Old School Raw Review – November 15, 2010

Raw Review – November 15, 2010

-Geez, you skip one Monday Night for Penguins tickets and you get roasted on email.  I wouldn’t actually do this unless it was Old School Raw so I couldn’t resist…

-LIVE! from Hershey, PA (home of chocolate…and nothing else)

-I absolutely LOVE the old-school beginning with the police siren, ringside introduction, and red, white, and blue ropes.  MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAN WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GENE Okerlund kicks us off and brings out “Cowboy” Bob Orton (nice touch with the 1980s interview stage). for some Orton gloating.  Wade Barrett interrupts with some token bad guy threats before the Miz sticks his nose in things by threatening to cash in his MITB case to screw everything up.  John Cena, via the Titantron, stops that by challenging the Miz to a match later tonight.

Dolph Ziggler vs. “Sexual Chocolate” Mark Henry
How cool was the interview-in-a-box like the old Superstars show?  I’m in mark out city right now.  I’m all for the Sexual Chocolate return but please God don’t let Mae Young show up with the hand she gave birth to (don’t ask).  Dolph tries the sleeper immediately but gets overpowered and slapped to the floor.  Henry brings Ziggler back in with a press slam while Lawler proves he’s batshit insane by comparing Mark Henry to Bruno Sammartino…MARK HENRY!!!  There’s wrestling hyperbole and then there’s just ridiculousness.  Ziggler goes low with a dropkick to gain control but Henry fires back with clotheslines and headbutts then fucks up a powerslam for two.  World’s Fattest Slam only hits canvas and Dolph hits a Fameasser for two then hits the Zig Zag for another two…the crowd could care less.  Finally, Dolph locks on the sleeper and Henry passes out to give Ziggler the win.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler

-Pretty standard Henry match here *1/2.  Dolph is not over for a number of reasons but him trying to get a 1990s resthold over as a finish isn’t helping.

-Backstage, Tony Atlas tries to give advice to the Hart Dynasty but ends up rambling like a buffoon.

Holy shit

Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel vs. Hart Dynasty
If it’s marketed right, they could make a killing from older fans with all this WWF merchandise.  Cole states that the original British Bulldogs didn’t always get along and that’s probably the understatement of the year.  If you consider Dynamite overturning an autograph table and threatening to kill Davey with his bare hands “not getting along” then yes, he’s right.  Smith and Gabriel trade headlocks but David takes over and hits three repeating belly to belly suplex in a cool spot for two.  Slater tries his luck but runs into a powerslam and takes a legdrop for two.  Justin Gabriel runs interference, allowing Slater to take over and the heels hammer away in their corner.  Smith dodges a Slater charge and goes to tag Tyson but Kidd turns on him with a kick to the face and Gabriel hits the 450 for the win.
Winners: Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater

-I’m going to make a “bold prediction” right now:  There’s no chance in hell this heel turn does anything for either of these guys *3/4.

-Meanwhile, WELL LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHIN’ MEAN GENE is with Randy Orton but R-Truth shows up to stir up some more shit.  Orton promises to end all the crap by punting Cena in the head.

Brooklyn Brawler vs. Ezekiel Jackson
Good to see The Fink and Harvey Whippleman again but, good Lord, please don’t let Steve Lombardi talk ever again.  Michael Cole says “Brawler, welcome to 2011″ because he’s such a moron that he doesn’t even realize what year it is.  Then, to prove he’s a total idiot, he goes and DOES IT AGAIN!!  Match is what you would expect.
Winner: Ezekiel Jackson

-I’m sure Pat Patterson will be backstage to soothe Brawler’s wounds DUD.

-The Raw GM books Wade Barrett against R-Truth later tonight.

John Cena vs. The Miz
The Miz, playing the smart heel, reveals that the GM never authorized this match so instead we get…

John Cena vs. Alex Riley
Oh yeah, this is much better.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the wigs the referees are wearing looks absolutely ridiculous.  Michael Cole finally admits it’s not 2011 in probably the stupidest thing ever said by an announcer…why wasn’t Vince screaming into his ear for that one?  We start slow but Miz gets a cheapshot to allow Riley to hammer away and that’s about it.  Stellar camera work makes us miss whatever Riley hits but it gets two.  Cena comes back with the SOS Comeback and the Attitude Adjustment leads to the STF for the tap out.
Winner: John Cena

-Speaking of old-school, this was like a match you’d see on All American Wrestling. A three way brawl breaks out between Miz, Orton, and Nexus and Randy clears the ring to brawl with Cena before the referees and officials break it up in another nod to 80s wrestling.  The Mystery Raw GM has seen enough and books them both against each other…in Piper’s Pit.  Match was a total squash *.

