Hello everyone, Brooks Oglesby here, filling in for our beloved Kendra Bunyon for this week's Raw is Blogged. It's definitely a good week to blog about Raw, since plenty of newsworthy things happened! We got updates on the health of both Jerry Lawler and John Cena, rising, and Cena not giving anyone a bath in JR's BBQ sauce. To me, that's a great show on paper.
I'd like to apologize for the lateness of this blog, especially since I covered for Kendra so it wouldn't be late. I had an incredibly hectic grown-up college man adult day, and for added fun, this blog got erased halfway through!
I would preface my preferred format for blogging before jumping into the blog itself, but I've found that I don't have a specific format that I like. So forgive me for winging that part of it. Anyways, without further ado...
Raw is Blogged: The Pied Piper of the Cenation
Someone Proposes...In A Wrestling Ring?
Paul Heyman and CM Punk open the show, mics in hand. That is always a good thing. There are few absolutes in wrestling. John Cena never loses clean. Jinder Mahal always kills a crowd. Paul Heyman and CM Punk always make good TV if they have mics. They show a replay of Cena winning despite Punk having his foot on the ropes. Punk is soaking up heat just by looking belligerent. The little smug things he does to garner heat are some of his most impressive attributes. Brad Maddox, who I'm fairly sure is the child of Eric Bischoff and Ricardo Rodriguez, comes down to the ring. Ricky Bischoff says that AJ Lee is responsible for his hiring, so Punk determines that she should be responsible for his firing. Not without calling her stupid though, of course. Remember when Punk was trying to hit that a few months ago, and they even made merch for it? No one? Just me? Okay, never mind.
AJ Lee makes her way to the ring and into my heart with a revamped GM outfit that my teenage boy self greatly approves of. She can barely get in a word before CM Punk starts berating her. I think this is where AJ works best. A lot of people are sick of the "so wacky head tilt!!! xD" AJ that she's become, but a lot of people got behind her when she was the "cute girl not being treated right." Having someone like Punk manipulate her like Daniel Bryan used to would provide a character change that I think most people would embrace.
Then, Paul Heyman proposed? I was entirely confused before it became apparent that Heyman was just antagonizing her, and doing a fantastic job. Heyman even has Alberto Del Rio beat in the "excrement-eating grin" department. It just makes you want to see him get slapped. And hey, that's what happened!
Decent opening segment. Heyman and Punk made it, AJ added a bit of intrigue, and the referee added nothing interesting. I give it 2.5 AJ head tilts out of 5.
Backstage, referee Brad Maddox and AJ Lee have a brief discussion before AJ starts thinking about GM stuff and zones out. In this segment, Maddox looked more like the lovechild of John Morrison and Eric Bischoff. I'm not confirming anything, but Morrison did spend time as Bischoff's assistant. I don't know how anatomy works.
Nothing segment, since we've already established that AJ is crazy. 1 redundant AJ head tilt out of 5.
Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler: Re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-match!
Remember that period in 2009-2010 when Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler would have a match no less than twice a month? You do now. Vickie Guerrero introduces Ziggler and R-Truth accompanies Kofi to the ring. Vickie pulls a Clint Eastwood and berates the empty chair next to R-Truth.
The good thing about having two people face off again and again is that they get to know each other really well, and it shows. There wasn't much different in the way of moves, but there was enough variation to keep it interesting. You could go on YouTube and see Ziggler hit that inverted exploder suplex on Kofi and Kofi hit the SOS on Ziggler plenty of times, but they still look impressive. It's also nice to see a match between two guys in similar spots on the card. It seems like, more often than not, you see a match on Raw and you can immediately tell who is going to win. These guys have traded enough wins to where you can't make a definitive guess. A nice tough from the commentary side was JR calling the match a main event. I've seen some debate as to whether that was intentional or a flub, but he made a great comment that legitimized both men, in any case.
