The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal for 10/17/11 (Mexico)
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter at @johnreport
Live from Mexico City, Mexico this is the Raw Deal…
This is the first Raw from Mexico City. It was taped on Saturday. It looked like a legit sellout and they reported that the number was just under 15,000 fans, so that is impressive. The era of selling out Raw every week is long gone (they did it all the time during the Attitude Era), but it sure is nice to see a full building every once in a while. I’m sure the performers like it more too. Nothing beats that adrenaline rush.
We started the show off with interim Raw GM John Laurinaitis. By the way, notice the lack of pyro lately? They are cutting down costs. The pyro is damn expensive, fella. They showed a video package of last week’s mess when Laurinaitis was named interim GM. He mocked the fans by saying Rey Mysterio would be there, when in fact he wasn’t. His delivery of lines is still really bad. Don’t they have coaches for that? He said he might mistakes on the job and last week he did one, so he brought out Jim Ross. The Oklahoma music in Mexico City? Not sure if that works. Ross went to the announce desk, but JL told him to get in the ring. He gave Ross an awkward hug. Then he said Ross isn’t there to be an announcer. He showed a clip of last week when Cole celebrated Ross’ firing. JL announced a tag match between the Dynamic Dudes…no wait, that’s not it. The tag match was Ross & Cena vs. Cole & Del Rio. Somewhere Teddy Long is pissed off that somebody else made a tag match. Holla holla holla. Then Cole & Ross taunted eachother from where they were standing. That was one of the worst posedowns ever, although still better than Triple H vs. Steiner from 2003.
Not a great opening segment. I think JL is a bad talker. That doesn’t make him a good heel. He has “go away” heat more than anything. It’s why so many people turned off the show last week when he was announced as interim GM. I’m not sure about Ross & Cole being in a match. Fans don’t care that much about them in the ring. Let them announce. I couldn’t tell what reactions were real and what ones were piped in, but it sounded like most of it was fake noise.
Randy Orton came out before the first commercial. Huge pop. Legit or fake noise? Seemed legit. Tag match after the break.
Mark Henry, Cody Rhodes & Christian d. Randy Orton, Sheamus & John Morrison (**1/2)
Hey look, it’s John Morrison Horowitz in a match, I wonder if he will win? The answer to that is no. The first half of the match saw Orton & Rhodes end up fighting up the entrance way and into the backstage area, never to be seen again. I love how that happens. Do you just run up there, and then all of a sudden forget you have a match? Are we to assume they are still fighting? I guess winning doesn’t matter. Back from the break, Morrison was getting beat up like usual, he went for the hot tag to Sheamus, but Christian distracted Sheamus and he left before Morrison could tag him. Poor Morrison. The other wrestlers don’t like him, just like the bookers. Christian ran through the crowd, so Sheamus chased him and they were gone. Morrison tried to fight Henry, but that didn’t last long. I loved how Henry caught Morrison in his arms & then hit the World’s Strongest Slam for the finish at 12 minutes. Great spot. Morrison continues to lose. Henry looks dominant going into the PPV. The other four aren’t hurt because they left before the match ended. Cody & Christian are cowards while you have to pay to see Orton & Sheamus get their hands on them at the PPV. Simple booking, but it works.
They aired a vignette on Brodus Clay. It was well done because they had him talk instead of simply showing clips. One of the things that we’ve read about Triple H being in the office is that he wants the talent to have videos on the shows before they debut, or in this case return like Clay.
Backstage, the Bella Whores flirted with Laurinaitis, telling him that they shouldn’t forget about them. He says he won’t. He got kissed on the cheek and the lipstick mark was on his face as the segment continued. Del Rio walked in to complain about the tag match. Laurinaitis said whoever wins the tag match gets to pick the stipulation of the WWE Title match at Vengeance.
