I don’t normally do blogs like this but after my most recent blog calling this Monday’s Raw “must see”, I thought it only fitting that I report on it and give my thoughts as to why it was, or wasn’t the “must see” TV that I predicted.
Let’s get started. The opening was ok, Punk worked over poor AJ Lee pretty good with some harsh words, but to me the segment lasted a little too long and even got the BORING chant going from the crowd. The WWE, ever the opportunists when it comes to current events especially in the world of sports, did give a good zing to the NFL and it's replacement referees and their performance to date. Do you think Vince might still feel a little bitter at the lack of acceptance of the XFL? Maybe, maybe not, but I thought it was pretty good. The segment ends with a yawn filled, empty promise filled proposal from Paul Heyman and another good smack delivered from AJ. 2 things here that I am still not quite sold on: One is the Heyman/ Punk partnership and the other is the direction they are going with AJ as the General Manager of Raw. I have to give AJ props though as she looks great and her acting and art of the sell as “crazy” is really on point. Again, all in all it was just an ok opening.
The first match of the night was a great one between Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston with several near falls after finishers being hit. Of course, we had a little comedy beforehand with R-Truth giving Little Jimmy a drink of water and then following that up with a drink for Vicki after she teased Little Jimmy for no reason. Good stuff that led to the ejection of Vicki, Little Jimmy and R-Truth. This turned out to be a great move that left us concentrating on the great action in the ring. Jim Ross put it best in this segment when he said “A main event just exploded in front of our eyes!!” I thought these guys worked hard and put on a great match that got the crowd going as Ziggler hits the Zig Zag for the win. I really hate that move, but loved the match so kudos to Mr. Perfect and Shelton Benjamin.
The next segment gets us caught up on “Team Friendship”, Kane and Daniel Bryan. I am really starting to love these segments and Dr. Shelby freaking out is priceless. I loved Kane talking about what he did with the cook and his goat beard. The reaction from the old lady was classic.
Now we get to a pointless squash of tag match between the PTP and Santino/ Ryder. Again Jim Ross calls it perfectly when he proclaims “What is the relevance of this match?”, or something to that effect. This was a pointless tag match that served no purpose whatsoever. Yawn.
The surprise of the night, nestled in between plugs for the exclusive Jerry Lawler interview, was the entrance to the ring of the Raw Special Guest, none other than Mrs. Foley’s baby boy, Mick Foley. You could tell that Mick really had something to say. There was just something different about his demeanor. He pulled no punches as he got right into his disappointment of CM Punk diatribe, which of course brought out none other than The Best in the World. What followed was pure promo magic as Mick and Punk danced very well together. From Punk telling Mick that along with Bret Hart and the WWE Universe, Mick Foley was beneath him, to Mick accusing Punk of drinking too much Paul Heyman Kool Aid, the moment and quote of the night belonged to The True Hardcore Legend. Mick said, AND I QUOTE: “You wanna be a statistic or do you wanna be a Legend? No one cares about dates. What they care about are the moments that go on to define us, the moments of greatness, and in my estimation, as someone who is still relevant, you need one more!” This of course ended up referring to Punk needing to beat Cena one more time, this time in the devil’s playground, The Hell in a Cell. Mick announces that Cena is in the building tonight and will also apparently be ready by HIAC. Before Mick tells Punk to “Have a Nice Day”, he informs Punk that he must walk into the ring and tell John Cena to his face what his answer is. Great, great stuff here and it was great to see the old Mick Foley again and not the cheap pop book plugger.
Before the commercial break we get told that Ryback will face The Miz tonight, fresh off of Ryback’s destruction of the Miz TV set. After the commercial and the entrances, filled with the usual huge pops for Ryback, we finally get to the match. In a surprise I guess, we get yet another dominant squash by Ryback and hardly a challenge from The Miz at all. I am guessing that this is just the start of this program and we will see some tricks up the sleeve of The Miz in the coming weeks. At least I hope.
