WWE Monday Night Raw Recap & Review 6/18/12

Tonights Raw opens up on the heels of yesterdays PPV, No Way Out, showing the results of the main event. The results, surprisingly being the “firing” of John Laurinaitis. This was a shock to me, because I thought for sure the conditions of him being fired indicated that Show was to take the win, but of course, I forgot the golden rule of WWE, if it has Cena in it, he is going to win. (unless The Rock is there.) They also, strangely open by showing that Cyndi Lauper, of all people, is going to be “returning” to Raw tonight,  which is confusing to me for a whole bunch of reasons, but mostly because she’s goddamned Cyndi Lauper. What the hell? Have I been transported to 1983?

Anyhow, after that, Mick Foley enters the stage, wearing a suit, which was unsettling to see, since plaid and stretch pants have always been his thing, and as much as I’d like to say the guy cleans up well… Not so much.  He at first comes out, speaking about his appearance being initially related to the 1000th episode of Raw milestone, but then says that he will be taking an interim position as General Manager, since the Board of Directors are looking for new General Managers, and are temporarily having former ones in place as scabs, so to speak.

I guess that finally resolves the question of the difference between Commissioner and General Manager in the WWE’s history, since Foley used to be The Commissioner of Raw, which I guess was the same job as General Manager all along, even though it didn’t used to be, and but now is. Regardless, they do the same job, so I’ll give them a hand for trying to adhere to continuity, as thin as it may be. Foley then announces a tag team between Kane and Daniel Bryan, and Sheamus and CM Punk. He then ushers in John Laurinaitis, who is here to give his farewell address. Laurinaitis comes out, again in an arm sling and neck brace from yet another Attitude Adjustment from Cena. Laurinaitis hobbles his way into the ring, and has a few words. I am a huge fan of John Laurinaitis, and by now I have his entire self introduction/catchphrase memorized by heart.

“My name is Mr. John Laurinaitis, and I am the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations, and General Manager of Monday Night Raw, and Smackdown.”

I’m gonna miss hearing those words, but I expect soon, in the coming weeks, he’ll return in some fashion. A character that good you don’t get rid of entirely, but I can respect them taking him off the shelf while still in his prime. After some crowd play between Laurinaitis and Foley, Laurinaitis ends up insulting and belittling the crowd themselves, and then goes on to say how last night, his final action as GM was to create the main event of tonights Raw. Of course, it’s a handicap match, with John Cena VS Big Show, David Otunga, and Laurinaitis himself.

Sheamus shows up just as Laurinaitis starts to leave, and is quickly followed by CM Punk. They both snicker as Laurinaitis leaves, and get ready for their tag team match. Kane and Daniel Bryan enter, and the match begins.

The match itself was good. Sheamus is slowly growing on me, and he and CM Punk’s wrestling styles complement eachother well in the ring. The same cannot be said for Daniel Bryan and Kane, because Kane’s slow, lumbering strong man act looks especially bad compared to Sheamus’ comparable strength, along with his relative speed for a man his size. I guess it’s just taking me a long time to recover from the 18 second squash he put on Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania 28. In the long run though, Daniel Bryan has absolutely prospered the most from it, and has come out the best since that whole debacle. If this match is setting up the seeds of a future feud between Daniel Bryan and Sheamus, I’m all for it, as long as it comes after the Punk/Bryan feud, because that one needs to continue.

At one point, Michael Cole mentions that CM Punks current championship reign, after last night’s defense, is rounding up to 211 days, making it the 4th longest reign in 15 years. The other three being split between John Cena and JBL. All in all this speaks a lot of how often titles switch hands, and how much being a champion actually means in the WWE, if less than 2/3 of a year is considered 4th longest. At least in relative WWE terms it’s quite a boost to Punk’s prestige as champion, and creates more tension with every title defense he now has. It’ll  definitely be an entertaining match whenever he does eventually lose the title. The whole crowd was clearly a big fan of Daniel Bryan, with very audible “Yes!” chants the whole match, and shocker of shockers AJ shows up. But she shows up dressed as Kane, and skips around the ring only. Which, was weird to say the least. Kane then follows her, because he’s Kane, and is easily distracted, even if that is a legitimately distracting thing to follow. Punk then puts the GTS on Bryan, and Sheamus Brogue Kicks him, and they obviously, get the win.

Backstage, we see Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger arguing about who is the best between them, (Ziggler is). They’re interrupted by Vickie Guerrero, who says it’s time for her to make a decision, and pick one of them for her to manage solely. She decides the best way is for them to have a match, to settle it once and for all. This is a bummer, because I liked Swagger and Ziggler as a team, (I called them Dack Swaggler), but if it’s what will get us to Ziggler finally getting some major singles recognition, I’m all for it. I can’t say enough good things about Ziggler, the man is seriously one of the best talents the WWE has, and hopefully this is the beginning of a push for him.

