With all the hubbub (such a fun word to say...even to type...) over the Vince McMahon interview tonight, I thought it appropriate to take a few moments and discuss the 3 hour opening act known as Monday Night RAW.
WWE.com claims that tonight's show is "Cyber Monday", which obviously refers to the anonymous GM's return. Speculation abounds as to who is behind the annoying 'dinging'. Here are 3 unlikely candidates, and why they would make sense.
- Paul Heyman Outside of his not-so-subtle dodging of the GM question during the HIAC pre-show, everyone's favorite advocate has had very little to do these last few weeks. Giving Paul the GM job puts him on TV more often (never a bad thing) and also allows him to "bend the rules" when it comes to title defenses, thereby explaining, albeit kayfabe, why Brock has been gone for so long.
- Shane McMahon With one McMahon on the way out, it would only make sense for the other to come in. We haven't seen Shane on WWE TV in . . . . years, I think, and that's a shame. Not only would just the theme music alone cause Twitter to explode, but Shane always was the best "face" McMahon. You just wanted to like him. There's no great storyline reason for the prodigal son to return to WWE, but when has that ever stopped them from making a creative decision?
- Stone Cold Steve Austin While this might be the unlikeliest of the three, Austin's return would make a lot of sense. First and foremost, it hypes the podcast tonight. . . Not that it needs it. Second, bringing back THE most popular anti-hero of all time might take the focus of the more recent one who's been making waves. Finally, and most importantly, Austin likely convinces some people not to cancel their WWE Network memberships, since that's bound to be happening soon.
Your thoughts? Who do we see tonight? Who is the best person to steer the RAW ship? Join the discussion or use the hashtag #NAIGM. Be heard.
While Doc Manson busies himself with other things, such as the creation of this wonderful website, it falls to me to share with you his first individual post from our Number Two Contenders days. Enjoy!
Hey, folks, Doc Manson here. I've been going over my notes, and I'd like to chat for a moment about the Swiss Superman, the King of Swing, and the winner of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestleania 30, Antonio Cesaro.
This guy became something of a fan favorite over the course of the last year, no doubt due to his natural charisma and his amazing feats of strength. The shot of Cesaro lifting Big Show over the top rope at Wrestlemania 30, paying striking visual homage to the Hogan/Andre slam at Wrestlemania III, is a moment with the potential to live in highlight reels for years to come.
Leading up to Wrestlemania 30, Cesaro oddly chose to align himself with Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter. As a foreigner, I'm not sure how Cesaro managed to earn their trust, but not only was his presence tolerated by the Real Americans, but he was also allowed to join their movement. There was a strong alliance there between Cesaro and Swagger, but over time a rift formed between the two partners. The whole situation came to a head on the Wrestlemania 30 pre-show, and was punctuated by Swagger destroying Cesaro's Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal trophy on RAW the following night. The crowd rallied behind Cesaro, and he was on the precipice of becoming the next white-hot fan favorite.
In another odd move, Cesaro followed up by taking on the services of Paul Heyman, the most conniving manager in the pro-wrestling business today. Now, I'm not going to second-guess Cesaro here; Heyman is a true professional that knows how to get things done in the WWE. Still, the crowd dynamic has been strange ever since, with the cheers for Cesaro growing quieter every week. The quality of Cesaro's character has been diluted, and his recent momentum has slowed to a crawl.
Cesaro's recent string of loses to Big E and Kofi Kingston have not helped his situation, but there may yet be a silver lining. I can see Cesaro growing more frustrated each week, and perhaps this is the path he needs to follow in order to ignite a new intensity. He has clearly been confused by the sudden admiration he received from the fans; perhaps his series of questionable alignments has been an exercise in finding himself and embracing his true character.
I'd like to see Cesaro come out next week with renewed focus, channeling his frustrations into a severe vicious streak. With the recent injury of Bad News Barrett, the Battle Royal for the Intercontinental Championship at Battleground 2014 is the perfect place for Cesaro to begin his return to prominence. If Cesaro can bring everything he learned from the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and remain focused, I can easily see him leaving Battleground as champion. Cesaro might not want the adulation of the fans, but he's got to want to wear gold around his waist once again.