Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Monday Night RAW: Powerbombs and Piledrivers and Hurricanranas, Oh My!

Buckle up Dorthy, this isn’t Kansas anymore, it’s the road to WrestleMania! Lately when I have been really excited for an episode of Monday Night RAW I am usually cursing my television by 9:30. I could do the same with this episode because it had its head scratching moments. For one, this is the second Monday Night RAW in February where the WWE champion didn’t even bother to show up. And no, recap clips don’t count. Come on Dwayne, you’re better than this.

Why the WWE dusted off that old video of John Cena and JBL from when WWE went Hollywood I don’t know. I get that the Oscars were last night, but is your go to footage a few weeks before WrestleMania a video from 8 years ago. A silver lining is it did make me realize that John Cena has won 10 WWE titles in less than 8 years. CM Punk held his last reign for over a full year (Cena did have a year run, but who really talks about it. That’s sad). This means tonight’s main event is truly a battle of quality vs. quantity.

CM Punk’s two WWE title reigns are both more memorable than all 10 of John Cena’s reigns put together. The first being the infamous Vegas promo and the Chicago title win that ignited a national fever dubbed “The Summer of Punk”.  The second was a win with less fanfare but resulted in the longest title run since Hulk Hogan in the 80’s when the WWF was running wild. Both are signature achievements in the WWE history books while John’s runs as champ are mere footnotes.  He did get to make 12 rounds, so that’s special.

I could bitch about a lot but if the WWE gives me two segments like the opening and the main event, then I’ll happily shut my trap. That was probably the hottest start to Monday Night RAW in 2013. I can hate on Vince McMahon but the man is a top tier worker. Paul Heyman is no slouch either. The two are always must watch TV.

Brock and HHH stole the show with an amazing brawl and Lesnar took one hell of a hard way gash. With the WWE cutting back on blood during matches, it really stands out as something special when it happens; even if it is by accident. I think Lesnar looks scarier when his face is covered in his own blood. That dude is fierce as in if we both ended up in a jail cell together then I would just accept the fact that I’m his wife.

That opening had the place going nuts and would be hard to follow. That is why the WWE has guys like Dolph Ziggler to handle such sticky situation. Poor Dolph can’t even get a TV entrance, which is an insult cause the guy made Ryback look like a million dollars. You can tell that the months working with Punk have helped develop Ryback. He and Ziggler had a good match to get things started on RAW. I know some don’t enjoy the circus around Dolph but I think AJ and Big E add a lot to his persona. I say add more people to the mix. What is David Otunga doing?

The CM Punk promo wasn’t his best. It actually felt out of place on the show. It did serve two purposes. One is that it hyped the main event for later. That is always good, and something the WWE tends to skip over. The second is that it began his build towards believing himself a “god”. He is calling himself immortal and legendary. Who else could say that? I bet it is the same guy who is undefeated at WrestleMania. My fingers are crossed.

They inducted Donald Trump into the Hall of Fame. I think it is kind of fitting that he goes in around the same time that the WWE is doing a crazy right wing nut character. Will Trump ask Del Rio for his birth certificate? I don’t have an issue with him being the celebrity inductee. It’s in New York and Trump is a symbol of New York like rats, urine filled subways, and the Jets.

Mark Henry beats up Khali. I approve of this. It was short. It was sweet. It helped push Henry as the biggest baddest dude in the WWE. It’s simple and I like simple. Plus it keeps Khali from trying to wrestle, which benefits us all.

It looks like Jack Swagger won’t be suspended. The WWE Wellness Policy is a joke. Again I will state that this runs parallel with the McMahon life motto of, “Money over morality”. Remember kids don’t do drugs, unless you’re making us rich. In that case, roll a fatty and go make some Youtube videos with the dwarf from Lord of the Rings.

I liked the Miz TV segment. If the Dallas crowd wasn’t a total waste then that would have gotten a bigger reaction. Uncle Zeb is a great character. Jack Swagger is truly taking a back seat to him. It works because Swagger is a better second fiddle than a leader. Alberto Del Rio came off strong and held his own against Wilford Brimley (diabetes). This will pay off down the line because one of the arenas is going to have a lively crowd that will give these men the reaction they deserve. Given New York’s strong relationship with this country’s immigrant population, I would say that WrestleMania should be an interesting crowd.

They sure as hell put the duo of Zeb and Swagger on TV a lot tonight. They got a long segment, a tease on the all-important WWE app, a match with Miz, and some video promo time. I don’t mind it because this whole thing is going to take a few cracks with the bat to get established. I will say that every time I see the videos from Zeb’s basement all I can think to myself is, “Johnny Lawrence grew up and left the Cobra Kai dojo to join a militia led by Gwildor from He-Man”.

