Mike Tedesco’s RAW Thoughts
November 25, 2014
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
It’s been no secret that I’ve been more than disappointed with the television that WWE has produced in the last few months, but I haven’t been flat out disgusted with the product until last night. WWE was given a huge opportunity following Survivor Series and the debut of Sting to put on a tremendous episode of Monday Night RAW and reinvigorate the fan base. You have to imagine that there was a lot more eyes on the show tonight. With all the great media about Sting showing up in a WWE ring for the first time in a nearly thirty year career, I’m sure a lot of displaced fans probably tuned in just to see the follow up.
Yes, WWE had the opportunity to start righting the ship and bring in some new viewers, and what did they do? Put on one of their most atrocious shows yet.
I don’t really know what to say anymore about how bad WWE has been. I was expecting great follow up because history has shown that WWE has (mostly) been able to follow up on good buzz and get people interested. I had friends, some who had given up on the product, texting me earlier in the day saying they were so excited for this show only to have them text me after it was over to tell me that this was the last time they ever get their hopes up on WWE. It’s really pathetic.
In all honesty, the brutality of this show comes down to two things: the length of the show itself and the writing staff. I’ll start with the writing staff. I don’t think there is a single person on that staff that has ever truly been a fan of the product. You really need to know the product before you can write for it. That’s a big “duh” rule right there. You’ve got people writing for wrestling that don’t seem to either a.) Be fans or b.) Know anything about the product at all. You know those shoot interviews everyone does when they leave WWE where they say that Kevin Dunn is the biggest enemy to professional wrestling there is? I’m starting to truly believe them.
The length of the show is the other thing, and let me preface this by saying that I know they’re not going to do away with the third hour anytime soon, if they ever do. However, if there is one killer to the ebb and flow of the show, it is that third hour. I don’t think this show would have been as terrible if they didn’t have to stretch every single segment out to fill up time like they did last night.
Let’s take the first two segments of the show that took up a half hour of time. You’d have thought that when Triple H and Stephanie McMahon came out after losing their power the night before that they would eat a ton of crow and be on their merry way in short order. Well, you’d have thought wrong. While eventually they did eat crow, Triple H spent about fifteen minutes (felt like way longer) stroking himself about how great The Authority is and reciting Jack Nicholson’s dialogue from “A Few Good Men” almost verbatim just for the hell of it. If I rolled my eyes any further back than I did during this segment, I’d probably have done permanent damage to my eyesight. Then he made a mention of Sting, so I guess they’ll be feuding at WrestleMania.
Finally Daniel Bryan made a surprise return to taunt them and lead the arena in a huge “YES!” chant to get them out of there, but only after they decided they were going to leave on their own accord. You see, The Authority can’t look like complete chumps even on their way out. However, it was great to see Bryan come back and at that first commercial break I was starting to feel confident that this was going to be a night filled with surprises and fun. The crowd was super hot going into the commercial break.
We entered into the second segment with Bryan revealing that he’d been put in charge of RAW for the evening, and he then called out the losing Team Authority to the stage. It was time for them to eat crow. Unfortunately, due to the show being so long, this segment had to be stretched out to the point where people were no longer reacting to Bryan by the end of it. To say this segment dragged was an understatement. Without the third hour, this segment could have been complete in maybe five minutes. Instead, literally every bit of it needed to be stretched to the breaking point. Bryan is a great character and really tried, but he doesn’t have the charisma to keep a fifteen-minute promo segment interesting. Hardly anyone on the roster does for that matter. It was all downhill from there.
The first match saw Ryback defeat Mark Henry in a match that barely went a minute long. Ryback, after receiving a huge pop a month ago upon his return and having television written around whether he’d be on Team Cena or Team Authority, hardly got any type of reaction from the crowd. They pumped in the fake “Feed me more” chants to try to make the presentation better. I wonder why the crowd isn’t in to him anymore? Could it be that they exposed him in that long match against Cesaro last week on RAW? Maybe it’s the fact that he had two weeks of television written around where his loyalties lie only to have him be the first face eliminated at Survivor Series and wound up being a complete nonentity in the match? I couldn’t tell you.
We had a quick segment with Vince McMahon and The Authority where he told them that they disappointed him. McMahon then said they had to make this right, and they drove off. To me, that just says that even though they built the last month of television on getting The Authority off television, they won’t really be gone at all.
Up next was Luke Harper defending the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Dean Ambrose. I completely, completely hated this match just because of the ending. Just another crappy non-finish. This one made about as much sense as Kane being disqualified for giving John Cena a big boot in a tag match in October. The match went long and the crowd wasn’t really into it. While I hated the Roanoke crowd for sitting on their hands before anything bad even happened on the show, last night was truly sad. This was a hot crowd, but a half-hour of talking and a lame Ryback match really quieted them down fast. Ambrose and Harper worked hard and got the crowd back toward the end, and then that crap finish (I’m really restraining myself from going off on a expletive-filled tirade) ruined everything.
