WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Nov. 5, 2012) from Birmingham, England, featuring the promotion nearly completely rewriting the entire Survivor Series pay-per-view scheduled for just two weeks away in Indianapolis, Indiana.
And that's just fine by me.
That's because the line-up and match card now looks far better than it did last week when the main event was a traditional five-on-five elimination style match. Now, it's a triple threat for the WWE championship featuring the three biggest stars in the company right now.
Nothing wrong with that.
Enough small talk, though. Let's get to reactions to Raw:
- The idea of a PPV getting rewritten so thoroughly shows you just how much pressure the creative team must be under when Vince McMahon walks into a room. Don't get me wrong, the direction they're headed in now looks much better than before but there's really something to be said about advanced planning. It seems clear now, though, that Ryback and John Cena are on a collision course instead of Ryback and Punk. That's a necessary evil what with The Rock just about to reenter the picture. It should be interesting but I would rather it not happen with writers flying by the seat of their pants.
- That Cena-Ryback staredown was actually pretty damn electric, too, admit it. That could have just been the crowd, though, because they were amazing. Hearing the accent in the "you can't wrestle" chant while Brad Maddox was cutting his promo was the cutest damn thing in the history of the world. Seriously, this crowd was AWESOME. If only America could be this passionate.
- That said, even with the hottest crowd I've heard in the three-hour era, even they seemed to be worn by the main event. With tapings before the actual show comes on the air, crowds are being asked to sit through a lot, and plenty of it simply isn't worth sitting through.
- Cena "shooting" and bringing up the fact that he only has five moves -- four if you don't include the shoulder tackles, wink wink -- is beyond lame. I also don't get the point. If it's his not so subtle nod to the smark Internet community that hates his guts, well, okay. Congratulations, you accomplished nothing.
- This show really could have used some more AJ THIGHS.
- Liked the booking between Team Hell No and The Rhodes Scholars. Cody Rhodes stole one from Daniel Bryan with help from Damien Sandow but because Sandow couldn't get the same help from Rhodes against Kane, he was overmatched and defeated. The idea, of course, is that as a tag team, they can make it work and defeat Team Hell No by going after the smaller, perceived weaker link. That's good booking.
- Vince McMahon might be the greatest performer of the past 30 years. Not wrestler, but peformer. Agree or disagree and if you disagree, I need a good reason why.
- Big Show on commentary was highly entertaining. He's actually right up there with anyone else on the roster as far as his ability on the microphone goes but he just doesn't get over. I really don't know why, either. Can anyone help with that?
- Mentioned it last night, but I'm impressed with how WWE handled the Brad Maddox situation. His gripes were very real and the same felt by many on the independent wrestling scene today. That said, his delivery needs some serious work. I'm not sure there's ever been a worse delivery of two words than when he said "thank you" to end his promo.
- Wade Barrett felt like a star for the first time in his career last night. Who knew he would get such love in England? Oh wait ... uh ... never mind.
- Was it a coincidence that the commentary team made sure to bring up how Cena had been off for a while when he barely managed an arm drag on Punk in the main event? He looked a little sloppy in there, despite working matches with Ziggler on house shows. He probably deserves a pass here, though, especially considering he was asked to carry the entire match only to go out for the hot tag so Ryback could come in, wreck shop, and get the pin. Expect something similar at Survivor Series but without Ryback winning.
This show had a ton of news coming out of it but wasn't really anything special standing on its own. That was masked well by the extremely hot crowd, however, and I would fully be on board with WWE just doing Raw in the U.K. from here on out.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off with all your thoughts and reactions to the show in the comments section below. What's your grade?