Monday, April 09, 2012

WWE Raw Report

Date: 04/09/12 from Washington, DC.

The Big News: Brock Lesnar’s in ring WWE return is set for Extreme Rules against John Cena.

Show Analysis:

John Laurinaitis came to the ring and introduced the new face of WWE. He put over Brock Lesnar as someone who is not about catchphrases or entertaining but rather a ruthless real athlete bent on domination. Laurinaitis announced out of the blue Lesnar will face John Cena at Extreme Rules and bring legitimacy back to WWE. Lesnar came out to a much more tepid reaction than last week. Michael Cole acknowledged him as the former UFC heavyweight champion.

Lesnar thanked Laurinaitis and put him over for bringing legitimacy back to WWE. John Cena then quickly interrupted to loud boos. He’s back to grinning and smirking. Cena slapped Lesnar and Lesnar immediately took Cena down. Lesnar threw a punch on the ground that busted up Cena’s lips and Cena was badly bleeding from the mouth. That made for a great visual, particularly since WWE is so squeamish about blood these days. The whole roster came out to pull apart Cena and Lesnar.

John Laurinaitis yelled at Teddy Long backstage. Laurinaitis said Long was supposed to contain John Cena and did not. Laurinaitis demanded Long go get an explanation from Cena as to his actions. Eve Torres came in and told Laurinaitis to call her.

Brodus Clay and Santino Marella beat Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler. The heels worked over Santino. Clay tagged in and quickly pinned Ziggler with a head butt, overhead throw and splash. I like the pairing of Clay and Marella. I sure do wish they were treating Ziggler better, however.

Backstage, Laurinaitis told Miz they will talk last week. Long then brought in Cena. Cena still had blood on his face. Cena said he likes to hit and be hit. He accused Laurinaitis of getting a monster to take him out. Cena said he is just getting warmed up and will handle business at Extreme Rules. Cena wanted to compete on Raw and said he would take on anyone. Laurinaitis told Long to inform David Otunga that Otunga would be facing Cena with Laurinaitis in Otunga’s corner.

R. Truth beat Cody Rhodes. They did the exact same shitty finish as last week. Rhodes hit an Alabama slam 15 seconds in. Big Show immediately came out and distracted Rhodes with video, this time video of him distracting Rhodes with video last week. Rhodes was again distracted and Truth hit the leaping downward spiral for the pin. Apart from the terrible, played out finish, it’s sad to see a talent like Rhodes losing to a bottom of the barrel gimmick like the one Truth has right now. Santino did comedy with the actors playing the 3 Stooges backstage.

Lord Tensai beat Yoshi Tatsu with head butts, a corner avalanche and the baldo bomb. The referee again stopped the bout. Tensai applied the claw again afterwards. The crowd heckled Tensai throughout with derisive chants of Albert. The early returns on Tensai are not good at all.

CM Punk came to the ring and said that not everyone gets straight edge. They think that having just one drink isn’t a big deal. Punk said he didn’t choose to be straight edge because it was cool but because it was a way of life. He said he’s proud of straight edge and never wanted anyone to feel sorry for him. He claimed Jericho tried to destroy his privacy and made up lies about his sister, but those things didn’t work and Punk submitted him at Mania.

Unable to get to Punk, Jericho went a step further with the whiskey last week. Punk said that as he was left lying last week, he thought that he smelled like his father. Jericho appeared on the screen to mock Punk. He accused Punk of being hung over or tipsy and said Punk is a loser and CM Drunk. Punk responded that Jericho can’t break him. Punk said Jericho made the biggest mistake of his life because Punk will use this bad place against Jericho. He concluded that this was no longer about being the best in the world but rather about kicking Jericho’s ass. This was a really strong segment, with Punk doing a phenomenal job.

Mark Henry beat CM Punk via DQ. Punk quickly hit Henry with a monitor for the DQ. He was going to hit Henry again when Jericho came out with a lot of beer. Henry used the opportunity to take over and hit the world’s strongest slam on Punk twice. Jericho was going to pour beer on Punk, but Punk got up and attacked Jericho. Jericho quickly hit the code breaker and poured tons and tons of beer on Punk.

Alberto Del Rio beat Zack Ryder. Ryder hit his kick to the head but Del Rio countered the Rough Ryder and slapped on the armbar for the submission.

