Monday Night Raw Recap & Review 7/30/12

Tonight’s Raw opens up with a quick bit on how the set quickly caught fire, in some kind of pyrotechnics test before the show actually started, or the audience was let in. It had no actual effect on the televised show, other than delaying the crowd into the arena for half an hour. I’m uncertain why they even bothered to tell us, other than to address the possible potential issue of viewers at home wondering why a small part of the Titan-Tron was a little black and smokey. This was followed up with a quick video package re-capping last weeks show, playing up all the important parts and excluding any and all mention of Charlie Sheen. They would then go on to repeat this news about the fire, 5 more times over the course of the show. Seriously.

After the end of last weeks show, people have been wondering what CM Punk’s exact motivations were for his attack on The Rock, even if they’re obvious and awesome. A recently shorn CM punk walks into the ring, grabs a mic, and lays down the law. He says that he takes issue with how Jerry Lawler said “CM Punk has turned his back on the WWE Universe”, at the end of Raw last week, and exits the ring, approaching Lawler directly, who sits there silently shitting his pants. Punk slams his championship on the Announcer’s Table, and just really starts giving Lawler shit for what a terrible commentator he is, continues to make great points about The Rock’s arrogance and generally explains all of his actions last week perfectly. The Rock is a washed up blowhard who shows up, says he’s the greatest when he isn’t, disrespects everyone without backing up his words like he used to, and makes the WWE play second fiddle to his Hollywood career, until he decides to randomly take back the championship as if it’s a foregone conclusion. Not to mention all of the inane baby talk he spouts and everyone pretends like it’s even 1/4 of the quality of promos or insults he used to throw out 12 years ago. Frankly, he’s been phoning it in the last year, and If I didn’t hate Cena so much, I would have been rooting against him at Wrestlemania 28. So seeing Punk once again, FINALLY actually speak up and become the Voice of The Voiceless, was excellent, and a return to form from the wise cracking, Jim-Halpert shrugmeister he had become for the past few months. Of course, all the Bandwagoners quickly jump ship and start boo-ing Punk for making his opinions well-known, despite cheering him for claiming to always do this in previous months.

“YEAH CM PUNK BEST IN THE WORLD WOOO HE ALWAYS SPEAKS HIS MIND I RESPECT HIM SO MUCH FOR THAT until he doesn’t say things I agree with! What the hell Punk I trusted you.”- All Ship Jumping Former CM Punk fans.

Screw the honey badger, CM Punk don’t care!

After leaving Jerry Lawler sitting there, with shit in his pants slowly collecting, Big Show’s music starts up, and he enters the ring. At first I thought he was gonna come out, and reiterate his point he made a few weeks ago about how it’d take just one thing to make the WWE Universe turn against CM Punk, and how they didn’t really respect him, but he goes on his usual heel schtick where he promotes himself as the true focal point of the end of Raw 1000. He then takes credit for being the reason Punk is still champion, and vows that he’ll be the next WWE Champion. Then John Cena runs in because his name was mentioned, and chases Big Show out of the ring, while Punk stands aside annoyed as hell. At this point, AJ walks out, clad in a suit as the new Raw GM. She quickly announces tonight’s main event, between Big Show and Cena, with the stipulation that the winner will face Punk at Summerslam for the championship. Punk stands aside not giving a crap, while Cena looks on in his dumb starbucks shirt.

Back from the break and we see a quick scene of Daniel Bryan walking past the office of the new GM, looking distraught.

After that quick Daniel Bryan bit, we get this match between Santino and Alberto Del Rio. Why? If this is an example of AJ’s booking, then she’s picking poor match ups, because really, how else can this go? They try to make some sort of sense of tension between commercial breaks, by having ADR take a bump from Santino that throws him outside the ring, but when back from the break it’s the normal case of ADR destroying his opponent in the ring.  I’m guessing they’re trying to build up Santino as an actual contender or something, because for a bunch of brief shining moments he’d gain some momentum before ADR quickly shut him down again. Santino even tries to pull out the Cobra, which ADR just sidekicks before trapping his arm in the cross armbreaker, because holy crap is the Cobra stupid, and how great would it be if ADR kayfabe broke Santino’s arm? He’d basically be stripping Santino of all his power forever.

