-Yeah, so WWE piled on a thirty day suspension on Chris Jericho over the whole Brazilian flag incident, as if his apology wasn’t sincere enough. Jericho broke the law, had the option of apologizing or going to jail, he apologized, and that should have been that. But since WWE is more image-conscious than a Kardashian sister these days, what with K-Mart and the National Guard as sponsors, and Linda McMahon’s new Senate push, I guess WWE had to “stand up” to an employee who made an honest mistake in character acting by flexing its corporate muscle. When a good Christian, and WWE lifer, in Shawn Michaels says you’re being uptight about it, take notice, Vince. My further thoughts on the subject can be found here – http://bluebarcage.blogspot.com/2012/05/jericho-offends-pele-and-blanka-gets.html
-Speaking of the South American escapades, this is the tenth day in a row of travel for the roster, dating back to the night before Over the Limit. Just coming off long flights to another continent, I expect a lot of midcarders competing tonight, as well as 2-3 minute matches for the travel weary stars. God, I sound like Peter King.
-WWE Monday Night RAW is live from New Orleans. Maybe Jonathan Vilma can put a bounty on Vince or his PR reps.
Memorial Day introduction kicks off the show; WWE dedicates the broadcast to those in the Armed Forces who gave their lives. Well, if you’re a douche like Chris Hayes, you can question the purpose of this day (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamespoulos/2012/05/28/feel-uncomfortable-calling-soldiers-heroes-call-them-heroes-anyway/). But assbites like him aside, I dedicate this column to friends Nick Brummer and Francis Borek, who have served my country well, and my former classmate Harry Swain, who perished in 2005 in Afghanistan. He will never be forgotten by me, nor those who knew him.
-Lengthy Show/Cena highlight package. WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO GET TO THE FIREWORKS FACTORY?!?
Please don’t be four hours long like last week. Show’s all smiles, and he says making fans happy was merely a business decision. Aw, crap, WWE’s gone meta. He brags about having an iron clad contract, and can thus do as he pleases whenever he wishes. Nash had the same contract in WCW. After running down his lack of fears and concerns, Show points out that nobody tried to save him from getting fired, and Brodus Clay was just dancing minutes later. Kinda like when Undertaker hung the Bossman, and Cole immediately began hyping the main event. But Cena disappointed him the most. Then he plays the “LOO-ZER” video. Yes, I can see how that would be disappointing. Anywho, Show’s upset with Cena’s jokiness, and threatens violence at No Way Out, and threatens to embarrass Cena. Show then smiles, creepily letting it fade, to punctuate.
Segment Rating: 8/10. Quality promo from Show who, as I said before, is a much better actor that he used to let on. Without any comedy, he did a great soliloquy, and salvaged some of the boredom of last week.
Match 1: Santino Marella vs. Alberto Del Rio (non title match)
This is a continuation of Santino’s slapstick feud with Ricardo Rodriguez. Why can’t Santino just beat up Justin Roberts so we can get Fink back? Alberto abuses Santino early in this battle of, believe it or not, MMA-trained athletes. Santino comes back with the hip toss and salute headbutt, but Alberto blocks the Cobra. Cross armbreaker finishes VERY early. Ricardo rubs in the defeat to Santino via an in-your-face victory announcement.
WINNER: Alberto Del Rio via Cross Armbreaker
Rating: 2/10. Barely a match. Maybe Show went long on the promo?
-A-Ry puts the moves on Secretary of Hot Eve Torres, and Show steps in. He gets to pick his opponent tonight, and he eyes Riley carefully. Instead of picking him, he splatters him into a wall.
