Greetings everyone. Welcome to the inaugural Raw Live Journal! These are the musings and observations of a fan who grew up with wrestling on the brain. Let's get to it...
8:00: WWE Raw is live from Omaha, Nebraska. The show opens up with an armed forces tribute for Memorial Day. It's good to see that WWE maintains a good relationship with our troops overseas. They outperform most of the major sports leagues when it comes to this, in my opinion.
8:01: Lost feed. Or my TV is broken. Hoping for the former.
8:02: See R-Truth (or Ron Killings, as I prefer to call him) smashing a merchandise stand with no sound. Thank the Lord for technical difficulties.
8:03: "It's a conspiracy that I can't get no drinks!" Just guessing here as there's no sound. Everybody in the tech truck is apparently drunk.
8:03: Ron Killings, now in the crowd critiquing wardrobes, is irritated by all the Cena shirts. Pretty bold for a guy who always forgets to button his to give the fans fashion advice.
8:04: Uh oh...Hide ya wife, hide ya kids cause R-Truth is about to assault a child out here.
8:05: Just perfect. My first live journal and the feed is terrible. Did badgers chew through the cables?
(By the way, I know badgers probably aren't common in Omaha, Nebraska. It was just the first thing I thought of. If anybody knows what type of animal I could substitute it for, please keep it to yourself. This is a wrestling column, not an Animal Planet forum.)
8:05: Truth is hating on two kids and their dad for wearing Cena shirts. Kids' dad staring down R-Truth but also looks puzzled. This is getting awkward.
8:06: The dad now looks petrified. Kid will see this 10 years from now and weep. The dad asks R-Truth "What's up," then inexplicably eats a Milk Dud. If anything, Truth is a good time-filler.
Quick question: Who's decision was it to create the name "R-Truth?" Is Ron Killings not good enough? Maybe the WWE decided that implied murder wouldn't fly in the PG era.
8:07: Cena's terrible rap hits. He looks constipated walking down the ramp. Whoever told this guy he can rap should be deported.
It should be R-Truth vs. Cena at Capital Punishment now. This pleases me for two reasons:
1. R-Truth finally gets his time in the spotlight. The guy has been in the business a while and has made his bones in both TNA and the WWE. He deserves a few main events.
2. WWE is finally using Cena to get guys over. We saw it with The Miz and now with Truth. The guy is a Superstar with or without the title. When a performer gets to that point, anyone they feud with is going to get a big push. I think they should keep him in this role, giving him a title run from time to time.
8:08: It's Cena vs. Truth on the mic. English majors everywhere are mourning.
On a serious note, R-Truth's recent push has been impressive though. Just six weeks ago, he was still a low to mid-card performer, and now he's about to be in a main event with the company's biggest star. I beat up on Creative a lot but they really did hit a home run on this one.
8:10: In a shocking twist, Cena sucks up to the fans, then says "frickin'." In other news, the sun rose again this morning...
8:11: Cena tells Truth that he’s insane. I’m sorry but Cena just can’t talk tough unless he’s frothing-at-the-mouth angry.
8:12: Anonymous GM chimes in. Cena's remarks are, "Rascal Flats what now?" I'll leave this for you to digest.
On a side note, up until recently, R-Truth was banned from entering Canada with the company due to his previous criminal record. True story.
8:13: Teaser for Kharma's upcoming promo. Probably the most unfortunate pregnancy in WWE history. Just when Divas division starts to look interesting again, its top draw gets knocked up. I was really looking forward to a Beth Phoenix vs. Kharma feud. They'll either address it head on, or make up someone completely ludicrous. My money is on the latter. Creative seems to be trending that way recently.
8:17: Some joke footage of guys grilling outside. That was a joke, right? Or am i just looking too deep into this? Where's the hillbilly hot tub? What's the point? All valid questions.
8:18: Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler. Kingston is one of my favorite in-ring performers right now and Ziggler is grossly underused. A solid opener to help me forget about what just happened.
8:19: Looks like Eminem has been hitting the gym. Oh sorry, that's Ziggler.
