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4.01.2008

Tha Raw Report: Thank You Ric

It seems that WWE has listened to the wisdom of Jake Roberts. Last night's "Raw" was filled with emotion rather than visual after visual. For how much I have bashed the "Raw" writing staff over the past year (and deservedly so), last night's show was, top to bottom, great. In fact, it was almost perfect...almost.

The night started off with Randy Orton teasing the entrances of both John Cena and Triple H before coming out himself. He cut a great heel promo before getting cut off by another heel, John Bradshaw Layfield. I realize that the likelihood of these two having a one-on-one feud is very slim, since heel vs. heel is a hard sell, but I loved how JBL tried to argue that he would be a more hated champ.

Heels are supposed to be hated, so for one heel to brag to another that he would be more hated makes sense. No flashy catchphrases, no humor, just a succinct and punchy heel promo. A promo, by the way, that is fully endorsed by Donnie-Aid.

Next, WWE gave me two things that I never though I'd see again on "Raw"-Cryme Tyme and consistency. That's right, everybody, Cryme Tyme is back! Not only that, but their return match was against Cade and Murdoch, the team they were feuding with before their original release many months back. JR and King made note of this, even going so far as to remind fans of Cryme Tyme's impromptu auction of Lance Cade's cowboy hat. Hopefully their second WWE run will lead to a great involvement in a tag team division that sorely needs participants, much less a team like Cryme Tyme that can be money (...money, yeah yeah).

Speaking of tag teams reuniting, The Hooliganz reunited after Spanky's walkout several weeks ago and beat the tag champs, Team Whitey (Hardcore Holly and Cody Rhodes). The rest of the paragraph essentially echoes the last one. Despite not being used very much on "Raw", I think that London and Kendrick can be a very servicable tag team on Monday nights, especially with the Cruiserweight Championship now defunct. Can't drink the Donnie-Aid on this one, I gotta go with that Irish-Aid...also called whiskey. Smooooooooth.

Jericho and Punk had a great match last night. I firmly believe that Punk is in place to shortly become a serious main eventer within WWE. Triple H may not like him, but Vince and Steph are, mostly because his drug free lifestyle seems to make the rest of the company look good. However, I don't agree with Jericho going over on Punk. Considering that Punk won Money In The Bank and is a top contender for any World Championship until such time as he uses the briefcase, having him lose right off the bat makes him look weak. Use his Money In The Bank victory to try and start a momentum streak rather than have him lose the next night.

I truly believe that was my only complaint the entire night. Even Great Khali didn't dampen my mood, because a.) I love hearing the chants of "You can't wrestle!", and b.) Big Show was pure gold in his response to Khali. Brushing him off by bluntly telling him "Okay, you need to get out of my face. Seriously." Damn, wherever Big Show went over his hiatus, send John Cena there.

Santino got his ass kicked by three-quarters of the divas on the roster last night, following a backstage segment in which he was again able to show his comedic genius. "Maria, I hope you got your rabies shot after kissing Snoopy The Dog", "I should have been in the Money Bank match, or the Royal Battle", and the controversial "The divas should be at home making babies, cooking dinner, and cleaning the house" were delivered perfectly. Again, gotta sip the Donnie-Aid; I don't care if he's winning or losing, if he's on my TV, I'm happy.

Donnie-Aid really is the drink of champions. Perhaps Donnie should have been more generous and given some to Vesa Toskala at the beginning of the season.

Okay, everybody's gotten this far in the article waiting for me to discuss the good-bye speech of Flair. Now, I realize that we have not seen the last of the Nature Boy. For that matter, we probably haven't seen his last match. However, last night was such an emotion-filled promo that if Ric Flair were to never again appear on any wrestling program ever, I would believe he had a proper sendoff. Multiple wrestlers from Flair's past showed up, as well as friends of Flair currently backstage.

Ultimately, the entire roster would come out to give Flair and ovation and a "Thank you Ric" chant. Even top heels, such as Edge and Randy Orton, came out, and ironically, were clapping and cheering the hardest out of anyone. I was slightly troubled that the McMahons didn't come out, but later found out through dirt sheets that the McMahons as well as Undertaker came out after the cameras had cut out in order to join the crowd in honoring Ric.

For a while, I was very afraid that WWE would drop the ball and use this as the moment to turn someone heel. I am very glad that they took the high road and used this moment solely to honor Flair rather than to create storylines for their next pay-per-view.

