The John Report: WWE Raw Deal for 06/06/11 (Tough Enough)
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter at @johnreport

Live from Richmond, Virginia this is the Raw Deal…

Raw started with the end of Tough Enough. I did watch it, but I’m not a TE reviewer. That’s my buddy Eric Keith on TJR. The end of Tough Enough that started Raw had contestants Andy & Luke in the ring along with Tough Enough host Steve Austin and WWE CEO Vince McMahon. The Vince thing was a surprise as his “limo arrived” at the end of the 8pmET hour. He asked the guys why they wanted it. If you don’t know who they are Andy is the big guy at 6’5″ and 250 pounds while Luke is 6’2″ and 200 pounds, so who do you think WWE was going to pick to win? Vince wanted to pick the winner because he’s the CEO. Austin told him to shut up because he’s the host of Tough Enough, so he gets to pick the winner. They picked Andy of course as Austin even called him “big Andy” when he announced it. He is your WWE Tough Enough winner.

I didn’t see every episode, but I saw enough to know that WWE favored Andy due to his size. I don’t think he’s as charismatic as they say he is. However, what do you expect them to say when they picked him to win the show? The crowd liked the Andy win because Luke had more of a heel personality, so he got booed quite a bit. I expect Andy to be in FCW while Luke, Jeremiah (third place) and maybe a few others might end up in FCW sooner or later. I’m not sure how fast they’ll bring Andy up to the main roster, but it would be wise to keep him tags or give him an on screen mentor to bring him along slowly. Does winning matter that much when a number of them will end up being signed to developmental deals? I don’t think so. It should be noted too that Andy worked in FCW before while Luke didn’t. That probably helped him too. They knew what they were getting. I’m a little surprised that there hasn’t been an announcement of a new season. Obviously there’s a lot of time to do that, though.

After it was over Vince slapped winner Andy hard in the face, he went down (damn right you better sell that!) and then Austin gave him the Stunner. He rolled to the floor although he didn’t sell the Stunner as long as he should have. I assume they told both guys that they were going to take a slap and Stunner after the announcement so that they were prepared. They were also likely told to get out of there fast because they had the start of Raw immediately following. Why would they beat up the guy that won? Because it’s WWE. You have to prove yourself before you’re made to look good. It’s backwards thinking, but that’s how WWE is.

Seven minutes past the 9pmET hour, Raw started. McMahon and Austin were still in the ring while R-Truth walked down the ramp dressed like a Confederate Civil War general. I’m not American, but I know a little bit about that history. Truth said he’d explain why he’s dressed like that while McMahon threw to a video package. They mentioned that Truth had to apologize for throwing his drink on “Big Jimmy” who was there with “Little Jimmy” in the crowd. He apologized. Vince asked “R” how do you spell the first name “R.” I’m guessing McMahon isn’t a fan of the name R-Truth, so that’s why he mocked it. Vince told him to visit him at the WWE office about the conspiracy while Truth comically couldn’t spell conspiracy. Truth pulled it off. He cracks me up.

The Miz came out to interrupt the promo. He said he deserves another shot. Then Alex Riley’s music started up, he got a big pop and he thinks the people want to see him beat The Miz up for the third straight week. Then John Cena came out. He talked about everybody in the ring and ended it by saying Truth really has his head on straight…then he did a mock sign to the crowd. Oh what a comedian. The GM buzzed in, Vince interrupted Cole by saying: “Michael Cole, shut up!” I love Vince for that. Then Vince booked the match for the main event with Cena & Riley vs. Miz & Truth and the referee is Steve Austin. I guess we’re supposed to think the GM might have booked something different? We don’t. We know better. The anonymous GM angle needs to end. Cue the “FOLEY! FOLEY! FOLEY!” chants. More on that later.

If you count the Tough Enough ending, they spent 20 minutes in the ring with this promo. Six people ended the segment with microphones. The audio people had a busy night. I think of everybody, even you guys in the audio department. It took forever to get to the point with this promo. There weren’t that many highlights in my opinion except for R-Truth with the history lesson.

