Yes! Yes! Yes! The Raw Review (#YYYTRR)
by, 09-18-2012 at 03:03 PM (6055 Views)
Night of Champions Recap
After the disaster of SummerSlam, Night of Champions was a big improvement. Pretty much every match was worthy of pay-per-view (let’s just ignore the Zack Ryder v. Antonio Cesaro match; once again I watched purely for Aksana), and despite its poor ending the CM Punk v. John Cena WWE Championship match was one of the best encounters between the two (it had nothing on their Money in the Bank title match from last year, but if you look back on their encounters this ranks up there with the best of them).
It wasn’t the best match of the night though.
For me, the best match on the Night of Champions card was ironically the only non-title match. Dolph Ziggler v. Randy Orton was a great technical match and had a great twist of anger from both individuals, and that RKO was one of Orton’s best despite the fact that I’m sure I’ve seen Diamond Cutters in that exact fashion.
Monday Night Raw
This was the word which the WWE Universe was left to ponder over at the close of Night of Champions, and rightfully so. Punk retained his WWE Championship for the first time in his 302 day (at the time) reign on a technicality, and proceeded to attack Cena with the title in a show of disrespect to him and his new, awful looking, pink and black entrance threads (okay, so he wasn’t disrespecting the fight against cancer, but I needed to point out how ridiculous Cena looks in that pink cap). But somewhere in the twenty-four hours between NoC and Raw, WWE got it into their heads that somehow the ending of that match was, and I quote, “controversial”. Cena simply couldn’t get the job done if you ask me.
“I am the Voice of the Voice of the Voiceless”
Raw opened with one of the more annoying devices that Paul Heyman brings to the character of CM Punk – acting as the voice of the superstars he vests an interest in. When it comes to Brock Lesnar, it is clear that Heyman is necessary. The problem with doing it for Punk is that the entire WWE Universe knows that Punk needs no help in any aspect of his character. He excels on the mic, and Heyman coming out to speak on his behalf (masked only by Heyman saying that Punk “hasn’t arrived yet”) was the first blow to CM Punk’s claims that he is the Best in the World for this week.
The next blow came from Punk’s performance in the ‘super’ main event. It wasn’t that he wrongfully lost, but that he looked weak throughout the entire match. This is the same CM Punk that has been impressive as WWE Champion throughout his entire reign, never retaining in circumstances which he had manipulated himself. Punk is still a clean-winning champion in my eyes, since he didn’t force the draw at NoC (rather, he dominated the match whilst Cena exhausted himself kicking out of near falls and the match ended because Cena cannot bridge a German Suplex). There are no signs that Punk should have struggled against Cena (he himself admitted that his technical skills lack last night, albeit in a corny joke), and it annoys me that WWE is having Punk deemphasise his own abilities to make Cena look like he could possibly outwrestle the champion.
I personally thought the point of Heyman was to help Punk look like a heel, since he was struggling to turn boos to cheers on his own. Whilst it has nearly worked, it clearly isn’t enough since Punk now has to lower his own standards to keep Cena strong.
Another reason Cena should respect Punk.
“I am the Tag Team Champions!”
As much as the subtitle for this section may suggest, it isn’t specifically about the newly crowned WWE Tag Team Champions of Daniel ‘I only Yes! when I win titles’ Bryan and ‘I’m going to Disneyland!’ Kane. I actually wanted to take some time to talk about the tag team division in WWE right now.
Whilst I thought Kane and Bryan as champions would hinder the tag team division and all of the work that four or five teams have put into it over the last few months, it’s actually not a bad thing this early into their run. There are still five or six contenders for the titles, and I like the look of most of them. In fact, WWE is full of athletic and potentially great tag teams.
Primo & Epico work well together and have had very few unimpressive matches.
R-Truth & Kofi Kingston have come of age as a dependable tag team, and their five month reign leaves them as contenders for at least the next month.
Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd seem to be an occasional tag team right now, but I would happily watch them most weeks. They work well together and could easily put on some great matches with the likes of anybody on this list.
The Usos are easily the most underrated team I’m going to talk about here. Since they surfaced in WWE, they have been almost faultless. They’re charismatic, great in the ring, and best of all, they are a natural tag team. WWE is criticised far too often about its lack of natural tag teams these days, and The Usos are a great way to rectify this.
The Prime Time Players have recently struggled without AW, but last night’s Raw was a turning point for them. They might be goofy at times, but they looked like they mean business when they assaulted Truth & Kofi. I liked it, and I hope there is more to come.
Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara are the type of team that WWE has needed for a long time now. They are both experts in lucha libre and it improves their matches significantly whilst helping them to stand out. Hopefully we get to see a Bryan & Kane v. Rey & Cara on PPV at some point.
This a list of six tag teams which I think have the potential to make WWE’s tag team division great once again, and let Bryan go back to hunting the WWE Championship before the middle of 2013 hits. I, for one, am happy to watch the antics of the current champions until WWE decides it is ready to let these teams fulfil their potential.
In other news…
Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara def. Primo & Epico – A decent tag team match which started a trend of impressive TV matches for the night. It also helped the PTP up their game in a change of dwindling fortunes as of late.
Divas Champion Eve def. Beth Phoenix – Nothing about this match really interested me. Eve has beaten Phoenix before, and it seemed to serve as nothing but a revealing moment for Eve and her ‘sportswomanship’.
Brodus Clay def. Heath Slater – I hope WWE doesn’t see Brodus as a potential challenger for the United States Championship. It wouldn’t sell as a PPV match, and it would be more meaningless than any of Santino’s defences were. Just make the title defunct if you refuse to make it mean something, WWE.
MizTV, episode one – Not that WWE needs a new Piper’s Pit or Highlight Reel, but I’m glad they gave Miz this chance to utilise his mic skills more frequently. Ryback’s interruption was even quite good. Is this finally a real feud for Ryback?
Dolph Ziggler def. Santino Marella – I’m not sure what the point of this was. Ziggler, as Mr. Money in the Bank, should be getting a push to the moon right now, but keeps getting wasted on TV and on PPV (two losses in two months to two superstars with other pending commitments is pointless for Ziggler). If they turn Ziggler into another Swagger I will not be pleased.
Wade Barrett def. Justin Gabriel – I’m loving Barrett’s new style, and I’m glad he got a match on Raw so I could comment on it. Outside of the ring, I personally enjoyed the “we want Nexus!” chants and JBL’s proclamation that Barrett’s new finish “would’a knocked out a horse”.
Damien Sandow def. Zack Ryder – Once again Ryder was part of the evening’s bogey match. Whilst I like Sandow, I don’t think he should have been made to struggle as much as he did against Ryder. Zack is on a downward spiral, and if you ask me it’s his own fault. Change. The. Gimmick.
I enjoyed Raw last night, despite the injustice of Punk lowering his own standards for Cena’s sake.
The matches were more or less of a good standard, and there was some good storyline progression. I genuinely have nothing to complain about other than Punk’s situation, but even then it’s only concern at the moment. The three hour slot seems to be working out well for WWE’s flagship show.
Until next week, follow me on Twitter (@SpringerAJ) and send me your thoughts with #YYYTRR.