Welcome to the Raw Deal. Commentfest to be added in the AM.--------------Live from Knoxville, Tennessee this is the Raw Deal…(No banner here. There's one for Commentfest and one at the very end that I think you'll like.)I usually go from the start of the show to the finish. This week, because the end of the show disappointed me so much I ended up writing the main event and my post show rant first, so these other parts are going to be shorter because of that. Makes sense? I don't know. Does Raw make sense? Not usually. Let's get to it.Crazy Old Man Vince, The Undertaker Works Monday & HBKVinny Mac comes out ranting about Bret Hart. He's basically saying he's coming back on Raw again. We won't say when, but keep watching because it could be anytime. I thought it was this week. Guess not. Undertaker comes out. He looks pissed that he has to work more than one day a week. He tells Vince that he was there 12 years ago in Montreal and that he screwed Bret. You go, girl. I mean man. Deadman. Anyway, Vince leaves and out comes Michaels. Undertaker says he has nothing to prove to Shawn since he beat him, so he won't accept his match at WrestleMania. He says, how about tonight? Shawn says no, he wants it at Mania. Undertaker says fine, win the Rumble and you can get me at Mania because I'll still be champion. Shawn says I guess I'll do that. Undertaker says fine. Shawn says swell. Undertaker says okay. Shawn says alright. Undertaker says let's make a deal to take the summer off after the Mania match again without giving an explanation? Shawn agrees to that too. They're very agreeable. I don't want to claim 100% accuracy in my recap of this, but I'd say I was close.<!--more-->On a serious note, it was a good confrontation. It would be nice, however, if two people that weren't combined age of 90 years were able to build a match like this. I know that MVP/Miz had time last week, but when is their match? We have no idea. The Undertaker's a very skilled promo man when he's not doing his 1991 style promos talking about the reapers, the souls and his other Ultimate Warrior-like language. Talking like a human leads to much more effective promos. Michaels is so much better when he talks with a purpose instead of acting like a buffoon all the time. He's a funny guy, but I miss the good Shawn Michaels that actually gave a shit about his performances rather than coasting through them. You could tell he was really into this one.They showed Orton winning the #1 contender match last week. No replay of the "STUPID~!" though. That's a shame.Sheamus d. Evan Horowitz (1/4*)Bourne is so far down the ladder he doesn't get an intro. Why does he smile so much when getting introduced? Everybody knows he's losing. What a trooper. Evan Horowitz is such a positive fellow. He got a two count with his knees off the top rope, but then Sheamus kicked him and finished him off with the Celtic Cross. That's what they are calling his Razor's Edge. That's the name everybody and their mother suggested for the move even though Finlay's finisher has had that name for several years now. Orton was out during this to do some vintage staring. Fans chanted for Orton. I think that'll happen at the Rumble too, which is probably not the reaction that WWE wants.Backstage, Hunter wanted to talk to Shawn. It was really important. Huge! Too bad Don Johnson showed up and he didn't know where co-host Jon Heder was. Michaels had no idea who Heder was. HHH told him he can just host himself. What a segment. Then Johnson walked into Carlito dressed as Heder from Napoleon Dynamite. Hilarious! Not really.Mark Henry d. Jack Swagger in a All-American American Jobber Royal (-*)Swagger came out. They replayed the entire battle royal challenge that he lost to Santino because it was so good. He called Santino out. He was dressed like Don Johnson in Miami Vice. It wasn't that funny. Then SOMEBODY NEEDS SOME KOOL-AID started playing as Mark Henry came out. He picked up Swagger and tossed him out of the ring. Way to put over the young talent. Mark Henry has been "threat" to win the Royal for well over a decade now, yet has never come close to winning. Don't tell the announcers though. He's a huge threat! Huge! Mark Henry is going to quench his thirst at the Royal Rumble and win the damn thing! I mean darn. Of course he is.The guest hosts came out with Bella 1 and Bella 2. Then Bella 1 and 2 left. They got paid for that, keep in mind. Don Johnson played the babyface while Jon Heder went heel, referencing Lane Kiffin (the college football coach