Our commentary team for tonight is Tom Phillips, David Otunga, Xavier Woods, & Big E. Byron is out because his father died. No word on where Graves was. My guess is that he is with Byron… which would have been a wonderful opportunity for WWE to point out to us that these people who constantly argue and bicker on the air actually are friends and that when Graces says terrible things to Saxton every week, he really doesn’t mean it and it really is both dished out and received as good-natured teasing between friends.
OPENING SEGMENT- great
Shane answered Owens challenge to a match at SummerSlam with Owens’ career on the line. I liked that they actually brought up Owens quitting last year on SD, both because Shane’s demand to have the stip “in writing” tells us that we won’t get screwed on this stip just as much as it tells Shane that, and also allowed Owens to not only not run away from the footage but embrace it, saying that he is “not that person anymore.”
Owens wanted to beat Shane up tonight but Shane told him if he tried it their SummerSlam match would be cancelled. Instead Shane booked Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns. I’ve got a bad feeling about how this is going to end.
SHANE & HIS CRONIES BACKSTAGE- yup. I was right. But at least they’re being up front with it by having Shane make Drew the guest referee, The Drifter the guest timekeeper, and himself the guest ring announcer. So yeah. We’re getting a f*ck finish in the main event… but at least now we know not to get excited for the match. If I were them I just wouldn’t book this segment as the main event.
SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs. APOLLO CREWS- 6/10
Good for match that didn’t even go eight minutes. Nakamura won clean
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- bad
Nakamura beat Crews up after the match for not reason. Xavier wanted to know why no one was coming out to save Crews. WELL WHY DON’T YOU GET UP OFF YOUR F*CKING ASS AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?!
SONYA DEVILLE & MANDY ROSE BACKSTAGE- bad
The positive side here is that these two do come off as real people. The negatives were that their dialogue felt like something written for a sitcom aimed at tweens, and that Sonya botched a line and Mandy failed to adjust for it, resulting in Sonya asking if getting booked against the IIconics next week (Mandy stooged off to Shane that the IIconics laughed about Owens stunning him) meant that they were getting a Women’s Tag Team Title match, to which Mandy responded “Yup. And if we win, we deserve a tag team title match.”
They’re advertising that Kofi will be allowed to pick his SummerSlam challenger. This was silly when they let Bayley do it last week (yes, they’re doing to the same thing with both the top men’s title and the top women’s title), but here it’s even worse because at least with Bayley she wasn’t coming off someone pinning her the week before. Both the previous segment and the commentary during the Crews vs. Nakamura match (and basically every non-title match involving a champion in WWE) pushed the narrative that “if X pins the champion, he/she/they will surely be in line for a championship opportunity,” and yet we see here that even though Randy Orton did exactly that last week, he’s still got just as much of a chance of getting this title shot as everyone else on the roster because management has randomly decided to just let the champion pick the challenger.
MUSTAFA ALI PROMO- f*cking awesome babyface promo!
MIZ TV WITH SPECIAL GUEST SHAWN MICHAELS- great segment, but…
They jabbered for a bit before Dolph Ziggler came out to interrupt and cut the same promo I cut the moment they announced last week’s “Raw Reunion.” They traded barbs for a bit until Miz stood up for Shawn. Dolph tried to hit Shawn but Shawn ducked Dolph accidentally hit Miz instead. Shawn shoved Dolph down and went to check on Miz but DOlph got back up and laid Shawn out with a superkick.
The execution here was great, but I just don’t believe that they’re actually doing to do Shawn Michaels vs. Dolph Ziggler so it’s hard to get excited about anything coming out of this (especially when the alternative is Miz vs. Dolph, which was very good with the roles reversed, but will probably stink in this configuration and with both characters feels very tired right now). More than likely this was them repeating an idea they used on Raw with Mick Foley, which was basically violence against a legendary babyface who no one excepted to see on the receiving end of any sort of moves due to age.
And if Shawn really is going to be working a singles match with someone… WHY THE F*CK WOULD YOU WASTE IT ON DOLPH ZIGGLER?! Especially with Daniel Bryan available.
EMBER MOON vs. CHARLOTTE FLAIR- no rating, ATROCIOUS SEGMENT
Here is what happened in this segment. Charlotte beat the #1 contender up for forty seconds. Then Bayley came out, causing Charlotte to get distracted, at which point Ember rolled her up and won. In other words, in less than a minute, they killed their big women’s title match at SummerSlam by making the babyface champion act like a heel for no reason, and the babyface challenger look completely unworthy of receiving this title match… which, by the way, she didn’t even win, but rather was handed on a silver platter by the champion.
