Monday Night Raw Warm Up for April 9th, 2012

Posted by under *like, Television |

Here comes the pain! Brock Lesnar returned to Raw last Monday and went straight at WWE mainstay John Cena.

The night after WrestleMania did not disappoint last Monday as Raw featured some memorable moments with an appearance by the Rock, the debut of Lord Tensai, and of course the return of Brock Lesnar. Unlike last year’s follow up to the big dance, we thankfully did not see any matches booked for WrestleMania 29 in New Jersey, but we did get plenty of possibilities for what we might see as we begin the slow build to next year. While it’s likely we’ll be seeing Lesnar again tonight, the Rock’s contributions last week suggest it might be a while before his next appearance. 

PTB: I’m not the biggest fan of Brock Lesnar, but an already energized crowd in Miami went ballistic when he appeared. Lesnar played it perfectly and really made it a memorable moment. He even made them wait for his happy dance before walking to the ring. 

THE JASON: I was a huge fan of Lesnar, I loved his work in WWE (I felt he may have been the main force in pulling Big Show out of the mid-card doldrums he was languishing in at the time) and enjoyed his time in the UFC.  He is a polarizing figure for both wrestling and MMA, and someone people either love or hate.  In MMA, despite his amateur credentials, he was always seen as a “pro rassler” that invaded the sport and he used that to his advantage.  He may actually have cut better promos during his UFC run than during his WWE tenure.

PTB: You’re right about Lesnar’s work with Big Show. He was on a lot of rumor lists for this year’s Royal Rumble as well and we actually talked about him back in October after seeing another ring collapse under the weight of Big Show and Mark Henry. I was still surprised to see him last week especially getting the reaction he did.

THE JASON: I don’t think we can discount the crowd reaction on this particular night.  I think that they were 50% of the show. WrestleMania often attracts the most hardcore fans. The people that stay in the area are the most hardcore of the hardcore. You basically had 1/10th of the crowd from the previous evening who wanted their voices to be heard. I think they may have been chanting “We want Lesnar” at one point during Cena’s promo. The thing that amused me is that this was basically the same crowd that booed Lesnar out of the building at WrestleMania XX, and they welcomed him back as a conquering hero.

PTB: Seeing Lesnar and Bill Goldberg leave like chumps at WrestleMania XX was very satisfying. He was not a fan favorite at that time, but absence has made the fans grow fonder.

THE JASON: I think I led my section of the arena in the “You Both Suck” chant that evening. Despite my love of his work as a wrestler, like many other fans I wasn’t terribly enthused with his snap decision to attempt to play professional football instead. I may not have been as angered as the rest of the Garden had he been putting someone over on the way out – instead of another guy who was leaving the company as well. I don’t think that either of those guys were prepared for the crowd reaction on that particular evening. Goldberg was never terribly good at adapting on the fly. Lesnar though, while he may not have been the biggest fan of the wrestling industry, did take to it and seeing him rattled to the point where he screamed at the crowd “What do you want from me?” was particularly surreal.

PTB: I’m a big Paul Heyman fan, and when I think about Lesnar’s first time around in WWE his involvement was my only real interest.

THE JASON:  So is that why you were vociferously cheering for Lesnar at SummerSlam 2002?  Sure, sure.  I hear that Heyman does have a way of convincing people.

PTB: He can be very persuasive. Also keep in mind Brock was facing the Rock on his way out for a hiatus that night, Heyman was in Brock’s corner, and it was fun to scream “Brocky” and confuse our section-mates. 

I have to say Lesnar’s music is fantastic. It’s almost the perfect entrance music and I’ve had it stuck in my head for days. It’s got that warpy noise at the beginning, it builds up for a couple of measures, then just rocks and repeats. I don’t mind hearing that again.

THE JASON:  It definitely makes me miss the days when they’d write instrumental entrance themes instead of trying to find some no-name band that they could get the rights to and then sell on iTunes. I’d much rather listen to the Rock’s, Brock’s or Mick Foley’s themes than whatever Randy Orton comes out to. At least Cena raps his own song.

While that music played, in lieu of calling Brock “The Next Big Thing,” Michael Cole was throwing out new nicknames for him left and right like “The Beast,” “The Freak,” and “The Anomaly”.  I happened to like the last one, but they were trying really hard to attach something to him which is kind of ridiculous since he’s a huge star and doesn’t need a pointless moniker. The only thing that they ever attached to him in the UFC was “The Baddest Dude on the Planet” which is apropos of his apparently miserable attitude moreso than his fighting acumen.

