The go home show for RAW is over and it's time to see if anyone wants to buy the Pay Per View.
We open up with a surprising entrance by Randy Orton. Great way to start off the show by bringing back someone that helped carry the brand for so long. Just one problem, all he did was talk. I don't know how many different ways I can say this: You can't open a show with talking and expect the audience to be interested. They're watching wrestling. That opening segment needs to be action packed. Talking is not action, I don't care who is in the middle of the ring. Orton then goes on to insult every single champion on the roster in a shoot style promo. Interesting choice here. Orton is bringing up what people think, in his home town, and he's suppose to be the heel. The fans ate it up. He effectively made all the champions look very pitiful and weak. This can be a good thing if the WWE pushes it right. Every champion they have now needs to prove Orton wrong and step up their game. Otherwise, they lost the audience. C.M. Punk comes out to confront Orton and the crowd is off their feet. It's amazing that no matter where Punk goes, the fans love him. Hopefully, the company sees this and will allow him to hold that title for a while. Punk and Orton go on to shoot on each other and effectively make an enjoyable confrontation and hopefully build a new feud. JBL comes out and the pattern becomes the typical. Every member of the scramble match comes out has their own they to say. Kane comes out and claims that Mysterio is dead, like he does every week. Batista comes out and spears everyone. This works so well for his character because he should never be about talking. A man the size of Batista doesn't need to talk, he just needs to beat people up.
Back from break and Cena's music hits. This worked so well because the fans exploded only to turn because Charlie Haas comes down the ramp. This is an interesting gimmick they're running with him now but I have a feeling that it's going nowhere. They should have Haas trying to figure out who he is for a couple more weeks, then one day come out as Charlie Haas and let him cut loose. He is a natural athlete and should be allowed to work his own style. Let him go on a massive winning streak and solidify him the Intercontinental Title scene. Kofi Kingston comes out for the match it was literally forgettable. Nothing new or exciting in this match. it didn't highlight either me as Kofi hit all of his trademark moves and won the match. It was good to get the audience into the show by giving them exactly what they wanted, but it really didn't improve the quality of the show at all.
Priceless is seen back stage confronting Orton about what he said to them earlier. Orton slaps Rhodes in the face and showed to the audience how pathetic they really are. How is someone who is on the injured list going to smack around one half of the tag team champions and not get his receipt? I know it was trying to make a point that Priceless needs to man up but seriously, they should have laid out Orton then went to reclaim their tag titles from Cryme Tyme.
Adamle is back stage with Teddy Long and Tiffany. Adamle makes an off shoot reference to making the scramble match a Labor Day tradition just like the Jerry Lewis Telethon, "but without the sick kids". This actually worked very well because of Teddy's reaction. He seemed very insulted by the comment and it shows that the Adamle character doesn't really think things through. Kane comes in and claims that he killed Rey and he's mad at Adamle for announcing him for the Scramble match at Unforgiven. Adamle admits that he has no contact with Rey and he is hoping that he will show up. This story has so many holes in it that I can't even think of a proper analogy for it. First off, we are new to believe that Rey is in fact dead. This brings up the whole problem that wrestling has had for years when it comes to stories like this; the police. If the WWE announces stories on their websites about drug suspensions, motorcycle accidents, and other terrible things, how is anyone suppose to believe that the police weren't called in and Kane wasn't arrested? This is the same nonsensical storyline that made the whole "Vince is dead" story so bad. The next problem is a very simple one; why would Adamle advertise someone for the Pay Per View that he isn't in contact with? That's just bad business sense and the board should have him removed as the General Manager. The next problem is one that has plagued this story from the beginning; Kane already said that Rey is still alive. How did he die all of a sudden? And why would Kane be asking if he's dead or alive if he knows for a fact that he's dead now? This is quickly becoming one of the worst story lines that the company has come up with.
We have the battle royal next. Now, it doesn't make sense to have all the participants of the ECW scramble match to appear in the battle royal together. Pay Per View matches should be treated with respect and the combatants shouldn't be together until people pay to see it. Matt Hardy, Chavo Guerrero, Finlay, The Miz, and Mark Henry battle it out in a lackluster battle royal. Same story told like always, they go after the big guy first only to fail. Hardy still has the crowd behind one hundred percent. Hopefully, the company sees this and let's him win the world title by years end. Henry eliminates everyone from the battle royal, which doesn't look good for him come Sunday. The creative team has fallen into such a pattern that more times than not, whoever goes over in their match the show before a pay per view, usually loses.
