Monday, June 1, 2009

Kick-Out's Raw Thoughts - June 1, 2009

Argh. That's really all I can come up with as this show continues to frustrate me.

Randy Orton opens the show, never seen that before. Orton does his standard promo and flips a coin to feed one of the members of Legacy to the wolves and Cody Rhodes wins the honor of facing Batista in a cage. Ric Flair makes an appearance and challenges Orton to a fight in the parking lot, which Naitch has been dying for since his retirement. He's challenged Jericho and now Orton twice, at least we actually get to see it tonight.

Cody Rhodes vs. Batista inside a steel cage. Batista wins... obviously. I don't even know what to write about this match, it's completely unsurprising and we all know that the primary role of Priceless is to get beat up by whoever Orton is feuding with that month. Part of what made Evolution so great was that Orton & Batista looked good and it's why they soared to the top of the card in a short period of time. Rhodes & DiBiase are lackeys, and while they could easily be working to rebuild the tag division, or even one of them could be gunning for the US Title, their only job is to be the guys to take the beatings we want Orton to get. And that's fine, the primary goal of the stable should be to enhance Orton as the top heel, but I'm finding myself unable to care whenever Rhodes & DiBiase are involved because I know they're just going to get steamrolled.

Beth Phoenix & Maryse vs. Mickie James & Kelly Kelly was pretty solid and furthered the two big feuds in the Divas division. I have to say, Maryse & The Glamazon are an ideal Diva duo and I'd like to see the two work together more. Working with Phoenix is only going to help Maryse improve, and as the top heel Diva in the company right now, that's certainly a good thing. That said, I'm not fond of The Glamazon taking a backseat to anybody, she's unquestionably the best Diva in WWE today and I'd say she's far and away the best female athlete to step foot in a ring since Trish Stratus. Perhaps an eventual Glamazon face turn to eventually dethrone Maryse?

Carltio & Primo vs. Matt Hardy & William Regal was a decent match, but not nearly as good as the champs' previous encounters in the last few days with Cryme Tyme and The World's Greatest Tag Team. Still, those were both incredibly good matches and hard to live up to when Hardy and Regal have never teamed before (at least not to my knowledge). I do enjoy the focus on the Unified Tag Titles and the mini storyline with Regal and Hardy doing favors for Vickie in order to get various title opportunities.

Another handicap match? Are you kidding me?! Okay, so technically it was Big Show & The Miz vs. John Cena & Chavo Guerrero, but Chavo didn't do anything until literally the final three seconds of the match. This whole match bugged me, even with a somewhat clever finish. Let's take a look at what made this match incredibly stupid: obviously Chavo joining Cena was rigged, so why did he tag himself in to win the match? Why did Cena attack Chavo afterward? He didn't do anything wrong! Why did Big Show, who obviously wanted to win the match, knock out his partner and not break up the pin? Why didn't Show and/or Vickie scold Chavo for his actions? Why did we need to replay Big Show's Camel Clutch three times in two segments? The only good coming out of this match is that Cena didn't pin The Miz, so therefore it's Miz - 7, Cena - 0.

For all my complaints about this show (and there are more to come), I have nothing bad to say about Kofi Kingston vs. MVP. In fact, the ending had me literally shouting "AWESOME!" and clapping on my couch for an absolutely fantastic match. Great back and forth action, lots of exciting near falls, and a genuinely shocking outcome, I honestly didn't think Kofi would be walking out as United States Champion tonight. That's the kind of memorable moment that Raw used to be so famous for and the whole thing was just perfectly done.

And He may not be US Champion anymore, but I'm going to say that MVP came out of this one the victor. Mr. Kennedy's loss is MVP's gain and I can almost guarantee that he dropped the belt tonight to take Kennedy's spot in that feud with Randy Orton that the recently released superstar alluded to last week. Expect MVP vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship to headline The Bash or Night of Champions.

Vickie Guerrero vs. Santino Marella was easily the most pointless segment of 2009, I think the Eve/Layla feud is more gripping than this. When Vickie or Santino can't get a crowd reaction, you know the "feud" isn't working... I wonder if WWE's ready for the crowd backlash Sunday because this Hog Pen Match is going to get booed out of the building.

Well, at least the Fight to the Finish was brutal. I don't know what Orton cut himself on, but that was gross and I can't believe Ric managed to not bleed like a stuck pig, usually it only takes a stiff breeze. I'm not really a big fan of non-matches closing out a show, but I'll give this one a pass since it did what it needed to do, which was put heat on the WWE Title match at Extreme Rules. The one thing that does confuse me is WWE supposedly bringing Ric Flair back full-time, only to have him get punted? Triple H got punted at Backlash and we haven't seen him since and you can't bring Flair back faster than The Game, doing so would just devalue The Punt. What are they going to do, pay Ric to sit at home for two months? I smell shenanigans.

Please WWE, make Raw good again, you're just breaking my heart every week at this point. My last glimmer of hope is that after Extreme Rules, they'll put the stale feuds to bed and give us something new. Randy Orton vs. MVP and John Cena vs. The Miz are the logical choices, but how about something completely unexpected like Matt Hardy vs. Batista too? Kofi Kingston winning the US Title makes me think that things are about to change for the red brand, hopefully Extreme Rules will provide closure to this painfully boring chapter in Raw's history.

Speaking of Extreme Rules, it is officially Extreme Week here at Kick-Out!! Wrestling! Stop by all week long for my PPV predictions, YouTube insanity, the Top 10 Extreme Matches in WWE History, and the debut of Kick-Out!! Radio!


  1. And the thing I noticed with Kingston/MVP was MVP wasn't just babyface... he was like superbabyface... the passing of the belt and the total respect he showed Kingston... I think that is very good start to having a feud with the top heel on the brand.

  2. I've mentioned it a few times, but I cannot believe how well MVP has transitioned into his face role. His entire gimmick and attitude just made me think he'd be a heel for life, but he's arguably better as a face than he ever was as a heel. I'm hoping for a really good feud between him and Orton.

  3. There do need to be more face/face matches, particularly over titles, that end with some respect. Often, the title is simply a bonus to delivering an ass-kicking to a hated rival. A match like Kofi/MVP makes the title important, first and foremost.

    And I had "shenanigans" running through my mind after the Punt, as well...but it was primarily because that was the weakest Punt I've seen Orton give. He barely ruffled Flair's hair with it. Big elaborate set-up on Big Dave so Flair can help mentor Ted and Cody? Unlikely, but the possibility's there.

  4. A Flair heel turn has seemed like a possibility since he returned, but I can't imagine the crowd booing him. I suppose he could lay the blame on them for being forced to retire, that might work.

    The Punt did look weak, but I could also understand if Orton didn't want to put Flair at risk, or if he simply didn't connect the way he wanted to. That has to be a somewhat difficult move to pull off because you have to make it look real without seriously injuring someone.

  5. See, when I think of MVP's underlying gimmick (superstar multisport athlete), it does seem to lend itself to being a face to me at least (just taking out the T.O. aspects of the character would have likely produced a semi-face change anyway)... and the way he became a face over almost half a year, learning contrition and sportsmanship through his losing streak was sort of a brilliant move.

  6. Yeah, the losing streak was the most interesting I had found him before his turn and it really was the perfect way to make him a face.