Monday Night Raw Warm Up for September 5th, 2011

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With tonight’s Labor Day edition of WWE’s Monday Night Raw fast approaching, it’s time to look back on last week’s show from Tulsa, OK. This was the first of what are being called “Super Shows” for both Raw and Smackdown that will feature talent from each brand on a regular basis. It’s an interesting idea that works at some points but fails at others. We also touch on last week’s special Tuesday night edition of the first Smackdown Super Show.

PTB: At the top of the show, Triple H announced the brand division was not in effect as Smackdown superstars will be on hand making it a “Super Show.” I thought this might just be for one week because of the live Smackdown on Tuesday, I think he said it would true “each week.”

Brian: The Raw SuperShow will be a weekly event “for the foreseeable future”. Tuesday’s Smackdown SuperShow was a one shot deal.

Apparently Raw’s ratings are dropping and this is the solution. I’m not crazy about it in the least bit. I already fast forward through 85% of Smackdown as it is. Now I’ll have to do it on Raw as well.

PTB: I skip through a lot of Smackdown, but there are wrestlers there I generally like. Maybe having new match ups will freshen things up. I couldn’t help notice the laptop is still out there, but what happened to the anonymous Raw GM?

Brian: The stand for the laptop is still there, but I’m not sure what happened. Do you really need an anonymous Raw GM when Triple H is out there every couple of minutes? I think they had big plans to reveal someone as the Raw GM and the week to week booking threw it on the back burner.

PTB: That sounds about right. Speaking of Triple H, the concept behind what’s happing with him and Nash is solid, but the execution is so bad.

Brian: I really don’t like the Nash/HHH stuff. I’m not sure if it’s because I can’t see where it is going or if it’s the fact that they are both so horrible.

PTB: Did something happen to Kevin Nash since he left TNA? Last I saw him before this stint in WWE he was fairly entertaining goofing around with those X Division cruiserweights and the Main Event Mafia.

Brian: To tell you the truth, I haven’t watched TNA or even fast forwarded through a show in at least 2 years.

I think part of the problem is that WWE scripts these guys so much anymore.

PTB: Nash is using the nWo theme music and there was an article about whether they were reforming on wwe.com. Also Nash allowed for some incredibly immature “chicken thigh” and “chicken butt” jokes on Monday.

Brian: I hate the use of the nWo music.

PTB: Punk actually manages to pick up the pieces of Triple H and Nash’s sloppiness. His acting sick was a big much but that was the point, and his remark that audience was changing the channel at that moment was really amusing. “Click.”

Brian: Punk did help the segment, but I even thought that Punk’s performance was off this week. The faking getting sick was what threw me off, I think.

PTB: Can Nash perform in the ring at all at this point?

Brian: I don’t know. I’m not sure when the last time he wrestled was. Either way, I think they’ll end up hiding him in some sort of tag situation.

PTB: Oh and the Smackdown interaction starts with Orton. Thank goodness they went to commercial to give him his seven minutes to get to the ring.

Brian: I liked Orton a lot when he was sadistic and psychotic. Now, I really can’t stand him. Maybe it’s the fact that my wife thinks he’s hot with the beard.

PTB: I’m sure that doesn’t help. Even though he got a chance to work with Orton, Ziggler has no traction as the US Champ. They tried to push him as a top champion in this match, but maybe he needs to be defending his title to show that. I also don’t get why they would book this match with a cage match for Orton on live TV the next night?

Brian: I was thinking the same exact thing while I was watching. They totally devalued the next night’s match by having this one on Raw.

Michael Cole had another brilliant commentary moment during this match. He says, “Remember, the only way to win the cage match is to escape over the top or through the door or pinfall or submission.” So, the only way to win is one of the four ways you just mentioned? Nice!

PTB: A Ziggler win there would have been nice. In the next segment, Cena is out to address his situation with Alberto del Rio, and things grind to a halt with Mark Henry’s Hall of Pain.

Brian: Every time I hear Mark Henry’s music, all I can think about is “Someone’s gonna get their ass licked!” I have no clue why this guy has been with WWE for as long as he has while other talented people are sent packing.

PTB: The promise of Mark Henry must be higher than we understand. That said, the prospect of Christian getting some mic time with Cena makes this “super show” business intriguing. Sheamus, however, is spectacularly not intriguing.

Brian: I have to admit, Christian being on Smackdown and feuding with Orton has left me not as interested in him and you know how big of a Christian fan I am. I think it is also due to the fact that WWE is doing their best to make him look so weak. 2 short tile reigns (one of which he had to win by DQ) and having him hide behind “a team of lawyers” doesn’t make him look too good. He could be such a great heel if they give him the chance.

I actually don’t mind Sheamus all that much. Not sure if this is because of the face turn or what.

PTB: Opening the second hour with Miz/Punk is smart but they cut Punk’s entrance to showcase Miz. These are the guys who should be working promos against each other. They also put on a solid match with absolutely painful commentary. It’s almost like they don’t even know what the outstanding questions are about the HHH/Nash/Laurinaitis/Stephanie/Punk/Cena/Miz/Truth/Christian controversy.

