Worst: I Think I Actually Liked Rob Van Dam The Most Out Of Everyone In This Segment
Here’s a list of everything I liked in the first 15 minutes of Raw:
1. Daniel Bryan has a new shirt, and I have to like those even when they’re ugly.
2. Bryan asking if he could call 1-800-FELLA and make Sheamus Brogue Kick himself in the face, effective ice-burning the “fetch” that is 1-800-FELLA into secondhand embarrassment forever.
Besides that, the opening segment to Raw was BRUTAL for me. In retrospect it was maybe the 20th worst thing about the episode, but there are few moments worse for a wrestling fan than when they see where a segment’s going two minutes in and have to wait 13 more for it to see itself through. Bryan opened the show … that’s fine. Sheamus interrupts him and acts like an asshole, but Bryan gets to verbally shut him down, and for better or worse, they’re referencing actual WWE history. That’s also fine. But then that THIRD Money in the Bank match participant interrupts, and the normal, observant wrestling fan brain goes “shit, they’re all going to interrupt and talk about how they’re gonna win, aren’t they?” That’s two minutes in. Then, 13 minutes of them all interrupting and talking about how they’re gonna win. You’re like the guy from ‘Early Edition,’ and the headline of tomorrow’s paper is SHITTY WRESTLING SHOW.
As I mentioned up there in bold, I think I liked Rob Van Dam the most here, because he was sitting at home NOT wasting the first 20 minutes of Raw. While I’m thinking about it, I should give Bryan another supplemental Best for interrupting Punk and calling him on the “go down the line and talk about how great we all are, then say you’re better than us” gag. More people should do that to Punk. He’s got the talent to rise above boring bullshit Raw speeches, and rarely has the need to do so.
Also, a light supplementary Best for Christian for being all, “welp, dudes are gettin’ RKO’d, I’m outta here” and just bailing.
Worst: The Crowd
I’ll reference them in passing throughout the report, but BIG UPS to Sioux City, Iowa, for being total f**king garbage all night long. From the “What” chants during Mark Henry’s promo to the half-assed attempts to chant “JBL” and be the post-Mania Raw crowd (Raw crowds need to either go all the way with it or cut it the f**k out) to chanting WE THE PEOPLE along with the hateful jingoistic nutbags, Iowa defined what it means to be a terrible Raw crowd. Do not ever go back to Iowa, WWE.
Note: One thing I do like, though, is how you can look at which John Cena shirts kids in the crowd are wearing to see how long it’s been since WWE’s been in their town. Kids were wearing that orange “Never Give Up” one from 2011, so it’s been a WHILE.
Worst: Seriously, Enough With These Conflicting Authority Figure Segments
I’m not going to link to the videos or write another big thing about it, but WWE once again devoted time to three different backstage confrontations between Vickie Guerrero, a woman who is just trying to do her job, and three conflicting authority figures who are trying to undermine each other passive-aggressively, but seem united in their quest to make the woman they hired to do a job feel paranoid and terrible about any attempts to do it. Stephanie even went so far as to pull the “hey Vickie, I get it, we’re both ladies, am I right” card and then IMMEDIATELY turned it back on her for no reason, setting her up for another in an endless string of asinine “performance evaluations.” I’m hoping that’ll be the end of these things.
Best: The Shield Not Losing Matches (On Raw, At Least) Simply Because They’re Holding Belts
The Shield might be the Nexus of All WWE Realities. Not that kind of Nexus.
Think about it. What happens on NXT in the Full Sail NXT continuity doesn’t really “happen” in the WWE Universe. Antonio Cesaro has the United States Championship a week after he’s lost it, and nobody cares. Michael Cole has never heard of the Wyatt Family and nobody knows what they’re capable of, even though they’ve been doing their thing on NXT for over a year. The Shield guys showed up as a new thing, but the announcers knew who they were and referenced NXT by name. “That’s Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns from NXT!” etc.
WWE also does this weird thing where Smackdown happens, but it doesn’t. They admit that it exists, but it’s almost a “test” to see if something’s gonna work on Raw. If a match happens on Raw and has a shitty finish, they’ll do it again on Smackdown and end it clean, but never mention the storyline follow-up on Raw. If a good match happens on Smackdown, they’ll just repeat it spot-for-spot on Raw like it never happened. They might mention that it’s a “rematch,” but it’ll just be the same thing, same finish and all. Cesaro doing the Neutralizer to The Great Khali is a great example of this. They’re all, “this is a rematch!” and in the same breath say “WOW I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYBODY LIFT THE GREAT KHALI LIKE THAT.” They don’t seem to know if they’ve watched it or not. See also last night’s Christian/Usos vs. The Shield six-man tag, which was a rematch from Smackdown with the “corrected” Raw finish of The Shield using THE DAMNED NUMBERS GAME and being unstoppable. Shouldn’t that have happened BEFORE The Usos upsetting them, to build momentum for the challengers in the right direction?
I’m gonna throw this out there: The Shield wear all those clothes to hide the fact that they’re dimensionally-indifferent swamp monsters.
Best: Dean Ambrose’s Reaction After Pinning Christian