Santino d. Michael McGillicutty (1/2*)
They got just over four minutes. Very boring match. The only real pop came at the end when Santino hit the Cobra on McGillicutty to get the pin. Has McGillicutty improved much in the last year? I don’t see it. Typical booking where a champion loses a non-title match to likely set up a tag title match. The tag division sucks. The fans know it. Putting Santino & Kozlov in the position of number one contenders new either. We want something different. We want something fresh. This didn’t accomplish that. To Santino’s credit the Cobra is very over. Fans love it.

They went over the Tough Enough segment with Andy winning. Then Kelly Kelly and Beth Phoenix came out for a tag match before the break. The camera was on Kelly way more than it was on Beth.

Beth Phoenix & Kelly Kelly d. The Bella Twins (1/2*)
It’s a typical divas tag. Kelly gets worked on for about a minute, Beth gets the hot tag, she cleans house and gets the pin with the Glam Slam. It’s nice to see Beth in this spot instead of Eve because such a better performer. Why didn’t they use her for the past few months? I’ll never understand that. Hopefully they gave up on the Eve experiment although I dobut that. It seems as though they’re going to push Beth going forward. That’s good. The best divas feud they could do would be Beth versus my favorite Natalya. It would be fresh too. A heel turn would be needed by one of them, but it works for me.

Plug time. I’ll be joining my buddy Cory aka The Ace for a live radio chat on Wednesday June 8 at 10pmET/9pmCT. It’s scheduled for 60 minutes, but we may go 90 minutes if we have people calling in to talk. There’s a call in number (917) 388-4635 or you can use Skype to chat with me. I’m also hoping my buddy Frank The Clown can join us. He goes to a lot of WWE shows and sits ringside, so you might know who he is by his clown outfit. He’s got some interesting stories that he can share with us. There’s a lot to talk about, so be sure to join us for it. The link is HERE. It should be fun. If you can’t listen live the full show will be up shortly after the show is over.

Backstage, Booker wanted to teach Trish the Spinarooni, or the Trisharooni as they called it. Jack Swagger walked in, told Booker he wasn’t tough enough and wondered if he still had it. Booker did his “tell me he didn’t just say that” routine and then accepted the match. I liked Booker’s facial expressions here. He’s always been good at that. More Trish please.

CM Punk cut a promo about how he beat Rey last week and Rey asked for a rematch this week. He said he always beats him, which isn’t true. Punk shaved his head because he lost his feud to Mysterio a year ago on Smackdown. Anyway, he talked about how great Nexus was. I guess he didn’t watch the McGillicutty loss? They went to break before the match.

They plugged Smackdown. Loved the Christian heel turn. I like how he’s obsessed with beating Orton. I wonder if they’ll do another singles match at Capitol Punishment or if they’ll use Sheamus to make it a three way. The Christian-Orton match at Over The Limit is my #2 match of the year after Undertaker/HHH at Mania. They have great chemistry. I’m interested in seeing what’s next. Smackdown is the better show to me.

Rey Mysterio d. CM Punk (**1/4)
I liked the match better last week. I gave that one **1/2 in case you’re wondering, so only a bit better. They got about eight minutes here with no commercial. Mason Ryan was at ringside for Punk causing the distractions at the right time, which led to the hot finish. Mysterio went for the 619, Ryan blocked it, Rey used Punk to get Ryan out of there, hit a lovely DDT and then finished off Punk with the top rope splash for the win. Punk won last week, so of course Mysterio won this week. That’s typical WWE booking. I’m assuming that they have a third match at Capitol Punishment that will likely get 12-15 minutes and might be the match of the night. That’s cool with me because that PPV is sorely lacking in quality content. Would I rather see CM Punk in the main event title picture? Yes. Absolutely. That’s where he should be.

