What up wrestling fans, I'm the WrestlingNerd bringing you another written review. Today, we take a look at WWE Raw 4/2/12. With WrestleMania 28 over, how does the WWE move forward? Let's find out and start the review.
We open up the show with a WWE locker room meeting with John Laurinaitis. That's right, John. You got the touch……you got the power……..yeah!!! Roboinaitis says that he will be making some fair decisions now that he's the GM of Raw and Smackdown, so his first official match is Santino defending the US Championship in a Triple Threat match against Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger. Yep…..fair indeed. The sci-fi movies always warned us what would happen when robots got the power. What has science done? Anyway, CM Punk interrupts and says Johnny is a complete tool. Tool? Robot? WWE is making this way too easy. Johnny makes it Punk vs Mark Henry for the WWE Championship. Johnny also says we are under the "People Power Era". What? People Power Era? Sounds like something you would hear on an episode of Captain Planet. Yeah, I'm not a big fan of what Johnny is calling it, but that's not the important thing. Johnny immediately lays down the law to people who were against his vision. Things are about to get maddening with Mr. Excitement calling the shots.
After that short scene, Rock is in the ring. He talks about winning the match, thanking John Cena for the opportunity, thanks the fans for making the match possible, and he throws in some comedy for delight. You gotta suck pretty bad if you get cut from the Canadian Football League. I thought that was pretty funny. Hopefully, my Canadian audience doesn't get too angry with me. Oh, and wiping impossible with a monkey's ass? Keep your fantasies to yourself……you sick FREAK!!! The Rock ends his speech by saying he will one day be the WWE Champion again. I don't think that will happen anytime soon. The Rock is making a pretty comfortable living by being a part-time performer, so this "vision" is probably something that won't happen until years from now. Then again, who really knows? I don't think some wrestling fans have to worry about the Rock taking the championship anytime soon…..At least, that's what I hope. If I'm wrong, I talk about that another day. Oh, and throughout the night, we would get these videos of Cena's reaction to losing the match. I will spoil it right now and say it doesn't happen until the very end. You really shouldn't be surprised by Cena closing the show.
Match #1: Santino vs Dolph Ziggler vs Jack Swagger: US Championship match
The match acted like a handicap match in the early going. Santino was getting destroyed by Dolph and Biff Tannen. When it came time to pin Santino, both guys started arguing with each other. Because of this, Santino gets back in the match. The finish comes when Santino hits the Cobra on Swagger for the victory. The match doesn't really bother me. Dolph doesn't need the US title while Swagger was a terrible US champion. After the match, Santino is trying to get away. Santino does his Marty McFly impression, "What the hell is that!!!". As soon as he says this, he speed-walks to the entrance. I like how Dolph and Swagger don't even bother RUNNING. Maybe they just don't care? As soon as Santino gets up the ramp, Brodus Clay arrives to even the odds. Dolph and Swagger huddle for a plan to take down the Funkasaurus. Apparently, the plan was for Dolph to charge at him. Yeah, that's a brilliant plan. I would call this Dumbass Syndrome. That's when you make decisions that make no sense and are destined to fail. This happens a lot in pro wrestling. With Dolph down, Swagger doesn't bother attacking. There was a "Funkasaurus" chant going on. Take that, Brodus haters. After the good guys stand tall, Brodus' dancers come out and they start to dance. All right. Funky Kong is in the house. In all seriousness, I like Brodus' involvement here. He can't keep going out there and squashing people every week. He eventually needed to get a program of some kind, so it looks like they have started something. Then again, it could be purely coincidental, but I think WWE is going to start giving Brodus some rivalries.
Winner via pinfall and still US Champion: Santino
Match #2: Lord Tensai vs Alex Riley
Check out the Shredder helmet on Lord Tensai. That's two reviews in a row that I have made a TMNT reference. What's up with that? He came out with a guy named Sakamoto. Sakamoto, meet….Miyamoto…….ooooooh, I'm so stupid. As I mentioned a while back, Lord Tensai turned out to be former WWE Superstar, Albert. Well, at least he discovered the wonderful world of razor blades. Tensai completely destroyed Riley. Tensai could've ended this match early, but the guy wanted to make a statement. He would hit a Butterfly suplex, a running back slam, punches and uppercuts, and a Sit-down Powerbomb. Eventually, the referee had to call the match since Riley couldn't continue. After the match, Tensai wasn't finished. He would spit on his hand and lock in a Mandible Claw on Riley. Alex is screaming in pain, but I think he was grossed out by the spit. He's like, "Awww, spit in my eyes". Overall, I'm not sure how well this Tensai gimmick is gonna stick. It seemed like the audience wasn't interested in the character. It will take some time to see how well this gimmick goes. Besides, Shredder/Tatsu has some serious goals in mind….
