I tuned in to Monday Night Raw this week to see if WWE could build on the momentum they achieved last week, on the road to Survivor Series. I was disappointed, and I intend to tell you why. Here is my hour-by-hour analysis of last night’s show. I don’t expect this to be quite as long as usual.
Hour One: Nothing happened, apart from a bunch of not-so-memorable, and mostly repeated matches. I’m not really a wrestling purist – I like other forms of entertainment within the show. I prefer a Raw episode to open with an in-ring promo or segment. Whenever that doesn’t happen, I have an idea of how insignificant the show will probably prove to be. There were no such segments whatsoever in this first hour. CM Punk was in the opening match against one of the Wyatts, who teamed up on him predictably. Daniel Bryan made the save with the steel chair, and they cleared the ring. The two of them both cut identically scripted promos backstage later in the show, describing how they respectively weren’t the only ones who had beef with Bray and co. I’m not even so sure I care to see either of these two guys in this angle at all, but this was just uninteresting regardless.
Hour Two: Big E Langston was the fan’s choice on the app to face Randy Orton. Tyson Kidd returned to action (after zero build-up) and joined Natalya to take on Fandango and Summer Rae in a mixed gender tag match. I’m glad they are finally recognising that everyone knows Tyson and Natalya are a real life married couple, and therefore logically would work best together. Kidd won with the sharpshooter, which was pretty cool.
They repeated Smackdown’s main event with Cena and the Rhodes’ taking on Sandow and The Real Americans. The Champ pulled the hurricanrana out again, and didn’t even botch it this time – awesome! Goldust did botch though, when trying to execute a springboard bulldog. He made up for it by winning the match with his amazing Final Cut finisher, which looks great. There were loads of back and forth flurries, high spots and signature moves in this match, and it more than stole the show. The only wrestling match on the card that I can honestly say I remember now, one day later.
Hour Three: Big Show was in the building for settlement talks. Stephanie told Triple H that the board had ordered them to settle with him to avoid the lawsuit. Hunter did not look happy. After a couple of minutes of content that actually related to an engaging, important storyline, Curtis Axel jobbed to Dolph Ziggler in what felt like the twentieth five-minute match of the night. Things don’t look good for him with Heyman not around. The Usos took on 3MB. Can you guess who did the job there? Leave a comment! They rehashed basically the same six diva tag match from Smackdown, only I think the faces got the win this time.
The episode came to an end in dramatic fashion, and the show was saved to some extent. The settlement talks got very heated in the ring, with Hunter having to be restrained by loving wife Stephanie on more than one occasion. Big Show demanded his job back. He got it. The Shield came down to ringside. Unmoved by their presence, he demanded a title match against Randy Orton at Survivor Series. He got that, which deeply saddened me. Big Show did a really good job here, making this stuff funny. He manipulated and coerced himself into the title picture like a true hero. With the cards in his hand, he was able to toy with Triple H.
Hunter was forced to agree to everything, and I like the way the tension is building between those two. I just wish that was the match for Survivor Series, and the WWE title was left out of this for a while. A suited-up Big Show was then forced by his new employer to compete in an impromptu main event 4-on-1 handicap match against his Survivor Series opponent Randy Orton and The Shield. Despite a spirited fightback, of course it was a non-match and they just beat down the giant. They used chairs, steel stairs and the announce table. This seemed to throw a spanner in the works of The Shield’s impending break-up. Roman Reigns didn’t seem to be too disgruntled here. That irritates me.
The highlight of the night saw Kane return to come down the ramp, in a brand new suit, maskless and hairless. He looked like a middle aged investment broker on the brink of a vigilante murder rampage. I like it a lot! He stood next to the power couple and watched as the good guy was beaten down. This whole thing overshadowed the entirety of the show in my opinion, and that’s not a slight on it.
As always, I will explain my rating. I was going to say 5/10 until that last segment with Big Show’s demands, and Kane returning. The show lacked any direction or any storyline progression. There were far too many matches, with no significance attached to them. Wrestling is the bread and butter of these shows, it’s the main event, it’s the reason you watch. It does however need to be peppered with segments and promos. The matches need to matter. The feuds need to be legitimate and need to be built-up through interviews and exchanges. There was no legitimacy here. I just felt like I was being forced to watch a Smackdown house show emanating from Minehead Butlins.
That was one of the most boring Raw episodes I’ve seen this year. Had it not been for that ending, I don’t know what would make someone want to watch next week. At least the next episode is going to be shot from the UK, so that will be great. I will be there in Manchester, so obviously that’s one positive. The crowd will be more into everything. They should have good reason to be too, because WWE usually goes all out to make the European Tour shows a bit more memorable.
Next week I will be uploading a short review of the Raw show. It will be more of a general overview of how I enjoyed the show from a live perspective. Be sure to check back for that, and hit ‘Follow’ for daily articles on professional wrestling.
Thanks for reading.