This provided a very solid match in a Raw that had little in-ring action. I give it 3.5 rematches out of 5.
Daniel Bryan & Kane's Friendship Brunch
I hope everyone is enjoying the Kane/Daniel Bryan dynamic as much as I am. I remember seeing Bryan go from WWE Championship matches to comedy skits and being skeptical, but this storyline is gold. There's nothing wrong with comedy in wrestling when it's well-done, and this has been incredibly well-done by WWE standards. The pops they are getting are speaking for themselves, and as a Bryan fan that wept every time he got no pop back when he was a vanilla face, it's an amazing direction for Bryan.
Not the funniest segment, but funnier than any Santino/Subway segment would be. I give it 3 hugs out of 5.
Woo Woo Woo vs. HURRAH HURRAH HURRAH
Zack Ryder & Santino Marella face off against The Prime Time Players in the next match. I went to the Raw in December when Zack Ryder faced both John Cena and Mark Henry. He's definitely fallen quite a bit since then. I don't know if that's a bad thing, though. You don't want him to be overexposed, so you can rely on him as a sympathetic face.
In any case, the Prime Time Players put away Team ZackTino in no more than a few minutes. Not much in the way of gripping in-ring action, but a good way of saying "Remember how we had these two semi-interesting guys in the tag division before we struck gold with Kane & Daniel Bryan?"
PTP made Ryder and Santino look like nothing in this match. Maybe it was Titus' way of getting revenge on his old NXT Pro for telling him to bark like a dog.
Throwaway tag matches are better than recaps, if you ask me. That gives this match 2 "Eh"s out of 5.
"You Wanna Be A Statistic Or You Wanna Be A Legend?"
Mick Foley makes his way to the ring to give his thoughts on CM Punk's new sinister persona. He's quickly interrupted by Punk himself, and anyone who knew theknew these two knew that promo gold wase two knew that promo gold was incoming. I got to see Foley's stand-up a few months ago, and during the Q&A, he talked about his darker promos from the 90s. He talked in-depth about how he needed to draw on dark things he was going through in order to channel that into a great promo, and this promo made me wonder what the poor guy must be going through. What a great promo. It's a shame that all of his bumps caught up with him. This segment verified that he still has what it takes to carry a program on the mic. I'd love one more match, if his body could handle it and perform.
Another facet of CM Punk's persona that I love is his direct addressing of the crowd. It's classic old-school heel, and it clearly still works. You can tell that he watches tapes. He has respect for the game. He does the Macho Man elbow with the utmost respect. You can tell he watched Roddy Piper get heat back in the day and thought, "That looks like way too much fun to not do." Above all else, I think that's what draws me to the guy.
Punk delivered a great promo here, of course. He makes a great case for why he's acting the way he does. He brings up Cena's endless title shots, for example. It's a lot more compelling than the "yo I want your belt" motivations that a lot of heels have.
Chicken soup for the smark's soul. I give it 5 pipebombs out of 5.
The Tough Enough Matchup Everyone's Been Waiting For
It's Mike Mizanin vs. Ryan Reeves. Back in their Tough Enough days, Mizanin was a brash loudmouth desperately trying to prove his worth. Ryan was a huge guy that ate everything. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
I'm still not entirely sure what the WWE brass want out of Ryback. A Batista-type face who beats down all the cowardly heels? If that's the goal, I hope they get him working safely enough to use moves that look a little more powerful. The lariat always looks devastating, but the "Shellshocked" fisherman buster is lacking. He's done a few nasty powerbombs and spinebusters. I'd just have him stick with one of those.
As for the match itself, it was your typical Ryback squash, except the victim was the Intercontinental Champion. Do I wish the Intercontinental Championship was treated a bit more prestigiously? Sure. But I understand that WWE doesn't agree with me, and I'm glad they're at least using it to elevate someone, even if it's not the champion.
You've seen a Ryback match before, right? I give this match squash out of squash.
I Thought This Was A PG Show?
