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PostSubject: 2007 Discussion   Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:20 pm

Discuss Raw in 2007.
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PostSubject: Re: 2007 Discussion   Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:42 am

Got around to watching Michaels/Cena II from London yesterday. I'm still a really big supporter of it, although not as much as when the first time I saw it. Don't let that fool you, because this is still a phenomenal effort by both guys.

After the first match, there was no doubt in anyone's mind who was better, well, no doubt for anyone other than Shawn. In the beginning, it was all Cena as he got close to getting the move that won him the first encounter, the STFU, multiple times. Sqeaky clean super baby face John Cena even taunted Michaels with every instance of one-ups-man-ship. The tag matches with Shawn over the past month or so had given Cena a little bit of an attitude, which is something that he desperately needed if he wanted to be one of the all time greats. Michaels takes this new attitude as a sign of disrespect and slaps Cena, only for the champion to sucker punch him. Michaels has to find a new way to get in Cena's head.

At this point, Cena is able to establish dominance over Michaels by using the side headlock to perfection. Michaels has to use his quickness to keep up, but bar some random flurries of offense, it remains Cena's match to lose. Michaels is finally able to get a big move and he capitalizes as fast as you can imagine by running through his patented moveset. But, in one of my favorite spots of the match, instead of connecting with the Super Kick, which is the move that has been built as the deathblow for Cena for months, he fakes him out and gets a backslide and a nearfall. Cena is off his game for just moments and this is when the veteran goes to work. Many minutes later, the match takes yet another direction and Cena comes back with the FU for a close two count. On any other night that might have put down Michaels, but Shawn is determined not to fall to 0-2 against Cena.

Cena knows his arsenal is running dry, and he continues the back work on Shawn that he's been flirting with for portions of the match. This becomes his gameplan as pretty much everything he does targets the back of Shawn. Shawn is barely able to escape death via top rope FU, but he slides through the cracks and gets a powerbomb (!) to swing momentum in his direction. He goes for the piledriver on the steps he hit at Mania, but his back is just to worn out to get up the mountain that is Cena and the champion reverses it. As we come back from commercial, we see Cena beating the Hell out of Shawn on the announce table. He's become a rabid bad ass over the course of the match. He locks in the STFU seconds later, showing no remorse, but Shawn is able to get the ropes. Crowd totally bought that as the finish. They trade reversals and Shawn gets the Super Kick and falls on top for the win. Shawn now has all the confidence in the world heading into the big title match on Sunday.

This was still an amazing match, even though as I said, I wasn't as big a fan this time. Not a lot to knock as the story made sense and the selling was all in all pretty good. I think it's a little better than their first match, but atm it's #2 in my MOTY for 2007 behind the epic LMS match in San Antonio.

****1/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2007 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:49 pm

Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena - RAW 4/23/07
Some of the greatest workers this business has ever seen have gone through ‘The Hour’ or wrestling broad way if you will. John Cena on this night proved to me without a doubt that he is a great worker.

At Mania 23 there were still those questions for me even though I knew he had a great main event with HBK (shocking) and had phenomenal gimmick matches in the past but it was this night on RAW the cemented Cena’s worth as The Man in this business for ME. He more than held his own even leading the way as general.

Both played off the Mania match and were careful in feeling the other out, trying not to make the one mistake that could lead to the other man’s victory. Shawn didn’t want to tap to the STFU again and Cena knows Sweet Chin Music can equal lights out in as fast as three seconds just like that. They paced themselves well also. I never felt the match dragged for one moment. I liked HBK’s selling of his back as usual and it didn’t seem like he ever strayed away from it in the 60 minutes. Cena’s determination to put Shawn away was excellently played by the WWE Champion and raised my level of interest in the competitive nature of the match.

