Monday, September 10, 2012

LIVE Raw thoughts - September 10, 2012

11:15 - The WWE Creative Twitter account put it best when they said that this was the right segment at the wrong time.  You take away the anxiety of the Jerry Lawler situation and that promo would be considered a huge sell point (and it may still be).  Bret Hart handled himself well, but CM Punk and John Cena BOTH gave incredible promos that really solidified where each of them stand.  Believe it or not, it was John Cena who made sense of Punk's entire heel turn.  That exchange was definitely up there along with last year's Summer of Punk.  Both guys did an absolute fantastic job.  And again, it must not have been easy.

Things ended on a positive note, and I hope that maintains itself.  It was a really scary night, but the Superstars, backstage crew, announce team, and the company itself handled things really well.  We'll be praying for you, Lawler.

11:00 - Evidently, in Montreal, Hating John Cena > Being Worried About Jerry Lawler.

10:51 - Cody Rhodes vs. The Miz could be interesting (as would a three way with Mysterio).  By the way, Cena and Hart are in a particularly difficult situation.  You can release and hide your emotions a lot easier if you're wrestling than if you're out there talking.  It must be tough to do a long promo right now.

And -- God willing -- if Lawler is okay (and I truly hope he is), I'll make a joke about posting a photo of him with the Intercontinental Title.

10:46 - And while this may go without saying, it shouldn't go unsaid.  Bravo to these professionals -- like Cody Rhodes, Rey Mysterio, and the referee -- for going out there during what must be a scary time.  I'll be honest and say that I don't know if all of these guys are close to Lawler, but he's certainly a fixture for them.  It must be scary not knowing about his well being.

10:40 - That was the right way to handle the situation.  Michael Cole gave us an update and then, in respect to Lawler and (I assume) his co-workers, he announced that they would continue the show without commentary.  This is unsettling, of course, but a totally understandable and respectable solution.  And, again, Cole handled the situation -- which must be very personally difficult for him -- with a lot of professionalism and grace.  Let's all keep hoping for the best.

10:36 - As I said, I completely commend WWE for respecting the relationship these announcers have formed with each other, but I do wish they would send somebody out there right now.  The silence is extremely disheartening.  Maybe Regal or Striker or someone?  Just to set the viewing audience at ease -- or update them at least.

10:32 - By the way, we can debate the morality of continuing a show during a personal crisis or death (I'm referring to past instances here), but I do commend WWE for allowing Michael Cole to take a reprieve to compose himself, if that's indeed what they were doing.  I REALLY hope they weren't prepping him for reporting some tragic news.  Really keeping my fingers crossed that everything is okay.

10:26 - The fact that Sheamus came out looking so distracted and the fact that Cole isn't providing any commentary at all right now makes me a bit nervous.

10:25 - David Otunga needs to grow his goatee back.

10:19 - An entirely human moment from Michael Cole that he handled with a lot of dignity.  We should all surely pray for Jerry Lawler right now, as it sounds awfully severe.  That was a very scary moment.

10:17 - Glad Del Rio brought the white scarf back.  But there's still nothing that interests me about him.  At all.

10:12 - HEY!  Alberto Del Rio FINALLY took my advice and brought the white scarf back.  I think the black trunks and boots are bad ass, but the white scarf (which, for his entire WWE career, has been used as a symbol of his wealth and purity) was an important aspect of his character that should not have been replaced with a black one.

10:05 - Fun ending to the match.  And hey, it's been a while since we've seen a legitimate "two guys who hate each other teaming together" storyline.  Plus, if they win the tag titles (and hopefully they do), it'll actually increase the exposure to that title.

Apparently Jerry Lawler collapsed?  I didn't notice anything until I read someone mention it on Twitter.  Then after the Kane/Bryan match, I could see Cole was alone.  Any word on what happened?

10:01 - When this audience is enthusiastic, they're GREAT.  But when they're not, man are they ever quiet.

