Good evening, ladies and gents! Back again with another Monday Night Raw Live Journal.
This week, Raw is live from Las Vegas, otherwise known as “the place where I lost my childhood.” Tonight is the “Raw Roulette” show. Never seen this before and I've had three beers. Wheeee, let's go.
Quick note: Really looking forward to see CM Punk tonight. Haven't said that I’m looking forward to anything in wrestling in about 12 years.
8:00: Booker T is working the wheel apparently.
8:01: Shawn Michaels comes out to a huge pop. Watching him kill things on his new show should be compelling. The show looks to feature him as a bow hunter. To anyone who’s never hunted with a bow, it’s ridiculously hard. I might watch.
8:02: Is it just me or does HBK’s knees look shot? He’s moving gingerly on his way to the ring.
8:03: Really wanting him to shoot a flaming arrow across the ring ala Ted Nugent.
8:05: Michaels shamelessly plugs new show where he kills things. But here’s the thing: He says he hates when people do that. OMG me too!
8:06: Punk comes out with Nexus minus the Terminator (aka Mason Ryan). Punk + HBK x 2 mics = epic win.
8:07: Punk is on another planet right now during his promos—reminds me of a senior in high school during his last week.
8:08: Punk mocks HBK mid-sentence. Michaels looks pissed.
8:09: Michaels mentions John Cena. Crowd is tepid, as is tradition.
8:10: Punk has 10 pound bags under his eyes. Looks like he really needs a vacation. HBK says he's better than Punk. Punk says he “was” better, but they are the same when in their primes. I’m going to go ahead and disagree with that.
8:11: Punk calls out HBK’s addictive past which earns some Sweet Chin Music to David Otunga.
8:12: We get a GM email. It says that Punk is in the first match. Going to the roulette wheel.
Quick note: I have no desire to find out what an “On the Pole” match is, unless it involves the Divas.
8:14: Wheel lands on a question mark. Booker T reveals that the match will be Punk vs Kane. Uppercuts will fly. Michaels then super kicks the other guy. Yes, I still haven’t learned his name, but is it necessary at this point?
8:15: We go to commercial and get a trailer for the new "Transformers" flick. Is it weird that I've never seen any of the "Transformers" movies? Michael Bay is the Lady Gaga of cinema—just a bunch of visual flair and no substance.
Movies I’ve also never seen: "300," "Hostel," "Mr. Deeds," any of the "Harry Potter" films, and any of the "Twilight" films. You can guess which of these I’m proud of.
8:18: Back to a Mark Henry promo for SmackDown. Reform the Nation of Domination!
8:19: Match between Kane and Punk begins. Older fans are chanting for Punk. He’s one of the few reasons we still watch, and the thought of losing Edge and Punk in less than six months is horrifying.
8:22: Punk rolls out of the ring and starts to leave. Gets counted out. Kane tries to act angry. Cast him in a SyFy movie right now!
Quick note: There’s not really much to discuss right now other than Punk. All the story lines are really ho-hum right now. The news sites are reporting that creative is burned out from doing so many shows (including taping next week’s Raw right after this one), which is understandable. But it's not like they've been putting out anything superior lately anyway.
8:27: Sin Cara comes out to his nightclub lights. Evan Bourne should bring out a good match from Cara, which he really needs right now.
8:29: Waiting for a “turn-the-lights-on” chant.
8:30: We go to the roulette wheel and OMG it's Eve in daisy dukes. I just had an aneurysm.
8:31: This match is pretty slick. Lots of high flying moves. Lights make me think that Golddust is coming out soon though.
8:32: Fans chanting “Power Ranger.” Actually, he’s more like Lord Zed than anything. That's correct, I remember the villain from Power Rangers. I had a lonely childhood. Nobody asked you anything. Shut up.
8:34: Seriously, these lights are annoying. On a lighter note, I’m suddenly craving buttered popcorn...
8:35: Sin Cara wins with that crazy hurracanrana thing. Does he have a finisher? I've seen some cool things, but never that one for sure finishing move.
8:37: Kofi Kingston gets to spin the wheel, but Vickie shows up instead. She spins the wheel for him.
