WWE News & Views #17: Raw, Vengeance, News and Q&A

Hello there. I don't have much of an intro. I was planning on getting this posted yesterday, but things came up and I was unable to finish it until now. What you'll get in this edition of N&V is a Raw recap, some news from the past few days, a quick Vengeance preview and then some questions and answers to bring it all home. Sounds good? I hope so because that's all you're getting from me this week. Well, that and live Vengeance coverage on Sunday night. On with the show.

Raw Recap for 06/20/05
I'm gonna zip through this.

Really liked Cena's promo at the start of the show. If you don't think he's the best babyface promo in WWE these days then you're crazy. I think he's the best promo of anybody on the roster right now. He's in a zone now that he's dropped the raps all the time. Hassan interacting with him was pretty good. Could be a future PPV main event if HHH ever decides to move on. Nice start, though.

New Raw guy is Carlito Cool. I love the man, so good for Raw. Bad for SD, three times in a row. The match with Benjamin was pretty good. That landing by Benjamin was just nasty. I'm glad he's alright. I just wish Carlito would get a finisher one of these days instead of the "hold the ropes" move that he does anytime he wins a match. Giving him the IC title is fine by me. Rematch at Vengeance should be alright.

Carlito spits the apple on Maria. Nice job. I like him more already. Seems like her "dumb girl" gimmick is growing since she asked him how he won.

I don't care about the Vis/Lillian angle. It's pathetic how this guy has a role and a talented one like Val Venis does nothing.

Lots of backstage stuff to prepare for the wedding.

The wedding was predictable. Well, everything for the Hardy thing. I admit I actually jumped off from a vertical position on the couch to a horizontal one, then I realized it was just a joke. I liked it though. Working the smarts is always fun. Kane coming up through the ring was hilarious only because of the priest saying "Jesus Christ" at the perfect time. I don't care much for Edge/Kane, but I guess somebody has to play Matt Hardy in this angle. No idea if Matt's in talks to come back. I doubt it. Just used it as a swerve here. So Edge and Lita aren't married. Can't say I cared either way.

Victoria attacked Christy. I like that. The Christy Hemme promo was horrible. Why? Because she was laughing during the whole thing. I generally like her, but her acting skills are poor. She’s got the expression on her face as if she’s saying, “I’m happy to be here” and she has no sense of when to turn on her game face. Outside of playing the bubbly, happy girl I have no idea what she could do as a character. I guess she’s still learning.

Cena beat Hassan easily in under three minutes. Why not just do this right after the promo? Not surprised by this. Build Cena to be super strong before he loses his belt to HHH. Cena's not losing Sunday. If you think that, you're just wrong.

We get to meet the eight women in the diva search. I guess they all met the "must have fake boobs" requirement, huh? Plastic surgeons would be proud of this group. I am.

Main event got changed into a tag. It was alright. Predictable ending that brought us back to main events in the Rock/Austin years when they did this "super tag" match gimmick very often. Michaels/Angle brawling into the crowd while HHH pins Batista was very by the numbers booking. Not bad. Just not great either.

There's a quick Vengeance Preview in the Three Count section, so keep on reading for that.

Final Thoughts
They did a decent job in promoting Vengeance. The only match I really liked was Hassan/Benjamin while the main event was too slow for my liking. There were also too many dead spots in the show for my liking. It seemed like they were throwing to backstage every few minutes. Also, hyping up Angle/Batista all week only to have it go two minutes is pretty weak. Just announce the tag next time. Average show this week.

Match Results
Benjamin vs. Carlito - **1/2 (Best of the night.)
Viscera vs. Dean - New Rule: I don't rate Viscera matches.
Cena vs. Hassan - DUD (Squash City, USA.)
Batista/Michaels vs. Angle/HHH - *1/2 (Another ten minutes would have been nice.)

5.5 out of 10.

