Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - Country music takes over, Randy Orton explores whether or not he believes in himself, Punk, Bryan, The Rhodes', and The Uso's vs. The Shield and The Wyatt Family, and more!
By Will Pruett
I've been pretty caught up in this whole push of The Authority and the de-push of Daniel Bryan over the last few months. It was bad, don't get me wrong, but Bryan wasn't the only star hurt by this awful story. Bryan was the most sympathetic, since he wasn't at the top of the card yet and when he got there, was immediately taken down a notch. What about Randy Orton's character though? We saw on this show how far Orton had fallen.
Even with the WWE Championship, Orton has played second or third or fourth fiddle in this odd Raw Country style bluegrass band (this show could have used some bluegrass, by the way). Look at Orton's original title win at SummerSlam. He won with Triple H's finisher. All Orton had to do was walk down the ramp and pin Bryan. Then, look at Orton's defeat of Bryan at Hell in a Cell. Orton won with Shawn Michaels hitting Sweet Chin music, not the RKO. Apparently Bryan can only lose matches to DX's finishers.
Randy Orton was set up to lose both of the middle matches with Bryan in their series,only the losses were a little clouded. He hasn't been able to string together a series of great matches or a signature title match. Orton has barely been given the chance to have matches without interference. He doesn't talk a whole lot. He hardly comes off as a bad guy.
On this show, Randy Orton seemed frightened. You see, The Authority didn't help him when he needed it in the middle of the ring. He had to run away. Backstage, he confronted The Shield and told them they had to help him the Shield, being the tough guys they happen to be, said they would be if ordered to be. The Authority (Triple H) then told him he would not have help at Survivor Series and wondered aloud if he and Stephanie still had faith in Orton.
Randy Orton is supposed to be the lead heel in WWE. He is presented as "the face of WWE" and we are constantly told how great he is. Of all the people WWE could needlessly bury, why is Orton on the list? Who am I supposed to believe in? There's Orton, who is the evil henchman of The Authority, and Big Show, who was the evil henchman of The Authority (who was more dominant and did more evil things).
Survivor Series is one of the least compelling pay-per-views in a long time and I believe Randy Orton's presentation has a lot to do with it. Orton is a talented wrestler who should be enjoying a resurgence and a new, more creative, heel persona. Instead, we are seeing him presented as a sidekick with a pretty belt.
And now for some random thoughts...
- At long last the nightmare of The Authority's vacation is over. It was a very rough week without them. Triple H and Stephanie really should have presented a slideshow of their vacation. I know I probably would have complained about it, but it's a pretty great idea.
- I zoned out during the Brad Maddox and Vickie Guerrero portion of the opening segment. I didn't want to, but it was pretty long and pretty pointless. Apparently, in the end, Maddox had to fight Orton and Vickie had to tastelessly mock A.J. Lee. I think these were punishments.
- It was so nice to see dastardly heel Randy Orton vs. dastardly heel Brad Maddox. This was like an odd pseudo-face turn for Orton, but he isn't a babyface.
- Big E Langston's remixed theme isn't my favorite thing, but it could grow on me. It does give him a distinct beginning to his song, which always helps. I'm guessing it'll be tweaked a few more times before it settles in.
- Big E Langston vs. Curtis Axel was presented as a major deal. From the in-ring introductions to the "prestige" of the Intercontinental Championship the announcers kept mentioning, something was different about this match. Langston and Axel were given the advantages of the big match feel.
- Langston's major moment was nice to see. The crowd was very into it. This was a hot crowd and WWE benefitted from it. As with all midcard title changes, the question is now what the wrestler will do with the title. Axel did nothing as Intercontinental Champion. Will Langston be able to overcome the midcard title curse?
- This will stun you, but I used fast forward liberally while watching this episode of Raw. The Divas Musical Chairs contest was a nice opportunity to do so.
- Big Show vs. Ryback had its impressive moments, but it was a little too long for me. Ryback getting Show up for the Shellshock was cool, but the match was slow and plodding outside of this moment.
- On the plus side, Show didn't knock out any senior citizens during this broadcast.
- The Miz, and more accurately, his character, need the heel turn. Miz has been stale since he turned babyface and being a heel, even the exact same heel he was before, will give him an edge. I hope we see Miz's character evolve, but WWE isn't about naturally evolving characters.
- Vickie Guerrero pretended to faint, which was probably funny to one person backstage. It made fun of A.J. Lee, who actually fainted during a match on the overseas tour due to dehydration. This was a tasteless angle. WWE was mocking something they should consider themselves at fault for. This wasn't just bad television, but it was rude. I don't understand who believed this was a good idea, or why.
- Apparently Damien Sandow and Dolph Ziggler had issues in the past. I don't remember these issues. I miss Smackdown a lot. Were they Smackdown exclusive issues? Also, Triple H making matches backstage is not fun to see.
- Apparently a Broadway Brawl is just a match with some cheap instruments set up without strings in the ring. This match was exceptionally boring. If you've seen a person get hit with a thing, you've seen everything Damien Sandow and Dolph Ziggler did.
- The only slightly humorous moment was Ziggler rocking the Jeff Jarrett strut when he hit the guitar shot. Somehow, part of me misses Jarrett on wrestling television. Bring him back, TNA.
- John Cena spent an entire promo segment selling how his arm was hurt and in pain, but he would fight through it. Of course, at the end of the segment he picked up Alberto Del Rio to throw him out of the ring and we saw how okay Cena's arm is. How does WWE constantly miss an opportunity to even show that Cena is in jeopardy?
- Alberto Del Rio and John Cena are engaged in a pretty underwhelming feud. On the plus side, Del Rio hasn't run over Santa Claus.
- It was a big night for WWE's former developmental talent. First, Big E won the Intercontinental Championship, then Xavier Woods debuted alongside his former TNA Tag Team Championship partner R-Truth. Normally I fast forward through Truth matches, but I wanted to catch Woods' debut.
- I don't mind the pairing of Truth and Woods to bolster the tag division. It's a fine place for Truth to occupy and at least Woods will keep me from having to see too much Truth offense.
- I also fast forwarded through the country band performance. It was satisfying. I know WWE calls Raw DVR proof, but I couldn't imagine watching the show without my DVR. I don't get to live tweet the show with everyone, but I do get to save like an hour or two of my life by using fast forward. It's an exchange I will gladly make.
- The closing twelve man tag team match was fantastic and was the highlight of this show. I had hoped Punk, Bryan, Goldust, Cody Rhodes, and The Uso's vs. The Shield and The Wyatt Family would be a Survivor Series Elimination Match, but getting it on this show was great. Nothing on Survivor Series seems as exciting as this match was.
- The continuing tension between The Shield and Wyatt's is one of the best things WWE has going for them. I hope they keep it going and pay it off satisfyingly.
- Rey Mysterio's return was a fun moment and the assumption of him being the surprise entrant in the Survivor Series Elimination tag works for me. He adds a little someone to the show, but Mysterio on his own isn't enough.
It's weird, but I just don't want to watch Survivor Series. There isn't a single match on the show that makes me want to pay even $20 for it. If Survivor Series were built up as a free show on USA on a Sunday night, I still doubt I would be excited about watching it. At the end of this episode of Raw, I would rather watch anything else.
WWE promoted a pay-per-view horribly on a bad episode of Raw featuring random country music. The show had its moments, but it didn't work.
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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