There's not much else to say about this Kane & Daniel Bryan segment. Was it funny? Yes. Did it include a classic WWE legend cameo? Yes. Did it advance the storyline? Yes. Did it have entirely non-PG undertones? YES.
Why doesn't WWE Studios make a buddy-cop movie out of Kane & Daniel Bryan already instead of "Generic Action/Horror Movie #64?" I guess they don't want my money. Just like with the ice cream bars.
These segments are making me a believer in WWE's writing team. For that amazing feat, 4 "Yes"es out of 5.
The Barrett Barrage Continues
I really like Tyson Kidd as a face. I want to see him succeed. But I really want to see more of those nasty-looking Souvenir elbow smashes that Barrett is now using to squash jobbers. Sorry, Tyson. You'll always have a place to shine at Money in the Bank.
Remember the time Barrett almost killed Mark Henry by botching Wasteland. Now he's safely almost killing people with his elbow. That's a message I think we can all get behind.
Here's hoping Barrett gets some momentum before it gets derailed again. 3 sinister British sneers out of 5.
The King of Memphis, Tennessee
Next up is a video interview with Jerry Lawler. I've been a critic of Lawler on commentary for a while now. That all changed two weeks ago when I was running the site and I saw people start tweeting about how something isn't right at the announce table. Covering a wrestling legend's death is something you never want to do.
And he is a legend. It's easy to forget just how good he was (and can still be) since we're subjected to watered-down PG face color commentary each week. But this is the guy who slapped Andy Kaufman on David Letterman and brought wrestling and pop culture together. For those of you who haven't familiarized yourself with the feud, I recommend going to YouTube right about now and searching for the Letterman incident. It's got tons of colorful language, so I won't post it here. In its place, here's a video of Kaufman singing to Lawler and making Memphis hate him even more.
Lawler can get it done in the ring, too. The TLC match he had with The Miz on Raw last year was great! What I'm trying to get across is that Lawler is so much more than the voice we hear every Monday. I know a good portion of fans know that. I knew that, but I didn't really explore it until his heart attack, and that was a mistake.
Some Superstars reported that Lawler's chance of survival had he not been 5 feet away from a doctor was less than 1 in 250. In a business that has lost many legends in isolated hotel rooms, we're very lucky that Lawler was where he was. I know I'm glad I didn't have to write the "Jerry Lawler Dead At 62" article.
I'm thrilled that Lawler is seemingly doing so well, and was so optimistic. I know some will disagree with me, but I'm happy to listen to more corny jokes if it means keeping a wrestling legend in our midst.
Long live the King. 5 awesome doctors out of 5.
Dos Caras Reveals Sin Cara's Cara
For those that missed it, Alberto Del Rio partially pulled Sin Cara's mask off during the six-man tag between the teams of Del Rio, Ricardo Rodriguez, and David Otunga, & Sheamus, Rey Mysterio, and Sin Cara.
I actually missed it during the broadcast. I was too busy focusing on how crisp all of Del Rio's kicks are. The guy's as dull as can be, storyline-wise, but he can kick. If Raw was just one hour of Del Rio hitting enzuigiris and two hours of Kane & Daniel Bryan shenanigans, I would send a basket of roses to Titan Towers every Monday.
Another point of interest is Ricardo Rodriguez. Watching a guy that knows how to wrestle pretend to not know how can be pretty entertaining. Kinda like how Kelly Kelly pretends to not know how to run the ropes.
What? She actually doesn't know how? Oh, never mind.
Something that bothered the Daniel Bryan fan in me was when Cole called Sheamus one of the greatest World Heavyweight Champions of all time. Like I said, I love Daniel Bryan's current direction, but I adored positive mental attitude World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan.
It makes me sad that Smackdown's biggest storyline isn't worth caring about. Still, those kicks are crisp. I give the match 2 crisp kicks out of 5.
