Thoughts on RAW 8/29/2011

1. It’s Time to Play the Game

Once again, we have WWE COO Triple H opening the show and why not? He’s in the middle of the main issue that’s driving the company, after all. Interesting note: the brand split appears to be over. I don’t really mind as guys were showing up at will on either show anyway. The idea is sound, but they’ve never stuck with it for long periods of time. Still, there goes my put the Tag belts on RAW, put a Cruiserweight division on Smackdown idea. Damn them for messing up my armchair booking plans!

Anyway, the King of Kings calls Nash out, but as one would expect, it’s CM Punk that answers the call. Oh, is he as sarcastic as ever! Whoa, NWO music for Nash? I’m going to agree with some folks that I would prefer the old Wolfpack theme for him, but I can run with this. He’s been signed by Johnny Ace? The plot thickens. Kind of. Oh good, Triple H makes it official: CM Punk vs. Kevin Nash at Night of Champions! I’m sure that’s set in stone. Good segment. Nash did much better here than he has in previous weeks. Triple H leaves hating the world. Be careful what you wish for, Hunter. Punk is always good.

2. Non-Title: World Champion Randy Orton d. United States Champion Dolph Ziggler

Talk about making the most of an opportunity! This is a great match that’s like a rollercoaster with both guys getting some time. The reversals they use against one another are very good. I especially like the superkick Dolph delivered while Orton went for the Punt and Dolph getting a sleeper when Orton tries for the RKO. After a series of very close calls, the end comes with Orton getting a flapjack (someone help me, I need to know what this move is actually called) and nailing the RKO for the win. If you somehow missed this match, check it out on youtube; it’s a fantastic TV match. I said that Ted DiBiase looked good against Orton last Friday on Smackdown. If that’s so, Dolph looked like a star tonight. Seriously, Dolph looked like a future main eventer here.

3. John Cena Wants People to Come Get Some

Okay, I get that Cena doesn’t like WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio, but he continues to not make sense for his reasoning. How is Del Rio not a true champion? Because he cashed in Money in the Bank like eight other guys have? Since he did that, he’s defended the title against Rey Mysterio and has beaten both Daniel Bryan and John Morrison. You know what? I think he read something like this laughably awful list and just went along with it. No really, check it out. I’ll wait for you. Done? I hope that amused you as much as it did me. It had me shaking my head in disbelief.

Anyway, this segment is just to set up the main event for later tonight which is John Cena and Sheamus vs. Christian and Randy Orton. It is pretty cool to see Cena in there with these three guys. It’s different at the very least. Nice touch: when Sheamus runs down, Cena isn’t sure what to make of him and is ready to fight him and has a look of surprise when Sheamus sides against the heels. Once again, the little things matter. Mark Henry’s reaction to Christian bailing is pretty funny, too.

4. CM Punk d. The Miz

Very odd that Punk’s already in the ring when we get back from commercial and I can’t think of any reason for that. That said, you got to love The Miz for continuing his conspiracy storyline with R-Truth as he walks to the ring here. These two had a damn fine match, though I would say that it’s a step behind the Orton/Ziggler match (which isn’t a knock really). Anyone who still has the blinders on when it comes to The Miz needs to start watching more closely. He’s becoming quite the wrestler. Punk wins via DQ when Truth comes down and interferes. Punk is able to fight them off until Nash comes back out. The segment ends with Nash hitting the Jackknife Powerbomb. I’m fine with this as it sets up Punk as an underdog going into their match at Night of Champions. A match, need I remind you, that’s totally going to happen and WWE will not be changing that anytime soon. Right.

5. Sin Cara d. Jack Swagger

Yes, that’s Hunico once again and hey! Look, Ma! No botches! I have to throw that out there as I know there are those who will be wondering about such things. The match happened and it did its job: showcase Sin Cara some more and push the Swagger/Ziggler coming feud some more. Sin Cara wins with the usual, after a little Ziggler distraction thrown in. Jerry Lawler’s reaction to Sin Cara’s springboard somersault senton/springboard moonsault combo is funny and sad at the same time. Funny because he was surprised by the moves, sad because it’s obvious that he doesn’t watch Smackdown. I wonder if he knows that it’s no longer Mistico playing Sin Cara.

6. Tag Team Championship: Air Boom (c) d. David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty

Air Boom? That’s what they decide to go with? Please tell me a young child tweeted that in, preferably a Make-A-Wish kid. That’s the only way that name would be acceptable. Granted, I knew they’d never go with something like the Ghan-Am Connection/Express, either of which would have been an extremely cool throwback name, but still: Air Boom? Son of a bitch. And no, I’m not going to resort to gas jokes here. Not that they’re beneath me, far from it, but because we all made every flatulence joke known to man in regards to “Air Boom” within ten seconds upon hearing it. That’s not an exaggeration, either.

