My Two Centsss - In Bret Hart's Words, That RAW Was A 4/10
By Super Chrisss
Apr 30, 2013 - 10:52:49 AM
(Credit: Tom Jenner @ImageBlownOut)
Another week, another unimpressive Monday Night RAW. Don't get me wrong; I'm not going to spend the next 1000 words or so complaining about how shitty the show was. Because there were some positives, and most of those highlights came from what people tune into RAW to see - actual wrestling matches. But I think WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart's now infamous "4/10" rating is the perfect grade for last night's show, because the negatives easily outweighed the positives. Let me explain.
When you sit down in your living room to watch RAW every Monday night at 8pm (or 8:15 like us Canadians are forced to do - Scumbag ScoreTV), what do you expect to see? Wrestling, right? Obviously, it won't be three hours of non-stop wrestling with a backstage segment or two because RAW isn't a Pay-Per-View WWE are expecting you to pay good money to see. It's free television, that is supposed to make you want to order the upcoming PPV event. There will be plenty of promos and backstage segments, but these non-physical confrontations should be used to build rivalries and establish a storyline between the feuding competitors.
Would anyone be so kind as to tell me what the fuck tug of wars, dance offs, and repeatedly having the commentators show the viewers how to order Dominos Pizza online has to do with pro wrestling? I've seen people argue that the tug of war between Mark Henry and Tons of Funk/Sheamus was a change of pace from the contract signing or arm wrestling contest they occasionally do, but that doesn't change the fact it was a complete waste of time. Why couldn't we have had a verbal exchange between Henry and Sheamus instead, letting us know why they've been attacking each other backstage? I guarantee it would have more effectively added heat to their feud - and been less painful to watch - than a scripted tug of war.
Going back to the dance off, does anyone know what it aimed to accomplish? The last time I checked, Fandango was feuding with Chris Jericho, not The Great Khali. As much as I hate the idea of a dance off to begin with, it would have made sense had it been between Fandango and Jericho considering that's essentially how their feud began - over who was their better dancer. Did Fandango attacking Khali get him some heat? Sure, but the same would have been accomplished without the freaking dance off. Just have Khali appear in the ring, starting rambling, and Fandango come down to cut the big man off and beat him up. It would have saved some time, and maybe Fandango might have actually gotten over (Writer's Note: When the crowd cheers more for Khali than for you, then you're probably not over - just your music is).
The main problem with these tug of wars and dance offs? They have absolutely nothing to do with pro wrestling. The first round of the NHL playoffs kick off this week. Could you imagine a hockey fan tuning into a Boston Bruins/Toronto Maple Leafs game and after the first period, the players come back on the ice and start playing musical chairs? Of course not, because that would never happen. Hockey fans watch hockey for the game (and the violence). Football fans watch football for the game (and the violence). Wrestling fans watch wrestling for the matches, not tug of wars or dance offs. As a wrestling fan, I'm extremely embarrassed by what I saw last night.
You know what I did enjoy watching last night? Wrestling. With the exception of the opening triple threat 'match' and Naomi/Brie Bella, we got a bunch of solid wrestling last night, and that's the only thing that stopped me from poking my eyes out from boredom. As soon as Cody Rhodes was spotted at ringside as Randy Orton's opponent, I assumed things wouldn't end well for Cody and his mustache. I was pleasantly surprised when not only did the match go into commercial, but we got a lengthy, competitive match between the two. Say what you will about either man, but last night, they brought their A game. Easily the match of the night with Rhodes' RKO counter into Cross Rhodes and a terribly close near-fall my highlight of the night. Orton won, surprise surprise, but Cody looked strong in defeat. I hope we're on the verge of another Cody Rhodes singles push in the near future. If built up correctly, Rhodes vs. John Cena could be an excellent match (unlike that two minute squash a little while back).
Another strong match was World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler vs. United States Champion Kofi Kingston. My main issues with this match weren't the interference or the over-booking, but the way it was announced and how many times we've see it before. Remember the days when a champion vs. champion match was such a big deal, that WWE would actually promote the encounter days - if not weeks - in advance? The company sure doesn't, as we got two men who are supposed to be a couple of the 'top dogs' going at it in an unhyped match at a random time slot. Moreover, did you know last night was the 25th time - yes, 25TH - Ziggler and Kofi wrestled one-on-one on WWE television (credit to LOP's own zzzorf for the stat, by the way)? That's insane. Like I said, the two put on a good match, but there's only so many ways they can wrestle a different match, and much like Orton vs. Rhodes, the outcome was never really in doubt.
I know a lot of people consider Jack Swagger vs. Zack Ryder a squash match - especially since Ryder didn't even attempt his Broski Boot or signature moves - but I thought Ryder got in a lot of offense against a challenger for the world title at next month's Extreme Rules. Heck, even the commentators were impressed, thinking it could be Ryder's night, with his new look and modified offense. Alas, it was not to be, as The Real American got the win, and the post-match beatdown on Ryder got him some much needed heat. That is how you get heat on a wrestler, by the way, not having him win a tug of war or lose in a dance off.
Cesaro vs. Del Rio and the main-event of Cena/Kane/Bryan vs. The Shield were both decent matches, but it just felt like something was missing from both matches. With Cesaro/Del Rio, you had one guy who's on the biggest de-push of 2013 taking on a challenger for the world title at the next PPV, so we had yet another good match with a predictable outcome. As for the main-event, they told a very good story by the face team refusing to tag in Cena due to his injury, and Roman Reigns' pinfall victory over Cena was amazing to see (so he isn't Superman, after all!). But the ending with Ryback coming out and doing absolutely nothing fell flat to me, especially after their epic confrontations from the past two weeks. RAW is supposed to conclude with the viewer thinking, "Oh shit, I wonder what's going to happen next week?!". Instead, I was left saying, "Okay then. Whatever."
And finally, WWE can just fuck off with their Brock Lesnar/Triple H feud. If their match at Extreme Rules is going to be one of the top-billed matches at the PPV, then put some effort into building it up. Recapping their feud since Wrestlemania is just annoying, and uninteresting. Now I remember why the thought of their match at Wrestlemania played a huge factor in making me boycott this year's Road to Wrestlemania. There's just no effort from the wrestlers or the creative team, and it's not like their match will be phenomenal or ground-breaking. As a fan, I simply can't find a reason to care about their match, and recapping their feud isn't going to make things better.
In conclusion, a decent episode of RAW that was brought down tremendously by the filler and repetitiveness. It seems like I preach the same things every other week, but WWE really needs to:
-Bring back the brand split
-Put RAW back to two hours
-Give the creative team a kick in the ass or kick out the door
-Build up their midcard (and their champions) seriously
Until that happens, it's really hard to enjoy today's product. Cena's injury - work or not - has done nothing to change the product, neither has the absence of top stars like CM Punk and Chris Jericho. There is a way to make three hours of RAW work, but WWE still hasn't figured it out yet.
Thanks to all of you who wished me good luck on my exam yesterday. Only time will tell if I passed and can accept my Bachelor's Degree this fall or if I'll be stuck taking a summer class (shudder). That being said, it's nice to have some free time on my hands - who knows, maybe I'll even bring back the dailies one day!
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