Tuesday, April 14, 2009

RAW Review - WWE Annual Draft 4/13

First off, it was nice to see that the WWE was going to give us 3 hours full of wrestling drama for their annual "Draft" (FIX). The sad part is, you just knew how the 3 hours would play out:

- 1 hour devoted to promoting Backlash, Diva match and buildup for the main event at Backlash (McMahon's vs Legacy) which is probably the same as promoting Backlash.

- 1 hour to wrestling / draft

- 1 hour to commercials

Has wrestling really come to this? Where's the WRESTLING in "World Wrestling Entertainment?" If you're going to hype up a 3 hour show, make what you're hyping it up about take up the MAJORITY of the show! With that said, let's get to the actual matches that took place.

"Draft" Match: Rey Mysterio (RAW) vs. Evan Bourne (ECW)

The commentators made this matchup sound like it'd be the next big thing, but I couldn't help but feel underwhelmed. Poor ECW, they couldn't catch a break all night (more on that later). Matt Striker and Josh Matthews (commentators for ECW) were calling Bourne the "Rey Mysterio of ECW." Unfortunately, the match only lasted 3 minutes with Mysterio hitting his 619 finisher for the win. While Mysterio was setting up the move, I kept saying to myself "there's no way he hits it this early." Well, he did. Match over, ECW = fail.

Because one of RAW's superstars won the match, they gained the 1st pick in the "draft." The show cuts to a screen with every superstar's headshot which was absolutely seizure central because there was a light (multiple lights) flashing over everyone's headshot randomly. I get that they were trying to make it seem like there was some super computer playing duck, duck, goose inside the titan tron, but then why did they do almost the EXACT same thing right afterwards by shuffling through every wrestler's full body shot randomly? Was this the "super computer" moving into an advanced stage of randomness before it suddenly spat out a wrestler? Anyway, MVP finally came up on the screen which indicated that he is now a RAW superstar. I like MVP. I think he has some charisma, and has good in-ring ability (terrible ring attire though). It'll be nice to see him on RAW defending the United States Championship.

Draft Match:
Kane (RAW) vs. The Brian Kendrick (Smackdown!)

Was there any doubt about who was going to win going into this one? The Brian Kendrick looks and acts like a jobber. Which makes me question why the WWE cares to list him as a "Superstar" on an official roster. Bring BACK the jobbers where no one knows your name. You just show up, lose, collect paycheck. And Kane, PLEASE put back on your mask. You were so much cooler and mysterious. Now you're human, and lost alot.....

RAW won again and had the 2nd pick in the "draft." The "super computer" starts up again and Big Show comes up. What's with Big Show's punch? Throughout his career, did he suddenly develop this knockout punch in the gym? By the looks of him, he must've ONLY worked out his fist every day, every hour and every minute in the gym. Andre would be disgusted with how the WWE uses Big Show.

Draft Match: Mickie James, Melina, and Kelly Kelly (RAW) vs. Michelle McCool, Natalya, and Mayrse (Smackdown!)

If there's one thing you'll learn about me on Headlocks 4 Breakfast, it's that I can't stand women's wrestling. I just don't get it. With much respect to girls like Mickie James and Beth Phoenix (who actually can wrestle), this is mine and everyone in the arena's time to get snacks from either the refrigerator or concessions. Does the WWE seriously think that these girls are hitting a women's demographic? If they're aiming for the sex appeal, I don't know about you guys, but I don't think it's hot watching girls throw each other around. Keep women as managers, and if you MUST have women wrestle, do it with a little dignity and develop an actual division with more girls like Mickie, and less girls like Melina. Although Melina's a champ, does she not pale in comparison to Mickie James or Beth Phoenix as far as in-ring ability? Plus she's lost the skirt which makes her amazing ring entrance as irrelavent as a lap dance 6ft. away. I've talked about this for too long. Moving on. (oh, Michelle McCool, Natalya and Mayrse won - Smackdown!)

