The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal for 10/10/11 (New Interim GM)

The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal for 10/10/11 (New Interim GM)
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter at @johnreport

Live from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (uh oh you know JR is gonna get humiliated) this is the Raw Deal…

The show started with a video package about the “walkout” angle from last week. Apparently the dudes that make the video packages did not walk out. They went backstage where nobody was in the hallways. I guess we’re to assume that usually the hallways are packed. King Hunter walked out of his dressing room to a big pop probably because the crowd was so bored and worried nothing would be on the show.

Hunter walked out with his music and full entrance. I think it would have been better if he walked out without any music or entrance video. It would sell the “everybody left” idea. During his promo he said that 55 people walked out from Superstars to camera guys to techs to announcers and he never thought it would happen. That number is as legitimate as the $250,000 fine number they like to throw out there. Then he made them all heels by saying they didn’t walk out on him, they walked out on the fans. He said the Superstars were outside holding a “Solidarity Rally” that I guess they tried to cover on, but I can’t say I cared enough to check it out even once. He said he couldn’t quit and won’t quit. He told the guys outside to pucker up and kiss his cheeks. He said he’ll wrestle a broomstick for two hours and that he’s been in the ring with a lot of the guys outside, so maybe he’d have a better match with a broomstick. How is this a babyface promo? He was adamant that he’d give us a show tonight. I guess that part was babyface-like, but not all of it.

Cue John Cena’s music. He comes out and talks about how the people outside wanted him to join them. He said that if he did it would mean more for their cause. Then he mentioned all the people he’s worked for like Vince McMahon & Eric Bischoff, calling them “two most humble guys on the planet” in a sarcastic way. Somewhere Dixie Carter thinks he just plugged TNA. He mentioned also working for Vickie Guerrero, 56 celebrity GMs (felt like 80 to me), and even Mike Adamle, which was a funny line except nobody really cared about it. Then he sucked up to the fans, sorry the universe, saying he’s here for them no matter what because he loves Raw. Hunter smiled. After that heartfelt moment maybe they’ll go hang out and watch their bad movies together. Following that, Sheamus came out to talk about how when he attacked Hunter in the past, he did it to get noticed. Hunter didn’t cry about it. He kicked his ass, so he respected him for that. He’s staying.

Then CM Punk came out, claiming he started this whole “walkout” thing. True. It was fun then. It’s not now. People bought it as “real” even though we knew it was a storyline. In this case everybody groans at the walkout because it’s presented in a similar way even though it shouldn’t be. He said he thrived in an unsafe working environment. I loved his line where he talked about Kevin Nash powerbombing him after slowly making his way through the crowd. Hunter laughed at that. He got a big pop for saying, “this is professional wrestling, not ballet.” Cue the people that sarcastically wonder if it’s a big deal if somebody says “wrestling” in WWE. It’s not a big deal. The reason for Punk’s anger is because somebody is trying to prevent him from being WWE Champion. He mentioned that when he had problems with Cena & Hunter he dealt with them personally and then he told “Sheamo” (loved that haha) that when they have an issue he will do the same. Punk said while Hunter may be surprised to see him there, he asked what do they do now?

Hunter said they would “shut up and fight” like they do every week on Raw. Really because I think they talk a lot and don’t fight most weeks on Raw, especially in the opening segment. He announced a Cena vs. Sheamus match with himself as referee while Punk got to be the announcer. “Can I wear your blazer?” asked Punk excitedly. Hunter told him sure. That was funny. Hunter told him he had to ring the bell too while assuring Punk he’d get double pay. That’s nice. The whole segment took about 20 minutes. It was fun for the most part although it didn’t matter soon after.

John Cena vs. Sheamus ended in “we don’t want to book a finish for this” (NR)
They worked for about a minute before Punk threw to break. Back from break, they worked for a bit more until Vince McMahon came out to interrupt. He told them to leave the ring so he could talk to Hunter. Punk left too. Vince thanked them for putting on such a classic match…or at least he thanked them for being there.