Larry The Cable Guy was out with his shirt off in the next segment. If that wasn’t a sign that this show was completely off the tracks (or that it’s a sign of the apocalypse), then I don’t know what is.
The Miz and Damien Mizdow retained their Tag Team Titles against Gold and Stardust. Stupidly they’re already teasing dissension in the tag team. Michael Cole tried to say that Mizdow did all the work and Miz stole the glory, which I don’t get at all. They’re a team. Mizdow was actually getting abused toward the end of the match, and Miz picked up a win for the team. Who cares how it’s done? Are they still the champions? What does it matter who picks up the win in the end? Can we employ some logic? Then again I’m trying to use logic on an angle where one guy gets hip tossed and the other guy runs into the ring to do a flip to mimic him.
Earlier in the night, Daniel Bryan said either Rusev will recite the Pledge of Allegiance or he’ll have to defend his United States Championship in a company wide battle royal. Rusev wound up not having to do any of those things. They had Sgt. Slaughter come out to make Lana say it, but she only got halfway through when Rusev stopped her and challenged Slaughter to a fight. Jack Swagger then came out and made the save, so I guess that feud is starting up again. By the way, this is Jack Swagger who was too injured to be on Team Cena, but still competed without injury last week and AT SURVIVOR SERIES ITSELF! Has WWE tuned out of it’s own storylines like everyone else has? It’s absolutely maddening. I can’t recall writing this sloppy.
The “new and improved” Fandango is more of the same if you ask me. He’s actually worse because they took away his theme song that really got him over in the first place. Rosa Mendes is such a lost cause. She can’t wrestle and now we see she can’t dance either. I don’t know why they bother.
Big Show came out to talk about why he turned on Team Cena at Survivor Series. I got a real kick out of people listing the amount of times Big Show has turned heel and face in his career. Including WCW, he’s near thirty turns in his career, if not more. Talk about an unstable character. Then the people in production wonder why he never could get over like they thought he should. Big Show’s reasons actually made a lot of sense, and I could actually see where he was coming from. The crowd booed him, so he went off on them and challenged anyone in the back who thinks he’s a traitor to say it to his face.
Everyone was expecting John Cena to come out, since he’s the one who ate the Knockout Punch the night before. Instead it was Erick Rowan who is only a face because… I don’t know why. He just came out to be on Team Cena last week. Not exactly a huge turn. This was the spot for Cena to be out. Rowan was already out of the match when Big Show turned. I just don’t get it. Apparently the crowd didn’t either because you could hear a pin drop when Rowan came out. They had a brawl and a very small section of the crowd chanted Rowan’s name. I just don’t get what in the hell they’re doing in WWE anymore. The logical feud is Big Show and John Cena. Where in the hell does Erick Rowan fit in? My brain actually hurts thinking about it.
This company is so bad I’m starting to feel depressed as I put these thoughts into text.
The Bella Twins are both heels now because their feud worked out so well. You know what? I can’t even talk about this garbage any more. Let’s just get to the main event. I think the only thing I’m skipping over is a food fight with Ryback and Kane and an Adam Rose/Bunny segment.
Before the main event, John Cena and Dolph Ziggler were interviewed. If you thought that Ziggler was going to be the next big thing in WWE, then you have been fooled again. They made Ziggler come off as a guy who knows that he’s lucky to have survived the match the night before. He was soft spoken and talking about how Sting was a miracle. Then John Cena just cut him off and finished the promo himself. To me, Ziggler came off as a guy who knew he didn’t belong in the main event and was damn lucky to be there. That’s how you get over with a crowd…
The main event was what it was. John Cena and Dolph Ziggler easily handled Seth Rollins and the new age stooges of Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury. Of course Cena picked up the pin so Ziggler was an afterthought.
Then the final nail in the coffin was the chime of the anonymous RAW General Manager. Yes, that tired ass gimmick (which they later revealed was actually Hornswoggle) is back. I’m not sure if it’s a one-night thing (like Bryan was a one night GM), but I pray to god it is. My hope was that the heel authority figure role was going to take a rest if not be done away with completely for the foreseeable future. Instead we’re right back to where we started last week with another heel GM running the show. Jesus f’n Christ.
If ever there was a night to shake things up and press the reset button in WWE, last night was it. Instead, we got more of the same garbage that we’ve been getting for the last however many months. This show is stale. It’s boring and dated. You know where it really shows? In their WWE Network numbers. If those numbers don’t wake them up to the fact that their product isn’t reaching people the way it should, I don’t know what will. They had to give it away for free for god’s sake in their most desperate attempt yet to get people to sign on.
WWE needs serious help. I don’t know what it’ll take for them to realize it, but if the head honchos can sit in the gorilla position and think this shit is good enough to be on television, then they’re in serious trouble.
Bump of the Night: Ambrose giving Harper Dirty Deeds on the steel chair
Match of the Night: Miz and Mizdow vs. Gold and Stardust **
Final Rating: *
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.