Like I said in the PM, the quick turnaround posting Raw after SNME caught me by surprise, so before I get to the Raw review, I’ll pass a few quick comments on SNME…
- The Trish Stratus heel turn is one of the best I’ve seen done. For one, it gives us a WHOLE new take on the Mickie/Trish storyline from this era. But besides the uniqueness of Trish being heel and James being face, the actual turn itself was beautifully orchestrated, and I cant wait to see how the rest of the angle unfolds now that the lines have been drawn. Best segment of the night, with the double switch (although I guess Mickie was never *officially* a heel) done to perfection.
- Jeff Hardy returning was pretty much a given. But just because it's predictable doesnt mean it's bad. No need for a meaningless swerve.
- Booking Booker vs Benoit @ SNME rather than holding off for WM makes sense now
- Overall, I’m a little disappointed by the lead up towards the triple threat match for the WWE title. Not the thought of the match itself, but the way it’s come about just feels like it‘s been done time and time again. Thought if it was going in the three way route, we might’ve got something to sink our teeth into. Up to now, the build towards this match has been below par if I’m honest, compared to how it was shaping up initially with Angle and Edge a month or so ago. There’s still plenty of time to make this one compelling, but so far, imo, the build has been weak.
- I’m also on the fence with the second big heel turn on the one show. I’m not sure if I’m just being a bit of a spoilsport nitpicker
, but the HBK heel turn at the culmination of the show just kind of undercuts the Trish heel turn earlier in the show imo. Saying that, having the two big turns on the show also makes it that much more special, more memorable, more unforgettable, and lives up to the history of SNME being a huge centrepiece in the WWE crown.
- The RVD-Taker segment was spot on, especially for a segment that could’ve came off as really awkward, given the totally opposite personalities. If you play up that in the lead in to their match at WM, it should be special.
- Overall though, despite pointing out my few problems with the show, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Felt like it was a special occasion, and a memorable show that just took the anticipation toward WM 22 a notch higher, with a lot more of the show looking to be taking shape.
Right, so onto Raw.
Glad you kicked off with the big one. Shawn Michaels explanation is what everyone wanted to see, so it wouldn’t have surprised me if you kept it until the end of the show, but kicking off with it is a better choice, imo. Taking his frustrations out on the fans, showing the selfish side of the old HBK, but with an added element of bitterness worked on all levels for me. You could’ve easily just played it safe and clicked back to 97/98 and have HBK suddenly being a cocky asshole like a lot of people tend to do, but playing him as a bitter veteran works SO much better imo. Heels with solid reasons for their actions and attitude are always the best, and HBK slots into that category.
The interruption of Van Dam was unexpected, and only really necessary to set up the main event, but you played it well, as it could’ve just came off as a random interruption. Instead though, it fitted well, and RVD had a genuine reason for confronting Michaels. On a side note; with RVD remaining a face too, despite a feud with Taker at WrestleMania coming up, that angle has me really intrigued, for a face vs. face rivalry between two polar opposites. I’m hoping for some awesomeness between them in the remaining weeks hyping WM.
Slightly disappointed with Bischoffs underwhelming official announcement of HHH vs. HBK at WrestleMania, but it was coming anyway, so I guess it’s a minor qualm. RVD vs. HBK tonight though is tremendous. Huge main event between two guys that have only ever met once (and over three years ago at that) which ought to have the audience salivating. A strong opening segment, covering two high profile WM matches, and setting up a main event tonight too.
Time for Vis to stick to making love methinks. Wrestling just aint working for him.
I flat out hate the Spirit Squad. I have tolerated them in Legends thread due to his ability to make them somewhat watchable, but I really find them generally horrible, and not in a good way. If you can do something different with them, I’ll warm to the group, but for now, I’m turned off to their repetitive antics.
Carlito didn’t bother to go see The Bisch, did he?? I think this is stage one in dissention between CCC and ‘Piece, with Carlito just being a selfish prick, not bothering to do his friend a favour, and eventually just seeing Masters as his heavy to do all his dirty work. But I get the feeling it’ll be a slow burn turn.
This Benjamin/Haas angle has been one of my favourites in the entire thread. You’ve taken the redundant old ‘WGTT reform’ schtick that consists of; Haas and Benjamin reunite. Haas and Benjamin win matches. Haas and Benjamin win the tag titles, and live happily ever after, and you’ve made an ACTUAL angle out of it. A good angle- a fantastic angle in fact. Because lets face it, WHY would Benjamin want to return to tagging with Haas?? He had a run (or two?) with the IC title, and rubbed shoulders with the biggest main eventers on Raw. He has no reason whatsoever to tag with Charlie Haas. For me, this is the best angle going on Raw right now, and long may it continue. This segment with Bischoff was splendid in doing it’s job of continuing the angle, and showcasing Benjamins lack of interest in tagging. Kinda ironic that on the night Benjamin will WANT to win, they’re going to lose. My one gripe with the match making is that Flair and Chavo look set to go into MITB, and personally, I have no interest in seeing Flair in a ladder match; and Chavo just doesn’t have a hope in hell of winning the thing. Still, good segment in furthering WGTT different career goals.
