The Best And Worst Of WWE Raw 4/16/12: The Lonesome Grave Of John Cena

04.17.12 5 years ago 169 Comments

Pre-show notes:


Major Thing #1: I finally have a wrestling podcast! I promised it for months, but now it’s finally here, and if you didn’t listen to episode 1 of With Spandex featuring special bloody guest Rachel Summerlyn, please do that now. We’ll be up on iTunes as soon as we have a second episode.

Major Thing #2: Unbelievably, next Monday night I will be making my live comedy debut as comedian Chris Trew and I tackle the Monday Night Raw Watch Party, which is more or less THE BEST AND WORST OF WWE RAW LIVE. We’re gonna play the show on the big screen, mute it, make a few jokes and have some local improv groups handle the commercials. It’s going to be a blast and it’s free, so if you live anywhere near Austin or have a disposable income that lets you fly around on a whim, come hang out with us and support our braver efforts. I’ll give you a hug upon request. I’m also gonna be appearing at The New Movement’s show on the following Wednesday night, so be there too.

Don’t be afraid to leave a comment on this report. We’ve build a great community of intelligent, funny wrestling fans and you should be a part of it, because seriously, you aren’t gonna find it anywhere else.

– Follow us on Twitter @withleather, follow me personally @MrBrandonStroud and like us on Facebook.

– Biggest thanks again to Casey/THESTINGER for helping me out with gifs and pictures. Be sure to visit his gifs Tumblr for the stuff I didn’t use.

Please to enjoy the Best and Worst Of WWE Raw for April 16, 2012. We’re gonna have fun with it this week.

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Best: Meeting People Who Read My Column (And I Swear This Has A Point)

I don’t think I’ll ever get used to people knowing who I am.

I spent Sunday afternoon at the Mohawk on Red River for Anarchy Championship Wrestling’s “Peace, Love & Anarchy 2012” (highlighted by psychological balcony dives, a leprechaun being accidentally beheaded and this spectacular photo of Rachel Summerlyn in a With Leather t-shirt), and as we were getting ready to leave I was stopped by a guy who reads the column. “You’re Brandon, right?”

yes i am that ugly nerd who writes on the internet how are you

His name was Jeff, and both he and his friend Jeff (two Jeffs) are fans of The Best And Worst Of Raw. They were nice guys, but the reason I’m including a mention of the meeting here is because of the advice he gave me — to try to love what I’m watching, because constant negativity isn’t fun to read. “Six straight weeks of Triple H sucks” was what he mentioned.

It’s great advice, and not something I haven’t heard before. The column was started as sort of a reprieve from the stuff you can read everywhere else, and as true as my “the writing can only be as positive as the show is good” counterpoint may be, I’m going to try harder to approach the shows with positivity, lest I lower myself to discussing who is or isn’t being pushed and who’s in “the doghouse”.

And before I do that, here is a completely unsubstantiated piece of newz I’d like for you to tell your friends and get reposted on every dirt sheet you can find: NXT Diva Maxine is in the doghouse because Kelly Kelly thinks she’s too pretty and doesn’t want to lose her spot. COPY PASTE.

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Best: The Easy Positivity Of CM Punk Vs. Mark Henry

Anyway, it’s not hard to be positive when Raw features a couple of great matches, including one right at the stop of the show between CM Punk and Mark Henry. Minor complaints include:

1. WWE Championship matches should probably go at the end of the show, especially if your announced main-event is John Cena vs. Alex Riley’s silhouette for no raisin

2. If you introduce the “the WWE Championship hasn’t changed hands on Raw in over a year!” fact, you’ve got to follow through with the WWE Championship changing hands on Raw

3. Mark Henry should have a 0% chance of losing matches that involve him not only being Mark Henry, but being able to use weapons. He should just launch cars at dudes until they’re dead.

But on the bright side, the no disqualification/no count-out stipulation adds a much more realistic way than normal for CM Punk to get a pinfall on Mark Henry. If Mark Henry accidentally runs face first into metal and then has a 200 pound guy jump from a high place and land on him with that same piece of metal, sure, as much as I’d like for Henry to stand up and wrap the metal around the 200 pound guy’s head and fat-slam him into the Earth, I can buy that keeping him down for three. Punk grazing his head with one of those LOOK HOW HIGH I CAN KICK shots and Henry selling it like he’s Frankenstein falling backwads, not so much.

I also like that there was actually some terror in this match … Punk seemed like he was fighting from his knees even when he wasn’t, and it was a nice contrast from those Viscera-style matches Raw loves to do where they bring out the big fat monster guy and he loses in like two minutes to Jeff Hardy, and next week we’re supposed to be scared again. Keep Mark Henry scary, and keep him only losing due to prop malfunction.

Best: Thank God CM Punk Had The Simple Excuse For Jericho’s Dumb Thing put up an announcement early in the day about how Chris Jericho had surveillance footage or hired dick info or whatever about CM Punk leaving an England-area pub. I was worried that they were gonna have Punk do that thing he did when Jericho revealed that Punk’s parents weren’t married when they gave birth to him where he got SUPER PISSED ABOUT IT even though most people would’ve just said “So? Who cares?” and moved on. I was worried that Punk was going to get indignant about having NOT been at a bar and then the footage is shown and he’s HUMILIATED~.