The News
- You have probably read about the news from the ECW One Night Stand PPV where JBL threw legit punches at the Blue Meanie during the big brawl at the end of the show. Meanie and JBL had heat from the past, so this was JBL's way of getting revenge on him. If you watch the tape, you can see JBL seeking Meanie and throwing hard punches at him, cutting open his head by hitting him on a cut that Meanie had from the night before. It's expected that WWE will not punish JBL for it since Meanie isn't a WWE wrestler mainly. Had he been wrestling for WWE, maybe JBL would be punished. Frankly, I think this sets a horrible example for the rest of the roster and JBL as a leader should know better to take his personal agenda this far. Then again, he's known as being a jerk so I guess he's just helping his rep with this behavior.

- In the new Torch, it said Carlito was traveling after a house show on Sunday night with Angle and Cena, so everybody on both rosters knew at that point that he'd be next on Raw. Angle was told about his move weeks ahead of time because he's a "top guy" who has that privilege of being able to talk with Vince McMahon about this stuff. The Randy Orton jump was common knowledge throughout the WWE headquarters on Tuesday afternoon before his jump at the tapings that night. Very few people knew about Cena's jump before it happened. That one was kept more secret than any of the others. Cena's angle on TV was done off-site in a car with Christian and Chris Jericho being clued in at that point. Funny how all this stuff happens, huh?

- Vince McMahon was supposed to meet with Sabu in Phoenix before Raw. The meeting was scheduled from before the ECW PPV, but it didn't end up happening. No word on why, but Sabu never showed up. Then again, it's Sabu. He's famous for no-showing things.

- Standout independent wrestler CM Punk has signed with WWE. At the last ROH show on the weekend, Punk won the Ring of Honor World Title, then walked out of the building after turning on the crowd. He’s supposed to wrestle one more match for ROH, then join WWE at some point after that. No word on whether he’ll join Raw or Smackdown or even be sent down to OVW. However, it’s known that both Johnny Ace and Triple H are fans of Punk, so he’s likely going to be on the main roster when he debuts. For those wondering, CM stands for “chick magnet.” If you don’t know him from ROH, you’ve probably seen him on Heat or Velocity a few times over the past year.

The Three Count
1. Since I don't do previews anymore (yay), might as well do a quickie preview of Vengeance here.

Batista vs. HHH - Batista wins. I would have said that before this week's Raw too. This will likely be the best match of their series although I don't see it getting higher than four stars. Their chemistry is just okay.

Angle vs. Michaels - Street fight stip will make it fun, but I can't see it topping Mania. Should be four stars or higher though. Michaels gets his win here leading to a third match at Summerslam probably.

Kane vs. Edge - Does Edge ever lose? No, but I think Kane has to win here.

Cena vs. Christian vs. Jericho - Cena wins. Should be pretty good even though I don't like triple threats that much.

Benjamin vs. Carlito - I think Carlito holds on to the belt. Probably gets some help from some Raw heel. Chris Masters maybe?

Victoria vs. Christy - Poor Vic. I say Christy wins. Like it matters.

For those that have asked, I'll be doing live Vengeance coverage. I care very much for Angle vs. Michaels. The rest? Some is good, some is not so good. Should be an above average show all things considered. It helps when you bring over three of SD's top ten guys.

2. It's amazing to me how this Chris Masters character has been a part of WWE TV for four months now yet he's still had no feuds. Where is this character going? My hope is that there is some plan for him that involves more than just doing the boring Masterlock Challenge every week. I really think he could be a good bodyguard type character for Carlito. Then again, with Tomko already doing that role for Christian maybe it won't happen. There's also the tag division. At Backlash, they had no match built for the PPV. Same for this one. Why have the division in the first place?

3. I think Orton on SD is a good move because he'll be able to be the top heel on that show now that Angle is gone and HHH is probably staying on Raw. This furthers my guess that Batista is going to Smackdown because it would seem to me like Batista vs. Orton at an event like Summerslam is likely. Throw that in there along with HHH vs. Cena and you have two pretty big matches. The only question is when Orton will be ready wrestle again. If he's ready for the Bash in July then I assume it would be against Undertaker. I think Orton has the brightest future of any WWE performer under age 30. He's already pretty good and he's going to be very good sooner rather than later.

Reader Questions & Comments
Reader comments will be in yellow, while mine will be in white.