Match 2: Ghana Get Got vs. Jack Dolph (WWE Tag Team Championship)
Kofi’s subtle “the hell’s he waving at?” face he makes to R-Truth makes me smile. Vickie in that dress is dat-ass-tastic. Kofi and Swagger start off, and Kingston rains kicks before tagging Truth, who joins him in a double hip toss. What’s Up legdrop gets two as Alex Riley trends on Twitter. See, if HE can do it, it dilutes it a bit, doesn’t it? Swagger goes outside and Ziggler gets nailed with a double high kick. Champs are in control as we go to break. We return with Swagger hooking Kofi in a reverse underhook. During the break, Kofi ate the barricade, hence the shift in momentum. Heels double team in the corner like good traditional villains, and Dolph gets the tag, landing a Show Off Elbow for 2. Kofi tries to fight for the tag, and Dolph misses a stinger splash. Fans are way into it, nice. Double tags are made and Truth gets a front cradle on Swagger for 2. DDT plants Swags, but Dolph breaks it up. Kofi gets an assisted crossbody on Ziggler, but Swagger rolls Truth up for 2. Truth lands the Moment of Truth to retain.
WINNERS: Ghana Get Got via Moment of Truth (Still WWE Tag Team Champions)
Rating: 6/10. Spirited and enjoyable.
-Jack Dolph has dissension afterward, and Ziggler claims to be “better than this.” Vickie screeches in displeasure.
-Santino is helped around backstage with an injured arm, and Show bullies him. Brodus Clay stands up to him, and Show picks him as the opponent. Clay’s all “bring it”
Talk Segment: John Laurinaitis
The PEOPLE POWER SENIOR SCOOTER is here, seconded by Eve and David Otunga. Getting down to business, there’s several announcements: Show and Clay is official for tonight. Second, Show and Cena is a steel cage match for No Way Out, which I think everyone knew. Three, Laurinaitis claims to be the most popular superstar in WWE history by virtue of beating Cena. As such, Laurinaitis will be the cover boy for WWE ’13. “THE KIDS ARE GONNA LOVE THIS GAME. IT’S GOING TO BE BIGGER THAN PAC-MAN” Punk interrupts, and he sticks his gum on Laurinaitis’ PEOPLE POWER SENIOR SCOOTER seat. Huge Punk chants. Turns out, Punk’s the actual cover boy, which is cool…..I guess. “A wrestling video game with an actual WRESTLER on the cover, what a CONCEPT.” Punk then orders Laurinaitis out of his ring, and tension builds. Laurinaitis merely wishes him good luck, and leaves. Punk destroys the Ace prototype cover, just because.
Segment Rating: 7/10. There were some legit laughs in there, I’ll say that.
Match 3: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan (non title)
Smarks: “Why are they giving away Punk/Bryan for free?” WWE response: “Because you streamed Over the Limit anyway” Lockup and jockeying to begin, with Bryan working a headlock. Punk lands a hip toss and works an armbar. Bryan fights back with a Northern Lights toss and his own arm work, culminating with a stomp to the planted bicep. Punk catches a leapfrog attempt with a Manhattan drop and goes on the offensive with kicks and knees for 2. Punk applies a bow and arrow, but Bryan shambles out and a series of quick pin attempts ensues. Sting/Flair bridge spot leads to a backslide struggle, into a Punk backbreaker for 2. Bryan manages to strain Punk’s arm over the top rope, and then comes off the top with a tiger knee, followed by a basement dropkick that sends Punk to the floor. Bryan misses a baseball slide, eats a kick, followed by a springboard dive from Punk. AJ makes her way out in Punk gear as we go to break. We return to Punk stomping Bryan in the corner, but Bryan counters a suplex and a showy exchange leads to Punk missing a twisting splash off the top. Bryan works Punk’s arm with a finger-leverage bend, followed by a standing shoulder stunner. Corner dropkick gets for Bryan. Punk tries to defend himself with leg kicks, but Bryan works the arm and gets a Northern Lights suplex for 2. AJ is, for the record, 1000% adorable when she’s concerned and scared. Punk fights back with kicks and a leg lariat, going on the babyface comeback, getting a neckbreaker for 2. Punk gets the corner knee, but the bulldog fails, yet Punk gets a roll-up for 2. Bryan lands some European uppercuts, but Punk fights back with a springboard clothesline for 2. Bryan responds with a superplex for 2. Then D-Bry undoes the turnbuckle, like any classic villain. As Bryan yells at AJ to get off the apron, Punk gets a roundhouse for 2. But Bryan does manage to spike Punk onto the exposed buckle, and gets the win.