8:38: Kingston says that Vickie is banned from ringside. OK, he doesn't sound Jamaican. Or African, for that matter. Can someone clarify this for me?
8:42: Back from commercial to a Money in the Bank promo. Money in the Bank should return to WrestleMania. There are too many PPVs anyway. I vote for one every five weeks. At $50 a pop, we need a better product for our money. By having less Pay Per Views, there’s more time to properly build rivalries and story lines.
8:44: Kingston's pecs are weird. Has anyone else noticed this?
8:45: Note to all wrestlers: Please make sure that your trunks are high enough in the back. Seeing a grown man’s tan line is awkward for everyone.
8:49: Back from commercial to see Kingston in a headlock with his face in the mat. This has happened two weeks in a row I think.
8:52: Ziggler gets hit with Trouble In Paradise. Kingston gets the win. With that hair, Kingston could line up at cornerback with half the teams in the NFL. Seems like that's all it takes lately (see: Saints vs. Seahawks in last year’s playoff—still makes me nauseous).
8:53: We go back to the roulette wheel and get Booker and Maryse. First Eve then Maryse. All is right in the world.
Quick note: How did the Miz pull Maryse? He must have the self-confidence of George Clooney, Jay-Z, and Stephen Colbert all rolled into one.
8:55: Alberto del Rio shows up and starts flirting with Maryse. Maryse flirts back. I would pay $1,200 to be him right now. Maryse spins the wheel and gets del Rio a steel cage match.
Quick note: Watching a steel cage match live has to suck, especially if you’re on the floor or sitting at the corner of the ring. I’ve been to two UFC events live but was lucky enough to be eye level with the top of the cage.
Also, since we’re in Las Vegas, I'd wager 100 bucks there's someone back there stopping the wheel on certain spots. Seen the bottom of the wheel yet while it's spinning? That's what I thought.
8:59: Steel cage match now. Alberto del Rio drives a Lamborghini into the arena. I wonder if anyone has thrown their food or drink in one of those cars? And if so, how badly were they beaten by security?
9:01: ADR belongs on a soap opera playing a womanizing doctor. Make this happen, Univision!
9:02: Big Show comes out having some sort of spasm. Oh wait, never mind, he's just excited.
9:03: Del Rio has a thong on. For real. Did I not foreshadow this earlier? Clearly they are not reading this column.
9:04: Here comes Mark Henry, proving once and for all that the draft really doesn’t matter.
9:05: Show goes for the Chokeslam, which must be the most used finisher in history next to the Frog Splash, DDT, Diamond Cutter/RKO, and the Ankle Lock.
9:07: Henry rips the door off the cage, but can't figure out the chain. Takes door in ring and attacks Big Show.
9:08: ADR escapes and wins. Henry Hulk Smashes show through the cage with the door. Crowd chants “holy s**t.” Someone should tell the fans that's not PG.
9:09: Henry shouting gibberish. Asking refs, “What u gon' do?” Wish one of them was named Willis, but alas, they are not.
9:13: Michael Cole mentions the bumps Show has taken lately—actually a good point.
9:14: Kelly Kelly makes her way down the ramp. That's three-for-three on WWE showing my future wives.
9:16: The Bellas come out. Booker spins the roulette wheel and we get a ... submission match? Not exactly Bret Hart vs. Kurt Angle here. That was curious.
9:18: It sounds like bloody murder in the ring. Sometimes mics too close are a bad thing. Kelly gets a Boston Crab and wins. Then jumped from behind by the other twin.
9:19: Eve comes out and saves Kelly. They are hugging in the ring. Thousands of men just saved a new mental image for later.
Quick note: Booker T has been great hosting the roulette wheel segments. He's money as long as he doesn't do this.
9:25: Back from commercial to see Rey Mysterio with Booker. Booker spins the wheel and announces Rey and Alex Riley vs. Jack Swagger and the Miz in a tornado match. Hey, it’s DDP! Bang!
9:27: DDP starts to plug the Nitro DVD and is interrupted by Drew McIntyre. McIntyre talks some smack and is kicked from off screen by HBK. HBK cracks that he hasn’t seen any of the Nitro matches because he was busy.
