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The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal for 04/11/11 (Edge Retires)

The WWE Raw Deal for 04/11/11 (Edge Retires)
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter @johnreport

To start off this week here’s the WrestleMania 27 Recap that I posted on Sunday in case you missed it. I was at the show and I watched the broadcast, so you can get both perspectives.

Live from Bridgeport, Connecticut this is the Raw Deal…

The show started out with a big introduction for Michael Cole. Big groan for that. He quickly ran into the Cole Mine. Do we have to start the show with this every week? Just show him in there. That’s enough.

John Cena came out to a pretty good reaction although some were booing like usual. He talked about the big announcement from last week with The Rock vs. John Cena being official. He said if it’s the biggest match ever it needs to be for the WWE Title. So now he cares about the belt after smiling last week on Raw even though he lost the title match? Randy Orton came out to tell Cena that he should step aside to let somebody like him get the title shot because he actually won at WrestleMania. John Morrison came out to say we’ve seen this before, so if there’s a #1 contender it should be him. Maybe if you didn’t bitch to management about your girlfriend it could be you. What? Vickie Guerrero came out to say that the number one contender should be her since she pinned Morrison a few weeks ago. We’re allowed to remember that? Then she said she was kidding and it should be Dolph Ziggler. Then R-Truth, the same guy that is barely used, comes out to say he should be number one contender because he’s never got a one on one WWE title shot.

The GM buzzed in. Cole read it on his iPad, which means we can’t see the piece of paper on the laptop. There’s a “new” concept gauntlet match where two guys start, then when somebody is eliminated another person comes in and the match goes until all five guys are in the match. That’s not really new, but it is different. At this point I figured Cena was winning. I don’t think I was alone in that thinking.

They hyped up the Lawler vs. Swagger match later and also a shocking retirement announcement from Edge, which they really only promoted about an hour before the show via Twitter. I thought that had to be some kind of work because they mentioned it so late in the buildup to the show.

There was a vignette with a blonde doll being held by somebody who had long black hair. It was definitely Awesome Kong. She knocked the doll’s head off and started laughing. It was reported this week that Kong’s being sent to FCW, so I’d imagine they do these videos for a few weeks before they bring her in. I’m a fan of hers. She’s a great talent. They need her.

Brie Bella d. Eve (DUD)
The genius that is Eve had a marker so they could put an X on the left hand of Brie to make sure the right one was in the ring. This was a bad match. Brie put on a rest hold that Eve got out of in about two seconds. Why do the hold? Then Eve hit some of her awful dropkicks (stop doing dropkicks!) and Nikki Bella got in there. Then they looked at the hand to tell that it wasn’t the right one, yet it the “twin magic” still worked because Brie pinned Eve after an X-Factor facebuster for the win. If the ref knows that they blatantly cheated and he caught them, why not DQ them? How is that not worse than interfering in the match? I feel stupid for having watched that match and for even asking questions. Can Kong squash these girls yet?

Backstage, they showed Sin Cara putting on his mask. He’s up in his wrestling debut next.

In the locker room, Eve was looking dejected in a chair. Gail Kim tried to console her, but Eve said the girls only look after themselves. Then Natalya showed up to say something, but Eve blew her off too. Then the talented Canadian wrestling girls wondered if they were really like that as Tamina walked in to grab her phone (or something) from the room. So women are all evil, selfish bitches? Is that what we’re saying? Clearly men are writing this show. I’ll leave that alone. Instead of backstage segments like this one, put the belt on actual wrestlers like Natalya, Gail or Beth and these segments wouldn’t be awful. How about that? Crazy notion, huh.

Sin Cara d. Primo (*3/4)
I liked the presentation of Sin Cara although bringing him out, putting him in the ring and then plugging the sponsors was ill-timed a bit. The trampoline entrance looks good although just like last Monday you can tell that it’s a spot that can easily be botched. That’s not a good thing on a live show. The match went nearly 5 minutes with the focus being on Sin Cara’s athleticism. Primo’s been working with him on house shows for a few weeks, so it makes sense that he was the opponent. Cara’s quickness is breathtaking and his athleticism is different from anybody in WWE. The dude is so fluid in his motions. He makes it looks easy. He reminds me of Rey Mysterio except the WCW version of Rey from 1996 to 1998 when he wasn’t slowed by injuries or the “WWE diet” as some like to call it. For the finish they both stood on the top rope, but Sin Cara fell down. It’s a dangerous position for two guys, but I’m sure ignorant fans will rip them for screwing it up. Sin Cara got back up, kicked him in the head, stood on the top rope and delivered the Spanish Fly for the win. It’s a moonsault into a Rock Bottom basically. It’s not a move he’ll likely do a lot as not all opponents in WWE will be able to take it, but it was great for a finisher in this match.

