WWE Monday Night Raw took place last night (June 11, 2012) from the Center in Hartford, Connecticut, and featured Vince McMahon returning to the show to execute a job performance review on General Manager John Laurinaitis.
Except that didn't happen. Not really. McMahon was there to pop a decent rating after a couple week decline scared the suits in Stamford and he didn't do much outside of teasing firing the heel authority figure everyone hates.
And then he didn't pay it off. That won't come until the pay-per-view (PPV) this Sunday night. Take notes, TNA.
The show, which was a three hour special and a preview of what's to come, actually wasn't bad, all told. This despite a relatively weak roster at present time.
Enough with the small talk, though. If you want full results from Raw last night, click here for the running live blog (which has a new format). 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.
- The Mr. McMahon character has a lot of faults (really, what the hell was that Jim Ross dig for?) but overall, he's entertaining when he's in the ring and on the microphone. His return was a sight for sore eyes. I find him refreshing, mostly, because he can say things like "Big Show hasn't been an effective performer since 1999" and it just sounds so silly it makes me laugh. Realistically, if that was the case, why wouldn't he fire him and cut his losses? Considering he was bagging on John Laurinaitis for signing Brock Lesnar to a bad deal (which may have been Vince cracking on himself), it was laughable that he would say such a thing. But that's what makes the McMahon character so appealing and interesting. He's an exercise in contradictions and somehow, it's always okay because he's Mr. McMahon. I love it.
- Where is Eve? I miss her.
- Laurinaitis has been removed from his position backstage as Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and it feels like this Sunday night he'll be removed from his on screen position as well. There was a time not long ago that I would have thought that to be a mistake but today, I think it's the right call, if they make it. While I'm not crazy about someone like Teddy Long potentially gaining power, a babyface authority figure would mean a whole hell of a lot less angles involving a General Manager no one really cares all that much about. It takes too much focus off the good stuff, like the CM Punk-Daniel Bryan-Kane-AJ deal.
- Speaking of which, just what the hell is going on? Is AJ playing everyone for a fool here? I'd like to think this will result in some big reveal where she becomes empowered and takes a gigantic dump on every single one of the men involved here for all of their various faults, none of which have been pointed out to them. This would also throw the bullshit back in the face of those who keep pushing the "she's crazy because she's acting like she likes more than one guy" bullshit. The problem, of course, is this is WWE and in all likely, the truth will be that she's hung up on everyone and wants everything and if she can't get everything, she'll snap and fly off the handle. Because, you know, in WWE all women are sluts or psychotic whores or psychotic slut whores. Which sucks because she's the most interesting thing going in the entire company right now. I'm genuinely looking forward to No Way Out just to see how the triple threat match plays out. I don't even care who wins, I just want to see what happens and that's not because of the three men involved.
- Well, maybe it's partially because of Daniel Bryan. That dude is just that dude. I love it that we're to a point now where he can totally own CM Punk on the microphone and Punk's big response is to call him "goat face." All that really showed was how severely lacking Punk's character is right now. This was like The Rock scrambling to come up with something clever to say to John Cena in the face of Cena's legitimate criticism of Rock saying he was never leaving WWE again before bailing for months on end and ultimately coming up with "kung pao bitch." That's an ad hominem attack and it's how children operate, not grown men who should know better and especially not how pipe bomb wielders are supposed to handle their business. At this point, Punk's decline might mirror that of The Miz's. The only difference is Punk still has a belt around his waist.
- Tensai's new schtick where he's abusive towards Sakamoto might have been exactly what his character needed all along. It adds a level of depth beyond "guy who was here and sucked so he went to Japan and got good and now he's back again." His having a decent match with Sheamus also helped.
- I still don't have anything good to say about Sheamus other than, hey, good for you, you're having decent matches with a wide variety of talent.
- "It's about damn time," is what Dolph Ziggler screamed to the crowd after winning the impromptu Fatal Four-Way match against Great Khali, Jack Swagger and Christian. I want to agree so bad but this is all just a set up for a fall. I'm not at all upset that he's having a match against Sheamus at the PPV this Sunday night, as I think the two will have an incredibly entertaining match. I just don't think this is Ziggler's time to take the spotlight. Remember, he's a placeholder for an injured Alberto Del Rio. He'll give Sheamus a great match, bump for him like a mad man, make him look like a million bucks, and then retreat back to the mid-card for a blow off feud with Jack Swagger. I don't want it, you don't want it, hell, Ziggler doesn't even want it, but it's probably going to happen exactly that way. We'll just have to live with it.
- It's good to see Ricardo Rodriguez working in the absence of Del Rio, even if it's just to point and laugh at him for being a grown man who enjoys Justin Bieber, whoever the hell that is.
- David Otunga kissing up to Vince McMahon and making power moves backstage was cool but it felt like simply a way for McMahon to get the word out that he hates lawyers and ass kissers and people who aren't loyal. Even if only one of those statements is true.
- "Once you go Bryan, there's no point in tryin', awwww, yeah!"
- That whole idea that three hour Raw shows will be nothing more than prolonged video replays of shit that just happened? Yeah, we didn't get so much of that. No, instead we got a LOT more backstage comedy skits. The problem? WWE doesn't know funny.
- If they really want Ryback to get over, I think they need to use Goldberg to their advantage. The chants aren't going to go away and Ryback simply isn't going to catch on just by beating the tar out of two random idiots with funny names week after week. How about bringing him out to the ring, smashing a couple jobbers and then grabbing a mic and calling out Goldberg? Sure, he'll never show up but it acknowledges the 800-pound elephant in the room and at some point Ryback can claim he's so dominant even Goldberg doesn't want a piece of him. That also opens up a clear path to the return of Gillberg and that's something that's needed to happen for years.
- Big Show really does look like a monster these days and it's nice to see that WWE knows how to book such things. It makes it easier to be critical when they blow it with other talented performers who aren't given anything to work with because they haven't been deemed worthy yet.
- John Cena reverted back to his "make good points and look better for it" self last night. He also made himself a victim in a roundabout way and that's what sucks about the Cena character. He always has to paint himself in a certain light because the story is always going to lead to the very same conclusion -- Cena overcomes the considerable odds and maintains his spot at the top. It's taken a few weeks to build Big Show up into a solid monster type heel. It will only take one PPV loss to John Cena to destroy it.
- Sin Cara gonna Sin Cara.
- Vader's return was nice. More on that later.
Again, this wasn't a bad show, though it wasn't particularly special. The hot crowd in Hartford made up for a few rough spots and the storyline with AJ has me enthralled enough to overlook some of the things I don't like about the angle.
For a go home show, it didn't sell the PPV to me and it probably won't pop a big buyrate but it should be a decent show, just like this episode of Raw. I give it a C+ overall. How about you, Cagesiders? Let's get your thoughts and grade in the comments section below.