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By Revin Samuel on 7/3/2012 10:32 AM

RAW - 02/07/2012 E:
What needs to be accomplished on this week’s Raw?
•The Raw Main Event was announced a couple hours in advance online as Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho against CM Punk and John Cena. We haven’t had a terrific match on Raw in quite some time and this could be it if they let them have some time. Also I am looking forward to seeing Bryan and Cena in the same match. Naturally I wish they would have given us a week to marinate on this, but I’ll take what I can get
•The Raw preview also teased that more former WWE Champions could throw their hat in for the Raw MITB match. There are three former WWE Champs on the roster in Del Rio, Miz and Rey. I am hopefully that Rey will be added to this match, because other than Chris Jericho the match as it stands right now really doesn’t have anyone to hold it together. I am not sure Rey’s first big match back should be a ladder match, but they went with this concept and it’s a perfect way to bring him back
•I said last week that I was hoping the one on one Bryan-Punk match at MITB would get more focus and promo time for the second go around, but it looks like the focus will remain on who’s side AJ is on. I get that there might be a good amount of interest in AJ’s character and I am all for that, but I am also thinking Punk and Bryan’s quest for retaining or winning the WWE title should get some emphasis as well
•Teddy Long is the Raw GM. I was pleasantly surprised last week that WWE made a good use of Vickie in a role for her that wasn’t very fresh and I am hoping they have the same mentality with Teddy Long whose character and place on television is far too long in the tooth.
•I am still annoyed that John Cena insulted the audience last week with his crack about nine year olds and I assume he might have gone into business for himself on that, but from a personal standpoint I’d love if someone called him out on that even though it’s probably best for business if it was never mentioned again. Speaking of John Cena, hopefully WWE creative remembers that there are more than two guys who can win that MITB match and that the storyline doesn’t only include Cena and Big Show
•Brock Lesnar’s camp responds to Triple H. I hope this is something relevant and not just another stall tactic
Show Breakdown

  1. I just mentioned above that I hope WWE remembers that the MITB match has more than just Cena and Show involved in it, and the opening video package starts with what happened last week on Raw with Show decimating Cena. It makes sense from a storyline stand point, but Cena-Show isn’t fresh so I hope the other guys in that match get a definite spotlight tonight.

  1. Raw starts by reminding viewers of the 1000th’s Raw and MITB. Multi-promotion works for me!

  1. John Cena out for a promo and one can only hold their breath in hopes that this joker can restrain himself from bad comedy.

  1. John is trying to sell the MITB match and I don’t know if I’m blinded by my own disgust for him, but I’m not buying what he’s selling about last week being his crash course in preparation for his first MITB match.

  1. Daniel Bryan out and this could be bad news for Bryan’s character if Cena turns this into comedy. I do like that Bryan has said Cena has no relevance to him and that it’s all about winning the title.

  1. Punk is out and to no surprise WWE Creative found a way to turn this promo segment into comedy, but they were smart enough to use Punk for the bad comedy instead of Cena.

  1. Cute promo by Jericho breaking out his catch phrases for the first time in years. That’s a smart use of comedy.

  1. As Big Show comes out I was going to say it be stupid if Cena just let Show talk, but luckily Bryan attacked Cena before we could get to that point.

  1. Big Show is left standing tall and WWE creative is at least remaining consistent in their portrayal of Big Show. I was skeptical of how this opening segment would go, but for the most part, I thought it was strong.

  1. Cody Rhodes coming out with David Otunga and The Primetime Players to The Primetime Players theme song does nothing to help Cody.

  1. Jerry Lawler makes a note that Teddy Long is a good GM, because he doesn’t draw attention to himself and I agree with him!

  1. It definitely makes sense for Cody to bail on Otunga from a storyline standpoint. I was going to call attention to that when they came out together after Cody was so irate on Smackdown, but figured it wasn’t worth the effort. I’m glad to see WWE kept consistent with their own details.

  1. I didn’t realize Otunga was such a mega heel that five guys had to team up to beat him!

  1. One of Stephanie’s favorite Raw moments is Shane training Vince for his participation in the Vince Russo Royal Rumble of 1999. Just like with John Cena, I don’t know if my judgement is clouded where Stephanie is concerned, but she always comes off so friging condescending to me. Still these Raw flashbacks continue to be a fantastic tool to promote Raw 1000.

  1. I am not sure if WWE should be using Sin Cara as a “message” from Alberto Del Rio to Sheamus. WWE is never smart with this kind of stuff so hopefully this isn’t a sign that they’ve given up on Sin Cara who got a strong reaction from this Raw crowd tonight.

  1. I’m watching a promo for The Great American Bash Smackdown tomorrow and WWE is promoting a 20 man battle royal “Starring” John Cena, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, etc. This company…

  1. WOW, what a promo from Heyman! Perhaps his best work since he started reappearing on camera! It was a stall tactic, but they came right out and told you that and used it as a heel device so I can accept that!

  1. Sheamus and AJ vs Vickie and Ziggler. I think it’s becoming an inside joke to WWE Creative that Sheamus beat Ziggler every week.

  1. Of course before AJ can pin Vickie, Sheamus has to destroy Dolph. I wonder if The Bubble is this short sighted that it’s more important that they get their laughs in then giving Dolph some semblance of protection.

  1. AJ is upset because Punk wasn’t paying attention to her and the twists and turns continue. AJ’s range as a performer continues to be great from where I sit. As she goes from excited to jealous to dangerous and then sad in one fell swoop.  

  1. Doink on Raw…this isn’t a good flashback moment for Raw…I take that back as WWE was at least smart enough to have Slater beat Doink and the whole thing was a swerve for the return of DDP!

