I came up with that title at three o’clock this afternoon. See, cause it’s after the show aired? Eh? Ah, forget it.
Kevin is incapacitated this week, so I’m back here doing what I used to do every week – review Monday Night Raw for no pay whatsoever. Last week’s show lit the internet on fire in a blaze of controversy, so it will be interesting to see how this show fares in its aftermath.
We start with the new Raw belt on display, shades of the WrestleMania 4 tournament. All we needed was Robin Leach to read a pretentious proclamation before the match began. I really hate the way Justin Roberts strains some words out like he’s taking a gigantic dump. I’m sure someone in management told him to do it. Cole and Lawler introduce the show and say it’s right to the action as we’re going to start things off with Rey Mysterio vs. The Miz for the Raw Title. They show the entire lockerroom watching backstage. I’m loving this; it’s being treated like a big deal, and they’re guaranteeing a champion by putting the match on first and letting it go as long as it needs to. Cole puts over the tournament and the guys’ backgrounds like he’s good ol’ JR or something. (That’s post-show-watching foreshadowing, folks.) “If Rey Mysterio walked on water, you’d say, ‘Oh look, Mysterio can’t swim!'” – Jerry Lawler to Michael Cole.
We come back from break with Lawler taking a shot at the Obama-Boehner political debate that was going on tonight. They trade nearfalls and Miz becomes frustrated, which culminates in an almost Christian-like temper tantrum after a close two count. Miz blocks a 619 and hits a sitout powerbomb for a two count. “Miz looks like a Greek statue with that flower on his dick.” – Becky, in regards to Miz’s terrible trunks. Mysterio finally hits the 619 and top rope splash to win the match and the title. This was a great TV show match.
Miz attacks during the post-match celebration and lays out Mysterio. Alberto Del Rio’s music hits and he comes out with the briefcase, indicating he’s going to claim his title match right now while Mysterio is down and out. However, he takes too long to get to the ring, and Mysterio catches him with a dive to the outside. Del Rio retreats while vowing Mysterio hasn’t seen the last of him.
They come back from break showing Mysterio receiving a standing ovation from the boys in the back, who then shower him with champagne. Cena gets up in his face, but then shakes his hand and pats him on the back. Josh Mathews interviews Mysterio, who talks about his family and how much this win means to him. They then show clips of last week’s show ending angle with Triple H and Vince McMahon and advertise that Hunter will be doing a State of the WWE Address later on in the show.
We come back from break with clips of Dolph Ziggler beating Kofi Kingston at the Capital Punishment PPV to win the United States Title. This sets up Ziggler (with Vickie Guerrero in his corner) taking on Evan Bourne. I love Zigglers’ “I Am Perfection” shirt. The font is very reminiscent of what they used for the WrestleMania 2 graphics. I’m all full of old WrestleMania references in this review, as you will see. Vickie is a heat machine at ringside. Evan’s selling is top notch. He is absolutely this generation’s Ricky Morton, and I hope WWE understands what a gift they have with him. Bourne hits a frankensteiner off the top for a two count. He misses a 450 splash and Ziggler takes control, locking in a sleeper hold for the victory. “Follow that!” Ziggler challenges. Great charisma. They then show a clip of Kofi beating Del Rio last week to set up this week’s rematch.
Every USA Network show is exactly the same. Have you noticed this? I can’t wait to see Vincent D’Onofrio star in this week’s Burn Notice. Or… wait… uh…
We’re back with a wacky backstage segment featuring some schmuck carrying around a pack of Keystone Light like he’s Buck Zumhofe with the stereo. Oh, it’s Keith Stone. Whatever. In any event, Eve complains to him that the Bella Twins always take advantage of the fact that they are identical to do sneaky switches behind the ref’s back and basically cheat for a living. Stone solves this problem by using magic markers to draw an arm sleeve tattoo on Nikki in a quick cutaway scene. There was no follow up to this whatsoever, so I have no idea what the point of it was, other than to try to get Dusty Giebink to commit suicide.
