The show began with a video montage for the troops in honor of Memorial Day in the United States of America.
There was a video package highlighting the match at Over The Limit that featured the Big Show heel turn and his new feud with John Cena. How many times have we seen this video package with Big Show crying and then the heel turn? They sure love this video package.
No Nickelback song to start us off. Instead it's Big Show in a suit. Big Show was talking about how he doesn't have to smile anymore is because he has an iron clad contract. Crowd chanted for "Cena" as he spoke. They also chanted "what?" to try to frustrate him. He just looked on with a serious look on his face. Show said he was "set for life" thanks to his big contract. He said he's not an entertainer. He's a giant. He talked about how there's no competition from the NFL, NBA or UFC that is in his league. Nobody in WWE either. I guess we have to forget about all the losses in his career. He showed a clip from two weeks ago after he was crying on his knees and Brodus Clay was out there dancing. Then he yelled "dancing" because he was so mad about it. He said nobody cared after he cried because it was easy to move on. Finally he brought up John Cena. He thought he was going to fight for his friend Big Show. He thought Cena would try to get the locker room to hire him back. Instead, John Cena did this…and we got the video package of Cena saying "loser" at Laurinaitis. This is a good (not great) promo by Big Show. At least there is storyline continuity and logic behind his heel turn.
Show bragged about how he knocked Cena out twice within 24 hours (last Sunday and Monday). He called himself an unstoppable giant. Again, we should forget about all the losses in his career. He referenced Cena's loss to Rock in the biggest match of his career, his beating at the hands of Lesnar and his embarrassing loss to Laurinaitis. He said at No Way Out Cena would experience those same emotions in one match. He said all of that brought a smile to Big Show's face. He didn't really smile. Heels are evil. His music started up so he left. No interruption from Cena.
Analysis: Big Show spoke for about 12 minutes. He did fine. It wasn't the greatest promo ever or anything like that, but he did a good job of explaining his motives and why he turned. All I ask is for heel turns to make sense. This one does. So thanks for that, WWE. I'm surprised we didn't see Cena interrupt. It's rare for a promo to open the show without interruption.
They announced Punk vs. Bryan for later. Non-title. Why would you not advertise this? Also Santino in a match coming up next.
Back from break, Ricardo Rodriguez was in the ring to introduce Alberto Del Rio for his match against Santino. Del Rio entered in a Bentley that cost $150,000 according to Cole. I enjoyed the Santino/Ricardo match on Smackdown. Good comedy showcase from both guys. Santino is the funniest guy in WWE, but Ricardo has excellent comedic skills too. Del Rio won the Number One Contendership for the World Title on Smackdown. Nice pop for Santino's entrance.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Santino
Santino went for the Cobra after about 45 seconds. Del Rio countered. He put him in the Cross Armbreaker. Santino tapped quickly. The match didn't even last one minute.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
After the match, Del Rio ripped the cobra off Santino's arm. Then Ricardo taunted Santino by saying Alberto's name right in his face.
Analysis: NR No rating for that squash. They need to get the US Title off Santino if he's going to lose in less than a minute after one move. Titles should have value. This one does not.
Backstage, Alex Riley was talking to Eve. He was sucking up to her when Big Show suddenly walked up. Eve said Show could pick his opponent for later. Riley tried to suck up to him. Show said he's not picking him, but there's a message he wants to send to the locker room. He threw Riley into the wall. End scene.
Analysis: Big Show is mean now. Got it.
Back from break, we saw a shot of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. That's on the list of cities I need to visit soon. Not this year. Maybe next year.
The tag titles on the line next as R-Truth & Kofi Kingston made their entrance. Their opponents are Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler, who got a title shot because Vickie used her managerial skills (her words) to get them another shot. This is a rematch from Over The Limit.
Tag Team Titles: Kofi Kingston & R-Truth vs. Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler w/Vickie Guerrero
Cole mentioned that "Alex Riley" was the number one trend on Twitter. Congrats for that. Truth avoided a Swagger charge, so Jack went flying to the floor. Then they hit a double dropkick on Ziggler to knock him to the floor. There's your vintage floor to commercial spot one minute into the match.
Back from break, the heels were in control of Kingston. Guerrero was screaming, so she was doing her usual thing. Kingston got the hot tag to Truth rather easily. Truth got a rollup on Swagger followed by a DDT for two thanks to Ziggler making the save. Cross body by Kingston on Ziggler. Swagger went for a rollup, but that only got two. Truth threw him into the corner and hit the Little Jimmy finisher for the win after 7 minutes. We only saw four minutes.
Winners: R-Truth & Kofi Kingston
Analysis: *1/2 Like I said we only saw four minutes of it, so too short to be that good. I like all four guys, but this felt like a filler tag match.
After the match, Ziggler walked away saying he was better than this. Good. These guys need to change their gimmicks a bit.
