Like it or not, the start of three hour Raw’s is here. The hope is that an extra hour of Raw means more matches. To pump up the excitement we’ve been promised the return of Vince McMahon to give a live job performance review to John Laurinaitis. Better get your strut on now because here we go!
Johnny Ace leads off, but Vince interrupts and wastes little time saying he has plans on firing John. Among the Laurinaitis bashing, McMahon reveals that Johnny hired the wrong one-legged wrestler (“true story”), and that Big Show hasn’t been effective in the ring since 1999 (burn!) These two haven’t been able to get a single line out without flubbing. Maybe the extra hour will just be spent stuttering.
Sheamus comes out to get a cheap pop off McMahon’s heels and suggest Johnny get fired, so now Laurinaitis says he’ll find someone in the back that will make him pay for his remarks. Vince says that this match, and all the other matches tonight, better be impressive or Johnny is fired. (guess, Big Show takes out Vince)
So who does Johnny choose to face Sheamus? Resident surprise heel Lord Tensai of course. I love that pushing his mentor or whatever aside is becoming part of his entrance. Unfortunately that’s all I like about him right now. Tensai just looks slow tonight. Not on at all to me. We can also now effectively declare his push dead. Sheamus kicked out of his finisher (second time in two weeks that’s happened), and hit a brogue kick for the win. The crowd just can’t commit to Prince Albert as Lord Tensai. WWE has slowly let the Japanese warrior gimmick go. His headpiece is gone, he speaks perfect english (at least in ring), and now after the match he beat up his worshiper (just cuz). He even looked sloppy doing that.
McMahon calls the match strike one because Johnny’s guy didn’t win. I thought the idea was to have impressive matches. Either way Johnny loses. Later on the show we’ll see Christian, Khali, Ziggler and Swagger in a fatal four way match to determine Sheamus’ opponent at No Way Out. This is all because Alberto “can’t stay in the ring” Del Rio suffered a concussion (said to be from last week’s match with Khali, I believe it to be from a house show), and can’t compete at No Way Out. It’s pretty sad when your ring announcer gets more time in the ring than you do. He’s a guy the WWE needs so badly to be performing right now, and it’s just another blow to a potentially successful career. The clock is ticking on him if you ask me.
Jerry Lawler just put Raw going to 1000th episodes to shows like Seinfeld and Gunsmoke. Do they really think people put Raw on this stage? It’s a totally different type of program. 26 episodes per season for a regular sitcom. Raw and Smackdown have a new episode every week. It’s like saying the Pittsburgh Pirates are better than the Pittsburgh Steelers because they have more wins in their history. It’s technically true but since one plays 162 games and the other plays 16, it’s not really fair to compare.
Big Show still beefing with Kofi/Truth I guess. Truth just got got mid interview with a WMD from Show backstage. Kofi now wants a piece of show, and Laurinaitis responds by putting them in a steel cage match. Blerg. Also, Santino and Layla just lost to Ricardo (yeah, I know) and Beth Phoenix. The highlight of the match was Santino pulling off Ricardo’s dress shirt (he comes to the ring in his tuxedo) to reveal a Justin Bieber shirt. At least the Divas were involved in a match this week.
Daniel Bryan out to cut a promo. Says he’s the only one that won’t be distracted by AJ. Says Punk is just going after AJ to make him jealous and Kane is an idiot or whatever typical heel stuff we always here. I will give him points for the line, “Once you go Bryan, there’s no point in tryin.” That’s has t-shirt written all over it. Punk interrupts to say he’s going win, which of course means Kane will come out soon as well. To me he’s like the little brother nobody wanted to play with them, but he has to get involved or you’ll get in trouble. He just has no place in this feud and it’s even more obvious in the promos.
Cray-J to the rescue! Still in her CM Punk gear, she says Kane has a heart after looking in his eyes, that she’ll never get over her first love Daniel Bryan, and that CM Punk is just the coolest guy on the planet (no really, that was exactly what she said). She then said she is sure the “best man” will win, which basically means she’s gonna be all up on whoever wins on Sunday. Johnny Ace gets on the big screen as a fifth member of this overstuffed beef fest, and puts Bryan and Kane together in a tag match against Punk and AJ. Not sure if going to three hours every week was a good idea right now.
Fatal Four Way elimination time. So we know Khali isn’t winning. Christian already has a match booked. Jack Swagger has had no push whatsoever. This is all set up for a Dolph Ziggler title shot and I couldn’t be happier. Of course Khali is taken out in a matter of minutes. He just can’t move. Andre the Giant wasn’t mobile, but there wasn’t anyone to match his size so it was impressive just seeing someone that big. Now there is Kane, Undertaker, Big Show, all gigantic guys that can move. Khali just isn’t entertaining. Can’t take bumps, has no variety of moves. All he does is get booked in high stakes elimination style matches and get taken out first. He needs to go.