Then Del Rio makes a great promo, saying how he just destroyed Santino, that Santino is beneath him, Sheamus is beneath him, and so is everyone else, so he will not compete any further until Summerslam, to get his WHC shot, which is the only thing that he finds worth his time. I really can’t disagree with him either. Why should he be wrestling idiots like Santino? Why isn’t he being put up against anyone who is actually of his caliber of talent? His whole “Eff this noise” attitude is something that makes sense to me, even if I will be missing him destroying all of the even remotely ethnic wrestlers on WWE’s roster. Summerslam better be the fulfillment of his destiny to become a champion, because holy hell, the dude deserves it. Also, I’ll save my obligatory weekly insult of Sheamus for later on in this article, if he shows up.

Returning from a break, Funkasaurus is already in the middle of his dance intro, which is a good thing, because that damn intro is so long. It’s then interrupted by Vickie Guerrero’s banshee shriek of EXCUSE ME, and she mocks the Funkadactyls for their dance moves, and starts dancing herself. She then busts out the patented Elaine-From-Seinfeld-Little-Kicks dance, thumbs up and all, until she herself is interrupted by Damien Sandow.

Our Intellectual Savior then shows the clip from last week, of DX attacking him, proclaiming himself once again as a martyr, and starts beating down Funkasaurus, and leaves triumphantly, in the name of non-irritating wrestling gimmicks all around.

I really love Damien Sandow. 1.) He’s a good wrestler, and 2.) his gimmick is hilarious, and necessary.

It also helps that’s he’s fancy AND classy to boot.

We need a wrestler like him, a guy who can come out, point out how stupid everything is, beat the crap out of them/it, and cartwheel his way out of there, all the while in pink and purple briefs and knee pads. Not to mention his totally luscious ascot/bathrobe combo he enters the ring in, because if anything, I am a man of comfort who appreciates the finer things in life. I think Sandow and I would get along well. We’d both lounge in our armchairs together, drinking different blends of exotic herbal tea, while watching Criterion blu-rays. Plus he’d probably be a really awesome Dungeon Master.

My fantasies of being best friends with Damien Sandow aside, we cut to a recap of the Jericho/Ziggler storyline. It’s storyline that could have a great build up, as I said last week, where Ziggler should destroy Jericho, and be the man to finally BREAK THE WALLS DOOOOWWWWN and break Jericho. If Jericho is gonna be leaving WWE, have him go out with a warriors death. Make him go down fighting, and leave it all out in the ring, defeated once and for all. But tonight anyway, we’re getting a tag team match, because GM’s just LOVE tag team matches and oh no… AJ. Don’t do this to me baby. We had something special. Don’t be this way. Don’t be Teddy 2.0. I’m begging you. SAVE ME JOHN LAURINAITIS!

Aww but you look so good in that suit there baby… Alright, I’ll let it slide this time.

After spending the last 48 minutes mustering his courage outside her office door, Daniel Bryan finally confronts AJ about last week. She immediately asserts herself by telling him to shut up. She then brings up the quick plot point from last week, where we saw what looked like a bunch of mental asylum orderlies being spoken to by Daniel Bryan, that I assumed was a red herring. He says they were his groomsmen pretty defensively, and she says he’ll have to deal with a match later tonight, that’ll pit him against Sheamus (ugh). He asks her if it’s for the title, and she NO NO NO’s him out of the room.

A video package starts to play, showcasing the retarded Triple H/Brock Lesnar storyline from last week. Seriously? How many recaps from Raw 1000 are we going to have? Is the “extra” hour in all of these new episodes of Raw just going to be an entire hour recapping the previous Raw? I guess they have to, to keep Brock Lesnar in the story without him actually being there, because his stupid quitter-contract doesn’t require him to actually wrestle any more than a set amount of dates this year, and they’re being saved for PPV’s almost exclusively. They also must think we’re amnesic Alzheimer goldfish, because they played this promo at least 5 more times after this.

There was a time when I would have really liked to have seen this match. That was about 6 months ago at Wrestlemania, because the “Quick-Strong” wrestler against the “Methodical-Technical” wrestler pairing of Sheamus/Bryan was in theory, a great idea. We all know how horribly they screwed that up, but it led to Daniel Bryan really getting over, so in hindsight it was a necessary evil. Daniel Bryan comes out YES-ing as usual, but then flips out in ring, saying that the fans have “No right” to chant YES anymore, and that is his thing alone. The crowd then taunts him by chanting it, and he responds by losing his mind and shouting NO over and over, like a broken man after being left at the alter by his bride. Oh wait…

Well, Sheamus enters, with a clearly healing black eye, because presumably, people can’t not punch him in the face upon seeing him. They then announce that the match will be a “Street fight”, which in WWE terms just means “You guys can wrestle outside of the ring if you want.” Bryan and Sheamus open up the match by keeping things in the ring. After a few minutes of trading moves, they slowly battle up the ramp, with Sheamus throwing Daniel Bryan around, until they reach the top of the entrance ramp. Bryan gets the upper hand by kicking Sheamus off of the ramp, all 4 feet onto the concrete below. Sheamus then writhes around in pain like his knee is hurt, and Bryan lays a flying knee into Sheamus’ face, and the fight cuts to commercial. After returning from the break, they’re both back in the ring, and Daniel Bryan has Sheamus in an arm lock.

