What up wrestling fans, I'm the WrestlingNerd bringing you another written review. Today, we take a look at WWE Raw 4/23/12. With Extreme Rules set for this Sunday, how will the THREE HOUR RAW be able to set up the PPV? Let's find out and start the review.
We open up the show with Teddy Long. Apparently, we are opening up with the Brock Lesnar/John Cena contract signing. I know it seems odd to open up with this segment, but that only means more shenanigans will come into play. Cena comes out and awaits Brock, but Brock never shows up. John Laurinaitis comes out and yells at Teddy. Apparently, Johnny told Teddy to get to the ring, while Teddy thought it was supposed to get ready for the contract signing. Teddy just can't catch a break. it also doesn't help Teddy's case that Brock isn't at the building yet. Johnny demands for Teddy to tell Cena to leave HIS ring. Teddy tells Cena to leave, so Teddy leaves the ring while Cena stays…..wait, what? Just as Cena is about to leave and Johnny preaches "People Power" (What does it mean?), Edge shows up and heads to the ring. Edge starts to talk and……wait, it's Edge? HOLY S***!!! Okay, now that I got that out of the way, let's continue. Edge has some choice words for Cena. He tells him that he doesn't want to talk to this current Cena. He wants the Cena that beat the crap out of him in a TLC match all of those years ago He wants the Cena that he considered his top rival, not this washed-out version of the guy. Edge talks about how Brock doesn't care about pro wrestling and he's here for money and fame. If Brock were to win the match at ER, it would be like spitting on the pro wrestling industry and the people who brought up the business. Edge ends his promo by telling Cena to wake up and orders him to defeat Lesnar. Wow, that was an awesome promo. Edge might not be able to compete anymore, but the guy can still go out there and make you pay attention with his words. Ever since Cena lost to the Rock, things have not gone well with Mr. Green Ranger. He had issues with fighting David Otunga. He lost to Lord Tensai, and the only brave thing he has done is bitch-slap Brock, but that was more reckless than brave. What's strange is this scene would get me to support Cena a little more. Then again, I think that was the idea, but I'm sure there's some people who didn't buy into that and still want to see the Cena rotisserie in Chicago. I like that Cena didn't say anything and remained silent. In fact, he did that for the rest of the night. I think it added a lot more to the scene and helped the build-up of this match. This will definitely be an interesting match.
Match #1: Chris Jericho vs Kofi Kingston
As if Jericho couldn't get any more flashy, he now has blue AND red lights on his sparkle jacket. Hey, this isn't Independence Day? This was a pretty good match. Both Jericho and Kofi got a chance to shine and they were given a decent amount of time. The finish comes when Kofi goes for a top rope move, but ends up falling into the Codebreaker. Jericho decides to add insult to injury and lock in the Walls of Jericho. Kofi taps out and Jericho wins the match. After the match, Jericho ask the audience if we saw that coming. No, of course I didn't see that…..even though I reported it. I thought I blacked out during the whole thing. Amazing how I'm this fluent…..or as fluent as I get on here. Anyway, Jericho continues to poke fun of CM Punk and claims that he will be victorious this Sunday. He also bought a gift for Punk and hopes he enjoys. Let me guess? It's alcohol, right?
Winner via submission: Chris Jericho
Throughout the night, we would see one of the previous WWE matches in Brock's career. They showed the highlights of Brock defeating Jeff Hardy, Hulk Hogan, and Kurt Angle. Oh damn…….OH DAMN!!! I knew Brock liked to kick ass, but I didn't think he had this ability. He beats his opponents so badly that they have to work for TNA. OH NOOOOOOOO!!! THE HORROR!!! This would be reason #456921 for the TNA fans to hate me. I probably should stop with the TNA jokes, but these are too easy.
There's a backstage scene with Roboinaitis and Eve. Johnny offers Eve a new job. She is now known as the executive administrator. She doesn't seem thrilled at first, but she accepts the job. Johnny wants a hug, but Eve offers a handshake. Amazing how every single guy standing next to Eve is thinking with their dick. Then again, there's many people who would probably fall for this in real life. There's also a Punk interview in the back with Josh Matthews. It turns out that the gift Jericho gave Punk was an alcohol basket. Stevie Wonder saw that coming. Personally, I was hoping for a Nintendo 3DS to mix it up, but what are you gonna do? Punk ends up keeping one of the bottles and gives the rest to Josh. What I think would be hilarious is if Josh did the commentary on Smackdown this week all drunk. He would be all, "I'm calflooing thees match aannndd i'm gonbe…..and somethung and…..where am I". It would be a SD for the ages. If only they would add William Regal to the show. REGAL!!!
