Formerly known as the RAW Reaction… Welcome to the new show review format!
WWE has been a mixed-bag as of late. Since coming off an excellent Wrestlemania 30 pay-per-view, and a pretty solid B-show at Extreme Rules, the company has struggled to find creative momentum. Last night’s go-home show for Payback didn’t fare much better.
The show opened with Stephanie McMahon and Triple H in full power-couple heel mode. It’s been a while since we’ve seen them together, so this was a nice change of pace. And I loved the “presidential wave” from Steph. She’s a great authority figure, an even better talker, and the Vince McMahon of this weird, not-really-PG generation.
I wasn’t quite as convinced by the Brad Maddox stuff. Or the Kane stuff. Hopefully there’s a good payoff (with a little ‘Woooo!’) next week.
What about that Daniel Bryan segment? It was a little… awkward. Bryan stumbled through his heavily scripted, mildly confusing speech, but still managed to pull off the “No!” at the end. Stephanie, obviously, resorted to the “wife” low blow. My issue here is that this story has been drawn out for four weeks now. FOUR WEEKS. I know the neck problems were outside of WWE’s control, but the fact that they’ve had this much time and still haven’t come up with a contingency plan is what bothers me. Fans deserve resolution. Dragging this out for another seven days is ridiculous, and causes me to lose all interest.
Glad to see The Shield recognizes that contract signings have no place in a 2014 WWE. Still, what did this segment add? We’ve seen these two teams go at it for WEEKS. It’s obvious by now that this is your main event come Sunday. But, I’m pretty much over this feud. Let’s let it end already.
Props to John Cena and Bray Wyatt. Not saying they gave us anything out of the ordinary, but their back-and-forth still managed to be the best pairing of the night.
And hats off to Bo Dallas – a guy I wrote off at NXT Arrival, but couldn’t stop praising on Twitter last night – I absolutely love the persona. And Dallas sells everything like a champ. It also looks like he’s tightened-up inside the ring, so that’s another plus.
Poor Drew McIntyre, having to fight El Torrito. What a farce. And The Rhodes Brothers taking on Evolution might have been good… had WWE given it the time of day. Plus, what sense did it make to have Emma go over Alicia Fox (when Fox is the one with a Divas Championship match)? No pecking order there… welcome to TNA circa 2010, where wins and loses only matter if we get an entertaining segment out of it.
Oh yeah, Cesaro and Rob Van Dam fought! Meh.
Kudos to Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio for mixing it up and giving us a great final match. Both of these guys are grossly underrated. Their styles matched up well here, and I’d enjoy to see Del Rio catapulted back into the main-event picture at some point.
Well, WWE keeps failing to hype their pay-per-views. Or special events, or whatever you call them now. Remember when they used to do a final build segment where Michael Cole went over ALL the matches?
The announce team is still mediocre… and I still hate it when the company uses Lawler’s heart attack for story fodder… but it was great to see JBL take an impressive bump.
Consider this: 3MB consistently gets more screen time than The Miz, Mark Henry, and Dolph Ziggler (all three former World Champions) COMBINED.
Overall Show: Bad
Some call it lackluster. But on a scale of ‘Good, Better, Best’, I’d give it a solid “bad.” There’s no excuse for this re-heated, re-warmed product. Fans deserve more.