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.


Anonymous Blackie Lawless said...

This sounds dreadful. I didn't watch it. Even with OKC hammering the Lakers ( which I give 5 stars), I felt no need to switch the channel to view the evening's entertainment. What's the point?

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

EGM3 says:

Perhaps Cena was watching Comedy Central and decided to do a Jeff Dunham-Peanut impression...

I feel so sorry for Dolph Ziggler. He'd have been a main eventer in an earlier time. Instead we get to see Brodus Clay do his same three moves show after show after show.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

So, Todd, don't leave us in the dark -- did you like the show or not? :P

I blasted through it on DVR. I did watch all the finishes, which in most cases made me glad I didn't waste my time becoming emotionally invested in the matches.

I cannot stand Cena. He, and really much of this company's product, gets major "go away" heat from me.

I'll end with something nice: That was a hell of an acting job by The Big Show. Like Todd, I'm not a fan of the story itself, but he did an awesome job with the material he was given. Give this man something better to work with!

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Todd, genuine question. You seem to suffer through most of these shows, why put yourself through the pain if you really don't enjoy much of what the WWE puts out these days? Your reviews really do make you sound like Morrissey on a bad day.

10:33 PM  
Blogger s1rweeze said...

"He was just unspeakably irritating here and the live crowd seemed to actually be with him, which was such an indictment of them."

Todd, you are not the target audience. Your critique here holds about as much water as if Roger Ebert reviewed a Pokemon movie.

5:55 AM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

The worst thing they did was telegraph that John Laurinaitis will win on Sunday. Why? Because Big Show will turn heel and cost John Cena the match. A blind man can see this coming a mile away.

We saw this before with a similar angle nine years ago involving the Dudleys and Eric Bischoff. Like, Vince still thinks some of us won't remember such things? Come on now!

Laurinaitis has overstayed his welcome, and needs to be taken down. It won't happen this time, but sooner or later, preferably sooner, Vince will be exposed as being the one who's really responsible for all this, and be forced to finally step away once and for all so Hunter (& Steph) can take over without any issues.

I missed the Punk-AJ scene. Maybe that was a good thing but that poor girl is being wasted in this spot.

Being that Triple H is higher up the chain of command than Laurinaitis, he can prevent the above scenario by reinstating Big Show in time for the PPV. Laurinaitis' interference should've called for a reverse decision, but they refuse to do anything about distraction finishes. It's become a tired, moldy, very stale ream that needs to go away. It's a symptom of lazy writing.

Hate to say it, but right now WWE is on the brink of being dropped to a secondary priority at my house, behind ROH, now that I can watch the latter promotion on the weekends. Vince will never get it, only because he doesn't want to.

6:44 AM  
Anonymous mike said...

Hobbyfan is right. I picked up on it right away. When the stipulation said that any "wwe superstar" who interfered would be fired, it was obvious the non-employed Big Show would be interfering.

Horrible, horrible show. They've buried Lesnar, made Show look horrible and are back to the wise-cracking Cena.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

"Todd, genuine question. You seem to suffer through most of these shows, why put yourself through the pain if you really don't enjoy much of what the WWE puts out these days? Your reviews really do make you sound like Morrissey on a bad day."

I find myself frequently asking the same question. And I go back and forth on it. The factors cutting in the other direction are that I have an agreement with Dave and Bryan to do them that we'd have to figure out, that I know there are a lot of people that enjoy them, and that it's cathartic to voice my frustrations with the product. If I stopped doing the reports, I'd still follow Raw; I'd just use more fastforwarding and pay less attention. I assume that would leave me a lot less frustrated, but I'm not sure of that either. So I'm overall conflicted.

"Todd, you are not the target audience. Your critique here holds about as much water as if Roger Ebert reviewed a Pokemon movie."

I can get that argument for a Hornswoggle segment. But that Cena segment wasn't about target audiences. It was about a guy just acting like the most annoying douchebag imaginable. I just can't imagine any normal person watching that and not being irritated by him. I'm sorry; that's just the way I feel. It's admittedly a judgmental take.

7:59 AM  
Anonymous James said...

Todd - I've enjoyed your reviews for many many years now. I don't watch Raw hardly at all but I won't miss a Todd Martin write-up. You have many fans like me who would genuinely be missing something Tuesday mornings if you quit doing these. Hope you hang in there.

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Mr B Mystery said...

Seconded. Agree 100% with James.

7:12 AM  
Anonymous J Patrick said...

It doesn't work to dismiss criticisms of Cena's character to being outside of the target audience. Any adult can appreciate the quality of good entertainment directed towards children while being outside of the "target audience." That being said, I don't know who in the world that segment was supposed to target.

Additionally, wasn't John Cena making Cleveland steamer jokes a couple of months ago? So to whom is he trying to appeal? Do people actually let their kids watch a guy who makes Cleveland steamer jokes? I find his whole character rather disgusting and confusing....I don't want a guy appealing to kids then turning around and threatening to violently rape another man.

I'm not trying to be a moralist, but rather just trying to show how awful his character really is.

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Steve Khan said...

It's sort of hard to believe, but I've been reading Todd's Raw report every week since before I started doing the Smackdown reports in late 2003. Christ, that was a long time ago.

11:28 AM  

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