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

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