes about Riley to the price tag on his suit and the Colt Cabana shirt, he was very funny. More importantly, he sold the wrestling on the show so so well. He put over the motivations of the wrestlers in the tournament, he added logic to the Cena angle, and he made Lawler’s quest to win the title more credible than it should have been. Bad commentary, which we have gotten for a long time now, can drag a show down, but great commentary can make it better.

I may be in the minority here, in fact I know I am, but I gave this show a 9. The positives far outweighed the negatives and it was well above the average Raw for 2010 with a lot of potential on the horizon. That’s three very good Raw’s in a row, and I’m hopeful that it continues.

Dave: Next up, a man of distinction, swagger and general awesomeness. Me! (I get to write these things so plan on my self promotion in the future :))

Dave: Let’s take it old school even with my review style..

What I was diggin’

-Wade Barrett is just an incredible heel. He is awesome on the mic and he understand how to speak in a way that gets his point across in very few words. Another guy who used to be able to cut awesome promos without being so damn wordy was Arn Anderson. Ever heard of him? You better have. Anyway, Arn and Wade both have that underlying sinister aura, a halo of violence surrounding every word they say. And you believe it because Wade looks like he will kick your ass if you get fresh just as Arn did. I am a HUGE fan of Wade. Huge.

-CM Punk is a delight to listen to. Cole is just so horrible and so crappy. And then Punk comes in like Febreeze and just swats aside the stink that is Cole’s mouth. That main event was 1000 times better just because Punk tookthe time to put over the match in the ring using simple but time-tested techniques. You know..like paying attention COLE YOU ASS. Awesome job by Punk.

-The Cena beatdown itself was awesome a standalone segment. They explained why security wasn’t out there in a really smart way. I wonder who is writing this stuff because it can’t be anyone they have used in the past. Also, it was good to see Darren Young there for continuity’s sake. Justin Gabriel took two huge bumps..which were offset by his heel facial hair. Awesome.

-Daniel Bryan vs Dos Caras Dos was a pretty darn good match. I hated the flat ending though but I understand the idea of keeping Bryan strong while elevating Del Rio at the same time. Del Rio is an awesome sports entertainer and a pretty good wrestler to boot. Bryan could carry Keith to a 3 star match so that means he is a pretty awesome dude.

What I was NOT diggin’

-Michael god damn Cole is a piece of crap. He is such a bad announcer now. He has X-Pac heat and he puts his persona over on everyone and everything it touches. I know he is doing what he is told..but still..I cannot stand the man. What was the gem he said last night?? Oh yeah! “A blow to the backside of the gut!” WHAT?!?!? I…I don’t understand. And then he couldnt get the semi-finals and qualifying matches straight. God kill me now.

-Nexus is freezing because they are losing all their heat. Cena cant continue to kick their asses every week. I hope they get some heat back on Cena next week by beating that bastard down into the ground. That way this cool angle continues on with some heat and momentum behind it.

-Gaymus. Oh why lord? I cannot stand this ghost-white, pasty, no personality having Irish bastard. He is average at every single thing he does and that includes promos and in ring work. I dont understand why, out of ALL the people you can get over with the KOTR, you choose Gaymus? Oh that’s right..gotta get some heat on the guy so Triple Douche can steal it all away when he comes back for the 1000th time from some injury only roided out freaks like HHH get. Whatever suck a ball Gaymus..ahh go ahead and suck ’em all.

-These hobags. That womens match was a god damn disaster. Waste of titties. You want a women’s match I can get into..get them naked then because they sucks at everything else in all possible ways.

I give the show a 6.5. It was middle of the road except for Bryan/Dos Caras Dos and the main (mainly because of Punk’s selling of the match on the mic). That was fun. Later.

Dave: I need to calm down I feel like a kid again! Argh EXPLOYDA!!! Stop refreshing the damn thread!!

Anyway, awesomesauce continues flowing out of the RRC as we continue on. Olly (the bunny from Wonder Pets), take it!

