RAW DEAL: Cybore Monday
TULSA, USA - After a tell-all podcast that should’ve shaken the very foundations of the biggest wrestling company in the world, you’d think the WWE would rev the engine back up and start firing on all cylinders again on the trip to the last PPV of 2014.
Instead, we got a RAW that chugged along on the treadmill halfway to TLC.
For one thing, they’re over-relying on that Survivor Series main event magic and beating it down to the ground. Everyone involved in that fantastic traditional Survivor Series match is still interacting with one another; while the logical progression is that storylines between those players will spring naturally from there, a lot of it just feels so awfully pedestrian.
Seth Rollins vs. John Cena in (presumably) the main event of the show, a tables match for Cena’s #1 contendership, has to be the most interesting byproduct so far. Luke Harper vs. Dolph Ziggler closing out their program over the Intercontinental title comes in at second; the potential will be realized in the ring for sure, but these two need to work overtime to build their blood feud up. Ryback and Kane and Erick Rowan and Big Show have chosen to deal with each other, and it’s a development that—combined with TLC-related match types shoehorned in to make the bouts feel “special”—honestly just feels devoid of any eager energy.
Everything else that could be interesting is either out of the main event periphery, is only about to start getting interesting, or both. Rusev, meanwhile, has bowed out of the Team Cena vs. Team (Whatever’s Left of the) Authority brouhaha to restart his feud with Jack Swagger—which was a missed storytelling opportunity (see this week’s low blows). The New Day, the much-heralded (by yours truly) team of Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, and Big E is only starting a new feud with Gold & Stardust. The Usos finally get some depth injected to them as Naomi, Jimmy Uso’s real-life wife, becomes a bit player in their feud against the Miz & Damien Mizdow over the tag titles, rightfully delaying and building up Miz & Mizdow’s inevitable dramatic split.
Three weeks had never been enough time to build new, compelling stories, so don’t be surprised if TLC becomes nothing more than a pit stop instead of the glorious big events Survivor Series, Hell in a Cell, Night of Champions, and SummerSlam were. Come to think of it, every PPV this year felt huge. TLC isn’t that, by any means, so far. Maybe we should just stop forcing the issue.
- I would love it if Vince shelled out the money to bring back Eric Bischoff as a GM for one night. Egos are gonna stop that from being a permanent thing, but Bischoff was very, very effective as a heel GM.
- The shine Dolph Ziggler’s been getting the past couple of weeks is nothing short of beautiful. I’m still not sure whether Luke Harper was the right guy to drop the Intercontinental Championship to, but the trade-off so far has been great.
- That was a really good tag team turmoil match. It seemed a bit impromptu—tag team turmoils are something you should advertise heavily beforehand, I believe—but it was still great. Action is great. I wish that match opened the show.
- They gave Erick Rowan an interesting background as what seems to be an autistic savant. Not sure what the payoff is, but it has me intrigued, at the very least.
- I feel like attacking an old man has been the first heelish thing Rusev’s ever done in his WWE career so far.
- JIMMY USO: HUSBAND OF THE YEAR!
- Seriously, when was the last time we got a personal, relatively fleshed-out storyline for the tag titles?
- Say what you will about how the Bray Wyatt/Dean Ambrose feud is going, but if there was ever a storyline that fits right in with a TLC match, this is it. Actually, Ambrose makes any of his storylines fit the upcoming theme. Or that could just be coincidence so far. Either way, the best way to sell this feud is to have both men fight evenly. Ambrose should not be scared of Wyatt. (That said, though, Wyatt should be built up more as being fearsome.)
- Pretty glad that AJ did not lay out Naomi there. I know that talent isn’t sexually transmitted, but misanthropy shouldn’t be either. It’s honestly not a good look for AJ.
- That hot tag camera angle is a neat little innovation. Subtly adds drama to the crawl spot.
- I feel like there are only two guys in recent WWE history who can cut a promo without having to insult anyone’s intelligence in the process: Dean Ambrose and CM Punk. Maybe Bray Wyatt, complexity aside. Maybe John Cena, Triple H, and Randy Orton on a good day. Everyone, even those with good mic skills, is stuck in this trap of having to be needlessly and transparently expository (not to mention hyperbolic) during a typical RAW promo. “AND THE AUTHORITY WOULD HAVE WON, TOO, IF IT WEREN’T FOR THE ACTIONS OF ONE MAN, ONE MAN WHO CHANGED THE COURSE OF HISTORY: STING.” Who talks like that? It smacks of overly dramatic teleserye writing that guys like Ambrose expose when they’re on the mic.
- That Tables match for TLC between Cena and Rollins was ridiculously random.
- I looked up Naomi’s “Dance All Night” song after that segment with her, Miz, and Mizdow. Bad idea. Whoever produced this song—hopefully not CFO$—is only a step above Ark Music Factory.
- JBL spent the entire Big Show/Erick Rowan match coming up with stupid names for everyone. Fire this man.
- When did the WWE instate a forfeit rule? What is the amount of time a wrestler has before losing by default? One minute after their entrance music starts playing?
- If Rusev/Swagger III was the next chapter after Survivor Series, couldn’t they have jump-started this feud again by having Rusev take out Swagger from Team Cena? Forward thinking, it’s not very hard to do.
- Is it just me, or have we spent this RAW watching too many entrances happen?
- These guys really just cut to a commercial break in the middle of a Ryback delayed vertical suplex.
- “Big Red” Erick Rowan is really going to be a thing. Can we please stop trying to make Big Red happen? Because it’s so not going to happen.
Did you miss last week’s RAW? Do you listen to podcasts? Would you want to listen to a local podcast about pro wrestling? If the answers to most of those questions—especially that last one—are yes, then you should check out the cleverly-named Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast—featuring Mellow 94.7 DJ Stan Sy, wrestling writer Romeo Moran, and all-around multimedia guy Raf Camus! On their latest episode, they discuss CM Punk’s latest pipe bomb on Colt Cabana’s podcast, break down Survivor Series, and talk to PWR’s resident siga, Kanto Terror about the upcoming Terminus show. Give it a listen here! - Rappler.com