With yet another PPV coming up this week how did the WWE progress their storylines?  How did this Raw compare to those that disappointed in the previous weeks?  And most importantly, were CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Zack Ryder used correctly and prominently?

WWE Monday Night Raw 9/26/11

Triple H is out to start the show. I’m not counting but that’s probably 10 shows in a row he’s been in the first segment. I guess he still thinks he’s the biggest thing in the world. He shows a video that The Miz and R-Truth made threatening everyone in their way and says that is why he fired them last week. He says he used them last week. He also fines Mark Henry $250 K for taking out Jerry Lawler. Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler make their way out to finally stop him from rambling about fictitious money that no wrestling fan really believes in. Dolph complains about being punched by Hugh Jackman and sells the hairline fracture story that he talked about all week long to the media. Dolph did a great job turning that into a media frenzy by the way. Continuing the misfit opening segment, Cody Rhodes comes out to complain about Randy Orton hitting him with a ring bell on Smackdown. It looks like he has some legit staples in his head from it. He tells Cody to man up. And then Christian comes out. Christian is a very funny and entertaining guy. He always has been, but he really has been as of late. It must be his Canadian humor. He says it’s not his style to come out and interrupt people. Love his sarcastic humor. He complains about the Smackdown roster putting their hands on him last week. Triple H says “it was a lumberjack match idiot.” Christian threatens a lawsuit if he doesn’t get one more match. Trips gives him one more match against Sheamus at the Hell In A Cell PPV. He also books him to face John Cena later in the show. Then he books Dolph Ziggler in a United States Championship match with Zack Ryder. (!!!!!!!!!) Cody Rhodes puts him down as the COO and HHH books him in a 10 man battle royal for his Intercontinental Championship. Very good and entertaining start to Raw. It was comical while still pushing the idea that Triple H is getting frustrated by his COO duties. A lot of great matches are lined up. Will they turn out good? Or will WWE drop the ball like they did last week where every match was about 2 minutes long? Read on. (That wasn’t really a tease. I’m writing this while I watch, so I literally don’t know yet.)

10 Man Battle Royal for the Intercontinental Championship- Cody Rhodes (c) vs. Justin Gabriel vs. Daniel Bryan vs. John Morrison vs. Ezekiel Jackson vs. Alex Riley vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Ted DiBiase vs. Sin Cara (the original) vs. Sheamus. Time out. First of all there are 8 faces and 2 heels in this match. That’s different. I like it. Really makes Rhodes look like the underdog. The other heel is Drew McIntyre. McIntyre is actually on Raw??? This guy has been buried for about 6 months. After having the match of his life in the Elimination Chamber last February where he carried the match and showed great intensity, he hasn’t really been used since. Drew is a solid and believable wrestler. I’m very happy to finally see my favorite wrestler in the WWE, Daniel Bryan, on Raw. Nobody possesses the technical or submission based skill that Bryan has. Nobody in the WWE, and nobody in the world. There’s a reason why Ring of Honor fans used to chant “best in the world” at him. So here we go. Immediately the 8 faces target the 2 heels. Rhodes slides out of the ring and Drew McIntyre gets thrown out. Predictable and ridiculous. The heel Sin Cara pulls the real Sin Cara out of the ring and takes his spot in the match. Daniel Bryan immediately throws him out. The real Sin Cara takes the other one out but the referees won’t let him get back into the ring. I love it. Kind of a short segment to progress this storyline tonight. I want more of it. Sheamus eliminates Alex Riley and Justin Gabriel. Ezekiel Jackson eliminates Daniel Bryan and John Morrison. And with that this match officially sucks. So the best two wrestlers in this match are taken out by a jacked up, non over, midcarder at the same time? Ezekial failed as the Intercontinental Champion last month. His title reign was boring and pointless. Don’t use him to put over your Money In the Bank holder. What’s the creative point of that? Cody Rhodes eliminates Ted DiBiase. Then he takes out a charging Ezekiel Jackson. That leaves Rhodes and Sheamus for the title. Here comes Christian for the distraction. Rhodes hits Sheamus in the head with his mask for the elimination. Cody Rhodes is your winner and is still Intercontinental Champion. I like the Christian interference. Normally you would think that a guy would want a guy he is feuding with to be a champion so that he would get a shot. But in this case with Christian’s obsession with being World Champion it makes sense for him to totally dismiss the IC Title. Plus it gets him into the psyche of Sheamus heading into their PPV match. So the battle royal was a fun opening match…but the quick elimination of Bryan/Morrison is unforgivable.

