Monday, April 23, 2012

WWE RAW 4/9/12

WWE RAW 4/9/12
April 9th, 2012
Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
Attendance: Unknown at this time

We're only a week removed from Wrestlemania and nothing has been set up or revealed for the upcoming Extreme Rules PPV yet really, the world's just been all too caught up in Brock-o-mania and Daniel Bryan (YES! YES! YES!) Fever. Thus tonight's show should be quite interesting, so let's do this bad boy. We open up with the King and Cole letting us know that the "3 Stooges" are going to be the guest hosts of RAW tonight, as just when you thought that god awful guest host gimmick had been completely beaten into the ground and finally disappeared, they're back again, for revenge.Oh and also Mark Henry gets a rematch with CM Punk for the WWE Title tonight, because Johnny's his bottom or something.

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Booker T

We open live in the arena with our new omnipotent one, GM Johnny "Ace" Laurinaitis, alongside his ever effervescent sidekick David bow-tie Otunga and they show us a lengthy highlights package of what happened on last week's show with Brock Lesnar appearing on Raw to, as the kids say, "fuck Cena's shit up". Ace introduces Brock as a new signing who will bring newfound respect and credibility to the WWE, which I suppose is true in a sense. Cole notes his accomplishments in both the WWE and UFC, so I guess they don't have much of a problem acknowledging the UFC on-air these days. Brock comes down to the ring to a big ovation and takes the mic from Laurinaitis. He thanks Johnny for bringing back some legitimacy to the WWE but before he can get any further John Cena interrupts him of course. Cena comes into the ring all smiles but he slaps Brock right in the face and Brock takes him down to the mat and just smashes him in the face with a few of the stiffest punches I've seen in a long time. They start brawling before virtually the entire WWE locker room spills out into the ring to separate the two men. Cena's mouth is all busted up and he's spitting blood trying to leap through the sea of wrestlers into Lesnar to get a shot at him. Very reminiscent of what you'd expect on RAW during the Attitude Era, but organic to the situation so it worked and was a great way to start the show.

When we return from the break we see a close-up replay of the punch that busted Cena's mouth open which was legit but was "worked" from an angle perspective of course, which just shows how much Cena cares about kicking off this feud with Lesnar right, props to John there. Backstage Johnny reams out Teddy Long for what just happened and makes him the scapegoat. Teddy takes off and Eve Torres approaches him, and tells Johnny to "call her". We get it, she's an evil manipulative slut.

"The Funkasaurus" Brodus Clay/Santino Marella vs. Dolph Ziggler/Jack Swagger
Holy opposing wrestling styles Batman! Santino and Dolph start us off as Dolph takes Santino down for a quick cover and he responds with a deep arm drag. Swagger and Brodus hop in next to face off and Brodus wins the power battle, hitting a running knee on Swagger. He tries for a t-bone suplex but Swagger cuts him off with a pair of running shoulder-blocks. We cut to commercial with Swagger working over Clay's shoulder and when we return Ziggler is laying an elbow into Santino's chest for a two count. Swagger tags back in and works over Santino's back with his knee. Santino tries to get the hot tag to Clay, but the heels cut him off mid-ring and exchange tags. Ziggler nails Santino with a clothesline but he's able to get the hot tag to Brodus anyways. Clay gives Ziggler a pumphandle suplex and then hits a huge splash to finish him off at 4:25 (shown). This was fine as a quick formula tag to put Clay over against someone besides a jobber, and look I like the Funkasaurus gimmick as much as the next guy with a sense of humor does, but why is Ziggler eating these meaningless clean pins for comedy midcarders? It wasn't that long ago Ziggler was considered ready for the main event scene and I still think he is, but these clean pins he keeps eating for comedy guys aren't helping him at all in the credibility department. *3/4

