JR Appreciation night is here, the tag champions bicker and two (not so) old monsters become stepping stones.
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, currently training for the next series of The Crystal Maze, a man more blunt than a sledgehammer to the bollocks, it’s Danny Damage.
Due to the horrible decision of allowing Kane and Daniel Bryan to be named “Team Hell No” by the writers offering the WWE Universe three pathetic choices on Raw last week, I will be collectively referring to them as “DRAGON FIRE” from now on.
The Raw Rant, October 1st 2012
We’re welcomed to Raw with a video package from last week, obviously. Mick Foley and CM Punk have quite a bit to say to each other, Cena hits Punk with the old “lead” pipe and Ryback stands over Mick Foley, preventing CM Punk from giving him more than just that kick in the gut as the show ended.
Michael Cole and Jim Ross at ringside, JR keeps calm at the mention of tonight being “JR Appreciation Night” in his home town, humiliation imminent.
CM Punk and Paul E. Heyman stroll down the ramp and into the ring. CM Punk reminds us all of the close of Raw last week, pointing out Foley’s lack of respect for him. Punk tells us that he will not be facing John Cena at Hell in a Cell. Heyman takes the microphone and shows us what happened between him and AJ Lee last week, her slapping him and not saying no to his proposal. He points out that AJ has once again placed her hands on someone and quotes a statement from the board of directors which reiterates their ruling on her a few weeks ago. As Heyman states that he’d be the perfect replacement for her, Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler join them in the ring. Vickie sets up the video of AJ slapping her recently and says she should be the one to replace her. Ziggler steps in to suggest they both become the GM.
AJ skips down to tell us that the board has put her on probation and she’s been assigned a coach to help her manage her position as GM. Daniel Bryan’s music hits and he screams his way to the ring, he apologises and takes responsibility for messing AJ’s head up and being the cause of the problems on Raw. Kane also shows up and has his say on the matter, he agrees with Bryan (except the “I’m the tag team champions” bit) and adds that she’s one hell of a kisser. All four men proceed to hold their prizes high and shout at each other. AJ shrieks them into silence and finally makes the match for later: Dragon Fire vs. CM Punk & Dolph Ziggler.
Tag Team Tournament, Quarter-final match
Sin Cara & Rey Mysterio defeat Primo & Epico. Rey uses top rope splash for win. The Prime Time Players watch the match from the ramp.
Cole encourages the fans to use social media to ask The Big Show and Sheamus questions for their debate later.
Antonio Cesaro runs over Brodus Clay, finishing him with the Neutraliser. Awesome, Clay is already being used as fodder for minor champions.
Backstage, AJ is with her coach, Christopher J. Stevenson. She then apologises to Kaitlyn for their falling out, only to piss herself laughing when Kaitlyn begins to accept the apology. AJ skips off leaving her coach and Kaitlyn shrugging their shoulders.
The Miz pins Zack Ryder after hitting the Skull Crushing Finale. Same old, same old from these two. Ryder’s still under used and I’ve still no interest in The Miz.
-World Title Debate
Booker T oversees a debate between Sheamus and The Big Show. Booker T reads questions from the WWE Universe, nothing noteworthy though. Sheamus keeps pushing Big Show to lose his temper, taking the piss out of him losing his belt in forty five seconds. Show wrecks the furniture in the ring, but backs off when Sheamus squares up to him.
Ryback steps over Tensai. Just like on Smackdown, Tensai threw a lot at Ryback at the start, but it’s not very effective. Ryback went for the Shell Shocked but only managed to lift Tensai so high, his second attempt resulted in Tensai being dumped on his back. Ryback ends it by throwing him off the ropes and lamping him with another meat hook. Apart from the improvised ending, this was actually an enjoyable match, albeit short and very similar to their fight on Smackdown.
Cody Rhodes and Damien discuss Sheamus backstage. These guys are pretty funny together, I’m enjoying their interactions and I’m considering purchasing a Sandow T-shirt in the near future, probably if they’re on sale when I see Raw live in November.
Cole reminds us all that it’s JR Appreciation night, JR unconvincingly thanks him, expecting the worst.
Eve Torres wins against Beth Phoenix, using her Neck-breaker.
AJ introduces her coach to Wade Barrett. Barrett takes the opportunity to let her know how shit of a job she’s doing as the GM, seeing as he’s not competing tonight.