-We come back from a break and OH MY GOD IS THAT NIKOLAI VOLKOFF?!?  Jesus Christ.  Volkoff and internet legend the Iron Sheik try to sing like the old days but Santino and Kozolv interrupt because Vlad wants to sing with Nikolai.  Santino has seen enough and brings out the original Jive Soul Bro and star of the most racist vignette ever, the Doctor of Style, Slick.  After some dancing, the Iron Sheik starts rambling (as always) about Hulk Hogan before the Usos theme music finally cuts him off.

#1 Contender’s Match
The Usos vs. Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov
Tamina brings out her dad “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka to ringside…Tamina ought to thank God that she got her mother’s looks.  The Usos dominate Santino to start until a judo throw allows Marella to tag Vlad for a fallaway slam.  Santino comes back in to show off his new judo skills and gets two so Kozlov comes back in but Jimmy is sneaky with a blind tag and the Usos take over.  Back suplex gets two and Jey gets a running chinlock (??), that’s the first time I’ve ever seen that one.  Kozlov comes back with a headbutt but the tag gets cut off and a superkick gets two for the Usos.  Jimmy (I think) hooks a front facelock and Kozlov finally gets the hot tag to Santino and he is truly a house of fire.  Kozlov gets rid of Jey and the ridiculous Cobra gets the pin.
Winners: Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov

-I’ve seen alot of stupid shit in my day but I think the Cobra is the dumbest **1/4.  Sheamus destroys everyone to try and get to Santino but John Morrison makes the save yet again because he hates bullies.  John Morrison…protector of lunch money since 2004.

David Otunga vs. Kofi Kingston
Otunga might be decent in scripted promos but he doesn’t have the ring skills to back up any sort of charisma. That’s why the territories were so important back in the day, a guy like Otunga could go work around the country for like 6 years and become a good power worker before heading to New York.  Nowadays, he’s thrown out there because he’s an F-list celebrity but he can’t work a lick and ends up flushing his career down the toilet.

Kofi gets caught with three scoop slams for two and hits the chinlock early (see what I mean?).  Criss-cross elbow gets two for Otunga but Kofi fires back with kicks and gets a dropkick but they clothesline each other for a double KO.  Randomly, George “The Animal” Steele lurches out to the ring and has the turnbuckle for a snack.  Kofi uses the distraction to run Otunga into the exposed turnbuckle bolt and hits Trouble in Paradise for the win.
Winner: Kofi Kingston

-Match was really bad before Steele appeared and really served no purpose…DUD.

-Meanwhile, Arn Anderson and Gerry Brisco pump up John Morrison but Sheamus comes running in with a pump kick and KOs the pretty boy (no, not Brisco).

-Meanwhile, Hacksaw Jim Duggan meets Aksana (“HOOOOOOOOOO!”  Aksana: “What did you just call me?”) and lures her into Goldust’s trap to return the Million Dollar Belt to its rightful owners…the Million Dollar Man and IRS.  After all that, that’s the end of the Million Dollar Belt?  What a waste.  Cody and Dustin share a comedic moment before Tatanka joins them all for a dance.  That might be the weirdest segment I’ve seen all year.  Of course, Ron Simmons has to add his own exclamation point to things.

R-Truth vs. Wade Barrett
I’d expect Barrett to be booked pretty strong here.  Barrett tries to hammer away but Truth launches into flip mode and clotheslines Wade to the floor before following with a flip to the outside.  Barrett shakes it off and catches Truth with a belly-to-belly before adding a flying elbow for two.  Sloppy backbreaker gets two for Barrett but Truth surprises him with a small package for a near fall and mounts a comeback with a victory roll for another two.  Falcon arrow gets two and Truth looks for the axe kick but runs into a big boot and Wasteland finishes things.
Winner: Wade Barrett

-Good booking leading into the PPV and the match was good enough for TV **1/4.

-Tito Santana appears to introduce Alberto Del Rio and Chavo Guerrero Sr. serves as his limo driver.  A token heel promo follows until Sgt. Slaughter hears enough for some pro-American banter giving us…

Alberto Del Rio vs. Sgt. Slaughter
I will say this, I do like the old school referee outfits. I do not like this match though.  Sarge immediately hooks the Cobra Clutch but Del Rio fights to the ropes and gets a clothesline for two.  Yet another Cobra Clutch gets hooked but gets out and hits a corner enzuigiri for the win.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio

-I don’t get the point of letting Del Rio sell anything considering Sarge is 62 years old and isn’t likely to be making a comeback anytime soon, so it’s not like he has to keep his heat or anything. Del Rio attacks further but MVP makes the save 1/4* because Sarge was a childhood favorite.

