Monday, July 23, 2012

WWE Raw Report

Date: 07/23/12 from St. Louis, MO.

The Big News: Raw celebrated its 1000th episode with a star studded collection of returning wrestlers and a memorable CM Punk heel turn.

Show Analysis:

They premiered a new WWE logo video to start, reading “then,” “now,” and “forever.” The show then featured video of Raw moments throughout the years. There was plenty of good stuff in there, but also a heavy emphasis on the ridiculous and on celebrity guest hosts. They have a new set on the stage too. It looks good and is basically the same as before.

Vince McMahon came out next and thanked the fans for 1,000 episodes of Raw. The crowd chanted “thank you Vince” back. Vince then did the old “Welcome to Monday Night Raw” line that he used at the start of all the early episodes of the program. It was an appropriate start as I always liked that intro. He introduced DX.

Shawn Michaels and Triple H came out, doing the more recent version of DX with the glow sticks and merchandise. Michaels said it felt like they were missing something. HHH pointed out there used to be more of them. That got a big crowd reaction. HHH and Michaels pointed to the entrance way and X-Pac, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn came out in a jeep like the Norfolk WCW invasion. They all looked good.

Road Dogg did the old New Age Outlaws intro but wouldn’t say ass. HHH then did the old Are you Ready routine. HHH made a crack about being the only one left with a full head of hair, which broke up X-Pac. HHH said he’d see everyone for Raw 2,000. Billy Gunn and Shawn Michaels disagreed about who would get to get their spot in next. HHH said they didn’t want Shawn to lose his smile and pose in Playgirl. Michaels responded that he needed the money. Gunn and Michaels were about to do it again when Damien Sandow interrupted.

Sandow belittled DX. Michaels said he would go to a church and beg for forgiveness. Sandow said he knew DX could kick his ass, but that would make him a martyr for everyone who appreciated a sophisticated mind. DX huddled to decide what to do. Michaels then gave Sandow sweet chin music and HHH gave him the pedigree. Gunn said if you’re not down with that, they have two words for you. This was a very fun segment. It was funny and you could tell everyone was having a blast.

Sheamus, Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio beat Alberto Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler and Chris Jericho. Jim Ross came out commentate for this match but then unfortunately left. The heels worked over Cara, who tagged Sheamus. Sheamus avoided attempts at the Walls and code breaker but Jericho avoided the Brogue kick. Ziggler then took a cheap shot on Jericho and Sheamus hit the Brogue kick on Jericho for the pin. Clearly, Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler is the next program and hopefully it helps take Ziggler to a higher level.

After the match, the announcers spoke with Charlie Sheen via Skype. He appeared a few times during the show, putting over the things that happened. Backstage, A.J. told Layla she doesn’t know why people call her mentally unstable when the whole place is nuts. She opened a door to Jim Duggan, Roddy Piper and R. Truth jumping rope with Truth’s imaginary friend, and Mae Young with a guy in a hand suit claiming to be Young’s grown up son. Michael Cole did the exaggerated fake laugh for the lame comedy.

Brodus Clay beat Jack Swagger immediately with a splash. Dude Love cornered Clay and danced with him after the match. They cut to backstage, where Trish Stratus was trying to talk HHH into yoga. HHH was bending over with Stratus behind him when DX came in. This appeared to be playing off a similar gag HHH and Stratus did years back, but they seemed reluctant to be overt with the gag.

The 9PM hour featured the A.J.-Daniel Bryan wedding. Slick was the reverend for the ceremony but didn’t get much of a reaction. The crowd chanted what at him and then no at Bryan and A.J. They both said yes, but A.J. said she wasn’t saying yes to Bryan but to someone else who made a proposal to her earlier in the night. Vince McMahon’s music hit but Vince said it wasn’t that kind of proposal. Vince said he made A.J. a business proposal and she is the new permanent GM of Raw. A.J. skipped around and left. This wasn’t the best of payoffs.

