Last night's Raw leaves me in the middle of this “3hour Raw” debate. Some people like the idea, some people hate it. Me? I'm indifferent. I see the pros and cons of the whole thing. And last night, Raw showed those pros and cons.
The pros is that wrestlers get more air time, and for some, just get the opportunity to get onto the show. The Divas finally got onto the show again, the WWE title scene got more air time than usual, and some matches got more time as well (case in point – Sheamus vs. Tensai).
The cons though? The show still kind of dragged last night. It wasn't a huge problem or anything, because the show was actually fun throughout. But, lets look at the bigger picture here. Is Raw going to be fun every week? Is someone like Vince McMahon going to appear every week to freshen things up? The answer, sadly, is no.
As I said, I'm indifferent on the whole situation. I see the pros and cons of it all – I guess I'm... procon... or conpro... or cro. Yeah OK, I'll stop.
Vinnie Mac & Big Johnny
This was a good way to start the show. I don't know why exactly, because there wasn't anything spectacular about it, but it just worked for me.
Big Johnny made his weekly mistake, Vince poked fun at him, while also bringing up some nostalgic fun such as Zach Gowen and Big Show being much better in 1999, and the World Heavyweight champion got to rub shoulders with the boss.
Oh, and we also got to see Vince ride a scooter, which was something new I guess.
Sheamus vs. Tensai
This was definitely Tensai's best match since returning to the WWE. He was aggressive, stiff (as well as Sheamus) and didn't look gassed in what was relatively a long TV match.
I don't know where he goes from here though. After his second loss in two weeks, he just doesn't look strong anymore.
His ambush on Sakamoto will surely put him in a new direction, but will that lead him anywhere worthwhile? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Santino Marella & Layla vs. Ricardo Rodriguez & Beth Phoenix
This thing between Santino and Ricardo is ridiculously silly, yet unforgivably great to watch. Yes, Santino should be doing something a bit more serious since he's the US champion, but screw it, him and Ricardo have excellent chemistry together so I'm all for them having a little feud.
Everything from Ricardo running into the ring post to his post match celebration made this really fun to watch. Even the Justin Bieber bit was funny, albeit being a very cheap way to get people laughing.
Daniel Bryan, CM Punk & Kane and AJ
Finally, for the first time in this feud we got to see a long promo with everyone involved. This was a really strong segment, with everyone involved playing a nice part.
Daniel Bryan cut an excellent heel promo. So much so, that he got cheered for his efforts to gain heat.
Next came CM Punk, who also delivered a nice promo. Some may argue that he isn't the same man that he was “last year”, but I'd actually have to disagree with everyone on that point. The reason he isn't as edgy as he was last year is because he has nothing left to complain about. He's the WWE champion, and someone who has slowly become one of the main faces in the company. That doesn't mean that he's changed at all.
Next came Kane who delivered an alright promo. It wasn't anything special, but definitely wasn't as bad as some of his stuff earlier this year e.g. his overly boring and repetitive “Rise Above Hate” promos.
Lastly, there was AJ, who in my opinion, has been the best person in this entire storyline. Her mannerisms were spot on as usual, and her comments on each of the three men continue to leave us wondering who she is going to side with at No Way Out.
Fatal-4-Way Elimination Match
When Dolph Ziggler was announced as being one of the participants in this Elimination match, I think it was pretty obvious that he was going to be the number 1 contender for Sheamus' World Heavyweight title.
Despite the predictability though, this was an entertaining match. Khali was thankfully eliminated early (much to the commentators lack of surprise), which left Swagger, Christian and Ziggler to do what they do best (well OK, not so much Swagger... at all).
After the third wheel was eliminated, it was left Ziggler and Christian who had a nice back and forth battle in the final minutes of the match. Ziggler gets the win, and I am officially a lot more excited for No Way Out on Sunday.
Ryback vs. Willard Fillmore and Rutherford "PS" Hayes
First off, Rutherford “PS” Hayes is a fantastic name. It's better than the great name Stan Stansky, but not as good as the name “Bonecrusher” that I saw many years ago on Sunday Night Heat.
