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Call it wrestling or sports entertainment, either way it lives up to the hype

By Adam Testa

11:49 PM EDT, August 6, 2012

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In recent years, the debate on whether WWE superstars should be classified as "wrestlers" or "entertainers" has raged on across television, social media and casual conversation.

At times, it's been used as part of storylines, with performers like CM Punk and Chris Jericho mocking the use of the words "sports entertainment." But on tonight's Raw, fans saw the semantics at play in a different manner.

Look at the careers of Shawn Michaels, who was being recognized in his hometown of San Antonio, and Brock Lesnar and there's a world of difference. One is Mr. "WrestleMania," and the other is a former UFC champion.

Yet they stood across the ring from each other on Raw, with Paul Heyman speaking on Lesnar's behalf. Heyman went as far as to call Michaels the greatest "entertainer" in WWE history.

But even that, he said, couldn't compare to Lesnar's abilities as a fighter and a warrior. Michaels responded by saying he has faith in his longtime friend - and frequent enemy - Triple H to take care of business.

And Michaels will have a front-row seat for the action, as he plans to be in Triple H's corner.

The segment ended without much drama, as Triple H emerged and Lesnar left, with Heyman cryptically indicating that they'll be seeing Michaels before SummerSlam. It will certainly be interesting to see what that means.

WWE has done a good job with the slow build to the Triple H-Lesnar match, and Heyman deserves a lot of the credit, as he's carried the program on the Lesnar side to this point.

The Rock-John Cena program leading up to this year's WrestleMania was the first attempt at a long-term build with limited appearances by one of the competitors, and it was apparently a success, as WWE seems to be adopting that strategy with Lesnar, as well as The Rock's Royal Rumble challenge.

After losing the Cena at Extreme Rules, Lesnar needs to look dominant in order for his return to be considered anything but a flop, so here's hoping Triple H does the right thing come SummerSlam.

 

Quick Hits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Match Rundown

 

CM Punk d. Rey Mysterio

Alberto Del Rio d. Christian

Big Show vs. Randy Orton ended in double countout

Ryback d. Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks

Primo and Epico d. Titus O'Neil and Darren Young

Kelly Kelly d. Eve

Alex Riley d. Dolph Ziggler

Kane d. The Miz

John Cena d. Daniel Bryan

My Take

There was a lot of wrestling on tonight's episode of Raw - nine matches worth. That's what fans have been clamoring for, and that's what they got. And on top of that, most of it was quality wrestling, too. Plus, there was story development that made sense! Overall, Raw has to be considered a success. On a personal note, though, I found it hard to stay fully invested, especially near the middle of the show. It was nothing to do with the quality of the programming but rather just dealing with a three-hour show. WWE delivered a strong show tonight, but the nature of their extended broadcast may be playing against the short attention spans of people like me.

 

Ring Posts’ Adam Testa has teamed up with My 1-2-3 Cents and All American Pro Wrestling  to bring you From the Rafters Radio, a weekly pro wrestling talk radio show airing from 8-10 EST every Thursday on Monster Radio 1150 AM in Southern Illinois and streaming worldwide on wggh.net .