Wrestle Enigma
Wrestle Enigma

WWE Raw WE REVIEW May 14, 2012: Final Build to Over the Limit and the End of a Giant

   ----  Editorials   ---- 

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another edition of Raw WE REVIEW. This week, I’m going to do the same thing as last week, so I’m going to keep this as short as possible for an intro. Ugh, I feel like Jacob. On to the show…

The Offenses and the Lawsuits

Triple H begins the show, first telling off a defensive Laurinaitis and then goes to the ring. You can tell from the start this is going to go too long. He talked about how Lesnar has somehow offended legends by saying he’s the star that WWE needs, which makes a lot of sense when all heels seem to say that at some point.

Also, apparently Triple H feels embarrassed for bringing Lesnar into the company. I guess that makes sense in kayfabe. It was interesting that he went through the story of the simpleton farm boy to WWE to UFC to now. It actually had some truth behind it, though I don’t see when Lesnar was “challenged” in WWE. Still it was a good story builder.

Paul Heyman then came out to make things much more interesting. Heyman has still got it. It is so great to see him run it down on the mic. He made Triple H look like a kid against him, playing with his emotions, calling the COO a corporate sycophant, and building up to his lawsuits perfectly. An angry Triple H even got himself in more trouble when he grabbed Heyman by the face.

In the end, Heyman came off as the dominant man in what turned out to be a pretty good segment overall, even with an average start. You have to love that Lesnar is being built up better now than he was before Extreme Rules.

The Match of Champions

We then got to see the opening match of the night: CM Punk and Santino Marella vs. Daniel Bryan and Cody Rhodes.

With so much talent in the ring and three champions in the mix, you would think this match would get better than opening match credit. Do Laurinaitis and John Cena really deserve to be the top card feud right now? They could have at least made this the first hour main event match.

The Pittsburgh crowd loved Daniel Bryan. The “Yes” chants were loud and constant, even though Bryan was rarely wrestling in the match. Honestly, the match was not as good as the talent would suggest, however it was entertaining thanks to Santino who was really the star of the match. His antics including a failed suicide dive and a missed tag were funny in an otherwise average match.

It didn’t help that WWE is playing up this story of Daniel Bryan trying to pick his spots with CM Punk, leading to them not touching each other during the match either. Hopefully it leads to a great match with no interruptions at Over the Limit.

I am starting to believe more and more that this match will not close the PPV, which is a real crime.

A Divas Match

Next up, we were treated to the match of the night…Alicia Fox vs. Beth Phoenix. Okay, not quite, especially since this was more of an exhibition to show off Beth Phoenix for the thousandth time.

Also, it was fairly sloppy, and I can’t even entirely blame it on Alicia. It was just ugly.

Luckily, it only lasted about a minute total with Layla coming out just so she could look on and then come in to help Fox after the match. The one move Layla pulled out was more impressive than anything that happened in the match. Still, this should be a great Divas match come Over the Limit.

Laurinaitis Ends a Legendary Career (For Now)

The Big Show vs. John Laurinaitis feud, which has lasted all of one week, is now so big that it got three hype videos for the confrontation so far, and two of those were absolutely identical. It was all to build up to an emotional moment, though first we had to go through a Kane vs. Show match.

While it sounded ugly on the surface, Kane and Big Show had a decent big-man match. It had good pacing with no slow points and some hard-hitting action. Problems came in some sloppy action, though it wasn’t that apparent. That said, the ending was atrocious. After Laurinaitis distracted Show, Kane hit literally the worst chokeslam in history with no elevation and no impact. It was ugly.

After the match, Johnny asked for his apology. Show told his personal story from the start, and you could feel his emotion. His voice alone carried huge weight. At the end, even though I am not a Big Show fan, I really felt for the guy. Being forced to beg for the job that he loves, not wanting to get down on his knees, but doing it anyway…and he was still fired.

It was too long, but I really felt bad for Show at the end, even though I’ve never really liked him. That being said, I’d say it succeeded.

WWE’s Attempt at Tag Team Build Up

Unfortaunately, this attempt included Brodus Clay and his latest addition to the Funky Jobbers club, the Miz. The match was short, mostly taken up by the commercial break which right before was the only real sign of life.