WINNER: Daniel Bryan via use of exposed turnbuckle
Rating: 9/10. Great TV match, about **** thereabouts. I can watch these matches forever, honestly.
-Kane comes in afterward and chokeslams Bryan on the chair as revenge, but AJ aids Punk with a chair, which he uses to dismantle Kane himself. Punk stands tall in the loss, and AJ is smitten.
–Cheap Plug: EPIC TWEETS THROUGH WRESTLING HISTORY http://bluebarcage.blogspot.com/2012/05/epic-tweets-through-wrestling-history_23.html
Match 4: Christian vs. The Miz (non title)
Cole and Lawler shill Jericho’s suspension by hyping WWE.com. Smooth. Cody Rhodes is on commentary, thus adding a necessary baritone. Miz goes on the early advantage, landing the corner clothesline, followed by a double axe handle for 2. Miz works a chinlock, and continues the dominance with a back/neckbreaker combo for 2. Christian comes back with a dropkick, followed by a rope-leap punch, and then the classic falling reverse DDT. Miz prevents the spear with a boot to the head for 2. Christian lands a back elbow off the middle rope, and Rhodes gets up from the table. He distracts Christian long enough for Miz to get a roll-up for 2. Miz tries for the Skull Crushing Finale, but Christian reverses into the Killswitch, which is itself countered. Christian ends up hitting it anyway, and lands a frog splash for the win.
WINNER: Christian via Kill the Frog
Rating: 5/10. Decently paced midcard match. Getting some solid wrestling tonight, I’ll give em that.
-Miz remains in the ring after the commercial, and he’s kvetching about the loss. He saved Laurinaitis at WrestleMania, and wants his just due. He’s protesting until he gets his way, and this brings out Randy Orton. Orton ignores Miz’s orders and lands an RKO. In other words, Orton’s still on the roster. In a backstage aside, Dolph Ziggler asks Vickie to end the team with Swagger and give him a career like Orton’s.
-Cena patriotism piece. You’re not going to make people cheer for him, guys.
Match 5: Sheamus vs. David Otunga (non title)
Tonight’s Raw feels like a PPV: Night of Champions in Non Title Matches. Sheamus can’t get the Dublin Clubs, and Otunga lands a hard clothesline for 2. The onslaught continues with a nice torpedo shoulder block and several pin attempts, all for 2. But ah, he’s only made Sheamus mad, and it’s Irish Hammers and Dublin Clubs galore. White Noise connects, but Sheamus isn’t done. VICIOUS Brogue Kick finishes.
WINNER: Sheamus via Brogue Kick
Rating: 3/10. Decent squash with a glorious kill shot. Works for me.
-A creepy Sheamus lookalike kid is at ringside, and is possibly more haunting than Miz Girl.
Main Event: Big Show vs. Brodus Clay
In a grin-worthy moment, Clay has a random piece of paper stuck on his track jacket when he comes out. Show comes out and trashes Clay for dancing to make people happy. Show disses Clay in comparison to Doink, and it’s ON. Show spears Clay on the floor in a nice monster spot, and he methodically breaks him down. Cameron and Naomi are near tears in the ring. Show clears off a table and is attacked by Kofi and Truth, but he takes both out in a hurry. The table collapses in a botch, so Show takes a partition and smashes Clay across the back with it twice, and Clay drops a muted curse. A third shot with the partition connects, and Show turns his aggression to Truth, mangling him. Kofi tries Trouble in Paradise, but Show snatches him and throws him through the barricade. Truth into the steps. Brodus eats the WMD. Show walks away with a scornful trance and stares down some fans who mock him. Laurinaitis raises his arm at the entrance way as we go off the air.
WINNER: No Match
Rating: 7/10. Effective segment to re-establish Show as a deadly force. If Mark Henry’s out long term, we do need a killer.
OVERALL: Much better show than last week, with a mix of good wrestling, development for No Way Out, and a minimum of crap. Sometimes, that’s all you can ask for.
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 Wrestlechat.net and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.