While I was not able to sit down and enjoy Monday Night RAW last night with the rest of the NAIborhood, there is something rather peaceful about waking up in the wee hours of the morning and turning on, in my case, Tuesday Morning RAW.  Maybe it’s the fact that I have to stay off Twitter in order to be #SpoilerFree, or maybe its just that I am the very model of a modern major morning man, but its become one of my favorites times of the week.

Let’s air out some RAW Response Chief’s Briefs, shall we?

How good is Seth Rollins?

He’s so good that he’s made Kane relevant and enjoyable again, to such a degree that I’m a little disappointed Kane isn’t part of the Payback main event.  Rollins vs. Reigns vs. Orton vs. Kane?  I’d be down with that.

Clap for the Champions!

Your NEW tag team champions and my psychic meal ticket, New Day, are currently riding atop the tag team division, and while I don’t need them cheating in every match, I don’t mind what I’ve been seeing.  A lot of fans remembered (not realized, they knew it before) that Kingston and Langston are excellent wrestlers, and Xavier Woods is opening some eyes as the annoying manager, almost stealing the entire show Sunday night with his “What is wrong with you? We’re WINNING!” line.

I said this on Twitter, but Woods needs to be mic’d up as a manager, just like Abraham Washington was for the Prime Time Players back in the day.

As excited as I am for the new champs, this division still needs some firepower.  Outside of KiddAro and Lucha Dragons, where do the next challenges come from?

Well, as I watched RAW, a number of prospective duos popped into my head, which really is going to steer the rest of the Briefs.  You’ve been warned.

Where do they go from here?

The big story of RAW was the quarterfinals of the King of the Ring tournament, and though my prediction of a Sheamus and Ziggler main event fizzled out, I still think we’re heading towards a Celtic victory, unless Dolph somehow interferes to get Neville the win.

Honestly, looking at the bracket right now, scratch that Sheamus prediction - that’s totally what’s going to happen.  Dolph interferes, Neville wins, we get an Extreme Rules pre-show rematch as a KOTR final.

More importantly than all that, though, is what this tournament says about those who lost their opening round matchup, speaking of course of Ziggler, Ambrose, Harper and Stardust.  Four incredibly talented performers who seem destined for mid-card (if they’re lucky) stagnancy.

Is this the ceiling for these guys?  I can understand if the answer is “yes” for Dolph, what with the injuries and all.  I don’t know that I’d trust him with a main event run again either, if I’m being truthful.  But Dean, Luke and Cody?  These guys should be doing far more with their careers than this.

How do I fix it?  Well, in the short-term, since none of them are seemingly destined for big singles success, let’s make some tandems.  Are you telling me that you wouldn’t enjoy the hell out of an Ambrose and Harper team?  The Crazy Ones?  The story essentially writes itself.

Meanwhile, Dolph and Cody would make a good duo as well, if only so JBL could go crazy with the Ziggy Stardust references.  Not that anyone would get them, but still…

The Party Boyz

I was glad to see a Fandango and Adam Rose match on RAW instead of on Superstars or Main Event, and I was happy to see some story development with them as well.  The only way your lower-tier guys are going to accomplish anything is if the creative team is behind them, and this seemed to do .  .  . not much, but SOMETHING for these two.

Despite that, long-time fans of mine and of NAI in general know that the preferred end game would be for these two to team up.  Unlike the four guys I mentioned before, you know...I mean, you KNOW...that Adam Rose and Fandango are NOT going to have successful singles careers in WWE.  So why treat them as singles competitors?  Put them together and let them ply their trade in the tag division.

In the late 90’s there were two other talents, neither with big singles success, who teamed up in a very random, at first, pairing.  They were known, at the time, as The Roadie and Rockabilly.  We know them today as future WWE Hall of Famers, the New Age Outlaws.  I’m not saying that rose and Fandango are the next Outlaws, of course, but I am saying that stranger things have happened.

A Tale of Two Sandows

Damien Sandow on RAW this past week was a double edged sword.  The first part was some of the most captivating television I can remember watching from WWE in some time.  You can almost always tell when a wrestler is speaking from the heart rather than cutting a promo, and Sandow was as honest as he could be last night while also managing to throw in some callbacks to the Intellectual Savior persona.  I enjoyed seeing THAT Damien Sandow, which made what followed even sadder.

When Curtis Axel came out, Damien was reduced to what WWE, in my opinion, truly thinks he is, a comedy act, and not even a very good one at that.  Mocking Axel was funny at first, but got old quickly.

I was sincerely hoping that, when Axel said “You think this is funny??”, Sandow would have dropped the aping and gone back to being his honest self, talking about what jokes their careers had become.  Sharp eyed fans would recognize this as being the same thing I had hoped Rose and Fandango had done a few months back.

This, of course, would have led to Axel and Sandow becoming a “serious” tag team, or at least one that doesn’t solely revolve around the “comedic jobber” schtick.  Alas, it was not to be.

Bold Statement of the Day: Damien Sandow will not be nearly as “over” as Damien Mizdow was.  As Roddy Piper is so fond of saying, every great hero has a great villain, and in Sandow’s case, without Miz there to “fight”, Sandow is just going to become another Santino.

The Brothers Wyatt

I am beyond disappointed that between Extreme Rules and RAW last night we saw nothing. . .NOTHING. . . happening between Bo Dallas and Bray Wyatt.  This was THE moment to do something - even just allude to their fraternal bond, and WWE, seemingly, dropped the ball.

Still, as it seems to happen more and more of late, I have faith.  The signs are perfect for a Bo/Bray pairing - Bo’s “shaggy” facial hair, the dual focus on Ryback. . . Well, that might be it, I guess, but its enough for me.