Maryse and Melina are already in the ring, so you just know this match is going to end up going well for them. They’re taking on Kelly Kelly and Eve tonight. Maryse carries herself like she’s hotness. Lawler again takes a shot at the political speech. They should be careful that these knocks aren’t advertising the thing, you know? Eve is basically dressed like a Los Angeles Lakers cheerleader tonight. She also has huge knockers, so there’s that. Maryse actually hits a stinkface at some point in the match. Melina tags in and stinks up one side and down the other. Man, is she terrible. The match devolves into a four way brawl. Kelly hits the fameasser for the win. Everything not involving Melina was decent for women’s fare. They show R-Truth talking *at* (not to) Triple H backstage to hype up the State of the WWE Address.
During the break, Becky points out the genius of Hunter marrying Stephanie. Apparently she doesn’t believe in True Love.
Hunter comes out for his State of the Union address as Cole points out last week it was announced he’s taking over for Vince as the head of day to day operations of the company. Beck points out it’s like when Michael took over for Don Corleone in the Godfather. Hunter is even dressed like a mob boss here. Hunter gives dap to Vince to start things off. He says he’s here to talk about the future of the company, and congratulates Mysterio on his title win. He says Rey has agreed to defend the belt in a second title match here tonight against John Cena, since Cena was cheated out of the rematch he deserved by Vince.
Hunter then switches gears and says he’s re-hired someone the fans have been clamoring for for some time now. Everybody thinks it’s CM Punk, but it ends up being Jim Ross, I’m sure much to Eric Nelson’s glee. Lawler embraces Ross as Cole looks like Hunter just ran over his new kitty 37 times with a Hummer. Cole throws down his headset and grabs a microphone. He says Hunter said this was supposed to be about the future, but Jim Ross is the walking dead. He says he’s been a company man since WrestleMania, doing everything they asked him to do, but he will not commentate along with Ross. Hunter looks nonplussed in the ring during this rant. Cole gets in Ross’ face, saying he’s spent his entire WWE career kissing Vince McMahon’s ass, so it makes sense that now that Hunter is in charge, Ross would kiss his ass. “The only thing bigger than your ego is your gut!” Hunter politely asks if Cole is finished, and then says his first inclination was to outright fire Cole and replace him with Ross. He said that was a logistical impossibility, however, due to the terms in Cole’s contract. Therefore, he is giving Cole the rest of the show off, and he has until Friday Night Smackdown to make up his mind on what his future holds. If he no shows the Smackdown taping, it will be considered a breach of contract and Cole will be future endeavored. If he shows up, everything will be as normal, just with Ross calling Raw from now on. Cole changes his tune immediately, saying he wants to keep his job and sits back down at the announce booth. Hunter says Cole must have misunderstood him, because he said he’s given Cole the night off from announcing. However, he better get to the back and get changed, because he’s got a match coming up next. He says if Cole refuses to do the match, it will again be considered a breach of contract and he will be fired. He said he left Cole some wrestling gear in the back, so he has no excuses.
As Cole is storming out of the scene angrily, R-Truth appears to confront Hunter. He says it’s out with the old and in with the new and he digs that. He starts talking to himself. This is a great gimmick. He tells Hunter that Little Jimmy cost him his match at Capital Punishment, and spiders and heights cost him his match at the Money in the Bank PPV. He asks Hunter what he’s going to do to end the vast conspiracy that exists against him. Hunter starts talking to himself as a way of mocking Truth. This is the type of stuff Hunter is still funny at. “Man, you crazy!” “I know, it’s like I’m insane!” “You might be a game, but I ain’t playing!” As Truth is walking off, Hunter stops him and announces that he has re-signed another guy, and this guy wants a piece of Truth. Cue John Morrison. Morrison and Truth brawl all over ringside and Morrison hits the Starship Pain to end the segment. Good stuff, because it wasn’t just 20 minutes of Hunter talking about himself. They accomplished a bunch of stuff in this segment and none of it was “get over Hunter,” really.
