Third Batch of Reader Feedback to Monday Night Raw

Nick Paglino


2008’s Last Raw topped off an already very lackluster year in the WWE. Sure, there were some unexpected and exciting moments in 2008 (Money in The Bank, Triple H to Smackdown!, HBK and Y2J’s Ladder Match), but overall Raw (and WWE as a whole) has successfully produced one more year of stale entertainment. The problem as I see it is the three brands and the terrible writing. There is too much roster; I use the word Roster and not Talent because a lot of that roster doesn’t have talent. Case in point, JBL. Sure he’s a good heel…but that’s because he’s truly a terrible wrestler and character. He’s no Randy Orton, who plays a great heel and a great wrestler. Speaking of which, anyone else noticing an unforeseen face (??) turn for RKO? Ever since he’s returned the crowd has cheered him more than they’ve booed him. He could turn into a Stone Cold type of face/heel but in a different mold. Now if only he could walk down the ramp a little bit faster. Going back to JBL. His storyline w/ HBK isn’t all that bad as I’m actually interested in it. I would’ve preferred it have been with a different heel who I could stand, but HBK is definitely getting to the end of his career and it works well of it. It should be known I have been a Shawn Michaels fan since ’92 (4 years old then) and I had never hated him in his pro wrestling career up until now. I don’t know whether that means the storyline is working or not though. CM Punk has been royally screwed. From Champion to mid-carder? He’ll win the IC title, because Regal can’t keep anyone’s attention unless it’s in England. But I do agree that CM got the title a little too soon/it wasn’t written or pumped up too well. Maybe 2009 they’ll retool CM Punk’s journey to gold. Melina is boring and not too attractive on the eyes, so I’m a little disappointed by her victory. That being said, I’m generally always disappointed by the Divas division. Dolph Ziggler’s gimmick is terrible. Mike Knox’s gimmick is worse. This goes back to the fundamental problem WWE has had for the last couple of years. It’s either the gimmicks are horrible or they give the title too soon to someone (John Cena, CM Punk). Anyone remember when it took a while for someone to reach the mountaintop? That’s why I was enthralled by Jeff Hardy’s victory and journey. I’m going to disagree with most WWE critics/fans and say Y2J has been the biggest disappointment of the whole year. Could he be any slower or irritating? What made him a great draw in say, 2000 or 2001, is totally evaporated. In my opinion, WWE in the next 2 years needs to consolidate their brands into One brand (WWE) with 2 shows, stop with the silly and moronic Boogeyman, Goldust promos. WWE doesn’t need to be super serious, but when’s the last time Triple H struck fear in you? 2000? 2002? It’s been a while, and it’s not his fault either. The writing and level of talent in the WWE has just dropped.

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Even though this storyline with Shawn Michaels and JBL is completely ridiculous and last nights Raw main event was completely predictable. Anybody who knows how to walk knew what was going to happen when Shawn helped JBL win last week to qualify. But I believe this is all leading up to a battle for the ages at Wrestlemainia 25. I predict that JBL will beat John Cena at the Rumble and become the World Heavyweight Champion, and that Shawn Michaels will join Stone Cold Steve Austin and become the second Super Star to win the Rumble 3 times. They will of course have to play this out a little longer so JBL will try to force Shawn to face one of the other champions at WM25, but enough will be enough for HBK, and these two Texas natives will go on to main event WM25, and Shawn Michaels will once again realize his boyhood dream, before he retires, and to top it off Stone Cold will be the guest referee. Now personally JBL isn’t my idea of an A-list wrestler but Stephanie and her team of writers insist on making him a front runner.

More on WM25 there is speculation that The Undertaker will lose his first WM at WM25. There is alot speculation that he will lose to an up and coming wrestler to help boost there career. While this will truly be a dark day in Wrestlemaina history, it is my prediction that, the Superstar that will claim victory over The Phenom will be Sim Snuka. It would be the perfect storyline to have the son of the The Undertaker’s first WM victom to be the one to actually defeat him on the grandest stage of them all. Even though it would be rather insulting to him being that Texas is also his home state. Also if The Undertaker were to lose at WM25 there will be nothing more to hype him up for future Wrestlemania’s. Unless of course this is his last one. Which is very possible. There is only so much more he and Shawn Michaels can take. Lets face it, as great as they are their not Ric Flair.