8:20: The match has yet to really get going. Looks more like a beginner jiu-jitsu class.
Even though Vickie seems out of place, I miss the days of managers. Here are my five greatest managers that I can remember right now:
5. Paul Bearer: I think he was integral to helping the Undertaker get over early. Even though he was a pain to listen to and look at, the Undertaker might be in a completely different place right now without him.
4. Jimmy Hart: “The Mouth of the South” managed numerous Superstars, the biggest being Hogan. That megaphone was unmistakeable.
3. Sunny: The first Diva. I remember her when she was with the Road Warriors in the mid-to-late ‘90s. Just inducted in the Hall of Fame and still looks good.
2. Miss Elizabeth: One of the biggest tragedies in wrestling history. She made the “Macho Man” in my opinion. It’s hard to imagine him without her.
1. Bobby “the Brain” Heenan: His handling of Andre the Giant should be made into an instructional video. He probably could have gotten anyone over at that time.
8:22: Kingston is getting on well now. And of course a commercial. This couldn't be going any worse.
8:26: Come back to see Kofi’s face in the mat and in trouble.
Cole talking about Ziggler’s amateur background. Wonder if UFC is hurting WWE’s prospects? Might be the reason why the talent doesn't seem as good lately. Just 10 years ago, pro wrestling was one of the only avenues for collegiate wrestlers to go. The money in MMA is getting better by the year though, so there will probably be no more Brock Lesnars.
On a side note: Wouldn’t “Rampage” Jackson be an awesome WWE Superstar? He already treats his interviews like wrestling promos anyway. And we know he can slam people. Let it happen Dana White!
8:27: Kofi reverses and is rallying, Lawler doesn't notice. Still joking about Vickie Guerrero.
8:28: Kofi hits the Boom Drop. Goes for Trouble in Paradise, but it’s reversed into sleeper by Ziggler. Kingston gets out then misses a huge top-rope splash. Looked nice. Ziggler covers but Kofi kicks out.
8:29: Zig Zag. Ziggler wins. Odd match with some pacing issues. Still glad that Kofi is off of SmackDown and on Monday nights now. Even though SmackDown is more about the wrestling, he’ll get more exposure on Raw.
8:30: Lawler still making Vickie jokes. Please stop. Seriously.
8:31: Cole teases the upcoming segment. He says he's gonna get Alex Riley to apologize to Miz.
8:34: Hey, did you know that Randy Orton is in a new movie called “That’s What I Am?” Also, the teacher in the movie is also the Nazi sniper from “Enemy at the Gates” that hung a child in a train yard. Yep.
8:35: Alberto del Rio making his way to ring in an Audi R8. I really like del Rio, but he has terrible luck. First, Edge’s retirement derails him from winning the heavyweight title, then R-Truth gets pushed over him, sinking him to the mid-card.
8:37: His name is Alberto del Rio and we already knew that. Shows a replay of last week's events with the Big Show. Had to mute that screaming part. Sounds like Kane's in the movie “Hostel.”
8:40: Ricardo Rodriguez starts speaking in Spanish. Del Rio also speaking in Spanish. Am I watching Univision right now?
8:41: Del Rio says that Show owes him money for the wreck. You don't have insurance, Alberto? Daniel Tosh would have a joke for that, I'll just take the high ground here...
I hate the fact that del Rio is in limbo right now. He seems to have all the skills in the ring and on the mic to be a top superstar, but a combination of bad luck and other stars getting pushed have pushed him down a notch. Hopefully the rumors of him getting a title shot at SummerSlam are true.
8:42: Showing Eve and Kelly Kelly stretching backstage. Trying to picture myself there. Two of the three hottest divas right now, Maryse being the other. Layla is just out of the top three. Divas tag match is next.
8:46: Twins Basil! The Divas belt looks like it came from Toys"R"Us. Eve and Kelly Kelly come out and the bell rings. Forty-six minutes in and only two matches so far. I’m just spoiled to Attitude-era Raws I guess. By the way, I would marry Eve. Just saying.
