The Min Report – WWE Monday Night Raw – 27 02 2012
A TALE OF 2 PROMOS
The headline says it all. That’s what this week was all about. 2 promos that defined what 2 of the 4 ‘main events’ at this years WrestleMania are all about. I’m gonna focus on the main stuff this week…not a great deal to dwell on elsewhere.
Ahead of time everyone knew what tonight was about…or supposed to be about at least. The Rock’s retort to Cena’s brilliant promo last week. We got the video package treatment to remind us of Cena’s words last week and we got the retort later sure. It didn’t go quiet as I’d expected but in fact it set up WM28 better than I ever thought. 3 weeks ago I was losing interest in this match. Now I’m squeezing my bladder so hard in case I pee myself I’m so excited. Big bravo to WWE, Cena and Rock this week for that…but more later on this when I finish up.
I fear a little for the Bryan/Sheamus match at this point and think Smackdown needs to work a little harder to create some buzz for this now. At the moment I’m still seeing this as a payoff to them both for the screwjob they got on the card last year rather than as a payoff for what they’ve brought to the company over the past 12 months. I guess encapsulated in this is that however you look at it, the Heavyweight belt (sorry Championship Title) is still the old NWA/WCW title…and Vinnie likes to keep it second fiddle.
We got over 10 minutes of Punk/Jericho at the start of the show, plus over 20 mins of The Rock (and Cena) at the end of the show. That’s half an hour of talking in a 1hr40 show without all the extra ‘rigamaroo’ . This isn’t a bad thing in the run up to Mania. Actually the less action the better so we can build the tension to when everyone actually ‘goes at it’.
Champion V Champion is announced and here comes Punk. Yep that’s right, we’re getting Punk v Bryan…again. This is the 3rd time we’ll have seen this on free TV recently whatever the schmoz finish they come up with. That makes no sense to me. These are 2 of the premier WRESTLERS in the company and holders of the respected brand’s main titles. It’s the sort of match that deserves build and respect. Not to be used as a side note pawn in a quite frankly dull as dishwater GM storyline which we are reminded of as Punk awaits the arrival of Bryan. Quite frankly I don’t care who’s in charge. I preferred it when we didn’t know…and no I don’t mean the anonymous Raw GM!
Jericho however interrupts proceedings before Bryan makes it to join Punk. He led by reeling off his accolades, and talked of how he bucked the system and those in the back to concentrate on going out to have the best match every night until he was recognised as the best…rather than just saying it or putting it on the back of a t-shirt. Punk has flipped it on its head this week to insinuate that Jericho is purely jealous and interesting has thrown the ‘the man’ card at him that I suggested Cena use against The Rock last week. “I’m on top swimming with sharks while you’re dancing with stars”, may be one the best lines in this feud yet. The funny thing about this is while yes it’s true, it’s also true about Punk too (to my major distain). Cena is still ‘the man’ as we all know and until that change that Punk wants is truly facilitated as he puts it. We all know it’s more fun waiting for that change to happen though than when it actually does – rarely is the payoff better than the ride. Well in wrestling anyway…
Yeah there was a couple of f’ups – Punk said that Jericho beat Stone Cold and Brock in the same night to become the undisputed champ, and Jericho also called himself the ‘undeserved’ best in the world (Interesting choice of words to say the least!) – but this was generally strong. The chemistry is building for all to see. It set the stall out for where this match lies at WM28. To underline that this is the main WRESTLING event of the evening come April 1st. Best in the World v Best in the World. Simple. And that’s all that matters here. This DOES promise to be one of the best WRESTLING matches at a WrestleMania in my opinion. My only hope is that they get a good 30 mins plus to tell the story in the ring that they are both worthy and capable of doing. This one is bubbling nicely. In closing, does anyone know where Chris Jericho’s eyebrows have disappeared to? There was clearly an awful lot of make-up on him too. HD was really not his friend this week.
CM Punk v Daniel Bryan
Most of the commentary during this match was aimed at the GM situation. Again a slap in the face for me to the talent in the ring in a sense but I guess this again points to the lack of depth in the roster capable of providing a worthy backdrop to this charade. The more they use this match as an aside the more it ruins a future feud between them for me however. I’ll remember what these guys did in the ring still in 6 months time…clearly that’s longer than the WWE wants me to remember stuff of course. Trip has never faced Taker at Mania by the way now probably.