They did the fake press conference with Lawler dreaming about an Obama press conference. It was funnier this time because they used R-Truth in it to ask the questions to Obama.

They plugged the “Best of WCW Monday Nitro” DVD. I saw the listing. Some of the “best” stuff they got on there is really the worst, but it might be worth a look if you’re curious.

Another plug time. Since Jim Ross helped me out (via Twitter) by endorsing my Mick Foley column about the Mickster returning to WWE I wanted to do something for JR. If you’re not in the United States (like me) and you want to buy his awesome BBQ sauce you can do so by ordering it off WWEShop.com because they ship worldwide. I’ve heard good things. I’ll be ordering some tomorrow. If you’re in the US then go to jrsbbq.com for them. The column was fun to write. I got incredible feedback including from Foley himself (check his Twitter @RealMickFoley to see for yourself). I think we’ll see him back in WWE before the end of the year. Happy 46th to Foley today too!

They talked about next week’s Raw from Long Island (hello Zack Ryder), NY. It will be a 3 hour show with a “WWE All-Stars” theme. In other words, wrestlers from Smackdown will be on the show too although I’m not sure what kind of “special” feeling that gives the show. Steve Austin will be there too. Lawler mentioned that sports have All-Star games, so WWE should have one too. That is so lame. That’s the best they can do to come up with a theme? Realistically it won’t be anything different from a typical three hour Raw. After the Smackdown taping tonight they’re heading to Europe for a week and then they have to fly back for a live Raw. They’re going to be a tired group. I’ll likely be writing about next week’s Raw live on thejohnreport.net starting at 8pmET.

Alberto Del Rio came out for a promo. They showed the video package of Big Show getting run over. How’s that vacation, big man? Del Rio wanted him to come out. He didn’t show because ADR says Show is scared. Then a fake Big Show came out with Ricardo Rodriguez dressed like him. He had a really big stomach, crutches and a bald head. It was a nice outfit actually! He kept on doing the chokeslam signal. I love ADR and Ricardo, but this segment wasn’t good. It felt flat. Del Rio needs to be in matches where he’s making people tap out. They need to make him look like a true submission wrestler. Comedy bits for main event players don’t work. No sign of Kane because they’re actually paying attention to the fact that he’s a Smackdown wrestler.

Where are they going with this? I think Del Rio will be in a match or promo at Capitol Punishment, Big Show will come back to attack him, they’ll have a match at the Money in the Bank PPV in July that Del Rio and then Del Rio will face Cena at Summerslam for the WWE Title. The whole point of this is to put Del Rio over a big name like Big Show. Like I said, though, I’d rather see him in matches every week winning convincingly instead of going for bad comedy like this. I’m a huge ADR fan, but this segment fell flat.

They aired a video on Kofi Kingston doing highspots as Cole called him the “future of Monday Night Raw.” I don’t think anybody truly believes he’s the future although in my opinion he is somebody that should be considered for that role.

They aired their “Be A Star” promo. Why have heels like the Bellas in it when a week ago they were bullying Kharma by calling her fat? Use the always smiling Kelly Kelly or Eve for that. You’re confusing the young fans by using the heels in this spot. At least that’s how I see it.

Kofi Kingston d. Zack Ryder (*)
Ryder posted on Twitter that he had a match and people got all excited. I’m pretty sure that this was the first match he’s had on Raw in 2011. That’s a very sad statistic. The “internet champion” didn’t earn a huge reaction although the announcers put over his YouTube videos and so did guest announcer Dolph Ziggler, who was tweeting while he commentated. Kingston won the match in under three minutes with the Trouble in Paradise. He lost last week in a non-title match to Ziggler, so of course he wins this week. Like I have said many times throughout the show, this was typical Raw booking. I’m assuming they do Ziggler vs. Kingston for the US Title at Capitol Punishment. It should be a good match that, much like Punk vs. Mysterio, was done many times on Smackdown.