Olly: Coming into the show, I was experiencing a new found excitement towards Raw for a number of reasoms; the main of which was this week’s King of the Ring special. The quarter finalists offered some potentially great TV matches in a number of variatons, and I couldn’t really complain with any of them being crowned at the end of the night. Coming off the back of an excellent show last week, my hopes were high…

QUARTER FINALS

Daniel Bryan Vs Alberto Del Rio – Match Rating: 7/10

I was surprised and a little disappoited that these two met in the Quarters, as I had predicted, like so many others, that this would be the pairing for the final. Alas, it was not to be, but the match at any stage of the night is an added bonus for me, and it turned out to be a solid encounter. The Mix of styles made for a technically solid match. wifh Del Rio trying to keep it on the mat and Bryan opting for a fast paced, striking approach. Although the spot with Bryan suicide diving to the outside and injuring his shoulder was very well executed and sold, I could guess the finish and outcome straight away, with Del Rio winning by applying the Cross Armbreaker for the win. Although some drama was taken out of the finish, I can’t complain, as it advances Del Rio whilst making Bryan look strong, losing due to injury.

John Morrison Vs Cody Rhodes – Match Rating: 6/10

This was a match between two goys who have impressed me in recent weeks. Morrison was carrying in momentum from his victory over Sheamus at Survivor Series. and Rhodes has been really running with his pretty boy ‘Dashing’ gimmick. The match itself was decent, with both guys getting in plenty of their patented offence and incorporating near-falls to make it competetive. Morrison eventually wins and progresses with another solid win to further his momentum, setting up an interesting match-up with Del Rio in the semis.

Ezekiel Jackson Vs Drew McIntyre – Match Rating: 3/10

This was poor by all accounts. Essentially, they club and punch each other for a few minutes, before sprawling to the outside for the count-out, thus ending the match as a draw. For me, the booking was incredibly lazy here. The outcome was clearly designed to give Sheamus the easy route to the final, but cancelling out a semi final ruins the tournament structure and pretty much gives away the end result. Surely it would have been better to have Big Zeke go over here and then lose in the semis in similar fashion (countout).

Sheamus Vs Kofi Kingston – Match Rating – 5/10

A pretty standard encounter here saw Sheamus get the victory and advance to the semi finals. Kofi wasn’t given a great deal offence here, mot likely due to the fact that he can’t be trusted to perform wrestling manouvres in front of a live audience, due to his inablility to complete a match without a series of botches. As you can probably detect from the tone of that last statement, I feel the right man won here.

SEMI FINAL

Alberto Del Rio Vs John Morisson – Match Rating – 6/10

I really enjoyed Del Rio working John Morrison’s arm throughout the match. I like how he has encorporated several manouvres into his moveset that are designed to wear down the arm in preparation for the Cross Armbreaker submission. The match itself was pretty one-sided, with Del Rio being given the large proportion of offence, before Rey Misterio interrupted by appering in Del Rio’s car and beeping the horn, leading to a surprise win for Morrison with the Chuck Kick. I thought one of the positives with having Del Rio and Bryan in the quarters was the fact that one of them would likely reach the finals. Sadly, this wasn’t the case, as the final round would see Sheamus face John Morrison in a match we saw just a couple of weeks ago at Survivor Series. However, as disappointing it was that Del Rio went out, at least he was made to look strong, clever and calculated throughout the night, and his long running feud with Misterio has been furthered with live TV coverage on Raw. It goes without saying that Del Rio is one of the company’s brightest sparks right now, and perhaps he doesn’t need the KOTR crown so much, as he has enough momentum to sustain his push anyhow.

