Hello and thanks for showing up to reflect on the latest episode of Monday Night Raw.
And your host for this event, hailing from a dark corner in the North East of England, hiding out in a BBC video storage vault, a man more blunt than a sledgehammer to the bollocks, it’s Danny Damage.
The Raw Rant, August 13th 2012
Awesome! We kick off Raw with some action for a change. 90% of the time, Raw opens with the typical recap from last week, someone coming out and talking trash, followed by a challenger or a GM to make or alter a match. You know, that old chestnut.
CM Punk vs. The Big Show was interrupted by Daniel Bryan, who was initially grumbling to Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler about not being in the title match at Summerslam. John Cena comes out for the save, followed by AJ Lee, who makes Punk & Cena vs. Show & Bryan for later on.
Backstage, JTC tells Kaitlyn it’s crazy that he’s not competing on Raw more often. AJ happens to wander by and the word crazy saddens her mopey face more, so she tells JTC he’s got a match, next.
Ryback squashes JTC. General abuse, Meat Hook, Shell Shocked, win. Same old song and dance, but I still enjoy Ryback’s mid-match smack talk.
Voting time. Who would you like to see on Piper’s Pit? Y2J? The Miz? Dolph Ziggler?
Roddy Piper is backstage talking to someone off camera, it’s HBK! Piper leaves and Shawn talks to Triple H (implied) on the phone and discovers he’s going to be late to the show.
R-Truth beats Heath Slater. With Kofi still being abroad on the latest WWE tour, this opens the door for The Prime Time Players to jump R-Truth. Darren slaps him around and Titus drops him with the Clash of the Titus. Obviously, no AW, but an amusing “Kobe Bryant” chant.
Tout segment with Mark Henry at the Olympics. In case anyone was having Olympic withdrawals in the matter of hours it’s been finished. Cole and Lawler congratulate and thank all the athletes for their efforts.
Recap of Booker T’s decision to call off the Sheamus vs. Alberto del Rio title match. We are asked to Tout our opinions on this. I’ll give it a miss, thanks.
Sin Cara scores a quick win over Tensai with a Tornado DDT and a roll up pin. Albert’s getting pissed off at his recent losing streak and takes it out on Sakamoto, for the hundredth time.
HBK is in the back, asking folk if they’ve seen Lesnar around. He asks to be informed if he’s spotted.
Jerry Lawler and Roddy Piper stand in the ring and mumble like confused, old men. For the second week in a row, the option at the top of the list is the most popular. Y2J gets 55%, Miz had 21%, leaving Ziggler with 24%. Jericho joins them and he and Piper mock each other a tad. Something squawks and Vicki Guerrero appears with Dolph Ziggler. Dolph tells Y2J to get a good look at Piper, because that’s where he’s heading. The Miz, with a face like a soiled Jim Henson muppet, dawdles into the ring. He says he’s taking over the Pit and threatens Piper, this provokes Jericho and he clears the ring of both The Miz and Ziggler. After the break, we’re informed that AJ set up a triple threat match between them, via twitter of course.
Dolph Ziggler survives the triple threat match, hitting Jericho with the Zigzag, who had The Miz locked in the Walls of Jericho. Miz did tap out to this, but Vicki had the referee distracted. This was obviously the pay off for whatever guest was picked for Piper’s Pit. Great match, great setup, extra great that AJ did her job as the GM and didn’t have to talk on camera, keep it up.
CM Punk is stretching off backstage and is congratulated by Eve for his recent heel turn. Punk insists there’s no “New CM Punk” like she claims and that nothing’s changed with him. She informs him that nobody believes that line, especially Cena. Punk leaves to find Cena and repeat what he just told her.
Recap of the first match which setup the tag match coming up later.
Shawn Michaels jumps when John Cena greets him, HBK apologises for being distracted and leaves. Cena turns around to find CM Punk stood in front of him. He tells Cena what he just told Eve and that he isn’t “that guy”, like Cena suggested previously.
Wade Barrett to return promo. Tell me when!!!!!!
–Pissbreak time/Diva’s match
Layla & Kaitlyn are the winners against Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres. There were a couple of awful moves, a load of sloppy moves and a small handful of well executed moves . It amuses me that a 2nd Dan in BJJ is portrayed as a gymnast styled tart that can barely muster a convincible offence, where as the tough, skilled champion is the woman who looks stupid jumping twice on the ropes before launching herself at someone.