I am rather intrested to see how SmackDown is going to handle their WM Card. I am a fan of Jeff Hardy, but he is not WWE Championship material at all. I miss the days when you had Superstars that were Heavyweight Championship material and those who were mid-level Championship material. If we were living in those times Jeff Hardy would have never gone beyond the mid-level. However I do applaud the WWE for finally having some one new win the belt. It just shouldn’t have been him. Maybe MVP, but for some reason they have this ridiculous storyline with him losing all the time now. He is supposedly the highest paid Superstar in Smackdown history.

Lastly the Money In The Bank Ladder Match that has become a Wrestlemania tradition. Personally I believe that the WM23’s MITB was the best by far, but hopefully with this being WM’s 25th anniversary they will do something to top it. I believe we will finally see the rise of Kennedy…Kennedy if he can avoid another injury that is. I predict that Mr. Kennedy will become the first Superstar to win the MITB more than once, and hopefully this time he’ll be able to cash it in.

These are my predictions for the WWE’s final quarter. Thank you for reading, and if this is approved and posted I will continue to contribute my predictions.

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The three matches with the Legacy were pretty good. I would say the match between Manu and Matt Hardy was the best out of the three. Cody’s match ended in a DQ, and Sim beat Charlie Haas, anyone can beat Haas. I think the WWE needs to bring back Ted Jr. Then I can take The Legacy groups seriously. I am sick and tired of the WWE of screwing over Shawn Michaels. He has never had a fair finish with Jericho, now they are doing it with JBL. The WWE would have more PPV buys with Shawn facing Cena. Raw was good, but I was angry with the Shawn Michaels angle.

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I am a die hard Raw fan, so it pains me to say but the product seems to have no ‘legs’ anymore. The same 5 guys are in every main event, and there is absolutely NO long term booking anymore. The ‘storyline’ lasts about a month or until whenever the next PPV is. And since that match doesn’t do too much to further the storyline, the tack on usually one small little element and they try to repackage it as a new idea, which in actuality, there has been no change. There has also been a number of angles which make as much sense as a Happy meal with no burger patty, i.e. Kane-Mystero ‘I murdered his soul,’ CM Punk as champ then kicked to the head, Jericho as champ, and others. They book for climax and not the wrap up moment where everything makes sense; after the pop, the story doesn’t matter.

Last night’s Raw had a 10 man tag match for no reason at all, and what killed it even more was that Cena was trying to hype it up like it was Hogan-Warrior II with the Rock as the ref. I am all for giving the middle card guys the rub, but it served no storyline help at all. Some of the wrestling is improving, but bottom line, the places that need improvement are not seeing it and the places that don’t need help, are staying the status quo.

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Okay, I’m one of those that feels that John Cena shouldn’t be the champ for a year long like the last time. But he hasn’t worn the belt in over a year also, so I’m not complaining about it as much. Now on to Raw

I feel myself feeling excited over seeing a dream match between Rey Mysterio and Shawn Michaels, only to have it squashed by John Bradshaw ( I got my @$$ kicked by Joey Styles) Layfield. And then yet again, it’s tarnished by Mike Knox who seems to look worse in the ring and the only thing that matches how slow and bad he looks in the ring is his beard. We get it, he’s a big guy, he’s silent, so we’re supposed to believe he’s tough. YEAH RIGHT!!! I’ve seen Terry Funk vs Sabu in a barbed wire match. I’ve seen Abyss punch his hand into thumbtacks. I’ve seen Sabu wrap his legs and even his arm once in barbed wire. I’ve seen Raven and Abyss fight in a dog collar match. What has Mike Knox done to make it look like he’s tough? Roughed up Kelly Kelly? beat down Evan Bourne while he was already injured? Mike Knox wants to impress people, shave your stupid beard.

Now on to the Divas battle royal. I have no problem with Melina winning it since her and Beth colliding was almost inevitable. Though personally, I’ll find myself rooting for Kelly or Mickie any day. But another crazed fan angle? Are you honestly kidding me? Is it me or is all pro wrestling starting to run out of ideas for storylines?

And you know while I mentioned Kelly Kelly earlier, I have to say this. Randy Orton? Are you kidding me? Where exactly are they going with this because after that little curve, I want that whole angle wrapped up already because so far, I’m not impressed.

On the subject of Randy Orton, we have the Legacy stable. You know, I went into this expecting each guy to win their matches but was surprised that Manu lost his to Matt Hardy. So I can’t help but be curious as to what they do with him now. But I’m even more curious to see if this stable is ever going to work. I will say that for Cody Rhodes, get new music. DiBiasie has been gone for over a month, maybe longer and last I checked that was his music, not Cody’s.

