My Two Centsss - RAW: That's The Way You Do It
By Super Chrisss
Apr 9, 2013 - 10:35:37 PM
Writer's Note: I had NO intention of posting a column today. My WWE hiatus ended Sunday night after John Cena won his 11th world title (which is crazy no matter how you look at it), but last night's RAW was so good, words couldn't do it justice. Rather, my words can't. I assumed Al Laiman or Hustle or even Old Man Tito would have posted a review of the show, but they haven't, and you people deserve some sort of column so here we go!
Do me a favour. If you didn't enjoy last night's RAW, I want you to give up on wrestling for the rest of your life. I don't want to hear any of that "But Cena's champion again so I don't care" or "I saw Ziggler's cash-in coming a mile away so it sucked" BS. Monday's episode of RAW was phenomenal - easily the best three-hour episode since last summer's RAW 1000 and possibly even better. Everything and everyone seemed to click - sometimes for the wrong reason - and with the exception of one wrestler, it was just so much fun to watch.
First of all, I have to give it up to that New Jersey crowd. Without them, the show would have been good, but nowhere near as epic as we will now remember it. The die-hard wrestling fans who were in town for Wrestlemania weekend were off the charts all night long, and they were so rowdy, they even rattled top stars like Cena, Orton, and Sheamus - something not even Chicago managed to do at Money in the Bank 2011. Without them, last night's RAW wouldn't have been the excellent follow-up to what most people are calling a disappointing Wrestlemania (hey, I tried to warn you, didn't I?). I honestly have no clue how they didn't lose their voices after Orton vs. Sheamus. So kudos to them.
Speaking of my return to WWEland, I tuned into RAW with very low expectations. I figured nothing significant had changed over the last month and we would be fed the same old crap. Boy, was I wrong. Last night's RAW was nothing like the snoozefest it was not that long ago.
Jobber entrances? Very few, and most who failed to receive a televised entrance actually won their match (sorry, 3MB).
Touts? Fortunately, not even one.
Movie trailers? Gone, baby, gone.
Predictable matches? Not last night. First, the jobber-entranced Wade Barrett shocked the world by defeating The Miz to regain his Intercontinental title twenty-four hours after losing it on the Wrestlemania pre-show. I know a lot of people don't understand why they hot-potatoed the IC title, it's simple:
1. Everyone expected Barrett to lose, as championship rematches - especially non-Pay-Per-View - almost always end in the newly crowned champion retaining. That track record has now been erased.
2. The first half of the Wrestlemania 29 card was dominated by heels winning, so by having Good Guy Miz win the title on the opener, it pleased the non-smarks in the crowd. It also gives you a reason to tune into the pre-show, where title changes can happen.
3. The Miz is now 5-0 at Wrestlemania. Just saying.
Remember those main-eventer vs. midcarder matches that we grew accustomed to seeing on RAW every week, in which everyone and his mother knew the outcome before the opening bell even rung? We got none of that last night. Instead, it was perfectly balanced. Take a look...
Bryan vs. Big E (the latter which has been built up as a beast, so I've been told)
Miz vs. Barrett
Swagger/Colter vs. Del Rio
Del Rio vs. Ziggler
Face Del Rio JOB Squad vs. Heel Del Rio JOB Squad
Orton vs. Sheamus
Fandango vs. Kofi
Tons Of Funk vs. Team Rhodes Scholars & The Bellas
Cena vs. Henry
None of those matches were MOTY contenders, but they were all entertaining in their own unique way, mainly because any one of those wrestlers could have easily won their respective match last night. That's what has been missing in WWE lately - the unpredictability. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I'll take the two jobber squads facing off in a match opposed to Orton vs. Barrett or Cesaro Part XXXVII. The star and match quality might not be the same, but at least I won't know the outcome beforehand, which is a major plus in my book.
