Wrestling's 4R's 07.06.12: WWE Monday Night Raw, NXT & EVOLVE 14
Posted by Larry Csonka on 07.06.2012
AJ made CM Punk and Daniel Bryan pay the price for disappointing her, Diamond Dallas Page made his return to Raw, the build for the Money in the Bank PPV continued and more! Wrestling's 4R's breaks down the Right, the wRong and the Ridiculous of WWE Raw & WWE NXT, plus a quick look back at EVOLVE 14!
How the 4R's of wRestling Work! Here is a quick explanation of the 4R's. The column will run TWO times a week. We will group our feelings on the shows in various categories: The Right, the wRong and the Ridiculous. The Right is stuff that worked very well: a great promo, a great match and so on. PuRgatoRy is a section between the right and wrong. It shows equal traits from both sides that cannot be ignored and need discussed. It is not a bad place per say, as things can get remedied or go the wrong way the very next week. The wRong is what it sounds like: bad matches, bad or boring promos and so on. The Ridiculous is stuff that had no right on TV: Stupid angles and so on. And there is always a possibility of a 5th R, which is as bad as they come. This column is supposed to be analytical, and at the right time very critical of the shows, it was the whole reason it was created. This is not a "mark" column, nor a "smark" column, our goal is to analyze the show from many different fronts, reward the good and call out the bad. We will not apologize for our opinions, they are as they are, whether positive or negative.
By: Larry Csonka
WWE Monday Night Raw 7.02.11:
- Kofi Kingston, R Truth, Santino and Christian defeated The Prime Time Players (Young and O'Neil), Cody Rhodes and David Otunga @ 9:00 via pin [**]
- Alberto Del Rio vs. Sin Cara - No Contest [NR]
- Sheamus and AJ defeated Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero @ 4:00 via pin [**]
- Heath Slater defeated Doink the Clown @ 1:30 via pin [NR]
- NO DQ MATCH: Big Show defeated Kane @ 4:00 via pin [*]
- Tyson Kidd defeated Tensai @ 0:20 via pin [NR]
- CM Punk and John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho went to a no contest @ 18:00 [***]
Reminder: I don't rate matches under three-minutes long.
THE RIGHT: OPENING PROMO: Raw's opening promo was the old revolving door promo. This is where we start with one guy, and then at the right time, another guy makes his way to the ring. And they rinse, and wash and repeat as needed to get what point they want across. They used John Cena, Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Kane and Big Show in this segment tat lasted around 17-minutes. The focus, was obviously on the MITB match as well as the WWE Title match, and overall I felt that they did a good job helping the build for those matches. Coming out of the promo we got the main event tag match, as well as the Big Show vs. Kane match, and it all made sense. It's a simple segment to run, with the right people, and as long as you do not do it too many times. Once you do that, it looses all power. This was a fine way to kick off the show, and I should note that Jericho and Bryan's interactions through out the segment and later that night were most excellent. Either fed them or put them in an odd couple movie from WWE Films.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Sin Cara: While the beat down immediately made people think that Sin Cara failed another wellness test, the simple fact was that they wanted to put over Del Rio as a strong competitor. Sin Cara is not in a program, and he is not in a MITB match. Del Rio is competing for a main title, and he is simply higher on the pecking order. The fact that Del Rio got to put the ass whooping on Sin Cara was perfectly acceptable here, and the right call at this place and time. I also think that the beat down and fact that Cara is NOT in MITB is very telling of his current position in the company.
PAUL HEYMAN IS GREAT…: In many ways, Paul Heyman didn't have a whole hell of a lot to work with here. They teased a response from Lesnar, which was changed to "Lesnar's camp." That meant that Heyman was charged with delivering the lame duck (or bait and switch as some have claimed) announcement that Lesnar would answer Triple H…at the 1,000th Raw. But Heyman was able to take the chicken shit as they say and turned it into chicken cordon bleu. The way he explained that Lesnar would be executing a death warrant and giving Triple H a way out was very well done. I know some will say that I am overstating things, but the simple fact is that Heyman is a master on the mic. The bottom line is that he was excellent here, and HE is the reason that I want to see the match. It isn't how piss poorly WWE has booked Lesnar, it isn't Triple H's half hearted promos, it is Heyman telling the story as only he can. Give that man a raise.
