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 4/9/12 from Washington DC
John Laurinaitis comes to the ring to start the show. He is here to introduce the new face of the WWE. He shows the recap video of Brock Lesnar from last week. It’s pretty much the entire segment. Why is Raw starting with a 3 minute recap video? I’ve never seen that happen in all my years watching. I didn’t think it could get any worse than watching TNA open with an in ring talk segment every single week. Opening with a 3 minute video? Really? It wasn’t necessary. Everyone watching this show tonight is watching it to see the Brock Lesnar fallout. You don’t need to show them what they already know. Anyways, Laurinaitis says that Brock Lesnar will face John Cena at the Extreme Rules Pay Per View. Thank god. Everyone seemed to be in agreement that they didn’t want to see Cena vs Lesnar at Wrestlemania next year. It would never reach the level of Cena vs Rock. Plus we all don’t want to wait that long for it. The feud has already happened too. Cena’s original feud with Lesnar was what put Cena on the map. That’s what got him his push.
Brock Lesnar comes to the ring. He talks for the first time. He thanks Laurinaitis for bringing legitimacy back to the WWE. He only spits out that one line before John Cena’s music hits. It takes Cena about two minutes to get to the ring. Is the show this light on time tonight that they need to burn this much air time this early? Cena smacks Lesnar across the face. Lesnar tackles him and they brawl. David Otunga tries to separate them. Dozens of officials and wrestlers come from the back to separate them. Not just jobbers either. It’s everyone including guys like Sheamus and Daniel Bryan. Goldust is even there with no face paint.
Cena’s face is busted open pretty bad. It’s nasty looking. Lot’s of blood. The picture is above. They do the all too common spot where each guy busts through the crowd of people multiple times. They finally get Lesnar out of the ring as the segment ends. Cena’s face is nasty. Lesnar probably doesn’t realize his own strength. I seriously doubt that Cena bladed, seeing how they don’t really do that anymore. It would make sense for them to plan the Cena mouth bleed to make this look more like a UFC shoot. They are really trying to target the UFC audience with this feud. They did do a nice job of making this thing look pretty realistic and brutal. Although the entire crowd separation thing is pretty stale, they pulled it off to be a nice show opener. I don’t agree with them breaking the kayfabe of having top talent like Sheamus and Bryan in the ring though. Bryan’s character is in no state to care about the well being of Cena or Lesnar. But that’s another story.
Promo for Super Smackdown Live- Blast from the Past. It is live Tuesday night and features a bunch of old legends. It’s pretty much the entire cast of that “WWE Legends House” show that they are currently taping for the WWE Network. Tomorrow’s show is probably going to be an episode on that show. Notice how we haven’t seen any WWE Network promos lately? It was supposed to debut sometime after Wrestlemania. It obviously got pushed back. Maybe that’s why they launched that YouTube channel with all the awful ripped off programming. I’m speaking about how they ripped off Colt Cabana with that “Are You Serious” show. Colt Cabana is my indy wrestler plug of the week. He is CM Punk’s buddy. If you don’t know him, look him up. He was a hilarious character in Ring of Honor.
John Laurinaitis is in the back with Teddy Long. He blames Teddy for what happened in the ring. Apparently he was supposed to contain Cena. He sends Teddy away to find Cena. Eve Torres walks up to Laurinaitis. She wants to talk about Wrestlemania. He doesn’t have time. Probably because they wasted 3 minutes on an opening recap video. She tells Laurinaitis to call her. I saw no point in that encounter.
“The Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay and United States Champion Santino Marella vs. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger w/ Vickie Guerrero- Brodus and Santino dance out to the ring with Clay’s dancers. Santino and Dolph start the match. Santino grabs Ziggler’s leg but Ziggler counters into a crucifix pin attempt. He kicks Santino in the gut, runs off the ropes, and is caught in a hip toss. Tags to Swagger and Clay. Swagger attempts some punches, but they don’t phase Brodus. Clothesline to Swagger. He attempts a T-Bone suplex, but Swagger fights out with elbows. Swagger runs off the ropes and does a shoulder block to Clay’s knees. He uses another shoulder block to take Clay off his feet. I can’t believe it! Brodus actually has a match that doesn’t end in one minute!!! He’s not invincible. Thank god, because the squashes were beyond old.
