-I have intentionally forgone all spoilers going into tonight’s show, because I don’t wish to be tempted into writing in the results before they actually air. That would be cheating, and I am above that sort of tomfoolery. Besides, even if I DID peek at the spoilers, it was only for a quick look-see, just so I could have an idea of what non-sequiturs and japes I wish to add to the rant. I promise I will not mention the shocking spoiler about The Ultimate Warrior returning to challenge The Rock. At least, not until it happens in show-time, anyway.
-Live as taped can be from London
Wow, no intro for Henry? Nice to see we’re under Saturday Night’s Main Event rules, where the main event doubles at the opener. After last night’s poorly-mic’ed Lockdown crowd, it’s good to hear rowdy British fans chanting and generally having fun. Punk chops at the Texas oak with kicks, but doesn’t fare as well when Henry engages him with a corner toss and strikes. Henry plants Punk with a Simmons Spinebuster, and the fight spills outside. Henry then stands there as Punk lands an early suicide dive in an awkward spot. That’s topped by Punk getting a rail-runner bulldog on Henry. Strikes are exchanged at ringside (prompting the “yes” yelps from the Punk kicks), but Henry plants him into the rail as we hit break #1. Henry continues hauling the pain when we come back, striking with the Vader Attack, and the Andre Memorial Chest Stand. Then Punk’s all ‘screw this’ and gets a chair, landing hard torso shots (so as to not offend Chris Nowinski and NFL widows) for two. Then Henry, utilizing irony, strikes back with the chair, ironically. Bear hug ensues, with Henry yelling “QUIT!”, but of course Punk doesn’t. He lands some YES elbows to break, followed by a YES chop block, then a YES stump DDT for 2. Punk tries a cross body, but is caught. However, he escapes the WSS with a high roundhouse, then corner knee, but the bulldog fails. Henry ends up running into the steel chair that he wedged into the corner (FICKLE HAND OF IRONY). The champ then finishes with a diving chair shot in lieu of the Savage Elbow to retain.
WINNER: CM Punk via chair-assisted Savage Elbow (Still WWE Champion)
Rating: 6/10. Enjoyable TV match, and a good payoff to their three week mini-feud. Hope Henry sticks in the upper card for a while longer.
-Chris Jericho winds up on the titan tron in a pub setting to further taunt Punk. It’s a Chicago Street Fight in Chicago at Extreme Rules. They should make it an Omaha Street Fight in Chicago, just to be ironic. But that dastardly Jericho provides footage of Punk entering a pub. Was Jericho the prosecutor on the Casey Anthony trial? Punk admits to having fish and chips, so the fans chant “fish and chips.” The Rock would be saying “well played” right about now.
-Sitdown interview with Brock Lesnar coming, with still photos of Brock as UFC Champion(!!). Pretty sure Vince died inside.
-PLUG: Speaking of Lesnar, I examine the histories of both he and Daniel Bryan, and how WWE treats two men that have different levels of respect for the business. http://bluebarcage.blogspot.com/2012/04/continental-divide-between-daniel-bryan.html
-R-Truth does some Sherlock Holmes snooping around. He looks like Von Miller with those glasses.
Match 2: Santino Marella vs. David Otunga (WWE United States Championship)
Marella goes through a series of incorrect jerseys on the stage (Chelsea, Manchester U, etc) before ending up with the correct one to the cheers of all. This show has as many title matches so far as most PPV’s, sadly. Otunga gets an early powerslam for 2, followed by some dragon sleeper strikes. It’s amazing how six of the eight original Nexus guys (Otunga, Bryan, Barrett, Slater, Gabriel, and Ryback) all either have a decent push or have had reasonable success. That’s an astounding success rate for WWE these days. Otunga doesn’t fall for Santino’s split and kicks him for 2. Santino gets the foot on the ropes on a pin attempt, and Otunga insists it was 3. Sure as shooting, Santino takes over, unearths the cobra, strikes, and wins.
WINNER: Santino Marella via Cobra strike
Rating: 2/10. Too short to be of any value, but nothing offensive. Just a quick crowd pleaser.
-Lord Tensai promotes FEAR. That was John Belushi’s favorite punk band, I believe.
-WWE sucks the cockney of their “highest grossing” WrestleMania ever. It must have paid off having the Hebners selling tickets out front before show time.
-Brock Lesnar promo, complete with a lifetime package of videos. It’s always fun seeing Hurricane die for my own amusement. Brock as a teenager looks like Anthony Michael Hall after being hit with a gamma ray. Brock admits he doesn’t care about the fans. Work, shoot, who can tell the difference anymore? “Cena is the guy now because I left.” That’s a debatable point. Great promo, better than the hackneyed slow-cadence promos that everybody else but Cena and Punk cut these days. WWE’s getting my $45 in 13 days for that alone.
Match 3: Zack Ryder vs. Kane
The Ryder fan with the headband who looks like an about-to-sneeze Darrell Hammond is kinda sad. I do love reliving the Ryder wheelchair-off-the-ramp moment though. Kane murders Ryder, chokeslam finishes, thanks for playing. No match, as the bell never rang.
WINNER: No match
Rating: BOOOO! WE WANT SHA NA NA.
-Kane’s all “enough of this squash crap” and makes unsavory remarks at Orton instead. Lesson learned: Ryder is useless.
-Daniel Bryan (YES! YES! YES!) gets mad at Kofi Kingston for flirting up AJ, and he renames his finisher the YES Lock. Cameras even pan to the arena to show the mass YES chants. They are SO turning him face before long.
