Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - C.M. Punk is serious as a heart attack, Jerry Lawler returns, The Miz is added to Team Foley, A.J. puts John Cena in the friend zone, Punk vs. Cena happens
By Will Pruett
- WWE is always classy when it comes to Veterans Day tributes. They opened this show up with one and went to many more throughout the night. I can criticize creative direction all day long, but what WWE does for the men and women that fight for us is amazing.
- I got fairly excited when we were getting Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler, only to be mildly saddened when it ended early and became a tag match. Orton and Ziggler tend to have great matches together, so I was hoping for that.
- Was I the only person expecting Randy Orton to yell "Stupid" and RKO Kofi Kingston after they won the tag match? I'm sure many other online fans were waiting for it.
- As if the John Cena, Vickie Guerrero, and A.J. Lee angle couldn't get worse, WWE decided to go with the Claire Lynch strategy and make it ever worse. It's amazing just how bad this angle is. The voicemails played from A.J. we're terrible and absurd.
- The best part of this segment was A.J. claiming to be "just friends" with John Cena. I'm sure most of the people watching it are familiar with the friend zone and their hearts retroactively broke a little bit as she said it.
- As much as I didn't like the voicemail segment, I did enjoy the backstage moment between Cena and A.J. Anything that returns A.J. to being the lovesick crazy chick is a plus.
- William Regal being squashed by Big Show was a fine use of him, but I can't help but think Regal could be doing a little more than an occasional squash.
- Layla vs. Kaitlyn came out of nowhere and ended just as it began. Kaitlyn still lacks a lot in the ring and in the charisma department. Hopefully she'll improve, but she is being hurt by being overexposed so often.
- I defended WWE when they showed a few pictures of Jerry Lawler backstage post-heart attack, but I can't defend them for showing the copious amount of video they did on this show. It felt dirty and exploitative to watch Lawler receive CPR and his ambulance pull away. They could have had interviews with Cole and others that showed the severity of the situation without the actual video footage.
- As much as I found the actual heart attack footage to be tasteless, I loved the return of Jerry "The King" Lawler and the moment it created. The crowd gave him the standing ovation he deserved. He looked great and it is a miracle he is back this soon.
- It seems that some people are pretty upset about the C.M. Punk promo cutting down Jerry Lawler and using his real heart attack to garner heat. These people have forgotten that in wrestling a bad guy is supposed to be a bad guy. Punk was not a nice person here and his actions were deplorable, which is what made this segment perfectly acceptable.
- The only person who's opinion actually matters on whether or not Lawler's heart attack should have been exploited and mocked by a heel is Lawler himself. If Lawler is chill with it, then everyone else should get on board.
- Jerry Lawler incorrectly summarized the plot of "It's a Wonderful Life." Did this annoy anyone else?
- Mick Foley interrupting Punk and Paul Heyman's mockery was slightly odd, but Foley pulled it off. Foley has an intensity on the mic that remains with him to this day. It's what made him compelling for the duration of his career and it's what continues to make him compelling when used well today.
- Brad Maddox's cameraman is my favorite new character on a wrestling show.
- Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler didn't miss a beat at the announce table. It's nice to hear Cole back to being a babyface sitting with Lawler.
- The eight man tag (Mysterio, Sin Cara, Gabriel, and Kidd vs. Primetime Players and Rhodes Scholars) was unexpectedly great. I didn't see something that fantastic coming, but it was fast paced, exciting, and just plain fun. More of this on Raw would be a very, very good thing.
- I was surprised to see Justin Gabriel get a little spotlight at the end of the tag match. I was also encouraged by Tyson Kidd's presence in the match. As a tag team, they could do a lot for WWE and add a ton of athleticism to the weekly shows.
- Fandango will always be Fandangoo to me.
- The Miz promising to make an impact on Survivor Series, then being added to the Team Foley voting was fun. He could definitely shine as a babyface on a roster slightly devoid of compelling ones. We'll have to see where it goes, but Miz could have a nice little run in the next few months.
- Antonio Cesaro is Vince McMahon's attempt to satirize all of Europe. I'm assuming that on last week's tour he saw many men walking around with messenger bags and Triple H had to explain to him that it isn't that weird. Now, Antonio Cesaro has a new accessory. Hopefully Cesaro starts pulling absurd foreign objects out of it to assist him in winning matches.
- Just about every month, I am reminded that Tensai exists. Good for him.
- R-Truth is a fitting challenger for Cesaro. He's a name people know and fans will buy into, but he isn't so high up on the card that he cannot take a loss. He'll build Cesaro's credibility, without hurting his own.
- Ryback vs. Brad Maddox was a fun extended squash match with Ryback basically murdering Maddox repeatedly. Both of them performed well and Maddox's character actually intrigues me. The crowds are into Ryback, which should be quite exciting for WWE.
- Why are David Otunga and Sheamus still wrestling?
- Big Show knocking out William Regal again backstage was a nice segment to get heat for him. Big Show is a more exciting World Heavyweight Champion than I ever expected him to be.
- Jealous Daniel Bryan was the evolution that Kane and Daniel Bryan needed as an act. Bryan's insecurity combined with Kane's attempts to comfort him made me smile. Bryan doesn't seem to be able to do anything wrong at this moment.
- It feels like C.M. Punk and John Cena are in completely different feuds at this moment. It was odd to see them in a match together when that is the case.
- Cena and Punk could wrestle each other with their eyes closed and have a good to great match. It isn't that all of their moves are crisp and perfect (they aren't), but there is a unique chemistry between them and the crowd when they get together.
- Cena getting the pin on Punk actually worked for me. Cena needs a little something sometimes and Punk didn't lose anything by losing this match.
- Foley's role in the match was fine, but where was the rivalry between Ziggler and Foley? There is an actual backstory WWE could tell (they had a few great promos together in January), and while it would feel a little tacked on, the effort would be there.
- It was comedic to see John Cena and Ryback attempt to create a perfect picture by playing tug-of-war with the WWE Championship, only for them to pick it up upside down. It's one of those moments that only happens on live TV. They covered it and fixed it well, by returning to that picture (with the championship flipped) just seconds later.
This was one of the better three hour editions of Raw. It didn't drag as much as these usually do and the addition of a very athletic match in the middle of the show really helped the flow. The pay-per-view final sell worked for me, as the focus on Punk, Cena, and Ryback was exactly where it should be. The show did a nice job of pointing towards Survivor Series and selling that, while still being entertaining.
Some people will complain endlessly about Punk and Heyman mocking Jerry Lawler's heart attack. I will maintain that they were just being heels. Yes, it was personal. Yes, it made people angry. Yes, it may have offended you. That's exactly what it was designed to do. Bad guys are bad guys.
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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