Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Monday Night Raw Recap: The Raw Librarian's Debut

Welcome to the first Monday Night Raw recap. Hopefully someone out there is even slightly amused and this will be a recurring feature on The Great Mambino. I want to thank KOBEsh and BockerKnocker for allowing me the opportunity to ramble on about the merits of “Sports Entertainment.”

Some background about me that you should probably know: I used to set a tape in the VCR to record ECW Hardcore TV, Saturday mornings at 3 a.m. on channel 19....that was a very old fashioned statement. So like CM Punk, I too, am a Paul Heyman guy. 

A lot of my views are influenced by the people I have read/currently read. In the past, I've perused Mr. Tito’s Phat Daily Column of LOP on a regular basis until his retirement. (I still like to hear his insight on the current product and follow him on Twitter.) Currently, my jams are The Masked Man of Grantland.com and Brandon Stroud’s Best and Worst of Raw column on With Leather. Both of their work is far more polished, eloquent and succinct than mine will ever be, so if you only have time to read one Raw review, read Stroud’s. If you have time for two, squeeze mine in. 

Enough about me, let’s talk some wrastlin’. Raw was LIVE from Pittsburgh this Monday. The good news for Pittsburgh, is that they could not possibly be any worse than last week’s crowd in North Carolina -- Flair Country did the WWE a huge disservice. (The pantheon of wrestling crowds includes NYC, Chicago, Philly, Boston, Miami (new induction) and any Canadian crowd). This will be the final Raw before the Over the Limit PPV this Sunday, even though it seems like Extreme Rules was just a week ago.

What follows is an event-by-event recap of what happened, with some MAMBINO commentary.

HHH in-ring segment
You just know when HHH starts off the show with a microphone in his hand, it’s going to be 9:17pm before anything of substance is said. The COO runs down Brock Lesnar, saying he quit the WWE and went to the UFC when things were too hard. (Revisionist history has him conveniently forget to mention Lesnar trying out with the Minnesota Vikings.) Then things got too tough for him in UFC and he quit. Oh you mean like being diagnosed with diverticulitis after he had already been the heavyweight champion of his sport?

After 10 minutes of HHH struggling to form a coherent point, Paul Heyman came out to provide the segment with some legitimacy. I don’t remember a previous time when HHH or Paul Heyman ever shared the same ring together. The closest time in my memory was Heyman mentioning HHH in his 2005 ECW One Night Stand worked shoot. Fast-forward to the 6:55 mark for the greatness:

(Sidenote: The return of Paul Heyman to the WWE is way more shocking than Lesnar’s. Heyman is the guy who once said this to Vince McMahon’s face)

Decent opener saved by Heyman. Paul tells HHH that he’s suing the WWE on behalf of his client Brock Lesnar and HHH for assault and battery. If there’s one thing Paul Heyman knows, it’s lawsuits.

CM Punk/Santino Marella w/ sock cobra vs Cody Rhodes/Daniel Bryan
Cody Rhodes and Daniel Bryan took this match-up very seriously by sporting identical ring attire. Solid technical match...when every one but Santino was in the ring. Cody Rhodes being frightened by a sock puppet led to a GTS and Punk/Santino victory. An obligatory staredown between CM Punk and Daniel Bryan took place after the match.

(Tweet alert. @WWE_Creative: The WWE Champion needed an assist from a sock puppet to win in a handicap situation. Over the Limit buyrate should be just fine #RAWTonight)

Daniel Bryan is going about this feud all wrong. In all my wrestling watching history, I have only seen 3 surefire ways to becoming champion:

1. Marry the boss’s daughter. (Chloroform and drive thru Vegas chapel optional.
2. Become workout partner of the guy who married the boss’s daughter.
3. Go on live television and say you are unsure of the company’s future when the boss is dead after previously-mentioned-guy-who-married-the boss’-daughter, takes it over. #pipebomb

Give Punk and Bryan 30 minutes this Sunday or let me see a Pepsi Plunge. I don’t ask for much.

