Back and at it again, after a live and exciting Monday night of television. Last night was all about the hype of what live action is all about. In this column, I will be reviewing what promised to be a new fresh beginning. I will be reviewing Spike TV’s Ultimate Fight Night… just kidding. A full review of last night’s WWE’s homecoming Raw take up the majority of this column.
But before I get to reviewing last night’s Raw, I do wonder if anybody did watch Spike TV last night. No matter how hard WWE and USA tries, there are always going to be people who simply never got the message, or simply forgot (it happens). I did switch to Spike TV while Raw was on commercials. Being that this was the first Raw that I was actually excited about watching now in many, many months, I made sure to switch back to USA to not miss anything. Having said that, the UFC concept seems interesting, and I will make sure to give it my undivided attention on an upcoming Monday night.
I unfortunately missed TNA’s Spike TV debut this week. I fear that many other fans missed the show for the same exact reason that I did… I simply forgot about it. I probably wasn’t going to be around to watch it on Saturday night, but I could have taped the show. As with my intention to give UFC a chance, I want to give TNA a chance as well.
I had to read twice, the quote of Vince McMahon on who to blame for the failure of the Muhammad Hassan gimmick. McMahon blames the guy who played Hassan, Marc Copani! How the hell is it Copani’s fault that the character didn’t work? If anything, the character worked too well, thanks to Copani himself. It was the stupid WWE creative that made the character too extreme by being distasteful. In light of what was probably an uncomfortable and awkward situation for himself, he really did a good job playing the role.
Say what you want about him, but Copani has charisma and excellent mic skills. If WWE wouldn’t have been so keen on using the stupid storyline, and used Copani in a better storyline, he would have been an awesome heel. But of course, McMahon can’t accept fault for anything. It’s always someone else’s fault. This storyline had Vince McMahon fingerprints all over it! Though I doubt it will happen, I would hope Copani will turn up in TNA and be used more effectively… where he can probably be used to his full potential.
Having gotten the other stuff out of the way, let’s review this week’s Raw homecoming show.
I really don’t know what to think of the opening segment, involving Rowdy Piper, Mick Foley, and the Ortons. This is the first time I saw Bob Orton recently, since I haven’t watched one second of Smackdown in months. Was this a setup for an eventual feud for either Randy or Bob Orton vs. Piper? I sure hope not. Hopefully, it was just WWE’s way of plugging Orton’s match vs. Undertaker this Sunday. Hell they know nobody’s watching Smackdown this week, so they might as well do anything possible to promote the match. Wouldn’t surprise me though if Piper interfered in the match this Sunday, however.
Nice segment backstage between Teddy Long and Eric Bischoff. The two don’t meet up a lot, but I enjoy watching the calm and cool Long just sit there while Bischoff always cries about how he isn’t getting his way. Is the Eric Bischoff as the General Manager starting to get a bit old? Possibly, in my opinion. Because I never watch Smackdown, the Teddy Long character remains fresh as an authority figure.
The Ironman match was next. I’m not sure what to make of the ending, but this was probably the best part of the show. Both men gave it their all, and it amazes me how much Michaels is able to do in the ring, considering how messed up his back was, which kept him away for about five years. What was up with the draw ending though? Michaels did appear to come out as the unofficial winner, however, since he did challenge Angle to sudden death, and he flatly refused.
Very interesting backstage segment with Bischoff and Vince McMahon. After asking Eric asks to make tonight’s match vs. John Cena a no DQ, Vince refuses. This prompts Eric to get serious and look McMahon in the eye, call him Vince, and say it is obvious he was only hired as Raw GM to me embarrassed by him. He calls McMahon absolutely sick, in which McMahon replies nobody knows just how sick, twisted or perverted he really is. Was that suppose to be a message to the Internet fans who always complain about the offensive or the stupid humor that is oft-time incorporated into his product? Regardless, I bet he really enjoyed saying that. I enjoyed this exchange, and it gives me the hope that this is the gradual start for something between the two in the near future (which is what I thought was intention after Bischoff was originally hired).
The Vince McMahon segment in the ring had real potential. You knew it was obvious that Austin was going to come out, and do his usual in-ring work on Vince. The intolerant rebel vs. the boss bit always worked best between Austin and Vince, and it still worked well last night, for the most part. Any other attempt at duplicating that previous success (i.e. Rock and McMahon a few years back, Cena and Bischoff now).