I think the finish also played off the Mania match too because it took two SCM’s for Shawn to win just like it took two STFU’s for Cena to win. It still amazes me that Shawn f’n Michaels at his age can still go an hour at this level and I couldn’t imagine Cena doing it but he did and had the match of his career, so far.
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PostSubject: Re: 2007 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:02 pm

Randy Orton vs. Edge (WWE Raw 4/30/07)
-Watching this really makes me see how much Orton's improved in the last 2 years. He seems like a totally different person. A lot of what he did here in the beginning seemed so halfhearted and awkward. Things picked up a bit after that big spot though. One of the best announcer table bumps I've ever seen, and it even played off of a spot in their 7/19/04 Raw match. Edge isn't very good at working someone over without a chair or something so this tended to drag a little at times. Not sure if Orton was busted open by accident or not, but it added some drama to the match. Finish was pretty good, and it played off their Vengeance match. I dunno, I wanted to like this, but their two IC title matches in the summer of 04 were better. Still a very good Raw match. Off my list. ***1/2
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PostSubject: Re: 2007 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:07 pm

Shawn Michaels vs. Edge (Street Fight, WWE Raw 1/22/07)
-Damn good brawl by two guys that aren't great at that aspect. Hot start as Shawn runs in and immediately rips his belt off and whips Edge with it. Edge eventually transitions to offense when he catches HBK in the head with a trashcan lid as he was coming down in an attempted plancha to the outside. Looked good. Shawn blades during the first commercial, and Edge beats him down with a few different weapons, including a sick looking ladder shot. Shawn put in a really good performance here with his selling and fire. He even wraps a chain around his hand and pounds on Edge's face a few times, busting him open - acting as a payback for both Edge attacking him with the chain first, and bloodying him. This had really good crowd heat by the end. Awesome finish, with Shawn attempting to give Edge a con-chair-to, only for Orton to sneak up behind him out of nowhere, and RKO him. Some of the best camera work I've ever seen in the WWE. ***1/2
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PostSubject: Re: 2007 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:08 pm

Shawn Michaels v Edge (RAW, 1/22/07)
- Really good street fight. I might like this more than a lot of people since trash cans as weapons don't particularly bother me, whereas most people would see them as comedy spots. Still, there's some really choice spots in this, most using the ladder, including a lader-plex (trademarked, bitches), a scoop slam onto the ladder propped between the steel steps, and a front suplex off the middle rope onto the same ladder. You also get the idea that this is a legit hate feud with the intensity and payback spots looking great. Buzz already mentioned the camera work on the finish, and I'll co-sign that because it really is done very well. Orton just popping up behind Shawn as he's about to melt Edge's face into the mat is a great moment. Cool make-up on the bruising, which I'm assuming came about because someone was hit with a sledgehammer not too long before this. Might vote for this, but it won't be high if I do. So much obscure shit that I want to toss votes to makes me think this'll be sacrificed for something like Hogan/Earthquake or Funk/Poffo. ***1/2
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PostSubject: Re: 2007 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:34 pm

Raw 2007 (January 22nd) - Edge vs Shawn Michaels (Street Fight)
Their best singles match together. This is a feel good match for any HBK fan. They work it around a dramatic story of the old Show Stopper being back. None of this nice guy, joking around in DX bullshit working generic matches. Both in a kayfabe and real sense - this is a landmark match where Shawn declares he's ready to step up his game and be one of the best workers around again. He's lost his pal HHH and in that match he reached breaking point, going crazy on Rated RKO. Now he's outnumbered but he's ready to teach those cocky bastards a lesson after they'd been tormenting whoever they felt like for months. The secondary story is centred around the Rumble and WM. Edge and HBK both know they belong in the WM main event, with their egos clashing and both of them desperate to prove who's the deserving man. They're both on a raging mission and hate each others guts. That translates into heated, intense, enthralling wrestling. This could be the last time WWE had a match which felt like a real, juiced up fight where both guys try to murder each other with whatever possible.

HBK makes sure everything he does is stiff and energetic, so the atmosphere's really buzzing and the crows eat up the showman's work. Edge usually makes propfests stand out as big time wars and he does that here too. Sick trash can chots, chair shots, ladder shots and there's a few spine melting moves onto the Ladder too. They work a frantic pace and bust their asses to keep this thing lit up, so there's no dull points or sections that were worthless. Instead they chose to deliver an action packed 11 minute match, which suited both guys as opposed to working a longer, more methodical match up. Michaels gets some wicked revenge spots which are all the more satisfying thanks to Edge's character playing over the past year or so. He's been a psychotic, careless opportunist who has largely escaped what's coming to him so here we see him receiving all sorts of pay back. Just as HBK almost delivers the final sweet justice with a fitting Conchairto, Edge slimes his way to a victory thanks to interference from his bud. Everyone needs to take another look at this. It's a little proppy, fairly short and doesn't have incredible depth, but it's a damn fine effort and something that goes above what is expected.