AND THEN IT GOT WORSE.
Ember grabbed Bayley and tossed her into the ring. Bayley looked at Ember to ask why she did this, at which point Charlotte booted Bayley in the back of the head, at which point I said. Good. Bayley deserves it for sticking her nose in Charlotte’s match for no reason. Then Ember climbed the turnbuckle and hit Charlotte with the Eclipse, then did the same to Bayley. So now they took this undeserving challenger and turned her heel, so there is even less of a chance of people wanting to see her win. Also, they have now created an issue between Charlotte and both women in the title match, which won’t even lead to a three-way match because Charlotte will be facing Trish Stratus at SummerSlam.
Making thing even worse, we’re apparently not supposed to take this unprovoked attacking people from behind as a heel turn, as none of the babyface announcers had any sort of problem with Ember’s behavior.
Whoever came up with this idea should have been fired on the spot the moment he or she suggested it. And if that person was Vince, then Heyman/Hunter/Bischoff/Steph/Hayes/Kapoor/whoever should have gotten together and told Vince he was wrong and that this was a hill they were all willing to die on.
WWE SHOWS US A BUNCH OF MEDIA ARTICLE CLIPPINGS ABOUT RAW REUNION- Speaking of people who should be fired…
The article from CBS sports
1. Failed to capitalize “title” in “24/7 Title” in the headline
2. Showed a total lack of understanding of what “episodic” programming means by claims that this week’s Raw “took a break on Monday from it’s normal episodic programming” (last night’s show did have things that followed from last week and will lead to next week. It was still an episodic show).
3. Used the phrase “some of the most notable legends” (anyone who is a legend is by definition a lot more than notable)
4. Used “it’s” as if it were a contraction for “it has.” It’s not. As you should be able to infer from that last sentence, “it’s” is a contraction for “it is.”
And that was only in the two paragraphs they put up on the screen for us!
Some of the other articles they showed had little grammar issues here and there, but there is absolutely no way that CBS Sports article should have ever been posted in that form, and whoever was responsible for editing it should have been fired, and whoever wrote it needs to take an English class.
KOFI KINSGTON WANTS RANDY ORTON TO BE HIS SUMMERSLAM OPPONENT- didn’t like it
This segment was a perfect example of a trap that every booker needs to be careful to not fall into when you’re trying to use a shoot event as the basis of an angle. Basically, they had Kofi call Orton out, and then play the clip of Kofi putting him through the table at MSG on the go-home show for Survivor Series 2009, and then had Kofi accuse Orton of using his “influence” to keep Kofi down for an entire decade. Whether or not this is the shoot truth or not is irrelevant because this show is not a shoot. It takes place in the world of kayfabe, and in kayfabe, Randy has been an enemy of the McMahons just as often as he has been their ally over that decade- and at the time that the match happened, he was definitely an enemy of theirs, so why would they have listened to him?
Randy cut a promo in which he accepted Kofi’s version of events, but the next big chunk of his promo actually undermines everything by offering an Occam’s Razor kayfabe explanation for things. Randy says that while Kofi was doing things like using a Jamaican accent or throwing pancakes to try to get attention, Randy was deservedly getting that attention that Kofi has sought because Randy was winning his matches. And if you look at Kofi’s career, he, too, has been getting around the number of wins and championships that you would expect for someone at the IC/US Title level, which is exactly what he was portrayed as before the New Day was created, and in New Day received exactly the number of wins you’d expect from a guy in a top tag team.
And just to further cement my point, one would think that if Randy went to the McMahons after this and got Kofi’s push cut off, that Randy would have beaten Kofi at the PPV six days afterwards, right? Well he didn’t. Kofi pinned Randy clean as a sheet in the middle of the ring after hitting Trouble in Paradise to win the match for his team… and that was after Surviving at a two-on-one disadvantage for SEVEN MINUTES, and coming just seconds after Kofi had cleanly pinned CM Punk via roll-up as well. Some sabotaging that is.
If you want to play off of a shoot incident, you can’t do it directly because there is no kayfabe way to make it fit. Instead you have to play off of an idea that is the underlying concept of the incident. You have Randy say things like Kofi “doesn’t belong” in main events because he’s a goof or because he’s not a third-generation wrestler or because he’s not tall enough or whatever. The sort of stuff that one can imagine Randy having said backstage to bury Kofi, but instead of saying them to “the bookers” or whoever, Randy is coming out and saying them to everyone. What you do is you take the incident and construct it as an angle, not take a non-kayfabe incident and insert it into kayfabe.