Back from break with Cole coming out dressed like Triple H and spitting the water for cheap comedy. I guess they can’t get that completely out of their systems yet. “I forgot about those ugly tattoos,” Jim Ross truths. Zack Ryder is announced as his opponent. Fans are actually chanting Ryder’s name. The match is over so quick I still had my head down writing the above couple sentences. I hope this is the start of some type of TV push for Ryder.
They show clips from last week’s Kofi vs. ADR match to set up this week’s rematch. Ricardo Rodriguez is out there to introduce Del Rio. All is right with the world. Kofi hits a sloppy non-fruit rollup (oh yeah). Del Rio retreats as they cut to a quick break.
Back from break and Del Rio has taken control of the match. Kofi hits a high crossbody for a two count. He then hits the boom drop or whatever the piss they’re calling it. He takes too long to hit a kick of some description and Del Rio hits the old Cactus Jack double arm DDT. Kofi counters a roll through with one of his own (shades of Bret vs. Owen from WrestleMania 10 – see, I told you!), but Del Rio grabs the ropes. Del Rio finally locks on the cross armbreaker for the submission victory. Not a bad match.
Back from break, they advertise Rey vs. Cena for the belt, but first Josh Mathews interviews the Miz backstage. Miz says he can’t believe Cena has a title match after almost being fired last week. He said Vince had the right idea, but Hunter came in and ruined things. He says Cena caused this whole mess to begin with by losing the title to He Who Shall Not Be Mentioned. He says it’s a shame that the face of the company now is a man who does not even show his face, but rather hides it behind a mask. He gets in a cheap plug for his appearance on the George Lopez Show, coming up Wednesday. So did I, just there. He says Hunter’s reign thus far has been a huge mistake.
All my neighbors mowed their lawns today. I mean, I’m unemployed, so days of the week mean absolutely nothing to me, but I still mow my lawn on the weekend, just because it seems like a very weekendy thing to do. You know, you just have more time on the weekend to do things like that. I wonder why everyone in this neighborhood chose Monday afternoon as designated lawn mowing time. Seems bizarre to me.
We come back from break and learn that ugly chicks dig Cena. He really is the new Shawn Michaels. Cena and Mysterio fist bump before the match as Ross points out they are not allowed to refer to CM Punk by name on the air. (He did it without saying his name, of course. Although, it would have been funny if he was like, “I’m not allowed to say CM Punk. Oh shit!”) Back and forth action to start. Lawler points out that Cena might have the advantage here since Mysterio has had to wrestle once already tonight. Nice touch. Mysterio gets a DDT in for a two count. Cena locks in an STF but Rey gets to the ropes. Cena counters a 619 with a powerslam for two. Cena hits the five knuckle shuffle and goes for the F-U but Rey counters it.
Bunch of counters time! Rey locks in the STF. Cena powers out of it with one leg, which looks awesome. Rey hits the 619 but takes too long to attempt the top rope splash and Cena gets his knees up. Rey tries for the frankensteiner but Cena counters it with a powerbomb. Cena gets a near fall with a top rope fameasser that I think fooled the crowd. Rey counters the F-U, Cena counters the 619, and hits the F-U to win the title. Rey looked good in losing there. Cena and Rey embrace and then Cena celebrates with the title. Wait a minute, though. What’s that music?
Cue CM Punk coming to the ring! Punk gets into the ring for a face-off with Cena. The crowd gave Punk a huge reaction when he came out. Sort of like, “YAY! I’m so glad he’s back… wait a minute, I’m supposed to hate him! BOO!” Cena holds up his belt to a big reaction. Punk holds up his belt to an even bigger reaction. This is where the show ends. We’re left to ponder whether Punk is the third guy Hunter re-signed since taking control of the company, or if he just showed up on his own accord. And if he is back in the fold, will this set up a title-for-title match with Cena? If so, when? SummerSlam? This is exactly what a good wrestling television show should do. Another strong thumbs up from me here.