Quick note: If you haven't seen DDP's tribute videos to the Macho Man on his site, they're a must-watch. He really goes in-depth about what Macho was like in real life and their relationship during their feud.
9:32: The Miz makes his way to ring, followed by Swagger. Call me crazy, but I still hate the Miz-Riley feud.
9:33: Swagger is still built like an orangutan. I've never looked it up, but I bet he was a beast in college. I've grappled with long dudes like that and they're a nightmare to deal with.
9:34: Speaking of long dudes, Rey Mysterio enters the arena.
9:35: Riley's tat looks like it belongs on a vigilante priest (or Danny Trejo).
9:38: Watching this match makes me feel like this.
Quick note: For those keeping track, I'm seven beers in. That means I've had that much time to not type.
9:42: Now I feel like this.
9:43: This match feels like it's in slow-mo.
9:45: Crowd seems dead. Two-thirds of these tickets were probably comped by casinos.
9:48: Swagger is set up for 619 for the 619th time. Rey hits it, Riley hits the DDT, then Rey hits that Belly Buster splash. Rey and Riley win.
9:49: Cut to R-Truth talking to himself backstage. Booker interrupts Truth, tells him to spin the wheel and gets a tables match with John Cena. Never seen a designer flak jacket before.
Once again we get John Cena in a main event. Up until now, it just kind of bothered me that he was in all the main events. Now it's starting to genuinely irritate me. He's stale and the people who have money for PPVs hate him, so why in the world do they keep shoving him down our throats? Even when the Rock was in his prime they didn't do this. PG is killing the WWE.
9:55: Truth comes out and still has no music. I vote for that NWA song about the police.
9:56: Cena’s music hits. Kids scream like they’re at a Justin Bieber concert. To their credit, the music is of the same caliber.
9:59: Uninteresting match so far. Cena hits a dropkick. Wait, WHAT?
10:00: Just waiting for inevitable Punk run in now.
10:01: Those jorts have got to cause some serious chaffing. Cena is in control of this match. Because he is Superman.
10:02: Punk runs out and moves the table, costing Cena the match. Truth takes advantage and wins.
10:03: Interesting tidbit: CM Punk is wearing a Stone Cold shirt. Knowing Punk, there’s got to be some hidden message in that.
10:04: Punk sits down at the top of the ramp and preaches to Cena.
10:05: Punk says he hates the idea of Cena being the best and says Cena kisses Vince McMahon’s ass. He’s pretty much saying everything people hate about Cena and the state of wrestling right now. Mentions Paul Heyman. Uh-oh.
10:06: And Brock Lesnar. Holy geez. Vince is having a coronary.
10:07: Punk is going into beast mode right now. I'm in awe. Cena looks appalled.
10:08: Punk mentions NJPW, ROH, and Colt Cabana. This just got real. Interestingly leaves out TNA.
10:09: Punk says the company might be better off if Vince was dead, but then calls Stephanie McMahon and Triple H morons. Says he wants to tell a personal story about Vince. Punk's mic gets cut off as he is about to go off on a rant about the anti-bullying campaign. He starts yelling into camera and WWE cuts the feed! That was incredible. What a promo! We may have just seen Punks “Austin 3:16” moment.
Best thing I've seen on Raw in at least six or seven years. All of that seemed genuine to me. I have no doubt that it was a worked shoot, but everything reeked of truthfuless. I agreed with everything he said, especially the notion that he’s been buried. CM Punk is the personification of how Attitude Era fans feel right now.
This situation represents everything that is wrong with the “PG Era.” Kids buy toys. Adults buy pay-per-views. If Punk really leaves (and for the record, I don’t believe he is—he’s too hot right now), it would be just another reason for adults to abandon WWE altogether. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that WWE’s recent financial struggles have a lot to do with this.
Two things can happen from here:
1. WWE wises up and adds more adult content and story lines. Nothing too crazy, just smarter stuff. Kids will watch anyway.
2. Keep the status quo and continue to lose viewers.
It’s really that simple.
Anyway, that’s all from this week’s Raw. It’ll be interesting to see where they go from here. I believe that this is a critical time for this company.
I’ll see you next week. You can follow me on twitter.com/codymusgrove. Peace!