I’d talk about the match featuring Rey, Cena, Kofi and Cryme Tyme vs Knox, Dolph, Kane, Miz and Morrison. But really, it was a typical 10 man match with to me no real point and no link to any storyline. Good match regardless but that’s all I’ve got to say about it.

Now on to the fatal four way. I was wanting Chris Jericho to lose mainly because he’d already been beaten by Cena 2 times. I was rooting for Randy Orton to win, only to have JBL get his shot handed to him. This just goes to show that the only skill you can have is a clothesline, but you can make it as long as you’re the biggest brown-noser to the boss and a complete and utter jerk to everybody else that doesn’t have the last name McMahon and somehow get over. And I already want this HBK angle to be over because I’m sick of seeing HBK look so pitiful and be reduced to being JBL’s little bitch.

Raw has been struggling with the ratings. Reason why in my opinion, is because they push jerks like JBL with no wrestling skill and push down the guys that actually have it. That and the fact that we never get anything new. The only thing we ever got that was new from Raw was CM Punk as a world champ and yet he keeps seeming to lose, almost as if they want to make that whole event seem like nothing more than a memory. In short they’re pushing down the guys they should be focused on and pushing down our throats guys that don’t deserve a push and/or that we’re sick to death of.

I give this edition of Raw, just for the effort and because of the time of year, 6 out of 10. If it weren’t for the holidays, it’d have been a 4 out of 10. But as it stands, its a 6.

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Let me start by saying that the WWE is not what it used to be … RAW is losing steam each week … The 10 man tag was okay but how many times do i have to see CENA do the same moves over and over again? Did he only learn 5 moves in training ? Mysterio pinning super heavy weigqts is getting old (3 out of 5) ….. The Race To The Rumble was good until the end, making MICHEALS lay down to boring as hell JBL was b.s. . This storyline sucks nor is it believable, like MICHEALS isn’t getting paid by WWE (3.5 out of 5) …… The lose or leave LEGACY matches were boring … Making MANU wrestle …er… I mean ENTERTAIN with MATT HARDY was a pointless loss, the crowd wasn’t even into it (2 out of 5) …… I won’t waist my time on the DIVA’S (1 of 5) ….. THE I.C. TITLE is now a joke right along with the WOMEN’S and TAG TEAM TITLES and I am so tired of cruiserweights beating on the big boys …. Seems like the WWE needs another ATTITUDE ERA !

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I thought Raw was pretty decent, but nothing spectacular.

-I love how JBL came out to deny Mysterio his rematch and possible spot in the fatal four way.

-I’m glad to see Snuka in the Legacy. This stable has been a long-time coming, and I hope WWE decides to run with it.

-Classic heel win by Rhodes. I am so tired of CM Punk. Why is he constantly being pushed? He’s like a poor-man’s Jeff Hardy (constantly getting pushes they don’t deserve).

-I found the Haas-Snuka match pretty entertaining.

-I honestly didn’t find the 10-man tag match very entertaining. Pretty much the same crap they always pull. Frankly I don’t find Cena or Mysterio entertaining.

-The obvious bright spot of the night was the fatal four way. Very entertaining match. It went pretty much the way I thought it would. I absolutely loved the ending. I really hope they take this angle in the same direction as the Ted Dibiase/Nicholai Volkoff angle. I’m not sure about JBL facing Cena in the Rumble, but this angle is great.

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Opening the show, I liked the premise of what Rey was saying, but really, his lines sounded really forced. Rey Mysterio has a very natural tone when he’s speaking from the heart, and his delivery with this angle (just like with the Vickie Guerrero angle) shows that it’s really being rushed.

Mike Knox needs some mic time. I don’t really care that he’s attacking Rey. A lot of people say he doesn’t have a very frightening voice for such a big guy, but neither did Mick Foley, Bruiser Brody, or even Mark Henry. I like the “I’m huge and scary but I can’t talk too loud because even I’m afraid of what might come out” thing that he could be capable of. Mike Knox has huge potential that they are doing little with.

CM Punk is always entertaining. Cody put up a great fight and the finish, although predictable, didn’t take away from the match. I’m a big fan of both Punk and Regal and they’ve shown they can have amazing matches. Regal has worked hard and deserves the reign he’s got, but then again, Punk really needs to move up again…I’m riveted by this storyline. Especially since Regal said during commentary that he spotted Punk from a mile away and knew he’d be having epic battles with him. I don’t know how this will end at all…and as a cynical wrestling fan, I love it.