KING OF THE RING FINAL

 

Sheamus Vs John Morisson – Match Rating 7/10

So here it is. The man who recieved a bye into the final Vs the man who is only there because of a Rey Misterio distraction. Whilst my distain for the run up to the final is clear, these two did, in fact, poot on a really good final match. Sheamus, being the fresher man, dominated much of the match by continuing where Del Rio left off, and working the injured arm. Morrison, who’s selling was strong all night, played the sympathetic babyface role well and invigorated the crowd with his comebacks and determination. Although Sheamus got the decisive victory, Morrison looked really strong tonight by standing toe-to-toe for so long with the Irishman, dispite going through two gruelling matches prior and comes out of this week in a better position. Overall, the match was solidly executed and made both men look good.

King of the Ring Overall Thoughts: In summary, I was left pretty underwhealmed by the whole KOTR tournament. The brackets, for starters, could have been so much stronger. Although we had three solid matches, the whole tournament was tainted by the use of shenanegins and the fact that the two finalists weren’t who I was hoping for. It was disappointing to see Bryan only get one match and would have liked to see him face off against Del Rio later off in the tournament. With all my issues, though, I do look forward to watch how Sheamus develops with the ‘King’ tag branded. We all know this is leading to the big face-off against the ‘King of Kings’, but the lead up could be fun. I’d personally like to see Sheamus go through former KOTR winners to display superiority. Have him demolish Regal, and then maybe bring back Booker for the defeat, before the inevitable happens and Hunter returns to reclaim his throne.

THE MIZ IS CHAMP. REALLY?

The opening segment with Alex Riley announcing The Miz’ Title Celebration served its purpose well and allowed a vell versed young talent more mic time to develop his on screen personality. The highlight of the segment was the CM Punk ripping into Riley for the recent uncoverings of his DUI.

The segment leading up to the TLC match was entertaining. Miz was stellar on the mic as usual, getting over the fact that he’s proven everybody wrong, which makes him better than everyone else. Lawler’s random interruption was puzzling, but it set up the main event nicely.

Segment Rating: 7/10

TLC Match: Jerry Lawler Vs The Miz – Match Rating: 7.5/10

I had my serious doubts over The Miz’ first ever title defense being against an aged Jerry Lawler, but this match exceeded my expectations hugely. Firstly, it has to be said that Jerry Lawler can still go when he needs to. He put on an excellent performance here, playing the sympathetic babyface in over his depth. Whilst many will be unhappy with the way in which Miz was made to bump so much to a retired announcer, but I thought CM Punk did a very good job in letting us know that the TLC environment allows for lucky breaks like the ones Jerry got. With that in mind, I thought it was an excellent main event. The Miz bumped his ass off, taking numerous ladder and table spots and for some reason, these two really clicked. I will say that it was a little too much having King only lose because of Cole’s interference, but I have to say, I enjoyed it. The only time I find Cole entertaining is when he is out of the booth and into character, and I hope this leads to more heel Cole.

BY GAWD, MRS CENA’S BABY BOY IS BACK, ON HER BIRTHDAY!

Within a week of leaving to visit mommy on her birthday, John Cena is back on Raw, terrorising members of Nexus backstage, ringside and in the parking lot. They drew out the Cena/fired storyline for so long, and then had Cena give a moving farewell, and then one week later had him make his thiumphant return. It is actually pretty insulting when you consider the fact that people paid silly money to buy the PPV, with many buying just for the ‘Free or Fired’ stip. This storyline has now become tiresome, and utterly pointless. The goofy backstage and ringside segments did nothing for me, and I’m beginning to think its about time Barrett had something new to sink his teeth into, before he starts to become stale. As for the rest of the Nexus; well, they’ve had what personality they had sucked out of them over the last few months with this never ending story with absolutely no payoff or benefit to anyone.

Segment(s) Rating: 4/10

Backstage/Other Rating: 7.5/10

There was a women’s match. Meh. There was an uninspiring promo from Truth. Meh. There was a stupidly short match with Henry/Tatsu against Slater and Gabriel, but it was overshadowed by CENA’S BIG RETURN’!! CM Punk on commentary, though, was golden, and brings this rating up a whole lot. His witicisms against Cole and Riley were brilliant and he brings a lot of much needed wrestling knowledge when calling matches. I wish him a speedy recovery from injury, but he really is needed in the booth right now to freshen things up.

