Barnett's WWE Raw is Blog: What the hell was that?

Posted in: Barnett's Blog, MUST-READ LISTING
May 22, 2012 - 12:15 PM

By Jake Barnett

WWE Raw is Blog: What the hell was that?

I watched Raw last night with my wife, who graciously does not poke fun at my wrestling habit in exchange for me not ripping her for watching The Bachelorette, and immediately we both realized something was rotten in Denmark. My wife chimed in within a few minutes of the show coming on the air and said “This is worse than usual.” I nodded in agreement and kept watching the verbal car wreck, and what occurred to me was all the wonderful things I could have been doing other than listening to John Cena try to feign interest in this awful storyline he’s been dropped into.

The best part of the segment was Eve, who looked smoking hot in her working woman’s outfit, but not even that could save this segment from the uninspired writing and underwhelming performances that were delivered by Cena, Ace and The Big Show. I think all three of them could have joined together to armpit fart the National Anthem, and it probably would have been a more entertaining use of the television time they were given. Not only were the logic holes in the story big enough to drive Laurinitis’s motorized cart through, but there was enough verbal diarrhea in it to best Andre the Giant’s record for crapping in a hotel bathtub (right to the taps, brother!).

By the time the segment was through, over 20 minutes of the show had passed, and all I was left with was the horrifying reality that this storyline would still take precedence on WWE TV over the brilliance that could be a marquee feud between C.M. Punk and Daniel Bryan. Immediately C.M. Punk’s promo from a year ago shot into my head, specifically his line about WWE making money despite itself, and that could not be more correct here. Vince and the creative team have a golden goose on their hands with Punk and Bryan really hitting their strides as characters, and yet here we are recycling another cliché storyline revolving around an authority figure, his goon, and the company hero.

This harkens back to a discussion I’ve had with Chris Shore and Will Pruett in Dot Net Audio about the WWE relying too heavily on the old storyline premises that worked a generation ago. John Cena can generally fulfill his role as the workhorse hero competently, but Laurinitis is nowhere near the villain Vince McMahon once was, and Big Show isn’t what he used to be either. With a bad storyline and villains that just aren’t exciting, it puts a lot of strain on Cena to get this over, and you can see that his response is to overact and his enthusiasm just comes off as irritating. I hesitate to blame him, as I’m not sure how I’d react if I was handed this bag of shit backstage and told to make a cake with it, but it was obvious his interest level in this story is low at best.

The finish of the show was equally inane, as we had a handicap lumberjack match turn into a locker room clearing brawl, with the heels loyal to Laurinitis taking on the babyfaces who aren’t. In the middle of this punch and kick dance routine, John Cena left up the ramp to track down Big Show, who eventually surprised him with a WMD complete with cheese ball sound effect. And guess what? THEY NEVER CUT BACK TO THE RING. Cena gets knocked out, and meanwhile 40 people were still in the ring! I guess WWE decided that their fates would be sucked into a memory vortex never to be seen again. Why would you even bother to clear the locker room for a brawl for the overrun segment if it didn’t even have any effect on the close of the show? It completely diminishes the drama for the next time something motivates that kind of mass violence.

Despite my negativity regarding the lead storyline, there were some good moments on this show that I am optimistic about. They did a nice job of having Punk outsmart Daniel Bryan to continue their feud together, and the weekly segment between Punk and AJ was well done and seems to be leading somewhere promising. I’m also enthused about the intensity of what appears to be a feud between Randy Orton and Chris Jericho, as Jericho had perhaps the best performance of the night with his run-in on Orton’s match with Del Rio. So, not all was lost on this show, but when the biggest storyline on the show also happens to be the worst one, it kills a lot of the enthusiasm that I have for the product as a whole.

WWE needs to heave this storyline with Show and Cena off TV as quickly as possible. I said the same thing about the ridiculous storyline with Kane heading into the Royal Rumble, and it’s just as true here. The characters just aren’t interesting, and we’ve already seen the payoff from this before. John Cena has already hit numerous Attitude Adjustments on Big Show, and has even made him submit to the STF in the past. There is no carrot to dangle. When the story is terrible and there is no in ring payoff to be had, this storyline is treading water and that’s being generous.

Do you have questions, comments or concerns? Contact me at or on twitter @barnettjake.

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