“Monday Night Raw” Post-Mortem

10 Dec

Monday Night Raw/SLAMMY Awards
Monday, December 8
Philadelphia, PA

Sorry ’bout the delay — I’m still stunned by the ferocious vapidity of last night’s three-hour hooeyfest. Damn near broke my thesaurus looking up antonyms for the word “awesome.” Finally I’ve settled on the beautiful, curt simplicity of “sham” sans “wow.” From 8 to 11 p.m. the USA Network was clogged with dangerous levels of unfiltered swill.

At roughly two hours, minus 20 minutes of spots for artificial stimulants and video games (two lovey-dovey industries in perfect synch), Monday Night Raw adequately covers my weekly wrestling limit. Add an extra hour of pageantry and I’m clawing rooftops, cutting my flesh with shingles. That’s why I don’t watch any of the pay-per-views; somewhere around the 125th suplex my mind gets restless and I yearn for the kind of fresh air that doesn’t come from opening a new box of Fiddle Faddles. What could be more boring than epic stretches of fibrous flesh-slaps?

Well, last night the answer to that question was the annual SLAMMYs, last seen in 1997. They’re the WWE’s bid for austerity mixed with toothless MTV Movie Awards copycat sputter, an event so eminent that even Jerry Lawler gussies up to greet the august gleam. But it’s not so hoity-toity it can’t be held in a sweaty coliseum for the foam-jawed delight of liquor-lubed rageoids you wouldn’t invite to a neighborhood barbecue, let alone a prestigious ritual meant to acknowledge individual industry achievement. Which, of course, is what the SLAMMYs are ostensibly about. Actually, it’s just a cheap promotional tool for this weekend’s Armageddon pay-per-view, corralling the Raw and SmackDown and ECW stables under one roof as a free-tease appetizer for the spendy main course.

No one gives a shit about the SLAMMYs, least of all the WWE. It’s empty filler between matches, a total waste of airtime. The “stage” is a Triscuit-sized platform jammed into a corner, with only a podium and two shabby statues to announce its existence. For such a formal occasion, many of its participants and nominees are dressed for work, since after collecting their honors most will march straight down the ramp and into the ring. Imagine an Oscars where Jimmy Stewart delivers his acceptance speech, then races to another part of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to participate in a reenactment of The Philadelphia Story.

So fuck the SLAMMYs. They’re about as meaningful as Anaheim wedding vows. But if you’re dying to know who won what on-air, here you go, now git:

WWE TAG TEAM OF THE YEAR
Presented by Maria and Festus

Nominees: Carlito and Primo, Priceless (Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr.), The Miz and John Morrison, Cryme Tyme (JTG and Shad Gaspard)

Winner: The Miz and John Morrison

BEST FINISHING MANEUVER
Presented by Candice Michelle and Cryme Tyme

Nominees: The Undertaker’s Hell’s Gate, Randy Orton’s RKO, Even Bourne’s Shooting Star Press, The Big Show’s Knockout Punch

Winner: Evan Bourne’s Shooting Star Press

“EXTREME” MOMENT OF THE YEAR
Presented by Tiffany and ECW Champion Matt Hardy

Nominees: John Cena and John Bradshaw Layfield, “Parking Lot Brawl”; The Undertaker, “Crash Landing”; Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels, “Crash TV”; Jeff Hardy, “Plunge”

Winner: Jeff Hardy, “Plunge”

COUPLE OF THE YEAR
Presented by Kelly Kelly and Kane

Nominees: Glamarella (Beth “The Glamazon” Phoenix and Santino Marella), Edge and Vickie Guerrero, William Regal and Layla, Finlay and Hornswoggle

Winner: Edge and Vickie Guerrero

DIVA OF THE YEAR
Presented by Melina and ECW General Manager Theodore Long

Nominees: Beth Phoenix, Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Michelle McCool

Winner: Beth Phoenix

“OH, MY GOD!” MOMENT OF THE YEAR
Presented by Alicia Fox and Joey Styles

Nominees: CM Punk, “CM Punk Cashes In”; The Undertaker, “Undertaker Sends Edge to Hell”; Floyd Mayweather and Big Show, “Mayweather Breaks Big Show’s Nose”; John Cena, “The Champ Returns