9:53 - Here's hoping they give Kane and Daniel Bryan the title shot at Night of Champions.  I'm all for pushing new guys and the Prime Time Players seem to be developing nicely, but veterans like Kane and Daniel Bryan are onto something good right now.  No need to resist the temptation to push them in that spot.

9:47 - Titus....Darren Young....AJ....lots of NXT going on there.

9:42 - Quite the different career path these two former Nexus members have taken, huh?

9:28 - I know I made fun of WWE and their overly dramatic camera work earlier in the show, but I do have to applaud the awesome shot of Punk and Heyman casually talking to each other on the outside of the ring, with the action taking place in the background.  Pretty incredible shot of that RKO, in particular.

9:24 - Annnnnnnd finally fixed their Antonio Cesaro/US Champion graphic!  With a new crappy photoshop image!

9:19 - By the way, it looks like brought back WWE Unlimited (now called WWE Live Stream), which shows what happens during the commercial break:

This is cool, but I seem to recall that they got some heat from USA Network because they were pulling people away while they were supposed to be watching the commercials.  Or am I just imagining that?

9:16 - Explain to me again why Alberto Del Friggin Rio gets to make Randy Orton tap, but CM Punk has to be rescued from him?

9:07 - You know how I said that Punk's heel turn was flimsy?  His traditional heelish actions sometimes make it worse.  Again, they didn't present it the best way, but I could believe that Punk's demand to be respected could be the catalyst for a heel turn.  But why is he suddenly walking away from and leaving matches?  This is a guy who SHOULD legitimately believe that he's the best in the world.  And honestly, the way he's been pushed and presented should give him the confidence he needs to believe just that.  The possibility of losing shouldn't even enter his mind.  So why is he running away?  He shouldn't revert to those actions.

9:03 - It's a good thing Orton shaved his beard, or else this could get a little confusing.

9:00 - I'm actually rather surprised they'd waste an Orton/Punk match completely unadvertised on a throwaway Raw.

8:57 - By the way, can I mention how ludicrous this whole Brogue Kick ban is?  I mean, the move is entirely legal.  We're now banning moves because they're TOO effective?  Please.

8:48 - Wait, did Alicia Fox turn heel?  Or is this one of those "she hasn't been on TV in a while and we need a third Diva for the heel side" things?

8:41 - Between the legalese and silly camera angles, I can't tell if I'm watching Boston Legal or Raw.  This is trying to be artsy for its own good.  Went on entirely too long.

8:34 - How sad is this?  This is a screencapture of, which shows Antonio Cesaro with the Intercontinental Championship (yes, another crappy photoshop job).  Even the staff of their own website doesn't know which person holds their secondary titles....

8:24 - It's sad that the U.S. and Intercontinental Championship PPV matches have been demoted to "hey, we'll have a battle royal on the pre-show to determine the challenger."  They did this just a few months ago, when Christian returned.  They obviously know who's going to win....why not just spend the next couple of weeks building up a story for the match?

8:17 - I have to say, that was a pretty brilliant way to solidify Punk's heel turn.  I know that it's fairly obvious that he's been a pretty full blown heel for several weeks now, but it's also fair to say that there's been a certain reluctance, but from the live audience and the bookers (deliberately so).  After all, it's not as if they've had Punk come out and insult the hosting city, or have him beat up some plucky underdog.  His hostility has been centered pretty solely on Lawler and Cena.  This week was the first time we've seen him as downright sinister.  He did attack the city and he did make threats towards somebody who is popular and somebody who would have trouble defending himself.  And because of Punk's popularity -- and because of the fact that his edginess attracts people -- Bret Hart in Montreal was a VERY, VERY rare opportunity to actually get the audience to turn against him.  And while the basis for his heel turn has been sorta flimsy, Punk did a great job coming across as, well, psychotic and evil.  His taunting of Jerry Lawler was particularly fun.

My one gripe:  How does Punk go from paying homage to Hart with his trunks to having such hostility towards him?

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