Last night’s special (pre-taped) Fourth of July edition of Monday Night Raw bored the living hell out of me. Maybe it’s because it lacked CM Punk; maybe it was only because I read the spoilers before hand; I don’t know. What I do know is that there were five matches, and three of them featured either the Divas, a washed up “legend,” or David Otunga. Not quite the recipe for greatness. If mediocrity is your thing, feel free to keep reading on the other side of the jump.
- John Cena is so corny. The monologue about freedom that he opened Raw with last night was supposed to stir up a sense of Patriotism, I suppose, but it was really filled with some grade-A cheese. The two bullets that can be taken from his speech are this: there’s a triple threat booked for later in the show to determine a new #1 contender, and he still wants to face CM Punk at Money in the Bank. Vinnie Mac himself will be on hand later in the evening to address the situation.
- Kelly Kelly & Eve defeated the Bella Twins in tag team action. I have zero tolerance for the WWE’s women’s division. Maybe I’m just a critic, but no one seems to separate themselves from the pack, they’re all just so vanilla. At any rate, after the match, the Bellas seemed to be at odds with one another again. If they’re building towards a breakup of the Bella Twins, I can offer you my personal guarantee that it won’t end well.
- R-Truth was interviewed backstage, and he was hilarious as ever, busting out “I just saved 15% by switching to Geico” as a piece of good news. Truth was interrupted by Del Rio, and both men expressed why they thought they’d win tonight’s triple threat match. Good mic work by two of the WWE’s best talkers here.
- Michael McGillicutty & David Otunga were victorious against Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov when McGillicutty scored the pin on Santino. Marella is an absolute riot, and I never seem to tire of his antics. I’m curious to see what becomes of the New Nexus with Punk’s looming departure. I can’t imagine that this duo find much success on their own.
- After the match, Zack Ryder appeared on the ramp and delivered his “Woo woo woo, you know it” catchphrase. The crowd was really into his appearance. Otunga & McGillicutty looked on confused, understandably so. It’s about time they capitalize on the raging popularity of Long Island Iced Z.
- Sgt. Slaughter was shown backstage with Evan Bourne when the pair was interrupted by Jack Swagger. Swagger snuck in a sweet reference to Slaughter’s days as an Iraqi sympathizer and set up a match between he and master of the Cobra Clutch to determine who would recite the Pledge of Allegiance for the WWE Universe. Despite Swagger being successful in the match, some post-match arrogance led to his downfall. When he clinched Sarge in the ankle lock after the closing bell, The All American American was chased off by Evan Bourne, allowing Slaughter to honor the United States after all.
- Alberto Del Rio was the winner of a triple threat match with R-Truth & Rey Mysterio, forcing Rey to tap out to the cross armbreaker. It speaks volumes for CM Punk that he was part of essentially the same match two weeks ago and it was a show-stealer, and this match, in which R-Truth replaced him, was very forgettable. The ending sequence was all right, but there wasn’t much else to this one. I also find it hard to care about the winner when it’s apparent to everyone watching, having read the spoilers or not, that CM Punk’s spot in the main event of Money in the Bank is safe as ever.
- Dolph Ziggler & Vickie Guerrero’s “Celebration for America” was interrupted by Kofi Kingston. A brawl naturally ensued, one that saw Vickie forced into the cake twice. It’s so weird to me that this feud is being built the way it is when Kofi Kingston is in the Money in the Bank match and Dolph Ziggler is not. They’re not even going to be in the same ring in the pay-per-view, so what’s the point?
- The Miz & Alex Riley went one-on-one, and once again, Riley had his hand raised in victory after a pretty good match. After the match, Miz absolutely dismantled his former protegé, demolishing him all around the ringside area before tossing him over the announce table. I seem to be in the minority on this one, but I don’t see Riley’s future as incredibly bright. So far, his crowd reaction has been good, but anybody beating on The Miz & Michael Cole would get popped. Once he moves out of his current feud and no longer has The Miz to carry him, I’m not to sure he’ll be able to keep his head above water. Meanwhile, the assault from last night’s Raw might serve to remove Riley from the upcoming Money in the Bank match, opening up a spot for United States Champion Dolph Ziggler.
- In the “main event,” John Cena and Vince McMahon exchanged some melodramatic verse. In the end, Vince reinstated CM Punk, but added the stipulation that should John Cena lose the title at Money in the Bank, he will be fired. Yaawwwwn. I’m still excited to see Money in the Bank, but I wish they’d keep it all about Punk instead of trying to make it about John Cena’s relationship with Vince McMahon.
All in all, Raw was pretty boring. I guess there was really no way to avoid this with the show being pre-taped; obviously there were going to be no game-changers. Still, it was disappointing. No part of the show, from Cena’s opening address, through all the lackluster matches, right down to the Chairman’s appearance to close the show, nothing stood out. Even the recap of Punk’s promo from last week was a weak addition, with plenty of editing effects detracting from its realism and the knocks on Stephanie & Trips removed completely. I hope that the fact the show was pre-taped was the largest contributing factor for it being booked the way it was and that the WWE can right the ship next week.