As for Ryder it will be interesting to see if he’s on next week’s Raw in his hometown of Long Island, New York. I think he deserves a shot. Why not? They should probably try him out as a comedic style babyface rather than an arrogant heel because they have too many of those. Woo Woo Woo You Know It bro. Yes I watch the videos. They are entertaining for the most part.

Backstage they showed Miz talking strategy with R-Truth. Of course Truth was in his own world like usual. I wonder if that’s what Vince McMahon is like when he books some of these shows?

They showed Booker T. walking to the ring. It’s his first Raw match in four years. Of course he was in TNA before that, but they are smart to not acknowledge them.

Booker T. d. Jack Swagger via count out (*)
They went about three minutes. For 46 years old Booker looks to be in great shape. I think it’s right to keep him out of the ring, though. Some people don’t like him in the announcers role. I think he’s entertaining. I’m disappointed that Trish Stratus didn’t join him at ringside. She is an all-time favorite of mine of course. Swagger walked out on the match after three minutes. That’s more like Smackdown booking because they always book countouts where the heels walk away from the match.

Post match with Swagger walking up the ramp, Evan Bourne attacked him. Swagger chased him into the ring where Booker hit him with the Axe Kick and Bourne hit the Air Bourne SSP to the approval of the crowd. Then Bourne joined Booker in doing a Spinarooni. The crowd loved the post match. I doubt this leads to a Swagger/Bourne PPV match. It feels like a TV only feud.

I noticed WWE really plugged Twitter throughout the show. I guess that’s a company wide initiative to try to push it more. I think it’s smart. Twitter has helped me grow too. It’s free advertising. I’ve built friendships and connections through it. Fans like it as a way to interact with wrestlers. It’s smart to use it to your advantage.

They showed Stone Cold Steve Austin walking to the ring. He was rocking a black shirt along with blue jeans. He looks healthy. He’s said he feels healthy too. I would love to see him in a match again, but he doesn’t need the money or the potential injury, so I can understand why he’d be hesitant about it. It’s been eight years since the last match at WrestleMania 19 too.

John Cena & Alex Riley d. The Miz & R-Truth…until the GM reversed it (*1/4)
The referee for this was Steve Austin. The match went about 11 minutes with although it was never too exciting. The main event felt exactly like the match two weeks ago when Bret Hart was the ref. That match was Cena & Mysterio vs. Truth & Punk. It followed the exact same formula. The heel argued with the ref, the ref hit his finisher on the heel with Austin hitting the Stunner on Miz (just like Hart putting Miz in the Sharpshooter) before Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment to win. It was a formulaic match that resembled what you would see at a house show. I miss when TV main events had a special feel to them. The booking isn’t fresh at all. It’s the same kind of tag team main event we have seen so many times.

Post match, the GM buzzed in to say that the match got reversed because of Austin’s interference. What about two weeks ago with Bret Hart? I guess the GM fell asleep for that. Then the GM quickly buzzed in again (fast typer) to say that Austin would be the GM next week for the WWE All-Stars three hour edition of Raw. He was advertised for the show about two months ago. With Raw ratings being stagnant I wonder if there will be a spike due to WWE advertising Austin as the guest GM for the show.

To end the show, Austin threw down the laptop and went after Michael Cole. Then he rolled Cole into the ring, dumped beer on him, hit the Stunner (Cole sold it poorly) and Cena ended it with the Attitude Adjustment on Cole. I’m assuming this was done to send the crowd home happy because of the babyface team losing. It felt random and unnecessary since Cole has toned his heel act down, but I will always enjoy it when Cole is getting attacked.

Three Stars of the Show
1. Vince McMahon – “Michael Cole, shut up!” Easy first star for that.
2. Steve Austin – Loved seeing him. Attacking Cole was fun.
3. (tie) R-Truth – His history lesson was very informative.
3. (tie) John Cena – He attacked Cole too, so he’s in.

