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!


Anonymous Bob said...

Todd, I have enjoyed your reports for years and will miss them, but good for you for giving up the gig to preserve your sanity.

I gave up Raw for several months, and I honestly didn't miss it much (thanks in part to reading your recaps). When I did resume watching the show, I was much more liberal with skipping stuff, and it's helped me enjoy what I do watch.

And what I do watch has dwindled. At this point there are so many characters that hold no interest for me: Cena, Orton, Christian, Kane, Santino, Lauranitis, Del Rio, Swagger, Ziggler, most of the divas, Khali, Sheamus, etc. the sad thing is that many of these people were interesting to me not too long ago, but the writing has ruined them.

The three-hour Raws have been notoriously horrible, and now this is going to be the norm? Ugh. Nope, I don't blame you one bit. Thanks for recapping this tripe for as long as you did.

8:47 PM  
Anonymous David Coverdale said...

I'll echo Bob's sentiments on just about everything he said. I've always enjoyed your write-ups, but can't blame you one bit. I am glad to hear that you'll still be dueling with Bryan on FFD, as it's a show I always enjoy.
I usually only drift in and out on Raw anymore, particularly lately as the NBA playoffs are just far more compelling, and when I would switch over tonight during game breaks, it was all just more of the drag that keeps me away. For a little bit, I had hope that the addition of Lesnar might make the show more intriguing, but that ship has long since sailed, and I couldn't care less about the stupid legal shenanigans they've concocted. I'm not sure I've ever disliked a character as much as Cena; it's beyond X-Pac heat, more of a real loathing of a man who radiates something utterly unlikeable. His smugness, and the general creative poison of the higher-ups, brings me no enjoyment what so ever, and the inevitability of all of it ranks up there with death and taxes. I think the only reason I even keep a foot in this game is just due to my enjoyment of the Observer site, and people like Dave, Bryan, Vinny and yourself.

9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

EGM3 says:

Echoing everyone: thanks for the reviews. One question: Did Jinder Mahal go on a hunger strike or something? He looked almost bony.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Steve K said...

When I quit the Smackdown reports, I was finding it difficult to say something new about the show every week. It was also shortly after the Chris Benoit thing happened, so I needed a break. The break turned into me just not doing the reports anymore. It's completely understandable being burnt out, particularly with the current state of this company's product. I'll repeat what everyone else has said so far -- great job doing the reports all these years.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Thanks, guys.

7:24 AM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...


I find myself often in a similar position to yours. I write for a different site, and sometimes I just want to walk away from it all. Ring of Honor is now in my area, and has fresh (to me) characters and storylines. The revamped NXT is promising, and it looks like that might be my best bet.

The fault lies, as usual, with Vince McMahon and his scribbling idiots, because Vince won't teach them the nuances of the business, and what results is recycled angles and plot holes bigger than the average cake of Swiss cheese. Michael Cole covered up Laurinaitis' faux pas by saying Johnny Toolbox made a verbal agreement with Big Show which was ratified well after the PPV. However, the horse had already left the barn on that angle. By this time next year, Show will be a face again. Trust me.

I will miss your reports, of course, but someone has to fill the void on the site, and not with members-only restrictions. Not everyone can afford to subscribe!

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Here's something I think could be fun: Continue the report, but do it in real-viewer-with-a-brain-and-a-DVR format.

You could review what actually seemed interesting enough to watch. You could, if you cared, note what you skipped ("not in a mood to watch more Cena"). It would be fun to hear when you thought a segment would be good but ended up hitting fast forward halfway through it.

And, of course, in addition to your comments we could gauge the quality of the show by how long it took you to watch it.

Of course the Observer would probably still want someone to review the whole thing, so this would be a supplemental report, but I think it could be interesting and amusing. There wouldn't really be any pressure to publish it right away since it wouldn't be the primary report, so you could watch or finish the show on Tuesday if desired.

Or not. It's your time. Just thought I'd throw that out there...

9:46 AM  
Anonymous the masterbater said...

Thanks for all your reviews, you are the only reason I probably keep up with Raw other than that I don't watch Raw at all and I would be clueless. Also, it makes sense for Laurinaitis to beat Cena and NOT Brock.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

I think this really sums up how little the WWE cares about its own product: According to Meltzer, Laurinaitis didn't mess up when he said he rehired the Big Show on Saturday. He correctly read what was scripted. Apparently throughout the whole creative process of the show, with all those big Hollywood TV writers, nobody cared enough to notice or correct the mistake. Something was only done to fix it after the fact when fans ridiculing the error started trending on Twitter.

5:27 PM  
Blogger hobbyfan said...

Let's see if they decide to ID the scribbling moron who made the mistake and wish him well on his future endeavors. The fact that it got past the head writer, and Vince & Stephanie, magnifies the mistake.

7:30 AM  

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