After a commercial break, Bryan was flipping out in the ring. CM Punk came out to make fun of Bryan and say that he’s still the best in the world. Bryan said not only is he better than Punk, but he is the greatest WWE superstar of all time. That brought out Rock. Rock said Bryan doesn’t get to say who the greatest of all time is because the people do. Bryan started to interrupt Rock. Rock stopped him and pointed out he won his first WWE title in St. Louis.

Rock said he wasn’t there to talk about Frodo (Bryan) but the title. Rock announced that he will challenge the WWE champion for the title at the Royal Rumble. This got a shockingly non-existent reaction and I don’t really have any explanation why. It’s smart that they announced this on a heavily viewed show to get people thinking about ordering the Rumble next year. Punk vowed to be champion at that point and beat Rock at the Rumble.

Bryan flipped out again and said this was supposed to be the greatest night of his life. He said he will be champion at Rumble and the face of WWE. Rock made fun of Bryan’s height some more, calling him an Oompa Loompa and Hobbit. Rock said he got Bryan a wedding gift and gave Bryan the rock bottom.

On the one hand, you could argue this segment elevated Bryan by having him interact with Rock and thus presenting him as someone important. On the other, you could argue Bryan was presented as a joke and mocked for his height. I guess I’m somewhere in between. I think they could build on this in a way to make Bryan more important but it also could end up more of a negative than a positive.

Bret Hart came out to introduce the Intercontinental title match. He mentioned that one of his greatest moments was winning the IC title from the great Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig. Miz then beat Christian to win the IC title. Miz avoided the kill switch but Christian hit a sunset flip off the second rope for two. Miz went after Christian’s leg. Christian went for the kill switch but Miz avoided it again. Miz went for the skull crushing finale but Christian avoided that and tried the kill switch a third title. Miz avoided it yet again and Christian landed gingerly on his leg. Miz then hit the skull crushing finale for the pin. Miz sold winning the title big, which was a nice touch.

The 10PM hour break featured the HHH-Brock Lesnar angle. HHH came to the ring. He said he wants to fight Lesnar at SummerSlam and wants his answer. Paul Heyman came out. HHH said he wanted to speak to the horse’s head, not the horse’s ass. Heyman said Lesnar’s answer is no. HHH threatened to go find Lesnar. Heyman said that would mean a third lawsuit against WWE. HHH suggested Lesnar is a coward. Heyman mocked HHH for name calling and asked if he teaches his kids to do that.

HHH knocked the microphone from Heyman’s hand and told Heyman not to talk about his kids. Heyman said he shouldn’t talk about them because the sins of the father will be visited upon the children. That brought out Stephanie McMahon. They openly acknowledged her as HHH’s wife and the mother of his children. Stephanie told Heyman not to speak about her kids. Stephanie said the lawsuits aren’t about Lesnar but Heyman’s business failings in WCW, ECW and WWE. Stephanie said compared to Vince, Heyman is in the rearview mirror. Where does that leave Stephanie? Stephanie added that at least Vince had the guts to wrestle HHH, which isn’t true of Lesnar.

Stephanie went further, saying that Heyman’s children are ashamed of him because their father is a professional parasite. She slapped Heyman. Heyman got mad and said Lesnar-HHH is on. Heyman realized he had been baited and said Stephanie always gets what she wants, just like Vince taught her and she teaches her children. Stephanie attacked Heyman. Brock Lesnar finally came out and fought HHH. HHH knocked Lesnar from the ring. I didn’t care for this angle. To me, HHH and Lesnar fighting is a perfectly effective direction and instead they’re building it through Stephanie vs. Heyman and lawsuits. Lesnar-HHH at SummerSlam just doesn’t seem like a big deal at all. Heyman was really great, though.

