Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - Ryback plays dress up, The Shield remains undefeated, John Cena's ankle hurts, Mark Henry gets a rope, managers and Big E fight, and more!
By Will Pruett
Something odd happened when Raw went to three hours last Summer. It wasn't just that the show became an hour longer, but somehow instead of adding things to segments, things were cut. Notable among the cut items are the entrances of many superstars.
One would assume, with an extra hour, even jobbers would get entrances. This wouldn't make for the most exciting show, with 20 people walking up and down a ramp, repeatedly, but it would put many of the stars on equal footing. Instead, we often see winners walk the ramp and losers stand at ringside as they do.
I'm not going to pretend this is a major issue, but it does make me miss big entrances for people not winning matches. Think about the excellent Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes match on this show. It wouldn't have killed the timing of the show to let Cody walk out and do his full entrance. It would have made the match we were about to see far more competitive (at least in the minds of those paying attention to entrances).
I'm not the most entertained with Antonio Cesaro's current yodeling persona, but I would have been fine with seeing it. The same goes for the very first match of Raw. Big E Langston and Zeb Colter were just hanging out in the ring. There's something fun about turning on Raw and getting a match right as it begins, but it can make things less confusing (especially when the match is as odd as Zeb Colter vs. Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Big E).
Entrances aren't the biggest issue in wrestling today, but they do signal a great deal about the talent making (or not making) them.
- Kicking off the show with a spectacle like Big E vs. Zeb vs. Ricardo was actually kind of fun. The match couldn't be considered good, but it was entertaining. All three men played their roles really well.
- I was sad to see Big E Langston so easily knocked out of the opener. Maybe he wasn't the right sidekick to put in this match. A.J. Lee would have been a fine replacement. It's not like the physicality from Zeb and Ricardo was intense.
- Anytime I see Zubaz on Raw, I am delighted. Someone (well, my wife) really needs to buy me a pair.
- The Make A Wish segment on this show was touching and really amazing. Kudos to the crowd for giving John Cena and those kids a welcome reception.
- The Eliminator is my new favorite WWE superstar.
- Did anyone else want to see those three kids get the chance to go Brock Lesnar on 3MB?
- The entire Make A Wish segment made me remember just how inspiring and fun wrestling can be. Let's all take a moment and remember what made us fall in love with it as kids.
- Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes was surprisingly competitive and surprisingly great. It's easy to forget how good Rhodes can be. It's also easy to forget how Orton can work a slower pace than most wrestlers, but still have an engaging and competitive match.
- Is Orton growing his hair out?
- I'll bet Ted DiBiase was backstage weeping a little bit during the Rhodes vs. Orton match.
- How is Total Divas going to fill an entire hour on the E network? They only fill like six minutes on actual WWE television. More importantly, am I actually supposed to watch this show?
- I'm glad a referee finally reversed a decision based on "Twin Magic" from the Bella's. I wish that part of the act would end. They aren't the worst wrestlers and they're very fun characters.
- The Shield loves justice. What's justice? Well, we aren't really sure. They're a great trio that WWE is establishing really nicely. Their entrance and act are very over. I wonder of WWE actually plans to define The Shield's version of justice. If they don't, perhaps it should be deemphasized instead of focused on for an entire promo segment.
- Once again, those Make A Wish kids would have been awesome against 3MB.
- Kane and Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield is a pretty nice feud being built up right now.
- I ate pizza last night. Raw did not influence that decision. It was not from Domino's.
- Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler had a great match. There was a lot of good action on Raw this week, but much of it felt inconsequential. I know I should be thankful for good action, but mid-level good matches can burn a guy out.
- You know what was great about the Brock Lesnar and Triple H video package? I was able to fast-forward through it, since I've seen every Brock and Triple H segment.
- Is Kaitlyn's secret admirer going to be a new superstar debuting? I can think of worse ways to bring out a new star.
- Why does Ryback cut all of his shirts up so much? Is it a priority for him? Anytime a wrestler seems tough, imagine him taking scissors to his shirt and carefully cutting it.
- Another Ryback question: Why is he suddenly dressing up as Goldberg backstage?
- Jack Swagger vs. Zach Ryder was a nice squash. Swagger also has apparently shared his hair secrets with Zach Ryder.
- We all love tug-of-war competitions, right?
- Sheamus leaving the competition and beating up Mark Henry was not exactly how I expect an honorable babyface to act.
- Once again, I would expect WWE to have a little more news on The Rock than just reading his tweets.
- Well, at least Antonio Cesaro had a long match before he lost!
- Seriously though, Alberto Del Rio vs. Antonio Cesaro would be a great feud in a situation where both men we presented as serious and credible. This was another good match, but in three hours, sometimes good isn't enough to keep me interested.
- I don't mind fans singing Ole for Alberto Del Rio. El Generico wasn't the first wrestler to get those chants, so he doesn't really own them. Plus Generico is down in Mexico taking care of orphans.
- I plan to enjoy Ziggler vs. Del Rio vs. Swagger in a ladder match.
- I wonder what Sami Zayn thinks of the Ole chants.
- I am also guilty of fast forwarding through the Fandango and Great Khali dance contest.
- I really enjoyed the main event match. There was suspense built up around whether The Shield could continue winning, along with some great action and the correct (yet surprising) finish.
- When I see Daniel Bryan in a six man against The Shield, I expect him to take the fall. I was delighted to see that was not the case here.
- John Cena losing to The Shield, even with the excuse provided by his injury, is a big deal. Hopefully it will be emphasized as such by the announcers and The Shield. John Cena losing to Roman Reigns via Reigns' finisher is also a big deal.
- The end of Raw, with Ryback dressed up as Goldberg watching on the ramp, worked for me. It's a lot like what we've seen in the last few weeks, but it did give a little more to this feud.
This show was filled with good, long matches, but it didn't feel important. Maybe this is a consequence of the over-inflation of wrestling television over the last 15 years, but it is depressing. Good matches are fine and dandy, but they don't always lead to compelling drama. I like compelling drama. Raw has used the good, but not great, match card too often in the last year and it is getting a little exhausting.
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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