Monday, June 29, 2009

Kick-Out's Raw Thoughts - June 29, 2009

Oh boy, the rumors were flying around about this show before it even got started, so I had a feeling we were going to have one of those Raws on our hands. Did it work or did Raw sink further into its slump?

Well, if you needed any further evidence that something was up tonight, Vince McMahon kicking things off should've sealed it for you. Vince announced a 15-Superstar trade and decided to stick with Donald Trump's idea for a weekly guest host and we got Batista! Vince also mentioned something about shaking up Raw "VKM style," and somewhere in Orlando, the Voodoo Kin Mafia hoped they were getting their old jobs back.

With Batista in charge, he set up a tournament featuring MVP vs. Triple H and The Miz vs. John Cena in the semifinals, the winner of the tourney is the new #1 contender for the WWE Title. Speaking of the title, Randy Orton tried interrupting, but got put in a 3-on-1 Gauntlet Match featuring three of Raw's newest Superstars. Sometimes it's best just to stay backstage, Randy.

I'm not sure how keen I am on the idea of just giving away Triple H vs. MVP, I think they wrestled a couple times last year on Smackdown, but not since MVP's recent push. Luckily, the match wasn't too long and they held back a bit, so there's definitely money in another match down the road. Triple H wins (hardly a shock) and is in the finals, which will take place next week. Good showing for MVP too, though I'm sure people will complain that he's been "buried."

Okay so Rated Y2J (no, that's not their official name) might be the greatest tag team EVER! Yeah that's right, I said ever; move over Road Warriors, Midnight Express and Head Cheese, because Chris Jericho & Edge as Unified Tag Team Champions have limitless potential. The idea that these two could possibly run roughshod over WWE because they have the titles that allow them to go onto any show is genius, I hope they really run with this angle.

Edge & Jericho vs. Primo & Carlito was a fun match and even though the Brothers Colón lost, they still looked like a million bucks after hanging with two of the top stars in the business today. I'd hate to speak too soon, but I think we may just have ourselves a tag division.

Okay, so I think The Miz vs. John Cena tonight was the match we were supposed to get at The Bash. It went much longer and shockingly, Miz totally dominated the entire contest until the end when Cena made him tap to the STF (again, hardly a shock). Don't count out The Miz just yet, he's still... AWESOME! But that means Triple H vs. John Cena next week? In the words of Michael Cole, "OH MY!!" This will be their first one-on-one encounter since last year's Night of Champions and I believe only their third singles match, ever. Usually it's hyperbole, but I think Jerry Lawler was spot-on tonight when he said this will be one of the biggest main events in the history of Raw. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if we get a no contest and it winds up being a Triple Threat at NOC.

"The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase is hosting Raw next week? Oh this guest host idea is great, I really hope they keep this going.

Diva's Fatal Four Way wasn't much to write home about, but at least we're finally getting Mickie James vs. Maryse for the Diva's Title. Mickie may not be the first woman to hold both the Women's & Diva's Championships, but she's due for another run with a title. Aside from The Glamazon, she's the best Diva in WWE and is easily the most popular, she deserves it.

How about Kofi Kingston holding his own against Big Show?! Yeah, it wasn't a win, but it wasn't a loss either! Also, how crazy was it to see him leap onto Show's shoulders?! Absolutely unreal. And hey, at least Show wasn't wrestling Cena, so I'll consider this whole segment a win-win situation.

And the moment we've been waiting for, Randy Orton vs. three new Raw Superstars. First up, Evan Bourne! Honestly, I feel this move is about a year overdue, and I would've rather seen Bourne on Smackdown, but he's definitely ready to move on from ECW. Bourne gets in a lot of good offense, but falls victim to a top rope RKO, which Cole & Lawler inexplicably describe as a "bulldog." Draft pick #2 is... Jack Swagger! I'm really not surprised by this one as the guy did everything he could in ECW and really, he's tailor-made for Monday Nights. Swagger disappoints me in his debut though by getting himself counted out to show respect for Randy Orton, I say LAME! Swagger better not go anywhere near Legacy, as he's WAY too good to be floundering around with those lackeys. Draft pick #3 is... Mark Henry?! Wait a minute... Mark Henry as a face?! Wait two minutes... Mark Henry as a face with a huge crowd reaction?! Randy Orton gets his wig split and the crowd goes insane for The World's Strongest Man and I never thought I would ever type that sentence.

What a Raw... I have to admit, I loved it! Good wrestling, good promos and good surprises. This is not the Raw I've been watching over the last few months and I think this roster shake-up is exactly what the show needed. And with that said, has just unveiled the full list of Superstars, here's what we're looking at:

To Raw: Mark Henry, Jack Swagger, Evan Bourne, Alicia Fox & Gail Kim
To Smackdown: Matt Hardy, Finlay, & all three members of The Hart Dynasty
To ECW: Shelton Benjamin, William Regal, Goldust & The Bella Twins

I'll have more about this huge story on this week's episode of Kick-Out!! Radio, but let me just say right now before all the smarks freak out... ECW will be just fine. Also, it looks like they've smoothed out some rough edges from the Draft, Raw has improved and Smackdown somehow manages to look even more awesome. What a night indeed and it's only just begun for fans at Raw tonight, since WWE is touring Australia this weekend, next week's Raw is being pre-taped. I have a feeling avoiding spoilers this week is going to be next to impossible.


  1. I actually swore when MVP lost... I saw it coming and everything, but it just sucked the life out of the latter match in the tournament (because there was no way the seeding was going to be Triple H-The Miz... when I could have seen MVP fighting either party in the other bracket to get to the #1 contenders seat and if anything, MVP looks much weaker now because of Triple H's injury (though I have a feeling you will disagree).

