The SmarK Rant for WWE Monday Night RAW – 06.27.11
So this CM Punk kid is back in the news again. Figured that maybe I’d randomly pick an episode of RAW from around 2011, when he was getting to be a big star, and give it a review for the first time. And hey, this one features RAW Roulette, that sounds like an interesting one! Hopefully I spin the wheel and come up with something notable.
Live from Las Vegas, NV
Your hosts are Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler
The gimmick tonight is that all the matches have stipulations that are determined by the spin of a wheel. Which, by the way, is 100% a different casino game than Roulette but I guess “RAW Roulette” is catchier.
Shawn Michaels joins us to start, and he tried really hard to stay away after being forced into retirement but he just missed us so much. He’s not a guest host, he’s just a “dude showing up”. And he’s got nothing going on in his life to plug, so he won’t even mention his new TV show or shamelessly plug his Twitter. So this brings out The NEW Nexus, consisting of CM Punk and the awesome tag team championship duo of David Otunga & Michael McGillicutty. So Punk informs us that Money in the Bank is his last day because his contract expires and he’s leaving. With the WWE title. Unlike Shawn, who had to retire because he went out a loser to Undertaker. Shawn thinks he’s still better than Punk, which Punk takes as a challenge. Shawn: “We’ve got similarities. We don’t smoke, we don’t drink, we don’t do drugs…” Punk: “….anymore.” And then Shawn superkicks Otunga and we get blooped by the Anonymous GM (oh lord that shit). So Punk gets booked in the first RAW Roulette, RIGHT NOW.
CM Punk v. Kane
The wheel reveals a mystery opponent match, which is Kane, and Shawn superkicks the other Nexus geek to leave Punk by himself. Kane tosses him to start and beats on him outside for a bit before putting the boots to him in the corner and following with a dropkick for two. Sideslam gets two. Punk counters a chokeslam attempt with a high kick to put him down and he slugs away in the corner and goes after Kane’s knee. Kane puts him down with a big boot and goes up while the announcers note that Punk is in full “What are they gonna do, fire me?” mode and he could do something drastic. They fight to the top and Punk wisely decides to quit while he’s ahead and walks out of the match at 4:10. As noted by Cole, why waste his time and risk losing his title match at the PPV in a nothing match with Kane? *1/2
Sin Cara v. Evan Bourne
Man, Bourne looks so young here. Booker spins a no countout match stipulation for this one. Did they forget to gimmick the wheel or something? This is still when they were bathing the ring in gold light for Sin Cara, which is about as obnoxious as you’d imagine. They trade some mat stuff to start and Sin Cara flings him to the floor off a wristlock, but Bourne evades a dive. Back in, Cara hits him with kicks while the crowd chants “Power Ranger” at him, but Bourne gets a double stomp for two. Sin Cara snaps off a rana to put Bourne on the floor and his second dive attempt hits this time, but THEY CAN’T BE COUNTED OUT, KING! Real game changer here. Back in, Sin Cara misses a dropkick and Bourne rolls him up for two, but Sin Cara gets his own rollup for two. Bourne with a knee strike for two. Blind charge misses and Sin Cara gets a springboard senton for two. Bourne with a standing moonsault for two. Bourne goes up to finish and misses the shooting star, and Sin Cara hits La Mistica for the pin at 4:50. This was sadly near the peak for Sin Cara’s WWE career. ***
Meanwhile, Kofi gets the power to spin his own wheel, but Vickie Guerrero interrupts and steals the spin, and it lands on Player’s Choice. So Kofi chooses a match with Dolph Ziggler where Vickie is banned.
Kofi Kingston v. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph is US champion here, although I’m assuming this is non-title. But if he wins, Kofi will be right back in the hunt for a championship opportunity! Dolph beats on Kofi from behind and they fight to the floor, where Kofi gets run into the post so hard he’s seeing unicorns and hearing trombones. We take a break and return with Dolph holding a chinlock, but Kofi fights back and misses a blind charge. Dolph hits him with the fameasser for two off that. Michael Cole somehow uses the world’s dumbest segue to plug the WWE Live tour, powered by K-Mart. Dolph slowly works him over, but Kofi gets a small package for two and finishes with Trouble in Paradise OUTTA NOWHERE at 7:33. And 10 years later both guys are basically in the same position. **
Meanwhile, Alberto Del Rio complains about having to face Big Show again, but Booker doesn’t make the matches, he just spins the big wheel. This gives us some tremendous acting from Maryse while ADR puts the moves on her, and the wheel lands on steel cage match.
Steel cage match: Big Show v. Alberto Del Rio
Big Show was actually feuding with Mark Henry at this point for those keeping track. Apparently these two had a match at Capital Punishment, although no one would remember because that show did one of the lowest buyrates in WWE history. Del Rio tries to run away to start, but Show beats on him with headbutts and then misses a blind charge. Del Rio stomps him down after hitting him in the knee and gets two off that, and this brings out Mark Henry to observe the match, during the beginning of the biggest push of his career. Show comes back with clotheslines and tries the chokeslam, but Del Rio DDTs him for two. So Alberto tries to escape the cage, but Show slowly cuts him off and brings him back in with a superplex. This prompts Henry to pull the cage door off the hinges and he runs in for the beatdown on Show while Del Rio exits the cage at 5:16. And they wondered why no one took stips seriously. But as it turns out, the whole match was just a setup for the visual of Henry putting Show THROUGH the cage, smashing him into it and out to the floor. Well that was pretty badass on his part. The crowd chants “You suck” and Henry responds “Yeah, I suck, but I’m over here and you’d over there.” Man’s got a point. Match was horrible, though. DUD
Divas title: Kelly Kelly v. Nikki Bella
So after the match is announced as being for the title by the ring announcer, Michael Cole reminds us that it’s non-title. So the wheel lands on Submission match. Nikki with a quick armbar attempt while Cole casts shade on the ring announcer’s title match announcement, but Kelly reverses to a Boston crab for the submission at 1:09. Wait, so if Nikki was losing clean anyway, why was it so important to clarify that it was a non-title match? Just more Vince weirdness, I assume, because Cole and Lawler were hitting the non-title correction REALLY hard in the minute that the match lasted. DUD Afterwards the Bellas clarify that it ain’t over, and truer words have never been spoken.
