Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Monday Night RAW: When 3 Hours Becomes 1

I didn’t get to watch RAW live last night, but before going to bed I decided to DVR through the 3 hours. It’s sad when I can get through the whole episode in an hour, and know I never missed a thing. The fact is that World Wrestling Entertainment is getting ready for an international tour, and next Monday is a holiday show, so the WWE is in a holding pattern until September 10th. The matches this week were nothing bigger than anything I would see on WWE Superstars. Even John Cena vs. The Miz, a former WrestleMania main event, didn’t have a big match feel.
I for one am a big fan of the mini-feud between CM Punk and Jerry Lawler. Last night it was fumbled a little bit. Why won’t Jerry Lawler man up right away and why does he need an hour to think about it? I was all for the CM Punk “apology” and how he ran down Lawler. When Punk walked away I expected Lawler to lay out the champ with a cheap shot.
In fact it would have been better than waiting on Lawler to make a decision. They just have Punk do his fake apology and turn his back on Lawler. Then Jerry smacks Punk in the back of the head and tosses him from the ring. Punk storms off and in a backstage interview he challenges Lawler for later. Finally Lawler answers his challenge with a “Hell Yes” instead of the whimper he gave last night.
There were a lot of “eh” matches. Ryback, Layla, Truth, Santino, and Clay were all angle matches. None of these matches moved the needle. Ryback has a sloppy match with Swagger, who should be begging for his release. Layla got a win where the focus was on Vickie on the outside. Santino and his cobra have hormones for a chick with a hand. Clay teams with Sin Cara to get some rub by beating Rhodes & protecting Sandow. Finally Truth gets a win because the WWE wants to further the Bryan anger management angle. That’s like 90 minutes of stuff in a paragraph. See how fast you can DVR through three hours.
I did enjoy the Bryan anger management segments. They are campy and cheesy. I laughed at the Kane part because his character is that quirky. A tip of the cap to his morbid past, and Pete Rose was a big pop. I am interested to see where all this goes down the line. I wonder if it will be a bonding moment for Bryan and Kane? Maybe a future tag team?
Cena and Miz was good. These two have good chemistry. It was simply a match to keep Cena top of mind. The IC Champ is now just a glorified enhancement talent. The WWE just had to remind us that Cena is still around and he is gunning for Punk. Don’t everyone cheer at once.
The HHH segments were good at selling the end of his career. I enjoy the walk down memory lane. He is one of the best in ring performers in the history of the business, and to steal a sports term, a sure fire first ballot hall of famer. His speech was long, but if it is supposed to be his last one, then it should be that long.
Now I don’t for one second believe that he is totally done. As I said yesterday, HHH won’t go out crying. He’ll go out being carried from the ring. He is King Arthur in his mind, and Arthur doesn’t die on his knees, but carried out on his shield. I think they’ll save the dates in the Brock contract, and maybe use HBK to lure HHH out of retirement. How about HBK vs. Brock at Survivor Series or the Royal Rumble, which leads to Brock vs. HHH in a blow off match at WrestleMania? It would be a nice addition to a card that looks to have Rock vs. Cena, and possibly Punk vs. Taker.  That is three big matches to sell your 8PM, 9PM, and 10PM hours on the biggest show of the year.
Again Ziggler gets his teeth kicked in, and guess what Randy Orton stands tall. Yes it was Sheamus kicking in his teeth, but of the four men in that tag match, it is Orton who should be looking at the lights. Del Rio is your current #1 contender. Sheamus is your World champion. Ziggler is your money in the bank holder. Orton is fresh off suspension for his second drug violation and about to leave again to film a movie. Which one do you think should be losing? Yeah not Ziggler. Crowd liked it, but Milwaukee isn’t known for their intelligence.
The crowd showed their lack of care during the main event. Jerry Lawler and Punk are facing each other in a cage match, and you could hear a pin drop in that building. Maybe the crowd was tired from three hours of subpar wrestling. The match was limited because Punk at any time could destroy Lawler. He played the cocky heel, including the free shot to begin.
I liked how the match played out because there was a story involved in there. Now most people in the crowd and watching at home don’t really understand how big a deal Jerry Lawler was. They know the puppy loving immature commentator and not the king of Memphis wrestling. It showed last night.
The end was the best part with Punk dismantling Lawler as he demanded respect. He really took a turn towards the dark side. Cena comes out and forgets he can climb a cage, so Lawler takes a few more minutes of a beating. The cage gets raised and Punk walks off with an evil grin on his face. Purpose served even if the crowd didn’t care for the first 90% of it.
Should be interesting to see how next week is handled in Chicago. Punk will be a conquering hero in his hometown. I would assume they will play up the hometown angle for Night of Champions. I’ll put my money on a six man tag next week. It’s the crutch match for WWE creative when they don’t want to really advance a storyline. I don’t think Lawler gets involved because they might sell him being injured after the attack. Then again having him be part of team Cena in a six man would make sense.
Finally, I would think a stipulation is going to be added to the match between Cena and Punk at the PPV. I still say a handshake or respect match but with the loser calling the winner, “The Best in The World” after the match. In Boston that would be some serious heel heat if Cena had to say it to Punk.
It was a quick week this week. I expect the same next week. That means the September 10th show has to be a HUGE event to help cover the coasting the WWE is doing. If not then I might coast past buying Night of Champions.

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