Can TV shows have a “feel?” If they can, then this past Monday’s 900th episode of Monday Night RAW sure didn’t feel like an anniversary show. It felt more like, um, a 721st show, if that makes a lick of sense. I guess that’s my convoluted way of saying that the show pretty much sucked. WWE had been promoting the hell out of Monday’s 900th show of the “longest running episodic show in television history” (TM Michael Cole), but they really dropped the ball.
Where to begin? How about the Divas tag team match that lasted all of about 2 minutes and only featured two of the participants. All it really did was set up a unification match at Night of Champions between Melina and LayCool. I don’t have a problem with that, but at least let Eve Torres and Michelle McCool actually, y’know, participate in the match. What a waste of time.
Speaking of wastes of time, did anyone actually think that Bret Hart and the Undertaker would actually wrestle one another? Please. Bret can’t wrestle anymore. Period. And Taker… well, Taker has seen his better days, to be sure. Look, when the total combined age of the two participants is around 100, you have to wonder who’s trying to fool who. The match was never going to happen, and the clustermess that happened after it with the Nexus and Kane just made me wonder why WWE even bothered teasing the match. The whole lights out thing could have happened at the open of the show and saved time that could have been devoted to an actual match. Though I do have to admit it was nice to see a veteran like Taker put over the Nexus.
As a quick aside, am I the only one who really isn’t thrilled about Undertaker vs. Kane Part 100? I really thought that WWE would have enough sense to not trot out that relic of a feud again, but lo and behold, they proved me wrong. Sorry, but I just don’t buy that Kane still feels like he’s in the Undertaker’s shadow anymore. Kane has been a multiple time World Champion and has always been over whether heel or face. I hope this feud ends quickly.
One of the matches that the Undertaker angle took away from had to be the blink and you’ll miss it tag team match between John Morrison, R-Truth, Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre that degenerated into a double-DQ brawl in less than two minutes. The match was ostensibly to determine a challenger for the Hart Dynasty’s tag team titles. I thought that’s what the Usos were brought up for, but once again, WWE is back to all but ignoring the tag team division. I could go on and on about the death of tag team wrestling on a big league scale, but that’s another rant for another time.
The triple threat tag team match was cool, if only because I got to see my two favorite wrestlers on the WWE roster – Daniel Bryan and Kaval – team up. WWE could do worse than just keeping those two together as a duo and have them try to jazz up the tag team division. At the very worst, I suspect that Bryan will beat the Miz for the U.S. Title in the near future.
Another segment that went on way too long was CM Punk’s mocking of some of the “most despicable acts” in RAW history (among them is Stone Cold’s famous drenching of Mr. McMahon with a beer bath). And while it was cool to see some older clips like that, they should have been presented in a manner that didn’t feel like a throwaway. I would have devoted at least one whole segment to wrestlers past and present reflecting on 900 episodes of Monday Night RAW, something that was sorely lacking Monday night. In the end, Big Show came out to further his yawn-inducing feud with Punk and the Straight Edge Society. Even Show’s dead-on Hulk Hogan impression couldn’t save this segment.
The main event (an elimination match between Cena/Edge/Jericho/Orton/Sheamus vs. the Nexus) wasn’t bad, but it started way too late and as a result, felt rushed. I will say that the most interesting thing to come out of the match was how Sheamus acting during it. Both Edge and Jericho took themselves out of the match rather quickly, but Sheamus remained in the match before succumbing to the numbers game and being pinned by Heath Slater. Could the fact that Sheamus didn’t bail on Cena and Orton be a sign of a possible face turn? Probably not, but it was an interesting development, nonetheless. Oh yeah, Wade Barrett was the sole survivor of the match, pinning Orton with his incredibly lame “Wasteland” finisher (basically a fireman’s carry forward slam).
I certainly expected more out of Monday night’s show, and I’m surprised and disappointed that it wasn’t a three-hour extravaganza celebrating the history of Monday Night RAW. Where was Stone Cold? Where was The Rock? Where was JR? Heck, where was Mr. McMahon? Ever since he was punked out by the Nexus, Vince has been off TV. At the very least, I thought he would have made a cameo appearance last night, even if via satellite or on tape. His presence was sorely missed Monday night, as was any number of former RAW superstars who helped make Monday Night RAW the longest… well, you know the rest.
There was no surprise factor, no wow factor. It felt like, well, like just another run-of-the-mill Monday Night RAW. If I were Vince, I’d be steamed at how poorly the show came off, and if USA refused to give them the time to do a three-hour show (which is purely conjecture on my part), I’d be pissed at the network, too. Whatever the case, Monday night was not a night that WWE fans will be talking about for some time. Here’s hoping that the 1,000th episode of Monday Night RAW (which will approximately take place in July of 2012) is a much better show.
Anyway, on to the finale of season two of NXT. We all know that wrestling is fixed in some way or another, yet I gotta be honest – in my wildest dreams, I never expected that Kaval would be the winner on Tuesday night. I thought for sure that either Alex Riley (who has the look of a prototypical WWE wreslter) or Joe “Michael McGillicutty” Hennig (a third generation wrestler) would prevail over the uber-talented yet uber-small Kaval. If Kaval was picked by the powers-that-be to be the winner then kudos to WWE for picking a wrestler who doesn’t fit the WWE cookie-cutter look. But if he wasn’t, and the fans did pick him and the vote was legit, then I’m surprised it wasn’t fixed so Riley or Hennig won. If Kaval is destined to be the WWE’s Next Breakout Star, then he’s going to have to be pushed on his in-ring talent, not his size, which is something that WWE doesn’t do very often, if at all. The Era of Kaval sure didn’t get off to a good start as he had the stuffing kicked out of him by the rest of the NXT season two cast. Not exactly how I would have put over the winner, but what do I know. Whatever happens to Kaval going forward, I’m overjoyed that he won because it’s a testament to the ten years he spent on the indy circuit wrestling in high school gyms and armories and fire halls all in the hopes that he’d make it to the big time. Every wrestler on the indy circuit who dreams of making it to WWE one day can take a look at what Kaval did and believe he has a chance to do the same thing. Kudos to Kaval!
Well, that’s it for now. I’m two and a half hours away from the start of the three day Labor Day weekend, and for once, the weather is supposed be below 90 degrees. Woohoo! Have a good weekend folks!