2 of the stooges came out to the ring to boos. Then the other came out dressed like Hulk Hogan to more boos. They did some stupid comedy. The third stooge did a Hogan impression. Kane came out. The Hogan impersonator hulked up but got choke slammed. Mark Henry backstage said he has a no DQ, no count out match with Punk next week and he’s taking the title.

Backstage, Lesnar said he left WWE 8 years ago and became UFC heavyweight champion. He said he built UFC’s success with his blood, sweat and tears. He added that he’s happy Laurinaitis had the wisdom to bring him back. Cena thinks he’s on top but couldn’t hold his jockstrap. Lesnar said he isn’t in WWE to make friends. He’s proud to be a war machine and ass kicker, but not as proud as the suits and fans are to have him back. This promo was pitch perfect.

John Cena beat David Otunga. Otunga had the advantage for a little while and posed. Cena came back with the five knuckle shuffle, FU and STF for the submission. Afterwards, Lesnar ran in and kicked Cena low. He gave Cena the F5 again. The crowd chanted “one more time,” but Lesnar left.

Final Thoughts:

I thought this show was a mixed bag, both in terms of the show overall and in terms of the Lesnar stuff that was most important.

On the positive side, Cena bleeding made the opening segment. It sent the signal that Lesnar is something different than everyone else, which is precisely what they should be doing. Cena showing signs of damage is also a very good thing for his character. He refuses to sell psychologically so at least he can sell physically. Additionally, Lesnar’s promo backstage was exactly what it should have been. It struck all the right chords. It wasn’t cute or wordy and sounded a lot like how Lesnar actually speaks.

On the negative side, Laurinaitis announcing out of the blue Cena vs. Lesnar on the next PPV was all wrong. There were no challenges issued back and forth and no dramatic pronouncement. It just came across like they were making another match and there was no time to even think about it before it was there. Wrestling isn’t about the payoff; it’s about the build. Lesnar’s return is now in less than three weeks and that feels way, way, way too fast to properly build it. Running it on a B show rather than SummerSlam is already a gamble if you want to get bang for your buck, but doing it so quickly limits to a great degree how big it will be.

Also, linking Lesnar with Laurinaitis would work a lot better had Laurinaitis not spent the past couple months in a lame primary colors feud with Teddy Long. Laurinaitis at this point only subtracts from the Cena/Lesnar issue. Then there’s the more fundamental issue that it’s hard to build a serious feud when you’ve got actors running around the show playing the 3 stooges. It’s just dumb.

I had a few final random thoughts watching this show. First, they have noticeably toned down Michael Cole for a while now and it’s now at the point where I don’t find him irritating any more. That’s a very positive development given how abrasive he was for a while and hopefully they continue along those lines. Second, they’ve also noticeably toned down the Twitter stuff. It was out of control for a period but now it thankfully doesn’t distract from anything. Hopefully that will also continue.

Finally, if they’re going to continue with Lesnar and Cena as the focal points of the show going forward, they really need to do something about the title situation. They’ve got two world titles and I can never recall a point where they have been such an afterthought. There hasn’t even been any pretense of them being particularly important for months now. So what’s even the point? Merging the titles is long overdue. Having Lesnar do it would be perfect to build him up. And then maybe the title could become something that adds drawing power to the top program rather than being props for glorified upper midcard characters.


Anonymous Sue Ann Niven said...

I agree that having Lesnar be a 'hitman' for Laurianitis doesn't really work, although it does explain how he got there, I guess, so you live with it. It did seem as though the crowd was a lot less into Lesnar when he came out, but it also didn't seem like a strong crowd, unlike last week. I also agree that it seems too fast to be having Lesnar vs Cena, as he should just be clobberin' guys for a bit, but for the money he is making, I suppose they feel the need to get maximum value out of him. He should really destroy Cena at the PPV, but we all know that he won't. It being in Chicago, the dynamic will once again be strongly anti-Cena in the crowd. I would almost feel sorry for him if I didn't feel it was entirely earned on his part. For this thing with Lesnar to mean anything he has to be a destroyer. Anything else, and he may as well be in a feud with Kane or something.
Punk/Jericho worked very well, a better build than Mania, I think. I hope they aren't thinking of putting Henry in the match with them, as that'll really drag it down. I like Henry, but not in with those two.
I actually have to side with WWE in further burying Ryder, as he really doesn't do anything well beyond make videos. He had his fun, but time's up. It is really frustrating to how they are treating Ziggler, but I get the sense that ship has sailed. I don't know why, but he loses all the time. Why not pin Swagger? Nobody cares about that guy.
The opening schmozz was well done, but I thought the ending was a bit tepid. Again, it felt like the crowd was all a bit indifferent to everything, so maybe that made me feel that way, too.
The Stooges stuff was awful, and should remind them that the guest host stuff died a death for a reason. Does anybody in the world want to see that movie? Also, the Hogan stuff felt about 15 years too late. Maybe Sasso couldn't do a Sammartino impression?