Lita beat Heath Slater. Howard Finkel introduced Slater. Slater challenged anyone to a no-DQ, no-COR match. Lita came out but said she brought protection. The APA joined her. Slater went to leave but all the legends Slater has fought brought him back to the ring. Lita hit a twist of fate on Slater. Bradshaw gave him a nasty clothesline from hell. Lita then gave him the moonsault for the win. Ron Simmons said damn. This was fun. Slater is perfect for this sort of foil role. There’s something annoying about him that makes it fun to see him get beat up and it isn’t like he has upper card potential.

Sean Mooney of all people interviewed Daniel Bryan backstage. Bryan was angry about the night’s events and complained. He was particularly angry at Charlie Sheen for making fun of him via Skype and said if Sheen were there he would put Sheen in the yes lock. Later, Sheen said he’d be happy to confront Bryan any time in Los Angeles. They teased an appearance by Sheen at SummerSlam, but it didn’t seem like they had a deal for that. I guess we’ll see.

John Cena, Zack Ryder and Gene Okerlund were talking backstage. Ryder thought Okerlund was behind GTV. Rock showed up and Okerlund left. Rock wished Cena good luck. Cena said he wanted another shot at Rock at the Rumble. Rock said he looks forward to that.

Kane came to the ring. He was interrupted by Jinder Mahal, Hunico, Camacho, Curt Hawkins, Tyler Reks and Drew McIntyre. Memo to WWE prelim guys: don’t band together to rise up against main event talent. I’ve seen this one before and it always ends so poorly for you. Mahal said they haven’t been given chances and now they are taking one. They surrounded the ring to attack Kane when Undertaker’s music hit. Undertaker and Kane laid out the other six. They did a double throat slash and double tombstone on Hawkins and Hunico. There was a weird delay for a while, they finally rolled Hawkins and Hunico out of the ring, and they posed together.

In an interesting bit, they asked people on Twitter whether they’d rather see Rock-Cena, Rock-Punk or Rock-Big Show at Rumble. Rock-Punk won handily. I don’t take a Twitter survey to mean much of anything, but I would have expected Rock-Cena to win big and it lost decisively 55-35 (with 10 percent for Show). Rock-Punk interests me more too but Rock-Cena is probably a bigger PPV draw. They’ll probably do one at Mania and the other at the Rumble anyway. Maybe Rock-Punk at Rumble and Rock-Cena plus Punk-Austin at Mania.

John Cena beat CM Punk via DQ. There was a long mat wrestling sequence early. Punk set up for the GTS but Cena shoved Punk into the referee. Cena hit the FU and covered, but there was no referee. Big Show came out and speared Cena. Show then set up for the KO punch with Punk sitting in the corner watching. This was subtle at first, as you could see Punk was conscious and aware of what was going on but wasn’t doing anything. But he was just sort of watching without any facial expression selling what was going on. He let Show hit the KO punch on Cena and Show then left.

At this point, Punk got up and was left with the decision of what to do. He seemed conflicted and seemed to be going back and forth in his head about whether to take advantage of the situation. Punk revived the referee while still seeming torn. Finally, Punk made the decision to go for the pin. He covered Cena, but Cena kicked out. Punk then went for the GTS but Cena reversed into the STF. Show came out and attacked Cena for the DQ.

Show continued beating up Cena after the bell as Punk just watched. Punk finally decided to turn his back and leave. At that point, Rock ran out for the save. Rock went after Show and hit a spine buster. He went for the people’s elbow but Punk ran back in and cut off Rock with a clothesline. Punk looked at his hands intently and then gave Rock the GTS to close the show.

This was a phenomenal heel turn. I’m not sure yet whether this story is a money direction, but Punk was so awesome doing this. Even more so, the writers really deserve credit here. This was just a wonderfully told story, with a man confronted with a tricky moral decision and showing his true character by making the easy wrong move rather than the more difficult right move. He wasn’t a cartoonish villain just being bad for the sake of bad either; he recognized that he was doing the wrong thing but retaining the title meant too much to him to resist. That story is enhanced by the fact Punk has often sermonized over the years in a self-righteous manner, only to have done the wrong thing when the chips were down. It’s one of the better heel turns WWE has ever done, and Punk is better as a heel than a face anyway.

