With my friend and partner Doc Manson taking a well-deserved vacation this week, I thought I’d shape our Raw Response a little differently. Being an only child, it made the most sense for me to make this as self-centered as possible, so as I watched last night’s program, I jotted down my likes and dislikes, and now I’ll share them with you, since I am sure you are desperate to know my thoughts.
Liked: The Authority opening the show, specifically Triple H and Stephanie.
Over the last few weeks we have seen some all-time classic promos from Triple H, and last night was no different. He’s learned that by using the “DX” side of his persona, he can either lambast the “smart fans” or at least echo what’s being shouted about on Twitter, and none of us will mind too much. In fact, I enjoyed the entire show’s tongue-in-cheek way to continue referencing the Network. They all know it’s become a joke, so by being in on the joke, it just becomes funnier.
As for Stephanie, she’s got her daddy’s way to get crowd reaction, doesn’t she? I haven’t heard boos that loud in a long time. . . Well, outside of anytime John Cena shows up.
Didn’t like - Lack of logic in Beat the Clock challenge
I know those of you who watched the whole show are yelling at your screen right now, and I’ll get to my reaction to what happened later on later on. At the time, I thought it was really dumb to not openly stack the deck in Rollins’ favor. In fact, I still do. If you’re going to be “evil”, be honest about it.
Liked - Roman Reigns’ slowly improving mic skill
I don’t necessarily agree with the ‘shoved down your throat’ way WWE seems to be pushing Roman lately, but I will say that each time I hear him speak, I find myself cringing less and less. I still think he’s going to have better success as a heel, but for now, it works.
Didn’t like - Lack of logic in LMS match with Kane and Reigns
The match was a solid “hardcore” match, and I get that the intense push Reigns needs relies on him being able to get up after being chokeslammed through a table, but how weak did Kane look after falling to just a punch and a spear? You don’t need to bury one guy just to push another guy.
Loved - Brock / Cena video package
A lot of people on Twitter are saying that this main event match is super important and WWE can’t drop the ball. Based on what I have been seeing these last few weeks, I don’t know why people are so worried. This package was excellent; one of the best I’ve seen. It proves that Brock Lesnar, when he isn’t live, can be a halfway decent talker (though ending on blood, urine and vomit was weird). Cena is doing a nice job on his end as well. I’m really looking forward to this.
Didn’t like - Sandow squash
I have a more in-depth piece on Damien I’m still finishing, but suffice to say, this gimmick has got to go. I’m fine with Henry being back and all, but this whole segment didn’t serve any real purpose.
Didn’t get it - Adam Rose piece
What exactly was going on with that segment? It was at least somewhat more interesting than Rose’s usual schtick, but it just left me feeling confused. Can anyone explain that to me?
Liked - Ambrose and Del Rio
I appreciate that WWE is letting some matches each week be longer and more meaningful, especially when it comes to Ambrose, who really does need time to tell his in-ring stories. I have not given Del Rio enough credit as an in-ring performer, though I do agree with many people that his moves are a little too stiff for my tastes. The reverse suplex on Ambrose was one that I thought may have killed him, if not severely concussed him.
Didn’t like - Rusev’s match taking place on the App
Look, I don’t get the App, and I don’t like the app. There is no reason to have yet another thing wrestling fans need to worry about, especially when so many of them apparently aren’t buying the Network. Did we really need Sin Cara to come job? Was it necessary, or could we have skipped it and moved on to the talking?
Liked - Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger
I still don’t know where these two go after the feud with Rusev is over; they can’t keep up the current uber-American gimmick and still be faces without the right opponent, but they’ve done an excellent job so far. Colter is entertaining on the mic and Swagger has never looked better when he just keeps his mouth closed. Plus, I know Doc Manson enjoyed seeing the flag used as a weapon, though it wasn’t quite the lightsaber battle he has been hoping for. Maybe at Summer Slam, Doc!
Didn’t like - Cesaro and Ziggler’s entrances an afterthought
I don’t like the App, I don’t like the App, I don’t like the app!
Liked - The Miz
Look, I’ll grant you that Mike Mizanin the man is likely never going to get respect from the WWE crowd. He’s an intruder; a reality star who has stuck around too long. But you have to admit he is pouring 100% into this new character. The hot tea, the loud blue jacket, the commentary. Give him some credit for the effort, people.
