Written by Dom
So here we go. The beginning of my now weekly review of RAW which after this blog will appear EVERY WEDNESDAY along with Gav’s review of Smackdown so WWE fans stay tuned on Wednesdays at The Sports Lab UK
Also don’t forget to check out our friends at Random Wrestling Review (RWR) at the follwing link to their podcast – http://randomwrestlingreview.podomatic.com/
So it begins with a “Previously on RAW…” which only highlights the amazing night that they had.
NOTE: This is very much going to be a stream of thought type review.
Right, so here we go. Daniel Bryan opens the show on the microphone and talks about people saying that he has the “little man syndrome”, and also about not being an extra in The Hobbit. He says that he will not be satisfied until he pins Randy Orton in the middle of the ring. I agree with him. Not like Randy Orton is more than a glorified midcarder these days anyways.
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
These two guys were in the midst of a very good match the wee before this. This match is a lot of fun while it lasts, which is not very long at all. The first thing to note is that these two guys REALLY do not like each other and the two of them just want to beat the ever loving crap out of each other.
Vicky Guerrero and some bloke are backstage. Daniel Bryan interrupts and he wants a rematch. Either that or the match with the “some bloke”. Guerrero gives him Orton. Good. We want some action between these two guys. Vince McMahon turns up. We can’t really decide if he’s a fan of Daniel Bryan or not. Okay, so that adds some intrigue to the whole Daniel Bryan thing, although that said, I’m a bit worried about how big a part Vince McMahon is starting to play in this.
Rhodes Scholars vs. Sheamus and Christian
Should be some solid stuff. Big fan of the Rhodes Scholars team. Especially Damien Sandow, who gets so many small things right. He’s in the middle of a fued with Sheamus right now which admittedly, I haven’t seen a single thing from. The usual formula tag stuff here, with the babyface taking the long beatdown before the hot tag, that role being played by Christian. The fans are way into the babyface team. Kinda feel sorry for Sandow and Rhodes who seem to be stuck in a rut a bit, but credit to WWE for keeping Sandow relevant, and then Rhodes by association. Anyways, fun tag team match here, and good to see Rhodes and Sandow looking strong in defeat.
CM Punk is backstage and he seems to be a bit subdued and he doesn’t care about anything that Vickie Guerrero has to say. He has a match, but doesn’t care about that either.
Aksana vs. Kaitlyn
So here we go with the Divas being interesting again. And sure enough, they manage to bring the amusement. This time with AJ Lee hitting the ramp with muscle suit and wig. This isn’t enough to distract Kaitlyn and she Spears Aksana into dust and wins.
AJ Lee is gonna cut a promo and decides to mock Kaitlyn. Big E Langston then hits the ramp and it turns out that he has been Kaitlyn’s secret admirer. “I always wanted a man with a voice as deep as mine’s.” HAHAHA!!! Amazing. Not sure I should find this funny, as AJ Lee’s character has been pretty vile, but she’s superb in the role. When the eventual Layla turn happens, it’s going to hit the fan.
Chris Jericho vs. Alberto Del Rio
Del Rio is much better as a heel. He gets the best parts of his in ring ability back, which is his aggressive nature. Plus, this time he has the righteous anger, which is always a good place for a heel to be. Thought they missed a trick in this match when they had Jericho miss the springboard move. What should have happened is Del Rio should have gone all Dean Malenko on Jericho, and instead it became a two sided match. Two soon after Del Rio’s demolition job on Ziggler. He still had that mean streak in spades though. It was a good competitive match as you’d expect from these two, ended by Rodriguez coming in. Ziggler hits the ring and it hits the fan as Ziggler and Jericho remain standing. Ziggler then lands a Zig Zag on Jericho which gets a mixed reaction.
