12/8 RAW: Welcome back to 1995

Mike Tedesco’s RAW Thoughts
December 9, 2014
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com

Ladies and gentleman, my greatest fear has been realized. We truly are back to WWF 1995 levels of bad with this company. There is just not much that is positive about the company right now. They have no real stars other than John Cena and whatever guys who were big fifteen or twenty years ago and they don’t have any stories that are any interesting. There are just guys that show up on television doing stuff that is quickly forgotten about fifteen minutes later. There’s nothing to hook you or keep you interested in wanting to see what comes next.

Last night’s show was just one in a seemingly endless stream of bad television shows. The Slammy Awards gimmick is so tired and boring. The awards mean nothing. Half the winners didn’t even show up, so if you think it was frustrating to watch on television, imagine sitting there in the arena having paid good money for it. Sting wins… but he’s not here. They couldn’t even film The Ultimate Warrior’s family accepting the Slammy for him. That would have been a nice moment for the broadcast. Chris Jericho wins… he’ll be here next week. What a joke. Even if they don’t rig the system, they couldn’t have planned ahead for these things?

I get that some people may think I’m being overly negative, but if you know anything about wrestling, you would know that this is an epically bad period for them. If you’re entertained by this drivel, then you’re a better person than I am.

My problem is that there’s no attention to detail. It’s almost like Vince McMahon has forgotten about how to be a promoter. Brock Lesnar, the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, hasn’t been seen on television since September. He’s going to be on television next week, but would you know that from watching last night’s show? Absolutely not. You’d think that would be something they would want to promote to drive up the numbers for next week. Having Chris Jericho as a guest host is something, but wouldn’t you think people who care about Lesnar or the championship would want to know so they can tune in?

How about the storylines or lack thereof? Big Show and Erick Rowan are feuding because Rowan doesn’t like bullies. As far as I can tell, they never had an issue before Survivor Series. Ryback and Kane are feuding because he bothered him as Concessions Kane and squeezed ketchup on him. Sure, they may have had a little something before Survivor Series, but that hasn’t been brought up. In fact, nothing about their feud has been brought up. It’s just understood that they have a problem and are feuding because of it.

Then you have the John Cena and Seth Rollins feud. What a way to build up a feud. Cena goes out and says there is no way that Rollins could pin or submit him, but maybe he could pull off a freak win by putting him through a table. So we’re told that if this were a regular match, it wouldn’t even be anything worth watching because Cena is so far and beyond Rollins, but since it’s a Tables Match, even if Rollins pulls out a victory it would be a complete and total fluke. Cool – sign me up. If this were on regular PPV, this would be absolutely doomed.

Last week, Vince McMahon was so defensive about his writing staff of nearly thirty people. McMahon said this was the wave of the future and the company is evolving. However, since they went over to the giant writing staff, the product has gotten colder and colder. They changed the entire way they do business and have gotten worse. Change for the sake of change doesn’t mean anything. If it helps the product grow and increases its popularity, then it was a good move. However, it’s not doing anything for them. None of these guys know anything about wrestling. They don’t know how to write for the genre. They don’t know how to build wrestling characters or how to make a star. The product is as cold as it’s ever been in the last twenty years, and it doesn’t show any signs of getting better.

Well, let me get on to reviewing this show. There were some things I liked, don’t worry.

I liked the way the show opened up with Seth Green coming out. Unlike other guest hosts who show up and are just kind of there, Green comes off as a guy who seems to legitimately be happy about being there. He seems to know the product and is thrilled to be involved. He talked about the “This Is Awesome” Moment of the Year award, which brought out The Miz and Damien Mizdow. Those two were on point all night. Mizdow was cracking me up all night, and he was a lot of fun in this segment. The crowd was really into him as well.

Before the winner was announced, they wanted to have a match. They sent out Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins, which immediately got me interested. These two were the final two survivors at Survivor Series and had a great little exchange there, so I had high hopes for this match. They did about thirty seconds of wrestling before hitting a commercial. Then we came back from the break, and they immediately went to doing near falls. Like come on, give this match a little time. I guess I shouldn’t complain, since it was such a nice change of pace to start RAW off with a match rather than a half hour of talking, but at least give it room to grow. Instead we went to a cheap finish where Rollins got the victory after some J&J Security interference and that was that.

Then Seth Green announced that Sting won the “This Is Awesome” Moment of the Year before announcing that Sting wasn’t there, which got boos from the crowd. They had to know that was going to happen. Here’s an idea – since Rollins was going to take the award anyway, why not let him get the heat from the crowd. “I deserve this award and hell, Sting isn’t even here people!” Rollins is the heel. Let him be the heel and taunt the crowd about Sting.

The Kofi Kingston match against Stardust was ok. I didn’t mind it all that much. The feud with The New Day and Gold and Stardust is just another of those questionable booking choices made by WWE. The New Day already defeated Gold and Stardust in a little under two minutes in the Tag Team Turmoil match last week. What’s so interesting that you’d want to see it again when The New Day so easily dispatched them? At least it’s on the kickoff show. It doesn’t matter anyway. It really doesn’t. The New Day is going to be stuck right where they were before they took on this gimmick.

