November 16, 2010
Raw: Kickin' it old school
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling
It’s Old School night on Raw, and nothing says “old school” like three hours of wrestling apparently. Well, that and a special edition right before one of the major pay-per-views of the year. With the promise of former talents coming back for one night only (again), this should be an interesting night.
And we indeed do kick off with the old school WW F’n F gold logo opening! Me likey already! God, I have never been more happy to see three letters in my life. This is awesome.
Jerry Lawler’s even in his old school King gear, and Michael Cole’s already broken out “vintage” once. Oh crap, I knew there was some sort of disadvantage to this.
We kick off with Gene Okerlund on the old-fashioned interview podium. YES! For godssake, please let Teddy DiBiase Jr. kick a basketball away from a kid tonight. My wrestling viewing will be complete for the year if that happens.
As it turns out, Bob Orton Jr. is the guest tonight, supposedly with Randy in tow, but instead younger Orton isn’t here. Scary sight though – Gene-o’s mic is shaking. Ace cuts one hell of a promo until he’s interrupted by Wade Barrett, who says he will win at the Survivor Series.
Miz then comes out with Alex Riley, who’s sporting an old fashioned Raw shirt. Miz threatens to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase tonight, rendering the apparent title match on Sunday moot and causing John Cena to stay in Nexus forever. Well played, Trebek. Cena pops up on the Titantron and says he will protect that from happening by challenging Miz tonight. Miz accepts and we’ve got our main event.
Match 1 – Dolph Ziggler vs. Mark Henry
The ring is also decidedly retro, and, oh nice, we even get the promo-in-a-box effect. WWE seriously needs to do this more often.
Oh even better, Mark Henry’s out in his old Sexual Chocolate gear and has the music going too. Sorry dudes, I’m totally marking out for this.
Then Lawler ruins it by comparing Mark Henry to Bruno Sammartino. Oh please. King Kong Bundy, sure. Bruno? Nope.
Decent back-and-forth match here as we get a couple Chocolate chants. Ziggler eventually gets the duke following the Sleeper.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Backstage, the Hart Dynasty are wearing old school Mania tee-shirts until they find Tony Atlas who rambles on about his time in a tag team with Rocky Johnson. This was... bad.
We return from commercial to see Atlas still rambling as Yoshi Tatsu stretches.
Match 2 – Nexus (Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel) vs. Hart Dynasty (D.H. Smith & Tyson Kidd)
Good start to the match with Smith getting his version of the Benoit Hat Trick, doing B2B side suplexes rather than Germans. After some more action, Tyson Kidd avoids a tag in, officially finishing the team for good. Gabriel gets the 450 to put the match on ice.
Backstage, Okerlund interviews the Ortons before R-Truth comes in. The promo continues with little accomplished.
Okerlund is back, just after in the Update centre (yay!), but only to shill old school apparel (boo!).
Howard Finkel is out to introduce Harvey Whippleman and Brooklyn Brawler.
Match 2 – Brooklyn Brawler vs. Ezekiel Jackson
Lombardi looks in the same shape he was in before he retired (did he actually?). I’m anticipating Zeke being compared to Ahmed Johnson. Oh and Cole, what year is it? 2011? Really?
Good ol’ fashioned squash here, which Zeke wins.
Winner: Ezekiel Jackson
Backstage, Nexus is debating who will take out R-Truth when the GM's buzzer goes off (decidedly NOT old school). He declares that Barrett will take on Truth while Otunga will be in a “special” match. The segment turns into a hard push for the WWE title match at the Series.
Match 3 – John Cena vs. The Miz
Miz is out with the mic and says the GM never sanctioned the match, so Miz is free to make a substitution, which means Alex Riley is in instead.
Match 3 – John Cena vs. Alex Riley
Not a bad match to start but it quickly degenerates into the standard Cena match.
Winner: John Cena
Post-match, Orton rushes in and takes out Miz before Nexus comes in. They’re quickly taken out, leaving Orton and Cena. Before it gets too serious, a crowd of referees and officials (including Tony Garea!) rush the ring. We then get the GM chiming in, making both appear on Piper’s Pit later tonight.
Next up, Nikolai Volkoff and Iron Shiek are out, with Volkoff getting to sing the Soviet anthem before Santino and Vladimir Kozlov come out. Oh please tell me we’re getting the anthem as a duet! And we do! Santino eventually stops the madness and brings out Slick who sings Jive Soul Bro out to the ring. Shieky takes the opportunity to rail on Hulk Hogan, while Slick’s music plays over him (someone please send me an isolated mp3 of that!). Shieky starts railing in again on Hulk before pulling out his actual line.
