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Blog: Raw Reaction for 4/9/12

Quick Results
– Brodus Clay & Santino Marella def. Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler by pin fall.
– R-Truth def. Cody Rhodes by pin fall.
– Lord Tensai def. Yoshi Tatsu by a referee stoppage.
– Mark Henry def. CM Punk by disqualification.
– Alberto Del Rio def. Zack Ryder by submission.
– John Cena def. David Otunga by submission.

– The opening segment couldn’t have been more perfect. Lesnar being aligned with John Laurinaitis is the best thing WWE can do in an attempt to heel Lesnar, if that’s the plan for him long-term. You can argue that the crowd in Chicago will be behind Lesnar, and anti-Cena, no matter what, and you’re probably right. But this segment started the angle off hot, gave Cena some credibility back by slapping Lesnar to start the brawl, considering last week he put Rock over clean and was left laying by Lesnar, all in 24 hours, and while accidental, Lesnar busting Cena’s mouth wide open really added to the drama. Kudos to WWE for keeping the camera on it, and not shying away from the blood for the sake of TV-PG. … That segment sold a LOT of pay-per-views, and may have kept some of the casual/UFC fans who would have tuned in just to see what happened with Lesnar. Knowing you might have a larger audience at 9 p.m., you needed to do something to hook them, and this segment did a great job of that. They kept refreshing it throughout the show, I think, in order to keep some of those casual fans tuned in until 11 p.m.

– If the plan is to keep Lesnar a heel, long term, over the course of this one-year run, then the only argument I’d make is that Lesnar-Cena might not be the best feud to start him out with. Why? Well, Cena is such a polarizing figure, but as noted above, there will be a segment of the audience that cheers Lesnar for the mere fact that they dislike Cena. That being said, looking at the roster of babyfaces, there isn’t really another guy that WWE can start Lesnar with that would make as much of an impact as it will with Cena.

– Good to see Brodus Clay finally get into a non-squash match, and still pickup the win. It gives a little more legitimacy to Brodus’ character, after three months of 2-minute squashes and four minutes of dancing.

– Lord Tensai is impressive. There were still a smattering of “Albert” chants in the crowd, which is OK, especially considering WWE acknowledged his former persona when he debuted last week. The entrance garb is a bit much, but his matches are physical and he’s obviously an imposing guy. I remarked to someone last night during the show that he reminds me a lot of Bam Bam Bigelow; not so much as being a big man who can pull off aerial moves, but in the sense that he’s a big guy but has great mobility and athleticism. I hope, creatively speaking, that his character doesn’t follow the same mold Clay’s did, and they break him out of the “squash match” role a bit quicker.

– Getting lost in the Lesnar hype is the great job that Jericho and Punk have done the last two weeks. Punk’s promo felt real and Jericho constantly getting heat on him is just going to make that Chicago crowd want to rip his head off in a few weeks. If I’m WWE, I keep getting heat on Punk. Let Jericho get the upper hand every show from now until Extreme Rules. Really build that heat and then give Punk the win in Chicago, in what should be the blow-off match for these two, given the reaction you KNOW you’re going to get from a Punk win.

– I hope WWE got paid a handsome some of money to have the Three Stooges take up valuable television time on their program. What a giant waste. This has the potential to be the worst movie in cinema history, and I’m glad the live audience was crapping all over their segment. Absolutely brutal.

– I’m not sure if it was done on purpose – yet I suppose it was – but Cena looked like a mat technician in there against David Otunga. Not a bad match, but if it weren’t for Lesnar’s run-in at the end of the show, this felt more like the 10 p.m. main event. That being said, I obviously understand why you’d want to close the show with Lesnar standing over Cena, and that was the right move.

You can follow Mike on Twitter @MackWrestling and follow the site @Gerweck

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