It's no secret that the WWE plans things before a show, but the least they could do is not make it too obvious. Especially if their "super computer" is randomly selecting people for the "draft." Melina was the 3rd pick of the draft going to Smackdown! All of the women in the ring, and of course a woman wrestler was "randomly" selected. Try harder writers!

Draft Match: John Cena (RAW) vs. Jack Swagger (ECW)

This match began with a pretty good promo between Swagger and Cena. Right before the promo was a preview for a segment on ESPN's "E:60" show airing tonight explaining what the WWE did (from a production perspective) on the eve of Wrestlemania 25. Stephanie McMahon was quoted as saying they have writers from Conan (Conan O'Brien show). Because this segment between Swagger and Cena was funny, that fired (?) guy from Conan must've written that. The great thing about Swagger is his lisp. The writer definitely knew this because he had "Thwagger" say every word in the book with the letter "s." Pure comedy.

On to the match. John Cena came out first. Why does the WWE do this? The champ should come out LAST!!! I actually really enjoyed this one. "Thwagger" is an impressive beast towering over an often hulking Cena. I still think "Thwagger" should be in a tag team to develop a bit more, but it looked like he carried that match with Cena (which doesn't usually happen). What did stand out to me with "Thwagger" was his obvious amateur wrestling background. Striker and Matthews noted that when "Thwagger" went for a cover, he'd hook the head and leg. "Thwagger" even pushed his head into the midsection / ribcage of Cena to roll him over for the cover which has amateur wrestling written all over it. Good attention to detail there.

Of course Cena won the match, but "Thwagger" stole the show. Because RAW won, they got the 4th and 5th picks in the draft (this match was a 2 draft pick match). Matt Hardy and Triple H both were sent to RAW (have you noticed that Smackdown! doesn't have a top championship now?)

Draft Match: Santino Marella (Raw) vs. The Great Khali (Smackdown!)

Santino is the definition of "Wrestlecrap," but as long as you go in knowing this, he's a delight to watch. He's excellent on the mic, and has trimmed down a bit too. He's so / so in the ring, but he's not out there for that. On the other hand, The Great Khali is being used completely wrong. He should be used like Yokozuna. An uncontrollable, non-english speaking (which makes him uncontrollable because non-english speaking people are scary), giant (pun intended) that is what he is. Ranjin Singh (his manager) could be bad ass like Mr. Fuji too right?! Make it happen WWE!

Let's be honest, this match was just to plug the ongoing weirdness between Marella, his "sister" Santin(a) and Beth Phoenix. It was again, "Wrestlecrap," but I loved it. Khali won the match and Smackdown! recieved the 6th draft pick. CM Punk went to Smackdown!

Draft Match: The Miz (ECW) vs. Kofi Kingston (RAW)

The Miz came out with the amazing John Morrison and their slammy trophies (get rid of those please). I only say this because this match pissed me off so much. The match itself wasn't bad at all. The Miz is really coming around as a wrestler, and it seems like he's dedicating more time to the craft. Kofi's fantastic too (which you already know). My beef is with the Miz losing to Kofi, then being drafted to RAW (7th draft pick) essentially breaking up the tag team between Miz and Morrison. I'm fine with the break up, but why did you have The Miz turn on Morrison? It should be the other way around. Morrison's a WAY better heel than The Miz. Good idea, wrong result. Did I mention that Morrison's like a young HBK? How can you NOT see this?

Draft Match:
15 man inter-brand battle royal

This match included Edge so you knew he'd win (even with Big Show and Mark Henry in the mix). Edge did win on the most hilarious / stupid ending to a battle royal ever. Big Show was dominating, and Edge looked scared shitless when it was just him and Edge in the end. Edge sold it well, but Edge was lingering along the ring ropes, while Big Show was gearing up for an attack. Big Show charged towards Edge resulting in him ducking down sending Big Show over the top rope and onto the floor. Very anticlimactic. The "ultimate opportunist" wins again. By the way, that phrase is short for "I shortcut all the time to win matches. That's my gimmick." It's old WWE, Edge isn't that bad of a wrestler. Use him.

This was another 2 pick match which Smackdown! won. With the 8th and 9th picks, Kane and Chris Jericho were sent to Smackdown!