One interesting thing I want to point out is Randy’s comment that Kofi would never have had his title shot if it wasn’t for him because he was the one who injured Ali. Ali also mentioned this lost title shot in his promo, so hopefully they’re building Ali up for a title shot.
They showed us a Burger King-sponsored highlight package for Aleister Black, which I guess is a decent way to get him on TV if you don’t have anything to do with him.
SAMOA JOE vs. KOFI KINSGTON- 6/10
Randy Orton stayed around to watch this match from ringside. Also, when did Michael Cole replace New Day on commentary? I wonder if he counts towards the Wildcard Rule. If so, that would once again put us over the top (Drew, Dolph, Joe, Miz, and now Cole).
They had a good match for the time they were given, which ended when Randy Orton ran in and tried to attack Kofi. This means that tonight’s show will finish with a grand total of four matches, of which the final two had f*ck finishes, and the one before that went under a minutes (and also didn’t have a clean finish).
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- Kofi managed to avoid the RKO. Joe grabbed Orton to Randy hit him with an RKO, and Kofi used this distraction to lay Randy out with Trouble In Paradise. This very much felt like a “we felt like we had to have Kofi and Orton physically interact somehow tonight, but we couldn’t come up with a productive way to do it, so we went with treading water instead” segment.
KAYLA BRAXTON INTERVIEWS FINN BALOR ABOUT BEING ATTACKED BY BRAY WYATT LAST WEEK-
Balor cut a great fearless promo. Then the Firefly Funhouse appeared on the TitanTron. Usually Balor wouldn’t be able to see this right now because they’d be backstage, but this interview just happened to be taking place in the ring instead for no explained reason so he was able to see it this time. What a fortunate coincidence.
I really don’t feel like recapping this. The important stuff to know was that Bray was friendly Bray for a bit and told Balor that “The Fiend” has accepted his challenge for a match at SummerSlam. Bray then started to talk about The Fiend, saying that he was “power” and “an abomination” and that “The Fiend Remembers.” At that point the lights went out and we got creepy video of The Fiend, ending in Bray standing there in the now darkened Firefly Funhouse, in The Fiend’s mask.
They showed a recap of the 24/7 Title silliness from last night. At this point it occurred to me that Ted Dibiase is an idiot for paying Madusa all of that money to give him the title instead of throwing it in the garbage. As Jim Duggan’s WCW TV Title reign taught us, a title abandoned by the rightful champion operates under Finders Keepers rules. Once she dropped it in there and walked away, all he had to do was pull the belt out of the trash can and he would have had both the championship and all that money.
SARAH SCHREIBER INTERVIEWS CHARLOTTE FLAIR- She complained about being left off of SummerSlam, as if the card is finalized with only six matches on it when the average WWE PPV has about ten, and the past three SummerSlams have had thirteen, thirteen, and twelve respectively. You want to be on the show, Charlotte? Go find someone backstage and beat her up. Start a personal issue and hope to get booked. Or- better yet- do what Finn Balor did a just challenge someone to a match at SummerSlam.
She then claimed to be “solely responsible for the Women’s Evolution.” Please, G-d, don’t let them start feuding over this “who started the Divas’ Revolution” bullsh*t again. Charlotte also declared herself to be “the queen of all eras of sports entertainment,” which is a line that no real human would ever say. She then tells us that she “demands” to be at SummerSlam and that “my opponent will be greater than Ember Moon.” And in this case that’s totally true, so now they’re buried both Ember and the title yet again. Charlotte says that she will prove that she is “the greatest female Superstar™ of all time. If you wanted to set up a match between Charlotte and Trish Stratus, there were a million better ways to do it.
BABYFACE VS. BABYFACE MAIN EVENT THAT WILL CLEARLY END IN A F*CK FINISH BECAUSE OF ALL OF THE HEELS AT RINGSIDE AND THE HEEL GUEST REFEREE: Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns- no rating, dull segment
Well… at least they just cut right to the f*ck finish right away. The babyface overs overcame the numbers game and beat up all three heels. I don’t really see what purpose any of this served, as all it did was kill any heat the heels might have had.
Another very bad episode of Smackdown. I will give them some credit for being ambitious and for trying hard, but their final concept just plain wasn’t good. This crap has to change, and soon.
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WWE in 2005
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WWE in 2005
FIP in 2005
PWG All-Star Weekend V: Night 2
ECW Guilty As Charged 1999
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