Heath Slater defeated Doink the Clown, Then Ate a Diamond Cutter…BANG: Another week, and another fun segment with Heath Slater and a WWE star from the past. With word of DDP heading to Raw breaking on Monday, I actually liked that they switched things up here with Doink. Doink is wacky, and the switch also allowed Slater to get a victory on TV. Sure it was only Doink, but Slater won and acted like he won the main event of WrestleMania. And then shit got real because DDP did appear. He came out, told Slater he did well, said let's do the diamond cutter sign together and have a hug, because brothers don't shake, they gotta hug. And then BANG went the diamond cutter. Slater continues to make the most of his limited TV time, we got the star appearance, we got to see Slater laid out in what has become a fun weekly segment, and all was right with the world.
CM Punk and John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho…and That Crazy AJ Chick: With Teddy Long as GM, you HAD to know that there would be a "TAG TEAM MATCH PLAYA" as the main event. It's the Teddy Long staple, and in this case it worked well. By booking CM Punk and John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho, we helped to build the MITB tension between Cena and Jericho, along with the WWE Title match. They ended up getting a lot of time for a TV match, and what we got was good as expected. The big angle was AJ coming to the ring, her music hit, she skipped around and when no one paid attention to her, she took matters into her own hands. She pulled out a table, set it up and climbed up the ropes. For a moment I thought the chick was about to pull a Sabu and jump through the table to make a statement. Instead what happened was Bryan and Punk begging her not to jump, which led to AJ shoving Punk onto Bryan and they crashed into the table. With Jericho and Cena battling to the back, I felt that it was an interesting ending and also felt fresh with her standing tall. It leaves a lot of questions heading to the PPV, and that's not a bad thing.
PURGATORY: Kofi Kingston, R Truth, Santino and Christian defeated The Prime Time Players (Young and O'Neil), Cody Rhodes and David Otunga: This was one of those matches that was the perfect mix of good and bad. The bad was that they tossed eight guys out there with not much of a plan, and that the match broke down into a cluster with the addition of Clay coming out. It just felt like they decided to throw shit against the wall and were hoping that some things would stick. But there was some good to come out of this. The Prime Time Players got TV time on Raw, and if they want to make these guys feel important and if they want to do something with the tag division, that is a good start. I also liked The Prime Time Players and Cody bailing. They did NOT need to lose here, or be out there while Otunga lost. Having them leave is like having them run away today to fight and run away again another day. They were effective chickenshit heels, which was fine with me. It was an OK segment, but again, I really liked that the Young and O'Neil (along with AW) are getting time on Raw.
Sheamus and AJ defeated Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero: For the most part this was fine as a match. Ziggler and Sheamus worked the majority of the match, and they simply work very well together. I really didn't need to see Ziggler take a brogue kick for the seemingly 700th straight match, but as Steve Cook would say, it is what it is. AJ getting the win set up the following segment with Punk very well, which is the main positive here, but overall the match didn't do much for me.
THE WRONG: Tyson Kidd defeated Tensai: I was actually very worried as we came back from commercial and Tyson Kidd was waiting in the ring for his opponent. I was even more worried when I saw that it would be Tensai. Generally speaking these are bad signs for the young lad already in the ring. Tensai rushed him and beat the shit out of him, but Kidd then got a quick roll up and snuck away with the victory. Tensai then killed Sakemoto once again, and once again, no one cared. Like last time, we have no reason to care for him, and after the first beating you would have thought that their relationship was dead. Apparently not. And then, just as they are about to give Tyson Kidd actual mic time, they have Tensai kill him. I hated this. They made a point to put over the victory as a fluke, and they also made the point to say that this was his first win on Raw in two-years. He NEEDED mic time, he needed to come off as a guy with an actual shot in MITB. Instead he came off as a jobber and a goof, and that is not the way to help out this young lad.