I’d much rather see Masters get a spot in MITB and be the ‘powerhouse’ of the match, rather than have Chavo waste a spot. Shame for ‘Piece.
Strikers segment was … uhm … un-required if I’m honest. Not saying it was horrible or anything … just un-required.
Was always a fan of Dupree, and it’s good to see you utilise him. Has a readymade heel gimmick that’ll help him settle in as a strong member of Raws mid card ranks. Good addition to beef up the roster imo.
Nice to see the RNWC aren’t going to be forgotten. With the added barb toward Triple H, and Cades past with HBK, it wouldn’t surprise me if they played some sort of minor part in the HHH/HBK feud in the run up to WM, just to keep them busy and on TV until the time comes for them to challenge whomever the champs are post-WM.
Everything about the RVD/Taker angle is interesting me. A lot of layers to it that genuinely have me excited to see it unfold in the coming weeks. Bischoffs reluctance to see it happen, certain that Van Dam will lose and embarrass Raw is a great side plot, with Bischoff basically putting a bounty on his head. The selfish attitude of HBK was displayed nicely again here too, doing a total 180 in the space of a few days.
Just a slight issue to raise, nothing big, but most Americans I’ve ever heard, call their Mum ‘Mom’ when speaking. Throughout this promo, and the one at SNME, Mickie used ‘Mum’ instead. Anyway … this was a splendid follow up to what went down @ SNME. Right now, sympathy for Mickie is at a high, and you can probably milk it for at least another week or two before you come to a point where it’s a fine line between feeling pity for Mickie, and just seeing her as a sad case. As I said though, for now, it works perfectly. She’s just had her hero turn on her, and she’s hit rock bottom, with tonight’s events cementing the fact that Trish doesn’t want to be her friend. A lot of people around here have no time for the womens division - I’ve often neglected the division myself - but this goes to show that you CAN make compelling stories with the women, perhaps even more so on an emotional level than the male roster (given the female species are a very emotional -over emotional
- breed at the best of times) which allows angles like this.
What surprises me is that Ashley made the save for Mickie. When she came running out, I fully expected her to join in with Trish, considering Mickie had attacked her not so long ago. Honestly though, I love this. The unique take on a tired angle from this time period has made Trish vs. Mickie completely fresh, and has me wanting to see more. Just be careful not to make Mickie TOO sympathetic, otherwise you run the risk of the Eugene effect. I think the denial stage for Mickie DOES have legs for another week or two yet though. Great stuff, and a perfect example of HOW to book a womens angle for the ‘women in wrestling suck’ brigade.
Nothing much to the RVD interview. Just further hype for the evenings main event, and some more hype for Taker @ WrestleMania.
I get (at least I think I do) why Kane and Big Show cost Haas and Benjamin the match, meaning they get them at WrestleMania, as it makes sense to face the team with a guy that doesn’t want to be there. But should Kane and Show really be concerned with who they face?? Two seven footers, two monsters … should they really care who they face at WrestleMania?? Would facing Flair and Chavo really have had them worried?? It’s also a fairly weak way for Flair and Chavo to ‘qualify’ for the MITB ladder match. Disappointing finish on a few levels imo.
Michaels vs. Van Dam DID NOT disappoint. A PPV level match, for a combination that could headline a PPV was splendid, and perhaps even required, with the matches through the show being somewhat lacklustre, with two squashes, a Viscera match, and the DQ finish in the previous contest. Good to see RVD still refuse to be thrown off by the mind games of The Deadman, ignoring the lights going out and the gongs. I honestly didn’t believe we’d see Triple H tonight after the SNME assault, and imo, you handled his ‘run in’ perfectly. Would’ve been a bit passé for him to get his own back with an attack, so simply his presence resulting in RVD getting the win, then HBK escaping worked for me. Glad you showed the frustration from Triple H too, smashing his sledgehammer, which most likely sets up an in ring promo from The Game next week.
Would’ve liked a highlight package at some point mid way through the show, centred on the Angle vs. Cena match from SNME with the commentary team talking about it, to set up this Cutting Edge. I know it was hyped a few times during the show, but the WWE title picture was kinda glossed over for the majority of the show, when it could’ve done with a quick VP of what went down at SNME.
Edge though, was at his prick’ish best here, patting himself on the back for his win over Batista @ SNME. Then, deciding he was the only worthy challenger to his title just continued to help him live up to his reputation as a dick. While I was highly critical of the finish to the Angle/Cena match @ SNME, you rescued the angle with the close of this show. It was simple, but highly, highly effective. For months, Edge has been causing Bischoff headaches, and it just seemed to fit nicely that Bischoff got the last laugh here, making the triple threat match. It could’ve ended up seeming a bit off that Angle and Cena would enter and say nothing, but this worked neatly. The two then getting a piece of payback on Edge, followed by an intense staredown was a fantastic way to close out the show, with a LOT of focus now back on the richest prize in the game. Hopefully now, the build up continues on this form, as this was the shot in the arm it needed.
All in all, I’ll wrap it up with a simple summation; WrestleMania is coming along beautifully, with another strong show in the books. Between yourself and Legend, it’s a really close run thing at the minute for which of you is the leading force in BTB today. It’s a testament to how far you’ve come as a booker, and it’s happening at just the right time.