With the wrestlers out of the way,Vince talked to his son-in-law Triple H. He told him that the Board of Directors said the walkout concerned them because it could affect live events, the future of Raw and even WrestleMania. What about the Vengeance PPV that is barely being promoted? Oh right that’s not important. He said he was sent there to tell Triple H that he was no longer in charge of Raw. Crowd didn’t like that. Hunter would remain Chief Operating Officer, but he was not in charge of Raw. No McMahon family member would be. They were looking for somebody. For now the interim GM is John Laurinaitis. Major groan. Laurinaitis walked on stage as Hunter looked angrily towards him. Where’s the broomstick to have a match when you need it?

Let’s sum up the control of Raw issue here: We still don’t know who the anonymous GM was, Hunter’s reign lasted just over two months, Vince McMahon is already back on TV and John Laurinaitis is the interim GM while we wait for them to find a full time GM that will probably not be anytime soon. On top of that, Teddy Long can book matches on Raw once in a while (we think?) and Triple H is still COO of the company, which means what on Raw? I don’t know. He can’t book matches apparently, but could he hire or fire people? I guess not. Are you confused? Most people should be. They are bad at tying up loose ends. This is an example of that.

Backstage, Laurinaitis was greeting the wrestlers as they walked back into the building. The jobber John Morrison (aka John Horowitz) ripped into him, so Laurinaitis made him wrestle next in his street clothes. Christian was happy that Laurinaitis had the job, so JL asked for a favor and for him to wrestle Morrison next, but he had to do it in his street clothes. Christian said sure, then he told his crew of heels to come with him. Then Heath Slater walked by wearing a silly hat on his head. Worst rock band ever.

Christian d. John Morrison (1/2*)
Joining Christian at ringside were Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger & Cody Rhodes. That’s an awesome stable if they invested time in them as a group. They both wrestled in their street clothes, which means shirts on I guess. The heels cheated, so Christian won with the spear in about two minutes. When does he ever win with that move? The answer is he wins with that move when he wrestles John Horowitz. Post match, all the heels hit their finishers on John Horowitz.

They announced Henry vs. Orton non-title and Del Rio vs. Punk non-title for later. Wow, look at that huge change in power by giving us matches we get all the time. It’s a big deal according to Cole, though.

Mark Henry walked out for his title match. I guess they think it’s a good camera effect to cut to the camera on the stage and for him to walk in front of it. He’s been on TV for 15 years. We know he’s big. Thanks.

Backstage, Laurinaitis excitedly talked to somebody on the phone (we can assume it’s his wife) when Triple H showed up. He tried to explain things to Triple H saying he didn’t want the job, but he had to do it. Hunter asked him if he’s ever had to pick up his teeth with broken fingers. That sounds like a cheesy line from one of his movies. Maybe next week he can ask him if he wants to have a knuckle sandwich. I heard that in grade three, I think.

Back to Mark Henry, who had a microphone in hand. He was so mad about Big Show beating him up on Smackdown that he wanted to show us a video of it. Now that’s anger! He said that at Vengeance they’d have the World Title and that vengeance will be his. Original line there, huh? It was so original that Orton’s voice appeared OUT OF NOWHERE~! to say that vengeance would be his too. The writing team is on a roll. Put those Hollywood credentials to good use. Then Orton showed up for his entrance as his music played.

Randy Orton d. Mark Henry via DQ (*)
This match was so huge that it was joined in progress. After the break, we saw a whole two minutes of this “huge” match that saw Orton hit the DDT off the ropes to the shock of the announcers even though he hits that move in every match, even against Henry. Cody Rhodes showed up, but Orton kept him out of the ring. Then Orton avoided a World’s Strongest Slam and hit Henry with the RKO. Yes, they booked Henry to take a RKO three minutes into a match on free TV. This is your dominant heel champion? Sigh. I know nobody will remember that tomorrow, but they shouldn’t have people hit finishers on him three minutes into a match. This whole thing felt rushed. Anyway, Orton went for the cover, but Rhodes broke it up leading to the DQ.