The segment was fun to watch at the beginning, but they ultimately dragged it out and it became too ridiculous to watch, stunner after stunner. It seemed that everybody in the building except for Vince knew that he was getting a stunner. It would have been more fun if after the exchange, if Vince would have just said “allright Austing… I know it’s coming, just give me the stunner and let’s move along with this show.” Have Austin stun McMahon and let that be it.
I thought it was pointless to have Shane, then Steph, and then Linda of all people come out for the sake of Vince. The three haven’t been on television in a few years now, so what business did they have coming out? They wanted to extend Austin’s time as much as possible, while it was an easy way for them to get TV time. The segment should have ended after the Vince stunner. Remember the old saying… less is more. It certainly would have been with this segment.
And damn, Vince and Shane had to sell the stunners for a damn long time, while Steph and Linda were out there. It certainly never takes that long to “recover” from that type of move. And you just gotta love McMahon in the back being carried to his limo, saying “somebody’s going to get fired for this.” Jeeper creepers! The heel Mr. McMahon is back! Lame, let what happened on Raw be it and let’s not progress this any further.
The Edge and Matt Hardy ladder match was next. Lita not looking bad at all I might say. I was expecting the match to be a bit longer, but I won’t take anything away from what they did last night. They always throw their bodies on the line, and it is absolutely sick. So Edge wins and now Matt leaves Raw. His career is over, he will never wrestle again. How long until he appears on Smackdown or Velocity? How happy is Hardy to be back in WWE now? He has defended the storyline on the Internet by saying wait and see what happens in six months. Well it appears the storyline is over now, and who got the rub off it? Is Hardy wishing he would have signed with TNA now? Who knows…
Yeah, I dreaded the next match just as much as all of you did. Flair and Triple H vs. Masters and Carlito. I really liked how WWE was building Masters and Carlito the last few weeks, but then of course, the “Game” returns and destroys them both. How pathetic. I don’t know about you, but I saw HHH’s attack on Flair coming afterwards. It was a vicious beat down, with Triple H mad at Flair for doing something, not known to the audience. This is interesting though, and I’m interested in seeing where this is headed.
I wasn’t sure where they were headed, but I did enjoy the WWE legends and Rob Conway segment. It’s cool how they worked together and just threw him out of the ring like that.
The Bra and Panties match was what it was. The end result is that the fan is suppose to be the winner. I find it funny how Torrie acts all disgusted when she is left in her bra and panties, only after posing nude for Playboy magazine, twice!
I actually liked how the Smackdown segment panned out. It really sets up more heat between Bischoff and Long, and it certainly wasn’t something you expected. Again, this is a bold defiance by Bischoff, and it will be interesting if McMahon does come back on TV in response to Bischoff’s action. The Bisch also defied McMahon by making his match with Cena a no DQ.
As tired as I am of Hulk Hogan, nothing beats a Mean Gene interview with Hulk in the middle of the ring. Nice setup for a potential WrestleMania match between Hogan and Austin. I was hoping for the glass to shatter after Hogan mentioned the rattle snake, but I guess that will have to wait another day.
And finally, we get to the main event. At this point, the show is in overtime as USA Network gave WWE more time. The match itself was short, but what happened afterwards is more important. Teddy Long, pissed off at what happened earlier in the night, sends his Smackdown guys to the ring to attack Cena and Angle. This prompts the rest of the Raw lockerroom to come out and fight off the Smackdown wrestlers. How many times have we seen this happen before? Will anything result of this? I would hope it would somehow have to, cause how many times can you have Raw and Smackdown wrestlers fight in the ring at the end of a show, and have nothing stem from it?
Regardless, the use of incorporating Smackdown on Raw was a nice way to try and remind the fans that they still exists. But I’m still not sure if anybody is going to watch it on Friday nights or not.
Overall, I won’t fault WWE for putting a lot of work in building and hyping this show, but ultimately, I feel it could have been a little better. The Austin and McMahon segment proved to be disappointing after it was dragged on to its fullest extent possible. Masters and Carlito being destroyed by Triple H, in my opinion, somewhat ruins all the buildup they had the last few weeks. I look forward to seeing what takes place with Flair and HHH the next few weeks, if and how anything evolves between McMahon and Bischoff. I think WWE has something cool with the Raw vs. Smackdown idea, but I think it was a one night situation for now, only to help promote Smackdown on Friday nights.
Either way, I will give last night’s show a B. It was a good show, but it still could have been a little better in some areas. But I’ll take what I can get, however. After going all out for Raw’s return to USA Network, it’s back to reality starting next week. Raw on USA is going to be the same, recycled and oft-times lame storylines that it was on Spike TV. As Chris Beniot would say, my message to WWE is, prove me wrong.
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