Daddy like.
Beth Phoenix vs Alicia Fox

Divas Champion Layla watched the squash match from the top of the ring. This was not a technical masterpiece. Beth Phoenix won the match with the Glam Slam. Layla won my heart with her push up bra/tank top combination.

I’m upset Michael Cole failed to mention Alicia Fox beating Beth Phoenix a few months back on Raw and then cutting this hardcore promo. You know it served as motivation for Beth.

Big Show Vs Kane w/ Big Johnny and David Otunga at ringside

Tonight on Raw continued the fallout of the Big Show being punished for doing his best Marty Funkhouser impression. Unfortunately, his jokes were nowhere near as funny. (Next week, look for Randy Orton being placed in a handicap match after not saying “bless you” when Laurinaitis sneezes.) Typical big man match with Kane getting the victory after John Laurinaitis demanded Big Show's apology mid-match. Unfortunately, Kane’s chokeslam was more botched than last week’s Baldo Bomb by Lord Tensai:

After the match, the Raw GM had the Big Show beg for his job and say he was sorry. Finally the Big Show dropped to his knees to avoid being fired, which is ironic because that is the same way Eve Torres was hired. (Editor's Note: HEYO!) However, it was to no avail and the Big Show was “fired.”

(Tweet alert. @AKATheMaskedMan: Tonight's Raw is sponsored by Denny's, which is coincidentally where Big Show is presently drowning his sorrows in a trough of gravy.)

In other words, this storyline has three options:

Option 1, the Big Show is taking a vacation for a few months.
Option 2, the former Giant is replacing the Miz as the new lead for the straight to DVD thriller “The Marine: Homefront.”
Or Option 3, The Big Show returns this Sunday at Over the Limit and helps John Laurinaitis win the match and gets his job back.

Honestly, I’m hoping for option 2. At least the WWE has a way to appeal unfair decisions/fines. How many times have we seen something voted on by the Board of Directors? It would be completely asinine for a company to have their disciplinarian both hand out the punishment and then become the arbitrator while hearing the argument in the appeals process...cough...Roger Goodell...cough.

Funkasauras/R-Truth/Kofi Kingston vs Miz/Swagger/Ziggler

A tag team championship match was added to Over the Limit: R-Truth/Kofi Kingston vs Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler. Swagger and Ziggler qualified for the title match up by winning a number one conten.....nevermind. The tag titles are a joke. The faces won the match with one of the stiffest kicks I’ve ever seen to Miz’s head by Kofi Kingston.


Everyone’s favorite stalker AJ Lee approached CM Punk hanging out with Alex Riley to wish him good luck this Sunday. AJ must not know about Punk’s history with the Divas. Maria Kanellis, Beth Phoenix, Kelly Kelly, Lita....if AJ’s not careful, she’ll end up just another star on his spandex. However, the most far-fetched part of this segment was WWE creative asking us to believe CM Punk and Alex Riley hang out.

Randy Orton vs Chris Jericho w/Sheamus at ringside
Solid match that was interrupted with a long commercial break. Match ends in a DQ, as Sheamus pulls Jericho out of the ring and clotheslines him.

Does anybody understand Randy Orton? Forgive me, but I simply do not understand the appeal. Legend Killer? Apex Predator? The guy is as vanilla as they come.

But Jericho is the exact opposite. The man of 1004 holds proves that win/loss records means nothing. Lost his last two PPV matches to CM Punk and he’s still at the top of his game.

Main Event
In-ring segment featuring John Laurinaitis: “If John Cena is your favorite superstar, that makes each and every one of you a loser.” I have nothing to add to that.

Yeah, Stacy Keibler did it better.
Then John Cena came out to the ring and I cannot even come close to describing the aloofness that took place. Cena tried out his best Jim Carrey impersonation to the delight of the 12 year old kids in the arena who were born after Ace Ventura was released, as well as Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler, laughing their asses off on commentary. Cole apparently forgot that he is a heel announcer and that he needs to insult the faces by calling them nerds.

(Tweet alert. @HurricaneBini18: John Cena must go to Zack Ryder’s doctor. Amazing recovery. #raw)

After Laurinaitis got some cheap heat by calling the Penguins losers, John Cena told him to “Go puck himself.” To be fair, the Pittsburgh Penguins ARE losers.

