It seems as though it's been a volatile couple days in the WWE. Seems as though Punk's mouth has been running a bit. Honestly, I don't blame him, but I'm of the mouthy and hot headed sort myself. No matter what Punk was fighting over – I am not going to get into politics here as this isn't the place, you really want to talk that, find me on Facebook – he does have to remember he's in the public eye and that he represents the WWE in all he says and does. I have a hard time remembering things like that myself as I am very easy to fly off the handle and fight for what I believe in, but there is WNW and my family business and I have to remember that I represent them as well as myself.
All that being said, Punk is lucky he's in the position he's in as few backstage have that type of leeway. Heck, making comments about the man who's slowly taking it all over (even though I'm behind Steph being the big boss lady, us daughters of great businessmen have to stand up for ourselves, we're not just the boss's daughters – sorry, pet peeve), takes some serious stones. I understand why he said what he did, but I'm still a bit in awe.
Actually, I'm in awe of the direction the WWE is going these days. We went from complaining about how boring everything was and the Cena PG crap six months ago, now guys like Punk and Bryan are being pushed to the sky, even though they're not the big hulking guys VKM normally likes and they are actually great wrestlers, Rocky has proven that he can still go – on mic and in the ring – Brock left the UFC and returned to the WWE for a metric ton of money, Trip is badly selling a fake broken arm (as is Cena), Heyman is suddenly back, and they seem to be throwing the word ass into as many promos as humanly possible. Yes, Cena says jackass, but that's a term I allow Samantha to us and she's eight! Actually, as long as she can prove that the word she's using is grammatically correct, she can use the word. She hasn't yet called my service dog's sister a bitch, but I can see it coming.
What I'm getting at is that the WWE seems to have reached a happy medium, they're still able to appeal to the younger kids, keeping the parents happy, yet giving us hardcore fans who loved the (early) nWo and the AE what we need to keep us tuning in. Honestly, I didn't think they would be able to find this sweet spot so easily. Yes, I know it's been too long with the PG crap, but it's as if suddenly things evened out and WWE is finally making the majority of the fans happy, not just the littles. The shows might be edgier, but I'd absolutely still allow Sam to watch WWE programming if she wasn't grounded. There's nothing I've seen that would make me change the channel with her in the room. So while I can't say I like everything the WWE does on every show, I'm really impressed with the direction they're going right now.
Video > B
They really needed to start RAW with a recap of Laurinaitis attacking Cena, just to remind the fans of how Laurinaitis is changing. I will say that I'm impressed that they didn't drive it down our throats the way they did last week with Brock's attack on Trip. I think the video worked and was cut down well to show the most important moments. Again, WWE's production crew doing a great job.
In Ring Segment > B+
I love Punk, and him being as riled up as he was yesterday made this segment that much better. I know they're pushing Laurinaitis to be a Bisch level type of heel, but he just isn't as good on mic. Yes, that's part of what they're banking on, but it still annoys me a little bit. He's great when he's trying to be all better than everyone, the way he puffs up and looks down his nose at people. The way Laurinaitis tried to prove how great he was in the ring in Japan was just too funny, and blaming Dr. Death on his voice? Not sure how much I believe of that, but I find it interesting that they're using a wrestler who isn't around to defend himself. I'm not saying that Laurinaitis is lying, I am saying that I haven't done any research on the subject. I will do my research tomorrow and get back to you on what I find. Beyond all that, it's about time they show Laurinaitis from back in the day, but I want more! I've been calling for video clips of Laurinaitis' ring work on RAW since Laurinaitis became a permanent fixture. Though I did find it interesting how Laurinaitis talked up Tensai for working in Japan and honing his skills there.
While Laurinaitis gave great looks, this segment was made by Punk and his pipe bombs. His Mr. Rooney comment about had me on the floor, though I doubt many watching had a clue what Punk was talking about. His 'rare form' translated perfectly to TV and it was one of his best segments in a long time. I love watching how Punk and Laurinaitis work off each other. They're so great that I wonder how they really feel about each other. That, to me, shows how great a segment is – when you can't really tell what's real and what isn't.
Backstage Segment > A-
Laurinaitis here reminded us all of that horrible boss we had, or maybe that teacher in school who threw their weight around, or even that bully you had to deal with at some point. I think it further worked because Big Show is such a big guy. In some ways it goes well with the Be A Star program and show that size doesn't matter when it comes to bullying. I will admit that this does remind me of the days VKM feuded with SCSA, but there's reasons why that worked so well and why it carries over so well even today. Who doesn't have at least one moment that they want to give their boss an earful, or even more. When I'm not writing I spend some time working the family business (health permitting) and while I love my father dearly, there's times that I think he's so purblind that I wonder how he built such a profitable company. We all love to hate our bosses and watching one getting taken out after making everyone's lives unbearable can only bring in more fans. It worked for VKM versus SCSA, so why not renew it for Laurinaitis vs every face in the company? To me this is the reused storyline that works better than any other because of our basal instincts. I can't wait to see what Laurinaitis does to Big Show, Punk, Cena, etc., before he gets his. Also, it's funny to see how so many people do Laurinaitis' voice in their own way. I wonder how long they'd been doing this on their own before Laurinaitis became such a TV character.