Final Thoughts:

As expected, this was a fun show. It’s hard to bring back all the stars they did and not have it be entertaining. I thought the show was good but kind of underwhelming going into the final segment, but the CM Punk heel turn was a memorable and very well executed finale that elevated the rest of the show.

And that will do it for these reports. It’s really amazing to me how many doors opened up on the writing front since Dave asked me to write more for the Observer website so many years ago. Thanks first and foremost to Dave for the opportunity and more so just for putting out such a phenomenal product that I’ve been reading well over half my life now. My primary motivation for starting to write about wrestling was a simple desire to be associated in some way with Dave.

Thanks also to Bryan for bringing me on board and being so supportive over the years. If it hadn’t been for that support, I would have stopped a long time ago. He’s one of the most genuinely good people I’ve ever known.

Special thanks to Houston Mitchell, who was more supportive than anyone and so important in opening doors for me.

Thanks very much to everyone for reading over the last decade or so and to everyone who has written over the years to say positive things. I appreciate the support.

And finally, thanks to WWE for producing a show that has presented so many great moments over the years. It’s no secret that I have a lot of problems with the current direction of WWE. The years I’ve been writing about the show have coincided with what in my opinion has been a downturn in the quality of the show. But nobody would care about that downturn if it weren’t for the years of goodwill WWE had built with its core audience. Long term fans that have stuck around to this point badly want to like the product and there’s another large group of people that monitor the product on the outside, hoping to hear things have gotten better and it’s worth diving back in. Hopefully sooner rather than later WWE can reengage those fans with an exciting and improved product.

Monday, July 16, 2012

WWE Raw Report

Date: 07/16/12 from Las Vegas, NV.

The Big News: John Cena announced he will cash in his Money in the Bank championship match next week on the 1000th Raw and A.J. will marry Daniel Bryan on the same show.

Show Analysis:

CM Punk came out to start the show. He said that it was a year ago in Las Vegas when he cut his promo on the stage. Punk asserted he was the best in the world and then proved it. Punk said next week is the 1,000th Raw and a guy like him never would have been on the first episode of Raw. That’s a bit of a stretch.

Big Show interrupted. He said he almost had the briefcase and if he had won MITB, he would cash it in to start Raw and take Punk’s title. Punk said Show did what he always does: beat up everyone and then lose. So now a guy half his size has the title and the respect and Show has no title and no respect. Show said the people don’t respect Punk and if Punk let they would immediately move onto someone else. Show labeled Punk just a cog in the machine. Punk retorted, “I’m the WWE champion and you’re not.” He said it with the same verbiage and cadence of a memorable Randy Savage promo on Ultimate Warrior in 1992 but I’m not sure if it was intended as an homage.

Punk said Show is a bitter, underachieving shell of a man who just happens to be a giant. Show vowed to beat up Punk later in the show and said after the match, Punk might lose his title to John Cena. This was a strong start to the show, with good interplay between Punk and Show.

R. Truth and Kofi Kingston beat the Prime Time Players. The heels beat up Kingston. Kingston got the tag to Truth. Truth hit a DDT on Titus O’Neil and covered but Darren Young broke up the pin attempt. Truth threw Young out of the ring. A.W. got on the ring apron to protest but Kingston gave O’Neil trouble in paradise and Truth covered for the pin. A.W. after the match yelled about getting another title shot. If this is building to them winning the titles, this has been quite the setup.

