Monday Night Raw Warm Up for September 12th, 2011

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Last week’s Labor Day edition of the RAW SuperShow from Columbus, Ohio went a long way building up to both this Sunday’s Night of Champions pay-per-view and perhaps gave the first hints of what’s in store for the annual Survivor Series. Tonight’s show should put everything together for the next event and give the typical final word for what we’ll see on Sunday. Regardless of what goes down, it looks like the most interesting match on the card, Triple H versus C.M. Punk, will not involve a championship of any kind on a night where every match is supposed to be a title match.

PTB: The video package covering the whole CM Punk/Triple H/Stephanie/Triple H/Kevin Nash story was actually kind of fun, but WWE has always had good video editors.

Brian: The video packages always make the events look better than they really are.

PTB: Nash/Punk should be so good, but Nash seems like he’s forgotten how to talk. It’s almost like he’s nervous. Maybe Punk really is getting to him when he says Nash has been using “the same hair and beard dye since the first Gulf War.”

Brian: Great line by Punk with no good comeback from Nash. I don’t know what happened to him, but he just doesn’t have it anymore.

PTB: It might have been better to go straight to Triple H/Punk after the good things that went down on Smackdown last week instead of leading off Raw with Nash again. He just made these segments painful to watch. Clearly he’s not fired, but maybe this thing with Laurinaitis will go somewhere. On a completely unrelated note, it was interesting seeing his son play against the Eagles this weekend.

Brian: I’m still not clear on how this all plays out. Is Laurinaitis working to overthrow Triple H? Who is ultimately calling the shots? Does it have anything to do with the anonymous Raw GM?

It could be cool, but the way WWE books, they might just be making it up on the fly.

PTB: Jinder Mahal and the Great Khali are not a tag team. This is a joke. I’m assuming this was just a vehicle to split them up.

Brian: I don’t understand why Khali is still employed. He’s worse the Giant Gonzales.

PTB: And ‘Air Boom‘? Come on.

Brian: The Air Boom name is so bad and the fact that this resurgent tag team division continues to consist of 2 singles wrestlers paired together annoys the hell out of me. Where have the Usos been the last 3 weeks?

PTB: They were on Smackdown pretty regularly until the tag division was presented as a priority again. I keep expecting them to show up.

Miz and Truth get better every week. They’re a team I’m OK with in the tag division even though they’re not a true team. The problem is they’re after “Air Boom” and the main eventers and it’s almost too broad an angle. Tag titles going from one makeshift team to another is no fun and I’m sure they’ll go to Miz/Truth this weekend and then to Punk/whoever.

Brian: I really wish Miz/Truth would stay away from the tag titles and just work together to knock off some of the top players. You put the straps on them and you devalue those titles again.

PTB: Truth and Punk’s match was solid. The upside of a match like this is it gives the fans a real chance to cheer Punk against guys who are over as heels, but the arguing among the commentators took a lot away. My audio cut out right around the superplex making it was the best part of the match.

Brian: Michael Cole continues to take away from the product. He has no clue that his job should be to put over the people in the ring. At one point during the night, he said that announcers should be unbiased and not insert their opinions into their commentary. I almost threw a can of soda at the TV. Kettle, you’re black!

PTB: All they did was try to sell Triple H/Punk at the pay-per-view With Triple H’s match with Undertaker being his only match in what’s adding up to multiple years, is there any chance Punk/Triple H at Night of Champions can deliver?

Brian: I’m putting my money on no as I don’t expect HHH to deliver and the ending will be some sort of screwjob that you’ll have to tune into Raw the next night to understand.

PTB: They keep pushing Triple H/Undertaker as one of the great matches of all time. I remember we were both pretty disappointed with it. I might have to watch it again.

Brian: I watched it twice and that was enough for me. They both looked rusty and were winded early on. Definitely came up short after 2 solid matches between UT and Shawn Michaels the previous two years.

