Originally Posted by Segunda Caida
I'm behind on my Lucha like a shithead and I'm really not looking to watch much puro of any kind these days unless it gets absolutely insane pimping by people I trust to be close to my tastes in what they perceive as great. Watched a fair bit of WWE and liked a lot of stuff but not really been compelled to talk about it, but I caught Raw on Youtube this morning and stumbled upon my current MOTY (which probably will change once I watch 4 Lucha matches which have had everyone talking about them).
CM Punk(c) v Mark Henry, WWE Championship, RAW 02/04/2012
Yeah this was an excellent match and without doubt the best match I've seen so far this year (behind on Lucha atm) and was a brilliant Sting/Vader esque match. Punk was brilliant selling the wear and tear of last night's match from the outset and was great selling it during his offence, specifically the Macho Man Elbow drop which worked as not only a great spot to finally down Henry (something they expertly built to all match) but also in coming across as a big spot that may have cost Punk long term. His strikes and offence got so much better the longer the match went on and the crowd being with him every step of the way continued the great desperation theme of Punk fighting with everything he had to escape this improbable situation.
Henry himself was phenomenal and just illustrated why he was so god damn brilliant last year, his trashtalking was as good as its ever been (Did I say you could get up, you sit back down) and was incredible character work to generate heat and build sympathy for Punk and he worked some damn right nasty cut off spots with his brute strength. He was equally as stiff and violent as he ever is and served as the perfect ass kicker to break Punk down with every bit of offence he had and his selling was just picture perfect in giving the fans enough room to buy that Punk could hurt the big man whilst in no way damaging his credibility as the dominating ass kicker. The build throughout the match to Punk finally taking down Henry with the running knee was super and the sort of long term payoff that will always pop a crowd.
However what really put this match over the top was the booking for the finish. So many times WWE does these piss poor DQ/countout finishes that can kill a match's heat in the blink of an eye but here they pulled off an incredibly organic finish which crucially protected both men as Punk couldn't beat Henry without weakening him whilst a title change was obviously out of the question. Punk gradually wearing down Henry with the strikes and slowly softening him up for the knee strikes in the corner and subsequent bulldog was great and Henry's counter was a fitting desperation spot for the big man who was finally on the ropes for the first time in the match. Punk's bump looked nasty and believeable and in the context of the match served as an acceptable bump on which he'd struggle to make a 10 count & crucially Henry taking the time to sell the barrage of strikes to his head which had left him dazed ensured he didn't look like an idiot for letting Punk be counted out, but rather his body was still recovering from Punk's comeback and didn't recuperate in time to throw Punk back in the ring.
So aye, brilliant selling and cut off spots, a long build to a satisfying comeback which popped the crowd and some detailed and insightful booking to protect both men and leave a rematch down the line as something necessary, for once an excellent job by WWE and this was better than anything on the Wrestlemania card.
Also I really don't want to watch Richards/Elgin at all but I suppose I'll get around to it eventually. The thought of them actually having an invested crowd gives me hope and the talk of there being a clear dynamic in trying to make Elgin look better by the end of the match excites me because I love a good underdog match....but I know how Davey and the current ROH main event style is designed to 'build' people and its usually something I hate with a passion. Can't say the talk of top rope Dragon Suplexes, Emerald Frosions being no sold and random ankle lock set ups have me giving the match a fair chance before its even begun but hey I've watched worse matches in my time.
(Plus Jawbreaker seemed to not hate it and me and him seem to generally have similar opinions)
THIS! Psychology & Storytelling was excellent. Id go ***3/4-****, though I liked the finish, because it lead to something great w/ Jericho, it was still a CO that could have very easily been avoided. Ill have to re-watch this one for closer analysis however, because I was so excited by this when it was happening, I didnt really take notes or anything. RAW MOTY so far, IMO. In terms of WWE TV this year, only the McGillicutty/Kidd match from NXT was better @ **** in terms of overall TV MOTY.