Alright, let’s get down to one angle I am have really been digging this last couple weeks and that is the story surrounding the IC championship. It feels like a belt that is sought after again and The Miz and his outrageous “money maker” gimmick is entertaining the hell out of me. This match the US/IC title feuds continue in one bout in a tag match featuring Ziggler/Sheamus vs. Miz/Cesaro. The match had some great in ring action, to be expected considering the parties involved, especially Ziggler and Cesaro. The most entertaining aspects however, are the continued angle of Sandow acting as a “stunt double” to protect the money maker of the Miz, and a damn hair and makeup stylist at ringside tending to Miz when he wasn’t in the ring. I mean, this guy wore sunglasses on the apron when he wasn’t the legal man. Miz is owning what they are giving him right now, he’s completely delusional and Ziggler hates him for it and I love it. It’s an IC title feud that has some depth to it.
Another division that seems to have been given a sign of new life is the Tag Team division, and we have the decision to turn the Rhodes brothers (Goldust and Stardust) heel to thank for that. The move to have Cody Rhodes adopt his brothers outlandish gimmick was a great move, but after a month it needed something fresh to keep it interesting and their new brutal tendencies is just what the doctor ordered. Title feuds are way more effective when they have this kind of heat behind them, and to viciously attack an already down and out Uso brother is a damn great way to start. We had a short lived actual match here between Goldust and Jey Uso, that began with Goldust & Stardust feigning an apology that the USOs weren’t buying, I was okay with the match not lasting long as the newly adopted underhandedness of our heel tag team is what we should be focusing on right now. I haven’t been this into a Tag Team feud in a good long while. Keep it up WWE.
Main Event time. The show began with the Highlight Reel featuring the men of The Authority in a war of words with Jericho, John Cena, and Roman Reigns. The angle here is that Triple H is worried about Lesnar brutalizing Cena to the point where he is out of action, so in an effort to protect his “cash cow”, Triple H is considering naming a new #1 Contender. I dug this approach, you know why? It’s storytelling, and it sells how much of a badass Brock Lesnar is. But considering all that, every man in the ring still want a crack at the beast because the Heavyweight Championship is that damn important to them. Well done. Although, I could have gone without Cena coming out and threatening to sue, seems out of character for him. Another bullet point, I like Roman Reigns, I really do the guy has presence…but he needs to work on his mic skills. That said, a six man tag (Kane, Orton, Rollins vs. Cena, Jericho, Reigns) is set up for HHH to see who deserves the spot. Kinda pointless when you think about it, but compelling.
The actual match was pretty entertaining if you ask me. The main point was Cena not being tagged in until the end of the match, most of the crowd even got behind wanting to see Cena enter the match. Good stuff. This meant seeing a lot of in ring action featuring Y2J, which I always welcome. The ending I mentioned, Cena finally gets tagged in and decimated the Authority, tagging in Reigns after he cleaned house to allow Reigns to spear Kane to get the pinfall. Two things were done here, Cena dominates to once again make him look a bit formidable against Lesnar, and giving Reigns the pin is a subtle way to internally say here’s the man you need to watch out for in the future. Raw ended with Cena in Triple H’s face promising he will emerge victorious at Night of Champions, I hope he doesn’t, and think he won’t…but for the sake of drama the company needs to make us think he will in Lesnar’s absense. In that sense, they are succeeding.
(Honorable Good-Point Mentions: Dug the tag match between Luke Harper & Eric Rowan vs. Mark Henry & Big Show. I am becoming an advocate of Luke Harper, there is just something about the guy. The reason I am not digging into it further, is because the feud is going nowhere after the events of last night. Harper & Rowan are going to get stuck in limbo. Paul Heyman also made a short appearance but also rocked the mic like only he can. He told the crowd Cena is HHH’s “cash cow” and that he will be milked for the last time at Night of Champions. LOVED that! Also we seem to have a new feud between Mark Henry & Rusev. I am looking forward to it in the sense that it will be a great physical contest. Monster vs. Monster. I almost feel like the patriotic carry over from the Swagger/Rusev feud isn’t needed here.)
Total Divas. I understand the need to plug it, I really do. The show pulls in decent viewership from what I hear, and you have to cater to that demographic. But if you are going to feature the divas featured on said show, go all out with their time and give them time to put on a decent match at least. It ended in a cluster fuck of a cat fight and it was definitely an eye roll moment. But like I said, there is a demographic needing to be served here so I expect to see more segments like that, accept it folks. I have.
The Bella sibling feud. An on-going angle throughout the night was Nikkie Bella hosting Growing Up Bella segments, spreading stories about shady things Brie Bella had done throughout their childhood (including stealing Nikki’s prom date, and crashing Nikki’s new car). It all culiminated in an in ring segment that Stephanie McMahon pretty much hosted, feigning sympathy for Nikki and granting her a Diva’s Championship match for Smackdown. Cue the arrival of Brie and the less than stellar mic work before AJ Lee interrupts, skips to the ring and reminds Steph that she is first in line for a Diva’s Championship match. Paige comes out and throws her two cents in, and the segment ends with Brie knocking Nikki, and by association Paige down. I am not sure how I feel about mixing this two feuds in any way shape or form. I am entertained by Paige/AJ Lee….this Bella saga, not so much.
Last but not least, the filler nonsense we got throughout the show. Swagger was red hot the last month or so and his feud with Rusev seems to have been thrown away and he is in filler matches with Curtis Axel now. I think his feud with Rusev was thrown away prematurely quite frankly. That leads me to what his new feud seems to be with Bo Dallas, who I quite frankly can’t stand. It’s his voice, and his delivery. I think the company is about ready to give up on him as well. Do not even get me started on Adam Rose vs. Titus, it is very clear that the WWE doesn’t have any remaining faith in Adam Rose, and the star of that entire segment ended up being a guy in a bunny suit who attacked Heath Slater. I understand why Raw went to 3 hours I am no idiot, more revenue, but if that wasn’t the case I don’t think we’d have to sit through shit like this.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
This week I have to give Raw another D grading folks. The points of the show I love, I really love. But the parts of the show that are horrible, throw the whole vibe of the show off. There was something about last nights Raw that just felt off, when it’s a night they really have to start getting competitive given that Monday Night Football is gracing our TV screens again. The WWE knows this, it is obvious since they plugged everything to look forward to next week in the closing minutes of last nights episode, including an open invitation to NFL free agent Michael Sam, which is sort of clever I guess. That said, Raw really needs to step up its game if it is expecting to compete. There are positive aspects that I am looking forward to following, so the show wasn’t a complete dud, but again it was more unbearable than not this week.