In what will be a weekly column going forward, I will be writing about each week’s Monday Night RAW; both “hits” (the stuff you need to see), and “misses” (the stuff you can do without). I’d love to hear your feedback on the columns, as well. You can reach me at [email protected]
WWE RAW HITS
Brock Lesnar Returns: It’s not much of a secret in the Cousineau household that I’m a pretty big Brock Lesnar fan, and his return on Monday Night RAW couldn’t have been any bigger. Punk vs. Lesnar feels a whole lot more fresh than anything Lesnar has done since he returned last year the night after WrestleMania (perhaps because out of the four matches he’s had, three of them have been with Triple H). That fact aside, the interaction between Punk and Paul Heyman was the perfect groundwork for Lesnar’s eventual return. This was the perfect use of Brock Lesnar, too. The moment he grabbed the microphone, I shuttered (as Brock is much better used as the silent, but ultra violent, assassin)….but the staredown, and eventual F5 without saying a single word had me literally jumping right out of my chair.
Solidification of Del Rio as a Heel: Let’s face it. Alberto Del Rio’s face run has been underwhelming (and truly, by no fault of his own). The very basis of his character does not translate well in being a babyface. Nevermind the cardboard dialogue he was given to deliver, or the non-stop pandering to the crowd he was expected to do. He was introduced as a rich Mexican aristocrat who rubbed people’s noses in the fact that he was rich, and could get whatever he wanted. Decidedly not very babyface-ish. So, although I didn’t see it coming, the double turn of Del Rio and Ziggler at WWE Payback was absolutely, 100% the right choice, and Del Rio’s solidification of that last night on RAW was pitch-perfect. His logic for turning against the fans made sense, but did so in a manner that made you want to dislike him. Ziggler’s post-match attack on Del Rio was ultra-intense, as well, and should lead to an excellent series of matches through-out the summer. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this is going.
Christian Returns: I think this one goes without saying. The re-addition of Captain Charisma to the main roster has been long awaited, and overdue. He automatically injects a sense of importance, and star-power, into everything that he does. A feud over the Intercontinental Championship with Curtis Axel would be an excellent use of both stars, and a great summer feud as well.
Mark Henry “retires”: If you didn’t believe, and feel, what Mark Henry was saying during his retirement speech, you’ll never be satisfied with anything in professional wrestling. That was as emotional as it gets, and was delivered in the perfect tone. Henry making light of himself, while staying serious, and apparently thankful for the fans was the perfect bait and switch into attacking John Cena, and setting up what will most certainly be the headlining match at WWE Money in the Bank in July. In 10 minutes, Mark Henry managed to make me more interested in a Cena/Henry program than I ever believed I could possibly be. Honourable mention goes to Henry’s incredible sports jacket. That thing was a beast.
Video Packages: The video packages for both the return of Rob Van Dam, and the impending debut of Bray Wyatt (and the Wyatt Family) are incredibly well-produced pieces that can’t be passed without mentioning. Rob Van Dam’s impending return to the main roster adds a similar shot of star power to the main roster as Christian’s return did (if not moreso), and the Wyatt Family has been the thing to see on NXT for quite some time. It should be an exciting summer of WWE television, when you consider how how The Shield and Daniel Bryan are right now, as well.
WWE RAW MISSES
McMahon Family Drama: Hey, don’t get me wrong. I love a Vince McMahon appearance just as much as the next guy (maybe even more), but the last few weeks have been dismal, at best. Vince McMahon’s range has diminished so significantly that I believe if the Austin/McMahon era were to have began today, McMahon couldn’t hold up his end of the bargain. I’m in no way interested in seeing a Vince/Triple H power struggle over the next several months, much like I haven’t been interested in seeing a Vince/anyone power struggle over the number of years they’ve attempted to do the very same storyline. We all know the buck begins, and ends, with Vince McMahon. It always has, and it always will, as long as Vince McMahon is still alive and kicking.
The Rhodes Scholars/Sheamus: Yes, they beat Sheamus in a handicap match, and yes it appears as though that will continue the feud between Damien Sandow (one of my favourite characters), and Sheamus (one of the WWE writers favourite characters), allowing Sandow a considerably amount of TV time in effort to propel his character. My beef comes with how this match was executed. You were led to believe that two men (The Rhodes Scholars) had little to no chance to beat one man (Sheamus). I don’t care how big, or powerful, Sheamus is. The numbers game should always be the talking point of a handicap match, and doing anything less than that short changes the talent involved. A minor gripe. Speaking of Sheamus, what in the good f*** was the “1-800-Fella” commercial? Awful, that’s what.
Overall, and excellent show, and one of the better episodes in the “three hour series” of Monday Night RAW’s. If you can catch a replay, I would highly recommend doing so, if only to see the Mark Henry retirement angle, the opening promo with Alberto Del Rio, and the final segment involving CM Punk and Brock Lesnar.
Thanks for reading!