Monday, January 25, 2010

Raw Thoughts - January 25, 2010

Great promo from Triple H to start things off. Shawn Michaels was mostly reserved here, but it was a nice reminder that Triple H can still be awesome when he wants to be. I miss serious business Triple H, almost as much as I miss heel Triple H. Still, while this was another great start to Raw, I don't see any point in having Triple H or HBK win the Rumble this year.

Opening match time, D-Generation X vs. Legacy, which is definitely a solid start and I'm not going to complain because these two teams do have great chemistry and they've been kept apart since Hell in a Cell, so it's not like this is something we see all the time. Definitely some dissension within DX here tonight, but it's not enough to get them to lose to Legacy (haha). Could be good news for CM Punk & Luke Gallows though, and could be good news for my predicted WrestleMania card - Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels, perhaps? Good match tonight though, and yes, I'm aware I just complimented a Legacy match, and I just complimented something on Raw beyond the first 15 minutes.

Bummer that James Roday couldn't make it due to an emergency appendectomy. Psych is a great show and I think Roday would've been a great host for the show, but hopefully Dule Hill can show that he's more than just a sidekick here tonight.

More verbal sparring with MVP & The Miz and it was all fun and games until MVP started busting out the gay jokes. Really? That's what we got? Lame. MVP was much more entertaining a couple weeks ago, but Miz - as always - was still AWESOME!

Big Show vs. MVP next... and as I come back to type up my thoughts on the start of the match, it's already over. Big Show makes quick work of MVP, and wow, I really can't get over how far MVP has fallen since coming to Raw, and he started off so well.

Fun stuff backstage with John Cena & Dule Hill, but things just get even better when The Miz gets involved. Miz claims he should've been on Psych instead of Cena, even though he's supposedly a bigger star than Hill or Roday, and I can't imagine why that might offend the guest host. Miz is in action against a mystery opponent later tonight!

And wait a minute... did John Cena just say "downright skullduggery?"

CAUTION: RAW DIVAS WRESTLING! Maryse vs. Eve is the first semifinal match in the Divas Tournament, but Dule Hill interrupts before the match can begin, he's having fun with the pyrotechnics. Completely pointless, but amusing nonetheless. As for the match, it's better than your average Raw Diva bout, and while Eve isn't the greatest wrestler ever, she's improved dramatically and her hard work shows when she gets in the ring. Maryse unsurprisingly picks up the win with a NASTY! DDT. Not Alicia Fox levels of nasty, but still pretty rough. Obviously the tournament ends with Maryse vs. Gail Kim, which anyone could've told you the minute they saw the brackets, but I'm hoping for something a little less predictable than Maryse walking away with the belt. If that's the plan, why go through all the pageantry of this tournament, we knew Maryse was going to win the belt the minute she returned.

Somewhere in 1976, a pimp is really upset about Vince McMahon stealing his suit. Much like last week, Vince is in rare form here, even going into the crowd to poll the audience about a a Bret Hart return; his reaction to the guy with the "DAMN" shirt might be one of Vince's funniest moments. Vince says "no" once again to the Hart return, but now John Cena has something to say about the subject. Alright, I haven't had much to say about him lately since he hasn't done much lately, but this is why Cena is the most important commodity in wrestling today. This wasn't preachy Reverend Cena, this wasn't goofy let's crack jokes John Cena, this was John Cena being awesome. Awesome promo, and actually got me a little excited about the possibility of Cena vs. McMahon somewhere down the road. On top of this, Vince announced he will invite Bret Hart to Raw next week and confront him face-to-face. The Hitman's back! Again!

Looks like Dule Hill's opponent for The Miz tonight is Kofi Kingston! Should be a good one, these two had some fun matches in 2009 and both guys have really upped their game since then. Unfortunately, the match is cut short due to one of my most hated finishes - the nemesis theme music distraction. MVP's music hits, Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise and picks up the win. Too short, but a slight improvement from your average Raw encounter.

Dule Hill & Carlito are in the production truck and Dule punches in a random code on the graphic generator to decide Carlito's opponent for tonight, and it's Kelly Kelly?! After commercial, it looks like this is going to happen, but Santino Marella is here to save the day! But before Santino can face Carlito, Jack Swagger blindsides our favorite Italian stereotype (besides the Mario Bros.)... it's cute that they're actually working a Royal Rumble storyline around two guys that have absolutely no chance in hell of coming close to winning. Honestly, I'm surprised they're even in the Rumble.

Royal Rumble statistics are always fun.

Dule Hill & John Cena are backstage with James Roday on the phone, and even after an emergency appendectomy, Roday is awesome. A Berserker reference!? I think I love this Raw. HUSS!

CAUTION: Raw Divas wrestling pt. 2 - our last semifinal match, Alicia Fox vs. Gail Kim, and it's just as bad as it sounds. For the life of me, I do not know what the hell happened to Gail Kim, who just cannot seem to find her footing since returning to WWE. Alicia Fox, I understand, but two years ago, Gail Kim was arguably the greatest female wrestler in the world. I know she doesn't have much to work with on Raw, but she hasn't even had any memorable matches with capable WWE Divas, it's just plain sad. Gail does advance to the finals to face Maryse, and with the Divas Title on the line, maybe she'll up her game.

Main Event time! John Cena vs. Sheamus, the man that beat Cena for the WWE Championship last month. We're starting before 11pm, so that's a good sign at least, but I highly doubt we'll make it through this without some involvement from Randy Orton, which is never good. Luckily, before we get to that point, we have a flat-out great match, and this is the match Sheamus has needed since winning the WWE Title. He looked fantastic out there, having an answer for all of Cena's offense and definitely lived up to that "wise beyond his ring years" description that Matt Striker gave him on ECW. Of course, once Sheamus looks like he has the match won, Randy Orton runs in and hits the champ with the RKO. Lame. Luckily, Cena counters Orton's attempt at the rope DDT and nails the Attitude Adjustment on the #1 contender. At least it's a happy ending for me!

Okay, are you ready for it, this is something I haven't said in a long time: Great Raw! Some pointless segments - notably Show vs. MVP, some bad matches - Gail vs. Fox, and still the problem with matches being too short, but the good far outweighed the bad. Eve vs. Maryse, DX vs. Legacy, and Cena vs. Sheamus, ranged from surprisingly good to downright great. The mic work was great all around, especially with Cena and Vince, and Dule Hill was absolutely fantastic. Seriously, let's just make this guy the permanent GM.

My only big gripe with this show is it wasn't a strong final Raw heading into the Royal Rumble; it wasn't like there was a lack of hype or anything, and the Rumble usually sells itself, but maybe that's a good thing. Without a clear-cut winner, this could be one of the least predictable Rumbles in history, which could make it a lot of fun. The Rumble is my favorite non-Mania PPV of the year and last year's was a crushing disappointment (obviously not at all related to Orton's win at all...), so here's hoping the 2010 Royal Rumble can fix that. Hey, if Raw can rebound after its string of horrible shows, anything is possible.

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