WWE Monday Night Raw last night (April 30, 2012) emanated from the EJ Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio, and featured all the fallout from the Extreme Rules pay-per-view (PPV) that took place this past Sunday night in Chicago, Illinois.
Namely, Brock Lesnar reestablishing himself as a force to be reckoned with and John Cena not actually going anywhere even though he teased going away for a while. Instead, he'll be main eventing the very next PPV. Big surprise, right?
The Raw live blog comments section was lively, as usual, and the "Comment of the Night" is back in full force. Last night's honors go to each and every one of you who made sure to ask whether or not Triple H had a pulse after Lesnar "broke his arm" with the kimura in the opening segment.
Way to represent, everybody. Love this community.
Enough with the small talk, though. If you want full results from Raw last night, click here for the running live blog. You can also llisten to Sergio and I on the Cageside Live podcast gabbing about the show right here. Time to get to reactions, posted after the jump.
- This really was an interesting Raw, in retrospect, simply because it didn't feature a whole hell of a lot of storyline advancement for anything other than Brock Lesnar and John Cena. CM Punk appeared for 10 seconds to say he was looking forward to his upcoming match against Daniel Bryan at Over the Limit. Sheamus, the world heavyweight champion, was only on air when he came out to assist Triple H to the back. Cody Rhodes, the Intercontinental champion, wasn't on the show at all. Same for guys like Mark Henry and Dolph Ziggler. The Beat the Clock Challenge to determine the next number one contender to the WWE championship really dominated the show. Not that that's a bad thing so much as just a placeholder.
- It felt necessary to reestablish Lesnar as a force to be reckoned with, or at least reinforce that despite his ultimately getting pinned by John Cena at Extreme Rules, and they did very well with that. Really, Triple H should be used to get guys over, even if it's not in a match setting. His getting his arm broke for the storyline works wonderfully here because he doesn't need to be healthy to be on television. He can do like Cena and come out in a sling or a fake cast or whatever he needs to do. It also gets Lesnar his heat back while giving them a way to write him off television for a while if that's what they intend to do with him. Can't burn up all those dates on his contract so soon, after all. All told, they handled Lesnar's character really well here. His expressions while Triple H was telling him WWE wouldn't be living up to Laurinaitis' agreement on the reworked contract were money.
- One complaint about that segment, though minor, was Triple H saying, "Your days of holding up the WWE are through." This was said as though Lesnar had been raking WWE over the coals for months on end and he was here to finally bring a stop to it. I can see why he would try to get that over, what with Triple H's character (and ego) being what it is, but we're talking about one week having gone by. One week and one pay-per-view that Lesnar lost at. Just a goofy bit that I couldn't help but point out because it was just blatant enough to call attention to itself.
- Last point on Lesnar: The fact that they're using a kimura as his big finishing move to take guys out with is made even better by the fact that I don't believe he even attempted one during his run in the UFC. So the big shoot fighting champion is using a move in fake wrestling that he never once used in his shoot fights. Magnificent.
- John Cena is still here, you guys, just in case you had forgotten as much or he didn't take the time to remind us once again. This man could get hit by a mack truck and then backed over and run over again and he would still be at Raw, full body cast and all. And he would probably still be smiling, too, despite the circumstances surrounding his character. He's hard to buy as anything other than a goofy guy that kids love and sells merchandise so he maintains his spot at the top of the pecking order. You want to overthrow him? Get behind a guy who can outsell him in the stands. Until then, he's who we're stuck with, bad comedy schtick and all.
- Words cannot express how much you should all be looking forward to CM Punk and Daniel Bryan getting the chance to work together at a WWE pay-per-view event for the WWE championship. Not just because it's good to see these two get to this level after it looked as though that could never happen, but because you just know they'll challenge themselves to put on a "Match of the Year" candidate. And the best part is they'll probably succeed because they're just that damn good. This is one of those times where the storyline is secondary because who gives a shit, we're getting Punk vs. Bryan on pay-per-view.
- Let me go ahead and give a quick shout out to Jerry Lawler for still being able to work as well as he can at 62-years-old and not trying his best to get over on young talent with it.
- I'm not sure what good it does to have Miz go over on Santino Marella one night after losing to him on a YouTube pre-show to a pay-per-view. Unless they want Miz to look strong until he leaves to go film The Marine, which is entirely possible in the wacky world of professional wrestling.
- Do we feel just a little bit bad for Layla knowing that she's simply keeping the Divas title warm until Kharma arrives? Maybe a little? Bout a half cup?
- Watching Brodus Clay revert back to squashing a jobber who is likely on his way out of the company wasn't all that surprising. Really, it seemed like an on-air version of Creative telling us they have nothing for him, so he gets to do this for now until they can think of a better way to use him. I still can't think of a good way to use him, actually. Any ideas?
- Randy Orton deserves an award for two things -- 1) Continuing to receive some of the biggest pops of any superstar on the roster as though he's a huge main event star even when he's being booked like a mid-carder and 2) Consistently having damn good matches with just about everybody he works with. Orton is a tad formulaic in his matches but he makes it work no matter who he's in the ring with. That deserves praise. I mean, really, when's the last time you gave a shit about a Jack Swagger match?
- Those Black Guys (Kofi Kingston and R-Truth) have no one to feud with so I'm sure why they won the titles off Those Mexican Guys (Primo and Epico). Unless, of course, That Other Black Guy (Abraham Washington) is going to get himself over as a manager by figuring out a way to get the belts back off Those Black Guys and back on Those Mexican Guys. That might be fun all around.
- John Laurinaitis character could be one of the most interesting in the entire pro wrestling world because he's constantly redefining himself as a heel. For a while he was a lackey to Vince McMahon, then he was an Interim General Manager who fumbled through his promos, then he was a conniver who wouldn't admit to it, then he was a power hungry bully, then he was a backstabber, then he was shifty little worm, then he was a womanizer, and then, finally, he became a snake in the grass with an actual bite. It's brilliant to watch him work through all these differing characters and have it feel relatively natural the entire way, each transition going as smoothly as the last one.
- No, seriously though, "Ace" staring at Eve's exposed cleavage while she was trying to talk serious with him was awesome.
- Lord Tensai as a henchman to John Laurinaitis acting as his muscle >>>>>> Lord Tensai killing jobbers.
As mentioned in the Cageside Live podcast post show with Sergio (who gave this show a C+), I thought this was an average show so it gets an average grade. It's a C, folks. Nothing more, nothing less.
But that's just my opinion. I know you have yours and we would love to hear it. Sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on Monday Night Raw last night. Or hell, make a FanPost and if it's well-reasoned and articulate, I'll even promote it to the front page.
Sound off, Cagesiders.