PTB: Cole mispronouncing “anonamaly” made those efforts even more absurd. Lesnar doesn’t need anything like that for now. The downside of Brock’s return is that John Cena gets buried by another returning superstar. I’d love it if the crowd was that animated from week to week, but at the very least that’s the attitude Cena’s going to be facing going forward. 

THE JASON:  Well, as I said, those fans were certainly the most dedicated.  What we got may be a micrcosm of the “WWE Universe.” I’m not sure that Lesnar will be greeted as warmly elsewhere. Sure he’s physically imposing (although, certainly not in the same manner as his old Titantron video suggests), but he’s not a talker like The Rock. And unlike The Rock, Lesnar is very much a natural heel.

The greatest moment had to be after the F5 was that Lesnar felt the need to KICK THE HELL out of Cena’s green hat.  

PTB: He HATES that hat! Cena was calling out the Rock and got Lesnar instead. Rock’s decision not to go face to face with Cena kind of fits into what you thought might be the future for those two with Rock refusing to grant a rematch. I was glad to see him at the top of the show since it’s hard to argue there are many better ways to kick off Raw.

THE JASON: It definitely was what that crowd wanted. 

PTB: The thought of him making a handful of appearances and being WWE Champion does not sit well with me. I’m into the idea of not having the champion wrestle every week, I could even be convinced he doesn’t need to make an appearance every week, but two weeks shouldn’t go by without something and the title should be defended every month.

THE JASON:  I wouldn’t want to see Rock win the title, but if this builds to a Rock/C.M. Punk program, then I’m all in. I don’t know if they are thinking long term and if that is what they are considering for next Mania. I can’t see Punk, or anyone for that matter, keeping the belt for full year in today’s climate. 

PTB: Heading into WrestleMania XXVIII, there were some tweets going back and forth between Punk and Steve Austin suggesting they might collide next year, but that’s still speculation at this point.

PTB: The crowd at American Airlines Arena last week is honestly what every live show should aspire to. They were into every moment of the show whether they loved it or hated it. One thing they clearly loved was Daniel Bryan (or they at least loved shouting “YES!”) and one thing they hated was Sheamus. After the squash match at WrestleMania I don’t blame them, but how do the show’s producers hear that and not immediately get Bryan into the mix for the show and out in front of the live crowd?

THE JASON:  These were the hardcore fans. They liked who they liked, and were very vocal in showing who they did not want to see. The evening was symptomatic of WWE’s thinking that while the fans are emphatic of wanting something, they are sticking with the story that they want to tell. I think the only adjustment they made was not letting Sheamus talk when they realized how hostile the crowd was going to be to him. They really needed to get Bryan out there for more than a 30 second spot in the back. 

Apparently Bryan did get some mic time after the show to address the crowd.

PTB: They were so into the “YES!” that they switched over to “SI!” when Alberto Del Rio made his return. 

THE JASON:  That was fun. Is “YES!” the new “WHAT?”.  Could you imagine Austin and Bryan facing off and doing a Yes/What-off?  

During that segment, Sheamus and Del Rio were getting drowned out by “Daniel Bryan” chants.  That was a big miscalculation of the WWE’s part.  Why isn’t Bryan getting a rematch? I think they should have waited on Del Rio’s return, because ultimately it was forgotten about with Tensai’s introduction, Jericho and Punk, Rock’s speech and Lesnar’s return.

PTB: Jericho pouring liquor on Punk is awful, but slipping in it was worse. Playing on the straight edge angle really strikes a personal chord with me and I couldn’t imagine how angry something like that would make me. It was great.

THE JASON:  I know that the slip ultimately takes it down a notch.  But Jericho got the people right back into it. I didn’t mind the slip since it came off as real. You could actually slip in a real fight. The bottle to the head really sealed the deal. I think that this was one time where the crowd stopped being jaded wrestling fans and booed Jericho because he did something really heinous.

I’d also have to imagine that those Jim Beam bottles were actually filled with Pepsi.

PTB: So Mark Henry gets a win over the WWE Champion C.M. Punk and now is the time he needs guidance?

THE JASON:  Maybe he needed guidance on the rules?  Mark, you’ve been with WWE for over 15 years!  You still can’t win the belt on a count out!  

PTB: I was happy to see a manager that wasn’t Vickie Guererro make an appearance and I think a pairing of The World’s Strongest Man and Abraham Washington could be fun.

PTB: I was surprised to see Cody Rhodes is a full time wizard breaking out the new robe for a second straight night.

THE JASON:  I almost forgot that Cody also has (or had) some marking from “Legend of Zelda” on his boots.  Maybe “Cody the Wizard” could be his new gimmick.  I’d love to see him come out with a scepter.

