But, and this is a big but, with that congratulations comes a question: Where was the wrestling tonight? 5 matches (one of them being 3 seconds and the other being about 30, as well as involving two unknown jobbers) in a 2 hour show is unacceptable. Last night was Night of Champions, and tonight was Night of Promos. Long, drawn out, mostly boring speeches took the place of what should have been in-ring wrestling. The excitement of CM Punk winning and then defending his newly won belt was enough to keep me tuned in, but the rest of the show was lagging. Let’s take a look at the action.
The first twenty minutes of the broadcast were its strongest in my opinion. I’m glad JR got a chance to say goodbye to the Raw audience. He deserved it. Edge interrupting was a nice little touch as it bridged the shoot promo JR was giving with the action that was to come. Batista then interrupted the soon-to-be former champion and proceeded to give him a much deserved beating around ringside. It finished with a Batista bomb in the center of the ring and then Punk’s music unexpectedly hit. I nearly jumped out of my chair and through my living room window when I saw him with a ref at his side. This brought us immediately into CM Punk vs Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship. The Cole-proclaimed “opportunist” got a taste of his own medicine when Punk hit a quick GTS for the 1,2,3, Gold. This was so well done. I have to admit I popped like a cherry on prom night when Punk won the title and thought this was an excellent way to open Raw. Although this was not a 9 star match in terms of quality, the entire opening segment itself gets 9 out of 9 stars in my book.
Unfortunately the show went downhill from here. Next up was a solid, yet mostly meaningless divas match as Mickie James went one-on-one with Jillian Hall. I gotta be honest, I do laugh whenever Jillian sings. I laugh because as horrible as she is, she’s also truthfully depicting 90% of the female pop garbage that’s out there today. The match itself was decent, with both ladies working in some good offense. In the end Mickie picked up the win the infrequently used “Mick Kick.” 5 Stars.
Next up promo night officially begins as Rey Mysterio comes out and tells us that he is excited to be on Raw when we’ve read for days now that he really isn’t. This prompts Santino to come out and do about 12 minutes of stand-up comedy. It ends with Marella taking a 619 to the face and Rey leaving to a loud pop. This segment was fun for what it was, particularly when we saw a photo of Santino holding a flower in black boxer briefs, but it was too long and ended up being a key ingredient in the “no wrestling sandwich” that Raw made tonight.
Back from commercial, and we are backstage with CM Punk. He talks about his win tonight and is then confronted by JBL. This leads to Punk accepting a title defense in Raw’s main event. What’s to say here besides typical JBL?
Back from break again and it’s time for…another promo. This time Cena hits the ring and talks about the fans witnessing a moment at Night of Champions and witnessing a moment tonight on Raw as CM Punk won the title. He then asks the crowd if they’d prefer to see JBL or him take on Punk in the main event. The crowd voted for Cena but JBL interrupted to shut them down. JBL then declares “martial law” on WWE and says he’s running the show. He has Cena tossed out by security and it’s offically JBL vs Punk for the title. Again, what more can I say here other than at this point I’m just dying to see a wrestling match.
My prayers are then answered, I guess, when Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr defeated Joe and Schmo in what I suppose was a non-title match. I don’t think we were ever told if the gold was on the line or not. It didn’t matter because before I could figure out if this was a title match it was over. These two guys won the titles last night in a highly publicized mystery match and this is what WWE does to put them over tonight? Where was Holly? Where was a match that could allow these two to prove they are worth the push? I guess we’ll have to wait to find out. 2.5 Stars.
Next up Jamie Noble made his Raw debut by acting like Hornswoggle’s even sillier brother. He attempted to impress Katie Lea by taunting Kane and he paid for it by getting his ass chokeslammed onto the announcer’s table. The spot looked great, and very painful, but again, I could have done with an actual match as opposed to this. What did it accomplish?
Now it’s time for our previously announced Night of Champions rematch, Kofi Kingston vs Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Championship. The one match of the night that I was actually looking forward to began halfway into the match after a commercial break and ended with the most ridiculous DQ I have ever seen. I guess WWE really wants to get Y2J away from the IC title considering the way this match went down. Since when does a ref call for the bell after a guy grabs the tights? Isn’t that a little much? If Y2J had hit Kingston with a chair would the ref have shot Jericho? This was a mediocre match that seemed more about Jericho and HBK than the IC title. 5 Stars.
Back from commercial and we see Edge in the back blaming the Edgeheads for his loss tonight. It’s going to be interesting to see where Edge goes from here on Smackdown. A feud between him and Triple H would be great. This is assuming, of course, that La Familia doesn’t play too large of a part. Because if they do, then you’re just substituting Triple H for Batista and The Undertaker in what would be the same ongoing storyline.
We’re back from our 145th and final commercial break of the evening and it’s time for the main event, CM Punk vs JBL. When JBL’s security guards came out I thought to myself, if they’re here to prevent Cena from getting into the building, why are they at ringside? Who knows. The match itself was short, yet pretty exciting because I was on the edge of my seat hoping that Punk would retain. When Cena hit the ring with Cryme Tyme, I felt a little better about the situation, and when Punk hit the GTS, I felt relieved. Punk retains in a short, but suspenseful main event. 6 Stars.
Overall, tonight’s Raw was saved by a surprise title win by CM Punk. The World Heavyweight Championship is now on Raw (that is unless Edge invokes a rematch clause) and CM Punk is officially the man. I like this. It’s refreshing and it’s going to inevitably push Raw in a new direction. That said, however, there was nothing of interest between the opening 20 minutes and the last 10. Out of a possible 9 stars, I give tonight’s Raw 4.5 Stars.
-So the big announcement concerning Vince’s health was that there is no announcement? Why run the angle if you’re not going to follow up on it? I guess this was done just to blow off the Million Dollar Mania angle without having to explain why.
-Why do fans on Raw boo whenever Smackdown is mentioned and vice versa? They may have been upset that Ross was leaving Raw, but they boo’d Smackdown when Rey was talking too. It doesn’t make sense, it’s still part of the same company you’re watching.
-I had to laugh though when the fans boo’d Cole. Poor guy. JR was trying to put him over and the fans couldn’t have cared less.
-I’m not a fan of Jillian physically, but damn she looked hot tonight.
-I like JBL, but cannot tolerate shows that are built around him. I really hope tonight was a one night thing and we don’t see him dominating entire broadcasts in the future.
-I know I’m going to get heavily criticized for my review of Raw tonight, and I’ll be called “biased” and “negative” and everything else in the book, but I stand by my thoughts. I loved Punk winning the title, don’t get me wrong, but that alone can’t make a 2 hour broadcast a quality show. There were too many promos and not enough in-ring wrestling matches for me to really enjoy tonight’s show as much as I could have.
Thanks for reading, and as always please send all feedback to VOWNick@gmail.com