Backstage, A.J. told Daniel Bryan she called his match down the middle. Bryan seemed fine with this and apologized for what he has said to her after WrestleMania. Bryan said he has no agenda and that he was so caught up in being the champion that he made her the scapegoat. Bryan started to say that he now he could finally admit something when he was interrupted by Eve Torres. Eve was mad at Bryan for last week and said she would get to choose her partner for a match later in the show against Bryan and A.J. Eve said payback is what A.J. is. I think she was saying A.J. is a bitch. A.J. asked Bryan what he was going to say. Bryan said he would tell her after they won their match and kissed A.J. on the cheek.

Alberto Del Rio beat Zack Ryder in quick order. He hit an arm breaker, posted Ryder, and applied the armbar for the submission. After the match, Rey Mysterio made his return to help out Ryder. Mysterio hit the 619 and Del Rio bailed.

Rikishi beat Heath Slater. They had an amusing backstage segment before the match with Slater bragging about all the segments where legends humiliated him, framing it in a positive way like Cyndi Lauper presented him with a gold record and DDP taught him the diamond cutter. Rikishi was wearing more than he used to. Rikishi won quickly with a stinkface, Samoan spike (gesturing to the sky for Umaga) and the banzai drop. The lights then went out and the Usos came out to dance with their father. This was a very fun segment all around.

Daniel Bryan and A.J. beat Miz and Eve Torres. Miz was in control on Bryan early so A.J. tagged herself in. Eve took over immediately on A.J., but A.J. made a comeback with a shining wizard and covered Eve. Miz distracted the referee so A.J. knocked Miz off the apron. Eve rolled up A.J. but Bryan reversed the small package for the pin.

After the match, Bryan said he was always too scared or stupid to say he loved A.J. back. Bryan said he loves A.J. The crowd booed. Bryan said last week he asked her to marry him because he wanted to be WWE champion but this week he didn’t want anything except to be with her. He presented her with a ring and asked her to marry him. A.J. said yes. The crowd booed. They chanted yes together.

Bryan was acting completely sincere and earnest here, but the crowd wasn’t with him. If they were supposed to be and A.J./Bryan are going to be a face couple, WWE made a mistake by not setting it up with at least teases here and there before this week. I thought it was kind of sweet but the crowd clearly didn’t. If this is just leading to a swerve in some direction, it doesn’t really matter. Of course, they announced the wedding will take place on next week’s 1,000th Raw. That sounds like one they would have been better off saving for another week, both because the 1,000th Raw doesn’t need ratings help and because they could have used more time to set it up.

A match between Ryback and Jack Swagger didn’t start. Swagger jumped Ryback before the bell could ring. Swagger hit a gut wrench power bomb and Vader bomb but Ryback avoided the ankle lock. Ryback hit a clothesline, spine buster and three successive power bombs to send Swagger rolling out of the ring.

Dolph Ziggler came out with the MITB briefcase. He said that every time MITB has been cashed in successfully so he will be the next WWE champion. Ziggler said he will cash in on Sheamus and be a better champion than Bret hart, Steve Austin or Rock. Chris Jericho interrupted.

Ziggler immediately began putting Jericho down. He asked Jericho the last time he won anything. Ziggler said Jericho talks a lot but keeps losing. Ziggler claimed Jericho has been given more chances than anyone and is just coasting. He called Jericho all hype and again asked the last time Jericho won an important match. He suggested Jericho is losing his touch. Jericho gave him the code breaker and left. This was another very good segment. Ziggler’s delivery was strong and the story is interesting even if Ziggler did appear to be going around in circles briefly repeating the same lines.

Brodus Clay beat JTG with an exploder, head butt and splash.

CM Punk beat Big Show via DQ. Show beat up Punk forever. Show went for the KO punch but Punk ducked under and hit a high kick, two enzuigiris, three running knees and a top rope elbow. Show powered out of the pin attempt. Punk went for a springboard but was caught with a choke slam. Show covered but Punk got his foot o the bottom rope before three. Show went after Punk’s ribs and then just randomly threw down the ref for no reason to end the match. This was a good match before the terrible finish.