All of that said, I’m glad they got the rematch out of the way and I hope Air Boom (sigh) moves onto The Awesome Truth now. Another match with Otunga and McGillicutty would be as welcomed as a fart in an elevator. I told you I wasn’t above it. Lawler screaming like a little girl when Bourne hit a springboard plancha onto Otunga was pretty funny (almost as funny as the “WTF was that” moment a few seconds prior between the same two guys). I also kinda liked the former champs confronting Lawler on the comments he’s been making for about a month now. I have no idea where that will eventually lead (probably with the King winning some sort of match, of course), but at least it’s something. Oh, the champions get the victory when Kofi hit McGillicutty with the Trouble in Paradise.

I just read a story about McGillicutty asking Johnny Ace (behind the scenes) about being able to drop his stupid ring name and go with his real one: Joe Hennig. Ace answered by saying that once Joe started wrestling like an Hennig (alluding to both his father and grandfather), then he can use it. What an heel, even if he’s right many respects; Erik Watts anyone? Not that McGillicutty is anywhere near that bad. In fact, I can’t really tell with him. Yet.

7. Non-Title: Brie Bella d. Divas Champion Kelly Kelly

Another one of those, “Well, that happened,” matches and it’s a very short one at that. Nothing of note occurs, but the heels cheat with Twin Magic (one of the oldest tricks in the book) to get the win after Nikki switches with Brie to hit a facebuster on Kelly for the pin. Hoo. Ray III: Season of the Witch.

Okay, I think it’s becoming increasingly evident that they have no idea what to do with the Divas of Doom. Once more, they aren’t in a match or even getting remotely physical in any way, shape, or form. No, they’re backstage watching a match and complaining. They should be destroying the other Divas. Maybe not in matches all the time (as I realize that they need to prolong things as much as possible until Kharma’s return), but why not run out and interfere? Or even wait until after a match to grab one of the Barbie Dolls and throw them around? Something. Anything. I fear that all the momentum Beth had when she turned is now gone. Now, she and Natalya only look like jealous bitches (despite what they say) and they shouldn’t as they’re the best women wrestlers in the company!

8. World Premier: Inside Out Trailer

Oh, man, this does not look good. Triple H’s involvement has nothing to do with that assessment, either. It just looks bad. It’s sad That’s What I Am did so poorly. That was decent little Coming of Age movie. It’s really nothing all that special, but it’s a solid film nonetheless. Plus it had Ed Harris in it. Orton’s role was very small, but he did well and definitely looked the part. Its underperformance has made WWE shy away from such scripts and back to bland well, unfortunately. Punk’s Cannonball Run idea featuring WWE wrestlers looks more and more like gold now. I’d actually go see that.

9. John Cena and Sheamus d. Christian and Mark Henry

A very solid main event which featured the heels being in control of Sheamus most of the match as Cena is dying for the hot tag. I have to admit, Cena does a really good job in that role. He times things very well when it comes to cheering for his teammate and working the crowd. Did anyone else notice just how long the strings were tonight? You know, that string that you need to hold onto while waiting to be tagged in? Good lord. Anyway, a nice little match to close out the show. Sheamus leaping off the ring to give Henry a flying shoulderblock was sweet. Christian takes a Brogue Kick/Attitude Adjustment to give the faces the win.

10. What.

What.

11. Final Thoughts

I did enjoy this RAW; it felt different. In fact, it kinda felt like Smackdown in terms of pacing. We got to see different guys face each other and that was rather cool. The really only bad parts were the ever stalling Diva angle and the Inside Out trailer (that part is understandable, though). Alberto Del Rio was noticeably missing from the show. Here’s hoping that his paperwork goes through in time for Smackdown! All of that aside, this show did give us a PPV quality match between Orton and Ziggler, plus two very solid matches with Miz/Punk and the main event tag match. TNA likes to say “Wrestling Matters” in their promotion, but oddly enough, it’s been WWE that has been consistently putting on high quality matches on their TV programs when you compare the two. That’s as close to a fact that an opinion can get.

Now the part you’ve all been waiting for: my thoughts on CM Punk vs. Triple H. To be honest, I’m not sure what to think. Rumor mill is working overtime saying that Nash’s physical didn’t come out to WWE’s liking and they’re worried about his ability to take bumps. With his history, it’s kind of hard to blame them. As for where this leaves CM Punk, who knows? It’s definitely a monkey wrench into whatever they had planned. Does Triple H go full bore heel? Does someone else mess up the Punk/HHH match to, for all intents and purposes, take Nash’s place?

I’m sure we’re going to find out more on Super Duper Live Smackdown, specifically why the Board of Directors wants this match to happen. That’s some important information that we currently do not have. They could very well reveal that Nash failed his physical and his contract is now void. It’d at least make sense and continue the 4th wall breaking Punk has been doing lately. The biggest questions are as follow: did that little swerve create a reaction with you? Are you going to watch Smackdown to find out more? I’m willing to bet that for most people, including myself, the answer to those two questions is, “Yes.”

All pictures and videos courtesy of WWE, WWE.com, WWEFanNation (youtube) or otherwise stated on individual media items; it is much appreciated.

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