Kester's WWE Raw Rundown: Brock Lesnar brings back legitimacy, John Cena gets a bloody lip, Chris Jericho gets the best of CM Punk, Lord Tensai terrorizes another undercarder, and Big Show continues to embarrass Cody Rhodes
By Ryan Kester
John Cena and Brock Lesnar
I enjoyed the opening segment brawl as it established that these two are legitimately feuding and gave the pairing a gravitas that felt lacking from Cena's feud with The Rock. I cannot tell whether or not the straight shot from Lesnar was planned or just an accident, but Cena's busted lip certainly helped sell the scene the pull-apart created.
However, my excitement for Lesnar began to fizzle as the night progressed. Lesnar's highly scripted promos reminded me all too well of Kane's return. He was hot the moment people saw him and he made a huge impact by attacking Cena, but the moment the first promo was cut the air felt let out of the feud. Now, I am certainly not saying this is dead in the water or going to be anywhere near as groan-inducing as Kane's return feud was, but I do not feel like Lesnar was as hot coming out of the show was he was going in; something WWE really can't afford to have many fans feel this early in Lesnar's run.
On a side note, I really hope they get to the point of the "legitimacy" talk quickly and don't just use that as a tagline for the Lesnar character. Anything that stakes a direct claim to realism in wrestling is a direct detriment to other angles that require a suspension of disbelief in order to function.
CM Punk and Chris Jericho
In a similar vein, I found myself less excited about this feud after last night than I was before the show. Jericho did great work last week looking sadistic and sleazy with his whiskey attack on Punk, and the attempted repeat of that segment felt forced and overdone this week. I like the theory behind this feud with Jericho constantly getting the better of Punk, thus giving Punk a great degree of sympathy and Jericho heat, but I feel like WWE greatly diminished their returns with back-to-back beer baths.
Worse yet, despite the heat that Jericho has gained from his actions I still see no reason to think he will be going over. Jericho has not lived up to one promise he's made since returning to the WWE, and I seriously question if WWE is going to be able to sell Jericho as a credible threat to Punk's championship reign. Sure, they can attempt to sell this match based on Punk destroying Jericho, but that story was already told at WrestleMania and I doubt if they will be as successful in getting fans to pay for the repeat at Extreme Rules.
First of all, I enjoy the look and the idea behind the Tensai character, and I feel like Tensai could produce some great matches in WWE if given time to work. I will always enjoy an actual different character in wrestling and I will certainly welcome anytime WWE attempt to give us a credible heel.
That being said, the squash matches will not get WWE very far until they have Tensai take on someone the fans actually care about. The Brodus Clay squashes worked because his lovable character won the crowds over; Tensai is falling flat because the fans have been given no reason to hate him. If WWE wants to get Tensai over, they are going to need to have him tear into some babyface the fans actually care about al la a Santino Marella or Kofi Kingston or R-Truth.
Cody Rhodes and Big Show
This was more or less what I was afraid of by having Big Show go over at WrestleMania. Big Show does not need the Intercontinental Championship and is doing nothing with the title, and the loss is haunting Cody Rhodes while Big Show is making him look like an idiot. The interference spot within an interference spot made for an interesting moment, but it was at the expense of any heat the Rhodes character had. Rhodes needs to be getting a push and some support from creative, and last night he got the exact opposite.
Overall, last night's show was a disappointment for me. I feel like WWE failed to carry over the momentum they had from last week's show and too many segments were direct repeats of last week's affair, which diminished both their impact last night and the memorable moments from last week's efforts.
If you have any questions or comments or just wish to chat with a fellow wrestling fan about whatever, then feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter at @TheRyanKester.
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