9:20 PM  
Anonymous zillabeast said...

The only reason I can think of that Lesnar is going on PPV so quickly is that his WWE retun is front page stuff on the sports websites right now, and they want to cash in on all the attention and extra buys Extreme Rules will get from curious outsiders and MMA fans.

The blood went a long way though. If I was an 8 year old Cena fan, that would have freaked me out.

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Efrain said...

That awkward moment when you get ready for a huge reaction... And you get a deadpan crowd.

Johhny Ace needs to go back to 9th grade English class so he can say the word "legitimacy" and not "ligimacy".

I warned it would be bad if they did the video finish more than once... Oh boy...

Ugh... The Stooges sucked so horribly... Ugh... God... ("Kane's never in a pleasant myood" - Lawler... >_<). When I have to cheer Kane for putting a stop to that farce, you know something's wrong with your show.

Bloody Cena was pretty cool to see.

Albert needs to go away. It's bad enough that he's way over the hill, but it's plain disgusting when you can't even make any of your moves look convincing. That just takes away any hope of getting hype behind you.

"Where I are" - CM Punk. More mess-up lulz to be had. Otherwise a very strong promo... Too bad he couldn't feed off the crowd since there was no crowd to feed off of. By the way, Mark Henry... That's the WWE Champion, not World Heavyweight Champion. *le sigh*

You know something I noticed on the YouTube videos of Raw, people are actually clamoring for the WWE to run its shows only in venues that are guaranteed to be hot - places like Miami, New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia - as opposed to venues that are either unknowns or notoriously cold. It was very interesting.

1:55 AM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

Where to start. Oh, I know:

Lesnar-Cena: They are jumping in too quick, IMPO. The brawl was better than they normall y do, and it was more surreal seeing Miz & Alex Riley lumped together. Likewise Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder (best buds and former tag champs). The Rhodes brothers were both out there, with Dustin in civvies. It was reported that Tensai was to be the hitman for Laurinaitis, but apparently they thought better of it. My thinking was, being that htey were in Washington, Batista's hometown, they could've used him in this spot to bring him back, but apparently, they couldn't agree. WWE's loss, again.

Why is Ryder being jobbed out? The guy's been with the big club for most of the last 5 years, and if they put him in with Lesnar in 2 weeks (since Brock ain't going to England), then we'll know he's another victim of Johnny Toolbox's corrupt administration.

I don't like how Teddy Long's being treated. We went through this before, on Smackdown, nearly 4 years ago, when it was Vickie Guerrero as the corrupt GM. Uncreative just doesn't know any better, and neither does Vince.

They need a face to counter Laurinaitis, and if they're going to hold Teddy down, you might as well have HHH make a miracle recovery, or have Steph return on a short-term basis, since she's Johnny's immediate superior, to set things up for her hubby.

Jericho-Punk is pushing the envelope past PG, past PG-13, and on to R. If I'm booking, Jericho gets a 2 week suspension and is off the Euro tour for misconduct.

No divas matches this week. Say what?

Lawler copying Curly's "Woo-woo-woo" was impressive. I think Will Sasso has done Hogan before, on MadTV. I know this is his 2nd visit to Raw, the first one involved Stone Cold a number of years back. I wasn't planning on seeing the movie, but the Stooge fan in me says, why not go for it?

Santino & Brodus? Tag team champs? Maybe,just maybe, because you can't put it past Vince......

Lord Tensai? I'm yawning already.

6:20 AM  
Anonymous Steve Khan said...

Did I miss the explanation as to why John Laurinaitis wants to destroy Cena? The reason Laurinaitis was introduced as a TV character was as a puppet for Vince to keep Cena on top and the title off Punk. Shouldn't Laurinaitis be sicking Lesnar on Punk?

3:54 PM  

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