I am so excited about last night's RAW than I'm still all giddy. I wanted to stay up last night after RAW and write all night, but I knew that I was just too all riled up to write anything really coherent – proven by the little bit I wrote after the RAW Results last night! I knew sleeping on it would bring me back, ground me for writing the RIB. Well, I was wrong. Even after taking my blood pressure meds, I'm still all riled up!
I do have to apologize for this being so late. As per usual, I had another medical appointment, then Stacy told me his parents were coming over for supper. His mother's birthday is coming up and so we got together to celebrate (I have a picture of the fire trap of a cake on my Facebook page). I love his mother, but it took all of my writing time away. So I got right on this after everyone headed out and Sam went to bed. Thank you for bearing with me and understanding that sometimes life gets in the way of wrestling, even though it's hard to admit.
Video > C+
I will admit that this was a solid opening to RAW. I usually complain about the opening video, but the complaining will come later for all the other recap videos WWE slogged RAW down with.
Heyman vs McMahon > B+
We were all really impressed with how McMahon moved so soon after a total hip replacement. My father is a very active man (walks miles and miles a day without batting an eye), and while he is at least five years older than McMahon, he spent more than a month in a nursing home after his knee replacement. That McMahon seemed to be using the crutches more for stability than support had us floored. McMahon is an incredibly driven man, and I knew he'd bounce back more quickly than most, but he's far exceeded my greatest expectations.
Sometimes I feel like a walking spoiler. Ellie asked me why Heyman was facing McMahon so soon after his hip replacement. I said because it was a way to get Heyman in a sticky situation with McMahon. That way they could lure Brock to the ring so that Trip could come out and get into a fight with him to set up their match at WrestleMania. Ellie just looked at me and blinked. I shrugged and told her to watch. Heyman, as always, was fantastic on mic, and really did a great job in how he attacked McMahon. I'm thrilled that Heyman is back in the WWE, his chemistry with McMahon is terrific.
In Ring Segment > A
I split this off from the Heyman and McMahon part because it really does deserve its own grade. I was blown away with how great Triple H looked in this segment. It will take me quite a while to get over his haircut, and Ellie actually yelled when she saw his hair was mostly shorn off, but it makes sense considering that he's more of a suit than a wrestler these day. But I thought he looked lean, strong and really put all he had into working with Brock. Actually, I think he looks better than he has in years – leaner, less overly built, but stronger. He really put it all out there with Brock, made it look more realistic than they looked the last time they fought.
I'm blown away that they let Brock gush blood all over the way that they did. I know they altered their camera angles to keep the less bloody side of Brock's face on camera, but that they didn't rush out with the white towels made me cheer. I truly think if it had been anyone else, they would have cut things short to clean up the color, but since it was Trip and Brock, they let them go. I was cheering at the whole thing, and bouncing all over in my desk chair, even though I was trying to write the results. I also have to say that I really think Trip yelled, 'mother bleeper' when he was all pumped up in the ring. I watched a couple times, and got agreement from everyone else in the room. If anyone can disprove me, please do.
Now for the semi negatives in this segment. I cringed when Brock didn't remove the monitors from announce before slamming Trip down. It looked a bit uncomfortable, and not the best for Trip's body, especially if they want him to stay healthy through WrestleMania. When Brock threw the crutch in McMahon, and everyone got quiet, I was wondering what was going on beyond the reach of the camera. And then, the biggie, what was up with Trip's crotch? Whatever it was, it was there from when Trip first tackled Brock, and didn't happen during the beat down.
Video > C
Trip and Brock recap video one.
Announce Segment > D
This was the first of many announce segments.
Ziggler vs Ryback > C+
I love Ziggler, but the last person he should be in the ring with is Ryback. Ziggler should be pushing forward, and looking toward bigger and better matches, but he's still stuck in limbo without a direction, or a wrestler who can really work the ring week in and week out. The thing is that I know Ryback can work the ring, I've seen it in older videos, but somehow, like with Albert, he's not doing what I've seen him do in the past, and because of this, he's looking reckless and like he can't handle himself in the ring.
Ryback might be getting pissy backstage about not getting a big match at WrestleMania, not going after the WHC, but he's also not paid the dues that Ziggler has. Yes, I know Ryback has been in the industry for quite a while, but Ziggler has been slogging through mid-card purgatory for so many years on WWE TV. I honestly feel much worse for Ziggler than I do Ryback at this point.
Winner – Ryback (11:15)
Video > C
Movie trailer one of the night. This was a night of too many videos, and while I know that the WWE wants to push their movies, it became too much for one night.