that left Tennessee for USC), which drew good cheap heat. Miz came out, he's apparently buddies with Heder. He ripped on Miami Vice, specifically Tubbs (the black dude that was on the show with Don Johnson) and the crowd had no idea what he was talking about. I'm 29 years old and I barely remember the show aside from the white suits they always wore. Who wears white suits? This all led to MVP coming out. He talked some smack back to Miz. Cue the Big Show. MVP goes after Miz, then turns around and he gets…stand up…say it loud…say it proud…KNOCKED THE FUCK OUT~! by the Big Show's right hand. Heder explains that he's got the same agent as Show, so they're boys. He announced DX vs. Big Show & Miz for later in the night. Then Heder yells: "Let's hear it for friendship!" If the show ended right there it gets an 8 because it was so cheesy it was good. I actually liked Heder through most of this. He's probably a wrestling fan because he knew what he was doing.John Cena & Kofi Kingston d. Ted Dibiase & Cody Rhodes (**)This was fine. The match of the night. I like how the announcers put Kofi over as this huge threat even though he's lost clean to Orton three times in the course of two months. He's on a roll…if he didn't lose all those matches. I understand what they're trying to do, but to the fans he's the guy that can't beat the main event guy because they saw him lose to him multiple times. The story was the heels worked on Kofi, he got the hot tag to Cena, who then got Kofi back in and they gave Kofi the pinfall win to try to make us think he's back on that roll. Good effort booking wise and the match was fine. I'll never complain about a match on Raw getting over 10 minutes.They did a backstage seg where they ended up booking DX & Hornswoggle vs. Show, Miz & Heder. Heder ended it by asking, "What just happened?" I found myself asking that all night, Jon. All damn night.Gail Kim & Eve Eve d. Alicia Fox & Maryse (1/4*)Just to give you an idea of how this match went, they did the hot tag after two whole minutes. Eve missed a dropkick on Alicia by about a foot. Alicia sold it, then Eve did another dropkick that actually hit. Then, Eve finished her off with an armbar that she applied after sitting on the top rope. Well, she is apparently dating one of the Gracie's. I guess this means Eve's a threat in this tourney. Of course she's a threat…as long as she doesn't throw any dropkicks.They had a promo of Steve Austin on that show Chuck. Remember when Steve Austin was on Raw? Oh, how I miss those days. Looking forward to seeing him on Raw on 3/15 so he can drink some beers…err milk and give us the middle fingers…err thumbs up. Hello PG!Backstage, Johnson was reading Kelly Kelly's palm, I think. Why? I have no idea. She got paid for that performance just like the Bellas earlier. Hard working women. Big Show and Miz showed up with gear for Heder and a jacket that said "The Flame." The crowd Woo'd because it looked like a Ric Flair robe. Show made me laugh when he said: "No one can extinguish The Flame!"Hunter talked with pop in law, Vince. Basically called him a wimp for not going after Bret aggressively. I thought this would lead Vince to announce Bret on the show next week, but it didn't. Probably be in two weeks. Who knows, really? Then Michaels came in, Hunter had that really important thing to say until the midget interrupted. I feel so sad not knowing what was so important.Randy Orton d. Chris Masters (*)Eve came out with Masters. She did nothing. Masters actually got the Masterlock on for about a minute as Orton struggled to reach the ropes. He finally got there. Then he hit the RKO "out of nowhere" even though, like usual, he was actually in front of the guy. This was better than some of the other times they say it, though. Out of nowhere would be if the guy has his back to him, he turns around and then Randy hits him with it. That's what it means. Not when he's looking right at the guy. Anyway, post match Sheamus came in and booted Randy in the head. I had absolutely no problem with the staring of Orton/Sheamus. Words are overrated sometimes. Their actions spoke volumes. It worked for me. The best part of this match was when Lawler said "Randy Savage" instead of Orton. Not one of Vince's favorite people. I bet he was pissed, which is great.The movie that Johnson & Heder are promoting barely has them in it from the trailer they showed. They booked two guys that are in a romantic comedy, a chick flick, to host Raw? This actually happened. The dude that cheated on Fergie