IC Title Match (1:52) > B-
First off I have to admit that I completely forgot to use my stopwatch for this match, but it sure wasn't very long before Cody walked off I went back and timed the match). Actually, I liked how this match went down, even though it had a crappy ending. It's more of Cody screwing Big Show over. While I want to see Cody move on to grander opponents, I have to admit I like the chemistry between these two. Over the years I've seen that Big Show can work with just about anyone and make it look good, so Cody was lucky to get in this feud with him. Hopefully it will help Cody's career in the long run, even though I think he should be in the Title run now.
I also have to say Big Show did a great job of working with Eve. I'm not thrilled with her in this role, but Big Show sold his frustration and did as he was told. Just one more step in Laurinaitis making everyone's lives unbearable.
Winner – Big Show via countout
Kofi vs Dolph (2:40) > B
While I understand why the Colons, Rosa and AW were watching backstage, I think it took too much away from the match. If I hadn't read that Mason Ryan had been working with Dolph at a house show, I would have wondered why he was even on TV. All that being said, the end of this match was so convoluted that it wasn't the easiest to follow. I think the WWE could do a lot with their tag division if they push the Colons, the Usos, Swagger and Dolph, and Kofi and R-Truth. Obviously none of these guys are getting pushed to the top, as Dolph deserves, so why not do as Haas suggested? Put Arn in charge of the Tag Division and really let them go for it. It's not like it will take any extra time for the shows and could really improve the quality of some of these matches, as this was not the best for Kofi and Dolph. Both of them are better than this match showed them to be.
Winner – Dolph
Interview > D+
Personally I don't think interviews like this work very well. It looks really fake with the person being interviewed on the tron, not there in person. I also thought Cena came off a bit flat. He spun a few choice phrases, but he felt like the old Cena who bored the heck out of us, not the hot blooded Cena who's willing to let blood for the fans. I just hope Cena's match with Laurinaitis is better than I worry it's going to be. I also hope Cena takes the time he needs as continuing the way he is isn't very good for his body. It's not like he wasn't at the show last night and it wasn't like he didn't work the ring in the dark match. Personally I think that completely blew Cena's whole storyline out of the water, but VKM thinks Cena needs to be there and in the ring to make the fans happy. If they're not careful Cena's going to be in much worse shape and will need to take more time off than he needs now.
Natalya & Maxine vs Kelly & Layla (0:45) > F!
This match blew chunks all over that ring. I really like Layla and would love to see what she can do without being paired with McCool, but this isn't showing us anything. And then there's Natalya who has barely been seen on RAW, never mind actually working the ring. I know VKM cares more about what the Divas look like than the work they do in the ring, but the Divas Division has become such a tragic mess that I feel bad for every one of those women. It's so sad to see how the Divas have fallen.
Winners – Kelly & Layla
Video > B+
I will fully admit that I haven't spent much time, if any, watching WWE's YouTube shows. I don't know why I am so against watching anything WWE there, but I have been. After seeing this video with Santino I have to admit that I'm interested and might just go check out some of the shows. I know that's why they showed this video and think it did what it was supposed to do, though I'm confused as to why McGillicutty was there. I guess I should be happy he was seen on RAW at all!
ADR & Jericho vs Orton & Sheamus (13:20) > A-
I really enjoyed this match, but that shouldn't be surprising as I really like three of the four guys in this match and it was a well booked match. I know I said that the end of Kofi and Dolph's match was convoluted, but it was nothing compared to the end of this one. I know why they did what they did, but trying to write the play-by-play was just horrid! Other than that, this match was really great to watch. They worked the ring well and really told a story. That Orton hit Sheamus with an RKO as payback for the accidental brogue kick was truly Orton and a side we haven't seen a lot of lately. Yes, Orton has been a bit hardcore with Kane, but he hasn't showed his edgier side of not taking and crap, no matter who is accidentally dishing it out.
Winners – Jericho & ADR
Backstage Segment > B
I have to admit that I enjoyed seeing everyone fighting around in Laurinaitis' office. We haven't seen that happen in quite a while. Actually, I think it's great that they're having a Fatal Four Way World Heavyweight Championship Match at Over The Limit. I don't remember the last time we saw one of those, and the guys in the match should really make this a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to this PPV more and more as matches come up.
