Monday Night Raw Warm Up for June 24th, 2013

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Is Mark Henry hanging up his boots and retiring? Not at all, and he pulled off one of the most entertaining fake outs of all time last Monday on Raw. Henry only seems to be improving with age and we’re hopeful the trend continues.

Let us unleash a hearty WOO! as Monday Night Raw returns to Ric Flair Country and hits the North Charleston Coliseum in South Carolina tonight. WWE is coming off of two weeks of solid programming and a great pay-per-view with the new Payback event on the schedule. Last Monday’s show was rife with satisfying turns, twists and returns, but no wrestling program is without a few contentious moments. We’ll start with all the fun things that popped up last week and where they may lead.

THE JASON: C.M. Punk is back, sporting some mean muttonchops á la Wolverine. He’s a good guy again and solidified it by breaking up with Paul Heyman and then coming out to interrupt the new world Champion, Alberto Del Rio. Alberto’s a heel again. All is right with the world.

PTB: I’m thrilled to see Punk back on TV each week, but I’m afraid it may be too late for Del Rio to win me back. Regardless, it was good to see Punk back in a prominent spot taking on the World Champion, but better to see him wrapped up in what it means to be a “Paul Heyman guy.”

THE JASON: Punk and Del Rio were having a pretty good match. Del Rio takes the count out and gets attacked by spunky-good guy Dolph Ziggler while Punk is in the ring only to hear the ominous tones of BROCK LESNAR’S MUSIC. Brock sauntered out grabbed a mic and instead of cutting a promo, he dropped Punk with the F5 as if to say “I am the Sabretooth to your Wolverine and haven’t you seen my beard? It would devour your puny muttonchops.”

PTB: I keep forgetting The Wolverine is coming to theaters everywhere next month (with good reason after his last feature film), but Punk’s facial hair should serve as a good reminder until July 26th. I don’t know that I’m ready to accept Lesnar as anything akin to Victor Creed, Tyler Mane, or Liev Schriber, but I do like the prospects of a feud between these two with Heyman caught in the middle. It could even lead to Punk bringing Heyman over as a fan favorite right beside him when it’s all said and done.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dy1NOkjxbS8]

THE JASON: Mark Henry. Greatest fake retirement speech of all time? The only thing that rivals it is Scott Steiner’s fake retirement in 1999, but that led to more NWO nonsense, so I’m going with Mark. That man is great. John Cena was out doing his usual promo. In other words “Everyone here hates me, but for the 236 pre-teen boys, tween girls and single moms in the audience – this championship is for you!” Mark interrupted to do his retirement speech, allowed Cena to hang around and you knew that it wasn’t going to end well. Despite that, Mark made me think for a second that maybe he was retiring! Then – World’s Strongest Slam! Thank you Mark, that was awesome.

PTB: Unbelievably, Henry seems to only be improving with age. His run over the last two years with his “Hall of Pain” made for a fun ride, but nothing compares to last week. It’s the highlight of his career. The only thing that compromised it was seeing promos touting his return over the last few weeks, but even with those in mind it still seemed like his decision to step away was legitimate. Well played. I just hope we get more of this Mark Henry as the feud with Cena progresses.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxm5c2XBcXo]

THE JASON: Christian returns! Cesaro gets a renewed push! More Wyatt Family creepiness. I can’t believe that they aired one of the promos in the first hour. Kids should not see these guys!

PTB: It was nice to see Christian back in action. Hopefully they have something for him to do. Cesaro certainly suffered from a lack of direction heading into WrestleMania and a win after weeks (months?) of losses piling up is a welcome sign. Last week was too busy for a debut of the Wyatt Family, but I hope they can maintain their mystique once they arrive on Monday nights.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVJAAwSRv-g]

THE JASON: RVD is coming back. The world will explode if his tights and Ryback’s tights are in the ring at the same time. That has to result in some kind of universe collapsing temporal vortex. I’m kind of indifferent to his return. He looked really out of shape and had slowed down quite a bit in his run with TNA. Bringing him back in Philly at Money in the Bank is the right time to do it though. I may be the only person interested, but I wouldn’t mind seeing RVD join up with Heyman and try his luck as a heel. I think that if he is going to working a slightly slower pace, teaming him up with Paul could be an interesting way to go. I don’t see it happening though.

PTB: Didn’t you initially speculate that it’s only one pair of tights that can exist in multiple places simultaneously? I’m actually looking forward to RVD’s return though his eventual meeting with Ryback is more likely to produce an air brush wave than a temporal vortex. I think what has captured my attention the most is how much I enjoy RVD’s “One of a Kind” entrance music. I’ve forgotten a lot of RVD’s WWE run and it’s crazy that he’s been gone since before everything went HD.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAIfA3NV6oo]

THE JASON: There were only two negatives for me that I can really zone in on the whole show recently. The first was the progression of Punk’s about face. I think it is a given that everyone wanted to cheer the guy, but the breakup with Paul could have been drawn out a little more. When we last saw Punk he was smearing Paul Bearer’s ashes on The Undertaker, now he’s praising a Dolph Ziggler. They could have stretched it out a little bit. It reminds me of the emergence of the Alliance during the Invasion where it was WWF vs. WCW, then ECW pops up and by the end of the show ECW and WCW are united and Stephanie McMahon is the owner of ECW.

PTB: I have to stop you right there. I will allow no criticism of the ECW/WCW Invasion of WWE. It was awesome. The moment where the ECW crew makes their intentions clear is still one of my favorite wrestling memories of all time. Although you’re absolutely right about how quickly it played out.

THE JASON: Speaking of Stephanie… What was the point of her coming out and burying the entire Women’s division. First off, she towers over AJ. She is the Kane to AJ’s Daniel Bryan. I was OK with that, and I expected her to come out, but then the whole bit with lowering the microphone and telling AJ she could fire her at any time was almost as pointless as when she told the rest of the Divas never to interrupt her. Anything the McMahons touched on this show was kind of a waste. Why is Vince praising the Shield?

PTB: I do not understand the Stephanie/Triple H/Vince McMahon angle they’re playing right now. Having them at odds as to how the show should run is fine, but it got there from a weird spot after HHH’s in ring collapse and I don’t know how this is going to benefit anyone on the roster or the fans going forward yet they’ll likely have their hands all over the show again tonight. The biggest upside is that it’s decidedly anti-Vickie Guerrero.

THE JASON: Speaking of things I want to touch, oh look! Kaitlyn almost lost her top! Hahahahaha.

PTB: Shameful.

All photos courtesy of WWE.com. Read more about World Wrestling Entertainment on MyLatestDistraction.

Keep up with all of our weekly Monday Night Raw Warm Ups:
May 27th, 2013 edition / July 1st, 2013 edition (coming next Monday)

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