AJ was at ringside and was used as a distraction by Bryan to halt a Punk torpedo. AJ is hot – I love the innocent rock chick look. She serves as a distraction to me most of the time she’s on screen. As expected we got the schmoz finish – technically I think Bryan got the win DQ after interference from Sheamus – but the result in inconsequential of course here as long as the neither champ gets beat clean.
Ace got involved, as did Otunga…and Santino…and Teddy. And while this was going on, Jericho came back to attach Punk on the ramp with a blindside jump, scoop slam and then THE REAL WALLS OF JERICHO! Great to see it actually being applied properly. Another thing to highlight about Jericho is yes, this is a 41 year old man in leather pants. The ridiculousity (new word) of this is only inflamed when he takes his jacket off. Of course it fuels the egomaniacal attributes of his character so it’s cool, but I feel a Jerichon Bon Jovi sign for WM28 coming on. Don’t worry I’ve tweeted it already. #JerichonBonJovi
Pointless interlude with Josh Matthews follows outside the ‘trainer’s room’ where CM Punk has “just been taken into” after his attack. This isn’t a trainer’s room. And Punk is probably nowhere near there either. I hate these crappy bits. Why would he be with a trainer? Surely a medic is more appropriate? Cut to Cole and Lawler who stick up for Jericho and Punk respectively. Aren’t Lawler’s little screwy faces funny – they really show off his ever-increasingly concave head. It’s like someone is digging him up from inside his nose. I guess years of ‘boosters’ to help you keep up with women 30 years your junior will do that to a man’s snout.
Hey, let’s have a reminder about the Trip/Taker match we all forgot was happening at Mania this year! Time for Cole to f’up as starts by saying let’s take you back to last week…before telling us we’re going back a year instead to look at last year’s match. This is a great reminder though. at the time I wasn’t actually blown away by their match at WM27. Now I’ve seen it a couple more time, it really is pretty bloody good. I hope for more of the same this year. I’m really intrigued by the near-certain inclusion of HBK in this match. Mainly because it points towards a chance of some controversy in the result. If Taker isn’t going to lose (and I don’t think he should), and is gonna finish at 20-0 ( and I DO think he should) I think the result should be cleaner cut than his new bonce. There’s talk now of Foley maybe being involved. Foley said this week that he’d love to do commentary on it. That would be great.
Kelly Kelly Kelly Kelly Kelly v Nikki Bella
I’m a little concerned that we’ve now seen Kelly 2 weeks in a row, but we haven’t seen the champ Beth or any hint of Kharma. That’s poor. They highlighted a KK tweet about her feelings towards Eve…I guess this is the next women’s feud we are supposed to care about? Hey, at least we know who’s next in the queue for a go on Kelly don’t we Zack Ryder. Woo woo woo…
There was some rolling around for 15 seconds (probably about the time I’d last with KK in fairness) before someone started shouting boring (I wouldn’t do that…even if she was). Usual short clunky match of no quality whatsoever. Kelly ruined the finish by not faking any sort of pressure to Nikki’s shoulders. Quite frankly Nikki could’ve comfortably read a book under there and still kicked out in time if she wanted. Side note, KK’s hair offends me.
John Cena v The Miz
Repeat of last years WM main event. More cheers than boos for Cena this week – last week has clearly been effective. The Miz comes out with a mic to tell us he’s got something to get off his chest. No it’s not Vince’s balls, but some whining about not yet being involved in Mania. Of course if less people had failed wellness this year, he’d probably be a tag champ heading to WM28 in a TLC to defend against Kofi/Evan and Ziggler/Swagger. I feel for him in a way. He should be out here warning kids against the dangers of synthetic weed. Miz makes a great point about the amount of travelling and general PR he does for the company. He really does get around more than Kelly Kelly. He claims he going to beat Cena cos he’s The Miz and he’s bug-eyed, sorry awesome. He won’t beat Cena of course. This won’t last long…oh look he’s tapped in 4 minutes. They cut to The Rock skipping without a rope. Strange. I do find it funny how for years Rock slated Stone Cold for his bald head and goatee. Look at him now.