The Corre came out talking about how poorly they’ve been booked except they can’t use that term. They just mentioned being on a losing streak. Santino’s music interrupted and he stood on the stage along with Mark Henry, Daniel Bryan & Evan Bourne. Their group (I assume it’s a one time thing) is called The Apple, which stood for Allied People Powered Loathing Everything. This was a big joke. I chuckled a bit, but they’ve done many things that were funnier than this with Santino over the years.

The Corre d. The Apple (*1/4)
It’s a shame that Daniel Bryan has gone from US Champion working great matches with Miz & Ziggler to being just another guy in the midcard on Raw. It’s not like it surprises me. It’s just that I had hopes that things would be better for him. Three minutes in, the match broke down, Santino went for the Cobra, Gabriel booted him in the head out of nowhere and Slater hit his finisher for the pin. The announcers were so annoying for this match, throwing out apple & core jokes. Like I said the apple group was likely a one time thing just so they can do those lame jokes.

By the way, the roster split doesn’t matter. The Corre is a Smackdown team. Even after WrestleMania there’s no brand exclusivity. Remember that when they promote the draft lottery, which is likely coming in June. It does not matter.

I have some news! This past week my site thejohnreport.net became affiliated with wweshop.com. What that means is if you ever order off WWEshop.com, follow the link on my site (or that you see below) and a percentage of your purchase will go to me, so you’d be supporting WWE and TJR at the same time. Not bad, huh? Don’t worry, nothing changes about my writing. They were already reading. It was a third party company that set this up. I’ll write more about it in the future.

Post match, Michael Cole cut a promo as Jim Ross came out. He started at Cole in his Cole Mine and he started shaking it. He couldn’t get in, though. Then Jack Swagger came out, so Lawler brawled with him. The refs broke it up as they went to break to set up for the match.

Jerry Lawler d. Jack Swagger (*)
A weird match that tried to get over a few different things. If Lawler won he got to pick the match and stipulation against Cole at Extreme Rules. If Swagger won then Cole would never have to face Lawler again. Josh went silent on this one as Ross & Cole were announcing while also managing. The match went about five minutes. Lawler did a really good job of selling and making comebacks. Cole jumped on the apron, Lawler was distracted by that, so Ross pulled Cole off the apron. Lawler ended up rolling up Swagger for the pin. The crowd was hot for most of it.

Post match, Cole berated Swagger in the ring. He asked what’s wrong with him and put his finger in his chest. The crowd thought Swagger would deck him. He didn’t, but he was mad. Cole backed up the ramp. Lawler got on the microphone to announce the match at Extreme Rules would be Lawler & Ross vs. Cole & Swagger, much to Cole’s dismay. I called it last week didn’t I? I know how Vince likes to book. Maybe they are turning Jack Swagger into a face. That seems to be the direction now. It’s better than being a nobody in the heel midcard. If there’s a stipulation to the match we did not get it this week.

The announcers for the rest of the show were Ross, Lawler & Mathews. They sure love to change announcers these days, huh?

They aired an outstanding Undertaker-Triple H video package. They had wrestlers (or superstars) talk about the moments in the match like when Triple H hit the Tombstone and Undertaker kicked out of it. They aired the Triple H promo from last week’s Raw that strongly hinted at another match with The Undertaker down the road. I wish they would do things like this more often to put over matches. Let’s hope it happens at events other than WrestleMania, but I doubt that happens. The video packages are so good that they can benefit feuds that need it. I loved the match and I gave it a rating of ****1/2 (out of 5) in my WrestleMania 27 Recap.

Backstage they showed Cena shaking hands with Edge. He’s out next.