  1. DDP was pretty over with this crowd and I’m a little surprised, but good for one Dallas Page!

  1. WWE’s respect level for TNA as competition continues to be spotlighted with the heavy promotion for No Holds Barred and Hulk Hogan.

  1. Big Show beating Kane and the consistent theme of a dominant Big Show continues to play out.

  1. Eve returns in a backstage bit with AJ, but the bigger story is this is the third backstage segment with AJ and this would make two weeks in a row where Raw’s has been heavily AJ centered. I don’t have a problem with that if for no other reason than it’s fresh and different.

  1. Why is Alberto Del Rio talking about DX invading WCW in this latest Raw flashback clip? Even if he’s sincere, they’d be better off using someone like say…Road Dogg who I believe is employed by the company to talk about this memory.

  1. Tyson Kidd vs Tensai on Raw? I was going to say this could be a ratings killer, but they ended it in about three seconds and then but of course Tensai destroyed Sakamoto.

  1. Normally I hate the WWE comedy, but Jericho has great timing and I was amused by his and Bryan’s backstage catchphrase banter.

  1. I get the feeling watching Jericho tonight that his character has gone from heel to tweener.

  1. Punk tells Cena to follow his lead and Cena agrees and no doubt that’s a planted seed for something bigger down the road.

  1. Once again Michael Cole mentions the length of CM Punk’s title reign and that he’s a week away from passing Shawn Michael’s 1996 title reign. I love that attention to detail!

  1. Colour me shocked that John Cena and Chris Jericho brawled to the back and therefore Cena played second fiddle to something else on the show.

  1. Punk and Bryan having a great showdown, which has been interrupted by the attention seeking AJ storyline twist that has unravelled.

  1. Pretty creative twist to end Raw with AJ kissing Punk and then pushing Punk into Bryan through the table.

What this show accomplished?
The Good
CM Punk-Daniel Bryan-AJ takes center stage. WWE has gone all in with this storyline and the AJ character. The question now is how invested is the universe in the storyline. Either way it was a refreshing change of pace to have John Cena playing second banana on this show and he deserved too after his performance last week
•Chris Jericho is freshening up Raw. Chris seems to be playing a tweener and for one night it worked for me. His work in the opening promo exchange was standout, the backstage bit with Bryan was amusing and his work in the main event was top notch as per usual. I just hope WWE realizes what they have in Jericho and don’t run him off with shoddy booking
•Details and Continuity. I can’t believe I am putting this on the good side of things, but I thought the creative team did a nice job with plugging holes and keeping consistent with themes they have presented on past television shows as it relates to Big Show’s character, CM Punk’s title reign, Vickie and Dolph and Cody-Otunga. This isn’t something I should have to put in The Good as it should just be a normal thing, but with WWE it’s a rare occurrence
•Multi Promoting. Many have called WWE a Marketing Machine and that machine is pumping hard right now. This show managed to promote MITB, Raw 1000, Life Smackdown and a Summerslam tease all in one show and I didn’t feel it was oversaturated. To me pay per view hype is the most important thing and while the hype could always be better they still managed to talk about the ramifications of MITB and the quest to become World or WWE Champion
•Paul Heyman promo. Fantastic promo by Paul and I love the change in tone of voice for this exchange. I mentioned at the top that I hope this isn’t a stall tactic, but this worked for me on all levels since they told us straight out that this is indeed a stall tactic
•DDP returns for a nice pop. I am always curious about how these returns do, because I want the past to get a big pop and not get a golf clap reaction that some of these legends tend to get from time to time. It’s interesting that three of the returns so far Page, Sid and Vader all are likely known more so for their WCW work
•Eve returns. This is in the good column just because she looked hot
•Teddy Long as GM. It was like he was barely on the show and the show is so much fresher when it’s not concentrated on the GM vs Top Star storyline that we’ve seen rehashed time and time again over the last ten plus years
The Bad
•AJ and The Yes chant. WWE crammed this down our throats tonight and that’s fine, but they need to be extra cautious not to overexpose the chant and more importantly the AJ character. This isn’t endorsing John Cena and Big Show getting crammed down our throats either, but just a balance of everything
•Cody Rhodes walks in the shadow of The Primetime Players. Unacceptable. Cody like Dolph should be earmarked for heavy protection by WWE Creative
•No additions to the WWE Title money in the bank match. This was a disappointment for me. I am not sure why teased it if there was no intension to deliver
•Tensai-Kidd. This did nothing for either guy. It doesn’t help Tensai to lose to someone so far down the pecking order in the audiences mind like Tyson Kidd and Tensai obliterating Kidd afterwards just reinforces what people think of Kidd, while Tensai is now the fat, boring guy who lost to this jobber
•Del Rio beat down of Sin Cara. I would have had no issue with this if Del Rio beat down another babyface, but I don’t think Cara was the right person to use in this spot especially not at a Raw so populated by Mexicans. Perhaps this is leading to an extended feud between the two, but it could also just be a one and done or Alberto will beat him clean tonight on the live Smackdown
•Dolph and Sheamus. Please move Dolph away from Sheamus
•Great American Bash, Live Smackdown with a 20 man Battle Royal....STARRING...his company in major denial about who and what they are
Overall Thoughts
•A good effort by WWE tonight. There wasn’t any hot shotting or big news broken, but good storytelling and like love, good storytelling conquers all!
What needs to happen on next week’s Raw?
The final Raw before Money in the Bank and hopefully WWE has their ducks in order. Pay Per View push is priority #1