Monday, May 28, 2012

WWE Raw Report

Date: 05/28/12 from New Orleans, LA.

The Big News: Big Show dealt out a little payback to the heartless jerks he once called friends.

Show Analysis:

Big Show came out to start the show. He smiled and said that is him doing his job. He said it is easy making people smile and he doesn’t mind doing it. But it was a business decision to make a living. The crowd chanted for Cena. Show said he doesn’t have to smile anymore because he has an ironclad contract with a big bonus and is set for life. So you were working by the hour and living in poverty previously? Show said he is not an entertainer but a giant and there is no athlete in any sport in his league.

Show wondered if that was why nobody came to his defense when he was at his lowest point. He cited Brodus Clay, R. Truth and Kofi Kingston dancing right after. Show’s right. Brodus Clay is a prick. Show said it was easy for everyone to just move on and the one who disappointed him the most was Cena. Show thought Cena would confront Laurinaitis and threaten a mutiny on behalf of his friend Big Show but instead Cena came out telling jokes like a jackass. Show said Cena hurt him when he didn’t care, so he hurt Cena. He added that at the next PPV he will beat Cena, hurt Cena and embarrass Cena worse than Rock, Brock Lesnar or John Laurinaitis. Big Show was great here as the heel who is completely in the right.

Alberto Del Rio beat Santino Marella in seconds. Santino immediately hit a head butt and went for the cobra but Del Rio cut him off with a kick and applied the armbar for the submission. I know it’s nothing new, but when the US champion loses in seconds, it isn’t leading to a title match because the guy who beat him is three levels above him, and this isn’t in any way a notable event, it’s time to dump the counterproductive trinket.

Alex Riley backstage told Eve Torres she is doing a great job. It looked like he was about to start hitting on her but Big Show entered. Torres told Show that Show would get to pick his opponent on Raw. A nervous Riley said he didn’t think what Laurinaitis did was right and that he admires Show. Show told Riley that he wouldn’t pick him for the match and Riley was relieved. Show told Riley he had a message for the locker room and rammed Riley into the wall. He never did say what the message was.

Kofi Kingston and R. Truth beat Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler to retain the tag team titles. The heels worked over Kingston briefly. Truth got the tag and hit a DDT on Swagger. Ziggler broke up the pin attempt, at which point Kingston took out Ziggler. Truth then hit his leaping downward spiral on Swagger for the pin. After the match, Ziggler yelled at Swagger and said he was better than this. Damn straight he is.

Big Show threatened Santino backstage. Brodus Clay stepped in and suggested Show pick him for a match later in the show. Show agreed and said that after the match Clay wouldn’t be dancing or walking.

John Laurinaitis came to the ring. He said that Show vs. Cena at No Way Out will be in a cage. Laurinaitis then unveiled what he said would be the cover of the WWE 13 video game with his image on the cover. CM Punk came out and unveiled a much larger banner that dropped from the ceiling with Punk on the official cover instead. They teased Laurinaitis would do something to retaliate but instead he just angrily wished Punk luck in his upcoming match and left. This sequence of events made absolutely no sense on any level.

Daniel Bryan beat CM Punk. Bryan worked over Punk, concentrating on the arm. A.J. came down to ringside in Punk apparel. Punk made his comeback with a swinging neck breaker and running knee. Bryan avoided the bulldog and rolled up Punk for two. Bryan hit a few European uppercuts but Punk countered with a springboard clothesline. Punk set up for a top rope elbow but Bryan got up and crotched him. Bryan then hit a superplex.

Bryan went to remove the turnbuckle pad. A.J. got up to protest, which prevented the referee from seeing it. Punk hit a head kick for two but when he ran in for the high knee, Bryan dropped him on the exposed turnbuckle for the pin. Kane came in after the match to hit Bryan with a chair and choke slam him on the chair. A.J. gave Punk a chair, which allowed Punk to clear Kane from the ring. This was a good match, as one would expect. I sure hope they just do a straight Bryan vs. Punk PPV rematch rather than putting Kane in a three way.

