Hello everyone, I was hoping to pick up where I sort of left off 3 years ago and begin writing reviews for Raw and Smackdown on the site Bleacher Report. I was very excited, until this morning I found out they have since changed there system. No longer can any fan submit an article, and to write for them you must fill out an application process. I filled it out, but am not sure if I will be making the cut. In case I don't, here I am writing my first Raw Review ever, and hopefully the select few that stumble upon this will enjoy! I watch with a very good friend of mine, Charlie Speed, so he will be mentioned now and then. Now onto the show!
Hit: Punk's Pipebomb
We start off Monday Night Raw in fine fashion, with the camera panning across the crowd and knocking into an audience member wearing the Zack Ryder spiked hair wig. Luckily Charlie was able to rewind it to show the hilarity of the fan nursing his "injury". Check it out for a good laugh!
If that wasn't enough abuse for the night, CM Punk manages to slap himself in the face with the WWE title before sitting Punk style in the middle of the ring. This was a good promo from Punk, less of the "You're gay" insults that make me roll my eyes, and more of the passionate kid who dreamed of being a pro wrestler. John Laurinaitis is trying to take that away from him, and it was good to see them actually getting to the bottom of this feud that has been brewing for some time now.
So Punk calls out Big Johnny to say that he will screw Punk at the Rumble to his face. The moment Punk said "say it to my face", I was praying that Alex Riley would come out to his awesome theme music, do that weird pose thing he sometimes does with his right arm, and then simply go backstage. Instead of either Laurinaitis or Riley, we get the other Big Johnny.
Cena coming out to interrupt Punk was a gutsy move. These two have a lot of history, and the last time I checked, John Cena seemed to be the leader of the CM Punk fan club. So it was very nice to see Cena tell Punk to stop rambling and get down to buisness. The segment took a bit of a dip when Cena's sort of creepy love for Ryder showed up, but that gave way to an amazing CM Punk face during John's promo. Rewatch the segment and look for Punk hanging on the ropes. It's priceless.
Miss: The Swag Man Talketh
Look, I like Jack Swagger. I think he is an above average wrestler with a unique enough look to take him places. But he is this decade's Shelton Benjamin. He just can not talk. The fact that he has a lisp does not help. Okay, back when ECW was really ECW, they did all they could to focus on the strengths of their talents and hid their weaknesses. Taz was a very short man, but no one questioned him or his toughness because of the way he wrestled and carried himself. My point here is this, having a lisp stricken Swagger say that Cena is "Dead Meat" is only going to draw laughs. And you don't want that kind of reaction to your United States Champion...well hopefully you don't.
Hit: Dolph Ziggler sells his ass off
I have seen CM Punk deliver his patented knee in the corner with a follow up bulldog to quite a few wrestlers, and there isn't any of them that have sold it better than Dolph Ziggler. Some may not like his Show Off character, but there is no doubting his ability in the ring. He makes everything he does in the ring look important, and I for one and looking forward to Ziggler and Punk tearing down the house this Sunday.
Hit: The Match We All Want To See
The WWE Universe is not expecting the eventual John Laurinaitis/ CM Punk matchup to be a good wrestling match. What they are expecting is entertainment. The thought of Punk finally getting his hands on Laurinaitis is a sweet one to many, and others simply want to see Big Johnny back in the ring. So it was great to see the reaction for the proposed match between the too.
On a side note, CM Punk is a very violent man. This week he threatened to break both of Laurinaitis's arms. He also has told John that he will knock his teeth out and beat him like a bitch. Somebody get this guy some chill pills!
Small Hit: Jericho is Literally the Best in the World
While it seems like the over joyed and enthusiastic Chris Jericho may be coming to an end soon, any one that watches Park and Recreation should think about this. This version of Chris Jericho is Chris Traeger. He is so over the top that its perfect. You're welcome for the connection.
Bulls-eye of the Week: It's the End of the World as we Know It, and I Feel Fine.
