Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - Ric Flair returns and fights C.M. Punk, Big E Langston debuts, The Shield attacks legends, The Slammy Awards are handed out, WWE viewers learn to use apps
By Will Pruett
- Form the moment the show began, WWE did a nice job highlighting the major storylines coming out of TLC. That show was fairly newsworthy and very fun to watch. WWE made it seem quite important.
- I always love the set for the Slammy Awards. The giant Slammy Awards on the stage and the slightly different stage setup made me smile.
- Call me old fashioned, but I don't understand why Damien Sandow won his match at the pay-per-view, but then lost in the opening match of Raw. Maybe they were trying to protect Rey Mysterio, but this would be a perfect match for Mysterio to lose.
- I wasn't quite sure how to vote for the Slammy Awards. Someone on the show really should have explained it to us at home.
- Perhaps this was due to my own technological incompetence, but I couldn't actually get the WWE App to load the voting screen. It was updated and everything as it should have been, but it wasn't working. I'm convinced WWE just didn't want me voting. This is a conspiracy.
- Boogeyman was a very random surprise. They gave him a little more time on the stage than I would have preferred. I don't know that this moment was all that necessary.
- Brad Maddox assuming he had won a Slammy Award was one of my favorite moments of the night. That character is quickly becoming one of my favorites in wrestling.
- At TLC it looked like a new contender for the Diva's Championship was going to be established. Based on Kaitlyn's win over Eve that is not the case. What did I do to deserve the fate of watching so many Kaitlyn matches?
- The New Age Outlaws' act is fine for a nostalgia trip. I'm not a huge fan, but I also don't get why some people absolutely hate them.
- Jerry Lawler deserved the Comeback of the Year Award, but I could have gone without the footage of him being wheeled out of the arena being shown again.
- Remember when we thought Tensai would be a decent wrestler and possibly an exciting addition to WWE's roster? Yeah, I'm trying to pretend I never thought that too.
- I'm happy to see the rivalry between Wade Barrett and Dolph Ziggler continuing. Both men have a lot to gain from each other and I don't think we've seen their best in-ring work thus far.
- Apparently WWE thinks no one has ever downloaded an app. Ever.
- I laughed at the Kiss of the Year nominees all involving A.J. I was quite disappointed that there was no Hug of the Year Slammy for Kane and Daniel Bryan.
- I had high hopes for a pairing or A.J. and Dolph Ziggler after TLC and their kiss on this show. Sadly, the end of the show lowered those hopes greatly.
- I walked away during the Khali vs. Otunga match. Sorry about that.
- Did WWE want to tell us that Ric Flair was the big return prior to the break?
- Ric Flair just looks better on the WWE stage than he did on the TNA stage. I don't know what it is that makes this so.
- The Slammy's have never actually been important awards (Owen Hart stole two and was eventually credited with winning them), so I'm not going to complain about John Cena winning the Superstar of the Year award.
- Who's call was it to have The Slammy Awards in Philadelphia? That isn't the friendliest crowd to most things in WWE, and especially not award show silliness.
- C.M. Punk's exchange with Ric Flair was pretty great. WWE is doing a nice job keeping Punk active on the show, while they allow him to recover from surgery. This confrontation was a great use of both men.
- Paul Heyman did a great job getting put in the Figure Four.
- The Shield attacking Ric Flair was easy to see coming once Flair got the best of Heyman and Punk. It was also quite compelling. I love the way WWE used entrances flowing into commercials to keep the suspense alive. With the Punk and Flair fight, as well as the Shield and Flair fight, the timing of the show was impeccable.
- Ryback got a major pop in Philadelphia. That was both surprising and delightful.
- Is Seth Rollins the designated dangerous bump taker for The Shield? Two nights in a row, he took a big one while Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns were not around him.
- Yes. No. Whooooo. Damn. This segment made me laugh more than it probably should have.
