Mike Tedesco’s RAW Thoughts
August 5, 2014
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
OK, I’ll admit that I jinxed it by saying they were on a roll with the good episodes of RAW last week. This one was a bit of a stinker. It provided some more hype for SummerSlam, but there wasn’t anything too groundbreaking. Probably the best thing about the show was the Brock Lesnar/John Cena hype video that showed the sit-down interviews with them. Still, I’ll collect my thoughts and see how I really feel about the episode as I reflect.
I actually really liked the opening segment. I really got a kick out of the weird dichotomy of the heel authority figures shilling a service that strongly benefits the people they’ll be trying to piss off in a matter of minutes. It was really good hype for the WWE Network, though. Triple H went over all of the great matches coming up for SummerSlam and kept reiterating that you get all of that for $9.99. It is a hell of a value when you really think about it because it’s not just that. There’s a lot of great features to take advantage of as well. My only problem with this was the commentators kind of made a joke about the $9.99 price tag throughout the show. It was a running gag with them to see who could sneak $9.99 into their commentating. They should have put over all of the other great things on the WWE Network rather than just shilling the price and laughing. The WWE Network is a big deal for this company, which I don’t even need to explain to you (hopefully). Treating it as a joke and laughing about the promotion probably isn’t the right move.
The rest of the segment was ok. Randy Orton cut pretty much the same promo that he did on Smackdown. Roman Reigns took something that was precious for him, so he’s going to destroy him. Roman Reigns then came through the crowd and was pretty good. Reigns said he would beat Orton’s ass for free tonight, but Triple H instead booked him in a Last Man Standing match against Kane.
I was pretty excited about this match to kick off the show, but that soon wore off. If you’re going to book a Last Man Standing match, you have to know that people are going to be expecting some bigger spots. It was like 1,000 whips into the barricade followed by something with the stairs, a Chokeslam through a folding table, a lame spot where the stairs were standing on end, and a Spear to keep him down. I know that establishes the Spear as this devastating finishing move, but to end a Last Man Standing match? John Cena had to give Bray Wyatt an AA through a crate to keep him down. Kane is a Demon – I just expected more from this. It was pretty disappointing. They didn’t mix well and it got really boring.
I absolutely loved the video package they put together for Brock Lesnar and John Cena featuring their sit-down interviews. This was similar to what they did for Extreme Rules in 2012, but a little more intense. Lesnar may suck on the live microphone, but with some coaching from Paul Heyman, he absolutely seems like a remorseless killer. I’ve been watching a lot of those Forensic Files shows on Netflix (they have a whole slew of them available to watch), and he seemed like some of those killers that get interviewed. There doesn’t seem to be anything behind the eyes. No soul – nothing. It was absolutely fantastic. The build for this is great. Lesnar appeared once before the live crowd a few weeks back, John Cena appeared once before the crowd last week, and this week it’s just a video. They don’t need to have big pull-apart brawls in this feud. Just keep this going and let the first time they lock horns be on PPV. I cannot wait for this match to happen.
Damien Sandow came out dressed as an Oklahoma Sooner in the heart of the Texas Longhorn’s country just so the commentators could take a few jabs at Jim Ross. Mark Henry, who I haven’t seen in a while, came out, beat him in seconds, and that was that. I like Sandow doing the different characters, but I’m so tired of the JR-shtick. I’m sure JR doesn’t care at all; I’m just tired of having to be subjected to this silliness.
I’m just going to come out and say it – Adam Rose is absolutely sinking on the main roster. They have no idea what to do with this character, and I have completely lost any interest. That segment with the mirror from Oculus was terrible. Yes, it was bad writing, but sometimes you can save something with some good delivery, but he was completely uninspired. It’s only a matter of time before budget cuts prevent him from having his Rosebuds with him at ringside, and then one more where he will be future endeavored.
The Beat the Clock Challenge with Dean Ambrose and Alberto Del Rio was a real 15-minute snooze-fest. I like Ambrose a lot, but this was another combination of people who don’t mix well. Maybe they just had an off night, who knows? I was thoroughly bored to tears by this one. There were sloppy spots and lacked a serious amount of heat. It seems like they were told it had to be fifteen minutes so they just some things to get there. The only thing I really liked in this was the inverted superplex Del Rio hit on Ambrose. It looked pretty scary. Ambrose takes a big chance in seemingly every match he’s in. I definitely appreciate that he does that, but he doesn’t have the girth that Mick Foley did to absorb some of that. It’s only a matter of time before one of these high risks slows him down significantly. It’d be a shame if it were on an episode of Main Event or Smackdown that no one is even really going to see. Save your big shots for the PPVs.
Rusev beat Sin Cara in a match that took place on the WWE App. At least they put a match that didn’t matter at all on the app. This is the second time they’ve done something like this with the app recently. They gave away the finish to Cesaro vs. Kofi Kingston a month ago on the app. I guess they’re trying to make it seem like the app is so important since anything can happen at any time. I have the app for a totally different reason – I just sit around waiting for them to accidentally get the commentators saying something inappropriate as they’ve done in the past.
