WWE Monday Night Raw took place last night (Sept. 17, 2012) from the Webster Bank Arena At Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and featured all the fallout from the Night of Champions pay-per-view that went down last night in Boston.
That includes plenty of rematches.
That also includes AJ Lee doing her best Teddy Long impression by setting up a tag team main event. There isn't much guff to give, though, because it actually worked out quite well here.
Actually, the entire show worked out quite well, as WWE continues its run of solid booking all across the board. In fact, this may have been one of the best booked shows in a long time.
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.
- Last night at Night of Champions, CM Punk retained the title after a draw was declared when the referee correctly pointed out that both Punk and Cena had both shoulders down for a pinfall. He was brought out first on Raw, and proved correct again before Cena acknowledged it was the right call. He then proceeded to cut the perfect promo, saying sure, he didn't win the belt, but did Punk really win any respect, which is what he really wants, by keeping the title on a tie? The answer, of course, is no and to take it one step further, it helps set up a rematch. Inexplicably, Alberto Del Rio was added into the mix here but he was a bit player who was involved due to his ties to Sheamus. They got around this by having AJ announced that a tag match was booked for the main event with Del Rio teaming with Punk to take on Cena and Sheamus. Whomever won could be looking at a title shot. Beautiful set up.
- Later on in the evening, Punk is shown saying he's not looking forward to tagging with Del Rio, teasing strife. They took it one step further in another segment before the match. Cena was also shown talking with Sheamus backstage and he remarked that he really needed to get a clear victory to earn his rematch for the title. Again, beautiful set up.
- So when the match finally came, the payoff was the smoz finish at the end with the referee counting Punk down when his foot was on the ropes after two. The referee didn't see it, so he awarded Cena and Sheamus the victory, presumably giving Cena his rematch. But it wasn't a clean win and with the show going off the air not long after, we're left to wait for next week to see how this will be addressed and, more importantly, how Cena will handle the situation. He can't accept a title shot under these circumstances, not without being a hypocrite. This was all so well executed, and helped build towards the inevitable rematch while keeping the program fresh.
- Multiple people have pointed out that Brad Maddox was the referee for this match. That's significant because he's still an active wrestler who won the FCW championship and the FCW tag team championship before FCW went away in favor of the new NXT. He was just promoted to the main roster in August, so this was already in the works. Punk walked the entire ramp while yelling at him and teasing a physical confrontation. We'll see if that plays into how Maddox will be introduced as an actual wrestler, perhaps as a referee who gets fed up with being berated and starts fighting back. Punk is a perfect guy to work with in that regard, too. We'll see.
- Big Show never popped in. Can't trust those darn dirt sheets, huh? The good news is that while Del Rio was still hanging around Sheamus and demanding another match, there was no real inclination that he would get it. Stay tuned on that front.
- Minor gripe: Why is AJ booking matches that have a great affect on the SmackDown World Heavyweight title picture? Was Booker T not complaining about just that very thing recently? Now she's doing it with his blessing and no explanation?
- Speaking of good booking the Prime Time Players have dropped the MILLIONS OF DOLLARS schtick (RIP) in favor of a far more serious approach. They're pissed, you see, about the manner in which they were passed up for a shot at the tag team titles at Night of Champions simply because Daniel Bryan and Kane formed a tag team. So they took their frustrations out on the newly formed team of Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio. After, Titus O'Neil used all his brawn to cut a monster promo saying he's sick and tired of the bullshit and if they're going to have to work through politics, they'll just take what they deserve. While he was doing so, his partner Darren Young was looking at him, nodding his head and smiling, as if to say, "y'all done fucked up now." I loved this. I really like when pro wrestling uses simple logic to advance storylines and the Prime Time Players getting fed up and taking what they want fits right in with how they should act in this situation.
- Speaking of which, The Miz also deserves a golf clap for his work last night. He gets a new show called MizTV, complete with a sweet new set, only to be told that he's got a surprise guest and The Ryback comes waltzing out, roided to the gills. The Ryback then proceeds to destroy the entire set, literally picking up a couch over his head and chucking it at Miz's dome with murderous intentions. Miz's response to this was to stand at the top of the ramp and look at Ryback with a terrified expression, like he knew full well that running away from this monster won't last forever and eventually he's actually going to have to take on that wild mastodon head on. And he's probably going to get killed in the process. Miz conveyed all this with a simple facial expression. It was perfect. Logical.
- Heath Slater remains the number one jobber but at least this time Brodus Clay's win appears it will lead to a program with Antonio Cesaro. Doesn't sound like much but at least the two are both getting a program, something we've been clamoring for. Hopefully, they make it mean something.
- Cameron is back already? I don't like it. I don't like it one bit. Driving drunk is a serious offense that deserves serious punishment. She showed no remorse for her actions when she tried to bribe the arresting police officer. And WWE had her in there DANCING WITH KIDS!! This was a real mark against the show, and the company as a whole. "Be A Star, kids, but driving drunk is fine." Hell of a message to send, WWE. What a crock of shit.
- Dolph Ziggler got a clean win, everyone! Can we now stop complaining, at least for a while, that he never wins clean, as if winning clean is ever necessary for an effective heel? I think Ric Flair had 48 consecutive time limit draws in the 80s and he drew money like crazy. Even worrying about drawing money seems silly from a pure wrestling fan standpoint. As a fan of the business aspect of the industry, sure, but are we really worried about Ziggler losing a lot because it might affect his ability to draw and make money for himself and WWE? I've talked myself cross-eyed here because I just don't get it. Either way, he won clean and he looked good doing it, going over Our Funny Guy babyface who is the opposite of Ziggler -- he can lose every night and still be loved.
- Wade Barrett, he's a real killer. I guess. Whatever.
- I can't be the only one who loved the backstage skit with Jared from Subway, can I? I mean, yeah, that guy is one of the most annoying people in the world and he had his 15 minutes of fame and needs to go the hell away already but he was good here playing off the wrestlers, who all made sure to get nice pops for being mildly entertaining. Big props to The Ryback for the "FEED ME MORE" schtick and violently grabbing another sandwich while Jared nearly pissed himself. Gotta really sell that the roid monster is scary as shit.
- Daniel Bryan is still the most entertaining guy on television every week and that didn't change this time. There isn't much to say about what he's got going on other than, hey, it was fun. Kane, you were fun too. Thanks for the fun, fellas!
- Randy Orton is still a main event guy, right? I just don't get how he's maintaining that status with how he's being used right now. Good for him and everything but what's the point of beating up Tensai? I guess this is one of those times when I should just wait and see and not complain. So I'll do that.
- Damien Sandow is great. Zack Ryder is not. Damien Sandown having a good match with Zack Ryder that ends in Damien Sandow pinning Zack Ryder is great. Me typing Damien Sandow and Zack Ryder's names out in full for each new sentence is not. I'm done now.
- Final note: This might have been the first three hour Raw that didn't make me want to blow my brains out by the time it was over. It helped having Monday Night Football to flip over to during commercials and what not, but still, WWE is getting better with maximizing its time.
This was a really good show with plenty of solid set up for the next few weeks worth of angles heading into the Hell in a Cell PPV next month. Really good all around, save for Cameron and the bad taste that left.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on the show last night. Go!