Time for a dose of reality, at least my version of it. From now on, you’ll get my take on the latest episodes of Raw, Smackdown!, and pay-per-view events from the WWE. Having been in the newspaper business for years (and a wrestling fan for longer), writing is no stranger to me. But here, you’ll see no punches pulled.
I’ll be looking at the matches, the stories, and some of the other twists and turns of each show. Then we’ll look at the biggest stories of the night (The Headliners), the best matches (The High-fliers), the not-so-great (The Downsiders) and then the rest of the night in a nutshell. (I’m sure you’ll find it.)
With the short intro out of the way …
It’s safe to say that no WWE Superstar is as polarizing as the WWE Champ himself, John Cena. Suffice it to say there was something for everyone in this Monday’s Raw.
The build-up to the No Mercy “Last Man Standing” title match between Cena and Orton has been well played over the past several weeks (see previous Raw recaps for details on the dueling family field goals) and culminated tonight with one of the better promo spots I’ve seen out of Cena. An intense champ, recognizing the fans who chant “Cena sucks,” told us that at No Mercy he would beat Randy Orton so bad the fans would never forget it.
Orton preceded the Champ’s interview with a “live via satellite” spot, supposedly already waiting in Chicago (site of No Mercy) for Cena and saying he’d do whatever it takes to get the belt.
Skip ahead to the final match of the evening: John Cena vs. Mr. Kennedy in their first-ever meeting. The bulk of the match went pretty well with the duo working well against each other in the ring. A rather disappointing end, however, when Mr. Kennedy taps out to the STFU less than a second after Cena gets it locked in. Come on, make a believer out of me!
The match, however, quickly became memory when the supposedly-in-Chicago Orton redefines “reach out and touch someone” when he jumps in and lands an RKO on Cena. The dismantling begins as Cena falls victim to having the top ring steps rammed into him, a television monitor landing a blow, and yet another RKO on top of the freshly cleared announcers’ table.
Orton ends it the only way he could leading up to their No Mercy match, by giving a psychotic 10-count to signify his victory.
The story has played out well over the past several weeks leading to the pay-per-view. It certainly seems as though the head game is advantage-Orton, and I’m beginning to wonder if the creative minds at WWE are setting up Cena to give up the title for a while.
Nothing was more telling than the chants heard in the arena during Cena’s match. Two distinct sets of voices rang out “Let’s go Kennedy” and “Let’s go Cena!” The Kennedy backers? Well, from the sounds of it, most of the men in the crowd. Cena definitely had the backing of womena and younger voices.
For both the lovers and the haters, here’s a simple fact: Cena is a top star and the Champ for a reason. He’s decent in the ring, and he’s got some of the best mic skills on the roster right now.
Recognizing his worth to WWE and the power he has with the fans, perhaps it is time for a “rebirth” for Cena. Put on a great match with Orton and lose the title in a powerful way (e.g. Cena just won’t quit, but Orton gets the upper hand and devastates the champ.)
Putting Cena down with the intention of having him fight back “against all odds,” or even giving him the chance to revisit his “heel” days for a while, might be just the thing to push half the fans either way… for him or against him.
Whichever way this one goes at No Mercy, the next page in the feud between Cena and Orton has me looking forward to Sunday.
After finishing this column, I see the news that Cena may indeed be injured after what may have been a move-gone-wrong during his match with Kennedy. He says he’ll be a No Mercy no matter what … but could this be leading toward what I’ve already stated? Keep checking the headlines for updates on his status.
If the night’s headliner peaked at the end (which it usually does, come to think of it) then tonight’s downside came right in the beginning.
After the pyrotechnics and the crowd shots are done, my first thought is “What the hell? There’s three unknown fat dudes in the ring.” Ok, on a second look it was one fat dude, one kinda heavy-set dude, and one guy who was a shrimp in comparison.
Turns out this is a spot with The Chairman, VKM as I’ll probably refer to him often here, promoting his match later in the show against HHH. We find out that, supposedly, one of the men is a “fifth degree Kempo Karate champion,” … I’ll assume VKM meant fifth-degree black belt … another is a four-time All-American collegiate wrestler, and the biggest the Ohio state sumo champion. (They have sumo wrestling in Ohio? Really?)
Well, after acting as though he’s going to take them all on to demonstrate what he’s going to do to HHH later in the evening, Vince instead calls out the returning Umaga who quickly dispatches the entire trio.
Ok writers… Umaga is the bulldozer, Vince does good spots most nights on the mic, but the opening this night really bored the hell out of me!
While I do enjoy HHH, the match that got the blood pumping for me was the six-man tag with Jeff Hardy, Brian Kendrick and Paul London on one side taking on the team of Lance Cade, Trevor Murdoch and Shelton Benjamin.
Yes, the match was short … but high-explosives do come in small packages and watching the team of high-flyers was certainly entertaining. How those guys can do Swantons, Whispers, or any other high-altitude “Hey I’m going to throw myself from the ring to the floor” stuff night after night confounds me to this day.
Maybe it just seems shorter when you’re really into it (and the crowd seemed to enjoy this one), but Hardy wrapped up the victory pretty quickly in this one. Shortly after, the trio were spotted packed in ice in the back. (Ok, not really … but I’m sure they’ll be sore in the morning!)
– Another mysterious spot aired that has stirred up wrestling fans and riddle-lovers alike. Rather than SAVE_US.222 in last week’s version, we have 8-2-11 SAVIOUR_SELF in this one. Another curve ball for the fans … is it Y2J’s return as many speculated after the first one? Is it HBK (8, 2 and 11 in the alphabet)? Whoever it is, kudos to whoever came up with this one. It’s definitely got the fans talking and the internet buzzing. (Not to mention the e-mail inboxes of some of my writing comrades.)
– Another thumbs up to the writers heading up the angle on Hornswoggle. I have to admit that when they revealed him as the “bastard son” of VKM I was disgusted. “What a waste of a storyline,” I thought. I understand injuries and suspensions may have led to writers moving on the fly to fix what couldn’t be … but the little guy is getting some laughs out of me now. (Not to mention I enjoy the thought of Melina repeatedly ending up no
– HHH gets disqualified in his match against VKM. Uh, did I mention Carlito was special guest referee? And then of course Umaga has to get involved, and the two basically fight to a stalemate. HHH is great, but I just can’t get excited about this match at No Mercy. I’m hoping for a better storyline for him soon.
– Cody Rhodes, still looking for respect, gets beat again by Hardcore Holly. Guess he didn’t get it yet … from Hardcore or from me. The kid may have potential, though … I’ll be watching.
– “Glamazon” Beth Phoenix comes out and actually does a spot with Lillian Garcia. Disappointing. I like this diva … beautiful and intimidating … I certainly wouldn’t mind falling victim to a belly-to-belly suplex. But I like her better as the “strong, silent type.”
– Marella at the Movies … waste of time with the exception of seeing the gorgeous Maria. Well, maybe not a complete waste of time. After all, you gotta know this is leading to Stone Cold showing up eventually and opening up a can of whoop ass.
– Hornswoggle, by the way, did cost Melina her match against Mickey James … and leave her “no
– Dr. Steve-O shows up, says he wants to toughen Ron Simmons up. Promptly gets thrown out, followed by the signature “DAMN!” Later, we discover that Ron does have more to his vocabulary! (Not knocking ya Ron … personally I like the damn moments!
Don’t like my take? Let’s hear yours! Send me your e-mails to email@example.com … the best and worst of the bunch may be featured in future columns.