Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Two Big Nights of Wrestling: WrestleMania and RAW

WrestleMania Wrap-up

Well, WrestleMania was about as exciting as we all thought it would be. It just wasn’t nearly as satisfying.

WWE finished several matches with some real head-scratchers and blew one match entirely. Another match was extremely entertaining for all the wrong reasons. We all had a blast watching the show, it just didn’t seem to hit all the right notes, so to speak.

Did we get our money’s worth, though? Read on and find out. I’ve reworked my prediction format to produce a WrestleMania results piece and I’ll be doing a stream-of-consciousness report on the post-WrestleMania RAW as I watch it in the morning. I’ll be interested to see if that turns out to be worth a shit. This is a long one, so hang in there.

ShowMiz v. Truth & Wisdom – Unified Tag Team Titles

I don’t want to overlook the fact that some crack whore performed the absolute worst fucking rendition of our national anthem that I have ever heard. It was embarrassing. I hate that foreign countries saw this.

I made a last-minute change and predicted Truth & Wisdom would prevail. I was wrong. After what couldn’t have been more than five minutes of (admittedly solid) action, Show knocked Morrison out with the Big Right and got the pin. This was barely a RAW-worthy match. I could have easily cut ten minutes from other places in the show and given this match more time. It certainly deserved it.

Legacy’s Lament Triple-Threat Match
Randy” Randy Orton v. Teddy Bear v. Cody “How is he gayer than Goldust?” Rhodes

Orton won, just like we all knew he would. Unfortunately this occurred in the most boring way possible. This was a formulaic match that was about as predictable as the sun coming up. The only surprise was that he pinned DiBiase instead of Rhodes. I guess it really doesn’t matter. At least it didn’t take more than ten minutes.

Money In The Bank Match featuring Kane, Christian, Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne, Matt Hardy, Shelton Benjamin, Morose Violet Plankton, Mr. Ziggles, Lash LeRoux, Cody Deaner, Braden Walker, Butch Vig, Nicolai Tesla, Grand Funk Railroad, Joe Montana, Nigel McGuiness, Nigel Tufnel, Rigel V, and some boring fucking British guy – I think Jericho’s training him on NXT

I WIN! I predicted Swagger would win this because I has gotten a very strong “We’re getting ready to do something with this guy” vibe from the programming the past couple of weeks. The All-American American was definitely a dark horse pick, but I nailed it and will likely brag about that fact for several weeks. The match itself was solid, with pretty much everybody doing their fair share. The new PG-friendly presentation was fairly apparent, unfortunately. There was no real signature moment this year, which is a shame. The sickest bumps of the night came courtesy of a match further up the card, and we’ll discuss that when we get there. Sadly, they were not intended to be that way. Incidentally, if this is what WWE feels comfortable offering up for a huge spotfest now, I don’t see how the fuck they’re going to pull off a PPV called Extreme Rules.
Rey Mysterio v. CM Punk

I was wrong on this one and feel very strongly that I shouldn’t have been. I think there were great stories to be told with Punk winning – anything from a summer of Rey torture with eventual redemption in the much-discussed hair versus mask match at SummerSlam to a little scenario I particularly liked in which Punk would seduce Rey to the dark side, so to speak.

Punk would make no demands of Rey once he was forced into the Straight Edge Society, only telling the luchador that he would be there once Rey decided he wanted him. A series of events would lead to Rey finally getting another title shot and after a couple of defeats turning to Punk for at first a bit of advice and eventually full-on dirty deeds. I think this would be amazingly compelling and would require little “acting” from the not-very-good-on-the-mic Mysterio.

Who knows? This could conceivably still happen. Either way, I think Punk and Mysterio have a lot left to give because the match itself was outstanding. I would really like to see more from these two.

Sheamus’ Best Friend v. The Ginger Avenger

I didn’t care about this one before and I still don’t. HHH won and I don’t know why because this result did not benefit either man as far as I can tell. The match was pure formula, which is all the Cerebral Assassin seems to be capable of these days. I was sort of hoping he might pull out all the stops for his buddy, but that didn’t happen. Regardless, I called this one right. Pedigree to the Ginger Avenger and HHH is your winner. Whoopee.

