Yes? Yes? Yes? The Raw Review
by, 05-14-2012 at 11:25 PM (3347 Views)
Lawsuits and firings.
WWE has been treading the line between sports entertainment and televised business model since CM Punk delivered his infamous shoot promo last summer, and tonight was an example of what Punk was talking about when he mentioned arse-kissing and yes-men (Daniel Bryan pun not intended). In short, the majority of tonight’s Raw left me scrolling through Twitter as often as Johnny Ace sends a text message out to Cole rather than eagerly watching the TV screen. To call this week’s Raw a success would be an insult to two and a half months of great programming that came before last week, and the reason is that it was too focussed on the corporate side of the product, and featured just one worthwhile match in Jericho versus Orton. As you can tell my view on tonight’s show is not too positive, but I’m sure I can find something nice to say about it.
Triple H gets served… twice
It’s no secret that I like the idea of Paul Heyman being back on WWE programming, but I’m genuinely getting tired of him already. Maybe it’s the weak storyline he’s being thrown into, or maybe I’m just over the idea of Heyman as a threat to corporate structure after seeing it so many times in the past. Regardless of why, this Triple H/Lesnar thing needs to be kept short and sweet based on tonight. It’s all too predictable to me – Triple H gets served, Lesnar gets his perks, Triple H challenges Lesnar for control of Brock’s contract, Triple H wins and Lesnar moves on to another feud as just another guy.
I know this blog has been a downer since the get-go, but there is one positive from this segment. It was short and sweet, and it gave the storyline some form of purpose. Other than that, I’d rather see Lesnar face a full-time superstar if he only plans on being back for the next year.
Rhodes goes to sleep, Yes! chants live on
This was easily the biggest crowd moment of the night due entirely to Daniel Bryan. Punk got his usual reaction, Rhodes got his mixed reaction, Santino is still surprisingly over, and Bryan blew the roof off the building. There is no doubt that Bryan is the most over guy in WWE right now, and this match was actually a good opening contest (if you ignore everything up until Santino’s comedy hesitation to dive through the ropes). It was back and forth, and did help to bring Punk back to 1-1 momentum-wise heading into Over the Limit.
The sad truth about this match is, however, that it served no purpose in the build for the WWE Championship. The fans know Bryan and Punk can wrestle, and as much as we can’t wait for their match on PPV giving us matches involving the two every week does nothing to build that anticipation. I said it last week and I’ll say it again – this rivalry needs depth. It could go for at least three months if WWE doesn’t rest its future on the technical aspects of their matches, and it is all because Bryan is a heel. As over as he is, Bryan is playing a heel role and his rivalries should emphasise this. It would be so easy for Bryan to do as well – the two have been friends for a great number of years and Bryan could bring up something from Punk’s past (kayfabe of course) to throw him off of his game. It sounds a lot like Jericho’s tactics with Punk, but it was a working formula and it wouldn’t harm WWE to keep a working formula going for once.
As for Rhodes and Santino, it sounded like Cole was hinting at a unification match for both the United States and Intercontinental Championships, or at least a match or two. I would actually enjoy this.
Big Show gets canned, possibly for his acting
Anybody who saw SmackDown (or read the results and saved themselves two hours, like me) will know that Big Show was at the risk of being ‘fired’ by man of the people, Johnny Ace, tonight if he didn’t sincerely apologise for mocking Johnny’s voice last Monday. I’ll be the first to say that this was actually something I was drawn into tonight, as I had a hunch that Show would actually be ‘fired’.
If you ignore the fact that it went for twenty minutes which could have been used elsewhere, this was a purposeful segment. It showed that Johnny Ace has actual on-screen power, and that he is more than willing to wield it. The fact that Big Show became the victim is a strong catalyst when you consider that he has finished his opponents off using a non-flashy punch to the face for the past few years – he’s a big guy and could easily knock Ace out. This was designed to get Ace over as the new Mr. McMahon figure (never gonna happen, but the effort is admirable), and if he can beat Cena at Over the Limit he might well come close to that feat.
Oh, and Big Show is a terrible actor.
AJ trying to stir the pot?
In a strange turn of events, CM Punk and Alex Riley were seen ‘hanging out’ backstage. But in all seriousness, the idea to try and pass AJ off as a love interest or whatever they’re thinking of doing here is a bad move. In my opinion AJ should stay as far away from Punk/Bryan as possible, for the simple reason that Punk and AJ isn’t believable. She’s been portrayed as insanely in love with Bryan for months now and she isn’t exactly devious enough to use Punk to get her way. Whatever this is, stop it WWE!
Fatal-4-Way gets some hype
When I said at the top of this blog that Raw had one match worth tuning in for, this was it. Jericho versus Orton is a match that will always be good viewing because they are both practically flawless performers. On top of that they both have deep and interesting personas which keep fans interested (I’ve said Orton is boring lately in previous entries, but Sheamus/ADR/Jericho/Orton is a lot better than Kane/Orton).
It goes without saying that this match was good technically, but what I liked more than that is the way Jericho picked up the “dubya” (sorry, I couldn’t resist quoting Orton’s old school smack talk). Throwing Orton into Sheamus (he decided to sit at ringside in his pants for some reason) was something which helped the concept of this feud become clearer. Jericho and Alberto Del Rio (glad he didn’t show tonight) are the obvious greedy heels who will do anything to win the title, whilst Orton and Sheamus needed help defining their roles against one another. Sheamus costing Orton is an old-fashioned but effective way to cause heat between the two, and something that has gotten me more interested in this match. Now if they can find a way to get Del Rio out of the match itll be perfect…
Cena brings out his best Jim Carrey impression
We knew Cena would be back tonight, and it was welcome news tonight. Dare I say he was actually a little bit funny in a promo for once? The fact that he abused Johnny Ace to the point of Ace nearly letting out a chuckle (“loooooooooooooserrrrr”) was entertaining enough, and almost made me forget that there had to be a bombshell here to make Raw relevant this week. The bombshell we got was actually a let-down to me.
I like Ace as the GM because he draws heat well. Teddy Long needed replacing a long time before he actually was, and it’s nice to have an authority figure to love to hate again. The stipulation that if he loses to Cena he gets fired tells me that WWE is either going to screw Cena or have him go back to the Cena we all dislike for winning match after match. Last month was a sign that Cena is going back to being one-dimensional, and I only hope Ace wins on Sunday.
In other news…
Beth Phoenix squashed Alicia Fox, Fox was saved by Layla – naturally the former champion gets a rematch at OTL for the Divas Championship, but as it’s the divas I could care less.
Kane versus Zack Ryder to pre-show OTL – finally Ryder is being put where he belongs, on YouTube. I’ve been sick of the gimmick for months and WWE is finally running out of reasons to keep him on TV. Win!
Brodus Clay, R-Truth & Kofi Kingston def. The Miz, Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger – mainly due to the overrun of Big Show’s firing, this match was a throwaway. It’s still sad to see Miz pinned by everybody’s favourite paedophile Brodus Clay. #SaveMiz.
I made it clear at the start of this entry that there was very little positive to take from this week’s Raw. I can honestly say I’ve tried to see something good where I can, but this week was a thunderous drop even from last week in terms of quality and relevance. I hope Over The Limit offers up some fresh storylines and depth to the existing ones (Punk/Bryan in particular).
Thank you for reading, and I’ll be back next week with the aftermath of Over The Limit. I want to end on a question this week – what do you make of the ‘Revolution’ video WWE released this week?
Follow me on Twitter (@ComingToCinemas) for more of my views and sarcasms on WWE.