Monday, January 28, 2013

LIVE Raw thoughts - January 28, 2013

11:10 - I know I've been crapping on this episode all night, but holy hell if that wasn't an awesome closing segment.  Everything about it was pretty damn perfect (except for WWE's Twitter page spoiling Lesnar's return before he actually came out -- what is up with them?)  I LOVED the video reveal that Heyman and Punk have been in cahoots with Maddox and the Shield all along.  Everything about it was great.  There was a logical reason for the camera being there, and it actually had a continuity to it as well (we had seen Maddox with a camera for the past couple of months).  And the filming of it was great as well.  The emergence of the Shield out of the darkness was a thing of beauty.  Just awesome.  And it only got better.  Seeing Paul Heyman absolutely, positively swear -- with a 100% straight face -- that it wasn't him on camera, when it so clearly was, was hilarious without being ridiculous.

And all of it was capped off with Lesnar's appearance. His silent interactions with both Vince and Heyman were great.  And let me also note how much I love how Heyman -- who is known for his various controversies and confrontations -- is the voice of reason with Lesnar and Punk.  He's always in the background telling them not to do something or to think something through.  It's great.

If nothing else, this makes me very eager to see what's going to happen next week.  And after a really lackluster show, that says something.  Unfortunately, though, by attacking looks like we're getting that Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar rematch none of us really want to see.

10:57 - With cold and flu season the way it's been, I personally think Vince was just being responsible there.

10:50 - Absolutely well deserved acknowledgement of Trish Stratus' abilities and contribution to the WWE. Trish Stratus is actually one of the great surprises in wrestling history.  When she first debuted, it seemed that she was nothing more than a pretty face with fairly lackluster mic skills.  Even whens he first won the Women's Championship, many (including me) thought it would be another Debra situation.  She was just a trophy holding another trophy.  Instead, she developed into the most consistent, well rounded female competitors that many of us would ever get to watch.  She will likely continue to be the measuring stick for many years to come.

10:46 - There are some people who think that Team Hell No has run its course.  I couldn't disagree more.  I think these two are still great together, and even more important -- them being tag team champions gives the tag team championship a higher profile than its had in years.

10:41 - Interesting that Jericho/Ziggler are wrestling in the face corner, while Team Hell No are on the heel side.

10:34 - So everybody is predicting that the show ends with Brock Lesnar.  My question for you is, will it save this show?  I just don't know.

But seriously, what's different about Chris Jericho's face?  I can't put my finger on it, he just looks different.  I feel like its his eyebrows.  Are his eyebrows different?

Also, Jericho is committing an attire pet peeve of mine:  When somebody wears an old design at a PPV, but then debuts a new design the show after a PPV.

10:30 - Once again, it's not a good sign when the announcers are apologizing for the show.  These Raw Roulette shows have not been good or even entertaining in a long, long time.

10:22 - I love the idea of the Intercontinental Cup, if only because it gets us a #1 Contender WITHOUT that lazy method I hate.

By the way, I'm debating with former WWE writer Court Bauer right now about CM Punk.  He doesn't seem to think Punk can be a heel if it saves his life.  I think he's a great heel.  What are your thoughts?  Someone chime in on my behalf!  :)

10:08 - Geez, everybody seems a bit off tonight.  First John Cena talks about Punk's rematch before it was even announced, and then when Punk finally announces the rematch, he fails to mention the event it'll be at.  What's in the water tonight?

10:02 - You think Punk might get a rematch?

9:54 - Also, I REALLY wish Rock had come out wearing the super expensive shirt, dress pants, and sunglasses.  I miss THAT Rock.

9:53 - I will forgive everything about this show if the Rock unveils a new WWE Championship.  And if it doesn't suck, of course.

9:49 - That was completely pointless.  And when the announcers -- your voice of the company -- are openly stating that the show is terrible, what does that tell you?  THIS is your Road to WrestleMania?  Yikes.

9:43 - Maybe they should rename the World Heavyweight Championship to "A Series of Uninteresting Feuds that Won't End."

9:41 - Next spin the wheel challenge:  Alberto Del Rio unraveling tape vs. Zack Ryder changing a tire.

9:38 - I mean, it's not even as if he can't find the end of the tape and that's why he can't unravel it.  He's not even making an effort.  And what's Big Show's solution?  To tape up the taped up hand even more!  Not to tape up the free hand?

9:36 - Is there a reason why Alberto Del Rio isn't even trying to unravel the tape?  If the purpose was to make him watch and not allow him to escape, why not tape up both arms?

9:28 - Hey, two guys John Cena can easily beat are going to square off.  Hooray!

9:26 - I think we might be seeing a Tensai face turn right now.

9:25 - We've got Tensai in lingerie on Raw.....and Kofi Kingston live tweeting on Twitter.  What's wrong with this picture?