Back from commercial Ziggler hits a jumping elbow drop on Santino. What happened to Brodus and Swagger? I don’t know. Stupid commercial breaks always break the story and kill the match psychology. In match commercials are the worst thing in wrestling. Tag to Swagger. Swagger elevates Santino and wrestles him to the mat. Tag to Ziggler who chokes Santino on the ropes with his boots. Santino comes out of nowhere with a small package for a two count. Ziggler comes back with a roll up of his own. Two count to both. Clothesline by Santino. He gets the hot tag. Clay comes in strong with headbutts to Ziggler. T-Bone suplex by Clay, followed by a splash. 1-2-3. Clay wins. That hot tag was typical of all his other squash matches. This match turned into an elongated squash match where Santino had to take all the heat. They also aren’t using Dolph Ziggler correctly. He’s too good to be this Billy Gunn ripoff jobber that he is right now. Use the guy better please. I could care less about Mr. Botch Jack Swagger. He and his awful hair cut are fine where they are on the under card.
Laurinaitis is in the back with The Miz. Miz wants to talk about Wrestlemania. Once again Laurinaitis doesn’t have time. He wants to set up a meeting. Teddy Long comes back in with John Cena. His face is still busted pretty bad. Cena accuses Laurinaitis of getting Lesnar to try to put Cena out of business. Cena says Laurinaitis can pick his opponent any time and any place. He walks away. Laurinaitis tells Teddy to tell Otunga that he will face Cena tonight. Laurinaitis yells at Teddy some more.
Santino is in the back. He runs up to Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks and asks them if they have seen The 3 Stooges. They are tonight’s guest hosts. Hawkins and Reks say that they don’t care. Santino continues to ask other staff members as it fades to black. I’m with Hawkins and Ryder. I too really don’t care.
Recap of Cena and Lesnar. I only mention this recap video because it’s already like the 5th one of the night. They showed Lesnar’s shot to the face that bloodied Cena. Really Lesnar? You seriously made that much contact? What a jerk.
Santino is in the back. He’s still looking for the stooges. He accidentally walks up to Kane. Kane stares at him. Santino power walks out of the room quickly. Not funny.
R-Truth vs. Cody Rhodes- Tie up to start. Rhodes is thrown off the ropes and hit with a shoulder tackle. Another whip results in Truth using an uppercut. A third whip results in Cody kicking Truth in the gut. He uses an Alabama Slam. The Big Show’s music hits. He shows a recap video from this past week’s Smackdown. What’s the recap video count tonight? 10 or 11 total? Rhodes turns around and is hit with a reverse DDT by R-Truth. Truth wins. Waste of time. I hate two minute matches. I want wrestling please.
Santino is in the back. He walks up to a box that says “Fragile.” He says that word is Italian. He opens the box with a big wrench. The 3 Stooges pop out. They slap each other. Santino asks them what they have planned for the live audience. They smack each other some more. Santino smacks all 3 of them. One of them wants to meet the WWE Divas. Santino teaches one of them the Cobra. The stooge changes his hand to two fingers and pokes the other in the eye. I thought that was incredibly stupid except for the eye poke. They eye poke was pretty funny only because it was a variation of the Cobra. I’m sorry I don’t know these stooge names. I really don’t care to look them up either. Moe, something, and something. Is one of them named Harry? I dunno. “The 3 Stooges” is the #1 Trend Worldwide on Twitter. I guess people like this stuff.
