The best…..in the world.
This weeks Raw took place in Chicago, hometown of CM Punk, whose status is currently up in the air after he walked out on the company several weeks ago. Leading up to the show many people were wondering what the WWE was going to do. The WWE has done their best to try and quell CM Punk chants at shows (and remove signs supporting him) as well as doing anything to quell support for certain guys (Dolph Ziggler chants were supposedly edited out of Raw replays on the WWE network) but in the always vocal city of Chicago, I am sure many in the WWE were nervous about how it would go. The crowds have been “hi-jacking” matches more and more lately, and there was even a twitter movement to hi-jack the entire show in support of CM Punk.
Then mysteriously a rumor hit that CM Punk was indeed going to be back at the show. The cynic in me thought this wasn’t going to happen for two reasons:
1) The WWE has already capitulated to CM Punk once before, back in the infamous match against John Cena in Chicago a couple years back. At the last minute they managed to sign CM Punk to a new contract. If the WWE folded this time, it just feels like they are setting the stage for any top star to walk out and get his/her way whenever they want. The WWE rarely bows down like that, so for that alone, I assumed Punk wouldn’t be back.
2) Knowing the crowd might hi-jack the match, they might as well try and lighten the impact of the no-show by putting it out there that Punk might show up. That way people might not be as angry about no Punk yet, as they might be waiting for him to show up. The Chicago crowd is very internet savvy, so if a rumor hit the web, they would know about it.
That being said, the show started with CM Punk’s music, except instead of Punk coming out it was Paul Heyman. Heyman came out and at first got the crowd to chant on Punk and played along like he was supporting him, but then promoed about how it was the crowds fault Punk wasn’t there, because they caused Punk and Heyman to break up. That without Heyman by Punk’s side, it basically caused him to spiral downwards so badly that he eventually burned out. Punk then led that promo into blaming Undertaker as well, because it was after the match against Undertaker that Punk’s “spiral” began. Then he brought out Brock Lesnar. Lesnar actually cut a decent promo about ending the Taker’s streak.
It was actually probably the best way to handle no CM Punk at the show. Play his music, get Heyman to chant Punk’s name, basically try and get the crowd to blow it’s load on chanting for Punk. Heyman is also good enough on the mic to try and tie in that energy and distract from the fact Punk isn’t there, by leading it into the Taker vs Lesnar feud. Smart smart smart.
Since Taker wasn’t at the show, they needed something for Lesnar to do to build up some momentum. So what do you do in these situations? Feed him Mark Henry. Out came Henry and Brock Lesnar proceeded to F-5 Mark Henry through a table.
I don’t know what it is, but I can watch Lesnar throw shit around all day long. Every time he throws objects he does it without regards for anyone’s safety. I swear to god, one day he is going to injure a fan for real with the way he throws shit. He is the Daniel Day Lewis of wrestling, the dude goes so method that he forgets it’s fake. Seriously, at one point he threw a TV monitor and it almost bounced over the guard rail. I await the day we see the headline “Brock Lesnar decapitates fan with steel stairs”.
UPDATE: It looks like Brock hit someone tonight with a monitor after all!
I also like it when Brock screams in his high pitched voice and sounds like a raptor, but he didn’t do much of that. Still, it got the point across that Lesnar is strong, as that F5 was fun to watch. I wish he was beating up someone else to build momentum, since it doesn’t feel like a big deal that he beat up Mark Henry again (he “broke” his arm last time, so an F5 through a table even feels like a downgrade), but it will do the trick I suppose. I just think at this point, story line wise, Mark Henry really should just stop trying to attack Brock Lesnar. It’s not working man. Move on.
New Age Outlaws vs Usos (Usos win titles)
I’ve been confused by the NAO’s title reign this entire time. They won the titles on a pre-show, and tonight, they lost the titles to the Usos on a Raw. I guess the theory could be that it’s pushing the idea that you should always be watching WWE on any medium, just in case a title change happens, but still….If the NAO was brought in to help elevate talent, why not have a good feud happen, where the NAO did a bunch of mean things out of the ring? Build up that feud momentum then have the Usos win at a PPV? As it stands now, the Usos have a short time to try and put together an interesting feud for Wrestlemania.
Anyways, the one good thing about the match was that before it started was that Road Dogg was setting up to do his usual pre-match speech, but told the crowd they weren’t good enough to hear him do his shtick. This was good, this set the stage for NAO being viewed as the heels, which they haven’t done at all, really, their entire title reign.
