Total Wrestling

The Min Report – WWE Monday Night Raw – 05 03 2012

The Min Report


That’s right folks, maxi-min storyline progression, min-imum wrestling this week I’m afraid. Not that the latter is a luxury we’ve been afforded in recent weeks anyway. At least it offers some banter opportunity eh? We went straight without any pyros nor opening credits…ah here’s HBK that’ll be why. Yep, sure enough he gets his full entrance with pyros-agogo. Save a  little here, spend a bit here – we know the rules of modern WWE by now. I guess he’s not here that often after all…and apparently he hates Nickleback anyway. I can’t verify the second part of that sorry. Nice to start the show with a promo though. That never happens.

HBK announces his guest referee spot at WM28
Shawn keeps making a big thing about taking his hat off as if to show us that he still has some hair. Is this a dig at Taker, or has he had a transplant recently? Anyway, HBK is  genuinely blown-up by the time he reaches the ring – a point he’s quickly to address and admit’s he has to catch his breath. Hair and fitness aside, if i’m in that good-a-shape and able to do the things he can do when I hit my mid 40’s I’ll be a happy man.

He started by playing ‘cheesily blind’  to the fact that it was the idea that Trip not being as good as him was the final straw to push Hunter over the edge to accept the Taker match. Then he called Trip out to get it from the horses mouth.  If he really wanted it from the horses mouth he should have called out Lillian Garcia. That’s unfair. I like Lillian. But hey, there was a cheap joke available and I didn’t make the comparison initially so… Anyhoo, Trip obliges – whose walk is becoming more and more ‘smuggling tennis balls’ again by the week have you noticed? Like The Rock, because he doesn’t compete often he doesn’t come under the same rules for wellness so I’ll guess come mania we’ll see just how ‘good’ Mr Levesque has been in training. Cena as we all know sells too much merch to come under the same rules. (Probably, my lawyers has asked me to add!)

Shawn say he’d been hard on him. Yes, he said hardon. And that he’d thrown the kitchen sink at him. I didn’t see this happen but hey if Trip can hide a sledgehammer under the ring, I’m sure HBK can use whatever he wants to aswell. He referred to Trip as an Oak on more than one occasion. I’ve certainly used a word that rhymes with that to describe him over the years for sure.

Shawn’s tone was great throughout this. It was the cheeky, sarcastic HBK of the early DX days minus the adult content.  Have to be honest here though, the Boston crowd seemed to get tired of this all pretty quickly.  Worst part of this promo was the stuff about ‘people saying HBK couldn’t get the job done’ – even the most kayfabe ridden 6 year old I don’t think has ever said that. They’re really digging for ‘extra angles’ now which the match really doesn’t need. Don’t get me wrong, I’m chuffed to bits that I get to see HBK on the grandest stage of them all again in Miami. But now with the confirmation of HBK as the referee, and the seed planted that he’s not going to be straight down the line, we have an uncertainty about the finish.  I touched on this last week, and I think it’s pretty important at the potential 20-0 mark for Taker that the finish is pretty clinical. I’m  worried that actually whatever finish they go with will tarnish this now (not that it’s exactly concrete as it I know!).

WWE logic update. If Trip is still the COO and has the final say on this stuff, how did he not know that Shawn was ref or hadn’t actually agreed it himself? I guess for the same reasons he can fire Johnny Ace (with or without the ‘board of directors’)at any time but hasn’t yet bothered.

US Title Match – Jack Swagger v Santino
No idea where this booking has come from. A champ was hasn’t defended in yolks, versus a guy who has fluked a couple of recent wins and sells merch by pulling a snake out his pants. First noticeable thing – Swagger’s ricockulous new hairstyle which I can only hope is supposed to indicate his camaraderie with JL who sports the same ‘doo’. Less than 20 seconds in and indeed, Ace and Otunga are already on their way to the ring and getting involved with distractions. It’s title match, did we really expect any sort of build here? Of course not. Call that my I HAVE A DREAM this week. No more titles involved in crap like this.

They had Santino kick out of Swaggers powerbomb. The crowd didn’t care. The best parts as always were when Ziggler got involved from the outside…and that’s grasping at straws. Santino missed the cobra, Swagger applied the anklelock, Santino rolled through (yes he escaped another signature move), before winning with a horrendous rollup. I don’t mind the comedy GM angle and even the pointless character-destroying jobbing…but at the expense of a title? Again, interesting to note that this wasn’t a storyline used with the IC belt in the background. Why because the IC belt is a WWF/E original, while the US a WCW belt at it’s core. Vince NEVER forgets. Cue lot’s of pushing and shoving shenanigans, development talent posing as security, and people getting down with the trumpets to celebrate the NEW US champ. Sorry Justin Roberts, but you’ll never be The Fink when it comes to that. Just doesn’t sound right any other way. Did love Santino’s reaction though.