RAW OVERALL RATING: 7/10

Like I mentioned before, I was really excited leading up to this week’s Raw, and rightfully so. Unfortunately, I was left feeling a little bit flat by the whole KOTR tournament. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the finalists and feel that a reshuffle of the brackets could have offered higher overall match quality. The Miz Celebration and TLC match were both really entertaining, but the tiresome continuation of the John Cena/Nexus ordeal really dragged down my overall enjoyment of the show considering how much airtime the crap took up. I bumped the overall rating up a little, due to the fact that the KOTR gave the show a special feel and on the whole, it was a well above average episode. I look forward to watching more Miz and King Sheamus next week.

Dave: And finally, we end this week’s review with Flyboy. He is pretty fly…for a white guy.

Flyboy: Well, it’s the return of the RRC, and I’m honoured (yes,honoured with a ‘u’…I am Canadian) to be chosen as one of the reviewers. It’s the return of the King of the Ring, solet’s break it down into what I liked, what could have been better, and what Icould have done without.

What I liked

Alberto Del Rio vs. Daniel Bryan – I was thinking ofputting this in the “what could have been better” segment, just for the factthat I know these two could have a really great match together, but seeing asit was on TV, it was still a solid opening match. This small sampling of what these two coulddo has me salivating for a longer PPV match in the future. I do have to say that every time I see Bryando that suicide dive through the middle ropes I cringe. He either slams hard into the announce tableor the barricade, and he does such a good job selling his shoulder that I can’ttell if he’s really hurt. Alberto wins,and Bryan doesn’t look weak in the loss, which is exactly how it should havegone.

Life Lessons by The Miz – Miz came to the ring with AlexRiley (who did a great job all night and would make a great douchebag, sportsagent type of manager) and Miz cut a fantastic heel promo. I loved that they showed pictures of thatangry little girl from last week’s Raw. Miz was in top form as he handed out a very special piece of advice tous: When someone tells you that you can’tdo something or you’ll never achieve your dream, believe it. As Miz listed those who have never held theWWE Championship, Lawler got on the mic and let the Miz know that his victorywas a fluke, and that he’s not awesome. Colestepped in told the King to ease up, but all the back and forth led the iBossto chime in and make a TLC title match. Good segment.

Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus – Another good match as Sheamuspicked up the victory with a vicious Brogue Kick as Kofi was coming off the toprope and Kofi sold it like death. Kofi’sa wrestler I hope gets another push soon, as he’s a fun wrestler to watch andis decent on the mic, but is kind of floating in the Smackdown mid-card.

John Cena: Renegade – I’ve always liked John Cena, buteven I was getting a little tired of his goody two-shoes act. Tonight, though, there was more of an edge tohim as he began to seek vengeance against the Nexus. Gabriel took a wicked bump into the passengerwindow, then took an Attitude Adjustment on the hood of the car. I was hoping for the debut of John’s Mexicancousin Juan Cena. Hopefully, that willcome soon.

Sheamus vs John Morrison (KOTR Finals) – I really enjoyedthis match between two wrestlers with different styles. Sheamus is really beginning to impress mewith his ability to keep up with some of the flashy and quick wrestlers likeMorrison and Kingston. Sheamus wins andis the new King of the Ring. I’m prettysure that this is all leading to HHH’s return (I was waiting for his music toplay) , but I think it was good timing to wait and let Sheamus have hismoment. I do have to say that the props,other than the throne, look like they were bought at a Dollar Store.