***1/2 - ***3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2007 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:43 pm

Raw 2007 (04/30) – Edge vs Randy Orton
I’ll try to go and bat for this a bit, even though it’s below Vengeance 2004 and I can’t compare it to their other 04 matches since I haven’t seen them in ages. This was great for two reasons: it’s a super smart, well worked heel vs heel match and it’s an excellent throwback to their 2004 series. This isn’t Roberts/Savage where one guy just switches to a face for the whole match – they actually stay true to their characters and both heel it up big time. Plus they manage to get the fans right into it and make it dramatic at the same time, so this is a massive accomplishment. Their history as a team and as opponents makes this a marquee match – like a finale to finally decide who the better man is years after their epic series. It starts out with Orton out cheating Edge, who then returns the favour with the exact same manoeuvres later on. Then there’s moments down the stretch where one guy cheats and the other guy pays him back with the same move straight away – fantastic heel one-upmanship.

In between that there’s a callback apron -> barricade spot, an awesome apron->announce table spot, a big Orton blade job, heaps of near falls and excitement near the end and a bunch of their trademark exchanges. Examples include the exposed turnbuckle punches -> reversal (only with the roles reversed), Orton constantly going to the hair, a dive being reversed into a dropkick, school boy rollups using the tights and ropes, plus a heap more. I loved all of them, especially when cool additions were thrown onto them. I disagree with Buzz’s points such as Orton being awkward, Edge’s control segment being weak and some sections dragging. This was a breath of fresh air, a big time match, a great example of a callback match and an example of two guys playing their roles to perfection. This was all backed up by a surprising level of action, drama and heat. I appreciate something that brings something new to the table and has a unique distinctiveness surrounding it. They couldn’t have worked a match like this much better and I thought both men worked really hard to get a difficult match over to the fans.

***3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2007 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:08 pm

Randy Orton v Edge (RAW, 4/30/07)
- I thought this was pretty exceptional. It's gotten to the point now where matches I had considered locks for my bottom third a month ago are no longer close to being locks, so with this sitting in my #75 spot there's a decent chance it won't even stay on my list... but I still liked it a Hell of a lot. As a heel v heel match, it's better than the Savage/Roberts match I had wanted to find a spot for (dropped it about a week ago ), because the way they "turn" one guy is done far better here. In the Savage match, Jake came out right off the bat working more along the lines of a bad ass babyface, in part because the DDT was over so much that the crowd were starting to cheer him anyway. Here, it's Orton that's put in the babyface role, but only after an AWESOME transition table bump. Orton's such a fucking great worker when he's got his working boots on, btw. I had come into this poll being indifferent to him for the most part, but now I can safely say he's come out of it as a favourite of mine, and I've yet to see the 2004 stuff that generally seems to be considered his "peak", or the Smackdown! stuff with Benoit from 2006. He works straight heel at the beginning here, using an eye poke to swing a punch exchange in his favour, constantly clubbing Edge's chest with great looking forearms while he's caught in the ropes, doing the Garvin Stomp while retaining that cocky attitude, etc. The crowd are probably more for Orton than they are for Edge, but Orton doesn't show any signs of "playing to it". Then there's the table bump, which is fucking GLORIOUS, and not only works as a great transition, but as a great escalation payback spot since Orton had launched Edge off the apron into the ring barrier not too long before this. At this point, Orton's more or less "turned". He walks the line between heel and face really, really well, though. His selling is pretty much perfect, getting enough sympathy for the crowd to be rocking without losing any of his heel aura. It's one of those instances where it should be clear to anybody that the "Orton has no charisma" talking point is bullshit. Couple other really good payback spots during Edge's control segment, like him poking *Orton's* eye to cut him off, as well as mockingly doing his own version of the Garvin Stomp. Orton also gets split open hardway down the stretch, and that gives the crowd even more reason to get behind him. Of course, this is around the time Orton was close to being in the doghouse for tearing up a hotel room in Italy or some shit, so him doing the job was pretty evident. The actual finish was good, though, with Orton being thrown into an exposed turnbuckle, managing to block it, only to turn around right into a spear. I can't recall too many heel v heel matches in company history as good as this. ***3/4
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