In Ring Segment > A-
I was really annoyed when I realized that Punk was coming out to the ring to just talk about his match later in the night, but then he came out and was captivating. Punk made me want to watch more of him on mic, and that's something few guys can do these days. Back in the day there was SCSA, Jericho, Trip, HBK, and The Rock (off the top of my head, don't kill me for missing obvious names) who could make me want for more, but lately with the overly corny Cena, it's hard to want to watch more mic time, but Punk did that in this segment, and that's something special, something very few in this industry has.
Announce Segment > B
This is the second announce segment, and the one they announced that Trump would be inducted into the Celebrity Wing of the WWE HOF. I know I always give the inductee video an A, and I do that because they all have deserved them, until this one. I've never liked this Celebrity Wing crap, but that they're now induction McMahon's good friend into the HOF really disgusts me. I understand that they induct a celebrity each year, but this one really rubs me the wrong way because of who it is and what it represents.
Henry vs Khali > F-
This was just horrific! There's nothing good to be said about this. The fact that I somehow didn't post this match in the RAW Results is rather prophetic. What's even funnier is that WNW readers were complaining about this match, even though nothing was posted about it. I love the WNW readers!
Winner – Henry (1:23)
Announce Segment > C
Another movie trailer! I know Miz and his movie needs the push, but too much in one show!
Video > D
Fandango, again. They say he's finally going to debut on Smackdown. The question is, what is there for him to do right now? I see nothing, especially after such along build.
Miz TV > B+
As much as I love Miz, he was just the moderator in all of this. This was all about Zeb and ADR, and if I have to say that one was better than the other, I have to give this round to ADR. Zeb is just fantastic on mic, he was the perfect person to bring in for this role, and he's doing an amazing job with it, especially in the video where he broke kayfabe and treated Glenn Beck like a child who needed to be led by the hand and have the simplest of things explained to him – but ADR showed a passion that we haven't seen from him before. ADR had a fire inside him and let it out all over that ring without lifting a finger. It's shocking that this is the same man who yelled about his destiny for the past 20 years! Wait, it's only been that long? Really? It sure has felt like he's been a stuck record for that long! Now ADR needs to get that passion into his ring work. It was there for a couple weeks, then drifted off again. Hopefully this storyline will bring it back, because it almost hurts to see him in the ring resting on his laurels when we know he's so much better than just phoning it in. I also like that Miz TV didn't turn into a fist fight. After the segment did, but the actual segment didn't fall to fisticuffs, and that's nice to see it end clean now and then.
Orton vs Cesaro > C
This match really confused me. They want to push Cesaro, they want to push Cesaro, then they put him in the ring with Orton, someone who's going absolutely nowhere, and he loses in three minutes. Cesaro, like Ziggler, deserves better than this. Yes, Orton's finishing RKO was lovely, but otherwise, I remember nothing of this match other than how it felt like Cesaro was getting slapped down by the guy who can't keep his fingers clean even though he could have been the top star of the company. Ugh! I'm disgusted with WWE creative and how they can only seem to do one of two things at a time, so the younger wrestlers are getting crapped on at every turn, no matter how amazing they are! Cesaro is a star and needs to be pushed further and harder than having a lazy US Title reign. I want spice, fire, and sick wrestling, all things this man has, but isn't getting the chance to show this to the fans!
Winner – Orton (3:02)
Backstage Segment > B
Bryan and Kane are starting to get really touchy. Will they break up before WrestleMania, or will that be the big downfall for them? Either way, I'm excited to see them feud when they get to that point. I also have to say that I'm shocked that they managed to make Vickie more annoying than she already was. I thought Vickie had reached the pinnacle of uber heel annoyance, and they upped it that much more by adding in Maddox. I was not at all happy with Maddox staying around, but I was thrilled to see what they were doing with him in this segment. I was really annoyed by them, but also cheering them on for pushing their characters to the next level. I'm proud of both of them, and I can't wait to see what they're going to pull off together. The big question, are they going to have a romance? Maddox said he'd do whatever it takes to become a Superstar, why not sleep with Vickie? It wouldn't be the first time a Superstar did that to get ahead!
Video > B+
Okay, I'll take the beating for this one. I really enjoyed this video. I know I rip on the recap videos, and this one was a long one, but it brought back such memories. I have referred back to this set of commercials so many times, and have gone back to watch many of them, but I don't remember watching this whole video in the past. Now I want to go watch Taker as Dirty Harry, Kiebles as Stone, and everyone asking, "You talkin' to me?" The only thing that even came close to that series was the West Side Story Royal Rumble commercials. It's about time they get creative like that again!
