Dave's RAW Thoughts
May 7, 2013
By: David Stephens of Wrestleview.com
Every now and then a Monday Night RAW rolls around during which I find myself staring at the television and wondering just what the hell I am watching. That feeling crept into my mind only ten minutes into this week’s broadcast. At first things did not seem out of the normal. Cena’s music hit and he came down to the ring to yell and joke around to not only sell his PPV match but also to get the crowd excited for the show. Yet once Ryback made his way down to the ring the show took a step into a peculiar world.
I’m not trying to hate on Ryback by critiquing his microphone ability each week, but it is becoming more and more painful to endure. At first the company was keeping his mic time either limited or in pre-taped segments. As Ryback continues to grow as a performer and be featured in main event story lines it was inevitable that he would be handed a live mic more and more often. Last night was a case in point of why Ryback may look and arguably wrestle likes someone on the verge of a Championship, but he can’t keep up with even some of the lousiest promo guys in the company. I’ve been in numerous theater productions in my life and Ryback’s lack of fluid promo ability immediately jumps out during the show.
While there has been a move in the WWE from certain talents such as Cena, Punk and others to deliver their suggested lines with their own flavor and flair, Ryback was clearly reciting line for line the script that he was given. Reciting lines is perfectly acceptable, but not when the audience gets the impression that the talent is imagining the dialogue on a sheet of paper as he delivers his monologue. This was painfully obvious when he would go to start a sentence and either the crowd or the atmosphere gave him pause for a moment. He would immediately respond with the same exact phrase to continue the discourse. A glance into Ryback’s eyes showed an uncertainty towards his effectiveness.
I point out his painful delivery not to criticize but instead out of confusion. Ryback has been in the WWE and developmental for several years. He has been carefully coached and manicured to prepare for the main roster. I simply do not understand how he has not been pulled aside and given better promo advice. For crying out loud he was out injured for several months during the Nexus angle before returning with a new character. If he could not physically prepare during that time, than it was the perfect time for maybe an improv or acting class. If Ryback simply doesn’t have the promo ability in him then there are other alternatives.
It’s not imperative that a wrestler be strong on the microphone. Just take a look at Brock Lesnar. Lesnar has one of the weakest deliveries in the company at the moment. A promo from Lesnar is a guarantee that the same sentence will be repeated five times in a row in nonsensical fashion. With Lesnar the company recognized this weakness and had Heyman come in to be his mouthpiece. Another weak mic performer, Jack Swagger, was given Zeb Colter as a mouthpiece. Ryback would benefit immensely from a manger of his own. Not just to cover for his poor chops, but also to grow as a speaker in his own right.
Orton beat Sandow in a swift no-nonsense fashion. The highlight of the match was easily the singing of Sandow on his way to the ring. When he delivered his final “you’re welcome” there was a gleam in his eye which showed just how much joy he is finding in his current character. As each week passes the crowd eats out of his hand more and more. While Cody Rhodes has improved immensely since his Legacy days, the real singles star that will emerge from the Rhodes Scholars will undoubtedly be Sandow. He possesses the elusive “it” factor.
The feeling of what the hell is going on was in full swing as Fandango took on R-Truth. Jericho decided to sit ringside with Tons of Funk and grade Fandango’s performance. The segment provided a fair amount of humor even if it felt a bit surreal. Also I’d like to toss it out there that I miss Little Jimmy. I can understand Truth’s desire to move away from that particular gimmick but other than not having an invisible child with him the rest of his character has remained pretty much the same.
Ziggler is benefitting from his little faction and they are being used perfectly to get him over as a heel Champion. The distraction and cheap shots fit perfectly in with his current character. Ziggler’s match against Del Rio was off to a solid start and showed real promise for their PPV encounter. Swagger decided to get involved at the end after having one of his foes chucked at him. The ladder shot that Swagger delivered in the ring to Ziggler was quite impressive though I have to point out that the ladder looked absurdly light.
The Shield continues to rack up wins in Six Man tag matches. Last night was the first night that I really found the stable starting to get a bit a stale. Now let me clarify that I am in no way suggesting that they are boring or don’t deserve screen time. What I mean is that it is time for The Shield to undergo some sort of change to keep the story fresh. There have been rumors that a fourth member will be revealed and that would breathe a sense of life into the storyline. The happenings of the past couple of weeks seem to suggest that Ryback could emerge as a leader of the group. The obvious problem with such a revelation is that Ryback has consistently been a target of the faction. Perhaps the storyline reveal shows that he is tired of being attacked by the group and instead embraces their mission statement of fighting injustice. It’s not a perfect fit but I would not be surprised if creative moved in that direction. The WWE often relies on instant amnesia from its viewers so it is always a possibility.
Antonio Cesaro finally picked up a victory on RAW. After the match he cut a quick promo to declare that he is better than everyone in the locker room. It was hard to take that suggestion seriously considering that he has been losing week in and week out. Obviously I’m aware that in reality Cesaro is a superior talent, but from a storyline perspective it was an interesting departure. If Cesaro is able to win his Main Event match against Randy Orton then his proclamation will hold some water. If he loses than he is right back at the drawing board. I’ve said for the past couple weeks that a push is coming that will revive him from his string of losses and that time may just be upon us.
The whole Lesnar/HHH corporate destruction angle was more entertaining than I expected. Yes, such attacks always come off a bit corny, but they fill a certain void that a ring promo can’t capture.
Normally I’m not that interested in Diva angle, but I am slightly curious to the identity of Kaitlyn’s secret admirer. If I’ve learned anything about the plot choices of WWE creative than I can confidently make a prediction – it will be Hornswoggle.
The Henry and Sheamus feud has my attention. I’ve been a growing fan of Mark Henry since his days on ECW and his current work is some of his best during his tenure with the company. Henry is a behemoth.
Kane and Daniel Bryan have managed to remain two of the most popular characters in the company at the moment. Kane came to the defense of Bryan only to have Ryback laugh at the notion that Kane was still a monster. The match itself was strong, proving that Kane remains one of the company’s most consistent performers. My one complaint from the match was Ryback lifting Kane up for Shell Shock. I understand that Kane is a big guy and it is easier for Ryback to lift him while already elevated in the corner, but without the dead lift the finisher loses a lot of its impact.
All in all it wasn’t the greatest RAW on record and at many points was completely and utterly zany. This was a typical RAW that I have come to expect a few weeks before a PPV. The angles are not yet in go-home mode so creative attempts to flesh out some ideas and find out what will and won’t work. RAW was average though its lack of painfully boring segments made it far more bearable.
Oh, and where the hell was Brad Maddox? I missed his facial expressions.
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