This recap and analysis of WWE’s Monday Night Raw are the personal opinions of the writer. The author of this article is a former promoter, writer, and referee in the wrestling industry. You won’t find analysis as accurate as this anywhere else on the internet.
WWE Monday Night Raw Results 5/21/12 from Richmond, VA
Raw beings with John Cena coming to the ring. I’m not positive, but I think that’s the first time he’s ever started the show…. Ugh this is going to be another long night. Cena is angry so he walks quickly to the ring. He’s shouting what the hell, what the hell, what the hell. He stutters like Rainman while trying to spit out that Laurinaitis beat him. So he recaps what happened at the PPV, where The Big Show turned heel and helped Laurinaitis win. In what turns out to be a very long promo, Cena continues to ramble. Cena wants anyone else to be GM. He tries to make jokes and impersonate Michael Cole and the old anonymous GM. He says Laurinaitis will come out and talk about some crappy new plan, the next PPV, and People Power. Eve Torres comes out. Cena says “John you got really hot, but you still suck.” Isn’t that awkward for him to say while he’s going through a divorce? Eve introduces Laurinaitis, who comes out on an old man scooter. Laurinaitis gets up and is walking with crutches. He says he was rushed to the hospital after their match. He names off multiple injuries that he has including nerve damage. He says he proved he’s a fierce competitor. Nobody is allowed to lay a finger on him now.
Laurinaitis introduces Big Show and says that he will face Cena at the next PPV No Way Out. He says he rehired Big Show on Saturday. Saturday? Saturday John? Really? Because the angle was that nobody under contract was allowed to interfere in the match. That was the entire purpose behind The Big Show firing. Laurinaitis just made that entire storyline not make any sense with one stupid mistake. That was terrible. Terrible wrestling shows start at the top with management. Now we have an idea of why this show is booked so horribly. Now let’s have a vote. Raise your hand if you want to see Cena vs. Big Show!!!!! Nobody? Damn. Me neither. Big Show gives a predictable promo explaining why he did what he did. He needed his job back. He yells at the people in heel fashion. How dare they judge him. Weak promo that really didn’t tie in anything. David Otunga’s music hits. A forth person is going to talk. Sweet, more promos. I’d much rather see promos than wrestling….Otunga says Cena will lose to him. Cena tells him to go watch re-runs of Law and Order and that he will hurt him. Otunga dedicates the match to Laurinaitis then poses as we go to commercial.
John Cena vs. David Otunga- Cena charges Otunga, who goes for an immediate rope break. Then it happens again. Cena chases him around the ring, but Otunga stays out of his reach. Cena gets angrier. Eventually Otunga catches Cena when he dives back in the ring and pounds him on the mat. He turns around to pose to Laurinaitis and Eve, then turns into Cena. Cena hits a clothesline, Attitude Adjustment, and STF. Otunga taps out. Cena wins. Tyler Reks, Curt Hawkins, Titus O’Neil, and Darren Young jump Cena out of nowhere. Sheamus’ music hits. He comes running down the aisle and nails Laurinaitis on the way down. Sheamus hits the ring and cleans house. The 4 rookies bail to the outside. What does Sheamus have to do with Cena, Laurinaitis, or this angle? Once again…lazy way to book things. The writers don’t understand that they have to find a way to tie these things in instead of just having guys run out. Laurinaitis yells at his rookies and says he didn’t give them permission to attack Cena. Laurinaitis makes a handicap, lumberjack, tag match. He doesn’t name their opponents.
And now it’s time for another WWE writers discussion. So how do we start Raw tonight? How about with wrestling? Nah, people don’t want to see that. Well, I hear people liked Bryan vs Punk, so why don’t we start with them? Nah, people were only raving about that match because they didn’t yet see what we had planned for Cena vs Laurinaitis. Yeah your right, we did a great job booking that. Everyone pat yourself on the back all at once…pat…pat…pat. So let’s start Raw with those two guys! And then we can bring in The Big Show! And it will be like having everyone’s dream feud of Cena vs Big Show, plus some of the Cena vs Laurinaitis flavor thrown in there. That’s a gigantic flavorful Cena, Big Show, Laurinaitis, dreamy, sandwich full of storyline. It’s going to be epic! The whole world won’t be able to wait until No Way Out because Big Show vs Cena will be the most anticipated match of all time. I mean, we had Big Show turn on him, and NOBODY saw it coming! They won’t be able to wait for the followup! We are geniuses. Everyone pat yourself on the back again…pat…pat…pat. So let’s have Cena wrestle two times tonight. Oh…my…god…that’s the greatest thing I’ve ever heard. Now we can start and end the show with it! We can give Cena two long 20 minute matches to really put over his angle! No no no, I have a better idea. Let’s make the first match 3 minutes. Because people don’t really want to see the wrestling anyways. The less wrestling and more storyline we give them, the happier they will be. I love it! Beautiful. All in favor say I……IIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!!
