Re: WWE 2005: Raising the Bar.
Always nice to see you kick off a show with something a little bit different, and the Cabana certainly provided that. I thought you had Carlito pretty spot on, and the opening with his grievances towards Teddy Long all had a ring of truth behind it. One thing to watch out for, you seemed to drift between “dis/dat” and “this/that”. Should probably be a lot more consistent with that kinda thing, even though it's small, it's a detail that stands out when reading Carlito's speech. Hardy was a step up from 'Lito, I liked the way you had Hardy point out what a waste of talent Carlito was, that was certainly always the real life criticism aimed at him, so I could imagine Matt speaking with a real sense of conviction here. 'Lito had some nice comebacks though, especially liked that comment about living off of Jeff, and I thought it showed that real heelish hypocriscy by mention family just moments after Carlito said not to. I'm noticing as well that you've got all the “ju” in, so the consistency for that is there at least. Again some nice words from Carlito before the inevitable brawl, and typical heel stuff from 'Lito as he picks a fight then runs away. Really nothing to fault here, it was all pretty good stuff, a nice use of Carlito especially. Real good start to the show, I liked it, and the SummerSlam showdown should be a real nice addition to the mid card.
Pretty straightforward promo from Cena, all seemed very intense and in character. Certainly made sense given Angle's claims that Cena would turn it around and point out the fears of Angle, and the words with regards to not going behind Angle's back are pretty standard for face Cena. Not a whole lot to comment on, it did what it was meant to do and hyped the main event and SummerSlam.
Sounds like a pretty exciting match to kick things off, certainly plenty of high flying anyway, but I'd have perhaps wanted a little bit more of a big deal made of the fact that Van Dam wasn't bothered about starting on the apron. I'd have also made more of the fact that before the hot tag, we didn't see 'RVD'. As for the walk out, well, tbh it's very surprising. Obviously you've played up the mental anguish Van Dam has been feeling over the last few weeks, but this either makes me think he's going insane through the stress or a heel turn is on the horizon. I'd love to see the latter, I can't recall seeing a heel RVD in the section before, so it would certainly be something different. One thing I would say though, is that “Sweetheart” in the post match interview just felt so out of place.
Not much to say on JBL/Holly, pretty much a squash match, and I'm surprised it even went 4 mins tbh. Obviously it's the post match promo we're here for, and I say this was the strongest bit of writing you've done so far. JBL is such a fun character to use, and you used him well here, especially that “real” comment, that was well worked. Challenge made, although of course Lashley wants revenge, and again like Carlito earlier, nice use of the chicken shit heel stuff with JBL making a quick exit. Solid enough comeback, and of course the challenge is accepted. Straight away I'm wondering if you'll end the undefeated streak at Summerslam, with of course JBL cheating to win, leading to a rematch further down the line. Might do Lashley some good to really get into a feud with multiple matches rather than grabbing the win here. But yeah, yet another solid addition to the undercard of SummerSlam.
Orton again seemed pretty much in character, and it was a solid bit of build towards his showdown with 'The Deadman', a match I fully expect him to win. One interesting thing though was that you seemed to be setting up a potential future feud between Orton and Cena. I think to see that on SmackDown would really do wonders for the show, especially back in 2005 when both men were really starting to establish themselves as stars in the company.
Interesting that you would take a cruiserweight feud and revolve the latest storyline advancement around a Chris Masters match, not something most people would go for, myself included. And tbh, the fact that Masters needed an assist to get the win, doesn't really do a lot for him here. Anyway, no issues with what Chavo and Helms got up to, certainly made a lot of sense and was another nice way to advance a feud. Will we these two at SummerSlam? I'm not sure, can't really see a spot for them on the card, so perhaps you'll hang fire with this one until the next SmackDown only pay per view.
what on earth is going on with these Cryme Tyme videos? Certainly worth a laugh, even if they're a tad confusing.
The 2 out of 3 falls announcement makes me think you'll do something similar with Helms and London, have it on an episode of SmackDown, would make a ton of sense, and it should be a real strong one next week. As for this, I think Snitsky is just awful, never thought anything of him at all really, so yeah, glad Booker got the win despite Rhyno showing up, as a Snitsky win would have been just criminal, and not in a funny Cryme Tyme way.
Ah ha, the plot thickens. So there is shenanigans afoot, but we just don't know where or how now. Well, certainly puts my RVD heel turn out, but it adds to the intrigue. A great little less is more segment here, good stuff, can't wait to see the big reveal.
And main event time. Gotta admit, I liked the action and the fact that we saw very little from Cena and Angle, that was almost a ploy I think to protect the SummerSlam main event imo. And again, you tied the whole heel hypocrisy nicely into the match with the cheap finish, and you did well to have Cole hammer home the fact on commentary. I think you got the emphasis of the main story point just right here, while perhaps the emphasis on other stories was lacking earlier. But yeah, this was much better, definitely saved the best til last with regards to the in ring action and your writing, nothing at all to fault with the main event.
Overall, I enjoyed this more than last week tbh. I thought this was a step up from that, as we had much more storyline development, and the intrigue for the RVD situation was really strong. Perhaps the matches weren't as good, but there was enough around that to cover for it. Good stuff again, keep taking the shows up a notch week after week and by the time you hit SummerSlam you'll be ready to deliver a top notch pay per view.