Post match, Orton tried to attack, but he ate a World’s Strongest Slam instead. Henry went for the cover. I guess he didn’t hear the ring bell ring repeatedly following the DQ huh? Star of the night for that gaffe. Then Henry hit another WSS before Cody Rhodes continued the beating with a Cross Rhodes. The post match beatdown by Rhodes was fun. He put the paper bag on Orton, saying if you cut the head off a viper all the venom came out. After it was over he asked Orton if he would like a receipt with his paper bag. The “receipt” part is an insider term for when somebody does something to the other guy (in this case Orton cutting Cody open with the ring bell) and they are owed a receipt. This will probably lead to a match at Vengeance that gives Orton a win before his next match with Henry likely at Survivor Series.

Back to Henry vs. Show for a second here. I know the brands don’t matter anymore, but Big Show is a Raw wrestler that is facing the Smackdown World Champion for that title. If he wins the title (he won’t) does that mean he’s all of a sudden a Smackdown guy? I know that it doesn’t matter, but that’s a problem with WWE. It should matter. It should be explained. It should make sense. They need to hire somebody to explain logic holes because there are far too many of them. Where do I apply?

In some behind the scenes news, former WWE wrestler the Road Dogg Jesse James has been hired to work as a backstage agent. I hope they hired him to help some of the guys with promos because he could be of great assistance there. Apparently he’s on a six week trial. Good for him. His brother is referee Scott Armstrong too.

Kelly Kelly & Eve d. Rosa & Tamina (-*)
I don’t go negative stars often, but this one gets it. The offense of the heels was bad and any time Rosa was in there it was an embarrassment to the wrestling business. Tamina’s okay, but she’s still very green. Rosa’s been in the company for several years, yet she doesn’t look like she’s improved at all. Kelly’s screaming will make people hate her pretty soon if it continues. It’s annoying more than it is sympathetic. Eve won with the moonsault. Then they showed Beth & Natalya watching on a monitor backstage. I feel sorry for them for having to watch this trainwreck of a three minute match. Hey WWE, you need to hire more women that know how to work. Soon. Thanks.

After the match, John Laurinaitis walked out. He told the divas to leave. He announced that at Vengeance it would be Del Rio vs. Cena for the WWE Title. By announced I should point out he said it in his regular, monotone voice that people boo because he’s a bad talker. Yes, the title that changes hands at every PPV is on the line again in a few weeks at the PPV that they barely mention. I can’t wait for both guys to cut promos about how at Vengeance there will be vengeance.

Then he brought JR into the ring, said he walked out on Triple H last week even though he gave him his job back. Then he fired him while he (meaning Laurinaitis) had a smile on his face. He should have said that he wished him the best in his future endeavors. That should be the JL firing line. It’s OKC, so JR was the hometown guy. He always gets humiliated during Raw in OKC. It’s cheap heat and it’s just as lame as it was the other half a dozen times it has happened. They brought Ross back to announce for about two months before another on screen firing. Since Laurinaitis is in charge of Raw, couldn’t Triple H just hire JR for Smackdown? They should move Mathews to Raw and put JR on Smackdown. At least he’d enjoy that show because it has more in-ring action. What a waste of Jim Ross’ talents to remove him as an announcer…again. By the way, the Executive VP of Talent Relations before Laurinaitis? Jim Ross. Ross was the guy that put together the roster that gave us the Attitude Era. Best real life GM WWE has ever had.

Before we get to the next match, there’s something I need to point out. I like the fact that Evan Bourne & Kofi Kingston have matching colors in their outfits as well as a new theme song and an entrance that makes them look like a team. Now get three or four other solid teams to do that and all of a sudden you have a tag division.