Match #2: Lord Tensai vs R-Truth
Now, Truth manages to not be as much of a pushover as Alex Riley or Yoshi Tatsu, but he would eventually fall to Tatsu from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Seriously, that's what he looks like….
The finish comes when Tensai does the green mist on his hand and locks in the mandible claw. He slams him down to the ground with the move. So, would this be considered a mandible claw slam? Like I said a while back with Brodus Clay, Tensai eventually needs a storyline of some kind. He's still new, so you can get away with squash matches for a while, but I hope we're not three months down the road and we are still doing the same thing. I better not be talking about this three months from now or else I'll have to quit…….No, I won't allow that.
Winner via pinfall: Lord Tensai
Kane is now in the ring and has something to say. He talks about how Randy Orton can't defeat him since he knows his weakness. Kane got really creepy during this promo. It was intimidating, but perhaps a little too intimidating since he starts to talk about scarring kids who don't have their fathers there to protect them. Randy is on the titantron and says nobody messes with his family. Randy wants to return the favor. Randy has Paul Bearer tied up on a wheelchair. So, over a year later and Paul is STILL in that wheelchair? I guess he loves that chair. Randy pushes Paul into a freezer and sees if Kane will take the bait…..
Kane is a little concerned at first, but starts to laugh. He says showing affection for Paul is a human emotion, which he doesn't do anymore. Kane starts to walk out of the ring, but Randy decides to bring the fight to him. They two fight for a while, but Randy gets the advantage when he pulls out a lead pipe. Kane retreats through the live audience while Randy poses in front of the audience. So, we haven't seen Paul in months and it appears he's getting killed off again. I know I should show concern for Paul, but his character has been killed off so many times that it doesn't even matter anymore.
Paul Bearer: Save me, Kane. SAVE ME!!!!!
Kane: Oh, you'll show up in another year or so. You'll be fine. Have I ever been wrong?
See, if Kane isn't gonna sweat it, I won't either.
Backstage where Alex Riley runs into Jericho. Riley says he looked in Punk's locker room and saw Punk drinking. Why is Riley looking in there in the first place? Jericho decides to take a peak. We see a shot of Punk drinking from a plastic cup, but the Jack Daniels bottle is still there. Since it looks like Punk is drinking, Jericho starts to get excited. So, Punk is drinking….
Match #3: Alberto Del Rio and Cody Rhodes vs Big Show and Great Khali
Khali is still selling the knee injury from last week. Either that or that's his normal walk pattern. There was a point they did some shenanigans for the bad guys to take the advantage, but you can tell the referee saw it. He turned away quickly, as if he didn't see anything. It's like he's saying, "I didn't see anything. I didn't see the interference. Lalalalalala…..". The finish comes when Del Rio leaves Cody to defend himself. Show hits the Chokeslam on Cody and the match is over. It was announced that Show vs Cody will happen at ER, but the gimmick has yet to be determined. This rivalry will most likely be over at ER. There isn't much of a reason to keep it going at this point.
Winner via pinfall: Big Show and Great Khali
Another backstage scene. Damn, there's a lot of story on tonight's show. Then again, it's a three hour show and they really want the ER PPV to sell. Yeah, this is gonna be one of the longer reviews. Sorry, but it's unavoidable. Jericho makes his plea towards Johnny and Eve that Punk should be stripped of the title because he's drunk. Eve brings up how the champions aren't supposed to be drinking within a 12 hour period. Wait, so she got familiar with all the rules in about 15 minutes? Not only is there a lot of story, but there's a lot of wrestling logic tonight. It's everywhere. Anyway, Johnny says Teddy will conduct a sobriety test in the middle of the ring. If Punk fails, he will be stripped of the WWE title. Wait, so you can't have alcohol in your system in a 12 hour span if you work for this company? Well, I guess you can blame Stone Cold Steve Austin and the APA for all of these new rules in the WWE. Yes, the wrestling logic is strong with this one. Oh, and Lesnar beats up Josh Matthews for asking him a bunch of stupid questions. I know I should feel bad, but Matthews deserved it since he tends to ask the dumbest questions in the world. Oh, the power of the script. Matthews is taken out on a stretcher while we have to reflect on how Brock doesn't care about anyone but himself……and his breakfast. Well, so much for the drunken SD.