Lord Tensai vs. Yoshi Tatsu- Tensai comes out looking like Shredder again. Apparently Yoshi made an open challenge to Tensai saying that he is really Japanese and that Tensai isn’t. Who cares Yoshi? It’s not about him being Japanese. It’s about him working in Japan for the last ten years or so. He adapted to their style, culture, and became dominant under their ways. Plenty of guys go to Japan to learn their craft. Like Mick Foley, Terry Funk, Vader, etc etc etc. Has Yoshi ever seen Kill Bill? I guess he’s going to say that the movie was terrible because Beatrix Kiddo wasn’t really Japanese?
Tensai grabs Yoshi’s arm and hits multiple back chops to the head. Leg drop across Yoshi’s arms. He throws Yoshi into the corner and uses multiple headbutts until Yoshi falls to the mat. The crowd chants “Albert.” Which is Tensai’s old gimmick in WWE. Tensai picks him upside down and drops him on his face. Yoshi pulls himself up in the corner and is hit with a running clothesline. Running senton that looked pretty nasty. Tensai yells in Japanese and uses his finisher “The Land of the Rising Sun.” The referee stops the match via knockout. Thankfully Tatsu lays on the ground and doesn’t get up after the knockout like Alex Riley did last week. Tensai spits a white powder mist into his hand and uses a head claw on Tatsu.
Another impressive outing by Tensai. I’m really liking this gimmick. He is very stiff. All of his moves are highly believable. Seeing a big guy with that many high impact moves is kinda unique in WWE. Usually big guys do terrible and typical big man moves and are pushed because of their size. Hence the Mark Henry title reign. It’s rare to see a big man who can work like that. And it’s even more rare to see a big man that is that technically sound. The psychology of this guys matches is great. It tells an awesome story. The knockouts are believable an focuses an attack on almost every part of the body. He completely incapacitates his opponents. Your looking at a future World Champion. Lord Tensai is better than guys like Umaga and Yokozuna. Yes, he’s that good. And that’s surprising for me to say. Because “Albert” used to be one of those terrible big men. His progression in the industry makes his gimmick work. Because his gimmick is true to real life.
CM Punk comes to the ring. He’s angry. He doesn’t even stop to yell “it’s clobbering time” like he does at the beginning of every entrance. He walks straight down to the ring and grabs the microphone from the ring announcer. He squats in the middle of the ring and pauses for awhile. He stands back up and speaks. He says that straight edge is a personal choice of his. It’s his way of life. His reason for being straight edge is his father and he tried to keep that private. He said it was nobody’s business and that nobody should care. He says that Jericho tried to destroy the privacy of his life. He says at Wrestlemania he made Chris Jericho tap out. And then Jericho poured whiskey over him. Punk says all he could think about while laying there was that he smelled exactly like his father did.
Chris Jericho is on the titan tron. He interrupts. Jericho asks if he’s still hung over. He says that Punk will get used to it. He says that he released the killer alcohol gene in Punk’s system. He asks Punk if he’s tipsy and if he’s bending. He tells punk that the first step to alcohol recovery is admitting that he has no control against alcohol. He calls him CM Drunk. Punk says that the only thing that was broken was a bottle, and that he can’t be broken. Punk says he’s going to channel the dark place Jericho sent him to and use it against him. It’s no longer about best in the world. Nice promo. I’m buying this storyline now. It’s pretty unique. The Wrestlemania feud didn’t really need a storyline like this. Because the match quality carried the feud by itself. But now that it’s post Wrestlemania, a unique storyline like this is pretty good. That promo from both guys just tied it all together. I would expect nothing less from those two microphone geniuses. After this is all over though I really want to see Punk do another unique shoot storyline. We haven’t seen one of those since his feud with Cena.
WWE Championship: CM Punk (c) vs. Mark Henry- Okay okay okay. I really like the idea of Punk be forced to defend his title every single week. That pushes him big time. I really like it. What I don’t like is how all of these matches happen half way through the show. That really kills the credibility of the title. Title matches need to be prestigious. They need to main event the show. Nothing at all is more important than the actual championship. It’s why everyone in the company is truly there. Nobody is bigger than the WWE title. Not John Cena, not Brock Lesnar, not The Rock.
