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May 25, 2009
â€“ Adam Russell
Los Angeles Debacle
The so-called 'Denver Debacle' meant that this week's Raw was moved to the STAPLES Centre in Los Angeles. Vince McMahon could
have made an effort to put on an entertaining show, showing the watching world what the WWE is all about. Well, he showed everyone
what he's about all right. You see, Vince McMahon is a child; ego-centric, selfish, and completely lacking in maturity or class. The WWE is
his favorite toy, his Woody the Cowboy. Sure, there've been some Buzz Lightyears coming along to steal his attention away over the years
but, mainly because everything else he tries his hand at fails, he always comes back to Woody. Such is Vince's sense of humor, I'm sure
he would make a joke out of that statement. Anyway, what we, the fans, were given tonight was a true debacle of a wrestling show; a
various intervals insulting, dull, frustrating, and often all three. This was Vince's response to the events of the last week and, once again,
he proved his critics 100% right.
The show started with the only classy thing of the night, a Memorial Day dedication to the U.S. troops.
We were greeted by Michael Cole and Jim Ross on commentary, as Jerry Lawler was scheduled to be in the main event; a 5-on-5 match,
pitting Lawler, John Cena, Batista, MVP and a mystery partner (who were all to wear Lakers jerseys) versus the team of Legacy, The Big
Show and The Miz (donning Denver Nuggets colors). We were also promised Vince McMahon confronting Nuggets owner, Stan Kroenke.
This was the segment that started the show.
A Kroenke impersonator, and a bad one at that, made his way to the ring to a chorus of boos, as we were shown a Jack Nicholson
impersonator sitting at ringside. Knowing WWE, I'm surprised there wasn't a man in blackface impersonating Spike Lee sitting next to
him. 'Kroenke' announced that he screwed thousands of WWE fans, and he doesn't care (no mention of the thousands of WWE fans that
Vince screwed by pulling the SmackDown tapings over to LA as well). He said that he is a respected businessman, and a billionaire, and
he has been made fun of by WWE and the media. He then showed a graphic on the TitanTron of Kroenke with devils horns, and Vince
with a halo, saying that he is no devil, and Vince is certainly no angel. At that moment, the man of the hour himself, Vince McMahon came
out to confront 'Kroenke'. Vince said that he is forming a new basketball league called the XBA, which will be a complete failure because
he's going to have Kroenke and his staff run it. He then said that all of this didn't have to happen, if only Kroenke had picked up the phone
and explained the situation to Vince, and tried to come up with a solution. But he didn't, Vince continued, so he decided to have a little fun.
Ultimately, at our expense. He talked about Kroenke's name, E. Stanley Kroenke, saying that he doesn't trust a man with an initial for a
first name. He then said that he has found out what the E stands for, Enos, and then broke into a comedy routine based on Enos
sounding a bit like penis. Hilarious. He said that Kroenke has Enos envy, and when you push the WWE Hypocrites around, they push
back. With that he shoved 'Kroenke' to the ground in a moment that we are sure to be subjected to again and again over the next week.
That was mercifully it, as far as Vince and 'Kroenke' were concerned, but the segment didn't end there, as The Miz came out. The Miz
apologized for interrupting Vince, before announcing that he is from the town that the NBA champions will come from, Cleveland, Ohio.
He revealed a Cavaliers shirt, and said that LeBron James, like the Miz, is awesome, whereas John Cena is like Kobe Bryant; an
overrated phony poser. He then said that he is going to run Cena out of LA in the main event, just like Kobe ran Shaq out, and then it will
be The Miz 6 and Cena 0. Cena made his way out, but before he could make it to the ring Rhodes and Dibiase blindsided him, and a
three-on-one beatdown commenced until Batista dragged his incredibly 'roided-up physique out. Batista hit spinebusters on all three, but
then the Big Show came out and took out Cena and Batista. Lawler entered the fray, and took a brief beating before Cena and Batista
recovered to clothesline Show over the top rope. This brawl was at least related to wrestling, and went a little way to taking away the bad
taste of the McMahon/Kroenke garbage. Surely there would be more to come though.
It was time for our first match next, Kelly Kelly getting a Divas Championship match against Maryse, after earning the shot in a Divas
Battle Royal last week.
