No Chance – A Special 3 Hour Edition (With CM Punk, Stone Cold, and John Cena)

Welcome to this week’s No Chance column. It’s just a few short days before Capital Punishment so it the WWE’s last chance to make sure they get as many PPV buys as possible. One last chance to put the final cherry on each storyline to make each audience member want to find out what happens next on Sunday. So did they do that? Or did they just have a bunch of clips of Obama intercut with superstars asking him questions that he doesn’t answer? Lets find out.

Unfortunately, the final episode before a PPV never really adds much. By that point most all of the matches have been set and those that aren’t won’t have any real feuds backing them up. What needs to be said in promos to build a feud has more or less been said at this point, so any additional microphone time could end up being just as annoying and repetitive as it could be helpful or entertaining. And you don’t want any feuding wresters to have a great match because then, what would people buy a PPV for? So instead we get a bunch of “just cause” matches with no real emotional investment behind them. But even those feel watered down because we don’t want to risk any of the big stars getting hurt just a few days before they have a PPV match scheduled. So, for me at least, episodes that take place the week of are always a little bit harder to get through. But that’s ok, because the trade off is getting a PPV at the end of the week. Only this week is different, because this week, the last episode before Capital Punishment is a special three-hour episode.

It seems to me that the average Raw tends to feel like a great hour long show that’s stretched out across two hours with extended “previous week” replays and a couple of sub-par filler matches to fill the whole time slot. So when that hour of worthwhile content gets stretched out across three hours instead of the usual two it can start to wear even thinner. Ad all this to the fact that it’s the Raw before a PPV, and it’s the first of two back-to-back three hour episodes, and Monday’s episode was looking to be a challenge to get through.

What usually gets me through a three-hour Raw is the hope that an unexpected and exciting storyline will start at the end of the episode. Last year it was the Nexus invasion, but again, with A PPV on Sunday and another three-hour Raw after that, it seemed like it would be a long shot. Not that that kept me from looking for clues. Two 5-count disqualifications in a single night? Maybe were getting new and stricter refs from the GM. Punk says that his match tonight is going to change everything? Maybe were getting a Punk/Stone Cold feud and that means CM Punk is going to be staying with WWE. Yes these are stretches but really, what armchair booking isn’t?

Another inevitable that comes with the three-hour Raw is the hype of Smackdown stars making appearances. Though this is becoming less of a special occasion with the lines between both rosters becoming increasingly blurred (wasn’t Alex Riley drafted to Smackdown? So isn’t he a Smackdown star right now?) Its still theoretically a treat to see stars from the two shows clash for a night. After all, if it wasn’t, what’s the entire point of Bragging Rights? So why then do we still get matches that are exclusively one show or another? Another promo for the Christian/Orton feud in addition to the one I’m sure were going to see on Friday. I guess we need to make sure that Raw exclusive fans know that we’re supposed to boo Christian now. Side question: Does the Raw GM really get a say as to what a Smackdown star like Randy can and can’t do? I know that it is technically his show still but does he really have the power to strip the Smackdown champion of his belt?

Still like even the most tedious of Raws can have a shining moment or two. This is where I will put my weekly R-Truth praise for offering a sip of water as fair trade for a John Cena hat. Getting to see CM Punk react to Stone Cold’s beer offer was enjoyable as well. Also Cena and Punk are almost always able to pull of a quality match, and while there was still some interference, it was at least kept to just a distraction in the audience, so this will probably be the cleanest win we see over “Super Cena” for some time. (Again WWE, note that two out of three of the good things this week involved CM Punk. Do not let this man leave your employment.)

Next week, once again, we will have another three hour Raw. So again next week, all of the problems that plagued this Raw will once again be present. Only this time it will be after a PPV instead of just before one. Will that make a difference? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Unrelated side thought: Did anybody else see the girl in the audience with a sign that read “Cena, its my Sweet 16. Can I have your shirt?” I saw the sign early in the night, and then spent almost the entire three hours waiting with bated breath to see if that poor girl would get the Cena shirt. When the moment of truth came Cena walked down to the ring, and with both Cena and the sign framed together, I watched as Cena threw the shirt on the completely opposite side of the ring. Both the sign girl and myself were crushed. I think I may have been more invested in that sign than any WWE storyline right now.


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