The Miz vs Jerry “The King” Lawler – This match was farbetter than it deserved to be considering that King is over 60 years old, but Ihave to say that King looked good. TheMiz didn’t look overly strong, but it did play into his cocky character as hewas more concerned about punishing Lawler, than just winning the match, and hewon the match because of…

Michael Cole –Everybody’s favourite announcer took what looks to be another step towards afull-fledged heel turn, which I hope will lead towards him leaving the boothand becoming an on-air personality. Ithink he’s one of the best on the mic, and would get Vicki Guerrero levels ofheat. I really enjoyed him tonight, fromexcited exclamations about the Miz being WWE Champ, to costing The King thetitle. A lot of people hate him, butright now, I’m loving Michael Cole’s character.

CM Punk – He was absolutely on fire tonight. Matt Striker wishes he had Punk’s skill andability to throw in insider references and jokes. I wish they had a little insert in the cornerof the screen constant showing Punk because his facial expressions and gesturesare fantastic.

What Could Have Been Better

Cody Rhodes vs. John Morrison – This wasn’t a bad matchat all, but it was too short and the winner was really never in doubt. I love Rhodes gimmick and really hope heclimbs his way up the card, but losing in just under 4 minutes isn’t going tohelp that. Also, Morrison’s Running KneeStrike to the face isn’t that great of a finisher. It doesn’t have an impactful feel to it andlooks too much like a regular move. Thecrowd almost seemed stunned when he wins with it, because they weren’texpecting that move to end the match.

Alberto Del Rio vs. John Morrison – The match itself wasokay, but I wasn’t a big fan of the ending, just because I think if Morrisonwas going to the finals, he should have won cleanly, and withoutdistraction.

Slater/Gabriel vs. Henry/Tatsu – Although this was just asetup for Cena’s entrance and eventual attack on Slater, this match also showeda problem I have with the WWE, and that is no tag team division. Right now, other than Santino and Kozlov,there are no face teams to face Nexus on Raw. I would have put this in the next section, but Cena coming in andputting Slater through the announce table made up for the fact that it was ashowcase on how absolutely non-existent the tag team division is.

What I Could Have Done Without

Ezekiel Jackson vs. Drew McIntyre – First of all, anabridged version of McIntyre’s entrance? No good, sir! Then we have whatis looking to be a decent match, with McIntyre looking good against what hasbeen a heavily pushed Jackson, then…countout? Really? There was no history ormoment in the match where it looked like these two were more concerned abouthurting each other than winning the match. It just showed that the WWE knew they couldn’t put on 7 of the KOTRmatches, so one had to be cut. But inthe end, neither Jackson or McIntyre came out of this looking good, justidiotic for getting counted out.

Maryse/Alicia Fox/Tamina vs. Natalya/Gail Kim/Melina – Thematch was bad, and I am getting more and more worried that they are botchingNatalya’s first reign as Diva’s Champion. They’ve done nothing to establish a number one contender, or even afeud. And why is Gail Kim even there ifshe doesn’t even get tagged it? ThenSantino came down singing “I Think I’m Alone Now” and ends up taking Tamina(well, actually it was Tamina taking Santino) to the back. I’m a fan of Santino, but this was terribleand Punk said it best: “Santino sucked the air out of this place.” Plus, they had a six woman tag match, all forthe plot advancement of Santino and Tamina? This was a waste of time.

R-Truth’s Voice – Annoys the hell out of me.

Overall, this was a different pace than other three-hourspecials, as there almost seemed to be too much, instead of the usual paddingand backstage segments. They’ve piqued my interest with Sheamus’ Kingof the Ring, Cena’s continuing revenge plots against the Nexus, and how they are going to handle the Cole/Lawler announceteam. As a grade, I give this show a 7out of 10.

The Raw Thread Quote Picks of the Week:

This week’s Raw thread is located here.

Damien: Welcome to this week’s quotes. We had some good contributions, from the same people over and over again. Some members really brought their A Game. The rest were face Michael Cole.

General Quotes:

Guitar Playing Movie Guy: They should bring back past KOTR winners for tonight’s show. Mainly Mabel and Billy Gunn.