Punk aggressively attacks Henry to start the match. He can’t take him off his feet. He continues to run at Henry until he’s knocked down with a clothesline. Punk rolls to the outside. Henry follows him. Punk grabs the TV monitor off the announce table and nails Henry with it. He is disqualified. Punk goes to the apron with the monitor and is going to jump off and nail Henry. Chris Jericho’s music hits. He is walking down the aisle with cases of beer. Henry attacks Punk from behind. He throws Punk into the ring and uses The World’s Strongest Slam twice. Jericho gets in the ring, opens a can of beer, and gets over top of Punk. Punk kicks him in the gut from the mat. He fights Jericho off but Jericho hits a Code Breaker. Jericho pours 8 cans of beer over Punk one at a time. Punk gets up outraged and runs towards Jericho, but he’s hit with a second Code Breaker. Jericho takes his WWE Championship and holds it in the air.
I like how Jericho is continually getting the upper hand. He’s looking strong. That’s something they failed to do before the Wrestlemania match. Jericho had no credibility. Now he does. After Punk’s good promo about how much the alcohol hurt him, he got it even worse. That’s good writing. That really built this angle up. I’m all in now! Punk will get the huge payoff when he goes over in this feud. He is certainly “the man” in the industry right now. A good feud like this with a top heel reminds me of the classic Stone Cold feuds when he was “the man.” Except for Punk being the one who gets poured on instead of Austin being the one who did the pouring.
Zack Ryder vs. Alberto Del Rio w/ Ricardo Rodriguez- This will be Del Rio’s first match on Raw in quite some time. He has the old falling spark pyro back. One of my favorite pyros ever. Christian originally had it. Del Rio aggressively attacks Ryder to start. He beats him down onto the mat. The crowd chants “si si si si.” Del Rio fights Ryder into the corner and kicks him hard. He works Ryder’s arm in the turnbuckle. When he charges back Ryder hits the double knees to the face. Broski Boot by Ryder. He misses the Rough Ryder and is sent into the corner. Reverse Arm Breaker by Del Rio. Ryder taps out. Del Rio wins.
At this point I want to see Ryder interact with Eve some more. If they are going to continue to make it rain on him they need to do it by progressing and ending the Eve storyline. Let Eve go over in the storyline. Let her get the upper hand again and end it. And then after the whole world is feeling sorry for Ryder because of his loses and his love life, you find a way to push him to the moon. After all the personal dilemmas he can come out looking stronger than ever. That’s the plan right now. They just have to be careful that they don’t bury him too much without the story. If he just continues to lose matches he will look week. The outcome needs to make him look strong. But if he looks too weak it won’t work in the end. Then he’s stuck in limbo forever. That’s what happened to MVP. He went through the losing streak angle and never recovered. Eventually he was released. Ryder is way too popular to make mistakes with.
The 3 Stooges are in the back. They slap each other. They are heading to the ring.
The 3 Stooges comes to the ring. They are booed by the crowd. Only two of them come out. The crowd boos. Hulk Hogan’s music hits. Full entrance video too. The third stooge guy comes out dressed like Hogan. Whichever one that terrible Mad TV Will Sasso guy is. Sasso says these are my people. He does a Hogan impression. He really sounds like him actually. Pretty dead on impression. He knows his stuff too. He talks about beating Andre The Giant at Wrestlemania 3. The crowd continues to boo. Explosion. Here comes Kane. Old school Kane. He’s continued to look more and more old school to me lately. I’m liking it. That Wrestlemania win was huge for him. Two of the stooges run out leaving Hogan stooge. Hogan starts to Hulk up and does the “yooouuu” point. The crowd popped for that. Funny stuff. Chokeslam by Kane. That turned out to not be so bad. Well done…except for one thing. They continue to turn the lights on after Kane gets in the ring. When Kane first debuted and would attack people randomly, the lights would stay red. It added a much more eerie feeling. The lights need to stay red now.