After the match, Show kept attacking Punk. Cena came out with a briefcase. They acted like Cena was going to cash in when he was obviously going to protect Punk. Cena started to say when he would cash in MITB. Show interrupted and said Cena would cash in immediately, even though he obviously wasn’t going to. Cena announced he would cash in next week on 1000th Raw when Punk is ready. Cena then hit Show with the briefcase to end the show. I think this is a good hook for the 1000th Raw and they can set up the rematch for SummerSlam.

Final Thoughts:

I really liked this show. It was well booked, fun and the angles were interesting. That bodes well for a very fun show next week when they pull out all the stops.

Monday, July 09, 2012

WWE Raw Report

Date: 07/09/12 from Denver, CO.

The Big News: The identity of the anonymous GM was finally revealed and A.J. seemingly broke up for good with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan.

Show Analysis:

A.J. came out to start the show. She said she knows she can affect Sunday’s match as the referee and brought out CM Punk. A.J. said Punk showed his true feelings when he said she’s mentally unstable and needs professional help. A.J. said she doesn’t and that no one has ever cared about her like Punk does. A.J. said when she kissed him Tuesday it turned her on and she knew what she had to do. She got on a knee and asked Punk to marry her.

Bryan came out yelling no. Bryan said Punk doesn’t love A.J. and is just playing her because she’s the ref. Bryan said he never stopped having feelings about her while Punk only cares about himself. Punk said Bryan doesn’t know how Punk feels about A.J. Bryan invited Punk to say “I do.” Punk didn’t. Bryan said Punk sees A.J. as special referee, but Bryan sees her as a special person. That was an amusing line. Bryan said he had been planning this since the morning and proposed to A.J. Punk pointed out that if this was planned, Bryan would have a ring. They argued.

The returning anonymous GM computer went off. The GM made Punk and A.J. vs. Bryan and Eve Torres for later in the show. Bryan began screaming that he wanted to team with A.J. A.J. said she was glad about the match because everything happens for a reason and she would walk out of the arena with her future husband. This was a weird segment. A.J. kept taking these long pauses to seemingly drag out the segment, but then they rushed the next few segments so clearly they went over time. Overall, this was goofy and dull.

Sheamus beat Jack Swagger very quickly with white noise and Brogue kick. After the match, Alberto Del Rio appeared on the screen and vowed to take Sheamus’ title. Sheamus responded by hitting another Brogue kick on poor Swagger. Santino and Zack Ryder were backstage. Santino said he would figure out the identity of the anonymous GM. They announced Rock and Mick Foley for the 1000th Raw.

Tensai and Dolph Ziggler beat Christian and Tyson Kidd. This was one of the most rushed Raw matches you’ll ever see, and think of the ground that covers. Nobody in the match got an entrance. They did the quickest heat spot ever on Kidd. Then Christian tagged in. He went for the kill switch. Tensai escaped but missed a corner avalanche. Christian set up for the spear but was tripped by Ziggler and Tensai hit the senton for the pin. Tensai attacked Kidd after the match. They should have just cut this segment rather than running it in this form.

Out of the blue, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler got into an argument over basically nothing. Cole knocked water on Lawler. Amazingly, this very second a GM had an e-mail ready to comment on this and announced Cole vs. Lawler, provided people on their website voted yes. That’s about as shameless of a way to try to generate traffic as is imaginable. People of course voted yes.

Brodus Clay beat Drew McIntyre in no time at all with a head butt and splash. Backstage, Santino thought Chris Jericho was the anonymous GM. Jericho suggested maybe Santino was. Big Show came in and Jericho suggested they work together to weaken Cena. Show said he didn’t like teaming with Jericho and told Jericho to stay out of his way.

