Monday, January 7, 2013

LIVE Raw thoughts - January 7, 2013

11:15 - That was an awesome closing promo and both guys did a phenomenal -- but not perfect -- job.  Well, Punk did a perfect job.  Rock was the one that was *just* phenomenal.  I noted this in his feud with Cena, but I feel like Rock seems to get a pass because, well, he's the freakin' Rock.  The fact of the matter is that Rock panders to the audience more than virtually anybody -- often at the expense of the tone set by his opponent -- and he'll quickly turn a serious situation into a very jokey one as well.  Of course, Rock did do a great job of turning it around at the end and building up his opponent (but again, Cena typically does that as well), and Punk did a great job of maintaining the serious tone and pointing out how sheepish and easily manipulated the audience has become.  But, again, it was disappointing to see Punk give such an epic promo -- his best since the classic one before Money in the Bank -- only for Rock to come out and leading the audience in a "Cookie Puss" chant.  But oh, you KNOW I'll be ordering the Rumble.

And why the hell is WWE advertising for the first time that Rock is going to be on Smackdown?

11:00 - "In your face, jerks."  A little more simple and to the point, but another great line.

10:54 - "There are two types of people in the world.  Those that are born to be in the spotlight, and those that are born to pay to see those in the spotlight."  I think that was the line -- loved it.

10:36 - People who could have filled that role other than the supremely talented, very over, and struggling to be established Kofi Kingston:  Brodus Clay, The Great Khali, Justin Gabriel, Santino, Tyson Kidd, Yoshi Tatsu, Zack Ryder. JUST had Kofi coming off of an Intercontinental Title reign, where -- while not really long -- he looked good.  The fans WANT to get behind this guy, and he's right at the cusp of getting there.  Was it REALLY necessary to squash him in a 20 second match?

10:29 - The only thing I hate as much as the whole "challenger beats the champion" thing?  When they show the live audience watching the backstage segment on the Titan Tron, instead of just showing it live.  Are they afraid we're going to forget the show is at an arena or something?  Why do I want to watch somebody watching something, instead of just watching it myself?

10:22 - Punk is such an awesome seller that I'm always so worried that he's legitimately injured.

10:06 - Liked the spot where Ryback had Punk up for a suplex, and seemingly couldn't decide between whether to drop him on the chair or the ladder.

9:59 - Considering Rock is in the building and this is the official beginning of their feud, I'm surprised Punk came out in his GTS shirt, and not his Knees 2 Faces one.

9:53 - Could you imagine if the NFL or some other sports organization told an injured player, "we're not going to listen to the medical vice of your personal physician....we're going to have you use the company paid physician"?  And then to have that physician TOUT your personal medical condition.  YIPES!

Joking aside, I'm glad they're not saving the TLC match for the final hour main event.  It's wise of them to use the final hour to build the story for Rock vs. (hopefully) Punk.  Again, I would have opened the show with the TLC and taken full advantage of having Rock at the arena.  With the ratings the way they are, you gotta stop this "build the show to one mega moment" mentality and get people thinking that they can't miss a second.

9:37 - See, this Miz/Cesaro feud is something I can get into.  They have an issue with each other and tension is being built with each show that passes.  They're not having Miz beat him to be a #1 contender, they're actually building a story.

9:23 - For some reason I have a tough time imaging Wade Barrett using the word "Sparkles."

9:04 - I seem to say this every week, but I detest this incredibly lazy "challenger beats champion in a non-title match to become #1 contender" story.  How many times do we see it?  With how many champions?  It's such a common crutch.  Hell, we JUST saw it with Kofi Kingston and Wade Barrett.....and then AGAIN with Wade Barrett and Kofi Kingston (with the roles reversed).  And also, how many times do we have to see Daniel Bryan take the pin?  Quite honestly, if you really want your challengers to look like a threat, let them get the win against the more protected and established Kane.

9:02 - It's a little and random thing, but I loved how Daniel Bryan stopped running towards the ropes, and instead changed his direction and ran towards Kane.

8:49 - Anyone else notice that Wade Barrett uses one Intercontinental Championship for backstage segments, and another one for his ring entrance?

8:43 - Well clearly that didn't happen.  I still think the end game is to put the title on Kaitlyn so that AJ can win it from her.

Also, was I the only one expecting Eve to turn around and walk face first into the bottom of the entrance way?

8:37 - My bold prediction:  Kaitlyn wins the Divas title, for the sole purpose of losing it to AJ at Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber, or WrestleMania.

8:31 - The new ref running down defies logic when there was just interference.  We're to believe that this ref is aware enough of what's happening in the ring to know that the original ref was rendered unconscious, but he doesn't know that somebody just ran into the ring and attacked one of the competitors?

This was an interesting match.  On the one hand, Ziggler looked like a million bucks, so you can hardly be upset to him losing to the face of the company.  Then again, it was also a completely avoidable situation.  Why even book this match and put Ziggler in such a situation?

I'm also curious as to why Big E. Langston agreed to this match, on Dolph's behalf.  Is this going somewhere?

8:06 - I've said it before but it bears repeating:  John Cena publicly asked AJ out on a date.  When a scandal jeopardized AJ's job, she respectfully stepped down in order to protect HIS reputation.  He then publicly kissed her, seemingly to taunt Dolph and Vickie.  Then when she responded in kind, he wrote her off as crazy.  So why are we blaming her for turning on him?

8:02 - I think there's basically no chance that Ryback grabs the title tonight, but if for some awful reason they did decide to do that, there's only one way it would be excusable:  If they went all out.  That is to say, have him beat Rocky at Royal Rumble, and then have him beat Cena at WrestleMania.  It would be a bumbling mess to have Punk drop the title after 400+ days, to lose it to Ryback, who then in turn loses it to Rock a couple of weeks later.  I honestly do think they'll do the smart thing tonight.