Ricardo Rodriguez is in the ring to announce Alberto Del Rio. Santino Marella interrupts and comes to the ring. Apparently they have an internet feud happening on one of those terrible WWE Youtube shows. Santino does the normal comedy spiel and says that Ricardo has a bad accent. They have a battle rolling their rrrrrrrr’s. They go back and forth for awhile until Santino scares him with the Cobra glove. Ricardo’s arms are stuck in his jacket. So Santino hits him with the Cobra. Damn that was stupid. Santino introduces Alberto. He says he’s the only man who drove his car into the building tonight. He rolls his rrrrr’s really long. I really don’t know how to begin to explain how pointless and retarded that was. I feel dumber having watched that. Who the hell was the target audience for that? 5 year olds? Seriously. Was it 5 year olds? I really want to know. Because nobody that has ever gone through puberty would laugh at or be entertained by that. I’d rather watch a terrible Adam Sandler comedy than sit through that again. Bring on Jack and Jill or Zohan. Anything but adolescent Santino comedy sketches.
Del Rio never comes out after being introduced. Instead they cut to Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler who talk about Raw setting a milestone. I’m incredibly confused. Why did he introduce Del Rio if he didn’t come out? Instead we get this promo talking about the 1000th episode of Raw. Then Cole and Lawler talk about Raw going 3 hours permanently. Yes, 3 hours. It’s been hard enough to sit through 2 hours of this crap. Finally Del Rio comes to the ring. About 3 minutes after he was introduced. Santino power walks to the back as we go to commercial. After the break Michael Cole tries to cover Laurinaitis’ stupidity from earlier in the night. He says that Big Show and Laurinaitis had a verbal agreement on Saturday and that the contract wasn’t reached until Monday morning. Uh huh….right. He already made a mockery out of that worthless storyline, so just let it go please.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Randy Orton- Tie up to start. Del Rio pushes Orton into the corner and stomps him. Orton counters with punches, a body slam, and misses a knee drop. Kick to the head by Del Rio. He throws his forearms into the head of Orton. Very nice way to ground and pound. He goes for an arm breaker, but Orton moves out of the way. Stomps to the body by Orton. He pushes Del Rio into the corner and uses a couple of punches on the turnbuckle. Orton goes for the hanging DDT through the ropes, but Del Rio rolls through, sends Orton to the outside of the apron, kicks him in the shin, and guillotines his head down to the mat. That’s the commercial spot. Good start to the match. Del Rio is very good.
Back from break Orton is in an arm bar. Orton fights up, but he’s caught in the arm breaker that Del Rio attempted earlier. Del Rio continues to work the shoulder with kicks and leaping elbow drops. Obviously the psychology is Del Rio wearing down the shoulder for the Cross Arm Breaker submission. Del Rio charges at Orton, but he moves, and Del Rio falls through the ropes to the outside. Del Rio re-enters the ring but is caught in a snap power slam. Hanging DDT through the ropes by Orton. I like how both guys are adapting to each other’s styles and are eventually hitting the moves that they failed in the early going. Orton sets up for the RKO, but Jericho hits the ring and delivers a Code Breaker. I’m usually very happy to see Jericho, but I was actually liking this match. It’s rare to get a good match on Raw. They finally produce one, and then they ruin it by shortening it and having a run in. Figures. Typical Raw booking staff. At least Orton didn’t go for any covers after cheap moves. Someone must have paid attention to this article and put a stop to it.
Jericho gets on the mic and shouts “I am the best in the world at everything I do” multiple times. He hits another Code Breaker on Orton. He picks up the mic again and shouts some more. Jericho has appeared to have snapped through frustration in his constant losing. He was pinned at the PPV by Sheamus because of an Orton RKO. Jericho picks Orton up and delivers a 3rd Code Breaker. It’s about time they decide to give him a viscous streak and progress his character. Once again, it’s a lazy way to start an angle, but I’m sure Jericho will find a way to make the angle work. Every prolonged storyline he is in turns out to be epic. That’s his gift to wrestling. Overall, decent match that was ruined. It’s not surprising that Raw is no good tonight. My hopes weren’t up. This is why the ratings are way down. Last week’s show were the lowest ratings since January.