The route they went was much better: CM Punk astutely noting that walking into a place that serves alcohol doesn’t contractually obligate you to drink alcohol. Hell, I don’t drink and I spent five hours at a bar on Sunday. That’s how friendship and activities and f**king commerce work, Jericho.

Next week Jericho should show up with convenience store footage of Punk accidentally opening the cooler door with the beer in it, seeing that it’s beer instead of Pepsi and calmly closing it. YOU SHOP HERE BECAUSE IT’S CLOSE TO YOUR HOUSE AND YOUR DAD USED TO BUY GAS, DIDN’T HE PUNK

Worst: This Is Not My Beautiful R-Truth

Positives about R-Truth being Sherlock Holmes because “England” and trying to find Teddy Long a new job: it had a satisfying ending (Teddy Long does not get a new job) and I hope the weird spy music they played in the background while R-Truth was looking at sh*t through a magnifying glass is the same one that plays when Aksana investigates.

That being said … yeah, this isn’t the R-Truth I like. The R-Truth I like is kind of harmful in his insanity, the kind of guy who doesn’t dress up like a detective to make the kids laugh but desperately fears that the briefcase he’s trying to grab may be full of spiders. The guy who has brain damage because his grandmother made stew out of household pests and forced it on him. The kind of guy who thought Road Dogg was cool for like six whole months. That guy would only appear from behind a briefcase to confuse Hornswoggle if he was gonna follow it up by spinning a dozen times and kicking him in the face.

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Worst: Jerry Lawler Is Suddenly A Soccer Expert

Not to put too many bad things in a row into the positivity column, but the very very worst part of Raw (and, in a way, the very best part) was Jerry “The King” Lawler suddenly becoming a walking soccer encyclopedia when Santino Marella came out to do his soccer jersey gag. In my brain, it was the opposite of Michael Cole knowing how many dinosaurs were discovered in England and comparing Brodus Clay to an Iguanodon.

“Chelsea? Come on, Santino, that’s not going to work here! In London! That’s not the team they like from sports! Oh no, Manchester United?? You’re in London! London England! They don’t like midfielder Luis Antonio Valencia here at all!”

Although Lawler does get a tiny best for saying “lon-don” like Paul Rudd in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Best: David Otunga’s Reinvention Of The Lateral Press

What Happened: David Otunga was going to cover Santino, and Santino would avoid the three count by putting his foot on the ropes. Otunga dropped down and realized he was gonna be in the way of Santino’s leg, so as to not f**k up the finish he moved to the other side.

What We Saw: hup, hold on, whoops, wait, no, I got it, hold on


hup, hold on

Alternate Theory: He had so much baby oil on his chest he couldn’t make a cover without slipping around like that. Seriously, look at this:


The inside of that cape has got to be the grossest thing ever. When it hits the stage it should slither away like a snake.

And Speaking Of Snakes: Understanding The Physics Of The Cobra

This has been bugging me for a while. The obvious talking point is that Santino’s putting a sock on his hand and jabbing you with it, so it’s dumb that it incapacitates you completely and you have to lose if it touches you. It’s very similar to Scotty 2 Hotty’s The Worm (which is a one-handed bulldog that keeps you down for a minute and a half until he can chop you somewhere on your torso and you’re dead) or The Rock’s People’s Elbow (a spinebuster keeps you down for a 200-count, but Rock only covers you when he’s danced around a little and dropped an elbow to your lovehandles with every ounce of force going into making his back hit the mat as hard as possible), but even those have MOVES before them. Scotty bulldogs and chops you, Rock spinebusters you and elbows you. Santino is literally just putting a sock on his hand and poking you with it.

So I’ve decided to figure it out, and here’s my theory. It’s been established in the past that by creating (or “conjuring”) The Cobra with his hand jive, Santino’s arm, sock or no sock, becomes akin to a living cobra. It can threaten people or, as we’ve seen several times in the past, attack people on its own.

Now, if a snake hits you as hard as it can with its nose in a jabbing motion, it’s not going to hurt you very much. A snake weighs like four pounds or something and can’t get any real momentum going. It CAN bite you and poison you with a similar motion, so instead of the Cobra hurting you like a martial arts strike, the Cobra strike (as a magical conjuration) takes on properties that deliver instant poison damage and paralysis. That’s why guys don’t sell the Cobra by jumping backwards and flipping, they just go stiff and fall backwards. Right? That has to be right.

If it isn’t, I will consult my “how does this snake arm work” book of notes and we’ll reconvene next week.

Best: Densetsu No Lord Tensai

Wait, is it Ten-SAY? My Japanese is terrible, I learned everything I can say from ‘Excel Saga’. I can say “yes” and “no”, “where are the bathrooms” and “hail Il Palazzo”.

Anyway, Lord Tensai having Josh Mathews interrupted instantly by his follower so he can talk about fear and speak Japanese like Mola Ram is amazing. He should spit on his hand and use it to rip out Josh’s heart.

Worst: I Think These Prototype Commercials May Have Misinterpreted ‘Hurt’

I’m guessing Trent Reznor didn’t write this melancholy song about the differences between society and self-harm with an image in mind of racially non-specific dudes attacking each other with sword hands. I wish game companies cared more about making games that work and are fun and less on booth babez and epic commercials.

Ah well, it’s still better than that creepy ass baby telling me I’ve always wanted the biggest, baddest beard. You don’t know me, sexually-active baby with a driver’s license.

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