Photo via WWE.com.
WWE Monday Night Raw took place last night (May 28, 2012) from the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana, and featured all the continued fallout of Big Show turning heel and knocking out John Cena at the Over the Limit pay-per-view (PPV) a few weeks ago.
As expected, we got another long promo from Big Show to explain in detail why he decided to make heel turn number 345 in his career. The stipulation was also added for his match against Cena at No Way Out.
Steel cage, y'all.
CM Punk may have continued acting like he hasn't left his teenage mindset but at least we got yet another great match between him and Daniel Bryan. And AJ even showed up looking cute as a button.
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 listen to Sergio and I on the Cageside Live podcast gabbing about the show (among other things) right here. Time to get to reactions, posted after the jump.
- I've seen a ton of complaints in the aftermath of this show that fans didn't quite like how much of it was dedicated to Big Show and spending the necessary time to get him over as a big monster heel. On the one hand, okay, that's fine, he's turned so many times it's stale. But on the other, he's probably as good a performer now as anyone on the entire roster and his explanation for turning heel was probably better than any previous explanation before it. He actually brought up a lot of the same points fans did, like how weird it was to go from Show's segment where he was crying in the ring straight into Brodus Clay's dancing routine. "Before the tears were even dry on the mat," was one of the best lines I've heard this year. If the emotion is good, it makes sense, and it builds a guy up, what is there to complain about? Personal preference is all that's left and that's unarguable.
- No John Cena is something we can all celebrate.
- Seriously, Show was awesome last night. His chokeslam onto the ropes with R-Truth was incredible, as was his using Kofi Kingston as a lawn dart, both in catching him and throwing him onto Truth and then sending him through a barricade. This will continue to be a point of contention but Show's work as a heel, just from the physical standpoint, is a million times better than what he was able to do as a face. There's just so much more room to operate.
- Big Show attacking/scaring the shit out of people backstage was an awesome schtick. Brodus Clay coming to the defense of Santino was well played, as they had a previously established friendship. So was Kingston and Truth attempting to aid Clay later in the night, seeing as they had teamed with Clay and also become friends. It's this kind of basic attention to detail that WWE lacks so often we should celebrate it when it happens.
- The promo Show cut on Clay before their match may have been even better than his opening promo. Calling out Brodus for selling out to be the Funkasaurus, an embarrassing dinosaur who dances around like an idiot fit so well with Show's story. At this point, he's become the heel who tells it like it is and fans just don't like him for it. By the way, he was totally right about Doink the Clown. That guy was awesome.
- Final word on Show's heel turn: it will all be for naught if Cena goes over at No Way Out. I know we seem to say this often with these things but the key to keeping a good heel strong is to give him wins against top babyfaces. Cena isn't going to lose credibility with a loss but Big Show would gain a ton with a win.
- I would love to see Alex Riley become a backstage mainstay who shows up randomly and gets tossed by a pissed off heel every week. Maybe one day he'll make an impact in the ring but right now I just want to see him get impaled backstage as an innocent bystander. Make him a sympathetic character who knows it's coming but just can't avoid it and you've got an awesome gimmick for a guy who will only spend a minute or two on television every week.
- Alberto Del Rio needs to look strong en route to his world heavyweight championship singles match against Sheamus at No Way Out, I get that. But is putting him over Santino Marella, a mid-card comedy act, going to do that? This is where WWE booking leaves fans wanting. Instead of elevating Del Rio and making him look strong, fans tend to ignore that and think of how weak it makes Marella look and, in turn, how pathetic it makes the U.S. championship appear.
- Eve is so foxy.
- Dolph Ziggler breaking away from Jack Swagger has been a long time coming. I was hopeful he would also get away from Vickie Guerrero, has she's a heat seeking missile that will probably overshadow him for as long as she's around, but this is the right play for Ziggler's career. Not because I'm worried about his upward mobility so much as I'm tired of seeing him in silly tag matches that aren't going anywhere. If he's going to bump, he should bump for the big boys, not the tag champs.
- We all still don't care about the tag division nor its champions, right? Remember when R-Truth used to be amazing?
- CM Punk stopped growing emotionally when he reached the age of 16 and had his heart broken by a young crush. I assume that's what happened because the man clearly has deep-seeded issues with women, both on-screen and in real life. He thinks telling John Laurinaitis he doesn't have testicles is some big insult. And this after "Ace's" incredible line about WWE '13 being a bigger video game than Pacman. Speaking of which, didn't Pacman have an old lady and a kid? How could he do that without testicles? So not only is Punk terrible with his insults, he's not even accurate.
- That said, the WWE '13 video game cover is the bee's knees.
- At this point, we can all agree that Punk the person is kind of terrible but Punk the wrestler is absolutely phenomenal. It's a real treat when we get to bear witness to Punk vs. Daniel Bryan, especially when AJ gets thrown into the mix. The matches are good on their own but her inclusion adds a deeper level of storytelling that hopefully won't be too painful to watch. I can only imagine how ugly it would get if Punk and AJ hooked up and broke up later. Ugh.
- Sergio predicted Kane vs. Punk vs. Bryan at No Way Out. Good god, I hope he's wrong.
- Christian is a damn good worker but I just don't really feel emotionally invested in his matches. I don't mind watching them but the big knock against him is his inability to draw fans in and give them that extra something to hang on to. If he could find that missing link, he would be a true superstar.
- More Cody Rhodes on commentary.
- More Randy Orton arriving, RKO'ing and leaving. Especially if it means doing it to Miz, who is hopefully finally going away to film The Marine 3. And let's hope he comes back with a new gimmick, or at least a fresh coat of paint.
- John Laurinaitis chastising David Otunga for tapping too quickly to the STF and telling him to get some intestinal fortitude while Otunga meekly tried to defend himself was as good as these two have been together. They should always be trying to play up the dynamic between them, with Laurinaitis as the bumbling General Manager who thinks he's far better than he is and Otunga coming in right behind him as the understudy who badly wants to impress him but thinks he's better suited for the job. It will make Otunga's face turn that much better later on. Same for Eve.
- There has to be someone at WWE headquarters who can get in Vince McMahon's ear and tell him to drop this slave gimmick for Teddy Long. It's fucking bullshit.
- Sheamus still sucks.
Overall, this was a pretty damn good episode of Raw. It felt like there were few rewrites, as everything that happened made sense and fit in with recent goings on, including things that happened on Smackdown.
I'll give the show a solid B+ and I can't see grading it below a B- here. But that's just my opinion. What did you Cagesiders think about last night's episode of Raw?