PTB: No DQ just means this match will be a bunch of high spots much like the WreslteMania match. Any chance Punk wins and forces Triple H out as Chief Operations Officer? I’d honestly love to see it.

Brian: I think no DQ will help cover some of HHH’s ring rust and allow him to go over Punk in some crazy manner without making Punk look weaker.

PTB: Beth Phoenix versus Eve with Kelly and Natalia on commentary was not an improvement on the Divas division. It was the short match you hate and Michael Cole did nothing to hold things together.

Brian: I think I heard Cole say “skull first” which is almost as annoying as him calling every finishing move “face first.”

PTB: Also, did Eve have any shot of winning this match?

Brian: None

PTB: Where exactly are Hawkins and Tyler Rex “starting something” as they mentioned backstage? And they want to team with Wade Barrett because of the Corre? Wouldn’t it have been better to invoke his history with the Nexus here?

Brian: Another tag team of 2 singles wrestlers. Great! Didn’t the Corre only last a few weeks?

PTB: Seeing Jerry “the King” Lawler in the ring was admittedly fun, but Otunga and McGuillicutty are awful. “Internet Champion,” Zack Ryder, however, got a tremendous reintroduction on Raw. I had never seen any of those videos, but it was pretty great. It may have gone on a bit too long at that point in the show though.

Brian: You know, I think Otunga and McGuillicutty pulled off some impressive double-team moves. I didn’t think they were all that bad this week.

PTB: Angie got to see that segment and asked if Ryder’s gimmick was indeed a parody of Jersey Shore or to be taken seriously. I told her it was both, and much of the best stuff in wrestling is.

Brian: I’m telling you, the Z! True Long Island Stories with his dad are great!

PTB: Randy Orton versus Heath Slater. Yawn. Now he’s a “one man Southern rock band?” He just moved to the bottom of the list.

Brian: Just the sight of Heath Slater annoys me. Nothing about him screams “Rock Band.” He looks more like a cartoon character.

And if I hear Cole say, “He hears voices IN his head.” one more time…

PTB: Apparently, Alberto del Rio is friends with everybody. Christian, Swagger, Ziggler, Barrett, Ryder, the Bella Twins??!?

Brian: That was really strange. No clue why the Bellas would walk up to him and be all over him.

PTB: Most of these guys hit the ring and attack John Cena, but Alex Riley, Sheamus and John Morrison make the save. Considering the heels those three were not so long ago it’s impressive to see the fans embrace them here.

Brian: They’ve been pushing Morrison as a face for a while now. Alex Riley’s face turn was booked very well. You just wanted him to turn on the Miz and it was pulled off nicely. Sheamus’ turn came completely out of left field. It’s surprising how quickly the fans have gotten behind him.

PTB: I was so glad to see that 8-man tag was elimination. It just makes it so much more interesting.

Brian: As much as everyone hates Survivor Series, I’ve always been a fan of the elimination tag format. I feel like it makes a match more exciting. Everyone has to be involved somehow.

PTB: I didn’t realize Survivor Series was a magnet for hatred. In fact, Survivor Series at Madison Square Garden sounds like a fun night. I got an email last week about advance tickets that said the Rock is scheduled to appear and the show is now sold out. Apparently he has over a million followers on Twitter.

Brian: I really have zero interest in the Rock. I think his feud with Cena took so much steam out of the Cena/Miz feud leading into WrestleMania. It was a huge distraction and really ruined the event for me.

PTB: The Miz really was lost in the shuffle there. So, is WWE Network a cable channel they’re starting next year? Or is this a rebranding of their On Demand thing?

Brian: I think this is an actual cable channel.

PTB: That’s a bold move. It’ll be interesting to see how it’s rolled out and whether it pays off.

Read more about World Wrestling Entertainment on MyLatestDistraction.

Keep up with all of our weekly Monday Night Raw Warm Ups:
September 5th, 2011 edition / Night of Champions 2011 edition

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