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Chair Shots: WWE Raw a 3-hour time suck

After 3 hours and 15 minutes of Raw Monday night, there isn't a whole lot new to talk about. Monday's show as just kind of, there. Sure, it had it's moments -- Kane in anger management doing his best Dr. Evil impression, R-Truth telling Little Jimmy he knew they were in Milwaukee and CM Punk solidfying his heel turn -- but if the episode never happened, would we really be any worse for wear?

With Monday Night Football coming back in just two weeks (even if it is Bengals-Ravens), WWE is going to need to start trying harder. The three-hour stuff was working fine from episode 1000 to SummerSlam, but the quality of the matches and the overall shows have fallen off a cliff since then. And they were still able to milk Triple H for a significant segment this week and use Chris Jericho, Brock Lesnar and Shawn Michaels last week. Those four won't be regulars for the foreseeable future.

However, with all that in mind I think next week's episode is going to be a big deal. It comes from CM Punk's hometown of Chicago, and the AllState Arena -- the scene of the crime, so to speak, where Punk won his first WWE Championship at Money in the Bank and became the most talked about man in professional wrestling. Considering the one tidbit of news coming out of last night's show is what most people figured anyway -- Punk will face John Cena for the WWE title at Night of Champions in Cena's hometown of Boston -- I think it will be an even bigger deal to have Punk in Chicago next week.

And that's why WWE pushed so hard to make Punk a full-blown heel Monday. After defeating Jerry Lawler in a cage match with the Anaconda Vice, Punk continued to beat up Lawler until the cage was lifted, allowing Cena to chase the WWE Champion off. During the beating, Punk kept repeating that he was the best in the world. He was getting all sorts of boos when the show closed.

In Chicago next week, it might be a different story. Punk will still probably get a hometown pop. Not to mention, Chicago crowds are pretty smart and cheer who they want. The challenge will be to get them to boo their hometown hero. The one classic heel move that Punk hasn't gone to the well for just yet is insulting the crowd. Saving that for next Monday in Chicago is the only way he can get them to turn on him. ...

The match between Punk and Lawler was about what you would expect. I liked Punk's promo work at the beginning of the show, as well as Lawler's retorts. It's a classic case of a heel exaggerating the truth to get heat. I voted for a no disqualification match, but wasn't shocked the cage match won out. Just by hanging the cage above the ring, I'm sure that influenced the live audience's votes and it's not like the TV audience didn't catch a few subliminal glimpses of it. Using Lawler as a stepping stone for a newly minted heel main eventer seems to always work in my opinion. ...

Does Cena not realize he can climb the cage to get in? That closing segment would've worked so much better if Cena would've started climbing and Punk quickly unlocked the door and bailed before he got into the ring. It still worked, but Cena looked like an idiot. ...

Cena's match with the Miz was good, but we've seen it so many times now it seems stale. Not to mention, WWE had been doing a good job of rebuilding the Intercontinental Championship by not having Miz lose cleanly very often. No real shame in losing to Cena, but I'm sure they could've found him another high-profile opponent to beat. What about Big Show? I would've rather seen a blow-off to their feud. Where was Big Show, by the way? He was in the WWE Championship match at SummerSlam and now he's gone? ...

Oh, Triple H. Why do you make it so hard for me to defend you? I'm an admitted Triple H fan. I loved him when he was the DX leader and when he had his first run as WWE Champion in 1999-2000. I defended him when he carried the World Championship for what seemed like an eternity. And I've tried to defend him bringing himself back to seemingly hog the spotlight when he doesn't need to. But the lovefest last night for his "retirement speech" was ridiculous. And he still didn't get the pop I think he was hoping for. I love what the Game has done for professional wrestling, and he will certainly be remembered as one of the best, but he's a tier below the biggest names in the business, and he's always been despised by the smart fans, so he's never going to get that pop he thinks he deserves. ...

Beyond that, his retirement speech really didn't say anything, which tells me he'll be back. Will he face Brock Lesnar again? I think the reports of a rematch at Hell in a Cell or Survivor Series are bogus. I do think WWE needs to wait and see how the SummerSlam buyrate did before committing to the rematch. I'd much rather WWE not waste another Brock Lesnar appearance on Triple H. I'd rather see matches with Punk, the Rock and the Undertaker, or a rematch with John Cena. ...

Who would've thought the anger management segments with Daniel Bryan and Kane would be the most memorable part of the show? Kane's monologue about why he's so angry, which included references to his yet explained unhealthy obsession with beating up Pete Rose, leaving Paul Bearer in a freezer and his past relationship with Katie Vick (Google it. Better yet, don't.), were fantastic. I nearly fast forwarded through these segments, but I'm glad I didn't. Kane is comedy gold. ...

Santino Marella and his stupid Cobra are not. I'm not happy that Santino, despite the distraction, still defeated Heath Slater. I was hoping they'd do something fun with Slater where he actually did go on a winning streak, but all because of distractors or outside interference, before someone absolutely buried him. Santino has a rematch clause for the U.S. Championship with Antonio Cesaro anyway, so making him "look strong" is pretty pointless. ...

Also comedy gold -- R-Truth telling Little Jimmy he knew they were in Milwaukee. If you recall, he called Milwaukee "Green Bay" a few years back. (In fairness, Smackdown was in Green Bay the next night and the Packers had just won the Super Bowl the day or week before.) Truth beat Bryan by count-out when Bryan got into a shouting match with the Brock Lesnar guy in the front row who apparently only owns that one Affliction t-shirt. Then again, if I were buying front row tickets to WWE Raw several times a year, I probably only own one shirt too in order to save money. ...

Want to know how forgettable Raw was? I forgot about the two tag team matches to promote a couple of Smackdown feuds and had to find a report on another website to remember what else happened on the show. Sheamus and Randy Orton teamed to beat Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler in one of them. Orton and Ziggler will face each other in the main event of Smackdown this week. In the other, Brodus Clay and Sin Cara teamed to beat Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow. Despite the loss, I like the idea of a Rhodes-Sandow team. My buddy Todd even has a great nickname for them -- The Rhodes Scholars. How great is that? I do think it's worth pointing out the irony of Sandow ending the sentence about "finding someone to have an intelligent conversation with" in a preposition. ...

Zack Ryder won a match on Raw! He beat David Otunga in a 3-minute affair. Of course, the whole point of the match was to have Kane "do commentary" then act like he was going to attack Ryder, only to attack Otunga instead. Just because you don't attack the babyface, but end up chokeslamming someone else unprovoked doesn't mean you've overcome your anger management issues. Just saying. ...

I hate Ryback. Not only did he get to squash Jack Swagger, he almost broke Swagger's neck in the process. Someone with that many muscles shouldn't be botching power moves. ...

Layla beat Natalya. It got more time (or at least it seemed like it) than most of the men's matches. No one cared. Even Vickie Guerrero stood in the corner huffing and puffing that it was taking so long. Can we just get rid of the Divas division already? Vickie complained about AJ Lee. AJ came out, slapped Vickie, then brawled with her briefly. I really don't want to see a feud between these two. ...

So that's how I spent my three hours on Monday night. You're welcome.

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