Daniel Bryan Eats A Meatball
What a great way to announce to the world that you're no longer vegan. Kane's burp got an incredibly loud pop. Perhaps the loudest pop for a burp in company history. Bryan committed to being sick, too. He was retching for what seemed like a full minute before vomiting in Dr. Shelby's lap. I for one welcome the new vomiting Daniel Bryan over the PETA "Sexy Vegetarian" Daniel Bryan.
Vomit = PG Comedy Gold. I give this 4 giggling kindergarteners out of 5.
We get the results of the RAWActive poll to name the team of Kane & Daniel Bryan, and Team Hell No wins. They are promptly attacked by The Rhodes Scholars, Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow.
The most noteworthy thing for me about this segment is that it solidifies that WWE considers Hell No a face tag team (tweener at least). And that's fantastic. The crowd loves them. The crowd's wanted to cheer Daniel Bryan since the day after WrestleMania. Let us have some fun.
Tag team storylines? In my WWE? I give this 3 pay-per-view filler matches out of 5.
Alicia Fox Just Wants To Watch The World Burn
Seriously, why does Alicia Fox transcend heel/face alignments? It's like she's the only Diva that has moods, since face divas are smiling all the time and heel divas are always auditioning for Mean Girls.
As much as I hate to say it, Eve has a compelling character. You know it's going to end in her showing up on tape in a Beth Phoenix wig, but it's interesting to see a Diva that's not just scowling. It's almost as if more people in WWE should have interesting motivations! Nah.
Anyone remember when Eve was R-Truth's dancer? I'm sorry. I give this 3 Alicia Fox heel/face turns out of 5.
The Funkasaurus Meets Godzilla
Just a reminder that Tensai beat CM Punk and John Cena. Another reminder: watching Brodus miss a splash, followed by Tensai missing a splash, was hilarious. WWE needs more large people falling down.
Big Show came down and inserted himself into another storyline as an uninteresting heel because we can't have nice things.
I know Big Show's a cool guy but please stop being so boring. 0 fat people falling down out of 5.
Cena & Punk Face Off
I'm waiting for the John Cena promo where he comes out and says "the WWE Universe always has a mixed reaction! But that's what the baloney fudge and mustard gee willikers THE CHAMP IS HERE!" and then just makes fart noises into the microphone for 5 minutes.
Also, I have to give props to CM Punk for showing off another old-school heel tactic. Not letting a child high-five him as he walked down the ramp. Golden. Calling Albany "a dump" off the cuff in the middle of a sentence, and berating them directly a few minutes later. I loved it.
It seems like the more mic time Punk has against Cena, the closer we get to the "Summer of Punk" version of him we got around Money in the Bank last year. And that's a good thing. Having a bad guy that older fans can enjoy and rally behind isn't a bad thing. Smarks don't need a CM Punk that gives wacky smirks when bad guys talk to him. Smarks love the CM Punk that CM Punk loves to portray: the arrogant guy that knows he's the best.
I didn't have a problem with the happy ending: Cena standing tall and Punk writhing in pain. In the grand scheme of things, that's how it should be, and that's what Punk wants, I think. That's not to say that Cena should never lose and Punk should never win, but there's nothing wrong with having the good guy on top once in a while.
Enjoyable segment, but I hope Punk/Cena doesn't get stale. I give it 4 baloney fudge and mustards out of 5.
I'm loving the cliffhanger-ish endings that Raw has been having lately. They give you just enough so that you have to tune in next week. They were missing that for a while. Too many Raws ended with Cena smiling on the turnbuckle after winning a tag team match. But seeing Punk drive away with Heyman created intrigue. Seeing Ryback staring down Punk creates intrigue. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how this plays out.
Open-ended endings are good. Keep it up, WWE. I give it 4 heavily-breathing singlet musclemen out of 5.
That'll do it for this week, folks. Kendra should be back next week, but thanks for reading! Let me know what you thought in the comments, and I'll be sure to take all of them into account.