The other night during Extreme Rules Live Blog, Bobby called the WWE 'World Wussy Entertainment'. I will say that it was before Cena faced Brock and the blood started flowing. Almost all of us in the Live Blog were impressed with where WWE let the wrestlers go during Extreme Rules. I stated in my predictions that I hoped the WWE allowed color at Extreme Rules, as they have been leaning in that direction a bit more lately, but I figured they would hold it back for the main event. We'd already seen Cena bloodied by Brock on RAW, so it wouldn't be a shocker to see Brock bust Cena open again, as he did within the opening moments of their match. While I think I should be getting extra points for calling that one, I'll let it slide this time.
I do find it interesting that all predictors decided that Brock would be beating Cena after the info we had about Cena taking time off. Well, that was clearly wrong! I have to admit I'm a bit confused at this point. Cena hasn't had time off in a couple years, and only then was due to injury, which he returned from sooner that was expected because he worked his jorted bum off to get back ASAPA. I went looking to see what Cena's time off schedule has been and was reminded about what a machine Cena is!
October 2004 – Cena was stabbed in the kidney in a bar fight in Boston by Carlito's bodyguard Jesus. This was just a storyline so Cena could go film The Marine and was back about six weeks later, so not really much time off!
October 1, 2007 Cena was in a match with Mr. Kennedy (Mr. Anderson) and tore his pectoral muscle off the bone in a hip toss – not Anderson's fault! Cena had surgery and very quickly it was obvious that Cena's was working like crazy to get back as weeks in he was way ahead of schedule in his rehab. Cena returned on January 27th in the Royal Rumble Match! During the time he was out Cena appeared in Iraq for Tribute To The Troops.
August 26, 2008 Cena had neck surgery after getting injured in a match against Batista at SummerSlam. That night after surgery Cena showed up backstage at Smackdown with his surgeon in tow. He just couldn't be held back. Cena returnes at Survivor Series on November 23rd to defeat Jericho for the WHC! Still, not a lot of time off.
Other than being 'fired' due to Nexus, where he never actually missed an episode of RAW, and when Cena was off taping his (truly terrible) movies, Cena hasn't had any time off in a couple years! Heck, his brother has been dealing with a brain tumor and Cena hasn't missed any work. As much as many of us don't like Cena's character (though for me it's been changing since Brock's return), we cannot say that Cena doesn't love the business and that he isn't driven. The other day Orton was talking about how much Brock has accomplished, no matter what stands in his way, I think those words could just as easily be applied to Cena. While Cena had an in into the industry through his father, it's been Cena who's taken the ball and run with it. He only started in the industry twelve years ago and next month will be his ten year anniversary in the WWE. I'll talk more about Cena Sr. in an upcoming episode of a new Blog I will be debuting later this week. Stay tuned!
Video > A
I knew they would be starting RAW with stills from the Brock/Cena Extreme Rules Match. What I didn't expect was to see any of Cena's post-match promo, but I'm glad they did show it as it worked and helped further endear Cena to the fans. That PPV ending promo was well executed and well received; one of the smartest moves WWE creative has done in a while – beyond Brock and showing color, of course. The only thing I didn't like about this video was how many times the WWE showed it during RAW, but that's how they do things. I don't feel the need to comment on each of these Cena/Brock recap videos, so I'm skipping the rest of them.
In Ring Segment > A-
I fully admit that I was laughing maniacally at Trip yelling at Laurinaitis and telling him to shut up. I wasn't at all surprised to see Brock attacking Trip, but the way Brock was almost clinging to Laurinaitis and what Laurinaitis did for him was like a child with a security blanket, or in this case, a boy with his ragged old Teddy Ruxpin who's cassette tapes have been beaten on for the past twenty years. Anyway, Brock attacking Trip sets up for all sorts of interesting possibilities in the future. Brock in a storyline with Trip, but also against any and all of the guys who ran to the ring to help Trip.
I always find the timing of wrestlers running to the rescue to be very interesting. They always seem to hit at the perfect moment. I also find who ran to the ring interesting. What will those four have to do with Brock later? Brock's little hissy fit outside the ring did a good job to continue to push his volatile attitude. The only thing that really bothered me was the mellow-dramatic way Trip sold the 'broken' arm. It was a bit much from a man who we saw rip all the muscles in his leg and barely show anything but his stoic nature. Though I have to admit seeing Big Show lift Trip off the apron to the floor was very sweet and a moment that will stick with me for a long time. All in all I think the segment did a great job of putting all their ducks in a row.
