What up wrestling fans, I'm the WrestlingNerd bringing you another written review. Today, we take a look at WWE Raw Super Show on 9/12/11. With Night of Champions set for this Sunday, how would the "go home" edition of Raw do to help the PPV? Well, let's find out and start the review.
We open up the show with Alberto Del Layfield (eh, eh, see what I did there? I know, lame). He says he can handle the boos, but hates being disrespected by the WWE Universe. He says they should respect him and reminds them how he retired Edge from the WWE. Bret Hart interrupts and wants to give Del Rio some advice. The Hitman tells Del Rio he doesn't know what it takes to be a champion. He calls him a disgrace to the world title and tells him he has a long way to go before he's a real champion. Del Rio answers back by saying Bret looks like a bum and he will make an example out of the Hitman right now. This brings out John Cena to the party. Cena praises Bret and gives Del Rio credit for growing a set of balls. He tells Del Rio to leave and celebrate his championship reign because it will be ending at NoC. Del Rio wants to give the people what they want, so he pitches Cena vs.......Richardo Rodriguez for tonight? Cena has another idea in which Del Rio puts his championship on the line against the Hitman (Didn't Cena tell Del Rio to enjoy his championship reign, but now tells him to defend it? Good one, John). The Canadian crowd is going nuts when they hear the Hitman proposal. Finally, John Laurinaitis comes out and says it will be Cena and Hitman vs Del Rio and Rodriguez in a tag team match for tonight. Overall, a somewhat disappointing opening. Now, it was smart to save the CM Punk/Triple H stuff for the ending of the show, but I didn't really like the build up between Del Rio and Cena. With this hype up, it doesn't get you excited for the match. This is a WWE Championship match, but right now it has the build up of a mid card title match, and I don't think that's what you want to do with your main championship. What I also get out of this scene is since Del Rio and Cena haven't had much build up, it basically says this will end in shenanigans, thus we get a rematch at the next PPV. Reckon, a lot of people already assumed this (myself included), but you shouldn't make it seem obvious. I realize the main focus of the PPV is the Punk/Hunter match, but that doesn't mean you don't have to get some proper buildup between Cena and Del Rio. Some people might like this buildup, but I just don't find it interesting. Bret was right in saying Del Rio isn't a very good champion at the moment. He's still new into this championship reign, but outside of that first week as champion, he really hasn't done much to make an impression. Hopefully, they figure something out at the PPV.
Match #1: Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger vs John Morrison and Alex Riley
This was a basic match. It's an ok match to get you into the action, but nothing special. The finish comes when Riley hits a Fireman's Carry Cutter (I think Riley has called it the TKO or the You're Dismissed in the past, but that can always change) on Swagger. Ziggler can break up the count, but decides not to and Riley scores the win for his team. Nice to see Riley bring back his old finisher because the DDT was a little lame. Either way, this scene told a story between Ziggler and Swagger, in they still can't get along. Hopefully at NoC, this storyline will get more light shed or come full circle since this has been teased for weeks now and we need to move into the next phase.
Winner via pinfall: John Morrison and Alex Riley
Backstage where R-Truth and Miz talk about how everyone is talking about Trips and Punk. Miz calls Punk a bullsh***er while Truth says it's a good decision....ninja please....wait, what? Ninja please? Was that Truth taking a shot at Naruto? Naw, probably reading way too much into it. Anyway, both guys come to the ring and talk about exposing the truth. They talk about winning the tag titles on Sunday and how Trips is "coo-coo" since he's the COO, get it? Truth has completely lost his mind, but are you really surprised? Despite the odd pairing, this is a group I can get used to. The two seem to work well together. This does make things interesting in regards to the Tag Team Championships. Still, it would be kinda odd to establish something like Air Boom and then give the titles to someone else in a short amount of time. At least, those are my thoughts at the moment. Either way, it does make for an interesting tag team titles match at the PPV. Gotta give the WWE some credit for adding some stroke to the tag division, but I hope they don't completely bail on this project....again.
Match #2: Miz vs Kofi Kingston
This was a pretty good back and forth match between both competitors. The finish comes when Miz hits Skull Crushing Finale on Kofi for the clean win. Yeah, not much to say after that.