It’s Old School RAW next week. The WWE then gave us a match straight out of the 80’s with Cesaro vs. Orton. Or should I say Nikita Koloff vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Another fun match as both men work really well with each other. Cesaro does what mid-card champs do and jobs to Orton. No shame it that, just wish it didn’t happen so often.

Sheamus likes movies. He makes fun of Wade Barrett. Wade gets cocky. It is a simple build to what should be a good feud. Still confused because I thought Sheamus also was feuding with the Shield. I guess he can take on four men at once. He probably will and win. It’s not a far stretch when the tag champs beat the former #1 contenders blind folded with an arm tied behind their backs. 

The Prime Time Players are finished. I don’t care if they tag together until 2020, they are finished. You can’t take a team serious that just lost to a blind folded one armed team. That is literally losing an ass kicking contest to a one legged man. Darren Young should start filling out applications at Home Depot, his future is bleak.

R-Truth and Rhodes was a backdrop to Sandow setting up a future singles match. They are getting closer to a Rhodes Scholars reunion. The announcers try to insinuate that Rhodes and Sandow are more than friends. Billy and Chuck are jealous. It should be a good low-card tag feud for both teams. Not much more I can say about this.

Dean Ambrose is clearly the breakout star of the Shield. Seth Rollins is getting better every week, and this was clearly his best promo, but Ambrose has it all. In baseball they would call him a five tool prospect. It would seem the WWE is setting up another WWE All Stars vs. The Shield match for WrestleMania. I think Orton is on that team. I would even say Chris Jericho too. Maybe Ryback is the third. All in all I am enjoying their run so far, but it could get stale unless The Shield moves beyond flavor-of-the-month six man tags.

The Miz wrestled Jack Swagger. They had a good match. Both men can bring it in the ring. Swagger and Colter are starting to gain momentum with the fans. The WWE again tries to bait the right wing media by name dropping Ann Coulter. This match established how deadly the Patriot Lock is as a finisher. The next few weeks should be interesting. I don’t see Swagger losing much going into Mania. He needs to look almost unbeatable.

John Cena did a promo. He now cuts a promo the way a 5 year old tries to tell a story. It is usually all over the place with tons of misplaced energy. His parents shouldn’t let him have sugar so late on a school night. At least he mentioned his match coming up unlike some current WWE champions had forgotten to do two weeks ago. (7 minutes without mentioning the Elimination Chamber, come on Dwayne!)

If John Cena and CM Punk want to put on matches like that then screw the Rock. He can stay home for WrestleMania. That was probably the best match Monday Night RAW has seen since Jeff Hardy vs. The Undertaker in a ladder match. I would pay to see them wrestle one more time. It is that damn good. The last ten minutes of the match was as close to perfect as I’ve seen.

I liked that they showed Cena pulling out new tricks to beat Punk. At first Punk would counter his usual move set like the double shoulder tackle. He even countered the STFU. That is when the first banned move came into play. Always fun to watch the announcers squirm when somebody uses a crippler crossface. Chris Benoit would have been proud. John Cena also debuts his Powerbomb, and I hope he keeps it in his arsenal. It looked really good.

Then CM Punk pulls his own banned move and does the Piledriver 80’s style. Word is Vince McMahon blew his top when that happened because the move has been outlawed for years. Goes to show how much Punk and Cena not only trust each other, but understand their value in the company. It’s not like they’re going to get suspended. The crowd lost it for such a basic maneuver. It is dangerous, and can cripple, but this match was the kind of match where you push the line a bit. Kudos to both men for going beyond the limit.

Again the end was classic. It’ll be hard for any Mania match to top that last ten minutes. They told an epic story that neither man’s best was going to be enough to beat the other. They went at it like Apollo and Balboa by trading haymaker type move after haymaker type move. They should issue this match at wrestling schools as a requirement for graduation.

You can criticize Cena’s hurricanrana all you want. It was sloppy, but when a man his size does that move, it is impressive just to see it. Also he should thank Punk for protecting him during the move as he kept Cena from getting lawn darted in the middle of the ring. With that performance, John Cena deserves to be going to WrestleMania; I hope the Rock remembers to show up too.

There were some holes in this week’s episode but the good by far outweighed the bad. I’ll take that every single week with a smile on my face. I’m geeked to watch Main Event and Smackdown this week. I can’t wait for next Monday.

I want to know where CM Punk is going from here. I want more of Brock vs. HHH. I want to see how Uncle Zeb and Jack Swagger continue to grow. I want to find out what the Shield will do next, and if Orton will pay for his RKO. I also want the WWE champion to appear. That is a lot of wants.
Until next week, you can't always get what you want but if you try sometimes, well you might find you get what you need. This week I wanted the Rock, the Undertaker, and Jack Swagger suspended. I must have needed CM Punk vs. John Cena. Needs are always better than wants.

Plus I got to make three different Uncle Zeb look-a-like jokes. Dude must make a killing at the carnival running the mustache rides. And I’m out…

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