John Cena and Kane beat Big Show and Chris Jericho via DQ. Cena cut a good promo before the match. He said he will stop Show and win MITB Sunday. The heels worked over Cena for a little while and then worked over Kane for a little while. Cena got the tag and hit shoulder blocks, the Cena slam and the five knuckle on Jericho. He knocked Show off the apron but walked into a Walls attempt. Cena escaped and hit the FU. He covered but Show pulled Cena off. For some reason, the referee called for a DQ despite this spot taking place every other tag match the last 15 years and never resulting in a DQ. Show beat up the other three after the match until Cena fought him off with a ladder.

Backstage, Eve told Punk that it must be tough dealing with A.J. and if she doesn’t get a proposal at the end of the show she’ll probably cost him the title. Eve noted Punk’s title run has been overshadowed by Cena, Rock, HHH, Big Show, Brock Lesnar and now A.J. She suggested that must be emasculating. Eve was really good here. Elsewhere, Santino thought Great Khali was the GM but he wasn’t.

Sin Cara beat Heath Slater to earn a spot in MITB Sunday. Cara won with a springboard crossbody and La Mistica, or as it’s now known in honor of his WWE tenure, El Carajo. Slater challenged anyone after the match. Bob Backlund came out and was in really good shape for his age. He got you still got it chants as he pranced about. Slater offered a handshake but then kicked Backlund. Backlund caught him in the crossface chicken wing for the submission moments later.

Michael Cole beat Jerry Lawler via DQ. Cole went to leave but Booker T threw him back in the ring. Lawler used an airplane spin and covered Cole for the pin. The anonymous GM then reversed the decision because of Booker’s interference. Santino came out and said the anonymous GM was under the ring. The anonymous GM said he wasn’t.

Santino went to the outside but was dragged under the ring. Lawler pulled Santino out and it was Hornswoggle dragging Santino under. Hornswoggle admitted to being the GM. Lawler threatened to spank him so Hornswoggle kicked him in the shin, bit Santino in the butt, and kicked Cole in the shin. I didn’t mind that this was nonsensical but the fact it was a stupid, irritating waste of time was more problematic.

A.J. and CM Punk beat Daniel Bryan and Eve Torres. The match didn’t go long and the women were the focal point. A.J. was getting the best of Eve when Eve went to tag Bryan. Bryan refused and A.J. rolled up Eve for the win. Afterwards, Bryan suggested A.J. leave with him to get married. Punk said he wouldn’t lie to A.J. for the sake of the title. Punk said he doesn’t care if it costs him the title, but he’s not going to marry her. Punk added that at least he cares enough to tell her the truth. A.J. slapped Punk. Bryan opened his arms and told A.J. to come home. She slapped him too. Then she said yes repeatedly. This program can’t end soon enough.

Final Thoughts:

On the plus side, I made $30 on a bet with Bryan. On the minus side, most everything else.

Monday, July 02, 2012

WWE Raw Report

Date: 07/02/12 from Laredo, TX.

The Big News: A.J. is trouble.

Show Analysis:

John Cena came out to start the show. He thanked Big Show and Chris Jericho for giving him a taste of MITB when everyone will be his enemy. Cena said he will be prepared for anything and that he will win the contract and cash it in for the title. Daniel Bryan came out and said he will beat Punk to win the title. He added that if Cena wins MITB, he will be the first to cash in MITB and lose.

CM Punk was next out and said everyone disagrees with Bryan. Chris Jericho came out next. He said Bryan needs new catchphrases and then repeated a bunch of his old catchphrases. Jericho said that since he invented MITB, he will win it. He invited anyone to tell him otherwise. Kane came out and said otherwise. Big Show was last out. At that point, Bryan jumped Cena from behind and a brawl broke out. Big Show was the last one left standing.

Santino, Christian, R. Truth and Kofi Kingston beat David Otunga, Cody Rhodes and the Prime Time Players. The Prime Time Players just left again in the middle of the match, which is quite the gimmick. Then Rhodes just left. Four on one wasn’t enough for the faces so Brodus Clay came out to help and David Otunga was pinned by Santino after the cobra. The faces then beat up Otunga some more five on one after the match. Then a bunch of children came in the ring to dance.