Winner via pinfall: Miz
Backstage where Vickie Guerrero is talking to Teddy Long. Teddy informs her Dolph will defend the US Championship against Swagger, Riley, and Morrison in a Fatal 4Way match. Vickie talks about how it's unfair. Kelly Kelly walks into the scene and takes a crack at Vickie....
Come on, Kelly. At least freakin' try? Anyway, Vickie talks about how Kelly is a terrible champion and Beth Phoenix will beat her at the PPV. In fact, Vickie says she can beat Kelly. Teddy thinks that's an interesting idea, so he makes the match official for tonight. Oh course....just what everyone wanted. Hooray....I am excited.
Match #3: David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty vs Jerry "King" Lawler and Sheamus
The Lack of Personalities (that's my tag team name for them. I know, lame) and the King keep taking shots at one another before the match. This was your basic jobber match. King struggles for a while, but Sheamus comes in and takes them both out. Two Brogue Kicks and a High Cross later, the match is over. Very skippable segment. What's the point of this Lawler rivalry if it doesn't really seem to be going anywhere? I might be overly harsh on this storyline, but I just don't find it appealing. I agree that Otunga and Michael make watching grass grow seem interesting, but having them get killed every week by a 60 year old man isn't helping them.
Winner via pinfall: Jerry "King" Lawler and Sheamus
Match #4: Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez vs John Cena and Bret Hart
Here's an interesting fact. Did you know Rodriguez is actually a trained wrestler? Yeah, he has trained to be a wrestler, but WWE decided to make him into a ring announcer for Del Rio. Even though Rodriguez can do something in the ring, the script says Rodriguez doesn't know what he's doing, so time for Being Pussified 101. As you would have guessed, Ricardo was a punching bag for Cena and the Hitman. Del Rio and Cena fought each for a while, but Cena was totally owning him. Yeah, not the marks of a good champion. I felt they had an opportunity to show Del Rio is legit (or as legit as a heel world champion can get), but they made him look pathetic tonight. As soon as Del Rio tagged back in Rodriguez, he was running all the way to Buffalo, New York. The finish comes when Ricardo taps out to the Sharpshooter by the Hitman. I really didn't like this segment, but this also guarantees Punk and Trips will close out the show. I hope for their sake it's a good segment, because this show has a been a snooze fest so far. Come on WWE, it's the last showing until your PPV and it isn't being built in the best way possible.
Winner via submission: John Cena and Bret Hart
Match #5: Kelly Kelly vs Vickie Guerrero
This match was a joke, but at least they kept it short. Vickie tries to do exercises to "warm up", but Kelly attacks. In the middle of the match, Swagger arrives to argue with Dolph. Vickie is distracted by all of this, which allows Kelly to get a roll up victory. What the hell was this? Kelly is your champion and she needs help/a distraction to beat Vickie Guerrero? How does this make Kelly look good going into her title defense? In fact, her entire championship reign has looked pretty weak. I really hope it ends this Sunday since I just can't support Kelly. Has she made improvements? Yeah, but it isn't saying much since she adds nothing to the belt. After the match, Beth shows up to attack her, but Kelly scouts it and hits a drop kick and runs away. Oh yeah, because face champions look awesome when running away, duh? WWE, what are you doing?
Winner via pinfall: Kelly Kelly
Backstage interview where Mark Henry predicts this...
Match #6: Randy Orton vs Cody Rhodes
I don't think this was quite as good as the Smackdown match they had last week, but a decent edition. I think what ruined the match is Henry would show up from time to time and Orton would be distracted for a moment. Instead of Rhodes taking advantage, Orton is so overpowered that he senses the attacks and still is in complete control. Come on, Orton. You're not a freakin' ninja. Gosh damn, Orton has more superpowers than the Marvel Universe combined with the way WWE builds his character. The finish comes when Orton is setting up for the RKO, but Henry gets on the steel steps. Orton is distracted for a while, which allows Rhodes to take off his face mask and use it as a weapon. He then hits Cross Rhodes and he pins the WHC. Well, nice to see an Orton match in which Orton loses. I would like to see Rhodes continue this little momentum boost. If they continue this, it could lead to Rhodes getting pushed hard and maybe going for the world title. At this moment, Rhodes' place is with the IC Championship, but I can see this as a sign of things to come. As for the WHC picture, do you think the WHC buildup is better than the WWE Championship buildup? For some reason, I've felt they built up Henry's Hall of Pain and this rivalry pretty well, which makes him appropriate competition. With the WWE Title picture, Del Rio looks boring while Cena says the cliche stuff. The WHC might be the weaker of the two world title matches in terms of wrestling quality, but I think it's telling a much better story and I am more interested in this than the Del Rio/Cena storyline. At least, that's my opinion.
