It wasn’t a matter of if the hometown Chicago crowd was going to steal the show, but when. Luckily, WWE’s creative team was smart enough to recognize this, and they attacked the CM Punk issue head-on. As a result, Paul Heyman gave us one of the most tangible, addictive show openings in recent history. Notice that Heyman didn’t directly attack Punk… instead, he played off the hopes of the fans by coming out to Punk’s music – thus taking the proverbial wind out of the crowd – and then proceeded to blame everybody in attendance for Punk not being there. He earned their jeers. This was another “Paul Heyman Instant Classic,” and it did a great job of setting the tone for Monday Night. [Read more...]
Last night’s RAW kicked off big. Hulk Hogan came out, addressed his return, flexed his muscles, and got the crowd pumped. It was perfect. Hulk Hogan is a wrestling icon who looks even bigger standing in front of that large crowd only WWE can deliver. Naming him the guest host of ‘Mania makes sense. It’s great to see the Hulkster come home, and he looks better than he has in quite some time. Whatcha gonna do? [Read more...]
Did you watch Monday Night RAW last night? Were you expecting something fantastic? Maybe fallout from CM Punk being gone, or another step forward for Daniel Bryan’s massive fan reaction? Well… you set the bar too high. Waaaaay too high, apparently. [Read more...]
Raw got off to a hot start last night with a great segment between Daniel Bryan and The Authority. WWE smartly played to the crowd by letting Bryan opening the show – it essentially tackled the Royal Rumble problem head-on. Seeing Bryan call Triple H out on his biased decision making, and hearing Triple H respond with the classic heel excuses, made the first twenty minutes a delight. I didn’t care much for seeing Bryan get smashed by The Shield. On the other hand, at least WWE had the forethought to set up its main event. [Read more...]
It didn’t take long to figure out last night that WWE is pretty out-of-touch with its core audience. On the pre-show, we saw the New Age Outlaws defeat the Rhodes Brothers… the same Rhodes Brothers team that has looked absolutely unstoppable since joining forces in Fall of 2013. On the upside, this probably means we’re headed towards a Cody vs Goldust pairing at ‘Mania. I can dig that. But as far as Road Dogg and Billy Gunn goes, while it’s awesome to see them back in action and still in great shape (really), this whole “give them the titles because they’re fun” facade felt premature. When did they earn a title shot recently? I’m worried the whole tag-team division took a step back last night. [Read more...]
Last night’s RAW opened right where Survivor Series left off – with the tease of champion vs. champion. This segment was a great way to re-establish The Authority, Randy Orton, and John Cena. And while I question the booking direction going forward (a match “eleven years in the making” only gets a three-week build? really?), at least this feud feels like something fresh. [Read more...]
For complete coverage of everything that happened on Monday Night Raw, be sure to check out last night’s WWE Raw Rundown.
The contract signing between John Cena and Daniel Bryan was a good way to start the show. I liked how it picked up immediately where Raw left off last week, and it seemed to have a specific purpose in promoting the WWE Title picture. The contract signing made sense (instead of just an announcement for a contract signing later in the night), because it felt like a logical part of the story.
Let me also praise John Cena for his effective mic work. I’m one of Cena’s most vocal critics, but think he did wonders in putting over Bryan as a legitimate contender in this opening segment. He cut out the “funnyman” garbage for once, and his intensity took this feud up a notch. While we can all agree here on the internet that Daniel Bryan deserves a WWE Championship match, hearing it straight from the biggest star in the company means a lot to the casual fan.
Speaking of, Daniel Bryan is on fire. Is there anybody else in all of professional wrestling that’s hotter right now? He had an instant classic with Antonio Cesaro AFTER already being in the ring with Swagger for 10 minutes already. And the fans can’t seem to get enough of him.
The CM Punk segment just went a little too long last night. I thought Punk cut another incredible, believable promo, and climaxing with his challenge to Brock Lesnar was a perfect way to end it. Unfortunately, WWE delivered Paul Heyman “live via satellite,” and while Heyman is good, his part took all the wind out of what Punk had just accomplished. Less is more in this case. Let Paul Heyman trot out next week and accept the challenge, and blab on about his new best friend. But it wasn’t needed last night. Also, I hate that he kept talking to “Brock Lesnar” who happened to be just right off the screen. Nobody’s buying that.
That “Total Divas” stuff was terrible. Grumble, grumble, grumble….
Brad Maddox continues to fill out his role as new GM of Raw in a surprising fashion. I really like him as the mouthpiece for Vince, and he plays the “caught between the bosses” role better than Vickie (mostly because Vickie was a veteran, and Maddox can act like he has a lot to prove). I also appreciate that they’re using Vince’s classic disdain for the “small guys” as fodder for this storyline, because it gives Vince a real purpose for being around.
The overall show, on the other hand, felt like it had too much padding last night. I’ve argued on numerous occasions that three hours is too much for a weekly wrestling event. I think a longer Raw has its place – just look to last week’s packed show as evidence. But last night would have been much better served as a two hour event, highlighting specific feuds, while giving other storylines time to rest. Maybe WWE should only make every Monday Night Raw after a Pay-Per-View a three hour special? That way, the creative team gets a little more time to play around, and it serves as a good kick-start towards the next major event.
Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments below! Or follow me on Twitter @therealwiseman