They go back to trading blows, and the momentum between the two of them continues to shift back and forth, now with Sheamus gaining the advantage. He brings out a chair and a kendo stick, which Daniel Bryan wisely removes from the ring before they can be used on him. Sheamus kicks Bryan out of the ring, while the crowd chants audibly for tables. Daniel Bryan then uses the kendo stick on Sheamus, wacking him multiple times, letting out all of rage on Sheamus with each swing. Eventually Sheamus gets kicked by Bryan into a steel chair he set up in a turnbuckle. Sheamus grabs a hold of the steel steps, and sets them up, trying to slam Bryan into it, until Bryan counters Sheamus’ grab and throws him into the ring post.

At this point, even though I hate Sheamus, i’m just glad to see a match last a considerable amount of time on Raw. My joy was quickly shattered however, when Sheamus brogue kicked Daniel Bryan into the steel steps that had been set up in the ring. However, I gotta say, the match itself was quite refreshing, mostly because it was good, and long by modern WWE standards. Let’s get this kind of thing happening more often, cut out all the recapping, and Raw can really become something truly great once again.

After a recap of the CM Punk promo from an hour ago, ostensibly in case you’ve got some kind of Leonard Shelby Memento disease, and can’t make new memories longer than an hour or so. They cut back to Daniel Bryan being helped up by referees, claiming he’s hurt his neck and needs a doctor. So while a popular, important, talented wrestler writhes around in pain in the middle of the ring, complaining of a neck injury and needing a doctor, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler ignore him in place of showing ANOTHER recap of the events from an hour ago, showcasing the Punk/Cena/Big Show thing, and the impromptu main event made by AJ. After a while, Kofi Kingston and R-Truth come out, claiming that Daniel Bryan is faking, and tell him to leave, saying there’s no place for him here.

Truth then mentions how Little Jimmy is in the ring with them, and Daniel Bryan asks where Little Jimmy is, and begins speaking to him directly. In what was the highlight of tonight’s show by far, he then violently kicks Little Jimmy CLEAR OUT OF THE RING, and R-Truth rushes out to console him, while Daniel Bryan goes on about how dumb the entire concept of Little Jimmy has become. He then goes on a huge tirade about how Little Jimmy doesn’t exist, and points out how stupid Kofi Kingston and R-Truth are, and the orderlies that Daniel Bryan had last week come out to take R-Truth, until AJ interrupts. She starts to say that Daniel Bryan is “mentally unstable”, and has the orderlies escort him out. He then comes face to face with AJ, makes a mean face at her, and leaves. This entire segment was hilarious, and I’m liking the concept of the mentally unstable Daniel Bryan, who is the foil to AJ. Or AJ is his foil. Either way, his character is evolving beyond “Just say YES or NO” all the time, so I’m digging it.

After some Tout nonsense, AW introduces The Primetime Players. They walk out and do their weird little Barking-Dog-Butt-Buddy, while AW’s voice continues to BOOM throughout the arena. I still don’t understand entirely why he, different from any other ringside manager, gets the loudest mic in the world to make ringside comments. Kofi gets dominated by Titus O’Neil for a while, until Kofi manages to get in his stupid BOOM jump thing, but AW provides a distraction by throwing his shoe into the ring at Kofi, which lets Titus land his powerbomb finisher, and win the match.

This whole match is a classic exercise in one half of a respective tag team, both being less than the half their whole as tag team competitors, and generally both being boring to watch the entire time. Kofi Kingston is boring period, and Titus O’Neil only really works with his partner as a lousy/funny heel team. I kept getting distracted during this match because I just didn’t care about it at all. In the immortal words of Jay-Z, on the next one.

We then cut to CM Punk and John Cena bro-ing it out together backstage, where Punk seems to express some terms of respect and agreement between the two of them to have each other’s backs, and the whole thing was just a weird step backward for Punk in my opinion, because John Cena sure as hell doesn’t give a shit about Punk, and his silence and condescending look as Punk walks away says about the same.

