Induction: Raw is Piven: Monday night becomes damaged Goods

47 Submitted by on Thu, 06 June 2013, 19:00

When Donald Trump bought Monday Night Raw in the summer of 2009, then promptly sold it back to Vince McMahon in one of WWE’s most poorly-written, incomprehensible, and financially damaging angles of all time, it opened up a new era for the USA program. From then on, every week would feature a different celebrity guest host whose performances would range from tolerable to off-putting to downright embarrassing. Although ball player Johnny Damon’s stint on Raw was abysmal, perhaps no guest host is more infamous than Jeremy Piven. He was apparently pretty famous, starring in Entourage, but the only performance of his I had ever seen was on Seinfeld as the actor playing George Costanza on Jerry’s TV pilot.

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He must have taken the same hair-growth solution as Kurt Angle when he wore that headgear in 2002.

Frankly, Piven gets a bad rap these days for his performance as a guest host. Sure, he clearly wasn’t very familiar with the product, but it’s not like he made anyone change the channel with his mere presence. WWE knew this too and, thinking that a bad thing, also invited the walking, talking equivalent of a spiked shoe to the groin.

Jeremy Piven was introduced with gusto by Lillian Garcia before arriving in a Trans Am and, in a move the WWE Universe would soon regret, unlocking his insufferable sidekick and co-star Dr. Ken Jeong from the trunk. Ken and Jeremy then spent the next two minutes screaming, “Wooo!” and “Yeah, yeah, yeah!” before Raw’s most obnoxious guest co-host ever gave Piven another introduction, this time several magnitudes more annoying. In fact, if you were to go backward through the history of Raw and comb through every episode, up to and including Rob Bartlett’s debut on Raw #1, you would be hard-pressed to find a more consistently irritating performance. JPR-03
 JPR-00 As is customary for guest hosts, Piven and Ken shilled their upcoming movie relentlessly. I guess Vince McMahon was so vehemently opposed to Donald Trump’s commercial-free Raw idea that he decided to make the show itself a two-hour long commercial every week.
The Miz interrupted the proceedings and demanded a rematch with John Cena (who had beaten him at June’s Bash pay-per-view, then the following night on Raw, then again just a week before this episode). Piven denigrated Miz’s reality TV credentials (a year and a half before Snooki would be booked in a match at Wrestlemania) and told him that he did not have, “The Goods.” “The Goods,” by sheer coincidence, was also the name of Piven’s new movie. If his surgeon had given him plugs that cheap, he could still pass for Jason Alexander. Jeremy constantly referred to Mike Mizanin as “Les Mis” (perhaps hoping to score some cross-over appeal with the fans of Broadway musicals in the audience). JPR-04
 JPR-05 John Cena arrived to the delight of Jerry Lawler, who said, and I quote, “Let’s not hesitate to welcome the — John Cena!” Don’t you hate it when in mid-sentence, you realize Cena isn’t the champion? I certainly don’t.
Piven made a lumberjack match between Miz and Cena for that night’s main event. Then, the guest host added a stipulation that would etch him into the history books: If Miz lost, he would be banned from “The Summerfest.” The crowd, which should have been elated that the hated Miz might get snubbed from pay-per-view, instead fell nearly silent, wondering what the hell Jeremy Piven just said. John Cena chimed in for the save, clarifying that it would be Summerslam from which Miz would be barred.
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Yes, 2013 readers, there was once a sign that said, “Raw welcomes Jeremy Piven.”

