The Redman Report: WWE Raw 8/8/11: We’re All Shootin’ Brother!

Damn, these guys are good. Don’t even have anything to say. It’s all about the main event.

HUNTOR. I suppose we might as well get used to this. Whats going to be annoying going forward is the tendency he has to take 10 minutes to cut a 3 minute promo. He could have cut out half the words of this. The special ref thing came out of nowhere, my first reaction was just an “oh God, someone’s getting screwed”, which isnt the best thing, but whatever.

REALLY liked the Hunter/Cena conversation in the ring here. Great detail work in the sense that everybody is “shootin'” now, so here you can overhear Cena’s “legit” reaction to Hunter appointing himself the referee.

Enjoyed Cena vs Swagger. Cena had his working boots on doing his “veteran outwrestling the midcarder” stuff, which was actually pretty fun. So strange in the age of star vs star matches for Cena to just make a comeback and win straight away. I mean, people bitch about the Five Moves, but when was the last time he just hit all of them in a row and won with no counter or finishing stretch? Anyway, fine for its purpose as a warm-up match.

Ricardo introducing Alberto for his backstage segments is win. Nice of them to mention the MITB tease before their match, although why they’re wrestling now is beyond me unless that ends up playing into SS or afterwards.

R-TRUTH. This was just about the goofiest promo in the history of television, but he still managed to nail it. “I’m glad you asked me that Josh” was KILLER. I also liked him continuing “Dont WHAT me!” backstage and rambling insanely before going “but thats beside the point” or whatever it was. Truth rules.

I liked Miz’s beatdown of Rey as a tease for a match. Miz needs some balls back and Rey obviously is injured anyway. Beating his head against the statue then the big BOOT was nasty.

But then, unfortunately, I missed the match. Which is a bugger, I’m going to have to catch the replay for this, because they had me at “Kofi working”.

Punk vs Alberto was fun for the time they had, but this was way too short for them to tell any kind of story and WAY too short for what these guys wrestling now should mean. Alberto’s eventual title win is going to mean less and less the more he stands around losing randomly in the meantime, he’s been treading water on TV waiting to win a title since March, they need to pull the trigger already.

Beth vs Eve was surprisingly sloppy, disappointed. However Beth is still one badass bitch and I cannot hate her when she does things like drag Eve down from the top rope and Glam Slam her. Even better was the asshole promo about Diva fluffs which to me was almost a reflection of the new We’re All Shootin’ Brother regime. Beth going for her own revolution in the wimmins division. Kelly came off like a tiny bit of an AB, but only because we had Cole screaming instead of JR or King pointing out that Beth blindsided her last week and babyface revenge is acceptable.

I will say though that they must have realised that Cole was killing the show, thank God, because he was amazingly toned down and bearable this whole show. I wont hate life if they go with that going forward, JR calling PBP, King being King and Cole interjecting with the sports entertainment, Vince lines and MAYBE, SOMETIMES, ON THE RARE OCCASION throwing in something about Miz or another heel he likes. Quietly. Maybe then he can stay.

Riley is f*cking JACKED today. Shredded. Thats what a singles push does to you. Anyway, this was a whole bunch of nothing since it didnt lead to anything other than Dolph and Vickie bickering after a loss, which they do after EVERY loss. At least announce a match for Summerslam or something, Jesus.

Speaking of which, if they announced Rey challenging for the title next week in San Diego…WHY NOT MENTION IT? Rey is injured, he wasnt working anyway. How hard would it have been for him to come out and cut a promo about wanting his rematch and wanting it in his hometown next week on Raw, no matter who wins at SS? If you desperately need Miz to beat him up then you can still do that, but at least DO SOMETHING rather than just announce in a random segue “oh yeah, title match” and dont even have the guy doing it announce it in a promo. And you wonder why people dont give a damn.

Speaking of which, throwing Truth vs Morrison on here in a death segment, a grudge match being built for months here, on the go-home show to a PPV in Morrison’s hometown. And they have the match, Truth pins him clean in minutes. Lordy Lordy. I’m guessing this is some sort of punishment or warning shot for something, otherwise this is just mind boggling. Having said that, Morrison had his game face on with his opening striking, then the AMAZING TORNILLO DIVE over the corner, and then the freaking INSANE barricade bump. The man DIED. What a moron doing that after coming back early from neck problems. Not a good decision.

So…the main event. Where do I start?

More incredibly captivating television. Once again they created an entire segment based on “shoot” comments (I mean, they legit played a YouTube shoot video on Raw…think about that), but remained focused in the end on selling the match at hand and  always managed to be relevant and, my God, entertaining.

