Last night saw the biggest wrestling company in the world bring it’s flagship show back to the UK. The 02 in London was packed to the rafters with some of the best wrestling fans in the world. Every time they come back over the pond, we viewers are treated to a show with a real atmosphere and energy. I’ve been to shows in this country many times (televised and otherwise) and it’s just a great time. British fans really do know how to have fun at a wrestling show.
Sadly we are certain to be treated to another eleven months of mostly dull and generic crowds, outside of the traditional strongholds. They will cheer the superheroes, and they will boo the bad guys. I know that the business obviously needs these people, otherwise the basic dynamic that forms the backbone of wrestling would be lost. It’s just nice to see and hear some fans who are intelligent, well read and inventive in expressing their opinions to the powers that be.
As you can tell, I was anticipating a great show with a crowd on fire. I would say it lived up to about half way for me. It wasn’t as good as the hype, but it was definitely an above average episode of Raw. In this post, I’m going to summarize the show, while bringing up what I feel are the main talking points it will spark. Some of them may not be big topics for a lot of people, but these are the things that have got me talking about last nights show. I’d love to have some comments left behind and spark some debate on these issues.
Lesnar v Triple H again
So the show opened with a very typical segment in which Paul Heyman mocked and goaded The Game into coming to the ring to give his response to the challenge laid down previously by Brock Lesnar. He came down and of course accepted, before delivering a pedigree to Heyman, narrowly missing the microphone on the canvas. So it’s set, a Steel Cage match between the two of them at Extreme Rules. What do you think of this? Don’t get me wrong. It sounds like a great match and I’m sure the two of them can have a convincingly tough encounter.
My only concern is that this is now the third time we have seen the two of them face each other. There are so many potential opponents for Lesnar, and so many people he could be putting over for the sake of the future of the business. However, given the fact that they had a brilliant match at Wrestlemania, only to have it stripped bare by a deflated, exhausted crowd, maybe the two of them thought they deserved the chance to have that main event moment together. My love for Brock is so strong that I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for this match, even though I should be completely bored with it. I just don’t know how they can really improve too much on their last two matches.
What now for Antonio Cesaro?
So Antonio Cesaro lost the title to Kofi Kingston. Then he lost his rematch. That’s pretty logical if you plan to take the title off him and move forward. Things could now go one or two ways. He could be on the up, and possibly on the way into the title picture. He could be dropped straight into the jungle that is the WWE lower mid-card. Now without even a meaningless title, which direction could he be going next? After losing last night to R-Truth, it seems that question may have been answered. This guy could have some incredible matches with Del Rio, Swagger and Ziggler, but somehow I just don’t see WWE viewing it that way. I have no idea why. Let’s hope I’m wrong.
Chris Jericho and Dolph Ziggler had one of the two excellent matches of the show.
Big E. Langston has a new entrance!
Okay, it may not seem like the biggest news in the history of the business, but it was pretty damn cool. On the stupid Twitter bar at the bottom of the screen, I noticed that Big E had posted about his new entrance that was coming up on the show. I have to admit that it was quite good. Powerful but understated. He had a singles match with Zack Ryder which wasn’t quite as comfortable a squash as I’d expected. Nonetheless, he put him away with ease and made off up the ramp to his great new music. Perhaps it could be time to split him up from Dolph sooner rather than later. What are your thoughts on that?
The Shield continue to roll on
In the other of two excellent matches on this card, The Shield continued to stay undefeated by beating Team Hell No and the legendary Undertaker in a six man tag team match. I thought this would be the main event and was shocked to see it show up over an hour before the end. Nonetheless, it was a really, really good match. Some excellent sequences (particularly with Bryan and Rollins), some great tension and excitement and most crucially the right ending.
Bryan went for the diving headbutt only to miss and be rolled up for the win by Dean Ambrose. The three guys then made their exit. The Undertaker is still undefeated at Wrestlemania and a loss to The Shield on Raw certainly won’t be cropping up in his Hall of Fame vignette. Kane and Daniel Bryan are unfortunately still Tag-Team Champions. The Shield still have their momentum, and it’s growing with every week. Any other ending as far as win/loss for this match would have been stupid and wrong. This match was definitely one of the successes of the episode.
Fandango comes home
We were given a real treat when Fandango faced British favourite William Regal. As soon as the infamous music hit, the crowd erupted in song. This continued for some time. If he was facing Santino, the general spectacle of the whole thing would have been hilarious enough to make it entertaining. Throw in a genuine legend and you have a very cool moment. Regal is usually restricted to working the pre-show matches on UK tours these days, so to have him on TV in one of the final matches of the card was a really nice touch. Something he, and that great crowd, both deserved. The last few weeks have made me a very proud British wrestling fan, if you haven’t noticed. Fandango continued to gain momentum, at least with the UK crowd. There is no signs of the phenomenon of Fandango-ing going away.
AJ Lee won a number one contender battle royal and could now be a part of the first coherent, meaningful storyline involving the Divas Championship in recent memory.
Mick Foley and the cheap pop
The Hardcore Legend was back to plug his new DVD and there is no harm in that, it looks amazing! This segment on the other hand, was not. I’m pretty tired of seeing Mick do the super-face/elder role where he comes back to lecture a heel on why they should be less dastardly. Everyone must be pleased to see Ryback now actually being allowed to ‘use his words’ and show some character. Turning him has actually increased his credibility tenfold in my opinion. Foley did the same thing with Punk not so long ago, and its a bit played out. Love to Mick Foley, but do something more inventive with your ad time on Raw.
On the whole I would say the show was solid, not outstanding. It was a good enough episode with two particularly excellent pay-per-view quality matches. There was a distinct lack of star power though. Seeing Taker, Cena and Triple H was cool, but the other three of the big six were missing. With The Rock and CM Punk both healing injuries, they could really do with getting Lesnar on TV more to bolster the card. Some of the lower level stars were also missing. Orton and Sheamus were obviously spared another crucifixion from a British crowd bored of their schtick.
With the talent they did have, they didn’t really do the maximum they could. Is there any need to make TWO singles matches for Brodus Clay/Tensai and Rhodes Scholars? Really? The guys on the lower end of the roster crying out for a chance must be pulling their hair out, but that’s life! I understand that they can’t help injuries to major stars after Mania, but if you’re going to do a three hour show, utilize the whole roster effectively. On the whole, I can’t complain too much about the show. It was solid, with some flashes of brilliance.
The main purpose of this post was to spark some debate, so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you think about my opinions. Leave yours! Follow the blog, and like the post! Thanks a lot for all the support!
Believe in Fandango!