 JPR-07 Piven, despite having lost all credibility, nonetheless continued to play the babyface, further stipulating that “Les Mis” would be banned from The Staples Center and Monday Night Raw forever if he lost. Unless Piven owned that Los Angeles arena and sat on the WWE Board of Directors, I would say he was overstepping his authority as guest host just slightly. Then again, this was the same show that two months before claimed that Vince McMahon could go bankrupt if the show he no longer owned lost too much money, so I guess it was fair to play along.
We next saw Piven mid-shill backstage with the beautiful Diivaaaaaaas. Oh, sorry, wrong guest host. Of note is that none of the three Divas involved were the Bella Twins, proving that Nikki and Brie weren’t always the designated skank celebrity groupies. Meanwhile, Dr. Ken continued with his schtick, based on the hilarious premise that he is an Asian-American acting as if he belonged to the predominantly African-American “gangsta” subculture. Or maybe it’s just a bad Chris Tucker impression. Honestly, even if you could forgive his sheer obnoxiousness (which you couldn’t), his persona made cowboy Jimmy Wang Yang look downright cutting-edge. JPR-08
JPR-09 Later, in a backstage encounter with Chavo, whom Piven called “Charro” for the remainder of the night (Sadly, this was before Michael Cole’s heel character, so he didn’t tear the guest host a new one for making a reference more than five years old), Jeremy made a match between him and Horngobbler. Or Hornbuckler. It was hard to tell whether Piven really couldn’t get anyone’s name right, or WWE knew ahead of time that he’d flub his lines so they worked it into his script.
Instead of a fifth consecutive match between Hornswoggle and Chavo, fans of the Gooker Award-winning feud were thrown a curveball, as the leprechaun was replaced by his cousin, “Markswoggle.” This was exactly five weeks after Mark Henry had joined Raw, turned face, and beaten WWE Champion Randy Orton, ostensibly to start a main event push.  JPR-10
 JPR-11 Hornwsoggle’s substitute beat Guerrero handily, but the real leprechaun would appear after the match to deliver another of what the announcers would for approximately the next twenty weeks call, “The Tadpole Splash.” This was why 2009 was arguably the greatest year in Raw history: it made the fans realize that there were far better things to do with their Monday nights, and as a result, millions surely turned off the TV to spend quality time with their kids. If Linda had run on that bit of propaganda, she would be sitting in the Capitol building right now.
In yet another backstage commercial for The Goods, Piven offered to make Randy Orton the special guest ring announcer for the main event (willingly giving Orton a microphone to get the crowd pumped up — yet another sign that Piven had never watched WWE before). Orton yelled at the two, and they suddenly stopped trying to be funny. Why couldn’t this skit have taken place before Jeremy and Ken drove out to ringside in the first place? JPR-12
JPR-13 Before the big lumberjack main event, we were told that Sgt. Slaughter, the American hero, would be hosting Raw next week. In Calgary. Which is in Canada. Slaughter would spend the whole night taunting the fans about how the USA was great and Canada sucked, which still went over with the crowd a lot better than this night’s guest hosts.
Just as the main event was about to start, Piven and Ken revealed that they were Randy Orton fans and had picked all of the lumberjacks specifically to gang up on Cena. Needless to say, all of the lumberjacks were heels, including Carlito, who a month earlier had split up with his babyface brother and therefore hated John Cena again. Also a lumberjack was Chavo Guerrero, who, despite having been set up, pummeled, and embarrassed for the guest host’s amusement, still agreed to do his dirty work for him. JPR-14
 JPR-17 See how it says, “Raw” on the big screen on the entrance ramp?
The very next week, it would say, “Summerslam: 2 weeks away” at all times. Sadly, WWE found out the hard way the importance of providing its guest hosts a glorified Teleprompter so they wouldn’t mess up the pay-per-view names. JPR-16
angle chokeslammed Equally sad was the fact that the odds were so stacked against John Cena, being surrounded and battered by enemies, that he came up short in a long, hard-fought bout. Obviously, I’m only kidding, as Cena made quick work of Miz anyway, beating him for the fourth time in 5 weeks. To make matters worse, Miz didn’t pull a Big Show and attempt to murder the guest hosts by throwing them off a balcony (although John Cena would come close just minutes later). Maybe he already figured that his exile from Raw would last all of 6 days and 22 hours.
Still, the lumberjacks were not done, as they stared down Cena from the outside, providing a distraction while Jeremy Piven himself ascended the ropes and leaped at Cena, only to be caught in mid-air and used as a battering ram against the lumberjacks as they ran in. DTR-25
dr ken toss Before John could deliver the AA, though, Dr. Ken struck Dr. Cena (PhD in Thuganomics) from behind, then begged him off for 84 entire seconds before Cena lifted him into the air and threw him over the ropes onto the remaining lumberjacks who, along with Ken’s own head, helped to break his fall.

