Well, whatta ya know? They CAN do it.
Monday’s edition of WWE RAW turned out to be an excellent show. From top-to-bottom, I was pretty thoroughly entertained. So, when WWE has their back against the wall, they know how to put on a good show. When they know for a fact that they’re in a situation where everyone is expecting one person and they fear an almost certain hijacking from a passionate crowd, they can come up with enough stuff to satisfy the people and temporarily take their minds off of the one thing everyone is thinking about.
Am I the only one who wonders why they don’t do this every week? Last night reminded me of the old Monday Night Wars, when WCW was on fire. Each week, WWE would pull out all the stops and put on the absolute best show possible to try and get as many wrestling fans possible to watch their show instead of their competition. Once they lost that competition, they kind of set their machine on cruise control.
We’ve all heard Mick Foley say it a thousand times: WWE can’t run as fast without someone chasing them. Last night, they were being chased by a rabid Chicago audience, and boy did they ever turn on the jets. They were firing on all cylinders. Why can’t they pretend they’re in this situation every week and put on that level of a show each Monday night? I know, that’s crazy talk. Where would all the backstage skits with wrestlers playing with toys, or bad dancing, or ungodly singing, or goofy ass musical chairs segments go?
As good as RAW was on Monday night, and boy it really was a great show, I couldn’t help but turn my television set off and feel disappointed. Thanks a lot, Dave Meltzer.
I know. He started it, but we spread it. I guess that makes us partially to blame. But still, it’s a damn shame that the story of Punk being “expected” for RAW had to come out the day before the show. If you take that expectation out of the equation when watching RAW, the feeling you would have when the show was over would have been much different. You would have been completely satisfied. Maybe I should say I would have been completely satisfied. Maybe I’m the only one who felt that way, but I can’t help it, I’ve made it clear a million times in the past, I’m a complete CM Punk mark.
The other interesting thing about Monday’s RAW, at least as it pertains to CM Punk, was the way they directly acknowledged him and played into the expectations that they knew their fans had during the show. Prior to RAW, on the WWE Network pre-show, his name was outright mentioned. That was part one. Then RAW starts, and BAM, CM Punk’s music hit. Ryan Clark is my roommate and this will probably come up during our WZRtv show later tonight (8pm E.T. at WZROnline.com, by the way) but I totally popped. I marked out. I was so excited that my favorite wrestler was back, and looked very much forward to what he would have to say. Then a few seconds went by. No CM Punk. Then another couple of seconds went by. Still nothing. And then Paul Heyman walks out.
Heyman did a brilliant promo, as usual, but I was more focused on the fact that they really screwed with the Chicago crowd in a major way by doing that. I described it on Facebook after we went to the first commercial break by writing, “What a dick move, lol.” And that’s exactly what it was. How many people think WWE purposely teased the possibility that Punk would be there, straight out of the gate when the show started, as a way to almost fool the audience into thinking he’s coming at some point as a way to keep the crowd relatively calm until the end of the show, where they would ultimately find out that they had been played? If that was their actual intentions, while it was definitely a “dick move,” another way to describe it would be a brilliant move. If fans are dumb enough to make it public that they’re going to “hijack” the show on purpose, then they open themselves up to be played like a fiddle in return. Basically put, they asked for it.
As usual, the focus from many fans is the news side of things. Before the show, when everyone was assuming Punk would return, everyone was talking about how it was a “work” all along, and this was the proof. When he didn’t show, the focus was basically on the fact that all the news websites got it wrong. My focus remains the same — I’m bummed. As a fan, I think it outright sucks that CM Punk is really gone. I miss the pipe bombs. I miss clobbering time. I miss my favorite wrestler on RAW every week. Whatever needs to be done to get him back, I hope WWE eventually does it. I want “The Best In The World” back.
In closing, after watching last night’s RAW, let me just say this: WWE should run Chicago more often.
What did you guys think of last night’s RAW? Were you as bummed as I was that CM Punk was not there? Share your feedback in the “Comments” section directly below. You can also follow my news, photos and videos updates (for both wrestling and MMA) by adding me as a friend at Facebook.com/MattBooneWZR.