Christian beat Miz. Cody Rhodes did commentary. Miz hit his back breaker/neck breaker combination. Christian responded with an inverted DDT but Miz countered the spear with a boot for two. Christian hit an elbow off the second rope and set up for the kill switch but was distracted by Rhodes walking. Miz rolled up Christian for two. Miz went for the skull crushing finale, which was reversed into a kill switch attempt, which was also reversed. Christian moments later hit the kill switch and frog splash for the pin.

Backstage, John Laurinaitis said he was disappointed in David Otunga for tapping so fast to John Cena and in Eve Torres for not getting an apology from Sheamus. Otunga suggested Laurinaitis put him in a match with Sheamus. Laurinaitis agreed and said that he may want to retire in 20 years so he needs people he can count on. Teddy Long got coffee for Torres but it was cold so she spit it out and poured it on him.

Miz complained in the ring after his match. It was just a bunch of generic complaints. Randy Orton came out and gave him an RKO. This felt like a burial. It was kind of funny given I assume this is Miz’s sendoff to do the Marine role that they wanted Orton to do but that they got pressured out of. Backstage, Dolph Ziggler told Vickie Guerrero he wants to be in singles competition like Orton.

Sheamus beat David Otunga with his punches against the ropes, white noise and the Brogue kick. This was basically just a showcase for Sheamus to hit some big moves.

Big Show vs. Brodus Clay never started. Show called Clay a sellout, embarrassing himself nightly. Show suggested that maybe when people get tired of seeing Clay dance, he can get some makeup and be the next Doink. He added that at least Doink had talent. Show then speared Clay on the floor. He threw him into the post. He hit him with a piece of the announce table repeatedly. Kofi Kingston and R. Truth tried to make the save but he laid them out too. Show finally hit the KO punch on Clay. Cena never appeared on the show.

Final Thoughts:

This show was a lot better than recent weeks. The wrestling was better, the talking was better and the booking was better. Still, it’s hard to get terribly excited about a show built around Big Show turning for literally the 14th time in WWE and feuding again with babyface John Cena, a feud that was going on before Brock Lesnar left WWE the first time.

Monday, May 21, 2012

WWE Raw Report

Date: 05/21/12 from Richmond, VA.

The Big News: John Laurinaitis conspired against Sheamus and John Cena.

Show Analysis:

John Cena came out to start the show and in a refreshing change, he was actually angry about being screwed this time around. It made him more likable. Cena said he has had a lot of losses where he congratulated his opponent and moved on. He then asked what the hell happened this time around. He labeled Laurinaitis a power hungry bully who got a taste of his own medicine. Cena said Laurinaitis was getting his ass kicked and everyone was having fun. Then Big Show helped him win the match with the KO punch.

Cena brought up people saying that he should have just finished off Laurinaitis rather than toying with him. Cena responded that if Show was already paid off, Show would have cost him the match either way. That made no sense as how is Show supposed to know how long Laurinaitis can survive in the STF? It’s not like he could get out there in three seconds if Cena just went for the pin either. In any event, Cena called Show a sellout. Cena said there’s no explanation for what Show did because the next GM would have just hired Show back anyway and now we are stuck with Laurinaitis. Cena then just couldn’t help himself and started telling jokes.

Eve Torres interrupted and then introduced John Laurinaitis. Laurinaitis came out on a motorized cart and stood up with the help of his crutch to list his injuries. He said that’s okay because in the ring he is a competitor. He added that no one can lay a finger on him again or they will be terminated. He introduced Big Show, who he said he rehired Saturday and will wrestle Cena at No Way Out. Wasn’t the whole point of Big Show interfering after being fired that the board of directors would fire any active wrestler to interfere?

Big Show said no one is entitled to his explanation. He said he loves the business and he got no sympathy when he was begging for his job. Thus, he did what anyone would have done. He vowed to knock out Cena at the PPV. David Otunga then came out and said it was time for Cena to lose to him. Cena said he wasn’t in the mood. He made a joke about Law and Order reruns and said he would hurt Otunga in the ring. Otunga dedicated the match to Laurinaitis.