A quick shot of Chris Jericho and some lawyers backstage is shown to help promote the contract signing later in the evening.
Jamie Noble is out ready to face William Regal. Layla is at ringside as they continue the story that Noble is trying to win her over by proving that he's not a loser. As soon as Regal came out, my first reaction was that this match needs to be longer. The WWE doesn't want to spend time on either one of these men right now and it's a shame. These two could bring the place down and legitimize WWE as a place for wrestling, but they're not allowed to work. For the time that they were given, they did showcase themselves very well. If these two get into a long program with this story, they could easy have the match of the year if given a bout on pay per view. Noble gets the win with a quick roll up and Layla seems impressed. If they work this story right, Noble will continue to win matches and impress Layla effectively showing that Layla is superficial and Noble is just awestruck by love. He should continue to win matches and eventually be put into a feud with Santion Marella over the intercontinental title and Beth Phoenix. Layla could get lessons from Noble on how to fight Beth and include the women's title in the story.
Come back from break and we successfully hit the most confusing part of the show. Jillian Hall and Katie Lea are already in the ring when Jillian works her gimmick and sings. Then Mickie James and Kelly Kelly come out and get ready for the match. Beth Phoenix comes out and cuts a promo on Orton claiming that she's worth the title. Then Candice makes her return to team with Mickie and Kelly. Why would they introduce everyone in this manner? It doesn't make sense to keep introducing opponents instead of teams. What they should have done was have Jillian, Katie, and Beth in the ring when we returned from break. Have Beth cut her promo and then introduce the other three women. You still would have had the shock factor of Candice coming back as she would have been the last person to come to the ring. With that said, I'm very disappointed that the mystery tag partner for Mickie and Kelly wasn't Gail Kim. Hopefully they'll bring her in soon so she can spice up the women's division. The match had really good pacing and actually went to the top of the hour. Great choice by highlighting women's wrestling when new viewers may be coming in. The tags were quick on the heels side which showed that they worked as a collective unit. I don't understand why Mickie James had to play the face in peril when Kelly Kelly was on the team. It's not believable that Mickie would find herself in trouble but Kelly can fight her way out. Eventually, Candice gets tagged in and shows that the women's division is in trouble again. I don't care how long she's been gone from injury, you don't try anything that you know you can't pull off. Candice goes for a head scissors take over and misses completely. What ends up happening is a modified arm drag when the arm wasn't even being held. Beth had to sell it and it looked terrible. Candice tries to tell a story that she is afraid of the top rope because of how she got injured. It came off more like she didn't know how to climb the rope anymore. If that's the story they wanted to tell, then Candice should have hesitated getting to the top and have Beth take the opportunity to pin her because of it. Work the story for a month or so that way when she does get to the top rope and dives off, it will be an amazing moment. Instead, Candice jumps off the top like it's nothing and reverse a move to pin Beth. Last week when Kelly pinned Beth, it didn't bother me. This week, it was possibly one of the worst decisions they made regarding Beth Phoenix. If Kelly didn't get her number one contender shot because of the fluke win the week before then all you're successfully doing is showing that Beth doesn't deserve the title by having her job two weeks in a row. She's suppose to be the champion for a reason. The champion should never be pinned. Now this is going to lead into a new Candice versus Beth feud, for the title, that's going to be as terrible as it was a year ago. I'm surprised that Mickie James hasn't left the company yet. She has still to have her rematch against Beth since losing the title. It's never even been brought up. But now Candice returns and everyone has to move to the back. I don't think there is anyone else on the roster that has not showed any improvement with all of the ring time they have received more than Candice. She is possibly the only wrestler on the entire roster that is completely useless. Candice should be fired. End of story.
We're then shown a Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho promo about their feud. I don't see the purpose of this only because there is no way that anyone can forget about this story. It has been shoved down our throats for two weeks now and it's already getting stale. Unless this match is the main event at Unforgiven, there is no need for it to be pushed this heavily.