with a stripper is in the trailer more than these two were. I'm actually glad I broke up with my girlfriend two weeks ago because if I was with her I'd have to sit through this piece of shit drivel and pretend to laugh in order to get some action that night. Now? I'm free. Cheers to that. Anybody got Tiger Woods' number to hook a brother up?Next week's guest hosts: "Psych" stars James Roday and Dule Hill. No idea who they are. Lawler and Cole think they're great, of course. If they think they're great then they must be because the announcers aren't total douchebags, right? Wrong.DX & Hornswoggle d. Big Show, The Miz & The Flame (1/2*)I feel like a stupider person for having written that Hornswoggle and The Flame were in the main event of the longest running episodic television show in the history of the world also known as the universe including the planets Saturn, Mercury, Jupiter and maybe Uranus. The Flame? With a Ric Flair type robe. What was the point of that, to call Ric Flair a flamer (meaning gay) or something? I actually thought Heder was funny through most of it. He's a funny guy, at least to me. The material wasn't that great, though. The "match" went about four minutes. Did I just see Big Show sell the tadpole splash from Hornswoggle? Yes, HBK superkicked him, but apparently a midget jumping on a 480 pound man can send him to the floor. Then Jon Heder, who got sat on by Big Show, was able to walk off while Show was laying there on the ground. This actually happened. Show did get up later to cut a promo, but the fact that he had to sell for Hornswoggle is wrong.The show ended with HHH, Michaels, Cena and Big Show all saying they're going to win the Rumble. DX cleared the ring and then HHH threw Shawn out. After two hours of watching this show we learned this: Triple H might win the Rumble. Finally a new star will be created by the Rumble! Amazing! (Is that the reaction I'm supposed to have, WWE?) You know what would have been great here? If The Miz cleared the ring of all these guys and said HE was going to win the Rumble. That would have meant something. Triple H, a main eventer for 10 long years, saying he's going to win the Rumble adds nothing. Where was Miz in this? He just kind of disappeared. Want to build to the future? Want to claim to make new stars? Give the Miz the microphone to end the show. Have him stand tall. Not the son in law. I know Miz isn't winning the Rumble and you know he's not winning the Rumble, but if he could have made a statement here it would have made people think at least he has a chance.Why not have Miz throw out HBK here, and then they have a 12-15 minute match next week? Shawn's the best worker on Raw. Miz is a star on the rise. Put them together. It benefits both of them, plus us as viewers. It's not hard to book this stuff.Three Stars of the Show1. "Randy Savage" - When Jerry Lawler said that instead of Orton.2. The Miz - They have SO much potential with him and they could have pulled the trigger tonight. Instead? Same old shit.3. "Let's hear it for friendship!" - It was so cheesy that it gets a star of the night.I missed Chris Jericho on this show. Did you?3 out of 10Last week: 3Last week's was probably better. I don't like going lower than three, but if I did it would be for this show. I'll give it a 3 because at least the effort by the wrestlers is still there. I wish the booking of the show had the same kind of effort. The only thing I really liked was the Orton/Sheamus build. It's hard to book heel vs. heel, but they did a slow build here and it worked fine. I'm interested in the match too.To WWE's Creative Team, I will write this clearly so you can understand: We know every main eventer not in a match at the Rumble is in the actual Royal Rumble. It's been happening for TWENTY FUCKING YEARS now. EVERY FUCKING YEAR. It's not a selling point. People are not at home saying: "Gee, I wonder if that HHH feller is going to be in the Rumble." WE KNOW. Even the stupid people that think wrestling is real know. You know that Youtube clip where the guy cries talking about how it's real to him? That FUCKING GUY knows that everybody is in the Rumble. That's how FUCKING obvious it is. It's not a major deal to announce it. We already fucking know. And I don't swear much, but I am here for emphasis because it pisses me off. Say that these guys are in the Rumble, that it's every man for himself and move on.I have a rant on the announcers too. When Cena announced he's in the Rumble and Lawler's like: "Oh man, and Cena!" Um no, Jerry, he's