Cena is funny. Stephanie is not. We get it. Pretty dead on Cena as Will Ferrell as Harry Caray.

Goldust is a character we need. Not specifically Goldust, but a character that can start a feud just because he feels like it. It’s not over a title or some brutal attack or someone’s girlfriend. Goldust just decides “I’m going to mess with you…now watch me do it.” Just like he did with Scott Hall/Razor Ramon back in ’95/’96. Him and Marella will be entertaining.

Diva’s match…they should have had Victoria come out and win since there are rumours of her retirement. But hey, Melina can wrestle, so I can’t complain.

Sim Snuka is 37. I never would have guessed they’d put him with all those guys in their mid 20s and make him relevant. He did well, all things considered.

Ten Man Tag. Feel good match for the fans. Entertaining TV. I really hope to see a lot more of Kofi Kingston. In a few years I hope to see Kofi v. Punk for a World Title. It would be great. Or if you broke up Miz and Morrison and had a Kofi and Morrison feud…Dave Meltzer, pay attention.

They’ve been on Manu to lose weight. I think he looks to be in better shape than Umaga (second cousin I think?), but watching this match showed that he really can’t go. He needs to condition himself much better. Did you see that lazy as all getout swinging neck breaker? I liked Manu but after seeing him phone this one in, I can see why they made him the weak link. Hopefully he can train at FCW and come back to make a huge impact with Ted DiBiase, Jr.

The Elimination match wasn’t too bad. I like Jericho and Orton more and more. And I have to admit, I hated Randy Orton. Not the character, but the man you’d read about backstage. He really looks like he wants it now. I see him revolutionizing the role of the heel. You think maybe Michael Cole really wants the nickname “The Viper” to stick? He’s just Randy Orton. He isn’t the Viper, or the Cobra, or the Snake, or the Burrowing Tarantula, or the Over Zealous Kitten that thinks his opponent is a string.

As it dragged on and on, the begging and pleading of HBK started to interest me. I was disappointed with the ending as I really don’t think JBL is worthy of the Main Event at the Rumble. Unless of course his opponent is Joey Styles…

I really wanted Rey to come down and attack HBK, thus giving him the DQ victory and JBL and Rey having a really brutal anything-goes match at the Rumble.

Raw gets a solid B from me.

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I just wanted to send in a quick review of last night’s Raw.

All in all, I thought Raw was pretty good. The overall quality may have dropped a little from last week’s show, but it was still an entertaining two hours.

After reading other reviews, I noticed that a lot of people aren’t too high on JBL, or his status as number one contender. I personally disagree. I think JBL is a great character that is so easy to dislike. Sure, Bradshaw won’t win the title at the Royal Rumble as that would involve John Cena losing – which seemingly isn’t going to happen – and the Cena/JBL match won’t be great. But I still think JBL is a smart choice, from WWE’s perspective. If they had put Cena against Orton or Jericho at the Rumble, half the crowd would have been cheering for the heel. This is a lot less likely with JBL; and it also furthers the storyline with HBK.

I like this storyline with Shawn Michaels as well. While the ending is pretty obvious – HBK will eventually snap and superkick JBL – I think the build up to this moment will be quite unpredictable. I especially liked what they did last night; with JBL wanting the man who “doesn’t lie down for anyone” to lie down for him. Even if no one else is interested, I’m interested in seeing what happens next with this one.

The 10-man tag match was pretty good, although I could have done without the John Cena promo that set it up. I can’t even fully explain why Cena annoys me so much, but I think a lot of it has to do with his promos. I know he’s not a bad guy. He’s very passionate about his job, he works extremely hard, and he’s certainly not the first wrestler that only appeared capable of using three or four moves. For a while I thought my issue with Cena was that WWE was forcing him down our throats; but then it occurred to me that they’ve done this with every big name that they’ve had, and none of those guys irritated me as much as Cena does. Therefore, I think it must be the childish promos that make me dislike him. They’re not funny, and they just go on forever… If they did an angle where his voicebox was removed for some reason, I’m sure Cena’s popularity would increase.

Anyway, despite a couple of low points – such as the aforementioned Cena promo – I still think Raw was a pretty good show. Michael Cole’s opening statement about the last Raw of the year possibly being the biggest was a little exaggerated, but then again, Michael Cole is a moron… It wasn’t the biggest Raw of the year, but it still entertained me; and that’s all I’m really looking for when I watch wrestling.

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