Yes? Yes? Yes? The Raw Review
by, 06-11-2012 at 11:20 PM (5000 Views)
This week’s Raw can best be described as nothing more than a knockout.
Everyone knew ‘the boss’, Mr. McMahon was coming back to evaluate Johnny Ace’s job performance this Monday night. More importantly, everyone knew Ace would not be fired. It just didn’t make sense on a variety of levels.
Level one – with no Johnny, Big Show versus John Cena at No Way Out has no relevance (not that it is overly relevant or interesting anyway).
Level two – why would they send the man who has garnered more heat over the past year out of the door in such a simple way? They wouldn’t.
The point I’m making is that whilst the selling point of this week’s Raw was the return of McMahon, the real hype was more to do with what would happen to Vinny Mac to further the flailing storyline that is Big Show & Johnny Ace versus John Cena.
The reason I’m using the predictability of No Way Out’s main event as the opening gambit of this week’s blog is simple – there was no real storyline development elsewhere, other than AJ kissing Kane after a great fifteen minute promo between everyone involved in this Sunday’s WWE Championship match.
I still don’t get how Cena gets another main event when Punk and Bryan are in the midst of a great rivalry.
The McMahon/Laurinaitis saga
We all knew this would kick off tonight’s three hour Raw. Whilst it was nice to see Vince back on WWE programming for the first time since October of last year, his appearance for the most part seemed to be a clever way for WWE to get us all to reminisce about the previous 990-something episodes of Raw before this one.
But beyond the JR impressions and reminder that William Regal was the first inductee into the infamous Vince McMahon ‘Kiss My Ass’ club, there was a bigger reason for the Chairman’s appearance. He was there to be knocked out by Big Show in a ruckus at the end of the show.
All I can say is that the whole closing segment tonight was dull and poorly orchestrated. I got more of a shock factor when Show KO’d Truth earlier in the night. For me, having Show nail Vince with the WMD was too predictable and a sure fire sign that WWE knows nobody cares about the Cena/Show feud.
Whilst it was a good opening segment, I was left disappointed with how it ended tonight.
AJ spreads some crazy around the WWE Championship
Whilst CM Punk digs crazy chicks, AJ may well be too much crazy for the ‘voice of the voiceless’.
Tonight we saw a great promo from Daniel Bryan, Punk, Kane, and AJ. It wasn’t just great for the fact that all four of the superstars/divas involved in this rivalry are doing their jobs near-flawlessly, but for the fact that Bryan and Punk got me thinking.
Claim one – Punk pointing out that despite Bryan’s claims that he is over AJ, he still talks about her a lot. Since AJ showed an interest in Punk it’s been clear that she has a role to play in this Punk/Bryan rivalry, and until tonight it seemed clear that AJ is still backing Bryan. That was until she stirred the pot by making out with Kane during the tag team match that came from this promo. AJ is the X factor in Sunday’s WWE Championship match, and it gives it a sense of uncertainty.
Claim two – Bryan accuses Punk of betraying the claims that he made a year ago by saying he now panders to the fans. I thought Bryan had some relevant points here. Punk promised change in WWE during his memorable shoot promo, and he also promised a new WWE Championship when he beat Cena at Money in the Bank. Whilst he helped to open the door to true wrestlers becoming main eventers, Punk has changed. His promos aren’t the controversial and entertaining pipe bombs we got last summer – instead he says things to get a response from the crowd without challenging the system. It might be because he is now the WWE Champion and pretty much every champion in this era gets stale, and I can understand that. Regardless of the reasoning, Bryan is right. Punk has become a shell of the controversial ‘voice of the voiceless’ that he once was. At least he still puts on great matches and has had an enjoyable run as WWE Champion.
Ziggler betrays Swagger, new number one contender
Thankfully Alberto Del Rio was injured last week on SmackDown.
Anybody who reads this blog regularly will know I’m not a fan of Del Rio for his in-ring work or his lack of ability to do anything entertaining with a microphone, but I’m thankful of his injury because it is helping Ziggler to go over with the fans.
Last week I claimed that Dolph was already over with the fans, and I was rightly corrected on my claims by one of my readers, but this week the crowd seemed more lively and we even got a ‘let’s go Ziggler!’ chant from the Connecticut crowd (despite the once again dead crowd during his entrance). Now I don’t expect Ziggler to dethrone Sheamus anytime soon to become World Heavyweight Champion – it wouldn’t make sense for him to do it so quickly.
Instead I can see a Ziggler versus Swagger feud developing from Dolph’s elimination of Swagger tonight. It’s something I’d be interested in seeing just to turn Dolph completely face. The Fatal-4-Way which decided Ziggler’s role as number one contender was mostly disappointing, however (Christian and Dolph was when it became a good match).
Botch Cara no more?
Usually I’d rip on Sin Cara for messing up in his matches, but the last two weeks on Raw he has shown signs of improvement and I’m starting to like him. I still think he needs a good reason to be on TV every week, as well as a fix for the poor substitute entrance he’s employed and the mood lighting, but other than that I can have no real complaints tonight.
I’m also starting to like his finishing move.
In other news…
Sheamus defeats Tensai – there was no real surprise here, but the match itself was good and the cheap heat Tensai got afterwards was much needed (although it seemed like time-filler).
Truth gets hit with a WMD – as far as I’m aware, Truth is carrying an injury. This seemed like a quick way to get Truth off of TV and set up a squash match against Kofi in one shot. Also, Truth needs to tone the Little Jimmy gimmick down a bit if he ever wants to be in a main event again.
Beth Phoenix & Ricardo Rodriguez defeated Layla & Santino – this was a prime example of how to make a divas match look more interesting than the US Title. Whilst I found it funny seeing Ricardo run himself into the ring post, I don’t understand why the US Title has been so devalued over the last month or so.
Show defeats Kofi in a Steel Cage match – easy to predict and quite frankly pointless, this match was another attempt at getting Big Show over as a heel. It was good to see Show as a monster, but it seemed like another time-filler.
Ryback is still better than two – say what you will about Ryback and his likeness to Goldberg, but it has been a while since anybody was put over in a Goldberg-like fashion. I’m starting to get behind this run, so long as he starts being pitted against worthwhile opponents.
David Otunga versus Brodus Clay on the No Way Out pre-show – these pre-shows are just getting worse by the month.
Vader returns to defeat Heath Slater – I actually enjoyed this match. Vader can still go, and it wasn’t a squash. Also, Swagger’s efforts at emulating Vader were completely tarnished – always a good thing.
Tonight was a long show, and a lot of meaningless things happened in the name of cheap pops (I’m looking at you Vince and your backstage shenanigans). The one undeniable fact that comes from tonight is that this Sunday people will be buying No Way Out for the WWE Championship match, and not to see if John Cena can get Ace fired by way of defeating Big Show.
For a three hour show, Raw didn’t deliver too much in the way of storyline, but that could be because WWE hasn’t built up too much over the past month outside of the WWE Championship and Cena/Show. Whilst this was worrying for the fact that WWE has to produce these three hour shows every week as of July 23rd, it was an entertaining show.
And, more importantly, Punk and co. seemed to hint at a resurrection of the long and effective promo.
Thanks for reading this longer than usual blog.
For more of my sarcasms and criticisms follow me on Twitter (@SAVE_US_C2C).