Funkasaurus vs Miz (4:14) > C+
I have to agree with Richard that this match was horribly booked for Miz. No clue who he pissed off backstage and how, but Miz's really being humbled. It might still be the incident where he didn't catch R-Truth, but I'd think they'd be past that by now. Who knows, grudges seem to run deep in wrestling locker rooms. I just hope Miz makes it trough the yearly roster cleaning. At this point I'm not quite sure he will. I also hope they find a direction for Clay as he just seems to be stuck in a rut right now.
Winner – Funkasaurus
Be A Star > B+
I know a lot of people thinks the WWE is hypocritical for being involved in anti-bullying, but I think it's great that they're showing that the wrestlers are people different from the characters they play. It really seemed to mean a lot to the kids to know Henry, the 'World's Strongest Man' has been bullied. Hopefully the work they're doing will help kids in some way. I know it would have helped me when I was young.
Video > D-
They made such a big deal about Trip's injury when we all know it's total bull. I'd expect Trip to sell his injury better than he's been doing. Not at all impressed with Trip's dedication to the storyline right now. I guess it's because he has worked so hard for so many years. Heck, they even avoided the issue of his marriage for so long. Yes, they danced around it, but they did a great job of not actually talking about it. Then he's broken and not selling it. Then again Cena didn't sell either as he had a dark match. Personally this is the side of kayfabe that's been lost that bums me out.
In Ring Segment > B+
Talking to Stacy about this segment was interesting. Stacy knows nothing of Heyman, other than what I have told him. I'm not even sure he's seen The Rise And Fall of ECW, though he has seen the WCW version. Coming from someone who's never seen Heyman, Stacy thought he did a solid job and came off better than Bisch does, in that he feels Bisch has been phoning it in compared to what he saw from Bisch's WCW days. Personally I think Paul E. could have gone a bit more over the top, but as Gesus said to me when we were discussing this segment, we're waiting for so much more from Heyman. This was just the start, the base for him to jump from. As Richard said, Heyman wasn't supposed to be showing up so early in this storyline, so he might not have been as prepared to go on as he used to be. Either way, I'm thrilled to see Heyman back, even though I wish he'd go into TNA as the boss and whip the company into shape. I also have to say that while he does look older and is missing more hair, he sure doesn't look like he's aged as much as I'd have expected him to age, and he sounded exactly as he used to, right down to inflection.
One last thing about Heyman, I was really upset with the fan reaction to him. I know a lot of today's wrestling fans know little about the real ECW and who Heyman is, but I'd still expect a better reaction! I was very unhappy with the fans who only seemed to react when Heyman said Brock's name. Hopefully things will get better for him with fan reaction, and he'll get back to that way over the top character we loved and loved to hate for so long.
Backstage Segment > Epic Fail!
I normally don't comment on the segments that just have people backstage heading for the ring, but I absolutely have to comment on this one. King stated that Punk was going to be in a handicap match, but that hadn't yet been announced to the fans. Laurinaitis came out at the start of the match, after the commercial, and stated that Punk was in a handicap match and Punk reacted. So it wasn't only Punk who put out spoilers, King dropped the ball as well. Oops!
Backstage Segment > B+
It took me a few moments to figure out who the guys talking to Big Show was. I finally realized it was the same guys who were in the front row and in USA's new show Common Law, but I'll admit I was completely lost there for a bit. I liked how Big Show dropped in that things just aren't the same now in the WWE. That's a big and interesting point that was made and I'm sure will further be pushed in coming weeks. But it was the three guys all doing their Laurinaitis voices that had me laughing. Of course Eve had to show up and Big Show will be in bigger trouble, but it was fun while it lasted.
Punk vs Bryan & Tensai w/ Sakamoto (7:11) > B-
I know I'm going to get flack for the grade on this, but Tensai just isn't that good. We'd been hearing great things about how he grew in Japan, but I'm not seeing it. To me Punk carried this match on his back, the whole way – other than when Bryan was in the ring with him. I understand why they used Tensai then added Bryan to this match, but for me it was (almost) the biggest stinker of the night in the ring. Only Miz and Clay were worse. What makes it so much harder for me to call this match crap is that both Punk and Bryan were in it. Many of us have been chomping at the bit to see Bryan and Punk feud, but then we got this flaming pile of crap! I just hope Tensai didn't screw up too badly after reading that Punk had an ice pack on the back of his head after the match. I can only hope the WWE is learning that maybe Bloom shouldn't be back in the WWE. I was hoping for so much from him, but he just isn't pulling his weight and I worry that he's going to injure someone before TPTB pull their heads out of their bums!
I guess this episode wasn't as good as I had thought last night. I enjoyed it first time around, but in reality there was some really stinky moments, one of the worst was the way the show ended. I guess we should be glad that some of the storylines are picking up as much of the actual wrestling on this show wasn't worth the time. Then again the Divas didn't get the time which was a very good thing! Next week will be better. I feel it!