Monday Night Raw Warm Up for August 27th, 2012

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Even at his worst, C.M. Punk should be better than demanding respect and attacking Hall of Famers like Jerry “The King” Lawler. We’ll see how much lower he can stoop tonight in Oakland, CA.

Last week’s post-SummerSlam edition of Monday Night Raw exhibited some incredibly lazy storytelling as well as a near-interminable length clocking in at 3 hours and 14 minutes. (Apparently we need this. Who knew that this was a thing? Now it’s not just about the game and how you play it, but how much time you spend playing the game.) With this kind of time being put into the product, storylines need to have more direction. There’s too much focus on buzzwords (RESPECT!) and not enough consistency with characters and fleshing out the actual plots. It’s something that we can hope they either overcome, or find something shiny to distract us with.

THE JASON: Brock Lesnar and Paul “E.” Heyman came out at the start of last week’s show in what was one of the highlights of the night. Paul’s reference to HHH’s quad tear from 2001 (and our excuse to link to one of the greatest matches ever) was well-done in finding a specific instance of his toughness that Brock was able to break. The way that Paul and Brock work together is so natural; it’s testament to how great the right match with a wrestler and manager can be.

PTB: I couldn’t agree more on all points. While Lesnar’s SummerSlam match with Triple H didn’t do much for me, using Heyman in the build up was brilliant and it all culminated in this promo. I’ve missed managers having a role in recent years to the point where Vickie Guerrero and Abraham Washington were almost welcome sights at ringside, but this is how it should be done.

THE JASON: Agreed. I’d love to see more managers involved since I think it’s a great way for older wrestlers to transition out of in-ring roles. It’s what Ric Flair should have been doing the past few years. Paul anointed Brock king of the Brocktagon and ruler of WWE… and then they blew it all by having him quit (VIA TOUT!) later in the show. Try as I might to suspend my disbelief, I have a hard time believing that Brock is computer-savvy much less a social media user. Didn’t Brock quit once this year already? That’s lazy. They could have said that as the new king of WWE, Brock chooses when he wants to show up and isn’t beholden to a GM’s or corporate board’s rules when he needs to appear on Raw.

PTB: They did blow it all. I automatically fast forward through those Tout segments and didn’t even know Brock quit (again) until we started talking about last week’s show. Brock’s absence could have easily been attributed to being above it all as you suggested. My only other complaint is that while I love the “Brocktagon” remark, he did lose to John Cena in his only other match since returning. We’ll see where this is heading but I don’t expect much tonight.

THE JASON: I think the way they look at the Cena-Brock match is that Cena barely scraped by in that scrap. But regardless the outcome was Cena winning, and for that he earns a BATTLING BUDDY! Jeez, Kofi and Truth can’t even get their own Battling Buddies to hand out. Not only is that gratuitous product placement on par with Miz’s Subway Commercial bit from a year or so ago, it just makes Kofi and Truth look like GEEKS. “Here’s some Cena dolls because we are not cool enough to merit our own!”

PTB: Terrible use of the Tag Team Champions especially when they’re already over with the crowd. There are guys that could use the boost of handing out “free high-quality WWE products.” The current batch of teams are getting a better spotlight on Smackdown, but I’d just as soon not see them on Raw if this is what I can expect. I don’t even remember the match!

THE JASON: There will be segments that will be relocated to the deeper recesses of our minds whenthere’s three hours facing us every week, such as Ryback returning to making squash soup of two job guys. During the match Jinder Mahal attacked and all I could think is “This is the best that they can think of for Ryback?” The crowds are getting into him and chanting “Feed Me More.” I know that they are following the Goldberg formula – but after 6 or 7 months of beating nobodies, WCW had to give him something else to do. They need to take this to the next level, even if that means feeding guys on a higher tier (like Swagger or Cody Rhodes) to be destroyed in a few minutes by Mr. Reeves.

PTB: Well, part of the problem is that we know Mahal won’t have a shot here. I expect they’ll want Ryback to run through a series of guys but the one to give him a real feud should be Damien Sandow.

THE JASON: I think that could have a good dynamic, the educated snob vs. the grunting beast are classic wrestling archetypes. I’m not sure if I’d want to see Sandow sacrificed yet considering he just fell to Brodus in a match that literally put me to sleep. Wasn’t that supposed to be on at SummerSlam? I don’t think this match helped either guy. Sandow looked like a loser getting a fluke roll-up with Brodus destroying him post-match. Not even Sandow’s wonderfully sanctimonious pre-match promo saved this.

PTB: The rivalry with Brodus Clay isn’t great and going after a guy like Ryback fits much better into Sandow’s claims to be an intellectual savior of the masses. It’s pure brain versus brawn and I’d think Sandow would have a chance of winning, especially after rolling over an established star like Christian a few weeks ago.

THE JASON: I know that this sounds ridiculous, but I’ve got a scenario that would make Ryback a huge superstar. First, give him some real guys to beat. I think we’ve seen enough of him running through no name enhancement talent. Triple H could come out at the Rumble or some future pay-per-view and say that he’s realized that he can’t beat Brock… but he has someone that he thinks can. Here comes Ryjacked. At Wrestlemania, we do the WMXX Goldberg-Brock tribute match, but this time it goes the way the original should have: Brock goes for a take down, Ryback evades, big clothesline, Samoan drop and HOLY CRAP DID SKIP SHEFFIELD JUST BEAT BROCK LESNAR? Brock’s time with WWE will be up by then and I think he may be better used to make a new star than extend Undertaker’s streak with an obvious win.

