The Redman Report: WWE Raw 27/6/11: “IF I CHARGE FOR AIR, YOU KEEP YOUR BILL PAID!”

I said last week there was so much greatness I didn’t know where to start. I said that because I hadn’t met this week’s Raw yet. Jesus freaking Christ…when the hell did Raw get so good? Plus, something something shoot promo, apparently.

Shawn Michaels! I still love that guy. No problem with him coming out here and just bein’ “Shawn Michaels, retired wrestler just saying hello.” I actually laughed at the continuation of the “DX shameless plug” gimmick with the way he mentioned his show. And Punk! I liked the “any more” crack at the no drugs line. And BAMSWEETCHINMUSIC! That was pretty great, especially the way Punk reacted to it.

BOOKER T is the best Raw Roulette host EVER. I have no idea if they ever used a host for the wheel before, but God damn, I enjoyed this man all night. He’s just so wacky and enthusiastic about everything. And “you also go away with an all expenses paid trip to hell!” was awesome.

BAMSWEETCHINMUSIC! I laughed at Shawn kicking all of Punk’s friends. Plus, those guys suck, they deserve to be booted every single week on TV.

Countout was weird but I didnt mind it. I liked Cole saying “he’s in total ‘What are they going to do? Fire me?’ mode”, firstly to foreshadow the end of the night and also to justify Punk walking out here – its not so much a “lame heel cowering” finish as a “F*ck this sh*t, I dont have to do this anymore” finish, which worked well. One of the rare countouts that actually make some sense.

Sin Cara! Evan Bourne! I was legit happy at No Countout Match, not gonna lie, mainly because it translated to me as “a gimmick that wont get in the way of having a normal singles match”, which was the main thing. I loved the hell out of this too. Just a fun, short flippy match. This is the pro wrestling I love. Babyface flips man, I eat that sh*t for dinner. Plus SC totally had my father marking out, and anything that gets my father marking out is an epic win in my book.

Kofi vs Dolph #599! (I’m not paying attention to any of the numbers I’m assigning to them every week, by the way, so they’re probably not in order.) Sign me the hell up. Vickie is another stip that translates as “they’re just having a normal match”, thankfully. This was a great 3 minute match, or however long it was. Felt like nothing. But God damn WHAT A FINISH. Dolph’s massive PUSHKICKTOTHEFACE, into the Kofi Springboard into TROUBLEINPARADISEBITCHES! I marked out. The day Kofi fails to give me an interesting finish is the day the world stops spinning. In any case, sign me up for #600!

Maryse should be used more as a character, she’s wasted as a personality on NXT. You know the main thing in this segment is that I realised that the budding romance of Alberto and Rosa was tragically ended when Alberto was Drafted. How sad. Anyway, you knew what was coming as soon as this started, and it came, and it was great. And Booker is still great.

Steel Cage! Show is so interesting at the moment that I was looking forward to this. It wasnt bad for what they did, but in the end this was just background for the real angle. And this is normally where one would complain about wasting a steel cage match in the background, but f*ck that because MARK HENRY MOTHERF*CKERS.

BADDEST. MOTHER. BITCHING. F*CKER. ALIVE.

First of all, I loved Mark Henry and the steel cage door reprising their roles in Mark Henry Vs The Steel Cage Door, the summer blockbuster of 2006. I laughed. But WOAH JESUS, HE DOOR’D HIM THROUGH THE STEEL CAGE!! That was awesome. Mark Henry turning into a collection of “F*cking up the Big Show” spots is great. And MAN CAN THIS MAN TALK SOME SH*T. Mark Henry just cussing out the Big Show after he destroyed him, cussing out the referees and Ace for trying to stop him, then cussing out the crowd on the way out, this was incredible.

“IF I CHARGE FOR AIR, YOU KEEP YOUR BILL PAID!”
“What you gon’ do? Fine me? I do what I want!”
“I wish somebody would!”
“I suck? You over there, I’m over here!”

I just think its incredible that, in an episode containing the greatest promo of all time, my headline quote comes not from the greatest promo of all time, but from THIS MAN. MARK HENRY. What a f*cking immense man. So much win.

Oh God, women. I assured my father that they’d have to give the women a ludicrous gimmick, pillow fighting or what have you. So what do I get for Predicting?

SUBMISSIONS MATCH.

I laughed FOREVER. Hilarious sh*t. I laughed even harder once I saw the match.

– Bell rings.
– Nikki Bella applies Fujiwara armbar. Kelly does not submit.
– Kelly Kelly applies Boston Crab. Nikki submits.