Primo/Epico v Truth/Kofi v Ziggler/Swagger
In another bizarre turn of booking rather than trying to build a story for tag titles in the run up to Mania, they are giving away title shots just a few weeks before. Makes no sense to me. It looks like they are trying to put some teams together now again and make the division a little more credible again. I know the wellness stuff I just talked about hasn’t helped matters in recent months here, but I’d really like to see at least half a dozen long-term pairings put together. I have no problem with Ziggler/Swagger being one of those teams…although I have a suspicion we may get Ziggler v Swagger at Mania yet for the US belt. If they stay allies than Swag needs to drop the belt. Funniest part of the match without a doubt was having to ensure that ALL 6 stars were sent to the floor at the same time so they could go to commercial. Priceless. The match was decent enough. Some fun spots, and served to increase the strength of the champs against strong opposition which was good to see as they retained in as clean a fashion as you can hope for in a triple threat match. They should look strong in a build up to a match at WM28 so this is the right thing to do. Have them build momentum so that mid-card singles stars want to get together to build teams to try and beat them.
In fact my I HAVE A DREAM this week is with this in mind. At WM this year let’s have an open invitational tag team MITB match to win a shot at the tag titles whenever, wherever (rather than a shot at the major gold). That would instantly increase the stock of the titles. They could use it as a chance to bring in new belts and build some great new teams. Maybe even a chance to have a cameo or two from some legends…Goldust/Booker perhaps? With mania being so much about the 4 main singles matches at the moment, the card is crying out for some interest in a mutli-star match-up. This would work for me. Rosa Mendez check this week by the way – still hot.
Kane came out at the end to decimate everyone. Perhaps Kane is set to be involved in the tag division soon. I’m going for Ryder to be his partner with the Eve issue being his catalyst to embrace the hate – could be a cool pairing. Classic mix of power and finesse. Old skool.
Right on cue in fact we’re reminded of the Eve story to date including all the skank juice hilarity of last week. Eve comes out looking quite frankly incredible and cuts a tepid promo about how basically it’s not her fault that she’s hot and that men want her, and get used by her. In fairness the girl speaks the truth – she says there’s not a man in this world that wouldn’t love to be used by a woman like her. Definitely not men like me at least. I am one of those guys. I can’t be the only one who imagines that the mic is my penis when she holds it up to her mouth?
Anyway, backstage Kelly Kelly approached Eve to question her new outlook on life. Eve laughed the most unconvincing laugh ever, while it appeared that Alicia Fox wandered into shot by accident and just decided to stay there. I see no other reason she was on camera. Why do I smell some god awful diva battle royal for the title again at Mania this year?
We then got the trailer for Bending The Rules, the new movie starring Edge. I know this is bound to be awful, but I think this looks kinda fun. Potentially Edge could be a great comedy actor in roles like this. I’ll definitely be illegally downloading this for sure. Cole also plugged the return of Randy Orton to Smackdown this week and the potential impact to Daniel Bryan. Triple threat for the HW title still a possibility at WM28 for sure.
Sheamus/Big Show v Cody Rhodes/Mark Henry
This was purely more fuel to plug the Rhodes/Show matchup for the IC title at Mania (one assumes). Another video package ‘presented’ by Cody showing Big Show’s Embarrassing WM moments. I like these. It’s a cheeky set up for a match and Cody looks really comfortable in his role. I’m hoping for big things for Cody next year. Match itself was short – Cody tagged in Henry and ran away (brilliant), Henry took a few punches and a spear, the Sheamus tagged in to Brogue Kick Henry for the win. Yes, once again, Henry is back to being the jobber he was having been the most dominant HW champ of the past year. WWE logic everyone. Still going strong.
