This week’s Raw was a little different in that, apart from Triple H, it was an all-Smackdown affair. This made me especially happy. Of course, the Raw roster stuck in Belfast, Northern Ireland, weren’t so chuffed. Apparently, the fact that airspace over most of Europe was closed due to a pesky Icelandic volcano spewing ash into the atmosphere was a pain in the neck. Yep! You and seven million other people, Raw roster. Still, the Smackdown kids managed to make it to Spain where there was a gap in the air-travel ban and jumped on a flight back to US to help Raw out.
Triple H pulled out of the European tour at the last minute. Lucky for him and lucky for us, because he was the only Raw representative on the show. This lead to quite the lengthy monologue from HHH. Anyone who questions Triple H’s value should probably watch this first segment of Raw. Regardless of what you might think of his family situation, having someone on the books who you can happily send out in front of a millions of people knowing he’ll make them laugh is worth its weight in gold.
Of course, you can’t just have one guy cracking jokes for two hours, so he was dutifully interrupted by CM Punk and his SES minions.
If there’s another guy you can always rely on to get a crowd reaction, it’s Punk, and he made his intentions more than clear when he announced to the crowd……
They batted the insults back and forth in a beautiful game of verbal tennis for some time. Hunter even involved crowd members, roping them and one-night-stand Lillian Garcia into his jokes. Punk got fed up with this and ordered an SES attack on The Game, demanding that he come over to the clean-living side and join the Straight Edge Society. They almost did it. Trips was being held in the chair, Punk had the holy clippers in his hand and…….
Ok, pause for a minute. Obviously, they weren’t ever going to cut HHH’s hair, but he would look GREAT with short hair. He’d look younger and more handsome without question. Look what it did for Chris Jericho? If a short-haired Game could be arranged, it would make my perving-at-wrestlers lifetime. Thank you. Back to the show.
This moment of panic needed an intervention, so who else to save the sole Raw fellow than Rey Mysterio. He took Punk out twice, helped Triple H to fling Gallows over the top rope and chased Serena away. Then Hunter held Punk down while Rey came at him with the revolving clippers. What? They’re not really going to do it a week early are they?
Best thing I’ve seen on Raw in AGES. If only a volcano could erupt every Monday. Speaking of that bellowing natural beast, John Cena was to address the audience via live satellite from Belfast. I should point out, that despite John’s slightly dramatic message to everyone that they’re all safe and so on, unless you were actually living in Iceland, nobody was in any danger. They just closed the airspace over Europe. The WWE Superstars and Divas were in a nice hotel, fed, watered and throughly entertained by the local amenities. Oh to have been in Belfast last week. Had they been stranded in Cardiff I would have taken the week off work and trailed the streets with a dictaphone and camera all week long. Anyway, this bugged me too:
I should also say that before this live link-up took place, Drew McIntyre and Matt Hardy had a solid match in which McIntyre held on to his Intercontinental Championship. This, Raw-Monkeys, is a wrestling match. We get them a lot on Smackdown. I know. I’m being a patronising cow. Soz. The wrestling wasn’t to last long though. John Cena’s announced safety was proceeded by a ridiculous segment in which Vladimir Koslov got Jerry Lawler to read out a declaration of New Jersey hate. He, in turn, was interrupted by our guest hosts. The stars of new movie MacGruber came out in character and did a whole New Jersey love thing.
Then they set Koslov up in a match against R-Truth. Then Truth spontaneously combusted, leaving nothing but a smoking pair of shoes in his wake.
It ended with Koslov claiming that he would make MacGruber his opponent instead. Ach!
Back to the action. Jack Swagger has a match against Randy Orton for the WHC at Extreme Rules. Randy spoke via satellite……
But with Randy’s plane grounded across the pond, Swagger took the opportunity to give Randy a little demo of what he’s in for. With this in mind, he issued an open challenge to anyone in the locker room to face him right there and then. So, which Smackdown someone would like to take him on? R-Truth is no longer with us, John Morrison is supposed to fight him on Smackdown the following night, I can’t see Dolph Ziggler getting some Raw airtime, errrrrrm……..
They had a great match. It kind of made me realise that I’ve been underestimating Swagger as a wrestler. But then, it’s only since he’s been getting to grapple on Smackdown that he’s had his chance to shine a bit. Of course, Taker won. You don’t make an open call to the locker room, get a visit from the DeadMan and win. Swagger was well and truly put in his place.
Actually, those couple of minutes where they planned their strategy for the 3-on-3 match they had been placed in for later was better than the whole of the next segment. Koslov and MacGruber were starting their match, then Ryan Phillipe came out (not in character) and sent Khali out to pose and MacGruber’s twin brother. Damn you, Ryan Phillipe. Khali was supposed to be disappearing back to India for a while. I was looking forward to not having to see his stupid face again.
It was time to pad the rest of the show out with the six-man tag match – HHH, Mysterio and Edge were to face Punk, Gallows and Jericho. But before The Game could even make it into the ring, Sheamus had hijacked the satellite link to send a message to his Sunday opponent.
Looking very smartly dressed, Sheamus demonstrated his pain-inflicting skills on a poor sound-production guy.
They had their match which, as you might imagine with that much talent in the ring, was pretty huge. The good guys took it when Punk found himself the victim of a 619 and a Pedigree within the space of ten seconds.
Was Raw saved from the depths of despair this week? Well, it depends who you are. If you think the regular Raw is the greatest thing since sliced bread you probably found it a bit tedious. If, however, you’re a Smackdown fan you probably enjoyed Raw a little more than usual this week. Either way, if you were one of the people who took up the offer of a refund because the usual Raw crew weren’t there, shame on you. SHAME. ON. YOU.