--- Divas Championship Match- Maryse (champion) Vs Kelly Kelly
Maryse started the match by doing her hair flick, which Kelly imitated to a decent pop. Maryse attacked Kelly with punches, and then hit a
sidewalk slam/backbreaker combination for an early two count. She then repeatedly slammed Kelly's head into the mat, before Kelly
mounted some offence with a couple of clotheslines, a handspring elbow, and something which could loosely be called a dropkick, for a
two count of her own. The two then exchanged punches on the mat, and Maryse left the ring for a breather. Kelly, however, followed her
out, but Maryse kicked her, and sent her into the announce table. With the ref's count nearing 10, Maryse pushed Kelly over the announce
table, and made it back into the ring. A smart count-out victory then for the champion? Nope. The ref disqualified her for pushing Kelly
over the table. The match ended at 2'46 with me, again, calling for some consistency and common sense in the booking of DQs.
In the back, the Bella twins were all over the Jack Nicholson impersonator. Goldust appeared and introduced himself, and it seems
Goldie is back doing the old electrocuted stuttering gimmick from what?, four years ago? Goldust introduced Hornswoggle, and the two
performed a rendition of the 'You can't handle the truth' scene from A Few Good Men, in hopes of impressing 'Nicholson'. Why any of this
was happening, I have no idea. It seems that the only one who can't handle the truth is Vince; the truth being that nobody cares about his
feud with Kroenke, or any of these asinine skits. Not even Rhodes could save things given this material.
Next we saw Ric Flair and Batista in the back, in what was basically a rerun of the segment last week in which Flair said he was going to
call out Orton, and Batista expressed doubt about Old Man Flair. Batista told Flair that he should wait until the night after Extreme Rules
when he has destroyed Orton in a steel cage. Flair said he's doing it tonight, and if Batista doesn't like it, he doesn't have to watch it. If I
was Vince I wouldn't be letting any of the talent use those words on Raw right now.
The next match was a triple threat match, with the winner getting a shot at MVP's United States championship.
--- Matt Hardy Vs Kofi Kingston Vs William Regal
Kofi went straight for Hardy with a kick, but was hit by a series of knees from Regal. Hardy left the ring, as Regal whipped Kofi into the
corner, and clotheslined him. Another whip into the corner resulted into Regal running into a pair of knees and, when Regal tried to throw
Kofi out of the ring, the Jamaican rebounded off the ropes and hit a monkey flip and a side Russian legsweep on the Englishman. Kofi hit
the ropes for B cubed, but Hardy grabbed his leg. Kofi kicked off Hardy and he and Regal downed each other with a double clothesline.
Hardy came in and picked up near falls on both men, and then slammed Regal's head into the corner. MVP, at that point, made his way
out to zero reaction as we hit the break at 1'57. We returned at 5'08 with the United States champion on commentary, and with Regal
grounding Kofi with a full nelson. Kofi worked up to his feet, but Regal hit a nice half nelson suplex. Matt sunset flipped Regal as he was
bent over Kofi for a two count, and then Regal found himself being sunset flipped by Kofi, with Matt breaking up the count. Hardy threw
Regal out of the ring and hit a neckbreaker on Kofi, with Regal breaking the pin attempt. Regal went back to a half nelson on Kofi, who
punched his way out of the hold and sent Regal into the corner. Hardy clotheslined Regal in the corner, and then clotheslined Kofi. Regal
and Hardy then performed what looked like a slow dance, with Regal taking Hardy down. Regal back body dropped Kofi onto the apron,
and Kofi went up to the top rope and hit a missile dropkick on Regal, Hardy breaking the count. Kofi went on the offensive against Hardy,
hitting a jaw japper, a dropkick, a clothesline, and the B cubed legdrop for a two count at 8'25. Kofi mounted Hardy in the corner with
punches, but Regal pulled him off and hit an exploder suplex. Hardy then hit a side effect on Regal for a two count, and one on Kofi for
another two, before Regal reversed a Twist of Fate attempt into a back suplex. Regal pulled down his kneepads, but ran into a Trouble in
Paradise from Kofi. Matt broke the pinning attempt, but ate a Trouble in Paradise of his own, Kofi pinning Matt at 9'47. After the match, Kofi
did the boom boom boom clap in MVP's face, who said that he was looking forward to facing him next week. There was a lot of action
packed into this ten minute match, but I didn't feel like there was any real chemistry between the three men, and the match came across
as very formulaic. On the other hand, it's good to see a mid card title being so keenly contested.
