Dave's RAW Thoughts
December 9, 2013
By: David Stephens of Wrestleview.com
Talk about a dichotomy. Last week I closed out my thoughts with this paragraph regarding the Title Unification match at the Tables, Ladders & Chairs PPV:
“It seems so obvious that John Cena will win - so obvious that I’m bored. It’s hard to care when a behemoth of match turns out to be rushed, predictable & relegated to a small PPV.”
Flash forward a week and WWE has done its job. With no small assistance from the Washington crowd this RAW placed itself firmly in the top five of 2013. More importantly it managed to invest its fans in a PPV that I had written off. While its importance was never in question I have to admit that I really didn’t care whether or not I saw the Match of Matches. While it still seems inevitable that John Cena will win at least creative tried their damnedest to peak our interest.
I had the opportunity this week to view RAW from a different vantage point. Normally, save the couple nights a year I get out to a live event, I spend my Monday evenings with my laptop while I watch RAW. As I wasn’t able to do the recap this week I gained a different perspective. Tuesday afternoon I grabbed a pad of paper and a pen – something I haven’t done since the old column days here on Wrestleview. Instead of feverishly trying to get the important notes of the show typed and edited I sat back and absorbed the show. Instead of shifting my eyes towards a keyboard I picked up on some nuances that I would normally miss. For instance CM Punk playing with the referee’s ear piece summoned a mighty guffaw. Thus thoughts this week will feel a bit different as I’m going to share my random jottings. I will have out a TLC PPV Preview column this weekend so I’ll save predictions and some analysis.
Huge props to my boy Josh Boutwell for doing a fantastic job covering RAW in my absence. I highly encourage you guys to follow his work here on the site. J-Bout, as he’s affectionately known in my heart, manages to make TNA iMPACT an exciting review to read each and every week. That’s no easy task.
Dean Ambrose brought about my first chuckle of the night with his line, “I know what you’re thinking – I look good”
The Slammys have an actual award show feel to them this year. I was hoping for some Summer Rae Twerking a la a recent award show. I was denied as somehow WWE has actually managed to put on a classier Awards show than MTV. So the debate has finally been settled. Nearly naked wrestling guys rolling around covered in oil are slightly more sophisticated than nearly naked drunk spring breakers rolling around covered in oil. Aristotle can finally stop rolling around in his grave trying to solve that debate (rolling around in oil of course). I was going to go with Freud instead of Aristotle but it always seems to come back to phallic objects with him. Wrestling is pretty much covered in that department.
Shawn Michael’s acceptance speech for his Slammy was well crafted to ensure that he would receive boos later in the evening.
Kofi Kingston was all over the trash talk tonight. I hadn’t noticed this particular trait of his in the past. It’s effective and adds a raw sense of emotion to his matches that have been missing for years.
The emergence of the New Age Outlaws has become a Slammy Award Ceremony staple. I have to admit that I felt bad that most of the fans were clueless as they alluded to the past ceremony in which Road Dogg didn’t let Billy Gunn get in a word edgewise. Well, almost as bad as I felt given the fact that I was actually in attendance at last year’s Slammy Awards and was clueless as to the reference as well.
The Bella hatred ran strong in the Washington crowd. I felt bad for Brie because it seems as though most of the taunts were directed towards Nikki. That claim is completely baseless but I fully intend to stick with it.
Rey Mysterio appeared far swifter in his match this week. Normally I enjoy watching guys get tossed around but Rey has me worried. He’s an iconic performer. It’s hard to imagine another lucha star in the United States ever breaking more glass ceilings with such longevity ever again in history. Whether it was ECW, WCW or WWE he has always found a way to be the highlight reel of the show. The downside is that such success has taken an absurd toll on his body. I cringed when Ryback held him overhead because I don’t want him to take such extreme abuse anymore. Apparently neither did Rey because he managed to scurry free.
It felt as though Daniel Bryan winning Superstar of the Year came far too early in the night. It should have been placed near Match of the Year. At the time I had scribbled down that I was disappointed with the lack of interesting interaction between Shawn Michaels and Daniel Bryan. The final segment made that frustration vanish.
If we have a new Sin Cara then could we please get new Sin Cara lights? They look kind of interesting for about the first 30 seconds of a match. When I saw one of his matches live I could hardly make out the action inside the ring.
Natalya got to hug her uncle Bret on the way to the ring so that’s cute and all. I like Hart but man is he god awful on the microphone. He did a PPV panel recently and it was excruciating. Great talent in the ring – but I would rather fall asleep to Jillian Hall singing me lullabies for a year straight than listen to Bret Hart cut a promo in 2014. I will make that sacrifice for you WWE Universe.