We cut to Laurinaitis and Otunga in the dressing room, chumming it up, and generally seeming like two really nice, cool guys you’d want to hang out with, until Big Show enters the room. Show walks in, seeming grumpy, and asks them what’s funny. Laurinaitis explains that what’s funny, is how Cena will be defeated by their powers combined tonight, and that the people will never forget John Laurinaitis’ name. Big Show replies by saying he doesn’t think anything is funny. Ever. At all. Which is coincidentally, kind of funny.

I keep imagining Big Show attending stand up comedy shows, and sitting stone faced during the entire set. Or watching old reruns of I Love Lucy, and getting angry about Lucy’s ineptitude, or maybe even snapping his copy of Young Frankenstein in half, because it wasn’t scary enough. If they were gonna take Show’s character a direction other than “Giant Unstoppable Monster”, then “Awkwardly Humorless Big Guy” is totally suitable.

And thus, Dack Swaggler comes to an end. The two put on a bunch of different moves, all followed with their own in ring taunts and ways to show off. The match actually managed to create a good sense of rivalry between the two of them, and created some early tension by having Ziggler hurt his knee, giving Swagger something to focus on for the match, so we don’t all assume Ziggler has this one wrapped up already. Swagger actually spends a lot of time really tearing into Zigglers leg, even to the point where the crowd began cheering for Ziggler. It’d seem this is a fairly Heel-centric crowd, and things were looking grim until Ziggler turned things around by finally landing a Zig Zag on Swagger, and picks up the three count. Vickie Guerrerro thanks Ziggler with a congratulatory hug, and a very suspiciously long, on the lips kiss, which made the crowd audibly groan, either in surprise or disgust, or both. I found it interesting, because it backs up my theory that she’d been “working” with the both of them “in private”, because she’s a “cougar”. Get it? Working? Privates? Sex. She’s been having sex with them.

Hopefully not at the same time. Though she probably did.

After that, we get a video package from No Way Out, showing Triple H’s speech, about the status of Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman and himself. He effectively removes Heyman from the table, and proposes a match between Lesnar and himself at Summerslam. We cut back to Raw, and see a limousine pulling up, potentially carrying Lesnar or Heyman, who will respond to Triple H’s proposition.

After the break, there’s another video package commemorating the 1000 Episodes of Raw thing, and we get a clip from 1998. In it, Vince McMahon is currently in the hospital after suffering injures from Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Mankind shows up with Mr. Socko to make Vince feel better. He’s unsuccessful at doing so, and leaves. Vince calls for the doctor, who is nobody else but Stone Cold himself, who goes on to pummel Mr. McMahon over and over in his hospital bed, finally bashing a steel bedpan on his skull. I actually remember watching this episode of Raw way back when, and even then I wondered how the hell Stone Cold managed to sneak into a hospital, steal a pair of scrubs, and then sneak into Mr. McMahon’s hospital room, all without being detected as the worlds biggest wrestling star at the time. Regardless, it’s certainly a better Raw moment than f*cking Seth Green showing up for some horrible reason.

Back to the actual show, Paul Heyman enters to big crowd applause, which is refreshing and good to hear. Long Island, NY must be a smark town, because ECW chants were rampant, and so far they’ve all been chanting the internet wrestling communities’ favorites, instead of the usual faces that most crowds cheer. It makes me wish I was there in person. Anyhow, Heyman comes out to speak on behalf of BRROOOOCCKKK LEEESSSNAR, (I love how he says his name), and denies Triple H’s match, and denies dropping the lawsuits that Heyman and Lesnar both have against the WWE. Triple H then walks back in, says some words about Brock being the “face” of Summerslam, lawsuits, and egos. They both trade words about eachother, with Heyman getting the better of Triple H’s own ego, by comparing him to Vince McMahon derisively, daring Triple H to punch him, and finally mentioning Triple H’s wife, Stephanie McMahon. At that point, Triple H grabs Heyman by the collar, choking him, and then punches Paul Heyman in the face, because he does not understand what lawsuits are or what assault and battery is, or how mind games are supposed to work. Paul Heyman-1, Triple H-0

So on No Way Out, Santino wrestled Ricardo Rodriguez, and this and Santino’s previous antagonism towards Ricardo,  has created a feud with Santino and Alberto Del Rio, now on Ricardo’s behalf. Expectedly, Del Rio very quickly demolishes Santino, and makes him tap out to the cross arm breaker. Ricardo Rodriguez then exacts a small amount of revenge on Santino, and DDT’s him into the mat. The whole match itself wasn’t longer than 3-4 minutes, but I suppose it’s a step to seeing Del Rio slowly amassing victories again, until he’s back on the top of the roster.