John Cena beat David Otunga very quickly with the FU and STF. Titus O’Neil, Darren Young, Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins attacked Cena after the match. Sheamus knocked over Laurinaitis on the way to making the save. Laurinaitis told the heel jobbers they didn’t have permission to attack and to return to the locker room. Laurinaitis then announced Sheamus and Cena vs. three opponents in a lumberjack match.

Santino came out to make fun of Ricardo Rodriguez’s accent and eyebrows. They bickered over rolling R’s until Santino hit him with the cobra. Santino then announced Del Rio. They cut from the ring to make the false claim that Raw is the only show to reach 1,000 episodes and will go to three hours permanently starting in July. Del Rio, nice enough to wait a few minutes for Santino to beat up his ring announcer and WWE to make its announcements, finally came out to run off Santino from ringside.

Randy Orton beat Alberto Del Rio via DQ. Del Rio went after the arm. As Orton was making his comeback, Jericho ran in and gave Orton the code breaker to continue the streak of terrible TV finishes involving these guys. A livid Jericho yelled that he’s the best in the world and gave Orton two more code breakers.

Daniel Bryan was out next. He said it’s an injustice that he is not WWE champion. He said he made Punk tap and should be champ. Bryan claimed he isn’t champ only because of the referee’s gross incompetence and demanded a rematch. CM Punk came out and said his match with Bryan was one of his greatest matches but he won 1-2-3. Punk then announced Bryan would be wrestling Kane. Why exactly would Laurinaitis either be letting Punk book matches or letting him know about upcoming matches that one of the competitors doesn’t even know about?

Daniel Bryan beat Kane via DQ. Punk went to do the same thing as Friday and attack Kane with a chair but Bryan took away the chair. Kane caught Bryan with the chair and hit Bryan with it repeatedly for the DQ. Kane then gave Bryan two choke slams and Punk came in and made Bryan tap to the anaconda vise. This was quite the finish and quite the build for a Punk-Bryan rematch.

Backstage, A.J. said she enjoyed watching Punk beat up Bryan. Punk suggested she was crazy or sadistic. A.J. began freaking out and then began crying. An incredulous Punk gave her a hug and told her to stop crying. She immediately stopped. Punk said he sort of digs crazy chicks and left. I thought A.J. was actually pretty darn good acting insane here. Punk is going to look like such a fool if he gets with her.

Christian beat Jinder Mahal. They gave Christian an elaborate introduction but he didn’t get much of a crowd reaction. He has turned twice in less than a year, which is too much. Mahal hit a high knee and went for the camel clutch but Christian reversed it into the kill switch. He then hit a frog splash for the pin.

Beth Phoenix beat Kelly Kelly. Kelly hit a huracanrana and whirly bird but got an ax handle to the back of the head when she went for a handspring elbow. Beth then hit the glam slam for the pin. This was a better than average WWE women’s match.

John Cena and Sheamus went to a no contest with Lord Tensai, Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger. The lumberjacks were all heels. The heel team worked over Sheamus for a long time. Tensai was busted open hardway. Sheamus hit a rolling fireman carry slam and got the tag. Cena was making his comeback when all the heels attacked Sheamus on the floor. Cena ran out to make the save and all the lumberjacks attacked Cena. All the faces on the roster ran out for the save and a big brawl ensued. Cena went to find Big Show. Backstage, he asked Laurinaitis where Show was. Laurinaitis said he didn’t know but Cena then walked into a Big Show punch.

Final Thoughts:

This was another bad show with bad finishes and uninspiring build.

As I’m sure a lot of people figured, weekly three hour Raws will spell the end of these reports from me. Watching a three hour show and writing a report the same night every week is just too much, particularly with the show generally not being that good. Giving up the reports has been something I’ve thought about for a while now because of the nature of the product, but the move to three hours made it an easy decision.

For subscribers to the website, I’ll continue following Raw and will discuss it every week with Bryan on Thursdays. If you’re not a subscriber I really encourage you to give it a shot because it’s a great value with so much entertaining content whether you’re heavily into the current product or not.

