THE MIN REPORT – MONDAY NIGHT RAW – 28th MAY
Gonna comment (roughly) in order of play this week. Have to say Raw felt a bit flat and didn’t offer as much for comment, or more importantly banter as I’d like, but we’ll persevere…
Food for thought from the opening bell…
Raw started with a tribute video for Memorial Day in the US to the US troops. It’s nice that they do this of course to honour those who have sacrificed their lives. A loss that is not only heartbreaking but pointless. Really interesting that this tribute was followed by a promo focussing on Cena moaning about power hungry people being bullies, and causing pain and heartache on others for no reason other than greed. I’ll let you make your own conclusions on the irony here folks.
Big Show addresses the nation…
The promo vid also of course served to bring us up to speed on the storyline situation with The Big Show. I love that as part of this heel turn he just went back to being known as Paul White (remember when he burst on the scene in WWF to challenge Austin he was announced by his real name?) – that would be a great tick in the box
for ‘legitimacy’ that would really support his ‘no more gimmicks’, “I’m not an entertainer” persona. They won’t of course…they’ve just printed the words ‘BIG SHOW’ on a new set of t-shirts after all. Evidently there’s no-one else in his league…I’m assuming this is little league he’s talking about because I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the entire roster beat him at some point. Difficult stance this for WWE – they have to denounce all Show’s gimmicks for the sake of business without admitting it’s all a work. I think they and Show have have a good job here. I thought the promo was good – classic heel stuff. Big guys should be heels. I don’t wanna feel sorry for them. Of course the flip is that they are highlighting a feud we’ve seen too many times before, and within this is yet another effort to keep Cena ‘important’. Unless your hymen is still intact, or are the type of person who claps at bright colours and eats paint, Cena isn’t important. That’s the truth right there Little Jimmy.
Santino acts like a bellend backstage…gets his comeuppance
Are these US belt exercises Santino is doing as a warm-up supposed to be entertaining? Or is it just WWE’s general intention to make all it’s titles look like a piece of shit? Maybe he’ll put up a great fight against Del Rio and really solidify his status as a fighting champion here…oh wait…no. Del Rio’s looking in decent shape at the moment, and clearly he has a title shot coming up soon, but why use another champ to make him look strong. It’s stupid. Either unify the belt with the IC or put the strap on someone with some in-ring credibility asap. And no I don’t mean David Otunga. I still love the cross-arm breaker as a finisher – I like ‘legit’ moves being used to put people away. Here’s a thought, why not just give someone like Del Rio be the US champ for a while. He’s could use it for great heel heat as a non-yank with the title. I’d buy that more than him beating one of the top guns at this point.
Big Show goes backstage to send messages…
Nice to see that Alex Riley is still alive. And to see him get smashed against a wall by Big Show too. Not so nice to see him constantly looking down to remember/read his lines though. That’s poor.
Tag-team titles are on the line…
Well of course they are, the belts mean nothing and this match hasn’t been promoted in any way. This really does annoy me. Also when are they going to change these awful looking belts? It’s been far too long now. I coughed up something this morning that looks more valuable. I’m not against impromptu title matches on free TV every now and again, but how are we supposed to think titles are special when matches are not saved for PPV or at least promoted in advance. Somehow ZigSwag are getting another shot here, apparently arranged by Vicki. It’s a rematch apparently – don’t you have to be the losing champs to get a rematch? Anyway all is explained soon as this is basically used to be the catalyst for a ZigSwag break-up. This should have happened at OTL. 2 good things coming out of this though. Truth/Kofi starting to look more together and appear as a team, and that Ziggler is gonna go on his own soon it seems. Thank the maker! Note on Truth, I’ve been pretty impressed with him since he came back from his Wellness, and equally I thinking Swagger has been improving of late too. I’m not a massive fan of either but like to give credit where it’s due. Again, both could bolster up the US title division if needed. I like seeing younger stars coming through the tag ranks and then breaking out to go for the secondary titles.
Brodus challenges Big Show
“Heard you got beef?”. Really? People actually say that? Embarrassing.
We’re getting Punk v Bryan again!
Wrestling wise this is great of course, but doesn’t make sense. Yes, I guess officially Bryan needs to earn another title shot, but surely the ‘controversy’ surrounding the finsih at OTL is enough for a stand-up champion like Punk to just come out and say, “Hey, let’s do it again with no excuses” etc. Yet again this is a high calibre match which goes ahead unpromoted. The most bizarre aspect of this for me is that it’s in a company that is so ratings focussed of course. We then got some sort of stat about the BA Star thing again. No, I don’t care either.
Big Johnny addresses the WWE Universe…and Punk interupts
JL announced that the ‘main event’ of No Way Out would be in a steel cage. This doesn’t annoy me. What does annoy me is that Show v Cena is being announced as the main event. Why? It’s a grudge match at best. No titles are at stake. The result has no consequence (regardless of which extra stipulation may be added). Another slap in the face to the talent on the roster and the history and tradition of the company. Other than that this was basically just a segment to promote the new WWE13 game. I’m not a fan of stories with GM’s etc, I’m not a fan of JL particularly either (although I think he’s grown in his role of late), but I do love the motor-cart thing (thanks to John Canton for sharing my banter on this week last week by the way). Wouldn’t it be great if Taker was still the American Jackass on his bike, only to be address by JL on his scooter….dressed in bikers leathers. Just a thought. A few ‘college’ humour jokes here, although I’m sure Orton was on the cover of the WWE12 game? Is he not considered a wrestler then? Nice to hear someone finally addressing Otunga as Carlton though.
