I love it when Mania season rolls around and we sometimes get these Raw shows that are just brilliant up and down and make you want Wrestlemania to come tomorrow. Welcome to this week’s Raw.
I got excited when they teased a match opening the show, but even though they rang the bell it was only a tease and we got a 15 minute opening promo anyway. Bitches. The good news is that it was THIS 15 minute promo. This is exactly what people have been waiting for Punk and Jericho to do for 2 months. A great promo that perfectly explained Jericho’s motivation and Punk’s response. The best part hands down was Punk calling Jericho out on his jealousy and the LOOK on Jericho’s face could not have been more plain in saying “He’s right and I am a jealous petty old man.” Really good work.
Bryan vs Punk was another good match as background music for an angle as well. The only thing that really peeved me about the angle was the way the cameras stayed on the commentary desk for far too long, a few separate times, and missing stuff in the ring. But the match was fun, especially the opening minute which was some great energy, and generally how they had an indy match, using chops and too many kicks and what not. Superplex small package tease was good, just wasted in the commercial break. And the huge cluster finish was actually some fun. Ace and Teddy fighting is once again incredibly palpable and exciting, and “TEDDY” chants rule. Teddy pushing him over and Punk laughing was great. And at the end, Jericho takes another cheapshot, locks on the Liontamer and gets the upperhand back after being so exposed earlier.
In half an hour they basically did only two things, but advanced three feuds (one fairly significantly) and this was an epic television effectiveness win of Smackdown proportions.
And wow, even Josh reporting on the condition of Punk was cool as hell. I like that.
The Hunter/Taker I video ruled. Adding everybody’s comments was a nice touch, and God damn, I could watch that nearfall a thousand times. Glad they left it at that this week, gives last week a chance to breathe before you reintroduce Shawn as the spanner in the works.
Kelly vs Nikki was, surprisingly, a great little battle. Kelly looked good actually thwarting Twin Magic and then the rollup bridge. That was the sort of win where you think “there’s the new #1 contender”, that is, if they were treating the women as wrestlers at the moment.
I just LOVE it when Cena has a match with a midcarder and he goes all puro ace beating on a young boy. He looked great busting out all this offense on Miz, especially the Stinger Splash-Lariat combo, Miz got a few cut offs in and Cena beats him convincingly. Its exactly the kind of dominant performance that Cena needed to back up last week and display his serious edge in the ring as well. Then the cute little Rock bit afterwards, just to remind you all that tonight is actually going to be Rock’s night.
See, I hoped we’d get a three-way out of last week’s tag results. And my word, this tag match was a HELL of a fun cluster. Enjoyed the hell out of it. Kofi going all Kofi on everyone early ruled, as did the chaotic spills to lead to the break. The heel teams trying and failing to work together allowing Truth to get the hot tag was hilariously great. Double Boom Drop was fun, as was the clusterf*ck finish. A totally awesome spotfest and I hope there’s more to this feud.
And then for good measure, we have the return of KANE to do what he does best – destroy multiple people who have just had a match. I dont really care about Kane now the Cena feud is over though. He’s someone who needs something to do or else he’ll just end up a babyface again sooner than later.
It is almost staggering how well-acted and intense this Ace vs Teddy feud is. Ace going ballistic here screaming was the most animated he’s ever looked. The “horse’s ass” chant was amazing. Obviously they’re going to swap shows next week, which is a good next step.
Eve! Love your work girl. I like how she was still a bit hesitant, even teary, about having to be this person now, but overall it was a big “F*ck you all, I’m a hot bitch” and it was great. Even just the way she stands with her hand on her hip like that, and the dress she was almost wearing, it all worked. And afterwards Cole asking Jerry The King Lawler if he’d resist Eve was absolute magic.
And for some more fun we get Kelly Acting! But whatever, Eve straight up LAUGHING IN PEOPLE’S FACES like a huge douche is SO MUCH MONEY. Seriously, she just needs to laugh in the face of everyone forever. What a woman. Cannot wait for Bitch Ass Eve vs Kelly. If only one of them was the champ, there’s Wrestlemania right there.
Cody doing some more Show humiliation and then bolting away was great fun. F*CK OFF with pinning Henry in seconds, just f*ck that, but at the same time I liked the way he was just caught in between Cody and an ANGRY BIG SHOW and paid the price (in a poetic way kind of like how Show ambushed him to begin with in June to start…everything).
So, wow, The Rock’s promo. Coming off the back of Cena last week, this was the time for Rock to come in and just destroy this f*cker right back, and, well…this was not that. On the contrary, Cena came our of this looking stronger than ever. It was the exact opposite of what you expected going in, and on that level it worked really well.
You remember Hogan/Shawn in 2005? Shawn turned heel and started cutting brutal shoot promos exposing Hogan’s entire image and schtick, sounding completely honest and real (whether he was actually right or not), and then finally Hogan came back to TV to respond…and he went “Let me tell you somethin’ brother…” just like always, and it made Hogan seem so completely aloof and un-self aware by trying to do the same old schtick after someone had blown so many holes through it and challenged him on such a personal level.
THAT is what this reminded me of. Cena beat the CRAP out of Rock last week, fired the first big shot of the Mania hard sell, now Rock makes his first live appearance in months to hit back, and…he makes up childish catchphrases and talks about Twitter. He looked like he was having a blast, the crowd was eating it all up and enjoying themselves, and thats cool, but at the end no shot was fired. He sort of tried to address Cena’s points, but thats when he got all weird and Dwayne Johnson-y and sounded really defensive and lame. And then 10 minutes of “…Trending Worldwide.” He was challenged on a really personal level last week, and he basically ignored it to cut the same Twitter promo he always cuts.
And then Cena came out and just straight up bitchslapped him again. I laughed as soon as his music hit because Cena coming out to interrupt a Rock sing-a-long is just so douchey and awesome. The thing about writing notes on his arm was amazing, and “Continue, carry on trending” was just brutal as a parting shot, a total “f*ck you” that made perfectly plain which one of these guys means business.
Rock sounded amazingly small after he left, threatening to slap his lips off after he’d stood there and let Cena walk all over him. This was just a genius segment on all levels. The live crowd had never seen Rock before and more than got their money’s worth of talking and chants and Rock fun. While at the same time they perfectly continued the build for this match by actually having Rock come across as completely ineffective. Suddenly instead of the tit-for-tat, even promo we all expected (like last year),Rock swung and missed and Cena clearly has the upper hand now, forcing Rock to actually do something beyond the usual in order to regain the momentum.