WWE Monday Night Raw took place last night (Aug. 13, 2012) from the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California, and featured all the fallout from this past weekend's SummerSlam pay-per-view (PPV) in Los Angeles.
That includes Brock Lesnar bragging about retiring Triple H before announcing that he is, in fact, leaving WWE and never coming back. He did the latter via Tout, of course, and it was played during the show later on.
Shawn Michaels also showed back up to deliver a heartwarming speech -- I guess -- on "The Game" being great and his time having come. Although he may have simply planted the seeds for a feud somewhere down the road.
Plus, CM Punk actually turned heel this time. No doubt about it anymore. Still, he was utterly owned on the mic by John Cena, which says a lot.
Enough with the small talk, though. If you want full results from Raw last night, click here for the running live blog. Time to get to reactions, posted after the jump.
- Since we just can't seem to get away from making sure to label everyone who shows up on WWE television as a heel or a babyface, despite the world not being as black and white as we all seem to want it to be, it's now 100-percent confirmed that CM Punk is a heel. We know this because he's crusading against John Cena, still a squeaky clean babyface, and he blasted Jerry Lawler over petty nonsense. So far, Punk is the whiny heel, quite possibly the worst, most annoying type of bad guy. He bitches constantly and ignores it when anyone makes a good point to go against his whining bullshit.
- That was the case last night when John Cena informed him in so many words that the only memorable thing Punk has done is blow Vince McMahon a kiss at Money in the Bank last year. His 275 day title reign sounds grand and all but it's been one of the most underwhelming title reigns of all time. Essentially, Punk has the belt but he's not really champion. "The Second City Saint's" ridiculous demand that Cena call him the best in the world was met with the most measured and appropriate response possible -- that Cena won't do it but Punk can prove it to be so by simply defeating Cena in his hometown at Night of Champions next month. This was beautifully done and Cena was on his game here in a big way. Punk, mostly by design, looked terribly weak, especially after Cena abruptly left and Punk simply turned his attention back to picking on Jerry Lawler.
- This seems to indicate Night of Champions in Boston will be where the rubber meets the road. If WWE decides they want The Rock vs. Punk at WrestleMania, Cena will win the title before losing it at Royal Rumble. If they decide to go with the Rock vs. Cena rematch at 'Mania, Punk will retain before dropping the strap at the Rumble. I prefer the former but believe the company will go with the latter.
- Chris Jericho deserves a collective Cageside golf clap for his work since coming back in January. I touched on it a little bit here but would again like to say, bravo to Y2J. He did the right thing every step of the way, had some damn good matches, and told a few good stories. What more could we possibly ask for from the pro wrestlers who entertain us?
- Can we talk about how difficult it is to feel invested in Brock Lesnar or anything he does while we know he's always looking for the nearest exit? Paul Heyman was brilliant once again, completely getting over everything Brock did at SummerSlam and painting him to be the silent assassin he should always be booked as. But right after proclaiming Lesnar to be the new King of Kings and saying he's the ruler of the WWE Universe now that Triple H is done for, they posted a Tout with Brock saying he's done with the company and he's never coming back. So why the hell are we supposed to care about any of this?
- Based on how things went last night, it seems like the plan is to get to Lesnar vs. Undertaker at WrestleMania 29 next year. Perhaps 'Taker will be the one guy from WWE Brock cannot vanquish. He'll be the last legend standing in the way of the complete destruction of the company. Or something along those lines.
- Meanwhile, it appears as though Triple H could be headed for a match against Shawn Michaels. Sure, it would mean "HBK" coming out of retirement but if there was a match to get him to do so, wouldn't it be Triple H's retirement match at the biggest show of the year? It's probably safe to assume that's the plan after they went to the trouble of Michaels delivering that speech last night that was complimentary of "The Game" but in a backhanded way. The seeds have been planted. Let's see if they go through with it.
- Cody Rhodes going from a long run with the Intercontinental championship to a program where he's regressed as a character back to the "dashing" gimmick and is obsessed with Sin Cara's mask says so much about WWE's mid-card. The talent they have there simply isn't worthy of elevation. Remember when there were a few folks saying Rhodes could be a guy to end Undertaker's WrestleMania streak to make him a superstar? Those people look even crazier now.
- I'm officially off the AJ Lee train. The jerky movements, the childish skipping, the useless Jim Rome like pauses in the middle of sentences, the terrible timing. She no longer looks cute so much as an annoying teenager you would yell at to get off your lawn. Grumpy old man? Perhaps, but this character no longer appeals to me. The progression has been terrible.
- The same cannot be said of Daniel Bryan who has undoubtedly taken over the spot of the most interesting man in the world. Despite no longer hanging around the top of the card, he feels like the biggest star on the show, no matter when he shows up and no matter who is around him. Placing him in a match that also involved Kane, The Miz and Zack Ryder showcased how far above them he is right now. Who would have thought that to be the case when he first signed with the company?
- Why is WWE still pushing the anger management theme when Charlie Sheen is apparently out of the picture? Did they latch on to the idea and haven't been able to do away with it? AJ announced on Twitter that Bryan will be placed in actual anger management classes next week. While Bryan should make it highly entertaining, it doesn't feel like it's going anywhere.
- Hey, The Ryback is in a legitimate feud. What's that? It's with Jinder Mahal? Yeah, I'll pass.
- Also, Mike Spinner and Andy Tavares? That's the best they could come up with? I long for the days of Stan Stansky and Benny Camer. Because, really, who better than Stansky and Camer?
- Sheamus is 100-percent a heel but Alberto Del Rio is so smarmy we can't treat him like one because the two are in a program together. Putting Sheamus on commentary continued to expose how terribly uninteresting the guy is and having Randy Orton show up for a match made both Sheamus and Del Rio look terrible in comparison. Can we go back to Orton and Christian feuding over the world title on Smackdown?
- Still love Damien Sandow, still don't love Brodus Clay but it's clear WWE will do what it takes to ensure Clay is that special live event attraction. He gets the kids in the ring to do the dance spot and everyone has fun. That's fine ... for now.
- DAVID OTUNGA. TRAVEL COFFEE MUG. HARVARD LAW DEGREE. HE'S BETTER THAN YOU. DEAL WITH IT.
- Kaitlyn is the number one contender to the Diva's championship. This is cool because Kaitlyn is likable. I want to say something good about the Diva's here, Cagesiders. I really do. So, legs. Yeah, legs.
- I love the Wade Barrett teaser promos airing each week but I fear I may simply be in love with the awesome production values instead of what's to come once Barrett actually shows up. It looks entirely possible he's simply coming back as himself, the same character he was before but with a fresh coat of paint. Thin, though. Hopefully I'm wrong.
- There's something really wrong when a $60 PPV runs two hours and 45 minutes while a free episode of Raw runs three hours and 15 minutes. Something so very, very wrong there.
I'm not entirely sure how to feel about this show. Even after writing 1,400 words on it, I'm torn. Part of me loves the build to Night of Champions with Punk vs. Cena and part of me hates the stupidity of the booking behind Lesnar.
I'll go with a C, right down the middle.
But that's me. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts and reactions to last night's episode of Raw.