The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 07/09/12
Live from Denver, Colorado this is the Raw Deal...
The show began with a video package of AJ's actions last week.
Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the 998th edition of Raw. AJ (Lee is her last name that they hardly ever mention) skipped her way out to the ring.
AJ asked the fans to help her welcome WWE Champion CM Punk. The champ entered to a big ovation. Jerry Lawler with an awful joke: "They named a clock after her: cuckoo." That was bad. Put Regal in the announcer's chair. AJ told Punk that she doesn't need mental help and that she's in full control of her mental faculties at all times. She said when she kissed him on Smackdown "I knew what I had to do." There's a "boring" sign in the background. She said Punk's eyes sent love straight into her heart. She said Punk turns her on. He was reacting as if he was uncomfortable to all of this while the crowd chanted "yes" at it. She said she knows what she has to do, so she got down on one knee in front of him as if she was proposing to him. The crowd was reacting with an "ooohhh." Punk was shocked. Punk knows not to get married in wrestling. Smart man. AJ: "CM Punk. Will you marry me?" Big pop.
The marriage proposal was interrupted by Daniel Bryan yelling "no" and he ran out to the ring. Bryan said Punk was just playing her because she's the referee for their match on Sunday. He told her that he never stopped having feelings for her. He said Punk was only using her because she's the ref of their WWE Title match. Punk said Bryan didn't know what he feels about AJ, so Bryan told Punk to say "I do." Hey remember when the WWE Title was important? Punk didn't say anything. Bryan said Punk sees AJ as a special ref and Bryan said he sees her as a special person. He said he didn't intend to stop a proposal. He intended to make one. He got down on one knee in front of AJ and asked her to marry him. Punk told him to stop because this wasn't premeditated like he said. He asked him where the ring was. That proves that Bryan is a fraud apparently. I'm pretty sure you can propose without a ring although I don't know if there's a rulebook for marriage proposals. Ask Ric Flair, brother. Woo! Punk told AJ to go talk to him in the back. Bryan: "Don't you talk down to my future fiancée!" They started to argue.
All of a sudden the fateful sound of the notification started up. Michael Cole stood up to say he received an email from the Anonymous Raw GM. Lawler said "tell me it's not true" even though he was sitting beside the stand that had a laptop on it. It was covered with a sheet though, so I guess Lawler was confused by it. Cole took the sheet off. He opened the laptop and of course there's a paper there that he reads off of. The email just arrived, yet he reads the paper. Why would the camera shoot him from behind to show that he's reading the paper? This is the same stupid thing they did before and they can't figure out that it looks especially cheesy. Cole read an email saying the Anonymous GM is running the show this evening. The GM booked a tag match between CM Punk & AJ vs. Daniel Bryan & Eve. Bryan was yelling about it, saying he and AJ are partners in the ring and out. There was another email notification, so Cole read off the sheet again. The GM's email was telling Bryan that if he beats Punk then maybe AJ will see him in a different light or maybe not. So the GM types ridiculously fast and is able to turn electronic documents into paper. The GM wished all of them good luck.
AJ said the entire thing was confusing. She said her proposal to Punk caught him off guard (he did the hand signal for "a little bit") and she said Bryan's proposal caught her off guard. AJ said they all needed time to think. She's happy they have the match because everything happens for a reason. She said she was going to walk out of the arena with her future husband. She looked at both guys. Then she skipped out of the ring. That whole thing took about twenty minutes.
Analysis: It was okay. They've had some great segments, but this one wasn't at that level. Marriage proposals? Seems like a stretch to me. As a wrestler she should be happy that she gets to wrestle in a main event level match. Instead it's not about the matches. Wins and losses don't seem to matter anymore, just like the titles. That's becoming a major problem. As for the anonymous GM being back, it's amazing that they still can't figure out how faulty the "guy reads the email off the paper" thing is. Does Vince not know how to email yet or understand what an email is? Have Cole read a Word Document or Notepad file off the screen or an iPad. It's not hard to make it look like it's legit.
Later in the show it's Chris Jericho & Big Show vs. John Cena & Kane. Don't ask me if Kane is a babyface. I don't know.
Sheamus vs. Jack Swagger
This is non-title of course. Swagger didn't even get an entrance. Sheamus got a good ovation. Sheamus hit the White Noise about thirty seconds into the matchup. Then Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick. The match didn't even last one minute.
