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Two for the price of one: Thoughts on Raw and ECW

I apologize for not blogging about Raw yesterday, as I usually do every Tuesday, but watching the Ravens-Steelers game on Monday night threw my schedule out of whack. I taped Raw and watched both it and ECW last night.

Before going any further, I want to say that I appreciate those of you who e-mailed me and expressed concern about my well-being due to the lack of posts the past few days. Yes, I am feeling fine (just a little overworked), and no, I was not "future endeavored" by The Baltimore Sun.

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Now that I'm all caught up, here's my take on Monday's Raw, and as a special added bonus, last night's ECW (try to contain your enthusiasm).

RAW:

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Overall, I thought the show was entertaining, but as the go-home show for Sunday's No Mercy pay-per-view, it seemed a little flat.

The main angle was that Shawn Michaels needed a tag-team partner for his match against Chris Jericho and Lance Cade. After hinting that it might be Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin or Bret Hart (now that was funny), Michaels said he would try to find someone who actually liked him. I'm betting that a few people watching thought Kevin Nash was going to show up (he reportedly has not signed his TNA contract and his picture has been removed from the company's Web site). It was pretty obvious, though, that it was going to be Triple H, especially when considering he, Jericho and Matt Hardy are wrestling in a triple threat match Friday on Smackdown.

I'm always happy to see DX reunited, but this time I thought it took away from Michaels' feud with Jericho. Their conflict has been so intense and personal that seeing Michaels crotch-chopping in his DX t-shirt seemed out of place. …

Randy Orton's promos are becoming one of the most anticipated segments every week. It's been interesting how he gets a babyface pop for interrupting a heel (or in this case, an inept Raw general manager), but then cuts a heel promo and turns the crowd against him. …

Speaking of heel promos, I thought Cade did a pretty good job on his. The more I see of Cade, the more I think he has the tools to become a star, but I don't know if he has the "it" factor to become a breakout superstar. …

The eight-man tag match (Kane, Ted DiBiase Jr., Cody Rhodes and Manu versus CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, Rey Mysterio and Evan Bourne) was exciting. Everyone seemed to be over with crowd, especially Punk. …

I can't believe WWE actually acknowledged that Kane's father was Paul Bearer. That story line is best forgotten. Actually, you could say that about most of Kane's story lines. It's amazing that the Kane character is still over with fans after some of the preposterous angles he has been involved in. …

The Great Charli was hilarious. Charlie Haas had The Great Khali's walk and mannerisms down pat. …

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Beth Phoenix had the move of the night when she reversed Kelly Kelly's rollup into the Glam Slam. …

Santino Marella had a good line when he said that if there was a Moolah-meter, Phoenix would be 22 years behind. I think it's actually more like 27, but it was still funny. …

Why is Jamie Knoble getting so much screen time lately? The Knoble/William Regal/Layla angle is not holding my interest. …

Hopefully, Mickie James teaming with Knoble is a one-time thing and not the start of a romance angle between the two. That's a big step down to go from John Cena to Knoble. …

How awful was that Dirt Sheet clip, in which John Morrison and The Miz masqueraded as the fathers of JTG and Shad Gaspard? TNA's Prince Justice Brotherhood now has some competition for most groan-inducing "comedy."

ECW:

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I can see why Jack Swagger was regarded as the top prospect in developmental. He just might end up being a bigger star than Morrison, DiBiase, Rhodes or any of the other twentysomethings on the roster. …

Matt Striker said that Swagger looked like a cross between Gary Busey and Barry Windham. I was thinking Busey and Jani Lane, the former lead singer of hair metal band Warrant ("Cherry Pie").

Jani Lane, of course, is no relation to Lenny Lane, Swagger's opponent last night. I almost didn't recognize Lenny, who, as Striker pointed out, now bears a resemblance to '80s mid-carder Buck Zumhoffe. You might remember Lane from his WCW days when he was part of the Lenny and Lodi tag team. He also is a former WCW cruiserweight champion and one-time lackey of Chris Jericho. Speaking of Jericho lackeys, has anyone seen Ralphus lately? …

I thought the six-man main event (Mark Henry, Miz and Morrison versus Hardy, Bourne and Ricky Ortiz) was good. The fans were into all of them – even Ortiz – and Henry is doing a great job as a monster heel. …

The highlight of the show was the commentary by Striker and Todd Grisham. Both of them were entertaining, but for completely different reasons. Striker has quickly become the best color commentator in the business. He explains the holds and has a vast knowledge of wresting history as well as a quick wit. His best line of the night was when describing a wrestler's resourcefulness: "If you run out of toilet paper, you do a handstand in the shower."

Grisham, on the other hand, had a bad night. It almost was Adamle-like. Here is a sampling of some of the nonsensical things that came out of his mouth:

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"Tommy Dreamer and Mike Knox are almost mirror images of each other." Yeah, except for the fact that they look nothing alike and play totally different characters.

"Morrison looks like a scratch-off lottery ticket." Like Striker, I have no idea what he was going for on that one.

"There's a couple of kicks to the back of Morrison's back." To which Striker replied, "As opposed to the front of his back, which would be his chest."


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