Talk Segment: John Cena
I still love Brock’s heelish laugh when he kicked Cena in the nuts last week. He’s so “unlike” the WWE mold that he works beautifully. Cena doesn’t like the Lesnar-aitis conspiracy, and thinks there’s a target on his back. The crowd is so sad by this turn of events, that they YES Cena. Cena doesn’t like the idea of being replaced, leaving him in a slim minority, I’m sure. Cena: “Brock Lesnar has won everything there is to win.” He never won the European title, did he? Cena promises he will fight on April 29, blah blah blah. He’s then joined by Laurinaitis and his wonderfully intrepid music. Ace makes Cena in an Extreme Rules match…..tonight! WOW! HOW CAN THEY GIVE AWAY SO MANY PPV-QUALITY MATCHES FOR FREE ON….oh, screw it. And we have a contract signing next week. I’ll bet a FIGHT breaks out! Oh, and PEOPLE POWER!
Segment Rating: 8/10. It got 3 points just for Laurinaitis showing up. I want to use his music when I brew coffee each morning.
-Sherlock Whattup Holmes’ hijinx continue with Hornswoggle. Wocka wocka.
Match 4: Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan
The amount of fans willing to chant an affirmative to support an indy legend back into the main event scene is awesome. Bryan celebrates a solitary transition move and gets slugged for it, but makes up for the mistake with some knee drops. I also find out Raw is three hours next week, so I’m gonna have to demand a five cent labor raise to write this damn thing. Bryan works the arm with a hammerlock, to chants of his name, and Kofi gets booed for going on offense, even getting a mixed reaction for an insane cross body to the floor as we hit commercial. Bryan dissects Kingston after the break, while the adorable AJ looks on. You know it’s time to turn a heel face when he stands on a babyface’s throat and gets cheered for it. YES kicks (with Bryan YESsing as well) get 2. Kofi starts the controlled frenzy and gets booed all the while. Boom Drop gets about 3 takers from the crowd, and the high claps get NO chants. TIP misses, and the YES Lock fails, so Kofi goes SOS for 2. Kofi ultimately misses a cross body, and Bryan gets the YES Lock for the win. Bryan reapplies the hold afterward, because he’s a loveable jerk. This brings Sheamus out, and Bryan avoids the Brogue Kick.
WINNER: Daniel Bryan via YES Lock
Rating: 6/10. Another enjoyable match, made even better with a lively crowd. They need to not blow this Bryan thing while it’s hot.
-Plug 2: A look at Shane Douglas’ egomaniacal need to live in the past with yet another ECW reunion, and why he’s the last guy who should be “rallying the revolution”. http://bluebarcage.blogspot.com/2012/04/disenfranchised-shane-douglas-lives-in.html
Match 5: Brodus Clay vs. Dolph Ziggler
As far as I’m concerned, the Funkettes doing the booty-press makes Raw a must-see each week. Lawler’s back to making fat jokes about Vickie, I see. We get a fast DQ after Swagger tries to save his colleague from the big splash, and gets dragged into the fight. Vickie gets shoved down by Naomi in the after skirmish.
WINNER: Brodus Clay via DQ
Rating: 2/10. That’s solely for the impressive back shot of Naomi after the match. Do I seem fixated? I think I’m fixated.
-Eve puts the moves on John Laurinaitis, and he invites her into his office. Hey, that’s how she got the job!
-Chief Jay Strongbow tribute. I’m from the generation that only knows him as Bret Hart’s chalkboard fodder, and for the time IRS destroyed his head dress, since Tatanka never paid the gift tax on it. Nonetheless, RIP to someone who helped shape WWE as I knew it in the 80s and 90s as head agent.
-Whattup Holmes Part III. And….yeah.
Match 6: Big Show/Great Khali vs. Colon Blow (non title match)
I’ll bet the champs job and look bad. Hey, the champs jobbed, and they looked bad! That’s incredible!
WINNERS: Captain Insano/Scary Guy from Longest Yard via Chokeslam/Punjabi Plunge
Rating: 1/10. Just because Show danced to Indian dance music afterward.
-WWE toured Moscow for the first time ever. They need to have a Raw from there hosted by Yakov Smirnov. Or maybe Ukranian Goddess Mila Kunis. Yeah, go with Mila.
Cena vs. A-Train on a taped show with Michael Cole announcing, and Brock looms large. I loved Smackdown in 2003! I love that Cena’s actually showing fear. Must be out of respect for Train putting him over so much in 2003. Tensai attacks early, and takes suplexes and clotheslines from Tokyo Bullet Train. Tensai dumps Cena outside and kicks away, but Cena fires back with rights, only to be sent into the steps. Cena manages a backdrop on the floor, and smashes Tensai with the ringsteps. Sakamoto attacks Cena, as does Otunga, since there’s no DQ. Delayed underhook drop gets 2. Tensai harkens us back to Japanese legends past with a nervehold. Lawler compares Cena’s mindset to Tiger Woods losing his edge after the scandal, which makes sense: two black men who dominated a white world and all. Tensai shoulderblocks out of the 5KS, and lands the back splash for 2. Tensai works a fujiwara armbar, and Cena counters nicely into the Crossface. Otunga jumps in, but Cena catches him in the AA. Cena eats the mist, and the Baldo Bomb, and Tensai…..wins!
WINNER: Lord TENSAI via Tokyo Bullet Train Wreck
Rating: 5/10. Non descript brawl for the most part, but they are determined to get Tensai over. Kudos on Cena for doing a job, unclean as it was. I’ll bet Punk vs. Tensai would be epic.
OVERALL: Middle ground show, neither great nor terrible. More of a holding pattern deal for the international crowd, before they get into the meat of things with the contract signing and Punk/Jericho’s continuance next week on the three hour show. It was enjoyable enough, so call it a thumbs up.
Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for WrestlingNewsSource.com and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.