If there’s one thing that the WWE won’t let you forget, it’s that no one can stop John Cena. But the fact that they’re a patriotic organization is a close second on that list. Last night’s Raw opened with a video remembering the Smackdown that followed 9/11 almost a decade ago, the first assembly of its size after the tragedy of that day. Following that, Lillian Garcia made her return to the WWE Universe and performed the Star-Spangled Banner in front of the packed house, which resonated a USA chant. After the patriotic display, The Rock hit the ring thanked our armed forces for all of their work and sacrifice before going into his usual Rock catchphrases. It was a really classy way for the WWE to acknowledge what happened the night prior, and it was a true highlight for the show. The segment ended with Michael Cole being hit with a Rock Bottom and a People’s Elbow, which certainly didn’t hurt the quality of Raw’s opening any.
Other than the opening celebration, all of the birthday party stuff that permeated Raw was pretty useless. There was a brief staredown between the Rock and John Cena backstage, and Ron Simmons and Mae Young both made appearances, but that was about it. Pitbull, the rapper, performed for the Rock, and Mya sung him Happy Birthday. Great. The Rock closed the show in a shower of balloons and confetti after being shown an entirely sincere video package presented by Vince McMahon. Yawn. Look, if you like the Rock, that’s great. I like him, too. But I don’t care that yesterday was his birthday, and I had no interest of watching a ridiculously uneventful celebration for him. No amount of celebrity birthday wishes could make it interesting. The rest of Raw (all 4 matches of it) after the jump.
- John Cena successfully retained his title against the Miz in a fantastic match. It was one of the best matches you’ll get on free television this year, and it included a real OMG moment when The Miz kicked out of Cena’s Attitude Adjustment. Unfortunately, the ending was a sham. The Miz appeared to have won the WWE Championship back after leveling Cena with the belt, but when the referee suspected foul play, he reversed the decision. It’s ridiculous that a title match’s outcome can be changed on a whim like this when it’s convenient for the WWE and their rubber rulebook. Again, this match was pretty great, but the ending was indisputably awful.
- Cena promised The Rock that he’d STILL be Champion when WrestleMania season arrived. Please, no.
- John Morrison was scheduled to go one-on-one with R-Truth, but Truth attacked him during his entrance and dismantled him at ringside. After the damage was done, R-Truth assaulted Morrison for a second time on the steel stage. There was no way they were going to give this match away – it’s definitely going to be a pay-per-view bout. I’ve never cared for R-Truth, but I can get behind this vicious heel persona he’s developing. Hopefully Morrison doesn’t miss any time to sell the injuries.
- In a really strange main event, Kane defeated Mason Ryan by disqualification when the Nexus interfered. The real story came afterwards, however, when Ryan single-handedly dismantled the Big Red Machine and then did just as much damage to the Big Show when he attempted to make the save. After flattening the two giants, Mason Ryan exited on his own while the rest of the Nexus looked on in shock. Whatever they were trying to accomplish here fell short of the goal. Ryan taking down the Tag Champs was flat and didn’t make him look as dominant as I believe it was intended too, and teasing a potential Ryan vs Nexus feud seems a little ridiculous to me. If the reports of CM Punk being unhappy are true, a feud with Mason Ryan is certainly not how to fix the situation.
- Kelly Kelly vs Maryse lasted twelve seconds before it was interrupted by the entrance music of newcomer Kharma. Twelve seconds! And then Kharma took about a minute to walk down the entrance ramp and get into the ring. Once there, she demolished Maryse with the same Impact Buster she used at Extreme Rules, and stared down Kelly Kelly but ultimately left her unscathed. I assume this is going to be the story for weeks – Kharma taking apart helpless divas – but I’m really hoping it’s better executed in the future. You know, by maybe having the matches last at least half a minute or so before being interrupted.
- Rey Mysterio & Kofi Kingston went over Drew McIntyre & Jack Swagger in a rather bland tag team match. I thought the purpose of the draft was to give superstars new competition, not to have them fight old competition on a different show? Alberto Del Rio did commentary for this one, insulting Mysterio the whole time, and attacked his fellow Mexican at the match’s conclusion. Everything about this was a waste of time.
Raw was really, really terrible. If it had not been for the patriotic outpouring to open the show, I probably would have used a picture of Natalie Portman at the top of this article, because seeing her in the sneak peaks for Thor was the better than anything that took place in the ring. The Rock’s celebration was completely unnecessary and boring; it did nothing at all to further any storylines and I don’t think anybody was excited to see Mya, George Lopez, or any of the other B-listers that appeared. The Miz vs John Cena match was pretty great, much better than their horrible WrestleMania encounter, but the ending was among the dumbest I’ve ever seen. Alberto Del Rio & Rey Mysterio have already had their feud, one that ended in a match billed as the last one to be contested between them, and it looks like the WWE is going to gloss over it and give the rivalry a reboot. Awesome Kong is intimidating, sure, but her entrance is ridiculous. Seriously, if you’re in the ring and her music hits, you could leave through the crowd and be on a bus out of town before she gets down the ramp. It’s not like Kelly Kelly and Maryse were fatigued from their grueling 12-second match. The Mason Ryan vs Kane match was bad, and the aftermath was one of the strangest segments I’ve seen after any main event, ever. Where has Mason Ryan, who formerly couldn’t successfully beat up Randy Orton with the help of four other guys, found the power to manhandle two of the biggest men in the WWE? And why did he abandon Nexus, who did nothing to upset him?
This was the worst Raw I’ve watched in a long time. They bored me for two hours and provided me with literally no reason whatsoever to tune in next week. I expect to thoroughly enjoy Impact this week after enduring this slop.