The rest of the match was just two minutes of nothing until everyone got eliminated so that Miz could get buried as much as possible before getting pinned by Clay. Sorry, I don’t see how this helped anything or anyone here.

Just a pointless match that I will forget tomorrow.

A Game of Seduction?

After the six-man, a short segment that may end up being one of the most important points of Sunday’s WWE Championship match. CM Punk was talking to Alex Riley, when AJ comes up to CM Punk and wishes him luck. While he denied her possible advances by saying he was not going to get involved, the agenda was obvious to see in AJ’s always impressive acting.

AJ trying to go after Punk, after Bryan said he was going after Kaitlyn, makes sense and feeds into AJ’s sense of insecurity. It was small as it was, but it makes for an interesting build up that should be further accentuated on Friday. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see AJ affect the actual match on Sunday, though I thought she would affect the Extreme Rules match that Bryan was in, but that didn’t happen.

So who knows?

The Only Match Worth Thinking About Tonight

This night at least gave us one good match on the card.

Jericho pulled out his full arsenal of technical holds, and he looked surprisingly dominant with a lot of smart tactics and good throws. The match was only hindered, as many others were, by commercials and lack of TV time.

Honestly, this could have been great given ten more minutes of actual recorded time.

Instead, we just got a calculating Jericho, an angry Sheamus, and a cheated Orton getting seven minutes of time. I did like the story coming through at the end, though.

Orton and Sheamus are on a collision course that will give Jericho a tactical edge. If this goes any further, Sheamus or Orton could be turning soon.

I am not sure why SmackDown was featured more than Raw, but they chose the best match to end the show, even if they still needed more time. The real story of this whole night.

Cena’s De-evolution Begins

The main event match proved to us that WWE has one thing on its mind: pushing as hard as they can to make this Cena/Laurinaitis match come off as a main-event caliber contest. I really hope they can deliver if they are following Punk/Bryan.

Cena came off as his old excited self. I’m not sure he was nursing any of his wounds since WrestleMania 28. He was the old corny Cena with jokes so bad only Cole found them entertaining. What he should have done was come out as a wrestler and run down Laurinaitis in a serious fashion, especially for the Big Show firing earlier.

Instead, we just wasted fifteen minutes with Cena’s attempts at jokes.

I don’t know why I just wasted ten minutes listening to all these attempted cheap pops that only the announcers found funny. Seriously, what was the point of the past few months if Cena is going to act like this? The announcement at the end was the only important point here, and all we found was that Laurinaitis has his job at stake.

Basically, this means that Johnny will win on Sunday.

I really hope that there is something more to this match because it is just getting less and less appealing as I find out how much it is being pushed. Why should I care about this match? WWE has given me less reasons now, rather than more, almost making me forget about how evil Laurinaitis came off earlier in the night.

It’s not looking good.

Conclusion and Final Grade

Tonight was, well, a waste of time. Other than the beginning and the Big Show segment, the rest of the night was drab and useless. I saw no added heat to any match at Over the Limit, and I now care less for the pay-per-view than I did one week ago. I really hope that WWE can pull out something big on SmackDown, otherwise I will not even consider buying this PPV.

Filled with horrible timing on commercial breaks leading to shortened matches galore and segments that were too short or way too long. I am ranting a bit here…the night wasn’t quite as bad as it sounds, however it did not feel right.

When an episode leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth, you know something went wrong.

Final Grade: D

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Author: Kevin Berge (306 Articles)

Wrestle Enigma's voted Writer Of The Year two years running. I am writing to prove a point. The day I stop writing is the day I realize I have nothing more to say, and I don't believe that day will ever come.

  • Charlie G

    Good review & I agree. RAW was pretty boring to me and seemingly dragged on throughout the night. I almost forgot Over The Limit was this weekend… And, honestly, this episode of RAW doesn’t help my interest in it at all!

    Good review, Berge.

    • http://twitter.com/TheBerge_ Kevin Berge

      Thanks, yeah, it was a largely frustrating and forgettable night. Really wish it had been better with Over the Limit on the horizon.

