Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Raw Thoughts - January 4, 2010

So my plan was to go to Raw tonight and see the return of Bret Hart in person; my tickets sucked (I bought them the moment he was announced, but months after they went on sale), but I had to see this show. Unfortunately, Mother Nature did not agree with my plan, instead deciding to turn the highways into a sheet of ice. Sadly, I was forced to turn my car around about a quarter of the way to Dayton, basically flushing $80 down the toilet and missing out on history. So needless to say, I was not a happy camper when this night began, but hey, life's little curveballs right? In all honesty, things worked out pretty well sitting on my couch, because I got to flip back and forth between Raw & Impact, just like the good old days of the Monday Night War. Of course, this was more of a Monday Night Skirmish, but it was a fun night to be a wrestling fan, even if I wasn't in the arena to see Bret.

I watched the first hour of TNA, watched Raw live and then finished up Impact on DVR. For the first time ever, I will be reviewing an episode of TNA Impact, but in the interest of fairness, I will be reviewing both shows separately and independent of each other. As for who had the better show, that's something I'll discuss this week on Kick-Out!! Radio, but for now, let's just judge both shows on their own merits. As you can tell by the headline, we're starting with Monday Night Raw.

And WWE started things off right with the return of Bret "Hitman" Hart and his new, remixed theme music. Bret, buddy, I'm about an hour away from where you are, it is way too cold for jean shorts. It's 16°F in Dayton tonight, and I know you're Canadian, so it's like a cool Summer day for you, but come on! Seriously though, Bret looked great tonight, the last few times I've seen him, he wasn't looking well, but this is the Hitman I remember. Maybe this is all part of his return, he's feeling better, has moved on from the past and has a brighter outlook on life, I certainly hope that's the case, because he definitely had a rough decade.

But Bret wants to put it all behind him and the first step to getting closure is calling out Shawn Michaels?! Not gonna lie, when I heard him say that and then HBK's music hit, I literally yelled out "OH MY GOD!" I know it's only January 4th, but I can't think of anything that will top this on the surreal scale. Not only were Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels in the same ring building together, they stood face to face in the center of the ring, shook hands, and hugged it out! Yeah, if this happened five days ago, it could've been my wrestling moment of the decade. The bit with HBK teasing Sweet Chin Music was a touch of brilliance, but even without that, this will go down as one of those indescribable moments that makes wrestling so much fun. These two guys hated each other, and they never made it a secret, it provided some great matches, we all know Vince loves in-ring chemistry between guys with legit issues, but yeah... HATED. In the 90s, you were either a Bret Hart guy or a Shawn Michaels guy (I was a Shawn Michaels guy), but here we are, the hatchet has been buried and these two legends can finally coexist. Just plain awesome, no other way of describing it.

So yeah, loved this Raw... oh wait, there's an actual show to talk about. Honestly things could've ended here and I would've been fine, but let's continue, shall we?

Some unfortunate news, Melina has been injured and forced to vacate the Divas Championship. I know I've been busy and all, but how the hell did I not find out about this until earlier today? Weird. Anyway, an eight-Diva tournament has been announced to determine a new champion, and our first match in that is Maryse vs. Brie Bella. Well, more like Maryse vs. The Bella Twins, who continued their cheating ways, though it finally bit them in the ass this time with the savvy Maryse not falling for the switcheroo and getting the win. Terrible match though, there's a reason why the Bellas are generally just hanging out with the guest host and not wrestling, and it definitely showed tonight.

The Miz was out next to save the day, and he has new theme music too! I didn't get to hear much of it, but I was enjoying what I heard, definitely makes Miz sound like a bigger deal, and it was the final step needed in his image overhaul. Next stop? WWE Title! Miz joined Cole & Lawler on commentary for a Fatal Four Way to determine a new #1 contender for the United States Championship.

MVP vs. Jack Swagger vs. Carlito vs. Mark Henry was the Fatal Four Way in question, and I sadly have to admit I wasn't really a fan of this one. A fine match with some good drama, but the US Title division has really dropped off in terms of quality since the summer. I love Miz, but I feel like when Kofi had the title, there were a lot more challengers to work with, but maybe that's because Raw is light on midcard faces and Miz doesn't have much to do. It's nice to see MVP get some heat back, I was worried about him after the Sheamus squash, but we've seen Miz vs. MVP before. I know heel vs. heel is taboo, but Miz vs. Swagger has been teased for months now, why not let them go at it at the Rumble?

Vince McMahon was not happy to learn that Bret Hart called him out earlier in the night... Vince says he'll call Bret out himself.

