Tuesday, December 11, 2007

W.W.E. Recap:15 Years of Raw

Last night’s 15th Anniversary Raw Show was certainly spectacular! I can’t even imagine the amount of directing, producing, coordinating, etc. that goes into an event like that. So many stars showed up at Raw for one night only, while I think for others it was a tryout. The biggest ovations of the evening came for Hulk Hogan (pictured above with Hornswoggle), Rob Van Dam (RVD), Sunny, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels. The guys who drew heat - which in wrestling is a good thing – were Randy Orton and Eric Bischoff. A bad thing is when the fans are kind of just looking around like when Marty Jannetty came out. Not much reaction for him either way. Thankfully, that was the only part of the program that was not overly exciting. Jannetty’s match with Mr. Kennedy was kind of a bore-snore.

The biggest surprises for me were that “Psycho” Sid did not show up; nothing, not even a videotaped message from The Rock; and no kind of “in memory of” moment for the guys who have died, although Owen Hart was featured at least once in a clip of past Raw episodes. I look at the lack of a tribute as basically letting sleeping dogs lie (the topic and the media vultures). A tribute to one would mean a tribute done for the many, and there have been many. Just an uncomfortable topic for the W.W.E. right now and unfortunately, it would only open themselves up to harsh criticism from some. While others may even say the W.W.E. was trying to bank off of those tragedies. Don't believe me, go check out some of the old columns from that guy who writes for the New York Post. The Rock? I have no idea about. Supposedly, Sid was seen entering the Arena at Harbor Yard. The guy is 6’11” so I don’t know how anyone could mistake him for someone else.

Bret Hart is a whole other story. Until the last few days, the plan was for Hart to appear and the entire show would pretty much revolve around him. Things though got pretty sticky with Hart and the W.W.E. and now Bret Hart is once again upset with the promotion. “The Hitman” has a new book that is selling like crazy in Canada, and is slated to hit bookstores in the United States in January. The W.W.E. was negotiating with Bret for exclusive marketing rights, which Bret agreed to, under the condition that not one change be made to the book. Well, W.W.E. reportedly agreed to this before later saying that 400 of the 500 and some odd pages needed to be changed. Ouch! So Bret Hart and the W.W.E. are once again at opposite ends of the spectrum. What a shock!

What was my favorite moment of the night? The first was when Hulk Hogan’s music blared over the loudspeakers inside the Arena at Harbor Yard when little Hornswoggle was about to get crushed by The Great Khali. Hogan and Khali brawled for a minute or two before, the big 7-footer got knocked out of the ring. Hogan grabbed the mic and thanked the fans, plugged American Gladiators, and said “you never can say never, oh yeah!” The “oh yeah” part was a clear imitation of Randy”Macho Man”Savage, so read into that what you wish. Hogan-Savage at ‘Mania?

The vignette they showed from several years back with Vince McMahon laying in a hospital bed with a cast on his leg and being harassed by Mankind (Mick Foley) was pretty funny. It got even funnier to see Mankind produce “Mr. Socko,” which, for those of you that don’t know, is just an ugly old sock on Mankind’s hand with a smiley face scribbled on it. After Mr. Socko gets introduced to Mr. McMahon’s mouth, “Dr.” Steve Austin appears and starts beating the hell out of Vince McMahon, culminating in a classic blow to McMahon’s head with a bedpan. At the end of Raw, Vince McMahon predictably named himself as the “greatest superstar in the history” of the show. However, he would subsequently be “tombstoned” by The Undertaker, get acquainted with Mr. Socko once again, and then try to share a beer with Steve Austin, only to receive a “stone cold stunner.” Austin then said that the greatest superstars in the history of Raw were the folks in the arena and the ones watching at home. He then invited all the wrestlers, announcers, etc. to come out to the ring and have a beer, which they all at least did come down to the ring. Minus Hulk Hogan.

- Cody Rhodes and Hardcore Holly defeated Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch for the World Tag Team Titles, with Cody’s legendary father Dusty at ringside.
- Jeff Hardy beat Carlito in a "ladder match" to retain the W.W.E. Intercontinental title.
- Ted DiBiase gave I.R.S. a roll of cash to jump over the top rope in the “past stars” 15 man battle royal, which featured Gillberg (since Goldberg and the W.W.E. aren’t on the best of terms). Anyway, I.R.S. took the dough, therefore DiBiase was declared the winner.
- There was also a pretty solid match that pitted Edge, Randy Orton, and Umaga against Ric Flair, Triple H, and Batista. Edge, Orton, and Umaga got disqualified.
- I was also surprised not to see John Cena or Bobby Lashley; both are out with injuries. By the way, John Cena was in Iraq last week with his arm in a sling entertaining the troops with the rest of the W.W.E. Simply, that’s why I like the guy.

If it’s me, I sign RVD, Sunny, and Steve Blackman to deals without a second thought. Van Dam has been taking some time off, from what I’ve read, after not reupping with the W.W.E. earlier this year.

Here are some of the other notables that appeared last night: Lita, Trish Stratus, Molly Holly, Ivory, Bob Backlund, Al Snow, Bastion Booger, The Godfather, Doink the Clown, Repo Man, The Goon, Sgt. Slaughter, Pat Patterson, Howard Finkle, and a bunch of others. What? No Gobbeldygooker? Yes, shameful indeed.

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