Winner via pinfall: Cody Rhodes
Ok, well if you're still awake, time for the Punk/Triple H segment. Punk says he respects Trips for getting rid of Kevin Nash, but he still doesn't like him. He talks about how Trips was never fond of him since day one since he thought of Punk as some underweight internet darling. Trips says his opinion of Punk has changed a bit. Punk continues in Trips is exactly like Vince McMahon since they both like those bodybuilder type wrestlers as opposed to small guys. Trips quickly cuts him off and brings up guys like Shawn Michaels, Rey Mysterio, and Bret Hart. Trips thinks Punk is using this as an excuse for not getting a push. Punk says this is not his excuse, but he knows this business has always been about the big guys and feels the smaller guys have to go the extra mile and then some to make it big. Trips finally says Punk has been trying to talk about how Trips' opinion is wrong, but says the only opinion that matters is the WWE Universe. Punk says if the WWE Universe is the voice of the company, why is there no WWE ice cream bars? Punk brings up a story of the 2006 Survivor Series in Philly. He says the crowd was heavy for Punk on that night. Basically, what Punk was trying to get across is even though the fans want to watch a certain wrestler and cheer for them, that doesn't mean you will get an automatic push in the WWE, at least in the eyes of the creative team. He's right about that to a degree. Heck, if the fans decided who gets pushed or not, they would've already crowned Zack Ryder as a 20 time world champion and AJ Styles would be the King over on TNA, but it's not the time to discuss that. Sorry for getting off track there. Punk talks about not having the fair opportunities in the WWE, but Hunter brings up all of Punk's accomplishments and claims Punk has had opportunities, but he didn't start doing anything with them until now. He talks about how Cena is the biggest star in this company because he won over the fans. Punk quickly reminds him this audience DOES in fact love Punk, but Trips thinks he won't maintain it. Punk gets a little angry and talks about ever since walking into the WWE, he has busted his ass to get to where he's at. Trips agrees and says Punk has done exactly that, but says this has nothing to do with pushes or being held back. Trips goes on to say Punk made this a personal matter with his tactics and he will kick his ass at the PPV. Punk says he doesn't have a problem with that because he will be kicking his ass in the process.
Anyway, Punk says this isn't even about Punk vs Trips anymore, it's about Phil Brooks vs Paul Levesque and.....Punk's mic is cut off. You can hear Trips say if he has something to say, say it to his face. Trips hands him his mic and Punk starts to talk but.....the mic goes out again. Triple H is a little confused as to what is going on around here and asks for another mic. He lends out the mic to Punk and tells him to give him one of his "pipe bombs". Punk thinks about it for a while, but takes the mic and....smashes it over Hunter's skull. The show ends with Punk giving Trips the "Suck It" chop and walks away.
