Monday, November 19, 2012

LIVE Raw thoughts - November 19, 2012

11:12 - I thought the Punk celebration was great.  Particularly the run down of all the Superstars Punk had successfully defended his title against, and the various matches he's had to do it.  And the video montage was, as always, top notch.  The thing is, they should have been building it up all night.  Geez, every time Triple H returns or there's a DX reunion, we get a night full of clips.  Why not for Punk's reign?

And of course, there was no new WWE Championship!!!  But I did love the fact that Punk has every intention of holding the title another 2,000 days.

Oh, and there have been a lot of (fair) comparisons made between the new NXT guys and the old Nexus, and there's one similar thing I DO love:  The beatings look so real.  In their early days, the Nexus attacks looked so graphic and unchoreographed.  It was messy and clunky and real.  They would grab people at their legs.  They would jump on them.  They would just continue to attack.  It felt so much realer than "let me stand here while you hit and knock down my partner.  And then when you knock me down, I'll just get up and you can knock me down again" routine we constantly see.

11:07 - Where are the balloons?

10:57 - LOVE LOVE LOVE Heyman bringing up that people want the Attitude Era and ECW, but then get all upset when they do something edgy like last week.

10:55 - Love the long, competitive matches....but we've seen WAY too many of these recaps.  How many times have we seen the AJ/Cena kiss?  Three times?  And it's not as if this is a huge relationship they've been building up for months.  This has all happened in the past, like, month.  And before that, these two barely interacted on screen.

10:48 - I'm glad they didn't have Rey and Sin Cara win, using that "challengers beat champions to earn title shot" result twice in one night.  And actually, that was some fun commentary as well.  And a great example of why face Cole is so much better than heel one.  Remember how badly he tore apart the Hart Dynasty because they weren't talkative enough?

Oh, and first sighting of the WWE Championship -- and it's the same spinner one.  And no indication or hint of Punk switching it.  I guess we'll see.

10:44 - Man, we've had at least three matches that I can think of that went through a commercial break.  Impressive.

10:36 - So after months of telling CM Punk he needs to beat John Cena to earn respect -- despite being WWE Champion -- Cole and Lawler are now telling the Prime Time Players that they can't be the leaders of the tag team division without being the champions.

10:30 - Oh man, giving away Ziggler vs. Face Miz WAY too soon.

10:27 - If this was still the Attitude Era, somebody would've been taking a dump in that stall.  In all seriousness, though, great promo from Ziggler (and awesome seeing the #HEEL hoodie again) and a great response from AJ.  Overall, surprisingly positive segment.

10:23 - It strikes me as odd that we haven't been seeing clips throughout the night from Punk's title reign.

10:08 - I have to admit that I thought Sheamus would destroy Sandow with the chair in a short match.  And then I was going to complain about how Sheamus got to destroy a guy with a promising future, while Miz had to allow David F'N Otunga dominate three quarters of their match.  But this has been a surprisingly long and competitive match.

9:59 - For some reason, I find the concept of Sheamus leaving the arena with that chair, going back to his  hotel room, and then traveling with it to the next arena somewhat humorous.  Somewhat.

9:54 - You can tell tonight is a light night.  They're doing A LOT of "earlier tonight" recaps.

9:48 - I've long argued that Miz is a natural heel and shouldn't be turned face.  But they've decided to do it, and there ARE fans out there that want to cheer him.  There's no reason why this shouldn't have been a decisive, relatively easy victory for Miz.  Otunga got WAY too much offense in there.

9:36 - Do they realize how wildly dirty and inappropriate that slow motion replay looked?

9:35 - When I said the Great Khali was available to use, this wasn't what I meant.

9:27 - Fine match, but I think they should have been more explicit about ADR's DQ to get the subsequent victory strategy (like Triple H vs. Rock).  Have ADR go crazy on Orton's arm, getting DQ'd.  Then immediately thereafter, have him go for the arm bar.  It wasn't expressed enough until after the fact.  Okay, how about these two stay away from each other now?

9:06 - Well that was.....interesting.  I did actually get a kick out of Cena trying to respond to Vickie only to be pulled away by the punitive AJ so that they could suck face.  But that lasted  It sorta looked like Cena may have twisted his ankle on the way out, though.

9:03 - I still don't get what, from a character standpoint, Vickie benefits from this AJ/Cena scandal.

8:48 - We're seeing Orton vs. ADR AGAIN tonight.  And we just saw Brodus vs. Cesaro a few weeks ago.  And how many times have we seen 3MB vs. CoBro (and they wonder why the pre-show was so poorly viewed)?  I constantly argue that the roster isn't as light as people claim it is.  Right now they've got the following people on their roster -- not injured, as far as I can tell -- who are just doing nothing:  Alex Riley, Camacho, Christian, Curt Hawkings, Ezekiel Jackson, the Great Khali, Hunico, the Usos, Jack Swagger, JTG, Mason Ryan, Michael McGillicutty, Ted DiBiase, Trent Barretta, and Yoshi Tatsu.  Yes, a couple of those guys are sidelined with injuries, but most were not being used before that point either.  Then you have guys like Ryder, Santino, Kidd, and Gabriel who do appear on television on a semi frequent basis, but aren't being used in any meaningful way.  Not everybody is a main eventer and needs a storyline, but there's no reason why we should be seeing the same matches over and over again.

8:41 - I mean, in most cases you're not going to get a 5 star match out of the Divas (which has a lot to do with the amount of time they're given, I will admit), but is there a less technical Diva out there than Kaitlyn?  She really does seem lost out there.  She's basically the female version of Vince McMahon.  And it's baffling that they're pushing her and they've made Natalya the designated jobber of the division.