Draft Match:
Christian (ECW) vs. Shelton Benjamin (Smackdown!)

Next to Cena / "Thwagger," this was probably the best match of the night. Benjamin sucks on the mic, but there's no denying that he's a fantastic wrestler. Christian's got it all, and he proved it. But boy is he being wasted over in ECW. I like Christian's finisher, but Striker and Matthews were wrong when they said that he has many ways he can pull off the move. Actually, he has one way, the way he does it. Christian won the match resulting in ECW getting their first pick (LOL) of the "draft." The 10th pick sent Vladimir Kozlov to ECW.

Draft Match: CM Punk (Smackdown!) vs. Matt Hardy (RAW)

CM Punk probably has the worst entrance music in the WWE. The screaming at the beginning is just obnoxious. How can any 12-yr. old get behind this dude? There hasn't been a Jeff Hardy sighting all day so when Matt Hardy comes out from behind the curtain, you know the ending of this match already. The match wasn't bad at all, but in typical WWE fashion (no clean wins), Jeff Hardy came out to interrupt / give Matt Hardy the win in a DQ over CM Punk. The win gave RAW another "draft" pick (11th) which was wasted on a diva / sandwich break Maryse. I guess fans care about having the two lead brands split evenly with women's championships (but the men's championships obviously don't matter).

Draft Match: Chris Jericho (Smackdown!) vs. Tommy Dreamer (ECW)

Match was worthless other than two things:

1.) Jericho needs to go back to the full pants attire. His trunks make him look bloated (maybe he just is)

2.) Jericho's finisher / counter from a flying Dreamer off the top rope was pretty sweet

Other than those two things, you knew Jericho was winning this match. He did and Smackdown! got another "draft" pick. The 12th pick sent Rey Mysterio to Smackdown!. YES!! I wanted the Intercontinental Championship on the Smackdown! brand. Now who's going to compete for it? :(

Main Event: Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes vs. Shane McMahon, Batista, and Triple H

This match was recieving plug after plug after plug all night long that by the time it came, I didn't want to watch it. The buildup to this match was absolutely ridiculous. The entire night, you had three guys trying to get their hands on Randy Orton. Shane said that it's because he kicked him, Stephanie and Vince, Batista said it was because Orton's kick put him out for 4 months and Triple H said that he started this and he was going to finish it.

A few things. Didn't Triple H "finish" it at Wrestlemania 25? I know they want to hype up the main event at Backlash, but making these three guys salavate at the mouth to get Orton in the ring is ridiculous. Especially when the "revenge" was handed out at Wrestlemania. This is a classic case of the WWE extending a storyline after it died painfully in a poor match with no emotion to it (WM 25). Triple H won the match with a pinfall over Rhodes resulting in a one on one match on next week's RAW with Orton. Orton then came out for a stare down with Triple H to end the show. Suddenly Orton's a hunted man? Wasn't Randy the "hunted" just last week? Did the WWE forget? Ridiculous.

Random Notes:

- Did you catch Josh Matthews's nose bleed incident when the show first started?

- Shane's them song never gets old

- Commercials during matches have to go. Remember, WRESTLING FIRST! Putting a commercial during a match basically tells the audience that what happens during breaks means nothing.

- The show had a ton of mic problems in the ring. You heard Cena talking to the ref (to coordinate the match) and Shane yell out "I want him so bad" when arguing about Orton.

- The Intercontinental Title still means nothing in the WWE. (sad)

- Matt Striker, next to JR, is the best commentator in the WWE.

- Chavo's a slave now.....

- In the WWE's PSA "Don't Try This," they say "not at home or in school." Why not say "at the grocery store, at your cousin's house, at baseball practice and ice cream parlor?" The saying is, "If they say it, someone must've done it." So all of you kiddies wrestling at school, "Don't Try This!"

- The ECW Championship belt looks like the plastic and foam belts you could buy in the early 90's

- Lawler called "Thwagger" "John" Swagger

- Cena's STF(U) sucks. Please stop...

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