WWE Raw Report
By: Todd Martin
Date: 04/16/12 from London, UK.
The Big News: It was the best of times and the worst of times when it came to Lesnar-Cena build.
CM Punk retained the WWE title by defeating Mark Henry in a back and forth no DQ, no count out match. Punk hit a tope at the start and ran off the barricade into a bulldog on the floor. Henry caught him diving off the apron and slammed him into the barricade. Punk hit Henry with a chair but Henry got the chair and hit Punk with it. Punk hit a DDT but was caught diving off the top rope. Punk escaped the world’s strongest slam attempt and hit a kick to the head and high knee. Henry countered the bulldog but ran into a chair. Punk then came off the top driving a chair into Henry for the pin. That finish looked great and the match was very good.
Chris Jericho appeared on the screen after the match in what was supposed to be a bar. He said that he has a Chicago street fight title match against Punk for Extreme Rules. Punk was happy about the opportunity to kick Jericho’s ass in front of his friends and family. Jericho told Punk to show up sober and had footage of Punk going into a pub that morning. Punk said he was just meeting a friend and Jericho was free to smell his breath. Jericho said Punk is now drinking and straight edge is a façade.
Santino Marella beat David Otunga. Santino hit some punches but when he did the gag splits Otunga backed off and kicked him in the head. That was an amusing spot. Otunga hit a spine buster and covered. The referee counted three but then noticed Santino’s foot on the ropes. Otunga argued but the match was restarted and Santino hit a head butt and cobra for the win.
Lord Tensai cut a brief promo backstage. He said that you fear the unknown and he knows what you should fear. He didn’t elaborate what that is.
They aired a package with Brock Lesnar talking and footage from throughout his career. He said he is not a superstar but an ass kicker. He said nobody ever in WWE has his accolades. He noted he didn’t come back for the fans and this is strictly business. He said WWE needs to be legitimized and he is the guy to do it. He continued that people are tired of John Cena’s bullshit, Cena’s not real and he’s only there because Lesnar left. If Lesnar never left, Cena would be carrying his bags.
Lesnar said nothing about him is fake as he showed last week. He’s real. He said Cena is pissing and shitting himself in fear. Lesnar said Extreme Rules isn’t a wrestling match but extreme rules and his objective is chaos. Lesnar concluded that beating people up makes him happy.
This was a perfect segment in every way. The tone was perfect. It made the match seem important. It made Lesnar seem like a huge star. It felt like Lesnar speaking as opposed to a script. And there was no goofiness, comedy or bullshit. If I had to pick one segment WWE has produced in the last 10 years to illustrate what the company needs more of, it might very well be this one.
Of course, after that, we cut to Zack Ryder’s entrance. He was going to wrestle Kane but the match never got started. Kane kicked Ryder off the apron into the announce table and threw him into the steps. Kane then gave Ryder a choke slam and cut a promo. Kane said he expected Bob Orton Jr. to go down without a fight on Smackdown but Randy Orton was surprisingly easy as well.
Daniel Bryan backstage told Kofi Kingston that he’s better than Gene LeBell ever was. “Who’d he ever beat,” Bryan added. Thus, the LeBell lock is now the yes lock. Bryan kept yelling yes over and over right in Kingston’s face to where it kind of made Kingston look bad for not punching him.
John Cena came to the ring with his completely counterproductive goofy grin. He then turned his sights to his adversary: John Laurinaitis. He called Laurinaitis a coward. He talked about how WrestleMania might have been the end of his era because now Laurinaitis is in charge. He did a Laurinaitis impression and smirked.
Finally Cena got to Lesnar. He said that after all the talk of entertainment and shows, Lesnar stands for destruction. Cena said Lesnar isn’t coming to win but to replace Cena. Cena acknowledged being afraid but said he will fight. He then screamed that he will fight again. John Laurinaitis came out and said this is the beginning of the people power era. He added that the WWE Universe wants to see Cena fight and put Cena in an extreme rules match later in the show. He noted there will be a contract signing between Lesnar and Cena next week.
I don’t know if this segment completely undermined what was accomplished with the Lesnar segment earlier, but it made a heck of an effort in that direction. This was just terrible from start to finish. Nobody gives a shit about Laurinaitis in any serious way. Cena talking more about Laurinaitis than Lesnar is beyond moronic. Cena himself felt completely phony. One second he’s happy. The next second he’s serious. The next second he’s telling jokes. The next second he’s yelling. The verbiage feels wholly inauthentic and it seems like an obnoxious bipolar character reading lines rather than a halfway plausible human being. And the match which had felt like something really important and different minutes before was in this segment just more WWE bullshit.
Daniel Bryan beat Kofi Kingston. The crowd was behind Bryan and went crazy with yes when he entered. Kingston did well for most of the match. He hit chops, dropkicks, clotheslines and the boom drop. Bryan looked for the yes lock but Kingston escaped and hit S.O.S. for two. Kingston missed a frog crossbody and Bryan applied the yes lock for the submission. Bryan applied it again after the match and Sheamus made the save. Sheamus missed the Brogue kick and Bryan left.
Brodus Clay beat Dolph Ziggler via DQ. Jack Swagger got involved at the very beginning for the DQ. Vickie Guerrero got on the apron to yell at Clay. Clay’s dancers tried to get her off. The apron, that is. Vickie knocked one down but the other shoved her down.
John Laurinaitis backstage said that if David Otunga focuses on his in ring career like he focuses on everything else he does, the sky is the limit. Eve Torres reminded Laurinaitis that they hadn’t had their one on one meeting so she went into the office with Laurinaitis and Otunga for a presumable double team effort.
They aired a nice video package for Chief Jay Strongbow. They then aired three dumb segments throughout the show for no discernible reason. R. Truth launched an investigation into a new job for Teddy Long and concluded here by suggesting Long be the Smackdown GM.
Big Show and Great Khali beat Primo and Epico. Abraham Washington came out to scout this match. Khali basically just beat up both Primo and Epico for a little while. Khali hit the tree slam and Show the choke slam for a double pin. This was one of those WWE matches where it felt like the goal was not to get over the winners but to bury the losers.
Lord Tensai beat John Cena in an extreme rules match. Tensai worked Cena over for a while. Cena came back by hitting Tensai with the steps, but Tensai’s second attacked Cena and Tensai took back over. Tensai continued to beat up Cena until he missed a corner avalanche. Cena hit shoulderblocks and the Cena slam but when he went for the five knuckle shuffle Tensai got up and gave Cena a chop. Tensai followed with a senton and Fujiwara armbar. Cena countered into the STF, but David Otunga ran in to break the hold. Cena gave Otunga the FU but Tensai blew mist into Cena’s face and hit the baldo bomb for the win. The focus here again was pretty much exclusively on Cena and Laurinaitis rather than Cena and Lesnar.
This show was a rather bizarre mix of good, bad, very good and very bad. It really is perplexing that the same company that produced the awesome Brock Lesnar video package also produced the John Cena/John Laurinaitis stuff.