Here's my theory tell me if it has any plausibility. I really just could not see Batista or HHH going to Smackdown. However Jericho or Christian could easily. I think at Vengeance one of those 2 my money is on Christian due to Jericho's contract issue, but then part of me says Christian isn't ready yet so Jericho will win and then be traded to Smackdown. What do you think the odds of either of those things happening are. Also when do you think Edge will use his "Money in the Bank and who will be champion at that time. Thanks. Keep up the great work all the stuff you write is some of the best on this site.
- Chris Siciliano
Orlando, FL

I don't really think your theories will happen. While they are both very good to me as far as being a fan of both Jericho and Christian, I highly doubt it. It's a nice thought, but I'm guessing no. My guess is Batista beats HHH at Vengeance and ends up getting drafted to Smackdown. I guess that means the World Title is on SD and the WWE title is on Raw. It'd be very confusing, but I'd much rather have one of the two current champions move to the other brand than have one of the two be stripped, then some tourney ends up crowning the new champion. I don't see Cena losing the title to either Jericho or Christian. Like I said in the last N&V, Jericho has yet to sign a contract extension and I doubt WWE will put a major belt on a guy who is unsure about his future. As for Christian, I love the guy, but I don't see him with a major title.

Not sure about Edge. With Angle there now, he seems like he went down a notch, which is weird because he has been a hot performer of late. Maybe he moves to SD.

Hey, man thanks for a great job on the Raw Evaluation. I just wanted to tell you though, that I really think you should have rated Muhammad Hassan a whole lot higher than you did. I see great potential in this guy. He has the best mic skills that I have seen in a VERY long time. Also, the fans really respond to him and Daivari. He has such tremendous talent that I don't think he'll be ignored much longer by WWE, and I hope you agree that he's right up there with Shelton Benjamin, Orton, and Cena as the future of the WWE. The only thing he needs is a great feud to put him next to those guys. Anyway, thanks for listening. Take care.
- Gerardo V., Roseville, CA.

I think he's poised for a good future, but as I've said he's yet to impress me that much in the ring. He's just average, so until he gets better it's hard for me to give him a bigger grade. It's one thing to cut good promos. You have to do it in the ring, though. He's been against the likes of Michaels, Benoit and Jericho yet he's just looked average at best. He's still young, like 24 years old, but he's not good enough for my liking yet.

What do you think of HHH with the beard and hair at the moment, compared to how he used to look without the full beard?
- Simon

I've read a lot about him over the years and I know that Harley Race is one of his favorite wrestlers ever. With the beard he's got now he's got the look that Race had for the majority of his career, so I think that's what he's going for with that. He wants to represent the old school, traditional side of the business and I think you can tell that from the way he presents himself. His facial hair just adds to it.

Over the past weeks, I have taken a very keen interest in the Matt Hardy / Amy Dumas situation, and with seeing the teasing of Matt Hardy's video during the "Edge & Lita wedding" on the live Raw broadcast. I felt I just had to write in and get a few things off my chest on what I feel is one of the bigger events of the wrestling industry in recent times, and one which also has the potential to be the biggest storyline of the year, possibly of the decade thus far.

For those of you that are thinking, that last statement was a bit overestimated or even complete nonsense, then I'll go on to describe what I mean in a second. Firstly I really do feel for Matt Hardy, even with his openness on the matter via his website. It's terrible losing someone you love, but when she cheats on you with another person you have worked with for quite a long time, then that does kinda change the equation a bit. Anyways, to be honest about the whole situation, something has struck me as a bit odd throughout the whole situation. I can't really describe it, but to me something just does not feel right. It has basically led me further to believe the possibility that ALL of this has been staged by the WWE writing team, and who knows perhaps Vince himself. Over the past 5 years, the internet has grown bigger in spreading WWE news, spoilers and inside information, thus resulting in Vince McMahon's hatred for the internet sites that generally deal with wrestling. As of late, we have seen extreme measures taken by the WWE in order to cover up future surprises in the WWE program, most notably with the ECV PPV and also with the current draft picks.