Being able to break up Raw over a couple days and fast forward or half pay attention to the worst stuff makes a big difference. I’m kind of expecting to enjoy the show more, because when there’s really bad stuff on Impact or Smackdown, I just mentally tune out and respond to e-mails or work on something else in the background. For Raw, I’m breaking down why it was bad and I can’t just save it on my DVR and pick it up another day. Everything else on my end will remain exactly the same, so you can reach me the same ways and look for my stuff in the same places. With a little extra time, I may throw up an added column on pro wrestling here now and then.

Sorry to the people who enjoy reading the reports. The funny thing is I expect Raw to move back to two hours within a year or so, but I’m not playing a game of chicken with WWE. I’ll keep doing these through the first three hour show in July, so you can continue to follow until then. Thanks to everyone for the support over the years!

Monday, May 14, 2012

WWE Raw Report

Date: 05/14/12 from Pittsburgh, PA.

The Big News: This show, mercifully, is longer running.

Show Analysis:

HHH arrived at the start of the show. John Laurinaitis said he didn’t know Brock Lesnar was going to attack HHH and that it was painful to see Lesnar humiliate HHH and break HHH’s arm. Laurinaitis added that HHH has his support and sympathy. HHH replied that he would say his piece in the ring and wished Laurinaitis luck Sunday.

HHH went to the ring and called Lesnar stupid and arrogant for claiming to bring legitimacy back to WWE. He said it offends everyone who has ever wrestled, only he can’t say wrestler or wrestling and has to say WWE Universe repeatedly. HHH said he saw talent in Lesnar from the beginning, but when things got tough in WWE, Lesnar quit. Then he reached the top of UFC but things got tough and he quit again. Then Lesnar went back to WWE figuring he could take John Cena but Cena wouldn’t give up and won so Lesnar quit again like he always does.

Paul Heyman and an attorney interrupted. Heyman said HHH was doing damage control like promoters always do when they lose their biggest star. Heyman said Lesnar entered into a binding contract and HHH breached it. HHH brought a fighter into an entertainment company and didn’t like it when he wanted to fight. Heyman said HHH doesn’t get Lesnar, but he does get a lawsuit. The attorney served HHH. Heyman said Lesnar expected a fight from HHH but got a corporate sycophant not backing up his hype.

HHH grabbed Heyman roughly and said Lesnar will get everything he deserves. Heyman responded that HHH has another lawsuit coming for assault and battery. Who wants to see main event angles with big badass wrestlers revolve around lawsuits? It’s so completely unsatisfying and unentertaining on every level.

CM Punk and Santino Marella beat Cody Rhodes and Daniel Bryan. The heels worked over Santino for a while. Santino did the classic spot where the face dives for the tag, only rather than connecting with the tag he missed and fell flat on his face. That was just a hilarious spoof. Santino got the tag moments later. Punk hit a head kick on Rhodes but Bryan broke up the pin attempt. Punk then hit the GTS on Rhodes for the win.

Beth Phoenix beat Alicia Fox with the glam slam. Beth went after Alicia again after the match but Layla quickly made the save. The crowd was as dead as you’re ever going to see for this segment. WWE would be so much better off investing the money they spend on women’s wrestlers in a larger men’s roster that would mean greater protection and more wins for midcarders.

Kane beat Big Show. John Laurinaitis watched from ringside. They wrestled for a little while and then Laurinaitis stood up and demanded an apology from Show. That idiot Show stopped paying attention to Kane so he could stare at Laurinaitis and of course Kane hit him with a choke slam for the pin. That finish is just the dirt fucking worst. What sort of mentally handicapped buffoon stops paying attention to their opponent to stare at someone talking outside the ring? And what do matches mean if every wrestler on the roster is so stupid that they fall for this multiple times a year? Things only got better from there.

Laurinaitis got in the ring and badmouthed Show. He demanded an apology. Show said wrestling is his life and he loves doing it, asking Laurinaitis not to fire him for petty reasons. He said he’s sorry but if Laurinaitis had any decency he would let him continue to do what he loves. Laurinaitis said that was passionate but he didn’t hear Show say he’s sorry. Show said he was sorry again, practically crying. Laurinaitis said he didn’t think everyone heard Show. Show said he was sorry again. Laurinaitis told Show to prove it and get on his knees. Show begged but not on his knees. Laurinaitis said Show disgusts him but he would reconsider. Laurinaitis left the ring but on the stage started to fire Show. Show got on his knees, begging, blubbering and crying. Laurinaitis wished Show the best in his future endeavors and fired him.

