Mike Tedesco’s RAW Review
March 10, 2015
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
After two weeks away from recapping Monday Night RAW due to a gig and actually attending what I thought was a very good show last week, I was raring to get back into it. I was excited to see how WWE would follow the momentum of the first good RAW on the Road to WrestleMania and – surprise, surprise – they put out a pretty terrible show. Last week was the first time where I felt like it was WrestleMania season. The crowd was hot and the product was decent. This week they took giant steps back. They had some angles payoff, but due to poor booking, they just didn’t have the pizzazz you’re looking for with a WrestleMania feud.
The Authority immediately kills the crowd
When the show kicked off, it sounded like the crowd was pretty hot. I was thinking to myself it’s definitely WrestleMania season and had high hopes for what I was about to see. What a difference 15 minutes makes. Randy Orton made his way to the ring to a nice pop. The Authority was waiting in the ring for him, and they wanted to welcome him back to the stable.
Ok, I have to break off here because I’ve been gone for two weeks and haven’t commented on this yet. I’m sorry, but this feud between Randy Orton and Seth Rollins is so stupid. When Orton returned at Fastlane, he came out to a huge pop and tried to attack Seth Rollins. It’s a simple angle. Rollins and The Authority turned on Orton and took him out for months. Orton returns, wants revenge, and will stop at nothing to get it. It’s so simple, and I know it worked based on the reaction Orton got upon his return. People wanted to see him get his hands on Seth Rollins. Naturally, simple and classic angles have no place on WWE television anymore. Creative has to be too cute for their own good. They have to modify a tried and true angle. What do they do? Let’s have Orton join back with The Authority to swerve them all!
When I watched that RAW two weeks ago, I cringed. They killed all of Orton’s return momentum with that. Everyone knew where this was eventually going to go. Why not just have Orton make some desperate attempts to attack Rollins for the next month until he gets The Authority to agree to a WrestleMania match? If he’s just doing run ins, it keeps Orton fresh and exciting. Too much Orton on television is not good. The guy doesn’t need to have long promos. All he needs to say is he wants to kill Rollins and then let his actions do the talking. Who exactly did these last two weeks help? Not a damn single person.
Worse yet, it’s completely against how The Authority has been portrayed over the last two years. The Authority is always steps ahead of everybody. They’ve only been thwarted by Daniel Bryan last year, Vince McMahon before Survivor Series, and Sting at Survivor Series. They’ve been portrayed as a dominant (way too dominant actually) and intelligent group, particularly Seth Rollins. Why would anyone in The Authority buy into the fact that Orton was just going to let bygones be bygones and bring him back in? These are questions that need to be asked in the writing room, not after the fact. Does anyone actually physically sit there and think about what they’re doing? Does anyone care about continuity?
I’m just getting started on this. More later.
Anyway, The Authority welcomed Orton back into the group, but it was obvious that everyone but Seth Rollins was skeptical of his intentions. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon have also been adamant that Orton is on their side. Kane, Big Show, and J&J Security were unsure of Orton. The damn stooges saw it coming, but Seth Rollins couldn’t? Are you kidding me? Orton then went around and verbally picked apart each member before telling Rollins exactly what he would do to him later in the evening. Orton then said he was just messing around and that was the end of the segment. That was also the end of the crowd. They were dead as a doornail after that. This was a segment that of course went too long and probably could have been done in a shorter backstage segment.
Intercontinental Championship Time Filler
After that rather long and boring segment, Daniel Bryan made his way to the ring for a non-title match against Bad News Barrett. This was bizarrely paced. The match started, went to commercial, and ended like a minute after the break. I’m sure you can guess that Barrett did not come out on top in this one. The announcers talked about how he’s 0-4 this month. Nothing says “we’re gonna get more serious with a title” than constantly jobbing out the champion and creating a storyline where people are just going back and forth stealing it. Barrett is losing so much that I wouldn’t be surprised to see him retain at WrestleMania. That’s how they’ve been handling the champion. He loses every match but the actual title match.
