RAW 7/9/12 – It Was Hornswoggle In The Observatory With A Candlestick

Hey, this should be an exciting edition of RAW to review.  After all, this is the preview on wwe.com…

Last week’s Raw SuperShow redefined the word “fallout” when AJ’s lip-lock with WWE Champion CM Punk ended with her putting both Punk and No. 1 contender Daniel Bryan through a table. Elsewhere, Alberto Del Rio responded to becoming No. 1 contender to the World Heavyweight Title with a veritable rampage through the roster. And one of the most exciting Money in the Bank Ladder Match participants picked up a surprise win last week that cost him dearly. How will things play out this Monday on Raw SuperShow? We have a couple of ideas …

Rampages!  Liplocks!  Surprises!  What more can one ask for?  (other than coherent thoughts)

9:00 – Show opens with a recap of the A.J./Bryan/Punk wackiness from last week.  Sorry kids, but no amount of video tricks and dramatic music can make this mess seem plausible, much less entertaining.

9:02 – A.J.’s comes to the ring for the opening 20-minute preview, because if there’s anything this show needs is more non-wrestling characters talking.  Hypes the fact she’s special guest referee and calls CM Punk out to the ring.

9:06 – Punk echoes my sentiments exactly when he asks the burning question – “what’s this all about?”  Because I really have no idea what this is about.

9:07 – Ok, so let me get this straight – Punk basically called her a psycho, but because he said he cared about A.J. that’s enough for her to want to marry him?   Is this the strong female character everyone’s ranting on about – the one who keeps chasing after the guy who doesn’t want her?

9:12 – After 10 minutes, Daniel Bryan runs down to stop the proposal, try to save the segment, and cure world hunger with vegan cupcakes.  (Shouting “NO” was a nice touch.)  He makes a proposal of his own to A.J., and at this point the entire storyline goes from being annoying to f—ing annoying because I really don’t care about this “who does A.J. love?” b.s.  It’s not well-written, it’s not interesting – it’s just hackneyed c-level romantic comedy scriptwriting with b-level acting.

9:15 – Punk starts going on about Bryan’s proposal being a phony, but at this point I can’t even stomatch the segment anymore despite Bryan being amazing at being completely insincere.

9:16 – I never thought I’d be happy to hear the anonymous RAW general manager chime in.  But I am, because at least this segment will end soon.

9:17 – RAW GM makes match with A.J. and CM Punk against Eve and Daniel Bryan, because I guess Eve needs humiliation.  This segment took 15 minutes, but it seriously felt like three hours.  Excruciatingly bad television.

9:20 – I thought Teddy Long wasn’t GM this week.  Why is there a tag match with John Cena & Kane vs. Big Show & Chris Jericho?  Is that the only way the WWE knows how to build up a PPV contest anymore is have the participants compete in a tag-team bout?

9:24 – Highlights of Alberto Del Rio beating the crap out of Sheamus, which was a very good segment on Smackdown.  I don’t think the ADR/Sheamus match will be anything special, mind you, but at least there’s some intrigue as to who might win.

9:25 – I was going to comment about how far Jack Swagger was down the totem pole that he didn’t even get a ring entrance, but then Sheamus beat him in like 30 seconds so that makes the lack of entrance seem like a trivial matter.  For everyone that bitched about R-Truth and Miz’s falls from grace, Swagger has gone from being World champ a couple of years ago to being a job guy.

9:27 – Del Rio hits the Titantron to tell Sheamus that he’s going to beat him up and take his title on Sunday.  I like ADR in this role as the vicious heel.  This is so much more palatable to me as a main-event title program than the god-awful Bryan/Punk/AJ crap.

9:28 – Stupid backstage segment with Zack Ryder and Santino Marella.  Apparently Santino’s going to figure out who the anonymous RAW GM is, which at least ties up the loose end as to who the hell was supposed to be behind the computer in the first place.

9:32 – The Rock is back on RAW in two weeks for the 1,000th show.  With all the money the WWE is spending on this show, if it doesn’t do some monster rating they need to clean house.  Which means that they’ll fire a bunch of c-level writers and blame it on the Miz or something.

9:33 – Tag-team match joined in progress, with no ring intros.  Has to be because the Sheamus/Swagger match went long.  Tyson Kidd & Christian vs. Tensai & Dolph Ziggler in a match almost certainly made by Teddy Long after the four got in an in-ring brawl during the commercial break.

