Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Monday Night Raw: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

This week, it's more about ugly, as in bad comedy overshadowing the card at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. Actor Jeremy Piven (Entourage) hosted, aided by "Dr." Ken Jeung, one of his co-stars in his new film, "The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard", opening 8/14. In truth, while the fanboy mentality was present, it was more embodied in the little known Jeung ("The Hangover"), who ignored the fact that outgoing ring announcer Lillian Garcia had already introduced Piven, did his own intro. His wardrobe suggested Jeung was the love child of the late Grand Wizard of Wrestling and former WWE star the Godfather, but he was way beyond over the top. Piven & Jeung's opening segment set the tone for the night, and despite the best efforts of The Miz & John Cena, who'd face each other again in the main event, they couldn't save this drivel.

The opening match was the first of two returns from last week's Beat the Clock tournament (Cena-Miz IV was the other), pitting Jack Swagger against Evan Bourne. This was more like a protracted squash, as Swagger took out his frustrations on Bourne and never let up, ending with the Doctor Bomb (the gutwrench powerbomb invented by "Dr. Death" Steve Williams) for the pin. That wasn't the end, though. Swagger added a pair of springboard Vader Bombs, and went for a 2nd Doctor Bomb before MVP made the save. Swagger already owns a clean pin over MVP, but doesn't want a rematch? Are we back to square one with that? 'Fraid so. You have to remember that the creative team apparently doesn't keep track of everything.

Backstage, Jeung's mouth kept getting him into trouble, such that Piven occasionally would stick a pacifier in to shut him up. Curiously, Kelly Kelly, Alicia Fox, & Rosa Mendes were all in the office with Piven & Jeung, watching a preview screening of "The Goods". Judging from what I've seen, I don't think I want to pay money to see it.

Big Show wanted a match with Shaquille O'Neal, but that probably isn't going to happen until, say, Wrestlemania 26 next Spring, provided the Cleveland Cavaliers allow Shaq a night off to make that gig, and I doubt it. Show gets US champ Kofi Kingston instead, having already beaten Kofi in a non-title tilt on Superstars a couple of weeks earlier. The colossus dominated again, but made the mistake of ignoring the referee while delivering a series of kidney punches to Kingston, leading to Show being DQd, so Kingston remains the US champ, but didn't look like one.

Chavo Guerrero acted as if he was mistaking Piven for first Joe Rogan (current UFC commentator), then Jon Favreau (who has appeared on Entourage). Instead of getting Hornswoggle for the 5th time, Chavo is instead put in with Mark Henry. Enough said.

The token women's match du jour was a tag match pairing Divas champ Mickie James and Gail Kim vs. Beth Phoenix & Jillian Hall. Any storyline teases from last week regarding the face team were ignored, and perhaps just as well. Phoenix reasserted herself as a championship contender, pinning Kim after the Glam Slam.

Triple H asked for and got a handicap match vs. Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase, Jr. of Legacy. Considering the violent feud between HHH & Legacy the last several months, and the fact that Legacy has screwed the "Cerebral Assassin" out of the WWE title, this was a HHH squash win, right? Wrong! Just when you think you've got this "Game" all figured out, he goes and loses to two younger, hungrier talents. Rhodes scored the biggest pin of his career after a Cross-Rhodes neckbreaker.

Carlito & Primo Colon's family feud is back on after a brief truce at Night of Champions. The older, more experienced Carlito gets the measure of Primo this time after a Backstabber.

Cena-Miz IV is a lumberjack match, which on paper not only gives Miz a fighting chance, but also allows for Randy Orton to get in a few cheap shots on Cena prior to their next title date at Summerslam on 8/23. Not only that, but Piven & Jeung turned on Cena and the audience by stacking the deck with all heel lumberjacks. Now, this is wrong-headed booking, and it doesn't always work. Cena beat the odds yet again, and caught Miz trying to use Jeung's pimp cane. The Real World alum ended up nailed with the Attitude Adjustment and was pinned. Worse, because of a pre-match stip enacted by Piven, Miz is off Raw and cannot be in LA for Summerslam!!

So where does Miz go from here? Maybe he comes back next week on a technicality. Maybe he goes back to ECW, from whence he'd been drafted just 4 months ago, only to fall flat on his face in a 1-sided feud with Cena while not wrestling in singles on TV against anyone else (Creative's fault). Maybe he goes to Smackdown to settle some unfinished business with John Morrison, his former tag team partner. Or it could be time to send him down to Florida for a gimmick adjustment, or he has another MTV gig forthcoming to occupy his time. I knew they made a mistake sending him to Raw, and now they're paying for it.

Meanwhile, they're now starting to not only tease a DX reunion (HHH was on the phone, ostensibly with Shawn Michaels), but a split, only this time with HHH as the face and HBK as the heel, reversing their last feud from '02. Expect DX-Legacy at Summerslam, followed by the falling out a few weeks later. It's just a feeling.

Of course, WWE's much better off if they overhaul the Raw creative team, but that'll never happen.

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