After the squash from Ryback and before the break we get some more great stuff from Kane and Daniel Bryan. This time we get treated to some absolutely HILARIOUS gold as Daniel and Kane talk about their destruction of eight men at the hands of their chair wielding on Smackdown. This leads into a re-enactment of one of the classic comedic scenes from Hollywood cinema: the diner scene from When Harry met Sally (look it up youngsters). We even get a Mae Young sighting who finishes the scene by saying “I’ll have exactly what they're having.” Classic, classic stuff here and I honestly laughed my ass off.
After laughing so much that I had literally had to pee and upon my return I saw that I didn’t miss much. I missed AJ talking to some referees and a six-man tag match announcement for later. Following this was a squash by Wade Barrett over Tyson Kidd who gave a somewhat valiant effort. Am I the only one not completely digging this bare knuckle style by Barrett since his return? I am not sold on it, but I love Barrett so I will stick with the Barrett Barrage for now. I do love his new finisher though, now called “The Souvenir”.
Back from the break and we get introduced to the feel good moment of the night and the Jerry Lawler interview. Michael Cole segued into this with some chilling new photos from the night of Jerry’s heart attack. The reaction of the crowd was great and gave me goosebumps. The King looked great on his throne and even with his raspy voice it was great to hear The King give his bone chilling recollection, or lack thereof from that night 2 weeks ago in Montreal. The King could not remember wrestling that night? I find that truly shocking and amazing. The King even got a good zinger on Michael Cole as he stated “that it was only a matter of time, when Raw went from 2 hours to 3 hours, that he could sit next to Michael Cole and not have a heart attack”. This was a short segment, but a great one and I thought Michael Cole did a great job conducting the interview. Jerry ended the segment by saying that he will be on the “next thing smoking” to get back to his announce seat after he gets clearance from his doctors. I for one can’t wait and the pop will be huge. Long Live The King.
Instead of going right to another short break after the great moment with The King, the WWE pulls a blunder of sorts I believe by cutting The King’s music in favor of the stupid African chant music of David Otunga as we get ready for the 6-man tag match of Otunga, ADR and Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Sheamus, Sin Cara and Rey Mystero announced earlier in the night by AJ. Ok action in this one that to me was highlighted by the between the ropes clubbing blows by Sheamus on Ricardo followed by the 619 of Rey and a swanton by Sin Cara for the win. I don’t know about everybody else, but I don’t think that there is enough money in the world that you could pay me to take those chest blows from Sheamus. Makes me cringe everytime I see it. After a brogue kick from Sheamus to Otunga we get the John Cena announcement advertised.
Before we get to John Cena in the last segment, we get more “role playing” from Kane and Daniel Bryan with Dr. Shelby. The challenge this time? Kane and Daniel Bryan have to take one bite of each other’s meal of choice, to walk a mile in the other’s shoes so to speak. The result? A burp in the face of the good doc after Kane sniffs and eats a piece of lettuce and a rather untimely release into the lap of Dr. Shelby after Bryan proclaims his bite of meatball to “not be as bad as he thought it would be”. More great humor here highlighted by Dr. Shelby yelling NO! NO! NO! to hopefully stop Daniel’s upchucking of the meatball. Michael Cole announces before the break that the tag team name choices Bryan and Kane via RawActive are: Team Teamwork, Team Hell No and Team Friendship.
Back again from the commercial and we find out the team name for Bryan and Kane. Team Hell No? Are you kidding me? I thought Team Friendship was a lock, not to mention the best choice. We do get a pleasant surprise here as an attack ensues on the newly named Team Hell No by none other than Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes, a carryover from Friday’s Smackdown. After a flub by Cody Rhodes (“Let’s talk real tag-team names schwone we? Huh?), we learn that Sandow and Rhodes are now Team Rhodes Scholars. Not a bad name and hey look at Sandow rockin’ a new T-Shirt. Before the break we get a recap of Paul Heyman’s “indecent proposal” to AJ and the Punk/ Foley promo.
