RAW Is Blogged - Cleveland Rocks, But Does Rocky?

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I noticed that a number of people were rather unhappy with the segment of RAW that was released after the show went off the air. Some people seemed to think Cena was trying to get something out of telling his hometown fans about his brother's struggles with his health. Personally, I thought it was nice to see Cena being a human being with struggles of his own. I'm wondering if it might have been even a bit harder after all Cena has seen through his work with Make A Wish. I'm not saying it wasn't terribly hard for what it was, but after spending serious time with very sick children, and I'm sure losing a number of the children he has met through the years, Cena knows intimately just what disease can do to a body. Sometimes going into these things blindly is better because you don't know how bad it really can be. Cena doesn't have those blinders because of his work. Further, anyone who could look at Cena's father choked up, tears streaming, the way he was, then say that Cena was just talking about his brother to get something out of it, well, just has no compassion.

Cena did something else last week, something that I missed commenting on, even though I planned on it, that I thought was very cool. I absolutely loved when Cena planted one on his wife. We all know he's married and was acting when he kissed Eve a few weeks ago, but he sure showed us where his loyalties lie at that moment. Honestly, I thought it was lovely to see him plant one on his wife, it again showed he's a real person. We've seen him with his father and brothers before, and while his father is a riot and his brothers seem full of it, seeing Cena with his wife reminded me that he's more than just an actor who does great work with Make A Wish, he's a husband and does have a life of his own.

Show Starts

In Ring Segment > B+

I didn't think King needed to be in the ring to introduce Cena. For me those were wasted moments. Cena coming out to his old music, old entrance and his old look was sweet. He was on, as if his character had never changed. It's the first time I've seen him out without his dog tags since he got them, but it brought me back to the early days of Cena and how edgy he was then. He got mostly heat when he got to the ring, but really worked hard to get the fans behind him, even though the fans in Cleveland loved Rocky!

I'm thrilled at how not PG Cena was in this segment. He hit on some solid points, hit them hard and ugly. Between the Cleveland steamer and Miami fried chicken shit, I was impressed. Yes, I had Stacy look up Cleveland steamer for me so I could comment on it during the play-by-play, but after learning what it was, I decided Richard wouldn't be thrilled and people could look it up on their own if they wanted to. I really loved seeing Cena pull the package of nuts from his pocket. It was little things like that which he did back in the day that made his segments work so well, made them memorable. Maybe he should think of bringing back some of what sent Cena to the top in the first place and show the fans that he still has it, isn't just a Fruity Pebble with lady parts. And I want everyone to notice that Cena knew all his lines and didn't stumble over them at all, and never dropped character.

Stage Segment > B+

I have to say that Vickie bowls me over whenever she opens her mouth. That she can get such heat even before even opening her mouth is impressive. Further that only two words – EXCUSE ME!! - can about bring the house down around her. Just so very cool. I wish she had been in the WWE when Eddie was, they could have been quite the unstoppable force – not that either aren't in their own right, but together, oy!

Dolph w/ Vickie vs Sheamus > B+

I really enjoy Sheamus and Dolph in the ring together an this was a solid match, but honestly it didn't really click in until the end of this match. It wasn't until it really came down to the big moves that this match grabbed me and held my attention. If I wasn't writing the play-by-play, I don't think I would have really watched this match. That really sucks because I'm a huge fan of both Sheamus and Dolph. I think both of them have the potential to be big stars of their generation, but only Sheamus is really getting to that level. I can't put my finger on exactly what it is that's holding Dolph back, but there's something there. He can't seem to break through that glass ceiling, and I don't know why that is. I just hope he and WWE figure it out before he's stuck in mid-card purgatory for the rest of his career. He also needs to get his roots done! I know that my roots are showing through and blonde hair with black roots (only in the very front for me) is not a a great look, no matter what anyone said in the 80's. One last thing. I don't know why Sheamus' brogue kick out of the blue make me think of HBK's sweet chin music, but that's how it felt to me, and that's a huge compliment to Sheamus. Also, I have to say that welt on Sheamus' back looked painful. As I said in my play-by-play, Sheamus' coloring and lack of tan added to that welt looking so painful so fast, but it would have hurt just as bad on anyone. I hope he's not hurting too badly after that one.

Winner – Sheamus

Commercial

I know that DISH commercials are usually random and and fairly local, but I loved seeing a TNA/IW Victory Road PPV commercial during RAW. Just the flip-side of seeing WWE type commercials during Impact. Maybe seeing Sting's name connected to a different wrestling company might bring in some more casual wrestling fans? I know, I know, but I really want to see TNA/IW succeed!