    But speaking of the Miz... that was the sort of match I had to see from him to get behind him. When he had Cena in the sleeper hold, I started chanting for him. I knew he couldn't win, but I wanted to see it happen so badly. I wanted to believe in it, I truly did.

    I am thinking about Kofi Kingston vs. Evan Bourne for the US Championship... that could be interesting... but somehow I see them throwing him up against the Big Show in another one of those lame David vs. Goliath things... when Jericho/Mysterio should be ample proof that quick on quick is the way to go with this kind of thing.

    I look forward to seeing how the Hart Dynasty works on Smackdown... that would make a triumvirate of tag teams on the brand.

    I guess Kozlov will finally get a push on E C Dub now given that most of his competition has gone to other brands... looking forward to him taking on Regal at some point... that somehow feels like it is an inevitability.

  2. I honestly wasn't a fan of Triple H going over, but it was what it was. MVP is stuck in limbo due to Raw's fear of pulling the trigger on his main event run and this HHH/Orton feud doesn't help matters either.

    Maybe MVP should turn heel again, because I don't like his chances trying to make a splash on Raw as a face when the show features both Cena and Triple H. That's not a knock on those guys, but they are the top dogs and they're always going to be on PPV.

  3. Given that there is also HBK and Batista on the IR above him in the face hierarchy, and Raw has gotten rid of two of the people he was feuding with, he is in a bad position indeed. He is selling the company outside of wrestling with Sherri Shepherd, so he has to have some use to the company getting them positive press and courting new fans. But I think that is what is so frustrating... he is being used to promote the company, while not really getting anything decent to do in the ring.

    I am not begrudging Triple H's role in the company. That's how things go when you are one of the top guys in the company, and I accept that.

    It is hard to pay your dues and start getting people to accept you as a main eventer when you aren't getting up to the plate. It is a horrible catch-22 he is facing... he can't get over as a face because he isn't getting main event exposure, but he isn't getting main event exposure because he isn't over enough.

    I don't think going back heel is going to solve any of this unfortunately unless the turn back was because he wasn't getting what he considered a fair shot, that he was being held down. I don't see that kind of booking happening anytime soon.

  4. "but let me just say right now before all the smarks freak out... ECW will be just fine."

    Doubtless the entire Internet Rasslin' Kommunity will be REELING now that ECW has lost Mark Henry and picked up Shelton Benjamin and William Regal in return.

    I like most of these moves, but really now... what are the Bella Twins going to do on ECW? Don't say "be arm candy for a different man every week" even though that's the right answer, because unless they're arm candy for Tiffany then I really don't give half a damn.

    Still, some good stuff. Mizark's done about all he can do on ECW, and I knew Swagger was stepping up the minute these trades were announced. Bourne to Raw kind of sucks, because he's exactly the kind of guy who'll get lost in the shuffle, but I have a feeling he'd be feuding with Kane if he went to Smackdown for some reason.

    Hardy to Smackdown is fine, but again, he's just the sort of guy who'll get lost in the shuffle with at least three other chickenshit heels ahead of him. Get ready for Finlay/Ziggler a lot, because really... how many midcard heels are there on Smackdown right now? And of course, the Harts finally jump to a real brand, which could be interesting.

    All of this, of course, pales in comparison to the greatest move in the trade... BILLY F'ING REGAL TO EE SEE DUB. FINALLY, after over a year of floundering in midcard hell on Raw, being dusted off every few months for a brief feud putting over a babyface, Regal jumps to the brand that's needed him from the first. This is a positive move on both directions. Regal's needed an overhaul for some time, and ECW's already revived the careers of Shelton Benjamin (possibly AGAIN now...), Mark Henry, Christian, Tommy Dreamer, Fit, and quite a few others. On the other hand, I've said from the first that ECW has needed a hard-hitting veteran heel to work with new babyface talent--it's the reason John Morrison, the Miz, and Jack Swagger excelled while guys like Ricky Ortiz and DJ Gabriel floundered. Regal is exactly what ECW needs, and I can't wait to see what's in store for him. Plus... Christian/Regal? Dreamer/Regal? IWCGASM!

  5. Decent enough looking RAW, thinking of torrenting it...Getting caught up on CHIKARA was too tempting to watch it live, though.

    Have to echo the disappointment of MVP not going over H. I would have accepted a Cena/Orton match (since you know that MVP wouldn't have won against Cena. I'm not burying Cena in a typical IWC-hatedown, I actually wouldn't want MVP to headline a PPV yet, he needs to be at the top of Raw for a little bit first). Cena/Orton has been done before, but since the average fan has the memory of a goldfish, it would work fine as a one-off for NOC.

    It's so bizarre to read about A) Face Mark Henry, and B) Mark Henry closing RAW. I'm looking forward to where this is potentially going.

    The trades were a good idea, frankly. Gets some of the lead out of the RAW roster, and moves some talent too big for ECW to greener pastures. Glad to see the Hart Dynasty where it can do some good heelin'.

    Apparently, though, this has been, for ECW, a "mass exodus of a good portion of the brand's top talent". Oh, why people copy and one can write.

  6. TOMK... Chikara for the win indeed! I respect that choice.

  7. Sousa - I definitely agree on the Bellas moving to ECW. Completely useless trade and they were actually starting to be watchable in the ring? Why not leave them on Raw for the occasional multi-Diva tag match? And definitely agreed on Regal in ECW, I see him taking over Finlay's spot as the "litmus test" for new talent.