Edge Announces His Retirement
Edge walked out without the World Heavyweight Title to a big ovation from the crowd. He talked about how a lot of people think that what they do in WWE doesn’t hurt. He wishes that was true, but the reality is that it does hurt. He spoke about breaking his neck eight years ago, which led to spinal surgery. It’s a procedure similar to what Steve Austin had along with several other wrestlers. You get that surgery and you miss about a year. He spoke about knowing he was on borrowed time and how he was in a lot of pain while also losing feeling in his arms. That’s scary. He spoke about getting through Mania, but after Mania he did more tests and he’s glad he did because the doctors told him he had to retire. There was no other option. He said it’s a good thing because otherwise he may have ended up in a wheelchair. I realize that a lot of people question anything in wrestling as being real, but this was as real as it gets. The emotion in his face told the story. You can tell the crowd in Bridgeport realized the seriousness of the situation because they started a “thank you Edge” chant, which really touched him.

He spoke about talking to Christian, his best friend for 27 years, about how he was angry at his body. He said how he didn’t want to end his career on somebody else’s terms, but spoke about how he wrestled his career on his terms. That’s true. Then he spoke about his accomplishments from starting with WWE in the mid 90s to reaching the pinnacle by headlining WrestleMania with the Undertaker (24 in Orlando). He spoke about going to shows as a kid in Toronto with Christian and now he was retiring as World Champion. He mentioned wrestling for 19 years, 14 of them with WWE. He said he became a man in front of us. In case you’re wondering he’ll be 38 years old this year. It’s the only career he’s had in his adult life. He touched on various points of his career from the Brood days to teaming with Christian to the live sex celebration with Lita while joking that it was good that it was with her and not Vickie Guerrero. Well played! He spoke about how he’s going to miss all of it like when his music hits and the adrenaline kicks in. He joked about how he doesn’t have to put on the tights tomorrow, so he’s going to eat some ice cream. He ended by saying if he could do it all again – even knowing all the injuries he’s suffered – he said he’d do it in a heartbeat. That’s definitely true and from the heart. He ended it with: “So thank you. Thank you very much.” Then he walked off to a huge ovation. The speech lasted about ten minutes.

Back from break, they showed a clip of Edge walking behind the curtain where a lot of WWE superstars were waiting for him. The face/heel lines were blurred. He hugged Dolph Ziggler, who he feuded with for months on Smackdown. Randy Orton, who he teamed with and feuded with, was there. Goldust aka Dustin Rhodes was there in a suit to greet him. He stopped to hug Tyson Kidd and Natalya, his fellow Canadians. Also Gail Kim, another Canadian. The Canadian wrestling mafia sticks together! I love that. He also greeted people like Khali & Yoshi in awkward, funny moments. There was no sign of Christian. I’d expect there to be more on Smackdown, which was more known as Edge’s show. I’d assume there’s a video package too.

You know what was really cool after re-watching his retirement speech a few times? When he gets up to the top of the ramp, he spreads his arms out, his music hits and what does he do? Smile. He loved his job. And we know that. That’s why we’re sad about it. But at least we know he can get out with his health still in tact. He can do whatever he wants in his career and his life. I wish him nothing but the best. A true champion. I’ll write more about his career in a day or two. I already started on it. I’ll do my best to give him the tribute he deserves.

The neck injury is legitimate. Here’s a WWE.com article about it. Look at this quote: “Medical professionals cannot clear Edge to compete ever again in WWE since doing so could result in paralysis or even death.” Basically, if he hurt his neck more than it was already hurt he could have ended up paralyzed. It’s not a work. I know wrestling fans don’t like to believe anything, but this is absolutely 100% real. Like he said in the speech it’s a good thing they found it when they did because you never know what could have happened to him.

Before I move on, I want to plug something for a TJR reader named Ronald Amore (on Twitter @ramore2183) who is going through colon cancer right now. His story is HERE and you can go there to donate money to raise awareness for the Colon Cancer Alliance. All the best to you, Ron!

Back to the show, The Miz came out to the announce desk for the main event.

John Cena & R-Truth won a Gauntlet match via DQ to become #1 Contenders to the WWE Title (**)
To be perfectly honest with you my mind wasn’t on this match. I watched it, but I spent a lot of it on Twitter, Facebook and email talking about the Edge speech. The match started with Orton & Ziggler. Orton lost after about three minutes when McGillicutty & Otunga from the new Nexus came out to distract him. Ziggler rolled him up for a pin. After the match, Mason Ryan hit Orton with a powerbomb. There was no sign of CM Punk. I’m not sure why. They went to a commercial.