Eve d. Natalya (1/2*)
They each had their pals in their corner as Beth accompanied Natalya while Kelly was with Eve. They announced Eve was getting a title shot at Beth. Who did she beat to earn it? Oh well. Not like they have a deep roster to offer up a new opponent. Natalya was on offense the whole time, talking trash to Eve while Beth told Eve to start crying. The Beth & Natalya duo are going by Sisters of Salvation as their name now, instead of Divas of Doom. I liked DOD better. Eve hit two moves and a moonsault finished her off. Not a fan of Eve beating my favorite Natalya, but makes sense going into the PPV. It’s not like Eve will win the title there.
By the way, they started to put Twitter handles in the graphics when they show the entrances of the talent. It’s a nice idea to promote Twitter without shoving it down our throats like they do. As a social media guy, I like how they promote their various endeavors. Why not? It’s free advertising. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport if you aren’t already. It’s fun. Don’t take it so serious, fella.
Back from break, the announcers mentioned that Triple H & CM Punk vs. The Miz & R-Truth was official for Vengeance.
CM Punk entered the arena to a huge pop. The Mexico City crowd loved him. It was really a thunderous ovation and it sure seemed legit to me. The Miz & R-Truth came out. Big heat. They trash talked Punk with Miz asking what hurt more: the beatdown at Hell in a Cell (apparently that barely hurt because nobody sold injuries from it) or the way they removed Hunter as the head of Raw, which is what he was trying to do. They said Punk talked too much, which was funny because they were the ones talking. Before the match started, Hunter walked out in a suit. Cole mentioned he was still COO. If he was still COO, couldn’t he overrule Laurinaitis & fire these guys? I guess not. JL runs Raw, but the guy running the company would have more power, right? I guess not. I’ll stop.
CM Punk d. The Miz (**1/2)
Punk’s best buddy Mr. Hx3 was in his corner in his white dress shirt while Truth was out there supporting Miz. They worked a good match when suddenly JL came out to stop the match. He had papers for Hunter to look at. So why was the match stopped? They went to break, then showed Hunter backstage with some random dudes in suits and they mentioned it was some kind of immigration issue. Bowtie Otunga was there too. Obviously it plays up the idea that JL is continuing to screw Hunter, who is too stupid to realize it. Back in the ring, the match was still going on despite the promo to stop it. I guess the match was simply on pause then. Cue Wayne’s World: GAME ON! Party time, excellent, woo woo woo. (If you don’t know what Wayne’s World is you’re too young and I feel sorry for you.) Punk had control, Truth tried to interfere, Punk outsmarted him, ran the heels into eachother and he was able to pin Miz with a rollup. The crowd was super hot for the entire thing. I liked the chemistry of Punk & Miz. I think that’s a future PPV main event for the WWE Title down the line. Both guys are great talkers, so it could be an awesome rivalry if they get a chance to develop it.
Post match, the heels beat up Punk. Nobody helped Punk except the refs. His new best buddy Hunter was taken backstage with the immigration papers story. Shouldn’t the roster hate Miz & Truth or is everything cool again now that they got hired? I mean they walked out because it was unsafe. Truth ended up hitting his finisher. Then Miz acted like he was done, but he went back in to hit his too. Punk & Triple H are winning on Sunday…unless Hunter turns heel. I don’t think that will happen yet.
They plugged WWE Network saying that the WrestleMania show will be called WrestleMania Rewind. That’s not very new, is it? I’m guessing the main event from WrestleMania 20 won’t be a part of that show. Just a hunch. Then they plugged some legends “reality” show that you can vote on. That sounds like a disaster just like the divas bus show. I’m not a fan of scripted “reality” shows.
The heel trio of Vickie Guerrero, Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler walked out to the ring. Vickie was wearing a Mexican dress while getting massive heel heat like usual. She announced, thanks to JL’s approval, that at Vengeance it would be Kingston & Bourne defending the tag titles against Swagger & Ziggler. Ziggler cut a great heel promo ripping on things and even making a joke saying Titus O’Neil would never get over while he was doing his super fast promo. That was fun. I’m a huge fan of this guy and he keeps improving on the microphone. Swagger spoke next, telling us he’d sing the US National Anthem. He sang bad, the crowd booed & he started over. Great job by these three. The crowd really hated them. Zack Ryder’s music started up to interrupt.