Mixed Tag / Handicap Match – Aksana & Santino vs Otunga & Henry > C-

I love Santino. I'm a huge fan and know that the cam can wrestle, but this match was a bloody mess. Actually, if it had been a BLOODY mess, it might have been a better match. There was more pushing and yelling between Long and Laurinaitis than was shown in the ring! Last week when they showed a lot of Long and Laurinaitis while a match was happening, it was right at ringside and the actual ring work was shown behind them. This wasn't anywhere near that good. The only things I liked in this segment was Aksana speed walking to the ring behind Santino, and that Santino was named Captain of Team Long for the WrestleMania 12 Man Tag Match. The two things that really irked me are how badly Laurinaitis' flipping his chair looked. It was so bad! The other thing was that the faces came out one by one to try to rescue each other. That's wrestling booking 101, something I'd expect from Russo (sorry, I had to throw that in after reading that he wants to teach people how to write for pro wrestling). I know it's the way things are done, I just get annoyed when the faces come off like bumbling idiots over such glaringly simple things. Not everything that's been done forever in the industry works, and for me that's a huge pet peeve.

Winners – Otunga & Henry

Video > B+

I am really looking forward to seeing Miz on Psych! I love the show, and think the reality show storyline for this episode will be great for Miz. I also noticed that Wayne Brady is on this episode and I'm a HUGE fan of his. I have already set my DVR to catch this episode as I'll be out. Don't be surprised to see me post a small article about the show after it's all said and done.

Video > D+

I don't dislike Maria Menunos, but I wish she'd decide if she really wants to be a Diva, or if she wants to be on Extra. I'm so sick of her popping up out of the blue when VKM decides he needs a mainstream female star because it's Road to WrestleMania time. I guess I should be happy that it's not Snooki. Then again Snooki is preggers, so while she wouldn't show up drunk, she sure can't be in the ring right now.

Backstage Segment > C

Friends with benefits? That's so not PG! Love it! I don't like seeing Ryder being played the fool, but if that's where they're going, they're doing a good job of it. I will say that the dress Beth had on didn't work for her. She looked like she was stuck in prom dress purgatory. I loved the dress, just not on her body. Standing next to Eve, leaned over the way she was, made her look like the dumpy sister compared to the statuesque Eve, which she absolutely isn't. I will say I though Eve's reaction to Beth toying with Ryder was handled well. She didn't go over the top with it, but it was obvious that there was a couple of feelings running around in there. It would be fun to see Ryder drop her like a Rock after she totally falls for him. Okay, that was a little catty, but I'm a woman and we all have it in us at some point, but in reality, I just think it would make for good TV and only make Ryder look stronger in the end, something he really needs.

Backstage Segment > B-

Roday worked really well with Miz and Laurinaitis in this segment. I love the character he plays on Psych because I've always been one to test myself to observe the little things around me. My house might be messy, but I know where everything is – unless someone's moved it since I was last in that room. I also test my kids to improve their skills. Roday was very cute in how he brought his character into the segment.

Mahal vs Clay > B

I have to say that Clay is an imposing force in the ring; big man in person! I hope he's learned from his past mistakes in ego and can move on from there. What was the deal with the case for Mahal's head dress? Has that been shown on Superstars and I just missed it? I'm just not overly impressed with him, so I don't pay much attention to him.

Winner – Clay

In Ring Segment > A

I will fully admit that I might be a bit biased about this segment because these are two of my favorite wrestlers, and I worry that they might not be around in the WWE for very much longer, but they're so good! HBK wasn't his normal bouncy self and sold his level of upset very well. Taker did a great job of deflecting the things that HBK thought he had said and putting them back on Trip. Taker further did a great job of threatening HBK if the match doesn't come to an organic conclusion. The way HBK backed up quickly, perfectly set up to hit sweet chin music, but then just mockingly slapped Taker on the arm was just wonderful. The further looks and issues between HBK and Trip were great, but it was Trip tossing off his buttoned up boss role to crotch chop at Taker made me smile. That Trip isn't just a suit, he's still a degenerate is nice to see. The only thing that bothers me through all this is, who named HBK as Special Guest Ref? That hasn't been mentioned through all of this, and that Trip didn't know is interesting. Will they be delving into that over the last few weeks before WrestleMania? Yes, I know it's all storyline, but find it interesting. Maybe Steph has a hand in it all? I know, I keep finding ways for Steph to come back to TV, but I want her back!

Back to Taker threatening HBK over calling this match, I have to admit that I'd love to see them have a falling out and HBK return next year for WrestleMania, but that's mostly because WrestleMania will be close enough that we're discussing possibly attending the event and I'd love to see HBK return for one more WrestleMania. Before anyone calls me out for this. The reason I have had such a problem with Flair returning to the ring after 'retiring' is because he returned to a full time working schedule. What I'm stating about HBK would be a one off event. I have no trouble with 'retired' wrestlers returning to the ring for special events, but if they're going to be right back in the ring, why 'retire'?

Miz vs Punk > B+

Roday did a wonderful job as Special Guest Ring Announcer. He made the job interesting and fun. He really seemed to enjoy himself. I also like how Miz keeps missing his WrestleMania chances. There was no way that Miz would go over Punk in this match, especially so close to WrestleMania, but I expected more from this match. Miz is solid in the ring, and Punk is just great, but this wasn't the wonderful match I had expected. The end was good, but the rest wasn't up to snuff for the two of them, but that's the way it was earlier for Sheamus and Dolph too. Very odd for it to happen in two matches on one night.

