ThunderStruck: Raw Analysis 02/20/12

We open Raw with Eve backstage talking to the Bella twins about the weather. The Bellas asked how Zack was. Eve laughed and says she was just using Zack and people all over the world are talking about her now. She calls Ryder a child that wouldn’t know what to do with a woman like her. She says that’s what people in this world do, use each other. She says she is going to use Cena just like she used Zack Ryder. She says she will go to Cena first before he comes to her. She wants the Bellas to film her going into Cena’s locker room. She turns around and walks into John Cena. Cena stares at her and walks away.



^Let the soap opera continue. Coming off your last pay per view before Mania(which was a great show, in case you missed it), you’re going to open Raw with the female storyline drama? Really? Let’s see what the rest of the show brings.

Cena comes to the ring to the usual, a chorus of boos. Eve comes down to the ring in tears with a microphone and a chorus of boos(not louder than Cena’s, of course). She asks John to let her explain what just happened. She says it was taken out of context. John interrupts and tells the crowd she wants to explain herself. He says Eve has been sipping the skank juice. Her plan is to use her assets to further her career. She says they’ve been friends for a long time. Cena says because of her, he lost a damn good friend in Zack Ryder. The crowd chants Ho-ski as Cena encourages them. So much for the anti-bullying campaign. Eve is getting upset. Eve said they were just joking around. Cena says she should be holding out for the biggest fish, The Rock. He says she is perfect for The Rock as they are both scandalous bitches. Eve gets down on her knees. Is Cena going to unzip his fly now? She’s crying. John goes to console her because he feels bad and she grabs him for an embrace. He fights her off until the refs come to the ring. John says he is disease free and he would like to keep it that way. Cena leaves the ring. Eve cries in the ring with refs trying to talk her down. They walk her to the back with the crowd chanting we want Ryder.

^Maybe she’ll have a mental breakdown and come back all crazy like Mickie James’ original character? I’m glad PG was redefined over the last decade or that whole segment would’ve been out the window before it was scripted. Was any of this necessary for our WrestleMania buildup? Guess creative needed something to do with Cena as WrestleMania isn’t for six weeks and The Rock is nowhere to be seen(so much for that never going away garbage).

We have a video package with The Undertaker talking about revenge. The Undertaker says every story has an ending. More of Taker cutting his hair is shown. Taker says Hunter’s denials are unacceptable. He says he will write the ending of Triple H’s story tonight as hit fate is sealed.

^Now, had Raw opened with that promo instead of the young and the restless(great show, by the way) crap, I might be more excited for what’s to come tonight. That said, Undertaker still captivates me every time he speaks and probably will for the rest of his career.

Sheamus is introduced by Justin Roberts as the man who will face Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania for the World Heavyweight Championship. His opponent tonight is Mark Henry. Summerslam rematch. I guess Henry is finally healthy? Sheamus looks solid as he beats down Henry. Sheamus misses a brogue kick and gets knocked down and then splashed in the corner by Henry. Henry goes for the WSS but Sheamus jumps out of his grip and hits a huge brogue kick for the win.

^Five Monday Night Raws before WrestleMania and this one shows the continuing dominance of Sheamus as we move towards WrestleMania. Good for this guy! As far as Mark Henry goes, I don’t see any significant runs for him from here on out. I see just a filler heel role in the main event scene for him going forward until he retires.

Backstage segment with John Laurinaitis and David Otunga. JL says people are talking about him, Mr. Excitement. Teddy Long comes into the office. JL says stealing Long’s job wasn’t his idea, but that it was Otunga’s. He also said he had no idea of the support he would receive for it at the Chamber. Long says one of them should be running both brands. He says the fans should be asked who they think would do the better job. The fans chant Teddy’s name. JL says Long may have just booked a good match with Sheamus and Henry, but tonight JL books a ten man battle royal with the winner facing CM Punk at WrestleMania for the WWE Title. Long says JL will have his five, and he will have his own five. Otunga asks Long if he is saying Smackdown is better than Raw. Long says that anyone on the Smackdown roster is better than him. JL says Otunga will face anybody on the Smackdown roster tonight. Long says Otunga looks like Pee Wee Herman’s Fairy Godmother with this bowtie.

^This was good comedy. Otunga is boring, but Long can debate and swap insults like no other. I’m seeing a Laurinaitis/Long Mania match being booked in the future or an Otunga(representing JL) vs Whoever(representing Teddy Long). Biggest time waste of WrestleMania 28? It’s a possibility.

R-Truth comes to the ring looking somewhat slow and banged up. Kofi Kingston is out next. They are teaming to face Primo and Epico in a non-title match. Perhaps a new partner for Kofi here? This is a really good match worked between these four. Kofi hits trouble in paradise on Primo for the win!