Backstage The Miz wants to know when John Laurinaitis is going to make good on his promises after The Miz helped his team win at Wrestlemania. John blows him off though and tells him he'll get his due next week. Miz takes off and Teddy Long approaches, but before John can start yelling at him about finding John Cena again, here comes the man himself, still a bit bloody from the punch he took earlier. Cena says if John was looking for someone to bring back legitimacy to the WWE, he's looking at the guy who's going to do it, and that the real movie star who might not want his good looks wrecked by a punch just walked out (referring to Lesnar). Cena says he's ready for Brock at Extreme Rules and that Johnny's latest hired gun will fail him before begging Ace to give him a match tonight because he's still fired up. Laurinaitis tells Teddy to inform David Otunga that he's facing Cena later tonight. That might have been one of the best little quick promos of Cena's career, because that was all very earnest and he's come off as a bit of a bad ass tonight. It seems clear they're hellbent on remaking Cena's image to the hardcore fans as a badass take-no-shit wrestler but the one thing they need to cut out is all that damn smiling. Steve Austin never smiled John.

Elsewhere backstage Santino Marella asks Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins if they've seen the 3 Stooges around backstage. Santino continues looking for them as we get highlights of Henry slamming Punk last week outside the ring to set up their rematch tonight. When we return from commercial Santino is still looking for the stooges, but he finds Kane instead. He asks him if he's seen the stooges but Kane remains silent so he takes off. This is hardly the night for this, is it?

Cody Rhodes vs. R-Truth
Someone really needs to put that last bullet into the zombie brain that is the brand split, 'cause it's just sad at this point. Truth does a bit of his dancing while running the ropes spots before Cody grabs a hold of him and lays him out on the mat with the Alabama Slam, always a killer looking move. Of course Big Show comes out in the middle of the match to replay highlights of when Show interrupted him last week to show him highlights of Wrestlemania. And once again of course it distracts Cody long enough for Truth to hit him with the "What's Up" reverse STO which I guess is now being called the "Little Jimmy" at 1:40. This was not so much a wrestling match as it was an angle, so I won't be too harsh on the rating, but man, what is it with this company and trying to destroy all momentum any hot young heel generates? Do they hate money? 1/2*

Elsewhere backstage Santino sniffs a large wooden box labeled "Fragile", and out pop the 3 Stooges, or atleast the new version of them, in all of their glory. Or unglory. If that's a word. Which it isn't. Former Bret Hart rival Will Sasso is playing Curly, not sure why I felt the need to share that with you loyal readers. Santino teaches Moe the Cobra and then the Stooges try to put their heads together to come up with something fun for the "WWE Universe" tonight. I would crack jokes here about how stupid this whole thing is, but the irony and humor of having the 3 Stooges playing the metaphorical role of writers/bookers in this segment asking themselves what the WWE Universe wants just writes itself.

Lord Tensai vs. Yoshi Tatsu
This would actually make the perfect first feud for Tensai here, Tatsu is a great young babyface who could get the crowd going red hot behind him with Tensai in the monster heel role, man, the booking here could just write itself. Most likely this is just a one off match though. Tensai lays in some chops and then slams Tatsu's arm underneath his large girth. Big "Albert!" chant as he headbutts Tatsu senseless and then delivers a beautiful double-underhook suplex followed by a back senton. He hits the double-handed chokeslam and looks to apply THE CLAW, but the ref calls for the bell as Yoshi is out and awards the match to Tensai at 2;23. Tensai gives Yoshi THE CLAW after the bell anyways just to be a dick. I know he just destroyed Yoshi in total squash fashion but I'd still love to see these two in a real feud, because Tensai can hand out the power moves with the best of them and Yoshi can bump his ass off enough to make it entertaining. *

CM Punk is out next to a big pop but he's all serious business as they've been replaying the clip of Jericho smashing a bottle of whiskey over Punk's face all night long. Punk explains how proud he is to be straight edge and why he's kept his reasons for that lifestyle to himself for all these years and then he starts to rip into Jericho because even though he tried all of these psychological tactics to "get in Punk's head", he still tapped out to Punk at Wrestlemania. Punk says last week was taking it one step too far though, to actually have whiskey poured on him (hey Punk I'll take your place next time!) because that whiskey scent reminded him exactly of how his father used to smell. Of course this is just the time for Jericho to interrupt via the Titan Tron to ask Punk if he's still hungover from that whiskey from last week. Jericho keeps trying to lead Punk down the path to alcoholism, but Punk's going to use all of this anger instead against Jericho because this is no longer about being the "Best in the World" it's about Punk kicking Jericho's ass. Great segment all around here from two guys who know how to build a promo and story like few others in this business. This feud might just only be starting to get awesome right now people, strap yourselves in.