Analysis: Every once in a while I have people asking me if I think Jack Swagger will get released. I usually say "no he's too good of a talent." I still think he's a good talent talent, but with the way he gets booked obviously there's a chance of him getting released now. The match was just a squash win for Sheamus.
After the match, Alberto Del Rio pulled up in an expensive Ferrari and he honked the horn. He told Sheamus he was going to win the World Title on Sunday. Del Rio left, so Sheamus gave Swagger another Brogue Kick to make him look like even more of a jobber.
Analysis: How can we survive without knowing how much Del Rio's car cost? Oh the mystery.
Backstage, Santino talked to Zack Ryder, who is in charge of Smackdown. It was taped after Raw, I read the spoilers and I won't comment on it except to say that if you were in charge of a show wouldn't you make yourself the star of the show? Just saying. They talked about the Anonymous GM, so Santino was on a search to find who it is. He was even dressed like Sherlock Holmes. Then they went to break.
Back from break, they announced that The Rock will be at the 1,000th episode of Raw on July 23 in St. Louis.
Analysis: Thank God. I've missed that man.
Dolph Ziggler & Tensai vs. Tyson Kidd & Christian
None of them got an entrance. Kidd got beat up for about one minute and then he hot tagged Christian. Christian went to finish off Ziggler (yes already) and then Tensai tagged in to destroy the short guys because he's big. Tensai ended up pinning Christian after a Senton Splash. The match went about 90 seconds.
Winners: Dolph Ziggler & Tensai
Post match, Tensai attacked Kidd outside the ring. He gave him a powerbomb so that Kidd's back hit the side of the ring apron. Then he gave him the Senton Splash. Then he yelled loudly to once again prove that he enjoys a good scream once in a while.
Analysis: How do you get me to hate a match where favorites of mine like Ziggler, Christian & Kidd are involved? You book it like this where guys are making hot tags one minute into the match. Brutal. Let them wrestle. Tensai is big. We get it, Vince. Nobody cares. Move on from the gimmick. Put Ziggler or Rhodes over on Sunday. Please and thank you.
At the announce table, Cole & Lawler argued about who should be running the shows. Cole said the Anonymous GM should be running Raw and Smackdown. Lawler said Cole only liked that because he got to read emails. Then Lawler wanted Foley to run Raw and Long to run Smackdown. Cole spilled water on Lawler. Then the GM sent a message. Cole went to read the message. Instead, he was so mad that he refused to read it. Lawler read it. The GM booked Lawler vs. Cole. The crowd cheered. Cole was angry about it. Then Cole was yelling about it being changed. So Lawler got back on the podium and Cole acted as if there was a new message. Whoever was supposed to play the message sound was late because Lawler was reading as if the message was new. Here's the problem: He's reading a PIECE OF PAPER that is clearly shown and not the computer screen where the email should be. The GM added that the WWE Universe will decide if the match takes place. The whole place started cheering. If so, go to WWE.com to vote yes or no.
Analysis: I hate everybody in the crowd that cheered that match being announced. Also, that Cole/Lawler segment was one of the worst segments of the year. Total trainwreck in terms of execution too. It wasn't just a WrestleMania rematch, guys. It was three PPVs. One of the worst feuds ever.
The "Did You Know?" told us that if you watched 1 hour of Raw every day it would take almost 5 and 1/2 years to watch every show. That's so random that I don't even have a sarcastic comment in reply to it.
Back from break, they mentioned the WWE.com poll for Lawler/Cole. If you voted yes I worry about you.
Brodus Clay vs. Drew McIntyre
As is the current theme of the show, McIntyre didn't get an entrance. Like a dummy, McIntyre did a leaping attack off the top rope and Brodus gave him a headbutt. Then Brodus gave McIntyre the Big Splash for the win. The match went under one minute.
Winner: Brodus Clay
Analysis: When does McIntyre ever go to the top rope? When he's booked to lose to Clay in under one minute apparently.
Backstage, Santino ran into Chris Jericho and accused him of being the Anonymous GM. Jericho wondered if Santino was the GM. Then Santino left. Big Show walked up to Jericho. Chris mentioned they were one of the greatest teams of all-time. Show said that some of the most embarrassing moments of his career were when he was a part of Jerishow. Show told Jericho to stay out of his way and Show won't knock him out.
This week's Raw 1,000 moment featured Stephanie McMahon talking about February 11, 2002 when they were supposed to be renewing their wedding vows. Hunter found out Stephanie was lying. This wasn't that great of a moment. Hunter as a babyface in 2002 flopped big time, which is why he turned heel that summer.