Backstage, a doctor was helping Santino backstage. They walked into Big Show. Doctor bailed like a coward. Show grabbed Santino by the face. Brodus Clay showed up. He told Show to pick him and said he would give him something else to cry about. Show said okay. Show told him to forget about dancing because after tonight he won't be walking. The girls showed up after Big Show left. Finally Brodus has a big match.
They plugged Punk vs. Bryan for later.
Analysis: Finally some development of characters. Ziggler may break free from his team with Swagger and Clay is finally stepping up to face a bigger name opponent. I liked both of those things.
The "Did You Know?" was about the Be A Star initiative. Are we going to get "Stand Up for WWE" commercials soon? Linda McMahon has another campaign coming up.
The GM John Laurinaitis entered the arena along with Executive Administrator Eve and associate David Otunga. Cole ran down the list of all of Johnny's bogus injuries. He came out in his motorized scooter. They went down to the ring. Laurinaitis went into the ring with the assistance of his crutch as well as Eve & Otunga.
Laurinaitis said he had some announcements. We will get Show vs. Clay. To ensure no interference between Big Show and John Cena it will now be a steel cage match. We already knew that since No Way Out was announced as a show with steel cage match "main events." Laurinaitis then revealed the cover of WWE '13 that comes out at the end of October. It was a picture of him. That's not the real cover of course, so the crowd hated it. It was a cheesy pic on the cover. Suddenly, CM Punk's music started up.
The WWE Champion CM Punk got a nice ovation. He was in his ring gear with WWE Title in hand, so I would guess that his match with Daniel Bryan is coming up shortly. Punk mentioned Pacman, which Laurinaitis brought up during his speech. Punk said Pacman like Laurinaitis has no balls. Punk said the person on the actual cover of WWE '13 is a whole lot better looking than Laurinaitis. All of a sudden a banner was revealed from the rafters with CM Punk on the actual cover of WWE '13. It's a pic of him with his arms crossed in the X motion. Punk: "A wrestling video game with an actual wrestler on the cover." What about Orton last year? Oh well. He told Laurinaitis to take the hoeski and Carlton out of the ring. Nice job with the Carlton reference. Punk said the Board of Directors was watching Laurinaitis, so he should get out of the ring. He left along with Eve and Otunga. Punk put the Laurinaitis poster in the corner. Then he kicked it. They went to break as we are about to reach the top of hour two.
Analysis: Nobody believed Laurinaitis was really on the cover except for Jerry Lawler, who is produced like a bigger mark than a five year old kid. Punk was good here. Laurinaitis was fine. As long as he's not overused I can handle him. During the build for the Cena match he was used too much and I couldn't take it. In small doses, such as in this instance, he is fine with me. Now I'm ready for Bryan vs. Punk after a first hour that really lacked excitement.
Back from break, Cole and Lawler plugged that WWE '13 would be on the front page of IGN.com on Tuesday.
Daniel Bryan made his entrance. As I said this is a non-title match. Nice "neaux neaux neaux" sign in the crowd. I guess that's the Lousiana spelling of "no." I like that. They replayed the clip from Smackdown when Daniel Bryan went after Kane with a steel chair. I find it odd that they are making Kane a sympathetic character after the whole "embrace the hate" heel act earlier in the year.
CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan
I can't believe they failed to advertise this before the show. It's a big match. You need to promote it. They had a lot of quick exchanges early on with neither guy really getting the advantage. They did a few spots where each guy got some pinfall attempts. Punk gave him a backbreaker for two. Bryan came back with a knee to the face off the top rope. Bryan gave him a dropkick that sent Punk to the floor. Bryan missed a baseball slide dropkick on the floor. Punk hit a springboard crossbody. All of a sudden AJ showed up wearing a CM Punk shirt. Is she smitten or is she there to fool Punk? Oh those crazy chicks you just never know. Punk rolled Bryan back into the ring so that's a bit of a floor to commercial spot.
Back from break, Punk missed a crossbody off the top as Bryan let him dive all the way to the mat. Bryan nailed a running dropkick in the corner. Lawler talked about how AJ was tiny, frail & fragile. He said she shouldn't be this close to the ring. She's a contracted WWE wrestler. Why do they talk about her like she's never been near a ring before? Because the announcers are horrible, that's why. Bryan hit a nice suplex on Punk for two followed by a hold on Punk's left arm. Punk countered it and that gave him some breathing room. Punk came back with a side kick to the jaw followed by a neckbreaker for two. Punk's running knee in the corner led to the bulldog that Bryan countered. Punk ended up rolling him up for two. Punk hit a springboard clothesline for two. Punk went to the top. Bryan countered by crotching Punk along the top rope. Bryan hit a superplex for two as the camera focused on AJ looking on with a concerned look on her face. Bryan went to expose the turnbuckle. AJ jumped on the apron to tell the ref. Bryan told her to get down. Punk hit a roundhouse kick on Bryan for two. Punk didn't want her to be down there. Punk charged in the corner. Bryan caught him and drove Punk's head into the turnbuckle. Bryan covered for the win at 16 minutes.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Post match, Kane showed up with a chair. He hit Bryan in the ribs with it. Then Kane gave Bryan a chokeslam on the chair. Kane looked at Punk. AJ gave Punk the chair, so he used it to attack Kane before Kane could hit him. Punk stood tall in the ring. He stared at AJ after the match although we couldn't tell if he was really thankful.