Flair made his way out to call out Orton. He said that there is no shame in being beat down by the WWE Champion, but wants to see if
Orton can do it face-to-face. Orton came out and said that he should beat Flair up just on principle, but he won't lower himself to beating
up a 60-year-old man, like Chris Jericho did. He continued that Triple H only kept him around in Evolution because he felt sorry for him,
and now he's starting to feel sorry for him. The two got face to face as Orton told Flair that it was over for him. Flair slapped Orton, and
Orton responded with a kick, and then mounted the Nature Boy with punches. This brought out Batista, who ran Orton off. Orton, on the
ramp, told Batista to continue wasting his time by worrying about Flair, because at Extreme Rules, it will be all over for him too. This was
the moment Mr. Kennedy picked to make his comeback, appearing on the ramp in a jacket which looked two sizes too big for him (maybe
he bought it before his wellness violation). Kennedy summoned down a microphone and said that tonight is his official return, and the
man who will soon be WWE champion will be the final guy on the 'Lakers' team for the main event. In case it was unclear that he was
talking about himself, he gave us a 'Mister Kennedy'.
The next match was announced as a mixed tag team bout, with the winning team picking the stipulations in the match between Santina
Marella and Vickie Guerrero at Extreme Rules. There's a match between Santina Marella and Vickie Guerrero at Extreme Rules. I
honestly can't imagine anybody wanting to see that match on any level.
--- Santino Marella and Mickie James Vs Chavo Guerrero and Beth Phoenix
Chavo attacked Santino as he tried to take his shirt off, hitting him with a forearm uppercut and a back suplex for a two count. Chavo
distracted the ref while Beth choked Santino, and when Beth tagged in, Santino couldn't leave the ring fast enough. Mickie came in and hit
Beth with a couple of low dropkicks, but Chavo was in to break the pin attempt. Santino low-bridged Chavo out of the ring, and then once
again, fled from Beth. With Beth confronting Santino, Mickie came up behind her and crucifixed her for the win at 1'37. Vickie came out
and congratulated Santino, saying that she isn't worried what stipulation he picks because Chavo will be in her corner. Yeah, because
Chavo has been super-effective at taking care of Santino so far. Of course, Santino could just pick a cage match to take Chavo out of the
equation anyway. Santino said that he had so many ideas for matches, like a pepperoni match, or a pasta primavera on a pole match (I
think this was supposed to be comedy material), but in the end he is picking a hog pen match. This announcement got no reaction
whatsoever, nor did it deserve one. Santino then broke out the pig impressions as Vickie looked disgusted. The obvious hole in the logic
here is that Vickie is supposed to be the boss, so why did she sign up for this match in the first place?
In the back, The Big Show told the Miz that he doesn't like him, nor does anybody else. He said that he's okay with Miz mixing it up with
Cena tonight, but he doesn't get to pin him. No-one gets to pin him, in fact, he continued, because he's going to make him tap out.
After a replay of the nonsense that opened the show, it was onto more nonsense; a tag team match with the tag team champions, Carlito
and Primo, on commentary.
--- Goldust and Hornswoggle Vs The Brian Kendrick and Festus
Kendrick unveiled his new tag team partner as Festus, who he had dressed in a Clippers shirt. Goldust and Festus started us off, but
when the bell rang and Festus started going crazy, Goldust tagged in Hornswoggle. Festus showed reluctance to get physical with
Hornswoggle, which earned him the chagrin of Kendrick who, after taking a dropkick from Hornswoggle, promptly tagged himself in and
clotheslined the leprechaun. He then small packaged him for a two count, before Hornswoggle hit a terribly rehearsed-looking DDT, and
made the tag to Goldie. That Gold Freak hit a clothesline on Kendrick, an inverted atomic drop, and another clothesline, and then hit his
low down uppercut. Kendrick came back with a leg lariat, but when he went to tag out, Festus wasn't interested. Kendrick slapped Festus
in the face (which in other situations has been deemed a tag, though not here), but walked into a quick powerslam from Goldust. While
the referee was restraining Festus, Hornswoggle hit a tadpole splash on Kendrick, and Goldust followed up with the Final Cut for the
victory at 2'09. After the match, Kendrick grabbed a chair to attack the again-catatonic Festus, but Primo rang the bell, causing Kendrick to
hot-foot it up the aisle. This was pure WWE unfunny-comedy, and it's sad to see Kendrick mired in this kind of idiocy. Rather than building
a solid feud based on the tag belts between The Colons and Kendrick, WWE has predictably gone the comedy route, which sees
Kendrick get embarrassed week after week.