This segment was so terrible. It was like a redo of a WCW angle with Randy Anderson and Eric Bischoff. The difference, of course, was that was a REFEREE. This is a main event star for over a decade, a genuine superstar in the business who has drawn millions and millions of dollars and he has no absolutely no dignity, begging and sobbing on his knees at the mercy of WWE Heel Authority Figure #18,347. This was power porn.

Kofi Kingston, R. Truth and Brodus Clay beat Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler and Miz. Primo, Epico, Mason Ryan and Abraham Washington were watching in the skybox. Kingston hit trouble in paradise on Miz and Clay hit the splash on Miz for the win. The faces danced with children in the ring after the match. You know, shamelessly pandering to children made a lot more sense when you were on Sunday morning as opposed to 10:30PM on a weeknight with a primarily adult audience.

A nervous AJ came up to CM Punk backstage and wished him luck Sunday. Punk thanked her but said he didn’t want to get involved in any drama between her and Daniel Bryan. Punk said he doesn’t trust Bryan and views AJ as unstable. AJ was upset. It was nice to see a face anticipating a potential setup.

Chris Jericho beat Randy Orton via DQ. Sheamus was doing commentary and Chris Jericho threw Orton into Sheamus. Back in the ring, Orton hit a draping DDT and was setting up for the RKO when that idiot Sheamus pulled Jericho out of the ring and attacked him for the DQ. Orton and Sheamus argued afterwards. It’s got to be fun to be a manipulative heel when the faces are so easily manipulated and tricked. And what genius on the WWE creative team thinks people are going to want to watch a four way title match on pay-per-view that’s built up by 24 consecutive screwjob finishes on TV? They’re like the shittiest pool hustlers ever. They beat you over and over again, leaving you completely unsatisfied and frustrated, then ask you to place a wager.

John Laurinaitis came out for the final segment of the show. He said that if you like Cena, that makes you a loser. He said that he’s better than Brock Lesnar and Rock combined and when he beats Cena he will prove the fans are losers. He added that without losers, there can’t be winners like him. There was little heat for this generic heel promo.

John Cena came out, and he was the most obnoxious, overbearing jackass he’s ever been here. He started sniffing Laurinaitis and said desperation is a stinky cologne with a goofy voice. He did a Laurinaitis impression and called Laurinaitis a loser. He then made a bunch of stupid expressions and kept yelling loser with idiotic facial expressions and a ridiculous tone like he had Tourette’s. He was just unspeakably irritating here and the live crowd seemed to actually be with him, which was such an indictment of them.

Cena said he would destroy Laurinaitis like the Steel Curtain. Cena then started calling Laurinaitis loser over and over again, interrupting him. Laurinaitis said Pittsburgh Penguins are losers and Cena took out a puck and told Laurinaitis to go puck himself. Laurinaitis said he is taller and better looking than Cena and was going to announce some sort of change or stipulation for the match when Eve Torres came out. This was convenient, because the board of directors had ruled on this issue that hadn’t been brought up until that very minute.

Cena snatched the sheet of paper and said that the board of directors ruled there would be no special referee and no one allowed at ringside for their match. The only way to win would be pinfall or submission and anyone who interfered would be immediately terminated. Finally, if Laurinaitis loses, he is terminated. Cena wanted to know Laurinaitis’ major announcement. Laurinaitis slapped him and left. I was hoping he would slap Cena harder.

Final Thoughts:

It’s amazing Vince McMahon is so ashamed of wrestling, when wrestling can be an excellent form of entertainment and whatever it is he’s producing these days is about the lowest form of entertainment imaginable. McMahon is at this point to WWE what Al Davis was to the Raiders at the end: a complete embarrassment to his once proud legacy. There are enough talented people throughout this company that there needs to be an acknowledgement that leadership change at the top is desperately needed.

Monday, May 07, 2012

WWE Raw Report

Date: 05/07/12 from Greensboro, NC.

