Dave's RAW Thoughts
November 6, 2013
By: David Stephens of Wrestleview.com
The Big Show, unsurprisingly, got his job back. This storyline is filled with pros and cons so let’s address a couple of them. Randy Orton does not feel like he is a part of the main storyline. Sure, he is the Champion and gets to throw some punches, but he is not the main foe of Big Show’s. This is really about Triple H and The Big Show. While that works well for television it does not work so well for PPV matches. I find myself not really caring what happens between Orton and Big Show. Now the positive would be that I think that is actually by design. Triple H wants the Authority to be the real force so that’s who Big Show levies his efforts against. The problem of course being that Randy Orton is relegated to just a guy holding on to the Title so that the Authority can maintain full control. Orton seems like he could be replaced by anyone chosen by Triple H to play that role. I’m not sensing any special sauce that could elevate Orton further.
Kane, oh Kane. I’m amused by the deep divisions that are already present just a few days since the broadcast. People are divided into two camps. Either Corporate Kane is an innovative and fresh step for the character or the final nail in his coffin. Chill out dudes. You have to give this one some time to play out before dumping all over it. When he appeared I felt my inner body stand up and begin both shouting and laughing. It filled me with the kind of emotion usually reserved for a new pet. My expectations soared. Kane is reinvigorated. Stop clinging to memories of childhood and accept that characters can change over time. The guy was goofy and corny for a year – now he gets to truly be sadistic. It’s the kind of heel Kane that will leave the fans wondering just what the hell they are watching. Hell – is Kane.
Paul Heyman worked a phone promo better than most people work a vignette. Michael Cole’s dialogue felt forced and unnatural but that should not detract from Heyman. I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays off of television until it is time for Brock Lesnar to manifest once again.
The Great Khali’s ferocity has been mitigated to the point that his backstage segment with Ryback had no impact. While I appreciate the bullying of Hornswoggle and the angle they are attempting, in this instance it failed. There is nothing about the past few years of Khali’s tenure that leads me to believe he poses a threat to anyone. Especially not a beast like Ryback who was able to Shellshock Mark Henry. It’s been a long time since The Great Khali has held the World Heavyweight Championship and seemed like an actual threat. No one in their right mind would think that Khali could stand a chance against a guy like Rey Mysterio despite the reality of the situation suggesting otherwise. To even present Khali as a threat to Ryback is laughable.
Kofi Kingston and Alberto Del Rio had zero chemistry in their bout. It felt as though each man was going through his signature maneuvers and that was that. It was a forgettable match that the wrestlers seemed to be forgetting even while it occurred.
Big E. Langston was the victor of a surprisingly convincing WWE Universe poll. Dolph Ziggler must have been both prideful and envious of his former protégé. Langston has been on fire as of late and the crowd is eating him up. Once he shook off his green armor and began to soak up the feel of a high level wrestling match he began to shine. Randy Orton allowed him significant offense before the typical RKO out of nowhere.
Tyson Kidd had ants in his pants. He was flying around the ring so fast that Sin Cara watched on wondering how Kidd wasn’t hurting himself. Tyson looked absolutely ripped and fired up. He may need to slow down a tad so that the audience has a chance to catch their breath and really appreciate what he is doing in the ring. I like the combination of Kidd with his actual real life wife. Normally I would expect the WWE to toss them to separate shows and never let them see each other. So is the nature of the beast.
Alberto Del Rio managed to make Zeb Colter boring on commentary. Every other week I have enjoyed Colter’s commentary as much as the match itself. Rio is so far from perfect that he sank not only the commentary but almost the match itself. Alberto’s lackadaisical approach was not only distracting but borderline destructive.
Curtis Axel endeared himself to my heart this week. I often look for a small nugget to connect me to guys I’m struggling to understand. I try and find the positive with every talent on the roster. It makes my job more enjoyable. Axel’s vibe tuned in with mine this week. He shouted, “I have arrived” with one of the most unintentionally flamboyant displays I’ve ever seen. I flipped my DVR back five times just to hear him shout. He brought a tear to my eye from laughter, and for that I thank him greatly.