Zack Ryder d. Jack Swagger (NR)
A very short match that literally went 30 seconds. Swagger charged at Ryder in the corner, Zack got the double knees up and finished him off with the Rough Ryder rather easily. It’s a good way to make Ryder look good although the win was a bit flukey too.
Post match, the heels were ready to attack Ryder when Mason Ryan’s music started up. He leads WWE in terms of using the most baby oil and looking like the most likely candidate to fail a Wellness Test. Shoutout to Darren Young & Heath Slater for that. Ryan had a match with Ziggler next.
Dolph Ziggler d Mason Ryan via DQ (*)
This was the best Ryan has looked since his babyface turn, which isn’t a surprise because he was in there with a top worker like Ziggler. The match broke down rather quickly, Ryan ended up on the floor with Vickie, who slapped him hard across the face. He was so mad that he ran into the ring, pounded on Ziggler in the corner with right hands and got DQ’d because he was too stupid to stop throwing punches even while the ref counted. I guess the idea is that he was too angry, but I like saying too stupid because frankly that’s what some babyfaces in WWE are. Basically they didn’t want either guy to lose, so they went with this finish that made them both look good.
Post match, Swagger tried to attack. Ryan disposed of him with a clothesline over the top and finished off Ziggler with a spinning Powerslam to end the segment. Can we call that the World’s Most Baby Oiled Powerslam? No. Too wordy. How about the Baby Oil Slam. Yep, it’s BOS time.
Backstage, Jim Ross talked to John Cena in the locker room. Cena said he’d take care of things and Ross said he trusted him. Then he asked Cena if he (Ross) could get his hands on Cole. Cena smiled, said sure and JR was all excited. We needed Booker T. on commentary here to say “OH MY GOODNESS!”
They cut to the announce desk. Cole stood up and said he had to get ready for his match. He said his wife was Mexican, so the fans should cheer him. That could be legit. He is from Texas.
They had a new Be A Star commercial. Don’t be a bully, unless you’re a heel wrestler. Then it’s okay.
They ran down the PPV lineup:
WWE Title: Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena for the WWE Title with the stip TBD in the main event.
World Title: Mark Henry vs. Big Show
Triple H & CM Punk vs. The Miz & R-Truth
Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes – no IC Title on the line.
Tag Titles: Air Boom vs. Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger
Divas Title: Beth Phoenix vs. Eve
There’s another match that gets added on Smackdown. I won’t say. We’ll have the preview up on Friday after Smackdown airs.
Speaking of PPVs, how many should WWE have in a year? Vote now!
Main event time. Del Rio got a mixed reaction. Cole was hated. Cena got a gigantic ovation. Most of the fans loved him. Some boos, but not really. It was a lot of noise. The wide shot of the arena was a great visual. Ross was cheered. He was wearing his Oklahoma Sooners jersey. How do you say WHAT DA HELL~! in Spanish because that’s what the fans must be wondering when they saw that jersey.
John Cena & Jim Ross d. Alberto Del Rio & Michael Cole (**)
They booked this one in an intelligent manner because it was Cena vs. Del Rio with a little bit of the announcers in small doses. Cole & Ross started, JR decked Cole with a right hand and then Cena worked with Del Rio for the majority of the 12 minute match. I was surprised that Del Rio wasn’t cheered more considering he’s wrestling in his home country as the WWE Champion. I guess there’s no heel loyalty to the fans there. They boo the heels and cheer the faces. They’re loud about it too, which is fun. Del Rio was on offense for the majority of it. Cena went into comeback mode, hit his usual offense and was about to finish him off when Del Rio tagged in an unsuspecting Cole. Cena gave him the Attitude Adjustment. He was going to go for the STF, but he changed his mind and tagged in Jim Ross. Ross excitedly put him in the Ankle Lock with an aggressive look on his face that was almost comical. Cole tapped out quickly. The crowed popped huge.