Krizbii: If Juan Cena shows up, he should get Rodriguez to introduce him

Matty Pretzels: PUNK’S GOT A COLT CABANA SHIRT ON!!!

Tiffany Diaz: But if they’re superstars and not wrestlers, then what the fuck are they doing in the ring?

On the Raw Thread Spectacular:

Muscles Coleman: This is possibly the coolest fucking thing ever.

Kane Matthews: Old school as the Undertaker walking the top rope

Rob: My goddamn sister in law has come in to town and wants to go to dinner….NOW!! Apparently watching wrestling and talking to people on the internet isn’t an excuse. Fuck that. I am working late (watching online) and then booking the restaurant for 8.30 PST. Sorry bitches, I need to be here for this.

On the Recap of Miz’s title win:

Matty Pretzels: Even the replay makes me smile.

Gulaid: Look at that girl. KILLING YOU WITH HER EYES.

On Alex Riley opening the show:

Watt: Thank goodness we got a star like Alex Riley to open the show.

Benson: Riley in a suit. Very fitting of the situation.

Agh: Wait… they’re addressing the DUI? Awesome.

On Del Rio Vs Bryan:

Villiano: I knew Bryan/Del Rio would open. It’s too good not to.

Guitar Playing Movie Guy: I love the forearm grind during a chinlock. It’s a great dickish move that makes the hold itself less boring.

Gulaid: Naturally these guys have great chemistry.

Stavros: Del Rio clean! Impressive win for Alberto.

On R-Truth’s Promo:

Cash: I demand a push for Truth. Guy is fucking over and they need to do something with it.

McMenemy: No Eve Torres to show us her “great dancing skills”? Fucking 10 already.

Kidinthehelmet: You guys think singing this fucking song all the time is slowly driving Truth crazy?

Sean D: R-Truth is not the guy I would choose first when it comes to who gets the uncomfortably close, close up.

On John Cena being there:

Watt: It’s White Darren Young!

On Rhodes Vs Morrison:

Cash: Holy 80s, it’s Cody Rhodes!

Agh: There is not enough love I can express for the throwback Dashing Cody Rhodes’ gimmick and how fucking well he’s run with it.

King Drqshadow: That was more of a taint to the nose than a knee to the face.

On Jackson Vs McIntyre:

Kody: I can’t help but like Ezekiel Jackson. I think it’s because he is always smiling.

J: I liked Zeke a lot more when he was Ahmed Johnson.

Stavros: Dude can’t win, Scotland isn’t allowed their own royalty.

Guitar Playing Movie Guy: Here’s your stupid finish

King Drqshadow: FUCK FINISH, WE HAVE FUCK FINISH, OVER

On Riley Back Stage:

Leon Thomas: Wow. Alex Riley is douching it up.

J: I wish I had an awesome bluetooth earpiece…

Stavros: Alex Riley has come into his own tonight. I knew the second he ditched the high school jacket he’d start to rule.

On Miz’s Promo:

Kevbo: Show gets a 10 for Miz’s suit.

J: But it is a little surreal to see a guy who less than a decade ago was on some stupid MTV reality show pretending to be a wrestler actually become a world champ.

Agh: Miz referencing the girl=gold

Kane Matthews: I haven’t seen much RAW recently, but his facial expressions alone make me want to punch him in the face

Sean D: Making fun of a little girl as part of your victory promo? Priceless.

Cash: Jesus. He’s going to hold that title for a long fucking time if he holds it the longest of anyone.

Stavros: The King gets a title shot on Raw? I am actually fine with that.

Sean D: TLC match for Lawler on his birthday… that’s not what I’d call a present.

On Sheamus Vs Kofi:

Benson: I liked Punk cheering for Kofi. Especially as genuinely couldn’t tell whether he was being sarcastic or not.

Guitar Playing Movie Guy: That was weird. Sheamus basically no-sold Trouble in Paradise. That kick finish was fucking badass though.