  • John Cavanagh

    Great review, I thought you were nice on the grade.  Point is, we are looking to be entertained.  Whether or not the story telling is great, if it’s putting us asleep, it’s not working.  Over the Limit has been a horrible PPV every year since it debuted.  It is to close to Extreme Rules, feels rushed.  WWE has been  lackluster lately.  I could be another “negative fan”, but I’ve watched less WWE the past few weeks then ever before.

    • http://twitter.com/TheBerge_ Kevin Berge

      I still had to give it some credit for decent wrestling and decent segments even if WWE screwed it up with the pacing, commercials, and that main event. But yeah I can see how some would be more negative about it. It was an upsetting edition of Raw.

  • Marc Mattaliano

     I really think you’re being kind of harsh here.

    I will agree that the direct build-up for matches on the Over the Limit card could have been better, however much like Joe’s sentiment, I felt the storytelling here really shined as the star.  And quite frankly, if ROH’s storytelling isn’t good enough for network TV, and TNA’s booking decisions CRUSH any chance of them raising ratings past a weekly 1.0, then WWE needs to work that angle greatly, and I think they’re doing that.

    I mean, this episode really gives many of us a chance to actually debate where a storyline could go, as opposed to the usefulness.  There was just so much going on!  All World Enterprises/Productions (whichever it’s called, I think Cole screwed up somewhere) looks to be growing pretty fast.  Big Show’s “fired,” Triple H is being sued for assaulting Heyman AND “screwing over” Lesnar on his “new” contract with Laurinaitis.

    Meanwhile, AJ is trying to rally after getting dumped by Bryan, which could go a million different ways.  Does she try to screw Bryan over in the match?  Does she pursue other superstars to try and make Bryan jealous (whether she succeeds or not)?

    The matches, yes, weren’t as good as they should have been.  But when the storytelling and segments are this good, I’m willing to put aside my desire for high-quality wrestling, as that’s all part of the “entertainment” aspect.  If all I want to see is quality wrestling, I’ll watch either college wrestling, greco roman, olympic wrestling, or even ROH.  I want wrestling AND entertainment, so I’m turning to WWE, and they’re delivering.

    All in all, I agree that it had a lot of bumpy spots and felt a bit thrown together.  Some areas should have gotten more spotlight that didn’t, whereas some areas shined and probably shouldn’t have.  However, here’s my main takeaway…

    Secondary PPVs aren’t always the big climaxes we hope they are.  A lot of times, they’re just used as important stepping stones to the bigger PPVs.  Look what happened last year.  The PPvs between Money in the Bank and Survivor Series weren’t too great, but SS, RR, and Wrestlemania were all pretty good quality, mainly because of all the history established at the previous PPVs.

    Over the Limit looks to be a quality PPV, and if I didn’t have bills to pay and a marriage to attend that Sunday (i.e., mine), I might consider ordering it.

    I’m with you that Bryan/Punk should end the night, but there are a lot of ways the Cena/Laurinaitis storyline can play out.  I just sincerely hope they do something different with it.

    Cena is NOT a radical, rebellious revolutionary who wants to defy his boss.  He’s just not.  Not a company guy like him, it’s so hard to buy into.  The only reason he’s getting ANY cheers is because Laurinaitis is proving to be such a corrupt and villainous force.  It’s sad that we’re now building up executives and General Managers to be evil just so they can get Cena more cheers.

    I highly doubt Cena is going to win.  Lesnar or Show will interfere.  My money’s on Lesnar, though a turn-of-circumstance for Show might be welcome.  Kind of like Khali’s turn with Jinder Mahal.

    • http://twitter.com/TheBerge_ Kevin Berge

      You know it’s funny because I have a load of people telling me I’m being too lenient that the entire night was just flat out horrible. The way I see it, I hit it dead on. I came out as a  disappointed fan, but I can appreciate what they did do right even though they upset me at several points.