CM Punk & John Cena are victorious over Daniel Bryan & The Big Show. Bryan tagged himself in when Big Show was setting Punk up for the WMD and ends up getting pinned. Post match, Show tries to sneak up on Cena but Punk cuts him off with the belt to the head, he stares at Cena then offers his hand, Cena hesitates and Punk leaves. CM Punk is still holding his stance on the issue of respect and being the main event, seeing as he’s the champion. Although, I’m guessing it’s Brock and HHH in the last match on Sunday, figures.
Josh Matthews catches CM Punk backstage, Punk says Cena was only out for himself and at Summerslam, he will teach everyone a lesson in respect.
Damien Sandow defeats Christian. Sandow rams Christian’s head into the steel steps a few times and Brodus Clay shows up to distract Sandow so Christian can get a roll up, for two! Sandow gets up and hits Christian with the Straight Jacket Neckbreaker for the win. Nice one, Clay, you can’t even interfere in a match successfully.
HBK finally bumps into Brock Lesnar. Nothing is said, Shawn leaves and nothing happens.
–Two Men Sign A Bit Of Paper At A Table MAIN EVENT
Brock Lesnar and Paul E. Heyman walk down the ring for the contract signing. They’re fine with HHH being late, they have something to say about Shawn Michaels anyway. When I say “they say”, I obviously mean Paul E. talked for five minutes, held the stick to Brock’s face for him to say “Yes he is” and then Paul continued to talk for another five minutes. He calls HBK a coward and HBK comes out to the ring. Before he has the chance to say or do anything, Triple H makes his appearance. HHH signs first, followed by Brock, then Brock throws his contract at HHH and leaves.
Tout segment showing the fans mostly agreeing with Booker T’s decision, mostly.
HBK and HHH backstage, Shawn warns HHH of the danger of the match, so he’ll be in his corner on Sunday.
Matt Striker asks The Big Show his thoughts on his match but is distracted with HBK’s car being blocked by Paul Heyman’s. Lesnar appears and pulls HBK out of his car and knocks the camera over, giving us the old black screen veil of mystery. Shortly after, a crowd has gathered and Shawn is nowhere to be found. AJ tells Triple H that Brock has taken him.
Brock appears in the arena with HBK on his shoulders, rolls him in the ring, hits him with an F5 and locks the Kimura on him. HHH appears and gets too close for Brock’s comfort, so he “breaks” Shawn’s arm and cheeses it. They stare each other down from a distance and Raw goes off the air.
Another positive mention this week goes to there being less recaps in general. I understand their necessity (at times) as a story telling device, but WWE took the piss on a scale that just about halved the run time if you were to edit all the adverts out. Hats off for making Raw longer to cram more wrestling in there. People like me, that don’t expect everything to be awesome just because that’s what was promised, didn’t see it coming and were pleasantly surprised.
I mentioned at the start of the show that the general formulaic structure of Raw had been changed, slightly. This still works, flows quite well and if you’re a fan of CM Punk and/or The Big Show, will be happy at seeing the double performance. However, the ending seemed a little confused and thrown all over the place. Ad breaks were put in between the events transpiring and to me, that flowed as well as flushing a brick down the toilet. Adding AJ’s painful attempt at serious acting just made me want the credits to roll as soon as possible.
The Divas were on form again this week, by this I mean they were screwing up here, there and everywhere. TNA’s female division isn’t perfect, but it definitely is still the better of the two. Maybe this is due to the experience of most of TNA’s ladies in comparison to the generally much younger girls from WWE, maybe it’s a creative control issue, I don’t know. What I do know is, when I watched the Knockouts on Hardcore Justice, I enjoyed it and didn’t think it was the worst match of the night. Nine times out of ten, whenever I watch a Divas match, I wish I hadn’t bothered.
WWE do it again with another theme song. Ryback’s tune now includes his catchphrase repeated and some lyrics from some band a 28 year old is probably too old to know/care about. I don’t know why they always start people off with quality Jim Johnston songs and move onto a getting a band to cover it. I don’t mind if they want to do some cross promotional stuff and get the band to chug away at the theme while someone heads down the ramp for a PPV match, but In my opinion, they spoil quite a lot of entrance themes with the “upgrade”. TNA are a bit hit and miss with this, Kurt Angle’s original instrument was awesome in comparison to the version with rapping on top, whereas the instrumental that Bobby Roode uses instead of the version with lyrics, is much better. Still, there’s no excuse for RVD’s dreadful TNA theme.