9:35 – Tensai pins Christian in two minutes and beats the crap out of Tyson Kidd afterwards, which means that he’s likely out of whatever doghouse he was in a few weeks ago.  Vickie Guerrero makes eyes at Tensai after the match and I have a feeling we’re seeing the setup for aborted Dolph Ziggler face turn #994.

9:37 – Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler get into an argument which ends up with Cole spilling a drink on the King.  This being RAW (the show that brought you the “hot coffee” feud with Kane and Jericho) that means that the anonymous GM says that the two should have a match tonight.  Where was that GM when John Cena kept spilling CM Punk’s diet soda?

9:38 – Ok, the RAW GM says that the WWE Universe should vote to see whether Cole and Lawler should wrestle tonight.  I’m sure that poll will be fair and impartial.

Random Complaint: I’m so over the “YES” chants in every segment.  I equated it to “What?” last week, but it’s seriously like ten times worse.

9:45 – Brodius Clay came out, did some fat dancing and beat up Drew McIntyre.  Clearly Drew wanted no part of this match, complete with him rolling out of the ring about one second after getting pinned.  That looked like a guy on his way out the door, if you ask me.

9:46 – At least the kids who were dancing with Clay and the Funkettes kinda looked like they wanted to be there.

9:47 – Jericho with a goofy segment with Santino in the back before running into the Big Show, who tells him that teaming with him was some of the worst times of his life.  I don’t know, you guys were tag-team champs at once point and really over as a team.  It wasn’t like you were jobbing to the Usos on TV every week.  In the pantheon of stupid crap you’ve done, Show, teaming with Jericho isn’t even in the bottom third.

9:48 – Poor Y2J looks crushed.  It’s still real to him, apparently.

9:51 – Stephanie McMahon pimps her favorite RAW moment as the whole wedding angle with HHH.  And you might think that she picked that because she’s a humble person who didn’t mind being embarassed on TV as a heel, but keep in mind:

A. She got tons of TV time during that storyline.
B. It may have been the hottest she’d ever looked in her life.

All I remember is that the aborted wedding led to Stephanie managing Chris Jericho in the most ineffective build to a main-event Wrestlemania match ever.  If that’s the legacy you’re looking to leave, Steph, then be my guest.

9:54 – Things I’m Over: John Cena talking to the camera during his ring entrance.  I bet he thinks it makes him look all cool and stuff, but to me it’s just blatant pandering.

9:55 – Cena cuts a generic promo guaranteeing he’ll win MITB.  In the old days that means he’d be winning the match.  In WWE 2012 it almost certainly guarantees he won’t, and then will ignore the result the next night.

9:58 – Kane comes out.  At least the WWE acknowledges that Cena and Kane had a feud six months ago and are now partners even though Kane really isn’t a babyface.  At least I don’t think he is.  Maybe he turned face somewhere and I just didn’t know it.

10:13 – This match is taking forever.  It’s not bad or anything, it’s just long and pointless.  It’s not like there’s anything on the line and we all know this is leading to the eventual mêlée between the MITB participants.  So why do a long match when that’s your end game?

10:18 – Ok, so the match ends when Big Show pulls John Cena out of the ring when he’s about to make a three-count on Jericho.  The ref calls that a DQ for some unknown reason, since that spot’s only been in about 4,000 tag-team matches in the last 25 years and it’s almost never a DQ.

10:19 – Cue the mêlée with Show laying waste to everyone in the MITB match.  If this is a preview for the PPV, I’m not exactly feeling it.

10:20 – Cena makes the big comeback to clear Show out of the ring, and for some reason Michael Cole is all excited about Cena’s comeback – even though a few weeks ago he got his ass kicked by him.  I know that continuity is a dirty word in the WWE, but that’s just appalling.

10:26 – Conversation in the back between Eve and Punk leads to Eve burying the WWE champion as being overshadowed by John Cena, HHH and Brock Lesnar.  And now Punk’s apparently overshadowed by A.J.  This burying of your own product and title is such a Russo-ific “nod to the smarts” that I’m almost positive he’s back in creative somehow.  Just complete and utter nonsense.

10:28 – Comedy with Santino trying to get information out of the Great Khali.  You see, Khali doesn’t speak English and Santino thinks he might be the RAW GM.  HILARITY!

