Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Last Night's Raw (and something of a recap of the last 10 days)

Sorry for the absence guys -after joining in the fun over at OWW radio (click here and follow the radio links to last Tuesday's archive, where we discuss the Money in the Bank pay per view, the following night's Raw, including the title tournament and Vince McMahon's ouster as WWE head honcho, and more - get yourself up to date if you aren't already!), everyone in our family proceeded to get sick - SO much of fun! :) Trust me, we'd have rather been here with you.

That said, we have been following the events of the past few weeks with a keen eye. As always the CM Punk storyline has been fascinating; following his winning, and leaving with the WWE belt last Sunday night, he partied all around Chicago before the next night's festivities at Raw. Vince McMahon announced a title tournament to crown a new champion. Amid hints of the Miz going face (fighting through the ridiculous odds of a major 'injury' is not especially a heel thing to do - especially the kind of heel Miz plays). I didn't mind this as much as some, since it meant a night of wrestling; but I do get where it perhaps didn't catch the imagination as much as some due to the necessarily short match lengths etc.

By the end of the night Vince had prorogued the final between Miz and Mysterio to publicly fire John Cena. In one of Cena's best promos in a long while he reminded Vince he could certainly go ahead and fire him but John loved wrestling too much to just quit, so he'd just do what he did somewhere else - 'BROTHER!' It was around here that Triple H intervened, telling 'Pops' that the Board of Directors was concerned with some of the decisions he'd made in recent weeks and had relieved him of his duties. Triple H was now in charge - sorry. Vince, after some mockery, actually got a 'Thank You Vince' chant as his eyes welled up. While Vince has certainly not been 'fired' from the WWE by his board of directors, this does indicate something of a stepping back on his part, and a shift in both the front-of-curtain and backroom day-to-day operations of the WWE. Not a bad show, or way to ultimately move the company in honestly, a more creative direction. Triple H gets it, that the WWE can be a PG product without being a cartoon - and while there's room for the Rey Mysterio types for 'the kids', there has to be some elements for the 18-35 male demographic that at the end of the day is wrestling's bread and butter.

A week (and CM Punk-Triple H 'discussion' at Comic-Con - look it up - later), and the WWE title tournament resulted in a Rey Mysterio win and a heartfelt promo which only makes one feel bad for what comes later. I even enjoyed Alberto Del Rio's failed cashing in after such a rough match; this could become his schtick as he's now failed twice to cash in; thinking 'this is my spot', and then deciding iti sn't.

Some of the right guys - Dolph Ziggler, Evan Bourne - got some appropriate attention, and Triple H began flexing his new muscle, bringing back Jim Ross to the announce team (telling Michael Cole it was his choice whether to stay on or not, but he had the night off in a match with Zack Ryder - another fan-friendly move although I'm sure they'd like to see him either in a slightly higher profile, or working as a heel, which is HIS bread and butter); Cole's H imitation was the best thing I've seen him do in awhile. Triple H had a great confrontation with R Truth - I'll post video later, it was great work from both of them, and anything resulting in the return of John Morrison will elicit no complaints from me. And, in the most controversial decision of the night, announced John Cena, who had a rematch clause after MITB, wanted a shot at the belt later that night and Mysterio agreed he deserved the chance. Their match resulted in (le sigh) a John Cena win ... only to be interrupted by CM Punk's return (to Living Colour's Cult of Personality - GREAT pick!) to close the show.

Definitely a newsworthy and fast paced Raw which really didn't lag too badly at any point and kept fan interest up in a variety of new little Easter Eggs. My only quibble - and honestly, I haven't decided if it's a complaint yet, I've been going back and forth on it - was the sheer number of things going on. My initial reaction was, you are blowing months worth of storyline in one short night; Cena vs. Mysterio should have been announced for next week in order to promote it and get people to tune in, it's a big enough match; CM Punk should not have come back ... well maybe unannounced but with no hints and barely an absence, 'We can't miss you if you don't go away' as Ari put it last night. Etc. However, Jason Powell over at gave me some pause in considering that this was a major 'power shift' at the WWE, on TV if not in fact, and so a week or two of MAJOR OVERHAUL would actually fit into the story onscreen; create some fast paced interest, with an excuse for the rapid pace. I'm wondering what you guys think out there?

Be sure and participate in the conversation, either by commenting here on in our Facebook Group (check it out on the taskbar to the right --->). Be well and keep checking back here guys - it's sure to be quite the ride heading into Summerslam ... which with an apparent rematch to determine the 'REAL WWE Champion', Cee Lo Green performing, and several other storylines being built up in a good, Wrestlemania-buildup style, is looking to be another very strong showing in this year's WWE PPVs.


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