by Amish Patel - March 22, 2011
The WWE Raw Deal for 03/21/11 (Miz-tory)
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter @johnreport
Live from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this is the Raw Deal…
We got an announcement that the voice of WWE Jim Ross was there. Instead it was Michael Cole dressed up like Jim Ross in the full outfit. He made his way down to the ring talking really fast and the crowd was booing really loudly. Cole threw off the JR outfit and made his way into the Cole Mine announcer seat while Josh Mathews and Jerry Lawler were sitting at the regular announce desk. This was fine. Cole is drawing incredible heel heat right now and he is doing a good job at it. He also started a new Twitter account @MichaelCole where he is in full heel mode too.
Triple H came out to a huge pop. The crowd was super hot all night. The announcers acted in awe of him, as if he hasn’t been a main eventer for 12 years now or something. Oh well, technically he’s their boss, so that’s how you keep your job. Cole is basically a heel against every babyface except Triple H and Undertaker. Hunter came out to give the verbal blowjob to The Undertaker, saying that The Streak was bigger than any title and it may be bigger than all of his championships combined. It’s not, but it’s a good way to put it over. Hunter asked Undertaker to come to Raw next week, so they can stand face to face and Hunter can tell him that he’s going to lose. “Undertaker, at WrestleMania, you go 18-1.” Hey, just like the 2007 New England Patriots. Hunter’s not winning, but they are doing a good job of making people think he might. Also, you’ll notice that they never mention that Hunter lost to him at WMX7 10 years ago. I assume that’s a Vince call. They don’t want to bring attention to it. No memories allowed…even though it’s on the excellent True Story of WrestleMania DVD.
When he was done talking, Ted Dibiase came out talking about how last year he was in a match at WrestleMania and this year he’s an afterthought. Are we allowed to remember Dibiase’s Marine 2 film? I don’t think we are. It’s for the best. Essentially he came out to get beat up by Triple H because I guess HHH doesn’t want to wrestle on TV, but beating people up is a lot of fun. Much like Sheamus a few weeks ago, he ended it by putting him through the announce table with the Pedigree. And he stared at that WrestleMania logo many times. Yes he did. The crowd was hot for all it, so it was a good opening 10 minutes of the show.
Cena responds to Miz “via satellite” and Miz re-writes Miz-tory later in the show. That’s so creative huh?
Sheamus d. Evan Bourne (1/4*)
Remember when Bourne came back and everybody was excited about it? Back to reality. It was over in about 90 seconds after the Brogue Kick. Suddenly they like Sheamus again after they buried him for three months. Who can explain this kind of logic? Not me.
Post match, Sheamus said he was the champion of the United States to great heat as Daniel Bryan came out. He talked about America being the land of opportunity and he wants his rematch at WrestleMania. Sheamus threw the belt at him, Bryan caught it and Sheamus KO’d him with a kick. The match is on. Here’s to hoping they get 12-15 minutes because if they do we could be looking at a four star match. Realistically speaking I doubt they get more than eight minutes.
Later on it’s a WrestleMania Rewind match, Orton vs. Mysterio. No mention of Kurt Angle, who was also a part of that ridiculously rushed 9 minute World Title Match five years ago at WrestleMania 22 in Chicago.
They showed Randy Orton getting out of his tour bus. Yes, he actually travels in a bus. I know that a few wrestlers travel in a bus. Big Show is another one. Orton said it allowed his family to travel with him. Notice how last week they showed his wife and daughter in the crowd in his hometown in St. Louis? That’s good storytelling because you set it up for the next week. It’s called foreshadowing. He said he watches video on there and he enjoys watching clips of him destroying the new Nexus with the punt. He said Punk thinks he’s sick & twisted, but he has no idea what sick & twisted really is. The Katie Vick feud? Sorry. I shouldn’t remember that.
Eve d. Maryse (1/4*)
The crowd didn’t care and you can tell WWE doesn’t care because about a minute into the match they had Michael Cole interrupt it hoping that it would end soon. Of course it would end soon. It’s a divas match. It’s like being told by the ref to wrap it up. Eve hit her neckbreaker to win.