9:10 - I wanted to wait for that segment to end before commenting on it.  Okay, so obviously, the first major eyebrow raiser was the fact that John Cena implied that there would be a Punk/Rock rematch before it was actually announced.  Yes, we all assumed that, but Cena made it sound like a confirmed conclusion, and not something that is simply expected.  So it was completely awkward.  More offensive to me, though, was the complete disrespect he paid to the World Heavyweight Championship.  Again, anybody with half a brain knows that title hasn't been treated with the same prestige as the WWE Championship in years, but there's no reason why the company should acknowledge that.  First season completely blew off the title by ignoring it while discussing whether he'd face Punk or Rock.  And then he took it one step further, and explicitly stated that he would have a better chance of beating the World Heavyweight Championship.  And then to put the nail in the coffin, he made it sound like he was doing the big thing by going against the WWE Champion, while making ti sound like facing the World Heavyweight Champion would be taking the easy way out.  He really made that title seem like a bronze (not even silver) medal.

Just as discouraging, though, was the Shield attack.  Don't get me wrong, I thought it was executed awesomely.  They're doing a great job with Shield....their beatdowns seem so legitimate.  And they do the numbers game great (like how they took down Ryback).  But it was a real missed opportunity.  Chances are neither Rock or Cena will turn heel (although I say they should go for it with Rock), so why not simply tease it?  Somebody on Scott Keith's blog noted that the Shield is yet to attack John Cena, while they HAVE attacked pretty much every other top face (Ryback, Sheamus, Rock, Orton, etc.)  So why not have Shield come down, and NOT attack Cena?  Just give him a nod or something, and then leave.  And then have everybody (announcers, Rock, etc.) bring up the fact that Cena hasn't been attacked.  Maybe you won't turn Cena heel, but creating this mystery around him might add a little much needed complexity.  They really missed out here.

8:58 - Really disappointing to see Cody Rhodes lose so decisively to John Cena.  The mustache thing is so ridiculous, but it has gotten Cody a ton of heat and recognition.  USE THAT!  He deserves better than this.  There was literally no reason why somebody at Cody's level needed to be used in this role.  It just as easily could have been David Otunga.

8:53 - It just occurred to me that the commercials for all of these USA original series look exactly the same.  Same style.  Same music.  Completely interchangeable.

8:50 - This Bo Dallas win would mean a whole lot more if they didn't do this "champion loses a non-title match" thing every single month.  With very single title.

8:48 - Anybody going to mention that Wade Barrett was the original NXT upstart?

8:41 - That Hall of Fame segment was odd.  Why did they show the graphic of Backlund, then quickly jump to the crowd for half a second, and then return to the graphic?  And then they did the exact same thing with Foley.  Odd.

8:38 - I was skeptical when they put Ryback in a comedic situation.  I mean, why spend the past year building up this guy as a monster, just to make people laugh at him?  So having him Shell Shock Matt Striker was a smart move.  It made it seem like he's a guy who's not joking around.

8:19 - Miz filling the role of guest referee is a bit unusual.  Since he's so closely involved with one of the competitors, we're obviously supposed to believe he was selected (otherwise, why not use that Superstar wheel that Vickie had JUST mentioned?)  So why would Vickie pick somebody that favors the face, when she's supposed to be a heel?

8:11 - Great passion from Punk in that opening promo, but what is with WWE and their public job evaluations?  Actually, isn't this about the one year anniversary of when Triple H did that to Johnny Ace?  Yeah, I'm pretty sure it was the Raw after the Royal Rumble. didn't take long to reuse THAT idea.

Also, I REALLY hope this doesn't lead to the firing of Heyman.  He and Punk are golden together.  No need to end that partnership.  Unless, of course, this leads to the return of Brock.

7:39 - Alright, it's the first Raw after the Royal Rumble and the official start to the Road to WrestleMania.  How about a quick Pre-Raw discussion?  I just posted this on Twitter, and thought it was worthy of noting here, and that's that the Rock's victory last night didn't come at the expense of the entire roster.  One big complaint about Rock beating Cena was that it made the entire roster look like a bunch of losers.  Cena is so clearly presented as being a level above everyone else, and the Rock was able to beat him clean.  What does that say about everybody else?

On the other hand, last night the tricks CM Punk has been using to beat guys like Cena and Ryback worked on the Rock as well.  He cheated, and he won.  The only difference was that this time, Vince McMahon intervened and gave Rock another shot.  Who knows what would have happened if he did the same for Ryback or Cena over the past couple of months.  As a result, Rock won....but he didn't make the whole roster look like losers as a result.

Don't get me wrong, there are times that I've argued adamantly that the challenger must win, and he must win cleanly.  Cena vs. JBL at WrestleMania 21 immediately springs to mind.  Like Punk, JBL had built a bit of a legacy due to his long title reign.  During his reign, JBL overcame Undertaker, Booker T, Eddie Guerrero, Kurt Angle, the Big Show, and others.  Nobody was able to overcome him.  In order to MAKE John Cena a star, it was incredibly important that he beat JBL cleanly, on his first shot.  It would show that he could do what all those other guys couldn't.  If a new star was going to end Punk's reign, I would take the same stance.  But since it's not only an already established star, but also somebody who is a BIGGER star than the champion, I think this was the right call.  What do you all think?

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