Monday, February 18, 2013

LIVE Raw thoughts - February 18, 2013

11:06 - My joke comment on Twitter, regarding the new championship, was "We waited 8 years for that?"  I was joking, since it IS superior to the Spinner belt (mostly because it fixed my biggest complaint about the Spinner title....that it said "Champ" instead of "Champion"), but there are still some big problems with it.  The's kinda bland.  It's literally just a giant WWE logo with "Champion" written below.  No eagle.  No globe.  No name plate for the champion (I hate how all the new titles have eliminated this feature -- I loved it).  And unless i was viewing it wrong....there didn't even seem to be any main plate.  Just a gold frame on the black strap.  But, again, it IS superior to the prior title, and a change was desperately in need.  It was better without quite being a step in the right direction.

With the addition of the Brahma Bull side plates, I'm wondering if this is just going to be a customized Rock belt, with another new title debuting after Mania.

By the way, I really do want Rock to turn heel for his match with Cena.  The build needs to be something different than the last couple years we've gotten from these two.

10:53 - I'm actually about to mention this in my latest review of The Vampire Diaries, but changing up somebody's typical wardrobe can go such a long way in making somebody look fresh.  When you think back to classic Rock, you think of the sunglasses, the dress pants, and the gaudy shirts.  Yeah, he wore the warm ups on several occasions, but my point still stands.  A big issue, for me anyway, is when I look at a photo of a wresting event and I can't tell which one it's from.  Hold on, I'm about to end this rant.  Rock is about to debut a new title.  All will be forgiven.

10:46 - Gotta say, if they're trying to make Bryan look like the jerk here, they should have had him make a bit of a bigger production when he came out.  Maybe play his music or something.  Or have him come out yelling "NO!"  Maybe even on a mic.  Have him do something to actively distract Kane.  Instead, he just kinda walked out.  Yeah, it was a violation of their gentleman's agreement, but it didn't come across as diabolical or anything.  Yet the announcers are all like, "What the hell is wrong with Daniel Bryan?!?!?!"

By the way, I still don't agree with this WWE mentality of saving the Rock for one segment.  The dude is a huge star and he's been appearing virtually every week -- often on both Raw and Smackdown,  You're centering WrestleMania around him.  You have this rare opportunity -- why not plaster your show with the guy?  Put him in backstage segments.  Have him interact with other stars.  Having him come out at the beginning of or end of every show -- wearing the same warm up pants and t-shirt -- giving essentially the same promo, can get old.  There's tons they could be doing with Rock, yet they seem to be doing the bare minimum.

10:35 - Do you remember Triple H vs. Kane at WrestleMania XV?  It was an upper midcard match that felt BIG because it was the culmination of a long-term story that featured many twists and turns.  Triple H had never won a World Championship and Kane hadn't held the title in years.  Yet the match had this big, important feeling to it.  Now, think back to Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit at WrestleMania X-Seven.  It was another upper midcard match, but it felt a bit empty.  WrestleMania was right around the corner and it was as if somebody said, "Oh crap!  We have nothing for Angle or Benoit!  Let's just put them in a match together!"  It almost feels like this entire year's card is like that.  Aside from Rock/Cena, what matches have that Triple H/Kane feeling?  Del Rio/Swagger had absolutely no story prior to last night, and it's hardly a high caliber match.  Your other rumored big matches -- Punk vs. Undertaker and Triple H vs. Lesnar -- haven't even begun to be built yet.  Orton/Sheamus/Ryback vs. the Shield WOULD feel big, but we've seen too many variations of that already (one variant that was bigger than the above match).  Daniel Bryan vs. Kane COULD have that feeling, but unfortunately they've both lost so often that the match loses a bit of its luster.  I just feel like something big needs to happen.  And soon.

10:28 - Kofi Kingston deserves so much better than this.  He's a truly unique talent who has a great presence and charisma.  Why are they so against pushing him to the next level?

10:24 - Poor Kofi.  I'm sure he'll now have to lose to Damien Sandow, who has no direction right now either.

10:18 - I will say this for them:  Their handling of the Shield has been damn near flawless.  But who's the team that eventually overcomes them?  This whole Sheamus, Ryback, and "X" thing could get old.  What's the WrestleMania end game?

9:49 - Did Vince McMahon just get the first season of The Office on DVD or something?

9:48 - Brad Maddox being named the Assistant to the Managing Supervisor is the best thing on this show so far.

