Total Wrestling

The Min Report – WWE Monday Night Raw – 20 02 2012

The Min Report

Straight in this week, no messing. It’s what Eve would want.

We started with a Cena promo vid to show both how he has overcome embracing the hate while at the same time become the worst best friend ever. Eve is talking to the Bellas about how she used Zack to get to the big cheese and how she’s now gonna use Cena. Yes, they actually trying to make Eve a heel. The thing about a heel is you have to care enough to hate someone. Therein lies the problem. Anyway Cena has overheard the whole thing and laughs at her. We are treated to her appalling acting as always of course. It’s a good job she’s hot.
Cena comes to the ring to open the show…quickly followed by Eve who ‘tries to explain’.  Nice use of the word ‘rigamaroo’ – John clearly likes his urban dictionary while he’s hustling on the porcelain throne. We’re treated to some pretty funny old skool Cena banter actually involving ‘sipping the skank juice’ and ‘scandalous bitches’…a quick reminder that the non-PG Cena was soooo much better than the cheeseball we’ve had to endure over the past few years. It got even better later on.  Eve decided to throw herself at Cena cueing him to state this he was ‘disease free and wanted to stay that way’. Nice HOESKI chant from the crowd although this wasn’t organic and was cued by Cena. I think I also heard a ‘pathetic skank’ in there too. I’ve know some of them over the years it has to be said. Ah, good times.

I’m sure this will continue as sideline filler for a couple of weeks until the final furlong before Mania arrives – yes its silly, but its kinda fun now for me. Assume they’ll want to tie up the Ryder thing before then – surely they cant leave any loose ends going into Cena/Rock.

Sheamus v Mark Henry
The announce team make the first official announcement on air that Bryan v Sheamus is booked for Mania. Steady pace matched, fine to watch. Sheamus won with Ginger Thunder having avoided the Worlds Comfiest Cuddle. Basically its time to start booking the main eveners for Mania strong, and cant book Sheamus much stronger than going over clean against the most dominant HW Champ of the past year.  We’re informed that #HOESKI is trending. Of course it is.

Brief sideline backstage with Big Johnny, Otunga, and Teddy to push the Raw/SD GM angle.  Otunga says he can beat anyone on the SD roster and says Teddy can pick his opponent. Johnny makes reference to the height difference between him and Teddy. If I was Teddy I’d have replied it’s because you’re stood on a skateboard, but Teddy is no Min nor CM Punk I guess. Instead he made a stupid manure joke and another even worse one about Otunga looking like Pee Wee Herman’s Godmama. Awful. One question – why are they not selling Otunga coffee flasks yet on I’d buy one. Anyway, we’re gonna have a 10 man battle royal later to decide who is number one contender for the WWE title at WM28. 5 from Smackdown, 5 from Raw. Yep, that’s right 5 Smackdown stars get to chance to contest for number one contender to the RAW title. I thought only the winner of the rumble got that choice? Oh well…

Kofi and Truth v Primo and Epico.
It’s the tag champs with another title that wasn’t defended at PPV this month! Still annoys me. At least Rosa is hot. Anyone seeing a theme here? Anyway my I HAVE A DREAM this week was bolstered by the sight of these ludicrous bubble gum awful tag belts. Along with the WWE title and the US title, please please please change these after Mania. That is all.
Match itself was ok. Kofi was bouncing around like a looney in this. As I said this time in my Elimination Chamber rundown, everyone ups their game at this time of year and Kofi was the epitome of this here, even though he was clearly suffering from the night before. Fair play to him. Standard new team winning in a non-title match. They may well run this out to face again at Mania perhaps – which would mean 2 less obvious participants in MITB…if it happens now. But more on that later. Could be future decent tag team here in Kofi and Truth? Why not give them Ron Simmons as a manager, and they could be this generations cheesy version of Doom.  Speaking of Ron Simmons…

The next HOF inductee is announced, and DAMN you know who it is. I’ve always liked Ron Simmons, not so much in his Faarooq days, but when I growing up watching WCW I always rooted for him. I was black back then of course. I felt his plight. Distinctly remember when he beat Vader for the title – great moment. Nice reminder of how awesome Jim Ross is on commentary here when he’s allowed to do what he does best. They talk a lot about how much stars like Rocky Johnson have done for black people in the industry but Simmons is a big a part of that as anyone for me. Interesting that the promo vid they showed seemed to miss out any Faarroq footage. Weird as that period was a big part of the birth of The Rock and more than anything how he actually debuted in the company. Will look forward to seeing him get his recognition in Miami this year. Good surname too, Simmons. If I wasn’t called Minogue I’d definitely have that as my surname.

Let’s move on…time for a Jeri-promo! Classic old skull promo from Jericho. Usual high quality. No surprises. We’re reminded that he is the best in world at everything he does apparently. Of course if he really was, he wouldn’t need a third try this evening at becoming the number one contender/the champ. But we’re not supposed to think about that I guess.