Santino Marella gets a DQ win over Heath Slater. Santino is about to win, but McIntyre and Mahal break it up and the three beat Santino down after the bell.
Sheamus is given a run for his money by Damien Sandow, but wins in the end. Cody jumps in to try and help Sandow up, as they’re nose to nose, Sheamus Brogue Kicks the point where their faces meet and covers Sandow for the win. Enjoyable match, nice to see Sandow put up a better fight against Sheamus this time.
Michael Cole welcomes JR to the ring, who’s ducked into the back so he can come out to his music again. Before JR has a chance to say anything, CM Punk and Paul E. Heyman crash the party. Punk tells JR that he respects him, as he’s the best announcer that they have and that he should help him teach the WWE Universe about respect by telling Punk in return that he’s the best in the world. JR refuses but tells him that he’ll be the first in line to do so, IF he fights and beats John Cena at Hell in a Cell and until then, they have nothing to talk about. Punk gets in JR’s face and tells him to prepare to fight. JR refuses again and tries to leave, Punk tells him not to go back to the table, but to go backstage, he’s done for the night. JR hangs his head in shame and gets about half way to the back before Ryback’s music hits and the meat head leads JR back to the ring and squares up to CM Punk. Punk now has nothing to say and slowly backs off. I don’t follow whatever sport CM Punk used to get heat, but the crowd really didn’t like it, good effort.
Alberto del Rio makes Kofi Kingston tap out. Best part of the match was Ricardo Rodriguez on commentary, quality.
AJ sends her coach packing. This could be interesting if they send a former GM to coach her each week before she gets pissed at them. Or, GIVE HER WILLIAM FUCKING REGAL, YOU THICK CUNTS!
AJ is announced as the referee for the main event
Dragon Fire score victory against CM Punk & Dolph Ziggler. AJ ejects Heyman and then Vickie, causing Ziggler to follow. With Punk left to fend for himself, Kane is there to end it with the Choke-slam. It was strange to watch the roles reversed between Punk and Bryan, a beautiful double under-hook from the top into the No Lock towards the end of the match. Raw closes with Kane and Daniel Bryan arguing over being the tag team champions once again.
There was a bit too much AJ Lee for my liking this week. Refereeing the main event wasn’t a problem, it was just all the bits where she was stood talking in front of the camera that were painful.
Although the Sheamus and Big Show debate wasn’t that great, I’m actually looking forward to these two kicking the shit out of each other at Hell in a Cell. I’m hoping JR’s still sat ringside to call the slobber-knocker.
I’m wondering what’s in the futures of Tensai and Brodus Clay. Two “unstoppable behemoths” that are being used to put other talent over, less than a year since their initial pushes also as “unstoppable behemoths”. I’m pretty sure there are other people that could have been used to serve the purpose of putting Ryback and Cesaro over further, damage control hasn’t been considered at all here.
I really enjoyed the CM Punk and Ryback confrontation, even though the gimp at work spoiled it for me several hours earlier. There’s a lot of pissing and moaning on the Internet about the prospect of pushing Ryback as hard as they look to be doing at the moment. I’ve decided not to follow this path and see it as a step in the right direction. With Cena’s arm preventing him from competing and Orton acting like he’s bored to death of this whole wrestling thing, this gives someone else a chance to be the baby faced saviour of folk like, JR! People saying Ryback doesn’t know how to sell moves and work a back and forth match need to pay attention. Most of his matches as of late have involved someone getting a cheap shot in before the bell, dodging him and sending him into the turnbuckle etc. and putting the hurt on him for a minute or two. He had a match with Jinder Mahal (when they were feuding, not when he squashed Mahal the first time around) on Smackdown not so long ago that had Ryback take quite a beating before eventually shaking it off, building momentum and ending the match. He worked many more varied matches as Skip Sheffield (when he’d raided the props cupboard for an Austin jacket and HBK hat) and didn’t play the monstrous thing to be feared that he does now.
Let’s just give it a chance, yeah? New doesn’t always mean bad. You can always tell me I was wrong if they do set this up at HIAC and it sucks a giant, hairy pair of donkey balls.
Digest and discuss! You can follow me on Twitter for additional nuggets of wisdom or find my Midcard Manifesto over on – Thanks for reading, take care and I’ll see you next week.