We kicked things off tonight the way it should be done, with in-ring action. In singles competition Raw opened with CM Punk vs JBL. This was a great opening match, and contrary to popular opinion I think Punk and JBK work well together. That might be because I don’t dislike JBL as much as most people do. He’s clearly not the best in the ring, but he’s not terrible, and the guy’s character work is great. This opening bout was a nice mix of, as Cole pointed out, old school and new school, with Punk picking up yet another victory over the Wrestling God. Out of a possible 9 stars, I give this opening contest 7 Stars.
Following a commercial break Raw GM Mike Adamle hit the entrance ramp to address Cena’s current condition. The live crowd just won’t give this guy a chance. He did a fine job delivering the Cena news yet the crowd just wouldn’t objectively listen to him. I think in the long run, assuming Adamle improves and presents himself as a manager who is simply conducting the best business he can, the fans will warm up to him as the boss. We then cut to a live feed of Kane somewhere in the building cutting a promo on Batista and Rey, and the material he had to work with was much better than he had last week. This led right into Adamle’s office where he spoke briefly with Primo Colon, Raw’s newest acquisition. Colon explained that he is not Carlito, and that he doesn’t want to be confused with a jerk like him. Just as Adamle finished his conversation with Colon, HBK entered and demanded to know where Jericho is. This was a well put together sequence. It flowed seamlessly and everyone involved delivered.
Next up, in Divas singles competition we have Kelly Kelly vs Beth Phoenix. This was a surprisingly good match, and Kelly got the underdog victory when Santino accidentally distracted the Glamazon in an attempt to help her. I must admit I enjoyed this entire segment. Kelly is looking better and better each week in the ring, and she really busted Phoenix open with that kick to the face which added a great layer of intensity to the bout. Following the match, Santino attempted to apologize to Beth but ended up on the receiving end of a quick beating from the “man” in the relationship. As much as I don’t like Santino wearing the IC strap, I really think Beth is the glue that holds this angle together. Santino playing the role of the traditional Italian patriarch while Beth is the one really running the show is a creative concept, and it works better when Beth is the wrestler and Santino is the clown. He needs to drop the title, however, so that someone like Kofi can work proper wrestling programs with it. As far as tonight goes, however, Glamarella was booked well. 5.5 Stars.
Our next segment was admittedly a guilty pleasure for me. Maybe it’s just because I’ve been pretty shaken up and depressed the past couple days, but when Charlito hit the ring I laughed. This is a gimmick that Haas might actually be able to run with for awhile. Interestingly enough, our next contest featured the Raw “debut” of two new superstars, with Primo Colon vs Charlito. This was a fun match. Colon shows promise and Haas is of course accomplished. I’m very glad the announcers didn’t act as if they didn’t know who Haas was, and the character actually worked for Charlie. Both guys looked good here, and if anything the segment was fun. 5 Stars.
Well, what can I say? Next up HBK hit the ring and once again him and Jericho put in their formidable bids for an Emmy award by delivering an exchange that felt as real as the microphones they were using. They agreed to an unsanctioned match at Unforgiven which I assume will be a brutal battle. All good stuff here, as always.
Our next match of the evening, although decent, just felt out of place. In tag team action we were introduced to Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase vs “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and Jerry Lawler. Didn’t this “rivalry” end a month ago? It seemed out of place for the two rookies to be wrestling Lawler and Duggan randomly, but I suppose it was all they could do considering Raw has NO tag talent other than Cryme Tyme. The match itself was ok, but there’s not much Lawler and Duggan can do anymore to impress. Duggan really needs to hang up the boots. After the match, however, things got interesting. Cryme Tyme cut a great promo on Priceless and Unforgiven will now see the tag titles being defended. I anticipate this match up. 4.5 Stars.
Back from break and a splash screen ran down the rules for the Championship Scramble for the third time tonight. Look, if you don’t understand the rules to this match by now, you need to book a seat on the next flight to Earth and once you get here change your name to Eugene.
Next up, the Intercontinental title that Beth Phoenix won is on the line as Santino takes on Kofi Kingston. This was a mediocre bout, mostly because it did not last very long, that saw an interesting finish when the Glamazon decided to help her delinquent boyfriend. There’s not much to say here other than what I said before, which is that Santino is clearly a weak IC champion booked as a comedy figure for the title. WWE really needs to write this angle with the utmost creativity because it certainly will not get the job done from a wrestling standpoint. 5 Stars.
The Adamle then hit the entrance ramp again to announce who will be replacing Cena in the Scramble match at Unforgiven, and it is none other than Rey Mysterio. Now here’s the problem: if Rey was supposedly beaten “soulless’ by Kane and left for dead, why is he being booked for a match at a PPV without any of us receiving an update on his condition? How does Adamle know where he is? Has he returned backstage to let Adamle know that he’s cleared to compete but creative has decided not to let us in on any of this? There are too many loopholes in this story line, and I hope it fades out at this point instead of carrying on after Unforgiven.
Back from break and it’s time for our main event of the evening, Batista vs Kane. This was a great bout. Both of these guys exercised their agility more than their strength which made this match atypical of a big man brawl. I felt confident going into the contest that it would end with some sort of DQ, considering creative needs to put both these guys over as potential winners heading into the Scramble match at Unforgiven. So when the match did end with both guys basically tearing each other apart, I wasn’t bothered. In fact, it was done well enough that I enjoyed it. All together this was a very good main event match. 7.5 Stars.
Overall this was a solid edition Raw, and a much needed improvement over the past few weeks. The show was kept simple. Stories were straight forward and the wrestling on the show served as the focus for two hours. Out of a possible 9 stars, I give Monday Night Raw 6.5 Stars.
-Adamle did a good job tonight. I like his approach as a GM who is not there to interfere with the broadcast. He is impartial to the politics, and partial only to business. As he becomes more comfortable with the role, I think he will develop into a refreshing GM. It’s good to see creative booking the GM as someone who is in charge but not “drunk with power.” We’ve seen that routine too many times before.
-Kelly Kelly could be made of asbestos and I’d still marry her.
-What would you rather have? A broken back, bologna ankles, mayonnaise hair, no face and two dislocated shoulders -OR- Carlito’s career. Poor guy, that Charlito stuff had to have pissed him off something good. That’s assuming he has any idea what goes on in WWE anymore.
-Batista has really been working hard since he moved from Smackdown to Raw. His energy seems renewed and I anticipate his bouts much more now than I have in the past.
-Kane’s evil laugh is getting pretty ridiculous. It comes at the most random times. He’ll be talking about the difference between Tide and Tide with bleach and then start laughing maniacally. I guess it just sounds too forced.
-Even though Jamie Noble did not appear on Raw tonight I bet they still credited him with a loss.
-Should I go over the Scramble rules again for everyone? Nah, Cole will do it for us 12 more times before breakfast tomorrow.
-Too bad Cena is injured. On a positive note, the injury seems to be less severe than it could have been. I wish him the best during his rehab and hope he heals successfully.
Thanks for reading and as always please send any and all feedback to VOWNick@gmail.com