9:41 - I knew it was coming, but it still annoyed me.  It saddens me that going into last year's WrestleMania, Daniel Bryan was either getting cheap wins over main eventers and upper midcarders, or clean wins against the rest of the midcarders (and even a couple upper ones, like Kofi Kingston).  And now?  He's losing matches to build that very match.  Against a guy who is less talented in the ring, less talented behind the mic, and less over with the audience.  But oh, he's taller.

Random observation, but has every match ended in a submission?

9:29 - Remember how I said there was something wrong with sacrificing Dolph Ziggler for a Jack Swagger match?  Well there's something equally wrong with sacrificing Daniel Bryan for an Alberto Del Rio match.  Why are we sacrificing Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler to build Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger?

9:15 - Remember when I said "what are they waiting for?"  This is the first Raw after the last PPV before WrestleMania (you follow that?)  This is the time we should be spending towards making the matches people will want to see at WrestleMania.  Instead, we have the Intercontinental Champion blatantly plugging his movie with a guy who doesn't have a chance of facing him cutting him off?  And then they don't even both writing an end to the segment.  They just kinda break the fourth wall and say "what's that?  We're out of time?  Okay."  Just awful.

I'm going to WrestleMania this year and I desperately want to love the show.....but there really aren't any matches that make me feel like "hey, this is the culmination of a story I've been waiting to see the climax of."  No big turns.  No breakout moments.  Nothing, really.  And their biggest match, sadly, is a repeat of the year before!

9:06 - There is something severely wrong when you're sacrificing Dolph Ziggler to build a match for Jack Swagger.  Having said that, the whole bit with the Money in the Bank contract did get my attention.  Very clever.  However, they're REALLY not doing Ziggler any favors by repeatedly having him lose clean to the champion.  It just accentuates the point that he's only champion because of the huge advantage he received.

8:58 - I feel like they've painted themselves in a corner with Dolph Ziggler.  The past couple of months he's been so closely tied with the World Heavyweight Championship that without being in the title match, he seems left out in the cold for WrestleMania.  I suppose a match with Jericho seems possible, but that "feud" hasn't really been all that focused on (other than Ziggler occasionally mentioning it).  WrestleMania is a little more than a month away.  I wish they would just get to building all of THOSE matches.  What are they waiting for?

8:48 - Oh great, now it looks like they're going to feed Daniel Bryan to Jack Swagger.  The whole World Heavyweight Championship scene has been truly baffling.  Two to three months ago, could you have possibly imagined that the World Heavyweight Title match at WrestleMania would be......Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger?  Here, Sheamus got this monster push, winning the title in record time and then going on and having a strong reign.  He lost it to Big Show of all people, who then went on to lose it to a freshly turned Alberto Del Rio (out of no where).  Then Sheamus disappeared from the title scene altogether, despite carrying the scene for the better part of the year.  And then, out of nowhere, they give JACK SWAGGER the title shot?  Didn't they learn anything from the last time they rushed Swagger too quickly into the main event?  The following are far superior (and realistic) options:  Randy Orton (as a face or heel.....and I hate Orton), Sheamus (face vs. face), Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, and hell.....even CM Punk!

Has there ever been a bigger disparity in star power between the World Heavyweight and WWE Championship WrestleMania matches?  I really hope SOMETHING happens to liven things up a bit, because I have zero interest in this match.

8:43 - As promised, I'm back!  First and foremost, I loved the opening of the show.  Both Cena and Punk made all of the right points and maintained the right tone.  My one point of contention is that Cena has beat Punk a bunch of times....even once (that I can think of) during the Summer of Punk.  At least when Cena mentions his win/loss record against Punk, he qualifies it as never winning in 'big matches."  That complaint aside, it was great.  And I really liked that they held it off until next week, so that there's plenty of time to build the match.

I even really liked the Ryback/Sheamus backstage segment, because it (a) made the loss matter, and (b) it created a little tension between Ryback and Sheamus (which was especially important for Sheamus, who too often comes across as Cena-like in his happy go lucky attitude).  The insertion of Jericho was unexpected, since I don't see how he's going to play into the Shield feud going into WrestleMania (Randy Orton seems like the more obvious choice).

The Mark Henry stuff was fine for getting him re-established going into WrestleMania, but are we really going to do a Khali feud?  Honestly, it feels like everything is being thrown together going into WrestleMania.  Outside of Rock/Cena and the Shield stuff, will ANY match have a multi-month backstory to it?

Hated the Cesaro/Miz match because they did that thing that drives me crazy....having a champion lose a non title match to the challenger in order to make him #1 contender.  Plus, the figure four AND the tap out looked weak.  They're both to blame for that.

7:59 - It's coming....but I gotta go pick up a prescription!  I'll catch up on DVR!

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