(Tweet Alert: @MrBrandonStroud: Puck Fules)

Ms. Hancock 2.0 then comes down to the ring and hands John Laurinaitis a fax that says their match at Over the Limit will be a singles match, that there will be no special referee, and that any Superstar who interferes will be terminated. If Laurinaitis loses the match, he will be fired as well. Raw concludes with Big Johnny slapping John Cena and storming to the back.

(Tweet Alert: @Storm_Wrestling: So in the face of termination Johnny slaps Cena in the face and holds his head high, while Big Show cries and begs. #WhosTheBabyface)

Final Thoughts

Raw did a better job advertising ShamWow than their Over the Limit PPV. The only reason to order this Sunday's event is for Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk. I give Raw a C- this week.

Extremely Brief Over the Limit thoughts

Sheamus vs Randy Orton vs Alberto Del Rio vs Chris Jericho- I dislike Fatal Fourway or Triple Threat matches unless they are elimination style. However, this could be good as all four guys can do the work. I see Sheamus retaining or Alberto Del Rio “stealing” a victory.

CM Punk vs Daniel Bryan- I think they give these guys 25 minutes and Punk retains cleanly. Given the proper time, this could be the match of the year. Overall, I really don’t see this PPV getting many buys and I just hope that Punk/Bryan do not get the blame.

Big Johnny Laurinaitis over John Cena due to Big Show interference in what was the most blatant case of foreshadowing I have ever seen on Raw. Possible Ryback squash, possible Funkasauras dance. We’ll see. I’m not sure if we’ll have enough time.

Top 5 Completely Arbitrary Power Rankings
5. Beth Phoenix: Right now no diva is even in the Glamazon’s league.
4. Chris Jericho: Who knows how much longer we have Y2J until he’s back touring with Fozzy. The man of 1004 holds proves that win/loss records means nothing. Lost his last two PPV matches to CM Punk and he’s still at the top of his game.
3. CM Punk & Daniel Bryan: Despite being given zero time to build up a feud, they will have a match of the year candidate Sunday.
2. Paul Heyman: This placement is more directed at his surprise return last week before I had a column. There is no denying the former owner of ECW enhances every storyline he’s in.
1. Johnny Ace: Nobody had more TV screen than Mr. Excitement this week.

Honorable mentions: corporate sycophants, cheap seats heat, Fozzy played my prom sign, stalker AJ, Ace Ventura, Shamwow

Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed, leave a comment and follow me on Twitter @TheRawLibrarian.


  1. I was going to purchase Over The Limit (or The Over Limit according to Big Johnny) just to support Punk vs. Bryan, but after the last few weeks I think I'm just going to have to pirate it or download it the following day. Also, getting the WM 29 bill didn't help ($65 + $8 tax). When the fuck did TicketMaster start charging fees to PPVs?

    Anyway, the buy rates for OTL are going to suck, hard, and I feel like they're setting up Punk and Bryan as the scapegoats on purpose. Maybe Creative is just flailing b/c they lack logic and only had like 3 days for the build up (though they're using that time for HHH/Lesnar build), but the whole situation makes me nervous.

    Anyway, good first column, and congrats on the shout out from Mr. Tito.

  2. Appreciate the feedback Hell in a Bin-Bin Cell. I too anticipate this being the worst bought PPV since December to Dismember in 2006. Ironically this was the same PPV that caused Paul Heyman to quit the WWE in the first place. The main event was The Big Show, Bobby Lashley, RVD, Hardcore Holly, CM Punk and Test(RIP) in an elimination chamber. Heyman wanted to have the Big Show(Champion) lose first to surprise the crowd and guarantee we would see a new champion. Big Show loved it, CM Punk loved it, Mr. McMahon hated it. Changed the ending, and had Lashley and The Big Show be the final two men with Bobby Lashley going over.
    Creatively: Paul Heyman > Mr. McMahon
    Business wise: Mr. McMahon > Paul Heyman