Each week, Mary “Queen of the Busted Open Nation” Grater reviews WWE Monday Night Raw.
A NEW FACE OF THE WWE?
After a newsworthy week in the world of professional wrestling, we headed into Raw with bated breath for the possible fallout from CM Punk walking out last week.
In my opinion as much as things may have changed, they still stayed the same.
We open with WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton cutting a seething promo about how The Authority wants him to lose his championship. He questions how many times he has to beat the same men to prove his is the face of the company. (Orton had to fight his way through a massive CM Punk chant starting less than two minutes into the show. He didn’t bat an eye. Kudos Randy.) Randy says he will defeat everyone in the Elimination Chamber, and will go on to beat Batista at Wrestlemania 30. Cue Triple H music.
Trips and Stephanie McMahon come out to tell Orton he’s paranoid and that he shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds. (The whole promo was an underlying shot at CM Punk. And if you weren’t sure how the WWE was going deal with this, they reminded fans that they love the passive-aggressive approach.) Trips tells Orton that whining and complaining is not something they expect from the face of the WWE. Steph informs Randy over the upcoming weeks that he will face all of the participants in one-on-one in matches, starting Monday night with Daniel Bryan.
Stephanie adds that if Bryan wins, The Authority will start to consider Bryan as the new face of the company. Triple H then starts doing the “Yes!” chant with the crowd. (Really?)
From there, we dove into a show that was forced and lackluster, as if the WWE was trying to distract its fans from hijacking the show. It could’ve been worse, I guess.
- Christian returned to Raw and defeated Jack Swagger. Tension is mounting in The Real Americans; Cesaro and Zeb will dump Swags soon.
- The New Age Outlaws retained their titles against The Brotherhood in a steel cage match. Cody performed a moonsault off the top of the cage that nearly had a devastating result. Distracting the crowd is not worth unnecessary spots.
- In his heel debut, complete with frightening music, Titus O’Neil squashed Zack Ryder. At least Zack was on Raw, right? The Miz came out of nowhere during the Ryder-O’Neil match, threw a hissy fit on commentary about not being booked on Raw, and stormed out. Sigh … another Punk shot.
- Summer Rae competed in a dance-off against a debuting (?) Emma from NXT.
- Sheamus defeated Curtis Axel.
- Batista and Alberto Del Rio cut a promo in the ring building up hype for … who knows? Painful to watch, no one cared, CM Punk chants. Ladies and gentlemen: Your Royal Rumble winner!
- Naomi defeated Aksana. Finally, a Divas singles match. And Divas champ AJ Lee was a gem on commentary.
In the main event, we were treated to a fantastic match between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan. Daniel Bryan got the clean pin, despite Kane coming out in an attempt to distract Bryan. This was the right call by the WWE, because there would have been even more anarchy if Bryan lost. (There was a beat down after the match on D-Bry by Kane and Orton to go off the air.)
- Why are they inserting Kane now? It seems a little late and confusing. Did he not come down and unlock the cage when Bryan turned on The Wyatts?
- Isn’t Kane with The Authority? And opening up the show, didn’t Trips and Steph seem like they were leaning toward Bryan? Was Kane the guy driving the truck that drove Orton away a few weeks back on Raw, when John Cena chased Orton through the arena before their title match at Rumble? We will probably never know, because WWE never seems to tie up any loose ends.
DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE WEEK
I don’t usually do this, but the disappointment of the week goes to the Omaha crowd. You were awful. Your Punk cheers started off strong, but went out with a whimper. That’s not why you get the “You Stink” award, though. You get it for chanting for Punk during Daniel Bryan’s match.
What is wrong with you?
Daniel Bryan is the guy everybody has been clamoring for, he’s in the main event, and you’re cheering for someone who isn’t there? I love Punk more than anyone, but you really shot yourself in the foot on that one, and made the WWE look right about its fans. You had all night to do chant for Punk, and you failed miserably; and for that, I poo-poo you.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK
On a high note, my highlight of the week goes to The Wyatt Family and The Shield. They stole the show with their promos.
The Shield faced off in the first match against the team of Rey Mysterio, Big E. Langston and Kofi Kingston. The two teams had a solid match that saw more tension build between Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. Reigns looked like he was going for the spear to end it when Dean tagged himself in, hit the headlock driver and got the pin.
As an argument between Ambrose and Reigns was about to escalate, The Shield had to turn their attention to the titantron, where The Wyatts appeared and cut another spectacular promo. Luke Harper, who started talking last week, continued to add another level of creepiness to The Family.
Someone pointed out that Harper’s whistling during The Family’s promo sounded like The Undertaker’s theme. Could Taker actually be the “Devil” Bray spoke of a few months back, or the “King” Harper mentioned? It would make sense … but there’s that whole “loose end” thing again.
Not to be outdone, The Shield answered with their own promo after The Wyatts defeated the team of R-Truth, Xavier Woods and Dolph Ziggler. (Poor Ziggler. After an amazing promo on the app last week, he gets pinned, and doesn’t get to follow up on his promo.)
Ambrose stole the promo with his mocking of Bray, The Shield showed they were united, and Reigns said it was their yard again. (Another Undertaker reference.)
This is probably the most exciting build up to a match, promo-wise, in a long time. If the WWE is smart about this feud, they will make it the focal point they so desperately need to fill the void Punk has left on the mic. While the absence of Punk saddens me deep in my heart, hopefully people who also deserve to shine can benefit while he’s gone.
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