WWE Title Match
CM Punk
© vs. Mark Henry
This is a rematch from last week (which was a shockingly good match), and I'm all for it. Punk is all kinds of fired up to start at the bell, taking it right to Henry with vicious knees and kicks, but Henry responds with a big clothesline to send Punk out to the floor. Punk grabs a monitor from the commentary table and smashes Henry with it, which lamely gets him DQed at all of 0:48 seconds. Okay then, I guess we're going the "angle as a match" route again then. 1/4*

After the match Punk looks to slam Henry with the monitor again when Jericho's music hits and the man himself shows up with two cases of beer. This distracts Punk long enough for Henry to demolish him back in the ring with the World's Strongest Slam. Jericho brings out a can of beer to pour in Punk's face, but Punk  spears him and takes the fight to him instead. Jericho regains control though and pours out an entire six pack all over Punk while trash talking him at the same time. he gives him a Codebreaker celebrates with the WWE title as we take a break. Delicious heel behavior from Jericho there. Am I crazy or does anyone else feel like this might all be leading to something involving Stone Cold down the line?

Alberto Del Rio vs. Zack Ryder

This doesn't bode well for Ryder. Del Rio is all over him at the bell with kicks before Ryder gets a knee up in his face in the corner and hits the Broski Boot. Ryder looks for the Rough Ryder but Del Rio blocks it, applies the cross armbar, and Ryder taps so quickly I'm not even sure he was on the mat with the move even fully applied before the ref was already calling for the bell at 1:26. Ryder's heat is so far gone and buried it's not even funny anymore. 1/4*

Next out the Three Stooges (or rather, the three actors portraying the Three Stooges in the new film) come out for some "comedy" I believe they refer to it as. Will Sasso comes out dressed as Hulk Hogan, complete with the Real American music and everything. Crowd shits all over this whole segment, booing the Stooges to hell and back and I don't blame them. I guess it's open season on Hulk again since he's gone to TNA. Finally Kane comes out to chokeslam Will Hogan and end this abortion.

Backstage Mark Henry promises Josh Matthews that he'll win the WWE Title from CM Punk next week.

Elsewhere backstage Josh Matthews catches up with Brock Lesnar and asks him if he's proud to be back in the WWE. Brock says he's proud that Johnny Ace had enough wisdom to bring him back in and put him on top where he belongs. Lesnar says Cena can't hold his jock strap and then reminds us that he's not here to make friends, he's here to kick ass. Solid little promo from Lesnar but the fans are still treating him as a mega babyface and can you blame them? He's the closest thing we've had to Steve Austin since...well, Steve Austin.

John Cena vs. David Otunga
Otunga should be required by law to wear his bow-tie at all times, including during his matches. Cena tries to lock up with him to start up but Otunga has so much baby oil on him John can't even hold onto him. The dueling Cena chants start up as Otunga stomps away on Cena in the corner. Otunga beats Cena down for a bit and then Cena launches into his usual routine with the sideslam and the Five Knuckle Shuffle. He delivers the AA and then applies the STF and Otunga taps out at 5:07. Total nothing match that just served as a back-drop for what's about to happen next. *

After the match Brock Lesnar hits the ring and just punts Cena square in the balls Ro-Sham-Bo style before giving him the F5 for the second week in a row as we head off the air.

Bottom Line: Meh, outside of the opening and closing of the show this was utterly forgettable and dull for the most part with an incredibly bad trio of "guest hosts" to boot. Everything with Lesnar and Cena was money and worth checking out, but feel free to skip just about everything else, and unfortunately that just doesn't cut it anymore for me to give this show a recommendation, so a minor Thumbs Down for tonight's show despite the great Lesnar/Cena pull-apart brawl.

Score: 4.5/10

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