Monday Night Raw Warm Up for Night of Champions (September 18th, 2011)

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Before we get to tomorrow’s Monday Night Raw emanating live from Cleveland, OH, we’ll have to go through WWE’s next pay-per-view, Night of Champions. The show starts in a few short hours and follows right on the heels of last week’s Raw from Ottawa, Ontario Canada. As usual, that show spent a fair bit of time setting up the matches for tonight’s card, most of which are championship matches as the show’s title suggests, but it also featured an appearance by WWE Hall of Famer, Bret “Hitman” Hart. This certainly seemed to make the hometown crowd (and me particularly) happy and while we won’t be discussing it in any detail, WWE also brought back Edge and Trish Stratus for last week’s Smackdown in Toronto.

PTB: The opening goes to Alberto del Rio this week and it’s actually a welcome change, but that’s probably got more to do with Bret Hart being there than anything. Del Rio’s suggestion that Hart was like one of those “illegal Canadians” he hires to clean his house was one of his more memorable lines.

Brian: Seeing someone besides Triple H in the opening segment for the first time in over 4 weeks was great. We didn’t have to hear about that stupid text message!

Del Rio was great too, unlike when he was in the ring with Cena and Punk a few weeks ago. I was rolling when he talked about the illegal Canadians. As soon as they started talking about Bret in some sort of match, it all went south for me.

I know Bret is your favorite and it is great to see him back. He was one of my top favs too, but after his match with Vince McMahon at WreslteMania I lost interest in him. I wanted to remember Bret as one of the greatest technical wrestlers of all time. Instead, I keep going back to that fiasco.

PTB: Hart’s involvement has certainly been weird over the past year. I love seeing him there, but his storyline is really just teaming with Cena whenever.

Brian: The problem is that Hart can’t take any sort of bump, so what else are you going to do with him? I guess they are just trying to use him to try to get their biggest commodity over with older males.

PTB: I have to say, the del Rio/Rodriguez versus Cena/Hart match was fun. I almost felt like this was an episode of Raw that had “main events” separated along the lines of Triple H and C.M. Punk’s argument about the state of WWE. This match obviously represented Triple H’s perspective.

Brian: I wasn’t a fan of it. I didn’t see how Bret’s involvement added any value. I also didn’t like the fact that the match ended with a sharpshooter as the only offense for Bret.

PTB: I was fine with it since Rodriguez isn’t really there to be a wrestler and having Cena and Hart roll over him did no harm.

The Ziggler/Swagger tag match needed to happen this week to keep their angle going with Vicky Guerrero. There were just too many weeks of miscommunication and interfering. I liked the ending.

Brian: Great ending to the match, but as I said in previous posts, I would like Guerrero to start collecting guys to put together a monster faction.

PTB: Alex Riley made sense as an opponent but Morrison just felt thrown in there. I do like that Ziggler will be defending the US Title against Riley, Swagger and Morrison though.

Brian: Totally right on questioning why Morrison would be involved. I think it would be a great match even without him.

PTB: I do not like that Vicky was in action in the ring. Again, it’s too much airtime for all this without much progression.

Brian: Agreed. Having her in the ring does nothing to advance her storyline or Kelly Kelly’s.

PTB: So it looks like Miz and Truth will ultimately be called “the Real Truth.” I still prefer “the Conspiracy Theory,” but we’ll see where it goes.

Brian: makes sense for a name, but it appears WWE creative is not so creative with naming wrestlers or tag teams.

PTB: They’re still splitting mic time going after Air Boom and C.M. Punk and Triple H and I think a more direct feud would work better. It could be interesting if they try to oust Triple H by helping Punk at Night of Champions.

Brian: I really don’t like them going after the tag belts. If they are so pissed off about being ignored after being involved in recent main events, they should go after main event talent or somehow cause HHH to lose his COO title.

PTB: Jerry “The King” Lawler will become logarithmically less fun the more weeks we see it, but he’s helping to put over Otunga, McGuillicutty and Zack Ryder last week. I don’t know that Sheamus needed the boost.

