Yes! Yes! Yes! The Raw Review (#YYYTRR)
by, 07-02-2012 at 11:24 PM (4406 Views)
Before I delve into this week’s episode of Raw, I wanted to straighten something out. It seems that over the past couple of weeks this blog has become less of an objective look at the rivalries in WWE and the way that they play out on Raw every week, and more of a rant against a certain superstar, John Cena. I wanted to take this opportunity to apologise for changing the focus of my blog into something which I could (and have) mentioned in a standalone blog. I will, from this point forward, attempt to bring this blog back to its original purpose of analysing the Raw product weekly, rather than use it to put across views which, although I stand by as much as when I wrote them, simply are not intended for this blog.
A combination of being extremely unimpressed with last week’s Raw and the fact that Teddy “let’s have ourselves a good old fashioned tag team match, playa!” Long was this week’s GM left me expecting very little from Raw other than the reliable nature of the CM Punk/Daniel Bryan/AJ saga. Perhaps that is why I am so surprised to be typing that I enjoyed tonight’s Raw from start to finish (barring the fact that Big Show and Kane pretty much ruined their own match and the opening segment). We got an ending which, after last week’s poor effort, was pretty damn good. We got a decent main event, and we got to see so little of Teddy that it was hard to imagine he was ‘running’ the show (thank Jebus!). On top of that, there was a personal high point of Jericho bringing back the catchphrases that got me to notice him in the first place in WWE.
AJ ‘wins’ the main event
The fact that some three months in I’m still more interested in this storyline than anything else WWE has done since WrestleMania is enough to convince me that the AJ/Punk/Bryan angle is the best thing WWE has done with a diva since the days of Trish and Lita (and perhaps the Dawn Marie/Torrie Wilson lesbian stuff – I was fourteen and it’s hard to say that Torrie Wilson isn’t the hottest diva WWE has ever had). I could even go as far to say that the WWE Championship hasn’t had a stronger build since Edge and John Cena battled over it in 2006, but then I would be completely discounting the great rivalry Punk and Jericho had heading into (and beyond) WrestleMania. For the reason that I liked the Jericho/Punk feud, and the great matches it produced, I will simply say that CM Punk is the best thing to happen to the WWE Championship since Edge.
Punk’s 225 (and more after you’re likely to read this) days as WWE Champion is the longest reign since John Cena’s run after beating Edge in a TLC match (from September 17, 2006 - October 2, 2007 - 380 days), and perhaps the most significant in a long time. Since he won the title at Survivor Series, he has been the face of a revolution which started a year ago. Whilst he has lost some of the edge which initially started his revolution, he has made the title interesting again. His matches are flawless, back-and-forth, and for once I’m happy to see the title stay on the current champion.
My point is routed from tonight and something I didn’t expect to see – in a main event which was already flowing nicely, AJ turned out to be the face that the show ended on. After putting both Bryan and Punk through a table (by using her womanly ways, I might add) which she had set up outside the ring, it became clear that whilst Punk and Bryan are the two men fighting for professional wrestling’s richest prize, AJ is more important than she has ever been. Earlier events in the night (Punk not giving her any attention and Bryan’s failed attempt at getting into her good books) have left her role as the special referee as a true ‘X’ factor.
When you can safely and effectively end WWE’s flagship show on the WWE Champion and his number one contender left lying due to the actions of a diva (given the current state of the divas division and the lack of effort WWE are seemingly willing to put into it), you know there is something special about that storyline and those involved.
Big Show runs riot… again
When Big Show turned heel I saw nothing but good coming from it. He had the chance to be the force that a giant should be, and he had the heel GM to back it up. Now since Ace is gone, Big Show has become a giant who slowly causes havoc and (apparently) doesn’t speak – he only grunts loudly in his matches. He seems to have become a man with a push to nowhere, and Cena is the only superstar who can put it to an end due to his ‘superman’ routine and his ‘never give up’ attitude.
It is no secret that I am bored of Cena versus Show, and I would say that WWE’s writers are bored of writing it too. The two men who (in my opinion) wrongfully main evented No Way Out are now a part of the WWE Championship contract Money in the Bank Ladder match (that’s a mouthful to say, try it…) under the premise that Big Show is a threat (never mind he was too heavy to climb the rungs of a ladder two years ago) and Cena hasn’t been champion in nearly a year. I think WWE have realised that this rivalry has run its course and are ending it amongst the chaos of a MitB Ladder match.
Unfortunately, it still meant that Show went and ruined (like a good heel does) a promo which I was really into. The Yes! chants were running rampant and Jericho rolled back the years by utilising some of his retro catchphrases. Needless to say, this Jerichoholic was loving every minute of it, and I hope Jericho is slowly reverting back to his old ways (although it seems like wishful thinking so early on, and given Jericho’s dislike of rehashing old material). Not only did the slow and unimpressive destruction of Show leave me disliking him more, but he was then sent to show Kane for the underutilised (and as a result, overhyped) superstar that he apparently is two weeks after being in a WWE Championship match. It begs the question of why WWE put so much into his return back in January when it hasn’t garnered anything truly memorable.
To summarise, Big Show’s push to the main event seems destined to be over in two weeks’ time, and Cena will be back into the WWE Championship setup. I can’t say I’m surprised.
In other news…
Otunga paid for his sins – in a four-on-four tag team match (thanks Teddy…) Otunga was abandoned by his partners and left to suffer a Killswitch and whatever Brodus Clay calls that splash he does. I can see a sympathetic face turn in the works.
Heath Slater beats Doink the Clown, only to be cut down to size – it was no secret that DDP was the guest tonight. He hinted at it, and Doink was never a serious threat to even Slater. I was looking forward to the inevitable Diamond Cutter all night; it’s just a shame that the crowd didn’t seem overly impressed. All they could muster was a poorly timed D-D-P chant.
Tyson Kidd gets his first Raw win in two years – Tensai has clearly been a let-down since his return to WWE, and tonight it showed in that the once undefeated superstar lost to Kidd after missing a turnbuckle splash and being hit with a school boy pin. Nonetheless, I’m happy for Kidd and I hope he surprises me to win Money in the Bank in two weeks.
Eve is back – all there is to say about this is that she looks as hot as ever.
As you can tell, there is an air of happiness about this blog this week. It’s something which has been lost over the last couple of weeks, but I give credit fully to the Punk/Bryan/AJ storyline and Jericho’s throwbacks to yesteryear. It was a good episode of Raw, and I hope to see more of the same heading into my third favourite PPV, Money in the Bank.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you stop by next week.
For more of my views on WWE and Raw, follow me on Twitter (@SpringerAJ).