David Otunga v Ezekiel Jackson
Yes, you read that right guys and gals. Teddy Long had the entire SD roster to choose from and he chose…Ezekiel Jackson. Grab a coffee break peeps, we know who’s winning this one. Yep there it is. Seems that Carlton has just officially passed the jobber torch over now perhaps. Not sure Zeek is that bothered…in fact he even appeared to have a little kip as he took the cover. Just nice to be on TV I suppose.

Cole lets us know that a ‘situation is developing’ between Trip and Taker. 3 points here.
1) no shit Sherlock
2) I think at this point last year we’d gone way past their rivalry ‘developing’ to be honest
3) you’re an idiot Cole.
We’re treated to a very weird shot of Taker walking to address us next. Now THERE are your clown feet people!

What can you say about the Taker/Trip promo that probably hasn’t already been said online by now? Basically this was REALLY strong for me.  Everyone expects these two to have great chemistry, timing and all the rest – they’re veterans after all (the last of their kind apparently!) but it’s still great to see it play out.  Few great lines in here most notably the line about Trip knowing he was never as good as HBK. Its the truth. The truth hurts you know, it doesn’t just set you free! Key things we learned from this;
1) Even Taker is not too big to get the ‘What’ treatment.
2) Trip’s real surname is clearly McFly as he buckles to threats only when he’s called a chicken.
3) We’re getting HIAC at Mania. Epic. Though this possibly casts a shadow over MITB being on the same card. I hope not. I can take more than one gimmick match at a big event. They could make it work. The matches have emphasis on totalling different spots for the high points for me. Guess we’ll have to wait and see…
4) If Taker leaves the ring first having not won a match, they change his music. Weird.

Lots of banter it seems going about about the dislike for the ‘What’ chants at Taker. I say so what. He’s a pro, he handled it. What’s he gonna do? Have a hissy fit in the ring and come out of character? It’s not disrespectful, it’s a fans choice. If they don’t wanna see Trip/Taker let them try and be disruptive as long as it not physical. Being a fan is about opinions. No-one is bothered when anyone else gets it. Hell, Cena now makes a living out of the crowd trying to disrupt him. Bottom line (sorry to feed the Austin fire even more) is if you pause during a promo nowadays you have to expect there’s a chance that chant will start. Whoever you are. Remember NO-ONE is bigger than the company after all…isn’t that right Vince?

I assume the new music is gonna be the theme to Trip v Taker for WM28. Obviously I failed to mention any sort of update on Taker’s wig situation. Well it looks like he’s keeping it clean shaven to me – he was hooded and the full shape of his head was clear to see. I like it.  He was back to a more ministry-eque robe with his arms on show and showed how much size he’s generally lost since last year. There was much talk of Taker bringing the Apocalypse at WM28. True enough wweshop is promoting Takers new Apocalyptic Warrior t-shirt in time for this. Now I don’t want to say I told you so months and months ago but it certainly looks like an Angel of Death guise to me. Stick that in your pipe Lagana!  I. TOLD. YOU. SO. 25th July 2011. It’s about time actually that they did it  – I’ve been wanting it for years now. It’s the most logical extreme progression for the character. What’s a bigger force of the macabre than Death himself?

Daniel Bryan v Santino
Essentially a squash. Again, only right tanned proper to book the WM main eveners strong over the next few weeks. Evidently Bryan is going up against Punk on SD this week. Hopefully will be as solid as the last time, but I expect another schmoz finish. It’s great to have that calibre of match on weekly programming but in all honestly it should be kept for PPV. In fact if Jericho wasn’t around, The Best In The World angle should have been between these two. But we’ve been here before…

Kelly Kelly and Aksana v The Bellas
Ultra quick match as it should be. Bellas won after ‘Twin Magic’. Doesn’t really work when one partner isn’t really in any danger or massively fatigued though. And nor should they be after 2 mins in the ring. *Insert anal bleeding joke here*  Isn’t it crazy now to think that Kelly Kelly was Divas champ for so long? I mean it was crazy back then, but you know what I mean…

We were then treated to something we just don’t see anymore. Cena captivating the audience in a promo. You could feel it in the crowd. They were actually listening. The booing settled. He spoke with confidence and genuine conviction. For once I was able to actually ‘suspend my disbelief’ while watching him. The promo hit some home truths and its exactly what both the match at Mania, and more importantly what Cena himself needed right now. This was the Cena of old before he became all cheesy. There was attitude here and it was genuinely great to see. Bravo. Such a turn around from the previous night.

Is there a genuine heat between them? Who knows. Who cares. As long as they can bottle this tension, maintain professionalism and use to the best of their abilities at Mania it will great. The crowd are gonna be hot for this whatever. Like Hogan/Rock we’ll remember the atmosphere more than the match itself. Who wouldn’t I want to be right now? Vince. Who goes over in this match is still a mystery to me. And I like it that way.