Analysis: ***3/4 This was your usual awesome match between these two. It didn't really get into that next gear to make it a truly special contest like their Over The Limit match, but it was still awesome stuff. I love the amount of counter wrestling holds they do every time they wrestle. The chemistry is so good. The decision was interesting because Bryan won relatively clean although it was thanks to the turnbuckle. Punk lost because he was distracted by AJ, who also distracted the ref accidentally.
I'm hoping that at No Way Out we'll get Punk vs. Bryan in singles again. I wouldn't be shocked if it became a triple threat match with Kane, though. That seems to be where we're headed.
Cole mentioned that Clay had 22 matches and 22 victories as they mentioned his match with Show later on.
Regarding the Chris Jericho's suspension, I wrote about it in great detail in Monday Headlines on TJRWrestling. I also included a really hot pic of Maryse just because I'm nice like that.
Back from break, Christian made his entrance. Cody Rhodes was at ringside. While he did that, the announcers mentioned Jericho's suspension from what happened in Brazil. They didn't talk about it much except to say go visit WWE.com. The Miz entered as the opponent of Christian.
Christian vs. The Miz
Rhodes said that Christian sat on the fence between classic and contemporary, which was another way of saying that Christian is old. Miz hit a double axe on Christian followed by a chinlock. I'm a huge Christian fan, but the crowd is pretty dead here. Christian fought of the hold and hit a dropkick off the middle rope. Miz charged, Christian jumped over him and hit a reverse DDT. Christian signaled for a Spear, but Miz countered with a boot to the face for two. Cody: "Miz is as dangerous as ever." That's a lie. Rhodes was mad at the announce table, so he stood up after Christian hit a back elbow off the middle rope. Miz kocked him off the ropes while Rhodes left. Miz missed his corner clothesline and that set up Christian for the Killswitch. That's not his finisher anymore. His new finisher is going to the top rope for the Frog Splash. He hit that and covered for the win after 5 minutes.
Analysis: *1/4 It was a good short match. Nobody believes in anything Miz does anymore. He'll be gone for most of June to film The Marine 3 so it's no surprise that he lost clean. The Christian/Rhodes feud will likely lead to another PPV match, so that's nice to see.
In the GM office, Eve sent Teddy to get her coffee. Laurinaitis mentioned that he was tough because he took Cena's STF for ten seconds twice during the match. Remember when I mentioned that in my writeup? I'm just saying. Otunga wanted a match with Sheamus, so Laurinaitis booked it. Then Laurinaitis left after saying he wants to see Otunga and Eve do a better job. Teddy came back with the coffee. Eve spit it out and left. He said it was supposed to be cold because it was iced coffee. Comedy fail.
In the ring, The Miz was still in the ring. He complained about how he doesn't have an iron clad contract. He complained about how he is not on the cover of WWE '13. He said he wasn't going to leave unless he got a title shot. Randy Orton's music hit. He walked into the ring. Miz kept talking. Orton gave him a RKO. Cole said that "Orton shocked everybody" with that RKO. How did it shock anybody that he walked right in the ring and gave a RKO? That's what he does. I hate how stupid the announcers are all the time.
Analysis: What a waste of time segment.
Backstage, Dolph Ziggler looked on with Vickie Guerrero. He told her she needs to get him out of the tag team. He wants to be in the ring by himself like that. She said she would see what she could do. Is this the start of a Ziggler/Orton feud? Yes please. I would love that as a singles match at No Way Out.
They mentioned Big Show vs. Brodus Clay later.
Meanwhile backstage, Sheamus was walking towards the ring for his squashing against Otunga.
I forgot to point out that Cole and Lawler were in different seats today. Is that big news? No, but I'm telling you anyway.
John Cena narrated a video package about Memorial Day. It was a video package highlighting the military as well as WWE's relationship with them.
"Oh ay oh…oh ay oh!" That’s the theme song of David Otunga. I actually like the song. It's the best part of an Otunga match because he's below average in the ring and he has far too much baby oil on his body. Sheamus entered to a pretty big pop. With another match to follow and with it being 10:45pmET I'd expect this to be short. They recapped the finish of the Otunga/Orton/Kane three way from Smackdown that Del Rio won. After the win, Sheamus attacked Del Rio at the top of the ramp. Then we saw the graphic for Sheamus vs. Del Rio for the World Title at No Way Out.