Michael Cole tells us that Jerry Lawler is suffering from anal bleeding. Ok??? In the back we see David Otunga talking with John Laurinaitis. He talks to him about how he has a Harvard degree and knows lawyers. Possibly a new Christopher Nowinski like gimmick for Otunga? I’ve been saying for weeks that he needs to be by himself. I’m not sure about a nerdy lawyer gimmick though. I like the celebrity A list gimmick better.

Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres vs. Beth Phoenix and Natalya. A rematch from last week. Michael Cole informs us that anal bleeding is now trending on Twitter. Is that just a bad joke I don’t get? Anways, Phoenix and Natalya were IMPRESSIVE. A double gorilla press is something I may have never seen before. Natalya comes back with a very impressive submission that I can’t even name. And I can name everything. Eventually there is a hot tag to Kelly Kelly and she does her weak barbie doll crap. Beth eventually gets Kelly alone and hits the Glam Slam for the win. Finally. After burying them big time last week WWE decided to rebuild them quickly on Smackdown and Raw. They must have realized their mistake. Natalya probably stole the show for the night with her arsenal.

World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry vs. The Great Khali. OMG please no. First of all it pains me to write WHC in front of Henry’s name. Second of all I don’t want to see him. Third of all I don’t want to see Khali. And most importantly I don’t want to see two big men square off. Luckily I don’t really have to. Henry hits Khali with his title immediately and the match is off. This was officially a waste of time. It really didn’t put Mark Henry anymore over, and didn’t progress his feud with Orton either.

WWE Champion John Cena comes out to talk about his Hell In A Cell match at the PPV. Because the PPV was so close to the last one, and because the random triple threat match makes no sense, we have to listen to boring promos like this one that try to justify the match. The big cell is above the ring and Cena uses a bunch of bad nicknames to reference it like “devil’s playground.” Alberto Del Rio comes out to be on commentary. CM Punk also comes out to be on commentary with his old announcer’s jacket that Michael Cole spends way too much time talking about.

John Cena vs. Christian. Christian 3 times in one hour is an overbook. Del Rio tells Punk he looks like a clown. Punk responds “Your half naked, thanks for dressing for the job.” Best ever on commentary. Back in the ring Cena and Christian try to work way too fast. The match lacks psychology and comes off as a spot fest. The crowd doesn’t seem to care much anyways because they chant “CM Punk.” Cena throws Christian into the announce table. Del Rio attacks Punk. Then Del Rio attacks Cena which ends the match. Cena wins by disqualification. So that’s the best they could come up with to promote this 3 way match? Pretty generic way of doing it. Who out there watched that segment and got pumped up and excited? Nobody. That’s what happens when you have to spend the show plugging a bad PPV.

Oh radio tell me everything you know. Zack Ryder comes out talking to his camera while filming for Z True Long Island Story (which I will watch on Thursday.) Dolph Ziggler comes out with Vickie Guerrero and Jack Swagger in his corner to defend his United States Championship. I LOVE the stable entrance. Even though Ziggler and Swagger hate each other they still come out together because they belong to Vickie’s stable. That’s a very old school Million Dollar Man/Captain Lou Albano/Bobby Heenan thing. I hope it continues. Ziggler jumps on Ryder aggressively. Which psychologically is the way it should have started after his loss last week and the frustration from the opening segment. Zack eventually takes over and the crowd chants along at everything he does. He is super over. Vickie distracts the referee while Jack Swagger takes out Ryder. Ziggler retains the title. Swagger and Ziggler shake hands and attack Ryder. A weird explosion happens and then Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourn runs in for the save. What???? Why??? What do they have to do with Ziggler, Swagger, or Ryder? It doesn’t make any sense. And why would Swagger and Ziggler shake hands??? Their feud was just getting exciting. I’m sure it will progress more in the future and I don’t think it’s over yet. Eventually Swagger will go to help Ziggler and will hit him instead. It will blow up after that. Next, terrible Smackdown General Manager Theodore Long comes out to announce a 6 man tag match. Apparently Vickie has to find a third partner or it will be a handicap match. Which makes Air Boom’s run in look very planned. Weak writing again.

