We open with a really over the top dramatic recap of last weeks raw, complete with wailing middle eastern music, showing Big Show further emphasizing his new heel turn, as he beats on fan favorites Santino and Zack Ryder. Big Show is exactly the kind of heel I like, and its been a long time since he’s been the unstoppable big monster character. Most importantly, his motivations, while simple, make sense, are consistent, and it’s fun to watch him really be the big bad he should be. Mark Henry does this sometimes, until he suddenly decides not to, and fades away into the ether for a month or so. Michael Cole comes out, and summons John Cena to the ring, (I mean, not literally, but that’d be a great gimmick for both of them), blaming him for Show’s heel turn and Show’s subsequent actions. They argue back and forth awhile until John Laurinaitis shows up in his super scooter, ( love it) and gives Cena a match, as long as it’s not against himself, or Show in turn, as his contract now guarantees rest days. Cena parades around, and then challenges Michael Cole to a match, because reasons, while Cole protests, screaming to Lauriniaitis to reconsider.
After the break, Cole confronts Laurinaitis backstage, begging to be relieved of his match with Cena, which makes Laurinaitis smugly and directly dismiss Coles pleas. It’s possibly the first ever truly crowd pleasing decision he’s ever made, and he wheels out of there, leaving Cole standing, dumbfounded. Vickie Guerrero enters the stage, and announces Dolph Zigglers entrance, stating that DZ is “Better than you, at everything he does”, which will probably piss off Jericho whenever he returns, since that’s literally a word away from his catchphrase, which was a huge point of contention just a few months ago when he feuded with CM Punk over who was “best in the world”.
I’m glad Ziggler is getting back into singles matches. I liked his team up with Jack Swagger, but the WWE never seemed keen putting them as legit tag title contenders, nor do they seem interested in an actual tag division lately, as their current champions, R-Truth and Kofi Kingston seemed to be teamed up for no reason other than “both are black?” I digress, since the match between Ziggler and Sheamus served as a pretty good example of yet another case where we see Ziggler show us how to make losing look really good. Nobody takes a brogue kick to the face like Ziggler.
This is actually from an older match, but JESUS GOD.
Sheamus celebrates on the ramp, pounding his chest like usual until he’s interrupted by Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez, who beat the tar out of him, and Del Rio puts him in an armlock, totally hurting Sheamus’ arm for realsies. Backstage, Laurinaitus is approached by the inimitable David Otunga, who mentions that next week, Vince McMahon will be returning to give Laurinaitus a job evaluation. No word on whether it’ll be NO CHANCE IN HELL Vince, Kiss my Ass Vince, YOU’RE FIRRRREEDD Vince, or just business man Vince. Either way it’ll definitely be a thing that happens. Ahem.
Sin Cara’s new entrance is interesting, because pre-injury he used to enter the ring with a jumping flip off a trampoline that the cameras desperately didn’t want the viewers at home to know about. Camacho and Hunico, shock of shockers, are actually on Raw, and despite their gimmick being really lame and borderline offensive, Hunico manages to pull off a successful jobbing to Sin Cara, and Sin Cara’s push continues.
Skip Sheffield Ryback, makes his official debut on Raw. It’d seem they’re trying to get more of the talent from Smackdown on Raw lately, as Smackdown has made a considerable improvement from B-Show to actually-kinda-interesting side-show in the past couple months. Ryback reminds me of those old generic wrestling figures you’d beg your mom to buy you in the dollar store, only come to life, right down to his “taunt” being the inability to move his arms laterally. The two local jobbers they have this time, have a terrible moment trying to read their awful lines simultaneously, and are quickly dispatched by Ryback, who belts out his catchphrase, “Feed me more!” because he apparently craves young skinny man flesh.
Punk and Kane are now having a weird triangle feud with Daniel Bryan, as Kane has been used as an instrument by both Bryan and Punk in their respective feud, and Kane isn’t really having any of it from either of them. Bryan comes out ringside, stands on the announcer’s table, and cuts a quick Q & A promo. I love these because it gives the audience a great chance to shout “Yes!”, or in the case of this particular audience, shout “No!”. Either way it’s great for Bryan , because he makes a great heel who gets exactly the right kind of heat he should get from an audience, regardless if they hate him or love him. Do I love him? Yes. Yes, yes, yes.