DID YOU KNOW? WWE offers all military personnel free tickets to their live shows anywhere in the US. Gotta paper those shows somehow I guess.
Meanwhile, Andy Levine wins Tough Enough. The season that gave us Marty the Moth, Ivelisse and Matt “Son of Havoc” Cross, for those keeping track.
Meanwhile, DDP stops by the wheel to plug the Best of Nitro DVD set, at which point Drew McIntyre threatens Booker and DDP, and Shawn Michaels saves with a superkick and then jokes that he never had a chance to actually watch any of Nitro.
BE A STAR! Don’t be a bully! Especially don’t fire someone and then send their belongings in a trash bag!
Texas Tornado match: Jack Swagger & The Miz v. Alex Riley & Rey Mysterio
These stipulations are feeling pretty lazy tonight. Everyone slugs it out to start and Swager is last man standing and chokes out Rey in the corner. I still can’t get past the ridiculous NXT push of Riley that was still to come, when he was ANGRY all the time and pushed as a legit main event star who was supposed to be hanging with guys like Sami Zayn. Riley and Miz fight to the top and A-Ry brings him down with a superplex for two as RAW ROULETTE ROLLS ON. Back with the heels in control and double-teaming Riley. Tornado matches rarely end up as anything good because it removes the primary point of tag team wrestling, which is to isolate one babyface and build to the hot tag. Rey comes off the top and gets caught by Swagger, and dropped on Miz’s knee for two. Miz with the short DDT for two. Riley tries a comeback and Miz boots him to the floor and goes back to Rey. Rey comes back and runs the heels into each other before dumping Swagger, and a head kick on Miz gets two. This sets up the 619, but Swagger yanks Rey out of the ring. Riley hits Swagger with a spinebuster while the ref clearly waits for Miz to get into position to make the save, and it gets two. Miz DDTs Riley for two and Swagger puts Rey down with a big boot for two. Swaggerbomb is reversed to the 619, but Swagger catches the legs this time and turns it into an anklelock, but Riley saves. So Rey goes for the 619 a third time and finishes with the diving splash at 11:28. This was a fun match thanks to Rey working his ass off as usual, but it was terrible when Riley was in there, so it mostly balanced out. ***1/4
Meanwhile, R-Truth spins the wheel after making sure no conspiracies are there, and gets a tables match against John Cena.
Tables match: John Cena v. R-Truth
Another rematch from Capital Punishment. Pretty lame how this ring announcer stretches out the “Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeohn” part of Cena’s name. Like that would ever get over. Maybe in some outlaw mudshow promotion, am I right? Truth slugs away in the corner to start, but Cena hits him with a suplex, so Truth sends him to the floor for a bump into the railing. Back in, Truth with a surfboard and Cena flips out of it and dropkicks him. Truth escapes the AA with a stunner and brings a table in the ring, but Cena suplexes him and both guys are down. They fight to the floor and Cena brings another table in, but CM Punk returns and pulls the table away, at which point Truth spears Cena through a table in the corner for the win at 5:13. Nothing to this one. *1/2
Well, that was a pretty non-notable show. Oh, hang on a second, I think Punk has something to say.
So Punk sits at the ramp, wearing a Steve Austin t-shirt, and he wants to get a few things off his chest. He hates the idea that Cena is the best, because HE’S the best. THE BEST IN THE WORLD. But Cena is better at kissing Vince’s ass, almost as good as Hulk Hogan was! But maybe not as good as Dwayne. Oops, fourth wall broken. So he’s been hated since day one, because he’s a Paul Heyman Guy, just like Brock Lesnar, who split just like he’s splitting. But the difference is that he’s leaving with the WWE title. Anyway, all of Vince’s brass rings are imaginary, and he’s grabbed them all and proved that he’s the best. But he’s not on the collector cups or the programs, and he’s not on any crappy show on the USA Network or even in the signature at the start of the show. And “Dwayne” is the main event of Wrestlemania next year and he’s not and that makes him sick. And all the fans cheering and trying to get his autograph are just too lazy to go get a real job. Maybe he’ll win the title and defend it in New Japan or Ring of Honor. And say hi to Colt Cabana. THE FORBIDDEN DOOR IS OPENING. But he understands that he’s just a spoke in the wheel and the WWE will go on without him and Vince will make money despite himself. PUNK WAS RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING. And Vince is a millionaire who should be a billionaire because he surrounds himself with “glad handing nonsensical douchebag yes-men” like Johnny, and the company is gonna get taken over by his idiotic daughter and doofus son-in-law after he’s dead and then they’re really screwed. And then someone shuts off his microphone and we fade to black and the business was changed forever.
Well, I don’t see how they can possibly screw THIS one up.
Anyway, so much to unpack, from the foreshadowing of Paul Heyman Guy to Punk’s eventual doom at the hands of Dwayne to his unlikely and unintended prediction of what would actually happen to Vince McMahon’s business less than a decade later, as everyone has become a spoke in the wheel and Vince makes millions despite whatever he puts on the screen. I’ll probably carry on with this era for a while, actually, because it’s a shitload more interesting than anything on RAW today, that’s for sure.