El Torito is horny for Renee Young. Most are.
So much for Drew McIntyre getting repackaged. The Usos made hilariously short work of 3MB. The group seems to have fallen into a sense of complacency that will ride until their eventual release. From a viewer standpoint they seem to be coasting without the knowledge that they’ll eventually run out of track.
Luke Harper surprised me on RAW. I’ve seen him wrestle many times over the years. Much like several talents on the main roster I can recall him wrestling in front of only a hundred fans in an armory. But that was years ago. I can’t speak of anyone’s journey other than my own. I’m not the same person that I was back then. Maybe it’s personal growth, maybe I’m more in tune with the universe, or maybe it is as simple as pointing to the fact that I’ve been recapping Monday Night RAW for years – but I don’t watch much Indy wrestling. I’ve been to only three or four shows over the past few years. They came about more as a result of tradition or meeting up with distant friends then the events themselves. I’m sure that the quality is just as high as in the past but I personally don’t feel a connection.
Independent wrestling almost feels like an ex-girlfriend. I used to be in love but now she is barely permitted a glance. Not because of a horrible breakup but because time has drifted us towards new points in our life. After all isn’t that the grand challenge of this bizarre life that we lead? As people we look for the things that will amuse and entertain us. Wrestling takes on a life of its own. We take joy in the small things all the while allowing it to tug at our heartstrings or torment us to death. A slight storyline change that doesn’t mesh with our expectations can ruin a Monday night. But the popcorn needs to be passed and sodas need to be sipped because the movie is still playing.
I connect Luke Harper with this progression because he optimizes my ethos. I feel as though there are many wrestlers with whom I have grown. While our lives are not connected the world around us does ebb and flow with a rhythm. There are many guys that I associate with an earlier time in my life. I see some of these talents on WWE TV and it takes me back. Whether it is Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Antonio Cesaro, et al, I feel as though my childhood is growing up in front of my eyes. As I have transitioned from a fan mainly interested in smaller promotions to a fan focused on RAW I have watched these talents make the same transition. I don’t feel it’s an accident. I may not be the same person as I was when I first met Daniel Bryan on a rainy Saturday night at a promotion whose alphabet soup name escapes me - yet I would wager that Bryan is not the same wrestler that sheepishly shook my hand in a surprisingly shy manner. We’ve grown and changed. Five years is transformative let alone a decade.
This brings me to Luke Harper. I’ll readily admit that I was never a fan. He was always one of the guys on the roster that I would use for food scarfing or networking with other poor saps covering the event for countless websites. As Brodie Lee (as Harper was once known) would stand on the apron watching his tag partner, Grizzly Redwood, fly around the ring I rarely paid him half a mind.
Flash forward to the present and I’m willing to admit I’m wrong. I’m also willing to admit that there is nothing disconcerting about that. At different stages in our lives we come to like different things. I’m not sure if it is Harper or I that have changed but either way I am completely on board. The style that he showed in his match with CM Punk deserves a spotlight. The crowd was not fully committed as Harper is far more smash mouth than almost all on the roster but they will warm up. His size is staggering and his agility is just as impressive. Each swipe from his monstrous forearms would put any man on his back. His gator roll is a move not currently seen in the WWE yet simple and effective.
Bray Wyatt has slowly but surely been able to get his character over. Luke Harper and Rowan have been awkwardly left to the side up until this point. Sure they have been featured but the fans did not seem to care. Forcing them into a feud with the likes of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan will either make or break their careers. The skillset exists. Now it is all about character. Watching Harper scream and taunt his opponent with maniacal laughs gave me great hope. Only time will tell if Luke Harper’s run is a success. All that I know is that at this point in my life – I get it.
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