-Mean, by God, Gene brings out Mae Young (WHY GOD?  WHY?!?!!?) and intros a video package of all of her ridiculous segments over the years.  God bless Mae for 70 years in the business but come on, she should be watching at home not being trotted out like this.

Anyways, LayCool comes out for some elderly jokes so Mae challenges them to a falls count anywhere match.  Are you serious?

Falls Count Anywhere
LayCool vs. Mae Young
All the face divas attack and Mae pins Layla with one foot. At least she didn’t show her chesticles again.
Winner: Mae Young

-Why oh why why why why why why?  Minus a million, billion, trillion.

-The Fink introduces Jim Ross for commentary and earns a pop that Michael Cole couldn’t get if he were passing out $100 bills. Michael Cole goes total heel and JR no-sells all of Cole’s BS in a funny spot.

Daniel Bryan vs. Jack Swagger
When you need to get a young guy with a unique style over, call good old JR. Hey, remember when Jack Swagger was a main eventer?  Swagger takes it to the mat and tries for the ankle lock as Cole continues to try and get JR’s attention but keeps getting ignored.  Swagger works the mat again but Bryan catches Swagger with a dropkick for two and he fires off kicks.  Bryan tries to stick and move but a big boot sends him to the floor and WE GOTTA TAKE A BREAK!!!

Time isn’t kind to everyone

-We return with Swagger getting a slam for two and Michael Cole is still complaining.  Jack hammers away on the apron but Bryan low-bridges him and a baseball slide sends Swagger into the crowd railing.  Flying knee from the apron puts Swagger down and he hits a STIFF missile dropkick back in the ring for two.  Bryan fires off more kicks but Swagger catches one and tries for the ankle so Bryan has to break and charge to the corner but Jack ducks out of the way and Bryan takes a nice bump.  Running Vader Bomb gets two for Swagger so he hits it again and looks for the gutwrench finish.  Swagger looks to finish with the gutwrench but Bryan flips out and hits a stiff, MMA-type kick for the finish.
Winner: Daniel Bryan

-I am TOTALLY for Bryan using that kick as a finish, especially with the popularity of MMA, and the match was really good TV stuff ***. Ted DiBiase attacks after the match and poses with the US title. Interesting little spot: Michael Cole actually calls the US title a “belt” and then apologizes for it…sometimes I hate Vince McMahon. Jim Ross gets the last laugh on Michael Cole by smacking him with his cowboy hat.

-Nice touch using the voice of the late Alfred Hayes for a promo shot.

Main Event Interview
Piper’s Pit
Piper runs through all his misdeeds throughout the years as only he can before bringing out John Cena. Roddy launches into an AWESOME promo chastising Cena for even thinking about giving Wade Barrett the world title by listing all the great workers that never won the belt. Cena promises to call the match down the middle which draws Wade Barrett out to remind John of everything he could lose. Barrett FINALLY forces Cena to put on a Nexus t-shirt about a month after it would make sense to do so.  If the creative team didn’t have their heads up their asses, they would have had Cena in that shirt and walking out to the Nexus theme from the beginning.

Randy Orton finally joins us and immediately attacks Wade Barrett, looking for the RKO, but Cena reluctantly stands in the way.  Orton takes out Cena with an RKO and looks for the PUNT OF CERTAIN DEATH but Cena jumps out of the way and has no choice but to hit the Attitude Adjustment.  Barrett orders Cena to raise his hand but John delivers an AA to send us off the air and towards Survivor Series.

Final Word
Well, workrate-wise, the only match that delivered was the Bryan-Swagger match but the show was definitely alot of fun with all the old-school references, both obvious and subtle. A hardcore WWF fan from back in the day (as I am) had to love all the winks and nods to their past and it actually made the show fly by for me. HOWEVER, I would not have done this with one of their so-called Big Four PPVs coming up on Sunday because there was a little too much gaga for trying to sell an event. This is something you do the Monday AFTER a PPV when the talent needs a little break.

Moving to the pay-per-view, this is 100% without a doubt being sold as a one match show and, to be honest, it’s not even the match that’s drawing people in…it’s Cena’s decision. Sure, they gave an intense and awesome promo here to draw people in but are fans REALLY going to pay $50 to see the last 2 minutes of a main event match? I don’t think that they are.

Loved all the references, really liked the Bryan match/finisher, but I’m still worried about the buyrate.