Photo by David Seto.
WWE Monday Night Raw took place last night (Aug. 6, 2012) from the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, and featured Shawn Michaels getting appreciated and CM Punk getting disrespected.
So, the normal.
Punk campaigned to get his triple threat match at Summerslam against Big Show and John Cena thrown out but upon doing so, brought down the thunder from General Manager AJ Lee and got them all booked in individual matches throughout the night.
Plus, Brock Lesnar and Triple H continued what has undoubtedly been one of the weakest builds to a major match in history. Seriously, this program just sucks.
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.
- Right off the bat, it should be noted that Miss AJ Lee improved leaps and bounds on the microphone in just one week. Last week, it was difficult listening to her speak and try her best to make dramatic pauses that just felt like awkward silences, but this week I didn't notice that at all. She was strong when she needed to be, spoke with conviction and power, and didn't look at all uncomfortable despite the star power around her at all times. Well done.
- If we could get a passive aggressive Punk on TV every week, I would never complain about his character. He's starting to feel like a bit of a whiny heel, though, and I'm not sure I like that. Sure, he's got a good point about the WWE champion being overlooked but he's now cast in the role as the guy who is getting put in his place. When John Cena told him he doesn't get to be the big man on campus just because he has the title, he has to earn that respect, he was right. Cena has earned going on last while Punk is close to it but just not getting over the final hurdle. I'm not even really sure why, other than the fact that he just doesn't seem to appeal to the wider range of the audience in the same way Cena does. He's ahead of all the others but he'll never surpass Cena and I think that became clear last night. Take that as you will.
- It's also funny to have Punk talk a big game about going on last and then have the first match before coming out to make an impact so he still goes on last but gets knocked out by Big Show. I'm not sounding the "burial" horn just yet but this felt off. He did go over on Rey Mysterio in what amounted to a damn good TV match, which appear to be becoming the norm for these three hour episodes of Raw.
- Speaking of which, I HATE three hour shows. It's simply too much time to devote to one program with no breaks. Chicago Bears games last around three hours but there's a break in the middle. With Raw, it's go, go, go, and if you get left behind, you have to deal with a video package to get you caught up. It's terrible. And we're not seeing more talent being pushed, at least not yet, making this an even worse idea.
- Wade Barrett's return hype promo video was awesome.
- The suave and slick Alberto Del Rio outside the ring combined with the mean and overly aggressive Del Rio inside it is someone I can get behind. Still, he's not catching on and with his attitude being what it is, I wonder how much longer he'll be around. There are plenty of reasons to want to keep him but just as many to let him go.
- I never understood the appeal behind having Sheamus, the babyface champion, commit a crime by stealing Del Rio's car and then taking it around town, trashing it before giving it back. Again, multiple crimes committed, but we don't even need to focus on that part. What's so odd about it is segments like this are designed to get us behind Sheamus and basically point and laugh at Del Rio. But that doesn't work because I don't hate Del Rio for driving nice cars. That means Sheamus is essentially wasting everyone's time on something everyone will forget about the next day. It's pointless and silly and, really, uncreative.
- I will say, however, that using Tout the way they did last night is the proper way to do it. If they're going to beat us over the head with it, I'd rather they do it this way.
- Sad to see Randy Orton get rid of the mohawk look but good to see ... well ... yeah, I don't know. He's back to being the vanilla babyface who doesn't really do much of anything other than come out and have a match against a heel while getting cheers for reasons none of us really understand. His match against Show was sloppy and the booking was odd. They protected both guys by having them go to a double count out, which was silly, but then had Orton hit an RKO to lay Show out to end the segment. Orton isn't booked for a title match at Summerslam in two weeks. Show is, though. So, yeah.
- I still think Ryback is getting ribbed or his character is a parody of the squash killers of times past. The way he crushed everyone only to completely reverse his match psychology by selling for everyone the whole way and coming back in the end just makes no sense to me, especially considering he's doing this for jobbers like Curt Hawkins, Tyler Reks and Jinder Mahal.
- MILLIONS OF DOLLARS! MILLIONS OF DOLLARS!
- Damien Sandow is everything that is right about pro wrestling and you're an ignoramus if you disagree. If you don't believe me, just ask him, he'll tell you. I love the idea of him feuding with all the goofy gimmick guys on Raw and Smackdown in order to "rid WWE of all foolishness." His beating Brodus Clay up and down the stage while The Funkasaurus's ass was hanging out and his pants falling down cracked me up.
- Kelly Kelly is back. Remember the list from Cageside Live last night? Yeah. Kelly Kelly.
- Daniel Bryan is just flat out better than the rest of the roster and that fact should be clear to those in the higher level offices in Stamford. Not only did he take a single word and turn it into an awesome catchphrase that helped get him over as a babyface, he flipped it over and is currently getting himself a ton of heat with it. That's impressive. If anyone can get a worthwhile match out of Kane at Summerslam, it's Bryan.
- The build to Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H at Summerslam absolutely sucks and there isn't much more to say about it. I'm not sure if Brocky got the memo yet, but they're making him look like a little pussy, which I'm sure has been the point all along. I just didn't think he would so willingly go along with it. Having Michaels go out there and cut a big promo saying Paul Heyman screwed up by involving "The Game's" family and now he's some unstoppable beast who will kill everyone. Then Michaels announces he'll be in Triple H's corner, as if this unstoppable beast wasn't enough already. Lesnar, meanwhile, is left simply walking away and smiling as though he's got one up on his opponent when really, he's three in the hole with only one Raw to go before the match. Sure, he promised to see Michaels before Summerslam but what are the chances he does anything? This just sucks all the way around.
- The Miz was looking good since coming back from filming The Marine 3, winning the Intercontinental championship and being made to look like a legitimate threat on the mid-card. Then they have him job to Kane and for what? That result made no sense to me but hey, it's just another title that doesn't really mean much of anything.
This was yet another "blah" show in a long line of them. The main event match was awesome and the wrestling in general was good but three hours is too much. It's just too much.
An average, C grade show for me, Cagesiders.
But that's me. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts and grades on last night's episode of Raw.