Back from the break, Heath Slater is once again in the ring, and we get another recap from last week, (oh god please make it stop, it hurts us, IT HURTS USSSS), where I assumed the whole “WWE Legends feud” thing came to an end, but here we are. Well it seems that now we’re gonna see Heath Slater used to bring back anybody who has been missing for a while, and Randy Orton shows up, having been thankfully missing for a few months now. I can’t stand Randy Orton. He’s boring. His gimmick is non-existent, and he has no imminent charisma to speak of. He’s like somebody took the default create-a-wrestler from a WWE video game, gave him tattoos that they thought were “totally sick bro”, and transported him into real life. The dude’s whole thing is being a “viper”, which I guess is supposed to reflect the “rattlesnake” thing Stone Cold Steve Austin had? I really don’t know actually, all I know is that he bores me to death, and his RKO is an insanely shittier version of the Diamond Cutter.

Oh yeah, he beats Heath Slater. Shocking, I know. Ugh.

Backstage, we see Daniel Bryan speaking to a doctor about his mental health. He goes through a series of questions, that are all yes or no answers. He of course continues to berate the doctor by LOSING HIS MIND at him, and screaming YES over and over. Crazy Daniel Bryan is already pretty goddamned awesome.

Now, tag team stupidness aside, this is a match that has real potential to work really well. Everybody involved is really talented, and Christian has always worked better in a tag team environment to start with.  After all four of these guys come out, taking a really long time to make their entrances, the match finally starts.

The thing about all 4 of these guys is, with the exception of Christian, they tend to work better individually. Their strengths are better accustomed to the one on one back and forth flow of a singles match. A good example was Jericho’s Wrestlemania match with CM Punk, where it was one big chain wrestling fest, or Dolph ‘s matches with Sheamus, where he actually managed to make Sheamus look really good, while still losing the match himself each time. Then you’ve got The Miz, who is in full Post-Crisis mode, and with his newly found Non-Stupid Haircut powers, has re-established himself as an actual contender to be reckoned with. The problem is now with Christian, who I’ve seen referred to constantly by the IWC as the “Little Brother” of wrestling, and i’d be hard pressed to disagree.

Let me explain. Everything Christian does, is basically just an homage or a borrowed move from other, better wrestlers he’s purposely or not comparing himself to. A main example is his spear, which is an obvious nod to Edge, the only problem being that Edge’s spear wasn’t even that good to begin with, and Christian’s spear is even lamer. He’s like the “Little Brother” of wrestling, who is constantly imitating his bigger brothers as inspiration, but never shakes off the trappings of being someone who is, well, imitating. Add to that, that his Killswitch finisher, when he does rarely manage to pull off, looks like crap, and you’ve got a guy who I WANT to like, but just can’t. He should have stopped way back when, because he’s basically stuck in sidekick hell, and should go quietly into that good night already.

All that being said, the match was pretty good, in spite of Christian, because Ziggler and Miz kept controlling him, keeping Jericho out of the match pretty effectively.That is until Christian gets the hot tag to Jericho, who quickly jumps in and makes a huge comeback, gaining momentum, until Christian jumps up and lands an unseen-by-the-Ref eye poke on The Miz, letting Jericho land the Codebreaker on Miz, winning the match. For Christian, who is supposed to be a face, that move wasn’t very… Christian. Eh? Eh? Get it? Right? What’s that? Oh This gun? Yeah I bought it.  Oh I’m just holding it here. Don’t worry about it. I’ll… use it later.  Oh dear sweet lord how I’ll use it later…

Anyhow, all suicidal threats aside, the match was fine. I just would rather see these guys compete in singles matches. Excuse me while I read about how to aim a gun directly into my brain stem for instant death.

Cutting back to Daniel Bryan again, he’s still answering questions from the doctor. Now he’s taking a series of rorschach tests. On the second test, the inkblot is obviously a goat face, and Bryan starts to freak out, and accuse the doctor of being put up to this by Charlie Sheen of all people. Then he starts speaking openly and aloud to Charlie Sheen, as if he is watching him at all times. I’m not looking forward to the inevitable Charlie Sheen/Daniel Bryan feud, but if we get totally insane Daniel Bryan being awesome because of it, I’m all for it forever.

It does really look like a goat’s face though, I mean c’mon!

Back from another commercial break (jesus), we get more Touts about something, I’m not sure because my eyes roll back in my head in boredom every time they do that.

Tyson Kidd is on Raw! Take a shot!

