by Jon Cronshaw
Raw has been truly embarrassing to watch over the past few week, so let’s see if this week’s edition fares any better.
The show opened with Big Show coming to the ring. He rambled for a while about business decisions. The main crux of Big Show’s promo was that he had been smiling and entertaining the fans for years, and now he didn’t have to smile and pretend because he had an iron-clad contract which set him up financially for life. One would hope that after being in as many main event spots as Big Show, that he would be getting fair compensation already for his work - perhaps a union for professional wrestlers is necessary after all. It may, after all, turn out that Big Show’s newly renewed iron-clad contract will be torn up in his face as Brock Lesnar’s was only a few weeks prior.
Big Show went on to bury the locker-room for not intervening during his firing before Over the Limit. He pointed to Brodus Clay, R. Truth and Kofi Kingston for dancing in the segments following his firing, saying that it was disrespectful: I have to agree. He noted how nobody seemed to care and the the other wrestlers selfishly just carried on as usual: again, I have to agree. Show was most disappointed with Cena for not stepping in, and then replayed footage from John Cena’s horribly obnoxious promo from the end of that show, which saw him do his worst impression of Jim Carey in Ace Ventura Pet Detective, or Ace Ventura Pet Detective 2: Mother Nature Calls. I had blocked this atrocious segment from my memory, and after watching it, Big Show is now the babyface in this feud. I hope that he destroys Cena at No Way Out.
Alberto Del Rio defeated Santino Marella by submission in a very short (and pointless) match. Del Rio kicked Santino and hooked in the Arm Bar for the win. What did this match actually accomplish apart from make the US title look even more worthless than it already is? It didn’t build to a championship match between Del Rio and Marella, because Del Rio is in a World Heavyweight title match at the next pay-per-view. If the US title holder can’t even last a minute with an upper mid-card guy, what hope is there of the title ever meaning anything again? I’ve said it elsewhere for a while that WWE needs to unify its Intercontinental and US titles and the WWE and World Heavyweight titles - it is only by doing this that they can start to rebuild the credibility of the titles.
Next we had a backstage segment with Alex Riley hitting on Eve. Big Show entered, and after intimidating Riley, asked him to give a message to the locker room. He proceeded to smash Riley’s head into a wall, and then left him lying on the floor.Big Show never did say what the message was.
Kofi Kingston and R. Truth defeated Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler in the same match they’ve had over the last few weeks to retain the tag-team titles. Ziggler said that he was better than this, and stormed out of the ring. Ziggler is an excellent performer, and does indeed deserve better than this. WWE has a pretty consistent track record of teasing splits with tag-teams, only for it to be forgotten about by the next week: I hope that this isn’t one of those occasions, and Ziggler gets put in some decent matches.
Show was bullying an injured Santino backstage: again, Big Show is becoming more of a babyface for me than ever. Brodus Clay stepped in and offered Big Show a match, Show agreed.
John Laurinaitis came to the ring. He added the steel cage stipulation to the No Way Out match between Big Show and Cena (thus making the title of the pay-per-view finally make sense). He then went on to unveil the cover of the new WWE 13 video game, with him on the cover. Punk interrupted and a larger cover was shown – the real cover – with CM Punk on the front instead of Johnny. Honestly, I prefer Johnny’s cover, and I hope that WWE will fit to release it as an alternative/limited edition cover. Punk made lots of jokes about the size of Laurinaitis’ testicles, and the length of his penis, and the size of his package – it was all very homoerotic. They should have whipped their cocks out then and there and got David Otunga to invigilate the proceeding, tape-measure in hand, whilst Teddy Long applies another thick layer of baby oil to his chest. This was a terrible segment (both the real one, and the one I made up).
Daniel Bryan defeated CM Punk via pinfall in a good match. The story of the match was that Bryan was working over CM Punk’s left arm, no doubt in preparation for hitting the Yes Lock. It was a very back-and-forth match with lots of pin attempts throughout. AJ came down to the ring wearing a CM Punk t-shirt. Bryan hit a top rope superplex, and as Punk was down, he removed the padding from corner to expose the stee turnbuckle. AJ’s protestation distracted the referee. Bryan dropped Punk onto the exposed steel for the pin. At the end of the match, Kane appeared from nowhere and Choke Slammed Bryan onto a steel chair – this must have sucked for Bryan. As Kane turned to Punk, AJ slid in a chair to even the odds and Kane bolted. I really hope that they don’t do a three-way match with Kane at No Way Out – or ever, for that matter – they should do a straight one-on-one rematch. Anything else will water-down the match.
Christian defeated the Miz via pinfall in a nothing match with a rather clumsy-looking Frog Splash. Cody Rhodes was at ringside bragging about his record-breaking run as Intercontinental Champion. As well as writing about wrestling, I also write stories, and one of the key things in storytelling that all writers should keep in mind is the old addage: “show, not tell”. We have seen Cody lose match after match: you can tell us all you like that he was this or that, but what we have been shown is a guy who is a consistent loser, and not a dominant champion. After Miz lost, he began to cut his usual promo about how he was sick of being pushed further and further down the card (yeah, he did this immediately after losing). Randy Orton’s music hit, and he hit Miz with the RKO and posed on the ring ropes for about ten minutes. Perhaps with Jericho’s suspension, they are setting up a feud between Miz and Orto - a match which I am sure were are all dying to see.
John Laurinaitis was backstage talking to David Otunga, complaining that he’d tapped so quickly to Cena on last week’s Raw. Otunga suggested that he be booked in a match with Sheamus, and Laurinaitis agreed.
Sheamus defeated David Otunga via pinfall in a very short match that can only be described as Sheams-by-numbers: he did his spot when he holds a guy in the ropes and beats his chest; he hit the White Noise; and then the Brogue Kick for the pin. David Otunga is fine as a sidekick for Johnny, but please don’t put him in the ring – he’s horrible.
Big Show versus Brodus Clay never got started. Instead, Show came out with a mic and buried Clay for being a talentless sell-out. He then beat the absolute crap out of Clay, who hardly even got a punch in. Truth and Kingston ran out to make the save, but were quickly cut off, and Show threw them around like rag dolls. Show hit Clay with the Knockout Punch and walked away to end the show.
In summary: this show was much better than the bilge that WWE have been producing over the past few weeks. Show is being given the Mark Henry style big scary monster push, which is great. Of course, we have seen this all before, and no doubt in six months Show will be back high-fiving kids and smiling. In the meantime, I will take whatever joy I can get from WWE’s current product.