I remember saying it after the very first Punk promo, and I’ll say it again, that you dont need to be a smark, you dont need to understand the IRL story or significance behind all of the “Colt Cabana” and “skateboard” and “failed bodybuilder” and “workrate” comments to get this. The broadstrokes are made and they’re there to be found; Cena is the man. Punk wants to be the man. Punk thinks Cena is fake and corporate-made. Cena think he’s himself and Punk is just as ‘fake’ in his own way. These are all easily understood without insider information.

The dichotomy they keep developing is fascinating. WWE Corporate vs the anti-establishment underdog. Sportz Entertainment vs Pro Wrestling. John Cena vs the internet “workrate” posterchild. Women and children vs adult males. Handpicked bodybuilder megastar vs small workrate heat-magnet. “Cookie-cutter” PG schtick vs serious “pure sports build” angles. And so on.

The clear and distinct gap which they’ve opened up and have been widening ever since between the PG, kid-friendly product epitomised in John Cena and his fans, and the adult-male crowd who find it lame, hate Cena and are crying out for new heroes, backed by Punk, is so interesting. They’re at the point where they’re flat-out pointing the fact out on TV. They’re really drawing the line between their own fans down on TV, as an angle. Its fascinating, because they’re at a point now, and hopefully can sustain it, where there are two distinct types of babyface: the Cena type kids love, and the Punk type adults love, and both can pretty much survive on top independent of the other as separate but equal babyfaces once they stop feuding. A WWE which tries to appeal to both of their fanbases separately, since they’re so far apart fundamentally. They had the idea in theory with Orton, but where Orton fails in that role, Punk succeeds spectacularly.

Introducing Rock into the story was also amazingly well done. I shouldnt say introduce, since Punk mentioned him from the beginning, but here he became an important player instead of just serving as a name-drop. Its smart in the first place to reintroduce Rock vs Cena as a grudge feud to people as you gear up for presumably Survivor Series as Rock’s next appearance. Their rivalry is now firmly back in people’s minds going forward even when there are presently more pressing concerns.

But even more than that, he was also seamlessly weaved into this ever-expanding tale of Cena vs Punk as representatives of the larger struggle between, for simplicity, SE vs ProWres. Punk uses Rock as a back up for his points about Cena being lame and goofy. But then Punk is the one who has been dissing Rock the entire time, as a representative of the WWE corporate machine being “handed” the WM main event ahead of him. Also poignant is the fact that Rock chooses to diss Cena being lame by…being lame, although thats been a thing the entire time. Anyway, the salient point is that Rock manages to straddle both sides of the argument.

As do others, including Punk and Cena themselves; Cena makes the point that Punk the rebel wanted, and got, more money and perks and, essentially, by succeeding through this rebel angle he’s become more a part of the machine itself and, by extension, more like Cena and the Yankees. While at the same time Cena, supposedly of the machine, is constantly insisting that he’s his own man and not part of the machine, not to mention he just had a five star match and cut a serious promo about not giving a f*ck about what people think, complete with “shoot” comments.

But getting back to the bare bones, this was all just performed incredibly well. From the minute HHH begun and Punk immediately cut in to call everything bullsh*t and start the real conversation, this sh*t was ON. Punk remains magnificent, Cena on his part has been so ‘on’ lately and delivered stupendously here, and HHH was way more effective by staying relatively silent throughout the whole thing than any previous Hunter segment so far.

I thought all the points they swept through were great. Punk, Rock and adult males think Cena is lame. Cena cuts the big promo about not giving a sh*t about the IWC or the adult males who will NEVER like him no matter how many five star matches he has. He mention’s Punk’s money grabbing. Punk explains that he has to fight for everything that just gets handed to Cena. Cena then points out that he can afford to lose at Summerslam whereas Punk’s career is riding on him beating Cena two shows in a row. Nothing was said for the sake of it, every detail was introduced to serve a purpose or prove a point. And in the end, despite fighting this incredibly complex battle about the nature of mainstream professional wrestling in 2010, in the end it boiled down to Punk and Cena having this match at the PPV for the title. Cena wants to win. Punk NEEDS to win. Who will win?

And thats what you’re left with, until they get physical and both “accidentally” hit Hunter and Ace, and you tease the possibility of Referee Hunter Hearst Helmsley screwing…somebody. And the crucial point being, once again, that I have no idea what is going to happen. Before now I was psyched for the Rematch for the workrate, but now I’m just as psyched to see who actually wins and what happens. Epic win, WWE.

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