Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - C.M. Punk vs. Jerry Lawler in a cage, John Cena forgets how to climb, Triple H almost retires, Kane opens up about his complicated past, Daniel Bryan makes everything better than it should be
By Will Pruett
- Jerry Lawler, in the prime of his career, was one of the best in the world at talking to fans. That skill carries over to today. In the opening segment of Raw with C.M. Punk, Lawler played his role perfectly. His timing, rhythm, and overall delivery were right where they should be.
- Punk is now finding his bearings on the bad-guy side of the spectrum. I've been a fan of this character evolution for Punk since the start and am happy to see it coming into its own. For people who said this slow turn "ruined" Punk, I suggest you watch this while eating your words.
- Hopefully Jack Swagger is okay after landing hard on his head after a back-body drop from Ryback.
- I was surprised and delighted to hear the crowd get into Ryback's "Feed me more" routine the way they did. I've been saying it for a while, but I actually think Ryback is getting over.
- I had no issues with the constant Triple H video packages and plugs. Remember, WWE wants to sell this as a real retirement and they go out of there way to show videos and plug real retirements (like Shawn Michaels and Edge). If this wasn't Triple H, people wouldn't be upset about it.
- Just because a certain section of fans are aware that something is a story and not a real life happening is no reason to scrap it. This type of thinking would lead to wrestling ceasing to exist, and none of us want that.
- So now Layla dances in every match? Can I have that three minutes back?
- Vickie Guerrero's promo about A.J. was fun. I didn't know what to make of the brawl at the end of it, but the promo itself showed the direction I believe Vickie and A.J. are going in. That will be a fun feud to watch develop.
- Why would you have your kid visit you in a therapy session? Isn't therapy supposed to be a safe place without the therapist's kids interfering? This segment was funny, mostly because of Daniel Bryan. Even when handing something absurd, he finds a way to make it work.
- Jerry Lawler accepting Punk's challenge was a nice moment. I've enjoyed seeing Lawler become the babyface that still believes in himself in the last five years. His occasional moments where he gets to stand out on Raw are always great.
- John Cena vs. The Miz was exactly what I would have expected to see in the main event of a house show in early 2011. It wasn't a bad match, but it was too familiar. Cena and Miz still need serious time apart, even if the three hour Raw doesn't seem to allow for it.
- One of my favorite parts of the "Raw Active" gimmick is seeing the absolutely ridiculous match stipulations people attempt to get WWE to bring back. Don't get me wrong, Punk vs. Lawler in a Punjabi Prison Match would have been epic, but it's still ludicrous.
- Santino's distracted Cobra is a gimmick I could do without seeing. It's just a little too silly for me.
- Rather than watch that Santino vs. Heath Slater match, I would have liked to watch Antonio Cesaro in a United States Championship defense. Cesaro could really use some time on Raw to feature his character.
- I was wondering why Damien Sandow would tag up with anyone until his promo. Sandow is taking the spotlight he is being given and running with it.
- Sin Cara dancing with Brodus Clay was one of the highlights of this show. Sin Cara's mood lighting combined with Brodus' dance parties could make for an awesome night.
- Kane's review of his personal character history in the therapy session was amazing. Kane's story is so complicated and convoluted that hearing most of it spelled out in plain speech is just absurd. This was a great little bit of comedy that I believe works for every type of fan, as opposed to Santino comedy.
- Somehow Daniel Bryan made losing via countout to R-Truth look good. I don't understand it, but I'm happy to watch it.
- Triple H's almost retirement speech was a really well done promo from him. It was in the classic Triple H style (slow), but it worked. The fans in the building bought into it and Triple H acted really well until the final few moments of it.
- The almost retirement speech did lack substance, as Triple H didn't make an official announcement. There would have been no problem with Triple H actually announcing his retirement, since he will probably have to be drawn out of it anyways. I know WWE takes their real retirements very seriously, but this would have been a great time to use that equity for a story.
- Once again, there is no reason to reverse the path of a story just because insider fans aren't buying into it. I'm pretty sure insider fans know they're watching theatre anyways.
- Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus and Randy Orton felt like an afterthought. It was almost like the writers were told they needed a Smackdown match of the week and they threw that together.
- Kane might have been the best guest commentator in Raw history.
- If I could have the steel cage lowering music play every time I open a door, I would. It's that good.
- Jerry Lawler and C.M. Punk wrestled a fantastic Raw main event that was all about telling Punk's story. This match furthered the story, excited the fans in the building, and provided something interesting for fans at home to watch. This is exactly what a TV main event should do.
- Lawler never wrestled an overly technical in-ring style, which is why he can still wrestle at something close to his highest level. Lawler wasn't about flashiness during his career, he was about telling stories and getting the most that he could, even with little real effort. His style was more cerebral.
- Punk bleeding added to the match, not by making Punk more sympathetic, but by making him look like a sadistic monster. This was great work from Punk to turn the crowd against him and make him seem like a truly frightening guy.
- Did John Cena forget that there was no roof on the cage? I know it wasn't scripted for him to get over the top, thus he didn't, but it seemed like an oversight. We see people jump up and over the top of cages all the time in WWE. It made for a dramatic moment, but it also made for a flawed one.
This episode of Raw was good. There was definitely more good than bad and the overall arc was fantastic. Jerry Lawler vs. C.M. Punk opened and closed the show and those segments were the best. Triple H's speech was well done and engaging.
It seems that with the three hour format, more of the show actually falls away. The focal points matter more, but the rest seems like noise keeping you occupied, but no exactly engaged during the entire show. WWE would still be wise to shake up the format.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at email@example.com or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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