Secondly... well, there's actually nothing left to say about Ryback's squash matches. Give him a third opponent so I might have something... well, again, that probably wouldn’t give me anything new to talk about either. Unless of course, he thinks of a finisher using all 3 of his opponents, which might give me a sentence or two to write about.
Big Show vs. Kofi Kingston
I kind of zoned out during this match. Don't blame me, I'm the one that has to watch Raw live during the middle of the night. And when Big Show is wrestling it's kind of hard to stay focused.
Anyway, the one thing I remember about this match is how Kofi should have climbed over the cage when he hit the Trouble in Paradise, instead of going going for a cover.
Also, the Steel Cage really wasn't needed here. Big Show didn't use it at his disposal at all. Instead, he just did his usual routine.
Sin Cara vs. Curt Hawkins
I know I said Sin Cara has improved since his return n' all, but it doesn't mean that I find his matches to be enjoyable. Every time I see his wrestle I just picture him saying saying “Alright, I'll do all these spin-y moves that don't exactly work on any body part while you sell them as best as you can to make me look good. Deal?” Wait, I should picture him saying that in Spanish, shouldn't I? "Está bien, voy a hacer todos estos movimientos spin-Y que no exactamente el trabajo en cualquier parte del cuerpo mientras que usted vender lo mejor que pueda para que me vea bien. Encarar de manera?" There we go.
Vader vs. Heath Slater
As I said in my DWM column, I didn't watch Vader growing up so his return probably wasn't as exciting for me as it was for some of the older fans, but despite all that, I still marked out when I heard his music play.
The “you still got it” chants were a bit much (I mean seriously, that chant for a clothesline?), but he was still fun to watch. One of the highlights of the show for sure.
Daniel Bryan & Kane vs. CM Punk & AJ
This was a really strange match. It was three minutes of wrestling and at least two minutes of AJ kissing Kane.
Strangely enough though, it came off pretty well. AJ helped CM Punk win the match by creeping the hell out of Kane, and thus, brings back up the question of who's side AJ is on at No Way Out.
More of a segment than a match, but a good segment nonetheless. Although it has to be said, it shouldn't just take a Flying Elbow to defeat Daniel Bryan.
Big Shock and Mr. McMahon
“The Rock says this: if the Rock hits you, he'll kill you. If he misses, the wind behind the punch will give you pneumonia and you'll die anyway, so the choice is yours, jabroni!”
I guess they could use this excuse for Vince McMahon falling to the ground for no reason, right? Well, minus the death part of course (don't wanna see that again), but yeah, make that the reason as to why he got knocked out cold. I mean, it's not as if there's a lack of plot holes in this storyline anyway.
Seriously though, it was a real cringe worthy ending to the show. I guess Vince had to fall down, even if there was no contact. They couldn’t exactly have Big Show accidentally throw a punch at Vince twice.
Apart from that, the segment still wasn't perfect. If Vince wants to fire Big Johnny then why doesn't he just do it? Surely he knows that Laurinaitis will find a way to keep his job, like did at Over the Limit, right?
In saying that though, at least they didn't go for the “he was knocked out before he could fire him” approach because that's just being unbelievably lazy.
Overall all, a fun episode of Raw. In the end, the good (nostalgia, strong promos and solid in-ring action) cancelled out the bad (Vince McMahon getting knocked out a ghost (ooh, there's another idea for them)) in the show.
- It was good seeing Vince interact with so many wrestlers both inside the ring and backstage. In my opinion, it made the wrestlers look a bit more important and relevant.
- References to Zach Gowen, Big Show in 1999, JR being set on fire, Shane O Mac getting his testicles electrocuted and the Kiss My Ass club made this a very nostalgic edition of Raw.
- It's true, “Once you go Bryan, there's no point in tryin'”
- Ricardo in a Justin Bieber t-shirt reminded me a lot of Lance Storm being stripped down to his Power Rangers underwear years ago.