The Big News: John Laurinaitis doesn’t like people making fun of his voice.

Show Analysis:

John Laurinaitis was in the ring to start the show. He said that he is an authority figure and won’t be disrespected by John Cena. Thus, he lost his temper and when he loses his temper, he goes into a fit of destruction nobody can withstand. Laurinaitis vowed to continue at Over the Limit where Brock Lesnar started. Laurinaitis said he will show how skillful and dangerous he is. He added that he won’t apologize for what he did and he wasn’t reprimanded by the WWE board of directors.

Laurinaitis said that Cena would not be on Raw. Laurinaitis wants Cena to do therapy so there will be no excuses for his loss. However, Cena would do a satellite interview with Michael Cole and apologize for making fun of Laurinaitis’ voice. Laurinaitis said that anybody who makes fun of his voice will be punished. Laurinaitis said his voice was injured by Steve Williams in Japan and had photos of his time in All Japan. Laurinaitis claimed to be Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin and Rock rolled into one in Japan. He said Laurinaitis vs. Cena would be bigger than Rock vs. Cena or Brock vs. Cena.

CM Punk came out. The announcers said he would be dropping a pipe bomb. Punk said Laurinaitis has no idea what people want. Punk said he would help and that the WWE Universe doesn’t want Laurinaitis. Punk pointed out Laurinaitis wasn’t that good in Japan. Punk claimed to say what other people won’t say, that Laurinaitis hired Lesnar to replace Cena but Lesnar lost so Laurinaitis got angry and decided to pick the bones of Cena.

Punk claimed Laurinaitis went to Japan because nobody in the US would pay to see him wrestle. He called Laurinaitis a joke then and a joke now. He concluded that Laurinaitis is ugly, stupid, has no friends and is a toolbox. Laurinaitis retorted that if he wasn’t training for Cena he would kick Punk’s ass and that Punk would be taught a lesson by Lord Tensai later in the show. Punk was fine with that.

Backstage, John Laurinaitis was walking and texting when he bumped into the back of Big Show. Laurinaitis yelled at Show to stay out of his way. Show responded by making fun of Laurinaitis’ voice. Eve Torres saw this and was mad.

Big Show beat Cody Rhodes via count out. They wrestled for a bit and then Rhodes just left for the count out. Eve then came out and demanded Show apologize for making fun of Laurinaitis. Show said he was sorry. Eve said that wasn’t an apology. She said there aren’t a lot of options for a 7-foot-tall 40 year old freak outside wrestling. Show apologized again and left. This was a terrible segment. The “match” was one of those wastes of time that just makes matches feel pointless and then they spent the rest of the time emasculating a high level face for no good reason.

Dolph Ziggler beat Kofi Kingston in a brief match. Primo and Epico were watching backstage and Mason Ryan showed up there as well. I’m not sure if they were just reaffirming his existence or whether they are teasing he will join Abraham Washington’s stable. Jack Swagger tried to distract Kingston but Ziggler couldn’t get the zig zag. Kingston hit the S.O.S. but was pulled off the second rope by Swagger and Ziggler hit the zig zag for the pin.

John Cena did a video interview on the screen. Cena said he is medically cleared now but he needs to get his elbow drained a couple times a day. However, the doctors strongly recommend that he take a couple months off. So they think he should be off for a couple months, but are willing to okay him to go immediately anyway? Is his doctor Hector Molina?

Cena said nothing will keep him from Laurinaitis. He added that the board of directors didn’t contact Laurinaitis because they contacted him instead. Cena said he told them not to do anything to Laurinaitis until after Over the Limit. Wait, what? Michael Cole suggested Cena might be scared of Laurinaitis. Cena said he’s only scared Laurinaitis will get hurt before their match. Cena said he will do what everyone wants to do and kick Laurinaitis’ ass.

Layla and Kelly beat Maxine and Natalya. I thought Natalya had turned face. Beth Phoenix did commentary since she’s wrestling Layla at the PPV. Layla pinned Maxine with a neck breaker.