Sheamus vs. David Otunga
Otunga drove Sheamus into the corner and then hit a clothesline. That's one of his three moves. Otunga hit a shoulderblock for two. Otunga hit Sheamus with clubbing blows in the corner. Then he posed, which obviously set up the Sheamus comeback. Sheamus hit him with clubbing blows of his own followed by the ten punch count while Otunga was tied up in the ropes. Sheamus hit the White Noise move, which is a move he's used as a finisher recently. Instead of pinning him, he set up in the corner for the Brogue Kick. He connected with the Brogue Kick for the win after two minutes.
After the win, they showed a kid in the crowd that looked like a mini Sheamus. That was freaky.
Analysis: NR Much like Del Rio earlier, a squash match win for the World Champion. Otunga is a jobber again.
Backstage, Brodus Clay was looking happy as he walked to the ring with his dancers.
Back from break, we were reminded of the John Cena/Big Show match at No Way Out inside a Steel Cage. We get another video package of last week, which Cole called the darkest moment in WWE history. That's so lame. It's also lame that we have to see the Big Show video package again.
We got the full entrance of Brodus Clay, Cameron and Naomi. Cole mentioned he's 22-0 since arriving in WWE. It should be pointed out that it's the dancing Brodus that is undefeated not the previous version of Brodus that was undefeated.
Big Show stood at the top of the ramp with a microphone. He referenced when he put on a diaper to compete against Akebono. He said he did embarrassing things for the sake of business while Brodus does embarrassing things nightly. Brodus walked out of the ring. Show referenced Doink the Clown because I guess one of the writers was watching some WWF tape from the mid-90s. "The difference between you and Doink is that Doink actually had talent."
Big Show speared Brodus while they were outside the ring. Show threw Clay into the ring post face first. Then Show shoved Clay back first into the ring post. Show cleared the announce table. Suddenly, Kingston & Truth ran out. Show caught Kingston, who was leaping at him, and he threw Kingston into Truth like they were a couple of jobbers instead of the tag champs. Show broke the announce table with his foot. Show took a piece of the announce table. He hit Brodus in the back with it. The match never started, so they can say Brodus is still undefeated. Show hit Brodus in the back three times. The announcers left the commentary table so they let the pictures do the talking.
Show picked up Truth. He threw him back first into the ring ropes. Kingston went for Trouble in Paradise. Show caught him. Show threw Kingston through a security wall around the ringside area. Show threw Truth into the ring steps. Brodus got back to his knees, so Show KNOCKED HIM THE f*** OUT~! Brodus was out. Somebody call his momma. Finally Cole talked again as they showed replays of Show destroying these three guys.
The show ended with Big Show looking mean at ringside. No sign of John Cena anywhere. Show walked up the ramp where he met up with Laurinaitis who raised his hand. Cole said that Cena would return to Raw next week as the show came to a close.
Analysis: There was no match. Brodus is still undefeated. Meanwhile, Big Show is a really mean man that doesn't care about anybody else except himself. The three guys took some nice bumps to put over just how physical Big Show is.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Daniel Bryan - Just like last week.
2. CM Punk - Him too.
3. Big Show - He was featured so much that he has to be one of the stars.
4.5 out of 10
Last week: 5.5
2012 Average: 5.89
2012 High: 9 (January 30)
2012 Low: 3.5 (May 14)
Last 5 Weeks: 5.5, 3.5, 6, 5.5, 4
The majority of that 4.5 rating goes to CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, who put on a great wrestling match for the 15 minutes they were given.
I liked most of what Big Show did. With that said, could you imagine if they developed a younger wrestler like that? It could be huge.
It was a bad week for matches other than Punk/Bryan. We got a number of contests that were essentially squash matches. The US Champ (Santino in case you forgot) lost in about one minute. The tag team champions won their match, but then they got destroyed by one guy who had no problem hurting them.
At no point in the show did they say that Cena would be absent. I'm guessing there were likely some fans watching that figured he'd come out for the save in the main event. It didn't happen. He was a part of the video package about the troops. Other than that it was a Cena free edition of Raw.
The one thing that I'm happy about is that Ziggler may finally break out to become a true star soon. There were some early signs of it. I don't expect him to go babyface, nor should he, but by mentioning Randy Orton that's a good thing for him. I know he got the CM Punk feud to start the year. Nobody believed in him, then. A feud with Orton could do him wonders. The matches would be amazing too.
My ratings for the four Raw episodes in May were 6, 3.5, 5.5 and this 4.5. That's an average of 4.9 out of 10. It's not a good sign. Like I say every week May is traditionally one of the worst booked months of the year. Bring on June. Aside from Punk/Bryan at Over The Limit May was a very forgettable month for WWE.
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