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The Piledriver Report 07.27.12: The RAW Review

July 27, 2012 | Posted by RSarnecky

A REUNION BETWEEN DEGENERATES

Monday Night RAW opened up old school, as Vince McMahon welcomed everyone to Monday Night RAW. It was a nice, subtle touch that paid homage to the early days of the WWE’s flagship show. Before Vince bid farewell, he introduced Degeneration X. When Shawn Michaels and Triple H walked to the ring, I was a little disappointed. After all, we’ve seen this version of DX many times before. However, when Shawn Michaels talked about that there was something missing, I started to think we would get a true reunion. Once Triple H pointed out that there used to be more of them, I know the band was about to come back together. Having Billy Gunn, X-Pac, and the Road Dogg arrive on the scene in a jeep similar to the one they used in the Norfolk WCW Invasion was a great mark out moment. The only thing missing was Chyna. Despite the rumors that Vince didn’t want politics to get in the way of putting on a special show, I knew that there was no way in hell that Chyna would appear. Not that she was missed.

The segment was a lot of fun. It looked like the five Degeneration X members were having a blast. As enjoyable as it was, the end of the segment left a bad taste in my mouth. As they were doing their schtick in the ring, Damien Sandow entered the scene. It didn’t take Nostrodamus to predict that Sandow was about to be fodder for the DX5. I was very disappointed in this. After all, Damien Sandow was one of the new wrestlers that is loaded with future main event potential. He should be protected, and not treated as a jobber to the alumni. If the WWE needed to have a DX beatdown on the show, they should have used a lower level wrestler like Tyler Reks or Primo, and not someone with the potential to be a star.

GOOD OLD JR

The first match of the night featured Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara, and Sheamus against Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler, and Alberto Del Rio. This match was filled with good workers (even Sin Cara), and was a no brainer that they would have a good match. When I saw Mysterio and Sin Cara as a team, I was immediately excited for this match. This was a dream tag team scenario. Two of this generations most popular Mexican wrestlers teaming together should be big news. However, this wasn’t as hyped as it should have been. Plus, I was hoping for a tease of tension between Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio for next year’s WrestleMania. It was rumored that Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio were going to wrestle at this year’s WrestleMania, so maybe they will try it again next year. The highlight of the match for me was that Jim Ross did the announcing. This wasn’t the Jim Ross from his last announcing stint. This time, Jim Ross seemed back to his old awesome self. Great job by JR.

CHARLIE

With Charlie Sheen swearing off Twitter, I was hoping that meant the social media experiment would be off of this show. Unfortunately, Charlie Sheen discovered Skype. His conversations seemed extremely scripted. It seems like the WWE may have more than just a one night angle with Sheen. Hearing him talking about Daniel Bryan makes me fear that the WWE is going to have one of the best workers in the business fight Charlie Sheen at SummerSlam. That is a horrible waste of Daniel Bryan’s talents. If this does happen, and Bryan gets a two star match out of the former Two and a Half Men star, than Daniel Bryan is the best in the world- hands down! Hopefully, Bryan doesn’t take the loss in the match. Otherwise, that will be worse than his WrestleMania XXVIII loss to Sheamus.

COMEDY/ENTERTAINMENT

RAW wouldn’t be RAW without some comedy. This RAW was no different. There was R-Truth and Roddy Pipper playing jump rope with Little Jimmy. Jim Duggan was walking around chanting “HOOOOO!!!!” Brodus Clay danced with Dude Love. Triple H was learning yoga from Trish Stratus, which was a takeoff of the Stratus/Triple H segment from years ago when HHH was teaching Trish a wrestling move. Zack Ryder argued with John Cena that G-TV was “Mean” Gene Okerlund’s concept. The highlight of the WWE-omedy portion of the show featured the introduction of Mae Young’s son; the HAND!!!!! Years ago, the WWF presented an angle with Mae Young having a love affair with “Sexual Chocolate” Mark Henry. In the storyline, Henry impregnated Young, who eventually gave birth to a hand. Following the “birth,” the storyline was completely dropped. Until now. Seeing a guy in a hand costume standing next to Mae Young was a ROTFLMAO moment. Most of the WWE’s “humor” falls flat. However, the appearance by the Hand was awesome.

THE LEGENDS VS. THE ONE MAN BAND

Over the last several weeks, the WWE has been having several “legends” appear on RAW to take on Heath Slater. This week’s legend was Lita, and she wasn’t alone. John Bradshaw Layfield and Ron Simmons accompanied her for the match. When Slater tried to leave the ring, all of the legends that he competed against over the last month came down to the ring to stop him. Lita quickly disposed of Heath, and all of the legends celebrated. This was a fun segment.

THE WEDDING

After months of witnessing an AJ/Daniel Bryan/CM Punk/Kane storyline, the angle came to a conclusion at the 1000th RAW. A wrestling wedding is notorious for never going as planned. The union of AJ Lee and Daniel Bryan was no exception. The wedding was one of the strangest weddings in the company’s history. First, the reverend Slick proceeded over the ceremonies. He was awesome in his delivery and facial reactions during the segment. I’ve been a hardcore wrestling fan since January of 1984. I saw Slick in his managing prime in the WWF, and I have never seen him more entertaining than Monday night. That was the good.

Here comes the bad. AJ announces that she isn’t saying “yes” to Daniel Bryan, but is saying “yes” to another proposal she received from a man earlier today. Here it is, the moment that we have been waiting for. A mystery man enters the web of AJ’s deceit. Instead, Vince McMahon announces that AJ is the new General Manager of RAW. I thought that this was shoddy writing by the creative team. First, why would the WWE trust the General Manager position of their top television program to someone who is mentally unstable? That makes absolutely no sense. Secondly, what does AJ becoming the GM of RAW have to do with her not marrying Daniel Bryan, who she was crazy about before the job offer? Wasn’t Vickie Guerrero dating and engaged to Edge while she was the General Manager on SmackDown!? Once again, this made no sense at all.

