WWE Monday Night Raw last night (April 9, 2012) emanated from the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. and featured all the fallout from last week's show, which saw the highly anticipated return of Brock Lesnar.
The big man was back this week to pick up where he left off with his chief rival, John Cena.
The "People Power" Era of John Laurinaitis is also in full effect but he seems to have hitched his wagon to Lesnar with an emphasis on making WWE "legitimate" again, whatever that means. Don't worry, though, David Otunga is still around and being awesome.
- I have zero problems with WWE booking Brock Lesnar in a match at a pay-per-view so soon after his return but the announcement for said match left a lot to be desired. John Laurinaitis mentioned it during the show open like it was an afterthought. If we're supposed to be gung ho over the build to the match, you would think more emphasis would be placed on announcing the match itself.
- The no blood policy should have went away a long time ago and I welcome its return. I also welcome this new push for "legitimacy," not because I think pro wrestling can ever truly achieve such a thing but because I love the idea behind it. Lesnar is the man to lead the charge but he absolutely cannot do jobs along the way, especially to Cena. Even a smoz finish could be bad for the cause.
- Daniel Bryan got on Raw wearing his new YES! YES! YES! t-shirt but that was only during the brawl when he was one of the many superstars out to break it up. That's inexcusable. Drop the five-minute Undertaker-Triple H-Shawn Michaels documentaries and gives us D-Bry.
- Brodus Clay and Santino Marella in a tag team is like WWE specifically targeting me and hoping to make me smile like a goon for however long they decide to give the two television time.
- Dolph Ziggler consistently jobbing drives me nuts because he's too good to get beat so often. I don't want to hear the argument that losses don't matter either, because that would mean there's no reason to have a match and if we accept the premise of one, we can't ignore the other. Ziggler is a young guy who should be in the midst of finding his stride as a character to push into the future as a main eventer when the big boys leave. I wish they would treat him like that.
- Speaking of young guys who need to be treated better, can someone politely explain to the powers that be that Big Show is not a draw in this business? He's serviceable in a pinch but he's not main event WrestleMania ... or even SummerSlam, for that matter. Cody Rhodes is getting crushed underneath the weight of Show's Intercontinental title run and it's killing his prospects for later on. We won't forget these times.
- I don't ever want to see The Three Stooges on Raw ever again. In fact, just knock it off with the guest hosts.
- Lord Tensai has bombed so far in his return to WWE and it's starting to show after just two weeks. For starters, there isn't anything truly interesting about him, at least not anything that will sustain interests in American fans. When crowds are turning on him by chanting "AL-BERT," it's a clear indicator they have no interest in this Tensai character.
- Sergio and I discussed this at length during the Cageside Live podcast last night but it's worth stating again here: CM Punk and Chris Jericho have both been phenomenal during this feud, Punk especially. But if they want us to stay invested in it, they have to step their game up week after week. If we saw Punk lose a match to Mark Henry and then get alcohol poured all over him last week, why would we want to see the exact same thing this week? That's what WWE gave us and, quite frankly, we expect better out of two of the biggest stars in the business.
- Zack Ryder is a jobber and that's all he deserves to be.
- Alberto Del Rio is not a jobber and he deserves the main event spot on Smackdown.
- David Otunga working a match against Cena and looking good bodes well for his future inside the ring. He's obviously got a great deal of charisma and potential outside it but whether Cena did an extraordinary job of making him look good or whether Otunga has just markedly improved, he's looking more and more like a guy who can become a real player sometime down the road.
- Anyone else think Lesnar kicked Cena in the nuts really hard? Like, nuts all the way up in the chest hard. That was beautifully brutal and another reminder of why Lesnar is such a welcome addition to the 2012 roster.
They didn't manage to cram a lot into the two hours they had to work with last night but the show was solid if only because of the amazing opening brawl between Lesnar and Cena. The grade is a solid B, as WWE still feels relatively hot coming out of WrestleMania.
But that's enough from me. Time for you Cagesiders to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on the show.