Its incredible to me how good Raw is these days. I dont think Raw has had this long of a run of being great each week since at least the summer of 2008. So many people to love – Truth, Rey, Beth, JR, Miz, Zack – and thats even before you get to the crazy main event scene, as it is at the mo’. Good times.
The opening video did an amazingly good job of recapping the major plot points of an incredibly complex angle. Punk went crazy, Vince and Ace tried to Montreal him, Cena is a good guy, Punk ran off with the title, they made a new one that Rey won, Rey lost it to Cena, Punk came back to compare titles. And here we are.
I have to admit I didnt really hear ‘Cult of Personality’ as an entrance song before, but I take it all back because “BZZZT…do-do do-do do-do do-do” freaking RULES. He totally looks like a big deal coming out now. Loved the reaction, as well as Punk getting in and SITTING DOWN, as the signal that he’s about to speak.
And amazingly enough, they explained it. Punk created this crazy “Voice of the Voiceless” hardcore-fan character, he was stirring up such a fuss and getting things done inch-by-inch…but he was gone within a month. So he sits at home and sees that it only took them 5 minutes to pretend he never existed, to go back to the “status quo”, and he realises that he cant stay away, he needs to be there to make himself heard, to stop the bullsh*t. Not to mention JOHN CENA winning the new WWE Title after Punk beat the guy at the PPV for the real belt.
Hunter, for his part, sends out feelers when he comes into power, they work out the contract part but while Punk still isnt re-signing he needs to keep the wheels turning and go ahead with the tourney and Cena’s rematch, before BAM, Punk. Now I have two champions on my hands. It also develops further the “regime change” angle; whereas Vince would have and did (in kayfabe) let personal feelings get in the way of business, at the expense of the Universe, Hunter is putting feelings aside to do the right business and give the Universe what they want. And it happened that the little “personal feelings” aside lead to the big personal confrontation.
Which was awesome, might I add. I said last week and I’ll say again, they just cant be going forward with Hunter Speaking for 20 Minutes as a show idea every week, but in the beginning you sort of have to, and this was good as the revealing, ‘Hunter and Punk have it out in public now they have the opportunity’ moment. We already heard a month ago that Punk hates Hunter, and hey, Hunter hates Punk right back. The way Punk said “..or what?” was just about the most gloriously smug thing anyone has ever said on TV. Plus interrupting Hunter leaving on his own terms with “I do love Motorhead” to do more bitching was great, another nice little touch of “Punk doesnt play by the normal rules”. This was an epic douche-off here, and somehow at the end of it, both these guys are babyfaces. Pro wrestling.
BETH PHOENIX MOTHERF*CKERS!
So much love. I enjoyed the Battle Royal for a number of reasons; Melina getting tossed the second the bell rang. Gail Kim leaving just for the lulz which is the wackiest thing I’ve seen on TV in forever. Kelly freaking Kelly, for a girl who cannot speak or Act in any way she acquitted herself astonishingly well on commentary, which is the hardest form of promo known to man. Eve’s amazing jump over the baseball slide to eliminate Alicia was cool as hell. And BETH lifting up both Bellas and tossing them like nothing ruled. When she turned on Kelly I was legitimately shocked. I am so right back into the women if I get Beth throwing Kelly around and calling her a bimbo. Awesome stuff.
I liked the wackiness of the Miz/Truth conversation Truth explaining to Miz that they’re both victims of a C..O..N..Spiracy, and Miz ending up talking to himself and getting mad about it. I dont think I will ever, ever hate Truth busting out “C..O..N..Spiracy”, ever. I’m going to header that sh*t any time he says it until the end of time.
And hey, Miz/Truth vs Rey/Morrison was an awesome TV tag match. Just a hell of a lot of fun. Miz and Morrison got to work together to start, then some good ol’ fashioned heels beating on Rey forever. The point where Rey scurried under one of them frantically only to be denied was a great tease. Rey also got to REY Miz off the top rope which I always love. And finally Morrison comes in with some actual fire, busting out the standing C4 right away was cool, and we get the stretch with everyone interfering until Miz throws Rey INTO THE CROWD (not something you see every day) and the heels sneak out the win.
