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WWE ‘Monday Night Raw’ Recap – [5/14/12]

WWE

This is a tough time of year for WWE. Less than a month after the absolutely colossal ‘WrestleMania XXVIII,’ the promotion put on the shockingly good ‘Extreme Rules’ pay-per-view, and then less than 30 days after that, they’re back with this Sunday’s ‘Over the Limit.’ While perhaps not as explosive a card as ‘Extreme Rules’ or ‘WrestleMania,’ this Sunday’s show has a fair amount going for it and this week’s ‘Monday Night Raw’ kept building toward the event.

To find out what the five most important moments of this show were, keep reading below. Then, make sure to share the article across all your varied social networks and follow me on Twitter, where I regularly and habitually babble about wrestling, comics, devil music and more.

WWE

Return of the King (of Kings)

This week’s ‘Raw’ opened with a promo from Triple H, selling the Brock Lesnar attack from a couple weeks back with an intense-looking arm-cast-brace contraption. The promo was a somewhat odd one, as he openly engaged the “Bringing legitimacy back to WWE” tag line that Lesnar redebuted under. It was an odd angle to begin with, as it seems to point not-so-subtly at the fact that everyone knows WWE is scripted, but it kind of worked in the context of Lesnar. But having the storyline COO of the company talk about it, with a “Wrestling is Fake” poster being held by a fan directly behind him no less, just felt weird.

Fortunately, the segment was saved by the pretty-much-always-great Paul Heyman. Even knowing that Heyman is immensely talented and intelligent can’t keep me from absolutely despising him when he’s on the microphone – that’s how tremendous a heel he is. While Triple H kind of struggled to walk the line between kayfabe and reality, Heyman absolutely nailed it, calling out The Game for not living up to his own hype and for pretending to be a businessman, two insults that have been bandied about a fair amount in the wrestling-focused corners of the internet.

WWE

Shitterson Match of the Night

It might be somewhat of a foregone conclusion, but yes, the match featuring both CM Punk and Daniel Bryan was the one that I liked best on this week’s ‘Monday Night Raw.’ But even outside of the fact that these two guys are my absolute favorite wrestlers, and I’d probably be engaged watching them make a sandwich, it was still a pretty great contest pitting Punk & Santino Marella against Bryan & Cody Rhodes.

As fantastic as Punk and Bryan are, Marella and Rhodes certainly held their own in the tag team contest. Rhodes never disappoints with his in-ring performances, but the match was also yet another opportunity to appreciate the finer points of Marella’s wrestling ability. No, he’s not a technical wizard like Bryan, but he’s the best comedy wrestler working in the business today, and seeing him ham it up with Punk was reminiscent of the Straightedge Superstar’s days monkeying around in the indies with Colt Cabana.

WWE

Big Shows Don’t Cry

I like a wrestling match pitting two humongous monsters against one another. It’s a throwback to the carnival sideshow aspect of the genre and I also get a kick out of the relative ease with which guys the size of Kane and Big Show can toss one another around. The match between the two men on this week’s ‘Raw’ was a decent one, and even started with Show, somewhat shockingly, taking Kane down to the mat with what looked suspiciously like some actual wrestling moves.

But the most important part of this segment came later, when Show lost the match due to a distraction by his rival and boss, John Laurinaitis. Johnny Ace first balled Show out in public, then forced him to apologize for making fun of him last week, then forced him to beg for his job on his knees, before eventually just firing him anyway. The problem was that the segment went on for what felt like forever, and was kinda-sorta not altogether super-comfortable to watch. Wrestlers are like superheroes, in that I pretty much never want to see them cry, and that goes double for guys the size of Big Show.

WWE

Please give Jericho the belt

Remember earlier when I said that CM Punk and Daniel Bryan are my favorite wrestlers? Well, I was lying: Chris Jericho is my favorite wrestler. WWE could put every belt on the guy and have him wrestle one hour broadways every week and he’d still be underutilized. He can lose every match for months on end, but still make himself look like a threat through his in-ring work, while making crowds pay just to see him get beaten up once again. This week’s match against Randy Orton was no exception.

The match ended in a disqualification win for Jericho after he was attacked by Sheamus, which led to a tense stand-off in the ring between the Celtic Warrior and Orton, necessitating that a gaggle of referees come out and get between them. I’m looking forward to the Fatal Four-Way for the World Heavyweight Title at ‘Over the Limit,’ but honestly wouldn’t mind an extended feud between Orton and Sheamus either, especially after seeing how intense they’ve been getting with one another in recent weeks.

WWE

Ace up Cena’s sleeve

I didn’t really understand what the final segment on ‘Monday Night Raw’ was supposed to be about, especially since it basically came down to Johns Laurinaitis and Cena just jawing at one another in the ring. It seemed like an odd choice, especially considering that the WWE Champion and No. 1 contender competed in the very first match of the night. Still, while the segment, and Cena’s Jim Carrey-esque mugging, didn’t really hit for me, it did make Cena and Laurinaitis’ upcoming match at ‘Over the Limit’ a little more interesting.

When the two hit the squared circle on Sunday night, it won’t be with a special referee of Laurinaitis’ choosing, as decreed by the WWE Board of Directors. What’s more, is that all other wrestlers will be banned from ringside, with termination looming if they get involved with the match. Finally, even more is at stake now, as if Big Johnny loses, he himself will be fired. The new stipulations certainly make things more interesting, but they worry me a little, as I don’t want to see Cena lose, and I definitely don’t want Laurinaitis to go anywhere, as he’s become a fantastic heel authority figure.

Click here to read more from Aubrey Sitterson.

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