Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - John Cena vs. C.M. Punk transcends, Brock Lesnar and Triple H top their SummerSlam match in three minutes, WrestleMania takes shape
By Will Pruett
- The opening video package was fairly long, but its narration kept me involved. It set up the main stories for the night perfectly, especially Vince McMahon vs. Paul Heyman and John Cena vs. C.M. Punk.
- Vince McMahon and Paul Heyman's opening promos were really good. I loved Heyman's "one legged man in an ass-kicking contest" reference. I was also fond of his hate of Tony Romo, who is awful. Heyman and McMahon's subsequent scuffle also played out very well. I expected a low level of physicality from them and was impressed with what we saw.
- The foreboding aura that now accompanies the music of Brock Lesnar is stunning. WWE has done a great job since his reintroduction of establishing him as a dangerous force to be reckoned with.
- Triple H and Brock Lesnar each made their full entrances as they came down to the ring for their brawl. I'm actually okay with this. They kicked up the intensity at the perfect moment and allowed fans to breathe before they started.
- The Brock and Triple H brawl was a wonderfully clumsy piece of work. This is not an insult. It seemed real in its clumsiness. They wanted to get their hands on each other and would do anything to do so.
- I don't know if Brock Lesnar's blood was planned or not, but it added an awful lot to the fight. Brock looked like an absolutely beast as he didn't even acknowledge it and kept fighting.
- In their short brawl, Triple H and Brock Lesnar topped their SummerSlam match. Hopefully the magic from this show will carry through to their inevitable WrestleMania encounter. The main ingredient here was intensity. They have to bring the intensity to 'Mania.
- Dolph Ziggler worked hard and bumped every way he could for Ryback. I remembered a recent interview where Ziggler said he should be more selfish in the ring and couldn't help but think this was one of those times. Ziggler looked great, but he still took a major loss.
- The direction of Ryback is in question at this moment. A victory over Ziggler certainly helps to get him on track, but is he so far off by now? Ryback's story going into WrestleMania may be the most important of his career. WWE has something with him. I hope it doesn't fade away.
- I fast forwarded through every movie preview WWE showed on this show. I have no regrets.
- C.M. Punk was given time to put himself over as an icon and even a god. This really helped set the stage for his match with John Cena later in the show. It will also be a great way for an eventual match with The Undertaker to come into being. Punk is still on a roll promo-wise and a major focus of the show, even without the WWE Championship.
- Donald Trump has always been a solid player when put into WWE stories, so I don't mind him going into the celebrity wing of the Hall of Fame. Remember, it's just a celebrity wing.
- Even a one minute Great Khali match seems painful for the big man.
- Mark Henry's continued push as a monster has me more and more excited every week. WWE could have something special with him in the post-WrestleMania months if they continue this course going into 'Mania.
- This was the night where no one got an entrance. I suppose when they decided to have Punk and Cena go long, WWE realized they needed to cut time elsewhere. Entrances were a sad casualty, but worth the sacrifice.
- The MizTV segment with Alberto Del Rio, Jack Swagger, and Zeb Colter was really missing something. Zeb's promo seemed to go around in circles and last a little too long. Alberto Del Rio let him talk for far too long. It didn't work.
- It was too soon to put Jack Swagger and Alberto Del Rio face to face with each other. Waiting a week with separate promos or separate matches would have been preferable. The magic wasn't there between Swagger, Colter, and Del Rio. It can come, but it wasn't on this show.
- WWE really pushed watching WWE Active on their app during the breaks. What about people watching Raw on a delay? I've never been able to get WWE Active to work on my iPhone or iPad, so I wonder if WWE is doing the wrong thing here.
- For a moment, I was afraid Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro would just be one long headlock. Thankfully, the three minute match was fun and relatively headlock free. Sadly, the match ended with Cesaro taking a loss he didn't need to take at the hands of Orton. Winning a secondary title is like the opposite of protection these days.
- Brad Maddox is great. That is all.
- Yeah, I didn't watch the WWE parody movie previews either.
- How many feuds is Sheamus in right now?
- Sheamus and Wade Barrett had another bad segment concerning Barrett's non-speaking role in a movie. There is a very natural feud between them and a natural spirit of competition WWE could draw on. Why bog them down with bad stand up material like Sheamus delivered?
- Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow are still best friends. I don't think either man has won a match since Rhodes Scholars dissolved. Why did WWE break up this team again?
- Kane and Daniel Bryan wrestling with self-imposed handicaps made me smile. It didn't really do much for The Primetime Players though. O'Neal and Young have seemed lost lately.
- I still maintain my belief that The Uso's could carry the tag division as high energy babyface champions.
- I enjoyed The Shield's promo segment. All three men seem to be finding their voices and are excelling. WWE has found something really great with all three of them. Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns will all be major players for a long time to come.
- Sheamus' interaction with The Shield is much closer to what I'd like to see from him. Sheamus seems like a likable, but dangerous guy when he is challenging someone to a fight. When he is attempting to do comedy, he is neither of those things.
- Randy Orton's sneaky RKO actually did come out of nowhere. Alas, Michael Cole believes every RKO comes from nowhere. What if he called an RKO as "out of somewhere" once or twice?
- I'm overjoyed about the return of Old School Raw. This was one of the best Raw episodes ever in its original incarnation. Hopefully next week will be just as memorable. The ingredients are all present, including WWE hitting its storytelling stride.
- The Jack Swagger push continues despite his drug arrest last week. In the end, this is probably best. WWE doesn't need to interrupt their pre-structured plot to punish a wrestler. That ends up punishing the fans and the company itself.
- I too found some dark ironic comedy in Jerry Lawler eating fried food on TV. I wonder if anyone in WWE thought about this.
- I wonder how many times someone had to explain to Triple H just what Tout was before he cut that short promo.
- John Cena's promo before his match with C.M. Punk is what I love to see from Cena. He turned on the intensity. He turned on his ability to sell me on a realistic performance from him in a match. Cena was great here. Actually, he was great all night. This is the Cena I hope we see for the next six weeks.
- I love the way WWE discussed rumors and speculation regarding The Undertaker and WrestleMania. It makes it seem like his appearance isn't a guarantee and it plays into what most fans are probably thinking.
- How did whoever was taping Undertaker entering only use Tout? They could have obviously taken a real video.
- How great was John Cena vs. C.M. Punk? Seriously. This was the best WWE match this year and it might be in the running for their best ever. The crowd bought in perfectly. Cena and Punk showed up ready to work. This was brilliance.
- When WWE really decides to legitimize a heel, it's effective. Look at what they've done with C.M. Punk. Despite losses to Cena and The Rock, he still seems like a major contender. He was built up to be taken down, but even in that, he is legitimate.
- When John Cena and C.M. Punk get together, magic happens. They took their magic to another level with this match. I can't wait to see them hook up again later this year. WWE should continue to treat this match as the work of art it was. I'm not sure anything at WrestleMania will even top it.
This show was carried about its beginning and ending. The brawl between Brock Lesnar and Triple H was intense. The match between John Cena and C.M. Punk was near perfect. Nothing else of this show really matters to me. It was a great show with two major moments we'll be talking about for years. I'm all about great shows altogether, but this was a rare instance where everything else could have been awful (and it wasn't). The two major points were amazing.
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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