The one, the ONE AND ONLY good thing about Cole all night is that at the end of this match he was crying about Miz “selflessly sacrificing himself for his partner!” and IMMEDIATELY after the pin Miz comes in and steals back the spotlight by giving Morrison the SCF, exposing himself as selfish and Cole as a completely wrong douche. That I liked.
Apart from that, of course, he was insufferable, but I’ve wasted enough ink on that already. GO AWAY.
Anyway, Truth’s water bottle as a dastardly attack is great and needs to be sold as much as possible.
I love how Vickie started out all subdued and shy, like she was thinking “I havent been on TV for a while, maybe they wont boo me so much..excuse me?” and being booed and ending up with “Ah f*ck you, EXCUSE ME!” Vickie is a great woman. Dolph is good too and is actually one of the better undercard guys on the mic. Riley’s entrance intro is still so much money. This was good from him too, I was always worried about how a guy that naturally heelish could cut face promos right out of the gate, but he did here. I loved the way Dolph gave his title to Vickie, gave her his jacket, loosened his tie, and…walked away. I laughed. As a random midcard angle this was good, and Dolph should work well with Riley.
I’m sitting here amazed at how much I didnt hate the tag match. Firstly, Santino. Secondly, Zack. Thirdly, Zack was over in the building with the chants and his hot tag brought a huge pop, which is nice. Fourthly, the tag champs were at their most bearable to me so far in this match. Developing double team moves is a good idea, since they literally have nothing else at all going for them. Last week I would have said that I never needed to see Zack wrestle again if he got a good gig as a GM, but I enjoyed him working here just fine. Maybe he works better as half of a tag team.
Alberto vs Bourne was a fun little semi-squash. But KOFI KINGSTON BITCHES! “KOFI!” chants! See! See how easy it is with this guy if you give him a chance? He’s incredibly easy to love and gets over whenever he has something interesting to do. The Draft was in April. Its taken them four months to give him something even as interesting as “face makes the save for another face”, and the first time he makes the save, chants. Drives me nuts. Anyway, Kofi and Alberto work really well together so this looks good.
I just love it how they’re trying to build up this whole suspense thing around “What will Hunter do?” and talking about stripping belts and stuff, when the obvious answer is a unification match and nobody can possibly be in any doubt about the outcome. But I liked them trying their darnedest anyway. Good on ’em.
Johnny Ace as a regular TV character playing Vince by Proxy I am not a fan of, I hope his role is extremely short term. But I liked Cena ripping into him with the promo impression and stuff, it continues on the idea that Cena has been accused by Punk as being the corporate puppet, so he’s like “F*ck that, I’m not anybody’s puppet” and suddenly has to justify on TV the fact that he’s his own man; firstly by his go-home promo on Vince, then preventing the Montreal at MITB, and here now ripping into Ace as the evil corporate enemy. Cena and Punk are just both the babyface; they have different character traits, different fanbases and different perspectives, but really underlying all that is that both are fighting for the right thing, and for their fans.
I also saw the fact that Ace (as Vince Proxy) wanted Cena stripped of his title and Cena then accusing him of wanting that because he was embarrassed about being KO’d at the PPV, that was a continuation of the Cena/Vince segment where Cena exposed Vince’s decision making before the PPV as being based on personal feelings and a bruised ego, rather than business. Here, Vince’s right-hand man is again using his hurt ego to try and get even with Cena to the detriment of business, i.e. stripping Cena instead of doing the logical rematch. This is in juxtaposition to Hunter, who has said that he’s putting aside personal feelings in order to do business and give the fans what they want, and he’s delivered on that so far. Whether that is the Hunter Philosophy going forward or the prelude for him to turn heel down the line, who knows.
In general I liked that they tried to get everything out, even using the idea that Punk resigned at the last second as Raw was in progress to explain the tourney and the Rey/Cena match as well as Punk coming out immediately after the latter ended. Plus, lets be real, Cena vs Punk was incredible, who really cares how they got there as long as we get the Rematch. That is going to rule. And above all, the best news is that I still have no idea whats going to happen next week. Raw is good.