      See, the story was the worst part of the night for me. The opening segment succeeded, but the Show segment was way too long and the main event made the Cena/Laurinaitis match seem like a joke which I didn’t need to be told. I needed to be made to feel that this match meant something. In the end, I came out feeling nothing but disappointed and uninspired especially for what is shaping up to be the OTL main event.

      TNA and ROH have me more enthralled in their stories right now than WWE does. TNA’s run with Roode at the top coupled with Storm playing up a hurt hero trying to find his will to fight again is enthralling. Add to it a stellar Austin Aries build up including a great mini-feud with Bully Ray and an interesting build up around AJ Styles lately and I’m sold to watch each week. ROH has Kevin Steen as champion which is in itself a great story that I want to tune in for. With other build ups as well with an overflowing level of talent in the midcard, I have no reason not to watch when I can. WWE though has a main event between a broken down hasbeen wrestler and a guy who is ready to take a break who doesn’t take his match seriously, a build for the World Title that makes it look like an afterthought, and a midcard with absolutely no direction. If anything, I only tune in because it is WWE right now and I like the stars involved, not the stories.

      The tag team division in its infancy stages of rebuilding. All World Enterprises is a fine help, but I don’t care enough yet about the division to care about the story. Triple H and Paul Heyman were a bright spot even though Hunter was dry. The problem is that this story has nothing to do with OTL, making it a progressive waste of time in talking about OTL. The Big Show segment would be more entertaining if it had been built better. It was too long. It succeeded, but it still wasted too much time. The AJ/Bryan segment is intriguing, but it was barely an afterthought on the show. It wasn’t a great segment because it wasn’t much of a segment at all. Just a snippet of story telling.

      The wrestling is part of the product. It is called WWE – World WRESTLING Entertainment. If your wrestlers are doing more work during commercial breaks than during the actual show, it is not their fault the wrestling failed. It is the business’. And that is frustrating. If I wanted pure entertainment, I would watch a television show with obviously better storytelling as many have. This is a hybrid of entertainment and wrestling. That’s what I want. That’s what makes a show good. Even if the segments were great which for the most part, they really weren’t, I would still not be able to say that the show was phenomenal. I have seen episodes where WWE does a great job selling story, and this wasn’t one of them.

      I don’t need OTL to be a climax. It doesn’t need to be anything more than build up, but build up to what? Nothing I really want to see. Bryan/Punk will be great probably (unless story gets in the way). Cena/Laurinaitis will have to somehow succeed for the PPV to succeed since it has no real wrestling potential behind it. The SmackDown FFW is intriguing, but most FFWs are too jumbled to be great contests. Beyond that, there is no card. The tag team match might be a sleeper, but it has no build. Beth/Layla will be a great women’s wrestling match, but that didn’t help the RR when Beth/Tamina was great. What will happen on the rest of the card? More squash matches? More thrown together work? Where is the undercard to care about, and why is the main event scene so one dimensional? I don’t like it. It feels like a 2011 PPV and not Money in the Bank. More along the lines of Capitol Punishment.

      I don’t care about Lesnar or Show interfering in Laurinaitis/Cena when the match itself might fail. Sure, seeing Show come in and turn heel would be a fine twist, but it won’t save the match. Lesnar coming in would be even more pointless.

  • Joe Burgett

    The segment with Show and Johnny was really good. Show acted the whole thing out well, and it’s possible due to him being fired and wanting his job back, he’d help Ace at OTL. I mean, what does he have to lose, eh? But really, it would be doubtful.

    I have said all along that Lesnar would be the guy we see help Ace, so look for that. Although it would be odd seeing as he is in a potential program with Triple H. In any case, I see Show or Lesnar at OTL helping Ace out.

    The segment with Show made us all want to kill Ace. Show is a beloved character for all fans, the old and new one’s. That said, WWE knew attacking him in this whole thing would be good. I felt like hurting Ace personally. And when WWE does that to me, I know the heel is getting over.

    • http://twitter.com/TheBerge_ Kevin Berge

      I agree that Show acted out that segment well, but it dragged and became uninteresting at many points. As I said above, it succeeded as an emotional moment, but it was also way too long to be entertaining and made many tune out. It was possible to streamline much of this. I like the way they are building Johnny here, but I still say it took far too long for its own good.