Match #4: Beth Phoenix vs Nikki Bella; Divas Championship
Before the match started, Eve came out and made this a Lumberjill match. The match was very boring, but this was probably some of the strangest scenes out of the whole evening. Beth knocks Nikki on the outside, but she ends up twisting her ankle/heel while going to the ground. At first, the divas did nothing to either person, but then started to dog-pile Beth. They eventually toss them both in the ring. The ref ask if Beth wants to continue, which she does. Nikki ends up getting a rollup on Beth and we have a new Divas Champion. So, a lot of things to look at here. The first one being the injury angle……or was it a legit injury? I wouldn't be surprised if the plan was for Beth to drop the title. It was practically given away by Cole when he mentioned how long Beth's title reign lasted. Yeah, you kinda gave that one away, but that's another discussion for another day. Even if the plan was for Beth to drop the title, it did seem like she hurt herself when she landed hard on her heel. That's not a good sign. If it was a work, then I would say Beth sold the hell out of it, but it looked too real. In terms of how Beth's reign was going, it really doesn't make a whole lot of sense for her to drop the title to Nikki, but I stopped trying to make sense out of the diva division a long time ago. If Beth is hurt, I hope it isn't anything serious. I never wish harm on these competitors. Now, the other story is Nikki winning the title……which I'm sure is going to anger the IWC. Then again, what doesn't anger the IWC? Anyway, Nikki winning the title doesn't make a whole lot of sense. So, many of you are wondering what's the deal here? Well, it turns out both Bella Twins have their contracts expiring very soon with the company. There has been a dirt sheet report saying that the Bellas aren't interested in re-signing another deal with the company, but officials want to keep them around. While I say the dirt sheets isn't something I look into since a lot of them are wrong, they are right on occasion. I think I'm gonna lean towards this report being true since it would make total sense for the WWE to give Nikki the Divas Title. Almost as it was an offering in order to persuade the Bellas to re-sign another deal. Well, only time will tell if the Bellas do re-sign on another contract. We could end up finding out the answer to that question very soon. I'm gonna toss this out there right now. I think what will end up happening is Kharma showing up to kill the Bellas. You heard it here, folks.
Winner via pinfall and NEW Divas Champion: Nikki Bella
We are now in the ring for the sobriety test of CM Punk. There was a scene backstage of Teddy informing Punk on the bad news, but the guy seemed out of it. Almost as if he was drunk…..
Punk walks to the ring, but is stumbling to the ring….
STOP THAT!!! Who keeps doing that? Cut it out. Okay, I think it's gonna stop. Jericho is in the ring to "help" with the test. There are a couple of police officers in the ring. Yeah, those guys looked so excited to be there. They tell Punk to say the alphabet backwards. Punk screws it up and says its stupid to say the alphabet backwards since nobody can do it. You know what? Punk totally has a point here. When will saying the alphabet backwards come in to help you in this world?
Oh, sorry. I was just asking. I don't actually have a joke for this bit…..MOVING ALONG!!!
They tell Punk to walk in a straight line, but he bombs the test. I love the Karate Kid reference in this shot. Punk always finds a way to make me laugh. Jericho demands for Teddy to strip Punk of the title because he's drunk. The officers say Punk is drunk and……walk away? Shouldn't they arrest him? I guess we just got a crane kick full of wrestling logic. Anyway, Teddy wants Punk to hand over the title. They're gonna strip Punk of the title….