10:34 – PPV pre-game match is Kofi/R-Truth vs. Camacho/Hunico.  The WWE has the Prime Time Players and Usos on your roster (O’Neill and Young are the number-one contenders) and you choose to have that match on YouTube instead?   And why isn’t Kofi in the MITB World title match – he’s a guy who is tailor-made for that type of spot-monkey affair.  From a match quality perspective, he’s a better fit than Damien Sandow.

10:35 – MITB qualifier (I didn’t know there were any spots left) between Sin Cara and Heath Slater.

Minutae Moment: If you’re going two minutes, there’s no need to have a chinlock spot.

10:37 –  Mistico wins quickly, as you’d expect, because the PPV build isn’t as important as getting in our former WWE superstar appearance…

Bob Backlund.

Now, if this was crazy “name all the Presidents in order” Bob Backlund, I’d find this mildly entertaining.  But it wasn’t.  It wasn’t even a match – Backlund just locked Slater in the chicken wing crossface and that was it.

The sad thing is that they’ve brought back all these former WWF/E “legends” like Vader, Sid, and Backlund – and DDP got a bigger reaction that just about all of them.  Yeah, the guy whose highest-profile moment in WWE was stalking the Undertaker’s wife is a bigger star to today’s WWE audience than former champs.

10:41 – I guess Michael Cole’s wrestling Jerry Lawler after all.  This is the problem with America – when 75% of the public wants to see Michael Cole wrestler, that’s a strong indicator that society as we know it is screwed.

10:47 – The Cole/Lawler match, such as it was, consisted of Cole trying to run away, Booker T throwing Cole back in to the ring, and Lawler giving him an airplane spin for the pin.  Seriously?  That doesn’t even register on the WWE humilation standard chart.

10:48 – Oh wait, the anonymous RAW GM reversed the ruling and made Cole the winner by DQ.  Okie dokie, then.

10:49 – Out comes Santino, who says that the RAW GM has to be hiding under the ring.   IT’S THE BOOGEYMAN AND HE’S COMING TO GET YOU!

10:50 – Nope, it’s Hornswoggle.  Glad we waited all these years for that payoff.  Now I just need to know who drove the Hummer.

10:57 – Main event time.  Taking bets that with Daniel Bryan and CM Punk in the match that the focus will be on A.J. Lee?

11:00 – Match is starting at top of hour.  This will probably go two minutes with a ten-minute post-match talking segment.

11:04 – Ok, I was off by two minutes.  Most of the match was A.J. Lee and Eve Torres doing really awkward wrestling, which is exactly how I’d use two of the top five workers on my roster – cheerleaders for a bad women’s match.

11:05 – OMG WE’RE TALKING SOME MORE!

11:06 – Bryan makes his case, and then Punk – for about the 100th time – blows off A.J. and basically tells her that she’s nuts and he doesn’t want to hook up with her.  That earns him a slap.

11:07 – Daniel Bryan’s “Come home, A.J.” plea is so awesome.  He seriously makes these segments palatable by playing the complete a-hole.  He gets slapped by A.J. as well.

11:08 – Cut the “Yes” chants and skipping out of the arena to end the show.  For the second straight week, the person standing tall at the end of the WWE’s flagship television program is A.J. Lee.

Takeaways:

-The World title build is the one thing WWE is doing right now.

-If they’re going to pull the trigger on a Dolph Ziggler face turn, at least let it lead to him getting a meaningful push and some high-profile PPV matches.

-I miss Mark Henry, who was so much better as the bad-ass unstoppable monster than Big Show will ever be.  It’s not like Show’s terrible, he’s just not at Henry’s level in portraying a monster.

-I’m not positive this is what’s going to happen, but if I had to guess, I’m thinking that A.J. Lee is going to screw CM Punk out of the WWE title and hand it to Daniel Bryan.  Just when Bryan thinks he’s home free, A.J. will nutshot him or something, and then the MITB winner will cash in on Bryan.  And actually, that could either be Kane or Big Show, because both of them have history with A.J.

Anyway, this wasn’t a good show at all, even by the low standards of RAW these days.  Other than the World title match, the build for the MITB PPV has been either bland or incomprehensible.

If you’ve got comments, leave ’em, or email me at dajerseyboy@hotmail.com or follow me on Twitter. Supporting material to come tomorrow, as it’s midnight here in the sticks.

Later, marks.

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