8:34 - Daniel Bryan, take note:  CM Punk gets a haircut for special occasions.

8:29 - Ugh.  Laziest way to name a #1 contender, ever.  And they CONSTANTLY do it.  They had a tournament to determine the #1 contenders for the tag team champions and people were really into it.  And in the process, they MADE at least two legitimate tag teams.  And by the way, while I do really like Wade Barrett, he really needs to work on his kick outs.  He just seems to lie there and then when it's time to kick out, he just does.  He doesn't seem like he's trying to kick out until the moment that he's supposed to.

8:15 - Glad to see Barrett with the jacket again.  Far superior to his t-shirt.  By the way, I'm really hoping Barrett doesn't get the win here.  I detest this lazy, quick manner of storytelling....having a potential challenger pin the champion in a non-title match in order to get a title match.  Why not spend a couple of months and allowing a challenger to climb up and dominate the midcard division in order to earn a title shot?

8:11 - By the way, Sheamus doesn't really have a leg to stand on regarding his Big Show loss.  Referees get knocked out all the time, and the competitors have had to act accordingly.  There wasn't a bell, so Sheamus has nobody to blame but himself.

Incidentally, it looks like we have a CM Punk celebration tonight, which is as good a time as any to debut a new championship.  It's funny, I've been looking for any conceivable reason for him to change the title since winning it.  First, it was his promise that he would.  Then, it was the beginning of THIS reign.  Then, it was WrestleMania.  Then his heel turn.  Then Night of Champions.  Tonight -- the one year celebration of his title reign -- seems as good an occasion as any of those.

8:01 - So tonight is the official one year celebration of CM Punk's title reign.  What do you think the chances are of us seeing a new championship belt?


Anonymous said...

Dude, you are pathological when it comes to Otunga. I usually don't comment on blogs, but I need to here. You're being a bit too hard on Otunga.

Otunga has the look, personality, gimmick and determination to be a future champion in this company. I'm really befuddled to hear people criticize him when this is World Wrestling ENTERTAINMENT. He brings many of those elements to the table and he has improved in the ring, which is deemed axiomatic from the match he just had with Miz.

I just wish I saw more open-mindedness and less criticism, because it's not warranted or justified.

Matt Basilo said...

The criticism wasn't directed at Otunga. It was directed at the fact that Miz should have been put in a match with somebody where he could have dominated. If they didn't want to sacrifice Otunga to essentially a squash match, then throw Kurt Hawkins or Camacho or Tensai or JTG in there.

Also, in addition to being World Wrestling ENTERTAINMENT, it's also World WRESTLING Entertainment. I thought Otunga was awesome in the role of the bowtie wearing legal counsel for Johnny Ace. There is most certainly a role for him in the company -- perhaps even a significant one. But AT THE MOMENT, he should not be used at the expense of what should be a big babyface push.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for clarifying. I think the match was two-tiered: 1) To get Miz to be an underdog babyface who can overcome adversity like one, and 2) To gain more credibility for Otunga (who I thought had a great match).

My question for you then would be why is Otunga getting so much air time (about a month ago, he had three separate segments on SmackDown AND main evented), yet hasn't won a singles match since his return two months ago? It's obvious the WWE likes his intangibles, and so do I, but why tease him to play a role on a main roster, all to have him go down in competition?

Matt Basilo said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with trying to get both people over in a given match, but I'm not sure this was the right time. Miz is just coming off of a LONG losing streak, so going toe to toe with him doesn't necessarily give somebody credibility. The primary focus for Miz right now should be to legitimize him as a babyface. He's unfortunately not in any position (yet) to legitimize people on the card lower than him.

I think it's just a matter of bad timing. If I'm not mistaken, Otunga initially disappeared because he was filming a movie. However, when he returned, there was a huge on-air regime change. Johnny Ace was not only no longer in power, but he wasn't even on television any more. Therefore, the primary reason for Otunga to be featured so heavily was no longer present.

As far as why he jobbed when he was being featured so prominently, I think it's because they likely viewed him as fodder. They weren't going to have their top babyfaces beat up Johnny Ace -- that'd be giving away too much, too soon -- and they had guys like Big Show, Brock, and Tensai acting as the legitimate muscle. When it came time to feed somebody to the babyface so that they could get the upper hand, Otunga was the low man on the totem pole.

Anonymous said...

Good points there. There's not much story or credibility to one of the guys they're trying to build up (Ryback, Show) crushing a Khali. That is indeed probably where Otunga came in, in that the company figured without a current vision for Otunga, he can fill the void to help push those others. Despite losing, I think even being on the main roster often is often a positive aspect many fans overlook.

Where do you see Miz going from here in terms of mid versus upper card? With all of the talent being pushed or brought up lately (Cesaro, Ryback, Ambrose, Reigns, for example) it's hard to predict where he will fit in the equation. This is especially evident when he's been as high as WWE Champion and as low as a 20-match losing streak!

Matt Basilo said...

Miz is in an interesting boat. On the face side, he's got guys like Cena, Sheamus, Orton (who is possibly turning heel), Ryback, and Rock (for WrestleMania season) higher up the card than him. And somebody like Daniel Bryan and Rey Mysterio are probably even with him. On the heel side, he's beneath Punk, Alberto Del Rio, Big Show, Orton (when he turns heel), and probably at the same level as Dolph Ziggler. So, honestly, I don't see him becoming WWE Champion again within the next 6 months, at least.

I've resisted the Miz face turn in the past, but honestly I think it's the best thing for his character right now. After a multi-month losing streak, he needs to be in a situation where he looks strong and has people rallying for him.