Big Show vs. Kane: While the match made some sense, that doesn't mean that it was any good. While it wasn't all that long a match, although it felt like it, it was basically passable. It wasn't goods, I have seen much worse, but I didn't want to see it at all. I have watched way too many Big Show vs. Kane matches, and they simply aren't a good combination. Once you're over the "OMG THEY ARE BIG" deal, there isn't much there. But the real issue I had here is that booking this match the way they did was counter productive to building the PPV. You essentially had Big Show squash Kane here, and don't kid yourself, it was a glorified squash. While it is all well and good to continue building Big Show as a strong super killer giant type of fellow, but do so at he expense of someone else. Kane is ALSO in the MITB match at the PPV, and maybe, just maybe they could have booked a match and finish that would have not made him appear to be such a bitch. That's the mistake here, is that they had to make it a NOW DQ and pay it off with a winner. I really wish that they would have booked a regular match and then would have just had it break down and throw it out. Unfortunately, I just didn't like what they did here, and felt that it didn't do much to build the match in a good way.
THE RIDICULOUS: NONE
At the end of the day, this was a show that was fine. It wasn't great, but it mostly made sense and there weren't their moments that you just look at as stupid. Some good wrestling, some fine advancement, and some curiosity for the PPV. That's not bad at all. I like AJ, I know that some people are getting sick of her, but they have booked her well. Her psycho character is great, she is playing it well, and the crowd is responding. The Prime Time Players got some TV time on Raw, which I like and to fill three hours, I really think that they need to not only rebuild the mid-card, but also the tag division. So we have some solid things going on here, and after several weeks of not enjoying the show, the last two weeks have been a turn in the right direction.
SHOW RATING: 7.0
As a reminder, I will be going by the 411 scale..
0 - 0.9: Torture 1 - 1.9: Extremely Horrendous 2 - 2.9: Very Bad 3 - 3.9: Bad 4 - 4.9: Poor 5 - 5.9: Not So Good 6 - 6.9: Average 7 - 7.9: Good 8 - 8.9: Very Good 9 - 9.9: Amazing 10: Virtually Perfect
HAS LARRY BEEN DRINKING WAY TOO MUCH ON VACATION?
"YES! YES ! YES! YES! YES ! YES! YES! YES ! YES!"
LARRY LOOKS AT EVOLVE 14
Thoughts on the EVOLVE 14 iPPV: Better late than never. Again, I lost power that night, so I had to wait to catch this. Match results below…
- John Siver vs. Jake Manning [*½]
- Chuck Taylor vs. Colt Cabana [**½]
- The Scene vs. Mike Cruz and Cheech [**]
- Style Battle Match: Jon Davis vs. Tommy Taylor [***]
- Style Battle Match:AR Fox vs. Bobby Fish [***½]
- SHINE PREVIEW BOUT: Sara Del Rey vs. Santana Garrett [*½]
- Johnny Gargano vs. Tony Nese vs. Alex Reynolds vs. Lince Dorado [***½]
- El Generico vs. Samuray Del Sol [****]
EVOLVE 14 was a fine way to kick off the weekend shows for EVOVLE. It wasn't a blow away show, but continued a strong of strong events for the company. I also felt that they structured the card very well, as it felt like a constant build to the finish, with everyone working hard, but not going bananas before the main event. Following already seeing the other shows, El Generico vs. Samuray Del Sol getting two matches over the weekend was the real treat, as they delivered two big time matches. El Generico may be the best guy working on a PPV medium without a contract right now, he delivers, period. Overall EVOLVE put on a good weekend, some of the undercard stuff was weak, and some of the other stuff could have been done a bit better (title match I discussed on Monday) but the product is sound. Unfortunately I am not sure if that is good enough. People are stingy with their cash, and "just another fun Indy" doesn't exactly command people to spend cash. Hopefully EVOLVE can really get some identity and buzz, because they have some great talent and it is an overall enjoyable product. OVERALL SCORE: 7.1