Zack Ryder, Kofi Kingston, and Evan Bourn vs. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger. We have ourselves a handicap match. For the third straight week Evan Bourn gets no offense and takes all the heat. I guess I shouldn’t complain about that again since its not going to change. Shouldn’t we have seen Ryder start the match with Swagger for redemption? Mid match Vickie Guerrero comes out with Mason Ryan. We haven’t seen this guy in months. And I’m glad we didn’t. It’s another overrated muscular big man, who is greener than grass, and has a limited arsenal. Ryan turns face and takes out Swagger and Ziggler. Ryder hits the Rough Ryder and pins Ziggler for the win. Two Ryder/Ziggler decisions in one night is a great and unique way to put this new feud over. And I love how Ryder is being used. Give him the United States Championship!  (Notice how I didn’t really comment on Ryan’s face turn?  Who cares?)

In the back David Otunga is talking to Vickie/Dolph/Cody/Christian in a circle about lawyer stuff. They all agree to stick together for a possible lawsuit. Very interested to see where this progresses.

The very talented Ricardo Rodriguez is in the ring to introduce Alberto Del Rio who comes out in a yellow ferrari. John Cena joins the commentary team. Because it was opposite earlier in the night, get it? The best theme song in the company “Cult of Personality” hits as Punk makes his way to the ring for the main event.

Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk. Cena uses more cheesy lines to put over the Hell In A Cell like “nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.” Gag. Pretty early in the match Punk throws Del Rio into the announce table. A little deja vu from earlier. Nice spot. Lots of nice reversals in this match. Eventual commercial break, which means the usual. Back from commercial break, and with all match psychology lost, I try to put the pieces back together. Punk steps on Del Rio’s foot for a counter. He is so smart. Lot’s of big kicks from both guys. Cena talks about momentum being everything and speaks of the Red Sox being on a big slide. That made me smile. Punk uses multiple head buts for a counter. He is so smart. His hair looks funny when it gets messed up. Looks like he’s wearing a pony tail. In the later part of the match it really picks up. Nice enziguri by Del Rio. He goes for his arm bar submission but Punk counters it with nasty kicks for the win. Not a big fan of that finish. Two kicks beats a number one contender? I would think that it would take more than that. The bury of Del Rio continues. The cell above the ring pointlessly begins to lower. Cena tries to get in the ring but Ricardo tries to stop him. Cena throws him in as the cell shuts. Punk hits the GTS on Ricardo and Cena follows it with an AA. Punk goes for the GTS on Cena but he counters. Punk counters Cena’s AA and Del Rio comes out of nowhere with a chair. He nails both Cena and Punk and punishes them both inside the cell. The show ends with him standing by himself and speaking spanish into the camera. Weird.

Overall? Ehhhh. Nothing special I guess. There are some entertaining and intriguing storylines going on right now but they aren’t being emphasized enough. I want to see more of the 2 Sin Caras. I want to see more of Ziggler vs. Swagger. Hopefully that eventually costs Ziggler the title and puts it on Ryder. I want to see Morrison and Bryan do more. I really missed The Miz. I miss R-Truth’s long crazy promos. I miss Punk speaking freely in promos. There is so much that they have to offer me that could make Raw amazing, but they just don’t produce it each week. Here’s hoping for the future.

Please feel free to leave comments about anything. Unless it’s a negative comment about the sport of wrestling, people who watch wrestling, or the realism of wrestling. In that case don’t comment. I encourage everyone else to comment. Until next week…

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