I cannot get over how quickly things have changed in the WWE. We have been caterwauling for the past couple years about how corny Cena has become and how much this PG Era has taken from us as long time and hard hitting wrestling fans. Personally, the last straw for me was the white towels covering even the slightest hint of blood. Personally I thought it was a bit much when they used to replay segments in black and white because they thought the bloodshed was too much, that there was too much red on our television screens, but I'd gladly go back to those days. Heck, it was only last summer that Punk's pipe bombs were so stimulating, so exciting because we'd become so bored with what the WWE had to offer.
As much as I love Rocky, and I surely do, he didn't bring more than a touch of the AE back to us fans. Yes, Rocky is sexy, well spoken and talked about more pie, strudel, and lady parts than we'd heard about in a very long time, but that was all talk. While I wasn't for or against Brock's return, especially after his final match in the WWE – that monstrosity with Goldberg that only ended well because of SCSA – but he's brought a spark back to the WWE that we've been missing for so long. Rocky dropped more cuss words than we'd heard in eight years of Cena promos, but Brock did so much more with one punch. I was more excited tuning in to watch and write a taped RAW than I have been a live RAW in a very long time. It's that excitement that brought me to the Live Smackdown last week that completely screwed the pooch, but I was still thrilled to come back to RAW this week. I'm even not kvetching too much about next week's three hour RAW, but wait until next Monday, I will be. Even with that coming up, I'm thrilled with the direction RAW has been taking. It's not just Brock who is proving that he's bringing the pain, Jericho is bringing the booze and the heartache. Now, if we could get Lord Tensai on the right page, then RAW would be taking another big step in the right direction!
WWE Championship Match > A
I was wondering how Punk was going to pull this one out, but I knew he would so far from home. That Extreme Rules is in Punk's hometown also told me that Punk wouldn't be dropping the strap in England. Of course the fans were into this match from moment one – thank you London – and that added so much to this match. That they were yelling "YES!" for Punk showed me just what fun the entire show would be. While Henry's chair shot to Punk's back didn't look like it had a lot behind it, Punk's Savage elbow (as I like to call it, though the WWE never will) with the chair was beautiful! This was a great way to start RAW and really set the tone for the show.
Winner – Punk
In Ring Segment > A-
I have to admit that when I read on WNW that there would be something about Punk in a pub, I was looking forward to something really big, but him going in and out was nothing. I will stop into a pub (though I'm sure quite different on this side of the pond) for a bite to eat more often than a drink, so I don't see the big deal. I thought we were going to see Punk wallowing in a pint or five. That was a bit of a letdown, even though Jericho was great on mic.
Backstage Segment > B
R-Truth is such a goober, but he's been playing his character well and seems to be having a blast with his imaginary friend. At least they kept this segment short.
Santino vs Otunga > C-
I understand why VKM wants to push Otunga, but he can't keep up in the ring! He has a great look and an awe inspiring physique, but his ring work is elementary and sloppy at best. The worst that I've seen at indy shows is still better than Otunga in the ring. Santino's ring work is actually quite good when booked to show off his skills, but when he's not he's still glowingly better than Otunga. So far the only thing I've seen Otunga do well is how he uses the ropes to drop his elbows. I'm downright thrilled that Santino didn't drop the strap to the likes of Otunga!
Backstage Segment > C+
While I'm not put off by this character as it seems many fans are, I'm just not impressed with how the character is coming across. This was better than I expected after his first two matches, but still not up to par for the WWE.
Video > A
I was very impressed with the 'interview' Brock did. He really has grown a lot while gone from the WWE, but I loved his comment about Cena carrying his bags if Brock had stayed with the company. It's a fun game of 'what if' to play, but I think Brock might be more right than Cena would like to think. I also have to say what a great job the production crew did with this segment. I beat up on the TNA/IW production crew so much, the WWE production crew should get the props they deserve when they do such a great job.
WWE Rewind - B
I loved Kane's line after knocking Cowboy and then Orton out on Smackdown. I was about on the floor laughing the first time through. I actually made Stacy watch it later and he agreed with me that no one could deliver that line like Kane. Has anyone read Journey Into Darkness: The Unauthorized History of Kane? I can't say it's the best book the WWE has put out, but it's an interesting read an a heck of a lot better than that other novel they put out!
Kane vs Ryder > C
Poor Ryder keeps getting the short end of the stick. The way he was bounced around was a little too comical for my taste. There had already been one comic match, we didn't need another. And Kane on mic didn't add to his feud with Orton the way his one line did on Smackdown.
Backstage Segment > A
Kofi was good, but AJ was great and Bryan was untouchable! I just went back to see how many times Bryan yelled "YES!" Both Stacy and I counted and came up with twenty-five. That's pretty impressive work, not that I expect anything less from Bryan. I'm so glad the WWE is letting him run with this the way he is. Bryan has more than proved himself as a top player and I wait each week to see what he's going to do next.