On the Tag Team Match:

MixMastaMike: 638 pounds? Hmm. That Asian doesn’t look 138 pounds.

Cash: Introducing… “TEAM NOT WHITE!”

Cash (Again): Ha ha ha ha! Cena cheering for Yoshi is awesome.

On Del Rio Vs Morrison:

Cash: OI. This match could be pretty good. And a King Mabel reference? Awesome.

Bill Dumb n Jaded: I missed out on two Daniel Bryan Danielson matches for a horn? Fuck that.

Guitar Playing Movie Guy: Interference by car horn! Unique, I guess….

On the Wade Barret and John Cena segment:

Guitar Playing Movie Guy: Wait, Cena cost Wade Barrett the world title last week? They should keep us posted about that kind of thing.

Matty Pretzels: Wade is serious, John. And don’t call him Shirley.

Cash: HOLY SHIT! The fucking window of the car!!! JESUS CHRIST WHAT A SPOT!

Moose: Jesus Christ, Gabriel almost got head-Goldberged.

On the Divas Match:

Cash: Yay for a champion wearing their belt!

Moose: And I love how Punk pronounces it “Maurice”, like she’s a Bee Gee.

On Morrison Vs Sheamus:

Gulaid: Morrison doesn’t suck as much as he use to on the mic.

TEJ: Man I don’t have any interest in either of these dudes winning this. Cancel the tournament, reinstate Regal.

J: I still can’t believe this isn’t the Main Event.

Guitar Playing Movie Guy: This match is pretty fucking great btw.

Moose: All hail the Lobster King!

Watt: Well that’s underwhelming.

Moose: Sheamus better give back Aloysia’s vibrator before she gets pissed.

On Miz Vs Lawler:

J: So a sixty year old man is going to get a 10 minute match?

Gulaid: I kinda hope Lawler wins just to see this website crash and the internet explode in general.

Moose: This isn’t half bad.

Tonton: King’s gonna get a heart attack as he climbs up top for the fist drop. Just as he leaps, fade to black, no Oscar.

Jamie Vaccaro: Lawler is going out in style. This has been pretty good stuff so far.

Agh: Michael Cole and A-Ri are doing their damnedest homelessly poor man’s Heenan/Perfect impersonation.

J: Cole is a heel god.

Stavros: This is WAY better than I gave them credit for. Definitely setting up a lot of stuff right there.

SaveUsDY5: That was legit. A Ri was great. King was great. Miz was so so so good. Awesome main event.

And Finally, The Tim Glancy Memorial Award for the Most Overly Negative Post of the Night:

Spinner: I hope Gaymus ends up programmed with Hiatch again because that means two plodding boring ass fucking douches will be feuding with each other thus removing their suck from the rest of the roster.

Defending my vote with Kellen Scrivens:

I was somewhat disappointed by the booking of the King of the Ring itself. Having Sheamus take the easy road to a win isn’t elevating anybody, which is what the hallmark of the King of the Ring has always been. Punk’s commentary was spectacular and the rest of the show held up its end. 7/10Closing thoughts:

Keith: Third straight solid Raw. Who’d have thought that, huh?

Is the show on an upswing because of young talent or because of better writing and booking? Well, I think it’s a combination of those things. You can’t just “book better” or “write better” – you need the talent to pull it off. And the WWE has finally accumulated the talent they’ve needed to get these things going. I’m excited for the future of Raw – not counting the three-hour Slammy show in a few weeks.

Dave, I’m thinking I’m very, very ill that night.

Dave: I get ill every time I talk to you Keith!

Anyway, this was an ok show, nothing like the last two. I like where things are going but I don’t know if I’m confident in the writing enough yet. There are still some glaring problems (like Nexus not getting heat back, etc) that need to be addressed. We shall see.

We are very glad you could make it to our fine review. Step in again next week where us gentlemen (and Keith) do the Raw Review crew thing one more time. Later!