Bret Hart returns and encounters CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Kane have a go at being a tag team and tragedy strikes as Jerry Lawler collapses mid-show. (Comments in bold by Maffew!)
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.
The Raw Rant, September 10th 2012
So, with the power of hindsight, AKA me not watching Raw until Tuesday night (UK time) and someone I work with blurting out “OMFG did you hear about King keeling over live on Raw?” as soon as I stepped in the room on Tuesday morning, there was this lingering air of suspense perched on my shoulder for the first half of the show, the creeping Jaws music faded in from time to time, whenever there appeared to be a window for an unfortunate event. (I’ve already posted my thoughts on this)
Bret Hart kicks off Raw by saying how great it is to be back in Montreal after fifteen years, he thanks the crowd for all their support and is interrupted by CM Punk. Punk takes a few shots at Bret and the Attitude Era, because that’s what he normally does when he’s a heel. Bret sets up the video from last week with Punk laying Cena out backstage, Punk puts Bret down a bit more and leaves, boos all around from the crowd.
Hart will interview John Cena later on. (Doesn’t quite have the same effect as Roddy Piper interviewing someone, does it?)
Time to vote! Who do you we want CM Punk to face tonight? Brodus Clay, Jerry Lawler or Randy Orton. (The rumour doing the rounds at the moment is that Brodus genuinely upset that he got such a little amount of votes. D’awww.)
Kofi Kingston & R-Truth defeat The Miz and Antonio Cesaro thanks to Kofi hitting Cesaro with the Trouble in Paradise. Not a bad little match, other than to put the tag champs over as a team, didn’t need to use the US and IC champs for that, but never mind. (In WWE, belts are for holding trousers up)
We now go to a pre-recorded segment (much like DB and Kane’s anger management sessions, if written by the same person/people, hats off to you!) where Sheamus attends a deposition with David Otunga and Ricardo Rodriguez. Sheamus has a lawyer, but he doesn’t let him say a great deal. Otunga shows pictures of the Brogue Kick knocking people around and states all his reasons for wanting the move banned, the whole thing ended when Sheamus Brogue Kicked the camera that was filming them and proceeded to sing Hava Nagila. This was a pretty funny little skit, to be fair. I’ve always liked Sheamus when not playing the uber baby face, giving him a bit of a rebellious streak was definitely the way to go, if they’re not looking at turning him heel again. (Sheamus in an entertaining segment. Next week on Raw: The blind will see and the meek will walk)
Eve, Layla and Kaitlyn win their match against Beth Phoenix, Alicia Fox and Natalya. Eve tagged herself in while Alicia was considerably worn down, hit her neck-breaker and gets the pin. Not as bad as usual, the only time I found myself bored was when Layla got tagged in.
Michael Cole is ready to announce the winner of the Raw Active poll, it was Orton with 75%. Lawler got 13%, leaving Clay to be the least favourite with 12%. (Someone call mah mama…I need a hug)
CM Punk is DQ’d against Randy Orton when Dolph Ziggler interferes and prevents Orton from RKO’ing Punk, Orton retaliates by hitting Ziggler with the a power-slam, followed by one for Punk. Eventually, the numbers game prevails and Orton gets beat down. Jerry Lawler shocks us all with his Superman routine and rips off his T-Shirt to reveal he wears his wrestling attire 24/7! He makes the save as the show goes to a break. During which, AJ Lee appeared and made a tag match between the four men. Nice, doing her job off camera, love it.
Randy Orton and Jerry Lawler are victorious over Dolph Ziggler and CM Punk. Orton finishes Ziggler off with an RKO, Ziggler was on his own throughout. From the start of the match, Punk’s body language screamed the same lack of interest as Orton appears to have in most of his matches. I mean, Orton tried to get things going with the crowd in the one on one, but by the time he’d said “COME ON-”, he’d already lost the will to finish properly and just whimpered “Mon..tre..al”. Half way through the match, Paul E. Heyman showed up to discuss something with Punk, they stand and chatter until the match is over and leave, mentioning something to do with getting something to eat.