SON OF A BITCH!!! Anyway, Punk demands for one more chance. Punk proceeds to say the alphabet backwards in the correct fashion, while walking a straight line. He even managed to sneak in the moonwalk and the Ric Flair strut. This is hilarious. This was by-far the funniest scene of the night. Since Punk was saying the alphabet backwards, it's time for someone to rewind the tape and nit pick the segment in a very angry manor. Yeah, I'm sure he made an error, but who cares? It's CM Punk being absolutely hilarious, so who cares if he made a slight mistake. After Punk is all finished, he takes the mic and smashes it on Jericho's head. Punk attacks Jericho, but Jericho eventually runs away. The segment ends with Teddy giving the WWE title back to Punk. So, I guess Punk was setting Jericho up from the beginning in order to get him to drop his guard. He also went out of his way to entertain the audience, so I'm fine with this approach. I would like to think Punk thought this far in advance that Riley was apart of the plan. Hey, at least Riley made it on Raw without getting his ass kicked. I can see some people not liking this segment because it wasn't taken serious enough, but I personally love this scene. I realize this isn't for everyone, but those are my thoughts. I'm still looking forward to the match. It will get serious at the PPV, but I think they wanted to have a little bit of fun. Oh, and it was hilarious that they edited off WW*, what? WW*. I can never win….
Match #5: Sheamus vs Mark Henry
Now, how in the world can they follow up that Punk/Jericho act? Well, we have a special guest referee for this match. It's none other than….
One thing I haven't brought up is the audience. I thought this was a pretty good crowd. They were having a little bit of fun, which is what I want to see on my wrestling programs. Bryan is trying to get Sheamus to attack him because of the probation deal. The finish comes when Henry hits Sheamus from behind and covers him. Bryan makes the fastest three count in history and Henry wins the match. After the match, Sheamus is pissed off while Bryan tosses his ref shirt at Sheamus. As Bryan is walking away, Sheamus chases him down, but Bryan is headed back to the ring. Sheamus ends up hitting Brogue Kick on Henry, but Bryan is able to attack Sheamus and apply the Yes Lock. Bryan leaves the ring, but not before a few more "Yes" chants. Bryan is really becoming one of my favorite heels in pro wrestling. Is he over-the-top? Yes, but this is also pro wrestling, where everything is generally over-the-top.
Match #6: Primo and Epico vs Zack Ryder and Santino
I did forget to mention that Santino will defend the US Championship against the Miz in the ER pre-show. The pre-show will be available on youtube. I haven't really brought this up, but that's something I miss. Back in my day, we got to see a preview match before the PPV and it was free to the general audience. Glad to see they are trying to bring back the concept. Anyway, this was a pretty short match. The finish comes when Santino acts like a Highlander by dodging a dropkick as if it was a piece of paper. Santino hits the Cobra on Primo for the victory. That's two weeks in a row the Tag Champs have been featured and lost. I wonder where this is going?
Winner via pinfall: Santino and Zack Ryder
Kane is in the back and finds Paul. He pulls him out of the freezer…..only to put him back in. I guess he was checking to see how many lives Paul had in his disposal. Paul Bearer: move lives than a box of kittens. The scene does seem a little pointless, but I guess they really wanted to show how Kane has no human emotions. AW runs into Primo and Epico. He says for being tag team champs, they aren't getting the respect they deserved. He hands them his card and tells him he can help them out. So, I guess Henry has given up on the whole AW thing. Either that or Henry threaten to eat AW. Hey, I'd be scared too.
Match #7: Brodus Clay and Hornswoggle vs Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger
It's kinda sad that Dolph ended up drifting back into the mid-card. Especially since he was making tremendous strides. A move to SD can really benefit the guy. Hornswoggle is dressed up like Brodus…….yeah? Naw? Idontknow? Anyway, this match was presented by Doritos Loco Tacos from Taco Bell. Why, you may ask?
Aaaaaaannnnnnnd, there you go. The match didn't last long. Vickie Guerrero got in the ring and slapped Brodus, thus calling for the bell. You……you……you idiot. What in the world is gonna get accomplished by slapping a man who looks like he ate a monster truck for lunch? Brodus' dancers are in the ring and they all surround Vickie. Vickie starts to be nice and hands Brodus his hat. She even starts to do the Thriller dance that Brodus does. Or as Booker T would call it, THE DACTYL!!! Hornswoggle ends up biting Vickie in the ass. You mock this, but I bet there are many guys who wish they were Hornswoggle right about now. So, they seem to be doing something with Brodus, but they also aren't at the same time. They have set up a program with Brodus and Vickie's stable, but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere since Brodus always wins. We need more storytelling here, but maybe that's not the idea since it always turns into a comedy segment. I have no problem if they want to do the comedy, but I do want to see some storytelling aspects for this rivalry or else it just makes it pointless filler. Then again, maybe that is the idea?
