Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Raw Review: Raw Is Disappointing

As the Raw Preview suggested I was really stoked for last night's Raw and I felt WWE had a lot of good things in store for us.  My optimism was no rewarded however as last night's show was a huge letdown.  Unlike PPV/special show reviews, I prefer to attack Raws by discussing the most important aspects of the show and that's what I have done below.

With all that said, let's dig in.
  • Randy Orton and The Authority--This was, by far, the most disappointing aspect of the show.  It starts hot with the crowd's reaction to Orton.  It gets even better when Orton shows some fire on the mic and promises not to talk our ears off for 20 minutes.  Things get sideways once The Authority arrives and makes Orton an offer.  I looked up when the segment was over and it was 8:18 PM so despite Orton's promise we got our standard 20 minute opening segment.  Anyhow, Orton agrees to play nice with The Authority and especially with Seth Rollins.  With Orton's cold, calculating vibe I can see this making some sense, but it felt like the whole night was building toward him either swerving The Authority or having a change of heart a la Ryback a little bit ago.  Long story short, you do have Jamie Noble eat an RKO, but Orton helps Rollins up instead after the match.  The fans in the arena were ready to pop, but ultimately nothing happened.  I sat there and kind of waited to see if something else was going to happen and it didn't.  It was one of the most awkward closing scenes on Raw that I can remember.  It felt like the entire show was building toward some big moment that never came.  I recall Tweeting around 10:30 PM or so that they better have something big for the main event to save this episode.  What they had was so underwhelming I hated the show the more I thought about it.  I get doing the slow burn and I am not for instant gratification, but Orton was as hot as a firecracker when he showed up at Fastlane and then at the beginning of Raw and he already feels like just another guy.  It reminds me of that big TNA episode where RVD returned, got a massive pop and had his heat killed all in one segment.  I'm not saying that Orton is damaged or anything like that.  When he does turn it will be embraced by the crowd.  It's that WWE has handled this in such an odd manner and it really hurt last night's show.
  • Roman Reigns/Daniel Bryan/Paul Heyman--Speaking of awkwardly handled things...I completely get what they were going for with Roman Reigns, but he was more over with that crowd at the beginning of that segment than at the end.  That's a problem.  Personally, I wouldn't have trotted Bryan out there with him at all, but I understand why they did it.  To me, they had Bryan talk far too long before he got to the "he's earned my respect" part of his promo.  Bryan looked bad and Reigns looked bad up until that point.  By the end of it I though Bryan had done a decent job mind you, but the were on thin ice at points leading up to it.  Then Paul Heyman shows up and you think, "This THIS will be the icing on the cake."  It wasn't.  Again, I got what he was trying to do, but you could hear the crowd groan every time Heyman said he'd take Roman over Andre The Giant, Hulk Hogan, Bruno, etc.  Now I know what Heyman was up to in a storyline sense and it was perfect Paul Heyman.  Problem was it didn't work with the live crowd in the same manner.  Props to Roman Reigns for some of his best extended promo work so far by the way.  This was a missed opportunity though.  What I did like was the main event pairing of Reigns and Bryan.  Even the way they had Bryan tag himself in for the victory and Reigns just laugh it off was pretty cool.  I just wished they had handled the promo setting all that up better.
  • John Cena and Rusev--Cena's Cena and I know that I cannot really evaluate him objectively anymore.  He was fine here though.  I'm not sure why he said the guy who beat him convincingly the night before was a coward.  I got it once the segment was over and Rusev had denied him a rematch and another shot at the US Title.  I fully predict Cena will get his redemption at Mania and surprisingly I don't have a big issue with that.  Last night's segment was a good continuation of this feud. 
  • Sting Video Package--This was really enjoyable.  Seeing other stars talk about Sting, seeing his evolution from his early NWA/WCW days to the Crow gimmick to his arrival in WWE was really well handled.  Good job out of them for this one.  It's always good to see Tony Schiavone as well.  I hear him on the radio pretty often here in ATL, but nice to see him pop up on these WWE segments from time to time as well.  What disappointed me a little was that Triple H was still very much in The Authority business.  He did seem somewhat subdued though so maybe Steph will take the reigns a bit more while Triple H deals with The Sting Issue. 
  • Bray Wyatt Promo--Strong follow-up to his Fastlane entrance and promo.  We always knew these were about The Undertaker, but the promos are better now that he addresses that directly.  Was kind of surprised that we didn't get some sign that The Undertaker was lurking at least.  Like I said in the preview, they need to get him out there sooner rather than later to build this match.
  • Everything Else--The IC Title picture is fun right now.  #GiveTruthAChance is a movement I can get behind.  Another movement I can get behind is #Axelmania.  His trunks were hilarious as was the shirt.  I really like this Kidd/Cesaro/Natalya pairing and a Mania match with The Usos or even a mixed-tag with Naomi added would work for me.  Either Kane or Show needs to disappear from The Authority.  The two together doesn't work and it really feels like they are dragging down everything they are involved in unfortunately.  I like both guys, but I've seen enough of them for now.  The distraction pin is tired, but I really liked the fans chanting "CODY!" at Stardust.  Glad to find out that the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal is back for its second year at WrestleMania as well. 
This show really disappointed me.  If it weren't the first Raw after Fastlane it may not have been so disappointing.  As with anything else though, context is everything.  This was a huge misfire by WWE as we are only five weeks away from the biggest show of the year.