CM Punks match with Kane is pretty typical, he’s very accomplished at elevating his competitors moves, and making all their spots look really great for both. It’s a testament to his ability, that he makes Kane look good, because frankly, Kane has lost it, and his fruit roll up mask does him no favors in making him any better than he was in the Attitude era, or even a few years ago. His new/old gimmick doesn’t work, because all of his decisions are so stupid and random. ( hurr imma attack Randy Orton for no reason! He’s not invincible or anything!) Granted that was a few months ago, but his character hasn’t really done anything interesting since he suddenly returned after somehow growing two feet of hair in a month or so. After some struggling and mild interference from Bryan, AJ comes out, ostensibly trying to point out Daniel Bryan’s interference, until Punk gets distracted attacking Bryan, and loses to Kane via choke slam. Of course, there’s then a woman in the ring with Kane, which means its time for him to threateningly stand there, until AJ strangely smiles at him, probably trying to use her mind powers to calm his “inner beast”. Or maybe he was just awestruck by her hotness, didn’t know what to do, and left like an awkward high school teen? Kane is dumb, is what i’m saying.
AJ is going further down the crazy/aggressive/effing super sexy route, and starts sexually intimidating Josh Matthews. Well as much as she can in this new PG era. I like seeing her assert herself, I like seeing her character interact with Punk and Bryan, and most of all, I like seeing her in short short cutoffs.
Big Show as a heel works. This was a good video package, and I’m stoked to see him feud with any and everybody who he deems is in his way. It’s a welcome return to his “unstoppable giant” character, that I loved from his old WCW days. I approve.
Both Kofi and Truth show up visibly bandaged from their attack by Big Show last week, and throw down against Hawkins and Reks, in a fairly anemic tag team match. It’s hard to get involved in a tag match, when both teams don’t really have any chemistry, and it makes the whole thing forgettable and boring. Also Kofi Kingstons theme song is the worst thing to ever get stuck in your head ever, and I hate it with an unholy passion.
The entire night, Michael Cole has been fearing and dreading his match with John Cena, and has been trying to find some sort of way out of the match, even going to such lengths as to beg all the WWE fans on social media, to convince Laurinaitis to rescind his decision, via people power!
Right before the match begins, Laurinaitis comes out, and announces our real main event, claiming Cena will have to defeat Lord Tensai, in order to get his match with Cole. Cole is ecstatic, and we get a match of Cena pretending to be challenged by a fat, fake Japanese wrestler. Fake Japanese as in a wrestler from Japan, not that Tensai is literally supposed to be Japanese, or that he didn’t actually wrestle in Japan, because he did, but he’s still just as boring to me as Cena is, his gimmick is really really lame, and the whole thing is fake to me. Tensai and Cena both suffer from big invincible white guy syndrome, and watching them both fight you’d think would be an interesting match, but I find them so inherently uninteresting. The only enjoyable thing about it was watching Cole really get jazzed about Tensai defeating Cena, only to eventually smack Cena himself, leading to Jerry Lawler standing up and giving him an official Officials’ time out.
Cena eventually lands the 5 moves of Doom on Tensai, secures the win, and Cole attempts to run out of the arena, before being brought back into the ring. Cole first asks mercy from Cena, and attempts to settle things with a handshake, and is then goaded into taunting Cena, ends up poking his finger into his chest, until John Cena starts literally stripping him down to his underwear, and starts slapping him around, then forces him to apologize to Jerry Lawler and JR for all the feuds he’s had with them in the past. Then of all things, he starts forcing Cole to admit he loves JRs BBQ sauce, which of course, Lawler *always* keeps ringside. Cena drenches Cole in the sauce, and sprays him with a fire extinguisher, making it officially one of the more confusing and subtly homoerotic comedy matches of all time. Cena seems dominant right up until Lord Tensai jumps in and choke slams him, leaving us to think Cole will weasel another victory under his belt, but Robo-Cena kicks out, and adjusts Coles’ attitude, taking the win.
It’s not often you see the final match on Raw, ending with both participants covered in BBQ sauce, one spraying a fire extinguisher in celebration, the other stripped down to his underwear, wailing aloud. How do I feel about comedy matches being the main event of a PPV and now a Raw? I’m personally okay with it, as long as it is entertaining. I watch WWE to be entertained. I go in knowing I’m not going to see GREAT WRESTLING. If I want that I’ll pop in a Chikara or ROH dvd. Or look up regional matches on youtube. Like it or not, this is what WWE is now, and that will sometimes include slathering nearly naked men in BBQ sauce.