Josh Matthews interviews Mark Henry in the back. They show the recap video of Punk vs. Henry. That has to be recap video #25 tonight. Henry talks about beating Punk by count out and DQ over the past two weeks. He says that he has a no DQ match for the WWE Championship next week. It better not be in the middle of the show either. He says something else but it’s censored. This PG thing is stale.
Josh Matthews interviews Brock Lesnar in the back. Back to back interview segments? Not well planned. Josh asks Lesnar if he’s proud to be back in the WWE. Lesnar says he’s proud of everything he does. He talks about how he became UFC Champion and made the UFC popular. He says Cena can’t hold his jock strap. The crowd popped for that. Doesn’t Brock have a weird voice? It’s been so long that I forgot what it sounded like. It’s really feminine for a big guy.
Recap video of Undertaker vs. Triple H from Wrestlemania. That was recap video #52 tonight.
David Otunga w/ John Laurinaitis vs. John Cena. I like David Otunga. But he doesn’t need to be main eventing Raw. Seems weak. Cena has a very fat lip. I hope he doesn’t have to face bump. Cena yells at Laurinaitis to get off his phone. Pretty funny. The crowd is chanting “let’s go Cena, Cena sucks.” They are very loud. Cena and Otunga tie up as Cena works Otunga’s arm to the ground. They separate and tie up again, but its the same result. Otunga gets frustrated and starts kicking Cena. Cena comes back with punches and throws Otunga’s head into the turnbuckle. Cena misses a bulldog and is stomped by Otunga. Otunga uses a reverse headlock and clubs at Cena’s torso. When Cena gets back up he’s hit with a clotheslines. Otunga flexes. Another punch to the face. This match is as generic as it gets. Otunga Irish whips Cena into the turnbuckle and uses a clothesline followed by a shoulder block. Chin lock by Otunga. The crowd is chanting “fruity pebbles.” Why is Cena putting Otunga over this much? He isn’t really at this level yet to dominate Cena. I don’t get it. Otunga continues to pose over Cena. This gives Cena time to power up with clotheslines. 5 Knuckle Shuffle. Attitude Adjustment. STF. Otunga taps out. Cena wins.
Brock Lesnar comes from behind with a low blow. Instead of sticking with the action they show a replay of what we just saw 5 seconds ago. That was recap video #74 tonight. Lesnar picks Cena up and hits the F5. So Lesnar gets the upper hand again. This makes for a very interesting Extreme Rules Pay Per View. Will Cena get a shocking win over Lesnar to redeem his loss to The Rock? Or will he lose yet again to another legend thus progressing his character into something it hasn’t been in years….a loser. How will Cena react if these legends keep targeting him and beating him? It’s a fresh storyline. Every storyline that Cena is ever involved in is gold. With all the constant losses and the crowd booing, this is the only actual scenario I can see resulting in a Cena heel turn. Maybe its finally time for that to happen. It could actually make sense in this situation. But Cena is too big of a moneymaker to turn heel. At least its an angle that gets you wondering. It’s not the same old predictable storyline.
Decent Raw overall. One major major major problem. No Daniel Bryan. Are you kidding me? This Daniel Bryan story is the biggest thing in pro wrestling right now. How could you not include this angle on your flagship show? Is it because they want the “yes” chants to die down? That would be idiotic. They have to milk this storyline for everything its worth. Keep it going while its hot. Plus they have a “yes” t-shirt that they have to start selling this week. Not including the Daniel Bryan angle this week was a monumental mistake. That chant has popped up at every wrestling show in the country since Wrestlemania. They did it at the latest Ring of Honor show, they did it at the TNA tapings, and they are doing it at every WWE show. Keep it going!!! What a terrible decision by the writing staff. I really can’t wrap my head around why they would think that they didn’t need to use Bryan tonight???
Follow Mark Brown on Twitter @FantasyGodmb.