Video > B
Of course they had to recap the attack on Trip, but they did it more time than they really needed to, especially since the way King threw in the info about Trip's broken arm in the middle of a match like it wasn't a big deal. The only thing I found interesting was how upset Cole was about Brock attacking Trip. Cole is always for the heels, except Bryan -most of the time – but he was very upset about the attack on Trip and went off about Brock needing to be fired. Wonder if Cole is developing an conscience. As with the Brock/Cena Extreme Rules recap video, I'm not going to keep grading this video through the entire Blog as they replayed it so many times!
Beat The Clock (4:18) > B-
I was not thrilled about seeing Miz and Santino in the ring together again, but the WWE is determined to keep showing them facing off. It makes no sense to me. Their chemistry in the ring just doesn't work for me. Santino is usually used to get someone over or make something comical, but Miz doesn't need either of those things. The thing I found funny about this beat the clock challenge as I had purchased a stop watch last week so I could start keeping track of how much of the shows are actually wrestling, but it's a strange stopwatch and we kept screwing up the buttons, so it didn't work for RAW last week. I used it to keep track of how much time Hogan, Bisch and Flair sucked out of Impact, but was planning on using it for this RAW. So, from here on out I will be giving the length of time for each match during RAW Results. We ran the stopwatch for each match and the WWE's timer was right on the money for each beat the clock match.
Winner – Miz
Triple Threat Divas Championship Match (0:12) > F!
That was the worst waste of time! I won't say the biggest as it was shorter than Sheamus vs Bryan at WrestleMania, but it was bad! Then, later, the half hearted way we heard about the Bellas being fired was just crap. Both of these young women had been Champs, but then their contracts are up and they're unceremoniously 'fired'! I'd at least want a big scene before getting fired, one drop kick that took out both twins was more of a whimper than a scene. I do want to say that this is nothing against Layla. I'm glad she's healthy and back to work, though I'm not sure how I feel about her being Champ on her first night back, though I admit I felt even more negative about Gail Kim winning the Womens Championship on her first night on WWE TV and look how that turned out!
Winner – Layla
Beat The Clock (4:18) > B
I shouldn't be surprised at how well Jericho and Big Show worked the ring together. Whenever a match has such specific timing when certain things have to be done, I'm always amazed at how things go down. Those men not only worked a match and made it look great, but they did it in such a way that they had to be in certain spots at the 4:18 mark. Jericho and Big Show haven't been in as many matches together as I would have thought, but they've still worked together enough to know each others way of working. Personally I thought they did a solid job here in such a short match, especially since Jericho had to be hurting from his fantastic ring work at Extreme Rules with Punk.
Winner – N/A
Funkasaurus vs JTG (1:40) > C+
It was nice to see Dolph give Clay a little run for his money at Extreme Rules. It was the first time that Clay had a match that wasn't a complete squash, sadly the same can't be said for JTG. Cole said that JTG was going into the match with a plan, but in reality, I'd forgotten that JTG was still on the WWE roster. I understand where they're going with Clay, and why they're going about building him the way they are, and while I think it's great they're not taking too much time out of each show to do it, I'm ready for Clay to move onto the next phase. His character has been established, now it's time to push his character and ring work to the next level.
Winner – Funkasaurus
Backstage Segment > D
Laurinaitis is annoying and boring. Eve's always been hot, but a bit boring and without anything but her curves that made her stand apart from the rest of the Divas. Now, with Eve in a suit, and trying to gain power by helping Laurinaitis, she's become almost invisible in how boring she is. I know her character is out to gain power, but in the process she's lost all personality and beauty.
Beat The Clock (4:16) > A-
I really think Swagger could be something big if he found a personality and some charisma. Everyone keeps talking about how far Dolph can and will go, but I think if Swagger can make it though this next rounds of releases, which I feel he will, then if someone really works with him to develop something of interest in him, he could be a force to be reckoned with. He has the basics that Angle and Brock both started with, and even has size on Angle, but he's extremely light on personality. Swagger proved in this match that he can go, even with the bigger names, can change how he works the ring to make it work with whoever he's in there with. Swagger frustrates me so much because he has so much of what's needed to be a star, but missing that tiny bit. Sadly in the industry today wrestlers don't have to be as good as Swagger is, as long as they have the personality and charisma, Swagger's downfall these days.
As I said about the match between Jericho and Big Show, this match was so well executed down to the second! Orton is such a pro anyway, but watching how he worked with Swagger, bringing it down to two seconds to bump Miz out of his spot was wonderful and exciting. After a short match like this, I hope someone works with Swagger to get him over the hump he's been stuck behind for so long.
Winner – Orton
Tag Team Title Match (7:03) > B
I feel so bad for Primo and Epico. Their run as Tag Team Champs was rather lackluster. I know these days most of the titles mean little, but it's sad to see how far these straps have fallen. I know many people don't like them, but I love this set of belts; think they look great, but few who have held them have done much with them. In some ways it feels as though both R-Truth and Kofi were screwed out of the belts when they held them, especially Kofi, so it's nice to see the two of them strapped again, but it sucks the way Primo and Epico were treated and not pushed when the held the Titles. I think Primo and Epico could be a really forceful tag team if they had any character to back them up. Maybe joining up with AW will help them in some way. Then someone needs to step up and help the Usos so there will be the start of a solid Tag Division, something the WWE has been sadly lacking for a very long time.