BEST. MATCH. EVER.

This show rules, by this point, and I’m only 3/4 of the way through.

DDP! I admit that in my WWE markiness I laughed like a bitch at them bitching at Jarrett and Sting. Between this, Punk, and Kelly and Nikki having a BattlArts match, Raw is turning into quite the internet show. Only this one doesnt feature Zack Ryder. Boom tish. I also liked a DREW SIGHTING and another random Shawn superkick. They should have done more of Shawn walking around backstage superkicking people, “I just superkicked Stan!” style.

Rey/Riley vs Miz/Swagger FREAKING RULED. I feel like this is going to get lost in the shuffle after this show, but this was a great tag match. Tornado rules gave it a different feel, and they just went all out and had a great match. RILEY IS SHELTON! They totally no sold that but I was marking out. I never knew he had that in him. You know, I legit bought Swagger BOOTING Rey as the finish. It was that good. I also bought the wacky Ankle Lock/Chin Lock combo too, even though they were in the ropes. I was so caught up by this point. And then to finish Rey and Riley turn into the most instant tag team in history with their epic babyface double team finish. I LOVED THIS. Awesome fun.

TRUTH HAD TO CHECK THE RAW ROULETTE WHEEL FOR CONSPIRACIES! Greatest. Man. In. The. World.

Anyway, Cena vs Truth was fine while it lasted, but again, this was only the background to an angle. I liked the suddenness of Punk coming in and BAMSPEARTABLEWIN. So then Punk cut a promo.

Seriously, this was pretty incredible. You had to enjoy it by default because we’re internet geeks and we love to be worked, and I loved being worked here. But this went way beyond hitting all of the internet buzz words, although there were an incredible amount of cheap pops in here and I popped for every single one of them like a good little mark.

To me, the key thing was that he managed to make a WORKED SHOOT~!11 promo make sense in the context of WWE and the angle he’s in. This wasnt a worked shoot for the sake of a worked shoot, this was a key part of a WWE storyline. Punk is leaving. He’s legit leaving in weeks and he wants to take the title with him. He’s already a guy who says what he wants, and he’s admitted that he feels he can do and say anything now because he’s already gone. This is the context going in, on TV.

So he does exactly what he feels like, he goes out there and cuts a “shoot” promo on everything. Explaining why he’s leaving, explaining how frustrated he is trying to make money without politicking. Explaining why he wants to win the world title (because he’s the best). Explaining what exactly he has against Cena (being the poster boy) which gives him a reason to want to beat him at the PPV.

And doing this while at the same time working the adult male crowd into a frenzy and making them feel he’s speaking to them. Speaking for them. Going beyond “the script” and being real. And going beyond his own problems to speak his mind, speak all our minds too, about whats wrong with the entire WWE, things that we (as internet marks) wish we could say to Vince. Its not every day that we hear this kind of thing on WWE TV.

This came across as a completely genuine and honest promo, and it was honest in kayfabe as well as reality, which is what sets it apart from most other attempts at worked shoots. If you’re a mark, you may not understand who Colt Cabana is, you may not know what a New Japan is, you may not know who John Laurinitis is, but you dont need to. Because you know who Vince is, who his daughter is, who Dwayne is. You understand the idea that John Cena is Vince’s latest marketing juggernaut who caters to kids. You understand a CM Punk being jealous of Cena’s position. You understand a guy mouthing off about whatever he wants because he’s on the way out. And you understand that if you want to really piss the office off, you attack Vince, you attack his family, you attack the people in charge. And when you do, you get cut off.

The point is, you may not get every tiny smarky detail, but you can watch this promo without being a smart fan and still get it. And ‘it’ isnt a lame tirade at “the network” or “ratings” or “boys in the back” that has nothing to do with anything other than reaching for an internet pop. ‘It’ was that Punk believes he is the best wrestler in the world, but never gets the same opportunities as Cena because Cena is the poster child. So in the ultimate statement, he’s winning the world title and taking it away from Vince. It has EVERYTHING to do with Punk’s feud with Cena and his world title match on PPV.

That, to me, is one of the things that sets this apart from your average “worked shoot” promo. Another thing was, simply, the execution. Punk was amazing here, lets be real. This guy came across as a someone who couldnt give the slightest sh*t. And a lot of that is just because, well, he doesnt, but in any case, it really came through here, and Punk in his “f*ck this, I’m leaving” character is incredible.

I was already excited for MITB, but now, Jesus Christ, I legit cannot F*CKING wait for MITB. What an incredible sell job, and what an incredible show Raw is somehow turning into.

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