Whoa, that was a mouthful. There was parts of this speech where it seemed on a repeat. I don't know how many times Trips said Punk needs to win over the crowd. In a way, it's kinda like an oxymoron since Punk has won over the crowd since his June promo and continues to get people interested in the product and his character. Then again, what really made me get interested in this scene was the last 3-4 minutes where Punk and Trips got into a more heated argument. That's what made this scene seem like a really good work and made for good buildup going into the match at NoC. In a lot of ways, what both Punk and Trips said is true. It's a pretty well known fact that Vince is really high on those muscle bound wrestlers. Heck, look at Ezekiel Jackson. I don't know how many chances this guy has had in the last two years, but he has done nothing to make a bigger impression. So, why did they keep pushing him when he wasn't doing anything to win the crowd over? Yeah, I wouldn't blame you if you called backstage politics on this one. How about Kelly Kelly? She isn't really skilled at her job, but because of her look and certain creative powers liking her, she gets a chance and hasn't really done much with it. There are other examples of this, but I think I made my point. It's also true winning over the audience will entitle you to more pushes or screen time, but it's not always the case. Punk has had a cult following since day one in the WWE and I've seen many episodes where Punk had a overwhelming response and he still didn't really go anywhere in terms of more screen time. Once in a while he would get some screen time, but it didn't take long for his push to become transparent. Even thought bringing up backstage politics is a little unfair, you have to admit that it does come into play for a superstar. In fact, there was a point in the middle of the year where Zack Ryder was really winning over the internet. People would bring Ryder signs to the live events and WWE was actually confiscating the signs. So, based on Triple H's words, Ryder should get a push because the fans want to see him, but that always isn't the case with the creative team. In a lot of ways, backstage politics and the WWE Universe will determine if you will be a big time player in the world of professional wrestling. What also helps is hard work and passion for the business. Never will I question Cena busting his ass because there was a point where a name like Cena didn't seem to go anywhere, but he worked hard and has earned his spot. The same goes for most of those talents you see in the ring every night. Before Trips married Stephanie, he was just a regular worker trying to make it big in the business. People in the IWC might question how Trips has used his power in the last decade, but it isn't like that power was handed to him the first day he walked into that company. A lot of people forget that at times. Of course, many people think Trips' career as been nothing more than him riding the coat tails of other people's success, but I really don't want to dive into all of that at the moment. Then we come to Punk, who's trying his hardest to get himself over and it seems to be working. He's doing it in a different style, but it seems to be pretty effective. What it comes down to is even if the crowd loves you or gives you a reaction, it takes multiple attributes to be a big time wrestling star. Stuff like mic skills, work ethic, personality, charisma and grabbing peoples attention are all factors that it takes to make it big. You really can't say one attribute will send you to the top because you need all of these attributes to really be a big star. You have to look at some of the greatest and each of them had certain skills that really got them over the top. In other words, it's a little more complex than winning the audience or having a certain body type.
I like the spot where Punk's mic was cut off. Just like the promo back in June, I am pretty sure it was planned for Punk's mic to get cut off to show the "realism" of how Punk is going too far once again. I like what WWE has done here with Punk and Trips because with everything that was said tonight, people might quickly be forgetting people like Nash, Johnny Ace, and Steph in playing a role in the match. You still have to think one or all three might have a hand in this match. Yes, I am aware of the reports that Nash was released, but with the way WWE has been doing things, not sure if I call this legit or a work. We will just wait and see at NoC or down the road and don't be too surprised if Nash shows up on WWE television again. This was hands down the best segment of the night. Great build up for what could be a great main event and excellent storytelling between Punk and Triple H.
Outside of the final segment between Punk and Trips, the rest of the show is very forgettable. WWE did a great job in setting up the main event. That's a good thing since that's the match that will get the most interest in terms of PPV buyrates. The rest of the card build up was kinda weak. Cena and Del Rio aren't building up their match in the best way possible. The Fatal 4Way US Championship has some very interesting buildup, but people like Morrison and Riley don't seem to have much of a role in this match at the moment. Things can always change, but the focus seems to be in the threesome in Ziggler, Swagger, and Vickie. Threesome? Bad choice of words. Anyway, Henry and Orton had the same cliche buildup they have had for the last two weeks on SD and I would have like to see something a little different as opposed to Henry posing with the title. It's ok, but something a little different wouldn't hurt. There was some decent buildup with the tag team championship match. That's also a match I can see going either way at this moment, so I think they did well in that category. The Divas Title match didn't really have good build up tonight, so I hope they do something on SD to grab your attention. In terms of the wrestling quality tonight, it was kinda lacking. The Kofi/Miz and Orton/Rhodes matches were decent to watch, but they can easily be forgotten in a hurry. Then again, you have to save something for your PPV, so that I can understand. Not the best Go Home edition of Raw tonight since it felt boring, but the ending is what made the show worthwhile. I don't recommend the whole show, but I think you will be plenty satisfied with the Punk/Trips confrontation. Not a great showing, but at least there was something to latch onto. That's going to do it for the review and I hope you enjoyed it. As always, tell me what you thought of my review and tonight's show. I will see you guys and girls on the next WrestlingNerd show, see you next time.