As an undergraduate, I convinced three friends to start watching wrestling. We’d go to Buffalo Wild Wings and watch the pay-per-views. We’d discuss the matches—kicking ideas back and forth. After graduating, I moved away, and it was back to square one. Except, of course, I have my own wrestling column, and many of the readers here have already become regulars. So, I thought, why not share my initial reactions from RAW, down to the time they came to me in the night, and allow you all to add to them. Pick a number—agree, disagree, add to or take away. These are my initial, raw reactions to WWE Monday Night RAW.
10. John Cena’s greatest counterpart has to be Edge. Anybody disagree with this? If John Cena made history with any relationship, it was the one he had with Edge. I missed the opening of RAW.
I turned it on to hear the last sentence from Edge, and I could tell it was a classic. Only when you are running late does Edge turn up to address John Cena. Here’s hoping for a replay during the show (8:24).
9. Kofi Kingston has become the man you put against other great wrestlers. Daniel Bryan…Chris Jericho. Kofi Kingston gets you the match you want.
It is a shame so much time is spent on Chris Jericho’s attempts to get CM Punk to drink. I feel like a lot of great matches are being overwhelmed by that continual running dialogue. Men like Chris Jericho and CM Punk do not need to beat the entertainment drum this loudly to be entertaining (8:27).
Ugh. Just when I said Chris Jericho didn’t need to beat the drum so loudly, we get a reminder of CM Punk’s family members and their "vices" from Chris Jericho. He says he has a gift for CM Punk that he will hand deliver. Not since Bret Hart and the Hart family have we seen the potential for a front row full of family members who want their revenge on a wrestler come Sunday (8:31).
8. Chris Jericho’s gift was delivered off screen? Talk about a time saver. Or maybe it would have looked strange seeing Chris Jericho walk up to CM Punk and hand him a liquor basket. “Hey, buddy, here you go. Talk to you later, bro.” Might have been better off screen. CM Punk held on to one bottle. May be seeing that brought back.
He should have given the rest of the alcohol to Steve Austin (8:44).
7. Lord Tensai is still my guy. I like and appreciate WWE’s attempt to build characters. It’s even better when they have a backstory. It is believable that a guy who made it in Japan could come back influenced by the culture.
R-Truth doesn’t stand much of a chance after Lord Tensai went over John Cena last week. Who do you think will be the first legit adversary for Lord Tensai? It probably should happen soon (8:51).
Personally, I’d like to see a Lord Tensai-Big Show match, while they are both still on a roll (8:54).
6. Somebody is against me tonight. I go into the other room to ask my friend what I missed during the Edge promo, and while we’re chatting I miss Paul Bearer! Come on!
But they did replay the Edge promo afterward, and it looks to be the masterpiece I thought it was. When Edge is walking away, there is a look on his face, like, “Oh my God, I forgot how much I loved this.”
Edge was the perfect guy to deliver a message from the wrestlers to John Cena because a) their history and b) Edge is a well-documented fan of wrestling, so who better to address the Brock Lesnar problem? (9:15).
How would you grade Brock Lesnar's mic work on RAW?
5. I am very happy with Brock Lesnar’s manhandling of Josh Matthews. It was well done. To have him grab Matthews, but back off, only to have him attack Josh Matthews after he smarts off, came off well. It adds to the heat of Brock Lesnar being a non-wrestler, too.
I mean, it’s one thing for a wrestler to attack officials, but for a non-wrestler. Disrespectful is the easiest part for Brock Lesnar to play, for obvious reasons (9:39).
4. Those Bella Twins are real troopers, helping each other stretch. Please don’t future endeavor them, WWE. Ever (9:42)...Wait, new Divas Champion! May have had my request answered! (9:48).
3. Let me be clear: I was complaining about the overuse of dialogue in the CM Drunk angle. I like the idea of the sobriety test (9:49). Police officers, ongoing story, adversity for the champion; this is much like the Attitude Era/Stone Cold, which always works for me (9:54).
CM Punk is shining tonight. Has anyone in the history of the alphabet and Cops line—both funny. Nice to see something refreshing from CM Punk (9:59).
At least he’s a funny drunk and not a mean one (10:01). The twist is CM Punk is not drunk and that he knows the alphabet backward (very impressive). He isn’t a mean drunk, but he is mean sober (as he attacks Chris Jericho) (10:05).
Excellent segment, for my taste. Compelling. I like this version of CM Punk. It’s like he won the WWE championship all over again.
2. Daniel Bryan is special guest referee, and Sheamus can’t touch him! (10:16). Who better to provoke someone than Daniel Bryan? It’s a good thing I’m not Sheamus. I’d be thinking, "That guy really is better than me. He is the hottest guy in the company right now." I’d hit Daniel Bryan and force WWE to take the title off me. I’d want him to be champion again that badly.
Daniel Bryan gets the upper hand, but I still expect Sheamus to go over at Extreme Rules. Crazy crowd participation with Daniel Bryan at the end (10:20).
1. I am looking forward to the contract signing between John Cena and Brock Lesnar (10:39). Both men have a lot on the line at WWE Extreme Rules. Brock Lesnar has to make a statement. I’m sure WWE will make sure that nothing less than this happens.
My question is more with John Cena. Does he put on a hell of a show? A hell of a fight? Or does he continue to slump? WWE has done a great job with Brock Lesnar thus far, maximizing the time. His debut, the sit-down interview and the flashbacks on his career—no-nonsense looks at a no-nonsense guy. However, the contract signing will test Brock Lesnar in front of a live audience on the microphone.
Will they talk or will they fight? (10:50).
No John Cena (10:59)? It’s funny even the absence of John Cena gets the “Let’s go Cena/Cena sucks” chant.
Brock Lesnar has business demands (11:02). I will say it again—this is the easiest part for Brock Lesnar to play, for obvious reasons. Brock Lesnar looks to be in pain trying to express himself. If ever fans wanted John Cena, it should be now.
How excited are you for Extreme Rules after RAW?
Monday Night RAW starring Brock Lesnar (11:07).
Brock Lesnar was better while John Cena was out there with him (11:10). John Cena did a good job selling his own hesitancy while Brock Lesnar called it fear. WWE Extreme Rules is going to present something we are not used to. If it needs to be one thing, it needs to be different.
In closing, this is my first attempt at doing 10 talking points. I have done full-blown running diaries in years gone by, but, to be honest, Chris Mueller does one at Bleacher Report and he does it so well that I don’t think I have anything to add to it. If people enjoy these 10 talking points, however, I will continue to do this in the future.