going to stay home that night and watch the fucking Grammy Awards! That's what he's going to do. He's going to be off the card. Then Lawler is amazed that all four guys are going to be in the Rumble match. Why do they have the announcers act like such idiots? It's lame. It really hurts the quality of the show. On Smackdown, the announcers are normal, they don't say stupid shit that insult our intelligence and it works. Why does Raw have to be different? I'm not even blaming Cole or Lawler. It's a production issue. I blame Vince McMahon and executive producer Kevin Dunn. They produce these two just like they do the Smackdown guys. Look at the difference.I'm really tired of the guest hosts. I'm excited to see Steve Austin on 3/15, but after that I really hope that they stop after WrestleMania as rumored. The quality of Raw has been destroyed largely because of the guest hosts. Yes, there have been some good moments, but the bad far outweighs the good.One last thing. Sometimes I get hate mail from people saying you should like Raw if you're a WWE fan. No, I should not. I should like it if it's a good show. If it's a bad show I have every right to rip it. It's the same thing if my sports team signs a bad player or makes a stupid draft pick. It's the same thing if I pay $10 to see a movie that I thought I'd like and it ended up pissing me off. Hell, I don't like ripping it. I hate wasting an hour of my time writing negative things about a business I love, but with Raw for the last two months - aside from when Bret hosted - it has been a terrible fucking show week after week. And I'm tired of it.Man, I feel better. I think I might need a massage, though.------Commentfest goes here. I'll put it up by 12pm ET on Tuesday. It'll be a doozy, I'm sure.Thanks to Steve Thewissen for that banner. Here's a message/plug from him: "It would be very cool if you could plug the Dutch wrestling community/forum that I moderate. It’s been up for over 8 years now and handles everything wrestling related for all Dutch speaking people (which includes the Belgians). The URL is www.wweholland.nl and it’s, how appropriate, called WWE Holland. We’re pretty up to speed with what happens in WWE." Done.------------I added a donation button on the page. I'm not begging for money. I do okay. Work a regular job like most people, have bills to pay and debts that I'll probably never catch up on. That's life, right? I've had people email me or chat with me about wanting to donate as a thank you for the writing I've done. I figure hey, why turn down generosity like that, right? I will most likely use any donation money I get on improving the blog down the road and also investing in some wrestling DVDs that I may not have otherwise purchased in order to review them for you. I've got the button on my blog and it will always be there, but you can also read this for more info about it. I've already received some donations, which has been great, and I'm very thankful for that. I write for you and I will continue to do so.If you're not doing so already, check me out on Twitter at Twitter.com/johnreport where I try to have a lot of fun with some of the performers in WWE. I thought it was pretty cool that during Smackdown Matt Striker mentioned the feud with Beth and Mickie carrying over to social networking sites. It even involved me at one point. I got in trouble from Mickie when I praised Beth for being funny. It's tongue in cheek stuff (they like it better if you don't use insider terms like "angle" for example), but we have fun with it. I also do my best to reply to every message sent my way. I've eclipsed the 550 follower mark, which is cool, but I want more. I'm nearly at 1500 on Facebook, so come on Twitter people, get on that!Going forward into 2010 I want to know what kinds of columns you want to see from me. I threw up a poll on my blog with six options. Please check it out. The link is here and I'll keep it open for another week or so. Better yet, just bookmark the blog, subscribe to the RSS feed and save yourself the work. The internet is the lazy person's paradise, isn't it?Thanks for reading. Here's a lasting image that will remind you of Raw this week:John Canton - email@example.comVisit the blog: johnreport.wordpress.comCheck out the petition to get me hired by WWE with nearly 600 signatures.Add me on Facebook at Facebook.com/thejohnreport and Twitter at Twitter.com/johnreportAOLIM: OratorJC MSN: firstname.lastname@example.orgVisit My Archives to view ten years of The John Report columns.