Let me start by telling you a little bit about my Raw viewing experience last night. It’s not uncommon for me to record wrestling shows and watch them after they’ve finished. I do it for a couple of reasons. Mostly, during the summer, the hours between 7 PM and 10 PM are usually consumed by watching baseball in my house. In addition to this, watching Raw after it’s ended allows me to avoid commercials. My plan last night was the same as it’s been the past few Mondays: record Raw, watch it in roughly an hour at 11 o’clock, and get cracking on my roundup. This week, though, an issue arose. I’ve yet to get onboard the DVR bullet train, so I still use VHS tapes to record shows. And last night, my VCR ate my tape. Naturally, I turned to Justin.tv to find a feed replaying Raw. Luckily, I did…sort of.
The only feed I could find was the Spanish broadcast. Despite 4+ years of study, I cannot understand a lick of Spanish, but I strapped in for the show anyway. I was pleasantly surprised with the Spanish Announce Team; they’re ultra-excitable and it makes for some quality entertainment. Moreover, and this is the absolute truth, they provided my favorite moment of Raw. When John Cena encountered Zack Ryder backstage, the only English dialogue of the entire show was spoken when one of the commentators enthusiastically proclaimed “Woo woo woo, you know it!” I could not be happier with his choice of when to break the language barrier. It was nice to get a break from Michael Cole too. Anyway, if there was any notable commentary going on last night that I ignore in this recap, you’ll know why. The actual Raw roundup, featuring a clean CM Punk win, after the jump.
- Promos between John Cena and The Miz opened and closed the show, and neither one was anything special. Aside from being filled with poor Cena jokes, the opening one served to establish that Miz could choose Cena’s opponent for the evening’s main event and the stipulation that the match would be contested under. The closing promo saw Miz promise to make Cena tap out in an innovative way at Over the Limit, and the two engaged in a light brawl. This was the same thing we’ve seen between John Cena and the Miz time and time again. Yawn.
- After much consideration, The Miz chose Jack Swagger as John Cena’s opponent. It was a little disappointing, in my eyes anyway, to have somebody who was so obviously going to lose chosen as the mystery combatant. Predictably, Swagger tapped to the STF. The bigger news for Jack Swagger, however, came earlier in the night…
- Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler signed the contract for their match next Sunday, and it’s now a “kiss my foot” match. Great. Cole had his foot on display at one point, and it was made up to look absolutely disgusting. After Cole backhandedly insulted Jack Swagger during the signing, the All American American walked out on his trainee. I hope this is the end of Swagger’s involvement, as he’s got some potential but it’s wasted in this dead-end feud. If Over the Limit doesn’t mark the end of the Cole vs Lawler angle once and for all, I feel like Raw might lose more than a few viewers moving forward. We’ve been pushed to the brink.
- CM Punk notched a much needed clean singles victory, pinning Kofi Kingston after a GTS. As you’d expect, the match between these two was pretty good, albeit too short. Punk celebrated with Nexus afterwards, who are seemingly a cohesive unit once again. I’d love to see Punk and Kofi tangle again on a bigger stage where they can be given a little more time.
- Kelly Kelly took a victory over one of the Bellas. Due to the lack of commentary in my language, I’m not sure which twin it was, not that it makes much difference. After the 2-minute match, Kharma’s music hit and she meandered down to the ring at her usual snail’s pace. Although it looked like she had her sights set on Kelly at first, the Bellas unwisely attacked her. She planted one of them with the Impact Buster while the other fled, and then cornered a petrified Kelly Kelly. She left without inflicting any further harm, but Kelly was clearly shaken up. It looks like there could be some trouble brewing in the Bella camp as one of the twins totally hung the other out to dry. I have no problem with Kharma working a program with Kelly Kelly, but if Kelly goes over her in their eventual match, I will be furious.
- Rey Mysterio called out R-Truth but was instead greeted by Alberto Del Rio, which sparked an impromptu match between the Mexican stars. Rey won by disqualification after the increasingly entertaining Ricardo Rodriguez interfered, putting a halt to a 619 attempt. The match was pretty boring, especially when compared to the bouts these guys had on Smackdown a few months back. After the bell, R-Truth hit the ring and dismantled Rey, promising that this Sunday Mysterio is “gonna get got.” It pains me to give Truth any credit – I’ve long been a detractor of his. I hated him as K-Kwik, I wasn’t a fan of Ron Killings, and I certainly saw nothing in his “What’s Up” gimmick. It’s not even that I like him now, but I have to acknowledge that he’s quickly becoming one of WWE’s better heels. Putting him over Mysterio at the pay-per-view is the right thing to do.
- David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty actually won a match, and it was against the WWE Tag Team Champions Kane & Big Show no less. It’s good (and rare) to see Nexus win twice in one night, and I hope that they can parlay last night’s success into reestablishing themselves as an actually stable as opposed to Punk’s lackeys. I believe the Over the Limit match is going to be Kane & Show vs Punk & Ryan, and I’m kind of stoked about that. I think Punk will mesh with the big guys better in practice than he does on paper, and a tag title reign for he and Mason Ryan may be the best way to slowly move Ryan up the card.
Raw was OK. I can’t express how happy I am to see Punk pick up a clean victory, and I enjoyed his match with Kingston to boot. The Nexus defeating Kane & The Big Show added a sense of unpredictability to the show, and R-Truth continued to impress. Kharma singling out Kelly Kelly again should move her closer to an in-ring debut as her attacks have become less random and more focused. Meanwhile, the main event was disappointing, and there was nothing interesting happening between Cena and Miz. The Michael Cole segment was just as bad as expected, and we had a rare lousy match from Del Rio. It was definitely not without its flaws, but I don’t think last night’s show was a train wreck by any means either.