 

With the Miz already forgotten about and the guest hosts in a heap outside the ring, Michael Cole wrapped up the infamous Jeremy Piven episode by plugging two separate projects from our guest host, declaring that “John Cena just tossed the goods all over Randy Orton’s entourage.” It’s just a shame that whoever booked Dr. Ken wasn’t sent to the gallows to hang over this travesty of an episode.

 

 

Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He currently runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws and Hasbro WWF figures.
47 Responses to "Induction: Raw is Piven: Monday night becomes damaged Goods"
  1. Mike says:

    Conceivable you could induct each and every Guest Host RAW and I would not envy you for recapping them, as I did not envy myself for watching them the first time around.

  2. Wrestlecrap's Janitor says:

    Piven has always annoyed the living crap out of me. Except for his role in “PCU”.

    As for Dr.Ken? We get it. He was funny in “Knocked Up” and “The Hangover” but now? It’s time to move on.

  3. ReallyPeteGas says:

    I never realized how bad this was, til I read the introduction. I hate Jeremy Piven… A LOT… but I though him and the other D+ celebrity getting tossed around was fun. Still do.

  4. Matt Soileau says:

    Beautiful.

  5. Alexander Leach says:

    It was only a matter of time before this show would be inducted… and rightfully so.

  6. s1mon86 says:

    It amazes me reading these inductions and realising that I actually watched this rubbsh

  7. Charles belles says:

    At least we did not have to have ken back on there as chow when the hangover movies came out. Who would you say was the worst guest host out of them all sir?

  8. Stephen says:

    I have to say, Art, you’re painting an excellent picture of the five-year period I didn’t watch Raw. It’s like a wrestling history lesson, laden with WrestleCrap. I welcome more inductions from this period.

    • "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

      Seconded! These are excellent.

    • John Matrix says:

      I agree. I didn’t watch WWE during this time period, so this stuff is all new to me, and probably more entertaining than actually watching it in the first place.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Dr. Ken was NEVER funny. This isn’t even debatable.

  10. Bill Richy says:

    Ah, the Guest Host era of RAW… Sad as it may seem, I honestly believe that Vince McMahon came up with the whole “guest host” concept with the idea that Hollywood would see hosting RAW as a promotional tool on par with hosting Saturday Night Live and appearing on The Tonight Show, with publicists falling over themselves to book mega-stars like Will Smith and Brad Pitt as hosts for upcoming episodes. How humbling it must have felt as the weeks went by and the only people they could book for the gig were WWE Legends, NASCAR drivers and D-List non-celebrities that just happened to have a show on the USA Network.

    With Damon and Piven inducted in he hallowed halls of crap, the next logical guest host induction is, of course, Al Sharpton.

    • WaylonMercy24 says:

      No, it’s gotta be ZZ Top. Their segment with Santino Marella was way worse than all of Sharpton’s segments combined.

    • Mark Carpenter says:

      From what I’ve read in the past (mostly on TV Tropes), the whole guest host idea and three hour Raws were the idea of USA, not Vince. How factual that is or not, I’m not sure, but according to the article, USA also wanted them to have a more dramatic storyline, which led into the “Vince’s Limo Explodes” debacle.

  11. Sir Thomas says:

    Ah, the guest host era: the point in time where I sat back and asked myself: “why did I start watching this show again?”

  12. Jay "The Brain" Mann says:

    I am actually scared as to how much Piven looks like Jason Alexander in that first pic.

    (you know, now’s as good a time as any to state that I want to go to a show that has something that’ll be inducted into WrestleCrap in the future. Hopefully Night of Champions 2013 doesn’t disappoint.)

  13. Charles belles says:

    They not only had these horrible guest hosts every single week they had to double the hurt by having hornswoggle not only beat but humiliate someone who deserved better ever week as well with chavo Guerrero.

    • WaylonMercy24 says:

      Not to mention the misguided logic in booking Hornswoggle to be the babyface even though Chavo was far more deserving of sympathy.