Evidently Rock will be addressing Cena in response next week. Interesting to hear his reception. He’ll get a massive pop at Mania whatever but be interesting to see how a non-hometown crowd react after Cena’s word here. This speech was intended to make even the marks think hard.

If I were Cena I play the jealously card in the runup too to add some more tension. Think about it – in this generation Cena is THE poster boy. The figurehead. He is love him or hate him, The Man. And for the past 7 few years there has only been one. In Rock’s era he wasn’t THE man. He was one of several. Austin, Rock, Trip – all the man among a few others. At times their status swapped between each other…but it was never a one man show.  Just an idea…

10 Man Battle Royal to challenge Punk for WWE Title at WM28
Punk came out for commentary in his infamous jacket. Some good banter with Cole which came across as genuine heat sometimes. Punk was a lot more animated as he approached the ring I thought, taking time to address a lot of the Punk signs on display, especially the Punk for President one. As Vince said at SummerSlam 2005, “Hey, why not?” Punk touched a 14 year old girl on the arm at one point who appeared to have her first orgasm as a result. That’s the power of the champ people! Nice line when Punk said he wouldn’t want to be across the ring from Khali at WM. Co-announcers actually ruined that line by adding the ‘for a variety of reasons’. Didn’t need to be said. Ruined the subtle humour of what Punk does best. Anyway participants are ‘the others’ from EC. Yes, that’s right they ALL get another shot. Clearly it’s ok to fail in WWE because of the lack of depth on the roster.

Here we truly saw the good, the bad, and the ugly of this industry.

The good? Well for me this was more watchable in terms of quality than this year rumble. Not difficult I know some of you will be thinking, but the effort level was there. Again, it’s that time of year I guess.

The bad? Khali is just so limited he adds nothing to this type of match. We all knew who was winning and the inclusion of a ‘behemoth’ should ad least add some uncertainty to that. It didn’t. It never does.

The ugly? Well this is unfortunate part of this business we all love, but why I hope banter aside we all respect what these guys to to entertain us week in week out. It’s dangerous. Nice spot where Shows throws Ziggler out results in Wade Barrett semi-dislocating his elbow and putting him out for somewhere between 4-6 weeks it seems. Position of his arm was clear to see when he went down and pain was obvious – this is from a former bare knuckle fighter remember. Ziggler narrowly avoided serious injury too (evidently he worked dark match afterwards).

Nobody’s fault here – tight space to make the catch and I think more than anything Dolph’s eagerness to sell Shows throw may have propelled him a little quicker than maybe Wade and Truth expected. Massive shame for Barrett who, bias aside with him being a Brit, has had a great year and really worked hard to up his stock. May well have been a MITB contender if they were gonna go there at WM. Punk added the left-field comment of the night with the reference that one of the EMT’s looked like Buck Zumhofe.  What do you mean who? He does loves to remind us that he’s ALWAYS been a WRESTLING fan doesn’t he.  He’s The Best In The World at that probably. At whatever point Punk decides to hang his wraps up, please please please WWE offer him a lucrative contract as a colour commentator. That is all.

Anyway, Show is screwed by Cody extending their set-to at EC PPV and assuming setting up at match at Mania for IC belt? Show in a proper match at Mania? Are you serious bro?! I guess Shaq has definitely said no now then. Maybe a guest ref or in someones corner perhaps? Jericho wins and sets up him and Punk at Mania. They do the obligatory staredown, Punk extends his hand and Jericho refuses it. Nice and simple way to under line the heel and the face. It doesn’t need to be complicated. It never has done with these two.

We’ve got 4 big matches confirmed now and I still love the uncertainty of the rest even though the lack of proper build will ultimately annoy me.

Massive turnaround from last week. Much stronger for me. Again a lot of promo, but the quality was there. Good Battle Royal especially. I like the re-growing popularity for Santino too. He’s a great entertainer – there’s a company man for you. Few little reminders of peeps we may have forgotten too which I guess will carry on into next week as we start to build the undercard for Miami. An enjoyable Raw. Same time next week folks.

I can’t believe I’m gonna say this but they go to John Cena. Generally a fine vocal performance reminding us of the edgey Cena of the past that nobody minded as a character when he first arrived. You know, when he was booed for all the ‘right’ reasons.

Michael Cole. He really is just an arse. I know there’s a lot of conjecture about how much of this is character etc but he even with his toned down version of himself he still comes across as a complete arse. And I didn’t even mention the Kofi Rhodes thing. I couldn’t do it justice if I tried. I would have gone withe Eve but that body more than makes up for her acting this week. Girls who can’t wrestle are supposed to be stupid after all.

I’m The Min. And Mike Mizanin thinks I’m Awesome. It’s true. It’s damn true.

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