WWE’s Monday Night Raw goes live in just under an hour and there’s no better way to get ready for it than to join us in rehashing the events of last Monday in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Being in in the Great White North, the Canadian fans showed their typical passion as well as their typical good taste in who they chose to cheer or jeer that so often agrees with our sensibilities here.
PTB: Last week’s show had a solid opening that put all of the major players in the ring together: Alberto del Rio, C.M. Punk, John Cena and Triple H. However, I don’t like that Punk versus Cena, the marquee match of 2011 that has headlined two pay per views, has already become a Raw main event match.
Brian: I totally agree. I love del Rio and think he’s great on the mic, but not quite in the same league that Punk and Cena are. I think we will end up seeing Cena/Punk in a tag match on Raw next week and then in a singles match on Smackdown. It will be the new Edge/Cena for 2011.
PTB: Let’s hope the booking is a little more dynamic than Edge/Cena was. Did Cena ever say who the one man that could go toe to toe with him was?
Brian: Cena said Punk could go Toe to Toe with him.
PTB: I completely missed that. I have to say, I like CM Punk’s switch to entrance music to Living Color’s Cult of Personality more and more every week.
Brian: I actually didn’t mind it from the beginning. It fits his character perfectly. I just miss his old music because it was just so intense and high energy.
PTB: I enjoy the song, but like you, I was missing the intensity of the previous entrance. Great mic work from Punk in interrupting Cena’s request for a title shot from del Rio. “You’re rematch clause exists about as much as Santa Claus exists,” was the highlight and the Canadian crowd gave Punk a strong reception.
Unfortunately, the del Rio/John Morrison match felt like filler even though both are great in the ring.
Brian: The more and more I see del Rio wrestle, the more I like him. He’s such a technician. Every move serves a purpose and he always focuses on a specific body part. I think everyone should watch him and take note.
PTB: We didn’t talk about the Divas last time around, but Beth Phoenix and Natalia Neidhart are shaking things up. Their promo suffered a little from the lack of mic time all of these girls get, but it could interesting. I was a little surprised they immediately paired Beth with someone after her heel turn.
Brian: The whole problem with the women’s division is time: lack of mic time and lack of ring time. In many cases, the women put on excellent matches. I just get disinterested when they are only 2 minutes long.
PTB: The Vicky Guerrero Family moved a little closer to becoming a reality (albeit with some controversy), but what are your thoughts on Alex Riley as a fan favorite? I’m honestly enjoying him more than I expected to, but I think a lot of it has to do with his ‘Crazy Train’ inspired entrance music.
Brian: He’s got decent charisma, but all I really like about him right now is his music.
PTB: Nash/Triple H at the start of hour two was kind of brutal again. It seemed they had skipped past things they needed to say to establish the tension between the two. It was better than the previous week, but Punk definitely rescued the segment.
It also looked like Laurinatis had have been removed in favor of Stephanie, and I really think that would be for the best. By the time the show was over it was clear that was wishful thinking.
Brian: I’m already tired of seeing HHH on every other segment of the show. Nash is just a shell of his former self as well. I think this whole angle is doing more damage to Punk than good because he has to carry everything.
PTB: Kofi/Bourne winning the tag titles may mean good things for the tag division, but again it’s just singles guys thrown together. It’s definitely an improvement over where things were and the announce team actually made a lot of points about how to get a tag team over that were similar to things we discussed last week.
Brian: I was going to say the same thing. I couldn’t believe that they were talking about ushering in a new tag team era with these two winning the titles. It’s just another tag team made up of 2 singles wrestlers that they have no clue what to do with. Neither of them do anything for me.
I also found it funny that JR said something along the lines of Kofi and Mcguiluty are new tag champs. It reminded me of when he used to confuse Jericho w/ Benoit and vice versa.
PTB: I feel like this was the first time we’ve seen Santino Marella in weeks. It’s nice to see him working with The Miz and R Truth, but just when I think this is a demotion for those guys, they use it to push their conspiracy angle and them not getting air time.
I think that’s one of your new tag teams, The Conspiracy Theory, and that’s the truth and it’s awesome.
Brian: I’m hoping that they use these guys as some sort of mini-faction. I really enjoy both of them, but can’t watch them get buried in a tag team.
PTB: The Cena/Punk match was fantastic and Team Canada came through with great energy throughout. However, Nash’s involvement in the finish was rough and I hate to see Punk out of the title picture.
Brian: Great match with a typical tune-in next week finish. I’m skeptical about angle they are setting up for Punk, but it could turn out good. I think having Nash involved is why I’m so sour on it.
I think the reason why Punk is out of the title picture is because he’s so on fire right now that he doesn’t need a title to elevate him. I’m of the opinion that the people should make the title important not the other way around. That’s why the Intercontinental title is floundering.
PTB: I couldn’t agree more. Before we wrap up, a few of the commercials caught my eye as the show went on including the spot for the Night of Champions pay-per-view. The graphics really appealed to me for some reason, even if a few of the images seemed awkward with the backgrounds cut out.
Also, OMG! The Top 50 Incidents in WWE History could be incredible. In Your House: Shot Through the Head has to be #1.
Brian: Pillman pulling the gun in his home is pretty high on the list. Pretty close. I still thinkIn Your House: Shot Through the Head was a great ppv title.
PTB: And the Super Smackdown Live we’re getting on SyFy tomorrow night? Is this testing the waters to get away from taped events?
Brian: Not at all. Just think there is something scheduled for Friday already.
WWE Monday Night Raw airs Mondays at 9PM on the USA Network. Tonight we should see more separation of the major players as John Cena will likely be completely focused on Alberto del Rio and C.M. Punk will have his sights set on Kevin Nash and Triple H.
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