Regardless, the crowd got really behind the Usos and cheered them on very loudly the entire match. It’s also good the Usos have the titles, as I am interested to see which heel team they feud against next.
Big E vs Cesaro (Big E wins via DQ due to Jack Swagger attacking Big E)
Cesaro was VERY popular with the Chicago crowd, and Big E was getting bood. It was a very short match, with Cesaro getting off one of his vaunted “feats of strength” when he handled Big E like a bag of rice, before getting off his Cesaro swing. Then Jack Swagger did his DQ finish from last week, then Big E hit Cesaro with his “Big Ending” to end the segment.
I was disappointed Cesaro didn’t get more time, because his rise in popularity is fun to watch. As I’ve said before, he was viewed as someone the WWE couldn’t bank on, so it’s nice to see him proving them wrong. The spots where he shows off his raw strength are really fun to watch and really get the crowd pumped up.
They also continue to tease the Wrestlemania match between Cesaro and Swagger that will officially split up the Real Americans, but they haven’t attacked each other yet….or did they?
The Shield vs The Wyatts (Wyatt’s win)
Seriously, this is the hottest act on any card right now. It works best when it’s 3 on 3, because after watching Reigns vs Wyatt in a singles match, you truly realize how much Seth Rollins can add to a match. Reigns does the power spots, Seth Rollins hits the high spots, then Ambrose does the crazy spots that add personality to the match. The Wyatt’s work really good as a bunch of big strong thugs and all wrestle a stiff style that makes them believable.
The match was the best on the night, the crowd was really into it. The Wyatt’s of course won, as they not only have my name, but because they need to keep teasing the Shield break up. It saddens me they couldn’t have a huge back forth feud with the Shield and Wyatt’s trading wins back and forth, but I will take what I can get from these two.
The match was interesting in that Ambrose was getting beat up, playing the role of the guy looking for the “hot tag” but when he went for it, Seth Rollins walked away. Seth Rollins then was overheard telling Reigns that he’s tired of being the glue, and for Reigns and Ambrose to work it out in the ring. They obviously couldn’t over come the Wyatt’s, and once again it showcased how dissension in the Shield is costing them wins.
I liked this more than them doing yet another “Ambrose costs them a match via DQ” so kudos to the writers for coming up with a better way of continuing the slow burn of the Shield break up.
Of course, after that match, who would want to go next? The worst match in the world to follow up with lately has been Shield vs Wyatt’s, so of course we get…
A Batista promo?
Yeah. Batista gave a backstage promo about him being a real super tough guy and how Daniel Bryan and others just aren’t believable as champions. It was a decent promo (for Batista) and of course it helps because Batista does believe that the current WWE product isn’t as good as it used to be. It is a lot easier for guys to do promos when it involves the people being true to themselves and saying things they believe.
Santino and Emma vs Fandango and Summer Rae (Emma and Santino win)
I hate Emma.
How many times are we going to see some variation of Fandango Santino Emma and Summer Rae matches?? “It’s been three months of matches Vince…please….let us stop…..” “NO. The crowd wants more!” “No, Vince, seriously….” It’s like the first ever 18727 out of 638192 series. Ugh.
Also, I’m sorry, but I just can’t get on board with her. The best part was the crowd just didn’t give a shit about this match. After the match, Santino and Emma did their comedy routine of bumbling around the ring and the crowd just booed. Music to my ears.
As for the match itself, it was basically watching Emma act like a fucktard trying to showcase offense that involved her stupid dumb fucking dance. The worst part is she actually looks like she can wrestle, but it gets lost in her trying to shove her gimmick down my throat. “Emmapunches! Emmakicks! EmmeSHUTTHEFUCKUP”.
Seriously, Santino was bad enough, but now we have two gimmicks doing their shit? I guess the good part is they are together so it gets it out of the way at the same time. Still, Emma, fuck. Fuck that shit.
Christian vs Sheamus (Sheamus wins)
Too many limes…..
Sheamus has beaten Christian soundly, and won again tonight, so it makes it hard for me to fully buy a Wrestlemania feud between the two. It’s kind of weird to constantly beat a guy and still have a match at ‘Mania. I guess they could push it as Christian has lost his mind that he can’t beat this guy (I assume that’s the direction they’ll take) and at least it’s a bit of a story line and lead up to their match, which is better than other story lines have.