In Ring Segment > D
I love Sheamus. I'm serious, Sheamus has made his way to my top five sexiest wrestlers working today, even if people think I was picking on his accent when I was talking about his slight lisp. Sheamus' accent is what makes him that much sexier, but I've always had a thing for gingers (Stacy). Anyway, I loved watching Sheamus here because he's so easy on the eyes, and there's that accent, and he did look like a little kid forced to wear a suit and hating every moment of it, but that's where the good ends, and I'm sure I'm one of the very few who enjoyed him. So, even though he brought a smile to my face, the segment really did suck. More movie trailers and horrible build to Sheamus versus Barrett for no obvious reason. They're really dropping the ball in a big way with these two, and it's sad to see. Hopefully it won't be a total clusterfluffle going into WrestleMania and after. (I was going to give this a C-, but my finger hit the D, and I figured it was meant to be.)
Rhodes vs R-Truth > C-
The best part of this match was Sandow on announce. When he said that Cody is a grown man and can name his own mustache, but that he hadn't named his beard, I was about on the floor! I like Rhodes a lot, and he will have his time, and R-Truth is a workhorse, but right now, it's Sandow who's a star and really needs to see a push in a big way. I know it won't happen until after WrestleMania, there just isn't anything for him, and I should be glad he's working into a feud with R-Truth, but I'm bummed that he's not getting the push that he's so obviously proven himself for. So, I'm up to Ziggler, Cesaro and Sandow who are getting the bum's rush right now. At this point I might have to write something up about the guys getting pushed aside on this Road to WM.
Winner – R-Truth (2:22)
Video > C+
Another Zeb and Swagger video. These are really well executed videos, but the show was starting to feel really bogged down with not as much good as crap.
Bryan (blindfolded) & Kane (one arm tied behind his back) vs Prime Time Players > C-
I felt like we were flashing back to Eddie. Picture it, Smackdown 3 /4/04, Eddie Guerrero said he could beat Heyman with both hands tied behind his back, so the match was made. That's all I could think about while watching this debacle. The only thing this match showed was just how fantastic Kane really is. That man went out there with one hand tied behind his back and was barely slowed down. He looked as good as ever, and he's older than all the guys he was in the ring with, and had a hand tied behind his back. That man just doesn't get the recognition he deserves. I don't know how it would happen, but Kane deserves one last Title reign before his career is over. He proves week after week just how great he is, and how he helps carry the shows he's on. The only reason I didn't fail this match is because of Kane.
Winner – Team Hell No (3:31)
Video > C
This is the second recap video of Heyman, McMahon, Brock and Trip. I guess this recap was later than I thought. Maybe it was the movie trailers that messed with my feelings that they just kept recapping everything to death.
In Ring Segment > B
I really enjoyed The Shield in the ring here. They're all so well spoken, and come across wonderfully, but also so differently. I can't say that these three are being overlooked just yet, because they really are getting pushed harder than so many others in the WWE right now.
The one thing that bothered me in this segment was Rollins staying in the ring while Ambrose and Reigns headed up the ramp after Sheamus. It made no sense for him to remain where he was, other than they needed him to so he could take the RKO. The premise was good, but the overall execution needed a little work. So, I guess this means Sheamus, Orton and Jericho will be facing The Shield going forward? But where does that leave Barrett? More questions, not enough answers.
Swagger vs Miz > B+
Okay, so they're going forward with Swagger right now. I can understand why they're doing this. They have a great premise, great face, great voice, and a really great wrestler to back it all up. The problem is that Swagger is already proving that he thinks he's bigger than the company. They have another Orton on their hands and he's going to keep doing what he's doing if he's allowed to. I'm disgusted with the way things have turned out with Swagger this time around.
But then there's the wrestling in this match. Heck, every match Swagger's been in since his return has been fantastic. He's coming across as a totally different man in the ring, and it's really great. The problem is everything that's going on behind the scenes. I watch his matches and I'm completely pulled in, but then when it's over I remember everything he's done and I have trouble liking the great match I just watched. I know the world isn't all black and white, there's always shades of gray, and I just need to remember that when it comes to Swagger.
Winner – Swagger (7:11)
Announce Segment > D
This grade is purely selfish, and I will completely admit it. The closest Sonic is more than three hours away, and they play Sonic commercials on TV all the time. Only on my way back from Boston do I actually get to a Sonic, and I felt like King was rubbing it in my face. I know if there was one locally that I'd get over it pretty quickly, but since it isn't, I have to kvetch a bit.
Video > C
I want to complain about all these videos, but they did need to recap The Rock unveiling the new WWE Championship belt, but that's something that really should be recapped.