Brian: And I think you nailed another reason why I’m not digging the HHH/Nash/Steph/Laurinaitis situation. In many cases commentary would talk about the backstage segments during matches and sort of lay out possible scenarios that may come about. Nothing is ever said about the fact that Laurinatis went over HHH’s head and hired Nash or that Stephanie was in HHH’s office and asked Punk to go see Laurinaitis.

I also can’t stand these stinking commercial breaks in the middle of entrances/matches etc. It is my biggest pet peeve about the product. I watch the show to see wrestling, so why are you going to interrupt a match so that I only see about 5 minutes of a 10 minute match?

PTB: Miz/Punk was long and needed better commentary to hold it together. The commercial breaks didn’t help. Punk holding off Miz and Truth after the bell was awesome, I wouldn’t mind seeing this turn into a team or a faction with Christian… and then there was Nash. That powerbomb was his best performance yet.

Brian: I actually tuned out the commentary and was able to enjoy the match just fine. I think the Miz/Truth/Christian faction makes sense from the fact that these 3 guys have been screwed, but I would like to see Christian become a stronger heel on his own.

PTB: You need to tell me more about this Sin Cara situation here because from what I’ve seen since his return, I’d never know it wasn’t the same guy.

Brian: There has been tons of news on all of the dirt sheets sites regarding the fact that Sin Cara is now being portrayed by development wrestler Hunico. To me, it is very obvious it is a different guy just from the in ring style. The original Sin Cara was more polished (despite some of his botched moves) and smooth. Hunico tends to sell more, but I think he does it at the wrong times. I just don’t think he is a good representation of a luchador.

PTB: Admittedly, I didn’t see much of Sin Cara before the replacement, but it is a really weird choice to replace him. The Alex Riley promo should have been replaced by him in the match with Swagger instead of Sin Cara, but either way Vicky/Ziggler/Swagger do not need to appear in more than one segment. Especially not when it’s a “super show.”

Brian: I don’t get the friction between Ziggler and Swagger. Have Guerrero manage both and turn them into monsters. They roll over everyone and she adds more talent to her faction. End of story.

PTB: We get a tag title rematch with Kofi/Bourne and Otunga/McGuilicutty. I honestly don’t know if I’d recognize Jennifer Hudson if I saw here. This tag division is all talk. We’ve had the same guys for three straight weeks now. A new team needed to run in here.

Brian: Agreed. You can talk about how it’s a new era of Tag Team wrestling, but show it. See my comments from last week.

PTB: Wasn’t there both a Women’s title and the Diva’s title recently?

Brian: Unified at a recent PPV. I’m sure it was another 4 minute match because that’s all of the TV time that the women get.

PTB: I love that the marquee matchup for Night of Champions, Punk/HHH (or Nash for that matter), does not involve a championship.

Brian: There’s WWE’s horrible booking for you. This is all developing too quick.

Themed PPVs are such a bad idea. I get Royal Rumble and even Money in the Bank now. There is an incentive to win those matches. Other specialty matches (cage match, ladder match, etc) should be used to enhance feuds. You’d have 2 guys wrestle a bunch of times. Let’s have a cage match to freshen things up and act as the culmination of the feud. Nope, we’re going to have a TLC match just because it’s December. Dumb!

PTB: The main event was not much to speak of. Punk/HHH after was far more interesting.

I always like to talk about the ads, and there were a bunch of them this week. Inside Out… the only thing that caught my attention was that Triple H was billed as Paul “Triple H” LeVesque.

Brian: I don’t even remember what the main event was.

PTB: The Orton DVD contains over 4 hours of entrance material.

Brian: The commercial hasn’t even ended yet due to the long entrance.

PTB: To wrap things up, I skimmed through SuperSmackdown featuring Orton v. Christian for the sixth time. Michael Cole called it a balanced rivalry, and it actually kind of is, but six times? Come on. And it would have been nice to see Christian win that match.

Cena was funny in the opening but I was really looking for the HHH/Punk segment you mentioned was on the show. The contract signing was actually great. Great mic work from two guys you expect to do great mic work, and the best part is it all reflects the split in the audience and their tastes fairly accurately. I’m with Punk as a fan, but I get the other side.

Brian: This segment was light years better than anything we’ve seen so far. I started to see HHH’s point of view, which was awesome. I still believe in everything Punk says and enjoy him way more, but the other side of the fence actually fought back this time which was cool.

PTB: And I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but Nash has been more valuable in the ring than on the mic since returning. It’s astounding, but mostly since the mic work has been so sloppy.

Now I just hope there’s not some swerve coming where Nash is working with Punk, because Nash did cost him him the WWE title.

Read more about World Wrestling Entertainment on MyLatestDistraction.

Keep up with all of our weekly Monday Night Raw Warm Ups:
August 29th, 2011 edition / September 12th, 2011 edition

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