I watch Raw to see weird male soap opera and occasionally some wrestling. Not Cyndi Lauper. So I have nothing to say about her at all. Ever. I’m the Big Show of Cyndi Lauper’s music. Thankfully, Heath Slater comes out and interrupts the bit, points out how dumb it is for her to be there, and starts singing, horribly off tune. He then is interrupted by Rowdy Roddy Piper, who comes in and gives praise for Cyndi Lauper, and presents her with a gold She Bop record. Heath Slater is not amused, and lets out a glorious “OOOHHH MY GAWWWWD, WHO CARES?”, and is promptly eye poked by Piper, and has the golden album smashed over his head by Lauper. Then they all dance. Sometimes I wonder why the hell a segment like this is even on a wrestling show, but then I just take a shot and remind myself to not think about it or else the Mind Gnomes come.

At No Way Out, Titus O’Neil and Darren Young became the #1 contenders for the Tag Team Titles, by defeating Primo and Epico, albeit with Abraham Washington’s help. Titus O’Neil and Darren Young also are finally given a tag team name, The Primetime Players, or Playas, I’m not sure yet. Either way, they’re a good team that has a funny catchphrase(millionsofdollarsmillionsofdollars) and work well together.  Even though I don’t much care for Primo and Epico, they’re at least a legit tag team, and is certainly seems that WWE is fixed on revitalizing their pretty stagnant tag team division, one baby step at a time. All in all it was a pretty good tag team match, with a good balance of double team moves and tags, until AW decides to let Epico and Primo win by count out, claiming that they don’t need to win this match, since they’re already #1 contenders. For a heel, this isn’t cowardly, it’s being smart, and as a heel team, it makes sense for them. Why risk a needless match when you’re already guaranteed a title shot? So I’m officially siding with the Primetime Players as my tag team of choice in the future.


On a side note, how funny is it that Jericho’s band is called Fozzy? You named your band after a Muppet dude. C’mon.

We come back after the break, to John Laurinaitis, giving his farewell speech. He tells us what happened at No Way Out, and calls the fans and the WWE universe losers. It was a pretty great meltdown, and he then introduces the match itself, and Otunga and Big Show enter.

Can we talk for a minute about Big Show’s WMD Bear shirt?

I never really stopped to take a moment and think about it, but if you actually look at it and think about it, outside of the vague context it’s given in the WWE, it makes absolutely no sense. It’s a skull and crossbones, but nobody knows what a bear skull looks like, so they put a roaring grizzly’s head instead. Then in the spaces between the bones you’ve got the WMD letters, which stand for the name of Show’s finisher. It’s hard enough to buy that a single punch to the head should even be a finisher, but he manages to make it work, and if you give a stupid move a big enough lead up and sell, anything will work. The Rock does this with his elbow drop, and Hogan did it with his leg drop, and you’d be silly to think those moves did any more damage than a normal leg or elbow drop, as you would with Show’s head punch. But I digress, since the move is called WMD because it’s as powerful as one, and the bear is there because…. he’s as big as a bear? As ferocious? They may have mentioned why at some point in the past, but now it just stands out as a strange, apocryphal comparison to make, since he really has no bear like traits at all. Add to that the crossbones, and you’ve got the makings of a shirt that is at best, really really weird, and not at all intimidating.

Anyhow, after Show enters, Teddy Long appears ringside, and tears up his My Name Is Teddy Name Tag (nooooo!). Show then mentions his IRONCLAD contract again, and goes on to abandon Otunga and Laurinaitis in the ring, saying how he’s already proven himself to be able to beat Cena on his own. Cena enters, and the match finally starts. Cena then puts pretty big hurt on Otunga, all the while Otunga tries to tag in Laurinaitis, but Laurinaitis keeps refusing to tag. Slowly things start to even out, and Otunga gets the upper hand. Only after Cena is down, does Laurinaitis strip himself of his arm sling and neck brace, and begin stomping on Cena, yelling “People Power” in between stomps.

Laurinaitis tries to tag Otunga back in, but Otunga refuses, and walks away, ditching John to  a huge cheer from the crowd, leaving Laurinaitis alone with Cena in the ring. I really hope this is the beginning of a face turn for Otunga, because goddammit I really like him. Cena then gets up, lays the Five Moves Of Doom on Laurinaitis, and then adjusts his attitude three times in a row, at the behest of Teddy Long and the crowd. A quick STF makes Laurinaitis tap out, and Cena wins the match. So as usual, Cena ends up beating someone who is 100% unequipped to fairly face him, and acts like it’s a glorious win for himself and all of The People, and the show ends as we all try to forget those thousands of anti-bullying PSAs that John Cena so heartily endorses, in between bullying tons of people on his show every week. Good Job Cena, go hog wild!

I’ll miss you John Laurinaitis, Former Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and General Manager of Smackdown and Raw. You truly brought power to the people.

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