Shortly after 9 p.m. on Monday night, I sat in a packed arena as pyro went off, crunchy guitars played over the sound system and larger-than-life characters appeared on stage to kick off a two-hour spectacle.
No, I wasn’t in Indianapolis for Raw. I was at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia for the first of back-to-back Kiss concerts – I also saw Gene, Paul and the boys perform the next night at Verizon Center in Washington.
So now you know why my take on Monday’s episode of Raw is so late in getting posted. I may still be able to rock and roll all night, but now it’s more like sleep every day rather than party every day.
Anyway, onto Raw:• The main story line focused on the dissension within Legacy, as Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase Jr. and Cody Rhodes all had their own agendas. The popular opinion – which I agree with – is that DiBiase is eventually going to turn babyface, probably around the time his direct-to-DVD movie “The Marine 2” comes out.
• I’m a little confused as to why DiBiase and Rhodes would care so much about earning a spot on the Raw team for the Bragging Rights pay-per-view on Oct. 25 that they would be willing to stab each other in the back. And what did DiBiase have to gain by pinning Orton in the tag match that pitted DiBiase and Rhodes against Orton and John Cena?
• The whole concept of having a team of Raw stars facing a team of Smackdown stars at Bragging Rights is flawed. The rosters are shuffled so frequently that the notion that wrestlers have some sort of brand loyalty is absurd. I think it would be more believable if the competitors in the match had a tangible incentive, such as the winning team getting a big monetary bonus.
• Guest hosts Nancy O’Dell and Maria Menounos from “Access Hollywood” were fine. They seemed to enjoy being there and their presence on the show was not intrusive. Menounos didn’t embarrass herself at all when she participated in a six-woman tag match.
• The comedy bits with Triple H interacting with an absent Shawn Michaels via telephone and a life-sized cardboard cutout of Michaels were amusing. The best part was when Triple H’s call to Michaels went to voicemail, and Michaels’ greeting was him singing his “Sexy Boy” song with slightly altered lyrics.
• I’m glad the Chris Jericho-Big Show match was mostly played for laughs and that Big Show only won by count-out. Before the match started, I was certain that Big Show was going to beat Jericho in a squash.
• It definitely was a shock when Jillian Hall won the WWE Divas title from Mickie James. As much as I like James, I was kind of glad to see Hall go over. Hall is a decent worker and has a distinctive character, but she has never gotten a significant push. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that she wasn’t getting one now, either, as Melina – who was part of a divas trade – was given an immediate title shot and made quick work of Hall.
• The divas trade was engineered by O’Dell, so apparently the guest hosts really can do anything they want. I suppose that means that next week’s host, Snoop Dogg, can veto the trade if he likes. My head is hurting from trying to make sense of all this. Either that or it’s hurting from those two Kiss shows.
• I know the announcers have to hype future shows, but when they were talking about next week’s Raw possibly being Cena’s last appearance on the show “forever,” I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. Instead of “forever” perhaps they should have said that Cena would be off of Raw until the next draft – or until a Raw guest host puts together a trade to get him back.
• Jack Swagger’s victory over MVP was surprisingly clean and quick. That’s great for Swagger. For MVP, not so much.
• The Kofi Kingston-Evan Bourne match was OK, but it definitely needed to go longer than just a few minutes. The other thing that hurt the match was the lack of drama concerning the outcome. At this point, everyone knows that Bourne is just a glorified enhancement talent.
• Santino Marella had the line of the night. When interacting with former girlfriend Beth Phoenix, he said: “When we were together, I faked every organism.”
• With Snoop Dogg hosting next week, I suppose that’s an indication that WWE does not drug test the guest hosts.