Raw Recall (02/05/2011): Star-Spangled Birthday, #IWantChristian

Rocky is toasted by Vince and the fans

There is a fine line between national pride and the sense of closure/relief that comes with the perpetrator of an act of mass-international-terrorism, and sickly aggressive nationalistic grandstanding, especially when the the death of Osama Bin Laden will change nothing, and will bring a further sense of civilisational war and threat. For that reason, I will not give any more time to the anthem and pledge of allegiance which displeased me so.

In an interesting note, however, Shawn Daivari (one-time side-kick of Muhammad Hassan) made his WWE return at this weeks Smackdown tapings, losing to a babyface Ted DiBiase (good to hear in itself!) in a dark match. One of the few storylines i’m upset I missed when I wasn’t watching wrestling between roughly 2002/3-2008 was the Muhammad Hassan story. I thought it had the potential to be very progressive in terms of characterisation, and would welcome some sort of reprise of it with Shawn Daivari in light of the current American self-celebration.

R-Truth’s attack on John Morrison showed a RAW, furious aggression that it is rare to see. In this character, Truth has found the best that he is. He looked like a man absolutely beside himself with a sort of indignant fury, and his jumping cool shots continue to look devastating, especially the one on the top of the ramp. With Truth arguably costing Morrison the WWE Championship at Extreme Rules, this feud is progressing nicely.

Next up was Kelly Kelly vs Maryse, and very soon in to the match, we heard the cackle and music of KHARMA! I like how the divas she approaches are glued to the spot. It gives Kharma something of a supernatural presence, though not one that is too-other-worldly to be believable. With Maryse out (she really sold that bulldog from Kelly Kelly!) Kharma entered the ring with Kelly cowering in the corner. But instead of going after Kelly, she picked up Maryse and hit her Implant Buster on her, which Maryse received brilliantly btw. She then looked to Kelly and left the ring. It seems then that Kharma will be working in some way, primarily with Kelly, and Kelly really is the perfect choice. Her real name is Barbie (yeah …) and she epitomises everything of the barbie-doll contingent of the divas division. Kharmas entrance has been one of the best introductions in years, and major kudos should go to HHH for being a huge driving force behind this initiative. It seems the divas division will be shaken up!

The WWE Championship match, which aired at the top of the hour, instead of as the main event (!) This was a very good match, and helped by the hot Miami crowd, which were also very in to this match – a testiment to the Storytelling of Miz and Cena. There weren’t many unique spots or anything, but it was just great back and forth which built at a good pace, to a zenith. One nice progression came though when Miz was hitting boots to Cena’s head. The second time he went for it though, Cena avoided it and reversed in to an STF. the tension grew when Cena hit an AA, and Miz, again, kicked out of it. He really is the real deal. Following that, Riley managed to distract the referee long enough to allow a belt shot from Miz, who then hid the belt behind Cena’s body to get the three count! I couldn’t believe it, I thought it was going to be a flawed but exciting continuation of Miz/Rock/Cena (as it also would have affected Cena’s cause of keeping the title until WrestleMania. Before I could really get my head around what had happened though, the referee had worked out what had happened and reversed the decision. Well, why? My instinct right now makes me think that this will just be a justification for a re-match, by why use a re-match as justification for a statutory re-match!? What these two need is a clean finish. Make this a non-title match with the exact same booking and it works better. Also, this, despite the finish, was a great match, and it is ridiculous that it wasn’t the main event.

Next up was a tag match between four guys who had just arrived to RAW from Smackdown, which was a good idea. I don’t have that much to say about the match itself. It was pretty nice, but what really stood out was the continuing growth as Drew McIntyre. He and Swagger had really nice tag team chemistry (making me think pairing them for a while might be a good idea) while he really kept to grow as a heel persona. He’s always had a good air to him, but he’s been carrying it even better recently and he achieved this again with some really snide looks to the audience. Its such a simple thing, but it will help make him even more of a star.

The main event was weird in that it was Kane vs Mason Ryan. This was basically a Nexus angle, with CM Punk attacking Kane eventually to help Ryan. On his own though, he took down Big Show as well, shockingly (well, sort of), with a Spear before leaving the ring without the rest of Nexus. Still, despite this definite surge forward, i’m still struggling to get interested in this story. There seems to be a parallel here with the break-up of the Corre (who this week ‘excommunicated’ Ezekiel Jackson) which i’m finding more interesting. Perhaps the storylines will link? It’s hard to think how this could happen, but the Nexus really needs something inject some life in to this previously red-hot faction.

The final segment was the Rock’s segment. Now, while I love The Rock, and while he can make great TV, I just think that this is the sort of thing that should not be the main event segment. The end of the show should leave a cliffhanger if you want to draw people to the next show. The Rock’s moment with Vince was touching, but next week, when The Rock isn’t around, who will be drawn to watch the rest of the guys by that segment. At the least, that segment should have been swapped with the WWE Championship match, and even more, though the back-stage face off between Cena and Rock was great, that should have happened in the ring during the birthday segment and really made something of it for their WrestleMania match. Still, the fans seemed to love it, so there’s only so much I can criticise it.

Finally, I was planning to talk about the hugely controversial Christian/Orton situation. Now, not being able to finish this until Friday, this isn’t even a spoiler, but only five days after (in TV time) winning the World Heavyweight Championship, he dropped the title to Randy Orton. Now I was, like many others, absolutely furious when I heard about this on twitter (btw, follow me at @RTVWOW for more thoughts on the World of Wrasslin!). Like everyone else, my knee-jerk reaction was that Christian (as well as Edge and the fans ) were being totally disrespected by Vince specifically. And there is reason to think this: it is widely ‘known’ that Vince isn’t high on Christian as a top guy, and secondly, it has been reported that whether Christian or Del Rio won at Extreme Rules, the title would go to Orton soon anyway; the conclusion being that all of the emotional investment from the fans in Christian was essentially disingenuous. Now, i’m not saying this is the case, but while I was waiting to write this, Chris Jericho tweeted about the situation, rightly saying that we should all calm down as it might all be a storyline. This is obviously wise, especially now that the #IWantChristian campaign has come to the attention of WWE. The touching and spectacular outpouring for Christian will doubtlessly encourage WWE to invest more in him. Their match on Smackdown, despite the hurt of Christian’s loss, was an excellent match and a possible MOTY candidate. If it was just a way of getting the title off Christian as soon as possible, I will be upset because, while Orton is obviously now the guy on Smackdown, i’m sure he could wait a PPV or two before getting the title. If it is, then there is only one way it can really go. Orton is hugely popular and is getting monster pops. Indeed, the whole reason he is on Smackdown is to replace Edge as top face, so turning him heel here would be a mistake. So either this is made in to a feud of honour between Orton and Christian with Orton showing respect to Christian in respect. The other option is that Christian turns heel with the obvious reasoning of being ‘screwed’ out of his title and his dream while Edge was no where to be seen and his ‘peeps’ were no help to him. Hopefully, what initially seemed like a sickening show of disrespect towards Captain Charisma will be used to make a great storyline and a series of matches just as good as the one on this week’s Smackdown.

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