There's another reminder of Charlie Sheen tweeting during Raw on Monday July 23.
The music of smiling John Cena started up as we reached the top of hour two. He did his hard sell promo for the Money in the Bank match for the contract that leads to a shot at the WWE Title. He turned into hype man Cena talking about how MITB is a must-see event. He pointed out that the winner of the briefcase has always cashed it in to become champion. Of course there is the Ken Kennedy exception since he lost it to Edge, but Edge did end up cashing it in, so I guess it counts. Cena said at Money in the Bank he'll do two things and in six days he'll stand by his word. First thing is Big Show will finally be stopped by his hand. You will stop Big Show? But you already beat him at the last PPV. I guess winning with help doesn't count. The second thing is he'll do whatever he has to in order to win the WWE Title. "I, John Cena, will win Money in the Bank."
Analysis: If Cena did those serious promos all the time he'd have a lot less haters. The problem is he does those promos once out of every four weeks when they remember they have a PPV to sell. The other three weeks he's making poop jokes and not selling injuries.
John Cena & Kane vs. Chris Jericho & Big Show
I don't think Kane is a face. He's more of a tweener, but with the guys on the other team he makes the most sense to be on Cena's team. Of course Kane tried to make Cena "embrace the hate" earlier this year. I wish I could forget that feud. Show knocked Kane to the floor early in the match. When Kane went into the ring, Show knocked Kane down with a shoulderblock. Cena and Jericho tagged in, which led to Show hitting a cheap shot on Cena. They went to commercial without anybody getting knocked out to the floor. That's shocking.
Back from break, Cena went to bodyslam Show. He wasn't able to, though, so Show fell on top of him for a two count. Show gave Cena a bearhug. Cena ended up giving Show a back suplex. Cena made the hot tag to Kane, who was getting cheered for attacking Show with fists. Kane hit a DDT on Show for two. Show avoided the Kane clothesline and then Show gave Kane a spear. Jericho tagged in to work over Kane. Jericho dropped a knee to the back of the neck of Kane while he was in the ropes. They went to break with Kane selling the beating on the apron. No floor to commercial spot again?
Back from break, Jericho was still working over Kane. Kane gave Jericho a side slam and then tagged in Cena for his moves of doom. Cena hit the shoulderblocks followed by the Five Knuckle Shuffle and the Attitude Adjustment on Jericho. He covered, but Big Show pulled him out of the ring. The ref DQ'd Show. The match went 16 minutes.
Winners: John Cena & Kane via DQ
Analysis: **1/4 Since when does a match end because a guy broke up a pinfall by pulling an opponent out of the ring? What an odd finish. Odd or bad. Pick a word. It got a decent length of time, but two commercial breaks certainly hurt it and the poorly booked didn't help the end of it.
Big Show threw Cena into the security wall. Maybe the bell should have rang after that instead of when he pulled him out of the ring? Show gave Kane a clothesline. Show grabbed two ladders from under the ring and he put them into the ring. He knocked over Jericho and Kane with one of the ladders in his hands. Show squashed Jericho in between a ladder. All of a sudden Cena showed up with the other ladder to knock Show out of the ring.
Analysis: My pick to win the briefcase is Cena. However, seeing him look so strong on the Raw before the match is a bad sign for my "look weak on TV, win on PPV" theory. The build for the MITB match was pretty good. It wasn't great, but at least they made Show & Cena look strong as the favorites to win the match.
They aired clips of the marriage proposals from earlier in the show.
Michael Cole said this: "I've read all your complaints. You're horrified when I wrestle. You don't want me in matches disgracing this great sport." He's never been more truthful. The he told us to vote No on WWE.com for his match.
The "Did You Know?" told us that Raw has aired more episodes than Seinfeld, Friends, Cheers, and Frasier combined. And they underlined "combined" for effect. Those shows also had about 4-5 times the audience that WWE had on a weekly basis and Seinfeld is the most influential sitcom in the history of American TV. It's also the best. But hey, Raw has more episodes. So there!
Analysis: If Raw had Seinfeld's writers it would be an amazing show. Sadly, it does not.