Winner – Punk

In Ring Segment > A-

I have seen a lot of people getting upset online for Jericho to bring up Punk's family history, and how Punk is playing kayfabe on Twitter, but that's exactly what I expect from the WWE and their Superstars. Jericho was downright evil in how he tormented Punk. Punk looked like he was a kicked puppy and the whole thing left me feeling raw and out of sorts. Both handled it wonderfully, and having Jericho on the tron made it so Punk couldn't just hit Jericho to shut him up. Whether this is life imitating art or not, this feud just took a huge leap forward. I've been saying for a while that I hope their match at WrestleMania isn't the blow off of their feud. I think these two, specifically these two, could carry this feud through SummerSlam and not bore us at all the whole way through.

Again, WHAT? > F

I understand what they were going for with the Law Offices of David Otunga, but I worry that it will backfire in their faces. There's specific laws lawyers have to follow when advertising on TV and I wonder if they might have overstepped their bounds with this one. Would be quite ironic if they had legal trouble over this one. I also wonder how many legitimate legal questions he's has received and will receive on Twitter. I took a cursory glance and only saw silly questions. The one that jumped out at me was about a Cena gnome being stolen and can he/she sue for that.

Orton vs Swagger > B

Orton is so good in the ring. I'm not saying he's a great wrestler, but he's good in the ring as an entertainer. He can easily get everyone's emotions going, gets people interested in the match. Sadly Swagger is the opposite. He has the look, he has the ring work, but the man doesn't elicit any emotion from the fans. I have said this a number of times lately, but Swagger needs a character overhaul and needs to figure out how to get over with the fans. He's missing it all by just that much, but that much is what's keeping him from the next level. He's boring! The problem is that he's not Lance Storm type of boring (I know Chris, but many will claim that Lance was boring, especially on mic, I don't agree, but it's said), he's just downright boring! I want to see Swagger get over (I feel the same way about Drew), but think both of them need to have character overhauls, and possibly acting classes. They need something if they want to make it to that next level.

On the other hand there was Orton who was not only engaged in the match, but he was constantly on alert and watching out for Kane who could appear at any time. Orton carried this match on an emotional level, so for that 90% of this grade is for him. I also want to mention that having Kane's fire erupt from the corners was just great. Did you know that the first time Kane appeared in the WWF and called fire from the corners, only three corners erupted? The first time and there was a problem! Luckily that wasn't a bad sign of things to come.

Winner – Orton

In Ring Segment > B+ & D

Rocky looked more relaxed coming to the ring this time than he has the past couple weeks. I know he's been selling his attitude and his anger, but some of the time it had really felt that Rocky had been sucked up into movie making and forgot how hard it is to get over live week in and week out. Even more relaxed, he seemed to take a tiny bit to get into his groove. That the fans are so wild for him just for being there live is good for the WWE, but can't be as good for getting Rocky back into the groove of working the live shows. But I do love that he gets goose bumps when he's out there. It has to be a powerful feeling to have all those people hanging on your every word. I sure wouldn't be able to do it.

That Rocky said the Cena who's been running around for eight years was the Vanilla ice and Teletubbie (Tinky Winky) spawn just shows that Rocky didn't pay any attention to Cena early on.

Rocky might not have had his words on his wrist, but he sure had them on the music stand in front of him. Cena didn't need any prompting for his rap. Rocky's song seemed longer, but much of that was working the fans and that he had the chorus between each stanza. Rocky's song had eight stanzas, Cena's had nine. Rocky really didn't know his lines for his song, he struggled. He is good for laughing at himself, but he looked the ass for not knowing the words before going out there. It was the way he went out there and thrilled the fans and about brought the house down that earned him the first grade.

But for We Will Rock You he was downright horrid! Rocky had the words up on the tron, but he obviously hadn't practiced at all and that pisses me off. He really looked the ass to end the show. There was so many ways they could have gone with this, but this was terribly wrong for Rocky. It's this ending, the fact that Rocky very obviously wasn't prepared for his songs, the fact that Rocky didn't respect the fans enough to be prepared for his segment that I'm really unhappy with him. While I loved watching Rocky and he was fun, I'm also quite disappointed in what he did in the ring. It's because of all of this that Rocky earned the D.

Post Show

I went back and re-watched both Cena and Rocky's segments on RAW, just to see how they went over straight through. Writing the play-by-play I sometimes miss the flow of things for having to stop and re-watch certain moments to get the wording correct. I wanted to make sure I had the feel of the segments before I graded them. Sadly, the second time through made it all the worse for Rocky. I wasn't as in the moment and it was a bit of a flop. I also want to mention that my grades for those segments were higher than what Stacy would have given them, and he's usually more forgiving than I am.

Actually, in the light of day, much of RAW wasn't that great. The matches weren't that wonderful and there was a lot of talk over little action. I'm still holding that HBK/Taker and Punk/Jericho were the best segments of the night – by far.

One last thing, more of a question for everyone. I was reading through the RAW Results comments and a couple people predicted that after Miz's loss he's going to turn face and join Team Long. I'm not saying I agree or disagree, I haven't had enough time to think it through. I just want to know what other people think of this idea.

KB

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