Daniel Bryan comes to the ring. No yes chants. He’s angry. Just like Cena was angry. Just like Jericho was angry. The angry thing was pretty much the only thing that the writers could think of tonight I guess. Bryan says he should be WWE Champion. He shows the footage. CM Punk taps as Bryan is pinned to the mat. It was a simultaneous finish. It’s question and answer time with Daniel Bryan!!!! Did he make CM Punk tap out? YES!!! Should he be WWE Champion? YES!!! Will he make CM Punk tap out again? YES YES YES YES YES!!! The crowd sucks. They chant no. Richmond must be a stupid mark town. CM Punk’s music hits. King says he’s never seen footage as doctored as what Bryan just showed. Really? That was actual footage. Turn heel again. Your stale Lawler.
Punk puts over the match saying that it was amazing. And yes it was. It was the only reason why I didn’t want my money back. Punk shows his own clip from Smackdown. Bryan hit Kane with a chair and made him believe it was Punk that did it. The Smackdown writers are so much smarter than the Raw ones. Smackdown is a much better show period. CM Punk introduces Bryan to his opponent tonight. It’s Kane. Does this mean Kane has just turned face? That would be awful. But then again, him as a heel is awful. There probably isn’t anyone in the history of wrestling that has turned as much as Kane has. CM Punk is on commentary. Thank god. Shut Lawler up.
Daniel Bryan vs. Kane- Bryan starts the match with shin kicks to Kane. Kane comes back with a big boot. He throws Bryan into the corner and pounds away at him. Irish whip into the other corner, followed by the predictable running clothesline. He tries to do the spot again, but Bryan moves. Bryan runs at him with a running dropkick in the corner. Kane grabs his throat, but Bryan sends him to the outside. Suicide dive by Bryan. CM Punk gets off headsets, grabs a chair, and attempts to hit Kane. Bryan stops him. Kane gets up and catches Bryan with the chair. Kane beats on Bryan with the steel chair. He throws him back in the ring and uses a chokeslam. Not even Punk on commentary can save this garbage. Another chokeslam. Punk goes into the ring. He locks in the Anaconda Vice. Punk does the YES chant. There’s only one way for me to deal with what just happened…
And now it’s time for another WWE writer’s discuession. Hey did you guys see what the Smackdown writers did last week? Yes, wow…how did they ever think of that? I have no idea…that’s much too advanced for me. But we should do the same thing on our show! Great idea! I think its better to reuse ideas instead of coming up with new ones anyways. People are always expecting something new. So when we give them the same thing over and over, they won’t see it coming. That’s the best way to surprise people! Then if we never do anything new or different, we never have to stress over thinking about what to do! Awesome idea. The people love everything we do anyways. The ratings are through the roof so I don’t think we should change anything. And I’m not talking about those stupid Nielsen ratings either, because they don’t really mean anything….I’m talking about the gold stars that Vince McMahon hangs up on our bulletin board beside our names. We got a lot of gold stars last week! So even though less people watched the program, we are encouraged to keep doing things the same way we are doing them right now. I have a question though. Do you guys know that there are people online who really don’t like what we are doing and want different things? Like what? Like more wrestling, more Zack Ryder, more Daniel Bryan, and different ideas? (Everyone laughs.) Internet fans? What do they know? There are only like 100 of them. How many people do you see in the crowd with computers? I don’t see any. I do see children though. And children don’t like Daniel Bryan. So less of him. In fact, let’s have Kane beat him up. Because the audience chants NO at him. So that means people hate him. And why would you want to see wrestling? That’s boring. That means that those guys have to try to entertain the fans themselves. They aren’t capable of that. We have to come up with all the ideas to entertain people. What would Daniel Bryan or CM Punk know about entertaining people? They don’t write this stuff. We do. We are the idea thinkers. They’ve never written anything. All Bryan has written is a one word catch phrase that the people only say to mock him. Thank goodness we had the idea to put it on a shirt and save his career. I’m actually getting mad thinking about how the internet fans want to see those guys. Since they are the minority, we are giving Bryan and Punk 5 minutes tonight. And one of them is getting taken out by Kane. The other doesn’t get to wrestle. He can talk on headset. We need more time for Cena vs Big Show anyways. All in favor say I. IIIIIIII!!!!!!