Backstage, Eve walked up to CM Punk and wished him good luck in their match. Eve: "I wasn't talking about the match. I was talking about AJ." Of course she wasn't. That's the problem. The match results don't matter. She thinks if AJ doesn't hear Punk say "I do" later then AJ will make sure Punk doesn't walk out as WWE Champion on Sunday. She said some mean things to him like how he's been overshadowed by The Rock, John Cena, Triple H, Big Show and even Brock Lesnar. She said it must be pretty emasculating for him to be overshadowed by AJ. She walked off while Punk said nothing.
Analysis: She makes valid points huh?
Santino found an iPhone. Khali grabbed it. Santino asked him if he was the GM. Khali said yes at first, but then he said no. Santino walked away frustrated.
Analysis: I feel stupider after watching that.
Sin Cara made his entrance. They went to break as he awaited his opponent.
The Money in the Bank pre-show match is R-Truth & Kofi Kingston vs. Hunico & Camacho. Remember when the Primetime Players won the right to be Number One Contenders at No Way Out? They still haven't got their title shot. I think AW is the worst manager ever.
Sin Cara vs. Heath Slater
The winner of this match gets to be the eighth man in the Money in the Bank Ladder match for a World Championship Contract. Heath Slater is a possibility because he beat Doink? Okay then. The mood lighting was around the ring. Slater grabbed a headlock. Sin Cara came back with a kick to the face and a crossbody block. He hit his headscissors into the armbar finishing move (still no name although a variation of that was called La Mistica before) for the win after about two minutes.
Winner: Sin Cara
Analysis: Basic squash match that was so boring they even threw a chinlock into it. A recurring theme of this show.
Post match, Heath Slater said he's a future champion. He said he wanted to face a former champion and he would beat whoever it is.
The music of Bob Backlund started up. Cole mentioned that Backlund held the WWE Title from 1978 to 1983. He also mentioned that held the WWE Title in 1994 as well. Where's the mention of why Backlund isn't in the WWE Hall of Fame? Backlund got no reaction at all. I'm 31 and I only know him from his early 90s run. Anybody that's under 20 won't know much about him. The crowd chanted "you still got it" at Backlund before he did anything. I guess he's got the ability to walk. Slater kicked Backlund and punched him in the head. Backlund came back with the Crossface Chickenwing. Slater tapped out. There was no referee out there, but eventually Backlund stopped.
Analysis: At least the Crossface Chickenwing drew a good reaction.
The results to the Lawler vs. Cole poll was 75% Yes and 25% No. Cole called the fans hypocrites. He was yelling as they went to commercial.
Back from break, Josh Mathews & Booker T were at the announce table.
Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole
Cole rolled out of the ring, so Booker rolled him back in. Lawler gave Cole the Airplane Spin. Lawler covered for the win. The match went one minute.
Winner: Jerry Lawler
Analysis: Embarrassingly bad. At least it was short. I'm so positive.
There was another message from the Anonymous Raw GM. Josh Mathews read the message, which said that due to Booker's interference he was awarding the match to Michael Cole. Meanwhile the shot of the computer revealed a paper on the laptop and a blank blue screen.
The music of Santino started up. Santino said that he's searched the entire arena. He said if the Anonymous GM is there then they are under the ring. Then the Anon GM said they are not under the ring. Josh read it off the paper. Santino said it was a clue, so he got pulled under the ring. Lawler pulled him out and there was Hornswoggle with the laptop in his hand. The notification sound started going off randomly. Lawler the GM realized that Hornswoggle was the one that called all off this misery. Why is he mad at him if he just got to beat up Cole? Swoggle kicked Lawler, bit Santino in the ass and then kicked Cole in the shin. Then he left.
Analysis: This was one of the stupidest angles in the history of Raw. No doubt about it. With that said, I don't think Hornswoggle as GM is something to get worked up about. They didn't want to name a GM when they did the whole "anonymous GM" angle in the first place. It was a way to have somebody in charge of the show without ever having somebody in the actual role. Then it became an angle to get Cole heat. At least now there's an answer to the question of who the anonymous GM was even though it's a stupid joke answer.
Back at the announce table was Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler. Cole hyped up the "Friday Night Zackdown" edition of Smackdown with Zack Ryder as the guest GM. Cole asked Lawler if they could put all of this behind them. Lawler said no.
