ThunderStruck: Raw Analysis 04/23/12

I’m going to start out by saying that I don’t have high expectations for these three hour shows. Things are usually dragged out much more with frequent commercial breaks and very little is ever accomplished. This Raw was no exception, and this column reflects on my frustration with that.

Raw opens with Teddy Long standing in the ring with everything set up for the contract signing between Brock Lesnar and John Cena. He brings out Cena. He calls for Lesnar, but John Laurinaitis comes out instead. JL says Lesnar is not here, and the contract signing will take place later in the night. Edge unexpectedly comes out(JL and Teddy leave) and gives Cena a pep talk about being the Cena of old and needing to beat Lesnar.

^In recent memory, WWE hasn’t opened a Raw with a contract signing in some time. It would make sense that they would waste time opening the show with this mess and then kill us with a contract signing at the end of the night(sarcasm). It was cool to see Edge come out, but where exactly did this come from? I suppose I see the point in having someone from Cena’s past give him some advice, but this whole segment felt really out of place. The entire opening was disorganized from start to finish. Why not have Cena just come out and cut a promo and then have Edge interrupt? Did we really need the JL and Long garbage?

Kofi Kingston lost to Chris Jericho in an eight and a half minute contest. Jericho cuts a promo after the match and says he will win the WWE Title at Extreme Rules.

^This was easily the match of the night. Chris Jericho performs in action as well as he cuts promos, and that is why he is an all around incredible talent. Kofi needs to be booked in these matches more and then be handed the microphone from time to time. This is two weeks in a row that Kofi has had the match of the night on Raw(his match with Bryan last week).

Backstage segment with Eve and John Laurinaitis. JL makes Eve his new Executive Administrator.

^You had to figure that Eve would get a more frequent role on Raw after the favor she did the JL administration at Mania.

Backstage interview with Josh Mathews and CM Punk. Punk gives Mathews a liquor basket that Jericho gave him, but holds onto one bottle.

^You could see where this was going from the start…

Lord Tensai destroys R-Truth in a short match.

^Once again, I’m getting bored with this. Lightning and I watched Superstars this past week and enjoyed R-Truth and Jack Swagger’s ten to twelve minute main event match. Compared to that match, this was a joke. WWE, we get the message. Tensai destroys people. Are you going to do something with that or just continue to book the same old squash style match EVERY single week? Maybe, just maybe, I’m being too impatient as a fan for his storyline to be rushed.

Kane comes to the ring and cuts a promo. Orton shows up on the tron and has Paul Bearer. He puts Paul Bearer in a freezer. Kane says he doesn’t care. Kane goes to leave and Orton runs down the ramp and attacks the big red monster. Kane runs off in the crowd.

^A Paul Bearer sighting! To get this all straight, Kane is the cowardly monster that ran off when Orton got the best of him. Am I the only one confused by this? Well, Kane got the upper hand last week, and it looks like Orton gets the upper hand this time around.

Backstage segment with Alex Riley and Chris Jericho. Riley tells Jericho that he thinks Punk has been drinking. Riley shows Jericho to Punk’s locker room and they see Punk on the phone with the bottle of alcohol open.

^The plot unfolds. It’s interesting to note that this could be one of the last times we see Alex Riley on TV. His odds of staying with the company past the mass release phase are slim to none.

Alberto Del Rio and Cody Rhodes take on Big Show and the Great Khali. Del Rio ends up bailing on Rhodes near the end of the match and Big Show wins the match via the chokeslam on Cody.

^The Great Khali is terrible. It’s good to see Big Show looking dominant and not just serving as a joke champion. I speculate whether or not Cody will get the IC Title back, and the only reason I’m not sure is because I don’t see that many face mid card guys that are ready to carry the title(that aren’t injured, that is). If Del Rio is going to play the cowardly heel role, then I would assume that he’ll be embroiled in a legit feud with Khali or Show sometime soon.

Backstage segment with Chris Jericho, JL, Eve, and Teddy. Jericho convinces JL to do a sobriety test on Punk and strip him of the title if he fails. JL tells Teddy to run the test.

^Superstars aren’t allowed to drink on the job? They must’ve added that policy post 2003. The APA and Austin never would have made it through this era.

Brock Lesnar arrives backstage. Josh Mathews tries to interview him. Lesnar throws Mathews to the ground before leaving.

^Mathews is taken out and this is played up to be a serious situation. Lesnar’s heel character might start to earn him some of those jeers from the crowd that he’s been looking for. This is smart work on WWE’s part.