The match did go on too long, though. As I said, nobody has an emotional investment in this match, and as a result the boring chants appeared. As did “CM Punk” chants, which happened all show long, by the way. They should have given a longer match to Cesaro!
After the match, Sheamus was being interviewed in the back about having too many limes, when Christian jumped him and beat him up, to further push along their feud. Also, the WWE needs to stop the “One last match” thing for Christian. That worked when he was in the title hunt, sure, but to do that theme when he’s just having random matches every night? It’s lost it’s strength.
Bella Twins vs Face Breaker Aksana and Alicia Fox (Bella Twins win)
Sloppy wrestlers are sloppy. Aksana especially. At one point she was throwing slaps to a downed Bella, but was missing her face by a good foot. It looked awful.
Bella Twins won….yay? I don’t know. Show filler and bathroom break.
As a small pet peeve of mine, I wish the Bellas would stop screaming so loud in their matches. It’s usually dead quiet as it is during their matches, but to hear them shout at the top of their lungs “LET’S GO!” or “TAKE THAT!” just sounds forced and stupid.
Still better than that fucktard Emma though.
Daniel Bryan promo
Daniel Bryan came out and used the term “let’s hi-jack this show!” which shows the WWE is quite aware of the online presence of wrestling fans. The crowd was chanting CM Punk during this promo, but they love Daniel Bryan so much that they allowed him to turn that energy into his feud with HHH. HHH and Stephanie came out and as usual, HHH talked way too long, and was as usual, very dismissive of Bryan. Same with Stephanie. I’ve said before that HHH has no idea how to feud with someone properly when he has full control, and the same thing happened here. HHH and Stephanie talking down to Bryan has happened for so long with no retaliation from Bryan, that it just doesn’t elevate Bryan at all. Bryan again tried to get HHH to accept his challenge for Mania but HHH said no.
The segment ended with Kane getting called to the ring and Bryan running out and attacking him.
Alberto Del Rio vs Ziggler (Ziggler wins)
Aaron Paul, the guest host of Raw, drove Ziggler out in a nice car (Dodge Viper?). Remember when Raw hosts used to control the entire show? Now they are used to drive a car and distract a guy during a match on occasion. I’m not complaining, mind you, sometimes the guest hosts were forced into the show far too much, but it’s just funny that a guest host now means they appear for 5 minutes.
Anyways, Aaron Paul distracted ADR and allowed Ziggler to get the win. This match made the crowd happy (they love Ziggler) and got Aaron Paul on commentary to plug his movie, so it killed two birds with one stone. I don’t think anyone was dying to see ADR vs Ziggler again.
Big E vs Swagger (Big E wins via DQ when Cesaro attacks Big E)
Big E is in two matches tonight? OK. I am just glad Big E didn’t go for his “milking” move when he pulls out his giant titties to let everyone know the ending is coming soon. Basically Cesaro nailed Big E to cost Swagger the match to pay Swagger back. Swagger and Cesaro shoved each other in the ring and Swagger shoved Cesaro twice before Cesaro shoved Swags to the ground and set him up for the Cesaro Swing!
Except Zeb Colter talked him out of it and got the two men to hug it out. They are slow playing this break up as they build to their Mania match I assume.
John Cena Promo
Cena vs Punk happened so many times that the Chicago crowd naturally hates John Cena, and takes it personally every time they see Cena. As a result, the CM Punk chants were deafening during this segment. Cena does his usual schtick of “aw shucks guys, you’re booing me, but I respect that you have a voice. Gee whillickers, you guys are awesome for being you” that he does EVERY SINGLE TIME. Fuck this.
The segment continued with Cena saying he heard about the “hi jack” talk (second direct mention of it) and that he knows people want a change. He says change will come….BUT IT WILL GO THROUGH HIM.
It’s interesting in that that kind of statement is egotistical, hence kind of heelish, but other than that, it’s the same old Cena garbage.
Cena promos have two elements.
1) Talk like he’s buddies with the crowd, and talks about how he respects them
2) He randomly gets serious and screams about something to let you know he’s super serious
Blah blah blah.
As expected, Bray Wyatt cut off Cena and gave a thoroughbread horse analogy for John Cena. It was better than past Wyatt promos because at least it tried to have a point, by saying that John Cena was the old war horse that’s time was at an end. It’s nice when Wyatt has a point to his promos.
