Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - C.M. Punk's turn continues, John Cena vs. Big Show, A.J. Lee begins her run as General Manager, Sheamus and Daniel Bryan get Raw-active, Vitamin C reunites, and more

Posted in: Pruett Editorials, MUST-READ LISTING
Jul 31, 2012 - 12:05 PM

By Will Pruett

- Opening the show with footage of the Raw stage fire should have grabbed the attention of many viewers. That was a surprising turn of events that WWE tried to use to their advantage.

- C.M. Punk's opening promo was very well done. People expecting a "Pipebomb" had their expectations in the wrong place. This promo was about showing subtle heel tendencies, and Punk did that well.

- Is it surprising to anyone else that it's just now that WWE commentators are being called out for being biased. Punk needs to have a chat with Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon immediately.

- The opening promo said everything it needed to. It justified why Punk would hit The Rock. It also showed that Punk may be letting the title go to his head. The story-telling here was fantastic.

- Big Show, as much as I don't want to see him, has been cutting great promos since his heel turn earlier this year. His encounters with Punk are very interesting, as Punk is turning, but still standing against Show.

- On these three hour shows, the opening segment becomes infinitely more important. There needs to be something that will keep people hooked into the show for the next three hours. The promise of a John Cena vs. Big Show number one contender's match should have done just that.

- I really enjoyed the new Raw set that debuted last week. The fire causing the full set to not be functional made me a little sad. I'm also glad to see that Smackdown and Raw now have slightly different sets.

- Speaking of Smackdown, although Raw is no longer referred to as a "SuperShow" it features stars from both shows. Why are wrestlers from Smackdown presented with Smackdown graphics still? Just use the Raw ones for everyone on this show and the Smackdown ones on Smackdown. It makes more sense that way.

- Santino vs. Alberto Del Rio was longer than their average squash match together, but seeing Del Rio defeat Santino still isn't exciting. It seems like we get this match every month and it is never great. Also, Del Rio looked great in black trunks.

- I enjoy the idea that Alberto Del Rio will not compete until SummerSlam. This is the kind of angle that Del Rio's character can sink his teeth into.

- Brodus Clay getting a beat down from Damien Sandow could be the beginning of a great undercard story. In the three hour format, the challenge is now WWE's to tell stories with the entire roster and not just the top half of it.

- Daniel Bryan and A.J. Lee had a nice exchange backstage. A.J.'s transformation into business mode was a little odd. I would rather see her still rocking Chuck Taylor's (not the Kentucky Gentleman) and suspenders. I disagree with many people saying she was Stephanie McMahon-esque, however.

- The replay segment with Triple H and Brock Lesnar was decent, but it didn't need to be played twice. Lucky for me, I watch Raw on delay and can usually fast forward, but I feel sorry for those that can't. Produce three hours of content, WWE. Don't just decide to replay things twice.

- What is the difference between a No Hold's Barred match and a Street Fight? Why did the fans like one so much more than the other?

- Does a Kendo Stick actually serve a purpose on setting up a WWE ring? There is always one under there, so I'm assuming it does.

- Sheamus and Daniel Bryan had a nice, long match together. As much as the three hour format feels too long, it does provide with more time for matches like these. It doesn't completely justify the large time commitment, but it does make it easier to swallow.

- Daniel Bryan refusing to leave to ring was quite entertaining. Bryan is showing more personality than I ever thought possible when I originally saw him. He is a great wrestler, but I have found myself looking forward to his "entertainment" type segments much more.

- Who knew so many indie wrestlers with bad haircuts worked at a mental institution?

- Unless Kofi Kingston and R-Truth are going to be involved with Bryan in he near future, I found it odd to have them involved with him in the ring.

- Kofi's entrance seemed sad without pyro. Kofi looked disappointed in his lack of boom.

- Not only was A.W.'s rape joke offensive, it was outdated. Both of these elements combined to make it completely tasteless. I'm guessing it was an off-the-cuff remark from A.W., but he should be punished for it.

- Titus O'Neal's only real talent is barking like a seal. I'd watch him on an animal impression show, but I can't stand him on a wrestling show. The Primetime Players are not a good act.

- John Cena did a nice job in silence on this show. His response to Punk's justification of his actions backstage was pitch-perfect. Punk's speech here to Cena also worked really well. This is where nuance in a backstage segment works, where it wouldn't in front of the fans in the ring.

- Randy Orton seems to be in leaner, possibly less-cut shape than he last was. It's good to see him back, all the same. Here's hoping his "legend" status can be used to elevate talent soon. Orton can do a lot of good working with younger wrestlers.

- Daniel Bryan answering "Yes" to every question was a fun and obvious angle. I must wonder if any wrestling character would actually be declared sane. Think about it, wrestlers are all a little larger than life and crazy. Even John Cena is constantly throwing clothing to total strangers and pretending to be invisible. That's weird no matter how you cut it.

- It was good to see Chris Jericho as a full-fledged babyface in the ring. Fans are excited to cheer for him. Remember that before he left in 2010, he was turned pseudo-babyface by Nexus and fans were very into him then. Jericho as the legend-type babyface will be fun to watch.

- Christian and Chris Jericho reuniting team Vitamin C was fun. The wrestling nerd in me wanted it acknowledged, but that would have been unnecessary.

- These Tout segments are reminding me just how much I dislike wrestling fans. Sorry guys, it's nothing personal. There are just a lot of unnecessarily nerdy folk into wrestling.

- I'm stunned that WWE hasn't changed up Tensai's look. I'd say that the shiny red trunks and giant gut have a lot to do with him not getting over. Why not try something different that covers his gut and doesn't look like a fat guy running around in tiny underwear.

- Reversed decisions always confuse me a little bit. This is another program (Kidd and Tensai) that can develop a little more with three hours to tell stories. WWE should take advantage of the momentum Kidd is gaining soon.

- Kane and Daniel Bryan are still feuding? How did that happen?

- C.M. Punk was really fun on commentary. Once again, he was able to subtly shift his act into being that of a heel. One of those shifts seems to be no longer declaring it "clobbering time" on the ramp.

- Big Show and John Cena only seem to have one match together. Whether it is in a cage, with weapons, with interference, or in 2004, their matches never feature any variety. I'd rather pick one out where Show is actually in shape and watch that.

- Punk's final interference in the Show vs. Cena match confirmed everybody's assumptions that we would see a triple threat match at SummerSlam. I don't love the involvement of Big Show, but I'm guessing it is a means to an end.

Ultimately, this show was long. Repeated replays, longer matches, and extended promos really made this show drag. What is WWE to do? Without a solid hook or concept to drive a three hour show, they are left of just make Raw longer. There was some good to the length. The tag match and Sheamus vs. Bryan received more time. The tag champions were actually featured on the show. Good things happened here. The bad matches them though.

The format of the three hour show needs some tuning up. This Raw was newsworthy, but that news seemed a little lost. It wasn't a bad show, but it didn't make a major impact.

- The Tyson Kidd and Tensai program has been entertaining thus far.

So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at or to follow me and interact on twitter at

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