Post match, Eve went after Cole as he stood up in his box and taunted her while security kept her away. I thought Cole was great here while Eve’s acting is never that good, but it was better in this case. My guess is at WrestleMania Cole loses to Lawler, gets laid out with a Stunner from Austin and while Austin’s having his beer bash all the divas come out to pour beer on Cole as well. That’s just a guess. It’s a way to get all the women on the show since Cole is disrespectful to them.
I need to give a shoutout to my buddy Joe for bringing a TJR sign to Smackdown last week. I’ve added it to the collection of TJR pics. It’s always an honor to see things like that. Thank you so much. If you bring a sign and it’s on a TV or PPV broadcast I will put it in the column. But you already knew that! Here ya go:
Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel d. Santino & Kozlov (*)
They replayed the impressive Corre beating of Kane & Show on Smackdown. I really liked that beatdown. It worked. The match barely got two minutes with Gabriel scoring the pin on Kozlov. Show & Kane came out, Show KNOCKED THE FUCK OUT~! Slater and they laid out all the others as well. I thought it would have been better to have them get beat up again to sell how strong The Corre is, but instead they already got their heat back from last week. That’s way too rushed. It also felt like they’d add Santino & Kozlov to the WrestleMania match to make it 4 on 4, but they didn’t make it official here. Maybe they will do that on Smackdown. I’d put The Corre over at WrestleMania. Show loves to lose at WrestleMania where he is 2-8.
Next week from Chicago The Rock will be live on Raw. That should draw a huge rating. One of the best cities for WWE shows too. I’m excited for it. I love Chicago.
They spoke to John Cena “from his home” “via satellite.” I put both of them in quotes because if you believe either of those things to be true even while this happened then you are silly. He said next week he’ll be face to face with The Rock and it will be serious. He said his focus has been on Rock too much, but that Miz has proven himself and has proven to be a worthy champion. Cena said he’d make history at WrestleMania by beating Miz.
After the interview ended, Cole walked out of his “Cole Mine” to say it was time for another exclusive to humiliate Jerry Lawler.
It’s time for a simple poll with a question. How excited are you for WrestleMania 27?
The top of hour two began with Cole in the ring. Yes, Michael Cole is a ratings draw. His segments the past few weeks have drawn good numbers and that’s why they put him in this spot. My guess is that after WrestleMania his heel character will continue although it might be toned down a bit.
They had his trainer Jack Swagger in the ring with Cole. They showed a clip from last week when Brian Christopher told his dad Jerry Lawler that he was ashamed of him. Cole said Christopher gave him a gift, which were some Lawler family photos. He put them up on the screen. Both of Jerry’s parents are dead, so this drew a lot of heat. People are asking me if Lawler would be okay with this. I think he’s fine with it. He’s old school in his ways and he knows this is adding a lot of heat to the feud by making it personal. Cole ended it by saying Lawler’s family is full of a bunch of losers. Lawler knocked down Swagger, then chased Cole, who ran around the ring and Swagger recovered to clothesline Jerry. Cole went into his Cole Mine as Swagger rubbed his face into the glass while Cole taunted him. Jack put the ankle lock on Jerry, forcing him to tap out and it led to Cole doing it as well. The heels celebrated to end the segment. It took about 7 minutes, which is fine. Last week’s segment ran long. This was better time wise. A strong angle once again.
They plugged WWE Magazine with Rock, Michaels and Austin being in it. I used to get Raw magazine back in the days when they were “smart” about the business, at least more so than they are now.
They mentioned that WrestleMania is a 4 hour show going from 7pmET to 11pmET. I’d be okay with Summerslam going 4 hours only if they made it seem more special. Three hours for the other PPVs is enough, though.
Back from break, Cole apologized for his behavior even though as a heel we know he’s really not sorry that he did it. King was no longer at the announce desk.
They showed clips of Snooki on Raw last week, which led to a lot of press coverage. That’s why they signed her. I’m not a fan of Jersey Shore and I barely know who Snooki is, but they probably convinced some people to buy the PPV because she’s on it. That’s why it’s smart from a business point of view.
Dolph Ziggler vs. John Morrison led to a no contest (*)
Ziggler has Vickie, Michelle & Layla with him while Morrison had the great Trish Stratus with him. This would have been a nice match, but they only got about three minutes when the women got involved. The GM buzzed in to make a 4 on 2 match with Ziggler and the girls against Morrison & Stratus.
Back from break the match was in progress.