Winner via DQ: Brodus Clay and Hornswoggle
We are finally ready for the contract signing between Cena and Brock, but Cena doesn't show up. Brock is fine with Cena not showing up because Brock wants to make some changes to his contract. He demands for Johnny to sit down and approve the new deal or else he will NOT compete at ER. Some of the things Brock asked for were ridiculous. He wanted more money, Vince McMahon's private jet to and from arenas…….How does that work? Johnny might be the GM, but I don't think he has the right to take Vince's jet without his approval. Then again, its more wrestling logic. Brock claims he will show up whenever the hell he wants and the name of the show will be called Monday Night Raw starring Brock Lesnar. Wait, so we change the name of the show, but no WWE ice cream bars? What is wrong with this world? Without even thinking about it, Johnny agrees to the new deal for Brock and signs it. Brock did forget to mention one thing. Well, it just so happens that I have a zoom-in feature on my television set and I will tell you. It says that Johnny has to give Brock his balls. He really means it too. Johnny has to literally chop off his balls and hand them over to Brock. I don't know what Brock would want with Roboinaitis' balls, but I'm not gonna question the man. I know he's a robot, but its gotta be painful. Anyway, Cena finally arrives, but is wearing his old school chain from his rapper days. Cena says nothing and uses the chain to make a fist. Brock demands for Cena to sign the contact, but Cena is very nervous at first. Brock says that Cena is scared of Brock and knows he can't win. Cena signs the contract lightening fast and throws the contract in Brock's face. Brock is up in a hurry, but starts to laugh. It seems like its gonna go down, but Brock is not gonna jump in a fight with a guy who has Major Armstrong's mitten on his hand. The show ends with Brock leaving, but is able to laugh about it, while we get a very serious Cena in the ring. The audience was very much behind Cena for this scene. Like I said earlier, I liked Cena's character tonight because he was serious. Edge went in there and slapped the stupid smile off his face, and I think it tells a better story at the end of the day. I think the idea for tonight was to establish how much Brock doesn't care for the WWE and is only there to beat people up. I think some people may have switch sides, which is why the positive Cena chants were a little louder tonight. And I'm hearing a lot of people crapping on Brock for his promo work. I will say this. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good at the same time. Brock has improved in the eight years he has been away from the business. People who are complaining about this promo, go watch his promos from eight years ago and then come back to me. I enjoyed this scene, but I can see why people didn't like it. I guess it's because I don't take pro wrestling too seriously and allow my mind to drift away. WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!
There was a lot of stuff to go over in this show. There was so much going on that I almost thought that the show lasted longer than three hours. I thought for a three hour show and with ER this Sunday, this was a good show leading up into the PPV. I know most of the complaints are gonna be all the talking/segments and the fact there was very little action, but you should be used to this by now. On the week of a PPV, it's typical for the action portion of the show to be lacking. This really shouldn't be a news flash to you anymore…..Unless you started watching wrestling today. Besides, did nobody remember the Jericho/Kofi match? I thought that was a great match. Outside of that match, the action was really lacking. I can't argue against that, but they generally want to play it safe leading up into a PPV. Heck, they played it safe and look what happened to Beth Phoenix? I hope it's not too serious and she has a speedy recovery. Punk and Jericho's shenanigans were pretty hilarious. If you hated it, that's fine. Then again, I like to have a little fun on my wrestling shows and I thought Punk's delivery was good. The idea of tonight's show was to build up ER, and I think they nailed that down. I find myself very interested in this upcoming PPV and I want to see what will happen at the event. It can always bomb, but I think this can be a fun and important show. Will Cena win and go back to normal? Will he win, but become more serious? Will Cena lose and finally snap? There are all very good questions. I'm probably the minority on this, but I enjoyed tonight's Raw. The promos were good and entertaining. Well, it wouldn't be the first time I was the minority on something, and it probably won't be the last. That's gonna 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. I will see you guys and girls on the next WrestlingNerd show. See you next time.