Monday 9 April 2012

Raw & Smackdown Reviews: 2 April - 6 April, 2012

OK, so here's the deal. With the way things have gone this week I am sitting here on a Monday night with three reviews to be done, Raw, Smackdown and ROH. I was hesitant enough to skip this weeks reviews, but quite frankly, there's just too much I want to talk about.

So with that said, this review will cover both Raw and Smackdown. I don't know how good this will turn out, but hey, it's worth a try! Oh, and as for ROH, I will continue that next week, that will be my sacrifice for this week.

Anyway, lets move forward. And speaking of moving forward, that's exactly what WWE did this week on Raw. Having The Rock come out was a good move. WWE have been victim to staying put the night after WrestleMania, but this week's Raw had a sense of the future. The Rock's promo was as good as ever. The words humour, seriousness, control and charismatic are always words that have described Rock's promos since he's come back, and this weeks promo was no exception.

He cracked a few jokes, showed respect towards John Cena, and looked to the future by proclaiming that he will once again win the WWE Championship. Is it a smart move to go in such a direction? I think so. We all know the WWE title needs prestige and although Punk is doing a fine job in trying to restore that I think handing the title to The Rock could do a lot of good.

Following that promo, we saw more moving forward as we saw the (re)debut of Lord Tensai, formerly known as Albert from his WWF days. This match was fine I thought. It wasn't your normal squash match exactly, as Tensai paced himself and didn't look to make quick work of Alex Riley. I do like the idea of ending the match in ref stoppages from time-to-time, but Riley just totally killed that match when he started moving around afterwards. If the ref stopped the match due to knock-out, then Riley should stay, well, knocked out. Well done Riley, you can now add ring psychology to your list of accomplishments, along with your deadly Texas Cloverleaf.

Raw wasn't filled with a lot of stand out match, but one match was very exciting was the WWE championship match between CM Punk and Mark Henry. I wasn't expecting a whole lot from this match, so it came as a good surprise to see such a good TV match. Henry played his monster heel character very well, and Punk played his fighting champion character just as well. The match was well paced, controlled well and had some decent spots throughout. Easily the best match of the week.

The events after the match were also enjoyable as Jericho took another page out of the Raven/Punk ROH storyline and poured Jack Daniels (or whatever drink that made it look like Jack Daniels) over the lifeless CM Punk. He then added insult to injury by grabbing another bottle and smashing it over Punk's head. Of course the bottle clearly broke before any contact was made, but the idea was good at least, and it came off relatively well in the end.

It was good to see Del Rio back and everything, but man, could he have at least come up with some new material while he was away? He basically just picked up from where he left off and went on about how he wants to become champion. I try to like Del Rio, and he is a good wrestler, but his character is unbelievably stale.

Before I get to the last part of the review, I have to give major kudos to the amazing crowd in Miami. Without a doubt they were one of the best crowds I have ever seen at a Raw show. Their constant 'yes' chants were a good indicator to WWE that the way Daniel Bryan was booked at WrestleMania won't be accepted lightly. Their 'Si' chants were original and fresh. And they also added a lot to the promos of Rock and Cena. All in all, they were just fantastic.

But really, they were most impressive for the last segment of the show. Cena cut a good promo in front of the heated Miami crowd, and once again, just seemed to speak from the heart. The sportsmanship towards The Rock was nice, and a good sign that both men are just going to move on, and his comments about not shying from his words that were highlighted from previous weeks was also a good way to go about things.

Things really picked up however when John Cena welcomed out The Rock. If I will say one bit of criticism about the crowd, I think the 'We want Lesnar' chants maybe ruined the element of surprise. But, they more than made up for it when Lesnar's music hit, as the crowd absolutely erupted. Everything from the crowd response to the F5 to Cena made this a classic moment.

As I said at the start of the paragraph, WWE looked to the future in this week's episode, and Lesnar's return is evidence of that. Overall, a truly great episode of Raw.

Now onto the Blue brand. This week's Smackdown wasn't at all bad, it just didn't hit the mark that Raw did. Although in saying that, I never expected it to.

The show started off with a major disappointment as if now looks like Teddy is here to stay. It's yet another 'authority figure who controls the person below' him storyline and to be honest I'm already sick of it. It's such a shame, I thought Teddy would be gone for good. Maybe I just have myself to blame...

It was only by the time Orton/Kane came on that things started to pick up. This was actually a decent bout, and arguable better than their match at WrestleMania. With Orton getting the victory here I wouldn't be surprised if they settle this at Extreme Rules. Which would be good, considering the feud has still been pretty poor, regardless of the two average matches they've had together.

The highlight of the night for me though, was the brilliant promo from Daniel Bryan. For people that still don't think that Bryan doesn't have any charisma, surely this will change your mind. Bryan was pretty much perfect in this promo. He showed his disgust at losing in 18 seconds at WrestleMania, yet still ripped into the fans for mocking him. The way in which he shouted at AJ was also great, as he managed to keep the same tone in his voice without it cracking.

Although Bryan isn't World champion anymore, he is still the best thing going on Smackdown, and has been for months. Let's hop they let him keep him in the main event scene and let him do his thing, because it's clear that he's becoming one of the most over guys in the WWE.

It was good to see Sheamus come out to a better reaction than he did on Raw. Although he was the one who beat Bryan at WrestleMania, he shouldn't be the one getting abuse from the fans.

I expected more from his match from Del Rio, as both men just didn't seem to click. There's was nothing wrong with the match, but it was just one I couldn't get into. This has been a pretty bad return for Del Rio already. He cut the same promo as he did when he left and he put on a pretty mediocre match against the World Champion. He's not the only person to blame for that match of course, but overall you've got to feel that he hasn't really stepped it up.

Stray Observations:
  • Yes! Yes! Yes!”
  • The way Dolph Ziggler sold that head-butt from Brodus Clay was sick.
  • Yes! Yes! Yes!”
  • I thought Jericho slipped when he attacked Punk, but after reading what he had to say on Twitter I guess not... "By the way that wasn't a slip; I was imitating Punk the Drunk. I never make mistakes u wannabes..."
  • Ci! Ci! Ci!”
  • Is it me or does Lesnar look as pale as Sheamus these days?
  • I love the way the jobber from Smackdown had to cut a heel promo so the fans knew that Ryback was a face. Barry Stevens = heat magnet.
  • Forget Rock and Cena, because the promo of the week came from Daniel Bryan in my opinion. 

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