It's due to these points, and the weirdness of the Matt Hardy situation that has lead me to not only ask YOUR views on the current situation with the Titantron video interrupting the Edge and Lita wedding, and also the possibility of the whole thing being staged as a means to keep the fans in the dark of future storylines. In your past News and views, you said you would not be surprised if Hardy returned to the WWE before the end of the year, and I thought that, well if he's gone then he's gone. I mean if Matt Hardy was given a return offer, and a feud with Edge over the Lita situation, then what is stopping Hardy form really going for Adam Copeland, both behind the scenes and also in the ring? I mean we all read Matt's reactions and feelings with his posts on his main website, so I certainly not rule out Matt from just punching Copeland right in the face when he sees him. Why would the WWE even consider offering Hardy a new contract, and run this risk of a bust up like this? Why would the WWE then tease his video at that specific point of the Kane / Edge storyline? I personally feel that this may be the new method of secrecy that the WWE could be adopting, in order to keep the surprises high in their creative departments, with blurring the lines between reality and WWE fiction. I would be very interested in your views.

Thanks again, and keep up the good work.

Belfast, N. Ireland

Thanks for the comment. I don't think this is a work. I've said it after the first week of this and I'm saying it today, several months later. All the people involved in this have moved on. Matt Hardy's got himself a new girlfriend (he mentioned somebody named Lori, even showing her in his website video), Edge is trying to reconcile with his wife Lisa (according to reports) and Lita isn't traveling with Edge on the road anymore. I highly doubt it's a work. I'm sure some will always think that it is, but I'm thinking it's not. It's more than a hunch too. Just think about it, look at the facts and I think you too can realize it's a real life thing that happened here.

So now you ask me why would Matt Hardy consider coming back and WWE would want him back? Simple. The one thing WWE generally does well is they listen to the fans. They listened to them about ECW and it paid off. Listen to the fans every time Edge and Lita are out there. Matt's name gets chanted. There's dollar signs dancing in Vince McMahon's head. That's why they'd offer him a deal to come back. As for Matt, he could probably demand more money than he made before and WWE could give in to it because they know this angle could be profitable for them. Now, if Matt comes back then maybe he loses the respect of some of his fans for going against his morals, but at the same time he has to know that this is the best thing for his career. He could make the most money in his career by coming back for this angle. I hope he does it. Will he try to hurt Edge legit? I don't think so. In the past there's been a lot of real life heat that was brought onto wrestling angles, yet it rarely escalated on TV. If you're a professional then you act that way all the time, no matter who you're against (hi JBL!).

This is really the last time I feel like talking about the Hardy/Edge/Lita situation until Matt actually does come back.

Remember to check out my blog because I'll be doing some Q&A stuff on there every once in a while too.

How You Can Be Here
Email me a question with regards to anything WWE related. Ask me what I think about a wrestler, what I think about a match from the past (I can give you a star rating and thoughts on it, for example), a storyline going on or anything else. My only request is no fantasy booking. I know people like to do that. I just don't want to do that in this column. Another option is write me a commentary that's around 500 words at the most and I'll consider posting it.

Send all comments and/or questions to me at oratoryjohn@gmail.com and throw in a name for me to reference to as well. I won't post your email address, but a name would be nice. A location is fine too. That's up to you.

I really enjoy answering your questions and hearing your ideas for stuff. It's a lot of fun, so please keep them coming.

Closing Time
That's it. Still working on the Smackdown Roster Evaluation. I don't know when it'll be done. End of June, I hope. I don't like that I've delayed it, but it's been a busy month for me. On another note, my full Smackdown show recaps will be posted on my blog and in the weekly Smackdown Grades at the Oratory so if you want to know what I think about that show weekly then check either of those out. I often get people asking me if I watch SD. Yes, I do, but I'm not about to post two show recaps in this News & Views thing every week.

Have a great week. I'll be back on Sunday night live for Vengeance coverage here at Rajah.com and the Oratory.

Smell ya later,
John C. - oratoryjohn@gmail.com

Links to check out:
The Oratory - The Best Wrestling Columns on the Net!
The John Report Archives - Missed something that I wrote? That's the place to go.
The John C. Blog - Wrestling, sports and laughing at Tom Cruise getting water thrown on him.