Winner: CM Punk, “CM Punk Cashes In”

MATCH OF THE YEAR
Presented by Eve and Mr. Kennedy

Nominees: “Money in the Bank” Ladder Match, Wrestlemania 24; 2008 Royal Rumble; The Undertaker vs. Edge, “Hell in a Cell,” Summerslam; Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair, “Career Threatening” Match, Wrestlemania 24

Winner: Shawn Michael vs. Ric Flair, “Career Threatening” Match, Wrestlemania 24

“DAMN!” MOMENT OF THE YEAR
Presented by Mickie James and Ron Simmons

Nominees: The Great Khali’s Kiss Cam, “CM Punk Surprises Chavo Guerrero,” Sailor J.R., “Santino’s Split Goes Splat”

Winner: The Great Khali’s Kiss Cam

2008 SUPERSTAR OF THE YEAR
Presented by Stephanie McMahon

Nominees: Jeff Hardy, Chris Jericho, Batista, Edge, Triple H, John Cena

Winner: Chris Jericho

Enough. On with the show!

Intercontinental Championship Tournament (Semifinal Match)
John Morrison vs. CM Punk

After preening with partner The Miz at the podium, SLAMMY recipient Morrison doffs his faux mink and gets down to biz. If I recall, some 16 hours after the fact, there’s some confusion about a possible pinfall win by Morrison, but Punk, fighting through an angle — I mean, ankle injury (Freudian typo!) succeeds on his second Go to Sleep finisher and puts out the Lizard King’s lights to advance to the finals, where his opponent will be the survivor of the Kofi Kingston/Rey Mysterio bout slated for later.

Winner: CM Punk

Backstage we catch up with John Cena, who again trumpets his “Hustle. Loyalty. Respect.” mantra and mocks Chris Jericho’s Raw monologue last week, twisting Y2J’s pained tale of his Cena-worshipping son into a bottom-feeding soliloquy about how his own dog, Lou, can’t help cleaning himself whenever Jericho’s pin-striped puss emanates from the flatscreen. Cena then suggests that perhaps Jericho Jr.’s idolization has something to do with Pop’s heel turn. Cenalysis: “He saw his dad becoming a snot-nosed punk who needs his teeth kicked down his throat!” He also promises to shadow Jericho all night long.

After the Best Finishing Maneuver award, which is accepted by human bookshelf Mike Knox in the injured Evan Bourne’s stead, Randy Orton emerges to snivel. His standing as one of the WWE’s best grapplers apparently isn’t enough to convince the nominating committee of his excellence. “Tonight’s like any other night,” he spits, “a show of a lack of respect.” He then challenges Batista and Triple H, thus far carded to collide in a singles match, to a 2-on-3 handicap affair with him and his new bosom companions, Cody Rhodes and Manu. “Tonight,” he promises, “the legacy is born.”

MVP vs. MVC (Charlie Haas)

MVP disses the on-hand Jimmy Rollins and his fellow Fightin’ Phils for their fluke World Series victory. After some back-and-forth dozens in the dark, his bark’s snuffed by the entrance of Charlie Haas, his scheduled opponent, garbed exactly like him and calling himself MVC. In an interesting twist, Haas actually wins, and MVP’s losing streak continues.

Winner: MVC (Charlie Haas)

Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho

Jericho enters the arena with his darting eyes focused every which way but on the ring before him. With Cena at bay, he manages to wrench a victory from his Kool-Aid-headed adversary with a Codebreaker. As he heads backstage his careful peepers wander anew.

Winner: Chris Jericho

After the custodial staff mop up Vickie Guerrero’s (sporting Andy Kaufman’s neck brace) cocktail of crocodile tears and expectorations of “Excuse me!” Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix strut out to indignantly protest her Couple of the Year win, and to challenge any of their fellow nominees to a live gitdown right here and now. Who accepts? Why, none other than the gregarious Finlay and his son/valet, the diminutive Hornswoggle, a bearded sprite in leprechaun attire. The comic heel gods open hot fire on Philadelphia and humiliate the hapless Marella once again, forcing him to watch helplessly as wee bairn Hornswoggle clambers up to the top turnbuckle and dives like a free-falling Junior Mint onto his laid-out form for the 1-2-3. His embarrassment continues after the ridiculous loss when Phoenix, consoling her man, drops his head to the canvas when her name’s called for Diva of the Year. Later she accidentally butts him further south in an onstage tussle with hated rival Melina. Within a month, the poor doofus’ gone from Intercontinental Champion to a two-legged America’s Funniest Home Videos time bomb.