  • Judas Thundersteel

     1.) Triple H had a very interesting and nice argument. He mentioned hometown boy Bruno Sammartino, Flair, Hogan, and Savage. Also interesting. Heyman’s argument was just as strong, mentioning Hunter brought a “fighter” to an “entertainment” company. Very conniving, and intense, consistently wrapped into a promo. Hunter grabbed Paulie’s face, and the man wasn’t wetting his pants. Hunter threw those summons paper, isn’t that bad? Breach and contract with assault and battery, Heyman sounded funny being all legal and stuff.

    2.) Commentary were talking about a little rivalry between Santino and Cody Rhodes on who is the better champion. Rhodes saying the IC champ is better. So it makes me wonder if there will be a unification feud? Or just a regular feud. Rhodes got pinned :(. Well the WWE Champion and Bryan won’t get pinned, so damn, and Santino is too popular a face. Phooey. The match was entertaining, mostly because Daniel Bryan’s offense was directed towards getting “Yes” chants every time. Multiple knees to hte head, then swift kicks, all met with “Yes.” It’s funny. No promo time between those two? Grrr, but a staredown between a fleeing Bryan and victorious Punk is better than nothing.

    3.) Beth dominated Alicia Fox. Press slam, it was sweet, but it seems clear that her ankle injury was kayfabe, since she’s all healthy fairly quickly. Good job by Beth though in selling it for one hot minute.

    4.) Oh my goodness, they showed the Show/Laurinaitis situation earlier in the show, and here, again! I get it already. Now they showed a prepared video on the Show/Laurinaitis situation. Jeez man, at least show this and only this, since it featured the backstory and Eve’s reaction and other stuff. Otunga was tailing Johnny Ace, so he’s back. He looked less than excited, coming off of a murder trial, it’s not surprising. Johnny Ace interrupted Show during his match and wanted the apology while Show was busy. It led to a botched chokeslam, and it was a sloppy ending to an average big man match. Show did a “passionate” testimony on his career, his connection to the fans and to the boys in the back. I quote that, because it was acting. It sounded more like putting Laurinaitis more over as a heel. Man that lasted much longer than I expected. Show’s acting got better towards the end, so if they just cut into that, it would’ve been better. Maybe Hollywood looked into this segment and light bulbs went off?

    6.) AW and the Ricans were in a skybox section, with Mason Ryan next to him, commentary explaining that they are close to working together? Reading of Ryan being Ziggler’s bodyguard in house shows, him in such a role would be ideal for him, since he’s not a good wrestler to begin with. The match did get the crowd back though. Ehh, it was a fine 6 man. Ziggler did a match stealing sell of the headbutt from Clay. Oh and Kingston’s trouble in paradise looked extra sharp. There was Little Jimmy’s friends dancing with the faces.

    7.) Alex Riley and CM Punk talking and then AJ came to wish Punk good luck? Punk always says “luck is for losers.” Punk, in as nice words as possible, called AJ unstable, and she sure as hell looked unstable. Better acting from a 95 pound sexy runt, than a 500 pound, 7 foot tall, man.

    8.) Randall and Jericho had a pretty good match, with Sheamus on commentary. Commentary alluded to the history of Sheamus and Randall, as well as Randall and Jericho. Small little things that worked, but Jericho’s sneaky, intelligent character shone through, throwing Randall to a seated Sheamus. Jericho got punished by Sheamus, but Randall got DQed as a result. They get into the ring and want to settle their business. Another good way of building the Fatal 4 Way, which is honestly getting more build than the WWE freaking title match, that got announced a week before this was announced. Huh? Orton and Sheamus on SD? Sweet.