Each week in my Raw review, I am going to give out a Bullseye of the week award for the best segment, moment, match, or whatever for the night. The inaugural award goes to the return of the highlight reel. Everything in this segment was perfect. From Jericho's sshh's to pandering with a t-shirt gun, to Michael Cole reverting back to the character that I enjoyed while yelling "Chris over here!" and "Look were on TV!". Also this might be the only segment in wrestling history where a t-shirt gun is introduced and no one is hit in the lower regions with it!
But it was what happened once he put down the gun that really mattered. The video package, detailing all of the greatest moments of his career was phenomenal. Each week the WWE reaffirms the belief held by Mr. Speed and myself. That they are by far the best at making any sort of video package. Jericho's brilliant delivery of his one line was chilling, and it was splendid to see them connect his return back to the videos that started it all. Whatever Chris Jericho has planned for this Sunday, I'm sure it will be big. It could actually be the end of the world as we know it as wrestling fans, and you know what? I feel fine.
Hit: Royal Rumble Video Package
After only slightly changing the annual Numbers promo for the Rumble, the WWE finally revealed a brand new promo that more than did its job to hype me up for the Royal Rumble. If you didn't get a chance to watch it last night, it's definitely worth checking out.
Hit and Miss: Zack Ryder v.s. Kane
This segment was just too much to break up into small hits and misses. It started off with Eve pleading with an injured Ryder to not accept the match. If I was Ryder, I would have chosen a nice cozy night with Eve than a beating from Kane. But that's just me.
Alright so here is the first miss, I'm done with the Storm Trooper Mask (Charlie's reference). It just doesn't really serve a purpose anymore. I was a fan when you walked down with a black towel on your head, but you just look silly with the second mask. Take it off and leave it off Kane.
Another miss you say? Well its pretty easy to write this one seeing as Kane tried to murder Ryder much like he did with Cena. It was amusing that Kane trying to stop Zack from breathing was no big deal to Cole and Lawler, even though it has been a segment ending move ever since it was introduced. The point is, stop trying to fake murder people. It takes the fans out of their suspension of disbelief and right into the "God this is terrible" stage. So just stop it.
The Hit here comes from the end of the match. Kane choke-slamming Ryder through the stage looked good, and was a logical next step forward in the feud between Kane and Cena. I would have loved to have seen Muhammad Hassan laying down there with Ryder. Something along the lines of he has been living there for the past six years and has made under the stage a pretty nice place for him to live. But one can only dream.
This is neither a hit nor a miss, but it was pretty hilariously to see how many straps they used to restrain Ryder onto that stretcher with. Although I'm disappointed we didn't have another "Does he have a pulse?" type statement from one of the EMTs.
So to sum this segment up, I think it did a fairly good job of setting up Cena/Kane this Sunday. Charlie's idea is that Cena will unleash hell on Kane, and absolutely destroy him. All of this will happen with Kane smiling at the beating. This Sunday, John Cena finally embraces the hate. I just have no idea how they will take us to Mania with this. I have faith though that it will all work it self out. And if not? Then we still have Kane fake murdering people to enjoy.
Hit: The Simple Things in Life
Look, having Sheamus come out and yell "FELLA!" as his taunt is brilliant. At least I'm pretty sure that's what he said. Either way, its fun. Plus Barrett coming out with the coat drapped over his shoulder was gold, and he was great on commentary. I also found myself wondering how Barrett would throw Orton down five flights of stairs. Would he try and find a set that is five in a row? Or would he be satisfied with throwing him down one set, walking down, throwing him down the second, and so on?
Oh by the way, I love how Sheamus says thousand. "I WILL WIN THE TWO TOWSON TWELVE ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH!"