Punk and Heyman are backstage as Matt Striker approaches them and asks if they’d explain their relationship. Punk states that “I’m a Paul Heyman guy” and leaves.
Hug it out recap from last week, with backing music!
Kane and Daniel Bryan are backstage, it seems someone has tricked them into meeting like this. Their anger management therapist, Dr. Shelby pops his head in the door, while Kane explains his hatred for the guy. AJ joins in and says that she and Dr. Shelby have come up with a potential solution to their problem, either fixing their issues once and for all, or adding fuel to the fire beyond the point of no return.
Heath Slater is waiting in the ring, Zack Ryder shows up on the Titantron. Ryder says that he won’t be facing Slater tonight, it’s not Ry-der, but it’s close enough.
Ryback squashes Heath Slater with his display of strikes, throws, double-slams and double-bombs, all finished off with the Shell-shocked. Slater made this more entertaining than it should have been I think.
AJ is in the back with The Prime Time Players, they gloat about how they’re the number one contenders for the tag belts, until AJ corrects them. She says there’s a newly formed team that they haven’t beaten yet and TPTP will face them next to find out who’ll get the title shot at Night of Champions, that new team being Kane and Daniel Bryan. (I don’t understand what they’re doing with PTP but Daniel/Kane is gold so I can live with it)
Daniel Bryan and Kane replace The Prime Time Players as the number one contenders. Kane and Bryan’s tags were getting more violent as the match progressed, Kane choke-slammed Bryan on top of a grounded Darren Young and got his team the win.
It was during this match that Jerry Lawler collapsed. I’ll go into my thoughts on this at the end, so not to disrupt the flow .
Alberto del Rio makes Tyson Kidd submit with the Cross-arm-breaker. Kidd makes a tit of himself by almost forgetting how to step into the Sharpshooter for the momentary pop that he received.
Cole breaks his silence and briefly explains the situation with Jerry.
Sheamus forces David Otunga to tap out with the Texas/Irish/Celtic Cloverleaf. It looks like Sheamus unveiled this new move too soon. If the Brogue was banned last week, ADR’s reaction to Sheamus winning his match would have made sense. Like Maffew mentioned in bold, ADR acting surprised that Sheamus won made no sense at all. Nice idea, horrendous execution. After the match, Sheamus Brogue Kicks Otunga, for a laugh. AJ and then Booker T appear, Booker informs Sheamus that if he uses the Brogue Kick again, in any situation, he’s going to strip him of the title. Holy shit! He’s losing that to ADR on Sunday, KO’ing him with a Brogue after the match (without fear of losing a belt he no longer holds) and Ziggler’s making his sweet way down the ramp with that briefcase!
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth Tout their feelings on Kane and Daniel Bryan becoming the number one contenders for their tag titles, they’re looking forward to the new challenge. (Reduced to Touting is the new ‘appearing on Sunday Night Heat’)
Speaking of, Kane and Bryan are backstage with Dr. Shelby, he applauds their teamwork and interjects himself when the two are arguing over the order of their names being said as a tag team. Shelby suggests “team friendship”, which gets a stereo “NO!” from them. (I can’t think of a good tag team name for them. Flaming Beards? Team Crazy Exs? Bryan BQ?)
Cole repeats what he said about Jerry’s situation before. I’m pretty sure no one would have kicked off at him if the poor guy had fucked off into the back for the night with a beer/spliff/whatever, not just leaving him sat there, weeping.
Cody Rhodes pins Rey Mysterio after hitting the Cross Rhodes. The Miz ran down and distracted Rey for a moment, giving Cody his window to finish him. Post match, Miz jumps in the ring and gets ready to attack Rey, however, Cody decks him with a Cross Rhodes for sticking his nose in, raises the IC belt up high and leaves. Nice touch, this would be a nice triple threat match for Sunday.
Cole re: Jerry Lawler again.
Sheamus/ADR/Smackdown video package, instead of making/announcing a match for Friday.