8:49: Every time I see a Divas match, I can’t help but long for the old days. It seems that the matches used to be much better. Maybe that’s just nostalgia. But it made me start thinking about my favorite Divas of all time...
5. Torrie Wilson: Didn’t have much in-ring skills but she always looked phenomenal.
4. Stacy Keibler: Probably the most famous Diva so far. In my opinion, the most naturally beautiful Diva to ever grace the WWE.
3. Sunny: See “Five Greatest Managers” above.
2. Trish Stratus: The most talented in-ring Diva I can remember, and not bad to look at either.
1. Sable: At the height of the Attitude Era, her feud with Marc Mero and SummerSlam ’98 match (where she tagged with a then-unknown Superstar named “Edge”) is one of my fondest memories. She was really an underrated competitor. Also, the first Diva to appear in Playboy, which says a lot.
8:50: Nice suplex by Eve. Stink face by Kelly. Just a guess but it’s probably much better than getting it from Rikishi.
8:51: Kelly Kelly and Eve win. Actually a pretty good match.
8:52: Another teaser for the A-Ry apology. Was really impressed by his explosiveness last week. With a little character development and a better haircut, he can go a long way.
8:56: Back to the outside BBQ which is apparently under an overpass.
8:56: Cole in the ring. Not drawing as much heat as usual. Which is actually kind of nice. I just want some solid commentary.
8:57: Cole shows a recap of The Miz getting attacked. The Miz is great on the mic.
8:59: Riley comes out to a nice pop and new music. He either really likes green or is the newest member of DX.
9:00: Cole is lecturing Riley. Makes it about the kids. If they’re not already messed up from the Cena-Truth exchange earlier, they should be OK.
9:01: Cole asks Riley how he can justify what he did. Riley says it made him feel better. That's nice.
9:02: Cole says Riley should beg Miz for forgiveness. Riley tells Cole to shut up. Calls him arrogant and says he’s starting to get annoying. He's about four months too late on that last one.
9:03: Cole calls Alex Riley a bastard. Call the FCC.
9:04: Riley explodes and is manhandling Cole. Miz attacks from behind looking very dapper. This is what a fight on Wall Street must look like. Riley reverses and starts beating Miz.
9:05: Riley ruins Miz’s shirt for the second week in a row. Does Omaha have a Banana Republic?
9:06: Miz escapes through crowd. I hate this angle. All the buildup of The Miz over the last few months and now he's getting beat down by his assistant? He looks weak right now. I've already covered this so click to read.
Halfway through and this is a pretty weak show, even excluding the tech problems. Creative really has things backwards as far as who's being pushed. And speaking of CM Punk...
9:12: CM Punk out with Mason Ryan. I'm fairly convinced that Ryan is a cyborg with a British accent.
9:13: Rey Mysterio comes out. It's amazing and disappointing at the same time that he's still wrestling. He's held up well but is still a shell of his former self. If you don't agree, watch this match. Guy was crazy good.
9:15: CM Punk talking trash. Reminds me of Ted DiBiase Sr. and Mr. Perfect a little.
9:16: Commercial. Punk is probably the most complete wrestler in the WWE right now. They need to re-sign him immediately. If he goes to TNA, that could be a huge blow. I'd love to see him in a non-PG environment though.
9:20: Back to Punk and Rey. Mason Ryan looks like he goes through a bottle of cocoa butter a night.
9:21: Punk has a triangle hold on Mysterio. Punk is talking to the camera. This guy is seriously brilliant.
9:22: Mysterio dives on Punk and Punk goes over announcer’s table. Makes me wonder why they moved the announcer table on the ramp a few years ago. Only good things happen when the announce table is involved.
9:23: It's official. Mason is a cyborg. Dude has one facial expression.
9:24: CM Punk wins. Best match of night so far. Both guys bring it every time. I wonder how much Mysterio has left in tank though.
9:26: New rule: CM Punk should not get closeups. Ever.
9:27: Kharma up next. Still taking bets.
9:32: Back to Kharma in the ring. Speech doesn't match character. Says JR called her fat when she tried out for Tough Enough. He should know.