Ziggler and Swagger working as a team on Khali first and then Christian. Curious to see if Christian eliminates Swagger, or if Christian gets knocked out to really drive a stake through the Ziggler/Swagger partnership. Dolph has been talking about taking the next step in a solo career for weeks now, and Swagger is the last thing holding him back. Well I got my wish but not how I thought it would happen as Ziggler snuck in to pin Swagger. Nice twist. Christian and Ziggler put together a nice finish to end a strong match. Big moves on both sides and much to my satisfaction Ziggler won with a zig-zag off a missed frog splash. Ziggler yells “It’s about damn time!” and I agree. The only problem is that Sheamus had already beaten Ziggler twice last week alone. They’re going to have a hard time convincing anyway that there is even a chance Ziggler pulls off an upset.
Backstage the Funkadactyles (is that what they’re called) convinced Vince to reverse the ban Laurinaitis had on Brodus Clay. I didn’t even realize he was banned in the first place. A dance session and a Zack Ryder appearance later and we’re only half way through this three hour Raw. I wonder if the fans in the arena are as exhausted as I am.
Oh god it’s Ryback. The only thing good about his matches are that they showcase local products they we’d never see otherwise. By now you know what to expect. Ridiculous quotes from this match include; “I hit hard,” and “finish him,” and “feed me three!” Really? Sometimes I think he knows he’s a joke. At some point he has to take on someone that weighs more than 120 pounds right? Even Brodus Clay got into a real feud eventually.
By the way David Otunga will be opening No Way Out on YouTube by getting smacked around by Brodus Clay.
Kofi versus Show in a steel cage is pretty damn boring. Show just tossed Kofi around and yelled at the crowd. Essentially it was a promo with glimpses of a match in the middle. Body slam followed by “Smile for me.” Throw against the cage followed by “Are you entertained?” WMD followed by “No one can stop me.” Kofi put on maybe three offensive moves before Big Show finally just walked out of the ring with no suspense. I don’t think this one will be on the next Steel Cage DVD, but it was at least better than any promo Randy Orton ever cut. Also Sin Cara came out and did more Sin Cara-ey stuff against Kurt Hawkins. Are armdrags really supposed to do that much damage? It’s fun to watch but so is watching cat videos on YouTube.
Hey remember Heath Slater? Well he’s on Raw for the first time in a while and OH MY GOSH IT’S VADER TIME! I wasn’t even sure Vader was still alive but here he is to get put over by Heath Slater. Poor Heath. He isn’t even the best red headed superstar. He’s a hell of a lot flabbier, but he sure can still get the crowd going. Perhaps with the extra time on the shows and the upcoming 1000th episode we’ll see a lot more WWE alumni for a while. After all the current talent keeps getting hurt or suspended, they might not have a choice.
Main event time. Before coming out AJ delivers a kiss of death on Punk’s cheek. I really can’t figure out who is going to win at No Way Out. Punk has carried the belt really well and there is no reason to believe they’ll drop him down a step. However Bryan needs a win pretty bad to keep his superheel status going. The one thing I’m pretty sure about though is that Kane has no chance whatsoever of winning. Anyway on to the match. Blah blah blah AJ gets accidentally tagged in against Kane and wouldn’t you know it, she skips around Kane and then makes out with him for a good 15 seconds, and Kane just leaves to hide his “excitement” or something. So now it’s Bryan alone against Punk who beats a distracted Daniel on an elbow from the top rope (it has to finish people occasionally) and AJ goes back to being all about Punk (no making out though). I’m not fairly convinced that Bryan, the only person not getting the Cray-J eyes, will win on Sunday. Kane and Punk are completely confused and it wouldn’t shock me if Bryan wins the belt and AJ back in one ridiculous swoop.
Plot device main event time! Vince in the ring with a team of security guards. Laurinaitis really needs to learn how to use crutches. He’s just walking normally. I can’t get over it. Johnny takes one last stab at begging for his job but it’s obviously not going to change Vince’s mind, but just as he was about to deliver the final blow, big surprise, Big Show interrupts the proceedings to reiterate that he has an iron clad contract and that it was all of McMahon’s decisions on how to treat Big Show that drove him to what he is now. Show then turns it into another promo against Cena, to which Cena of course has to come out and reply in his stupid Cena way. Vince jumps in and says that if Big Show loses, Johnny really is fired (convenient) which starts a little melee between the four parties involved, and ends with Show landing a WMD on Vince McMahon. So now Johnny’s freaking out, Cena looks like someone ran over his dog, and Show looks like he ate a big mac too fast. I’m going to say there is a 5% chance Cena actually wins this match, and I think it’s 50/50 right now that Vince McMahon is the one that makes him lose.
Right now my excitement level for No Way Out is set to curious. I can’t say for sure it’ll be a good PPV, but I do think it will set the stage for the next few months, where Over the Limit ended up having more short term effects.