May 29, 2012
Raw: Big Show goes from creating smiles to dishing out punishment
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling
This is a big show for the Big Show. No longer a jovial giant, he's making his move as a serious heel aligned with General Manager John Laurinaitis. Expect his evolution to continue tonight as Raw hits the airwaves, live from New Orleans on USA.
Tonight's episode fittingly kicks off with a tribute to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. The WWE is always good about giving credit and respect to those who serve in the military. The actual show begins with yet another look at the John Cena-John Laurinaitis-Big Show angle, presumably for people who haven't been watching any WWE programming for the last two weeks. Show comes out first to address the fans, telling them he didn't mind making them smile even though it was a calculated business decision to do so. That's all over now, as his ironclad contract has him set for life. Show can do whatever he wants to whoever he wants and doesn't need to concern himself with making the people smile. He's not an entertainer, he's a giant, and there's no one in his league: No NFL player, no NBA player, no UFC fighter, and certainly not anyone in the WWE. As proof of how he was disrespected, Show rolls video of the next segment after his tearful plea to Big Johnny a few weeks ago, which was Brodus Clay dancing. He also takes exception to the way Cena made jokes at Laurinaitis' expense instead of showing more outrage at how he got treated. Show got even by knocking Cena out twice last week, and he's in for even more punishment at No Way Out.
Match 1 – Alberto Del Rio vs. Santino Marella
Yikes, this is fast. Avoiding an early Cobra, Del Rio quickly has Santino tapping out to a cross armbreaker.
Alex Riley is trying to talk to Eve Torres, but any attempts to spit game are thwarted by the arrival of Big Show, who is informed by Eve that he can pick anyone on the roster to face in a match tonight. Riley kisses up to the big man until he gets an assurance he won't be the unlucky opponent. Show does want to send a message to the rest of the locker room, though, and he does it by smashing Riley's face into the closest wall. #messagedelivered
Match 2 – R-Truth and Kofi Kingston (champions) vs. Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler (challengers) – WWE Tag Team Title Match
Jerry Lawler says the champs always have an advantage because they have Little Jimmy on their side. Funny, that. Truth and Kingston do a double baseball slide that knocks the challengers to the floor and ushers in an ad break. Kofi takes the beating for his team on the other side, but he manages to tag in Truth so he can get Swagger down for a near fall. With those two guys isolated in the ring, Truth manages to hit the What's Up to finish off Swagger. Ziggler walks out on his partner and manager after the bell.
Show menaces Santino backstage, but Clay gets in his face about it. The Funkasaurus asks to be Show's opponent, and the big heel tells him to forget about dancing, because after the match, he won't be walking.
Laurinaitis is still milking his “injuries” for all they are worth, rolling down to the ring in his mobility scooter. He announces that the Cena-Show match will take place in a steel cage and that he's become the most popular superstar in WWE history. As proof, he reveals that he is the cover boy for the upcoming WWE '13 video game. Johnny says it will be bigger than Pac Man, but CM Punk comes to the ring to poke holes in his argument. The WWE Champion tells the GM that he isn't popular and also isn't really the cover subject. Naturally, it's Punk (even though he's admittedly not much of a gamer). How about that: a wrestling video game with an actual wrestler on the cover. Punk tells Laurinaitis to take “the hoeski and Carlton” and get out of his ring. Johnny simply wishes him good luck before departing. Look for the goods on WWE '13 on IGN tomorrow.
Match 3 – CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan
These two go toe to toe in evenly matched fashion as usual. Punk has the upper hand on the floor when A.J. comes down to get a closer look right before we step out for some commercials. We return to find Bryan working over Punk's left arm. Really good actual wrestling as you'd expect. Also just noticed that A.J. is wearing a cut-off version of one of Punk's tee shirts. Punk makes a one-armed rally to hit a neckbreaker for two. The running knee follows, and though Bryan avoids the bulldog, he still has to scramble to kick out from more near falls. Bryan rallies to hit a superplex for his own two count. A.J. gets on the apron, distracting Bryan and leaving him open for a kick to the head – but not before he exposes the steel under one of the turnbuckles. Punk tries to get his stalker to leave the ring area. E turns back to charge at Bryan, who catapults him into the exposed metal. Bryan gets the pin, but he doesn't have long to celebrate before Kane attacks with chair shots and a choke slam. Punk looks like he'll get the same treatment, but A.J. slides in a chair so the champ can make the Big Red Monster taste some steel. Punk looks conflicted as he realizes who just helped save his bacon.
Random thought from the commercial break: Should you really need to be good at the Domino's Pizza iPad game to get a job making pizzas? #justsaying
Match 4 – Christian vs. The Miz
Michael Cole and Lawler mention Chris Jericho's mishap in passing. Cody Rhodes is also with them, unhappily watching the man who took his title away. He doesn't actually want Miz to win, though, as he wants to beat Christian himself. Christian hits a leaping shoulder off the top rope, and Rhodes gets out of his chair. The distraction does nothing, though, as Christian hits the Killswitch and a frog splash to defeat The Miz.
Laurinaitis berates David Otunga and Eve about their recent miscues. Otunga volunteers for a match with Sheamus tonight, and Eve spits her cold coffee out on poor Teddy Long. It was supposed to be cold, though – it was iced coffee.
Miz is still in the ring, whining about how he's done right by Laurinaitis and received nothing in return. His rant is interrupted by the arrival of Randy Orton, who walks right over and plants him with an RKO. Backstage, Ziggler complains to Vickie Guerrero that he wants out of the tag team so he can get the kind of individual attention that Orton is enjoying right now. In more serious business, Cena narrates a Memorial Day video package that is nicely done.
Match 5 – David Otunga vs. Sheamus
Eager to impress his boss, Otunga opens the match strong. That lasts until Sheamus rains down shots while Otunga is on the apron, softening him up for White Noise. The Brogue Kick follows, and that's it for Otunga. That's probably not going to score many points with Big Johnny.
Main Event – Brodus Clay vs. Big Show
Show actually told Clay that the difference between him and Doink the Clown is that Doink actually had talent. Ouch! Show assaults Clay before even making it to the ring, then takes out Kingston and Truth when they try to help. The giant puts a big foot through the announce table before using a big chunk of it to beat up Clay even more. The big right hand puts the Funkasaurus down for the count, and there's more carnage for the tag team champs as well. Big Show as a badass heel? Mission accomplished! Laurinaitis raises his new hit man's hand on the ramp as the show ends. See you in seven!
Nick Tylwalk wants SLAM! Wrestling head honcho to know that just like Big Show, he tries to bring smiles to readers' faces but could easily switch to causing suffering with the right ironclad contract. Discuss the likelihood of this happening with Nick on Twitter, on Google+ or by email.