9:33: She talks about her training in Japan and the long road to where she is now. If the road she’s taken doesn’t get her mad respect in the locker room, I’d be surprised.
9:34: Pregnancy announcement for the upset! I'm seriously shocked. Kudos to Creative for letting that happen.
9:35: The Bellas come out and make fat jokes. Terrible, terrible fat jokes.
9:37: Kharma says that when she comes back she's going to destroy the Bellas. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say she gets a massive pop when she comes back
9:38: Show the Capital Punishment poster. Am I the only one who has a problem with it?
9:39: Showing the Obama clip again. What is the purpose of this?
9:40: Lawler says Obama would make a great superstar. I’m going to save that one for later...
9:41: Tough Enough promo. Something about Luke just rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it's his sense of entitlement. I think Andy brings it and wins. He's got the look and more importantly, the passion. Stone Cold seems to prefer ambition and drive over skill, as evidenced by Rima outlasting Matt. Silent Rage for the win!
9:44: Beach volleyball featuring fat guys. I don’t think this needs any further exploration.
9:44: Jack Swagger comes out. Another guy I think deserves to be in a better position. That's the least WWE could do after involving him in the worst angle of the year (so far) with Michael Cole.
9:45: Here comes Evan Bourne. This should be another good match. Two excellent athletes.
9:46: Just noticing the crazy size difference between the two. Swagger is built like a giant spider monkey and Bourne probably can't go on roller coasters.
9:47: Swagger doing push-ups on Bourne. May have looked inappropriate from the right angles.
9:48: Here's an Evan Bourne match in a nutshell: Get dominated, steal victory at the end, still manages to be entertaining in spite of that.
9:49: Bourne wins by sudden roll up. See last post.
9:50: R-Truth in the back talking to himself. He’s done an excellent job selling this new heel turn.
9:51: Cena meets Zack Ryder backstage. Broskis across the nation celebrate seeing Ryder on television.
The following Ryder has accumulated over the internet is actually pretty appalling. YouTube is amazing. WWE has seemed to embrace his efforts recently as well, giving him some TV time. Imagine what people like the Ultimate Warrior, Ric Flair or Randy Savage could have done if the internet had been around back then? WWWYKI!
9:55: R-Truth comes out to no music again. Is this a creative decision or has Jim Johnston lost his edge? I’ll address this later this week.
9:56: Recap of what happened during the technical difficulties. Could have gone without this actually. Even with the blackouts, we got most of it.
9:59: Cena comes out. This is either a one-minute match or we're going into overtime.
10:00: Cena gives some screen time to a soldier. Love him or hate him, the dude represents our armed forces well.
10:01: Truth only wearing one of his four murder gloves. Looks like a homeless Michael Jackson.
10:02: Just noticed how much denim is in the ring right now.
10:03: Chants of ”Let's go Cena/Cena sucks.” I can't remember a face this polarizing. Kids still love him but the older fans are tired of the status quo. Cena hits his “Five Knuckle Shuffle” or what I call the “People’s Elbow for Kids.” Truth bails out of the ring.
10:04: Truth stuffs an Attitude Adjustment and bails out again. Goes in the crowd. Cena follows. Cena gets hit and is counted out. Cena looks puzzled. The crowd is most likely angry.
10:05: Truth goes back to Milk Duds dad and throws a drink on him, then runs away. Cena comforts fan by rubbing his forearms on the fan’s face. Cena gives Milk Duds dad an armband as the show comes to a close. If I had bought a ticket I would be upset.
A fairly weak show in general. Too much R-Truth and not enough quality wrestling. It's a shame Kharma is leaving after putting herself over like that. Her promo was the highlight of the show in my opinion.
It’s shows like these that make me wish the WWE had a bigger competitor to push it. TNA has quality superstars but has been unable to be a threat to the McMahon empire. But more on that later this week (OMG a TEASER!).
Anyway, I'll be doing these most every week so if you have any comments or suggestions, post in the comments section or shoot me a tweet at twitter.com/codymusgrove. I'll be in Austin, TX this weekend to see Rush, so no there will be no SmackDown journal. See you next week.
Discuss amongst yourselves!