Mason Ryan, Evan Bourne & Kofi Kingston d. Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger & David Otunga (**)
This was a decent eight minute tag match with a commercial thrown in. Ryan pinned Ziggler with his finisher that doesn’t have a name. Do you remember the CM Punk promo with Triple H where he said the WWE system favors guys like Mason Ryan, who are bigger than guys like Punk and thus get pushed to the top quicker? Triple H denied it. I present you this match. Obviously Ryan’s going to look good against Ziggler & Swagger – they are awesome workers after all. This will be as successful as Ezekiel Jackson’s boring push on Smackdown was. Remember how Zack Ryder beat Ziggler a few times and we thought there’d be a US Title shot? Obviously we’re supposed to forget. I don’t get it. At least WWE is smart enough to know that Otunga sucks in the ring and they barely had him in there. I want Ziggler to move up the card, but the person that should be US Champion is Zack Ryder, who is actually over with the fans. Not Mason Ryan.

They plugged WWE Network coming in 2012 and the option to vote on a WrestleMania type show on Thrilling. I have a better poll. Do you think Steve Austin will wrestle again?

Back from break, we got a video on Brodus Clay again. Wait, so did Triple H order the video to be played or Laurinaitis? Oh right too many questions.

They did the intro for Del Rio for the main event. Nice car. I like how Cole & Lawler were arguing, but Lawler was kind enough to mention what kind of car Del Rio had. They went to another break prior to the main event.

Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk in a “we don’t want to book a finish here either” (*)
This was a non-title match of course. It had no flow to it. The crowd didn’t care. Could they screw up the finish again? Much like the opening match, they wrestled for about four minutes until the match abruptly ended. WTF? It was Laurinaitis this time.

Then Laurinaitis cut a ridiculously slow promo talking about how this would now be a tag match – somewhere Teddy Long is PISSED that somebody else booked a tag match! He waited. The music didn’t start. I guess the cue was for him to say their names. Then The Miz & R-Truth came out. Yes, after being fired for a few weeks and causing havoc at Hell in a Cell they are back to the surprise of nobody. Did the crowd even react? By this point they were probably so mad they paid money to see this show. How do they make their return? By doing their “you suck” rap. Yes that’s it. “We are back to wreak havoc…and do the same thing we did before.” You suck, fans! Yeah!

CM Punk & Alberto Del Rio d. The Miz & R-Truth via “we don’t want to book a finish again so let’s call it a DQ” (*1/4)
The main event got about 8 minutes, which made it the longest match of the night along with that six man tag. This one felt longer than eight minutes because the crowd was dead by this point. Punk teaming with Del Rio didn’t last long because ADR bailed on him. Then Miz & Truth got DQ’d because Punk was about to win. I liked how the timekeeper rang the bell a full second before the ref signaled for it. I guess the ref was a little slow on the cue huh? Little things I notice, fella.

Post match, everybody’s favorite babyface Triple H came out to save CM Punk from the heels. They got the upper hand, but Miz bailed up the ramp and Truth bailed through the crowd. The faces, who didn’t get along for months, are suddenly on the same page. They cut backstage where Laurinaitis was speaking with bowtie man Otunga and told him that he’d ask the board if they can do HHH & Punk vs. Miz & Truth at Vengeance. The show ended with HHH & Punk posing for the fans.

Remember when Triple H wasn’t on the show? It was more fun. Now he’s the centerpiece again. I don’t have a problem with him in general. I just have a problem with him getting so much TV time. He’s had his chance. Let the others have their time.

I would imagine all of this is leading to the big 5 on 5 elimination tag at Survivor Series with Team HHH being Rock, Cena, Sheamus, Punk & Triple H vs. Team Laurinaitis as Alberto Del Rio, The Miz, R-Truth, Cody Rhodes & Christian. The winner gets to control Raw, I guess. That would leave Ziggler & Swagger off the team, so they’ll likely be going after the tag titles again. Either that or Miz & Truth would be going for the tag titles, but I think they’re the more high profile heel team. Obviously I’d think the babyface team would go over since it is Rock’s big return. No WWE Title on the line there, which is fine because the belt means nothing now. I think Henry vs. Orton will be the World Title match. Perhaps even a three way or four way with Show and a returning Kane thrown in. The Vengeance PPV doesn’t matter. Survivor Series is the important one.