Miss: Taking advantage of the Royal Rumble Match
There are plenty of wrestlers in the WWE right now who are not doing anything. And that is simply the nature of the buisness. You cannot have each superstar involved in a storyline without creating a cramped tv schedule. But I believe the WWE has yet again dropped the ball on taking advantage of the Rumble Match. Yes, Jindar Mahal and Heath Slater got air time to promote the Rumble match. But why not everyone else? There is no reason why you can give Tyson Kidd thirty seconds on tv to tell everyone that he is going to win the Rumble match. It's simple and its effective. But oh wait...what's this?
Hit: Matches for Rumble Numbers
I think most wrestling fans would agree that qualifying matches for any type of big match are a plus. Whether it be the Money In the Bank, the Elimination Chamber, or the Royal Rumble, matches to determine the participants is an easy and effective storyline technique. It's even better when they WWE has matches to decide who will get certain spots in the Royal Rumble match. Years ago they would hold contests to get the coveted number thirty spot. But having a match between two rivals with the threat of entering number one in the rumble on the line is great. The Miz should last quite some time in this year's Rumble, and the WWE would be making a mistake by giving him the chance to have anything less than a very strong showing.
Miss: Miz v.s. R-Truth...The Match
The Miz and R-Truth's feud has been pretty entertaining up to this point. But in the ring...eh they just didn't do it for me. I feel like my main problem is with the Miz. He is a great worker and capable of having some really fantastic matches. But there are some opponents that he just doesn't have chemistry with. R-Truth and John Cena would be two that I would point out. His matches with guys like Mysterio, Morrison, and even Randy Orton are fairly good, but I just can't get into his matches with the likes of Truth. Maybe it's just me, but if this feud is going to continue on into Wrestlemania, I hope they are both a part of the Money In the Bank Ladder Match.
Hit that is falling further away from the bullseye: The Funkasaurus
I love Brodus Clay. I cannot stop myself from smiling everytime I see him come out to the ring. His character has been a blast. But it's time to stop the squash matches. I was disappointed this week that there were no "My bad" or "Sheeehplex!" calls from the Master of Planet Funk. It was still an enjoyable segment, but the WWE Universe knows he can beat all of the lower card. There is no need to keep this up. Here hoping he has a surprising showing in the Rumble this Sunday!
Hit: Let's Go Home
First of all, did any one see David Otunga's shoes last night? His styling silver slippers were dynamite, and add the thermos to the mix and you've got a bulls-eye on your hands! But seriously, I have a question for you all. When did John Laurinaitis become good at his job? Charlie and I loved him when his mouth seemed to fail him and he botched saying "WWE Universe". I almost soiled myself when he picked up the phone and apologized for hanging up on someone so late....awkward pause....so fast. So it was to my surprise that Laurinaitis (for the most part) has been nailing his lines and selling his character extremely well as of late. It no longer seems that Punk is trying to carry Big Johnny through a watchable segment. Instead it feels like we are watching a true power struggle between the corporate man with a unfulfilled dream, and the champion that is everything the corporate shill wanted to be.
The job evaluation idea is great, as long as we don't get another trial of Eric Bischoff style segment. My call is that Triple H and the Undertaker will be seeing each other very soon, and it might all start again this coming Monday. And while I'm talking about great things, the spoiled little girl analogy Punk used to describe Laurinaitis was brilliant. It's simple, but it hits the nail on the head and did a great job emphasizes exactly what John was trying to do by being nice.
Laurinaitis pulling out of the match was expected, as well as naming Otunga his replacement. What I did not see coming was CM Punk finally getting his revenge on Johnny Ace by way of a GTS. It was a great move and gave the crowd exactly what they wanted. But in an even better move, the number #1 contender for the WWE Championship came into the ring and ambushed Punk. Ending the show this way was the right call. It did its job to hype up not only the WWE Championship match for this Sunday, but also the future of the Punk/Laurinaitis feud.
We'll that's all folks. I hope you guys enjoyed it. Comments would be greatly appreciated, but just reading is fantastic. Thanks for listening to my ramblings!