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Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Raw is.............strange

I will admit to having been a little slack of late in updating this page, but to be fair, I don’t think there has been a huge amount to keep track of.

Watching Raw this week I was prompted to put finger to keyboard once more, in response to one of the strangest episodes of WWE’s flagship show I have ever seen.

The man who so often talked about wrestling characters being in shades of grey as opposed to black and white was Vince Russo, but the anti-puricist (sic) is over at TNA confusing people along with Dutch Mantell, so he was not responsible for this week’s Raw.

This week was a very strange entity, with the face/heel line being completely blurred. I cannot work out whether confusion would put people off or whether it would intrigue people to watch again.

Chris Jericho’s journey since his return has been an odd one, with his initial appearance getting a minimal pop while other places have cheered and chanted wildly for him. This week, he kicked the show with some funny stuff which got nothing from the live crowd, and then went all tweener on us.

His guest on the Highlight Reel was the Big Show, who on his return attacked Rey Mysterio, and drew Floyd Mayweathe rout of the crowd. So this should mean he is a heel. He then buttered the crowd up last week, eliciting cheers after the Pretty Boy got booed. So maybe he is a babyface. The fact that Mayweather has a brooding posse backing him up makes him look heelsish, so maybe Show is face by proxy.

So when Show and Jericho got together, the reactions were odd. The crowd didn’t know whether to boo Show or not, to boo the mention of Mayweather or not. They did, however, cheer Jericho and chant his name.

Later, though, Jericho nailed Big Show with the IC title belt to get a DQ, which is distinct heel behaviour. So is Y2J turning heel? If he is, I can only think that Triple H is going to get the title, perhaps have a short feud with Orton, so that Y2J can take on Cena. I don’t see why Jericho would turn heel right now, especially in the absence of Jeff Hardy for two months.

During the show we also saw an Umaga squash of London and Kendrick.........of sorts.

It looked like a standard destruction of a tag team, which of course if done by a heel means Londrick have to take the beating, whereas a face must destroy Cade and Murdoch.

However, Brian Kendrick abandoned his tag team partner during the match so Paul London got destroyed. However, although William Regal used it as a segue to talk to Triple H, JR and King barely talked about it at all. Strange stuff.

Later on, we get Ric Flair v Vince McMahon in a street fight, with Flair’s career on the line.

(Fun fact, I mistyped ‘career’ there and put ‘carer’. I can imagine that Naitch may well be old enough to have a carer, and that would be very unfortunately a stipulation took away his nurse.Ric: “Hey, Nurse, pooooooooooo.”Carer: “Oh Mr Flair, have you soiled yourself again?”Ric: “Listen, to care for the man, you gotta wipe the man.”)

Now this match was not advertised apart from (I’m told) on WWE.com, which is greatly surprising. Firstly, the match, from a pure standpoint, was atrocious, with some of the worst punches thrown that I have ever seen. However, the storytelling was interesting, with one major running flaw.

I stand my prediction that I made ages ago that Ric Flair will win at Wrestlemania. I felt even strnger about this when I heard that his opponent will be Shawn Michaels. It is insane that Flair would lose to a stronger top guy like Michaels who does not need the win, when he could have his career ended by someone like Punk, Kennedy or MVP who could really push themselves to the sky with the scalp of Flair’s career.

So, with Flair needing to be kept strong to Mania to take on a man who pushed John Cena to the limit last year (and beat Cena shortly afterwards in a classic on Raw) why would he be dominated by a man older than he is (how often is Ric the plucky youngster?) It was nuts, and to top it off, Vince got a visual clean fall which was only interrupted by HBK’s interference.

Michaels then left, making even less sense, before Flair eventually went over. If Michaels was going to interfere, stopping Flair from getting beat and retiring, wouldn’t he just get in the ring and Superkick Vince?

More strange stuff. But we were not done.

Onto the main event, which pitted John Cena and Randy Orton v The “Entire Raw Roster”. Get that, the ENTIRE raw roster.

Except for Shawn Michaels. And Chris Jericho. And Ric Flair. And Jerry Lawler. And the Divas, who technically are on the raw roster. And William Regal. And Vince McMahon.
So it wasn’t the whole roster, and if you were Triple H and in charge, wouldn’t you have your best buddy, who didn’t wrestle on the show, take out the other guys?

But it gets better, because by virtue of being part of a tag team against 17 guys, Randy Orton got cheered. He also did some really cool stuff, by hitting a couple of fantastic RKOs, and a great double team move with Cena propelling Cody Rhodes to getting hammered by Orton.

So Orton comes over like a babyface. In fact, I recommend a quick trip to WWE.com to have a look at the after show dialogue between Orton and Cena, which actually would have been a good thing to have on the show.

Just to round things off, two guys hold their own against seventeen (!) which does no-one any favours whatsoever. And to add to that some of the guys doing a beatdown of the plucky duo were babyfaces. I guess these were babyfaces considered expendable and that it wouldn’t matter if they got a heel reception or an ass-kicking, and that is why HBK and co did not appear.

Oh, and I should mention, Santino Marella popped up a couple of times, and was hilarious. The man is a genius, and I hope he is given a 10-year contract instantly.

A bizarre show – roll on Wrestlemania

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