WWE Raw Buy or Sell: Old School themed show, Piper's Pit with John Cena, Wade Barrett, and Randy Orton, Legends return, Jim Ross calls a match, final Survivor Series build, and more
By Rich Twilling
Old School theme: I am buying last night's themed show and would love to see it return once a year. I was looking forward to the show going in and WWE nailed it, exceeding my already high expectations. This show made the build to the Survivor Series better by default.
They got off on the right foot by showing the old block logo in space. From there, they used old fonts, red, white, and blue ropes, royal blue ring skirts and mats, and the announcers wore tan WWF blazers. They even had the interview platform and old school backstage interview room. Great stuff.
Piper's Pit: Huge buy here. Piper has conducted Piper's Pit in the past seven years and none of those broadcasts were all that memorable. Piper was fantastic last night. Instead of screaming, ranting, and raving, he was cold and calculating with his comments. He was also dead on with what he had to say.
Piper made John Cena's impending decision at the Survivor Series this Sunday more intriguing than anyone has yet to do with one comment. Piper said he never won the WWE Championship and named off some other legends that did not as well. He said Cena would spit in all of their faces if he just handed Barrett the WWE Championship.
Frankly, it is ridiculous for Piper, R-Truth, or anyone else to get on Cena for this. Titles are won and lost, but everyone should understand that this is Cena's career we are talking about. Piper even said Barrett could be handed the championship, but would not be a champion. Nonetheless, the main event at Survivor Series is more interesting than ever.
The Miz: I am buying Miz's involvement during last night's show. I like that he teased cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase during the show, throwing the Survivor Series out of whack in the process. Truth be told, his involvement in the main event picture at Survivor Series shows that he is truly at the top of the card now. He could cash in and that will sell pay-per-views.
Return of Hall of Famers and Legends: Once again, this is another huge buy. They went with the usual suspects, and then threw out some pretty cool surprises. I didn't expect to see Tito Santana, Slick, Bob Orton, or especially Jim Ross. The Legends were used very well and it was great to see them all. When they were all lined out in front of the huge "RAW" letters, it was a pretty damn cool collection of all time great talent.
Jim Ross, Howard Finkel, and Gene Okerlund: I put these three together on purpose and am buying them. I mentioned in my audio last night that wrestlers get old and when they do, they have to get out of the ring. Ross, Finkel, and Okerlund have voices that work just fine, and it would be awesome to hear them on a permanent basis.
For some reason, announcers in WWE have to look good. Call me crazy, but I only care how they sound and what they bring to the table. Okerlund is fantastic at backstage and in arena interviews. Finkel is unmatched when it comes to ring announcing. Of course, Jim Ross is one of the all time best behind the play by play microphone. Huge thumbs down to keeping Michael Cole in character and having him talk over Ross the entire time. It was classless and annoying.
Daniel Bryan vs. Jack Swagger: Ten matches and this was the only one worthy of a buy. Two men differing in size and style, but sharing vast in ring talent. I like their styles in the ring together and we were treated to a good television match. It helped that JR was the one calling the match as well. The impending Bryan vs. Ted DiBiase feud should be a good one.
Tyson Kidd finally turns on David Hart Smith: Although I am surprised they went with Kidd as the heel and Smith as the babyface, I am buying this. They have been teasing it for awhile now and they finally pulled the trigger. WWE has a track record of the person turning heel during a tag team breakup getting a huge push. I hope that happens here as Kidd should be pushed miles ahead of Smith.
John Morrison challenges Sheamus to a match: I am buying this entire feud for being built up nice and slowly. They took the next progression by booking a Survivor Series match between the two. Based on what is currently on that card, I hope they are given a lot of time to put forth a great match. We've seen they work well together and with two men that will not sell a lot of shows on the mic, they will have to do it in the ring.
Mae Young defeats LayCool: Mae referred to LayCool as "sluts" and "bitches." That is cool with me and I will buy. Again, Mae comes in, the Raw babyface Divas get involved, and the Divas Division became more interesting than it had in months. Natalya was not focused on at all, so I doubt she will win the title at the PPV, but maybe the formula is to have a lot of people getting their shots in on LayCool when they finally lose the belts.
Clean finishes: I really liked what they did here and am buying big time. Wade Barrett, Dolph Ziggler, Ezekiel Jackson, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, and Alberto Del Rio all won their matches cleanly. For the first three names I listed, they either did so with their finishers on the first try or in Ziggler's case, with the sleeper, a move that needed to be established as one that could actually win a big match.
Final Raw build to Survivor Series: I thought they did as well as they could have possibly done and I am buying. This viewer was not thrilled about the Survivor Series itself and the build to it, but the Old School Raw helped matters a lot. I think my overwhelming approval of the show made me excited about the Survivor Series on its own. Beyond that, they sold the main event pretty well and threw a couple of other things on the show. This was as excited as they were going to get me and I'm there.
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