Eve makes the Divas Championship match between Beth Phoenix and Nikki Bella into a lumberjill match. Nikki Bella gets the win after Beth hurts her ankle and gets ganged up on outside the ring by the WWE Divas.

^Well it was an interesting match, and certainly not the best Divas match I’ve seen this week, but the new champion angle is intriguing. Kelly Kelly to win the title next? Kharma comeback? I’m skeptical as to whether or not Beth is legitimately hurt or not, but taking the title off her wasn’t the worst thing that could happen. There’s some potential gems in the Divas division when it comes to working decent wrestling matches.

Teddy Long tells CM Punk about the sobriety test that he needs to come to the ring for. Punk gets mad and flips out while acting drunk. The segment takes place after the commercial with two police officers, Punk, Jericho, and Teddy in the ring. Punk “fails” a sobriety test, but then reveals that he is faking and attacks Jericho. Punk keeps his WWE Title.

^This was dragged out and came across as ridiculously cheesy. I love Punk and Jericho having the rivalry that they do, but this was a bit overkill for adding to the hype. The cops were too much. I still can’t wait for their street fight!

Sheamus faces Mark Henry with Daniel Bryan as the guest ref. Bryan taunts Sheamus repeatedly and fast counts the win for Henry when Sheamus is knocked down. Sheamus attacks Bryan after the match. He brogue kicks Henry when they get back in the ring and Bryan gets the upper hand. Bryan knocks Sheamus down with a kick and applies the yes lock. Sheamus is interviewed by Matt Striker after the commercial break and Sheamus says Bryan better start praying.

^The WWE continues to try to make us fans hate Daniel Bryan. It will be interesting to see how the Chicago crowd reacts to him on Sunday. I guess this was the week for Henry to get a win but not appear too dominant.

Santino Marella and Zack Ryder defeat Primo and Epico in a non-title tag team match.

^So the tag team champions get booked to lose yet again. Guess those guys need to learn that twitter isn’t the place to voice their complaints. It was good to see Ryder work the crowd and get a win. I guess Ryder and Santino working together is probably an occasional thing, but I wouldn’t complain if they were paired up more often.

Backstage segment where Kane pulls Paul Bearer out of the freezer, but then he turns around and pushes him right back into it.

^How much suffering can one character go through? It’s hilarious to look back on all the things that they’ve done with Paul Bearer over the years. I think we were supposed to see Kane as a cold individual, but I’m just past viewing Glen Jacobs as creepy after all this time.

Brodus Clay and Hornswoggle defeat Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler by DQ. They dominate the match and Vickie Guerrero slaps Brodus to cause the finish. Hornswoggles bites Vickie’s rear end after the match and the group dances to celebrate.

^Swagger can wrestle, but won’t get treated in such a way. Dolph Ziggler is one of the best overall performers in the company, but is stuck because of the main event feuds that continue to be carried on. I like Hornswoggle as comic relief, but this is going to get old quick. Nobody should be forced to look weak against this version of Brodus Clay. It’s just terrible.

JL comes to the ring for the contract signing. He brings out Lesnar. Lesnar makes a list of demands to JL before he is willing to do the match on Sunday. JL agrees to the demands. Cena comes out and signs the contract. Lesnar walks off when Cena wants to fight. The show ends.

^Where to begin with this…ok, here we go. Lesnar sucks on the mic. Lesnar should never be allowed to touch a microphone for any reason whatsoever. Lesnar saying that he is no longer the naive farm boy that was in the company ten years ago is like Stevie Wonder trying to convince us that he isn’t blind. The lack of intelligence and thought behind that promo reminded me of something Kevin Nash would say. It was beyond terrible. You now have two choices as a fan for why you can hate Brock Lesnar. Number one, you’re a Cena fan and you want him to Hulk up and beat Brock. Number two, you can’t stand seeing someone try to act cocky when they’re a complete idiot. Brock Lesnar showed that despite all the in ring talent he might possess, he is an idiot. Aside from Lesnar making himself look worse on the mic than even John Laurinaitis, this segment was still boring. Cena might be booked to win on Sunday; I’m skeptical at this point.

This Raw was interesting. There were way too many commercials. It felt like three hours because it dragged, and not because it was loaded with action. Extreme Rules now has five matches on the card, with four being WrestleMania rematches(Brock replacing Rock in the fifth). I really just don’t understand why things are done how they are, but I’ll keep watching like I always do. Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck! – add me and my bro, Mike Lightning!