Monday, March 21, 2011

WWE RAW 3/21/11 --- Wrestlemania Rewind

WWE RAW 3/21/11
March 21st, 2011
CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 16,102

Well it’s Monday and that means RAW. We’re less than two weeks away from Wrestlemania 27, and tonight things continue to heat up as the WWE stops in Pittsburgh. Earlier today it was announced that Randy Orton will face Rey Mysterio in a “Wrestlemania Rewind” match on tonight’s show. I guess they’re just pretending like Kurt Angle was never in that match with them. The WWE usually tries to step it’s game up in the weeks leading up to ‘Mania, so hopefully tonight’s show will be a good one.

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Josh Matthews

We open the show with the ring announcer introducing Jim Ross, but of course it’s actually Michael Cole in a fatsuit with cotton in his mouth, BBQ sauce in one hand, and a cast around his ankle. He throws his hat at The King and then runs into the Cole Mine (his own personal glass booth). Moderately amusing.

Suddenly Triple H’s music hits and he makes his way out to the ring. He grabs a mic and ponders on the 20 years he’s been in the business. Triple H points out the signs in the crowd rooting for both Undertaker and himself. He talks about how the Undertaker’s streak might be bigger than any championship he’s ever held, and how ending it will be his career defining moment. He promises to end the streak and ‘Taker’s career at ‘Mania and even rips off the “Rest in Peace” line from his opponent until suddenly….Ted DiBiase comes out? What the HELL? He has a mic and says a year ago he was one of the rising stars of the WWE and now he’s just an afterthought. DiBiase threatens to take out Triple H here tonight and what it could do for him, but the moment he hits the ring it’s FUKKEN BURIED time as Triple H starts beating his ass outside the ring, slamming him into the steel steps and tossing him into the barricade. Triple H grabs a chair and slams it a few times on DiBiase. Holy hell, am I having a flashback to RAW 2003 with Haitch doing the burial of young talent to open the show? Triple H grabs DiBiase and gives him the pedigree right through the announcer’s table, and that’s your opening segment. Not bad but nothing seriously engaging either.

Sheamus vs. Evan Bourne

Sweet, Evan Bourne back on RAW, he’s always fun. Bourne tries some quick kicks to start but Sheamus easily overpowers him in the early going. Sheamus lays in some big forearms into Bourne’s chest while he’s tied up in the ropes. Spin-heel kick from Bourne and he goes to the top to try Air Bourne, but Sheamus moves at the last second and then hits the Brogue Kick on Bourne for the pin at 1:24. Boooo, Bourne just came back he shouldn’t be doing jobbing duties so quickly, it’s not like Sheamus is in desperate need of a win or anything. This looked like it could have gotten fun if it wasn’t a squash match. *

After the match Sheamus gets on the mic and gloats about his US title win, which cues Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” to play and Daniel Bryan to come out with a mic of his own. Bryan says he’s invoking his re-match clause, and he wants to have the match at Wrestlemania. Sheamus tosses him the US title and then just boots him right in the face. I guess that’s Irish for yes? Good stuff, this is what I like to see, a midcard feud leading to Wrestlemania and with it being Bryan’s first Wrestlemania, I fully expect him and Sheamus to try and steal the show.

After a commercial break we return to see Randy Orton outside the arena where he’s met by Scott Stanford (who I believe will be the next great play-by-play man for the WWE) who asks him what it’s like traveling around in the big WWE bus. Orton puts over the bus like this is a freaking infomercial for WWE Bus Tours or something, before addressing Nexus and Punk. He promises to show Punk what “sick and twisted” really is.

Maryse vs. Eve Torres

Still not sure what they’re doing with Eve. Maryse and Eve each slap eachother in the face to start before Maryse slams Eve’s head into the mat by her hair. Irish whip into the corner and Maryse slams Eve’s head into the turnbuckle a few times. She misses a running a knee and suddenly Michael Cole gets on a microphone saying “Can we get this over with please?”, saying what every wrestling fan thinks every time the Diva’s come out. Cole rambles on while Eve slams Maryse into the corner a few times and then hits a few kicks and a forearm. Eve tries a standing moonsault but Maryse gets her knees up to block it. Eve just hits an awkward neckbreaker to finish Maryse off at 2:21. After the match Eve wants to fight Cole but he stays in his little protective box and gets some more good heat like the rat he is. The usual short and awkward Divas match with no heat at all. ¼*