After all that complaining, I think Kofi and R-Truth could be a big step for the TTC. Both of them are really good in the ring and have solid personalities to help carry any storylines thrown at them. Keeping my toes crossed that things will look up for the Titles and those involved.
Winners – Kofi & R-Truth
Backstage Segment > C-
As I just stated, I do home that AW can help the Colons as they really need the help. I just want to know who jumped the gun on the switch from this segment to Khali dancing in the ring. That was one of the worst switches we've seen in the WWE in quite a while.
Beat The Clock (4:16) > D
Khali's ring work is so horrible! I felt so bad for Kane being stuck in this match coming off such a solid match with Orton the night before. While some people didn't think Kane and Orton should start Extreme Rules, and some thought that having it end in the ring, being a Falls Count Anywhere Match, took so much away from it, I was impressed with how both worked and hope the rubber match between them will also be a match where they can go hardcore on each other. I'm trying to focus on Orton vs Kane so I don't that have to think about Khali vs Kane. Kane worked as well as he could here, but working with Khali is like working with a huge marionette! It's like the man is built out of wood and doesn't know how to bend his body in any way, it's rather odd. The only things good about this match was Kane and that Khali didn't beat the clock.
Winner – N/A
Beat The Clock (2:21) > A-
I was rather confused about King being in this match, but I thought it worked. I'm always amazed at how much better King works the ring than his contemporaries, and how he can work with almost anyone and look decent doing it. I was thrilled that Bryan won and beat the clock. I've been itching to see Punk face off with Bryan for quite a while and I think their match at OTL will be just a taste of what should be a growing feud that should culminate at a huge WrestleMania match, just not necessarily the next WrestleMania. As long as Bryan and Punk stay healthy, I don't think they need to rush this, besides, I'm still hoping for Punk vs Austin at some point at a WrestleMania. Then again, Punk vs Austin Aries would be amazing too! Yes, I have a lot that I want to see from Punk, Bryan and so many who could work great matches with them.
Winner – Bryan
In Ring Segment > B
Before I start, I have to say the best part of this segment was Cena. The arrogant way he dealt with Laurinaitis, didn't take his crap and seemed on point, even though I was confused about why they were talking about Cena's next match when he really needs some time off to get his body. I will fully admit that I was groaning – aloud – when Tensai came out to the ring, but I started yelling at the TV when Laurinaitis, trying to be so overly dramatic, told Cena that he'd be facing Ace at OTL.
Since Johnny Ace started this latest run in front of the camera, I have been waiting for him to end up in a match. I thought we'd dodged that bullet when Team Johnny and Team Teddy faced off at WrestleMania, but no, someone thinks they have a glorious idea for pitting the face of the WWE against the GM. The only thing that will make me at all not totally pissed about this match is if a stipulation is added that if Laurinaitis loses then he's no longer 'My name is John Laurinaitis, Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Permanent General Manager of RAW and Smackdown.' I'd be happy if he was no longer GM, but getting rid of him all together would be nice too. I've done enough reading on the man to get the feeling that he's out for himself, and not the best interest of the WWE, but that's just my personal opinion of the man. Anyway, I think this segment tried to be more dramatic than it could be with Laurinaitis' involvement, therefore sucked in a way it wouldn't without Laurinaitis.
I know I have been defending him as a heel, but in this segment he tried to push his character to a spot that he just can't go with his lack of personality. You just can't push a person past what they have for personality, unless they're a darn good actor, and Laurinaitis isn't. I think this is a similar issue to what is holding Swagger back, though I get the feeling that Laurinaitis thinks he has a great personality, a lot more than he puts out to the fans. Personally, I doubt it. No matter how much I hear about how much Laurinaitis likes to party, I just can't see him being the wild man his character seems to believe he is.
Before we're stuck watching Cena face Laurinaitis in the ring, I'm going to hunt down some of Ace's old matches just to see how bad he was. I will also finish up the bio I had been writing up on Laurinaitis, if anyone's interested. What I do have to say is that while this wasn't the best RAW I've seen in a long time, Extreme Rules was the best B level PPV I remember seeing in a very long time. I wasn't expecting that much from the PPV, but I was blown away. It wasn't just one or two matches on the card, it was almost all of them, except the Divas. I will be sitting down and watching Extreme Rules again as it was that good. It won't be as fun as I won't being hanging out in the Live Blog, but the matches were so good that I think I'll be able to muddle through.