Monday Night RAW 7/28/14 Review
This column is intended to be a weekly piece on Monday Night RAW and the WWE in general. Don’t be alarmed if I happen to skip over segments that are either filler or don’t quite inspire much writing. For instance, the 6 man tag match on RAW was a perfectly fine match, but it really is just a filler match to keep all of these guys on TV and keep heat on the Miz/Ziggler feud. Until the “New Nation” actually does something all I could do is speculate on where they’re going and unfortunately I really have no clue. I’m not going to blow smoke and pretend I have some kind of insider information to keep people reading my column like other sites. So keep that in mind if I happen to jump around and not write about different wrestlers and segments.
I was very impressed with the opening segment of RAW specifically Cena’s mic work. I know he has delivered this type of “passion” promo many times before, but this time he really sold the story dynamic of a Lesnar vs Cena match. Lesnar doesn’t care about the business and Cena is the passionate fighting champion who loves the business. It’s simple and to the bone, but isn’t that when wrestling is at its best? I’ve read Rick Rude used to have one rule when it came to life in general: the K.I.S.S. rule. Keep it simple stupid. There isn’t a more logical rule to follow in pro wrestling. Cena puts himself out there and comes to choking up while Lesnar couldn’t be bothered to show up for a random RAW appearance, instead having Heyman answer for him. This speaks volumes for the character they’re having him portray. It hits that sweet spot between reality and fiction. I thought they did a great job at giving this angle some much needed weight behind it.
Following that up with Cesaro questioning Cena’s wrestling skills and challenging him to try to outwrestle him was a great touch. The match itself was tremendous in a lot of ways. It went back and forth with lots of actual wrestling between the two instead of brawling; neither guy looked weak in any exchange in the 15 or some minutes they had. Ending the match with a top rope Attitude Adjustment kept Cesaro’s character completely intact and didn’t make him look like a jackass for challenging Cena, because the current best wrestler in the company had to hit him with a super version of his finisher to end it. Going forward I don’t have much faith in their long-term plans for Cesaro, but for now he looked very strong in that match.
Jericho bringing back the “bottom feeding trash bag ho” line got a legitimate nostalgic laugh out of me, but setting up the Rollins match for later with the clear goal of having another Wyatt beatdown wasn’t a very exciting way to go. I appreciate they have to continue doing this to keep Bray feeling dangerous and unpredictable, but he keeps losing when it counts. This makes him not only look like a coward, but his promos feel more and more like a guy just talking bullshit which means people start tuning them out, and in consequence you cripple his strongest asset.
Bo Dallas vs R-Truth could’ve been another goofy squash match to keep Bo going, but instead they made him look like a complete jackass and it was fantastic. Building up this undefeated streak gave him a lot of heat, and having him lose in a matter of seconds because of his overconfidence really gave this whole thing a nice twist. A motivational success not being able to deal with failure adds another dimension to his character that was sorely lacking before. Now there are a number of things you can do in the traditional heel realm with him while also keeping with the idea that he’s a true babyface in his head. I think one more week of him just winning and celebrating could’ve been one too many.
I don’t think there’s much to say about the Swagger/Rusev feud. As I said earlier about the Cena/Lesnar program this is a simple and to the point storyline that works. Now, it only works because of current world events, but wrestling is always good for some “ripped from the headlines” slapstick political commentary. A flag match is the perfect thing for these two and I hope after SummerSlam they don’t try to drag this one out any longer. Let it end there. Speaking of things that need to end, Adam Rose is not working in any capacity. The whole thing feels cheap and dated like a bad skit from the dark ages of 2005 WWE. I’m not saying he’s a bad wrestler, but that gimmick straight up sucks and has no potential in any way. Sandow losing to this dude in 10 seconds makes no sense other than to fill time on the show…in fact, everything they’re doing with Sandow makes no real sense. His character started off very entertaining, but over time they’ve taken from him without giving. His colorful tights, MITB briefcase, ring time, and they’ve given him the Charlie Haas dressing up as something different every week gimmick. I can’t wait to watch his shoot interview and hear why they sunk him.
Randy Orton has not been one of my favorite guys to watch the past few years. I’ve found him very boring to watch and listen to since at least 2010. He really turned a corner on Monday with not only the two RKOs on the announce table, but the interesting character development backstage with HHH. He’s always been guy who is really solid in every way, but for some reason his work seems complacent. Now I really feel like they’re giving him the character he is born to play: pissed off, revenge drive, lone wolf, strike at any second badass. After Reigns beats him at SummerSlam I’m worried that this will be a droplet of interest in a sea of indifference.
Perhaps my favorite part of the show was Stephanie McMahon. It’s very hard for the WWE to make a divas match something I’d ever look forward to, but man do I want to see Brie Bella kick the shit out of Stephanie. She’s so great at playing a bitch you’d think it was genuine. Her facial expressions, tone of her voice, the way she carriers herself…she’s just like Vince was in 1998. You want to see her put in her place so bad. This feud started off corny and even last week was sort of dumb in that usual wrestling way, but her two-faced conniving actions on RAW may have made this the match I’m most looking forward to at SummerSlam.
That’s it for my RAW recap, review, whatever you want to call this column. The quality of the product has been very seesaw lately, but they managed to put together an all-around entertaining show with some solid wrestling this week. Leading in to SummerSlam I hope this keeps up, because I need to some solid programming to wash the taste of the last two PPVs out of my mouth.