Monday Night RAW HITS:
Opening Segment: Well, I’m not exactly sure how to react to this. The segment itself was a home run. This is the attitude and aggression we have all been begging to see from Daniel Bryan for months. Both Stephanie and Triple H played their parts well (and Stephanie pretending the YES! chants were for her was laugh-out-loud funny). The appearances by The Shield, and then later Sheamus and John Cena were well timed, and well executed. This went miles to correct the damage done to Bryan and his long-term viability. I’m not 100% sure it’s enough to convince me that this whole mess has “been the plan all along” and WWE is just “working the smart marks,” because there have been far too many mind-bogglingly bad things that have happened, but this was absolutely a step in the right direction.
The Real Americans vs. Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara: The right team won this match, and both Rey Mysterio and Sin Hunico did a good job of putting over the offence of Swagger and Cesaro. The development of Zeb Coulter slapping Jack Swagger in effort to motivate him was an excellent example of the small things making all of the difference in the world. Why should Zeb sit idly by while his team continues to rack up loss after loss, helplessly cheerleading from the sidelines? Having participated in amateur sports, and professional sports my entire life, I’ve seen coaches do far worse than that to an under-performing athlete they felt should be performing at a higher level. It was a nice touch (no pun intended), and enhanced my enjoyment of the match by making it that much more realistic.
Everything Brock Lesnar/Paul Heyman: Continuing exactly where they left off at the Royal Rumble, this is EXACTLY how Brock Lesnar should have been booked from the moment he came back to WWE. One has to wonder if this sudden shift in making Brock look like a complete bad-ass has anything to do with the rumoured Undertaker/WrestleMania showdown, and comes at Undertaker’s request. Regardless of why, the important thing here is that it’s happening. First the demand of either a match with Randy Orton or Batista later that night, and then when that wasn’t given to him, the absolute decimation of Cody Rhodes and Goldust. Ruthless, and bad ass. I absolutely loved it. And I love that Paul Heyman is now condoning, and encouraging these ruthless beatdowns, as opposed to trying to control the monster. Another excellent example of the small subtleties meaning so much more. Find these segments on YouTube.
Jake Roberts Hall of Fame Announcement: I don’t think there was any doubt after seeing Jake Roberts at Old School RAW a few weeks ago that Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts was going to get his long overdue Hall of Fame nod. I also can’t be the only one that was concerned that WWE may reconsider that decision when Roberts recently made some disparaging comments against this year’s Hall of Fame headliner, The Ultimate Warrior. It appear as though it was inconsequential, however, as Jake Roberts will get his moment at this year’s Hall of Fame. This package, as all Hall of Fame induction packages are, was very well produced, and brought back an incredible wave of great childhood memories. Congratulations Jake. And since you’ve all ventured to the site, you should have a read of our Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts interview that Jan Murphy did this past summer. Such an amazing piece, and really puts Jake’s journey back into the WWE into perspective.
Cody Rhodes/Goldust vs. The New Age Outlaws: Enough has been made of the argument that they built Cody/Goldy for months, and months, with wins over every team put in their path, and then they fall victim losing the WWE Tag Team Championship to a part-time team (at best), in the middle-aged New Age Outlaws. But I firmly believe, in this case, WWE has the bigger picture in mind. With a little less than 10 weeks before WrestleMania 30, now is as good of time as any to build towards the eventual Cody/Goldust matchup. On top of that, this allows the overly established New Age Outlaws to move the Tag Team Championships onto a team like The Real Americans, or the Usos, and help make them, too. But, with all of that aside, this was a fun match that was well worked. All of the vets worked hard, and everyone took the opportunity to shine at the appropriate times. A minor hit, but a fun match.
Monday Night RAW MISSES:
Overall show: RAW was another difficult effort to get through. If we could cut the filler, and tighten these episodes up to a nice solid two hours, they would be world’s better, and much easier to digest. It’s very difficult for me to dedicate three hours of my Monday nights (and sometimes Tuesday mornings) to viewing episodes that I feel I could easily fast forward through half of. The divas match wasn’t bad, but wasn’t special. Same with Miz/Ziggler. Same with Kofi/Del Rio. If the brand split was re-introduced, these second-tier matches could easily be made to feel more important on Smackdown, as opposed to dragging down RAW. Nearly every RAW segment is book-ended by either a talking segment, or an in-house commercial, too, which makes a long show seem much longer than it really is. It’s time to take the three-hour RAW era around the back of the woodshed, and put it out of our misery.
John Cena/Sheamus/Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield: This not a miss for match quality. As a matter of fact, this match could have easily made its way into the hits column if it wasn’t for the absolutely rotten ending. With three of the five (excluding Randy Orton) spots available in the Elimination Chamber up for grabs, we’re treated to a shitty disqualification finish due to Wyatt Family interference? What a mess. The satisfying conclusion to this show was a clean match finish, FOLLOWED BY Wyatt Family interference. Not interference resulting in the finish of the show. Again, such a simple concept lost on WWE, which has clearly lost its ability to produce coherent, well-produced stories. If WWE’s writing was this abysmal during the Monday Night War(s), we would be anticipating the arrival of the WCW Network in three weeks, and watching Monday Nitro and Thursday Thunder every week today. WWE has changed so much of its successful formula that it is actually forgetting the basics of storytelling. It’s almost surreal to watch, weekly.
Fandango vs. R-Truth: So, Fandango squashed Xavier Woods in record time last week, and R-Truth beats him this week, because R-Truth’s upside is twice that of Fandango. Oh wait. No it’s not.
Bad News Barrett: Sucks. Bad news, WWE. Baaaad news. The only Bad News I want to hear about anytime in the near future is Bad News Brown going into the WWE Hall of Fame.
No CM Punk/Kane Followup: Forceably entered at #1 in the Royal Rumble, and eliminated by the previously eliminated Kane with only four other superstars left in the Royal Rumble, little-to-no mention was made of this last night on RAW, in what was a major storyline leading up to the event. Even if CM Punk and Kane both had prior engagements that kept them from RAW last night, a much bigger deal of this should have been made. Maybe an announced suspension of both superstars, pending further review? Something? Anything?