Dolph Ziggler, Layla, Michelle McCool & Vickie Guerrero d. John Morrison & Trish Stratus (*1/4)
This time they got about four minutes, which was a lot for recent editions of Raw. The announcers were really confused about the rules with Cole thinking that if a woman was in the ring another woman had to be there while Josh tried to point out that a man and a woman could be in the ring at the same time. The heels cheated with Layla attacking Trish on the floor. Trish took a sick bump. Layla pulled her by the legs and she fell back first onto the floor. That looked painful. I guess she’s okay because I see her tweeting today. I should point out we also got a shot of her thong. Star of the night for that. Ziggler ended up getting the advantage on Morrison, shoved him shoulder first into the turnbuckle and then dropped him with the Zig Zag. Instead of pining him, he tagged in Vickie who pinned Morrison while doing her “cougar” hand motions. Haha, that was funny. The heels dominate again. The faces are winning at WrestleMania. No doubt about that.
A Sin Cara hype video aired. I’m excited to see him post WrestleMania.
They aired a fantastic HHH-Undertaker video. I absolutely loved it. They talked about their initial showdown on February 21 when they didn’t say a word and they accomplished a lot without even speaking. A lot of current and past stars spoke about each guy in a positive way, talking up their accomplishments and doing an incredible job of talking about this like it’s the biggest match ever. It’s not the biggest match ever, but they are making it seem that way and that’s what wrestling is supposed to be. No Arn Anderson, it is nothing like winning 18 Super Bowls in a row. Mark Henry and Giant Gonzalez are not Super Bowl opponents. Sorry. Other than that the comments were pretty good even if they were in character in a lot of ways. Yes it’s annoying that they fail to mention their match 10 years ago, but having others talk about it raises the importance of it. Reminds me of the UFC Countdown shows that I love. It was really well done. Here’s the video. Tell them The John Report sent ya!
It was main event time. They had some production issues, which is rare for WWE. They fixed it pretty quick because after they showed the replay of Orton’s earlier promo everything appeared to be fine.
Rey Mysterio d. Randy Orton via countout…I guess? (*1/2)
The match felt like an afterthought. They got 6 minutes, which made this the longest match on the show. They were building to something pretty good when Orton dropped him with the DDT off the ropes. That was the cue for CM Punk to show up at his tour bus in the parking lot. Orton ran from the ring, which I guess means the match ended in a countout.
“Randall Keith Orton.” Punk said he didn’t know what sick and twisted was, but he wanted to meet Orton’s wife. Orton ran out there looking for Punk, couldn’t find him and was then attacked by Punk in the back of the knee with a weapon. Orton went down in a heap. I like Orton, but he doesn’t sell injuries much and I hope that he does sell this one going into next week. Orton’s wife showed up and it didn’t appear to be his real wife. We’ve seen a few different wives over the years if you remember when HHH invaded his house a few years ago. I believe the one in the crowd last week with his daughter was his real wife. Punk told the wife to get lost. She just closed the door and watched. They paid this woman do this performance? It wasn’t great by her. Punk said he’d pay for punting the Nexus guys. He left as the wife screamed for help for her husband.
The idea behind the angle was good, but the acting wasn’t necessarily good. From a storyline standpoint it was effective in terms of letting Punk get revenge on Orton after weeks of looking like a dumbass. And Randy, please sell the knee injury next week. It’s okay to show weakness. It makes you a more sympathetic character.
It’s main event angle time. Alex Riley was in the ring even though he was fired a few weeks ago. He got hired as the “VP of Corporate Communications.” Lame. Just say he’s a wrestler. Trying to be “creative” when you don’t have to be is silly and only insults the intelligence of the viewer. He introduced The Miz as Cole went into his usual “must see” spiel and mentioned he was a guest on Conan on Wednesday. Miz compared himself to legends like Ali & Jordan saying fans used to watch them, but now they have him. He called himself the greatest champion in history. Heels lie. A lot. He said it was time to re-write Miz-tory and unveiled the new WWE Title belt, which was now a M instead of a W. Congrats to whoever works for WWE that figured out that an upside down W is a M. That’s creative. He mentioned the belt spinning in the past, but it hasn’t spun in many years. They need to ditch that belt. Even Cena has said he doesn’t like it much. He doesn’t plan on being a multi-time champion because he doesn’t plan on losing it. Does anybody ever plan on losing it? I don’t think they do. After he said “I’m The Miz and I’m awesome” he was interrupted by Cena.
