by Joe Thunder - April 02, 2012
Raw opens with John Laurinaitis addressing the WWE locker room backstage. He books Santino against Dolph and Jack Swagger in a triple threat match for the US Title. CM Punk speaks up and insults him by calling him a toolbox. JL books him in a WWE Championship match against Mark Henry. JL welcomes us to the era of people power.
^Welcome to the team Johnny show. I don’t expect all that much to be different. I’m sure eventually Laurinaitis will take a face turn. For now, he might tease the crowd a few times a year and make them think he’s going to be a face. I see JL doing this routine on a regular basis. Also, I’m glad WWE is back to business now that Mania is over. Let’s hope we see some good matches!
The Rock comes to the ring to open the show. He works the crowd like usual. He tells the crowd this isn’t the end and that it’s actually just the beginning. He gets a huge thank you Rocky chant. He talks about having a vision. The Rock wants to be WWE Champion. He says that vision will come true one day and then does the usual close.
^I hope the Rock means when he’s done filming movies left and right. Maybe some day he will have one final run with the title. It’d be exciting as long as his opponent wasn’t always John Cena. I would guess(based on the opposite syndrome that he seems to suffer from) that we won’t be seeing the Rock for awhile after tonight.
Santino Marella defends the US Title against Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler in a triple threat match. They dominate Santino in the early part of the match. Swagger and Ziggler eventually turn on each other when it comes down to who will win the match. Santino hits the cobra for the win. They go to attack Santino after the match but he points to something to distract them and then runs up the ramp. They go to follow Santino and out comes Brodus Clay at his side. Ziggler charges Brodus and gets knocked down. Santino and Brodus dance on the ramp.
^I didn’t expect Santino to lose this match. Looks like Santino has a new friend and Brodus has a rivalry. Works for me. Ziggler looks like he’s stuck in this mid card scene. It disappoints me, but I understand the logic with WWE only having so many top spots to contend for the World Titles. I hope this means Miz might be in the main event scene instead.
It’s time for the debut of Lord Tensai! He’s facing Alex Riley. He comes out with a mask and robe. Cole and Lawler hype that he was a WWE superstar and then dominated in the Japanese wrestling scene. He destroys Riley and make quicks work of him. The referee stops the match after a sitdown chokebomb. He squeezes Riley’s face and skull after the match
^Apparently this is going to be a trend in WWE with officials stopping matches rather than having pinfalls. Atrain has gained a ton of weight; they said he weighs 360 pounds. On the bright side of things, welcome back Tensai. I had forgotten he existed. It looks like he might have more talent this time around. It was nice to see Alex Riley on Raw again. Maybe next time he won’t be used as a jobber.
CM Punk is out first to defend his WWE Championship against Mark Henry. Mark Henry wins the match by countout after destroying CM Punk. JL comes out after the match and tells Punk he will defending the title on a more regular basis. Jericho comes from the crowd and taunts CM Punk. He pours a bottle of liquor all over him and then smashes another bottle over Punk’s head.
^I love strong heel promos and this was one of the best! This reminds me of 1996 when Jerry Lawler poured a bottle of brandy down Jake Robert’s throat(anyone remember what newly signed star at the time stopped the incident?). Great stuff here from Jericho. I laughed when he slipped on the mat when he tried to kick Punk. Hope they clean that up quickly. This was the best segment of the night hands down.
Sheamus comes to the ring with the World Heavyweight Title. Alberto Del Rio comes out immediately after. Del Rio tells Sheamus he is going to lose the title as fast as he won it. He tells Sheamus he has a new challenger in ADR. Del Rio tells Sheamus he has a match booked with him this Friday on Smackdown, and he will get a future World Title shot if he wins. Del Rio goes to say something else but Sheamus nails him with the brogue kick.
^Christian, Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan… and the list goes on for who Sheamus should face as his next opponent. Alberto Del Rio was not my first choice for a number one contender. It’s no secret that I’ve never been a fan of his. I just hope Sheamus holds onto the title for awhile and takes down every challenger they throw at him.
Josh Mathews interviews Daniel Bryan. Bryan doesn’t say a word in response to Mathews question about how upset he is. Bryan is angry.
Cody Rhodes takes on Kofi Kingston in a one on one match. Big Show comes out with the IC Title during the match and distracts Rhodes. Kofi hits trouble in paradise and gets the three count.
^Guess this means that rivalry isn’t over yet. Rhodes loses two nights in a row. You can expect him to probably do the same thing to Big Show on Smackdown. I was somewhat hoping we could have an actual match between these two. Then I remembered that this is Raw and we don’t get matches longer than three minutes all that often. I wonder what Kofi will do for his next rivalry.
Backstage segment with Mark Henry and Abraham Washington. Abraham wants to represent Henry as his manager. He gives Mark his card and tells him to think about it. Well now we know why we’ve seen Washington in the background segments the last couple weeks.
Eve comes out and brags that she had her WrestleMania moment after manipulating Zack Ryder. She promotes JL’s campaign of people power. Waste of two minutes.
Miz takes on Zack Ryder. They wrestle a short back and forth match. Miz gets the win with the Skull Crushing Finale after ramming Ryder into the ring post.
^That was probably the most entertaining match tonight. If it had three more minutes it could have been one of the best Raw singles matches in weeks. I’d like to see these two carry a feud for awhile. Miz needs to challenge for the WWE Title again this year. Ryder needs to be elevated more with legit rivalries. I’d like to see him work a program as the underdog against Mark Henry or some other heel.
John Cena comes out for the main event promo. Cena says the only thing to do is to lose right. He quotes a thousand different things about losing and reacting to it. The crowd chants “you’re a loser” at Cena. Cena asks if this will finally be the day that he lashes out at the WWE Universe? The crowd chants YES! over and over. Cena says that will not happen. He says there is a rumor that he is here to call out the Rock. He says he isn’t. The crowd chants “we want Lesnar.” Cena says it’s an interesting crowd, but he wants the Rock. He invites the Rock to the ring because he has earned his respect and he considers the Rock an inspiration. He says after last night, he truly considers the Rock the greatest WWE Superstar in this industry. More Lesnar chants from the crowd. Cena says the Rock was the better man and the crowd chants Yes! Cena does it with them and says that Daniel Bryan owes him one. Cena says he wants to congratulate Rock on his victory. While waiting for the Rock, Brock Lesnar’s music hits. The crowd goes crazy. Lesnar comes to the ring. Lesnar shakes Cena’s hand and nails the F5. He stands over Cena and then celebrates to close the show.
^For those who didn’t see this coming a mile away, you’re probably both deaf and blind. Lesnar is back. The guy can wrestle a great match. I want to see more guys from the mid card elevated, but I can’t be angry at Lesnar for coming back. He’ll put on some great performances while he’s around. Cena will continue to be hated by the WWE Universe.
Tonight marked the beginning of a new wrestling year. We got another typical promo/entertainment heavy Raw with five matches and a lot of build. Take it for what it is and embrace what is put before you, because WWE isn’t going to change overnight. Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck!
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