Sorry, just realised I’m getting into the habit of mentioning the other company. Back to what I’m here for……..
I’m looking forward to Summerslam. Because of Raw’s expansion to three hours, it looks like they’re actually making the effort to ensure Raw doesn’t come off stronger than PPVs by filling the PPVs with matches. I’m assuming more can and will be added on the night, such as a Ryback squash and possibly Damien Sandow making an appearance.
Here’s Summerslam card after the last Raw before the event.
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar
CM Punk vs. The Big Show vs. John Cena
Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler
Daniel Bryan vs. Kane
The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
–WWE Tag Titles
Kofi Kingston & R-Truth vs. The Prime Time Players
–US Title Pre-show match
Santino Marella vs. Antonia Cesaro
Depending on what happens on Smackdown:
–World Heavyweight Title
Sheamus vs. Alberto del Rio OFF/ON, who knows?
All the matches have the right ingredients for success, assuming Sheamus/ADR is in fact off and someone at WWE realised we don’t want to see that match again.
Jericho and Ziggler is the one I’m looking forward to the most. Bryan vs. Kane will be hard hitting. The triple threat match, although not full of ability, can be compensated with entertaining spots and a frantic finish, full of uncertainty as to who’ll get the win.
I’m still interested to see if Brock can get back into being a WWE performer and not the awkward hitting UFC fighter he was at Extreme Rules. If he’s got back into the swing of things, the match should be well worth it.
Right, now that’s out of the way, let’s finish with a topic that really fucks me off, censorship.
AW’s release was a step too far, IMO. He was good on the mic. (albeit annoying at times, see also: Vicki Guerrero), worked well with TPTP (and other talent) and the incident that caused him to get the sack wasn’t even that bad. If you’re going to argue that the joke was in poor taste, you can (A): Fuck off, (B): Get a life, (C): Check to see if it’s 2012 and if I’ve made some terrible mistake by thinking Koby raped the girl ages ago. The WWE is crammed full of bad taste material that leaves my eyes and ears feeling violated on a regular basis, AW referring to Epico and Primo as “Taco Bell” the other week was a lot worse, taste wise and tact wise, leading to my next point.
If you want to argue that children present would have found offence to the Koby joke, please see point (A) stated above. I’m pretty sure that IF the child were intelligent/old enough to understand the joke (remember, they are at a wrestling show, where the core principle of the product is fighting, usually fighting to solve all your problems, which leads me to believe that WWE hasn’t become the cool new alternative to the “Jesus read stories from the Bible to kids” show, despite how many people mention him in the ring), then they’d also be intelligent/old enough to not get their panties in a twist. However, Racism is a lot easier to understand and utilise as a way of getting someone heat, obviously.
The Raw Rant, August 20th 2012
Paul E. Heyman and Brock Lesnar kick off Raw and they have a few things they’d like to say. First, Heyman puts Triple H over by reciting the quadriceps injury story, pointing out that he was doing a better job on the commentator’s table at the time, nice touch. He turns it around by saying that Triple H didn’t give up then but he gave up against Brock Lesnar and that HHH has left because of him. Heyman blames Triple H for the mess he got himself into by asking Scott Armstrong, the match official, to let it end in pin fall or submission only. He calls out the same referee and Brock tells him that he did a good job. Paul E. tosses Lesnar a steak for getting his two word line correct and continues to talk about Lesnar’s greatness, saying he is the new King of Kings and more. After he tells the WWE Universe they should be bowing to their new master, they leave.
HBK will be speaking live later, we’re shown a flashback of last week’s assault.
CM Punk on Tout saying that he thinks he deserves to choose his opponent tonight. Well, it’s better than letting us vote on twitter.
Kofi Kingston, R-Truth and Sin Cara defeat Cody Rhodes and TPTP. Once again, Cody is too focused on the removal of Sin Cara’s mask and allows himself to be rolled up. Not a bad little six man tag, Cole and Lawler talk about the feud between the tag champs and TPTP while leaving out any mention of AW.
Kane and Zack Ryder vs. Daniel Bryan and The Miz later on.
Matt Striker interviews AJ backstage, they’re cut short by the return of David Otunga, who offers his services to AJ in case anyone calls her crazy. This prompts her to make a match for Otunga later on, but she’s not letting on who it will be against.