Alberto Del Rio wanted a one on one title match against Sheamus. Teddy Long said the board of directors granted him that at MITB but that Long was putting Del Rio in a match on Raw next against a surprise opponent. That match between Alberto Del Rio and Sin Cara never got started. Del Rio jumped Cara before the bell and applied the armbar on the floor.

Backstage, Daniel Bryan stole a rose that was lying around and gave it to A.J. He apologized and sucked up to her. A.J. saw through this and said Bryan never cared about her. “I can’t wait to win my match tonight and run into the arms of the man the WWE Universe sees as my soul mate,” she said. What shitty writing. A.J. bit the head of the rose off.

Paul Heyman via satellite said Brock Lesnar has made his decision about wrestling HHH and will deliver it to HHH’s face at the 1000th episode of Raw. That’s the smart move. Heyman claimed HHH wants to face Lesnar because Lesnar will end his career and HHH can move on to other things. Heyman said it wouldn’t be a match but a mercy killing.

Sheamus and A.J. beat Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero. Sheamus just destroyed poor Ziggler again. Ziggler made the tag and then got hit with the Brogue kick. That left A.J. to pin Vickie with what was called a shining wizard. Backstage, A.J. ran into Punk talking on the phone with who he claimed was his sister. He said he hadn’t seen her match with made her upset. A.J.’s character is becoming quite grating.

Heath Slater beat Doink the Clown. Slater said he wasn’t a clown, which brought out Doink to very little reaction. Slater won with a neck breaker. Diamond Dallas Page then came out and gave Slater the diamond cutter.

Big Show beat Kane in a no DQ match. They brawled outside and then back into the ring. Kane grabbed a chair but Show speared him. Show then hit the choke slam for the win. I’m glad they just elected to put Show over.

Eve Torres greeted Teddy Long backstage. Long presented her with a nametag like she used to make him wear. Eve then ran into A.J. Eve suggested A.J. go sit in a corner and cry like a little girl. A.J. asked Eve who she will brown nose now that Laurinaitis is gone. A.J. said Eve will do anything for attention. A.J. said she will show Eve how to get attention.

Tyson Kidd beat Tensai in an upset. They gave it just a few seconds. Tensai briefly attacked Kidd but ran into a turnbuckle and Kidd rolled up Tensai for the pin. This got very little reaction. They’ve simply devalued match results too much. Tensai beat up Sakamoto after the match again and he beat up Kidd backstage later.

Daniel Bryan mocked Chris Jericho’s jacket backstage. Jericho took a shot back at Bryan’s beard. Bryan kept saying yes and Jericho responded by repeatedly yelling again. Elsewhere, CM Punk suggested John Cena follow his lead. Cena smirked and said he’d just listen to Punk before leaving.

CM Punk and John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho had no finish. The heels worked over Cena for quite a while. Cena tagged Punk and Punk hit Bryan with a springboard clothesline, leg lariat, swinging neck breaker and high knee. Bryan avoided the bulldog but Punk hit a powerslam and applied the anaconda vise. Jericho made the save. Cena attacked Jericho and they conveniently brawled to the back.

Bryan hit a huracanrana but Punk rolled through for two. Punk missed a high kick and Bryan hit two head kicks for a two count. Bryan went to the top but Punk caught him and hit a superplex for two. That brought out A.J. to skip around the ring again. This time, Bryan and Punk just focused on fighting each other. A.J. was upset she couldn’t get attention so she got a table and teased jumping off the top rope through it. Bryan and Punk tried to stop her. She kissed Punk then shoved Punk off the top rope. Punk fell into Bryan and they both went through the table to close the show. This match was a lot of fun until the usual A.J. bullshit.

Final Thoughts:

I liked this show a lot better than most recent Raws. There was plenty of worthwhile, entertaining stuff even with some of the usual bad stuff mixed in.