Triple H is backstage to discuss Daniel Bryan with Vicky Guerrero. Triple H wants the WWE universe to pick the stipulation in the match between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan. So we come back from commercial. So the guy in the dodgy shirt is Brad Maddox. We’re out to launch the 2k14 video game. The fans get to create a cover for the new game. Lawler gets punted out of the promo for tripping over his words. The fans aren’t happy with that. The fans are all over Vicky like a rash. It’s hard to pay attention to this. Vicky has made a cover for the game, and it’s HHH, Vince and Stephanie. The real cover has The Rock on the front.
Ryback vs. The Great Khali
This match has the potential to be a proper crapfest. As I expected, that’s what happens. Ryback gets the win and the impressive visual of marching around with Khali on his back. Other than that, there is nothing worth seeing here.
John Cena is now heading for the ring, probably to address The Wigsplitter after the slam last week. He wasn’t happy with Mark Henry giving that speech just to go for the gold. He says that Henry made a mockery of Edge, HBK and Ric Flair. I’d say in the latter’s case, he did a good job of doing that himself. Basically Cena is here and saying that he’s ready to go. Not really much said there that we didn’t know already. Mark Henry is challenging and he wants some of that.
Brodus Clay and Tensai vs. 3MB vs. The Usos
It’s a shame to see the Baldo Bomb basically become a nothing move these days. It’s a terrific looking move. The Usos are made to look great here. They spend the majority of the time in the ring and bring some brutality to things. So this match made the point of making the Usos look good. The Shield decide to head into the arena immediately after that and stay on the steps and assert their authority on it. The Shield are beginning to feel like midcarders.
Paul Heyman is now heading for the ring. He wants to do this face to face with CM Punk in front of the fans, and give him answers. CM Punk is still the whining little bitch that he was before. I thought he might drop that since people are supposed to like him. CM Punk explains the past with Paul Heyman, and why, exactly, CM Punk is a “Paul Heyman guy”. He gets onto Brock and doesn’t care about his size, because he’s better than Brock Lesnar and he says he’s gonna bring Brock Lesnar down. Heyman says he did not know that Lesnar was in the arena. Heyman goes on a tangent and it leads to him saying he WILL lead out CM Punk when he main events Wrestlemania as a champion. He’s convincing me anyways. He says it’s now CM Punk’s move and he’s sorry he doubted Heyman and we get a big hug. The turn from Heyman on Punk will be even better now.
Darren Young vs. CM Punk
Might even happen here, which would make it the most significant thing that Darren Young has ever been a part of. I thought for sure that this match would be really short, but it goes on a bit, and the fans are just not interested at all. Neither am I. Darren Young simply should not be giving Punk a challenge. There’s only so excited you can get about a Darren Young match. After a dreadfully boring match which CM Punk gets the better of, Curtis Axel heads for the ring and Paul Heyman comes out. Punk didn’t want the help of Axel against the Players. I definitely go on both sides of the debate on that. Heyman sent Axel out to help Punk in a 2 on 1 attack. Lots of intrigue in this storyline as well.
Stephanie McMahon is backstage now. She brings up the WWE Title MitB match and then decides to head for the ring to confirm the participants. CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Randy Orton, Christian, Kane and Rob Van Dam. That looks like a cracking match right there. Ryback is now back there and says he wants better and is sick of being screwed over and over. Jericho is back there now. Too much time spent back in the Guerrero office. Those two get a match against each other.
Paul Heyman says that next week, it’s Curtis Axel and CM Punk vs. The Primetime Players. CM Punk is not a happy chappy. After this, Mark Henry hits the ring and he’s proud of his work. He seems to like that people cried. Apparently lots of directors have reached out to our Henry, but that’s not what he thinks he deserves. He IS going home, but as champ. A good promo from Mark Henry. He’s a proper badass. He’s not spectacular as a talker, but he’s got that Bret Hart quality of being as believable as anyone on the roster.
Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton, Street Fight
This match has some serious potential right here. This is a fun TV main event right here. A couple of good brutal spots. The chair to the head off of the suicide dive came as a massive surprise. You don’t often see chairs to the head these days so that was a bit of a shock to the system. The Sabu style throwing of the chair was fun as well. They teased the table really well too. The fans totally bought into it as a result and from that point it just went from strength to strength and the fans loved it. You have to credit both guys for a terrific outing.