PLEASE, WWE, do the right thing.  Put these two together - the Bo-Liever and the New Face of Fear.  I promise, they’ll make it worth your while.

Crazy idea of the Day:  We all assume Bray has been talking about Ryback.  (Well, technically I’ve been thinking he’s talking about Reigns, but apparently not…)

What if he’s talking about Bo instead?  Fear of failure, seeing right through him, calling him “friend” over and over again…  What if this is Bray’s twisted way of showing brotherly love?

. . . Yeah. . . On second thought, maybe I don’t have THAT much faith.

--

What did YOU think of RAW?  Where are we headed with these talents?  Could some tag teams be built from this?  Be Heard.

I want to let you in on a little secret.

There’s a good to great chance you’re not watching arguably the best sixty seconds of WWE programming each week.

It’s not NXT, as much as I like that ‘brand’.  It’s not Cesaro’s matches, though they are always excellent.  It’s not even Dean Ambrose, even though he might be the perfect blend of Steve Austin and Roddy Piper.

In fact, you won’t find this marvelous minute on WWE television.  Yet.

I’m talking about Sandow’s Sixty, which can be found on WWE.com and on the WWE App.
Damien Sandow, former Money in the Bank winner turned wrestling chameleon (aka Charlie Haas 2.0), is given sixty seconds each week to talk about anything he wants, and it has quickly become must-see web-TV if you’re a wrestling fan.

Here is one of the more recent ones.  Watch; it’ll literally only take a minute.

http://www.wwe.com/videos/damien-sandow-has-60-seconds-wwe-app-exclusive-aug-4-2014-26545225

Did you notice the honesty?  The legitimate contempt Damien has, not only for the “marks” on Twitter, but also for his forced lot in life?  The ‘hand-cuffed’ gesture at the end speaks volumes about the way Sandow feels he is being treated, and I am sure he is not alone.

That sort of pent-up rage, the feeling of being misused or handled poorly. . . That’s what brought Mick Foley and Austin to WWE in the first place.  They were furious with the way they had been handled by WCW, and so when given the opportunity to vent their frustrations (thanks to Paul Heyman and ECW), they cut some of the best promos the world has ever seen.  Had it not been for channeling that rage, those real-life feelings, they’d have never been as big as they became.

Apparently, we are in the midst of the “Reality Era” in WWE.  CM Punk started it, and Heyman seems to be the flag-bearer for it these days, and I think Sandow is a perfect person to continue the trend.  Why is Sandow’s Sixty not a part of every RAW?  In one minute, he can make an impact that he’ll never get to do in a 4-6 minute squash match where he’s dressed like Ludvig Borga.

Lesson:  You can teach a guy to wrestle, you can teach a guy to talk, but you can’t teach charisma.

Sandow has it in spades, and its a shame he’s being wasted on WWE television.  I don’t think we need another Pipe Bomb, but we do need some of these guys to let their personalities shine through a little more.
#FreeSandow

Contrary to the opinion of my fellow number 2 contender, The Teacher, I don’t like Bo Dallas.

I don’t like Bo Dallas, and not in the way that I’m supposed to not like Bo Dallas.

I get it, I get the gimmick; Bo Dallas is the antithesis of what wrestling fans like. The attention to detail is there, from the smarmy look, the too-toothy grin, the constant state of wet – everything on this guy is hosed down before he heads to the ring, from hair to shirt. Someone probably should have told Bo that being constantly wet was the Shield’s gimmick, but with that group disbanded I guess the theft is acceptable.

So, Bo Dallas plays the character well. For me, the Bo Dallas character works best when he is oblivious of the hate coming from the audience and the other performers. For me, the illusion breaks when Bo does something heelish in a clearly premeditated manner, like his attacks on El Torito. If Bo really is a bad dude under the exterior, then the character is a façade and the cracks are showing. I was a bigger fan of his match against Damien Sandow on RAW this past Monday night. Sandow gave Bo a proverbial shellacking prior to the match, and I was entertained by the way Bo kept shaking his head, as if to say, “Oh, Damien, you kidder!”

The greater problem here is two-fold: One; The best characters are often those in which the performer sees some reflection of themselves.  The most successful characters, like Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, CM Punk, or, dare I say it, Brock Lesnar, all have some foundation in reality. This is a problem for Bo Dallas; no one in this world acts like Bo Dallas’ acts. He’s a cartoon character. Cartoon characters have worked in the past, but that was a different era. Hulk Hogan or Ultimate Warrior, Bo Dallas is not.

Two; Where does this gimmick go? As a quirky comedy act, the Bo Dallas character has the potential to languish in the mid-card forever. Once his undefeated streak ends, where does Bo end up? This Bo Dallas could eventually hold the Intercontinental or U.S. Championship, but that day isn’t soon as he still hasn’t been tested against anyone in the running for either of those titles. What about the day when he drops that hypothetical mid-card title? As is, this character never climbs the card to compete for the world heavyweight championship. More likely, he ends up as enhancement talent.

The silver lining here? Bo Dallas, the performer, is talented. I think the current character does a lot to obscure how green he is on the microphone, but that is a skill that will continue to develop over time. His in-ring work is decidedly solid, even at this early stage. Moreover, I can see the WWE tweaking his character on a weekly basis. The matchup against Damien Sandow this week is proof that they are not wed to the idea of Bo Dallas as a heel. The character is not stagnant, and they are continuing to evolve the concept.

Give it six months. Does Bo fizzle out, or does he evolve into something greater than the character they are offering us now? Time will tell the story of Bo Dallas.

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