I remember hearing about how Tensai was going to leave the WWE soon, because he’s been extremely shoot unpopular WWE crowds, and frankly, i can’t wait. I’ve never liked him, even back when he was Albert, or A-Train, or whatever the hell you want to call him, he’s shitty no matter what gimmick he has. Plus his constant hissing is by far the most annoying affectation a wrestler could possibly have. His whole gimmick is offensive, (I don’t care if they stated he’s not asian, it’s still confusing and dumb), he’s awful to even look at, and his move set is boring. He doesn’t look good winning, nor does he make anyone else look good losing. Not to mention his constant abuse of his asian sidekick, the whole thing comes off as really offensive towards asians, and wrestling fans in general.

But yeah, he takes down Tyson Kidd and wins. Then after continually attacking him, the Ref reverses the decision, because reasons. Why? I don’t know. Let’s see Tyson Kidd wrestle someone who isn’t literally horrible to watch in the ring.

Back to Daniel Bryan and the doctor, the doc proclaims Daniel Bryan is officially sane. Then the lighting goes red, and Bryan is attacked by Kane, who claims he is Daniel Bryan’s anger managment counselor, in the most un-subtle reference to Charlie Sheen’s show, called  Anger Management.

After the 5th (?) Summerslam promo, which I’ve been neglecting to mention each time they show it in this article, as a kindness to you, because I’m not joking when I say an entire hour of this 3 hour show has been recaps and promos for Summerslam. Anyhow, after all of that yet again, we finally get to the main event.

CM Punk came out to join Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole  at the announcer’s table for the match, and hearing him give Jerry a constant stream of shit for being a really limp dick announcer with lame opinions that always fall into a predictably boring point of view that idolizes faces like Cena and Rock in spite of all logic and reason pointing to them be lackluster in many ways. It’s the same kind of person who promotes a needlessly Mark-ey kind of view regardless of character motivation, or continuity, or story development. Lawler is supposed to be what the worst WWE writers want all of us to be, a mindless, blind Cena lover who is entertained endlessly by Santino dicking around with a sock, or literally anything involving Hornswoggle, who thinks that parlor tricks and stupid skits are the focal point of a wrestling show.

Throughout the match Punk was making excellent commentary, and making solid, legitimate criticisms of Lawler the entire time. I’d really love to see Punk become a full-time announcer, who also wrestles, because he’s miles better than nearly every current commentator they have on any of WWE’s shows.

But anyway, the match itself was ‘old hat’. Lots of motifs we’ve seen from all of Cena and Big Show’s matches in the past. Big Show gets a sleeper put on him. Cena starts his 5 moves of doom, and is countered. Big Show taunts Punk at ringside, Cena gains the upper hand after kicking out miraculously like a robot. Big Show takes a big bump. Cena takes a big bump. The only thing that broke it up was the end, where Show threw Cena into Punk at the announcer’s table. After nearly being counted out, Cena managed to barely jump back into the ring, and pulls out the attitude adjustment, but it’s interrupted by Punk. Then Punk knocks out Big Show with a kick to the head, resulting in the match becoming a DQ, but for whom it’s unclear. Punk then grabs the mic, and says the winner is: Nobody. And that they’re both losers, to loud boo’s from the crowd.

Then AJ comes out says they’re actually both winners, and makes them both #1 Contenders, and makes the title match a triple threat at Summerslam. Punk comes back, and says AJ is a bad GM, calls her crazy, and demands she show him respect. The show ends on him screaming at her for respect, while AJ smiles away gleefully.

Knowing her, it’s probably turning her on.

So there’s the end of the 1001th Raw. Frankly, I’m glad Punk is going back to being a Tweener, because arrogant asshole CM Punk is far superior to any other version of his character. For every awesome Crazy-Daniel-Bryan promo we’ll get, we’re still gonna get terrible things like that Tyson Kidd/Tensai match that I can’t stand watching, or the entire hours of worth of repeated promos for a match between two guys who don’t wrestle full time, or god forbid more inane “Touts” from insipid, mouth breathing fans. This Raw wasn’t the worst in the world, but it wasn’t really that good either. I had a hard time trying to focus on it the entire time, and mostly found it boring, which is a bad sign for the future of Raw.  I can only hope that next week’s show will pick up in entertainment value. That’s really all I ask from WWE any more, and man, they should at least deliver that. I want to be entertained, not reminded about how IMPORTANT this match between TRIPLE H AND BROCK LESNAR is on SUMMERSLAM over and over and over again. If you’re gonna do stupid shit, have more guys kicking invisible children in the face, and less promo/recap filler of things we’ve already seen, especially if they’re from the same show we’re still currently watching.

Man. Here’s some pictures of AJ to cheer you up, because I’m just really bummed now.

There. Now I feel better.

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