Moving on to a little later, we get the debut of Charlotte to promote this Thursday’s NXT live special on the WWE Network. This was such an asininely stupid thing. Charlotte debuts in the Carolinas, where her dad was a legend, and she’s there as the NXT Women’s Champion to promote for the Thursday special… and she loses in about two minutes. Yeah, I really want to sign up for the WWE Network and watch a person perform who couldn’t even beat Natalya, who hasn’t been relevant on TV in ages. They just made it clear that champions from NXT can’t even come up and beat the lower-tier performers on the main roster. Ugh, next.

Paul Heyman accepted the “OMG!” Shocking Moment of the Year Award for Brock Lesnar. Heyman said two sentences about Lesnar breaking the streak and walked off. He couldn’t promote that his client would be on television next week?

I really liked the next segment with Bray Wyatt and Dean Ambrose. For months, Wyatt has been toeing the line between face and heel. He does heel-like things, but then he was doing the “’Insert town name’… we’re here” thing. Finally, Wyatt came out and cut a clear heel promo. Wyatt talked about being a monster and despising each and every person in the crowd. A clear direction for the character. Then Dean Ambrose made the heroic return that I predicted he’d make in my Smackdown column. Ambrose came out and ripped off the neck brace before wildly attacking Wyatt in what turned out to be a very good segment. If I were laying out the card, this would be the main event of the PPV. I think these guys could tear the house down if they were given the time.

That was the one real bright spot of the evening. Then we went right back to the stupid and poorly conceived when they put Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in a match. These guys teamed up for a year and a half, never actually broke up, and now they’re match is being given away for free? At least it ended quickly.

The next fifteen or twenty minutes were spent giving out another stupid Slammy and trying to make people interested in seeing Rusev take on Jack Swagger again. As much as it appears they have run out of things to do with Rusev and are just giving him the same feuds he started out with, this had some heat. It probably had the most heat of anything on the show. Swagger has as much of a chance of beating Rusev as he did all summer, but at least it worked here for the night.

I liked the six-man tag team match solely for the entertainment of Damien Mizdow. He was in rare form last night. He was throwing himself around mimicking Miz. My personal favorite was him doing a handstand at ringside while Ryback had Miz up for a vertical suplex. Like come on, that’s comedy. I really needed that ridiculousness to help me get through the final hour.

Then we had Dolph Ziggler accept the award for Match of the Year on behalf of Team Cena. Ziggler came out and cut the type of promo that went out with the goodie-goodie face in the early 1990s. It was gag inducing. For those who think Ziggler is going to get pushed to the moon, we’ll see how he’s doing around WrestleMania time.

AJ Lee had a boring match against Summer Rae. Earlier in the night, AJ accepted the Diva of the Year Award before cutting a promo that hinted that she might not be around this time next year. You could probably interpret it differently, but that’s how it came off to me.

Then we had three long segments where there was absolutely nothing going on. We had the “new and improved” aka same old Fandango accept Chris Jericho’s award and a Big Show promo in the first segment. The next segment was Booker T coming out to crickets and announcing that the Superstar of the Year would be introduced in the next segment.

Then we finally had the Superstar of the Year presentation, and it went to Roman Reigns. Reigns came out to a decent reception, but it clearly demonstrated that the award system was rigged. I don’t care how many reports come out saying it’s legitimate. It’s wrestling. It’s all a work. I just cannot believe that he was legitimately voted in. He may have been in the runner up or so, but I don’t think he would win straight up. Not that it matters. It really doesn’t. Who cares about Superstar of the Year? The only thing is it shows is that they’re going to start shoving him down the throats of the fans and believe me, there will be blow back to that. They’ll kill him before he ever had a chance. Just look at what happened to Batista last year. They put the rocket on him and were pushing him hard, but the crowd wasn’t taking it. I have a feeling it’ll be that way this time around as well, especially because Reigns isn’t exuding charisma. They also write the most awful promos for him, and he delivers them with all the excitement of having a car battery hooked to your genitals. It looks like another year of John Cena being the only guy.

Finally, John Cena and Big Show had their 500th match on WWE television. Yeah, it was bad. They started the match in the overrun portion, so even though they have three-hours to work with, they can’t properly pace out the show to give a main event time. Then there was a big brawl that saw everyone involved in a gimmick match at TLC, minus Wyatt and Ambrose, beat the snot out of each other. The heels wound up standing tall at the end of the show and mercifully it was over.

It really takes a lot out of me to review this show. I want to be positive about it, but I’d be being a fraud. I can’t endorse or support the product when it’s this bad. They’re not doing anything to improve their situation. They ran for years squashing anyone who could potentially become a big star and now they’re stuck where they have no one but John Cena, and his star power isn’t what it once was. This is very similar to when Hulk Hogan left the company, and they didn’t have anyone to replace him. The WWF suffered for years without him. At least when Stone Cold Steve Austin got injured, they had The Rock, Triple H, and Mick Foley to pick up the slack. Like I said, this current product is very reminiscent of 1995 when the WWF was at it’s worst. They have no real stars other than John Cena, their way of creating shows is dated and not working, and there doesn’t appear to be any real replacements on the way. I don’t think Roman Reigns will be able to do it because they’ll kill any momentum he can build by shoving him down our throats. The WWE is in trouble, and it doesn’t appear that it’s going to get any better anytime soon.

Bump of the Night: Luke Harper slamming Dolph Ziggler through the table
Match of the Night: The six-man tag team match **

Final Rating: * 3/4

E-Mail – MikeyT817@gmail.com
Twitter – @MikeTedescoWV

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.