Brian: I think the only reason Sheamus was involved was so that Zack Ryder could sell being attacked by Mark Henry on Smackdown. I’m not sure what good comes of this for Otunga and McGuillicuty though. Is a change in store?

PTB: Could be, but you think they’d capitalize on the fact that Sheamus is the reigning King of the Ring teaming with the King emeritus.

Brian: That’s what happens when you hire soap opera writers to book wrestling. No sense of history, no matter how recent that history was.

PTB: The audio for Mark Henry’s interview segment cut at one point. I immediately muted it when it came back to maintain the goodness.

Brian: I think I FFed through it anyway.

PTB: Randy Orton facing mid card champions like Dolph Ziggler and Cody Rhodes should be interesting, but I just zone out when the guy is in the ring any more. I can’t imagine what it was like for the live crowd suffering through his (literally) seven-minute entrance.

Brian: Was it really that long? Wasn’t paying much attention because all I could hear was my wife saying how hot he is.

PTB: It absolutely was, but it did span a commercial break. Michael Cole, Cody’s face was not surgically “prepared.” I would normally never nit pick like that, but the guy spends entirely too much time trying to point out other people’s mistakes.

Brian: He’s so horrible.

PTB: The only good thing in this segment was the Orton loss.

Brian: Totally zoned out as well.

PTB: So we get an extended video package for Triple H to remind us that he once wrestled on a regular basis and was awesome. It’s just too bad they had to go back pretty far to find his last big moments. The argument between Triple H and C.M. Punk is incredible though. They both make valid points about the business and Punk’s career.

Brian: HHH seems to be getting better on the mic week after week. I was almost starting to empathize with him.

PTB: It was great to hear Survivor Series 2006 from Philadelphia brought up. I remember both of us being thrilled at the Punk’s performance (and the rest of his team with DX and the Hardys) and their reception by the crowd.

Brian: Totally forgot about that until after he mentioned it. That PPV was horrible except for Punk’s involvement in that match and the reaction he got.

PTB: I particularly enjoyed Punk quoting Kurt Cobain with “I’d much rather be hated for what I am, than loved for what I’m not,” and the mics cutting out was great work. Laurinaitis and Nash are absolutely going to cause Triple H to lose this match and the COO position tonight.

Brian: Is Stephanie going to turn on HHH and be behind it?? Could John Cena be behind this in some way???

PTB: We may find out before the night is through, and Wolverine is hosting Raw in Cleveland tomorrow.

Brian: Hey, bub.

PTB: We also got an announcement that the TLC pay-per-view will be in Baltimore at the First Mariner Arena this year. I could help but wonder what happens in that building normally without and NBA or NHL team in town?

Brian: I think I went to an indoor lacrosse game there once. Horrible arena.

PTB: Ok let’s get real here for a minute, the Philadelephia Passion’s video package is so much better edited and produced than the Baltimore Charm’s. Also, what on Earth is this Light Strike that’s sponsoring tonight’s show?

Brian: ???

WWE Night of Champions begins tonight at 8PM only on pay-per-view. Matches scheduled include:

  •  R-Truth and The Miz vs. Air Boom (Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston) for the WWE Tag Team Championship
  • A Fatal 4 Way WWE United States Championship match featuring John Morrison vs. Alex Riley vs. Jack Swagger vs. current champion Dolph Ziggler
  • Beth Phoenix vs. Kelly Kelly for the WWE Divas Championship
  • Ted DiBiase vs. Cody Rhodes for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
  • Mark Henry vs. Randy Orton for the World Heavyweight Championship
  • John Cena vs. Alberto del Rio for the WWE Championship
  • C.M. Punk vs. Triple H in a no disqualification match, if Punk wins Triple H resigns as COO of WWE

Read more about World Wrestling Entertainment on MyLatestDistraction.

Keep up with all of our weekly Monday Night Raw Warm Ups:
September 12th, 2011 edition / September 19th, 2011 edition

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