The Rock addresses John Cena
And then it was time for big retort. I’m assuming there’s been a lot of online buzz about this today – I’ve largely stayed away from it until now bar sending out a couple of comments so it doesn’t ruin my opinion, in the same way I don’t read other reports until I written every week either. I’ve seen a few comments but won’t let it steer anything here. I’m guessing everyone has seen it so I won’t go over everything – there was an awful lot that went down. Fruity Pebbles, Kung Pow Bitch, Missing Balls, Lady Parts – it’s all there for you to watch back, but anyway…
We got the reminder again of what Cena said last week before The Rock arrived to his usual massive pop. Big response from the crowd. My initial reaction to this is the same for any Rock promo. I feel he milks it too much…and I’m a big Rock fan. He showed us the goosebumps on his arms. From early on whether it was deliberate or not he was stuttering over his words a little, and there was a little nervousness in his voice. I found it kinda strange. Cena remarks are to be fair correct. Does anyone really care if Kung Pow Bitch is trending? It’s cheap line for a cheap pop from Rock (same as all the legends mentions) but I guess that’s the point in how they are positioning him here. They said Kung Pow was trending, it should be Kung Po for those who know their Chinese and their chicken – you’d think with how much fast food Americans eat they would know this eh? At least Rock pointed out the main issue most of us have with Cena – it IS the fact that he’s been so shoved down our throats for too long and too consistently. I guess the trouble is that it’s the same point that Punk made back in June. No new ground here. Cena pointed out Rocks promo notes on his wrist. I noticed this on the first watch right away and actually wondered if he did in fact have a new tattoo weirdly. I’m guessing this was all on purpose of course. I’ve watched this a couple of times now and can’t blatantly spot Rock checking them to be honest. I particularly like the question over the difference between ‘Dwayne’ and ‘The Rock’, and Cena’s digs at Rock’s tags for cheap pops.
Again as of last week, I’d like to think that these two actually don’t have genuine heat between them. Why? Because if that is the case it shows just how good these two are…as (in a TV drama way) I currently believe they do. Or more to the point, I’m suspending my disbelief that they don’t. And that’s great. It’s what the match and the occasion needs. As I said last week, this one isn’t about the match, or the WRESTLING. This one is about the passion and the moment. And currently they’re are both delivering the right build whether it’s deliberate or genuine or whatever. Watch this one closely again folks – some of the facial expressions and gulps for air would indicate that even as a work, some of these ‘home truths’ resonate with both guys. It’s almost like a battle over who can actually be the most professional now. I’m sure some of these comments do hit home a little hard…but it wouldn’t work if they weren’t intended to. I’m loving it.
The best part of this whole feud now is how the tables and roles have flipped and turned and now come to a point where it’s a level playing field. I mean, did I for one second think I’d be commending Cena for his performances a month ago? Hell no! We started with Cena being the smiley cheeseball, while Rock was all fire and venom. Last week Cena found his fire, and this week it was Rock who came out all nervous and cheesy initially. Now it’s serious for both – Cena is purposeful and confident, while Rock is looking stern and shook up. The story is that Rock is rattled and the joke that this match was a year ago to him is now having to be taken for real by ‘Dwayne’. But forget if this is genuine underneath or not…it’s now a great story. Let’s not forget that this really has been building for a few years now since Rock’s comments about Cena in The Marine at 2008 HOF…and that would have been deliberate too. The potential would have been spotted back then even though this was largely cordial banter between them. Remember, if it’s on TV, 99% of the time it’s a work. That’s fine. This is great TV ‘sports entertainment’ fans – enjoy it!
I assume that next week we’re gonna get a breather from this while HBK comes back to fire up the Taker/Trip situation a little more than Cena and Rock will have one more final word each before the big day. A year ago noone thought this could last a year of build. It looks like WWE is gonna get away with it.
I’m failing to see the point of a Kelly Kelly match most weeks, but 2 in a row is too much when we should be starting to build a legitimate threat to the Divas title instead. Last week’s rule applies again – I’d choose Eve but she’s too fit.
Cena again for a second week running for me. I feel like I’m in an episode of the twilight zone at the moment! Very strange feeling. But again, credit where it’s due, he used his 4 minutes well against Miz and took the Rock segment to another level with a vocal delivery that equalled if not surpassed last weeks effort. At the moment, I CAN still see you John, but I don’t mind at all.
4 Raws to go now until the big pay off…
The Min. AweSimm, etc etc. You know the score.
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