Video > C
The Touts of the fans were not back, but I admit that by this point I was getting more than annoyed by too much video and not enough real time.
Video > D
More Brock and Trip. I know they're a couple of the highest paid in the company, but enough is enough. Though it was nice to see that they were still willing to show color.
Video > C
I'm happy Jericho has so much going on in his life, that he's doing so many interesting things, but I'm not sure about this new show. I loved the old robot wars shows and this looks like a really bad and overly realitied version of it. When are fans going to say enough is enough with some of these reality shows? I know I can be an offender, but there's so much reality that none of it is real!
Backstage Segment > B
I gave this segment the solid grade I did because we didn't have to suffer through Cena in the ring for a much longer segment. They did the right thing having Punk in the ring talking, but keeping Cena backstage, short, sweet and to the point.
Announce Segment > B
Only because it was about Taker did I not have a total fit over this. I really thought this was foreshadowing what was to come in the main event. I was sure Taker was going to come out and cost Punk the match setting up for WrestleMania. That Taker didn't come out gives me hope that maybe something will go down leading to a Triple Threat Match between Cena, The Rock and Punk at WrestleMania. I know, pipedreams, but after this main event, I feel that it could steal WrestleMania.
Cena vs Punk > A+
Those two men went out there to give the fans a doozy of a match, and they did just that. None of Cena's five moves of doom. Very little Super Cena, and he really put serious heart and passion into this match. Punk is usually fantastic in the ring, and while everyone has an off night, this wasn't one for Punk! To top off Punk, Cena hit moves that are so out of his normal range. Not all of them worked perfectly, but he put himself out there to hit them! I'm always giddy when he goes up top and manages to hit his leg drop. Flair so rarely hit his move from up top that I worry Cena could end up in that same trap, but he hit it hard.
The pacing of the match was superb. They didn't go for early pinfalls that obviously were not going to get them anywhere. The back and forth, the submissions, reversals, the holds and big moves that they hit back and forth grew by levels. It was an onion growing, rather than being peeled back. I cannot grasp all the things I want to say about this match and it's frustrating! From each kicking out to the others finishers, to the not so graceful hurricanranna – but he had the stones to hit it – and that pile driver that sent McMahon into a drink throwing rage, they were awe inspiring and really raised the bar for matches to come. Is there any way that Cena and The Rock can beat this match? Doubt it. But I will say that Cena and Punk gave us a wonderful gift last night. That wasn't just a great match, wasn't just a PPV quality match, it was a WrestleMania quality, and absolutely the only match of the year candidate so far for 2013.
Winner – Cena (26:50)
Many people have been saying that the main event was a 30 minute match. It very well could be as I know that my timing isn't the most accurate. I normally try to be as close as possible, give you the basic idea of the match length, but there's only so much I can do with my little stopwatch while writing the RAW Results. But after thinking about it for a few minutes I realized how wrong it is that they're so excited about Punk and Cena having a 30 minute match and that it is such a huge deal. Have the matches all become so short that a 30 minute match is that jaw dropping? I know we haven't had a really good Iron Man Match in quite a long time, but a 30 minute match now and then shouldn't be as shocking as this. I know it was more than JUST because it was a 30 minute match, but that people have been pushing that number so hard reminds me of how little wrestling the WWE is giving us, even though they have an extra hour every Monday. Last week RAW gave us 46 minutes and 46 seconds of wrestling, and Impact gave us 46 minutes and 11 seconds of wrestling. RAW is an hour longer, yet they only gave us 35 seconds more? To me that's not a good thing.
Then there's this episode of RAW. The rest of the matches totaled up to just about the length of what I calculated the main event to be. So it's good that there was more quantity of wrestling on RAW, but much of the quality wasn't fantastic. Only the main event and Swagger versus Miz really stood out. That's actual matches, I have to give Trip and Brock huge props for their work, because there really were just fantastic. So, if you go by my numbers, there was 55 minutes and 34 seconds of wrestling on this episode of RAW; more if you go by a 30 minute main event. Either way, that's good, but we should be getting at least that every Monday night, if not more. Just how I feel about what should be on a wrestling show.
This really was the best RAW we've seen in the recent past. Heck, this was the best RAW that I can remember. I'm sure there was a RAW on the Road to WM 2012 that was this good, but I can't bring it to mind. Between McMahon and Heyman starting the show so well, the passion of Brock and Trip, that there was color and it was honest color, ADR showing passion that actually feels real, and then there was the main event. I have to admit that I truly hope we're not stuck with more Orton over Cesaro, or Henry in the ring with Khali, but that main event was so stellar that I feel almost anything is possible!