Thanks for joining me for our weekly look at Monday Night Raw. I’m going to go through each of the three hours and pick out the parts that I felt had any real impact, those that were noteworthy.
Hour One: The opening was really good. Triple H and Stephanie were back in business, punishing Brad Maddox and Vickie for their insolence last week. Vickie was told she would be taking on AJ Lee later, and Brad was told to get ready for his match with Randy Orton, which would start the show. All of this was done to appease The Viper but he was caught off guard by the GM in the early going. Maddox laid him with a great DDT, to his credit. Of course, Orton went on to utterly annihilate him, but that was good stuff.
Big E Langston defeated Curtis Axel and became the new Intercontinental Champion. This was really cool! It’s always a great moment to see a young guy winning his first big league gold. I see great things on the horizon for this guy, so here’s to hoping that they don’t make him another one-dimensional Lashley type of character. Ryback came off very strong in defeat against The Big Show, by managing to get him up for the shellshocked finisher. He looked good, but ultimately lost again.
Hour Two: 3MB had a hilarious backstage interaction with the guest country music stars. Oh yeah, it was Raw Country because they were in Nashville, Tennessee. I forget the bands name, but this was entertaining. Kofi and The Miz took on The Real Americans. This got interesting when Miz was baying for the tag from his crawling partner, but just teased him with it and jumped off the apron. I guess his leaving Kofi to take the beating and defeat is a sign of an impending heel turn. I hope so, and I’m sure Mike Mizanin does too.
Vickie tried to feign injury to get out of her match with AJ, but Stephanie was having none of it. She then pretended to faint in the ring before the match started. Vickie is so good at this kind of stuff. The Divas Champion didn’t care as she wrapped her vicious Black Widow around her, causing the Smackdown GM to spank her on the ass in submission. It was announced that there will be a 7on7 divas tag team match at the pay-per-view. I’m not sure if it’s elimination, but in this case, I hope not. It will be the cast of Total Divas against AJ and all of the other heels. Yay…
Dolph Ziggler took on Damien Sandow in a “Broadway Brawl”. Despite being a gimmick match to go with the whole country theme, this pushed the main event close for match of the night. These two great workers went out there and had an entertaining match, utilizing all of the musical instruments put in the ring as weapons. I bet somewhere Jeff Jarrett was getting far too excited watching this. Damien Sandow’s new vicious streak could save him, but he jobbed again here. Dolph did hit him in the head with a bass drum. That was really cool. I just hope Sandow starts to embrace the Bruiser Brody inside himself.
Hour Three: John Cena did the best he could to try and make a match with Alberto Del Rio seem exciting. He talked a lot about his family and friends being there at Survivor Series in his hometown – a solid promo. 3MB, or the “Rhinestone Cowboys” for the night, seem to have a new name each week. They had a fairly uneventful match with R-Truth and his new tag team partner Xavier Woods. I guess he just came up from NXT. His name is familiar but I don’t remember him blowing me away on the show. Paige, Adrian Neville, Kassius Ohno and Sami Zayn on the other hand are life-changing, and still aren’t called up the main roster. How much more development do they really need?
The modern corporate country band (Rebel Radio is rubbing off on me) did their thing right before the main event. What was that match you ask? It’s the one we all wanted to see at Survivor Series, the logical next step. Punk, Bryan, Usos & Rhodes v Shield & Wyatts in an epic 6on6 match. Rather than do that, they decided to do it on free TV the week before, and expect you to pay to see a standard tag team match that doesn’t even involve the leader of The Wyatt Family.
They announced that the others would be occupied in a traditional 5on5 Survivor Series tag match, and I guess that’s something. The problem is that The Shield will team with The Real Americans (even though there has been no logical connection established between the two, other than the fact that they are both “baddies” teams) and the Rhodes/Usos will team with an undecided partner, or so it seemed. At the end of the main event, that part became clear.
I digress. The main event was great as expected. It flowed nicely and combusted into a great crescendo of madness at the end. It was fast paced, high-octane insanity. Punk pinned someone with the GTS for the win, and The Real Americans came out to make the save for The Shield. Just when I was going to get hung up on how stupid and illogical it was for them to do that, Rey Mysterio returned and helped the faces clean house. He then combined with Punk and Bryan to hit Harper with a triple finisher extravaganza! They all celebrated in the ring together, and that was a pretty great end to a really good show.
I will explain my rating. I know my scores have been fluctuating rather a lot lately, but I guess things have just been inconsistent in WWE, to me anyway. This was a top draw go-home episode of Raw though. It had almost everything I could want, and it felt like a big deal. My problem is with Survivor Series itself. The announcements didn’t do much for me, and I’m seriously considering not buying the pay-per-view. I probably will, because like an abused wife, I just don’t know when to walk out on wrestling. For the most part, I’ve loved the product for the last four years, but I really don’t feel good about this show right now. I just worry that this Raw might actually overshadow an under-performing PPV. Hopefully Smackdown can make a dramatic improvement from last week’s showing and help prop it up some more.
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