Wyatt said he knew what Cena was really afraid of. I thought he was going to say “commitment” but no.
Alexander Rusev segment
He comes out with that Lana chick and talks in Bulgarian for a bit, then that’s it. I bet we won’t see Rusev in the WWE in under two years. The WWE loves pushing the evil foreigner gimmick every couple of years, and it always fizzles out. I will say Rusev looks like he has better wrestling ability than past foreigner gimmicks, but still, color me cynical of him lasting long. I assume in one year’s time he will be dancing with Emma. “Alexander Rusev is Rustastic!” Ugh.
I will say Rusev’s theme music is awesome. Sounds like a 90’s action movie.
Batista and Orton meet back stage
Orton wished Batista good luck. Batista accepts this and walks on.
OK, what in the fuck. They better change the main event at Mania, so help me god. Now the two heels are getting along? Geezus fuck. Not only that, how badly have they buried the importance of the titles, eh? This whole “Face of the WWE” thing is becoming a bigger thing than the titles, and that is just sad.
Need for Speed Ad
I feel like this movie has been coming out for two years now…
Apparently Hulk Hogan as a WM30 announcement for next week. I pray that it will be Daniel Bryan in the main event, but it won’t be. Also I forgot to mention Paul Bearer is going in to the WWE Hall of Fame this year. Good on WWE for doing that, it’s much deserved. Is there a more iconic manager in WWE history (Aside from Bobby Heenan) than Paul Bearer?
Daniel Bryan vs Batista (Bryan wins via DQ)
Randy Orton comes out before the match starts (why the fuck not) and then Bryan and Batista make their way down. Highlight of the match was the crowd chanting “You can’t wrestle” at Bootista. The crowd ate up everything Bryan did, of course. An “overrated” chant broke out for Bootista as well. In case you missed it, at least they turned Batista an official heel on Smackdown, as he gave a promo talking about he was going to destroy every person the fans love. So if you’re mom is at home, call her and let you know you love her, because Batista is coming for her. The Authority (Kane, HHH, Steph) walked down at one point, causing a huge CM Punk chant in response.
The match ended when Batista tossed Bryan into Orton and a few moments later Orton ran and attacked Bryan, causing the DQ finish. Orton tries to RKO Batista, but Batista pushes him into the Bryan knee (they need a name for that finisher), then Bryan goes to dive at HHH but Batista catches him with a shitty spear (just let Reigns have it, Batista, you’re shit at it.) Then HHH comes in the ring and talks trash to Bryan, Bryan kicks HHH from the ground, Batista then Batista bombs Bryan. Then HHH pedigress Bryan. Then the show ends.
No CM Punk. Apparently on the after show Cena and The Big show made the save for Bryan. I am sure Chicago loved that duo saving the day.
The show was ok overall. They haven’t finalized a lot of Mania matches, but they still have time to do so. I am growing bored of these part timer story lines (unless it’s Lesnar, because I love him) because it’s hard to get invested in them. Like, Undertaker showing up once in a while doesn’t really do much for me. The Streak is luckily an easy story line to push, even without Taker around, but it’s kind of boring if he isn’t there every week, pushing the story line.
As usual, Raw ended with Bryan being buried. This is boring.
The good thing? They kind of teased at maybe putting Bryan in the match at Mania against Orton and Batista. By having all three men kind of fight in the match, it shows they might lead to making that triple threat match (which I think we can all admit, they HAVE to do in order to save that main event). I still think they should do a WM10 thing, where they have Bryan in two matches at Mania. He beats HHH, he gets in the main event. I doubt the WWE lets him win that (I honestly think they just put him in the main event just to save that match from being shit on), but imagine if he beats HHH and then wins the title? That would be a great Mania moment and one that is well deserved.
That being said, watch the WWE not put Bryan in the main event and just have them go with Orton vs Batista. I thought there was no way Lack would get the Heritage Classic start, so nothing would surprise me at this point.
Finally, Randy Orton has to be the most bland champion of all time. He holds the titles, yet he keeps getting buried by everything around him. If it isn’t HHH stealing his thunder, it’s other storylines getting pushed over him. He honestly has zero presence on these shows as of late.
Will Bryan get into the WM30 main event? That is the main reason I watch the shows lately (that and watching Brock throw furniture) and at least tonight there was hope that might happen, so tonight’s show gets a thumbs up from me. Yes, my standards have dipped.