      So we’re supposed to boo Chavo because he wants a fair wrestling match and we’re supposed to cheer a leprechaun who frequently cheated, used cheapshots, and had 1 or more guys helping him? Great job of booking there, WWE.

    • Guest says:

      Chavo Guerrero deserved better? you mean same guy who achieved a modicum amount of success because of his relationship with Eddie Guerrero and also had a gimmick in WCW with a toy horse?

  14. unhappy camper says:

    before that episode of raw I never saw a film with Ken Jeong before and thanks to that episode of raw I never will

    • Autrach Sejanoz says:

      I know how you feel. I’ve never seen an episode of Entourage before, and now it’s safe to say I never will.

      • Peter says:

        I liked the first 5 or 6 seasons of Entourage but after that it got stale. I have to say Piven’s Ari Gold character is one of the best parts of the show. It’s just every thing else the guy does (like The Goods) is total crap.

  15. Simplerollup says:

    I did enjoy Shaq and Bob Barker as guest hosts.

  16. Bender says:

    As a Raw guest co-host he may have landed on his head, but Senior Chang is still funny as all get out. #Six Seasons and a movie.

  17. Peter says:

    I actually missed this episode, but knew about the “Summerfest” thing from HBK bringing it up later on. That image of Jeremy Piven jumping off the top rope is surreal though, looks almost photoshopped. Glad I missed this Raw, but also equally glad I read this induction.

  18. The Scanian Maniac says:

    I actually perceived Jeremy Piven as a substantial improvement compared with guest hosts a couple of weeks earlier – ZZ Top – that one hardly knew whether they were half dead, or if they had taken valium.

  19. Joseph S. Hasan says:

    I loved when Slaughter hosted, and brought back Heel Sarge.

  20. pablo retana says:

    sometimes these recaps actually make me miss triple kelly

  21. Jim from Boston says:

    The guest hosting was horrible, but The Goods is actually a very, very funny movie. I laughed from beginning to end.

  22. theOneManChainGang says:

    That sound clip of Ken Jeong introducing Jeremy Piven makes guys like Rob Bartlett look like Gordon Solie or Jim Ross, hell he even manages to make Stephanie McMahon’s screechy vocals sound like those of an angel. So glad i missed this episode.

  23. Mr. #2derful says:

    Funniest induction in a long time. “plugs that cheap…” That being said, I loved the guest host concept. Seeing how they were going to integrate them onto the show was interesting. I do agree with a previous post that mentioned how they didn’t end up getting the celebs they’d hoped. Why do you think that was? Lack of pay, laziness, non-comittment to the concept?

  24. Ganon83 says:

    You have to give Dr. Ken credit…….. none of the celeb hosts that I can remember agreed to take a bump like that. I also don’t remember any of them jumping off the top rope like Piven.

    • 80's Guy says:

      That’s one of the things I don’t think gets enough mention. Piven’s coming off the top looks better than some of the actual wrestlers that do it, and Ken’s spot/bump looked pretty impressive for a guy who’s never been in a ring before.

      Have to give the guys props for even agreeing to do that, as others are probably so uptight or arrogant to even entertain the notion.

  25. Jack Mehoff says:

    I could be mistaken, and I really don’t care enough to look it up, but I vaguely remember Jeremy Pivin was the coffee shop guy in “Ellen”, the first time she had a sitcom.

    • The Scanian Maniac says:

      Yes he played Spence Kovak, and he did Joely Fisher, who still looked hot back in those days :-)

  26. Larry says:

    Great induction. I wish they explained why Piven would attempt to do a move on Cena when he was supposedly on his side the entire show with no hints of turning against him. Then again, my head hurts enough at just remembering this abomination of a show.

    I guess Cedric the Entertainer as guest host is next?

  27. Jimbolian says:

    Well, if you’re gonna keep up with the GM inductions, I’m pretty positive that Al Sharpton’s gig as GM will definitely be inducted. Good lord that was terrible. The guy was meant to be a face, yet Albany booed the crap outta him.

  28. Drew says:

    Wow. I didn’t think anyone could dislike Jeremy Piven after watching PCU.

  29. George says:

    The Divas are not “skanks.” Ken Jeong is extremely funny. What’s with the Charro reference being more than five years old?

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