^Future tag team champions? Seems like a step down for Truth as he is becoming more and more popular as he gets more time on the mic. Being held back much? Kofi was easily the star of this match with his high flying moves and quick pace that never seems to stop. Really good match.

Ron Simmons is the next inductee in the 2012 Hall of Fame. Can’t say enough good things about the guy. He didn’t make my top 25 superstars of all time, but he would easily be a on my top 50. Favorite Simmons moment? His match with The Undertaker at the 1997 King of the Ring for the WWF Title.

Josh Matthews interviews Chris Jericho next. Jericho says last night was a travesty of justice. Jericho says he was never eliminated and it was unfair. He says Punk has no conviction, no heart, and does not believe in what he says. Jericho says tonight is the end of the world as you know it and everyone in the battle royal will know it and CM Punk will know it to be true.

^Good Jericho heel promo here. His age is starting to show a bit though. He doesn’t sound like himself. Could be all the rock and roll I suppose. Anybody want to bet against Jericho winning the battle royal tonight? I wouldn’t. The match has been penciled in for Mania since before Christmas.

Otunga is out next to the ring with John Laurinaitis escorting him to the ring. I could see JL being a heel manager if he wasn’t the GM. Teddy Long brings Ezekial Jackson to the ring. We know Long made a great heel manager once upon a time(Doom as I recall with that new Hall of Fame inductee, Ron Simmons). Otunga and Jackson go back and forth with blows. Otunga moves out of the way from a dive from Ezekial and hits a huge spinebuster on big Zeke before getting the three count victory. JL celebrates with Otunga as Michael Cole stands up and won’t shut up with his congratulations for JL.

^Boring time filler. Ezekial gets promos while he’s away and squashes random opponents. Then he gets pinned by random heels left and right. Makes little sense. Just like WWE’s booking most of the time.

The Undertaker’s music hits as we come back from commercial break and out comes the dead man. He has a hood on to cover the bald head that we aren’t supposed to know about. He comes to the ring rather quickly. He looks like he’s the thinnest he’s ever been. He talks about living the memory of the beating he took from Triple H at last year’s WrestleMania and how it has been a living hell. Taker says he can’t bear the uncertainty of how he feels after last year’s match. He says he challenged Triple H to one more match at WrestleMania and that he never expected Hunter to say no. He says the choice was not Hunter’s to make. He says this has to come to an end. He says he and Hunter are the last of their kind. He says the suit and tie and corporate liabilities are just layers to cover up who he really is. He says they have to end the uncertainty. Undertaker says Triple H can lie to people, but he will not lie to him. He says Triple H will come out and look him in the eyes. He says this is the apocalypse and it is far bigger than the two of them. Triple H comes to the ring.

The lights go dim again as soon as Hunter’s music stops. Triple H goes to talk and Undertaker tells him to shut up and save his pity. He says Triple H’s excuses are pitiful. Hunter says it is the end of an era, but their fate is not to end it, but to ensure that it carries on. Hunter says his fate is to make sure the WWE exists in the future. He says his fate is what it’s always been, to be the leader and carry the torch for the next generation. Hunter says he will not be the one extinguish the flame because it’s bad for business. Taker asks him to make this clear. Taker asks if it’s bad for business that he’s gone, or if it’s bad for business that Triple H will be gone. Hunter says it’s just plain bad for business. Hunter says Taker knows inside himself that he isn’t asking for redemption or vengeance, but he’s asking Hunter for an end. Hunter says he has to finish The Undertaker to beat him, and that’s what the dead man really wants. Hunter says he won’t do it. Taker calls him a coward. Hunter says he is sick of being called a coward. Hunter says the games are not going to work. He says the answer is no and walks up the ramp. Taker says he just figured it out. He says Hunter knows that he can’t do what Shawn Michaels couldn’t do. He says Hunter knows Shawn was always better than him. The crowd chants HBK. Hunter takes off his jacket and takes off the tie and heads back to the ring. He gets in Taker’s face and asks if he really thinks it has to do with Shawn. Hunter says he knows damn well he could do what Shawn couldn’t do. The crowd chants prove it. Hunter says the layers don’t cover who he is and the layers are gone. Hunter asks Taker if he wants it all to come to an end at WrestleMania. He tells him he’s got it. Hunter says one more thing, they do this, they go all the way. Hunter says no return and no uncertainty and no excuses. Hunter says the streak ends, the era ends, and Taker gets his end. Hunter says he will face him at WrestleMania under one condition, Hell In A cell. Taker pats Hunter on the shoulder and walks away. Taker smiles before walking backstage.