Chris Jericho and Alberto Del Rio beat Randy Orton and Sheamus. The heels worked over Orton until Sheamus got the hot tag. It seemed like a portion of the crowd booed Sheamus’ comeback. Sheamus hit a back breaker on Jericho but Del Rio broke up the pin. Orton gave Del Rio an RKO, but Sheamus accidentally hit Orton with the Brogue kick. Jericho then hit the code breaker on Sheamus for the win. Orton gave Sheamus an RKO after the match.

John Laurinaitis told Eve Torres backstage that he thought Show’s apology was insincere. Jericho came in and said he wanted a title shot. Del Rio and Orton then arrived wanting title shots. A brawl broke out. Jericho and Del Rio left. Orton and Sheamus argued. Laurinaitis of course made a four way. This whole setup building to the four way felt so completely contrived.

Brodus Clay beat Miz with an exploder, head butt and splash. Clay’s act has cooled off significantly.

They said that HHH will need surgery but can still do his duties as CEO with a brace. They acknowledged him at the Mayweather-Cotto fight and tried to explain away his seeming fine. They said HHH will be on Raw next week. They then said Brock Lesnar had an invitation to be on Raw but he sent his representatives instead.

Brock Lesnar’s music played and Paul Heyman came out. He said that Lesnar has been mistreated and underappreciated by the WWE audience and corporate executives since day one. He said that WWE is much different than 10 years ago and image conscious. Heyman said Laurinaitis signed Lesnar to a contract and that his later verbal demands were agreed to on national television. Thus, Lesnar feels betrayed by WWE.

Heyman said Lesnar is an honest man. He said he would hurt people and he did. Heyman then read a statement from Lesnar saying he came to bring legitimacy back to WWE but was greeted by the same corporate BS. HHH broke his agreement so he broke HHH’s arm. Lesnar doesn’t care about the people or suits and he’s never coming back. Lesnar thus quit WWE. Heyman’s delivery was good here but there’s only so much interest you can bring to a monster heel whining for ten minutes about contracts.

Show backstage was laughing at impressions of Laurinaitis. Eve Torres came up and was mad. Show acted concerned. This whole storyline makes Show look like such a chump.

Daniel Bryan and Lord Tensai beat CM Punk. Laurinaitis announced it would be a handicap match immediately before. The heels worked over Punk. Punk made his comeback. He went for GTS on Tensai but couldn’t get it. He kicked Tensai in the head and went to the top but Bryan crotched him. Tensai screwed up a baldo bomb but then hit the claw STO for the pin. Bryan put Punk in the yes lock after the match.

Final Thoughts:

This was another crappy Raw. The issue isn’t so much about individually bad segments as just a generally unappealing general ethos to the programming. It doesn’t feel like a colorful, fun, larger than life sports product with real stakes so much as a contrived, unserious, overly scripted variety show where nothing matters, that’s unresponsive to fans in general and hostile to wrestling fans in particular. No segments have time to breathe and exist on their own, because the performers are just there to do exactly what they’re told for every second they’re on screen and then to cut to the next segment. The excitement of watching a wrestler come into his own no longer exists because wrestlers have so little agency.

The horrible fall of CM Punk’s character is a perfect example of the problem. Less than a year ago, Punk was a hot character that seemed edgy and different. He felt like he genuinely cared about what he was fighting for and that he was speaking in his own voice.

Superficially, he’s the same guy now. He’s still a face. He has the title. He has the same music. He’s still using the language of pipe bombs and rebellion. Only, the edge is completely gone. He’s delivering generic insults at a generic heel authority figure, mixing in lame fourth grade putdowns and noxious corporate buzzwords. There’s no reality to any of it and it doesn’t feel like he’s speaking in his own voice at all. He’s just delivering the same poorly scripted material.

It was just a few months ago that he was saying this:

Six minutes in, he’s criticizing Laurinaitis for the constant WWE Universe nonsense because it’s just a buzzword to keep the bosses happy. And now this supposed anti-authority figure who says what other people won’t is using the same buzzwords, to keep the same bosses happy. It’s one of WWE’s biggest problems in a nutshell. Why should we root for Punk or Cena to take out Laurinaitis? It’s just one corporate puppet against another.