Santino Marella comes out and works a match with D-Lo Brown. Santion address the remarks made by Orton earlier in the night and announces that he will become the longest reigning Intercontinental champion by beating the Honky Tonk Man's title run of 64 weeks. Santino announces that he is in week 2 and that he will get it done. This is going to be a fun story to watch. It's no secret that the WWE and the Honky Tonk Man don't get along and it will be interesting to see if they let Santion break that record. Either way, the next 62 weeks are going to be very entertaining as this is a story that the fans can easily get behind. The match wasn't anything too interesting as the fans don't seem to care that D-Lo is employed. Santino wins by rolling out of the way of the frog splash and pins D-Lo. An interesting note about this match; Michael Cole mentions the Great Mutah when D-Lo hits the shining wizard. This is the 3rd mention of international wrestlers or organizations in 3 weeks. The first being the New Japan Dojo in California, the second being Mil Mascaras in Mexico, and this being the third.
Shawn is shown backstage with the same lawyers as he prepares for the contract signing.
The Miz and Morrison are in the ring and await their match with Cryme Tyme. They come down the ramp holding the tag titles that they stole only to be confronted by Miz and Morrison for a brawl. Priceless shows up and ruthlessly beats the hell out of Cryme Tyme. This made Priceless look so devastating but also showed that they need a tandem move. Rhodes gives JTG a DDT on the title belt to prove his point. What would have worked better is if they had a tandem move, they could have done it right there. But they don't, which solidifies the fact that this isn't a traditional tag team. The match ends in a no contest.
After the break, Priceless confronts Orton and shows him that they got their titles back. Orton nods his approval and walks away. This didn't make any sense either. If Priceless didn't attack Orton earlier, this was their last chance to get back any of the dignity that they lost. Priceless should have laid out Orton and proved their point, that no one messes with the tag team champions. But the company doesn't respect their tag teams and would rather elevate someone who is on the injured list and can't draw any ratings for the next few months. I know Orton is not medically cleared to do anything just yet, but he shouldn't be on TV hitting people if they're not planning on him bumping in return.
Another Smackdown your vote promo but this time from the Republican national Convention. Again, this is a great thing that the WWE is doing to help try and increase voters in the country. I have no problems with these vignettes running on their shows.
We cut to a backstage promo with Batista and it works the only way it should. Batista says he's going to hurt people and walks away. This is the best segment of the night.
The RAW battle royal takes place and has all the participants of the scramble match, excluding Rey Mysterio. Same problem I had with the ECW battle royal applies to this; they shouldn't have people who will be fighting each other on pay per view, fight on free TV. C.M. Punk surprisingly gets two eliminations with Batista and JBL. Kane and Punk work a decent match before Punk is thrown out. Punk has a stare down with Orton and throws water in his face. Mysterio comes out and beats the hell out of Kane. Now, several things wrong with this. First, the storytelling is too fast paced. We go from Punk and Orton to Kane and Mysterio without any kind of transition. This shows no respect for a Orton and Punk feud. Secondly, I thought we were suppose to believe that Rey was dead. Why would you bring him in at RAW when you could have had the shock value of his return at the pay per view? You probably would have had more people buy the pay per view just to see if Rey was going to show up if you hadn't shown him on TV. Thirdly, how is the return of one of your biggest stars not the end of the program? There's still one more segment left and it's not a match.
The contract signing is our main event. And just like the open to a show, you really shouldn't end it with something a trivial as a contract signing. These things are never interesting and never done right. If Shawn Michaels is so upset about Jericho punching his wife, why would he come out to his theme music? Jericho I can understand because he is the heel. He is cocky and arrogant and should have his music and pyros. It doesn't work with Shawn. It was interesting to see that Jericho didn't look Shawn in the eyes until the end of the segment. Jericho really knows what to add to his character to make the story more believable. The speeches both men have are typical for this story and actually come off very boring. The brawl with Lance Cade and Michaels was entirely too predictable and the end of the show wasn't anything special at all. Again, unless this is the main event at Unforgiven, there is no reason for this much hype behind the match. On a side note, this was the segment that Shawn apparently tore his triceps. The fall out of the ring did look awkward but he wasn't favoring his arm as the show went off. Hopefully Shawn is okay enough to wrestle on Sunday without causing any himself any serious injuries.
Overall a lackluster show. It was disappointing to see this as the show before the pay per view. There was so much focus on the Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho match that everything else came across as background noise. There are a few stories that they have that could potentially become some of the more entertaining stories of the year, but with the creative track record, there's a good chance all of them are going to be terrible. My rating: C+
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