Monday Night RAW HITS:
Batista vs. Randy Orton: A nice look at what was WWE’s originally planned WrestleMania main event. Although this didn’t get a lot of time (starting 5 minutes before 11pm), it was fun while it lasted. As much heat as Batista gets for his mostly uninspired comeback, he’s much better as a heel than he is as a babyface. His prior run as the self-absorbed “superstar” heel was some of my favourite work in WWE history. So I’m hoping that this leads to more of that. And I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about Daniel Bryan’s “return” and dismantling of Triple H. The intensity was pitch-perfect, and it was nice to see Triple H get some comeuppance at the hands of Daniel Bryan.
Stephanie McMahon: At no time in her WWE on-screen career has Stephanie McMahon been a better heel than she is right now. Her natural (albeit bitchy) charisma is blasting through the television, and she is the most watchable she has ever been. It feels real, gritty, and raw (no pun intended), and I’m really digging it. Any time she is on screen, I just want to see her get her ass kicked. I’d suggest that’s pretty good heat (and a sure-fire guarantee, by writing that, she’ll never hire me to the writing team. haha)
Brock Lesnar/Undertaker confrontation: This was my favourite interaction between the two, although I fear it’s too little, too late. When this feud was initially rumoured, I was excited. After seeing what the WWE creative team has done to build it, I’m left feeling pretty uninspired. At no point, until this past week, did Brock Lesnar feel like a threat to the streak. Undertaker had come out the better of every physical confrontation between the two, and Lesnar was made to look like all talk (behind Paul Heyman, and no action). That changed this week, and I can tell you, when Brock Lesnar scoop Undertaker up for the F5, all I could think was “please don’t kill him”. That was as intense, and dangerous, as we’ve seen Lesnar in this feud, and it was sorely needed. Will Brock Lesnar end the streak this Sunday at WrestleMania? Absolutely not, however I feel more segments like this between the initial announcement of the match and now would have lead more to believe there was actually a chance.
Monday Night RAW MISSES:
Overall show: Another ho-hum edition of Monday Night RAW leading to what should be the biggest Pay Per View in the past 30 years. It’s hard to be excited for WrestleMania. There isn’t much on the card to get excited about. Perhaps the Rock’s first match back should have been saved for this year. A Cena/Rock first-time ever confrontation at WrestleMania 30 gives a reason for this show to be memorable. But it’s just missing the mark. And, unfortunately, the RAW’s leading to WrestleMania haven’t done much to get me excited either. Only two RAWs over the past 3 months have really left me feeling excited. The rest have felt long, drawn out, and largely inconsequential. Something needs to be done to refresh WWE television, and it needs to happen quickly. This RAW featured Bray Wyatt, John Cena, The Shield, Kane, The New Age Outlaws, all of the divas, Big E. Langston, and more, but nothing really felt like it stood out. Would this have passed for a RAW with 4 or 5 weeks left in the build to WrestleMania? Sure. But we were 6-days away, and it really felt like they were just putting in time to get to the “big show”. The card was set, and nothing here inspired you to purchase the PPV/Network anymore than you were already inspired.
Batista’s Fashion Designer: The #1 contender for the WWE championship, north of 40 years old, is dressing like that douchey 18 year old metrosexual kid that bags your groceries at the Quick Stop. I guess Kayne West’s fashion designer has taken on more than one client.
Triple H buries Fandango: I enjoyed Triple H’s promo, including the video package highlighting “his greatness”. But sometimes he crosses the line from good heat into bad heat. An example of this was his burial of Fandango’s entrance music, and dance. Something that was largely over, and organic, but a huge missed opportunity by WWE was spun to seem as though Fandango was a failure. This could be good heat, if Fandango was a baby face, and given the opportunity to rebut Triple H’s comments, or prove him wrong. Instead, he’s a heel, and programmed so far away from Triple H, he has no chance of redeeming himself. So now, as Triple H’s word carries a lot of weight with WWE fans, Fandango was made to look like a chump, with no chance of recovery. How are we supposed to take him seriously after Triple H disappears (until next WrestleMania?) It’s bad heat. Sure it was funny, but it was damaging to a valuable commodity.