AJ walks up to CM Punk in the back. She says she liked watching Punk beat up Bryan. He calls her sadistic. She starts to go a little psycho. He tells her that shes the one that’s been acting like a fool. She begins to cry hysterically. Punk isn’t really sure how to deal with it. He pets her head and tells her everything is going to be okay. She randomly stops crying and smiles. Punk says he sort of digs crazy chicks. He walks away and she starts crying again. Loved it! As I’ve been saying, this is the best storyline in the company right now. AJ is doing a great job. That skit was funny. I finally laughed. Hell, I finally smiled. Can’t wait to see more. AJ and Eve are the only Diva’s who are relevant right now. The rest of the division is crap. But I do like Alicia Fox a lot as a wrestler. And Beth is pretty good…but she’s buried.
Intercontinental Champion Christian vs. Jinder Mahal- Christian is now a face. He is also now the Intercontinental Champion after beating Cody Rhodes at Over the Limit. Tie up to start. Jinder throws his knee into Christian and shoots him off the ropes. Christian rolls through and uses a reverse DDT. Missle dropkick off the top rope. Mahal recovers and back body drops Christian over the top rope to the outside. He pulls him back in and throws his knees into Christian’s chest. Double underhook suplex by Mahal. Actually a decent match. Cole and Lawler and making jokes about Booker T and are laughing. None of this is relevant to the match. Can you believe that they actually did the same crap during the Punk vs Bryan match at Over the Limit? What the hell is their problem? I’d rather hear no commentary at all. You don’t have to make jokes and undermine everything that happens. It’s usually appropriate because the shows are typically a joke, but you can’t do it during good wrestling. You definitely can’t do it during excellent wrestling.
Anyways, Christian uses a sunset flip off the top rope after a few counters. A reversed Irish whip results in a Christian clothesline. Mahal powders to the bottom rope. Christian jumps over the top rope and down to the floor, where he hits an uppercut. Reverse spinning elbow off the top rope by Christian. He sets up for the Killswitch, but Mahal reverses and uses a running upper knee lift. Mahal goes for the Camel Clutch, but Christian rolls through his legs, and hits the Killswitch. Christian goes to the top rope and uses a Frog Splash for the win. Decent little match. Very surprised. I know Christian can work well because of his time in TNA working with guys like AJ Styles. He really adapted to their style. Mahal was actually impressive too. Pretty good arsenal with decent power moves. I don’t understand why Christian needs to do a Frog Splash though. He doesn’t need that in his arsenal. It doesn’t really make sense for him. And the move didn’t look that great anyways. He doesn’t need a new finisher. The Killswitch is already original and pretty good.
Kelly Kelly vs Beth Phoenix- Kelly is on Maxim’s hot 100 list. Who cares. So does that mean shes going to get an in ring push? Because a magazine has a lot to do with in ring ability. Beth starts the match with a Thesz Press. She stomps Kelly, uses a body slam, elbow drop, and knee drop. That’s a two count. Layla is watching through a monitor in the back. Kelly fights back and kicks Beth in the head. Hurricanrana by Kelly for a two count. She runs at Beth but is cut off by a clothesline. Beth pulls her hair and back bumps her with the pull. Short whip into the corner followed by a missed running splash. Thesz Press by Kelly followed by a running head scissors. That sends Beth into the corner. Kelly goes for her flipping back elbow, but Beth forearms her in the back of the head on the impact. Spot of the night. Glam Slam. 1-2-3. Beth wins. Thank god. Not so buried anymore. They show Layla again like one person actually cares. Her mother probably doesn’t even want to see her.
Lumberjack Handicap Match: World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus and John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, and Lord Tensai w/ Vickie Guerrero and Sakamoto- All of the lumberjacks are heels. Sheamus and Ziggler start. Tie up. Back arm drag by Sheamus. Second tie up. Front arm drag into a wrist lock. I don’t see what happens next because they show Laurinaitis come out. Ziggler hits a dropkick then Sheamus uses a back body drop. Swagger and Cena are tagged in. Swagger wrestles Cena to the mat with a waist lock take down. He show boats with push ups. Cena comes back with a clothesline. Time out. Question. Why isn’t Cena on fire like he was earlier? What changed? Earlier he aggressively ran at Otunga. Now he’s walking into tie ups? Doesn’t make any sense for his character to change that quickly in one night. Moving on. Tensai is tagged in. Cena tries to tie up again…..but Tensai back elbows him instead. I absolutely love that spot. Tensai pounds him in the corner and tags Swagger. Swagger goes for a Swagger Bomb, but Cena moves.