Bret Hart enters the ring and invites John Cena to join him. Bret relates his feud with Shawn Michaels with the feud between Cena and Punk. The crowd boo and give Cena shit once he attempts to be humble about being mentioned in the same sentence as Bret and HBK, but he’s quick on his feet and agrees with them, he adds that he’s got a lot of work to do to reach that claim. The crowd respond with a “you can’t wrestle!” chant, causing Cena to rim Bret into early next year, around Royal Rumble time, this calms the crowd for the time being, as their hero is the focus and not John Cena. Bret provokes CM Punk into appearing by calling him a phony, Cena jumps in from of Bret, also calls Punk a phony and invites him into the ring. Punk points out the pot’s calling the kettle black here, but joins them regardless. After saying that he’s better than Bret, HBK, Cena, The Rock and Steve Austin, CM Punk swings for Bret Hart. Cena blocks the attempt and he and Punk square up to each other. Punk tries to clobber Bret again but The Hitman catches it himself and strikes Punk back. Punk rolls out the ring and heads up the ramp, leaving the faces to celebrate and setting the scene for Night of Champions. (I forget the last time Cena sounded this convincing on the mic. He cleared up why I’m supposed to dislike CM Punk, which I’m very grateful for and got The Montreal (of all crowds!) behind him. Credit where credit is due.)
Cole closes the show with encouraging news on Lawler responding to the medic’s treatment of him.
Well now, the incident with Lawler certainly put a downer on things. If I hadn’t known that was coming at some point, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it. I would have dismissed their almost silence for technical problems and wouldn’t have been scouring the “in ring, looking out to the table” camera shots to roughly see what was going on. Once the crowd were all facing that way and not the action in the ring, it would have become apparent that something was wrong. I think Cole did a great job keeping his composure, it was obvious from the sight of him that it’d hit him pretty hard and I could see the thought going through his head whether Jerry was alive or not, knowing they wouldn’t actually tell him, live on TV. That must have fucked with his head significantly.
Anyway, NoC is looking pretty full, everything but the IC title up for grabs, I’m guessing that’ll be revealed on Smackdown.
Night of Champions
CM Punk vs. John Cena
Sheamus vs. Alberto del Rio
Dolph Ziggler vs. Randy Orton
Kofi Kingston & R-Truth vs. Daniel Bryan & Kane
Antonio Cesaro vs. Battle Royal winner
Layla vs. Kaitlyn
Battle Royal, winner to face Cesaro at the PPV.
CM Punk seems a bit more over as a heel now, tonight at least. Having him antagonise Bret Hart, in Canada worked a lot better than him getting one over on Cena several times. Like I’ve said before, people want to boo him, but they also don’t want to cheer Cena.
Sheamus is improving. Although his new submission hold was debuted prematurely, his recent increase in cocky humour is making him much more enjoyable to watch. I love how he evades the “ass” bleeping machine because he pronounces it properly. That’s all I’ll hear in my head now if someone says ass; “BEEP! WRONG! TRY AGAIN!”.
Seeing as Cole was silent through shock, I amused myself by calling some of the matches, much to the annoyance of my Bag for Life. This was until I told her she could join in and be the bad guy. Call of the night was during Rey and Rhodes when “Bananaman did a good Swingaling”, most amusing commentary I’ve heard in years. I’m considering sticking together a video package to try to get her to replace Michael Cole, Kevin Kelly, Mike Tenay and/or Taz.
The Raw Rant, September 17th 2012
CM Punk’s music hits but Paul E. Heyman is the one to come to the ring. He brings referee Chad Patton out to defend his call from the title match between Punk & Cena at Night of Champions. Patton walks down and states his case, both sets of shoulders being on the mat. Heyman agrees that he made the right call, which brings John Cena out to join them. Cena agrees with Patton’s call, but thought the match should have been restarted, seeing as it was for the title. (Wha? It’s the referee’s call Alex Ferguson) Cena approaches Heyman but is cut off with the arrival of Alberto del Rio. ADR claims that he was screwed harder last night by having the reinstatement of the Brogue Kick sprung on him several seconds before his match. He says he deserves a rematch more than Cena. This causes the general manager AJ Lee to make a main event match combining two matches from Night of Champions, CM Punk and Alberto del Rio vs. Sheamus and John Cena. (WWE! Where everybody is a fuckwit!)