Dean Ambrose was out next to face the current holder of the stolen title, Stardust. Ambrose got a nice reaction coming out, but his match got absolutely no heat because he was facing the ice cold Stardust. I guess the brother vs. brother feud that everyone was clamoring to see didn’t turn out so well? After a rather lackluster match, Ambrose picked up the win. Then everyone who is involved or will be involved in the Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match at WrestleMania ran down to try to steal the title. It’s completely and totally unclear as to why everyone wants to steal the title. I guess it’s just the fun thing to do at the moment. R-Truth stole it and put it in a burlap sack. Barrett wanted it back, so R-Truth handed him a the sack, only it wasn’t the right sack. Inside was a replica toy belt, and R-Truth walked off with the actual one. The one thing I did enjoy about all this was R-Truth on commentary. Everything else was just complete and total filler.
Connor “The Crusher” to be honored in the Hall of Fame
This was definitely one of the highlights of the night for me. Connor was such a wonderful and moving story. WWE did right by him and made me proud to be a wrestling fan. The video that they put together last night choked me up big time. My hat is off to WWE for doing this.
Paul Heyman is the main event of WrestleMania
It’s not Brock Lesnar or Roman Reigns who is the real main eventer of WrestleMania this year. It’s Paul Heyman. This guys is single-handedly carrying the main event with his promos. The promo he cut last night was pure gold. Heyman capitalized on the speculation surrounding Brock Lesnar’s contract status to create more buzz around a rather uninteresting main event. Heyman brought up the possibility to Lesnar going to UFC with the WWE Championship before stating that there will not be a Montreal Screwjob scenario at WrestleMania. Heyman also had microphone troubles for the second week in a row, but he sailed through them like a pro.
The only thing that I didn’t really care for in this was Heyman talking about Roman Reigns’ childhood. People are already having a hard time buying into him, so exaggerating his background by claiming he and his cousins used to beat up football players as kids at the behest of his father is way too farfetched. WWE claims this is the Reality Era. That background barely exists in fantasy.
Brock Lesnar was there, but he did nothing. He just stood there and collected another easy payday. I was hoping he would return later to fight with Reigns, but that didn’t happen. I shudder to think what this main event would look like if Paul Heyman wasn’t there.
Erick Rowan’s music is the worst thing on Earth
I said a few weeks back in one of my recaps (I can’t remember if it was the RAW or Smackdown one) that Erick Rowan’s music is the worst ever produced by WWE. It’s way worse than Bertha Faye and Right To Censor. Last night confirmed it once and for all. His music annihilated whatever buzz Paul Heyman managed to drum up in the previous segment. What’s worse is he was teaming with Ryback, and they came out together. Why not just have them come out to Ryback’s music?
The tag match that followed was simply sad to watch. Ryback and Rowan faced Big Show and Kane. You could literally hear a pin drop. The crowd was deathly silent. It didn’t help matter that the match itself would have been bad anyway. Big Show and Kane had a clunky ending that saw Big Show accidentally knock out his partner. Getting to that point wasn’t smooth at all to say the very least. Big Show and Kane argued after the match, which led to Stephanie McMahon coming out to emasculate them and send them home. How Stephanie constantly emasculating everyone helps any characters needs to be explained to me.
Wiz Khalifa and Wizdow rapping
I almost forgot this happened. I like Wiz Khalifa’s music, but in the middle of WrestleMania season and knowing how live music goes over on WWE television anyway, there was just no place for this. Khalifa put out a good performance, but it just wasn’t to be. Damien Mizdow dressing up as Wizdow before the concert began definitely got a chuckle out of me. The Miz played the greatest foil to that, by the way.
I don’t think when the #GiveDivasAChance trend started three weeks ago that the people were clamoring for Summer Rae, Cameron, and Eva Marie to be the flag bearers for the cause. I’m pretty sure they meant AJ Lee, Paige, The Bellas, Natalya, and Naomi. AJ and Summer Rae had a subpar match largely because Summer Rae looks completely inept in every match she participates in. There were so many mistimed moves I just wound up feeling sorry for them.
Later in the night, Natalya and Naomi had a match that started during the commercial break and ended a minute after it returned. Give Divas a chance, yeah right.
I don’t remember Sting sounding like that
Michael Cole hyped before the commercial break that we would hear from Sting for the first time on WWE television. They then played a video package where someone was talking, but I’m not sure if it was Sting. If it was Sting, for some reason they put a filter over his voice to change it completely. Sting talked about wanting to bring Triple H down from abusing his power and how he waited 14 years for this opportunity. The fact that this didn’t sound anything like Sting kind of took me out of it.