PTB: I’d be all for this but that’s mostly because we know it will not happen. I also thought a Lesnar / Undetaker match would not happen but I was recently pointed to a run in these two had at a UFC event by KevinMLD. It raised some questions in me about Undertaker having another match in him, but is that even possible after the near perfect 20-0 match with Triple H? I’d almost rather see Taker in Triple H’s corner for a career ending match with Brock.

THE JASON: Let me go on record and say that would be a genius way of building to having Lesnar face off with Undertaker at Mania. The foundation could be grounded with the history that the two men have, add the UFC confrontation and bring HHH’s realization that as COO he may not be the man to elimate Brock, but as a corporate head he does have the tools at his disposal to bring him down. I love this idea. Now, the only way we get there is if Brock wins the rematch with HHH, or if there simply is no rematch. We’ll find out tonight which direction they plan to go in.

However, something that I have no interest in is how they’ve inserted Randy Orton in the Del Rio vs. Sheamus feud which has made this even more boring.

PTB: I had exactly one note on this segment and that was it. Adding Orton does nothing to help this floundering rivalry and having him make his seven minute entrance twice on Smackdown last week tied up a lot of air time.

THE JASON: Sheamus, the squeaky-clean babyface, cheated to win at SummerSlam over Del Rio. A few weeks back he stole Del Rio’s car, last week he put Orton’s foot on the rope and cheated Del Rio out of a win again. So, let me get this straight – Sheamus is supposed to be the good guy, right? Because, I’m feeling Alberto’s pain here and Sheamus seems like a big ginger douchebag.

PTB: This has become typical “good guy” behavior of late. Even Cena pulled this type of stuff in his last go round with Batista.

THE JASON: Yes, but Batista was brilliant as an arrogant jerk so Cena’s actions didn’t come off quite as vituperative as Sheamus’s.

PTB: By all standards the Del Rio/Sheamus/Orton program is a train wreck.

THE JASON: Yes, and we’re along for the ride!

Dolph Ziggler and Chris Jericho followed the great match they had at SummerSlam with Jericho having to put his career on the line against Ziggler’s Money in the Bank briefcase. That’s lazy. Did I say that already? I’m not a fan of having someone put their career on the line with an hour of build-up. Did they need to go that route? Why not just have Ziggler win, and to cement his point subsequently beat Jericho so badly that when he does return he has something to prove? Ziggler winning and taking a post-match beat-down didn’t help him and ultimately made Jericho look like a sore loser. I did not like this at all.

PTB: This should have been the stipulation at SummerSlam. I really enjoyed seeing these two work a couple of great matches, but why promote their pay per view match as “the big one” when nothing but bragging rights are on the line? That’s not “the big one” and giving an hour to a match with everything on the line after weeks of growing tension between these two makes as little sense as Jericho’s sour grapes beating on his way out the door.

THE JASON: Did Bret Hart have a garage sale? How many superstars are wearing pink tights now?

PTB: As a long time fan of all things Hart, I love it. C.M. Punk paying homage to guys that were the reason I watched as a kid is a real treat seeing that he’s the tops for me right now. Of course that’s despite hating some elements of the plot he’s currently involved in.

THE JASON: The closing segment featured Punk and Cena in a standoff. I really liked some of this – even though I had to go online to watch the end since my DVR cut off at 10 past 11.

THE JASON: I thought Punk, while obviously the heel, was getting back to the spirit that made him such a juggernaut last summer. Cena was a tad bit long-winded (as usual) and he kind of had me until he proved to be a graduate from the Hulk Hogan School of being a babyface with the line “Until you defend that belt against me you’re disgracing the belt and yourself.” Huh? Cena just lost! Who is he to make that proclamtion? What is going on with the good guys on this show? Sheamus and Cena definitely remind me of Hogan in his prime. I question if Hogan was ever actually a “good guy.” He upstaged both Paul Orndorff and Andre the Giant, and he macked on Macho Man’s woman. I knew Hogan was a jerk even as a kid.

PTB: Hulkamania was always lost on me. Macho Madness had my unwavering support.

THE JASON: Let us all take a moment to say “OOOH YEAH!” and snap into a Slim Jim. Now that’s RESPECT! I still find it funny that Ultimate Warrior was the original WWF Slim Jim pitchman. That seems so wrong now.

PTB: Very wrong. More should have been made out of the fact that Punk has beaten Cena. You mentioned that Punk was recapturing some of the spirit of last Summer but there were opportunities wasted last week and fear more as we head into Night of Champions with Punk becoming an unfortunately straight forward heel.

THE JASON: That does look like the path that they are going with Punk. With respect to that, the best heels do feel that they are righteous in their motives and I don’t think Punk’s character will lose sight of that. He will espouse that Cena is the villain in this and to be honest cornering the champ into giving you a title shot because you have an inflated sense of self-worth doesn’t sound like a good guy. When Punk was greeted with Cena’s “you need to beat me speech”, he should have pointed out again that Cena hasn’t beat him and deflated that argument. Instead of resolving that, Punk was more focused on Jerry Lawler. The crowd loves Lawler, so it’s a good way to cement Punk’s status as a heel to have him knock Jerry out. This obviously needs to lead to a match between the two, but how much longer can they keep wheeling Jerry off the announce table to get heels over?

PTB: This was completely unnecessary and diminishes what Punk is capable of getting from the crowd. Hitting a fan favorite Hall of Famer is lowest common denominator stuff. Hopefully he’ll have a chance to do more with the mic to get everyone’s attention as his feud with Cena escalates.

THE JASON: We’ll see where they go tonight, but prepare yourself for 3 hours ending with Punk taking on Jerry Lawler in the overrun. Hopefully, they can wrap it up in three hours and 10 minutes so we don’t need to track it down online!

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Keep up with all of our weekly Monday Night Raw Warm Ups:
August 20th, 2012 edition / September 3rd, 2012 edition (coming next Monday)

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