Three Cole related stars. That doesn’t always happen. Maybe the rules should be modified. Never take the stars too serious, people.

4.5 out of 10
Last week: 6
2011 High Score: 9.1 (March 28)
2011 Low Score: 4 (Jan. 10)
2011 Average: 5.83
Last 5 Weeks: 4.5, 6, 5, 5, 4

After being around the 5 mark for a while, last week bumped up to a 6 and now we’re back down to a 4.5 this week for a very stagnant show.

The finish was weird. I assume the whole point was to say that R-Truth has two wins over John Cena since he got the countout win two weeks ago and now this “win” this week. It’s lame. Poor booking. Instead of building up R-Truth as a serious competitor he’s being made to look like an idiot that probably doesn’t deserve the match he’s in. Do you have any sympathy for John Cena in this match? I don’t see it. He’s the feud for Cena before they do Cena vs. Del Rio at Summerslam. I doubt even the stupidest of fans think Truth has a shot here.

The matches were okay. I had no problem with Rey vs. Punk, Kofi vs. Ryder or Booker vs. Swagger, but none of them wowed me. The main event wasn’t a very good match. Santino vs. McGillicutty wasn’t good at all. At least Beth Phoenix got TV time in the divas match. I’m not sure what the PPV buyrate number is for Over The Limit. We’ll know in a few weeks. I think Capitol Punishment is going to be worse. The promotion of it has been poor. The matches should be decent, but there’s nothing “fresh” on the lineup except for Cena-Truth, which isn’t that hot of a program.

Overall this was a very average edition of Raw. It’s typical post WrestleMania WWE where they have a hard time creating fresh angles for fans to sink their teeth into. The typical booking patterns week after week are really getting annoying too. They need to watch some tape of 1997 or 2000 WWF to remind themselves of what booking can accomplish. The PG rating doesn’t matter. The booking does.

To wrap this up I’ll throw it over to my buddy Marc “Fozzie” B., who writes about Impact Wrestling on TJR, to tell you about a project a friend of his is working on that involves former WWE Divas Maria and Katie Lea (aka Winter in TNA). Take it away Marc.

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DVD-VAS: MARIA AND KATIE LEA

Many times when someone leaves the WWE, we wonder what he or she are doing in their time away from our spotlight. Some, like Steve Austin and The Rock, make movies. Others, like Rob Conway, just disappear. Others, like former Divas Maria and Katie Lea, host horror movie DVDs. This is your treat today, good readers. Through the magic of technology, yours truly has secured the first video releases of Maria and Katie Lea in all their Horror-Movie glory. Join them as they introduce some of the goriest, scariest, and bloodiest movies of all time.

These videos guarantee that you look at these former Divas in a different light. It also doesn’t hurt that they enjoy their new roles: “I am having really great fun hosting these movies, and coming up with skits for the introduction… plus I love that I get to meet these filmmakers and talk to them about their creative process on the audio commentaries… it’s inspiring! I hope you enjoy watching the DVD’s, as much as I enjoy working on them!” -Katarina Leigh Waters (Katie Lea aka Winter)

Below are the links to their videos. My good friend Christian Moran edited them, and you can visit his website at http://web.me.com/cmoran23/editor/HOME.html for more info.

Katie Lea’s is here: youtube.com/watch?v=8G0_GOwBuHg

Maria’s is here: youtube.com/watch?v=tsvoYMkuf_A

On a personal note, I feel truly honored to be the one to share these with you for the first time. I hope that this is the first of many scoops that I can provide for you here at TJR. Thanks for reading. Visit the website. Tell them that Fozzie from TJR sent you.

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That’s all for now. If there’s no NBA game on Sunday night I’ll write about TNA’s Slammiversary PPV live. If there’s a game then the brief recap will be up on Monday morning. I’ll likely be writing about next week’s three hour Raw live on thejohnreport.net, so check it out live

John Canton – john@thejohnreport.net
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