Mike Tedesco’s RAW Thoughts
June 24, 2014
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
It has been a really long time since I’ve done one of these. I used to do them every week for years, but like a lot of things in life, you get burned out sometimes, and it’s hard to get back into the groove. However, I just recently celebrated my sixth year with this website and went on a nostalgia kick as I read some of my very first recaps from 2008. Yes, some of my thoughts were totally whack (like thinking Matt Hardy was on the verge of being a bona fide WWE main eventer), but I found that passion for wanting to share my thoughts on the product with the people again, so here I am. I can’t guarantee that I’m going to do these every week, but I will do my best. I know a lot of people have been asking for them for some time anyway. As for Smackdown thoughts, I wouldn’t want you to hold your breath. Smackdown hasn’t had much of anything that has made me want to break it down and discuss it. The show can be quite boring at times. I’ll think about it I suppose.
Now, on to my thoughts on RAW…
The show kicked off with a surprisingly hot segment involving Stephanie McMahon and Vickie Guerrero. It’s no secret that Vickie has been on the way out of the WWE for months now. Many thought that her final date was WrestleMania XXX, but she decided to stay on so the character could be written off into the sunset. Well, tonight was the night sun set for her. Vickie was in trouble for accidentally getting Stephanie violently sick last week in one of those segments that happen sporadically on these shows that just make you shake your head and wonder what you’re doing watching it, and now it was time for her to face the consequences.
I thought the public humiliation Stephanie was laying on Vickie was fine for what her character is until it got to the Eddie Guerrero reference. The reference itself wasn’t said disrespectfully, but I just couldn’t help shaking my head when it was said. If it hadn’t been for the embarrassing exploitation of his death in 2006, I would have been fine with this. Who could forget Randy Orton saying Eddie Guerrero is in hell just three months after his death? That’s just one memory that is not easily forgotten about, and I cringe anytime they incorporate his name into a storyline. I felt the same way when Batista was feuding with Rey Mysterio in 2009, and Mysterio tried to reason with him by asking what Eddie would think. Still, the promo managed to make a comeback in my mind when Vickie finally stood up for herself and mentioned Eddie’s longtime credo of lying, cheating, and stealing. Stephanie challenged her to a match or simply be fired, and Vickie accepted in what was a huge pop. The crowd was really into this, particularly when Stephanie said she would be Vickie’s opponent. What I thought was going to be a long, drawn out firing turned out to be a really cool segment with something to look forward to later in the evening. Vickie was fantastic in this, and Stephanie was on point, as usual. Stephanie, by the way, as I’m sure has been talked about before, is doing the best work of her career. I’m just saying that now because I haven’t done one of these in forever.
The first match was Jimmy Uso taking on Luke Harper in a singles match to build some hype for the WWE Tag Team Championship match this Sunday at WWE Money in the Bank. Harper and Rowan came out to the sound of an accordion playing, “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands.” I found it kind of creepy and kind of humorous. It grew gradually funnier as it continued on. This was a nothing match that saw Harper pick up a quick win over Jimmy. Jey Uso then challenged Erick Rowan to a match, and we had our second match of the evening shortly after this. Jey picked up the win to even the score between the two teams, however Harper and Rowan utterly decimated them afterward. That was a great beat down, and they got a lot of good heat to head into Sunday at the PPV. I’m actually looking forward to this match.
Bray Wyatt appeared on the screen and cut a promo about how he and The Wyatt Family are going to dominate the world after Money in the Bank. It was a typical Wyatt promo, but naturally really well done and delivered.
Naomi and Alicia Fox had a match, but you wouldn’t know that from the way they filmed this. The cameras probably spent half the time on Cameron and Paige on commentary rather than the actual match in the ring. Cameron is apparently going heel, but I just couldn’t care less. She was really monotone and stumbled over what she was saying a couple of times. She has some issue with Paige, but it was really unclear what exactly it was other than it’s probably due to the fact that she’s a rookie. Paige continued to have little to no charisma on commentary for this. She wasn’t particularly sharp with her comebacks at Cameron, and her post-match interaction with Naomi where they shook hands just left me yawning like Cameron was on commentary. Paige is a great talent, don’t get me wrong, but there is no character whatsoever. The video package they did for her a month ago or so was good, but there was no follow up with that. It’s totally boring. This segment just dragged.
Bo Dallas continues to impress me every week, and it appears he’s catching on with the crowd. They were really into everything he was doing and laughing at his campiness. That moment where Titus O’Neil slapped the microphone out of his hand and he went to retrieve it before saying, “Silly me… butterfingers” was absolutely great. I’ve seen some of his stuff from NXT (most recently that Mr. NXT thing and subsequent attempt to escape the security of Full Sail University was one of the funniest things I’ve seen all year), and I hope he’s able to bring a lot of that to the big show, and I don’t mean Paul Wight. He’s doing a great job so far.
Triple H was out next to hype up the Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match before announcing the people who would compete along with Seth Rollins. Triple H did a good job with the hype and the introductions for the competitors. I like the lineup with Kofi Kingston being the guy to do the bumps who has no shot of winning, Jack Swagger as a previous winner trying to get some glory back, Dolph Ziggler as the guy people want to get ahead but won’t (for now at least), and Rob Van Dam as the established talent looking for one more big run. The lineup for the contract match is pretty solid already even without the addition that would come a few moments later.
Seth Rollins then cut a really decent promo about why he dropped The Shield and why he’ll win on Sunday. I like the new look of Rollins. He’s being built up as the future of the business, and he’s even wearing a futuristic looking outfit. Those tights have a really cool look to them. He’s definitely set himself apart from The Shield and his new character and mic work are very good. Rob Van Dam came out to challenge him to a match. Rollins exchanged some barbs about his age, and then it led to a match.