Michael Cole reminds us all of the incident with Jerry Lawler last week. Jerry sends a Tout from the hospital and Cole tells us he’s now resting at home.
John Bradshaw Layfield and Jim Ross join Michael Cole at the announcer’s table, thank fuck.
Sin Cara & Rey Mysterio beat Primo & Epico. Sin Cara hits the Senton from the top as the highflying, masked team’s push continues.
Hey gang, there’s a new WWE chat show in town! It’s on a little later, but it’s hosted by one of the most boring, mono-tonal, piss-stained Jim Henson muppet looking mo-fos known to man, The Miz. Booker T will be his first guest on “Miz TV”.
Eve rolls up Beth Phoenix after reversing Beth’s Snake Eyes attempt for the win. Layla, ‘TAWKING LOIKE A COCKNEY SLAAAG’ while being billed from Miami, joined the posse on commentary for the match. She and Eve square up to each other afterward. (Oi ‘ave no words)
Brodus Clay squashes Heath Slater with the Big Splash, despite Antonio Cesaro’s attempt at costing Brodus the match. Looks like they’re working on a bit of Clay/Cesaro rivalry.
The Miz comes out to a ring filled with chairs and couches, I’m sure he said “Roddy Roddy Piper” while talking bout WWE chat shows of old, he then calls out the Smackdown General Manager, Booker T. The Miz doesn’t give Booker a chance to answer any of his questions, mainly concerning Booker T’s problem with him. Booker T gets pissed off, grabs the microphone and tells The Miz that he’s arranged another guest for him instead. The Miz flees the ring as Ryback heads down and hurls all the furniture outside at The Miz. The Miz looks on from the stage, concerned for his IC belt. (Miz has been great since his comeback but I’m still dreading him wrestling Ryback. Or any competitive Ryback match, for that matter.)
Backstage, Josh Matthews asks CM Punk if he’s looking forward to teaming with Alberto del Rio. He says that he isn’t and he’s wondering what he has to do around here to get some respect. (Take a shot every time that word is used on Raw)
Dolph Ziggler overkills Santino Marella with two Zigzags, the first was set up from a distraction by Vickie Guerrero. The crowd were really behind Ziggler again, dominant over the ever popular Santino. (Ziggler looked dominant over someone? And it wasn’t his ex?)
Wade Barrett’s promo from last week. (”ello”)
Wade Barrett KO’s Justin Gabriel with his pulling forearm/elbow shot of doom. No one called it, again, so that’s what it’s called for now. Barrett looking great, nice to see he’s getting a push and that he’s got WWE to bill him from Preston now too. Oh yeah, the crowd wanted Nexus for the majority of the match. Gabriel is always fun to watch, on the odd occasion he’s let out to show off.
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth are backstage, where they bump into Subway’s Jared (with aides), who’s there promoting a new deal that Subway have going. (SUBWAY! PART OF ALL SUCCESSFUL WRESTLER’S DIETS!) Little Jimmy pitches an idea for a new sandwich, but Jared silences them with free subs. The same goes for Damien Sandow and Zack Ryder. Ryback appears and tells Jared to feed him more, even though he hasn’t fucking fed him anything yet. Jared gives him a sub and Ryback grabs a second one in frustration. I’m guessing it was meant to go “feed me”, Jared gives a sub, “feed me more”, Jared hands over another/more/the rest. Either way, this could have been done a lot better. (Reading this was just as bad as watching it.)
Sheamus and Cena in the locker room, Cena says they don’t just need to win, they need to make a statement. Sheamus says there’s nothing to worry about and that, is that. (”Hey, remember when I pushed you through a table for the belt? Good times fella.”)
“I AM THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS!”, Daniel Bryan and Kane scream backstage, separately.
Video of Jerry Lawler arriving home, shown on his feet and looking well.