Last week I said that to push ZigSwag as a tag team, Swag needs to drop the belt. Well part one is done is guess. I’m past caring. We’re clearly not meant to care about the US belt anyway. Wont be surprised if the title gets switched back to Swagger or someone else on SD this week either to be honest. It looks like they’ll both be part of Team Johnny at WM now I guess. I understand that this is all to build the permanent GM storyline but why the need to besmirch a title in the process? Befuddles me. The one thing I will say here is that Teddy appears to be slowly improving his game – maybe this was story was intended to put a rocket up his arse?

The Rock’s History Lesson #1
We cut to a pre-record of Rock from ‘earlier in the day’ who states tonight is the start of the Rock Revolution. Any hopes of Pink Floyd making an comeback were unfortunately quickly dismissed as Rock went on about how in 1773 people in Boston threw tea in the river cause they were unhappy about the English rule over their country. Without the English there’d be no America of today of course – they would still be hinting in tribes and largely be a third world country. That’s called ingratitude people and forgetting where you came from. Much like how The Rock forgot where he came from when he buggered off to make a load of movies rather than stay with the boys on the road week in/week out.  That’s irony people…a circumstance that will also be lost on most Americans as it’s an intelligent form of humour they often get mixed up with sarcasm. But I digress…

Rock threw some Cena merch in the river (how many times are WWE gonna revisit the throwing things off a bridge scenario?) while spouting off the usual Rock routine that even I’m getting bored of now. They were some funny lines as always, but most of it repetitive and to be honest, after last week’s heated finish the nest step needed to stay clear of the cheese for me.

Alicia Fox v Eve
Kelly Kelly at ringside. Apparently we’re supposed to care about some Nickelodeon crap she’s pushing. Nobody cares at all. As Eve comes out Kelly states that Eve “never kicks anyone’s butt” – the same Eve that’s won her last couple of matches clean including a win against Natalia. Kelly is an idiot. I don’t rate Eve although she’s improving I have to say, but at the least Kelly needs to do with her comments is stay on top of what has been happening in recent weeks, especially as she’s about to feud with her. Stuff like this makes anything she’s involved with just sound like playground gibberish. Terrible. Simply terrible. Even more terrible though is that Eve won with a leg sweep. I despair I really do.

Zack Ryder came out to basically debut his new t-shirt, and use the line ‘Broskis before Hoeskis’ 3 weeks after it was vaguely funny. For once Cole actually hit the nail on the head – Zack has weeks to construct a retort to Eve following her snog with Cena and this is all he can come up with? Zack is an idiot too. The arena is currently festooned with idiocracy (my word).

Eve caught up with Zack and gave him a smoocharoo. Standard. Everyone loves a cheap bint.

3 weeks till Mania and still no build for Beth against anyone. This sucks pinupstrong arse and stinks so bad you’d think Natalia’s arse had been there.

Cena ‘Alone with his Thoughts’
Cena is so ‘alone’ with his thoughts and this is such an organic promo, that we are treated to several camera angles, a spotlight, and some very obvious edits. Evidently this match means everything to Cena. That’s good to know isn’t it. This version of serious Cena is so bad it’s funny. Was he supposed to be talking to someone here? Maybe Little Jimmy was under his seat? Noone remembers second place apparently? Tell that to any girl who you ensure cums first before you do. Bless Cena and his childish take on life sometimes.

CM Punk/Sheamus v Bryan/Jericho
Yes! Yes! Yes! We’re finally gonna get some wrestling (I hope)!  You’ll all know I’m not a massive fan of PPV opponents facing each other too often prior to the big match but in terms of buys I guess this helps to wet the appetite to outsiders so this is fine with me. AJ is at ringside by the way, looking great again.

We saw enough to reinforce that both title matches at WM could/should be very good. I like that we have a power guy in Sheamus involved here – Bryan can bump his arse off to make him look extra strong and it’s important that there is that extra element to this match in Miami – after all we all expect Punk/Jericho to be more a game of similar styles in oneupmanship. I really hope that all 4 guys deliver big time. They are more than capable.

The most interesting part of course was the finish here with the wily veteran Jericho getting a clean and smart pin over Punk. Punk is already selling the doubt in his mind angle. Interesting to see now if Punk gets a pin over Jericho next week, or if Jericho keeps stealing it only for Punk to get the big pin on the big day. Either way I’m on board for the ride. The irony here is that we have two of the greatest talkers in the business up against each other, but I’m happy for them just to tell the story in the ring. All the little touches like Jericho sliding the belt back to Punk after the match are great. It’s these subtleties that I love.