- How many times has Brodus Clay squashed JTG? Why not make JTG a mini-Funkasaurus? I'm not sure why I had that idea, but now that I've put it in writing, I love it.
- I laughed at Santino's "Fat Albert" joke.
- Why is Sin Cara's mood lighting still a thing? WWE doesn't consistently use it and it is really distracting during matches. I was fine with it just after Sin Cara's debut, but it's been almost two years now.
- Remember when the Hashtag of the Year Slammy was decided based on who trended first during a match, which mattered more than the match? The Raw App voting made more sense than that.
- Big Show's giant chair has to be one of my least favorite things in wrestling.
- Sheamus and Big Show have had some great matches, but I don't see why they need to go longer than three months with this feud. There isn't quite enough gas left in the tank to keep it exciting and it creates a lack of interest in both characters. WWE doesn't do one month challengers enough and going into the Royal Rumble would have been a great chance to do so.
- The Money in the Bank tease was quite exciting. Ziggler seems to be on the verge of winning the World Heavyweight Championship any day now and the people can feel it. I still believe WWE will wait until after WrestleMania, but holding him at the precipice of this moment until them could be a great call.
- Alberto Del Rio is a babyface because he knows 3MB sucks. I'm a little okay with that.
- It was fun to see Tommy Dreamer come in for a one night return. I'm sure it was a cool moment for him to be in front of the Philadelphia crowd on the WWE stage one more time.
- The 3MB match lasted far longer than it needed to. Since we knew that 3MB would lose, the 14 minutes spent getting there kind of seemed like a waste. It wouldn't be a big deal if 3MB was a compelling act, but they are almost X Factor bad.
- Ryback's promo quoting Owen Hart really wasn't bad. Also, his short match with Antonio Cesaro was very fun to watch. I'd assume that Ryback will be beating Cesaro in the next month, but I'd also be chill with this being their only encounter for a little while. This could be a major feud in the second half of 2013.
- Gene Okerland, Ricky Steamboat, and Jim Ross were a fairly awkward presenting trio.
- I'm not going to reveal my own personal match of the year, but I won't object to WWE's award going to Undertaker vs. Triple H. That match was a work of art.
- It seems like we get a tease for Undertaker's return most years at the Slammy Awards. I'm happy to hear that The Deadman will most likely be competing at another WrestleMania. It will give me an excuse to republish my blog series on The Streak.
- The Shield attacking people backstage is fine, but I would have liked to see a little more followup from them on this show. The Shield won a major match at TLC and I would have loved to see them advance them a little more on this show. Perhaps even just a video promo would have helped immensely.
- There is apparently a very emotional bridge portion of A.J. Lee's theme music. We learned this coming out of a commercial break.
- The mixed tag team match with A.J. teaming with Ziggler to take on Cena and Vickie Guerrero was fun for a few moments. I'm interested to see what will come of the Ziggler and Guerrero dynamic going forward.
- The debut of Big E Langston left a little bit to be desired. He looked impressive, but his gear looked ridiculous. Is he like a powerlifting Kofi Kingston?
- The end of Raw was one of the oddest scenes I've ever seen. Cena was downed. Langston was standing over him. A.J. was skipping laps around the ring. Dolph Ziggler looked as confused as most of the viewers must have felt.
- Langston is the next big developmental call up. He is also being positioned to play John Cena's WrestleMania lead-in opponent, much like Kane did last year. If the expected matchup of Rock vs. Cena ends up happening, this might not be a good thing for Langston.
This was an odd edition of Raw. The Slammy Awards produced some silliness and some okay moments. Nothing in the awards portion of the show was bad. The ending has me puzzled though. It should be fun to see where WWE goes, but my confidence isn't exactly high.
The followup from the hot TLC show left a lot to be desired. Given that Raw will be on Christmas and New Years Eve, I'd expect WWE to take a few weeks and produce filler TV instead of major shows. I know I'll be taking a couple weeks off of writing a Pause on Raw to enjoy the holidays.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at email@example.com or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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