Ryback vs. 2 Jobbers ends in a DQ. Ryback gets ready to hit both men with the Shell Shocked when Jinder Mahal jumps him and locks him in the Camel Clutch. Sadly for Mahal, Ryback overpowers him, gets to his feet and gives him a Backpack Chinbreaker (sorry, I don’t know if he’s got a name for it yet, Cole/Lawler NEVER call moves devised after 1990 and if they do, it’s usually wrong. *Cough* Sidewalk Slam *Cough*) for his trouble. Mahal leaves but Ryback grabs the jobbers and finishes them off anyway.
In the back, Y2J is challenged to a rematch by Dolph Ziggler. AJ happens to skip by and agrees that it’s a great idea but puts Ziggler’s MITB contract on the line against Jericho’s job. Hmm, I know where this is going, Fozzy have a tour coming up very soon.
Alberto del Rio heads to the ring and complains about Sheamus stealing one at Summerslam, then shows stills from the PPV. He demands a rematch, right now. AJ skips out and says she can’t make a title match for him, but she can give him a match to impress Booker T with. His opponent, the WWE’s biggest drawing underwear model, Randy Orton.
Randy Orton pins Alberto del Rio after hitting the RKO. Before the match started, Sheamus joins Cole and Lawler at the table. The match itself bored me quite a bit, I’m not a fan of watching Orton or del Rio and the two combined holds my interest even less. In a shocking turn of events however, it was Sheamus that kept me amused throughout the match, acting like a cocky prick and taking the piss out of Michael Cole. He contributed to the end also, accidentally distracting Orton while taking care of Ricardo, pointing out that Orton’s foot was on the rope to the referee, which in turn, distracted Alberto into walking into the RKO.
US Title recap.
Summerslam/Be A Star video package.
Damien Sandow steals a win over Brodus Clay by rolling him up and grabbing a handful of tights. Clay flattens him after the match and dances with some kiddies from the crowd.
Cole and Lawler read some tweets regarding Triple H’s loss at Summerslam.
Michael Cole interviews Shawn Michaels via satellite. He talks about Triple H realising the death of his profession, he’s been there too. Says thank you for all his work for the business.
The Big Show drops David Otunga with the WMD. David looks daft clean shaven, I guess it adds to the effect for comedy loss cannon fodder.
Kane and Zack Ryder score a count-out win against Daniel Bryan and The Miz. When Kane comes in off the hot tag, Bryan shits a brick and flees the arena, The Miz follows suit. Kane loses it and destroys Ryder, several pieces of furniture around the ring and the time keeper.
Post Summerslam interview with John Cena being a good sport and saying what’s done is done.
Matt Striker holds the microphone for CM Punk so he can announce his next title challenger. He picks John Cena, but says he has a single condition for Cena to agree to, which he’ll call him out later to discuss.
–#1 Contender’s Diva’s Battle Royal
Kaitlyn eliminated Eve at the end, getting applause from Layla, who watched the match at ringside. 90% tarty bints rolling around, 8% kicks to the outside, 2% finish.
Tout from Brock Lesnar saying he’s leaving the WWE now there’s nothing else to accomplish.
Another slightly different Wade Barrett promo, still no date set.
AJ tells (tweets) Daniel Bryan that she’s going to help him and his anger issues by sending him to some anger management therapy. I’m pretty sure that’s what she’s been trying to do as of late, I’m taking this as admission that she’s fucking useless.
Dolph Ziggler with Vicki Guerrero freaking out in their dressing room about the potential for loss against Y2J. Ziggles calms her down and heads off for his match.
–Contract vs. Contract Match
Dolph Ziggler sends Chris Jericho packing with a CLEAN FUCKING WIN!!!! Knees up against a Lionsault attempt sets Ziggler up for the Zigzag and the win. Jericho hits Ziggler with the MITB briefcase and gives him a Codebreaker for good measure after the bell. Great rematch from Summerslam, expect to see Jericho again on Smackdown once Fozzy finish touring. Dolph’s just waiting for the right time now, hopefully a healty title run is heading his way.
Time to plug a WWE Film. “The Day” is out soon, sadly, it looks gash.