PTB: No face mask though. The Big Show’s distraction was pretty great.

THE JASON:   I wasn’t crazy about this.  No one looked good in this angle.  Cody looked like a fool, Kofi looked like a loser who lucked into a pin and I don’t know if there is any direction where you can go with Show and Cody. 

PTB: Lord Tensai’s debut was a bit overshadowed by Lesnar’s arrival, but it had its own share of missteps. It made no sense for the referee to call the match after the A-Bomb and then have Tensai apply the claw. Wouldn’t it have made more sense for the claw to end the match?

THE JASON:  I wish they used to call that move the A-Bomb.  They used to call it the Baldo Bomb, which may have been the worst name for a finisher in history.  The claw was interesting – but is that a submission that is really associated with Japan in any way?

PTB: Not that I’m aware of. I always associate the clawhold with Barry Windham during his time with the Four Horsemen and the von Erichs. Repackaging aside, this is still Albert, and while he may have dominated in Japan, it’s an uphill battle for him to get me on board with this new gimmick.

THE JASON:  I agree.  The get-up he came to the ring wearing was cool, and his ‘worshipper’ was a nice touch. I loved the fact that Cole and Lawler actually acknowledged on commentary that he was a former WWE superstar that went to Japan.  It was fine that they didn’t name him, but I liked that they didn’t play it as though he is some brand new guy they’ve never seen before. I hate that. I know that sometimes you want to give a guy a fresh start. If they introduced Dolph Ziggler as that guy who was a caddie for Chavo Guerrero and Nicky from the Spirit Squad, he wouldn’t have gotten anywhere. But when guys have history it just makes the commentators look stupid for not acknowledging who they are. These guys are ‘supposed’ to be journalists, right? In any case, once the outfit came off, I thought Lord Tensai looked like a huge version of Ming the Merciless from Flash Gordon with his wacky mustache.

PTB: It actually helps to think of him as Ming II of planet Mongo.

THE JASON: Alex Riley, another guy whose stock has greatly dropped since last year, may not have been the right opponent for this debut. I think someone like Tyson Kidd or JTG would have been better to emphasize Tensai’s size. It also seemed that once the match started, despite all the good things I’ve heard about Albert becoming so great in Japan, it was the same old stuff again. Chop to the throat, underhook suplex, chokebomb, now let’s throw in a silly karate pose too. 

PTB: Far more impressive last week was Santino Marella getting a handicap match victory over Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger. He may still be a comedy act, but a win is a win! Plus he’s still the U.S. Champion.

THE JASON:  And the most important part of the segment, they finally gave Brodus Clay something to do!  The crowd was loving the Funkasaurus!  Speaking of people with nothing to do, while it was good to see Zack Ryder show some fire in his match he got soundly defeated again by the Miz.  It’s a shame because despite how he’s been portrayed, the crowd last night was very much behind him.  They even chanted “We Want Ryder Woo Woo Woo!” during Eve’s interview.

PTB: I don’t mind Eve getting an angle going for herself, but wI have to wonder how Beth Phoenix fits into these plans. I’d rally like to see Eve paired with someone new to get a guy over, but she’s probably headed for a Divas title run.

PTB: I hate the photo highlights from WrestleMania especially when this year lacked the video highlight reel that normally runs as the show goes off the air. I was always impressed with how quickly those things were edited together and really missed it.

THE JASON:  Considering they could have pulled a package together for Raw’s broadcast, I thought that would be a much better way to showcase the event as opposed to running photo stills 4 or 5 times throughout the night.  In today’s age where you can get video highlights online, I don’t think showing photo stills is going to promote additional buys for those that missed the pay-per-view. 

PTB: Once again on the night after WrestleMania we’re already talking about next year, though thankfully no matches have been booked. I appreciate that WWE is giving away 100 trips to WrestleMania 29. It really is fantastic, but that promo uses the term “most unprecedented” and I have to take exception. Bear in mind I credit WWE television and comic books with a lot of my vocabulary skills, but nothing can be the most unprecedented. There’s only one level of unprecedentedness. It’s either happened before or it hasn’t and I hate that I had to make up a word to point it out.

THE JASON:  Without Gorilla Monsoon, I’d never know the meaning of “Occipital protuberance”, “intestinal fortitude” or the complete misuse of the word literally, which has continued with WWE’s commentating literally to this day. 

Read more about World Wrestling Entertainment on MyLatestDistraction.

Keep up with all of our weekly Monday Night Raw Warm Ups:
April 9th, 2012 edition / April 16th
, 2012 edition (coming next week)

Related Posts with Thumbnails