It’s hard to judge really. There is loads going on and that means the show is never boring, but there’s just too much “I wonder where this is going” with no ideas. We need to get a bit closer to a payoff in some of the stuff going on.
THE FUTURE LANDSCAPE OF THE WWE
WWE is heading into the summer, and with a lot of key stories under way, what comes next for many of our favourite stars?
We will start with the top of the card. John Cena. He appears to be treading water for now. While Mark Henry did a great job in his role as the man retiring, only to want a shot at the gold. That seems to be a way to use John Cena while they get someone else ready though. At the end of this week’s RAW, they had Daniel Bryan make Randy Orton tap out. While the whole episode seemed to be people asking about the merits of Daniel Bryan. It would appear that WWE have something lined up for the bearded warrior, and it’s something big. John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan is something of a dream match in WWE, and Gav is definitely spot on about this. Daniel Bryan winning such a big star studded ladder match would do wonders to set him up for the future.
CM Punk is the next big thing on the list here, mainly thanks to his issues with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. We all know that Brock Lesnar is a loose cannon and can easily be capable of jumping CM Punk for the sake of doing so, but I think it’s fairly obvious that someone is going to get turned on here. The obvious choice would be that Heyman would turn on CM Punk, but the other possibility isn’t the worst idea either. I’ve always preferred CM Punk as a heel. He has a natural dickishness that works in his favour, which is also a hinderance to his babyface work. I’m not a gambling man, but if I had to put money on which way it’s going to go, I’d say Brock Lesnar is going to become the psychopath wronged babyface who wants a piece of everyone, including Heyman. And this would in turn enforce CM Punk’s role as the top heel in the promotion.
The Shield seem to be regressing a wee bit lately. They’re stuck in the midcard with the likes of The Usos and Kofi Kingston, and this is below them. The fans reactions are showing that they are losing interest in this faction, which is a shame as they have huge potential. They might well meet this potential of course. There was a great sign at Payback of Dean Ambrose maybe not being finished with The Undertaker, as he mocked him by performing Old School. Does he go on and maybe challenge The Undertaker at Wrestlemania? The Undertaker has always been receptive to newer guys taking the streak, and has been stopped by injuries, or even the guy in question not wanting to take it. I’m not sold on that happening, but The Undertaker does feature in the future of The Shield, that’s for sure. For now? They’re just treading water.
The Divas have certainly surprised a few people recently. Kaitlyn, Aksana, Layla and AJ Lee all involved in a big storyline which involves AJ Lee basically bullying Kaitlyn and Kaitlyn going closer to the edge. Their matches have been pretty good, and the actual storyline has been very well played out, with AJ Lee back to her best. So where does it all go? Aksana appears to be a bit part player in the whole thing. This all comes down to the woman in the middle, namely Layla. I see her turning on Kaitlyn, and where it goes from there is anyone’s guess. It’s actually quite worrying. They’ve been acting like Layla is the only thing keeping Kaitlyn together. So when she goes, I have to assume her character will take a bit of a turn, and WWE have lacked tack at times with this sort of thing.
The double turn with Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler was done brilliantly. It’s a testament to WWE that they have managed to pull this off without changing Ziggler too much. There’s a reason people like him after all. Alberto Del Rio is also much better as a heel, so I wager that he was never going to last long in the babyface role. Alberto Del Rio isn’t convincing anyone with his “I did it for you” speeches, but where he does succeed is where he says that Dolph Ziggler winning the belt the way he did was controversial. It’s not really that controversial, but he took advantage of a downed Del Rio, so there is some righteous anger there. Where they go next is probably Ziggler beating him for the title fair and square in the middle of the ring and getting rid of any sort of debate about it.
That’s about all I have to say about what’s coming in the future. I don’t think that I’ve watched enough recently to gauge anymore than the major stories running through, but I hope to rectify this by watching more of WWE’s output than ever before.