Daniel Bryan & Eve vs. CM Punk & AJ
Michael Cole called this an incredible night. That's a blatant lie. Bryan and Punk started it out. They did the Anderson Silva/Chael Sonnen spot from Saturday's UFC when Sonnen missed a spinning back first and then Silva nailed him with a knee. Here's a GIF File showing it to you. Punk came back with a high kick to Bryan's jaw. AJ tagged the back of Punk, so Eve had to come in as well. AJ hit a sloppy tackle. Eve came back with a kick and then gave her a sloppy tackle. Maybe they should stop doing tackles huh? Eve missed a flipping legdrop, but AJ got her knees up. AJ hit a double dropkick to the head and then a corner charge. AJ hit a spin kick to the jaw. Those moves were impressive. Eve went to make a tag, but Bryan dropped to the floor. That allowed AJ to roll up Eve for the victory after three minutes.
Winners: CM Punk & AJ
Analysis: * AJ's a pretty good worker. I'm glad she was able to show that. They did have a few spots in the match that were messed up a bit, but her offense worked well. Bryan not caring about Eve is true to his character, so that works for me.
Post match, the ref raised the hands of Punk and AJ. She gave Punk a big hug. Bryan grabbed the microphone. He said that she meant more to him than any match. He told her they should leave so they can go get married. She didn't leave. Punk said he wasn't going to lie to her to hold on to his WWE Title. He said Bryan wants to marry her to win the WWE Title. Punk said he doesn't care if this costs him his WWE Title, but he's not going to marry AJ. He said if that hurts her then he apologizes. He said at least he cares enough about her to tell her the truth. She slapped Punk in the face. Bryan told her to "come home" with him. AJ slapped Bryan in the face too. She yelled "yes" repeatedly as the crowd joined in. She walked away with the support of the crowd.
Analysis: If I was writing a letter to the WWE creative team it would go something like this:
Dear WWE Creative Team,
Let me get this straight. One year ago, CM Punk was the "Voice of the Voiceless" that delivered epic promos on a weekly basis about things that were wrong with the company he worked for. Now he's the equivalent of a 15 year old boy that can't talk or stand up for himself because of the actions of a 90 pound woman who controls the fate of the most prestigious championship in the history of WWE. And this is supposed to make people WANT to pay $50 (or whatever it may cost) to see a WWE Title match on TV? What the hell? Seriously. Is this really the best thing they could come up with for how to book the WWE Title? I'd rather see somebody throw it into a river again and forget it ever existed because this is not a good way to build up the credibility (if there is any left) of something that is supposed to matter. Last year CM Punk was the best performer in WWE. No question about it. Now he's still an awesome performer when he gets the chance to wrestle and sink his teeth into a story, but right now in this storyline he's become just another guy. He's mentally weak. He's a wimp. He's not somebody my 13 year old nephew can look up to because his weaknesses are shining through. I realize it's part of the story to show that a woman can control him, but this is CM Punk. He's the same guy that messed with Rey Mysterio's kid daughter just because he knew it would give him an advantage. Last week this woman shoved him through a table while he's in a match that he's supposed to want to win. He doesn't seem to care, though. He's just another guy. Fans don't want to root for another guy. They want somebody special. They want to root for the "Best in the World" not some average guy. The current WWE Champion is not special right now. He should be. And I f**king hate it.
Sincerely, Frustrated in Bacon Land.
P.S. Bacon Land = Canada
My frustration is not with CM Punk, Daniel Bryan or AJ as performers. It's with the butchering of the WWE Title and killing the idea that wins/losses should matter, which is supposed to be why anybody would pay to see a match. That's what pisses me off.
Three Stars of the Show
I'll skip it for this week. I have no selections. The worst two performers were Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler, though.
3 out of 10
Last week: 6.5
2012 Average: 5.70
2012 High: 9 (January 30)
2012 Low: 3 (July 9)
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 4.5, 6, 4.5, 5.5
Based on that score it's the worst Raw this year. What else is there to say, really?
I'm not a negative fan. I always look on the bright side and I will in this case too. I didn't like Raw, but Money in the Bank should be pretty great with two MITB matches plus Bryan/Punk. I'll enjoy the wrestling on the show. It's just the storytelling of late that has been hurting the product more than anything else.
This show was painful. If you missed it congratulations to you.
This was the best part of Raw. Thanks to Twitter user @scotmboken for bringing this TJR sign, which will also be on Smackdown since it was taped after Raw.
Thanks again for the support with the signs! Love it.
I'll be back on Saturday morning with the Money in the Bank PPV preview. Then on Sunday night I'll write the Money in the Bank PPV recap live at TJRWrestling.com so be on the lookout for that.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton - [email protected]
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