Winner: Finlay/Hornswoggle

Intercontinental Championship Tournament (Semifinal)
Kofi Kingston vs. Rey Mysterio

Gonna see plenty of airtime with both dexterous grapplers enacting their own Cirque de Soleil in-ring. It’s a fast ’un, with Mysterio winning not by twirling Kingston on his thumb and pinning him against one of the swinging light fixtures as expected, but by simply rolling him up like any mere mortal. Dang. It’s like watching Hank Aaron dink a bunt in a loaded ninth. Oh, well. Mysterio faces Punk in the IC finals, and the Kingston/Punk tag team will persevere.

Winner: Rey Mysterio

2 on 3 Handicap Match
Batista and Triple H vs. Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes & Manu

I never noticed until tonight that Triple H’s entrance music, Motörhead, suits him just fine, since he resembles a beefier Lemmy Kilmister. Tonight he joins fellow side and former Evolution teammate Batista, and together they batter the kids like two hefty sirloins swinging in a meat-locker breeze. Batista should know better by now than to telegraph the Batista Bomb to get the audience worked up; doesn’t he realize the bad guys can see him flog those ropes and stomp his toes? In a climactic flurry, his finishing-move attempt is thwarted twice, the final time by a Rhodes skull-smack, giving Randy Orton enough time to drop an RKO to tuck Dave in for a good night’s sleep. Looks like Batista’s taking the long way back to the belt.

Winner: Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes & Manu

That squeezable good-time goof, the Great Khali, arrives from Brobdingnag to acknowledge his SLAMMY for “DAMN!” Moment of the Year, but suffers a Vanessa Redgrave moment and declines it. The “DAMN!”edness of it all is further enhanced when Jillian struts out to screech “My Heart Will Go On” as grapplers, including Sgt. Slaughter and Hacksaw Jim Duggan, are inspired en masse to wave flags and Mickie James leaps into Khali’s arms for a liplock. Ron Simmons’ reaction? “Damn!” (That’s his shtick.) Wait ’til next year, folks!

R-Truth vs. Dolph Ziggler

Speaking of shtick, two prime artists of the form lock horns here. R-Truth works crowds with babble raps culminating in “Wassup” calls-and-response (not to be confused with Cryme Tyme’s “That money, money/Yeah, yeah”) while Ziggler continues to introduce himself to everyone in sight. Tonight he grabs the mike after Truth is counted out (sounds like a subtle Vince McMahon statement to me!) and deviates from his script just a smidge: “I’m the winner, Dolph Ziggler!”

Winner: Dolph Ziggler

Superstar-feted Chris Jericho steps into the void once occupied by Superstar award presenter Stephanie McMahon and reminds Philadelphia, to whom he affectionately refers as “mindless sheep,” of his many achievements in 2008, culminating in his third Heavyweight title at Sunday’s Armageddon. That’s all Cena needs to hear; he rampages from backstage and Jericho beats a hasty retreat, which is fine — just means Cena’s arrived early for…

World Heavyweight Champion John Cena vs. WWE Champion Edge

The crewcut meets the bug-eyed former partner of Christian in a meaningless cross-promotional tussle that degenerates into a Cena/Jericho blowout that windmills toward the TV horizon into to-be-continued, leaving Edge all alone until a compassionate Triple H resolves to keep him company and hold him tight. Not to be outdone, Jeff Hardy races into the fray and tries to demolish everybody in what the late Gorilla Monsoon would’ve heartily sold as “total pandemonium.” Bodies are tossed along with cookies as your disgusted emcee stomps the offending cathode and heads to bed.

See you next week!

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One Response to ““Monday Night Raw” Post-Mortem”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. “Monday Night Raw” Post-Mortem « The Daily Wrazz - December 16, 2008

    […] devotional placard, “Beth Phoenix Is Hot.” Genuinely moved, especially after her SLAMMY last week, she chats up the audience member, who desperately wants a photo with the Women’s Champ. […]

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