Post match, Cena attacked Del Rio in a violent manner. He beat him up all around the ringside area, ending it with the steel steps to the head. Lawler was freaking out on commentary saying “you don’t want to do that!” Why? Is he gonna get fired? So stupid. Anyway, Cena stood over top of Del Rio and counted to ten. As a result of his team winning, he got to pick the stipulation for the WWE Title match at Vengeance. He decided on “Last Man Standing” as the stipulation. In other words, go with the match that allows Del Rio to beat him without Cena getting pinned. That doesn’t mean I pick Del Rio. I’m just throwing it out there.
I wonder what the fans in Mexico think about Ross & Cole considering that Raw is broadcast in Spanish to them. I doubt they care a whole heck of a lot about the English speaking announcers. Obviously Raw is a worldwide show, but a lot of the time they cater to the local fans. Not here. I think the reason for the match was because there was such an uproar after Jim Ross got storyline fired last week that the creative team thought it would be a good idea to put him in a match on Raw. Not only that, but the main event. They likely thought it would help the ratings, which had a steep decline last week after JR was removed. Note to creative team: we don’t want to see Jim Ross wrestle. We want to listen to him announce. That’s it. That’s all he wants to do too. And sell some sauce while he’s doing it.
I thought it was a good ending to the show because the last thing that goes into your head when you think about this week’s Raw is the main event of the PPV on Sunday being Cena vs. Del Rio with the WWE Title on the line in a Last Man Standing match. That’s how it should be.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Jim Ross – You beat up Cole. You earn first star. That’s a rule.
2. CM Punk – Crowd loved him. Had a strong match with Miz.
3. Dolph Ziggler
6 out of 10
Last week: 3.5
2011 High Score: 9.1 (March 28)
2011 Low Score: 3.5 (October 10)
2011 Average: 5.72
Last 5 Weeks: 3.5, 6.5, 6, 5.5, 4
A better show than last week, that’s for sure. The grade of 6 puts it right above the yearly average. At least this week the booking was a lot more focused, they actually promoted the PPV and there weren’t as many logic holes as usual. Do I think Vengeance is going to be a great PPV that generates a lot of interest to the average WWE fan? No. However, they did do a good job of pushing some of the matches at that event. In terms of matches, it is pretty good although I’ll get more into that in Friday’s PPV preview.
The Mexico City crowd was fun. They loved CM Punk. They liked John Cena more than most American crowds although you could tell some people were against him. The building felt loud during the matches, but during the promos they appeared to be pretty dead, which caused WWE to pipe in crowd noise. I hate when they do that. You can tell how fake it is.
In terms of matches, nothing was too bad and nothing was amazing either. The two tag matches were pretty solid TV matches while Punk vs. Miz was a nice tease to what they can do in a bigger setting down the road. The babyface duo of Ryder & Ryan looked great against Swagger & Ziggler respectively, which was the point of that segment. Natalya put over Eve as well. Oh and John Morrison lost again because that’s how he rolls. I’m not a fan of JR or Cole in a match, but they didn’t do anything to embarrass themselves or the business, so it’s okay in small doses. I have no major complaints about how any of the matches were booked.
I noticed a lot of heel promos. Not much by the babyfaces. Was that because they felt that maybe the crowd would be dead for the babyfaces because perhaps they wouldn’t understand what they were saying? Cena spoke at the end, but otherwise it was heel dominated. I’m not sure if that was the plan going in, or if it just happened to be that way when the script came out.
Keep checking out thejohnreport.net daily for more articles by our amazing crew of writers. I’ll be back with the TJR staff on Friday to write the preview WWE Vengeance this Sunday and Saturday with Canton’s Corner. Then on Monday I’ll write a recap of WWE Vengeance.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit my 10+ year column archive at the Wrestling Oratory right HERE.