Didn’t like - Lack of direction for Cesaro
I imagine that when he returns from vacation, Doc Manson will have a lot to say on this subject, but I still don’t get what the deal is with Cesaro. He’s the best in-ring competitor WWE has; why isn’t he getting any decent stories? The closer we get to Summer Slam, the more I’m starting to believe he’s going to be on the pre-show, which is a travesty.
Liked - Miz and Ziggler’s interaction post-match
Nothing huge here to say. It furthered the story and gave Miz a chance to protect his Money Maker. Solid.
Liked - Paige
If Paige is this good as a heel, why oh why did WWE bring her up as a face?
Liked - Stardust and Goldust
Everyone assumes that Cody will eventually turn on Goldust and go back to his usual self, but do you see how much fun he is having with the Stardust character? I wouldn’t be surprised if, after all this, Dustin is the one who turns, accusing Cody of stealing his schtick.
Dislike - RybAxel is only jobber team out there.
Again, this is likely a larger discussion to be had, but the tag team division is terrible right now. I don’t like Ryback or Axel particularly, but I still feel bad they have to be Dust fodder each week.
Liked - Bottom line, this has to be Dusty’s fault - JBL
Outside of the $9.99 business, quote of the night.
Liked - Kane unmasking.
There was little point to Kane being part of The Authority anymore, so I’m glad to see signs that something else is happening.
If I were WWE, I’d leave Kane off TV until after SummerSlam, then have him return with The Ascension as his followers. Lots of places to go if that happens.
Liked - Harper and Y2J
Solid match, continued the story, Wyatt’s guaranteed to win at Summer Slam.
Dislike - Hyping a contract signing
I’ve never liked that, especially when it seems (and was) to be the main event portion of the evening. In my mind, the main event of a wrestling show should be, shockingly enough, a wrestling match.
Dislike - The continued jobbing of Fandango
See what I said about Sandow - Don’t get why we’re burying these guys. Having said that.
LOVED - Hornswoggle and Fandango
That. Was. Awesome.
Liked - Everything with R-Truth and Bo Dallas
Bo’s entrance is great, and since I had missed what happened last week, the recap was helpful and entertaining. I really enjoyed how both men were more aggressive than I’ve seen them before, and Bo cheating to win was excellent character progression. I also liked that Truth attacked him, and Bo’s transition from angry to happy and celebrating.
Seriously, for a 5 minute segment, these two told a heck of a story.
Dislike - Where have Kofi / Big E / Xavier been?
Everything seemed like they were going to get a mild push at the very least, but they haven’t been on RAW in a while. I hope after Summer Slam we see them start to matter.
Based on what I saw from R-Truth, I wouldn’t be surprised if he joins, but he’s going to steal Woods’ spotlight if he does.
Liked - the addition of a lack of logic to the Rollins / RVD match. Oh, and Heath Slater.
I had no idea Slater was bigger and seemingly more buff than Rollins.
Disliked - Not using RVD
I’m booking it now: Cesaro v. Sheamus v. Del Rio v. RVD for US title at Summer Slam. You can thank me later, WWE.
Liked - Ambrose at ringside
Hilarious from start to finish, though I would think a guy with JBL’s toughness would take a more active role in stopping Dean from ruining his hat. I also hope Ambrose paid those fans back for taking their concessions.
Like - the Heath Slater “push”
In the last month, he’s eliminated Cesaro from a battle royal and pinned Rollins on RAW. Who saw this coming? Not me.
Dislike - “Main event”
I don’t care that it involved Steph giving a couple Pedigrees than putting on the pants in her relationship with Triple H; that did not need to be the “go home” segment of the show. There might have been other important things that happened, but I fast forwarded, as I always do when they don’t put a match in the main event.
I enjoyed myself watching RAW this week. A lot of that likely had to do with the fact that screen time was spread out equally among a good portion of the roster. We didn’t get bogged down by 2-3 long segments of Cena, Orton, Reigns or Triple H.
Summer Slam is shaping up to be a very, very good Pay-Per-View experience. Or, you can watch it on WWE Network.
Your Homework assignment: Find out how much WWE Network is a month. For the life of me, I can’t remember…