Three Stars of the Show
1. Mark Henry – Going for a cover after a match is over is automatically star worthy. Somebody gonna get they ass kicked. Somebody gonna go for a pinfall…
2. Cody Rhodes – I liked his promo. That’s enough on this week’s Raw.
3. Christian – He won in dress clothes. That’s enough.

3.5 out of 10
Last week: 6.5
2011 High Score: 9.1 (March 28)
2011 Low Score: 3.5 (October 10)
2011 Average: 5.71
Last 5 Weeks: 6.5, 6, 5.5, 4, 4.5

OH MY GOODNESS what was that show? That grade makes it the worst Raw in 2011, in my humble opinion. I have reviewed every Raw this year and while I can’t remember 90% of them off the top of my head, I’m sure there was one or two that may have been worse shows overall. However, what hurt this one in particular is that this angle had so much potential to be great yet none of that potential was realized. Instead, they rushed so many things, had logic holes all over the place and none of the matches felt like they mattered. “Shut up and fight” is something they said, yet when they did that every match key match had a DQ finish. Nothing was really built upon well. It felt like an episode of Impact, which really is not a good thing to compare it to, but what else can I say?

The biggest problem with the show? Everything felt rushed. Every match was rushed. Every segment except the opening, which took over 20 minutes, felt rushed. Usually it’s one or two segments, but in this case it felt like everything. Shouldn’t the Vengeance PPV matter? They did absolutely nothing with Cena & Del Rio, who have just one more week of Raw left in order to hype up their WWE Title match that is supposed to be the main event. The matches sucked. The writing sucked. Most of the promos were below average or boring. I liked the opening part. The problem is all of it was rendered pointless almost immediately after it happened.

What about the mystery of who ordered the cell to come down at Hell in a Cell to allow Miz & Truth to beat everybody up? You think we’ll ever get that answer? I doubt it. This is what I mean about loose ends from earlier. They’re going to continue on as if they didn’t do any of this stuff, which again is an insult to the intelligence of the viewer.

There is no reason why John Laurinaitis deserves more TV time. He’s a bad performer. His talking style is sleep inducing. He doesn’t know how to wait for things. His voice inflection is non-existent. You know why he gets heel heat? Because people know he’s a bad on-camera performer. It’s not because he’s a good heel. Just because he works for the office doesn’t mean he warrants a bigger role on television.

You know what really stood out to me? The CM Punk character has become “just another guy” after being somebody special for at least a few months. Lots of people said it would happen. I had hope that maybe they would book him different. Nope. They don’t know how to book babyfaces in a different way anymore, like they did with Stone Cold. Austin didn’t get along with anybody except on a rare occasion. Punk is too nice to other faces. It shouldn’t be that way. There’s no rebellious nature to him. He’s not the late 90s/early 2000s type of face that Austin or Rock are. He’s almost like Cena, except with more tattoos. It’s a shame. He’s still the best performer in the company, but his character isn’t as good as he could be. I may write an impromptu column about this in the next day or two. I feel the urge.

The best part of the show was the Rhodes/Orton angle, which was a lot of fun because it made Cody look good. The issue with that is that you know Orton’s going over and it’s just a stopgap feud before he gets another title shot against Mark Henry.

Three words can sum up this frustrating edition of Raw? In the prophetic words of Booker T: “WHAT DA HAYELL!”

Keep checking out daily for more articles by our amazing crew of writers and I’ll be back on Saturday with Canton’s Corner.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton –
Twitter @johnreport

Visit my 10+ year column archive at the Wrestling Oratory right HERE.