Monday, October 17, 2011

WWE Raw - October 17, 2011

Despite my incredibly negative feelings towards wrestling lately, I am in fact going to sit down, watch and live blog Raw tonight. Even if the advertised main event is John Cena & Jim Ross vs. Alberto Del Rio & Michael Cole (seriously). Even with all that in mind, I think it's really cool that WWE is doing a week of tapings in Mexico and I'm a sucker for historic moments.

So naturally, the first thing WWE is giving Mexican fans for their first live Raw in history, is Johnny Ace. Great. The dude is anything but dynamic, so instead of listening to him talk, I'm looking around the arena for interesting things. Is that an actual Spanish announce table I spot at ringside? If that survives the night, I will be displeased. Although, since we're in Mexico, maybe this should be the night that the Spanish announce table survives and the English table gets shattered?

Blah, blah, blah Dauber from Coach continues to blather on and on and finally we get someone I actually like, Jim Ross. Of course, it's all to set up Cena & JR vs. Del Rio & Cole, which is crap, but at least JR hasn't actually been sent home again. But yeah, crap.

On a related note, Randy Orton! Hey-O!

Randy Orton, Sheamus & John Morrison vs. Mark Henry, Christian & Cody Rhodes is our opening contest in a six-man tag. Wait, it's Mexico, it should be a TRIOS MATCH! Sadly, that is not to be, in fact Orton and Rhodes remove themselves from the equation early on, taking us down to a standard tag match. A lot of fun action here and the crowd is red hot for it, so I'm not complaining about the absence of Orton.

Christian and Sheamus eventually remove themselves as well, brawling throughout the arena, which gives Mark Henry the opportunity to throw John Morrison into the air and catch him in a World's Strongest Slam on the way down. Hell. Yes. For all the bad things I can say about WWE right now, and believe me, there's a lot, I can't say a bad thing about Mark Henry. He's WWE's best built character in ages, period.

Eve vs. Natalya is our Diva portion of the evening. Quick, fairly useless match between two Divas that are better than the matches they are given. Eve wins, but if a tree falls in the middle of the forest, etc.

CM Punk vs. The Miz up next, but not before a verbal barrage from Miz and R-Truth. CM Punk from two months ago would've delivered a retort of epic proportions. It would've been like Friday the 13th Part VII when Jason slammed that chick in the sleeping bag against a tree... but with words. Instead, the CM Punk of October says nothing and gets back-up from Triple H. Great.

Two months ago, I would've eagerly thrown down $60 to watch CM Punk vs. The Miz on PPV. While I am interested Punk & HHH vs. TruMiz, I just can't help but think how amazing it would've been to see these two lock up one-on-one with the WWE Title on the line. There's a lot of potential in Punk, Truth and Miz working together, but the addition of Triple H kinda annoys me. It's gonna be a good match, but eh, this whole thing just doesn't sit right with me, for reasons I detailed extensively last week.

So while Punk and Miz are having a fun match with good usage of the guys on the outside, Johnny Dauber simply stops it because Triple H, a guy who isn't actually involved in the match, has an issue with immigration. I'm going to repeat that, since there's an issue with Triple H's passport, the match between CM Punk and The Miz has to be stopped. I get it, they want us to boo Lauranaitis, but this is just stupid. They might as well put "HEY, WONDER WHAT YOU'RE MISSING ON MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL?" on the ticker.

We return from commercial and the match is back on, not before showing us what's going on with Triple H backstage. Rhythm of the match has been completely killed and Punk gets a school boy roll-up for the win. Truth runs in and the double team is on and who's going to save CM Punk? Four referees! WOO! EXCITEMENT! Man, I don't know how they're doing it, but somehow WWE is getting me to not care about a segment featuring CM Punk, The Miz and R-Truth.

Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler and most importantly, Vickie Guerrero, looking smoking hot, come to the ring and are actually the highlight of the night so far. Just an awesome, old school heel promo with Jack Swagger singing the the Star Spangled Banner to get the Mexican crowd riled up. That is awesome, and I honestly don't know if it's been done before, except maybe when the Hart Foundation was doing their thing in 1997. But even then, the American audience watching on TV was supposed to cheer for the Americans, not in this case.

Zack Ryder interrupts the singing, making him the good guy (!!) and proceeds to beat Swagger in no time flat. The Cougar's Cubs try to do the double-team, but Huge Jackedman saves the day and he's got Ziggler next.

Mason Ryan vs. Dolph Ziggler is pretty much what you'd expect it to be... and then Huge gets disqualified for repeatedly clotheslining Ziggler in the corner. Seriously thrilling stuff. Edge of my seat, really. Ziggler and Ryder could be having a fun little feud for the US Title, instead we're desperately trying to get people to care about Beefy Leopold.

Main Event time! Alberto Del Rio & Michael Cole vs. John Cena & Jim Ross and the winner gets to pick the stipulation for the WWE Title match at Vengeance. One of these days, I'd love for the bad guy to win and make it an "Only I Can Win Match."

Hats off to Mexico though for being genuinely into this match. I suppose that's the beauty of getting a televised show for the first time, you'll cheer for anything, even a match that's at best, deliberately slow so they don't give away too much before the PPV, and at worst, a match featuring Michael Cole and Jim Ross as wrestlers.

JR and Cena pick up the win in a painfully long match and Cena gets to pick the stipulation for Sunday. $5 says it's an I Quit Match. Or not... it's a Last Man Standing. Lucky for me, I don't have $5 anyway! I guess that's cool? Although it kinda gives it away, they can keep the belt off Cena in a LMS match, but he never loses I Quit matches.

That's the best they got on the first ever Raw in Mexico. Admittedly, there were some fun moments, but it was mostly boring and we're officially right back to the status quo. It's like July-September never happened and this Raw could've fit right into any ho-hum week of the last five years. It's just depressing at this point.

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