    9.) Lawler couldn’t stop laughing at every single one of Cena’s comments. That doesn’t make Cena’s goofy remarks better. Cena channeled Jim Carrey with the “loser.” Seriously? Cena got a “Yes” chant in asking if people want to smack Laurinaitis. Cena then went into talking about Pittsburgh, and referring to him destroying Ace. I’m wondering if Cena just phoned in more comedy because it’s simply easier to do, after filing for divorce. The tip of the iceberg was “go puck yourself.” Johnny Ace got to talking more, with Eve coming to the ring, and things got better actually. Cena grabbed and tore Laurinaitis prepared message from Eve. He read the paper: basically Cena and Ace, there must be a winner, no interference. If Ace loses, he’s fired. Johnny Ace didn’t get to say his major announcement, unless it was a slap to the face of Cena, which made him more serious. Between Lawler laughing too many times and Cena’s amplified comedy which fell out in flavor, at least to me, I found Laurinaitis to be better here. Not only that, but this went so long, that I thought Randall and Sheamus would have an impromptu match to kill time, because there was so much left. Either Cena wins at OTL, an attempt at gaining him majority love by wiping out Laurinaitis, or he loses, and something more drastic happens. I prefer the latter. I didn’t find Cena funny here, and he can be funny.

    Enjoyed this review. I don’t have anything to dispute you over. However, I noticed you typing about either Randall or Sheamus turning? I don’t really see any of that happen. Just putting some dirt on them, Sheamus is the face to have a long title reign, Randall is getting back to the main event picture, with a possible high profile rivalry with either of the 3 other men involved at OTL. I see the 4 way as more of a starting point for 2 feuds to take over at least, part of the Summer.  

    One last note, I almost made another dumbass move, by pure accident. I woke up, went to my list of bookmarks, and tried to go to one site, but accidentally clicked to here. Front and center, that picture of Big Show, and I immediately clicked away, thinking “oh that’s just an old picture from SD when he sold knocking over AJ.” I didn’t read the title, thank goodness. I’m screwing up man.

    • http://twitter.com/TheBerge_ Kevin Berge

      Thanks, Judas. You really need to stop going over to WE before you watch Raw haha. It seems like a nasty habit that is going to ruin your experience. I would bet next week will have another big moment, and I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.

  • Wigsf3

    Okay. Here’s how it’s going down. Johnny needs help to defeat Cena but anybody who helps him will be fired. Johnny needs somebody to risk termination. Or… Somebody who is already terminated to help him. Enter, Big Show. To get rehired, Big Show is going to interfere on the match, cost Cena the match then become Johnny’s avatar for a little while.
    Sometimes it’s just that simple.

    • http://twitter.com/TheBerge_ Kevin Berge

      A lot of people are predicting that which means that it could very well be turned away from come Sunday. WWE hates when people predict their stories.

  • SiD

    Great review anyways, our site will greatly benefit from quick and detailed reviews.

    • http://twitter.com/TheBerge_ Kevin Berge

      Thanks, I’m trying to make them as good as possible with as little time as possible. Difficult venture, but I will get better hopefully.

      • SiD

         Yeah, I know. I did the same with my Ring Ka King reviews, and I published them 10 minutes after the show ended.

        • http://twitter.com/TheBerge_ Kevin Berge

          Really? Oh, I didn’t know you got them out that fast. You did good work with those.

  • SiD

    The Raw absolutely positively sucked.

    • http://twitter.com/TheBerge_ Kevin Berge

      Yeah… I think it was better if you distance yourself emotionally from a few really weak points especially the ending, but it was still pretty bad. Especially for a lead in PPV show.

      • SiD

         Exactly.

      • Joe Burgett

         IDK what you guys were watching, but we saw some of the best stories and segments this week and wonderful set ups. The Show/Ace segment was brilliant.  I wanted to kill Ace and I felt for Show. I never feel emotion for storylines really. But when I do, then they are obviously good.

        The wrestling wasn’t bad tonight and I felt overall, this was just like any RAW before a PPV. All a big set up show

        • WowReally

           HE HAS SPOKEN! Now we all must change our minds lol

        • http://twitter.com/TheBerge_ Kevin Berge

          Besides Heyman/Triple H and an overlong Big Show segment, I saw nothing else that was redeeming about the night as far as storylines go. I didn’t come out interested in OTL at all, so WWE failed for me at least.

  • http://twitter.com/TheBerge_ Kevin Berge

    Ugh, I am still not very good at this writing a review during the show and immediately after thing….