RAW & WrestleMania 2

November 24, 2009

I just a couple things I want to talk about today, the first being RAW from last night. I haven’t posted TV thoughts in a while so this is long over due. Truth be told I’ve been slacking off in my wrestling watching (at least the regular TV shows) but I did catch almost all of RAW last night and have a few things to say.

The best part of last night’s show, for me, and actually the best part of most of the recent RAW broadcasts has been the elevation of Kofi Kingston. WWE needs to step up new people and I think Kofi is a great choice and I can’t believe how great of a job WWE is doing. The deal from MSG was great and the fact that he has continued to get the better of Randy Orton has been awesome. Orton deserves a lot of credit for this angle because he has been both fantastic and unselfish and really allowed Kofi to look good and get over. Orton – Kofi in their first singles match has real drawing potential and if they stay behind Kofi for a few more months he could truly break through and be seen as a top level player.

As happy as I am with how they are pushing Kofi, I wasn’t thrilled with some of execution of the Break Through concept from last night. It was a good idea and I can’t agree more with their “freshen up the product” approach, but for a detail guy like me there were a lot of little details that bothered me.

The first thing that jumped out at me was that Vince and Jesse screwed up the qualifying element of the matches several times, which drove me crazy. The original announcement was that to qualify you had to have never held the WWE or World Title, but later on both Vince and Jesse claimed that these guys had to have never had a shot at the World Title before. This would have been fine except Ted Dibiase and Mark Henry have both definitely had World Title shots before, so it contradicted what they were saying.

This also buried the ECW Title and Brand because the concept was that these were guys who have never “held the big one” and there were 3 former ECW Champions in this tournament (for lack of a different word). This isn’t a big deal but it does bury the entire ECW brand when long term ECW Champions are grouped in with guys being pushed as guys who have never really broken out and been on top. Would this show have been hurt at all if they simply replaced Swagger, Henry, and Chavo with guys who hadn’t been a brand’s Heavy Weight Champion?

For this same reason I didn’t like Finlay being in the mix. I felt it hurt him a lot being put in a “New Rising Star” type concept when they tell us that he’s been in the business for 30 years and never won a major title and that this could be his last chance. I felt the commentary made him out to be a “never made it” type of guy who then lost quickly. Its okay to admit young guys have never broke through and been on top, but when it’s a 30 year vet, it comes off as a burial.

A few other random thoughts from RAW:

- This is an awful big jump up the ladder for Shamus; I hope it isn’t too soon. He’s going from squash matches on RAW to a World Title shot on PPV.

- Am I the only one that thought Vince looked a lot like Bob Backlund when he came out in the Tuxedo?

- Why was the Diva’s match a 6 person tag, when only 2 girls wrestled and they only wanted Melina in the ring for the post match angle?

- As much as I hate comedy skits I have to admit I laughed at the Vicky Guerrero bit with the cake. It was done so well I actually was surprised and popped when she took it the cake in the face.

I also watched WrestleMania 2 recently and wanted to make a few comments. I’m going to try to watch all the Manias in order over the next year and will try to post my thoughts on them as I go.

- Guest commentators on this show were SO BAD. Cathy Lee Crosby, Susan Saint James, and Elvira, OH MY GOD! How the hell did they book G. Gordon Liddy as a guest judge for the boxing match? If you don’t know who he is look him up on Wikipedia.

- A lot of really bad, really short, matches, with just horrible finishes. The opening match was between Paul Orndorph and Don Muraco and it ended in a double count out in 4 minutes. There were 6 singles matches that went 5 minutes or less on this show.

- The first really good match IMO was the Main Event on the second show (Mania that year was in three different venues) which featured the British Bulldogs facing Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake. Seriously it was the 8th match on the show.

- The only other thing of note to me was how awesome Adrian Adonis was. Adrian fought Uncle Elmer and some how managed to have an entertaining match. Adrian was fat and out of shape but managed to take some of the most amazing bumps I’ve ever seen. He was an incredible worker and athlete and moved around that ring better that some of the best athlete in wrestling today. Adrian Adonis was awesome.

- One last note. Terry Funk is the first participant in a WrestleMania who I got to work with during my career. We traded the WCW US Title back and forth in our only two matches together. As I watch future Mania’s this list should expand a lot. Terry was awesome here as well, taking some amazing bumps and being crazy like only Terry Funk can be crazy.

I hope to watch Mania III some time in December and will post thoughts on that show too.

Lance Storm