The next guy up in the gauntlet was R-Truth. The match with Ziggler went about four minutes. It wasn’t anything special. Truth was able to pin him after about four minutes. That surprised me because Truth has barely been used for months, yet here he was pinning a guy that they just brought over to Raw after getting pushed hard on Smackdown. That’s weird. They went to another break.

Back from break, it was John Morrison’s turn. I’m going to assume that Morrison lost here because of the heat he apparently has from WrestleMania when he complained that Trish was put in his girlfriend Melina’s spot in the Mania match. How was that Melina’s spot when she’s a heel? Anyway, the heat appears to be legit because Truth was able to beat him after about five minutes. I’d expect more losses for Morrison in the near future. The guy should be pushed, but when you have heat you lose. That’s how the wrestling business is whether we like it or not.

During the commercial break they announced Edge would give up the World Title on Smackdown this week. I’m guessing they do Del Rio vs. Christian in a Ladder Match for the belt at Extreme Rules. I’d love for Christian to win that, but I think it will be Del Rio.

The last opponent was John Cena, who went right after Truth. It makes Truth look pretty tough because he beat two guys and was able to stand toe to toe with John Cena. The problem is it’s R-Truth, who is not somebody seen as main event level. He’s a midcarder for life. There are not a lot of people clamoring for him to be elevated. There was for Morrison, though. That’s where the politics of the business kicks in. Cena made his comeback, he hit all his big spots and Miz ran into the ring along with Riley for the double DQ.

Post match, The Miz got on the microphone to say they both lost, which means there’s no number one contender. Haven’t they done this before? The GM buzzed in to say that both John Cena & R-Truth are number one contenders. Cena hit the AA on jobber Riley and then he & Truth shook hands in the ring. Then they shoved eachother a bit, but it was nothing too serious. It was more like competitive jostling. That’s a fun word to say: jostling. Say it loud. Say it proud: jostling. You’re welcome. The show ended like that.

Why is R-Truth number one contender? Because somebody needs to take the pin from The Miz that’s not named John Cena. He’s protected. It was probably going to be John Morrison. I’d rather see Miz vs. Cena one on one, but I understand why they need a third man in there. R-Truth doesn’t do it for me, though. They will try to make him into a serious contender. I’d expect him to even pin Cena in a tag match in building up for Extreme Rules. Does anybody really think he’s walking away as WWE Champ? I don’t think so. They shouldn’t think that way. It’s not happening.

Three Stars of the Show
1. Edge – I’ll definitely miss him, but glad he’s able to walk away with his head held high.
2. Sin Cara – Very impressive. He stands out from the pack.
3. That Undertaker-Triple H video package.

6 out of 10
Last week: 5
2011 High Score: 9.1 (March 28)
2011 Low Score: 4 (Jan. 10)
2011 Average: 6.17

The show was slightly above average this week. I thought the Edge promo was the highlight, seeing Sin Cara in action was great even though there was a botched finish and the show ended with a 30 minute match although it wasn’t great. I question the decision of R-Truth in a WWE Title match on PPV and the divas division is being booked as bad as it’s ever been right now. I’m so ready for Awesome Kong (or whatever they want to call her) to destroy some of these girls. And maybe the booking team too.

To the people that complain about WWE not “wrestling” anymore, the main event on tonight’s show went for about 30 minutes. They also had some other pretty good matches including Sin Cara’s in ring debut. There was about 45 minutes of in-ring action on this show. The whole “we are not wrestling” thing is more of a public thing, but as a business they still have the ring and they are still making money because they have the ring. So relax with the “not wrestling” thing.

The man known as Edge was born to be a wrestler. It’s all he ever wanted to be in his life. He lived his dream. I think all of us have dreams that we may never live, but he was one of the lucky ones that got to do it. And he did it very well. For that he deserves our applause. Walking away hurts, but it’s the right time for him and he did it the right way. As a champion.

Thank you to Adam “Edge” Copeland for an amazing career. I feel honored to say that I was in attendance at WrestleMania 27 to see his last match. Be sure to watch Smackdown this week because he’ll be on the show, which in many ways became his show. It’ll be a nice chance to say goodbye.

I’ll write more about Edge in a career column in the next day or two. In that column I’ll ask for your thoughts, but I don’t want them yet. I’ll tell how you to do that in that column. I promise. Will it be easy to write? No, but he deserves it and the emotion of the piece will shine through.

Thank you Edge.

John Canton – john@thejohnreport.net
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