The Rock’s History Lesson #2
Now he’s outside a statue someone called Paul Revere who evidently rode through the streets of Boston screaming “the British are coming, the British are coming”. He’s a patriot apparently – I say only girls scream…and most of them are when British guys are coming too. We shouldn’t take any notice of statues that Americans erect (yes I said erect), as often American history is so lacking and flimsy they have to rely on statues of mythical characters to honour their ‘victories’. Exhibit A, again ironically, a statue of ‘Rocky’ Balboa outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Another disappointing recycled routine from The Rock – same material, different week, different location, different er…statue of a man on a horse. Also, how is it possible for someone like The Rock (a movie star) to stumble over so many lines when he’s clearly got autoqueue? He claimed he could have invented electricity. I say The Rock is a fuse short of a plug at the moment.

Big Show v The Miz
The Miz is here to purely here, like Ryder, to plug his new t-shirt. Half a second in and Miz ducks out of the ring…just in time to allow Cody to cut a promo – it’s almost like he knew. Another great delivery from Cody who I hope get’s the win at WM. Woooooooooo indeed. Show really has been the shits at times. Miz barely got a couple of minutes actual ring time before the WMD.

The Rock’s History Lesson #3
Dwayne is now at something called The Boston Common. The crowd are now getting visibly bored with this too. Cena’s home town granted, but I’m glad it’s not just me. Some guy even turned to the crowd with a ‘I paid for this ticket?’ look on his face. That was funny. Dwayne reminds is that it was here that the Americans “didn’t stop fighting until the fighting was done”. Well, that’s probably the best time to stop I’d say. Any sooner Rock, and generally you tend to lose. Cena doesn’t need a mic at this rate – The Rock is beating himself. We’re reminded that WM Axxess will feature over 300 appearances by WWE stars over the 4 days – and if you want to meet one of the top stars kids (you know, the ones you actually see semi-regularly on TV) it’ll cost you a cool $90 plus for a 20 second sock-in-a-cup handshake and an autograph. Can anyone tell me what’s ‘axxess-ible’ about that? Obviously The Rock won’t be there of course – that’s doesn’t come under his ‘back for good’ and ‘for the people’ mantra.

R-Truth v Kane
We got an old school vignette from Truth as he entered the ring – that was about as much input into the match as he got. Pretty quick squash here only used as a set-up for Orton to come back and get revenge for the Kane attack on SD last week. Always good to see Orton on Raw, but this one’s being built a little late for anyone to care too much in time for WM. Interesting to see what happens with Orton post-WM now, and likewise with Kane. The former just needs to get fit again, the latter being that they’ve kinda ruined the monster heel with the filler Cena angle which is his best guise. On tonight’s showing it doesn’t currently seem like Zack is too pissed at Kane so assume at this point he may well be the ‘Sensational Sherri’ in the questioned corner of either Kelly or Eve at WM. What a way to end a great year eh? I am serious bro.

Cena addresses The Rock
Cena pretty much stated what everyone has been saying since last week – that Rock isn’t adding anything new to the mix. Few glimpses here of the slightly more arrogant doctor of thuganomics which is fine with me – I found that guy quite entertaining way back when. I liked the ‘Rain Man’ line. Go ‘The Prep School Thug With No Balls Who Dresses Like A Wonder Woman Transvestite’. Another great Cena promo – even adding a few lines for the marks such as addressing wearing knee pads when he’s out just to talk. Clever.

Once The Rock came out unfortunately we saw a little weakness of both sides – some obvious out of character smirking which again took the edge off the situation. To be fair the very organic ‘Tooth Fairy’ line shook both guys off guard a bit. Kudos to the Boston crowd for that.

Nice ‘real’ finish to the segment with Cena getting involved with his home crowd, including friends and family…even chugging a quick beer. I’m down with that. Credit where it’s due he clearly loves what he does.

In closing, next week we have a ‘special’ Raw with a Rock Concert and Cena Rap. 4 words. Why spoil it now? I’m mostly interested now in this Cena ‘has to win’ angle – remind anyone of a certain Austin heel turn at Mania against Rock where he also ‘had to win’? Don’t be surprised if Cena dances with the devil come April 1st. Booking this one with a clean finish is one of the hardest decisions ever…I don’t think they will at the moment.

Punk and Jericho. I thought both were great here. Showed us enough in the ring to want a 40 minute helping of it at Mania, while telling is so much about each character without even touching a mic. That’s pure talent people. Great stuff.

MIN-IMUM points.
We got The Rock by numbers again – I hope it’s deliberate, because I love The Rock but I’d prefer a more believable edge to him at this stage and need to see some new depth.  Nothing electrifying going on here at the moment from Dwayne.

Simm ‘The Min’ Minogue.  

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