7:01 - Alright, after a multi-week holiday reprieve, I'm BACK with my LIVE Raw thoughts.  I'm about to leave work now, and it's about a 45 minute drive, so I SHOULD be getting back in time for the beginning of the show.  However, here's my idea for what they should do tonight.

I'd kick off the show with the Ryback/Punk TLC match.  First and foremost, it'll get people watching.  Secondly, the result will establish right off the bat who the Rock will be facing at the Royal Rumble.  And since the Rock is on the show tonight -- and won't be every single week, I presume -- this is a rare opportunity to build for that match.  So I'd have Punk retain, and then spend the rest of the three hours beginning the build for Rock/Punk at the Rumble.  Again, why waste the opportunity to build for the ACTUAL match -- the one people will be paying to see?


Kyle Litke said...

I gotta disagree with you on Ziggler looking like a million bucks. I actually found it to be a step backward after he won at TLC. Yes, Ziggler had a bunch of near falls, but he didn't finish Cena. Ziggler hit Cena with both of his finishers (since he's been using the Superkick as one) AND had outside interference both in the beginning and then through Big E's finisher, and Cena kicked out of everything. Then he catches Ziggler with one AA and it's done, Cena celebration time. Look at Cena/Punk...THAT is a competitive match that makes Punk look good even when Cena actually came out on top (which was rare), because BOTH GUYS kicked out of each others finishers. It didn't look like "Oh, Punk can't finish him off" (which is exactly how it looked for Ziggler tonight), it looks like "These guys are so evenly matched neither one can quite finish the other". This match didn't make me view Ziggler in a better light, it clarified that he is firmly below Cena's level, that in a match not involving falling through a table or climbing a ladder, he does not have a move that is capable of putting Cena down for a 3 count, whereas Cena can finish him anytime.

I know people will disagree about that, but having Cena win is one thing...had Ziggler kicked out of one AA (even if he got caught by one after), I think he would have looked strong. But he didn't.

In the "old days" when the top guys would wrestle a ton of squash matches, a match like this would be viewed as competitive, but I just don't see it that way now just because Ziggler managed to land a few finishers on Cena. It makes it worse because it shows his finishers aren't good enough to beat Cena.

Kyle Litke said...

Also, I agree the ref thing is stupid, but isn't this standard WWE? It's essentially what they've always done. Ref gets bumped, other ref mysteriously doesn't see what happens but runs out to count a pin. I find it to be stupid but I'm not surprised.

Matt Basilo said...

"Million bucks" might have been a bit generous, but by no means did he look out of his league. He repeatedly escaped from Cena's finishers and reversed them into finishers of his own. Ultimately he lost. And clean. But you gotta remember that he IS the heel and he IS beneath Cena on the totem pole. Like I said, it was a completely avoidable situation and I certainly wouldn't have booked him to lose....but for what it was, he looked very good.

Kyle Litke said...

I totally disagree though. Not getting hit with a finisher is not the same as getting hit with a finisher and kicking out. What makes you look at Ziggler and think he was capable of winning that match? Zig Zag? Cena kicked out. Superkick? Cena kicked out. Interference? Cena kicked out. What made him look strong? Because he hit a few moves? They didn't MATTER because Cena wasn't effected by them (not enough for a 3 count anyway). I'm surprised to see you say he looked strong because everyone I've seen is agreeing, that Ziggler essentially got buried there by Cena kicking out of everything Ziggler could possibly do to him with Ziggler getting pinned by one AA despite controlling a lot of the match. At this point, aren't we LONG PAST the idea that someone looks good because they controlled some of the match against Cena? Guys always control the match against Cena. They beat him up. But then he kicks out of whatever they do, pins them off one finisher, and then celebrates like he beat a jobber in 30 seconds. They're all the same, and the only difference I see between this match and all other Cena matches is Ziggler actually hit his finishers, which makes it worse because Cena still kicked out.

I'm just not seeing where Ziggler looked good. That was a typical Cena match with a little extra "kicking out of the opponents finishers".

Kyle Litke said...

I agree by the way on the challenger beats champion thing, and what's worse is they've ALREADY DONE THIS WITH THESE TWO EXACT TEAMS. It was like watching a rerun. This is at least the second time and maybe the third that Rhodes Scholars beat Hell No after Rhodes hit his finisher on Bryan, followed by Michael Cole acting surprised and saying this means Rhodes Scholars might be in the title hunt.

I like both teams, but seriously. They've done the match 4-5 times over the past two months BEFORE tonight and done the exact "Rhodes Scholars beat Hell No in a non title match" thing already too.

Matt Basilo said...

For me, Ziggler looked very good because there were several points throughout the match that I legitimately thought he might win. Of course, he didn't end up winning....and you're right, Cena did kick out of each attempt, but to me the match was structured in such a fashion that Ziggler looked like he belonged in the ring with Cena, and that he could win the match.

I certainly wouldn't have booked it that way, and they definitely need to be careful about how they treat Ziggler. For example, I just saw he is facing Sheamus on Main Event. If the same thing happened AGAIN, this time against Sheamus, I'd completely agree with you.

Ugh, I cannot STAND the challenger beats champion thing. Off the top of my head, we've seen it more than once with Team Hell No/Rhodes Scholars. We saw it with Antonio Cesaro/Justin Gabriel. Before that, we saw it with Santino/Cesaro. We may have seen it with R-Truth/Cesaro, I don't recall. We saw it with Barrett/Kofi, Kofi/Barrett, and Miz/Kofi. We've seen it with Eve/Kaitlyn. It's just so lazy. Just build up a challenger by making them win matches and dominate the division.