Zeb Colter came out with Jack Swagger after the match, and they had another great, red-hot segment. The traditional xenophobic storyline may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m in love with this. Everything they do is great. I just hope it translates into a good match. Colter was a lot of fun in this with the pictures from stock photos of a generic construction worker and a generic nurse. Colter gave them names and a backstory. Colter then got probably the biggest pop of the night by mentioning the men and women of the armed forces. Rusev then blindsided Swagger and beat him up with the Russian Federation flag. Rusev got some good heat for that. That was a good move. Swagger had been getting the best of him lately, so that was the right call there. This was another very good segment from these four.
Cesaro’s streak of mediocrity continued with a loss to Dolph Ziggler. I’m not saying a loss to Ziggler is an upset – I’m just saying he dominated and then was basically beat with one move. Ziggler then had a face-off with The Miz in the ring, who he’ll be facing at SummerSlam. It was just a segment that was there.
Goldust and Stardust returned to action against the only team they’ve faced on television: RybAxel. They took a month off from televised competition to talk about a cosmic key (which we’re not even sure has been resolved) just to face the same team they faced last time. Sounds good!
After this segment, Kane gave his mask back to Stephanie McMahon. This just didn’t feel like a big deal. It wasn’t really treated as such and it wasn’t spoken about after the commercial break. This would be the third time he’s unmasked, the second time in under a year. We know what his face looks like. The thought did cross my mind, crazy as it may be, that maybe it’s his final hurrah. He can’t make it happen anymore, so he’s hanging it up. Yeah, crazy thought, I know.
Chris Jericho took on Luke Harper in what was a better match than the one on Smackdown last week with Erick Rowan. Harper is quite obviously the better of the two, and he had a fun match against Jericho. Bray Wyatt tried to distract him to cause a loss, but Jericho came back and had it won. Wyatt then ran in and hit what looked like a clothesline, but the commentators tried to push that he spiked him with his thumb like Umaga used to do. It didn’t look like he did at all, but Jericho was selling it like that. I like the old Samoan Spike. It’s something good for Wyatt to have. You can hit it from out of nowhere, which is what the best finishers usually are. Sister Abigail is good, but the setup is a little clunky sometimes.
I don’t care about the Fandango, Summer Rae, and Layla garbage.
Bo Dallas got back on track with his winning ways. Sure, he blatantly cheated by pulling the tights, but he got the win. R-Truth attacked him after the match, so Dallas beat the snot out of him at ringside, including hitting him with a good-looking Bo-Dog on the floor. I love the Bo Dallas character. I just want to see what the next plan is for him.
Seth Rollins was supposed to face Rob Van Dam, who we haven’t seen in a while, but after he made his entrance, he was sent to the back in favor of Heath Slater. Dean Ambrose came out and took Rollin’s Money in the Bank briefcase to cause havoc. Ambrose destroyed the contract before pouring soda, popcorn, and putting JBL’s hat inside. That was pretty fun. Slater then rolled him up for the win, making that the second time in under a month he’s done something shocking (like eliminating Cesaro from the Battleground Battle Royal). Due to the win, Ambrose can pick the stipulation for the match at SummerSlam.
The contract signing for the Brie Bella vs. Stephanie McMahon closed out the show. The ladies close out the show for the second week in a row, and it was another good segment. Brie Bella was very good on the microphone this week, which is a surprise since that isn’t quite her strong suit. Stephanie was great with this as well, but that’s nothing new. She’s been off the charts fantastic with all of her work in recent months. The verbal back and forth was good, but I really liked the attack afterwards. The Pedigree to Nikki Bella was pretty cool as Triple H sandwiched Brie in the corner with the table. Brie then ate a Pedigree that looked pretty nasty. I’m definitely looking forward to this match and seeing what they do with it. Obviously it’s not going to be a straight up beating. They’ll probably have a surprise or two thrown in there, most likely a heel turn by Nikki. SummerSlam is shaping up to be a hell of a show, and it has to be. They need to get those subscriber numbers up.
One quick side note – they announced that 170 countries would have the WWE Network made available to them on August 12. That’s very good news for them. The only thing I thought was really weird was that the United Kingdom wouldn’t get it until October 1. So 170 countries will get it next week, but the UK needs to wait two more months? I don’t get that. I’m not a business expert, but I don’t get why they wouldn’t have made more of an effort to get the WWE Network out in the UK as soon as possible, especially since they go there twice a year and do tremendous business. There’s probably a good reason for it, but it struck me as odd.
Bump of the Night: Del Rio giving Ambrose an inverted superplex
Match of the Night: The Last Man Standing Match * 3/4
Final Rating: ** 1/2
Check out my recap of this week’s RAW here. Be sure to check out my Smackdown recap this Friday!
Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE RAW and Smackdown for Wrestleview.com.