The Redman Report: WWE Raw 29/8/11: The Hall of Pain

Brand Split, Brand Split, oh where art thou Brand Split? Hmm. Things seem to be a-happenin’.

Its time to play the Game! Thats better! Well, not really, but OK. So, one step closer to ending the brand split. That was, sudden. It wasnt made clear to me if it went both ways, but as much as I’m less in love with it these days, if they turn my Smackdown into Raw II from now on I might, well, die. This is a weird move. And yet strangely it fits in with The New Regime and Hunter trying to make his mark on the company.

Anywho, this segment. Interesting as hell. Hunter is pissed because Nash pulled an angle on HIM last week. Still pissed at Punk because he’s a douche. Still claiming innocence. Nash HAD TO pull an angle on Hunter because he wanted to screw with Punk again. Punk STILL doesnt believe in Hunter’s innocence. So all possibilities remain open for business. I find it fascinating that when Punk mentions Steph Hunter never flinches but Nash gets all uppity on his behalf.

On that note, Punk, for his part, is really teetering dangerously close to Asshole Babyface territory. He’d already have reached it only you have to give him some leeway since he’s supposed to be less a babyface and more a “real” character, and by extension doesnt stray that far from his previously existing (heel) character. Plus, if Hunter is guilty than he has every right to call him on it. But, man, what a douche. Firstly, the heaving bit stopped being funny after 10 seconds and kept going for about 5 minutes. That was awkward, not a good decision. The smarmy “pipebomb” thing was horrible as well. And secondly, seriously, what a douche. He insults Steph at every opportunity, even when she’s irrelevant, to the point where Hunter has every right to f*ck him up for burying his wife. Plus, there’s still the possibility that Hunter is actually innocent, and thats the way he’s acting so far certainly, so Punk being such a douche to him comes off badly since he’s just doucheing on a babyface. They need to move somewhere with this or Punk is going to lose the support of the wider fanbase.

Orton vs Dolph RULED. Another f*cking great TV match. This has to be Orton’s best in-ring year ever, the man is working his ass off. Dolph was also great here, reminded me of what he can do. Just great work. Dolph dominating the hell out of Orton for the first half, cutting off all of his stuff and looking good on offense. And the stretch once Orton made his comeback was AWESOME. He seems to have added the headbutts up top and subsequent superplex, and the slingshot to his workrate moveset. I also loved him busting out the gutwrench neckbreaker, as well as the belly to belly suplex early on (Shades of Michelle McCool!) Loved the big SUPERKICK out of the Punt. Dolph should keep that. And HOLY JESUS MOSES, the way Orton threw Dolph through the ropes and spun him around for the DDT was the GREATEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN. I was screaming at how cool that was. Then Dolph got ANOTHER counter in with the Sleeper, and finally Orton tossed him up in the air, waited for him to bounce and BAMRKO. Freaking wonderful stuff. Everybody wins.

I’m happy for even semi-serious Cena. His bare point about how Alberto claims he’s honourable but in reality throws cheapshots like any other heel was a good one, its just, well, anus. MARK HENRY! You know what, if the Supershow idea means I get Mark Henry twice a week, I’m on board. I like how he didnt mess around, he was just like “I’ve come out here to kill you, just like I’ve killed everybody else.” John Cena vs current Mark Henry sounds like the most awesome babyface/heel match ever. Hopefully we get this at some point, even on TV. I do enjoy Christian doing the un-self aware “I hate whiners” stuff, but the sad thing is that with Cena, it was hard to tell it was supposed to be a joke. Him turning into a five year old in response wasnt that bright either. But anyway, tease a fight, babyface save, heels bail, we have a tag match! I’m good with this.

OK, I laughed at Ace thinking he has the power to book matches. He’s in this somehow, I tells ye!

Punk vs Miz was fine, but man, quite the letdown. I expected much more. Main problem was that Miz was on offense for what seemed like a thousand years. Every time Punk got any offense in he’d get cut off AGAIN and we get another five minutes of Miz getting heat. This went on WAY too long and made Punk look completely useless being beatdown by someone with as little credibility as Miz. The only things I liked were Punk busting out a Spinning Backfist (Shades of Kong!) and a tight Saito Suplex (Shades of…DH Smith).

AND a lame finish on top of that. I cant remember the last time Truth didnt speak on Raw, and the show was immeasurably poorer for that reason. What a waste. Nash powerboming Punk at this point only made Punk look like even more of a goof too (not to mention how idiotic it seems now in hindsight).

Sin Cara II! This match would have been perfectly fine had it not been for the fact that I COULDNT SEE A THING. Normally the lighting is just annoying, and thats whatever, but today I was watching this on the (semi-old) TV in my room and it was legit so dark I couldnt see properly. F*CK THE LIGHTING OFF. Not cool Double Double E. But this was fine otherwise. I sort of enjoy Dolph’s plan of proving to Vickie that Swagger sucks by interfering in his matches to make him lose all the time. Its ingenious, in that Heel Buffoon kind of way.

Tag Champs! Woo! Man, Kofi sure looks silly doing his entrance without pyro though, they need to fix that. ‘Air Boom’ isnt bad, nor great, but after seeing other names out there, I’ll take it. Easy for me to type, at least. Anyway, I enjoyed them squashing the goofs, and I dont think I will ever not mark for Kofi’s Double Pump Crossbody. Liked Bourne’s balance spot too.

But man, King has wandered way off the reservation. Even I felt sorry for those goofs after King’s burial. Ouch. In a way I’m glad they’re doing an angle with King, to actually give the burial some sort of point. Plus, if anyone can get something out of these goofs it should be King.

Kelly was throwing some nice forearms in this match. This was fine, although I’m not sure what the point of another Bellas push is at this point, since NatBeth should be the challengers. Pushing them just to have them squash all three/four girls at once to prove a point seems wasteful, not to mention it will make them even bigger babyfaces.

Main event was fun enough. Loved the opening minutes where Sheamus tossed Christian around so eventually he gets fed up and tags Henry. Also liked the last minute, Henry taking his giant Rope Dive to the outside and missing, and Sheamus’ big SHOULDER BLOCK on the floor was cool as. Fine babyface finish.

So, OK.That was weird.

Seriously. What an underwhelming announcement of that particular match. It seems preposterous to me at this point that they’d actually end up doing this match on this PPV. Its way, way too soon. But whatever. Tune into Smackdown, I guess.

P.S. – Where on earth be Alberto?

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