John Cena gets the better of Rusev
I really liked this segment. Rusev was on his way to face Curtis Axel when he bumped into John Cena backstage. Cena warned him about saying anything derogatory about the United States. Rusev went out to the ring, annihilated Curtis Axel (I was really hoping for an AxelMania promo), and then proceeded to do run down America. Cena came out and absolutely obliterated Rusev. Cena took him down and made him pass out after applying the STF twice. Cena then poured water over his head to revive him, and he reapplied the STF. Rusev then tapped out. Lana, in an effort to save her man, agreed to give Cena a United States Championship match at WrestleMania. The crowd was behind Cena after that. This is the Cena we should have been seeing for a while, years even. Why now after he’s not positioned on top anymore (for the time being) are we getting it? This was a fantastic segment that put a lot of importance on the United States Championship and gave a lot of hype for this match.
The Tag Team Division is absolutely terrible
Woof. This series of matches with the tag teams felt like watching fifteen consecutive RAW openers with Seth Rollins cutting a 20-minute promo. I honestly don’t know how Michael Cole and JBL can talk about these tag team like they’re exciting without bursting out with laughter. At WrestleMania, we’re going to be “treated” to what seems like it’ll be a multi-team match with The New Day, The Usos, and Los Matadores for the titles? The New Day was DOA, I’m not even sure how or why Los Matadores still exist, and The Usos are completely cold from having the same exact match every week. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro have a lot of work to do at WrestleMania. And heaven forbid if they add The Ascension or the Prime Time Players to this debacle.
The Undertaker finally accepts Bray Wyatt’s challenge… sort of
I was right. It looks like we’re not going to see The Undertaker once heading into WrestleMania. This would have been the night to bring him out, but he didn’t show. Instead, they did some special effects to have him accept the challenge. I like this angle a lot. It’s reminiscent of when Kane was calling out The Undertaker heading into WrestleMania XX. Undertaker didn’t show up until the big day. The effects they did were great, and Bray Wyatt was masterful in the segment. His crazy eyes while looking at the burning rocking chair gave me chills. Wyatt is another guy like Heyman who is single-handedly carrying his feud with his promo-work. I guess you can say Triple H is also doing that for Sting. Anyway, this was a very cool segment. While I do have some questions about Undertaker’s physical shape, I’m still looking forward to seeing this match. The entrances alone will make it must-see.
Randy Orton annihilates Seth Rollins in a big way
The main event was Randy Orton and Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns. Roman Reigns came out to absolutely no reaction, and I completely cringed. This is the guy who is supposed to be main eventing WrestleMania in three weeks, and he barely got a golf clap. Yes, this crowd sat through a terrible show, but people always come alive for John Cena. I think we’re beyond the lame old excuse that it’s the town the show is in. People literally could give two you-know-what’s about Roman Reigns. It’s positively shocking that he’s going to be in the main event in three weeks. This declining reaction has been happening since September. I read one of my old reviews and talked about it extensively. How did I see it in September and the powers that be didn’t? What’s done is done, but I can’t remember any competitor going into the WrestleMania main event this cold only a few weeks out. They have a TON of work to do with him.
Reigns wasn’t even the story of the match. He won the match after Orton refused to tag in, and he was gone immediately after. Orton then did everything he said he would do to Rollins at the beginning of the show. The problem was everyone saw this coming, sat through a bad show, and had to watch two weeks of momentum killing storylines with Orton. The final result was Orton attacked Rollins and unleashed a very good beating on him to almost no reaction. My hat is off to WWE. They killed Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton dead in the last two months. It takes a special bunch of nincompoops to pull that off. Bravo, bravo! To top it all off, the beating Orton gave Rollins was so good that he really doesn’t even need to have a match against him at WrestleMania unless it’s for the Money in the Bank briefcase. What more could he want to do to him? Orton got his revenge and then some. You have to leave the fans wanting more. I’ve got my fill of seeing Rollins get destroyed already.
Any feeling of WrestleMania season that existed in me last week was completely put out by watching this episode of RAW. There were some good angles with John Cena and Wyatt/Undertaker, but the rest was completely rubbish. This WrestleMania is shaping up to be one of the worst of all time. They now have two more live shows to change that opinion. Good luck.
Bump of the Night: Randy Orton giving Seth Rollins an RKO through the table
Match of the Night: Daniel Bryan vs. Bad News Barrett * 1/2
Final Rating: * 3/4
Check out my recap of this week’s RAW here. Be sure to check out my Smackdown recap this Thursday!
Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE RAW and Smackdown for Wrestleview.com.