Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - C.M. Punk, Jim Ross, and Ryback steal the show, Dolph Ziggler has a long memory, Team Hell No main event, Sheamus and Big Show try bad comedy, and more
By Will Pruett
- The opening segment of Raw was very interesting. It was a slightly convoluted path to get to the main event match, but it was always entertaining. From a storytelling standpoint, it was odd, but from an entertainment perspective it was great.
- Paul Heyman is great at holding up the WWE Championship. I'm sure he is counting down the days until WWE switches the title to something lighter.
- Does the comedy duo of Daniel Bryan and Kane belong in the same world as C.M. Punk and Dolph Ziggler? This is a question that interests me. Bryan and Kane are funny, slightly absurd, and very entertaining. Does this segment and that main event devalue Punk and Ziggler? I doubt so.
- A.J.'s freak out continues her story as General Manager. I don't see what the endgame actually is here. It's a puzzling story. It has had its moments, but it isn't well told.
- The tag team tournament is a great way for WWE to fill time on their shows, enhance the tag team division, and create some intrigue in the pairings. I'm also just a sucker for brackets. Tournament brackets are the best things.
- What was going on with Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio's half mask things? I appreciate the effort to look like a tag team, but there was a simpler way to do that.
- Sin Cara and Mysterio vs. Primo and Epico was a very entertaining tag team match. I maintain that the best use of Sin Cara is in a team with Mysterio. His act is clicking better here than it has before.
- I was surprised to see Brodus Clay treated like a jobber in his match with Antonio Cesaro. The match did a nice job of enhancing Cesaro and proving just how strong he was. This was a nice use of Cesaro, who continues to impress me.
- WWE is adding a lot of side-characters to Raw. First Dr. Shelby (who was great), and not Christopher J. Stevenson. I hope that Stevenson is more entertaining than disappointing. This could be disastrous.
- It looks like The Miz's losing force was nothing compared to Zack Ryder's losing force. Was this good short match the first non-title match Miz has won since before Raw 1,000?
- I strongly disliked the debate segment with Booker T, Big Show, and Sheamus. These segments position Sheamus as an actually unlikable character. I see no reason to cheer for the happy-go-lucky Irishman. Big Show was also insufferable here. WWE may have been trying to be topical, but all they did was produce bad television.
- Didn't Ryback get Tensai up for his finisher on Smackdown? It was a bummer to see him fail to do so on Raw this week. The announcers and Ryback did heir best to cover, but I doubt we will be seeing that on any highlight reels.
- Eve vs. Beth Phoenix was a decent Diva's match. I'm interested in the story with Eve at this moment. Sure, it involves some poor acting from Kaitlyn, but poor acting is unavoidable in wrestling.
- I don't know what it is that isn't clicking about Wade Barrett at this moment, but something isn't working. The video packages, the squash matches, and the new finisher are all there, but Barrett isn't clicking.
- Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, and Drew McIntyre are a stable? I can't see this being an enjoyable experiment. Where does this rank in all-time stables? I'd say above the Disciples of Apocalypse and below the West Texas Rednecks.
- Sheamus and Damien Sandow has a great, long match on Raw. I was worried when I saw that Sandow would be against Sheamus, but he more than held his own. Cody Rhodes also added to this match on commentary and with interference.
- As much as it seems like a mix of two unlike tones, I appreciate the effort to mix both World Championship scenes with contenders and champions from the tag team scene. WWE seems to be going all out to make tag teams matter on their shows again.
- Jim Ross and C.M. Punk had a spectacular verbal exchange. Ross was motivated, likable, exciting, dynamic, and honest. Punk was everything a seedy heel should be. This was the highlight of the show and a perfect use of Ross in his hometown. This belongs on a highlight reel of Jim Ross performances.
- Ryback's use on this show intimidating Punk and standing up for Ross was perfect. Ryback's popularity probably bounced up about ten points in Oklahoma and all over the country. This was a great segment with a perfect ending.
- Can I say I'm actually excited for Ryback vs. Punk without losing all of my internet street cred?
- Alberto Del Rio has been beating Kofi Kingston since Elimination Chamber 2011. Kingston is just a slit step up from Santino in the ring with Del Rio. This isn't a criticism of Kingston and Del Rio, but a criticism of how creative has used this matchup.
- A.J. is crazy. Why does she have a coach again? I pray this was a one-show gimmick.
- I'm still disappointed by the fans that picked "Team Hell No" instead of "Team Friendship." Why let all of Dr. Shelby's work go to waste?
- I'm honestly confused as the why A.J. made herself the special referee for the main event. This was an odd move. Sure, it put A.J. out there in referee gear (which I'd guess was WWE's main intention), but it didn't advance the story.
- I greatly enjoyed the tag team main event. Dolph Ziggler walking out on Punk was some nice round storytelling that I didn't expect from WWE. It's almost like they planned it, or something
- In what universe are we in where the Tag Team Champions defeat the WWE Champion? Once again, the emphasis being place on tag team wrestling is very fun.
This show had some issues. The portion of the show that usually drags was moved from the third hour to the first and second. This was probably a good choice, but it had uneven results. The last hour of Raw was excellent from top to bottom. The Jim Ross and Punk segment and the main event saved this show and made it a thumbs up show.
The lack of John Cena on this show wasn't too noticeable. Everyone continued to do what they were doing anyways and the push towards Punk vs. Cena in Hell in a Cell continued. Perhaps a week off like this will help Cena in the future, as his character can get rather stale.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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