In Ring Segment > B+
Cena has stepped back up with his promos again. I'm glad he only had one week of wallowing in self pity, because if it had lasted I'd have wanted to kill him myself. He showed some spunk last night and hopefully will continue to show spunk going in to face Brock, but at this point, Brock's going to flatten him!
Backstage Segment > D+
I saw no reasoning behind this segment other than to give Hornswoggle his show bonus. It looked silly, but not in a good way.
Kofi vs Bryan > A-
Put Bryan in the ring with anyone and you're guaranteed a great match. Yes, WrestleMania was a fluke, but it sure has done great things for Bryan's career and standing with the fans. Bryan in with Kofi made Kofi look that much better and I'm a huge Kofi fan. Hopefully TPTB in the WWE are seeing how much Kofi has grown and will continue to push him further. I'm loving the thought of him going into a program with Bryan, but hopefully it's not them fighting over AJ. I'll admit that's part of the AE that they can leave behind.
Winner – Bryan
Funkasaurus vs Dolph > C
While I love seeing anyone get the better of Dolph, Swagger and Vickie, this was a mess. They really needed to tighten this segment up a bit, then the story of it all would have come through better. As it was it was all I remember is Dolph's gravitational pull and Vickie landing on her bum a couple times. A few little tweaks and this could have been so much better. I also don't like Dolph and crew being reduced to comedy and this was the third comedic match of the night! Why?
Winner – Funkasaurus via DQ?
Backstage Segment > C-
Eve didn't get here moment alone with Laurinaitis. I think Laurinaitis and Otunga missed the point, but maybe she enjoyed having Otunga watch.
Chief Jay Strongbow
While it's horrible to lose anyone, seeing a wrestler in this day and age make it to a nice old age makes me smile. My mother is sad over his passing as he made a big impression on her when she was young. She's not much of a wrestling fan now, but she loved watching him way back when. WWE did a lovely job with this video. He will be missed.
Backstage Segment > D-
Each of these segments got worse and worse. Glad this was the last one. I was really hoping for something fun when R-Truth first showed up, but this whole thing bombed in a big way.
Khali & Big Show vs Primo & Epico w/ Rosa > C-
Why? Just, why? I love Big Show, and I'm really enjoying the Colons, but Khali? That man needs to go away! I feel so bad for the Colon boys being stuck in this mess.
Winners – Khali & Big Show
Cena vs Tensai w/ Sakamoto > B
*sigh This was the last think I wanted to see. Normally when they show the graphic of a wrestler facing a mystery opponent, the form of the unnamed wrestler is the one in the graphic, so we were thinking Jericho, or maybe Miz, or even ADR. But then Tensai came out and we all groaned. I have been expecting so much from Bloom's return to the WWE. I've heard, not just when he decided to return, but for quite a while, just how great Bloom became when he was in Japan. I was a fan of Albert, not his ring work, but I enjoyed when he ran with Test and Trish. He was so different from the rest of his team and it worked. Honestly, when he left I didn't think much of him being gone until I started hearing about his work in Japan. I was excited about Bloom's return, even after hearing about his character, but when he goes into a match and Cena's the one who has to make his ring work look better, then there's a problem.
I'm going to say it, Cena carried that match and made Tensai look better than he had in his two previous matches since returning. I know I'm down on Cena's ring work more often than not, and I'm hard on him, but it's because I know he has the potential to really show us great things in the ring. He's the face of the company and could take it to another level – the level Bryan and Punk are taking it. Saying all that, Cena proved himself for me in this match, Tensai, not so much. He lost his role as Laurinaitis' muscle to Brock, now what's the plan for Tensai. I hope he figures it out soon or I see him having some serious issues in the WWE.
Winner – Tensai
It felt as though much of this RAW was fluff and not yummy fluff at that. Silly matches that did nothing but make the wrestlers look bad. Punk, Henry, Bryan, Kofi, Jericho, Brock and Cena held this show together and were impressing when doing so. I expected so much more from RAW in London and I think creative flopped on everything but the biggest names. Hopefully TPTB take a step back and remember that a handful of guys cannot carry the company, especially through a three hour RAW.
A couple weeks ago when I mentioned that I am willing to take word challenges, but I haven't seen any – though I might have missed one somewhere. I'm serious about this. Send me a word and I will find a way to shoehorn it into one of my blogs, no matter how obscure the word. I'll even take phrases, things you really wouldn't expect to find in a wrestling Blog. It might take me a bit to find the right spot to use the word, but I will find a way to use it. I think it's a great way to keep myself on my toes and my writing creative. I'd never offer my writing guild the same challenge, but they're an evil group. You're kind, but please, be creative and make me work for it!