Bret “I’m Too Old For This Shit” Hart v. Mr. “Who You Tellin’?” McMahon

This match had the most potential for “Sports Entertainment” and I feel WWE fucking blew it. In a move apparently designed to make the most powerful man in the history of professional wrestling look like a retard, Vince came out with every living Hart not named Bret in tow, claiming he’d bought them all off to be lumberjacks and help him beat the shit out of Bret. Except for Crazy Bruce Hart, who revealed a referee shirt underneath his government-mandated straightjacket. Nobody on the planet Earth with more intelligence than a rutabaga bought this for even a second, so it is fortunate they made the “big reveal” that Bret had been expecting this all along and the Harts were on his side, after all. After which Bret Hart hit Vince McMahon with a blue crowbar for about forty-five minutes before he switched over to a standard-hued steel chair for another thirty. Bret wins at the two-hour mark. The Hart Dynasty looked on with vacuous grins on their faces and will probably be back to heeling on Cryme Tyme Friday night. Lame.

Edge “Lame Babyface Catchphrase” Edgerson v. Chris “A Good & Decent Man” Jericho – World Heavyweight Title

This match was the fucking bee’s knees. Despite how anybody may feel about Edge’s success (or lack thereof) as a babyface, the Rated-R Superstar and the Paragon of Virtue brought that shit in their match. As good as Rey versus Punk was earlier, this one was a must-see. I think these two have a great road set out in front of them, especially given that I was right and Jericho retained. This pissed young Edgeward off so much that he felt the need to rearrange some furniture so as to facilitate SPEAR!-ing Jericho through a retaining wall by way of both announce tables. Could this be a glimpse of the King of All Douches returning to reclaim his crown? Could it just be babyface Edge jacking up his intensity so as to actually be interesting? Time will tell.

Women’s Match Featuring Every Woman On The Roster That Doesn’t Really Mean Anything And Will Be Over In Three Minutes

This sucked just as much as you might imagine. I was obviously wrong about the result as Gail Kim did not win. Vickie Guerrero pinned Kelly Kelly after a Hog Splash. Kelly Kelly may be blonder than blond, but she doesn’t deserve that shit. I was also wrong about the duration of the match; I predicted under three minutes and it went 3:26 according to Wikipedia. Damn.

John “Friendly Meathead” Cena v. Dave “Evil Dickhead” Batista – WWE Title

Bizarro Match of the Night! I’m not sure any match at WrestleMania entertained the crowd I was watching it with as much as this one did. I had to jump the DVR back several times to catch amazing spots that WWE did not feel the need to replay. It was entirely possible that John Cena and Batista were really trying to kill each other. This match had more blown spots than a barn full of fellated Dalmatians. I have watched this match three times so far, and I want to go home and watch it again before I watch RAW. It was amazing. If you can see it, I highly recommend it. I cannot believe nobody got injured. Oh, and John Cena won. This is not what I predicted, but it doesn’t really matter. What a great horrible match!

The Under “Don’t Make Jokes About My Name, Boy” taker v. Shawn “Dancey Dance Time” Michaels

This match was just as amazing as last year’s. Perhaps more so, given that it had such a high level of expectation and lived up to it. The match started and ended with Michaels bitch-slapping ‘Taker, which prompted a group “OH, SHIT!” each time. Everything between those slaps was absolute gold, with a number of heart-stopping false-finishes and more drama than a season of Melrose Place. We all knew ‘Taker was going to win. What we didn’t know was that he would do something he has rarely ever done before (the only other time I can remember is after his amazing ladder match versus Jeff Hardy a few years ago on RAW): break character for a few moments to shake hands with Michaels and leave the beaten – and forcibly retired – Heartbreak Kid in the ring alone to say goodbye. It added a touch of believability to Michaels’ retirement – which nobody believes will stick.

With three great matches, one terrible but extremely entertaining match and what was probably the least impressive (but still good) Money In The Bank, this was not what I would call a win for WWE. Fifty percent is not a passing grade. I’m not sorry we got the PPV or anything – I mean, it is WrestleMania; I just feel that WWE had the stage set for greatness and failed to deliver for the most part. Sadly, fifty percent is a pretty good score when averaged against most of what we’re given by the companies that provide sports entertainment today. Hell, I’d send TNA a fucking gold trophy if they managed to be fifty percent good one night.

RAW Real-Time Report

(For me, anyway)

I want to start by saying that as soon as I heard who the guest hosts were I predicted there would be time-traveling by way of a hot tub over the course of the show. This was fine on Attack of the Show. It is not fine on RAW. Especially if they do it to un-retire Shawn Michaels, a theory I drunkenly put forth Sunday night. Regardless, Santino will be involved and it will suck. I have this weird feeling Piper and Goldust will be in on the action, too. I don’t know why.

Open – I didn't realize they announced Michaels/'Taker as the "Streak versus Career Match". Kind of stupid-sounding. But not as stupid as the Braveheart music they're playing over the video package.

I fucking hate Nickelback.

