Punk! Cena! Lawler! Good! Old! Fashion! Heeling! WWE Championship!
On last week's (Aug. 27) episode of WWE Monday Night Raw, CM Punk called out Jerry Lawler for his lack of respect and demanded a match with "The King". Lawler reluctantly agreed and the WWE Universe hopped on TweetDeck to determine their beef would be settled by a steel cage match. While it may not have been the Raw main event we were clamoring for, it did fit nicely into the storyline.
Punk has had the second longest run with the WWE Championship since Diesel. He just recently surpassed John "Bradshaw" Layfield's 2004-5 and John Cena's 2005-6 reigns and is only narrowly behind Cena's 2006-7 run. No one is giving him the respect he believes he deserves, so Lawler simply became a proxy for Cena, the fans as well as WWE at large.
Instead of using any sense of subtlety though, WWE is opting to play this one straight up and down.
CM Punk is "the bad guy", demeaning the fans and attacking announcers. John Cena is "the good guy", running in to save the day but always one step behind... until they go one-on-one at the next Pay-Per-View (PPV) that is. It's this simple, by the numbers character treatment that severely undervalues both Cena and Punk.
Last year's feud was fun, with Punk and Cena toeing the line between heel and face, reality and kayfabe. This time around though, it seems as if WWE has decided Super Cena vs. Cheap Heat Punk is the best way to go. There is certainly a time and a place for a standard pro wrestling feud, I just expected a bit more out of this one.
The rest of the show after the jump.
AJ! Vickie! Slap Fight! Abuse of Authority!
You know what's bad? When you call your boss a "mentally deranged child." You know what's worse? When said boss then slaps the taste out of your mouth and throws you to the ground. Unsafe work environment, you say? Nope! Just another night on Monday Night Raw.
Perhaps AJ was just upset that Vickie's real life daughter, Raquel Diaz, got the better of her in Florida Championship Wrestling. While I don't think too many viewers would have a problem with a good old fashion catfight breaking out between the Raw GM and Vickie "ExcuseMeWWE" Guerrero, the idea of an authority figure openly attacking their employees does turn more than a few people off. Especially after Vince McMahon, Triple H, and John Laurinaitis were all fired for the same reasons.
If I had to guess, the WWE is starting to wind down AJ's reign as General Manager. I will give them credit for trying something new. If they do in fact end it credit is also due for cutting their losses when it didn't work as well as they had hoped. Expect a new GM to come into play either after Night of Champions or on the following PPV - Hell in a Cell.
Or I could be completely wrong and we get AJ till WrestleMania 29; you can never be sure with these things.
Bryan! Kane! Actual Anger Management!
Can we take one last moment to recognize the greatness that was Daniel Bryan and Kane in anger management therapy? Many of you Cagesiders pointed to Dr. Evil's monologue in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery as the potential inspiration, as it's hard to deny the parallels. If you are going to steal material, it's always good to steal from the best.
With Bryan taking a count out to scream at a fan, and Kane choke-slamming Josh Mathews while apologizing for it on Friday's SmackDown (Aug. 31), it seems that these two men are going to need a bit more time with Dr. Shelby. As with all things WWE, there is the chance that the anger management skits will be overdone. Although, Bryan is so great at everything he does lately and Kane can be so absolutely amazing when he's in the right role, that those in charge will have to actively work to screw this one up.
Please don't screw this up for us, WWE. You've given us too much crap over the years -- you owe us this one.
Everything Else! Bullet Points!
- Screw you Triple H. If you're retiring, then retire already. If you are playing this out for a story line, then don't waste our time with the over-dramatics. Hopefully he just disappears until they are ready to walk Brock Lesnar back out.
- Antonio Cesaro (accompanied by the lovely Aksana) and Santino Morella (accompanied by the sock Cobra) is comedy pro wrestling at it's finest. Good on WWE for giving Cesaro a push and good on Santino for finding what works and working it well.