I'm honestly still a little taken aback by how brilliantly WWE put together this segment. A video tribute of some sort would have been a nice touch, but I'm just nitpicking now. All in all, this was a great "Raw", and I'll defend anything from the show that people didn't like. I did think Michaels promo midshow, followed by the Batista tease was a little dry and unnecessary, but that's the only other complaint I could find with this show. Top to bottom, great.


14 comments: on "Tha Raw Report: Thank You Ric"

Anonymous said...

cryme tyme sucks.

Anonymous said...

and so does punk.

Anonymous said...

You know what anonymous, say all the dumb shit you want cause I'm happier than hell about something much bigger than you trying to fuck up a good moment. O-sters, Dan, Donnie I am glad that I actually got to see a fucking retirment. After what's been going on in wrestling for the past couple of years I am fucking happy I actually got to see Flair retire. I really don't even care if it's some big kayfabed spot just to see Flair take the world back to Space Mountain for one ride on the oldest ride in the park with the biggest line in the world would be worth it. The limo's parked, the jet's being refueled, the ladies are powdering their noses in the back(for this instance, I mean putting on make up), and the wheeling and dealing will be saved for another day. To Ric, a man who's still alive but now not so active.

_ Mr. Del Negro

D.J.B. said...

Great Raw top to bottom.

Thank you Ric.

mach23 said...

Good show but u forgot to mention hardy vs orton i think that was a good match and i was shocked that edge and orton came out earlier than the others and were more into it. I loved seeing four horsemen and dean malenko and everyone else

Anonymous said...

New Anonymous. Well done to WWE on RAW, proves they can get it right when they try.

Anonymous said...

The only thing that would have been better would be if Sting had been allowed to come to the ring and thank Flair. They were huge parts of each others careers.

BRoqq said...

I don't watch RAW very often anymore (once every couple of months), and I didn't watch WrestleMania on Sunday night.

However, last night, they had me at hello. When they opened the show with the video package of HBK and Flair from 'Mania, I wished I had seen the show.

I watched RAW last night knowing that the Flair segment would be the go-home piece, and that the rest of it would really just be filler for me.

I was impressed by Hardy/Orton, I enjoyed the little bit with Bradshaw picking up Orton's belt in the back, loved the Big Show segment, and even enjoyed seeing some old faces. However, I have to say that I didn't care about ANY of the new faces. I totally missed Cryme Time's first run, so I've got no investment in their return. Santino, funny, but he's this generation's Val Venis. Decent worker, great gimmick, awesome talker, doomed to failure. Hooliganz, didn't like them last time when they were called the Hardy Boyz. CM Punk. "meh".

But Flair, that was how you retire. I hope to god that he really is done with his in-ring career, it's time, and seeing him in the ring is no longer fun, but seeing him in a suit? That's still got plenty more mileage in it.

Thank you Ric for closing one chapter, I hope to god that you can open a new one and continue on, because Ric Flair still has so much to offer the business.

the CAVEMAN said...

technically I think it was "they should be in the kitchen making pasta"

I agree with the Sting statement Anonymous said... I was sitting there watching this and thought to myself for one night you could invite Sting . You don't have to mention TNA or even His wrestling name. You could've had him come out as Steve Borden and for one night only dye his hair blonde and throw on the old sting face paint. The pop that would have gotten would have blown the roof off the place and it would have landed in Pakistan. That to me is the only thing that would have made last night absolutely amazing.

Just a note when all the wrestlers came out last night only Jesse and Fetus stayed in character. I found that strange. They did a second shot of them with the camera and it really looked like they didn't know whether to stay in character or to go with the flow like everyone around them. It was just awkward looking and came off like they didn't give a rats ass about Flair.

D.J.B. said...

Other than Sting, Terry Funk and Magnum T.A are the two guys I'd have added, but I will not say they shoulda, woulda or coulda because it was simply perfect!

Anonymous said...

Sting is under contract. you really think TNA would let him go?

Anonymous said...

I would have liked to have seen Piper there on Monday.

Skitlez said...

I'm in shock, one of the best raws I remember and the Flair retirement was an awesome moment. I noticed Jesse and Festus still in character too. They're new though, give em a break.

I agree with DJB, Magnum shoulda been there too. Seeing the 4 horseman was an INSTANT pop from me.

JBL/Orton was great. I wouldn't mind seeing them for the belt (With Orton going over of course).

Cryme Time is back! Maybe they'll get the title shot they're owed now...

Jeff said...

Screw Magnum TA, where was Nikita Koloff?