YEAR IN REVIEW (PPV) by Csonka: TOP PPVs:
* Chikarasaurus Rex: How to Hatch a Dinosaur iPPV 8.4
* DGUSA Open the Ultimate Gate 2012 iPPV - 8.2
* DGUSA Mercury Rising 2012 iPPV - 8.1
* WWE Extreme Rules - 8.0
* EVOLVE 13 iPPV - 8.0
* ROH Border Wars iPPV - 8.0
* WWE WrestleMania 28 - 7.9
* ROH Best in the World iPPV - 7.5
* ROH 10th Anniversary iPPV - 7.4
* TNA Slammiversary – 7.4
* ROH Showdown in the Sun: Night One iPPV - 7.4
* EVOLVE 12 iPPV - 7.3
* TNA Sacrifice – 7.2
* EVOLVE 16 iPPV - 7.1
* EVOLVE 14 iPPV - 7.0
* EVOLVE 11 iPPV - 7.0
* EVOLVE 15 iPPV - 6.8
* TNA Victory Road – 6.5
* TNA Against All Odds – 6.5
* WWE Over the Limit - 6.5
* TNA Genesis – 5.0
* WWE Royal Rumble - 5.0
* WWE No Way Out - 4.9
* WWE Eliminating Chamber - 4.0
* TNA Lockdown – 3.0
TOP PPV MATCHES:
* From The ROH Showdown in the Sun: Night Two iPPV –ROH Title Match: Davey Richards vs. Michael Elgin [****¾]
* From WWE Over the Limit - WWE Title Match: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan [****½]
* From WWE WrestleMania 28 - Hell in a Cell: The Undertaker vs. Triple H [****½]
* From TNA Slammiversary – Tag Team Title Match: Kaz and Daniels vs. Kurt Angle and AJ Styles [****¼]
* From WWE Extreme Rules - World Title Match: Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus [****¼]
* From DGUSA's Mercury Rising 2012 - Low Ki, BxB Hulk and Akira Tozawa vs. Ricochet, PAC and Mazaaki Mochizuki [****¼]
* From EVOLVE 11 iPPV – Fit Finlay vs. Sami Calihan [****¼]
* From WWE Extreme Rules – John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar [****]
* From WWE Extreme Rules - WWE Title Match: Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk [****]
* From EVOLVE 11 iPPV – Low Ki vs. El Generico [****]
* From EVOLVE 13 iPPV – El Generico vs. Sami Calihan [****]
* From DGUSA's Mercury Rising 2012 - Open the Freedom Gate Title Match – Johnny Gargano vs. Masato Yoshino [****]
* From DGUSA's Open the Ultimate Gate 2012 - Open the United Gate Tag Title Match: Chuck Taylor vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Ricochet and Masato Yoshino [****]
* From DGUSA's Open the Ultimate Gate 2012 – Akira Tozowa vs. Masaaki Mochizuki [****]
* From WWE WrestleMania 28 - WWE Title Match: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho [****]
* From The ROH Best in the World iPPV - Hybrid Fighting Rules: Adam Cole vs. Kyle O'Reilly [****]
* From The ROH Showdown in the Sun: Night One iPPV – Last Man Standing Match – Kevin Steen vs. El Generico [****]
* From TNA Sacrifice – AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle [****]
* Chikarasaurus Rex: How to Hatch a Dinosaur iPPV – Ladder Match: Gran Akuma vs. Icarus [****]
* From EVOLVE 15 iPPV – Samuray Del Sol vs. El Generico [****]
* From EVOLVE 14 iPPV – Samuray Del Sol vs. El Generico [****]
- Seth Rollins Defeated Jiro [*1/2]
- Jinder Mahal Defeated Jason Jordan [*1/2]
- Leo Kruger Defeated Aiden English [*1/2]
- The Ascension Defeated The Usos [**]
- Richie Steamboat Defeated Rick Vector [**]
- Antonio Cesar Defeated Dante Dash [**]
- Derrick Bateman Defeated Johnnny Curtis [**]
THE RIGHT: ROLLINS IS HERE: I was hesitant to see the guy introduced, and that didn't completely go away once seeing him since he seemed too much like Punk of the old, but at the same time he was able to look like his own person within the ring. I think after a few weeks, we'll see that he's not Punk-lite at all and will create a persona of his own, they just need to give him that time.
