10 Thoughts on WWE Monday Night Raw 09.26.11- Hell in a Cell Shilling

Welcome back to 10 Thoughts on Raw, and big thanks to Joe Fiorello for stepping in front of the firing squad while I took a few weeks off to recuperate. It looks like I’ll be teaming up with Matt Harrak once again on Inside Pulse Wrestling Talk Radio, so check that out live at 6:30 PM EST/3:30 PM PST and call us with your questions or comments, or download the podcast later. One other note before things get under way, I put the FCW roster under the microscope for this week’s Caught in the Ropes in what will surely become an ongoing series. Check that out if you’re so inclined.

While I was gone, things really hit the fan. Cena won back the championship, Mark Henry clobbered Randy Orton, Miz and R-Truth got the ol’ “You’re Fired!” treatment, and Beth Phoenix lost a Diva’s Championship match to Kelly Kelly…again. If I could have leveled Titan Towers with a death-gaze I would have. So, will the WWE keep Miz and Truth off TV for a week? Are we headed toward another corporate stable (an issue I discussed with Rhett Davis)? What’s the deal with Johnny Ace and Kevin Nash? Will the WWE get around to filling in plot holes? We’ll have to wait and see. Personally, I think the whole “You’re Fired!” angle could work with Miz and Truth, but the WWE has to be willing to do something to set it apart from all the other firing angles that came before it. I don’t know if they’ll do just that, but we’ll see. Here we go…

1. We’re only six days away from Hell in a Cell! And…less than two weeks removed from Night of Champions. This schedule doesn’t work guys. How can the WWE further or develop new storylines with two weeks between PPVs? I know, I’ve complained about the PPV schedule before, but October is the crap month for WWE PPVs and there’s no way to avoid it.

2. Good video package for the Truth and Miz situation, but it doesn’t make sense that Hunter didn’t fire the two of them at the beginning of Raw instead of at the end of the night. You wanted to get one more main-event out of them? Then why not just say that? Why make it so sneaky? All you’re doing is feeding into the conspiracy theories this way, and the HHH character had to know this. Oh well, it can still serve to make the two of them look better. Dolph Ziggler drew some good heat tonight, however. And now Cody’s coming out to the ring. Looks like we’re having a mid-card convention here. Wait a second, did Hunter just bring up the Orton/Stephanie debacle? Are we allowed to remember that now that Randy’s a face?

3. Nice to see Mistico back on Raw, though he was quickly replaced by Hunico. And…now both of them are out. Well, that was pointless. This was an acceptable Battle Royale, if not particularly inspired. At least Cody was able to hold on to the IC strap in this one. Cody is a good champion, and having him drop the belt in this kind of match would have cheapened it for the new champion. I’d like to see him hold on to the belt for a few more months.

4. Wow, Michael Cole went lowest common denominator with that “anal bleeding” line. That kind of writing from the WWE is disappointing. Know what else is disappointing? Kelly Kelly video packages. Some say that they think Kelly’s in-ring work has improved, but I haven’t really seen anything to write home about from her yet. Even if she manages to work her way up to mediocrity, that’s still not enough. Yeah, it’s the Divas division, and I know it hasn’t been great in quite some time, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with expecting better from the product. You know what, watching this match, Kelly looked sloppy as hell towards the finish. To each their own, but I don’t see anything in Kelly.

5. Sexual Chocolate is coming down to the ring. I’ll admit, although I haven’t been super impressed with Henry’s work as a heel, he’s received the WWE’s best push in recent memory. Having him hit the World’s Strongest Slam on Khali made him look even better.

6. Well, if WWE.com said Alberto would win the title at Hell in a Cell… Speaking of which, Cena’s out for a promo. Nice to hear the heat when Cena mentioned that his win at Night of Champions was his 10th championship victory. The promo itself? By-the-numbers PPV shilling; exactly the kind of thing one would expect from a Cena promo a week before a PPV. Ah, Punk back on commentary; few things are sweeter. The period where Punk was on commentary was probably the best the product on commentary has been in a long time. The match itself was another short, PPV-selling affair. I think this Cena/Punk/Del Rio HiaC shindig could be a good match, though I don’t usually like three-way battles.

7. Another Ryder video package? I think the question of whether or not the WWE wants to push Ryder has been answered at this point. This was a good though unfortunately short match. I’m thinking we’ll see Zack Ryder win the US title within the next month or two since Dolph has held the belt for several months and they haven’t utilized the title well. While I always like seeing more Ryder, Ziggler, and Kofi, it is a 2-on-3 match. This’ll be a controversial statement: I think Booker is sounding better on commentary. I said it.

8. Yuck, Mason Ryan is back. Is it just me, or has his skeezeball tan gotten even worse? At least he’s dealt with his weird tan-lines, and he’s not going to be a boring monster heel. I have to wonder what they’re going to be doing with him now…

9. While David Otunga’s tag-team reign was weak, weak sauce, I like his new character. You know, because he actually has a character now. That’s nice to see. Teaming him with Cody, Dolph, and Christian is good for his new character as well. I bitch about TNA using backstage legal maneuvering in their storylines too much, and I’m not sold that this new wrinkle will go over all that well, but if the WWE keeps it blissfully simple and doesn’t try to force too many twists into it, it just might work.

10. Cena as commentator is dull, dull, dull. The Cena “serious face” is not working, tonight especially. Good back-and-forth match between Alberto and Punk for the main-event, though. The amount of time spent on actual matches was limited tonight since, once again, there’s a PPV in six days. Punk winning with a head kick was a good touch; gives fans something else to keep an eye out for on Sunday.

Raw ended with a bang, but Alberto is obviously not winning the belt back at Hell in a Cell. Since Cena won the strap only two weeks ago, I see him retaining here and then dropping the belt to Punk at Vengeance or thereabouts. Also, unbelievably, Miz and Truth were nowhere to be seen! How about that. One thing to take note of: I think the commentary crew did a fairly good job this week. Aside from Cole’s “anal bleeding” line, I wasn’t driven to a conniption by anything they said. I also mentioned that I thought Booker did an adequate job on Raw. I’m not sure how great that praise is, since he was mind-blowingly atrocious for his first few months. It was interesting to read good ol’ JR’s comments on the business and how the crew is expected to be storytellers and not play-by-play guys anymore. While that’s something we’ve all noticed for a while, it does sting a little bit when JR says it. Oh well, see ya’ next week.

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