Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - Vince McMahon's commentary on internet wrestling culture, standard Money In The Bank match hype, John Cena and Mark Henry continue their solid work, and more!
By Will Pruett
Sometimes Raw provides a little bit of possibly unintentional humor and I feel compelled to comment on it. This week is one of those times. In the middle of the show, after Triple H had complimented Vickie Guerrero on her main event, Vince McMahon walked into her office and criticized the main event choice. His reasoning? Vickie was giving this main event away for free. This brought out one of my favorite tropes of online wrestling culture and made me smile.
Many fans and analysts believe wrestling should, at its heart, be an expensive habit for all of its fans. This belief comes from the territory days, when wrestling television was basically supposed to be a commercial for live events in the area. The great matches happened in the arenas, not on a screen. Move forward to the advent of pay-per-view, where wrestling television was made to advertise the next big show, available for purchase in your home. This was the same concept, just a little more universal.
Now, pay-per-view is a dying medium, and the arena shows are a traveling circus, so what is the main feature of wrestling? As much as it kills me to say it, the money tells the tale. The main feature of wrestling is actually the television product. This shift occurred in the late 1990's and was one of the unintentional consequences of the Monday Night Wars. WWE's television product is the most important thing they do now.
Why even bring this up? Obviously Vince McMahon knows this. When he criticized Vickie Guerrero on Monday night, it seemed like even he was laughing at the fans/analysts who believe all big things must happen on pay-per-view (and please don't get me wrong, pay-per-view still has its place). It was an overstated argument from McMahon (who is not exactly an honorable character on television right now).
The rest of the McMahon drama has not appealed to me, but this one moment of brilliance made me smile.
- It's been a while since we've seen the opening video package of Raw, complete with "Tonight is the night" booming underneath it. I still like this theme song a lot.
- Much like last week, Daniel Bryan was allowed to open Raw with his entrance. Anyone who believes Bryan isn't getting a strong push is crazy. WWE knows what they have here.
- As much as I enjoy Bryan opening the show, the opening promo segment did not do much for me. It was the usual promo where every man enters and interrupts. After almost ten years of Money in the Bank matches, I'm ready for a different strategy being used to build these matches.
- On the plus side, no one climbed the ladder only to be pushed off of it.
- One of my favorite parts of this show was the way C.M. Punk turned his microphone around in his hand to use it as a weapon. Sometimes the little things really help a segment.
- I enjoyed the flashback packages with past WWE and World Champions bookending commercials on this show. I'm a sucker for wrestling history. It would be really fun to see these packages used for the Tag or Intercontinental Championships when those are in the main events of shows.
- The Shield vs. The Uso's and Christian did a nice job of making sure I don't have to watch Smackdown this week. The match was pretty good and very exciting. I am happy to see The Shield used a little more than they were last week.
- I will always love The Uso's entrance.
- WWE is really trying to make their pay-per-view kickoff shows more prominent. Putting the Rollins and Reigns vs. The Uso's on it guarantees I'll be watching.
- Daniel Bryan and Kane's saga is still fun to watch. Their feud happening with Money in the Bank in the middle of it actually enhances what they're doing. I don't want to see more Bryan vs. Kane, so this works.
- Dolph Ziggler getting babyface squashes to get him over is fun to watch. I'm not sure Ziggler has all the mannerisms and the timing down, but he is evolving and developing as a babyface on a weekly basis.
- How was this Raw crowd as dead as it was? They really hurt the show with their silence.
- Daniel Bryan giving Kane wins confuses me. I like the idea of Bryan as an honorable and tough wrestler. Cheating to help his partner doesn't enhance this image. Much like I have said for the past few weeks, it'll be interesting to see what Bryan does in the coming months.
- Bryan probably had that RKO from Orton coming.
- I'm glad Fandango is back and healthy, but his match with Sheamus did nothing for me. The countout ending was frustrating. I have to wonder if this would happen if wins were promoted as a more important commodity.
- Ryback gave up against The Miz. I feel bad for him now. I'm not into the "Cryback" push or idea. I know Ryback had to lose some of his footing on the card, but he is falling quickly.
- The live crowd seemed to distract Mark Henry during his promo, but Henry was able to bring it around in the end. I enjoyed the video package for Henry earlier in the night and this promo from him. WWE is doing a nice job of reinforcing this as Henry's only chance. It helps the pay-per-view build and it makes the match seem special.
- C.M. Punk and Curtis Axel made for a fun team and told a nice story through their actions. This match was never really about The Primetime Players, but they were alright in this spotlight as well.
- Punk and Axel continuing to bicker should be very interesting. Paul Heyman's involvement helps this as well. Heyman and Punk told a lot of story last week, so a lack of development here is not surprising.
- A.J. Lee has taken to being a LayCool knockoff at this point. Why are all heel Diva's made into awkward LayCool/Beautiful People/Mean Girls clones? There are other ways to get over as a heel, I wish WWE would try more of them with their Diva's.
- It looks like the McMahon saga has an end date with next week's Raw. There's something to like about it at last.
- Rob Van Dam highlight videos are fun to watch. I might like them more than most RVD matches.
- Heel vs. Heel is always awkward. This was true for the short Antonio Cesaro vs. Cody Rhodes match. On the plus side, Jack Swagger is back. Maybe he and Cesaro will do something interesting together.
- If the backstage segment discussing Total Divas is anything like what the show will be, count me out. I have a feeling I'll watch one episode of this show, then completely ignore it.
- The Wyatt Family was pushed really hard on this show, especially in the closing moments. WWE has done a great job hyping the debut of this trio. I hope their first program is as good as this build has been.
- The commentary team tried to tell the story of John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio having a big match feel, but the feel just wasn't there. Cena and Del Rio had an okay match, but the hype for the match kind of overshadowed the match itself.
- Most people spent the whole match expecting Mark Henry and Dolph Ziggler to get involved, so the match fell a little flat while we all waited for it.
This show was just flat. The crowd didn't help it, but the effort from WWE felt phoned in after the last few weeks of good shows. The main programs were forwarded decently, but nothing jumped off the page. The main story here was the Wyatt Family's arrival finally having a date to it. I know I'm excited about it.
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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