Okay, we all know Little People's Court was atrocious, but the DX/Hornswoggle/Santino segment was comedy gold. "HE HAS A BEARD!" had me on the floor laughing. Oh DX, just when you're about to lose me, you know how to reel me right back in.

DX vs. JeriShow up next for the Unified Tag Team Titles and this was Jericho's last chance to stay on Raw, and sadly he failed. Not sure how I feel about the situation, JeriShow's a great team, but did they do the right thing and end the team while they were on top? Does Jericho have bigger fish to fry on Friday Nights... perhaps a soon-to-be-returning Edge? Let's keep our fingers crossed on that one. Despite Jericho being absent from my Monday nights, I really enjoyed this match and while it obviously couldn't live up to their TLC Match, it was a fun encounter that made for a perfect 10pm main event.

Mike Tyson will be our guest host next week. I hope him and Shawn can bury the hatchet ala Shawn and Bret!

Sheamus is out next to trash talk John Cena (who was not at tonight's show, instead handling the coin toss at the Fiesta Bowl), and claims the former champ will NOT receive a title match at the Royal Rumble. Somehow I doubt that. Oddly enough though, Evan Bourne cuts the WWE Champion off and says the only reason he has that title is because someone gave him and opportunity. Evan wants an opportunity of his own and if he can beat the WWE Champion tonight, he'll get a title match at the Royal Rumble!

Evan Bourne vs. Sheamus... LET'S GO EVAN!!! Seriously, I thought Evan had the match won when he nailed the Shooting Star Press, but Sheamus kicked out (dammit!) and proceeded to tear poor Evan Bourne to shreds. Okay, I know it would've been a bit odd for a WWE Title match to be Sheamus defending against Evan Bourne, but c'mon, you can get away with experimental title matches like that at the Rumble PPV, the Rumble match is what people pay to see. And obviously it wouldn't do the WWE Champ any favors to lose to Evan Bourne of all people, but still, how cool would it have been if Evan pulled this one out?

Randy Orton tries to cut a deal with Vince McMahon, offering to punt Bret Hart in exchange for the #30 spot in the Royal Rumble, but Vince wants no part of The Viper. Orton's day gets worse when he runs into Legacy (which usually ruins my day too), who tell him if he doesn't beat Kofi Kingston tonight, they're kicking him out of the group.

Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston was a great match and a suitable Raw main event, ruined by the fact that the wrong man won. All that hype, all that momentum for Kofi and now two straight clean losses to Orton. If this ends with Kofi winning the Rumble (like he should), then all will be forgiven, but until that happens, I don't get the outcome of this match at all. The two guys do have great chemistry though, Kofi brings out a much more interesting side of Orton, one I feared may have been gone forever. Kofi also continues to look good in these matches despite losing, so I'm hopeful that these won't even be temporary setbacks to what should be a main event run in 2010.

Our main event was bigger than any match could have been, the first-ever in-ring confrontation between Bret Hart & Vince McMahon since the Montreal Screwjob. Vince made it clear he didn't want to provoke Bret, but that everything that happened in 1997 was still Bret's fault and only Bret's fault. Bret played the bigger man, while not apologizing like Vince wanted, he offered to put it all in the past in the interest of closure. Vince liked the idea, and even told Bret that his father, Stu Hart, would be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year (very classy move). The two shook hands, Vince seemed to get genuinely emotional when thanking Bret for everything he did, and then Vince did it... he kicked the Hitman in the nards. Perhaps a bit anticlimactic, I was expecting something, perhaps The Hart Dynasty jumping Bret, but the seeds have been planted, a Vince McMahon vs. Bret Hart storyline is in the works. If six months ago, I claimed that Bret Hart would return to WWE to make up with Shawn Michaels and work a storyline with Vince McMahon, I'd have been laughed off the internet, but here we are. If tonight's show proved one thing, never say never when it comes to professional wrestling. Somehow I think I'll be using that line in another review I have to write soon.

Overall, a good Raw (forgot what it felt like to type those words). While the majority of the show wasn't much to write home about, the DX/JeriShow & Orton/Kofi matches were great and Bret Hart was simply amazing. Not sure where things are going after tonight, but I'm still getting over the shock of seeing The Hitman. Even if you have no interest in WWE (which would be pretty funny if you're reading this blog), you need to see the beginning and end of this show, because you don't want to miss history in the making.

1 comment:

  1. Orton's day gets even worse when he runs into Legacy (which usually ruins my day too).

    I laughed hard. Review was definitely on point though, Razor. I agree with everything you have written. You had to suspect something was up though the second that McMahon raised Bret's hand. I really hope 2010 is the year of the Hart Dynasty. I'd love for them to do anything at all on the main WrestleMania 26 card.

    Nice work as always.