JBL is trying hard to set up for the possibility that Daniel Bryan could join the Wyatts following his match against them at the PPV. Bray continues to tell Bryan to come aboard. If Triple H really is as vindictive as people would like to pretend to believe than he will punish the fans for their segment ruining chants by turning Bryan heel to join the Wyatts. Or – stay with me – it’s potentially a cool story and has nothing to do with punishing the fans.
I could get into all of the different Slammy Awards and who won versus who should have won, but you guys voted so I’ll respect your choices. AMERICA!*
*and other places that voted
Sandow bowled over Santino on his way to fight Langston for the IC Title on Sunday. The Cobra never stood a chance.
Brodus Clay is a man in transition. I’m all aboard but this thing could derail at any moment. The tough balance is that Clay cannot base his entire turn around Xavier Woods. To do so could keep Woods from keeping the substantial ground that he has already gained. Woods is at the point right now where I get excited when he comes on screen because I see a lot of potential. Unfortunately he is also at the point where up until the moment he walks onto the screen I completely forget that he exists. Tricky tricky.
Time to address the final segment. Fans fans fans. It was clearly all about the fans in this one. The Daniel Bryan chants at the start was a powerful moment. Not enough credit has been given to Triple H in the wake of the outstanding crowd involvement. Triple H’s pause was brilliantly timed. He allowed the crowd to fully swell and find their voice. The risk of course is that the fans could get out of control. Instead, Triple H laid out the ground work that allowed John Cena to cut one of his strongest promos of the year.
Why does Rey Mysterio stand with such a wide stance? I mean, isn’t the guy short enough already? If his legs were stretched apart any farther his jeans would have ripped.
Jack Swagger and The Great Khali looked wildly out of place with the rest of the talent in the ring.
Fans fans fans. Daniel Bryan could only stand and laugh as the crowd erupted time and time again.
Punk’s happiness for Bryan shone through the entire segment. It amused him to no end that Orton could hardly get a word in edgewise. The fans aren’t too pleased that Bryan is not involved in this monumental angle.
HBK trying to hush the crowd was a well done moment. Inside he was obviously beaming for his former student.
Randy Orton is a liability when the crowd gets unruly. It was less than a year ago that he fought Sheamus in front of a very rambunctious RAW crowd the night after Wrestlemania. The so-called Apex Predator was beside himself the entire match. Last night was barely an exception. Orton’s line about the Montreal Screwjob as he tore down the former Champions momentarily granted him heat from the crowd. Up until that point they merely chanted about their boredom regarding his speaking ability. That line helped him receive actual reactions for the things that he was saying.
It would have been nice if Orton had reminded the fans that he used to be known as the Legend Killer instead of just heckling the Legends in the ring. His whole motivation for going against Cena could have been that he wants to kill the legend of Cena as the face of the company. Somewhere in creative a great opportunity was missed. Orton was clearly reciting lines instead of riffing and it cost him a lot of ground in the final segment. He could not have appeared weaker going into the final match of his Championship’s existence.
The madness after the Ascension ceremony set up a couple of possible matches in the future. I’m resisting the urge to speculate on them because I’m mindful that several may have been more teases than anything else.
John Cena is a master. He used the chants for Bryan to perfection. He not only put Bryan over but swiped some of that momentum for his own fervor. Cena handled that situation in a way that very few could ever hope. His lines about Orton’s past seemed heavily inspired by the likes of CM Punk. He tore right after the protection Orton has been granted by the company. It’s a protection that has greatly angered me in the past in particular regarding his treatment towards women. An interview back in 2005 covers some of Orton’s “great” character traits of which Cena was referring:
In the words of Rochelle Loewen: "The reason Randy Orton did what he did had nothing to do with the competition," she disclaimed, "his behavior had everything to do with how pathetic this person is, how psycho he is, and how his mentality is completely off-key with what normal mentalities should be. Maybe momma wasn't nice to him when he was a little boy or dropped him on his head too many times.”
Perhaps he does hear voices in his head after all. Well done Mr. Cena.
Usually as a Title rises into the air before a big match it seems a bit hokey. After all the PPV will take place in a completely different arena. This time there was a respectful and powerful buzz in the air as the Titles soared high overhead. As a fan watching RAW it would seem that there is no chance in hell that John Cena loses. But sometimes that is exactly when the company lashes out with an all new direction.
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