Monday Night RAW HITS:
Daniel Bryan: In the hours leading up to Monday Night RAW, Bryan Danielson, better known to the WWE Universe at Daniel Bryan, found out that his father had suddenly passed away. Instead of doing what any sane human being would do, and grabbing the first flight back home to be with his family, Bryan insisted on performing on RAW so to not let his fans down. How tough is this man? Such a gutsy performance, and we as wrestling fans should applaud him for it.
Bray Wyatt: Captivating. Simply the most captivating piece of television in the Cena/Wyatt saga to date. Bray Wyatt’s promo to promote the potential 3-on-1 match-up was so good, it broke the definition of logic. There are few characters out there that captivate the entire WWE audience, but he is absolutely one of them. Further, the eerie “Whole World in His Hands” rendition to close RAW was spine-chillingly good. Bray Wyatt is a player, and if you see nothing else from RAW, make sure his segments are what you watch.
Wade Barrett vs. Sheamus: Matches like these do more to elevate the prestige of the WWE Intercontinental Championship than they have done in years. These two guys, in a semi-final tournament match to determine a number one contender for a, at best, secondary championship, had the best match of the night on RAW. The false finishes towards the end became a bit excessive (it was too early in the show, and two characters that the fans haven’t got that much of an emotional attachment to), however both guys worked their asses off. But please, don’t mistake this as me warming up to the Bad News Barrett gimmick. Nothing could be further from the truth. Wade Barrett, the wrestler, has what it takes. Bad News Barrett, the character that is a one note joke that is played off-tune.
Rob Van Dam vs. Cesaro: One wonders what WWE was thinking putting Cesaro is a position, this early in his big push, where he had to drop a match, but I digress. The match was very good. Van Dam’s unorthodox offense blended well with Cesaro’s ability to sell, and Cesaro’s power blended well with RVD’s ability to sell. They were given the right amount of time to tell a good story, and RVD moves towards Bad News Barrett next week on RAW in the tournament finals. And the tease towards seeing Zeb Coulter take the Cesaro Swing was fun too.
Cena vs. The Wyatt Family: It’s difficult to believe John Cena was in any danger of losing this match, as we’ve seen him against these odds, or worse, and prevail in Super Cena fashion. The disqualification finish allowed him to save face for his fans, but still allow the Wyatts to look strong in defeat. This match was well-wrestled, and continued the storyline tow of Wyatt getting into Cena’s head. Well done, all around.
Monday Night RAW MISSES:
Overall Show: The pacing of this show suffered from the fact that there isn’t a lot to build towards when it comes to Extreme Rules. Many match-ups were created (or build towards) leading to WrestleMania. This makes a 3 hour RAW seem like a 5 hour RAW, and anything good has less impact by the end of the show. The is something to be said for less-is-more. As a two hour episode, this would have felt like a much more important and unmissable event. Instead, we were padded by over 45 minutes of filler between in-house commercials, replays, and product spots.
Santino and Emma: I enjoy both of these characters, immensely. The trouble is, I have a hard time seeing where it is going. Santino is a dead-end comedy character (who, like I said, I enjoy, but don’t see much value in beyond comedic relief). Emma, who is a hugely talented NXT call-up, is now saddled into a gimmick with a guy who isn’t going anywhere. I hope it leads into something more substantial, but right now, it just feels like a waste.