Match 4 – Santino/Kozlov vs. The Usos - #1 Tag Team Contenders Match
Jimmy Snuka comes out to be in the corner of the Usos, just to blur the lines of heels and faces even more.
Decent bout that Santino and Kozlov win with the Cobra!
Before the celebration can get going though, Sheamus interrupts taking out everyone, leaving Santino as his prey before John Morrison comes out. Morrison then challenges Sheamus, but we get no response.
Match 5 – Kofi Kingston vs. David Otunga
Midway through the match, George “The Animal” Steele wanders out for no reason and eats the turnbuckle. Kofi then ensures that Otunga eats the exposed turnbuckle (totally different way) before getting Trouble in Paradise.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
Backstage, Morrison is chatting with Gerry Brisco and Arn Anderson before Sheamus attacks him. Sheamus says the two will meet at Survivor Series.
Backstage, we see Aksana with the Million Dollar title. She encounters “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan who tells her that Momma Akasana is here, but it’s really Dusty Rhodes in a wig. Kelly Kelly then drops a net on Aksana from above, which allows Goldust to grab the belt. He says he will return it to its rightful owner, Ted DiBiase Sr., who shows up alongside IRS. Ted Sr. then tries to give it to Ted Jr., who refuses it. Cody then shows up to have a quickie segment with Goldust. The group then dances as Tatanka enters the picture. Weird, very weird skit, that ends with Ron Simmons coming in for a DAMN. Well, at least we had some character advancement with Teddy Jr.
Back from break, we get a Lord Alfred Hayes (RIP) send-up of the old “promotional consideration” ad spots that used to end Superstars and Raw. God bless Lord Alfred.
Match 6 – R-Truth vs. Wade Barrett
For godssake, stop killing Eve by making her have to do this garbage with Truth. I’m so sick of the new song (not that I was enamoured with the old song either).
Truth is getting too aggravating to watch at this point. Barrett wins with Wasteland after a match that went on far too long.
Winner: Wade Barrett
Before Alberto Del Rio’s ring boy can finish announcing, Tito Santana comes out to finish the job. Chavo Classic is the driver for Del Rio tonight. Del Rio cuts a very good promo before (sigh) Sgt. Slaughter comes out for his bi-annual match.
Match 7 – Alberto Del Rio vs. Sgt. Slaughter
Sarge gets the Cobra Clutch at one point, but Del Rio makes the ropes to break the hold and does it again later in the bout. Del Rio eventually wins with the corner enziguri.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Post-match, Del Rio gets the Cross Arm Breaker on Sarge before MVP comes out to break things up.
Back to Okerlund we go for an interview with Mae Young, who is out with the Bellas. We get a career retrospective on Young. Eventually Lay Cool comes out... as if the segment couldn’t get any worse. Young then challenges LayCool to a no DQ bout... oh ... dear God ... LayCool ups the ante by making it Falls Count Anywhere. Oh crap.
Match 8 – Mae Young vs. Lay Cool- No DQ/Falls Count Anywhere Match
More Divas come out for the heck of it. This is so wrong. So very, very wrong. Natalya gets the final shot in before May gets the pin.
Winner: Mae Young
Before the next match, Fink introduces JR. Thank you!
Match 9 – Daniel Bryan vs. Jack Swagger
Oh man, this could be the match of the year if it’s given enough time. JR on commentary -- straight commentary, with no PPV pushing -- is awesome, especially as he no-sells Michael Cole’s insults.
Very strong back-and-forth match as the two fulfill their potential together. Bryan pulls out the victory with a KO Kick, and folks, you will want to check out the replay for this one.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Immediately after the match, Ted DiBiase Jr. attacks Bryan, and shows his intentions for wanting the U.S. title.
The Legends come out one more time before Roddy Piper is introduced. Piper rattles off before introducing Cena and Orton. Piper cuts a hot promo on Cena for his potential decision at Survivor Series. Cena cuts a good promo back, which brings Barrett out. Piper cuts off his promo before Barrett comes back and gives Cena a Nexus tee-shirt to put on. Cena puts the shirt on very quickly (almost quick enough to make you think he's turning heel at the Series).
Orton then comes out and, at first, threatens to punt Cena, but then turns his attention to Barrett. Eventually, Cena eats an RKO, but later recovers and hits AAs on both Orton and Barrett.
Overall, this was a really, really fun Raw to watch. It would make for a great annual tradition if WWE could bring back different legends each year; but next time, I highly recommend doing it in a show that isn’t the go-home before a major PPV.