“Tonight on a special 3-hour edition of Nonday Night Raw”… are there any WWE related words that fill you with more dread? ‘Cause if so then there can’t be many. This is especially true when you don’t have any special gimmick to fill your 3-hour show and we’ve got an extra long episode… just because. At the best of times, Raw is a fantastic hour long show that is stretched out to fill a two hour time slot, so when we get an extra hour, that hour (at best) of quality content has to stretch even further, meaning that a whole lot of those three hours is going to be filled with filler matches and video package after video package. This week’s episode of Raw was no different with video packages for upcoming Extreme Rules matches, video packages that recapped video packages we saw last week, and a whole collection of video packages where we got to watch Brock Lesnar beat up several of the current members of the TNA roster.
Oh wait – something else that is just as bad as a 3-hour Raw if not worse: a contract signing for a main event. What, we got one of those as well? On top of a 3-hour episode? And how did that work out? Well, you remember how Lesnar was never quite the best on mic? Well at some point it was decided that despite his verbal limitations, the best way to have a main event was to have Lesnar talk. For about twenty minutes. About jets, and the name of the show. Remember how much fun it was to watch CM Punk demand crazy stipulations added to his contract last year? Remember the “ice cream bars” chants and posters that started popping up? In every way that those promos succeeded, this one failed. Coming in at the end of three hours, I was already starting to zone out on the show, and Brock’s slow, uninspiring monologue did nothing to get me reinvested in the show. I get that you want to save Lesnar’s first match for a PPV, but the only reason I ever wanted Brock to come back to the WWE was to see him get in the ring and fight. Not once have I ever thought “Gee, I sure wish Brock would come back to show all these new guys how to cut a promo.” So stop giving Lesnar promos so much time.
And the matches… Yes there were matches this week on Raw, but as I write this, Raw was on twenty-three hours ago and to be honest, without looking up the card I’m struggling to remember more that one of the matches that happened. To say good things first, The first match of the evening was Chris Jericho vs. Kofi Kingston, which was one of the better free matches that we’ve seen in a while. But unfortunately it set an unreasonably high standard for the rest of the in ring action for the night, a standard which Hornswaggle biting Vicky on the butt doesn’t quite live up to. The rest of this weeks Raw matches can be summed up as follows: Tensai continues to get zero reaction from anybody, Khali gets way too much television time, the tag team champions once again lose to this week’s “Team Comic Relief” and Mark Henry gets underutilized as a pawn in the Sheamus and Daniel Bryan feud. Remember when Henry was the most dominating character on SmackDown? Hard to believe that that was just a few short months ago.
In an effort to not complain for the remainder of the article, I will now try to focus on the elements of this week’s Raw episode that I enjoyed.
For starters, Edge came back, which was nice. He gives Cena an impassioned plea to beat Lesnar on Sunday, and to do it for everyone who loved WWE. And seeing as Brock completely tanked his extended promo at the end of the show, and Cena went the whole night without uttering a single word, Edge’s comments were actually more successful than anything else in getting me at least a little bit excited about Sunday’s match.
While the whole segment of making Punk pass a sobriety test to keep his title made absolutely no sense (so nobody thought of that 12 hour “rule” when they were fighting Stone Cold? Seems like an easy win to me) and really did nothing more to make me want to pay money to watch them fight again, what it did do was let CM Punk be really funny while pretending to be drunk.
Another surprise return of the evening was Paul Bearer, whom I can only assume has been tied up to that wheelchair this whole time since he was injured/killed by Kane back in 2010. In fact, the last storyline that Paul Bearer was involved with featured him getting pushed around by Edge and on the night that Edge happened to return, Paul Bearer shows up still tied to a wheelchair? As far as I’m concerned this can only mean one thing. Edge has been pushing around a kidnapped Paul Bearer everywhere he goes for the past year and a half.
Makes as much sense as anything else.