Wednesday, February 8, 2012

An OK Raw

First - sorry for the non-posting this week; after not doing TOO badly with my posting (not quite every other day, but not more than 3 for a few weeks there), we had company over the weekend and were too busy living life, honestly, with beautiful winter days out on the Canal, a Toronto Maple Leafs shutout over the Ottawa Senators, and other good stuff. That said - you can hear our thoughts on last week's Royal Rumble and Raw over on Kayfabe Radio (see last entry including links). As to this week, though ...

It had some moments I guess. In no particular order, the Chris Jericho-CM Punk was every bit the fun promo - with words and without - I expected it would be when they finally confronted each other. Jericho's frustration with Punk's wordlessness was amusing, although I do have to throw out there, echoing Jason Powell's sentiment over at, that I'd sort of been hoping with all this buildup that Jericho would have developed a new character in this return to the WWE, where from what I'm seeing to date, he's basically doing a sendup of his previous WWE returns, with a much quicker heel turn reverting to the character he played when he last left the WWE (basically, his last return in fast forward).

Now ... the sendup has been entertaining but I was hoping maybe for a bit of a more creative payoff than that. Maybe those expectations are unrealistic, and emblematic of the high bar Jericho has set for himself as one of the smarter and more creative visionaries in the WWE, and it's not like he's done BADLY, but ... momentum is everything in wrestling, and I feel like we've gone from a very creative return to he's another top-level heel very quickly. Yes, top-level, but he's gone from a very hot, anticipated return to he's another face in the Punk/Daniels/Cena/Orton/etc. crowd. Now ... he's a heel, which is different, and important at this time, with far too many top bad guys either on the DL (Alberto del Rio ... Mark Henry ... Christian ...) or not being pushed properly (Wade Barrett ... the Miz ...). But he should just have meteoric heat right now and I'm afraid he doesn't ... which pains me to say about one of my favourites. That said, his last comeback went flat pretty quickly and he used that to come up with one of the most creative directional shifts I've ever seen in a wrestlng character, so who knows what we'll see in the weeks ahead. But if it's him and CM Punk ... we at least know we'll see an awesome feud. :)

And we have John Cena again ... I have to give that WWE is doing really well with the promo videos for him and the Rock, demonstrating their personalities, and their contributions to wrestling, among other worthy causes, really well. AND Cena gets to wave the flag at the Daytona 500 - the biggest NASCAR race of the year, and a great way to get some notice and attention on the road to Wrestlemania. Add that to a nice piece on the Rock in People magazine last week, and the Hall of Fame induction announcement for Mike Tyson, and WWE is getting more publicity than they have in a very long time ... WM weekend is shaping up to be quite the Big Deal (but then, what else is new?).

My only complaint about the Cena storyline? I get they need to continue his angle with Kane until post-Elimination Chamber, at which point the Rock will be back to help build up to Wrestlemania - but an ambulance match? If this is their attempt to make this feud less hokey, and hocus pocus ... a last man standing or no holds barred match would have been more appropriate, and taken more seriously. I'm glad in that this is clearly the blowoff to what has been an uninspiring feud, but ... really?

I enjoyed the six-pack challenge to determine who gets to enter the elimination chamber last at the PPV in ten days' time. A good match, given the potential chaos in a 6-man bout, with the right outcome in Jericho's win. Actually, the action on this show was pretty good all in all, with only the two quibbles about injuries (Eve Torres and R Truth were injured in matches - which frankly is two injuries too many this cloes to WM, in a season where everyone should be starting to think ahead and play carefully), and - in trying to fit everything in - a bit of jumping around and not giving everything it's due time (which is better than a whole lot of filler, which is usually the bigger complaint - but to go straight from Jericho and CM Punk's interaction to pumping up the next match ... at least address the importance of what had just happened ... they'd have never done that to toher main eventers like Triple H or Undertaker) ...

Speaking of which, last but not least, those two gentlemen had an excellent joint promo/video set at the top of the show. It was a BIT long for some tastes, and admittedly laggy in some parts, but overall both men were very believable (in Triple H saying he doesn't want to participate in the Undertaker going out and embarrassing himself, that he's aging and no longer 'has it'; and the Undertaker saying he doesn't want the fans' last image of him being his beaten body being carried from the ring; he wants one more chance to set that right). With Shawn Michaels' set to guest on next week's Raw, it will be interesting to see his role in getting Triple H to agree to the match with Taker, since I'm assuming that's what they're working toward.

So Raw had some brilliant moments, but it was more a 4-star than a 5-star show ... that said, if they're going to have weeks like that - which is a given in any kind of long-running television show - better now than say, a month from now when they're building to WM in earnest. This was their scratch; remember, next week's the go-home show for EC, and then all roads lead to Mania ... so it's about to get hot in here, boys and girls. Let's keep on watching ... shall we?


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