WWE Monday Night Raw last night (May 7, 2012) emanated from the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in Greensboro, North Carolina, and featured all the fallout from Brock Lesnar breaking Triple H's arm last week.
Well, really it was just Paul Heyman returning to the company to announce that Lesnar has quit and WWE doing its best to explain away "The Game" not selling his injuries well enough on a boxing broadcast while he was hanging with Floyd Mayweather and carrying his belts for him.
Oh and it's now been confirmed -- John Cena dictates decisions to the WWE Board of Directors. Shocker, I know.
Apologies for not having this up sooner but the podcast ran damn near three hours last night and at some point, sleep becomes necessary.
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.
- It's good that they acknowledged the issues between John Laurinaitis and CM Punk still exist. But I found myself shaking my head at the Punk character, or what it has become. No longer is he the edgy voice of the voiceless. He's just as corporate as John Cena anymore. He used to drop pipe bombs; now he's dropping junior high level insults at the on-air authority figure. For starters, we've seen that before, about a million times, and secondly, we've seen it done much better than Punk is doing. Am I really supposed to be entertained by Punk calling Laurinaitis stupid? It may just be that I'm tired of babyface Punk because WWE simply doesn't understand how to tell complex stories with its good guy characters. They're all fairly straight forward and that's a death knell for a guy like Punk. He's still holding strong as the champion and selling merchandise and hovering (close to) the top of the card but he feels stale not even one full year after his infamous loose cannon promo on Raw. That just makes me feel sad.
- Laurinaitis, meanwhile, deserves applause for his performance last night. He cut what may have been his best promo since he assumed his current role and he's become far more believable as the boss you shouldn't cross because he'll bring the hammer down. That's not to say he still doesn't have a long ways to go but he's come along rather nicely. It wasn't that long ago that none of us wanted him on television.
- So they do a John Cena interview "via satellite," which turns out to be complete bullshit seeing as he worked the dark match after the show went off the air, an insult to the North Carolina crowd (one they deserved, quite frankly), and he claimed during this interview that he told the WWE Board of Directors not to punish Laurinaitis for his attack on Cena because he wants to beat him down himself at Over the Limit. Words cannot adequately describe how terribly stupid and silly this angle is but it's certainly par for the course when dealing with Cena.
- There were a few wrestling fans looking forward to a Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio singles match for the world heavyweight championship at Over the Limit. I wasn't one of them and apparently the powers that be in WWE weren't either. So a Fatal Four Way was booked with Chris Jericho and Randy Orton getting in on the action via a tag team match. This was actually one of the better booked segments on Raw in some time. Typical tag match with heels vs. babyfaces results in Sheamus accidentally kicking Orton in the face, pissing him off, and Jericho getting a pin after it, giving him a win over the champion. Del Rio was already in, so it was a simple, effective way to get to the four of them in the match at the PPV.
- Is it just me or did Chris Jericho lose multiple matches on PPV to CM Punk in pursuit of the WWE championship only to immediately get placed in a match for the world heavyweight championship? And is it also just me or did Daniel Bryan lose multiple matches on PPV to Sheamus in pursuit of the world heavyweight championship only to immediately get placed in a match for the WWE championship? HAS THE WHOLE WORLD GONE CRAZY?!?
- So Big Show vs. Eve is a thing now? Really?
- Cody Rhodes. That is all.
- It's probably not good news when Brodus Clay finally bothers to have an actual match where he shows some real depth of range in the ring against a (mostly) credible opponent like The Miz and absolutely no one gives a shit about it. The fans in attendance were terrible all night but they couldn't even be bothered to yawn during this match. Where did all the heat go? He needs to snap on his Funkadactyls or something to make himself interesting again.
- Yes, I hear these "rumblings" that Mason Ryan is going to become a bodyguard for Dolph Ziggler. Do I believe them? I'll believe it when I see it on TV or at least some sort of acknowledgement towards it, which I suppose you could qualify Ryan watching his match on Raw last night as something akin to it. Am I on board with it? Sure. Let's give it a chance, if it's going to happen.
- Paul Heyman returning to Raw, as covered right here, was well done and he was used properly. He's got natural connections to Lesnar and he's far better on the microphone. If he sticks around, which it looks like he will, I would be happy to see him become Lesnar's negotiator. That way Brock doesn't have to look like anything other than a monster. Because, really, monsters don't whine on TV for 10 minutes about contracts. They just destroy shit. I want to see Brock just destroy shit. In fact, I'd like to think Heyman will show up on Raw next week with Triple H, rework the contract, and then Lesnar can make sporadic appearances on Raw over the next few months to just wreck random matches by destroying whoever is competing in said random matches, just to rock the Raw boat. Triple H will heal his (kayfabe) broken arm by then and he can finally step in, as the boss, and put a stop to it in a match at SummerSlam. Book it, WWE.
- Lord Tensai now owns victories over both John Cena and CM Punk in the main events on two separate Raw shows. That's actually amazing when you think about it. What's more amazing? Fans still couldn't care less about him. I think they're on the right track, though, with his being a henchman for Laurinaitis. They acknowledged "Ace's" past in Japan last night for the first time and he himself also brought up Tensai going over to Japan to "hone his skills." That's all the connection they need to hook up as a team. Laurinaitis runs the show and Tensai is his muscle, as evidenced by his beating down Punk last night to end the show.
- Oh wait, they ended the show with Daniel Bryan YES-ing and throwing the YES Lock on a beaten Punk. Remember when we were all excited to get a Punk vs. Bryan feud for the title? Yeah, they barely even acknowledged that the two will be having a match at the next PPV. So it doesn't really look like we're getting a feud between them. They just seem to be killing time. And that sucks. With only two weeks to go until Over the Limit, I really hope they bother to tell an actual story here. There's just too much potential for something great.
Overall, Raw was boring and uneventful. They advanced some storylines but the entire show felt like it wasn't really worth the time. It's almost like they know they have talent and could do something special with it but no one actually feels like bothering to put in enough effort to make it happen.
I'll give this show a D+ but I can't go much higher. Maybe you Cagesiders can and if so, I'd love to hear why in the comments section below. Don't hold back, folks; you know I never do.