Segment 1 – Michael Cole expects an emotional night and they're still playing Ashley Massaro's shitty entrance music.

Batista's out, and judging from his clothes he wants to do somebody's hair. Don't Mess With The Batista? Cole claims Batista was involved in an awesome match at 'Mania – yeah, but not for the reasons you think, junior. "You tapped out" chant. Funny. Even Dave smiles a bit, then claims Cena's win was a fluke. "You tapped out" again and now Batista is pissed. Lone – but very audible – "You suck" from an audience member. Is Kurt Angle back?

Now Cena is out and he is obnoxiously happy. And obnoxiously orange. Cena basically says RAW is getting 'Mania's sloppy seconds. "Cena sucks" chant, louder than Sunday's. Oops. Cena is back to his overgrown 8-year-old act. Oh, well. Normal, tolerable Cena was fun while he lasted. Why the fuck is Cena talking about Michaels? Does he have to lick everybody's balls? Cena offers Batista a rematch for the title and guesses Dave will turn it down. Cena then says "For once, let's give the (fans) what they want!" You might want to rephrase that, John. Batista does, indeed turn the rematch down and they fight briefly until Batista bails. AND JACK THWAGGER THOWS UP TO CATH IN HIITH MONEY IN THE BANK! And probably be the first to lose when he does so. Thwagger... er, Swagger lays Cena out with some shots to the domepiece and calls for a ref, but Superman hops back up and Swagger bows out and runs away, to cash in under better circumstances. Like if somebody runs over Cena with a tractor.

Video package – Shawn Michaels is AWESOME!

Segment 2 – Ted DiBiase (!) is out! With a bunch of other old guys – Pat Patterson, Arn Anderson, HOLY SHIT! I TOTALLY CALLED PIPER! 

BUT IN THE WRONG CONTEXT! Sarge (shouldn't he stay away from Piper, a known Cobra agent?), Steamboat and even more old people. I have a bad feeling that they're all going to be in a hot tub before the night is over.

Clark Duke and Rob Cordry are out. They get booed. They announce Batista/Swagger versus Cena/??? (I'm guessing nobody. Cena will win on his own.) and a hot tub match with them versus the Divas! So awesome! Yay WWE! They also announce that all of these AARP cardholders are around the ring for a Legends Lumberjack match featuring... Christian! Versus... Ted DiBiase?

Segment 3 – Match in progress. Oh, that's right – DiBiase is actually really good. Wow. That's twice now somebody has gone to the well one too many times. The well's not too deep tonight, is it fellas? I shit you not, Pat Patterson just skipped across the floor. This enraged the rest of the Legends to the point they all started fighting each other and Christian won. Elder DiBiase is quoting Hurricane Helms at DiBiase the younger and Junior ain't havin' it.

Video package – Shawn Michaels is awesome, but also kind of a douche.

HHH is walking towards... commercials!

I sent Gnoll a message last night. Here it is:

"I'm going to make an alternate prediction to my Hart family "escorting" HBK out of WWE (Bret shows up w/ Dynasty in tow and claims he beat Vince's ass last night and Shawn's got his coming before he leaves – desired Hart heel heat cranked up, just not as much as if they turned on Bret): another interesting possibility is HHH confronting 'Taker about retiring his buddy. I could see that being very interesting."

We'll see.

Kevin Rudolf is HORRIBLE. Like, Nickelback bad.

Segment 4 – Lawler and Cole pimp WrestleMania week. Which is weird, since it's over.

Video package – WrestleMania week had many various things happening, all of which were set to very gay music. People came from ALL OVER THE WORLD! Small children give better salutes than John Cena.

Segment 5 – Here's the hosts and here's Santino. Here's the Bellas and two blonds, one of whom looks OLD. As funny as Duke and Olivia Munn were on AOTS, this is the opposite.

Segment 6 – HHH is out and looking understandably somber. He stops at the top of the ramp. His nose really is huge. He's talking about Michaels and is good and convincing. Wow – a little Wolfpac shout-out. He's getting what I think is legit emotional. From what I've read, HBK is treating this as a real retirement. HHH's... HOLY SHIT SHEAMUS IS A DICK! Sheamus is out with a steel pipe to the back of HHH's head. Laid him the fuck OUT! This was extremely well done and accomplished two things at once. Good job, Hunter. I ight actually care about you fighting the Crimson Ghost now.


Segment 7 – Recap of Irish dickery. WrestleMania Divas rematch. Because the first was so fucking good. Eve Torres pins the inexplicably appealing Maryse as soon as the bell rings. This was even more worthless than Sunday night. Oh well. Gail Kim looks good in yellow. Of couirse, Gail Kim looks good in anything.