Punk v Bryan
It’s non-title so some sort of schmoz finish or a Bryan win was expected. They reminded us again of Kane’s part in the current story so again assumed he would be a factor here somehow. I was right on both counts. I think they got over 12 mins which was great. More great WRESTLING and a fundamentally different match to OTL which just shows the class of these guys. Hey, we expect quality from these two – it’s just great to watch. This is the difference. I don’t care who win’s or loses here, or even to some extent how much silliness has to be thrown in now and again…because they two will make it work. I love both of these guys pre-WWE work as you know, but this for me is where wrestling gets really great – when you get talent like this PLUS the production values a company like WWE can offer. Sure they can;t do all the stuff they’d get away with in ROH for instance…but hey, that’s always in the bank should they ever need to be ‘allowed’ or more ‘required’ to go the extra mile. They’ve killed themselves to get the big stage…no sense in killing them themselves now they’re here. Interesting finish with the AJ distraction to allow the exposed buckle which effectively is still a pretty clean win. AJ was looking SUPER HOT here. I mean stupidly bloody gorgeous. Look at those doe eyes. Imagine them looking at at you from waist height boys eh. I love crazy chicks too! I still foresee a Bryan and her getting back together after she costs Punk the title somehow, and that’s fine, whether it’s at OTL or later on. If Kane ends up being involved at No Way Out (possible) that hopefully means there’s still plenty of mileage in going back to just these two. I’d like a big pay off at SummerSlam for them – 60 minute Iron Man anyone? They really could be this generations Bret and Shawn.
Christian v Miz
Major point of note here was Cody on commentary. He really is becoming a great and confident talker. That’s half the battle. He still needs something extra in the ring but a good feud will give him this of course. Christian could be that guy and I alluded to last week. Whatever, there’s a real flip here to how the US belt is being treated at the moment – I’m starting to believe again that the IC title means something and I like that. Christian won with the frog splash again. I think Christian may have changed his finisher more than any superstar in WWE history. Miz stayed in the ring and mouthed off. He reeled off a number of “Where’s my…”s. I was hoping he was going to ask where his WWE ice-cream bars were. He didn’t. Shame. Orton came in to RKO him – this didn’t seem to have any significance other than using it to position Ziggler (backstage) as either Orton’s next feud (in place of the now suspended Jericho). That’s great of course. They had a decent little feud for the WWE title before and put on good matches.
Big Johnny backstage
Largely ridiculous segment, only funny because someone in the studio sniggered too loudly when JL said he might retire in 10-20 years. Also, don’t be surprised if ‘Ice Coffee’ becomes Teddy Long’s new moniker….teaming up with Sexual Chocolate. Teddy’s role is stupid although it does show you how easy it is to draw a wage from Vince I guess. Hope for all us marks still.
John Cena talks about Memorial Day
He says it’s the nations most sacred day of the year. He will of course go on to say this about Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas before the year is up also. Evidently America is a beacon for liberty and justice the world over. Really? Let’s ask every other country in the world about that shall we? Never wavering? Ever vigilant? Let’s ask the the allied troops that US troops have shot at/down shall we? Cena claims to stand for integrity and honour – I’d be all for that if he wasn’t such a poster boy for having a millionaire’s hand up his arse. Cena is a puppet. A rich puppet granted. But a puppet nonetheless. And it’s true what John Smallman says too. He does have a face like ham. Get him off my screen. Anyway, political rant over.
Sheamus v David Otunga
When commentators have to keep going back to Otunga’s physique, you know he’s got no skills in the ring. He lost of course. Otunga sold the brogue kick well granted, but generally he’s so bad that I guess it makes him in line for the US title as most idiots on twitter would seem to want at the moment.
Show v Brodus Clay
We get a reminder of the Big Show ‘sell-out’ story again…in case you missed it the first 67 times it’s been shown over the past 2 weeks. I like that Show outed Clay’s dancing and how he’s sold-out. The underlying message is true here in more ways than one. Brodus might be fun for the kids but having a novelty act squash decent mid-card talent is bad for business. And yes, Doink WAS more talented. Good to see Show dominant here, just a shame he’s doing it as a means for Cena to probably get a PPV win. Back to the subject of how titles are treated too…was there really nobody else other the tag champs available for him to squash? Great bump work for Kofi/Truth though and guess this makes ripe for the pickings for a young team to come and nab the belts now perhaps?
All in all pretty average this week, but I’m having for it to be average on the weekly shows with the occasional quality injection. WWE needs to train it’s audience that stories are being built and you need to stayed tuned every week to keep up with each one…and if you pay for PPV we’ll thank you in quality there – it’s not rocket science. The signs are there that some things are starting to change again though. I’m willing to ride this through until Summerslam – we know it’s always a bit ‘weird’ this time of year. Hey, at least we’ve got Punk and Bryan whatever happens. I’ll ignore the crap for 15 mins of them every week. Next week AJ versus Eve in a naked crazy chick KY Jelly match!*
*card subject to change
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