After a run through the Extreme Rules card (Judgment Day with arbitrary stipulations), it was main event time, and the two teams were
announced basketball style by the Lakers' own announcer. This was a neat idea, but ended up lasting a good ten minutes, nearly as
long as the match itself, and longer than any other match on the card.
--- Batista, John Cena, MVP, Mr. Kennedy and Jerry 'The King' Lawler Vs Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase, The Big Show and
Lawler and Rhodes got us started with a lock up, the youngster backing the Hall of Famer into the corner. Lawler came out with punches,
and hit a powerslam, before tagging in Batista. Batista slammed Rhodes' head into the corner, whipped him across the ring and ran in
with a clotheslines. He buried his shoulder into the gut of Rhodes, and then hit a boot to face and tagged in MVP. An MVP chant broke out
as the US champ opened up with some punches and forearms, but then got caught by a clothesline from Rhodes. DiBiase tagged in
and hit some kicks and punches, then tagged Orton in blind. MVP back body dropped DiBiase, but didn't see Orton behind him, who hit
an inverted back breaker. MVP rolled out the ring and ate a punch from Show, and was thrown back in for a two count. Orton locked on a
facelock as we went to a break at 2'35. We returned at 5'57 to see DiBiase with a facelock on MVP. MVP countered with a jaw japper, but
the Miz tagged in and cut off MVP's tag. The Miz locked in a facelock, which MVP battled out of, hitting his Owen Hart throw and tagging in
Kennedy. Kennedy hit a clothesline on Miz, and then a roundhouse kick for a two count, but then a distraction from Orton allowed Rhodes
and DiBiase to pull Kennedy out of the ring and slam him into the security wall. Back in the ring, Miz picked up a two count, and tagged in
the WWE champion. Orton hit a kneedrop for a nearfall, and then tagged Show in. Show delivered a powerslam and an elbowdrop to
Kennedy for another two count, and then hit a slap to his chest and tagged in Rhodes. Cody stomped away on Kennedy before tagging in
his tag team partner, who continued the beating before tagging Rhodes back in. The two then hit a double gut punch to Kennedy, before
Rhodes tagged the Miz. Miz legdropped Kennedy, and then applied a facelock. Kennedy backed Miz into the corner, but the Miz managed
to tag in DiBiase. DiBiase hit Kennedy with some kneelifts, gaining a two count, and then went back to the trusty facelock. Kennedy fought
his way out, but ran into an elbow. Orton came in and facelocked Kennedy. Again, Kennedy fought out, but this time ran into a dropkick.
Batista came in to break up the pin attempt, and Orton went back to the facelock. Kennedy countered out of it into a back suplex, and
finally made the hot tag to Cena, with Orton tagging in Rhodes. Cena hit a couple of flying shoulderblocks on Rhodes, and then a back
suplex into a slam. Cena looked primed for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but elected to tag in MVP instead. The two then hit a dual Ballin'
Elbow/5 Knuckle Shuffle, in what could be seen as Cena endorsing MVP. The Miz ran in to attack Cena, but Cena ducked and The King
was ready to deck Miz with a right hand. MVP then hit a Playmaker on Rhodes and picked up the victory for his team after 16'04 of so-so
action. DiBiase came in after the bell and hit Dream Street on MVP, but then ate the Mic Check from Kennedy. Orton followed that with an
RKO on Kennedy, and Batista came in and went for a Batista Bomb on the champ. That was broken up by Show, who grabbed both
Batista and Cena for a chokeslam. The two heroes, though, kicked Show in the gut and double suplexed him over, and the show ended
with the good guys standing tall.
This was probably the best match of a very poor night, with the highlight being MVP getting the winning pinfall; a good step forward in
MVP's development into a genuine main eventer. As for the rest of the night, I think I've said everything that needs to be said. The best
thing now would be to forget this awful show ever happened, and hope that the excellent SmackDown doesn't get mired in the same kind
MVP of the night - MVP. He didn't really do anything to earn it, but his endorsement by Cena in the main event was the only good thing to
come out of this dire show.