^Good promo here. Taker seemed a little rusty as he stumbled with his promo at first, but he got better as he went on. Hell in a cell will help these two have more of a fight than a match. Hunter is old but he shouldn’t be doing sporadic wrestling. The guy still has it. Let him wrestle.

Daniel Bryan is out next. He says based on his accomplishments, the fans in Minneapolis and all over the world consider him a role model. He puts himself over for winning the Smackdown chamber. Santino is out next and gets a rather weak ovation from this crowd. What’s wrong with this audience tonight? They start to chant for Santino as the two go at each other. Santino goes for a cobra early but gets hit by Bryan. Santino goes for a rollup but Bryan counters into the labell lock and Santino taps out.

^That was quick. I guess this was a back to reality reminder that Santino is just Santino and he will never be more than that. Also, Bryan needs momentum going to WrestleMania with an opponent like Sheamus, so I guess it served it’s purpose.

Aksana and Kelly Kelly take on the Bella Twins in our next match. The Bellas pull a switcharoo and one of them hits the x factor on Aksana to get the three count pin.

^Typical piss break diva tag match. Had to feature them somewhere I suppose. I guess Eve doing her crying fit wasn’t enough for one show.

Cena’s in the ring. He says he was out here earlier to talk about the Rock. He says the Rock will be out here next week to address him, but isn’t here this week. He says the Rock morphed into Dwayne and became a member of team film it. Cena says he doesn’t respect the Rock. He says he respects Dwayne Johnson for what he’s done with multiple box office number one hits. He says his legitimate beef with Dwayne Johnson has been the same for seven years. He says next week he should show up and do his thing and then kick it back to Hollywood. Cena says he always showed up and he never left and that is what he’s most proud of. He says the Rock was gone as soon as he got the taste of the bright Hollywood lights. He points out that Rock came and said he was home and then left again. He says Rock was only back to promote Fast Five and launch his twitter account. Cena says April 1st means everything to him. Cena says he is proud to be a professional wrestler. He says they’ve got forty one days until WrestleMania and it is going to be one helluva ride. He says the headline will read Cena defeats Dwayne Johnson at WrestleMania 28. Cena says he’ll see the Rock next week.

^You can hate John Cena all you want. You can call him boring all you want and say he’s grown old. I still respect the hell out of the guy and love to watch him in the ring(unless it’s with Alberto Del Rio). The guy makes great points and makes magic on the microphone as great as anybody ever has.

CM Punk is out to do commentary for the main event battle royal. Cole refers to Punk is Mr. Punk. Punk tells Cole he hopes he stays at the table this year and out of the ring at Mania. The Big Show is out first. Cody Rhodes is next, followed by R-Truth. Ziggler comes out with a new pink t-shirt hanging off his backside that says something about showing off. Ziggler is followed by Wade Barrett and the Great Khali. Then we have the Miz. Too bad nobody has any belief that this guy will win anything after all the heat he’s facing backstage. Kofi comes out next and then Santino Marella. Santino is nursing his arm in a cast. Jericho is out last. Khali is eliminated first. Commercial break. Kofi and Truth work together to eliminate the Miz and then Big Show hits them both with a chokeslam before Jericho hits a codebreaker on Show. The finishers continue around the ring and Santino eliminates Wade Barrett and then R Truth. Big Show next eliminates Dolph Ziggler by tossing him onto Truth and Barrett. Barrett’s arm looks weird when he lands. Ouch. Im pretty sure Jericho was halfway falling down before Kofi hit him with at running arm. Kofi is then knocked off the ropes by Jericho. It’s down to four. Santino hits the cobra on Jericho and the Cody eliminates Santino. Show eliminates Rhodes and we’re down to Show and Jericho. Show goes to toss Jericho but Rhodes helps Jericho pull Show to the floor. Chris Jericho is now the number one contender for the WWE Title. Punk steps in the ring with Jericho and the two stare off. Punk extends a hand but Jericho walks away. Punk holds up the title and poses for the fans as Raw goes off the air.

^Good battle royal and staredown to close to the show. I’m glad the show didn’t end with a promo or something with Cena. I’m glad that this match is now official since we’ve been talking about it for two months.

This was a good Raw. It had it’s odd points and low points(mostly female), but it laid a strong foundation for Mania. The crowd seemed off and annoying throughout most of the show, but the promos delivered were solid and the matches, while short, were still pretty good. It’s time to build hype for Mania, and I hope the live Smackdown does the same tomorrow night. I’ll have a column up for that by Wednesday at the latest. Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck! – add me

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