CM Punk comes out to state the condition he has to offer John Cena a title shot at the next PPV. Before he deals with this, he’s side-tracked by the sight of Jerry Lawler. He approaches Lawler and demands he apologises for the mistake he made in saying Punk had turned his back on the WWE Universe. CM Punk rolls his eyes as John Cena’s music hits and he joins him in the ring. Before Cena has a chance to say anything, CM Punk cuts him off and talks about respect. He says that for the better part of his title reign, he’s taken a back seat to Cena, The Rock, Triple H and others, all out of respect. He feels somewhat left out in what should be a two way street. He tells Cena that he’ll give him a title shot if he can admit to the everyone that CM Punk is the best in the world. Cena says no after a ten minute long robotic monologue that’s probably been copied and pasted from some straight to DVD, high school, sporting event, the good guys end up on top, piece of shit film, Cena leaves.
Once my brain stops punching itself in the balls, it wakes up to see CM Punk calling Jerry Lawler into the ring. He instead asks Jerry to tell everyone that he’s the best in the world. Lawler is also incapable of saying this, but he was able to answer quickly and effectively, unlike Cena’s attempt that came out as dull, repetitive and as ‘after school specialy’ as ever. Jerry gets a swift boot to the head from CM Punk for declining CM Punk’s request as Raw goes off the air. I feel like the TV just screamed “STOP CHEERING FOR HIM, HE’S A HEEL NOW!!!!”
Right, so my first bit is more to do with Summerslam and not Raw, but fook it. I talked Brock up leading into Summerslam and I’d like to follow it up.
Brock delivered in regards to him getting used to working in the WWE again. The match with Triple H was awesome and he showed contrast in his performance with selling the stomach injury, a refined ground and pound offence, the relentless working of the arm while trying for the Kimura, a leap off the announcer’s table that WON’T be appearing on Botchamania and for being the hard cunt that he is and ignoring the second Pedigree to lock in the Kimura, which made HHH tap. They did a great job bringing Heyman in to do all the talking, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and hope Brock does in fact return to work a few more matches, at least. I mentioned a few months ago when whispers of Brock vs. HHH were heard that if Brock were to beat HHH, then it’d potentially open a door for him to challenge The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. Seeing as he just tapped out the only guy that ‘Taker thought had it in him to destroy him, I’m hoping that door flies open.
I’m liking CM Punk’s character development, there’s somewhat of a fine line between whether he’s meant to be a face or a heel. Punk’s playing the respect card, an angle that works well on faces and heels alike. He’s offered someone something and had it spat back in his face, so he’s not amused. He added the condition for Cena to admit he’s the best in the world, had it shot down and consequently booted Lawler in the head, but it would have been the same outcome if The Rock had called someone out and not had it go the way he wanted. Granted, he might have given the heel commentator a Rock Bottom instead (or belittled Kevin Kelly about having both sets of genitals), but like I said, it’s a fine line. The WWE obviously want people to boo CM Punk, but for the minute, they’re not offering a great alternative in John Cena. When they start working the build for Royal Rumble vs. The Rock, they’ll have a much better chance because of the overall crowd not being biased towards Cena The Yawnmaster.
At last! Ryback’s been involved in an actual angle that isn’t just revolving around him beating two guys each week. While his updated theme song feeds me more annoyance, the fact that he’s involved in something more with Jinder Mahal is a move in the right direction. Feed the lad, he’s hungry.
Sandow and Clay looks like another pair that haven’t seen a great deal of PPV action that may lock up at Clash of the Champions. I personally feel that Sandow taking out a weakened Christian for the IC title would have been amazing, but he obviously dropped it to The Miz just before, sigh. Here’s hoping his push continues.
I hope they turn Sheamus at some point soon. All the correct elements are there and he’s one of those that’s a lot more convincing as a villain, or at least, a full time move to playing the arrogant twat he was at the table this week. Less of the overly cheesy, cheap popping, baby kissing tactics he’s been pulling out of his arse most of the year, more of him stealing stuff and just shrugging his shoulders with a smirk on his face.
AJ’s skipping has become a bit idiotic. I appreciate the promos where people like Daniel Bryan and CM Punk don’t give her a chance to speak and do all the talking, but seeing her skipping from scene to scene reminds me of doing school plays where there’d always be one person that wanted to do their silly, over the top, out of place bit and no one really had the heart to tell them it sucked balls. Problem is, she’s nice looking and most folk are ignorant to the lack of talent in one important area, should it be compensated with eye candy. I’m hoping Bryan, Kane and then CM Punk form some type of stable to deal with her chirpy, meddling ways.
Digest and discuss! You can follow me on Twitter for additional nuggets of wisdom. Thanks for reading, take care and I’ll see you next week.