The match between Rollins and RVD was ok. For some reason, RVD repeats the same spots multiple times in matches. He did the corner wheel kick on him at least twice. RVD can still bring something to the table, but he needs to be able to work around his age. He probably needs to slow it down a step or two because he sometimes it looks like he’s wrestling underwater. His moves definitely aren’t as crisp as they were ten years ago, but that’s because he’s ten years older. It’s ok to wrestle at his age, but you need to know how to work around the limitations. I suppose the problem with his style is that it’s so intense and in your face that it’s hard to take it easy as a performer.
Anyway, Rollins had RVD beat when Dean Ambrose ran in through the crowd and beat him up a bit. This was really hot and the crowd responded well to it. Ambrose is a really exciting character, and I think he’s got tremendous upside even after this rivalry with Rollins is finished. Ambrose cut a promo about how he’s going to screw up the show unless he’s put into the contract match, and Rollins wound up lobbying for him to get in. I don’t quite understand that logic. Why add another opponent into a multi-person match, especially one that has his eyes set only on you? It wouldn’t be too hard to double up security, but since this is wrestling, Ambrose would probably get through that anyway. It should add an interesting dynamic to the contract match, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens. I can’t quite call who is going to win yet.
The next match was for the WWE Intercontinental Championship with Bad News Barrett defending against Dolph Ziggler. I wasn’t expecting much from this match as I had already seen it on Smackdown a few days prior. It also wasn’t at the top of the hour, so I figured there wouldn’t be a title change (since that appears to be the times they want anything major to happen figuring there will be a lot of eyes on the product at that time), however I still really got into the near falls just because the crowd was so into it. It was actually an above average match with some good action and a fun finishing sequence.
The next match was at the top of the hour, and it was Vickie Guerrero taking on Stephanie McMahon, but the caveat that wasn’t revealed prior was that it was to be fought in a mud pool. The first one in the pool loses. This was a lot of fun and the perfect way to write a character like Vickie Guerrero out of the WWE. Vickie came out to Eddie’s theme song, which was a nice touch. Stephanie was hilarious here. She had Alicia Fox, Layla, and Rosa Mendes (where’s she been all this time?), and they tried to throw Vickie into the pool, but Vickie fought them off. Stephanie finally blindsided Vickie and threw her in before doing a hilariously corny celebration with “YES!” chants and “Kiss Him Goodbye” being sung. Vickie then turned around, and Stephanie’s change in demeanor was hilarious. Vickie then tossed her into the pool, and Stephanie took it like a champ, swimming around in there and accidentally pulling a referee in. Vickie then did the Eddie Guerrero shimmy and blew a kiss to the sky and to the fans before leaving. It was the most touching moment I’ve ever seen from someone covered head to toe in chocolate pudding… or mud… or crap… or whatever they were insinuating was in the pool.
They did a quick segment with Cody Rhodes as Stardust. I’m not quite sure where it’s heading, but I have some theories. If it looks like I’m right, I’ll share it soon. I kind of like the change in direction, though. Goldust was absolutely hilarious in this. He’s the “normal” one now.
Jack Swagger beat Kofi Kingston in a match that saw Swagger’s nose look like it got broken. I was stunned at how wild and out of control Kingston was in this match, and not in a good way. Kingston was wildly unsafe and way off his game. Swagger came out of that match looking like he had been through a war. Kingston overshot was I suppose was supposed to be a cross-body block, and a summersault plancha looked like he nearly landed wrong and spiked on his head. Fandango had a night like that against Goldust in the weeks heading into WrestleMania XXX. Things like this happen, but for as long as Kingston has been around and the position he is on the card, he can’t afford anymore showings like that.
Big E beat Damien Sandow dressed as Abraham Lincoln in a nothing match. Sandow isn’t doing anything for me. After watching a show for two and a half hours, I don’t really want to see any campy “comedy” at that point. If I wasn’t recapping the show, I’d have probably changed the channel. Big E then cut a promo on Rusev, who had a video earlier in the evening denigrating America from in front of the US Capitol building, and he spoke like a southern preacher. I wasn’t really feeling this. Rusev then attacked him and locked him in the Accolade. My guess is we’ll see this again at Money in the Bank.
The main event was a repeat from Smackdown with John Cena, Sheamus, and Roman Reigns taking on Bray Wyatt, Cesaro, Alberto Del Rio, and Randy Orton. The match was just as good as it was on Smackdown. I figured Del Rio would take the hit again, but it was Cesaro that got pinned by Sheamus. Kane attacked everyone after the match, and Triple H came out to enter him into the match. I don’t know if he’s just entering Kane in there to protect Orton or to screw Reigns or both. Orton was standing right by Triple H and didn’t react to the announcement at all. If Kane enters the match and annihilates everyone, then Orton was just not paying attention and out of character. The addition of Kane doesn’t do much for me. I’m having trouble separating him from Glen from Corporate still.
All in all, this was a solid show heading into Money in the Bank. The promo work was good and the hype was all there. Everything except for the Vickie Guerrero thing, which was great as well, had hype for the show. It’s shaping up to be a good one.
Bump of the Night: RVD hitting a moonsault off the apron on Rollins
Match of the Night: The 4-on-3 Handicap Match ** 1/2
Final Rating: *** 1/4
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Thanks for reading! Enjoy Money in the Bank!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE RAW and Smackdown for Wrestleview.com.