Winner via ref decision: Lord Tensai
Match #3: CM Punk vs Mark Henry; WWE Championship match
I'm probably gonna get a lot of crap for saying this, but I liked this match. Despite the size difference, Punk and Henry were telling a pretty good story. Punk was selling the back injury from last night. Punk would keep trying to get back in the match, but Henry would go into his power mode and be able to counter. Eventually, Punk was able to chip away at Henry and he got the big man off his feet. After Punk hit the Flying Elbow, Henry got back up and sent Punk to the outside of the ring. Punk couldn't get to the ring in time to break up the count, so Henry wins via countout. After the match, Henry hits the World's Strongest Slam on the outside of the ring. He's clearly not happy. Laurinaitis would come out and say Punk will be defending his WWE title on a consistent basis. He sees a dark cloud is in Punk's path. Speaking of dark clouds, Chris Jericho comes out and thanks Punk for their match last night. In face, he wants to celebrate with a drink. He gets a bottle of alcohol and pours it on Punk's head. As Jericho is telling Punk to drink it, Jericho smashes the bottle in Punk's head. I wonder how Vince McMahon reacted after watching this scene?
Vince: That was amazing Chris. I really liked how you poured…..wait a minute? Where's my $10,000 bottle? Oh, you son of a bitch!!!.
As I would've guessed, the Punk/Jericho rivalry will continue. I don't know about you folks, but I would like to see Punk and Jericho compete in a ladder match. Punk and Jericho have performed well in that style and I think it would be an awesome rematch. It did seem that Jericho was a little graphic with his actions tonight, but I like that storytelling element. I would like to see what Punk's reaction will be after Jericho poured alcohol on him. Then again, it was probably apple juice at the end of the day, but you get the idea. At least it wasn't his diet soda?
Winner via countout: Mark Henry; CM Punk is still WWE Champion
Sheamus comes out and…..oh, he gets interrupted immediately. Well, it's about time Daniel Bryan go out there and…..Why is Alberto Del Rio here? Anyway, Del Rio comes out and says he has a match against him on SD this week. If Del Rio wins, he will get a future WHC title match. I like the "Si" chants by the audience. Love or hate the audience, you can't take away their creativity and excitement. Personally, I love the audience. And most of you already know that I feel the audience can make or break a showing. Del Rio's mic cuts off a couple of times. I thought it was a sound issue, but this was planned since Sheamus would hit Del Rio with the Brogue Kick. Throughout this segment, the audience was in high demand for Daniel Bryan. You can tell the audience wasn't happy about getting a trolled WHC match. What will Bryan get to say "YES" to now? Anyway, Bryan and AJ were watching this scene backstage. Josh Matthews tries to interview Bryan, but Daniel is giving him the silent treatment. I'm not really thrilled that Del Rio is immediately getting thrown into the WHC picture. What about Bryan? I think what will end up happening is a Triple Threat match for the WHC at Extreme Rules, but why the total disregard for Bryan? I was loving his character, but now the momentum is completely transparent after WM. Yeah, so I'm not the biggest fan in the WHC thought process. It can improve and I will wait and see where they are going with this, but I'm not liking what I see at the present time. Then again, I think a lot of people still have mental scarring from the Del Rio world title reign. YIKES!!!
Match #4: Cody Rhodes vs Kofi Kingston
This was a short match. Big Show came out and showed a clip of defeating Cody last night. Oh, the irony!!! Since Cody wasn't paying attention, Kofi was able to hit the Trouble in Paradise on Cody and ends up stealing this match. Well, I guess that means Cody/Show are due for…..ONE MORE MATCH!!!