Then, the great part came. After Daniel Bryan threw a fit about being left at the altar, CM Punk came down to the ring. We were entertained by a CM Punk/Daniel Bryan segment. This was so good, because I feared that the WWE was going to turn Bryan face, but it was apparent by this segment that Bryan was going to remain a heel. While the two bantered back and forth, out came The Rock! This was a surreal moment in the WWE. Two “indy geeks” were standing in the same ring as The Rock, and neither came off as not being worthy of being there. Even after The Rock hit Bryan with a Rock Bottom, I still thought the segment was a winner. The heel, regardless of who he is, has to eat The Rock’s finisher. There is no shame in Daniel Bryan being in that position. Actually, it probably gets him more of a rub by taking the move.

THE TITLE CHANGE

Bret Hart followed The Rock’s segment by introducing the participants in the Intercontinental title match. The match between The Miz and Christian was your typical television match. While I like Christian, and am a fan of his, I am very happy that The Miz won the Intercontinental championship. Ever since the Survivor Series, The Miz has been floundering. While the WWE, and many of the IWC seemed to be “down” on The Miz for a while, I wasn’t. I think he is very entertaining, and I’m not alone on this thought, as The Miz was one of the most popular WWE superstars during WrestleMania XXVIII’s Fan Axxess weekend. The Miz, selling his title win, made the title switch seem like a big deal. I’m interested to see if this motivates The Miz, and puts him back into the WWE main event picture by the late fall.

DEADMAN WALKING

The last time that we saw the Undertaker was following his latest WrestleMania victory this past April. It was nice to see that we didn’t have to wait almost a year later to see him again. While it was rumored that the Undertaker would make an appearance, I wasn’t sure if he would. Seeing him after seeing the Degeneration X reunion earlier made me realize something. Take away the mohawk, and the Undertaker looks a lot like the Road Dogg. In all seriousness, it was cool to see the two “brothers” in the ring together again. However, I have a question. Does this make it official that Kane is now a face for the 1,583rd time?

BROCK/TRIPLE H

I have mixed emotions in regards to the Brock Lesnar/Triple H segment. First, I hate the fact that the WWE preaches about being a star with their anti-bullying campaign, yet they constantly have their babyfaces in the bullying role. That has never been more evident than with the build-up to the Triple H/Brock Lesnar match at SummerSlam. First, Triple H bullied Paul Heyman, and now his wife does the same. Shouldn’t Brock Lesnar be the one doing the bullying? It’s just very ass backwards. Not to mention, what would the Be A Star folks think if they watched the WWE product and saw this? Secondly, I hated the fact that Triple H got the best of Brock Lesnar in the brawl by clotheslining him over the top rope. I felt that Brock needed to be an unstoppable monster. However, I think the WWE may have done the right thing in the brawl. After all, Brock Lesnar destroyed Triple H in the ring the last time they saw each other. The face needs to get a little comeback. Plus, there is plenty of RAWs left before SummerSlam for Brock to get his heat back. The best part of the segment was the actual brawl between Triple H and Lesnar. There’s just something about seeing Brock Lesnar pounce on someone that gets you on the edge of your seat, shadow boxing with every blow he hits. The WWE was losing my interest in the angle with the Stephanie McMahon stuff, but I came back in a hurry once Triple H and Brock Lesnar locked up. I guess that means the WWE did its job then.

JOHN CENA/CM PUNK

The main event between John Cena and CM Punk made me nervous. I feared that we would be seeing John Cena capture the WWE World title. After all, it’s been a while since Cena has worn the spinner belt. Looking back, the ending of the match could not have been better. I never expected that Punk would turn heel. After all, CM Punk was the #2 face in the whole company. Plus, he just turned face last year. Not only did the WWE turn him heel, but they did a fantastic job at doing so. As surprised as I was regarding the turn, I really shouldn’t have been. The WWE did enough foreshadowing over the last few weeks. First, CM Punk, the WWE World Champion, only had one pay per view main event since winning the title. And that was during an event that John Cena wasn’t booked on. Next, The Rock, who wrestled only one time in the last eight years, gets the main event spot at WrestleMania XXVIII. A few weeks ago, Eve Torres made a comment to CM Punk about playing second fiddle to John Cena. Then, the final straw had to be when The Rock announced that he would be fighting for the WWE World title at the upcoming Royal Rumble. Once again, CM Punk was being overshadowed by someone that he feels doesn’t deserve the shot. During the Punk/Cena match, there were slight tendencies of heeldom that Punk displayed. When The Big Show forced the disqualification, instead of saving John Cena from a further beating, Punk just sat and watched. Once The Rock ran out, it appeared that Punk was leaving. That was until Punk shocked the world and attacked The Rock. I can’t wait to see where the WWE goes next. I love CM Punk as a heel. While I was still a fan of the face Punk, I cringed when he turned into John Cena-lite, and would crack sophomoric jokes in his promos. Now, I get the good Punk back. The only thing better than a heel Punk would be if he started a new stable with Daniel Bryan featuring the darlings of the internet. That would be cool.

Overall, I enjoyed the 1,000th episode of RAW. The WWE gave us a lot in a three hour window. We saw legends, a title change, a wedding gone bad, the main event of SummerSlam finalized, and the best heel turn since Hulk Hogan joined the New World Order. It was a memorable evening, and a great way to put a close on the first 1,000 RAW telecasts. Here’s hoping the next 1,000 are just as memorable.

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