Hot tag to Sheamus that really wasn’t worked up. Sheamus uses clotheslines, a shoulder thrust in the corner, high knee lift, and body slam. Two count after Ziggler jumps in. Sheamus throws him over the top to the outside. The heel lumberjacks don’t touch him. Tensai comes in as he and Sheamus fire back and forth at one another. Typical big men battle. Tensai throws Sheamus to the outside. Sheamus takes out all of the lumberjacks with punches and a dive off the steps. Jericho catches him from behind and tosses him back in to Tensai. Tensai headbutts him and tags Swagger. Referee distraction results in Ziggler’s illegal interference. Tag to Tensai, who twists away at Sheamus’ head. Looks like they are working towards another hot tag. But this one is actually being built up. They randomly cut to commercial. There wasn’t really a commercial spot there that took them to break. That’s rare. I like it though. Doesn’t make it look so pre determined. I’m not a big fan of commercial spots.
Back from break Swagger has Sheamus in a front headlock. Sheamus fights out and misses a Brogue Kick. Swagger counters into an ankle lock, drags Sheamus across the ring, and tags Tensai. Tensai sends Sheamus head first into the turnbuckle, then hits him with a running splash from behind. He sends Sheamus to the outside floor. All of the lumberjacks just stand there and begin to pick Sheamus up like they didn’t know what to do. These are guys like Reks, Hawkins, O’Neill, Young, and Hunico. Jericho, who is the only smart one, comes running and attacks Sheamus with punches. Because that’s the idea behind the match. When the face is dumped to the floor the heels are supposed to attack. If your in a real fight and someone you don’t like is on the ground you attack. You don’t just stand there and pick them up. Thank god Jericho is brilliant. He’s the only guy that understood this simple psychology and pounced on the guy. God he’s good. All these new rookies aren’t sitting too well in my book so far.
They toss Sheamus back into the ring for him to get stomped by Tensai. Swagger is tagged in, but Sheamus fights him off with punches. Swagger uses a drop toe hold and Oklahoma roll to get him back into his corner and avoid the hot tag. Nicely done. Ziggler is back in. Sheamus tries to use a Celtic Cross, but Ziggler rolls out, and takes out the back of his knees. Fame Asser by Ziggler for a two count. He hooks the ankle of Sheamus to prevent him from getting to his corner. They cut back to the ramp again as The Big Show walks out. So again, I missed Swagger’s spot. Maybe another Swagger Bomb? Cole puts over the contract signing happening this morning again. He’s still trying to cover Laurinaitis’ ass. Grounded bear hug by Swagger to keep him from the tag. He works him to the ropes so that Ziggler can kick him in the head. The action is starting to get boring. It’s been mediocre so far. Tensai is in again to throw his backside into Sheamus’ head in the corner. Sheamus fights back with forearms to the side of the head but is cut off with a body slam and leg drop. Somehow Tensai’s head is busted open. More quick tags as they all work Sheamus. Sheamus fights back at all 3 punching them one by one. Rolling senton from Sheamus onto Swagger.
Hot tag to Cena. Multiople shoulder blocks followed by an inverted suplex. The lumberjacks jump on Sheamus. Cena does a corkscrew suicide dive to the outside onto them. Not sure if it was supposed to be corkscrew or if he just jumped. Unfortunately the idiots on the outside were too stupid to look for Cena and he pretty much made him crash and burn. Only Tyler Reks was looking. All of the lumberjacks hit the ring. A bunch of faces come running out. Guys like CM Punk, Christian, R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, Santino, Great Khali, Brodus Clay, and more. Clay and Tensai are brawling on the outside. Finally! Cena walks to the back. He runs into Laurinaitis and asks him where The Big Show is. He turns around and is hit in the head with the Weapon of Mass Destruction. Big Show walks off as the show goes off the air.
That was pretty unnecessary. That all happened too quick. And now it appears that they are going to make John Cena vs Big Show the highlight of the show. Instead of making an epic feud with Bryan and Punk the highlight. Instead of Cena wrestling twice and getting all the emphasis, I would rather see Punk wrestle twice. Everything is bass ackwards once again. I really dread watching this stuff. Raw is awful. Aside from Bryan and Punk it’s now on TNA level. It’s that bad. Absolutely pathetic booking. For the 3434338535 straight show we don’t see Zack Ryder. We also don’t see The Miz. There were a couple of mediocre matches tonight, but TNA also has those. I officially don’t have any hopes for this show anymore. I expect it to be bad each week and have come to the conclusion that I’m never going to see what I want to see.
Follow Mark Brown on Twitter @FantasyGodmb.