Winner via pinfall: Kofi Kingston
A quick backstage scene involving Henry. He's pissed off that he didn't win the WWE title. Abraham Washington shows and up…..Abraham Washington? I haven't seen that guy since the WWECW days. Anyway, AW wants to help out Henry since he feels he's getting the s*** end of the stick. AW gives him his card and tells him to think about it. I SMELL PARTNERSHIP!!!
Match #5: Miz vs Zack Ryder
Before this match, Eve came out and talked about fooling Ryder a second time. Like I said, it's kinda hard to show Ryder some sympathy when he fell for it twice. Eve proceeds to talk about how great Johnny is. Didn't she tell this guy off about two months ago? Eh, never mind. There isn't a whole lot to talk about with this match. Miz wins with the Skull Crushing Finale. Yeah, let's hear it for People Power!!! Again, what does it mean? Is that where you power up by eating people? Oh, and I guess Miz is back on a winning streak. Yeah, remember that? Cuz I sure as hell don't.
Winner via pinfall: Miz
Time for the final segment of the night. Cena talks about being defeated and how he meant everything he said leading up to WM. Cena knows the fans want him to lash out at the audience, but Mr. Boy Scout will STILL not give in. Cena apologizes to his fans for letting them down. There's some interesting chants in the arena. Who's laser? Hmm…..Maybe I misheard something? Oh, but I'm sure it's not important. If there's one thing I liked about Cena's promo, it was the shout out to Daniel Bryan. Other than that, it was your typical, boy scout Cena. So, no character change…..at least not tonight. If WWE is building up towards a character change for Cena, it's going to take some time. Anyway, Cena wants the Rock to come out so he can thank him personally. Well, the Rock is making his way to the ring. Hmmmmm…..The Rock seems to have gotten bigger and turned into a white guy…….HOLY CRAP, IT'S BROCK LESNAR. Wait, laser? How could I be so stupid? I like how Cena is acting like a fanboy when seeing Lesnar. He just stands there smiling and awaiting his presence. Well, it didn't take long for that smile to grace the face of Cena. As Brock is in the ring with Cena, he wants a handshake. What a nice guy. I know I can trust a guy who beat the s*** out of people in UFC. Well, Cena take the bait, which leads to Lesnar hitting the F5. I love how Lesnar kicks Cena's hat. Its like he's saying, "I don't want this s***". The show ends with Lesnar playing to the crowd. Well, it turns out the dirt sheet was partially right. Then again, I talked about this subject last night. If Brock was gonna return, it made the most sense to use him on Raw. WWE was going up against NCAA Basketball, so they needed to save up something in order to get some attention. I'm pretty excited with Brock being back in the WWE. Not sure what type of contact he has. He can definitely be a full-time performer, but I wouldn't be surprised if he has more of a Jericho-type contract. Now, while people didn't get the Cena character change, the return of Brock Lesnar definitely makes up for it. Cena is not having a good week. He debuts his Green Ranger suit and has gotten his ass kicked two nights in a row. Worst Green Ranger ever!!!
After a PPV, it's pretty custom to get a show with more promos. You also get a heavy emphasis on promos/build-up/set-up new or current storylines. So, I didn't have too many expectations going into tonight. I was entertained throughout the night. While the action was pretty forgettable, there was a pretty decent match between Punk and Henry. Still, that isn't the main reason this show was buzzing. The show is getting a lot of attention for the return of Brock Lesnar. The man returns after being absent for years with the company. It will be interesting to see what he will do in the WWE. It seems that Brock as put a target on Cena's back, so I am interested to see how this will unfold. The other thing I loved about the show was the audience. I mentioned this earlier in the review, but the audience was very vocal. I love it when the audience can really play along with the show. It just makes the show come alive if you're watching it at home. So, I give the audience a point for making the show that much better. Some people can be upset that there was no Undertaker/Triple H/HBK scene. I think they did everything they needed to do at WM, so having them show up would be totally unnecessary. If you want to see the aftermath of Taker/Trips/HBK, go see the ending of their match. They simply tied up all the loose ends at WM. The action is lacking with this one, but I think there is enough surprises to keep you mostly invested in the show. 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 or tonight's show. If you like what you read, check out the rest of my insanity. I will see you guys and girls on the next WrestlingNerd show. See you next time.