John Cena spoke via satellite again, but we quickly learned that he was in the arena because a guy in a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey showed up to remove the set. The crowd popped huge. That was a good reveal. Nicely done. When Cena entered the arena he told the camera he was there, not via satellite. That’s a shot at the Rock, which is fine. Hey remember how Miz attacked Cena last week in a brutal way? Apparently Cena doesn’t because he shows no sign of pain from that beating. It’s Super-Cena! He charged the ring, they threw the podium at him, but he moved. Miz bailed. Riley wasn’t so smart. Cena put him in the STF. Riley was screaming in pain. He let go and then re-applied it. Miz would not re-enter the ring. Cena kept the hold on showing a lot of aggression. Remember when “ruthless aggression” was the company catchphrase? They would be yelling that here if it still was. The show ended with Cena looking strong like he always seems to do.
Three Stars of the Show
1. The HHH-Undertaker video package
2. CM Punk for yelling at Orton’s fake wife
3. Trish Stratus for that shot of the thong
It was a bad week for handing out the stars. I don’t know what else to say. Don’t ever take them too seriously.
5 out of 10
Last week: 7
2011 High Score: 9 (Jan. 3 & Feb. 14)
2011 Low Score: 4 (Jan. 10)
2011 Average: 6.04
It was another promo heavy show, as expected. I think my 5 might be generous. I don’t think there was anything that bad on the show, though. It was average in a lot of ways, hence the 5 rating. It also felt like an advertisement for next week’s show, which will feature Rock-Cena and HHH-Taker face to face confrontations as they mentioned a few times. This was one of those episodes of Raw where if you missed it you really didn’t miss much. The Orton-Punk thing was good because Punk finally got some momentum back, but otherwise there was nothing groundbreaking on this week’s show.
Moving on to one more thing I felt like mentioning. In an article at TVweek.com, it states that a WWE publicist named Kellie Baldyga sent a stern e-mail to the author of a story about Drew Carey being in the “pro wrestling hall of fame” demanding that the headline be ‘corrected.’ Baldyga wrote in her email, “We are no longer a wrestling company but rather a global entertainment company with a movie studio, international licensing deals, publisher of three magazines, consumer good distributor and more.”
A global entertainment company huh? This drew a lot of attention from people, myself included. I guess this makes me a Global Entertainment Writer rather than a Wrestling Writer? I’m a GEW. I can work with that.
I think it’s more of a marketing thing. I don’t think they’d get big companies like Mattel to partner with them if they were branded as a pro wrestling company. Remember their favorite sponsor before? Castrol GTX. Not a big name sponsor. The Global Entertainment Company thing is a branding as a way to attract bigger, more respectable companies to them. That’s always why they have the PG label. They are making more money in advertising than they did before even though less people are watching the product than they did a decade ago. The money they make in advertising dollars can make up for the lesser money they make in PPV buys. It makes sense to me, but I think you’re alienating a lot of fans by shying away from the term “wrestling.” On WWE’s part I think they realize that they’re not going to lose any viewers because of it, so they might as well keep doing it. I can see both sides. Ultimately it’s not a big deal, but it is something we can joke about of course.
While I don’t think WWE would ever change the name “WrestleMania” because it has a huge place in history, what if they did? Would the event be named something like this?
Thanks to my buddy Steve Murray for making that. Like I said I don’t think that would ever happen because the marketability of WrestleMania is so strong, but imagine if it did? No thanks.
As for WrestleMania, am I going? I think so. I really do. I got most of it planned out, but money issues have caused some problems. I’ve had some help from some friends, which I’m grateful for. Even had a friend set up a donation thing that I’ve put up at thejohnreport.net because he knows how much I want to go A couple of days after that got set up the tsunami hit in Japan and I’m not going to push it. They need it more than me. I’ll find a way to get there. Hopefully by this time next week it will be all sorted out and if others are going to Mania I’d be happy to meet up with other fans there. We’ll see how it goes. That’s all for this week.
Thanks for reading.
Visit My Archives to view ten years of The John Report columns.
Sign up and receive the latest wrestling news, videos and photos straight to your inbox.