Justin Gabriel/Heath Slater vs. Santino Marella/Vladimir Kozlov

Another non-title match I guess. We’ve seen this match a hundred times if we’ve seen it once, and it was never good. Santino and Gabriel start us off with a big hip toss from Santino and a tease at the Cobra. Gabriel tags Slater in and he applies a chinlock to Santino. Santino tags in Kozlov who overpowers Slater with ease, hitting big kicks. He gets distracted by Wade Barrett though and Heath Slater hits a reverse DDT on Vladimir and tags Justin back in, who hits the 450 Splash to get the clean pin on Kozlov at 1:51. After the match Kane and Big Show hit the ring and clean house on Nexus, giving big Ezekiel Jackson a double-chokeslam. I was just saying the other day that the WWE needed to give Slater and Gabriel some clean wins for us to take them seriously, so I guess I got what I wanted in a weird, twisted kind of way here. ½*

We cut to John Cena being prepared for an interview, apparently “Live via satellite”. We’re going to hear his response to The Miz’s actions last week next. After a commercial break we get confirmation from the WWE that next week The Rock will be on RAW live and in person. We get a recap to last Monday night’s main event and The Miz’s beatdown on Cena. After the video package we return to Cena live via satellite, who says that he will be at RAW next week to be face-to-face with The Rock. King asks Cena if he’s underestimated The Miz because of his attention being occupied with The Rock, and Cena says The Miz deserves to be WWE champion. Big “Cena Sucks!” chant is starting up, crowd is hot and smarky apparently tonight. Cena says he plans on making history at Wrestlemania to finish up the interview.

Michael Cole is back on the mic again, claiming to have another surprise for The King after the next commercial break. When we return Cole and Jack Swagger are in the ring together. Cole talks about the Brian Christopher incident last week and we get a video package of it again. Cole then decides to start making fun of The King’s dead father, showing old pictures on the Titan Tron from Jerry’s childhood, including a photo of him in his high school graduation gown with his father. Cole says he’s going to put Lawler in his place at ‘Mania. Cole says Lawler’s family is nothing but a bunch of losers and The King gets up, but Jack Swagger is there to stop him. King fights him off though and hits the ring chasing after Cole, but Swagger comes up from behind and hits him with a clothesline and then presses his face into the glass of Cole’s big glass box in classic bully fashion. Swagger gives King the ankle lock as we cut to commercial.

When we return from the break Cole apologizes for his actions and goes back into play-by-play mode…which just does NOT work man. And now we get a recap of Snooki on RAW last week. God, this is a smart-move business wise but holy shit is this going to be bad television. The WWE got a ton of publicity in the press though because of Snooki’s involvement.

John Morrison/Trish Stratus vs. Dolph Ziggler/Michelle McCool/Layla/Vickie Guerrero

This all starts out as Morrison vs. Ziggler in the beginning. Morrison is accompanied to the ring by Trish Stratus, and she does the whole slo-mo entrance thing with him and it looks better than it ever has with those two doing the slo-mo posing. This serves as a sort of preview of the 6 person match they’ve booked for Wrestlemania. Both men lock-up to start and Ziggler starts laying in fists. Morrison comes back with some forearms of his own in the corner until Dolph hits a big neckbreaker for a quick two count. Ziggler locks on a reverse chinlock briefly but Morrison fights out of it and delivers a big dropkick. He clotheslines Ziggler over the top and out to the floor and then goes to follow him out with a dive, but Michelle McCool stops him. Trish takes out McCool and the lights flicker as we have an anonymous e-mail from our general manager. The e-mail says that this match is now being changed into an inter-gender 4 on 2 tag team match with Morrison and Trish against Ziggler, LayCool and Vickie. Didn’t know you could just add people to matches as they’re happening, but okay, I’ll grade it all as one match. When we return Ziggler has Morrison back in that reverse chinlock as the crowd is getting fired up behind JoMo, who hits a big pele kick. He misses a knee and Ziggler tags Layla in, forcing Morrison to tag Trish in. Trish just runs in and starts handing out forearms to Layla before hitting the upside-down headscissors off the top on her. She lays in some big chops on Layla and the crowd is actually into this now. McCool kicks Trish in the back and then tags in, hitting a running knee on Trish. She starts hitting closed fists on her and then tries a pin attempt, but only for one. Trish hits a flying headscissors though but before she can get the tag to JoMo she’s dragged back into Dolph and LayCool’s corner. Layla tags back in and gets a quick two count. Vickie tags in now to but misses her one move and Morrison gets the tag, forcing Ziggler back in. Morrison gives Ziggler a few lariats and then hits a springboard sidekick to Ziggler’s head while Layla tosses Trish off the apron. Morrison misses the Starship Pain and Ziggler tosses him into the steel post and then hits the Zig-Zag, tagging Vickie in to get the 3 count on Morrison at 7:30 (shown). Call me crazy but this was actually sort of fun. Trish hit a few of her signature moves and looked comfortable in the ring for the first time since her return, Ziggler and Morrison had some nice work together, and the booking clicked as well. There may be hope yet for the six-person match come ‘Mania time. **½

