WWE Monday Night Raw last night (April 9, 2012) emanated from the O2 Arena in London, England, and featured all the continued fallout from the return of Brock Lesnar, though the show took somewhat of an interesting turn in tone.
Instead of an emphasis on Lesnar vs. John Cena, the match taking place at Extreme Rules, the main focus seemed to center a little too much around Cena vs. John Laurinaitis. Of course, that could be because Lesnar's involvement on the show was relegated to a simple pre-tape interview segment but I digress.
Other scenarios played themselves out to a much better reaction, such as Daniel Bryan getting a far more prominent role on the show and the announcement of the CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho rematch at Extreme Rules.
- Brock Lesnar's pre-tape interview may have been the best of its kind in the history of WWE television. His tone was pitch perfect, not too enthusiastic but not deadpan, either. His message was clear: he seeks to bring destruction and chaos, and John Cena isn't good enough to even hold his jock strap. "If I hadn't left eight years ago, he would be the guy carrying my gear into the building," as Brock put it. It works because so many pro wrestling fans have been screaming for a guy like Lesnar. He won't make it real, but the fact that he could is enough "legitimacy" for all the fans estranged by Cena and his cartoon tendencies.
- Speaking of which, it seems to get worse by the week. John Cena is the worst kind of man because while he says he stands up for what he believes in, he projects the exact opposite. He comes off far too much like that guy in your crew who cries out for acceptance and is willing to do anything to get it, including pretending like the fact that everyone mercilessly picks on him doesn't bother him. Like the idea that we don't all love him the way he wants us to isn't something that gnaws at his insides. And I get it that when you strip it all away, it's all bullshit anyway but I want to get lost inside the kayfabe and when I do, I see a man who doesn't really know who he is outside of the guy who just wants to be accepted. And it must hurt to know that the only acceptance he finds is from smarmy little children.
- Why is Cena vs. John Laurinaitis becoming more of a thing? That would seem so counterproductive to Lesnar's goals, right? Plus, it serves to make Lesnar look lesser when Cena focused more on "Ace" than he did on Brock, the guy he's actually going to have a match with. I didn't like that shift last night, even if it was only done for the week that Lesnar wasn't around.
- Aside from WWE running an alcohol fueled storyline with CM Punk just so they could call him "CM Drunk" at some point (believe it, ladies and sirs), this story has real potential. Not just because of who it involves, though Punk and Chris Jericho are perhaps the only two guys on the roster right now capable of spinning this particular tale, but because it lends so much potential to actual depth. Pro wrestling is such a surface attraction, mega-men who look like superheros and act like everything is so cut and dried. Punk has something boiling underneath and it's itching to get out and reveal itself to the world. Jericho is the instrument to bring it about. In a world where feuds are simply tools to move one guy to the next, it would be nice to see continuity reign supreme here.
- I told Sergio during the Cageside Live podcast last night that I'm ready to break away from the Funkasaurus character. Not because I dislike Brodus Clay but because I don't feel like he should be a mid-card player. But when brainstorming on how to book him in a pro wrestling show, I come up short on ideas. The one that comes to the forefront of my mind is a full frontal lobotomy. He's fine where he is -- for now -- but the potential for growth is non-existent.
- If I'm being told Dolph Ziggler is not a main event level guy, fine. If I'm being told that Ziggler is a mid-carder who gives great matches, that's also fine. But if he's then booked to look like a complete dork every week, that's not fine. That's not fine at all.
- We were told (via sources that appear unreliable if you listen to WWE) that Epico's Twitter complaints about the lack of television time for the tag team champions was an angle. But if it was, it certainly didn't feel that way. Epico and his partner in crime, Primo, were made to job to Big Show and Great Khali in a non-title match in about one minute. And this wasn't a case of trying to get the other tag team over. This was quite clearly a way to bury the tag title holders. Such silliness.
- A Kane with no bad puns is a Kane I want nothing to do with.
- Daniel Bryan deserves every bit of the attention he's getting, though I feel like we got here by accident. If Miami wasn't such an awesome place for pro wrestling, maybe Bryan doesn't get to this point, where the collective WWE fanbase is raising its middle finger to the powers that be by chanting YES every chance they get. And they're doing so because of the decision to have Sheamus take the title off Bryan in just 18 seconds at the biggest show of the year. But now they're reversing ship and doing their best to capitalize on it. So I guess we're not giving them the finger anymore so much as endorsing their decision. I'm not sure how I feel about it.
- Sherlock Homie and Little Jimmy Watson FTW.
- I'm still not seeing much appeal for Lord Tensai, speaking strictly from a business perspective, which, truth be told, is the aspect of the pro wrestling world that most intrigues me anymore. I appreciate that WWE is making the conscious effort to acknowledge his past as Prince Albert and what not, but I remain firm in my stance that they have no clue how to properly book a guy they bring on squash matches. They remain committed, as Tensai was no selling for John freaking Cena last night but it's preposterous to think that Tensai could ever headline a pay-per-view. Japanese promos that make no sense + bad body art + limited move set and gas tank + silly gimmick = money? Don't think so.
This wasn't a terrible show, but it wasn't exactly a great one. I'll give it a C- and that's mostly on the strength of the Lesnar interview and two good matches from Punk-Henry (which was great) and Bryan-Kingston (also great).
But that's enough from me. What did you Cagesiders think of the show?