And while we're on the topic of unpredictability, WWE once again played their cards right by having Dolph Ziggler cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase at the best possible time. A lot of people were disappointed he didn't cash it in at Wrestlemania the night before, but the NJ crowd single-handedley made Ziggler last night. The pops he got both when his music hit and after he hit Del Rio with the Zig-Zag took me back to when CM Punk cashed in his first MitB on Edge back in 2008. That was a star-making moment for Punk and now Ziggler got his moment. Better yet, think of the matches/feuds we're in for with Ziggler as champion. Ziggler vs. Del Rio, Ziggler vs. Swagger, Ziggler vs. Orton - I can't wait!
As for The Viper, he must have been pissed when he returned backstage after his failure of a match with Sheamus. The crowd gave zero fucks about either guy, their match, or their feud, and they let them have it. I've actually seen some people get upset at NJ for "disrespecting" Sheamus and Orton and "disrespecting" the product with their two million chants. Ummm, wasn't that the point? What better way to tell Vince and his cronies that you're tired of the same old crap being shoved down your throat than literally shoving it back at them? It makes me laugh - people BEG for change, for the Attitude Era to return, for the status quo to be broken, yet when a crowd is brave enough to do something about it, those same people complain that things are getting too radical. Hypocritical much?
Or maybe they were just chanting because they were bored, and if so, I don't blame them. The first half of Sheamus vs. Orton was enough to put teenagers to sleep, and Big Show's sloooooooooow and looooooong post-match assault didn't exactly help things. I wish every crowd would do the wave or chant for random people when forced to watch a boring match or promo. It would make life a lot better for us watching at home.
You know who else is boring? Fandango. I hated him as Johnny Curtis. I hated his pre-debut vignettes as some stupid dancer. I hated the fact he got to feud with Chris Jericho and compete at Wrestlemania, while Antonio Cesaro, Damien Sandow, and Cody Rhodes were left off the card completely. But most of all, I hate the fact people are calling him the next breakout star. Sorry folks, but he's not. You may be a fan of his character, his in-ring work, or his dancer, but he's not over - only his music is. Entrance music that has been airing for over two months now but suddenly it's cool and catchy? i hate to break it to you, but this Fandango phenomenon is not the 2013 version of "YES! YES! YES!". Daniel Bryan and his catchphrase got over because he's talented and people were sympathetic for his squash loss to Sheamus at Wrestlemania 28. Fandango's music got over because the fans were so bored by what they just saw with Orton, Sheamus, and Big Show. So all those people calling Fandango the next Daniel Bryan really need to settle down and stop overhyping him more than WWE is.
Last and not least, we got what some are calling a heel turn from Ryback. Personally, I don't think Skip turned heel, but if he did, it was poorly timed and executed. WWE knew the crowd was in ultra-mega-smark mode. They knew Ryback - or anyone, even The Great Khali - would get a huge pop if they laid out John Cena last night. If anything, they could have waited until next week's RAW before pulling the trigger on a Ryback heel turn. Instead, I think it was just a way of trying to build Ryback up again, even though his current PPV streak is 0-6 (wasn't he once undefeated?). Plus, did you hear how loud those "Feed Me More" chants were? No way is Ryback turning heel, at least not completely, not yet. We did get a satisfying end to a thrilling RAW, though.
As I said earlier, I didn't watch Wrestlemania 29, so I can't compare it to last night's RAW. But if I were you, I would highly recommend buying tickets to next year's post-Wrestlemania episode of RAW, as both Miami and now New Jersey have been excellent crowds to keep the post-season of wrestling going. Hell, if Mania tickets are too expensive, simply buy seats for RAW - the matches won't be better, but you'll probably have just as much fun especially if we get Thrice in a Lifetime *shudder*).
For the first time in weeks, I cannot wait to watch SmackDown on Friday, and next week's RAW. I know the crowds will be back to normal (a.k.a. tame and boring) but last night really reminded me why I love wrestling so much.
Thank you, New Jersey crowd. Thank you, WWE. That episode of RAW was awesome indeed.
Kind of funny how a show without CM Punk, Brock Lesnar, Triple H, The Rock, and sadly, Antonio Cesaro, turned out much better than when those stars actually do appear, isn't it? I have no clue why the U.S. Champion hasn't been booked the past two nights but hopefully WWE has a way of making it up to Cesaro.
Anyway, what's your opinion on Fandango? Agree or disagree with me?
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