Oh great no John Cena yet, time to a drop a deuce while the Diva tag match takes place. Sorry, not even the superhot Eve can stop me from releasing the turtle head poking out, AKA dropping the kids off at the pool. Yes folks, I did just say that. Back from a glorious win by the Browns in the Super Bowl, I rewind to see that I missed a somewhat reveal of Kaitlyn’s blonde haired attacker at the Night of Champions. Beth Phoenix? I think not, but Eve does not seem convinced as she lays out Beth. Glad the WWE could fit this in,now let’s get on to the last segment dammit!!!
Well damn, now I am just obviously getting too antsy. Time for some funk from Brodus Clay and the camel toe twins (Was that wrong?...) before he faces Tensai. No Sakamoto tonight? WTF? Not a bad little battle of a couple giants here when wait…what’s this? Weeeeelllll it’s The Big Show…Show comes down and delivers his illegal finishing maneuver and lays out both Tensai and Brodus. Whooooopeeee!!!! Glad the WWE could fit THIS in, NOW let’s get on to the final segment, YES! YES! YES!
Finally, back from the break and it is hilarious that not even John Cena’s support of The Susan G. Komen Foundation and his breast cancer awareness gear can get even one cheer upon his entrance. It takes some cheap pops from Cena “thanking us for our support” for him to get some applause. Quite frankly after that I didn’t understand much of what Cena had to say as he tried to keep it PG on his feelings of CM Punk. I am sick of all the apologizing B.S. already and his vow to walk into HIAC to fight. Punk’s music could not hit at a more perfect time. What followed was a mixture of good and bad, but very interesting none the less as Raw came to a close. Punk was on fire with his promo that ranged from calling Cena out as a procrastinator and that he should be a politician, even run for president. Punk continued to tell Cena why he would not face him in The Cell, how it would not be fair and someone else deserved a shot for change. He called John Cena a “Passive Aggressive Weenie” and told Albany, NY to "get in line" as he continued to command respect. Punk continued on his roll as he called himself the most dangerous man in the WWE. After telling John Cena how stupid he was for coming to the ring injured, he turns his back for a count of 5. Punk warns Cena that if he is still there by the time he turned around, that he was going to hurt Cena. At this point I was getting excited because I honestly thought that we were going to have a Brock Lesnar citing. I could almost hear Brock’s music hit as Punk’s countdown shrank. He was going to come down and “break” John Cena’s arm with a Kimura, knocking Cena out of his title “fight”. This is where I felt the ending took a bad turn as Cena pulls out the lead pipe hits Punk one time in the gut, proclaiming that “real men wear pink” and “that’s what you call a pipe bomb!” as Punk rolls out of the ring and retreats up the ramp. I hated this as an ending, but I was relieved to see the cameras still rolling as Punk continued walking backstage past a glaring Mick Foley. When Punk turned back I thought he was just going to start demolishing Foley, but all we get was one kick? I thought this was poorly done, but I became instantly intrigued when it appeared that Punk was turning back to finish the job on Mick. The look on Punk’s face when he turned around instantly got me wondering who he was looking at? I thought for a minute it might be The Undertaker, but who do we get but none other than Ryback!!! I found this VERY interesting as we see the not so distant future of Ryback as “The Man”. For all of you who have been reading my blogs, I have been calling this for weeks. Was I surprised to see this introduced so soon? Absolutely, as I see it throwing a major wrinkle into future plans for the WWE. That being said, I do not think that the ending with Ryback necessarily means that he will part of the big picture just yet, but it does beg to question.
So did this “must see” blog deliver? My answer has to be YES! YES! YES! I thought this was a very well done RAW and it was filled with way more highs than lows. What does the RSN Universe think? I would love to hear your comments and feedback. I will respond as soon as I can to comments or questions as everyone knows I do not back down from a good debate.
Till next time…Peace out Y’all!!