–Tag Team Championship
Daniel Bryan and Kane retain against R-Truth and Kofi Kingston. Kane hit R-Truth with the Choke-slam, Bryan tagged himself in and got the submission win with the No Lock. After the match, they scream “I am the tag team champions” again, push each other around, again and then Bryan adheres to the crowd’s suggestion of hugging it out, again. They restart their shouting contest to finish it off.
Be a Star video campaign. This time, featuring Stephanie McMahon, David Otunga and The Big Show, to teach the kids about irony. (DON’T BE A BULLY, EAT SUBWAY)
Randy Orton scores victory over Tensai, thanks to an RKO. All I took note of from this match was the crowd’s “Albert” chants throughout. (Vader in 1996 was booked brilliantly compared to Tensai in 2012)
David Otunga and Alberto del Rio approach CM Punk and Paul Heyman in the back. They bicker about who will be calling the shots in their tag match later until they just force a grin and agree to get along. (Hooking up Heyman with a lawyer got a good chuckle from me)
Damien Sandow enters the arena and asks for his music to be silenced as he’s about to speak. He tells the crowd that to celebrate one of the greatest times of the year, that being ‘back to school’, he’s offering a little free education. He lets JR know that “Slobber-knocker” isn’t a real word and uses three words in a sentence, without giving their definition, he’s interrupted by Zack Ryder. Ryder says he’s just spoken with AJ and she’s agreed to schedule a match for them, right now.
Damien Sandow pins Zack Ryder after hitting the Straight Jacket Neck-breaker. I’m a fan of both guys, Ryder obviously doing as he’s told and putting all the more important talent over, but a good exchange from them regardless. (I’m liking Sandow’s character and liking the fact he’s winning matches even more.)
Sheamus & John Cena defeat CM Punk & Alberto del Rio. Continuing with Punk and Cena’s “dodgy ending” incident at Night of Champions, Cena hit Punk with the FU and pinned him, Punk had his foot on the bottom rope before the three count, which the referee didn’t see. CM Punk argues his point to the referee as they head into the back and Raw goes off the air. (The next major feud in wrestling is Cena vs. Referees)
As with Night of Champions, the commentary from the desk was both a refreshing change and fucking hilarious. JBL ripped the shit out of Cole all night, while JR sat there like their dad thinking “he’s right, Cole is a little dip-shit and he doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about”, but not having the heart to openly agree. I thought it was a nice touch that JR told Cole how impressed he was with his handling of the situation last week, JBL did the same at the start of NoC before shrugging it off with a “right, I’m in character now, you’re a dick” style turnaround.
I AM THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS! This tickled me pink the first twenty times they said it. Now, it’s going to be like the majority of things that has amused me in the WWE. Instead of being offered a reasonable portion every now and again when I feel like a treat, I’m going to have this shovel-fed to me several times, on a weekly basis like some stupid, spoiled, whore of a pop tart and I’ll be sick of it before I know it. (It works because the product is aimed at kids, and kids can only quote in internet memes and tumblr gifs anyway. REPETITION = MONEY)
CM Punk’s back to his roots. Acting like a smug shit and bantering with the crowd. Having Heyman there to reiterate everything he says or does puts a nice big underline on his persona at the moment. So much of what Cena said last week about constant change being detrimental is true, but then, so is playing the same tune every fucking night for several years. I choose progression over repetition any day of the week. Keeping some things fresh while maintaining a basis of who and what you are is a much bigger statement than doing something awesome once and pummeling it face first into the ground, years after it died.
Speaking of Cena, it seems he’s the poster boy for yet another campaign. This time, it’s breast cancer. The WWE have re-re-re-released John Cena’s merchandise catalogue, but in pink. It’s great that people are getting behind a cause such as this and it puts me off making fun at dudes that (seriously) wear pink, but the extent of WWE shining a bigger, brighter light than usual on Cena is just daft. Ziggler’s T-shirt is now in black and Damien Sandow’s trunks are now mysteriously lilac, tell me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that anyone is allowed to show support for cancer charities, even if accidentally. It’s making me ponder over CM Punk’s motivation to wear pink a few weeks ago, Bret Hart was only present for one of the colour’s appearances.
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.