Last week’s Raw was the rare occasion when WWE’s Monday Night Raw not only delivers, but delivers in a big way. I say that in a moderately tongue-in-cheek manner because, well, it still wasn’t particularly great, but it was better than usual. This week the WWE is on one of their tours of Europe, which meant that this show was pre-taped earlier on in the day (in the evening in the UK) and that we knew what was gonna happen ahead of time.
Well, you know if you check spoilers. Trust me, I did and I’m glad that I did.
Because it meant that I could use my DVR as god intended it; to fast forward through awful, awful television and ads. If you sat down and watched this episode of Raw live I feel for you because that had to be a dreadful three hours of your life. About half of the crew just wasn’t there due to house show obligations, although in the case of Dean Ambrose they recorded a backstage interview that they aired on the big screen to make you feel like he was backstage seething but for some reason not participating in the show.
John Cena is back! John Cena is also the master of the obvious, which is perhaps the most annoying part about John Cena. While WWE appeals to a wide range of viewers, some younger than others, I’m not sure that every time John Cena cuts a promo that he has to play the role of “Previously on Lost” guy, because this isn’t Lost and is pretty easy to figure out. Okay, well, hold on, I mean that this isn’t written to be difficult, it turns out that way for various reasons, but the writers of WWE programming aren’t trying to write faux-artsy television with crazy story arcs, they are trying to write wrassling.
So the show opens up with John Cena recapping the last few weeks of WWE programming — just in case you missed it — even though the show opened up with a video package that recapped what happened and almost always does. Then he announced that the third man for Team Cena was… Jack Swagger?! Dear god, do they really have that few faces that they had to jump way down to Jack Swagger?
When Raw went off the air Team Cena was as follows; John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, The Big Show and possibly Sheamus. When the show went off the air Team Authority was; Seth Rollins, Kane, Mark Henry, Rusev and maybe Luke Harper?
It kind of felt like they didn’t want to commit to the last members of each team to give them something to do next week on Raw, which is fine, but if Rusev is in then Sheamus should be in because they are embroiled in a feud. Luke Harper dragged Ziggler into the Authority’s office and implied (hilariously, I might add) that he’s a team player. Maybe they are writing Ziggler off of Team Cena? Because otherwise whatever they are doing with Ryback makes zero sense.
Oh yeah, Ryback Rules, okay?
Let’s get on with the show.
Did They Write Swagger Off Already?
Like I said before, Jack Swagger was announced as a member of John Cena’s team of rejects, then Seth Rollins beat the piss out of him and hit the Curb Stomp twice. The Curb Stomp has been used of late to write people off of TV. Since nobody cares about Jack Swagger maybe just two regular Curb Stomps is enough, he doesn’t need cinder blocks or steel steps to take him out, right? God I hope he’s not involved in this thing anymore.
Paige Should Be a Face All of the Time
Everything about Paige vs. AJ was listless, boring and dragged on for far too long (it’s over, right?). Paige as a heel has gone about as far as it possibly could go and people want to cheer her. Look at her Twitter feed and all you’ll see is her RT’ing tween girls who idolize her. I mean, to me, that is the mark of someone that should be a face, not a heel. Fans don’t want to boo her, especially in the UK. So just go with it.
It’s Pre-Tape Mania!
So wait, you say, you don’t care at all about Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt even though they are two of the better characters and wrestlers on the roster? You don’t say. How to make this match have some heat, you ask? Simple. Have neither guy appear on Raw and have them both tape interviews that will air on Raw.
Wait, you still don’t care? Damnit.
It’s a New Day, Didn’t You Know?
Remember the talk of there being a new “Nation of Domination” featuring Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston and Big E? Apparently they are moving forward with them being together, but they are introducing it with vignettes of each guy inside of a Church with a…. God, I can’t even do this. This is mildly racist, right? At least it feels like it. I feel like WWE is Stormy from SeaLab talking about “Black Debbie” or something.
THE BIG GUY
If you look at the WWE roster right now, one thing is clear; they are lacking for main event faces. It was surprising when Ryback returned that they immediately put him back into his squash-everyone-like-Goldberg gimmick, but it was funny and okay. Then all of a sudden he was being courted for Team Authority and now he was a central point of this week’s show.
Was it in part because of having a reduced team to work with? Probably. Am I all for a main event face run for THE BIG GUY? Yeah, of course.
The problem is that the whole thing was handled so poorly throughout the show and felt stupid. So Ryback was clearly a face going into tonight, then he was a heel because John Cena “doesn’t sign [his] paychecks,” then he’s scuffling with Kane and turning on the Authority. Of course, they leave things open-ended, did he turn? Will he join John Cena? Does anyone do the math to figure out they don’t need him?
Maybe I’m still awash in the afterglow of watching that New Japan show this weekend, but this show stunk.