Video package – Shawn Michaels so totally rules at Chutes and Ladders. Lawler refers to Michaels as Superman. Obviously this is a pre-Cena era.

Segment 8 – TOP OF THE HOUR! And WWE is showing one of their stupid "Look how great we are!" graphics.

Video package – Shawn Michaels had a Boyhood Dream.

The rest of Segment 8 – Bret Hart is out. He's wearing a shirt that makes me almost tear up a little – him and Owen. Hart puts HBK over and uses the awkward term "Storybook Career" for the second time tonight. Obviously WWE-speak, as is "Beat the holy hell out of". Another awkward phrase popularized by Lita. Hart claims his dead family members are sending waves of high-fives from heaven and a loud "Owen!" chant actually does get me a bit misty. Bret is gracious and really does seem happier somehow. Weird.

ShowMiz is out (?) Miz is wearing his new Renaissance Fair/Batman/Douchebag jacket. "Really, Bret? Really?" Miz is being a dick. And doing it well. He calls Bret a thief. Miz claims he is going to tie 'Taker's streak. Awesome. He also claims Bret is the most overrated there is, was... you know the rest. The Hart Dynasty is out before things can get ugly. In babyface white, no less. ShowMiz take a powder. Bret lays down the inevitable challenge.


STILL segment 8 – Back in the middle of a DH stalling suplex on Miz. Tyson Kidd does the flippy shit. Show does a nice move where he picks up Kidd by the throat and headbutts him. How much pressure is on these kids with Bret fucking Hart standing right there watching this match? Show pulls Miz out of a Sharpshooter and the crowd HATES it. ShowMiz leave and get counted out. The freshly babyfaced Harts hug and celebrate in the ring.

Video package – Shawn Michaels used to be not so Christian.

Segment 9 – More hot tub stupidity. Why is a show marketed towards ten-year-olds featuring dudes from a movie with a hard-R rating? The black guy from the movie shows up live via satellite and nothing funny happens. And we get Mizzark in a Speedo. Dammit. And Hornswoggle. Double dammit. Cole claims RAW still has a WrestleMania feel and introduces a recap of something that happened less than an houir ago. I was wrong, they're not going for ten-year-olds, they're going for fucking goldfish.

Segment 10 – Jack Thwagger is out. His shiny new Pay-Per-View gear should have tipped off the unbelievers Sinday night. Thwagger is talking. He's not bad on the mic, his lisp is just kind of... silly.


Segment 10 - continued – Man, I hope Michaels isn't Cena's tag partner. That would be so gay. Speaking of gay, Batista is out. I can't help but notice his posterior seems to be moving independently from his body. And the announcers are shilling for KFC. Is that irony? I doubt Batista eats a whole lot of the Colonel's. Cena is out. He spanks the WWE title for being a naughty little belt and leaving him all alone for those long, cold months. Ugh. Randy Orton is Cena's partner. How does this make any sense? I will say, though, that Swagger is playing with the big boys in this match. ORTON WITH THE GARVIN STOMP! Which Cole claims is "vintage Orton!"


Segment 10 – still – We're back and Swagger has Cena in a Manly Embrace. From behind. Batista stomps Cena like he's trying not to squish a muffin. And kicks him in the head the same way. I guess maybe they had words after the brutal disastrophe Sunday night. Orton mugs too much. Orton RKOs everyone in the arena and gets the pin on Swagger. Cole cites a "new, amazing Randy Orton". As opposed to the old, underwhelming one, I guess. Orton goes to the top turnbuckle and does "Waiting for the money shot".

Video package – Shawn Michaels fought 'Taker last year, too.

Commercials – A better wrestling show comes on tomorrow night.

Segment 11 – Shawn Michaels is dancey-dancing out to the ring. Lawler actually looks serious for a second when I think he didn't realize the camera was on him. Undertaker bells before HBK can get a word out. 'Taker is out. Tip of the hat to Michaels and he leaves. Nicely done. Michaels says things that I am not enough of a dick to mock. This is strong stuff. I'm just going to listen...

That was absolutely heart-wrenching. Hunter is out and teary. Hell, so am I.

If nothing else, that was what they call an emotionally-charged RAW. I hate to say it, but Cole was right. That was a big, big show, the likes of which we likely won't see again for years. I'm exhausted, perhaps a bit more so than after 'Mania. It's 8:04 A.M. and I'm going to bed. Thanks for sticking with me if you did. I've never done this before and probably won't again anytime soon. Like I said, this was a very special RAW.

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