Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Monday Night RAW: Respect This!

Does the WWE creative team go out drinking after a good PPV and then wake up forgetting they have to write a 3 hour RAW? It seems that way with all the mish mash crap tossed against the wall. They came off a strong showing at Summer Slam and then on Monday night delivered the best episode of Sunday Night HEAT they could come up with. It would seem that after getting people hooked with a good PPV, you would want to follow that up with a blockbuster RAW. If you’re going to take a week off then maybe choosing any night but the next night would be a good idea.
Brock and Paul come out to close the book on their time here in the WWE. Heyman again does a great job on the mic. He made HHH seem like a big deal and that made Brock manhandling him look like an even bigger victory. If you’re learning how to cut promos then Paul Heyman’s promos from this whole run in the WWE are a must watch. He shows how it is done. Only thing that sucks is that now he and Brock are done until Survivor Series or maybe even the Royal Rumble. It is hard to build on a guy with that much of gap between appearances. I mean no person in your main event from Summer Slam is on your current active roster.
The six man is back! You know creative is punting the ball when they pull out the six man tag to do a storyline crossover. The Prime Time Players looked good but they lost on the PPV, and now they lost on RAW. How are they supposed to be a threat to the champs when they are losing more than winning? You can do this with established tag teams, but not one that is still fresh in the minds of the audience. It’s booking 101. I know Rhodes took the pin, but the team lost, and that counts for something.
David Otunga is back and guess what he’s gonna get squashed. Did somebody write that on the napkin at Denny’s after the post Summer Slam bender? Two segments down in one retreaded storyline. Oh and they are really pushing AJ Lee tonight. I guess they are trying to see the burn rate on her character. That’s crazy!
Let’s just put all the squash matches into one paragraph. Ryback kills another jobber tag team, but now Jinder Mahal is getting involved. The whole first hour was an old episode of Velocity. Where’s Funaki? Then later on Otunga gets mauled by Big Show. They used this to build Show’s heat back up after the loss. Wonder where he goes now that Punk and Cena are dancing by themselves? And finally the Divas battle royal, what that wasn’t a squash match? I’m pretty sure that match squashed the ratings. Nothing good can be said about it.
Albert Del Rio is the #1 heel on Smackdown. He is challenging for the World title. He is easily a top tier star. He also joins the list of top guys who job out to Randy “Puff Puff Pass” Orton. I get that Sheamus distracted Del Rio and that led to an RKO, but after getting screwed last night, this just makes his character look weak. This was the first “main event” of the show, and yet it elevates the wrong guy. Sheamus is the heel … oh no he’s just the cheating good guy!
Orton is coming off a suspension, and about to leave to film a movie, maybe the WWE could prove a point and use him to build a few heels. A win over him by ADR, Daniel Bryan, or Ziggler could really catapult those men in the eyes of the audience. Plus it proves a point to the locker room that if you fail your second drug test that you will have to prove your worth when you come back from a sixty day suspension. Again I will state Orton should blaze a fat Cheech & Chong blunt on the way to the ring because he is untouchable in this company.
A bright spot is the Sandow and Brodus Clay feud. It has been handled really well. Sandow is great at getting under the fan’s skin. He takes a good beating from Clay, but he steals a win. When Brodus finally beats Sandow it will pop the crowd. People will pay money to watch Damien Sandow get his teeth kicked in. I look forward to seeing if they let this continue to build up or if they blow it by giving Clay a pin in a tag match. He shouldn’t beat Sandow in any match until after the next PPV. Clay should get close, but always come up short due to some heinous cheating by Sandow. I also popped for the fist full of tights. Old school is cool.
The Shawn Michaels promo was really good. It was just too low on energy. He is trying to sell this “End of HHH” story and the energy on the show was so low already that this almost stopped the show. I personally would have saved this until after Ziggler vs. Jericho so that the audience was pumped up from a good match. It could have had a bigger impact. Still it was a great promo, but again it was wasting time on guys who won’t be in the WWE picture until November at the earliest.
The tag match between the former enemies turned partners was ok. I don’t like the no finish. Ryder could have lost the match for his team and then Kane could have abused him. It would have achieved the same goal, and it would have given Kane a better reason than a slap in the face for losing his mind. Maybe have Bryan beat Ryder then slap Kane. Again same result but it gives a cleaner finish. It’s the little things.
I loved the Ziggler vs. Jericho match. It was sloppy in a few areas, and I am glad Y2J is ok after the botched Frankensteiner spot. These two have a really good chemistry in the ring. Also watching them is like watching a man wrestle a younger version of himself. It’s too bad Jericho has to go tour with Fozzy because this could have been a really good feud over the next few months. The end helped elevate Ziggler, and Y2J’s attack left the door open for a rubber match down the road. WrestleMania? I hope so!
I was hoping CM Punk would name Jerry Lawler as the #1 contender for the WWE title. I’m an old school Andy Kaufman/ Jerry Lawler fan. While the match wouldn’t have been a classic due to Lawler’s age, I believe the two of them could put something special on. It would be funny that back then Kaufman was the guy limited in the ring and Lawler carried him, but now it would be Lawler who is limited and Punk who carries him. In wrestling everything comes full circle.
Cena cut one hell of promo. Normally I would take issue with a guy passing up a title shot, but this plays into the Cena character. He values his integrity more than a title. He preaches to his fans to believe in themselves and he can’t do that if he sells out for a title shot. I really hope this leads to a “respect” match at night of champions where the loser has to shake the winner’s hand, or in this case say that other man is “the best in the world”. If Punk beats Cena in his hometown that could be a great scene with a hyped up crowd. Especially if Punk cheats to win.
The afterwards where Punk pivots back to Lawler was nicely done because he doesn’t waste time on Cena. He wants his respect. Cena won’t give it to him, so Lawler must. This looks to be setting up a match between Lawler and Punk on RAW. I like that a lot. The kick and stare was a good way to end RAW. Would have liked to see AJ come out to address Punk, but I guess she forgot she was GM.
This three hours of RAW dragged a lot. Maybe it was because six hours of wrestling in a 27 hour period is too much. I don’t think that is true if there is good wrestling. I just think when you have a strong show like Summer Slam and then follow it up with a subpar RAW that the weakness becomes more glaring with such a close comparison. Summer Slam was fresh in people’s minds and that meant RAW had to live up to that standard, which it didn’t.
I’m looking forward to next week. There is a lot of talent that has been moved off the WWE roster. Brock, Heyman, HHH, HBK, and Y2J are all gone. Ziggler looks to be moving back to Smackdown as he still is their MITB holder. If he stays on RAW I would hope they use RKO to get him over with the fans. Wade Barrett should fill some of the void, but who does he feud with? Miz?
Here’s to hoping some new talent gets called up as Night of Champions is in a few weeks. We need better tag teams. We need a true challenger for both the IC and US titles. Plus Punk is mini-feuding with Lawler as Cena waits in the wings meaning that match could be a last second announcement. That’s a lot of holes to fill in three weeks. Wasting a week like last night doesn’t do much to help creative fill those holes, it just creates more.

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