Matt Bishop in San Jose: Five hours of tapings fly by
MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Another enthusiastic Northern California crowd made it
through five hours of WWE programming without blinking an eye during two
tapings of Monday Night Raw at HP Pavilion on Monday evening.
The crowd was just as hot for the final match of the night, the Night of
Champions Tournament final between Triple H and John Cena, as it was for the
first few matches.
But the biggest shock of the night came in the main event of the first Raw,
as the crowd potentially made a babyface star out of Mark Henry, who
defeated WWE Champion Randy Orton in the back-end of a 3-on-1 gauntlet
Facing the hated Orton, the crowd was behind Henry from the start,
especially after Jack Swagger got himself intentionally counted out and then
shook Orton's hand. Henry feigned the same thing, only to come back and
destroy Orton. As he exited, Henry held the crowd in the palm of his hand
for, more than likely, the first time in his career.
Sunday at The Bash, Henry did receive some cheers for his power offense, so
this doesn't seem totally out of the blue, but for the most part it still
Yet during Henry's match with Cody Rhodes in the second taping less than 30
minutes later, the reception was much more lukewarm.
John Cena and The Miz had the match they should've had at Sunday's
pay-per-view. In a funny turn of events, the crowd slowly turned on Cena
throughout the night. The first time he was shown, it was almost all cheers
as he received arguably the loudest pop of the first show. By the end of his
match with Triple H later in the night, however, Cena was getting soundly
booed during yay/boo punch exchanges.
During the second show, "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase played a much
larger role than Batista did as guest host, making several matches,
including booking his son in what ended up being a good match with Orton.
While it was mainly a young crowd, the fans still recognized DiBiase and
gave him a big ovation. Having the fabled Million Dollar Belt over his
shoulder certainly didn't hurt, either.
The rematch for the Unified Tag Team Championship that saw Edge and Chris
Jericho battle the Colons was a great television match. The two teams met
again in the second taping in a non-title affair.
In other action for the second show, MVP held a VIP Lounge with Jack Swagger
as his guest and Kofi Kingston faced off against Evan Bourne.
Gail Kim and Alicia Fox, who were both acquired by Raw in the out-of-nowhere
trade, made their Raw debuts on the second show.
In matches taped for the next two editions of WWE Superstars, The Brian
Kendrick faced Santino Marella and Hornswaggle faced Chavo Guerrero.
For everything The Bash wasn't, this show was. It featured three superb
television matches and a few surprises as well.
The crowd also went a long way to making the shows, as it stayed with the
two shows and never lost interest, although it was probably easy, as the
show let out around 10:30 p.m. local time. For those in the crowd on Eastern
time, the eyes were getting a littler heavier as the night wore on, but the
wrestlers put on matches and promos that never allowed you to zone out.
Every wrestler worked hard, many going multiple times, so it was good to see
their efforts appreciated by those in attendance. This taping deserves four
thumbs up (two for each show).
Raw: Dubious guest host makes Orton run "The Gauntlet"
Matt Bishop is SLAM! Wrestling's ECW reporter. His vacation to California
will next take him to Tuesdayıs MLB game between Detroit and Oakland. You
can follow his journey on Twitter at twitter.com/mbish86. He can be reached