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What's up wrestling fans? I'm back with another look at Monday Night Raw, as last night was presented live from San Jose, CA and featured the fallout from the previous night's "The Bash" PPV which saw Randy Orton retain his WWE Title against Triple H in a 3 Stages of Hell Match.
Overall I was pleased with how much this show was able to accomplish, but at the same time I found myself wondering why WWE was making the same old mistakes and the same old choices when it came to booking some of the matches and segments. That said, let's take an in depth look at The Good, The Bad and The Wrestling from last night's show.
There are two things this week that are going to fall into both the good and the bad category, which is something I'm finding is happening more than I'd prefer lately. I liked the Night of Champions tournament as an idea, but was not pleased with the outcome, and I liked the concept of the special guest host of Raw every week but only to a certain extent. So I'll discuss what I liked about each of these concepts first.
The Night of Champions tournament featured only 4 wrestlers, so in essence WWE was telling us that these are the 4 players on Raw that can be considered main event talents. I was glad to see The Miz and MVP included in the mix. It actually makes sense that Big Show was kept out of the tournament considering he hasn't won a match since electricity was discovered, so he really has no claim that he belongs anywhere near the WWE Championship. Booking MVP and The Miz in the tournament, however, foreshadows their eventual involvement in championship matches on a consistent basis in the future. So it was good to see both of them included in last night's events.
I think the special guest host of Raw is a good idea because it breaks up the monotony of having a General Manager of the brand, which is an idea that we have seen every incarnation of ever since the position was created. It also adds a bit of suspense to each show as the audience will constantly be wondering "who will be next week's host?" Will the landscape of the show change from week to week every time a new host is introduced? Most likely, and that's a good thing because one week the faces might have the advantage if there is a face guest host, and the next week the tables could be completely turned and the heels have the advantage as a heel host is named for the night. Either way, this could be a fun concept to watch as each host will bring their own agenda to Raw and influence the show in their own way.
I thought the 15 man WWE trade, overall, was a success. I realize that ECW took a major hit, but then again, I have always seen ECW as the show where talents go to develop their skills and eventually be called "up" to either Raw or Smackdown. Did WWE overdo it a bit? They may have. ECW lost 3 of their 5 competitors in the Scramble match which took place just one night earlier at "The Bash." Realistically, Christan and Tommy Dreamer are the only two main event players left on the show. I'm sure Shelton Benjamin will be pushed to the top as the heel in the main event mix on ECW, but overall the show really took a hit. But where ECW sunk in the trade, Raw really floated high. They took in two soon to be major players in Jack Swagger and Evan Bourne, and picked up Gail Kim who could be a huge force in rejuvenating the Diva's division on Raw. Overall, it's clear that this trade was intended to bolster Raw's roster, and from the early look of things it worked. I agree that Raw needed a few more bigger names on Raw, and I think the ones they picked up, minus Henry and Alicia Fox, will give the brand the depth it was lacking.