WHO TAUGHT MAHAL HOW TO WRESTLE?: The only reason why I put Jinder in the Right is because I've never done so before, and he deserves some praise. He looked vastly different in the ring this night than he has ever done since I've seen him. Still not great, but I have t applaud whatever he has done to make himself look better.
STEAMBOAT Although I can't help but think they are contradicting themselves by pointing out how DIFFERENT Richie wants to be from his father, yet accentuating arm drags and literally comparing shots of he and his father, I still will say that he has immense talent and even in this small fraction of a match, the viewer could see that.
PURGATORY: THE ASCENSION: I'm still not feeling these guys. This is just one of those things that will probably only be able to live on a show like NXT, and I like the characters for what they are. As far as wrestling goes, they seem so generic, and those frequent tags....they just make no sense to me.
TOO MANY CHARACTERS?: This week, we had an introduction to a bevy of characters. Typically, this would be fun, but there is such a thing as too much and I think they finally found that spot after tonight's show. They're ignoring quality for the sake of quantity, and I don't like it.
THE WRONG: NOTHING
THE RIDICULOUS: 7 MATCHES: This is just too much for a show that is 45 minutes long. If Larry were rating this, NONE of the matches would have star ratings. That's how short they were. These things don't create memorable characters and leaves the viewer wanting to change the channel, not wanting more. I think (read: hope) that they're doing this just to allow us to get a feel for the entire young roster, then once doing so they'll jump to longer matches and more intricate storylines, but I won't hold my breath. They can't be doing this, though. It's just overkill.
The very first episode of NXT showed lots of promise, but the wind was knocked out of said promise the minute I saw that there were 7 matches. There's simply on way one can create interest in a show that is 45 minutes long, has a RAW Rewind, and 6 freakin matches. I can only hope that this was a one time thing.
SHOW RATING: 5.5
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NEW PODCASTS: The 411 on Wrestling: Larry Csonka and Andy Critchell returned Monday night to break down the latest edition of WWE Monday Night Raw. The guys will discuss the build to the Money in the Bank PPV, the potential of certain performers, the possible doom of Sin Cara, Heath Slater doing a great job at doing the job, the fact that young AJ Lee continues to steal the show and much more. You can listen to the show at this link.
Thoughts From The Man Cave: The birthday boy Samer Kadi joins the Man Cave to discuss UFC 148. We'll spend 50 minutes on the main event between Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen, looking at the rivalry and breaking down the fight from all angles. We'll tell you what adjustments they need to make from the first fight and how/why both men can win before giving our officials picks. Then we'll spend 10 minutes looking at the rest of the card, but mostly burying Tito Ortiz. You can listen to the show at this link.
Thoughts From The Man Cave: Special co-host Todd Bergman and I interview Strikeforce fighter Jason High in the Man Cave. We'll talk to Jason about finally having a fight after nearly 10 months of being out of action, what he's been doing/working on during his time off, and his opponent next Saturday. Then we hit a number of other subjects with "The Kansas City Bandit" including his thoughts on twitter, this weekends Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen bout, TRT vs. Weed, Breaking Bad vs. The Wire, Childish Gambino, and more. Plus I try and book Jason's next fight. Make sure to watch Jason in action next Saturday against Nate Moore on ShowtimeExtreme at 8PM Est on the preliminary card of Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy. You can listen to the show at this link.