Sin Cara promo. Can’t. Wait.

After a commercial break we get a little video package of some of the top guys talking about how ‘Mania time truly came in when Triple H and Undertaker’s feud started. Arn Anderson shares a few words as well, which is always good to hear. They get comments from everyone from John Morrison to Jim Ross to Stone Cold as this has actually become quite cool. Booker T even chimes in. And shit, here’s Harley Race. This is actually a damn good video package, probably the best one I’ve seen yet for this year’s Wrestlemania, though still nowhere near as good as the amazing packages for last year’s ‘Mania with the whole HBK/Taker package and Placebo’s “Running Up That Hill” playing in the background. Still, great video package here.

Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio

Damn, main event time already? Would you look at that. I do believe this is the first time these two have faced off since Orton’s babyface turn. Nice sequence to start with Rey hitting a few moves and Orton tossing Mysterio out of the ring like a horse shoe. Orton tosses Mysterio back into the ring quickly and gets a two count. Crowd has really cooled off for some reason. Orton applies a chinlock but Mysterio elbows out of it. Mysterio hits the seated senton off the top rope, but Orton comes right back at him with the quick powerslam. He goes for the second-rope elevated DDT but Rey counters and sends Orton into the ropes, setting him up for the 619, but Orton blocks it and then delivers the elevated DDT. Suddenly we hear “Hello Randall…” as CM Punk is on the Titan Tron now. Punk is at the big WWE bus from earlier and he says he can’t wait to meet Orton’s wife. This of course sends Randy running to the back, where the cameras follow him as he runs out to the bus in the parking lot and Punk attacks him from behind. Orton’s wife starts screaming for help a bit, and wow she’s pretty damn hot, who’s he married to again? Who knows. Punk has a steel wrench and kicks Orton in the head, referencing a Frank Sinatra song in the process and blowing a kiss to Randy Orton’s wife afterwards. So I guess that ends the match at a no contest. Too bad, it was good stuff while it lasted and would have hit atleast ** as it was before the no contest finish. No rating.

When we return Alex Riley is in the ring in a suit and tie, despite having been fired 3 weeks ago. He claims however that he was re-hired as the vice-president of corporate communications and introduces The Miz, who comes out to the ring and takes the mic from Riley. The Miz gloats about his Rock imitation and claims to have more charisma than Shawn Michaels and be more physically dominant than Andre the Giant as well as being the greatest WWE Champion ever. Oh I’ve heard that one before Mr. Miz. Miz says he’s going to re-write history and he does so….by revelaing the WWE title with a new design. It no longer spins and the W in the middle is instead flipped upside down as an M, standing for Miz obviously. Creative little design, hopefully this leads to a new World title belt design down the road. Suddenly John Cena is on the Titan Tron, live via satellite again. Suddenly however the set behind him starts being broken down and it’s revealed that Cena is actually in the building, as he has been all night long. Cena is fired up and hits the ring where he fights with Riley and Miz. Miz and Riley take the advantage at first but eventually Miz bails and leaves Riley alone in the ring, where Cena gives him the STF. We close out the show with a beaten down Alex Riley and a triumphant John Cena.

Bottom Line:
This was just a total filler show to get us through another week until The Rock comes back to Raw, and it showed. They could have at least thrown the viewers a bone and made this a wrestling-heavy show, but we didn’t get that either as the longest match of the night was the impromptu handicap inter-gender tag match and even that only got seven and a half minutes of TV time. Just a total filler show with nothing here worth seeking out, Thumbs Down.

Score: 3/10

1 comment:

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