Monday Night RAW HITS
Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus: This is as good of a fatal-four-way match as you’re ever going to see on WWE TV. This brought the goods, and the crowd was solidly vocal through-out. It’s amazing how over Dolph Ziggler remains with the die-hard WWE fans (and Brooklyn, NY is definitely a die-hard market) when he hasn’t been relevant in nearly a year (which is a crime in itself). Regardless, this was a really fun match, and an excellent way to kick off the wrestling portion of the show.
The Shield vs. The Real Americans: It’s a toss up between this match, and the fatal-four-way match as to which match was the match of the night. For me, the nod goes to this match, but I can see an argument for either side. The Real Americans are really meshing well as a team, and it seems the break-up has cooled off for now (which I am more than okay with). And the same goes with the tension that the Shield had shown over the past several months, who now appear to have gone head deep into a babyface run. Admittedly, it was a little strange seeing Seth Rollins play to crowd as much as he did, given how ruthless the group has been in the past, but I’m sure it will just take some getting used to. Hell of a tag match, and definitely worth going out of your way to see.
Razor Ramon Hall of Fame Announcement: I thought it was a bit strange that Scott Hall’s Hall of Fame announcement focused solely on his run in the WWF as Razor Ramon at the time it was announced, but in hindsight, I believe they’ll likely induct him again as Scott Hall as part of the nWo. It still seems a bit bizarre to separate the character from the man when it comes to his Hall of Fame induction, but hey, I’m just happy Scott Hall is going in. As a teenager, he was definitely one of my top 5 favourite guys, and could turn in a memorable performance against practically anybody. His early matches with Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash are all great, and his later matches in WCW as part of the Outsiders are also great in their own right. A long awaited, and much deserved induction!
John Cena vs. Luke Harper: I rave about Bray Wyatt in my weekly hitlist, well, weekly. Wyatt’s character has me glued to my television, no matter what he’s saying, or what he’s doing. But lets not overlook Luke Harper, the nearly 7-foot tall monster that has all the sudden started to break out of his shell. With weekly promo time, we’ve learned a little bit more about what makes him tick, and he turns in excellent performances for a big man at every given opportunity. Given Harper’s limited experience on the “big stage”, a match with John Cena on RAW his a lot of pressure to find yourself under. We’ve seen other men given this same ball, and come out the other side lesser than going in. Instead, Harper is different. He and Cena had a good television match that told an excellent story, leading into WrestleMania. The finish of the match was unique, and creepy, and something we have never seen before. Can’t fault that creativity, nor can you forget the visual of Cena tied in the ropes, with the sheep’s mask on, flanked side-by-side with the Wyatts. I thoroughly enjoyed what they gave us here.
The Miz: What is it about celebrity guest appearances and the obligitory Miz appearance? Lets just pretend it’s because WWE believes astetically the miz is the most pleasing to the eyes of the mainstream TV audience that celebrity guest appearances are supposed to attract. Why is it, then, that the Miz doesn’t have a push, and is completely irrelevant? It’s because to the audience that actually tunes into the product weekly, he’s unentertaining, and largely inconsequential. Months could go by without a Miz appearance, and nobody would notice. So, WWE had the right idea by having Hogan and Arnie in the ring at the same time, and I would have been fine if the segment ended there (as a matter of fact, it would have ended up in my HITS). Instead we’re subject to a lousy Miz appearance that could have only been made worse if it was a Bad News Barrett appearance. Actually, forget that. That would have been the first good use of Bad News Barrett. That likely would have landed in the HITS too. Miz sucks.
Sin Cara vs. Damien Sandow: The tie-in with another mainstream character results in a head-shaking moment. Sin Cara’s character is very child-friendly, and is being co-promoted alongside WWE’s Scooby Doo WrestleMania movie (the actual title escapes me at the moment). And I get wanting to have Sin Cara in a squash match to show off some of his flashy offense for the children in effort to promote his part in the movie. But why bury Damien Sandow? Isn’t this the same guy who took John Cena to the limit for the World Heavyweight Championship just less than 6 months ago? And now Sin Cara, who botches 50% of his offence, can defeat him in under one minute? It just doesn’t make any sense, and makes wrestling feel really fake. Put Sin Cara in there with The Miz. The Miz doesn’t have any upward momentum, and has that “look” WWE wants to show-off to the mainstream audience. Kills two birds with one stone (and boy, how I’d love to be throwing that stone).
Vickie Guerrero announces the multi-diva match at WrestleMania: This is the obligatory “get every diva on WrestleMania” match, which I’m okay with. But why have one of your biggest antagonists announce the match against your heel divas champion? For all of the back-handed ways AJ has retained her title over the months, at the end of this match, you had to feel sympathy for her, because she a heel was screwing her over. And the over-the-top cackle by Vickie Guerrero at the end? How in the world are the fans supposed to cheer for that? Backwards booking at it’s finest/worst.
Overall Show: A ho-hum edition of Monday Night RAW. The Lesnar/Taker appearance didn’t do enough for me to merit a hit. We’ve seen it before. It doesn’t help that WWE’s production team made a bad edit, showing the Undertaker crawling under the ring from the casket before Lesnar opened it the first time. Los Matadores and Rybaxel wrestled for 1 minute before interference caused the end of their match. In a three hour show, two weeks before WrestleMania, you’re telling me you can’t find more time to feature the talents that we are supposed to be invested in leading to your biggest show of the year? Cut 3-5 minutes from any of the promo segments, and give us a little bit more to sink our teeth into here. This just doesn’t feel like WrestleMania season to me, here. And this just isn’t any WrestleMania. It’s WrestleMania 30. This is a landmark, both in number, and in importance due to the WWE Network. Maybe I’m missing something, but no one seems to be all that excited, and there certainly isn’t much on the card to get excited about.