WWE returned to the USA Network for Monday Night Raw last night (Oct. 1, 2012) from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and featured an entire three-hour show without John Cena.
And it was weird, and a tad unnerving.
We often complain about the presence of Cena but what does the company look like in his absence? Put simply, WWE will always look for a guy to take his place as the top babyface who can do all the promotional stuff while being a workhorse in the ring who can sell out arenas and pull solid numbers on pay-per-view (PPV). Someone will always be pushed in that role and without Cena we know who it would be and is that a future we really want?
I don't know if I could stomach Sheamus night in and night out for the next few years, destroying up and coming tag teams (poor Rhodes Scholars) by himself. His "debate" with Big Show last night also felt entirely too much like he was being exactly the way Cena would be but with less charisma and charm.
I'm not ready for a new Irish overlord. I can barely handle him as the world heavyweight champion now.
I can't believe I'm going to say this but I'll be happy to see Cena return to his rightfully earned and well deserved spot at the throne of WWE.
Now, on to reactions to Raw (sans Sheamus and Big Show stuff, which was kind of covered above but terrible in every way, so we'll leave it at that):
- General Managers in danger of losing their position as General Manager couldn't be any more played out and I'm not entirely sure why WWE thinks it's a storyline that anyone will ever really care about, especially when we're dealing with a General Manager who is supposed to be a babyface. AJ Lee is now on probation and has an executive coach? For lack of a better term, this whole thing was just stupid and the executive coach was a monumental waste of time. In fact, the entire opening segment felt weird and cluttered with far too much going on at one time and no real direction for any of it.
- Paul Heyman and Vickie Guerrero teaming up? Yuck. CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler teaming up to start a stable with Heyman as the overlord and Vickie tagging along to draw the nuclear heat she always seems to get everywhere she goes? Yeah, I could live with that. But I'm a mark for stables. Punk, unfortunately, is not.
- Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio are so cute with their matching attire and mixed masks. It's just too bad Mysterio can't save Sin Cara from botching up the ring every time he performs. I swear, he's got a quota he's trying to hit every time he wrestles. That has to be it, right? That's the only explanation for his fucking up so often, right?
- That aside, the tag team title tournament (alliteration, baby!) is awesome and has already done wonders in making me care about the tag team division again. It feels like it has substance now and that's a good thing because I actually care when a tag match comes on instead of feeling like they just threw some shit together to kill time, which is what they always used to do.
- I would also like to quickly note that Kane and Daniel Bryan, Team Hell No, are not a real tag team and their entire function is to get a real tag team over when they drop the belts to them. Or at least that's how it should be. They work really well together and they're fun as all get out but it's not meant to last and let's hope they do the right thing and have them give a legitimate tag team a big rub before the inevitable break up and subsequent feud.
- Holy hell, Antonio Cesaro is strong. Also, what was the point of that Brodus Clay squash run if his losing isn't more of a big deal? This didn't feel like much of anything.
- Not sure who was at fault with the Ryback botch on Tensai when he failed in two separate attempts at his finisher but that was a heat killer, not just for the match itself but for Ryback overall. This guy is supposed to be a monster with unmeasurable strength. Well, now we can measure it and those muscles don't look so big anymore.
- What kind of mismatched stable is Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntrye? If they were calling themselves the JOB Squad, I would purchase merchandise. That's all that really matters to WWE anyway, right?
- Damien Sandow is the big winner coming out of Raw because he showed he could have a great match with Sheamus, the golden boy behind Cena. It's just too bad WWE was short sighted here and decided to beat Sandow the way they did, especially with Cody Rhodes getting involved and both men getting chumped. I think WWE believes fans will come out of this thinking Sheamus is strong and they won't have an opinion on Sandow or Rhodes either way. But that's not how it works. It makes the two look weak as a tag team if they can't even effectively handle one guy, even if it is the world heavyweight champion. That's just a bad look for a team that has to be a favorite to win the tag title tournament.
- Seriously, Sheamus is not this important.
- Jim Ross is appreciated. I really liked this because CM Punk did the right thing by getting heat on himself without absolutely embarrassing Ross like the company usually does when it comes to his neck of the woods. Punk, ever the masterful pro wrestler, even worked it to where he complimented Ross and put him over while still managing to get heat on himself. This was awesome in so many ways and while Punk has his faults in many areas, this is one of those times when I'm glad Punk is the top guy in the position he's in right now.
- Ryback, though? Ryback making the save and forcing Punk to bail out? It seems clear now that he's the back up plan for Hell in a Cell if Cena can't go but is there any real chance in hell Cena misses that show? This is a guy who worked through a nasty ankle and he already had the elbow problem going into Night of Champions. Here's to hoping he's okay for the PPV because I am NOT interested in Punk vs. Ryback.
- AJ THIGHS. AJ TWO PIECE REFEREE OUTFIT. I CAN'T GO FURTHER BECAUSE IT WOULD GET INAPPROPRIATE. I'm sorry to the ladies out there.
This show dragged in spots and featured unnecessarily bad booking in others. Heyman's presence is always a plus because he understands all the little things, like facial expressions, but it's an uphill climb against the rest of the fluff, like Miz vs. Ryder in meaningless matches.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on Raw last night. Don't hold back.